Edouard Naville.

Ahnas el Medineh (Heracleopolis Magna) : with chapters on Mendes, the nome of Thoth, and Leontopolis (Volume 11) online

. (page 3 of 11)
Online LibraryEdouard NavilleAhnas el Medineh (Heracleopolis Magna) : with chapters on Mendes, the nome of Thoth, and Leontopolis (Volume 11) → online text (page 3 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


more than an unornamented rectangular box.
Near the box were placed vases of coarse red
pottery and sometimes small wooden figures,
which seem to have belonged to a boat and its
crew ; also plain wooden head-rests, and a hoe
— the wooden instrument called y^ mer, which
was used for tilling the laud.

The first coffins we discovered were in large
pits where a great many bodies had been
thrown in without any order, and apparently
with a neglect little in accordance with the
feeling of respect which the Egyptians are
supposed to have testified towards their
dead. Some of them were hardly mummified,
wrapped in mats, or in a bundle of palm sticks.
Here and there appeared a cofiin painted in
brilliant colours, and with all the characteristics
of a late epoch. The greatest number we
discovered were on the top of a hill and
quite at the surface. A rudimentary niche had
been cut in the rock, and the coffin was covered
with rubbish. Some of those coffins were typi-
cally very ugly (pi. xi. a.). Most of them con-
tained the bodies of women, and the mummies
wei'e wrapped in much cloth, without any amu-
lets. Some of them had the siugle ornament
of a necklace of small shells and blue beads,
from which hung a porcelain image of Bastit.
There were no inscriptions giving the names
and titles of the deceased. The best mummies
found were in the large pits. Some of them
were in three cases, the inner ones being of
cartonnage, adorned with figures of divinities
and scenes from the Book of the Dead (pis. vii.,
viii.). The two cases enclosing the cartonnage
were painted in red. Several specimens have



been bruught to Europe.au uuiseums. On these
coffins we see the hands of the deceased crossed
on the breast, and wearing as it were gloves
made of net-work (pis. vii., viii.). In two of
them the right hand lay by the side, while the
left was crossed on the breast (pi. xi. c).
Though the name does not appear on these
coffins, there are iuscriptious referring to the
scenes from the Book of the Dead painted upon
them, and also this formula, which is exactly
repeated on several of the wooden sarcophagi :



u



^ D



^=^



fi



iWVVV\ v^

— H— ^ D '=> in

AV^ftAA /Ty I

AVVAAA v^fA '^ — ^^



^ W

m
o I



1



^ D ^ III



D 111



w A



14



L-J}



t===±3



^^ « '^ !>

n j] ^ A roi/al offcriinj tu Osiris ivlio

resides in tJie Amenf ; lie (jives that thij ghost
may apjjcar and smell tlie Jiowers in the days of
tlie festivals uf Sokaris. ID- (jioes water to thy
ijhost, flowers to thy body, garments to thy
mummy, thoii art justified, Osiris for eternity.

It is evident that the Necropolis Avas used in
later times. A proof of this remains in frag-
ments of Greek tablets which we found in some
of the tombs, and I believe most of the coffins
must be assigned to Ptolemaic or Roman times.
There are a few, however, to which a much
earlier date may be assigned, and which, though
they contained bodies contemporary with the
Christian era, are yet the remains of an earlier,
and perhaps of the original Necropolis. I
should mention a plain rectangular yellow box,
which was found empty and without its lid. It
is exactly of the style of the Xlth Dynasty.
The inscription, written horizontally along the

upper part, reads as follows : i ^ A II „






h y '"^\^'^'^ A royal offering to Annhis on

]ds mountains in the Necropolis, the lord of
Teser [may he give) a good burial in the
Kherneter to the beloved Hunt. Another coffin in



14



HERACLEOPOLIS.



sycamore wood, with the arms in very low reUef
and crossed on the breast, is of much later
epoch (pi. xi. e). On the side are j)aiiited two
Anubis, a god with a human head, and other
figures. The inscription is nearly destroyed ;

what remains of it reads thus : ( j . """^ M i ^

"^v^' z^'*! A«v^ |[1| Q ill I ig\ infaconr of I[otcj)l-(i,

the ^on of the yrivsi, the scribe liavies. I
should think that this cofRn is later than the
XXth Dynasty. Near it were tw^o blue porce-
lain scarabs.

