226 Route 16. ASSIÛT.
people of the neighbourhood flock into the market. — Assiût is one
ofthe chief seats ofthe American Presbyterian Mission (director, Rev.
G. R. Alexander), which has in Egypt 225 stations, 180 schools,
65 churches, and 8000 communicants. Its collèges hère, attended
by 500 boys and 200 girls, deserve a visit.
Plotinus, the greatest of the Neo-Platonic philosophers (205-270 A. D.),
was born hère in the beginning of the 3rd cent., and his system was not
uninfluenced by the priestly doctrines of his native town. From the be¬
ginning of the 4th cent, onwards Christianity was dominant in the town
and neighbourhood. Pious believers took refuge in the caves of the
necropolis to live a life of pénitence apart from the world. One of thèse,
John of Lycopolis, at the end of the 4th cent., bore the réputation of a
saint and even of a prophet. Theodosius sent an embassy to him to in-
quire the outcome of the civil war. The anchorite foretold a complète
but bloody victory, and this propheey was fulfilled in the victory of
Theodosius over Eugenius at Aquileia in 394 A.D..
The *Eock Tombs of Ancient Assiût lie about 8/4 hr. from the
harbour (donkey with good saddle there and back 4 pias., fee 1 pias.)
on a hill of some interest to geologists and containing numerous spé¬
cimens of the Callianasse Nilotica and other fossils. Riding through
part of the town, we diverge fro m the main street at the point where it
bends to the right and proceed to the left, through the cultivated land
and across a handsome bridge, to the foot of the Libyan hills. The
dark openings of the tombs and caves are conspicuous at a distance
in the abrupt sides of the mountain. At the foot of the hill, beside
the neat slaughter-house, we dismount and follow the good path
which leads to the most interesting tombs. The tombs are closed
with iron gâtes ; the keeper lives beside the slaughter-house.
We first reach a Large Rock Tomb, which belonged to Hap-
zefaï, prince of the nome in the reign of Sesostris I. The Arabs
call it Istabl 'Antar, or the stable of Antar, a hero of tradition
(comp. their name for the Speos Artemidos at Benihasan, p. 209).
Entering the tomb we first find ourselves in a vaulted Passage, on
the right wall of which is the deceased, with a long and now scarcely
legible inscription in front of him. A doorway, with a figure of the
deceased holding a staff, on each side, leads hence to the Main Chamber.
On the right half of the Entrance Wall is a long inscription containing
the text of Ten Contracts concluded between the deceased and various
priesthoods of his native city to secure the proper sacrificial offerings to
himself and to his statues in his tomb and in the temple, and to provide
for the performance of other cérémonies. The corresponding inscription
on the left side of the same wall contains addresses to visitors to the tomb
and an account of the merits of the deceased. A door between two
recesses in the rear wall admits us to a second vaulted passage, leading
to a Second Room with three recesses. On the rear wall of the central
recess appears the deceased, four women with lotus-flowers standing be¬
fore him ; on the side-walls he is shown at table, while three rows of
priests and servants bring gifts to him or perform sacred cérémonies.
The left recess leads to the mummy-shaft.
The *View from this tomb is very fine. The fertile land and
the Nile enclosed by the limestone hills of Libya on the W. and the
Arabian mountains in the distance to the E. form a quiet but by no
means monotonous setting for the beautiful town of Assiût, with its
minarets and its environment of palm-gardens. The view is still