The backlash against Ridley Scott’s Exodus is gathering momentum. After Noah’s mixed reception earlier this year, more and more people are sick of seeing movies with “whitewashed” casts: White actors representing historical figures who almost certainly were not white.
The latest accusation of Exodus whitewashing relates to someone who technically isn’t even a character: the Sphinx.
The likeliest explanation is that the sculpture in this picture is not the Sphinx, but is in fact a statue of Ramses. This means that it would have been based on actor Joel Edgerton’s face.
Unfortunately, this just makes the whitewashed casting even more blatant, because real statues of Ramses II simply do notlook likethat. So while Exodus may not have made a “white version” of the Sphinx, Egyptian culture is still being erased and rewritten to fit in with the film’s predominantly white cast of actors.
Greek Gold Ring with a Siren, Sphinx and Hippocamp, 6th Century BC
In Greek mythology Sirens were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
A sphinx was a female monster with the body of a lion, the breast and head of a woman, eagle’s wings and sometimes a serpent-headed tail. She was sent by the gods to plague the town of Thebes as punishment for some ancient crime. There she preyed on the youths of the land, devouring all those who failed to solve her riddle.
Hippocampoi were the horses of the sea. They were depicted with the head and fore-parts of a horse and the serpentine tail of a fish. The ancients believed they were the adult-form of the fish we call the seahorse. Hippocampoi were the steeds of Nereid nymphs and sea-gods. Poseidon drove a chariot drawn by two or four of the creatures.