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Thebes

feet, ruins, columns and egypt

THEBES, thEbz (Egyptian Net, the No of the Bible; Greek Thebai or Diospolis), Egypt, a famous ancient city, whose ruins are situated on the banks of the Nile, 350 miles southeast of Cairo, near the modern villages of Karnak and Luxor. The ruins are among the most mag nificent in the world. The largest is the great temple of Ammon at Karnak on the east bank of the river. It was begun during the Twelfth Dynasty and enlarged by the kings of the suc ceeding dynasties down to the time of the Ptolemies. It stands within a large enclosure which also contains several minor temples. An avenue of sphinxes leads to the main entrance, which is a huge pylon, 142 feet high. This leads into a court measuring 276 by 338 feet, and traversed by a double line of colossal columns. A second pylon leads into the great hall or hypostyle, whose roof was supported by 134 columns in 16 rows. The columns of the two central rows are 78 feet high and 33 feet in circumference. All were brilliantly painted and sculptured, and many of the columns still retain their bright colors. Other pylons lead into the inner courts, one of which contains two obelisks 971/2 feet high and a colossal statue of Osiris. One of the obelisks is still erect. The entire structure is 1,200 feet long and about 350 feet wide. At Luxor, also on the east bank of the river, and a short distance south of Karnak, there are fine ruins of another temple of Am mon, built by Amenophis III and his succes sors. On the west bank the principal ruins are

the Tombs of the Kings, hewn into the solid rocks of the hillside; the Ramesseum, a temple of Ammon built by Rameses II, and containing a colossal statue of that king; and the two Colossi of Memnon, 64 feet in height. One of these is the celebrated evocal statue. Numer ous other remains of tombs and temples are scattered over the neighborhood on both sides of the river. After the expulsion of the Hyksos Thebes became the capital of Egypt and re mained so until the beginning of the Twenty first Dynasty. It declined in importance after this with the exception of a short period in the 7th century B.C., when it was again the capital. The Ptolemies repaired its great build ings and so did the Romans. In 27 B.C. an earthquake worked havoc with its ancient ruins. Since then Thebes is nothing more than a col lection of ruins inhabited by a few Arab families of Fellahin, who obtained a precari ous livelihood by guiding travelers over the ruins or rifling the tombs for antiquities. Con sult Davies, N. de G., Theban Tombs' (in Archeological Survey of Egypt, (Memoir 21,' London 1913) ; Bulletin of the Metropoli tan Museum of Art (New York 1914) ; Lepsius, Karl, (Denkmaler Aus Aegypten rind Aethiopen' (Berlin 1850-59) ; Mariette, A. E., of Upper Egypt' (London 1877) ; Naville, E. H., El-Bahari> (London 1894-1906). See also E.ovrr.