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DURING THE YEARS 1816-17-18 : 




%c. fyc. 







VOL. I. 









The work to which I here prefix your 
Lordship's name, is an account of the exten- 
sive and interesting tour on which I had the 
honor of accompanying you and your noble 
family. The greater part of the materials of 
which it is composed, was collected in your 
own presence, and under your own eye. 
Whatever novelty, therefore, other readers 
may find in perusing the following sheets, I 
cannot pretend to offer to your Lordship's 
mind, a gratification of so high a character. 


But whatever part of the narrative you may 
honor with your attention, whether that shall 
represent yourself or your noble family, 
engaged in witnessing a religious procession, 
standing by the ruins of an ancient temple, 
or exploring the recesses of a long forgotten 
tomb ; whether reposing on the «ands of 
Nubia, by a field of dhoura, or by the rock 
at the second cataract of the Nile; whether 
engaged in taking an astronomical observ- 
ation, or in engraving the result of it upon 
the rock for the information of the future 
traveller; whether crossing the desert on an 
Arabian steed, or a salt-water lake on the 
back of a dromedary; whether standing in 
pious meditation on the mount of God, or 
by the holy sepulchre of Christ, by the rivers 
in Damascus, or by the cedars in Lebanon, 
conversing with a Pasha, a Bey, a Cachief, 
or a peasant ; I hope the description will re- 
fresh the picture in your Lordship's memory, 
by calling up the events in the order in which 


they occurred, while, at tibtfe same! time, it 
declares to the world that you are the 
first and the only nobleman who civet ton** 
ducted his lady and family U> visit so many 
scenes of ancient feme, the greater part of 
which were formerly regarded as accessible 
to none Jnit the daring and chivalrous adven- 
turer ; and having gratified them with the in- 
teresting view, under the blessing of God, 
brought them all home in health and safety to 

« * 

their native land. 

How happy should I feel, were the execu- 
tion of the work equal to my wishes to do 
justice to the subject. I have employed much 
time and labor in composing it, which I have 
been compelled to snatch from the increasing 
fatigues of a laborious profession. I wish it 
were perfect ; but such as it is, I am happy 
in being permitted to usher it into the world 
under the auspices of your Lordship. 

Trusting that the work to "which I have 
thus prefixed your name, will not be found 

• •• 


altogether unworthy of your acceptance, or 
undeserving of public approbation, and wish- 
ing your Lordship and your noble family every 
happiness and prosperity, 

I have the honor to be, 

Your Lordship's 
most obedient 


and most devoted servant, 


Rathbone Place, 
March 21, 1822. 


I shall not say with Mahomet, " there is no 
doubt in this book," but there are no errors or 
misrepresentations in it, of which I am conscious, 
and therefore I entreat the gentle reader to look 
with an indulgent eye upon such as he may 

Some things in this work are new to the public. 
The astronomical observations, fixing the site of the 
Tropic considerably above Assouan, together with 
the latitude and longitude of different places, thence 
to the second cataract of the Nile, and throughout 
Palestine and Syria, were taken by the Earl of Bel- 
more and Captain Armar Lowry Cony, R. N. ; to 
whose kindness the Author is indebted for their 
appearance in this work. 

The application of the third chapter of the book 


of Nehemiah, to ascertain that the sites, of the an* 
cient and modern city of Jerusalem are the same, 
is not mentioned in any book of travels with which 
I am acquainted ; it is a highly valuable piece of 
ancient topography, and will be read with great 
interest and advantage on the spot ; and the Author 
avails himself of this opportunity to acknowledge 
his obligations to the Countess of Belmore, for 
having pointed it out to him in the Holy City. 

The admission of a Christian to the interior of 
the Sakhara, or Solomon's mosque, accompanied 
hy some of the principal Turks in Jerusalem, is 
also new, and the Author believes that he is the 
only Christian traveller who ever enjoyed that 
honor and privilege. 

This work contains* likewise, x remarkable in- 
stance of the fulfilment of Scripture prophecy, not 
formerly mentioned by any traveller. The pro- 
phecy occurs in the end of the fifth verse of the 
ninth chapter of the Prophecies of Zecbariah, 
and is of such special importance, as to be entitled 
to a place even in a general preface.—" And the 
king shall perish from Gaza, and Askelon shall 
not be inhabited." At the time when the precKc- 


tion was uttered, both these satrapies of the Phi* 
tistines were in a flourishing condition ; each the 
capital of its own petty state. Gaza is still a large 
and respectable town, but without a king; the 
walls of Askelon are broken down, and the houses 
are lying in ruins, without a human inhabitant to 
occupy or to build them up. 

In regard to the other things that are new in 
this work, the reader is left to discover them for 
himself. Only with respect to the composition and 
general style of it, the Author begs leave to ob- 
serve, that throughout the whole it has been his 
object to tell as much truth, in as few words, and 
in as agreeable a manner as possible. The descrip- 
tions which it contains, were written when the 
place or object described was before his eyes, and 
though he has consulted many authorities since, 
yet, in cases of difference, he has uniformly adhered 
to his own. If he has succeeded in his general 
aim, the work will prove beneficial to the cause of 
• religion and morality, useful and interesting to his 
countrymen ; being calculated to promote a more 
extensive acquaintance with antiquity, and a more 
correct knowledge of the modern state of the most 


celebrated places in ancient history. For these high 
rewards he professes to have labored ; and not with- 
out hopes of having done so with some degree of 
success, he now submits his work to the judgment 
of the public. 

The earlier part of the journey, through Malta, 
Sicily, the Campania Felice, the Ionian Isles, 
Greece and Constantinople, is but slightly touched 
on, and the particular narrative of the tour, sub. 
mitted to the Reader, begins at Alexandria. 




Departure from Southampton .... 1 
Arrival at Alexandria 12 


Alexandria 13 

Built on arches 15 

Obelisks 16 

Diocletian's PiUar 19 

Catacombs.*... ib. 

Light-house 22 

Modern Alexandria ••••to. 

Visit to the field of the 21st of 

March.... •. 25 

Inducements to explore the rains 

of Alexandria 27 


Bay of Abookir 31 

Passage of the bogas 32 

Rosetta 34 

Voyage op the Nile 38 

Sath-haggar , 43 

Inundation of the Nile 45 

Bulac 46 

Cairo 50 

Arabs ib. 


Cairo 52 

Convents • • • • • .58 

Lakes in Cairo 62 

Greek church 63 

Castle of Cairo 65 

Sword market 69 

Old Cairo ib. 

Grotto of St. Sergius 71 

Greek Patriarch 72 

Baxars and costumes • 75 

Punishments 84 


Armenians.. ., 88 

Jews 89 

Copts « ib. 

Vice- patriarch of...... 91 

Church of. , 94 

Pasha of Egypt. 98 

Union of Jews, Christians, and 

Moslems 109 

Society in Cairo m 

Beys Sec , nt 

Mosques 113 

Convent of Dervlses • .114 


Pyramids of Gheeza 117 

No hieroglyphics on. . • 144 

Sphinx 153 

Adjoining excavations 157 

Death of Mr. Burckhardt 161 


Voyage up the Nile 163 

Antinopolis .166 

Alrairamoun • • 167 

Osyout 169 

The Defterdar Bey ib. 

Review of cavalry 172 

Antseopolis .178 

Ikhmim •••• 181 

Girgeh 182 

Dendera 184 

Temple of.... 186 

Supposed xodiac .196 


Egyptian Deities 221 

Osiris 229 

Isis 235 

Horus ..244 

Typhon •••.•.......246 




Nephrite* 230 

Neith 259 

Cneph 253 

Ph than, Hercules, Serapis, Men- 

des, the Nile 254 

Taout, Esculapius, Mars 955 


Gheneh ...259 

Arrival at Thebes 262 


The valley of Biban el Melook. .263 
Tomb discovered by Mr.Beteom.269 
Hums* sacrifice to the serpent .299 


Voyage up the Nile 309 

fisneb.** „»* 3tO 

Etakhias. 517 

Edfou ....326 

Koom Ombos 339 


Assouan 342 

Embftp 344 

Tropical Well 350 

Elephantina., 352 



Nubia 363 

Embarkation at Embftp 364 

Kalabflhl 372 

Diarfissen 386 

Climate of Nubia 39? 

Deer 405 

Ibreem .416-465 

Absambul 420 

Ishkid 444 

Second Cataract 44& 

Return , . . ^ . .456 

Moslem Prayers 462 

Dekka ,....470 

Hindaou 476 

Deboudy 479 

Phikc 481 

CHAP. Xtll. 

Assouan Tropical Well* ........ 510 

Assouan Garb6 511 


Koom Ombos..... .515 

HadjrSilsil 520 

Asphoun.. 529 

Hermont 530 

Thebes... 534 

Death of the Princess Charlotte . t'A. 


Page 140, line 19, for Karaboush, read Karakoush. 

— ™* 24, fur Mainour, read Mamoun. 

— — 187,. 22, fur Yiile Plate I, readVWe Ichfiograpfcittil- phm af Thetofc 

i " 300, — ] 0, far Sanitary , read Sanatory; 




8fC. SfC* 



VOL. I. 


Osiris, Isis, Typbon and Nephth£, to face ,....329 

Horus, Harpocrates, and the Eyes ..245 

Section of the Temple of Diarfissen, and Plan of the Tomb, 

with the Explanation 269 

Human Sacrifice to the Serpent ..••••.••...••.299 



The Ichnographical Plan of Thebes, with the Explanation, 

to face ••.••••••. .1 

Punishment of Rebellion... .49 

The Balance...- —67 

Ichnographical Plan of Jerusalem and its Environs, with 
the Explanation ..••»••••. ••......••.•••..238 





VOL. I. 





1. Stain and Corridor—*. The Mummy Pit— 3. The entrance Chamber 
—4. The outlined Chamber— 5. Corridor and Stair— 6. Beauty Chamber 
— 7. Chamber of Column*— 6. Chamber covered with Serpents 9. The 
Cow's Chamber — 10. Sarcophagus Chamber— 11. Side-board Chamber in 
which the human sacrifice to the Serpent is represented — IS. Unfinished 
Chamber— 15. ditto— 14. The Sarcophagus which lies orer the orifice of 
the dark Passage that has been traced 300 feet. 


3 1.. 


ajjohq thb 



» • 




The Travels, which it is the design of the fol- 
lowing work to relate, were performed by the 
Author, in company with the Earl and Countess 
of Behhore, and their noble family. 

We sailed from Southampton on the 21st of 
August, 1816* on board the Ospray, of 282 tons, 
mounting fourteen guns, and manned by thirty* 
two able-bodied seamen. We arrived at Gibraltar 
on the 2d of September, where, having remained 
ten. days, we sailed for Malta, which we reached 
on the 26th. This island deserves as much to be 
celebrated for excellent harbours, white houses 
and good linen as it did in the days of Diodorus 
Siculus. The linguae centum, oraque centum, and 
ferrfa vox > of the poet are strikingly exemplified in 

VOL. i. b 


the hundreds of bells which every day but Sun- 
day, being a saint's day, 5000 priests keep in per- 
petual motion. 

On the 9th of October we sailed from the harbour 
of Malta, and on the 12th let go our anchor in the 
beautiful bay of Syracuse, opposite to the far-famed 
fountain of Arethusa. A quarantine of five days 
entitled us to land, without the purification of 
smoke. Syracuse contains 14,000 inhabitants ; 
2000 of whom are priests, who strut about with 
pale faces, cocked hats, and tight small-clothes, in 
bands of fifty, to work miracles,' and tithe fish as 
they are thrown from the net The only remaining 
fragments of the temple of Diana are built in the 
cupboard of a lawyer's kitchen. We admired 
both the relics, and the man to whose lot it had fallen 
to preserve them. 

On the 22d, we weighed anchor, and sailed for 
Messina, which we reached on the 24th of October, 
and left on the 3d of November for Naples. In 
Qur way thither we admired the volcanoes of the 
Lipari islands, where anciently, as legends tell, 
King EqIu* held hi* oomt, and where he still gal- 
lantly disputes the sovereignty of the place with 
the gods of water a#id fire. On the 6th we hailed 
th$ lovely Partbaaope, and at two o'clock, p*m. 
anchored in its peaceful harbour, and took up our 
4tAtiqn for the winter, 

Whoever wishes to see the misery of Naples 


will repair to the Marino early in the morn- 
ing, and look at the crowds of ragged Lazaroni 
squabbling round the boiling cauldrons, that 
they may scald their tips in breakfasting on the 
boiled chestnuts they contain. There he will see 
the criminal chained hand and foot, and drag- 
ging at every step a heavy load of iron ; he will be 
reminded of the religion of the place, by the flames 
of hell, brimful of human beings painted on the 
walk, and the sepulchral tones of the hawker 
sounding in his ears, " a horrible letter from pur- 
gatory." He will see the sprightly gaiety of noon 
ife the passing throng that crowd the Toledo, — the 
seductive brilliancy of the. evening assemblies in 
the ball-rooms, and the theatres,— 4he woes of dis- 
sipation in the haggard aspects of the noblesse, 
who have been able to spend their fortunes with- 
out having learned to read or write, and who let 
their palaqes, and live in the cellars. In the Ob- 
servatory, the Studii, the Botanic Garden, and the 
Mineralogery, he will see the fostering care of his 
majesty for science and art, his charity in the hos* 
jntals and poor's-house, and his piety to the saints 
in the church lately built in the square of the pa* 
kee» Louis XVIII. declared, that under the pro* 
vidence of God he owed his throne to the Prince 
Regent of England* but his majesty of Naples 
owes his exclusively to the thaumaturgic energies 
of St Francisco de Paulo, to whom he erected this 



splendid church in gratitude for past favours. His 
majesty delights in the amusement of the chasse, 
he fires slug among a covey of partridges or quails 
as they fly over his head ; if one fall, his courtiers 
applaud him, he chuckles, and hugs himself, calls 
for a plate of maccaroni, and challenges them to 
match him in a gobble of twenty yards. 
.- * The traveller will see pimps at every corner, 
priests in every cafiS, miracle-mongers in the ca- 
thedral of St. Januarius, and will hear sound sense 
and learning from the lips of the bishop of Puz- 
zuoli, which is five miles from Naples. 

The finest views are from the Island of Capri 
and Nisita, the most extensive from Vesuvius, and 
the lofty Camaldule ; the most beautiful spots are 
infested with pest-houses and convents, as the most 
lovely faces are oftenest invaded by freckles and 
wens. Pompeii looks from its ashes like an ante- 
diluvian relic, to show us how men of ancient 
times lived, and enjoyed themselves. Psestum 
shows us the temples in which they worshipped 
the gods \ Baia, Miseno, the Elysian Fields, Cuma, 
A vermis, torre di patria, Puzzuoli, and Pausilypo 
present in their tomb-stones, their theatres, and 
their temples, the splendid monuments of departed 
greatness, and speak to the heart with the elo- 
quence of two thousand years. The reputed tomb 
of Virgil shows us, in a wretched hovel with ten 
sepulchral niches, that imposture in regard to 



places is not confined to Palestine, and the in- 
scription on the rock, that lying writers haye found 
careless transcribers. 

Qui cineres? tumuli h«ec vestigia, Conditur olim 
Hie hoc qui cecinit pascua, rata, duces. 

Can. Reg. M. D. LIIIL were the words, punctua- 
tion, and date which the inscription exhibited in 

For nearly five months we rejoiced in the lovely 
Parthenope, when our friends departed to spend 
their Easter at Rome, and invited by the breezes 
of spring, we gave our sails to the wind, left the 
harbour of Naples on the 30th of March, and an- 
chored in the bay of Palermo on the 1st of April. 
The kindness of friends, the beauties of the place, 
and the inducements to remain here were innumer- 
able, but we sailed on the 20th for Malta, where 
we arrived on the 22d ; and from which we took 
our departure on the 6th of May ; and on the 9th 
drank the wine, and smelt the flowers of Zante. 
This island contains 86,000 inhabitants, among 
whom are 500 priests, 100 of whom can neither 
read nor write. What must be the learning of the 
people ? 

On the 16th we sailed for Ithaca, which we 
reached on the 17th. It is as barren and pictu- 
resque as in the days of Ulysses, and the harbour 
could not be better described than in the words of 
Homer, thus translated by Pope : 



Far from the town a spacious port appears, 
Sacred to Phorcy's power, whose same it bears ; 
Two craggy rocks projecting to the main, 
The roaring wind's tempestuous rage restrain. 
Within, the waves, in softer murmurs glide, 
And ships secure without their haulsers ride* 

It is a singular coincidence ; but a picturesque 
and solitary olive tree on the top of the mountain 
enables us to add also the two following lines : 

High at the head a branching olive grows, 

And crowns the pointed cliffs with shady boughs. 

Ithaca, which is also the modern name of the 
island, produces a red wine, which ought to be 
better known, as doubtless it will both in prose and 
verse, if the long talked of university be establish- 
ed there. 

On the 2 1st we sailed for Santa Mauro, which 
we reached on the 22d, and left on the 26th ; and 
on the morning of the 28th arrived at Corfu, the 
island of the ancient Phaeacians. The reputed site 
of Alcinous's gardens is a marsh, and the well of 
Nausicaa lends its waters to turn a flour-mill. 

On the 4th of June we fired a royal salute in 
honour of his late majesty's birth-day, and a sail 
of three hours brought us to anchor off Seyada, on 
the coast of the ancient Epirus, From Seyada 
three days' journey placed us in Joannina, over an 
undulating country abounding in wood, water, and 
pasture ; but neither roads nor accommodation for 


travelers. One night we slept in a church j and 
I wo**ld here advise every person who intends ta 
travel in Albania, to carry with him a mattrestv 
blankets, and sheets if he has not previously re- 
conciled bis akin to the harrowing of a hair-tctoth, 
in which case, he may do aa he pleases. Another 
night* our guide, who came armed with the au- 
thority of the Pasha of Jownina, turned out a* 
fanner and his wife and family to make room 
for us. We knew nothing of it till the following 
day, and our consciences have nothing to answer 

In Joannina we had two interviews with Alt 
Pasha, the tiger of Epirus^ bathed in the Styx, 
among water snakes, efts, leeches, and toads, at 
the wtttfofc or Saint's Ferry, where it is bridged 
by a hundred arches ; saw the fountain of Mars in 
the royal garden, which fires water from stone 
guw > and, after a residence of eight days, set out 
under the escort of a ci-devant captain of banditti, 
And, by the way of the Pentepagidia, or Five Wells, 
arrived at Previsa in three \ thence by the Corin-i 
thian eanal to Patrass, where we arrived on the 14th 
qi Jwe; whence we removed on the 25th, and 
two days 9 sail, in a boat of the country, brought 
us tp Corinth, where we lodged in the house of 
Doctor Simonides, a professed friend of the En- 
glish, and the husband of an aged and killing beauty 
called the Sphinx* 

8 * ATHEN6. 

Pram Corinth two hours* ride brought us to 
Kenchres, on the other side of the Isthmus, where 
still there are barbers, $nd the natives are quite' as 
unlikely to be victors in the Isthmian games as they 
were in the days of Pindar. The traveller here* 
should be able to eat bread and preserved olives. 
We slept all night in a baker's shop ; and sailed 
next morning at six o'clock for Athens ; and ar- 
rived in its beautiful harbour at three, p. m. From 
our having tarried till late on board the Ospray we- 
did not reach the city of Minerva till nine. The citi- 
zens are 10,000 ; the walls are of dry stone, tokeep 
out the plunderers of the night ; the statues are 
broken, the temples in 'ruins ; the disdar, or go- 
vernor of the Acropolis, charges a crown for a 
cup of coffee, a pipe of tobacco, and permission to 
see the antiquities it contains ; the Ilissus is dry, 
the fountain of the muses is troubled, the Areopa- 
gus deserted, the Lyceum unknown, the academy 
doubtful ; the car of night formerly ornamented 
the pediment of the Parthenon, the fragments of 
the horses are now in England, and the sable god 
feigns triumphant over the whole of Greece, whose 
citizens have been slaves for two thousand years. 
A spring of bad water rises in the centre of the 
town, as of old ; but there is good water at the 
fountain of Daphne, which is three miles from 
Athens. We sailed from the Piraeus on the 4th 
of July, and, after some days- delay in port 


0>Raphty, anchored off Marathon on the 10th; 
•This plain is as damp as of yore. Two days 9 resi. 
dence showed us the field, and the monuments of 
its heroes, and gave us two cases of intermittent 
fever. We. sailed for Zea on the 13th, and from it 
for Constantinople on the 14th, where we anchored 
in front of Tapftanes on the 19th. 
, In this the most irregular, and most delightfully si- 
tuated of all towns, the crescent has long since sur- 
mounted the cross, and man has sunk to a level with 
the brutes, the hyena, the sloth, and the tiger ; the 
king of the beasts would be insulted with the com*, 
parison ; the Turjc smokes tobacco, drinks coffee 
and sherbet, and murders the innocent without 
cause j the lion kills, that he may eat. The most 
troublesome animals are the dogs in Constanti- 
nople. Their masters keep the Ramadan for one 
whole month ; but the jnore pious curs keep it all 
the year round : they feast, and prowl about, du- 
ring, the night, and sleep during the day in the 
middle of the streets, there being no horses or car- 
riages to disturb them ; but the unwary passenger 
who treads on one, . had as well touch a snake in 
the grass ; the first hdwl of the shoe?bitten wretch 
calls up his sUiipbertng brethren to his aid, and the 
astonished ganger is instantly assailed by legions 
of hungry tnastiife : so that the old maxim, " let 
sleeping dogs lie," is a good hint to Carry to Con- 
ftantinople. The sultan, the court, the city, the 


citizens, the bazars, the mosques, the cemeteries, 
the wails, and the harbour, Therapia, and Buyufc- 
dere, are all delightfully interesting, but tedious 
to describe. In delivering a letter of introduction 
the stranger need not be surprized if his letter is 
fumigated before it is received, while the person to 
whom it is addressed shakes him by the hand and 
requests him to become an inmate in his house, 
without insisting on a previous fumigation. 

On the evening of the 25th we sailed from Con- 
stantinople, and on the morning of the 27th an- 
chored off Troy, abreast of Yenikui. " There is a 
wounded Greek, Sir, alongside, wishing to speak 
with you," was the first sound that met my ears. 
The call was instantly obeyed, I sprung on deck, 
and descended into the humble bark that bore him 
on the sea, and saw a fine young man in the bloom 
of life suffering from a gunshot wound of eight 
months 1 standing, that had fractured the anterior 
superior spinous process of the right ilium. A 
portion of the bone occupied the orifice of the 
wound, and, adhering by a slight attachment, kept 
up a constant discharge, with much constitutional 
irritation. Having removed the splinter from the 
wound, I cleaned and dressed it, and gave him 
some applications, and directions how to manage it 
in future. His trusty companion laid hold of a 
beautiful lamb that lay beside him in the boat, and 
handed it on board as a compensation for my 


trouble. I remonstrated against receiving any ac- 
knowledgment, but the Greek was determined, and 
rowing off, left it behind. I dare say the men Ma- 
chaon and Podalirius had often done ten times 
more without being so well requited for their pains. 
The sailors affectioned the lamb : he ate biscuit, 
and drank grog, and was named John of Troy. 

Men fought at Marathon ; but the gods con- 
flicted at Troy : and have furnished a poet worthy 
to record their deeds. Virgil and Tasso are delight- 
ful ; but Homer is divine. He sits with Jove on the 
summit of Olympus, while his successors cling to 
the slopes beneath. He is good as well as great ; 
his lines are neither tarnished with infidelity nor 
filth ; his lyre had no string to sound abomination. 
Any wretch may be indecent, or profane, or the 
devil's valet, for a name : to be great without being 
also good, is the ambition of a lunatic or a fiend ; 
it is weak, and wicked, and unworthy of a man. 
To be both great and good is the nearest approach 
that man can make to his Creator. It is worthy of 
the highest ambition ; and if man pressed man with 
eagerness to the goal, who will limit the degree of 
purity and perfection to which we might attain ? 

The field of Troy is best described in the glow- 
ing language of Homer, and the modern features 
of the place correspond in a wonderful degree with 
the descriptions of the bard. The two springs of 
the Bonarbashi, or Scamander, are of equal tern- 


perature : but the site of the wind-swept Ilium is 
48 little known as it was in the days of Alexander 
the Great. Were I asked to 'assign it a place, I 
should name the lofty position between Yenikui 
and Yenisqhechr, the new village at our landing* 
place, and th$ new town below the end of the Si- 
gean promontory dt the entrance of ^he jSfardUu 
pelles. . \ : v 

On the 29th we sailed for Alexandria Troas, and 
thence, on the same day for Paros ; where we vi- 
sited the marble quarries, and after them the grotto 
pf Antiparos, the tombs of Delos and Antidelos, 
and returned b^ Stapchio to Cnidos, Marmorice, 
and Rhodes ; which we left on the 14th of Au- 
gust,/ and on the v 18th anchored in the deep bay 
of Lirneca in Cyj^irf, which we left on the 19th ; 
and £ij v the evening of the 20th, arrived at Bvrout, 
from which we sailed on the 24th for Saide or Si* 
{Jon, thence \o St. Jean d'Acre, and thence to 
Alexandria in Egypt, where we arrived on the 7th 
pf September, and cast anchor in the harbour called 
Eunostus in the better days of this ancient capital. 
From this I commence the particular narrative of 
our trayels. 





Egypt is one of the ntost anciently celebrated 
countries upon earth, and Alexandria is its latest 
if not its greatest heathen capitol, and the first 
that a foreign conqueror ever planted on its soiL 
It is in rubbish j the enemy has levelled its towers, 
and broken down its walls, and the wind from the 
desert has laid it under a load of sand, so tjiat 
hardly a single fragment that appears can be Re- 
ferred to its own original. Impatient to erfplofce 


the venerable ground, we landed at an early hour 
on the morning of the 8th, and having passed 
through the Khan, where a herd of hungry camels 
were baiting after their fatigues, we mounted our 
asses, passed without the gate of the city, and en* 
tered immediately on the field of ruins. Before us, 
in the centre of the scene, enlivened by a few 
Spreading palms, stood a Greek and a Capuchin 
Convent, a buffalo turning a water wheel, a round 
column on our right, and a tall obelisk on our left ; 
but excepting these, all was height alternating with 
hollow, mound rising over mound, with here and 


there the end of a beautifhl column, or the angle 
of an enormous stone cropping out, to break the 
continuity of the drifted sand unconsolidated by 
aught of vegetable growth. 

We directed our course to the door of the Ca- 
puchin Convent, where we found the superior, a 
venerable old man, a native of Genoa, passing here 
under the name of Padre Carlo, who politely offered 
to show us the site of the celebrated church of 
Saint Athanasius. It lies on the north east of the 
convent, and is quite contiguous. The bases of 
many columns of ordinary magnitude marked the 
remains of an extensive edifice; but if any frag- 
ments of colossal grandeur exist, they are all 
buried in the sand. He said the French had made 
excavations in the site of this celebrated Cathedral, 
and had discovered something of great value ; but 
his memory did not serve him to state what it was, 
not even though the word sarcophagus was whis- 
pered in his ear. Close by lay three highly-finished 
columns of Syenite or large-grained Egyptian gra- 
nite, which probably formed. part of the same 
building* The reverend Ciceroni, however, in- 
formed me, that these belonged to the baths of 
Cleopatra. This worthy lady, I afterwards found, 
was the Monsieur n'entend pas of Alexandria j 
every thing was attributed to her when the real 
owner was unknown. The fate of these shattered 
ruins softened the heart of the holy Capuchin, he 



shed tears over the disaster, and bewailing the de- 
cay of Christianity in those lands, left me, and re* 
turned to the Convent, thanking God that he had 
abandoned the world. Continuing the route which 
the friar had pointed out, I came to the Persian 
wheel which was drawn by two buflaloes, and raised 
water to fill the cisterns for the supply of the 
city. This can only be done once a year, and but 
for a short time when the Nile is at its height ; but 
the cisterns being then filled, are sufficient to sup* 
ply the city with excellent water all the year round* 
The same was the case with ancient Alexandria, 
and the same cisterns which held the water for the 
ancient city, also contain it for the modern. It is 
a curious fact, that a great pirt of ancient Alex- 
andria stood upon arches; this circumstance is 
stated by Hirtius, in his continuation of Caesar** 
Commentaries on the war in Africa. Under these 
arches were formed the cisterns that preserved the 
water for the supply of the city. These arches 
stiU exist, and are stated to be partly Greek and 
partly Roman ; but it is no argument in favour of 
the pr<e>**]gHstajn existence of the arch , fix for- 
nix, the word by which it is expressed* denotes a 
building constructed in the form, but not oil the 
principle of the arch, the definition of which ia 
Jbtm* wfip&sus, and, as far as is yet correctly as- 
certained, was not introduced into architecture be- 
fore the time of Augustus. 


- Continuing the route, I came in a few minutes 
to two beautiful obelisks, that once adorned the en- 
trance of the palace of the Ptolemies. One still 
Stands erect, the other lies prostrate on the ground ; 
but both are entire, excepting a small disintegra- 
tion from the action of the weather, on the south 
east side. They are covered with hieroglyphics 
on every side. The tablets refer them to the tern*, 
pies; and statues in Heliopolis and Thebes. They 
are about sixty-four feet high, and eight feet square 
at the base, The one that lies prostrate is mounted 
on props, and; seems as if prepared for a journey : 
I believe accident alone has prevented its being in 

Having surveyed the obelisks, I regained the 
beaten track, and pursued my way to the Rosetta 
gate, along what seemed to have been the prindU 
pal street. On each side lay rows of stately columns 
of marble, all overturned. These are probably the 
remains of that magnificent colonnade, that passed 
between the gates of the sun and moon, adorning 
the principal street of the city, on each side. In 
the numerous excavations, I observed many deep 
foundations, arches, and walls of what had been 
stately buildings ; but could not be certain of re- 
ferring any of them to structures of particular note 
in the ancient city. This is a state of perplexity 
to which the explorer is frequently reduced. He 
traverses the ruins of an ancient metropolis, guided 


by the faint lights which an imperfect history has 
shed over them; he ransacks every creek and 
corner, in hopes of finding something that will give 
order and arrangement to the confusion with which 
he is surrounded j and after plodding through a 
labyrinth of mental discussion, he finishes the sur- 
vey, and retires in doubt. A little way removed to 
the right of our path, two mounds stood pre-emi- 
nent ; distinguished from the others by their magni- 
tude alone. Thither I was directing my course ; 
but the bourichieri informed me that these were 
two Turkish forts, and must not be approached. 
Hie largest, from its commanding situation and 
distance from the great harbour, is probably the suc- 
cessor of the Panium turbinatum ; from the summit 
of which the whole town was distinctly visible. 
The military eye might suspect their present use ; 
but the ordinary observer would not find any thing 
in their appearance to deter his approach. Con- 
tinuing the route, in a little time I passed out by 
the Rosetta gate ; and turning to the left, pro- 
ceeded over the ruins towards the Lochian pro- 
montory. The palace which occupied about one 
third of the town, stretched along in this direction. 
The hollow sound beneath our feet, indicated the 
nature of the mounds over which we were passing ; 
and the sand which had poured down in several 
places, opened a vista into large subterraneous 
chambers, which it was impossible to examine 
vol. i. c 


without much excavation. Detached masse* of 
stone and lime, and brick and lime, of Roman 
manufacture, lay round in great profusion ; and all 
along this east side of the great harbour, ruined 
houses are seen extending a great way into the 
sea, which were probably merged under the sur- 
face of the water, at the time of the fatal earth- 
quake, in which Alexandria lost 50,000 of her citi- 
zens. The island of Antirrhodos* that lay in front 
of the harbour, memorable for the Timonium of 
Mark Anthony, and other buildings, is no where 
to be seen ; it is reported to have been washed 
away; but most probably if disappeared in the 
same dreadful catastrophe. Stretching on to the 
point of the harbour, there is a small Turkish fort* 
occupying the site of the little Pharos $ but it is 
now deserted, and in ruins. 

Retracing my steps I passed by the Rosetta gate, 
and proceeded round the ancient walls of the town 
which were equally buried in sand with the houses 
which they surrounded, and known only by the 
sudden and precipitous rise from the adjacent 
ground. Having travelled about a mile without 
meeting with any thing worthy of notice, I passed 
by a low part in the wall, and came into a large open 
square, probably the Gymnasium : it is covered 
with sand, and surrounded by high mounds on all 
Sides. Adjoining it on the north-west, rises the 
majestic column, which now that the inscription 


has been read, we must call Diocletian's Hilar. It 
is elevated upon a pedestal of about twelve feet 
high, which is much injured ; the shaft of the 
column is round, and rises to about the height 
of ninety feet, and is surmounted by a Corinthian 
capital of about ten feet. The column is one block 
of large-grained granite, the same as that found 
at Assouan. It is nine feet in diameter, with a 
perceptible entesis, without hieroglyphics, and re- 
markably well cut, and very little injured by the 
effects of time. The name to which this column 
was dedicated, being once known, we may naturally 
enquire how it ever came to be called Pompey's 
Pillar; it being as improbable that any of the 
Caesars would sanction the erection of such a monu- 
ment to the memory of their unfortunate antago- 
nist, as that Lewis the XVIIIth would permit a 
column to be erected in memory of Napoleon 
Bonaparte. Ignorant of the real name, some one, 
probably, whispered that of the haughty Roman, 
and the appellation passed down unquestioned to 
future times. 

About a mile to the west of the column, and 
without the walls of the ancient city, are the Cata- 
combs, nearly in as ruinous a condition as the 
city, whose dead they were intended to receive. 
The real entrance to these subterraneous abodes 
is unknown, and the present passes off from the 
sea tike the entrance into a grotto. On arriv- 

c 2 


ing at the spot, we paused a little in the narrow 
passage tcf light our torches, and perform the cus- 
tomary prelusive ceremony of firing off a musket, 
and the still more uncommon one of sounding a 
bugle horn, to announce to the jackals and bats* 
the disgusting tenants of these abodes, that they 
were to be visited by human beings. Then each 
of us, armed with a lighted candle, and preceded 
by our guide, crawled along on our hands and feet 
for about twenty yards, under the horizontal stra- 
tum of calcareous- rock* The first chamber that we 
entered into, was about ten feet square, and rather 
low in the roof; it contained a number of bones, 
and was pervaded by a damp unwholesome smell. 
The next chamber that we entered was larger, and 
higher in the roof, contained many more bones, 
and sarcophagi cut in the side, of the floor for the 
reception of the dead ; and was equally damp with 
the first. The third chamber was half full of sand, 
and showed the entrance into a fourth, which, may 
be called the state chamber ; the door of which 
was adorned with doric pilasters, and a pediment, 
in the Centre of which was a coarse half finished 
globe, surmounted by a crescent This chamber is 
round with three recesses, one fronting the door, 
and one on each hand ; but contained no bones, no 
stony excavations in the form of sarcophagi, and 
very little sand. The other chambers that we en- 
tered were perfectly choked up with sand, and we 


moved on frequently in contact with the ceiling. 
Here there was nothing to be discovered without 
immense labour, and we soon became tired of 
crawling over sand without any object to animate 
tiie pursuit, so we retraced our way through the 
chambers that we had already passed, and regained 
the open air without having been regaled with the 
sight of a jackal, or the -flutter of a bat 

The form of these chambers, the doors, pilasters, 
aud stone troughs, or sarcophagi, show them to be 
entirely Grecian ; in size and proportion they are 
fully equal to the Egyptian -catacombs, in other parts 
of the country ; but in the fitting up, decorations, 
or even preservation, they are not once to be named 
in comparison with the latter. All along the shore 
of this western harbour, are many sepulchres of in* 
considerable note, some of them under the rock 4 
many that are merely cut into it and open to the 
air, and many covered with water under the level 
of the sea. Many baths were also exhibited to us 
jn this quarter, which were named as usual, the 
baths of Cleopatra $ they are small, incommodious, 
and of difficult entrance ; and any that we were 
shown were of a description far too inferior to 
countenance the supposition that they had ever 
been used as baths by that enchanting and luxuri- 
ous queen, the conqueror of the Roman heroes, or 
any of her royal predecessors. Their exposed and 
dreary situation, by the margin of the tombs, ra- 


ther point them out as the common baths for the 
Plebeian multitude of the luxurious and fastidious 

The celebrated light-house that occupied the ex- 
tremity of the west side of the northern, or great 
harbour, is now succeeded by an insignificant for- 
tress. And on that spot from which an hospitable 
ray issued, far and wide, to invite the industrious 
mariner to come and anchor in a peaceful harbour, 
a sullen Mussulman now smokes his pipe; and 
looking from the embrasures insults the Christian, 
and turns him from the gate with disdain. The 
light-house was the wonder of the world, and it is 
to the astonishment of every reflecting mind, that 
the present barbarous possessors of this ancient 
city, should not long since have been civilized, and 
taught to know the blessing of treating all men like 
brethren and friends, 

" I wish to see the living king, and not the dead," 
said Ptolemy, when invited by Augustus to look at 
the dust of the Macedonian hero. The modern 
Alexandria occupies the neck of land that divides 
the two harbours $ * a considerable part of which, is 
the artificial mound that was formed in the time of 
Alexander the Great, to unite the island of Pharos 
with the continent. It is surrounded by a high 
stone wall, entered by four gates, and contains 
about 14,000 inhabitants. The streets are narrow, 
dirty, and irregular ; the houses are from two to 


three stories high, strong, and substantial ; but of 
a remarkably dull appearance, from there being few 
windows to the streets, to prevent the interchange 
of sympathetic looks between the passengers and 
the wives and daughters of the Moslem inhabitants. 
The bazars are few, but amply provided with cloth, 
tobacco, pipes, sherbet, and vegetables. The fe- 
males seldom go abroad, except on holidays, to 
visit the tombs of their departed relatives. Those 
whom the traveller meets in the street, are gene- 
rally old, ill-dressed, and veiled, after the manner 
of die East, where the display of female charms 
in form, finery, and conversation, is entirely con- 
fined to the domestic circle, the society of their 
husbands, or that of their own sex. Hence the 
gloomy aspects of the men, the dull and insipid ap- 
pearance of their most frequented streets ; which 
is not compensated for by meeting the Turk, the 
Arab, the Copt, the Greek, the Jew, the French, 
the English, the Italian, or the German, in all the 
diversity of feature and costume of their different 
countries : nothing that falls under the eye of man 
can supply the absence of his lively and intelligent 
companion, who is equally vapid when removed 
from his presence. 

In this season of the year the streets of Alexan- 
dria are particularly dirty and disagreeable, on ac- 
count of the laying in of water for the supply of 
the whole of the ensuing twelve months. The iuu 


vigable canal that formerly brought the water of 
the river to the walls of the city, is now so ob- 
structed with mud, that the water does not flow 
into it except during the short period that the in- 
undation of the Nile is at its height. Since the 
above was written, this canal has been again cleared 
out, and rendered navigable by the exertions of 
the present politic and enlightened ruler of Egypt » 
but the operation of the same causes is likely soon 
to render it equally impassable as before j the pro- 
ducts arising from the facility of commerce not 
being able to defray the expence of keeping it in 
repair. During this season of filling the cisterns, 
the traveller can hardly stop for a moment to con* 
template any object that may have arrested his 
attention, without being jostled on the back by a 
leathern bag full of water, hanging on the lank 
sides of a raw boned camel, towering along in her 
majestic pace to deposit it in the reservoirs. One 
troop after another occupies the streets during the 
whole of the day. Equal in employ, though nobler 
in descent, our fellow-man mixes in the carrying 
train; and crowds of human beings half .naked, 
parade the streets with leathern sacks full of water * 
suspended from their shoulders, and resting upon 
their jiaked back and breast, sometimes with a cup 
in their hands, they call upon you to purchase a 
glassful of water ; at other times they pass quietly 
on, and deposit their burden in the reservoir along 


with their fellow-labourers, the camels. Which is 
the greater object of compassion, the man whose 
luckless fate subjects him to be the yokefellow of 
a beast, or the relentless miscreant who enthrals 
and condemns him to the degrading office? 
Strength is but a part of our nature, and he, 
that in the exercise of power, forgets or despises 
the feelings of humanity, is but the fraction of a 

The wharf presents an active scene of ships 
building, vessels loading, and taking in their car- 
goes, with heaps of grain, and bales of goods piled 
up along the shore. But the European stranger 
is particularly struck with the crowds of naked 
porters that ply their busy task, and the swarms of 
horrid beggars that constantly importune, and har- 
row up the feelings of his heart. Removed at a 
little distance to the west of the quay, stands the 
residence of the Pasha, on the long and narrow pe- 
ninsula of the Pharos ; it is a solitary building in 
the midst of sand. We applied for permission to 
see it, but his highness was daily expected, and 
the favor could not be obtained. 

It was impossible to leave Alexandria without 
paying a visit to the glorious field of the 21st of 
March. Thither my friend, Mr Thurburn, hand- 
somely offered to accompany us, and at the same 
time provided us with excellent horses for the ex- 
cursion. Having cleared the Rosetta Gate, we 


travelled about two miles, and came to the elevat* 
fed position of the French lines, stretching along 
the heights from what was the lake Mareotis to the 
sea. About two miles farther on, we reached the 
station of our gallant countrymen, having passed 
through a rough and sandy plain. Advancing in 
front of the ruin, where raged the hottest of the 
battle, we found a six-pound shot lying in the sand. 
This was the only messenger of death that present- 
ed itself to our eyes ; but numbers of the same 
description have not unfrequently been found by 
others. This ruin has been called the remains of a 
Roman fort ; to me it appeared to be those of a ca- 
ravansary, and, though greatly dilapidated, would 
still afford many advantages to the occupier in the 
hour of conflict. Here we alighted, and led our 
horses among the tombs of the departed heroes, 
Which are now level with the ground and almost 
imperceptible. One monumental stone which his 
sorrowing companions had erected to the memory 
of Colonel Dutens, and inscribed with his name, 
was the only memorial that we saw upon the field. 
We raised it from its prostrate situation among the 
sand, and having restored it to the erect posture 
which it had originally possessed, rode over to the 
canal, and returned to Alexandria. In our way 
thither we passed through a party of Bedouin 
Arabs, who, with their flocks, having consumed the 
straggling vegetation of the place, had struck their 


tents, and were bundling up their goods prepara- 
tory to their removing to other quarters. After a 
considerable detour round the walls, we returned 
through the ruins of the ancient city, and arrived 
at the station from which w6 had set out. 

In the modern passion for exploring the ruins 
of ancient towns, the site of Alexandria has been 
unaccountably neglected. Yet this is the door 
by which the Egyptian antiquary ought to enter 
upon his researches. Alexandria was the connect- 
ing link between the Egyptian and the Grecian 
world ; ^where the obscure and symbolical writings 
of the one were interpreted into the well-known 
and almost universal language of the other. This 
is the place to search for the key that will unlock 
the hidden mysteries of the hieroglyphics. Here, 
for the first time, as far as we know, the sacred lan- 
guage of the priests was translated into the lan- 
guage of the country, and the language of its 
conquerors; and if any corresponding alphabet 
exists to enable us to know the value of each sym- 
bolical character used in the sacred writing of the 
ancient Egyptians, it is more likely to be found 
among the ruins of this city of interpreters than in 
any other place. All that learning and ingenuity 
can do has already been done ; yet we do not know 
the value of a single character, nor the principle of 
using it, nor so much as a word in the language ; 
no man living can write the name of George the 
Fourth in hieroglyphics, or tell the import of any 


one of the characters that composes the tablet 
said to answer the name of Ptolemy in the Rosetta 
inscription, nor how that was pronounced when 
written. Conjecture may dress up a plausible tale, 
yet still it is but conjecture, and not truth. It is 
to be hoped that some future traveller will devote 
a portion of his time to explore the ruins of Alex- 
andria ; and we heartily wish that his efforts may 
be crowned with the invaluable discovery of an in- 
terpreting alphabet of the hieroglyphics. Much 
was destroyed by the undiscerning owelty of the 
Roman emperors, much by the Saracens, and much 
by the Turks ; yet many valuable relics still exist 
in its rubbish, and that may be among the number. 
In regard to the motley population of the modern 
Alexandria, I had but little opportunity of judging 
of it, as we lived on board during the whole of the 
time that we remained in the place. I have already 
mentioned the Greek and the Roman Catholic 
hierarchy, who seemed to be sufficiently well ac- 
commodated in their respective convents, which 
were provided with chapels of a competent size to 
receive the votaries of their own persuasion. I vi- 
sited one Coptic church that was very much out 
of repair, and did not appear to possess any thing 
of consequence. The chair of Saint Mark, the 
boasted possession and seat of the patriarch of 
Alexandria, no longer exists ; and the venerable 
father of the Coptic church has removed his resi- 
dence to Cairo. 


The air of this extinguished capital, that might 
be reputed ancient in any other country but Egypt, 
is hot and sultry, from the constant action of a 
burning sun on the uncovered rock and sand with 
which it is surrounded; and the plague rages in 
the city for nearly nine months a year. In the 
days of its Grecian fame it was healthy and de- 
lightful i the banks of the Mareotis were planted 
with trees, laid out in gardens, intersected with 
walks, and watered by canals. All these have 
withered, and disappeared from the scene. In 
vain has the present ruler opened one of its canals 
for trade ; unless he can vanquish the drifting sand, 
restore the villages and cultivation along its banks, 
he is rolling the stone of Sisyphus; the effects of 
his labour will soon be obliterated, and rock and 
sand, with the lizard and the camelion, obtain pos- 
sessipn of the field, as they had in September 1817. 
But it is time to prosecute our voyage : Alexan- 
dria is not Egypt ; which, he that hath not seen, 
hath not seen the greatest rarity in the world. 

t *> 3 




At five o'clock on the morning of the «2d of 
September, the djerm that was to convey us to 
Rosetta, came alongside ; the luggage was imme- 
diately arranged, and transferred to it from the 
comfortable Ospray, which, from the nature of the 
navigation, we all regretted could not carry us to 
Cairo: and at seven o'clock we all got on board, 
and set out for a fresh water cruise. 

The 4jerm is a vessel built expressly for carry- 
ing grain, and for the navigation between Alexan- 
dria and Rosetta. It is from fifty to seventy feet 
long, without a deck, draws but little water, and 
with a powerful lettine sail, passes over shallows 
where lighter vessels of a different construction 
would probably be stranded. An awning was 
spread over the vessel, to shelter us from the rays 
of the sun. Our excursion into Albania had 
taught us to carry our hammocks along with us ; 
and thus accommodated, with a favorable breeze, 
we left the port of Alexandria in full expectation 
of reaching Rosetta that night, which is the usual 
course of the voyage. However, we had scarcely 
rounded the low rocky point of the Pharos, when 


the wind fell low, shifted, and then gradually died 
away, and we put into the bay of Aboukir, to pass 
the night 

This bay, rendered for ever memorable in En* 
glish history, by the celebrated victory of Lord 
Nelson over the naval armament of France, is of 
considerable extent, and opens to the north. There 
is a small island at the entrance, which, in com* 
memoration of that achievement, the British tars 
call Nelson's Island. All around the bay is en- 
circled, with palm trees of fresh and luxuriant 
growth, forming a pleasing contrast with the brown 
sand that covers the whole of the surrounding soil* 
We landed, to try its uncertain base, and walked 
to survey a caravansary that lay at a short di- 
stance from the shore. Here we found a number 
of men who had paused under the shade, and 
lighted a fire to dress a few lentils and other pro- 
visions to refit them for continuing their journey,. 
Separated by a respectful interval from their mas- 
ters, the camels were resting between their bur- 
dens, and ranged up in two parallel rows facing 
each other like so many human beings seated at a 
table, were enjoying their repast of grain and cut 
straw, and from their happy countenances, seemed 
quite as much contented with their situation, as 
their masters were with theirs. 

He is mistaken who imagines that he will find 
in a caravansary any thing like the accom m oda t ion 


which he meets with at an inn in cultivated Eu* 
rope. Shade from the sun, and protection from 
the plunderers of the night, are all that they pro* 
mise, and more than the one at Aboukir can afford. 
All provisions and articles of comfort and conve- 
nience both for himself and his animals, the travel- 
ler must carry along with him, and must either 
dress them himself, or wait till his servant dresses 
them for him. 

. Next morning the breeze sprung up at an early 
hour, and we immediately spread our sails to catch 
the coming gale, which was light and variable 
during the whole of the day, and we got on so 
slowly, that the sun had almost refused us his 
light to pass the bogas (throat) or bar of sand at 
the mouth of the Nile. The passing of this bar is 
neither without difficulty nor danger. The sands 
in the bottom are constantly shifting; and that 
part which is passable to-day will probably not be 
so to-morrow. The surf is high, from the opposi- 
tion of the bank, and from the constant eddying of 
the water; when the wind is violent, there is great 
danger of the vessel being overset. However, 
with the skilful guidance of our pilot, who had 
been sounding and waiting for us for two days be- 
fore, and the force of our lettine sail, we got over 
without much difficulty, although we struck the 
ground, and stuck for a considerable time in seve- 
ral places. The bar surmounted, we were imme- 

ROS&TTA. 33 

diately in the river; and the change from the 
tossing of the surf, to the tranquil movement in 
the majestic Nile, was instantaneous, and delightful* 
to all. The water is immediately fresh, without 
any brackish intermixture; but the overflowing 
stream being then at its height, was deeply im- 
pregnated with mud ; that, however, did not deter 
the thirsty mariners frdm drinking of it ^rdfosely. 
If I itfere to live five hundred years I shall never for* 
get the eagerness with which they let down and 
pulled up the pitcher and swigged off its contents, 
whistling and smacking their fragbrs, and calling 
out ' tayeep, tayeep, go6d, g6od,' as if bidding defi- 
ance to the whole world to produce such another 
draught Most of the party, induced by their ex* 
ample, tasted also of the far-famed waters, and 
having tasted, pronounced them of the finest relish, 
notwithstanding the pollution of clay and mud 
with which they were contaminated; a decision 
which we never had occasion to revoke during the 
whole time of our stay in Egypt, or even since. 
The water in Albania is good ; but the water of 
the Nile is die finest? in the world. 

Our partiality for the stream, however, did not 
make us forget its bank* covered with rows of the 
verdant palm-tree, that seertted advancing to meet 
us on our progress, ndr the rice-covered fields of 
tft6 Delta stretching out to a viewless distance be- 
yond^ nor tie fertile islands lipping with ite edge 

VOL. I. D 




and living on its bounty. All formed a delightful 
assemblage to enchant the eye of the traveller, fa- 
* tigued and exhausted with the unvarying prospect 
of sand and sea. The breeze held on, and, impelled 
against the current, we seemed to move with a ra- 
pidity greater than real ; and the joy of being on 
the Nile so filled our hearts, that we had reached 
Rosetta before we ceased to gaze with admiration 
upon his venerable banks $ a distance of nearly four 

.Immediately on our arrival, though late and 
dark, the British consul came on board to pay his 
respects to the noble travellers, and to conduct us 
to two maashes which he had engaged to convey the 
whole party up the Nile. Our . engagement with 
the djerm being over the moment that we reached 
Rosetta, we left it, and transferred all our effects on 
board the new-hired vessels, where we took up our 

The maash is the largest vessel on the Nile, 
and cannot navigate it at low water, or above four 
months in the year. It is fitted up both as a pas- 
sage and a carriage boat. It has two cabins in the 
after-part, one for the men, and another for the 
women, who, according to the Oriental custom, 
must not dwell together in the same aparment. 
The fore-part of the vessel is for the reception of 
goods or grain, of whiefr it will contain from 150 
to 200 tons, or evenmore. We found them upon 



tlie whole extremely agreeable, and provided with 
a sufficient number of bugs to amuse us during the 
night when we closed our eyes upon the scenes 
that cheered and delighted us during the day. 
The cabins are continuous, covered above, and 
look like wooden boxes raised up in the after-part of 
the vessel; they are divided by a wooden partition, 
and enter from one another through the women's 
cabin, and have also an entrance from the stern of the 
vessel. In the front, or men's cabin, which had 
two windows on each side, we swung three ham- 
mocks with perfect freedom, and in the other, two. 
An awning was spread in front of the men's cabin, 
which afforded us a convenient place for break- 
fasting in, and a shade for moving about with a 
greater freedom of air than we could respire in the 
cabin. When we wished to enjoy a more exten- 
sive prospect, we ascended to the top of our cabins, 
that is, on deck, where the steersman managed the 
helm, and gave directions for navigating the vessel. 
The maash has two masts, and two most powerful 
lettine sails. 

Next morning's sun presented us with a busy 
scene in front of Rosetta. Three immense heaps, 
or I should rather call them mounds of grain, lay 
upon the wharf in the open air. Two were of 
wheat and one of Egyptian beans ; both dried so 
hard with the sun that no mill in this country is 
capable of grinding them ; and even in Egypt the 



grain must be dampt and softened before it can be 
manufactured into flower. These mounds an in- 
numerable crowd of naked porters were diminish- 
ing and augmenting as fast as they could run to 
and fro to load and unload the different craft as 
they arrived. Several clerks stood by noting down 
the amount of every man's burden, according to 
which he is paid, and the amount of his utmost 
labour seldom yields him more than threepence a 
day. Nothing surprized us more than to see the 
broad shoulders, the muscular and brawny limbs 
pf these bearers of burdens, which was quite equal 
to that of the better fed London porters, contrasted 
with their hungry fare of boiled lentils, bread and 
water,, with a pipe of tobacco for a dessert when 
they could afford it. If the body grew in propor- 
tion to the quantity of food that the individual 
consumes, the London porter with his fat pork, his 
knead and beer, ought to surpass in dimensions at 
least five of the Egyptians. 

Rosetta is a large town, and well situated on the 
west bank of the Nile, about four miles from its 
junction with the sea. The natives call it Raschid, 
and pretend that here the Kalif Haroun Al Raschid 
first saw the light It is about a inile long, with 
one principal street, two smaller, and & n^n^ber of 
cross streets. The houses are large, of from two 
to three stories high, with flat roofs. The streets 
are narrow and extremely dusty, having never 


been watered since they were made, although the 
Nile flows close to the town. Adjoining it on the 
north there are many gardens of private individuals, 
surrounded with high walls, and containing pome- 
granate, date, citron, orange, and other fruit-trees 
for their own use's. To the west are plantations 
of palm-trees, to which the mass of the population 
may retire from the burning sun to talk and smoke, 
and enjoy the fresh and cooling shade. 

This reputed birth-place of the celebrated Kalif 
was probably built by his son, and owes its existence 
to the obstruction of the navigation by the canal 
of Alexandria and Canopus. It has a linen manu- 
factory, and a manufactory for hatching chickens by 
artificial heat without incubation ; and birds start 
from the shell at the call of an old wife, who, with 
a human tongue in her head, condescends to click 
like a hen to people Egypt with chickens ; but its 
principal trade is in grain, and the conveyance of 
European goods to Cairo, which are sent round in 
boats from Alexandria. It has nothing either an- 
cient or modern to interest the traveller, and there 
was no inducement for us to remain in it any 
longer than the time that was necessary to make 
our arrangements for the voyage to Cairo, which 
being completed by two o'clock p. m. of the day 
after our arrival, the 25th of September, we loosed 
from the bank and set forward on board the two 
inaashes already mentioned. 


Nothing could exceed the picturesque beauty of 
our setting off; it was instantaneous like the magi- 
cal operation of an inchanter. In one moment the 
two immense lettine sails were given to the wind, 
ancLfrom our station on the shore we were going 
at the rate of five or six knots an hour, with the 
appearance of going eight or ten. This rapid mo- 
tion along the rich and verdant banks of the Nile 
is extremely delightful. The northern breeze so 
tempered the scorching heat, that we were enabled 
to remain on deck and enjoy the prospect in all its 
beauty. We soon passed a few scanty ruins on 
the right, where the bank is high and covered with 
sand. On both sides a number of Persian wheels 
were at work raising water to moisten the contigu- 
ous ground. They are drawn by buffaloes, or 
mules, or cows, with their eyes covered, and fre- 
quently kept going both night and day. When 
the peasant is not sufficiently rich to afford a Per- 
sian wheel to irrigate his farm, a rude machine on 
the principle of the lever or shears, is constructed 
in the bank of the river. The construction is ex- 
tremely simple, and is done in the following man- 
ner. A niche is dug in the bank a little below the 
surface of the water, each side is elevated with 
mud to about the height of ten feet ; a beam of 
wood is then laid across the two walls, and, secured 
at each end, serves as a support to the lever, a long 
piece of wood which is laid across it, and to which 


it is loosely attached by a rope ; a mass of clay is 
then stuck on one end of the lever, and a bucket 
and a string on the other ; and a naked man, sit- 
ting in the niche, works the machine by pulling 
down the lever and filling the bucket, and then 
raising and emptying it into the watercourse, 
which conducts it away to moisten the roots of the 
growing plant, or to repose in beds on the newly 
turned-up ground. All happiness is relative; and 
it is of little importance what a man eats or drinks ; 
if the fare is wholesome, the body will thrive. 
This daggled wretch, but little elevated above his 
machine, is in a good habit of body, and stript to 
the skin, plies his ignoble task, and sings and 
whistles the whole day long. Sometimes two are 
in one niche ; and when the river is low, there are 
relays of niches, more, or fewer, as may be required 
to raise the water to the proper level for irrigation. 
Rice fields prevail on the Delta. Indian corn, 
but chiefly dhourra, on the Lybian side. The 
sailing is extremely delightful; every thing seems 
in action, and the eye is constantly refreshed by 
the continually varying shades of green, the flights 
of the paddy birds along the fields, and the heads 
of the buffaloes floating like logs of wood upon the 
water, while their bodies are immersed beneath. 
This animal is not exhibited on the tombs or tem- 
ples, and probably did not belong to ancient 
Egypt The villages are numerous, generally large, 


built of sun-dried brick, and, with the- whitened 
dome of a mosque, a minaret, or a pigeon-bouse, 
embosomed in a grove of palm-trees, present in 
the distance a most enchanting prospect. They 
stand on eminences apparently artificial. Many 
of the houses, or rather huts, are very small, from 
ten to twelve feet square ; the roofs flat, and co- 
vered with reeds or the straw of the dhourra ; the 
streets are merely narrow tracks, and dreadfully 
dusty. The male population seem mostly of the 
rank of labourers, and for the greater part of the 
day go naked, with merely a piece of cloth tied 
round their \vai3t. Some of them wear blue shirts, 
with a piece of rope or a handkerchief tied round 
their waist, and a turban round their heads. The 
females wear a dark blue stuff made of wool, which 
very much resembles our serge, and is called 
beteen ; a piece of which is also thrown over the 
head and shoulders, and held before the face with 
the hand, so as completely to cover it, with the 
exception of a small opening for the eyes. But 
we saw many females who wore no other covering 
than a loose blue cotton shift. In the whole course 
of this day's sail, we saw nothing in the rank of 
a gentleman or lady, nor any thing at all re- 
sembling the residence of a country 'squire, to 
give interest and variety to the landscape. These 
are valuables which England has not yet learped 
to export ; they are natives of no other clime, and 

FOUA. 41 

least of all likely to be found in a province of de- 
spotic Turkey. In the evening we arrived at 
Foua, and the breeze having died away, we made 
fast to the bank, and remained for the night. 
Foua is still a large town, situated on the Delta, 
and about twenty-five miles above Rosetta. Be- 
fore reaching it, we passed the entrance of a canal 
on the Lybian side, with very high banks, probably 
the Canopic Canal. Early next morning, bands of 
females, dressed as above described, came down 
to draw water from the river. Having washed 
their hands and feet, they filled their earthenware 
pitchers, lifted them on their heads, or assisted 
each other in so doing, and hied them away, with- 
out staying to hold conversation with each other. 
What an astonishing machine is that of a despotic 
government ! It was the first time in my life that 
I ever saw a number of females meet and separate 
without talking, and laughing, and gossipping to- 
gether. They are generally tall and slender,; and 
not much indebted to nature for fine faces ; but 
they have a disconsolate and unhappy air, plainly 
evincing that their home is riot an elysium of en- 

About nine o'clock the breeze sprung up, and 
we instantly made sail. About eight miles above 
Foua we passed the canal of Alexandria at Rah- 
manieh, and nearly the same scenery occurred in 
this as in the former day's sailing; only the islands 

42 FOUA. 

were more numerous, . and the stream being more 
divided, ran with greater force and rapidity. 
When the current was overpowering, the vessel 
approached the side, and the sailprs stript off their 
shirts, or whatever scanty clothing they wore, 
leaped into' the river, and, having swam ashore 
with a rope, tracked the vessel up against the 
stream. This occurred several times, both to-day 
and yesterday, and continued to be the case more 
or less during the whole of our voyage up the 
Nile. There were twelve sailors on board each 
vessel, and it was no uncommon thing to see the 
whole twenty-four perfectly naked on the bank at 
the same time pulling us along. On board they 
were always clothed. Besides the twelve sailors, 
every boat had a Reis, or head man, and a steers- 
man, who had the principal charge of navigating 
the vessel, and who remained always at the helm, 
except at the time of meals and prayers, when he 
was relieved by the Reis, or one of the sailors. 
The prayers were never neglected. 

Each party breakfasted, and spent the forenoon 
on board its own boat ; but we all dined on board 
the boat of Lord Belmore, where the whole of 
the, cooking was performed. When the hour of 
dinner arrived, the vessel that was first, slackened 
sail and waited for the arrival of the other, and 
pulling up alongside, we stepped with ease on board 
his lordship's maash, and then the vessels moved 


on as before. Thus we had both retirement and 
society. About five o'clock, p. m. we were oppo- 
site to Sath-haggar. Here the Reis was extremely 
anxious that we should remain all night, on ac- 
count of the sailors, whose wives resided here, 
and whom, he said, they had not seen for fifteen 
days. However, the sun was high, the breeze fa- 
vourable, and we being impatient to get on, the 
motion of the Reis was not complied with. Though 
some of the most uxorius tars leapt ashore, ran 
off, saw their wives, and joined the vessel next 
morning. Sath-haggar, or as it is sometimes writ* 
ten, Sael-haggar, is about three miles distant from 
the river, and occupies the site of the ancient 
Sais, the ancient capital of the Delta, renowned for 
the wisdom of its philosophers, and the worship of 
the goddess of wisdom, whom they denominated 
Neith. This goddess was accompanied by the 
owl; and it is probably her image that we fre- 
quently meet with in Egypt, decorated with an 
helmet resembling that which the Athenians give 
to Minerva. The Athenians were a colony from 
Sais, and doubtless carried along with them the 
worship of Neith, whom they denominated Pallas, 
or Minerva, accompanied by the same mysterious 
companion. There was at Sais a monolithic tem- 
ple placed in front of the temple of Neith. Exte- 
riorly this immense block of stone was twenty-one 
cubits long, fourteen broad, and eight high. The 


size of the chamber within was eighteen feet long, 
twelve feet broad, and five feet high. And exclusive 
of the time required for working it, it employed two 
thousand men for three years to bring it down 
from the island of Elephantina, at the extremity 
of Egypt, a distance of between 600 and 700 
miles. Here, too, is said to have been the tomb 
of their god Osiris. A scanty village and an im- 
mense mound of rubbish, are all that remain of the 
former grandeur of Sais. Nor am I informed that 
excavation has discovered any thing farther than a 
few coins with the head of Minerva on one side, 
and that of her dearly beloved owl on the other. 

About ten o'clock, as on the preceding evening, 
the wind fell low, and we made fast to the eastern 
bank for the night. There was a small village at 
the distance of, about a quarter of a mile from the 
river, to which we walked next morning ; but it 
offered nothing worthy of observation. The wo- 
men covered their faces on our approach, and those 
who were near fled into the houses. The men 
stood silent, in the most perfect apathy, and neither 
testified joy nor aversion to our visit. There was 
a number of empty cauldrons standing in the open 
air, that appeared to have been employed in boil- 
ing vegetables for the people, as if they had fed 
like so many herds of cattle. Narrow and dusty 
passages went from house to house, but none of 
them deserved the name of streets. A small canal 


passed in front, and it appeared from it as if the 
Nile had been subsiding, although we were assured 
that it was then at its height. The ground around 
was completely drenched with water, so that it 
was impossible to walk over any part of it* This 
renders it necessary to form the artificial elevations 
for the villages, as well as the artificial roads which 
we frequently meet with leading from one village 
to another. But the water, as far as I saw, was 
always stagnant upon the ground, and a large con- 
tinuous sheet of water was of rare occurrence dur- 
ing any part of the voyage. And, as fer as I had an 
opportunity of judging, by means of canal* the hus- 
bandman could have the power of regulatiog/the cob> 
tinuance of the water, on many porta, at his pleasure. 
I speak of an ordinary inundation, as this was, and 
which in this country must be truly fertilizing, and 
it is hailed with symptoms and songs of rejoicing, 
as in times of old. The effects of an excessive 
inundation, however, must be truly alarming. 
For at present four-fifths of the whole surface of 
the country is covered with half-grown crops of 
rice and dbourra ; and if the water rises so high 
as to flow in a current stream over the ground, 
these will not only be lodged and destroyed, but 
tfje soil that is prepared to receive the ensuing 
crop, on. the subsiding, of the water, must be 
swept ^way wi& ow^ villages, and cattle, and be 
followed. by a season of scarcity and distress. 


The wind did not spring up till a late hour oft 
the morning of the 27th, and it was mid-day be- 
fore we were enabled to proceed on our voyage. 
After six hours sailing through the same kind of 
scenery, we arrived at the top of the Delta. Here 
there is a number of small islands broken off by the 
force of the stream from the apex of this triangu- 
lar flat, against which it falls with considerable 
weight The whole body of the river seems di- 
vided into three streams ; one falls off to the Da- 
mietta branch, the other to the Rosetta branch, and 
the third finds its way among the islands, and after- 
wards joins the Rosetta division. This shedding 
of the waters, however, takes place a considerable 
way above the apex of the Delta, where the chan- 
nel of the river is very broad, and elevated like a 
ridge in the centre, whence the stream falls off in a 
gentle descent on each side, which weakens the 
force of it on the opposing bank. From this point 
we were informed that the pyramids are visible ; 
but by the time that we had done with gazing on 
the islands, and the division of the waters, the haze 
and the shades of the evening had settled over the 
land, and we could not say that we discerned them. 
The breeze continued, however, and we held on 
our watery way ; and at ten o'clock arrived at 
Bulac, the port of Cairo, and, not choosing to force 
our entrance in the dark among the innumerable 
craft that crowded the harbour, we made fast to an 

CAIRO. 47 

island opposite, and waited for the light of day 
to show us the Saracenic capitol, in the land of 
the Pharaohs. 

As soon as the morning sun had gladdened the 
earth, we wedged our way to the shore. Forth- 
with a messenger was despatched to Mr. Salt, his 
majesty's consul general, to acquaint him of our 
arrival ; while we sat on deck and considered the 
prospect before us. About a hundred vessels of 
the same description with our own crowded the 
harbour, all engaged in carrying corn to Rosetta 
for his highness the Pasha. About five hundred 
houses from one to two stories high, almost heaped 
upon one another, occupied the bank inhabited 
by three or four times that number of the most 
lubberly looking set of the Almighty's creatures 
that had ever in the course of life's long journey 
presented themselves to my eyes. Long beards, 
long mustachios, long clothes, long turbans, bare 
necks, bare feet, sun-burnt faces, all covered with 
sweat, smoke, dirt, dust, vermin, and tobacco, every 
thing smelt and looked of pest; and such a jabbering 
of Arabic rung upon our ears, interposing a thick 
and impenetrable veil between the eyes of our 
understanding and the beings among whom we had 
come to sojourn, that our spirits sunk within us 
at the prospect before us, though still we were glad 
at being here. 

We had now left behind us the extensive and 

48 CAIRO. 

level fields of the Delta, and the rock approaching 
the river on each hand bounded our prospect to a 
couple of miles east and west. Removed about 
three miles to the south, the hoary pyramids of 
Gheesa, the wonder both of past and present ages, 
met our anxious gazfe, inviting a nearer approach to 
examine their grandeur and solidity that here 
seemed diminished, and less than real. Mean- 
time our messenger returned accompanied by Mr. 
Salt, who was no sooner informed of the arrival of 
the noble travellers, than he politely came to wel- 
coffte them to Cairo, and to invite them to take up 
their abode in his own excellent and comfortable 
mansion ; bringing along with him the Pasha's car- 
riage for lady Befanore, and a horse for his lordship. 
Shortly after the arrival of his worship, we all pre- 
pared to accompany him thither. Hackney coaches 
were not to be had for the rest of the party; as for 
the health of the citizens that wish to avoid conta* 
gion, there is no such abominable luxury in Cairo* 
But stands of asses saddled and bridled, with their 
drivers to attend them, are nearly as common there 
as stands of hackney coaches in London. Of these 
Egyptian ponies the consul's janizary soon pro- 
cured us a sufficiency, and mounted on their backs, 
we flattered ourselves that we had no uninteresting 
or unpicturesque appearance. Thus prepared for 
a slow and graceful march, to observe and note 
down on the page of memory, dvery unusual oc~ 

CAIRO* 49 

tmrrence, and particularly to record the impressions 
that were made on our minds by the first sight of 
this celebrated city. On commencing the journey, 
however, instead of the measured pace which we 
had contemplated, our Jerusalem chargers started 
at full gallop, as if they had been for a face, and 
slap after slap the drivers cut them up behind, so 
that it required all our skill in the art of donkey 
navigation to keep upon their backs. In vain did we 
call out avast, avast, stop, stop, in French, English, 
or Italian. The wretches only understood us as if 
we meant them to quicken their pace, and plied our 
4sses hotter and hotter ; moving with such velocity 
we soon cast a douple of miles behind our backs, 
and arrived at the walls of grand Cairo. We en* 
tered by the gate Eschbeckeer, or bab Esbeckeer ; 
and having passed by a lake of the same name, filed 
alottg a tolerably broad and crooked street, till we 
came to a large wooden door on our left, which 
brought us immediately into die Frank quarters, and 
speedily within the premises of our iriend the Con- 
sul-general. As soon as we came within the walls of 
the city, it surprised us not a little to find that our 
whipsters, who had always kept behind, and lashed 
on our asses with such unmerciful vengeance, began 
to slacken their movements, and advanced cheek-by- 
jole with ourselves* Different articles of provisions, 
sweetmeats, and other temptations, were exposed for 

VOL. I. E 

50 CAIRO. 

sate in the windows, and the bourichieri pulling 
aside their clothes, pointed to their hollow stomachs 
and fleshless ribs ; intimating that they had not 
eaten any thing that day, that they were exces- 
sively hungry, and begged for a backshish, or 
piece of money to purchase a morsel of bread. All 
this being said in Arabic, though accompanied with 
the most indescribable pantomime, of course we 
were not obliged to understand one single syllable 
of it, and the glowing rhetoric of the young 
Rosciuses, fell upon impervious ears. However, 
when the Janizary of his worship the Consul-gene- 
ral came to settle the account with them for his lord- 
ship, we observed that the backshish, though not 
nominally was virtually and truly a part of the fare. 
And we afterwards found that in bargaining with 
an Arab, the most successful way is to stipulate for 
a certain amount, as the bare reward of his services, 
and which by the laws of the country he can compel 
you to pay ; but over and above to promise a con- 
ditional reward, which is entirely in your own option, 
and which is to be more, or less, in proportion as 
you are pleased, or the service is well and agreeably 
performed. And he goes away more highly grati- 
fied with an inconsiderable fare and a large back- 
shish, than if he were to receive a larger stipulated 
sum and no backshish at all. One shilling for his 
hire, and two-pence of backshish would be more 

CAIRO. 51 

highly prized by, and more congenial to the feel* 
ings of an Arab, than eighteen-pence for the same 
job, and no backshish at all. The prospect of 
personal advantage quickens his zeal, as the jaded 
steed will trot when he smells his corn. 



cairo— nrs coarrfctftft — and tub pasha. 

We are now on English ground, the house of the 
representative of his Britannic Majesty is part of the 
British empire. And in Cairo it is a part not unwor- 
thy of the name or office of its possessor, being an ex* 
cellent house in itself, accompanied with the luxury 
of a small, but comfortable garden, surrounded 
with a high wall, planted with trees, and inter- 
sected with walks, to which the principal Franks in 
the town, both male and female, resort on certain 
days in the week, to meet their friends, and walk 
about and enjoy themselves. Here we met with 
our countrymen the Hon. Captain Irby, and Cap- 
tain Mangles, R.N. two enterprising and intelligent 
travellers, who had lately returned from an excur- 
sion in to Nubia, as far as the second cataract of 
the Nile, in company with Mr. Belzoni, whom they 
had assisted very powerfully in opening the temple 
of Absambul, in that neighbourhood. Mr. Briggs, 
the firm and invariable friend of English travellers 
in Egypt, was, at that time, in India j but we ex- 
perienced much kindness and attention, and every 
facility in transacting our business from his friend 
and partner Mr. Walmas. Here we also enjoyed, 

caklo. 63 

though for a short and inconsiderable time, the en- 
lightened and agreeable society of the lamented 

O! -for the gift of tongues is most fervently 
prayed by the traveller, who feels, himself trans- 
ported into the midst of grand Cairo, with an an- 
xiety to know this boast of the Saracenic conquest, 
and to converse with the inhabitants of this won- 
derful city, celebrated as the largest, richest, and 
moat populous in the universe. Greek and Latin 
to the dogs! Give me Arabic and Turkish $ but 
above all, give me Arabic that I may speak, and 
hear, and know if the people among whom I have 
come, think and fe$l, love and hate, like those whom 
I have left It is an easy matter to call on spirits 
from .the vasty deep j but no easy matter to make 
them come at the call. The days of inspiration are 
gone, and the object for which it was imparted ac- 
complished ; and hard labour is now the lot of man 
before he can speak in a language different from 
his own. With the prospect of residing here for 
but a few days, or at the very utmost of hibernat- 
ing during the months of winter, it would have 
beep an unprofitable waste of time to set about 
learning the language, previously to holding any 
intercourse with the people ; for before we could 
have acquired it, the opportunity of using it would 
have been superseded by our departure, and we 
should have known a little of Arabic, but nothing 

64 CAIRO. 

of the Arabians, or inhabitants of Cairo. It was 
requisite, however, to know something of the lan- 
guage, seeing it was impossible, without both a 
gfeat deal of expense and formality, to have an in- 
terpreter always at hand. And, therefore, I set 
myself, as soon as possible, to acquire a store of 
vocables, which might enable me to name the object 
which I wished to obtain, or about which I wished 
to be informed; in order to accomplish this, I 
wrote down the Arabic word for every object as it 
Cfune in my way, or occurred to my recollection, 
and committed them to memory, as a task which I 
often repeated in the course of the day, and always 
at night when I laid my head upon my pillow, and 
in the morning before I arose. It is inconceivable 
how words accumulated, and how much in a very 
little time I cpuld understand of their conversation. 
Seeing my anxiety to learn, the Arabs, from the 
highest to the lowest, were equally willing to teach, 
and having once acquired as much Arabic as en* 
abled me to ask the name of this, that, or the other 
object, I in a little time became pretty iridepfen* 
dent, and could go on with a native, and add to 
my store of words, though no interpreter was prer 
sent. Besides the advantage of being able to hold 
an intercourse with the natives, this was a source 
of never-failing amusement, the mind was cop; 
stantly on the whet, and I never felt languid in the 
presence of an Arab. Without being able to utter 

CAIRO. 5& 

st few words in the vernacular tongue, a man may 
adopt their dress, shoulder his pipe, cultivate his 
beard with all the paraphernalia of the eastern 
costume ; yet still he smells as an exotic, and is 
but an unwelcome guest in their most ordinary 
coteries ; being viewed not only as a stranger, but 
as a man that wishes to continue so. But " fate 
me videre il Cairo,' 9 we must return to our sub- 
ject: this is not the place for a dissertation out 

New Cairo, which is now the capital of Egypt, 
is generally called Massr by the inhabitants of 
the country, which is understood to be an abbre- 
viation for Massr al Kahir*. The term Massr is 
also employed to denote the whole country ; and 
it appears to have been an ancient practice among 
the Egyptians, to give the same name to the coun- 
try, and the capital city of the country. Both Old 
and New Cairo are of Saracenic origin, and were 
founded without . any view whatever to European 
commerce. The former having been built on the 
site of Egyptian-Babylon, nearly opposite to Mem- 
phis, on the east or Arabian side of the river, as 
that was. on the west, or Lybian side. Old Cairo 
is the famed city of wonder and enchantment, of 
which we read so much in eastern story ; but it 
having been burnt down in the eleventh century, 
New .Cairo, which, according to some accounts, 
had formerly been » suburb projecting from it, in 

66 CAIRO. 

consequence of the growing population, it beiAg 
the most convenient situatioo for the commerce oS 
Mecca, India, and the Red Sea, became disjoined 
in the rebuilding, and has ever since formed a dis- 
tinct city, and continued the capital of the coun- 
try; while Old Cairo has gradually degenerated 
into an inconsiderable village* The change was 
far from being advantageous for the citizens, and 
furnishes one, among many instances, that the dis- 
position to accommodate the Great man, even in 
his greatest foibles, often makes people surrender 
their better judgement, their interest, and even their 
convenience* For nothing short of that absurd 
complaisance could ever have induced the citizens 
to remove their residence from the banks of their 
favorite river, to the midst of a sandy plain at the 
foot of a rugged and barren mountain, where they 
were obliged to dig a canal to bring them water \ 
which, however, it can only do for three months in 
the year : during all the rest of the season, the 
water, for the whole of this great city, is brought 
from the Nile, on the backs of camels or of human 
beings. But Yousouff Saladin, the mighty con- 
queror, had built him a castle on a projecting emi- 
nence of the Mount Mokkatam ; and this had 
sufficient attraction to neutralize all the advan* 
tages of a contiguous situation on the banks of 
the riven New Cairo was accordingly built on 
the edge of the plain at its base, which, for want 

cxmo* SJ 

of irrigation, is now surrounded with dust and 
sand. It is about six mikes in circumference, sur- 
rounded by an indifferent stone wall, which is 
entered by no fewer than twelve gates; some of 
which axe large and magnificent; others but very 
inconsiderable. It is traversed by a canal, which 
comes off from the Nile a little below Old Cairo, 
and, having passed through immense and innume- 
rable heaps of rubbish, enters the New Cairo on 
the south, goes out on the north, and winding 
round by the northern wall, it enters again on the 
west, and ends in the Bitfcet, or Lake Esbeckeer, 
which we passed on entering the city. The out* 
line of the city is nearly that of a quadrant. It is 
square towards the north and east, and circular by 
the south and west It contains nearly 900,000 
inhabitants, who are divided into, different classes, 
or rather nations; and it is remarkable, that all of 
them but one or two, have at one period or other, 
been masters of the country. 
. To begin with the Copts, who are considered as 
the remains of the ancient Egyptians. There are 
no Persians known to be such. Next the Greeks; 
then the Roman Catholics, or, in a more extended 
application, the Franks; the Arabs; and last of 
all, the Turks, the present masters and rulers of 
the country. Over and above these, there is a 
considerable number of Armenians and Jews. 
Each of these different tribes or nations has differ- 

58 CAIRO, 

fcnt parts of the town assigned to it, and in which 
they generally reside, and which is enclosed by a 
wall, and capable of considerable defence. This is 
a great convenience ; for in Cairo the streets are not 
named, nor the houses numbered, as in European 
towns. But a house is described as being in such 
a quarter ; in the Franks 9 quarter; the Turks 9 quar- 
ter; the Copts' quarter; the Jews' quarter; or in 
the vicinity of such a mosque, or such a lake ; or 
the residence of such a bey, or great man ; or of 
the Calits, or canal ; or of any place of general 
notoriety ; and on enquiring there, the object sought 
for is usually found without much difficulty. The 
lower part of the houses is generally built of stone, 
the upper part frequently of brick, and sometimes 
of wood, projecting a considerable way over the 
Stone foundation. But the principal buildings and 
houses are of stone; usually with few windows, and 
a dead wall to the street, which is entered by a 
moderately sized door opening into a court, which 
communicates with the house by two entrances, 
one for the. men, and another for the women, if 
the house belong to a Mussulman; but if to a 
Christian, one entrance suffices for both. By these 
'means every man's house may emphatically be 
called his own, being removed from the din ajid 
bustle of the streets. 

% On the morning after my arrival, I paid a visit 
to the convent <?f the Terra Sancta, which is situ* 

CAIRO* 59 

ated in the Frank quarters, and where I met with 
a welcome reception from the Father Superior, 
who was at that time the only ecclesiastic in the 
Convent, Two more of the order, i. e. Franciscan, 
were expected from Jerusalem ; and they arrived 
in about a fortnight thereafter. A constant inter* 
course and change of residents and visitors, are kept 
up throughout every part of the east ; and, indeed, 
throughout all the Catholic world, there being 
such legions pf wandering priests, that run to and 
fro with an incessant communication of plans and 
suggestions. The convent is a capacious and 
substantial edifice, with much accommodation for 
travellers, who, in the present exhausted state of 
the funds of the establishment are very properly 
permitted to pay both for their apartments and 
maintenance. This ought always to have been 
the case. It is but right that a man should pay 
for what he uses $ and it is more agreeable to the 
feelings of a gentleman to do so : and after he has 
done all that, he still remains under many obliga- 
tions to that arrangement which afforded him a 
comfortable lodging and security for his property, 
and where he found the society of a Christian, 
who, from his residence, was almost a native, to 
direct him in his pursuits, with the advantage of 
his long experience. There is a small library at- 
tached to the convent, which consists chiefly of 
books of theology, and lexicons in different Ian* 

60 CA110* 

guages, for the use of readers when they shall ar- 
rive. Also an excellent chapel, in which divine 
service is regularly performed every day. After 
which the clergyman employs himself in making 
wafers, and in visiting the sick. There are about 
1500 Catholics in Cairo, and with such a charge 
the clerical incumbency is no sinecure. 
, At a small distance from the convent of the 
Holy Land is that of the propaganda fide, which 
is also possessed of a small library, consisting 
chiefly of polyglot bibles and lexicons, with some 
books of travels. Their best books are said to 
have* been taken away by the French during the 
time that they had possession of Cairo. This so- 
ciety has not made much progress of late in pro- 
pagating the faith of the Church of Rome. Mus- 
sulmans dare not become Christians if they were 
inclined, for in so doing they forfeit both their 
lives and their property, and WQuld be immediately 
deprived of both > the Mussulmans here having the 
supreme authority, and being quite as intolerant aa 
the Church of Rome itself. They admit of differ- 
ent sects among themselves i but no man having 
once been a Mussulman, am become a Christian, 
and live in the country. The case is different in 
India, where England has the supreme authority, 
and can afford protection to Christian converts. 
But in these countries no missionary can thin the 
ranks of islamism j he xn»y take from one class of 

CAIRO. 61 

and add to another, or, swbat our praise* 
worthy countrymen are attempting to do, he may- 
endeavour to stir up a spirit of religion among 
them all ; but all his efforts cannot add one to the 
number of nominal Christians, And the earnest en- 
deavours of the propagandists of all descriptions 
ought to be directed to obtain. from the supreme 
power of the Mahomedan religion, a permission for 
the followers of the prophet to renounce their creed 
with impunity, if they should Bee good cause. When 
this is done they may expect to make progress, in 
proselytiaing Mussulmans, and not till then. 

