Billeder på siden



These latter are of sandstone-the others of granite.

The distance of the most advanced propylon, from the south wall of the temple (in which there is a gate of communication), is about eleven hundred feet. An avenue of sphinxes extends nine hundred feet further, terminating at a detached gateway, similar to those before mentioned. This communicates with yet another group of temples, the principal of which seems to have been dedicated to Jupiter Ammon. It is defended on three sides by a wide tank, or pond, but appears to have been entirely surrounded by an inner fosse or dry ditch, which is lined throughout with sphinxes of dark coloured granite and basalt.

The north front of this temple is ornamented with a double row of columns, behind which-on either side the entrance-an admirable grotesque figure of the abominable Typhon decorates the wall.

The budding lotus and sacred eagle are on his left; and, at his right hand, is a serpent climbing up



the stem of a lotus. But little can be made out of the other figures carved upon the walls, which have been much mutilated.

The roof of the principal apartment of the temple was supported by finely reeded columns, of which two fragments only are now standing. The Pronaos appears to have contained twelve columns of the same kind, but larger.

The foundation walls of various buildings may

be traced in all directions round the tank that encloses this temple, and about midway between it and the modern road to Luxor, (distant about two hundred yards to the west), is the avenue of sphinxes, that in former ages is said to have reached the whole way between that place and Karnac.

At this spot, however, all traces of it are lost under a high embankment, that has been thrown up round the tank to retain the water of the inundation : but, when arrived at the distance of three hundred yards from a gateway, through which another temple is approached, two rows of tigers’-heads begin to protrude above the soil, and soon after the

[blocks in formation]

whole of the animals' figures are displayed, arranged in compact order.

The length of this temple is four hundred feet, and it is distant about five hundred from the main temple, with which it does not stand quite at right angles. The intervening space is covered with mounds of sand and ruins ; and, from a spot about midway between the two buildings, but rather to the eastward, —that is, towards the great lateral propylæwas taken the admiral panoramic view of the temples lately exhibited in London.

From no one point, however, can an adequate idea be conveyed of the vast extent and grandeur of the principal temple. To form a just conception of the size and proportions of its interior courts, its long lines of columns, their varied forms and ornaments, &c., the spectator must be within the wall of the temple; but then the vast extent of the building in all its parts, its huge propylæ, gateways, &c., are lost sight of—to say nothing of the distant mountains and other requisites for making a picture.

[blocks in formation]

From the posticum of this lateral temple the grand approach from Luxor was doubtless continued by an avenue of sphinxes, to a gateway in the side wall of the first court of the great temple of Karnac; but this, from the accumulation of sand, is no longer visible.

The grand propylon faces the Nile, and is the largest edifice of the kind in Egypt, being three hundred and sixty-six feet in length. It is also approached by an avenue of sphinxes, which, in all probability, commenced at the river, distant about three quarters of a mile.

From the uniformity of plan in all the Egyptian temples, (which is to diminish

gradually in width from the front propylon) it may be adduced that this was the largest of all those of which any traces now remain. It appears to have stood in the centre of a group of temples, dedicated to the worship of various deities, with each of which there appears to have been a communication, though some of the gateways are now choked up

with sand and rubbish. Those which are still open, (besides the grand entrance and

[blocks in formation]

posticum) are a doorway in the south wall of the third court (in the centre of which is the sanctuary) facing the four propylæ leading to the temple of Jupiter Ammon, and another, (before noticed) in the north wall of the fourth court, corresponding with the temple and avenue of sphinxes on that side.

Although but four avenues of sphinxes have as yet been discovered, it can scarcely be supposed that the eastern approach to the temple was not equally ornamented. The dimensions of the great temple within the walls may be said to be one thousand six hundred feet in length, i.e. from east to west, and three hundred and sixty in breadth ; but the circuit of the space occupied by the various temples and buildings connected with it (exclusive of the northern and western avenues of sphinxes) is two miles.

The date of the foundation of this temple, or city of temples, is beyond the utmost reach of the knowledge of man to establish. It is evidently the work of various ages, and some parts of it, according to the best authorities,

« ForrigeFortsæt »