Page:Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile - In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 volume 3.djvu/149

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THE SOURCE OF THE NILE. 129

have buildings of great ftrength, magnitude, and expence, especially at Azab, worthy the magnificence and riches of a ftate, which was from the firfl ages the emporium of the Indian and African trade, whofe Sovereign, though a Pagan, was thought an example of reproof to the nations, and chofen as an inftrunient to contribute materially to the building of the firil temple which man erected to the true God.

The ruins of Axum are very extenfive ; but, like the ci- ties of ancient times, confiit altogether of public buildings. In one fquare, which I apprehend to have been the center of the town, there are forty obeliiks, none of which have any hieroglyphics upon them* There is one larger than the reft Hill Handing, but there are two ftill larger than this fallen. They are all of one piece of granite; and on the top of that which is Handing there is a patera exceedingly well carved in the Greek tafte. Below, there is the door- bolt and lock, which Poncet fpeaks of, carved on the obelifk, as if to reprefent an entrance through it to fome building be- hind. The lock and bolt are precifelv the fame as thofe ufed at this day in Egypt and Paleftine, but were never feen, as far as I know, in Ethiopia, or at any time in ufe there.

I apprehend this obelifk, and the two larger that are

fallen, to be the works of Ptolemy Evergetes. There is a

great deal of carving upon the face of the obeliik in a Go-

Vol. ill. R t hic

  • Ponctt fays that thefe obelifks are covered with hieroglyphics ; but in this he is wrong;

he has miiUken the carving, 1 fhall direftly mention, for hieroglyphics. London edit, izmo, 1709, p. 106.