Temples And Tombs Of Thebes

We have seen that it was in the Theban period that Egypt emerged from

her isolation, and for the first time came into contact with Western

Asia. This grand turning-point in Egyptian history seemed to be the

appropriate place at which to pause in the description of our latest

knowledge of Egyptian history, in order to make known the results of

archaeological discovery in Mesopotamia and Western Asia generally. The

ption has been carried down past the point of convergence of the

two originally isolated paths of Egyptian and Babylonian civilization,

and what new information the latest discoveries have communicated to us

on this subject has been told in the preceding chapters. We now have to

retrace our steps to the point where we left Egyptian history and resume

the thread of our Egyptian narrative.

The Hyksos conquest and the rise of Thebes are practically

contemporaneous. The conquest took place perhaps three or four hundred

years after the first advancement of Thebes to the position of capital

of Egypt, but it must be remembered that this position was not retained

during the time of the XIIth Dynasty. The kings of that dynasty, though

they were Thebans, did not reign at Thebes. Their royal city was in the

North, in the neighbourhood of Lisht and Medum, where their pyramids

were erected, and their chief care was for the lake province of the

Fayyum, which was largely the creation of Amenemhat III, the Moeris

of the Greeks. It was not till Thebes became the focus of the

national resistance to the Hyksos that its period of greatness began.

Henceforward it was the undisputed capital of Egypt, enlarged and

embellished by the care and munificence of a hundred kings, enriched by

the tribute of a hundred conquered nations.

But were we to confine ourselves to the consideration only of the latest

discoveries of Theban greatness after the expulsion of the Hyksos, we

should be omitting much that is of interest and importance. For the

Egyptians the first grand climacteric in their history (after the

foundation of the monarchy) was the transference of the royal power from

Memphis and Herakleopolis to a Theban house. The second, which followed

soon after, was the Hyksos invasion. The two are closely connected in

Theban history; it is Thebes that defeated Herakleopolis and conquered

Memphis; it is Theban power that was overthrown by the Hyksos; it is

Thebes that expelled them and initiated the second great period of

Egyptian history. We therefore resume our narrative at a point before

the great increase of Theban power at the time of the expulsion of the

Hyksos, and will trace this power from its rise, which followed

the defeat of Herakleopolis and Memphis. It is upon this epoch--the

beginning of Theban power--that the latest discoveries at Thebes have

thrown some new light.

More than anywhere else in Egypt excavations have been carried on at

Thebes, on the site of the ancient capital of the country. And here, if

anywhere, it might have been supposed that there was nothing more to be

found, no new thing to be exhumed from the soil, no new fact to be added

to our knowledge of Egyptian history. Yet here, no less than at Abydos,

has the archaeological exploration of the last few years been especially

successful, and we have seen that the ancient city of Thebes has a great

deal more to tell us than we had expected.

The most ancient remains at Thebes were discovered by Mr. Newberry in

the shape of two tombs of the VIth Dynasty, cut upon the face of the

well-known hill of Shekh Abd el-Kurna, on the west bank of the Nile

opposite Luxor. Every winter traveller to Egypt knows, well the ride

from the sandy shore opposite the Luxor temple, along the narrow pathway

between the gardens and the canal, across the bridges and over the

cultivated land to the Ramesseum, behind which rises Shekh Abd el-Kurna,

with its countless tombs, ranged in serried rows along the scarred and

scarped face of the hill. This hill, which is geologically a fragment of

the plateau behind which some gigantic landslip was sent sliding in the

direction of the river, leaving the picturesque gorge and cliffs of Der

el-Bahari to mark the place from which it was riven, was evidently the

seat of the oldest Theban necropolis. Here were the tombs of the Theban

chiefs in the period of the Old Kingdom, two of which have been found

by Mr. Newberry. In later times, it would seem, these tombs were largely

occupied and remodelled by the great nobles of the XVIIIth Dynasty, so

that now nearly all the tombs extant on Shekh Abd el-Kurna belong to

that dynasty.

Of the Thebes of the IXth and Xth Dynasties, when the Herakleopolites

ruled, we have in the British Museum two very remarkable statues--one of

which is here illustrated--of the steward of the palace, Mera. The tomb

from which they came is not known. Both are very beautiful examples

of the Egyptian sculptor's art, and are executed in a style eminently

characteristic of the transition period between the work of the Old and

Middle Kingdoms. As specimens of the art of the Hierakonpolite period,

of which we have hardly any examples, they are of the greatest interest.

Mera is represented wearing a different head-dress in each figure; in

one he has a short wig, in the other a skullcap.

When the Herakleopolite dominion was finally overthrown, in spite of the

valiant resistance of the princes of Asyut, and the Thebans assumed the

Pharaonic dignity, thus founding the XIth Dynasty, the Theban necropolis

was situated in the great bay in the cliffs, immediately north of Shekh

Abd el-Kurna, which is known as Der el-Bahari. In this picturesque part

of Western Thebes, in many respects perhaps the most picturesque

place in Egypt, the greatest king of the XIth Dynasty, Neb-hapet-Ra

Mentuhetep, excavated his tomb and built for the worship of his ghost

a funerary temple, which he called Akh-aset, "Glorious-is-its-

Situation," a name fully justified by its surroundings. This temple is

an entirely new discovery, made by Prof. Naville and Mr. Hall in 1903.

The results obtained up to date have been of very great importance,

especially with regard to the history of Egyptian art and architecture,

for our sources of information were few and we were previously not very

well informed as to the condition of art in the time of the XIth


The new temple lies immediately to the south of the great XVIIIth

Dynasty temple at Der el-Bahari, which has always been known, and which

was excavated first by Mariette and later by Prof. Naville, for the

Egypt Exploration Fund. To the results of the later excavations we shall

return. When they were finally completed, in the year 1898, the great

XVIIIth Dynasty temple, which was built by Queen Hatshepsu, had been

entirely cleared of debris, and the colonnades had been partially

restored (under the care of Mr. Somers Clarke) in order to make a roof

under which to protect the sculptures on the walls. The whole mass of

debris, consisting largely of fallen talus from the cliffs above,

which had almost hidden the temple, was removed; but a large tract lying

to the south of the temple, which was also covered with similar mounds

of debris, was not touched, but remained to await further investigation.

It was here, beneath these heaps of debris, that the new temple was

found when work was resumed by the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1903. The

actual tomb of the king has not yet been revealed, although that of

Neb-hetep Mentuhetep, who may have been his immediate predecessor,

was discovered by Mr. Carter in 1899. It was known, however, and still

uninjured in the reign of Ramses IX of the XXth Dynasty. Then, as we

learn from the report of the inspectors sent to examine the royal tombs,

which is preserved in the Abbott Papyrus, they found the pyramid-tomb

of King Xeb-hapet-Ra which is in Tjesret (the ancient Egyptian name for

Der el-Bahari); it was intact. We know, therefore, that it was intact

about 1000 B.C. The description of it as a pyramid-tomb is interesting,

for in the inscription of Tetu, the priest of Akh-aset, who was buried

at Abydos, Akh-aset is said to have been a pyramid. That the newly

discovered temple was called Akh-aset we know from several inscriptions

found in it. And the most remarkable thing about this temple is that in

its centre there was a pyramid. This must be the pyramid-tomb which was

found intact by the inspectors, so that the tomb itself must be close

by. But it does not seem to have been beneath the pyramid, below which

is only solid rock. It is perhaps a gallery cut in the cliffs at the

back of the temple.

