Although you may see there the Thebaic stone set up by the Emperor Theodosius, and the bronze column of serpents which Murray says was brought from Delphi, but which my guide informed me was the very one exhibited by Moses in the wilderness, yet I found the examination of these antiquities much less pleasant than to look at the many troops of children assembled on the plain to play; and to watch them as they were dragged about in little queer arobas, or painted carriages, which are there kept for hire.
It seems to have escaped the notice of all the ancient authors examined by Sir Archibald, except Olympiodorus. Speaking of the Thebaic Oasis, he mentions an interior and extensive one, lying opposite to the other, one hundred miles apart, which corresponds with the actual distance between them. The American traveller accompanied the expedition of the pacha of Egypt as far as Sennaar.
Sir A. Edmonstone's first intention was to visit the Thebaic Oasis; but understanding from Mr. Belzoni that Mr. Caillaud had already been there, but that there was another Oasis to the westward, which had never been visited by any European, he resolved to proceed thither. This Oasis was also visited by Drovetti much about I he same time: he calls it the Oasis of Dakel.
In the Thebaic Oasis some very interesting remains of antiquity were discovered: the great Oasis was well known to the ancients; but the Thebaic Oasis has seldom been visited in modern times. Brown and Poncet passed through its longest extent, but did not see the ruins observed by Mr. Caillaud.
The Thebaic and Bashmuric versions may have been translated from the edition by Hesychius; but the Koptic version seems older, and its value to the Biblical critic is very great, as it helps us, with the quotations in Origen and Clemens, to distinguish the edition of the sacred text which was then used in Alexandria, and is shown in the celebrated Vatican manuscript, from the later editions used afterwards in Constantinople and Italy, when Christian literature flourished in those countries.
He will also recall the description given by the same gossipy writer of the Temple of Perseus in the Thebaic district of Egypt, in which a sandal worn by the god, two cubits in length, occasionally made its appearance as a token of the visit of Perseus to the earth, and a sign of prosperity to the land.