The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, July 13, 1906, Page 2, Image 2

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vestigations. Horo ono finds samples of all tlio
antiquities of the country, excepting the pyra
mids and the temples, and there are mummies,
sarcophagi, statues, carvings and hieroglyphics
from tlieso. A considerable space is devoted to
mummies, some from the tombs of kings, but
many of more humble rank. The early Egyptians
belioved tljat man was composed of several dif
ferent entitios. First, there was the body, and
second, the double a sort of invisible form re
producing the features of the body. Next came
the soul, represented as a human-headed bird
and then a spark of the divine fire called Khu,
which has been translated as "the Luminous.
It was to prevent the departure of these attend
ing forms that embalming was resorted to. By
suspending the decomposition of the body, they
thought that they could preserve the connection
between it and the Double, the Soul and the
Luminous, and by prayers vand offerings theso
could be saved from the second death. This is
the explanation of the mummy given by arche
ologists. The Double, it was supposed, never left
tho place where the mummy rested, and ths Soul,
while it went away to commune with the gods,
returned from time to time, and for this reason
rooms were made for the reception of the Soul
and for the habitation of the Double. One can
hardly believe as ho looks upon the shriveled
forms that they were interred so long ago. I
will enclose with this article a photograph of
the mummy of Egypt's great builder, and known
as "the Pharaoh of the Oppression," who died
more than three thousand years ago. The hand
no longer sways tho scepter; the eyes look no
more upon the gigantic statues which he scat
tered along the Nile, and the voice does not now
demand the making of "bricks without straw,"
biit the mortal remains of this famous ruler viv
idly recall the-days of Israel's bondage.
' With the mummies are many mummy cases,
some covered with hieroglyphics, some ornament
' ed with pictures In colors, and most of them
covered with a lid upon which are a face mask
and an outline of the form of the occupant. The
process "by which these bodies have been pre
served is still a mystery, but the fact that they
have outlived dynasties and survived the count
less changes of so many centuries gives to -them
a lasting interest. The collection of statues and
images of gods, human beings, beasts and birds
runs up into the thousands. Some of these are
heroic in size, others are not more than an Inch
in height; some are strong, some beautiful and
some grotesque. Granite, both red and black,
alabaster, stone iron, bronze and clay all have
been brought into requisition for this work. Some
of the bronze has, upon analysis, been found to
contain practically the same combination of met
als as ,;the. bronze , now used. There are even
statues In wood, ririd.one of these a photograph
of which I secured attracted my attention be
cause the head and face bear a resemblance to
the late Senator Hanna, It is called "Sheikh el
Beled" or Village Chief; that it should have
resisted decay for more than forty centuries is
little less than marvelous.
While the excavators have been searching
for historical records, they have occasionally
found treasures of great pecuniary value. A con
siderable quantity of gold and silver in the form
of jewelry has been unearthed, and the museum
contains specimens of exquisite workmanship
which not only display the skill of the artificers
but portray the habits and customs of the early
Egyptians.
The museum also contains enough of cloth,
round with the mummies, and of pictures of
looms, to show that weaving was an industry
with which the people of those days were fa
miliar. But we must leave the nTuseum and proceed
to those masterpieces, which are too large for any
roof save that formed by the vaulted skies. I
am however, constrained to offer one criticism
of the museum in passing, it is under the con
trol of a French society, and the only catalogue
obtainable is printed in French. While most of
the exhibits bear a brief description in both
French and English, some are labeled in French
only and a few not at all. As there are no guides
to show a visitor through the numerous rooms
?XLP ? Ut the DrincIPal obcts of interest,
those who are unable to read French are at a
SSJ dyantaso; Considering the number of
English and American tourists it seems strange
accoata.totenUOn Sl'0U,a n0t to
But to the temples. We reached Egypt after
not SSlftliitrl8t ?eason was over S5 cou?d
not visit all the ruins. We selected the most
famous, those of the two ancient cities Thebes
and Memphis, and thpy alone would re w a visit
The Commoner.
to Egypt. The present city of Luxor, four hun
dred and twenty miles from Cairo, covers a small
part of tho vast area once occupied by "Hundred
gated Thebes." In the very heart of the city a.
mammoth temple has been found where kings
worshipped through many reigns. It was built
during the eighteenth dynasty (B. C. 1500) on the
site of a still older sanctuary and dedicated to
Ammon, his wjfe, Mut, and their son, Khons,
the Moon-god. Some of tho columns are twelve
feet in diameter, more than forty feet in height,
and support great blocks of red granite twenty
feet long and four feet in width and thickness.
