Manual Of Egyptian Archaeology And Guide To The Study Of Antiquities In Egypt
by Gaston Camille Charles Maspero
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Guide to the Study of Antiquities in Egypt.






With Three Hundred and Nine Illustrations.



Notwithstanding the fact that Egyptology is now recognised as a science, an exact and communicable knowledge of whose existence and scope it behoves all modern culture to take cognisance, this work of M. Maspero still remains the Handbook of Egyptian Archaeology. But Egyptology is as yet in its infancy; whatever their age, Egyptologists will long die young. Every year, almost every month, fresh material for the study is found, fresh light is thrown upon it by the progress of excavation, exploration, and research. Hence it follows that, in the course of a few years, the standard text-books require considerable addition and modification if they are to be of the greatest value to students, who must always start from the foremost vantage-ground.

The increasing demand for the Egyptian Archaeology by English and American tourists, as well as students, decided the English publishers to issue a new edition in as light and portable a form as possible. This edition is carefully corrected, and contains the enlarged letterpress and many fresh illustrations necessary for incorporating within the book adequate accounts of the main archaeological results of recent Egyptian excavations. M. Maspero has himself revised the work, indicated all the numerous additions, and qualified the expression of any views which he has seen reason to modify in the course of his researches during the past eight years. By the headings of the pages, the descriptive titles of the illustrations, and a minute revision of the index, much has been done to facilitate the use of the volume as a book of reference. In that capacity it will be needed by the student long after he first makes acquaintance with its instructive and abundant illustrations and its luminous condensation of the archaeological facts and conclusions which have been elucidated by Egyptology through the devotion of many an arduous lifetime during the present century, and, not least, by the unremitting labours of M. Maspero.

April, 1895.


To put this book into English, and thus to hand it on to thousands who might not otherwise have enjoyed it, has been to me a very congenial and interesting task. It would be difficult, I imagine, to point to any work of its scope and character which is better calculated to give lasting delight to all classes of readers. For the skilled archaeologist, its pages contain not only new facts, but new views and new interpretations; while to those who know little, or perhaps nothing, of the subjects under discussion, it will open a fresh and fascinating field of study. It is not enough to say that a handbook of Egyptian Archaeology was much needed, and that Professor Maspero has given us exactly what we required. He has done much more than this. He has given us a picturesque, vivacious, and highly original volume, as delightful as if it were not learned, and as instructive as if it were dull.

As regards the practical side of Archaeology, it ought to be unnecessary to point out that its usefulness is strictly parallel with the usefulness of public museums. To collect and exhibit objects of ancient art and industry is worse than idle if we do not also endeavour to disseminate some knowledge of the history of those arts and industries, and of the processes employed by the artists and craftsmen of the past. Archaeology, no less than love, "adds a precious seeing to the eye"; and without that gain of mental sight, the treasures of our public collections are regarded by the general visitor as mere "curiosities"—flat and stale for the most part, and wholly unprofitable.

I am much indebted to Mr. W.M. Flinders Petrie, author of The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, for kindly translating the section on "Pyramids," which is entirely from his pen. I have also to thank him for many valuable notes on subjects dealt with in the first three chapters. To avoid confusion, I have numbered these notes, and placed them at the end of the volume.

My acknowledgments are likewise due to Professor Maspero for the care with which he has read the proof-sheets of this version of his work. In departing from his system of orthography (and that of Mr. Petrie) I have been solely guided by the necessities of English readers. I foresee that Egyptian Archaeology will henceforth be the inseparable companion of all English-speaking travellers who visit the Valley of the Nile; hence I have for the most part adopted the spelling of Egyptian proper names as given by the author of "Murray's Handbook for Egypt."

Touching my own share in the present volume, I will only say that I have tried to present Professor Maspero's inimitable French in the form of readable English, rather than in a strictly word-for-word translation; and that with the hope of still further extending the usefulness of the book, I have added some foot-note references.



August, 1887.




Sec. 1. HOUSES:—Bricks and Brickmaking—Foundations—Materials—Towns— Plans—Decoration

Sec. 2. FORTRESSES:—Walls—Plans—Migdols, etc.

Sec. 3. PUBLIC WORKS:—Roads—Bridges—Storehouses—Canals—Lake Moeris— Dams—Reservoirs—Quarries



Sec. 1. MATERIALS; PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION:—Materials of Temples— Foundations of Temples—Sizes of Blocks—Mortars—Mode of hoisting Blocks—Defective Masonry—Walls—Pavements—Vaultings—Supports— Pillars and Columns—Capitals—Campaniform Capitals—Lotus-bud Capitals—Hathor-headed Capitals

Sec. 2. TEMPLES:—Temples of the Sphinx—Temples of Elephantine—Temple at El Kab—Temple of Khonsu—Arrangement of Temples—Levels—Crypts— Temple of Karnak—Temple of Luxor—Philae—The Speos, or Rock-cut Temple—Speos of Horemheb—Rock-cut Temples of Abu Simbel—Temple of Deir el Bahari—Temple of Abydos—Sphinxes—Crio-sphinxes

Sec. 3. DECORATION:—Principles of Decoration—The Temple a Symbolic Representation of the World—Decoration of Parts nearest the Ground— Dadoes—Bases of Columns—Decoration of Ceilings—Decoration of Architraves—Decoration of Wall-surfaces—Magic Virtues of Decoration —Decoration of Pylons—Statues—Obelisks—Libation-tables—Altars— Shrines—Sacred Boats—Moving Statues of Deities



Sec. 1. MASTABAS:—Construction of the Mastaba—The Door of the Living, and the Door of the Dead—The Chapel—Wall Decorations—The Double and his Needs—The Serdab—Ka Statues—The Sepulchral Chamber

Sec. 2. PYRAMIDS:—Plan of the Pyramid comprises three leading features of the Mastaba—Materials of Pyramids—Orientation—Pyramid of Khufu— Pyramids of Khafra and Menkara—Step Pyramid of Sakkarah—Pyramid of Unas—Decoration of Pyramid of Unas—Group of Dashur—Pyramid of Medum

Sec. 3. TOMBS OF THE THEBAN EMPIRE; THE ROCK-CUT TOMBS:—Pyramid-mastabas of Abydos—Pyramid-mastabas of Drah Abu'l Neggah—Rock-cut Tombs of Beni Hasan and Syene—Rock-cut Tombs of Siut—Wall-decoration of Theban Catacombs—Tombs of the Kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty at Thebes—Valley of the Tombs of the Kings—Royal Catacombs—Tomb of Seti I.—Wall-decorations of Royal Catacombs—Funerary Furniture of Catacombs—Ushabtiu—Amulets—Common Graves of the Poor



Sec. 1. DRAWING AND COMPOSITION:—Supposed Canon of Proportion—Drawing Materials—Sketches—Illustrations to the Book of the Dead— Conventional Treatment of Animal and Human Figures—Naturalistic Treatment—Composition—Grouping—Wall-paintings of Tombs—A Funerary Feast—A Domestic Scene—Military Subjects—Perspective—Parallel between a Wall-painting in a Tomb at Sakkarah and the Mosaic of Palestrina

Sec. 2. TECHNICAL PROCESSES:—The Preparation of Surfaces—Outline— Sculptors' Tools—Iron and Bronze Tools—Impurity of Iron—Methods of Instruction in Sculpture—Models—Methods of cutting Various Stones— Polish—Painted Sculptures—Pigments—Conventional Scale of Colour— Relation of Painting to Sculpture in Ancient Egypt

Sec. 3. SCULPTURE:—The Great Sphinx—Art of the Memphite School—Wood- panels of Hesi—Funerary Statues—The Portrait-statue and the Double —Chefs d'oeuvre of the Memphite School—The Cross-legged Scribe—Diorite Statue of Khafra—Rahotep and Nefert—The Sheikh el Beled—The Kneeling Scribe—The Dwarf Nemhotep—Royal Statues of the Twelfth Dynasty—Hyksos Sphinxes of Tanis—Theban School of the Eighteenth Dynasty—Colossi of Amenhotep III.—New School of Tel el Amarna—Its Superior Grace and Truth—Works of Horemheb—School of the Nineteenth Dynasty—Colossi of Rameses II.—Decadence of Art begins with Merenptah—Ethiopian Renaissance—Saite Renaissance—The Attitudes of Statues—Saite Innovations—Greek Influence upon Egyptian Art—The Ptolemaic and Roman Periods—The School of Meroe—Extinction of Egyptian Art



Sec. 1. STONE, CLAY, AND GLASS:—Precious Stones—Lapidary Art—Beads and Amulets—Scarabaei—Statuettes—Libation Tables—Perfume Vases—Kohl- pots—Pottery—Clay—Glazes—Red and Painted Wares—Ushabtiu—Funerary Cones—Painted Vases—"Canopic" Vases—Clay Sarcophagi—Glass—Its Chemical Constituents—Clear Glass—Coloured Glass—Imitations of Precious Stones in Glass—Glass Mosaics—Miniature Objects in Coloured Glass—Glass Amulets—Coloured Glass Vases—Enamels—The Theban Blue— The Enamels of Tell el Amarna—Enamelled Ushabtiu of Amen Ptahmes— Enamelled Tiles of the Step Pyramid at Sakkarah—Enamelled Tiles of Tell el Yahudeh

Sec. 2. WOOD, IVORY, LEATHER; TEXTILE FABRICS:—Bone and Ivory—Elephant Tusks—Dyed Ivory—Egyptian Woods—Wooden Statuettes—Statuette of Hori—Statuette of Nai—Wooden Toilet Ornaments—Perfume and Unguent Spoons—Furniture—Chests and Coffers—Mummy-cases—Wooden Effigies on Mummy Cases—Huge Outer Cases of Ahmesnefertari and Aahhotep—Funerary Furniture—Beds—Canopies—Sledges—Chairs—Stools—Thrones— Textiles—Methods of Weaving—Leather—Breast-bands of Mummies— Patchwork Canopy in Coloured Leather of Princess Isiemkheb— Embroideries—Muslins—Celebrated Textiles of Alexandria

