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   Chapter 3 TOMBS.

Manual of Egyptian Archaeology and Guide to the Study of Antiquities in Egypt By G. Maspero Characters: 74699

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The Egyptians regarded man as composed of various different entities, each having its separate life and functions. First, there was the body; then the Ka or double, which was a less solid duplicate of the corporeal form--a coloured but ethereal projection of the individual, reproducing him feature for feature. The double of a child was as a child; the double of a woman was as a woman; the double of a man was as a man. After the double (Ka) came the Soul (Bi or Ba), which was popularly represented as a human-headed bird; after the Soul came the "Kh?," or "the Luminous," a spark from the divine fire. None of these elements were in their own natures imperishable. Left to themselves, they would hasten to dissolution, and the man would thus die a second time; that is to say, he would be annihilated. The piety of the survivors found means, however, to avert this catastrophe. By the process of embalmment, they could for ages suspend the decomposition of the body; while by means of prayer and offerings, they saved the Double, the Soul, and the "Luminous" from the second death, and secured to them all that was necessary for the prolongation of their existence. The Double never left the place where the mummy reposed: but the Soul and the "Kh?" went forth to follow the gods. They, however, kept perpetually returning, like travellers who come home after an absence. The tomb was therefore a dwelling-house, the "Eternal House" of the dead, compared with which the houses of the living were but wayside inns; and these Eternal Houses were built after a plan which exactly corresponded to the Egyptian idea of the after-life. The Eternal House must always include the private rooms of the Soul, which were closed on the day of burial, and which no living being could enter without being guilty of sacrilege. It must also contain the reception rooms of the Double, where priests and friends brought their wishes or their offerings; the two being connected by a passage of more or less length. The arrangement of these three parts[26] varied according to the period, the place, the nature of the ground, and the caprice of each person. The rooms accessible to the living were frequently built above ground, and formed a separate edifice. Sometimes they were excavated in the mountain side, as well as the tomb itself. Sometimes, again, the vault where the mummy lay hidden, and the passages leading to that vault, were in one place, while the place of prayer and offering stood far off in the plain. But whatever variety there may be found as to detail and arrangement, the principle is always the same. The tomb is a dwelling, and it is constructed in such wise as may best promote the well-being, and ensure the preservation, of the dead.


The most ancient monumental tombs are found in the necropolis of Memphis, between Ab? Roash and Dahsh?r, and in that of Med?m;[27] they belong to the mastaba type (Note 12). The mastaba (fig. 113) is a quadrangular building, which from a distance might be taken for a truncated pyramid. Many mastabas are from 30 to 40-feet in height, 150 feet in length, and 80 feet in width; while others do not exceed 10 feet in height or 15 feet in length. Fig 113.--A Mastaba.

The faces are symmetrically inclined and generally smooth, though sometimes the courses retreat like steps. The materials employed are stone or brick. The stone is limestone, cut in blocks about two and a half feet long, two feet high, and twenty inches thick. Three sorts of limestone were employed: for the best tombs, the fine white limestone of T?rah, or the compact siliceous limestone of Sakkarah; for ordinary tombs, the marly limestone of the Libyan hills. This last, impregnated with salt and veined with crystalline gypsum, is a friable material, and unsuited for ornamentation. The bricks are of two kinds, both being merely sun-dried. The most ancient kind, which ceased to be used about the time of the Sixth Dynasty, is small (8.7 X 4.3 X 5.5 inches), yellowish, and made of nothing but sand, mixed with a little clay and grit.

The later kind is of mud mixed with straw, black, compact, carefully moulded, and of a fair size (15.0 X 7.1 X 5.5 inches). The style of the internal construction differs according to the material employed by the architect. In nine cases out of ten, the stone mastabas are but outwardly regular in construction. The core is of roughly quarried rubble, mixed with rubbish and limestone fragments hastily bedded in layers of mud, or piled up without any kind of mortar. The brick mastabas are nearly always of homogeneous construction. The facing bricks are carefully mortared, and the joints inside are filled up with sand. That the mastaba should be canonically oriented, the four faces set to the four cardinal points, and the longer axis laid from north and south, was indispensable; but, practically, the masons took no special care about finding the true north, and the orientation of these structures is seldom exact. At Gizeh, the mastabas are distributed according to a symmetrical plan, and ranged in regular streets. At Sakkarah, at Ab?s?r, and at Dahsh?r, they are scattered irregularly over the surface of the plateau, crowded in some places, and wide apart in others. The Mussulman cemetery at Si?t perpetuates the like arrangement, and enables us to this day to realise the aspect of the Memphite necropolis towards the close of the ancient empire.

A flat, unpaved platform, formed by the top course of the core ( Note 13), covers the top of the mass of the mastaba. This platform is scattered over with terracotta vases, nearly buried in the loose rubbish. These lie thickly over the hollow interior, but are more sparsely deposited elsewhere. The walls are bare. The doors face to the eastward side. They occasionally face towards the north or south side, but never towards the west. In theory, there should be two doors, one for the dead, the other for the living. In practice, the entrance for the dead was a mere niche, high and narrow, cut in the eastward face, near the north-east corner. At the back of this niche are marked vertical lines, framing in a closed space.

Fig 114.--False door in mastaba, from Mariette's Les Mastabahs

Fig. 115.--Plan of forecourt of mastaba of Kapir.

Even this imitation of a door was sometimes omitted, and the soul was left to manage as best it might. The door of the living was made more or less important, according to the greater or less development of the chamber to which it led. The chamber and door are in some cases represented by only a shallow recess decorated with a stela and a table of offerings (fig. 114). This is sometimes protected by a wall which projects from the fa?ade, thus forming a kind of forecourt open to the north. The forecourt is square in the tomb of Kapir (fig. 114), and irregular in that of Neferhotep at Sakkarah (fig. 116). Fig 116.--Plan of forecourt, mastaba of Neferhotep.

When the plan includes one or more chambers, the door sometimes opens in the middle of a small architectural fa?ade (fig. 117), or under a little portico supported by two square pillars without either base or abacus (fig. 118). The doorway is very simple, the two jambs being ornamented with bas-reliefs representing the deceased, and surmounted by a cylindrical drum engraved with his name and titles. Fig 117.--Door in fa?ade of mastaba.

In the tomb of Poh?nika at Sakkarah the jambs are two pilasters, each crowned with two lotus flowers; but this example is, so far, unique.

The chapel was usually small, and lost in the mass of the building (fig. 119), but no precise rule determined its size. In the tomb of Ti there is first a portico (A), then a square ante-chamber with pillars (B), then a passage (C) with a small room (D) on the right, leading to the last chamber (E) (fig. 120). There was room enough in this tomb for many persons, and, in point of fact, the wife of Ti reposed by the side of her husband. Fig 118.--Portico and door, from Mariette's Les Mastabahs.

When the monument belonged to only one person, the structure was less complicated. A short and narrow passage led to an oblong chamber upon which it opened at right angles, so that the place is in shape of a T (fig. 121). The end wall is generally smooth; but sometimes it is recessed just opposite the entrance passage, and then the plan forms a cross, of which the head is longer or shorter (fig. 122). This was the ordinary arrangement, but the architect was free to reject it, if he so pleased.

Fig 119.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of Khabi?sokari, Fourth Dynasty.

Here, a chapel consists of two parallel lobbies connected by a cross passage (fig. 123). Elsewhere, the chamber opens from a corner of the passage (fig. 124). Fig 120.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of Ti, Fifth Dynasty.

Fig. 121.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of Shepsesptah, Fourth Dynasty.

Fig. 122.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of Affi, Sakkarah, Fourth Dynasty.

Again, in the tomb of Ptahhotep, the site was hemmed in by older buildings, and was not large enough.

