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History of Egypt

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Before we turned from Egypt to summarize the information, afforded by recent discoveries, upon the history of Western Asia under the kings of the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods, we noted that the Asiatic empire of Egypt was regained by the reactionary kings of the XIXth Dynasty, after its temporary loss owing to the vagaries of Akhunaten. Palestine remained Egyptian throughout the period of the judges until the foundation of the kingdom of Judah. With the decline of military spirit in Egypt and the increasing power of the priesthood, authority over Asia became less and less a reality. Tribute was no longer paid, and the tribes wrangled without a restraining hand, during the reigns of the successors of Ramses III. By the time of the priest-kings of Thebes (the XXIst Dynasty) the authority of the Pharaohs had ceased to be exercised in Syria. Egypt was itself divided into two kingdoms, the one ruled by Northern descendants of the Ramessids at Tanis, the other by the priestly monarchs at Thebes, who reigned by right of inheritance as a result of the marriage of the daughter of Ramses with the high priest Amenhetep, father of Herhor, the first priest-king. The Thebans fortified Gebelên in the South and el-Hêbi in the North against attack, and evidently their relations with the Tanites were not always friendly.

In Syria nothing of the imperial power remained. The prestige of the god Amen of Thebes, however, was still very great. We see this clearly from a very interesting papyrus of the reign of Herhor, published in 1899 by Mr. Golenischeff, which describes the adventures of Uenuamen, an envoy sent (about 1050 B.C.) to Phoenicia to bring wood from the mountains of Lebanon for the construction of a great festival bark of the god Amen at Thebes. In the course of his mission he was very badly treated (We cannot well imagine Thothmes III or Amenhetep III tolerating ill-treatment of their envoy!) and eventually shipwrecked on the coast of the land of Alashiya or Cyprus. He tells us in the papyrus, which seems to be the official report of his mission, that, having been given letters of credence to the Prince of Byblos from the King of Tanis, "to whom Amen had given charge of his North-land," he at length reached Phoenicia, and after much discussion and argument was able to prevail upon the prince to have the wood which he wanted brought down from Lebanon to the seashore.

Here, however, a difficulty presented itself,—the harbour was filled with the piratical ships of the Cretan Tjakaray, who refused to allow Uenuamen to return to Egypt. They said, 'Seize him; let no ship of his go unto the land of Egypt!' "Then," says Uenuamen in the papyrus, "I sat down and wept. The scribe of the prince came out unto me; he said unto me, 'What ail-eth thee?' I replied, 'Seest thou not the birds which fly, which fly back unto Egypt? Look at them, they go unto the cool canal, and how long do I remain abandoned here? Seest thou not those who would prevent my return?' He went away and spoke unto the prince, who began to weep at the words which were told unto him and which were so sad. He sent his scribe out unto me, who brought me two measures of wine and a deer. He sent me Tentnuet, an Egyptian singing-girl who was with him, saying unto her, 'Sing unto him, that he may not grieve!' He sent word unto me, 'Eat, drink, and grieve not! To-morrow shalt thou hear all that I shall say.' On the morrow he had the people of his harbour summoned, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said unto the Tjakaray, 'What aileth you?' They answered him, 'We will pursue the piratical ships which thou sendest unto Egypt with our unhappy companions.' He said unto them, 'I cannot seize the ambassador of Amen in my land. Let me send him away and then do ye pursue after him to seize him!' He sent me on board, and he sent me away... to the haven of the sea. The wind drove me upon the land of Alashiya. The people of the city came out in order to slay me. I was dragged by them to the place where Hatiba, the queen of the city, was. I met her as she was going out of one of her houses into the other. I greeted her and said unto the people who stood by her, 'Is there not one among you who understandeth the speech of Egypt?' One of them replied, 'I understand it.' I said unto him, 'Say unto thy mistress: even as far as the city in which Amen dwelleth (i. e. Thebes) have I heard the proverb, "In all cities is injustice done; only in Alashiya is justice to be found," and now is injustice done here every day!' She said, 'What is it that thou sayest?' I said unto her, 'Since the sea raged and the wind drove me upon the land in which thou livest, therefore thou wilt not allow them to seize my body and to kill me, for verily I am an ambassador of Amen. Remember that I am one who will be sought for always. And if these men of the Prince of Byblos whom they seek to kill (are killed), verily if their chief finds ten men of thine, will he not kill them also?' She summoned the men, and they were brought before her. She said unto me, 'Lie down and sleep...'"

