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on the banks of the Nile. Luxor is Karnak on a smaller scale, though big enough in all conscience, and it is not all excavated yet. Débris had covered this temple to the very top, and it is not so long ago that a village was built on a level with the capitals of these columns. When M. Maspero, in 1883, began his work of excavation, the natives naturally protested against the uncovering of the “heathen” ruins at the expense of their mud huts. The work went on, however, and to-day a large part of the magnificent architecture stands revealed, once more reflecting its columns in the Nile.
There is still a quantity of débris to be removed. One end of the Temple is full of it, and may remain so a good while. On top of this mass, some five hundred years ago, a Mohammedan mosque was built by the descendants of a saint named Abu Haggag, and sufficient of his family are left to this day to hold that mosque intact against all would-be excavators. However, the mosque itself begins to look pretty old. If the diggers keep encroaching, it may slide off into the Temple some day, saints and all.
Luxor, as a whole, is better preserved than Karnak. I suppose the heaped-up débris kept the columns in position during the last ten or a dozen centuries. I wish it had been there when the early Christian came along. Cambyses of Persia, who burned everything that would burn in Egypt, about 527 B.C., blackened the walls of this temple with fire, the marks of which show to this day, but he was nothing to the followers of Queen Helena. Even the guide-book, which is likely to be conservative in any comment that may THE TEMPLE OF LUXOR ... ONCE MORE REFLECTING ITS COLUMNS IN THE NILE
touch upon the faith of its readers, says concerning the followers of Helena: "Not content with turning certain sections of it into churches, the more fanatical among them smashed statues, and disfigured basreliefs and wrecked shrines with characteristic savage and ignorant zeal.” 1
There ought to be a painting or a marble group somewhere entitled “Early Christian at Work”-a lean-faced, stringy-haired maniac with sledge, murdering a symbolized figure of Defenceless Art in the Far East. The early Christian is said to have destroyed forty-five thousand statues in Thebes in one
Still, those statues may not matter so much—they were probably all of Rameses the Great, and there are enough of him left. The Luxor Temple had them in all sizes, and of all materials, from granite to alabaster. Also some of “Mrs. Rameses," as Gaddis called her—no particular Mrs. Rameses--there having been several of her; just a sort of generic type of connubial happiness, I suppose. Mrs. Rameses, by the way, does not cut much figure in the statuary. She usually comes only about to the knee of the King, though she is life-size even then, for his own statues are colossal, ranging anywhere from fifteen to fifty feet high. That was to represent their difference in importance, of course, an idea which the women members of our party seemed to disapprove.?
One of the statues of Rameses was found in a
1 Cook's Egypt, page 562.
? At Abou Simbel there are sitting statues of Rameses the Great which, if standing erect, would be eighty-three feet tall.
curious manner. A guide only a little while ago was lecturing to a party of tourists, while a young lady not far away was sketching a corner of the ruin. The sketcher stopped to listen to the guide's talk, and when he had finished said to the boy who was keeping the flies from her:
“Go up on that heap of rubbish and see what that stone is.”
It was the rubbish that slopes down from the old mosque. The boy climbed up, pulled away the trash, and uncovered the head of one of the most perfect Rameseses yet discovered.
Originally the Temple of Luxor was five hundred feet long, one hundred and eighty feet wide, and, as before mentioned, was connected with Karnak by a double row of ram-headed sphinxes. Amenophis III. built it about 1500 B.C., and it was regarded as the most beautiful of Egyptian temples. Then came his son, Amenophis IV., who, being a sun-worshipper after the manner of his Mesopotamian mother, cut away the name of the Egyptian god Amen and set up a new worship here. It was a brief innovation. The priests made it too hot for the Heretic King. He gave up the struggle after a time, went into the desert farther down the Nile, and built there a city and temples of his own. Then this temple was sacred to the old religion again. It remained so until Alexander came, cut his name here and there, and probably worshipped his own assortment of gods. Later came the Roman and the early Christian; still later the Mohammedan established ceremonies and reconstructed shrines.