Page images
PDF
EPUB

Nineveh.

also, so far as concerns the tombs, and in those in which black and red vases were obtained no scarabs were found; many specimens were, however, found in a well on the Acropolis," and among them were some inscribed with the prenomen of Thothmes III., having all the characteristics of those of the XXVIth dynasty found at Naucratis. The scarabs found at Tharros do not go farther back than the period of Carthaginian supremacy, that is, not farther than the middle of the VIth century B.C.: A steatite scarab, found at Thebes in Boeotia, inscribed with fānch “ life," and a winged gryphon wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt 4, belongs to the same period.“

At Kouyunjik there were found two pieces of clay, of Impresthe same colour and substance as that employed by Assur- scarabs banipal for the tablets of his library, bearing impres- found at sions of an Egyptian king slaughtering his enemies, and hieroglyphic inscriptions, probably from a scarab. The king holds a club or weapon in his raised left hand, and his right holds some instrument which rests on the heads of a number of captives. The inscriptions read 70 (101 530)

neter nefer Shabaka neb äri xet, “Beautiful god, Shabaka, the lord, maker of things” (the first king of the XXVth dynasty, about B.C. 700). Behind the king are the signs til sa “ protection," fânch “ life,” and ” ha “increase [of power].” In front of the king is the speech of some god A

ță-ni nek set nebu, "I give to thee all foreign lands." The Brit. Mus. Registration Nos. of these interesting objects are 51-9-2, 43, and 81-2-4, 352; as there is on the former also the impression of the seal of an Assyrian king, it has been thoughts that the impression

111

[ocr errors]

| No. 132 in Table-Case E in the Kouyunjik Gallery.

Murray, Catalogue of Gems, p. 13. 3 Brit. Mus. Reg. Nos. 64-10-7, 895, 915, 1998. 4 Murray, op. cit., p. 13, and King, Antique Gems and Rings, Vol. I. p. 124. 5 See Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, London, 1867, pp. 173, 174.

Use of scarab by Phoenicians.

formed the seal of a treaty between the kings of Egypt and
Assyria. Shabaka (Sabaco) was a contemporary of Senna-
cherib, B.C. 705–681.
The Phoenicians borrowed the use of the scarab from
Egypt, and as their country was overrun by Shalmaneser II.,
King of Assyria B.C. 860–825, and by many of his successors,
it is only natural that the scarab inscribed with devices to
suit the Assyrian market should find its way to Nineveh and
Babylon, the Phoenician adopting in return the form of gem
commonly used by the Assyrians for seals. A good example
of the Phoenicio-Assyrian scarab is No. 1029, exhibited in the
table-case in the Phoenician Room of the British Museum.
It is made of green jasper, and measures I; in. in length.
On the base is inscribed a man, who stands adoring a seated
deity; above is a seven-rayed star, and between them is

anch, “life.” Beneath is inscribed in Phoenician characters,

Sonod YTrio, “Belonging to Hödö the Scribe.” For other examples see the specimens exhibited in the same case. As an example of the adoption of the chalcedony cone by the Phoenicians, see No. IO22, on which is inscribed a man at a fire altar and the name Palzir-shemesh in Phoenician characters. The scarab in relief," with outstretched wings inlaid with blue, red and gold carved upon an ivory panel found at Abu Habbah, about five hours' ride to the southwest of Bagdad, together with a number of miscellaneous ivory objects, is a proof of the knowledge of the scarab in Mesopotamia. That the panel was not carved by an Egyptian workman is very evident.” Scaraboids in agate and crystal, etc., are a small but very interesting class; at times the device is purely Egyptian, and the inscriptions in Phoenician letters are the only additions by the Phoenicians. Brit. Mus. Nos. Io24 and Io96 are tolerably good examples of them. The former is inscribed on the base with three hawks with outspread wings, and two of them have disks on

Use of scarab in Babylonia.

* See Table-Case G in the Nimroud Gallery.

* The two rectangular weights (?) sound at Nimroud by Sir A. H. Layard (Nineveh and Babylon, London, 1867, p. 64) have each, on one face, the figure of a scarab inlaid in gold in outline; the work is excellent, and is a fine example of Phoenician handicraft.

Scarabs in

their heads; these, of course, represent the hawk of Horus. The Phænician inscription gives the naine Eliâm. The latter is inscribed with a beetle in a square frame, and on the right and left is an uræus Q; each end of the perpendicular sides of the frame terminates in fânch

, and above and below it is a figure of Rā, or Horus, hawk-headed, holding a sceptre 30. The name, inscribed in Phænician characters, is “Mersekem." In 1891, while carrying on excavations at Dêr, a place about three and a half hours to the south-west of Bagdad, I obtained a steatite scarab inscribed with an uræus bo

n Babylonia. ănch f, and an illegible sign, together with an oval green transparent Gnostic gem inscribed with the lion-headed serpent XNOYBIC. Both objects were probably brought from Lower Egypt, and belong to a period after the birth of Christ.

