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ANOMALOUS CHARACTER OF THE RUINS. 439
subjects are far more hideous, being in general representations of human beings distorted, deformed, and unnatural, very often many-headed, or with three or four arms or legs thrown out from the same body.
Lastly we come to the Egyptians. The point of resemblanqe upon, which the great stress has been laid is the pyramid. The pyramidal form is one which suggests itself to human intelligence in every country as the simplest and surest mode of erecting a high structure upon a solid foundation. It cannot be regarded, as a ground for assigning a common origin to all people among whom structures of that character are found, unless the similarity is preserved in its most striking features. The pyramids of Egypt are peculiar and uniform, and were invariably erected for the same uses and purposes, so far as those uses and purposes are known. They are all square at the base, with steps rising and diminishing until they come to a point. The nearest approach to this is at Copan; but even at that place there is no entire pyramid standing alone and disconnected, nor one with four sides complete, but only two, or, at most, three sides, and intended to form part of other structures. All the rest, without a single exception, were high elevations, with sides so broken that we could not make out their form, which, perhaps, were merely walled around, and had ranges of steps in front and rear, as at Uxmal, or terraces or raised platforms of earth, at most of three or four ranges, not of any precise form, but never square, and with small ranges of steps in the centre. Besides, the pyramids of Egypt are known to have interior chambers, and, whatever their other uses, to have been intended and used as sepulchres. These, on the contrary, are of solid earth and stone. No interior chambers have ever been 3L
discovered, and probably none exist. And the most radical difference of all is, the pyramids of Egypt are complete in themselves; the structures of this country were erected only to serve as the foundations of buildings. There is no pyramid in Egypt with a palace or temple upon it; there is no pyramidal structure in this country without; at least none from whose condition any judgment can be formed.
But there is one farther consideration, which must be conclusive. The pyramids of Egypt, as I have considered them, and as they stand now, differ most materially from the original structures. Herodotus says that in his time the great pyramid was coated with stone, so as to present a smooth surface on all its sides from the base to the top. The second pyramid of Ghizeh, called the Pyramid of Cephrenes, in its present condition, presents on the lower part ranges of steps, with an accumulation of angular stones at the base, which originally filled up the interstices between the steps, but have fallen down. In the upper part the intermediate layers are still in their places, and the sides present a smooth surface to the top. There is no doubt that originally every pyramid in Egypt was built with its sides perfectly smooth. The steps formed no part of the plan. It is in this state only that they ought to be considered, and in this state any possible resemblance between them and what are called the pyramids of America, ceases.
Next to the pyramids, the oldest remains of Egyptian architecture, such as the temple of Absamboul in Nubia, like those of the Hindus, are excavalions in the rock, from which it has been supposed that the Egyptians derived their style from that people. In later times they commenced erecting temples above ground, retaining the same features of gloomy grandeur, and
EGYPTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 441
remarkable for their vastness and the massiveness of the stone used in their construction. This does not seem to have been aimed at by the American builders. Among all these ruins we did not see a stone worthy of being laid on the walls of an Egyptian temple. The largest single blocks were the "idols" or "obelisks," as they have been called, of Copan and Quirigua; but in Egypt stones large as these are raised to a height of twenty or thirty feet and laid in the walls, while the obelisks which stand as ornaments at the doors, towering, a single stone, to the height of ninety feet, so overpower them by their grandeur, that, if imitations, they are the feeblest ever attempted by aspiring men.
Again: columns are a distinguishing feature of Egyptian architecture, grand and massive, and at this day towering above the sands, startling the wondering traveller in that mysterious country. There is not a temple on the Nile without them; and the reader will bear in mind, that among the whole of these ruins not one column has been found. If this architecture had been derived from the Egyptian, so striking and important a feature would never have been thrown aside. The dromos, pronaos, and adytum, all equally characteristic of Egyptian temples, are also here entirely wanting.
Next, as to sculpture. The idea of resemblance in this particular has been so often and so confidently expressed, and the drawings in these pages have so often given the same impression, that I almost hesitate to declare the total want of similarity. What the differences are I will not attempt to point out; but, that the reader may have the whole subject before him at once, I have introduced a plate of Egyptian sculpture taken from Mr. Catherwood's portfolio. The subject on the right is from the side nf the great monument at Thebes known
Vol. 11.- .