to Assiut. BENIHASAN. 18. Route. 197
Donkeys (with good saddles) are in waiting at the landing-place of
the steamers, for the excursion to the Speos Artemidos and the Rock Tombs
(there and hack 3-4 hrs.; ls.-is. 6d.). — Travellers ascending the river in
a dahabiyeh should visit the Rock Tombs first, those descending should
visit the Speos first, in each ease sending the dahabiyeh on to meet
them. — For travellers by railway the most convenient stations are, Minyeh
and Abu Kerkds (p. 190).
The village of Benihasan was founded towards the end of the
18th cent, by the inhabitants of the present Old Benihasan (see
below), who wished a wider space for cultivation near their abode. —
The route to the Speos Artemidos (V2 hr's. ride) leads to the E., at
first through fields, then along an embankment on the edge of the
desert, in which is an Arab cemetery. In the vicinity is the cats'
graveyard, in which the cats sacred to Pakht, patron-goddess of this
region, were interred. Farther to the E. we reach the mouth of a
wadi or ravine, with quarries of ancient date. On the right (S.)
side of the ravine, about 600 ft. from its mouth, lies the temple.
The rock-temple of the goddess Pakht, called Speos Artemidos
by the Greeks, is known to the Arabs as Stabl 'Antar (Antar's stable),
after an ancient hero. It consists of a vestibule and of an inner
chamber connected with the vestibule by a corridor. It was built
in the joint reign of Queen Makere and King Thutmosis III.; the
latter afterwards erased the names and representations of his sister
(p. 278), and Sethos I. inserted his own names in the blanks.
Over the Entrance to the temple is a long inscription in praise of the
reign of Makere. Of the eight pillars which supported the Vestibule only
three now remain; these hear on their sides the names of Thutmosis III.
and Sethos I. (originally Makere). Rear Wall. To the left of the door,
Sethos I. between Ammon-Re (enthroned) and the lion-headed Pakht;
Thoth delivering a speech to the nine great gods of Karnak and to the
gods of "Upper and Lower Egypt. To the right of the door are three
reliefs: Sethos sacrificing to Pakht; Sethos receiving from Pakht the
hieroglyphics of the word 'life', hanging from two sceptres ; Sethos blessed
by Thout. To the left in the Coeeidoe the king is represented offering
wine to Hathor; to the right, he offers her a cynoeephalus. In the rear-
wall of the Innee Chamber is a niche intended for a statue ofthe goddess.
To the W. (left) is a second grotto, on the outside of which are
the cartouches of Alexander II., son of Roxana, and six scenes
representing the king in the company ofthe gods. The interior, which
was supported by pillars, is now in ruins; perhaps it was never com¬
pleted. In the vicinity are several rock-tombs of the New Empire,
in the form of rectangular chambers, with deep shafts.
We now return to the mouth of the desert-ravine and proceed
thence to the N., passing the ruins of Benihasan el-Kadlm ('the
old'; comp. above). In ]/2 hr. we reach a ruined tower, whence the
path ascends the hill-slope to the —
*Kock Tombs of Benihasan (ty2 hr's. ride direct from the land¬
ing-place). These were constructed during the Middle Empire by
the princes and grandees of the town of Monet-Khufu ('Nurse of
Khufu'), and rank among the most interesting monuments in all