: Eth. Αἰγύπτιος
, Eth. Aegyptius
I. Names and boundaries of Egypt.
Egypt, properly so called, is that portion of the valley of the Nile which lies between lat. 24° 3′ and lat. 31° 37′ N., or between the islands of Philae and Elephantine, and the Mediterranean Sea.
In the language of the earliest inhabitants it was entitled CHEMI, or the Black Earth; by the Hebrews it was called MIZIAIM; by the Arabians MESR (comp. Μέστρη, J. AJ 1.1
); by the Greeks ἡ Αἴγυπτος;
and by the Copts ELKEBIT, or inundated land.
The boundaries of Egypt have in all ages been nearly the same,--to the S., Aethiopia; to the E., the Arabian Gulf, the Stony Arabia, Idumaea, and the southwestern frontier of Palestine; to the N., the Mediterranean Sea; and to the W., the Libyan desert. Homer (Hom. Od. 4.477
) calls the Nile itself ὁ Αἵγνπτος;
nor is the appellation misapplied. For the Valley of Egypt is emphatically the “Gift of the Nile,” without whose fertilising waters the tract from Syene to Cercasorum would only be a deep furrow in the sandy and gravelly desert running parallel with the Red Sea.
An account of the Nile is given elsewhere. [NILUS
] Here it is sufficient to remark that the valley which it irrigates is generally, except in the Delta or Lower Egypt, a narrow strip of alluvial deposit, occupying less than half the space between the Arabian mountains and the Libyan desert.
The average breadth of this valley from one of these barriers to the other, as far as lat. 30° N., is about 7 miles; while that of the cultivable land, depending upon the overflow of the river, scarcely exceeds 5 1/2 miles. Between Cairo
in Lower and Edfoo
(Apollinopolis Magna) in Upper Egypt the extreme breadth is about 11 miles: the narrowest part, including the river itself, is about 2 miles.
But northward, between Edfoo
(Syene), the valley contracts so much that, in places, there is scarcely any soil on either side of the river, and the granite or limestone springs up from its banks a mural entrenchment.
The whole area of the valley between Syene and the bifurcation of the Nile at Cercasorum contains about 2255 square miles, exclusive of the district of Fayoom
(Arsinoe, Moeris), which comprises about 340. The Delta itself is estimated at 1976 square miles between the main branches of the river--the modern Damietta and Rosetta arms.
But both E. and W. of this tract stretches a considerable level of irrigated land, which, including the Delta, embraces about 4500 square miles.
The length of Egypt from Syene to the Mediterranean is about 526 miles.
The total surface of modern Egypt is somewhat larger than that of the country in ancient times, since, in spite of a less regular system of irrigation, the inundations of the Nile have increased since the eras of the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies.
Egypt, in its general configuration, is a long rock-bound valley, terminating in a deep bay, and resembling in form an inverted Greek upsilon [<01>]. Its geological structure is tripartite. The Nilevalley shelves down to the Mediterranean in a series of steps, consisting of sandy or gravelly plateaus, separated by granite or limestone ridges, which the river cuts diagonally. From Syene to Edfoo
granite or red sandstone prevails: at Edfoo
limestone succeeds; until in lat. 30° 10′ the rocks diverge NE. and NW., and the alluvial Delta fills up an embayed triangle, whose apex is at Cercasorum, and whose base is the sea.
The political and physical divisions of Egypt so nearly coincide that we may treat of them under one head. From Syene to Cercasorum the whole of the Nile-valley was denominated Upper Egypt: with the fork of the river Lower Egypt began.
This was indeed a natural division between the primitive and the alluvial regions: and the distinction was recognised from the earliest times by different monumental symbols--natural and [p. 1.37]
The common lotus (Nymphaea), rising out of a clod of earth, represented the Upper country; the root of the papyrus, upon a clod, the Lower. Sebena was the goddess of the Upper, Neith of the Lower country.
A white crown denoted the former, a red crown the latter; white and red crowns united composed the diadem of the king of all the land. The Upper country, however, was generally subdivided into two portions, (1) Upper Egypt Proper, or the Thebaid (ἡ Θηβαΐς, οἱ ἄνω τόποι
), which extended from Syene to Hermopolis Magna, in lat. 28° N.: and (2) Middle Egypt, also called Heptanomis, or the Seven Cantons (ἡ μεταξὺ χώρα
which reached from the neighbour-hood of Hermopolis to the apex of the Delta.
This threefold partition has been adopted by the Arabs, who denominated Upper, Middle, and Lower Egypt respectively, Saíd, Wustáni,
The traveller who ascends the Nile from its mouths to Syene passes through seven degree, of latitude, and virtually surveys two distinct regions. Lower Egypt is an immense plain: Upper Egypt, a narrowing valley.
The former, in the main, resembles the neighbouring coastland of Africa; the latter is more akin to Nubia, and its climate, its Fauna and its Flora, indicate the approaching tropic.
The line of demarcation commences about the 27th degree of N. latitude. Rain rarely falls in the The-baid: the sycamore and the acacia almost disappear; the river plants and mollusca assume new types: the Theban or Dhoum palm, with its divaricated branches, grows beside the date palm: the crocodile, the jackal, the river-horse, and hyena become more numerous.
We must now return to the general boundaries of Egypt which affected, in various degrees, the climate, the population, and the social and political character of the Nile-valley.
- 1. The Eastern boundary. In this region lay the principal mineral wealth of Egypt, including the quarries, which furnished mattcals for this land of monuments. Beginning with the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile, and along the frontier of Stony Arabia, we find the barren and level region of Casiotis, whose only elevation is the ridge or table land of Mt. Casius (ὁ Κάσιος, Strab. pp. 38, 50, 55, 58, &c.; Mela, 1.10; Plin. Nat. 5.11, 12.13; Lucan 8.539, 10.433). The Egyptian Casius (El Kas or El Katish) is, according to Strabo (16.2), a round sandstone ridge (λόφος θινώδης) It contained the grave of Cn. Pompeius Magnus, and a temple of Zeus Casius.
At a very early period the Egyptians established colonies upon the Idumaean and Arabian border. Copper, mixed with iron ore, and heaps of scoriae from Egyptian smelting-houses, are still found on the western flank of Mt. Sinai, and inscriptions at Wady-Magara in this district, and hieroglyphics and fragments of pottery at Surabit-El-Kadim, on the modern road from Suez to Sinai, attest the existence of settlements coeval with at least the 18th dynasty of kings. Ascending from the head of the Delta, and about 50 miles from the Arabian Sea, we come upon a range of tertiary limestone hills (Τρωικοῦ λίθου ὄρος, Ptol.; ἀλαξυδτρίνον ὄρος, id.) parallel with the Heptanomis, running north and south, and sloping westward to the Nile, and eastward to the Red Sea ὄρη τὰ Ἀραεικά, Hdt. 2.8).
A region of basalt and porphyry begins in the parallel of Antaeopolis, and extends to that of Tentyra or Coptos (Πορφυρίτου ὄρος, id.).
This is again succeeded by limestone at Aias or Aeas (Αἴας, id.; Plin. Nat. 6.29.33), and at Acabe (Ἀκάβη, Ptol.), where, nearly opposite Latopolis, are vast quarries of white marble. From Mt. Smaragdus, which next follows, the Egyptians obtained the fine green breccia (Verde d'Egitto), and emeralds in abundance.
The breccia quarries, as inscriptions testify, were worked as far back as the 6th dynasty of kings (Manetho).
The principal quarry was at Mount Zaburah. From Berenice southward are found, in various proportions, limestone and porphyry again. Mt. Basanites (Βασανίτον λίθον ὄρος, Ptol.), consisting of a species of hornblend, terminated the eastern boundary of the Nile-valley. Beyond this, and of uncertain extent, are the gold mines SE. of the Thebaid. They are about ten days' journey SE. from Apolli. nopolis Magna, in the present Bisháree desert.
The process of gold-washing appears to be represented on tombs of the age of Osirtasen. Silver and lead were also found, and sulphur abounded in this mineral region.
The eastern frontier was mostly arid and barren, but neither uninhabited nor unfrequented by travellers. More than one caravan track, whose bearings are still marked by ruined cisterns and brick pyramids, followed the gorges of the hills; and occasional temples imply a settled population in towns or villages.
The sides and passes of the mountains afforded also pasture for flocks and herds, and wild deer, wolves, &c. found here their abode. Two principal roads, diverging from Coptos on the Nile--the northern leading to Philoteras (Kosseir), lat. 26° 9′, and Myos Hormos or Arsinoe; the southern to Berenice--penetrated the mountain-barrier, and connected the Nile-valley with the Red Sea.
The population of this district was more Arabian than Coptic, and its physical characteristics were Arabian, not Libyan.
- 2. The Western boundary of Egypt is more particularly described under OASIS. The Libyan desert is not, as the ancients believed, merely an ocean of drifting sand, tenanted by serpents, and swept by pestilential blasts (Lucan 9.765): on the contrary, its gravelly surface presents considerable inequalities, and the blasts are noxious only in relaxing the human frame, or by obliterating the traveller's path with eddies of blinding sand. Everywhere this plateau rests upon a limestone basis, and descends in shelves to the Mediterranean.
- 3. The Northern boundary is the Mediterranean. From the western limit of Egypt to Pelusium the coast-line extends to about 180 geographical miles, and presents the convex form common to the alluvial deposits of great rivers. From the depression of its shore, the approach to Egypt is dangerous to the navigator.
