Page images
PDF
EPUB

which supported the earth, having given away, there were several holes so large that we got over them with difficulty, and, on entering another room, we found the floor so weak, that it shook under our feet, and we dared to walk across it only with a very cautious step. In this situation our light was extinguished, and we had some apprehensions about our return, until an Arab brought us another light. Each room had large windows which were entirely open. The roof was of bushes and had several apertures, some of them large.-Such was the house offered us in Thebes; and probably it would not have been easy to procure a better. After looking at this, we resolved on remaining in our cabin, though it was small and much infested with vermin.

Sabbath, 2. In the morning we read the Scriptures in Romaic to our servant, and gave him religious instruction. We then spent a season in social worship. On this occasion we read from the journal of Brainerd an account of his conversion and trials. We were led to contrast this monument of Brainerd and his character with the character of Busiris, Osymandias, Cesostris, Cheops, and Cephrenes, and the monuments which they raised to perpetuate their glory. All their cities, mausoleums, temples, and pyramids, seemed insignificant, compared with the crown of glory which Brainerd won. They shall perish; most of them indeed have perished already; but this shall remain forever.

“3. Visited the temple of Carnac. It is a halfhour's ride from Luxor. We spent about four hours in looking at its ruins. We entered by a gateway, on the south side, and near the west end of the temple. In coming up to the gate, we passed between two rows of Sphinxes, fifty in a row.

Some were almost entirely destroyed, and the heads were broken off from them all. Those that were most entire, had each a statue of some god before it, and of the same piece with itself. We then came to the outer

gate. The whole column is forty feet square, and, as nearly as we could judge, seventy high. The passage is eighteen feet wide. From this we advanced between two rows of sphinxes, ten in a row, about forty paces to a second gate, which opened into an apartment where stood thirty columns, twenty feet in circumference. Passing a third gate we entered another apartment, in which are eight similar columns.

We then came apparently to the end of these ruins, and found ourselves among the dirty huts, which now compose the village of Carnac, and are inhabited by ignorant and miserable Arabs, all Mussulmans. The number of dogs was to all appearance nearly equal to that of human beings. Advancing two hundred paces, we came to an immense pile of walls, columns, &c. This is the most interesting and magnificent part of the temple.”

Mr. Fisk has given a minute description of this part of the temple—the magnificent apartments, large columns, statues, sphinxes, and obelisks, connected with this immense pile, and thus concludes:

“The extent of the temple from the south gate to the north is about six hundred and sixty paces, and from the east to the west, about five hundred and twenty. The walls are very thick, and generally covered with hieroglyphics, We are sensible this is but a very imperfect description of what remains of the temple of Jupiter at Carnac. Ruins so stupendous, after the lapse of three or four thousand years, show that the temple, in the time of its glory, must have been magnificent beyond conception. But as these walls and columns are now falling and perishing, so all human glory will soon fade and wither in the dust. But there is a Temple, whose columns shall never fall, and whose glory shall never fade; whose worship shall never cease, and whose inhabitants shall never die. O that when all earthly temples and palaces shall be buried in one

universal ruin, our spirits may be found worshippers in that imperishable temple.

664. Luxor and Carnac include what remains of Thebes, on the east side of the Nile. At an early hour we fell down the river a little way in our boat, passed to the other side, took jack-asses, (without saddles, or bridles) and rode to Gornon, about one hour from the river. We stopped at the house of Mr. John Athanasius, to whom we had a letter from Mr. Salt. He is a Greek, and has spent several years at Thebes, making excavations, and searching for antiquities, in the employ of Mr. Salt. He lived sometime in a tomb, and then built a house over it, which he now inhabits. He spent the day in showing us the antiquities of the place. We set out first to see the tombs of the kings. In our way we passed over a high mountain. The east side of it, is called Hieropolis, is full of grottos, from many of which mummies have been taken. These are now inhabited by Arabs. From the top of the mountain we had a fine view of the plain of Thebes, with all its wonderful antiquities. We descended the mountain, and reached the tombs in an hour after leaving the house. We first entered the tomb, which was opened by Belzoni and others in the employ of Mr. Salt, in 1817, and which is therefore called Mr. Salt's. We entered by an avenue eight or nine feet wide, and about as high, descended twenty eight short stairs, then walked thirteen paces still descending, then twenty-five more stairs, then eighteen paces which brought us to the first set of chambers consisting of three apartments, one eighteen feet by fifteen, and the others thirty feet square, and ten or twelve high. Then descending eighteen stairs and ten paces, we came to a second set of rooms. The principal one was fifty feet by thirty. Here, when the tomb was opened, was a sarcophagus of alabaster, which has been removed to London, and is now in the museum. Adjoining

