صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

We accordingly moons, never having taken the trouble to count them.

temple of Isis.* started on foot for that purpose. When we had got two-thirds of our way, we found the canal was filled, and that we must either swim over it or return. As we were dressed in our Arab costume, the former alternative was not difficult; we therefore threw our clothes over and plunged in. We examined the temple, and did not forget the little chamber, in which we had before noticed the circular astronomical table on the cieling as being a monument of the same kind as the Isiac table which we had seen at Turin. It was in the ceiling of the other half of this chamber that Mr. Ruppell discovered a complete lunar system, which had totally escaped Denon and all the other French savans. Mr. Ruppell took an exact copy of this interesting tablet. It clearly contains twelve moons and a bit of another, which no doubt was meant for the odd five days, as the twelve make 360. As this throws an additional light on the Egyptian mode of calculating the year, it is a matter of no small interest, and reflects the more credit on Mr. Ruppell, as so many travellers have examined this chamber, without the circumstance having occurred to them. In the great French work they have put down fourteen or fifteen

The inscription on the listel of the cornice, in front of this temple, speaks of it as dedicated to Venus, which agrees with Strabo, who says "The Tentirites worship Venus. Behind the temple of Venus is a sanctuary (iegòv) of Isis." The latter still exists; it is a small temple without columns. It is curious that the French savans did not copy this inscription: either they did not see it, or, stranger still, none of them knew Greek enough to be able to copy the letters, which are considerably broken and erased. It was first copied by Colonel Leake and Mr. Hamilton. It is not surprising that the French, having failed as to the inscription of Tentyra, should have omitted others more difficult, or that they should have occupied Alexandria for

three years without having been able to decipher a single word of the inscription on the column of Diocletian. Colonel Leake was the first to discover the legibility of this inscription, by making out the words AAEEANAPEIAZ and ΕΠΑΡΧΟΣ ΑΙΓΥΠΤΟΥ. The joint efforts of himself and Mr. Hamilton, and Colonel Squires during several days afterwards, deciphered all that is at all legible of the remainder. See Classical Journal.

Tuesday, August 25.-We stopped at Siout, and went up to pay our respects to the hospitable doctor, Marouky-found him as friendly as ever;-stopped two hours, and then pushed on.

Wednesday 26.-Visited Mr. Brine, a grateful remembrance of whose kindess also induced us to pay our respects to him. We here took charge of the heads of two Egyptian mummycases, and other antiquities dug up for Mr. Salt from a spot supposed to be the burial place of Hermopolis, near the Lybian chain.

Thursday, August 27. We stopped at Houarti. As this was the village where our crew live, we were obliged to reconcile our minds to stop for three days, while they made merry with their friends and relations. We had scarcely been here an hour, when our reis came to ask us to lend him the two mummy-cases which we had on board. He said he should like to have them up at the village for an hour. We lent them immediately; but it was not until the following day that we found out his reason for borrowing them. Numbers of women came down to us and asked permission to walk three times round them, crossing over them each time. This we found was to procure them families. The women were constantly arriving, young and old, and all going through the same ceremony. They were all very serious during the performance of this mystery, and seemed to think it odd that we laughed so much. Our sailors informed us there were some antiquities at the foot of the Mockatem, about one hour and a half's dis tance. They mentioned temples and catacombs. We did not much believe them, but were glad of any excuse for a trip to pass away the time, and accordingly started with one of the reis's brothers as our guide. He took us to the site of a very extensive and finely-situated city, which, from the state of the rubbish, must have been of some consequence. It stands at the mouth of a valley in the Mock

atem, on an elevated spot, at the edge of the cultivated plains, of which it commands a fine view. The modern village of Tehene is close to it. The ruins have been much dug up by the Arabs in search of antiquities. We only found one capital approaching to the Corinthian order, most likely of Roman workmanship. Immediately above the rubbish is a considerable range of catacombs and ancient temples hollowed out of the rock. One small temple of Isis is well worthy of notice, the decorations in basso-relievo being finished in a good style. At about a quarter of an hour's walk along the side of the mountain, to the southward, we saw a large excavated space, and on the top a frieze with a Greek inscription, the letters of which are remarkably large. It is about three fathoms long, and its size (the letters being nearly one foot high) led us to believe it must be generally known; we therefore did not copy it. We clearly made out the word ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΟΣ. We have since found that no travellers have noticed this inscription. We have therefore given the particulars to Mr. Salt. A very old map of Danville's, on a small scale, has the site of an ancient town, under the name of Cynopolis, placed nearly in a parallel of latitude with this place. We continued our voyage, and arrived at Cairo on the first day of September.

arrived by land from Yaffa and Gaza. They embarked at Constantinople, after having completed the tour of Greece. As they had not yet been to the pyramids, we gladly arranged to accompany them.

