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PYRAMIDS OP GEEZEE.
No. of Height.
74. In the construction of the pyramids it is manifest they would serve as their own
scaffolds. The oldest monuments of Egypt are the pyramids at Geezeh, to the north of Memphis, of which we give a view (fig. 46.), with a section of the largest of them built by Suphis I., the Cheops of the Greeks (fig. 45.). Sir G. Wilkinson supposes them to bave been erected 2120 years B.C., Lepsius 9426 B.C.; but the former admits that, previous to the reign of Osirtasen, 1740 B.C., little certainty exists as to dates. These pyramids (fig. 46.) known by the names of Cheops, Chepheren, and Mycerinus, are extraordinary for their size and the consequent labour bestowed upon them; but as
works of the art they are of no further importance Fig. 45. SECTION OF PYRAMID OF CHEOPS.
than being a link in the chain of its history. They are constructed of stone from the neighbouring mountains, and are in steps, of which in
the largest there are two hundred and three, varying in height from 3 ft. to about 4 and even 5 ft., decreasing in height as they rise towards the summit. Their width diminishes in the same proportion, so that a line drawn from the base to the summit touches the edge of each step. So great a difference exists in the measures given in the descriptions
by the several travellers, that we Fig. 46
here subjoin those given of the pyramid of Cheops, whilst believing that the careful admeasurements taken by Mr. Perring are those to be relied upon :
Length No. of of base.
852 Eng. ft. Thevenot
727 Eng. It.
554 Eng. It. Niebuhr
324 Greaves 693 Eng. ft.
Belon 1.e Bruyn
• 477 Prosper Alpinus
. 203 480 Mr Perring, a recent traveller, in respect of the proportions of the great pyramid, has endeavoured to prove that the unit of Egyptian measurement is an ell equal to 1.713 English feet, and that it is expressed a certain number of times without remainder in a correct measurement of the pyramids of Geezeh. Thus, he says, the perpendicular height of the great pyramid is exactly 280 of such ells, the base 448 ; and that of base : perpendicular height :: slant height : base. Upon the top thereof is a platform 32 ft. square, consisting of nine large stones, each about a ton in weight, though inferior in that respect to others in the edifice, which vary from 5 ft. to 30 ft. in length, and from 3 ft. to 4 ft. in height. From this platform Dr. Clarke saw the pyramids of Sakkarah to the south, and on the east of them smaller monuments of the same kind nearer to the Nile. He remarked, moreover, an appearance of ruins which might be traced the whole way from the pyramids of Gizeh to those of Saccara, as if the whole had once constituted one great city. The stones of the platforın are soft limestone, a little harder and more compact than what in England is called clunch. The
pyramids are built with common mortar externally, but no appearance of mortar can be discerned in the more perfect parts of the masonry The faces of the pyramid are directed to the four cardinal points. The entrance is in the north front, and the passage to the central chamber is shown on the preceding section. That in the pyramid of Chepheren ( fig. 47.) is thus described by Belzoni: — The first passage is built of granite, the rest are cut
out of the natural sandstone rock which Fig. 47.
rises above the level of the basis of the pyramid. This passage is 104 ft. long, 4 ft. high, and 31. 6 in. wide; descending at an angle of 26 degrees : at the bottom is a portcullis, beyond which is a horizontal passage
800 Gr.ft. • 600
of the same height as the first, and at the distance of 22 ft. it descends in a different direction, leading to some passages below. Hence it re-ascends towards the centre of the pyramid by a gallery 84 ft. long, 6 ft. high, and 3 ft. 6 in. wide, leading to a chamber also cut out of the solid rock. The chamber is 46 ft. in length, 16 feet wide, and 23 ft. 6. in. in height, and contained a sarcophagus of granite 8 ft. long, 3 ft. 6. in. wide, and 2 ft. 3 in. deep in the inside. Returning from the chamber to the bottom of the gallery a passage descends at an angle of 26 degrees to the extent of 48 ft. 6 in., when it takes a horizontal direction for a length of 55 ft. ; it then again ascends at the same angle and proceeds to the base of the pyramid, where another entrance is formed from the outside. About the middle of the horizontal passage there is a descent into another chamber, which is 32 ft. long, 10 ft. wide, and 8 ft. 6 in. high. The dimensions of this pyramid, as given by Perring, are a base of 707 ft. and a height of 454 ft. Those of the pyramid of Mycerinus are a base of 354 ft., and a height of 218 ft. The pyramids of Sakkarah, which are as many as twenty in number, vary in form, dimensions, and construction. They extend five miles to the north and south of the village of Sakkarah. Some of them are rounded at the top, and resemble hillocks cased with stone. One pyramid is constructed with steps like that of Cheops; there are six steps, each 25 ft. high, and 11 ft. wide. The height of one in the group is 150 ft.; another, built also in steps, is supposed to be as high as that of Cheops. The stones used are much decayed, and more crumbling than those of Gizeh ; hence they are considered older. One is formed of unburnt bricks, containing shells, gravel, and chopped straw, and is in a very mouldering state. About 300 paces from the second pyramid
stands the gigantic Sphinx (fig. 48), whose length froin the fore-part to the tail has been found to be 150 ft. ; the paws extend 50 ft. Belzoni cleared away the sand, and found a temple held between the legs and another in one of its paws. It was excavated by Captain Caviglia in 1816; also in 1869 to the level on which the paws rest. The journals of 1886-7 describe the new works by Prof. Maspero in excavating and securing them froza being refilled by the sand.
