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PROVINCE OP THE THEBAID, IN THE ANCIENT DIVISION OF UPPER EGYPT.
Abydos or This, How, Dendera, Cooft or Coptos, Coos, Luxor, Karnac, Gournou, Medinah Tabou, Thebes, Biban el Memlook, Al Asassif, Hermonthis, Esne, Edfou, Eilythyas, Gebel Luxor, and quarries of Hadjar Silsillis, Koom Ombos, Assouan, Philae.—Among the ancient Egyptians these were the principal sites. But commencing with the earliest days of Egypt's splendor, we find three great sites of empire, Abydos or the ancient This, situated sixty miles below Thebes, (built a few centuries from the date of the pyramids and Memphis,) and which we are now approaching. It had sixteen sovereigns reigning while Cheops built the first pyramid. Over this province of Tanis, which extended from where we are to Dongola, beyond the second cataract, ruled the predecessors of Rameses the Great, whose names are written in the tablet of Abydos. Of their structures, their surmounting capitals built as long before Rameses as the apostles of Christ were anterior to us, of Abydos, of Memphis, nought remains. Thebes was then an unsettled plain. The superstructures of Rameses the Great, and Osiren at Abydos, at Aboosimboul, at Thebes, built upon these, still give an idea of the glory of Egypt throughout the valley of the Nile. A pyramid of Cheops or his contemporaries, a granite sanctuary * of Ositarsen, or a tomb cut in his time,t and such solitary records as the tablet of Abydos, alone attest their existence or their history. Like Babylon, like Babel, like the localities of young earth, their sites are the ruins of their empires, and we look at them alone through the dim glass of their successors of thirty centuries ago—to whom they were yet, by ages and siecles, an ancient race.
While at Abydos I could not but rehearse the ages that had passed in Egypt's earlier time over that spot. The ancient This, it alone of all Egypt, save Memphis, stood as the locality of the first founders of Egypt. We do not conceive it necessary to go to Wady Haifa with Miss Martineau, and look over into Dongola to see this. We can contemplate from this, as a point de depart, the dynasties of Egypt. Here before the Augustine age of Rameses, and his father Osiren, (who built these kingly halls,) lived the earlier dynasties, who were as much anterior, says Bunsen, to Rameses or Sesostris, as Augustus was to our era. The excavations of Messrs. Salt and Bankes have thrown true light upon the history of Egypt; the tablet of Abydos contained the name of Sesostris as its last name, and is the grand regulating touchstone— the Doomsday Book of Egyptian Chronology. I ran over in my mind the history of this age before Abraham came into Egypt; of those who built here before the building of the pyramids, and who lived here at This, upon whose foundations
* Karnac. t Beni Hassan.