(It. Anton. p. 161; Olympiodor. ap. Photium, p. 62, ed. Bekker), a town in the Regio Dodecaschoenus, S. of Philae, from which it was five days' journey distant, situated in lat. 23° 30′ N., and consequently immediately under the tropic of Cancer. Talmis stood on the western bank of the Nile, and is represented by the modern Kalabsche.
The Libyan hills which rise immediately behind the town afforded an inexhaustible supply of materials for building, and the ancient quarries are still visible [p. 2.1086]
in their sides.
The ruins of Talmis are of surpassing interest, and comparatively in good preservation, probably because, being excavated in the sandstone, they escaped mutilation or destruction by the Persians.
The principal structure was a rock-temple at the foot of the hills, dedicated, as appears both from a hieroglyphical and a Greek inscription, to a deity named Mandulis or Malulis, a son of Isis. His mythical history is exhibited on bas-reliefs.
But the sculptures at Talmis are of the highest interest, both as works of art and as historical monuments. Their execution is the work of various ages: some, as appears by their rude forms, ascending to a remote antiquity, others, as those in the temple of Mandulis, being of the best days of Aegyptian art.
The temple was founded by Amunoph II., was rebuilt by one of the Ptolemies, and repaired in the reigns of the Caesars, Augustus, Caligula, and Trajan.
The subjects of these. sculptures represent partly the triumphs of the Pharaohs, and partly the tributes exacted by them from the conquered. On one wall is the warrior in his chariot putting to flight bearded men in short. garments, armed with bows and arrows, and a sickle-shaped knife or sword.
In another compartment the conqueror is in the act of putting his captives to death. Another represents the booty obtained after a victory, and, besides the captives, exhibits the spoils taken, e. g. lion-headed and lionclawed chairs, knives, loaves, sandals, skins of animals, &c.
These sculptures illustrate also the natural history of S. Aethiopia. They contain figures of lions, antelopes, and bulls, greyhounds, giraffes, ostriches and monkeys.
The giraffes and ostriches point clearly to a country south of the utmost limit of Aegyptian dominion, and seem to indicate wars with the Garamantes and the kingdom of Bornoo.
) mentions ebony wood among the articles of tribute which every three years Aethiopia offered to the Persian king. Ebony as well as ivory, a product of the interior of Libya, appears on the walls of the temple of Mandulis.
A coloured facsimile of these sculptures is displayed in one of the rooms of the British Museum.
At a short distance from Talmis stood another temple of scarcely inferior interest, and the space between is covered with heaps of earth and fragments of pottery, mixed with human bones and bandages that have been steeped in bitumen--the evident traces of a large necropolis. At Talmis has been also discovered an inscription in the Greek language, supposed to be of the age of Diocletian, in which Silco, king of Aethiopia and Nubia, commemorates his victories over the Blemmyes.
The wealth of Talmis, apparent in its sculptures, was doubtless in great measure owing to its position as a commercial station between Aegypt and Aethiopia, but partly also to the emerald mines in its neighbourhood.
In the fifth century A. D., the town and its neighbourhood were occupied by the Blemmyes, who had a regular government, since they had chiefs of tribes (φυλάρχοι
) and were celebrated for their skill in divination. (Olympiodor. ap. Photium, p. 62.)