He finds himself in shallow water almost before he detects the low and sinuous mud banks which mask the land. Indeed, from Paraetonium in Libya to Joppa in Syria, Pharos afforded the only secure approach, and the only good anchorage (Diod. 2.31). Nor is it probable that any considerable advance of the shore has taken place within historical times.
- 4. The Southern boundary is spoken of under Aethiopia.
The ancient Egyptians believed themselves to be autochthonous.
This was no improbable conception in a land yearly covered with the life-teeming mud of the Nile. When the conquests of Alexander had rendered the Greeks acquainted with Western India, [p. 1.38]
they inferred, from certain similarities of doctrine and usages, that the Indians, Ethiopians or Nubians, and Egyptians were derived from the same stock (Arrian, Indic.
6.9); and Diodorus, who had conversed with Aethiopian envoys in Egypt about B.C. 58, derives both the Egyptians and their civilisation from Meroë (3.11). Both opinions have found numerous supporters in ancient and modern times, and Heeren has constructed upon Diodorus a theory of a priestly colonisation of Egypt from Meroë, which is interesting without being convincing.
No nation has bequeathed to us so many or such accurate memorials of its form, complexion, and physiognomy as the Egyptian. We have in its mummies portraits, and upon its tombs pictures of its people as they looked and lived, individually and socially.
That the Egyptians were darker in hue than either the Greeks or even the neighbouring Asiatics, is shown by the terms in which Greek, Latin, and Hebrew writers mention them. To their progenitor the Hebrews gave the name of Ham, or ad ust
10.6): Herodotus, speaking of the Colchians, says that they were an Egyptian colony because they were black in complexion (μελάγχροες
), and curly-haired (οὐλότριχες,
2.104): Lucian, in his Navigium
(vol. viii. p. 155, Bipont ed.), describes a young Egyptian mariner as like a negro: and Ammianus (22.16.23) calls them subfusculi et atrati.
But the Egyptians were not a negro race--a supposition contradicted alike by osteology and by monumental paintings, where negroes often appear, but always either as tributaries or captives.
It is probable, indeed, that the Nile-valley contained three races, with an admixture of a fourth. On the eastern frontier the Arabian type prevailed: on the western, the Libyan; while the fourth variety arose from intermarriages between the Egyptians Proper and the Nubians or Aethiopians of Meroë.
The ruling caste, however, was an elder branch of the Syro-Arabian family, which in two separate divisions descended the Tigris and the Euphrates; and while the northern stream colonised the land of Canaan and the future empires of Babylon and Nineveh, the southern spread over Arabia Felix, and entered Egypt from the east.
This supposition, and this alone, will account for the Caucasian type of the Coptic skull and facial outline, and corresponds with the Mosaic ethnology in the 10th chapter of Genesis, which derives the Egyptians from Ham. We may allow, too, for considerable admixture, even of the ruling castes, with the cognate races to the south and east; and hence, on the one hand, the fullness of lips, and, on the other, the elongated Nubian eye, need not compel us to define the inhabitants of the Nile-valley as an African rather than an Asiatic race. The Egyptians may be said to be intermediate between the Syro-Arabian and the Ethiopic type; and as at this day the Copt is at once recognised in Syria by his dark hue (un peau noirâtre,
vol. i. p. 114), the duskier complexion--brown, with a tinge of red--of the ancient Egyptians may be ascribed solely to their climate, and to those modifying causes which, in the course of generations, affect both the osteology and the physiology of long-settled races. Nor does their language contradict this statement, although the variations between the Coptic and Syro-Arabian idioms are more striking than those of form and colour. The Coptic, the language of the native Christian population of Egypt, is now universally acknowledged to be substantially the same as the old Egyptian.
It is imperfectly understood, since it has long ceased to be a living speech. Yet the ultimate analysis of its elements shows it to have been akin to the Semitic, and derived from a common source.
Many causes combined to give the Greek and Roman writers an exaggerated conception of the population of Egypt,--the great works of masonry, the infinitesimal cultivation of the soil, and the fact that, the kings and higher order of priests excepted, every Egyptian was either a husbandman or a manufacturer. To these causes, implying a vast amount of disposable labour, yet arguing also a complete command of it by the government, must be added the cheapness of food, and the small quantity of it consumed by the people generally. Health and longevity were common in a land where the climate was salubrious, diet simple, and indolence almost unknown. The Egyptian women were unusually fruitful; though we can hardly give credence to the statements of ancient writers, that five children at a birth were common (Aristot. HA 7.5
), and that even seven were not reckoned prodigious (Plin. Nat. 7.3
; Strab. 16.605). Still there is reason to think that the population fell short of the estimates transmitted by ancient writers.
That a census was periodically taken, is probable from the fact that Sesostris caused the land to be accurately surveyed, and Amasis, towards the end of the monarchy, compelled every male to report to a magistrate his means of livelihood. (Hdt. 2.109
.) Herodotus, however, gives no estimate of the population, nor has any record of a census been hitherto discovered on the native monuments. Diodorus (1.31
) says that it amounted, in the Pharaonic era, to seven millions, and that it was not less in his own day (B.C. 58). Germanicus (Tac. Ann. 2.60
; compare Strab. p. 816) was informed, in A.D. 16, by the priests of Thebes, that Egypt, in the reign of Rameses Sesostris, contained 700,000 men of the military age. If that age, as at Athens, extended from eighteen to sixty, and 1/5 be allowed for adults between those periods of life, the entire population (5 x 700,000) will amount to 3,500,000. Allow 500,000 for error, and add 1/3 for slaves and casual residents, and 6,000,000 will be the maximum of the census of Egypt.
In the Macedonian and Roman eras, 300,000 must be included for the fixed or floating population of Alexandria (Joseph. B. J.
According to Herodotus (2.177
), there were, in the reign of Amasis, 20,000 inhabited towns, and Diodorus (l.c.
) says that 18,000 towns were entered on the register. Many of these, however, were probably little more than walled villages, nor have we any means of knowing their average area or population. Yet it should be remembered that, even allowing for the less perfect system of embankment and irrigation in modern times, the extent of productive soil has not decreased. Two centuries ago the population of modern Egypt was loosely estimated at 4 millions. During the French occupation of the country in 1798--1801, it was computed at 2 1/2 millions. Sir Gardner Wilkinson (Modern Egypt and Thebes,
vol. i. p. 256) reduces it to 1 1/2 million.
IV. The Nomes.
The Nile-valley was parcelled out into a number of cantons, varying in size and number. Each of [p. 1.39]
these cantons was called a nome (νόμος
) by the Greeks, praefectura oppidorum by the Romans. Each had its civil governor, the Nomarch (νόμαρχος
who collected the crown revenues, and presided in the local capital and chief court of justice. Each nome, too, had its separate priesthood, its temple, chief and inferior towns, its magistrates, registration and peculiar creed, ceremonies, and customs, and each was apparently independent of every other nome.
At certain seasons delegates from the various cantons met in the palace of the Labyrinth for consultation on public affairs (Strab. p. 811).
According to Diodorus (1.54
), the nomes date from Sesostris.
But they did not originate with that monarch, but emanated probably from the distinctions of animal worship; and the extent of the local worship probably determined the boundary of the nome. Thus in the nome of Thebais, where the ramheaded deity was worshipped, the sheep was sacred, the goat was eaten and sacrificed: in that of Mendes, where the goat was worshipped, the sheep was a victim and an article of food. Again, in the nome of Ombos, divine honours were paid to the crocodile: in that of Tentyra, it was hunted and abominated; and between Ombos and Tentyra there existed an internecine feud. (Juv. Sat.
The extent and number of the nomes cannot be ascertained. They probably varied with the political state of Egypt. Under a dynasty of conquerors, they would extend eastward and westward to the Red Sea and Libyan deserts: under the Hyksos, the Aethiopian conquest, and the times of anarchy subsequent to the Persian invasion, they would shrink within the Nile-valley.
The kingdoms of Sais and Xois and the foundation of Alexandria probably multiplied the Deltaic cantons: and generally, commerce, or the residence of the military caste, would attract the nomes to Lower Egypt.
According to Strabo (pp. 787, 811), the Labyrinth, or hall of the Nomarchs, contained 27 chambers, and thus, at one period, the nomes must have been 27 in number, 10 in the Thebaid, 10 in the Delta, and 7, as its name implies, in the Heptanomis.
But the Heptanomis, at another period, contained 16 nomes, and the sum of these cantons is variously given. From the dodecarchy or government of 12 kings, and from Herodotus' assertion (2.148) that there were only 12 halls in the Labyrinth, we are disposed to infer, that at one time there were only 12 of these cantons, and that there were always 12 larger or preponderating nomes.
According to the lists given by Pliny (5.9.9
) and Ptolemy, there must have been at least 45 nomes; but each of these writers gives several names not found in the other, and if we should add the variations of the one list to the other, the sum would be much greater.
There was, under the Macedonian kings, a subdivision of the nomes into toparchies, which was probably an arrangement to meet the fiscal system of the Greeks. (Hdt. 2.164
; Diod. 1.54
; Strab. xvii; Cyrill. Alex. ad Isaiam,
19.2; Epiphan Haeres.
The following list of the principal Nomes will illustrate the variety of these territorial subdivisions as regards religious worship.
A. NOMES OF THE DELTA. The most important were:--
- 1. The Menelaite; chief town Canobus, with a celebrated temple and oracle of Serapis (Strab. p. 801; Plut. Is. et Osir. 100.27.)
- 2. The Andropolite; chief town Andropolis.
- 3. The Sebennytic; capital Pachnamunis (Ptol.), worshipped Latona.
- 4. The Chemmite (Hdt. 2.165); capital Buto. Its deity was also called Buto, whom the Greeks identified with Leto. Ptolemy calls this canton φθενότης, and Pliny (5.9) Ptenetha.
