صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ther they were not bold fellows for undertaking what they had done. At times they made such a violent noise. all speaking and bawling at once, that a person not used to Nubian manners would have thought the whole concern was going to the bottom. The boat only struck once, but it gave her a prodigious shock, and made us fully sensible of the hardness of granite rocks. The sailors immediately began to sound the well, expecting that she was bilged, but she did not make much water, and we soon got off. At the commencement of the rapid, and while near Philæ, we observed oyster-shells incrusted on the granite rocks, bordering on the river; some of them were very perfect and large. We reached Assuan (the ancient Syene) in the evening. Mr. Ruppell, a German traveller who was at Thebes with us, discovered on one of the barren and uninhabited islands which compose the fall, a fine tablet of red granite, with a perfect Greek inscription on it, of great interest. This stone Mr. Ruppell takes with him to Frankfort, to be presented to the musuem of that town.

tyep," (good, good,) and asked us whe-3 deep, by 2 broad. As soon as they were finished, the block was separated by some violent blow or concussion. We met in all directions specimens of the progress of their work; some masses were but half detached, others wholly separated; here we saw an obelisk in the rough, and there a column. The whole was a most interesting sight. The ancient road, regularly paved with granite, is still plainly to be seen, though the sand covers a great part: in the vacancies between the hills are causeways, some of considerable length, to connect the elevated parts one with the other, and thus keep a communication open with the several quarries. All these roads lead to two principal ones which conduct to Assuan. We now searched for the column with the inscription, and at last found it. The pillar is small, not being more than 10 ft. in length, by about 3 ft. in diameter; the inscription is tolerably perfect. An Arab, acquainted with Mr. Belzoni, told him of it, and that no traveller had seen it until last year. Mr. Belzoni had copied the writing, we did not think it worth while to do so. Its purport is as follows:"To Jupiter Ammon, Kneephis Bona (the Good Spirit), and to Juno the Queen, under whose protection is this mountain, in which were discovered nine quarries near Philæ, during the happy age of the Roman Empire, under the most pious Emperors, Severus and Caracalla, and

On our arrival at Assuan, we proceeded to visit the ancient granite quarries in the neighbourhood. Our principal object was to examine the column which is there, and which has a Latin inscription upon it of some interest. At first our guide lost his way, and took us to another part of the quarry, where we found an immense granite basin, 17 ft. long, by 7 wide, and 3 deep. It is hewn out in the rough, and is narrower at the bottom than the top. We were at a loss to imagine for what purpose such an immense vessel could be intended, unless for a bath. The whole of this quarry was highly interesting. Here we had an opportunity of noticing the manner in which the ancients used to cut the prodigious masses which one meets with throughout Egypt. It appears, that, when they wanted to detach a mass, they cut niches in a right line throughout the piece they intended removing these niches were about 2 ft. apart, 5 or 6 in. long, and about

[ocr errors]


-, and Julia Domna,

[ocr errors]

his august mother; and a vast number
of statues and large columns were taken
out of these quarries by Aquila, pre-
fect of Egypt. Curæ Magna Opera,'
which Mr. Salt interprets, under
his directions, Aurelius Heliogabalus
ordered this stone to be erected in the
calends of March." The vacant space
before Julia Domna, the mother, is
where the name of "Geta," the other
brother was erased. Caracalla, having
murdered him, ordered his name to be
blotted out of every inscription where
it was inserted.
that there is one instance of this at
Rome, and that he has met another on
an inscription, discovered at the late

Mr. Salt tells us,

excavation of the sphinx. As the inscription says, that the Romans discovered the nine quarries, not that they made them, one must infer that they were first worked by the Egyptians; and as they were so numerous, and of such magnitude, they must have been of great consequence, and are doubtless of the most remote antiquity. It is difficult to understand how the Egyptians could have cut, hollowed out, and polished, such immense blocks of the hardest stone without the use of iron, a metal which they are said to have been wholly ignorant of. The niches above mentioned may probably have been cut with brass. We examined the construction of numerous mummy cases, and boxes containing the sacred emblems of the Egyptians; they were invariably fastened with wooden pegs, no nail of any description being visible. Some of the cases were of beautiful workmanship. Mr. Ruppell has two legs of a chair elegantly worked in the form of a lion's feet and paws. These specimens of cabinet-making bespeak great taste and judgment; and it is difficult to conceive that they could have been carved with brazen tools. The negroes in the South Sea at this day certainly cut hard woods shaped as clubs, and ornament them in the most exquisite style; but I doubt much if they could with their flints make cases and boxes. Syene was the place to which Juvenal was banished by the Emperor Domitian, being sent there with the title of "Governor of the Frontier of Egypt:" he returned to Rome at eighty years of age. Assuan has nothing to interest the traveller; an immense heap of rubbish lies behind the town, which is a dirty, ill-built place.

