444 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
was the case at Karnak and Luxor, and, in front of these, obelisks and colossi may be arranged
in pairs; but the essential character of the arrangement is the dronios or avenue leading from
the outer gate to the temple door.
Arrived at the temple itself we are met by another screen. The whole of the building is
enclosed by an inner wall, nearly as high as the highest part of the temple, and sometimes
adorned, like the pylons, with sculptured scenes. From outside, the temple, when entire, must
have presented very much the appearance of a box without a lid. The engraving of Edfu, page
456, shows something of this enclosing wall, springing from the immense pylon and running
round the whole of the interior structures, leaving an open corridor between itself and the walls
of the rearward halls. Passing through the single pylon which admits us within this second,
screen, we find ourselves in what is called the peristyle, that is to say, a large court open in the
centre, but surrounded by a narrow cloister supported by a single or double row of columns.
From the peristyle we pass by another but lower pylon, often guarded by a pair of-sitting
colossi or obelisks or both, into the hypostyle, or hall of assembly, which was originally roofed
with immense stone slabs, painted with stars in gold upon a blue ground, supported upon a forest
of gigantic columns. Such a hypostyle is the famous " Hall of Columns " of the great temple
of Karnak, of which portions are shown on pages 449, 450, and 451. It is the largest hall in
Egypt (three hundred and forty by one hundred and seventy feet, and in the centre seventy-six
feet high), and its one hundred and thirty-four columns are among the wonders of the world.
Twelve of them, forming a central avenue, are thirty-three feet in circumference, or as bulky as
Trajan's column, and a hundred men could sit on their enormous bell-shaped capitals. The
one hundred and twenty-two side columns are shorter, and form aisles, above which the central
nave projects with a kind of clerestory of grated stone windows. It is said that the entire
cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris could stand upon the ground occupied by this one hall at
Behind the hypostyle, and sometimes separated from it by an open vestibule, with obelisks
and colossi, is the sanctuary, the holy of holies, where the emblem of the god was kept in a
monolithic shrine; and round the sanctuary itself are the treasure-chambers, robing-rooms,
and laboratories for the manufacture of incense and other necessaries of the temple rites, while
beneath are sometimes crypts where the most precious and sacred of the treasures were
doubtless concealed. The crypts at Dendarah, for example, consist of long and narrow passages
with beautifully preserved wall-paintings. The entrance, from the floor of one of the side
chambers which surround the sanctuary, was probably concealed by a movable stone like that
which figures in the story of the Treasury of Rampsinitus.
Thus the principal parts of an Egyptian temple are jealously secluding walls, an avenue
of sphinxes, an outer and an inner gate or gates, an open court with cloisters, a covered hall
of columns, and a sanctuary surrounded by small chambers. There are no dwelling-places or
cells for the priests, nor is there accommodation within the hypostyle hall or sanctuary for a
congregation of worshippers. But indeed the public were never admitted into the sacreder