The pyramid was then a dummy, made of rubble within a revetment of heavy

flint nodules, which was faced with fine limestone. It was erected on a

pyloni-form base with heavy cornice of the usual Egyptian pattern. This

central pyramid was surrounded by a roofed hall or ambulatory of small

octagonal pillars, the outside wall of which was decorated with coloured

reliefs, depicting various scenes connected with the sed-heb or

jubilee-festival of the king, processions of the warriors and magnates

of the realm, scenes of husbandry, boat-building, and so forth, all of

which were considered appropriate to the chapel of a royal tomb at that

period. Outside this wall was an open colonnade of square pillars.

The whole of this was built upon an artificially squared rectangular

platform of natural rock, about fifteen feet high. To north and south of

this were open courts. The southern is bounded by the hill; the northern

is now bounded by the Great Temple of Hat-shepsu, but, before this was

built, there was evidently a very large open court here. The face of the

rock platform is masked by a wall of large rectangular blocks of fine

white limestone, some of which measure six feet by three feet six

inches. They are beautifully squared and laid in bonded courses of

alternate sizes, and the walls generally may be said to be among the

finest yet found in Egypt. We have already remarked that the architects

of the Middle Kingdom appear to have been specially fond of fine masonry

in white stone. The contrast between these splendid XIth Dynasty walls,

with their great base-stones of sandstone, and the bad rough masonry of

the XVIIIth Dynasty temple close by, is striking. The XVIIIth Dynasty

architects and masons had degenerated considerably from the standard of

the Middle Kingdom.

This rock platform was approached from the east in the centre by an

inclined plane or ramp, of which part of the original pavement of wooden

beams remains in situ.

Excavated by Mr. Hall, 1904, for the Egypt Exploration Fund.

To right and left of this ramp are colonnades, each of twenty-two square

pillars, all inscribed with the name and titles of Mentuhetep. The walls

masking the platform in these colonnades were sculptured with various

scenes, chiefly representing boat processions and campaigns against the

Aamu or nomads of the Sinaitic peninsula. The design of the colonnades

is the same as that of the Great Temple, and the whole plan of this

part, with its platform approached by a ramp flanked by colonnades,

is so like that of the Great Temple that we cannot but assume that the

peculiar design of the latter, with its tiers of platforms approached by

ramps flanked by colonnades, is not an original idea, but was directly

copied by the XVIIIth Dynasty architects from the older XIth Dynasty

temple which they found at Der el-Bahari when they began their work.

Excavated by M. Naville, 1896; repaired by Mr. Howard

Carter, 1904.

The supposed originality of Hatshepsu's temple is then non-existent;

it was a copy of the older design, in fact, a magnificent piece of

archaism. But Hatshepsu's architects copied this feature only; the

actual arrangements on the platforms in the two temples are as

different as they can possibly be. In the older we have a central

pyramid with a colonnade round it, in the newer may be found an open

court in front of rock-cave shrines.


Before the XIth Dynasty temple was set up a series of statues of King

Mentuhetep and of a later king, Amenhetep I, in the form of Osiris, like

those of Usertsen (Senusret) I at Lisht already mentioned. One of these

statues is in the British Museum. In the south court were discovered

six statues of King Usertsen (Senusret) III, depicting him at different

periods of his life. Pour of the heads are preserved, and, as the

expression of each differs from that of the other, it is quite evident

that some show him as a young, others as an old, man.


Of The XIth Dynasty Temple At Dee El-Bahari. About 2500 B.C.

The face is of the well-known hard and lined type which is seen also in

the portraits of Amenemhat III, and was formerly considered to be that

of the Hyksos. Messrs. Newberry and Garstang, as we have seen, consider

it to be so, indirectly, as they regard the type as having been

introduced into the XIIth Dynasty by Queen Nefret, the mother of

Usertsen (Sen-usret) III. This queen, they think, was a Hittite

princess, and the Hittites were practically the same thing as the

Hyksos. We have seen, however, that there is very little foundation for

this view, and it is more than probable that this peculiar physiognomy

is of a type purely Egyptian in character.

On The Platform Of The XIth Dynasty Temple, Der El-Bahari,


On the platform, around the central pyramid, were buried in small

chamber-tombs a number of priestesses of the goddess Hathor, the

mistress of the desert and special deity of Der el-Bahari. They were

all members of the king's harim, and they bore the title of "King's

Favourite." As told in a previous chapter, all were buried at one

time, before the final completion of the temple, and it is by no means

impossible that they were strangled at the king's death and buried round

him in order that their ghosts might accompany him in the next world,

just as the slaves were buried around the graves (or secondary graves)

of the 1st Dynasty kings at Aby-dos. They themselves, as also already

related, took with them to the next world little waxen figures which

when called upon could by magic be turned into ghostly slaves. These

images were ushabtiu, "answerers," the predecessors of the little

figures of wood, stone, and pottery which are found buried with the

dead in later times. The priestesses themselves were, so to speak, human

ushabtiu, for royal use only, and accompanied the kings to their final


With the priestesses was buried the usual funerary furniture

characteristic of the period. This consisted of little models of

granaries with the peasants bringing in the corn, models of bakers and

brewers at work, boats with their crews, etc., just as we find them

in the XIth and XIIth Dynasty tombs at el-Bersha and Beni Hasan. These

models, too, were supposed to be transformed by magic into actual

workmen who would work for the deceased, heap up grain for her, brew

beer for her, ferry her over the ghostly Nile into the tomb-world, or

perform any other services required.

Some of the stone sarcophagi of the priestesses are very elaborately

decorated with carved and painted reliefs depicting each deceased

receiving offerings from priests, one of whom milks the holy cows of

Hathor to give her milk. The sarcophagi were let down into the tomb in

pieces and there joined together, and they have been removed in the same

way. The finest is a unique example of XIth Dynasty art, and it is now

preserved in the Museum of Cairo.


In memory of the priestesses there were erected on the platform behind

the pyramid a number of small shrines, which were decorated with the

most delicately coloured carvings in high relief, representing chiefly

the same subjects as those on the sarcophagi. The peculiar style of

these reliefs was previously unknown. In connection with them a most

interesting possibility presents itself.