Wednesday, August 13.-This morning the Aga came to pay us a visit: he was asleep all yesterday, for as the ramadan prevents them from eating and drinking during the day, the great people invert the order of things by sleeping during that time, and sitting up and feasting all night. We complained to him of the treatment we had experienced from our crew. He

told us that they were a notorious set of rascals; that no one would employ their boat, their character being so bad, that people were afraid to trust their goods in their hands. Our friends had not waited to be catechised for their conduct, but took themselves off the day before, after having made great efforts to persuade us to give them some more backsheeish. We visited Elephantina, so glowingly described by Denon. It certainly has a pleasing, flourishing appearance, the north end being richly covered with fine crops of doura; and there are also a few palm trees. The south end of the island is high, and here are situated the ruins of the ancient town, together with the temples, only one of which, dedicated to the serpent Kneephis, is in any degree perfect; it is small, with an ante-chamber and sanctuary. There are the remains of several others, but so mutilated that nothing can be made out. A high quay leads directly down to the Nile at the S. E. end. At eleven o'clock we started on our return, having hired a boat to take us to Thebes for 120 piastres.

Thursday, August 14. - We inspected Koum Ombo, the ancient Ombos. Here are the remains of two temples situated on a promontory of the Nile's eastern bank; the large one, dedicated to the crocodile (as appears by the principal offerings being presented to a deity having the head of that animal), is situated at a short distance from the river, which it fronts. The smaller one, to Isis, is close to the river side; and not far distant from the other, to the S. W., and close to the river side, is a building which appears to be part of an unfinished pylon. There is a whimsical irregularity in this edifice: the base is built of smali blocks of stone, which gradually increase in size till you come to the top, where are the largest masses of all. The large temple consists of a portico of three rows of columns, five in each row: the column at each of the outer angles has fallen. The cornice, only parts of which are perfect, is ornamented with four winged globes.

The frieze consists of a double border of large hieroglyphics. The columns are of great dimensions, and have dissimilar capitals surmounted by a plinth. There are two entrances, one on each side of the centre pillars; this is occasioned by the unusual circumstance of there being an odd number of columns in front these entrances conduct to another ruined apartment, originally supported by ten pillars in two rows of five each; beyond which are three other apartments; the communication from the one to the other is by two large doors, one on either side, instead of a centre one usual in most Egyptian temples. The cornice over the entrance, on the left, from the second to the third apartment, has an inscription in Greek, stating that it was written by direction of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, and that the temple was dedicated to Apollo, &c. The decorations of this edifice are in basso-relievo, highly finished, and in a good style. Amongst the figures, we noticed the lion with the hawk's head, similar to the statues we found at Abou-Simbel-a union we had not elsewhere noticed. The small temple of Isis points to the south; it consists of a small portico of four columns, surmounted by the usual quadruple head of the deity, with the passage in the centre ; and beyond the portico are two chambers and a sanctuary; but all the western side of the temple has fallen into the river, and with it the chief part of the flooring of the chambers, together with a large plain altar of black basalt, which had evidently been in the sanctuary. The want of hieroglyphical inscriptions on this altar is probably the only cause why travellers have not removed it. The ornamental parts of this temple are in no way inferior to those of the larger edifice; we did not, however, notice any representations that we had not before seen. In consequence of the elevation of Koum Ombo, the view is extensive, but the country to the north and east presents nothing but a barren, sandy desert; to the S. E. there is a small portion of land cultivated. Opposite to the temple, in the middle of the Nile, is the large island

of the Mansouria, which is highly cultivated, and a smaller island to the south, the soil of which is also good. Exclusive of the temples, the promontory of Koum Ombo has several Saracenic ruins of both baked and sunburnt brick; and the ruins of the ancient town are marked by the rubbish of the former material.

