, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Sailing toward the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, 1819 ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

May 7, 2012

Sailing toward the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, 1819

Sailing toward the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, 1819
Giovanni Belzoni

Temple of Jupiter Ammon
. . . we put on board some provisions and made towards the west, where the famous Labyrinth is supposed to have been situated. The water of the lake was good enough to drink, though a little saltish; but it was only this year that it could be drunk at all, owing to the extraordinary overflow of the Nile, which surmounted all the high lands, and, in addition to the Bahr Yousuf, came in such torrents into the lake, that it raised the water twelve feet higher than it ever had been in the memory of the oldest fisherman. We advanced towards the west, and at sunset, saw the shore quite deserted, with nothing to look at but the lake and the mountains on the northern side of it. Our boatman lighted a fire, while the other went to fish with a net, and soon returned with a supper of fish.

The land we were now in, had anciently been cultivated, as there appeared many stumps of palm and other trees nearly petrified. I also observed the vine in great plenty. The scene here was beautiful. The silence of the night, the beams of the radiant moon resting on the still water of the lake, the solitude of the place, the sight of our boat, the group of fishermen, and the temple a little way off (Kassar-el-Karon), . . . Nothing could be more pleasing to my imagination.

[On the next day they continued west to near the end of the lake, where they landed and Belzoni set off with two boatmen to the temple named Kassar-el- Karon, standing in the ruins of a town.]

The temple is placed on a small eminence, bearing marks of having been washed by the lake. At its entrance, which faces south-east, there is a portico unlike any other in Egypt, and bearing a Greek inscription, in which the name of Thermusis occurs All its walls have the inclination observable in genuine Egyptian buildings; every part is symmetrical; and the winged globe over the entrance, the only external ornament, is alone sufficient to show by what people it was built. Five halls may be traced, though filled with rubbish; and the walls of the inmost, which is the sanctuary, are adorned with sculptures, among which Apis is clearly recognised. Behind it there is a very lofty and strongly re-echoing chamber, quite dark, and accessible only by a small aperture very easily concealed. This place was designed to hide the person who secretly delivered the oracles which the god was supposed to communicate. On the side of the large chamber, there are five small ones, quite unornamented, and now choked up with rubbish. In the interior of the building, there is a flight of steps leading to an upper storey, on the walls of which human figures appear among the sculptures, and among them Cneph or Cnuphis, the Jupiter Ammon of the Greeks, to whom this temple was dedicated. It was long taken for part of the Labyrinth.


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