THE text of the "Book of Gates," printed in the following pages, is taken from the alabaster sarcophagus of king Seti I., B.C. 1370, which is preserved in the Museum of Sir John Soane, at 13, Lincoln's Inn Fields. This sarcophagus is, undoubtedly, one of the chief authorities for the text of that remarkable book; but before any attempt is made to describe the arrangement of the scenes and the inscriptions which accompany them, it will be well to recall the principal facts connected with its discovery by Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who has fortunately placed them on record in his Narrative of the Operations and recent discoveries within the pyramids, temples, tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia, London, 1820, p. 233 ff. In October, 1815, Belzoni began to excavate in the Biban-al-Muluk, i.e., the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, on the western bank of the Nile at Thebes, and in the
bed of a watercourse he found a spot where the ground bore traces of having been "moved." On the 19th of the month his workmen made a way through the sand and fragments of stone which had been piled up there, and entered the first corridor or passage of a magnificent tomb, which he soon discovered to have been made for one of the great kings of Egypt. A second corridor led him to a square chamber which, being thirty feet deep, formed a serious obstacle in the way of any unauthorized intruder, and served to catch any rain-water which might make its way down the corridors from the entrance. Beyond this chamber are two halls, and from the first of these Belzoni passed through other corridors and rooms until he entered the vaulted chamber in which stood the sarcophagus. 1 The sarcophagus chamber is situated at a distance of 320 feet from the entrance to the first corridor, and is 180 feet below the level of the ground. Belzoni succeeded in bringing the sarcophagus from its chamber into the light of day without injury, and in due course it arrived in England; the negotiations which he opened with the Trustees of the British Museum, to whom its purchase was first proposed, fell through, and he subsequently sold it to Sir John Soane, it is said for the sum of £2000. An examination of the sarcophagus shows that both it and its cover were hollowed out of monolithic blocks of alabaster,
and it is probable, as Mr. Sharpe says, 1 that these were quarried in the mountains near Alabastronpolis, i.e., the district which was known to the Egyptians by the name of Het-nub, and is situated near the ruins known in modern times by the name of Tell al-'Amarna. In the Yet-nub quarries large numbers of inscriptions, written chiefly in the hieratic character, have been found, and from the interesting selection from these published by Messrs. Blackden and Fraser, we learn that several kings of the Ancient and Middle Empires carried on works in them, no doubt for the purpose of obtaining alabaster for funeral purposes. The sarcophagus is 9 ft. 4 in. long, 3 ft. 8 in. wide, in the widest part, and 2 ft. 8 in. high at the shoulders, and 2 ft. 3 in. at the feet; the cover is 1 ft. 3 in. high. The thickness of the alabaster varies from 21 to 4 inches. The skill of the mason who succeeded in hollowing the blocks without breaking, or even cracking them, is marvellous, and the remains of holes nearly one inch in diameter suggest that the drill was as useful to him as the chisel and mallet in hollowing out the blocks. When the sarcophagus and its cover were finally shaped and polished, they were handed over to an artisan who was skilled in cutting hieroglyphics and figures of the gods, &c., in stone, and both the insides and outsides were covered by him
with inscriptions and vignettes and mythological scones which illustrated them. Both inscriptions and scenes were then filled in with a kind of paint made from some preparation of copper, and the vivid bluish green colour of this paint must have formed a striking contrast to the brilliant whiteness of the alabaster when fresh from the quarry. At the present time large numbers of characters and figures are denuded of their colour, and those in which it still remains are much discoloured by London fog and soot.
