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original, though only built of mud. So our cruise on the lake was rather flat and unprofitable-literally flat, since the shores of Lake Moeris are very low and devoid of features. The lake was only interesting while we were near the shore and could see the irrigation which forms a link with Japan, and the buffaloes, which form a link with the Pharaohs.
We were all glad to get back from the hot lake to lunch in the cool canvas pavilion where, as you sat at table, the reeds seemed to come up to the very window cut in the gay Arab awning. But except for the sake of seeing the great Lake Moeris, of which the ancients wrote almost as much as they wrote of the statue of Memnon at Thebes, I regretted not staying at the market at Ebshwai, watching the unending procession of biblical-looking Bedâwins and the Omdurmanic primitiveness of the market.
On the next day our hospitable Nicholas Khouri drove us to a large estate he has, running up to the Hawara Pyramid, and the celebrated labyrinth. At his farm buildings splendid donkeys, which are not easy to procure in the Fayum, were waiting ready-saddled for us. The drive out from Medinet to Hawara is unusually pretty for Egypt, where the impressiveness of effects lies chiefly in desolation. Here our road ran between long fields of rich corn and clover, bordered by long, low hills and palms blown sideways by the prevailing winds. Egypt is the most unflowered country there ever was, except on its Mediterranean coast. Mustard is its general wild flower. There was nothing to photograph except a porcupine and a house newly painted, with the usual preposterous designs, for the reception of a Hadji who had just returned from Mecca. He was sitting outside in a gay canvas pavilion receiving his friends. The sky was quite English, as it often is in the Fayum. Our road took us past the high-lift water-wheel on the Tamiya, which makes such an effective picture in Major Hanbury Brown's book. Like so many things in the Fayum, it has been improved away. Close here is one of the prettiest bits in the province, for just beyond the spot where you see the mud walls of an ancient Greek village, half-buried in the deep
sand, the road suddenly opens on to a gorge with a river in its bottom, and delightfully wooded. The Tamiya Canal crosses it on a Roman-looking aqueduct, and it was here that the much-photographed wheel stood. The road was a frequented one. We met a procession of carts, like the painted carts of Sicily, drawn by mules or ponies, and buffaloes, who are always looking into the future. We were crossing a tableland with a sandy desert on our left and a long stretch of corn upon our right; the Illahun Pyramid towered in front of us. At length we came to a village with the odd embattled pigeon-towers of the Fayum, more castle-like than ever, and excellent houses, quite Sudanese in their pretentiousness, on the banks of a canal as swift as a strong river. Just outside the village were Nicholas Khouri's farm buildings, with a couple of steam ploughs at work near them. He told us that the Fayum is exactly suited for modern agricultural machinery, which increases its productiveness marvellously. Here we found donkeys, and a splendid Arab horse was ready for him. We noticed that he had a beautiful seat, and we learned afterwards that he rides his own horses at races. We rode across his estate to the Hawara Pyramid, which stands on its farther edge, and soon found ourselves escorted only by our donkey-boys, for he was constantly being stopped by his men for orders about the working of different parts of the estate. At the foot of the pyramid we crossed an ancient Egyptian graveyard ravaged by the elements. The wind and the rain had denuded the surface, leaving a litter of skulls and thighbones and mummy cloth, which look like an illustration of the Vision of Ezekiel. The Hawara Pyramid is the tomb of Amen-em-hat the third, the greatest king of the Twelfth Dynasty, who lived some two thousand years before the great Age of Greek Monuments, which saw the Parthenon arise. The casing of white limestone as fine as marble has disappeared, leaving only a core of mud bricks about half a yard long by nine inches wide and six inches thick, but it is still fairly perfect and of considerable size. The straw used for making its bricks shows so plainly that it
came out in a kodak, which I took. The ascent is quite easy, but oh, so mournful! for each footstep that you take does more damage to the mud bricks than the wind and the wet of four thousand years. The path by which the Arab herds climb to the top has gone back to the dust. The Pyramid is a little over three hundred feet square, and kept its casing up to Roman times. Flinders Petrie excavated it in 1890, and found the mummy chamber at the end of a labyrinth of passages. You see the real Labyrinth, the Egyptian Labyrinth (if tradition may be trusted, which is improbable), between it and the angle of the canal, when you stand on the Pyramid top. The Bahr Selah, the swift, river-like canal is, after the Bahr Yûsuf, the principal stream of the Fayum. There is nothing visible of the labyrinth beyond a few granite columns, and fragments of sculptured granite and limestone, and buildings of mud brick like you get in the town of the twenty-second dynasty outside the temple of Karnak. It may have been injured, as the cemetery certainly was, by the natives carting away the dust for manure. According to Herodotus, it was an almost inconceivably vast and elaborate building, for which there hardly seems room between the Pyramid and the Bahr Selah. He says:
“They (the twelve Kings of Egypt) built a labyrinth, a little above the lake of Moeris, situated near that called the City of Crocodiles--this I have myself seen, and found it greater than can be described. For if any one should add together the buildings and public works of the Greeks, they would be found to have cost less labour and expense than this labyrinth, though the temple in Ephesus is deserving of mention, and also that in Samos. The Pyramids likewise were beyond description, and each of them comparable to many of the great Greek structures. Yet the labyrinth surpasses even the Pyramids. For it has twelve courts enclosed with walls, with doors opposite each other, six facing the north, and six the south, contiguous to one another, and the same exterior wall encloses them. It contains two kinds of rooins, some underground and some above-ground
them, to the number
1,500 of each.
