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to worship the ichneumon, a valuable animal which destroyed the eggs of crocodiles and asps, and even the asps themselves. Strabo declares that the ichneumons used to drop into the jaws of the crocodiles as they lay basking with their mouths open and, having eaten through their intestines, issue out of the dead body.
Maghaghah, 106 miles from Cairo, is now celebrated for its large sugar manufactory, which is lighted by gas, and is well worth a visit; the manufacturing of sugar begins here early in January
About twenty-four miles farther south, lying inland, on the western side of the Nile, between the river and the Bahr Yûsuf, is the site of the town of Oxyrrhynchus, so called by the Greeks on account of the fish which they believed was worshipped there. The Egyptian name of the town was
V, Pemge, HELLXe, and the corrupt Arabic form Bahnasa. The excavations made in the neighbourhood of Bahnasa by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt have produced important results.
The Oxyrrhynchus fish was esteemed so sacred that the people of the city were afraid to eat any fish which had been caught with a hook, lest the hook should have injured one of the sacred fish ; the Oxyrrhynchus fish was thought to have been produced from the blood of the wounded Osiris (Aelian, De Nat. Animalium, x. 46). The Oasis of Bahrîyah (Oasis Parva), which is called by Abû Şalih 'the Oasis of Bahnasa,' is usually visited by the desert road which runs there from the city. The Arabic writer Al-Maķrîzî says that there were once 360 churches in Bahnasa, but that the only one remaining in his time was that dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In recent years the excavations which have been carried on by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrrhynchus have resulted in the discovery of numerous papyri of a late period.
A little above Abû Girgah, on the west bank of the Nile, is the town of Al-Kais, which marks the site of the ancient Cynopolis or ‘Dog-city'; it was the seat of a Coptic bishop, and is called Kais, R&sc, in Coptic.
Thirteen miles from Abû Girgah, also on the west bank of the Nile, is the town of Kulûşna, 134 miles from Cairo, and a few miles south, lying inland, is Samallût.
Farther south, on the east bank of the Nile, is Gebel atTer, or the ‘Bird mountain,' so called because tradition says that all the birds of Egypt assemble here once a year, and that they leave behind them when departing one solitary bird, that remains there until they return the following year to relieve him of his watch, and to set another in his place. As there are mountains called Gebel at-Tér in all parts of Arabic-speaking countries, because of the number of birds which frequent them, the story is only one which springs from the fertile Arab imagination. Gebel at-Têr rises above the river to a height of six or seven hundred feet, and upon its summit stands a Coptic convent dedicated to Mary the Virgin, Dêr al-Adhra, but more commonly called Der al-Bakarah, or the 3, Cul Convent of the Pulley, because the ascent to the convent is generally made by a rope and pulley.
Leaving the river and entering a fissure in the rocks, the traveller finds himself at the bottom of a natural shaft about 120 feet long. When Robert Curzon visited this convent, he had to climb up much in the same way as boys used to climb up inside chimneys. The convent stands about 400 feet from the top of the shaft, and is built of small square stones of Roman workmanship; the necessary repairs have, however, been made with mud or sundried brick. The outer walls of the enclosure form a square which measures about 200 feet each way; they are 20 feet high, and are perfectly unadorned. Tradition says that it
was founded by the Empress Helena,* and there is in this case no reason to doubt it. The church "is partly subterranean, being built in the recesses of an ancient stone quarry; the other parts of it are of stone plastered over. The roof is flat and is formed of horizontal beams of palm trees, upon which a terrace of reeds and earth is laid. The height of the interior is about 25 feet. On entering the door we had to descend a flight of narrow steps, which led into a side aisle about ten feet wide, which is divided from the nave by octagon columns of great thickness supporting the walls of a sort of clerestory. The columns were surmounted by heavy square plinths almost in the Egyptian style. I consider this church to be interesting from its being half a catacomb, or cave, and one of the earliest Christian buildings which has preserved its originality..... it will be seen that it is constructed on the principle of a Latin basilica, as the buildings of the Empress Helena usually were." (Curzon, Monasteries of the Levant, p. 109.) In Curzon's time the convent possessed fifteen Coptic books with Arabic translations, and eight Arabic MSS. As the monks were, and are, extremely poor, they used to descend the rock and swim out to any passing boat to beg for charity; the Patriarch has forbidden this practice, but it is not entirely discontinued.