At this point the papyrus breaks off, and we do not know how Uenuamen returned to Egypt with his wood. The description of his casting-away and landing on Alashiya is quite Homeric, and gives a vivid picture of the manners of the time. The natural impulse of the islanders is to kill the strange castaway, and only the fear of revenge and of the wrath of a distant foreign deity restrains them. Alashiya is probably Cyprus, which also bore the name Yantinay from the time of Thothmes III until the seventh century, when it is called Yatnan by the Assyrians. A king of Alashiya corresponded with Amenhetep III in cuneiform on terms of perfect equality, three hundred years before: "Brother," he writes, "should the small amount of the copper which I have sent thee be displeasing unto thy heart, it is because in my land the hand of Nergal my lord slew all the men of my land (i.e. they died of the plague), and there was no working of copper; and this was, my brother, not pleasing unto thy heart. Thy messenger with my messenger swiftly will I send, and whatsoever amount of copper thou hast asked for, O my brother, I, even I, will send it unto thee." The mention by Herhor's envoy of Nesibinebdad (Smendes), the King of Tanis, a powerful ruler who in reality constantly threatened the existence of the priestly monarchy at Thebes, as "him to whom Amen has committed the wardship of his North-land," is distinctly amusing. The hard fact of the independence of Lower Egypt had to be glozed somehow.

The days of Theban power were coming to an end and only the prestige of the god Amen remained strong for two hundred years more. But the alliance of Amen and his priests with a band of predatory and destroying foreign conquerors, the Ethiopians (whose rulers were the descendants of the priest-kings, who retired to Napata on the succession of the powerful Bubastite dynasty of Shishak to that of Tanis, abandoning Thebes to the Northerners), did much to destroy the prestige of Amen and of everything connected with him. An Ethiopian victory meant only an Assyrian reconquest, and between them Ethiopians and Assyrians had well-nigh ruined Egypt. In the Saïte period Thebes had declined greatly in power as well as in influence, and all its traditions were anathema to the leading people of the time, although not of course in Akhunaten's sense.

With the Saïte period we seem almost to have retraced our steps and to have reentered the age of the Pyramid Builders. All the pomp and glory of Thothmes, Amenhetep, and Ramses were gone. The days of imperial Egypt were over, and the minds of men, sickened of foreign war, turned for peace and quietness to the simpler ideals of the IVth and Vth Dynasties. We have already seen that an archaistic revival of the styles of the early dynasties is characteristic of this late period, and that men were buried at Sakkâra and at Thebes in tombs which recall in form and decoration those of the courtiers of the Pyramid Builders. Everywhere we see this fashion of archaism. A Theban noble of this period named Aba was buried at Thebes. Long ago, nearly three thousand years before, under the VIth Dynasty, there had lived a great noble of the same name, who was buried in a rock-tomb at Dêr el-Gebrâwî, in Middle Egypt. This tomb was open and known in the days of the second Aba, who caused to be copied and reproduced in his tomb in the Asasîf at Thebes most of the scenes from the bas-relief with which it had been decorated. The tomb of the VIth Dynasty Aba has lately been copied for the Archaeological Survey of Egypt (Egypt Exploration Fund) by Mr. de Garis Davies, who has found the reliefs of the XXVIth Dynasty Aba of considerable use to him in reconstituting destroyed portions of their ancient originals.

During late years important discoveries of objects of this era have been few. One of the most noteworthy is that of a contemporary inscription describing the battle of Momemphis, which is mentioned by Herodotus (ii, 163, 169). We now have the official account of this battle, and know that it took place in the third year of the reign of Amasis—not before he became king. This was the fight in which the unpatriotic king, Apries, who had paid for his partiality for the Greeks of Nau-kratis with the loss of his throne, was finally defeated. As we see from this inscription, he was probably murdered by the country people during his flight.

The following are the most important passages of the inscription: "His Majesty (Amasis) was in the Festival-Hall, discussing plans for his whole land, when one came to say unto him, 'Hââ-ab-Râ (Apries) is rowing up; he hath gone on board the ships which have crossed over. Haunebu (Greeks), one knows not their number, are traversing the North-land, which is as if it had no master to rule it; he (Apries) hath summoned them, they are coming round him. It is he who hath arranged their settlement in the Peh-ân (the An-dropolite name); they infest the whole breadth of Egypt, those who are on thy waters fly before them!'... His Majesty mounted his chariot, having taken lance and bow in his hand... (the enemy) reached Andropolis; the soldiers sang with joy on the roads... they did their duty in destroying the enemy. His Majesty fought like a lion; he made victims among them, one knows not how many. The ships and their warriors were overturned, they saw the depths as do the fishes. Like a flame he extended, making a feast of fighting. His heart rejoiced.... The third year, the 8th Athyr, one came to tell Majesty: 'Let their vile-ness be ended! They throng the roads, there are thousands there ravaging the land; they fill every road. Those who are in ships bear thy terror in their hearts. But it is not yet finished.' Said his Majesty unto his soldiers: '...Young men and old men, do this in the cities and nomes!'... Going upon every road, let not a day pass without fighting their galleys!'... The land was traversed as by the blast of a tempest, destroying their ships, which were abandoned by the crews. The people accomplished their fate, killing the prince (Apries) on his couch, when he had gone to repose in his cabin. When he saw his friend overthrown... his Majesty himself buried him (Apries), in order to establish him as a king possessing virtue, for his Majesty decreed that the hatred of the gods should be removed from him."

