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another to numerous upper chambers and passages, This is divided by the Hall of the Repose of the Gods from the sanctuary, called also the Chamber of the Great Throne, from the beautiful grey granite naos, a shrine cut out of a single stone, which once contained a live hawk, the emblem of the god. Behind the sanctuary are more small chambers for ceremonial uses, like the Hathor chambers at Denderah. Here King Edward would have seen all the appendages and decorations of a Ptolemaic temple, the Nut, and a Zodiac on the ceiling; the long passages and inclined staircases covered with coloured sculptures of processions and ceremonies; the kiosk at the side where the priests used to distribute bread on the first of the new year--a most beautiful little building; and the room where Osiris died and lay in state, of which our dragoman said in his delightful English : “Oh, he never existed. But still, that is the religion. They say this the room where they used to wash the body of God, and this where they put the clothes on the body of God." He added: "The pictures where Isis fell in love kissing business—were splendid business for the King."
"I used to tell lies," said the dragoman. "Now I got bad rheumatism-I have the judgment."
The historical and processional pictures at Edfu are endless, and make the interior very rich. But they are often neither graceful nor classic. It is really rather a relief-after tramping with candles and magnesium wire through acres of passages and chambers, where the vampires nearly knock you down with their odour and stampeding flights-to get out on to the pylon and the roof. As is usual in Ptolemaic temples, you can walk all over the roof, gazing down into colonnaded courts, or outwards at the village and the river. From the pylon-top you have a noble view. The great temple in all its perfection is spread out like a map at your feet. Up and down you see the broad champaign, with the blue ribbon of the Nile winding through it, and a background of the pink Arabian hills fading into the distance. Almost encroaching on the temple is the village which once stretched over ita honeycomb of mud walls, with reeds or straw laid across them for roofs. Goats and sheep and Arab dogs wander along the tops of the walls or plump through the ceilings of that village. I saw several executing this manæuvre, and wondered how the inhabitants enjoyed goats coming down on the angeribs, where they were waiting for eternity, in a conflict between indolence and vermin. On the pylon we were so far above the village that we only saw its roofs and its pigeon-towers, and not many of them. We saw little but mud huts covered with reeds and straw ; there was not even a mosque or a larder. Cleanliness is not often so far from godliness in a Mohammedan town. Edfu, apart from its temple, is a city of dreadful dirt.
But Edfu's old enemy, Komombo, is a delightful contrast. Its temple is not so perfect, but it is far more beautiful, and has a special interest. As you approach it on the Nile it is the most charming of all the temples of Egypt. It stands up grandly on a bluff over the river like a castle on the Rhine. It has the advantage of being near an English station for the reclamation of the Nile lands. It has huge engines for pumping up the Nile water. You do not notice the enginehouse much, and, if it does disfigure the landscape a little, this is more than atoned for by the prosperous and orderly appearance of the whole neighbourhood. Here there is no village to speak of; there are no professional curio-sellers, though there are a few Nubians guilelessly offering the banalities of Assuan, the orange-handled knives in crocodile-skin cases, and native drums made for sale to Europeans. Komombo is generally regarded as the northern border of the Nubian population. You see the difference directly you get here. The skins are much darker, and the people have the negro tendency to laugh. A walk across a few fields takes you from the landing-place to that charming temple, which has the grace of Greece, as you see it silhouetted against the blue sky with its soaring, airy columns.
This temple is a composite affair. It looks fairly ordinary outside, except for the beauty of its proportions and the rich colour of its masonry. Nor do you notice its extraordinariness when you get inside. But in reality it is two temples in one.
For here they worshipped the two contending principles, Sekket, the god of darkness, and the god of light -Horus. The temple had a single containing-wall, but nearly everything else was in duplicate. There were duplicate pylons, duplicate entrances to the Hall of Columns, to the inner colonnaded hall and the three other halls, which intervened before the shrines of the God of Light and the God of Darkness were reached, lying side by side. I shall not describe the charming sculptures and paintings of this exquisite temple, many of them on fragments. This is not a guide book, and to the uninitiated, as my friend Mr. Jordan said, Egyptian names are so fierce. It would not make people in England see the glory of Komombo, the sunny, airy court, the noble architecture any better. Komombo must be seen to be appreciated.
But for the English, half of it would be under the Nile by this time. The bluff on which it stands was yielding rapidly year by year to the floods of the great river when the English came and underpinned it, and embanked it. All except a shell of the Birth-house, so dear to the architects of Ptolemaic temples, and the chapel of Hathor, which stood in front of the western end of the temple, had already fallen backwards into the water.
Ruin of another kind had overtaken the outworks of the fane itself. But its centre and loftiest parts have been preserved by the accretions of a hill of débris. This time it was surmounted not by a town but by a fort of the English erected by Lord Grenfell, to hold in check incursions of the Dervishes, in the days when Assuan was the frontier city of the dominions of the Khedive, and the Mahdi might any day be at its gates or slip past it. When Lord Grenfell was here, he knew there was a temple underneath, and he was an enthusiastic excavator, so whenever a man in his force had to be punished, he was set to work to excavate.
Komombo stands on the site of a temple of the eighteenth dynasty, the Thothmes and Amen-hetep epoch. But it was rebuilt in the time of the Ptolemies. The elegant passage which runs round three sides of the building was built by Ptolemy Auletes, the father of our Cleopatra. Various Roman emperors, like Tiberius and Vespasian, contributed to its decoration, and on the south side a small chapel was dedicated to the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, our Venus, in the seventh year of Domitian.
The trail of the crocodile is over Komombo still ; one of its chambers, as I have said, is filled with mummy crocodiles ; and it was here that Lord Fitzhardinge, who stayed here for twenty winters, shot the last crocodile killed in Egypt-last but not least-it was sixteen feet long.
The vision of Komombo pursues you as you steam up the river to Assuan, only twenty-six miles south of it. The effect is wonderful, Its columns look so Greek and so golden,