THIS portico to the catacombs is remarkable, as it probably illustrates the origin of the Doric order of the Greeks; at all events it shews  that its principles existed among the ancient Egyptians at a very remote period, at least, 1500 B.C., and, therefore, earlier than any known Greek temple. The columns have sixteen sides, and are slightly fluted: they are sixteen and a half feet high, and rather more than five diameters, with a slight lessening at the top, on which rests a small abacus. The proportions of the entablature and cornice, too, are remarkable, as being unlike the general architecture of Egypt.

    The great interest, however, in the remains at Beni Hassan, lies in the pictorial representations left by the ancient Egyptians on the walls of these catacombs. Rich as many of the temples are in the paintings and sculptured representations of the conquest by the Pharaohs, on the walls of the tombs of Beni Hassan the arts, habits, and pursuits of the Egyptians, in their social state, are painted. Here they are represented occupied in their various trades, as potters, weavers, glass-blowers, jewellers, writers, statuaries, and painters; their sports are shewn in dancing, music, wrestling in various attitudes, posturing and fencing, playing with balls and at chess, and the game of morra as among the Italians of our day. The chase of wild animals, fowling and fishing; agricultural pursuits, planting, sowing, reaping, threshing, rearing cattle, and the management of herds and flocks; buffoons, and dwarfs, and schools for instruction. The caves of Beni Hassan have, in short, preserved the best and, in many cases, the only information we possess, of the manners, pursuits, and customs of this extraordinary people.


Roberts’s Journal.                 Wilkinson.