- 5. The Onuphite; chief town Onuphis. (Hdt. 2.166.)
- 6. The Phthemphuthite; capital Tava. (φθεμφονθὶ νομός, Ptol.; Phthempha, Plin. Nat. 5.9.)
- 7. The Saite; chief city Sais, worshipped Neith or Athene, and contained a tomb and a sanctuary of Osiris. (Hdt. 2.170; Strab. p. 802.) Under the dynasty of the Saitic Kings this was the principal of the Deltaic cantons.
- 8. The Busirite; capital Busiris, worshipped Isis, and at one epoch, according to Hellenic tradition at least, sacrificed the red-coloured men who came over the sea, i. e. the nomades of Syria and Arabia (Hdt. 1.59, 33, 165; Strab. p. 802; Plut. de Is. et Os. p. 30.)
- 9. The Thmuite; chief town Thmuis (Hdt. 2.168), afterwards incorporated with the following:
- 10. The Mendesian; capital Mendes (Hdt. 2.42, 46; Diod. 1.84), worshipped the goat Mendes, or the horned Pan.
- 11. The Tanite; chief town Tanis. (Hdt. 2.166; Strab. p. 802.)
In this nome tradition affirmed that the Hebrew legislator was born and educated.
- 12. The Bubastite; capital Bubastus, contained a noble temple of Bubastis or Artemis. (Hdt. 2.59, 67, 137.)
- 13. The Athribite; capital Athribis, where the shrewmouse and crocodile were held in reverence.
- 14. The Heliopolite; west of the Delta, and sacred to the sun, from whom its capital Heliopolis (On) derived its name. (Hdt. 2.9; Diod. 5.56; J. AJ 2.3.)
- 15. The Heroopolite; chief town Heroopolis, a principal seat of the worship of Typhon, the evil or destroying genius.
- Besides these the Delta contained other less important nomes,--the Nitriote, where the Natron Lakes, Nitrariae (Plin. Nat. 5.9) were situated; the Letopolite (Strab. p. 807); the Prosopite; the Leontopolite; the Mentelite; the Pharbaethite; and the Sethraite.
B. NOMES OF THE HEPTANOMIS. The most important were :--
- 1. The Memphite, whose chief city Memphis was the capital of Egypt, and the residence of the Pharaohs, who succeeded Psammetichus B.C. 616. The Memphite Nome rose into importance on the decline of the kingdom of Thebais, and was itself in turn eclipsed by the Hellenic kingdom of Alexandria. [MEMPHIS]
- 2. The Aphroditopolite; chief town Aphroditopolis, was dedicated to Athor or Aphrodite.
- 3. The Arsinoite, the Fayoom, celebrated for its worship of the crocodile, from which its capital Crocodilopolis, afterwards Arsinoe, derived its name. [ARSINOE] The Labyrinth and the Lake of Moeris were in this canton.
- 4. The Heracleote, in which the ichneumon was worshipped. Its principal town was Heracleopolis Magna.
- 5. The Hermopolite, the border nome between Middle and Upper Egypt.
This was at a very early period a flourishing canton. Its chief city Hermopolis stood near the frontiers of the Heptanomis, [p. 1.40]a little to the north of the castle and toll-house (Ἑρμοπολιτάνη φυλακή, Strab. p. 813), where the portage was levied on all craft coming from the Upper Country.
- 6. The Cynopolite, the seat of the worship of the hound and dog-headed deity Anubis. Its capital was Cynopolis, which must however be distinguished from the Deltaic city and other towns of the same name. (Strab. p. 812; Ptol.; Plut. Is. et Osir. 100.72.）
- The Greater Oasis (Ammonium) and the Lesser were reckoned among the Heptanomite Cantons: but both were considered as one nome only. [OASES]
C. NOMES OF UPPER EGYPT. The most important were:--
- 1. The Lycopolite, dedicated to the worship of the wolf. Its chief town was Lycopolis.
- 2. The Antaeopolite, probably worshipped Typhon (Diod. 1.21); its capital was Antaeopolis (Plut. de Solert. Anim. 23.)
- 3. The Aphroditopolite, [Comp. Nome (2), Heptanomis.] In cases where a southern and a northern canton possessed similar objects of worship, the latter was probably an offset or colony of the former, as the Thebaid was the original cradle of Egyptian civilisation, which advanced northward.
- 4. The Panopolite or, as it was afterwards called, the Chemmite, offered hero-worship to an apotheosized man, whom the Greeks compared to the Minyan hero Perseus. (Hdt. 2.91.)
This canton, whose chief town was Panopolis or Chemmis (Diod. 1.18), was principally inhabited by linen-weavers and stonemasons.
- 5. The Thinite, probably one of the most ancient, as it was originally the leading nome of the Thebaid, and the nome or kingdom of Menes of This, the founder of the Egyptian monarchy. The Thinite nome worshipped Osiris, contained a Memnonium, and, in Roman times at least (Amm. Marc. 19.12; Spartian. Hadrian. 14), an oracle of Besa. Its capital was Abydus, or, as it was called earlier, This. [ABYDUS]
- 6. The Tentyrite, worshipped Athor (Aphrodite), Isis, and Typhon. Its inhabitants hunted the crocodile, and were accordingly at feud with the Ombite nome. (Juv. xv.) Its chief town was Tentyra.
- 7. The Coptite, whose inhabitants were principally occupied in the caravan trade between Berenice, Myos Hormos, and the interior of Arabia and Libya. Its capital was Coptos. [COPTOS]
- 8. The Hermonthite, worshipped Osiris and his son Orus: its chief town was Hermonthis.
- 9. The Apollonite, like the Tentyrite nome, destroyed the crocodile (Strab. p. 817; Plin. Nat. 5.9; Aelian, H. An. 10.21; Plut. Is. et Os. 50), and reverenced the sun. Its capital was Apollinopolis Magna.
This nome is sometimes annexed to the preceding.
- 10. The Ombite, (Ombites praefectura, Plin. Nat. 5.9), worshipped the crocodile as the emblem of Sebak (comp. supra (6) and (9), and the Arsinoite (3), Heptanomite nomes). Ombos was its capital.
The quarries of sandstone, so much employed in Egyptian architecture, were principally seated in this canton.
V. Animal Worship.
Animal worship is so intimately connected with the division of the country into nomes, and, in some degree, with the institution of castes, that we must briefly allude to it, although the subject is much too extensive for more than allusion.
The worship of animals was either general or particular, common to the whole nation, or several to the nome. Thus throughout Egypt, the ox, the dog, and the cat, the ibis and the hawk, and the fishes lepidotus and oxyrrynchus, were objects of veneration.
The sheep was worshipped only in the Saitic and Thebaid nomes: the goat at Mendes; the wolf at Lycopolis; the cepus (a kind of ape) at Babylon, near Memphis; the lion at Leontopolis
, the eagle at Thebes, the shrewmouse at Athribis, and others elsewhere, as will be particularly noticed when we speak of their respective temples.
As we have already seen, the object of reverence in one nome was accounted common and unclean, if not, indeed, the object of persecution in another. Animal worship has been in all ages the opprobrium of Egypt (comp. Clem. Alex. 3.2, p. 253, Potter; Diod. 1.84
). The Hebrew prophets denounced, the anthropomorphic religionists of Hellas derided it. To the extent to which the Egyptians carried it, especially in the decline of the nation, it certainly approached to the fetish superstitions of the neighbouring Libya.
But we must bear in mind, that our vergers to the Coptic temples are Greeks who, being ignorant of the language, misunderstood much that they heard, and being preoccupied by their own ritual or philosophy, misinterpreted much that they saw. One good effect may be ascribed to this form of superstition.
In no country was humanity to the brute creation so systematically practised.
The origin of animal worship has been variously, but never satisfactorily, accounted for. If they were worshipped as the auxiliaries of the husbandman in producing food or destroying vermin, how can we account for the omission of swine and asses, or for the adoption of lions and wolves among the objects of veneration? The Greeks, as was their wont, found many idle solutions of an enigma which probably veiled a feeling originally earnest and pious. They imagined that animals were worshipped because their effigies were the standards in war, like the Roman Dii Castrorum.
This is evidently a substitution of cause for effect.
The representations of animals on martial ensigns were the standards of the various nomes (Diod. 1.85
). Lucian (Astrolog.
v. p. 215, seq. Bipont) suggested that the bull, the lion, the fish, the ram, and the goat, &c. were correlates to the zodiacal emblems; but this surmise leaves the crocodile, the cat, and the ibis, &c. of the temples unexplained.
It is much more probable that, among a contemplative and serious race, as the Egyptians certainly were, animal-worship arose out of the detection of certain analogies between instinct and reason, and that to the initiated the reverence paid to beasts was a primitive expression of pantheism, or the recognition of the Creator in every type of his work. The Egyptians are not the only people who have converted type into substance, or adopted in a literal sense the metaphorical symbols of faith.
VI. Castes and Political Institutions.
The number of the Egyptian castes is very variously stated. Herodotus (2.164
) says that they were seven--the sacerdotal and the military, herdsmen, swineherds, shopkeepers, interpreters, and boatmen. Plato (Timaeus,
iii. p. 24) reckons six; Diodorus, in one passage (1.28) represents them as three-priests and husbandmen, from whom the army was levied, and artisans.
But in another [p. 1.41]
(1.74) he extends the number to five, by the addition of soldiers and shepherds. Strabo limits them to three--priests, soldiers, and husbandmen--and as this partition is virtually correct, we shall adopt it after brief explanation.
