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I will say no more on this subject. I even perceive I have dwelt perhaps too long upon it. Yet I hope to be easily forgiven these little digressions I have fallen into. I thought it would be allowed me more freely, as it is the only time I thall have to treat of this matter.

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THE

HE art of building comprehends many objects, and in

cludes many parts which make so many distinct claffes separated from each other. We may consider architecture either with relation to solidity and the boldness of the-design, or on the score of regularity, of elegance, of taste, and the magnificence of buildings. I could only give conjectures of the state and progress of this art in the first part of my work.

There remain too few particulars of what happened in that remote antiquity to form any judgment upon it. We are absolutely ignorant of the taste which reigned then in buildings.

We find, in the ages we are now examining, facts which relate to the different parts of architecture. By the exposure which I am going to make, the reader will judge of the progress of this art, and of the rapid improvements which the Egyptians and the people of Asia Minor had made in it. We shall begin with the Egyptians. Their monu. ments are the first in date, in the space of time which makes the subject of this second part of our work.

ARTICLE I.

of the state of architecture among the Egyptians. WE have seen, in the preceding books, that the origin

of arts was very ancient in Egypt. The works of which I am going to give an account would prove it, in

a Part 1. book 2.

dependently dependently of the testimony of historians. How indeed could the Egyptians have executed them, at the times we are now considering, without a prior knowledge of more and different inventions?

Sefoftris, whose reign falls about the beginning of the ages we are now running over, deserves for many reasons to be ranked among the most famous monarchs of antiquity. This prince, after having employed the first years of his reign to over-run and conquer a vast extent of country, gave himself up ever afterwards to find out ways to make his kingdom flourishing. Equally great in peace and war, he signalized his leisure by monuments whofe duration will greatly outlive his conquests.

The different countries where Sesostris had carried his arms, enabled him to make many discoveries. He made use of them to enrich Egypt with many very useful inventions b, This prince undertook works of very difficult execution and of a prodigious expense. The object of these labours, by immortalizing the name of Sefoftris, was to contribute also to the fecurity and utility of Egypt.

The first care of this monarch, was to find out the means of putting his kingdom in safety from all incursions. Egypt was open on the east fide. Sefoftris raised a wall in that part, which extended from Pelusus to Heliopolis, which is about 1500 ftadia c. He afterwards cut divers canals, some to water the landsd, the others for the ease and intercourse of commerce from town to town, and for facilitating the carriage of merchandise e. The want of water fit for drinking is at this time one of the greatest inconveniencies to which Egypt is subjected. Sefoftris had remedied it. He had directed his works in such a manner, that the towns most

b Diod. 1. 5. p. 65.; Athenod. apud Clem. Alex. cohort. ad Gent. p. 43.

Athenodorus might be in the right in saying, that the conquests of Sesostris gave to this prince the means of bringing into Egypt many able workmen. But when he adds, that it was from Greece that these workmen came, we see very plainly it is a Greek who speaks, and who, right or wrong, would extol his nation. The Greeks in the time of Scfoftris were too unpolished to have any able artists among them. c Diod. 1.1. p. 67. a Chap. I.

e Diod. l. 1. p.

66. Maillet. defcript. de l’Egypte, lettr. 1. p. 16,

distant * See les mem. de Trev. Juillet 1705. p. 1257. c. • Herod. 1. 2. n. 137.; Diod. 1. 1.7. 66.

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distant from the Nile never wanted water, or the means of • getting it easily

According to some authors, Sesoitris had projected the junction of the Red sea with the Mediterranean, by a canal which coming from the Red sea should fall into the Nile b. But the enterprise was not finished. They pretend, that the apprehension of laying Egypt under water, or, at least, the corrupting the waters of the Nile by the mixture of the waters of the sea, deterred Sefoftris from this project i. This motive might have some foundation. It is since be- . lieved, that they were assured, that the level of the Red sea was much higher than the lands of Egypt k. Some modern geographers are of the same opinion '. Others, at the head of whom we may place Strabo, think otherwise . What is certain, is, say they, that the canal, projected by many fovereigns of Egypt, has never been executed -.