Some of the columns represent clustered papyrus
and have capitals shaped like the lotus bud. In
. the temple are a number of statues of Rameses
II, some sitting, some standing. One of these
statues is forty-five feet in height, and another
of less dimensions was unearthed only about a
year ago. When excavations were begun houses
were serenely resting on the top of the temple,
and it is believed that further excavations will
disclose an avenue leading to other temples two
miles away. '
In front of the Luxor temple is an obelisk
of pink granite, a part of which is still under
ground. Obelisks were always erected in pairs,
and the companion of this one was removed some
years ago to Paris. These great monoliths come
down to us from the period when the Egyptians
worshipped the sun, and they were intended to
represent his rays. The oldest Egyptian obelisk
is at Heliopolis, not far from Cairo, and is sixty
six feet In height It is supposed to have been
erected 2000 to 2Z00 B. C, but it is in an excellent
state of preservation and bids fair to bear testi
mony for ages yet to the reverence felt by the
ancients for the sun. At one time Heliopolis was
a thriving city and is referred to in the Bible as
"On," but today the obelisk stands alone in the
midst of cultivated fields, all the buildings having
disappeared.
While the obelisk at Heliopolis outranks all
others in age, the one at Karnak, in the suburbs
of Luxor, has the distinction of being the tallest
one yet remaining. It is eight and a half feet
in diameter at the base and ninety-seven and ' a
half feet in height (eight and a half feet less
than the obelisk at Rome). The obelisks were
cut in a single shaft, most of them from- granite
quarries near Assuan. These quarries are more
than five hundred miles south of Cairo, and it is v
supposed that the obelisks were transported on
the Nile to, the places where they have since been
found, but how they were handled or placed in
position no one knows.
The temple of Amnion, at Karnak, is gen
erally regarded as the most interesting of temple
ruins in Egypt. It is the work of many kings,
one adding a sanctuary, another a pylon, another
a court, etc. each placing his cartouche, or seal
upon his work, This temple, which was officially
styled the Throne of the World, covers an im
mense area. One pylon, or gateway, is more than
three hundred feet wide, nearly a hundred and
fifty feet high, and has walls sixteen feet thick.
One court covers almost a thousand square' yards,
and one aisle leads between pillars sixty-nine feet
in height, about twelve feet in diameter and sup
porting capitals of eleven feet. The stones used
in this temple are of enormous size, and they were
probably raised to their positions on scaffolding
of earth this being also the method employed
where attempts mave recently been made to re
store fallen columns.
The hieroglyphics upon the walls, the col
limns, the obelisks and the statues, after remain
ing a puzzle for ages, have been deciphered and
woven into a consecutive history. This was made
possible by the discovery, in 1799, of what is
known as the Rosetta stone (now in the British
Museum) at the mouth of the Rosetta arm of
the Nile by a French engineer named Bouchard.
This stone bearc a decree inscribed in three
languages-ancient Egyptian, modern Egyptian
and Greek, and furnishes the key to unlock the
secrets of ancient history.
The pictures represent sacrificial ceremonies
domestic and industrial scenes, battles, triumphal
processions all phases of life, in fact. One wall
contains, in hieroglyphics,, the treaty of peace
which Rameses II concluded with the Hittites
while another wall represents Rameses III hold
ing a group of prisoners by the hair and raising
a club as if to strike. Close by, the god Ammon
is delivering to him chained representatives of
different vanquished nations, the faces being so
true to life that the Israelites brought from Pal
estine can be easily distinguished from the
Ethiopians and Nubians of the south. One of
,the heads seen often in the drawings resembles
the yellow kid," and the donkeys are exactly -like
those seen today.