In the convent of the propaganda I was gratified 
with the sight of a school, in which children, prin- 
cipally of Coptic parents who had embraced the 
ftubth of the Church of Jieme, were receiving die 
elements <£ a Christian education, under the so* 
perintendence of Btother Donieli of Procida. The 
yoang. afadea ts were pale* wd of 3 delicate com* 
pleiion $ but at such a season of the fewt, and in 
such a .sultry spot as Cairo, drinking unaltered and 
impurifad water* -eatis^j melons, tad other fruk in 
a .state of fefti&isaeBrtation, the goddess of health 
herself could scarcely hwe befen otherwise* 

Having made this survey of the Crihchtc con- 
verts* I xetipued to my apartment to nfcpose dining 
the amihifefiig beat of *bt day* and ia the after* 
noon rode wsith Captain 3fby sad Captain Maagfea 
to eftetfce bidet elKalura, which is the «Uy iafce 

62 CAIRO* 

in Cairo that produces the Lotus, so highly prized 
by the ancient Egyptians. We saw it growing in 
heaps in the middle of the lake ; but all its bloom 
was shed, and we were about a fortnight too late 
for seeing the flower. There are eight of these 
lakes in and about Cairo, which, however, have 
more the appearance of horse-ponds dug in the 
sand, and full of dirty water, than any thing that 
we are accustomed to call lakes in this country. 
Three of them are within the city, the birket el 
Fil, or lake of the elephants, the birket el Karoon, 
or lake of the horns, are on the east of the canal 
that traverses the city j the birket Esbeckeer is on 
the west, as has been already mentioned. The 
other five are without the walls of the city ; one is 
called birket el Nassr, or lake of victory ; another 
birket el Kahira, or lake of Cairo ; another birket 
el Omar, or lake of the Sheik Omar ; the fourth 
birket el Guni, or lake of Guni ; the fifth birket el 
Rotola, or lake of the pound j their names, like 
those of the gates, being generally derived from 
some person or circumstance connected with their 
formation. They ate all supplied with water from 
the canal, and though poor substitutes for the river 
are prodigious conveniences for the inhabitants, by 
furnishing them, while the inundation continues, 
with an abundant supply of water for all the pur- 
poses of life, a place for sailing their pleasure boats, 
where they can sit and smoke under the artificial 

CAIRO. 63 

shade of an awning, and an agreeable prospect for 
the adjoining houses, of the lively and interesting 
groups that crowd thither for their diversions. On 
the borders of these, especially^ within the town, 
may be seen in an evening, fire-works pouring their 
light into the air, dancing dogs, dancing monkies, 
dancing girls, and all the people making merry, and 
rejoicing as in the days of old, when the Nile had 
reached its due elevation, and promised to bless 
Jtheir fields with an abundant increase. This, 
however, continues but for a short time, for with 
the subsiding of the waters of the river comes also 
the sinking of the waters of the lakes, and for 
seven or eight months a year they are nearly. dry, 
and covered with dust and . sand. 

My next visit was to the church of St Catherine, 
which belongs to the Greek persuasion. The head 
of this church in Egypt is the patriarch of Alexan- 
dria, a dignified and venerable character, to whom 
I paid my respects several times at his residence 
in old Cairo. It was Sunday morning, and the 
church was lighted up, and the congregation as* 
sembled at an early hour. Divine service was per- 
formed, both in Greek and Arabic, to a numerous 
audience, whose becoming and devout behaviour 
during the whole of the service cannot be too 
highly commended. Charity was collected several 
times in the course of the service by individuals 
going through the congregation for that purpose j 

6* CAIRO. 

after which each person got a small taper, which 
he held in his hand, and lighted at a particular 
time of the service. The host was consecrated at 
an altar in an inner apartment, during which the 
priest came several times to the door of the sane* 
tuary, and read aloud to the congregation. The 
host to afterwards carried round the church, 
while all the people kneeled and prayed most fer- 
vently, and crossed themselves from right to left. 
There was no sermon, and only one meeting in the 
day; the pews were narrow and uncomfortable, 
and better calculated for standing than for sitting 
in. The women sat in the gallery apart from the 
men, and the place in which they sat was fronted 
with a kind of wooden grating, in order that they 
might hear and join in the service, without being 
seen by the other sex. No graven images are 
allowed in the Greek church ; but the most hideous 
juad blasphemous paintings representative of God 
the Father, God the Son, the Virgin Mary, and 
some favourite saints, as Nicholas, Basil, or Spiri- 
dkra are always exhibited upon the walls. 

At the conclusion of the service two baskets of 
sweetmeats were brought from the sanctuary, and 
laid down in the middle of the church* And after 
the blessing was. pronounced they were taken up 
afrd held at the door, and evtery person as he went 
out took a little of their contents. They were 
called sweetmeats ; but boifed wheat was the prin*- 


CAIRO. 65 

cipal ingredient in the basket. This Custom is ob- 
served by the Greeks on the death of any respect- 
able member of the congregation, and it is done 
at the expense of the relations of the deceased* 
There are 150 Greek families in Cairo who are 
natives, and' the number of settlers has consider- 
ably increased of late, on account of the great se- 
curity of life and property which they enjoy under 
the government of the present Pasha. 

Early on Monday morning I took a ride to the 
castle, which lies on the east of the town on a pro- 
jecting point of the mount Mokkataxn. It com- 
pletely commands the city} but is itself com- 
manded by a higher ridge of the mountain behind 
it The road thither is cut out of the rock, and 
winds up the steep with a moderate ascent ; in 
some places it is formed into steps, but such as our 


asses could easily surmount The gates present an 
imposing and martial appearance. The interior is 
large, with many inhabitants, and houses in ruins. 
The palace of the Pasha is worthy of attention, as 
being the residence of the ruler of Egypt in his 
capital. It is a small house, plain, and without any 
exterior decoration, excepting that it has more glass 
windows in front than Turkish houses generally 
have. And on seeing the horses parading round 
it, the whole had mdre the appearance of an offi- 
cer's residence in ordinary barracks, than the 
palace of a sovereign in the chief city of his domi- 

VOL. i. f 

66 CAIRO. 

nions. His highness was from home, and there was 
no admittance to view the interior. The well of 
Joseph in the middle of the fortress, calls us back to 
the twelfth century, the era of the renowned Saladin, 
by whom it was formed, and whose name, Yousouff, 
it still retains. It is about 45 feet in circumference 
at the orifice, and is perforated through the soft 
calcareous rock to the depth of about 270 feet, 
where it opens a spring of brackish water on a level 
With the Nile, from which it is derived, and has ac- 
quired the saline impregnation from the ground it 
has filtered through. The water is raised in buckets 
by two wheels, which are drawn by as many oxen. 
One of the wheels is at the top of the well, the 
other at the depth of 150 feet. The shaft is de* 
Scertded by a broad winding stair, with a low para- 
pet wall, both cut out of the rock. The steps are 
feasy ; but dirty and slippery. Arrived at the wheel 
we found a large ample space around it. The 
driver sat upon the frame, smoked his pipe, and 
drove round his buffalo in tolerable comfort and 
security. From this the descent is not quite so 
commodious. Entering by a narrow opening it 
proceeds down a narrow stair without any parapet 
to the depth of 120 feet, the descent is extremely 
disagreeable, and not worth the trouble merely to 
see a pool of brackish water. Such as it is, however, 
When raised to the surface, it is conducted in pipes 
till over the garrison,' to irrigate the gardens, and 

CAIRO, 67 

keep alive the little verdant sod that lies within it* 
walls ; and were the fortress ever subjected to a siege, 
this would be the only water that the inhabitants 
could use for every purpose of domestic economy. 

Leaving this horrible sink, I was next conducted 
to Joseph's Hall, which formed part of the palace 
of that illustrious personage, and which is now in 
a very dilapidated state. The columns are part of 
the. spoil of ancient Memphis. They are monoli- 
thic, of large grained red granite, massy and tall, 
with Corinthian capitals j and in the days of Sarar 
cenic magnificence this must have been a truly 
splendid edifice, meriting, in some degree, the 
praises bestowed upon the kingly residences of that 
lively and ingenious people ; but it is now the ha- 
bitation of desolation, part of it is converted into 9 
magazine, part into a granary, and the whole has 
such a waste and mournful appearance, that a com- 
plete ruin is more interesting than it 

The great charm of this citadel, however, still 
remains to be mentioned, and is less liable to be 
affected by the ravages of war, or lime, than the 
works of art, I mean the delightful prospect which 
it affords of the town, and the surrounding courttry, 
so full of the memorials of great events, attd the 
relics of ages long since elapsed. To the north lie 
the ruins of Metarea, the ancient Heliopolis, the 
.city of On stretching towards the fields of Goshen; 
and the river where it divides. into two branches to 


68 CAIRO. 

enclose the Delta, the garden of fertile Egypt, and 
of the world. At the foot of the rock lies Cairo 
itself, with domes and minarets, intermix! with trees, 
and gardens imperceptible from a lower though 
contiguous elevation. A little removed to the west 
lies Bulac, fraught with the shipping and trade of 
Cairo : to the south of which lies the picturesque 
island of Rhonda, planted and laid out like the 
seat of an English squire, in the midst of the ma- 
jestic Nile. Adjoining to Rhouda, on the eastern 
bank, are the remains of Old Cairo, the successor 
of Babylon, receiving the trade of this commercial 
city from Upper Egypt and Nubia. On the west 
bank of the river the whitened walls of Gheesa re- 
flect the beams of the morning sun, and point to 
the uncertain site of Memphis covered with the 
fruitful palm on to the mountains of the Lybian 
Desert, which,, with the colossal pyramids at their 
base, complete the prospect. Perhaps there is not 
a spot on earth where such an assemblage of inter- 
esting objects of ancient, modern, and middle age 
can be- viewed together in so small a compass. 
Well may the ruler of the land exult when he thinks 
of the ancient glory of his kingdom, and well may 
his spirit sink within him, when he compares its 
present condition with its past! 

Leaving this enchanting terrace, we descended 
by the gate of the Janizaries, having paused for a 
few minutes by the way to visit a couple of ele- 

CAIRO. 69 

ph&nts that had lately been presented to the Pasha, 
from which we passed through the sword market, 
Soug el Salah, which even at the early hour of 
eight o'clock we found crowded to such a degree, 
that the Consul's Janizary and myself could hardly 
force our way through the multitude of buyers and 
sellers of swords, pistols, blunderbusses, spears, 
knives, daggers, muskets, and all sorts of weapons, 
offensive and defensive, for nearly half their value. 
An excellent Damascus blade could be purchased 
for seventy piastres, or five and thirty shillings, the 
piastre of Cairo being then equal to sixpence of 
English money. Having cleared the pressing throng, 
we held our way through many narrow and crook- 
ed streets, and after many turnings and windings, 
and many interruptions from the lengthened files 
of slowly-moving camels, bearing water for the city, 
or starting on a distant journey, we arrived at head- 
quarters, and after a comfortable breakfast, reposed 
during the heat of the day. 

In the afternoon, according to appointment, I 
repeated my visit to the venerable convent of the 
Terra Sancta, from which one of the lay brothers 
had. agreed to accompany, me to Old Cairo. His 
bourica or ass was ready saddled, and I procured 
one at the first stand, and we set out immediately. 
We passed through the Mugrabeen quarters, or that 
part of tie town in which the caravans and people 
from Morocco put up, and in a short time were 

70 cAige. 

without the wall? of the city, After which the 
track, for it cannot be called a road in the European 
acceptation of the word, is continued among heaps 
of rubbish, consisting of the cleanings of the city, 
broken pottery, and the ruins of former buildings 
that wall the traveller 'on each hand, to the walls of 
Massr Fostat or Old Cairo, with the small inter- 
vention of a grave-yard, where the Mahomedan fe- 
males go to weep, and howl over the tombs of their 
departed relations, and a piece of drill ground in 
whiqh the Pasha exercises his troops every Tues- 
day and Thursday, in firing at the target, or throw* 
ing the djericL Before reaching the town we passed 
by an aquaeduct with many arches, which conveys 
the water of the Nile to the castle, and the bridge 
of the Calitz which performs the same good office 
for New Cairo. Opposite to this ancient city is the 
island of Rhouda, which we learn from Strabo was 
joined to Babylon by a bridge of boats, when Mem- 
phis, in her metropolitan pride, occupied the oppo* 
site bank. At the gate on our left there is a manu- 
facture of saltpetre, which to those who have seen 
the elegant and scientific operations carried on at 
Hurlet, and in Yorkshire, present nothing worthy 
of attention. The raw material is too abundant in 

Egypt to produce much ingenuity in the manufac* 

Having entered the town, we proceeded along a 

straight street till we came to the place where tbs 

pwsago*boats land from Gheesa ; where, turning to 
the left, we filed up a narrow lane, and having put 
Up our asses at another convent of the Terra Sancta, 
we proceeded to the Coptic church, to see the 
grotto of Saint Sergius, in which Joseph and Mary 
dwelt with the infant Jesus, when they were, forced 
to fly frojn their native colintry, by the scandalous 
persecution of Herod the Great. This holy place 
is now formed into a small chapel, and is entered 
from the sanctuary of the church, by a descent of 
ten steps. It is divided into three compartments 
by two rows of columns, after the manner of Ca* 
tholic churches, or gothic cathedrals in this country, 
Going down from the left hand side of the church, 
for there are two entrances, there is an altar at the 
end of the first compartment, at which, though the 
whole chapel belongs to the Copts, and must be en- 
tered through their church, yet, every christian, of 
whatever sect or denomination, is allowed to per- 
form his devotions according to the rites of the 
church to which he belongs. At the end of the 
second, or middle compartment, is the cave which 
was hallowed by the presence of the Saviour of 
mankind. It is covered in the form of a small 
arcade, with smooth stones, or tile, cemented with 
lime, and upon the whole very touch resembles a 
baker's oven. * According to the statement of the 
hierophant, it was fitted up in this manner by Saint 
Helena, the pious mother of Constantinethe Great* 

72 CAIRO. 

and has remained untouched from that time \o the 
present day. It is so small that a person can merely 
creep in, and sit down in it* At the end of the right 
lateral compartment, there is a large baptismal font 
belonging to the Copts, who perform that cere- 
mony by immersing the body of the child com- 
pletely under water. There is nothing in this 
highly-honoured spot that calls for particular notice, 
saving that the whole of it is built round, and 
it has very little appearance of being a natural 
grotto; and. the report of its ever having received 
the Saviour of mankind, is probably one of the 
pious frauds of St. Sergius, or some of his equally 
crafty successors. 

From this holy cave we proceeded to the adjoin- 
ing castle of Babylon, to pay our respects to the 
Greek patriarch of Alexandria, who resides in the 
highest pinnacle of this lofty edifice. The ascent 
is difficult; but the summit once attained the 
charms of the prospect compensate for the labour 
of reaching it, and the kind reception of the worthy 
patriarch, would induce the traveller to go much 
farther, to have an interview with a man who wel- 
comes him with so much affection, treats him like 
a friend and a brother, and dismisses him with his 
blessing. Seated on the highest part of the couch 
in the corner of the room, we were immediately 
presented with sweetmeats to relish a glassful of 
water, and an excellent pipe of tobacco to relish a 


cup of coffee. Such is the custom of the Greeks 
all the world oven In turning the conversation 
upon the antiquities of Egypt, he said that there 
was no doubt that the castle in which he then re- 
sided was built by the Persians, although I believe 
most European travellers are not inclined to assign 
it any higher origin than the Romans. In regard 
to the pyramids, of which his situation commanded 
a delightful view, he said it was impossible to tell 
when they were built; and as to temples, tombs, 
or hieroglyphics, all was vain and idle conjecture. 
It is as unnecessary to argue with a man who sits 
in the patriarchal chair, and utters his decisions 
without having examined the authorities on which 
they are founded, as it would be to argue with a 
man upon the light of the meridian sun, who shuts 
his eyes in obstinacy, and denies its existence, be- 
cause he does not see it. So he was allowed to 
enjoy his opinion without dispute, and the conver- 
sation was turned to a subject on which he was 
likely to be better informed. In the latter period 
of the Government of the Mamelukes, he said the 
Greeks were almost entirely banished from Egypt; 
but since the present chief had guided the affairs 
of the country, there had been great additions to 
their numbers, although he would not say that he 
considered religion at all in a flourishing condition; 
and, without absolutely expressing it as his convic- 
tion, seemed to hint that it had but little influence 

74 tfAincn 

upon the donduct of bis countrymen. On rising to gt> 
away, he pressed me to prolong my visit, and seeing 
that the approach of night rendered it impossible 
for me to comply with his request, he sprinkled me 
with rose-water, and perfumed me with incense, 
and accompanied me down stairs to show me the 
church of Saint George, which contained nothing 
remarkable, excepting a magical ring, which pos* 
eessed the extraordinary virtue of bringing fools to 
their senses, and had frequently evinced its powers 
both on Greeks and Turks. On taking leave of 
the venerable patriarch, he manifested all that over- 
whelming affection and identification of interest, 
with which he received me on my arrival; and 
every time that I repeated my visits, I uniformly 
experienced the same cordial and hearty welcome* 
Having returned to the convent of the Terra 
Sancta, which at that time did not possess a single 
ecclesiastic, we remounted our bouricas, and three 
quarters of an hour brought us within the walls of 
New Cairo, by the same gate by which we had gone 

The next two days were employed in visiting 
the Bazars, riding through the streets and observr 
iqg the people ; in all of these respects Cairo is 
sufficiently entertaining to the European traveller. 
'•The sombre appearance of the houses, from the 
want of windows to the streets, has been already 
mentioned ; and the few that are, being covered with 

CAIRO, 75 

a species of cage-work to keep out the sun, and the 
eyes of the curious, impress the mind of the tra- 
veller with the moBt uncomfortable and mournful 
' sensations* It has been said that an Englishman's 
house is his castle ; but with equal emphasis and 
truth, it may be said that an Egyptian's house is 
his dungeon, or bis prison. To the unfortunate 
fair sex it is peculiarly so. The crowd that pours 
along the streets always appears great, because they 
are excessively narrow, and there being no side 
paths for foot passengers interruptions are very 
frequent, from the number of camels, horses, and 
asses, with men, women, and children, that are 
constantly pressing forward and jostling you aside. 
In regard to the costumes that constantly meet 
the eye ; the male population wear beards, or mus- 
tachios. Among the old, the former prevail; and 
among the young, the latter. An aged Turk is 
particularly proud of a long flowing white beard, 
a well shaved cheek and head, and a clean turban. 
It is a common thing to see such characters, far 
past the bloom of life, mounted on stone seats co- 
vered with a bit of Persian carpet, at the corner of 
the streets, or in front of their bazars, combing 
their beards, smoking their pipes, or drinking their 
coffee, with a pitcher of water standing beside 
them; or saying their prayers, or reading the Ko- 
rin. All of them are more or less armed, invari- 
ably with a sekeen or dagger stuck in the right 

76 CAIRO* 

side of the sash that is tied round the waist. This 
even the common shopkeepers or lowest scaven- 
gers wear, although many of them confess that 
they never had killed so much as a fly with it. 
Many of them have also a brace of loaded pistols 
on the left side, though these are generally of the 
military profession ; and then they wear a leather 
belt above the sash, made on purpose to receive 
their fire-arms, and a sword slung round their right 
shoulder ; this it is common for the shopman also 
to wear; laying it aside when he comes to his bazar, 
and slinging it on when he goes to the mosque, or 
any where about the town. To counterbalance the 
sword, a small leather case named kotab, about 
the size of a large pocket-bible, is slung over the 
left shoulder, professedly for the purpose of holding 
a copy of the Koran, but generally furnished with 
several ball-cartridges, a flint and steel, with a piece 
of lescaor amadou, which is a kind of tinder or touch- 
wood, for catching fire to light their pipes ; then 
with a bag full of tobacco crammed into the breast 
of his waistcoat or antari, or attached to his sash, 
and hanging behind his back, and a pipe live feet 
long, with a fine large mouth-piece of opake am- 
ber, he is fully caparisoned after the fashion of his 
country, and as such, is entitled to receive the re- 
spect of his fellow citizens ; and, where others are 
not equally provided with himself, we should say, 
to command it. Any man who has ever travelled 

CAIRO. 77 

in the east, can tell with what alacrity and respect 
he is served, even if asking a drink of water from 
a peasant at a well, when decked out in such im- 
posing accoutrements, compared with the half- 
refusing and indifferent air with which his calls are 
answered when without th6m. And in the eyes of 
the world it cannot be disputed, that man appears 
a much more commanding and dignified being, ar- 
rayed in the flowing and gorgeous drapery of the 
East, than he does when wrapt up in the close fitting 
and peaceful costume of modern Europe. Indeed, 
so indispensable, in their estimation, are these ac- 
coutrements for the consequence of a man, that 
they boldly aver, no person would go without 
them who can afford to purchase them. Family is 
of no consideration in a country where the greatest 
man in it has risen from the rabble, to which, at 
his death, his family may return. The other parts 
of the dress correspond with these gaudy equip- 
ments. The white muslin, or variegated Indian 
shawl turban, gracefully folded round' the red tur- 
bush, gives an air of grandeur and finery to the 
head. The antari, which is generally striped, of 
silk and cotton of bright colors, answers to our 
waistcoat, is attached with three small buttons close 
round the neck, the rest of which is bare, and the 
the robe loosely overlapping the body with long 
loose sleeves falling over the fingers' ends. It has 
a pocket in the breast for receiving the watch, 

78 CAIRO. 

which is suspended from the neck buttons of the 
antari, the purse, tobacco bag, and pocket-hand* 
kerchief. It is worn under the saltamark, or short 
jacket, the sleeves of which terminate above the 
elbow, is edged all round, and sometimes nearly 
covered all over with gold lace, according to the 
wealth or taste of the wearer. It is made of cloth; 
yellow, red, crimson, or butcher's blue, are the 
most approved colours among the Turks. The 
limbs are accommodated in large loose shalwars, 
or trowsers, of the same, which are tied over the 
antari above the haunches, and may be said to 
hang upon him ; but not in any respect to fit his 
shapes. A long sash, consisting of a shawl, or 
piece of white muslin rolled three, four, or five 
times round the body, is tied above all* He then 
sticks his feet into a pair of short, wide, yellow or 
red boots ; and having thrown a beniss, an abba, 
or a burnouss round his shoulders, his garniture is 
complete. Thus attired, loaded and bandaged, a 
person would naturally imagine that the animal 
could hardly move. However, a Mameluke or a 
Turk is then in his riding costume; and .when 
mounted on horseback, appears to be as little 
shackled in his movements, and equally capable of 
managing both his steed and his arms with the 
most lightly-equipped cavalier in Europe ; and, as 
an individual combatant, is in no respect less for- 
midable. In all martial exercises the upper robe 

CAIRO. 70 

is thrown off, and is at best to be considered as a 
robe of ceremony, without which, a person is not 
fully dressed, and cannot, with propriety, pay visits, 
or wait upon his superiors. 

The walking costume is a little different from 
the above ; and consists of a caftan, or long robe* 
descending from the neck to the ankle, with large 
sleeves like the antari ; indeed it is exactly the 
antari extended to these dimensions, and is made 
of the same kind of stuff, with a pocket in the 
breast, and one on each haunch. Under the caf- 
tan is worn the shachsheers, or red drawers, of a 
lighter material resembling our serge, but of the 
same -shape and size, and fastened round the waist 
in the same manner as the voluminous shalwars 
above described. A kind of yellow leather hose, 
called misti, for the reception of the feet and ankles, 
are sewed to the lower part of the shachsheers, so 
that the inferior extremities are completely covered. 
' Over the misti are worn the papoush, or slippers, 
which are always put off when the person sits down, 
or goes into the house or into the mosque. Over 
the caftan is worn the juppa, or a large open robe, 
of equal length with the caftan. It is made of 
light cloth, with wide sleeves descending about half 
way down the fore-arm, like the saltamark. Over 
the juppa, as a robe of ceremony, is worn the be- 
niss, which is a large robe of the finest cloth, flow- 

80 CAIRO. 

ing down to the heel, with large sleeves falling 
loosely down to about half a foot over the fingers 9 
ends. It is generally lined with silk or satin, and 
trimmed with gold lace round the edges. A per- 
son of respectability, who has adopted the eastern 
costume, cannot wait upon the Pasha properly 
clothed, or pay a visit of ceremony to his superiors 
or equals, without the beniss ; it being considered 
as very uncourtly, at least at first sitting down, to 
show either hands or feet. The Turks are pecu- 
liarly partial to bright colors, as scarlet, crimson, 
yellow, or green, if a descendant of the prophet ; 
sometimes an olive or fawn color, but seldom dark 
blue, and never black, except in the abba, which 
is a large upper garment made of the finest wool, 
with a sleeve of gold or silver tissue, and often 
lined with silk or satin. The abba is generally of 
the manufacture of Mecca, or Horns, or Bagdad ; 
and seems to have been the dress of ceremony of 
the Saracens and Syrians, as the beniss is that of 
the Turks. The burnouss is a large flowing white 
mantle, with a hood, but without sleeves ; it is of 
the finest wool, and is the manufacture of Tunis; 
and worn both by the Mugrabeens and Egyptians. 
It is worn as an upper garment, but is not a robe 
of ceremony. From the description of the dress 
of a Turk or an Arab, it will appear that an Euro- 
pean lady, in adopting it for the sake of conveni- 

caiio. 81 

etice, wh6n travelling in these countries, is not 
guilty of arty impropriety, or any indelicacy un- 
worthy of her sex. 

If tiie figure of the man be concealed by the loose 
and flowing robes of the Eastern costume, that of 
the woman is much more so. Notwithstanding the 
strictness of Eastern manners, die number of these 
is by no means wanting in the streets of Cairo ; 
though they ore mostly of the lowest order, and 
past the meridian of life. Their dress consists of 
the blue or brown beteen, and envelopes them com- 
pletely, so that neither face nor hands can be per- 
ceived, unless when they are asking charity, and 
then they studiously conceal the former and stretch 
out the latter, and beg with great importunity. If 
the stranger should inadvertently give a mite to any 
of these wretched creatures, he is immediately as- 
sailed by a horde of than that issue like bees from 
their disturbed nests, and pursue and persecute 
him from street to street. Even the object on 
whom be bestowed his charity, thinks she has a 
further claim upon his liberality, and absolutely 
annoys and pesters him with her solicitations. The 
beggara are chiefly Arabs ; it is a rare thing to see 
a Turk of either sex soliciting charity. 

When the more respectable females go abroad, 
they are completely covered from head to foot with 
a robe of black silk called gattia, and a black crape 
veil (shoobia), which descends to the feet, and is 

VOL. I. G 

82 cairo; 

double in that part which is opposite to the face ; it 
ascends up to the eyes, and is fixed by a string 
which passes up between them to the top of the 
head. This string passes up through a gold or 
silver tube that rests upon the forehead, and root of 
the nose, and is generally set with precious stones. 
The veils of the Bedoween Arabs are of a dirty 
white colour. Thus muffled up, if the lady bap- 
pens to be a little en bon point, she appears like a 
shapeless mass, or a walking pyramid, and when 
transported to the back of a camel, or an ass, which 
is her usual mode of travelling, one trembles for 
her safety, and that of the animal, which supports 
her. If a coffin were mounted erect on the back 
of a camel, or an ass, and covered with a mort 
cloth, it would not exhibit a more funereal, or dis- 
mal appearance, than the procession of a female 
through the streets of Cairo. The mind revolts at 
the comparison, and the feelings of abhorrence and 
indignation are roused, at the savage jealousy of 
those monsters of Eastern despotism, who thus 
condemn nature's fairest form to travel about in 
darkness and disguise, and almost make it criminal 
for her to behold the light of day, or to see the 
human face divine. All this is done under the ab- 
surd impression of keeping the female chaste and 
pure, as if to trammel up her mouth like that of a 
pig in a trough, or a coach-horse in a bag, - were 
sufficient to enchain the sentiments of the heart, 

CAIRO, 83 

where alone purity can be assailed, and where alone 
she can make an effectual resistance to the tempta- 
tions of the world. Wisdom's ways are ways of 
pleasantness. Let the feelings of the heart be 
chastened in education, and there will be more 
pleasure in the paths of virtue, than in all the 
devious wanderings of vice. 

But the sight of a few chosen dames buckled up 
in this. defensive armour, serves only to mark with 
the stronger contrast their masters' total disregard 
of the sex in general, where self is not concerned. 
Otherwise we should not meet with bands of fe- 
male slaves, in the bloom of life, driven like cattle 
through the streets, with merely a rag tied round 
their waists, the rest of the body being naked and 
exposed ; while the boys in the street are pulling 
at, and calling to them as they pass, with impunity. 
The people who permit such outrages upon public 
decency, must have little regard for their species, 
and bound their prospects to the animal creation. 
They have never advanced beyond the boundaries 
of half civilization, however extended their do- . 
minion ; and religion and morality have made no 
impression on their hearts, however numerous their 
prayers, or however brilliant their sentiments. 

In my different walks through the streets, I was 
astonished at the rare occurrence of jugglers, and 
dancing girls ; I . did not . meet with the former 
above two or three times during the whole of our 

g 9, 

84 CAIRO. 

residence in Cairo. The latter dressed up in all 
their coins and rattling finery* used to come to the 
Consulate on Sunday afternoons, on our first ar- 
rival in Cairo ; but finding that they obtained few 
admirers apd no money, soon discontinued their 
visits. I understood that they chiefly exhibit in 
the evenings during the season of the Ramadan, 
which was then in- the month of August ; or during 
th$ prevalence of the ehamsin winds, which is in 
the month of April, in neither of which seasons 
were we in Cairo. 

One of our party mentioned to me that he saw 
an officer of justice walk into two shops, and take 
out two men, and tuck them up by the necks each 
over his own door, and let them hang there till 
they were dead, and till the sun went down* The 
pflfence he did not learn ; but the summary pro- 
ceeding struck him with horror. I was afterwards 
inarmed that this is the manner in which the laws 
of Egypt punish extortion, tight weight, or selling 
goods at an exhorbitant ' profit. The officer of 
justice is named Awali el Cadi, or first officer of 
the Cadi. The punishment for light bread is to 
put the baker into his own oven, which is per- 
formed by the same friend of the public above 
mentioned — a punishment which humanity would 
forbid us to record, did not the evidence of ere* 
cbiahle witnesses compel us to receive it as truth. 

There are no coaches, chariots, or gigs, in Cairo, 

CAIRO. 85 

and hardly any wheel carriages whatever. AH 
the Hme that J was in Cairo, I only saw one cart 
which was drawn by buffaloes, and that carried a 
dead man who had been shot in a scuffle a few 
minutes before. There are indeed no roads in the 
country for carriages, and the streets are too nar* 
row to admit them. Stones, lime, timber, water, 
merchandize, and all portable articles are carried 
by camels, asses, mules, or men. To the latter is 
usually assigned the task of carrying water in skins 
through the bazars, which they sell for half a 
para, or little more than half a farthing a glass* 
This is a prodigious luxury. Fatigued and exhausted 
with riding, or walking through the streets in th£ 
sultry heat of the day, I have frequently, in com-* 
pany With my friend Osman, sat down to repose on 
the edge of a bazar. The water-carrier soon came 
by, from whom each of us took a glass of water; 
After the water-carrier came a boy with a basket 
of bread, from whom each of us bought a roll. 
After him came another boy with a mixture of salt 
and carraway seeds, of which we procured a little to 
relish our fare, the bread in Cairo being usually 
baked without salt t thus with our simple fare of 
bread and water, and salt, which we ate on thg 
street, and which cost us about a half-penny a 
piece, We were perfectly refreshed and comforted, 
and With the luxury of a pipe of tobacco, which, if 
we had not our own along with us, the merchant 

86 caiho. 

on whose bazar we sat down, never failed tare- 
quest our acceptance of his, we were as completely 
refitted for resuming our peregrinations as if we 
had baited at an English inn. No person stared or 
wondered at us, for every one did the same as 
often as he had occasion* 

The bazars in Cairo are neither so large nor so 
commodious as those in Constantinople or Damas- 
cus, and are altogether on a different construction 
from pur shops. They are a series of arcades, or 
recesses in the wall opening upon both sides of a 
narrow street or lane, and succeeding each other 
through the whole length of it Each man's por- 
tion is about six or seven feet in front, with a seat 
of the same length before it, on which he sits with 
his legs folded under him, smokes his pipe, and 
talks with his neighbour, reads the koran, and says 
his prayers as the stated hours come round. • ■ His 
goods are arranged in shelves on the back, or dis- 
played all round the niche. During the day if the 
master has occasion to leave his bazar, he covers 
it over with a piece of net ; and about five o'clock 
p. m. generally locks it up for the night, by a move- 
able door, which, in the day time, formed the only 
partition between his seat and his neighbour's. 

The bazars are covered above to' shelter them 
from the rays of the sun, and lighted by apertures 
In the side of the roof, and from each' end. There 
is no thoroughfare permitted except for foot passenw 

CAIRO. 87 

gers, so that the lounger is but little interrupted in 
his walks. Each species of goods has its own class 
t>f bazars. Such as the bazars for silk, cloth, 
ready made clothes, shoes, leather, jewels tobacco, 
tobacco-pipes, . amber mouth-pieces : each; of them 
generally occupying a distinct lane or alley by it- 
self, and abundantly supplied with the article pro- 
fessed to be sold. . Books, by which I mean Arabic 
books or manuscripts, are very rare, and seldom an 
article of exhibition ; if you have a friend acquaint- 
ed in the town, he :can find them for you, probably 
from some of .the Sheiks who cart read, and may 
perhaps have delivered a discourse in the mosque ; 
but you will not be able to find them for yourself. 
The bazar for cloth and ready made clothes is th^e 
finest, aiiji the most frequented. The merchants 
in these different, bazars are Turks, Arabs, Greeks, 
Copts, Jews, and Armenians, of whom the first and 
' the last are generally the most upright and agree- 
able to deal with. 

The Turks, being masters of the country, are su- 
perior to all, both in wealth and dignity, yet the 
Arabs constitute by far the greatest part of th,e po- 
pulation, both in Cairo, and throughout the whole 
of Egypt and Syria, k and their language is the ver- 
nacular tongue in both countries. Notwithstand- 
ing .which, and their being of the same religion with 
the Turks; they enjoy no offices of emolument, and 
fire kept nearly in $a much subjection as the Copts 

88 CAIRO. 

or Greeks, though they are at least in the proportion 
of twenty to one, or more. The Armenian* are 
numerous, and entirely engaged in trade, and bear 
the character of a respectable industrious people* 
I entered one of their churches on a week day $ it 
was well attended ; their behaviour was devout, and 
becoming a house of prayer. They are dissentients 
from the Greek church ; they keep lent rigidly, 
but eat flesh on Fridays. They deny purgatory, 
and the procession of the Holy Ghost from tho 
Son : they pray for the dead, and rebaptize con- 
verts from the church of Rome. The secular clergy 
must all be married before they are admitted to 
holy orders, but are not allowed to marry a second 

The Armenians are favourably situated in Egypt 
at present, on account of one of their countrymen 
being the interpreter, and one of the confidential 
advisers of the Pasha. This gentleman once had 
the misfortune to fall under the displeasure of his 
master, by refusing to lend him money, and was 
consigned to the executioner, to put him into ? 
sack, and drown him in the Nile. He was met on 
his way to die place of execution, and saved by the 
intervention of two intrepid friends, who remon- 
strated with the Pasha upon the injustice of the 
sentence, and had it revoked. The worthy gentle* 
man was pardoned, and reinstated in his former 
office, and loves and serves with fidelity the man 

CAIRO* 89 

who bad unjustly ordered him to be put tp 

The number of Jews in Cairo was differently 
stated at three, four, five, or six thousand* But I 
am disposed to think that the highest number is con-* 
siderably under, the truth* Th£y are an industrious 
people, and are chiefly engaged in small traffic, as 
in this country ; but many of them being able to 
read, write, and cipher, are employed in the dif- 
ferent offices of government They have seven 
synagogues in Cairo ; five of which I visited in com- 
pany with Elias, who had been himself in the em* 
ploy of the Pasha till the failure of his eye-sight com- 
pelled him to relinquish it In witnessing a circum- 
cision, which is performed by the priest on the 
eighth day, as prescribed in the Law of Moses, I 
was astonished to find that the mother carries the 
child in her arms, and lays him down on the table 
or altar for the operation. In conversing with them 
on the danger and impropriety of requiring such a 
service of the mother, they assured me, that it 
never was attended with any inconvenience, and 
that it was a practise that mothers would on no ac- 
count give up* The latter part of the statement I as 
readily believe, as I doubt and disbelieve the former* 

The Copts are generally considered as the legi- 
timate remains of the ancient Egyptians, as retain- 
ing- in their features, and even in their name, proofs 
of their descent from that great and wonderful peo* 

00 dAlfcd* 

pie. Though I must be permitted to say, that 
neither in their features nor in their complexion 
have they the smallest resemblance to the figures 
of the ancient Egyptians that are represented in 
the tombs at Thebes, or any other part of Egypt 
that I ever visited. There are about 8000 of them 
in Cairo j and throughout the whole of Egypt in- 
clusive, about 25000. Prior to the Persian con- 
quest, Egypt possessed a population of 7,000,000 : 
all of them, it is presumed, Egyptians. That three 
and twenty hundred years of bondage and persecu- 
tion should have reduced them to their present num- 
ber, is not so surprising as that they should, not- 
withstanding all their changes of masters, have re- 
mained a distinct people. Latterly the . Christian 
religion, the strongest cement of society, has knit 
them together in one bond of union, and placed an 
insurmountable barrier between tljem and their pre- 
sent masters. The same distinction obtained, in a 
Certain , degree, between them and their Persian 
conquerors. But this was not the case under the 
Greeks, who were themselves a colony from Egypt. 
The Ptolemies repaired their temples, presented 
their offerings -on the same. altars, and worshipped 
the same deities with them. The Egyptians adopt- 
ed, their alphabet, and /probably much of their 1 lan- 
guage: their own is now completely lost. They 
never appear to have amalgamated so well with the 
Roqians^ under whose government they: made se- 


veral efforts to recover their independence. After 
their conversion to Christianity they appear to have 
formed one sect with the Greeks and Romans, and 
the national distinction must have been then greatly 
sunk, and the present Copts are probably a mix- 
ture of the ancient Egyptians with those inhabit- 
ants of the country, who embraced that religion at 
the same time with themselves. 

The head of the Coptic church is the Patriarch 
of Alexandria, who, they pretend, sits in the chair 
of St Mark the EvangeKst, to whom they ascribe 
their conversion to Christianity, and whose relics 
they were accustomed to exhibit in the ninth cen- 
tury. . This dignitary may be also regarded as the 
bead of the Abyssinian Church, for he always ap- 
points the A buna, who is the highest ecclesiastical 
dignitary iij that country. His avowed place of resi- 
dence is in Cairo j but at the time when we were 
there, in consequence of some pecuniary embarass- 
ments, he had withdrawn to St. Macarius, where 
the Copts have their principal convent, leaving the 
the vice Patriarch in the capital to officiate in his 
stead. . 

. Having procured his address, I proceeded along 
with an interpreter to pay my respects to this worthy 
gentleman* , I found him with his legs folded un- 
der hipi, sitting on a stone seat in a small recess on 
the shady side of ,a smpll court, smoking his pipe, 
and drinking coffee in company with a dervis* 


93 CAIRO. 

Several of his priests, dirty, ill-dressed, illiterate 
looking men, with long beards, and altogether such 
as one would take for journeymen shoemakers, were 
sitting near him. He received me politely, with a 
gentle inclination of the head, and laying his hand 
on his breast, begged me to sit down opposite to 
him on the other side of the recess, and continued 
his conversation with the dervis, who seemed ex- 
tremely condescending, and pressed his suit with 
prodigious earnestness. The object of the Maho- 
medan's visit was to prevail on the vice Patriarch 
to use his influence with one of his people, to ab- 
stain from accusing a Turk publicly before the 
Pasha, for having carried off his wife. The discus- 
sion lasted about half an hour, and terminated ac- 
cording to the wishes of the dervis ; during which 
time I smoked a pipe, drank a cup of coffee, and 
visited the church. On my return I found the 
dervis taking leave with all the significance of a 
triumphant look, and the vice Patriarch patting the 
bit of carpet with his hand, invited me to occupy 
the seat of the holy mussulman. 

The reverend father is a thin, meagre, sickly 
looking man, from 55 to 60 years of age, of a hum- 
ble and insinuating address. He began his dis- 
course with welcoming me to Cairo ; and the warmth 
and affection with which he spoke, lighted up his 
countenance, and manifested an unusual regard for 
the happiness of his fellow-creatures. It was the 

CAIRO. 98 

first time that I had seen such a Christian aspect 
since I had been in Egypt. On my expressing my 
approbation of their place of worship in general 
terms, he said, by way of apologizing for its want 
of magnificence, that the Christians in these lands 
are very poor, and he had reason to be thankful 
that appearances were not worse. He said the con- 
gregation were neither provided with bibles, nor 
prayer books, either to use in the church* tir to 
study at home ; but that they knew the responses 
by memory, having been taught them in their in>- 
fancy, which was quite sufficient for all the duty 
they had to perform. This is a sentiment that I 
found universally prevailing throughout the Le- 
vant, both among Christians and Mussulmans, that 
die stated form of prayer comprises the sum total of 
duty to the Author of bur being, and the delight- 
ful employment of cultivating the heart, and chast- 
ening the feelings with private reading, meditation^ 
or conversation with others, or with themselves^ 
forms no part of their plans of felicity, or domestic 
enjoyment Mankind must not only be fold of 
their duty ; but to perform it effectually > it mast 
be embodied in the feelings of their heart* so that 
the performance of it shall constitute the chief 
pleasure of their lives. He only has a rational and 
welt regulated mind, whose greatest pleasure is in 
the discharge of his duty : he only is the truly 
wise man, and he only is happy. 

94 CAIRO. 

On taking leave, the reverend Father invited m<* 
to attend their church on Sunday* and see how they 
proceeded ; an invitation which I willingly accept- 
ed. He informed me that they assembled at an 
early hour, and I went thither at sun-rise. In about 
half an hour the door of the church was opened, 
and we were admitted. It is not provided with 
seats in any part ; but the floor is covered with 
mats made of the split shoots of the young palm- 
tree, on which the people sit, with their legs folded 
under them ; but their service requires much stand- 
ing, and in order to support themselves with ease, 
they have long staves with cross heads, resembling 
the handle of a shovel in this country, on which they 
lean, and which they lend to one another as they 
happen to be unprovided or disposed. The church 
is divided into four compartments ; in the inner- 
most of which is a table, on which the Patriarch, 
or officiating priest, consecrates the host ; the next 
compartment is occupied by the priest, who reads 
the service, the singers, and several additional sit- 
ters ; it is small, and is generally crowded with poor 
people covered with rags and vermin ; the third 
division, which is by far the largest, is occupied by 
the great body of the congregation ; and the fourth 
is a sort of cage-work erected near the door, for the 
accommodation of the women, who dare not show 
their faces in a Christian assembly, or sit promiscu- 
ously with the other sex. 

CAtRC 95 

Divine service was performed both in the Coptic 
and Arabic languages ; part of it was chanted by 
the singers, who used the cymbals and the Ribobet, 
an instrument resembling a violin ; the congregation* 
also joined in the sacred song, and the whole ser- 
vice was extremely devotional and. impressive., 
The host was consecrated by the vice Patriarch in 
the sanctuary, or innermost apartment, and carried 
through the church, while the whole congregation 
bowed and prayed most fervently. There was no 
sermon ; but the time occupied in the service was 
between three and four hours ; at the conclusion of 
the whole, after the blessing was pronounced, the 
vice Patriarch stood in the door, of the sanctuary 
with a roll of bread in his hand, the congregation 
all passed by him one by one, and to each person 
as he passed he gave a piece of the roll ; one roll 
serving about a dozen of people. This is the man- 
ner in which the Copts administer the sacrament; 
the women do not descend to partake of it in pre- 
sence of the men ; but wait till they are gone, 
and then come and receive it. There is no meeting 
in the afternoon, and the rest of the day is gene- 
rally spent in sauntering idly about, the streets or in 
lolling in one another's houses. They keep four 
lents in the year, which they rigidly observe, often 
to the prejudice of their health, and have meagre 
days on Wednesdays and Fridays, every week ; and 
on the occasion of certain religious festivals, they 

96 CAIRO. 

sometimes spend whole nights in the church ; thus 
taxing the human frame with a duty which it can- 
not perform, and exacting from the clay-clad spirit 
of man the unceasing functions of the angels in 
heaven. The Copts reject extreme unction, and 
prayers for the dead, and consider the church of 
Rome heretical. They hold that the two natures 
of Christ are one by coadunitioo. 

In the church there were pictures of the Virgin 
Mary, to which, after receiving the piece of bread, 
each went and made a bow, and retired* of our 
Saviour on the cross, and of Saint Mark ; but no 
sculptured images whatever. When the service 
was over I retired with one of the priests into the 
court above mentioned, and having drank a cup of 
coffee, and made an appointment with the vice 
Patriarch to accompany him on the Thursday fol- 
lowing to visit some of the Coptic convents in the 
neighbourhood, immediately took leave. This ap- 
pointment, however, I was prevented from keeping, 
owing to a melancholy occurrence which shall be 
mentioned in its proper place* I afterwards visited 
a convent of this persuasion in Old Cairo, where 
men and women, and children, resided altogether j 
it was the dirtiest and most uncomfortable place I 
ever visited in the whole course of my life, and the 
least like a religious establishment. And speaking o# 
the Copts- in general, though they understand 
figures and writing better than any other class of 

CAIRO. 97 

people in Egypt, and are much employed by the 
Pasha in matters of accounts, yet they certainly 
are an uncouth and grovelling race, and farther re- 
moved from civilization, and the softened habits of 
society, thab any of their fellow citizens : they have 
a sulky and designing look, with much of that low 
cunning* that renders a man unpleasant and sus- 
pected : they have an unusual command of feature ; 
but not of eye, which announces, with all its diver- 
sity of expression, the craft and intrigue of their 
disposition ; and I never saw one of them either in 
their bazars, demanding twice the sum that he 
would take for bis goods, or brushing away on the 
back of bis excellent bourika, that he did not ex- 
hibit a sallow, smoothed up face, with a soft and 
fair speech, like an arrant rogue that having com- 
posed his features and wiped his mouth, wished to 
pass for an honest man : I speak of those in Cairo, 
for I have seen many in the country of whom I 
would willingly believe and say better things. They 
have been often conquered and long in slavery, and 
are not yet reconciled to their situation. 

By this time the noble traveller was considerably 
recovered from the attack of gout with which be 
had been seized at Delos, and which had greatly 
checked his persevering zeal in antiquarian pur- 
suits since his arrival in Egypt ; and the interpreter 
having- called to pay his respects, arrangements 
were made for visiting hid Highness Mahomet Ah, 

VOL. i. h 

98 CAIRO. 

the Pasha. The place fixed for the interview, was 
a small kiosk or summer-house on the banks of the 
Nile, a little above Old Cairo, where he then re- 
sided. Early next morning, in company with Mr. 
Salt, and his usual attendants of Janizaries and 
grooms, we set out to pay our respects to this 


worthy successor of the Pharaohs. Hitherto the 
Countess of Belmore had not assumed the oriental 
costume, which deprived us of the pleasure of her 
ladyship's company in this morning's ride. We 
passed out by the same gate, and along the same 
road which I have already mentioned in my first 
visit to Old Cairo. Having passed the representative 
of this ancient city, we proceeded along a low 
dusty path, lined with a row of palm and sycamore 
trees, and having travelled about a mile and a half 
further up the river, arrived at this summer resi- 
dence of the Pasha. A number of beautiful Arabic 
and Dongala horses, amply caparisoned, were 
standing all round, tied by the feet, in the shade j 
their well-greaved riders smoking and talking, lay 
near them on the grass. On our arrival being an- 
nounced, we were immediately ushered into his 
presence, and found him sitting on the corner of 
the divan, surrounded by his officers and men, who 
were standing at a respectful distance. He received 
Us sitting, but in the most gracious manner, and 
placed the Earl of Belmore and Mr. Salt upon his 
left hand, and his lordship's two sons and myself 

CAIRO. 99 

at the top of the room upon his right. The inter- 
preter stood, as well as the officers and soldiers, 
who remained in the room during the whole time 
of the visit. He began the conversation by wel- 
coming us to Cairo, and prayed that God might 
preserve us and grant us prosperity. He then en- 
quired of the noble traveller how long he had been 
from England, and what was the object of his 
journey to Egypt ? to all of which he received 
satisfactory answers. His Highness next adverted 
to the prospect before him, the Nile, the grain- 
covered fields, and the pyramids of Gheesa, the 
bright sun, the cloudless sky, and remarked with a 
certain triumphant humor on his lip, that England 
offered no such prospect to the eye of the spectator. 
It was admitted that England had no pyramids, 
palm-trees, or dhourra ; but that her scenery was of 
the richest and choicest description. " O," he said, 
" he meant as to the verdure, that England did not 
possess any thing equal to that.** " O yes, yes/' was 
instantly called out, and repeated by every English- 
man in the room ; and much finer might have been 
added with equal truth. " How can that be," he 
shortly rejoined, " seeing you are steeped in fog and 
rain for three quarters of the year?" This he was 
given to understand was favorable for the produc- 
tion of verdure, and that our climate was not quite 
so foggy and wet as he had imagined. " Well," pur- 
sued his Highness, " admitting that you may have 

h 2 

100 CAIRO* 

some.greensward in England, it con only last for 
a few months in the year ; for, during all the rest 
of it, you are covered with snow/ 9 scarcely finding 
a word to express it, " which necessarily destroys 
all verdure/ 9 Then, without waiting for a reply, 
he gave a voluntary shiver, wrapt himself up in his 
beniss, and added, with a hearty laugh, that he 
thought the climate of Egypt better than that of 
England still : thus, to the no small entertain- 
ment of his audience, making a tolerable retreat 
from the dilemma in which he had got involved. 
It might have been expected that a native of Wal- 
iachia would have spoken more sensibly on the 
subject of snow and verdure ; but we found it a 
prevailing opinion, throughout the Levant, that 
Englishmen go to visit these places because they 
have nothing so beautiful at home to look at The 
minds of the uncultivated inhabitants can form no 
idea of the pleasure that is derived from contem- 
plating an ancient ruin, or traversing a field that 
has been the scene of memorable events. 

His Highness next turned the conversation to 
Mr. Leslie's elegant experiment of freezing water 
' in the vacuum of an air-pump, which he had never 
seen, but which he admired prodigiously in de- 
scription, and seemed to anticipate, with great sa- 
tisfaction, a glais of lemonade and iced water for 
himself and friends, as the happiest remit of the 
i a luxwy which I dare say he has already 

CAIRO. 101 

enjoyed, as the necessary apparatus had been or- 
dered for him from London a considerable time 
before* He next talked of his Lordship's intended 
voyage up the Nile ; for which he politely offered 
to render every possible facility ; cautioning him 
at the same time to keep a sharp look out among 
the Arabs, who, he believed, would not take any 
thing from him or any of the party, by violence, 
but that they would certainly steal if they found 
an opportunity of doing it without the risk of detec- 
tion. He then related a number of anecdotes of 
the petty larcenies of that most thievish race ; some 
of which were by no means without contrivance or 
dexterity. But the. one which seemed to amuse 
both himself and his friends the most, was that of 
a traveller, who, when eating his dinner, laid down 
his spoon to reach lor a piece of bread, and by the 
time that he brought back his hand, the spoon was 
away ; the knife and fork soon shared the same 
fate, and the unfortunate traveller was at last re- 
duced to the sad necessity of tearing his meat, and 
lifting it with his fingers and thumb like the Arabs 
themselves. Many people were near, but no one 
saw the theft committed ; and all search for the re- 
covery of the property was in vain. In order to 
prove to his Highness that the natives of Europe 
had some idea of pilfering, as well as the Arab* of 
Egypt, the interpreter was requested to relate to 
the story of the comical squire, who had his 

102 CAIRO* 

dapple stolen from between his legs, while he slept 
on its back, the robber having gently undone the 
fastenings, and propped up the saddle with sticks, 
that the slumbering rider might continue to enjoy his 
seat and his nap, while the watchful thief mounted 
and made off with his pony. Thus, in his merci- 
ful compassion, judging it a double sin to deprive 
him of his horse and his sleep at the same time. 
The substitution of a wooden horse for a living 
pony would not have been so bad in modern times. 
This anecdote was quite new, and quite to the 
taste of the Pasha; and the interpreter throwing 
considerable humor into the narration, it produced 
its full effect both upon his risible faculties, and 
those of the audience. We now took leave of the 
Viceroy, leaving him in the greatest good humor ; 
he said we might go every where, and see every 
thing we wished, and that he hoped to have the 
pleasure of seeing us again. 

This fortunate adventurer is about forty-eight 
years of age, of a slender make, sallow complexion, 
and rather under the middle size. He is a native 
of Romania, and entered the Turkish service as a 
soldier of fortune. His spirited and gallant con- 
duct soon attracted the notice of his superiors, and 
procured him promotion. He joined the army of 
the Grand Seignor that was destined to act against 
the Mamelukes in Egypt, who affected to govern 
that country independently of the Porte. The 

CAIRO. 103 

result is well known; the Beys were expelled from 
Egypt and Nubia, into the kingdom of Dongala, 
where they at present reside, with but very slen- 
der hopes of ever recovering their former pos- 
sessions. Mahomed Ali came to be commander 
and chief of the army, and finally was confirmed in 
his present elevated situation. 

The first object of the new Viceroy was to esta- 
blish the internal tranquillity of the country, and to 
reduce the power of the soldiers, who had become 
licentious in the extreme ; both of which he has 
completely effected. The traveller may now visit 
every corner of Egypt unmolested; he may go 
with his money in his hand, from one end of it to 
the other; no person will take it from him by vio- 
lence, and murder is almost unknown. These are 
new facts in the history of Egypt. Against the 
soldiery, what was his single arm? One to many 
thousands : but his address was as superior to them 
all, as mind is superior to matter. In the time of 
the Mamelukes the soldier was omnipotent: no 
man's property was secure, but when it did not 
awaken his desire to possess it : when it did, the 
custom was, to demand the price of the article that 
tempted his cupidity. This he always found to be 
exorbitant, and generally answered by offering 
a half, a third, or a fourth, of what had been re- 
quired. If the offer was accepted, the bargain 
was amicably adjusted. If not, the son of Mars 

104 CAi*o. 

laid his hand on his pistol, and either brought the 
merchant to his terms, or took away both his pro- 
perty and his life. The contagion of bad example 
spreads like a gangrene, infecting all with whom it 
comes into contact* The troops of the Pasha were 
speedily inoculated with the same vicious and 
abandoned habits : such a state of society is not 
to be endured, and never can be lasting in any 
country. The Pasha contemplated the evil, and 
met it with the wisdom and promptitude of a great 
man ; he despatched the most unruly of his troops 
to the holy war against the Wahabites, under the 
command of his wife's son, Ibrahim Bey $ and the 
sest he gradually subjected, by attaching the best 
of them to his person, and by inflicting the most 
signal punishment on every notorious offender. 
The last outrage of the soldiery that he had occa- 
sion to punish, was for the murder of a fine young 
woman, the daughter of the Swedish consul , in 
Cairo. This young lady was returning from the 
bath in the afternoon, in company with her mother. 
Her elegant appearance, fully displayed in the 
European costume, attracted the regards of a sol- 
dier, who made up to her, and addressed her in 
language which it was not convenient for her to 
hear, and to which, accordingly, she made no re* 
ply, but continued her walk. The soldier repeated 
his words, which met with a similar disregard- 
Provoked at her indifference, and determined to be 

CAIRO. 105 

heard, he pulled out his pistol, and instantly shot 
her through the heart* The unfortunate young 
woman sunk down in immediate death, and the 
assassin turned round in a hellish exultation to 
enjoy the applause of his inftmous associates ; .but 
his triumph was of short duration, being almost 
immediately arrested by the janizary of the English 
Consul-general, a Chaldean by birth, from whom 
he escaped by knocking him down with his pistol, 
but was afterwards apprehended by the guards in 
the Franks' quarters, and being carried before the 
Pasha, was beheaded next morning, with the most 
marked abhorrence of the crime which he had 
committed. The Pasha was universally and de- 
servedly applauded. Such an outrage might have 
occurred in any country ; the history of every na- 
tion sufficiently evinces that no law can restrain 
the hand of a ruffian from firing a pistol, or using 
a dagger, which it permits him to carry ; but in 
everf country vengeance would not so swiftly and 
decidedly have been repaid upon the head of the 
guilty offender. Under other rulers, the culprit 
would probably have been permitted to escape into 
Upper Egypt, to the borders of the Red Sea, or 
perhaps into Syria, and after the lapse of a few 
months, or at the most a year or two, to return and 
make up his peace ; but here they found a master 
that was not to be trifled with ; and the soldier now, 
with all his paraphernalia and military accoutre* 

106 CAIRO. 

ments, is as little dreaded in the streets as another 
man, and the merchant bargains with him on equal 

This intelligent Viceroy, at the age of forty, 
could neither read nor write ; since which he has 
learned to do both, though, as might well have 
been expected, is no great proficient in either. 
This would be an indelible disgrace in modern 
Europe ; but the whole history of the Turkish em- 
pire sufficiently evinces that a knowledge of letters 
is not necessary to govern men. A certain dex- 
terity in managing the horse and arms of a soldier, 
in firing with precision at a mark, throwing the 
djerid, playing skilfully with the sword, joined to 
address and shrewdness in conversation, with a 
prompt decisive character in action, are qualifi- 
cations which in these countries open a road to 
certain, promotion ; and with all these his Highness 
of Egypt is amply endowed, and upon these he 
lives, the boast and terror of his people. He^acted 
the part of an able general in restoring the disci- 
pline of the army, in suppressing banditti, and in 
establishing the tranquillity of the country ; but 
his internal regulations evince him to be an unwise 
and illiberal governor, and but ill calculated to pro- 
mote the happiness of his people, or the prosperity 
of Egypt. He proceeds upon the absurd principle, 
that men are made for kings and rulers ; that all 
the men, women and children, all the land, and 

CAIRO. 107 

every thing that it produces, are his property ; that 
his subjects have no rights that they can call their 
own } they are the menials of his family, bound to 
serve him — all their labour, and all the produce of 
the soil are his, for a scanty allowance of food and 
clothing, which he graciously concedes to them ; 
the ground is all his ; and he seems determined to 
reduce the sheiks, or master tenants, and fellahs, 
all to one level, that they may all work to him for 
hire, and have no ground or property which they 
can call their own. There is a capitation tax, and 
a tax upon the water-wheels, and upon sheep, goats, 
and black cattle, of which by and by he will be 
the sole possessor. He is the sole merchant in the 
country ; all the trade of it is in his hands. He 
furnishes the shoemaker with leather, who cuts it 
and makes it into shoes, and when they are made, 
carries them to the agent of the Pasha, who pays 
him so much a day for his labour ; the shoes are 
then deposited in a general store, out of which they 
are sold to the public, and the Pasha pockets the 
money that should revert to the industrious trades- 
man, to feed and clothe his family, and to lighten 
his labor. The same thing is done in regard to 
the cloth manufactories. He, provides the weaver 
with the yarn, who, when he has finished his web, 


takes it to the agent of the Pasha, who pays him at 
the rate of so much a day for his labor, generally 
half a piastre, which is three-pence of our money ; 

108 CAIRO. 

the cloth is then put into a general store, and sold 
out for the benefit of the Pasha ; it is all regularly 
stamped, and no person can or dare sell it but his 
agents. Such are the regulations which he wishes 
to establish universally, and which forcibly evince 
that one science only will one genius fit. Mahomed 
Ali may be a good soldier, but he is a wretched 
governor ; a perfect infant in political economy': 
his regulations may do on a small scale between 
master and slave, or under the patriarchal ages, 
but they can never make a great or a happy people ; 
for they are founded on the avaricious and con- 
tracted views of an individual whom they are in- 
tended to enrich, by impoverishing and degrading 
to the rank of beasts those whom it is his duty to 
cherish, and to lift up to the stature of humanity. 
He may hold the only purse in the country, and 
be accounted the one-eyed monarch of the blind ; 
but he can never reign in the hearts of his subjects, 
nor bless the land with joyful abundance. * 

But it must be observed, that as all happiness is 
relative, so is all misery, and the land qf Egypt 
enjoys more advantages under its present master, 
than it has experienced for many years under arty 
of his predecessors. The canals are deepened, 
yielding facilities for commerce, and an abundant 
supply of water for man and beast, and all the im- 
portant purposes of agriculture. The roving Be- 
doueens are compelled to pay tribute, to live in 

CAIRO* 109 

their tents, and to pasture their flocks quietly along 
the edge of the desert, without pilfering from or 
molesting their peaceful neighbours in the villages* 
He has established manufactures of sugar, gun- 
powder, saltpetre, indigo, cotton, &c. which are 
under the direction of properly qualified Europeans; 
of these he is almost exclusively the sole proprietor, 


and no person is permitted to found any rival esta- 
blishment. Having met with considerable difficulty 
in procuring properly qualified persons to super- 
intend his manufactories, he has sent a number of 
his own subjects to Europe to study at Genoa, 
Leghorn, and Milan, the different branches that 
he wishes to cultivate ; some of these have visited 
England : after a certain period of years, they are 
to return to Egypt, superintend the operations of 
the Pasha, and teach their countrymen what they 
have learned themselves. Some of them are spe- 
cially devoted to the study of mineralogy, as an 
examination of the mineral kingdom, the finding 
of gold and emerald mines, is an object that the 
ruler of Egypt has much at heart ; all his views 
centre in himself, and in the accumulation of Wealth* 
Hut the education of the youjth is a plan that will 
likely extend itself, and in the end benefit the 
country i and science and civilisation may yet revisit 
their ancient seat Though Mussulmans and Chris- 
tians cannot attend the same places of worship, there 
is nothing to prevent them from entering the same 

110 CAIRO. 

scientific institutions, and hearing lectures on na- 
tural philosophy and chemistry in the same apart- 
ment. Some such intermede as this is required to 
unite Christians, Jews and Mahomedans in one body, 
to bring them into contact under such circumstances 
that the divellent affinities of discordant creeds shall 
have no effect in tearing them asunder. Mussul- 
mans hold many kingly sceptres, and constitute a 
large portion of the population of the globe ; but 
in the journals of science they are a perfect blank ; 
they are all for the animal, and nothing for the in- 
tellectual man : yet a Mussulman is not necessarily 
ignorant as a consequence of his religion ; letters 
flourished among the Saracens at Bagdat, and one 
of the first arcs of the meridian that science ever 
spanned, was measured in the plain of Mesopotamia, 
under the auspices of a Khalif. There is nothing 
in the religion of a Mussulman that ties him down 
from the exercise of his intellectual faculties, and 
when once he finds that it is for his interest to 
study, he will give his days and nights to the cul- 
tivation of science as indefatigably as the enlight- 
ened inhabitants of Europe; his prejudices and 
superstitions will fall away, as they have done in 
other countries, before the light of truth and know- 
ledge, and the savage and untractable Mussulman 
become a civilized and rational being. When we 
look at their habits of life, and their scanty or their 
no education, in which the highest have no more 

* CAIRO. Ill 

advantages than the lowest ; what can we expect ? 
ft would be impossible to form in this country, by 
the most careful selection from among the most 
grovelling of our fellow-subjects, a society so little 
elevated above the brute creation, as is the first 
society throughout the Turkish dominions* For 
here, though many have never availed themselves 
of those opportunities of learning which our schools 
afford ; yet they have daily and hourly intercourse 
with those who have, and many of the refined and 
heavenly influences of cultivation fall insensibly, and 
produce their salutary effects upon the poorest and 
most unfortunate of our brethren, who, moreover, 
from their birth, have lived under the mild and 
controlling influence of our laws and our religion. 
There are no books in Cairo, no journals, no news- 
papers, no printing-press, no universities, no houses 
of parliament, no lectures on law, physic, or 
theology, no courses of mathematics, chemistry, or 
botany, no learned men, or learned professions, no 
theatres, no balls, no meeting of the sexes in polite 
conversation, no Royal societies, Royal academies, 
museums, collections, or galleries of paintings* 
The whole society is a congregation of ignorant 
rustics, who, if each has food to eat and raiment 
to wear, a pipe to smoke, and a female to enjoy, 
and a sword to kill his enemy, or if in a passion, 
his friend, he is possessed of the utmost bounds of 
his desires. What a vast and Alpine steep have 

1 12 CAIRO. 

these animals to climb, before they attain the cul- 
tivated regions of Bacon, Milton, Locke, Newton, 
or Laplace ; of Mrs. Hannah More, Miss Edge- 
worth, or Madame de Stael. They have an im- 
mense chasm to pass, of which they know not the 
extent, and their rulers cannot inform them. Their 
king is but the sovereign of savages and slaves, not 
meriting the appellation of king of men. 

The princes, or great men of Egypt, are the 
two sons, and son-in-law of the Pasha ; the Kia* 
hstia Bey who governs in Cairo, in the absence 
of his master Mahomed Ali Pasha $ and a number 
of other Beys* all of whom attend in the coun- 
cils of the Pasha, when he holds a divan. Of 
these two titles, Pasha and Bey, the first is de- 
rived, according to some etymologists;, from the 
Turkish word Basch, which signifies head} or from 
Bassa, which is the very word, and means Praefect, 
or Viceroy. It is written with a P in English, be* 
cause the letter B is pronounced with that sound 
by the Arabs and Turks ; there is no P in either of 
their languages. The word Bey and Beg, are the 
same, and answer to the European titles prince or 
lord. There may be several Pashas in a country, 
ahhough one is superior to them alL Thus the sob. 
of the wife of the Pasha of Egypt; is Ibrahim 
Pasha, and is the Paaha of Upper Egypt, and re- 
sides at' Osyout. His other son AsAil, is also 
a Fflsksu They are of ones two, or three tails* 

CAIRO. 113 

according to their dignity ; the last I believe always 
wears a beard, with the others it is optional. The 
son-in-law of the Pasha is a Bey, and being the 
treasurer, or rather auditor of accounts, is called 
the Defterdar Bey ; the others are called by their 
own name, or by that of the place of their govern- 
ment, or residence* The Mufti is the high priest, 
the same with the Lord Chancellor, and the inter- 
preter of the law. The Cadi is the judge, and in 
all cases of doubt applies to the Mufti for assistance. 
The Cadi has his Kihaja, or vice Cadi. All of 
them deliver discourses in the mosque, and have 
seats assigned to them in it. But the Mufti is more 
particularly regarded in a religious point of view, 
and is required to know the Koran almost by me- 
mory, and, on being called upon by the Cadi, is ex- 
pected to be able to tell him immediately what the 
divine law is on any point that may be proposed 
for his consideration. , 

There are many mosques in Grand Cairo, and 
some of them of the most splendid description, 
being ornamented with many beautiful granite 
columns, the plunder of On, and Memphis. It is 
here, and at Alexandria, Rome, and Constantinople, 
that we are to look for the ruins of the ancient 
capitals of Egypt, which, in its day, was not only 
the finest country in the world for the arts and 
sciences, but after-ages have borrowed the ancient 
productions of its chisel, to adorn the greatest 

VOL. I. i 

114 CAIRO. 

capitals and museums of the most conquering peo» 
pie that ever appeared. These mosques are in the 
form of a long square, the entrance is floored with 
marble, and adorned with many columns. Some of 
them are said to have five hundred, and some a 
thousand columns, as the ruined mosque that stands 
between Old and New Cairo. The largest mosque 
in Cairo, is the mosque of Azhar : it stands in 
the middle of the town, and is much frequented 
by the poor blind, many of whom are maintained 
out of the funds of the mosque. The mosque of 
Sultan Hassen, is another large mosque near the 
gate of the city, that leads to the castle ; but in 
point of size, is much inferior to the one already 
mentioned. The mosques are adorned with domes 
and minarets, are kept remarkably clean, and are 
well frequented. Friday is the day that the Mus* 
sulmans observe for Sunday, and on that day they 
generally receive a discourse from the Cadi, the 
Mufti, or some of the learned Sheiks, illustrating 
the doctrines of the Koran, and cautioning them to 
beware of the contagion of infidels, among whom 
they dwell. On week days, discourses on other 
subjects are likewise delivered, as on the copious* 
ness «d beauty of the Arabic language, or on a 
point of law, or on the differences between the 
different sects of ifllamism, &c &c. 

We paid a visit to a convent of dervises, in the 
neighbourhood of Old Cairo, in company with our 

CAIRO. 115 

friend Mr, Walroas. Only three of the Mahomedan 
fathers were at home, and these were old, and 
seemed to have retired from service to lead a quiet 
find inoffensive life, in an iijdiflerent habitation. 
They received us in a very complaisant manner, 
presented us with pipes and coffee, took us into 
their mosque where they said their prayers, and 
into their garden where they gave u* some excel- 
lent %s ; but they were far too ancient to show us 
Any of their wonderful exhibitions, The order of 
demaes, however, plays an important part in the 
drama of islamiam, particularly in Egypt. There 
is a college of them in Grand Cairo, where they 
we initiated in all the craft and mysteries of their 
cnW&g* From this they go forth to pervade the 
country in every direction, in order to keep alive 
quackery and imposture in the minds of the peo- 
ple. I have frequently seen them mounted on 
asses, with tall round caps on their heads, with 
drums beating, and flags streaming in the air, going 
from one village to another with crowds of children 
in their train. They make long prayers, are con- 
sidered under the peculiar protection of Heaven, 
and to possess the enviable talent of charming away 
disease. I' have seen two of them sit down op* 
posite to each other, and begin throwing their heads 
from side to side, pronouncing the name of Allah, 
or God, at each motion of the head, and continue 
to do so for an hour or more together, without 


116 CAIRO. 

adding another syllable, or missing a single repeti- 
tion. They seemed prodigiously excited, their 
faces flushed, their eyes turgid, and their mouths 
foaming ; yet they pretend that they are neither 
fatigued, nor exhausted, experience no head-ache, 
or any unpleasant sensation, and allege this as a 
proof of their possessing the Divine favor ; for 
if any other person were to do so, he would, pro- 
bably, be seriously affected. It is no uncommon 
thing for such people to be regarded in one light 
by their countrymen, and in another by impartial 
observers, and from every thing that I have 
either beard or seen of the individuals above-men- 
tioned, they would be more truly characterized by 
the epithet of wandering swindlers, than that of 
maraboot, or wandering saints, by which they are 
usually known in the country. 

[ 117 ] 



When the river is low, and the intersecting canals 
dry and practicable, the journey from Grand Cairo 
to the pyramids of Gheeza is a ride of only one 
hour. The traveller mounts his ass in the streets 
of New Cairo, rides to Old Cairo, where he crosses 
the river to the village called Gheeza; having 
passed it, he holds his way through a beaten track 
in the fields, and in one hour from the time he 
started, he lights at the foot of these ancient piles. 
In this season of the year, however, when the inun- 
dation is high, the pyramids cannot be reached by 
land, unless by taking a very circuitous route; and 
the usual way is, to procure a boat, and sail to 
them along one of the canals. l 

On the 10th of October, having made the ne- 
cessary preparations, we set out, in company with 
Mr. Salty to take a view of these interesting vouch- 
ers of the ancient grandeur of Egypt. At a little 
before nine o'clock we arrived at the Madiah, or 
ferry, at Old Cairo, and having got on board the 
cangia, or common pleasure-boat, we were no 
sooner seated, than at the yalla, or command of 
the consul's janizary, the sail was given to the. 


wind, and we proceeded across the river. Having 
passed the top of the island of Rhouda, which by 
interpretation, means the island of the Orchard, 
we dropt down to the canal of Gheeza, which is a 
little below the village of that name, and proceeded 
along it to the end of our journey. After we en- 
tered the canal, the wind soon died away, and the 
six rowers were obliged to mount their oars, with 
which they pulled us along the watery way j keep- 
ing time to certain favorite airs which they sung 
to extemporaneous words composed by one or 
other of the crew, each in his turn repeating the 
words of his own strain, the test all joining in a 
common chorus, which was twice as long as the 
recitative of the story, and to those who under- 
stood nothing of Arabic, ten times more agreeable. 
Among the aire we were rather surprized to hear 
our old acquaintance Malbrook, and die jingling 
miron-ton-ton mirontaine, &c. of the French 
songster transformed into the equally unmeaning 
jingle of tummery-tummety*tainy ; and being the 
air of the latest importation, probably not older 
than the date of the Ftench invasion, it seemed to 
be the greatest favorite ; and we had it several times 
ia the course of the voyage* Thus we held on 
our Way in a pleasant manner ; the banks of the 
canal were covered with the rich and luxuriant 
dhoura, which, with the variety of plowed fields 
jufct emerging from the subsiding waters, and vil» 


lages looking from groves of palm-trees, presented 
such a prospect as Egypt could afford, when the 
land which we inhabit had neither a house nor a 
human being on its surface. Having travelled 
about two-thirds of the way, we were stopped by 
a bank of earth that had been built across the canal 
for the facility of communication, and also for re* 
taining the water for the purposes of further irri- 
gation, and the use of the villages. Here we were 
under the necessity of disembarking for a little 
time, till the boat was hoisted over the bank, and 
then we immediately got on board, and continued 
our voyage. The branches of canals that commu- 
nicated with the line of our route were now so 
numerous, that it required more knowledge of in- 
land navigation to steer the right course than pur 
pilot was master of. Several times we bore off our 
course, misled by the communicating branches ap- 
pearing to lead more directly to our object. A 
good deal of time was thus spent in recovering our 
leeway; and before we reached our destination in 
the main canal, we had to contend with shoal 
water from the subsidence of the inundation. How- 
ever, after a good deal of poling, dragging, and 
sounding, we made the end of the canal about one 
o'clock, p. m. and were within three quarters of a 
mile of these ancient and wonderful monuments. 
We had viewed them from several points of obser- 
vation, on the opposite side of the river, and all 


along the whole course of the canal, kept constantly' 
looking at them ; but our recollections were so oc- 
cupied with exaggerated descriptions of their enor- 
mous dimensions, that every look was followed by 
disappointment ; the eye always encountered some- 
thing less than the mind expected it to see} and. 
now that we were, comparatively speaking* at 
their base, and looking up from the low sandy bank 
to the pyramids on the rocky elevation above, our 
idea of their magnitude was not increased. Even 
those of the party who exercised the greatest self- 
control, and scarcely cast a look oh those ancient 
piles during the whole time of our approach, felt 
disappointed with the diminished grandeur of their 
appearance. " Is this the object of the world's 
wonder?" We thought of Benlomond, the Alps, 
and Bennevis ; but what is a pyramid to a moun- 
tain ? the work of man to that of his Maker. 

The fellahs, or peasants, who were engaged in 
cultivating the fields in the neighbourhood, observ- 
ed our landing, and brought down their miserable 
asses, without saddles or bridles, to help us through 
the sand. The place of saddles was supplied by 
their thick woollen plaids, which were folded and laid 
on the backs of the animals ; and as the Egyptian 
ponies require more driving than curbing, they 
were guided by the same instrument by which they 
were knocked and goaded along on their journey. 
The rider has no share in navigating his course ; it 


is sufficient employment for him to keep his seat, 
which, when there is nothing between him and the 
naked back of the bourika, is no trifling sinecure 
Having climbed the sandy and undulating ascent, 
we filed along the contiguous bases of the two largest 
pyramids ; and as we brushed over the smooth sand 
that levelled the surface with their foundation, it 
was then that we first perceived their gigantic size. 
One square of 700 feet a-side, succeeded by another 
of 650 feet ; each of them raised to the towering 
height of between four and five hundred feet, are 
enormous piles to have been reared by the little 
hand of man ; and measuring their sides on the 
hard back of a slow-paced bourika, the patient mind 
computes every inch of their extent. Having passed 
the lengthened line of their base, a few steps 
brought us to the Shiek's cave, which is the de- 
serted shell of an ancient mansion, dug in the slop- 
ing edge of the rock. Here we deposited the 
materials that we had brought along with us for 
our support and accommodation, during the time 
that it might be necessary to remain in this most 
interesting field of ruins. 

Having swallowed a hasty repast, to repair the 
fatigues of the morning, we returned to the pyra- 
mids, which are more than meat and drink to the 
mind of the anxious traveller. The eye courses over 
every step in their transcendant height, and every 
stone in their lengthened base. Every broken 


stone and every patch of sand arrests the attention; 
as marking an era in their long and eventful ex- 
istence. For thirty ages of long-lived men have 
they rested upon their rocky base. When every 
cotemporary structure is forgotten, or looks to 
heaven in scattered fragments from the field of its 
former existence, the pyramids remain in awful 
grandeur — the unrivalled boast of architects, and 
of kings. Every stone may have cost its hundreds, 
but the length of its duration has amply repaid the 
expense of its erection. When wealth and power 
call upon genius for a particular achievement, they 
have never called in vain ; the result has always 
delighted and astonished the world. The aged 
piles which we now contemplate, the walls and 
gardens of Babylon, the temple of Minerva, the 
pharos of Alexandria, and the operations of Archi- 
medes, are still preeminent among the boldest 
emprises of man, and arose from the spirit, the 
wealth and power of the sovereign, animating, di- 
recting and assisting, the genius of the subject. 

In such a scene as this, crowded with so many 
daring efforts of man to gain immortality from the 
labor of his hands, every faculty of the mind is 
absorbed in contemplation, and hours pass over his 
head before the spectator can recover from the be- 
wilderment it occasions, toexamine coolly the objects 
that lie before him. Hie largest pyramid stands on 
a free and slight elevation all round, on which ac- 


count there is but little accumulation of sand in con- 
tact with its base ; but as it has suffered much from 
human violence, immense heaps of broken stones 
have fallen down on each side, and form a high 
mound towards the middle of the base. The angles 
are pretty clear, where the foundation is readily 
discovered, particularly at the north-west corner ; 
but it is impossible to see straight along the line of 
the base, on account of these heaps of rubbish. 
Hence the difficulty of making an exact measure- 
ment, and the frequent disagreement of the re- 
sults } it being impossible, without clearing away 
the heap of rubbish, to run a straight line all the 
way in contact with its base, and on the outside of 
the rubbish the sand is blown into heaps, so that a 
level surface cannot be obtained. We paced one 
side on the north of the rubbish, and found it 24£ 
paces; and probably the extent of 700 feet, usually 
assigned it, is not far from correct. 

The entrance into the pyramid is on the north 
side, and is nearly in the centre, about an equal di- 
stance from each angle ; it is elevated about thirty 
feet above the base, in the side of the wall, probably 
that it might be more difficult for a conqueror to 
discover it, and less liable to be covered over with 
sand. The ascent to it is over a heap of stones and 
rubbish that have fallen down from the pyramid, 
or that have been forced out and thrown down in 
the efforts made to find the passage to the interior* 


This heap rises considerably above the entrance, 
which is a small narrow passage, of about three 
feet and a half square ; it is lined above and below, 
and on each side, with broad flat blocks of large- 
grained red granite, smooth and highly polished. 
The flags in the bottom of the passage are formed 
with alternate depressions and elevations, in order 
to afford a firm footing to the person descending j 
but this appears to have been a modern operation, 
and the depressions are not smooth, nor polished 
like the rest. The passage descends at an angle 
of about twenty-seven degrees, and the explorer, 
in descending, generally places his hands against 
the sides, and proceeds with the greatest caution. 
Some take off their shoes, that they may apply 
their feet better to the floor, and be less in danger 
of sliding. This is a very bad plan, as it is likely 
to induce affections in the bowels, or to awaken an 
attack of latent gout, and other diseases to which 
there may be a predisposition. The best covering 
for the feet in such expeditions is a pair of half- 
worn Turkish shoes, the soles of which are rough 
and pliant, and there is never any risk of encounter- 
ing damp ; they are also the best for walking over 
the sands, and for general use in every part of the 
country. Thus provided, and armed with a lighted 
candle, the janizary entered the passage, followed 
by Mr. Salt, the Earl and Countess of Belmore, and 
the rest of the party in succession, with a couple* 


of sure-footed Arabs, whose services we did not re- 
quire. Each of us was provided with a candle, 
which we had no occasion to light till we came 
to the entrance of the passage which ascends to 
the principal chambers, which is about 92 feet 
from the external orifice. This passage turns off 
abruptly to the right; it is a forced passage, 
and winds upward for a considerable way, till it 
comes to a steep of eight or nine feet, and which 
we had some difficulty in ascending. This once 
surmounted, we were again in the natural passage, 
which is about five feet high, and about 100 feet 
long, and mounts by a considerable ascent. At 
the end of this we came into a sort of landing-place, 
and, proceeding forward, passed by the mouth of 
what is called the well, which is on the right hand, 
in a small recess of the landing-place, and is about 
three feet wide. Proceeding straight on for about 
100 feet, along a low narrow passage like that of 
the entrance, we came into a chamber, which, with- 
out any authority, has been called the queen's 
chamber. It is 17 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 
about 12 feet high to where the stones begin to 
slope up on each side to form the ceiling, which is 
done by the meeting- of broad flat stones at an acute 
angle, and resembles a pointed arch. There is a 
small recess in the north-east corner, which those who 
named this the queen's chamber might have called 
her closet or dressing-room. Neither the closet nor 


the chamber are lined with granite ; both are quite 
empty, and the use for which they were intended 
is not known. 

Having visited the queen's chamber, we returned 
to the landing-place, and ascended to the king's 
chamber, which is immediately above j but the way 
thither is different, and more difficult than any of 
the former passages. The middle of the floor does 
not rise any higher, but on each side of it there is 
an abutment of a triangular shape with its broad 
base buttressing against the breast-wall in front, 
and falling down to the floor in the form of an in* 
clined plane. In the inner and opposing sides of 
these abutments small holes are cut for the recep- 
tion of the feet, rising in a gradual ascent, at the 
distance of about three feet from each other. Thus, 
with the hands upon each side resting on the abut* 
meats, and moving the feet from hole to hole alter* 
nately, the ascent is easy, and without danger ; be- 
striding the intervening space, and looking upward, 
there is no risk of becoming giddy from the ppace 
deepening below, The edge of the inclined plans 
is about 14 inches broad ; yet some people prefer 
ascending along it, with the assistance of an Arab 
to steady them, in preference to bestriding the pas- 
sage, and ascending by the steps or holes in the sides 
of the abutment The height to be ascended is 
about 86 feet, and the length of the inclined plans 
is about 120 feet. Proceeding forward from the top 


of this ascent, a passage, about 24 feet long, brought 
us into the king's chamber. This chamber is 37 
feet three inches long, 17 feet two inches wide, and 
about 20 feet high. It is lined all round with broad 
flat stones of large red-grained granite, smooth and 
highly polished; each stone ascending from the 
floor to the ceiling, which is formed of nine large 
flat stones of the same material, stretching from 
wall to wall. In the middle of the room, towards 
the west end of it, stands the sarcophagus, which is 
also of large-grained red granite ; it is sunk in the 
floor, which has been torn up in order to examine 
a small apartment below. The length of the sar- 
cophagus is seven feet six inches, the depth three 
feet three inches and a half, the breadth three feet 
three inches; it is highly polished, but without any 
hieroglyphics, or any sculpture or ornament what- 
soever. A small fragment has been broken off one 
of the corners. There is no lid, and nothing but 
dust and some broken masses of granite lying in 
the sarcophagus. There are no hieroglyphics or 
ornaments of any kind in the chamber, or on any 
part of the walk. There is a small tunnel in the 
south-west corner of the chamber, sloping upwards, 
as if to communicate with the external air ; and 
round the sides of the chamber, at the bottom of 
the granite flags with which the walls are lined* 
there is a amall rut of about 10 inches wide, appa- 
rently left for their admission, and neglected to 


be filled up. As this chamber does not reach 
beyond the centre of the pyramid, it is not im- 
probable that there are passages leading to other 
chambers off it ; the entrance to which would pro- 
bably be found by removing some of the large 
stones above mentioned : as the forming an uni- 
form surface over the whole of the adjoining space, 
was one of the devices by which the architect con- 
cealed from the eye of common observers the 
entrance of the passage leading to the secret 
chambers, reserving to himself, and his employer, 
the knowledge of that stone that covered the door 
of access, and the secret of removing it The 
length of the sarcophagus, in the inside, is about 
six feet, and the depth and width not much above 
two feet, which tend to show that it was probably 
made for the individual by whom the pyramid was 
constructed, and that the average size of mankind 
did not then exceed what we find it to be in the 
present day. 

I must likewise observe, that the sarcophagus 
could not have been conveyed to the place which 
it now occupies, by any of the known passages in 
their present state, and must either have been de- 
posited there in the course of the building of the 
colossal structure itself, or admitted before the pas- 
sage was finished off, and narrowed by its present 
polished and beautiful casing. Indeed, I do not 
think it would be possible to transmit an inflexible 


body six feet long, into the king's or queen's 
chamber by any of the known channels of access. 
It could easily be moved forward in a direct line, 
but could not be turned from the one passage into 
the other. It is obvious, however, to the most 
casual observer, that part of the present passage is 
not the natural, but a forced passage. There is 
nothing further in the king's chamber worthy of 
observation ; nor do I know that any thing has 
ever been found in it, except the sarcophagus, 
which is exactly the size of the entrance passage 
of the pyramid. 

