« ElőzőTovább »
whitish on belly, and with some ob- Cocces and Parisactus. “Death alone scure stripes upon the body. Pasht, iu proves how very puny are the bodies of ancient Egypt, had a cat's head. If mortal men,” Juvenal said (x. 172), one might utter a casual thought upon with reference to this very tomb of the derivations, one would be inclined to conqueror of the world, which he probsay that her name was the origin of the ably visited as he went to his exile up undiscovered puss.
the Nile to Syene ; and he might have One wonders if the sporting student adduced instances from the Ptolemies reared in these gardens the fighting and Mark Anthony, who lay around cocks which the Athenians were so Alexander, to Augustus Cæsar himself, fond of; they certainly had a breed of who came to gaze upon his great predhens here which were called Movócopel, ecessor in his hyaline case. and which produced the best ever British Museum is a large sarcophagus known (Geoponic. xiv. 7). The Greek of breccia verde, as the Italians call it, carried this national sport — can we or Egyptian breccia. It is seldom used, call it ? — with him apparently, and because of the extreme hardness of the many reasons have been given to en- stone to work, but if polished the vadeavor to account for his adoption of it ried coloring is most brilliant and beauother than the natural taste of man for tiful. It was found by the French in combative displays. Some have said the Mosque, formerly the church of St. that, like most of their recreations, it Athanasius, and was reputed to be the had a religious meaning, connected tomb of the mighty Alexander. At the with Apollo, Mars, Mercury, or Æscu- capitulation it fell into the hands of the lapius ; others a national reference to British, and all that the label now tells the good omen Themistocles drew from you is that it is the sarcophagus of their crowing as he marched to his vic- Nekhtherhebi (Nectanebus I.), XXX tory over Persia ; but no one appar- dynasty (about B.C. 378): Presented ently knows why they were so addicted by George III., captured in Egypt by to this form of amusement.
the British army, 1801.” It is not inIt must have been near this site of compatible with the truth that the trathe great University, with its library dition attaching to it is true, and that and gardens, probably between it and Alexander may have rested within it the seaboard, that the Soma or Sema while he lay at Memphis, awaiting the stood, the Mausoleum of the Ptolemies. construction of the Soma and its golden Some say it was placed where the coffer; and the inscriptions upou it Ramleh railway station now is ; but may have been placed sixty years later, the Arabs show a tomb on the way to when the royal corpse had gone to its the Serapeum Hill or Pompey's Pil- more regal sepulture. Moreover, the lar,” where they revere Sikandar-al- legend of one Nectanebo having been Rumi (Alexander the Great). It was the true father of Alexander, and to one of the works of the clever Dino- which we have referred, may have crates, and would be as princely a struc- arisen or been confirmed by the subseture as all the buildings of this noble quent use of this sarcophagus. It would city once were. It was constructed to be remarkable if we had here in Enreceive the mortal remains of the city's gland the tombs of two of the greatest founder, which, embalmed in honey, conquerors of the ancient world ; in Ptolemy Soter is said by Strabo to have this of Alexander at the British Mutaken from Perdiccas while on its seum, taken by us from the modern removal from Babylon, and, having Alexander of Europe, and that of Racarried it to Egypt, buried it at Alex- meses the Great, the Sesostris of the andria, where it still remains. But it Greeks, the oppressor of Israel, in the is no longer in the same coffin ; for the cellar of Sir John Soane's house, in present one is of hyalus (glass or ala- Lincoln's Inn Fields. baster), and the original, which was of We will not stay to consider those gold, was stolen by Ptolemy, surnamed I buildings and palaces which are but a
memory, to which no probable site has isted in them of our Lord represented yet been able to be assigned, or of as the Egyptian Horus — just as in which we have no connecting relic, but Rome he was portrayed as Orpheus or rather endeavor to make the most of some other classic character — or to see what remains ; and probably one of the some of those pretty and touching inmost popularly sought is that lost won- scriptions so locally characteristic, such der of the ancient world, the Pharos. as “ Remember, Lord, thy servant NileMost visitors drive to the modern light- flower” (Nechúvoca). But, instead of house, and think that it has replaced taking us there, we were aroused to the the old, and your driver will take you fact of our being at the base