We visited Djibel Selsilis. This name, which means "mountains of the chain," has been given from a tradition that a chain was here drawn across the river, to prevent the irruption of any hostile parties from above. The principal objects of interest are several small temples hollowed out of the rock, which is of calcareous stone. The northernmost consists of a portico and sanctuary, with three recesses in the latter, containing statues in altorelievo; the walls have been stuccoed and painted, but at present are so much disfigured that little or nothing can be made out. To the southward are two other small temples, each consisting of one single niche or hollow in the rock. The fronts of both have two handsome columns, together with a cornice and frieze, executed with considerable taste. The colouring must have been extremely rich. There are numerous other niches with statues, &c. The quarries near this spot are very extensive; and one large detached block, of considerable height, would seem to be the mass of stone where the chain which secured the river was fastened. site side of the river the quarries are also numerous; the vicinity of the Nile, so favourable for embarking and transporting the stone, was no doubt the principal inducement to the Egyptians to establish these extensive works.

On the oppo

On Friday, August 15, we reached Edfoo, the ancient" Apollinopolis Magna." It is situated in a fertile plain, at a short distance from the western bank of the Nile. The large temple appears to have been one of the most magnificent of any in Egypt; though in beauty it must yield to Tentyra and some few others. It consists of a remarkably high pylon, the exterior

wall of which is sculptured with a large figure on each side, sacrificing a number of human victims; and above these are two rows of figures presenting offerings to Osiris and Isis. The inside of the pylon is decorated similarly; the cornice is imperfect as far as the torus, or astragal moulding, which at present forms the summit of the pylon. Within is a large and magnificent peristyle court, forming an oblong square, with a covered gallery supported by columns on each side; beyond this is the portico of the temple, presenting a front of six pillars, behind which are two other rows, making eighteen pillars in all; those in front have had a wall of intercolumniation reaching up half their height. These pillars appeared to be of very large dimensions, but on measuring them we found the upper part of the shaft to be only 6 feet 4 inches in diameter, while those at Carnack are 11 feet 6 inches at the base of the column. This portico is filled with rubbish more than two-thirds up to the roof. The frieze in front of the portico is ornamented with a row of standing figures of monkeys, in basso-relievo, and the architraves within have rows of figures of Isis sitting on a chair. The chambers of the temple are inaccessible, as the rubbish which fills the portico blocks up the door. The whole of the large peristyle court, and the top of the portico, and other parts of the temple, are covered with the mud-built huts of the modern town of Edfoo. The temple is surrounded by a wall, about 8 feet thick, which is continued in a line from the outer part of the gallery of the peristyle, leaving a passage between the sides of the temple and the wall. The exterior of the edifice, and both sides of the wall, are ornamented with offerings and hieroglyphics; we remarked nothing novel in the symbolic representations, excepting the horse, an animal we had not before seen in this character. The ruins of the ancient Apollinopolis Magna are high, but not extensive. The paltry modern town of Edfoo presents a striking contrast to the magnificence of the ancient buildings; seen from the top of the

lofty pylon, the huts at its foot, and in the peristyle court, do not look like human dwellings. You here enjoy a fine view of the river, and an extensive fertile plain. To the S. W. of the great temple there is a smaller one, which is nearly buried. An interesting discovery was made a few weeks ago near this place. A Frenchman, named Cailliaud, who understands mineralogy, has lately been employed by the pasha to examine the Mockatem and Lybian chain in search of coal mines. His last trip was to inspect the ancient emerald mines, which are south of Cossur, at five hours' journey from the Red Sea. On his way from the point opposite to Edfoo, where he quitted the Nile, he crossed a road at two days' journey from that place, which appears to be the ancient Egyptian road from Koptos to Berenice; and he also found there the ruins of a temple. The road is paved with granite, and in some places is cut or hollowed out of the solid rock. He observed several tablets, with hieroglyphic characters and inscriptions, but he could not spare time to examine them. We have seen some of the specimens from the emerald mine which Mr. Cailliaud brought with him. Our friend Ruppell, who is a good mineralogist, and who has made a valuable collection, tells us that these specimens are composed of black mica; it is of a softish, scaly nature, and may easily be separated into laminæ. The emeralds which we saw were very small, and ran in narrow layers through the other substance.