On returning from the king's chamber to the 
top of the inclined plane, we looked up to the 
entrance, into what has been called Davison's 
chamber, from the discoverer, to which however 
we did not ascend ; there is no Way of reaching 
it but by a scaling ladder, with which we were not 
provided* This chamber is directly over the king's 
chamber, and, from the account of the discoverer, 
who was the British Consul-general at Cairo, at the 
time, it contained nothing but dust, and is sup- 
posed to have been formed to take off the pressure 
from the ceiling of the king's chamber ; -but as it 
is provided with a door of entrance, it was probably 
intended to answer some other purpose besides. 
Here we had examined every thing that was. for- 
merly to be seen in the interior of this pyramid, 
and from this we retraced our steps, and reached 

VOL,. I. K 


the orifice that led us from the entrance passage ; 
here we turned to the right, and kept descending 
by the same smooth passage to survey the interest- 
ing discoveries of Captain Caviglia, in which he was 
liberally assisted, in pecuniary matters, by Mr. Salt 
and Mr. Briggs. Having descended about 200 
feet, we came to the bottom of the well, which 
terminates on a level with the bottom of the pass- 
age, and seems merely a niche in its side : having 
descended for about 23 feet further, we came to the 
end of the inclined passage ; from this point we 
could see distinctly up into the open air : it looks 
directly to the north, and at night the polar star is 
distinctly seen. The passage, proceeding onward 
from this, is cut out in the rock, and is quite hori- 
zontal for 28 feet, where it ends in a large chamber 
66 feet long and 27 feet wide, and between 12 and 
14 feet high, and which is supposed to be exactly 
under the centre of the pyramid. It is entirely cut 
out of the rock, and is considerably lower than the 
base of the pyramid. The chamber does not appear 
to have been completely finished ; there is a bench 
of the solid rock still remaining at the west end of 
it, high on each side, and low in the middle, and 
which is of such a rough unfinished appearance, as 
entirely to preclude the supposition that it was left 
so intentionally, unless it should have been for 
placing a sarcophagus, or some object of worship 
upon it There is a subterraneous passage that 


goes off from the chamber in a southerly direction, 
and which has been traced to its termination, by 
the same indefatigable gentlemen, a distance of 
55 feet in the solid rock, and another in the east 
end, which enters under a species of arch, and 
which has also been traced to its termination, a 
distance of 40 feet, into the body of the pyramid. 
I did not enter these passages; and what I state is 
from the report of others, who, I believe, were 
never there either : but without the most positive 
and undoubted authority, I would not allow that 
these passages proceed so far, and end in a cul de 
sac I should rather feel inclined to believe that 
they continued on, and ultimately communicated 
with the open air, and that they were secret pass- 
ages by which to enter or escape from the pyra- 
mid*. This chamber, though but recently laid 
open to public inspection, appears to have been 
frequently visited in former times ; it is much co- 
vered with smoke, and seems as if fires had been 
burnt in it, and visiters have employed the smoke 
of the candle to inscribe their names upon the 
ceiling, as they are but too fond of doing in the 
present day. 

It is impossible to state the actual or intended 
use of this chamber. Antiquity has not even re* 
corded its existence, and the voice of conjecture has 
almost been silent as to the purpose for which it 
was excavated. Nothing was found in it when lately 

k 2 


entered by Captain Caviglia, and if any thing 
valuable were consigned to it, in any period of its 
history, we are not correctly informed. Herodotus 
makes mention of various subterraneous chambers, 
but the description of none of them applies to this. 
The one on which he particularly condescends* had 
a channel by which the waters of the Nile were 
admitted, and flowed round the chamber, inclosing 
an island on which the body of Cheops, the builder 
of the pyramid, rested in the tomb. There is not 
the smallest vestige of any such a thing having 
ever been in this chamber, and the access for the 
waters of the Nile into any part of the pyramid, 
still remains to be discovered : but the importance 
attached to this chamber, or to some other adjoin- 
ing chamber, is evident, from its vast dimension^ 
and from the great care and labor that have been 
employed to construct the passage by which it is 
entered. The size alone is especially indicative of 
the importance of this individual chamber. This 
passage, as has been already mentioned, is lined on 
all the four sides by finely polished slabs of large- 
grained red granite of Assouan, commonly called 
sienite; this must have been done at a great 
expense, the distance being between five and six 
hundred miles. The stones are remarkably well 
cut and well fitted to each other, and probably 
cover the orifices of other passages into other cham- 
bers in the pyramid. Those at present known, are 


ail on the west of this general passage, that is in 
the north-west quarter of the pyramid, with the ex- 
ception of the one lately discovered in the centre 
of its base; and till examination proves the con- 
trary, we may be allowed to conclude that the re- 
maining three compartments have their chambers 
also. It would be presumption to mention any 
place in which such a passage is likely to be found; 
he that has time, ability and inclination must choose 
his own place of research. But it is not less sur- 
prising that no attempts have been made to probe 
this passage into the centre of the pyramid, than 
that no attempts have been made to discover a 
passage entering from the south, east, or west 
sides, on the same or on a different level with that 
on the north. Even the termination of the small 
tunnel passing off from the king's chamber is not 
known ; it may communicate with another cham- 
ber, or it may lead out to the open air, where the 
orifice of it is probably blocked up with a loose 
atone, on the south side of the pyramid, which a 
little careful examination would soon discover. 

The supposition that this passage was intended 
as an astronomical instrument fox measuring side* 
real time, is scarcely tenable. Pyramids are prodi- 
giously expensive and unmanageable machines j and 
the passage being so carefully sealed at the entrance, 
precluded all possibility of using it as such : at all 
eyents, the abettor of such an opinion could have 


no objections to examine the south, east, and west 
sides, as there are objects in these quarters of the 
heavens not unworthy of observation, as well as in 
the north. Besides there being so many pyramids, 
all of them with passages looking to the north, and 
descending nearly with the same angle of inclina- 
tion, they were probably intended to answer some 
other purpose than that of looking at the polar 

Having finished our survey of the interior of the 
pyramid, we ascended the shaft, stopping a little at 
the bottom of what has been called the well, which 
is now found to be a secret passage of 150 feet 
long, and about three feet wide, furnished with 
niches on three sides for the hands and feet, by 
which to ascend to the upper chambers in the py- 

Having regained the open air, we rested for a 
little time, to recover from the fatigue and exhaus- 
tion which we experienced in exploring the pyra- 
mid, and from the dust and warm atmosphere 
within, and then proceeded to climb its mountain- 
ous height. Pausing occasionally as we advanced, 
and looking up or down, or along its enormous 
sides, we became more sensible than ever of its vast 
dimensions, and could hardly convince ourselves that 
the enormous mound which supported us was really 
the work of human hands. Lady Belmore ascended 
it with the most perfect ease, and none of the party 

THX PYRAMIp*. 135 

experienced the smallest difficulty or vertigo* In- 
deed, every step recedes so much from the one 
below it, and affords such excellent footing, that 
the mind has the most perfect conviction of secu* 
rity ; and I am disposed to think that giddiness hat 
but rarely occurred to those who have attempted 
to climb this lofty pile* Each step is from a foot to 
a foot and a half broad, and about the same depth j 
they are narrower towards the top than at the bot- 
tom. We began to ascend immediately from the 
door of the passage, and gradually passed round to- 
wards the north-east angle, because the steps are 
so much broken towards the middle as to afford an 
unsecure and difficult surface to climb ; whereas, 
at the angles, they are pretty entire. One part, in 
the eastern aspect, we found quite perpendicular* 
and seemed as if it had been formed for a door : it 
was not above four feet wide, and six feet high. 
Any part in the whole of the ascent formed a con- 
venient resting-place, whenever the traveller was 
inclined to repose ; but the slope is so gradual, and 
proceeding leisurely, we had little occasion for 
stopping to rest our limbs, or recover our breath. 
Arrived at the summit, we found it ample and 
spacious ; a square, from 25 to 30 feet aside, con* 
sisting of large square blocks of stone, with the 
upper surface coarse and uneven, as are the usual 
surfaces of stones in the courses of a building. We 
perceived a thin cement of lime between the dif- 


ferent courses of stone, but there was no appear- 
ance of any cement having been placed upon the 
upper surface of the highest course ; so that if it 
had ever been built upon, all that must have been 
washed away. The surface of the stone, however, 
seemed remarkably fresh, as if it had but recently 
been taken from the quarry j indeed much fresher 
than the surface of the steps over which we as- 
cended on the sides of the pyramid. The only 
injury that the top exhibited, was from the knives 
and chisels of visitors, who, anxious to perpetuate 
their arrival on this lofty station, had left their 
names behind them on the stones. The prospect 
from the summit is not extensive, being bounded 
on the east and west, and partly on the south, by 
the mountains on both sides of the river. But 
when I mention Old and New Cairo, Heliopolis, 
Troy, Babylon, Memphis, Gheeza, the Delta, the 
Nile, the fertile plain, the numerous villages, the 
spreading palms, the aged pyramids themselves, the 
sepulchral caverns around; and that from the sum- 
mit of this, the mo^t ancient and colossal building 
upon earth> that the eye probably passes over the 
land of Goshen, I name a prospect that is almost 
without a parallel in the history of human recollec- 
tions. But the setting sun had now closed the day, 
and without waiting till the shades of night had 
darkened the land, we quitted our lofty station, and 
regained the bottom of the pyramid without having 


experienced the slightest accident, or having any 
reason to apprehend that any accident would occur. 
We now returned to the Sheik's cave, and after a 
cup of tea, spread our cots and hammocks, and con* 
signed ourselves to repose. 

Here I beg leave to remark, that neither in as* 
cending or descending the pyramid did we discover 
any remains of the coating with which it is said to 
have been covered. Yet Herodotus states that it 
was cased and finished in the highest style ; that 
the stones of the casing were skilfully cemented, 
and that none of them were less than SO feet ; that 
the summit of the pyramid was first completed, 
and descending thence, the workmen finished the 
whole. This is a description which cannot in any 
respect apply to this pyramid in its present state ; 
for the summit of it is demolished; it has no 
casing ; and there is not a stone in the whole build- 
ing whose dimensions are the half of 30 feet. The 
largest stone that I saw was near the entrance of 
the passage, and its dimensions were under 1 1 feet. 
The largest of all the stones, are those granite slabs 
that line the king's chamber, and they are not above 
20 feet. It is impossible to apply the account of 
Herodotus to any other pyramid, if we are to un- 
derstand him as speaking of the pyramids of Gheeza; 
because he expressly states, that the pyramid of 
Cheops was the largest, which this one certainly is. 
further says, that he measured them both, and 


that the pyramid of Chephren was not so high by 
40 feet. The third pyramid here, which is gene- 
rally assigned to Mycerinus, answers nearly in size, 
and the material of its construction, but not so well 
in position, to the description of Herodotus ; and 
for my own part, I should be extremely happy to 
see his account of the pyramids applied, by a care- 
ful examinator, to the three large pyramids at 
Abousir, which I had not an opportunity of doing. 
They are all coated ; and one of them may certainly 
be called the middlemost ; which, if the description 
be referred to the position of the pyramids of 
Gheeza, if any of them can be said to be in the 
middle, it must be that of Chephren, which does 
not correspond with the account of Herodotus. 
But more of this afterwards. The statement of 
Herodotus, of Pliny, of Abdallatif, Masoudi, Ma* 
krisi, &c. I should think quite sufficient to prove 
that this pyramid was originally coated ; and, al- 
though in ascending the side of it, or in walking 
round the base, I did not perceive any vestiges of 
it remaining, I do not consider myself warranted 
to say that there is none ; and my own conviction 
is, that the pyramid was coated, as stated by these 
authorities, and must accordingly have been finished. 
It is recorded by Abdallatif, that when Melio 
alaziz Othman ben-Yousouf succeeded his father, 
he allowed himself to be persuaded by some sense- 
less courtiers to demolish the pyramids, and that he 


sent thither miners! sappers, and quarriers, under 
the direction of some of the principal officers and 
princes of his court, with orders to overturn it — 
the red pyramid ; namely, that of Mycerinus. To 
execute the orders with which they were charged, 
they went and encampt near the pyramid, and 
collected a number of laborers, whom they main- 
tained at an enormous expense. Here they re- 
mained for eight whole months, laboring hard to 
execute their commission ; but their utmost efforts, 
with people raising with picks and levers above, and 
pulling with ropes and cables below, could not re- 
move above one or two stones a-day : and after the 
stone was down at the foot of the pyramid, they 
were obliged to break it in pieces, in order to carry 
it out of the way ; and one of the engineers is re- 
ported to have said, that although he were to get 
several thousand pieces of gold, he could not re- 
adjust one of these stones in its former place. In 
fine, they abandoned the attempt, without demo* 
lishing the pyramid j and, in the opinion of AbdaU 
latif, without much reducing its dimensions. This 
foolish attempt is stated to have been made in the 
year of the Hegyra, 593 ; of Christ, 1 196. Several 
Other Kalifs are also mentioned by Makrisi and 
Abdallatif, as having exerted themselves in the 
demolition of the pyramids. As Saladin, who 
charged his Emir, the eunuch Karakoush Asadi, 
to build the citadel and the walls of Cairo, and who. 


seemed to consider Memphis, and the pyramids of 
Gheeza, as the readiest quarry from which he 
could obtain the materials to answer his purpose. 
Hence the coating of the large pyramid of Cheops, 
two thirds of that of Chephren, and the greater 
part of many of the smaller pyramids have all been 
carried away, and may now be sought for in the 
immense causeway, and the innumerable arches 
which he constructed between Gheeza and the 
pyramids, and in the citadel, the mosques, and the 
walls of Cairo. The remains of this causeway are 
still to be seen j the greater part of it that was 
upon the lower ground, was swept away by die 
overflowing of the Nile. Some authors have sup- 
posed that it is the remains of the causeway men* 
tioned by Herodotus ; but the manner of its con- 
struction, as well as the materials, prove that it is 
not : and Abdallatif, a cptemporary historian, states 
that it was made by Karaboush, one of the Emirs 
of Salah-eddin Yousouf, the son of Job, commonly' 
called Saladin the Great. 

The opening of the passage into this pyramid is 
by many oriental writers ascribed to the Kalif Abd 
Allah Mainour, the son of Haroun Al Raschid, and 
they state that he employed for that purpose fire, 
vinegar, &c. ; others ascribe it to the Kalif Mohdi, 
whose name was Mahommed. This latter, I think, 
is probably the person whose name we find in the 
inscription copied by Mr. Belzoni, from the in* 


terior of the second pyramid, under the title of 
king Ali Mohammed ; and it being stated in the 
plural number, that he attended the opening of 
them, I think it very probable that he was the per- 
son who first penetrated into the interior of both 
these pyramids, and probably had also a large share 
in uncovering them both* 

The removal of the coating, will account for the 
great damage sustained by the steps all round, while 
the rolling down of the immense stones from the 
top, will account for those towards the middle being 
more injured than those at the angles of the pyramid. 
The inscription in the Egyptian character, men- 
tioned by Herodotus, stating that one thousand six 
hundred talents were expended in procuring ra- 
dishes, onions, and garlic, for the builders of the py- 
ramid, during the progress of the work, has of course 
disappeared with the casing on which it was en- 
graved. Unless, as Mr. Belzoni found part of the 
coating of the smallest of the three pyramids, under 
the rubbish accumulated about the entrance, some 
such accident may have spared that part of the 
casing beneath the door, which, however, cannot 
be ascertained, but by clearing away the rubbish, 
which consists of the broken fragments of stone 
and sand. Though, as no coating remains on any 
part of the base all round, I am disposed to think 
that the plunderers of the pyramid began at the 
base, and regularly ascended in their dilapidations. 


as appears to have been the case in divesting the 
second pyramid. 

There is a broad deep trench cut in the rock at the 
middle of the east front of the large pyramid, and 
running parallel with it. It is rather broader than a 
carriage road ; it descends towards the middle from 
each end, and resembles a carriage entrance to and 
from a pond. It is half full of sand, and is entered 
on the east side by a channel like a canal, for the 
conveyance of water. It is rather surprising that 
among all the excavations made about the pyramids, 
this trench should never have been examined ; for 
it appears tome to be connected with the most im- 
portant object in the pyramid; namely, that for 
which it was erected, the tomb of Cheops. It is 
stated that many subterraneous chambers were 
made in the rock under the pyramid, and that the 
water of the Nile was introduced and encompassed 
them, forming an island on which the body of 
Cheops was deposited. The water of the Nile 
must have been raised to this level by artificial 
means, such as are now employed to raise it to 
irrigate the land after the inundation has subsided, 
and even in many places when it is at its height. 
These chambers, or subterraneous vaults, are, at 
present unknown, and I am disposed to consider 
this as the channel by which the water of the Nile 
entered the pyramid : and if excavation should 
prove it to be so, the whole of them would then be 


-discovered, and the explorer would be well rewarded 
for his trouble, and probably for his expense. There 
is no such trench connected with the second pyra- 
mid, and we are informed by Herodotus, that the 
water of the Nile was not admitted into it ; that it 
had no subterraneous structures, and no island 
within it* 

The removal of the rubbish from the base 
of the pyramid, all round, would be a most her- 
culean task; but it would probably be rewarded 
with the discovery of some parts of the ancient 
coating, and some of the large stones which were 
rolled down from the top, and would set this ques- 
tion at rest, and also show whether the exterior of 
the pyramid was covered with hieroglyphics, or 
not. Herodotus does not affirm that they were 
covered with hieroglyphics, and the statement of 
Abdallatif, that if copied, they would fill 10,000 
volumes, may be understood as referring to the in- 
scriptions about the pyramids, which if transcribed, 
I have no doubt would be as voluminous as he men- 
tions. As the evidence of hieroglyphics being on 
the pyramids does not descend to us from the most 
ancient authority, and as none of those whose co- 
verings remain have any, we may be permitted to 
express our doubts of the existence of this sacred 
character, on those which are uncovered ; and I do 
so with the greater confidence, because I have 
never seen in any part of the country, from the one 


end of Egypt to the other, any building, or any 
tomb, or excavation, that was ornamented with hiero- 
glyphics on the exterior, that was not also covered 
with them in the interior. On any the pyramids I 
have not seen, I believe there does not exist any 
hieroglyphic on the outside, or on the inside, or on 
any thing connected with them. The small part of 
the coating which remains on the second pyramid, 
has no hieroglyphics : the larger pyramids at Abousir, 
Sakareh, and Dahschour, are all coated, but have 
no hieroglyphics, and I am humbly of opinion, that 
the pyramid of Cheops, or that of Mycerinus, had 
none either. 

In the innermost, or rather undermost, apartment 
of the tomb in which we took up our abode, there 
lay a handsome sarcophagus of the same shape, and 
of the same species of granite, with the one in the 
pyramid, and wrought after the same manner, 
highly polished, and without hieroglyphics j but 
generally speaking, every temple, every tomb, and 
every sarcophagus in Egypt, whether of granite, 
alabaster, the soft calcareous stone of the country, 
or even the ordinary mummey case of wood, are all 
covered with hieroglyphics, and representations of 
men and women, gods and goddesses, bulls, cows, 
serpents, eyes, &c. Even the causeway that was 
made for the conveyance of the materials to the 
pyramids, we are informed, was of polished stone, 
sculptured over with the figures of animals. The 


inscription on the pyramid alluded to above, was in 
the Egyptian character, by which is probably meant 
the hieroglyphic. There was also an inscription on 
the marble slab that was introduced into the brick 
pyramid* It is not coated with stone, and had 
no hieroglyphics on the outside} the interior has not 
been examined. 

It is also curious to observe, that the sphinx has 
no hieroglyphics, except such as are, comparatively 
speaking, of a modern date ; that is, in the time of 
the Romans. But this monstrous production is not 
mentioned by Herodotus, nor by any writer that I 
am acquainted with, before Pliny : so that though 
it is stated to be the tomb of Amasis, I shall not 
lay great stress upon its being so. But it is worthy 
of remark, that these pyramids being the tombs of 
the kings of Memphis, should not be adorned, like 
the tombs of the kings in Thebes, with the sacred 
character of the country. And it is also remark- 
able, that at the other burying-places of the kings of 
Egypt, namely, at Thebes, and at Sais in the Delta, 
there should be no pyramids at all. One reason 
can be assigned from Herodotus for those of Cheops 
and Chephren being destitute of hieroglyphics ; 
namely, the thorough contempt which their build- 
ers entertained for the religion of the country ; so 
much so, that they shut up the temples, and pro- 
hibited the ordinary sacrifices, and even engraved 
the gods of the country upon the stones of the 

VOL. i. L 

146 the pyramids; 

road, that they might be trodden under foot of man 
and of beast Hence it is not likely that such men 
would call upon the priests of the country, who 
alone knew to write in the sacred character, to 
adorn their sepulchres with the emblems and doc- 
trines of a religion which they affected to despise, 
and endeavoured to abolish. A third pyramid, we 
are informed, was erected by a strumpet who was 
as little likely, during a wicked reign, to call for 
the exhibition of her creed, or that of her religion, 
or the transactions of her infamous life to be repre- 
sented by sensible signs, or detailed in hieroglyphics 
upon her tomb. A fourth, we are informed, was 
built out of a silly whim of king Asychis, who wish- 
ed to make people believe that brick made of 
mud, drawn by the point of a stick from the bot- 
tom of a lake, was more valuable than stone. The 
builders of the others at* Memphis, are not men- 
tioned by the father of history, and a great number 
of the Egyptian kings are reported to have been 
buried at Sais ; but the remaining pyramids, like 
those already mentioned, were probably built by 
other kings, or opulent reprobates, who neither 
feared God, nor regarded man. So that if the tem- 
ples and tombs are to be considered as monuments 
of Egyptian idolatry, the pyramids may be regarded 
as monuments of Egyptian infidelity. The same 
reason will account for several tombs being without 
hieroglyphics, whose constructors from the severe 


scrutiny that the character of the deceased under- 
went, before the rites of inhumation were allowed 
him in Egypt, very probably were not buried in 
them, and such tombs would ever after be con- 
sidered as unhallowed ground. Let the place be 
accursed for their sakes, is the language of ancient 
times. It is difficult to account for such an anti- 
pathy in Cheops against the religion of his subjects, 
but by the circumstance of his being a stranger, 
a conqueror, and not a native of Egypt ; we are 
not authorised by history, however, to make such 
a supposition. Herodotus merely states that Cheops 
succeeded Rhampsinitus, without mentioning his 
relationship to his predecessor ; but it is rather re- 
markable that in the whole four preceding dynasties 
of Egyptian kings, and till his time, there should 
only occur ope name that bears the slightest analogy 
to his j then follow Chephren his brother, and Che- 
rinus, or Mycerinus his son, both of which names 
are allied to Cheops ; then follows a chasm in the 
Egyptian chronology of 151 years* During this 


period, I am disposed to consider that the greater 
part of the pyramids were built, for it does not ap- 
pear that they were all erected by kings. Cheops is 
stated to have flourished 1032 years before Christ, 
and Asychis, the first king of the sixth dynasty, 815 
years before Christ ; with whom the names* upon 
the former analogy, commence again, and continue 
doym to the Persian conquest; then follow the 



Persian names for 112 years, or 419 years before 
Christ, when the Egyptians recovered their coun- 
try ; and then again the Egyptian names occur, 
and continue till Ochus reduced Egypt, which was 
350 years before Christ ; from this time the Persians 
kept possession of it for eighteen years, when they 
were conquered by Alexander the Great, 332 years 
before Christ. The coincidence of names, the 
chasm in the history, and the outrages committed 
against the religion of the country, argue strongly 
in favour of the above supposition, which if ad- 
mitted, will, I think, satisfactorily account for the 
absence of hieroglyphics on the pyramids, and for 
their not being mentioned by Homer, or in the Bible. 
The wretched policy of insulting the religion of the 
vanquished, was a general custom of foreign con- 
querors before the time of the Romans. Cherinus 
became sensible of this, and accordingly opened 
the temples, and restored the religious rites of the 
Egyptians, and thereby merited the gratitude and 
affection of his subjects $ but probably after his 
reign followed a period of disaster, during which, 
as in modern times, the successful chieftain en- 
deavoured to efface all recollection of his prede- 
cessor ; and the native princes at last succeeding, a 
veil was drawn over the period of their exile or 
subjection, and the records destroyed. Hence 
the long chasm in the history of this period. 
There is another circumstance that merits atten- 


tion, namely, the superior style in which the mate- 
rials of the pyramids are put together. Nothing 
could be better calculated than their form to resist 
the erosions of time ; and they were defended by 
such a smooth and polished covering, that not a 
drop of water could lie on their surface* The body 
of the pyramid throughout, as far as we are allowed 
to see it, is also of the most substantial description. 
Large blocks of stone, four, five, six, and eight feet 
square, roughly cut, and connected by a thin layer 
of cement, with the break-joint regularly preserved, 
and each successive layer receding from a foot. and 
a half to two feet from the exterior, and advancing 
as far upon the interior layer beneath it. Not a 
stone has slipped from its place j it stands, with the 
security of a mountain, the most indestructible pile 
that human ingenuity ever reared. The joinings 
and polish of the granite casings in the interior 
equally manifest the eminent skill of the artist, and 
the great perfection that the art had attained at the 
early age in which they were erected. No art ever 
sprung to perfection at once ; but of both poetry 
and architecture it may be said that they reached 
a degree of perfection in the outset, which, in many 
respects, has not since been surpassed. If many 
a poem must have been composed before the tuneful 
art attained the perfection that it exhibits in the 
Iliad of Homer, many a structure must have been 
erected before an architect was capable of con- 


structing the pyramids of Egypt. The manner in 
which the materials is put together is as different 
from the temples, or any other ancient building in 
Egypt, as a Roman wall is from a Greek, or a French 
wall from an English. The sarcophagi connected 
with them are also different in size, form, cutting, and 
workmanship* The stone is a compact lime-stone, 
containing many shells and small hard substances 
like acini, of a more compact texture than the stone 
itself. These small concretions are particularly nu- 
merous in the rock around the base of the pyramid; 
and Herodotus says, that he was informed that 
they were the petrified stones of the dates that the 
workmen ate when they were building the pyra- 
mids. The remark needs no criticism ; if the 
Egyptian priests had told the venerable historian 
that they were the teeth of the laborers, both he 
and they would have been equally near the truth, 
and equally believed by posterity. The circum- 
stance, however, proves that at least part of the 
stones of which the structure is built, were taken 
from the rock around its base ; for I did not ob- 
serve any of these small concretions in any of the 
quarries on the opposite side of the river. Towards 
the upper part of the pyramid, I did not observe 
any of these concretions in the stones, which are 
of a whiter and more chalky appearance, and re- 
semble more the rock on the opposite side of the 
river, from which they were probably taken. 


. A few steps to the south and west, and rather 
upon a higher elevation of the rock than the pyra- 
mid of Cheops, stands the second pyramid, or that 
of Chephren, which is no contemptible rival of the 
fame and grandeur of the first It is built of the 
same species of stone, and joined by the same kind 
of cement. The coating remains upon the top for 
about a fourth of the way down ; the rest is quite 
uncovered, and the steps splintered and broken, as 
in the other pyramid, probably from the same cause. 
Herodotus states, that it is 40 feet lower than the 
pyramid of Cheops, which is now about 480 feet 
high ; and according to Mr. Belzoni's measurement, 
this one is 456 feet in perpendicular height ; so that 
if we allow 16 feet for what has been thrown down 
by the plundering Saracens, it will exactly coin- 
cide with the measurement of Herodotus. It would 
require about so much, or perhaps rather more, to 
finish it at the top as the others are finished. The 
base of the second pyramid is 684 feet ; and allow- 
ing the same proportion for the first or largefpyra- 
mid, the base would be about 743 feet, which 
nearly coincides with Grobert's statement, 7*5 f, 
and which is probably not far from the truth. The 
mountain has been cut clown on the west, and 
partly on the north and south, to procure an uni- 
form base for the pyramid, and a free sloping space 
all round it. This pyramid is of easy ascent, even 
qver the coating : an Arab, for a sixpence, climbed, 


or rather ran up, and stood upon the top of it. 
The appearance convinced the spectators below that 
a colossal statue of the Sovereign on itp summit 
would have been an excellent finish for this vast 
pedestal of pride and ostentation. But more of 
this pyramid hereafter. Many masses of granite 
are lying round, but not by any means in such 
quantities as for a moment to countenance the idea 
that it was coated with it ; the part of the coating 
that remains is of lime-stone, admitting a fine polish 
like marble. The smallest, and which is also the 
southernmost, of the three pyramids, consists mostly 
of granite ; it is much injured from the attempts 
of the Saracens above mentioned, and innumerable 
blocks of granite are lying round its base. Hero- 
dotus says that it is 20 feet lower than the great 
pyramid ; but in this he is certainly mistaken, for 
without having measured it, the eye can tell that 
it is at least 150 feet lower. If standing by itself, 
it would seem a respectable pyramid, but beside 
the other two it has a very diminutive appearance 
indeed. All over the surface of this field are seen 
the skeletons of other pyramids standing up in their 
ruins, and foundations marked out, as if some had 
been entirely demolished and carried off. The Arabs 
call the pyramids djibl Fharaoun, or mountains 
of the Kings, and also el Harm, or the Ancient. 
After a comfortable night's repose in the sheik's 
cave, which had obviously been a dwelling-house, 


and had two windows cut in front, and two cham- 
bers in the interior, besides a third, which contained 
the sarcophagus, we proceeded next morning to 
take a view of the sphinx. Sphinxes, according to 
Diodorus Siculus, were bred near the Troglodyte 
in Ethiopia, and those called cynocephali resem- 
bled ugly-faced men, and were continually snarl- 
ing and grumbling. Whatever may be said of 
these, the hybrid under consideration is admitted 
to be entirely fabulous. It stands a little to the 
east of the two last-mentioned pyramids, and on a 
much lower level. The lower part of this vener- 
able piece of antiquity, which bad for ages lain 
buried under a load of sand, had been a few months 
before uncovered by the exertions of Captain 
Caviglia, with the assistance of the two gentlemen 
before mentioned ; at the time, however, that we 
visited it, the Arabs and the wind had replaced the 
greater part of the covering, and the lower extre- 
mities of the sphinx were equally invisible as before 
his operations. The breast, shoulders, neck and 
head, which are those of a human being, remain 
uncovered, as also the back, which is that of a lion ; 
the neck is very much eroded, and, to a person 
near, the head seems as if it were too heavy for its 
support. The head-dress has the appearance of an 
old-fashioned wig, or periwig, projecting out about 
the ears, like the hair of the Berberi Arabs : the ears 
project considerably, the nose is broken, the whole 


face has been painted red, which is the color as* 
signed to the ancient inhabitants of Egypt, and to 
all the deities of the country, except Osiris. The 
features are Nubian, or what, from ancient repre- 
sentations, may be called ancient Egyptian, which 
is quite different from the negro feature > the ex* 
pression is particularly placid and benign, so much 
80, that the worshipper of the sphinx might hold 
up his god as superior to all the other gods of wood 
and stone which the blinded nations worships 
The whole of it is cut out of the rock, which is 
calcareous, easily sectile, and abounding in small 
bivalve shells j and probably the large excavations 
in front, and on each side of it, furnished part of 
the stones for the building of the pyramids. There 
was no opening found in the body of the sphinx, 
whereby to ascertain whether it is hollow or not 
The back is about 120 feet long ; the elevation of 
the head from 30 to 35 feet above the sand ; the 
paws were said to stretch out on the platform in 
front of it to the distance of 50 feet* Between the 
paws were found the remains of a trilithic temple, 
adorned with hieroglyphics. In front of the temple 
was a granite altar with four horns, one of which 
remained, and the marks of fire, from the burning 
of incense, were visible upon it Several Greek 
inscriptions were found on the paws of the sphinx, 
but none of them older than the second century : 
one of them is signed Arrianus, and is merely an 



address of the poet of that name to the sphinx as 
the guardian genius of the king of Egypt ; another 
states a grateful resolution of the inhabitants of the 
village of Busiris, living near the pyramids, and of 
the town and country scribes among them, to ergct a 
stone column to commemorate the heavenly virtues 
of the emperor, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus 
Germanicus, which were to be inscribed in hiero- 
glyphics, on account of the prosperity with which 
they had been blessed under his government, of 
an abundant inundation of the Nile, and, finally, 
of his having been present at their lawful rites, 
having worshipt the sun, the overseer and savior 
of the world, and having been much delighted 
The large granite slab mentioned in the Quarterly 
Review, from which the account of the inscriptions 
is taken, was probably part of the stone column 
here mentioned, and the tablet of well-cut hiero- 
glyphics upon its side probably recorded the virtues 
of Claudius, in conformity with the above decree. 
The Arabs call the sphinx abou el hoi, the father 
of terrors, or abou el haoun, the father of the co- 
lumn, which last seems to favor the above suppo. 
sition. Both on the temples and on the tombs, 
the sphinx is frequently represented with a pyramid 
or an obelisk between its paws. The uncovering 
of the sphinx proves another important point, that 
writing in the hieroglyphic, or sacred character of 
the Egyptians, was used in the second century* 



The third inscription merely sets forth that the 
walls which inclose the area in front of the sphinx 
were repaired by the emperors Antoninus and 
Verus, on account of good fortune ; most probably 
as discharging a vow that they had made to do so, 
if certain events turned out prosperously. 

Herodotus makes no mention of this enigmatical 
figure, yet it is completely Egyptian, and from 
the great disintegration that it has suffered, we can 
hardly suppose that it did not exist in his time. 
Pliny, who is the first author that mentions it, 
merely states its position in front of the pyramids, 
and that the inhabitants said it was the tomb of 
king Amasis, and was brought there, which he 
contradicts, by asserting it to be cut out of the 
rock ; but offers no conjecture of his own as to its 
use or formation. The sphinx, in the Greek mytho- 
logy, is generally represented with the countenance 
of a beautiful female, and the body of a lion, or an 
inferior animal; intimating thereby the alluring 
aspect with which vice at first assails the unwary, 
and the besotted monsters which she makes them 
when caught in her toils. The countenance of this 
sphinx, however, was that of a man. The red 
color does not sufficiently characterize the sex, 
but the beard, which was found between its paws, 
leaves little doubt on that subject The expression 
of almost all the Egyptian figures is so particularly 
mild and interesting, that without the accession of 


the beard, they might all pass for female* This 
figure was entire in the time of Abdallatif, who 
describes its graceful appearance and the admirable 
proportion in the different features of its counte- 
nance, of which, he particularly mentions the nose, 
the eyes, and the ears, and says that they excited 
his astonishment above every thing that he had 
seen in Egypt } and Makrisi states, that it was mu- 
tilated by Sheik Mohammed, called the faster, 
of his time ; the same ravenous animal who muti- 
lated the lions that adorned the bridge at Cairo, 
and who deserved to be a relation of his savage 
namesake, who attempted to demolish the pyramids, 
if he were not the identical animal himself. 

Leaving the sphinx, we proceeded to examine 
the adjoining excavations, many of which are 
extremely interesting. Some of them are very ca- 
pacious, and have evidently been dwelling-houses, 
as those in the face of the rock looking to the east, 
and fronted by a large open gallery. The rock is 
hollowed out beneath, and supported above, for the 
roof, by columns left at regular distances, forming 
a comfortable shade, like many similar structures 
in Thebes ; in general, however, they are small, 
but highly finished. The interior of the wall is 
lined with stones, and covered with painted figures, 
hieroglyphics, and many curious devices ; as pro- 
cessions of people carrying boats with human 
figures in them, surmounted by the heads of dif- 


ferent animals, most frequently that of a ram, by 
which it is supposed they meant to represent Jupiter 
Amnion j he is enclosed in a frame, as marking the 
line of separation between this world and the next, 
which is incircled by a serpent, indicating the 
eternity of his existence. There are, also, many 
interesting representations of people engaged in 
the various pursuits of husbandry, as plowing, hoe* 
ing, taking home the grain, and rejoicing as at 
harvest-home, with music and dancing. We par- 
ticularly observed a boat scene, in which a quarrel 
among the boatmen was executed with great spirit ; 
and another, in which there was a boat with a square 
sail, quite different from any that are used on the 
Nile at present. This tomb is on the west of the 
largest pyramid. 

The whole of this memorable spot, the site of the 
pyramids and sphinx, is filled with excavations, 
structures and mausoleums, of the most interesting 
and instructive nature, so that many ages of man 
would not be sufficient to examine and describe 
them : and the traveller, who could bound his 
curiosity to explore their contents with accuracy, 
would perform a more instructive service to his 
fellow- creatures, and more gratifying to an inquisi- 
tive mind, than if he gallopped over thousands of 
tniles, and only detailed the general aspect of the 
countiy that he passed over. It has been stated 
that the pyramids were on an island, surrounded 

*he pyramids; 159 

by the Nile. I do not find this in ancient authors ; 
they state that there was an island in the pyramid 
of Cheops, but not that it, or that any of the pyra- 
mids were on an island. As to the heighth of the 
rock on which they stand being a hundred feet, that 
alludes to its elevation being so much above the 
level of the cultivated field. Here it may not be 
improper to mention, that at the base of the low 
mountain range, which encloses Egypt on the west, 
there is a rocky flat, varying from a quarter of a 
mile to half a mile in breadth ; it is generally co- 
vered with loose flitting sand, more or less thick, 
and extends all along the whole length of Egypt, 
between the low mountain range and the cultivated 
fields, above which it is elevated more or less, and 
in this place, at the pyramids of Gheeza, it may be 
about a hundred feet. All the pyramids of Gheeza, 
Abousir, Sakareh and Dahschour, stand on this rocky 
flat ; as also many of the ruined temples and villages 
in other parts of Egypt. This is the grand con- 
servatory of Egyptian antiquities; here the mummy- 
pits were excavated, as general receptacles for the 
dead, human or divine, with many private tombs 
partly built and partly hollowed out of the rock ; 
and many habitations for the living. It is hardly 
possible, now, to meet with one that is not open, 
and tenantless, half blown up with sand, and inha- 
bited by bats j the whole is a dreary waste of up 


and down, as the drifting winds permit the sand to 
nettle. It is impossible to tread this caverned ground, 
where at every step an open grave stares you in the 
face, and, to look, on the one hand, at verdant 
fields, smiling villages, and spreading palms, and 
on the other, to pass the eye along the unvarying 
and endless chain of an unproductive mountain, 
with a mighty river rolling through the plain, of 
which we see neither beginning nor end, but 
merely the speck that lies before us, without feel- 
ing that all that ought to interest the heart of man, 
life and death, time and eternity, are here most 
emphatically contrasted. 

We must now leave this interesting scene, as we 
had arranged to remain in it only one night ; so 
having concluded the hasty survey, which I have 
attempted to describe, we got on board the cangia, 
and set sail. The oars again kept time to the song 
of the boatmen, and having passed rapidly along, 
we reached Gheeza a little before sun-set The 
whitened houses upon the bank looked beautiful 
in the evening sun, and the numerous boats full 
of people crossing the river, after the fatigues of 
the day, and playing along the side of the island 
of Rhouda, formed an animating and delightful 
prospect. Arrived at Old Cairo, the boatmen put 
up their oars, and the merriest of our songsters 
concluded his warblings by showing us how well 


he could imitate the braying of an ass ; his per- 
formance was such as to show that he had studied 
from an original master, and his appearance might 
well entitle him to rank with the herd. Bourikas 
were immediately procured, and in less than an 
hour we found ourselves again comfortably situ- 
ated in the house of the consul-general in Cairo. 
Here I found several notes from my worthy and 
intelligent friend Mr. Burckhardt, whose malady 
had greatly increased during my absence ; it was 
impossible for me to visit him that night, because 
all the quarters of Cairo are separately walled in, 
and entered by gates which are regularly shut at 
eight o'clock at night, and he lived at a great dis- 
tance in the Turkish quarter. Early next morn- 
ing, however, I accompanied his servant to see him, 
for the first time, in his own house, and from that 
time till his death, continued to render him every 
professional assistance in my power, which, I regret 
to say, was all ineffectual. The disease rapidly 
bore down a constitution already weakened by pre- 
vious attacks of dysentery. He fell in the prime 
of life, just as he had completed his arrangements 
for setting out with the first caravan, on his grand 
expedition to the interior of Africa, for which he 
had been about nine years in making preparation. 
Never was there a man better qualified for entering 
upon the arduous undertaking: to an intimate 

VOL. i. m • 


acquaihtahcfe with the Arabic language, he added 
a profound knowledge of the human heart, and 
possessed such an affable manner of conversing with 
the world, as gained him many friends. But while 
I am writing this, his own travels are on the eve 
of publication, and will speak for him a prouder 
eulogy than any friendly pen can inscribe* 

C 163] 



The noble traveller having now resolved to extend 
his researches into Upper Egypt, many articles ne- 
cessary for our accommodation were brought from 
the Ospray, which was sent to winter at Malta, the 
harbor of Alexandria not being sufficiently to be 
depended upon, on account of its exposure to the 
western winds j and from the early appearance of 
the plague in the sea-port towns of Egypt in the 
spring of the year, the unavoidable intercourse with 
the natiyes might have been attended with the 
most serious consequences. On the 27th of Oc- 
tober our arrangements were completed, and we 
left Cairo in the evening, and got on board the twQ 
maashes that were lying for us at Boulak. We 
remained there all that night and all next day, oc- 
sionally witnessing the absurd amusement of on$ 
of the Arab sailors, who called himself a m?n of 
pleasure, and who danced, or rather attitudinized 
alone, to the sound of the tambour, accompanied 
occasionally with the ribobeh, a sort of violin. 
The dance was performed by a single person in the 
bottom of the vessel in the sailors 9 department, 
which is at the prow ; the rest all standing or sit- 

m 2 

164 U^PfiR EGVPT. 

ting round, and looking on. It consisted solely in 
libidinous looks, attitudes, and gesticulations ; and 
till then I never had the least idea what a lasci- 
vious looking, goatish animal an abandoned man, 
or rather boy, could make himself; and was per- 
fectly shocked to see how the natives could sit and 
look on, and not only tolerate, but enjoy and ap- 
plaud the exhibition. They were perfect gluttons, 
and at every lascivious look, or indecent gesture 
that was happily executed, it is inconceivable how 
they hung and gloated upon it. Yet this young 
Mendes that so animalized or brutified himself, was 
a remarkably handsome youth, with a mild and 
pleasing aspect, and a graceful and easy demeanor, 
from which the most finished European beau might 
have taken a lesson in the management of his hands 
and feet. It was horrible to see a man so degraded. 
I never witnessed the exhibition in Syria, Greece, 
or Asia Minor ; and I believe it is only tolerated 
in Egypt, as a counterpart to the exhibitions of the 
Almai. As soon as the Reis was informed that 
such an exhibition was disagreeable, we saw no 
more of it; although they occasionally regaled 
themselves with it on board the one vessel, while 
we were dining on board the other. The Egyp- 
tians are still a gross and licentious people, as they 
were of yore. 

At five o'clock, p. m. on the 28th, Mr. Salt came 
on board his maash ; and every thing being ready, 


we unloosed from the bank, and proceeded on our 
voyage. The Nile was still high, and the wind 
favorable, and there being no risk of running 
aground or foul of any other vessel, we had deter- 
mined, as we had been late in setting out, to con- 
tinue sailing for the greater part of the night We 
soon passed the venerable isle of Roudha, Old 
Cairo, and Gheeza, and every thing went on most 
prosperously till about nine o'clock, when it had 
become dark, and the wind, instead of lowering as 
usual, became high, and the motion of the vessel 
quite as unpleasant as in a rolling sea. However, 
we held on our way, till the feluca, or jolly-boat, 
whether from accident or design, broke away from 

the vessel on which I was aboard. This produced 

• • • .* . >». 

. a dreadful uproar. The reis abused the sailors, 
and the sailors retaliated upon the reis, and the 
greatest disorder prevailed. The old reis, for we 
had two of them on board, the father and son, 
pranced about the maash like one demented, call- 
ing out, el feluca! el feluca! If he had lost the 
dearest object upon earth, he could not have uttered 
more horrifying shrieks of despair. We got off our 
course, run aground, stove in our prow, and by 
ten o'clock were obliged to make fast to the bank 
for the night, at a small village on the east side of 
the river. This was rather discouraging at the 
outset. However, we recovered our feluca that 
night, and by eight o'clock next morning had re- 

166 ANTIN0POU3. 

paired the injury done to the prow, and proceeded 
in pursuit of the other two maashes, which had 
' got considerably a-head. We came up with them 
' about ten, opposite to the pyramids of Sakareh, 
and all in company proceeded joyfully on our 

On the 31st, about three o'clock, p. m. we ar- 
rived at Antinopolis. This town was built by the 
Emperor Hadrian, in memory of his beloved Anti- 
nous, who was drowned in the Nile. The situation 
is fine, and there are many ruins. It has been 
walled round, and there are remains of two prin- 
cipal streets that cross each other at right angles in 
the centre, and terminate in four gates, of which 
there are still considerable remains on each side of 
the town. The streets have been broad and spa- 
cious, with a row of columns on each side for ba- 
zars, or a shady lounge. At the north end -are two 
monumental columns of coarse shell lime-stone, 
bearing the same inscription, which sets forth, that 
they were erected on account of some fortunate 
event by Septimius Severus, when Epimevius Ho- 
norius was governor of Egypt. From west to east 
the rows of columns are still standing on each side 
of the street ; some of them are of shell lime-stone, 
and others of granite. On the west, or end nearest 
the river, they begin at a handsome triumphal arch 
of the corinthian order, which the inhabitants were 
putting down by the order of the governor, and 


on the east in the remains of an ele* 
g*nt gateway : without which is the modem bu- 
rying-ground, and across a deep sandy valley are 
the tombs, ?nd probably the houses of the ancient 
inhabitants, cut in the face of the rock. Many 
granite and other columns lie scattered over this 
field of ruins, and many walls standing, the remains 
q£ stately buildings ; but every thing in the <frys 
of Hadrian is modern in Egypt, and has little to 
recommend it, or tp interest tfre mind of the qpec-t 
tator. The present village is called 4nsin6» aq4 
consists of a few hute of unbiyrnt brick, huddled up 
together on a mound pf earth, behind p grove of 
palm-trees on the verge of the pv<er« The inha- 
bitants brought us many old copper coinp of /u?t 
tinian, which being neither elqgwt nor rare* are 
held in little estimation #nd few of then? iqere 

Havkg finished this hasty survey, we immedi- 
ately got on board, and sailed for Akairatpoqu, 
which is a considerable village on the wait bajik of 
the river, in the province of Oschmouneuu Here 
the Pasha has established a sugar manufactory, 
under the superintendence of Mr. Brine, an Eng- 
lishman. The sugar is remarkably good $ but the 
manufacturer has not yet been able to communis 
cate to the rum that exquisite flavor yrhich charac- 
terizes that liquor from our West India settlements. 
We had resolved to visit Osehmounein, the Grecian 


Hermopoiis, and the Catcbief had politely offered 
to entertain us with a review of his cavalry, and to 
turn out the village to assist us in opening tombs, 
and searching for antiquities ; but after having at- 
tempted it, we found that the state of the inunda- 
tion was such, that we could neither sail to it nor 
ride to it. 

On the 3d of November we sailed from Alraira- 
moun, with Mr. Brine accompanying us. The east 

bank of the Nile still continues narrow, and after 

■ « » 

advancing a little, the rock came quite close to the 
edge of the river. All along it is perforated with 
tombs and caves ; and the whole of that side from 
Alrairamoun to Manfelout, merits a patient and 
regular examination. Here we saw great abun- 
dance of the acacia vera. 

We remained all night at Manfelout, and set sail 
again next morning. The cultivated fields on both 

* » * 

sides of the river widen ; the summit of the moun- 

» » 

tain chain is higher, more varied and picturesque, 
and the prospect is fine. The wind, however, be- 
came exceedingly high, and the sand and dust 
were blown into the air in such profusion, that our 
view of the scenery was much obscured. The 
weather was cold; we run aground, and were a 
long time in getting off; and did hot arrive at 
Osyout till two o'clock, p. m. This is the Grecian 
Lycopolis, the present capital of Upper Egypt, and 
the residence of Ibrahim Pasha, the son of the wife 

ostour. 169 

of Mahomet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, by a former 
marriage ; but his second-rate Highness was then 
in the Hedjaz commanding the host of the Egyp- 
tians against the Wachabites ; and the son-in-law 
of the Pasha Mahomet Bey, commonly called the 
Defterdar Bey, governed in his stead. Mr. Salt 
and Mr. Brine waited upon his Highness immedi- 
ately after their arrival, and brought an invitation 
for the Earl of Belmore and suite to visit him next 
morning at ten o'clock. At half past nine a 
numerous assortment of horses and asses for our 
accommodation arrived from the Bey, and we pro- 
ceeded all in company to pay our respects. to bis 
Highness of Osyout Mr. Salt introduced us, and 
Mr. Brine's dragoman acted as interpreter. We 
were most kindly received in a low cool room, 
which was laid with mats and cushions for us to 
sit upon, but which, in other respects, from the 
causewayed floor, hollow in the middle, was more 
like a stable than a gentleman's apartment The 
Defterdar Bey is a strong, good-looking man, of 
about forty-eight or fifty years of age ; and, in a 
country where nobody knows any thing, passes for 
a learned man, and is proud of the distinction. In 
a conversation on some of the principal buildings 
in Constantinople, he had occasion to mention the 
kiosk, or summer residence of the Grand Seignor, 
the situation of which not being exactly recollected, 
he enquired of his noble visitor if he understood 

170 OSYOUT. 

geography, and being answered in the affirmative, 
he called for a large Arabic folio, with moat miser- 
able maps, in order to point out its situation. Im- 
portant, however, as is the residence of the Sultan 
in the Turkish capital, it found no place in the 
chart; but the Bey having been there himself, 
knew the topography, and laid his finger on the 
spot and turn of the canal where it ought to have 
been, and hugged himself with much compla- 
cency, in being able, as he thought, to instruct m 
Englishman. On another occasion he rode up to 
one of the best European artists at present in Egypt, 
who was amusing himself in drawing the columns 
of a ruined temple, and, having observed for some 
time how he went on, very gravely remarked that 
he was not doing right, and begged to be favored 
with the paper and pencil, in order that he might 
show him a better method of proceeding. The 
gentleman immediately complied with the request, 
and the Bey, having obtained the materials, set to 
work, and drew the columns, certainly in a very 
different style from what the gentleman would have 
done them, but greatly superior to what any man 
would have expected from the unpractised hand of 
a Turk. His Highness is undoubtedly a man of 
superior natural endowments, and beam the cha- 
racter of bang a most inflexible diapenserof justice. 
In the course of conversation, be congratulated his 
noble visitor on the friendship that existed between 

OSYOUT. 171 

Great Britain and the Porte, and hoped that k 
would be perpetual. He could not, however, dis- 
semble his apprehension of Russia ; but, without 
*aying any thing directly on the subject, was anxious 
to have it acknowledged that an equal number of 
Russian troops were more than an overmatch for 
the same number of any other European soldiers— 
a concession that he was not likely to obtain from 
an English nobleman. 

Having smoked our pipes and drank our coffee, 
we took leave of this worthy gentleman, and 
were immediately conducted to the garden of Ibra- 
him Pasha, which lies contiguous in the skirts of 
the town : and here, as a great curiosity, we were 
shown a few potatoe plants, which the gardener 
was endeavoring to cultivate j but the climate of 
Egypt is not suited to the cultivation of this most 
useful vegetable, which in cold climates produces 
a salutary and nutritious fruit, but in warm climates 
rapidly degenerates into the poisonous nature of 
the class to which it belongs; in the garden at 
Osyout it looked a most unwholesome and sickly 
plant, and neither seemed to agree with the soil, 
the climate, nor the mode of cultivation. 

Having returned to the vessel, we received a 
present of sheep and salt butter from the Defterdar 
Bey, in return for a handsome brace of English 
pistols with which he had been presented by the 
Earl of JBelmore; the present was accompanied 

172 OSYOUT. 

with a message from his Highpess, intimating, that 
if we did not sail to-morrow morning, he would be 
happy to see us at a review of his cavalry, who were 
to fire at the target. This was not to be resisted. 
The troops were to muster at 10 o'clock on the 
rocky flat above the town, which is here covered 
with sand. At half-past nine we set out to join the 
spectators ; having passed the town, we turned to 
the right, and proceeded along the base of the 
mountain, which is here perforated by innumerable 
excavations, that appear to have answered the mul- 
tifarious objects of temples, dwelling-houses, and 
tombs of the ancient possessors. The burial-place 
of the present inhabitants is close upon the road- 
side, and just as we came up to it, the ceremony 
of interment was going on : the procession .was 
wholly composed of females, who were completely 
muffled up in their large mantles, and howling most 
piteously, and throwing dust over their heads. 
Having passed the burial-ground, . we soon arrived 
on the field of the review, where we found the Bey 
seated on a small piece of carpet, in the midst of his 
officers and men. He received us sitting, (it is a rare 
thing for a Mussulman to rise from his seat to rtv 
ceive a Christian of whatever rank or distinction,) 
and invited us to sit down on the carpet beside 
him. His men immediately mounted their horses, 
and began to parade along the height at a little 
distance. His Highness, on being complimented 


on their appearance and' dexterity, smiled with 
complaisance, and said that he would join them 
himself, and make them exhibit something more 
worth looking at. Accordingly; he mounted, his 
horse, and having joined the cavalcade, it was di- 
vided into two divisions, of which he himself com- 
manded one, and his binbasha, or lieutenant, the 
other. The parties met, and passed, and rallied, 
and fired, and exhibited all. the maneuvering of a 
sham fight, in which the Bey, as might have been 
anticipated, was the conqueror, and as such, pur- 
sued his antagonist, the binbasha, a very devil 
both in look and limb, at full speed from the field 
of battle close to the place where we were sitting j 
where, having come up with him, they engaged 
with the" spear, their horses wheeling round in con- 
stant gyration, and they parrying and thrusting at 
each other with all the skill and address of masters 
of the art. They continued the conflict for about 
ten minutes, and every spectator was mute in ad- 
miration; at length, the Defterdar touched his 
opponent on the thigh, and there was an end to 
the 1 contest ; they then alighted from their horses 
to repose on the sand, it being near twelve o'clock, 
the hour of prayer. The Defterdar came to oc- 
cupy his former seat, and to refresh himself with a 
cup of coffee and a pipe of tobacco ; his men re- 
mained at a respectable distance, but very few of 
them went to prayers. 

17* osyout. 

Meanwhile Captain Corry, in order to afford his 
Highness a little entertainment in his way, mounted 
the sextant, and prepared to take a meridian ob- 
servation. This amused him exceedingly, and 
awakened all his curiosity, which was fully grati- 
fied by the polite explanations of the intelligent 
observer ; he received, with great satisfaction, the 
latitude of the place on which he had so agreeably 
amused his visitors. When this was over, the Bey 
commenced another act of the drama — firing at the 
target. It is proper to mention, that in Egypt the 
target is a small earthen pitcher, containing about 
two quarts ; it is placed on an eminence, and fired 
at by the officers and soldiers, the horse going at 
full speed. Here the pitcher was placed on a small 
rocky eminence, and fired at from the sandy level 
below. The horsemen took their station at three 
or four hundred yards distance, and one at a time 
started from the post at full gallop, with his musket 
slung over his shoulder ; this he brought over his 
head with both his hands, manifesting no concern 
about his horse or his seat, took his aim as the 
horse gallopped along, and by the time that he 
turned the course and came opposite to the target, 
he discharged his piece at it, andxocje round to the 
rear ; another instantly started, and performed the 
same course ; and thus they kept up the game in 
constant succession — a game that leaves no room 
for trick or partiality, or even the suspicion of it : 


every man's character hangs upon his own prowess; 
and in this game his Highness, the Defterdar Bey, 
was as much calculated to shine as any of his men: 
he was one of the few who twice shivered the pitcher 
to atoms ; but to all appearance he had decidedly 
the steadiest arm, and was the best horseman of his 
troop, which is no mean compliment, whim all were 
so good that the rider and his horse seemed to be 
but one animal. Many of the candidates did not 
strike the target at all. Two young men, about 
seventeen years of age, who had much the appear* 
ance of boys, struck it three times, and were of 
course greatly applauded by their master, not only 
for what they did on that day, but for having re* 
peatedly, on former occasions, proved themselves 
the best marksmen in the corps. The Fasha of 
Egypt gives a sum of money to every one who hits 
the target, but his son-in-law can only afford to do 
that occasionally. Having continued the exercise 
for a considerable time, the Bey gave op, and re- 
turned again to refresh himself with ooflee and 
tobacco : his men maintained the diversion for a 
little longer ; but at last all got tired of it, and we 
remounted our horses and returned to town. All 
along the road some one or other of the troop was 
constantly breaking away from the rest, and gal- 
lopping out to throw the djerid with his fellow i 
•and the baffled binbasha, who in appearance was 
the lion of the corps, the test jointed, best knit 

176 OSYOtJT. 

.man, of his size, was constantly challenging some 
,one to engage hint with the spear, or springing 
away from the rest, in feats of agility. Thus the 
time passed agreeably away, till we reached the 
town, and each man, without the ceremony of a 
formal dismissal, betook himself to his home. We 
accompanied the Defterdar Bey to his residence, 
where we bade him adieu, and returned on board 
our vessels, extremely gratified with the entertain- 
ment that he had afforded, us. 

Respecting the cavalry that we have just re- 
viewed, the want of order and regularity in their 
movements was conspicuous. There was nothing 
remarkable in their firing, for but a very few of them 
hit the target ; but it is proper to take into consider- 
ation that all fired from the back of a gallopping 
•horse. What each individual most excelled in, was 
the firmness and perfect security with which he ^at 
his horse : it seemed as impossible for the horse to 
throw his rider as it would be for him to throw his 
skin -from his back; both man and horse appeared 
. like, one . animal. . Whether this arises from long 
and early practice, (for every Turk is a horseman 
-from his earliest years, as all his fathers were from 
the earliest periods of their history), from the pe- 
culiar construction of the saddle, or from the broad 
and solid' footing afforded them in the stirrup-irons, 
which are broader and longer than the foot, and 
shaped like the mouth of a fire-shovel, I do not 

OSYOUT. 177 

pretend to say; but I have no hesitation in vouch- 
ing for the fact, which contributes to render them 
extremely formidable as individual combatants. 
The aword exercise we did Hot see, in which they 
are also stated to be particularly expert. 

Osyout is a large town, built of sun-dried bricks. 
It contains about 20,000 inhabitants. Many of the 
houses are two stories high; but the apartments are 
small, and ill lighted. The accommodation for the 
poor consists in a mud-wall, which incloses a circular 
space about 10 feet in diameter ; sometimes it is 
covered with the straw of the dhourra, but fre- 
quently without any covering at all. The streets 
are narrow and irregular, and deeply covered with 
sand and dust. The town is finely situated on the 
west side of the Nile, from which it is distant about a 
mile. The honse of Ibrahim Pasha, which is large 
and whitened, and backed by a grove of palm-trees, 
has a fine effect ; and the others being small, and 
of a dull earthy color, serve, like a foil in the back- 
ground, to set it off. 

Here we left Mr. Brine, and having obtained 
our letters and provisions on the morning of the 
7th, proceeded on our voyage. Immediately above 
Osyout the country widens considerably ; but soon 
narrows again, first on the east, and then on the 
west of the river. The same scenery continues 
without any variation worth mentioning. The fel- 
lahs were employed in bucketing up the water from 

vol. 1. n * 


the Nile, to irrigate the land as formerly described* 
Many of them appeared to day on the bank of the 
river. Those who were working were perfectly 
naked, and those who were unemployed were ill 
clothed and ill-favored. Throughout the whole 
of this country, as miserable in a political point of 
view, as it is happy in a physical one, nobody en- 
joys comfort, if comfort it can be called, but the 
man in authority. Early on the 8th, we arrived at 
Kau Alkharab, or ruined Kau : it is also called 
Kau, or Gau el Kubir, or Great Kau, in contradis- 
tinction to another Kau on the west, or opposite 
bank of the river, which is called the small Kau. 
It is the Antaeopolis of the Greeks. Here we stopped 
to view the only column of a once magnificent 
temple, which the Nile has undermined. Many 
overturned stones and columns are lying upon the 
brink of the river, or fallen down into its bed, and 
the present column totters on its base, and, ere this 
time, has probably shared a similar fate. The shaft 
of the column consists of twelve stones of the 
coarse-shell lime-stone already mentioned. It is 
wrought into pannels, four of which occupy the 
periphery, and three the height of the column. It is 
between forty and fifty feet high, with large upright 
leaves, encompassing the top of it, like the calyx 
of a flower. The space between each of the com- 
partments, is occupied by rows of hieroglyphics, 
and the compartments themselves are filled with re- 


presentations of Osiris, Isis, and Anubis, receiving 
offerings, under different forms, in each. A column 
which seemed to have recently fallen down ju9t 
beside it, consisted of the same number of stones, 
and was sculptured after the same manner. Lying 
at a small distance, in another part of the ruins, is 
a large stone of about six feet broad and ten feet 
long. It is hollowed out on one side, as if for the 
reception of a statue, and is covered round the 
orifice, and on the inside of the niche, with hiero- 
glyphics, which are much effaced. In the rock, 
about one hour's ride distant, there is a number of 
quarries and catacombs, remarkably well cut ; many 
of the latter have never been opened. Mr. Salt 
opened one of them, which contained two mummies 
- exceedingly well preserved ; one of them was lying 
on its back, the other on its side. . The nails and 
skin seemed quite fresh ; he brought me a large 
mass of bitumen from the skull of another. Lord 
Belmore and Mr. Salt were the only members ot 
the party who visited these excavations. We were 
surprised at not perceiving among the ruins any 
representation of the god Mendes, to whom this 
town was particularly devoted. The latitude of 
Antaeopolis taken on the site of the temple, is 

About three o'clock p. m. on the following 

day, we set sail from Antaeopolis. The coun- 

* try on the left bank of the river widens consider- 

n 2 


ably, and the Nile, taking a long sweep in a 
westerly direction, afforded us a most enchanting 
view of the rich and highly cultivated plain. A 
little before sun-set we stopped at Sheikh Eredy 
for the night* Here we saw the first Thebaic palm- 
tree, which was loaded with fruit The remains of 
the old town at the bottom of the rock, and the 
cave of the venerable Sheikh, the former abode of 
the thaumaturgic serpent ; immense heaps of burnt 
brick thrown down the hill, and a few distinct 
foundations of houses, are all that remain of this 
once celebrated spot. At the foot of the mountain, 
near a large mass of detached rock, are the remains 
of a mutilated statue in a sitting posture, and about 
ten feet high. On a level with the statue in the 
front of the rock, are many sepulchral grottoes now 
despoiled of their ancient possessors, and so large 
that they would form more comfortable habitations 
than any of the twelve feet square huts at present 
used in the country. 

Next morning the 10th, we started from Sheikh 
Eredy, about seven o'clock, a. m. and got on ex- 
tremely well till about twelve, when Lord BelmoreV 
maash ran aground, a little below Ikhmim, and so 
firmly was it wedged in the mud, that it was three 
o'clock, p. m. before all the efforts of the sailors 
could disengage it. On our arrival at Ikhmim. we 
were welcomed by the only member of the Fra- 
ciscan convent, a venerable looking middle aged 

IKHM1M. 181 

man, dressed in the costume of the country. H$ 
had been so unfortunate as lately to have had a 
shock of palsy ; but was then so far recovered as 
to wish extremely for a double-barrelled gun, to 
enable him to pursue the sports of the field. Ikh- 
mim is the ancient Chemmis ; it is pleasantly si- 
tuated on the east side of the river, from which it is 
distant about a mile and a half. It contains about 
10,000 inhabitants, of whom 300 are Catholics, and 
1200 Coptic Christians ; the rest are Mussulmans ; 
but "we found them all extremely civil. The dhourra 
crops prevail ; but the country is still a good deal 
inundated, and has an unhealthy and uncultivated 
appearance. This day was cold and cloudy ; the 
nights and mornings, especially the latter, have for 
this sometime past felt cold in bed, and we require 
nearly as much warm covering a* in England. Un- 
fortunately all our thermometers were broken, and 
on that account we could not ascertain the exact 
degree of heat. But the weather felt quite au- 
tumnal, with winter and summer by turns in the 
breeze. Several of the party complain of colds and 
sore throats, and in the morning it is as delightful 
to the sailors as the passengers, to sit and bask in 
the sunny side of the vessel. The sailors all sleep 
in the open air on the hard boards, and in the clothes 
which they wear during the day, with an additional 
coat wrapt round them ; they feel the cold exces- 
sively towards morning, and as they sleep on the 

162 GIRGEH. 

deck immediately above us, we hear them shivering 
and tossing about uncomfortably. It is their usual 
custom to rise with the dawn or before it, and to 
light a fire, and sit down all round it to gather the 
vermin off their clothes, that they may be able to 
toy their prayers at day-break, or as soon after it as 
possible. A Mussulman must not pray unless he is 
loused and washed j the purest of them may pray 
with three bosom companions on their body, and 
the dirtiest must not have above nine, otherwise 
their prayers will never reach to heaven. Having 
finished this operation they then prepare the coffee, 
and each person drinks about half an ounce of the 
bitter infusion, without either milk or sugar, and 
smokes' half a pipe of tobacco, if he can afford it ; 
he then waits till breakfast, which consists of bread 
and water with a little salt, soked together in a 
bason, from which they all eat with their fingers. 

Next morning we sailed from Ikhmim at an early 
hour, and at eleven o'clock, a. m. arrived at Girgeh, 
where we stopped an hour to procure some char- 
coal and firewood. The people were busily engaged 
in ploughing up a grass field with a most miserable 
plough, which had neither colter nor rest-board, 
and so light that the ploughman lifted it about with 
one hand, while he held a goad in the other, with 
which he pricked on the two oxen before him. The 
narrow sock of the plough merely scratched a rut 
like a drill plough, turning up a little earth on each 


side, and left a far greater portion solid and un- 
touched, with the grass growing on it. A number 
of people stood by with hoes, to hoe up that part 
at the end of the field, which the plough could not 
reach. We were surprised to see how much the 
present hoe resembles that which is represented in 
the ancient statues and paintings. This town, like 
all other Egyptian towns, seemed to be very poor. 
It contains a Roman catholic convent; but the 
worthy fathers were at dinner and could not be 

After leaving Girgeh, the sky again became 
cloudy, the wind high and cold, we proceeded about 
ten miles, and stopped for the night under the 
shelter of a high bank on the west side of the river. 
The people here were less curious and sociable, and 
did not come down to visit us as at the other vil- 
lages ; and one of the English sailors who went up 
to the village, was admonished to retire ; in short, 
they seemed afraid of us, and looked as if we had 
come to sack and plunder their habitations. Next 
morning we started at our usual hour, between 
seven and eight o'clock, and at ten o'clock we saw 
five crocodiles at Abousabat, lying basking on the 
sandy bank, on the west side of the Nile. This 
was the first time that we had seen any of these 
animals, and they seemed little alarmed at our ap- 
proach. A little further on we entered a canal, 
and thereby cut off a considerable circuit of the 

184 BAND AftA. 

river, and there being little wind we wertf dratfrt ; 
along by the sailors. The earl of Belmore and 
several of the party went ashore and started seve- 
ral crocodiles among the sand. The crocodile 
seems to be a timid animal, more disposed to fly. 
than to fight The average size of them is from 
five to fifteen or twenty feet in length, according to 
their age. They are generally accompanied by a 
small bird that takes ah*rm oq the slightest noise, 
and flying past the crocodile awakens him from hi* 
slumbers, in time to retreat from a person advanc- 
ing to examine, or to fire at him. The rock ap- 
proaches near the river on the east bank, and is 
every where perforated with excavations. It is 
much disintegrated, and immense mounds of the 
detritus are lying $t its base. Here we saw, for the 
first time, the natives carrying spears as if they had 
been common walking staves. We stopped for the 
night within about ten miles of Dandara, which is 
the name of a considerable district thpt we entered, 
next morning. All round on both sides of the 
river, is an extensive beautiful rich plain, well cul- 
tivated, and shaded with a great profusion of 
Thebaic and other palm-trees ; the mountains retire 
in the middle and approach the river on each end, 
so as to give the whole the appearance of a beauti- 
ful circular bason. About three o'clock, p. m. we 
came opposite to the deservedly celebrated temple 
of Dendera, or as it is sometimes, nay generally 


in the Roman authors, written Tentyra ; the natives 
universally pronounced the word Dandara. It is 
half an hour's ride from the river, and we pro- 
ceeded to pay it a visit immediately after dinner. 
The road, or rather track, lay through an unculti- 
vated flat, intersected by several canals from the 

The scene of ruins is nearly a mile square, and 
consists of houses of unburnt brick, that have been 
repeatedly overturned, and at every restoration 
the new houses have been built on the top of the 
rubbish of the old; a very uncertain foundation, if 
the structure were of large dimensions, and reared 
of heavy materials j but where the huts are small, 
and low, and composed of sun-dried brick made of 
cut straw and clay, the solidity of the foundation 
was not so much an object with the builder as the 
facility with which he could construct a fabric for 
his habitation. Hence came many of the large 
mounds which are found around most of the an- 
cient temples, and the site of ancient towns ; they 
are the result of much havoc and disaster that befel 
the inhabitants of the land. 

The ruined town of Dandara has been partly 
built of burnt, and partly of unburnt brick, and the 
remains of many small huts crowd the summit of 
the temple itself, which are, of course, very modern 
productions* The first thing that attracts the eye 
of the traveller, on the edge of this black field of 


ruins, is a small square stone building with four 
columns ; it has an unfinished appearance, and is 
without hieroglyphics. It is difficult to say for 
what purpose this edifice was intended ; it looks 
like a porter's lodge, or habitation for the guardian 
of the precincts of the temple : and I should not 
have mentioned it at all, had it riot been constructed 
of the same species of sand-stone with the temple 
itself; and as these must have been brought thither 
from a great distance, and at a great expense, it is 
probable that this insignificant fabric was connected 
with it for religious purposes. Advancing from 
this, for several hundred yards among the brick 
ruins, we came to an elegant gateway, or propylon, 
which is also of sand-stone, well hewn, and com- 
pletely covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics, 
remarkably well cut. Immediately over the centre 
of the doorway is the beautiful Egyptian ornament 
usually called the globe, with serpent and wings, 
emblematic of the glorious sun poised in the airy 
firmament of heaven, supported and directed in his 
course by the eternal wisdom of the Deity. The 
sublime phrazeology of scripture, " the Sun of 
righteousness shall arise with healing in his 
wings," could not be more accurately or more 
emphatically represented to the human eye, than 
by this elegant device. To this, succeed repre- 
sentations of Osiris, Isis, and their son Horus, with 
processions of priests and people advancing to pay 



their homage, and present their offerings on their 
knees. Passing under the gateway, we find the 
principal devices on each side of the passage to be 
the sceptre of Osiris, alternating with a figure re- 
presenting the letter T suspended by a handle, or 
to speak more correctly, with a handle attached 
to it £ j it has been called the handled cross, the 
key of the Nile, and honored with other designa- 
tions. I am disposed to consider it as the signa 
thau mentioned in the Vulgate in the ninth chapter 
of Ezekiel, and intimated there as being the sign 
of life and salvation to those who received it, and 
both symbols may be accurately enough considered 
as representing power and preservation. 

Some of the female figures are so extremely well 
executed that they do all but speak, and have a 
mildness of feature and expression that never was 
surpassed. Advancing about a hundred paces 
over the ruined brick huts, we arrived at the cele- 
brated and beautiful temple of Dendera. This 
intervening space is called the dromos or course, 
(vide plate I.) In some of the other temples, it is 
enclosed by a high wall on each side, joining the 
propylon to the temple, and lined with rows of 
columns covered in above, forming a delightful 
piazza for reposing in the shade : in this space was 
usually exhibited the most entertaining juggles of 
pagan idolatry. Even bull-fighting, as we learn 
from Strabo, was among the number ; there is no- 



thing new under the sun. Herb the divine ahrf 
holy bull, attended by his grooming priests, was 
turned out to take his sacred walks, and shake his 
godly sides before the gaping spectators. The 
dromes, or area, in this temple does not appear 
to have been completely enclosed* The propy- 
lon stands disjoined from the temple, ragged and 
unfinished at each end, as if sudden death or dis- 
aster had broken off the work, which future ages 
never resumed. 

The fe? ade of the temple is rich and imposing, 
and carved with a vast profusion of sculptured 
ornaments ; the door is lofty, the sides of which 
are perpendicular. On each side of it are three 
massy columns, capitalled with the head of Isis 
quadrifrons; they are partly received into the wall, 
the base is concealed by rubbish, the shaft consists 
of several stones, and the top is surmounted by the 
head of a fentale, coifed in a Romanized Egyptian 
head-dress, which passes over the forehead like a tur- 
ban ; it is loosely tied at the middle and over each 
eye, tightly bound at the temple, and then falls 
softly down on each breast, like a curtain from the 
tying ; the face is neither Greek, Roman, nor 
Egyptian, but an abominable mixture of the first 
and last The top of the column spreads out info 
a moulding above it, and the space above the co- 
lumn that in Greek buildings would be occupied 
by the triglyph over the top of the column, 



occupied by the front of an Egyptian temple, with 
perpendicular or Grecian walls, containing repre- 
sentations of people, some of them in masque, and 
others not, performing rites of devotion in honor 
of the goddess Isis, in the character of Diana. 
Among the ornaments on the frieze, are harps, 
altars and Grecian temples, and people clapping 
their hands ; and the whole of the subject has much 
the appearance of the festival held in honor of 
Diana at Bubastis, in which Herodotus says, the 
women struck their tabors and harps, the men 
played on the flutes, and both clapt their hands, 
and joined in chorus. The head enclosed in the 
niche, with the moon and crescent over head, the 
hawks' and ibis 1 heads among the votaries, all re- 
fer it to Diana, the queen of heaven, and not to 
any festival of Isis, in which the attendants used 
to flagellate themselves round a burning victim, 
and afterwards sit down to feast on the part of the 
sacrifice that had been saved from the fire. Down 
the sides, the frieze is filled with representations 
of Isis and Osiris, seated on thrones with their 
sceptres in their hands, the one alternately taking 
precedence of the other, and presented with offer- 
ings accordingly. Over the front of the columns, 
and on the intercolumniary space upon the walls, the 
whole is covered with similar representations, with 
serpents, and globes, and hieroglyphics. 
On the cornice is a ^presentation of the son 


under the appearance of a globe surmounted with 
serpents and wings, from which issue streams of 
light on the objects beneath, and frequent repeti- 
tions of the hawk, the emblem under which that 
glorious luminary was worshipped. Above the 
cornice is an inscription in the Greek character, 
setting forth that the pronaos was consecrated to 
the goddess Aphrodita and the cotemplar deities, 
in the reign of Tiberius Caesar. The inscription 
occupies a place that does not in any way appear 
to have been intended for it, and the engraving of 
the inscription appears to be a more recent work 
than the sculpture or hieroglyphics on the front of 
the temple : and if, after a minute inspection of it, 
I may be permitted to express my opinion, it is 
that this temple was built in the time of the Greek 
sovereigns of Egypt, and repaired in the time of 
the Romans. 

Passing within the pronaos, the ornament of the 
globe with wings and serpents, is continued along 
the middle of the ceiling, and alternates with the 
sacred vulture with outspread wings, and a broad 
feathered sceptre held by a ring in each foot } the 
vulture was queen of the air, sacred to Isis or 
Juno. There are twenty-one figures along the 
ceiling ; they begin and end with this magnificent 
representation of the vulture, the guardian genius 
of the kings and heroes of Egypt. On each hand 
are three rows of columns, with three columns in 


each row, making in all eighteen columns, which 
occupy the body of the pronaos. The columns 
are of the same description with those in the front 
of the temple, each of them being surmounted with 
a head of Isis quadrifrons, and covered with hiero- 
glyphics and large sculptured figures of the gods 
and goddesses receiving offerings from the priests, 
as on the outside of the temple. The interior of 
the wall is ornamented with the same subjects ; so 
that in whatever direction the eye of the spectator 
is turned, it is constantly met by the representation 
of objects connected with the mythology and his- 
tory of the country. The most interesting devices, 
however, are those pourtrayed upon the ceiling, 
which is divided into seven compartments by the 
six rows of columns already mentioned. The 
middle compartment has been described above as 
containing the representation of two of the most 
beautiful and interesting objects of Egyptian wor- 
ship ; the winged globe and the sacred vulture. 
The other compartments are equally filled with ob- 
jects of their idolatrous devotion; so that the whole 
ceiling may be regarded as a pantheon, in which all 
the cotemplar deities and their attendants are pour- 
trayed, and which would form a most impressive 
and magnificent object of contemplation, were the 
continuity of the whole not broken into compart- 
ments by the rows of columns that are necessary 
for the support of the roof, so that the eye cannot 



view the whole assemblage at once, but must past 
over it in detail. 

To begin with the border, which on each side 
right and left on entering the pronaos, is of a re- 
markable description, and such as I had not seen 
any thing like before. The body of it is broad, 
and is composed of wavy lines and stars ; these, 
however, are not Egyptian stars, for they consist 
sometimes of six and sometimes of eight rays, 
whereas the usual Egyptian star consists of only 
five rays. This border extends all along the edge 
of the ceiling, and in one corner it is terminated 
by a human head, having the eyes shut, and of a 
peculiarly solemn expression. The shoulder is co- 
vered with a tippet ornamented with stars, and the 
winged globe ; the head is coifed with a close fit- 
ting wig with lappets falling down upon the breast 
and back. Opposite to the mouth is a globe with 
one wing, the other being concealed by the figure, 
and the hands are extended out at right angles 
with the head and body, and form a border to one 
end of the room. At the opposite end of the 
room, the broad border is bent round in an obtuse 
angle, and terminates in a pair of human feet, the 
legs of which are tied above the ancles in a starry 
bracelet, which is not Egyptian ; so that the whole 
figure is arrayed in what is intended to represent 
the close-fitting dress of an ancient Egyptian female. 
This curious and enigmatical border is the same on 


both sides of the ceiling of the pronaos. The next 
is a small space inclosed by two parallel lines ; it is 
empty, except at the two corners. Opposite to the 
mouth of the long figure, are two small, globes with 
wings, one on each side ; at the other two corners, 
opposite to the bend of the. knees, there is a large 
scarabaeus in the one corner, and a luminous globe 
in the other, pouring down rays of light upon a 
' female head resting on a pedestal .immediately be- 
neath, close to which, on the edge of the border, 
is a small scarabeeus. .The next is a procession of 
boats, nineteen and a half on each side, of equal 
size, and a small one close to the luminous globe, 
on board of which is a serpent springing from the 
budding lotus. All the rest have . each one person 
on board, except the boat nearest the luminous 
globe, and that has three. Eleven of these indi- 
viduals have human heads, six have hawks' heads ; 
one a lion's head, one a cynocephalus or dog's head, 
one a ram's head, and one has four rams 1 heads, 
two looking in one direction and two in another. 
There are two figures of Harpocrates, each in a 
boat by himself, resting upon the budding lotus, 
with his finger upon his mouth. Another figure is 
seated on a throne with his hands extended, and 
a mitre on his head. Two of the figures in the 
first boat are also seated upon thrones. All of 
them have .the close fitting head-dress ; in some it 
is surmounted by a cap > in others, with the moon, 
vol. i. o 


encompassed with horns ; in others, with the globe 
and serpent ; and in four with the mitre. All the 
figures, except these, are accompanied with a cer- 
tain number of stars ; some of them have only two, 
and one has fifteen. Fourteen of the figures cany 
in their right hand the soeptre of Osiris, twelve ef 
whom are standing ; two, who seem to be females, 
one of them with a lion's head, carry the lotus- 
headed sceptre, commonly called the sceptre of 
Isia; five have no sceptres, one of whom is a 
female, and is the first person in the procession. 
Seventeen of them have small tablets of hierogly- 
phics above their heads j and all of them look from 
the head of the tall border-figure to the luminous 
globe at its feet. The boats on the other side are 
similarly freighted with persons and figures with 
stars and sceptres, and tablets of hieroglyphics; and 
all of them look from the head of the tall border- 
figure to the large scarabaeus at its feet. 

The next division, one in the lateral compart- 
ments on each side, exhibits another very inter- 
esting and animated assemblage of mythological 
beings, accompanied with numerous stars, few scep- 
tres, and no hieroglyphics. On the side of the 
luminous globe are thirty-nine figures, thiity.two 
of whom look and seem to move from the feet to 
the head of the border-figure, whieh is directly op- 
posite to the motion of the figures in the former 
row. The procession begins with a female, and 


ends with three boats. There are twenty-nine per- 
sons with human bodies, twenty-one of whom have 
human heads; three have hawks' heads ; one a lion's 
head, one a Janus' head, a hawk's face on the one 
side, and a dog's on the other \ one a dog's head* 
one a cow's head, and one no head at all. There 
are two fishes, two hawks, one monster, a kid, and a 
cynocephalns, back to back; one serpent, one bull, 
one ram, one pig held by the hind feet, one kid 
held by the ears, and one goose. 

The procession in the line of the scarabssus con- 
sists of thirty-one figures, all of whom look and 
seem to move from the head towards the feet of the 
border-figure, having the same direction with the 
side-figures in the boats. Eighteen are human 
figures, sixteen of whom have human heads ; one 
has a Bon's head, with a Diana crescent over it, 
and one a hawk's head ; two are eynoeephali, ot 
nondescript figures ; three are birds, one of which 
has a lion's head ; one is a kind of sphinx, or mon- 
ster, with a goat's head and fore legs, a fish's body 
and tail ; another is a cow, of which the two fore 
legs, the belly, and one e£ the hind legs, are cot 
oft yet she seems to live and move ; another is a 
centaur, with one wing and two tails, one of which 
iathat of a scorpion; one is a fox, one a small snake* 
one a twisted serpent indosed in a case, and one 
m lion in a boat or serpent-headed frame. The 
eleventh figure counting the one way; and the 


eighteenth counting the other way, is Horus, en* 
closed within a circle, and a balance: over his head. 
This procession both begins and ends with a human, 
being : only one person bears the sceptre of Osiris ; 
the centaur has a bow and arrow ; and the man 
with the hawk's head threatens to dart an arrow 
at the legless cow. On the whole of this division 
on this side there are only twenty-two stars. This 
is. a strange jumble of. animate and inanimate, ra- 
tional and irrational beings, out of which to make 
a. zodiac that is to overturn the chronology of scrip- 
ture. To me it appears, that without the most 
unwarrantable supplements, and the greatest dis- 
tortion of. interpretation, it cannot be considered 
as a zodiac at all. 

