But nevertheless no one, not even the priests, the guardians of souls, could be permitted to resist the laws of which he was the bulwark, to which he himself was subject, and which enjoined obedience to his authority; and before be left Tanis he had given Ameni and his followers to understand that he alone was master in Egypt.
The God Seth, who had been honored by the Semite races since the time of the Hyksos, and whom they called upon under the name of Baal, had from the earliest times never been allowed a temple on the Nile, as being the God of the stranger; but Rameses—in spite of the bold remonstrances of the priestly party who called themselves the ’true believers’—raised a magnificent temple to this God in the city of Tanis to supply the religious needs of the immigrant foreigners. In the same spirit of toleration he would not allow the worship of strange Gods to be interfered with, though on the other hand he was jealous in honoring the Egyptian Gods with unexampled liberality. He caused temples to be erected in most of the great cities of the kingdom, he added to the temple of Ptah at Memphis, and erected immense colossi in front of its pylons in memory of his deliverance from the fire.
[One of these is still
in existence. It lies on the ground among
the ruins of ancient Memphis.]
In the Necropolis of Thebes he had a splendid edifice constructed-which to this day delights the beholder by the symmetry of its proportions in memory of the hour when he escaped death as by a miracle; on its pylon he caused the battle of Kadesh to be represented in beautiful pictures in relief, and there, as well as on the architrave of the great banqueting— hall, he had the history inscribed of the danger he had run when he stood “alone and no man with him!”
By his order Pentaur rewrote the song he had sung at Pelusium; it is preserved in three temples, and, in fragments, on several papyrus-rolls which can be made to complete each other. It was destined to become the national epic—the Iliad of Egypt.
Pentaur was commissioned to transfer the school of the House of Seti to the new votive temple, which was called the House of Rameses, and arrange it on a different plan, for the Pharaoh felt that it was requisite to form a new order of priests, and to accustom the ministers of the Gods to subordinate their own designs to the laws of the country, and to the decrees of their guardian and ruler, the king. Pentaur was made the superior of the new college, and its library, which was called “the hospital for the soul,” was without an equal; in this academy, which was the prototype of the later-formed museum and library of Alexandria, sages and poets grew up whose works endured for thousands of years—and fragments of their writings have even come down to us. The most famous are the hymns of Anana, Pentaur’s favorite disciple, and the tale of the two Brothers, composed by Gagabu, the grandson of the old Prophet.