this is a room thirty feet square, on three sides of which is a projection which forms a kind of table. There are also two side chambers, eight or ten feet square,

and seven high. In the different rooms are a number of insulated pilasters. All the walls of the rooms, and of the passages, are covered with hieroglyphics of the finest kind, not, like most hieroglyphics, in intaglio but in alto relievo. In one place are portrayed priests dressed in white, handling serpents; in another, persons offering sacrifices; in a third, a company of prisoners; in a fourth, dead bodies, &c. All these apartments are cut out of the solid rock. How much labor to prepare a tomb for one man.'

Mr. Fisk visited other tombs which he also describes. He was informed that twenty-six or twenty-seven of the tombs of the kings are now open. It is stated on the authority of Strabo, "that it was commonly reported, that there had been forty of these monuments, and that the Thebean priests gave an account of thirty-seven.” He visited the temple of Memnon and of Isis.

“Thence we went to two collossal statues of Memnon. They are not very far from the temple of Memnon, and are in the sitting posture, with their faces to the east, and both of the same size. The south statue is of one stone, and almost entire. The other had been broken, (it is said by Cambyses,) and has since been repaired. The upper part is built of stones of a different kind from the original. On the legs and feet of this are a number of inscriptions, several of which are published by Hamilton. They relate to the sound which this statue is said to have uttered at sun-rise. Rollin quotes Strabo as saying, that there was at Thebes a statue of Memnon, which uttered a sound when the beams of the rising sun shone upon it. The size of these statues is enormous, We stood on the pedestal, and measured twelve feet on the leg, and still wanted consid

erable of reaching the knee. Hamilton says, “The height of the leg and foot is eighteen feet five inches, and the length of the little finger, four feet five inches.' The name of Memnon is connected with a temple, a tomb, and several statues at Thebes; but who this Memnon was, or where he lived, it is not easy to ascertain. From these statues we returned to our boat at Luxor in the evening.

“We have now taken a glance at what remains of one of the most ancient, and one of the most magnificent cities of the world, which is said to have had one hundred gates, and to have been able to send out ten thousand soldiers from each gate. Her proud monarchs, and their abject slaves, now sleep in the dust, and their spirits receive their just reward from Him who is no respecter of persons.

65. Between nine and ten A. M. we took our leave of these immense and magnificent ruins, and set our faces again toward Cairo, highly gratified in having seen, though but hastily and imperfectly, these interesting antiquities; but still more highly gratified in having been permitted, to supply so many nominal Christians, in this land of darkness, with the invaluable Word of God. We had no wind, but floated along with the current About 5 P: M. passed Negadeh.

66. About nine A. M. we arrived at Kene, on the east bank. Went into the town with books for Mallem Boulus, (Paul,) who is mentioned in Mr. Jowett's Researches. Mallem is a title much used among the Copts. Its import is learned, or a teacher. Many

of the Coptic mallems are clerks and writers for government.

Mallem Boulus was with the musselim. A man was sent to inform him of our arrival, and he immediately came to see us.

We showed him the patriarch's letter, and then our books. He looked at the books, kissed them, purchased several, and assisted us in selling others. He is the chief man among the Copts, richly dressed, and quite in

« PreviousContinue »