Page images

Thoth the accurate scribe of the gods.

with this god and Ptah and Cheperá he shared the name of

creator of men." Chnemu put together the scattered limbs of the dead body of Osiris, and it was he who created the beautiful woman who became the wife of Bata in the Tale of the Two Brothers. In bronze and faïence, figures of this god represent him with the head of a ram, and wearing plumes, WB ; these figures are tolerably common.

Thoth, in Egyptian Teħuti, the “Measurer,” was the scribe of the gods, the measurer of time and inventor of nuinbers. In the judgment hall of Osiris he stands by the side of the balance holding a palette and reed ready to record the result of the weighing of the heart as announced by the dog-headed ape who sits on the middle of the beam of the scales. In bronze figures he is represented with the head of an ibis, but he has upon it sometimes horns and plumes. In faïence figures he has also the head of an ibis, and occasionally he holds an utat pe between his hands in front of him (B. M. No. 490a). Set or

Sut no , and Nut, and was brother of Osiris, and husband of Nephthys. His worship dates from the Vth dynasty, and he continued

to be a most popular god in Egypt until the XIXth dynasty; kings delighted to call themselves" beloved of Set,” and to be compared to him for valour when the records of their battles were written down. He probably represented the destructive power of the sun's heat. Between the XXIInd and XXVth dynasties a violent reaction set in against this god, his statues and figures were smashed, his effigy was hammered out from the bas-reliefs and stelæ in which it appeared, and from being a beneficent god, and a companion

of Amen and his brother-gods, he became the personification opponent

of all evil, and the opponent of all good. His persistent enmity of Osiris will be mentioned below. Set, or Sutech, was chosen by the Hyksos for their god. Bronze figures of Set are very rare indeed. The British Museum possesses two examples, Nos. 18,191 and 22,897 ; each represents the god standing upright, in each he has the characteristic animals

The murderer of Osiris and

of Horus.

head, and wears the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, f; each figure was originally gilded, and each has a hole drilled in a projecting piece of metal, from which it was suspended and worn.

When I bought the larger figure it was bent double, evidently by a violent blow, given probably when the reaction against this god's worship set in. Faïence figures of Set I have never seen.

[blocks in formation]

Osiris, in Egyptian Àusår 12, the great god and king of the underworld, the judge of the dead, was the son of Seb and Nut, and husband of Isis; he was murdered by his brother Set, who was in turn slain by Horus, the son of Osiris, and the "avenger of his father." According to Plutarch (De Plutarch's Iside et Osiride, xii.-xx.) Osiris was the wise and good king Osiris. of Egypt, who spent his life in civilizing his subjects and in improving their condition. Having brought them out of degradation and savagery, he set out to do the like for the other nations of the world. Upon his return his brother Set,

story of

together with seventy-two other people, and the queen of Ethiopia, made a conspiracy against him. They invited him into a banqueting room, and by an artful device made Osiris get into a box which Set had previously caused to be made to fit him. As soon as Osiris had. lain down in it, the conspirators nailed the cover on it, and having poured molten lead over it, they carried it by river to the sea, the waves of which washed it up at Byblos. As soon as Isis heard of what had happened, she set out to search for her husband's body, and eventually found it; but having carried it off to another place, it was accidentally discovered by Set, who forthwith broke open the chest, and tore the body into fourteen pieces, which he scattered up and down the country. Isis then set out to search for the pieces of her husband's body, and she found all but one ; wherever she found a piece she buried it, and built a temple over it. He was the type of all mummies, and the deceased is made like unto him, and named after him. Bronze figures of this god represent him as a mum

[blocks in formation]

mified figure wearing the crown

in his right hand he

holds the whip A\, and in the left the crook P. Figures of

of Osiris.

this god in faïence are not very common.

Isis, in Egyptian Auset JOJ, was a daughter of Seb and The family Nut; she married her brother Osiris. Bronze figures represent her 1, standing and wearing upon her head, and 2, seated suckling her naked child Horus, who is sitting on her knees, at her left breast, and wearing disk and horns upon her head. In faïence many figures of both kinds are found. In funereal scenes Isis stands at the ot of the bier mourning the deceased.

Nephthys, in Egyptian Nebt-het Tel. was also a daughter of Seb and Nut; she married her brother Set. Bronze figures, which are not common, represent her standing draped in a long tunic, and wearing on her head; in faïence, figures of this goddess are very numerous, and follow the style and design of those in bronze. A number of rectangular faïence pendants have been found in which Isis, Nephthys and Harpocrates or Horus stand side by side.

Anubis, in Egyptian Ånpu 90 , was, according to some legends, the son of Nephthys and Osiris, who mistook that goddess for Isis; elsewhere he is said to be the son of Rā. He is always represented as having the head of a jackal, and he is one of the chief gods of the dead and the netherworld. He presided over the embalming of the mummy, he The god led the mummy into the presence of Osiris, and watched over the ceremony of weighing the heart, and he is often represented standing by the bier with one hand laid on the mummy. The belief that this god acted in this capacity survived for some centuries after Christ, and a remarkable proof of this fact is given by a light green, glazed faïence plaque in the British Museum, No. 22,874. On the obverse PersistAnubis, jackal-headed, in relief, stands by the side of a bier ence of

Pagan be in the shape of a lion, also in relief; on the reverse, in relief, lielsamong

of the tomb.

the Copts.

are two lines of inscription in Coptic which read, &C IHC E TWNK, “May she hasten to arise.” At each end is a pierced projection whereby the plaque was fastened to the mummy. The plaque is an interesting example of the survival of ancient Egyptian ideas among the Egyptians after they had embraced Christianity. Anubis is sometimes confused with Åp-uat V. “the opener of the ways,” another jackal-headed god, and the attributes of the one are ascribed

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

to the other. Bronze and faïence figures of this god represent him standing and having the head of a jackal.

Shu, in Egyptian was the first-born son of Rā

and Hathor, and brother of Tefnut; he is supposed to Sunlight symbolise the air or sun-light, and in papyri and on coffins he

is represented in the form of a man, standing with both arms raised, lifting up Nut, or the sky, from the embrace of Seb the earth. In bronze and faïence figures he is in the form of



« PreviousContinue »