of the Sethere unless you explain that it is Fort rapeum hill by our driver's noises as Pharos you wish to reach, at the oppo- he was urging his pair of horses to site end of the peninsula – viz., the jump a watercourse about two feet eastern. And this will be quite clear if deep and one and a half feet wide, and it be recollected that the present harbor to carry the carriage and occupants over is not that of the ancients, but that it with them. The representatives of Buwas separated from it by the Heptasta- cephalus were mercifully too modest dium. On those rocks at the corner to attempt the feat, and we escaped close to the fort was its site, and its broken bones by dismounting, and gave ruins remained up to the thirteenth up proceeding further, accepting the century ; there it rose to a height, it is kindly fate which had brought us to improbably said, greater than the pyra- this well-known spot. There is cermid of Cheops, its white marble walls tainly much more to help one's imagglistening in the sun, its square and ination here than in almost any other graduating stories containing within site in Alexandria ; for the clear broken them an'ascent so gentle that a horse ground of the mound, and the columu and chariot might be taken to its sum- upon it one of the many which once mit, like that spiral inclined plane at graced the celebrated Temple of Serapis Amboise Castle up which Charles I. were far more satisfactory than the drove. Ptolemy Philadelphus was its covered sites of Museum and Library. founder and Sostratus his architect, and The columu itself has been often dethe manner in which both sought im- scribed, and is familiar to every visitor ; mortality for their names in its con- and it is the first sight one gets of the struction is well known : genius cut its famous syenite or pink granite. of Asname in the stone, and covering it over suan (or Syene, Juvenal's place of with stucco, inscribed on that his sov- exile), of which we have heard so ereigu's, leaving time to reveal the much. The name is misleading ; for truth. Between this ancient lighthouse many very naturally conjectured that and the modern one lay the Temple it was to the memory of Pompey the of Hephaistos, behind the present ar- Great, who, flying hither after his desenal, and that establishment and the feat by Julius Cæsar in the battle of flashing beacon represent very well the Pharsalia, was murdered close by in a modern uses of tire, the one for the small boat, as he was coming ashore, destruction of your fellow-creature and by order of the brother of Cleopatra ; the other for his comfort and security. but it is now proved to have been
But perhaps the site many of us feel erected to the bloodthirsty Diocletian, most interested in, and that which con- by an oflicer of the name it still bears. nects our Christian era most vividly It evidently stood in a paved court, and with that before Christ, is the Sera- bore a figure upon its capital, and must peum, or, as most visitors only know it, have been placed here while the Sera" Pompey's Pillar." We drove out peum stood around it, itself having preone day, telling our dragoman to take viously formed a column in its cloisters us to the Christian catacombs, for we or porticoes. We cannot think of Diowanted to find if there remained any cletian in this city without recalling traces of a painting said to liave ex-l that it was from here that he issued
that proclamation for the persecution of enlightened policy of her house is most the Christians which made itself felt so unexpectedly shown in her getting such terribly, not only here, but in the far a gift for her city, as well as by the enwestern Isle of Britain, in the death of couragement she showed towards the St. Alban at Verulam ; and when St. physician Dioscorides, and the compuAugustine came to England one of his tator of the Julian Kalendar, Sosigenes. earliest foundations at Canterbury was It was the kings of Pergamus, who a church dedicated to St. Pancras, the had had to provide this large number of noble Roman youth of, fourteen, who works, who invented the writing upon had perished by the same cruel edict, the less perishable parchment when and whose father owned the land upon Ptolemy Epiphanes cut off the supply which the missioner's monastery at of papyrus or byblus — necessity prorRome stood. The sanguinary emperor ing the mother of a still valued dishad the people of this city massacred covery. for resisting him, ordering that the We cannot stand upon this Serapeum slaughter should continue until their mound without recalling some of the blood stained his horse's knees mer- events which have been connected with cifully a splash or a stumble fulfilled it. There will come up to mind the the letter of this command before they martyrdom of the aged St. Mark the were totally exterminated.
