1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > Ancient Egyptian Architecture: Fortifications; Private Dwellings.

(Part 17)

Ancient Egyptian Architecture (cont.)


Next to the temples, the grandest buildings were perhaps the fortifications. We know that the temples themselves were often used as citadels, few of the towns being fortified. Even Thebes seems not to have been so. Of the actual citadels we have a few remains, as at Dakkeh. But several are shown on the drawings, and bear a curious resemblance to medieval works, the ramparts of the walls and towers having battlements which overhang like our machicolations, while, in the centre of the enclosure formed by the walls, was generally a high square tower or keep. Of the further details we know little.

Private Dwellings

Of these little is known, except from paintings found in the tombs. One noted ruin at Medinet Haboo has, indeed, been supposed to be that of a palace; but one of the latest authorities, M. Mariette, throws doubt on this, considering that it was erected partly for defence and partly as a triumphal monument. The ordinary dwelling seem, like the houses in the Labyrinth, to have been in two stories, with an open gallery at the top, supported by columns probably of wood. The larger houses consisted of rooms ranged round three sides, and sometimes four, of a large court-yard planted with tress, and with tank, and perhaps a fountain, in the middle. There was an entrance porch, on which are hieroglyphics, being, as Sir G, Wilkinson supposes, the name of the inhabitant. Larger houses are supposed to have had two courts- the outer, in which to receive visitors, the inner for the females of the family. Smaller houses, particularly in the country, had a similar court, with granaries and store-rooms below, and living apartments above, like those of the modern Fellah in Egypt, or the small vigna houses in Italy. The roofs seem to have been flat, like those of the modern Egyptians; and the houses appear, from a painting found at Thebes, to have been ventilated in the same way as at present, by the contrivance called a mulkuf, or wind-shaft, over which are two screens, like large square fans back to back, bending forward each way to catch any air that may chance to be stirring, and direct it down the shaft into the house.

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