Fig 123.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of Thenti II., Fourth Dynasty, Sakkarah.

The builders therefore joined the new mastaba to the older one in such wise as to give them one entrance in common, and thus the chapel of the one is enlarged by absorbing the whole of the space occupied by the other (fig. 125).

The chapel was the reception room of the Double. It was there that the relations, friends, and priests celebrated the funerary sacrifices on the days prescribed by law; that is to say, "at the feasts of the commencement of the seasons; at the feast of Thoth on the first day of the year; at the feast of ?aga; at the great feast of Sothis; on the day of the procession of the god Min; at the feast of shew-bread; at the feasts of the months and the half months, and the days of the week."

Fig 124.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of the Red Scribe, Fourth Dynasty, Sakkarah.

Offerings were placed in the principal room, at the foot of the west wall, at the exact spot leading to the entrance of the "eternal home" of the dead. Unlike the Kiblah of the mosques, or Mussulman oratories, this point is not always oriented towards the same quarter of the compass, though often found to the west. In the earliest times it was indicated by a real door, low and narrow, framed and decorated like the door of an ordinary house, but not pierced through.

Fig 125.--Plan of chapel in mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty, Sakkarah.

An inscription graven upon the lintel in large readable characters, commemorated the name and rank of the owner. His portrait, either sitting or standing, was carved upon the jambs; and a scene, sculptured or painted on the space above the door, represented him seated before a small round table, stretching out his hand towards the repast placed upon it. A flat slab, or offering table, built into the floor between the two uprights of the doorway, received the votive meats and drinks.

Fig 126.--Stela in tomb of Merr?ka (Fifth Dynasty, Ab?sir): a false doorway containing the statue of the deceased.

The general appearance of the recess is that of a somewhat narrow doorway. As a rule it was empty, but occasionally it contained a portrait statue of the dead standing with one foot forward as though about to cross the gloomy threshold of his tomb, descend the few steps before him, advance into his reception room or chapel, and pass out into the sunlight (fig. 126). As a matter of fact, the stela symbolised the door leading to the private apartments of the dead, a door closed and sealed to the living. It was inscribed on door-posts and lintels, and its inscription was no mere epitaph for the information of future generations; all the details which it gave as to the name, rank, functions, and family of the deceased were intended to secure the continuity of his individuality and civil status in the life beyond death. A further and essential object of its inscriptions was to provide him with food and drink by means of prayers or magic formulae constraining one of the gods of the dead--Osiris or Anubis--to act as intermediary between him and his survivors and to set apart for his use some portion of the provisions offered for his sake in sacrifice to one or other of these deities. By this agency the Kas or Doubles of these provisions were supposed to be sent on into the next world to gladden and satisfy the human Ka indicated to the divine intermediary. Offerings of real provisions were not indispensable to this end; any chance visitor in times to come who should simply repeat the formula of the stela aloud would thereby secure the immediate enjoyment of all the good things enumerated to the unknown dead whom he evoked.

Fig 127.--Wall scene of funerary offerings, from mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty.

The living having taken their departure, the Double was supposed to come out of his house and feed. In principle, this ceremony was bound to be renewed year by year, till the end of time; but the Egyptians ere long discovered that this could not be. After two or three generations, the dead of former days were neglected for the benefit of those more recently departed. Even when a pious foundation was established, with a revenue payable for the expenses of the funerary repasts and of the priests whose duty it was to prepare them, the evil hour of oblivion was put off for only a little longer. Sooner or later, there came a time when the Double was reduced to seek his food among the town refuse, and amid the ignoble and corrupt filth which lay rejected on the ground. Then, in order that the offerings consecrated on the day of burial might for ever preserve their virtues, the survivors conceived the idea of drawing and describing them on the walls of the chapel (fig. 127). The painted or sculptured reproduction of persons and things ensured the reality of those persons and things for the benefit of the one on whose account they were executed. Thus the Double saw himself depicted upon the walls in the act of eating and drinking, and he ate and drank. This notion once accepted, the theologians and artists carried it out to the fullest extent. Not content with offering mere pictured provisions, they added thereto the semblance of the domains which produced them, together with the counterfeit presentment of the herds, workmen, and slaves belonging to the same. Was a supply of meat required to last for eternity? It was enough, no doubt, to represent the several parts of an ox or a gazelle--the shoulder, the leg, the ribs, the breast, the heart, the liver, the head, properly prepared for the spit; but it was equally easy to retrace the whole history of the animal--its birth, its life in the pasture-lands, its slaughter, the cutting up of the carcass, and the presentation of the joints.

Fig 128.--Wall-painting, funeral voyage; mastaba of Urkhu?, Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty.

So also as regarded the cakes and bread-offerings, there was no reason why the whole process of tillage, harvesting, corn-threshing, storage, and dough-kneading should not be rehearsed. Clothing, ornaments, and furniture served in like manner as a pretext for the introduction of spinners, weavers, goldsmiths, and cabinet-makers.

Fig 129.--Wall-scene from mastaba of Ptahhotep, Fifth Dynasty.

The master is of superhuman proportions, and towers above his people and his cattle. Some prophetic tableaux show him in his funeral bark, speeding before the wind with all sail set, having started on his way to the next world the very day that he takes possession of his new abode (fig. 128). Elsewhere, we see him as actively superintending his imaginary vassals as formerly he superintended his vassals of flesh and blood (fig. 129). Varied and irregular as they may appear, these scenes are not placed at random upon the walls. Fig 130.--Plan of serdab in mastaba at Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty.

They all converge towards that semblance of a door which was supposed to communicate with the interior of the tomb. Those nearest to the door represent the sacrifice and the offering; the earlier stages of preparation and preliminary work being depicted in retrograde order as that door is left farther and farther behind. At the door itself, the figure of the master seems to await his visitors and bid them welcome.

The details are of infinite variety. The inscriptions run to a less or greater length according to the caprice of the scribe; the false door loses its architectural character, and is frequently replaced by a mere stela engraved with the name and rank of the master; yet, whether large or small, whether richly decorated or not decorated at all, the chapel is always the dining-room--or, rather, the larder--to which the dead man has access when he feels hungry.

On the other side of the wall was constructed a hiding-place in the form of either a high and narrow cell, or a passage without outlet. To this hiding-place archaeologists have given the Arab name of "serdab." Most mastabas contain but one; others contain three or four (fig. 130). These serdabs communicated neither with each other nor with the chapel; and are, as it were, buried in the masonry (fig. 131). If connected at all with the outer world, it is by means of an aperture in the wall about as high up as a man's head (fig. 132), and so small that the hand can with difficulty pass through it.

Fig 131.--Plan of serdab and chapel in mastaba of Rahotep at Sakkarah, Fourth Dynasty. Fig. 132.--Plan of serdab and chapel in mastaba of Thenti I. at Sakkarah, Fourth Dynasty.