We know the name of the chief artist of Mentuhetep's reign. He was

called Mertisen, and he thus describes himself on his tombstone from

Abydos, now in the Louvre: "I was an artist skilled in my art. I knew

my art, how to represent the forms of going forth and returning, so that

each limb may be in its proper place. I knew how the figure of a man

should walk and the carriage of a woman, the poising of the arm to

bring the hippopotamus low, the going of the runner. I knew how to make

amulets, which enable us to go without fire burning us and without the

flood washing us away. No man could do this but I, and the eldest son

of my body. Him has the god decreed to excel in art, and I have seen

the perfections of the work of his hands in every kind of rare stone,

in gold and silver, in ivory and ebony." Now since Mertisen and his son

were the chief artists of their day, it is more than probable that they

were employed to decorate their king's funerary chapel. So that in all

probability the XIth Dynasty reliefs from Der el-Bahari are the work

of Mertisen and his son, and in them we see the actual "forms of going

forth and returning, the poising of the arm to bring the hippopotamus

low, the going of the runner," to which he refers on his tombstone. This

adds a note of personal interest to the reliefs, an interest which is

often sadly wanting in Egypt, where we rarely know the names of the

great artists whose works we admire so much. We have recovered the names

of the sculptor and painter of Seti I's temple at Abydos and that of the

sculptor of some of the tombs at Tell el-Amarna, but otherwise very few

names of the artists are directly associated with the temples and tombs

which they decorated, and of the architects we know little more. The

great temple of Der el-Bahari was, however, we know, designed by Senmut,

the chief architect to Queen Hatshepsu.

It is noticeable that Mertisen's art, if it is Mertisen's, is of a

peculiar character. It is not quite so fully developed as that of the

succeeding XIIth Dynasty. The drawing of the figures is often peculiar,

strange lanky forms taking the place of the perfect proportions of the

IVth-VIth and the XIIth Dynasty styles. Great elaboration is bestowed

upon decoration, which is again of a type rather archaic in character

when compared with that of the XIIth Dynasty. We are often reminded of

the rude sculptures which used to be regarded as typical of the art of

the XIth Dynasty, while at the same time we find work which could not

be surpassed by the best XIIth Dynasty masters. In fact, the art of

Neb-hapet-Ra's reign was the art of a transitional period. Under the

decadent Memphites of the VIIth and VIIIth Dynasties, Egyptian art

rapidly fell from the high estate which it had attained under the Vth

Dynasty, and, though good work was done under the Hierakonpolites, the

chief characteristic of Egyptian art at the time of the Xth and early

XIth Dynasties is its curious roughness and almost barbaric appearance.

When, however, the kings of the XIth Dynasty reunited the whole land

under one sceptre, and the long reign of Neb-hapet-Ra Mentuhetep enabled

the reconsolidation of the realm to be carried out by one hand, art

began to revive, and, just as to Neb-hapet-Ra must be attributed the

renascence of the Egyptian state under the hegemony of Thebes, so must

the revival of art in his reign be attributed to his great artists,

Mertisen and his son. They carried out in the realm of art what their

king had carried out in the political realm, and to them must be

attributed the origin of the art of the Middle Kingdom which under the

XIIth Dynasty attained so high a pitch of excellence. The sculptures

of the king's temple at Der el-Bahari, then, are monuments of the

renascence of Egyptian art, after the state of decadence into which it

had fallen during the long civil wars between South and North; it is

a reviving art, struggling out of barbarism to regain perfection, and

therefore has much about it that seems archaic, stiff, and curious when

compared with later work. To the XVIIIth Dynasty Egyptian it would no

doubt have seemed hopelessly old-fashioned and even semi-barbarous, and

he had no qualms about sweeping it aside whenever it appeared in the

way of the work of his own time; but to us this very strangeness

gives additional charm and interest, and we can only be thankful that

Mertisen's work has lasted (in fragments only, it is true) to our own

day, to tell us the story of a little known chapter in the history of

ancient Egyptian art.

From this description it will have been seen that the temple is an

important monument of the Egyptian art and architecture of the Middle

Kingdom. It is the only temple of that period of which considerable

traces have been found, and on that account the study of it will be of

the greatest interest. It is the best preserved of the older temples of

Egypt, and at Thebes it is by far the most ancient building recovered.

Historically it has given us a new king of the XIth Dynasty,

Sekhahe-tep-Ra Mentuhetep, and the name of the queen of Neb-hapet-Ra

Mentuhetep, Aasheit, who seems to have been an Ethiopian, to judge from

her portrait, which has been discovered. It is interesting to note that

one of the priestesses was a negress.

The name Neb-hapet-Ra may be unfamiliar to those readers who are

acquainted with the lists of the Egyptian kings. It is a correction

of the former reading, "Neb-kheru-Ra," which is now known from these

excavations to be erroneous. Neb-hapet-Ra (or, as he used to be called,

Neb-kheru-Ra) is Mentuhetep III of Prof. Petrie's arrangement. Before

him there seem to have come the kings Mentuhetep Neb-hetep (who is also

commemorated in this temple) and Neb-taui-Ra; after him, Sekhahetep-Ra

Mentuhetep IV and Seankhkara Mentuhetep V, who were followed by an

Antef, bearing the banner or hawk-name Uah-ankh. This king was followed

by Amenemhat I, the first king of the XIIth Dynasty. Antef Uah-ankh may

be numbered Antef I, as the prince Antefa, who founded the XIth Dynasty,

did not assume the title of king.

Other kings of the name of Antef also ruled over Egypt, and they used to

be regarded as belonging to the XIth Dynasty; but Prof. Steindorff

has now proved that they really reigned after the XIIIth Dynasty, and

immediately before the Sekenenras, who were the fighters of the Hyksos

and predecessors of the XVIIIth Dynasty. The second names of Antef III

(Seshes-Ra-up-maat) and Antef IV (Seshes-Ra-her-her-maat) are exactly

similar to those of the XIIIth Dynasty kings and quite unlike those of

the Mentuheteps; also at Koptos a decree of Antef II (Nub-kheper-Ra) has

been found inscribed on a doorway of Usertsen (Senusret) I; so that

he cannot have preceded him. Prof. Petrie does not yet accept these

conclusions, and classes all the Antefs together with the Mentuheteps in

the XIth Dynasty. He considers that he has evidence from Herakleopolis

that Antef Xub-kheper-Ra (whom he numbers Antef V) preceded the XIIth

Dynasty, and he supposes that the decree of Nub-kheper-Ra at Koptos is

a later copy of the original and was inscribed during the XIIth Dynasty.

But this is a difficult saying. The probabilities are that Prof.

Steindorff is right. Antef Uah-ankh must, however, have preceded the

XIIth Dynasty, since an official of that period refers to his father's

father as having lived in Uah-ankh 's time.

The necropolis of Der el-Bahari was no doubt used all through the period

of the XIth and XIIth Dynasties, and many tombs of that period have been

found there. A large number of these were obliterated by the building

of the great temple of Queen Hatshepsu, in the northern part of the

cliff-bay. We know of one queen's tomb of that period which runs right

underneath this temple from the north, and there is another that is

entered at the south side which also runs down underneath it. Several

tombs were likewise found in the court between it and the XIth Dynasty

temple. We know that the XVIIIth Dynasty temple was largely built over

this court, and we can see now the XIth Dynasty mask-wall on the west of

the court running northwards underneath the mass of the XVIIIth Dynasty

temple. In all probability, then, when the temple of Hatshepsu

was built, the larger portion of the Middle Kingdom necropolis (of

chamber-tombs reached by pits), which had filled up the bay to the north

of the Mentuhetep temple, was covered up and obliterated, just as

the older VIth Dynasty gallery tombs of Shekh Abd el-Kurna had been

appropriated and altered at the same period.

