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Memnonium. Each of these buildings was at the same time a temple, a palace, and a convent for a body of priests. (28) This king's tomb near Thebes is the most beautiful in Egypt; and as it escaped the search of the Greeks, Romans, and Arabs, it was, when opened by the enterprising Belzoni, in our own days, in the same state of freshness as when closed on the death of its owner. After entering the side of the hill with a torch in your hand, and passing down a staircase of twenty-nine feet (see Fig. 76), through a

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Fig. 76.

passage of eighteen feet, a second staircase of twenty-five feet, and a second passage of twenty-nine feet, you reach a small room (A), from which you enter the first grand hall (B), of about twenty-six feet square, having its roof upheld by four square pillars. A few steps then lead into a second hall of the same size (c). After returning into the first hall, then descending a third staircase, and passing through a passage and fourth staircase and a smaller room, you enter the third and largest hall, of twenty-seven feet square (D); and then, lastly, a small vaulted room beyond, in which once stood the alabaster sarcophagus of the king, which is now in Sir John Soane's Museum. With the sarcophagus Egyptian Inscript. had been buried a sacred bull and many hundred small images made of wood, in the form of mummies, which were there placed by the mourners at the funeral in token of their grief.

pl. 71.

(29) The walls of these caverns are covered with painted and highly-finished sculptures, and several curious fables. There are several groups of figures, each representing the

king embracing a god, placing his right arm in a loving manner round the god's neck (see Fig. 77). These are important, because unusual. Most pagan nations have boasted that they were beloved by their gods; but here we see the Egyptians, with a

more religious

Belzoni, pl. 4 & 5.

Fig. 77.


Fig. 78. feeling, professing to love their gods in return. The Hebrew writers have explained to us the opinion of the ancients, that as long as a man's family was prosperous, his star remained in its place like a lamp hung up in the sky, only to be removed when his descendants came to ruin. On this king's sarcophagus we see the god Thoth, known by his ibis-shaped head (see Fig. 78), hanging up on the vault of heaven the all-important lamp, which was to give a light to the king's sons for ever. On the Egyptian sarcophagus also there is the conquest of the Inscript. Eternal Serpent, the great enemy of the human pl. 61-67. race, whose conquerors bear along his lengthy folds in solemn procession (see Fig. 79). There also within a garden are seen the river which divides life from death, and the bridge of life, and the keepers of that important bridge; there

2 Chron.

xxi. 7.

also are the tombs of the dead, their doors, and the keepers of those doors. The god Osiris is there sitting to judge


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Fig. 79.

mankind, who are mounting up the steps of his lofty throne; before him are the great scales to weigh the conduct of the dead; and beneath his feet are the wicked men labouring with hatchets, as if condemned to work in the Egyptian gold mines (see Fig. 80).

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Fig. 80.

(30) That solemn trial of every man for his conduct in this life, which was to fix his reward or punishment in the next, was enacted by the priests as part of the funeral cere

mony (see Fig. 81). They put on masks distinctive of the several gods, and thus received the body in due form. Osiris sat on a raised throne holding his two sceptres, and wearing the crown of Upper Egypt. Before him were placed the offerings, and near him were seated the four lesser gods of the dead. The deceased holds up his hands in prayer, and is introduced by two goddesses, each wearing on her head the emblem of truth. The wicked Typhon, as an hippopotamus, the Cerberus of the Greeks, accuses him to the judge, and demands that he shall be punished; while the four lesser gods of the dead intercede as advocates or mediators on his behalf. But a large pair of scales is set up, which is

quietly adjusted by the dogheaded Anubis and the hawkheaded Horus. In one scale is placed the heart or conduct of the deceased, and in the other a figure of the goddess of truth. A small weight is moved along the beam by Horus, to make the two scales balance, and to determine how much the conduct falls short of the standard weight. Fortytwo assessors are at hand to assist Osiris in forming his judgment, which when pronounced is written down by the ibis-headed Thoth. Thus are

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pl. 141.

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Fig. 81.-The Trial of the Dead.

measured the goodness and the failings of the life lately ended. Those who were too uncultivated to listen to a sermon might thus learn wisdom from what they saw with their eyes, and this ceremony was a forcible method of teaching the ignorant



multitude that a day of judgment awaits us all after death, and that we should so regulate our lives that when weighed in the great balance they may not be found wanting. But unfortunately the Egyptians had no full trust either in the justice or the mercy of their gods; and the paintings which represent this trial, which is to take place on the day of judgment, always tell us that for their acquittal they in part trusted to some atoning sacrifices, which are there represented in the form of a flower laid upon an altar before the judge, and another flower before the assessors who are to advise him.

(31) The reader must be weary of meeting with so little beyond a list of the temples, statues, obelisks, and tombs which were made in each king's reign, and be looking for more of life and manners by which history teaches while it amuses, and be wishing to learn something of the poetry and philosophy. The Egyptians cultivated these branches of learning, as all civilised nations have done; but unfortunately we are not likely to gain many traces of them from inscriptions on stone. Letters were only, known in the more cumbersome form of hieroglyphics; papyrus had not yet been used for writing; and tradition was almost lost before history fixed its fading lines. Hence the buildings and statues are all that now remain to prove the greatness of a race of kings, whose names, if they had been celebrated by the poet and historian, would perhaps have thrown those of many modern lawgivers and conquerors into the shade. The buildings and statues, indeed, which a bygone people have left are a living witness, not less certain than poems and histories, to prove their greatness; while the writings on them show a noble consciousness of greatness. In Greece, while we may still trace the walls of Argos and Mycene, which sent forth their warriors to the Trojan war, and whose bard sung their victories, no ruins mark the spot where the less poetical Troy then stood. We still admire and copy the temples and statues of Athens, whose historian has related the wars with the Spartans; though scarcely a stone remains to point out the city of Sparta, which had no such historians. We turn with equal pleasure to the buildings and to the histories of ancient Rome; while Carthage is equally without ruins and without writings. Hence, if

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