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without paling by Memphis. Homer having been informed of the grandeur and magnificence of Thebes, necefsarily must have known that of Memphis, which was much easier of access than Thebes. This reason appears to me decisive, and makes me believe, that they did not begin to speak of Memphis till after the age of Homet.
The tame reason engaged me also not to speak of the pyramids, those famous monuments which have rendered Egypt for ever celebrated. I think their construction posterior to the epoch we are at present running over ".
Of the state of architecture in Asia Minor.
ture which deserves our attention. Yet we cannot doubt, but the art of building was there sufficiently cultivated; but we want lights of the taste and skill which reigned at that time in the edifices of the eastern people. The ancient authors supply us with few resources in this matter: the facts which they report, are not sufficiently explained, nor sufficiently circumftantiated. They are wanting in those details, which alone could instruct us in the taste and manner of building of each age and of each nation.
Homer, for example, in speaking of the palace of Priam, says, that it had at the entrance fifty apartments well built, in which the princes his children lodged with their wives. At the bottom of the court, there were twelve other apartments for the sons-in-law of that monarch : we farther see, that Paris had built for his particular use a very magnificent lodging r. These facts prove, that, at the time of the war of Troy, architecture must have been cultivated in Asia Minor; but they do not instruct us of the taste in which they constructed those edifices I have just mentioned. We cannot see in what their magnificence and beauty consisted. Homer
* See part 3. book 2. chap. 2.
p Ibid. v. 3'3. &6.
only remarks of the palace of Priam, that it was surrounded with porticoes, the stones of which had been worked with care 4. He says much the same of that of Paris". But we shall see in the article of the Greeks, that we have now no idea of what Homer intended by the word which we commonly translate by that of portico. We shall further see, that that poet probably knew nothing of any of the orders of architecture. He never speaks of the embellishments or external ornaments of buildings. I think therefore, that the magnificence of the palaces consisted at that time rather in their vast extent, than in the regularity and the decoration of their architecture,
I further do not see, that one can draw any light from the description which the same poet gives of the palace of Al. cinous *. It is to be presumed that Homer has tried to put there all the magnificence known in his time : he might have taken for a model the most beautiful edifices he had ever seen. Yet we remark nothing in the description of the palace of Alcinous, which has a direct relation to the beauty and magnificence of architecture. The elegance and the decoration of that edifice consisted solely in the richness of the materials, and that of the interior ornaments. The poet says that the walls of the palace and the threshold of the doors were of solid brass t. An entablature of sky-blue went
quite round the building: the doors were of gold, the sa Sides chambranles of filver, and the floors of the same.
nice of gold went round the apartments.
Homer then describes the statues and other interior Places Ornaments which decorated the palace of Alcinous: but
for the rest he says nothing which denotes an edifice eftimable on the score of architecture. The beauties of that art, as far as we can judge, were very little known in
q* Iliad. 1.6. V. 243.
Ibid. v. 314. * See the dissertation, where I explain the reasons for which I think that the isle of the Phaeacians must belong to Asia, supra, chap. I.
† What Homer says of the thresholds of brass is not a pure imagination of the poet's; this custom is attested by many authors. Virgil. Æneid, 1. 1. V. 448.; Paul. 1.9. c. 19. D. 748.; Suid. voce Artinimpov Býfuatos, t. 1. p. 229.
Homer's time. I shall further have occasion to return to, this subject in the article of Greece, and to treat it more ex. tensively.
knowledge which many nations liave had in metallurgy, the facts which I am going to relate would put an end to them, and dissipate them entirely. We see the Israelites execute, in the desert, all the operations which concerned the working of metals : they knew the secret of purifying gold", the art of beating it with a liammers, that of throwing it into fusion, and in a word, to work it in all the pofsible ways. The scripture indeed remarks, that God had presided over most of the grand works relative to his worshipu. But independent of these marvellous productions, it is certain that they must have had among the Israelites, many very skilful and very intelligent artists in metallurgy. The golden calf, which that ungrateful and fickle people erected as an object of their adoration, is an evidence equally striking of their perfidy towards God, and of the extent of their knowledge in the working of metals. This operation fupposes great skill and intelligence. The long stay of the Hebrews in Egypt had enabled them to instruct themselves in the necessary processes to succeed in such an enterprife.