To this orifice came the priests, with murmured prayers and perfumes of incense. Within lurked the Double, ready to profit by these memorial rites, or to accept them through the medium of his statues. As when he lived upon earth, the man needed a body in which to exist. His corpse, disfigured by the process of embalmment, bore but a distant resemblance to its former self. The mummy, again, was destructible, and might easily be burned, dismembered, scattered to the winds. Once it had disappeared, what was to become of the Double? The portrait statues walled up inside the serdab became, when consecrated, the stone, or wooden, bodies of the defunct. The pious care of his relatives multiplied these bodies, and consequently multiplied the supports of the Double. A single body represented a single chance of existence for the Double; twenty bodies represented twenty such chances. For the same reason, statues also of his wife, his children, and his servants were placed with the statues of the deceased, the servants being modelled in the act of performing their domestic duties, such as grinding corn, kneading dough, and applying a coat of pitch to the inside surfaces of wine-jars. As for the figures which were merely painted on the walls of the chapel, they detached themselves, and assumed material bodies inside the serdab. Notwithstanding these precautions, all possible means were taken to guard the remains of the fleshly body from natural decay and the depredations of the spoiler. In the tomb of Ti, an inclined passage, starting from the middle of the first hall, leads from the upper world to the sepulchral vault; but this is almost a solitary exception. Generally, the vault is reached by way of a vertical shaft constructed in the centre of the platform (fig. 133), or, more rarely, in a corner of the chapel. The depth of this shaft varies from 10 to 100 feet. It is carried down through the masonry: it pierces the rock; and at the bottom, a low passage, in which it is not possible to walk upright, leads in a southward direction to the vault. There sleeps the mummy in a massive sarcophagus of limestone, red granite, or basalt. Sometimes, though rarely, the sarcophagus bears the name and titles of the deceased. Still more rarely, it is decorated with ornamental sculpture. Some examples are known which reproduce the architectural decoration of an Egyptian house, with its doors and windows.[28] The furniture of the vault is of the simplest character,--some alabaster perfume vases; a few cups into which the priest had poured drops of the various libation liquids offered to the dead; some large red pottery jars for water; a head-rest of wood or alabaster; a scribe's votive palette. Fig 133.--Section showing shaft and vault of mastaba at Gizeh, Fourth Dynasty.

Having laid the mummy in the sarcophagus and cemented the lid, the workmen strewed the floor of the vault with the quarters of oxen and gazelles which had just been sacrificed. They next carefully walled up the entrance into the passage, and filled the shaft to the top with a mixture of sand, earth, and stone chips. Being profusely watered, this mass solidified, and became an almost impenetrable body of concrete. The corpse, left to itself, received no visits now, save from the Soul, which from time to time quitted the celestial regions wherein it voyaged with the gods, and came down to re-unite itself with the body. The sepulchral vault was the abode of the Soul, as the funerary chapel was the abode of the Double.

Up to the time of the Sixth Dynasty, the walls of the vault are left bare. Once only did Mariette find a vault containing half-effaced inscriptions from The Book of the Dead. In 1881, I however discovered some tombs at Sakkarah, in which the vault is decorated in preference to the chapel. These tombs are built with large bricks, a niche and a stela sufficing for the reception of sacrificial offerings. In place of the shaft, they contain a small rectangular court, in the western corner of which was placed the sarcophagus. Fig 134.--Section of mastaba, Sakkarah, Sixth Dynasty.

Over the sarcophagus was erected a limestone chamber just as long and as wide as the sarcophagus itself, and about three and a half feet high. This was roofed in with flat slabs. At the end, or in the wall to the right, was a niche, which answered the purpose of a serdab; and above the flat roof was next constructed an arch of about one foot and a half radius, the space above the arch being filled in with horizontal courses of brickwork up to the level of the platform. The chamber occupies about two-thirds of the cavity, and looks like an oven with the mouth open. Sometimes the stone walls rest on the lid of the sarcophagus, the chamber having evidently been built after the interment had taken place (fig. 134). Generally speaking, however, these walls rest on brick supports, so that the sarcophagus may be opened or closed when required. The decoration, which is sometimes painted, sometimes sculptured, is always the same. Each wall was a house stocked with the objects depicted or catalogued upon its surface, and each was, therefore, carefully provided with a fictitious door, through which the Double had access to his goods.

Fig 135.--Wall painting of funerary offerings, from mastaba of Nenka, Sakkarah, Sixth Dynasty.

On the left wall he found a pile of provisions (fig. 135)[29] and a table of offerings; on the end wall a store of household utensils, as well as a supply of linen and perfumes, the name and quantity of each being duly registered. These paintings more briefly sum up the scenes depicted in the chapels of ordinary mastabas. Transferred from their original position to the walls of an underground cellar, they were the more surely guaranteed against such possible destruction as might befall them in chambers open to all comers; while upon their preservation depended the length of time during which the dead man would retain possession of the property which they represented.


[For the following translation of this section of Professor Maspero's book I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. W. M. Flinders Petrie, whose work on The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, published with the assistance of a grant from the Royal Society in 1883, constitutes our standard authority on the construction of these Pyramids.--A.B.E.]

The royal tombs have the form of pyramids with a square base, and are the equivalent in stone or brick of the tumulus of heaped earth which was piled over the body of the warrior chief in prehistoric times (Note 14). The same ideas prevailed as to the souls of kings as about those of private men; the plan of the pyramid consists, therefore, of three parts, like the mastaba,--the chapel, the passage, and the sepulchral vault.

The chapel is always separate. At Sakkarah no trace of it has been found; it was probably, as later on at Thebes, in a quarter nearer to the town. At Med?m, Gizeh, Ab?s?r, and Dahsh?r, these temples stood at the east or north fronts of the pyramids. They were true temples, with chambers, courts, and passages. The fragments of bas-reliefs hitherto found show scenes of sacrifice, and prove that the decoration was the same as in the public halls of the mastabas. The pyramid, properly speaking, contained only the passages and sepulchral vault. The oldest of which the texts show the existence, north of Abydos, is that of Snefer?; the latest belong to the princes of the Twelfth Dynasty. The construction of these monuments was, therefore, a continuous work, lasting for thirteen or fourteen centuries, under government direction. Granite, alabaster, and basalt for the sarcophagus and some details were the only materials of which the use and the quantity was not regulated in advance, and which had to be brought from a distance. To obtain them, each king sent one of the great men of his court on a mission to the quarries of Upper Egypt; and the quickness with which the blocks were brought back was a strong claim upon the sovereign's favour. The other material was not so costly. If mainly brick, the bricks were moulded on the spot with earth taken from the foot of the hill. If of stone, the nearest parts of the plateau provided the common marly limestone in abundance (Note 15). The fine limestone of T?rah was usually reserved for the chambers and the casing, and this might be had without even sending specially for it to the opposite side of the Nile; for at Memphis there were stores always full, upon which they continually drew for public buildings, and, therefore, also for the royal tombs. The blocks being taken from these stores, and borne by boats to close below the hill, were raised to their required places along gently sloping causeways. The internal arrangement of the pyramids, the lengths of the passages and their heights, were very variable; the pyramid of Kh?f? (Cheops) rose to 475 feet above the ground, the smallest was not 30 feet high. The difficulty of imagining now what motives determined the Pharaohs to choose such different proportions has led some to think that the mass built was in direct proportion to the time occupied in building; that is to say, to the length of each reign. Thus it was supposed that the king would begin by hastily erecting a pyramid large enough to contain the essential parts of a tomb; and then, year by year, would add fresh layers around the first core, until the time when his death for ever arrested the growth of the monument. But the facts do not justify this hypothesis. The smallest of the pyramids of Sakkarah is that of ?nas, who reigned thirty years; while the two imposing pyramids of Gizeh were raised by Kh?f? and Khafra (Chephren), who governed Egypt, the one for twenty-four, and the other for twenty-three years. Merenra, who died very young, had a pyramid as large as that of Pepi II., whose reign lasted more than ninety years (Note 16). The plan of each pyramid was laid down, once for all, by the architect, according to the instructions which he had received, and the resources placed at his disposal. He then followed it out to the end of the work, without increasing or reducing the scale (Note 17).