. First of all, the number of signs is incomplete. 
The advocates for the zodiacal interpretation ac- 
knowledge this, — there is no crab. " Oh/' but 
says oifk, " here is a bird stuck in a funnel; we 
will call it a sceptre, and suppose him a crab." 
"No," says another, "that will not do. ; But here 
are two .beetles in a corner, one on each hand.; let 
us take them, and suppose that they are the/old 
original beetles made crabs by an error of transcrip- 
tion.? This is a new method of ratiocination ; and 
we confess it is somewhat difficult to comprehend 
the process . by which the ^ philosopher concludes 
that a honnetted bird in a funnel, or two beetles in 
the corners, are equal to one crab. - Besides, the 

» sJ 


beetles are not iu the compartments of signs, * but 
iu those of boats, which are interpreted to contain 
thirty-six decans, or .astrological genii, though they 
have on board forty-five personages, which, neither, 
in . themselves nor in. their insignia, are .any way 
different from: the figures that we meet in: the 
sculpture both throughout this and the other tem- 
ples, ^Besides, the two half-boats,- and the whole 
boat with the serpent springing from the budding 
lotus, or the three boats in the second row, are not 
mentioned . by: them .at all. But if the figures in 
the boats be: genii, why are not the beetles, being 
in the* same line^ genii too ? No, that will not do ; 
they two must be one crab, to suit the system of 
wise philosophers. The next line on the side of the 
luminous' globe contains three boats ; are they also 
freighted with genii ? One of them contains a cow; 
what sort of a genius is she ? ' Philosophers have 
not deigned to inform . us, • nor what mark' in the 
zodiac she is intended to standi for, although she 
is surrounded with stars, as well as the best of them. 
Next comes a group of human beings, but nothing 
different from other groups that occur in religious 
processions. • Next we come to. the bull, wearing 
the globe and crescent stuck upon his shoulders; 
and the artist has chosen to represent 'him batting 
with the horn, and scattering the sand wtitli his 
feet, as if he were in one of Ins holyigambols in 
the dromos of the temple. . He also is an Egyptian 


god ; the living image of Osiris, conceived by a 
flash of light from the moon touching an imma- 
culate cow, who never had another calf. So is the 
ram, the living image of Ammon, and Neith, or 
Minerva. Next we come to the fishes, who, by the 
by, may truly be said to be out of the water ; but 
why is there a sheet of water interposed between 
them? We are informed that the Lycians used 
fishes in divination, and that the Nile, in the tub. 
siding of the inundation, left the fishes deserted 
on its banks, and that the husbandmen made a 
harvest in catching them : the former would fur* 
pash a reason for giving them a place in religious 
ceremonies, and the latter for interposing the water 
between them, but can be no reason for placing 
them so in the zodiac. Then comes what they am 
pleased to call aquarius ; a man with two upright 
vases in his hand, not in the attitude of pouring 
out, but of holding in water. Such a vase-carrier 
is very common in religious processions) some* 
tames he has one vase, and sometimes he has two, 
imd is particularly specified as preceding that in 
honor of Osiris. But there is another person with 
two vase? similarly situated in his hands, in thf 
first boat of this same row. Which then is the true 
Aquarius? Or must there be two aquariuses to be 
equal to one Aquarius, as there were two beetles 
to be equal to one crab? I see nothing w all this, 
kut pp assemblage of mythological beings, such as 


are exhibited on other temples, scattered over a 
larger space. — Let us pass over to the other 
which is regarded by these philosophers as 
Other half of the zodiac. The first figure that we 
meet with here is a female, with one star over her 
head ; but she is not considered as one of the sign* 
of the zodiac, therefore it is not necessary to stop 
any time in discoursing about her. The next figure 
that we encounter is a lion ; this animal, we are 
informed, was the image of Vulcan, and sacred to 
the sun. He is here standing demurely in a ser- 
pent-headed boat or frame, such as is frequently 
seen in sacred processions; there is not a star about 
Irim or it, but a person behind him, with a scourge 
extended in his hand, which apparently he ha* ju*t 
brought from the seat of honor ; the king of the 
beasts seems to take his treatment very sulkily, 
and hangs his tail between hie legs. What reason 
is there for supposing him a sign of the zodiac, 
or even a god, in the present instance? He was 
probably, like the frame on which he is represented, 
made of wood, for the purpose of being carried 
about in procession \ and there is nothing more 
absurd in flogging a wooden lion, than there is in 
kissing a waxen doll or a wooden saint. We canes 
next to a blank, cxacasioned by the injuries of time 
or man : then* pairing by a ceiled serpent and two 
females, we came to a third, who has what has ban 
called a palm-bsanch in htr hand, though to m* it 



seems an ear of bearded grain like barley or spelt $ 
she is followed by a man who has the sceptre of 
Osiris in one hand, and a butcher's knife in the 
other. Such figures frequently occur; none of 
them have any stars ; and what authority have phi* 
losophers to consider them as signs of the zodiac ? 
Passing by several other figures, we come to the 
balance, with Horus, or Harpocrates, inclosed in 
a circle, and seated between the scales. This rather 
appears to be an emblem of justice ; the scales are 
equally poised; they occur frequently in other 
places in .the same situation ; there is not a single 
star about the balance here, and there is no reason 
why it should be regarded as one of the signs of 
the zodiac.' ~ Passing by several other .figures,' we 
come to the scorpion, preceded by a dancing cat 
caparisoned with a dog's head/ and tutulus, and a 
scorpion's tail. . : The • scorpion, we are informed, 
was sacred to Isis, on account of its partiality for 
her priestesses, and is therefore entitled to a place 
in her temple ; but there are no stars about it, nor 
any thing to entitle philosophers to place it in the 
zodiac, any more than its frolicksome precursor, the 
dancing cat; but both are equally entitled to a place 
in an. Egyptian temple. Passing by a number of 
other figures, among which are a fox and a serpent, 
we come to a centaur armed with a bow and arrow; 
and* therefore he must be the sign Sagittarius. 
The centaur is a fabulous animal, a species of 


sphinx, not of the Egyptian mythology, but of the 
Greek : and as the Egyptians were too proud to 
borrow from those whom they called children in 
philosophy, the existence of this figure here would 
not prove the zodiac to be older than the reign of 
the Greeks in Egypt, which is of no very great an- 
tiquity. His fore feet are in a boat, his back is 
clothed with wings, he has two tails at his rump, 
a scorpion's that stands up, and one like a fox's 
that hangs down ; there is not a star about him. 
How he came here perhaps the Greeks or Romans 
could have told ; but the moderns must be terribly 
at a loss to make out a system, who find it neces- 
sary to make this a zodiac on his account Passing 
a number of other figures, among which is the leg- 
less cow which a cynocephalus holds chained by her 
only foot, so that she looks like a bull-frog going 
to leap : why don't philosophers find a situation for 
this distinguished animal ? She is encompassed with 
stars, and ought to have a place. We come next 
to an animal half goat, half fish, which must be 
called capricornus. Capricornus, we are informed, 
was admitted among the number of gods by Jupiter, 
and is accordingly entitled to a place here, without 
supposing or allowing him any more than the 
others already mentioned, to be in his place, as a 
sign of the zodiac j he has no stars about him. 
From the above account, we presume there is 
no reason for calling the ceiling at Dendera a 


zodiac, no more than there is for supposing that it 
was constructed 4000 years before the French 
s^avans visited Upper Egypt, in the year 1800, 
when the solstice was in virgo, libra, leo, or even in 
two beetles equal to one crab. In short that the 
ceiling at Dendera has no connection with as- 
tronomy whatever, but is merely a congregation 
of gods and goddesses, mythological beings, and re- 
ligious processions. 

The two compartments of the ceiling, between 
the rows of columns on each side, that remain un- 
noticed, are of a similar description, being orna- 
-merited with boats and beetles, sphinxes, monkies, 
foxes, hawks, with human heads, serpents erect, 
and walking on human feet, boats with canopies in 
the form of a temple ; one row has twelve boats, 
another eight ; one temple has the representation 
of a serpent wriggling along the top of it, and 
looking down at an object that attracts its attention 
below ; in another place, two serpents are raised on 
a pedestal, with the globe over their head, sur- 
rounded with a numerous train similarly attired. 
Men with hawks 1 heads, dogs 1 heads, rams* heads, 
and human heads carrying the sceptre of Osiris, 
and illustrated with stars as in the former compart- 
ments : in another place a lotus-headed boat is sup- 
ported by four female figures, a scarabseus with 
wings outspread, is hovering over it, guarded wjth 
a vuhure on each side, poised on their wings* The 


procession is in the act of advancing, but its pro- 
gress is opposed by three men with hawks' heads ; 
in the same compartment, are two highly interest- 
ing ceremonies in honor of two Eyes ; one of the 
Eyes is enclosed in a circle, and placed on the top 
of the budding lotus, which rests on the mouth of 
a vase on the top of a stair. A human being with 
an ibis head, such as Thaut the secretary of Osiris 
is generally represented, stands behind it, and a 
procession of fourteen human beings, each with 
the sceptre of Osiris in his hand, ascends the stair 
in front to do homage to the Eye. The Eye was the 
symbol of Osiris, whose name we are informed by 
Plutarch means many-eyed. It is beyond all com- 
parison the brightest image of deity that ever was 
conceived ; the sun is the visible eye of heaven. 
Upon the thirtieth day of the month, Epithi, which 
answers to the 24th of July, the Egyptians held a 
festival called the birth-day of the Eye of Osiris, at 
what time the sun and the moon are in one direct 
line-, as esteeming not only the moon, but also the 
sun to be the eye and light of Horus. In the same line 
with the Eye above mentioned, there is another Eye 
enclosed in a circle, and placed on board a lotus-, 
headed boat * seven human beiqgs, enclosed in the 
same circle, are seated above it, and aa many below* 

It is worshipped by four human beings with foxes' 

heads ; but is considerably inferior in point of splen- 
dor to the former eye, Both, however, I under? 


stand to represent the sun and moon ; the purest 
forms under which the Egyptians worshipped Osiris 
and Isis. I should never have done were I to enu- 
merate all the curious devices that are pourtrayed 
on this interesting ceiling, and I think I have already 
said enough to show that the whole is a mythologi- 
cal exhibition of the most interesting objects in the 
Egyptian theology, without having any reference 
to astronomy whatever. 

Through the kindness of Mr. Salt, I had here an 
opportunity of comparing part of the large French 
work with the original. It is extremely elegatat, and 
well executed ; but is perfectly foppish, and not the 
least Egyptian in its style or manner. It is be- 
sides extremely incorrect, both in the drawing of 
the figures and in the hieroglyphics, as well as in 
the ntimber of stars which accompany them, which 
latter 1 are both fewer in number, and differently ar- 
ranged from what we found them to be on the ceil- 
ing ; in point of feeling it is equally inaccurate ; 
the different authors have imparted to the human 
figures an insipid and babyish expression, which one 
would not have expected from the companions of 
Napoleon ; and which is as foreign to the Egyptian 
character, as the aspect of a child, or an insipid cox- 
comb, is to that of the Theseus, the Memnon, or 
the Apollo. 

Leaving the pronaos we entered the temple, 
which we found very much choked up with sand 


and stones. The first apartment has three columns 
on each hand, all covered with sculpture and hiero- 
glyphics, and surmounted at the top like those al- 
ready mentioned with the head of Isis quadrifrons. 
The walls behind the columns are equally enriched, 
so that not a spot that the eye can rest on, but ad- 
dresses to the mind a tale of interest and wonder : 
though no man can read or unfold its precise 
meaning, yet each forms to himself some conjec- 
ture of the story, and is pleased with the constant 
exercise of his mind. Passing on we entered ano- 
ther apartment which has no columns ; but the 
walls are decorated in the same manner; after 
which we moved' into a third, which was equally so, 
and from which passages go off to small handsome 
side chambers, equally ornamented with figures 
and stars, and hieroglyphics, and a sort of chain- 
work along the ceiling, which is blue ; the passage 
to the right leads to an easy and handsome stair, 
by which to ascend to the top of the building ; we 
continued our way, however, straight forward, and 
entered another' chamber in the centre of which 
stands the sanctuary, or holiest apartment, all of 
them rich in sculpture and hieroglyphics. Never 
did I see a greater field for thought and reflection, 
and never. did I regret more the want of time than 
in visiting the superb temple of Dendera. 
: Having finished our examination of the chambers 
below, we crawled through a passage that wa&much 


obstructed with sand and rubbish, and arrived at the 
stair formerly mentioned The steps are thin and 
broad, and the ascent is remarkably easy, and nearly 
of the same angle of inclination as the passages in 
the pyramid already mentioned. On each side, the 
staircase is adorned with large sculptured figures 
of Osiris, Isis, priests, and sacred boats, arranged 
in procession, hieroglyphics and other ornaments : no 
part is without its decorations, every thing seems to 
speak and move around you, and is so different from 
what a person meets with in any part of Europe, 
that the mind is astonished, and feels as if absolutely 
introduced to beings of olden time, to converse 
with them, and to witness the ceremonies by which 
they delighted to honor their God. Wherever yon 
look there is food for the mind and eye ; even the 
sill of the narrow window is covered with a succe* 
ston of many Unes formed into a number of small 
cones united into a large one ; each lower line of 
cones entering within the one above it by its apex, 
$ad extending beyond it at its base, thus forming a 
large cone, the apex of which is in the small diink 
by which the light is admitted into the temple, and 
the base is spread over the sill, like the rays of light 
diverging from their entrance through the apart* 
Kent into which they are admitted. This is the 
manner in which the light is: generally represented 
as streaming from a luminous globe. Nothing can 
possibly exceed the artist's execution of the desigs* 


On arriving at the top of the stair which led out to 
the top of the temple, we found it covered with a 
number of ruined huts, as if it had been not long 
ago the site of a considerable village ; we passed 
through them into an upper chamber of the tem- 
ple, in which there is pourtrayed upon the ceiling 
an assemblage of mythological beings, resembling 
those in the pronaos below ; and though fewer in 
number and differently arranged, this exhibition 
has also been called a zodiac, and, from its form, 
the circular zodiac. The ceiling is encompassed 
with three broad circular lines, and it is only the 
central space that is occupied with this mythologi- 
cal table* It is represented as supported by the 
head and outspread hands of four females, one from 
each corner of the room. The intermediate spaces, 
or those which are opposite to the two sides, and 
two ends of the room, are occupied with two hu- 
man figures with hawks' heads, they are turned 
face to face and half kneeling, and with their 
arms and hands spread out above their heads, sup- 
port the tablet, so that there are twelve persona 
supporting this mythological table* 

The first line round the circumference consists 
of thirty-nine figures, all arranged in regular order, 
pnd all of them apparently at rest. All of them 
are looking the same way; and it is impossible to 
tell where they begin or end. All of them are 
accompanied with sfipr* and the greater part of 


them with hieroglyphics. Sixteen persons have 
human heads, thirteen have hawks 9 heads, and one 
has no . head at all ; but a pair of horns spreading 
over his shoulders, he is' seated, with four rams' 
heads joined like a Janus quadrifrons, crowned 
with the moon, and resting on a pedestal before 
him. There is a ram and a goose, one snake 
crowned with the mitre, and coiled up, rests upon 
one altar ; and four other snakes, crowned with the 
globe, rest upon another altar. There is one hip- 
popotamus, accompanied with fourteen stars, and 
preceded by a person on his knees. There is ho 
appearance of devotion in any of the figures, and 
none of them have any sceptres in their hands. 
.There are thirty-nine different figures in the whole 
of this outer line. The figures that occupy the 
centre of the piece are nearly the same with those 
in the compartment of the ceiling below, that 'has 
been called the zodiac. Here, as in the outer 
row, the figures are generally directing their looks 
and movements from left to right. ' The lion/ the 
bull, and the vase-carrier are exactly above , three 
of the female figures that extend from three of the 
corners of the room to support the tablet. ' Scorpio, 
for the siake of regularity, should have been above 
the head of the fourth female figure, but he is not; 
neither is libra. Capricornus, Sagittarius, scorpio, 
and libra, are all crowded; without any regularity, 
into one division > and this poor female is deserted, 


so that nothing but a blank white space passes 
from her head through the whole tablet, which phi- 
losophers might have done worse than call the 
milky way* The lady with the ear of bearded 
grain in her hand still follows the lion ; but still 
nearer to him is another female engaged in the 
amusing occupation of tickling him behind. The 
king of the beasts is still in his serpent-headed 
frame, or boat, which here a bird occupies along 
with him ; and the little man with the scourge is 
seated on a throne above him. Here we have nei- 
ther crab nor beetle ; but a broad-backed spider 
spreads out his feet above the lion's head, and 
crawls in an opposite direction. This retrograde 
movement would suit the representative of the 
crab. The other figures in this tablet form a most 
heterogeneous mixture for a zodiac. Immediately 
below the lion we have a female archer with her 
bow bent, firing at a cow in a boat. A little be- 
hind her we have a female seated upon a stool, and 
dandling a child on her hand. Behind her comes 
a man with a cow's head, carrying a hoe, and after 
him a dog lying with his fore feet in water, and 
grinning back at a dancing cat, with a human head 
behind him. The balance is rather out of its place, 
and Horus, instead of being seated between the 
scales, as in the one below, is here inclosed in a 
circle, and seated exactly above the centre of mo- 
tion ; and a fox stands demurely on the top of the 

VOL. i. p 


circle, by which he is inclosed. The space above 
the centre of the balance is in other cases generally 
occupied by a monkey, not by Horus. The cen- 
taur has lost his own tail, but still retains that of 
the scorpion, and ha9 his fore feet in a boat. Be- 
tween the tail of the ram, and the back of the fish, 
is the eye (of Osiris) inclosed in a circle ; and im- 
mediately over the vases of aquarius, there is the 
headless body of a quadruped, apparently a camelo- 
pard. In the centre of the whole tablet is a small 
fox, standing on a hoe. Behind him is a hideous 
animal, the most horrible abortion that fancy ever 
coined j a cynocephalus, standing upon her hind 
feet, with a dagger in her hand, and a long tail 
hanging from her head to her heels. This animal 
has been called the original of the great bear, and 
well she may bear the name : the fox has been 
called the original of the little bear; and for the 
same reason, the handle of the hoe may be called 
the original of the pole ; and the cloven foot that 
lies on the other side, may be called the original 
intention of philosophers in declaring this a zodiac 
that was constructed 4000 years before the French 
invasion of Egypt. The hawk is here perched 
upon the funnel, which I think those who see will 
not call a sceptre. Horus, who, in the ceiling 
below, was inclosed in a circle, and seated on a 
throne, with his finger at his mouth, between the 
scales of the balance, is here seated in the same 


way, with a fox above the inclosing circle. It is 
surely unnecessary to pursue the analysis of this 
table any further. The only animal that it con- 
tains different from the one below, is the dog, 
which, we are informed, was worshipped in Egypt 
on account of his attention to Isis, in her search 
for Osiris, and had the honor of walking first in 
the festivals held in honor of that goddess ; and 
because, when the rise of the dog-star coincided 
with the rise of the Nile, it announced a year of 
great abundance for the Egyptians. The whole 
of the ceiling, like the one below, 91 my opinion, 
is composed of a collection of mythological beings, 
without any reference to the zodiac whatever. 
The walls of the chamber are equally ornamented 
with hieroglyphics and mythological devices. A 
hole in the floor leads into an apartment below, in 
which a member of the French commission found 
the body of a dead man, that had been but lately 
assassinated. Egypt now enjoys brighter days; 
murder is hardly known. If the philosopher's de- 
finition of beauty, " variously uniform," is to be 
admitted, the chambers that we have passed through 
are beautiful in the extreme. Each figure differs 
from another in style, costume, or accompaniments ; 
yet a certain uniformity reigns throughout the 
whole, showing the taste and power of the artist, 
and the deformity of the religion that gave it birth. 
The whole of the apartments must have been lighted 



artificially, which, along with the swarms of bate 
with which they are now infested, is undoubtedly 
the reason why the interior of the temple is so dark 
and fuliginous, compared with the unsullied fresh- 
ness that prevails on the exterior of the walls. 

Having examined the interior of the building, we 
descended over the walls, which the immense accu- 
mulation of rubbish around their base enabled us 
to do without any difficulty, and proceeded to take a 
view of the exterior. The sculpture here is equally 
elegant and interesting as within; the hierogly- 
phics are equally well cut, the drapery equally 
rich and profuse ; the figures, however, are on a 
larger scale, many of them perfectly unclothed, and 
of a description that ought not to be named. Isis 
here is attired in her most gorgeous apparel, with 
a tippet of the richest and most curious workman- 
ship, which I am quite unequal to describe in 
words. She is generally accompanied by two at- 
tendants, one with a human and the 6ther with a 
hawk's head, and both of them with the sceptre of 
Osiris in their hands. She is frequently represented 
with the head of a lion, and the sceptre of Osiris in 
her hand, receiving offerings and adoration. At 
other timed she is represented as affectionately 
nursing Horus, who himself in other compart- 
ments, is exhibited as receiving offerings in the tame 
manner. Among the offerers to Horus we ob- 
served that monstrous misshapen figure, which I 


am at a loss to name, but which authors have dig- 
nified with the appellation of the wife of Typhon, 
the evil genius. She is assuredly the ugliest and 
most indescribable mass that nature ever annual- 
ized, or that human invention ever put together in 
all the varied legends of monsters or anomalies. 
Her appearance is that of a quadruped on end, 
with a dog's head, human arms and hands, in which 
she generally holds a small staff to support herself; 
she has a protuberant ahdomen, and stands with 
difficulty on her hind feet, which seem to be those 
of a goat ; she has a long tail that hangs down to 
her heels, from what appears to be a mask that 
covers her head. She is present on every temple, 
*nd generally in every assembly of the gods. She 
generally acts an inferior character ; but sometimes 
she appears as a principal divinity, and is presented 
with offerings accordingly. There is no opinion so 
absurd, but will find, and has found, abettors in 
philosophy; and there is no object, however mon- 
strous, but has been made the object of adoration 
by a crafty and designing priesthood. When man- 
kind once ^llow themselves to deviate from the wor- 
ship of the pure and spiritual Being, the high and 
lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, and endeavour 
to bound by lines Him who knows no limits of time 
or space, and to represent, by sensible signs, Him 
who is invisible, and who, if he. could be seen by the 
human, eye, or comprehended by the human mind, 


would neither be infinite nor eternal, and conse* 
quently not God, no human calculation can pre* 
scribe the bounds of their extravagance and folly. 
The temple at Dendera is by far the finest in 
Egypt ; the devices have more soul in them ; and 
the execution is of the choicest description. The 
tablets supposed to indicate the name of the person 
whose story is told in the hieroglyphics, consist of 
many characters ; among which is the lion coach- 
ant, which, I believe, has not hitherto been found 
to belong to any of the rulers of Egypt except the 
Ptolemies. They are inclosed by a circular line 
tied to a cross-bar at the lower end ; and the top 
of the one with the lion is surmounted by the globe, 
inclosed between two feathers, and that of the other 
by the cap usually worn by Horus. As often as 
the same individual occurs, the same tablets of 
hieroglyphics always occur along with him, like bis 
insignia, or coat of arms. They generally occur in 
pairs, with the goose and egg over her back be- 
tween them, supposed to intimate "the son of "; 

so that the one tablet contains the name of the 
honored individual, and the other that of his father. 
The objects of worship are never accompanied with 
tablets of hieroglyphics ; there was no such neces- 
sity for tracing their generation j for the priests 
denied that they ever deified or worshipped heroes, 
and that there was any instance or possibility o£ a 
human being's descent from a god. This was the 


doctrine that they held in the days of Herodotus ; 
but after-ages have affirmed that they were a lying 
priesthood, preaching conveniency instead of truth. 
The numerous tablets of hieroglyphics that occur 
in different parts of the temple, probably contain 
a narration of the principal events in the life of the 
individual, and the grateful feelings of the votary 
towards the object of his adoration, with the pre- 
vailing dogmas of the priests who directed the 
ceremonies of the temple. These conjectures are 
confirmed into probability, from the circumstances 
of the tablet containing the name of the principal 
person being often repeated in the hieroglyphics 
with which he is surrounded, and the names of the 
deities, as far as they are known, being likewise 
frequently repeated in the long discourses that are 
addressed to them by their worshippers ; and like- 
wise from this being the purport of the principal 
Greek and Latin inscriptions that are still found 
in the temples. The hieroglyphic is the only un- 
known alphabet that a person entirely ignorant of 
the subject it is employed to unfold, can contem- 
plate with pleasure and advantage ; for its elemen- 
tary parts consist of such an assemblage of objects, 
both animate find inanimate, of familiar occurrence, 
grouped together in such a way, either in whole or 
in part, that it is almost as impossible to refrain 
from casting the eye over a page of hieroglyphics, 
as it is from perusing an inscription in any known 


language ; and it is impossible not to attach some 
meaning to many of the various groups that, in 
this pictorial language, address themselves to the 
eye. So the mind of the spectator is entertained 
with the writing, although the real meaning of it 
is unknown. After walking round this celebrated 
temple, and considering its peculiar beauty and 
ornament, a person is astonished to find that there 
is no. exact transcript or model of it in England* 
And after he has been at the trouble and expense 
of going to Egypt to find this instructive and 
venerable relic so buried in sand and rubbish, that 
not above one half of it can be seen* France has 
done much to make the world acquainted with 
Egyptian antiquities ; and had the agents she em- 
ployed performed their work with fidelity, she 
would have been entitled to our warmest grati- 
tude; but the rubbish was never cleared away from 
the walls, or from the interior of the temple ; and 
being unable to give the whole of any one build* 
ing, they gave it in patches, and those so incor- 
rectly, that no person in examining them, can be 
sure whether he is studying the composition of the 
ancient Egyptians, or of the modern French; so 
that no part of their work can serve as an unsus- 
pected guide to the student of Egyptian antiqui- 
ties. Fragments can never be satisfactory. In 
order to know, and to judge with impartiality, the 
whole must be faithfully subjected to the eye of 


the examinator. Mr. Belzoni has done this in the 
most complete and effectual manner, with a more 
ancient piece of Egyptian antiquity than the temple 
of Dendera. But only part of what he has brought 
to England is exhibited to the world. They ad- 
mire, and deservedly admire, the little that they 
seej but if the whole were exhibited, and they 
found themselves not' looking into a model, or 
walking through two small apartments, but com- 
pletely inclosed in an Egyptian tomb above, below, 
and on every side, and passed through a series of 
chambers and corridors to the extent of 309 feet, 
all fresh and adorned like what, or more brilliantly 
than what, they now behold ; instead of one short 
hour being deemed sufficient, days and weeks would 
not satisfy the most incurious with beholding. An 
accurate plan, casts and drawings of the sculpture, 
hieroglyphics and ornaments on the walls of the 
temple of Dendera, done in the same manner as 
Mr. Belzoni has done that of the elegant tomb 
which he discovered in the valley of Biban el Me- 
louk, would be a rich and invaluable present to the 
arts in Europe. It may be easily obtained now, 
because the building is extremely perfect, and has 
only to be cleared of the rubbish by which it is en- 
cumbered. But a few years hence the object may 
be impracticable, and Dendera, like Karnac, may 
be trodden under foot, and looked at in scattered 
fragments, sharing the fate of the miserable village 


of which it is the pride, and only valuable relic* 
In England, where so many have the means, it is 
astonishing, I would almost say disgraceful, that 
none should have the inclination. 

There is a small temple, or chapel, not far from 
the north end of the magnificent edifice that we 
have just been describing, that seems also to have 
been devoted to the worship of Isis and Osiris, 
with the human body and hawk's head. The walls 
and ceiling are profusely ornamented with repre- 
sentations of these deities receiving homage and 
offerings from their respective votaries. The same 
long figure which we mentioned as framing the 
ceiling on the pronaos, is here represented on the 
ceiling, as breathing her sacred inspiration over the 
head of Osiris ; a practice of which there is a relic 
in Egypt at this very day. The holy dervis hav- 
ing called upon the name of God in deep and hol- 
low tones, before making a fresh inspiration, by 
which to recontaminate his lungs, breathes upon 
the face of the person on whom he would confer 
his blessing, believing that the breath which comes 
from the lungs, immediately after pronouncing the 
name of God, is fraught with the most gracious 
and salutary efficacy to him who receives it* 

One small temple still remains to be mentioned $ 
it is on the right of the propylon by which we 
entered to the temple, and would have formed part 
of that side of the dromos, if such an enclosure had 

fever been completed ; it is called by ^Strabo the 
typhoniuirt, or connected with Typhon. It is so 
completely gorged with sand, that we could not 
fully examine it. The head of this typhon, a 
horrible looking dwarf, forms the capitals of the 
columns, and we may judge that this was not done 
out of disrespect, from the head of the goddess to 
whom it was dedicated forming the capitals of the 
columns of the large temple. Besides forming the 
capitals of the columns, the figure of this god, in 
all its length, is frequently sculptured on the walls. 
He is of a broad, short, squat make, having a 
wrinkled face contracted with a horrid death-like 
grin, and blighted beard, looking like a man in an 
infernal mask, as if the soul were blown out of him, 
more fitly representing envy withering at another's 
joy, than any contrivance of human ingenuity I 
ever saw. Before him stands the only person fit to 
be his wife, the hideous cynocephalus, or quadruped 
on end, above described as the intended original of 
the great bear. Between them, sits the puling 
Horus or Harpocrates, seated on a full blown 
lotus, with his fingers on his mouth, emblematic 
of silence. This group is repeated in several parts 
of the temple, but in no place did I see this Typhon, 
or his companion, offering violence to Horus, or 
themselves receiving offerings as objects of wor- 
ship j on the contrary, they seemed to guard and 
cherish him, and he seemed as happ^ in their 


society as any where else. On the walls of an inner 
apartment, Harpocrates is seated on a lion-shaped 
pouch, which is supported by four lions and twelve 
of these cynocephali, or erect quadrupeds. He is 
nursed by Isis leo, and Isis vacca ; on each side 
are numerous representations of women with chil- 
dren in their arms and on their knees, and Isis 
with Horus at her breast. There is a niche at the 
end of the room which has been garnished with a 
statue, but which is now so much battered down, 
that we found it impossible to refer it to any 
original. He would render a great service to the 
student of Egyptian antiquities, who would be at 
the expense and trouble of clearing away the rub- 
bish from this temple, and taking accurate draw- 
ings or casts of the whole, so that it could be seen 
in England exactly as it is in Egypt. Wars and 
revolutions might then do their worst ; the records 
of ancient times would not perish with the uncer- 
tain existence of this beautiful temple. 

I 221 ] 



Egypt has been called the granary of the world, 
and if we look at the Pantheon we shall find that 
it has been nearly as fertile in gods as in grain. 
Every little district, nay, almost every little town, 
had its temple or temples, the walls of which were 
covered, within and without, with representations 
of their gods and goddesses. Every element of 
nature was laid under contribution ; spirit, fire, 
water, earth, and air, were all converted into gods ; 
and every living thing, about which a cunning priest 
could invent a story that would gain him a shilling, 
was dubbed a god, elevated to the Pantheon, and 
maintained while alive at an enormous expense, 
and buried with suitable pomp and splendor after 
its death. Men and women, bulls and cows, rams 
and goats, dogs and cats, snakes and frogs, hawks 
<and other birds, fish and beetles, all were war- 
shipped either universally or in their respective 
districts. So degraded, in fine, were their notions 
•of the Supreme Being, and so absurd their legends 
'Concerning him, that Eschylus declared if the 
Egyptians believed such things of the blessed and 
incorruptible nature of the Deity, they ought to 
spit and wash their mouths after mentioning their 


names by which they had been defiled. It is not 
my intention to dwell long on the black and in- 
famous catalogue of Egyptian abominations. At 
what time they began to form it, it is impossible 
to ascertain. Ham, the second son of Noah, is 
generally allowed to have been the father of the 
Egyptians, who originally named Egypt, which is 
one of the blackest soils in the world, as they do 
the black part of the eye, chemia, a name which 
appears to have an affinity with that of their great 
ancestor : and in the sacred Scriptures, Egypt is 
indiscriminately called the land of Ham, or the land 
of Mizraim, after the name of his son ; or the land 
of Pathros, or the land of Caphtor, after the names 
of two of his grandsons Pathrusim and Caphtorim. 
Any of these, the early progenitors of their nation, 
might also have been the first god of their idolatry, 
which when once commenced, spreads like an in- 
curable gangrene, infecting and destroying every 
thing with which it comes into contact. If the 
spring be poisoned, those that drink of it must die. 
The first mention of the idolatry of the Egyptians 
occurs in the books of Moses: Potipherah, the 
father-in-law of the patriarch Joseph, was priest of 
On, a city in which they worshipped the sun under 
the image of a black boll called Mnevis. Hence, 
when " Pharaoh called for Moses, and for Aaron, 
" and said, go ye, sacrifice to your God in the 
" land :" Moses said, " it is not meet so to do ; for 


w we shall sacrifice the abomination (bull) of the 
c< Egyptians to the Lord our God : lo shall we sacri- 
w fice the abomination of the Egyptians before their 
" eyes, and will they not stone us?" 

The first account that we have of the deities of 
the Egyptians, is from Herodotus, who did not 
flourish till more than 1000 years after the death 
of Moses ; and we learn from him, that in his time 
the Egyptians sacrificed bulls without blemish to 
their goddess Isis : and in that curious and valu- 
able relic of antiquity, the tomb which Mr. Belzoni 
discovered in Egypt, artd which is now exhibiting 
in London, we see a spotted bull, like Apis, tied 
and slaughtered, and some of his legs cut off, and 
the sacrificer is busily employed in taking off the 
others. Thus the gods that were worshipped in 
one time and place, were sacrificed in another ; and 
a learned author shrewdly remarks, that the gods 
of the ancienter times turned to be the devils of 
the latter. 

Herodotus states that the Egyptians had eight 
original gods ; and Jacob Bryant supposes that this 
number has an allusion to the eight persons who 
were saved in the Ark. Noah and his wife, and his 
three sons and their wives ; which is not likely to 
be true, as we should have had four gods and four 
goddesses ; which is not the case. The' venerable 
historian does not regularly enumerate the names 
of the eight deities whom he supposes to have 


taken precedency of the others ; he says Pan was 
one of the eight, and perhaps the oldest ; Hercules 
was one of the twelve gods whom the eight pro- 
duced ; and Bacchus was of the third rank among 
those whom the twelve produced ; and that they 
esteemed Bacchus and Ceres the great deities 
in the realms below. Further, that excepting the 
names of Neptune, the Dioscuri, Juno, Vesta, the 
Graces, and the Nereids, which are confessedly 
Greek or Pelasgian, the names of all the other gods 
are of Egyptian origin. 

Six grand festivals wel€ held in Egypt in honor 
of the gods ; the first in respect of dignity, was 
the festival of Diana, at Bubastis ; the second was 
that of Isis, in Greek Demeter, or Ceres, at Busiris, 
in the Delta; the third at Sais, in honor of Mi- 


nerva, when all Egypt was illuminated ; the fourth 
at Heliopolis, sacred to the sun ; the fifth at Butoe, 
in honor of Latona ; the sixth at Papremis, in honor 
of Mars. There were seven grand oracles, namely, 
that of Hercules, Apollo, Minerva, Diana, Mars, 
and Jupiter; but the most esteemed was that of 
Latona, at Butos, Thus, in the time of Herodotus, 
which was about 120 years after the Persian con- 
quest, the grand theatre of Egyptian devotion, ap- 
pears to have been in the Delta, and the greater 
part of his remarks refers to their worship as it was 
performed at the different stations therein men- 
tioned, and which, though a hundred years before 


Alexander's conquest, Seems to have been nearly 
as much Greek as Egyptian. He mentions Mem* 
phis, and the worship of Apis, and the temple of 
Vulcan ; but aays very little of their ceremonies, 
and does not mention the Egyptian name of Vul- 
can, and hardly any of the ceremonies that were 
held in honor of him- Of Thebes he scarcely says 
any thing ; so that all the temples and places of 
Egyptian worship* which Herodotus particularly 
notices, are now entirely destroyed The I>ekaof 
late years is seldom visited by travellers, yet k an- 
ciently contained mueh of the grandeur of Egypt, 
and, according to the tradition of the looians* is 
the ftnly part that is, strictly speaking; entitled to 
he culled Egypt, which is ,toerqglyphica% r«epre* 
sented by the figure <of a heart* no inapt similitude 
of the Delta. The rest of what is usually potted 
Egypt, belonged to Lybia, or Arabia. In the Delta 
the greatest number of their kings (resided $ here 
they were buried ; here were their most celebrated 
institutions, and here their most celebrated oracles 
were delivered, and here their most splendid festi- 
vals were held in honor pf the gods. The princi- 
pal places mentioned in our sacred writings, Zoan, 
Noph, and Tapha/nes, are ail referable *o die Delta, 
and, as well as the places that are mentioned above 
by Herodotus, have been but htt^e noticed by 
modern travellers. Probably little of them remains ; 
but a skilful examination of thc&r situation would 

VOL. i. Q 



let us know, at least, all that is ; and would assist 
us extremely in understanding many passages in 
ancient writers, and many accounts of their my- 
thology, which being copied from ancient writers, 
who described places of worship now not in exist- 
ence, are totally inapplicable to those which we at 
present find in the country ; and which if mentioned 
by them at all, are only noticed as places of in- 
ferior consideration. Herodotus mentions parti- 
cularly Bubastis, Buto, Sais, Papremis, Busiris, 
Heliopolis, and Memphis, which are all in or near 
to the Delta, and of which we, literally speaking, 
know nothing, nor even are we accurately informed 
that nothing is to be known of them. We have 
Dendera, Thebes, Coptos, Ombos, Elephantina, 
and Philce, which he scarcely mentions, so that no- 
thing is less satisfactory, than a comparison of the 
list of the gods and goddesses that we read in 
Herodotus, and those that we see exhibited in the 
temples that now remain for our inspection. 
; The next oldest account to that of Herodotus 
which. I intend noticing, is from Diodorus Sicuhis. 
He lived at a much later period, and as he informs 
us himself travelled in Egypt in the 180th Olympiad, 
which is about sixty years before Christ. Accord- 
ingly his account corresponds better with what we 
see on the temples at present, than does the rela- 
tion of Herodotus. He says that there were 
originally two gods, the sun and the moon, and 


those two were eternal ; spirit, fire, water, earth, 
kind air, were also deified, and these were all their 
celestial gods. The other gods were begotten of 
these, and were all mortal ; but obtained immor- 
tality from the greatness and the beneficence of 
their actions, and in the end, appear to have ex- 
pelled all the elementary gods from the pantheon. 
This agrees with the account of Manetho the 
Mendestan, who says that all the gods of the 
' Egyptians were mere mortal beings, and had once 
lived upon earth ; and also with the account of Plu- 
tarch who, under the names of Isis and Osiris who 
from being king and queen of the country, became 
the great god and goddess of the Egyptians, and 
were worshipped under different forms, takes an 
opportunity of giving an account of the whole of 
their fabulous pantheon. 

Several modern authors have treated at large of 
the gods of the Egyptians, among whom I beg 
leave to mention Jablonski, who in his Pantheon 
wEgyptiorum, enumerates thirty-one gods* and ex- 
patiates at great length upon their names and at- 
tributes* The author of the article Egypt, in the 
fourth volume of the supplement to the Encyclo- 
pedia BriUnnica, enumerates forty-one gods ; some 
of whom were not worshipped as gods, and he has 
omitted others that were, without assigning any 
reason for so doing ; for example, he mentions Ma- 
cedo and Thueris, the one a captain of Osiris, and the 

Q 2 


other a strumpet of Typhon; but he takes no notice 
of the wolf, the crocodile, the eye, the ape, or of 
many other inferior animals who were better entitled 
to a place in the pantheon than they. There is a 
short and very distinct account of the gods of the 
ancient Egyptians, in the introduction to the octavo 
edition of Brace's Travels, edited by the late Re- 
verend Doctor Murray, of Edinburgh, He enu- 
merates twelve principal gods, and a number of 
inferior ones, and appears to have taken the idea of 
such an enumeration from Herodotus: and had I 
been disposed to have adopted any, I should cer- 
tainly have taken this as the most satisfactory ar- 
rangement that I have yet seen ; but many of the 
deities enumerated there, are not to be found in 
any of the temples or tombs that fell under my ex- 
amination, and on that account I take the liberty of 
submitting to the reader, such an enumeration of 
the deities of Egypt as I collected from observa- 
tion, together with some of the notices that ancient 
authors have preserved concerning tbeifti. 

The sun appears to have been the first grand ob- 
ject of the idolatry of the ancient Egyptians 5 and 
its emblem, the globe, surmounted with serpents 
and wings, is by far the most splendid exhibition 
on any of their temples ; it generally occupies the 
cetitre space immediately above the doors, on the 
gateways, the entrance of the temple, the centre 
space along the ceilings in the pronaos, and the 




same over the top of the different doors in the in* 
terior of the temple. It occurs sometimes, though 
very rarely, among the hieroglyphics; sometimes 
it is represented as pouring down rays of light, and 
individuals standing on each side of it, holding up 
their hands as in adoration ; but it is never pre- 
sented with offerings, and the place that it occupies 
in the interior of the temples, is so inconsiderable, 
that under this form the sun cannot be regarded as 
an object of worship in any of the temples or tombs 
in Egypt. As an object of adoration, it appears 
to have been differently named, at different times 
Rhre, Phre, On, Osiris -, with many modifications, 
as Amun, Djom, Horus, Harpocrates, Serapis, &c. 

Latterly Osiris became the principal male divi- 
nity above all the rest, who were, comparatively 
speaking, but his servants or attendants. His name, 
according to Plutarch, is a compound of two 
Egyptian words, Os, which signifies many, and Iris, 
which signifies eye ; he is then a many-eyed deity, 
supposed to allude to the multitude of twinkling 
stars that gem the firmament of heaven. Accord- 
ing to others, it is a compound of ja, jove, or lord, 
and sihr, black; and Homer's epithet of black 
clouded Jove, is supposed to be merely a transla- 
tion of his name ; others interpret it to mean active 
or energetic ; others the maker or divider of time. 
He was begotten in adultery ; his father was Saturn 
or Cronos, and his mother Rhea the wife of the sun. 



He was born on the first intercalary day, and a voice 
accompanied him into the world, proclaiming that 
the lord of all things is now born. His images are 
dressed in the splendor of light, a white flame- 
colored robe, without shade or variety of color, in- 
timating the pure and bloodless nature of the deity ; 
his face is black like the river of Egypt, or blue 
like the azure sky in which he shines. His name is 
sometimes written Hysiris, which means the wetter; 
he is the president of humid nature ; all moisture 
and fertility proceed from him ; the Nile is the 
effluence of Osiris, and a pitcher of water is always 
borne first in the processions in honor of him. Hia 
soul resides in the sun, which originally sprung from 
moisture itself, and feeds upon it still ; water is the 
first principle of all things, and Ocean us and Osiris, 
are the same, and, like Isis, may be said to have 
come from themselves. Hence in the Egyptian 

mythology, the sun does not ride round the world 


1 n a chariot drawn by winged steeds, reined and 
driven by Apollo, as is fabled by the Greeks and 
Romans, but sails perpetually round it in boats. 
In the processions the gods are always represented 
standing in boats drawn by ropes, or carried on men's 
shoulders, and the image is always enclosed in a 
frame or dividing line, which is frequently encircled 
by a serpent, intimating that a vast line of partition 
divides the habitation of the gods from that of men, 
They are in the other world, and are eternal. Whea 



Osiris comes to converse with men, he is then a 
polymorphous deity, appearing in any shape that 
he judges best calculated to answer his purpose* 
His highest character seems to be in the form of a 
man, habited in the costume of the country, with 
a magnificent cap. resembling a mitre, encompassed 
with serpents on his head ; he is represented as 
sitting on a throne, with a sceptre in his right hand, 
and the emblem which we have called the sacred 
Tau, in his left. The sceptre resembles . a small 
' walking-staff. It is cleft at the lower end as if to 
span and embrace the world, and the head of it is 
like the head of the hupoe, and is furnished with 
an eye, indicating the provident and all-pervading 
eye of the deity that wears it. The fig-leaf is sacred 
to. Osiris, and represents the watering and spiriting 
of the universe, and its crucial form is probably the 
original of the handled Tau, which he carries in 
his left hand, and which has not injudiciously been 
interpreted the symbol of life. The leaf of the ivy 
is of a similar description, and is also sacred to 
Osiris. In this attitude he is frequently presented 
with offerings, and sometimes Isis, and sometimes 
another female is standing behind him. He is fre- 
quently represented by a hawk, because this bird, 
we are told, exceeds all others in quickness of sight, 
and velocity of flight ; he was worshipped at Helio- 
polis under the form of a bull, which was jet black, 
.and called Mnevis, and at Memphis under that of 


a spotted bull, called Apis. Mnevis is die most 
genuine representative of the sun, his color is the 
same with the countenance of Osiris, and he is sup- 
posed by man j to have been the sire of Apis j but 
that is a mistake, for this latter bull was conceived 
by a prolific light from the moon, striking an Im- 
maculate cow, who, after she had given him birth, 
was locked up and fed, and watched by her priests, 
and never allowed to have any communication with 
her species : so that this cow* though she had been 
a mother, might really be considered as always a 
heifer* On account of his descent from the moon, 
Apis was marked with white spots, many of which 
were of a crescentic form, resembling the different 
phases of that luminary, and moreover it is mixed 
with light and shady colors : be is therefore a sort 
of amalgamation or representative of both. The 
moon, in the language of Egypt, is of common gen- 
den The representations of these bulls, however, 
are very seldom met with on the present temples 
in Egypt, and even when they do occur, they are 
not exhibited as the principal objects of worship. 
The fields of their fame were Heliopolis and Mem- 
phis, of which scarcely a fragment remains, and 
nothing certainly to attest the veneration in which 
they were held. Osiris is also frequently repre- 
sented with a hawk's head and human body, seated 
on a throne, armed with the sceptre and handled 
Tau, attended by Isis or Bute, and presented with 


offerings as above described. Some are of opinion 
that this is a different deity of more limited powers 
calle4 Arueris, which is interpreted to mean watch* 
man, or seer* Apollo, Horus, or Harpocrates ; he 
was born on the second intercalary day, and is the 
brother of Osiris. He is represented with a ram's 
head, and is then called Osiris Ammon, winch lat- 
ter word is interpreted to mean hidden or hiding : 
and when in their hymns in honor of Osiris, the 
Egyptians called upon him that was hidden to 
manifest himself to them they cried Amun. He is 
likewise represented with a wolf's head ; but very 
little is known of him in this character, saving it is 
stated that after his death he came from below in 
the disguise of a wolf, and assisted Iais and Horus 
in defeating Typhon* He is also represented with 
a dog's head, and is then called Anubis, who is said 
to be his son by Nephthy, and represents that 
bounding ray between light and darkness which is 
called the horizon. He is exhibited of a golden 
color, which is typical of the glow of the morning 
and evening sky ; two cocks were sacrificed to him, 
one white, and the other of a saffron odor. Osiris 
is also represented with the heads of other animals, 
attached to the human body : and various animals 
besides the bull have been worshipped as itis re* 
preventatives $ the crocodile, the goat, the weasel, 
the beetle, &c. all of which are still seen an the 
temples and tombs of Egypt. 


The reason of Osiris being worshipped under 
the form of different animals, is thus detailed by 
Diodorus Siculus, in the second chapter of his first 
book : — Isis having found the dead body of Osiris, 
which had been cut into fourteen pieces, and scat- 
tered about by Typhon, was desirous that his se- 
pulchre should remain unknown, and that he should 
be held in honor by the Egyptians. To effectuate 
her purpose, she took a mixture of wax and aro- 
matics, and made it into the form of a man like 
unto him : she then called the priests of Egypt 
together, and gave to each of them an image of 
Osiris, declaring that to them alone she intrusted 
the body of her husband, adjuring them to preserve 
it in the sanctuaries, and worship it as God, and 
not to discover to any that the sepulchre of Osiris 
was among them ; that they might dedicate to him 
any animal they chose, which they should worship 
while alive, and honor with such ceremonies as 
they would the funeral of Osiris when dead. In 
order to secure a ready compliance with her wishes, 
she gave them a grant of the third part of the 
lands to maintain the worship of the gods, and the 
pomp and splendor of the sacred rites. 

Osiris is frequently represented in the dress of a 
mummy, with his face bare, and his chin adorned with 
a long plaited black beard. His hands are crossed 
over his breast, and in the one he holds a crook, or 
sometimes two crooks, in the other a flail, or scourge ; 


at other times his sceptre is enclosed in a graduated 
sheath, and the sacred Tau attached to the top of it. 
The next of the Egyptian deities is Isis. Had 
I followed the example of Plutarch, I ought to 
have mentioned her first. She was the half-sister 
and wife of Osiris, and may truly be said to have 
been the better half; for if it had not been for her 
exertions, it is more than probable that Osiris 
would not have been deified at all ; still, however, 
in all the tombs and temples the highest honor 
seems to be conferred upon Osiris. She was the 
female principle of nature, the universal female 
deity of Egypt. Like her husband, Isis was also 
a spurious offspring, being the daughter of Thoth, 
or Hermes, by Rhea, who was the wife of the sun ; 
she was born on the fourth intercalary day. Her 
name by some authors is said to mean ancient ; by 
Plutarch it is said to be of Greek derivation, and 
to signify knowledge, science, living intelligence, 
or motion. Her temple was called Iseon, as inti- 
mating that we shall know the First Being, if with 
reason and devotion we approach the sacred tem- 
ples of this goddess. Another etymologist says 
that the word Isis signifies nurse, a character in 
which she frequently appears ; she was also called 
the nurse, and the universal recipient, by Plato $ 
and by many the myronymous, or goddess with 
ten thousand names. She was also called by the 
Egyptians Athena, which means in their language, 


I proceed from myself. In abort, whatever di- 
vinityshtp could be attributed to the female prin- 
ciple of nature, was ascribed to Isis by the Egyp- 
tians. Apuleius, in his Metamorphoses, makes her 
describe herself in the following terms : — " I am 
Nature, the mother of all things, mistress of the 
elements, the beginning of time, the sovereign of 
the gods, the queen of the shades, the first of the 
celestial natures, the uniform face of the gods and 
goddesses. It is I who govern the bright sublimity 
of the heavens, the salutary breath of the seas, the 
lugubrious silence of babes. My divinity one, but 
with different forms, is honored with different rites, 
and under different names. The Phrygians call 
me Pessinuntica, mother of the gods ; the Athe- 
nians, Cecropian Minerva ; those of Cyprus, Venus 
of Paphos ; those of Crete, Dictean Diana ; the 
three-tongued Sicilians, Stygian Proserpine; the 
Eleusiniaas, the ancient goddess Ceres; others, 
Juno ; others, Bellona ; some Hecate ; several call 
me Rhamnusia; Muth, or mother; Athyri, or 
Hnrus's mundane house : the oriental Ethiopians, 
those who are skilled in ancient lore, I mean the 
Egyptians, honor me with the ceremonies which 
belong to me, and call me by my true name, 
queen Isis." To which he might have added, 
Latona, Lucina, Luna, Meni, Astarte, or any other 
name that any other good goddess in any other 
country ever received. Some etymologists say that 


Isis is the same name with Isdia, which, in the 
Hebrew, the Greek, and Latin Scriptures, is the 
name given to Eve, the mother of mankind. If 
they mean to leave her any thing human at all, they 
could not well trace her to a higher original. 
Diodorus Siculus mentions, that it is recorded by 
certain authors, that the sepulchres of these deities 
are in Nysa of Arabia, where there is a column 
dedicated to each of them, bearing an inscription 
in the sacred character. The column of Isis has the 
following inscription: — " I am Isis, queen of Egypt, 
the disciple of Hermes, What I have ordained by 
laws, let no one abrogate. I am the wife of Osiris ; 
I am the first discoverer of corn ; I am the mother 
of king Horus ; I am the refulgent being in the 
dog-star. The city Bubastis was built for me. 
Rejoice, rejoice, O Egypt ! which nourished and 
brought me up." 

The column of Osiris has these words : — " My 
father was Saturnus, the youngest of all the gods ; 
and I am Osiris the king, who have traversed the 
whole world, even to the desert confines of the 
Indies ; I have also gone to those who lie under 
the pole, as far as the fountains of Hister; and 
again, I have gone to other parts ef the world, at 
far as the sea, the ocean. I am the elder son of 
Saturn, a shoot sprang from a generous and 
noble stem, to which seed gave no existence. 
Nor is there any place in the world to which 


I have not gone ; teaching all men those things of 
which I have been the discoverer." There was 
much more writing upon the columns ; but it was 
effaced and illegible by the erosions of time : and 
verily, almost all maukind are of one opinion re- 
specting the contents of the sepulchres. 

So that by whatever name Isis was called, she 
was to be regarded as the universal female deity, 
superior to all others* Plutarch says, all mankind 
have her, and are well acquainted with her, and the 
other gods about her, and from the very first both 
knew and honored the powers which belong to 
every one of them, although they had not anciently 
learned to call some of them by their Egyptian 
names. Hence, those attributes which, at earlier 
times, in Egypt or other countries, were predicated 
of other female deities, came in the end after 
this generalization mentioned by Plutarch to be 
predicated of her. The celebrated inscription on the 
temple at Sais, which was originally applied to Neith* 
Athena, or Minerva, became equally applicable 
to Isis, when, through the kindness of her votaries, 
she was invested With all her attributes, as was the 
case in the latter ages of Egyptian idolatry ; " I 
am all that was, and is, and will be j and my veil 
no mortal hath ever removed," The veil or robe 
of Isis, we are informed, was of different colors* 
for her power is about matter which becomes every 
thing, and receives every thing ; as, light, darkness, 


day, night, fire, water, life, death, beginning and 
ending. She is nature, whose face is ever chang- 
ing ; and none but eternal wisdom can draw aside the 
veil that conceals her operations from mortal eyes, 
and see clearly the whole machinery of nature coo* 
stantly in action, and never failing of its end, 
throughout the rolling year, in producing all the 
appearances which her various face assumes in 
heaven above, or earth beneath — a spectacle far 
above the powers of created beings, and compre- 
hensible by none but nature's God, the Creator 
and Lord of all. Thus, from a good and sensible 
queen, as the inscription above quoted states her 
to have been, Isis has been converted into an ideal 
existence, adorned with virtues which she never 
knew, and which the mind is shocked at seeing 
ascribed to a frail mortal that has long since paid 
the debt to nature, and been reduced to her prim- 
eval dust. 

Isis, however, in Egyptian mythology, is the 
whole of the visible world. Her soul resides in 
Sothis, the dog-star, indicative of her prolific na- 
ture. She is the ruler of the night, and her head 
is crowned with the moon, encircled with spreading 
horns. She is also the ruler of the waters : the 
overflowing of the Nile is the embrace of Osiris. 
She is cold and moist, warm and dry, and every 
thing necessary for germination. That Mercury 
played at dice with the moon before Isis was born, 


would only show that there was a deity of the 
moon before her, as there was a god of the sun be- 
fore Osiris. In the moon she is married with 
Osiris, which is hence called the mother of the 
world. She holds a rouncUteaded staff, or lotus* 
headed sceptre, in her right hand, and the handled 
Tau, or cross, in her left ; the sceptre is not cleft 
at the lower end, like that of Osiris. Sometimes 
she is represented with a handsome cow's head and 
a human body, in which case she is generally con- 
founded with Io, whose metamorphosis is beauti* 
fully told by Ovid j but her most general appear- 
ance is that of a human body, with a human head 
surmounted with the moon and horns, as above 
described. • Occasionally she is represented with 
an amulet hung loosely round her neck, and felling 
down, like a large ripe cucumber bent into a circle, 
ttpon her breast. The amulet is inteipreted to mean 
a true voice, and she is said to have hung it round 
her neck when she found herself with child of 
Horus, who by some is called the god of hus- 
bandry ; and it is painted green and yellow, indi- 
cative of the different colors of die growing and 
ripened grain. Her body is said to represent the 
earth, and is clothed in a close-fitting party-colored 
robe, representing the varied lines with which its 
surface is enamelled. She is frequently attended 
by another female, supposed by some authors to 
be Bubo, or Latona, who was the nurse of her son, 


or Nephthe, the female principle of evil ; but this 
last I do not think probable, for reasons that shall 
be afterwards mentioned. Her usual attendants 
are Osiris and Horus. Sometimes she is seated on 
a throne, with Osiris seated or standing behind her, 
and Horus, priests or votaries presenting her with 
offerings j at other times she is standing, attended 
and honored in the same manner. She is usually 
sculptured of the same size with Osiris, and I think 
is more frequently represented wearing his sceptre 
than her own. I never saw Osiris with the lotus- 
headed sceptre. Other females are frequently seen 
with her sceptre in their hands, as other men are 
with that of Osiris in their's. The cow is sacred 
to her as the bull was to Osiris ; but her repre- 
sentation under the form of a cow rarely occurs. 
Those that object to Isis being the same with Io, 
and wearing the horns and head of a cow, on ac- 
count of her ancient metamorphosis, assign the 
following reason for her being exhibited under that 
disguise : — Horus, having vanquished Typhon in 
battle, and taken him prisoner, gave him in charge 
to Isis ; but she, good lady, having formerly ad- 
mitted the embraces of the god, felt compassion 
for his sufferings, and allowed him to escape, which 
as soon as Horus came to know, he flew at his 
mother in a rage, and pulled the crown off her 
head j but Hermes immediately clapped on, in its 
stead, a helmet made in the shape of a cow's head. 

VOL. I. R 


It is of no consequence which of the accounts are 
received ; the truth can never be known among so 
much fable ; and fiction knows no rules of chro- 
nology, or even probability. 

It is stated, both by iElian and Plutarch, that the 
dog walks first in the processions, in honor of Isis ; 
but I have never seen this exhibited on any part 
of the tombs or temples. I have frequently seen 
the sistrum sculptured on the temples j but she is 
seldom represented with it in her hand. This sis- 
trum was carried in the processions. It has three 
cross metallic bars, which are loose, and form a 
kind of rattle, that, like a scarecrow, the priests 
constantly shook, in order that they might frighten 
away Typhon by the noise. On the upper part of 
the convex surface of the sistrum, above the move* 
able bars, is engraved the image of a cat with a 
human face ; below the moveable bars, on the one 
side, is engraved the face of Isis, and on the other 
that of Nephthe. The cat-sphinx is emblematic 
of the moon, on account of the various colors of 
her body, her nocturnation, and great fecundity. 
She is designed with a human countenance, to de- 
note that the changes of the moon are regulated by 
understanding and wisdom. The face of Isis de- 
notes the fertility of the animal and vegetable 
world j that of Nephthe, on the opposite side, re- 
presents the destruction and decomposition of both, 
when the powers of nutrition and growth have 


ceased. Both are occasioned by motion among 
their component parts. 

Isis is sometimes robed in black ; which, by some 
authors, is said to denote the eclipses of the moon. 
Others give the following account of it : — When 
she was informed of the death of her husband 
Osiris, she cut off her hair, and put on mourning; 
and thus went in quest of his body. The town in 
which she heard of this disaster was called Koptos, 
which, according to some, denotes mourning ; ac- 
cording to others, privation or bereavement. Hence 
the priests of Isis were said to shave their heads 
in token of mourning, and to wear linen garments, 
because it is furnished them by Isis ; flax springs up 
from an immortal being — the earth, yields an escu- 
lent fruit, and sendeth forth an azure flower, re- 
sembling the cerulean hue of heaven, which envi- 
rons the world. 

As Venus, Isis was worshipped at Atarbechis 
under the name of Athor, or Athyr, supposed to 
be indicative of darkness, or chaos ; at Bubastis, 
a* Diana ; at Butos, as Buto, or Latona. But whe- 
ther she was represented under any different form 
or dress in any of these different characters, than 
that which I have mentioned above, I have not 
been able to discover. 

Osiris and Isis, after all their labors and suffer- 
ings, as human beings, were, on account of their 
great and signal virtues, translated from the order 



of agathodemons, or good genii, to that of godg, 
as were Hercules and Bacchus, for an encourage- 
ment to others to follow their example. And con- 
cerning their godhead, Plutarch adds, that if we 
honor and reverence all that is orderly, good, and 
beneficial in nature, and consider them as the ope- 
rations of Isis, and as the image, likeness, and pro- 
duct of Osiris, we shall not err. 

Horus is another of the Egyptian deities, sup- 
posed by some to be the god of husbandry ; and the 
same with Dagon. He was the son of Osiris and 
Isis, and was nursed by Latona, or Buto, in the 
marshes at Butos, where a continual verdure clothed 
the soil, while it died in other parts for lack of 
moisture in the winter season. Horus is the sweet 
season, the darling of the year, the legitimate off- 
spring of Osiris, who is the Nile, and Isis, whose 
body is the earth ; he came into the world after the 
inundation ; and when Isis found herself with child 
of him, she hung an amulet round her neck, as 
^bove described. He conquered Typhon, and 
reigned king in Egypt, the last of the immortals. 
His countenance was white, and his soul was trans- 
lated to Orion. He is understood to represent 
^ the summer sun ; and is commonly represented as 
a boy, or youth, and distinguished by a lock of 
hair plaited, and falling down behind his ear upon 
his neck. He frequently carries the sceptre of 
Osiris, is often in company with Isis, and is pre- 




Eyes . 

Yt'vDX+l lay C JVd-«nsnxde 


sented with offerings ; and in the accounts of Egyp- 
tian mythology, is frequently confounded with the 
sun ; and was the son of Osiris, as Apollo was the 
son of Jupiter. There are evidently two Horuses, an 
elder and a younger, exhibited on the temples. Har- 
pocrates, which is said to mean the lord of the har- 
pies and storms, was a posthumous child of Osiris, 
by Isis ; he is represented as lame in his lower ex- 
tremities, and sitting on the top of a budding lotus, 
just raised above the ground, as if it waited for the 
genial warmth of a nearer sun, for expansion. He 
is said to represent the sun in the winter solstice, 
when all nature slumbers in repose. He is the god 
of silence ; and is represented with his finger upon 
his mouth, as a symbol of talking little, or keeping 
silence. The gods are more an object of thought 
than of words. On the month Mesore, which be- 
gan on the 25th of July, the Egyptians presented 
him with an offering of pulse, saying, the tongue 
is fortune, the tongue is God. The peach tree is 
sacred to him above all the plants in Egypt, because 
its fruit resembles the heart, and its leaf the 
tongue ; — no inappropriate symbols of truth ; and 
the Egyptians directed those who went to consult 
the oracle in the temples, to have pious thoughts in 
their hearts, and good words in their mouths. All 
of these were agathodemons, good gods, whose de- 
light and pleasure it was to benefit mankind. But, 
opposed to them, in the Egyptian mythology, were 


two evil, or wicked demons, whose object and great 
delight was to destroy and counteract all the soli- 
tary and beneficent operations of the good. What 
a horrid pair! — they were well matched, husband 
and wife ; called Typhon and Nephth6. The word 
Typhon, according to Plutarch, is Greek. In the 
Egyptian language he was called Seth, meaning 
thereby, a domineering and compelling power; 
Babyn and Smy, restraining or hindering, opposi- 
tion and subversion. He is the son of Saturn, by 
Rhea, the wife of the sun, and, of course, the bro- 
ther of Osiris ; a misbegotten wretch, born on the 
third intercalary day, when he burst through his 
mother's side. His complexion was red j emble- 
matical of the scorching heat \ and people of red 
complexions were often treated with great indig- 
nity, on account of their resemblance to him. The 
ass was sacred to him, on account of his color, his 
stupidity, and sensuality. Also the crocodile and 
hippopotamus, and every thing wild and ferocious. 
Red bullocks alone were sacrificed to the other 
gods, being supposed the most acceptable* from 
the color being sacred to their greatest enemy. 
One white or black hair would have been sufficient 
to save the animal, and spoil the sacrifice. His 
soul resided in the bear. He is said to be the 
ocean swallowing up Osiris, or the Nile; and 
though, according to Herodotus, the Egyptians 
would not admit that Neptune was one of their 


gods, yet i*t is moat certainly true, that the figure 
of Neptune in the Mosaic tablet, in the British 
Museum, is an ex^ct representation of the Egyp- 
tian Typhon, with the addition of a tripod. Their 
figures and countenances are exactly the same} 
but the Egyptian god has no accompanying badge 
whatever. By some he has been called a giant ; 
but his appearance is that of a little, squat, thick 
dwarf; as I have already described him. He sel- 
dom occurs in the temples y and I never saw him 
presented with offerings, saving on the rock at 
Hadjr Sil&il, which favors the supposition of his 
being the Egyptian Neptune ; for here the quar- 
riers embarked their property on the Nile, and it 
was of great consequence to them to conciliate the 
river god. Dendera and Edfou are the only two 
places where there are any remains of his temples. 
The passionate, titanic, irrational, and brutal part 
of the soul, is Typhon ; and whatever in the mate* 
rial world is adventitious, morbid and tumultuous, 
as irregular seasons, inclemencies of the air, volca- 
noes, earthquakes, storms, eclipses of the sun and 
moon ; whatever in spirit, fire, water, earth or air, 
etifends through excess or defect, are all incursions 
and devastations of Typhon, whose empire is ma- 
Hgnant vapor, the sea, the barren land, and the 
desert, and whose delight is in destruction. He is 
constantly making war upon the gods. It was he 
who compelled them to shelter themselves under 



the disguise of different animals, to escape from his 
vengeance. But his greatest outrage was the mur- 
der of Osiris in the unsuspecting hour of convivial 
entertainment This he had been plotting during 
the time that Osiris was absent on his travels, to 
civilize the rest of the world, after having civilized 
his own country. During his absence, the vigilatat 
administration of Isis, and her assistant Thoth or 
Hermes, prevented him from attempting any thing 
against the government. After the return of Osiris, 
however, having induced seventy-two other persons 
to join with him in the conspiracy, together with a 
queen of Ethiopia, named Aso, who happened to 
be in Egypt at the time, he prepared a stratagem 
to accomplish his base design. With this view, 
having privily taken the measure of the body of 
Osiris, he caused a chest to be made exactly of the 
same dimensions, and beautified and adorned with 
all the resources of art. This chest he brought 
into the banqueting-ropm, where, after it had been 
much admired by all present, Typhon, as it were 
in jest, promised to give it to any one of them whose 
body, upon trial, it might be found to fit ; upon 
this, the whole company, one after another, got 
into it, but as it did not fit any of them, last of all 
Osiris lay down in it himself, upon which the con- 
spirators immediately ran together, clapt the cover 
upon it, and then fastened it down on the outside 
with nails, and poured melted lead over it They 


then threw it into the river, and it passed to the 
sea, by the Tanaitic mouth of the Nile, which as 
long as paganism continued, was held in abomina- 
tion by the Egyptians. This was done on the 
17th of the month Athyr, i. e. 14th of November, 
O. S. ; when the sun was in scorpio, in the 28th 
year of the reign of Osiris, or, as others affirm, in 
the 28th year of his age. Isis heard of the disaster 
of her husband at Koptos, and having cut off a 
lock of her hair, and put on mourning, she set out 
in search of the body. The children of the place 
informed her by what branch of the Nile it had 
passed into the sea, and having been afterwards 
informed by the demonial breath of a voice that it 
had drifted on the coast of Phenicia at Byblos, now 
Gebail, at the foot of Mount Libanon, not far 
from Tripoli, and was lodged in the branches of a 
bush of Tamarisk, she repaired thither ; and hav- 
ing found the chest, set sail with it for Egypt, 
where on her arrival, she deposited it in a secret 
place, and went to pay a visit to her son Horus. 
During her absence Typhon found the body, as he 
was hunting one night by the light of the moon, 
and having cut it into fourteen pieces, scattered it 
about; these Isis afterwards found, and having 
formed them into as many images, delivered them 
to the priests to be worshipped and honored as 
above described. Every year, at the feast of Adonis, 
which was held at Byblos, the Egyptians threw 


into the sea a boat made in the shape of the head 
of Osiris, and in it they placed a letter addressed 
to the people of Byblos. This boat steered itself, 
and arrived at Byblos in seven days. After this 
second outrage of Typhon a war ensued, and aft?* 
much fighting, Typhon was defeated near Bubastis, 
and having been taken prisoner by Horus was con- 
signed to the custody of Isis, who loosed his bonds 
and set him at liberty. So that he still continues 
wandering about the world concealing himself from 
Horus in the shape of one nasty animal or another; 
and every thing that is of an evil or malignant na- 
ture, every being, who puffed-up with pride, ignor- 
ance and error, tears in pieces and destroys order 
and arrangement, either in the animal, the vegeta, 
ble, or the intellectual world, is considered as the 
agent of Typhon, as part of him, 01* inspired by 
his influence. 

As there was in the Egyptian Mythology a male 
and female principle of good, so there was also a 
male and a female principle of evil, and Nephthe 
or Nephthys, was the wife of Typhon. Naphtuhim 
or Nephtuhim, is mentioned in Scripture as one of 
the children of Mizraim, and i& supposed to have 
peopled that part ef Ethiopia which lies between 
Syene and Mero6, the capital of which was called 
Napata j but whether that individual had any rela- 
lation by blood to this wicked hag, to whom he 
appears to have a relation in name, I shall not stop 


to examine ; our business here is with fabulous and 
not with sacred history. Nephthe was the aistei: 
of Typhon by birth, being the daughter of Saturn 
and Rhea, and born on the last or fifth intercalary 
day, and is sometimes called Venus, Victory, and 
the End. She is the half-sister of Isis, but as oppo- 
site to her as death and life, light and darkness, 
and as unlikely to be her companion as Typhon 
was to be that of Osiris. They are represented as 
opposed on the sistruin, as already described, and 
as Isia is all the good and visible part of the world, 
Nephthe is all the bad and invisible part of it. She 
is sometimes named Teleute, the extremity or end. 
The barren limits of Egypt, on account of the ex* 
treme infertility of the soil. She is darkness, the 
end of light, and the morning dawn is Anubis, her 
child by Osiris, which was owned by Isia, and 
nursed by her, though his parents abandoned and 
exposed him to die of want. Her appearance has 
been already described as the hideous Cynocepha* 
lus, or quadruped on end, the supposed original of 
the great bear ; she certainly has no claim from 
her figure or office to be called a human being. 
In forming the male principle of evil, the Egyptian* 
have taken the most distorted possible figure of a 
man ; but it seems they could not find any thing 
sufficiently disgusting in the shape of the human 
female, to answer their idea of the female principle 
of evil, and some demoniac fancy composed this 


unsightly monster ; but in justice to her, it must 
be observed, that in point of monstrosity she is not 
further removed from Isis than Typhon is from 
Osiris : their reputed relationship is of no conse- 
quence, they are entirely creatures of fable* She 
has occasionally a short staff in her hand, and is 
presented with offerings, and if she be not the re* 
presentative of the female genius of evil, it is not 
represented any where in the tombs or temples 
that I have seen. In her character of ending or 
finishing, I consider that she is the quadruped, or 
female cerberus, that presents herself seated on a 
table beside the last offering which is made to 
Osiris, in behalf of the deceased. The offering is 
spread out before Osiris, who stands or sits in a 
threatening attitude in his mummy-shaped dress, 
with his scourge raised up to his shoulder in an 
attitude prepared to strike. The unfortunate 
spectre stands up, extends his hands over his offer- 
ing, and prays for acceptance and forgiveness. 
Nephthe, or the female cerberus, sits on a table 
waiting for that awful decision, from which there 
is no appeal, as if prepared to glut her hungry 
maw, should that be unfavourable. She is the 
same with Tithrambo the causer of death, the 
female Hecate, the malignity of matter. 

Neith, synonymous with Minerva the goddess 
of wisdom and prophecy, was worshipped at Sais 
in the Delta. 


Cneph. Pjutarch says the inhabitants of Thebes 
do not acknowledge those to be gods who were 
once mortal ; for they worship their god Cneph 
only, whom they look upon as without beginning, 
so without end, and are for this reason, alone ex- 
empt from that tax which is levied upon all the 
rest of their countrymen, towards the maintenance 
of their sacred animals ; had they added to this, 
without form, we should have joined in the eulogies 
that have been passed upon the wisdom of Theban 
priesthood. But their god was a serpent, which is 
frequently seen painted upon the walls in the an- 
cient tombs; sometimes whole chambers are covered 
with painted serpents, sometimes elevated upon 
human legs and feet, with one, two, three, four or 
five heads. The obelisks were sacred to the serpent, 
and intended to represent him erect, looking at 
the sun. The Theban was a small horned ser- 
pent ; they were nursed with unceasing care, and 
when they died they were buried in the temple of 
Jupiter: their sepulchres have not yet been dis- 
covered. • The serpent, or the devil in the form of 
a serpent, as we learn from Scripture, came first 
into competition with the Almighty Lord of all, 
disputed his commands, and offered himself as an 
object of idolatry. Eve believed the word of the 
serpent rather than the word of God ; this was 
idolatry. Wisdom was the promise of the deceiver* 
but woes unnumbered; and an universal contamina- 
tion of the species has been the harvest that man- 


kind have reaped, and are still reaping, from her 
transgression. If the serpent's being so universally 
emblematic of wisdom throughout the pagan world, 
has not some reference to this sad catastrophe, in 
the early history of mankind, I confess that I am 
unable to account for it ; for there is nothing in the 
habits or endowments of that animal that can entitle 
it to such a distinction above its fellow-reptiles. 

Phthah, Hephestus, or Vulcan, the element of 
fire in a good sense. Ether, or the disposing spirit 
that spread his wings over the globe, was worship- 
ped at Memphis, and considered as one of the most 
ancient deities ; but we know not under what form 
he was represented. This desideratum might be 
supplied by a careful examination of the tombs, or 
fragments of the temples about Memphis, where he 
was worshipped* 

Djom, or Hercules ; another name for Osiris, or 
the sun in the vernal season. Form unknown. 

Serapis, or Pluto ; another name for Osiris, the 
hybernal sun; more properly considered as a 
Grecian than an Egyptian deity, having been intro- 
duced by Ptolemy Soter. 

Mendes, Mentes, Antaeus, or Pan, Shmoun. Un- 
der the figure of a man with a goat's head and feet, 
a licentious deity, worshipped at. Mendes ; one of 
the characters assigned to Osiris. It occurs fre- 
quently on the temples, less so on the tombs. 

The Nile. Worshipped under the symbol of a 
bull, or of a man with his peaks and cubits, in the 


form of children, playing around liim ; this last I 
have never seen, and am disposed to regard it as a 
Greek or a Roman invention. 

Thoth or Taout, Hermes or Mercury, the god 
of science and art, typified by an ibis, and generally 
represented by a human body with the head of an 
ibis. He is frequently represented with a scroll 
and a pen or reed in his hand, taking notes of what 
is going on. He is represented as the secretary 
whom Osiris left with Isis, to assist her in the go* 
vernment of Egypt, while he was on his travels. 
He is also represented as the servant of Phthah or 
Vulcan, from whom he learned arithmetic, geo- 
metry, astronomy, letters, music, and astrology* 
All the knowledge of the Thebans in religion, 
history, morals, law, and natural science, were 
engraved on stone columns, over which Taout pre- 
sided ; and from these the scriptures of the priest- 
hood were compiled. Every year a festival was 
held in honor of Hermes, in which they ate honey 
and figs, and called out " truth is sweet.'' — It is 
devoutly to be wished, that it were always agree* 
able to the palate of philosophers. 

Tausertho or Esculapius, the god of physic, re- 


lated to Horus or Apollo ; very little is known of 
him ; I do not know under what figure he was 
worshipped, nor if his staff were entwined with the 
Ares or Mars, was worshipped at Papremis, but 



I do not know under what form. The crocodile 
was worshipped at the lake Moeris ; the lion, at Leon- 
topolis; the pike, at Oxyrhimhus; the eel, the 
lepidatus, sacred to the Nile ; the chenalopex, or 
sheldrake, the phoenix, sacred to Osiris > the cat, 
sacred to Bubastes ; the hippopotamus, sacred to 
Mars ; the ichneumons, and dogs, and many other 
animals, which it is unnecessary to name, did the 
Egyptians worship ; and we are assured by Diodo- 
rus Siculus, that they would rather eat a piece of one 
another than a piece of any of these sacred animals. 
From what a farrago of blasphemous absurdity, 
respecting the true object of worship, has Christi- 
anity delivered us! Plutarch, who lived at the time 
when the champions of the cross were pulling down 
the strong holds of Satan, and who seems to have 
borrowed many of his ideas from its professors, 
without acknowledging the source from which they 
came, says, that the most acceptable thing to the 
gods, is to entertain right notions concerning them. 
We have seen in part what these notions were, that 
even the most enlightened of the heathens enter- 
tained concerning their gods j and if these were 
agreeable to them, it requires very little Christi- 
anity to know how grovelling and unworthy their 
conceptions were of the great first cause, and how 
highly offensive to the God of heaven and earth, 
the Creator, Redeemer, and Governor of all, must 
have been the passions and actions that they 


ascribed to him. Plutarch observes, that there was 
nothing ranked among their sacred or religious rites, 
that savored of folly, romance, or superstition, but 
were, some of them, such as contained some signi- 
fication of morality and utility; and others, such as 
were not without a fineness, either in history or natu- 
ral philosophy. Which means nothing more, than 
that their religion, even as explained by Plutarch, 
was full of absurdities and conceits. And. this he 
himself acknowledges, in the following remark: 
"That people who have not learned the true sense of 
words, will mistake also in things ; as we see among 
the Greeks, those who have not been taught, 4r 
who have not accustomed themselves to call the 
brass, the painting, and the stone, the ornaments 
and drapery of the gods, but the gods themselves, 
at last became so bold as to say, that Lachares 
stript Minerva ; that Dionysius shore off Apollo's 
golden locks; and that Jupiter Capitolus was burnt 
and destroyed in the civil wars. Thus their notions 
are imperceptibly corrupted by the names; and, in 
the end, they fancy the thing that they see to be 
the being it is intended to represent ; and what they 
call the statue of Jupiter, consider to be Jupiter 
himself. And the multitude of the Egyptians wor- 
shipping the very animals themselves, and following 
after them as gods, have filled their religious rites, 
not only with matter of scorn and derision, for that 
would be the least harm of their blockish ignorance, 


VOL. I. S 


but a misconception thence arises, which leads the 
weak and simple-minded into the most extravagant 
superstition, and a slavish fear of the deity ; and 
plunges the daring and subtle genius into atheism 
and savage wranglings." The field of true devotion 
lies between atheism and superstition : and he that 
has been taught to worship God as God, in spirit 
and in truth, will equally commiserate the infidel 
who prays not at all, and has not God in all his 
ways, nor in all his thoughts ; and the ignorant fa- 
natic, who kneels before pictures and images of 
wood and stone, and prays to them, and honors 
them as GocL The only friend and stay of the 
human heart is its Maker ; when he reigns within, 
all is sunshine and joy : but when a ruling passion 
usurps his thrpne, the being is an idolater; the 
beauty and harmony of life is destroyed ; and mi- 
sery, disappointment, and confusion fill up the out- 
line of human existence. 

C 259 ] 



There are no inhabitants on the site of ancient 
Denderah. The modern village is nearer the river, 
in the midst of a grove of palm-trees. It consists 
of an assemblage of small huts built of sun-dried 
brick, and contains about a thousand inhabitants, 
not one of whom cares a farthing for the mythology 
or the temple that I have been so long occupied in 
describing ; and they neither worship Isis, or Osiris, 
Typhon, the cat, or the crocodile. 

Having concluded our survey of the temple, we 
immediately repaired to our vessels, and having set 
sail, three quarters of an hour brought us to Ghe- 
neh, which is on the east side of the river. The 
temple of Denderah is not visible from the river 
below the village *, but we had a beautiful and pic- 
turesque view of it at the turn of the river between 
it and Gheneh. This is a town of general resort, 
the centre of commerce, between Upper Egypt, 
the Red Sea, and the interior of Africa. Large 
caravans, consiting sometimes of six or eight hun- 
dred camels, go from Gheneh to Cosseir, carrying 
wheat, flour, honey, oil, cloth, sugar, lentils, and 
pottery ware, of which last there is here an exten- 
sive manufactory, and bring baqk in return coffee 

s 2 

260 GHENEH. 

from Mocca, which is adulterated almost as soon as 
it arrives, and probably a good deal of it before 
it leaves the mother country/^tuns, India shawls, 
muslins, spices, incense, and many other commodi- 
ties, which anciently were brought to Thebes, next 
to Coptos, and now to Gheneh, which is but a poor 
representative of either, though it contains between 
six and eight thousand inhabitants, who are com- 
fortably lodged for Egyptians. The warehouses 
were filled with grain, but the bazars were indif- 
ferently provided, except with coffee, the principal 
goods having been sent off to the markets of Cairo 
and Osyout. This is the only place in Egypt 
where we saw the women of the town decked out 
in all their finery, to catch the passing traveller. 
They were of all nations, and of all complexions, 
and regularly licensed, as in many parts of Europe, 
to exercise their profession. Some of them were 
highly painted, and gorgeously attired with costly 
necklaces, rings in their noses and in their ears, 
and bracelets on their wrists and arms. They sat 
at the doors of their houses, and called on the pas- 
sengers as they went by, in the same manner as we 
find them described in the book of Proverbs. No- 
thing could be more hideous and disgusting than 
such an array of strumpets : even they themselves 
seemed conscious of their degradation. 

The pottery of Gheneh is of coarse earthenware, 
which is turted off with the wheel in the same man- 


ner as in Europe. They are slightly burnt* ^pd 
floated up pr down the Nile to supply the najtive?. 
with drinking and filtering jars, and other v^ssefe 
for domestic use. The only piece of ingenuity 
which we saw in. the whole manufactory was, the 
scheme which the man who had both hip hancfe 
employed in forming the vase upon the wheel, tad 
contrived to hold his pipe, so that he might smoke 
and work at the same time. This was managed by 
letting down a rope from a cross bar of wopd above 
his head ; the stalk of the pipe was introduced into, 
the loop } and when the man began to work, be 
took the pipe into his mouthy ajid as the wheel 
drove on, he smoked and turned} all his sense* 
were absorbed; a perfect gluttpa in cfoy apd smoke. 

Next morning, the 15th, we agaiq set. sail ; butf 
the wind soon died away, and the boats were tcacke4 
up to Benoud, which is a small village on the east 
side of the river, where we remained only about an 
hour ; and having passed over to the other side a 
little higher up, we made fast for the night. 

Next morning, the 16th, we started at an early 
hour. The weather was unpleasant in the earlier 
part of the day, but in the afternoon the wind be- 
came more favorable, and we continued to sail after 
night set in ; and at half past seven o'clock in the 
evening we arrived at Thebes, and made fast to 
the bank on the west side of the river, near a fine 
spreading sycamore-tree, opposite to the village of 


262 THEBES. 

Gornou. As we approached it in the night, we 
could not judge of the awful grandeur of the first 
appearance of this imposing scene, which, according 
to the narrative of their fellow traveller, rivetted, 
and, more remarkable still, held in speechless asto- 
nishment the whole of the French army. But next 
morning's sun convinced us that the ruins could 
scarcely be seen from the river ; that nowhere does 
the traveller turn the corner of a mountain to come 
in sight of them ; and that he must be near them, 
or among them, before he can discover any thing 
confounding or overwhelming in their appearance. 
Our only regret was, that the glory of Thebes had 
passed away ; that the field of vision was a field of 
ruins ; and no hierophant remained to guide us over 
the ground, or expound the mysterious fragments 
with which it is covered. 

[ 263] 



While we were engaged in this interesting con- 
templation from our station at the sycamore-tree, 
and eager to come into closer contact with the ok- 
jects of our admiration, Mr. Beechy, the son of 
the celebrated artist, . and Mr. Belzoni, of whose 
fame and success as m enterprising traveller, all the 
world has heard, came down from their residence 
at the tombs of the kings to welcome us to Thebes, 
and to conduct us to see the ancient tomb which 
the latter had lately discovered, and with which 
both Turks and Arabs were extremely delighted. 
Asses were immediately procured, and the; cachief, 
out of civility to the noble traveller, requested him 
to accept of the use of his horse ; but asses were 
preferred by all thp party, being better suited for 
the road that we had to travel. Each ass is at- 
tended by its driver j . and thus appointed, we set 
forth in joyous anticipation, at nine o'clock, a. m. 
At the village of Gornou we filed to the right along 
the road above mentioned, and held our way along 
a track that had been hollowed out in the rocky 
flat. On each hand were small and numerous ex- 


cavations cut in the rock, the doors of which were 
half blown up with sandy and stony fragments of 
the decomposing mountain ; but not a blade of grass 
in sight, or aught of vegetable growth to cheer the 
eye. The rocky flat is too elevated to receive the 
water of the Nile at its greatest flood ; and what* 
ever part the Nile does not inundate, there being 
no rain in the country, has no vegetation. All is 
under the empire of wasteful Typhom and his fruit* 
less dame. Having passed over the rocky flat, we 
entered the defile of the mountain, and seemed as 
if we were going up the bed of a fiumarro, or wintry 
torrent. Rain seldom falls in Thebes j once per- 
haps in eight or ten years, it descends in a thunder- 
shower, like a water-spout, and then every hollow 
And ravine has its torrent. Hence the appearance 
above described : the water rolled stones and gravel 
from the disintegration of the mountain in small 
splintry fragments. The road was rough and dis- 
agreeable ; but we held on our way, and in about 
three quarters of an hour after we left the vessel, 
reached the top of the valley of the tombs* It is 
a most dismal-looking spot ; a valley of rubbish, 
without a drop of water or a blade of grass. The 
entrance to the tombs looks out from the rock like 
the entrance to so many mines ; and were it not 
for the recollections with which it is peopled, and 
the beautiful remains of ancient art which lie hid 
in the bosom of the mountain, would hardly ever 


be visited by man or beast The heat is excessive, 
from the confined dimensions of the valley, and the . 
reflection of the sun from the rock and sand. Hie 
whole valley is filled with rubbish that has been 
washed down from the rock, or carried out in the 
making of the tombs, with merely a narrow road 
up the centre. 