The Egyptians as, I have infinuated in the first part of this work, had made, even in the earliest times, critical inquiries and experiments in metals. The erection of the golden
r Exod. c. 25. V. 31. & 36.
The vulgate translates all the paffages in this chapter, where gold is mentioned, by very fure gold. But, following the Hebrew text, it means gold purified, for the verb is alwaysin the participle.
| Exod. c. 25. v. 31. & 36. + Ibid. c. 32. V.4. a Ibid. c. 31. V. 1. c. 35. V. 31,
calf is not the only proof with which the scripture furnishes us : what we there read, with regard to the destruction of that idol, deserves infinitely niore attention. The scripture says Moses took the golden calf, burnt it, reduced it to powder, and afterwards mixed that powder with water which he made the Israelites drink x. Those who work in metals are not ignorant, that, in general, this operation is very difficult. Moses probably had learned this secret in Egypt. The scripture remarks expressly, that he had been brought up in all the wisdom of the Egyptians y; that is to say, that Moses had been instructed in all the sciences which these people cultivated. I think then that at that time the Egyptians knew the art of performing this operation in gold, an operation of which, at the same time, it is necessary to thew the process.
The commentators are much troubled to explain the manner in which Moses burnt and reduced to powder the golden calf; the most of them have only given vain conjectures, and such as are absolutely void of all probability. An able chymist has removed all the difficulties that can be formed about thiş operation. The means which he thinks Moses has used it very simple. Instead of tartar which we use for such a procels, the legislator of the Hebrews has used natron, which is very common in the east, and particularly near the Nile z. What the scripture adds, that Moses made the Israelites drink this powder, proves that he knew perfectly well the whole force of its operation. He would aggravate the punishment of their disobedience. One could not invent a way which would render them more sensible of it : : gold made potable by the process which I have mentions ed, is of a detestable taste *.
We ought farther to look u pon as a mark of the rapid knowledge which many people had acquired in the art of working metals, the custom which was very ancient of using tin in many works : the manufactory of this metal may be ranked among the most difficult processes in metallurgy. It is yet certain that in the ages we are speaking of, they knew perfectly the art of preparing and using tin. The testimonies of Moses, and Homer , do not permit us to doubt of it.
* Exod. c. 32, V. 20.
y Acts, c. 7, v. 22. z Stahll, vitul. aureus, in opusc, chyin. phyf.-med. p. 585. a See les mem. de l'acad. des scienc. ann. 1733. mem. p. 315. * It approaches to that of magistery of sulphur. See Senac, n. cours de. chymie, t. 2. p. 39. & 40.
I could cite many other facts which equally mark the progress that the Egyptians and many other nations had already made in metallurgy: the sacred story on one side, and the profane writers on the other, would furnish me with abundant proofs ; but I reserve this detail for the following chapter, where I shall treat praticularly of gold work.
CH A P.
Of Sculpture, Gold work, and Painting.
E cannot doubt that most of the arts which relate to
design, had been greatly cultivated in the ages we are at present running over. Embroidery, sculpture, ingraving of metals, and the knowledge of throwing them into fusion to make statues, were well known to the Egyptians, and many other people of Ala. I shall attend less to report the proofs, than to examine the taste which then took place in these sort of works.
Tappears that the Egyptians had had at all times a great taste
for colossus's and gigantic figures. We see the marks of it in most of the monuments erected by Sesostris. Hifto. ry says, that this Egyptian monarch caused to be placed before the temple of Vulcan his statue, and that of the queen
Numb, c. 31. V. 22.
c See infra, art. 2.