The first to attempt to describe the contents of the texts and scenes on the sarcophagus of SETI I. was the late Samuel Sharpe, who, with the late Joseph Bonomi, published "The Alabaster Sarcophagus of Oimenepthah I., King of Egypt," London, 1864, 4to; the former was responsible for the letterpress, and the latter for the plates of scenes and texts. For some reason which it is not easy to understand, Mr. Sharpe decided that the hieroglyphic characters which formed the prenomen of the king for whom the sarcophagus was made were to be read "Oimenepthah," a result which he obtained by assigning the phonetic value of O to the hieroglyphic sign for Osiris . The prenomen is sometimes written , or , and , and is to be read either SETI-MEN-EN PTAH, or SETI-MEN-EN-PTAH. Mr. Sharpe did not, apparently, realize that both the signs and
were to be read "Set," and he gave to the first the phonetic value of A and to the second the value of O; he next identified "Aimenepthah" or "Oimenepthah" with the Amenophath of Manetho, and the Chomaepthah of Eratosthenes, saying, "hence arises the support to our reading his name (i.e., the king's) Oimenepthah." Passing over Mr. Sharpe's further remarks, which assert that the sarcophagus was made in the year B.C. 1175 (!), we must consider briefly the arrangement of the texts and scenes upon the insides and outsides of the sarcophagus and its covers. On the upper outside edge of the sarcophagus runs a single line of hieroglyphics which contains speeches supposed to be made to the deceased by the four children of Horus; this line is in two sections, each of which begins at the right hand side of the head, and ends at the left hand side of the foot. Below this line of hieroglyphics are five large scenes, each of which is divided into three registers, and these are enclosed between two dotted bands which are intended to represent the borders of the "Valley of the Other World." On the inside of the sarcophagus are also five scenes, but there is no line of hieroglyphics running along the upper edge. On the bottom of the sarcophagus is a finely cut figure of the Goddess Nut, and round and about her are texts selected from the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead; on the inside of the cover is a figure of the goddess Nut, with arms outstretched. On the outside of the
cover, in addition to the texts which record the names and titles of the deceased, are inscribed two large scenes, each of which is divided into three registers, like those inside and outside the sarcophagus.
The line of text on the upper outside edge reads:--
I. Speech of MESTHA: "I am Mestha, I am [thy] son, O Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, son of the Sun, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat, and I have come so that I may be among those who protect thee. I make to flourish thy house, which shall be doubly established, by the command of Ptah, by the command of Ra himself."
Speech of ANPU: "I am Anpu, who dwelleth in (or, with) the funeral chest." He saith, "Mother Isis descendeth . . . . . . . . bandages for me, Osiris, king Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, son of the Sun, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat, from him that worketh against me."
Speech of TUAMATEF: "I am Tuamatef, I am thy son Horus, I love thee, and I have come to avenge thee, Osiris, upon him that would work his wickedness
upon thee, and I will set him under thy feet for ever, Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, Men-Maat-Ra, son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, lord of crowns (or, risings) Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat, before the Great God."
To be said: "Ra liveth, the Tortoise dieth! Strong are the members of . . . . . Osiris, king Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, for Qebhsennuf guardeth them. Ra liveth, the Tortoise dieth! In a sound state is he who is in the sarcophagus, in a sound state is he who is in the sarcophagus, that is to say, the son of the Sun, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat."
Speech of NUT: Nut, the great one of Seb, saith: "O Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, who loveth me, I give unto thee purity on the earth, and splendour (or, glory) in the heavens, and I give unto thee thy head for ever."
II. Speech of NUT, who is over the HENNU BOAT: "This is my son, Osiris, king, Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat. His father Shu loveth him, and his mother Nut loveth him, Osiris, son of Ra, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat."
Speech of HAPI: "I am Hapi. I have come that I might be among those who protect thee, I bind together for thee thy head, [and thy members, smiting down for thee thine enemies beneath thee, and I give
thee] thy head, O Osiris, king, Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, son of Ra, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat."
Speech Of ANPU, the Governor of the divine house: I am Anpu, the Governor of the divine house. O Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, the lord of crowns, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat, the Shennu beings go round about thee, and thy members remain uninjured, O Osiris, king, Men-Maat-RA, whose word is maat for ever."
Speech Of QEBHSENNUF: "I am thy son, I have come that I might be among those who protect thee. I gather together for thee thy bones, and I piece together for thee thy limbs. I bring unto thee thy heart, and I set it upon its seat in thy body. I make to flourish (or, germinate) for thee thy house after thee, [O thou who] liv[est] for ever."
