Page images

Greek writers upon Egyptian hieroglyphics.

placed the Egyptian, and the writing in common use among the people, called to-day “demotic” or “enchorial," and anciently “ epistolographic,” completely usurped the place of the “hieratic” or cursive form of hieroglyphic writing. Although the Greeks and Romans appear not to have studied hieroglyphics thoroughly, only repeating, generally, what they were told about certain signs, nevertheless writers like Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Hermapion, Chaeremon, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Horapollo, contribute information on this subject of considerable value.

To Hecataeus of Miletus, who visited Egypt between B.C. 513-501, we owe, through Herodotus, much knowledge of Egypt, and he must be considered the earliest Greek writer upon Egypt. Hellanitus of Mytilene, B.C. 478-393, shows in his Aiyurttiakà that he has some accurate knowledge of the meaning of some hieroglyphic words. ' Democritus wrote upon the hieroglyphics of Meroë, but this work is lost. Herodotus says that the Egyptians used two quite different kinds of writing, one of which is called sacred (hieroglyphic), the other common. (demotic). Diodorus says that the Ethiopian letters are called by the Egyptians

hieroglyphics.” Strabo, speaking of the obelisks at Thebes, says that there are inscriptions upon them which proclaim the riches and power of their kings, and that their rule extends even to Scythia, Bactria, and India.& Chaeremon of Naucratis, who lived in the first half of the first century after Christ, and who must be an entirely different person from Chaeremon the companion of Aelius Gallus (B.C. 25),

See De rerum Aegyptiacarum scriptoribus Graecis ante Alexandrum Magnum, in Philologus, Bd. X. s. 525.

? See the instances quoted in Philologus, Bd. X. s. 539.

* Tepi Tūv év Mepóy iepūv ypanuárwv. Diogenes Laertius, Vit. Democ., ed. Isaac Casaubon, 1593, p. 661.

* Και τα μεν αυτών ιρά, τα δε δημοτικά καλέεται. Ηerodotus, ΙΙ. 36, ed. Didot, p. 84.

6 Diodorus, III. 4, ed. Didot, p. 129.
6 Strabo, XVII. 1, $ 46, ed. Didot, p. 693.

- According to Mommsen he came to Rome, as tutor to Nero, in the reign of Claudius. Provinces of Rome, Vol. II. pp. 259, 273.

derided by Strabo, and charged with lying by Josephus, Greek wrote a work on Egyptian hieroglyphics & tepi Tôv iepôv upon ypappátwy, which has been lost. He appears to have been Egyptian

hieroglyattached to the great library of Alexandria, and as he was phics. a “sacred scribe,” it may therefore be assumed that he had access to many important works on hieroglyphics, and that he understood them. He is mentioned by Eusebius“ as Xaipńuwv ó lepoypapuateús, and by Suidas, but neither of these writers gives any inforınation as to the contents of his work on hieroglyphics, and we should have no idea of the manner of work it was but for the extract preserved by John Tzetzes (TGÉTns, born about A.D. 1110, died after John

Tzetzes on A.D. 1 180). Tzetzes was a man of considerable learning and

Egyptian literary activity, and his works have value on account of the hierogly.

phics. lost books which are quoted in them. In his Chiliades? (Bk. V., line 395) he speaks of ó Aigúrtlos iepoypappateùs Xaipμων, and refers to Chaeremon's διδάγματα των ιερών γραμμά

In his Exegesis of Homer's Iliad he gives an extract from the work itself, and we are able to see at once that it was written by one who was able to give his information at first hand. This interesting extract was first brought to the notice of the world by the late Dr. Birch, who published a paper on it in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, Vol. III., second series, 1850, pp. 385-396. In it he quoted the Greek text of the extract, from the edition of Tzetzes' Exegesis, first published by Hermann, and added remarks and hieroglyphic characters illustrative of it, together with the scholia of Tzetzes, the text of which he emended in places. As this extract is so important for the history of

των. .


1 Γελώμενος δε το πλέον ως αλαζών και ιδιώτης. Strabo, ΧVΙΙ. Ι, 8 29, ed. Didot, p. 685.

? Contra Apion., I. 32 ff. On the identity of Chaeremon the Stoic philo. sopher with Chaeremon the iepoypajuate us, see Zeller, Hermes, XI. s. 431.

3 His other lost work, Aiquariaká, treated of the Exodus.

Praep. Evang., v. 10, ed. Gaisford, t. 1, p. 421. 5 Sub voce 'lepoya voixá.

6 For an account of them see Krumbacher, Geschichte aer Byzantinischen Literatur, München, 1891, pp. 235-242.

7 Ed. Kiessling, Leipzig, 1826, p. 191.

8 Draconis Stratonicensis Liber de Metris Poeticis. Joannis Tzetzae Exegesis in Homeri Iliadem. Primum edidit ..... God. Ilermannus, Lipsiae, 1812.

B. M.

the study of hieroglyphics, it is given here, together with the scholia on it, from the excellent edition of the Greek text, by Lud. Bachmann, Scholia in Homeri Iliadem, Lipsiae, 1835, pp. 823, § 97 and 838, with an English translation.

