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the whole of the then known world. No one who entered that building, whether it were temple or palace, could have thought of anything else but that, stupendous being who thus had raised himself up above the whole world of gods and men.
And when from the statue you descend to the palace, the same impression is kept up. It is the earliest instance of the enshrinement in Art of the historical glories of a nation. But everywhere the same colossal proportions are preserved. Everywhere the King is conquering, ruling, worshipping, worshipped. The Palace is the Temple. The King is Priest. He and his horses are ten times the size of the rest of the army. Alike in battle and in worship, he is of the same stature as the gods themselves. Most striking is the familiar gentleness with which-one on each side-they take him by each hand, as one of their own order, and then in the next compartment introduce him to Ammon and the lion-headed goddess. Every distinction, except of degree, between divinity and royalty, is entirely levelled; and the royal majesty is always represented by making the King, not like Saul or Agamemnon, “from the head and shoulders,” but from the foot and ankle upwards, higher than the rest of the people.
It carries one back to the days "when there were giants on the earth.” It shows how the King, in that first monarchy, was the visible God upon earth. The only thing like it that has since been seen is the deification of the Roman emperors. No pure
Monotheism could for a moment have been compatible with such an intense exaltation of the conquering King. “I am Pharaoh ;” “By the life
" of Pharaoh ;" Say unto Pharaoh, Whom art thou like in thy greatness'?”—all these expressions seem to acquire new life from the sight of this monster statue.
And now let us pass to the two others. They are the only statues remaining of an avenue of eighteen similar, or nearly similar, statues, some of whose remnants lie in the field behind them which led to the palace of Amenophis III., every one of the statues being Amenophis himself, thus giving in multiplication what Rameses gained in solitary elevation. He lived some reigns earlier than Rameses, and the statues are of ruder workmanship and coarser stone. To me they were much more striking close at hand when their human forms were distinctly visible, than at a distance, when they looked only like two towers or landmarks.
The sun was setting; the African range glowed red behind them; the green plain was dyed with a deeper green beneath them; and the shades of evening veiled the vast rents and fissures in their aged frames. As I looked back at them in the sunset, and they rose up in front of the background of the mountain, they seemed, indeed, as if
i Gen. xli. 44; xlii. 15, 16. Ezek. xxxi. 2.
they were part of it,--as if they belonged to some natural creation rather than to any work of art. And yet, as I have said, when anywhere in their neighbourhood, the human character is never lost. Their faces are dreadfully mutilated; indeed, the largest has no face at all, but is from the waist upwards a mass of stones or rocks piled together in the form of a human head and body. Still, especially in that dim light, and from their lofty thrones, they seem to have faces, only of hideous and grinning ugliness.
And now, who was it that strewed the plain with their countless fragments ? Who had power to throw down the Colossus of Rameses ? Who broke the statue of Amenophis from the middle upwards ? From the time of the Roman travellers, who have carved their names in verses innumerable on the foot of Amenophis, there has been but one answer,—Cambyses. He was, in the traditions of that time, the Cromwell of Egypt. It is possible that Rameses, it is probable that Amenophis, was shattered by earthquakes. But the recollection of Cambyses shows the feeling he had left while here, as the great Iconoclast. What an effort this implies of fanatical or religious zeal ! What an impression it gives of that Persian hatred of idols, which is described in the Bible, only here carried to excess against these majestic kings: "Bel boweth down', Nebo stoopeth.” Well might the idols of Babylon tremble before Cyrus, if such was the fate of the Egyptian Pharaohs before Cambyses.
8. THEBES, KARNAC, AND THE ROYAL TOMBS.
Alone of the cities of Egypt, the situation of Thebes is as beautiful by nature as by art. The monotony of the two mountain ranges, Libyan and Arabian, for the first time assumes a new and varied character. They each retire from the river, forming a circle round the wide green plain: the western rising into a bolder and more massive barrier, and enclosing the plain at its northern extremity as by a natural bulwark; the eastern, further withdrawn, but acting the same part to the view of Thebes as the Argolic mountains to the plain of Athens, or the Alban hills to Rome-a varied and bolder chain, rising and falling in almost Grecian outline, though cast in the conical form which marks the hills of Nubia further south, and which perhaps, suggested the Pyramids. Within the circle of those two ranges, thus peculiarly its own, stretches the green plain on each side the river to an unusual extent; and on each side of the river, in this respect unlike Memphis, but like the great
1 Isa. xlvi. 1.
city of the further East on the Euphrates,-like the cities of northern Europe on their lesser streams-spread the city of Thebes, with the Nile for its mighty thoroughfare. “ Art' thou better than No. Amon'—that was situated by the rivers of the Nile'—that had the waters round about it—whose rampart was the sealike stream,' and whose wall was the 'sealike stream'?”
“ Thebes" proper, “ Taba," the capital—No-Amon (the Hebrew name of Thebes) the sanctuary of Ammon-stood on the eastern plain. This sanctuary, as founded by Osirtasen in the time of Joseph, as restored by the successor of Alexander the Great, still exists, a small granite edifice, with the vestiges of the earliest temple round it. This is the centre of the vast collection of palaces or temples which, from the little Arab village hard by, is called Karnac.
Imagine a long vista of courts, and gateways, and halls — and gateways, and courts, and colonnades, and balls; here and there an obelisk shooting up out of the ruins, and interrupting the opening view of the forest of columns. Imagine yourself mounted on the top of one of these balls or gateways, and looking over the plain around. This mass of ruins, some rolled down in avalanches of stones, others perfect and painted, as when they were first built, is approached on every side by avenues of gateways, as grand as that on which you are yourself standing. East and west, and north and south, these vast approaches are found,-some are shattered, but in every approach some remain; and in some can be traced, besides, the further avenues, still in part remaining, by hundreds together, avenues of ram-headed sphinxes.
