« PreviousContinue »
one who did little towards making history; that he was a pious man who worshipped the gods of his country diligently, is attested by the sacrificial scenes on the East Wall, and the prayers on the ceiling.
4. The Tomb of Sebek-nekht, a comparatively small tomb, is of considerable interest, because it belongs either to the period of the XIIIth dynasty or a little later. The scenes and inscriptions are characteristic of this period, and illustrate the manners and customs of the time rather than the performance of the religious ceremonies which were depicted on the walls of the tombs of a later date.
Close to Al-Kâb, on the opposite side of the river, is Kôm al-Aħmar, which marks the site of the ancient Hierakonpolis ; here Mr. Quibbell found the life-size statue in bronze of Pepi I., and the green slate shield, in the circular hollow of which was set the symbol of some god, which belongs to the reign of Nārmer.
Adfû, Edfû, or Udfû, 5151 miles from Cairo, on the west bank of the river, was called in Egyptian Behuțet, and in Coptic & BTW; it was called by the Greeks Apollinopolis Magna, where the crocodile and its worshippers were detested. The Temple of Edfù, for which alone both the ancient and modern towns were famous, occupied 180 years three months and fourteen days in building, that is to say, it was begun during the reign of Ptolemy III. Euergetes I., B.C. 237, and finished B.C. 57. It resembles that of Denderah in many respects, but its complete condition marks it out as one of the most remarkable buildings in Egypt, and its splendid towers, about 112 feet high, make its general magnificence very striking. The space enclosed by the walls measures 450 X 120 feet; the front of the propylon from side to side measures about 252
feet. Passing through the door the visitor enters a court, around three sides of which runs a gallery supported on thirty-two pillars. The first and second halls, A, B, have eighteen and twelve pillars respectively; passing through chambers C and D, the shrine E is reached, where stood a granite naos in which a figure of Horus, to whom the temple is dedicated, was preserved. This naos was made by Nectanebus I., a king of the XXXth dynasty, B.C. 378. The pylons are covered with battle scenes, and the walls are inscribed with the names and sizes of the various chambers in the building, lists of names of places, etc.; the name of the architect, I-em-ḥetep, or Imouthis, has also been inscribed. From the south side of the pylons, and from a small chamber on each side of the chamber C, staircases ascended to the roof. The credit of clearing out the temple of Edfû belongs to M. Mariette. Little more than thirty-five years ago the mounds of rubbish outside reached to the top of its walls, and certain parts of the roof were entirely covered over with houses and stables. Some two years ago the great wall on the west side of the Edfð Temple collapsed, and there was reason to fear that the whole of the roofing of the temple would fall in likewise. Sir William Garstin took the matter in hand at once, and Lord Cromer secured a grant of £ E.1,500, and Monsieur Barsanti was despatched to rebuild the wall and repair any damage which the building had suffered through its fall. M. Barsanti has completed the work of restoration in a most satisfactory manner, and the whole temple is now stronger than it has been for centuries. A few miles to the south of Edsù, on the east bank, is the village of Radasiyah, after which a temple of Seti I. has been called ; this temple, however, lies at a distance of about 40 miles in a somewhat southeasterly direction from the village.
Hagar (or Gebel) Silsila, 5411 miles from Cairo, on the east and west banks of the river, derives its name probably, not from the Arabic word of like sound meaning "chain,” but from the Coptic xwaxen, meaning "stone
wall”; the place is usually called mom Khennu in hieroglyphic texts. The ancient Egyptians here quarried the greater part of the sandstone used by them in their buildings, and the names of the kings inscribed in the caves here show that these quarries were used from the earliest to the latest periods. The most extensive of these are to be found on the east bank of the river, but those on the west bank contain the interesting tablets of Heru-em-ḥeb, a king of the XVIIIth dynasty, who is represented conquering the Ethiopians, Seti I., Rameses II., his son Menephthaḥ, etc. At Silsila the Nile was worshipped, and the little temple which Rameses II. built in this place seems to have been dedicated chiefly to it. At this point the Nile narrows very much, and it was generally thought that a cataract once existed here; there is, however, no evidence in support of this view, and the true channel of the Nile lies on the other side of the mountain.
Kom Ombos, 556 miles from Cairo, on the east bank of the Nile, was an important place at all periods of Egyptian history; it was called by the Egyptians
1 Per-Sebek, " the temple of Sebek” (the crocodile god), and
M , Nubit, and eeßw by the Copts. The oldest
object here is a sandstone gateway which Thothmes III. dedicated to the god Sebek.
The ruins of the temple and other buildings at Kom Ombos are among the most striking in Egypt, but until the clearance of the site which M. de Morgan made in 1893-94, it was impossible to get an exact idea of their arrangement. It is pretty certain that a temple dedicated to some god must have stood here in the Early Empire, and we know from M. Maspero's discoveries here in 1882, that Amenophis I. and Thothmes III., kings of the XVIIIth dynasty, carried out repairs on the temple which was in existence in their
days; but at the present time no parts of the buildings at Kom Ombos are older than the reigns of the Ptolemies. Thanks to the labours of M. de Morgan, the ruins may be thus classified :—The Mammisi, the Great Temple, and the Chapel of Hathor; and all these buildings were enclosed within a surrounding wall.
The Mammisi, or small temple wherein the festivals of the birth of the gods were celebrated, stood in front of the great temple, to the left; it consisted of a small courtyard, hall of columns, and the shrine. It was built by Ptolemy IX., who is de picted on the walls making offerings to Sebek, Hathor, Thoth, and other deities. The best relief remaining (see de Morgan, kom Ombos, p. 50) is on the north wall, and represents the king on a fowling expedition through marshes much frequented by water
fowl. Plan of the Temple of Kom Ombos. The Great Temple.
The pylon of the great temple has almost entirely disappeared, and only a part of the central pillar and south half remains. A few of the scenes are in good preservation, and represent the Emperor Domitian making offerings to the gods. Passing through the pylon, the visitor entered a large courtyard ; on three sides was a colonnade containing sixteen pillars, and in the
middle was an altar. The large hall of ten columns was next entered, and access was obtained through two doors to another, but smaller hall, of ten columns. The shrines of the gods Sebek and Heru-ur, i.e., "Horus the elder” (Haroëris), to whom the temple was dedicated, were approached through three chambers, each having two doors,
and round the whole of this section of the building ran a corridor, which could be entered through a door on the left into the second hall of columns, and a door on the right in the first chamber beyond. At the sides and ends of the sanctuary are numerous small chambers which were used probably either for the performance of ceremonies in connection with the worship of the gods, or by the priests.