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Royal Photograph Gallery

Published in New York in 1893

Quotes Are From the Book

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The Sepulchral Monument of Ramses

"The above is a correct photographic view of the ruins of the immense and once magnificent Monument of Ramses, in the Biban-El-Melook.  Ramses, or Ramseses, was one of the several kings of Egypt of the nineteenth dynasty, and resided at Thebes.  He not only, while yet a  young man, conquered a number of confederate nations of Central Asia, but several European and African nations, and his empire at one time extended far south into Nubia, the ancient Ethiopia.  He erected many temples and fortresses in foreign lands, and embellished all Egypt with magnificent edifices.  As will be seen, the monument is rapidly decaying".



Prostrate Statue of Ramses

 The site of ancient Thebes, in Egypt, and upon the Nile, is an immense amphitheatre, in which the traveler is at first bewildered by the confusion of ruined portals, obelisks, statues and columns, which tower above the palm trees.  Gradually the magnificent ruins of Luxor locate themselves over on the east side of the river.  Opposite them, on the west side, sit in dignified repose the two mammoth statues of Memnon.  Back of those statues , and 500 yards nearer the Lybian desert, stood the Rameseion, an Egyptian Westminster Abbey, the remains of whose massive columns and gigantic statuary show that they were erected in honor of the families or reigns of the Ramseses.  The Rameseion at Thebes is before you in the illustration, as it appears today.  It was both palace and temple.  The sculptures were quaint and vivid.  Several Ramesid Columns remain standing, but the hugest of all lies prostrate before the others, and broken in two in the middle.  Its weight is estimated at 887 tons, and it measures 22 feet 4 inches across the shoulders.  It is of Syene granite, and its removal from Syene to Thebes is a mystery to modern engineers.



Ruins of Philae, Egypt, From the South

 Philae is an island on the Nile, anciently consecrated to Isis and Osiris.  There was also a city of the same name, now Jeziret el Birbeh.  The ruins depicted in the illustration are among the most celebrated remains of antiquity.  To the Egyptologist especially they present material for boundless interest.  Isis, it will be remembered, was both sister and wife to Osiris, who was the father of Horus and Anubis.  Horus was the sun, and Anubis that Egyptian deity represented with the head of a dog, the tutelary god of the chase.  The most elementary acquaintance with Egyptian mythology suggests its similarity with the beautiful system of the ancient Greeks.  The learned visitor to Philae finds "sermons in stones and good in everything' he sees there".



Ruins at Philae

"There is but a single sentiment in the minds of every Nile traveler when the ruins of Philae are reached, and that is, that they are the most magnificent of the Egyptian architectural remains.  This is not because they are so stupendous as the pyramids, or so imposing as the mighty remnants at Thebes and Karnak, but because at Philae nature steps in to help art.  The spot of these massive ruins, which are those of a temple dedicated to Isis, is the island of Philae, in the midst of the first cataract of the Nile, and just south of the boundary between Egypt and Nubia.  The island is of granitic formation, and here was quarried and carved the material for the Philae temples, as well as for many of the obelisks, temples, pyramids and sarcophagi found elsewhere in the Nile valley.  While these remains at Philae are essentially Egyptian, their better state of preservation and some of the columnar effects lead archaeologist to give them a later date than those of Luxor, Karnak and Thebes.  There are eight sites of ruins on this single island, all seemingly pointing to the worship of Isis".



Karnak, Egypt

"This wonder of the world is in the Theban amphitheatre on the Nile, and its ruins are Theban, though on the opposite or eastern side of the river.  So vast and solemn are the ruins of Karnak that they sweep beyond imagination.  In front is the lake, both natural and artificial.  Backward sweep those majestic ruins which were once the glory of Thebes.  Karnak was a bewildering series of temples of such proportion as to dwarf modern measurements.  You see one in the illustration whose front wall is 379 feet long and whose tower is 150 feet high.  Leading to this is an avenue 200 feet long lined with sphinxes.  Inside of all is the main room, 329 feet by 170 feet, supported by 134 columns, over 60 feet high and 12 feet in diameter, and all highly sculptured and delicately colored.  This is pronounced by all travelers to be the most magnificent ruin in the world".



The Standing Obelisks, Karnak, Egypt

"Karnak is the name of the village built on the ruins of ancient Thebes.  Little is left of this ancient capital, the city of a hundred gates, 'as sung by Homer'.  Two colossal statues of Rameses II are lying prone on the ground, and the Temple of Sarapis is full of archaeological interest.  This is the famous Temple of the Sacred Bulls honored by the ancient Egyptians as successive incarnations of Osiris.  While they lived they inhabited the Temple of Aphis, and after their death and embalmment they were buried in a temple made in the desert for the reception of their mummies.  The sight of this structure was discovered in 1850 by M. Mariette; and afterward the sands hiding the ruins were removed.  Readers who have seen the obelisk in the Central Park, New York, will be quite at home with the principal objects shown in the illustration, which, like that, have engraved upon them characters very tantalizing to the unlearned".



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