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The history of Egypt is the oldest history known to us. It is true that the earliest of the Babylonian kings whose names are known lived very little later than the earliest kings of Egypt, nevertheless our knowledge of the early Egyptian is greater than of the early Babylonian kings. A large portion of Egyptian history can be constructed from the native records of the Egyptians, and it is now possible to correct and modify many of the statements upon this subject made by Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus and other classical authors. The native and other documents from which Egyptian history is obtained are:—

I. Lists of Kings found in the Turin Papyrus, the Tablet of Abydos, the Tablet of Sakkarah, and the Tablet of Karnak. The Turin papyrus contained a complete list of kings beginning with the god-kings and continuing down to the end of the rule of the Hyksos, about B.c. 1700. The name of each king during this period, together with the length of his reign in years, months and days, was given, and it would have been, beyond all doubt, the most valuable of all documents for the chronology of the oldest period of Egyptian history, if scholars had been able to make use of it in the perfect condition in which it was


discovered. When it arrived in Turin, however, it was found to be broken into more than one hundred and fifty fragments. So far back as 1824, Champollion recognized the true value of the fragments, and placed some of them in their chronological order. Its evidence is of the greatest importance for the history of the XHIth and XIVth dynasties, because in this section the papyrus is tolerably perfect; for the earlier dynasties it is of very little use.

On the monuments each Egyptian king has usually two names, the prenomen and the nomen; each of these is contained in a cartouche.* Thus the prenomen of

Thothmes III. is Ra-men-cheper, and his

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something like "Ra (the Sun-god) establishes becoming or existence;" Tehuti-mes means "born of Thoth," or "Thoth's son." These names are quite distinct from

his titles. Before the prenomen conies the title

suten net, "King of the North and South,"f and after it

comes se Ra, "son of the Sun," preceding the

nomen. Each prenomen has a meaning, but it is at times difficult to render it exactly in English. Every king styled himself king of "the North and South," and "son of the Sun." The first title is sometimes varied by "Beautiful

* Cartouche is the name which is usually given to the oval ( t, in which the name of a royal person is enclosed.

t I.e., "the universe." "Whatever the Sun passed over or through was divided into two, and grammatically took the dual form; as Lj-^, chuta, the horizon where the Sun rises or sets, abta, the East,

\ [S^Si amenta, the West." Renouf, Proc. Soc. Bib. Arch., 1890, P- 3S6

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