, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Music and Sail from Luxor to the Red Sea, 1843 ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

May 19, 2012

Music and Sail from Luxor to the Red Sea, 1843

Music and Sail from Luxor to the Red Sea, 1843
Dr. Richard Lepsius

Red Sea
On the Red Sea, between Gebel Zeit and Tor, Good Friday, 21st March 1843.
On 20^ of February we changed our abode in Thebes from the western to the eastern bank, from Qurna to Karnak. We setded ourselves here in some chambers of the great royal temple; but as 1 was desirous of setting out on my journey to the Peninsula of Sinai as soon as possible, I limited myself for the time, to merely taking such a survey of the monuments as was absolutely necessary, in order to enable me to appoint the work that was to be done during my absence.

On 3rd March I set out on my journey. . . . We first went down the Nile as far a Qeneh. After it became dark and the stars had risen, the conversation, which had hitherto been animated, ceased and, lying on the deck, I watched the star of Isis, the sparkling Sothis (Sirius), this Polar star of Egyptian chronology, as it gradually ascended over our heads. Our two oarsmen were only too musically inclined, and went through their whole stock of songs, quivering them with innumerable repetitions, sometimes interrupted by the short cry of Scherk, Gharb (East, West), which was softly answered by the feeble and obedient boy’s voice of our little steersman. Half waking, half dreaming, we then glided down the river till about midnight, when the Arab quivering also ceased; the strokes of the oar became fainter, and at length the boat was left entirely to the waves. The rising of the moon in her last quarter, and dawning day, first aroused them to renewed activity. . . .

After spending a couple of days at Qeneh, we quitted it, on 6th March, with fifteen camels. The first day we only rode three hours, as far as the copious spring of Bir Amrar, charmingly situated between palms and nebek-trees and provided by Ibrahim Pascha with a dome-shaped building for the caravans. We also reached early on the following day the second night-encampment, at the station of Leqeta.

. . . Five wells furnish here a supply of tolerably good water; two buildings, with domes half fallen down, are destined for the reception of travellers.
Richard Lepsius and his party traveled across the mountain chain to Gebel Zeit from where a boat took them to Tor. They faced various problems: guides with insufficient knowledge, shortage of water, missing the track, but eventually they reached their destination.

Yesterday evening it was perfect calm. It was only during the night that a light wind rose from the north, which we immediately availed ourselves of, for setting sail. With the wind in our favour we might have accomplished the passage across in one night; but now the day is again drawing to a close, and we have not yet reached the port. The ship of burden scarcely stirs, though the long oars have been at length set in motion.

The sailors of this sea are very different from those on the Nile. Their deportment is more reserved, less sly and subservient. Their songs, which commence at the first stroke of the oar, consist of fragmentary short lines, which are sung first bv one, and are taken up by another, while the remainder utter short and deep grunting sounds, as an accompaniment, at equal intervals.

Travelers to Sinai always wanted to decide where the Children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea followed by the army of Pharaoh. Each one had a theory or supported the theory of another.


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