BOOK I - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
The first five books

Page 24
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—Nor Thebes so much renown'd,
Whose Courts with unexhausted Wealth abound,
Where through a Hundred Gates with Marble Arch,
To Battel Twenty Thousand Chariots march.

Although there are some that say it had not a Hundred Gates; but that there were many large Porches to the Temples, whence the City was call'd Hecatompylus, a Hundred Gates, for many Gates: Yet that it was certain they had in it Twenty Thousand Chariots of War; for there were a Hundred Stables all along the River from Memphis to Thebes towards Lybia, each of which were capable to hold Two Hundred Horses, the Marks and Signs of which are visible at this day: And we have it related, that not only this King, but the succeeding Princes from time to time, made it their Business to beautify this City; for that there was no City under the Sun so adorn'd with so many and stately Monuments of Gold, Silver and Ivory, and multitudes of Colossus's and Obelisks, cut out of one entire Stone. For there were there Four Temples built, for Beauty and Greatness to be admir'd, the most ancient of which was in Circuit Thirteen Furlongs, and Five and Forty Cubits high, and had a Wall Four and Twenty Foot broad. The Ornaments of this Temple were suitable to its Magnificence, both for Cost and Workmanship. The Fabrick hath continu'd to our Time, but the Silver and the Gold, and Ornaments of Ivory and Precious Stones were carry'd away by the Persians, when Cambyses burnt the Temples of Egypt. At which time they say those Palaces at Persepolis and Susa, and other Parts of Media (famous all the World over) were built by the Persians, who brought over these rich Spoils into Asia, and sent for Workmen out of Egypt for that purpose. And it is reported, that the Riches of Egypt were then so great, that in the Rubbish and Cynders there were found and gather'd up above Three Hundred Talents of Gold, and of Silver no less than Two Thousand and Three Hundred.

There, they say, are the wonderful Sepulchers of the ancient Kings, which for State and Grandure far exceed all that Posterity can attain unto at this Day. The Egyptian Priests say that in their Sacred Registers, there are enter'd Seven and Forty of these Sepulchers; but in the Reign of Ptolemy Lagus, there remain'd only Seventeen, many of which were ruin'd and destroy'd when I my self came into those Parts, which was in the Hundred and Eightieth Olympiad. And these things are not only reported by the Egyptian Priests out of their Sacred Records, but many of the Gr •cians who travel'd to Thebes in the time of Ptolemy Lagus, and writ Histories of Egypt (among whom was Hecateus) agree with what we have related. Of the First Sepulchers (wherein they say the Women of Jupiter were buri'd) that of King Osymanduas was Ten Furlongs in Circuit, at the entrance of which they say, was a Portico of various colour'd Marble, in length Two Hundred Foot, and in height Five and Forty Cubits; thence going forward, you come into a foursquare Stone Gallery, every Square being Four Hundred Foot, supported instead of Pillars, with Beasts, each of one intire Stone, Sixteen Cubits high, carv'd after the antique manner. The Roof was intirely of Stone, each Stone Eight Cubits broad, with an Azure Sky, bespangl'd with Stars. Passing out of this Perystilion, you enter into another Portico much like the former, but more curiously carv'd, and with more variety. At the Entrance stand Three Statues, each of one intire Stone, the Workmanship of Memnon of Sienitas. One of these made in a fitting posture, is the greatest in all Egypt, the measure of his Foot exceeding Seven Cubits; the other Two much less than the former, reaching but to his Knees, the one standing on the right, and the other on the left, being his Daughter and Mother. This Piece is not only commendable for its greatness, but admirable for its Cut and Workmanship, and the Excellency of the Stone; in so great a Work there's not to be discern'd the least Flaw, or any other Blemish.

Upon it there is this Inscription—

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