To be said: "Ra liveth, the Tortoise dieth! Let enter the bones of Osiris, king Men-Maat-Ra, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, Seti Mer-en-Ptah, whose word is maat, let them enter into their foundations. Pure is the dead body which is in the earth,
and pure are the bones of Osiris, king Men-Mast-Ra, whose word is maat, like Ra [for ever!]."
On the bottom of the sarcophagus is a large, full-length figure of the goddess NUT who is depicted in the form of a woman with her arms ready to embrace the body of the king. Her face and the lower parts of the body below the waist are in profile, but she has a front chest, front shoulders, and a front eye. Her feet are represented as if each was a right foot, and each only shows the great toe. One breast is only shown. The hair of the goddess is long and falls over her back and shoulders; it is held in position over her forehead by a bandlet. She wears a deep collar or necklace, and a closely-fitting feather-work tunic which extends from her breast to her ankles; the latter is supported by two shoulder straps, each of which is fastened with a buckle on the shoulder. She has anklets on her legs, and bracelets on her wrists, and armlets on her arms. The inscriptions which are cut above the head, and at both sides, and under the feet of the goddess contain addresses to the king by the great gods of the sky, and extracts from the Book of the Dead; they read:--
I. The words of Osiris the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of Ra (i.e., the Sun), SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, who saith, "O thou goddess NUT, support thou me, for I am thy son. Destroy thou my defects of immobility, together with those who produce them."
II. The goddess NUT, who dwelleth in HET-HENNU, saith, "This [is my] son Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of Ra, [proceeding] from his body, who loveth him, the lord of crowns, Osiris, SETI MER-EN-PTAH."
III. The god SEB saith, "This [is my] son MEN-MAAT-RA, who loveth me. I have given unto him purity upon earth, and glory in heaven, him the Osiris, king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, "whose word is maat, the son of Ra, the lover of Nut, that is to say, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, before the lords of the Tuat."
IV. Words which are to be said:--"O Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of Ra, [proceeding] from his body, that is to say, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat. Thy mother NUT putteth forth [her] two hands and arms over thee, Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, son of Ra,
whom he loveth, lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat. Thy mother NUT hath added the magical powers which are thine, and thou art in her arms, and thou shalt never die. Lifted up and driven away are the calamities which were to thee, and they shall never [more] come to thee, and shall never draw nigh unto thee, Osiris, king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat. Horus hath taken up his stand behind thee, Osiris, son of Ra, lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, for thy mother NUT hath come unto thee; she hath purified (or, washed) thee, she hath united herself to thee, she hath supplied thee as a god, and thou art alive and stablished among the gods."
V. The great goddess NUT saith, "I have endowed him with a soul, I have endowed him with a spirit, and I have given him power in the body of his mother TEFNUT, I who was never brought forth. I have come, and I have united myself to OSIRIS, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of Ra, the lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, with life, stability, and power. He shall not die. I am NUT of the mighty heart, and I took up my being in the body of my mother TEFNUT in my name of Nut; over my mother none hath
gained the mastery. I have filled every place with my beneficence, and I have led captive the whole earth; I have led captive the South and the North, and I have gathered together the things which are into my arms to vivify Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, the son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, the lover of SEKER, the lord of diadems, the governor whose heart is glad, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat. His soul shall live for ever! "
VI. ["Nut,"] saith Osiris, the king MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, "Raise thou me up! I am [thy] son, set thou free him whose heart is at rest from that which maketh [it to be still]."