Every Egyptian temple has, or ought to have, one of these great gateways formed of two sloping towers, with the high perpendicular front between. But what makes them remarkable at Thebes is their number, and their multiplied concentration on the one point of Karnac. This no doubt is the origin of Homer's expression “The City of the Hundred Gates; and in ancient times, even from a distance, they must have been beautiful. For, instead of the brown mass of sandstone which they now present, the great sculptures of the gods and conquering kings which they uniformly present were painted within and without; and in the deep grooves which can still be seen, twofold or fourfold, on each side the portal, with enormous holes for the transverse beams of support, were placed immense red flag-staffs, with Isis-headed standards, red and blue streamers floating from them. Close before almost every gateway in this vast array, were the colossal figures, usually in granite, of the great Rameses, sometimes in white or red marble, of Amenophis and of Thothmes, whose fragments still remain. And close by these were pairs of towering obelisks (for in Egypt they always stood in pairs), which
can generally be traced by pedestals on either side, or by the solitary twin, mourning for its brother, either lying broken beside it, or far away in some northern region at Rome, at Paris, or at Petersburg.
I have spoken of the view from the top of the great gateway which overlooks the whole array of avenues. I must speak also of that which from the other end commands the whole series of ruins, each succeeding the other in unbroken succession. It is a view something of the kind of that up the Forum from the Colosseum to the Capitol. You stand in front of a stately gateway, built by the Ptolemies. Immediately in the foreground are two Osiride pillars—their placid faces fixed upon you—a strange and striking contrast to the crash of temple and tower behind. That crash, however, great as it is, has not, like that of the fall of Rome, left mere empty spaces where only imagination can supply what once there was. No-there is not an inch of this Egyptian Forum, so to call it, which is not crowded with fragments, if not buildings, of the past. No Canina is wanted to figure the scene as it once was. You have only to set up again the fallen obelisks which lie at your feet; to conceive the columns as they are still seen in parts, overspreading the whole; to reproduce all the statues, like those which still remain in their august niches; to gaze on the painted walls and pillars of the immense hall, which even now can never be seen without a thrill of awe,-and you have ancient Thebes before you.
And what a series of history it is! In that long defile of ruins every age has borne its part, from Osirtasen I. to the latest Ptolemy, from the time of Joseph to the Christian era; through the whole period of Jewish history, and of the ancient world, the splendour of the earth kept pouring into that space for two thousand years.
This is the result of the eastern bank: on the western bank can be nothing more grand, but there is something more wonderful even than Karnac.
The western barrier of the Theban plain is a mass of high limestone cliffs, with two deep gorges : one running up behind the plain, and into the very heart of the hills, entirely shut in by them; the other running up from the plain, so as to be enclosed within the hills, but having its face open to the city. The former is the valley of the Tombs of the Kings, the Westminster Abbey of Thebes ; the latter, of the Tombs of the Priests and Princes, its Canterbury Cathedral.
Ascend, therefore, the first of these two gorges. It is the very ideal of desolation. Bare rocks, without a particle of vegetation, overhanging and enclosing, in a still narrower and narrower embrace, a valley as rocky and bare as themselves: no human habitation visible, the stir of the city wholly excluded; such is—such always must have been the awful aspect of the resting-place of the Theban kings.
Nothing that has ever been said about them had prepared me for their extraordinary grandeur. You enter a sculptured portal in the face of these wild cliffs, and find yourself in a long and lofty gallery, opening or narrowing, as the case may be, into successive halls and chambers, all of which are covered with white stucco, and this white stucco brilliant with colours fresh as they were thousands of years ago.
Some, of course, are more magnificent than the others; but of the chief seven all are of this character. They are, in fact, gorgeous palaces ; hewn out of the rock, and painted with all the decorations that could have been seen in palaces. No modern galleries or halls could be more completely ornamented. But splendid as they would be even as palaces, their interest is enhanced tenfold by being what they are. There lie “ all the Kings in glory; each one in his own house." (Isa. xiv. 18.) Every Egyptian potentate, but especially every Egyptian king, seems to have begun his reign by preparing his sepulchre. It was so in the case of the Pyramids, where each successive layer marked the successive years of the reign. It was so equally in these Theban tombs, where the longer or shorter reign can be traced by the extent of the chambers, or the completeness of their finish. In one or two instances, you pass at once from the most brilliant decorations to rough unhewn rock. The King had died, and the grave closed over his imperfect work. At the entrance of each tomb, he stands making offerings to the Sun, who, with his hawk's head, wishes him a long life to complete his labours.
Two ideas seem to reign through the various sculptures.
First, the endeavour to reproduce, as far as possible, the life of man, so that the mummy of the dead King, whether in his long sleep, or on his awakening, might still be encompassed by the old familiar objects. Egypt, with all its peculiarities, was to be perpetuated in the depths of the grave; and truly they have succeeded. This is what makes this valley of Tombs like the galleries of a vast Museum. Not the collections of Pompeii at Naples give more knowledge of Greek or Roman life than these do of Egyptian. The kitchen, the dinners, the boating, the dancing, the trades, all are there-all fresh from the hands of the painters of the primeval world.
The other idea is that of conducting the King to the world of death.
The further you advance into the tomb, the deeper you become involved in endless processions of jackal-headed gods, and monstrous forms of genii, good and evil; and the Goddess of Justice, with her single ostrich feather; and barges, carrying mummies, raised aloft over the sacred lake, and mummies themselves; and, more