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Excerpt from: Travels in Nubia by John Lewis BurckhardtA Journey along the Banks of the Nile
Published in 1819. Adapted for AscendingPassage.com, 2006.
CHAPTER X -- Samne Temple
March 19th, 1813.
Our path, on setting out, lay
along a narrow passage between rocks of granite, quartz, and
feldspar; the direction north.
In three hours, we reached Wady Samne, near which is a cataract in
the river: the stream forces its way through a narrow passage, not
more than fifty paces in breadth, formed by two rocks, which
project from the opposite sides. On the east side, upon a hill over
the cataract, are some brick ruins; and, on the west side, are
similar ruins, with an ancient temple on the top of the hill. It is
built of sandstone, and differs in its shape from other Egyptian
temples, though it somewhat resembles in its plan the small temple
Samne - from the book "Nubia and Abyssinia", published 1833.
The Temple consists of a principal building twelve paces in
length, and three paces only in breadth. On each side, stood
originally four small pillars, of which two remain on one side, and
three on the other; one of the former has a polygonal shaft, the
others are square; they are all covered with sculptures. The
pillars are joined to the main building by blocks of stone, which
serve as a roof to the vestibule. There are two small gates. The
inner walls of the apartment are covered with hieroglyphics, and
mystic representations of the divine worship. On both sides a long
ship is sculptured, with Osiris in it; and the group of two figures
resting their hands upon each others shoulders is every where
repeated. The roof is painted blue, and there are some remains of
colours upon several of the figures.
Near the posterior wall,
opposite the main entrance, a statue lies on the floor, the head of
which has been cut off; it is about five feet high; the arms are
crossed upon the breast, and in one hand is the flail, and in the
other the instrument usually called a crosier. On the exterior wall
of the temple I distinguished several figures of Mendes, or the
Egyptian Priapus. All the sculptures are of coarse execution; and
several of the lines of the compartments
wherein the hieroglyphics are cut, are not straight, as if they had
been the work of young persons only learning their art. Some of the
hieroglyphics on the pillars have evidently been left unfinished.
part of the wall appears to be of a different date from the rest,
as it is constructed of stones much larger, and better hewn. There
seems to have been another similar building near this temple, for
several capitals of columns are lying on the ground, and a large
block of granite covered with hieroglyphics. All around are heaps
of rubbish. The temple is surrounded by ruined brick buildings,
which are certainly of high antiquity; they cover the top of the
hill which overhangs the shore, and are enclosed by a double wall,
or rather by a wall within a parapet; the former is of brick, from
eight to twelve feet thick, and whereever entire, upwards of thirty
feet in height; the parapet is constructed of stone, twenty feet in
breadth, with sides sloping towards the declivity of the hill; the
stones of the parapet are thrown irregularly upon each other,
without cement, but those which form the sloping side are either
cut, or dexterously arranged, so as to present a perfectly smooth
surface, which, at the period when the work was taken care of, must
have rendered it impossible for any one to climb over it. These
works of defence indicate powerful enemies; but who they were, it
is impossible to ascertain.
by John Lewis Burckhardt, published in 1819
excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
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