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The little inner shrine which stands in the sanctuary is said to have survived from the pre-Ptolemaic temple on this same spot.
The wealth of picture-writing as usual defies any but the energetic student. It relates, as always, to the service of the gods of Edfû by an array of later monarchs, who are represented as zealously doing all things needful to salvation, under the approving eyes of the deities of the place. Not the least interesting by any means are those which are to be seen on the outside of the temple wall in the narrow open corridor that intervenes between the main building and the encircling outer structure. In these Horus and the Pharaoh are struggling with enemies of Egypt, typified as hippopotami, who are having a sad time of it; for Horus is a mighty hunter and knows well how to wield both javelin and net.
I did not ascend the main pylon because of the heat and fatigue of the day; but those who did gave glowing accounts of the view to be had from those lofty eminences, not only over the temple below, but the Valley of the Nile. Most of us were amply content with the inspection of the vast and splendidly preserved building, as trim and fit as if it had not stood for two millenniums on this quiet spot, and apparently quite unharmed by its long submersion in the débris of centuries. Edfd, like Esneh and Den
dera, had to be dug out of an appalling mass of earth and rubbish, and the piles of dirt that still surround the temple are evidence of the magnitude of the task, looking like sizable hills.
I can readily credit the statement that there is no better preserved old building in the world than this temple of Horus. It is magnificent in every way, imposing in size, grandly designed, and successfully carried out to the last detail. It has every appearance of being able to stand forever -and I for one hope it will, as a monument to the Eternal, under whatever name!
March 11. We have arrived at Assuan at last in the midst of a hot and sultry afternoon. It is the atmosphere of midsummer, and the breeze comes from the Sahara. Nobody has much ambition to tempt the fates by exploring anything to-day, and owing to the low water we are anchored a mile or so below the town.
By dint of a very early start we were enabled to see the temple of Kom Ombo in great comfort before the heat began to be oppressive. It was a beautiful temple, different from any we have yet seen, and likewise admirably executed, although far less perfect in its present state than the temple at Edfů.
It was hardly five minutes' walk distant from the
landing, but the way was beset by the worst array of pathetic cripples and blind beggars I have ever beheld. They wrung our hearts by their appearance and their pitiful pleading - poor scrofulous boys and sightless girls. It took all the humor out of the Pro fessor's stock joke about the twin gods of Egypt being “Psoriasis and Scrofula.” They dogged our footsteps all along the bank through plantations of castor-oil plant. But from the temple itself they were held aloof by the custodian, and once within, we were spared the heartrending sight of their deformity.
The great temple of Kom Ombo has this peculiarity, that it is virtually two temples in one, sacred both to the gods of good and the gods of evil. I suspect a slight analogy to the custom of some of our own Indians, who are said to pray, not to the good god, but to the bad god, when it is a question of escaping from evil, on the theory that the good god needs no supplication, while the bad one most emphatically does.
By a parity of reasoning, no doubt, we all voted the bad god the more interesting deity of the place. His representations, with the grotesque head of the crocodile, or hippopotamus, were vastly more diverting than those of the more familiar Hathor, or Horus, or Thoth.
In plan the temple of Kom Ombo is like all the