, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Armant: Ancient Hermonthis | Aswan Egypt ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

May 13, 2012

Armant: Ancient Hermonthis | Aswan Egypt

Armant: Ancient Hermonthis, 1846
Cuthbert Young

At half-past six in the morning, we visited the remains of the ancient city. The present village is large, and situated among a profusion of palms. Rounding a hill, you come suddenly upon the ruins of four ancient temples. Granite columns lie scattered on the site of one; a truncated pillar of great diameter, with a few sculptures, are all that remain, with the foundation stones to mark the second. A fox was startled by our entrance. Of the third there is but the site; of the fourth seven columns remain perfect, and have a graceful effect the capitals representing the palm leaf under different forms. The porch and the two sanctuaries of this temple are also perfect, though houses are built upon them, and people live inside. A fire was lighted and mats laid for sleeping, in the larger sanctuary. No wonder that the walls are much blackened with smoke.

Ancient Hermonthis
This temple, small as it is, has most extraordinary sculptures, and it might be called the Pantheon, or caricature-shop of Egypt. On the left as we entered the large sanctuary, is represented a procession of hippopotami in two rows, standing erect on their hind legs; and above them two others, one of which presents offerings to Horus, who is seated upon lotus flowers; two crocodiles with heads defaced, a group of seven cats, seven snakes, and seven dogs, appear in rows of four and three, above each other; a huge hippopotamus stands by himself, while two individuals, marshals perhaps, hand over his offering to the god.

On the opposite wall, a human figure with the ibis head, presents offerings to a monstrous cat; two animals with the hawk’s head and alligator’s body, stand on shrines or sarcophagi, under one of which is a human head, and under the other a snake; a human face with the body of a hippopotamus, looks grotesque in the extreme, like an ancient gentleman with the fall of his periwig hanging down to his heels, and well muffled up in ermine. Twelve human heads in four rows of three each, peep over, as their twenty-four feet peep under, an oblong chest, which may represent a sarcophagus carried by them. It is elegantly and profusely ornamented with flowers.

Above the entrance door is the hawk-headed Horus, perched on a bull’s homs. On the ceiling I distinguished two rams with wings, also the scorpion and the bull of which Irby and Mangles [earlier travelers] speak, but the head of the latter seemed defaced. Three large groups of figures on the left wall of the entrance, above the animals, represent a little boy on a large raised box, his mother, perhaps Cleopatra (for she founded this mammeisi) behind him, and a man, perhaps Julius Caesar, before.

In the inner and smaller sanctuary are pictured two cows, and a child sucking each, the animals having their heads turned towards the infants, they are meant perhaps for Isis and Horus. On the opposite wall are several females suckling infants. Worshippers on bended knees are adoring the scarabaeus, and two sets of birds with human heads are in the act of flying.

We had torches to see this chamber, but the smoke soon forced us out.

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