BLTC Press Titles

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


by Hezekiah Howe



Having taken a rapid glance at the progress of the art of building, we are now prepared to enter upon the period when more lasting edifices were constructed. Buildings for domestic purposes, continued for a long time of slight construction; it is therefore to public buildings, that we must have recourse to discover and trace the inventions and improvements in Architecture, during remote ages. Works of great magnificence still remain in Egypt, Persia and Hindostan. When, or by whom, these stupendous monuments of the indefatigable labor of man were erected, is uncertain. We know that they have very great antiquity. It is also impossible to determine with certainty in which of these countries Architecture was first brought to that degree of perfection which these splendid remains exhibit. Egypt is allowed to have been the birth-place of the arts and sciences, and we may rationally conclude that the first grand experiments in Architecture, were made in that country.


Look at your map of Africa—find Egypt. See; it is a country of small extent, but it once abounded in wealth and had an immense population. The traveller is struck with wonder and admiration, at the number, size and magnificence of the structures scattered over that land:—

"Rent palaces, crushed columns, rifled moles, Fanes rolled on fanes, and tombs on buried tombs."

Egypt contains ancient buildings of three distinct forms.

1. The simple pyramid.

2. Excavations, caverns or grottos.

3. Apartments copnected by walls with flat roofs, supported, by rows of columns, and connected by open porticos.

1. On a plain which extends from Cairo along the Nile about fifty miles, are the famous Pyramids. There are about forty still standing; the three largest are in the neighborhood of Djiza, called the Pyramids of Cheops, Cephrenes or Cephron, and Mycerines. The great Pyramid of Cheops, which is the largest in the world, has stood through the storms and convulsions of more than thirty centuries, and will undoubtedly stand, till

"The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Leave not a wreck behind."

This Pyramid (Plate III.) is five hundred feet in height, and seven hundred and twenty-eight feet (one-seventh of a mile)

on each side of the base. It is therefore a walk of more than half a mile around it. It is ascended by steps. Upon the top is a platform, thirty-two feet square; here, travellers of all nations and ages of the world, have inscribed their names in their respective languages. This platform consists of nine large stones, each of which would weigh a ton, twenty hundred weight! Some of the stones in other parts are still larger! They are of hewn granite and limestone, on the outside cemented together with fine mortar, in the interior so nicely made and fitted together, as not to need cement. Do you ask how they drew up these immense stones to such a height? Who can tell? Contrive a way if you can!

The second Pyramid, that of Cephrenes, is three hundred and ninety-eight feet high and six hundred and sixty-five feet on each side of the base. Belzoni, an enterprizing traveller, discovered its entrance in the north front in 1818. Advancing through a passage one hundred feet long, he came to a spacious chamber, twentythree feet high, cut out of the solid rock. In this chamber was a granite sarcophagus, (stone coffin) half sunk into the floor, with many bones in it, some of which proved to be those of the cow! All the pyramids are finished in the interior with immense labor. They contain many large apartments—long and intricate passages, &c. The walls are covered with hieroglyphics, some of which are sculptured, others painted, the colors still fresh as if recently executed. It is doubtful for what purpose these stupendous edifices were erected; whether for tombs or for temples, or for both together. The ancient Egyp

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