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64 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD

 

celebrated Hall of Columns, which had been begun by his father at Karnak, as well as the temple of Amenophis III. at Luxor. Before this magnificent edifice were placed two sitting colossi of himself and two obelisks of red granite, one of which still stands with its everlasting legend as sharply cut as in the day of its creation, and the other in like splendor displays its quaint hieroglyphics in the Place de la Concorde, at Paris.

Almost everywhere in Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and far beyond the monuments remind us of the exploits and glory of the great king. High up in Nubia, at Abu Simbul, in a valley with perpendicular walls of yellow sandstone, two temples, the one dedicated to Ra by Ramses and the other to Hathor by his queen, are cut in the native rock. Before the temple of Ramses are four gigantic colossi of himself. The statues are seated on thrones, and are over seventy feet in height. The shoulders are twenty-five feet in breadth, and from the elbow to the fingertip the measure is fifteen feet. In calm serenity of expression, truthfulness of proportion, and austere dignity of posture, these great statues are hardly surpassed perhaps not equaled-in the whole range of ancient art. On the walls of the great temple at Abydos, in a long procession of deified kings, Ramses, as a god, stands glorious; and before the altar, as a mortal, he offers sacrifices to his ancestors and to himself.

Under the munificent patronage of the House of Ramses, the city of Thebes, now the capital of the empire, eclipsed the old-time glory of Memphis. Here the marvelous works of Tuthmosis, of Amenophis, of Seti, of Ramses II. and III., rising in massive forms on both sides of the Nile, towered in majestic outline around a horizon of more than fifteen miles. Structures of so much solid grandeur have nowhere else, perhaps, been reared by the genius of man.

Ramses the Great was succeeded in 1322 B. C. by MENEPTA, who reigned for twenty years. This king has now been generally accepted by historians as the Pharaoh of the exodus of Israel. The story of this remarkable race begins with the call of Abraham from his home in Ur, near the Euphrates, to his promised abode in Canaan. Here his descendants multiplied to the fifth generation, when Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, with his children and grandchildren to the number of about seventy,1 "went down into Egypt". For a famine had arisen in Canaan, and Jacob dispatched his sons to the Egyptian granaries to purchase supplies. Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob, had previously been sold by his brothers into bondage, and had come to fill an important position in the government of Egypt; and thus it happened that the wicked clansmen were brought face t0 face with the injured brother, who, instead of punishing, forgave them, and sent for the aged father and his house. The family of Jacob was thus established

1 It seems a matter of surprise that an event of so much importance (viewed from the Hebraic side of history) as the Exodus should have been so difficult to recognize and fix chronologically in the Egyptian annals. The difficulty in question has mostly arisen from the erroneous date of 1491 B. C., given by the Hebrews as the time of their departure. This date would throw the Exodus back to the time of the Shepherd Kings a view of the case no longer entertained.