May 15, 2012

Graffiti of the Romans, 1819 | Walking Through Egypt

Graffiti of the Romans, 1819
John Fuller


In the afternoon we landed at Dakki. The temple here is differently situated from that at Sibouah, being placed parallel with instead of facing the river, and the approach is from the north. The propylon is lofty, and almost covered with the ‘proscunemata’ of Roman officers, who came from the stations of Philae and Elephantine to pay their homage to Mercury, the tutelary deity. Their dates are chiefly in the reigns of Tiberias and Adrian. The temple itself, which is united to the propylon not by a peristyle, as is usually the case, but merely by low walls, appears to have been originally very small, and to have been enlarged afterwards. It is in very fine preservation; and from the elegance of its proportions and its detached and solitary situation, is perhaps one of the most striking of the Nubian antiquities. [Moved to New Sebua in 1961-65.] In place of the usual winged globe over the entrance, is a Greek inscription, in which the name of Ptolemy occurs. It is accompanied by a translation in hieroglyphics, and afforded one of the earliest keys to the study of the ancient writings of the Egyptians, which has since been successfully prosecuted by the literati of Europe.

Weather on the River, 1817
Giovanni Belzoni
A few miles above this place the Nile turns towards the north-west, and as the wind blew mostly from that quarter, we had it right against us, besides a very strong current, for the Nile was nearly at its height. Though the day was very hot, the night was exceedingly cold, considering the climate we were in. At this place we found it very difficult to advance, for the wind still continued strong ahead, and the sailors could not track the boat by ropes on the shore, as the bank was covered with thorns and acacia trees, so that it took us two days to reach the territory of Derr, where the river resumes its course again to the south. From the trees I have mentioned we gathered a little gum-arabic; and the reis of the boat caught some chameleons, which we intended to keep alive.


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