The pyramids were supposed to have their four faces to the four cardinal points, like the mastabas; but, either from bad management or neglect, the greater part are not oriented exactly, and many vary distinctly from the true north (Note 18). Without speaking of the ruins of Ab? Roash or Zowyet el Aryan, which have not been studied closely enough, they naturally form six groups, distributed from north to south on the border of the Libyan plateau, from Gizeh to the Fay?m, by Ab?s?r, Sakkarah, Dahsh?r, and Lisht. The Gizeh group contains nine, including those of Kh?f?, Khafra, and Menkara, which were anciently reckoned among the wonders of the world. The ground on which the pyramid of Kh?f? stands was very irregular at the time of construction. A small rocky height which rose above the surface was roughly cut (fig. 136) and enclosed in the masonry, the rest being smoothed and covered with large slabs, some of which still remain (Note 19). The pyramid itself was 481 feet high and 755 feet wide, dimensions which the injuries of time have reduced to 454 feet and 750 feet respectively. It preserved, until the Arab conquest, a casing of stones of different colours (Note 20), so skilfully joined as to appear like one block from base to summit. The casing work was begun from the top, and the cap placed on first, the steps being covered one after the other, until they reached the bottom (Note 21). In the inside all was arranged so as to hide the exact place of the sarcophagus, and to baffle any spoilers whom chance or perseverance had led aright. The first point was to discover the entrance under the casing, which masked it. It was nearly in the middle of the north face (fig. 136), but at the level of the eighteenth course, at about forty- five feet from the ground. When the block which closed it was displaced, an inclined passage, 41.2 inches wide and 47.6 inches high, was revealed, the lower part of which was cut in the rock. This descended for 317 feet, passed through an unfinished chamber, and ended sixty feet farther in a blind passage. This would be a first disappointment to the spoilers. If, however, they were not discouraged, but examined the passage with care, they would find in the roof, sixty-two feet distant from the door, a block of granite (Note 22) among the surrounding limestone. Fig 136.--Section of the Great Pyramid. [30]

It was so hard that the seekers, after having vainly tried to break or remove it, took the course of forcing a way through the softer stone around (Note 23). This obstacle past, they came into an ascending passage which joins the first at an angle of 120° (Note 24), and is divided into two branches. One branch runs horizontally into the centre of the pyramid, and ends in a limestone chamber with pointed roof, which is called, without any good reason, "The Queen's Chamber." The other, continuing upward, changes its form and appearance. It becomes a gallery 148 feet long and 28 feet high, built of Mokattam stone, so polished and finely wrought that it is difficult to put a "needle or even a hair" into the joints (Note 25). The lower courses are vertical; the seven others "corbel" forwards, until at the roof they are only twenty-one inches apart. A fresh obstacle arose at the end of this gallery. The passage which led to the chamber of the sarcophagus was closed by a slab of granite (Note 26); farther on was a small vestibule divided in equal spaces by four portcullises of granite (Note 27), which would need to be broken. The royal sepulchre is a granite chamber with a flat roof, nineteen feet high, thirty-four feet long, and seventeen feet wide. Here are neither figures nor inscriptions; nothing but a granite sarcophagus, lidless and mutilated. Such were the precautions taken against invaders; and the result showed that they were effectual, for the pyramid guarded its deposit during more than four thousand years (Note 28). But the very weight of the materials was a more serious danger. To prevent the sepulchral chamber from being crushed by the three hundred feet of stone which stood over it, five low hollow spaces, one over the other, were left above it. The last is sheltered by a pointed roof, formed of two enormous slabs (Note 29) leaning one against the other. Thanks to this device, the central pressure was thrown almost entirely on the side faces, and the chamber was preserved. None of the stones which cover it have been crushed; none have yielded a fraction since the day when the workmen cemented them into their places (Note 30).

The pyramids of Khafra and Menkara were built on a different plan inside to that of Kh?f?. Khafra's had two entrances, both to the north, one from the platform before the pyramid, the other fifty feet above the ground. Menkara's still preserves the remains of its casing of red granite (Note 31). The entrance passage descends at an angle of twenty-six degrees, and soon runs into the rock.

Fig 137.--The Step Pyramid of Sakkarah.

The first chamber is decorated with panels sculptured in the stone, and was closed at the further end by three portcullises of granite. The second chamber appears to be unfinished, but this was a trap to deceive the spoilers. A passage cut in the floor, and carefully hidden, gave access to a lower chamber. There lay the mummy in a sarcophagus of sculptured basalt. The sarcophagus was still perfect at the beginning of this century. Removed thence by Colonel Howard Vyse, it foundered on the Spanish coast with the ship which was bearing it to England.

The same variety of arrangement prevails in the groups of Ab?s?r, and in one part of the Sakkarah group. The great pyramid of Sakkarah is not oriented with exactness. The north face is turned 4° 21' E. of the true north. It is not a perfect square, but is elongated from east to west, the sides being 395 and 351 feet. It is 196 feet high, and is formed of six great steps with inclined faces, each retreating about seven feet; the step nearest the ground is thirty-seven and a half feet high, and the top one is twenty-nine feet high (fig. 137).

Fig 138.--Plan and Section of the Pyramid of ?nas.

It is built entirely of limestone, quarried from the neighbouring hills. The blocks are small and badly cut, and the courses are concave, according to a plan applied both to quays and to fortresses. On examining the breaches in the masonry, it is seen that the outer face of each step is coated with two layers, each of which has its regular casing (Note 32). The mass is solid, the chambers being cut in the rock below the pyramid. It has four entrances, the main one being in the north; and the passages form a perfect labyrinth, which it is perilous to enter. Porticoes with columns, galleries, and chambers, all end in a kind of pit, in the bottom of which a hiding place was contrived, doubtless intended to contain the most precious objects of the funeral furniture. The pyramids which surround this extraordinary monument have been nearly all built on one plan, and only differ in their proportions. The door (fig. 138, A) opens close below the first course, about the middle of the north face, and the passage (B) descends by a gentle slope between two walls of limestone. It is plugged up all along by large blocks (Note 33), which needed to be broken up before the first chamber could be entered (C). Fig 139.--Portcullis and passage, pyramid of ?nas.

Beyond this chamber, it is carried for some way through the limestone rock; then it passes between walls, ceiling and floor of polished syenite; after which the limestone re-appears, and the passage opens into the vestibule (E). The part built of granite is interrupted thrice, at intervals of two to two and a half feet, by three enormous portcullises of granite (D). Above each of these a hollow is left, in which the portcullis stone could be held up by props, and thus leave a free passage (fig. 139). The mummy once placed inside, the workmen, as they left, removed the supports, and the portcullises fell into place, cutting off all communication with the outside. The vestibule was flanked on the east by a flat-roofed serdab (F) divided into three niches, and encumbered with chips of stone swept hastily in by the workmen when they cleared the chambers to receive the mummy. The pyramid of ?nas has all three niches preserved; but in the pyramids of Teti and of Merenra, the separating walls have been neatly cut away in ancient times, without leaving any trace but a line of attachment, and a whiter colour in the stone where it had been originally covered. The sarcophagus chamber (G) extends west of the vestibule; the sarcophagus was placed there along the west wall, feet to the south, head to the north. The roof over the two main chambers was pointed (fig. 140). It was formed of large beams of limestone, joined at the upper ends, and supported below upon a low bench (1) which surrounded the chamber outside (Note 34). The first beams were covered by two others, and these by two more; and the six together (J) thoroughly protected the vestibule of the vault.

Fig 140.--Section of the Pyramid of ?nas.