This is the event to which we have already referred in a preceding chapter, as proving the great amelioration of Egyptian ideas with regard to the treatment of a conquered enemy, as compared with those of other ancient nations. Amasis refers to the deposed monarch as his "friend," and buries him in a manner befitting a king at the charges of Amasis himself. This act warded off from the spirit of Apries the just anger of the gods at his partiality for the "foreign devils," and ensured his reception by Osiris as a king neb menkh, "possessing virtues."

The town of Naukratis, where Apries established himself, had been granted to the Greek traders by Psametik I a century or more before. Mr. D. G. Hogarth's recent exploration of the site has led to a considerable modification of our first ideas of the place, which were obtained from Prof. Petrie 's excavations. Prof. Petrie was the discoverer of Naukratis, and his diggings told us what Naukratis was like in the first instance, but Mr. Hogarth has shown that several of his identifications were erroneous and that the map of the place must be redrawn. The chief error was in the placing of the Hellenion (the great meeting-place of the Greeks), which is now known to be in quite a different position from that assigned to it by Prof. Petrie. The "Great Temenos" of Prof. Petrie has now been shown to be non-existent. Mr. Hogarth has also pointed out that an old Egyptian town existed at Nau-kratis long before the Greeks came there. This town is mentioned on a very interesting stele of black basalt (discovered at Tell Gaif, the site of Naukratis, and now in the Cairo Museum), under the name of "Permerti, which is called Nukrate." The first is the old Egyptian name, the second the Greek name adapted to Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stele was erected by Tekhtnebf, the last native king of Egypt, to commemorate his gifts to the temples of Neïth on the occasion of his accession at Sais. It is beautifully cut, and the inscription is written in a curious manner, with alphabetic spellings instead of ideographs, and ideographs instead of alphabetic spellings, which savours fully of the affectation of the learned pedant who drafted it; for now, of course, in the fourth century before Christ, nobody but a priestly antiquarian could read hieroglyphics. Demotic was the only writing for practical purposes.

We see this fact well illustrated in the inscriptions of the Ptolemaïc temples. The accession of the Ptolemies marked a great increase in the material wealth of Egypt, and foreign conquest again came in fashion. Ptolemy Euergetes marched into Asia in the grand style of a Ramses and brought back the images of gods which had been carried off by Esarhaddon or Nebuchadnezzar II centuries before. He was received on his return to Egypt with acclamations as a true successor of the Pharaohs. The imperial spirit was again in vogue, and the archaistic simplicity and independence of the Saïtes gave place to an archaistic imperialism, the first-fruits of which were the repair and building of temples in the great Pharaonic style. On these we see the Ptolemies masquerading as Pharaohs, and the climax of absurdity is reached when Ptolemy Auletes (the Piper) is seen striking down Asiatic enemies in the manner of Amen-hetep or Ramses! This scene is directly copied from a Ramesside temple, and we find imitations of reliefs of Ramses II so slavish that the name of the earlier king is actually copied, as well as the relief, and appears above the figure of a Ptolemy. The names of the nations who were conquered by Thothmes III are repeated on Ptolemaic sculptures to do duty for the conquered of Euergetes, with all sorts of mistakes in spelling, naturally, and also with later interpolations. Such an inscription is that in the temple of Kom Ombo, which Prof. Say ce has held to contain the names of "Caphtor and Casluhim" and to prove the knowledge of the latter name in the fourteenth century before Christ. The name of Caphtor is the old Egyptian Keftiu (Crete); that of Casluhim is unknown in real Old Egyptian inscriptions, and in this Ptolemaic list at Kom Ombo it may be quite a late interpolation in the lists, perhaps no older than the Persian period, since we find the names of Parsa (Persia) and Susa, which were certainly unknown to Thothmes III, included in it. We see generally from the Ptolemaic inscriptions that nobody could read them but a few priests, who often made mistakes. One of the most serious was the identification of Keftiu with Phoenicia in the Stele of Canopus. This misled modern archaeologists down to the time of Dr. Evans's discoveries at Knossos, though how these utterly un-Semitic looking Keftiu could have been Phoenicians was a puzzle to everybody. We now know, of course, that they were Mycenaean or Minoan Cretans, and that the Ptolemaic antiquaries made a mistake in identifying the land of Keftiu with Phoenicia.

We must not, however, say too much in dispraise of the Ptolemaic Egyptians and their works. We have to be grateful to them indeed for the building of the temples of Edfu and Dendera, which, owing to their later date, are still in good preservation, while the best preserved of the old Pharaonic fanes, such as Medinet Habû, have suffered considerably from the ravages of time. Eor these temples show us to-day what an old Egyptian temple, when perfect, really looked like. They are, so to speak, perfect mummies of temples, while of the old buildings we have nothing but the disjointed and damaged skeletons.