Sec. 3. METALS:—Iron—Lead—Bronze—Constituents of Egyptian Bronze— Domestic Utensils in Bronze—Mirrors—Scissors—Bronze Statuettes— The Stroganoff Bronze—The Posno Bronzes—The Lion of Apries—Gilding —Gold-plating—Gold-leaf—Statues and Statuettes of Precious Metals —The Silver and Golden Cups of General Tahuti—The Silver Vases of Thmuis—Silver Plate—Goldsmith's Work—Richness of Patterns— Jewellery—Funerary Jewellery—Rings—Seal-rings—Chains—The Jewels of Queen Aahhotep—The Ring of Rameses II.—The Ear-rings of Rameses IX.—The Bracelet of Prince Psar—Conclusion





1. Brickmaking, tomb of Rekhmara, Eighteenth Dynasty

2. House with vaulted floors, Medinet Habu

3. Plan of the town of Kahun, Twelfth Dynasty

4. Plan of house, Medinet Habu, Twentieth Dynasty

5. Plan of house, Medinet Habu, Twentieth Dynasty

6. Facade of house of Second Theban Period

7. Plan of house of Second Theban Period

8. Restoration of hall in Twelfth Dynasty house, Kahun

9. Box representing a house

10. Wall-painting in Twelfth Dynasty house, Kahun

11. View of mansion, tomb of Anna, Eighteenth Dynasty

12. Porch of mansion of Second Theban Period

13. Porch of mansion of Second Theban Period

14. Plan of Theban house and grounds, Eighteenth Dynasty

15. A perspective view of same

16. Part of palace of Ai, El Amarna tomb, Eighteenth Dynasty

17. Perspective view of part of palace of Ai

18. Frontage of house, Second Theban Period

19. Frontage of house, Second Theban Period

20. Central pavilion of house, Second Theban Period

21. Ceiling decoration from house at Medinet Habu, Twentieth Dynasty

22. Ceiling decoration, Twelfth Dynasty style

23. Ceiling decoration, tomb of Aimadua, Twentieth Dynasty

24. Door of house, Sixth Dynasty tomb

25. Facade of Fourth Dynasty house, sarcophagus of Khufu Poskhu

26. Plan of second fortress at Abydos, Eleventh or Twelfth Dynasty

27. Walls of same fortress, restored

28. Facade of fort, tomb at Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty

29. Plan of main gate, second fortress of Abydos

30. Plan of S.E. gate of same

31. Plan of gate, fortress of Kom el Ahmar

32. Plan of walled city at El Kab

33. Plan of walled city at Kom Ombo

34. Plan of fortress of Kummeh

35. Plan of fortress of Semneh

36. Section of platform of same

37. Syrian fort, elevation

38. Town walls of Dapur

39. City of Kaclesh, Ramesseum

40. Plan of pavilion of Medinet Habu, Twentieth Dynasty

41. Elevation of same

42. Canal and bridge of Zaru, Karnak, Nineteenth Dynasty

43. Cellar with amphorae

44. Granary

45. Plan of Store City of Pithom, Nineteenth Dynasty

46. Store-chambers of the Ramesseum

47. Dike at Wady Gerraweh

48. Section of same dike

49. Quarries of Silsilis

50. Draught of Hathor capital, quarry of Gebel Abufeydeh

51. Transport of blocks, stela of Ahmes, Turrah, Eighteenth Dynasty

52. Masonry in temple of Seti I., Abydos

53. Temple wall with cornice

54. Niche and doorway in temple of Seti I., Abydos

55. Pavement in same temple

56. "Corbelled" vault in same temple

57. Hathor pillar in temple of Abu Simbel, Nineteenth Dynasty

58. Pillar of Amenhotep III., Karnak

59. Sixteen-sided pillars, Karnak

60. Fluted pillar, Kalabsheh

61. Polygonal Hathor-headed pillar, El Kab

62. Column with square die, Contra Esneh

63. Column with campaniform capital, Ramesseum

64. Inverted campaniform capital, Karnak

65. Palm capital, Bubastis

66. Compound capital

67. Ornate capitals, Ptolemaic

68. Lotus-bud column, Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty

69. Lotus-bud column, processional hall of Thothmes HI., Karnak

70. Column in aisle of Hypostyle Hall, Karnak

71. Hathor-head capital, Ptolemaic

72. Campaniform and Hathor-headed capital, Philae

73. Section of Hypostyle Hall, Karnak

74. Plan of the temple of the Sphinx

75. South temple of Elephantine

76. Plan of temple of Amenhotep III., El Kab

77. Plan of temple of Hathor, Deir el Medineh

78. Plan of temple of Khonsu, Karnak

79. Pylon with masts, wall-scene, temple of Khonsu, Karnak

80. Ramesseum, restored

81. Plan of sanctuary at Denderah

82. Pronaos, temple of Edfu

83. Plan of same temple

84. Plan of temple of Karnak in reign of Amenhotep III

85. Plan of Hypostyle Hall, Karnak

86. Plan of great temple, Luxor

87. Plan of buildings on island of Philae

88. Plan of Speos, Kalaat Addah

89. Plan of Speos, Gebel Silsileh

90. Plan of Great Speos, Abu Simbel

91. Plan of Speos of Hathor, Abu Simbel

92. Plan of upper portion of temple of Deir el Bahari

93. Plan of temple of Seti I., Abydos

94. Crio-sphinx from temple of Wady Es Sabuah

95. Couchant ram, from Avenue of Sphinxes, Karnak

96-101. Decorative designs from Denderah

102. Decorative group of Nile gods

103. Dado decoration, hall of Thothmes III., Karnak

104. Ceiling decoration, tomb of Bakenrenf, Twenty-sixth Dynasty

105. Zodiacal circle of Denderah

106. Frieze of uraei and cartouches

107. Wall-scene from temple of Denderah

108. Obelisk of Heliopolis, Twelfth Dynasty

109. Obelisk of Begig, Twelfth Dynasty

110. "Table of offerings" from Karnak

111. Limestone altar from Menshiyeh

112. Wooden naos, in Turin Museum

113. A mastaba

114. False door in mastaba

115. Plan of forecourt, mastaba of Kaaepir

116. Plan of forecourt, mastaba of Neferhotep

117. Door in mastaba facade

118. Portico and door of mastaba

119. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Khabiusokari

120. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Ti

121. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Shepsesptah

122. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Affi

123. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Thenti

124. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Red Scribe

125. Plan of chapel, mastaba of Ptahhotep

126. Stela in mastaba of Merruka

127. Wall-scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep

128. Wall-scene from mastaba of Urkhuu

129. Wall-scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep

130. Plan of serdab in mastaba at Gizeh

131. Plan of serdab and chapel in mastaba of Rahotep

132. Plan of serdab and chapel in mastaba of Thenti

133. Section of mastaba showing shaft and vault, at Gizeh

134. Section of mastaba, at Sakkarah

135. Wall-scene from mastaba of Nenka

136. Section of Great Pyramid

137. The Step Pyramid of Sakkarah

138. Plan and section of pyramid of Unas

139. Portcullis and passage, pyramid of Unas

140. Section of pyramid of Unas

141. Mastabat el Faraun

142. Pyramid of Medum

143. Section of passage and vault in pyramid of Medum

144. Section of "vaulted" brick pyramid, Abydos, Eleventh Dynasty

145. Section of "vaulted" tomb, Abydos

146. Plan of tomb, Abydos

147. Theban tomb with pyramidion, wall-scene, tomb at Sheikh Abd el Gurneh

148. Similar tomb

149. Section of Apis tomb, Eighteenth Dynasty

150. Tombs in cliff opposite Asuan

151. Facade of rock-cut tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty

152. Facade of rock-cut tomb, Asuan

153. Plan of tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty

154. Plan of unfinished tomb, Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty

155. Wall-scene, tomb of Manna, Nineteenth Dynasty

156. Plan of tomb of Rameses IV.

157. Plan of tomb of Rameses IV., from Turin papyrus

158. Plan of tomb of Seti I.

159. Fields of Aalu, wall-scene, tomb of Rameses III.

160. Pestle and mortar for grinding colours

161. Comic sketch on ostrakon

162. Vignette from Book of the Dead, Saite period

163. Vignette from Book of the Dead, papyrus of Hunefer

164-5. Wall-scenes, tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan

166. Wall-scene, tomb, Eighteenth Dynasty

167. Wall-scene, tomb of Horemheb

168. Wall-scene, Theban tomb, Ramesside period

169. Wall-scene, tomb of Horemheb

170. Wall-scene, Ramesseum

171. Wall-scene, Medinet Habu

172. Wall-scene, Ramesseum

173. Wall-scene, Ramesseum

174. Wall-scene, tomb of Rekhmara

175. Wall-scene, tomb of Rekhmara

176. Wall-scene, mastaba of Ptahhotep

177. Palestrina mosaic

178. Sculptor's sketch, Ancient Empire tomb

179. Sculptor's sketch, Ancient Empire tomb

180. Sculptor's correction, Medinet Habu, Twentieth Dynasty

181. Bow drill

182. Sculptor's trial-piece, Eighteenth Dynasty

183. The Great Sphinx of Gizeh

184. Wooden panel, mastaba of Hesi

185. Cross-legged scribe, in the Louvre, Ancient Empire

186. Cross-legged scribe, at Gizeh, Ancient Empire

187. King Khafra

188. The "Sheikh el Beled" (Raemka), Ancient Empire

189. Rahotep, Ancient Empire

190. Nefert, wife of Rahotep, Ancient Empire

191. Head of the "Sheikh el Beled," Ancient Empire

192. Wife of the "Sheikh el Beled," Ancient Empire

193. The kneeling scribe, at Gizeh. Ancient Empire

194. A bread-maker, Ancient Empire

195. The dwarf Nemhotep, Ancient Empire

196. One of the Tanis sphinxes, Hyksos period

197. Bas-relief head of Seti I.

198. Amen and Horemheb

199. Head of a queen, Eighteenth Dynasty

200. Head of Horemheb

201. Colossal statue of Rameses 11.

202. Queen Ameniritis.

203. Thueris, Saite period

204. Hathor cow, Saite period

205. Pedishashi, Saite period

206. Head of a scribe, Saite period

207. Colossus of Alexander II.

208. Hor, Graeco-Egyptian

209. Group from Naga, Ethiopian School

210. Ta amulet

211. Frog amulet

212. Uat amulet

213. Uta amulet

214. A scarab

215-7. Perfume vases, alabaster

218. Perfume vase, alabaster

219. Vase for antimony powder

220. Turin vases, pottery

221-3. Decorated vases, pottery

224. Glass-blowers, wall-scene, Twelfth Dynasty

225-6. Parti-cloured glass vases

227. Parti-coloured glass vase

228. Glass goblets of Nesikhonsu