Friday, September 4.-We set off early in the morning, and Mr. Salt having lent us a copy of his newly made plan, we regularly went over the whole of the ground, place after place, according to it. To our disappointment we found there was nothing new for us to see, excepting a few of the upper steps fronting the sphinx ; as, unfortunately for us and all future travellers, they have filled up all the excavations around the sphinx, so that there is not so much to be seen now as there was previous to our departure, the base having been perfectly cleared on one side before we started for Upper Egypt. From the several drawings and plans which we have seen, as well as from what we have heard, it appears that the indefatigable Captain Caviglia continued his operations till he had cleared all the breast of the animal; that he afterwards pursued his labours till he reached the paws, at fifty feet distance from the body: and here it was, between the two paws, that he discovered the temple. I imagine that this small edifice is composed of three large, flat stones, like a similar shrine in the possession of Mr. Salt, and that the door was filled up by two smaller pieces Wednesday, September 2. Our of stone on each side of it; the sides first care now was to shave our have some fine specimens of basso-rebeards, which we had allowed to grow lievo: a man is depicted as presenting from our first departure from Philæ, an offering to the sphinx. Some of the and we resumed our European cos- inscriptions also are interesting, and tume. We felt as awkward at first at one of Caracalla has the name of Geta, this change of dress, as we did when his brother, erased, as in the Latin inwe first assumed the Arab costume. scription at Syene. The lions which Mr. Salt received us very civilly. We were found, together with the tablets, found that great discoveries had been in basso-relievo, have been sent home made during our absence; and the to the British Museum, as well as the first thing that drew our attention was great head of Memnon. There are still Mr. Salt's explanatory plan of the at Thebes the remains of thirty-seven pyramids, the sphinx, and all their statues, of equal, or larger dimensions. interesting environs. We found, at Beyond the small temple is an altar. Mr. Sait's house, Colonel Stratton, of At some distance from the paws is a the Enniskillen dragoons, and Mr. Ful- flight of steps, which lead some depth ler. These two travellers had just below them to the base of the temple. made the tour of Palestine, having | Mr. Salt is of opinion that this descent


by steps was meant to impress the beholder (after having first viewed the sphinx at a distance, on a level,) with a more imposing idea of its grandeur, when he views the breast in its full magnitude from below. A wall of Bun-burnt brick was on each side of the steps, to prevent the sand from filling up the space. We afterwards went all over the great pyramid, again descending to the lower chamber, which Captain Caviglia discovered, and also reinspected the well, &c. We could not go into Colonel Davidson's chamber, as the Arabs had stolen the rope ladder which was left there. We slept at the entrance of the great pyramid, and in the morning returned to Cairo; the excursion occupied us two days. When we were last at Cairo, a trip to the sphinx used to take two hours; we were now five hours going there, the inundation of the Nile forcing us to go more than double the distance round the edge of the canals. As we are now about to leave Egypt, I shall add a few remarks on Cairo. All Turkish towns impress Europeans with very unfavourable ideas; the streets are invariably narrow, and the fronts of the houses look like so many barn doors. Cairo is particularly ill-built, and a stranger, after having heard so much of "Grand Cairo," can scarcely believe his own eyes when he enters; and this is the more striking, as, at a short distance, the lofty minarets give it a grand appearance. Miserable narrow streets, the square bow-windows meeting over the head, and built with unpainted deal wood; no pavement to be seen; gratings substituted for panes of glass; a dirty ill-dressed populace, and women covered up like so many ghosts, all conspire to render it disagreeable in the extreme. The various classes of inhabitants, such as Turks, Arabs, Copts, Jews, Franks, &c., have their respective quarters where they reside in detached socie