The rooms above-ground I myself went through and saw, and relate from personal inspection. But the underground rooms I only know from report, for the Egyptians who have charge of the building would, on no account, show me them, saying that there were the sepulchres of the kings who originally built this labyrinth, and of the sacred crocodiles. I can therefore only relate what I have learnt by hearsay concerning the lower rooms; but the upper ones, which surpass all human works I myself saw : for the passages through the corridors, and the windings through the courts, from their great variety, presented a thousand occasions of wonder, as I passed from a court to the rooms, and from the rooms to halls, and to other corridors from the halls, and to other courts from the rooms. The roofs of all these are of stone, as also are the walls, but the walls are full of sculptured figures. Each court is surrounded with a colonnade of white stone, closely fitted. And adjoining the extremity of the labyrinth is a pyramid, forty orgyiæ in height, on which large figures are carved, and a way to it has been made underground.
“Although this labyrinth is such as I have described, yet the lake named from Moeris, near which this labyrinth is built, occasions greater wonder ; its circumference measures three thousand six hundred stades, or sixty schoeni, equal to the sea-coast of Egypt. The lake stretches lengthways, north and south, being in depth in the deepest part fifty orgyiæ. That it is made by hand and dry, this circumstance proves, for about the middle of the lake stand two pyramids, each rising fifty orgyiæ above the surface of the water, and the part built under water extends to an equal depth ; on each of these is placed a stone statue, seated on a throne. Thus these pyramids are one hundred orgyiæ in height: and a hundred orgyiæ are equal to a stade of six plethra, the orgyia measuring six feet, or four cubits, the foot being four palms, and the cubit six palms. The water in this lake does not spring from the soil, for these parts are excessively dry, but it is conveyed through a channel from the Nile, and for six months it flows into the lake, and six months out again
into the Nile. And during the six months that it flows out again it yields a talent of silver every day to the king's treasury from the fish; but when the water is flowing into it, twenty minæ."
Modern criticism inclines to the belief that these pyramids with colossi seated on them are a mistaken inference of Herodotus from seeing the two colossi of Biahmu emerging from the waters of the lake. At present in its deepest part the lake has only one tenth of the depth which he assigns to it. But the immensity he assigns to the labyrinth is borne out, for Breastead writes: "In the gap, on the north bank of the inflowing canal, was a vast building, some eight hundred by a thousand feet, which formed a kind of religious and administrative centre for the whole country. It contained a set of halls for each home, where its gods were enshrined and worshipped, and the councils of its government gathered from time to time. It would seem from the remarks of Strabo that each set of halls was thus the office of the central government pertaining to the administration of the respective nome, and the whole building was therefore the Pharaohs' seat of government for the entire country.”
A building of these dimensions would be about twice the size of the Vatican-nearly as long, more than twice as wide; but the Vatican is said to contain no fewer than 13,000 chambers. The labyrinth, however, had probably only one storey above ground.
As we stood on the windy top of the Pyramid our view was superb; the Illahun Pyramid, not very far away, rose up so majestically : a mirage had surrounded it with a lake of palms. In the distance we could see the Arabian hills across the Nile, and, nearer in, the green oasis lapped all round by the pink sands and hills of the Libyan desert. While I was inspecting the labyrinth I flushed some sandgrouse so close that I could have knocked them down with my stick if I had not been more anxious to kodak thein, for when I first came upon them, instead of trying to escape, they tried to hide by flattening themselves in the sand. They were almost the same colour as the semi-transparent