A good deal of repairing has been done to these buildings, especially to that at Edfu, of late years. But the main archaeological interest of Ptolemaic and Roman times has been found in the field of epigraphy and the study of papyri, with which the names of Messrs. Kenyon, Grenfell, and Hunt are chiefly connected. The treasures which have lately been obtained by the British Museum in the shape of the manuscripts of Aristotle's "Constitution of Athens," the lost poems of Bacchylides, and the Mimes of Herondas, all of which have been published for the trustees of that institution by Mr. Kenyon, are known to those who are interested in these subjects. The long series of publications of Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt, issued at the expense of the Egypt Exploration Fund (Graeco-Roman branch), with the exception of the volume of discoveries at Teb-tunis, which was issued by the University of California, is also well known.

The two places with which Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt's work has been chiefly connected are the Fayyûm and Behnesâ, the site of the ancient Permje or Oxyr-rhynchus. The lake-province of the Fayyûm, which attained such prominence in the days of the XIIth Dynasty, seems to have had little or no history during the whole period of the New Empire, but in Ptolemaic times it revived and again became one of the richest and most important provinces of Egypt. The town of Arsinoë was founded at Crocodilopolis, where are now the mounds of Kom el-Fâris (The Mound of the Horseman), near Medinet el-Payyum, and became the capital of the province. At Illahûn, just outside the entrance to the Fayyûm, was the great Nile harbour and entrepôt of the lake-district, called Ptolemaïs Hormos.

The explorations of Messrs. Hogarth, Grenfell, and Hunt in the years of 1895-6 and 1898-9 resulted in the identification of the sites of the ancient cities of Karanis (Kom Ushîm), Bacchias (Omm el-'Atl), Euhemeria (Kasr el-Banât), Theadelphia (Harît), and Philoteris (Wadfa). The work for the University of California in 18991900 at Umm el-Baragat showed that this place was Tebtunis. Dime, on the northern coast of the Birket Karûn, the modern representative of the ancient Lake Moeris, is now known to be the ancient Sokno-paiou Nesos (the Isle of Soknopaios), a local form of Sebek, the crocodile-god of the Fayyûm. At Karanis this god was worshipped under the name of Petesuchos ("He whom Sebek has given"), in conjunction with Osiris Pnepherôs (P-nefer-ho, "the beautiful of face"); at Tebtunis he became Seknebtunis., i.e. Sebek-neb-Teb-tunis (Sebek, lord of Tebtunis). This is a typical example of the portmanteau pronunciations of the latter-day Egyptians.

Many very interesting discoveries were made during the course of the excavations of these places (besides Mr. Hogarth's find of the temple of Petesuchos and Pnepherôs at Karanis), consisting of Roman pottery of varied form and Roman agricultural implements, including a perfect plough.* The main interest of all, however, lies, both here and at Behnesâ, in the papyri. They consist of Greek and Latin documents of all ages from the early Ptolemaic to the Christian. In fact, Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt have been unearthing and sifting the contents of the waste-paper baskets of the ancient Ptolemaic and Roman Egyptians, which had been thrown out on to dust-heaps near the towns. Nothing perishes in,, the dry climate and soil of Egypt, so the contents of the ancient dust-heaps have been preserved intact until our own day, and have been found by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt, just as the contents of the houses of the ancient Indian rulers of Chinese Turkestan, at Niya and Khotan, with their store of Kha-roshthi documents, have been preserved intact in the dry Tibetan desert climate and have been found by Dr. Stein.** There is much analogy between the discoveries of Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt in Egypt and those of Dr. Stein in Turkestan.

* Illustrated on Plate IX of Fayûm Towns and Their Papyri. ** See Dr. Stein's Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan, London, 1903.

The Græco-Egyptian documents are of all kinds, consisting of letters, lists, deeds, notices, tax-assessments, receipts, accounts, and business records of every sort and kind, besides new fragments of classical authors and the important "Sayings of Jesus," discovered at Behnesâ, which have been published in a special popular form by the Egypt Exploration Fund.*

* Aoyla 'Itjffov, 1897, and New Sayings of Jesus, 1904.

These last fragments of the oldest Christian literature, which are of such great importance and interest to all Christians, cannot be described or discussed here. The other documents are no less important to the student of ancient literature, the historian, and the sociologist. The classical fragments include many texts of lost authors, including Menander. We will give a few specimens of the private letters and documents, which will show how extremely modern the ancient Egyptians were, and how little difference there actually is between our civilization and theirs, except in the-matter of mechanical invention. They had no locomotives and telephones; otherwise they were the same. We resemble them much more than we resemble our mediaeval ancestors or even the Elizabethans.

