Page images

building of temples to the sun are preserved. Fragments of
an obelisk set up by this king still exist near the modern
town of Begig in the Fayyúm, and portions of inscriptions
remain at Karnak, which show that he continued the building
operations which his father began there. In the forty-third year
of his reign Ameni Amenemhat, a high official, set out for
Ethiopia with four hundred soldiers to quell a rebellion
which had broken out there. This expedition was perfectly
successful, and having smitten all the tribes of Kash without
losing a man, returned to the leader's city in the nome of
Meh, near Beni-hasān of to-day, bringing much gold with
them. Ameni Amenemhat was one of the feudal lords of
Egypt, and he led this expedition in the place of his father,
who was too old to go on military service. Another high
official called Mentu-hetep built a well at Abydos, of which,
however, no trace has been found. Like so many of the
kings who went before him, Usertsen caused the mines in the
Sinaitic peninsula to be regularly worked.
Amenemhat II. sent men to Nubia to dig for gold, and
he opened the mines in the valley of Hammāmāt; he appears
to have lived some time at Tanis and to have had building
operations carried on there like Usertsen I. In the nineteenth
year of this king's reign Chnemu-hetep became governor of
Menāt-Chufu, near Beni-hasān, an office held before by his
father and grandfather. In the thirty-third year of Amen-
embāt's reign he associated his successor Usertsen II. with
him in the rule of the kingdom.
In the sixth year of Usertsen II. thirty-seven people
belonging to a branch of the Semitic race called Aämu, in

the country of Absha, brought a gift of eye-paint to

Chnemu-hetep, in whose tomb this interesting scene is depicted. Some writers have seen in this a representation of the visit of Jacob's sons to Egypt to buy corn, but there is no ground whatever for this opinion. Of the wars of this king nothing is known, and of his buildings only one mention is made, and that is on a slab in the temple of Ptah at Memphis. With the coming to the throne of Usertsen III. a new period of prosperity began for Egypt. He recognized very soon that the tribes of Nubia had to be put down with a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


Egyptians strong hand, and he marched into that country, and did not conquer

leave it until he had wasted the land, destroyed the crops and Nubia,

carried off the cattle. In the labours of Usertsen III. to
suppress these peoples we have the counterpart of the
expeditions of the English against the Mahdi and his Sudânî
followers. He foresaw that it was hopeless to expect to
master these people if the frontier town of Egypt was Aswân

or Wâdy Halfah, hence he went further south and built
Egyptian fortresses at Semneh and Kummeh. In spite of these, how -
in Nubia.

ever, he himself was compelled to Icad an expedition into
Ethiopia in the nineteenth year of his reign, and having
conquered the country he built a temple at Elephantine to the
local gods and probably another at Amada. In Egypt proper
he seems to have carried on building operations at Tanis and

Heracleopolis. 2300

In Amenemhāt III. we have the first Egyptian king who

seriously set to work to make the fullest possible use of the Ancient inundation of the Nile. At the fortresses which his predeirrigation

cessor Usertsen III. had established, he stationed officers to works in Egypt. record and report the increase of the Nile, and "runners"

must have conveyed the information to the king in Egypt.

Amenemhāt III. will, however, be best remembered as the
The builder of Lake Moeris in the Fayyûm. The Egyptians

called the Fayyûm gooTa-she, “the land of the lake";
the name Fayyûm is the Arabic form of the Coptic word

Pa-iumā. The Egyptian original of the name
Moeris is wm
mu-ur, or B

mm mer-ur, "great
water.” The Birket el-Kurûn to the west of the Fayyûm was
originally identified with Lake Moeris, but both it and the

famous Labyrinth were situated in the eastern part of the Building district. The Labyrinth was also built by Amenemhāt III., of the

and is said by Herodotus (ii. 148) to have contained twelve Labyrinth.

courts, six facing the north, and six the south, and three
thousand rooms: fifteen hundred above ground, and fifteen
hundred below. In Egyptian it was called the "temple at the
mouth of the Lake"

mm, and the stone

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

B.C. 2266

for building it seems to have been brought from the Valley of Hammāmāt. The copper mines in the mountains of Sinai were diligently worked during this reign.