Thus it is clear that no definite period or
epoch can be fixed for the Necropolis of
Ssedment. We have here a cemetery which
has been used and re-used during centuries,
and where we may come across fragmentary
remains ranging from the Xlth Dynasty to the
time of the Romans. The majority of those
fragments, especially of the stela?, points to
the XVIIIth and XlXth Dynasties. It is
probable that we must trace the origin of the
greater part of the Necropolis to the time of the
great prosperity and power of Egypt, to the age
of the Thothraes, the Amenophis, and even of
Rameses II. ; how^ever, parts of it must be much
older, as we may conclude from the presence of
the coffin of the woman Hvmt. But even
thougli we ti'ace it as far back as the Xlth
Dynasty, there is nothing whatever which we
can consider as belonging to the Old Empire.

I attribute to the XlXth Dynasty the only
statue which I found at Ssedment (pi. xii. B.).



It is a broken granite group found in the rub-
bish thrown into one of the pits to fill it. It
represented a standing priest and pi'iestess.
The figure of the priestess is nearly broken off.
On the back were two scenes of offerings
(pi. i. F.); the priest stood before Arsaphes of
Huneusu, and the priestess Hnnurl oflered two
sistrums to Hathor, the goddess of the city.

As for the pottery, some specimens of which
have been put together on pi. ix., it is difficult
to date it with exactness, considering that it
comes from a necropolis which has been used at
various epochs. However, it is to be noticed
that with few exceptions the whole of it was
found in the poorest tombs, and even in those
bearing unmistakable indications of a very late
date. Wc also found fragments of terra-cotta
coffins ; the headpiece of one of them is repre-
sented on the same plate as the pottery. All
the vases belong: to the roughest kind of
Egyptian pottery. The bottle-shaped vases,
which are sometimes considered as being the
oldest Egyptian pottery, w^ere found close to
the cultivated land, in that part of the Necro-
polis which I described as being the poorest,
where there are only rectangular boxes and
imperfectly mummified bodies, without any
ornament or amulet. Whoever has seen the
Neci'opolis of Ssedment will have no hesitation
in considering those bottle-shaped vases as the
latest work discovered there, later than the
pieces of Greek inscriptions found close by.
Consequently they must belong to Roman times.



MENDES.



The Wo mounds situate near the present
station of Simbillaouin, and separated by a
small village, bear the collective name of Tmei
el Amdid. Nevertheless, these two mounds
mark the sites of two different cities. The
southern mound, distinguished by the more
markedly Roman characteristics of appearance,
was called Tend, ^a3, in the Middle Ages, and
is now called Tell Ibn es Sahim. It is the
ruins of the ancient city of Thmds. The
northern mound has a decidedly Pharaonic
character. It was known as El Mondid, jjja*!l,
in the Middle Ages, afterwards as Tell Boha,
and is the site of the ancient Mendcs. Those
two important cities stood close to each other ;
and although they may have co-existed in the
time of Herodotus, Mendes was the first, the
oldest; it was the capital of the nome, and
gave its name to the province. Later on, under
the Romans, we find that Thmuis is pre-
eminent, while Mendes has fallen into the
shade.

In the first place, let us consider the infor-
mation to be derived from classical sources
with regard to these two cities. Herodotus ^
mentions the Mendesian mouth of the Nile as
not originating at the apex of the Delta, but
from the Sebennytic branch. He also speaks
of the Mendesian nome, and of the local cult of
the city, and says that this nome, together
Avith several others in Lower Egypt, was
allotted to those whom he calls the Calasirians,
who constituted a division of the military caste.