This is a boy's letter to his father, who would not take him up to town with him to see the sights: "Theon to his father Theon, greeting. It was a fine thing of you not to take me with you to the city! If you won't take me with you to Alexandria, I won't write you a letter, or speak to you, or say good-bye to you; and if you go to Alexandria I won't take your hand or ever greet you again. That is what will happen if you won't take me. Mother said to Archelaus, 'It quite upsets him to be left behind.' It was good of you to send me presents on the 12th, the day you sailed. Send me a lyre, I implore you. If you don't, I won't eat, I won't drink: there now!'" Is not this more like the letter of a spoiled child of to-day than are the solemnly dutiful epistles of even our grandfathers and grandmothers when young? The touch about "Mother said to Archelaus, 'It quite upsets him to be left behind'" is delightfully like the modern small boy, and the final request and threat are also eminently characteristic.

Here is a letter asking somebody to redeem the writer's property from the pawnshop: "Now please redeem my property from Sarapion. It is pledged for two minas. I have paid the interest up to the month Epeiph, at the rate of a stater per mina. There is a casket of incense-wood, and another of onyx, a tunic, a white veil with a real purple border, a handkerchief, a tunic with a Laconian stripe, a garment of purple linen, two armlets, a necklace, a coverlet, a figure of Aphrodite, a cup, a big tin flask, and a wine-jar. From Onetor get the two bracelets. They have been pledged since the month Tybi of last year for eight... at the rate of a stater per mina. If the cash is insufficient owing to the carelessness of Theagenis, if, I say, it is insufficient, sell the bracelets and make up the money." Here is an affectionate letter of invitation: "Greeting, my dear Serenia, from Petosiris. Be sure, dear, to come up on the 20th for the birthday festival of the god, and let me know whether you are coming by boat or by donkey, that we may send for you accordingly. Take care not to forget."

Here is an advertisement of a gymnastic display:

"The assault-at-arms by the youths will take place to-morrow, the 24th. Tradition, no less than the distinguished character of the festival, requires that they should do their utmost in the gymnastic display. Two performances." Signed by Dioskourides, magistrate of Oxyrrhynchus.

Here is a report from a public physician to a magistrate: "To Claudianus, the mayor, from Dionysos, public physician. I was to-day instructed by you, through Herakleides your assistant, to inspect the body of a man who had been found hanged, named Hierax, and to report to you my opinion of it. I therefore inspected the body in the presence of the aforesaid Herakleides at the house of Epagathus in the Broadway ward, and found it hanged by a noose, which fact I accordingly report." Dated in the twelfth year of Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 173).

The above translations are taken, slightly modified, from those in The Oxyrrhynchus Papyri, vol. i. The next specimen, a quaint letter, is translated from the text in Mr. Grenfell's Greek Papyri (Oxford, 1896), p. 69: "To Noumen, police captain and mayor, from Pokas son of Onôs, unpaid policeman. I have been maltreated by Peadius the priest of the temple of Sebek in Crocodilopolis. On the first epagomenal day of the eleventh year, after having abused me about... in the aforesaid temple, the person complained against sprang upon me and in the presence of witnesses struck me many blows with a stick which he had. And as part of my body was not covered, he tore my shirt, and this fact I called upon the bystanders to bear witness to. Wherefore I request that if it seems proper you will write to Klearchos the headman to send him to you, in order that, if what I have written is true, I may obtain justice at your hands."

A will of Hadrian's reign, taken from the Oxyrrhynchus Papyri (i, p. 173), may also be of interest: "This is the last will and testament, made in the street (i.e. at a street notary's stand), of Pekysis, son of Hermes and Didyme, an inhabitant of Oxyrrhynchus, being sane and in his right mind. So long as I live, I am to have powers over my property, to alter my will as I please. But if I die with this will unchanged, I devise my daughter Ammonous whose mother is Ptolema, if she survive me, but if not then her children, heir to my shares in the common house, court, and rooms situate in the Cretan ward. All the furniture, movables, and household stock and other property whatever that I shall leave, I bequeath to the mother of my children and my wife Ptolema, the freedwoman of Demetrius, son of Hermippus, with the condition that she shall have for her lifetime the right of using, dwelling in, and building in the said house, court, and rooms. If Ammonous should die without children and intestate, the share of the fixtures shall belong to her half-brother on the mother's side, Anatas, if he survive, but if not, to... No one shall violate the terms of this my will under pain of paying to my daughter and heir Ammonous a fine of 1,000 drachmae and to the treasury an equal sum." Here follow the signatures of testator and witnesses, who are described, as in a passport, one of them as follows: "I, Dionysios, son of Dionysios of the same city, witness the will of Pekysis. I am forty-six years of age, have a curl over my right temple, and this is my seal of Dionysoplaton."