Abû Salih identifies Gebel al-Kaff, i.e., the Mountain of the Palm of the Hand,' with Gebel at-Têr, and records an interesting tradition concerning our Lord. According to this writer there is at this place the mark of the palm of His hand (hence the name) on the rock in the mountain out of which the church is hewn. The mountain is said to have bowed down in worship before Him, and He grasped the mountain as it worshipped, and set it back in its place, and the mark of His palm remains impressed upon it until
Died about A.D. 328, aged 80. (Sozomen, Eccles. Hist., II., 2.)
this day. In the impression of the hand there is a small hole, large enough to admit a stibium needle, and if the needle be inserted and drawn out, it brings with it a black powder, the mark of which cannot be effaced.
Two or three miles from the convent are some ancient quarries having rock bas-reliefs representing Rameses III making an offering to the crocodile god Sebek before Amen-Rā.
Minyah, or Minyà, 153 miles from Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile, is the capital of the province of the same name; its Arabic name is derived from the Coptic Mone, elone, which in turn represents the Egyptian
in its old name Khufu-menāt
mmo ♡ i.e., the Nurse of Khusu.'
There is a large sugar factory here, in which about 2,000 men are employed. A few miles to the south of Minyâ are a number of tombs which were excavated by Mr. George Fraser in 1893 ; they are near the ancient site now called Tahna al-Gabal. These tombs are maşłabus cut in the solid rock. In all the undisturbed burials Mr. Fraser found that the body was placed with the head to the north ; it lay on its left side, with the face to the east, the knees drawn up, and the arms straight, and a dome of stones and mud was built over each body. In one of the tombs the cartouches of Userkaf and Men-kau-Rá were found. In 1903 MM. G. Lefebure and Barry excavated the temple of Tahna which was, apparently, built in the reign of Nero, whose cartouches are found here in the following forms:
The hypostyle hall contained eight columns, and was built close to the mountain, and was approached by a ramp; in each wall was a door. The sanctuary consisted of four chambers hewn out of the rock; in the first was a rectangular well, or pit, which contained a black granite figure of Sekhet, and in the fourth was an altar. The hypostyle hall is 20 metres long, and 11 metres wide; the sanctuary, or speos, which is probably an ancient tomb, is about 28 metres long The ramp was 25 metres long and 7 metres wide, and had a row of statues on each side of it; half way up was a terrace 1 metres long, which extended to the right and left of the ramp. A few miles south, on the eastern side of the river, is the village of Zawiyet alMétin, near which are the remains of some tombs of the VIth dynasty. They appear to be the tombs of the nobles of the city of Hebenu U8, the capital of the XVIth nome of Upper Egypt.
Beni-Hasân, 167 miles from Cairo, on the east bank of the Nile, is remarkable for the large collection of fine historical tombs which are situated at a short distance from the site of the villages known by this name. The villages of the Children of asân' were destroyed by order of Muhammad 'Ali, on account of the thievish propensities of their inhabitants. The Speos Artemidos is the first rock excavation visited here. It was built by Queen Hātshepset and her nephew Thothmes III. ; about 250 years later Seti I. added his name to several of the half obliterated cartouches of Queen Ḥātshepset, but it seems never to have been finished. The cavern was dedicated to the lioness-headed goddess Pakheth
who called Artemis by the Greeks ; hence the name “cavern of Artemis.' The Arabs call the cavern the 'Stable of 'Anțar,' a famous Muḥammadan hero. The portico had originally two rows of columns, four in each; the cavern