domingo, 17 de enero de 2016


The above is reduced from Mr. Petrie's large plan in "Tanis," Part I., showing the position of the ruins within the enclosure wall, the obelisks being figured as they lie. The private houses of Roman date are marked in thicker lines than the ruins of the temple; and the dotted lines show the course of Mr. Petrie's trenches which were thirty-five in number, from seven to twenty-four feet in depth, and from fifty to four hundred feet in length. The main entrance-pylon, where a few blocks yet stand in situ, is at the west end of the great enclosure wall, the north gate being a later opening cut in Roman times. The length of the temple was one thousand feet, by seven hundred feet in breadth; and the great enclosure wall added by Pisebkhanu, an obscure king of the Twenty-first Dynasty, is no less than eighty feet thick on the south side. The avenue (necessarily omitted in our illustration) was three hundred and seventy-five feet in length.

Now, it is a very curious and interesting fact that the Pithom bricks are of three qualities. In the lower courses of these massive cellar walls they are mixed with chopped straw; higher up, when the straw may be supposed to have [Page 50]  run short, the clay is found to be mixed with reeds–the same kind of reeds which grow to this day in the bed of the old Pharaonic canal, and which are translated as "stubble" in the Bible. Finally, when the last reeds were used up, the bricks of the uppermost courses consist of mere Nile mud, with no binding substance whatever.
So here we have the whole pathetic Bible narrative surviving in solid evidence to the present time. We go down to the bottom of one of these cellars. We see the good bricks for which the straw was provided. Some few feet higher we see those for which the wretched Hebrews had to seek reeds, or stubble. We hear them cry aloud, "Can we make bricks without straw ?"
Lastly, we see the bricks which they had to make, and did make, without straw, while their hands were bleeding and their hearts were breaking. Shakespeare, in one of his most familiar passages, tells us of "sermons in stones;" but here we have a sermon in bricks, and not only a sermon, but a practical historical commentary of the highest importance and interest.
The discovery of Pithom in 1883 was followed in 1884 by Mr. Petrie's excavations at Tanis; again by his discovery of Naukratis in 1885, and of the palace-fort of Daphnæ in 1886. Then followed, in 1887, M. Naville's discovery of the Jewish cemetery in which were interred the followers of the high-priest Onias, who fled from Syria, according to Josephus, during the reign of Ptolemy Philometer; (14) and, at the latter end of the same season, came the discovery of the great temple of Bubastis.
It was, then, in 1884 that Mr. Petrie worked for the Egypt Exploration Fund on the site of that famous city called in Egyptian Ta-an, or Tsàn; transcribed as "Tanis" by the Greeks, and rendered in the Hebrew as "Zoan." It yet preserves an echo of these ancient names as the Arab village of "Sàn." This site, historically and Biblically the most interesting in Egypt, is the least known to visitors. It enjoys an evil reputation for rain, east winds, and fever; it is very diffi- [Page 51] 

The shrine shown in this illustration is one of a pair placed on opposite sides of the great avenue of statues, sphinxes, and obelisks which led to the Temple. These shrines are of quartzite sandstone, each being cut in a single block. The surface is most delicately sculptured with groups of figures and hieroglyphic texts; while inside, enthroned at the upper end, is a triad of deities. The companion shrine to the above has been smashed to pieces.

