Page images
PDF
EPUB

trunk: the head is six feet broad: from the top of the head to the bottom of the neck it measures eleven feet, and so it does from the bottom of the neck to the navel. It is twenty-one feet broad at the shoulders, the ear, is three feet long and one foot four inches broad, and the foot is four feet eight inches broad." In another court of this ruined temple he saw the remains of “two statues of black granite : that to the west, which is in a sitting posture, measured, from the hands only to the elbow, five feet; and thence to the shoulder four feet. The statue, on the east, is three feet five inches long in the foot : lying at a distance from it was the head, with the cap: it is three feet six inches long; and the ear is one foot in length."* If admira, tion should be excited in the mind of the reader,' on perusing the account of the dimensions of these statues, to what an exalted point will his astonishment be elevated, when he casts his eye upon the subsequent page, descriptive of the celebrated statue of MEMNON, standing upon a pedestal, which is alone above thirty feet in height and in width near twenty feet ! I need not acquaint the classical reader that this is the famous statue erected in the

* Pocock's Description of the East, vol. i. p. 101.

[blocks in formation]

temple of SERAPIS, which is affirmed, on the first appulse of the beam of the orient sun to have emitted a distinctly-audible sound. It is represensed, by Dr Pocock, as composed of a particular sort of porous dark granite, such as he never saw before, and much resembling the eagle-stone. The statue itself is broken; but of the whole amazing mass, the fabrication of which one would think must have exhausted a quarry, some idea may be formed from the magnitude of the leg and foot, still remaining entire. Of these an engraving, entirely covered with the inscriptions of Greek and Roman travellers, who bore their attestation to its having sent forth such a sound on the rising of the sun, appears opposite to page 104 of his first volume; and he found the height of the leg, “ from the bottom of the foot to the top of the knee, to be about nineteen feet; from the bottom of the foot to the ankle atwo feet six inches; to the top of the instep, four feet; the foot itself being five feet broad, and the leg four feet in depth.”* Stupendous as these mensurations must appear, even these appear comparatively small, when we consider what is related in Pliny concerning the wonderful Sphynx; for, that writer

* Pocock, vol. i. p. 102,

affirms,

[ocr errors]

affirms, that the head was no less than one hundred and two feet in circumference; that the figure itself was sixty-two feet high from the belly to the crown of the head ; and that its entire length was 143 feet. It ought to be remarked here, that Pocock, in his description of the Sphynx, has inaccurately cited Pliny, as stating the length of the figure to be only 113 feet; " whereas,” says he,

iny account makes it 130 feet, which are seventeen feet more than Pliny." But the real number of feet mentioned in Pliny is 143, as stated above; and therefore his dimensions, which are probably more exact, are thirteen feet less than the number of feet assigned by the Roman naturalist. Of its antient altitude of sixty-three feet, only twenty-seven now remain above the surface; so that about thirty-six feet must be buried in the accumulated sand and gravel.

The reader has been just informed, that these statues are of hard black granite, as are almost all the antient statues of Egypt. This circumstance suggested to M. Volney, one of the most enlightened travellers that ever explored the East, the idea that the antient

Plinii Nat. Hist. lib, xxxvi.c. 12, and p. 390, of my edition, by Aldus: and Pocock, vol. i. p. 46.

[blocks in formation]

Egyptians, to whose genius, talents, and learning; posterity is so deeply indebted, were BLACKS likewise, since he thinks it was natural for them to choose that their statues should be composed of marble of the same colour with themselves. The idea first occurred to him, on a minute investigation of the sphynx; for, when he beheld'her black complexion, and her features precisely those of a negro; and when he recollected, that Herodotus had long ago asserted his belief,

" that the Colchi were a colony of Egyptians, because, like them, they had black skins and frizzled hair;". M. Volney immediately concluded, that the antient Egyptians were real negroes, of the same species with all the natives of Africa. He has added to this suggestion many very ingenious and interesting reflections. He lays it down as a general rule, that the features of a nation are a kind of monument capable in many cases, of elucidating and ascertaining the testimony of history concerning the origin of nations.

I shall hereafter endeavour to profit by these judicious remarks of M. Volney; and, when my history shall have at length commenced, I shall apply this rule of discrimination to some of the most venerated statues of India. It is not a little remarkable, that, according to

· Herodotus,

Herodotus, there were two Ethiopias; one in Africa, the other in Asia: and, if the Delta of Egypt was peopled by the Thebaic Ethiopians, it is, at least, possible, that the peninsula of India might have for its first inhabitants the ' Ethiopians of Asia. In addition to M. Volney's remarks on this subject, I must also be permitted to observe, that the antients really did, in fabricating their statues of men and objects, attend to the complexion, properties, or country to which they belonged. Mr Addison, in his travels, elegantly remarks, that he never saw any statue of SLEEP that was not of black marble; alluding, doubt less, to 'the night, which is appropriated to sleep. All the statues of the Nile, and in particular that fine one at present to be seen in the garden of the Vatican at Rome, are of black marble, emblematical of the colour of the Ethiopians, amidst whose lofty mountains that river has its source.

[ocr errors]

Usque coloratis amnis devexus ab Indis.”

VIRG. Georg. 4.

This quotation from Virgil, concerning the i Nile, is highly deserving of notice, because it affords additional evidence of what was asserted in the early pages of the Geographical Dissertation, that the name of INDIA was extended

by

« PreviousContinue »