The kings of the XIIth and XIIIth Dynasties were not buried at Thebes,

as we have seen, but in the North, at Dashur, Lisht, and near the

Fayymn, with which their royal city at Itht-taui had brought them into

contact. But at the end of the XIIIth Dynasty the great invasion of the

Hyksos probably occurred, and all Northern Egypt fell under the Arab

sway. The native kings were driven south from the Fayymn to Abydos,

Koptos, and Thebes, and at Thebes they were buried, in a new necropolis

to the north of Der el-Bahari (probably then full), on the flank of a

long spur of hill which is now called Dra' Abu-'l-Negga, "Abu-'l-Negga's

Arm." Here the Theban kings of the period between the XIIIth and XVIIth

Dynasties, Upuantemsaf, Antef Nub-kheper-Ra, and his descendants, Antefs

III and IV, were buried. In their time the pressure of foreign invasion

seems to have been felt, for, to judge from their coffins, which show

progressive degeneration of style and workmanship, poverty now afflicted

Upper Egypt and art had fallen sadly from the high standard which it had

reached in the days of the XIth and XIIth Dynasties. Probably the later

Antefs and Sebekemsafs were vassals of the Hyksos. Their descendants

of the XVIIth Dynasty were buried in the same necropolis of Dra'

Abu-'l-Negga, and so were the first two kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty,

Aahmes and Amenhetep I. The tombs of the last two have not yet been

found, but we know from the Abbott Papyrus that Amenhetep's was

here, for, like that of Menttihetep III, it was found intact by the

inspectors. It was a gallery-tomb of very great length, and will be a

most interesting find when it is discovered, as it no doubt eventually

will be. Aahmes had a tomb at Abydos, which was discovered by Mr.

Currelly, working for the Egypt Exploration Fund. This, however, like

the Abydene tomb of Usert-sen (Senusret) III, was in all likelihood a

sham or secondary tomb, the king having most probably been buried at

Thebes, in the Dra' Abu-'l-Negga. The Abydos tomb is of interesting

construction. The entrance is by a simple pit, from which a gallery

runs round in a curving direction to a great hall supported by eighteen

square pillars, beyond which is a further gallery which was never

finished. Nothing was found in the tomb. On the slope of the mountain,

due west of and in a line with the tomb, Mr. Currelly found a

terrace-temple analogous to those of Der el-Bahari, approached not

by means of a ramp but by stairways at the side. It was evidently the

funerary temple of the tomb.

Grandmother of Aahmes, the conqueror of the Hyksos and

founder of the XVIIIth Dynasty. About 1700 B. C. British

Museum. From the photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

The secondary tomb of Usertsen (Senusret) III at Abydos, which has

already been mentioned, was discovered in the preceding year by Mr. A.

E. P. Weigall, and excavated by Mr. Currelly in 1903. It lies north of

the Aahmes temple, between it and the main cemetery of Abydos. It is a

great bab or gallery-tomb, like those of the later kings at Thebes,

with the usual apparatus of granite plugs, barriers, pits, etc., to

defy plunderers. The tomb had been plundered, nevertheless, though it is

probable that the robbers were vastly disappointed with what they

found in it. Mr. Currelly ascribes the absence of all remains to the

plunderers, but the fact is that there probably never was anything in

it but an empty sarcophagus. Near the tomb Mr. Weigall discovered

some dummy mastabas, a find of great interest. Just as the king had a

secondary tomb, so secondary mastabas, mere dummies of rubble like the

XIth Dynasty pyramid at Der el-Bahari, were erected beside it to look

like the tombs of his courtiers. Some curious sinuous brick walls which

appear to act as dividing lines form a remarkable feature of this sham

cemetery. In a line with the tomb, on the edge of the cultivation,

is the funerary temple belonging to it, which was found by Mr.

Randall-Maclver in 1900. Nothing remains but the bases of the fluted

limestone columns and some brick walls. A headless statue of Usertsen

was found.

We have an interesting example of the custom of building a secondary

tomb for royalties in these two necropoles of Dra' Abu-'l-Negga and

Abydos. Queen Teta-shera, the grandmother of Aahmes, a beautiful

statuette of whom may be seen in the British Museum, had a small pyramid

at Abydos, eastward of and in a line with the temple and secondary tomb

of Aahmes. In 1901 Mr. Mace attempted to find the chamber, but could

not. In the next year Mr. Currelly found between it and the Aahmes

tomb a small chapel, containing a splendid stele, on which Aahmes

commemorates his grandmother, who, he says, was buried at Thebes and had

a mer-ahat at Abydos, and he records his determination to build her

also a pyramid at Abydos, out of his love and veneration for her memory.

It thus appeared that the pyramid to the east was simply a dummy,

like Usertsen's mastabas, or the Mentuhetep pyramid at Der el-Bahari.

Teta-shera was actually buried at Dra' Abu-'l-Negga. Her secondary

pyramid, like that of Aahmes himself, was in the "holy ground" at

Abydos, though it was not an imitation bab, but a dummy pyramid of

rubble. This well illustrates the whole custom of the royal primary and

secondary tombs, which, as we have seen, had obtained in the case of

royal personages from the time of the 1st Dynasty, when Aha had two

tombs, one at Nakada and the other at Abydos. It is probable that all

the 1st Dynasty tombs at Abydos are secondary, the kings being really

buried elsewhere. After their time we know for certain that Tjeser and

Snefru had duplicate tombs, possibly also Unas, and certainly Usertsen

(Senusret) III, Amenemhat III, and Aahmes; while Mentuhetep III and

Queen Teta-shera had dummy pyramids as well as their tombs. Ramses III

also had two tombs, both at Thebes. The reasons for this custom were

two: first, the desire to elude plunderers, and second, the wish to give

the ghost a pied-a-terre on the sacred soil of Abydos or Sakkara.

As the inscription of Aahmes which records the building of the dummy

pyramid of Teta-shera is of considerable interest, it may here be

translated. The text reads: "It came to pass that when his Majesty the

king, even the king of South and North, Neb-pehti-Ra, Son of the Sun,

Aahmes, Giver of Life, was taking his pleasure in the tjadu-hall,

the hereditary princess greatly favoured and greatly prized, the king's

daughter, the king's sister, the god's wife and great wife of the king,

Nefret-ari-Aahmes, the living, was in the presence of his Majesty. And

the one spake unto the other, seeking to do honour to These There,*

which consisteth in the pouring of water, the offering upon the altar,

the painting of the stele at the beginning of each season, at the

Festival of the New Moon, at the feast of the month, the feast of the

going-forth of the Sem-priest, the Ceremonies of the Night, the Feasts

of the Fifth Day of the Month and of the Sixth, the Hak-festival, the

Uag-festival, the feast of Thoth, the beginning of every season of

heaven and earth. And his sister spake, answering him: 'Why hath one

remembered these matters, and wherefore hath this word been said?