VII. Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, loving him, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, saith the
Saith Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, the lord of crowns, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, "Homage to you, O ye lords of maat, who are free from iniquity, who exist and live for ever and to the double henti period of everlastingness, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, the lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH,
whose word is maat, before you hath become a khu (i.e., a spirit) in his attributes, he hath gained the mastery through his words of power, and he is laden with his splendours. O deliver ye the Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the sun, the lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, from the Crocodile of this Pool of Maati. He hath his mouth, let him speak therewith. Let there be granted unto him broad-handedness in your presence, because I know you, and I know your names. I know this great god unto whose nostrils ye present offerings of tchefau. REKEM is his name. He maketh a way through the eastern-horizon of heaven. REKEM departeth and I also depart; he is strong and I am strong. O let me not be destroyed in the MESQET Chamber. Let not the Sebau fiends gain the mastery over me. Drive not ye me away from your Gates, and shut not fast your arms against the Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, the lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, because [my] bread is in the city of PE, 1 and my ale is in the city Of TEP, and my arms are united
in the divine house which my father hath given unto me. He hath stablished for me a house in the high place of the lands, and there are wheat and barley therein, the quantity of which is unknown. The son of my body acteth for me there as kher-heb. 1 Grant ye, unto me sepulchral offerings, that is to say, incense, and merhet unguent, and all beautiful and pure things of every kind whereon the God liveth. Osiris, the king, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, the lord of diadems, the ruler of joy of heart, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, existeth for ever in all the transformations which it pleaseth [him to make]. He floateth down the river, he saileth up into SEKHET-AARU, 2 he reacheth SEKHET-HETEP. 3 I am the double Lion-god." 4
VIII. Saith Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, son of the Sun, loving him, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat:--"O ward off that destroyer from my father Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, and let his divine protection be under my legs, and let them live. Strengthen thou Osiris, son of the Sun, lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, with thy hand. Grasp thou him with thy hand, let him enter thy hand, let
him enter thy hand, O Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, Whose word is maat, thou shalt not perish. NUT cometh unto thee, and she fashioneth thee as the Great Fashioner, and thou shalt never decay; she fashioneth thee, she turneth thy weakness into strength, she gathereth together thy members, she bringeth thy heart into thy body, and she hath placed thee at the head of the living doubles (kau), O Osiris, king, lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, before the beautiful god, the lord of TA-TCHESERT."
IX. Saith Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the Sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, the lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat,
Hail, ye gods who bring (ANNIU)! [Hail] ye gods who run (PEHIU)! [Hail] thou who dwellest in his embrace, thou great god, grant thou that may come unto me my soul from wheresoever it may be. If it would delay, then lot my soul be brought unto me from wheresoever it may be, for thou shalt find the Eye of Horus standing by thee like those watchful gods. If it lie down, let it lie down in ANNU (Heliopolis), the land where [souls are joined to their bodies] in thousands. Let my soul be brought
unto me from wheresoever it may be. Make thou strong, O guardian of sky and earth, this my soul. If it would tarry, do thou cause the soul to see its body, and thou shalt find the Eye of Horus standing by thee even as do those [gods who watch]."
"Hail, ye gods who tow along the boat of the lord of millions of years, who bring [it] into the upper regions of the Tuat, who make it to pass over Nut, and who make the soul to enter into its sahu (i.e., spiritual body), let your hands be full of weapons, and grasp them and make them sharp, and hold chains in readiness to destroy the serpent enemy. Let the Boat rejoice, and let the great god pass on in peace, and behold, grant ye that the soul of Osiris, king MEN-MAAT-RA, whose word is maat, may emerge from the thighs [of Nut] in the eastern horizon of heaven, for ever and for ever."
X. Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA SETEP-[EN]-RA, whose word is maat, the son of Ra, loving PTAH-SEKRI, the lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, saith:--"O ye shennu beings, go ye round behind me, and let not these my members be without strength."
XI. Osiris, the king, the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA AA-RA, whose word is maat, the son of the sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, lord of diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, saith:--"O Nut, lift thou me up. I am thy son. Do away from me that which maketh me to be without motion." [Nut saith]:--O Osiris, the king the lord of the two lands, MEN-MAAT-RA
[paragraph continues] AA-RA whose word is maat, the soil or the sun, [proceeding] from his body, loving him, the lord or diadems, SETI MER-EN-PTAH, Whose word is maat, I have given thee thy head to be on thy body, and all the members of him that is SETI MER-EN-PTAH, whose word is maat, shall never lack strength."