Strabo states that there were originally about 
forty of these shafts or tombs. But from his vague 
description, that the tombs of the kings are above 
the Memnonium, no person could ever imagine 
that they lie on the other side of the mountain; and 
that in order to reach them, it is necessary to climb 
over its summit, or to wind along a defile, which 
must be entered half a mile nearer to the river than 
the site of the Memnonium. The same excellent 
geographer also mentions, that near the tombs obe- 
lisks were erected, bearing inscriptions commemo- 
rative of the wealth and power of the kings, and 
the extent of their dominions reaching to Scythia, 
Bactria and India, which were all subdued. These 
obelisks have either been broken or carried away 
by the rapacious invader, the conqueror of this 
country, which had conquered all the world before 
itself was subdued, or are now lying buried under 
the rubbish at the base of the rock, for not one 
of them lifts its head to tell the tale for which it 
was erected. There is not an obelisk at present 
to be seen in the whole of the western Thebes. 


Diodorus Siculus states, on the authority of the 
Egyptian priests, that forty-seven of these* tombs 
were entered in their sacred registers, only seven- 
teen of which remained in the time of Ptolemy 
Lagus : and in the 180th Olympiad, about 60 years 
before Christ, when Diodorus Siculus was in Egypt, 
many of these were greatly defaced. . 

Before Mr. JJelzoni began his operations in 
Thebes, only eleven of these tombs were known to 
the public. From the great success that crowned 
his exertions, the number of them is nearly double. 
The general appearance of these tombs is that of a 
continued shaft or corridor cut in the rock, in 
some places spreading out into large chambers ; in 
other places, small chambers pass off by a small 
door from the shaft. In places where the rock is 
hard, the entrance is flush with the general surface 
of the rock, and is rather larger than the entrance 
into an ordinary. mine, being about six feet wide, 
and eight feet high ; in other places, where the 
rock is low and disintegrated, a broad excavation 
is formed on the surface, till it reaches a sufficient 
depth of solid stone, when it narrows, and enters 
by a door of about six or eight feet wide, and about 
ten feet high. The passage then proceeds with a 
a gradual descent for about 100 feet, widening or 
narrowing according to the plan or object of the 
architect, sometimes with side-chambers, but more 
frequently not. The beautiful ornament of the 


globe, with the serpent in its wings, is sculptured 
over the entrance, The ceiling is black with silver 
stars, and the vulture with outspread wings holding 
a ring and a broad-feathered sceptre by each of 
his feet, is frequently repeated on it, with numerous 
hieroglyphics, which are white,. or variously colored* 
The walls on each side are covered with hierogly- 
phics, and large sculptured figures of the deities of 
Egypt, and the hero for whom the tomb was exca- 
vated. Sometimes both the hieroglyphics and the 
figures are wrought in intaglio, at other times they 
are in relief ; but throughout the same tomb they 
are generally all of one kind. The colors are green, 
blue, red, black, and yellow, on a white ground, 
and in many instances are as fresh and vivid as if 
they had not been laid on a month. Intermixed 
with the figures, we frequently meet with curious 
devices, representing tribunals, where people are 
upon their trials, and sometimes undergoing punish- 
ment; the preparation of mummies, and people 
bearing them in procession on their shoulders, ani- 
mals tied for sacrifice, and partly cut up ; and oc- 
casionally the more agreeable pictures of entertain- 
ments, with music and dancing, and well dressed 
people listening to the sound of the harp played 
by a priest with his head' shaved, and dressed in a 
loose flowing white robe, shot with red stripes. 

These shafts are of different lengths, from a hun- 
dred to between three and four hundred feet, or 


more ; at the end of them, or in some part of their 
length f there is generally one large chamber, high 
in the ceiling and beautifully ornamented ; in the 
middle of this stands the sarcophagus, generally 
of granite, and in the shape of an oblong square, 
rounded at one end, and covered with figures of 
Osiris, Isis, skeletons, and curious devices. It is 
generally cracked or broken into several pieces, 
though still adhering. There is not one sarcophagus 
in the tombs of the king* that is entire ; only one 
lid has been found unbroken, and that by Mr. Bel- 
zoni. It is the lid of the handsomest sarcophagus 
in the Thebaid, that in what has been called the 
harp tomb ; it is highly polished, and quite entire, 
saving a little bit that is broken at the projecting 
feet. Sometimes there are no more chambers than 
what I have mentioned; but in other tombs the 
shaft continues on from the large chamber of nearly 
its former, dimensions ; sometimes with small side 
chambers passing off it on either haqd ; in others, 
instead of side chambers, thereare small excavations 
in the side of the corridor, about breast high, of the 
average length of the human body, and such as 
might either serve for a grave to the dead, or a bed 
for the living; they are in the form of common 
horse troughs, and resemble exceedingly those al- 
ready mentioned in the catacombs i» Naples, Sicily, 
Malta, and Alexandria. 

All these tombs have been open for many years 


to the passing intruder; they are much injured, filled 
with broken fragments of what formerly constituted 
their greatest pride and ornament, and polluted by 
swarms of bats, which occupy them in such legions 
•that the visiter is frequently obliged to stand with his 
eyes shut, and bear their stormy flight for five or six 
minutes at a time. If he can save his torch the at- 
tack is sooner over, if not, as often as he lights it 
with his flint and steel it is again renewed ; when 
the storm is over, he may continue his researches. 
But the walls are so contaminated with the filth of 
these abominable vermin, that in general they end 
in disappointment : and with all his impatience to 
examine the walls, he must not forget to look at his 
feet, lest, as we found in one of them, a snake 
should be lurking, which he may find it his interest 
to avoid* Of all those at present known, only one 
is exempt from the melancholy wreck with which 
the course of time invariably covers the labor of 
man, and that was discovered by Mr. Belzoni a few 
weeks before our arrival in Thebes : and Lord and 
Lady Belmore, with their family and suite, were the 
first Europeans who visited it 

The following is the manner in which this suc- 
cessful explorer of antiquity, was led to this most 
fortunate discovery, and it shows how eminently he 
is qualified for the pursuit in which he is engaged : 
In walking over the ground, he observed that the 
immense mass of detritus, or small stony fragments 


which bank the base of the mountain, and fill up 
the valley on each side, had a particular lie, or di- 
rection in the neighbourhood of the open tombs. 
This was occasioned by the materials, which were 
carried out of the tomb at the time of its forma- 
tion, being laid along there on each side, as the most 
convenient place for disposing of them. In some 
cases, when the immediate vicinity of the tomb was 
not adapted for receiving the rubbish, it was car- 
ried to a more convenient spot on the other side of 
the valley, and the discovery of the excavation in 
that case became more difficult ; for the orifice of 
the excavation being once filled up, no indication 
whatever remained of its existence. The orifice of 
this tomb was entirely blocked up, occasioned, as 
some imagine, by a mountain torrent passing im- 
mediately over it. The surface was perfectly level, 
and to an ordinary observer, presented nothing dif- 
ferent from what was around it. But the practised 
eye of the antiquary looked deeper than the surface. 
Determined to prove the truth or fallacy of his con- 
jecture, Mr. Belzoni set a number of Arabs to work, 
to sink a passage in front of the rock, through the 
accumulation of detritus, down to the solid base. 
Appearances at first by no means flattered his ex- 
pectations, and the remarks of some who witnessed 
his efforts, tended to damp and discourage the un- 
dertaking. After some days of unremitting exer- 
tion, even his own hopes became less sanguine, yet 


still he persevered, and at last the hit of some lucky 
shovel uncovered the polished front of the rock. 
The sight redoubled all their energies, braced all 
their sinking hopes, for every man shares in the 
success of the man who is deservedly fortunate. 
After a few more efforts the door of entrance was 
unsealed, and the joy of Belzoni may be more easily 
conceived than expressed. The depth through 
which he had descended in the rubbish, was about 
twenty feet, and from the sides constantly falling in 
had occasioned him as much labor as would other- 
wise nearly have sunk the same passage to twice 
the depth. Still much remained to be done, the 
passage along the shaft was to be cleared, it having 
been blocked up with sand for a considerable way. 
But he had now seen the success of his labors ; and 
flushed with the past, what remained to be accom- 
plished presented but a feeble obstacle to the en- 
terprising spirit of one who had already achieved 
so much. The work being hotly plied, the entrance 
was soon broken up, and the sand basketed out so 
as to afford an access to the intrepid discoverer, who, 
armed with a lighted torch, as soon as there was 
room to admit his hand and his head, thrust them 
in, and pushing sand and rubbish aside with his giant 
shoulders, crawled along on his breast into the in- 
terior of this long forgotten tomb, exulting in all 
the raptures of success which he must have truly 
felt, as he had truly merited. 


The entrance into the tomb is six feet eleven 
inches wide, and eight feet nine inches high. The 
tomb is 309 feet long, and contains fourteen cham- 
bers of different sizes. The rock in which it is 
cut is a species of limestone, but soft, and easily 
wrought. The highest part of the mountain range 
in the Thebaic!, is not more than 400 feet above the 
level of the Nile. At the time of our first visit, 
the entrance to the tomb was still much obstructed, 
and we descended to the door as if we had been 
going into a sand-pit, and prostrating ourselves 
upon our breasts, crawled along through a narrow 
passage over the rubbish; this was Afterwards 
cleared away, and the tomb is now approached by 
a flight of well-formed steps, leading down to the 
door. The first sight did not so much astonish us. 
The hieroglyphics were much more numerous than 
the figures, and if ever they had been painted the 
coloring was entirely defaced. The ceiling is black, 
with stars and tablets of hieroglyphics, which are 
white. The globe with serpents in the wings, and 
the vulture with outspread wings, holding a ring 
and a feathered sceptre in each foot, crowned with 
the tutulus, or cap generally worn by Osiris, ex- 
tends itself over it in the first compartment. The 
coloring is white, red, and black, and with the two 
white tablets of hieroglyphics, the one containing 
the name of the hero for whom the tomb was made, 
and the other that of his father, with the goose and 


egg over the back between them, which is inter** 
preted to mean, son of, produce a most solemn 
and impressive effect upon the mind. At the door, 
the hero, always accompanied by the two tablets of 
hieroglyphics, is received by Arueres, or the hawk- 
headed deity, having the sceptre of Osiris in his 
hand, intimating his authority in the air, like 
Apollo's derived from Jove. To this succeeds 
an immense table of hieroglyphics, in which the 
name of the hero frequently occurs, and the pic- 
turesque beetle rolling his ball, an emblem under 
which was worshipped the moving power of the 
world, guarded by a cynocephalus. Here the cor- 
ridor narrows, as if for a door, the top is ornamented 
with the winged globe, and passing on, the corridor 
continues of the same size 5 the figures are faintly 
colored, and chiefly mummy-shaped, having their 
faces turned toward the door. Some are ornamented 
with a plaited beard, others not. Some have scarabaei 
or beetles with outspread wings for their heads, 
others have rams 9 heads, others hawks 9 heads, dogs* 
heads, or cows' heads, with numerous tables of 
hieroglyphics partly colored, and in relief. Here, 
on each side, a wolf is seated on an altar, and below 
him a female, with a tower on her head, like Ceres, 
is on her knees, rolling a circle or broad hoop be- 
fore her, a device of which I have not found any 
explanation. In the Egyptian Mythology, the wolf 
appears to have typified the messenger between 
vol. 1. T 


this and the other -world. Osiris returned from the 
dead in the shape of a wolf, to assist his wife and 
son in their conflict with Typhon ; and in the 
festival held in commemoration of the return of 
Hhampsinitus from the infernal regions, the minis- 
ter of the solemnity, wearing a vest that had been 
wove in the space of a day, and having his eyes 
covered with a bandage, was conducted to the path 
that led to the temple of Ceres, and left there, 
where two wolves met and led him to the temple, 
though at the distance of twenty stadia from the 
city, and afterwards brought him back to the place 
where they had found him, and left him for the 
citizens to take up. We have already mentioned, 
that the Egyptians esteemed Ceres and Bacchus 
the great deities of the realms below ; hence, I pre- 
sume, the constant attendance of the wolf at the 
entrance of the tombs, with the figure of the wolfs 
head that is frequently found on the vases in the 
sarcophagi ; and if we may be allowed to interpret 
symbols by known facts, the broad circle which is 
poised under the hand of the goddess, may be in- 
tended to typify that grand cycle of years, at the 
conclusion of which, all things were to commence 
a-new, as at the creation of the world ; the same 
animals and vegetables to cover the earth, in contem- 
poraneous succession, and the dead to be unrolled 
from the silent tomb to which they had been com- 
mitted, to enjoy the society of their ancient coin- 


panions, and live over again a determined period 
of mortal existence. He was a bold man who 
broached the speculation, and aimed at nothing less 
than a calculus for omniscience. Here we des- 
cended a stair of 26 steps, and entered a third com- 
partment, in which the coloring of the figures, red 
and blue, is much more vivid, and the device more 
interesting; serpents, with one, two or three heads, 
moving along, with four human feet, and uplifted 
wings. The principal object is a scarabaeus, with 
the head concealed by a sort of semi-lunar frame, 
and a hawk perched on each side of it ; serpent- 
headed boats drawn along with men and beetles on 
board. In the bottom of the next compartment, 
is a pit or well, SO feet deep ; the sides of it, on 
a level with the floor of the rest of the tomb, are 
painted and colored in the same manner with repre- 
sentations of Osiris, robed in white, seated upon the 
checkered throne of the world, with the mitre on 
his head, the crook and scourge in his hand. Be- 
fore him stands Isis, his worthy consort, with the 
moon encompassed with horns, on her head, and 
behind him Arueres, Apollo, or the hawk-headed 
deity, with the hero, accompanied by his tablets of 
hieroglyphics. This well was filled with sand, and 
wood, and stones, which Mr. Belzoni cleared out. 
There was a stick lying across its mouth, a piece 
of rope having one end coiled round the stick, and 
the other hanging into the well on each side* The 

t 2 



stick was of sycamore wood, and excessively light 
and dry, but not broken ; the rope was made of 
the rind of the palm tree, of the same materials 
and as well manufactured as the ropes are in Egypt 
at the present day. The piece of rope was also 
dry, and remarkably brittle. As we have not re- 
ceived from antiquity any regular account of the 
interior of these tombs, we are left to conjecture 
the use of many of the contrivances therein exhi- 
bited, and among others the purpose or intention 
of this pit. Its situation in the centre of the pas- 
sage and in a small compartment by itself, pre- 
cludes the idea of our supposing that it was ever 
intended for containing water, although the rope 
and the stick might lead us so to imagine. It ap- 
pears to me that this pit, which is 14 feet long and 
12 feet wide, was formed for the reception of other 
sarcophagi, and that the ropes that were found hang- 
ing into the mouth of it, and the blocks of wood that 
were found in the bottom of it, are the remaining 
fragments of those materials which the riflers of 
the tomb employed in examining it, expecting, pro- 
bably, to find some treasure beneath. This con- 
jecture is strengthened by many of the sarcophagi 
being found lodged in pits, into which they must 
have been let down by ropes ; and pieces of ropes 
still found remaining at the sides of the pits. In 
this pit were probably deposited the minor brandies 
or dependants of the chief, whose mortal remains 


occupied the stately chamber within. Here, at first 
sight, appeared to be an end of the tomb ; a wall 
was regularly built across the corridor, plastered 
and whitened over, and, though not completely 
finished, presented apparently a bar to farther 
progress; a break in the wall, however, invited 
examination, and it was perceived that this ob- 
struction was a regular building, and no termina- 
tion by the rock. The pit accordingly was speedily 
planked over, the breach in the wall enlarged, and 
the successful explorer ushered into a magnificent 
square chamber, that threw every thing that he had 
yet seen into the shade. It is about 25 feet square, 
with four strong square columns of the rock left in 
the middle for supporting the roof ; the ceiling is 
black, as above described; the sides are ornamented 
with processions of boats, of men carrying serpents 
coiled up at different distances ; twelve men hold a 
rope or chain, which is fastened round the neck of 
an erect mummy, and a number of mummies are 
laid along on a couch formed in the shape of a 
serpent, and extending round two sides of the room. 
These are on the right hand as we entered the 
chamber, but on the left the processions are equally 
interesting ; processions of snakes borne along by 
people in white, and twelve human heads upon 
his back; so that at first sight the snake ap- 
pears to be cut in as many places as he has men 
to support him. In the lowest compartment is also 
a procession of a long but slender snake, carried 


along by a number of people, between each of whom, 
upon the body of the snake, is a machine which ex- 
ceedingly resembles a hand-barrow; it has distinctly 
two shafts, several, I believe seven cross-bars, and a 
wheel. In the rear of this procession, comes the 
most interesting exhibition in the whole tomb ; it 
consists of four groups, with four individuals in 
each j each group differently costumed, and appa- 
rently of different nations. The first four are attired 
in loose flowing spotted robes, open before, fastened 
with a string round the waist, and elegantly knotted 
at the neck over the breast. The robes show the 
thigh, which is tatooed in all of them with the sign 
of the cross, and the legs with a crown ; the cross 
is also tattooed upon their arms. Their complexion 
is fair, they have projecting beards upon their chins, 
and mustachios. Their hair is curiously plaited, 
similar to that of the Madagascar prince ; it begins 
at the crown of the head, the natural division of the 
hair, and from that it is divided into small locks, 
and plaited, two plaits all the way down ; the hair 
is not long, and is cut behind on a level with the 
chin, and projects from the head as if it were artificial. 
On the side of the head there are six plaited locks, 
behind the ear, from which the hair is parted, and 
four before it, falling over the forehead j one lock, 
the largest of all, is plaited down from the temple, 
and hangs down before the ear and curls back, like 
the lock of hair that characterizes the youthful 
Horus. Two white plumes are placed in the part- 


ing of the hair, on the crown of the head, the one 
falls forward, and the other backward. They hold 
themselves well up, have their hands down by their 
sides, and possess a dignified and graceful deport- 
ment* Close behind them come four negroes, 
dressed in white, their petticoats down to their 
ankles, through which the color of their skin is dis- 
tinctly perceptible, and their black feet and ankles 
below, look like black shoes and gaiters upon white 
stockings ; the petticoat is tied with a red belt, 
round the waist, and supported by a broad sash 
over the left shoulders. They have white ear- 
rings, and white bracelets, like ivory, on their 
wrists. Their hair is black, plaited and parted 
from the crown, and falls regularly down in small 
locks over the head. It is not parted over the ear, 
and not ornamented with plumes like the first four. 
After the four blacks, come four other whites, who 
have the same complexion and features with the 
first four, but considerably disguised by a different 
head-dress and costume. They have a dense brown 
beard that compasses their chin and jaw from ear 
to ear, and short mustachios. They have a dense 
black mass upon their heads, which is more like a 
wig or artificial covering than the hair of the Ber- 
beri Arabs, to which it is generally compared. It 
fits the head like a Welch wig, coming down to near 
the eye-brows, with a small peak before the ear, 
and a large convexity behind. It is bound round 


with a white strap tied over -the crown of the head; 
it is no way plaited, nor ornamented with feathers. 
They wear a striped kirtle, like a philibeg, black, 
red and white, bordered and fringed ; the rest of 
their body is naked. Their head-dress and beard 
give them a lowering and dissatisfied look, and they 
have been called Jews. 

Next in the procession, we come to four russet 
men. Their hair is black, and plaited from the 
crown, hangs regularly all round the head ^ it is 
cut short immediately over the eyebrows before, 
and hangs down behind the ears into the neck ; all 
the locks hang from the crown, and there are no 
short ones from the side of tlie head, as was the 
case in the blacks. They have a small square piece 
of black beard stuck to the point of their chin, but 
no mustachioes. They have white kirtles tied 
round their waists ; the rest of their body is naked. 
Behind the last of the four, almost touching the 
hair of his head, there is a small bearded figure 
squatted upon his seat, with his knees up to his 
breast ; the globe, encircled by a serpent, is sus- 
pended over his head. He may be a god, or he 
may be a judge ; he appears to have neither hands 
nor arms,, and his pitiful and insignificant appear- 
ance does not, according to the Custom of the an- 
cient Egyptians, prevent him from being considered 
a representative of either. After him are two birds, 
the one of which resembles a parrot, the other an 


ibis, though rather between an ibis and a goose ; 
perhaps it is the chenalopex, a bird sacred to Osiris, 
supposed to be the sheldrake. Then we come to 
a hawk-headed personage supposed to be Arueres, 
or Apollo, though much liker a priest, or a man in 
mask, than a god. He is adorned with an elegant 
tippet; he has bracelets and armlets upon his upper 
extremities, and a yellow kirtle, shot with black 
stripes, fastened round his waist : thus caparisoned, 
he walks up in the rear of the procession, leaning 
on a staff, and apparently much fatigued. With 
him the procession closes. 

The four individuals mentioned first in this in- 
teresting procession are stated to be Persians ; the 
four next are stated to be Ethiopians; the four 
next are stated to be Jews ; the four last are stated 
to be Egyptians, who had been in bondage in these 
countries, and now restored to their homes and 
their friends by the success of Pharaoh Necho. 
The 35th and 36th chapters of the second book of 
Chronicles, the 36th (46th) chapter of Jeremiah, and 
second book of Herodotus, are cited in confirmation 
of the above ; most of which, in my estimation, 
rather refute than confirm it It is mentioned in 
the second book of Chronicles, that Necho took 
Jerusalem, and carried Jehoahaz, the king, to 
Egypt *, but none of these men, who are called 
Jews, have the least appearance of having been 
either king or captives ; there is nothing stript or 


dejected about them, and none of the hieroglyphics 
over their heads give any intimation of their being 
such : neither, upon a close examination of their 
feature, do we find that their features or costume 
warrant us in referring them to that ancient people. 
We find in Jeremiah, that Pharaoh Necho was 
soundly beat by the King of Babylon, which of 
course furnished no reason for swelling his train 
by captive Babylonians, who, however, have, if pos- 
sible, still less the appearance of being captives than 
the four above mentioned. On referring to the 
second book of Herodotus, we do not find it stated 
that Necho had made any expedition into Ethiopia, 
but his son Psammis did ; the result is not given ; 
but it is added, that he died soon afterwards, having 
reigned only six years : and a little farther on, we 
find it mentioned that all the princes of this family 
were buried in the temple of Minerva at Sais, in the 
Delta. Moreover, we do not find in Herodotus, 
that any of the Egyptian kings were ever buried in 
Thebes. So that neither the sacred writings nor 
Herodotus support the interesting explanation of 
fhis extraordinary procession, which has been of- 
fered by Mr. Belzoni and his learned expositor. 

So far from considering this procession to be 
composed of a group of captives selected from so 
many different nations, the spectator is immediately 
struck with them as being the people of the greatest 
consequence of any in the room, with the exception 


of the gods, goddesses, and the titled hero himself. 
They are by far the most gorgeously attired, and 
every way the most exalted in their appearance. 
And it is worthy of remark, that the first four are 
more sumptuously arrayed than the second four, 
the second than the third, and the third than the 
fourth, their dresses corresponding with the order 
of precedency. They have all a clean and com- 
fortable appearance, and the hair of all of them is 
dressed with the greatest care. The dress of the 
first four individuals, though their costume is the 
same, differs in respect of color : the first is on a 
while ground, covered with pale red spots ; the 
second is on a lead-colored ground, traversed by 
stripes that resemble a feather, between each of 
which are blue and red spots alternately with each 
other j the last is on a while ground, with black 
spots, and resembles the skin of the sacrificed bull 
\yhich we see in another part of the tomb. The 
dresses are all bound round with a checkered bind- 
ing, and tied round the waist with a belt of the 
same. The dress of the other three groups is re- 
spectively the same ; that of no individual in any 
one of the groups differing from any other in the 
same group. The first four in the group are tat- 
tooed on the arms, thighs, and legs ; they have all 
the figure of the cross upon their arms and thighs, 
and either on the arm or the leg they have a round 
instrument like a fibula or clasp. We find this latter 
instrument on the breast of the serpent that is on 


each side of the door of this small chamber, coiled 
up, mounted on the lower half of a globe, crowned 
with the handled measure, with the sceptre of Osiris 
attached by a ring in the middle before it, and five 
stems of the flowering lotus beneath, the three 
middle ones of which are erect, and the two side 
ones are broken down $ the whole has been inter- 
preted to mean sacerdotal. Their insignia would in- 
dicate them priests of that religious sect who wor- 
shipped both Christ, and the serpent. The last four, 
or russet group, both in respect to the small piece 
of beard stuck under the chin, and the white kirtle, 
resemble exactly the priest who is cutting up the 
sacrificed bull ; their kirtle seems to be fuller, and 
their hair is dressed in a much superior style. The 
sacrificing priest has a white sash for holding up his 
kirtle, which passes over his left shoulder in the same 
manner as the sash of the four blacks. The ribbon 
round the head of the third group is tied in the 
same manner as that round the head of the female 
in the door of one of the chambers, and who is sup- 
posed to be Buto or Latona. 

There are thirtyvfive short columns of hierogly- 
phics over the heads of these sixteen individuals, 
and their hawk-headed attendant. Among the cha- 
racters we observe the frequent occurrence of the 
spotted owl, the yellow bird, the chenalopex, a green, 
and two blue birds, the latter of which bear a 
strong resemblance to the bird that is perched above 
the head of the female who we find, in another part 


of the same room, attending on Osiris ; the little 
squat deity, generally red, but sometimes yellow, 
with the head of a cynocephalus surmounted with 
a modium, at other times with a globe encircled 
with a serpent ; the eye, with and without the sight ; 
the black beetle, the crook, the cross, the bee, the 
sacrificing knife, the forceps, the arm and head 
with the bar above it ; the three jars or vases tied 
together; the wavy-line supposed to indicate water 
or motion ; the globe, the small-horned snake, and 
many other such characters as we find in the tablets 
of hieroglyphics in other parts of the tomb, and 
particularly in those which surround the deities, 
and the principal personage in it. For these rea- 
sons I am disposed to consider the above person- 
ages as intimately concerned in the sacred rites, 
and here representing the principal orders of the 
priests in Thebes, joined in procession according 
to their respective rank. The reason of their being 
of different colors, and different costumes, is diffi- 
cult to assign ; but there are not wanting instances 
of the same thing in other countries. Among the 
Chinese, whose gods are the sun, moon and stars, 
as well as those of the Egyptians, we are informed 
of four orders of priests, who were white, black* 
yellow and russet ; which might be typical of the 
clear light of the sun, the darkness of night, the 
pale light of the moon, and the ruddy hue of the 
morning and evening sky. The colors of the Chinese 


orders coincide remarkably with those of the per- 
sons who compose the procession under consider- 
ation. As to their diversity of costume, nothing is 
more common than for different orders of priests to 
be differently dressed, though all of the same reli- 
gion. But I must not pursue the discussion any 
farther at present. 

Upon each side of the four columns that occupy 
the centre of the room, the hero is received by the 
different deities in succession ; by the deity with 
the hawk's head, by one with the ibis head, by one 
with the wolfs head, by the female deity already 
mentioned, and by Osiris himself. 

Passing off from this chamber on the right, and 
descending a couple of steps, we entered into an- 
other square chamber, much about the same dimen- 
sions, with only two columns in the centre. Here 
we perceive that the operator has been arrested in 
the midst of his labors. .The chamber is in an 
unfinished state : the walls have been whitewashed, 
the crevices that have splintered off in forming it 
have been filled up, but there is no painting upon 
the walls, or on the columns. The figures are all 
outlined, and the wall is ready for the workman to 
commence his operations ; the lines have been 
drawn in red by some inferior hand, and after- 
wards corrected by the master in black, according 
to the manner in which they were to be wrought. 
The very circumstance of this room being in an 


unfinished state renders it more instructive than if 
it had been found completed, like the others ; in as 
fyr as it shews that the manner in which the artists 
proceeded in their operations at that remote period 
was exactly the same as that which they employ in 
the present day. The expression of the eyes and 
countenances of the figures is extremely soft and 
interesting. On the columns, the principal per- 
sonage is admitted to an interview with the different 
gods and goddess, as in the former chamber ; and 
on the walls, besides the usual representations of 
Osiris, Isis, Arueres, Thoth, the principal personage, 
we have processions of boats, cows laying in repose, 
serpents, birds, cynocephali, people dressed like 
mummies sticking hatchets into their heads, some 
vomiting blood and beating themselves, as they are 
represented to have done in the festival of Mars, 
held at Papremis, and numerous hieroglyphics. 
The following appears to have been their mode of 
operation. Having cut out and smoothed the sur- 
face of the chamber, the next process was to fill up 
any crevices, and to whitewash it all over: the out- 
lines of the figures were then drawn, according to 
which they were cut in intaglio or relief, as above 
described ; they were then whitewashed again, and 
painted red, blue, green, or yellow, and attired in 
their proper costume. 

Having returned from the outlined chamber into 
the one with four columns, we descended a stair of 


twelve steps, and continued along the corridor in 
the same direction as before. The sides of the stair 
are ornamented in the same manner with the rest 
of the tomb, and in the door at the foot of it, the 
hero dressed in a long loose white robe, with san- 
dals on his feet, is received by Isis, who is here re- 
presented of a russet color, the same with that of 
the hero himself. She is attired in a close fitting 
light colored robe, which is divided into rows of re- 
gular hexagons, each of which is filled with hiero-' 
glyphics, and emblematic representations, among 
which, one of the tablets that accompanies the hero, 
frequently occurs. Her head is crowned with the 
modium, from which two black horns shoot up, and 
encompass a red globe, or moon. She has an amu- 
let hanging round her neck, which falls down upon 
her breast like a large ripe cucumber, bent so as 
nearly to form a circle ; with her left hand she lays 
hold of the hero's right, and with her right hand 
holds out to him the amulet, towards which he 
raises his left in an attitude of devotional surprise. 
Immediately within the door the hero is seated upon 
a throne, which is highly ornamented. The sacred 
bird with the ring in his claw, hovers over his head. 
In his right hand he holds a sceptre with his two 
tablets and other hieroglyphics inscribed upon it, 
and extends his left hand as if in the act of blessing 
an offering which stands upon a table before him. 
The object before him resembles a screen, or parlor 


blind, placed upon a stalk ; the laths are painted 
yellow, and seem, as in the blinds, to overlap each, 
other like the long feathers in the wing of a bird. 
The laths are twenty in number, ten on each side, 
from which they are applied to each cither till they 
meet in the middle, where the laths are longer thari. 
at the sides. The use or name of this object I do 
not know, but I do not consider it as an offering ; 
the whole of it seems rather to be a table of a par- 
ticular construction, and I have seen a similar one 
with an offering placed upon it. The other tables 
which I hare seen are flat on the top ; but this one 
is pyramidal, and raised tip like an offering to be 
burnt on an altar. On the breast of this illustrious 
personage we perceive a new ornament, ode that 
is vety seldom ttiet with, and never but on the most 
distinguished characters, and which is not wotn by 
any other person in this tomb. It is a square tab* 
let, shaped like the front of an Egyptian temple, 
suspended by two strong cords round his neck, and 
resting upon his breast. It is of a pale yellow color, 
the same with that of the object before him. la 
the centre it contains a small black obelisk, with 
the two little squat deities so often mentioned, one 
on each side. They are both yellow, and neither 
of them resemble the two little squat figures that 
appear in his tablets of hieroglyphics. The one on 
the right is a cynocephalus, with the globe over head, 
the same as we have mentioned in the hieroglyphics 

VOL. i. u 


that accompany the third order of priests, and both 
have the handled tau in their hand, which they 
stretch out towards the obelisk. Speaking of the 
Egyptians, Diodorus remarks that the chief priest, 
who was also their supreme judge in civil matters, 
wore, suspended about his neck by a golden chain, 
an ornament of precious stones, which was called 
Truth, and that no cause was opened till the su- 
preme judge had put on this badge, and having ex- 
amined both sides of the question, he turned the 
emblem of truth towards the litigant whom he 
judged to be in the right. It is also remarkable, 
that the shape of the ornament in question resem- 
bles that sacred ornament which was worn by the 
Jewish high-priest, and which was called the breast- 
plate of judgment, in which the Urim and theThum- 
mim were to be placed, and which, we are informed, 
mean declaration or manifestation of truth : it was 
square, a span was to be the breadth thereof, and a 
span the length thereof. I have seen several of these 
Egyptian plates or- tablets. There are two in the 
British Museum, and Mr. Belzoni has one, and here 
we have it attached to the breast of ah illustrious 
personage, which shows us how it was worn. It has 
also been found attached to the breast of a mummy. 
The centre of it is occupied by different devices ; 
sometimes small human figures. That of Mr. Bel- 
zoni, has a scarabaeus in the centre. We learn from 
Plutarch that the gentlemen of the sword had a beetle 


earved on their signets, because he says there is no 
such thing as a female beetle. The one under con- 
sideration has an obelisk in the centre ; perhaps the 
obelisks belonged more peculiarly to the priesthood, 
they being always attached to the temples. It is 
suspended round the neck by two cords at each 
end, which are blue, green, red, and yellow, and 
hangs over the tippet, which is curiously wrought 
of blue, purple, red, and white, and is evidently not 
wrought so, but pieced or sewed. It is surrounded 
by a small knotted fringe. His girdle is blue, pur- 
ple, red, white, and yellow, and may well be said to 
be of curious workmanship ; a long white petticoat 
passes down to his ankles. He is barefooted, without 
9ftttd%ls ; altogether he has a greater resemblance to a 
judge or priest upon the bench, than a king upon his 
throne: and. the instrument which he holds in his 
band is as like an unlighted torch, or a sprinkler of 
holy water, as a sceptre. And I beg leave to recom- 
mend the attentive perusal of Mr. Belzoni's very 
accurate plates, to those who wish for further oppor- 
tunities of judging for themselves. The figure is 
surrouqded with hieroglyphics, and a little in front 
of him, are two men clothed each in leopards' skins,, 
with a number of people, and very extensive hiero- 
glyphic inscriptions, in which the name of this in- 
dividual frequently occurs. The corridor then des- 
cends a few steps, and at the foot of the stair, we- 
find the tablets containing the hero's name, and that 

u 2 


of his father, guarded by two serpents with out* 
spread wings. Near to which a person, both in com- 
plexion and costume resembling the russet, or 
fourth order of priests above described, is engaged 
in cutting off the legs of a bull. At first sight a 
person is startled to see a bull under the sacrificing 
knife in Egypt ; but Herodotus informs us that all 
the Egyptians sacrificed bulls without blemish, and 
calves. The females were sacred to Isis, and could 


not be used for that purpose. Here we have also 
a vast number of people, and many vertical tables 
of hieroglyphics. The sides of die next door are 
highly ornamented with coiled snakes placed upon 
the lower half of the globe, and stems of the flower- 
ing lotus, which we find to be of two species, one 
of them resembles a lily, the other a campanulated 
flower; this latter seems to be more especially 
sacred to Isis, and formed the model for her sceptre. 
On each hand a female figure of a most interesting 
appearance, occupies the centre space in the door* 
she has a feather in her head, but there is no ap- 
pearance of divinity about her, saving what the 
fancy of the spectator may choose to impart* Pass* 
ing within the door, we enter a most elegant cham- 
ber, which we used to denominate the beauty cham- 
ber. It is twenty feet long, by fourteen feet wide. 
The walls on each side are covered with groups of 
personages, and it looks like a pantomime in which 
gods and goddesses and human beings are the per- 


formers. The subject is the same as in the others. 
The hero presents himself before the different dei- 
ties in succession. On his entrance, a female deity 
presents him with the handled tau, which appears 
to be a badge of great distinction. He appears be- 
fore the wolf, or dog-beaded deity, who bears the 
sceptre of Osiris, and who is probably meant to re- 
present Anubis. Next he appears before Isis, to 
whom he offers incense, which we see flaming from 
the censer. Last of all, in the corner of the room, 
he appears before Osiris, arrayed in his celestial robe 
of white, as above described. From this elegant 
chamber we passed into another, which is infinitely 
more magnificent. It has two rows of square 
columns in the middle, three columns in each row : 
on each side of the columns, the same ceremony of 
the hero meeting the different deities is continned. 
Aniens, Anubis and Osiris are the principal male 
deities, and Isis in her different characters, the only 
female deity. Here we have also exhibited a hero 
robed in the leopard's skin, with a round beard, tilt- 
ed up at the end like the beard of Osiris. Anubis ap- 
pears on one row of the columns in a threatening 
attitude ; he is half kneeling, and appears with his fists 
clenched and his arms extended, as if he were going 
to box. In this posture he is generally exhibited 
near the place of interment. Round the walls are 
boats with a ram-headed deity on board, and proces- 
sions of human beings, captives, with their hands 
tied behind their backs. Over the door is a female 


deity on her knees ; she has a toWer, more correctly 
representing a throne, on her head, and her wings ex- 
tended, and probably represents Isis in the character 
of Ceres, the goddess of the world below. Off this 
large chamber on the right, there is a small room, 
in which there is a remarkably handsome figure of 
a young cow? with two men grooming every leg, 
one the tail, and one supporting the body. The 
udder and dewlap are supported by two small 
boats. The rest of the room is covered with hiero- 
glyphics. On the left of the large chamber, there 
is also a small room, opposite to this, the walls of 
which are entirely covered with exhibitions of ser- 
pents, with two, three and four heads, and many 

Having advanced beyond the columns, we came 
into a large spacious chamber, thirty feet long, 
twenty feet wide, and twenty-seven feet high. The 
female figure with outspread wings, is pourtrayed 
upon the top on each end, the same as we fre- 
quently see it in each end of the sarcophagi. The 
wings are green and black, and the body russet ; 
she has the tower on her head, the same as the fe* 
male that we mentioned as rolling the circle at the 
entrance into the tomb, and is probably the same 
being, Ceres or Isis, the goddess of the lower world. 
The ceiling is much higher than that of any of the 
other chambers, and, what is still more remarkable, 
it is in the form of a round arch ; as if the makers 
of this tomb had perfectly understood that this was 


the ittost durable form of a roof, the surface being 
less likely to fall in, and best calculated to support 
the superincumbent weight of the rock. Indeed, 
in a flat ceiling, every mass that falls down is only 
approximating it nearer to the form of the circular 
arch. Probably the frequent occurrence and ob- 
servation of such an accident was what first sug- 
gested the advantages of the form of the arch :• the 
same as in embanking, perpendicular banks are 
readily undermined and overthrown, whereas a gra- 
dually sloping bank permits the spreading of the 
stream, and is by far the most durable. Nature 
herself seems to point out the course by which the 
ravages of time may be most successfully resisted. 
Besides the form of the ceiling, the devices with 
which it is covered are also worthy of attention, 
particularly a group that is immediately over the 
head on stepping down from the chamber of co- 
lumns. The most conspicuous figure in the whole 
is a large black bull, probably Mnevis ; behind him 
is that hideous quadruped on end whom we have 
called Nephthe, the wife of Typhon j and behind 
her, raised on an end, is an enormous crocodile, 
extending his gaunt and gaping mouth over her 
head. This is the devil bedevilled, the most hi- 
deous and hellish-looking pair in Thebes, perhaps 
in the whole assembled monsters in the heathen 
world. In front of the bull, and on a lower level, 
is the lion couchant, having his tail encompassed 
with stars ; and beneath him is a crocodile, which 


a boy seems to be feeding, A train of mummy* 
shaped figures, some with human heads, others with 
dogs', hawks', ibis' and foxes' heads, all of them indi- 
cating different degrees of initiation, are arranged 
on each side, with their faces towards the group. 
There is no group on the other side of the ceiling, 
but a long train of figures with human bodies under 
different heads. The rest of the ceiling is black, 
interspersed with stars. Along the sides and ends 
of the chamber are pourtrayed numerous proces- 
ses with boats, and many representations of gods 
and men. On one end are two square phalanxes 
of twelve monkies in each, and another with nine, 
seated in godly state $ but there are no worshippers. 
Near therp is a scarabceus, receiving adoratioA from 
two persons on their kpees ; and not far from it, 
ixx the cqrner of the room, is a headless sheep that 
h^3 beep slaughtered and skinned, and hung iq> as 
we see then* in the shambles a,t the present day, 
with a vessel beneath it to receive the drops of 
blood. Along the side is a number of human figures 
h} red or white, seated on chairs. One boat has a blue 
crocodile on board, which, however, is much more 
like a beaver ; it has a human h?ad above its own, 
to shew the dependance of maq on this amphibious 
god, ; or, more probably, to intimate the cruelty of 
the animal as the reason for whiph it was worshipped* 
Near the boat is a dejected female on her knees, as 
if bewailing some serious disaster ; and beside her 
is a serpent turned round in a circle j it is not de- 


vouring its tail, for the bead and tail do not exactly 
meet, though they are only separated from each 
other by a small space. Within the circle ia 4 
number of emblematical devices ; two of then? q? $ 
the little squat deities so often mentioned ; a thin} 
is a human being, having a ecarabaeus for his head ; 
he has a staff in his hand, and appears to hav? en-, 
tered by the opening between the head apd tail of 
the serpent, but has only advanced a little way, till 
he is overturned and laid prostrate. It is impos- 
sible to contemplate such a device without attach* 
tag to it some interpretation. The circle is em- 
blematical of eternity, which, in some part of its 
circuit, admits that portion of duration which is 
called time. A human being, the creature of a day, 
has entered by the gap, and having fretted his busy 
hour upon the stage, is laid prostrate, and eternity 
is again ready to close upon him for ever. Another 
boat has a large vase on board, like a Florence vaae. 
A third boat has on board a representation of a 
globe, or the moon set in a crescentic frame. Many 
Other curious devices arrest the eye, all of therp in- 
teresting y but it would require a volume to describe 
them, and if fully done, it would be a most interest- 
ing and instructive work. Off this chamber, to the 
right, is a small room, which is merely whitewashed ; 
the wall is plain, without any devices whatever, 
excepting in the door the portraiture of a majestic 
head-dress, with two horns spread in a wavy line 


beneath it ; and near it are a few letters in a cha- 
racter which I did not understand, probably the 
enchorial. On the left off the large chamber, an- 
other door, ornamented with the hieroglyphics of 
the hero and the globe with serpents and out- 
spread wings, leads into another chamber, in the 
centre of which are two square columns, on the 
sides of which the hero makes his appearance be- 
fore the different deities, as already mentioned. 
On the last, that is, on the side of the column 
which is farthest from the door, he makes his ap- 
pearance before Osiris, who may be said to be in 
his highest character of godship. His body-dress 
is white ; his hands are black j the crook and handle 
of the scourge are blue ; the lash of the scourge is 
yellow ; he has a tippet of curious workmanship, 
red, black and yellow, which last is the predo- 
minant color. His head is the top of the column, 
which is said to indicate stability, and resembles 
four modiums, of different sizes and colors, placed 
above one another, with a long square yellow cross- 
bar lying between each of them, like the strike laid 
over the mouth of the corn-measure for levelling 
the surface of the grain which it contains. The 
hero seems to encircle the god in his arms, as if it 
were his duty to take care that proper respect 
should be shown to him ; his left arm is round his 
shoulders, and we see his hand rising up by the left 
side of his head, but not touching it, and his right 


hand is extended before him, and he seems in fond 
and anxious supplication. Only one of the tablets 
is over his head, namely, that which contains the 
crown, the little squat deity, and the globe, all of 
which are red ; the tablet itself is yellow, bound 
round with a black line. On another column are 
two sheep, slaughtered and skinned, with their 
heads cut off, and hung up by the ham, as above 
described, with vessels below them for receiving the 
blood. Here we are also presented with an exhi- 
bition which it would be more agreeable to my 
feelings to hide from the light, and cover with the 
veil of eternal oblivion ; but truth must be told ; 
here a human sacrifice stares us in the face. Three 
human beings rest upon their knees, with their 
Beads struck off; the attitude in which they im- 
plored for mercy is that in which they met their 
doom ; and the serpent opposite erects his crest on 
a level with their throats, ready to drink the stream- 
of life as it guggles from their veins : the executioner 
brandishes the ensanguined knife, ready to sever 
from the body the heads of the three other unfor- 
tunate men who are lying prostrate, and held by a 
string behind him. The Christian's yoke is easy, 
and his burden is light. See what paganism ex- 
acted from its votaries. Ophilatria, or serpent- 
worship, originated in Chaldea. Eve was deceived 
by the glozing of the serpent ; she abandoned her 
Creator, and sacrificed herself and her posterity in 



compliance with his dictates. The apoetacy begun, 
spread, like a circle in the water, over Ethiopia, 
Egypt, Greece and Italy, and the isles, and traces 
of it are still to be found in every quarter of the 
ancient world : and there have not been wanting 
individuals who, more absurd than the church of 
Rome, preferred it to Christ, and insisted on its 
real presence in the Eucharist. It taught man, to 
his woeful experience, the knowledge of good and 
evil, and might hence be worshipped as a sanitary 
deity, or an object of terror. Moses, at the com- 
mand of God, raised a brazen serpent on a pole to 
cure the bite of the fiery serpents which the Lord 
hsd sent to punish the Israelites. Over the door, 
the two tablets, that have distinguished this illus- 
trious individual throughout the tomb, are doubled, 
and round the walls are seated a number of vari- 
ously headed priests. Hare we have also the green 
crocodile or beaver, and a long serpent, with a hu- 
man head over his own, and the handled tau be* 
neatb his chin j four rams, with a scarabseus over 
the hack of each, and a separate row of scarabaei, 
of different sizes. A bench of ?ock is left at the 
bottom of the w^Jls, all round this room, about the 
height of an ordinary sideboard ; it is well finished, 
and painted like the other parts of the chamber. 
The principal devices are tiger-shaped couches, 
covered with the skins of that animal. Here* is 
also the appearance of several doors or gateways 


drawn upon the front of the bench. They we 
composed of two upright stones, with a cross plinth 
at the top, stretching from the one to the other* 
Above this cross plinth, or lentil, are raised three 
circular arches, the one above the other ; they are 
in close contact, and ought rather to be regarded 
as one arch composed of three circular rows, as if 
for greater security ; and they appear to have been 
constructed in order to relieve the lentil from the 
superincumbent weight ; in the same manner as we 
have seen in the entrance to the great pyramid, that 
the stones immediately above the lentil, or flat stone 
that formed the roof of the passage, were placed on 
end, and their upper extremities met at an acute 
angle, like the pointed arch, evidently for the pur- 
pose of removing the pressure from the lentil. This 
is a curious illustration of the same principle in the 
form of the round arch, and tends to show that at 
that time the Egyptians felt that something was 
necessary to keep the superincumbent weight from 
the lentil, but did not know the principle upon 
which it is now constructed, and therefore supplied 
its place as above described ; so that the form of 
the arch was at first introduced to relieve the lentil, 
and when its power and principle became known, 
may be said to have almost superseded it entirely. 

From this chamber, which from the greater fresh- 
ness of the coloring I should imagine to have been 
the last that was finished, we returned to the large 


chamber, and on our left passed into another large 
chamber, the largest of any in the tomb ; it is 
about 40 feet long, and 17 feet wide. It has four 
square columns in the centre, which are all in one 
row ; one of the columns has fallen down, and the 
chamber has never been finished. There is no 
painting on the walls ; and they have been but very 
imperfectly whitewashed, and it seems to have been 
merely a lumber-room. Mr. Belzoni found in it the 
mummy of a bull, and several small figures of a 
sort of pottery ware, vitrified externally, and of a 
remarkably fine blue color. When we visited the 
tomb, all these were of course gone ; but there was 
an immense number of wooden figures in it, about 
eight inches long, of the shape of the human body, 
and covered with asphaltum; the legs were not 
divided, the hands were crossed over the breast, 
and they had the appearance of mummies, and were 
probably intended to be given to friends as a me- 
morial of the deceased, to whom they probably bore 
a slight resemblance, for they are different, both in 
feature and shape, in different tombs. They are 
generally made of the wood of the sycamore tree, 
and were in such countless numbers in this cham- 
ber, that it may be looked upon more as a general 
storehouse than a receptacle for those merely that 
were intended to serve the purpose of a single 

From this magazine pf stuff we returned again 


to the principal chamber where our attention was 
engaged by the choicest morsel of antiquity in the 
whole tomb, an alabaster sarcophagus of nine feet 
five inches long, three feet seven inches broad, and 
two feet two inches deep. It is of a yellowish white 
color, and translucent ; it is covered, both within 
and without, with hieroglyphics, sphinxes, and curi- 
ous devices, which are in intaglio, and painted blue. 
The lid had been dextrously fitted on, falling with- 
in a ledge, which remains entire all round, except- 
ing at the angles of the diagonal, where it has been 
broken, in order to raise the lid, which has been 
completely shivered to pieces ; which shows that the 
tomb had been opened by no friendly hand. Many 
of the fragments were lying about, but the greater: 
part of them had been carried off. Such as we 
found were covered with hieroglyphics, as on the 
body of the sarcophagus. The alabaster was re- 
markably fine, and the workmanship excellent, and 
the only objection to the entire beauty of the piece 
is, its being of the mummy, or common coffin shape. 

From under the sarcophagus, there went off a. 
narrow passage, about six feet high, and four feet 
wide ; it was filled up with rubbish, and fragments 
of the rock, that had fallen in from the sides and 
roof of the passage. Mr. Bebsoni pursued it to the 
distance of 300 feet, when he found it obstructed 
with the detritus of the rock, and bats' dung. It 
is remarkable that this latter occurrence did not 


induce this fortunate discoverer to prosecute his 
researches a little farther, for he had now evidently 
reached a point from which this passage must have 
communicated with the open air, by another en- 
trance than that by the tomb, and which has been 
obstructed by part of the roof falling in. The bats 
could not have entered by the tomb which we have 
just described, for there is not a soil or pollution 

on any part of it. A little excavation would have 


unravelled the mystery, and it would probably have 
been found that it ended in a common passage that 
goes completely through the mountain, and from 
which the whole labyrinth of these curious excava- 
tions might probably be examined. It is anxiously 
to be wished, that some future traveller would 
resume the researches which Mr. Belzoni discon- 
tinued at this point : many and greater discoveries 
may be the result. 

Over the whole of this tomb, to which I must 
now bid adieu, the colors are remarkably vivid, and 
the painting does not seem to have suffered in any 
way, either from time or human violence. In one 
or two places it appeared to have run, from having 
been laid on in too liquid a state $ but these were 
only discernible on the closest and most careful 
inspection. It is impossible adequately to describe 
the sensations of delight and astonishment that by 
turns took possession of the mind, as we moved 
along the corridor, and examined the different 


groups and hieroglyphics that occur successively 
in every chamber of this most perfect of all ancient 
relics. During the whole of our visit, the eye was 
constantly at variance with the ear. We had been 
told that what we saw was a tomb, but it required 
a constant effort of the mind to convince us that it 
was such. Only one sarcophagus in one chamber, 
and twelve chambers, exclusive of the long corri- 
dor, all highly ornamented for nothing ! It may 
have been a subterraneous temple, exhibiting the 
religious creed of the worshippers, or the rites of 
initiation. It may have been a subterraneous pa- 
lace, like those for the king of Troglody ta ; but 
there never was such a monstrous supposition, or 
such a superfluous waste,' as to fancy that all this 
was done for the reception of this one sarcophagus. 
Another remark that I have to offer, is, that there 
is not one of the usual badges of royalty accom- 
panying the principal personage in this tomb, nor 
any thing by which he can be characterized as a 
king. There is no crown upon his head ; he has 
no attendants, and the hieroglyphics represent him 
chiefly as a priest. The eye is a frequent character 
among the hieroglyphics. It is considered as the 
representation of the Deity, and as such has been 
adopted by the Roman Catholic church, who place 
it in the centre of a triangle, thereby intending to 
represent the Trinity. I can more easily forgive 
them for this piece of idolatry, than for represent- 
vol. i. x 


ing him as an old grey-headed, grey-bearded man, 
or dressing him up like a priest, and setting him in 
a pulpit to preach. Or sticking him up on the ray 
of a Remonstrance, as the humble attendant of the 
Virgin Mary, to put a crown upon her head ; or, 
with a brush in his hand, to paint a glory round her 
brow. It is said, that the church of Rome does 
not enjoin such things to its votaries ; but it knows 
the abomination, and permits it. It makes gain of 
godliness, and traffics in blasphemy : the abettor is 
as bad as the thief. The whole of the hierogly- 
phics in this tomb, are stated by Mr. Belzoni to 
consist of 500 different characters. 

It is also evident that this tomb has never been 
generally open, farther than the well ; thus far the 
hieroglyphics and devices are soiled by the contact 
of the external air ; but it contains no inscriptions 
whatever, which shows that the external entrance 
must have been blocked up at a very early period. 
All within the well, from the entrance-chamber in- 
clusively, is so fresh, and shining with the gloss of 
novelty, that it never could have been generally 
open j for otherwise it must have contracted the 
soil and contamination of those that are still ex- 
posed. And as an enemy would not likely be at the 
trouble or expense to close the orifice of a tomb 
that he had rifled, it is probable that the plunderer 
of this entered from the narrow passage that goes 
off from under the sarcophagus, and where the 


moving of a single stone would let him out or in» 
and the returning of it to its place would prevent 
the entrance of those who were unacquainted with 
the secret topography of the excavation. The nar« 
row passage goes in a direction to pass through the 
narrowest part of the mountain, and to end in a 
rained temple on the other side, which, whoever 
undertakes the interesting task of exploring farther 
(he interior of this mountain, would do well tp exa« 
mine thoroughly. Those, who in ancient times 
advised putting money in the tombs, had generally 
a secret passage by which they could enter and 
take it out j and if the secret plunderers of the 
tombs of the kings in Thebes, resided in this tem- 
ple, now called Northern Dair, their secret com- 
munications with the whole of the tombs, might 
be discovered by tracing this narrow passage from 
the alabaster sarcophagus to its termination, and 
the whole interior labyrinth of the mountain might 
thus be unlocked. Having finished our first sur- 
vey of the valley of Biban el Melook, or tombs of 
the kings, we retraced our steps along the valley, 
and returned to our boats, much gratified, and not 
a little fatigued by the labors of the day. 

On the 20th we revisited the newly-discovered 
tomb, in company with the ci-devant French con- 
sul, whom we found an agreeable and intelligent 
man, and one of the most zealous and successful 
collectors of antiquities in Egypt. He is the only 

x 2 



Frenchman that I ever saw in all my life completely 
run out of the small change of compliment and ad- 
miration. He was so lavish of his civilities on en- 
tering the tomb, and every thing was so superb, 
magnifique, superlative and astounding, that when 
he came to something which really called for epithets 
of applause and admiration, his magazine of stuff 
was expended, and he stood in speechless astonish- 
ment, to the great entertainment of the beholders* 

[ 309 ] 



Our inclinations would have induced us to prolong 
our stay and continue our researches in Thebes, as 
we had begun them ; but, on mature consideration, 
it was deemed more expedient to proceed imme- 
diately up the Nile, before the subsidence of the 
water should render the higher levels of more 
difficult navigation. So after a general survey of 
the antiquities on both sides of the river, we got 
on board, and on the 22nd proceeded up the Nile, 
in prosecution of our voyage. Our researches in 
the venerable capital of ancient Egypt were only 
suspended to be resumed with greater vigor on our 
return. The wind was light and variable, and we 
had scarcely proceeded half a mile up the river, 
when we were becalmed ; but at Luxor a favorable 
breeze sprung up, we soon lost sight of the caverned 
mountains of Gornou, and Medina Thabou, and 
in the evening arrived at Hermont, a small village 
on the west of the river. Availing ourselves of the 
little light that remained, we walked up to the vil- 
lage in the cool of the evening, when crowds of 
men and women collected around us ; but on learn- 
ing that the ruins of the beautiful temple of the 

310 ESNEH. 

ancient Hertnont were at too great a distance to 
be visited that night, we returned on board, accom- 
panied by a numerous escort of men and dogs. 
Next morning we resumed our voyage at an early 
hojur, and having a favorable breeze, arrived at 
Esneh at half past two o'clock, p. m. Esneh is a 
respectable looking village, containing from 1500 
to 2000 inhabitants. It is situated upon the west 
side, and close upon the brink of the river. It is 
the residence of a bey or prince, whose power, sub* 
ject to the control of the Defterdar bey of Ossy- 
out, extends to Assouan, the extremity of Upper 
Egypt. We had left his Excellency at Gheneh in 
company with his Superior of Ossyout, and found 
here a young Albanian colonel governing in his ab- 
sence, to whom we immediately paid our respects. 
He was seated in the hall of audience, with a numer- 
ous assemblage of soldiers and citizens around him, 
smoking tobacco and drinking coffee. This was the 
second time that we had found the receiving cham* 
ber up one pair of stairs j and it was such a wretched 
concern, that there is not a pot-house in London 
but can afford a better. At first our reception was 
rather cool } but on his noble visiter presenting the 
colonel with a letter from they bey of Ossyout, his 
countenance lightened up and assumed the more 
agreeable expression of complaisance and smiles* 
Pillows to sit upon, instead of the hard uncovered 
floor, and pipes and coffee were immediately or* 

XSNEH. 91 1 

deied. #e informed m that we sboald have every 
thing we required, and that on his life he was bound 
to serve us. Our demands were limited to a sheep 
or two, and some bread, for which we were obliged 
to wait all next day. The bread was to be baked* 
and the sheep were to be caught ; yet, strange as it 
may seem, these could not be obtained in Thebes* 
What a miserable reverse for the city of the hun* 
dred gates ! A breath unmade it as a breath had 

Next morning we visited the temple. It is the 
only ruin in Esneh, and stands in the middle of the 
town ; it is built of sandstone, and is much smaller 
than the temple at Denderah j but resembles it in 
the moulding passing down the angles, as if to en* 
dose the whole building in a frame. It enters from 
the east, and the columns in front, like those at 
Denderah, are engaged in the wall. There an 
twenty-four columns in the pronaos, six rows with 
four columns in each. The columns are all of the 
same proportion, and the leaves of the springiog 
lotus, like the calyx of a flower, form the capital 
of each } but no two capitals are the same. The 
Egyptian taste is variously uniform. The glebe 
surmounted with serpent and wings, forms theusnil 
ornament over the door, and up the centre of the 
pronaos. Different devices, resembling those at 
Denderah, are introduced on the ceiling, be twe en 
the rows of columns ; and between the last row and 

312 ESNEH. 

the wall on each side, are represented what have been 
called the twelve signs of the zodiac. The figures 
said to represent the signs are the same with those at 
Denderah $ but the number of stars on the ceiling are 
much fewer, and the decorations and arrangement 
are different Here the ascending signs begin with 
pisces and end with leo j at Denderah they begin 
with aquarius and end with gemini, or as expositors 
will have it, the beetle. Here the descending signs 
begin with aquarius and end with virgo, between 
which and leo there is a sphinx ; at Denderah the 
descending signs begin with capricornus and end 
with leo. From the summer solstice, here supposed 
to be in virgo, it has been concluded that this 
zodiac or ceiling at Esneh is 2145 years older than 
that at Denderah, where it is in leo, and that it was 
constructed 6000 or 7000 years ago. Another philo- 
sopher, not satisfied with the antiquity ascribed to 
it in this account, asserts that the zodiac at Esneh 
was constructed when the summer solstice was in 
Capricorn, which was only 14,000 or 15,000 thou- 
sand years ago. I have already stated my reasons 
for regarding the ceiling at Denderah as a repre- 
sentation of the mythological beings and devices of 
the Egyptian pantheon. The same observations apply 
with equal force to that which has been called the 
zodiac at Esneh. These I shall not, in this place, 
either repeat or enlarge. But in reply to the charges 
of prejudice and superstition which the abettors 


of the French philosophy have brought against the 
believers in the chronology of Moses, it may be re- 
marked, that the most undiluted fanatic who kisses 
a wooden saint for salvation, or presents a golden 
heart to the Virgin Mary for safety, is not more 
credulous and absurd in his practice and Belief, 
than are such philosophers. All this the history of 
human science and opinions sufficiently testify, from 
the days of Thales and Aristotle, to the days of 
Locke and La Place. The French philosophers 
themselves, Barokhart, Visconti, and Depuis, differ 
from one another, in no less a period than from 
2000 to 8000 years, and cannot state, on sufficient 
grounds, what they would have the world to believe, 
or what they themselves believe to be the truth. 
Yet they would ask mankind to surrender their be- 
lief in the chronology of Moses, and believe what ? 
Esope ne dit pas ; wise men do not inform us. So 
far from believing that the zodiac at Esneh was 
constructed 7000 or 15,000 years ago, I believe 
that it is no zodiac at all, and that then the world 
had no existence, there was not a drop of water in 
the Nile, a grain of sand, a human being, or a ve- 
getable on its banks. Let philosophers prove the 
contrary if they can from any zodiac in existence. 
A late admirer of the French philosophy, in treat- 
ing of the secular variations in the apparent motion 
of the sun, has the following remark. The line of 

314 ESNEH. 

the apsides continually moving round, must at one 
period have coincided with the line of the equi- 
noxes. The lower apsis or perigee in 1750, was 
278°. 62 11 from the vernal equinox, according to 
La Caille ; and the higher apsis was therefore at the 
distance of 98* .6211. The time required to move 
over this arch at the rate of 62' annually, is about 
5722 years, which goes back nearly 4000 before our 
era — a period remarkable for being that to which 
chronologists refer the creation of the world. The 
Devil never sent the bane, but the Almighty, at the 
same time, sent the antidote ; and were the question 
at issue on the score of probability, we should enter 
the above as a set-off against all the zodiacs, or my- 
thological documents that the world can produce. 
But it has long since been decided upon higher 
grounds, at which philosophers may kick, but 
which they cannot shake or overturn. We resume 
the description of the temple. 

The columns, and the walls within the pronaos, 
are covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics, which 
are far from being so well executed as those on the 
temple at Denderah. The pronaos is much filled 
up with small drifted sand, and the sekos so com- 
pletely so, that we could only see the top of the 
door; but could not enter. The sculpture apd 
hieroglyphics on the exterior of the temple are 
equally defective in execution with those in the 

DAIR. 315 

pronaos, and a number of Arab huts are so closely 
built up round the north side of it, that nothing 
below the moulding can be seen* 

Having finished our examination of the temple 
of Esneh, we proceeded to Dair, which is about 
three miles down the river, and considerably inland, 
towards the mountain. Here are the ruins of a small 
temple in a much more dilapidated state than that 
at Esneh, with the remains of the supposed twelve 
signs of the zodiac also sculptured on the ceiling of 
the pronaos. They are arranged in the same manner 
as those at Esneh, the ascending signs beginning 
with pisces, are entire ; the descending signs begin 
with aquarius, and the three last and part of the 
fourth have fallen down, The walls are covered 
with sculpture and hieroglyphics, but the workman- 
ship is inferior and unequal. There is a good 
figure of Harpocrates seated on the budding lotus, 
within the pronaos ; and on the north-east corner 
a hero is represented with a hatchet in his hand, 
as about to inflict the punishment of death on a 
number of unfortunate captives. The walls of the 
temple are built without rubble or hearting, after 
the manner of the Parthenon, or other Grecian tem- 
ples. Was this the style of building used by the 
ancients 14,000 or 15,000 years ago ? The country 
all round is flat and extensive ; the soil is good, 
but imperfectly cultivated ; and beautiful fields are 
lying quite desert, with a tuft of hardy grass spring* 

316 DAIR. 

ing up here and there ; all the other vegetables hav- 
ing perished through lack of moisture. As there 
is hardly any rain in Egypt, it is necessary, after the 
subsidence of the inundation, to water the ground 
from time to time, which is done in the manner 
already described; otherwise the whole country 
would be covered with dust, and all the vegetables 
decline and die ; with the exception of a few hardy 
plants, which being retentive of moisture, grow in 
the sand. Avert the current of the Nile, as was 
threatened by the hostile monarch of Abyssinia, and 
Egypt would become a dusty desert; a theatre 
for the beetle to roll his ball, and the lizard to frisk 
about undisturbed, but unfit for the habitation of 

Next morning the arrival of the Bey was expected, 
and the day was ushered in with firing of muskets, 
huzzaing and the most tumultuary shouting; indeed, 
the night was scarcely permitted to depart, ere the 
noisy uproar of acclamation began. The Mussul- 
mans throughout are but congregated savages ; they 
have neither reflexion, taste, nor refinement in their 
mirth. About eight o'clock a. m. the object of their 
wishes arrived, a fat purfled hog, vomiting smoke 
like a fumarolo of Etna. As our preparations for 
our voyage were then completed, we did not remain 
to be introduced to his Excellency. Our combus- 
tified cook had quarrelled with his situation, and 
retired to an Egyptian dunghill abreast of the boats. 


He expected to be courted and entreated to return, 
but a few minutes delay procured us another, and 
we proceeded on our voyage j leaving him behind 
to make love to the sulks, in the position he had 
chosen. It was only exchanging a Chaldean for a 
Circassian ; what we lost in cookery, we gained in 
originality and beauty. 

At first the wind was low, and we proceeded 
slowly up the stream, the banks of which were not 
diversified by any unusual scenery. We never 
failed in crops of wheat, and the whitening dhourra, 
almost ready for the sickle, cotton plantations, sugar- 
cane, and fields of balmie, a pleasant leguminous 
vegetable; plenty of Persian wheels busily at work; 
the naked or half-clothed natives loitering along the 
banks, or a solitary shiekh upon an ill-favored ass, 
plodding his dusty way to a neighbouring village, 
numbers of which : lay scattered over the plain at 
different ►distances* At length the valley narrowed, 
the mountain-chain on each side approached nearer 
the river, and in the evening we arrived at Eleithias, 
which is situated on the east bank of the Nile. 
. Early next morning Captain Cony and myself 
set out for the village, in company with the inter- 
preter, .who went in quest of eggs and milk, and 
the purchase of such antiquities as had escaped the 
researches of former tiavellers, or had been disco- 
vered since . they had taken their departure. The 
natives came around us in crowds, offering for sale 

318 BLtlTHIAS. 

Greek and Roman coins, of which they had but a 
poor assortment, and those chiefly of the eras of 
the Ptolemies and Justinian, of which we had pre* 
viously possessed ourselves of a tolerable collec- 
tion ; so that excepting two or three scarabaei, we 
found nothing to increase our store of Egyptian 
antiquities in the village of £1 Kob. The people, 
as usual, both men and women, were poorly clothed ; 
but apparently in a state of perfect equality, healthy 
and of a good habit of body, with complexions 
decidedly darker than the inhabitants of Thebes. 
The huts in which they resided, were of the usual 
description, inclosing a space of about 12 feet in 

Having returned to the vessels, we breakfasted, 
and then proceeded, in company with the Earl and 
Countess of Belmore, to inspect the ruins of the 
old town of Eleithias, which is on a lower level, 
and nearer to the river than El Kob. The well- 
worn track lay along the edge of a fine field of 
dhourra ripening for the sickle. The stem of the 
plant rose to the height of seven or eight feet, while 
the heads hung down in a large cluster composed of 
several thousand seeds. It is one of the most pro- 
ductive crops that the earth produces \ one stem 
his been counted to bear between five and six thou* 
sand seeds. The stony ruins of this ancient town 
are very inconsiderable ; six columns of a ruined 
temple, and two walls, as if they had formed part 


of a chapel, with a notable figure of the celebrated 
Nephth6, some fragments of statues and sphinxes, 
with the vestiges of many mud-houses, and a tank 
of muddy water, comprise the field of ruins. The 
walls of the town, which are of large unburnt brick, 
still remain ; but the bricks are too fresh, and the 
walls too entire, to allow us to refer their erection 
to the ancient Egyptians* They are about SO feet 
high, and 20 thick, and enclose a space of about a 
mile long, and three quarters of a mile broad. About 
half a mile to the north, opposite to the salient angle 
of the mountain, there is a small peripteral temple, 
dedicated to the cotemplar divinities Isis and Osiris, 
in several parts of which they are represented as 
affectionately embracing each other. Bat none of 
the temples at Eleithias can long engage the atten- 
tion of the traveller, while the interesting scenes 
pourtrayed in the sepulchral grottoes are so near at 
hand. These grottoes are cut in the front of the 
adjacent rock, which looks to the south-west, and 
commands a view of the village £1 Kob, with much 
of the scenery on both sides of the Nile for a con- 
siderable way up the river. 

These sepulchral grottoes are inferior both in di- 
mensions and decorations to those in Thebes ; but 
are extremely interesting, in as far as they repre- 
sent many circumstances connected with the private 
life and customs of the ancient Egyptians, which 
are not to be found in the tombs of that ancient 


capital. In one of the largest of them, and the first 
into which we entered, our eyes were delighted with 
the representation of a number of people engaged 
in the pleasing and healthy pursuits of agriculture. 
The husbandman himself is abroad in the field among 
his laborers, followed by an attendant, much in the 
same manner as a cachief or a shiekh would be in 
the present day ; only in the picture before us, the 
attendants bear a chair, a mat, and a water-pitcher 
behind their master ; whereas, in the present day, 
the attendant would carry a mat, a musket, a water- 
bottle, and a tobacco-pipe. His laborers are en- 
gaged in ploughing, hoeing, sowing, and rolling. 
The plough is made of three pieces, two upright 
handles and a beam, and seems merely intended 
for scratching the surface, on which account it is 
drawn by men, the ground being too soft to support 
the weight of oxen, which we find harnessed to the 
plough in other places. .The same scene, with im- 
plements nearly of the same construction, may be 
seen in Egypt at the present day, immediately after 
the subsiding of the Nile ; so that it is no defect in 
the composition of the picture to have omitted the 
manner of watering the ground, as Mr. Costaz will 
have it ; ' for, at the season of the year in which the 
artist has laid the scene of his representation, that 
operation was unnecessary, and never practised un- 
less on the higher ground which had not been over- 
flowed, and never at the time when they are em- 


ployed in ploughing, hoeing, sowing and rolling, 
but during the period of germination and growth ; 
a season which the artist has passed over altogether, 
because man is then little employed in the field, 
and brings us to the harvest, that important period 
which crowns the hopes and labors of the hus- 

Here the laborers are represented reaping, bind- 
ing up, and gathering in the sheaves ; the oxen in 
treading out the grain, the people in winnowing it. 
This last operation is performed in the same manner 
as it is in Egypt and Nubia at the present day, and 
as it was in this country before the introduction of 
those useful machines called fanners ; namely, by 
raising up the grain in baskets, and falling it before 
the wind, which purifies it from the chaff: it is next 
carried into the granary, and afterwards served out 
in sacks, which are weighed and numbered down 
by a clerk, and carried on board a boat which very 
much resembles the present maash ; it has a dif- 
ferent rudder, and a differently shaped sail, which 
below is attached to a wheel that traverses on the 
top of the cabin. In another part, the laborers are 
represented engaged in pulling, collecting, and un- 
bolting the flax. Next we are introduced to them 
occupied in the vintage ; a harvest which can hardly 
be said to exist at the present day in any part of the 
East, owing to.the strict prohibition of the use of 
wine to all true Mussulmans. The grapes are cqI- 

vol. I. Y 


lected and pressed in the wine-vat, from which the 
wine is taken out, put into jars, and laid by on 
shelves. The painting is rude, but the scene is 
extremely interesting j every thing is distinct, and 
we enter, heart and soul, with the ancients of our 
race, into the enjoyments of the scene that is pour- 
trayed before us. The harvest being concluded, 
the riaster and the mistress, whose profit and com- 
fort it was, assemble their friends to rejoice along 
with them at a banquet They themselves, elegantly 
attired on the neck and head, and painted on the 
body, as is the custom in Java and other Pagan coun- 
tries in the present day, are seated together on a 
broad low-backed couch. The master holds a lotus 
stem in his right hand ; his wife, edging in upon 
the couch behind him, lays hold of his right arm 
with her right hand, and placing her left hand on 
bia left shoulder, seems to admonish him of the ar- 
rival of their guests ; he drops the lotus with his 
band upon his knee, and both, with a happy and 
^THflKtfed countenance, (the word seems to quiver 
on their lips,) prepare to entertain their fripnds. 
The gy^sts who have arrived, are seated in row* 
Uipon the ground, men and woipen, half kneeling \ 
m attitude which does not well comport with their 
*PP*Ka&oe, and way therefore b$ considered, a* 
fer a*. n«tipwd: mapjiem axe concerned, a* only rq- 
jgewfttatf ttat deference which equals reader to 
equal* j and k in the posture which many *f the 



common rustics assume at table in the present day. 
Each of the guests holds a lotus stem with the 
flower in his hand, of which he seems to be eating. 
Some are presented with a cup to drink ; others are 
presented with different dishes, that they may par- 
take of the viands that stand ready prepared on the 
sideboard ; others of the guests aire just arriving, 
and seem to be introduced by a person clothed in 
« leopard's skin. 

Music is superadded to enhance the delight of 
the entertainment. One female plays on a harp 
with nine strings ; another on a double flute, and, 
whajt is curious, covers the holes of the flute on the 
left side with the fingers of the right hand. She who 
plays on the harp is attired in a head-dress with 
feathers, unlike the player on the harp exhibited in 
the tomb in Thebes, whose head is uncovered and 
closely shaved. Along with the music dancers are 
also introduced : three females are dancing toge- 
ther, and one little man is capering and flourishing 
away by himself, with a club in each handy which 
he is ready to discharge into the air, now that the 
fields &e clear, and the flocks can feed more at 
larger without so frequently disturbing his repose. 
The farm-yard is filled with oxen, cows, sheep, goata, 
mules, asses, and a herd of unclean swine, all wait- 
ing to be entertained in their turn. JHerodotus 
states that pigs were driven upon the sown fields to 
press the seed into the ground* or, more probably, 

y 2 


for compressing the black lootny earth, and thereby 
giving it consi$tehce, to be mdre retentive of the 
seed and moisture, as the pattering of a flock of 
sheep is employed to do in the present day. Super- 
added to all these busy and important occupations, 
are the agreeable amusements of fishing and fowling; 
cutting up and curing the game, with such pre- 
parations for winter as we should hardly think had 
been practised in Egypt 3000 years ago, had not 
the present picture forcibly impressed them on our 

Every feeling of the human heart has its reverse : 
joy is opposed to sorrow, as life is to death, or light to 
darkness j and it is the present custom of the world 
to enjoy each separately, as little as possible affected 
by the other. At the conclusion of their banquets, 
however, we are informed that the ancient Egyptians 
were in the habit of carrying round the mummies 
of their departed friends, exhorting their guests to 
eat and to drink, and to make merry, for that in a 
short time they would be in the state of the dead, 
whom they now contemplated : thus intimating that 
pleasure is the business of life ; that man ought to 
quaff the cup of enjoyment while he can hold it to 
his lip ; and that to break up a scene of jovialty 
while able to prolong it, is as great folly in any man, 
as to die when he has it in his power to live % not 
reflecting, that to husband our pleasures is to pro- 
long the period of enjoyment, and that for all these 


things God will bring us to judgment Seed-time 
and harvest have frequently been regarded as em- 
blems of life and death, and represented by a feast 
and a funeral ; we have seen the former part of the 
exhibition, and we now turn to contemplate the 
latter. In another part of the tomb the funereal 
procession is here represented, conducted by men 
bearing torches, and accompanied with mourning, 
at the side of the bier. Last of all, an offering is 
presented to Osiris by a person with outstretched 
hands, kneeling on one knee behind it ; the god is 
seated, with his hands crossed over his breast, hold- 
ing the scourge and crook, which are raised up to 
his shoulders. The offering here appears to be ac- 
cepted, 'it remains turned towards the deity, who 
looks complaisantly towards the suppliant. In many 
other places, the lotus and the offering is turned 
away from the deity, as if it were an abomination 
to him, and he is represented as frowning with in- 
dignation and wrath against the offerer. The inte- 
rior of the tomb is profusely covered with hierogly- 
phics, and in the extremity of it are three sitting 
statues, a man and two females. In another are 
represented a death-bed scene and preparations for 
embalming, with exhibitions of hunting and rural 
sports. In this tomb the harp has only seven strings. 
/The work on these tombs is much more disintegrated 
and decayed than that on the temple; showing 
thereby its greater antiquity. There is a drawing 

826 EDFOUi 

of the greater part of these scenes which I hire just 
described, in the large French work on Egypt, but 
which are much more correctly given in the draw* 
ings of Major Hayes, which accompany M r. Hamil- 
ton's excellent work on the same subject ; but there 
are still many omissions, which it is hoped some future 
traveller will supply. The Egyptian traveller should 
be a perfect glutton in antiquarian lore, and let 
nothing in the shape of antiquity escape his pencil 
which falls under the eye of observation. 

We returned to our boats at one o'clock, p. m. j 
after which we immediately set sail, and in the 
evening arrived at Edfou. Here there is another 
magnificent temple, in a state of tolerable preserva- 
tion. Its lofty situation and elevated propylon* 
render it visible at a considerable distance, and we 
approached it under all the religious feelings of the 
place. It stands on the west bank of the river, 
about a mile inland ; but we had to pass it about 
a mile and a half before we found a proper landing- 
place, owing to the height of the bank. It looked 
so beautiful in the evening sun, that we longed with 
impatience for next morning's light to afford us a 
nearer interview- 
Almost as soon as it was day, we set off along 
with the interpreter, and having passed through a 
field of dhourra, which skirted the edge of the river, 
soon gained the beaten track, and in about half an 
hour's walk reached the village. Edfou contains 

from 1500 to 2000 inhabitants ; of whom several 
families are Coptic Christians. The natives manu*- 
facture blue cotton doth and jars of earthenware^ 
with which they supply the neighboring districts. 
On our arrival, we were met by a number of men 
with pipes of tobacco in their mouths, fitting off to 
resume their occupations in the fields, and saw a 
still greater number seated in clusters, inhaling 
its tranquillizing fumes, and enjoying the genial 
warmth of the morning sun, which had not yet shot 
out its fervid rays to render the shade more agree- 
able. Troops of females were returning from theit 
morning excursion to the river, and> wrapt up in 
their brown mantles of dirty betine, With their water- 
pitchers on their heads, seemed more disgustingly 
picturesque, and less inviting, than any thing in 
Hie garb of the fair sex I ever witnessed. We 
paced on our way through the dusty lanes of thfe 
village, calling on the inhabitants for sweet milk* 
butter and eggs, precious stones, statues* and such 
other antiquities as they could furnish. At first, 
they Were efcttemely shy in presenting eitheir thfe 
one or the other, imagining that we Were the fbte- 
tunners of a party of Turks, come to survey the 
ground, and that we would make no scruple in 
appropriating to ourselves whatever We found, with- 
out making them any suitable compensation m re- 
turn. On the interpreted, however* explaining to 
thfeffi who W« wete, and what Wai 6U* object it 

328 zdfov. 

visiting Edfou, and hearing besides our repeated 
calls for antiquities, a demand that is never known 
to issue from the mouth of a Turk, they became 
satisfied of the purity of our intentions, and gave 
us as much of the eatable commodities as we had 
occasion for, eggs at about three farthings a dozen, 
and milk proportionably cheap : but as for antiqui- 
ties, the town had been so completely rifled by in- 
numerable forerunners, that hardly any thing valu- 
able in that respect was left behind. We found 
the natives remarkably civil, living in all the com- 
fort that lice and fleas, dirty clothes, dirty houses, 
and barking dogs can impart. The number of the 
latter is quite incredible, and they are so furious in 
their onset, that it is hardly possible to withstand 
them, which is matter of no small astonishment, 
when we recollect that in the creed of the Moslems 
the dog is held to be unclean, and must not so much 
as be touched ; and if by any accident they do come 
into contact with this faithful companion of our 
race, they must wash themselves in water before 
they can say their prayers, or enter the harem. A 
true Mussulman generally carries along with him a 
mat, a cloak, or bit of cloth, on which he. regularly 
prays, and the purity of which he watches with the 
utmost vigilance. If a dog happen to touch it, or 
even to tread upon the place on which it is usually 
spread, he is excited to the most furious indigna- 
tion, and if not restrained, would severely chastise, 

EDFOU. 829 

if not put the animal to death. The mat, before it 
can be used again, must be shook and brushed, 
and cleaned j and, strictly speaking, ought to be 
washed in water, or where water cannot be had, 
rubbed with sand. The place itself must undergo 
a similar purification, or be exchanged for another. 
We had a dog with us on board the vessel, and when 
the poor animal choose to run about, it was ridicu- 
lous to see the capers which the Mussulmans cut 
to avoid him, both master and sailors, and to keep 
him off the spot sacred to their devotions. With 
every respect for the religious feelings, or even 
superstitions of others, we cannot help feeling emo- 
tions of pity, or at times disgust, arising in our 
minds on witnessing so much stress laid upon un- 
essential. Such a man would purloin another man's 
property, or even imbrue his hands in his blood, 
but would not touch a dog, nor a drop of wine, or 
a bit of pork or consecrated paste for the world. 

On the highest ground, and in the north-west 
corner of the village, stands the magnificent temple, 
pre-eminent above the whole, as the ancient was 
above the modern Egypt. Numerous brick huts 
have been erected on the top of it, in the peristyle, 
and all in front of the propylon, so that in any way 
the access to it is difficult, and to the interior of 
. the cella impossible. The propylon, which rises 
in the form of a truncated pyramid, is the most im- 
posing and one of the best proportioned in Egypt* 

830 EDFotr. 

It gradually narrows from a base of 90 feet long, 
by 80 feet wide, on each side of the gateway, till 
at the height of a 100 feet it measures on the 
flattened top 75 feet long, by 18 feet wide. It rises 
up on feach hide of the gateway like two square 
towers without embrasures, each of which is pro- 
vided with handsome stairs, entering from the gate- 
way, by which to ascend to the different chambers, 
and to the summit of the whole. Over the entry 
is the globe with serpent and wings, and on each 
side a colossal figure of Isis, from 25 to SO feet 
long, is sculptured in the wall. Her head is attired 
with the handled modium, and her hand is raised in 
& soft devotional attitude, as if enjoining awe and 
solemn thought to all who would enter the pre- 
cincts of the holy place. She is attended, as usual, 
by the hawk-headed deity, of equal dimensions j 
&nd, removed to a small distance, is another human 
figure equally colossal, holding a hatchet in his 
right hand, which i& raised in the attitude of strik- 
ing* The sacred bird with outspread wings hovel's 
above his head, marking him as a being of the 
highest order j but the object, on whom he is about 
to inflict the terrible Mow, is not seen, on account 
of the accumulation of brides and mud at the bot- 
tom of the wall. • The expression of the couftte- 
fiftttce is remarkably mild; a character that is gene- 
tally applicable to all the countenances made by 

the Ancient Egyptkn artist*. It has bee* said that 


under this representation, the ancient Egyptians in- 
tended to represent the Divine Being, in the act of 
creation* though the very presence of the hatchet, 
an instrument of destruction* would seem to indi- 
cate quite the reverse. In regard to dignity <rf 
appearance, however, it must be conceded that it 
is not inferior to those by which the Greek and 
Roman Churches have employed, and still employ, 
to represent the great and invisible Author of the 
world, and all that it contains ; on whom Time lays 
no hand* who is without beginning of days or end 
of years. 

Within the propylon is an open court, or dromon 
inclosed with high walls, covered with sculpture* a 
and adorned with a peristyle of eleven column* • 
round, along each side, and five on each side of the 
door- way, all covered with sculpture and hierogly- 
phics. Adjoining the court, at the north end, te 
the protiaos or facade of the temple t it has &ix 
columns in front, which are engaged in the waU 
about half way up, and tied round like a Greek co- 
lumn a little below the capital* which con&tets of a 
congerie* of leaves or petals like the calyx of fe 
fkrner— 0f the doum tree, the date, or the lotus. 
The column next the door, on each side, is the 
same, and the capital is fashioned like the leaf of 
the doum, ot Thebaic palm tree. The two middle 
columns, one on each side, are also the same, and 
the capital resembles the leaf of the date tree j then 

382 EDFOt/. 

th6 two on each end are the same, and resemble 
the budding lotus ; so that the six columns in the 
front of the pronaos have only three varieties. 

Over the door, above the moulding, is the globe 
with serpent and wings ; and passing off on each 
side, over the front of the building is a hawk with 
a tablet of hieroglyphics, and globe with wings, 
alternating. Below the moulding, and over the 
door, there is also a globe with serpent and wings, 
and the same device is repeated on each side, which 
consists of beetles, long-tailed monkies standing 
erect, men worshipping the sun, tablets of hierogly- 
phics, and people reading them. The line is ter- 
minated with men bearing offerings, and three 
hawks at each end, placed one above another. The 
moulding goes down the corners of the temple, the 
same as at Denderah and Esneh, so as to include 
the whole in a frame. Down the front are numer- 
ous hieroglyphics, with offerings presented to Osiris 
seated, and backed by Isis, with a conspicuous 
figure of a man spearing a tortoise before him. 