The pyramids of Gizeh belonged to the Pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty, and those of Ab?sir to the Pharaohs of the Fifth. The five pyramids of Sakkarah, of which the plan is uniform, belonged to ?nas and to the first four kings of the Sixth Dynasty, Teti, Pepi I., Merenra, and Pepi II., and are contemporary with the mastabas with painted v

aults which I have mentioned above (p. 129). It is, therefore, no matter of surprise to find them inscribed and decorated. The ceilings are covered with stars, to represent the night-sky. The rest of the decoration is very simple. In the pyramid of ?nas, which is the most ornamented, the decoration occupies only the end wall of the sepulchral chamber; the part against the sarcophagus was lined with alabaster, and engraved to represent great monumental doors, through which the deceased was supposed to enter his storerooms of provisions. The figures of men and of animals, the scenes of daily life, the details of the sacrifice, are not here represented, and, moreover, would not be in keeping; they belong to those places where the Double lived his public life, and where visitors actually performed the rites of offering; the passages and the vault in which the soul alone was free to wander needed no ornamentation except that which related to the life of the soul. The texts are of two kinds. One kind--of which there are the fewest--refer to the nourishment of the Double, and are literal transcriptions of the formulae by which the priests ensured the transmission of each object to the other world; this was a last resource for him, in case the real sacrifices should be discontinued, or the magic scenes upon the chapel walls be destroyed. The greater part of the inscriptions were of a different kind. They referred to the soul, and were intended to preserve it from the dangers which awaited it, in heaven and on earth. They revealed to it the sovereign incantations which protected it against the bites of serpents and venomous animals, the passwords which enabled it to enter into the company of the good gods, and the exorcisms which counteracted the influence of the evil gods. The destiny of the Double was to continue to lead the shadow of its terrestrial life, and fulfil it in the chapel; the destiny of the Soul was to follow the sun across the sky, and it, therefore, needed the instructions which it read on the walls of the vault. It was by their virtue that the absorption of the dead into Osiris became complete, and that they enjoyed hereafter all the immunity of the divine state. Above, in the chapel, they were men, and acted as men; here they were gods, and acted as gods.

Fig 141.--Mastabat el Fara?n.

The enormous rectangular mass which the Arabs call Mastabat el Fara?n, "the seat of Pharaoh" (fig. 141), stands beside the pyramid of Pepi II. Some have thought it to be an unfinished pyramid, some a tomb surmounted by an obelisk; in reality it is a pyramid which was left unfinished by its builder, King Ati of the Sixth Dynasty. Recent excavations have, on the other hand, shown that the brick pyramids of Dahsh?r probably belonged to the Twelfth Dynasty. The stone pyramids of that group, which may be older, furnish a curious variation from the usual type. One of these stone pyramids has the lower half inclined at 54° 41', while the upper part changes sharply to 42° 59'; it might be called a mastaba (Note 35) crowned by a gigantic attic. At Lisht, where the two pyramids now standing are of the same period (one of them was erected by ?sertesen I.), the structure is again changed. The sloping passage ends in a vertical shaft, at the bottom of which open chambers now filled by the infiltration of the Nile. The pyramids of Illah?n and Hawara, which contained the remains of ?sertesen II. and Amenemhat III., are of the same type as those at Lisht.

Fig 142.--Pyramid of Med?m.

Their rooms are now filled with water. The pyramid of Med?m is empty, having been violated before the Ramesside age. It consists of three square towers (Note 36) with sides slightly sloping, placed in retreating stages one over the other (fig. 142). The entrance is on the north, at about 53 feet above the sand. After 60 feet, the passage goes into the rock; at 174 feet it runs level; at 40 feet farther it stops, and turns perpendicularly towards the surface, opening in the floor of a vault twenty-one feet higher (fig. 143). A set of beams and ropes still in place above the opening show that the spoilers drew the sarcophagus out of the chamber in ancient times. Its small chapel, built against the eastern slope of the pyramid, with courtyard containing a low flat altar between two standing stelae nearly 14 feet high, was found intact. The walls of the chapel were uninscribed, and bare; but the graffiti found there prove that the place was much visited during the times of the Eighteenth Dynasty by scribes, who recorded their admiration of the beauty of the monument, and believed that King Snefer? had raised it for himself and for his queen Meresankh?.

Fig 143.--Section of passage and vault in pyramid of Med?m.

The custom of building pyramids did not end with the Twelfth Dynasty; there are later pyramids at Manfal?t, at Hekalli to the south of Abydos, and at Mohammeriyeh to the south of Esneh. Until the Roman period, the semi-barbarous sovereigns of Ethiopia held it as a point of honour to give the pyramidal form to their tombs. The oldest, those of N?rri, where the Pharaohs of Napata sleep, recall by their style the pyramids of Sakkarah; the latest, those of Mero?, present fresh characteristics. They are higher than they are wide, are built of small blocks, and are sometimes decorated at the angles with rounded borderings. The east face has a false window, surmounted by a cornice, and is flanked by a chapel, which is preceded by a pylon. These pyramids are not all dumb. As in ordinary tombs, the walls contain scenes borrowed from the "Ritual of Burial," or showing the vicissitudes of the life beyond the grave.


Excavated Tombs.

Two subsequent systems replaced the mastaba throughout Egypt. The first preserved the chapel constructed above ground, and combined the pyramid with the mastaba; Fig 144.--Section of "vaulted" brick pyramid, Abydos.

the second excavated the whole tomb in the rock, including the chapel.

The necropolis quarter of Abydos, in which were interred the earlier generations of the Theban Empire, furnishes the most ancient examples of the first system. The tombs are built of large, black, unbaked bricks, made without any mixture of straw or grit. The lower part is a mastaba with a square or oblong rectangular base, the greatest length of the latter being sometimes forty or fifty feet. The walls are perpendicular, and are seldom high enough for a man to stand upright inside the tomb. On this kind of pedestal was erected a pointed pyramid of from 12 to 30 feet in height, covered externally with a smooth coat of clay painted white. The defective nature of the rock below forbade the excavation of the sepulchral chamber; there was no resource, therefore, except to hide it in the brickwork. An oven- shaped chamber with "corbel" vault was constructed in the centre (fig. 144); but more frequently the sepulchral chamber is found to be half above ground in the mastaba and half sunk in the foundations, the vaulted space above being left only to relieve the weight (fig. 145). Fig 145.--Section of "vaulted" tomb, Abydos.

In many cases there was no external chapel; the stela, placed in the basement, or set in the outer face, alone marking the place of offering. In other instances a square vestibule was constructed in front of the tomb where the relations assembled (fig. 146). Fig 146.--Plan of tomb, at Abydos.

Occasionally a breast-high enclosure wall surrounded the monument, and defined the boundaries of the ground belonging to the tomb. This mixed form was much employed in Theban cemeteries from the beginning of the Middle Empire. Many kings and nobles of the Eleventh Dynasty were buried at Drah Ab?'l Neggeh, in tombs like those of Abydos (fig. 147). The relative proportion of mastaba and pyramid became modified during the succeeding centuries. Fig 147.--Theban tomb, with pyramidion, from scene in a tomb at Sheikh Abd el G?rneh.

The mastaba--often a mere insignificant substructure--gradually returned to its original height, while the pyramid as gradually decreased, and ended by being only an unimportant pyramidion (fig. 148). Fig 148.--Theban tomb, with pyramidion, from scene in a tomb at Sheikh Abd el G?rneh.

All the monuments of this type which ornamented the Theban necropolis during the Ramesside period have perished, but contemporary tomb-paintings show many varieties, and the chapel of an Apis which died during the reign of Amenhotep III. still remains to show that this fashion extended as far as Memphis. Of the pyramidion, scarcely any traces remain; but the mastaba is intact. It is a square mass of limestone, raised on a base, supported by four columns at the corners, and surmounted by an overhanging cornice; a flight of five steps leads up to the inner chamber (fig. 149).

The earliest examples of the second kind are those found at Gizeh among the mastabas of the Fourth Dynasty, and these are neither large nor much ornamented. They begin to be carefully wrought about the time of the Sixth Dynasty, and in certain distant places, as at Bersheh, She?kh Sa?d, Kasr es Sa?d, As?an, and Negadeh. Fig 149.--Section of Apis tomb, tempo Amenhotep III.