229. Hippopotamus in blue glaze

230-1. Theban glazed ware

232. Cup, glazed ware

233. Interior decoration of bowl, Eighteenth Dynasty

234. Lenticular vase, glazed ware, Saite period

235. Tiled chamber in Step Pyramid of Sakkarah

236. Tile from same

237. Tile, Tell el Yahudeh, Twentieth Dynasty

238. Tile, Tell el Yahudeh, Twentieth Dynasty

239. Inlaid tiles, Tell el Yahudeh, Twentieth Dynasty

240-1. Relief tiles, Tell el Yahudeh, Twentieth Dynasty

242. Spoon

243. Wooden statuette of officer, Eighteenth Dynasty

244. Wooden statuette of priest, Eighteenth Dynasty

245. Wooden statuette of Nai

246-54. Wooden perfume and unguent spoons

255. Fire-sticks, bow, and unfinished drill-stock, Twelfth Dynasty

256. Dolls, Twelfth Dynasty

257. Tops, tip-cat, and toy boat, Twelfth Dynasty

258-60. Chests

261. Construction of a mummy-case, wall-scene, Eighteenth Dynasty

262. Mask of Twenty-first Dynasty coffin of Rameses II

263. Mummy-case of Queen Ahmesnefertari

264. Panel portrait from the Fayum, Graeco-Roman

265. Carved and painted mummy-canopy

266. Canopied mummy-couch, Graeco-Roman

267. Mummy-sledge and canopy

268. Inlaid chair, Eleventh Dynasty

269. Inlaid stool, Eleventh Dynasty

270. Throne-chair, wall-scene, Twentieth Dynasty

271. Women weaving, wall-scene, Twelfth Dynasty

272. Man weaving carpet or hangings, wall-scene, Twelfth Dynasty

273. Cut leather work, Twenty-first Dynasty

274-5. Barks with cut leather-work sails, Twentieth Dynasty

276-7. Bronze jug

278. Unguent vase, or spoon (lamp for suspension?)

279. Bronze statuette of Takushet

280. Bronze statuette of Horus

281. Bronze statuette of Mosu

282. Bronze lion from Horbeit, Saite period

283. Gold-worker, wall-scene

284. Golden cup of General Tahuti, Eighteenth Dynasty

285. Silver vase of Thmuis

286. Silver vase of Thmuis

287. Piece of plate, wall-scene, Twentieth Dynasty

288-95. Plate, wall-scenes, Eighteenth Dynasty

296. Signet-ring, with bezel

297. Gold cloisonne pectoral, Dahshur, Twelfth Dynasty

298. Mirror of Queen Aahhotep, Eighteenth Dynasty

299-300. Bracelets of same

301. Diadem of same

302. Gold Usekh of same

303. Gold pectoral of same

304-5. Poignards found with mummy of Queen Aahhotep

306. Battle-axe found with same

307. Model funerary bark found with same

308. Ring of Rameses II

309. Bracelet of Prince Psar




Archaeologists, when visiting Egypt, have so concentrated their attention upon temples and tombs, that not one has devoted himself to a careful examination of the existing remains of private dwellings and military buildings. Few countries, nevertheless, have preserved so many relics of their ancient civil architecture. Setting aside towns of Roman or Byzantine date, such as are found almost intact at Koft (Coptos), at Kom Ombo, and at El Agandiyeh, one-half at least of ancient Thebes still exists on the east and south of Karnak. The site of Memphis is covered with mounds, some of which are from fifty to sixty feet in height, each containing a core of houses in good preservation. At Kahun, the ruins and remains of a whole provincial Twelfth Dynasty town have been laid bare; at Tell el Mask-hutah, the granaries of Pithom are yet standing; at San (Tanis) and Tell Basta (Bubastis), the Ptolemaic and Saitic cities contain quarters of which plans might be made (Note 1), and in many localities which escape the traveller's notice, there may be seen ruins of private dwellings which date back to the age of the Ramessides, or to a still earlier period. As regards fortresses, there are two in the town of Abydos alone, one of which is at least contemporary with the Sixth Dynasty; while the ramparts of El Kab, of Kom el Ahmar, of El Hibeh, and of Dakkeh, as well as part of the fortifications of Thebes, are still standing, and await the architect who shall deign to make them an object of serious study.

* * * * *


The soil of Egypt, periodically washed by the inundation, is a black, compact, homogeneous clay, which becomes of stony hardness when dry. From immemorial time, the fellahin have used it for the construction of their houses. The hut of the poorest peasant is a mere rudely-shaped mass of this clay. A rectangular space, some eight or ten feet in width, by perhaps sixteen or eighteen feet in length, is enclosed in a wickerwork of palm- branches, coated on both sides with a layer of mud. As this coating cracks in the drying the fissures are filled in, and more coats of mud are daubed on until the walls attain a thickness of from four inches to a foot. Finally, the whole is roofed over with palm-branches and straw, the top being covered in with a thin layer of beaten earth. The height varies. In most huts, the ceiling is so low that to rise suddenly is dangerous both to one's head and to the structure, while in others the roof is six or seven feet from the floor. Windows, of course, there are none. Sometimes a hole is left in the middle of the roof to let the smoke out; but this is a refinement undreamed of by many.

At the first glance, it is not always easy to distinguish between these huts of wattle and daub and those built with crude bricks. The ordinary Egyptian brick is a mere oblong block of mud mixed with chopped straw and a little sand, and dried in the sun. At a spot where they are about to build, one man is told off to break up the ground; others carry the clods, and pile them in a heap, while others again mix them with water, knead the clay with their feet, and reduce it to a homogeneous paste. This paste, when sufficiently worked (Note 2), is pressed by the head workman in moulds made of hard wood, while an assistant carries away the bricks as fast as they are shaped, and lays them out in rows at a little distance apart, to dry in the sun (fig. I). A careful brickmaker will leave them thus for half a day, or even for a whole day, after which the bricks are piled in stacks in such wise that the air can circulate freely among them; and so they remain for a week or two before they are used. More frequently, however, they are exposed for only a few hours to the heat of the sun, and the building is begun while they are yet damp. The mud, however, is so tenacious that, notwithstanding this carelessness, they are not readily put out of shape. The outer faces of the bricks become disintegrated by the action of the weather, but those in the inner part of the wall remain intact, and are still separable. A good modern workman will easily mould a thousand bricks a day, and after a week's practice he may turn out 1,200, 1,500, or even 1,800. The ancient workmen, whose appliances in no wise differed from those of the present day, produced equally satisfactory results. The dimensions they generally adopted were 8.7 x 4.3 x 5.5 inches for ordinary bricks, or 15.0 x 7.1 x 5.5 for a larger size (Note 3), though both larger and smaller are often met with in the ruins. Bricks issued from the royal workshops were sometimes stamped with the cartouches of the reigning monarch; while those made in private factories bore on the side a trade mark in red ochre, a squeeze of the moulder's fingers, or the stamp of the maker. By far the greater number have, however, no distinctive mark. Burnt bricks were not often used before the Roman period (Note 4), nor tiles, either flat or curved. Glazed bricks appear to have been the fashion in the Delta. The finest specimen that I have seen, namely, one in the Gizeh Museum, is inscribed in black ink with the cartouches of Rameses III. The glaze of this brick is green, but other fragments are coloured blue, red, yellow, or white.

The nature of the soil does not allow of deep foundations. It consists of a thin bed of made earth, which, except in large towns, never reaches any degree of thickness; below this comes a very dense humus, permeated by slender veins of sand; and below this again—at the level of infiltration— comes a bed of mud, more or less soft, according to the season. The native builders of the present day are content to remove only the made earth, and lay their foundations on the primeval soil; or, if that lies too deep, they stop at a yard or so below the surface. The old Egyptians did likewise; and I have never seen any ancient house of which the foundations were more than four feet deep. Even this is exceptional, the depth in most cases being not more than two feet. They very often did not trouble themselves to cut trenches at all; they merely levelled the space intended to be covered, and, having probably watered it to settle the soil, they at once laid the bricks upon the surface. When the house was finished, the scraps of mortar, the broken bricks, and all the accumulated refuse of the work, made a bed of eight inches or a foot in depth, and the base of the wall thus buried served instead of a foundation. When the new house rose on the ruins of an older one decayed by time or ruined by accident, the builders did not even take the trouble to raze the old walls to the ground. Levelling the surface of the ruins, they-built upon them at a level a few feet higher than before: thus each town stands upon one or several artificial mounds, the tops of which may occasionally rise to a height of from sixty to eighty feet above the surrounding country. The Greek historians attributed these artificial mounds to the wisdom of the kings, and especially to Sesostris, who, as they supposed, wished to raise the towns above the inundation. Some modern writers have even described the process, which they explain thus:—A cellular framework of brick walls, like a huge chess-board, formed the substructure, the cells being next filled in with earth, and the houses built upon this immense platform (Note 5).