This evening, August 15, we stopped at El Cab, the ancient Eleethias. The ruins are situated on the eastern bank of the Nile, not far from the river. This city has been inclosed by a wall of sun-burnt brick, 37 feet thick; the inclosed space

about a mile square. Within the great wall is another inclosure surrounding the ruins of a small temple, and other buildings much dilapidated, and consequently uninteresting. At the back of the ruins, in the side of the Mockatem, are several sepulchral grottoes, two of which are well worthy of notice; the one is remarkable for a highly finished tablet

of hieroglyphics, in intaglio; the other are in one scale, and many others on is a very interesting chamber. Some the shelves at the side of the wall; the of the groups have great originality of weight in the other scale is in the design, and are executed with good form of a cow couchant. Next to this taste. On the left, as you enter, the are persons carrying the weighed artifirst object of interest is a man writing cles into a boat, by means of a gang. on a tablet, which he holds on his left board, and near to this boat are three arm; fronting him are various men other boats already laden, with men driving asses, cattle, pigs, goats, &c.; poling them. The cargo is placed in near to these are several hillocks of a square magazine, built in the centre corn, and people in the act of reaping of a boat, not unlike the cabin of the and sheafing, with gleaners, &c., fol- Thamesis. Below is a boat under lowing behind them. After this are sail; the sail is square, with a yard at three distinct rows of agricultural pro- the head and foot. It is trimmed by ceedings; the upper one begins with means of a wheel, which is attached to two men bearing on their shoulders, the foot-yard, acting the part of a by means of a long pole, as brewers roller, and working on a pivot on the carry a cask, a sort of net basket top of the square magazine or cabin, shaped thus filled with wheat in which is nearly half the height of the the ear; next to them are two mast. There is a door and window to other men, one bringing on his the cabin, and seven men are rowing shoulder an empty basket, while his com- on each side: the helms-man steers panion carries the pole; next is a man with an oar. The next group reprein an inclosed space, with six head of sents fishermen drawing their net, cattle, treading the corn, their mode of with two men carrying the fish away threshing. Behind these are four people in baskets, and another splitting them winnowing the grain, by holding it up and hanging them up to dry. Beneath over their heads, and pouring it down this is another party catching geese for the wind to blow through it; near with a net; after which are others these is a man seated on the top of a employed plucking and trussing them, high hillock of grain, and writing down while one man is putting them in jars. an account of the quantity, and there Above are men plucking grapes, while are four men piling it up. This group two are carrying them away in basterminates with two men depositing kets; six others are pressing them, the corn in a square inclosure, which and others filling jars with the wine. was doubtless the granary. The next Among numerous other groups of group is a ploughing scene. There are figures, we noticed a female, standing two ploughs, each drawn by two oxen; and playing a harp with ten strings. a man walks opposite the animals, The instrument is rudely shaped, and sowing grain as they advance; this he badly finished. Another plays on a takes from a basket suspended from wind-instrument not unlike a clarionet, the yoke across the horns of the beasts. with this difference, that the end is Behind him is a person driving a wheel not shaped like a trumpet's mouth, but harrow; the ploughs are preceded by plain. As most of the other groups four men, using a sort of pick-axe in are met with in other places, I do not the shape of the Greek letter alpha; deem it necessary to describe them. this was probably to break the clods of We visited a small temple situated ir earth. Further on are four men the plain, at a short distance to the working another plough. Below this N.W. The serpent Kneephis is said scene is a pair of scales; at one end is by the French, to have been wor a man writing an account, while an-shipped in this temple, though w other is weighing some small articles shaped thus, and which we think may probably represent their loaves, as bread is at present sometimes made in that form in Egypt. Four of these

could not make out any more marke allusion to a serpent than is usual i the sculpture of other temples.

On Saturday, August 16, we reachd Esneh, situate on the site of te

« السابقةمتابعة »