Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small]

The bier has the usual form ge, but above the lion's head is the Atef crown of Osiris, and at the feet is the feather of Maāt. By the side of the bier stands Anubis, with the solar disk and uræi ado on his head ; at the head of the bier stands Thoth, and at the feet is Horus, and under the bier are vases containing the intestines of the deceasedi dedicated to Qebḥsennuf (hawk-headed), Mestha (humanheaded), and Hāpi (ape-headed). To the right and left of the door are figures of :-1. Anubis, standing upright, in human form, jackal-headed, with a solar disk on his head; his right hand rests upon the edge of a shield which stands on the ground by his side, and in his left he clasps a spear. Round his neck and shoulder hangs a belt from which is suspended a short sword. 2. Set (?), in the form of a human body with arms and hands of a man, and the head and tail of a crocodile ; in his right hand he clasps a spear, and in the left the end of a cloak.

Round the funeral chamber in which these reliefs occur, on three sides, is a comparatively spacious gallery, in the walls of which are hollowed-out cavities, each large enough to hold three dead bodies; there are traces of names of those who were buried in them. At the north-west corner of this gallery is a corridor which leads into four other chambers, two of which have in them niches for sarcophagi, and two are provided with cavities wherein bodies might be laid on stone slabs at intervals, one above the other. We have already mentioned a third stage of the tomb, which was approached by an entrance situated just below the place where the staircase leading from the first to the second stage forked ; this is now filled with water, and cannot be investigated. The tomb is the most interesting of all the tombs of the Roman period which have been found in Alexandria, and is very instructive. It is, unfortunately, impossible to assign an exact date to it, but it was probably

built in the first century B.c. or the first century A.D. The name of the man for whom it was built is unknown, but it is clear that he was of high rank, and there is no doubt that his religion was au fond Egyptian. The artistic treatment of the figures of the gods, and of the walls, pillars, etc., exhibits strong Roman influence, and the mixture of the two styles of funereal art is better illustrated in this tomb than in any other of the period to which it belongs. It is hard to explain why the sarcophagi in the niches of the main funeral chamber have not been occupied by the people for whom they were intended, and it is difficult to understand why others were made in other chambers of the tomb whilst these remained empty. It would appear that the tomb was made for the head of a large and powerful family, the members of which respected the places that had been left for certain members of it, and judging from the amount of space for burial which was actually occupied, we are justified in thinking that the tomb was used as a private mausoleum for about 150 or 200 years.

The Walls of the city were built by Muḥammad ‘Ali. and appear to have been laid upon the foundation of ancient walls.

On the south side of Alexandria lies Lake Mareotis, which in ancient days was fed by canals running from the Nile. During the Middle Ages the lake nearly dried up, and the land which became available for building purposes in consequence was speedily covered with villages. In the year 1801, the English dug a canal across the neck of land between the lake and the sea, and flooded the whole district thus occupied. During the last few years an attempt has been made to pump the water out, and now the lake is nearly dry.

Among archæologists of all nationalities for some years past the conviction has been growing that systematic excavations should be undertaken at Alexandria ; it was felt that but little of a serious nature had been done, and that unless work were begun soon the few sites available for excavation would be built over, and that the chance of the discovery either of new information or “finds ” would be lost for ever. As it is, building operations have advanced with extraordinary rapidity, and what the builder leaves the sea claims. There seems little chance of discovering any portions of the great libraries which flourished at Alexandria in its palmy days, and there is equally little chance that any of its famous buildings remain to be discovered; the utmost that may be hoped for is the recovery of monuments and inscriptions of the late Græco-Roman period. The cuttings of the AlexandriaRamleh railway, and private diggings made for laying foundations of houses and drains, have yielded a number of interesting objects, but they have added comparatively little to our knowledge. To preserve these remains in a systematic manner, the Egyptian Government founded a Museum of Græco-Roman Antiquities at a cost of £E.10,000; it is maintained by the Municipality by an annual grant of £E.1,200. The direction of it has been placed under the able care of M. Botti; here are exhibited a most interesting series of monuments typical of EgyptoGræco art during the period of the ruie of the Ptolemies and during the early centuries of the Christian era. The collection has been added to steadily, and learned bodies in Europe have enriched it by gifts of casts of important objects preserved in their museums and by donations of books with the view of founding a suitable library.

A few years ago Mr. D. G. Hogarth, under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Fund, assisted by Messrs. E. F. Benson and E. R. Bevan of the British School of Irchæology at Athens, during two months' work at Alexandria made a series of experimental borings about the central quarter of the ancient city, including the region of Fort Kôm

al-Dikk, the reputed site of the Sôma, and in the eastern cemeteries. Mr. Hogarth’s conclusions are, he says, definite, though negative. The results of his work show that an uninteresting deposit, from 15 to 20 feet thick, of the Arab period, lies over all the central part of the Roman town ; that the remains of the Roman town are in bad condition, and that their appearance indicates that they have been ruined systematically ; that immediately below, and even above the Roman level, water is tapped, and that the stratum earlier than the Roman must be submerged, the soil having subsided. Such definite facts do away, once and for all, with any hope of the discovery of papyri.

ALEXANDRIA TO CAIRO BY THE

RAILWAY. Between Alexandria and Cairo are the following important towns :

I. Kafr Ad-Dawâr, 17 miles from Alexandria. II. Damanhûr* (Eg.,S!

Țemåien-Heru "Town of Horus '), the capital of the Province of Bahérah. This was the Hermopolis Parva of the Romans.

11. Teh al-Barûd, in the neighbourhood of which are several mounds which mark sites of Ptolemaic or Roman towns.

IV. Kafr az-Zayyat, on the east side of the river, situated among beautiful and fertile fields. At no great distance from this place are the ruins of Şâ al-Hagar, which mak the site of the city of Saïs, whose goddess was Neith.

* It is called feeing wp by the Copts.

« PreviousContinue »