Within the pronaos there are two rows of co- 
lumns on each hand, three columns in each row. 
The capitals are of the same description, with those 
already mentioned, and are similarly ornamented 
with sculpture and hieroglyphics j the globe with 
wings is painted along the centre of the ceiling, 
and each intercolumniation has its peculiar orna- 
ment and devices ; but there is no zodiac to tell 

edfou. 38S 

whether the temple was built 15 or 20,000 years 
ago. The walls around are similarly ornamented with 
Osiris, Isis, and Horus, seated and receiving offer- 
ings. The entrance to the cella or sekos is quite 
inaccessible, from the accumulation of sand and 

The exterior of this beautiful temple is covered 
with similar decorations as the interior, only the 
figures are larger and of course less numerous. 
Isis here in several places, has her hair done up in 
the fashion of the Berberi Arabs; and that of the 
priest who presents offerings to her, is dressed in a 
similar manner. He has a hawk in the act of flying 
from bis breast, and is busily employed in throwing 
incense into a censer which he holds up before her. 
Osiris is usually seated and presented with offerings. 
In one place a priest is represented as cutting up a 
fawn on an altar before him. Harpocrates seated 
on lotus leaves, the two-headed scarabaeus rolling 
his ball, the horse, the ibis, the hawk, the ram, and 
even the unhallowed pig, are all represented on the 
walls of this magnificent edifice. The whole of 
which, like the other temples, has been surrounded 
with a high stone wall, to exclude the unhallowed 
gaze, and protect it from violence ; but excepting 
towards the north, and a small portion on each side 
of the cella, it is entirely banked up with rubbish. 

Not far from the large temple that we have been 
describing, and on a lower level towards the south- 

west, stands a small peripteral temple, which is 
said to have been dedicated to the worship of Ty- 
phon. It resembles the small temple at Depderah 
in its decorations, hut not in its plan. This horri- 
ble dwarf, whom Denon calls a giant, occurs fre- 
quently on the outside of the temple, particularly 
above the capital of every column $ but in no place 
is he presented with offerings* or treated as an ob- 
ject of worship j and saving his appearance, which 
ia not unlike that of Le Sage's diabfa boiteux, 
only that his legs are entire, though rather crooked, 
there » not an exhibition on the whole temple that 
would authorise us to call this the evil Genius, the 
Typhon of antiquity* On the west end of the 
temple, Isig is seated in a chair with lotus flowers 
springing all round her like the rays of remoiv 
strance, indicating fertility and abundance. In ano- 
ther place she is nursing Horus, and looking at 
Osiris, who holds another child on his knee. Here 
we have also a figure of Nephth£, with Horus stand- 
ing behind her, holding the sacred Tan in his hand, 
and a number of women seated on their knees, 
with children in their arms, in the same manner as 
we have described them in die small temple at 
Pendecah. Indeed, the whole of the emblems on 
this temple would rather convince us that it had 
been dedicated to the Genius of population and 
plenty, than to Typhon the Genius of eviL 

this Typhon I would beg leave to remark, 

B&fou. $35 

that though he h*s no trident to point him out as 
the undoubted sovereign of the ocean, yet in his 
figure he resembles, extremely, those representations 
of the watery god that we find in many pieces of 
ancient mosaic, in which he is designated by hiA 
characteristic badges v one of which we have in the 
British Museum. The beard, the hair, and the* 
lineaments of the face, correspond in a wonderful 
degree ; and what tittle chess he is provided with, 
is exactly the same with that which the sailors on 
the Nile employ when they have frequent occasion 
t? strip off their clothes and jump into the fiver. 
Hi* good wife Nephth£, has the bead, hind l4g& 
and very much the body of a Hippopotamus, a* 
wiraal almost peculiar to the. Nile i and both tfte 
towns, at which his temples are founds were marts of 
commerce, and resorted; to by traders both up and 
down the river. Hence, under this character, the 
Egyptians probably represented Neptune, th^ir river 
or sea god, and not Typhon the destroyer, or the 
enormous {pant Typhosus* whose image we are in- 
formed by Plutarch, was the crocodile or the wol£ 
In the time of Herodotus the Egyptians disavowed 
«)1 allegiance to Neptune ; but under the dominion 
of the Greeks, they were oot ashamed to own his 
sway, of which* I think, both tins and the smaU 
temple, at Deudsrah are tolerably convincing proofs* 
The eelia erf this temple is equally blown up with 

356 AGLEET. 

sand as the others, and we found it impossible to ob- 
tain a view of the interior. The calcareous rock 
still continues, and on it the temples are founded* 
Having finished our survey of the temples, which 
are the only ruins at Edfou, we inquired for tombs, 
but saw none ; hence we returned to our vessels 
and set sail immediately, and having proceeded a 
little way up the river, we stopped to procure some 
charcoal, which we could not obtain at Edfou, at a 
small village named Agleet, which is about a mile 
and a half from the Nile on its eastern bank. On 
our arrival at the village, we found plenty of the ar- 
ticle that we were in quest of; but the person who 
had the charge of selling it would not permit us to 
have any without an order from the cachief or 
governor of the district. Our couspasha, a sturdy 
Turk, represented to him that he was there by the 
appointment of Mahomet Ali, to see that the noble 
traveller and his party were accommodated with every 
thing they wanted ; to which his black antagonist, 
proud of a little brief authority, that authorised him 
to refuse a Turk, immediately replied that he was 
thereby the same order to see that no person obtained 
any without the permission of the cachief. The 
black had the best of the argument and power to 
support his right ; and as it was impossible to move 
him from his purpose, our swift-footed Greek, there 
was no alternative, set out for the house of the 

KDFOU* . 337 

governor to obtain his permission, and in a little time 
returned with a peremptory order that we should 
instantly be served, which was readily complied with. 

During the absence of the interpreter, I remained 
with the natives, and though it was but for a short 
time, they did not hesitate to beg ; some asked for 
money, some for their supper, some for arrack, an 
intoxicating spirit distilled from the date, and al- 
most all for one thing or another ; even the chief 
man of the village was not ashamed to beg. One 
or two may be relieved, but where all are beggars 
from the passing traveller, none can or ought to be 
served. Those to whom he gives, as they ask with- 
out consideration or necessity, are never satisfied, 
and return almost immediately to repeat their cla- 
mors $ and those from whom he withholds, fancy 
they had an equal right, and become insolent from 
neglect ; a hubbub is raised, and the traveller is 
both robbed of his peace and his money, and creates 
enemies, where it was his duty and his interest to 
have conciliated friends. If he give to none, none 
are offended ; they often ask without expecting to 
obtain, and if any thing be said to amuse them, they 
cease to importune, and become listeners or in- 
Btructors, instead of tormentors. 

On seeing me write with a pencil they were quite 
surprised at the color of the ink, and also that the 
pen never wanted dipping. I gave it to one of 
them and desired him to write with it. He tried* 

vou 1. z 


and succeeded, to his great joy and surprise, and 
called out to his friends "chotab el calm — the pen 
writes; 99 as if imagining that I had done it by some 
secret spell, which would not answer to the call of 
a stranger. He then looked at it all about, and 
shook it, and asked his friends to show him where 
the ink was, and seemed quite transported. I was 
Sorry I could not leave it with him, it being the 
only one that remained of all my store, and to my 
ho small surprise he returned it with the most per- 
fect complaisance, without my having occasion to 
ask for it. 

This delay, short as it was, obliged us to remain 
here all night. Next morning the 29th, at an early 
hour we again set sail. At first the same scenery 
continued, the banks were cultivated to the river's 
edge with rich crops of dhourra, waving over the 
plain. After a little, however, the valley narrowed; 
and on arriving at Hadjr Silsily, the flat sand-stone 
rock came close to the river on each side. We per- 
ceived many excavations in the front of the rock ; 
some of them exhibiting the pilaster, facade and 
pediment, not unworthy of an ordinary sized Gre- 
cian temple. The place on both sides of the river 
seemed of great interest, but the wind being favor- 
able, we passed on and left the examination of it 
tiB our return. There is no village at liadjr Sil* 
sjdy, which is as much as saying that there are n* 
inhabitants, for single houses are never met with ia 


Egypt. We were much delighted with the view of 
Koom Ombos, its ancient temple, and beautiful 
portico, in a very dilapidated state ; we passed it 
about ten o'clock, a. m. Here the river takes a 
turn to the west, and the cultivated soil again met 
our eye. 

On the 30th we oontinued our voyage. The coun- 
try still narrow, the Persian wheels abound, with 
plenty of palm trees, and the land in good cultiva- 
tion. Our attention was attracted by a number of 
people going to and fro along the base of the 
mountain on the western bank $ some with burdens 
on their backs, others going to fetch them from the 
salt mines in the neighborhood. Assouan is the 
principal mart for this valuable commodity, with 
which it supplies Nubia, and all the country round 
for a great extent. Under the line, where a per* 
son can hardly walk in the heat of the day, what 
must it be to carry a burden ? About two o'clock, 
p. m. we came in sight of the mountain range that 
bounds the extremity of Egypt towards the south. 
On the west of the river, the mountain range that 
had accompanied us all the way from Cairo, desti- 
tute of vegetation throughout the whole extent, be* 
gan to assume a bolder aspect, rising into a round 
bluff point, overlooking the plain, the town, and 
ruins of Assouan, the island of Elephantina, the 
rugged cataract, and the branching Nile. It is call* 
ed Djibl Howa, or mountain of the wind. Its sum* 

z 2 


mit is crowned with the tomb of Shiekh Bass, an 
honored Maraboot ; half way down its side are the 
extensive ruins of the convent of Saint George 
with numerous vaults and excavations, soliciting the 
attention of the enquiring traveller. On the east 
bank of the river the mountain is low, the valley 
more extended, cultivated and covered with the 
picturesque palm tree. The aspect gradually as* 
cends in a rocky inclination, and, winding towards 
the west, terminates at the river, in a precipitous 
granite cliff, on which stand the ruined walls and 
houses of the ancient Syene. Passing the eye 
along the river as we advanced, it was impossible 
not to be impressed with the singular majesty of its 
appearance, parted at the bottom of the cataract 
by the granite base of the green and beautiful is- 
land of Elephantina, it poured along its sides as if 
from an invisible source, and, having joined its di- 
vided waters at the low northern point of the island, 
held on its noble and rapid course to the ocean. 
On the western bank, passing up the river from 
Djibl Howa, all is rock and sand, itself being the 
highest point j the view passed over the villages and 
ruins of Elephantina, the mountain ridge, the mo- 
dern and ancient Syene that bound our prospect 
to the south ; and it seemed as if we had reached 
the extremity of our navigation, as we had done 
that of ancient Egypt. We proceeded up the east- 
ern branch that washes the eastern shore of the 


island, and having passed a few granite rocks that 
rear their tops above the surface of the water, and 
& few palm trees that shade the lower part of the 
town, upon our left, we hove into a small winding 
bay, under the walls of Assouan, and made fast to 
the bank at five o'clock, p, m. on the 30th of No- 
vember. We were within a few hundred yards' dis- 
tance, but not yet within hearing or seeing of the 
far-famed cataract 

[ 342 3 



Immediately on our arrival, the Aga of Assouan, 
a mild respectable-looking little gentleman, of about 
fifty years of age, came on board, accompanied by 
his suite, to pay his respects to the rioble traveller, 
and to offer him every aid and facility that he could 
afford to forward him in the farther prosecution of 
his voyage. His worship was received with suit- 
able respect, which consisted in giving him a com- 
fortable seat in the cabin, a pipe of tobacco, and a 
cup of coffee. We learned from the Aga, that we 
might with perfect safety go into Nubia, but that 
the boats which had brought us to Assouan could 
not take us any farther, being too large to sail up 
the cataract ; that it therefore behoved us to leave 
them, and engage others which were to be had at 
the top of the cataract, where the Nile again be- 
came navigable, to which he very politely offered 
to accompany us. The following day was fixed for 
the expedition ; and, after an early breakfast, Lord 
Belmore and myself, along with the janizary and 
interpreter, waited upon the Aga for that purpose. 
The Turks are generally considered as early risers j 
and I shall not speculate upon the time at which 


his worship sprung from the embrace of Morpheus, 
but at eight o'clock we were ushered into his pre- 
sence, before his head had escaped from the hands 
of the barber, and saw all the shorn honors of his 
locks spread around him. The Turks shave the head 
completely over, and part of the cheek ; .some of 
them wear beards, and some only mustachoes, The 
Arabs also shave the head, and a little bit on each 
side of the under-lip, but commonly reserve a small 
circular tuft of hair on the crown, by which they 
expect Mahomet will one day pull them up into 
heaven. The Aga, though taken by surprise, in- 
vited us to sit down on the miserable wooden 
benches that furnished his apartment ; and, having 
given orders to bring out the houses, withdrew to 
another corner of the court to finish his toilet. By 
the time that he returned the horses were announced, 
so we mounted altogether, and immediately set out. 
The road lay over a narrow sandy flat between the 
mountains, which are low j those on the right con- 
sist chiefly of large masses of granite, apparently 
water rolled and piled on the top of each other. 
The sides and loftier pinnacles of the mountain are 
here and there ornamented with the tomb of an 
honored shiekh, which is built in the form of a cu~ 
pola, provided in the inside with a mat for praying 
on, and a large jar of fresh water for drinking, and 
for performing the necessary ablutions. The water 
is renewed as often as there is occasion, the ex- 

844 Assouan. 

penses of which, and the repairs of the totob, artf 
defrayed by a fund left by the ahiekh for that pur- 
pose. Numbers of these tombs, and numbers of 
ruined mosques, lie scattered all over the rocky 
field about Assouan. On the left of our route lay 
several deserted villages, and we perceived, at the 
bottom of a high mountain that fronted our course, 
an extensive wall of unburnt brick running in an 
easterly direction j soon after which we passed a 
small hamlet, and in about ten minutes arrived at 
the village of Emb&p, which is the port of the Nile 
at the top of the cataract, as Assouan is at the bot- 
tom of it. This is not a country for inns in which 
the traveller can repose; without, in the shady 

side of the house, or under a branching tree, is his 


place of rest — the greatest compliment, as it un- 
questionably is the greatest luxury. Having rode 
past the village towards the river, we alighted under 
a tree, gave our horses in charge to an idler, and 
proceeded to inspect the boats. The appearance 
of these nautical mansions stunned us not a little ; 
small open miserable-looking cock-boats. What 
splendid vehicles to carry a noble family to the se- 
cond cataract of the Nile ! In descending from the 
accommodation of the upper to that of the lower 
ranks of society, the greatest shock is experienced 
in the first step. Moving from an elegant mansion 
to a comfortable vessel, occasions the sacrifice of 
many comforts j from an elegant vessel to a djerm, 


many more ; from a djerm to a maash, is rather pro- 
motion ; but from a maash to a Nubian cock-boat, 
is the absolute bathos, the ne plus ultra of low ac- 
commodation. Ups and downs had reconciled us 
to changes, and, bad as the boats were, they were 
the best that could be procured. To encourage us 
in our undertaking, the Nubian mariners informed 
us that they would cover them with straw and palm- 
tree mats, to shelter us from the sun, and thus render 
them comfortable both during the day and during 
the night, and that the objection to their size could 
easily be obviated by increasing their number. Bad 
as the accommodation was, the place afforded no 
better mode of conveying the traveller to the second 
cataract ; and the question resolved itself into a 
short compass, — take this, or none. Every heart 
replied in the affirmative, take this certainly, with* 
out a moment's hesitation. Having seen the ves- 
sels, and the mode in which they were to be rigged 
out for our voyage, we returned to the shade of the 
tree under which we had alighted ; and, having par- 
taken of a collation of dates, which some friend of 
the Aga had provided for us, we remounted our 
steeds, and returned to Assouan, the distance being 
about one hour and a quarter, or nearly four miles. 
Strabo describes Correctly the appearance of the 
rock? on the left of the route, going from Philoe to 
Assouan ; but where he found a plain of an hundred 
stadia to cross, I am at a loss to conceive. Whe- 


ihex the statement be applied to the extent of the 
doping rocky surface on the right, or to the dis- 
tance by the road, it is equally at variance with 
truth. Philoe is not above a quarter of an hour dis- 
tant from Embap. From Emb&p to Assouan we 
travelled the regular road that I suppose has been 
there since Assouan was a town, or Philoe was in- 
habited, and we were only about an hour and a 
quarter, which makes the distance about four miles. 
As for a cultivated plain, there is none in all the 
tract susceptible of cultivation ; all is rock and sand, 
and the blighted surface of the stony world shat- 
tered into fragments, as if the giants had been con- 
flicting or straining to heap stone upon stone ; even 
the cultivation along the edge of the river is en- 
tirely interrupted at Assouan. Between that and 
Emb&p, following the course of the river, are two 
or three small villages, and a few scattered patches 
of verdant and cultivated surface, but nothing that 
can be called a large field or plain ; and by the di- 
rect or common road there is not one cultivated 
spot. This is the empire of granite, and basalt in 
mountain masses, or in giant blocks, that might have 
composed die vast and Cyclopian tower of Syene. 
Or our arrival at Assouan, we proceeded to batr 
gain for the vespeis ; for though they could be seen 
only at Emb&p, they could be bargained for here. 
Tim aJSwded us an opportunity of seeing the minds 
and temper of the men, and their eagerness tower* 



reach a stranger in a contract. What a wretched world 
we should have were man its only governor, whose 
only object is self! One of the natives, a fierce- 
looking Arab, asked us fifteen hundred piastres, 
about thirty-seven pounds, for a four-handed ardep 
boat, to go to the second cataract and return, which 
is but about a month's voyage, besides a baxis, or 
pecuniary gratuity for taking it up the cataract to 
£mb£p. The proposal was no sooner made than 
it was rejected ; it was demanding a third more 
than was paid for the maashes that had brought us 
from Cairo, which were at least a third larger, and 
twice as well manned. It being impossible to bar- 
gain for this, four of the smaller craft that we had 
seen at Emb&p were engaged, for one thousand 
piastres, or six-pences, to carry us up the Nile as 
far as the second cataract, to stop or sail as suited 
our convenience, and to bring us back again to the 
village from which we were to start. As the agree- 
ment was made in presence of the Aga, it was not 
considered necessary to have it written, because he 
undertook that the Nubians would perform their 
part of the contract ; but for myself, I should al- 
ways prefer to have the terms of the stipulation 
written down ; then, in case of any misunderstand- 
ing, there is a certain appeal, and you can hold up 
your paper, and say, with the Italian, Questo il patto, 
This is the bargain, by which all parties must abide. 
Orders were given to equip the vessels with all pos- 


Bible despatch, and while that was going forward* 
we examined the ruins of Syene and Elephantine 

N6xt day* the 2d of December, was employed in 
walking about the town, and viewing the remains 
of the ancient city, which lies on the south of the 
present It was abandoned on account of a severe 
plague, which seldom visits Assouan, but which at 
that time raged with such alarming violence, that 
it was adviseable to leave it, since it would not leave 
them; accordingly, the inhabitants, attached to 
their native spot, moved just the breadth of the 
city, and the north wall of the ancient, in one part, 
forms the south wall of the present Assouan. The 
whole town is encompassed with ruins; but the 
most interesting are in and about the old town, 
which occupies a higher and more conspicuous si- 
tuation. The walls still remain ; they are slight, 
of sun-dried brick, and are very entire. They are 
flanked with towers at different distances, and the 
position is naturally strong. The houses are built 
of the same material, many of the walls of which 
are standing ; but they are all \inroofed, and much 
larger than the general description of houses now 
met with in the ruined villages in Egypt. This 
ruined town of Assouan, that now glares upon the 
spectator like a naked skeleton, is of Saracenic 
origin, and has been built on the ruins of another 
that, like it, has also been constructed of. brick. 
Many passages descend from the interior of the 


present ruined houses down to the chambers of the 
former ones beneath them, and which have been 
decorated in a style greatly superior to the houses 
that have succeeded them, and which are now ready 
to receive another superincumbent. We saw several 
granite columns of Roman manufacture, and the 
remains of several statues, overturned and sunk 
deep in the rubbish at the lower part of the town, 
near the southern wall. Without the eastern wall 
is the burial-ground of the ancient city ; it is also 
that of the modern. Many grave-stones are lying 
here, covered with inscriptions in the Couphic cha- 
racter, which is the ancient Arabic. Their simple 
and unaffected appearance, with the few unassuming 
lines, the stones resembling in size and shape those 
that are found at Dair, on the west bank of the 
river, bespeak them of the primitive ages of Christi- 
anity. They are doubtless the tomb-stones of the 
natives of the country, inscribed with the epitaphs 
in their native character, and their native language. 
I should have been happy to have seen an intel- 
ligent Coptic priest try to decipher them, but there 
are no Copts and no Christians at Assouan. All 
around ruined churches and ruined convents stare 
the traveller in the face, and sink into his heart ; 
but no smoke rises from a Christian hut, nor peal- 
ing anthem to the Saviour of sinners ; all are Mus- 
sulmans, and strangers to the Christian faith. 
Along the lower part of the rocky flat that 


stretches out towards the north-east, several wells 
present themselves ; but in none of them does the 
water rise higher than the level of the Nile. We 
searched with much anxiety for that which has been 
called the tropical well, into which the sun shone 
vertically on the vernal equinox, and then gradu- 
ally retreated towards the south. We cannot flatter 
ourselves with having been more successful in our 
researches than our predecessors had been ; and in 
my humble opinion, no such well ever existed. 
Ancient geographers and philosophers have stated 
the circumstance on the reports of the priests, who 
were the only learned men of the time ; but none 
of them have condescended to inform us in what 
part of the town or district it was to be found ; and 
in as far as the tropic is concerned, all of them must 
have been speaking to a fact which they never could 
have witnessed j for, from the best and latest ob- 
servations, the sun could not have been vertical at 
Assouan for these five thousand four hundred years, 
a period at which, in all probability, there was no 
body there to observe it. We did not omit to visit 
the small stone building which, on what authority 
I know not, has been called the observatory of 
Syene, and said to have been built over the mouth 
of this tropical well. It is situated in the north- 
west corner of the rubbish, in a sort of appendicle 
to the ancient town, facing the Nile, a little way up 
from the quay, near the place where the boats usually 


harbor. It is certainly a likely place to find water, 
if the digger chose to go ,deep enough, but a very 
unlikely one for any person to make a well. It is 
but about 200 yards distant from the river, and the 
perforation down to its level must be through at least 
100 feet of rock. This is not likely to have been 
a natural well, formed by the bursting of a bubble 
from the great central fire, and the excavation is not 
likely to have been made 5400 years ago ; neither 
is the situation likely to have been chosen for an 
observatory, on account of its being relatively low, 
nor the building ever to have been employed as 
such, on account of its size, which is only 33 feet 
long and 22 feet wide. It is in the form of 
a temple, and enters from the east, though the 
building is not quite east and west by compart. 
The roof is flat, and covered with broad' flags, 
the same as the other temples, with two aper- 
tures in it, answering to two chambers below. The 
apertures run from south to north, the direction of 
the flags in the roof; their sides are not marked with 
any notches, nor formed with any particular care, 
and the apertures are not opposite to, nor appear 
to have any relation or connection with each other. 
The door was quite obstructed with the rubbish, so 
that there was no entering by it ; but a window in 
the south readily admitting us, and we dropped down 
into the interior of the building, in which there are 
only two small chambers, divided by a stone wafl, 

852 ASSOUAN*. 

with a door of communication. The outside is 
adorned with sculpture and hieroglyphics, as in the 
other temples ; but there is nothing in the inside 
but stones and sand. It does not appear to have 
been finished, and in my opinion this edifice was 
intended for a small fane, or chapel, like the chapel 
of Isis attached to the large temple at Denderah, 
or the still smaller one of Isis and Osiris at Elei- 
thias, and similar fanes in several other places ; and 
may, perhaps, have been used for the daily service 
of the people on the east side of the river, while the 
grand temples, in which the principal ceremonies 
were performed, stood on the opposite island of 
Elephantina. If any large temple stood near it on 
this side of the river, the substructions are now en- 
tirely buried in the rubbish. Several granite co- 
lumns of Roman workmanship are lying at the bot- 
tom of the ruins, on the edge of a delightful alluvial 
spot that skirts the bank of the river running be- 
tween the ancient pier and the point of granite rock 
already mentioned, which cuts in upon the Nile, and 
supports part of the ruins of the ancient Syene. 
It is well cultivated, planted with a grove of palm- 
trees, and is such a spot as meditation would wish 
to call its own j but it is disfigured with three mi- 
serable huts, and is the common thoroughfare from 
the ferry between Assouan and Elephantina. 

Our next excursion was to the island of Ele- 
phantina, which lies directly over against the place 


where we had moored our vessels ; we rowed right 
across, and landed at the Persian wheel, whose noisy 
machinery, creaking without intermission, night and 
day, had both amused and annoyed us not a little. 
Having passed the wheel, we soon arrived at the 
village, which consists of a number of small mud 
huts, huddled closely together, some of which are 
covered with mats, others with branches of the palm 
tree, and many of them not at all. It is the largest 
village in the island, containing about five or six 
hundred souls, and is surrounded with a grove of 
palm trees. The natives came around us offering 
to sell old coins, beetles, beads, vitrified rings, and 
other antiquities. Their complexion is quite black, 
but the feature is slender and elegant, not in the 
least resembling the negro except in color, the hair 
is long. The greater part of the men were abroad 
in the field : it was the season for sowing the barley 
and the flax. Such of them as we saw were, as usual, 
almost in a state of nudity. The women wore 
a great profusion of large variously colored glass 
beads round their necks, along with which there 
was generally an amulet enclosed in a leather case, 
and bracelets round the arms and wrists, but not 
round the ankles, as we find exhibited in the sta- 
tues and sculpture on the tombs and temples of the 
ancient inhabitants of the country. They have the 
largest arm, by which I mean that part between the 
shoulder and elbow, that I ever saw ; in the pride 

VOL. I. A A 


and plumpness of youth it looks remarkably weQ, 
hut as they advance in years it looks flaccid and dis- 
agreeable. The young girls, before they are mar- 
riageable, go entirely naked : from this time till 
they are married* they wear a fringed leather belt, 
tied round the lower part of the body, with the 
fringes falling down the thigh. They are lightly 
and elegantly formed, and possess an animated 
expression of countenance. After marriage, they 
am fully and properly clothed. I never saw any of 
the whites or inhabitants of Assouan, or other parts 
of Egypt, wearing the fringed belt ; but in Ele- 
phantine and at EmbAp, where there are no white 
residents* the custom is universal. In other parts 
of Egypt the young of both sexes,, till about the 
age often or twelve, are frequently to be seen in a 
state of nudity. 

Leaving the village, we proceeded across the 
island through the ripening fields of dbouna, and 
on the other side of it found another Persian wheel 
at work, near two or three miserable huts, winch 
constituted another village. Close by are six mag* 
AiJioent columns of an ancient temple, covered with 
the usual sculpture and hieroglyphics, but no mound 
•ef ruins. Passing on, in a southern direction, we 
came in a little time to an uncovered bed of granite, 
in the edge of the river; along which were many cir- 
cular wel& hollowed out, and full of water. Here 
-wag aUw>an» ancient granite quarry, from which large 


columns, had formerly been excavated j some were 
lying Mocked out and partly wrought ; a large sar- 
cophagus lay two-thirds cut out of the rock. The 
atrcient Egyptians seam to have wrought the granite 
with the punch, in the same manner as the Abre- 
doniana do in the present day. Here we came 
in contact with a huge mound of rubbish that 
stretched from side to side of the upper part of the 
island ; formed of fragments- of pottery- ware and 
ruined temples, the pride and glory of the ancient 
Elephaatina. Continuing our route by the northern 
side of it,, we came in a little time to another vil- 
lage* btiil£ of the same materials aa the former, and 
inhabited by the same race of people. In regard 
to stae, it is the second village in the island, and 
canfatim probably from two to three hundred souls*. 
equally civil and equally unblessed with what in 
this country we should call the comfort* of civilised 

Here we arrived just in time to witness a eoro~ 
nagb off wailing for the dead* A poor wtanan of 
the Village had that morning received the ate* 
lanchftly intelligence that her husband had been 
drowned in the Nile, He had been interred with* 
out hear knowledge near the spot where the body 
w» fettnd, and ahtt.atong with several of her femile 
frfands, was paying the unavailing tribute of lamen* 
tetfitm fo his departed shack* The ceremony,* in 
aa fa* m it fell Under our observation* owaisMdin; 

A a 8 


marching out of and into the house with drawn 
swords in their hands. After howling and stamp- 
ing most piteously, they threw themselves down on 
the floor, as if exhausted, and after a short interval 
arose and commenced the threnody again as be- 
fore. From the house of mourning, we turned our 
regards to the adjoining field of ruins. A granite 
statue of Osiris, which has been mentioned by all 
preceding travellers, and which has not been re- 
moved, because it is greatly defaced, showed us 
the way to a ruined temple, to which it seemed to 
guard and hallow the entrance. The temple is 
small ; 96 feet long and 29 feet wide. It is well 
proportioned and peripteral, with seven square co- 
lumns on each side, and two round ones in each 
end, and does not resemble an Egyptian temple in 
any thing but the sculpture and hieroglyphics with 
which it is covered. Over the door is the usual 
ornament of the globe with serpent and wings. 
Within the cella we have the exhibition of religious 
ceremonies, pouring out of offerings, processions 
with boats, and a good deal of pantomimic show 
between Isis and the priests ; one of whom is su- 
perbly attired with a handsome breast-plate sus- 
pended from his neck, having the device of two 
sphinxes and a canopus in the centre. The temple 
in Elephantina, as we are informed, was dedicated 
to Cneph ; and the serpent, the emblem of wisdom, 
is;of frequent occurrence among the hieroglyphics j 


but the interior of it is so bedaubed with mud, that 
it is impossible to make out any consistent story 
from its walls. The north wall, on the outside, is 
rendered interesting from an interview between 
Osiris and an illustrious personage, who is repre- 
sented in one part with the sacred Tau in his hand, 
and the sacred bird hoveling above his head, in 
conversation with a female attired in a head-dress 
set round with a row of feathers. In another place 
he is represented with a staff in one hand and a 
torch in the other, offering to Osiris geese, ante- 
lopes, &c. ; a little farther on towards the end of 
the wall, he is represented with three sacred Taus 
in his hand, and driving up four bulls as an offering 
to Mendes, three of which he holds by a string 
attached to the fore-foot, intimating that their lives 
are to be spared, and themselves kept in sacred pro* 
tection, while the fourth is loose, to be inspected, 
sacrificed, or dismissed after the manner of the 
scape-goat among the Israelites. As often as we 
see four bulls presented to Mendes, one is always 
loose, and three attached by one foot, as in the pre* 
sent instance. On this temple we have an excellent 
representation of the sistrum, with the face of the 
cat and three cross bars, as above described. 

A little removed from this temple to the south* 
west, are the two elevated shafts of a pyramidal 
propylon, that probably belonged to a larger and 
more magnificent temple, the foundations of which 


may now be sought for under the adjoining rubbish. 
Masses of granite are lying strewed about in many 
places* One of them has the appearance of an tyver- 
turned sarcophagus* Modi ought be found on 
digging into the mound of ruins, but nothing of 
particular interest now lies on the surface. With- 
drawing from this, along the mound of ruin* to the 
eastern branch of the Nile, where the island of Jile- 
phantina approaches nearest to the rock of Syene, 
we find a strong stone wall facing up the bonk, as 
if intended to protect it alike from the assaults of 
the enemy and the encroachments of the river. It 
is evidently but a late erection, and has been built 
out of the ruins of a former edifice, for many of the 
atones, both in the sides and centre of the building, 
are covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics. Many 
fragments of brick and atone buildings exist along 
the ec^ge of the river, indicating that the wfaofe 
were probably of Roman construction. In one pact 
a well-formed stair passes down to the river, which 
aerved the double purpose of a Nilometer, and a 
ready approach for obtaining water for the religious 
ceremonies of the temple. Here along the water's 
edge are numerous circular pits dug in the granite 
rock, ftill of water, and numerous tablets of hiero- 
glyphics, with sculpture on the face of the granite 
rocks, on both sides of the river. Over the whole 
field of ruins are innumerable fragments of pottery- 
ware, and from the highest, or southtnost point of 

it, ibe spectator enjoys a magnificent and extenavva 
view of the whole river, for about half a flhtle, rolfc 
jag down among the granite rocks that . rise np to 
Hs bed, and dividing it into a number xxf separate 
channels, form the cataract, which must be taken 
in its literal acceptation as importing an obstruc- 
tion to the navigation and the equable corrent of 
the river, and not as a cascade or waterfidi, felt 
there is none here. Large disrupted m&sess* ' half 
granite, half basalt, not passing into one another by; 
imperceptible shades, bat each dwtinet, yet as solidly- 
united as if they were one continuous or holm* 
geneous stone. ■ » 

The island of Elephantiha is at present caHnd 
the island of Assouan, the island of Arte, and felJSag, 
which latter denomination is probably from the 
Persian wheel, which is so named in Arabic It is 
about two thousand feet long, andsixinmdred feet 
broad ; the north end is low and alluvial, toeli <c»L- 
trvated, and abundantly shaded with palm tnnau 
Die south end is rocky and elevated, and contain* 
the heap of ruins which has just been described. 
The whole island is extremely beautiftri, and fe at 
present, as it appeals to have been in days <*f yog*, 
entirely inhabited fey Nubians* The branch of the 
Nile that divides it from Assouan, is about 800 feet 
wide, and there is a tegular pasaage4>oat that fltay 
be procured at all times of the day when a person 
wishes to cross to or fixan the isiaiuL The meet 


usual times of crossing are in the morning, when 
the females go over to howl and lament at the graves 
of their departed friends, and in the evening when 
they return, after having performed their melan- 
choly tasks. 

One morning when standing among the ruias of 
the ancient Syene, on the rocky promontory above 
the ferry, I saw a party of thirteen females cross 
the Nile to perform the lugubrious dirge at the 
mansions of the dead ; they set up a piteous wail 
on entering the boat, after which they all cowered 
up together, wrapt in their dirty robes of beteen. 
On landing they wound their way slowly and 
silently along the outside of the walls of the an- 
cient town, till they arrived at their destination, 
when some of them placed a sprig of flower on the 
grave, and sat down silently beside it ; others cast 
themselves on the ground, and threw dust over their 
heads, uttering mournful lamentations, which they 
continued to repeat at intervals during the short 
time that I witnessed their procedure. About four 
o'clock, p. m. the boats generally returned to take 
back the tired mourners to their homes. The fare 
was usually a para, the twentieth part of a sixpence 
per head, and such as had not that generally gave 
a handful of flour, which, in my estimation, was of 
much greater value than the para. 

To the south of the old town of Syene, there are 
many tombs cut in the sandstone rock j granite and 


basalt are not the only rocks at Assouan. They 
are both the highest and the lowest, and the sand- 
stone wraps round them like a mantle. The doors 
of entrance, and the care with which many of these 
tombs have been formed, excite considerable inter* 
est, but they are so choked up with sand and rub- 
bish, that it is impossible to enter them without 
much excavation. Such as were accessible we found 
extremely poor, but they had not that promise on 
the first approach, which many others had, into 
which we could not penetrate. 

We have stated the inhabitants of Elephantina to 
be Nubians, perfectly black, but without possessing 
the least of the Negro feature. The lips are small, the 
nose aquiline, the expression of countenance sweet 
and animated, bearing a strong resemblance to that 
which is generally found pourtrayed in the temples 
and tombs of the ancient Egyptians. The inhabit- 
ants of Assouan are of the Arab race, swarthy, 
partly from the climate, and partly from a mixture 
of Nubian blood* They are a strong healthy look- 
ing people, greatly superior to their Nubian breth- 
ren. I saw here several families that seemed to be- 
long to a third race, differing both in complexion 
and feature, from the inhabitants of Assouan and 
Nubia. Their hue was more of a bronze or reddish 
brown, resembling mahogany, approaching nearer 
both in feature and complexion to that which is 
called the head of the young Memnon, and to the 


figures in the lately discovered tomb, in the valley 
of fiiban el Metook, than any ef the human no* 
that ever fell under my observation. They are as 
different from the Copts in Egypt, both in hue and 
feature, as a Hindoo is from a Frenchman* 

Assouan is the southmost town of ancient Egypt 
The tower of Syene is mentioned by the prophet 
Eaekiel, as on the confines of Ethiopia. EramMjg* 
dol to Syeme is understood to mean the whole ex- 
teat of Egypt, from north to south. It is also the 
last town, in this direction, in which the Arabic 
language is spoken as the vernacular tongue, and it 
ifi proper for the traveller into Nubia, to take an in- 
terpreter, or Turcoman along with him, from tins 
place, who can speak both the Arabic and Nubian 
languages, besides hs interpreter of Arabic into 
the European languages. The Aga of Assouan 
pmvaded us with a person of this description, who 
conducted himself remarkably well ; bnt for whom 
we had hut little occasion, our former interpreter 
having been generally competent to transact the 
whole of our business. 

[ 863 ] 




On the evening of the sixtfi, we were informed that 
tfie boats for our Nubian excursion would be' ready 
on the following day. We had laid in plenty off 
bread, which at Assouan is excellent, both better 
flour and better baked than any that we had met 
with m the whole course of our journey j indeed I 
never ate better bread in the days of my life than 
that which we got at Assouan. Plenty of live stock; 
sheep, poultry, and two milch goats ; eggs, and 
melons, were also among our stores. Lentils w6 
could always procure ; but we had not yet begun 
to use them, and ochr£ or balmie, a pleasant legu- 
minous vegetable, can always be had in any part 
of Egypt or Nubia. Wine or cheese can hardly 
be -said to exist in any part of that country. We 
always succeeded in our attempts to procure a little 
butter as we passed on, and the noble traveller had 
taken care to be well provided with a due assent* 
ment of the juice of the grape, before we left 
Cairo. These were all conveyed to Emb&p, and em- 
barked on board the vessels ; and at half past three 
o'clock, p.m. on the sixth of December, we mounted 

364 NUBIA, 

our asses at Assouan, and proceeded to join the 
little fleet. Our route lay over the same tract that 
I have already described, we held on our way pros- 
perously, and arrived at Embftp at five o'clock 
and after toiling through much bustle and confu- 
sion sat down to dine at seven. The vessels were 
now too small for us to dine on board ; but this 
was no sacrifice for those who had already made so 
many. A mat was spread on the shore, the ground 
was our table, and we all sat down round the cover 
on the sand. The dim light of a single candle 
shining through a cover of oiled paper, suspended 
in the middle from three stems of the dhourra, 
erected like a triangle, shed a feeble ray over our 
repast. Those who know the comfortable house and 
table of the noble traveller, will be at no loss to 
conceive the difference between the past and pre- 
sent situation of the noble family, or duly to appre- 
ciate the voluntary sacrifice which their thirst of 
knowledge induced them to make. No obstacle was 
too arduous to surmount, that lay between them and 
the accomplishment of their object; every privation 
was cheerfully sustained and treated as no incon- 
venience. This is the rough brake that only virtue 
can go through, and I will venture to say, that our 
dinner and our wine were as much relished on the 
sands at Emb&p, as it would have been at any table 
in Piccadilly, or St. James's. The sky was delight- 
fully serene, and without a cloud, and the soft and 

nubia. 365 

balmy air, as much superior to that of Upper 
Egypt, as it had been to any that we had formerly 
experienced, made us feel that winter had mingled 
in the breeze just enough to render it agreeable. 
The heart joys in such a scene, and we left it with 
reluctance at nine o'clock, each party retiring on 
board its respective boats. 

One boat carried the Earl and Countess of Bel- 
more, Miss Brooke and two servants ; another car- 
ried the Reverend Mr. Holt, Lord Cony, and 
the Honorable Henry Cony, with a servant ; 
the third carried Captain Cony and myself, with a 
British tar for our servant, and the Nubian inter- 
preter ; the fourth carried the cook and one of his 
lordship's servants, as superintendants. By this ex- 
cellent arrangement our comforts were neither few 
nor small. Each party breakfasted at its own time 
on board its own vessel, and at sunset we stopped 
for the night, landed, spread our mat on the bank, 
sat down happily around it and dined. But I am 

It was our intention to have sailed at an early 
hour the next morning ; but on giving directions 
for that purpose, it was discovered that the colors 
had been left behind at Assouan, and it was impos- 
sible to sail without them : they were our national 
banners, the badge and ensign of our country, 
which we were determined to display, wherever 
wind or wave should carry us. This was but a slight 

366 nubia. 

detention. Earlj next morning a trusty British 
tar was despatched with a guide back to the vessels,, 
to bring the flag which he had often defended. He 
returned in a couple of hours j but other delays 
occurred, which afforded us an opportunity of ex* 
amining the village and the small patches of 
vation immediately adjoining, and conversing 
the natives. The men here generally go armed 
with long shafted spears, and have a knife concealed 
in a sheath, tied round the biceps muscle of the 
left arm j this they use with great dexterity, and put 
much confidence in it when they come to close 
quarters, and he that attempts to wrest it from the 
*ne hand, unless be look sharp, will probably re- 
ceive it from, the other before he is aware* On en* 
taring Nixbta we were advised by our friends not 
to go ashore without oar arms* and found it a sound 
and wholesome advice. The women at Embdp wear 
the same costume as at Elephantine and though 
black are comely ; and this little village could pro- 
duce two or three sable nymphs that in form and 
feature would bear a. comparison with the average 
of European beauties. They are. remarkable for 
the Mine size of arm^ and I was sazrpraed to see 
many of them with earth upon their heads, whkh 
i* a token, either of mourning, or piety. 

At eleven o'clock, a. m. having wound up our 
concerns, on shore, we spread our sails and bamnsf 
to tiie wwd, and with a favorable: heeeaw begat* in 

THE NILE. $67 

stem the current of the Nile. The scenery around 
was delightfully picturesque, though nought of ve- 
getable growth met the eye. The shattered rpoun- 
taira of granite and basalt rose in black and'awful 
grandeur on either side. Two immense heaps of 
stony fragments occupied the centre of the stream, 
and, while they narrowed the passage, increased the 
rapidity of the current, and made it difficult for us 
to proceed. The breeze was fresh, but our sailing 
tackle was frail, and for some time we struggled 
hard, doubtful whether we should stem the current, 
or, breaking the cordage, yield to its impetuosity. 
Fortunately ail held out, and we weathered with 
safely the outposts of the cataract. The island of 
Philee, like a paradise in the flood, with its majestic 
ruina, immediately burst upon our sight. We passed 
it on the west, admiring its majestic propylon, and 
long ruined wall that stretched along the side of 
the island, to defend it from the encroachments of 
the river. Passing the island, we opened a beauti- 
ful verdant plain ost the eastern bank, at the south* 
ern extremity of which, backed by the contiguous 
mountain* the whitened dome of a ruined mosque 
received our admiring eyes from the monument of 
PhUce. Tina was once a scene of splendor and de- 
votion, as it is now of poverty and wretchedness. 
On the western bank all is rock and sand* 

Advancing a little we found the agriculture im- 
prove. The banks were cultivated down to the water's 

368 THE NILE. 

edge, and the new springing grain looked fresh 
and beautiful. We passed on the east bank the small 
villages of Teek, Tingar, Mahadar, and Ellwa ; on 
the west bank Kaisar, Koolatol, Toonoli, Shemptu- 
luacke, andBaahara; and at Psheer, about three 
o'clock, p. m. we stopped for the night, having tra- 
velled about eight miles. The villages as far as we 
have seen, are small and poor, the huts are generally 
round and ill constructed, inferior to those in 
Egypt. They are built along the edge of the 
mountain, and are nearly concealed from view 
by the high growth of the dhourra, which covers 
the narrow cultivated strip of land that stretches 
along the edge of the river. Several of the natives 
came down to us in the evening, bringing with 
them pigeons, fowls, lambs, eggs, and other com- 
modities which they wished us to purchase. They 
spoke the Berberi language, and made an apology 
to us for not being able to speak Arabic, which, if 
they had, we should not have been much the wiser, 
knowing but little more of the one than of the 
other. In the Nubian language the dove is called 
courrou, the head ourk, the tail ayouk, the eyes 
missi, the feet asseer, the wing aneer, the breast 
took, a hen derbat, a chicken haroush, a pigeon 
minna. I made a considerable collection of Nu- 
bian words, which it was once my intention to have 
published ; but, with the exception of the numerals, 
I shall not trouble the reader with any more of them. 


One, weirou; two, oSu; three, toscou ; four, kem- 
*i ; ifive, deedeu ; six, goodiu ; seven, calladiu ; 
eight, idou ; nine, isco ; ten, deemi ; then for "ele- 
ven, they say ten and one, deemi da weirou ; for 
twelve, ten and two, deemi d'oou. Above twenty 
their numerical words are Arabic. Thirty is tela- 
teen; thirty-one, telateen da weirou ; forty, arbeen, 
&c Any man that sets determinedly about learning 
a language among the natives, will soon succeed. 
Ten words an hour, which he may easily learn, will, 
in a short time, give him all the vocables they pos- 
sess, and by a little practice they will present them- 
selves to his memory when he has occasion to use 

On the morning of the 8th, we set sail about hal 
past six o'clock. The same cultivated scenery pre- 
vailed along the banks of the river, with a constant 
succession of small villages skirting the base of the 
mountain on each side. Before reaching Deboudy, 
which is on the east bank of the river, the country 
widens a little, and round the temple is a beautiful 
cultivated spot The temple itself stands in the 
midst of sand, at a short distance from the village, 
which is also called Deboudy. At Gressgalla, an- 
other small village on the east bank, we stopped for 
the purpose of obtaining fire-wood, which the na- 
tives readily brought down to the bank. There is 
a number of piers or break-waters at different dis- 
tances, built into the water on both sides of the 



river, evidently for the purpose of protecting the 
bank, and preserving to the Nubians the small por- 
tion of arable soil which they possess. In many 
places much of their land seems to have been 
formed or collected in this way, for the piers run 
from the mountain, a little way under the level of 
the cultivated soil, into the river. The culti- 
vated soil is now above the level of the river, so 
that there is little or no inundation, but the land is 
irrigated by the Persian wheels, which are in great 
numbers, and constantly at work day and night 
Round Seyalla the country is also well cultivated, 
and of tolerable extent. Here the natives brought 
us down poultry, which they were anxious that we 
should purchase, and, on being refused, went away 
without abusing us, which was a higher degree of 
civilization than we sometimes met with. Hie 
bank at Abiscou, on the west side, is low and sandy, 
and covered with a great profusion of large masses 
of black stone. This is peculiar to the whole range of 
mountains in Nubia, on both sides of the river, from 
Assouan inclusive, every where the surface is black- 
ened as if from the action of fire or smoke j not only 
the granite and basalt around the cataract are of 
this description, but the white sandstone exhibits 
the same appearance. Many people contend that 
this is from the action of fire. The opinion is un- 
worthy of serious consideration ; but I am unable 
to state whence the color arises. 



About half an hour after sun-set we stopped at 
Gartaas, having travelled between 18 and 20 miles, 
and dined on the bank. After dinner we found 
, our way, by the light of the stars, to the ruins of a 
contiguous temple, which is quite near the river, 
and a few small dry stone and mud huts at the foot 
of the mountain, dignified with the name of the 
village of Am&da. Nothing remains of this temple 
but the portico, and part of the substructions on a 
level with the ground. The portico is but coarsely 
built, and hardly contains any hieroglyphics. In 
the course of this day ' s sail we passed, on the east 
bank of the river, the villages Saga, GemmelJ, 
Meedalgou, Deboudy, Beeren, Gressgalla, Seyalla, 
Coolla, Dehmeet, Gebirky, Gamte, Gassr; and on 
the west bank, Goaltou, Dashee, Gambou, Mariss, 
Merkoss* an island, Abiscou, Dehmeet, Kooroomy, 
and Gartaas. I may mention, once for all, that 
sherghl, means east ; and garb6, west 

On the 9th, we set sail at half past six a. m. with 
a pleasant breeze, and soon passed the ruins of 
another temple on the west, and a pier projecting 
into the river. The current here is unusually 
rapid, the water much clearer, and the rock on the 
shore appears to be sandstone. Excellent crops of 
dhourra, which the people are reaping. The bar- 
ley, lately sown, is springing up a rich and healthy 
plant, under the bank almost close to the water's 
edge. There is no apprehension of rain, or swell- 



ing of the river, to injure the growing crop ; so 
regular is the march of nature in this climate, that 
the natives can speak with certainty of the weather 
of to-morrow, yet they will not do it* If questioned 
about futurity, how little remote soever it may be, 
their reply is, " God is in the knowing of it i ,# and 
in their language, the future and the present tenst 
are the same. Between Gartaas and Hindaou, the 
country has a barren appearance j the soil is shal- 
low, and the rock crops through it in many places, 
find approaches the river on both sides. Round 
Hindaou it opens a little, and the ruins of an ancient 
femple present themselves in a picturesque situa- 
tion $ after which, the mountain comes close to the 
xiver's edge on both sides, and is called Djibl 
^Baheety. Passing this, we open Kalabshi j here 
the horizontal sandstone commences, and again 
the cultivated soil adorns the banks of the river, 
and the people were busily engaged in the labors 
of the field. We reached Kalabshi about eleven 
p' clock, The term applies to a wholedistrict on both 
sides of the river ; but the temple, and village of 
that name, are situated on the west bank, and near 
to the river. The character of the people here, we 
had previously learned from our friend Mr.Belzoni, 
who cautioned ns to beware of them, and to avoid 
passing the night in their village, if possible* The 
boat of the noble traveller was considerably a-head 


of the rest, and on making the land crowds of the 

KALABSftl. 373 

natives came down from the village, armed with 
spears ; this was what we were prepared to expect, 
knowing it to be the custom of the country, and in 
no ways indicative of a hostile intention. His Lord- 
ship landed immediately, and no sooner had his foot 
touched the ground than one of the youngsters, 
armed with his spear, boldly stepped forward, and 
demanded a baxiss ; others were standing by, ready 
to prefer a similar request, and apparently resolved 
to regulate their conduct by the answer returned. 
<* I am going to take a view of the temple," said 
the noble visiter, " and will give yon a baxiss when 
** I return to the vessel." This had the desired 
effect, they continued perfectly quiet without mani- 
festing the slightest symptom of annoyance or dis- 
respect, and, showing him the way to the temple 
began to apologize for not being able to speak 
Arabic. His sword and pistols, and Turkish cos- 
tume, rather made them falter. They did not 
keow well what to make of him ; wherever he wettt 
they followed, calling out, " Turk4 tayeep, Atab£ 
inaphiah :" — a Turk is a good man, we cannot speak 
Araftir»_ Perceiving that the natives wei*e nofc in- 
clined to be troublesome, his Lordship returned ttf 
the vessel to take Lady Belmore ashore. By this 
tisie the rest of the boats had come up, and we all 
landed to the south of a large strong embankment, 
ahd proceeded to inspect the tetople in company. 


This embankment is raised high towards the Nile, 
like that which we have mentioned in the island of 
Elephantina, and forms a regular and extensive 
platform in front of the temple. It is joined with 
the high wall by which the temple is surrounded, 
and would form no contemptible defence against 
the incursions of foes, whether approaching it by 
land or water. 

This temple appears to be more modern than 
any in Egypt, and is built on the same plan. It is 
fronted by a magnificent propylon, 120 feet long; 
24 feet broad, and about 50 feet high. The globe 
with serpent and wings is sculptured over the door; 
but there are no hieroglyphics externally, and the 
whole has an unfinished appearance. The passage 
through the propylon has suffered much from vio- 
lence, and the dromos or peristyle behind it is 
one heap of ruins ; the stones of which are as free 
from soil, as if they had been cut only a month 
ago, and had never been built. There have been 
six columns on each side of the dromos, or peri- 
style, only one of which is now standing, and that 
is on the left hand side. The globe with serpent 
and wings is also over the door, within the propylon, 
and immediately below, are two rows of hierogly- 
phics. To the left Osiris is seated, and presented 
with offerings ; and to the right, Isis, in the same 
posture, shares the same honor ; and thus through- 


out ; as if one side of the temple had been appro- 
priated to the worship of Osiris, and the other to 
that of Isis. 

Turning to the pronaos, we have the same orna- 
ment, the globe with serpent and wings, over the 
door ; on each side of which are two columns 
engaged half way up in the wall, having the palm, 
the doum, and the lotus leaf for the capital. The 
•passage from the pronaos is not ornamented on 
either side ; this still marks the unfinished state of 
the temple : throughout the whole of Egypt I did 
not see one instance of it. The passages are almost 
always adorned with the sacred Tau, and the sceptre 
of Osiris, emblems of the divine protection and 
power, promised to the votaries of the gods. There 
are two columns standing on the left hand j there 
have been two also on the right, which are entirely 
overthrown. There is here a remarkably well cut 
table of hieroglyphics ; and offerings are presented 
to a human-headed, a hawk-headed, and a ram- 
headed deity, and to single-handed Mendes, armed 
with the scourge, Isis is represented nursing a 
child, and in different places she is seen in com- 
pany with Horus, bearing her lotus-headed sceptre, 
and attended by a hawk-headed, a ram-headed, and 
a dog-headed deity. To the pronaos succeed three 
spacious chambers, two of which are nearly of the 
same size, being about twelve paces long, and six 
paces wide; the third, or middlemost, is rather 

&f6 KAZ.ABSH1. 

smaller. Passages go off from them into side cham- 
bers, the. same as at Denderah* Along the w^Jls 
of these chambers the figures are generally paiated 
red and blue, some also remain of the natural color 
of the stone. The figures in red are the objects of 
least consideration, and are exhibited as presenting 
offerings to the figures in blue ; this latter we have 
already stated to be the sacred color belonging to the 
deities, being the celestial hue of their native sky. 
The russet, or red, are generally understood to re- 
present the Egyptians. In the innermost apartment 
the figures are greatly effaced, but there is one of 
singularly good execution, a female seated in a 
chair, holding in her left hand the sacred Tan, 
adorned with a rich necklace, bracelets, and a pro* 
fusion of ornaments ; close to her is another female, 
equally superb in her attire, but inferior in feature. 
There are frequent exhibitions of Osiris, under the 
human form, seated with his sceptre in his hand* 
and presented with offerings, and of Isis with her 
lotus-headed sceptre, enjoying equal marks of deifi- 
cation. The form of worship pourtrayed on the 
different chambers in this temple, is the same with 
that which we have seen on the temples in Egypt* 
but the countenances, both of the gods and their 
worshippers, are different. From the stones and 
walls I copied several inscriptions, but I find they 
are unimportant, and shall not therefore lay them 
before the public, ... 


If aving taken a survey of the temple, we directed 
oip attention to the natives, calling upon them for 
coins, and such antiquities as they had to dispose 
of. This at once broke the spell of our being any 
longer considered as Turks ; the followers of Mar 
hornet care for none of these things. However, it 
made the party be regarded in a fight quite as 
friendly as before. The people gathered round us, 
presenting Roman coins, beads, and vitrified rings, 
most of which were good for nothing. We pur- 
chased, a few of the best, and, having ended our 
traffic, got on board our vessels, and immediately 
act sail, having remained exactly one hour at the 

Before setting out, orders were given to the in- 
terpreter to pay the promised baxiss to the person 
entitled to receive it. This he in the mean time 
pretended to have done, but afterwards acknow- 
ledged that he had not, alleging, in his justification, 
Jhat the people at Kalabshi had used him ill, and 
had attempted to rob him of his coat This was 
no excuse ; and he was given to understand that 
there is a great difference between resenting the 
treatment offered to himself, and obeying the com* 
mands of his master ; these two ought never to be 
mixed up together. Keep faith with all men, and 
scrupulously so with savages among whom you 
travel. The masters word is sacred, and never 
ought to be compromised on any account or pre* 

378 ABHOAfb 

tence whatever, but strictly and unequivocally ad 
hered to. This reasoning, however, touched on a 
point of feeling that was far above the comprehen- 
sions either of the interpreter or the people of Ka- 
labshi ; the latter of whom forgot their promised 
baxiss in being well paid for their antiquities, and 
the former thought he had justly punished them 
for their insolence, in withholding from them the 
promised boon of his master. 

Captain Cony took an observation on the temple 
of Kalabshi, and found the latitude 23* 38 16" north, 
and the longitude 32' 45' 47" east. The same scenery 
continues ; the rock is sandstone on both sides of 
the river ; the cultivated soil is narrow, but in good 
crop. We held on our way as far as Abhoar, where 
we stopped at sun-set, on the west bank of the 
river, having performed about 25 miles; during 
which we passed, in the course of the day, on the 
east bank, the villages Sand&p, Al Bah&p Horahma; 
on the west bank, Hindaou, Kaife, Djibl Baheety, 
Shema, Toombara and Amnalla, both islands, Har- 
toom, Kalabshi, and Abhoar, near to which we re- 
mained for the night. The name of this place com- 
prises the district on both sides of the river, and is 
nearly under the tropic. 

Immediately after landing, we were surprised and 
delighted with a flight of birds, which we discerned 
at first like a thick dark speck in the heavens, which 
gradually enlarged as it approached, and discovered 

ABHOAR. 379 

at length the array and order of their flight. They 
wheeled along their airy movements in the form 
of a semicircle, enclosing within itself numbers of 
smaller circles, the component parts of which were 
constantly shifting their- relative positions ; advanc- 
ing to the front, as if by a sudden impulse, then 
falling back to the rear, alternately occupying and 
giving place to others. The lively competition was 
constantly maintained, each of them every instant 
passing or passed by his fellow. All was grace and 
harmony, not one discordant movement throughout 
the whole array j every thing appeared as if regu- 
lated by a preconcerted plan, in which every mem- 
ber understood and performed his part with free- 
dom and precision, alike the subordinates and the 
superiors. They were too high in the air for us 
to hear any noise from the steerage of their wings, 
or to know what species of birds they were ; but 
we judged them to be cranes. They held on their 
steady flight from north to south, following the 
course of the river, as far as the eye could accom- 
pany them. 

On the morning of the 10th, we resumed our 
voyage at six o'clock, with a favorable breeze. The 
sky was without a cloud, and the narrow strip of 
verdure along the bank of the river, lined with the 
palm, the sycamore, and the acacia trees, was de- 
lightful, perhaps the more so from being confined. 
Hie mind was not expanded, but pleased, and gazed 

380 GASSEE. 

with rapture on the growing plant fresh from the 
shades of night. About eight o'clock we passed 
Wadi Teefi on the east, and Dandour on the east 
and west, steering south south-east. At twenty 
minutes past nine we stopped at Gasser, on the 
west bank of the river, to take a view of a small 
temple which is quite contiguous. On approaching 
it by the river, the first thing that arrested our at- 
tention was the lofty propylon, or gateway, looking 
over a cella between it and the river, and appa- 
rently of recent construction. On reaching the spot, 
however, we found that that which at a distance 
appeared to be the cella, was merely an enclosed 
square between the temple and the river, and which 
was, probably, meant to have been filled up with 
6arth and stone, to form a platform like that at 
Kalabshi. The temple itself is behind the gateway, 
is very small, and seemingly a fabric of more an- 
cient date. 

On the front of the gateway, facing the east, 
there is the usual ornament of the globe, with ser* 
pent and wings, over the door; and down the sides, 
in four separate rows, Isis and Osiris are presented 
with offerings, besides numerous hieroglyphics, ex* 
pressive of the devotional feelings of their votaries. 
One offering is a globe surmounted with a crescent; 
another is stems of the lotus tied together like a 
garland, as long as a walking-staff. There is no 
ornament on the sides <tf the passage, which marks 

GASSEE. 381 

the unfinished state of the temple. It has two co- 
lumns in front, one on each side of the door. -The 
usual orfiament over the door has been defaced. 
On the left Osiris receives an offering, which re- 
sembles a smallfeeble Harpocrates, presented in a 
charger ; the second row is destroyed j in the third 
Lais is presented with a stem and flower of the 
lotus } and in the fourth a row of them is carried 
round the base, as that mentioned on the front tf 
the gateway. The right is entirely occupied with 
representations of Osiris and hieroglyphics. On 
the outside of the north wall of the temple, offerings 
are presented to Osiris and Isis, and the god with 
the ibis 9 head is placed as a companion to the god- 
dess with the lion's head, probably to denote, that 
as man became wise, woman became strong, and 
asserted her rights in society. On the southern 
wall of the temple similar offerings are repeated to 
Isis and Osiris ; here again the latter is presented 
with the little squat Harpocrates in a charger, as 
already iQentioned. 

Within the temple, the vulture with outspread 
wings is pourtrayed along the ceiling ; and along 
the walls offerings are presented to Osiris and Isis. 
Here we observed one difference, — that the sceptre 
of Osiris is bound round with a serpent, as is also 
the lotus-headed sceptre of Isis, This is the first 
place iti/vfrbich we saw the sceptre entwisted with 
the serpent, sad we are disposed to give him credit 

382 GASSER. 


for having been the Egyptian god of physic as well 
as of husbandry. A door enters into this chamber 
from the south, near to which is a Greek inscrip- 
tion, which we had not time to copy, nor even to 
ascertain its meaning ; the second chamber has very 
little sculpture or hieroglyphics; and the third none 
at all, excepting the globe with wings rudely carved 
over a recess resembling a fire-place, but which was 
probably meant to serve as a door of communication 
between this chamber of the temple and a small cave 
that is coarsely hollowed out in the rock behind. 
The wall by which the two were to have been joined 
has not been completed, and the whole temple ap- 
pears to have been left in an unfinished state. 

At ten o'clock we returned on board, and again 
set sail. Lord Belmore and several of the party re- 
mained ashore, and walked along the bank, to shoot 
pigeons and partridges, of which there was a great 
profusion, particularly that which is called the par- 
tridge of the desert, which is so like the sand in color, 
that it required a practised eye to discover them even 
at a short distance. The valley widens considerably, 
and crops of dhourra prevail, which the people are 
reaping with the sickle, a sort of crooked knife, 
exactly the same with that which we see in the 
hand of Osiris, and more like the instrument called 
a hedging-bill than our common reaping-hook. Both 
yesterday and to-day the sky was streaked with light 
flocculent clouds during the day, but at night re- 

MARIA. 383 

markably clear and pleasant j no dew perceptible 
either in the mornings or evenings. The sand- 
stone rock still accompanies us, but very black on 
the surface, as if it had been exposed to the action 
of fire. The sandstone of which the temple is 
built is much iron-shot. 

Piers or breakwaters still continue. About eleven 
o'clock we were becalmed and tracked up the 
river, for about half an hour, when we made fast 
to the bank for the rest of the day and night, at 
a village called Maria, on the west bank ; but there 
are several villages of that name on both sides of 
the river. The alluvial land is very narrow, and 
the mountain not above two hundred yards from 
the river. There is no line of graduation of the 
rock into the cultivated land, as in the generality 
of cases in this and other countries $ the two are 
as distinct in their juxta-position, as land and water. 
At noon an observation was taken for the latitude, 
which was found to be 23° 20' 57", twelve miles 
south of Kalabshi, and 6' 42" within the tropics. 
The male population here go almost naked, the 
children of both sexes entirely so. On landing, 
I walked towards an old man about fifty years 
of age, who was reaping dhourra. On my ap- 
proach, he laid aside his sickle, and placing his 
right hand on his heart, held it out to shake hands 
with me. I did the same, and laying hold of his 
hand gave it a shake, disengaging his hand from 

384 MARIA. 

mine, he applied it to his heart a second time, and 
again held it out, I did the same, and again laid 
hold of his, and so a third time, when we gave each 
other a hearty shake, and laughed at not being 
able to express our mutual satisfaction. He was 
perfectly naked, not even provided with the small 
bit of rag usually worn round the waist. I did 
not much mind seeing the young thus exposed ; 
their plump and lusty sinews seemed to court ex- 
posure, and met the eye under a less revolting as- 
pect : but the sight of the happy old man naked, 
and toiling for his bread, affected me with compas- 
sion for his condition; and made me feel that 
poverty, and not inclination both made him work, 
and deprived him of the covering which decency 
required, while the presence of others similarly cir- 
cumstanced prevented him from feeling his exposed 
situation. This man had been plump and of a full 
habit in his youth j but time had shrunk up the 
jolly rotundity of his frame. The skin only re- 
tained its former dimensions, and hung in loose 
flakes round his back and loins. I never saw such 
a superfluity of leather on any human being. Few 
of the females appeared, but such as did, were pro- 
perly clothed and veiled, and their thick bushy hair 
covered with an oily net to protect it from tbfe sua* 
The whole village consisted of twelve miserable 
dry stone huts, such as in this country a shepherd- 
boy herding half a dozen of sheep or goats on an 


acre of ground would build for his amusement. In 
Nubia the wants of the people are few, and they 
are as sparingly supplied. We procured here some 
sheep and fowls, and were anxious to have pur- 
chased two round shields with high bosses, made of 
the skin of the crocodile ; but they had been made 
for a chief who lived beyond the mountain, to whom 
the courier was bearing them, and were not to be 
sold. The mountain here is extremely low, not 
above 100 feet above the level of the Nile. I as* 
cended to the top of it to obtain a view of the en-* 
virons, which, as far as the eye could reach, are 
barren rock and sand j yet a footpath passed oveF 
the mountain, leading, as I was informed, to a 
friendly village, at a considerable distance/ I can 
hardly conceive human beings living in a inore des- 
titute state, and apparently happy, than the inhabit* 
ants of this village. They are mere animals, or 
vegetables ; they have merely a subsistence, scanty, 
but apparently wholesome ; of the name of learning, 
or luxury, or mental enjoyment, they never heard ; 
but they laugh, smoke, and pray like other Mos- 
lems. In the short course of this day's sailing, we 
passed on the west bank, the villages Dandour, and 
Gassr, and on the east, Wadi Tifi, and Mooroaou. 
On the 1 1th of December we set out again at an 
early hour, with a favorable breeze, steering south- 
west; during the whole of yesterday there had been 
considerable easting in our course* About nine 

VOL. i. c c 

#86 ftIARFlSS£N.> 

a. m. we passed out of the district Maria, into that 
of Kishi, and in a short time came to Diarfissen, 
where, as there was no wind, and the sailors were 
tracking the boats slowly np the river, Captain 
Cony and I landed, and ran to the mountain to take 
a view of a ruined temple which is cut in the reck, 
and is apparently of a very ancient date. Two 
columns remain on the outside of the pronaos which 
had been built in front of the rock, and seems con- 
siderably more modern than the excavated temple. 
Within the pronaoa there have been four column* 
en each hand, five of which are still standing, three 
on the one hand and two on the other* They have 
been mummy shaped, resembling the human body : 
such columns frequently occur both in Egypt and 
Nubia. They have been called Hermes* columns 
without any sufficient reason ; and are probably the 
original of the caryatide columns. The area is 
about twenty paces long, and twelve paces wide* 
The front of the rock is covered with sculpture, and 
hieroglyphics, which are now much defaced. A 
spacious door-way leads into the temple, which is 
very magnificent, and far beyond any thing that we 
had been led to expect Indeed our friends in 
/Egypt had not mentioned it to us, and we had none 
of the books of the late travellers in Nubia along 
with us. The first chamber is about 14 paces long 
and ten paces wide. There are three noble statues 
of Osiris, about twenty feet high, up the middle on 


each side ; he has a high head-dress, a square beard, 
and his hands, holding the crook and scourge, are 
crossed over his .breast; his limbs are swollen and 
gouty-like. Behind these statues, on the right hand, 
and on the left, are foiir niches cut in the rock 
about six feet square j each of which contains 
three statues standing erect, all of them different 
and considerably disintegrated. Tlio&o in the mid- 
dle of the room already mentioned, are very entire, 
and have been painted red. From this we passed 
into the second chamber, which is about eleven 
paces long and five paces wide, and contains two 
square columns, one on each hand, as you advance 
along the middle of the room. From this we passed 
into the third room, the sekos or innermost apart- 
ment, which is about five paces long and three and 
a half paces wide, in the middle of which there 
stands a stone altar, about three feet square. Be* 
hind the altar in the farther extremity of the 
sekos, are four statues hewn out of the rock ; they 
are in a sitting posture, and are very entire. One 
of them holds the sacred Tau in the left hand, and 
another has an ornament like the binding and join- 
ing of the robe in front, which descends from the 
breast down to the feet, which, as usual, are bare* 
The other two have no particular characteristic. The 
whole of the interior of this most interesting and 
magnificent temple is covered with sculpture and 
hieroglyphics, the greater part of which has been 

c c 2 


painted red, and is now much defaced. The whole 
length of the excavation, from the door into the 
rock to the four sitting statues in the extremity of 
the sekos, is 27 paces ; and the greatest length of 
the rooms crosses the length of the temple. We 
had but a short time to muse on the relics it con- 
tained ; the boats were a-head of us, and it behoved 
us to follow. As we passed the village of Diar- 
fissen, on our way to the river, the shiekh, a 
portly well-dressed good-looking sable, came run- 
ning out with half his people at his back to beg for 
a baxiss, to which he was no way entitled. We had 
given him no trouble, and had not been indebted 
to him for the smallest service ; we might have 
withheld it ; but he was importunate, and might 
have annoyed us. A couple of piasters stilled the 
Typhon within him, and we were not much the 
poorer. It is better to sacrifice a little than quar- 
rel with savages, who seem to think they are en- 
titled to damages the moment that the stranger sets 
a foot on their soil ; not recollecting that the fir- 
man of the Pasha, to whom both they and the tem- 
ple belong, authorised us to travel in any part of 
his dominions. We soon overtook the boats, and 
got on board without any farther interruption. The 
latitude of Diarfissen is 23° 17'. 

A little higher up we entered into the province 
of Gastamn6. The cultivation disappears from the 
banks, and the yellow sand from the desert is drifted 


into the edge of the river. By this time two ves- 
sels of the country, of the same description with 
our own, excepting that they had no cover to shel- 
ter them from the sun, were sailing in company 
with us. One of them, commanded by an Arab, 
manifested a disposition to annoy us: he came 
alongside of our vessel, and, as if seeking a pre- 
tence for a quarrel, seemed desirous of running us 
on the bank ; the wind was in his favor. Captain 
Cony, who at that time happened to be without, 
desired him to hold off. Perceiving that the Cap- 
tain had only a sword in his hand, he persisted in his 
course, and, with a smile of defiance, laid his hand 
upon a musket which lay by his side, intimating 
that he was the better armed of the two, and could 
reach him from a greater distance, and with as cer- 
tain effect. Captain Cony called for a pistol, which 
was handed him immediately j and an English sailor 
made show with a musket in the fore part of the 
vessel, which the Arab no sooner perceived, than 
he instantly pulled up the helm, and sheered off to 
the other side of the river, and rid us of his dis» 
agreeable company. 

The river here is very broad, with a good 
deal of cultivation on the east bank; on the 
west there is an extensive field of yellow sand, and 
a thick row of acacia trees skirting the edge of the 

About one o'clock p. m. the appearance of an 


ancient gateway, rearing its head above the sand on 
the west bank, attracted our attention. We landed 
and went up to it, and found that it really was what 
at a distance it appeared to be. The usual ornament 
of the globe with serpent and wings is sculptured 
over the entrance, and a number of detached stones 
lying about. Whatever more of the building re- 
mains it is impossible to say ; all is buried in the sand. 
A little above is the village of Gastamn6, on the 
same side of the river, built upon the yellow sand. It 
eonsists of about thirty small dry stone huts plastered 
over with mud, and covered with branches of the 
palm-tree, or stems of dhourra, and, compared with 
the other villages that we had lately passed, it had 
an air of comfort superior to any of them. The 
men were abroad after the pursuits of the field, and 
their sable dames were sitting in groups at the doors, 
basking in the sun ; their heads were covered with 
oiled nets, and their faces unveiled. They were 
engaged in netting, working bracelets, stringing 
beads, or preparing different articles of dress. We 
asked them for butter and eggs, to which they ci* 
villy replied that they had none, but without veil- 
ing their faces, or in the least discomposing them- 
selves. Here we saw abundance of acacia and 
beautiful Thebaic palms, enclosing a delightful well 
cultivated semicircular spot of ground on the op* 
posite bank of the river. At the end of the village 
is a fine large spreading sycamore-tree, with a seat 

<?A8TAMKE. 391 

under it, — the scene of morning and evening cote- 
ries before the laborer departs, and after he returns 
from his toil. I sat down under the shade for a 
moment's rest, and in the mean time was amused 
by seeing two people throw a long piece of wood 
into the river, and place themselves across it, with 
their hands and feet in the water, and thus ferry 
themselves over to the other side with the most 
perfect facility ; when over, they pulled up the piece 
of wood on the bank to serve them when they should 
have occasion to return, and walked about perfectly 
naked. How like to beings of an ' inferior race 1 
How our clothing, that originated in our misfor* 
tune, now seems to exalt us ! We now got on board, 
and crossed over to the other side of the river. This 
is the first time, since we entered Nubia, that we 
sailed up the east bank. There is an extensive 
sandy plain on the west, over which we descried 
the lofty and picturesque propylon of the venerable 
temple of Dekka, near to which there is a small 
village of the same name ; we passed it at sun-set, 
and made fast for the night at the village of Alldghi, 
on the east side of the river. Lord Belmore, whose 
boat sailed faster than our*s, was up earlier, and 
spent several hours at the temple, and spoke of it 
in the highest terms of commendation* It is covered 
with sculpture and hieroglyphics, like the other 
temples, With inscriptions in the Coptic character, 
which seemed, from their position and corresponding 



size, to be translations of contiguous tables of hiero- 
glyphics ; there is also a number of Greek inscrip- 
tions, which appeared to his Lordship to be of a 
date greatly posterior to the building of the temple, 
or the sculpture of the hieroglyphics. His Lord- 
ship observed among the hieroglyphics the winged 
globe, which, though frequent as an ornament, is 
rare as a character. The people were quite savage 
and outrageous, and demanded a baxiss in the most 
ferocious manner, with daggers in their hands, little 
aware that instruments of terror or threats were the 
most unlikely of all expedients to prevail upon their 
noble visiter to comply with their requests. In the 
course of this day's sail we passed, on the west bank 
of the river, the villages Diarfissen, Gastamnl, 
Hanjaria and Dekka ; and on the east bank the 
country was named Gastamn£, Hanjaria, but no 
villages, except Shalleep. The mountain was named 
Djibl HaiatL 

After a comfortable night's rest at AU&ghi, we 
set sail at an early hour next morning. Nothing 
can exceed the beauty of the mornings and evenings 
in Nubia. The air is light and clear, and cool, and 
all the senses, as if bathed in the breath of heaVen, 
cling with rapture to every blade of grass, or every 
opening plant. During the whole of yesterday the 
sky was without a cloud, and in the evening the 
constellations were particularly bright. All of us 
Jiad seen the sky of Italy and Greece, but for bright- 


NUBIA. 393 

ness, the nocturnal sky of Egypt and Nubia sur- 
passes them all, as much as they do that of Eng- 
land. Many a pulmonic patient, who feels his sickly 
fabric chilled and pierced by the snow- winds of Ve- 
suvius, would be soothed and healed by the un- 
irritating and balmy air of Egypt and Nubia. Nor 
is the distance so appalling ; it only seems far to 
those who have not tried it The traveller will go 
in a shorter time and with less fatigue from Mar- 
seilles to Alexandria in Egypt, than, at an average 
rate of travelling, he can go by land from Geneva 
to Naples. The accommodation is always good, 
and there is no chance of incurring fresh exacer- 
bations of disease ; all the way up the Nile he carries 
his house along with him, leaves it, and returns to it 
when he pleases. His mind is constantly engaged 
with the unremitting succession of new and inte- 
resting objects that occur in every step of his jour- 
ney, and that without one single circumstance to 
discompose or annoy him ; every where he can pur- 
chase, at a moderate rate, such articles of provision 
as are necessary for his comfort, excepting wine, 
and that he can easily carry with him from Alex- 
andria and Cairo. His medicines he ought to take 
from London. 

Shortly after setting but this morning, we passed 
a bed of gravel on the east bank of the river. This 
is the first time that we had seen any thing of the 
kind on the banks of the Nile, which generally con- 

894 ZRAR. 

sist of a black deep loamy earth. The country on 
the west is now cultivated and flat. We passed by 
the island Zrar, and a village on the west bank 
named Fadeena ; near which, we were told, are the 
ruins of an ancient temple, but too low to be seen 
from the river : the sandstone still continues. For 
a little above the island of Zrar, the country is re- 
markably barren ; but the cultivation soon com- 
mences again, and both hand-buckets and Persian 
wheels were busily at work. Two men placed in a 
niche raise the water from the river in buckets, which 
they empty into a reservoir ; the water-wheel, placed 
a little higher on the bank, takes it up, and sends 
it in streams as they are conducted over the country. 
I ought to have mentioned, that as we approached 
the south end of the island of Zrar, we saw a spe- 
cies of mirage, the light flooding over the low sand 
of the island, resembling the undulations of the sea; 
it seemed to move in the same direction with us, 
and disappear as we approached it, being most 
strongly perceptible where the sand came into con- 
tact with the green edge of the new-sprung grain. 
Here the rock and stone look particularly black, 
and small insulated mountains spring abruptly from 
the flat surface of the surrounding sand, to about 
the height of 100 feet ; their black and sturdy form, 
like the monarch of the sandy world, evinces a 
striking contrast with the yellow sand at their base, 
whose origin would puzzle us, did not the golden 


colored interior of the rock claim the vagrant for 
its own. 

We landed at Maharaga, by the advice of our 
Turcoman, completely armed. The temple is close 
to the river. The inhabitants came round us, armed 
with spears mounted with iron on both ends. They 
offered us no molestation, not even so much as to 
ask for a baxiss, which was quite unusual ; indeed, 
I believe this is the first time in Nubia that we missed 
the demand. The temple is very poor, and hardly 
worth visiting ; it has neither sculpture nor hiero- 
glyphics, and, from a number of Greek paintings on 
the wall, seems to have been at one time used as a 
Greek church. 'Another building close to it, be- 
tween it and the river, appears to have been used 
for the same purpose, and there is a figure of Isis 
painted on the north end of the wall. She is dressed 
in long loose robes, with the moon and crescent on 
her head j her hair hangs down loose and dishevelled; 
she is seated on the ground under a scraggy tree, 
and Horus at a little distance is running up to her, 
with his hand stretched out, going to present an 
offering, which seemed to be a small pitcher of 
water. There are two or three other figures ; none 
of them appear to be ancient Egyptian, and were 
probably executed in the Christian era. 

A little higher up we saw five relays of hand- 
machines for raising water, placed one above an- 
other on the bank, and all at work. Still farther 


on, the sand is blown close in to the river on each 
side : only a small strip of about 10 feet broad is 
cultivated on the west bank, and that very irregu- 
larly ; the acacia tree still abounds. The greater 
part of this day it was a dead calm, and the sailors 
being tired with tracking up the vessel, we stopped 
at one o'clock p. m. in order that they might dine 
and repose themselves, and remained all night. The 
rock here is about 60 feet high, still sandstone ; I 
ascended to the top of it, and as far as the eye could 
reach, nothing fell under the view but rock and 
sand. There is no village in the place where we 
stopped ; but several men came down to us from a 
distance, from whom we learned that the tracks of 
the animals, which here marked the sand in such 
profusion, were those of the gazelles, which, they 
said, remained in the desert during the day, and at 
night came down to the river for drink and forage. 
About seven o'clock next morning, the 13th, the 
sailors again began to track. The sandstone rock 
on both sides the river is now of a much redder 
color, and the banks again well cultivated with fine 
fields of dhourra, which the natives are reaping ; 
the mountains are higher on the east, and at a 
greater distance from the river. Here we observed 
a .crowd of people collected near a village, and, by 
communicating with a native on shore, were in- 
formed that it was a wedding. We saw several of 
the guests armed with swords and shields ; they 


danced and capered about, striking their shields 
with the swords, keeping time to the beat of the 
tambour, the only musical instrument that was per- 
ceptible, and indeed the only one that the Nubians 
seem to care about. Breakwaters, built on the 
edge of the river, as above described, still continue ; 
the Thebaic and date-palm are in great abundance. 
Here we saw a crocodile, which our eyes had not 
encountered for some time ; we fired at it, without 
effect. In the forenoon we were becalmed ; in the 
afternoon a breeze sprung up, and we glided plea- 
santly along the eastern bank. The mountain here 
rises higher, and approaches nearer the river. We 
crossed over to the west, ^nd at the village of 
Madyeeg made fast for the night. Here there 
were only three temporary houses made of palm- 
tree mats ; they contained an equal number of fa- 
milies, whom we found extremely civil and unob- 
trusive. In the course of this day's sail we passed, 
on the east, the villages Barde, Hally, Wadi Em- 
kemmet, and Hosseg ; and on the west bank, Noubdt, 
Shemamalouka, Sambal, Amishegl, and Millahat. 

The food of the Nubians, generally speaking, is 
milk, dbourra, lentils, and lubya, a kind of sallad. 
In the morning, on ascending to the houses on the 
top of the sand-bank, I found one of the females 
mashing the scarcely ripe dbourra between two 
stones, preparatory for breakfast; perceiving me 
look attentively at the operation, she offered me a 


piece of the mash to taste, which I did, and found 
it extremely palatable, and could have breakfasted 
upon it with pleasure : sometimes they boil it with 
milk, and it is then considered as a great and ex- 
pensive luxury. 

The calm continued all night, and next morning, 
the 14th, till about ten o'clock, when a light breeze 
sprang up, and we immediately got under weigh* 
The rocks on the east bank are high and peeked, 
and much blackened by the action of the sun and 
air. There is but a very small strip of cultivation 
along the edge of the river. On the west bank, a 
low dark horizontal flat, with patches of yellow 
sand drifted in from the mountains, in different 
places, with a similar strip of cultivation along the 
river, and the natives move from place to place as 
their cows or asses want provender. Yesterday our 
course had considerable westing in it, but we had 
no meridian observation. About half past twelve 
we landed on the west bank, to see a ruined tem- 
ple, but found that we had been misinformed, 
having passed it nearly an hour before, at a place 
where we observed something like two statues rear- 
ing their heads above the sand. Both sides of the 
river are now become extremely uninteresting, with 
merely the relief of solitary palm trees growing 
here and there. We had been becalmed fbr some 
time, and the sailors being tired with tracking the 
vessels* we stopped for an hour, that they might 

anap, 399 

dine, and refresh themselves. Their dinner con- 
sisted of boiled lentils, and a little salt, which they 
had now plucked up sufficient courage to beg from 
us, having never had any of their own. This was 
by much the hottest day Jthat we had experienced 
since we entered Nubia ; but having unfortunately 
broken all our thermometers, I am unable to state 
the degree of heat. During the hour that we stop- 
ped, we did not move out of the vessels, in which 
we found great benefit from the shade. At half 
past two we again commenced tracking : the sur- 
face of the west bank became higher, with a prodi- 
gious quantity of yellow sand, blown into immense 
heaps. The east bank is considerably lower, but 
cultivated only on the river's edge. A little before 
sun-set we arrived at a comfortable looking village, 
on the west bank of the river, called Andp, or Wadi 
Gassl Anap, where we stopped for the night. This 
village consists of about a dozen of houses, con- 
structed of mats and stones. It is new and com- 
fortable-looking, more so indeed than any we had 
met with since we entered Nubia. The cattle too 
were well housed, and, like their masters, sheltered 
from the heat of the sun. The agriculture too was 
well attended to ; the growing crop was free from 
weeds, and well watered. The dhourra had just 
been reaped and threshed. On our way up to the 
village, we passed over a threshing floor, where two 
strong good-looking young women were engaged in 


4C0 ANAP. 

winnowing the newly-threshed grain, by raising it 
in baskets and falling it gradually before the wind, 
which had got up a little in the evening. On our 
coming up to them, they covered their faces with 
their veils, and replied in respectful, but feeble and 
tremulous tones, to our salutation of " Salam Alei- 
kum." All the time that we remained with them, 
they kept their baskets on their heads, and ab- 
stained from working. They spoke Arabic remark- 
ably well, and were not so dark complexioned as 
the generality of Nubians. As soon as we left them, 
on our road to the village, they again commenced 
their labors, which they plied as long as light con- 
tinued to serve them. 

