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Sarcophagi of the GraecoRoman period.
Such sarcophagi are beautifully sculptured, carefully inscribed,
side of him are two of the children of Horus. The scenes and inscriptions on the sarcophagi of this period show that the people of Egypt had ceased to attach any importance to their meaning, and they appear simply as funereal decorations, without which the sarcophagi would have been incomplete.
THE EGYPTIAN TOMBS.
The extreme care which the Egyptians took to preserve the bodies of their dead would have been all in vain, if they had not provided secure resting places for their mummies. To guard the mummy intact and ready for the return of the Soul, it was necessary to provide tombs which should be safe from the attacks of human beings and from the prowlings of wild animals, and also out of the reach of the infiltration of the waters of the Nile, or of the inundation itself. If the preservation of a mummy was regarded as a sacred duty to be performed by the relatives of the deceased, who were morally bound to show all honour to it, and to spend their money freely on whatever was necessary for its adornment, it follows of a necessity that a house or tomb meet for the habitation of the ka, and for the soul after it had been decreed triumphant in the judgment hall of Osiris, must also be provided. The size and beauty of a tomb and its furniture depended, as much as the making of the mummy, upon the means at the disposal of the relatives of a deceased person. Every person in Egypt knew perfectly well that to ensure the resurrection of his body, aster the pure soul had returned to inhabit it, it was necessary that every part of it should be preserved in a fitting state, but nevertheless, every person was not able to afford the costly embalming, and the still more costly furniture and tomb and procession which were, no doubt, held by the wealthy to be absolutely necessary for “living a second time.” The burial of the very poor of Egypt must have been much the same in all times and in all dynasties. The body, having been salted only, was laid in the sand to a depth of three or four feet, without covering, without ornament, and even without a coffin ; sometimes even the salting was
Double purpose of the Egyptian tomb.
Drying qualities of Egyptian
Egypt are very remarkable.
dispensed with. The drying up qualities of the sand of Some few years ago Sir C.
Holled Smith, K.C.B., while making some excavations among the ruins of a temple at Wädy Halfah, on the west bank of the river, dug up a box, which, having been opened, was seen to contain the body of a European ; on making inquiries he found that an English engineer had died there
about a dozen years before.
The hair and beard and
features were unaltered as far as appearance went, but the skin had dried up like parchment, and the body had become
The mastaba tomb.
Empire, the remains of the dead consist chiefly of light
mastaba by the Arabs because its length, in proportion to its height, is great, and reminded them of the long, low seat common in Oriental houses, and familiar to them. The mastaba is a heavy massive building, of rectangular shape, the four sides of which are four walls symmetrically inclined towards their common centre. The exterior surfaces are not
* From the Arabic i. C. ^ . The facts here given on the subject of mastabas
are derived from the excellent articles of M. Mariette in Revue Archéologique, S. 2m", t. xix. p. 8 ft.