« PreviousContinue »
who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and harkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, have me away for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had ; and they brought him to Jerusalem and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And again in chap. 36.
Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem. Jehoabaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And the King of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold. And the King of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his broş ther and carried him into Egypt.'
These passages prove the power and the conquests of Necho; and in turning to Herodotus we shall find a wonderful agreement with many of the particulars. 'Now Necos was the son of Psammeticus, and reigned over Egypt; it was he who began the canals, &c. and he employed himself in warlike pursuits, building galleys, both on the Mediterranean and on the Red Sea, the traces of his dock-yards still existing; and these he used when he had occasion for them. And Necos joined battle with the Syrians in Magdolus, and conquered them, and after the battle he took Cadytis a large city of Syria. And having reigned in the whole sixteen years, he died, and left the throne to his son PSAMMIS. Cadytis is again mentioned by Herodotus in the third book, as ' belonging to the Syrians of Palestine,' and ' as a city not less than Sardes; so that there is little doubt it meant Jerusalem, which was sometimes called Kadesh, or the Holy.
Enraptured at the discovery of this magnificent sepulchre, Mr. Belzoni determined not to leave Egypt until he had taken models in wax of every thing within the apartments, and fac similes of all the sculptures and paintings on the walls: this he effected by the assistance of an Italian artist of the name of Ricci, after an unremitted application of more than twelve months. Of the labour some conception may be formed when we state that the number of figures as large as life amounted to 182; and those of a smaller size, from one to three feet, to 800; and that the hieroglyphics, which were about 500, were all of them repeated four times in as many different sizes. These impressions and drawings, together with the
ground plan of the tomb, Mr. Belzoni has brought to England, and intends, if sufficient encouragement be given to him, which we cannot doubt, to arrange the whole in their proper places, and, in short, to construct an exact model of the tomb of Psammethis.' The alabaster sarcophagus was brought away, with some of the images and paintings on stucco, which peeled off from the walls the admission of damp. They are intended for the British Museum, and had long since reached Alexandria in safety.
We pass over the operations of Mr. Belzuni in bringing away one of the granite obelisks of Philæ, about 25 feet in length. He handles,' says Burckhardt, masses of this kind with as much facility as others handle pebbles; and the Egyptians who see him a giant in figure, for he is six feet and a half high, believe him to be a sorcerer.' It was the ease with which he contrived to move these large masses, that induced him to suggest the practicability of removing the fallen obelisk at Alexandria, well known to travellers as one of the needles of Cleopatra. Through the medium of Mr. Briggs, whose liberality in assisting to procure works of ancient. art is above all praise, the Pasha of Egypt has presented this obe lisk to his Majesty; and we trust that, ere long, we shall see it erected in the centre of Waterloo Place, as an appropriate troplige to commemorate and perpetuate the glorious struggle which humbled the pride, and defeated the projects of the French army in Egypt.
Our traveller's next operation was to open the second pyramid of Ghizeh, of which we have already given a pretty detailed account (No. XXXVII.) This we conceive to have been the most arduous and enterprizing of all his undertakings. With incredible labour, and, we must say, with no small degree of fortitude, he succeeded in penetrating into the very heart of this structure. It was here, in the central chamber, that he discovered the granite sarcophagus, which contained the bones that had been deemed human, until examined in London, when they were found to be those of a cowMr. Belzoni, indeed, will have them to belong to an animal of the masculine gender ; and is not a little indignant at some consequential persons,' who, he says, ' would not scruple to sacrifice a point in history rather than lose a bon mot ;' and who thought ihemselves mighty clever in baptizing the said bones those of a cow, merely to raise a joke.' Who these consequential persons may be, we pretend not to divine; we are ready however to plead guilty to so much dulviess as not to be able to discover either the joke or the bon mot which has excited our traveller's ire. In mentioning the cow, nothing more was probably intended than to designate the genus of the animal, without regard to the gender. If the allusion be meant to apply to us, we can assure lıim that this was our case.
Mr. Belzoni has certainly more reason to be angry with Count Forbin. This gentleman, during his month's residence in Egypt, made no discoveries, no observations, no drawings; but fled from Thebes, as we had occasion to mention ou his own authority, at the appalling spectacle of an English waiting-maid in a rose-coloured spencer! Count Forbin purchased some statues from Mr. Belzoni, and was also supplied by him with a copy of the plan of the second pyramid, which he had just succeeded in opening. On the return of the Director-General of Museums, to France, instead of candidly acknowledging from whom he procured these articles together with much information on various subjects, he inserted the following paragraph in one of the journals of that country:
• On the 24th of April, Mr. Le Comte de Forbin, Director General of the Royal Museum of France, landed at the lazaretto of Marseilles. He came last from Alexandria, and his passage was very stormy. He has visited Greece, Syria, and Upper Egypt. By a happy chance, some days before his departure from Cairo, he succeeded in penetrating into the second pyramid of Ghizeh. Mr. Forbin brings the plan of that important discovery, as well as much information on the labours of Mr. Drouetti, at Carnak, and on those which Mr. Salt, the English consul, pursues with the greatest success in the valley of Beban el Malook, and in the plain of Medinet Aboo. The Museum of Paris is going to be enriched with some of the spoils of Thebes, which Mr. Forbia has collected in his travels:'-p. 254, 255.