cult of access; and it is entirely without resources for the accommodation of travellers. Not many tourists care to encounter a dreary railway trip followed by eight or ten hours in a small row-boat, with no inn and no prospect of anything but salt fish to eat at the end of the journey. The daring few take tents and provisions with them; and those few are mostly sportsmen, attracted less by the antiquities of Sân-el-Hagar than by the aquatic birds which frequent the adjacent lake. Mr. Petrie went to this desolate spot provided not only with a sufficient store of canned soups, meats, and vegetables, jam, biscuits, and the like, but also with scientific instru- [Page 52]  ments, carpenters' tools, and a large quantity of iron roofing for the mud-brick dwelling which he had to build for himself and his overseer. The great temple of Tanis-Zoan was one of the largest and most splendid in Egypt. It dated apparently from the Pyramid Period, the earliest royal name found in the ruins being that of Pepi Merira of the Sixth Dynasty. It was, however, rebuilt by Amenemhat I. and his successors of the Twelfth and Thirteenth dynasties, many of whom have left evidences of their work in the shape of colossal statues, obelisks, and the like. Next came Rameses II., who seems to have pulled the whole temple to pieces, in order to reconstruct it according to the style of the Nineteenth Dynasty; covering its architraves with huge hieroglyphic inscriptions, and adorning it with a forest of obelisks and an army of colossal portrait statues of himself. It now strews the ground, an utter wreck, covering a space of one thousand feet from end to end. Mr. Petrie turned, cleaned, and planned every stone in this immense ruin, and copied every hieroglyphic inscription sculptured upon the surfaces of those fallen blocks, obelisks, cornices, and statues. In the course of this laborious task he brought to light an extraordinary number of reworked stones of all periods, each stone a fragment torn from a page of history. Obelisks, statues, and historical tablets prove to have been cut up into lengths, dressed down, and built in with as little ceremony as though they were blocks fresh from the quarry. Some of these destroyed obelisks are palimpsests in stone. They date from the important times of the Eleventh and Twelfth dynasties, and were originally covered from top to bottom on all four sides with inscriptions elaborately engraved in small hieroglyphs about one inch in length. These inscriptions prove to have been effaced by Rameses II., who re-engraved the surfaces with his own titles and cartouches cut on a large scale. Finally, some three centuries later, a Sheshonk, or an Osorkon, with a sacrilegious recklessness worthy of a Turkish pasha, hewed them in pieces to build a wall and a gate-way. The historical stelæ, apparently a uniform [Page 53]  series of large size, were found in halves, none of which match, but their legends seem to have been already corroded and illegible when they were thus utilized. The other halves must either have been destroyed or are yet imbedded in the structure.
Here also Mr. Petrie discovered the remains of the largest colossus ever sculptured by the hand of man. This huge figure represented Rameses II. in that position known as "the hieratic attitude;" that is to say, with the arms straightened to the sides, and the left foot advanced in the act of walking. It had been cut up by Osorkon II., of the Twenty-second Dynasty, to build a pylon gate-way; and it was from the fallen blocks of this gate-way that Mr. Petrie recognized what it had originally been. Among these fragments were found an ear, part of a foot, pieces of an arm, part of the pilaster which supported the statue up the back, and part of the breast, on which are carved the royal ovals. Ex pede Herculem. These fragments (mere chips of a few tons each), although they represent but a very small portion of the whole, enabled Mr. Petrie to measure, describe, and weigh the shattered giant with absolute certainty. He proved to have been the most stupendous colossus known. Those statues which approach nearest to him in size are the colossi of Abû-Simbel, the torso of the Ramesseum, and the colossi of the Plain. These, however, are all seated figures, and, with the exception of the torso, are executed in comparatively soft materials. But the Rameses of Tanis was not only sculptured in the obdurate red granite of Assûan, and designed upon a larger scale than any of these, but he stood erect and crowned, ninety-two feet high from top to toe, or one hundred and twenty-five feet high, including his pedestal. This is nearly fifty feet higher than the obelisk in Central Park, New York, or than its fellow, the British obelisk on the Thames embankment. The minimum weight of the whole mass is calculated by Mr. Petrie at twelve hundred tons, this being three hundred and thirteen tons more than the estimated height of the colossus of the Ramesseum, when entire. We ask ourselves with amazement how so huge a [Page 54]  monolith was extracted unbroken from the quarry; how it was floated from Assûan to Tanis; how it was raised into its place when it reached its destination. "The effect," wrote Mr. Flinders Petrie, "when there were no high mounds here, must have been astounding. The temple was probably not more than fifty feet high, and the tallest Tanis obelisks were less than fifty feet high. The statue must, therefore, have towered some sixty-five feet above all its surroundings, and have been visible for many miles across the plain." (15) These measurements are calculated from the foot, one large block having the toes of the right foot nearly complete.

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