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“the Lake was not artificially made, as supposed by Herodotus, but was brought under control by the works of man." In the face of such definite statements by so eminent an authority as Major Brown it is clear that we must give up our old belief in the existence of an artificial Lake Moeris, and believe that Herodotus mistook the flooded Fayyûm, or the Great Canal, the Baḥr Yûsuf, for a lake and believed the roads which intersected the basins to be its containing walls. This is, of course, quite possible, for Herodotus had no great experience of Egypt when the Nile was in food, and he may easily have been misled by natives, who plied him with stories the exact importance of which they did not themselves fully understand. In any case, the Fayyûm can never, according to Major Brown's facts, have contained a Lake Moeris with the depth and area which Herodotus declares the “lake” he described to have had. It seems also that we must give up our belief in the existence of the Labyrinth, and Prof. Maspero has shown that it was nothing more than a town full of small houses which were inhabited by the workmen who .built the pyramids in the neighbourhood.
The views as to the site of Lake Moeris which have been generally accepted during the past forty years are derived from the well-known work which Linant de Bellefonds published on the subject in 1872. Archæologists and scholars in general, knowing nothing of irrigation engineering, could only accept what was set before them by a professional engineer who wrote in good faith, especially as not one in a hundred who wrote about Egypt had ever seen the Fayyûm. In 1892 Major R. H. Brown, R.E., published a work on the “Fayum and Lake Moeris," and in this he submitted Linant's views to a strict examination, and showed that his theory was untenable. It is unnecessary here to give the details, but, speaking generally, “Linant maintained that Lake Moeris occupied the gap in the hills by which the
Baḥr Yûsuf enters the Fayûm, (sic) and covered the so-called
plateau' on the south-east of Medineh, the encircling bank commencing at its north-east end at Edwah, and being continued through El-Alam, Biahmu, Zowyet-el-Karatsah, to Medineh.” Thus, as Major Brown notes, "the Linant Lake covers the richest land in the Fayûm," and, “the remainder of the best land round the margins and for a considerable distance from the Linant Lake banks would have been probably ruined by infiltration. The perimeter of Linant's Lake is 96 kilometres (60 miles). Its correct area is 257,800,000 square metres, though Linant gave the area at 405,479,000 square metres. Herodotus made the circuit of Lake Moeris to be 450 miles or 720 kilometres, but Linant only gave his lake a circuit of uo kilometres; its depth according to Herodotus was 92 metres, but according to Linant it was only 9.60 metres. According to actual levels the greatest depth would be 18,60 metres ! Major Brown next goes on to shew that Linant's data are erroneous, and in his hands the theory falls to pieces.
The Pyramid of Hawara was the tomb of Amen-em-hat III. ; it is built of sun-dried bricks, and even now is of considerable size. It was entered in 1890 on the south side by Prof. Petrie, who discovered the mummy chamber ; the remains of what must have been the funerary temple were also found near the entrance. The Pyramid of Al-lâhûn was entered by Mr. W. Fraser, who found it to be the tomb of Usertsen II. ; like the Pyramid of Hawâra it is built of sun-dried bricks. The Labyrinth stood on the banks of Lake Moeris, and some have identified the ruins of the funerary temple of Àmen-em-ḥāt with it. Strabo (xvii. 1. $ 37) declared that the tomb of the king who built the Labyrinth was near it, and describes it thus : "After proceeding beyond the first entrance of the canal about 30 or 40 stadia, there is a table-shaped plain, with a village and a large palace composed of as many palaces as
there were formerly nomes. There are an equal number of aulæ, surrounded by pillars, and contiguous to one another, all in one line, and forming one building, like a long wall having the aulæ in front of it. The entrances into the aulæ are opposite to the wall. In front of the entrances there are long and numerous covered ways, with winding passages communicating with each other, so that no stranger could find his way into the aulæ or out of them without a guide. The surprising circumstance is that the roofs of these dwellings consist of a single stone each, and that the covered ways through their whole range were roofed in the same manner with single slabs of stone of extraordinary size, without the intermixture of timber or of any other material. On ascending the roof--which is not of great height, for it consists only of a single story—there may be seen a stone-field, thus composed of stones. Descending again and looking into the aulæ, these may be seen in a line supported by 27 pillars, each consisting of a single stone.