But where I have excavated, especially at Thebes, I have never found anything answering to this conception. The intersecting walls which one finds beneath the later houses are nothing but the ruins of older dwellings, which in turn rest on others still older. The slightness of the foundations did not prevent the builders from boldly running up quite lofty structures. In the ruins of Memphis, I have observed walls still standing from thirty to forty feet in height. The builders took no precaution beyond enlarging the base of the wall, and vaulting the floors (fig. 2).[1] The thickness of an ordinary wall was about sixteen inches for a low house; but for one of several storeys, it was increased to three or four feet. Large beams, embedded here and there in the brickwork or masonry, bound the whole together, and strengthened the structure. The ground floor was also frequently built with dressed stones, while the upper parts were of brick. The limestone of the neighbouring hills was the stone commonly used for such purposes. The fragments of sandstone, granite, and alabaster, which are often found mixed in with it, are generally from some ruined temple; the ancient Egyptians having pulled their neglected monuments to pieces quite as unscrupulously as do their modern successors. The houses of an ancient Egyptian town were clustered round its temple, and the temple stood in a rectangular enclosure to which access was obtained through monumental gateways in the surrounding brick wall. The gods dwelt in fortified mansions, or at any rate in redoubts to which the people of the place might fly for safety in the event of any sudden attack upon their town. Such towns as were built all at once by prince or king were fairly regular in plan, having wide paved streets at right angles to each other, and the buildings in line. The older cities, whose growth had been determined by the chances and changes of centuries, were characterised by no such regularity. Their houses stood in a maze of blind alleys, and narrow, dark, and straggling streets, with here and there the branch of a canal, almost dried up during the greater part of the year, and a muddy pond where the cattle drank and women came for water. Somewhere in each town was an open space shaded by sycamores or acacias, and hither on market days came the peas-ants of the district two or three times in the month. There were also waste places where rubbish and refuse was thrown, to be quarrelled over by vultures, hawks, and dogs.

The lower classes lived in mere huts which, though built of bricks, were no better than those of the present fellahin. At Karnak, in the Pharaonic town; at Kom Ombo, in the Roman town; and at Medinet Habu, in the Coptic town, the houses in the poorer quarters have seldom more than twelve or sixteen feet of frontage. They consist of a ground floor, with sometimes one or two living-rooms above. The middle-class folk, as shopkeepers, sub- officials, and foremen, were better housed. Their houses were brick-built and rather small, yet contained some half-dozen rooms communicating by means of doorways, which were usually arched over, and having vaulted roofs in some cases, and in others flat ones. Some few of the houses were two or three storeys high, and many were separated from the street by a narrow court, beyond which the rooms were ranged on either side of a long passage (fig. 4). More frequently, the court was surrounded on three sides by chambers (fig. 5); and yet oftener the house fronted close upon the street. In the latter case the facade consisted of a high wall, whitewashed or painted, and surmounted by a cornice. Even in better houses the only ornamentation of their outer walls consisted in angular grooving, the grooves being surmounted by representations of two lotus flowers, each pair with the upper parts of the stalks in contact (see figs. 24, 25). The door was the only opening, save perhaps a few small windows pierced at irregular intervals (fig. 6). Even in unpretentious houses, the door was often made of stone. The doorposts projected slightly beyond the surface of the wall, and the lintel supported a painted or sculptured cornice. Having crossed the threshold, one passed successively through two dimly-lighted entrance chambers, the second of which opened into the central court (fig. 7). The best rooms in the houses of wealthier citizens were sometimes lighted through a square opening in the centre of a ceiling supported on wooden columns. In the Twelfth Dynasty town of Kahun the shafts of these columns rested upon round stone bases; they were octagonal, and about ten inches in diameter (fig. 8). Notwithstanding the prevalence of enteric disease and ophthalmia, the family crowded together into one or two rooms during the winter, and slept out on the roof under the shelter of mosquito nets in summer. On the roof also the women gossiped and cooked. The ground floor included both store-rooms, barns, and stables. Private granaries were generally in pairs (see fig. 11), brick-built in the same long conical shape as the state granaries, and carefully plastered with mud inside and out. Neither did the people of a house forget to find or to make hiding places in the walls or floors of their home, where they could secrete their household treasures—such as nuggets of gold and silver, precious stones, and jewellery for men and women—from thieves and tax-collectors alike. Wherever the upper floors still remain standing, they reproduce the ground- floor plan with scarcely any differences. These upper rooms were reached by an outside staircase, steep and narrow, and divided at short intervals by small square landings. The rooms were oblong, and were lighted only from the doorway; when it was decided to open windows on the street, they were mere air-holes near the ceiling, pierced without regularity or symmetry, fitted with a lattice of wooden cross bars, and secured by wooden shutters. The floors were bricked or paved, or consisted still more frequently of merely a layer of rammed earth. The rooms were not left undecorated; the mud-plaster of the walls, generally in its native grey, although whitewashed in some cases, was painted with red or yellow, and ornamented with drawings of interior and exterior views of a house, and of household vessels and eatables (fig. 10). The roof was flat, and made probably, as at the present day, of closely laid rows of palm-branches covered with a coating of mud thick enough to withstand the effects of rain. Sometimes it was surmounted by only one or two of the usual Egyptian ventilators; but generally there was a small washhouse on the roof (fig. 9), and a little chamber for the slaves or guards to sleep in. The household fire was made in a hollow of the earthen floor, usually to one side of the room, and the smoke escaped through a hole in the ceiling; branches of trees, charcoal, and dried cakes of ass or cow dung were used for fuel.

The mansions of the rich and great covered a large space of ground. They most frequently stood in the midst of a garden, or of an enclosed court planted with trees; and, like the commoner houses, they turned a blank front to the street, consisting of bare walls, battlemented like those of a fortress (fig. 11). Thus, home-life was strictly secluded, and the pleasure of seeing was sacrificed for the advantages of not being seen. The door was approached by a flight of two or three steps, or by a porch supported on columns (fig. 12) and adorned with statues (fig. 13), which gave it a monumental appearance, and indicated the social importance of the family.

Sometimes this was preceded by a pylon-gateway, such as usually heralded the approach to a temple. Inside the enclosure it was like a small town, divided into quarters by irregular walls. The dwelling-house stood at the farther end; the granaries, stabling, and open spaces being distributed in different parts of the grounds, according to some system to which we as yet possess no clue. These arrangements, however, were infinitely varied. If I would convey some idea of the residence of an Egyptian noble,—a residence half palace, half villa,—I cannot do better than reproduce two out of the many pictorial plans which have come down to us among the tomb-paintings of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The first (figs. 14, 15) represent a Theban house. The enclosure is square, and surrounded by an embattled wall. The main gate opens upon a road bordered with trees, which runs beside a canal, or perhaps an arm of the Nile. Low stone walls divide the garden into symmetrical compartments, like those which are seen to this day in the great gardens of Ekhmim or Girgeh.

In the centre is a large trellis supported on four rows of slender pillars. Four small ponds, two to the right and two to the left, are stocked with ducks and geese. Two nurseries, two summer-houses, and various avenues of sycamores, date-palms, and dom-palms fill up the intermediate space; while at the end, facing the entrance, stands a small three-storied house surmounted by a painted cornice.

The second plan is copied from one of the rock-cut tombs of Tell el Amarna (figs. 16, 17). Here we see a house situate at the end of the gardens of the great lord Ai, son-in-law of the Pharaoh Khuenaten, and himself afterwards king of Egypt. An oblong stone tank with sloping sides, and two descending flights of steps, faces the entrance. The building is rectangular, the width being somewhat greater than the depth. A large doorway opens in the middle of the front, and gives access to a court planted with trees and flanked by store-houses fully stocked with provisions. Two small courts, placed symmetrically in the two farthest corners, contain the staircases which lead up to the roof terrace. This first building, however, is but the frame which surrounds the owner's dwelling. The two frontages are each adorned with a pillared portico and a pylon. Passing the outer door, we enter a sort of long central passage, divided by two walls pierced with doorways, so as to form three successive courts. The inside court is bordered by chambers; the two others open to right and left upon two smaller courts, whence flights of steps lead up to the terraced roof. This central building is called the Akhonuti, or private dwelling of kings or nobles, to which only the family and intimate friends had access. The number of storeys and the arrangement of the facade varied according to the taste of the owner. The frontage was generally a straight wall. Sometimes it was divided into three parts, with the middle division projecting, in which case the two wings were ornamented with a colonnade to each storey (fig. 18), or surmounted by an open gallery (fig. 19). The central pavilion sometimes presents the appearance of a tower, which dominates the rest of the building (fig. 20). The facade is often decorated with slender colonnettes of painted wood, which bear no weight, and merely serve to lighten the somewhat severe aspect of the exterior. Of the internal arrangements, we know but little. As in the middle-class houses, the sleeping rooms were probably small and dark; but, on the other hand, the reception rooms must have been nearly as large as those still in use in the Arab houses of modern Egypt.

The decoration of walls and ceilings in no wise resembled such scenes or designs as we find in the tombs. The panels were whitewashed or colour- washed, and bordered with a polychrome band. The ceilings were usually left white; sometimes, however they were decorated with geometrical patterns, which repeated the leading motives employed in the sepulchral wall- paintings. Thus we find examples of meanders interspersed with rosettes (fig. 21), parti-coloured squares (fig. 22), ox-heads seen frontwise, scrolls, and flights of geese (fig. 23).

I have touched chiefly upon houses of the second Theban period,[2] this being in fact the time of which we have most examples. The house-shaped lamps which are found in such large numbers in the Fayum date only from Roman times; but the Egyptians of that period continued to build according to the rules which were in force under the Pharaohs of the Twelfth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties. As regards the domestic architecture of the ancient kingdom, the evidences are few and obscure. Nevertheless, the stelae, tombs, and coffins of that period often furnish designs which show us the style of the doorways (fig. 24), and one Fourth Dynasty sarcophagus, that of Khufu Poskhu, is carved in the likeness of a house (fig. 25).

[1] Many of the rooms at Kahun had vaulted ceilings.

[2] Seventeenth to Twentieth Dynasties.