Prithee, what hath come into thy heart?' The king spake, saying: 'As for

me, I have remembered the mother of my mother, the mother of my father,

the king's great wife and king's mother Teta-shera, deceased, whose

tomb-chamber and mer-ahat are at this moment upon the soil of Thebes

and Abydos. I have spoken thus unto thee because my Majesty desireth to

cause a pyramid and chapel to be made for her in the Sacred Land, as a

gift of a monument from my Majesty, and that its lake should be dug, its

trees planted, and its offerings prescribed; that it should be provided

with slaves, furnished with lands, and endowed with cattle, with

hen-ka priests and kher-heb priests performing their duties, each

man knowing what he hath to do.' Behold! when his Majesty had thus

spoken, these things were immediately carried out. His Majesty did these

things on account of the greatness of the love which he bore her, which

was greater than anything. Never had ancestral kings done the like for

their mothers. Behold! his Majesty extended his arm and bent his hand,

and made for her the king's offering to Geb, to the Ennead of Gods, to

the lesser Ennead of Gods... [to Anubis] in the God's Shrine, thousands

of offerings of bread, beer, oxen, geese, cattle... to [the Queen

Teta-shera]." This is one of the most interesting inscriptions

discovered in Egypt in recent years, for the picturesqueness of its

diction is unusual.

* A polite periphrasis for the dead.

As has already been said, the king Amenhetep I was also buried in the

Dra' Abu-'l-Negga, but the tomb has not yet been found. Amenhetep I and

his mother, Queen Nefret-ari-Aahmes, who is mentioned in the inscription

translated above, were both venerated as tutelary demons of the Western

Necropolis of Thebes after their deaths, as also was Mentuhetep III. At

Der el-Bahari both kings seem to have been worshipped with Hathor, the

Mistress of the Waste. The worship of Amen-Ra in the XVIIIth Dynasty

temple of Der el-Bahari was a novelty introduced by the priests of Amen

at that time. But the worship of Hathor went on side by side with that

of Amen in a chapel with a rock-cut shrine at the side of the Great

Temple. Very possibly this was the original cave-shrine of Hathor, long

before Mentuhetep's time, and was incorporated with the Great Temple and

beautified with the addition of a pillared hall before it, built

over part of the XIth Dynasty north court and wall, by Hatshepsu's


The Great Temple, the excavation of which for the Egypt Exploration Fund

was successfully brought to an end by Prof. Naville in 1898, was erected

by Queen Hatshepsu in honour of Amen-Ra, her father Thothmes I, and her

brother-husband Thothmes II, and received a few additions from Thothmes

III, her successor. He, however, did not complete it, and it fell into

disrepair, besides suffering from the iconoclastic zeal of the heretic

Akhunaten, who hammered out some of the beautifully painted scenes upon

its walls. These were badly restored by Ramses II, whose painting is

easily distinguished from the original work by the dulness and badness

of its colour.

The peculiar plan and other remarkable characteristics of this temple

are well known. Its great terraces, with the ramps leading up to them,

flanked by colonnades, which, as we have seen, were imitated from the

design of the old XIth Dynasty temple at its side, are familiar from a

hundred illustrations, and the marvellously preserved colouring of its

delicate reliefs is known to every winter visitor to Egypt, and can be

realized by those who have never been there through the medium of Mr.

Howard Carter's wonderful coloured reproductions, published in Prof.

Naville's edition of the temple by the Egypt Exploration Fund. The Great

Temple stands to-day clear of all the debris which used to cover it, a

lasting monument to the work of the greatest of the societies which busy

themselves with the unearthing of the relics of the ancient world.

Prof. Nayille, 1893-8 and 1903-6, for the Egypt Exploration Fund

The two temples of Der el-Bahari will soon stand side by side, as they

originally stood, and will always be associated with the name of the

society which rescued them from oblivion, and gave us the treasures

of the royal tombs at Abydos. The names of the two men whom the Egypt

Exploration Fund commissioned to excavate Der el-Bahari and Abydos, and

for whose work it exclusively supplied the funds, Profs. Naville and

Petrie, will live chiefly in connection with their work at Der el-Bahari

and Abydos.

The Egyptians called the two temples Tjeserti, "the two holy places,"

the new building receiving the name of Tjeser-tjesru, "Holy of

Holies," and the whole tract of Der el-Bahari the appellation Tjesret,

"the Holy." The extraordinary beauty of the situation in which they are

placed, with its huge cliffs and rugged hillsides, may be appreciated

from the photograph which is taken from a steep path half-way up the

cliff above the Great Temple. In it we see the Great Temple in the

foreground with the modern roofs of two of its colonnades, devised in

order to protect the sculptures beneath them, the great trilithon gate

leading to the upper court, and the entrance to the cave-shrine of

Amen-Ra, with the niches of the kings on either side, immediately at the

foot of the cliff. In the middle distance is the duller form of the XIth

Dynasty temple, with its rectangular platform, the ramp leading up

to it, and the pyramid in the centre of it, surrounded by pillars,

half-emerging from the great heaps of sand and debris all around. The

background of cliffs and hills, as seen in the photograph, will serve to

give some idea of the beauty of the surroundings,--an arid beauty, it is

true, for all is desert. There is not a blade of vegetation near; all

is salmon-red in colour beneath a sky of ineffable blue, and against the

red cliffs the white temple stands out in vivid contrast.

The second illustration gives a nearer view of the great trilithon

gate in the upper court, at the head of the ramp. The long hill of Dra'

Abu-'l-Negga is seen bending away northward behind the gate.

Of The Xviiith Dynasty Temple At Dek El-Bahari. About 1500


This is the famous gate on which the jealous Thothmes III chiselled out

Hatshepsu's name in the royal cartouches and inserted his own in

its place; but he forgot to alter the gender of the pronouns in the

accompanying inscription, which therefore reads "King Thothmes III, she

made this monument to her father Amen."

Among Prof. Naville's discoveries here one of the most important is that

of the altar in a small court to the north, which, as the inscription

says, was made in honour of the god Ra-Harmachis "of beautiful white

stone of Anu." It is of the finest white limestone known. Here also were

found the carved ebony doors of a shrine, now in the Cairo Museum. One

of the most beautiful parts of the temple is the Shrine of Anubis, with

its splendidly preserved paintings and perfect columns and roof of

white limestone. The effect of the pure white stone and simplicity of

architecture is almost Hellenic.

The Shrine of Hathor has been known since the time of Mariette, but in

connection with it some interesting discoveries have been made during

the excavation of the XIth Dynasty temple. In the court between the two

temples were found a large number of small votive offerings, consisting

of scarabs, beads, little figures of cows and women, etc., of blue

glazed faience and rough pottery, bronze and wood, and blue glazed

ware ears, eyes, and plaques with figures of the sacred cow, and other

small objects of the same nature. These are evidently the ex-votos of

the XVIIIth Dynasty fellahin to the goddess Hathor in the rock-shrine

above the court. When the shrine was full or the little ex-votos broken,

the sacristans threw them over the wall into the court below, which thus

became a kind of dust-heap. Over this heap the sand and debris gradually

collected, and thus they were preserved. The objects found are of

considerable interest to anthropological science.

