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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/150

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118
Part I.
EGYPTIAN ARCHITECTURE.

capital, the under side of which was perfectly illuminated from the mode in which the light was introduced, while in the side pillars the capital was narrower at the top than at the bottom, apparently for the sake of allowing its ornaments to be seen.

Beyond this are always several smaller apartments, in this instance supposed to be nine in number, but they are so ruined that it is difiicult to be quite certain what their arrangement was. These seem to have been rather suited to the residences of the king or priests than to the purposes of a temple, as we understand the word. Indeed, Palace-Temple, or Temple-Palace, would be a more appropriate term for these buildings than to call them simply Temples. They do not seem to have been appropriated to the worship of any particular god, but rather to the great ceremonials of royalty—of kingly sacrifice to the gods for the people, and of worship of the king himself by the people, who seems to have been regarded, if not as a god, at least as the representative of the gods on earth.

Though the Rhamession is so grand from its dimensions, and so beautiful from its design, it is far surpassed in every respect by the palace-temple at Karnac, which is perhaps the noblest effort of architectural magnificence ever produced by the hand of man.

Its principal dimensions are 1200 ft. in length, by about 360 in width, and it covers therefore about 430,000 square ft., or nearly twice the area of St. Peter's at Rome, and more than four times that of any mediæval cathedral existing. This, however, is not a fair way of estimating its dimensions, for our churches are buildings entirely under one roof; but at Karnac a considerable portion of the area was uncovered by any buildings, so that no such comparison is just. The great hypostyle hall, however, is internally 340 ft. by 170, and, with its two pylons, it covers more than 88,000 square ft., a greater area than the cathedral of Cologne, the largest of all our northern cathedrals; and when we consider that this is only a part of a great whole, we may fairly assert that the entire structure is among the largest, as it undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful, buildings in the world.

The original part of this great group was, as before mentioned, the sanctuary or temple built by Osortasen, the great monarch of the 12th dynasty, before the Shepherd invasion. It is the only thing that seems to have been allowed to stand during the five centuries of Shepherd domination, though it is by no means clear that it had not been pulled down by the Shepherds, and reinstated by the first kings of the 18th dynasty, an operation easily performed with the beautiful polished granite masonry of the sanctuary. Be this as it may, Amenophis, the first king of the restored race, enclosed this in a temple about 120 ft. square. Thothmes I. built in front of it a splendid hall, surrounded by colossi, backed by piers; and Thothmes III. erected behind it a palace or temple, which is one of the most singular buildings in