Most of the towns, and even most of the larger villages, of ancient Egypt were walled. This was an almost necessary consequence of the geographical characteristics and the political constitution of the country. The mouths of the defiles which led into the desert needed to be closed against the Bedawin; while the great feudal nobles fortified their houses, their towns, and the villages upon their domains which commanded either the mountain passes or the narrow parts of the river, against their king or their neighbours.

The oldest fortresses are those of Abydos, El Kab, and Semneh. Abydos contained a sanctuary dedicated to Osiris, and was situate at the entrance to one of the roads leading to the Oasis. As the renown of the temple attracted pilgrims, so the position of the city caused it to be frequented by merchants; hence the prosperity which it derived from the influx of both classes of strangers exposed the city to incursions of the Libyan tribes. At Abydos there yet remain two almost perfect strongholds. The older forms, as it were, the core of that tumulus called by the Arabs "Kom es Sultan," or "the Mound of the King." The interior of this building has been excavated to a point some ten or twelve feet above the ground level, but the walls outside have not yet been cleared from the surrounding sand and rubbish. In its present condition, it forms a parallelogram of crude brickwork measuring 410 feet from north to south, and 223 feet from east to west. The main axis of the structure extends, therefore, from north to south. The principal gateway opens in the western wall, not far from the northwest corner: but there would appear to have been two smaller gates, one in the south front, and one in the east. The walls, which now stand from twenty-four to thirty-six feet high, have lost somewhat of their original height. They are about six feet thick at the top. They were not built all together in uniform layers, but in huge vertical panels, easily distinguished by the arrangement of the brickwork. In one division the bedding of the bricks is strictly horizontal; in the next it is slightly concave, and forms a very flat reversed arch, of which the extrados rests upon the ground. The alternation of these two methods is regularly repeated. The object of this arrangement is obscure; but it is said that buildings thus constructed are especially fitted to resist earthquake shocks. However this may be, the fortress is extremely ancient, for in the Fifth Dynasty, the nobles of Abydos took possession of the interior, and, ultimately, so piled it up with their graves as to deprive it of all strategic value. A second stronghold, erected a few hundred yards further to the south-east, replaced that of Kom es Sultan about the time of the Twelfth Dynasty, and narrowly escaped the fate of the first, under the rule of the Ramessides. Nothing, in fact, but the sudden decline of the city, saved the second from being similarly choked and buried.

The early Egyptians possessed no engines calculated to make an impression on very massive walls. They knew of but three ways of forcing a stronghold; namely, scaling the walls, sapping them, or bursting open the gates. The plan adopted by their engineers in building the second fort is admirably well calculated to resist each of these modes of attack (fig. 26). The outer walls are long and straight, without towers or projections of any kind; they measure 430 feet in length from north to south, by 255 feet in width. The foundations rest on the sand, and do not go down more than a foot. The wall (fig. 27) is of crude brick, in horizontal courses. It has a slight batter; is solid, without slits or loopholes; and is decorated outside with long vertical grooves or panels, like those depicted on the stelae of the ancient empire. In its present state, it rises to a height of some thirty-six feet above the plain; when perfect, it would scarcely have exceeded forty feet, which height would amply suffice to protect the garrison from all danger of scaling by portable ladders. The thickness of the wall is about twenty feet at the base, and sixteen feet above. The top is destroyed, but the bas-reliefs and mural paintings (fig. 28) show that it must have been crowned with a continuous cornice, boldly projecting, furnished with a slight low parapet, and surmounted by battlements, which were generally rounded, but sometimes, though rarely, squared. The walk round the top of the ramparts, though diminished by the parapet, was still twelve or fifteen feet wide. It ran uninterruptedly along the four sides, and was reached by narrow staircases formed in the thickness of the walls, but now destroyed. There was no ditch, but in order to protect the base of the main wall from sappers, they erected, about ten feet in advance of it, a battlemented covering wall, some sixteen feet in height. These precautions sufficed against sap and scaling; but the gates remained as open gaps in the circuit. It was upon these weak points that besiegers and besieged alike concentrated their efforts. The fortress of Abydos had two gates, the main one being situate at the east end of the north front (fig. 29). A narrow cutting (A), closed by a massive wooden door, marked the place in the covering wall. Behind it was a small place d'armes (B), cut partly in the thickness of the wall, and leading to a second gate (C) as narrow as the first. When, notwithstanding the showers of missiles poured upon them from the top of the walls, not only in front, but also from both sides, the attacking party had succeeded in carrying this second door, they were not yet in the heart of the place. They would still have to traverse an oblong court (D), closely hemmed in between the outer walls and the cross walls, which last stood at right angles to the first. Finally, they must force a last postern (E), which was purposely placed in the most awkward corner. The leading principle in the construction of fortress-gates was always the same, but the details varied according to the taste of the engineer. At the south-east gate of the fort of Abydos (fig. 30) the place d'armes between the two walls is abolished, and the court is constructed entirely in the thickness of the main wall; while at Kom el Ahmar, opposite El Kab (fig. 31), the block of brickwork in the midst of which the gate is cut projects boldly in front. The posterns opening at various points facilitated the movements of the garrison, and enabled them to multiply their sorties.

The same system of fortification which was in use for isolated fortresses was also employed for the protection of towns. At Heliopollis, at San, at Sais, at Thebes, everywhere in short, we find long straight walls forming plain squares or parallelograms, without towers or bastions, ditches or outworks. The thickness of the walls, which varied from thirty to eighty feet, made such precautions needless. The gates, or at all events the principal ones, had jambs and lintels of stone, decorated with scenes and inscriptions; as, for instance, that of Ombos, which Champollion beheld yet in situ, and which dated from the reign of Thothmes III. The oldest and best preserved walled city in Egypt, namely, El Kab, belongs probably to the ancient empire (fig. 32). The Nile washed part of it away some years ago; but at the beginning of the present century it formed an irregular quadrilateral enclosure, measuring some 2,100 feet in length, by about a quarter less in breadth. The south front is constructed on the same principles as the wall at Kom es Sultan, the bricks being bedded in alternate horizontal and concave sections. Along the north and west fronts they are laid in undulating layers from end to end. The thickness is thirty-eight feet, and the average height thirty feet; and spacious ramps lead up to the walk upon the walls. The gates are placed irregularly, one in each side to north, east, and west, but none in the south face; they are, however, in too ruinous a state to admit of any plan being taken of them. The enclosure contained a considerable population, whose dwellings were unequally distributed, the greater part being concentrated towards the north and west, where excavations have disclosed the remains of a large number of houses. The temples were grouped together in a square enclosure, concentric with the outer wall; and this second enclosure served for a keep, where the garrison could hold out long after the rest of the town had fallen into the hands of the enemy.

The rectangular plan, though excellent in a plain, was not always available in a hilly country. When the spot to be fortified was situate upon a height, the Egyptian engineers knew perfectly well how to adapt their lines of defence to the nature of the site. At Kom Ombo (fig. 33) the walls exactly followed the outline of the isolated mound on which the town was perched, and presented towards the east a front bristling with irregular projections, the style of which roughly resembles our modern bastions. At Kummeh and Semneh, in Nubia, where the Nile rushes over the rocks of the second cataract, the engineering arrangements are very ingenious, and display much real skill. Usertesen III. had fixed on this pass as the frontier of Egypt, and the fortresses which he there constructed were intended to bar the water-way against the vessels of the neighbouring negro tribes. At Kummeh, on the right bank, the position was naturally strong (fig. 34). Upon a rocky height surrounded by precipices was planned an irregular square measuring about 200 feet each way. Two elongated bastions, one on the north-east and the other on the south-east, guarded respectively the path leading to the gate, and the course of the river. The covering wall stood thirteen feet high, and closely followed the line of the main wall, except at the north and south corners, where it formed two bastion-like projections. At Semneh, on the opposite bank, the site was less favourable. The east side was protected by a belt of cliffs going sheer down to the water's edge; but the three other sides were well- nigh open (fig. 35). A straight wall, about fifty feet in height, carried along the cliffs on the side next the river; but the walls looking towards the plain rose to eighty feet, and bristled with bastion-like projections (A.B.) jutting out for a distance of fifty feet from the curtain wall, measuring thirty feet thick at the base and thirteen feet at the top, and irregularly spaced, according to the requirements of the defence. These spurs, which are not battlemented, served in place of towers. They added to the strength of the walls, protected the walk round the top, and enabled the besieged to direct a flank attack against the enemy if any attempt were made upon the wall of circuit. The intervals between these spurs are accurately calculated as to distance, in order that the archers should be able to sweep the intervening ground with their arrows. Curtains and salients are alike built of crude brick, with beams bedded horizontally in the mass. The outer face is in two parts, the lower division being nearly vertical, and the upper one inclined at an angle of about seventy degrees, which made scaling very difficult, if not impossible. The whole of the ground enclosed by the wall of circuit was filled in to nearly the level of the ramparts (fig. 36). Externally, the covering wall of stone was separated from the body of the fortress by a dry ditch, some 100 to 130 feet in width. This wall closely followed the main outline, and rose to a height which varied according to the situation from six to ten feet above the level of the plain. On the northward side it was cut by the winding road, which led down into the plain. These arrangements, skilful as they were, did not prevent the fall of the place. A large breach in the southward face, between the two salients nearest to the river, marks the point of attack selected by the enemy.