During the Roman period, which we have now reached in our survey, the temple building of the Ptolemies was carried on with like energy. One of the best-known temples of the Roman period is that at Philse, which is known as the "Kiosk," or "Pharaoh's Bed." Owing to the great picturesqueness of its situation, this small temple, which was built in the reign of Trajan, has been a favourite subject for the painters of the last fifty years, and next to the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and Karnak, it is probably the most widely known of all Egyptian buildings. Recently it has come very much to the front for an additional reason. Like all the other temples of Philse, it had been archæologically surveyed and cleared by Col. H. Gr. Lyons and Dr. Borchardt, but further work of a far-reaching character was rendered necessary by the building of the great Aswan dam, below the island of Philse, one of the results of which has been the partial submergence of the island and its temples, including the picturesque Kiosk. The following account, taken from the new edition (1906) of Murray's Guide to Egypt and the Sudan, will suffice better than any other description to explain what the dam is, how it has affected Philse, and what work has been done to obviate the possibility of serious damage to the Kiosk and other buildings.

"In 1898 the Egyptian government signed a contract with Messrs. John Aird & Co. for the construction of the great reservoir and dam at Shellâl, which serves for the storage of water at the time of the flood Nile. The river is 'held up' here sixty-five feet above its old normal level. A great masonry dyke, 150 feet high in places, has been carried across the Bab el-Kebir of the First Cataract, and a canal and four locks, two hundred feet long and thirty feet wide, allow for the passage of traffic up and down the river.

447.jpg the Great Dam of Asw.n
Showing Water Rushing Through The Sluices

The dam is 2,185 yards long and over ninety feet thick at the base; in places it rises one hundred feet above the bed of the river. It is built of the local red granite, and at each end the granite dam is built into the granite hillside. Seven hundred and eight thousand cubic yards of masonry were used. The sluices are 180 in number, and are arranged at four different levels. The sight of the great volume of water pouring through them is a very fine one. The Nile begins to rise in July, and at the end of November it is necessary to begin closing the sluice-gates to hold up the water. By the end of February the reservoir is usually filled and Philæ partially submerged, so that boats can sail in and out of the colonnades and Pharaoh's Bed. By the beginning of July the water has been distributed, and it then falls to its normal level.

"It is of course regrettable that the engineers were unable to find another site for the dam, as it seemed inevitable that some damage would result to the temples of Philæ from their partial submergence. Korosko was proposed as a site, but was rejected for cogent reasons, and apparently Shellâl was the only possible place. Further, no serious person, who places the greatest good of the greatest number above considerations of the picturesque and the 'interesting,' will deny that if it is necessary to sacrifice Philæ to the good of the people of Egypt, Philæ must go. 'Let the dead bury their dead.' The concern of the rulers of Egypt must be with the living people of Egypt rather than with the dead bones of the past; and they would not be doing their duty did they for a moment allow artistic and archaeological considerations to outweigh in their minds the practical necessities of the country. This does not in the least imply that they do not owe a lesser duty to the monuments of Egypt, which are among the most precious relics of the past history of mankind. They do owe this lesser duty, and with regard to Philae it has been conscientiously fulfilled. The whole temple, in order that its stability may be preserved under the stress of submersion, has been braced up and underpinned, under the superintendence of Mr. Ball, of the Survey Department, who has most efficiently carried out this important work, at a cost of £22,000.

449.jpg the Kiosk at Philae in Process of Underpinning  And Restoration, January, 1902.

Steel girders have been fixed across the island from quay to quay, and these have been surrounded by cement masonry, made water-tight by forcing in cement grout. Pharaoh's Bed and the colonnade have been firmly underpinned in cement masonry, and there is little doubt that the actual stability of Philae is now more certain than that of any other temple in Egypt. The only possible damage that can accrue to it is the partial discolouration of the lower courses of the stonework of Pharaoh's Bed, etc., which already bear a distinct high-water mark. Some surface disintegration from the formation of salt crystals is perhaps inevitable here, but the effects of this can always be neutralized by careful washing, which it should be an important charge of the Antiquities Department to regularly carry out."

450.jpg the Ancient Quay Op PhilÆ, November, 1904.

This is entirely covered when the reservoir is full, and the palm-trees are farther submerged.

The photographs accompanying the present chapter show the dam, the Kiosk in process of conservation and underpinning (1902), and the shores of the island as they now appear in the month of November, with the water nearly up to the level of the quays. A view is also given of the island of Konosso, with its inscriptions, as it is now. The island is simply a huge granite boulder of the kind characteristic of the neighbourhood of Shellâl (Phila?) and Aswan.

On the island of Elephantine, opposite Aswan, an interesting discovery has lately been made by Mr. Howard Carter. This is a remarkable well, which was supposed by the ancients to lie immediately on the tropic. It formed the basis of Eratosthenes' calculations of the measurement of the earth. Important finds of documents written in Aramaic have also been made here; they show that there was on the island in Ptolemaic times a regular colony of Syrian merchants.