Evangelist about the year A.D. 68, the It is perhaps impossible to picture to year when Didymus, the farm-steward, excess the beauty of the temple and was keeping those accounts upon the courts of the Serapeum. Animianus back of which has lately been discovMarcellinus says that it exceeded the ered by our British Museum a copy of Capitol of Rome itself in magnificence, one of Aristotle's political constituand we have a particular description of tions. He was dragged along with it remaining to us in the works of Ruf- feline cruelty from his house — afterfinus, who relates its demolition in A.D. wards the Cathedral, and
the 389, when a church and martyrium Quarantine, lying over there — to this dedicated to St. John the Baptist were spot, amid the excited and maddened erected upon part of its site (Uniy. mob raging to stamp out the faith of the Hist. xvi. 429 ; Le Beau, v. 353). The Nazarene, and perhaps at this spot it Serapeum extended from this mound was that the venerable patriarch of over the adjoining Arab cemetery ; but Egyptian Christianity breathed forth beyond this column from the quarries his soul to God. Nor can we forget anof the first cataract and a few broken other whose diminutive form and stoopshafts, we have to reform the halls and ing gait proclaim the great Athanasius. courts of imposing splendor and the With face of angelic sweetness, and maguificence and beauty of their con- bald head shaded by a cowl, we tents from the golden statue of Isis on- picture him as hastening by as he turns wards. Attached to this temple was up his keen, intelligent eyes to behold the second great Library of Alexandria, the mighty temple, he whose life was scarcely smaller than the one destroyed a long tragedy,” and divided between by the fire in the time of Julius Cæsar. consecration and death into four exiles If one answered to our British Museum, and four returns. Who now, save the the other corresponded to the Oxford theologians, reads the tale of that magBodleian. In the latter we possess nificent life, and who ever thinks as he thirty thousand manuscripts and four stands upon these sand-heaps, that behundred and twenty-five thousand vol- beath them lies the lost part of his Arian umes, but here all were manuscripts, history ? Both his body and that of St. and three hundred thousand of those. Mark were carried away by Venetian The foundation of this great collection merchants, as is well known, was the present of two hundred thou- rest in the city of Venice. sand volumes by Mark Anthony to Is it unprofitable to reflect here, as Cleopatra, in whom the literary and I we did at the Museum site, that per
chance amidst the books of this Sera- | fresh until the British admitted the sea peum, when it became a Christian in order to flood the country around temple, may have existed some of the Alexandria in the time of the wars of works of St. Peter, who had sent St. Napoleon, and although the entrance is Mark here, and came himself likewise, of course now blocked up, it is a salt and if it be accepted that the Babylon he barren waste. It is hard to think of mentioned in his general Epistle (i., v. this marshy swamp as a sheet of silvery 13) is Old Cairo ? We still miss his beauty, with its eight islands set like Revelations, Acts and Gospel, and his emeralds upon its broad face, and with sermons on judgment and preaching, its margin waving with Mareotica cortex mentioned by St. Jerome, Eusebius, (Mart., Ep. iv. 42), the oft-named papyClemens of Alexandria, etc. There is rus. The country houses of the wealthy within our British Museum, a codex of Alexandrian corn-factors and merchants the whole Bible written in Greek, here clustered about it. The Arva mareoticce in this city, by a noble Egyptian con- (Ov., Met. ix. 73) were famous ; in one vert, it is thought, named Thecla, about of these farms the steward whose pages the time that this Serapeum became a are backed by the Aristotelian work Christian church. It was sent by an mentioned above kept those accounts ; old patriarch of the city to Charles I., its oliveyards are often spoken of, and and has in it the epistles of that fourth the white grapes of its vineyards propope of Rome, St. Clement, “ whose duced the favorite beverage of Cleopaname is written in the Book of Life,” | tra, and of which both Horace (Od. i. setting in order the discipline of the 37) and Virgil (Geor. ii. 91) sing. Church of Corinth, and of the second of “ Mareotic luxury” was a rival to Sybwhich epistles this codex is the only aris in proverb, while the only form extant manuscript copy. We have yet now presentable is that of its shooting to recover a copy of the epistle of Lao- to the sportsman. We are told of two dicea (Coloss. iv. 16), a third Epistle to pyramids that once stood in its midst Corinth of St. Paul (1 Cor. v. 9), a sec- bearing upon their summits two thrones ond to Ephesus (Eph. iii. 3), on which were seated colossal statues third to Thessalonica ; and since great of Mæris and his wife, and which rose quantities of books from here were three hundred feet above the lapping taken chiefly to Constantinople at the waters at their base ; but of these no imperial establishment of that city, it sign remains. may be that whenever science can get a A few years ago the favorite drive of look at the treasury of the sultan, they visitors was to see the obelisks known may still be there, as well as other as “ Cleopatra's Needles,” but now both