The Great Temple was built, as we have said, in honour of Thothmes I

and II, and the deities Amen-Ra and Hathor. More especially it was the

funerary chapel of Thothmes I. His tomb was excavated, not in the Dra'

Abu-l-Negga, which was doubtless now too near the capital city and not

in a sufficiently dignified position of aloofness from the common herd,

but at the end of the long valley of the Wadiyen, behind the cliff-hill

above Der el-Bahari. Hence the new temple was oriented in the direction

of his tomb. Immediately behind the temple, on the other side of the

hill, is the tomb which was discovered by Lepsius and cleared in 1904

for Mr. Theodore N. Davis by Mr. Howard Carter, then chief inspector of

antiquities at Thebes. Its gallery is of very small dimensions, and it

winds about in the hill in corkscrew fashion like the tomb of Aahmes at

Aby-dos. Owing to its extraordinary length, the heat and foul air in the

depths of the tomb were almost insupportable and caused great difficulty

to the excavators. When the sarcophagus-chamber was at length reached,

it was found to contain the empty sarcophagi of Thothmes I and of

Hatshepsu. The bodies had been removed for safe-keeping in the time of

the XXIst Dynasty, that of Thothmes I having been found with those

of Set! I and Ramses II in the famous pit at Der el-Bahari, which was

discovered by M. Maspero in 1881. Thothmes I seems to have had another

and more elaborate tomb (No. 38) in the Valley of the Tombs of the

Kings, which was discovered by M. Loret in 1898. Its frescoes had been

destroyed by the infiltration of water.

The fashion of royal burial in the great valley behind Der el-Bahari

was followed during the XVIIIth, XIXth, and XXth Dynasties. Here in the

eastern branch of the Wadiyen, now called the Biban el-Muluk, "the

Tombs of the Kings," the greater number of the mightiest Theban Pharaohs

were buried. In the western valley rested two of the kings of the

XVIIIth Dynasty, who desired even more remote burial-places, Amenhetep

III and Ai. The former chose for his last home a most kingly site.

Ancient kings had raised great pyramids of artificial stone over their

graves. Amenhetep, perhaps the greatest and most powerful Pharaoh of

them all, chose to have a natural pyramid for his grave, a mountain for

his tumulus. The illustration shows us the tomb of this monarch, opening

out of the side of one of the most imposing hills in the Western Valley.

No other king but Amenhetep rested beneath this hill, which thus marks

his grave and his only.

It is in the Eastern Valley, the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings

properly speaking, that the tombs of Thothmes I and Hatshepsu lie, and

here the most recent discoveries have been made. It is a desolate spot.

As we come over the hill from Der el-Bahari we see below us in the

glaring sunshine a rocky canon, with sides sometimes sheer cliff,

sometimes sloped by great falls of rock in past ages. At the bottom

of these slopes the square openings of the many royal tombs can be

descried. [See illustration.] Far below we see the forms of tourists

and the tomb-guards accompanying them, moving in and out of the openings

like ants going in and out of an ants' nest. Nothing is heard but the

occasional cry of a kite and the ceaseless rhythmical throbbing of the

exhaust-pipe of the electric light engine in the unfinished tomb of

Ramses XI. Above and around are the red desert hills. The Egyptians

called it "The Place of Eternity."


In this valley some remarkable discoveries have been made during the

last few years. In 1898 M. Grebaut discovered the tomb of Amenhetep

II, in which was found the mummy of the king, intact, lying in its

sarcophagus in the depths of the tomb. The royal body now lies there

for all to see. The tomb is lighted with electricity, as are all the

principal tombs of the kings. At the head of the sarcophagus is a single

lamp, and, when the party of visitors is collected in silence around the

place of death, all the lights are turned out, and then the single

light is switched on, showing the royal head illuminated against the

surrounding blackness. The effect is indescribably weird and impressive.

The body has only twice been removed from the tomb since its burial, the

second time when it was for a brief space taken up into the sunlight to

be photographed by Mr.. Carter, in January, 1902. The temporary removal

was carefully carried out, the body of his Majesty being borne up

through the passages of the tomb on the shoulders of the Italian

electric light workmen, preceded and followed by impassive Arab

candle-bearers. The workmen were most reverent in their handling of the

body of " il gran re," as they called him.

In the tomb were found some very interesting objects, including a model

boat (afterwards stolen), across which lay the body of a woman. This

body now lies, with others found close by, in a side chamber of the

tomb. One may be that of Hatshepsu. The walls of the tomb-chamber are

painted to resemble papyrus, and on them are written chapters of the

"Book of What Is in the Underworld," for the guidance of the royal


In 1902-3 Mr. Theodore Davis excavated the tomb of Thothmes IV. It

yielded a rich harvest of antiquities belonging to the funeral state of

the king, including a chariot with sides of embossed and gilded leather,

decorated with representations of the king's warlike deeds, and much

fine blue pottery, all of which are now in the Cairo Museum. The

tomb-gallery returns upon itself, describing a curve. An interesting

point with regard to it is that it had evidently been violated even in

the short time between the reigns of its owner and Horem-heb, probably

in the period of anarchy which prevailed at Thebes during the reign

of the heretic Akhunaten; for in one of the chambers is a hieratic

inscription recording the repair of the tomb in the eighth year of

Horemheb by Maya, superintendent of works in the Tombs of the Kings. It

reads as follows: "In the eighth year, the third month of summer, under

the Majesty of King Tjeser-khepru-Ra Sotp-n-Ra, Son of the Sun, Horemheb

Meriamen, his Majesty (Life, health, and wealth unto him!) commanded

that orders should be sent unto the Fanbearer on the King's Left Hand,

the King's Scribe and Overseer of the Treasury, the Overseer of the

Works in the Place of Eternity, the Leader of the Festivals of Amen

in Karnak, Maya, son of the judge Aui, born of the Lady Ueret, that he

should renew the burial of King Men-khepru-Ra, deceased, in the August

Habitation in Western Thebes." Men-khepru-Ra was the prenomen or

throne-name of Thothmes IV. Tied round a pillar in the tomb is still a

length of the actual rope used by the thieves for crossing the chasm,

which, as in many of the tombs here, was left open in the gallery to bar

the way to plunderers. The mummy of the king was found in the tomb of

Amenhetep II, and is now at Cairo.

The discovery of the tomb of Thothmes I and Hat-shepsu has already been

described. In 1905 Mr. Davis made his latest find, the tomb of Iuaa

and Tuaa, the father and mother of Queen Tii, the famous consort of

Amenhetep III and mother of Akhunaten the heretic. Readers of Prof.

Maspero's history will remember that Iuaa and Tuaa are mentioned on one

of the large memorial scarabs of Amenhetep III, which commemorates his

marriage. The tomb has yielded an almost incredible treasure of funerary

furniture, besides the actual mummies of Tii's parents, including a

chariot overlaid with gold. Gold overlay of great thickness is found on

everything, boxes, chairs, etc. It was no wonder that Egypt seemed the

land of gold to the Asiatics, and that even the King of Babylon begs

this very Pharaoh Amenhetep to send him gold, in one of the letters

found at Tell el-Amarna, "for gold is as water in thy land." It is

probable that Egypt really attained the height of her material wealth

and prosperity in the reign of Amenhetep III. Certainly her dominion

reached its farthest limits in his time, and his influence was felt from

the Tigris to the Sudan. He hunted lions for his pleasure in Northern

Mesopotamia, and he built temples at Jebel Barkal beyond Dongola. We see

the evidence of lavish wealth in the furniture of the tomb of Iuaa and

Tuaa. Yet, fine as are many of these gold-overlaid and overladen objects

of the XVIIIth Dynasty, they have neither the good taste nor the charm

of the beautiful jewels from the XIIth Dynasty tombs at Dashur. It is

mere vulgar wealth. There is too much gold thrown about. "For gold is as

water in thy land." In three hundred years' time Egypt was to know what

poverty meant, when the poor priest-kings of the XXIst Dynasty could

hardly keep body and soul together and make a comparatively decent show

as Pharaohs of Egypt. Then no doubt the latter-day Thebans sighed for

the good old times of the XVIIIth Dynasty, when their city ruled a

considerable part of Africa and Western Asia and garnered their riches

into her coffers. But the days of the XIIth Dynasty had really been

better still. Then there was not so much wealth, but what there was (and

there was as much gold then, too) was used sparingly, tastefully, and

simply. The XIIth Dynasty, not the XVIIIth, was the real Golden Age of


From the funeral panoply of a tomb like that of Iuaa and Tuaa we can

obtain some idea of the pomp and state of Amenhetep III. But the remains

of his Theban palace, which have been discovered and excavated by Mr. C.