The many canals which Sefoftris caused to be made, were not the only works he undertook for the emolument of Egypt. The kings his predecessors were content to oppose the inundations of the Nile by banks which hindered the waters from spreading farther than need required. But these precautions were not sufficient. As the land of Egypt is flat and level, if it happened, that the Nile broke its banks, most of the towns and their inhabitants were exposed to be overflowed. To prevent this accident, Sefoftris caused terrasses to be raised in many places, of a considerable, height and breadth. He ordered the inhabitants of all the towns, to whom nature had not furnished the like ramparts, to leave them and go and build houses on the causeys, which he had caused to be inade, to the end that they and their focks miglit be sheltered from the floods,

These towns raised with immense labours, and rising like

1

& Herod. 1. 2. n. 108. h Marsham, p. 376. i Ibid. k Ibid.

Buffon, hift. nat. t. 1. p. 104. & 391. m Strabo, 1. 17. p. 1158.; Riccioli Almagest. t. 1. p. 728.; Fournier, hydrograph. 1.18. c. 9.p.605.; Journal des scav. Fevr. 1668. p. 21. allo la rem. du P. Hardouin, ad Plin. 1. 6. fect. 35. p. 341. pote 4.

See

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i • iflands in the middle of the waters, formed, at the time of

the inundation, the most beautiful, and, I dare say, the most uncommon sight that one can imagine. Egypt then changed into a large sea, offered to the view an immense extent of water interspersed with an infinity of towns and villages p. Though at this time it is reduced to a quite different state from what it was formerly, yet one still has the same profpect. All travellers speak with admiration of the picture which Egypl presents at the time of the inundation 4,

The works I have given an account of, depend more or less on archite&ture; those which I have to speak of appertain more directly to that art. Sefoftris did not only employ himself in works that might contribute to the security and conveniency of Egypt, he raised also many monuments to embellish and decorate his kingdom. This prince caused to be built in each town, temples in honour of the divinity that was particularly reverenced there". That of Vulcan was the most remarkable. The stones which they used for the construction of that edifice, were of an enormous size . But indeed this is all we can say of the magnificence of that temple. We know not what were the dimensions, the proportions, and the ornaments.

The tabernacle set up by the Israelites in the desert, may nevertheless give some ideas of the manner in which at that time the Egyptian temples were constructed. I believe really, that there must have been some relation between the taste which reigned in these edifices and the tabernacle*. It is true, strictly speaking, this work ought not to be look. ed upon as a piece of architecture; it was only, to speak properly, a vast tent: this is the first idea it offers to the mind; but by reflecting on it more attentively, we shall perceive, that the tabernacle had a great relation with architecture. We ought to look upon it as a representation of the temples and palaces of the east. Let us recollect what

N

+ Herod. 1. 2. 1. $7.; Diod. 1.1. p. 43.; Strabo, 1. 15.p. Jol. 1. 17.2.137.;
Seneca, nat. quaeft. I. 4. C. 2. 1. 2. p.750.
· Maillet, defcript. de l'Egypte, lettr. 2. p. 70. * Diod. 1. 7. p. 65. & 66.

Herod. J. 2. n. 108.
* This is also the fentiment of Father Calmet, t. 2.9.391.
VOL. II.

R

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we have said before of the form of government of the Hebrews. The Sapreme Being was equally their God and King e The tabernacle was erected with a view'to answer to that double title. It served at once for the temple and palace. Tlie Ifraelites went there sometimes to adore the Almighty, and iometimes to receive the orders of their fovereiga, present in a fenfible manner in the midst of his people a.

I think then we ought to look upon the tabernacle as a work which God would have that the structure should have relation with the edifices destined in the east, whether for the worship of the gods, or the habitation of kings *. From these ideas we may say it was then the custom to ornament these monuments with columns variously worked and enriched. There were many in the tabernacle supported on bases of silver or copper, and surmounted with chapiters of gold and silver ». The shaft of these columns was of precious wood covered with plates of gold and filverz. The whole construction of the tabernacle presented, moreover, the model of an edifice regular and distributed with much fkill. All the dimensions and proportions appear to have been observed with care and perfectly well adapted.

The inductions which we may draw from the description of this monument, are moreover the only lights that history

affords on the architecture of the Egyptian temples for the ages we are speaking of at present. I shall speak more particularly of these edifices in the third part of this work. Let us return to Sefoftris.

That prince further signalized his reign by the erection of two obelisks, which were cut with a defign to acquaint posterity of the extent of his power, and the number of nations he had conquered 2. These monuments were of

+ See supra, b. I. ch. 2.

u And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell amongst them. Exod.c. 25. v.8.

* See Calmet, t. 2. p. 391. & 393. y Exod. c. 26. v. 32. C. 27. v. 17.
2 Exod. c. 26. v. 32. C. 27. 1. 17.
s Diod. b. 1. p. 6.

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