On the outside of the cover, beneath the two scenes and texts which occupied the upper part of it, was a horizontal line of hieroglyphics which contained two short speeches, the one by the goddess Nut, and the other by Thoth. The speech of Nut is a duplicate of the opening lines of that found on the bottom of the sarcophagus (see above § v., p. 55); the speech of Thoth is much mutilated, and can have contained little except the promise to be with the king, and a repetition of the royal name and titles. On the inside of the cover were texts, many portions of which are identical, as we see from the fragments which remain, with the Chapters from the Book of the Dead which are found on the bottom of the sarcophagus, and which have been transcribed above. At each side of the figure of the winged goddess which was cut on the breast was a figure of the god Thoth, who is seen holding a staff surmounted by the symbol of "night.". When the cover was complete there were probably four such figures upon it, and the texts which accompanied them were, no doubt,
identical with those found in Chapter CLXI. of the Book of the Dead.
The scenes and inscriptions which cover the inside and outside of the sarcophagus are described and transcribed in the following chapters.
"ON the 16th (of October) I recommenced my excavations in the Valley of Beban el Malook, and pointed but the fortunate spot, which has paid me for all the trouble I took in my researches. I may call this a fortunate day, one of the best perhaps of my life; I do not mean to say, that fortune has made me rich, for I do not consider all rich men fortunate; but she has given me that satisfaction, that extreme pleasure, which wealth cannot purchase; the pleasure of discovering what has been long sought in vain, and of presenting the world with a new and perfect monument of Egyptian antiquity, which can be recorded as superior to any other in point of grandeur, style, and preservation, appearing as if just finished on the day we entered it; and what I found in it will show its great superiority to all others. Not fifteen yards from the last tomb I described, I caused the earth to be opened at the foot of a steep hill, and under a torrent, which, when it rains, pours a great quantity of water over the very spot I have
caused to be dug. No one could imagine, that the ancient Egyptians would make the entrance into such an immense and superb excavation Just under a torrent of water; but I had strong reasons to suppose, that there was a tomb in that place, from indications I had observed in my pursuit. The Fellahs who were accustomed to dig were all of opinion, that there was nothing in that spot, as the situation of this tomb differed from that of any other. I continued the work, however, and the next day, the 17th, in the evening we perceived the part of the rock that was cut, and formed the entrance. On the 18th, early in the morning, the task was resumed, and about noon the workmen reached the entrance, which was eighteen feet below the surface of the ground. The appearance indicated, that the tomb was of the first rate; but still I did not expect to find such a one as it really proved to be. The Fellahs advanced till they saw that it was probably a large tomb, when they protested they could go no further, the tomb was so much choked up with large stones, which they could not get out of the passage. I descended, examined the place, pointed out to them where they might dig, and in an hour there was room enough for me to enter through a passage that the earth had left under the ceiling of the first corridor, which is 36 ft. 2 in. long, and 8 ft. 8 in. wide, and, when cleared of the ruins, 6 ft. 9 in. high. I perceived immediately by the painting on the
ceiling, and by the hieroglyphics in basso relievo, which were to be seen where the earth did not reach, that this was the entrance into a large and magnificent tomb. At the end of this corridor I came to a staircase 23 ft. long, and of the same breadth as the corridor. The door at the bottom is 12 ft. high. From the foot of the staircase I entered another corridor, 37 ft. 3 in. long, and of the same width and height as the other, each side sculptured with hieroglyphics in basso relievo, and painted. The ceiling also is finely painted, and in pretty good preservation. The more I saw, the more I was eager to see, such being the nature of man; but I was checked in my anxiety at this time, for at the end of this passage I reached a large pit, which intercepted my progress. This pit is 30 ft. deep, and 14 ft. by 12 ft. 3 in. wide. The upper part of the pit is adorned with figures, from the wall of the passage up to the ceiling. The passages from the entrance all the way to this pit have an inclination downward of an angle of eighteen degrees. On the opposite side of the pit facing the entrance I perceived a small aperture 2 ft. wide and 2 ft. 6 in. high, and at the bottom of the wall a quantity of rubbish. A rope fastened to a piece of wood, that was laid across the passage against the projections which formed a kind of door, appears to have been used by the ancients for descending into the pit; and from the small aperture oil the opposite side hung another, which
reached the bottom, no doubt for the purpose of ascending. We could clearly perceive, that the water which entered the passages from the torrents of rain ran into this pit, and the wood and rope fastened to it crumbled to dust on touching them. At the bottom of the pit were several pieces of wood, placed against the side of it, so as to assist the person who was to ascend by the rope into the aperture. I saw the impossibility of proceeding at the moment. Mr. Beechey, who that day came from Luxor, entered the tomb, but was also disappointed.