VOLUME 6, NUMBER 2G
Luxor and Karnak are on the east bank of
the Nile; but Thebes required both sides of the
river for her great population, and the west bank
is also rich in evidences of ancient civilization
The Rameseum is here and would attract more
.attention if it were not overshadowed by larger
temples; here also are the "Colossi of Memmon,"
one of them known to 'literature as the singing
statue. This is described by Strabo and Juvenal
4ind bears many inscriptions in Latin and Greek
made by those who visited it under the Roman
rule. Hadrian looked upon it 150 A. D., and a
poetess of his day declares that the statue greet
ed the emperor. It is supposed that the sound
which for many years issued from the head of
the statue just after sunrise was caused by the
change in temperature, the granite having been
cracked; at any rate, the sound ceased when the
statue was repaired. It now sits, silent, and
with its companion gazes upon the barley field
that reaches out inN every direction from their
feed
But more interesting than the Rameseum or
the Colossi- are the tombs of the kings, some
forty-two of which have already been discovered.
At this point the west side of the valley of the
Nile Is walled in by a range of limestone hills,
one of which bears a striking resemblance to a
pyramid. (Could it have suggested the idea of a
pyramid for a tomb?) Leaving the valley of the
Nile about two miles north of this pyramidal
hill, there is a small dry valley which wends its
way back through the hills and terminates at the
foot of steep walls just west of the hill mentioned.
Here are the tombs, hewn in the solid rock, the
most elaborate of which is the tomb of Sethos,
or Seti, the father of Rameses II. This tomb
burrows into the hill to the depth of three hun
dred and thirty feet, a flight of steps leading down
through .different levels and different chambers
to the final vault. The walls are covered with
figures in colors representing the king' In the act
of making offerings to the various gods. There
are also drawings illustrating scenes in this world
and life as it was supposed to be in the -next
world. Some of these pictures portray a hell
where the wicked are punished with fire, and
there are also drawings which have been inter
preted to represent the resurrection and judg
ment. Not far away is the tomb of "the Pharaoh
of the Exodus" which contains a granite image of
the king, and close by this tomb is another in
which the mummied form of a Pharaoh still re
poses. Grave robbing, however, was so popular
an amusement in those days that the bodies of
nearly all the kings had been removed for safety
to a secret vault which was so carefully con
cealed that they were not found until the nine
teenth century.
At Memphis, which is only about eighteen
miles from Cairo, there are tombs of less im
portance, colossal statues of Rameses II and the
sarcophagi of the sacred bulls. In one of the
tombs or Mastabas, as tombs of this style are
called, are some of the drawings that have been
most widely reproduced. In one place a boy is
fattening geese by the stuffing process; in an
other, cranes are being fed; here, rams are tread
ing in the seed, and there cattle horned and
hornless are being driven through a river. Agri
culture, ship-building, carpentering and other in
dustries are minutely pictured. While the human
figures are stiff and angular, the birds and beasts
are so exactly like what we see today that one
could easily believe them to have been drawn by
a modern artist.
The sarcophagi of the sacred bulls, twenty
four in number, are hollowed out from single
.pieces of granite and are qovereft with immense
slabs of the same kind of stone. Each is large
enough. to contain a good sized animal, and some
of them are covered with hieroglyphics giving
the pedigrees of the blue-blooded occupants.
These caskets, of the royal line rest in' subter
ranean vaults hewn out of rock and connected
by spacious halls.
Still nearer to Cairo, only six miles away, in
fact, are the great pyramids of Gizeh Cheops
and Khephren. These have been described so
often that any elaborate comment upon them
might weary the reader. We climbed to the sum
mit of the largest, and by doing so not only
gained an idea of the immensity of this three
million cubic feet of stone but obtained an ex
cellent view of the green valley on the one side
and the yellow plain of shifting sand upon the
other, for these pyramids stand upon the dividing
line between Egypt's far famed fertile lands and
one of the most barren' of earth's-deserts. Wo
also followed the narrow passage which leads
to the center of the pyramid and peered into tho
empty granite sarcophagus which for more than
,iaW)few -b,
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