THIS interesting scene is presented from the architrave of the colonnade which surrounds the great court of the Temple, to which Mr. Roberts had climbed in order to obtain a view of the plain of  Thebes from the western bank of the Nile to the Libyan Mountains - a view which extends from the ruins of Medinet-Abou to those of the Temple of Amun at Goorna. The plain of Thebes is divided by the Nile, which, in its course, leaves on its right bank not only the vast ruins of the palace-temples of Luxor and of Karnak, but traces of the ancient greatness and extent of the city of Thebes or Diospolis,  in numerous fragments of columns and colossal statues in situ, of vast enclosures, and heaps formed by the ruins of early structures. Those are not, however, seen in the direction of the Libyan chain, but the western plain, in the view, exhibits abundant evidence of the remote past, in the ruins of the Memnonium, the temples of Medinet-Abou, and at Goorna; and here, are seen the colossal statues of Damy and Shamy, where they have been thus seated during three thousand annual inundations of the fertilizing Nile. Boats are seen on the river, that have brought to this scene of desolation, travellers from a country which was probably uninhabited at the time when these temples had already passed through many ages of decay, from that greatness, which their ruins attest to have once been the most gorgeous and imposing ever raised by the riches and power of a people. Now, how utterly degraded and sunk are those who inhabit the same spot: a few hundred miserable Fellahs burrow amidst the wondrous ruins of a city which once sent forth its hundreds of thousands to conquest!

    But the foul religion and idolatries practised by the Pharaohs and their subjects, were followed by the vengeance of Heaven, threatened in the predictions of the Prophets od Israel. Idolatry became the cause of the civil wars which brought desolation on Egypt; the people of different nomes or districts fought against each other, and city set itself against city, in hatred or jealousy of the worship of a different animal or object. The prophecies of Isaiah were literally fulfilled; and the judgments threatened, quickly followed the predictions of Ezekiel, which were fearfully executed in the conquest of Egypt, and the cruelties inflicted on her people, by Cambyses. The later prophecies of holy writ apply, however, more especially to the cities of Lower Egypt, which, at that time, had not only thrown off allegiance to the kings of Thebes, but this city had itself been conquered from the descendants of Remeses, a thousand years before the Christian era, by the Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings, xi. 40), who governed the country in Bubastes, a city of Lower Egypt: it was his daughter who became the wife of King Solomon, and was the beloved object of his Song. The history of the decline of power in Thebes and its race of Pharaohs is so obscure, that the date cannot be fixed when it ceased to be the capital of Egypt: such records were probably destroyed in the civil wars under which it sunk; yet more ruins remain to attest its greatness and former splendour than exist of any city of the Delta, which, at a later period, became the seat of government.

    Such associations irresistibly arise with the contemplation of this scene. The statues, and the temples on the western plain where those who lived had worshipped; and the necropolis of the millions who had died in Thebes, and were buried at the bases of the Libyan hills, which bound the plain, lie before the spectator; and above Goorna, the entrance to the valley is seen which leads to Bibán El Molook, the gate of the tombs of the kings, where the great of the earth made their sepulchres with such art of concealment that, after three thousand years, some remained till our own day to be discovered by the indefatigable Belzoni.


Isaiah, xix. 1,2.        Ezekiel, XXX.             Roberts’sJournal      Sharpe’s Egypt.