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Compendium of Entertaining Knowledge.
FOR DECEMBER, 1808.
Defcription of the TEMPLE OF ISIS. Accompanied with an Engraving. From a recent account of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
HE moft remarkable object in the ruins of Pompeii is THE TEMPLE OF ISIS, reprefented in the accompanying engraving: in this auguft fpecimen of ancient architecture and mystical worship, the columns of the body of the edifice remain entire, but half of thofe which, supported the periftyle have fallen down, as well as the capitals and entablature. The front of the periftyle, which was first cleared away, is entire, and forms the principal object in the plate, being reckoned by connoiffeurs a morceau of architectural elegance. This temple is almoft entirely built of brick, but coated with a kind of hard ftucco, or artificial ftone, much in ufe amongst the ancients, and the knowledge and use of which has lately been revived amongst the moderns. The ftyle of the architecture is lightly elegant, and free from that maffy itrength which alone, perhaps, has given durability to thofe edifices at Rome or Athens, which have been expofed to the pelting of the pitilefs form for fo many ages; and the different orders of which it is compofed being of small proportions, it preferves à character of fimplicity, which, though lefs impofing than fome other remains, as the difference of the impreffion, more or less great, which architecture makes on the imagination as well as the judgment, depends principally on its greatnefs and elevation, yet will ftill be dear to the eye of tafte, and be confidered as a rare fpecimen of
the fimplex munditiis, until it falls a prey to the all deftroying hand of time,
The worship of the goddefs Ifis, fo long enveloped in myftery and inviolable fecrecy, was originally peculiar to Egypt, but being brought from thence into Italy, was adopted by the Romans as a fashionable novelty: the time, however, in which this worship was carried into Greece and Italy, is still uncertain, though Diodorus Siculus, fays it was introduced into Greece in the time of Alexander the Great; and Apuleius afferts that in the time of Sylla, the College of Ifis and her facred myfteries were first established at Rome the accounts of it, however, by, other writers, clafh with these statements, fo that we may rather con clude that it was first introduced by private individuals, by means of affociations, in which they celebrated thofe myfteries in fecret, a practice which would naturally excire curiofity, and give rife to many fabulous conjectures. In these mysterious meetings they received neophytes, or candidates for initiation, and from what little is known of their ceremonies, and of the different gradations of the initiated, the myfteries of Ifis feem to have borne a strong affinity to thofe of freemasonry at the present day. The ceremonies, and the nocturnal meetings of the worthippers of the Egyptian goddefs, foon became objects of fufpicion to thofe who wore the imperial purple, and were
confcious it was an ufurpation over the rights of Rome, they were therefore forbidden, in the time of the emperors, for many ages; but thefe orders did not totally prevent the worship; on the contrary, the perfecuted became more attached to it, for the mysteries of His appear to have exifted, though in fecret, until the reign of Titus, who gave a gen eral toleration, by which he affifted more to take from their fancied im portance, than if he had been lefs favourable to it.
The temple on being cleared of the rubbish and volcannic matter, was found fupplied with the utenfils neceffary for the celebration of the more general and open ceremonies, the workmen even difcovered the fkeletons of fome of the priests, who had been furprised whilft in the exercife of their functions, by the fhower of afhes and fcoriæ, which fwallowed them up. They found their vestments, the afhes, and even the charcoal on the altars as prepared for facrifice, the candelebra, a number of lamps, vafes for the water of luftration, pateræ for libations, bafons to receive the blood of the facrifices, a letifternium or couch, on which they placed the flatue of the goddess during the offerings, fome ornaments of the purificatory fculptured in ftucco, and all around the attributes of the goddefs. They alfo found ibifes, the hippopotamos, the lotus, of which many utenfils took the form, and all thefe objects became more interefting as they were found in their places, in the place even where they were used, and as this place fo happily difcovered, in almost perfect prefervation, offers to our fight these things fo long myfteriously concealed, attefts their ufe and employ, and proves their reality: On the walls of the temple were painted emblems of the worthip, with representations of the priests in their facred vestments of the pureft white; the heads of the priests were shaved,
and their feet were covered with thin fhoes, through which the anatomical form of the foot was diftinctly visible.' They admitted, without doubt, other divinities into this temple of the foreign goddefs, for here were found ftatues of Bacchus, Venus, and Priapus; the most of these statues were of wood, but the heads and hands were of marble.
Conjecture has long been at work to afcertain in what confifted the myfterious part of the ceremonials of Ifis; yet although it was the most extended, and the most celebrated of all the forms of antiquity, and was even called, by way of excellence, the Worship; all that is pofitively known fimply amounts to this, that the greateft purity of life and the Aricteft regularity of conduct, was required of thofe who were candidates for admiffion to its greatest myfteries. (To be continued.).
The Knight of the Sable Armour, or, Innocence Refcued. A Tale. (With a Beautiful Engraving.) IN the times when bodily ftrength and perfonal bravery were the only fafeguards against violence and injuítice; when oppreffion was ftrong and the law weak, or indeed not in exiftence; when a few chiefs lorded it with uncontrouled power overtheir wretched vaffals, whom they forced to commit at their nod, every cruelty and every enormity their wickednefs; or their caprice fuggefted; in the times, in fhort, which have been denominated the times of chivalry, there occafionally arofe men whom a fenfe of honour and a love of virtue incited to oppofe tyranny and rapacity, and defend feebleness and innocence the powerful chiefs of fociety were, according to their different characters, like good and evil beings continually oppofed to and engaged in contests with each other.
It chanced that in thefe times there dwelt
dwelt in a ftrong castle, at the extre- were ftill more violently incited by
On the other fide of this foreft refided the lord of a small principality, named Rudolf, whofe heart was fufceptible of all the mild and gentle affections, and whofe happiness centred in an only daughter. The beauties of the lovely Agnes were the theme of rapturous admiration among all who had beheld her; and the fierce Luborski himself having accidentally caft his eyes on her, felt, to him, an unufual fenfation, which inclined him to relax from his natural fternnefs and feverity. He intimated to her his love, and even made her fhudder by a propofal of marriage. From this time the took every care to avoid him, for the dreaded his love little lefs, if not more, than his hatred.
Precifely at this time, a knight from a diftant part of Germany, named fir Allan Peregrine, eame to the refidence of Rudolf. He was one of thofe benevolent adventurers, whofe high fenfe of honour, love of virtue, and genuine heroifin, counteracted in thofe ages the dark and base machinations of violence and tyranny. He had travelled through feveral countries, and had achieved many good and noble acts. His rength of body and bravery of foul were equal to his magnanimity and love of juftice. From the armour he wore being black and unpolished, he had received the title of the knight of the fable armour: In the courfe of his journeyings in queft of opportunities to 'refcue the innocent and the weak from injuftice and oppreflion, he heard of the cha
The fierce paffions of Luboríki