ties; each quarter has its gate and porter to attend it; all are shut at eight o'clock in the evening; after which time it is customary to fee the porter to get admittance. In case of tumults, when the troops go about robbing and

plundering all they meet with, these gates become of great service. The citadel of Cairo is built on a commanding eminence; here the pasha resides. Great merit is due to Mahomed Ali for the tranquillity which exists at present throughout Egypt, and could such an atrocious crime as the murder of the mamelukes be overlooked, he might be considered as a great man. This barbarous act was committed about six years ago: the unsuspecting victims, about two thousand in number, were invited to the castle to be present at the presentation of the Pelisse to the pasha's son, Toussein, and his investiture with the command of Jidda, including the government of the sacred city of Mecca. During the ceremony, the walls and tops of the houses, the castle, &c., were lined with troops, and, on a signal given, as the mamelukes were quitting the palace, the soldiers opened their fire on them, and nearly all of them were slain.

Egypt at present presents a very different appearance to what it did when we took our departure from Cairo, in March; the Nile having overflowed, all the villages are insulated, and the date palm-trees, which invariably surrounded them, partly conceal the mud. huts, and give a pleasing and lively appearance to the face of the country. The river, also, in some places, appears of prodigious width, the plains being overflowed for many miles. We have been fortunate, in having seen Egypt throughout, with the Nile at its lowest ebb, and also at its greatest elevation. There is no freehold property in this country, all the land being let out by the pasha, who afterwards forces the peasants to sell their property to him only, and at his own price. Soldiers are quartered in all the principal villages to enforce a due observance of this law. All the boats are likewise monopolised by him, and gun-boats are stationed at the narrow parts of the river, to prevent the passage of any barks unless laden for the pasha. The Arabs, Copts, and others, who become rich in spite of this oppressive system, are allowed but little enjoyment of their wealth.

It is not at all

[merged small][ocr errors]

It is a curious fact, that no waterplants or weeds grow on the banks of the Nile; a sedgy margin is never to be met with in this country. The lotus, affecting fens and marshy places, can only flourish during the most propitious part of the year, when the overflowing of the Nile promotes its growth: hence it was so favourite a plant with the ancients; and is so generally coupled with all symbolic allusions to the river. This year the Nile has risen 17 pics or 34 ft.; this is called a good Nile. Last year it rose 18 pics, which produced a very plentiful crop. We went to the island of Rhoda to see the Mekias, but the column of graduation was wholly covered by the water; so that we might have spared ourselves the trouble. The appearance of the island, however, now a complete carpet of verdure, with splendid sycamore trees (ficus sycamorus of Linnæus), was beautiful. There are no barns in Egypt the peasant being sure of fair weather at harvest-home, the corn is immediately threshed, and the grain is piled up in immense hills, encircled by a wall. The birds are then freely allowed their share, though, during the time it is ripening, their claims are disputed by children, who are placed on elevated mud-hillocks, scattered in all directions throughout the plains; bawling, and flinging stones by means of a sling, to drive away the feathered robbers. The other day we went to Boulack, situated on the banks of the Nile. It is, properly speaking, the port of Cairo, and the busy scene it presents at this time of the year is not exceeded by any of our quays in Europe. The large dgerms, some of 40 and 50 tons, bring their owners immense profits during the overflowing of the Nile. The stream brings them down with great rapidity, and the strong north breeze takes them up

again with equal speed. It is said these boats sometimes clear half their original cost the first season; a great part of the year, when the Nile is in its bed, they are laid up in ordinary, as their great draught of water prevents their moving. Throughout Egypt we never met with the remains of anything like a pavement in their cities, with the exception of Antinoe, where we clearly made out that the streets had been paved in many places.