The existence of castes is a corroborative proof of the Asiatic origin of the Egyptians.
The stamp of caste was not in Egypt, as is sometimes asserted, indelible.
The son usually, but not inevitably, followed his father's trade or profession. From some of the pariah classes indeed--such as that of the swineherds--it was scarcely possible to escape.
The land in Egypt upon which the institution of castes rested belonged in fee only to the king, the priests, and the soldiers. We know from Genesis (47.26) that all other proprietors of the soil had surrendered their rights to the crown, and received their lands again subject to an annual rent of 1/5 of the produce.
The priests we know (Genes. l.c.
), the soldiers we infer (Diod. 1.74
), retained their absolute ownership; and in so productive a country as Egypt the husbandman was too important a person to be deprived at once of all his political rights.
He was in fact an integral although an inferior section of the war-caste.
The privileged orders however were the king, the priest, the soldier--
- 1. The King was at first elective, and always a member of the priesthood.
He afterwards became hereditary, and was taken indifferently from the sacerdotal and military orders. If however he were by birth a soldier, he was adopted on his accession by the priests. Even the Ptolemies were not allowed to reign without such previous adoption. His initiation into the sacred mysteries was represented on monuments by the tau, the emblem of life and the key of secrecy, impressed upon his lips (Plut. de Is. et Osir. p. 354, B.; Plat. Rep. ii. p. 290).
- The king, when not engaged in war, was occupied in jurisdiction and the service of religion.
The royal life was one long ceremony. His rising and his lying down; his meals, his recreations, and the order of his employments, were rigidly prescribed to him. Some liberty in law-making indeed was allowed him, since we read of the laws of Sesostris, Amasis, and other Egyptian rulers: and, with vigorous occupants of the throne, it is probable that the soldier occasionally transgressed the priestly ordinances.
As but few, however, of the Egyptian monarchs seem to have grossly abused their power, we may conclude that. the hierarchy at least tempered royal despotism.
In paintings the king is always represented as many degrees taller and more robust than his subject warriors.
A thousand fly before him, and he holds strings of prisoners by the hair. The Egyptian king wears also the emblems and some-times even the features of the gods; and it is frequently difficult to distinguish on the monuments Sesortasen, Amunopht, &c. from Osiris.
It is remarkable that females were not excluded from a throne so sacerdotal.
A queen, Nitocris, occurs in the sixth dynasty; another, Scemiophris, in the twelfth, and other examples are found in the sculptures. On the decease of a sovereign a kind of posthumous judgment was exercised on his character and government. His embalmed body was placed in the sepulchre, and all men were permitted to bring accusations against him. Virtuous princes received a species of deification: condemned princes were debarred from sepulture.
- 2. The Priests however were, in ordinary times, the real governing body of Egypt. Their lands were exempt from tribute: their persons were greeted with servile homage; they were the sole depositaries of learning and science: and they alone were acquainted with all the formularies which in Egypt regulated nearly every action of life. Their various and incessant occupations appear even in the titles of the subdivisions of the priest-caste. “Each deity,” says Herodotus (2.37), “had several priests [priestesses] and a high priest.” The-chiefs or pontiffs were the judges of the land, the councillors of the sovereign, the legislators and the guardians of the great mysteries.
The minor priests were prophets, inferior judges and magistrates, hierophants, hiero-grammats or sacred scribes, basilico-grammats or royal scribes, dressers and keepers of the royal and sacerdotal wardrobes, physicians, heralds, keepers of the sacred animals, architects, draughtsmen, beadles, vergers, sprinklers of water, fan bearers, &c. (Wilkinson, M. and C. vol. i. p. 238). So numerous a staff was not in the peculiar polity of Egypt altogether superfluous, neither does it seem to have been peculiarly burdensome to the nation, since it derived its support from regular taxes and from its proprietary lands. Nowhere in the ancient world was the number of temples so great as in Egypt: nowhere were there so many religious festivals ; nowhere was ordinary life so intimately blended with religion.
The priest therefore was mixed up in affairs of the market, the law court, the shop, the house, in addition to his proper vocation in the temple. His life was the reverse of ascetic: in the climate of Egypt frequent ablutions, linen garments, papyrus sandals, were luxuries,--only polygamy was forbidden him.
But he was enjoined to marry, and the son succeeded the father in the sacred office (Hdt. 2.143). Herodotus (comp. 2.35, 55) contradicts himself in saying that females could not fulfil sacerdotal duties,--women might be incapable of the highest offices, but both sculptures and documents prove, that they were employed in many of the minor duties connected with the temples.
- 3. The Soldiers. The whole military force of Egypt amounted to 410,000 men (Hdt. 2.165-166; Diod. 1.54).
It was divided into two corps, the Calasirians and the Hermotybians.
The former were the more numerous, and in the most flourishing era of Egypt, the 18th and 19th dynasties, were estimated at 250,000 men. Each of these divisions furnished a thousand men annually to perform the duty of royal body guards. During the term of their attendance they received from the king daily rations of bread, beef, and wine. When summoned to the field or to garrison duty, each soldier provided himself with the necessary arms and baggage.
The principal garrisons of Egypt were on its southern and eastern borders, at Syene and Elephantine, at Hieracompolis and Eilethyas, which towns, on opposite sides of the river, commanded the Nile-valley above Thebes, and at Marea and Pelusium.
The western frontier was, until Egypt stretched to the Cyrenaica, guarded sufficiently by the Libyan desert.
In time of peace the troops who were not in garrisons or at court were settled in various nomes principally east of the Nile, and in the Delta; since it was in that quarter Egypt was most exposed to invasion from the pastoral Arabs or the yet more formidable nomade tribes of Assyria and Palestine.
According to Herodotus (2.168), each soldier was allowed 12 arourae of land, or about six acres free from all charge or tribute, from which allotment he defrayed the cost of his arms and equipment. To the Egyptian soldier [p. 1.42]handicraft employment was forbidden, agricultural labours were enjoined.
The monuments exhibit officers with recruiting parties, soldiers engaged in gymnastic exercises, and in the battle pieces, which are extremely spirited, all the arts of offensive and defensive war practised by the Egyptians are represented.
The war-caste was necessarily a very important element in a state which was frequently engaged in distant conquests, and had a wide extent of territory to defend. Yet until the reigns of Sethos, when the priests invaded its privileges, and of Psammetichus, when the king encroached upon them, we find no trace of mutiny or civil war in Egypt,--a proof that the Calasirians and Hermotybians were not only well disciplined, but also, in the main, contented with their lot.
VII. Civil History.
The History of Egypt is properly arranged under five eras.
- 1. Egypt under its native rulers--the Pharaonic Era. Its commencement is unknown: it closes with the conquest of the land by Cambyses in B.C. 525.
- 2. The Persian Era, from B.C. 525, to the Macedonian invasion, B.C. 332.
- 3. The Macedonian or Hellenic Era.
This period is computed either from the foundation of Alexandria, in B.C. 332, or from B.C. 323, when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, converted the satrapy of Egypt into an hereditary kingdom.
This period extends to the death of Cleopatra, in B.C. 30.
- 4. The Roman Era, from the surrender of Alexandria to Augustus, in B.C. 30, to the capture of that city by the Khalif Omar in A.D. 640.
- 5. The Mahommedan Era, from A.D. 640 to the present time.
The last of these periods belongs to modern history, and does not come within the scope of this work.
The first of them must be very briefly treated, partly because it involves questions which it would demand a volume to discuss, and partly because Egypt came into the field of classical history through its relations with the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. For complete information the student of the Pharaonic era must consult the larger works of Denon, Young, Champollion, Rosellini, Heeren, Wilkinson, Bunsen and Lepsius; or the very lucid abstract of this period in Kenrick's Ancient Egypt,
which, indeed, contains all that the general reader can require.
1. Pharaonic Era.
--The original records of Egypt were kept with no ordinary care, and were very various in kind, sculpture, symbol, writing, all contributing to their contents. Herodotus (2.72
), Theophrastus (ap. Porphyr. de Abstinent. 2.5), Cicero (de Repub.
3.8) concur in describing the Egyptians as the most learned and accurate of mankind in whatsoever concerned their native annals.
The priests, Diodorus (1.44
) assures us, had transmitted in unbroken succession written descriptions of all their kings--their physical powers and disposition, and their personal The antiquity of writing in Egypt is no longer a subject of dispute. Lepsius (Book of the Dead,
Leipzig, 1842, Pref. p. 17) found on monuments as early as the 12th dynasty, the hieroglyphic sign of the papyrus; and on the 4th that of the stylus and inkstand. The Egyptians themselves also observed the distinction between the dry pontifical chronicle and mythical and heroical narratives couched in poetry and song. To this mass of written documents are to be added the sculptured monuments themselves, the tombs, obelisks, and temple walls, whose paintings and inscriptions have been partially decyphered by modern scholars, and are found generally to correspond with the written lists of kings compiled, in the first instance, by the native historian Manetho. Egyptian history, however, in the modern acceptation of the word, began after the establishment of the Greek sovereignty of Egypt.
The natives, with the natural pride of a once ruling but now subject race, were eager to impart to their Hellenic masters more correct notions of their history and religion than could be obtained either from the relations of Greek travellers, such as Thales and Solon, or from the narratives of Hecataeus, Democritus, and Herodotus. Of Manetho, of Sextus Julius Africanus, from whose chronicon, in five books, Eusebius derived a considerable portion of his own chronicon, of Georgius the Syncellus, of Eratosthenes, the Alexandrian mathematician, who treated largely of Egyptian chronology, accounts have been given in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography,
and to its columns we must refer for the bibliography of Egyptian history. Lastly, we must point out the extreme value of the Hebrew scriptures and of Josephus among the records of the Nile-valley.
