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his head the sun of Amun-Ra, and the horns of Athor, and he holds in his hands the two sceptres of Osiris. He is thus a trinity in himself, while he is also the first person in another of the Egyptian trinities, of which the two other persons are Isis and her sister Nephthys.
(51) Rameses III. was followed by three sons of his own name, RAMESES IV., RAMESES V., and RAMESES VI.; Materia the first or second of whom was reigning at the Hierogl. time which the Alexandrian chronologists fixed on Manetho. as the date of the Trojan war. In Thebes they carved their names upon the temples which had been built by their forefathers; but as their sculptures are never to be seen out of Thebes, we must suppose that their power was for the most part limited to that city, or at least to the Thebaid. These were followed by seven other Theban kings, of whom we know little but the names, and under whom Upper Egypt was falling, while Lower Egypt was rising in wealth and power. None of them held all Lower Egypt, and most of them were even vassals of the kings who then rose in Bubastis and Tanis. Here, as in other countries, on the growth of commerce the seat of government left the hills for the plains nearer the river's mouth. In Asia, Babylon was gaining in wealth and civilisation, what Nineveh two hundred and fifty miles further from the sea was losing; so henceforth the events in our history are to be traced, not among the hills of the Thebaid, but on the open plains of the Delta. Some nations have sunk when the framework of society has been undermined by vice and irreligion. This was not the case with the Thebans; they continued after their fall to be an earnest and devout people. Others have been conquered when several neighbouring states became united under one sceptre. Neither was this the case with Thebes. New and better weapons and discipline among the armies of the Delta may have been part of the cause of its fall. A lessened yield in the gold mines, and loss of wealth on the rise of the Mediterranean trade, may have been another part of the cause. A further cause of weakness in the Thebans arose from their castes, from that fixed line, drawn by religion and prejudice, between the upper and lower ranks of society, between the privileged soldiers and priests, and the unprivileged millions. The lower caste, the
THE CITY OF THEBES.
hewers of stone and drawers of water, the sinew and muscle of
(52) The city of Thebes was at first wholly on the east bank of the river; but by this time it covered the rising ground on both sides, in the form of a horse-shoe, open to the south-west, and embracing a plain two miles wide (see Fig. 109). Through the middle of this the river flows, cutting the city in two, and distributing its blessings on all sides. This open space is in winter and spring covered with green herbage or golden corn; but in the parching season of the Dog-star, the water pours over from the brimming river, makes its way through countless channels, and at length the plain becomes an inland sea, which refreshes the city while it washes the very feet of the massive temples ranged around, and the husbandman in his painted barge sails over his own fields. Beginning at the south, at the river's edge, there stand the long walls of Amunothph's temple of Luxor, with its huge square towers and the obelisks before Thence runs an avenue of sphinxes up to the the entrance. large temple of Karnak, which forms quite a group of towers and obelisks. This was at the same time the cathedral and citadel of Thebes. Between and around these temples were the older dwelling-houses, partly hid by the rustling palm From Karnak the eye groves which gave them shade. follows the range of buildings across the Nile to the Libyan the suburb, and to Oimenepthah's smaller temple of Rebek at Quorneh, at the foot of the hills which there press upon river. Next is the Memnonium, the palace of Rameses II., and then the temple of Rameses III. at Medinet Abou,
around were passing away. To the south, and opposite to this semicircle of temples and palaces, is the open plain, broken only by palm-groves and by the mounds of the sacred lake which was used in the ceremonies of burial. In the winding defiles of the Libyan hills behind the Memnonium are the Theban burial-places, between grand and most desolate rocks, where not a tree, nor a shrub, nor a blade of grass is to be seen. Here lie the remains of men whose
Fig. 1.11.-Amun-Ra, Maut, and Chonso.
stern virtues and lofty aim made Thebes a wonder among cities. The vaulted tombs of the kings are in one silent valley of this limestone range, and those of the queens in another; while persons of a lower rank were buried in a third spot not quite so far from the river, where the softer rock will not remain so many centuries without crumbling over the embalmed mummies.
(53) The history of error is often little less valuable than the history of truth. So would it be with the history of the Egyptian mythology, if we had the means of tracing it. But the paintings and sculptures in the tombs, which teach us the names and figures of the gods, and the offerings which were laid upon their altars, tell us very little of the feelings with which they were worshipped. Gods of the several cities perhaps often differed in name rather than character. They were very much worshipped in groups of three, without, however, confounding their persons; but at other times two or even three characters or persons were united so as to make only one god. The chief god of Thebes was Amun-Ra, the Sun, the king of the gods (see Fig. 110). He wears a
crown more than half his own height. He forms a trinity with Maut, the Mother, and Chonso, their son, who both stand dutifully behind his throne (see Fig. 111). Chonso has a hawk's head and was one of the gods of the moon (sce Fig. 112). Every king of Egypt was styled Zera, or son of the Sun, and he was often sculptured as the third person of the trinity, in the place of Chonso. With the spread of the Theban power, we note the acknowledgment of that power in