Tytus and Mr. P. E. Newberry, do not bear out this idea of magnificence.

It is quite possible that the palace was merely a pleasure house,

erected very hastily and destined to fall to pieces when its owner tired

of it or died, like the many palaces of the late Khedive Ismail. It

stood on the border of an artificial lake, whereon the Pharaoh and his

consort Tii sailed to take their pleasure in golden barks. This is now

the cultivated rectangular space of land known as the Birket Habu, which

is still surrounded by the remains of the embankment built to retain its

waters, and becomes a lake during the inundation. On the western shore

of this lake Amenhetep erected the "stately pleasure dome," the

remains of which still cover the sandy tract known as el-Malkata, "the

Salt-pans," south of the great temple of Medinet Habu. These remains

consist merely of the foundations and lowest wall-courses of a

complicated and rambling building of many chambers, constructed of

common unburnt brick and plastered with white stucco on walls and

floors, on which were painted beautiful frescoes of fighting bulls,

birds of the air, water-fowl, fish-ponds, etc., in much the same style

as the frescoes of Tell el-Amarna executed in the next reign. There

were small pillared halls, the columns of which were of wood, mounted

on bases of white limestone. The majority still remain in position. In

several chambers there are small daises, and in one the remains of a

throne, built of brick and mud covered with plaster and stucco, upon

which the Pharaoh Amenhetep sat. This is the palace of him whom the

Greeks called Memnon, who ruled Egypt when Israel was in bondage and

when the dynasty of Minos reigned in Crete. Here by the side of his

pleasure-lake the most powerful of Egyptian Pharaohs whiled away his

time during the summer heats. Evidently the building was intended to be

of the lightest construction, and never meant to last; but to our ideas

it seems odd that an Egyptian Pharaoh should live in a mud palace. Such

a building is, however, quite suited to the climate of Egypt, as are the

modern crude brick dwellings of the fellahin. In the ruins of the

palace were found several small objects of interest, and close by was

an ancient glass manufactory of Amenhetep III's time, where much of the

characteristic beautifully coloured and variegated opaque glass of the

period was made.

The tombs of the magnates of Amenhetep III's reign and of the reigns

of his immediate predecessors were excavated, as has been said, on the

eastern slope of the hill of Shekh 'Abd el-Kurna, where was the earliest

Theban necropolis. No doubt many of the early tombs of the time of the

VIth Dynasty were appropriated and remodelled by the XVIIIth Dynasty

magnates. We have an instance of time's revenge in this matter, in the

case of the tomb of Imadua, a great priestly official of the time of

the XXth Dynasty. This tomb previously belonged to an XVIIIth Dynasty

worthy, but Imadua appropriated it three hundred years later and covered

up all its frescoes with the much begilt decoration fashionable in his

period. Perhaps the XVIIIth Dynasty owner had stolen it from an original

owner of the time of the VIth Dynasty. The tomb has lately been cleared

out by Mr. Newberry.

Much work of the same kind has been done here of late years by Messrs.

Newberry and R. L. Mond, in succession. To both we are indebted for the

excavation of many known tombs, as well as for the discovery of many

others previously unknown. Among the former was that of Sebekhetep,

cleared by Mr. Newberry. Se-bekhetep was an official of the time of

Thothmes III. From his tomb, and from others in the same hill, came many

years ago the fine frescoes shown in the illustration, which are among

the most valued treasures of the Egyptian department of the British

Museum. They are typical specimens of the wall-decoration of an XVIIIth

Dynasty tomb. On one may be seen a bald-headed peasant, with staff in

hand, pulling an ear of corn from the standing crop in order to see if

it is ripe. He is the "Chief Reaper," and above him is a prayer that the

"great god in heaven" may increase the crop. To the right of him is a

charioteer standing beside a car and reining back a pair of horses, one

black, the other bay. Below is another charioteer with two white

horses. He sits on the floor of the car with his back to them, eating

or resting, while they nibble the branches of a tree close by. Another

scene is that of a scribe keeping tally of offerings brought to the

tomb, while fellahm are bringing flocks of geese and other fowl, some in

crates. The inscription above is apparently addressed by the goose-herd

to the man with the crates. It reads: "Hasten thy feet because of the

geese! Hearken! thou knowest not the next minute what has been said

to thee!" Above, a reis with a stick bids other peasants squat on the

ground before addressing the scribe, and he is saying to them: "Sit ye

down to talk." The third scene is in another style; on it may be seen

Semites bringing offerings of vases of gold, silver, and copper to the

royal presence, bowing themselves to the ground and kissing the dust

before the throne. The fidelity and accuracy with which the racial type

of the tribute-bearers is given is most extraordinary; every face

seems a portrait, and each one might be seen any day now in the Jewish

quarters of Whitechapel.

The first two paintings are representative of a very common style of

fresco-pictures in these tombs. The care with which the animals

are depicted is remarkable. Possibly one of the finest Egyptian

representations of an animal is the fresco of a goat in the tomb of

Gen-Amen, discovered by Mr. Mond. There is even an attempt here at

chiaroscuro, which is unknown to Egyptian art generally, except at Tell

el-Amarna. Evidently the Egyptian painters reached the apogee of

their art towards the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty. The third, the

representation of tribute-bearers, is of a type also well known at

this period. In all the chief tombs we have processions of Egyptians,

Westerners, Northerners, Easterners, and Southerners, bringing tribute

to the Pharaoh. The North is represented by the Semites, the East by the

Punites (when they occur), the South by negroes, the West by the Keftiu

or people of Crete and Cyprus. The representations of the last-named

people have become of the very highest interest during the last few

years, on account of the discoveries in Crete, which have revealed to

us the state and civilization of these very Keftiu. Messrs. Evans

and Halbherr have discovered at Knossos and Phaistos the cities and

palace-temples of the king who sent forth their ambassadors to far-away

Egypt with gifts for the mighty Pharaoh; these ambassadors were painted

in the tombs of their hosts as representative of the quarter of the

world from which they came.