The remote antiquity of Egyptian annals is not essentially an objection to their credibility. The Syncellus assigns 3555 years as the duration of Manetho‘s thirty dynasties.
These being Egyptian years, are equivalent to 3553 Julian years, and, added to 339 B.C., when the thirtieth dynasty expired, give 3892 B.C. as the commencement of the reign of Menes, the founder of the monarchy.
But although Bunsen and other distinguished Egyptologers are disposed to assign an historical personality to Menes, his very name, as the name of an individual man, seems suspicious.
It too nearly resembles the Menu of the Indians, the Minyas and Minos of the Greeks, the Menerfa of the Etruscans, and the Mannus of the Germans--in all which languages the name is connected with a root--Man
--signifying “to think and speak” (see Quarterly Review, vol. 78, p. 149)--to be accepted implicitly as a personal designation.
The Pharaonic era of Egyptian history may be divided into three portions--the Old, the Middle, and the New monarchy.
The first extends from the foundation of the kingdom in B.C. 3892 to the invasion of the Hyksos.
The second from the conquest of Lower Egypt by the Hyksos and the establishment of an independent kingdom in the Thebaid, to the expulsion of the Hyksos.
The third from the re-establishment of the native monarchy by Amosis to the final conquest by Cambyses in B.C. 525. (Kenrick, Ancient Egypt,
vol. ii. p. 110.)
(1.) The Old Monarchy.
The chronology of this and the succeeding division of the Egyptian monarchy is beset with, at present, insurmountable exploits. difficulties; since, in the first place, there are no synchronisms in the annals of other countries to guide the inquirer, and in the next, we know not whether the dynasties in Manetho should be taken as a series, or whether he enumerates contemporaneous families of kings, some of whom reigned, at the same time, at Memphis, and others at Sais, [p. 1.43]
Xois, Thebes, &c. And even if Manetho himself intended his dynasties to follow one another in direct order, the question still remains whether his authorities did so too. Gods, spirits, demigods, and Manes, or the souls of men were, according to Manetho, the first rulers of Egypt. They began with Ptha or Hephaestus and closed with Horus. Then follow thirty dynasties of mortal kings, 300 in number, according to the lowest, and 500, according to the highest computation.
The time over which they extend varies also between the limits of 3555, and 5049 years. Manetho‘s account of these dynasties is contained in three volumes: Herodotus, Diodorus, Eratosthenes and Manetho, amid their many disagreements, concur in this statement--that Menes of This was the first mortal king of Mizraim, the double land, i. e., Upper and Lower Egypt. Here, indeed, their coincidence ends. For Herodotus makes Menes the founder of Memphis, as well as of the monarchy: whereas Diodorus states that Memphis, the embankments which supported its area, and the diversion of the Nile stream were the works of a monarch, who lived many centuries afterwards.
The second name in the 4th dynasty is Suphis, to whom Manetho ascribes the building of the Great Pyramid. Here we seem to touch upon historical ground, since in a recently opened room of that pyramid has been decyphered the name of Chufu or Shufu, the Cheops of Herodotus, who, however, places that monarch much lower.
The erection of the Second Pyramid is attributed by Herodotus and Diodorus to Chephren; and upon the neighbouring tombs, for the pyramid itself seems to be uninscribed, has been read the name of Shafre, accompanied by a pyramidal figure.
There is sufficient approximation between Shafre and Chephren to identify them with each other, although no corresponding name occurs in either Eratosthenes or Manetho. Fourth in the 4th dynasty is Mencheres, the builder of the third pyramid, the Mycerinus of Herodotus (2.127
) and Diodorus (1.64
); and their statement is fully confirmed by the discovery of a mummy case in that pyramid, with the inscription, Menkera. Manetho, indeed, makes Nitocris, a queen of the 6th dynasty, the Nitocris of Herodotus (2.100
), to have built the third pyramid. The 7th dynasty was apparently a period of anarchy, since it contains 70 Memphite kings, who reigned for 70 days only. They were probably interreges or vice-kings. Of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th dynasties not even the names of the kings are known. Two of these were Memphite dynasties, two Heracleopolitan, and one Diospolitan, the dynasty being in each case named apparently from the birth-place of its founder. The 12th dynasty bears in Manetho‘s list a very historical aspect, since its catalogue of seven Diospolitan kings is not only complete, but comprises also the name of Sesostris, or more properly Sesortasen or Sesortosis, who, it is said, “subdued all Asia in nine years, and part of Europe as far as Thrace,” as well as that of Lacharis (Lamaris or Maras), who built the Labyrinth in the Arsinoite nome. Yet, until recently this list has received no confirmation from hieroglyphics. Even the conquests of Sesostris probably belong to the 18th dynasty and to Rameses III. Both Herodotus and Diodorus place Sesostris much later: and the former historian refers the erection of the Labyrinth to the period of the Dodecarchia. The 13th dynasty consisted of 60 Diospolite kings, who reigned, it is said, 453 years, and the 14th of 76 Xoite kings, who reigned 184 years, but the names and acts of both have perished.
With the 14th dynasty closes the first period of the Pharaonic era.
(2.) The Middle Monarchy.
The second period, consisting of three dynasties, is that of the Shepherd Kings.
A passage of Manetho‘s lost work Aegyptiaca,
cited by Josephus in his rejoinder to the Graeco-Egyptian grammarian Apion (Joseph. c. Apion.
1.14), places this period in comparative light before us.
That a Nomadic Arab horde for several centuries occupied and made Egypt tributary; that their capital was Memphis; that in the Sethroite nome they constructed an immense earthcamp which they called Abaris; that at a certain period of their occupation two independent kingdoms were formed in Egypt, one in the Thebaid, in intimate relations with Aethiopia, another at Xois, among the marshes of the Nile; that, finally, the Egyptians regained their independence and expelled the Hyksos, who thereupon retired into Palestine, are probably authentic facts, and indeed involve in themselves no just cause. for doubt.
The only suspicious circumstance in Manetho‘s narrative is the exaggeration of numbers, but this is a defect common to all primeval record. The Hyksos indeed left behind them no architectural memorials, and the Egyptians, when they recovered Lower Egypt, would not be likely to perpetuate their own subjection, nor the priests who instructed Herodotus and Diodorus to confess that the Nile-valley had ever paid tithe or toll to an abominable race of shepherd kings.
The silence of annalists and monuments is therefore at least a negative argument in support of the truth of Manetho‘s account: nor is it improbable that the long and inveterate hatred with which the Egyptians regarded the pastoral tribes of Arabia owed its origin to their remembrance of this period of humiliation.
The Middle Monarchy extended over a period of 953 years according to the Syncellus and Africanus: but, according to Manetho, the Hyksos were lords of Egypt only 511 years.
The larger number probably includes the sum of the years of the three contemporaneous dynasties at Xois, Memphis, and Thebes.
(3.) The New Monarchy.
The third period, or the New Monarchy, extends from the commencement of the 18th to the end of the 30th dynasty.
The New Monarchy commences with the expulsion of the Hyksos, or rather perhaps with the revolt of the Thebaid which effected it.
The earlier kings of the 18th dynasty, Amosis, Misphragmuthosis, &c. were apparently engaged in successive attacks upon the intruders.
But, after its final victory, Egypt again, or perhaps now for the first time a united kingdom, attained a long and striking prosperity.
The names of Thutmosis (Thothmes), of Amenophis (the Greek Memnon?), and above all, of Ramoeses III., are read on various monuments in Nubia and Egypt, and most conspicuously in the Thebaid temples at Luxor and Karnak. The 18th dynasty was the flourishing age of Egyptian art: its sculpture became bolder, its paintings more artistic and elaborate: the appliances and inventions of civilisation more diversified. Rameses, if indeed under his name are not embodied the acts of his dynasty, was the Alexander of the Nile-valley. Seventeen centuries after his reign Germanicus visited Thebes, and the priests read to him, on the monuments, the acts and wars, the treasures and the tributes, the subjects and the domains of this powerful king (Tac. Ann. 2.60
This was no Eastern exaggeration. The “Tablet of Karnak,” says Kenrick (vol. ii. [p. 1.44]
p. 229), whose inscription was interpreted to Germanicus in A.D. 16, “was strictly an historical and statistical document. Its dates are precise; and though we may be unable to identify the countries named, the exactness with which they are enumerated, with the weights and numbers of the objects according to his which they bring, proves that we have before us an authentic record, at least of the tribute enjoined
upon the nations.” About this time the southern frontier of Egypt extended beyond the Second Cataract: to the west the power of Thothmes or Rameses reached over the negro tribes of the interior: the east was guarded by strong fortresses: while by the north the Egyptian monarch went forth as a conqueror, and, proceeding along the Syrian coast, passed into Asia Minor, and planted his standard on the frontiers of Persia, and upon the shores of the Caspian Sea. His campaigns required the cooperation of a fleet; and Egypt became, for the first time in history, a maritime power.
It is probable indeed that its navy was furnished by its subjects, the inhabitants of the coast of Western Asia.
The period of time assigned to this dynasty is about two centuries and a half. Rameses III., there is every reason to think, is the Sesostris or Sesortasen of Herodotus and Diodorus.
The names of the monarchs of the 18th dynasty are obtained from two important monuments, the Tablet of Abydos and the Tablet of Karnak.
The 19th dynasty is probably a continuation of its predecessor, and its details are extremely confused and uncertain. The 20th was composed entirely of kings bearing the name of Rameses (Rameses IV.--XIII.), of whom Rameses IV. alone maintained the military renown of his illustrious precursors. The 21st is uninteresting.
