Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
it is from hearsay only that I can speak of them; but the upper chambers I saw with my own eyes, and found them to excel all other human productions; for the passages through the houses, and the varied windings of the paths across the courts, excited in me infinite admiration, as I passed from the courts into chambers, and from the chambers into colonnades, and from the colonnades into fresh houses, and again from these into courts unseen before.  The roof was, throughout, of stone, like the walls; and the walls were carved all over with figures; every court was surrounded with a colonnade, which was built of white stones, exquisitely fitted together.  At the corner of the Labyrinth stands a pyramid, forty fathoms high, with large figures engraved upon it, which is entered by a subterranean passage.”

The pyramid intended is probably that examined by Perring and Lepsius, which had a base of three hundred feet, and an elevation, probably, of about one hundred and eighty-five feet.  It was built of crude brick mixed with a good deal of straw, and cased with a white silicious limestone.  The same material was employed for the greater part of the so-called “Labyrinth,” but many of the columns were of red granite, and some perhaps of porphyry.  Most likely the edifice was intended as a mausoleum for the sacred crocodiles, and was gradually enlarged for their accommodation—­Amenemhat, whose praenomen was found on the pyramid, being merely the first founder.  The number of the pillared courts, and their similarity, made the edifice confusing to foreigners, and got it the name of “The Labyrinth”; but it is not likely the designers of the building had any intention to mislead or to confuse.

Amenemhat’s praenomen, or throne-name, assumed (according to ordinary custom) on his accession, was Ra-n-mat, “Sun of Justice” or “Sun of Righteousness.”  The assumption of the title indicates his desire to leave behind him a character for justice and equity.  It is perhaps noticeable that the name by which the Greeks knew him was Moeris, which may mean “the beloved.”  With him closes the first period of Theban greatness.  A cloud was impending, and darker days about to follow; but as yet Egypt enjoyed a time of progressive, and in the main peaceful, development.  Commerce, art, religion, agriculture, occupied her.  She did not covet other men’s lands, nor did other men covet hers.  The world beyond her borders knew little of her, except that she was a fertile and well-ordered land, whereto, in time of dearth, the needy of other countries might resort with confidence.


[11] “Records of the Past,” vol. xii. p. 60.

[12] Euterpe, ch. 148



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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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