1 Lib. ii., 17, 42, 43, ICG.



Among the nomcs belonging to this military
caste, ho also mentions that of Thmuis,
0ju,outTi7s ; but this is evidently a mistake, and
the solitary mention of any such nome. In
his enumeration, Herodotus has given us the
same nome twice over under different names.
Strabo " twice refers to the city and nome of
Mendes as being in the vicinity of the city and
nome of Leontopolis. Ptolemy, the geographer,
gives us the position of the nome of Mendes,
to which he assigns Thmuis as the capital.^
Already in his time this last city had superseded
the ancient capital ; and, judging from the
extent of its ruins, it must have been a city as
largo iis Mendes. Thmuis is mentioned by
Josephus * as one of the places Avhere Titus
encamped on his march against Palestine.
The Roman general used the Mendesian branch
of the Nile for the transport of his troops. Its
navigation would seem to have afforded an easy
access to the sea even for a large fleet, since it
was at this mouth of the river that Nectanebo,
the last native king of Egypt, fought his
desperate battle against the Persian troops of
Pharnabazus, under the command of the
Athenian general Iphicrates. This battle sealed
the fate of Egypt, for from that time onwards
the prophecy of Ezekiel was fulfilled, and no
native ruler evermore reigned in the land.
The prosperity of Thmuis is indicated by



2 p. 802, 812.

^ Mti'Sijo-io? vofj.6'; Kai fD^rpoToXis ®/JLovi<;. Ptol., p. 124.
^ iVvaTrAtt Sta Tov NetAou Kara Tuy Mci'SrJcriOi' vofxoy f^^XP^

TToAcojs &ixov(ijj<;. Bell. Ju(L, 1. iv., chap. 42, ed. Froben.



K,



me:ndes.



Ammianns Mfircelliiiup/ who says that it was
one of the four great cities of Egypt, the other
three being Athribis, Oxyrynchos, and INfem-
phis. According to the Itinerary of Anto-
ninus," it was twenty-two miles distant from
Tanis, and forty-four from Heracleopolis Parva,
the present Kantarah on tlie Suez Canal.
Thniuis became one of the episcopal seats of
Egypt, and the names of two of its liishops have
come down to ns : that of Serapion, who
wrote a biography of St. Macarius, and that of
Phileas, who suffered martyrdom under Diocle-
tian. Under Ai-ab rule both mounds belonged
to the province of Murtahia.

I devoted the greatest part of my time to
the Pharaonic mound of Mendcs. The remains
are so scanty that it is hardly possible, from
the mere sight of them, to form au idea of
what the old city must have been, and of the
buildings which it contained. Rightly to judge
of their size and importance we must go back
to ancient descriptions of the place. An Arab
geographer of the fifteenth century, Abul-
'Abbas Ahmed ben Ali el Galcaschandi, gives
the following account of the ruins : " The tem-
ple of Tumei, in the province el Murtilhia, on
the north towards the city of Tumei, is in ruins.
The common people call it the Temple of 'Ad.
Remains of its walls and of the roof, made of
very large stones, have been preserved to the
present day. Over the entrance is a piece of
limestone and gypsum. In the interior there
are largo cisterns of hard stone and of a very
extraordinary description." And further :
" Tumei is a city in ruins, in the province of
Murttlhia, with considerable remains. I saw
there a hall with columns of hard stone made
of one single piece of a height of about ten
cubits, erected on a basement also of hard
stone." ^

5 L. xxii. IG. c ]>_ i53_ cd. Wosseling.

' I am indebted to the kindness of Count d'lTidst for
these curious quotations.



We find that the place had altered consider-
ably by the end of last century, at the time of
the French expedition." The French savants
speak of it as being covered by a confused
mass of broken pottery, granite blocks, and
ruined brick walls. The only monument which
they found complete was the monolithic shrine,
still standing, and to which we shall refer later.
Besides the shrine, there were blocks of black
granite, which have since disappeared, as well
as three falling buildings whose remains
covered the soil. Also, at a short distance
fi'om the monolith, were twenty-eight large
oval-shaped stones, hollowed as for watering
troughs, or coffins ; and Jomard, remembering'
the passage in Herodotus which says that Pan,
called Mendes, was worshipped here under the
form of a he-goat, suggests that these coffins
may have been destined for the embalmed
bodies of those sacred animals. They are
evidently the " cisterns of extraordinary
description " which so astonished the Arab
traveller.