74a. The antiquity of the Egyptian temples may be comparatively determined from their size; the larger ones being posterior to the smaller. Since the insight obtained into the meaning of the hieroglyphics, much information has been gained as to their history.
Solidity reigns through the whole of them. The walls Fig. 48.
by which they are enclosed are sometimes 26 ft. thick, and those of the entrance gate of a temple of Thebes are as much as 53 ft. thick at their base, and are composed of blocks of enormous size. The masonry employed is that called by the Greeks emplectum (EUTTAEKTOV), all filling in of an inferior or rubble work being discarded. They are masses of nicely squared and fitted stones, and are built externally with a slope like the walls of a modern fortification. The columns are absolutely necessary for the support of the ceilings, which consist of large blocks of stone, and are therefore of few cliameters in height. Sometimes they are in a single piece, as at Thebes and Tentyr. The siones of which the ceilings are composed are usually, according to Pococke, 14 st. long, and 5 f. in breadth, but some run much larger.
75. Before adverting to the form and disposition of the Egyptian teinple, we think it here necessary to notice the recent discovery of an arch in a tomb at Sakkarah, said to be of the time of Psammeticus II., and of one also at Thebes in the remains of a crude brick pyramid. (See Wilkinson's Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, vol. iii. p. 263. 321.) That exhibited in the tomb of Saccara, from the vignette given, is clearly nothing but a lining of the rock, and is, if truly represented in the plate, incapable of bearing weight, which is the office of an arch. That, however, at Thebes, to which Mr. W. assigns the date of 1500 B.C., with every respect for his great information on the subject, and with much deference to his judgment, not having ourselves seen it, we cannot easily believe to be of such antiquity. Its appearance is so truly Roman, that we must be permitted to doubt the truth of his conjecture. We are, moreover, fortified in the opinion we entertain by the principles on which the style of Egyptian architecture is founded, which are totally at variance with the use of the arch. We have ventured to transfer this ( fig. 49.) to our pages, that the roader may form a judgment on the subject, as well as ourselves. We will only add, thai the reasons assigned by Mr. W. for the Egyptians not preferring such a mode of construction as the arch, because of the difficulty of repairing it when injured, and the consequences attending the decay of a single block, are not of any weight with us, because, practically, there is an easy mode of accomplishing such repair. And, again, the argument that the superincumbent weight applied to an arch in such a case as that before
ARCH AT TARBES.
us will not hold good, inasmuch as the balance on the back of each course would almost pre
serve the opening without any arch at all.
76. THE FORM AND DISPOSITION of the Egyptian temple seem to have been founded on immutable rules
The only points wherein they differ from one another are in the nuinber of their subdivin sions and their extent, as the city for which they served was more or less rich. Unlike the temples of the Greeks and Romans, whose parts were governed by the adoption of one of the orders, and whose whole, taken in at a single glance,
could be measured from any one of its Fig. 13
parts, those of Egypt were an assemblage of porticoes, courts, vestibules, galleries, apartments, communicating with each other, and surrounded with walls. Strabo, in bis 17th book, thus describes the temples in question. “ At the entrance of the consecrated spot the ground is paved to the width of 100 ft. (HA&Opor) or less, and in length three or four times its width, and in some places even more. This is called the court (Opouos, course); thus Callimachus uses the words
"Ο δρομος ιερος ούτος Ανουσιδος. Throughout the whole length beyond this on each side of the width are placed sphinxes of stone, 20 cubits or more distant from one another, one row being on the right, and the other on the left. Beyond the sphinxes is a great vestibule (TPOTULov), then a further one, and beyond this another. The number, however, of the sphinxes, as of the vestibules, is not always the same, but varies according to the length and breadth of the course. Beyond
the vestibules (TPOTvaia) is the temple (vews), having a very large porch (povaos ), which is worthy to be recorded. The chapel (onkos) is small, and without a statue; or, if there be one, it is not of human form, but that of some beast. The porch on each side has a wing (itepa); these consist of two walls as high as the temple itself, distant from each other at the bottom a little more than the width of the foundations of the temple, then they incline towards each other, rising to the height of 50 or 60 cubits. These walls are sculptured with large figures, similar to those which are to be seen in the works of the Etruscans and ancient Greeks.” This account is not at all exaggerated, as we shall immediately show by the introduction in this place of the plan, section, and elevation of the celebrated temple at Apollinopolis Magna, between Thebes and the first cataract, which, though, as we learn from the deciphering in these days, the hieroglyphics upon it are not of the time of the Pharaohs, seems admirably calculated to give the reader almost all the information necessary for understanding the subject. This will, moreover, so much more fully explain it than words, that we shall not need to do more than afterwards come to some recital of the details.
