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Commencing, therefore, with the authentic history of the Egyptians, the question respecting the erection of these temples in times anterior to the Ptolemies may be argued thus.-Psammetichus ascended the throne in the year 670 B. C., and reigned 54 years. From the convulsed state of Egypt before his time it is reasonable to suppose that during the greater part of his reign he was chiefly occupied in consolidating his power. That he had not much leisure for the cultivation of the arts, appears from his being engaged for 29 years in the siege of Azotus or Ashdod in Syria. He was succeeded by his son Necho II., who reigned 17 years. No monarch of Egypt exceeded bis zeal for the extension and improvement of his country; his exploits are well known, as also the effects of his military ambition, which proved fatal to Egypt. He was succeeded by his son Psammis, who reigned 6 years. Apries then ascended the throne, and, after ruling Egypt for 25 years, was deposed by the rebel Amasis, who governed for 44 years. Under this prince, Egypt appears to have been singularly prosperous. He was extremely liberal, as mentioned above, to the Greeks; and in his own country, it is said, he erected several magnificent buildings, and enriched at a considerable expense the principal temples with gifts and ornaments. This brings us down to the year 524 B. C., the æra of the Persian invasion. Now, allowing that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt only once, and that there is only one period of 40 years in which the country continued desolate, there will remain, after the deduction of these, and the 54 years in which Psammetichus reigned, a period of only 52 years for the accumulation, by the Egyptians, of wealth and taste sufficient for the embellishment of their country by the erection of most of these magnificent temples,-a space perhaps too short even of continuous prosperity; but as a calamitous interval of 40 years happened between Necho II. and Amasis, their erection by the native princes of Egypt must be considered impossi
as well as in other instances; for Strabo, who was cotemporary with Diodorus, and much superior to him in learning and judgment, says that they were mere sacrifices without any knowledge of their ancient philosophy and religion. The hieroglyphics continued to be esteemed more holy and venerable than the conventional signs for sounds; but though they pretended to read and even to write them, the different explanations which they gave to different travellers, induce us to suspect that it was all im posture; and that the knowledge of the ancient hieroglyphics, and consequently of the symbolical meaning of the sacred animals, perished with their Hie under the Persian and Macedonian kings, &c:"Inquiry into the Language, ge. ; Class. Journal, Vol. 24.
ble.- Whatever therefore may have been effected before the Persian invasion, I am inclined to ascribe to the Egypto-Greeks; for, as these, according to Herodotus, kept up a constant intercourse with their countrymen from the period of their first settling in the country, Egypt is to be considered as all this time growing into a Greek kingdom.
Much is said about Egypt's being the cradle of the arts and sciences. Many of them may have been born there, but I have not met with any satisfactory evidence that in that country they ever advanced beyond a state of infancy previous to the arrival of the Greeks. That the Greeks were indebted to the Egyptians for the principles of architecture, or that the temples of the for
were iniprovements upon those of the latter, I see no reason to believe ; for, when the Asiatic Greeks sent a colony to Egypt, they were a more polished people than the Egyptians, and certainly much their superiors in the art of war, since a handful of them enabled Psammetichus to subdue the whole country. Whence then did the Asiatic Greeks derive the elements of civilization and the rudiments of the arts, particularly of architecture, in which at this early period they had made such proficiency ? was it from Egypt, of which almost nothing certain is related by heathen writers previous to the year 670 B. C., and with which they seem to have had no previous intercourse; or was it from their highly civilized neighbors the Lydians and Phrygians, with whom they maintained the strictest friendship, and whom even the Egyptians themselves acknowledged to be an older people
Of those who may be disposed to answer this question in favor of Egypt, I would ask-in what ancient historian is there a description of an Egyptian temple before the time of Psammetichus; or who, among modern travellers, will point to one of all those which yet exist even in ruins, as belonging to that distant age? Nay more, I doubt whether there was a temple at all in Egypt, in masonry at least, before this time. The sacred records are silent on this subject, and the Hebrews had not a temple until monarchy was established among them. While under a theocracy, a tabernacle it would seem was necessary; but its form was not a copy from an ancient building, for the Deity condescended to give, himself, the plan to Moses, as he bad done that of the ark to Noah, and those who worked the ornaments were supernaturally endowed. But I proceed:
The Persians during their sovereignty never relaxed m the persecution of this unhappy people;- persecution excited rebellion, rebellion was punished with aggravated cruelty, and in this
manner Egypt for the space of two centuries was the perpetual scene of crimes and punishments. As no one therefore will look for the embellishment of Egypt under the Persian dyuasty, the æra of these buildings must be reduced to the times of the Ptolemies. The steady patronage and liberal encouragement which the two first of these princes extended to the professors of the polite arts is well known'; and the state of the times inmediately succeeding the Macedonian conquest, seems to have been peculiarly favorable to their views. The unceasing wars in Lesser Asia, and miserable disorders which afflicted the political world, suspended as it were the labors of man, and threatened the extinction of the arts and belles-lettres in Greece. To fugitives of every description, but especially to proficients in elegant and useful studies Egypt afforded a secure asylum. How fanciful soever might be their tenets, from whatever quarter they came, and whatever causes had driven them from their countries, all literary strangers were welcome to Ptolemy Soter. In this he imitated his foriner general and sovereign Alexander, whose zeal in the furtherance of science may be estimated by the fact of his having sent at one time into Greece 10,000 talents to be expended on works of art.