Amenemhat IV. reigned conjointly with his sister Sebekneferu, and beyond continuing the mining operations of his ancestors he seems to have done nothing. We may see in collecting the results of the rule of the XIIth dynasty over Power of Egypt, that its kings had extended their sway about 250 the multh miles south of the first cataract, and that they had lost dynasty. nothing of their possessions either in the eastern desert or in the Sinaitic peninsula. Mighty public works like the Labyrinth and Lake Moeris had been successfully carried out, an active trade was carried on with the natives of Punt, and with the country to-day called Syria, and with the districts further east. Agriculture flourished, and the whole land was in a most prosperous condition. And if the living were well cared for, the dead were no less so. The tombs built for high Beauty of officials and gentlemen attest the care of the sorrowing tombs of relatives, while the sculptures and paintings employed to XIIth

dynasty. adorn them indicate that the artistic knowledge of the Egyptians had arrived at a very high pitch.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

» 251


According to Manetho these dynasties were as follows:-
Dynasty XIII, from Thebes, 60 kings in 453 years The
XIV, Chois, 76


Hyksos or

"Shepherd XV, Hyksos, 6


Kings." XVI, Hyksos,

XVII, from Thebes, 10 There are no monuments by which these figures can be checked, and there is no other authority for them besides Manetho. The Turin papyrus gives traces of 136 names for the period corresponding to that of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties. Among the rulers of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties were many who were not of royal descent. Semench-ka is known to us by his statues found at Tanis, and according to Mariette he seems to have been an officer who rebelled and then seated himself on the throne. Sebek.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

hetep II. was the son of a private individual, and Neferhetep's parents appear not to have been royal. This latter king built largely at Abydos, and as a worshipper of the local gods he is represented at Konosso and the islands of the first cataract. Of Sebek-hetep III., brother of Sebekhetep II, Sebek-hetep IV., and Sebek-hetep V. little is known; of Sebek-hetep VI, the best memorials are the rock tombs at Asyūt. The names of many kings belonging to this period are known from the monuments, but a greater knowledge of the history of that time is necessary for arranging them in chronological order. It seems pretty certain that few of the kings reigned many years, and that the country was divided into a number of little states which were always at war with each other, and against whomsoever was king. Such a condition of things was, of course, highly favourable for a foreign invader, who would naturally be attracted by reports of the wealth of Egypt. The hardy tribes of desert dwellers, Semites and others, who crowded on the eastern and western borders of Egypt, delayed not to take advantage of the distracted and divided state of the country, and making a successful attack on the north-east provinces of the Delta, they pressed in, and having taken possession of Memphis, became masters of Egypt. Their attack would probably be rendered less difficult by the fact that a great many of the inhabitants of the Delta were of Semitic origin, their ancestors having settled there in the XIIth dynasty, and their opposition to their kinsmen would be, in consequence, less stubborn. The sole authority for the history of this invasion is Josephus, who, quoting Manetho, says, “There was a king of ours, whose name was Timaus. Under him it caine to pass, I know not how, that God was averse to us, and there came, after a surprising manner, men of ignoble birth out of the eastern parts, and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them. So when they had gotten those that governed us under their power, they afterwards burnt down our cities, and demolished the temples of the gods, and used all the inhabitants after a most barbarous manner: nay, some they

Co-f - otslew, and led their children and their wives into slavery. At length they made one of themselves king, whose name was Salatis; he also lived at Memphis, and made both the upper and lower regions pay tribute, and left garrisons in places that were the most proper for them. He chiefly aimed to secure the eastern parts, as foreseeing that the Assyrians, who had there the greatest power, would be desirous of that kingdom and invade them ; and as he found in the Saite [Sethroite] Nomos a city very proper for his purpose, and which lay upon the Bubastic channel, but with regard to a certain theologic notion was called Avaris, this he rebuilt, and made very strong by the walls he built about it, and by a most numerous garrison of two hundred and forty thousand armed men whom he put into it to keep it. Thither Salatis came in summer time, partly to gather his corn and pay his soldiers their wages, and partly to exercise his armed men, and thereby to terrify foreigners. When this man had reigned thirteen years, after him reigned another whose name was Beon for forty-four years; after him reigned another, called Apachnas, thirty-six years and seven months: after him Apophis reigned sixty-one years, and then Jonias fifty years and one month; after all these reigned Assis forty-nine years and two months. “And these six were the first rulers among them, who were all along making war with the Egyptians, and were very desirous gradually to destroy them to the very roots. This whole nation was styled Hycsos, that is, “Shepherd-kings”; for the first syllable HYC, according to the sacred dialect, denotes a king, as is SOS, a shepherd—but this according to the ordinary dialect; and of these is compounded HYCSOs: but some say that these people were Arabians.” Now, in another copy it is said, that this word does not denote kings, but on the contrary, denotes Captive Shepherds, and this on account of the particle HYC; for that HYC, with the aspiration, in the Egyptian tongue again denotes SHEPHERDS, and that expressly also ; and this to me seems the more probable opinion, and more agreeable to ancient history. [But Manetho goes on]:-“These people whom we have before named kings, and called shepherds also, and their descendants,”

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »