« PreviousContinue »
THE TWENTIETH DYNASTY.
For some years after the death of Mer-en-Ptah Egypt was in a state of anarchy, “each man did as he pleased, and there was no one who had authority over his fellows. The Land of
Egypt was under chiefs of nomes and each fought against B.C.
Izoo the other.” After a time “a Syrian called Arsu,” | 3. le
--5– 33-& ); I lo, I Yo, arose among them and succeeded in diverting the tribute to himself and finally in making himself
master of the land. Rest and peace were not restored to Egypt, however, until the gods set their son Set-Necht upon the throne, who very shortly after associated his son Rameses III. with him in the rule of the kingdom. On the death of Set-Necht Rameses III. reigned alone, and having established the worship of the gods in the temples, and restored the customary offerings, in the eighth year he set out with his troops for the north-eastern borders of his country to do battle Egyptians against the allied forces of the Māshuash, Leku, Shekelasha ... * and other Asiatic peoples, who had come to the land of the nations. Amorites partly by land and partly by sea; the Egyptians were victorious and inflicted a crushing defeat on the enemy. A year or two after Rameses attacked the Māshuasha, who appear to have settled in the western part of the Delta and further south, and they were defeated with great slaughter. About this time he seems to have carried on some small wars Expedition in Nubia. In addition to his wars, he fitted out and despatched ... an expedition to Punt, which returned safely, bringing many
and opening of old marvellous things and treasures; he worked the turquoise
ot. mines in the Sinaitic Peninsula, and the copper mines in the land of Ataka. He also opened up for trade the old road between Kosseir on the Red Sea and Coptos on the Nile. With the spoil which Rameses obtained from his successful wars, and the wealth which he gained from his mines and trading enterprises, he lavishly endowed the temples of Heliopolis, Memphis and Thebes. At Tell el-Yahūdīyeh he built a granite and limestone temple, at Heliopolis he restored temples, at Memphis he restored the temple of Ptah, he added to the temple of Thothmes III. at Medinet Habú, and at the same place he built what has been generally called his “palace,” and a magnificent temple to Amen-Ră. The “palace” consisted of two square towers, the four sides of which were symmetrically inclined to a common centre. The interior chambers were ornamented with sculptures, on which were depicted scenes in the domestic (?) life of the king. The temple at Medinet Habú is of remarkable interest, and on the walls are sculptured battle scenes on land and sea, in which Rameses is victorious over his enemies. Near Karnak he built a temple to Ptah, and he added buildings to the temple of Amen-Ră there; he began to build the temple of Chonsu, and it would seem that he repaired many of the temples and shrines set up both at Karnak and Luxor. The most important document for the history of the reign of this king is the famous Harris Papyrus No. 1, now preserved in the British Museum. It was found in a box, in a rough-hewn rock chamber in the earth, near Medinet Habú. This papyrus enumerates the gifts which he made to the gods of Thebes, Heliopolis and Memphis, and concludes with a statement of the principal events of his reign. This wonderful papyrus, which measures 135 feet by 17 inches, was published in facsimile by the Trustees of the British Museum, with an introduction and translation by Dr. Birch.
Of Rameses IV. little is known beyond the fact that he carried on the works in the mines in the valley of Hammāmāt with great diligence; he was succeeded by Rameses V., of whom also very little is known. Of Rameses VI., the most important remains are his tomb in Bibán el-Mulúk ; on the walls the risings of various stars are given and much astronomical information. This tomb was originally made for Rameses V. Rameses VII. and Rameses VIII. were the next rulers of Egypt; the most important event in the reign of Rameses IX. was the attempt to break into and rob the royal tombs at Thebes in his sixteenth year. The robbers were caught and prosecuted by the government, and after an official examination of the tombs had been made by the chief officers of the city, to find out exactly what damage had been done, the band of thieves were properly punished. The robbery had gone on for some years, and
appears to have been continued in the nineteenth year of the reign of Rameses IX. The reigns of Rameses X. and Rameses XI. are of no interest. Of the reign of their successor Rameses XII. an interesting though fabulous story is recorded. A stele found near the temple of Chonsu at Karnak states that the king was paying his usual visit to Mesopotamia to receive the tribute from the tribes subject to him. Each chief brought his offering of gold, etc., but the chief of Bechten brought his eldest daughter, who was a most beautiful girl, and gave her to the king. She found favour in his sight, and he married her, and gave her the official title of “royal spouse.” Some time after they had returned to Egypt, a messenger came to the king from Bechten saying that a young sister of his wife Rā-Neferu, called Bentresh, was grievously ill, and entreated him to send a physician to heal her. A very learned scribe called Tehuti-em-heb was despatched, but when he arrived in Bechten he found that the illness of Bentresh was caused by an evil spirit, and he was unable to cure her. Another messenger was sent to Egypt and he asked that the god Chonsu himself might be sent to cure Bentresh, and the king having asked the god to consent to this proposition, prepared a suitable shrine and sent the god to Bechten, where he arrived after a journey of one year and five months. As soon as the god was brought into the sick aiden's chamber, he addressed the demon who possessed her nd drove him out from her. The demon acknowledged the uthority of the god, and promised to depart to his own place f a great feast was prepared in his honour; the chief of Bechten gladly made a feast, and the demon departed. The god Chonsu was detained in Bechten three years and nine months, and at the end of that time he returned to Egypt, his priests bringing rich gifts with them. Although it is proved now that this narrative is a romance and not history, it is nevertheless of great antiquity, and is most important as showing the belief in demoniacal possession at that remote period. The country of Bechten is unknown, but if, as is stated, seventeen months were spent in reaching it, its situation must have been very far from Egypt. With the reign of Rameses XIII., the XXth dynasty comes to an end.
