|The wealth which the Pharaohs captured in Asia and Nubia during the
Empire brought them power and magnificence unknown to the world before,
especially as shown in their vast and splendid buildings. A new and impressive
chapter in the history of art and architecture was begun. The temple of
Kamak, which we have visited, contains the greatest colonnaded hall ever
erected by man. The columns of the central aisle (Fig.
68) are sixty-nine feet high. The vast capital forming the summit
of each column is large enough to contain a group of a hundred men
standing crowded upon it at the same time. The clerestory windows (Fig.
68) on each side of these giant columns are no longer low, depressed
openings, as in the Pyramid Age (Fig.
55 and Fig. 271, 1),
but they have now become fine, tall windows, showing us the Egyptian clerestory
hall on its way to become the basilica church of much later times (Fig.
Such temples as these at Thebes were seen through
the deep green of clustering palms, among towering obelisks and colossal
statues of the Pharaohs (Fig. 69). The whole
was bright with color, flashing at many a point with gold and silver.
Mirrored in the unruffled surface of the temple lake (Fig.
64), it made a picture of such splendor as the ancient
world had never seen before. As the visitor entered he found himself
* This point of view is behind (east of) the great Karnak Temple at
point marked x in plan (p.
81). We look northwestward across the Temple and the river to the
western cliffs (cf. plan, p.
81). From the rear gate below us (lower fight-hand corner of view)
to the tall front wall nearest the river, the Temple is nearly a quarter
of a mile long, and was nearly two thousand years in course of construction.
The oldet portions were built by the kings of the Feudal Age, and the latest,
the front wall, by the Greek kings (the Ptolemies, Section