THE palace and temple of Remeses II. is erroneously called the Memnonium. There is, however, reason to believe that it was the Memnonium of Strabo, and that the title of Miamum, or Mai-Amun, attached to the name of Remeses II., being corrupted by the Romans into Memnon, became the origin of the word Memnonium, or Memnonia, since we find it again applied to the buildings at Abydus, which were finished by the same monarch. A remarkable circumstance connected with the name is the belief that this and other monuments so called had been built or finished by the Ethiopians.

    For symmetry of architecture and elegance of sculpture there is no doubt that these ruins may vie with any other monument of Egyptian art. No traces are visible of the dromos that probably existed before the pyramidal towers, which form the façade to its first hypaethral area – a court whose breadth of one hundred and eighty feet exceeded its length by forty feet; but a double avenue of columns on either side extended from the towers to the second entrance, which was made by a flight of steps. On one side of these was the great Colossus of the Memnonium.

    The second area is about one hundred and forty feet by one hundred and seventy feet,  having on the south and north sides a row of Osiride pillars, connected with each other by two lateral corridors of circular columns. Three flights of steps, one in the centre, the others lateral, lead to the end corridor of this court: the centre flight has on each side a black granite statue of Remeses II. seated, the bases of the thrones being cut to fit the talus of the ascent. Behind these columns, and on either side of the central door, is a limestone pedestal, which probably supported the figure of a lion or the statue of a king: thence three entrances open into the grand hall, each strengthened and beautified by a sculptured doorway of black granite; and between the two first columns of the central avenue, a pedestal supported on either side another statue of the king. Twelve massive columns form a double line along the centre of this hall, as at Karnac, and eighteen of smaller dimensions, to the right and left, complete the total of the forty-eight which supported its solid roof, studded with stars on an azure ground. To the hall, which measures one hundred feet by one hundred and thirty-three feet, succeeded three central and six lateral chambers, indicating by a small flight of steps the gradual ascent of the rock on which the edifice is constructed. Only two of the nine central apartments now remain, each is supported by four columns, and measures about thirty feet by fifty-five feet; but the vestiges of their walls and the appearance of the rock, which has been levelled to form an area round the exterior of the building, point out their original extent. The sculptures, much more interesting than the architectural details, have suffered still more from the hand of the destroyer; and of the many curious battle-scenes which adorned its walls four only now remain. These paintings are among the most interesting relics in Egypt, and they are fully described in Sir Gardner Wilkinson’s most valuable Work on Modern Egypt and Thebes.

    The desolate scene represented by Mr. Roberts enables the observer to trace the order of the successive parts of this once splendid structure, in the above account drawn from Wilkinson’s Work. A connexion, there cannot be a doubt, once existed between the figures seen on the left, the vocal Memnon and his companion, and the present ruins of the Memnonium-Ramseion, or tomb of Osymandyas, by whichever name it is acknowledged. Vast masses have disappeared altogether, between Damy and Shamy, and the ruined propylon.

    The drawing shews the whole range of country to the base of the Libyan chain.


                Wilkinson’s Egypt and Thebes.