American Egyptomania Search

From West Africa to Palestine

Freetown: Manchester, 1873

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Art & Architecture

of Ammon? Nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it."

Again, Deut. ii, 19: "I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession, because I have give it unto the children of Lot for a possession. That also was accounted a land of giants—giants dwelt there in old times, and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims a people great and many, and tall as the Anakins."

Homer and Virgil both speak of the Cyclops—persons of huge stature and immense strength. I have often thought that the extrava- gant tales of the poets concerning people of enormous stature were founded on original truths; and though they are sometimes so confused that we find it very difficult to draw a correct line between truth and fable, some general ideas can be formed from them of the character of the men of remote antiquity. It is certain that the persons who introduced architecture into Greece were remarkable for their extraordinary size and great strength. Herodotus alludes to them under the name of Cadmians, and his views of their form and stature are gathered from the wonderful character of the struc- tures which they built.

While standing in the central hall of the pyramid I thought of the lines of Teage, the Liberian poet, when urging his countrymen to noble deeds:

"From pyramidal hall,
From Karnac's sculptured wall,
From Thebes they loudly call—
Retake your fame."

This, thought I, is the work of my African progenitors, Teage was right; they had fame, and their descendants should strive, by nobler deeds, to "retake" it. Feelings came over me far different from those which I have felt when looking at the mighty works of European genius. I felt that I had a peculiar "heritage in the Great Pyramid"— built before the tribes of mankind had been so generally scattered, and, therefore, before they had acquired their different geographical characteristics, but built by that branch of the descendants of Noah, the enterprising sons of Ham, from whom I am descended. The blood seemed to flow faster through my veins. I seemed to hear the echo of those illustrious Africans. I seemed to feel the impulse from those stirring characters who sent civilization into Greece—the teachers of the father of poetry, history, and mathematics—Homer, Herodo- tus, and Euclid. I seemed to catch the sound of the "stately steppings" of Jupiter, as, with his brilliant celestial retinue, he