But in the 22nd we come upon the first ascertained synchronism with the annals of the Hebrews, and consequently at this point Egyptian chronology begins to blend with that of the general history of the world.
There is no doubt that Abraham and his son visited Egypt; that the Nile-valley had at one era a Hebrew prime minister, who married a daughter of the high priest of Heliopolis; or that the most illustrious of the Hebrew monarchs maintained close political and commercial relations with Egypt, and allied himself with its royal family.
But although the facts are certain, the dates are vague. Now, however, in the 22nd dynasty, we can not only identify the Shishak who took and plundered Jerusalem with the Sesonchis or Sesonchosis of the Greeks and the Sheshonk of the native monuments, but we can also assign to him contemporaneity with Rehoboam, and fix the date of his capture of Jerusalem to about the year B.C. 972.
By the establishment of the date of Sheshonk's plundering of Jerusalem, we also come to the knowledge that the Pharaoh whose daughter was espoused to Solomon, and the sister of whose queen Tahpenes was, in the reign of David, married to Hadad the Edomite, was a monarch of the 21st dynasty (1 Kings,
9.16; 11.19, seq.).
Osorthen or Osorcho, Sheshonk's successor, is probably the Zerah of Scripture (2 Kings,
17.4.; 2 Chron.
14.9). The Sesostrid kingdom was now on the decline, and at the close of the 24th dynasty Egypt was subjugated by the Ethiopians, and three kings of that nation, Sabaco, Sebichos or Sevekos,
reigned for 44 years, and composed the 25th dynasty. Sevekos is obviously the Seva,
king of Egypt, with whom Hoshea, king of Israel, in B.C. 722, entered into an alliance (2 Kings,
17.4); while Tarkus is Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, the enemy of Assyria and Sennacherib (Isaiah,
37.9). Herodotus indeed makes no mention of any Ethiopian king except Sabaco (Sebichos), who, account, reigned for half a century, and then voluntarily withdrew into his own Nubian dominions. (Hdt. 2.139
.) The Aethiopian dynasty was the second foreign occupation of Egypt, but it differed materially from the earlier usurpation of the land by the Hyksos. The 25th dynasty does not appear to have been regarded by the Egyptians themselves as a period of particular woe or oppression.
The alliance between the country above and the country below Elephantine and the Second Cataract was apparently, at all times, very close: the religion and manners of the adjoining kingdoms differed but little from one another: and the Aethiopian sovereigns perhaps merely exchanged, during their tenure of Egypt, a less civilised for a more civilised realm. On the retirement of the Ethiopians, there was an apparent re-action, since Sethos, a priest of Phtah, made himself master of the throne. His power seems to have been exercised tyrannically, if Herodotus (2.147
) is correct in saying that after the death or deposition of this “priest of Hephaestos” the Egyptians were “set free.” One important change, indicating a decay of the ancient constitution, occurred in this reign.
The military caste was degraded, and the crown even attempted to deprive them of their lands.
It is probable that this was a revolutionary phase common to all countries at certain eras. Egypt had become in some degree a naval power.
The commercial classes were rivalling in power the agricultural and military, and the priest-king, for his own interests, took part with the former. Sethos was succeeded (B.C. 700--670) by the dodecarchy, or twelve contemporaneous kings; whether this number were the result of convention, or whether the twelve reguli were the heads of the twelve Greater Nomes, cannot be ascertained. From the commencement of this period, however, we enter upon a definite chronology. History is composed of credible facts, and the lists of the kings are conformable with the monuments
PSAMMETICHUS I., who reigned 54 years, B.C. 671--617, supplanted the dodecarchy by the aid of Greek and Phoenician auxiliaries, and in Lower Egypt at least founded a cosmopolite kingdom, such as the Ptolemies established three centuries afterwards. (Diod. 1.66
; Hdt. 1.171
; Polyaen. Strat.
7.3.) His Ionian and Carian or Milesian auxiliaries he settled in a district on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, between the Mediterranean and the Bubastite Nome; while the Phoenicians who had helped him to the throne were probably located near Memphis, in an allotment called the Tyrian camp. (Hdt. 2.112
The native militia were now superseded by Hellenic regular soldiers, and a portion at least of the war-caste migrated, in dudgeon at this preference, to Aethiopia. Historians have too readily taken for granted that this was a migration of the whole body of the Hermotybians and Calasirians.
It was more probably a revolt of the southern garrisons on the Nubian frontier.
In the reign of Psammetichus was also instituted the caste of interpreters or dragomans between the natives and foreigners; and it strikingly marks the decline of the ancient system that Psammetichus caused his own sons to be instructed in the learning of the Greeks (Diod. 1.67
). [p. 1.45]
Psammetichus was succeeded by his son NECO or NECHAO, the Pharaoh Necho of the second book of Kings,
who reigned 16 years, B.C. 617--601. Among the greatest of his works was the canal between the Nile and the Red Sea. Whether he completed it or not is doubtful; in the reign of Darius it was, however, certainly open for vessels of large burden, and was finished by the Ptolemies (Plin. Nat. 6.33
). Modern surveys have ascertained that this canal left the Nile in the neighbourhood of the modern town of Belbeis--probably the Bubastis Agria of the Greeks--and ran E. and S. to Suez. (Hdt. 4.42
; Diod. 1.33
.) At Neco's command also the Phoenicians undertook the circumnavigation of the African peninsula.
The success of this enterprise is problematical, but, as Major Rennell, in his Essay on the Geography of Herodotus, has shown, by no means impossible.
In the reign of Necho Egypt came into direct collision with the Babylonian empire, at that time rising upon the ruins of the Assyrian. Egypt seems to have been in alliance with the latter, since about the time when Cyaxares resumed the siege of Niniveh, Necho marched towards the Euphrates, apparently to relieve the beleaguered city. Judah was then in league with Babylon; and its king Josiah threw himself in the way of Necho, and was defeated by him at Megiddo. The Jewish monarch died of his wounds at Jerusalem, and the conqueror entered the holy city, probably the Cadytis of Herodotus (2.159
). Necho deposed and sent captive to Egypt Jehoahaz, the son and successor of Josiah, made his younger brother Eliakim king in his stead, and imposed an annual tribute on Judaea. The Judaean monarchs were four years later avenged. From the plains of Carchemish or Circesium, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Neco fled to Egypt, leaving all his Asiatic conquests to the victor Nebuchadnezzar.
Necho was succeeded by his son PSAMMIS, who reigned 6 years, B.C. 601--595, and Psammis by his son APRIES, the Uaphris of the monuments, and the Pharaoh Hophra of the Scriptures, who reigned 25 years, B.C. 595--570.
The earlier years of Apries were signalised by his victories over the Tyrians, Sidonians, Phoenicians, and Cypriots.
But these acquisitions were transient, and there is reason to suppose that Lower Egypt at least was invaded by Nebuchadnezzar (Strab. p. 687; Jeremiah,
43.12, 46.13--26 ; Ezekiel,
xxix). Apries experienced even greater calamities on his western frontier, a quarter from which Egypt had been hitherto unassailed. The Greeks of Cyrene exterminated his army at Irasa (Ain Ersen
), between the bay of Bomba and Cyrene. His defeat, and the cruelties to which it led, rendered him odious to his subjects.
A fortunate soldier, Amasis or Amosis, deposed, succeeded, and finally strangled him.
AMASIS reigned 44 years, B.C. 570--526.
He is the first Egyptian monarch with whose personal character we have any acquaintance. His friendship with Polycrates is well known.
He was ashrewd, active, and intelligent sovereign, who possessed the love of the soldiers and the people, and nearly disregarded the rules and ceremonies of the priests. His reign was eminently prosperous, and. his death occurred just in time to prevent his witnessing the subjugation of Egypt by the Persians under Cambyses, which took place in the reign of his son PSAMMENITUS (B.C. 525), who sat upon the throne only 6 months.
2. Persian Era.
The 27th dynasty contains 8 Persian kings, and extends over a period of 124 years, B.C. 525--401. Egypt became a satrapy, not, however, without much reluctation and various revolutions; for between the worshippers of animals and the worshippers of fire a religious antipathy subsisted which aggravated the pressure of conquest and the burden of subjection. The Persians indeed were the only masters of Egypt who assailed by violence, as well as regarded with contempt, its religious and political institutions. From this cause, no less than from the numerous Greek and Hebrew settlers in the Delta, the Macedonian conqueror, in B.C. 332, found scarcely any impediment to his occupation of Egypt. During the 27th dynasty Egypt became, for the first time, involved in European politics.
A revolt, which commenced in the reign of Darius, B.C. 488, and which delayed for three years the second Persian invasion of Greece, was repressed by his son and successor Xerxes, in B.C. 486.
A second revolt, in B.C. 462, was put down, in B.C. 456, by the satrap Megabyzus; but its leader Inaros, son of Psammitichus, was aided by the Athenians.
The 28th dynasty contains only one name, that of AMYRTAEUS the Saite.
In his reign of six years, through some unexplained weakness in Persia, Egypt regained its independence, for monuments at Karnak
prove that the Saite monarch was king of the whole land. Amyrtaeus was magnificently interred in a sarcophagus of green breccia, which, after passing from an Egyptian tomb to a Greek basilica, from a Greek basilica to a Moslem mosque, finally rests in the British Museum. The 29th dynasty contained four kings, of whom hardly any thing is related, and the 30th dynasty three kings, NECTANEBUS I., TACHOS, and NECTANEBUS II., who are better known from their connection with Grecian history.
