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enclosed the temple precincts ; on each side of the path was a row of sphinxes, or rams, which symbolized the guardian spirits of the place. Passing through the gateway he soon reached the main pylon, which consisted of a massive doorway and two towers. During festivals long painted poles, flying coloured streamers, were attached to the face of the pylon at regular intervals. On each side of the gateway was a colossal statue of the king, and statues of the king were
often arranged at intervals along the front of the pylon. Before the pylon stood a pair of obelisks, and sometimes a pair of sphinxes, or sacred animals. The original signification of the obelisks is unknown; it is probable that they were connected with a solar, or even phallic cult, but as the texts afford no explanation of their meaning it is useless to theorize. Beyond the great pylon was an open court, with a colonnade, which was used as a sort of bazaar where holy objects, amulets, and things for offerings could be bought by the public. Here, too, the sick were laid that alms might be given to them, and here beggars of all kinds congregated, as they do in a modern mosque. Passing through a second pylon, the hypostyle hall, or hall of columns, was entered, and here the priests made their processions, and received the offerings of the faithful. Beyond the hall, or halls of columns, the laity were not per
Gateway of Ptolemy IX at Karnak. mitted to penetrate. The other chambers of the temple formed the sanctuary of the god, and contained his shrine. The little rooms round about the shrine contained the temple library, and the dresses, jewellery, and other sacred properties of the god, or gods, worshipped in the temple. At the extreme end of the temple was the shrine of the god, which was entered by no one except the king and the priests ; in it were kept a sacred boat, or ark, and a figure, or symbol, of the god, or animal sacred to him.
Columns in the Temple of Seti I, B.C. 1370, at Abydos. The temples of Egypt from the XVIIIth dynasty to the Roman Period vary greatly in detail, but the general plan is always the same. The great temples of Karnak (see Plate XXX), Luxor, Abydos (see Plate XI), etc., awe the spectator by their size and majestic dignity; the smaller temples of the Ptolemaïc and Roman Periods are less grand, but are much more graceful buildings. The severity of the interiors of the older buildings is moderated by the reliefs and
inscriptions with which walls, pillars, pilasters, architraves, etc., are covered profusely, and the bright colours, reds, blues, greens, and yellows, in which many of the painted scenes were executed, added greatly to their general effect. The massive square pillars were replaced in later times by pillars with