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I. Plan of the Temple of Rameses II. at Abû Simbel.
From Lepsius' Denkmäler, Bd. ii., Bl. 185.
, ļā-ná neke
is a line of hieroglyphics, A ānkh usr neb, “I give to thee all life and strength,” on the right side of which are four figures of Rā, and eight cartouches containing the prenomen of Rameses II., with an uræus on each side; on the left side are four figures of Ámen, vi, and eight cartouches as on the right. The line of boldly cut hieroglyphics below reads, “The living Horus, the mighty bull, beloved of Maāt, king of the North and South, Usr-Maāt-Rá setep en-Rā, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, beloved of Harmachis the great god.”
Over the door is a statue of Harmachis,
and on each Well
side of him is a figure of the king offering .
the four colossi had the name of Rameses II. inscribed upon each shoulder and breast. On the leg of one of these are several interesting Greek inscriptions, which are thought to have been written by troops who marched into Ethiopia in the days of Psammetichus I.
The interior of the temple consists of a large hall, in which are eight columns with large figures of Osiris about 17 feet high upon them, and from which eight chambers open ; a second hall having four square columns; and a third hall, without pillars, from which open three chambers. In the centre chamber are an altar and four seated figures, viz., Harmachis, Rameses II., Amen-Rā, and Ptaḥ; the first two are coloured red, the third blue, and the fourth white. In the sculptures on the walls Rameses is seen offering to Amen-Rā, Sekhet, Harmachis, Amsu, Thoth, and other deities; a list of his children occurs, and many small scenes of considerable importance. The subjects of the larger scenes are, as
was to be expected, representations of the principal events in the victorious battles of the great king, in which he appears putting his foes to death with the weapons which Harmachis has given to him.
The accompanying hieroglyphics describe these scenes with terse accuracy.
One of the most interesting inscriptions at Abu Simbel is that found on a slab, which states that in the fifth year of the reign of Rameses II., his majesty was in the land of Tchah, not far from Kadesh on the Orontes. The outposts kept a sharp look-out, and when the army came to the south of the town of Shabtûn, two of the spies of the Shasu came into the camp and pretended that they had been sent by the chiefs of their tribe to inform Rameses II. that they had forsaken the chief of the Kheta,* and that they wished to make an alliance with his majesty and become vassals of his. They then went on to say that the chief of the Kheta was in the land of Khirebu to the north of Tunep, some distance off, and that they were afraid to come near the Egyptian king. These two men were giving false information, and they had actually been sent by the Kheta chief to find out where Rameses and his army were ; the Kheta chief and his army were at that moment drawn up in
behind Kadesh. Shortly after these men were dismissed, an Egyptian scout came into the king's presence bringing with him two spies from the army of the chief of the Kheta; on being questioned, they informed Rameses that the chief of the Kheta was encamped behind Kadesh, and that he had succeeded in gathering together a multitude of soldiers and chariots from the countries round about. Rameses summoned his officers to his presence, and informed them of the news which he had just heard ; they listened with sur
* The Kheta have, during the last few years, been identified with the Hittites of the Bible ; there is no ground for this identification beyond the slight similarity of the names. The inscriptions upon the sculptures found at Jerâbîs still remain undeciphered,
prise, and insisted that the newly-received information was untrue. Rameses blamed the chiefs of the intelligence department seriously for their neglect of duty, and they admitted their fault. Orders were straightway issued for the Egyptian army to march upon Kadesh, and as they were crossing an arm of the river near that city the hostile forces fell in with each other. When Rameses saw this, he "growled at them like his father Menthu, lord of Thebes." and having hastily put on his full armour, he mounted his chariot and drove into the battle. His onset was so sudden and rapid that before he knew where he was he found himself surrounded by the enemy, and completely isolated from his own troops. He called upon his father Amen-Rā to help him, and then addressed himself to a slaughter of all those that came in his way, and his prowess was so great that the enemy fell in heaps, one over the other, into the waters of the Orontes. He was quite alone, and not one of his soldiers or horsemen came near him to help hin. It was only with great difficulty he succeeded in cutting his way through the ranks of the enemy. At the end of the inscription he says, “Every thing that my majesty has 'stater, that did I in the presence of my soldiers and horsemen.” This event in the battle of the Egyptians against the Kheta was made the subject of an interesting poem by Pen-ta-urt; this composition was considered worthy to be inscribed upon papyri, and upon the walls of the temples which Rameses built.
A little to the south of the Great Temple is a small building of the same date, which was used in connexion with the services, and on the walls of which are some interesting scenes. It was re-opened some years ago by Mr. McCallum, Miss Amelia B. Edwards and party.
In 1892, at the instance of Sir W. Willcocks, Capt. J. H. L'E. Johnstone, R.E., and a detachment of soldiers arrived at Aba Simbel with a view of carrying out certain repairs to the face and side of the great rock temple. They began by clearing away several enormous masses of overhanging rock which, had they fallen in, must have inflicted very great damage on the colossal statues below; and having broken them into smaller pieces, Captain Johnstone used them for building two walls at the head of the valley to prevent the drift sand from burying the temple again, and for making a hard, stone slope. The cynocephali which form the ornament of the cornice were carefully repaired and strengthened, and the original rock was in many places built up with stone and cement. The whole of the sand and broken stones which had become piled up in front of the entrance to the small chamber re-opened by Mr. McCallum some years before was cleared away, and any dangerous break in the rock was carefully repaired. All lovers of Egypt will rejoice at the excellent way in which Captain Johnstone has performed his difficult task, and we may now hope that it will not be long before the repairs which are urgently needed by temples and other buildings in other parts of Egypt are undertaken by the able officers of the Royal Engineers.
On the east bank of the Nile, 802 miles from Cairo, the town of Wâdi Halfa, with its new suburb Tawfikiya, marks the site of a part of the district called so Buhen in the hieroglyphic inscriptions, where, as at Dêrr and Ibrîm, the god Harmachis was worshipped. On the plain to the east of the town some interesting flint
weapons have been found, and a few miles distant are the fossil remains of a forest. On the western bank of the river, a little further south, are the remains of a temple which was built by Thothmes II and restored by Thothmes III. It was repaired and added to by later kings of Egypt, but it seems to have fallen into disuse soon after the Romans gained possession of Egypt. It was first excavated by Colonel (now Sir) C. Holled-Smith in 1886–7; it was