The walls also are constructed of stones not inferior in size to them. At the end of this building, which occupies more than a stadium, is the tomb, which is a quadrangular pyramid, each side of which is about four plethra (i.e., about 404 feet) in length, and of equal height. The name of the person buried there is Imandes (Diodorus gives Mendes or Marrus). They built, it is said, this number of aulæ, because it was the custom for all the nomes to assemble there according to their rank, with their own priests and priestesses, for the purpose of performing sacrifices and making offerings to the gods, and of administering justice in matters of great importance. Each of the nomes was conducted to the aula appointed
The account given by Herodotus (II., 148, Cary's translation) is as follows :
" Yet the labyrinth surpasses even the pyramids. For it
has twelve courts enclosed with walls, with doors opposite each other, six facing the north, and six the south, contiguous to one another ; and the same exterior wall encloses them. It contains two kinds of rooms, some under ground and some above ground over them, to the number of three thousand, fifteen hundred of each. The rooms above ground, I myself went through, and saw, and relate from personal inspection. But the underground rooms I only know from report; for the Egyptians who have charge of the building would, on no account, show me them, saying, that there were the sepulchres of the kings who originally built this labyrinth, and of the sacred crocodiles. I can therefore only relate what I have learnt by hearsay concerning the lower rooms; but the upper ones, which surpass all human works, I myself saw ; for the passages through the corridors, and the windings through the courts, from their great variety, presented a thousand occasions of wonder, as I passed from a court to the rooms, and from the rooms to halls, and to other corridors from the halls, and to other courts from the rooms. The roofs of all these are of stone, as also are the walls ; but the walls are full of sculptured figures. Each court is surrounded with a colonnade of white stone, closely fitted. And adjoining the extremity of the labyrinth is a pyramid, forty orgy (about 240 feet) in height, on which large figures are carved, and a way to it has been made under ground."
The whole district of the Fayyûm is one of considerable interest, and a careful examination of it would certainly result in the discovery of ruins now unknown. In recent years Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt have carried on excavations here with success, nd they have recovered portions of the works of Greek authors of great value.
Beni Suwêf, 73 miles from Cairo, is the capital of the province bearing the same name, and is governed by a Mudir. In ancient days it was famous for its textile fabrics,
Egyptians de la
and supplied Akmím and other weaving cities of Upper Egypt with flax. A main road led from this town to the Fayyûm.
About twelve miles to the north of Beni Suwêf the Bahr Yûsuf bends towards the east, and runs by the side of large mounds of ruins of houses, broken pottery, etc.; these mounds cover an area of 360 acres, and are commonly called Umm al-Ķûmân, or ‘Mother of Heaps, though the official name is Hanassiyah al-Madina or Ahnás. They mark the site of the great city which was called by the
Het-Suten-henen, Henen-suten simply, from which the Copts made their name NHC; the Greeks made the city the capital of the nome Herakleopolites, and called it Herakleopolis. No date can be assigned for the founding of the city, but it was certainly a famous place in the early empire, and in mythological texts great importance is ascribed to it. According to Manetho the kings of the IXth and Xth dynasties were Herakleopolitans, but in the excavations which Prof. Naville and Prof. Petrie (1904) carried at Hanassiyah, or Ahnâs, they found nothing there older than the XIIth dynasty. It has been maintained that Ahnâs represents the city of Hânês mentioned in Isaiah xxx. 4, but the city referred to by the prophet being coupled with Zoan was probably situated in the Delta. The gods worshipped by the Egyptians at Herakleopolis were Heru-shef, or Heru-shefit, who dwelt in the shrine of An-rut-f, Shu, Beb, Osiris, and Sekhet; at this place Osiris was first crowned, and Horus assumed the rank and dignity of his father, and the sky was separated from the earth, and from here Sekhet set out on her journey to destroy mankind because they had rebelled against Rā, the Sungod, who, they declared, had become old and incapable of ruling them rightly. The people of Herakleopolis used