"The next day, the 19th, by means of a long beam we succeeded in sending a man up into the aperture, and having contrived to make a bridge of two beams, we crossed the pit. The little aperture we found to be an opening forced through a wall, that had entirely closed the entrance, which was as large as the corridor. The Egyptians had closely shut it up, plastered the wall over, and painted it like the rest of the sides of the pit, so that but for the aperture, it would have been impossible to suppose, that there was any further proceeding; and anyone would conclude, that the tomb ended with the pit. The rope in the inside of the wall did not fall to dust, but remained pretty strong, the water not having reached it at all; and the wood to which it was attached was in good. preservation. It was owing to this method of keeping the damp out of the inner parts of the tomb, that they are so well preserved. I observed
some cavities at the, bottom of the well, but found nothing in them, nor any communication from the bottom to any other place; therefore we could not doubt their being made to receive the waters from the rain, which happens occasionally in this mountain. The valley is so much raised by the rubbish, which the water carries down from the upper parts, that the entrance into these tombs is become -much lower than the torrents; in consequence, the water finds its way into the tombs, some of which are entirely choked up with earth.
"When we had passed through the little aperture we found ourselves in a beautiful hall, 27 ft. 6 in. by 25 ft. 10 in., in which were four pillars 3 ft. square. I shall not give any description of the painting, till I have described the whole of the chambers. At the end of this room, which I call the entrance-hall, and opposite the aperture, is a large door, from which three steps lead down into a chamber with two pillars. This is 28 ft. 2 in. by 25 ft. 6 in. The pillars are 3 ft. 10 in. square. I gave it the name of the drawing-room; for it is covered with figures, which though only outlined, are so fine and perfect, that you would think they had been drawn only the day before. Returning into the entrance-hall, we saw on the left of the aperture a large staircase, which descended into a corridor. It is 13 ft. 4 in. long, 7 ft. 6 in. wide, and has 18 steps. At the bottom we entered a beautiful corridor, 3 6 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 11 in.
[paragraph continues] We perceived that the paintings became more perfect as we advanced farther into the interior. They retained their gloss, or a kind of varnish over the colours, which had a beautiful effect. The figures are painted on a white ground. At the end of this (corridor we descended ten steps, which I call the small stairs, into another, 17 ft. 2 in. by 10 ft. 5 in. From this we entered a small chamber, 20 ft. 4 in. by 13 ft. 8 in., to which I gave the name of the Room of Beauties; for it is adorned with the most beautiful figures in basso relievo, like all the rest, and painted. When standing in the centre of this chamber, the traveller is surrounded by an assembly of Egyptian gods and goddesses. Proceeding farther, we entered a large hall, 27 ft. 9 in. by 26 ft. 10 in. In this hall are two rows of square pillars, three on each side of the entrance, forming a line with the corridors. At each side of this hall is a small chamber; that on the right is 10 ft. 5 in. by 8 ft. 8 in., that on the left 10 ft. 5 in. by 8 ft. 9½ in. This hall I termed the Hall of Pillars; the little room on the right, Isis' Room, as in it a large cow is painted, of which I shall give a description hereafter; that on the left, the Room of Mysteries, from the mysterious figures it exhibits. At the end of this hall we entered a large saloon, with an arched roof or ceiling, which is separated from the Hall of Pillars only by a step so that the two may be reckoned one. The saloon is 31 ft. 10 in. by 27 ft. On the right is a small
chamber without anything in it, roughly cut, as if unfinished, and without painting; on the left we entered a chamber with two square pillars, 25 ft. 8 in. by 22 ft. 10 in. This I called the Sideboard Room, as it has a projection of 3 ft. in form of a sideboard all round, which was perhaps intended to contain the articles necessary for the funeral ceremony. The pillars are 3 ft. 4 in. square, and the whole beautifully painted as the rest. At the same end of the room, and facing the Hall of Pillars, we entered by a large door into another chamber with four pillars, one of which is fallen down. This chamber is 43 ft. 4 in. by 17 ft. 6 in.; the pillars 3 ft. 7 in. square. It is covered with white plaster, where the rock did not cut smoothly, but there is no painting on it. I named it the Bull's, or Apis' Room, as we found the carcass of a bull in it, embalmed with asphaltum; and also, scattered in various places, ail immense quantity of small wooden figures of mummies 6 or 8 in. long, and covered with asphaltum to preserve them. There were some other figures of fine earth baked, coloured blue, and strongly varnished. On each side of the two little rooms were wooden statues standing erect, 4 ft. high, with a circular hollow inside, as if to contain a roll of papyrus, which I have no doubt they did. We found likewise fragments of other statues of wood and of composition.