A proof that they possessed the power of fully gratifying their inclination, appears in the account of the national establishment and revenues under Ptolemy Philadelphus. According to Appion, the army of this prince consisted of 200,000 foot, 40,000 horse, 2000 armed chariots, and 300 elephants. His arsenals were copiously stored with all sorts of military engines, and with spare armour for 300,000 men. His navy consisted of 112 ships having from 5 to 35 tier of oars, with 3500 smaller vessels. 4000 mercbantmen navigated the Mediterranean, and 800 splendid barges plied upon the Nile. The sum in the treasury at his death amounted to 190 millions sterling.-From these observations there can be no doubt that the Ptolemies were, in point both of taste and wealth, quite adequate to the erection of these splendid monuments of art; and beyond the æra of their dynasty we needed not to proceed in our inquiries respecting them, if the style and architectural costume, as it were, of several did not indicate the workmanship of another people. Prior to the Macedonian conquest, all ihe temples of Greece and its colonies, in Sicily and Italy, appear to have been of one order, the Doric, and one general form, though slightly varied in particular parts, as occasional convenience or local fashion might chance to require. Their general form was an oblong square of 6 columns by 13, or 8 by 17; enclosing a walled cell, small in proportion,
in some instances left open to the sky, in others covered by the roof which protected the whole building; but in Egypt many appear in the costume of the happiest period not only of Grecian but of Roman architecture.
Until their connexion with Greece, the Romans made no progress in architecture. But 200 years B. C. we find Cossutius, a Roman architect, conducting the building of the temple of Jupiter Olympus, the principal edifice in Athens, which had been begun by Pisistratus.
The conquest of Greece first gave them a taste for the fine arts, and that of Asia furnished them with the means of indulgence. The return of Sylla from the Mithridatic war, was the æra which was marked for the first excess in architecture in Rome; and marble first came into common use in the time of Julius Cæsar. Under the emperors, the extent, the materials,
, and the ornaments of the Roman dwellings almost exceed belief.
Augustus distinguished himself by his love for building. Instigated by his example, and by a desire to pay him court, his relations, his wealthy subjects, the governors of his provinces, princes tributary or allied, all engaged in some architectural enterprise; and the general tranquillity of his reign was favorable to their operations; so that not only in Rome and Italy, but also in the provinces, grand and sumptuous edifices were erected. But of all who courted the favor of Augustus by the cultivation of this art, none equalled Herod the Great. He raised so many struc-. tures of great splendor and utility, that the rebuilding of the teniple of Jerusalem, though it occupied for eight years the labors of 10,000 men, was but a small part of what he performed.
Under Adrian architecture forished; he was himself a hard. student in this science, and antiquity does not record any person whose buildings are so numerous and widely spread. Much of his time was spent in visiting the provinces, and throughout the vast extent of his empire he raised, monuments of architecture, beyond the scale of ordinary edifices. Italy, Greece, Egypt, Germany and Britain were indebted to his munificence; and from the circumstance of his name having been engraved upon the walls in so many places, he is said to have obtained the name of the wall-flower.'
These observations account sufficiently for the appearance of Roman architecture in Egypt.
As, therefore, the history of Egypt before the time of Psammetichus is fabulous, and as from his tiine to the Persian invasion the Egyptians were unable, from their poverty, civil dis
sensions, and, I may add, want of skill, to raise these superb edifices; and as they were least of all able to do so during the government of the Persians, it follows that their construction is to be ascribed to the Ptolemies and Roman emperors, the only potentates, in point both of wealth and taste, fully equal to the accomplishment of such magnificent works.
The other point of evidence to be noticed is, that even in the oldest of these temples, there are images or figures whose invention or adoption into ancient systems of mythology must be referred to a comparatively recent date. For instance, in classing these temples according to their probable ages, Mr. Burckhardt places Ebsambul as the apparently oldest; but in his description of that temple he informs us, that “The capitals of the columns represent heads of Isis, similar to those of Tentyra ;" and that “the ornament represented on these heads is in the form of a temple.” Now Mr. P. Kinght, as mentioned above, assures us that the figure of Cybele with a mural crown was not known until, or very little before, the Macedonian conquest. This temple therefore cannot date much, if any higher, than this æra.
Again, Belzoni says, that he observed the figure of Harpocrates, on the side wall of the temple of Edfu, such as it is described by Mr. Hamilton, seated on a full-blown lotus, with his finger on bis lips, as in the minor temple of Tentyra. But as Mr. Hamilton has given good reasons for believing that such a representation of Harpocrates was peculiar to the Romans, it follows that this temple must have been erected by them; an opinion corroborated by other features of this building.
Without entering into a disquisition concerning the origin of idolatry, and its varieties, it is sufficient to know that the employment of the human form by the heathen, was perhaps later than that of any other, in any given country; and that by the Egyptians-proper it never was employed at all. All the temples, therefore, in which they are found must bave been frequented only by those, to the genius of whose religion this species of idolatry was compatible. They could not be the sanctuaries in which were offered up the adorations of the native Egyptians, to whom such gods were an abomination, and a perusal of the second book of Herodotus will convince us, that the Egyptian symbols to be seen there, were such as had been adopted by the Egypto-Greeks. The distinction, however, between the Egyptians-proper and Egypto-Greeks, does not seem to be attended to by the father of history himself. Hence that confusion and frequent contradiction when he treats of the gods, the religious