THE TWENTY. FIRST DYNASTY.
With the death of Rameses XIII. a new period of disorder came over the government of Egypt, and for nearly one hundred years there seems to have been no legal king seated on the throne. The chief priest of Amen called Her-Heruse-Amen had little by little gathered the power of a king into his own hand, and finally he declared himself “King of Upper and Lower Egypt,” and thus became the first of the so-called “priest-kings” of the XXIst dynasty. His dwellingplace was Thebes, and the buildings which he carried out there, instead of being inscribed with the records of glorious victories over the foes of Egypt, were decorated with inscriptions of a purely religious character. The tribes that were subject to Egypt, and were at that moment unprepared for war, paid their tribute to him as the successor of the Pharaohs, but it was not to be expected that a ruler who devoted more time to the service of Amen than to war, could maintain his sovereignty over restless and warlike peoples like the Cheta, or Retennu, of whom he calls himself the conqueror. During his reign the mummies and coffins and funereal furniture of some of the kings of the XVIIth, XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties were brought from their tombs and deposited together in one place, now called in Arabic Dér el-bahari, where they were discovered by an Arab in 1871. For the account of the recovery of these by Brugsch-Bey and Maspero, see Maspero, Les Momies Royales de Déir el Bahari, fasc. I, tom. IV., of the Mémoires of the French Archaeological Mission at Cairo.
Her-Heru was succeeded by his grandson, Pi—net'em I., the son of Pi-ánchi, the high-priest of Amen, the husband of Maāt ka-Ra, a princess who belonged to the old line of kings; Pi—net'em II. married the royal daughter and royal wife Het-Hert-hent-taui, but appears never to have been actually king. Wiedemann doubts the existence of this king." Of Paseb-cha-nut, Men-cheper-Ră and his son Pinetem III. but little is known; they were succeeded by Paseb-châ-nut II., during whose reign Solomon captured
*Aeg. Geschichte, p. 536.
the town of Gezer, and having conquered the Canaanites there, became king of Palestine. It is thought by some that his Egyptian wife was the daughter of one of the kings of the XXIst dynasty. The history of this period is very uncertain, and definite conclusions respecting it cannot be arrived at without fuller information.
THE TWENTY-SECOND DYNASTY.
Various theories have been propounded concerning the origin of the kings of this dynasty; the father of its first king Shashanq I. was called Nemart, a name which has been identified with that of Nimrod. From the fact that the names Usarken, Thekeleth, common to several of its kings, resemble the Assyrian and Babylonian names Sarginu, “Sargon,” and Tukultī, “Tiglath,” it has been generally assumed that they sprang either from a purely Semitic race in Mesopotamia itself, or from Semites who had been settled in the Delta for a considerable time. That they were of foreign extraction is certain, because the determinative placed at the end of their names is that of a man from a foreign
country J." and the people called Mā, of whom Nemart
styles himself the prince, have been proved by De Rougé to be simply the Māshuasha.
Shashanq I., the Shishak (Pot) of the Bible, the protector of Jeroboam, who lifted up his hand against Solomon (1 Kings xi. 26), led an expedition against Rehoboam, king of Judah, and took away from Jerusalem “the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, he even took away all : and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.” (I Kings xiv. 25, 26.) The list of the cities and districts, about 138 in number, captured by Shashanq during this war is inscribed upon the south wall of the temple of Amen-Ră at Karnak. The wife of Shashanq was called Kerāmā, and their son Aauput. Of the acts of Usarken (Sargon) I., Thekeleth (Tiglath) I., Usarken II, and Shashanq II. but little is known, and the
Conquest of Palestine and capture of Jerusalem.
* De Rougé, Mélanges d'Archéologie, t. 1, p. 87.