Dr. Birch describes in Nineveh and Babylon (London, Scarabs 1853, pp. 281, 282) a series of eleven scarabs which Sir Henry Arbân. Layard dug up at Arban, a mound situated on the western bank of the Khabûr, about two and a half days' journey north of Dêr on the Euphrates, and about ten miles east of the 'Abd el-'Azîz hills. With one exception they are all made of steatite, glazed yellow or green or blue. Two of them are inscribed with the prenomen of Thothmes III. (Nos. 304, 309) ; one bears the prenomen of Amenophis III. (No. 320), with the titles “beautiful god, lord of two lands, crowned in every land”; one is inscribed w 04 no men Cheperd åt Åmen, “established of Cheperá, emanation of Amen (No. 322); two are inscribed Plað (No. 303) and IP (No. 318), and belong to the same period ; one is inscribed Scarabs with a hawk-headed lion and a hawk (No. 273) ; one bears the legend,“ beautiful lord, lord of two lands," i.e., the North and South (No. 321); one is inscribed with a human-headed

found at

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

found at Arbân.

1 The numbers are G. 475 and 24,314.

· These interesting objects are exhibited in the Assyrian and Babylonian Room, in the Northern Gallery of the British Museum.

beetle, with outstretched wings, in the field are uraei and !!

of beautiful workmanship (No. 302); and one is inscribed with ~~ s and an uraeus (A having † on its head (No. 307).

The scarab in haematite (No. 313) is inscribed with the figure of a king seated on a throne, and a man standing before

him in adoration; between them is #. With the exception

of this last scarab, it is pretty certain that all belong to the period of the XVIIIth dynasty, for they have all the appearance of such antiquity, and they possess all the delicacy of workmanship found upon scarabs of this time. The design on the haematite scarab appears to be a copy from an Egyptian scarab executed by a foreign workman, but it may be that the hardness of the material made the task of engraving so difficult, that the character of the design was altered in consequence. The presence of these scarabs at Arbán is not difficult to account for. Thothmes I., one of the early kings of the XVIIIth dynasty, carried his victorious arms into Mesopotamia, and set up a tablet to mark the boundary of the Egyptian territory at a place called Ni, on the Euphrates, and the authority of the Egyptians in that land was so great that when Thothmes III. arrived there several years after, he found the tablet still standing. The kings who immediately succeeded Thothmes I. marched into this land, and that their followers should take up quarters on the fertile banks of the Khabúr, and leave behind them scarabs and other relics, is not to be wondered at. The antiquities found at Arbán are of a very miscellaneous character, and, among other things, include an Assyrian colossus inscribed “Palace of Meshezib-Marduk the king” (B.C. 700), and a Chinese glass bottle' inscribed with a verse of the Chinese poet KEIN-TAU, A.D. 827-831 ; it is possible that the scarabs described above may have been brought there at a period subsequent to the XVIIIth dynasty, but, in any case, the objects themselves appear to belong to this period. The Gnostics inscribed the scarab on the gems worn by them, and partly adopted the views concerning it held by the

Use of scarab by the Gnostics.

| British Museum, No. N. 1380.

Egyptians. On an oval slab of green granite, in the British Museum, is inscribed a scarab encircled by a serpent having his tail in his mouth. The same design is found on another oval,” but the beetle has a human head and arms; above the head are rays, and above that the legend EIAAM'P; to the right is a star, to the left a star and crescent, and beneath the hind legs three stars. The scarab is an antiquity which is readily bought from the native of Egypt by modern travellers of every nationality; it is easily carried, and is largely worn as an ornament by ladies in their necklaces, bracelets and rings, and by men in pins and rings. As the number of visitors to Egypt has been steadily increasing for many years past, it follows of necessity that the demand for scarabs has increased also, and the price of these objects has risen in proportion. The late Sir Gardner Wilkinson, during one of his visits to Egypt, anchored his dhahabiyyeh "opposite Kürnah at Thebes, and in the afternoon a native brought him a bag full of scarabs, many hundreds in number, which he had that day taken out of the ground in a tomb from under the coffin of a mummy. These scarabs were of a fine green colour and made of steatite; they were all inscribed with the name and titles of Thothmes III. Sir Gardner Wilkinson bought a handful of these for an English pound, but each scarab might now easily be sold for two pounds. The supply of scarabs varies year by year, some years but few are to be had, and some years they are very common. The supply cannot be inexhaustible, although the demand for them appears to be so. The native has discovered that the European not only wants scarabs, but that he wants scarabs inscribed with the names of particular kings; and as these are not always forthcoming, he has found out the way to make them. The imitation of scarabs by the modern native of Egypt began about sixty years ago. At first the number produced was few, and they were so clumsily made that it was soon apparent that they were forgeries. In later

G. 455, Table-Case N, Fourth Egyptian Room. * G. 483, Table-Case N, Fourth Egyptian Room.

* ~

* Arab. *3

Modern manufacture of scarabs.

Modern manufacture of scarabs.

« PreviousContinue »