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shed, and made the contending parties forget the respect due to the sacred monuments of their adversaries to such an extent, that the destruction of the Labyrinth by the Heracleopolitans was the final result. It is difficult to reconcile, psychologically, a worship so full of trivialities with a religion so replete with lofty moral conceptions, and with the high intellectual capacity which created a Lake Moeris, reared huge pyramids, constructed the stupendous work of art that was celebrated throughout the then civilised world as the Labyrinth, and called into existence, out of a tract of desert, the fertile province which for many centuries derived its name as the Crocodilopolitan Nome, from the animal thus venerated.
When we had exhausted our examination of the left bank of the Bahr es Sherki, we announced our intention to the crowd of attendant Arabs who had accompanied us from the village, of crossing over to see the network of chambers on the other side. To our dismay they pronounced the stream unfordable, and told us we should have to make a circuit of two miles by a bridge. This I resolutely declined, and some of the Arabs accordingly
stripped to try and find a ford. The channel was so narrow that it might easily have been jumped with the aid of a leaping-pole; but the men had some difficulty in finding a spot where the water only came up to their armpits. This was the depth even close to the bank; but by performing a sort of circus feat, and each of us sitting astride the heads of two men, we got carried across, while our donkeys were sent round. It was not a very graceful performance for a lady; but in the absence of any other spectators than the sons of the desert, it did not so much matter. The chambers were a disappointing collection of tiny apartments, with thick walls of crude brick—possibly over a hundred in number—their floors strewn with pottery, rags, and bones. We picked up a bead, some good specimens of blue and green glazed terra cotta, and fragments of glass. In one room alone I observed five human skulls, and there were numerous bones to which the dried flesh still adhered under the wrappings of mummy-cloth. Altogether, the vestiges of these ruins conveyed as much the idea of a necropolis as of an assemblage of councilchambers, and it is not unlikely that its primitive design was simply to serve as a vast sepulchre like that at Sakkara. There can be little doubt that pyramids invariably form the centres of such burial - places — indeed Herodotus tells us that he was informed by his guides that the lower chambers were used for funeral purposes; and Amenemhat may have selected this spot on the shores of the lake he had created, as his own resting-place and that of the chief men of his reign. From the records upon the inscriptions where his name has been found, it is almost beyond a doubt that he is buried here, although not within the Pyramid; and the mode of sepulture among the ancient Egyptians renders it, in the opinion of some Egyptologists, extremely likely that this vast congeries of apartments, which at a later period were converted into council - halls, were originally mortuary chambers, but upon a scale of such magnificence and vastness that the subsequent dynasties considered them available for other purposes. Indeed we have no record of the Labyrinth being used for great imperial assemblies until the period immediately preceding the Psamtikides of the twenty-sixth dynasty, or about 1900 years after the time of Amenemhat, its constructor. At the same time, it is not impossible that the Labyrinth was used for other purposes as well as those of sepulture, even from the earliest period; for the assemblage of twelve palaces or au/ac, as described by Herodotus, must have had some reference to the twelve nomes into which Egypt was divided before the number was increased by Rameses II. to thirty-six. And we may be safe in saying that if we carry our imaginations back 3500 years, or even more, the spot upon which we were now standing presented an aspect of scenic beauty, of architectural magnificence, and was invested with a character of political and religious importance, unrivalled in the world, which it retained for nearly 2000 years. It was evidently selected, from its central position on the boundary-line that divided Upper from Lower Egypt, for the great regal, political, and sacerdotal rites which were celebrated here. Standing on the shores of a beautiful lake, the waters of which reflected the magnificent city of Crocodilopolis Arsinoë immediately opposite, and which was navigated by numberless craft, and surrounded by palmgroves and those gardens of fruits and flowers for which the province was celebrated, the Labyrinth occupied a position of great scenic beauty, and of political significance. It was the great council-hall of Egypt. Hither flocked the representatives of the different nomes to the great assembly of the nation; here congregated the high priests to celebrate those great religious ceremonies which demanded the united homage of the people. Here probably kings were crowned, laws were made, great public works decided upon, questions of war or peace settled,—in a word, in this congeries of palaces, under the shadow of the Pyramid, on the banks of this vast artificial lake, that had been adorned and beautified by the taste and resources of successive centuries, all the highest interests of the nation were discussed in assemblies composed of the great powers of the State—the king, the priesthood, and the army. It is difficult to associate in one's mind the crude brick rooms which are still standing, or even the discoveries of Lepsius, now covered with sand, with all this splendour and magnificence, of which F