The rock-cut tomb did not, however, attain its full development until the times of the last Memphite kings and the early kings of the Theban line.

In these rock-cut tombs we find all the various parts of the mastaba. The designer selected a prominent vein of limestone, high enough in the cliff side to risk nothing from the gradual rising of the soil, and yet low enough for the funeral procession to reach it without difficulty. The feudal lords of Minieh slept at Beni Hasan; those of Khm?n? at Bersheh; those of Si?t and Elephantine at Si?t and in the cliff opposite As?an (fig. 150). Sometimes, as at Si?t, Bersheh, and Thebes, the tombs are excavated at various levels; sometimes, as at Beni Hasan, they follow the line of the stratum, and are ranged in nearly horizontal terraces.[31] A flight of steps, rudely constructed in rough-hewn stones, leads up from the plain to the entrance of the tomb. At Beni Hasan and Thebes, these steps are either destroyed or buried in sand; but recent excavations have brought to light a well- preserved example leading up to a tomb at As?an.[32]

Fig 150.--Tombs in cliff opposite As?an.

The funeral procession, having slowly scaled the cliff-side, halted for a moment at the entrance to the chapel. The plan was not necessarily uniform throughout any one group of tombs. Several of the Beni Hasan tombs have porticoes, the pillars, bases, and entablatures being all cut in the rock; those of Ameni and Khn?mhotep have porticoes supported on two polygonal columns (fig. 151). At As?an (fig. 152), the doorway forms a high and narrow recess cut in the rock wall, but is divided, at about one- third of its height, by a rectangular lintel, thus making a smaller doorway in the doorway itself. At Si?t, the tomb of Hapizefa was entered by a true porch about twenty-four feet in height, with a "vaulted" roof elegantly sculptured and painted.

Fig 151.--Fa?ade of tomb of Khn?mhotep, at Beni Hasan, Twelfth Dynasty.

More frequently the side of the mountain was merely cut away, and the stone dressed over a more or less extent of surface, according to the intended dimensions of the tomb. This method ensured the twofold advantage of clearing a little platform closed in on three sides in front of the tomb, and also of forming an upright fa?ade which could be decorated or left plain, according to the taste of the proprietor. The door, sunk in the middle of this fa?ade, has sometimes no framework; sometimes, however, it has two jambs and a lintel, all slightly projecting. The inscriptions, when any occur, are very simple, consisting of one or two horizontal lines above, and one or two vertical lines down each side, with the addition perhaps of a sitting or standing figure. Fig 152.--Fa?ade of tomb, As?an.

These inscriptions contain a prayer, as well as the name, titles, and parentage of the deceased. The chapel generally consists of a single chamber, either square or oblong, with a flat or a slightly vaulted ceiling. Light is admitted only through the doorway. Sometimes a few pillars, left standing in the rock at the time of excavation, give this chamber the aspect of a little hypostyle hall. Four such pillars decorate the chapels of Ameni and Khn?mhotep at Beni Hasan (fig. 153). Other chapels there contain six or eight, and are very irregular in plan. One tomb, unfinished, was in the first instance a simple oblong hall, with a barrel roof and six columns. Later on, it was enlarged on the right side, the new part forming a kind of flat-roofed portico supported on four columns (fig. 154).

To form a serdab in the solid rock was almost impossible; while on the other hand, movable statues, if left in a room accessible to all comers, would be exposed to theft or mutilation. Fig 153.--Plan of tomb of Khn?mhotep, at Beni Hasan.

The serdab, therefore, was transformed, and combined with the stela of the ancient mastabas. The false door of the olden time became a niche cut in the end wall, almost always facing the entrance. Statues of the deceased and his wife, carved in the solid rock, were there enthroned. The walls were decorated with scenes of offerings, and the entire decoration of the tomb converged towards the niche, as that of the mastaba converged towards the stela. The series of tableaux is, on the whole, much the same as of old, though with certain noteworthy additions. The funeral procession, and the scene where the deceased enters into possession of his tomb, both merely indicated in the mastaba, are displayed in full upon the walls of the Theban sepulchre. The mournful cortège is there, with the hired mourners, the troops of friends, the bearers of offerings, the boats for crossing the river, and the catafalque drawn by oxen. It arrives at the door of the tomb. Fig 154.--Plan of unfinished tomb, Beni Hasan.

The mummy, placed upright upon his feet, receives the farewell of his family; and the last ceremonies, which are to initiate him into the life beyond the grave, are duly represented (fig. 155). The sacrifices, with all the preliminary processes, as tillage, seed-growing, harvesting, stock- breeding, and the practice of various kinds of handicraft, are either sculptured or painted, as before. Many details, however, which are absent from tombs of the earlier dynasties are here given, while others which are invariably met with in the neighbourhood of the pyramids are lacking. Twenty centuries work many changes in the usages of daily life, even in conservative Egypt. We look almost in vain for herds of gazelles upon the walls of the Theban tombs, for the reason that these animals, in Ramesside times, had ceased to be bred in a state of domestication. The horse, on the other hand, had been imported into the valley of the Nile, and is depicted pawing the ground where formerly the gazelle was seen cropping the pasturage. The trades are also more numerous and complicated; the workmen's tools are more elaborate; the actions of the deceased are more varied and personal.

Fig 155.--Funeral processions and ceremonies from wall- painting in tomb of Manna, Thebes, Nineteenth Dynasty.

In former times, when first the rules of tomb decoration were formulated, the notion of future retribution either did not exist, or was but dimly conceived. The deeds which he had done here on earth in no wise influenced the fate which awaited the man after death. Whether good or bad, from the moment when the funeral rites were performed and the necessary prayers recited, he was rich and happy. In order to establish his identity, it was enough to record his name, his title, and his parentage; his past was taken for granted. But when once a belief in rewards and punishments to come had taken possession of men's minds, they bethought them of the advisability of giving to each dead man the benefit of his individual merits. To the official register of his social status, they now therefore added a brief biographical notice. At first, this consisted of only a few words; but towards the time of the Sixth Dynasty (as where ?na recounts his public services under four kings), these few words developed into pages of contemporary history. With the beginning of the New Empire, tableaux and inscriptions combine to immortalise the deeds of the owner of the tomb. Khn?mhotep of Beni Hasan records in full the origin and greatness of his ancestors. Khet? displays upon his walls all the incidents of a military life--parades, war-dances, sieges, and sanguinary battle scenes. In this respect, as in all others, the Eighteenth Dynasty perpetuated the tradition of preceding ages. A?, in his fine tomb at Tell el Amarna, recounts the episode of his marriage with the daughter of Kh?enaten. Neferhotep of Thebes, having received from Horemheb the decoration of the Golden Collar, complacently reproduces every little incident of his investiture, the words spoken by the king, as also the year and the day when this crowning reward was conferred upon him. Another, having conducted a survey, is seen attended by his subordinates with their measuring chains; elsewhere he superintends a census of the population, just as Ti formerly superintended the numbering of his cattle. The stela partakes of these new characteristics in wall-decoration. In addition to the usual prayers, it now proclaims the praises of the deceased, and gives a summary of his life. This is too seldom followed by a list of his honours with their dates.