priceless historic documents long lost of them have gone; they stood before to view. The final destruction of the the palace or Sebasteum whose site a Serapeum Library is that often-disputed stonemason's yard and Ramleh station but well-known act attributed to the probably occupy, and the connection of Arab conqueror in the seventh century, them with the notorious queen is now who is said to have heated the city quite exploded. No one who has stood baths for six months from its shelves in beside that one still mercifully left at accordance with the orders of the caliph On can but feel anger and regret that that, if the books added to the teaching they should have been removed to of the Koran they were bad, and if they lands where no surrounding is in keeprepeated it they were superfluous. ing, and where their rapid destruction
Just across the ridge of rock and sand is certain ; that remaining where those which, rising, separates it from the blue once at Alexandria came from still and dancing waters of the Mediter- serves to mark the spot where the great ranean is the once beautiful Lake of temple stood, and makes one dream Meris, a deep cutting made by an dreams of what scenes and persons in ancient king to store up the overllow the world's story it must have looked of the beneficent Nile. Its water was down upon, from earlier days than
those when Joseph the Patriarch came been president of the School of Matheto wed the daughter of the priest here, matics, and who had trained his daughto even later than when its shadow ter to soar to heights which he himself must have fallen upon another Joseph had never attained might well be and Mary his wife, bearing the child taken as patroness of Girton. One canJesus as they came to its fountain for not but feel a regard for the simplewater. Those at Alexandria had been hearted father who, having himself so removed before that great advent; but strong a sense of the omnipresence of it would have been far more:“ scien- God, thought that it only needed to tific,” and shown far better taste, to constantly recall the fact to men's minds have sent them back for future ages to keep them from evil, and therefore to value on their original sites than to urged the civil magistrates to have have taken them to lands where they written at every street corner “God must rapidly crumble to dust. There sees thee, O sinner!" One cannot but can be no possible excuse made with think that so reverent a philosopher that gone to New York; the only pal- must have brought up Hypatia to share liative with regard to ours on the Em- that reverence too. All unite, indeed, bankment is the forgotten fact that it in praising her virtue and beauty, and was presented by the Egyptian govern- even a gaitered bishop was so enamment to commemorate our triumphs oured of her that he had to write to his over France. That at New York is brother and ask him to salute in his now almost smooth, its inscriptions stead — he is no more precise obliterated, as that on the Thames most honored and most beloved of God, bank will be in another twenty years.
the philosopher," and talks of her Trieste laid some claim to the Amer- “divine voice” and “sacred hand.” ican one.
Its erector, as that of the It cannot be said that the Church did one on the Embankment, was Thothmes not appreciate her, as is sometimes asthe Third, about thirty-five hundred sumed. A frenzied band of dervishes, years ago, and, like all the rest of them, such as this land still produces in the it once had its surface highly polished religion of Mahomet, but then nomiand the hieroglyphics perhaps inlaid nally Christian, thought they were with silver-gilt, and its point capped doing God service by their demon's with the same metal. As it rose sev- deed, and the form of one of that God's enty fect in air, its apex caught the first most beautiful works lay mangled with glance of the sun-god Ra as he lose oyster-shells at the base of these obeover the Arabian desert, and then the lisks. smooth sides would glitter, and from
Such are some of the chief memories obelisk to obelisk would the bright which must recur to the thoughtful visglances flash as he rose in the imperial itor to Alexandria. All up the Nile glory and autocracy of his Eastern rule. you will be able to trace the effect of Think of this, and then look at those its Ptolemeian rulers ; from Dendera's sad, wasted, crumbling monuments in temple which bears the relief, and only London or New York, and answer if existing representation, of Cleopatra, wisdom be justified in such ruthless and the last of them, up to Pharaoh's bed greedy children as possess them. There in beautiful Philæ. Like our own modwas a scene which took place at their feet ern Gothic work its chief fault lies in as they stood before the palace pylon its soullessness ; it was a copy of the
; of Alexandria which all know but few work of earnest hands by faithless imiassociate with them, and yet the sadly tators ; but here in Alexandria we may thrilling tale of the death of Hypatia is believe that Greece built true to her familiar enough. The beautiful daugh- own traditions, and remained true to ter of Theon - an old man who had her own style. All its glory lasted only
about four hundred years, for it arose 1 Upon the monument the expression tasm or uasm is thought to mean gilded, since no metal of in transition times, days of mental, spir
itual and political disturbance, Chris,
that name is known.