"But the description of what we found in the centre of the saloon, and which I have reserved till this place,
merits the most particular attention, not having its equal in the world, and being such as we had no idea could exist. It is a sarcophagus of the finest oriental alabaster, 9 ft. 5 in. long, and 3 ft. 7 in. wide. Its thickness is only 2 in., and it is transparent, when a light is placed in the inside of it. It is minutely sculptured within and without with several hundred figures, which do not exceed 2 in. in height, and represent, as I suppose, the whole of the funeral procession and ceremonies relating to the deceased, united with several emblems, &c. I cannot give an adequate idea of this beautiful and invaluable piece of antiquity, and can only say, that nothing has been brought into Europe from Egypt that can be compared with it. The cover was not there; it had been taken out, and broken into several pieces, which we found in digging before the first entrance. The sarcophagus was over a staircase in the centre of the saloon, which communicated with a subterraneous passage, leading downwards, 300 ft. in length. At the end of this passage we found a great quantity of bats' dung, which choked it up, so that we could go no farther without digging. It was nearly filled up too by the falling in of the upper part. One hundred feet from the entrance is a staircase in good preservation; but the rock below changes its substance, from a beautiful solid calcareous stone, becoming a kind of black rotten slate, which crumbles into dust only by touching. This subterraneous passage proceeds in a south-west
direction through the mountain. I measured the distance from the entrance, and also the rocks above, and found that the passage reaches nearly halfway through the mountain to the upper part of the valley. I have reasons to suppose, that this passage was used to come into the tomb by another entrance; but this could not be after the death of the person who was buried there, for at the bottom of the stairs just tinder the sarcophagus a wall was built, which entirely closed the communication between the tomb and the subterraneous passage. Some large blocks of stone were placed under the sarcophagus horizontally, level with the pavement of the saloon, that no one might perceive any stairs or subterranean passage was there. The doorway of the sideboard room had been walled up, and forced open, as we found the stones with which it was shut, and the mortar in the jambs. The staircase of the entrance-hall had been walled up also at the bottom, and the space filled, with rubbish, and the floor covered with large blocks of stone, so as to deceive any one who should force the fallen wall near the pit, and make him suppose, that the tomb ended with the entrance-hall and the drawing-room. I am inclined to believe, that whoever forced all these passages must have had some spies with them, who were well acquainted with the tomb throughout. The tomb faces the north-east, and the direction of the whole runs straight south-west."
44:1 As Belzoni's narrative is of interest, his account of his discovery of Seti's tomb is given in the Appendix to this Chapter.
45:1 The Alabaster Sarcophagus of Oimenepthah I., King of Egypt. London, 1864, p. 14.
59:1 This is Chapter LXXII. of the Book of the Dead.
61:1 Pe and Tep formed a double city in the Delta.
63:1 The kher-heb was the priestly official who read the funeral service.
63:2 I.e., the Field of Reeds.
63:3 I.e., the Field of Peace.
63:4 I.e., Shu and Tefnut.
65:1 This is Chapter LXXXIX. of the Book of the Dead.