Page images

Room, and in the Wall-cases on the Landing of the NorthWest Staircase. Special attention should be given to the green slate shields, sculptured in relief with hunting scenes, and to the fine display of vases and bowls, in diorite, granite, porphyry, jasper, breccia, limestone, alabaster, etc., in Wallcases 137–142, 194-204, in the Fourth Egyptian Room. To the same period probably belong :- 1. The portion of a sculptured stele, with the Horus name of a king, which was found at Wâdî Magharah in the Peninsula of Sinai (Egyptian Vestibule, No. 2). 2. The very interesting red granite statue, of a most archaïc character, of Betchmes, a royal kinsman and axeman who was attached to the body-guard of the king (Egyptian Vestibule, No. 3). 3. The text on a limestone slab in which the hieroglyphics are not divided by lines (Egyptian Vestibule, No. 4). 4. Relief from the tomb of Suten-abu (Egyptian Vestibule, No. 5).

(Egyptieman who character, of interesting

Fourth Dynasty. From Memphis.

About B.C. 3733. With the accession of Seneferu one of the most important periods in the history of Egypt opened, and it was marked by the conquest of the Sûdân and the Sinaitic Peninsula, by the building of the Pyramids, and by the production of basreliefs, sculptures, wall-paintings, etc., which for fidelity to nature and delicacy of execution were never surpassed. Several of the earlier kings of Egypt had trade relations with the natives of Sinai who worked the famous copper and turquoise mines of Wâdî Maghârah ; but Seneferu invaded the country and conquered it, and cut reliefs on the rocks in which he is represented clubbing the rebellious natives. He was the first to group four of the royal titles within

a cartouche thus : He also raided the Sûdân, and captured, as we learn from the Palermo Stele, 7,000 men, i.e., slaves, and 200,coo animals, i.e., oxen, cows, goats, etc. The men were, no doubt, brought to Egypt and made to labour there on the king's works. During the reign of Seneferu, Egypt was invaded by certain Eastern tribes by way of the desert; and the country seems to have suffered from a famine. Seneferu was probably buried in the Pyramid of Médûm, which is called the “False Pyramid,” and is of an unusual shape ; it is about 115 feet

high, and consists of three stages, which are 70, 20, and 25 feet high respectively. He also built a pyramid at Dahshûr. His queen was Mert-tefs on w

o 11, who survived him and was living during the reigns of Khufu and Khāfrā; a limestone false door from her tomb is exhibited in the

Egyptian Vestibule, No. 7. The governor of Seneferu's pyramid at Mêdûm was Ka-nefer (for his sepulchral stele see the Egyptian Vestibule, No. 8), to whose memory a pious son set up the memorial tablet No. 9.

Seneferu was succeeded by Khufu, the Cheops of the Greeks, the son of Shaaru ( 8 ), the greatest king of the dynasty; he is said to have reigned sixty-three years. He may have been a great warrior, like Seneferu ; and a relief on the rocks at Wâdî Maghârah in the Sinaitic Peninsula represents him in the act of clubbing a typical foe in the presence of the ibis-headed god Thoth. He was, however, a far greater builder, and he has been known to fame for some thousands of years as the builder of the Great Pyramid (see Plate XX). This wonderful building, which the Egyptians

called “Khut," , stands King Khufu (Cheops). [Vestibule, South Wall, No. 13.) on the edge of a ledge of rock

forming the “skirt” (hence the name Gîzah) of the desert, on the western bank of the Nile, about 5 miles from the river, near the village of Al-Gîzah. It covers an area of 12 acres. It is 451 feet high, and the flat space at the top is about 30 feet square. The length of each side at the base is 755 feet ; but before the outer layers of stone were removed and used in Cairo for building material each side was 20 feet longer, and the pyramid itself was about 30 feet higher. It was originally

[graphic][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]

Section of the Great Pyramid of Gîzah, built by Khufu (Cheops), showing the internal passages and chambers,

and the underground corridor and sarcophagus chamber.


« PreviousContinue »