Mr. Belzoni's observation of no hieroglyphics being found, either within or without the pyramids, or on the sides of their long corridors or passages, or
on the walls of the chambers, or on the sarcophagi, strongly corroborates the opinion of those who hold that these massy fabrics were constructed antecedently to hieroglyphic, and probably to any other species of writing. Though we give little credit to the existence of that external coating of the two great pyramids, on which Abdallatif affirms he saw as much hieroglyphical writing as would cover 10,000 volumes, yet we see no reason to doubt that some kind of casing was occasionally employed. Our traveller maintains that the first or largest pyramid never had any; the second, he says, has an external coating a little way from the top, but none below; towards the base of the third, he found ' a considerable accumulation of enormous blocks of
granite, which had evidently formed the coating ;' a part of which (close to the base) still remained in its place. But on this subject we beg leave to refer the reader to an Article in our XXXVIIIth Nunber, on the Antiquities of Egypt.'
The blocks of stone bearing hieroglyphics and figures, which are found reversed on the walls of the contiguous mausoleums, undoubtedly prove that these last are of much more recent date than
the dilapidated structures, from the materials of which they have been built; and probably also, that the builders were ignorant of hieroglyphics; but no evideuce has yet been produced that these sculptured stones ever forined any part of the pyramids. Ages, indeed, may have passed away, generation on generation may have perished, and large and populous cities disappeared, between the building of the pyramids, and the surrounding cemeteries. Mr. Belzoni, however, appears to think that no inference can be drawn as to the antiquity of the pyramids from their having 110 hieroglyphics. It may be so; but we cannot help surmising that, if at the time of the erection of these extraordinary monuments, the art of writing had been known, some record of their founder or of their design, would have had its appropriate place on some part of the gigantic structure.
We consider another opinion of his entitled to more consideralion,—that which assigns the position of the true Memnonium to
spot immediately behind the two Colossal statues on the plain and between the ruined temple usually called the Memnonium, and Medinet Aboo. We never could persuade ourselves that these huge statues should have been seated on a plain, entirely insulated and unconnected with some sacred edifice. The magnificent ruins of such an edifice bave actually been discovered. Close to these statues, Mr. Salt caused the ground to be excavated, when the pedestals of immense columns, worthy of the gigantic Memnon, ipade their appearance, together with many colossal fragments of breccia and other calcareous stone, of lion-headed statues, and every indication of the ground behind the two sitting figures having been the site of a most glorious temple. Mr. Belzoni dug near the same spot, and discovered the fragments of an immense statue, resembling in all points the great colossus of Memnon, with the same hieroglyphics on the side of its chair which are to be seen on the chair of Memnon—we mean of that colossal figure on whose leg the ancients have recorded their visits in Greek and Latin, and which none but the savans of the Institute ever doubted to be the real Memnon. He also discovered between the two colossal statues, and what he considers to be the portico of the ancient temple, another enormous colossus thrown down and buried, all but the back of its chair. Among the columns of the portico were found a multitude of fragments of colossal statues of granite, breccia, and plain calcareous stone, and so many remains of standing and sitting lion-headed statues of smaller dimensions, that, says he, “I can boldly state, that these ruins appear to me to have belonged to the most magnificent temple of any on the west side of Thebes. The want of funds, and above all, the fear of poaching on Mr. Salt's manor (for Drovetti and he, it seems, have partitioned
the whole country around Thebes between them) prevented Mr. Belzoni from prosecuting bis researches in this quarter. But he strongly recommends it to the particular attention of the future antiquarian traveller, as a spot which would amply repay the labour of digging the ground.
The researches of our traveller were abruptly terminated by an attempt on his life on the part of the agents, as he supposes, of M. Drovetti ; who, of course, denies it : but we cannot forbear observing that, however this gentleman may stand acquitted of abetting the renegadoes in his employ, in so atrocious an act, he was on the spot at the time, and instead of facilitating, appears to have done all in his power to suppress inquiry, and to obstruct the course of justice. In spite, however, of every obstruction, Mr. Belzoni's collection of antiquities is far superior to that of his rancorous and jealous rival; and would bave been still more so, had he been per mitted to remain longer in Egypt, with any prospect of persona safety. A conviction to the contrary hastened his departure.
Previously, however, to his quitting the country, he made two journies not wholly devoid of interest—these we have also slightl mentioned in a former Number. The one was to the borders of the Red sea in search of the ruins of ancient Berenice, the empor rium of Indian commerce with Egypt—the other to Elloah (el Wah—the little Oasis) to examine the temple of Jupiter Ammon, supposed to have stood in that neighbourhood; and the remains of which are still extant. Mr. Beechy accompanied our traveller in the first expedition. In passing up the Nile, they witnessed one of those dreadful calamities, to which the natives of certain districts of Egypt are occasionally subject. The river, in 1818, rose three feet and a half above the highest mark left by the preceding inundation, and with such rapidity that many villages, with their inhabitants, were entirely swept away. “I never saw,' says Mr. Belzoni,' any picture that could give a more correct idea of a deluge than the valley of the Nile in this season.
The cottages, being built of earth, could not stand one instant against the current, and no sooner did the water reach them, than it levelled them with the ground. The rapid stream carried off all that was before it; men, women, children, cattle, coru; every thing was washed away in an instant, and left the place where the village stood without any thing to indicate that there had ever been a house on the spot.' It was one vast ocean, out of which arose numerous islands and many magnificent ruins.
« On our right,' says Belzoni, we had the high rocks and the temples of Gournou, ihe Memnonium, the extensive buildings of Medinet Aboo, and the two Colossal statues which arose out of the water like the light houses on some of the coasts of Europe. On our left, we had the