Another Frenchman, who visited the place
about the same time, noticed that the ground
had been dug over for the limestone with
which the walls of the ancient buildings were
made. He also observed that the pavement
of the largest temple was of sandstone, and
was covered with yellow and red fragments
from Gebel Ahmar, the Red mountain near
Cairo. Everywhere he found traces of fire,
thick layers of charcoal and calcined matter,
burnt bricks, and half-vitrified fragments, and
as he had seen the same things on other
mounds, ho concluded that fire had been the
chief agent in the destruction of this city. No
doubt many of the old Egyptian cities owe
their destruction to fire ; but the most de-
structive of all fires is that of the kiln, which in
modern times has reduced to liuie the walls of

" De^n: de TEgypie. Ant., vol. ix. [i. 3G9 and Q'., ed.
Panckoucke.



SHRINK OF AMASIS.



17



a great number of buildings, including the
most valuable Xlltli Dynasty temples of tlie
Delta. The scanty remains which the French
saw at the beginning of this century have for
the most part long since disappeared, and
except the monolithic shrine, some of the
coffins, and a few stray blocks of hard stone
which could not be used, nothing remains
either above or below the soil of the extensive
buildings of the city of Mendes.

When I settled there, at the beginning of
January, 1892, the only things visible were




Drawing found in Lepsius' Papers.



the monolithic shrine (see Vignette), a few
blocks originally forming the basements of
the walls, and the sarcophagi of the sacred
rams within the enclosure wall on the north
side, besides a very large coffin in black granite
with a casing of limestone, which must have
been for a high official or even for a king,
and which had already been discovered and
opened — when, we do not know. It bears no
inscription.

The shrine is an enormous monolith of I'ed
granite ; its height is more than twenty feet,



and its Avidth twelve. There is a low roof
in the form of a pyramidion with a very obtuse
angle. Its granite l)ase rests upon a high
limestone basement, which extended not only
under the monument itself, but also under-
neath the hall which contained the shrine.
The shrine was evidently destined to contain
the sacred emblems, for it had a door, probably
made of precious wood. The limestone base-
ment was quarried out not long ago, and a
quantity of lime has been made out of it for a
pasha's farm; so that at pi'esent the solidity
of the monolith is endangered by the deep
holes around it, into which blocks of the pave-
ment have fallen. This quarrying seems to
have been stopped lately, owing to the energy
of the Museum authorities, otherwise the shrine
would certainly have fallen to pieces, and that
the more easily since deep cracks on the aides
show that the stone is broken.

One of the French explorers, Girard,' says
that in his time there were traces of erased
hieroglyphs on the sides of the shrine. They
are no longer discernible. Burton,^ who visited
the place about the year 1825, and who made
a drawing of the shrine, could decipher a few
signs which were probably on the cornice of
the monument. They form the coronation
cartouche of King Amasis of the XXVIth
Dynasty, who is said in the same inscription to

be the worshipper of ^^ T K V ^ ^'"^ ^^'^'■"'.'/
noul of Shio. In the course of the excavations
which I made near the monolith, I found the
same cartouche with the words (worshipper of)

'^^•V-'fei^ J the living soul of Seh, on a granite

block. I shall revert later to the worship of
Mendes indicated by these words. Whether
the shrine was reconstructed by the Saites,
or whether those kings merely engraved an
inscription upon it, one thing is certain : the

" Descr. de rEgijpte, Ant., vol. ix. p. 375.
1 Excerpta hier., \i\. xli.