English travellers are now beginning to make their appearance in Egypt. A few days ago Captain Bennet, of the dragoons, and Mr.Jolliffe arrived from making the tour of Palestine. The former is gone up as high as Assuan, with Colonel Stratton and Mr. Fuller; the latter is obliged to return immediately to England. We start in a few days for the tour of Syria. Sheikh Ibrahim, who travels for the African Association, and who is mentioned in Mr. Legh's publication, has been of great assistance to us with his advice in tracing out our route, &c. This he also did for both the travellers mentioned above. Mr. Salt is very kind and attentive to us; we dine with him every day, and he has allowed us to copy his map of Syria. We intend to cross the desert on camels to Gaza; to visit the whole sea-coast up to Latachia; from thence to cross over the mountains by Antioch to Aleppo; to go to Palmyra or Damascus, according to circumstances, and from Damascus to Jerusalem, visiting in our way all the objects of interest in the neighbourhood of our route. We calculate that the tour will occupy us till the middle of January, when we mean to embark at Alexandria for Smyrna and Constantinople. By the time we start for Syria (which will be in a few days), we shall have been fourteen months absent. We have supplied ourselves with provisions, clothes, and arms (viz., two muskets and a brace of pistols), and have, up to the present time, spent only one hundred and ninety pounds each, including our share of the boathire from Philae up to the second cataract and back to Thebes, and also of the expenses at Abou Simbel, except

ing the payment of the labourers and the presents to the cashiefs. Mr. Salt furnishes us with letters of introduction to Lady Hester Stanhope, Mr. Barker, the consul at Aleppo, and all the English agents in Syria. Lord and Lady Belmore arrived at Alexandria in their yacht on the eighth instant, and embarked for Cairo on the seventeenth; we expect them daily.

We have been so fortunate as to discover an interesting tomb opposite to Mr. Brine's at Radimore; the sides are covered with paintings, amongst which are two groups, of a description

very rarely, if ever, to be met with; one of them represents the removal of a colossus between 30 and 40 ft. high, seated on a chair; upwards of a hundred labourers are employed to move it. The other drawing represents an Egyptian garden, with exotics in flower-pots arranged on a terrace, near to which is an arbour, bee-hives, &c., &c. Mr. Bankes and Mr. Beechey are the only travellers who have visited this tomb since we discovered it: the former has made accurate drawings of all its contents.



Departure from Cairo-Route to Jaffa-El Arish-Haneunis-Gaza-Ancient Khan at Asdoud-Ruins of a Roman Bridge-Jaffa-Singular appearance of the British ConsulLiberality of the Aga-Cesarea-Ruins at Athlite-Convent on Mount Carmel-AcreZib-Value of Medical Knowledge-Tyre-Sidon-Lady Hester Stanhope-BayruthTripoli-The Cedars of Lebanon-Baalbec-Arab Village-Latachia-Picturesque Scenery on the Orontes-Heavy Rains-Antioch-Aleppo-Mr. Barker-His Hospitality and Kindness-Abundance of Game-Proposed Route-Observations on Aleppo.

On the 1st of October, at 8 A.M., we | evening at the village before menwere without the walls of Cairo. We tioned, we parted with the asses, and, had made a bargain with an Arab to at eleven at night, set out again on the provide us with three camels, and to three camels, with their owner and conduct us to Jaffa, for thirty dollars. his black slave. We heard the howlAbout eleven, we passed, on our left, ing of wild beasts during the night, the obelisk of Mataria, the site of the resembling the cries of human beings ancient Heliopolis; and shortly after- in distress. wards we passed close to the ruins of another ancient city on the skirts of the desert, where the only object of interest was a statue in a sitting posture, mutilated, but originally well executed. Our road was in the desert, but close to the cultivated plains, which extend no further from the Nile than where the soil is benefited by the overflowings of the river, either by natural or artificial means. This causes a distinct line of separation between the barren sand and irrigated land, having the appearance of a sea beach. We had left Cairo with only one camel and three asses; the other two camels were to meet us at a village in the evening. We had enlisted in our service a Maltese interpreter, who mounted the third ass, while the camel carried our baggage. Arriving in the

October 2.-This morning we were joined by a man with a laden camel, who, seeing we were armed, was anxious to have our protection. As the Tarabeen Arabs of the desert through which we were to pass are notorious robbers, we were not sorry to see our number thus increased; the stranger was bound to a village near Gaza. To-day we passed occasionally through the skirts of the desert, as well as of the cultivated plains; the latter are rich beyond description; the crops of doura were the finest we had seen. The soil being saturated with water, and receiving at the same time the heat of an ardent sun, produces a very rapid vegetation. We slept this night in the desert; and on the following morning we halted at Selahieh, the last village on our road,

« السابقةمتابعة »