When space permitted, the vault was excavated immediately below the chapel. The shaft was sometimes sunk in a corner of one of the chambers, and sometimes outside, in front of the door of the tomb. In the great cemeteries, as for instance at Thebes and Memphis, the superposition of these three parts--the chapel, the shaft, and the vault--was not always possible. If the shaft were carried to its accustomed depth, there was sometimes the risk of breaking into tombs excavated at a lower level. This danger was met either by driving a long passage into the rock, and then sinking the shaft at the farther end, or by substituting a slightly sloping or horizontal disposition of the parts for the old vertical arrangement of the mastaba model. The passage in this case opens from the centre of the end wall, its average length being from 20 to 130 feet. The sepulchral vault is always small and plain, as well as the passage. Under the Theban dynasties, as under the Memphite kings, the Soul dispensed with decorations; but whenever the walls of the vault are decorated, the figures and inscriptions are found to relate chiefly to the life of the Soul, and very slightly to the life of the Double. In the tomb of Horhotep, which is of the time of the ?sertesens, and in similar rock-cut sepulchres, the walls (except on the side of the door) are divided into two registers. The upper row belongs to the Double, and contains, besides the table of offerings, pictured representations of the same objects which are seen in certain mastabas of the Sixth Dynasty; namely, stuffs, jewels, arms, and perfumes, all needful to Horhotep for the purpose of imparting eternal youth to his limbs. The lower register belonged to both the Soul and the Double, and is inscribed with extracts from a variety of liturgical writings, such as The Book of the Dead, the Ritual of Embalmment, and the Funeral Ritual, all of which were possessed of magic properties which protected the Soul and supported the Double. The stone sarcophagus, and even the coffin, are also covered with closely-written inscriptions. Precisely as the stela epitomised the whole chapel, so did the sarcophagus and coffin epitomise the sepulchral chamber, thus forming, as it were, a vault within a vault. Texts, tableaux, all thereon depicted, treat of the life of the Soul, and of its salvation in the world to come.

At Thebes, as at Memphis, the royal tombs are those which it is most necessary to study, in order to estimate the high degree of perfection to which the decoration of passages and sepulchral chambers was now carried. The most ancient were situated either in the plain or on the southern slopes of the western mountain; and of these, no remains are extant. The mummies of Amenhotep I., and Thothmes III., of Sekenenra, and Aahhotep have survived the dwellings of solid stone designed for their protection. Towards the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty, however, all the best places were taken up, and some unoccupied site in which to establish a new royal cemetery had to be sought. At first they went to a considerable distance, namely, to the end of the valley (known as the Western Valley), which opens from near Drah Ab?'l Neggeh. Amenhotep III., A?, and perhaps others, were there buried. Somewhat later, they preferred to draw nearer to the city of the living. Behind the cliff which forms the northern boundary of the plain of Thebes, there lay a kind of rocky hollow closed in on every side, and accessible from the outer world by only a few perilous paths. It divides into two branches, which cross almost at right angles. One branch turns to the south-east, while the other, which again divides into secondary branches, turns to the south-west. Westward rises a mountain which recalls upon a gigantic scale the outline of the great step-pyramid of Sakkarah (fig. 137). The Egyptian engineers of the time observed that this hollow was separated from the ravine of Amenhotep III. by a mere barrier some 500 cubits in thickness. In this there was nothing to dismay such practised miners. They therefore cut a trench some fifty or sixty cubits deep through the solid rock, at the end of which a narrow passage opens like a gateway into the hidden valley beyond. Was it in the time of Horemheb, or during the reign of Rameses I., that this gigantic work was accomplished? Rameses I. is, at all events, the earliest king whose tomb has as yet been found in this spot. His son, Seti I., then his grandson, Rameses II., came hither to rest beside him. The Ramesside Pharaohs followed one after the other. Herhor may perhaps have been the last of the series. These crowded catacombs caused the place to be called "The Valley of the Tombs of the Kings,"--a name which it retains to this day.

These tombs are not complete. Each had its chapel; but those chapels stood far away in the plain, at G?rneh, at the Ramesseum, at Medinet Hab?; and they have already been described. The Theban rock, like the Memphite pyramid, contained only the passages and the sepulchral chamber. During the daytime, the pure Soul was in no serious danger; but in the evening, when the eternal waters which flow along the vaulted heavens fall in vast cascades adown the west and are engulfed in the bowels of the earth, the Soul follows the bark of the Sun and its escort of luminary gods into a lower world bristling with ambuscades and perils. For twelve hours, the divine squadron defiles through long and gloomy corridors, where numerous genii, some hostile, some friendly, now struggle to bar the way, and now aid it in surmounting the difficulties of the journey. Great doors, each guarded by a gigantic serpent, were stationed at intervals, and led to an immense hall full of flame and fire, peopled by hideous monsters and executioners whose office it was to torture the damned. Then came more dark and narrow passages, more blind gropings in the gloom, more strife with malevolent genii, and again the joyful welcoming of the propitious gods. At midnight began the upward journey towards the eastern regions of the world; and in the morning, having reached the confines of the Land of Darkness, the sun emerged from the east to light another day. The tombs of the kings were constructed upon the model of the world of night. They had their passages, their doors, their vaulted halls, which plunged down into the depths of the mountain. Their positions in the valley were determined by no consideration of dynasty or succession.

Each king attacked the rock at any point where he might hope to find a suitable bed of stone; and this was done with so little regard for his predecessors, that the workmen were sometimes obliged to change the direction of the excavation in order not to invade a neighbouring catacomb.

Fig 156.--Plan of tomb of Rameses IV.

The designer's plan was a mere sketch, to be modified when necessary, and which was by no means intended to be strictly carried out. Hence the plan and measurement of the actual tomb of Rameses IV. (fig. 156) differ in the outline of the sides and in the general arrangement from the plan of that same tomb which is preserved on a papyrus in the Turin Museum (fig. 153).

Fig 157.--Plan of tomb of Rameses IV., from Turin papyrus.

Nothing, however, could be more simple than the ordinary distribution of the parts. A square door, very sparingly ornamented, opened upon a passage leading to a chamber of more or less extent. From the further end of this chamber opened a second passage leading to a second chamber, and thence sometimes to more chambers, the last of which contained the sarcophagus. In some tombs, the whole excavation is carried down a gently inclined plane, broken perhaps by only one or two low steps between the entrance and the end. In others, the various parts follow each other at lower and lower levels. In the catacomb of Seti I. (fig. 158) a long and narrow flight of stairs and a sloping corridor (A) lead to a little antechamber and two halls (B) supported on pillars. A second staircase (C) leads through a second antechamber to another pillared hall (D), which was the hiding-place of the sarcophagus. The tomb did not end here.

Fig 158.--Plan of tomb of Seti I.

A third staircase (E) opening from the end of the principal hall was in progress, and would no doubt have led to more halls and chambers, had not the work been stopped by the death of the king.[33] If we go from catacomb to catacomb, we do not find many variations from this plan. The entrance passage in the tomb of Rameses III. is flanked by eight small lateral chambers. In almost every other instance, the lesser or greater length of the passages, and the degree of finish given to the wall paintings, constitute the only differences between one tomb and another. The smallest of these catacombs comes to an end at fifty-three feet from the entrance; that of Seti I., which is the longest, descends to a distance of 470 feet, and there remains unfinished. The same devices to which the pyramid builders had recourse, in order to mislead the spoiler, were adopted by the engineers of the Theban catacombs. False shafts were sunk which led to nothing, and walls sculptured and painted were built across the passages. When the burial was over, the entrance was filled up with blocks of rock, and the natural slope of the mountain side was restored as skilfully as might be.

The most complete type of this class of catacomb is that left to us by Seti I.; figures and hieroglyphs alike are models of pure design and elegant execution. The tomb of Rameses III. already points to decadence. It is for the most part roughly painted. Yellow is freely laid on, and the raw tones of the reds and blues are suggestive of the early daubs of our childhood. Mediocrity ere long reigned supreme, the outlines becoming more feeble, the colour more and more glaring, till the latest tombs are but caricatures of those of Seti I. and Rameses III. The decoration is always the same, and is based on the same principles as the decoration of the pyramids. At Thebes as at Memphis, the intention was to secure to the Double the free enjoyment of his new abode, and to usher the Soul into the company of the gods of the solar cycle and the Osirian cycle, as well as to guide it through the labyrinth of the infernal regions. But the Theban priests exercised their ingenuity to bring before the eyes of the deceased all that which the Memphites consigned to his memory by means of writing, thus enabling him to see what he had formerly been obliged to read upon the walls of his tomb. Where the texts of the pyramid of ?nas relate how ?nas, being identified with the sun, navigates the celestial waters or enters the Fields of Aal?, the pictured walls of the tomb of Seti I. show Seti sailing in the solar bark, while a side chamber in the tomb of Rameses III. shows Rameses III. in the Fields of Aal? (fig. 159).