Here we wished to purchase milk, eggs, and 
sheep. It was about sun-set when we entered the 
village, and perceiving a number of hens gathering 
round a comfortable door, we inquired of- a re- 
spectable looking middle-aged woman if she had 
any eggs for sale, she replied in the negative. On 
our expressing our surprise, and pointing to the 
hens at the door, she immediately rejoined, " Yes, 
it is very true, I have a number of hens ; but I am 
a widow woman, and have five children, who eat 
all the eggs every day/' The children were cling- 
ing round her ; the answer was quite satisfactory. 
Seeing a number of goats and milch cows snugly 
put up in a shade, we addressed ourselves to her 
for some butter. Her reply was equally prompt 


and ingenuous : " the goats and ewe* are milked 
twite a-day \ the children use all the milk, and there 
is none to make butter of." The tone of candor 
and simplicity in which the replies were delivered* 
left Ho doubt on our minds that the excuses alleged 
werp real ; and seeing that she had a mouth for 
every morsel of food, we ceased to ask any more 
questions as to what there was for sale. One of the 
parly,, struck with the interesting appearaftce of the 
family, put his hand into his pocket, and taking out 
a piastre, gave it to a healthy fine looking boy, who 
wasr swinging about with a-hold of his mother's 
hand, and was • good deal surprised at scarcely be- 
ing thanked for the present, either by the mother 
o* her son* Money with her seemed scarcely to 
be an object of value ; the necessaries of life arid 
all that people in such a situation require, and these 
tbey rear on their own little spot of ground, audi 
have very little ocCasiow for traffic, or a circulating! 
medium* Turning from the widow, we addressed 
owrselves to others, but with no better success* 
Whether they really had or had not the article* 
which we wished to purchase, we had no means of 
knowing' ; but we could not indbefc them to part 
with them. In this dilemma, it occurred to- the 
noble traveller to put iro practice an expedient Irhteb 
lie had been informed seldom failed to move the 
heart* of the Nubians; which was tfcat of sending 
a present of cbffee and tobacco to the shiekh of 

VOL. I. n D 


the village, and making known to him our wants, 
which, in the present instance, had the effect of 
procuring us some poultry, and, if we had found it 
convenient to remain till the evening of the follow- 
ing day, would have procured us a sheep. But few 
villages occurred in this day's sail. On the west 
bank, we passed Saboua ; on the east, Hashnaseer, 
Saboua, and Wadi Gherad&p. 

The calm continued all night, and next morn- 
ing, the 15th, we again commenced tracking at 
seven o'clock. The rocks on the west bank are 
now the highest, and approach close to the river. 
No cultivation ; numerous footsteps of wild beasts 
in the desert : all around is rock and sand, without 
a tree or a blade of grass, but on the river's edge. 
It is a most dismal prospect to walk on, or to look 
on such a field. Removed from the vessels, no 
human hut, or friendly voice. Man is your enemy, 
he denies you food, and would slay you for the 
staff in your hand, or the clothes on your back, as 
the wild beast would tear you for a drop of your 
blood. It is like the death of social life; and pass- 
ing through the vale, man Jeans upon his God. 

The course of the river is now west and by south. 
We passed the village Halaff Sabeel, pleasantly si- 
tuated among a number of trees, on the east bank. 
About ten a breeze sprung up, and the country 
opening a little, afforded a greater range of vision ; 
but all is black rock and yellow sand. The highest. 


mountains are now on the east bank, close to the 
river, all sandstone. At five o'clock p. m. we 
stopped for the night at a solitary house, on the West 
bank of the river. In the course of this day's sail 
we passed the villages Gherouet Wad el Garbia, 
Halaff Sabeel, Ungouraith, Cogadaf, an island, 
Hashmelagaba, and Sabadora, on the east ; Obe- 
daim, Coraflgo and M alky, on the west. 

Next morning, the 16th, at seven o'clock we again 
began to track. Any wind that we had was now 
against us. The rocks on the east are still the high- 
est, and peeked. On the west is a flat plain of sand 
about half a mile broad, and raised considerably 
above the level of the Nile. The sandstone rock 
is the same as on the east bank, bat lower and less 
peeked. Stopped for the sailors to breakfast op- 
posite to Courousko, where there is a fine verdant 
well cultivated bank, the people were active and 
civil, and all armed with spears, and fully clothed, as 
there was a considerable air of wind which would 
have been favorable, had our course been southerly j 
but it was west, and by north. The mountain here 
is called Agabutelli. We passed an island called 
Agreep, and came in a little time to the village of 
Arrega, which stands on the sand, and is surround- 
ed by a mud wall. The ground around it had for- 
merly been cultivated. The river here is very 
broad, the mountains are more retired, and the 
prospect more extensive. Palm trees and acaciaar 

d d 2 

404 GAUTRA. 

abound. The latitude of Arrega is 23° 3/ 30" about 
sixty miles directly south of Kalabshi. Our course 
now lay north-north-west, and we continued track- 
ing till we arrived at Goutna. From tfys the sailors 
were aversive to proceed, they had become tired of 
tracking, and wished to return to Emb&p. However 
they soon found that their present master was not 
at all disposed to compromise his bargain, or to be 
diverted from his purpose by any capricious whim 
of the Nubian sailors, and accordingly they recom- 
meijced^ tracking. At a quarter past five we were 
sailing north and by west half west, by compaas, and 
in a little time thereafter we arrived at Fangari, where 
our information led us tp expect that we should 
find a temple ; but we were disappointed* for there 
was scarcely a boi^se. Here, hpwever, we stopped 
for the night, at the village Alha#id&d. On the 
east bank of the river the natives were, holding a 
marriage-feast,' with music and dancing* like what 
we have already described. In the course of the 
day's sail wq passed the villages Arrega and Goutna 
on the west ; and Sangajree, Atoook, Conrousko, 
Sbugga, Haraba and Alhamdat, on the east. 

Next morning, the 17th, we resumed our voyage, 
still tracking. The ground on the east is extensive, 
well wooded, and well cultivated, and. there ace 
many Persian wheels at work. We had. previously 
been informed that the Viceroy of Egypt, who is 
also the Viceroy of Nubia, had resolvedi to l$y a 



tax upon these machines, which are indispensably 
necessary for the agriculture of this country. The 
people in Nubia had heard the same unwelcome 
intelligence, and here one of the natives inquired 
of us if we knew how much the tax was to be, we 
told him what we had heard, a dollar per wheel. 
The farmer replied, perfectly contented, " well, 
whether it is one dollar or two dollars that his High- 
ness chooses to impose, I am both able and willing 
to pay it." The west bank is covered with sand ; 
on the east are large fields of the cotton pliant under 
cultivation, and a rich crop of dhourra, which the 
natives are reaping. The river here makes a sharp 
turn to the west, and a little northerly, and the tra- 
veller comes in sight of Deer, the capital of Nubia, 
a fine pleasant looking town for these parts $ but 
had J not been told that it is the capital, I should 
certainly have called it a village. A beautiful 
plain, well watered and well wooded, stretches down 
to the south-east along the river's edge, which seems 
still to be gaining by the kind partiality of the cur- 
rent, which bears upon the opposite side. Here 
there are two sandy islands in the middle of the 
river; one at a considerable distance, the other 
quite near the town. We passed on the east side of 
both. Deer stands beautifully on the east bank, on 
a gentle eminence that advances a little into the 
river. The house of the cachief, which is well 

406 DEER. 

whitened, and two stories high, occupies a conspi* 
cuous situation on its brink, and formed a prominent 
object in the prospect presented to our eyes in the 
beautiful sail that we had in making the village. 

We reached this once Christian town at two 
o'clock p. m. and as soon as Lord Belmore's boat was 
made fast to the bank, the cachief came on board 
to pay his respects to his noble visiter, and to offer 
him every furtherance in the prosecution of his 
voyage that it was in his power to afford. Our de- 
mands were limited to bread and mutton, and the 
interpreter was immediately despatched with the 
cachief 's orders, to get the wheat ground, and the 
bread baked with all possible expedition. The sheep 
were forthcoming in the evening. These articles, 
and such other equipments as may be necessary for 
the traveller can be much better procured here 
than at any other place for a long way up the Nile. 
There is now no town, nor even one inhabited 
house at Ibreem, nor any one of consequence nearer 
than Isbkid which is much inferior to Deer. The 
interview with the cachief being ended, and matters 
put into a favorable train for obtaining the neces- 
sary supplies, we proceeded to take a view of the 
temple. It lies at a short distance to the east of 
the town, and is partly built, but mostly cut in the 
rock, like that of Diarfissen, though neither so 
Jfirge nor so handsome. The pronaos which has 

DEBR. 407 

been chiefly built, is about forty-four feet by thirty- 
two. There are still the remains of four columns 
standing in the middle of the area, the walls are 
much dilapidated. On each side of the door in front 
of the rock, there have been two columns faced up 
with statues, which have been most maliciously 
hewn off down to the haunches. On the walls on 
each side, there has been pourtrayed a battle scene, 
which is also much effaced. The wheels of the 
hero's chariot are still visible, and the slain and 
wounded lying about in a thousand postures. One 
group, which is common on other temples, even 
where no battle scene is exhibited, consists of a 
warrior holding an instrument of death in one hand, 
and four negroes tied back to back by the hair of 
the head in the other. Two of them look towards 
him with their hands and faces raised in an attitude 
of humble supplication, intreating him to suspend 
the threatened blow that seems descending to ter- 
minate their existence. The other two have their 
hands and faces raised in a similar attitude of sup- 
plication to Osiris, who stands facing the warrior. 
He holds a sickle in his hand, and with an air of 
complacence, mixed with authority, seems inclined 
to pity and to spare the captive victims. The other 
figures are the hawk-headed, and ram-headed deity, 
presented with offerings ; but much is obliterated. 
Passing within the excavation, we entered into a 

408 DEER, 

large chamber of about 36 feet square, having three 
columns on each hand, towards the middle of the 
apartment. The walls and columns are covered 
with sculpture and hieroglyphics, the greater part 
of which, in the first chamber, have been painted 
red. The figures are, as usual, the hawk-headed 
deity, called Osiris hierax, Aniens, or Apollo, 
Mendes, the sacred boat having the hawk at stem 
and stern, borne along by six men, and presented 
with offerings, a ram-headed deity with a gradu- 
ated staff, or the sceptre of Osiris, enclosed in a 
sheath, a hippopotamus, and other figures which I 
coukL not make out. In this, as in almost all the 
other temples, a hero or principal person is repre- 
sented as the lion of the different scenes* Near 
the door he is received by the hawk-headed deity, 
who shakes him cordially by the hand. In another 
place he is represented in a tree as offering to 
Mendes, and in another place he is seated with a 
sort of Welch wig upon his head, and two people, 
ob& on each side, are pouring from two jars a con- 
tinued stream of sacred taus over him. This pro- 
bably represents one of the ceremonies which the 
person underwent before he was considered as pro* 
perly qualified by initiation, to carry that badge of 
divine protection, the sacred tan. 

From this^ doors pass off into three chandlers, 
two pn each side, which have benches round the 

DEER. 409 

sides, like those which we have mentioned in the 
lately discovered tomb in the valley of Biban el 
Melook, and the walk are covered with similar re- 
presentations* In the one in the middle^ which may 
be regarded as the sekos, or adytum 1 , there are the 
remains of four sitting statues at the upper end, 
which are much disintegrated. There is no altar 
in front of them. There is the representation of 
the sacred boat, and offerings to the hawk-headed 
deity ; but the sculpture is much defaced. On the 
columns Isis is represented with the lion's head. 
She is accompanied by Horus. 

Throughout the whole of this temple the work* 
mansbip is much inferior, both in point of taste and 
execution, to what we have already mentioned as 
occurring in many parts of Egypt and Nubia. It 
seemed to be very ancient, more so than even 
Diarfissen. Numerous tables of hieroglyphics are 
scattered over it in different places j but I did not 
perceive any where in the whole temple that com* 
mon and beautiful ornament, the globe with ser* 
pent and wings. 

Deer, Dirr, Derr, or Dair, as the name denotes, 
whichever of the ways it is written, was once fc 
Christian settlement, and from its being the only 
place between the two cataracts that now retains 
the name, was probably the last to renounce the 
Christian Faith after the country had submitted to 
the proselytes of another creed. There is not an 

410 DEER. 

individual now in Deer, or in the whole of Nubia, 
who believes in the name of Jesus. It has been 
for them a sad reverse ; and the heart bleeds in 
compassion for their wretchedness, in comparing 
what they are "with what they might have been, if 
living under the influence of the Gospel, enlight- 
ened by its precepts, and governed by its laws. 
What a blank does the absence of true religion make 
in the hearts and the establishments of men ! One 
would have thought that the small and fertile vale 
of Nubia would have been the abode of happiness 
and peace ; but every hand is armed with a spear, 
every eye is on fire, and man burns with indignation 
against his fellow-man, whom he should meet with 
affection, feel for as a brother, and not seek as an 
enemy whom he would devour. * 

Near this temple there is a number of Christian 
tombs cut in the rock ; on the cover of one of them 
the cross is cut on one part, and a crown on the 
other. The principal burying-ground of the town 
is quite contiguous ; and I was amazed to see the 
two emblems on the Christian sepulchre remain un- 
defaced, or even uninjured ; for such is the hos- 
tility of the Moslems to the sign of the cross, that 
wherever they see it, they batter it out with stones, 
not from any hostility to him who thereon laid down 
his life, but because they think the Christians wor- 
ship it, and they abhor idolatry and destroy its em- 
blems wherever they find them. 

DEER. 411 

The country round Deer is pleasant and well cul- 
tivated. There are two resident cachiefs, who are 
the sons of the two cachiefs at Ishkid j their houses 
are two stories high, one of which is whitewashed. 
The rest of the houses are mud huts, but some of 
them pretty large, and the inside not uncomfort- 
able. My profession procured me admittance into 
several of them, which probably I should not other- 
wise have obtained. 

The wife of one of the principal shiekhs had for 
some time been affected with ophthalmia to such a 
violent degree that nothing but total blindness was 
expected for her. It is the duty of every man, but 
more especially of a medical man, to relieve the 
sufferings of his fellow-creatures to the utmost of 
his power. I had practised a great deal in this de- 
partment of surgery in Egypt, and the interpreter 
and couspasha spread the report of my success 
wherever they went. Induced by their represent- 
ations, the husband of this suffering lady came to 
beg that I would give him a prescription for his 
beloved wife. I informed him that that was a thing 
which I could not possibly do, till I had seen the 
eye which required the prescription — a permission 
which he could not grant till he had previously con- 
sulted the patient ; for which purpose he immedi- 
ately returned to the house, and, having obtained 
her consent, came back to the vessel, from which 
I accompanied him to his house, that lay in a dis- 

412 DEER. 

t&nt part of the town. As we walked thither, the 
whole conversation of the afflicted shiekh was about 
the unfortunate state of his suffering lady, for whom 
he expressed the strongest attachment : every far- 
thing that he had in the world he would give to 
have her eyesight preserved, and earnestly entreated 
that I would exert myself to the utmost resources 
of my profession to do it The habitation of the 
shiekh was fronted by a dead wall, through which 
we passed, by a narrow door, into a small court; from 
this we passed by another door into a larger court* 
Here the shiekh laid aside his spear and the cloak 
which he wore round his shoulders, nearly in the 
same manner that the Scotch highlanders do their 
plaids. From this court we passed into the house, 
where we found th^ood lady seated, with her face 
to the door, on a part of the floor that was slightly 
t levated, and covered with a piece of old cloth by 
way of a carpet j she received us sitting, unveiled, 
and with an air of great warmth and composure, 
and requested me to sit down near her on a junk of 
wood y her husbatnd placed himself on a seat of the 
ssffle kind opposite to her, with his face tutned to 
the only glimmering light that illuminated the apart- 
ment through a chink in the ceiling over her head. 
On examining the state of the eyes, I informed her 
that they ought to be blooded j an operation to 
which at first she expressed the greatest aversion, 
but afttr a little conversation, submitted to it, though 

DEEU. 413 

reluctantly. The eyes bled freely, and in a short 
time she expressed herself relieved* I gave her 
some medicines to take internally, with drops aocj 
a lotion for the eye, and assured h?r that I enter-* 
tained the most confident hopes that $he would not 
lose her sight. 

The husband followed me to the door, and re- 
turned to console his agitated wife. In the course 
of the evening, he paid me a visit on board the 
vessel, informed me that the eye of his best beloved 
continued easier, and, in token of his gratitude, 
presented me with a bag full of dried dates. This 
I positively refused to accept, having uniformly de- 
clined all professional remuneration. The shiekbt 
however persisted, imagining that the medicines 
would have little or no virtue rujdbess they were paid 
for j a sentiment which I did not much wish to dis- 
courage in a country where value for value is not 
very scrupulously returned. He poured them out 
in the open vessel, and with mppy blessings, and* 
prayers for our success wept off to his family, wish- 
ing us a prosperous voyage, ai)4 hoping to see me 
on my return^to Deer. 

The population of Deer is estimated; at S00O 
souls. Their chief subsistepce is dtourea and dat& 9i 
with : pigeons, partridge^ poultry, and butcher's iseat 
occasionally. All that can afford i& smoke* tobacco* 
after me&ls, an/d tfoo^who, Qapnot, in the abaence.afi 
tobacco, put a> bit of? lighted charcoal in the bowl o$ 

414 DEER. 

the pipe, and smoke and pull away at it, under the 
impression that it facilitates digestion : a man readily 
finds an excuse for taking what is agreeable to his 
taste, whether that be vitiated or genuine. The in- 
habitants of Deer partake of the same mean beg- 
garly disposition with those of the rest of the country, 
and from the highest to the lowest ask for a baxiss. 
The first man in point both of consequence and ap- 
pearance after the cachief, well dressed and wearing 
a sword at his side, came on board to ask for some 
gunpowder, which being refused him, he next asked 
for a present of soap, and this being also denied, he 
begged for a piastre, value one sixpence, which 
having obtained, he went off quite rejoiced. The 
most acceptable presents for the Nubians are soap, 
tobacco, coffee, musket-flints, and gunpowder ; a 
sword or a double-barrelled gun would insure the 
offerer the temporary friendship of any man in the 
country. The two latter may be presented at any 
time ; but I would earnestly recommend the tra- 
veller to keep the gunpowder to himself till he is 
just going to bid them adieu, otherwise it is ten 
chances to one that during his stay some of it will 
be fired at him, should the receivers thereof have 
an opportunity of doing it. 

One evening, before retiring to rest, about nine 
o'clock, invited by the charms of the Nubian sky, 
two of the party went to take a walk in front of the 
vessels, and continued it for a short way along the 

DEER. 415 

road that led round the village ; no insult or inter* 
ruption was offered to them as they went along, but 
on passing one of the huts on their return, a musket 
was fired at them over the wall, and the ball passed 
within a few yards of them. The report alarmed us 
considerably, and LordBelmore sent immediately to 
one of the cachiefs to demand an explanation of the 
outrage. His worship disavowed any knowledge of 
the offence, and not unshrewdly remarked that there 
was plenty of time to vtalk during the day, and that 
it was not proper to be strolling about the village at 
that hour of the night; however, if the parties ag- 
grieved would point out the house from which the 
shot was fired, he would punish the inhabitants to 
their satisfaction. This was quite enough. The house 
could not be ascertained ; and as no injury had been 
sustained, the object of the noble traveller in making 
the application, was merely to prevent a repetition of 
the offence, and in this respect he was completely 
successful. The latitude of Deer is 22° 44' 31" north, 
and the longitude 31° 51 15" east. 

Between Fangari and Deer we passed the villages 
Wadi Hamadan, Araeria, Diwan, Seeseewa, on the 
east, that is, on the same side with Deer ; and Ma- 
g&ra, where we were informed of a temple, but did not 
visit it, on the west ; and three islands in the river 
near to Deer, named Cushgaty, Amada, and Hassai. 

Having procured our bread, and other necessary 
provision, we resumed our voyage on the morning of 

4l6 IBBEEtt. 

the 19th, at seven o'clock, still tracking. The east 
hank of the river is now more extended, and round 
the village of Toma is a large well-cultivated, well- 
wooded plain, with many Persian wheels busily at 
work ; at one time we counted thirty of them in 
sight, on a short reach of the river. On the west 
bank, the red horizontal sandstone still continues; 
the rock becomes higher, and approaches nearer 
the river. After passing this point, the bank be- 
comes low and sandy at the edge of the river; but 
is cultivated between that and the mountain. At 
eight o'clock a.m. our course lay west and by 
north. The sailing is extremely pleasant, and the 
surrounding scenery of the most beautiful descrip- 
tion, indicating a high degree of comfort* wealth, 
and industry. By noon we had a favorable breeae, 
and passed on the. west of the island Toma, which 
is partly covered with rich verdure y but mostly 
under the dominion of sand* The trees and rock 
on the main land, have a fine effect. On the west 
bank there is scarcely any thing but. yellow sand, 
and a row of sycamore and acacia treea^ dose on 
the edge of the river ; the east bank is particularly 
pleasant, and under fine cultivation. At three 
o'clock p. i*» we entered. Ibreem, which is the. name 
of a rich and populous district for these quarters, 
and said to contain 20,000 inhabitants, a statement 
which I did not credit at the time I heard it, nor 
do I now. The mountain now approaches the rives 

IBREEM. 417 

on the east bank, and we perceive a door cut in the 
face of it, probably that of a tomb. As we advance, 
the cultivation ceases, the rock shoots close in upon 
the edge of the river, and completely locks up the 
valley on the east bank, towering perpendicularly 
from the stream, to the height of about 300 feet ; 
it is formed by nature the fortress of Nubia. On 
its summit stand the mouldering ruins of the an- 
cient capital of the district, that loomed upon the 
eye as we entered the province, and told the melan- 
choly tale of its disaster. On the west bank, im- 
mediately opposite, is a vast plain of yellow sand, 
blown into mounds and heaps of all shapes and 

Ibreem is said to be the ancient Premna, and the 
account of it, given by Strabo, as fortified by na- 
ture, sufficiently corresponds with the actual cir- 
cumstances of the place ; but when he states that 
the Romans, in marching from Pselcha (Kalabshi), 
passed over the mounds of sand, under which Cam- 
byses* army were buried, he seems rather to be 
at variance with Herodotus, who relates that the 
army of the Persian monarch, surprized by the 
sandy deluge, were marching to chastise the Am- 
monians ; and their route must have lain quite in 
the contrary direction to that of the Roman army 
under Petronius, proceeding to punish the Ethiopi- 
ans, for an irruption into the Thebaid. 

There is no town or village in Nubia now called 

vol. I. E E 

^418 IBREEM. 

Ibreem; it was finally destroyed by the Mamelukes, 
on their retreat to Dongola, when pursued by the 
present Pasha of Egypt. It is still called gala 
Ibreem, or the fortress of Ibreem, but it is quite de- 
serted and without an inhabitant j but more of this 
on our return. We passed it at four o'clock p. ir. 
There are several grottoes cut in the rock, a little 
above the surface of the water; four of them seemed 
to be of consequence, but we did not stop to exa- 
mine them. The wind was fair, and we continued 
to prosecute our voyage. Immediately to the south 
of the fort is a beautiful spot of highly cultivated 
ground, passing along by the village Ginaina; 
lighted up by the evening sun, it looked like the 
land of enchantment. We continued to sail for a 
considerable way after sun-set, and about eight 
o'clock arrived at the village of Massmass, on the 
west bank of the river, where we stopped for the 
night ; and sat down to dine in the middle of a rich 
field of new-sprung barley. There was not a single 
spot near the river free of cultivation, on which we 
could spread our mats. We were soon joined by 
some of the natives from the village. Their com- 
., plexions are not so dark, either here or at Deer, as 
we found them on our first entering Nubia j they 
have more of the cast and hue of the Arabs, and 
speak Arabic very well. 

Next morning, the 20th, we started with a favor- 
able breeze, and proceeded along the highly cuiti- 


voted bank of the river. The barley is about a foot 
long ; the Thebaic palm and the date tree are in 
full leaf, and, lighted up with the brilliancy of the 
morning sun, present a most captivating and en- 
livening scene. The mountains on the east, are 
high and bold, and at a considerable distance from 
the river; they are not continuous, as formerly, 
but in detached masses, separated by narrow defiles, 
and divided, by a stony level, from the cultivated 
ground on the edge of the river. On the west bank, 
the sand is blown close in to the river, and there is 
no cultivation, except in small patches here and 
there. Around Arminne, on the east, there is a 
rocky flat, and a little farther on cultivation almost 
ceases. The acacia and palm trees still continue ; 
sailing remarkably pleasant, the breeze perfectly 
delightful. The horizontal sandstone still con- 
tinues, and round shaped insulated rocks spring up 
in different places on the west, which is high, and 
the flat rock covered with sand. Our course is 
west-south-west. The row of acacia trees on each 
side of the river, is almost the only verdure. The 
bare, black, rocky flat still continues on the east 
bank j but there is a small cultivated space between 
it and the river, which two Persian wheels are busily 
employed in irrigating. The mountains on the 
sandy flat, on the left hand, are like pyramids; some 
of them are conical, others truncated, and covered 

e e 2 

420 TAMEET. 

half way up with sand. Our course here is more 
directly south, the river very broad and running 
with a strong current At three o'clock p. m. we 
saw a family, consisting of a man, a woman, and two 
children, cross the river on a heap of rushes tied 
together, they steered themselves with two paddles, 
and led two camels, which swam behind them. A 
little before arriving at the village of Tameet, a 
high rock appears on the west, bounding the sandy 
plain, at a considerable distance from the river. It 
seems as if it were the termination of the mountain 
ridge, and approaches close to the river, and com- 
mands a beautiful prospect of its course. The 
mountain exhibits an irregular notched appearance, 
and all between its winding course and the river is 
covered with sand. Tameet is a pleasantly situated 
small village on the east, with one Persian wheel, 
and abundance of fine spreading palm trees. The 
picturesque mountain which I have been describing, 
contains the celebrated temples of Absambul, the 
most remarkable of which has lately been opened 
by Mr. Belzoni, along with Mr. Beechy, the Ho- 
norable Captain Irby, and Captain Mangles, R. N. 
%There is here a slight rise in the bed of the river, 
which, for a little, shapes a westerly course, and 
several islands spring up in its bed, which, with the 
rocks and trees, and the river gliding smoothly 
among them in front, render the approach to Ab- 


sambul extremely interesting. We reached it at 
five o'clock p. m, and made fast for the night nearly 
opposite to the northmost temple. 

In the course of this day's sail we had passed the 
villages Alamcou, Tashke, Nerak, Fourgoundi, 
which is also the name of a district, and Arteezi, 
on the west bank of the river; and on the east, 
Wadi Shabak, Maharea, Farky, Arminne, Emir, 
Tameet, and Farrek. There is no village at the 
temple of Absambul. Having landed, we proceeded 
immediately to inspect the northmost temple, which 
was open. The other, though it had been opened 
by the intelligent and enterprising antiquary above- 
mentioned, only four months previous to our ar- 
rival, was at this time so blown up with sand, that 
it could not be entered without a serious operation 
to clear that away, for which there was not time 
that night This northmost temple is about five 
paces distant from the river ; yet even this small spot 
of ground was cultivated, and carried a luxuriant 
crop of young barley. As well as the other temple 
this is entirely cut in the sandstone rock, the 
front of which has been hewn down ; and three sta- 
tues cut out of it ornament each side of the door 
of the temple. The part of the rock which has bedff 
wrought for the front of the temple, is 111 feet 
long. The devices begin on the north or right- 
hand-side, with a human figure extending his right 
hand, armed with an instrument like a sickle, to- 


wards Osiris, who is seated. Before him is a well- 
cut table of hieroglyphics, probably expressing the 
object of his application to the divinity. In his 
left hand he holds a similar instrument, but it is re- 
versed and pointed downwards, and he has a row of 
hieroglyphics under his feet. The next ornament 
is a colossal statue of about thirty feet high, wrought 
in a deep niche in front of the rock : it is standing, 
and two tall feathers rise up from the middle of the 
head-dress, with the globe or moon on each side. 
The beard is square, and the hair is broad and bushy; 
the body stands quite erect, with the arms down by 
the side ; the fingers are broken off. A belt comes 
round the waist with hieroglyphics in front for a clasp 
to secure a kirtle which descends down to about the 
middle of the thigh. The left leg is extended and 
broken a little below the haunches; the right is 
erect and entire. On each side, behind the thigh 
and leg, there is a small human figure of about five 
feet high. That on the left of the statue holds in 
her left hand a Janus-faced sistrum. At first ap- 
pearance the figure seems to hold it, but it does not 
do so ; for the handle of the sistrum rests on the 
back of her hand. This is the case in almost every 

^instance of Egyptian sculpture. The instrument 
which is pretended to be held, passes over the back 
of the hand. The same is frequently the case in 

* their painting, and the hand itself is generally 
turned the wrong way, and the fingers are frequently 



all of one length, which is rather remarkable, con- 
sidering with what accuracy the same artists have 
represented the feet in almost all their statues, in 
which the great toe is usually represented, as it is 
in nature, shorter than the one next it. This is not 
the case in the Grecian statues. With her right 
hand this small figure supports the thigh of the 
statue. A large wig-looking head-dress falls down 
on the right shoulder The face is destroyed. There 
is a table of hieroglyphics down the side, and the 
goose instead of the usual globe or egg, over the 
back, has a long square over the tail, which, per* 
haps may mean the same thing. The figure is 
lightly robed. The small figure on the right of the 
statue is the same, and supports the thigh with the 
left hand. It is more entire, excepting that part of 
the mass of hair is wanting on the right shoulder. 
There is also beside this figure a table of hierogly- 
phics. The goose and the character over the tail 
are the same ; but the other characters are different. 
It is remarkable how exactly this group corresppnds 
with the stable in Thebes, called the statue of 
Memnon, near Medina Thabou, and also with the 
sculpture on the lids of the large sarcophagi in the 
tombs of the kings. Then comes a projection ^>f 
the rock shaped like a buttress, and covered with 
hieroglyphics, forming one side of this as of an- 
other niche, in which is wrought in high relief, a 
colossal statue of Isis. The head-dress is high, and 


enclosed, as usual, between two bonis ; the hair falls 
over each shoulder in a round mass. In the sta- 
tue already described, the hair was flat in front, 
having somewhat the appearance of that of the 
sphinx. The left hand is brought across the breast, 
and holds something like a mace, but the instrument 
held is considerably injured, and it is difficult to say 
what it is. The left hand hangs down by the side. 
The left foot is advanced and very entire. There 
are two figures on each side about seven feet high, 
with hieroglyphics in the same style as in the former 
statue. Then comes a similar projection in the rock, 
covered also with hieroglyphics, followed by an- 
other niche in which is another statue more massy 
and robust than any of the other two, with short 
head-dress and square beard. The foot of the sta- 
tue is about four feet long. There are two smaller 
figures one on each side, as in the former groups, 
but the hands do not touch the statue, with tableta 
and rows of hieroglyphics. 

We are now arrived at the sides of the door which 
are likewise covered with hieroglyphics, and Osiris 
.and the hawk-headed deity are seated over it, 
turned back to back and receiving offerings. Piss- 
ing to the other side of the door, we are presented 
with the same three groups wrought in niches, and 
separated by buttresses attended by small statues, 
ati'd covered with hieroglyphics as in those already 
described. I regret extremely that I had not time 


to copy the tablets of hieroglyphics attached to 
each statue, because that would have enabled me to 
identify them with other statues characterised by 
similar insignia, or to distinguish them from such 
as were not. These tablets are to be considered as 
names or coats of arms, belonging exclusively to 
the statues, or the persons whom they represent ; 
and a collection of the whole of them might en- 
able us to class different statues, tombs, subjects, 
and buildings, and a due consideration of them when 
arranged, assisted with a little local knowledge, and 
the light of history, might help us a little through 
the intricate labyrinth of the mysterious hierogly- 
phics. On each side of the passage in entering, offer- 
ings are presented to Isis, who holds in her hand the 
lotus-headed sceptre, surrounded with numerous 
hieroglyphics. Within the temple, and turning to 
the left, is the representation of Osiris with his eye- 
headed sceptre in one hand, and a sickle in the 
other. Near to him is an unfortunate negro on his 
knees, imploring mercy from a mighty personage 
who holds a bow in one hand and a hatchet in the 
other, with an interesting-looking female figure be- 
hind him. Then, another female and a person 
with a nilometer, or notched staff in his hand. Then 
Anubis with his hand resting on the head of a dis- 
tinguished personage on the one side, and the. 
hawk-headed deity with his hand placed in the same 
position on the other side. This honored individual 


holds a graduated staff, which rests on the bead of 
a crocodile, which rests on a globe ; then a female 
presents an offering to Isis, who is seated and or- 
namented with the head-dress incircled with fea- 
thery with which we found her attired in Elephan- 
tina, with the globe and serpents over her head, and 
the sacred tau in her left hand. A small little 
squat figure is presented to Osiris, and near to him 
a bird with extended wings is hovering over the 
head of an illustrious individual, whose countenance 
is peculiarly expressive of rapture and delight. 
We are now arrived at the end of the chamber, 
where a door leads into a side apartment, which, 
for want of light, could not be particularly ex- 
amined. On the other side of the door, a female, 
with the moon or globe over her head, offers to Isis, 
whose head is similarly ornamented. Next a Horus 
is pourtrayed on each side of the centre door j but 
of particularly small dimensions compared with the 
size of the other figures. He is without his usually 
distinguishing lock of hair, and the sacred tau is 
inverted, which should indicate the extinction of 
life, after which the body is no longer a lodgment 
for the soul. Around the door there is a great pro- 
fusion of hieroglyphics. On the other side of the 
door Isis is seated, and presented with offerings as 
already mentioned, and here a female holds a cat- 
headed sistrum, similar to what I have observed, in 
the temple at Elephantina. Then near to a priest 


of Ammon, sits a most miserable palsied figure, 
looking as if the soul were struck out of him by 
terror ; he holds a feeble scourge in his hand, and 
is painted red $ the other figures are yellow. Close 
to him there is a table loaded with offerings, which 
are presented to a hero, or a god, who has his hand 
extended towards him in a most threatening atti- 
tude. The same figures are repeated on each side 
of the front door. The six columns in the middle 
of the chamber are also covered with hieroglyphics, 
and representations of the ram-headed, the hawk- 
headed, and the ibis-headed deity, and the lion- 
headed goddess or Isis, all with the globe or moon 
over head. The capitals of the columns are human 
heads, and are adorned with numerous hierogly- 
phics. There are likewise many hieroglyphics on 
the ceiling, which is very unusual. 

Passing into the second chamber, we find Isis 
seated, holding the sacred tau in her left hand, and 
presented with offerings j she is backed by another 
female, who also holds the sacred tau. On the 
right of the door the hawk-headed deity is seated, 
and presented with offerings ; and on the left, Osiris, 
with the human body and the human head, is simi- 
larly honored. Much interesting sculpture and 
hieroglyphics are lavished both upon this and the 
third room, some of which are remarkably well ex- 
ecuted ; and in a niche in the upper part of this' 
room, or sekos, is seated a small and much disin- 


tegrated statue of NephthS, the wife of Typhon. 
Both the front and interior of this temple are ex- 
tremely interesting, I have described those objects 
which particularly struck me on taking a hasty view 
of the whole, and must now leave it to consider its 
lately opened and more distinguished neighbor. 

The first notice of the existence of this superb 
temple, which is cut in the rock like the one that 
has just been described, was communicated to Mr. 
Salt by the late lamented Mr. Burkchardt, on his 
return to Cairo from an interesting excursion that 
he had made along the banks of the Nile as far as 
Dongola. The front of it was blown up with sand, 
and nothing but the colossal heads of the statues, 
and some decorations on the superior part of the 
front of the temple, appeared j however, what was 
seen was of such a description as to render it highly 
desirable to uncover the rest, to see how far the in- 
terior corresponded with the imposing exterior of 
the temple. The description of Mr. Burkchardt 
was such as to induce Mr. Salt to turn his attention 
to it, and to request Mr. Belzoni to proceed thither 
to examine the ground, and finally to clear the long- 
buried temple from the overwhelming mass of sand 
with which it had been covered for ages. In this 
expedition Mr. Belzoni was accompanied by Mr. 
William Beechy, the intelligent and accomplished 
son of the celebrated artist of that name, and whose 
intelligence and intimate acquaintance with the an- 


tiquities of Egypt entitle him to hold a distinguished 
rank among the antiquaries of his country. It is 
unnecessary in this place to enter into a detail of 
the hostile disposition of the natives, or of the other 
difficulties with which the enterprise was encom- 
passed % suffice it to say, that they were all sur- 
mounted : even the threats of starvation itself were 
not sufficient to shake their resolution, or for one 
moment to divert them from their purpose. De- 
serted by the laborers, the greater part of the sand 
was cleared away from the front of the temple, and 
the interior laid open, by the labors df their own 
hands, in which they were powerfully assisted by 
the able and hearty co-operation of the Honorable 
Captain Irby and Captain Mangles of the royal navy, 
who but a few months before had commenced their 
extensive and most interesting travels in the Levant. 
The temple is 1 17 feet in front, and from the 
upper cornice to the base 86 feet six inches high. 
The entrance door is nearly in the centre ; on each 
side of which two immense colossal statues are 
wrought out of the front of the rock in high relief, 
each of which is 51 feet high, not including the 
caps, or head-dress, which are 14 feet high. They 
are 25 feet four inches across the shoulders, and 
15 feet six inches from the elbow to the shoulders; 
the ear is three feet six inches long ; the beard is 
five feet six inches long. The statues are in a sit- 
ting posture ; but when we saw them, they were 


so blown up with sand; that it Was impossible to tell 
whether they were sitting or standing ; so that I am 
indebted to my friend, Mr. Belzoni* for that inform- 
ation, ad well as for the minute measurements men- 
tioned above. 

These colossal statues on each side of the door 
da not appear to be placed in niches, like those on 
front of the adjoining temple already described, but. 
are projecting from the rock ; and the one next the 
door, on the left hand, is broken down. In a niche 
over the door stands the hawk-headed deity, with 
the globe or moon over his head, and the sacred 
tau in each hand ; the statue is SO feet high, well 
formed, and offerings are presented to it by two fe- 
males on each side, who are not in the niche, but 
on the level face of the rock, surrounded with hiero- 
glyphics. Below the hawk-headed deity, on the 
left hand, stands a small statue of Isis, and on the 
right, that of a terminal wolf. There is a moulding 
rovnd the top of the temple, and down the sides ; 
and above it four tablets of hieroglyphics answering 
to the four statues in front, with the goose and egg. 
over her back between each of them. Above them 
is a row of monkies, twenty in number, and each 
eight feet high. Such are the principle objects 
worthy of attention on the exterior of this temple. 
Jt is situated about 200 yards higher up the river 
than the one already described. There is a small 
cr^ek or recess in the mountain between them, 


which is blown up with sand, and which, whenever 
it is cleared away, is replaced again by the next 
eddying wind ; as a proof of which* I may mention 
that the temple had been entered about a month 
before our arrival by three English gentlemen, 
Colonel Stretton, Mr. Bennet and Mr. Fuller, and 
when we came to it* the door was so completely 
blown up, that we hesitated for some time whether 
we could afford time to open it or not ; however, 
as it was the last discovered in Nubia, and as the 
exterior greatly exceeded in magnificence any of 
the others, the noble traveller determined not to 
leave the place till he had a view of the interior also. 
The reis and sailors of the different vessels were ap- 
plied to to undertake the task of clearing away the 
sand, and were promised a handsome baxiss for their 
trouble, to be greater as the time in which they ac- 
complished the labor was shorter. At first they 
eagerly caught at the proposal ; but, on farther con* 
sideration, whether from a wish to extort a higher 
premium, or yielding to the natural ennui of their 
disposition, they absolutely refused doing it at all* 
However, having once resolved upon it, we were 
determined not to be kept out of the interior of the 
temple by the absurd caprice of our reises and 
sailors, and without troubling them with urgent en- 
treaties, agreed to accomplish it ourselves. This 
was, perhaps, the best scheme that could have sug- 
gested itself to make them comply with our wishes; 


for they no sooner perceived that we were bent upon 
the work, than they were all obedience, and, step- 
ping forward, took up the mattocks, spades and 
baskets, and such other instruments as we had, and 
cheerfully commenced the work of carrying out the 

Here d. most disagreeable scene occurred between 
the workmen and a revengeful Arab. The field of 
our operations was directly und er the precipitous front 
of the temple ; and the boatmen had no sooner com- 
menced their labors, than an Arab, who had taken 
possession of the height immediately above, pro- 
ceeded to roll down large stones upon them. For- 
tunately, no person was hurt ; but all were instantly 
dislodged, and greatly alarmed. The stones that 
he rolled down with such remorseless vengeance, 
were more than sufficient to have killed any man, 
had they fallen from a height much less considerable 
than that from which they were precipitated. On 
looking up, the enemy was soon discovered, by no 
means shrinking, or attempting to conceal himself; 
but, bold and daring in his attack, threatened a re- 
newal of hostilities on the first man who should re- 
sume the operation. He was summoned to retire ; 
but no, he had chosen his ground, and would not quit 
the advantageous post that made one man a match 
for so many. There was no time for parleying : he 
might soon have been supported by hundreds, which 
would have rendered negociation more difficult, and 


opposition on our part less effective. Aware of 
this, Lord Belmore desired an English sailor, who 
by this time had come up with a musket in his 
hand, to fire a ball within a small distance of his 
head, so as just to let him hear the sound of it* 
The order was instantly obeyed, and had the effect 
of making him crouch dpwn behind an elevation in 
the rock. Several other shots were fired at him 
from other quarters ; and our assailant began to feel 
that his post was not quite bo tenable as he had at first 
conceived it to be, and looking up from behind his 
entrenchment, and seeing the same sailor, who had 
fired the first shot at him, now levelling a pistol to 
hit him more directly, he instantly got up and took 
to his heels. Our swift-footed Greek, who by this 
time had scaled the height, pursued him for a great 
way into the desert, wishing to take him prisoner, 
and thereby prevent him from alarming his tribe, 
or giving us any farther annoyance, till we should 
have satisfied ourselves with the temple, and then 
a short time would put us out of their reach ; but 
the swift-footed Greek, after having for a consider- 
able time equalled the pace, without being able 
to overtake his antagonist, abandoned the chace 
of the swifter-footed Arab, and returned without 
his prey. 

On inquiring into the cause of this most extraor- 
dinary, and seemingly unprovoked aggression, on 
the part of the Arab, which still appeared the more 

VOL. I. F F 


unaccountable as he had been very civil and com* 
plaisant to us the night before, we found that it 
arose from the following circumstance, and that we 
had our interpreter to blame for the whole affray. 
This poor man was the owner of the fine crop of 
barley that grew on the edge of the river, close to 
where we landed, and there being no grass in the 
place, Lord Belmore desired the interpreter to ask 
his permission to pasture the goats upon it till to- 
morrow, when we should be going away; and that 
he would then compensate him for whatever da- 
mage they should have done to his crop. To this 
the Arab most cheerfully and readily consented ; 
and politely hinted, that two milch goats could not 
do much injury to his corn, for the short time that 
we proposed to remain ; and went off to his home, 
happy and contented, and friendly disposed towards 
us. On returning to visit us next morning, he made 
up to the interpreter, and asked for his promised 
baxiss, that was to indemnify him for the injury 
which his property had sustained. The interpreter, 
instead of learning the amount, and satisfying him 
by discharging it, endeavored to put him of£ under 
the pretence of not having money about him, and 
desired him to have patience, or to wait a little. 
The pretence and delay made him perfectly frantic ; 
he became quite abusive, imagining that the inter- 
preter, by attempting to put him off a little, did not 
mean to indemnify him at all : for in their inter- 


course with one another, when a person defers any 
transaction of this kind till to-morrow, which he 
might as well do to-day, they think he has no very 
serious intention of doing it at all $ and in their 
colloquial language, bouchftra, which signifies " to- 
morrow, 19 is often taken in an acceptation synony- 
mous with " never." Such was the construction that 
the Arab put upon the words of the interpreter, and 
such was the plan of revenge which he adopted. 
On hearing this account of the business, all of us 
were extremely sorry for the poor Arab. It was 
impossible now to indemnify him in any way for hisr 
loss, or to convince him that the word of an English- 
man is as good as his money; and that though "wait 
a little," may be equivalent to " never," in Arabic, 
it is not so in English ; and that a whole party ought 
not to be attacked because the interpreter did not 
choose to obey the commands of his master. 

The fray being ended, a guard was stationed on 
the heights, and the sailors returned to their labor, 
and in about three quarters of an hour, to our inex- 
pressible j oy, the temple was opened. We enter ; it is 
excessively hot, a perfect stove ; with a damp unplea- 
sant smell in the air. Near the door it is much blown 
up with sand, and greatly resembles the temple of 
Diarfissen, already described. The first chamber 
that we entered into, is 52 feet broad by 5J feet 
long, and the roof about SO feet high. It is sup- 
ported by two rows of four large massy columns 



in each row down the middle, in a line from each 
side of the door. Each column is of the caryatide 
species. It is a statue of Osiris, with his arms folded 
across the chest; in the one hand he holds a scourge, 
and in the other the crook, or the pastoral staff 
Behind the columns a battle scene is pourtrayed 
on each side of the door. The hero is mounted in 
his war-chariot, with his bow bent in his hand, and 
his enemies, transfixed with his arrows, are falling 
and flying in every direction. On the right hand, 
behind the row of columns* two doors lead into two 
long narrow chambers, in which there is an im- 
mense quantity of black flocculent powder, as if from 
decomposed wood. The damp disagreeable smell 
is here particularly strong. A number of human 
figures and hieroglyphics are painted on the wall, in 
black, red, and yellow. The black round the neck 
of the red figures gives a peculiarly uncouth ex- 
pression to the countenance, and to the whole group 
along the walls. Osiris, Isis, Horus, and the hawk- 
headed deity, are the principal divinities pourtrayed 
along the walls, and presented with offerings, in the 
different chambers. Farts of the roof have fallen 
i% and in almost all the chambers the quantity of 
black flocculent powder, from the decomposed wood, 
is very great, and it is to that circumstance that we 
were disposed to attribute the high temperature of 
the interior of the temple, and the damp disagree- 
able smell which is most strongly perceptible in 


going off the sand that has drifted ia by the door. 
On the left hand side of the entrance-chamber there 
is no door leading into rooms corresponding with 
those on the right hand side, but the last column 
is joined to the side of the room by a high wall, for 
which we could not assign any very obvious rea- 
son, unless it were for supporting the ceiling j per- 
haps if this wall were removed, and the side of the 
temple carefully examined, something similar might 
be discovered ; for in every other respect the two 
•ides of the temple correspond exactly. Proceed- 
ing down the temple from this wall, a passage leads 
into a small chamber, from which two doors tun* 
off to the left, leading into two long narrow cham? 
bers, with benches along the sides, and a great quaur 
tity of black flocculent powder, like what has just 
been mentioned in the two chambers on the right 
of the great chamber. There are three chambers 
on the right side of the temple, exactly similar to 
these, and similarly provided with benches. Then 
going down the passage in the middle of the tern* 
pie, we entered into a large square chamber, with 
four square columns in the middle of it, to support 
the roof. It contained nothing particular, saving 
some masses of half decayed wood. From this we 
passed into a long narrow chamber, from each end 
of which a passage led into a small side room, nei- 
ther of which contains any thing, and from the mid- 
dle of it a passage leads into the sekos or sanctuary, 


which is a long narrow chamber, exactly opposite 
to the entrance in the front of the rock. There is 
ah altar in the middle of it, and in the upper end of 
it are four statues seated in a recess, each about 
eight feet high. 

Beginning at the right hand side, the first statue 
is that of the hawk-headed deity. The second is 
covered with a helmet, somewhat resembling that 
of Minerva : these two have ho beards. The third 
statue has a tall head-dress like the tutulus ; the 
fourth is bare-headed, and has an ornament running 
down the front of his robe, from his chin over his 
knees. It is about an inch broad, has a curved 
head, and ends in a cloven extremity at his feet, like 
the sceptre of Osiris : these two have beards. The 
stone of which they consist is soft, and rapidly de- 
composing, as is indeed the whole interior of the 
temple. The distance from the entrance-door to 
the four statues in the last chamber, is about 150 
feet, and the distance from the end of the one side- 
chamber, to the end of the one opposite, is nearly 
the same. 

Having completed this hasty inspection of the 
temple, and nearly burnt out all our candles, we 
were glad to leave the unwholesome damp by which 
it was pervaded, and which was as rapidly dissolv- 
ing us as it was decomposing the rocky walls by 
which it was confined. We shut up the door with 
large stones, as we had found it, to keep out the 


sand, and, if possible, the Nubians and Arabs, still 
more destructive to works of art j and having got 
on board, immediately gave our sails to the wind, 
and proceeded on our voyage ; to see more, and to 
muse on what we had just seen. 

I had nearly neglected to mention, that this tem- 
ple has fourteen chambers in all, and that the only 
piece of antiquity that was found in it, when first 
opened, was the wooden statue of a monkey, and a 
wooden door ; neither of which were of any value. 
The latitude of Absambul, as taken by the sun, is 
22' 2tf ir 5 taken by the star sirius is 22° 2tf 21"; 
and the longitude is 31° 40' 57". There is a small 
temple cut in the rock on the other side of the river, 
opposite to Absambul ; but we did not, at that time, 
stop to examine it. On hearing the discharge of our 
muskets, several of the natives crossed the river, and 
came up to us to learn the cause, and on hearing the 
case laid before them, highly condemned the Arab 
for his conduct. We found a pleasant looking valley 
on the south of the mountain of Absambul, but com- 
pletely covered with sand, except a small strip on the 
edge of the river, which was cultivated. The conti- 
nued range of mountain, which bounded our view on 
the west, is now interrupted, and a number of insu- 
lated pyramidal masses spring up in different places 
in the sandy plain, which is partially covered with a 
shrub resembling the juniper or dwarf cedar ; around 
which the sand is much consolidated. On the east 


we passed a ruined village named Add£, and part 
of the mountain called Djibl Eehem ; and on the 
west, the villages Belai and Ambib, and stopped for 
the night at Comn)inghan£, and, as usual, sat down 
to dine on the sand. The light of the moon and 
the whole army of heaven are delightful, beyond 
the power of language to express* No climate on 
earth can exceed that of the evening in Nubia* 
Numbers of the villagers came down to visit us } 
they were mostly of the swarthy Arab complexion, 
not black 9 and spoke the Arabic language fluently i 
it seemed to be their native tongue, They told us 
of some ruins that lay at a short distance up the 
river, to which they offered to accompany us next 
morning* They likewise informed us that the cele- 
brated island of Meroe, where stood the capital of 
ancient Ethiopia, is now called Saie ; perhaps it 
always was so in the language of the country : that 
it is a large island, with many rocks and ruined tern* 
pies ; that we could not sail to it, but it behoved us 
to take asses or camels $ and that it was a ride of 
seven or eight days from hence, and perfectly safe; 
and from that to Dongola is a ride of four days 
further j that the Mamelukes were there in great 
force, and were endeavoring to keep up their mar* 
tial spirit, and retrieve the shattered state of their 
affairs, by making piratical attacks on the different 
caravans which pass that way to Sennar, or Dar- 
frur j that the rate of travelling is eighteen«pence 


a-day, per man, every thing included ; and that we 
are one day's sail from the second cataract. 

Our Arabs, who had promised so civilly on the 
evening of the 20th, did not arrive on the morning 
of the 31st, and at eight o'clock we began tracking 
on our voyage* On the west bank, there is a fine 
row of acacia shrubs, with the sand blown up be* 
hind tbem* On the east bank, there is a beautiful 
level plain, well cultivated, and adorned with the 
date and Thebaic palm trees in great abundance, 
A little farther on, the west bank is peculiarly de« 
sert, and we miss very much the cheerful cultivated 
strips on the edge of the riven The scenery is 
now so much changed, that it is not villages where 
the valley widens, and their absence in places where 
the rock approaches the river, but villages among 
the different heaps of sand. The rock on the west 
is low, nearly on a level with the river, which I 
estimate to be fully half a mile in breadth, consider, 
ably broader here than at Cairo, and, notwithstand- 
ing the subsidence of the inundation, it appears to 
contain more water, probably on account of the 
great evaporation, and the Nile's receiving no tii. 
butary stream throughout the whole of that length* 
ened course. We passed the villages Ambi and 
Farras (a name given to the hippopotamus) on the 
west, where there are small patches of cultivation 
among the sand. The natives appeared sitting on 
the bank, most of them naked This was the most 

442 SERRE. 

famished picture that I ever saw in my life ; poor 
naked swarthy men sitting among the sand, and 
every thing barren around them. The females sel- 
dom show themselves on the banks of the river, and 
when they do, they are properly clothed* This is 
the custom of both young and old, and is seldom 
deviated from. We did not see any of the Hippo- 
potami, but were informed by the natives that they 
still exist, though but few in number. They re- 
main in the river during the day, and go out during 
the night, and feed in the corn fields. At noon a 
breeze sprung up, and relieved the tired sailors 
from their tracking. On the east bank, which is also 
covered with sand, we passed the villages Goastrou, 
And&n, and Dindan ; opposite to which there is an 
island of the same name, and a ruined village on 
the west bank. At two o'clock p. m. the course of 
the river lay west and by south. I am informed, 
that rain falls here in the month of May, that it is 
very heavy, and the wind very high. Snow also is 
said to fall, but not every year, and the natives 
could hardly find a word in their dialect to express 
it I am not disposed to credit that snow falls in 
the torrid zone, at 1500 feet above the level of the 
sea. Here we crossed over to the west bank, and 
having passed the island Anticourdieu, tracked on 
a little way farther, and about half an hour before 
sun-set stopped at the village of Serr6 for the night. 
Here there is only one house on the bank of the 



river ; but a number of people came down to visit 
us from a village of the same name, which is close 
at hand. Lady Belmore presented the females with 
some beads and looking-glasses, with which they 
appeared highly gratified, and Lord Belmore sent 
a present of tobacco to the shiekh who did not 
visit us. 

After dinner his lordship went out, accompanied 
by several of the party, to observe the movements 
of the antelopes, whose footsteps marked the sand 
in every direction. He remained on the watch till 
about nine o'clock, when he returned without hav- 
ing seen any, although he had been conducted by 
a native to what was considered the most likely place 
to intercept the inhabitants of the desert. His 
lordship's servant who remained out for a consider* 
able time longer, was tantalized by the sight of a 
fine deer, but could not get within shot of it. At 
seven o'clock next morning we again commenced 
tracking. The country now becomes more culti- 
vated, and the Persian wheels are busily at work. 
They are generally drawn by com'S, attended by a 
man or a boy, and continue moving the whole night 
with a squeaking unpleasant noise. The river is 
now become much clearer, and continues as broad 
as formerly mentioned, Serre is a large village with 
many inhabitants, and scattered over a large space 
of ground, which is well cultivated in front of the 
bouse, and well watered* The cotton plant grows 

44^ ISHKID. 

here in great abundance* Dibair is likewise a large 
village on the east bank ; near to which the moun- 
tain peeks up, in different places, in the shape of 
pyramids, The west bank is well cultivated with 
many acacias, which, however, continue but for a 
short way, and are succeeded by a low extensive 
plain of >sand, with here and there a ruined cottage 
on the bank. The east bank is well cultivated, the 
river still very broad. Our course is south-west 
and by south. About two o'clock p.m. we ar- 
rived at khkid, which is a large scattered village! 
embosomed in a grove of palm trees on the east bank 
of the river. It is the residence of two cachiefs, 
Hassan and Hessien, whose two sons are the vice* 
cachiefs of Deer. The natives assembled on the 
bank to witness our arrival, they were well-dressed 
and manifested an air of superiority in their man* 
ner and address, which we had not observed in any 
of the natives since we entered Nubia. 

Immediately on landing Lord Belmore proceeded 
to pay his respects to the cachiefs, whom he found 
attended with a state and magnificence altogether 
unusual in that country, and of course unlooked 
for. Hassan was an old man on the verge of 
seventy years ; but of remarkably fine feature, and 
the venerable air of royalty itself. Hessien ap- 
peared of the age of forty, in size a perfect giant of 
the most Herculean mould, with a tremendous sword 
by his side, which his arm alone was equal to wield. 

ItHKID. 4*5 

Their complaisance was extreme, and their noble 
visiter was so gratified with his reception, that he 
determined not to leave Ishkid that night, more 
especially as they informed him that he was now 
within five hours' sail of the second cataract. On 
leaving them to return to the vessel they sent him 
a compliment of seven sheep, and offered every fa- 
cility in their power to forward him on his voyage. 
His lordship in return, Bent one of them a set of 
coffee cups, and the other a travelling carpet. These 
were not men to be presented with a little soap, 
coffee, or tobacco, like the village shiekhs whom we 
had encountered in other parts of Nubia. 

We dined on the bank as usual, but at an earlier 
hour, and during the time of dinner a messenger ar- 
rived from Hessien cachief, leading a little black 
boy, whom he was commanded to present to his 
noble visiter as a slave* Such a present instead of 
being a benefit would really have been a great an- 
noyance to us ; but how to refuse it was the diffi- 
culty ; both the interpreter and couspasha declared 
that it was contrary to all the customs and laws of 
the country to refuse a present, and this being con- 
sidered as a very handsome present, they were per- 
fectly astonished how there could be any scruple 
in accepting it. Such however was our accommoda- 
tion, that it could not admit of any addition to the 
party, and to have accepted him would really have 
been taking a boy to nurse, not to be of use. Ac- 

446 ISHKIO. 

cordingly he was returned to his former master, eft 
the principle that neither an Englishman nor a 
Christian can consistently accept of a slave. No 
offence whatever was taken at it. On the contrary, 
the younger cachief came down in the evening and 
sat and smoked his pipe with us for a considerable 
time. His senior, as we were informed, had gone 
to bed a little under the influence of that beverage, 
which, when indulged in, never fails to vanquish the 
strongest. A little sobered, he came out in the 
evening, and a fire was lighted in a sort of court 
yard among the trees, where his carpet was spread, 
and he sat down to smoke and drink, and enjoy 
himself with his men and horses standing around ^ 

The reisses and sailors of the different vessels, 
also held their gala. They gathered sticks and made 
a fire, and sat down round it, and hired a native to 
beat the tambour to them. Occasionally one of them 
rose and attitudinized in his libidinous dance for 
the entertainment of the rest ; at other times they 
all sat down, every two of them face to face, and 
raised their hands, and clapped them against each 
other, at the same time calling out most hideously, 
and keeping time to the beat of the tambour. They 
kept up the diversion till about eleven o'clock at 
night, when all came quietly on board, not tipsy ; 
but certainly not without having tasted ; for they 
had bo£h the smell and appearance of it. The 

^ 1SHKID. 447 

spirit of the country is arrack, and is distilled from 
dates, which the liberal Mussulmans think they are 
at liberty to drink, because the Koran only prohi- 
bits wine ; but the most correct and by far the most 
respectable Moslems, believe that under that term 
is prohibited the use of all intoxicating liquor what* 
ever, and on that account never taste any species 

of it. 

Ishkid is the place where travellers who wish to 

go above the cataract bargain for camels. It is ten 
days' journey from this to Saie by a camel, and five 
by a dromedary, and the hire for either is fifty shil- 
lings, to go and return. 

Next morning, the 2Sd, we resumed our voyage 
•at a quarter past seven, still obliged to track for 
want of wind. The west bank is still low and 
covered with sand. The east bank all round Ish- 
kid is well watered and well cultivated, and there 
are many Persian wheels. A little higher up a rock 
cuts in close upon the Nile, and all is barren and 
void of cultivation, except a few shrubs and syca- 
more trees on the brink of the river. The hori- 
zontal sandstone still continues, and small patches 
of cultivated ground around the villages of Serree 
and Argeem, on the west. The ridge of mountain 
now takes a long winding sweep towards the south- 
west, and after encircling a wide sandy plain, shoots 
on to the river. It is a table-shaped mountain, and 
is called Psheer. We game in sight of it at the 


village of Ang6sh about eleven o'clock. The river 
here turns more westerly, and afterwards winds 
round in a southern direction. The open sandy 
plain rises gradually towards a rocky eminence, out 
of which there spring up here and there several 
table-shaped or pyramidal mountain masses. On 
the east bank between the mountain and the river, 
there is a small pleasant village called Souloung- 
duffS, with fine crops of barley, which has been 
dibbled, and plenty of palm trees, and several Per- 
sian wheels. Now all cultivation ceases, and the 
rock and sand on both sides shoot close in to the 
verge of the river. On the summit of a rocky emi- 
nence on the west and right a-head, we descry 
something like a tumulus, or the pedestal of a mo- 
numental column $ an island appears a-head in the 
middle of the river, we hold on our way, and in a 
Httle time, at two o'clock p. m. reached the second 
cataract, having sailed as far as its rocky bed would 
allow us, we made fast to the bank on the west side 
of the river. 

We landed immediately, every heart bounding 
with gratitude and joy, feeling that we had now at- 
tained the limits of our journey in this direction, 
and proceeded to explore the works of nature and 
art, as they lay in this quarter of the stony world. 
There were neither people nor villages around us. 
All is rock and sand. There are a few ruined 
houses, some of which have been two stories high, 


the remains of a former village on an island in the 
middle of the Nile. The object that chiefly invited 
our attention was the cairn or tumulus that had loom- 
ed so picturesquely upon us from the mountain top 
as we approached, and thither we directed our steps 
over the burning sand. It is about a quarter of an 
hour's walk from the place where we stopped, and 
the ascent is by no means difficult When we came 
near the mountain, our curiosity was excited by ob- 
serving innumerable small heaps of stones, about 
five or six stones in each heap, piled up together 
as tokens of so many visits, or memorials of certain 
occurrences which individuals had chose thus to 
perpetuate* These monumental tumuli extend for at 
least a hundred yards round the base of the moun- 
tain, and up the adjoining elevation to the west, 
and up the side of the cairn itself, which consists of 
a number of larger stones carelessly thrown toge- 
ther, A well-worn, and apparently still well-fre- 
quented track passes up the side of the mountain, 
by which we ascended to the summit Here we 
found the cairn more regularly built, and a door in 
it looking to the south, which showed us in the in- 
terior, the tomb of an honored shiekh, hung on 
three sides, with as many pieces of white cloth, each 
of which was inscribed with pious Arabic sentences 
from the Kor&n. The side next the door had no 
cloth, it had been left uncovered for the purpose of 
showing the tomb, near to which was a small 
vol. u GO 


earthenware censer that had lately been employed 
for burning incense ; the charcoal and ashes were 
sttti fresh in the bottom of it. Several other pa* 
teras were standing by of a similar description, and 
from their contents, had evidently been used for a 
similar purpose. We made many inquiries about 
this illustrious personage, whom futurity continued 
to honor with such signal devotion, but could learn 
nothing of him from any of the men who accom- 
panied . us from the boats. Next day one of the 
natives informed us that his name was Shiekh Ab- 
dalla Gadi ; that he was a very great and a very 
old shiekh, much revered for his sanctity and worth ; 
but he could tell nothing more about him. All he 
had said was abundantly confirmed by the marks 
of respect which we saw around his tomb, left there 
by the many pilgrims who for ages had resorted 
thither to pour out the devotions of their hearts, 
and to gather confidence from his tomb to encounter 
again the toils and struggles of the world. 

From the summit of this lofty station the spec* 
tator enjoys an extensive view of the cataract ; and, 
as far as the eye can reach, he sees the river broken 
into a number of separate streams by rocks and 
islets springing up in its bed. Some of them are 
covered with shrubs and verdure ; others lift up 
their bare rocky heads, and contrast beautifully 
with the sheets of water that reflect the suta-beams 
between them. It appears as if the river were here 


issuing from a marshy source, and the traveller is 
almost convinced that the origin of this mighty 
stream is not to be sought for any farther. There 
is no fall of water within the whole range of vision ; 
and the term cataract must be interpreted here, as 
in the former instance at Assouan, to import merely 
an obstruction to the navigation and equable cur- 
rent of the river. On the large island at the en- 
trance of the cataract, and which is called Djene- 
zoff, there are the remains of a ruined village, built 
upon a considerable eminence, probably the ruins 
of a former village. How could ruin, or devastation, 
or man's cupidity to destroy, find out such at spot 
as this ! Let him wander where he will, the sword 
never fails to persecute the race. 

From the contemplation of this interesting scene, 
we returned to our vessels, dined on the bank, and 
celebrated the birth-day of Lord Corry, the eldest 
son of the noble traveller, who had that day, the 
23d of December, completed his seventeenth year. 
Though all around was barren and bare, we were 
not without our comforts : plenty of French wines, 
and porter, and a bumper of the best Irish whiskey 
to drain to the health of that young and patriotic 
nobleman, whom may God preserve for many years. 

Next day, the 24th, was spent in walking about 
the cataract. On the morning, one of the natives 
brought us over an ass, and offered to conduct us 
to a fall in the river, which he said was about an 

g g 2 


hour and a half distant. This seemed to be the 
only ass which the place afforded, and we gladly 
accepted the offer. Lady Belmore and Miss Brook, 
the youngest, though by no means the worst tra- 
veller of the party, rode alternately, and the rest of 
us scrambled over the sand in the best way we 
could. Our silent guide led us up to a bluff point 
of the rock which projected a little way into the 
river, and which might be about three quarters of 
an hour distant from the place where our vessels 
were lying, and then informed us that this was the 
place to which he meant to conduct us, and said it 
was very beautiful. We certainly had a fine view of 
the river, but there was no waterfall. It was, how- 
ever, a very good place for taking an observation 
to ascertain the latitude of the second cataract ; 
and the noble traveller, whose servant carried the 
instruments along with him, proceeded to arrange 
them for that purpose ; but, unfortunately, ere the 
sextant was mounted, the sun had begun to dip, so 
that the observation was lost for that day. 

We next proceeded to the very important opera- 
tion of having all the names of the party engraved 
on the rock ; and, having selected a spot suitable for 
the purpose, the ship's carpenter set to work with his 
chisel and mallet, and, in a short time, accomplished 
the task. While the operation was going on, we 
proceeded higher up the river, to where it winds a 
little westward. Here we ascended to the summit of 


several of the rocks to view the cataract in different 
directions j the most elevated of these insulated 
rocks is also the southmost, and from the summit 
of it we enjoyed the most uninterrupted and exten- 
sive view of the interesting scene that we had tra- 
velled so far to contemplate. Throughout the whole 
field of vision we saw the river divided by innumer- 
able rocks and islands, in the manner already de- 
scribed; yet, from the mountain-top, we could 
easily trace a main current wheeling its way among 
the rocks and islands, so as to preserve the conti- 
nuity of one principal stream throughout. Here 
and there, where it passes over a rugged or uneven 
base, the current is slightly dimpled, and a feeble 
rushing may be heard j but there is no phenomenon 
that can be called a waterfall within the whole 
sphere of vision, and the neighboring inhabitants 
would be more puzzled to hear it at all, than to avoid 
being deafened by the roar of its cascade. 

Following the course of the river, which is south, 
and a little westerly, the prospect is bounded by 
two lofty mountains that cut . in upon its course 
nearly at right angles ; they are merely the con- 
tiguous portions of the same mountain range, with 
a passage for the river between them, and it would, 
perhaps, be more correct to say that the river had 
cut through them, than that they cut in upon the 
river. On each side of the river the whole prospect 
is one vast desert of rock and sand. The rock in 


some places is table-shaped, in others pyramidal ; 
the sand is of that light species of yellow quick-sand 
that glides from under the feet on the slightest 
pressure, and seems to be formed from the disin- 
tegrated sandstone rocks with which the whole 
scene is covered. We perceived one solitary hut 
at a small distance, on the river's edge ; but I have 
no doubt that there were several others close at 
hand, from the number of individuals that we saw 
in the course of the day. From this lofty station 
we moved to a rocky point near to the brink of the ' 
river ; but the view was neither so interesting, nor 
so extensive as that which has been already de- 
scribed. Perceiving here the names of some of our 
English friends sculptured on the rock, we proceeded 
to engrave our own, as a memorial of our visit, and 
to tell the future traveller that we had been there 
before him. Hiving finished this piece of litho- 
graphy, we set out on our return to the vessel, 
highly gratified with our day's excursion. On our 
way thither, we passed by an old mud-house, which 
was so large as to be divided into four apartments. 
The inside of the walls were ornamented with re- 
presentations of Greek saints, pourtrayed in the 
usual hideous style of that most barbarous school ; 
the partitions were more modern in their appear- 
ance, and without any ornament ; the apartments 
themselves were filled with bags of saltpetre and 
common rock salt, as if this had been a khan for 


the passing traveller, or a general magazine fop the 
supply of the country, near which no body resided. 
Continuing our route over the sand, we passed the 
tomb of the venerable Shiekh Abdallah Gadi, and 
in a little time arrived at the vessels j where, to our 
inexpressible joy, we found that our friend Captain 
Cony, who had left us in the morning to proceed 
with his little caravan to Saie, and to rejoin us at 
Cairo, had returned* because the shiekh of the ca- 
ravan from Ishkid had not implemented his agree- 
ment in forwarding the stipulated and necessary 
accommodation. We sat down, as usual, to dine 
in the twilight. The second cataract of the Nile 
is not a place to part with friends ; we rejoiced sin- 
cerely in his return, and spent the evening comfort- 
ably together. 

The rock here is still sandstone; granite ftay 
exist, but we saw none of it: the proportion of 
quartz in the sandstone in some places is very great; 
it is frequently pervaded by veins of pure quartz in 
small masses of about an inch square. The peb- 
bles, of which there is a great profusion scattered 
about, are chiefly flint, Egyptian jasper, agate, and 
bloodstone ; the specimens of the latter are very rare. 

Next morning, the 25th of December, Christinas- 
day, we were ready to proceed on our return ; but, 
having missed the observation the preceding day, 
we delayed till noon, when the noble traveller took 
an observation for the latitude of the second cat** 


ract, which he found to be 21* 52' 50', and the 
longitude 31° %7 19' east, and caused it to be en- 
graved on the rock, a little a-stern of the last vessel, 
for the information of future travellers, who might 
not be so amply provided with instruments as him- 

By two o'clock p. m. every thing was ready ; the 
masts were all struck, and laid along the sides of 
the vessels, and the oars mounted upon them, as, 
from the prevalence of the northerly winds, there 
was little reason to hope that we should have occa- 
sion for sails. The boat of the noble traveller 
showed the way, and we all followed him on our 
return, much gratified with having achieved the 
object that we had proposed to ourselves on leaving 
the city of Cairo. I believe I may be permitted to 
add, that the Earl of Belmore is the only English 
nobleman that ever was there, and certainly the 
first who carried his lady and family along with him, 
to drink of the waters of the Nile in this stage of 
their progress, and to behold the unliving scenery 
with which they are surrounded. 

The weather was delightful ; and, with three or 
four oars to each vessel, which the sailors plied with 
renovated vigor, assisted by the favoring current, 
we glided down the stream in the most charming 
manner. But how different the tone of mind from 
that with which we ascended ! when every faculty 
wasbraced and aroused into action; the eye glancing 


from side to side, over mountain and plain, villages 
and trees, and prying into every creek, in hopes of 
discovering something new in a land that we had 
never visited before. But now the gloss of novelty 
is soiled ; the interesting and to us untrodden scenes 
are left behind : what lies between the beginning 
and end of the second cataract, between that and 
the third, the fourth and onward, through all the 
land of ancient Ethiopia, to the source of the hi- 
therto unexplored branch of the Nile, and far be- 
yond ? These are fields over which the fancy may 
delight to wander ; but fancy can neither see nor 
truly feel. With what diminished excitement do 
we now look on the sandy plains, the small huts, 
the palm-trees, and the water-wheels ! Yet we hold 
on our watery way. We stopped to dine at Seree, 
and then dropped down to Ishkid, where we stopped 
for the night. . 

Next morning, the 26th, we set off at seven 
o'clock, without having seen any of the cachiefs j 
and, the mind having recovered a little from the 
depression of the preceding day, we were much 
gratified in reviewing the barren scenery between 
Ishkid and Absambul. We observed that many of 
the pyramidal mounds that spring up in the sandy 
plain are artificial, and have doors of entrance in 
the side ; some of them also are natural, though 
assisted by art in the symmetry of their form. They 
are in prodigious numbers ; the stream of pyramids, 
if I may be allowed the phrase, like the stream of 

458 NUBIA, 

civilization, appears to have descended the Nile. 
Some of them are quite conical, others truncated ; 
and though the plain is without a blade of grass to 
refresh the eye, yet the variety of shade and sun- 
shine, of ruin and tranquillity, that alternate on 
its surface, are extremely delightful and impres- 
sive. Nubia appears to have been so little known 
to the ancients, that any notices which they have 
left us upon it are vague and unsatisfactory, tending 
little to facilitate our researches into its former state. 
The term Nubia is seldom mentioned by them at 
all, and when it is, the limits of the country so 
named are not defined. A capital of Nubia is men- 
tioned by Strabo, but he does not inform us where 
it was ; and his friend Eratosthenes makes Nubia 
occupy the left or west bank of the Nile, from 
Meroe to the bend of the river, and states that it was 
not subject to Ethiopia. This excludes from the 
country, that anciently went by the name of Nubia, 
almost the whole of that track which is characterised 
by that name in the present day, and which, accord* 
ing to the best accounts that I have received, ex- 
tends from Syene, or Assouan, to Saie ; an extent 
of about 400 miles. Of the breadth of the track 
so named I am hardly a judge. The term, in its 
present acceptation, extends to both sides of the 
river alike, but how far eastward or westward I do 
not pretend to know. That part of it which is im- 
mediately in contact with the Nile is very small, 
and I do not think averages above a quarter of a 

NUBIA. 459 

mile in breadth on each side of the river* In no 
place do I think it is a couple of miles from the 
river to the mountain on either side, even where the 
plain is covered with sand, which are the broadest 
parts of it ; and the narrowest parts of it are some- 
times but a few yards between the mountain and 
the river, and in some places nothing at all, the * 
mountain being in close contact with the stream. 
So that, allowing the whole to have been cultivated, 
even those parts which are now buried under sand, 
Nubia never could have been a populous, a rich, or 
a formidable country; and if an independent coun- 
try at all, must have owed its freedom to the good- 
natured sufferance of Egypt on the one hand, and 
Ethiopia on the other. In any part of the course 
of the river wherever we ascended to the top of the 
mountain range, on either side, the whole extent 
of the prospect was covered with rock and sand ; 
and indeed the want of water is quite adequate to 
prevent its being any thing else. Detached springs 
may break out in different places, and a few huts 
may be placed down around them ; but they are 
all inconsiderable. There is no large oasis, i. e. place 
of sweet or freshwater, in this direction, and the great 
body of the population must always have been on the 
banks of the Nile. Those who think that parallel- 
ograms have any virtue in civilizing or preserving 
the moral character of mankind, have here, in the 
valley of the Nile, a fine field formed by nature for 

460 NUBIA- 

trying the experiment. From Cairo to the second 
cataract is one vast parallelogram of seven or eight 
hundred miles a-side ; it is bounded on each side by 
a low mountain range, which they may fortify, and 
render inaccessible to disturbance, or the contagion 
of bad example ; it has a rich and easily manageable 
" soil, watered by a delightful river, and enjoys one of 
the finest climates that Heaven ever bestowed upon 
man. They may bridge the Nile, entrench both 
ends of the valley, and shut them up with a wall 
strong and impenetrable as the mountain on its 
side, and sit down, cultivate, moralize, and reform. 
If, in the course of a hundred years, they shall have 
been able to sanctify and cleanse the Egyptians, 
the Arabs, and the Nubians, so as to present them 
a pure and undefiled people, without moral stain or 
pollution, mankind may then believe that the diy- 
rot in human nature is effectually cured, that the 
original contamination of our species has spent its 
malignity, and that the mind that suggested the 
plan was touched by a ray from heaven. They 
will then know the difference between a misguided 
philanthropist and a real benefactor of his species. 
The ruler of the country would grant a lease of it 
for any given time, on condition of receiving a 
greater tribute than what it yields him at present, 
and which it can well afford to do ; and to minds 
strongly convinced of the efficacy and practicability 
of the scheme, the obstacles that lie in the way of 

NUBIA. 461 

its execution are not worthy of a moment's consi- 
deration to retard its commencement. Much good 
might be done to mankind, were every one, con- 
vinced of its enormity, active in the prevention of 
crime, and in doing all in his power to form the 
hearts of his fellow-creatures to love good, and 
pursue it rather than evil, and to make the whole 
circle of his influence a heaven of pure, and rap- 
turous enjoyment. 

From the remains of antiquity that occupy the 
sandy plain between Ishkid and Absambul, the 
tombs in the rocks round the high, and strongly 
situated Add£, as well as the temples of Absambul, 
it is perhaps allowable to conclude that this must, 
at one time, have been a place of considerable con- 
sequence. Geographers seem disposed to place the 
city of Abacis in this quarter, and perhaps a relic 
of the word may still be found in Absambul, or 
Abasambul. At present the whole of Nubia is sub- 
ject to the Pasha of Egypt, and pays him tribute. 
The persons of by far the greatest consequence, are 
the two cachiefs of Ishkid. 

Having proceeded a little farther down the river, 
we entered into one of the many doors which open 
into the rock, on the east bank, and found that it 
led into what had once been an Egyptian temple, 
and afterwards a Greek church. It had been care- 
fully plastered over, to conceal from the Christian 
eye the hideous images of Egyptian idolatry, and 
wherever the plaster had fallen off from the walls, 

462 NUBIA. 

Egyptian sculpture and hieroglyphics appeared in 
great profusion, as on the other temples. Where 
the plaster remained entire, it was painted over, 
after the manner of the Greek church. The repre- 
sentations of God the Father, and God the Son, 
were painted upon the ceiling. The horse of St. 
George, and several Greek saints, were pourtrayed 
upon the walls, more loathsome and offensive than 
any thing that ever came from the pencil or the 
chisel of the Egyptian artist, in as far as Christian 
idolatry is worse than Pagan. We stopped to dine 
a little above Absambul ; after which we got on 
board, and dropped down to Fourgundi, where we 
remained for the night. 

Next morning, the 27th, we started again at an 
early hour, as soon as the reisses had got through 
their prayers. With one of them, this was a very 
long and a very serious concern ; he generally 
spent an hour in this exercise every morning, and 
as much in the evening, besides being very punc- 
tual in the performance of this duty at the inter- 
vening periods of stated prayer. Certainly he did 
not pray in secret communing with his heart, but 
called aloud, with all his might, and repeated the 
words as fast as his tongue could give them utter- 
ance. The form and words of his prayer were the 
same with those of the others, but this good man had 
made a vow to repeat certain words of the prayer 
a given number of times, both night and morning. 
The word " Rabbftni," for example, answering to our 


word " Lord," he would bind himself to repeat a 
hundred or two hundred times, twice a day ; and 
accordingly, went on in the hearing of all the party, 
and on his knees, sometimes with his face directed 
steadily to heaven, at other times bowing down to 
the ground, and calling out " Rabb5ni ! Rabbotii ! 
Rabboni ! Rabb5ni ! RabbSni !" &c. as fast as he 
could articulate the words after each other, like a 
school-boy going through his task ; not like a man, 
who, praying with the heart, and the understand- 
ing also, continues longer on his knees, in the rap- 
ture of devotion ; whose soul is a flame of fire, 
enkindled by his Maker, and feeding upon his God, 
like Jacob, will not let him go until he bless him. 
Having settled his accounts with the word Rabbdni, 
which the telling of his beads enabled him to know 
when he had done, he proceeded to dispose of his 
other vows in a similar manner, " Allah houakbar," 
perhaps, came next, "God most great; 9 ' andhe would 
go on as with the other, " Allah houakbar ! Allah 
houakbar ! Allah houakbar ! Allah houakbar !" &c. 
repeating them as fast as he could frame his organs 
to pronounce them. When he had done with it, he 
took up the chorus of another word, "Allah careem, 
God assisting; Allah hedaim, eternal God; Al ham 
de lelai, glory to God ;" or some other word, or 
phrase, or attribute of Jehovah, and repeated it over 
as many times as he had vowed to do. The usual 
number of repeating certain words, is thirty-three 

464 NUBIA. 

times each ; and the Mussulman's beads are strung 
accordingly three times thirty-three, with a largtf 
dividing bead between each division. The usual 
phrases so repeated, are, "Allah houakbar, God most 
great ; Al ham de lelai, glory to God j Allah careem, 
assisting God," &c. To hear this man repeat his 
prayers, his variety of unconnected tones, running 
through all the notes of the gamut, produced quite 
a ludicrous effect ; you would say that this man was 
caricaturing, or making a farce of devotion ; but to 
look at him engaged, nothing could be more serious 
or devout, or more abstracted from the world, than 
his appearance. All his countrymen thought well 
of his devotions, and never manifested the slightest 
disposition to smile at, or to twit him for his oddi- 
ties ; on the contrary, they said that he was a rich 
man, and would be a great shiekh. So great is 
their respect for prayer, that raillery on that sub- 
ject would not be tolerated among Mussulmans. 
And in their addresses to the Almighty, they are 
not permitted to use any terms expressive of any 
part of the human body, or even of external ob- 
jects ; considering it offensive to God, and a species 
of idolatry to do so. They have five stated periods 
of prayer : souba, or morning-dawn, when they say 
two prayers ; dochr, or noon, when they say four 
prayers ; el assr, or about three o'clock, when they 
also say four prayers ; magreep, or at twilight, when 
they say three prayers j el ush6, or about half past 

eight Vetock, when they say four pttyetfc In pen 
forming their ablutions before prayer, they begin 
with the hoods, which they wash three time* ; then 
the mouth three times, throwing out the water } 
having blown and picked the now, they wash it 
three times j the face and eyes three times ; then 
they draw a line from the eyebrows to the ears, 
which they pick and wash ; then pass their wet 
hands behind the neck, and over the head ; then 
they wash their arms three times j last of aH, their 
feet, and all the outlets of the body* They are then 
purified, as thei* religion etijetas, to address thew 

When prayesra ate ended* the Raima* nstiafy 
flmoketbeirpipeSiWhe<4i«rfilledwith tetoaceo artigfct* 
ed ehardoal; ihto they braakfa*t r which commonly 
consists of date^ bread, ot bfcifad lentilri, after Which 
they take the pipe again, and having reposed far a 
short time* resame the oar, and almost every teal 
minutes some one at other of them is uttering 
picas ejaculations* during the whole edurse of the 
day ? such as Al hanl <fe klat, AHah kateem* &c. 

During the early part of this day, the vessels were 
attowvd merely te> float along with the current, but 
after the vetoes and boatmen had got their ener- 
gies a little rous*d, we proceeded on at a tolerable 
rate, and about an hter before subset aurfred At 
Ifareem. We landed, and walked up to the old 
d town and fortress, on the top of the rock. 

VOL. I. H H 

466 mbil 

It is completely walled round, but not {strongly ; it 
is strong by nature, and is not, though it seems to 
be so, commanded by the adjoining mountain. It 
has only one gate, which faces the east. The in- 
terior consists of a number of ruined houses, and 
granite columns, apparently ofRoman manufacture. 
The following morning we went round to the ex- 
cavations, that I have mentioned, in the rock close 
to the water's edge, but did not find that they con- 
tained any thing particular. One of them has three 
ruined statues in one end ; another has a chequer- 
painted ceiling ; a third has four ruined statues, and 
some sculptured figures ; the last was of rather dif- 
ficult access, and Captain Corry, along with one of 
the reisses, was the only member of thp party that 
altered. We left Ibreem, about half past eleven, 
for Deer, whither we had previously sent forward 
the cooking-boat, along with the interpreter, to get 
bread ready against our arrival. This is the only 
town in which the traveller can obtain this valuable 
article, in these quarters, and the process is very 
tedious. The grain must, first of all, be purchased, 
then ground into flour, then people must be pro- 
cured to leaven it, and others to bake or toast it, 
and after all it is generally sour, without salt, and 
by no means agreeable. We reached Deer at four 
o'clock p. m. where we dined, and remained for the 
night. As usual, I was overwhelmed with applica- 
tions from the sick and complaining, and was glad 

ABtftSA. 467 

to find that my former ophthalmic patient had re- 
covered so much, that the loss of vision now ceased 
to be matter of apprehension. 

