Skip to main content

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

See other formats

Egyptian Art                            99
scene, and ranged his columns at the foot of this noble moun-
tain, man's handiwork found itself placed in a framework so
harmonious that it might almost be thought to have been
modelled as part of the design. For Deir el-Bahari is also the
site of a temple; its modern name comes from a Coptic mon-
astery built on the ruins of this temple. Now that the exca-
vators have unearthed the monument and have begun to
reconstruct it, the sordid, mud-brick construction of the later
building has disappeared, but its name survives in connexion
with one of the most perfect specimens of ancient architecture.
The accurate workmanship, the harmony of the proportions,
the type of columns employed, particularly on the north
terraces, frequently create an impression on the uninitiated
visitor which he sums up, mistakenly, in the term fia Greek
A brief commentary, as one passes through these halls and
porticoes, suffices to bring to life one of the most brilliant, but
also most troubled, periods in the New Kingdom. Tuthmosis I
and Tuthmosis III, the two rulers who raised the triumphal
stelae on the Euphrates, were the principal figures in a contest
for the supreme power. Queen Hatshepsut was the inspirer of
that contest, and for a long time she profited by it. Though
she dedicated this building to the memory of her father, it was
her own reign that she glorified by its magnificence. Her
intention was to transmit to posterity not only the record of
her divine birth, but also her dazzling achievements, including
the journey to the Land of Punt. All this is recounted in reliefs
as delicately worked as medallions. Tuthmosis III revenged
himself by defacing them, but he could neither destroy their
splendour nor efface their testimony.
 x. Abu Simbel
On the left bank of the Nile stands a great rock, visible a long
way off, deep black in contrast with the vast stretch of golden