New methods of fortification were revealed to the Egyptians in the course of the great Asiatic wars undertaken by the Pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The nomadic tribes of Syria erected small forts in which they took refuge when threatened with invasion (fig. 37). The Canaanite and Hittite cities, as Ascalon, Dapur, and Merom, were surrounded by strong walls, generally built of stone and flanked with towers (fig. 38). Those which stood in the open country, as, for instance, Qodshu (Kadesh), were enclosed by a double moat (fig. 39). Having proved the efficacy of these new types of defensive architecture in the course of their campaigns, the Pharaohs reproduced them in the valley of the Nile. From the beginning of the Nineteenth Dynasty, the eastern frontier of the Delta (always the weakest) was protected by a line of forts constructed after the Canaanite model. The Egyptians, moreover, not content with appropriating the thing, appropriated also the name, and called these frontier towers by the Semitic name of Magdilu or Migdols. For these purposes, or at all events for cities which were exposed to the incursions of the Asiatic tribes, brick was not deemed to be sufficiently strong; hence the walls of Heliopolis, and even those of Memphis, were faced with stone. Of these new fortresses no ruins remain; and but for a royal caprice which happens to have left us a model Migdol in that most unlikely place, the necropolis of Thebes, we should now be constrained to attempt a restoration of their probable appearance from the representations in certain mural tableaux. When, however, Rameses III. erected his memorial temple[3] (figs. 40 and 41), he desired, in remembrance of his Syrian victories, to give it an outwardly military aspect. Along the eastward front of the enclosure there accordingly runs a battlemented covering wall of stone, averaging some thirteen feet in height. The gate, protected by a large quadrangular bastion, opened in the middle of this wall. It was three feet four inches in width, and was flanked by two small oblong guard-houses, the flat roofs of which stood about three feet higher than the ramparts. Passing this gate, we stand face to face with a real Migdol. Two blocks of building enclose a succession of court-yards, which narrow as they recede, and are connected at the lower end by a kind of gate-house, consisting of one massive gateway surmounted by two storeys of chambers. The eastward faces of the towers rise above an inclined basement, which slopes to a height of from fifteen to sixteen feet from the ground. This answered two purposes. It increased the strength of the wall at the part exposed to sappers; it also caused the rebound of projectiles thrown from above, and so helped to keep assailants at a distance. The whole height is about seventy-two feet, and the width of each tower is thirty-two feet. The buildings situate at the back, to right and left of the gate, were destroyed in ancient times. The details of the decoration are partly religious, partly triumphal, as befits the character of the structure. It is unlikely, however, that actual fortresses were adorned with brackets and bas-relief sculptures, such as we here see on either side of the fore-court. Such as it is, the so-called "pavilion" of Medinet Habu offers an unique example of the high degree of perfection to which the victorious Pharaohs of this period had carried their military architecture.

Material evidence fails us almost entirely, after the reign of Rameses III. Towards the close of the eleventh century B.C., the high-priests of Amen repaired the walls of Thebes, of Gebeleyn, and of El Hibeh opposite Feshn. The territorial subdivision of the country, which took place under the successors of Sheshonk, compelled the provincial princes to multiply their strongholds. The campaign of Piankhi on the banks of the Nile is a series of successful sieges. Nothing, however, leads us to suppose that the art of fortification had at that time made any distinct progress; and when the Greek rulers succeeded the native Pharaohs, they most probably found it at much the same stage as it was left by the engineers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties.

[3] At Medinet Habu.


A permanent network of roads would be useless in a country like Egypt. The Nile here is the natural highway for purposes of commerce, and the pathways which intersect the fields suffice for foot-passengers, for cattle, and for the transport of goods from village to village. Ferry-boats for crossing the river, fords wherever the canals were shallow enough, and embanked dams thrown up here and there where the water was too deep for fordings, completed the system of internal communication. Bridges were rare. Up to the present time, we know of but one in the whole territory of ancient Egypt; and whether that one was long or short, built of stone or of wood, supported on arches or boldly flung across the stream from bank to bank, we cannot even conjecture. This bridge, close under the very walls of Zaru,[4] crossed the canal which separated the eastern frontier of Egypt from the desert regions of Arabia Petraea. A fortified enclosure protected this canal on the Asiatic side, as shown in the accompanying illustration (fig. 42). The maintenance of public highways, which figures as so costly an item in the expenses of modern nations, played, therefore, but a very small part in the annual disbursements of the Pharaohs, who had only to provide for the due execution of three great branches of government works,—namely, storage, irrigation, mining and quarrying.

The taxation of ancient Egypt was levied in kind, and government servants were paid after the same system. To workmen, there were monthly distributions of corn, oil, and wine, wherewith to support their families; while from end to end of the social scale, each functionary, in exchange for his labour, received cattle, stuffs, manufactured goods, and certain quantities of copper or precious metals. Thus it became necessary that the treasury officials should have the command of vast storehouses for the safe keeping of the various goods collected under the head of taxation. These were classified and stored in separate quarters, each storehouse being surrounded by walls and guarded by vigilant keepers. There was enormous stabling for cattle; there were cellars where the amphorae were piled in regular layers (fig. 43), or hung in rows upon the walls, each with the date written on the side of the jar; there were oven-shaped granaries where the corn was poured in through a trap at the top (fig. 44), and taken out through a trap at the bottom. At Thuku, identified with Pithom by M. Naville,[5] the store-chambers (A) are rectangular and of different dimensions (fig. 45), originally divided by floors, and having no communication with each other. Here the corn had to be not only put in but taken out through the aperture at the top. At the Ramesseum, Thebes, thousands of ostraka and jar-stoppers found upon the spot prove that the brick-built remains at the back of the temple were the cellars of the local deity. The ruins consist of a series of vaulted chambers, originally surmounted by a platform or terrace (fig. 46). At Philae, Ombos, Daphnae,[6] and most of the frontier towns of the Delta, there were magazines of this description, and many more will doubtless be discovered when made the object of serious exploration.

The irrigation system of Egypt is but little changed since the olden time. Some new canals have been cut, and yet more have been silted up through the negligence of those in power; but the general scheme, and the methods employed, continue much the same, and demand but little engineering skill. Wherever I have investigated the remains of ancient canals, I have been unable to detect any traces of masonry at the weak points, or at the mouths, of these cuttings. They are mere excavated ditches, from twenty to sixty or seventy feet in width. The earth flung out during the work was thrown to right and left, forming irregular embankments from seven to fourteen feet in height. The course of the ancient canals was generally straight: but that rule was not strictly observed, and enormous curves were often described in order to avoid even slight irregularities of surface. Dikes thrown up from the foot of the cliffs to the banks of the Nile divided the plain at intervals into a series of artificial basins, where the overflow formed back-waters at the time of inundation. These dikes are generally earth-works, though they are sometimes constructed of baked brick, as in the province of Girgeh. Very rarely are they built of hewn stone, like that great dike of Kosheish which was constructed by Mena in primaeval times, in order to divert the course of the Nile from the spot on which he founded Memphis.[7] The network of canals began near Silsilis and extended to the sea-board, without ever losing touch of the river, save at one spot near Beni Suef, where it throws out a branch in the direction of the Fayum. Here, through a narrow and sinuous gorge, deepened probably by the hand of man, it passes the rocky barrier which divides that low- lying province from the valley of the Nile, and thence expands into a fanlike ramification of innumerable channels. Having thus irrigated the district, the waters flow out again; those nearest the Nile returning by the same way that they flowed in, while the rest form a series of lakes, the largest of which is known as the Birket el Kurun. If we are to believe Herodotus, the work was not so simply done. A king, named Moeris, desired to create a reservoir in the Fayum which should neutralise the evil effects of insufficient or superabundant inundations. This reservoir was named, after him, Lake Moeris. If the supply fell below the average, then the stored waters were let loose, and Lower Egypt and the Western Delta were flooded to the needful height. If next year the inundation came down in too great force, Lake Moeris received and stored the surplus till such time as the waters began to subside. Two pyramids, each surmounted by a sitting colossus, one representing the king and the other his queen, were erected in the midst of the lake. Such is the tale told by Herodotus, and it is a tale which has considerably embarrassed our modern engineers and topographers. How, in fact, was it possible to find in the Fayum a site which could have contained a basin measuring at least ninety miles in circumference? Linant supposed "Lake Moeris" to have extended over the whole of the low-lying land which skirts the Libyan cliffs between Illahun and Medinet el Fayum; but recent explorations have proved that the dikes by which this pretended reservoir was bounded are modern works, erected probably within the last two hundred years. Major Brown has lately shown that the nucleus of "Lake Moeris" was the Birket el Kurun.[8] This was known to the Egyptians as Miri, Mi-uri, the Great Lake, whence the Greeks derived their Moiris a name extended also to the inundation of the Fayum. If Herodotus did actually visit this province, it was probably in summer, at the time of the high Nile, when the whole district presents the appearance of an inland sea. What he took for the shores of this lake were the embankments which divided it into basins and acted as highways between the various towns. His narrative, repeated by the classic authors, has been accepted by the moderns; and Egypt, neither accepting nor rejecting it, was gratified long after date with the reputation of a gigantic work which would in truth have been the glory of her civil engineers, if it had ever existed. I do not believe that "Lake Moeris" ever did exist. The only works of the kind which the Egyptians undertook were much less pretentious. These consist of stone-built dams erected at the mouths of many of those lateral ravines, or wadys, which lead down from the mountain ranges into the valley of the Nile. One of the most important among them was pointed out, in 1885, by Dr. Schweinfurth, at a distance of about six miles and a half from the Baths of Helwan, at the mouth of the Wady Gerraweh (fig. 47). It answered two purposes, firstly, as a means of storing the water of the inundation for the use of the workmen in the neighbouring quarries; and, secondly, as a barrier to break the force of the torrents which rush down from the desert after the heavy rains of springtime and winter. The ravine measures about 240 feet in width, the sides being on an average from 40 to 50 feet in height. The dam, which is 143 feet in thickness, consists of three layers of material; at the bottom, a bed of clay and rubble; next, a piled mass of limestone blocks (A); lastly, a wall of cut stone built in retreating stages, like an enormous flight of steps (B). Thirty-two of the original thirty-five stages are yet in situ, and about one-fourth part of the dam remains piled up against the sides of the ravine to right and left; but the middle part has been swept away by the force of the torrent (fig. 48). A similar dike transformed the end of Wady Genneh into a little lake which supplied the Sinaitic miners with water.

Most of the localities from which the Egyptians derived their metals and choicest materials in hard stone, were difficult of access, and would have been useless had roads not been made, and works of this kind carried out, so as to make life somewhat less insupportable there.