The two chief Egyptian representations of these people, who since they

lived in Greece may be called Greeks, though their more proper title

would be "Pe-lasgians," are to be found in the tombs of Rekhmara and

Senmut, the former a vizier under Thothmes III, the latter the

architect of Hatshepsu's temple at Der el-Bahari. Senmut's tomb is a

new rediscovery. It was known, as Rekhmara's was, in the early days of

Egyptological science, and Prisse d'Avennes copied its paintings. It was

afterwards lost sight of until rediscovered by Mr. Newberry and Prof.


1500 B.C.

The tomb of Rekhmara (No. 35) is well known to every visitor to Thebes,

but it is difficult to get at that of Senmut (No. 110); it lies at the

top of the hill round to the left and overlooking Der el-Bahari,

an appropriate place for it, by the way. In some ways Senmut's

representations are more interesting than Rekhmara's. They are more

easily seen, since they are now in the open air, the fore hall of the

tomb having been ruined; and they are better preserved, since they have

not been subjected to a century of inspection with naked candles and

pawing with greasy hands, as have Rekhmara's frescoes. Further, there

is no possibility of mistaking what they represent. From right to

left, walking in procession, we see the Minoan gift-bearers from Crete,

carrying in their hands and on their shoulders great cups of gold and

silver, in shape like the famous gold cups found at Vaphio in Lakonia,

but much larger, also a ewer of gold and silver exactly like one of

bronze discovered by Mr. Evans two years ago at Knossos, and a huge

copper jug with four ring-handles round the sides. All these vases are

specifically and definitely Mycenaean, or rather, following the new

terminology, Minoan. They are of Greek manufacture and are carried on

the shoulders of Pelasgian Greeks. The bearers wear the usual Mycenaean

costume, high boots and a gaily ornamented kilt, and little else, just

as we see it depicted in the fresco of the Cupbearer at Knossos and

in other Greek representations. The coiffure, possibly the most

characteristic thing about the Mycenaean Greeks, is faithfully

represented by the Egyptians both here and in Rekhmara's tomb. The

Mycenaean men allowed their hair to grow to its full natural length,

like women, and wore it partly hanging down the back, partly tied up

in a knot or plait (the kepas of the dandy Paris in the Iliad) on the

crown of the head. This was the universal fashion, and the Keftiu are

consistently depicted by the XVIIIth Dynasty Egyptians as following it.

The faces in the Senmut fresco are not so well portrayed as those in the

Rekhmara fresco. There it is evident that the first three ambassadors

are faithfully depicted, as the portraits are marked. The procession

advances from left to right. The first man, "the Great Chief of the

Kefti and the Isles of the Green Sea," is young, and has a remarkably

small mouth with an amiable expression. His complexion is fair rather

than dark, but his hair is dark brown. His lieutenant, the next in

order, is of a different type,--elderly, with a most forbidding visage,

Roman nose, and nutcracker jaws. Most of the others are very much

alike,--young, dark in complexion, and with long black hair hanging

below their waists and twisted up into fantastic knots and curls on the

tops of their heads. One, carrying on his shoulder a great silver vase

with curving handles and in one hand a dagger of early European Bronze

Age type, is looking back to hear some remark of his next companion.

Any one of these gift-bearers might have sat for the portrait of

the Knossian Cupbearer, the fresco discovered by Mr. Evans in the

palace-temple of Minos; he has the same ruddy brown complexion, the same

long black hair dressed in the same fashion, the same parti-coloured

kilt, and he bears his vase in much the same way. We have only to allow

for the difference of Egyptian and Mycenaean ways of drawing. There is

no doubt whatever that these Keftiu of the Egyptians were Cretans of the

Minoan Age. They used to be considered Phoenicians, but this view was

long ago exploded. They are not Semites, and that is quite enough.

Neither are they Asiatics of any kind. They are purely and simply

Mycenaean, or rather Minoan, Greeks of the pre-Hellenic period--Pelasgi,

that is to say.

Probably no discovery of more far-reaching importance to our knowledge

of the history of the world generally and of our own culture especially

has ever been made than the finding of Mycenae by Schliemann, and

the further finds that have resulted therefrom, culminating in the

discoveries of Mr. Arthur Evans at Knossos. Naturally, these discoveries

are of extraordinary interest to us, for they have revealed the

beginnings and first bloom of the European civilization of to-day. For

our culture-ancestors are neither the Egyptians, nor the Assyrians, nor

the Hebrews, but the Hellenes, and they, the Aryan-Greeks, derived most

of their civilization from the pre-Hellenic people whom they found in

the land before them, the Pelasgi or "Mycenaean" Greeks, "Minoans," as we

now call them, the Keftiu of the Egyptians. These are the ancient Greeks

of the Heroic Age, to which the legends of the Hellenes refer; in their

day were fought the wars of Troy and of the Seven against Thebes, in

their day the tragedy of the Atridse was played out to its end, in their

day the wise Minos ruled Knossos and the AEgean. And of all the events

which are at the back of these legends we know nothing. The hieroglyphed

tablets of the pre-Hellenic Greeks lie before us, but we cannot read

them; we can only see that the Minoan writing in many ways resembled

the Egyptian, thus again confirming our impression of the original early

connection of the two cultures.

In view of this connection, and the known close relations between Crete

and Egypt, from the end of the XIIth Dynasty to the end of the XVIIIth,

we might have hoped to recover at Knossos a bilingual inscription in

Cretan and Egyptian hieroglyphs which would give us the key to the

Minoan script and tell us what we so dearly wish to know. But this hope

has not yet been realized. Two Egyptian inscriptions have been found at

Knossos, but no bilingual one. A list of Keftian names is preserved in

the British Museum upon an Egyptian writing-board from Thebes with what

is perhaps a copy of a single Cretan hieroglyph, a vase; but again,

nothing bilingual. A list of "Keftian words" occurs at the head of a

papyrus, also in the British Museum, but they appear to be nonsense,

a mere imitation of the sounds of a strange tongue. Still we need

not despair of finding the much desired Cretan-Egyptian bilingual

inscription yet. Perhaps the double text of a treaty between Crete and

Egypt, like that of Ramses II with the Hittites, may come to light.

Meanwhile we can only do our best with the means at our hand to trace

out the history of the relations of the oldest European culture with

the ancient civilization of Egypt. The tomb-paintings at Thebes are very

important material. Eor it is due to them that the voice of the doubter

has finally ceased to be heard, and that now no archaeologist questions

that the Egyptians were in direct communication with the Cretan

Mycenaeans in the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, some fifteen hundred years

before Christ, for no one doubts that the pictures of the Keftiu are

pictures of Mycenaeans.

As we have seen, we know that this connection was far older than the

time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, but it is during that time and the Hyksos

period that we have the clearest documentary proof of its existence,

from the statuette of Abnub and the alabastron lid of King Khian,

found at Knossos, down to the Mycenaean pottery fragments found at Tell

el-Amarna, a site which has been utterly abandoned since the time of

the heretic Akhunaten (B.C. 1430), so that there is no possibility of

anything found there being later than his time. That the connection

existed as late as the time of the XXth Dynasty we know from the

representations of golden Buegelkannen or false-necked vases of

Mycenaean form in the tomb of Ramses III in the Biban el-Muluk, and of

golden cups of Vaphio type in the tomb of Imadua, already mentioned.

This brings the connection down to about 1050 B.C