Page images
PDF
EPUB

valuable monuments of that early period. A little further northward is the small tomb of Yo Heqab, and beyond this is the fine large tomb hewn originally for Sa-Renput, one of the old feudal hereditary governors of Elephantine, but which was appropriated by Nub-kau-Rā-nekht. He was the governor of the district of the cataract, and the general who commanded a lightly-armed body of soldiers called "runners”; he lived during the reign of Usertsen I., the second king of the XIIth dynasty, and his tomb must have been one of the earliest hewn there during that period. Another

[blocks in formation]

interesting tomb is that of Heru-khuf, who was governor of Elephantine, and an inscription from it (now in the Cairo Museum) shows that this official was sent by Pepi II. to bring back a pygmy,

mm 2 enk, from the “Land of the Spirits,” which was near Punt. The king promised Heru-khuf that if he brought back a pygmy alive and well, he would confer upon him a higher rank and dignity than that which King Asså conferred upon his minister Ba-urTertet, who performed the same service about eighty years before.

The following is a list of the principal tombs at Aswân :

and

In this tomb is an interesting scene of the deceased in a boat spearing fish.

No. 1. Tomb of Mekhu and Sabná, $ pe Jaume

No. 2. Tomb of Heq-åb, po

No. 3. Tomb of Sa-renput, Satet-hetep. (No. 31.)

[ocr errors][merged small]

No. 6. Tomb of Khunes (?).
No. 7. Tomb of Khennu-sesu,

[ocr errors]

No. 4. Tomb of Aku, . (No. 32.)
No. 5. Tomb of Khuuả, ***

4.

,
No. 8. Tomb of Heru-Khu-f, 8 o oo.
No. 9. Tomb of Pepi-nekht, (899)
No. 10. Tomb of Sen-mes, Ammo

. á3 Minh

[ocr errors]

No. 11. Tomb of Sa-renput-å,

This tomb is the finest of all the tombs at Aswân. It faces the north, and lies round the bend of the mountain. Before it is a spacious court, which was enclosed by a wall, and the limestone jambs of the door, which were ornamented with reliefs and hieroglyphics, were, until recently, still standing. At the south end of the court was a portico supported by eight rectangular pillars. The first chamber contains four pillars, and leads through a wide corridor to another chamber with two pillars; in this last are two flights of steps which lead to two other chambers, The walls of

the court were without reliefs, but the pillars of the portico were decorated with figures of the deceased and with inscrip tions on each of their sides. The face of the tomb is inscribed with a long text in which the deceased tells how he "filled the heart of the king" (i.e., satisfied him), and enumerates all the work which he did in Nubia on behalf of his lord ; to the left of the doorway is a relief in which Sa-ren put-á is seen in a boat spearing fish (?), and to the right we have a representation of ancestor worship. On the wall of the first chamber inside is a long inscription which fortunately ables

to date the tomb, for it mentions the prenomen Kheper-ka-Rā

[graphic]

en

us

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

a

are

a

Usertsen I., king of the XIIth dynasty; elsewhere Scene from the shrine in the tomb of Sa-renput-a. depicted number of boats, fishing scenes, etc.

The other scenes in the tomb refer to the storage of wheat, jars of wine, etc. When the writer first cleared this tomb for Sir Francis Grenfell in 1886, the shrine, containing a figure of Sa-renput-å, was in situ, and was of considerable interest. In the sand which filled the first chamber almost to the ceiling were found the bodies of two or three Muḥammadans, who appear to have been hastily buried there.

The shaft, which is entered from the right side of the second chamber by means of a flight of steps, was cleared out, and two or more small chambers, lined and barricaded with unbaked bricks, were entered. In the floor of one of these an entrance to a further pit was made, but the air was so foul that candles ceased to burn, and the work had to be abandoned.

Lower down in the hill are the following tomos :

J. Tomb of Sebek-ḥetep

2. Tomb of Khnemu-khenu

[ocr errors]

3. Tomb of Thethả
4. Tomb of Sen f

5. Tomb of Åha 10 ] In 1902 and 1904 Lady William Cecil excavated a large number of the tombs which lie to the south of the Grenfell group, but nothing of importance was found in then. Nearly every tomb had been used by two occupants at least. For an account of the work done see Annales du Service, tom. iv, p. 51 ff; and tom. vi, pp. 273-283.

The Monastery of St. Simon, or Simeon.* On the western bank of the Nile, at about the same height as the southern point of the Island of Elephantine, begins the valley which leads to the monastery called after the name of Saint Simon, or Simeon. It is a large, strong building, half monastery, half fortress, and is said to have been abandoned by its monks in the XIIIth century, but the statement lacks confirmation ; architecturally it is of very considerable interest. It was wholly surrounded by a wall

A plan and full description of this building will be found in J. de Morgan's Catalogue, vol. 1, Vienna, 1894, page 130 ff.

[ocr errors]

from about 19 to 23 feet high, the lower part, which was sunk in the rock, being built of stone, and the upper part of mud brick ; within this wall lay all the monastery buildings. The monks lived in the north tower, in the upper storeys, where there were several cells opening out on each side of a long corridor ; on the ramparts were a number of hiding places for the watchmen, and there are evidences that the building was added to from time to time.

The church consisted of a choir, two sacristies, and a nave, the whole being covered with a vaulted roof, which was supported by columns. In the church are the remains of a fine fresco in the Byzantine style, which formerly contained the figures of Christ and twenty-four saints, etc., and also a picture of Christ enthroned. In a small rock-hewn chapel at the foot of the staircase which leads to the corridor, the walls are ornamented with figures of our Lord's Apostles or Disciples. Every here and there are found inscriptions in Coptic and Arabic. The Coptic texts usually contain prayers to God that He may show mercy upon their writers, who regard the visit to the monastery as a meritorious act; the oldest Arabic inscription states that a certain Mutammar 'Ali visited the monastery in the year A.H. 694, i.e., towards the end of the XIIIth century of our era. About a fifth of a mile to the east of the monastery lay the ancient cemetery, which was cleared out about seventeen years ago; the bodies of the monks had been embalmed after a fashion, but they fell to pieces when touched. M. Clédat made excavations here in 1903-1904, and brought to light some 34 Coptic stelae. If the position of the Copts in Egypt in the XIIIth century be considered, it will be seen to be extremely unlikely that the monastery of St. Simon

flourishing at that time, and it is far more probable that it was deserted many scores of years before. From Abû Şaliḥ, the Armenian, we learn that there were several churches and monasteries at Aswân. Thus he says

« PreviousContinue »