In order to reach the diorite and grey granite quarries of the Hammamat Valley, the Pharaohs caused a series of rock-cut cisterns to be constructed along the line of route. Some few insignificant springs, skilfully conducted into these reservoirs, made it possible to plant workmen's villages in the neighbourhood of the quarries, and also near the emerald mines on the borders of the Red Sea. Hundreds of hired labourers, slaves, and condemned criminals here led a wretched existence under the rule of some eight or ten overseers, and the brutal surveillance of a company of Libyan or negro mercenary troops. The least political disturbance in Egypt, an unsuccessful campaign, or any untoward incident of a troubled reign, sufficed to break up the precarious stability of these remote establishments. The Bedawin at once attacked the colony; the workmen deserted; the guards, weary of exile, hastened back to the valley of the Nile, and all was at a standstill.

The choicest materials, as diorite, basalt, black granite, porphyry, and red and yellow breccia, which are only found in the desert, were rarely used for architectural purposes. In order to procure them, it was necessary to organise regular expeditions of soldiers and workmen; therefore they were reserved for sarcophagi and important works of art. Those quarries which supplied building materials for temples and funerary monuments, such as limestone, sandstone, alabaster, and red granite, were all found in the Nile valley, and were, therefore, easy of access. When the vein which it was intended to work traversed the lower strata of the rock, the miners excavated chambers and passages, which were often prolonged to a considerable distance. Square pillars, left standing at intervals, supported the superincumbent mass, while tablets sculptured in the most conspicuous places commemorated the kings and engineers who began or continued the work. Several exhausted or abandoned quarries have been transformed into votive chapels; as, for instance, the Speos Artemidos, which was consecrated by Hatshepsut, Thothmes III. and Seti I. to the local goddess Pakhet.[9]

The most important limestone quarries are at Turah and Massarah, nearly opposite Memphis. This stone lends itself admirably to the most delicate touches of the chisel, hardens when exposed to the air, and acquires a creamy tone most restful to the eye. Hence it was much in request by architects and sculptors. The most extensive sandstone formations are at Silsilis (fig. 49). Here the cliffs were quarried from above, and under the open sky. Clean cut and absolutely vertical, they rise to a height of from forty to fifty feet, sometimes presenting a smooth surface from top to bottom, and sometimes cut in stages accessible by means of steps scarcely large enough for one man at a time. The walls of these cuttings are covered with parallel striae, sometimes horizontal, sometimes slanting to the left, and sometimes to the right, so forming lines of serried chevrons framed, as it were, between grooves an inch, or an inch and a half, in width, by nine or ten feet in length. These are the scars left upon the surface by the tools of the ancient workmen, and they show the method employed in detaching the blocks. The size was outlined in red ink, and this outline sometimes indicated the form which the stone was to take in the projected building. The members of the French Commission, when they visited the quarries of Gebel Abufeydeh, copied the diagrams and squared designs of several capitals, one being of the campaniform pattern, and others prepared for the Hathor-head pattern (fig. 50).[10] The outline made, the vertical faces of the block were divided by means of a long iron chisel, which was driven in perpendicularly or obliquely by heavy blows of the mallet. In order to detach the horizontal faces, they made use of wooden or bronze wedges, inserted the way of the natural strata of the stone. Very frequently the stone was roughly blocked out before being actually extracted from the bed. Thus at Syene (Asuan) we see a couchant obelisk of granite, the under side of which is one with the rock itself; and at Tehneh there are drums of columns but half disengaged. The transport of quarried stone was effected in various ways. At Syene, at Silsilis, at Gebel Sheikh Herideh, and at Gebel Abufeydeh, the quarries are literally washed by the waters of the Nile, so that the stone was lowered at once into the barges. At Kasr es Said,[11] at Turah, and other localities situate at some distance from the river, canals dug expressly for the purpose conveyed the transport boats to the foot of the cliffs. When water transit was out of the question, the stone was placed on sledges drawn by oxen (fig. 51), or dragged to its destination by gangs of labourers, and by the help of rollers.

[4] The bas-relief sculpture from which the illustration, fig. 42, is taken (outer wall of Hypostyle Hall, Karnak, north end) represents Seti I. returning in triumph from one of his Syrian campaigns. He is met at Zaru by the great officers of his court, who bring bouquets of lotus- blossoms in their hands. Pithom and other frontier forts are depicted in this tableau, and Pithom is apparently not very far from Zaru. Zaru, Zalu, is the Selle of the Roman Itineraries.—A.B.E.

[5] See The Store City of Pithom and the Route of the Exodus, by Ed. Naville, with 13 Plates and 2 Maps; published by the Egypt Exploration Fund. First edition 1885, second edition 1885. Truebner & Co., London. —A.B.E.

[6] For an account of the explorations at Daphnae (the "Tahpanhes" of the Bible, the Tell Defenneh of the present day) see Mr. Petrie's memoir, entitled Tanis, Part II, (including Nebesheh, Gemayemi, Defenneh, etc.), published by the Egypt Exploration Fund.—A.B.E.

[7] The remains of this gigantic work may yet be seen about two hours' distance to the southward of Medum. See Herodotus, book II.; chap. 99.—A.B.E.

[8] See The Fayum and Lake Moeris. Major R.H. Brown, R.E.

[9] Officially, this temple is attributed to Thothmes III., and the dedicatory inscription dates from the first year of his reign; but the work was really that of his aunt and predecessor, Queen Hatshepsut.

[10] See also an exact reduction of this design, to scale, in Mr. Petrie's work A Season in Egypt, 1887, Plate XXV.

[11] Chenoboscion.—A.B.E.



In the civil and military architecture of Ancient Egypt brick played the principal part; but in the religious architecture of the nation it occupied a very secondary position. The Pharaohs were ambitious of building eternal dwellings for their deities, and stone was the only material which seemed sufficiently durable to withstand the ravages of time and man.


It is an error to suppose that the Egyptians employed only large blocks for building purposes. The size of their materials varied very considerably according to the uses for which they were destined. Architraves, drums of columns, lintel-stones, and door-jambs were sometimes of great size. The longest architraves known—those, namely, which bridge the nave of the hypostyle hall of Karnak—have a mean length of 30 feet. They each contain 40 cubic yards, and weigh about 65 tons. Ordinarily, however, the blocks are not much larger than those now used in Europe. They measure, that is to say, about 2-1/2 to 4 feet in height, from 3 to 8 feet in length, and from 2 to 6 feet in thickness.

Some temples are built of only one kind of stone; but more frequently materials of different kinds are put together in unequal proportions. Thus the main part of the temples of Abydos consists of very fine limestone; but in the temple of Seti I., the columns, architraves, jambs, and lintels,— all parts, in short, where it might be feared that the limestone would not offer sufficient resistance,—the architect has had recourse to sandstone; while in that of Rameses II., sandstone, granite, and alabaster were used. At Karnak, Luxor, Tanis, and Memphis, similar combinations may be seen. At the Ramesseum, and in some of the Nubian temples, the columns stand on massive supports of crude brick. The stones were dressed more or less carefully, according to the positions they were to occupy. When the walls were of medium thickness, as in most partition walls, they are well wrought on all sides. When the wall was thick, the core blocks were roughed out as nearly cubic as might be, and piled together without much care, the hollows being filled up with smaller flakes, pebbles, or mortar. Casing stones were carefully wrought on the faces, and the joints dressed for two-thirds or three-quarters of the length, the rest being merely picked with a point (Note 6). The largest blocks were reserved for the lower parts of the building; and this precaution was the more necessary because the architects of Pharaonic times sank the foundations of their temples no deeper than those of their houses. At Karnak, they are not carried lower than from 7 to 10 feet; at Luxor, on the side anciently washed by the river, three courses of masonry, each measuring about 2-1/2 feet in depth, form a great platform on which the walls rest; while at the Ramesseum, the brickwork bed on which the colonnade stands does not seem to be more than 10 feet deep. These are but slight depths for the foundations of such great buildings, but the experience of ages proves that they are sufficient. The hard and compact humus of which the soil of the Nile valley is composed, contracts every year after the subsidence of the inundation, and thus becomes almost incompressible. As the building progressed, the weight of the superincumbent masonry gradually became greater, till the maximum of pressure was attained, and a solid basis secured. Wherever I have bared the foundations of the walls, I can testify that they have not shifted.

The system of construction in force among the ancient Egyptians resembles in many respects that of the Greeks. The stones are often placed together with dry joints, and without the employment of any binding contrivance, the masons relying on the mere weight of the materials to keep them in place. Sometimes they are held together by metal cramps, or sometimes—as in the temple of Seti I., at Abydos—by dovetails of sycamore wood bearing the cartouche of the founder. Most commonly, they are united by a mortar-joint, more or less thick. All the mortars of which I have collected samples are thus far of three kinds: the first is white, and easily reduced to an impalpable powder, being of lime only; the others are grey, and rough to the touch, being mixtures of lime and sand; while some are of a reddish colour, owing to the pounded brick powder with which they are mixed. A judicious use of these various methods enabled the Egyptians to rival the Greeks in their treatment of regular courses, equal blocks, and upright joints in alternate bond. If they did not always work equally well, their shortcomings must be charged to the imperfect mechanical means at their disposal. The enclosure walls, partitions, and secondary facades were upright; and they raised the materials by means of a rude kind of crane planted on the top. The pylon walls and the principal facades (and sometimes even the secondary facades) were sloped at an angle which varied according to the taste of the architect. In order to build these, they formed inclined planes, the slopes of which were lengthened as the structure rose in height. These two methods were equally perilous; for, however carefully the blocks might be protected while being raised, they were constantly in danger of losing their edges or corners, or of being fractured before they reached the top (Note 7). Thus it was almost always necessary to re-work them; and the object being to sacrifice as little as possible of the stone, the workmen often left them of most abnormal shapes (fig. 52). They would level off one of the side faces, and then the joint, instead of being vertical, leaned askew. If the block had neither height nor length to spare, they made up the loss by means of a supplementary slip. Sometimes even they left a projection which fitted into a corresponding hollow in the next upper or lower course. Being first of all expedients designed to remedy accidents, these methods degenerated into habitually careless ways of working. The masons who had inadvertently hoisted too large a block, no longer troubled themselves to lower it back again, but worked it into the building in one or other of the ways before mentioned. The architect neglected to duly supervise the dressing and placing of the blocks. He allowed the courses to vary, and the vertical joints, two or three deep, to come one over the other. The rough work done, the masons dressed down the stone, reworked the joints, and overlaid the whole with a coat of cement or stucco, coloured to match the material, which concealed the faults of the real work. The walls rarely end with a sharp edge. Bordered with a torus, around which a sculptured riband is entwined, they are crowned by the cavetto cornice surmounted by a flat band (fig. 53); or, as at Semneh, by a square cornice; or, as at Medinet Habu, by a line of battlements. Thus framed in, the walls looked like enormous panels, each panel complete in itself, without projections and almost without openings. Windows, always rare in Egyptian architecture, are mere ventilators when introduced into the walls of temples, being intended to light the staircases, as in the second pylon of Horemheb at Karnak, or else to support decorative woodwork on festival days. The doorways project but slightly from the body of the buildings (fig. 54), except where the lintel is over-shadowed by a projecting cornice. Real windows occur only in the pavilion of Medinet Habu; but that building was constructed on the model of a fortress, and must rank as an exception among religious monuments.