In the reign of Nectanebus II., and in the year B.C. 350, Egypt was reconquered by Bagoas and Mentor, the generals of Darius Ochus, and the last Pharaoh of the 30 dynasties retired an exile into Aethiopia.
The succession of Egyptian monarchs, embracing a period of 3553 years, is unexampled in history. Upon the annals of their successors the Ptolemies we shall not however enter, since the lives of the Macedonian kings are given in the Dictionary of Biography (art. Ptolemaeus
It will suffice in this place to make a few general remarks upon the political aspect of Egypt under its Greek and Roman masters.
3. Macedonian or Hellenic Era.
Many causes rendered the accession of a Greek dynasty an easy and even a welcome transition to the Egyptian people.
In the decline of the native monarchy, they had suffered much from anarchy and civil wars. For two centuries the yoke of Persia had pressed heavily upon their trade, agriculture and religion: their wealth had been drained, their children enslaved, their ceremonial and national prejudices systematically outraged by their rulers. For the advent of the Greeks a gradual preparation had been made since the reign of Psammetichus. Hellenic colonies had penetrated to the Great Oasis and the coast of the Red Sea. Greek travellers and philosophers had explored the Thebaid, and Greek immigrants had established numerous colonies in the Delta. Lower Egypt too had admitted Spartans and Athenians alternately as the allies of the Saite and Memphite sovereigns: so that when in B.C. 332 [p. 1.46]
Alexander reached Pelusium, that city opened its gates to him, and his march to Memphis resembled the peaceful progress of a native king.
The regulations which Alexander made for the government of his new conquest were equally wise and popular: and as they were generally adopted by his successors the Lagidae, they may be mentioned in this place. The Egyptians were governed by their own laws.
The privileges of the priests and their exemption from land-tax were secured to them, and they were encouraged, if not assisted, to repair the temples, and to restore the ancient ritual. Already in the reign of Ptolemy Soter the inner-chamber of the Temple of Karnak was rebuilt, and the name of Philip Arrhidaeus, the son of Alexander, inscribed upon it. Alexander himself offered sacrifice to Apis at Memphis, and assumed the titles of “Son of Ammon” and “Beloved of Ammon” ; and when the sacred Bull died of old age Ptolemy I. bestowed fifty talents upon his funeral. Euergetes, the third monarch of the Lagid house, enlarged the temple of Karnak, added to that of Ammon in the Great Oasis, and erected smaller shrines to Osiris at Canobus, and to Leto, at Esnè
The structures of the Ptolemies will be noticed under the names of the various places which they restored or adorned.
It would have been impolitic to reinstate the ancient militia of Egypt, which indeed had long been superseded by a standing army or Greek mercenaries. Under the most despotic of the Ptolemies, however, we meet with few instances of military oppression, and these rarely extended beyond the suburbs of Alexandria or the frontiers of the Delta. Alexander established two principal garrisons, one at Pelusium, as the key of Egypt, and another at Memphis, as the capital of the Lower Country. Subsequently Parembole in Nubia, Elephantine, and the Greek city of Ptolemais in the Thebaid were occupied by Macedonian troops.
The civil jurisdiction he divided between two nomarchies or judgeships, and he appointed as nomarchs two native Egyptians, Doloaspis and Petisis. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 3.5.2
Like their predecessors the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies aspired to extend their power over Palestine and Syria, and protracted wars were the results of their contests with the Seleucid kings.
But even these campaigns tended to the augmentation of the Egyptian navy; and, in consequence of the foundation of Alexandria the country possessed one of the strongest and most capacious havens in the Mediterranean. Becoming a maritime, the Egyptians became also an actively commercial nation, and exported corn, papyrus, linen, and the articles of their Libyan and Indian traffic to western Asia and Europe. Ptolemy Philadelphus gave a new impulse to the internal trade of the Nile-valley, in the first place, by establishing a system of police from Cercasorum to Syene, and, in the next, by completing the canal which Necho and Darius Hystaspis had begun, from the Pelusiac arm of the Nile to Arsinoë at the head of the Red Sea. (Plin. Nat. 6.33
; Hdt. 2.158
) [BUBASTIS; ARSINOE].
He also rebuilt the old port of Aennum or Cosseir [PHILOTERA
], and improved the caravan route from the interior by erecting inns and cisterns in the desert between Coptos and Berenice.
The monuments of Lower Nubia attest the wealth and enterprise of the Lagid monarchs. Egypt indeed did not regain under this family the splendour which it had enjoyed under Thoutmosis and Rameses III., but it was perhaps more uniformly prosperous, and less exposed to invasion from Cyrene and Arabia than it had ever been since the 18th dynasty occupied the throne of Menes.
In one respect the amalgamation of the Egyptians with their conquerors was incomplete. The Greeks were always the dominant class.
The children of mixed marriages were declared by the Macedonian laws to be Egyptian not Greek. They were incapable of the highest offices in the state or the army, and worshipped Osiris and Isis, rather than Zeus or Hera. Thus, according to Hellenic prejudices, they were regarded as barbarian or at most as Perioeci, and not as full citizens or freemen. To this distinction may in part be ascribed the facility with which both races subsequently submitted to the auhority of the Roman emperors.
The ancient divisions of the Upper and Lower kingdoms were under the Macedonian dynasty revived but inverted. Power, population, wealth and enterprise were drawn down to the Delta and to the space between its chief cities Memphis and Alexandria. The Thebaid gradually declined. Its temples were indeed restored: and its pompous hierarchy recovered much of their influence.
But the rites of religion could not compete with the activity of commerce. The Greek and Hebrew colonists of the Delta absorbed the vitality of the land: and long before the Romans converted Egypt into a province of the empire, the Nubians and Arabs had encroached upon the upper country, and the ancient Diospolite region partly returned to the waste, and partly displayed a superannuated grandeur, in striking contrast with the busy and productive energy of the Lower Country.
This phenomenon is illustrated by the mummies which are found in the tombs of Memphis and the catacombs of Thebes respectively. Of one hundred mummies taken from the latter, about twenty show an European origin, while of every hundred derived from the necropolite receptacles of the former, seventy have lost their Coptic peculiarities (Sharpe, History of Egypt,
p. 133, 2nd ed.). The Delta had, in fact, become a cosmopolite region, replenished from Syria and Greece, and brought into contact with general civilisation. The Thebaid remained stationary, and reverted to its ancient Aethiopian type, neglecting or incapable of foreign admixture.
4. Roman Era.
For more than a century previous to B.C. 30 the family and government of the Lagid house had been on the decline.
It was rather the jealousy of the Roman senate which dreaded to see one of its own members an Egyptian proconsul, than its own integral strength, which delayed the conversion of the Nilevalley into a Roman province. When however the Roman commonwealth had passed into a monarchy, and the final struggle between Antonius and Augustus had been decided by the surrender of Alexandria, Egypt ceased to be an independent kingdom.
The regulations which Augustus made for his new acquisition manifested at once his sense of its value, and his vigilance against intrusion. Egypt became properly a province neither of the senate nor the emperor.
It was thenceforth governed by a prefect, called Praefectus Aegypti,
afterwards Praefectus Augustalis,
immediately appointed by the Caesar and responsible to him alone.
The prefect was taken from the equestrian order: and no senator was permitted to set foot in Egypt without special imperial license. (Tac. Ann. 2.59
2.74; D. C. 51.17
; Arrian, Arr. Anab. 3.5
.) Even after Diocletian had remodelled [p. 1.47]
or abolished nearly all the other institutions of the empire, this interdict remained in force.
The dependence of Egypt was therefore more absolute and direct than that of any other province of Rome. Its difficulty of access, and the facility which it presented to an enterprising and ambitious governor to render himself independent, dictated these stringent precautions.
The prefect, however, possessed the same powers as the other provincial governors, although he did not receive the fasces and the other insignia of the latter. (Tac. Ann. 12.60
; Poll. Trig. Tyr.
Augustus made very little change in the internal government of Egypt.
It was divided into three great districts called Epistrategiae
)--Upper Egypt (Thebais), of which the capital was Ptolemais, Middle Egypt (Heptanomis), and Lower Egypt (Strab. xvii. p.787
). Each of these three districts was divided into nomes, the nomes into toparchies, and the toparchies into κῶμαι
in which the land was carefully measured according to ἄρονραι.
Each of the great districts was under an epistrategus
), who was a Roman, and possessed both civil and military authority, and to him all the officials in his district were amenable. Each nome was governed by a strategus
), in ancient times called νομάρχης,
who carried into execution the edicts of the prefect, and superintended the collection of the taxes imposed upon his nome.
The strategus was appointed by the prefect, and was selected from the natives, either Greeks or Egyptians: the term of his office was three years.
The subdivisions of the nomes above mentioned were in like manner under the administration, each of its own officers, whose names and titles frequently occur in inscriptions.
The three Greek cities of Alexandria, Ptolemais, and Arsinoe were not subject to the authorities of the nome, but were governed by their own municipal institutions (σύστημα πολιτικὸν ἐν τῶ Ἑλληνικῷ τρόπῳ, Strab. xvii. p.813
Two legions were found sufficient to keep Egypt in obedience. They were stationed at Elephantine and Parembole, in the south: at the Hermopolitan castle, on the borders of Heptanomis and the The-baid: at Memphis and Alexandria in the Delta: and at Paretonium in Libya. Cohorts of German horse were quartered in various portions of the Nile-valley.
The native population were not allowed to possess arms--a precaution partly dictated by the fierce and excitable temper of the Egyptian people. (Amm. Marc. 22.16.23
The Romans presently set themselves to improve the revenues and restore the agriculture of their new province. Under the second prefect C. Petronius (Sueton. Octav.
