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charged their syringes with oil made from cedar, they fill the
Third method of embalming.
Period of embalmment varied in length.
Account of embalming by Diodorus.
* Cary's translation, pp. 126, 127.
* For the authorities see Wiedemann, Herodots Zweites Buch, p. 358.
Cost of embalming a body.
£250; the second twenty minæ, about £63; and the third cost very little indeed. The people who practise the art of embalming belong to a class of men in whose families this Profession is hereditary, and they set down in writing a statement of the various methods of embalming practised by them and the cost of each, and ask the relatives of the dead man to decide upon the method to be adopted. When this question has been settled, the embalmers take the body into their charge, and they hand it to those who are fully acquainted with the process of embalming. The first of these called the “scribe” (ypajpateus) makes a mark on the left side of the body, which is laid upon the ground, to indicate where the incision is to be made. Next, a man, called the “ripper up" (napao Xiotńs), with an Ethiopian stone (λίθον Αιθιοπικον) makes a cut in the side lengthwise of the size indicated by the scribe. Having done this, he flees away in all haste, pursued by his assistants, who hurl after him pieces of stone and call down curses, that vengeance may come upon him for this crime ; for the Egyptians hold in abomination anyone who wounds or commits an act of violence upon the human body. The embalmers (Tapixeutai) are held in high honour, and are treated with much consideration, because they are friends of the priests, and are allowed to enter the sanctuary as if they were ceremonially pure. Having assembled around the body, one of them puts his hand into it through the cut that has been made, and draws out everything that he finds inside, with the exception of the heart and reins (lungs?); others clean the intestines, and
wash them with palm-wine and balsams. Finally, having
v treated the body first with oil of cedar and other materials balming.
of this nature, and then with myrrh, cinnamon, and other sweetsmelling drugs and spices suitable for cmbalming purposes, they bring it into such a state of completeness, that the eye-lashes and eye-brows remain uninjured, and its form is so little changed that it is easy to recognize the features. The greater number of the Egyptians who keep the bodies of their ancestors in magnificent chambers, enjoy the sight of those who have been dead for several generations, and they feel great satisfaction in seeing the features and form of these
Details of em
bodies, and look upon them, to a certain extent, as contemporaries.
With reference to the fleeing away of the paraschistes it is difficult to understand what Diodorus had in his mind. A little further on he says that the embalmers were great friends of the priests, and as this was certainly the case, the man who performed the operation probably merely fulfilled a religious obligation in fleeing away, and had very little to fear. In some particulars Diodorus appears to have been mis- Stateinformed, and in any case the knowledge he possessed of Diodorus mummies could hardly have been at first hand. He lived too not wholly late (about B.C. 40) to know what the well-made Theban worthy. mummies were like, and his experience therefore would only have familiarized him with the Egypto-Roman mummies, in which the limbs were bandaged separately, and the contour of their faces, somewhat blunted, was to be seen through the thin and tightly drawn bandages which covered the face. A good example of a mummy made about this date is that of the lady Mut-em-Mennu, which is preserved in the British Museum, No. 6704; in this mummy the features of the face can be clearly distinguished underneath the bandages. A curious idea about the fate of the intestines taken from Fate of the
Plutarch 1 the body obtained among certain Greek writers.
intestines. says, in two places, that when the Egyptians have taken them out of the body of the dead man, they show them to the sun as the cause of the faults which he had committed, and then throw them into the river, while the body, having been cleansed, is embalmed. Porphyry' gives the same account at
1 οι των νεκρών ανατέμνοντες έδειξαν το ηλίω, είτ' αυτά μεν εις τον ποταμών κατέβαλον, του δε άλλου σώματος ήδη καθαρού γεγονότος επιμέλονται. Ρlutarch, VII. Sap. Conv., XVI., ed. Didot, p. 188. Cf. also 'Etei kal@s cixev, bonep Αιγύπτιοι των νεκρών την κοιλίαν εξελόντες και προς τον ήλιον ανασχίζοντες εκβάλλουσιν, ώς αιτίαν απάντων ων ο άνθρωπος ήμαρτεν. Ρlutarch, De Carnium Esu, Oratio Posterior, ed. Didot, p. 1219.
