domingo, 17 de enero de 2016




strange to say, were found absolutely uninjured. The kitchen was intact–a big room with recesses in the walls which served for dressers, in which fourteen large jars and two large flat dishes were yet standing in their places. Here also were found weights for weighing the meat, spits, knives, plates, cups, and saucers in abundance. Another room contained hundreds of amphora lids and plaster jar-sealings, some stamped with the royal ovals of Psammetichus; some with those of Neko, his son; and some with those of Apries. This was the room in which the wine-jars were opened; in other words, the butler's pantry. In an adjoining chamber were found a vast number of empty wine-jars, some perfect, some broken; while in others of the ground-floor rooms were piled large numbers of early Greek vases ranging in date from 550 B.C. to 600 B.C., some finely painted with scenes of [Page 66]  gigantomachia, chimeras, harpies, sphinxes, processions of damsels, dancers, chariots, and the like–all broken, it is true, but many in a mendable condition. Most curious of all, however, was a little room containing a bench, recesses, and a sink formed of one huge jar with the bottom knocked out. This was the scullery! The bench was to stand the things on while being washed; the recesses were to receive them when washed; and the jar sink, which opened into a drain formed of a succession of bottomless jars going down to the clean sand below the foundation, was found to be filled with potsherds placed on edge–these potsherds being coated with organic matter and clogged with fish-bones. All this is doubtless very prosaic; but to have discovered Pharoah's kitchen, scullery, and butler's pantry is really more curious and far more novel, than would have been the discovery of his throne-room.
A great variety of objects from the royal apartments were found in the fallen rubbish above the level of the servants' offices–such as bronze and silver rings, amulets, beads, seals, small brass vessels, draughtsmen, a grand sword-handle with a curved guard, and a quantity of burned and rusted scale-armour. The great camp, in the midst of which the palace-fort was built, also yielded a harvest of military relics. This camp (the camp founded by Psammetichus for the Carian and Ionian troops to whose valour he owed his crown) measured 2000 feet in length by 1000 feet in breadth; and though Mr. Petrie excavated but a corner of it, he found hundreds of objects belonging to these ancient Greek soldiers–arrow-heads in bronze and iron, horses' bits, fragments of chain-work, iron bars, blacksmith's tools, and the like. He also excavated part of the Greek town in the plain, where large quantities of beautiful carnelian, onyx, garnet, and other beads were found; scraps of gold-work, indicating a large trade in articles of personal adornment; and an immense number of very small weights, such as could only be used by jewellers and dealers in precious stones.
A massive gold handle, apparently the handle of a tray, [Page 67]  was also found buried in a corner of the camp, where doubtless it had been hidden by some plunderer when the place was sacked and burned. This undoubtedly formed part of Hophra's service of gold plate (that service of gold plate which he would, of course, have placed at the disposal of his royal Jewish guests), and it is, with one exception, the only piece of gold plate ever found in Egypt.
To return, however, to Jeremiah and his famous prophecy–to that day when he took "great stones in his hand, and placed them with mortar in the brick-work which was at the entry of the Pharoah's House in Tahpahnes." In illustration of this passage, I may here quote a few lines from Mr. Petrie's private report addressed to the Honorary Secretary and Executive Committee of the Egypt Exploration Fund, during the month of April, 1886:
"This 'brickwork, or pavement' at the entry of Pharoah's House has always been a puzzle to translators; but as soon as we began to uncover the plan of the palace, the exactness of the description was manifest; for here, outside the buildings adjoining the central tower, I found by repeated trenchings an area of continuous brickwork resting on sand, and measuring about 100 feet by 60 feet, facing the entrance to the buildings of the east corner.
"The roadway ran up a recess between the buildings, and this platform, which has no traces of superstructures, was evidently an open-air place for loading and unloading goods, or sitting out in the air, or transacting business or conversing–just such a place, in fact, as is made by the Egyptians to this day in front of their houses, where they drink coffee, and smoke in the cool of the afternoon, and receive their visitors.
"Such seems to have been the object of this large platform, which was evidently a place to meet persons who would not be admitted into the palace or fort; to assemble guards; to hold large levees; to receive tribute and stores; to unlade goods; and to transact the multifarious business which, in so hot a climate, is done in the open air. This [Page 68]  platform is therefore, unmistakably, the brickwork, or pavement, which is at the 'entry of Pharaoh's House in Tahpanhes.' The rains have washed away this area and denuded the surface, so that, although it is two or three feet thick near the palace, it is reduced in greater part to a few inches, and is altogether gone at the north-west corner."
Now, the Arabic name for a platform of this kind is "Balât;" and that we have in this "Balât" the brickwork referred to in the Bible is scarcely to be doubted by the most determined sceptic. And it is to be noted that in the alternative reading above mentioned, "the brickwork which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house" is rendered as "the pavement or square."
Here, therefore, the ceremony described by Jeremiah must have been performed, and it was upon this spot that Nebuchadnezzar was to spread his royal pavilion. It will be asked, perhaps, if Mr. Petrie actually found the stones which Jeremiah laid with mortar in the thickness of that pavement. He looked for them, of course, turning up the brickwork in every part; and he did find some large stones lying loosely on the surface. But these had probably rolled down from the wreck of the palace. At all events, it was impossible to identify them.
Meanwhile, we turn in vain to the pages of sacred and secular history for some record of the fate of those hapless princesses–the last, the very last–of the ancient and noble royal line of Judah, who were recognized as royal. What fate befell them and their followers ? Did the Assyrian pursue them with fire and sword? And was the conqueror's pavilion actually spread upon the spot marked out by the prophet ? The Bible tells us no more; but certain Egyptian inscriptions state that Nebuchadnezzar again invaded Egypt, and was defeated by Apries–Pharaoh Hophra; while on the other hand, certain Babylonian inscriptions give the victory to Nebuchadnezzar. Which are we to believe? For my own part, I unhesitatingly accept the impartial evidence of that burned and blackened pile, "the Castle of the Jew's [Page 69]  Daughters:" and I do not doubt that the invincible Assyrian wrought his uttermost vengeance upon the "remnant of Judah."
Nor must we forget the additional testimony of three clay cylinders of Nebuchadnezzar, inscribed in cuneiform characters, and now in the National Egyptian Museum. Some seven or eight years ago these cylinders were sold to Professor Maspero by an Arab who found them, as we have every reason to believe, upon this very spot; and such cylinders were precisely the memorials which Nebuchadnezzar would have left buried beneath the spot where he spread his pavilion, and planted his royal standard, in the hour of victory.

 The Buried Cities of Ancient Egypt." by Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards (1831-1892)

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