South of Aswan and Philse begins Nubia. The Nubian language, which is quite different from Arabic, is spoken by everybody on the island of Elephantine, and its various dialects are used as far south as Dongola, where Arabic again is generally spoken till we reach the land of the negroes, south of Khartum. In Ptolemaic and Roman days the Nubians were a powerful people, and the whole of Nubia and the modern North Sudan formed an independent kingdom, ruled by queens who bore the title or name of Candace. It was the eunuch of a Candace who was converted to Christianity as he was returning from a mission to Jerusalem to salute Jehovah. "Go and join thyself unto his chariot" was the command to Philip, and when the Ethiopian had heard the gospel from his lips he went on his way rejoicing. The capital of this Candace was at Meroë, the modern Bagarawiya, near Shendi. Here, and at Naga not far off, are the remains of the temples of the Can-daces, great buildings of semi-barbaric Egyptian style. For the civilization of the Nubians, such as it was, was of Egyptian origin. Ever since Egyptian rule had been extended southwards to Jebel Barkal, beyond Dongola, in the time of Amenhetep II, Egyptian culture had influenced the Nubians. Amenhetep III built a temple to Amen at Napatà, the capital of Nubia, which lay under the shadow of Mount Barkal; Akhunaten erected a sanctuary of the Sun-Disk there; and Ramses II also built there.

452.jpg the Rook of Konosso in January, 1902, Before The  Building of the Dam and Formation Of The Reservoir.

The place in fact was a sort of appanage of the priests of Amen at Thebes, and when the last priest-king evacuated Thebes, leaving it to the Bubastites of the XXIId Dynasty, it was to distant Napata that he retired. Here a priestly dynasty continued to reign until, two centuries later, the troubles and misfortunes of Egypt seemed to afford an opportunity for the reassertion of the exiled Theban power. Piankhi Mera-men returned to Egypt in triumph as its rightful sovereign, but his successors, Shabak, Shabatak, and Tirha-kah, had to contend constantly with the Assyrians. Finally ITrdamaneh, Tirhakah's successor, returned to Nubia, leaving Egypt, in the decadence of the Assyrian might, free to lead a quiet existence under Psametik I and the succeeding monarchs of the XXVIth Dynasty. When Cambyses conquered Egypt he aspired to conquer Nubia also, but his army was routed and destroyed by the Napatan king, who tells us in an inscription how he defeated "the man Kambasauden," who had attacked him. At Napata the Nubian monarchs, one of the greatest of whom in Ptolemaic times was Ergam-enes, a contemporary of Ptolemy Philopator, continued to reign. But the first Roman governor of Egypt, Ælius Gallus, destroyed Napata, and the Nubians removed their capital to Meroë, where the Candaces reigned.

The monuments of this Nubian kingdom, the temples of Jebel Barkal, the pyramids of Nure close by, the pyramids of Bagarawiya, the temples of Wadi Ben Naga, Mesawwarat en-Naga, and Mesawwarat es-Sufra ("Mesawwarat" proper), were originally investigated by Cailliaud and afterwards by Lepsius. During the last few years they and the pyramids excavated by Dr. E. A. Wallis-Budge, of the British Museum, for the Sudan government, have been again explored. As the results of his work are not yet fully published, it is possible at present only to quote the following description from Cook's Handbook for Egypt and the Sudan (by Dr. Budge), p. 6, of work on the pyramids of Jebel Barkal: "the writer excavated the shafts of one of the pyramids here in 1897, and at the depth of about twenty-five cubits found a group of three chambers, in one of which were a number of bones of the sheep which was sacrificed there about two thousand years ago, and also portions of a broken amphora which had held Rho-dian wine. A second shaft, which led to the mummy-chamber, was partly emptied, but at a further depth of twenty cubits water was found. The high-water mark of the reservoir when full is ——— and, as there were no visible means for pumping it out, the mummy-chamber could not be entered." With regard to the Bagarawîya pyramids, Dr. Budge writes, on p. 700 of the same work, à propos of the story of the Italian Ferlini that he found Roman jewelry in one of these pyramids: "In 1903 the writer excavated a number of the pyramids of Meroë for the Governor-General of the Sudan, Sir F. R. Wingate, and he is convinced that the statements made by Ferlini are the result of misapprehension on his part. The pyramids are solid throughout, and the bodies are buried under them. When the details are complete the proofs for this will be published." Dr. Budge has also written upon the subject of the orientation of the Jebel Barkal and Nure pyramids.

454.jpg the Isle of Konosso, With Its Inscriptions

It is very curious to find the pyramids reappearing in Egyptian tomb-architecture in the very latest period of Egyptian history. We find them when Egyptian civilization was just entering upon its vigorous manhood, then they gradually disappear, only to revive in its decadent and exiled old age. The Ethiopian pyramids are all of much more elongated form than the old Egyptian ones. It is possible that they may be a survival of the archaistic movement of the XXVIth Dynasty, to which we have already referred.