18



MRNDES.



temple itself is older than the XXVIth
Dynasty ; for among the stones which belonged
to the Ijasement, there are several bearing the
name of RamesesII.and of his son Merenphthah.
Two of them have been cut into water-basins,
both have the name of Eameses II., but on one
of them it is written with a variant. I here

ffivo the sentence in full : ^ KSiX^ ^^ uuo f



("^TM lV C^iilfflil -'-



lonq



as lasti< the slcy thy datues lad, Usermara wtep
en Ra, f^on of Ba, Barneses, Jieloved of Amen,



the divine chief of On;



AAAAAA — l-—-^:^



D ^



■fa



&c., with the same cartouches, As long as thou
lastcst Ba lasts in the si- if. King Barneses, the
divine chief of On. This title of " diviue chief
of On," which Kameses II. assumes here, is
very rarely met with in his cartouche. It was
adopted l)y several of the later Ramcses of
the XXth Dynasty. The second stone, which
is placed symmetrically to this, has the usual
cartouches of Rameses II.

The dynasty which seems to have specially
worked at Mendes is the XXVIth. We have
already seen that the shrine bore the name of
Amasis. That of one of his predecessors,
Psammetichus II., is on a small fragment of
the statue of a priest. To Apries also must
be attributed a monument which we have pub-
lished elsewhere,' and which is now exhibited
in the Museum at Ghizeh. It was found in
one of the trenches which I opened in front of
the monolith, and is a statue representing a
standing king, of natural size, and made from
the red limestone of Gobel Ah mar. It was
broken in two, the head being separated from
the body ; the feet are lost. The statue was
never finished, it is unpolished, and the traces
of the toothed hammer with which the surface
was rounded off may still be seen upon it. I
believe that it was originally intended to be



2 Mariottc, Moii., pi. iv.



^ Arch. Report, p. 2.



the portrait of Apries, one of the kings of the
XXVIth Dynasty. I came to this conclusion
by means of a fragment of the same stone,
coming prol^ably from the same monument,
and which was found close to the torso. This
fragment bears the following inscription : . . .

l^^^?^^^^"^ ••• This inscrip-
lion is on the middle part of the base of a
statue, and as it gives us the standard name
of Apries, it is natural to conclude that the
statue, which according to all probabilities
stood upon that base, was the statue of Apries.
But it has not preserved its original character-
istics. The face has been remodelled ; the
traces of alterations subsequently made in the
features are seen, not only in the way in which
the features are cut, but also in the colour of
the stone. The statue was turned into that of a
Roman emperor, whose likeness was sufficiently
well indicated for it to be still recognizable,
since the sight of the characteristic wrinkles in
the forehead enabled Mr. Murray and Mr.
Grueber at once to identify this portrait as
being that of Caracalla, whose reign was marked
for Egypt by a terrible massacre in Alexandria.

Another monument of Apries, which evidently
comes from the Tell, is to be seen in a mosque
of the neighbouring village of Roba. It is a
piece of limestone with both cartouches of the
king well engraved. I did not succeed in my
repeated attempts to purchase the stone and to
have it taken out of the wall.

Towards the north-east of the monolith are
small mounds which are evidently remains of old
buildings. Digging in one of them, I found a
very fine Hathor capital, which apparently sur-
mounted a monolithic column in black granite,
of which several fragments are left. This
Hathor capital is very different from those I
discovered at Bubastis.* Instead of a diadem
of asps over the hair, it has a small shrine, out
of which an asp projects, and the whole capital

* Buhantis, pi. ix,



THE SACREH UA]\r OP MENDES.



19



is in the lorni (if a sisLruin, a musical instru-
ment which was one of the emblems of the
goddess Ilathor. The hair is not so heavy as
in the Ptolemaic capital of Bohbcit cl Hagar ; ''
the face has the aqniline type of the Rames-
sides ; I should therefore attribute it to the
XTXth or XXth Dynasty. I should think
that the building to which it belonged was
connected with the cemetery of sacred rams ;
perhaps it was the hall with columns described
by the Arab geographer, where he saw those
" cisterns " of extraordinary shape.