2 Εκείνο μέντοι ου παραπεμπτέον, ότι τους αποθανόντας των ευ γεγονότων όταν ταριχεύωσιν, ίδια την κοιλίαν εξελόντες και εις κιβωτόν ενθέντες μετά των άλλων, ών διαπράττονται υπέρ του νεκρού, και την κιβωτόν κρατούντες προς τον ήλιον μαρτύρονται, ενός των υπέρ του νεκρού ποιουμένου λόγον των ταριχευτών.
greater length, and adds that the intestines were placed in a box; he also gives the formula which the embalmers used when showing the intestines to the sun, and says that it was translated by Ekphantos into Greck out of his own language, which was presumably Egyptian. The address to the sun and the other gods who are supposed to bestow life upon man, the petition to them to grant an abode to the deceased with the everlasting gods, and the confession by the deceased that he had worshipped, with reverence, the gods of his fathers from his youth up, that he had honoured his parents, that he had neither killed nor injured any man, all these have a sound about them of having been written by some one who had a knowledge of the "Negative Confession" in the 125th chapter of the Book of the Dead. On the other hand it is difficult to imagine any Greek acquainted with the manners and customs of the Egyptians making the statement that they threw the intestines into the river, for when they were not placed in jars separate from the body, they were mummified and placed between the legs or arms, and bandaged up with the body, and the future welfare of the body in the nether-world depended entirely upon its having every member complete.
An examination of Egyptian mummies will show that the accounts given by Herodotus and Diodorus are generally correct, for mummies both with and without ventral incisions are found, and some are preserved by means of balsams and gums, and others by bitumen and natrum. The skulls of mummies which exist by hundreds in caves and pits at
General correctness of statements of Hercdotus and Diodorus.
"Εστι δε και ο λόγος, δν ήρμήνευσεν "Εκφαντος εκ της πατρίου διαλέκτου,
1 Wilkinson reads “ Euphantus" (Ancient Egyptians, iii. 479).
Thebes contain absolutely nothing, a fact which proves that the embalmers were able not only to remove the brain, but also to take out the membranes without injuring or breaking the bridge of the nose in any way. Skulls of mummies are found, at times, to be filled with bitumen, linen rags, or resin. The bodies which have been filled with resin or some such substance, are of a greenish colour, and the skin has the appearance of being tanned. Such mummies, when unrolled, perish rapidly and break easily. Usually, however, the resin and aromatic gum process is favourable to the preservation of the teeth and hair. Bodies from which the intestines have been removed and which have been preserved by being filled with bitumen are quite black and hard. The features are preserved intact, but the body is heavy and unfair to look upon. The bitumen penetrates the bones so completely that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which is bone and which is bitumen. The arms, legs, hands, and feet of such mummies break with a sound like the cracking of chemical glass tubing; they burn very freely, and give out great heat. Speaking generally they will last for ever. When a body has been preserved by natron, that is, a mixture of carbonate, sulphate, and muriate of soda, the skin is found to be hard, and to hang loosely from the bones.in much the same way as it hangs from the skeletons of the dead monks preserved in the crypt beneath the Capuchin convent at Floriana, in Malta. The hair of such mummies usually falls off when touched. The Egyptians also preserved their dead in honey. ‘Abd cl-Latif relates that an Egyptian worthy of belief told him that once when he and several others were occupied in exploring the graves and seeking for treasure near the Pyramids, they came across a sealed jar, and having opened it and found that it contained honey, they began to eat it. Some one in the party remarked that a hair in the honey turned round one of the fingers of the man who was dipping his bread in it, and as they drew it out the body of a small child appeared with all its limbs complete and in a good state of preservation; it was well dressed, and had upon it numerous ornaments.” The body of Alexander the Great