Fig 159.--Wall-painting of the Fields of Aal?, tomb of Rameses III.

Where the walls of the pyramid of ?nas give the prayers recited over the mummy to open his mouth, to restore the use of his limbs, to clothe, to perfume, to feed him, the walls of Seti's catacomb contain representations of the actual mummy, of the Ka statues which are the supports of his Double, and of the priests who open their mouths, who clothe them, perfume them, and offer them the various meats and drinks of the funeral feast. The ceilings of the pyramid chambers were sprinkled over with stars to resemble the face of the heavens; but there was nothing to instruct the Soul as to the names of those heavenly bodies. On the ceilings of some of the Theban catacombs, we not only find the constellations depicted, each with its personified image, but astronomical tables giving the aspect of the heavens fortnight by fortnight throughout the months of the Egyptian year, so that the Soul had but to lift its eyes and see in what part of the firmament its course lay night after night. Taken as a series, these tableaux form an illustrated narrative of the travels of the sun and the Soul throughout the twenty-four hours of the day and night. Each hour is represented, as also the domain of each hour with its circumscribed boundary, the door of which is guarded by a huge serpent. These serpents have their various names, as "Fire-Face," "Flaming Eye," "Evil Eye," etc. The fate of Souls was decided in the third hour of the day. They were weighed by the god Thoth, who consigned them to their future abode according to the verdict of the scales. The sinful Soul was handed over to the cynocephalous-ape assessors of the infernal tribunal, who hunted and scourged it, after first changing it into a sow, or some other impure animal. The righteous Soul, on the contrary, passed in the fifth hour into the company of his fellows, whose task it was to cultivate the Fields of Aal? and reap the corn of the celestial harvest, after which they took their pleasure under the guardianship of the good genii. After the fifth hour, the heavenly ocean became a vast battlefield. The gods of light pursued, captured, and bound the serpent Apapi, and at the twelfth hour they strangled him. But this triumph was not of long duration. Scarcely had the sun achieved this victory when his bark was borne by the tide into the realm of the night hours, and from that moment he was assailed, like Virgil and Dante at the Gates of Hell, by frightful sounds and clamourings. Each circle had its voice, not to be confounded with the voices of other circles. Here the sound was as an immense humming of wasps; yonder it was as the lamentations of women for their husbands, and the howling of she-beasts for their mates; elsewhere it was as the rolling of the thunder. The sarcophagus, as well as the walls, was covered with these scenes of joyous or sinister import. It was generally of red or black granite. As it was put in hand last of all, it frequently happened that the sculptors had not time to finish it. When finished, however, the scenes and texts with which it was covered contained an epitome of the whole catacomb.[34] Thus, lying in his sarcophagus, the dead man found his future destinies depicted thereon, and learned to understand the blessedness of the gods. The tombs of private persons were not often so elaborately decorated. Two tombs of the period of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty--that of Petamenoph at Thebes and that of Bakenrenf at Memphis--compete in this respect, however, with the royal catacombs. Their walls are not only sculptured with the text (more or less complete) of The Book of the Dead, but also with long extracts from The Book of the Opening of the Mouth and the religious formulae found in the pyramids.

As every part of the tomb had its special decoration, so also it had its special furniture. Of the chapel furniture few traces have been preserved. The table of offerings, which was of stone, is generally all that remains. The objects placed in the serdab, in the passages, and in the sepulchral chamber, have suffered less from the ravages of time and the hand of man. During the Ancient Empire, the funerary portrait statues were always immured in the serdab. The sepulchral vault contained, besides the sarcophagus, head-rests of limestone or alabaster; geese carved in stone; sometimes (though rarely) a scribe's palette; generally some terra-cotta vases of various shapes: and lastly a store of food-cereals, and the bones of the victims sacrificed on the day of burial. Under the Theban Dynasties, the household goods of the dead were richer and more numerous. The Ka statues of his servants and family, which in former times were placed in the serdab with those of the master, were now consigned to the vault, and made on a smaller scale. On the other hand, many objects which used to be merely depicted on the walls were now represented by models, or by actual specimens. Thus we find miniature funeral boats, with crew, mummy, mourners, and friends complete; imitation bread-offerings of baked clay, erroneously called "funerary cones," stamped with the name of the deceased; bunches of grapes in glazed ware; and limestone moulds wherewith the deceased was supposed to make pottery models of oxen, birds, and fish, which should answer the purpose of fish, flesh, and fowl. Toilet and kitchen utensils, arms, and instruments of music abound. These are mostly broken--piously slain, in order that their souls should go hence to wait upon the soul of the dead man in the next world. Little statuettes in stone, wood, and enamel--blue, green, and white--are placed by hundreds, and even by thousands, with these piles of furniture, arms, and provisions. Properly speaking, they are reduced serdab-statues, destined, like their larger predecessors, to serve as bodies for the Double, and (by a later conception) for the Soul. They were at first represented clothed like the individual whose name they bore. As time went on, their importance dwindled, and their duties were limited to merely answering for their master when called by Thoth to the corvée, and acting as his substitutes when he was summoned by the gods to work in the Fields of Aal?. Thenceforth they were called "Respondents" (?shabti?), and were represented with agricultural implements in their hands. No longer clothed as the man was clothed when living, they were made in the semblance of a mummified corpse, with only the face and hands unbandaged. The so-called "canopic vases," with lids fashioned like heads of hawks, cynocephali, jackals, and men, were reserved from the time of the Eleventh Dynasty for the viscera, which were extracted from the body by the embalmers. As for the mummy, it continued, as time went on, to be more and more enwrapped in cartonnage, and more liberally provided with papyri and amulets; each amulet forming an essential part of its magic armour, and serving to protect its limbs and soul from destruction.

Theoretically, every Egyptian was entitled to an eternal dwelling constructed after the plan which I have here described with its successive modifications; but the poorer folk were fain to do without those things which were the necessities of the wealthier dead. They were buried wherever it was cheapest--in old tombs which had been ransacked and abandoned; in the natural clefts of the rock; or in common pits. At Thebes, in the time of the Ramessides, great trenches dug in the sand awaited their remains. The funeral rites once performed, the grave-diggers cast a thin covering of sand over the day's mummies, sometimes in lots of two or three, and sometimes in piles which they did not even take the trouble to lay in regular layers. Some were protected only by their bandages; others were wrapped about with palm-branches, lashed in the fashion of a game-basket. Those most cared for lie in boxes of rough-hewn wood, neither painted nor inscribed. Many are huddled into old coffins which have not even been altered to suit the size of the new occupant, or into a composite contrivance made of the fragments of three or four broken mummy-cases. As to funerary furniture, it was out of the question for such poor souls as these. A pair of sandals of painted cardboard or plaited reeds; a staff for walking along the heavenly highways; a ring of enamelled ware; a bracelet or necklace of little blue beads; a tiny image of Ptah, of Osiris, of Anubis, of Hathor, or of Bast; a few mystic eyes or scarabs; and, above all, a twist or two of cord round the arm, the neck, the leg, or the body, intended to preserve the corpse from magical influences,--are the only possessions of the pauper dead.

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