77. This edifice, seated near Edfoo, about twenty miles south of Thebes, is one of the largest in Egypt, and is comparatively in good preservation. Its form is rectangular, and its general dimensions 450 ft. by 140 ft. (fig. 50.) In the centre of one of the short sides is the entrance, which consists of two buildings, each 100 ft.
long, and 32 ft. in width; both pyramidal in form, and Fig. 50. PLAN OY TEMPLE AT APOLLINOPOLIS MAGNA. lying in the same direction, but separated by a passage 20 ft. in width, with a doorway at each extremity. This passage conducts us to a quadrangle 140 ft. long, and 120 ft. wide, flanked by twelve columns on cach side, and ciulit more on the entrance side, all standing a few feet within the walls, and thus forming it (0lonnade round three sides covered by a fiat roof. A view of a portion of it is given in fig. 54. At the further end of the quadrangle (which rises by corded steps) opposite to the entrance, is a portico extending the whole breadth of the quadrangle, and 4.5 ft. in depth. It has three ranks of columns, containing six in each rank, is covered by ir blitt soof, and is enclosed by walls on three sides, the fourth, or that opposite the entrance,
being open. This is, however, closed breast high by a species of pedestals half inserted in the columns, and in the central intercolumniation a doorway is constructed with piers over which are a lintel and cornice cut through. From this portico a doorway leads to an inner vestibule, in which are three ranks of four columns each, smaller than those first described, but distributed in the same wa Beyond this, in Cousin's plan, are sundry apartments, with staircases and passages, whereof the smaller central one was
doubtless the cell. Fig. 51. is a longitudinal section. Fig. 52. is the elevation. We
VIEW OF TRR TEMPIE.
Fig. 53. may here add, that there is so little difference between the earlier and later specimens of Egyptian architecture, that though, as we have hinted, this is of the latter, it
will convey a pretty correct know. ledge of all. The general appearance of the temple is given in fig. 53., and a view of the interior in fig. 54.
The plan of the Egyptian temple is always uniform, symmetrical, and rectangular. Its most brilliant feature is the great number of columns employed, in which is displayed a prodigality unapproached by any other nation. This, however, was induced by the necessity for employing blocks of stone for the ceilings or roofs. The greatest irregularity occurring in any of the plans known, is in that at the
island of Philæ (see fig. 55.), and it is very evident that the cause was the shape of the ground on which it is placed. The in
tercolumniations were very small, rarely exceeding a diameter, or one diameter and a half of the column We know of no specimens of pe ripteral temples similar to those of Greece, that is, those in which the cell is surrounded by columns In the elevations of those of Egypt,
the spirit and character of their Fig. 33.
architecture is more particularly developed. But they are monotonous. The repetition of the same forms is carried to the utmost pitch of tolerance. The pyramidal form prevails in all the combinations, whether in walls, doors, general masses, or details. In considering the principal parts of the elevations, the first feature that presents itself is the column, which we will notice without its attendant base and capital. If it were possible to establish a system relative to their invention and subsequent perfection, we might easily arrange them in distinct classes, principally as respects their decoration ; but as far as regards general form, the Egyptian colump may be reduced to two varieties, the circular and polygonal. The first are of two sorts. Some are found quite plain or smooth, but ornamented with hieroglyphics (see fig. 56.). Son
differently decorated, of which we here give two examples. It certainly has all the appear
roups of three or six in a group, the mtervals between them being sculptured with winged
? in Denon's work is one in which the base
are composed with ranges of horizontal circles, and look like an assemblage of bundles
of rods tied together at intervals. The only difference among thos:
be seen in the grottos at Thebes cut out of the rock itself. Simi-
gonal ones are described by Norden, and Pococke mentions one of a
78. Pilasters, properly so called, are not found in Egyptian architecture. The base of
ever, be reduced to three species, — the square, the vase-formed, and the
It was an architectural
The vase-shaped capital (fig.59.)
on that of the bud of a tree, we scarcely Dught. Two examples of it are here appended.
know wherein its original type is to be 80. The entablature, for such (however unlike it be to the same thing in the architecture
XXL of Greece) we suppose we inust call the massive
loading placed on the walls and columns of
YASS AND OTHERS SHAPED CAPITAIS.
ay be called the architrave of the Egyptian temple.
Of the winged globe, usually We close our observations on the cornices of the Egyptian temple by requesting the reader, if he have the smallest doubt on the common origin of the archi