Before my excavations, Brugsch-Bey had
worked at Tmci el Amdid for the Boolak
Museum. The most important result of his
work is a Ptolemaic tablet,'^ which, like all
documents of that kind, is most valuable,
because it gives us a great deal of information
about the names of the nome, its cities, its
temples, and the worshij) which was carried on
there. The nome of Mendes, the XVIth on

the list, was j|, which Brugsch first read

Kha, but which probably has to be read



Eamchi ; ' and its capital was 'y^ ^:3:7t| n

Pa ha neb dad, which Brugsch long ago recog-
nized as being the origin of the name of
Mendes, the JJindidi '^ of the Assyrian inscrip-
tions. It is not to be confounded with another

city of very similar name, n If P(i'

■mar neb Dad, which is the capital of the IXth
nome, the present city of Aboosir, near Sama-
nood." Mendes was not exactly on the banks
of that branch of the Nile to which it had given
its name ; the city was joined to the river by a



canal






AAAAAA



Ake^i. Besides the holy ram.



to which we shall presently return, the divini-

' Dcser. de VEgypte, Ant., vol. v. jil. .30.
6 Zeitschr., 1871, p. 81 ; 1875, p. 33.
' J. do Kougo, Gcogr. de la Basse-Egi/jde, p. 114.
• s Oppcrt, liaiqiorts de V Er/ypte ct de I'Asst/rie, p. 92
Delitzscli, Wo lag das Para/lies ? p. 31G.
' The Mnvnd of the Jew, p. 27.



UlG



ties were : the child ILirpocrates, and a goddess
— a woman wearing on her head the emblem of

the nome. She is called " |00,i) Uamcln,
iJic .sacred' woman wlio realdes in the abode of the
ram. The name of this divinity is preserved
on a monument which I saw in the house of a
Greek in a neighbouring village ; it is the base

of a kneeling statue erected for \ ^ jjTk ^sj^^,

attendant of tlie high ]i)r lest of On (Heliopolis),
Uorut'a, the son of the hi(jh piest of On, Ham?
His mother is called f"j ,wwv. .=^ ^ | ^ ^ J^

the i>rics(ess of Ilamehl, Shephoid.

But the chief divinity, whoso animal embodi-
ment was kept and fed in the temple of
Mendes, was the so-called sacred ram. I will
continue to call it a ram in this paper, because
that is the traditional name of the animal,
although to my mind it is decidedly a misnomer.
I believe that the sacred animal of Mendes, whose
conventional form, I admit, is more like that
of a ram than anything else, is meant to repre-
sent not a ram, but a he-goat. It is remarkable
that all the Greek and Roman authoi's who speak
of Mendes and of the animal worshipped there
invariably call it a he-goat, Tpdyos, and not a
vam,Kpi6s. Herodotus, Strabo, Suidas, Nonnus,
Plutarch, are unanimous on that point ; they
say that the Greek god Pan was called Mendes
by the Egyptians, that it had the form of a
he-goat, and that therefore, in the Egyptian
language, that animal is called Mendes." On
the other hand, the same authors repeatedly
mention the ram (/cpids) as being the symbol of
Anion, or as the Greeks call the god Zeus,
Jupiter. " The Egyptians give their statues of

' See Festival Hall of Bubastis, pi. i. 4, the ^. [jTh
preceding the high-priest of On. Probably the son began
with being the attendant of his father before himself attain-
ing to the dignity of liigh-priest.

- Bocliart, Ilierozoicun, 1. ii. p. 642 ; Jablonski, Panth.
Acg., 1. ii. cap. vii.



20



MENDES.



Jupiter the face of a ram," says Herodotus,^
and his statement is confirmed by several
other authors and even by some of the Fathers.
Lepsius * has very clearly pointed out the
distinction to be established between the ram-
headed Amon and the other divinities, also
called ram-headed, Khnum and Arsaphes. He
has shown that Amon has horns going round
the car, and turning downwards, the regular
ammonites or horns of Amon, while Khnum
has always two horizontal horns diverging in a
spiral line from a knot -which projects out of


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryEdouard NavilleAhnas el Medineh (Heracleopolis Magna) : with chapters on Mendes, the nome of Thoth, and Leontopolis (Volume 11) → online text (page 3 of 11)