These are not the latest Egyptian monuments in the Sudan, nor are the temples of Naga and Mesawwarat the most ancient, though they belong to the Roman period and are decidedly barbarian as to their style and, especially, as to their decoration. The southernmost as well as latest relic of Egypt in the Sudan is the Christian church of Soba, on the Blue Mie, a few miles above Khartum. In it was found a stone ram, an emblem of Amen-Râ, which had formerly stood in the temple of Naga and had been brought to Soba perhaps under the impression that it was the Christian Lamb. It was removed to the garden of the governor-general's palace at Khartum, where it now stands.

The church at Soba is a relic of the Christian kingdom of Alua, which succeeded the realm of the Candaces. One of its chief seats was at Dongola, and all Nubia is covered with the ruins of its churches. It was, of course, an offshoot of the Christianity of Egypt, but a late one, since Isis was still worshipped at Philse in the sixth century, long after the Edict of Theodosius had officially abolished paganism throughout the Roman world, and the Nubians were at first zealous votaries of the goddess of Philo. So also when Egypt fell beneath the sway of the Moslem in the seventh century, Nubia remained an independent Christian state, and continued so down to the twelfth century, when the soldiers of Islam conquered the country.

Of late pagan and early Christian Egypt very much that is new has been discovered during the last few years. The period of the Lower Empire has yielded much to the explorers of Oxyrrhynchus, and many papyri of interest belonging to this period have been published by Mr. Kenyon in his Catalogue of the Greek Papyri in the British Museum, especially the letters of Flavius Abinæus, a military officer of the fourth century. The papyri of this period are full of the high-flown titles and affected phraseology which was so beloved of Byzantine scribes. "Glorious Dukes of the Thebaïd," "most magnificent counts and lieutenants," "all-praiseworthy secretaries," and the like strut across the pages of the letters and documents which begin "In the name of Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the God and Saviour of us all, in the year x of the reign of the most divine and praised, great, and beneficent Lord Flavius Heraclius (or other) the eternal Augustus and Auto-krator, month x, year x of the In diction." It is an extraordinary period, this of the sixth and seventh centuries, which we have now entered, with its bizarre combination of the official titulary of the divine and eternal Cæsars Imperatores Augusti with the initial invocation of Christ and the Trinity. It is the transition from the ancient to the modern world, and as such has an interest all its own.

In Egypt the struggle between the adherents of Chalcedon, the "Melkites" or Imperialists of the orthodox Greek rite, and the Eutychians or Mono-physites, the followers of the patriarch Dioskoros, who rejected Chalcedon, was going on with unabated fury, and was hardly stopped even by the invasion of the pagan Persians. The last effort of the party of Constantinople to stamp out the Monophysite heresy was made when Cyril was patriarch and governor of Egypt. According to an ingenious theory put forward by Mr. Butler, in his Arab Conquest of Egypt, it is Cyril the patriarch who was the mysterious Mukaukas, the [Greek word], or "Great and Magnificent One," who played so doubtful a part in the epoch-making events of the Arab conquest by Amr in A.D. 639-41. Usually this Mukaukas has been regarded as a "noble Copt," and the Copts have generally been credited with having assisted the Islamites against the power of Constantinople. This was a very natural and probable conclusion, but Mr. Butler will have it that the Copts resisted the Arabs valiantly, and that the treacherous Mukaukas was none other than the Constantinopolitan patriarch himself.

In the papyri it is interesting to note the gradual increase of Arab names after the conquest, more especially in those of the Archduke Rainer 's collection from the Fayyûm, which was so near the new capital city, Fustât. In Upper Egypt the change was not noticeable for a long time, and in the great collection of Coptic ostraka (inscriptions on slips of limestone and sherds of pottery, used as a substitute for paper or parchment), found in the ruins of the Coptic monastery established, on the temple site of Dêr el-Bahari, we find no Arab names. These documents, part of which have been published by Mr. W. E. Crum for the Egypt Exploration Fund, while another part will shortly be issued for the trustees of the British Museum by Mr. Hall, date to the seventh and eighth centuries. Their contents resemble those of the earlier papyri from Oxyrrhynchus, though they are not of so varied a nature and are generally written by persons of less intelligence, i.e. the monks and peasants of the monasteries and villages of Tjême, or Western Thebes. During the late excavation of the XIth Dynasty temple of Dêr el-Bahari, more of these ostraka were found, which will be published for the Egypt Exploration Fund by Messrs. Naville and Hall. Of actual buildings of the Coptic period the most important excavations have been those of the French School of Cairo at Bâwît, north of Asyût. This work, which was carried on by M. Jean Clédat, has resulted in the discovery of very important frescoes and funerary inscriptions, belonging to the monastery of a famous martyr, St. Apollo. With these new discoveries of Christian Egypt our work reaches its fitting close. The frontier which divides the ancient from the modern world has almost been crossed. We look back from the monastery of Bâwît down a long vista of new discoveries until, four thousand years before, we see again the Great Heads coming to the Tomb of Den, Narmer inspecting the bodies of the dead Northerners, and, far away in Babylonia, Narâm-Sin crossing the mountains of the East to conquer Elam, or leading his allies against the prince of Sinai.


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