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nothing definite can be said, but Arabic writers describe it as a flourishing town, and they relate that a plague once swept off 20,000 of its inhabitants. Aswan was famous for its wine in Ptolemaic times. The town has suffered greatly at the hands of the Persians, Arabs, and Turks on the north, and the Nubians, by whom it was nearly destroyed in the twelfth century, on the south. The oldest ruins in the town are those of a Ptolemaic temple, which are still visible.
The island of Elephantine:* lies a little to the north of the cataract just opposite Aswan, and has been famous in all ages as the key of Egypt from the south; the Romans garrisoned it. with numerous troops, and it represented the southern limit of their empire. The island itself was very fertile, and it is said that its vines and fig-trees retained their leaves throughout the year. The kings of the Vth dynasty sprang from Elephantine. The gods worshipped here by the Egyptians were called Chnemu, Sati and Sept, and. on this island Amenophis III. built a temple, remains of which were visible in the early part of this century. Of the famous Nilometer which stood here, Strabo says: "The Nilometer is a well upon the banks of the Nile, constructed of close-fitting stones, on which are marked the greatest,, least, and mean risings of the Nile; for the water in the. well and in the river rises and subsides simultaneously. Upon the wall
* "A little above Elephantine is the lesser' cataract, where the boatmen exhibit a sort of spectacle to the governors. The cataract is in the middle of the river, and is formed by a ridge of rocks, the upper part of which is level, and thus capable of receiving the river, but terminating in a precipice, where the water dashes down. On each side towards the land there is a stream, up which is the chief ascent for vessels: The boatmen sail up by this stream, and, dropping down to the cataract, are impelled with the boat to the precipice, the crew and the boats escaping unhurt." (Strabo, Bk. xvii. chap, i., 49, Falconer's translation.) Thus it appears that "shooting the cataract " is a very old amusement.
of the well are lines, which indicate the complete rise of the river, and other degrees of its rising. Those who examine these marks communicate the result to the public for their information. For it is known long before, by these marks, and by the time elapsed from the commencement, what the future rise of the river will be, and notice is given of it. This information is of service to the husbandmen with reference to, the distribution of, the water; for the purpose also, of attending to the embankments, canals, and other things of this kind. It is of use also to the governors, who fix the revenue; for the greater the rise of the river, the greater it is expected will be the revenue." According to Plutarch the Nile rose at Elephantine to the height of 28 cubits; a very interesting text at EdfiL states that if the river rises 24 cubits 3^ hands at Elephantine, it will water the country satisfactorily.
To the south-west of Atrun island, in a sandy valley, lie the ruins of an ancient building of the sixth or seventh century of our era, half convent, half fortress. A dome, ornamented with coloured representations of Saints Michael, George, and Gabriel, and the twelve Apostles, still remains in a good state of preservation. To the east of the convent is the cemetery, where some interesting stelae and linen fragments were found.
A mile or so to the north of the convent stands the bold hill in the sides of which are hewn the tombs which General Sir F. W. Grenfell excavated; this hill is situated in Western Aswan, the COTA.lt JUL HeJUtertT" of the Copts, and is the Contra Syene of the classical authors. The tombs are hewn out of the rock, tier above tier, and the most important of these were reached by a stone staircase, which to this day remains nearly complete, and is one of the most interesting antiquities in Egypt. The tombs in this hill may be roughly divided into three groups. The first group was hewn in the best and thickest layer of stone in the top of and of people from parts of Syria and the shores of the Mediterranean bringing to him gifts consisting of the choicest products of their lands, which Rechmara receives for Thothmes III. The countries can in many cases be identified by means x>f-the articles depicted. The scenes in the inner chamber represent brickmaking, ropemaking, smiths' and masons' work, etc., etc., superintended by Rechmara, prefect of Thebes; elsewhere are domestic scenes and a representation of Rechmara sailing in a boat, lists of offerings, etc.
The most ancient necropolis at Thebes is Drah abu'l Nekkah, where tombs of the'Xlth, XVIIth, and XVIIIth dynasties are to be found. The coffins of' the Antef kings (XIth dynasty), now in the Louvre and the British Museum, were discovered here, and here was made the marvellous "find" of the jewellery of Ah-hetep,* wife of Karnes, a king of the XVIIth dynasty, about'B.C. 1750. A little more to the south is the necropolis of Assassif, where during theXIXth, XXIInd, and XXVIth dynasties many beautiful tombs were constructed. If the visitor has time, an attempt should be made to see the fine tomb of Peta-Amen-apt.
Armant, or Erment, 458^ miles from Cairo, on the west bank of the river, was called in Egyptian Menth,
and |j ^ -=^-0 ^ Annu qemat,"" Heliopolis of the South ";
it marks the site of the ancient Hermonthis, where, according to Strabo, "Apollo and Jupiter are both worshipped."
The ruins which remain there belong to the Iseion built during the reign of the last Cleopatra (b.c. 51-29). The stone-lined tank which lies near this building was probably used as a Nilometer.
* Now preserved at Gizeh.
Esneh, or Asneh, 484^ miles from Cairo, on the west bank of the river, was called in Egyptian ^ ^ © Senet; it marks the site of the ancient Latopolis, and was so called by the Greeks, because its inhabitants worshipped the Latus fish. Thothmes III. founded a temple here, but the interesting building which now stands almost in the middle of the modern town is of late date, and bears the names of several of the Roman emperors. The portico is supported by twenty-four columns, each of which is inscribed; their capitals are handsome. The Zodiac here, like that at Denderah, belongs to a late period, but is interesting.
El-Kab, 502 miles from Cairo, on the east bank of the river, was called in Egyptian ^ £ J © Necheb; it marks the site of the ancient Eileithyias. There was a city here in very ancient days, and ruins of temples built by Thothmes IV., Amenhetep III., Seti I., Rameses II., Rameses III., Ptolemy IX. Euergetes II. are still visible. A little distance from the town, in the mountain, is the tomb of Ahmes (Amasis), the son of Abana, an officer born in the reign of Seqenen Ra, who fought against the HyksoF, and who served under Amasis I., Amenophis I., and Thothmes I. The inscription on the walls of his tomb gives an account of the campaign against some Mesopota mian enemies of Egypt and of the siege of their city. Amasis was the "Captain-General of Sailors." The tomb of his daughter's son Pahir lies just above his.
UTFtJ (EDFU). Edfu, 5152 miles from Cairo, on the west bank of the river was called in Egyptian ® Behutet, and in Coptic ;it was called by the Greeks Apollino