18; Strab. xvii. p.820
) the canals of the Nile were cleared of sand, and many thousand acres brought again into cultivation. Egypt, under the emperors, shared with Sicily and northern Africa the distinction of being accounted a granary of Rome. To the general survey of the Nile-valley under Aelius Gallus, the third prefect, we owe the accurate description of it by the geographer Strabo.
He accompanied the prefect to Syene (xvi. p. 816), and explored both the vestiges of ancient grandeur in the Thebaid, and the new cities which, like Ptolemais, had been built and were occupied by Greeks alone. The Caesars were as tolerant as the Macedonian kings, and made no change in the religion of their Coptic subjects.
The names of Roman emperors are inscribed on many of the Egyptian and Nubian temples; e. g., that of Augustus at Philae, and that of Tiberius at Thebes, Aphroditopolis, and Berenice. Augustus was invested with the titles of the native kings--Son of the Sun, of Ammon, king of Upper and Lower Egypt, &c.
The country was well governed under Tiberius,. who strictly repressed the avarice of his prefects (J. AJ 18.5
; D. C. 57.32
). From Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 2.64
) we learn that the emperor was highly displeased with his adopted son Germanicus for travelling in Egypt without a previous licence from himself. Pliny (8.71
) records that, on this tour, Germanicus consulted the sacred bull Apis, and received an answer indicative of his future misfortunes.
The liberty of coining money was taken from the Egyptians by Tiberius in the tenth year of his reign (A.D. 23); but the right of mintage was restored to them by Claudius. Pliny (6.26
) has given an interesting description of the Egyptian trade with the East in this reign.
The history of Egypt from this period is so nearly identified with that of Alexandria, that we may refer generally to that head for the summary of its events.
The country, indeed, had been so completely subjugated, that Vespasian could venture to withdraw from it nearly all the disposable military force, when in A.D. 67--68 it was required to put down the rebellion of Judaea.
The principal commotions of Egypt were, indeed, caused by the common hostility of the Greek and Hebrew population.
This, generally confined to the streets of Alexandria, sometimes raged in the Delta also. and in the reign of Hadrian demanded the imperial interference to suppress. The Jews, indeed, were very numerous in Egypt, especially in the open country; and after the destruction of Jerusalem, their principal temple was at Leontopolis
. Hadrian (Sparian.
14) visited Egypt in the 6th year of his reign, and ascended the Nile as far as Thebes.
The most conspicuous monument of this imperial progress was the city of Antinopolis, on the east bank of the Nile, which he raised as a monument to his favourite, the beautiful Antinous. (D. C. 69.16
In the reign of M. Aurelius, A.D. 166, occurred the first serious rebellion of Egypt against its Roman masters.
It is described as a revolt of the native soldiers.
But they were probably Arabs who had been drafted into the legions, and whose predatory habits prompted them to desert and resume their wild life in the desert.
The revolt lasted nearly four years (A.D. 171--175), and was put down by Avidius Cassius, who then proclaimed himself emperor of Egypt, and his son Maecianus praetorian prefect. Avidius and his son, however, were put to death by their own troops, and the clemency of the emperor speedily regained the affections of his Egyptian subjects. (Capitol. M. Anton.
On the death of Pertinax in A.D. 193, Pescennius Niger, who commanded a legion in Upper Egypt, and had won the favour of the natives by repressing the license of the soldiery, proclaimed himself emperor.
He was defeated and slain at Cyzicus, A.D. 196, and his successful rival the emperor Severus visited the vacant province, and examined the monuments at Thebes and Memphis. Severus, however, was unpopular with the Egyptians, as well from his exactions of tribute as from his impolitic derision of the national religion.
In the reign of Caracalla, Egyptians for the first time took their seat in the Roman senate, and the worship of Isis was publicly sanctioned at Rome. (Dio Cass.77.23; Spartian. Sever.
17.) [p. 1.48]
The next important revolution of Egypt was its temporary occupation by Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, in A.D. 269. The Egypto-Greeks were now at the end of six centuries again subject to an Asiatic monarch.
But her power lasted only a few months.
This invasion, however, stimulated the native population, now considerably intermingled with Arabs, and they set up, after a few months' submission to Aurelian, a Syrian of Seleucia, named Firmus, as emperor, A.D. 272. (Vopisc. Firm.
5.) Firmus was succeeded by a rebel chieftain named Domitius Domitianus (Zosim. 1.49); but both of these pretenders were ultimately crushed by Aurelian. Both Rome and Egypt suffered greatly during this period of anarchy: the one from the irregularity of the supply of corn, the other from the ravages of predatory bands, and from the encroachments of the barbarians on either frontier. In A.D. 276, Probus, who had been military prefect of Egypt, was, on the death of Tacitus, proclaimed emperor by his legions, and their choice was confirmed by the other provinces of the empire. Probus was soon recalled to his former province by the turbulence of the Blemmyes; and as even Ptolemais, the capital of the Thebaid, was in possession of the insurgents, we may estimate the power of the Arabs in the Nile-valley. So dangerous, indeed, were these revolts, that Probus deemed his victory over the Blemmyes not unworthy of a triumph. (Vopisc. Prob.
The reign of Diocletian, A.D. 285, was a period of calamity to Egypt.
A century of wars had rendered its people able and formidable soldiers; and Achilleus, the leader of the insurgents, was proclaimed by them emperor. Diocletian personally directed his campaigns, and reduced, after a tedious siege, the cities of Coptos and Busiris.
In this reign also the Roman frontier was withdrawn from Aethiopia, and restored to Elephantine, whose fortifications were strengthened and garrisons augmented. Galerius and Maximin successively misgoverned Egypt: whose history henceforward becomes little more than a record of a religious persecution.
After the time of Constantine, the administration and division of Egypt were completely changed.
It was then divided into six provinces: (1) Aegyptus Propria; (2) Augustamnica; (3) Heptanomis (afterwards Arcadia); (4) Thebais; (5) Libya Inferior; (6) Libya Superior (consisting of the Cyrenaic Pentapolis).
The division into nomes lasted till the seventh century after Christ. All the authorities having any relation to the Roman province of Aegypt are collected by Marquardt, in Becker's Handbuch der Römischen Alterthümer,
vol. iii. pt. i. p. 207, seq.
Under the Romans the chief roads in Egypt were six in number. One extended from Contra-Pselcis in Nubia along the eastern bank of the Nile to Babylon opposite Memphis, and thence proceeded by Hielio-polis to the point where Trajan's canal entered the Red Sea.
A second led from Memphis to Pelusium.
A third joined the first at Serapion, and afforded a shorter route across the desert.
A fourth went along the western bank of the Nile from Hiera Sycaminos in Nubia to Alexandria.
A fifth reached from Palestine to Alexandria, and ran along the coast of the Mediterranean from Raphia to Pelusium, joining the fourth at Andropolis.
The sixth road led from Coptos on the Nile to Berenice on the Red Sea, and contained ten stations, each about twenty-five miles apart from one another. The Roman roads in Egypt are described in the Itinerariumn Antonini,
which is usually ascribed to the emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus.
According to the traditions of the Church, Christianity was introduced into Egypt by the evangelist St. Mark. Its reception and progress must be read in ecclesiastical annals. We can only remark here, that the gloomy and meditative genius of the Egyptians was a favourable soil for the growth of heresy; that the Arians and Athanasians shed torrents of blood in their controversies; and that monachism tended nearly as much as civil or religious wars to the depopulation of the Nile-valley.
The deserts of the Thebaid, the marshes of the Delta, and the islands formed by the lagoons and estuaries of the Nile, were thronged with convents and hermitages; and the legends of the saints are, in considerable proportion, the growth of Egyptian fancy and asceticism.
In the reign of Theodosius I., A.D. 379, the edict which denounced Paganism levelled at one blow the ancient Polytheism of the Nile-valley, and consigned to ruin and neglect all of its temples which had not previously been converted, partially or wholly, into Christian Churches. From this epoch we may regard the history of the Egyptians, as a peculiar people, closed: their only subsequent revolutions hence-forward being their subjugation by Persia in A.D. 618, and their conquest by Amrou, the general of the Khaliph Omar, in A.D. 640.
The yoke of Arabia was then finally imposed upon the land of Misraim, and its modern history commences--a history of decrepitude and decline until the present century.
The sources of information for Egyptian history and geography are of four kinds. (1) Works of geography, such as those of Ptolemy, Strabo, Eratosthenes, Pliny and Mela. (2) Of history, such as those of the fragments of Manetho, Africanus, the Syncellus, Eusebius, Herodotus and Diodorus already cited. (3) The Arabian chorographers,--and (4) the researches of modern travellers and Egyptologers from Kircher to Bunsen and Lepsius; among the former we specially designate the works of the elder Niebuhr, Pococke and Bruce, Burckhardt and Belzoni; the splendid collections of Dénon and the French savans, 1798; Gau's work on the monuments of Lower Nubia, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson's Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians,
6 vols. 8vo. To these may be added, as summaries of the writings of travellers and scholars, Heeren's Researches into the Politics, Intercourse, and Trade of the Carthaginians, Aethiopians, and Egyptians,
2 vols. 8vo. Engl. trans. 1838; the recent work, Kenrick's Ancient Egypt,
2 vols. 8vo. 1850; and the two volumes in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge, entitled The British Museum, Egyptian Antiquities,
which, under an unpretending form, contain a fund of sound and various information.
It would be easy to extend this catalogue of authorities; but the general reader will find all he seeks in the authors we have enumerated.