Next morning, the 29th, we resumed our voyage 
about seven o'clock, and at nine stopped at Abys- 
sa, or AmSda. One reiss gave it the one name, and 
the other reiss gave it the other. Here we visited 
a ruined temple on the west bank of the river, 
which bore evident marks of having at one time 
been used as a Christian church in the Greek 
figures that were painted on the walls of the ady- 
tum. There are but few sculptured figures on the 
walls of this temple, but many tablets of hierogly- 
phics, in which the ibis frequently occurs. The 
grasshopper is also of frequent occurrence, and the 
hawk with the sun or globe over head ; but it is so 
much filled with sand that it is impossible to de- 
scribe it completely. It stands upon the rock, but 
there is an extensive plain around it deeply covered 
with sand. Hard by are a few roofless huts, the 
ruins of the former village. After this hasty view 
of the temple we again embarked, taking along with 
us some seeds of the lilac colored acacia, and pro- 
ceeded down the stream. The small huts composed 
of a few coarse mats, and placed amid the yellow 
sand not to encumber the cultivated ground, the 
shiekh's tomb, with a whitened cupola crowning the 
contiguous mountain top, to keep alive the flame 
of devotion, the thebaic and the date palm tree, the 

h h 2 

468 AftYSSA. 

Persian water-wheels, and the well cultivated ver- 
dant strip of grain, stretching along the river's 
edge, all these are characteristic of Nubian scenery, 
none of it striking, but generally agreeable. 
- There was a scheriff, or Moslem nobleman, on 
board one of the vessels as a common sailor. His 
complexion was quite black, and he had the negro 
feature, wore a scanty white beard, and had a green 
turban on his head. His air and carriage were highly 
dignified ; he spoke little, was not easily moved, 
and rarely saluted a Christian, and when he did, 
seemed as if he chid himself for having offended 
the prophet. He prayed much and in secret, and 
constantly carried a book of prayers with him in 
which be read, and on which he meditated when 
disengaged from labor; but working or resting, 
sitting or standing, the whole of this man's deport- 
ment was characterised by an air of superiority 
greatly above his fellows. His eye was niueh in 
heaven, his whole look and aspect tended thither- 
ward, and he expressed the most confident assurance 
of another and a better world. The devotion of his 
daily life would have been a model for a Christian. 
Yet this man's mind was under no regulation. He 
would ask for a baxiss in the most savage tones, and 
with looks denouncing vengeance if refused, and, 
should an opportunity offer, would not scruple to 
help himself t© what was most convenient. HSs heart 
was not benefitted by his devotion. Those prayers 

SABOUA. 469 

are of no good which do not improve the individual. 
Some diviner influence is wanting to take possession 
of the heart, and keep it back from iniquity. The 
religion of Mussulmans is a religion of pride. Hu- 
mility is not in all its precepts, nor in the practice 
of its votaries. 

We stopped all night at Saboua, which is about 
thirty miles from Deer, and set out again early 
next morning. In a short time we came to a tem- 
ple on the west bank which we had not visited in 
ascending the river. Having landed, we went im- 
mediately to it. It has a much older surface than 
any of the other temples, and seems as if nearly 
coeval with the excavations in the rock. The join* 
ings of the stones are all loosened, as if they had 
been shaken by an earthquake, which gives it a frail 
and shattered look ; but scarcely any of it hets 
fallen down. About two hundred feet in front of 
the propylon, which looks to the east, are two co!q»» 
sal statues, one on each side of the avenue, with 
numerous tablets of hieroglyphics down the back, 
and the goose with the egg over her, between each 
of them. A row of leo-sphinxes with their heads 
turned to the road goes off from behind each statue 
in a straight line to the propylon. Each sphinx is 
twelve feet long. Three of them appear on the 
right-hand side, and two on the left: the rest 
are probably lying buried in the sand. The hero, 
or executioner of vengeance, holding the hatchet in 

470 DEKKA. 

one hand, and the hair of four miserable captives 
in the other, is sculptured on each side of the door. 
Opposite to him is Osiris as in similar cases already 
mentioned. Along the top there have been many 
small figures, but they are much disintegrated. In 
the pronaos are four statues of Osiris on each hand. 
His arms are folded across the chest, and he is armed 
with the scourge and crook, as in the temple at Ab- 
sambul. Along the walls were many figures and 
hieroglyphics ; but not nearly so crowded as we have 
generally found them. The pronaos was a good 
deal blown up with sand, and the sekos entirely so, 
and could not be entered. There is a fine sloping 
sandy plain between the temple and the river ; but 
no cultivation and no inhabitants. Having got on 
board, we proceeded merrily down the stream to 
the neighborhood of Dekka, where we stopped for 
the night at the same side of the river, a Kttle after 
sun-set. During the whole of this day the sailors 
rowed and sung almost incessantly. One of them 
took the lead, and repeated the words of the song 
which seemed to have but little variety ; the rest 
all joined in the chorus, and at the end of each 
stanza they all gave a wild shout, and then com- 
menced anew, keeping time to the oars, and exert- 
ing themselves prodigiously. 

Immediately on landing, those of the party who 
had not formerly seen the temple ran off to it, de- 
termined to have at least a glimpse of it though in 

DEKKA. 471 

the twilight. It is certainly the most perfect and 
highly-finished temple in the. whole of Nubia. The 
hieroglyphics and sculpture are particularly well ex- 
ecuted, the stone is sandstone of a blueish tinge,* 
and remarkably good. There is no sculpture on 
the propylon which is a very fine one. Over the 
door there has been sculptured the usual ornament 
of the globe with the serpent and wings ; but it is 
much damaged. To the right there is a large table 
of hieroglyphics, particularly well cut. The sculp- 
tured figures are in four rows down each side ; each 
row generally contains three figures. Osiris, the. 
hawk-headed deity, and the goddess with the lion's 
head generally prevail. There are two columns/ 
half engaged in the wall, on each side of the door, 
and a row of vultures with outspread wings pour- 
trayed along the centre of the ceiling. In the first 
chamber Isis is seated with her lotus-headed seep* 
tre in her hand, and presented with offerings ; after 
this follow four different chambers, none of which 
are large, and each of them communicates with the 
court, which has been surrounded by a high wall 
that is now a good deal broken down. The last 
chamber but one is very much blackened, probably 
from the effect of torch light, and in the last cham- 
ber there is a sphinx remarkably well sculptured on 
the wall, with a cup between his fore feet, the whole 
is presented as an offering to a deity whose head is 
covered in a very unusual manner. Probably the 

47* QCKK4* 

deity 94 attired way be the greet god Taut, or Nu- 
phis, to whan the tewple waededittteds as we learn 
from severs! Greek inaaiptionSf On the ar chiti* ve 
over oueof the doors* in the month tide of the tappk* 
there is an inscription in very well cut hieroglyphics, 
sod, uni&ediaitely below it, another if& the enc&orial 
eheraeter of about the same length, as if it were an 
interpretation of it ; the last tine i9 a little e&ced. 
To the right of this inscription, on the walk there 
ii on* in the Greek character in red, which I have 
no doubt a little time would have cabled m§ tP 
decypher; from the alight perusal that I was en- 
abled to give it, I perceived that it was intended to 
camnotnoiate that a certain person had gone there 
and had worshipped mww T«* M#f<;, the very greet 
Taut. Nuphis. There is likewise pa the prepyhro 
a wsaber of Greek inscriptions recording that oer- 
Um iodwiduata had gone i^e* end had wp*fiWppe4 
the god Hermes, 

The village of Dekka is a little forth*? up the 
river than the temple, and I believe tfare is BPt a 
more uncouth savage race in the whole ef NeJwa, 
than its inhabitants* As I have ekeady stated they 
were outrageous m the eatxewe* when we ascended 
the Nile * but on the present oecseien were quiet 
and chop fallen. The soldiers of the Pasha were 
within a few miles of them on their journey through 
Nubia, to collect the tribute ; and the greater part 
of the male population, dreading little less than that 

DBKKA. 473 

the whole village would be rased to the foundation, 
on account of the insolence which they had invari- 
ably shown to Europeans, had fled into the desert, 
leavivg a few old men, old women aad children, ttt 
disarm, if possible, the stem vengeance of the 
military. One of the few remaining old men brought 
me a pail full of new milk, when I returned on the 
morning of the 31st to make the few observations 
on the temple that I have given above > but I did 
not accept of bis present, and he did not ask for a 
baxi&r The mprning was windy and cold, and the 
sailors, shivering in their scanty clothing, shrunk 
with horror when they saw Captain Cony and my- 
self leap into the river and go ashore to visit the 

The ancient cuatQm of setting up stones, or stony 
pillars, to floflimejmorate particular events, still pre- 
vails in Nubia. I was shown several of them in 
the neighborhood of Dekka; they were called the 
ahiekb's columns, or the shiekb 9 * pillar : but they 
had generally been erected to mark the tomb of 

the individual. 

The wind was high and contrary during the whole 
of the day, and the few minutes that our vessel 
stopped at Dekka threw us sq much astern, that 
we did not recover it. The other boats got so much 
a-head of us that they were able to stop and see 
Diarfssen, and be off again before we came up with 
them- However, thpygh I had not an oppqrtujuty 


of seeing this beautiful remain of antiquity again, 
I was extremely happy to find that the sentiment 
of the noble travellers coincided entirely with my 
own. We dropped down a little way beyond Diar- 
fissen, and, passing over to the east bank of the 
river, stopped for the night, and slept out the old 
year beside a fine field of dhourra which we were 
surprised to find unreaped. 

Next morning the 1st of January, 1818, we set 
off again at an early hour. The wind was still high 
and contrary. In such cases it is inconceivable 
how little progress is made. Rowing is scarcely of 
any advantage, even though the stream run in your 
favor. The body of the vessel is so resisted by the 
wind, that all the ordinary power of rowing will 
not quicken its pace. On such occasions the Nu- 
bian sailors dress themselves out in their best, put 
on their yellow turbans, which they tie remarkably 
well, and which certainly become them better than 
those of any other color; their chief amusement is to 
say their prayers, or sing their songs, just as they are 
inclined, and allow the boat to zig zag the river, 
drift on, and tumble about with the current This 
was a day of the above description, and the sailors 
having recovered from their morning's shivering, 
prayed and sung an unusual allowance. It was 
curious to see how they observed and criticised each 
other. It happened on board our vessel that one 
of them attending to the other saying his prayers, 


perceived that he pronounced a word wrongs tfiy is 
he fancied, in an irreverent manner ; the listened 
instantly checked him, and said that it was insulting 
God to speak to him in such a style. The other 
repelled the charge ; and, after a considerable dis- 
cussion, which obliged him to confess that he was 
in the wrong, resumed his devotions with as grave 
a face as if nothing had occurred. Their songs are 
of all descriptions, dull, lively, and pathetic, and the 
burden of them all, as in Europe, is generally love 
or war. I do not know any thing that would sooner 
give a man a fit of the blue devils, when drifting 
down the Nile in a dull cloudy day, with the wind 
right a-head, than to see a thick-lipped negro sit 
down in the prow of the vessel, turn his half-ani- 
malized aspect to the halo in the western sky, and 
sing his " yaw tolooba." His "ya hill a wa hae hilly 
hawly" is tolerable, because it is generally sung 
when he is in good-humor, and every thing going 
on favorably. The " Romana hub el balmia" is 
delightful, and they enjoy it exceedingly. I was 
anxious to obtain a translation of it, but all my 
efforts were in vain. 

About two o'clock p. m. we reached Gassr Dan- 
dour, and landed to view the temple, from which 
I copied a Greek inscription, recording that it had 
been repaired and dedicated to the Roman Hermes. 
The wind still kept heading us, and we stopped at 
sun-set, for the night, a little above Kalabshi, on 
the opposite side of the river. 


Early next morning, the 2nd of January, we 
sowed across to Kalabshi, to take a second view of 
the temple, which pleased us quite as much as the 
first* I copied a Greek inscription from the por- 
ticOp and perceived the globe with serpent and wings 
occurring frequently among the hieroglyphics. We 
also visited the contiguous quarry, from which the 
stones had been taken for the building of the tem- 
ple ; it is large, and has been well and regularly 
wrought y the species of sandstone is particularly 
good* During the short time that we remained 
here, Lord Belpiore walked over the rock above 
the village, and, to his astonishment and delight, 
found a small Grecian temple, with fluted columns 
of the Ionic order, from which he brought away a 
small sphinx, considerably injured. The temple 
itself is in good preservation, and has several Greek 
inscriptions. The tombs of the ancient inhabitants 
are cut in the adjoining rock. We saw them at a 
distance, but did not visit them. 

At noon we landed at Hindaou, on the west bank, 
and walked over the field of ruins, which con- 
sists of six buildings, comparatively modern in their 
appearance, and two that are of a more ancient 
date. One of these, which stands among the 
houses of the village, is of the old Egyptian style 
of architecture, but very small, and contains no- 
thing particularly worthy of notice; the other, 
which seems a more modern building, though more 

GAKTA AS. 477 - 

ruined, has once been used as a Greek church, and 
the walls are covered with Greek paintings and 
Greek inscriptions, all of which are greatly de- 
faced. On each side of the door, within the cella, 
there is a Greek almanack, consisting of six co- 
lumns, each of which is divided into four smaller 
columns, with Greek numericals in each, and an 
inscription over the top of it, which I could not 
read. The other six ruins are much more mo- 
dern, and do not appear to have been finished. I 
am also disposed to doubt their ever having been 
intended for temples. Two of them are built in 
a very unusual style; the courses do not pass 
horizontally along the wall, but run in a crescentic. 
form, each course being shaped in the form of an 
inverted arch. Some large fragments of the cor- 
nice, which we found near one of the buildings, 
was remarkably well cut, and of Roman work- 
manship. Having spent about an hour among 
these ruins, we reimbarked, and glided down the 
river to Gartaas. Here are the remains of the 
substructions and gateway of a very large tem- 
ple that has been enclosed by an extensive watt, 
but so dilapidated that no account can be given 
of it. 

A little farther down due river we visited* quarry, 
where there are a prodigious number of Greek in- 
scriptions, and bti9ts placed in niches in the front 
of the rock. The principal bust has been carried 


away, and the niche remains empty ; but there are 
two other niches with busts and inscriptions, one 
on each side of it. At the entrance, and all around 
the quarry, are many other busts and statues with 
numerous Greek inscriptions, some of which I co- 
pied, and read a great many more ; the purport of 
them all was merely to record that certain indivi- 
duals had come there to worship, and had presented 
offerings for themselves, their wives, their children 
and friends. This has evidently been a place of 
great and pious resort ; but the name of the wonder- 
working saint that filled the quarry with pilgrims and 
devotees, I have not been able to learn. The whole 
ground about Gartaas is extremely interesting, and 
a few days' study of the ruins and inscriptions about 
it would, probably, furnish some valuable inform- 
ation. I do not recollect seeing any hieroglyphics 
in any part of this quarry. From Gartaas we pro- 
ceeded to Dehmi, where we dined, and dropped 
down to Deboudy during the night, expecting to 
reach Philoe the following day. 

Early in the morning of the 3rd of January we 
set out for this celebrated temple, which stands on 
a fine situation near the river. There is a large 
space round it enclosed by a high wall of very coarse 
workmanship. The temple of Deboudy is a very 
handsome building, but is very little decorated either 
with ornament or sculpture. Over the door of the 
propylon is the usual ornament of the globe with 


serpent and wings, and over the door of the temple a 
square projection of the stone is left as if it had beep 
intended to be cut into a similar ornament. There 
is no sculpture on the outside of the temple, except 
on the right of the door, where Isis is presented 
with an offering shaped like a globe, without any 
emblematic accompaniment $ a lion-headed goddess 
is similarly honored ; and on the left, the small squat 
figure so frequently mentioned is presented to Osiris, 
and another offering to a ram-headed deity. Within 
the door of the temple, on the right, we see a priest 
standing behind an offering. He is attired in a 
head-dress which resembles a Welch wig, closely 
fitted to his head, and surmounted with two fea- 
thers ; he has the sceptre of Osiris in his hand, and 
the crook and scourge are lying on a table before 
him : his wrists and arms are adorned with brace* 
lets. The offering before him consists of a wolf 
looking over a horned snake, a hawk, an ibis, and 
a substance resembling a heart ; near to which is a 
small figure holding up a row of hieroglyphics, and 
two men pouring from two jars over the head of a 
person, who is standing between them, a stream of 
sacred taus and sceptres of Osiris, alternating. 
The stream reaches down to his feet on each side ; 
but neither of the sacred emblems is represented 
as accumulating on the ground. Perhaps the de- 
vice is intended to represent the divine protection 
and power encircling those who are duly observ- 


ant of the enjoined ordinances of their religion* 
Throughout the rest of this and the next chambers, 
the representations of Isis, Osiris, Horus, the ram* 
headed and lion-headed deities, are much the same ; 
they are presented with offerings accompanied with 
hieroglyphics* In one place we saw a snake-bound 
sceptre presented as an offering to Osiris. There 
is no sculpture or hieroglyphics in the other two 
chambers, and none on the outside of. the temple* 
or the three small propylons, excepting two figures 
on the eastmost one, which are not worth describing. 
Among the hieroglyphics, we observed a globe sur- 
mounted with serpents in the end of one tablet ; 
and in the end of another, a stag couchant, with 
two waring lines under him, indicative of water ; 
also the hare and owl, and several other figures 
which do not generally occur* 

In the innermost apartment there are two small 
monolithic granite niches : the mass of granite for the 
one isabauteightfeet high, and ftrarfeetwide; and for 
the other about seven feet high, and three tee* and a 
half wide. The niche is empty, and is surroonded 
with a double moulding, and ornamented wftk 
the globe with serpent and wings at the top, and 
on the base two small human figures are Represented 
as tying the stem of the lotus round a table, and 
holding the double in their hands in a frisky sort 
of attitude, as if they were going to pelt each other 
for their amusement. There are no hieroglyphics 

PH1LCB. 481 

within or down the sides. The only inhabitant of 
the temple of Deboudy, when we visited it, was a 
calf carefully shut up, as a worthy successor of Isis< 

The village of Debotidy is close by, and several 
of the inhabitants came about us ; they behaved 
with great civility. Once they asked for a haxiss, 
but seemed perfectly conscious that they had done 
nothing to entitle them to one 3 and, as they re- 
ceived no answer to their demand, they did not 
repeat it, but turned the subject, by inquiring whe- 
ther Egypt now belonged to the English or the 
French, and were pleased to learn that it belonged, 
as before, to the true Mussulmans* 

From Deboudy we set out for Philce, feeling, on 
Our approach, almost as if we were coming horte 
to the land of security mid civilization* As we 
glided down the stream, We saw knots of females 
sitting together, working and talking, adorned with 
bracelets, necklaces, and a profusion of beads, and 
not a few of them disfigured with thick greasy veils. 

About one o'clock we came in sight of the island 
of Philde, The venerable ruined mosque, the shiekh's 
tomb, the brown decomposing mountain behind the 
verdant fields, the clustering palm-trees on our right, 
the island, and the pillared temple id front, all an- 
nounce to fcs the approaching termination of ou? 
Nubian expedition. The island of PhiJoe is prow 
tected from the attrition of the water by a sunk 
wall that is carried completely round it ; and, with 

VOL. I, 1 i 


its magnificent temple, that seems to occupy the 
half of its surface, presents a compact and noble 
appearance, altogether different from the ragged 
edges of a water-beaten island. In half an hour 
we came alongside of it, and landed opposite to 
the temple, on the west, where the venerable pile 
touches upon the bank of the river ; so that we had 
only to scramble up the steep, and enter by the west 
side of the temple, behind the pronaos, from which 
we ascended by a stair to the top, and enjoyed a 
complete view both of the island and temple. 

This most magnificent edifice stands on the south- 
west corner of the island ; the greater part of it is 
close upon the bank of the river. The bank is 
higher here than in any other part of the island, and 
is rivetted with a strong wall of stone, from the rock 
under the level of the water up to the top of the 
bank, which may be considered as the foundation 
of the long wall of the outer court of the temple. 

The temple consists of a long narrow court on 
the south, then a propylon, a dromos, another pro- 
pylon, a pronaos, and lastly the cella, or body of 
the temple. Its plan is extremely awkward ; for, 
saving the walls of the small cella, none of the other 
walls are parallel, but all inclining a little to the 
east, winding with the course of the island. The 
space which it occupies is about 436 feet long, and 
105 feet wide at the broadest part, which is about 
the centre of* the dromos. The other parts vary 


extremely, as they do in most other Egyptian tem- 
ples, where it never appears to have been the design 
of the architect to enclose an equal space from the 
one end of a building to the other. The cella here, 
for example, is equal throughout ; but the pronaos 
is nearly 15 feet broader at the south than it is at 
the north end; the dromos, on the contrary, is 
broader on the north end than at the south, and is, 
besides, extremely irregular on the outer wall ; and 
the walls of the long court in front are neither pa- 
rallel to each other, nor at right angles with any 
part of the building. Nothing could possibly have 
been worse managed or worse contrived, either as 
to symmetry or beauty, than the ground-plan of the 
temple, yet its magnificent propylons, colonnades, 
and speaking walls, enchant the beholder. 

At the southern extremity of the long court, close 
upon the south-west corner of the island, we find 
the substructions of a small temple, with six columns 
on each side, and four on each end. The columns 
have all been engaged in the wall, which is more a 
Roman than an Egyptian style of building. The 
six columns on one side are still standing. Near 
to it, on the edge of the river, there is a small but 
handsome granite obelisk j it is covered with hiero- 
glyphics, and has several Greek inscriptions, one of 
which mentions an offering of kingPtolemy, a lover of 
his country, and of his brother, and their children, to 
the goddess Isis and the contemplar divinities. This 

1 1 2 


is the only obelisk at present standing in Philoe ; it 
stands on the corner of the island, close upon the 
margin of the river, where the bank is built up to 
form a landing-place, with a stair going down to the 
water. From this a long colonnade runs northward 
along the edge of the river, thirty- two columns of 
which are still standing ; but there have been more. 
These, with the six columns of the temple just men- 
tioned, which run in the same direction, though not 
in the same line, form a magnificent colonnade of 
about 240 feet long, running up to the south front 
of the grand propylon of the temple. Between the 
columns and the river a high wall is continued up 
from the rock under the level of the water to an 
equal height with the fop of the columns, and huge 
flat stones pass from the top of the wall to the top 
of the columns, and form the roof of the piazza. 
There are eight windows in this wall j and a good 
well-formed stair, about the middle of it, leads down 
to the river ; the whole forming a most delightful 
piazza, under which the ministers and votaries of 
the temple could repose during the heat of the day, 
and enjoy the finest air and the finest water in the 
world. Our Nubian guide, who spoke Arabic, 
called this colonnade gossaba de kakeen, which 
means arcade of shops ; an use for which it is well 
calculated, and for which it was probably con- 
structed. In many places in the present day the 
shops of the Christians, and the bazars of the Mos- 


lems, line the entrance to their places of worship. 
The same was the case in ancient times. 

Directly opposite, though not quite parallel to 
this, there is another colonnade, on the east side of 
the court, but by no means so long or so fine as 
that on the west side, part of it being taken up with 
chambers; fourteen columns still remain, there 
have been more j and it reaches nearly to the east 
end of the grand propylon, as the long colonnade 
does to the west end. In the wall behind the 
columns, there are three doors leading out of the 
court. Within this space there was ample room for 
exhibiting the gocU, and ample accommodation for 
the spectators to witness the processions. We find 
it at present filled with the ruins of its former 
grandeur. Near to the front of the propylon, and 
on a line with the gateway, there are the pedestals, 
of two granite obelisks, which have been carried 
off. The Nubians call the obelisks goss maktoup, 
or written columns, from their being covered with 
hieroglyphics. Near to them are the remains of 
two hiero-sphinxes much mutilated. 

We are now in front of this most magnificent 
propylon. On the right, between it and the short 
colonnade, there is an elegant and lofty gateway, by 
which to enter the temple, without going round 
the wall of the piazza already described j and on 
the left, an open space between it and the long 
colonnade, by which to communicate with the river. 


The propylon is about 90 feet long, and rises in 
two lofty towers at each end, constructed in the 
same pyramidal style as has been already described 
when treating of the temple at Edfou. Without 
having measured, I guess them to be nearly a 100 
feet high. It is perforated by two passages; a 
large and magnificent one in the middle, and a 
smaller one towards the west end ; both of which 
lead into the dromos. The front of the propylon 
is highly decorated with sculpture and hierogly- 
phics. The figures are not raised, but in intaglio, 
all of very colossal size, and very ill proportioned. 
On each side of the principal entrance, is the figure 
of Isis, with the moon over head. It reaches to 
about the height of 20 feet, ascending through 
fifteen courses of stones, up the face of the wall. 
On the west side of the door, she is represented with 
the lotus-headed sceptre in her hand ; on the east 
side her hand is raised in a peculiarly imposing atti- 
tude, enjoining devotion and solemn thought to all 
who enter the precincts of that holy place. On each 
side of this sculptured figure, there are the fragments 
of a Greek inscription, breaking off where the figure 
is cut into the wall, and remaining on that part where 
the surface of the figure is on a level with the sur- 
face of the wall, the same on the arm, and on the 
space between the body and the arm. The lines on 
both sides answer exactly to each other, and present 
the appearance as if the inscription had been made 


upon the wall before the figure was cut into it 
The same appearance of an inscription having been 
: marred by the sculptured figure exists on the other 
side of the door, and in several other places of the 
propylon and temple. The remains of plaster are 
still observable among the letters and on the wall. 
I copied what remains of the inscription round the 
figure on the east side of the door, but it is not pos- 
sible to make out any regular translation of it. The 
name of Isis occurs twice in it, and that of Zarina, 
Hieronymus and Theodoras ; the last of whom, 
we learn from another Greek inscription, was the 
bishop of the district. And the import of the in- 
scription probably was, that this temple which had 
formerly been dedicated to Pagan rites, and the wor- 
ship of Isis, was, by Theodoras, consecrated to the 
rites of Christianity, and the worship of the true God, 
and his son Jesus Christ. This was an important 
change, and worthy to be recorded on the front of 
the temple in which it was effected. But such a 
temple, crowded with idolatrous images and enig- 
matical inscriptions, every one of which addressed 
itself to the eye, and condemned the tenor of the 
inscription, was like a Mordecai in the king's gate, 
that could not be tolerated. It therefore became 
of consequence to conceal from public observation 
all traces of the idolatrous rites for which the tem- 
ple had been erected ; that the over zealous might 
not be offended with the sight of them, and temptecj 


to bbliterate them altogether, even at the expense 
of the edifice itself; and that the stiff-necked ene- 
mies of truth might not, by constantly looking on 
the symbols, be induced to relapse into the sensual 
rites of their former religion ; and finally, that the 
ministers of the Holy Gospel themselves, might not, 
in the discharge of their sacred duties, have the im- 
pure objects of Egyptian idolatry continually before 
their eyes* in whatever direction they chose to 
look. Hence the commendable policy was, to fill 
up all the lines, to plaster up all the images, and 
put the whole trumpery of their mythological de- 
vices, gods and goddesses, out of sight. Having 
done this, die front of the propyl on became the most 
conspicuous place on which to display a Christian 
inscription, that every native and every wayfaring 
man might read and know the sacred name of him 
who had become the object of worship within these 
walls, the former abode of Pagan darkness and su- 
perstition* In process of time, the plaster has fallen 
off, and with it part of the inscription has perished. 
The Egyptian deities and hieroglyphics have been 
restored to view. The Christian religion has been 
banished from the land, and with It science and art, 
the comfort and happiness both of rich and poor. 
Many of the sculptured figures have been effaced 
with picks or other pointed instruments, and are 
thereby irrecoverably lost This process of demoli- 
tion has probably been the work of the Saraqens, or 


Turks, or both, whose hostility to images, of what- 
ever description, or by whomsoever made, is more 
implacable, and more inconsiderate, than that of any 
sect of Christians, and whose disregard and cotw 
tempt for the fine arts is unparalleled in any part of 
the world, however gothic or uncultivated it may 
be. Thus Egypt has lost Christianity, the arts, and 
the comforts of life, and gained deism, ignorance, 
and misery* There is a Pasha in Egypt, and a 
Sultan in Constantinople, but throughout the whole 
of Turkey there is not one gentleman, one learned, 
or one independent man. Let us value the insti- 
tutions that make us to differ. In my opinion, the 
hieroglyphics were the characters employed by the 
priests to wrap up the dogmas and mysteries of 
their theology, and to render them unintelligible to 
any but to the initiated, or those of their own pro- 
fession ; and that they never were the generally 
written alphabet of any country, equally understood 
by all ; but a later invention of the priests, when 
they found more mysticism necessary to support 
the delusive pretences of their religion. The state- 
ments of the oldest historians support the conjec- 

Next to the sculptured figure of Isis, which has 
been mentioned, is that of the hawk-headed deity, 
of the same size. The hawk, we are informed by 
Strabo, was the principal object of worship in Philoe, 
and therefore the first god exhibited is naturally the 



hawk-headed, and not the human-headed god, or 
Osiris, whose sacred tau and sceptre he bears in his 
hands. Next to him is the representation of a great 
personage, whom I consider in no other light than 
that of a hero, a conqueror, or a sovereign, punish- 
ing his vanquished foes, or his wicked and rebel- 
lious subjects. The figure is that of a hero finely 
sketched, young, vigorous, and colossal. His head- 
dress is surmounted with the serpent and globe, or 
sun, indicative of his wisdom and extensive sway. 
In his left hand he holds a hatchet, poised in an 
attitude to strike, and the Ethiopian hawk, or sacred 
bird, hovel's above the blade ; the right hand grasps 
the hair of thirty miserable heads. To look at his 
countenance, it is placid and benign, and so far re- 
moved from the gathering blackness of cruelty, you 
would say, that with his hatchet he was going to 
hew asunder the fetters with which they were bound, 
and set them at liberty ; but when you behold the 
unfortunate wretches, crouching and shivering un- 
der his arm, you feel that nothing less than their 
destruction is intended; more especially as they 
are represented trampling under their feet two of 
his subjects, whom they have probably put to death. 
This picturesque group is stated, by Mr. Hamil- 
ton, to represent the punishment or destruction of 
Briareus; but not being acquainted with his reason 
for calling it so, I have not adopted the appellation; 
though I feel the greatest respect for every opinion 


stated by that gentleman. Numbers of other figured 
of Egyptian gods and goddesses, various devices 
and tables of hieroglyphics, are sculptured along 
the front of the propylon, with an infinity of Greek 
and Latin inscriptions, some of which have been 
already alluded to, as having been put up there 
during the time that the temple was devoted to the 
Christian worship ; but there are many others, both 
in prose and verse, that appear to have been affixed 
there during the days of its heathen darkness and 
apostacy. The general purport of them all is to 
record that certain individuals who are named came 
there, and worshipped the goddess Isis, or Eisis, 
the very great goddess Isis, or Eisis. The word 
ha or xvgia is applied to her indiscriminately. 

Both these passages lead into the dromos, and 
are covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics, offer- 
ings to gods and goddesses, females beating the 
tambours, and long-tailed monkies. The dromos 
is extremely magnificent. The Nubians called 
it Gassr el Wadjout. It is not exactly at right 
angles with the propylon, but points a little more 
to the west ; the west side of it resembles a peri- 
pteral Greek temple, it has eight round columns 
on each side, a square column at each angle, four 
columns in the anticum, and three in the posticum. 
This last is not Greek. It is not joined either to 
the great propylon, nor to the small one in front of 
the pronaos, there is a passage between it and each 

492 TEJMP4<£ OF PHILffi. 

of them to the river. The interior of this temple 
is divided into three chambers, and the Nubians 
call it bet el houss&n, or house for the horses. Oa 
the side of it, which fjaces the dromos, there is a 
long inscription in the Syrian character. The east 
side has twelve columns toward the dromos, and a 
wall behind them perforated by three doors, some 
of which lead to the exterior of the temple. This 
part the Nubians called bet el Sultan, or house of 
the Sultan. On this side of the dromos two doors 
lead into the interior of the great propylon, on the 
north side, from which an excellent stair ascends 
all the way to the top, giving off, in its course, pas- 
sages into different spacious chambers. On the 
summit of each tower of the propylon there is a 
large platform, where philosophy and devotion 
might delight to dwell in perpetual contemplation. 
Towards the south the eye enjoys a prospect of the 
most celebrated and most majestic river in the an* 
cient world, moving on in a placid and continued 
stream till divided by the island. Towards the east, 
it ranges over a small but well cultivated and ver- 
dant plain, studded with trees and villages, and 
ruined mosques, and shiekh's tombs along the raoun- 
tan ridge that embraces it in a semicircular form, 
from end to end: on the west are the granite 
and desert cliffe of the island of Begge, with a long 
expanse of unproductive sand : on the north the 
river unites its divided waters, and smooths its cur* 


rent before its fall to descend, between its high and 
rocky banks, a rugged cataract of four miles con- 
tinuance. He knows not felicity who knows not 
the private hour when the thought, which God and 
conscience approve, comes warm on the heart, and 
the glow of meditation fosters it to maturity. Well 
might this hallowed spot be called anas el wad- 
jout, the consolation of the soul, for never was pros- 
pect spread beneath the sky, more calculated to 
wrap the mind in conscious meditation, and the sky 
itself so pure and cloudless, that the eye of man 
never pierced a brighter, to contemplate Him whose 
glory it declares. Here the soul may enjoy its 
divinest exstasies, and science undisturbed may 
scan the heavens. Philoe is beautiful among the 
choicest landscapes. 

The dimensions of the dromos are about seventy- 
two feet, by sixty-four. The north end of it is bound* 
ed by a small propylon, which has a central passage 
that leads into the pronaos, which is remarkably 
handsome, a masterpiece of Egyptian art for paint- 
ing and sculpture. This part with what remains 
of the building the Nubians called bab el melook, 
the door or house of the king. This elegant pro* 
naos consists of ten columns, which, ranged round 
the three sides and covered above, form an agree- 
able piazza, to shelter from the sun. The middle 
of the pronaos is hypethraL The capital of the 
columns are all different, in imitation of the palm 


branch, the doum and the lotus in different stages 
of their growth. The figures on the columns are 
painted in the most lively colors, blue, green, fed, 
and yellow. The ceiling also is beautifully painted, 
azure studded with stars. The Egyptian star has 
only five rays ; this never varies, and it is always 
made in the same way, "^ and it deserves to be re- 
marked, that by joining the two upper rays, it 
forms the sacred Tau Jr.. The mythological figures 
on the ceiling are also curious. A man with a tu- 
tulus on his hand is playing with a serpent. A 
monstrous figure with the head of an ichneumon, 
the body of a bird, and the feet of a lion ; perhaps 
intended to represent the three kingdoms of nature, 
water, earth, and air. The next group is three fe- 
male figures of the same description with the one 
that encircles the ceiling on the same part of the 
temple at Dendera. The one here encircles the 
other, having the legs and arms, head and neck, 
nearly at right angles with the body. The smallest 
or innermost figure is perfectly hideous. It is bent 
round, so that the head is nearly in contact with 
the feet, and the face looking up. All around are 
boats with paddles, globes with wings, and a scara- 
baeus with hands and outspread wings. The same 
device is repeated with slight variations. In one 
of the boats, which is painted green, there is a globe, 
and in the globe a figure of Osiris having his scep- 
tre in one hand, and what is very unusual, a round 


shield in the other. Two beautiful birds with 
feathered sceptres in their claws, are conjectured by 
Mr. Hamilton as being representations of the fa* 
bulous phoenix. The feathered sceptres, he supposes 
to be palm branches, which would greatly strengthen 
the conjecture, as the story of the phoenix is sup* 
posed to have originated from the palm tree, which 
is also called phoenix as a generic appellation, and 
which, when it became old and incapable of pro- 
ducing fruit, was frequently burnt down, and from 
its ashes sprung up healthy and vigorous plants, 
long-lived, and fruitful as their sizes. This may or 
may not be the case ; the birds appeared to me to be 
the common sacred bird of the ancient Egyptians, 
so frequently pourtrayed in the ceilings of their 
tombs and temples. A stair leads off from the pro- 
naos to the top of the small propylon. From the 
portico we passed into the body of the temple, which 
contains eleven small chambers on the ground- 
floor, all of which are covered with sculpture and 
hieroglyphics. In the first, to the right, the French 
have been at the trouble to engrave on the wall the 
progress of their arms and researches in Egypt, 
along with their astronomical observations, to sis- 
certain the latitude of different places, which they 
have not done correctly. The chambers in the 
cella are more soiled than in any other part of the 
temple, which has been occasioned probably by the 
long residence of bats, and the necessity of using 


torch light in the ceremonies of their religion. The 
sekos or middle-most chamber, is particularly black, 
and contains two monolithic granite niches, re- 
sembling those at Deboudy already described. The 
Nubians called them bet binte Nazarani, or house 
of a Christian woman ; an appellation, for which it 
would not be easy to assign a reason. They have 
been wrought with great care, and adorned with 
winged globes, and cornice and moulding, and two 
figures on each side tying the lotus. Deboudy and 
Philoe are the only places in which we found those 
monolithic niches. The workmanship on them is 
quite of a different style from that on the temple, 
and apparently of a much older date. The places 
which they occupy now hare no appearance of hav- 
ing ever been intended to receive them. They are 
not let into the wall, and are in every way as much 
unconnected with it as a chair or bookcase with 
the walls of our rooms. The niche seems to have 
been intended for receiving the statues of the deities 
which were probably covered with a curtain to con- 
ceal them from public view, except on such occa- 
sions as tbey were either privately or publicly ex- 

In the upper story of this part of the temple there 
is likewise a number of elegant chambers, covered 
with sculpture and hieroglyphics, and various groups 
and devices ; one of them represents a death-bed 
scene, with the preparation and interment of the 


body. It has been interpreted to represent the 
death and burial of Osiris ; but this is probably a 
misinterpretation, for in die Egyptian mythology, 
Osiris was cruelly put to death by Typhon, and 
thrown into the Nile as above described. It would 
be difficult to assign a reason for the number of 
small chambers into which the cella of this temple 
is divided, unless we are to conclude that each of 
them contains a separate story, unfolding some part 
of the mystical theology of the ancient Egyptians, 
and that each was probably expounded to the 
visiters by its respective priest* 

The outside of the temple is equally covered with 
sculpture and hieroglyphics ; among which the hawk 
with the globe or sun over his head, frequently oc- 
curs, and which we learn from Strabo was the prin- 
cipal object of worship in this temple. Isis with 
the lotus-headed sceptre, and moon over head is 
frequently presented with offerings. In some places 
she is represented shaded with wings. In others 
seated on an elegant chair of Grecian fbrm, with 
Horns on her knee, whom she is nursing, and at 
the same time listens to the music of the harp 
which a female is playing beside her. The harp is 
Isis-headed, and has nine strings. The largest 
harp in the tombs of the kings at Thebes has 
eighteen strings. In another place she is seated 
and nursing Horus, who stands by her side as at 
Dendera. She is generally accompanied with 

vol, i. K K 


the hawk-headed deity. In other parts of the wall 
Horus appears as an independent god, wearing 
the sceptre of Osiris and receiving offerings. In 
another place he is seated 6n a lion-shaped couch, 
and receiving offerings, with Isis standing behind 
him. On another part of the temple we have also a 
hawk-headed and an ibis-headed priest, pouring 
from two jars streams of sacred taus and sceptres of 
Osiris over the head of a third person who is standing. 
In regard to the time when this temple was built 
it is impossible to state any thing with certainly % 
ancient authors have not left us any record con- 
cerning it, nor indeed have any of them made any 
statements that could have led us to suppose that 
the magnificent edifice which I have been describ- 
ing, existed in their time. Strabo mentions that 
Philoe contained Egyptian temples : but makes no 
allusion to their elegance or size. He further states 
that the hawk was worshipped here, which was not 
at all like the European or Egyptian hawk j but 
greatly exceeded them in size, and various colored 
plumage. That he was informed that it was an 
Ethiopian hawk, that cargoes of them were regu- 
larly imported from that country, which were kept 
and deified whenever the others ware sick or died 
off. We find a bird of the above description repre- 
sented on different parts of the temple, and in the 
sacred boats ; but he is no where presented with 
offerings, and none of the inscriptions state that any 


of the votaries had come there to worship the hawk. 
On the contrary, Isis appears throughout the whole 
sculpture and devices, to have been the principal 
object of worship in this temple ; and all the in- 
scriptions record her as the goddess whom the in- 
dividual had come there to adore ; Osiris sometimes, 
but very seldom ; and they, and Horus, are the only 
deities who are presented with offerings in the sculp- 
tured devices that adorn the walls of this magnifi- 
cent rum. 

Prom these appearances it is perhaps allowable 
to conclude that when the present temple was built, 
the worship of the hawk had been superseded by 
that of Isis, Osiris, and Horus, who latterly became 
the sole deities of Egypt. In different parts of this 
temple, we easily perceive that different degrees of 
honor are shown to the hawk. In the sekos there 
is a magnificent representation of him, far surpass- 
ing that in any other part of the temple. Here he 
is the principal object, and I may add that this is 
the oldest part of the temple. In the pronaos, and 
on the propylon the hawk is evidently but of second- 
ary consideration, and often introduced merely as 
an ornament. This part of the building appears to 
be more modem, and has been constructed with 
materials taken from a former building ; for in one 
of the columns we find the hieroglyphics inverted, 
and the centre of the wall would furnish specimens 
of the same thing. 

k k 2 



That this temple has been built at different periods 
is also evident from the want of- parallelism in the 
walls, and the direction of the different parts of the 
building. The cella which contains the sanctuary, 
and numerous other chambers, seems to have been 
first built, and it does not appear that the architect 
in founding it, anticipated the great extent to 
which the edifice has since been produced. This 
is all that was essential for the worship, and is pro- 
bably all that existed in Strabo's time. The pro- 
naos was subsequently added, which comes nearly 
in contact with the river, so that it was impossible 
to carry the building any further in the same direc- 
tion. Hence the dromos, the great propylon, and 
the long colonnades, are all moved a point or two 
to the east of the direction of the cella, and of each 
other ; which is not likely to have been the case 
had the extent of the building been contemplated 
at its commencement. These parts were probably 
added by the hierarchy, assisted by the governors 
of the country, and the contributions of such indi- 
viduals as wished well to the cause, at the time 
when the rites of Isis had become so extremely po- 
pular as to be introduced into imperial Rome, where 
they enjoyed the countenance both of sovereign 
and subject in an equal degree with those of the 
indigenous divinities. It may also be observed that 
these latter parts have not been completely finished; 
some of the columns are neither sculptured nor 


adorned with hieroglyphics ; others of them are 
but partially so, and the side of one of the passages 
is covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics, half 
way up, and the rest of it is left untouched, break- 
ing off in the middle of a course. These additions 
were probably made in the time of the Emperor 
Hadrian, who appears to have repaired, or built 
the temple at Kalabshi, and probably many others 
in Nubia, if not in Egypt. 

At a small distance, only a few paces from the 
large temple, on the east, there is a small handsome 
temple, which the Nubians called Sereer PharSon, 
the bed or place of repose for the Sovereign. It 
is sixty feet long, and forty-five feet wide. It has 
five columns on each side, and two on the sides 
of the door at each end. The intercolumniary space 
is built up about two thirds of the height of the 
building ; the rest being left open for the admis- 
sion of air. On the east it opens to the river, on 
the west to the large temple. The capitals of all 
the columns are different from each other, as in the 
large temple, and above them are four courses of 
stone all round, and a handsome cornice. There is 
no cornice in the interior, nor any adjoining sub- 
structions to lead us to suppose that this small and 
handsome edifice ever formed a part of any other ; 
and anciently it was probably exhibited as the tomb 
of Osiris, who the Egyptian priests maintained was 

SOZ *HIL02. 

buried here, and the most obligatory oath among 
the Thebans was, to swear by Osiris, who lies buried 
in Philoe. 

In regard to the origin of the name Philoe, it 
may be proper to mention, that the word " fil," in 
Arabic, signifies elephant. To this word " fil/ 9 or 
" phil," the Greeks and Romans added a termina- 
tion, and wrote it according to the analogy of their 
language " Philoe," generally putting it in the plural 
niimber. Pliny intimates that there were here four 
islands called Philoe, or elephants, and that this 
appellation was a general name for the whole. The 
one which at present retains the name of Philoe, 
stands at a small distance above the first cataract. 
The island at the bottom of the cataract, called 
Elephantina, is probably another of the four, with 
the name translated into Greek and Latin. The 
other two islands have received different appella- 
tions, whether signifying the same thing in differ- 
ent languages, or for what reason these islands 
were so denominated at first, I am unable to state. 
Seneca uses the word " Phil6" in the singular num- 
ber, and applies to it the epithets " rugged," and 
" precipitous." " Insula est aspera, et undique pre- 
rupta ;" terms which are by no means applicable to 
the island now called Philoe. Strabo states that it 
was a common habitation for the Ethiopians and 
Egyptians j that it resembled the island of Ele- 

PHILOE. 505 

phantina, and was of equal size. At present there 
is no village in the isle of Philoe ; nothing but one 
small hut, which contains one family, which con- 
sists of four members, the husband and wife, and 
two children ; and Elephantina is fully three times 
as large as Philoe, Herodotus does not mention 
Philoe at all, but affirms the same thing of Ele- 
phantina that Strabo does of it, namely, that it was 
inhabited in common by Egyptians and Ethiopians. 
•This omission of Herodotus is rather remarkable, 
for though he did not ascend the Nile further than 
Elephantine, as he himself relates, yet he gives an 
account of the country as far up as Meroe, or even 
further, which he professes to have received from 
the people at Syene. And seeing that Herodotus 
mentions the first cataract, and the way of sailing 
up and down it, I should consider this another rea- 
son for believing that the great temple in Philoe did 
Hot then exist, or most probably it would have been 
mentioned to him, as he was then within four miles 
of die place where it stands. 

The island of Philoe is of an oval form, with a 
crescentic indentation at the south or broadest end; 
where it is well built up with stone from the rock 
below, to support the soil, and to protect it from 
the encroachments of the river at that place where 
the united stream divides itself into two, and flows 
down the sides of the inland- It is about 1000 feet 
long, and 400 feet broad, at its widest part. Thi 

504 EAIBAP. 

rock is all granite, and the covering of earth is very 
slight throughout, so that the rock frequently pro- 
jects, but to no great height, above the soil in any 
part. There are several stairs from the island down 
to the river j one near the north end, on the east side, 
near a ruined gateway ; another at the crescentic 
indentation at the south end ; and a third on the 
west side of the great temple. There are several 
small substructions and ruins of stone buildings, and 
a few circular brick huts, but none of any conse- 
quence. The island of Philoe would hardly ever be 
visited, were it not for the large temple, and the 
Sereer Phar&on. The Nubians called the isle of 
Philoe, " Gazeer Anas el Wadjout," and " Gazira 
Mouchdelap." Mr. Burkchardt says that the for- 
mer appellation, means " the social pleasures of 
Wodjout," who is stated to have been the king who 
built the temples of Philoe. It has been interpreted 
to me " the consolation of the soul." I have not 
been able to procure an interpretation of the latter 
name, which I have spelt as it was pronounced by 
the Nubians. 

Having closed our examination of the temples 
and isle of Philoe, on the 4th of January, about 
eleven o'clock a. m. we got on board, and set out 
for Bdp, or Embap. 

The air was delightful, and the sun shone from 
a cloudless sky, on the precipitous clifls that border 
the river. There was no enlivening green to re* 

EMBAP. 505 

fresh the eye of the beholder ; but where scenes are 
peopled with the recollection of ages, there wants 
not the aid of lofty trees or verdant banks to in- 
terest the mind. A little below Philoe, we passed 
a small conical uninhabited island, and in a few 
minutes came in sight of the vessels, and the village 
itself. The sailors gave a cheer, being in sight of 
their homes, and a few strokes of the oars brought 
us to land, and we made fast to the bank, from 
which we had unloosed eight and twenty days be- 
fore. The distance from Philoe to Embap is only 
about ten or twelve minutes' sail. The latitude of 
Philoe is 24° 1'28' north, and the longitude 32° 54' I tf ' 
east ; but taking into account the windings of the 
river, we considered that in going to, and return- 
ing from the second cataract, we had performed a 
journey of between 4 and 500 miles, which we 
were happy at having completed without accident 
or interruption, the whole resembling more the 
summer excursion of a party of pleasure, through 
a delightful vale, inhabited by friends and neigh- 
bors, than an enterprize of toil and hazard, among 
a savage people, in an unknown land, speaking a 
barbarous and unknown tongue. In the course of 
our voyage we saw eighteen ruined temples, exclu- 
sive of those in Philoe, and probably there are many 
more. We counted eighty-five villages on the west 
side of the river, and seventy-four on the east ; 
making in all, one hundred and fifty-nine. There 

506 EMBAF. 

may be two or three more, but certainly not many 
nor of much consideration ; and I should imagine 
that in fixing the population of Nubia at 100,000, 
it is as much as it will be found to amount to. 

We had seen quite enough of Einb Ap on ascend- 
ing the river, immediately therefore, on our arrival, 
we packed up all our goods, and having procured 
a sufficient number of asses, the whole party pro- 
ceeded joyfully to their floating homes at Assouan. 
Wishing to have as complete a view as possible of 
this far-famed cataract, I walked along the edge of 
the river from the beginning to the end of it No 
part of the scenery of this cataract, nor even the 
whole of it together, can be called sublime. The 
only points of view best calculated to excite such 
sensations, are the high cliffs of Bigg6, to the west 
of Philoe, or Djibl Houa, below the island of Ele- 
phantina, which, when the inundation is at its 
height, must be truly magnificent. There is no fall 
of any consequence in any part of the cataract ; at 
most but a few feet, perhaps eight or ten, where a 
high stratum of rock traverses the bed of the river; 
but this is only when the inundation has consider- 
ably subsided, for when it is at its height, I was 
informed that there is none at all, nothing but a 
rapid current pouring down between its rocky 
banks. In the course of this walk, which I took 
leisurely, and which occupied about ati hour and a 
quarter* I passed the villages Coral, Toongarti, Am* 



bercol, Absarte, Awanarti, which are very small, 
and situated in the low cultivated spots among the 
rocks, and surrounded with palm trees. There are 
two pretty large islands to which the inhabitants 
gave the names of Gazeer Shelal, or island of the 
cataract, and Gazeer Sehal£. All the villages are 
on the east bank of the river. The west bank is 
low, and covered with sand, and has no villages. 
The people behaved with the most perfect civility. 
Twice I sat down for a few minutes, to enjoy the 
prospect from two of the villages. At one of them 
a shiekh offered me his pipe to smoke, and water 
to drink, which are the common rites of hospitality 
in these countries. 

[ 50&1 



On our arrival at Assouan, we were extremely happy 
to find that matters remained nearly in the same 
state in which we had left them ; no difference had 
arisen between the reisses and the Aga, or any of 
the townsmen. The worshipful Aga himself was 
extremely rejoiced at our safe return, and particu- 
larly so on learning that we had met with neither 
let nor hinderance in the whole course of our voy- 
age. The only aggression of which we had reason 
to complain was, that an army of rats, which by 
a few nocturnal incursions had previously given 
symptoms of having established themselves in our 
confines, seemed, during our absence, to consider 
themselves as masters of the premises, and accord- 
ingly proceeded to help themselves to whatever was 
most suited to their palate. With a mighty odd 
sort of taste, they fastened first of all upon an old 
dried stuffed crocodile, which Lord Belmore had 
received in a present from one of the Arabs at 
Thebes, and devoured nearly the whole of its ada- 
mantine hide. Having finished their repast in the 
cabin, led by no common sagacity, they marched 


to the cellar, which contained a few dozens of spruce- 
beer, to regale our return : we thought they were 
perfectly safe in being well corked and out of sight ; 
but a rat that has courage to swallow a crocodile, 
is not likely to find many bones in a cork ; accord- 
ingly, all the bottles were unstopped, and before 
our arrival all the spruce-beer was drank. As we 
allowed the rats the undivided honor of swallowing 
the flinty hide of the crocodile, we shall not tarnish 
their laurels by any malicious speculation about the 
number of feet that were owned by each of their 
auxiliaries in their attack upon the spruce-beer. We 
were not before aware that the rats of the Nile were 
such distinguished butlers ; and the ingenuity of 
finding such a corpus delicti produced a hearty 
laugh, that in some measure atoned for our disap- 
pointment in the much-longed-for beverage. The 
rats also manifested their hostile disposition on 
board the other vessel, by attacking a defenceless 
crocodile which I had prepared and stuffed a few 
days previous to my leaving Assouan ; however, 
they were surprised and routed before they had 
time to carry their ravages any further than merely 
wounding the tail, and scratching the feet Of 
this last aggression we readily acquitted the feather- 
less bipeds. 

During our excursion into Nubia, we had become 
so much accustomed to living and dining in the 
open air, and to enjoying the contemplation of the 


evening sky, that we found it a real privation to 
conform to the regulations at Assouan, and to dine 
on board ; it was like entering the smoke of London 
after a residence in France* 

The noble traveller, having determined on ex- 
cavating the tropical well, arrangements were im- 
mediately concluded with the Aga, and men en- 
gaged for that purpose ; and next morning, the 5th 
of January, a dozen of laborers, with such imple- 
ments as the place afforded, broke ground in the 
operation. As we could only devote two days to 
the work, no attention was paid to opening the 
door, or clearing the rubbish from the exterior 
of the building, though that would have been 
the most regular plan of conducting the exa- 
mination j but we had not time for that, and the 
diggers were therefore sent immediately into the 
interior of the temple, with a view to ascertain if, 
by removing the rubbish from it, and sinking down 
as far as circumstances would allow, any evidence 
could be found of the existence of such a well. 
The space in the interior was too small to admit of 
all the laborers being employed at the same time, 
so that they wrought and rested alternately, by 
which means the spades and baskets were kept in 
constant exercise. In this manner the work was 
hotly plied for two days, and the progress carefully 
and anxiously watched in both the chambers. After 
clearing out a quantity of rubbish, we came to a firm 


compact stratum of stones and earth, which we con- 
sidered to have been the floor of the building, and 
on perforating it, we sunk into a stratum of brown 
sand, like that which is lying on the outside of the 
building* We descended altogether to about the 
depth of 12 or 14 feet, but found nothing more sa- 
tisfactory on the subject of our research. The de- 
scent was made in the middle of the chamber, so 
that we could not tell whether we were below the 
walls of the building or not ; for my own part, I have 
no doubt that we were, and that this small fabric 
was built upon the sand, in the same manner as 
many houses and even large hospitals are still built 
on it, in the sites of ancient towns in Egypt, in the 
present day. This small edifice is called by the 
natives Madrisseh, or Madrasseh, which means uni- 
versity, or place of study, and which would fuiv 
nish a presumption that it had once been an ob- 
servatory, whether a well or not Its latitude is 
«4«5' 23' and its longitude 32° 54' 49". 

During the time that these operations were going 
forward, I took a boat and rowed across to the 
western Assouan, Assouan Garb6, to visit the ruins 
of a Christian convent which the inhabitants call 
Deer, or Dair. There is no village on the west of 
the river. The ruins of the convent are at a short 
distance, of considerable extent, and consist chiefly 
of sun-dried brick. The walls are covered with 
Arabic inscriptions, which I regretted not being 


able to read ; perhaps some of them contained valu- 
able information respecting the builders, inhabitants, 
or destroyers of this former abode of the Christian 
faith. In an interesting country like Egypt, which 
is so deficient in the materials both of public and 
private history, every inscription is valuable, and 
ought to be preserved. Though no inscription in 
the present Arabic character can be of ancient date, 
yet it may contain notices respecting the overthrow 
of the Christian establishment in Egypt, that might 
be of great service in ecclesiastical history. 

The burial-place of the Christian possessors of 
the ruined walls is on the top of the adjoining hill ; 
and, on visiting it, I was shocked to see the num- 
bers of bodies that had been torn from their sepul- 
chres, and were lying scattered about in the open 
air, wrapped up in the coarse brown cotton or linen 
cloth in which they had been interred. It is a horrid 
barbarity that invades the tomb, and tears from the 
defenceless body the last robe that the hand of friend- 
ship had wrapped round it, and leaves it to wither in 
the open air. The small and humble stones that mark* 
ed the resting-place, and bore the superscriptions of 
the deceased, were now separated from their owners, 
and told an empty tale. The inscriptions are in the 
Greek character, remarkably simple, mentioning 
merely the name and office of the individual, which 
is generally that of a monk, the day of the month, 
and the year of the indiction in which he died, 


and concluded with the sign of the cross. The 
tomb-stones are of the same size and shape with 
those at the ancient Syene, which are inscribed 
with the Couphic or ancient Arabic character, and 
which, if interpreted, would probably be found of 
similar import 

vol. I. n 

[514 ] 




Having completed our arrangements at Assouan 
on the 6th, we set out on the morning of the 7th 
on our return. The masts were struck, and laid 
along the side, in the same manner as on the vessels 
in which we returned from the second cataract, and 
there being little wind, we glided down quietly with 
the current. We soon passed the low granite rocks 
in the middle of the river, the low alluvial point of 
the famed Elephantina, the sloping plain of As- 
souan, and the lofty Djibl Houa, and lost sight of 
this ancient city, the boundaries of ancient Egypt. 
At first we moved on slowly ; but after the Arabs 
had got some refreshment, a short nap, and a pipe 
of tobacco, they manned each felucca with eight 
oars, and a man to each oar j a ninth person stood 
in the stern of the felucca, holding a rope in his 
hand, which was attached to the prow of the maash, 
and with which, as the boatmen rowed, he pulled 
us along, and we descended the river with great 
rapidity. This, at first, seemed a mighty awkward 
way of proceeding, particularly as the poor unfor- 
tunate man who pulled the rope seemed to be ex- 


erting himself above his strength ; his face was 
flushed and turgid with blood, his eyes appeared as 
if they would start from their sockets, 'and he was 
every now and then obliged to let go the rope, or 
otherwise would have been pulled over the stern 
of the vessel : after a little practice, however, he 
became used to the business, and performed his 
task apparently with ease ; and we were perfectly 
satisfied that it was a preferable plan to be thus 
towed along by the men rowing in the felucca, than 
if the oars had been mounted on the sides of these 
high unwieldy vessels, as they were on the small 
craft which reconducted us from Nubia. 

We now relapsed to our former habits. When 
dinner was ready, the two boats came along side 
of each other, and we easily stepped on board ; or 
if from the high wind, it was difficult to bring the 
two large vessels together, the felucca carried us to 
Lord Belmore's vessel, on board of which we dined 
and spent the evening in society together, till we 
stopped for the night, when, in general, it was time 
for each of us to retire to his respective place of 
rest This night we remained at Draou, which is 
about two miles above Koom Ombas, on the west 
bank of the river, and which we reached next morn- 
ing j and, after breakfast, proceeded to inspect the 
temple, which we did not stop to examine in as- 
cending the Nile. It is quite neat the river, and 
though a very fine ruin, is not so fortunate in its 


situation as most of the other Egyptian temples. It 
Stands upon the east bank of the river, and, what is 
rather uncommon, fronts the west, that is, the river \ 
perhaps on account of its being dedicated to the 
worship of the crocodile ; as the other temples, 
being more or less connected with the worship of 
the sun, look to the east There is no propylon or 
dromos in front of the temple ; but the portico or 
pronaos is very magnificent, and presents an im- 
posing facade 83 feet long towards the river. It 
has consisted of fifteen fine massy columns, five in 
front and three in depth. The capitals of the co- 
lumns are formed after the palm-branch, the doum, 
and the lotus. They are about SO feet high, and 
nearly 20 feet in circumference at the base, and 
are covered with sculptured figures and hierogly* 
phics* The remains of the whole building are about 
120 feet long. The interior of this temple is quite 
different from that of any other in the country. It 
is entered from the portico by three doota, which 
have the globe and serpent with wings sculptured 
over each. The middle door leads into one large 
chamber which does not seem to communicate with 
any other part of the temple ; but it is so much 
filled with sand and stones, that the statement 
cannot be relied upon as certain. The other two 
passages, one on each side, pass on through the 
whole suite of four chambers, and almost all of 
• thggi fcave^tooi^ rfiwinifHiJug with At ootpdfr, 


but not with each other, through the partition- 
wall in the centre of the building. In the first chanv 
ber on the left, or north side of the temple, we 
found over the door of communication a Greek 
inscription, which we afterwards found had been 
copied by Mr. Hamilton, and which was probably 
engraved there by order of the sovereigns whose 
names it contains ; and, if we may be allowed to 
decide, from the equal degree of tarnish on the let- 
ters and on the stone, appears to be coeval with the 
building itself. 

Some of the stones in this temple are very large ; 
we measured one of them, which was twenty felt 5 
inches long, six feet 10 inches broad, and four feet 
9 inches thick. The whole of the interior of die 
temple is very much filled with sand, and the watts 
are much fallen down. Near the north-east corner, 
I observed that part of the wall rested on Roman 
brick. The whole temple has been surrounded by 
a high wall, to keep out intruders and idle spec- 
tators. There was, probably, also another row of 
columns in the prottaos, fronting that part of the 
body of the temple which now appears stripped, 
and like a shapeless projection from the rest s the 
columns in the pronaos would then be eighteen in 
number, six in front and three in depth, which is 
more conformable to the Greek taste in building, 
which did not admit of an odd nujnber of columns 
in the fkfade. On the south side of the temple, 


the bases of large columns still remain ; but it ap- 
pears that they belonged to another building. 

In regard to the sculpture on this temple, it does 
not appear ever to have been finished ; the most 
interesting and best executed is on the pronaos. 
Osiris is frequently represented with a crocodile's 
head, with the sceptre and sacred tau in his hand, 
and receiving offerings. A lion with a hawk's head, 
or hiero-sphinx, occurs frequently among the offer- 
ings. The crocodile frequently occurs here among 
the hieroglyphics, and in one place we saw him as 
if placed on an altar, and surrounded with vota- 
ries ; we did not see him among the sculptured 
figures. Neither Isis or Horus appear so frequently 
in this temple as in those already described. A 
figure of Typhon has been mentioned by authors 
as occurring in this temple, but we did not see it. 

At the south-west corner of the pronaos, but 
considerably in advance, and close upon the brink 
of the river, there is a lofty structure, resembling 
a propylon. It is remarkably well built, and covered 
with sculpture and hieroglyphics j but like the tem- 
ple it is now much dilapidated. Joined to it is a 
high ruined wall of unburnt brick, which has been 
carried all round the temple. Probably for walking 
round the sacred crocodile, which was worshipped 
in this place ; as the; long tank beside the propy- 
lon was probably intended for bathing him. 
On the other, or north-west corner of the temple, 


and close npon the river's edge, there are the re- 
mains of a small temple of Isis. The columns are 
Isis-headed, and there is an excellent figure of the 
goddess herself sculptured upon the wall. 

On the north of the temple, at a small distance 
from it, stand the ruins of the old town, which 
consist merely of small brick built huts, buried 
under sand, and inhabited by foxes and jackals. 

The inhabitants of Koom Orabos were the an* 
cient and inveterate enemies of the inhabitants of 
Denderah. They quarrelled about their gods, and 
never could agree about any thing else. One hor- 
rid fray, in which the Denderites were the assail- 
ants and victors, was fought near the walls of 
Coptos, in Domitian's time, when Juvenal the cele- 
brated satyrist was in Egypt, and which he describes, 
in the most sarcastic and indignant terms, in his 
fifteenth satire, addressed to Volusius, of Bithynia. 
The Denderites were not content with routing their 
antagonists, and trampling them under their feet ;, 
but tore the living flesh from their bones, which they 
afterwards gnawed with the most. infernal exulta- 
tion. Both towns are now equally . desolate and 

There is no village within two miles of Koom 
Ombos, but a little to the east of the temple, there 
is a well-cultivated, well- watered field, on the edge 
of the desert. Thither we directed our steps in 
quest of riiuftuny pits, and entered several .which 

JfflO HAHJR SILfttX*. 

we found generally divided into three compart- 
ments, with holes cut in the rock in a horizontal 
direction, in which the mummies were laid on their 
backs in a horizontal posture, with their feet out- 
wards. We searched for the pits in which the 
mummies of the crocodiles had been deposited; but, 
though guided by a native, we searched in vain, and 
in a little time abandoned the pursuit, and shaped 
our way back to the vessels, passing by a fine 
Spreading sycamore tree, under which the caravans 
stnd land travellers stop to refresh themselves, and 
to repose in the heat of the day. Having got on 
board, we immediately set sail for Hac\jr Sibil, or 
Djibl Sibil, which mean the stone or rode of the 
chain, which we reached a little after sun-set 

Hadjr Silsil is an ancient and extensive quarry of 
compact sandstone, with shrines and places of wor- 
ship cut out of the rock, or erected in different 
places for the accommodation of the workmen, and 
covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics. The 
rode comes close to the river on each side j but 
does not exceed the level of it any where, above 
sixty or a hundred feet, and that not precipitously. 
The most extensive quarries are on the east side of 
the river where we first landed. The ancient roads 
leading into them are still open, and bear the tracks 
of wheel-carriages, and are so little obstructed by 
rubbish, that they might be used for the same pur- 
pose in die present day. These roads have been 


cut from the river, on which the produce of the 
quarry was floated to its destination, through the 
rock where it was shattered, porous, and of little 
value, into the place where the stone became com- 
pact and fit for being wrought, and are of course 
longer or shorter, straight or winding, according to 
circumstances* By pursuing the line of these differ* 
ent roads, the traveller may even, without a con- 
ductor, easily wind himself through the whole 
labyrinth of these quarries. On reaching the sound 
and workable stone, the workmen pursued their 
labor in different directions. Some of the quarries 
are about 600 feet long, 300 feet wide, and 70 or 
80 feet high. In no place does the bottom of the 
quarry seem to be under the level of the Nile. In 
some places stairs are cut in the rock, by which 
to ascend to the different benches of stone and steps 
to ascend from one bench to the other, which in 
some places are continued up the front of the rock 
to the very top. In general, however, they are 
merely square holes cut in the face of the rock for 
receiving the feet. I should have thought the in- 
dividual probably ascended by the assistance of a 
rope, till I saw the naked monks scale the precipi- 
tous front of the rock at Djibl Tair, with no assist- 
ance but the steps* They resemble the holes cut 
in the shaft, or well of the large pyramid, only that 
being a narrow circular passage, has holes on each 
side for the feet, and before for the hands to lay 


hold of. I did not visit the quarry in Mount Petf- 
telicus from which the marble was taken for the 
temple in Athens ; but it would be curious to com- 
pare the working of that quarry with that of the 
one under consideration. 

In some of the benches the stones are merely 
outlined, in others they are half cut, in others 
nearly disengaged, and the splinters lying about are 
so fresh, that a person would think the laborer had 
only left his work the evening before, and was going 
to resume it the following day. Yet matters have 
remained in this state probably for 2000 years. In 
one part we perceived a sphinx half cut out. In 
some parts the quarry is wrought down the breast 
perpendicularly. In other places the rock is cut out 
in large excavations, with columns left to support 
the roof; thus forming a cool and pleasant retreat 
for the workmen from the heat of the sun. In some 
places large stone tables are set up covered with 
hieroglyphics, running in horizonal lines from side 
to side of the table. The birds and other animals 
generally look to the right. In different places we 
also encountered many Greek inscriptions ; some 
of which were nearly obliterated, others so long 
that we had not time to read them, others very 
short, and merely intimated, or rather recorded, the 
offering of the individual, without mentioning what 
that offering was ; the offering of Eron Ptolemy; the 
offering of Apelles Lopnos ; there are also several 


inscriptions in the Coptic character ; but by far the 
greatest number is in Greek, and probably the 
greater part of the quarry was wrought by Greeks 
in the time of the Ptolemies, when the worship of 
Jupiter Amnion was most especially in vogue. Per- 
haps if these inscriptions were carefully examined, 
along with the laboring utensils which are sculptured 
upon the rock in several places, much light might 
be thrown upon the period when these quarries 
were wrought, and consequently when those gigan- 
tic temples, for which they furnished the materials, 
were erected. Let us not complain of the want of 
information respecting ancient Egypt, till we have 
made ourselves thoroughly masters of all that re- 
mains in the country. There are five or six other 
quarries on the same side of the river, besides the 
one already mentioned, but none of them of equal 
dimensions with it 

Here it may not be impertinent to remark, that I 
did not perceive any inscriptions in the Coptic cha- 
ipcter, in the quarry at Gartaas, in Nubia. There 
were, I believe, several in the Roman character, 
though I have not marked any of them in my notes. 
The greater part of them were in the Greek cha- 
racter, though mostly alluding to Romans, or peo- 
ple of that period, when Egypt and Nubia were in 
subjection to Imperial Rome. Probably the quar- 
ries at Gartaas and Kalabshi are not so ancient as 
those at Hadjr Silsil. 


The quarries on the west bank of the river are 
much less considerable than those on the east. Here 
the principal objects of attraction are along the 
edge of the river, and consist in numerous tables 
of hieroglyphics, sculpture, and excavations resem- 
bling tombs or templed cut in the perpendicular 
face of the rock. In one of these compartments 
we perceived the following group : — Isis leo, with 
the moon over her head, and the sceptre of Osiris 
in her hand ; an ibis-headed deity, with the globe 
over his head, and the sceptre of Osiris also in his 
hand ; then a Typhon, with a lunated head-dress ; 
he holds the sacred tau, which is inverted in his 
hand, and presents it to a person who is offering to 
him. This is the only place in all Egypt, in which 
I remember having seen an offering presented to 
Typhon. The same group is repeated on another 
table, with this difference, that Isis has the human, 
instead of the lion's head, as in the former one. 
Close to these two groups are two curious tables 
which deserve more attention than I had time to 
bestow upon them. The hieroglyphics in the upper 
parts of the tables are written in horizontal lines, 
and the lower parts in chequered lines like the Greek 
almanacks already mentioned in the ruined Greek 
chapel at Hindaou. They are also in four columns 
line for line, and I should like extremely to see a 
skilful comparison made of the two. 

Many of the excavations along the edge of the 

EDFOU. 595 

river have fallen down, the greater part of them 
have been covered with sculpture and hieroglyphics, 
and some of them have been painted. The one that 
most particularly arrested our intention, was that 
at the lower end of the series. It has four columns 
in front, with several niches, in the inside, contain- 
ing statues. The walls are covered with sculpture, 
and hieroglyphics, which shows that it was origin- 
ally an Egyptian temple, and the figure of the cross 
being painted up in several places, shows that sub- 
sequently, it was converted to a place of Christian 
worship. In another of these excavations, we saw 
the figure of the cross painted upon the wall, with 
this inscription over it, CTATPOC AON XPIC- 
TI ANON — the cross of the Christians $ and on 
the wall opposite, rC+%C We did not see the 
remains of any town or village in this place, and 
from there being no cultivatable land in it, and but 
very little in the immediate vicinity, it is probable 
that any houses that were erected here were merely 
for the accommodation of the laborers in the quar- 
ries. About one o'clock we got on board, and after 
a pleasant sail arrived at Edfou about eight, and 
took up our station as before, about a mile and a 
half from the town. 

Hie second view of the village, and magnificent 
temple of Edfou pleased us quite as much as the 
first, but the dogs were so furious on our approach, 
that m self-defence we found it necessary to pass a 

£&6 edfoit. 

shot through one of them. The crops of dhourra, 
which we saw on ascending the Nile, were now all 
cut down and threshed ; which operation is per- 
formed by the cattle treading out the grain, the 
same as in Greece, and other parts of the Levant ; 
but here they have a machine with two wheels, 
which passes over it, and chops the straw, so as to 
render it fit for the use of the camels. In some 
cases, however, the straw is saved, and the peasants 
make straw huts of it, in which they repose during 
the night, or in the heat of the day. The asses, the 
cows, sheep, goats, and camels, were grazing in the 
fields, which are, perhaps, as clear at this season of 
the year as in any other. The barley which was 
sown since the decrease of the Nile, is now consi- 
derably advanced, so are also the flax and the ad- 
dess, or lentils. 

By ten o'clock a. m. we returned on board, and 
proceeded down the river. The Persian wheels are 
now less employed, all the water required is raised 
in buckets, as formerly mentioned. But the fields 
can scarcely be said to be under irrigation, and are 
so covered with dust, that a person can easily be- 
lieve that were it not for the inundation and con- 
stant irrigation from the river, the fertile soil of 
Egypt would soon be a loose flitting dust, unce- 
mented by vegetation, the sport of every wind. So 
that the Abyssinian king who proposed to starve the 
Egyptians, by turning the course of the Nile into 

SSNEH. 527 


the Red Sea, would have punished them most effec- 
tually if he had carried his design into execution. 
At noon, we passed a peculiar looking rock, on the 
east bank. It springs up insulated from the moun- 
tain-chain, quite in the middle of the plain, and 
seems as if the top had been rounded, and divided 
into a number of compartments, by art. The wind 
was high, and contrary, and having glided down 
to Agrout, a small village on the east bank of the 
river, we stopped for the night. 

Next morning, the 1 1th, we set off at an early 
hour, and by ten o'clock. were abreast of Esneh. 
We landed on the opposite side, and proceeded to 
an ancient temple, which stands alone in the middle 
of the plain, at a considerable distance from the 
river. It is small, much dilapidated, and contains 
nothing of sufficient interest to compensate for the 
trouble of going to see it. It is older than any of 
the temples at Esneh. Having crossed the river, 
we found this respectable town enlivened by a fair, 
which had drawn together an immense crowd of 
.respectable looking, well-dressed country people. 
The market was held on the outside of the town, 
where there was a tolerable show of dromedaries, 
camels, cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, asses, and 
crockery-ware. We looked eagerly for jugglers, 
shows, or any kind of amusement, but saw none ; 
matters, to the eye of a stranger, seemed exceed- 
ingly dull. 

£28 1SVEH. 

Immediately ton my arrival, my dysenteric patient, 

.greatly improved, both in health and looks, came to 

welcome me to Esneh, and brought a request from 

the Bey for me to pay him a visit. I had before 

seen, and prescribed for bis Excellency at Assouan. 

He was a great complainer, as most people are who 

eat and drink more than they ought to do ; yet for 

all that, he looked marvellously well, presenting as 

rosy a countenance, and as portly a corporation, as 

any of the by-standers, and, excepting when an 

accumulation of bile or acidity happened to gripe 

and irritate him, enjoyed a tolerable share of good 

health. At present he labored under one of these 

affections, of which, like all his countrymen, he was 

remarkably impatient, not to say afraid, for he 

•seemed to fancy that every pain that shot along the 

alimentary canal would be bis last. He is said to 

be a brave man in the field, though I believe he 

never was tried but in a review; and certainly, 

under bodily suffering, he is one of the greatest 

cowards upon earth. Fortunately, there was not 

much difficulty in relieving him from his present in* 

conveniences ; but it would not have been so easy 

a matter to satisfy his ulterior demands, which were 

to give him something that would prevent it from 

ever troubling him again. This man is said to be 

very rich, and would bleed excellently well under 

the hands of a quack. 

Next morning, the 12th, we set out again, after 

AS*HOUN. 52tf 

another interview with the Bey, and by mid-day 
reached Asphouir. The beafntiful open plain' be- 
tween it arid Esnehr, become^ more extended here. 
The town is about a mile from the river, and in oiir 
way thither, we encountered the Aga of the place, 
tfhb was enjoying the sports of the field, with his 
servant carrying his musket atod pipe behind him. 
He politely invited u& to his house, and having 
treated us with coffee, said there were no antiqui- 
ties in the place, but that we were at liberty to walk 
about and judge for ourselves ; we availed ourselves 
of his permission, and except a few granite columns, 
apparently of Roman workmanship, we found the 
account of the Aga quite correct. We were in- 
formed, however, that there was a ruined temple 
about an hour's distance, toward the mountain, and 
having procured a sufficient number of asses, and a 
guide, we set out in search of it. Having passed 
the cultivated fields in th4 neighborhood of the 
town, we entered upon a plain of sand, in which we 
saw a dumber of mummy-pits, and many broken 
sarcophagi, of burnt clay, lying in the open air, and' 
patches of cultivated ground and mud huts in seve- 
ral places ; the whole appears to have once been a 
fertile plain, though now the greater part is buried 
under sand. After an hour attd a half s ride, we 
arrived, not at a ruiried temple, as vte hkd been led 
to expect, but at a ruined Coptic convent, a large 
building of unburnt brick, in a most wretched con- 
vol. r. MM 


ditton. The walls were covered with Arabic and 
Coptic inscriptions ; but the monks had long since 
withdrawn from the empty cells. Two rooms were 
laid with mats, and provided with jars of water, for 
the use of those who came thither to worship ; but 
no excavations in the rock, nor any remains of an 
ancient town in this place. The immense mound 
of nibbish on which Asphoun, or Sphoun, is built, 
convinced us that it was altogether unnecessary to 
look for the remains of any other city in this place. 
Accordingly, we remounted our asses, and retraced 
our steps to the village, and thence to the vessels ; 
and in the evening dropped down to £1 Malle, on 
the east bank of the river, where we stopped for the 

On the morning of the 13th, we set off at six 
o'clock. The air was calm, and the sky consider- 
ably clouded ; yesterday it wore the same mottled 
aspects but the wind was high. At noon we ar- 
rived at Hermont* the Grecian Hermonthis, where 
Jupiter and Apollo were worshipped, and a sacred 
bull was reared, as at On and Memphis. The ruins 
of the ancient town which lie between the present 
village and the mountain, are about a mile distant 
from the river. They consist of one temple, and 
a prodigious heap of rubbish of unburnt brick. 
There are no remains of any propylon. The walls of 
the pronaos are standing, but in many places much 
dilapidated. The cella is pretty entire, and covered 

HEttMONT. 531 

with sculpture and hieroglyphics ; many of which 
differ considerably from any that we had formerly 
seen. On the inside of the door there is repre- 
sented a hawk, standing upon an altar, or pedestal, 
from which lotus flowers are issuing out in every 
direction. He is adorned with the round high cap 
that is generally worn by Horus. On each side of 
the altar, there is a female in the attitude of adora- 
tion. Behind the female figure, on the right, stands 
Nephth^, with a large knife in each hand ; and en 
the left Typhon similarly armed ; both appear as if 
determined to cut the lotus flowers, which branch 
out from the altar near to the place where they are 
standing. Behind Typhon is the great god Men- 
des, to whom the grim dwarf is reverting his eye, 
as if afraid to touch the lotus in his presence. Be- 
hind Nephthl stands a female figure, holding to her 
breast the sacred tau, and sceptre of Osiris, as if 
praying to be preserved from the power and ven- 
geance of such a monster. Below is Harpocrates, 
seated on the budding lotus, with his finger on his 
mouth, as if to indicate the silent march of vege- 
tation ; before him the hawk-headed deity is seated 
between the horns of a bull, being characteristic of 
the season when the sun in taurus rides. On the 
right of Harpocrates, Isis is nursing Horus, and a 
hawk-headed crocodile reposes on an altar. Cats, 
ibisses, serpents and cynocephali are sculptured 
over the walls in great profusion. Over the door, 

ivr m 2 

532 heumon?. 

in the innermost apartment, nearly the same device 
is repeated. In several place? along the wpll? fe- 
males are represented nursing children ; two of 
them have handsome cows' heads, and are seated 
upon lion-shaped couches j but they are not cha- 
racterized by the sceptre or sacred tau, or any othqr 
mark of distinction. Two sacred birds, with fea- 
thered sceptres in their claws, occupy the end wall; 
and behind them is arranged a flight of seven birds, 
with outspread wings and human faces, and the 
moon between two spreading horns over their heads, 
such as is generally worn by Isis. The bull and 
scorpion are engraved upon the ceiling, and between 
them a man in a boat, with several other mystical 
figures. The whole ceiling is embraced by die 
figure already described as encircling that in the 
pronaos at Den de rah. 

The outside of this interesting temple is also 
covered with sculpture, among which is Isis, with 
a globe in one hand and a sword in the other, and 
behind her a cynocephalus with a sword in each 
hand, and a lion rampant with a sword in each paw. 
On the end of the temple there is a camel-leopard 
and a wolf looking different ways, and a scarabaeus 
crawling towards a globe, which is painted red. 
The sculptured groups and hieroglyphics in this 
temple are well cut, and extremely interesting! they 
indicate a more ancient date than most of the tei# r 
pies in Egypt : yet here we find stones with the 


hieroglyphics inverted which does not so much in. 
dicatp its great age, for one temple might be re- 
paired by thp materials of another which was not 
3Q old as itself. On the south side of the temple 
there is a tank of water, which is faced up with 
stone all round, with a stair to get down to it $ an- 
ciently it was used for the ceremonies of the temple; 
now, being nearer to the village than the river, the 
natives frequent it for washing their clothes. 

On the south of the tank, but at a considerable 
distance from it, we came to the ruins of an exten- 
sive building, which appears to have been a Christian 
church. The figure of the cross is cut upon the 
walls in several places. There have been four rows 
of granite columns, of Greek or Roman manufac- 
ture, within the celku The wajl$ have been built 
of the materials of an old Egyptian temple ; many 
of the stones are still covered with sculpture and 
hieroglyphics, and are large, stretching quite through 
the wall. Part of the interior is still covered with 
plaster, and painted with red figures, such as are. 
usually exhibited in the Greek churches. There 
are still Christians at Hermont. The bed of sand- 
stone terminates between that and Asphoun. 

At one o'clock we reimbarked, and: proceeded 
jpyfully on our way tQ Thebes. About three quar- 
ters of aa hour brought us in sight of Luxor. Hie 
distant view of this noble plain, and the ruins which 
it contains were of themselves, sufficient to gladden 


every heart. In Thebes the lover of antiquity finds 
a home, from which he cannot wander in search of 
any thing greater, or older, or more perfect of its 
kind. As we advanced in our course, the doors in 
the mountains of the western Thebes loomed upon 
our sight, and, like a smiling friend, invited our 
approach. We reached Luxor at four o'clock p. m., 
from which we soon dropped down the stream to 
the western bank, and resumed our former station 
at the sycamore-tree, delighted to put up our oars, 
and impatient to meet pur English friends, Mr. Salt 
and Mr. Beechy, and to hear and to tell what had 
passed since the hour of our separation. 

" The Princess Charlotte is dead, and the nation 
in tears/ 9 are the latest news from England brought 
in a Greek newspaper from the island of Corfu. 
Tidings of sorrow are at all times unwelcome ; but 
they come at the most unseasonable moment upon 
a traveller in the midst of his journey ; like a shower 
of sleet upon the tender bud, they arrest him in his 
progress, and chill and deaden the energies of life. 
The well-regulated heart of every Briton nourishes 
a care for his Sovereign and his country, which 
grows with his growth, and strengthens with his 
strength, and which, at every step that he removes 
from the land of his fathers, engrosses more and 
more his affectionate regards. The pride of the 
traveller is the greatness of his Sovereign, and the 
independence of his country ; and he joys in hear- 


ing the voice of strangers in unison with his own. 
The troubles of Country or King afflict him with 
anxiety ; but the death of the Heiress of the throne 
sounds like a knell from the eternal world to wake 
the weeping blood within his breast, and to flood 
the heart with a tide of the most melancholy reflec- 
tions. We love our King, and we love our Country, 
and we lament the calamitous bereavement that 
has robbed the nation of so bright an ornament* 
We recur to the sacred volume, the well-spring of 
all our hopes, and we read in this our charter to the 
skies, " Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord." 
He created, he redeemed, he loves and preserves 
our race ; he knows the end and measure of our 
days; and not a sparrow falleth to the ground with- 
out his permission j and we desire to be resigned 
to the dispensations of his providence and grace. 
Clouds and sunshine may vary the horizon of our 
prospects, but the ways and purposes of Jehovah 
are unchangeably the same. But eighteen months 
before we saw this lovely Princess in the hey-day 
of health and spirits, as she drove rapidly along 
with the husband of her choice, amid the applauses 
of a gratulating people. To judge from her appear- 
ance, you would have said that fate had placed her 
at the greatest distance without the widening circle 
of his career. How swiftly has the pursuer over- 
taken and numbered her with the dead ! We ad- 
mired her virtues j we deplore the irreparable loss j 

53& THEBES* 

and, paying the heartfelt tribute of respect to her 
memory, With a mourning nation we follow, in our 
mind's eye, her body to' the tbtnby and her spirit to 
tto mansions of everlasting day. We shall go to 
her, bot she shall not xetarft to us. The earth is 
the scene of our operations, and Thebes, where 
the element* of many an ancient king and many a 
kingly sceptre wanton* in the wiod, or blossom in 
the flower^ » now the place of our ibode. The 
fragjaentaof ruined grandeut lie scattered over the 
ground; they harmonise with the state of our 
rtiindv> and invite us to indulgte the feelings of our 
heart : but the sun withdraws from the sphere of 
vision^ and here We shall' repose while night covers 
the earth with the obscurity of its shade, and with 
the morning of another day resume the examination* 
and description of this- most interesting: and deso- 
lated fieldw 





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