The ground-level of the courts and halls was flagged with rectangular paving stones, well enough fitted, except in the intercolumniations, where the architects, hopeless of harmonising the lines of the pavement with the curved bases of the columns, have filled in the space with small pieces, set without order or method (fig. 55). Contrary to their practice when house building, they have scarcely ever employed the vault or arch in temple architecture. We nowhere meet with it, except at Deir el Bahari, and in the seven parallel sanctuaries of Abydos. Even in these instances, the arch is produced by "corbelling"; that is to say, the curve is formed by three or four superimposed horizontal courses of stone, chiselled out to the form required (fig. 56). The ordinary roofing consists of flat paving slabs. When the space between the walls was not too wide, these slabs bridged it over at a single stretch; otherwise the roof had to be supported at intervals, and the wider the space the more these supports needed to be multiplied. The supports were connected by immense stone architraves, on which the roofing slabs rested.

The supports are of two types,—the pillar and the column. Some are cut from single blocks. Thus, the monolithic pillars of the temple of the sphinx (Note 8), the oldest hitherto found, measure 16 feet in height by 4- 1/2 feet in width. Monolithic columns of red granite are also found among the ruins of Alexandria, Bubastis,[12] and Memphis, which date from the reigns of Horemheb and Rameses II., and measure some 20 to 26 feet in height. But columns and pillars are commonly built in courses, which are often unequal and irregular, like those of the walls which surround them. The great columns of Luxor are not even solid, two-thirds of the diameter being filled up with yellow cement, which has lost its strength, and crumbles between the fingers. The capital of the column of Taharka at Karnak contains three courses, each about 48 inches high. The last and most projecting course is made up of twenty-six convergent stones, which are held in place by merely the weight of the abacus. The same carelessness which we have already noted in the workmanship of the walls is found in the workmanship of the columns.

The quadrangular pillar, with parallel or slightly inclined sides, and generally without either base or capital, frequently occurs in tombs of the ancient empire. It reappears later at Medinet Habu, in the temple of Thothmes III., and again at Karnak, in what is known as the processional hall. The sides of these square pillars are often covered with painted scenes, while the front faces were more decoratively treated, being sculptured with lotus or papyrus stems in high relief, as on the pillar- stelae of Karnak, or adorned with a head of Hathor crowned with the sistrum, as in the small speos of Abu Simbel (fig. 57), or sculptured with a full-length standing figure of Osiris, as in the second court of Medinet Habu; or, as at Denderah and Gebel Barkal, with the figure of the god Bes. At Karnak, in an edifice which was probably erected by Horemheb with building material taken from the ruins of a sanctuary of Amenhotep II. and III., the pillar is capped by a cornice, separated from the architrave by a thin abacus (fig. 58). By cutting away its four edges, the square pillar becomes an octagonal prism, and further, by cutting off the eight new edges, it becomes a sixteen-sided prism. Some pillars in the tombs of Asuan and Beni Hasan, and in the processional hall at Karnak (fig. 59), as well as in the chapels of Deir el Bahari, are of this type. Besides the forms thus regularly evolved, there are others of irregular derivation, with six, twelve, fifteen, or twenty sides, or verging almost upon a perfect circle. The portico pillars of the temple of Osiris at Abydos come last in the series; the drum is curved, but not round, the curve being interrupted at both extremities of the same diameter by a flat stripe. More frequently the sides are slightly channelled; and sometimes, as at Kalabsheh, the flutings are divided into four groups of five each by four vertical flat stripes (fig. 60). The polygonal pillar has always a large, shallow plinth, in the form of a rounded disc. At El Kab it bears the head of Hathor, sculptured in relief upon the front (fig. 61); but almost everywhere else it is crowned with a simple square abacus, which joins it to the architrave. Thus treated, it bears a certain family likeness to the Doric column; and one understands how Jomard and Champollion, in the first ardour of discovery, were tempted to give it the scarcely justifiable name of "proto-Doric."

The column does not rest immediately upon the soil. It is always furnished with a base like that of the polygonal pillar, sometimes square with the ground, and sometimes slightly rounded. This base is either plain, or ornamented only with a line of hieroglyphs. The principal forms fall into three types: (1) the column with campaniform, or lotus-flower capital; (2) the column with lotus-bud capital; (3) the column with Hathor-head capital.

I. Columns with Campaniform Capitals.—The shaft is generally plain, or merely engraved with inscriptions or bas-reliefs. Sometimes, however, as at Medamot, it is formed of six large and six small colonnettes in alternation. In Pharaonic times, it is bulbous, being curved inward at the base, and ornamented with triangles one within another, imitating the large leaves which sheathe the sprouting plant. The curve is so regulated that the diameter at the base and the top shall be about equal. In the Ptolemaic period, the bulb often disappears, owing probably to Greek influences. The columns which surround the first court at Edfu rise straight from their plinths. The shaft always tapers towards the top. It is finished by three or five flat bands, one above the other. At Medamot, where the shaft is clustered, the architect has doubtless thought that one tie at the top appeared insufficient to hold in a dozen colonnettes; he has therefore marked two other rings of bands at regular intervals. The campaniform capital is decorated from the spring of the curve with a row of leaves, like those which sheathe the base. Between these are figured shoots of lotus and papyrus in flower and bud. The height of the capital, and the extent of its projection beyond the line of the shaft, varied with the taste of the architect. At Luxor, the campaniform capitals are eleven and a half feet in diameter at the neck, eighteen feet in diameter at the top, and eleven and a half feet in height. At Karnak, in the hypostyle hall, the height of the capital is twelve and a quarter feet, and the greatest diameter twenty-one feet. A square die surmounts the whole. This die is almost hidden by the curve of the capital, though occasionally, as at Denderah, it is higher, and bears on each face a figure of the god Bes (fig. 62).

The column with campaniform capital is mostly employed in the middle avenue of hypostyle halls, as at Karnak, the Ramesseum, and Luxor (fig. 63); but it was not restricted to this position, for we also find it in porticoes, as at Medinet Habu, Edfu, and Philae. The processional hall[13] of Thothmes III., at Karnak, contains one most curious variety (fig. 64); the flower is inverted like a bell, and the shaft is turned upside down, the smaller end being sunk in the plinth, while the larger is fitted to the wide part of the overturned bell. This ungraceful innovation achieved no success, and is found nowhere else. Other novelties were happier, especially those which enabled the artist to introduce decorative elements taken from the flora of the country. In the earlier examples at Soleb, Sesebeh, Bubastis, and Memphis, we find a crown of palm branches springing from the band, their heads being curved beneath the weight of the abacus (fig. 65). Later on, as we approach the Ptolemaic period, the date and the half-unfolded lotus were added to the palm-branches (fig. 66).

Under the Ptolemies and the Caesars the capital became a complete basket of flowers and leaves, ranged row above row, and painted in the brightest colours (fig. 67.) At Edfu, Ombos, and Philae one would fancy that the designer had vowed never to repeat the same pattern in the same portico.

II. Columns with Lotus-bud Capitals.—Originally these may perhaps have represented a bunch of lotus plants, the buds being bound together at the neck to form the capital. The columns of Beni Hasan consist of four rounded stems (fig. 68). Those of the Labyrinth, of the processional hall of Thothmes III., and of Medamot, consist of eight stems, each presenting a sharp edge on the outer side (fig. 69). The bottom of the column is bulbous, and set round with triangular leaves. The top is surrounded by three or five bands. A moulding composed of groups of three vertical stripes hangs like a fringe from the lowest band in the space between every two stems. So varied a surface does not admit of hieroglyphic decoration; therefore the projections were by degrees suppressed, and the whole shaft was made smooth. In the hypostyle hall at Gurneh, the shaft is divided in three parts, the middle one being smooth and covered with sculptures, while the upper and lower divisions are formed of clustered stems. In the temple of Khonsu, in the aisles of the hypostyle hall of Karnak, and in the portico of Medinet Habu, the shaft is quite smooth, the fringe alone being retained below the top bands, while a slight ridge between each of the three bands recalls the original stems (fig. 70). The capital underwent a like process of degradation. At Beni Hasan, it is finely clustered throughout its height. In the processional hall of Thothmes III., at Luxor, and at Medamot, a circle of small pointed leaves and channellings around the base lessens the effect, and reduces it to a mere grooved and truncated cone. In the hypostyle hall of Karnak, at Abydos, at the Ramesseum, and at Medinet Habu, various other ornaments, as triangular leaves, hieroglyphic inscriptions, or bands of cartouches flanked by uraei, fill the space thus unfortunately obtained. Neither is the abacus hidden as in the campaniform capital, but stands out boldly, and displays the cartouche of the royal founder.

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