Extract Όμηρος δε, παιδευθείς ακριβώς δε πάσαν μάθησιν εκ των συμβολιfrom Tzetzes'

κών Αιθιοπικών γραμμάτων, ταύτα φησιν' οι γάρ Αιθίοπες στοιχεία work on γραμμάτων ουκ έχουσιν, άλλ' αντ' αυτών ζωα παντοία, και μέλη τούτων the Iliad. και μόρια· βουλόμενοι γάρ οι αρχαιότεροι των ιερογραμματέων τον περί

θεών φυσικών λόγον κρύπτειν, δι' αλληγορικών και συμβόλων τοιούτων
και γραμμάτων τοις ιδίοις τέκνοις αυτά παρεδίδουν, ως ο ιερογραμματεύς
Χαιρήμων φησί:

Ι. και αντί μεν χαράς, γυναίκα τυμπανίζουσαν έγραφαν:
2. αντί λύπης, άνθρωπον τη χειρί το γένειον κρατούντα, και προς

γην νεύοντα:
3. αντί δε συμφοράς, οφθαλμόν δακρύοντα:
4. αντί του μη έχειν, δύο χείρας κενάς εκτεταμένας:
5. αντί ανατολής, όφιν εξερχόμενον εκ τινος οπής:
6. αντί δύσεως, εισερχόμενον
7. αντί αναβιώσεως, βάτραχος"
8. αντί ψυχής, ιέρακα έτι και αντί ηλίου και θεού:
9. αντί θηλυγόνου γυναικός, και μητρος και χρόνου και ουρανού,

γύπα: το. αντί βασιλέως, μέλισσαν: Π. αντί γενέσεως και αυτοφυών και αρρένων, κάνθαρον· 12. αντί γης, βουν" 13. λέοντος δε προτομή πάσαν αρχών και φυλακήν δηλοί κατ' αυτούς: 14. ουρά λέοντος, ανάγκης 15. έλαφος, ενιαυτόν : 16. ομοίως και ο φοίνιξ 17. ο παίς δηλοί τα αυξανόμενα 18. ο γέρων, τα φθειρόμενα: 19. το τόξον, την οξείαν δύναμιν και έτερα μυρια εξ ών "Ομηρος

ταυτά φησιν· εν άλλη δε τόπιω, είπερ αιρείσθε, έδων εκ του Χαιρήμονος, και τας των γραμμάτων αυτών εκφωνήσεις Αιθιοπικώς είπαν

Translation of the extract. .

“ Now, Homer says this as he was accurately instructed in all learning by means of the symbolic Ethiopian characters For the Ethiopians do not use alphabetic characters, but depict animals of all sorts instead, and limbs and members of these animals; for the sacred scribes in former times desired

[ocr errors]

to conceal their opinion about the nature of the gods, and therefore handed all this down to their own children by allegorical methods and the aforesaid symbols and characters, as the sacred scribe Chaeremon says.” 1. “And for joy, they would depict a woman beating a Accuracy

of Tzetzes' tambourine."

statements [The drum or tambourine was used in the temples proved.

for festival services, and a woman beating a tam-
bourine is the determinative of the words
seķer, “to beat a tambourine," and

2. “For grief, a man clasping his chin in his hand and
bending towards the ground."

(A man, seated, with his hand to his mouth,

is the determinative of the word |
chainau, "grief.” A seated woman with head
bent and hands thrown up before her face, is the

determinative of
3. “For misfortune, an eye weeping.”

[The weeping eye TT is the determinative of the

common word 2 FIT rem, “ to weep.” ] 4. "For want, two hands stretched out empty." [Compare the it, "not to have,” “to be without.”

Coptic &T.] 5. "For rising, a snake coming out of a hole."

[Compare La= per, “to come forth, to risc”

(of the sun).] 6. "For setting, [the same] going in.”

[Compare D = Is āq, “to enter, to set ” (of

the sun).] 7. “For vivification, a frog."

hefennu, means 100,000, hence fertility and abundance of life.]

[The frog en

But compare Horapollo, (ed. Leemans, p. 33), "Atlaotov äv@pwnov γράφοντες, βάτραχον ζωγραφούσιν.


Accuracy 8. “For soul, a hawk; and also for sun and god."
of Tzetzes'
statements Compare A ba, “ soul," A neter, “ god," and

Heru, “Horus” or “the Sun-god."]
9. "For a female-bearing woman, and mother and time and
sky, a vulture."

mut, mother," is the common meaning of a vulture, and at times the goddess Mut seems to be identified with nut, “the sky." Horapollo says that the vulture also meant "year" (ed. Leemans, p. 5), and this statement is borne out by the evidence of the hieroglyphics, where we find that

=förenpit, year."] 10. “For king, a bee.”

[Compare the suten net, “ king of the North and

South."] 11. "For birth and natural growth, and males, a beetle."

[The beetle xeper, was the emblem of the god

Cheperà 94.), who is supposed to have created or evolved himself, and to have given birth to gods, men, and every creature and thing in earth and sky. The word means "to become,” and in late texts 1 1 cheperu may be fairly well rendered by "evolutions." The meaning male comes, of course, from the idea of the ancients that the beetle had no female.

See infra, under Scarab.] 12. “For carth, an ox."

[488 anet means field, and 18 507) ameans “ox”;

can Chaeremon have confused the meanings of

these two words, similar in sound ? ] 13. “And the fore part of a lion significs dominion and protection of every kind.”

« PreviousContinue »