Page images

invaded Palestine, went up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king's house, and the shields of gold which Solomon had made (1 Kings xiv. 25, 26), that is to say, he supported the house of Israel under Jeroboam against the house of Judah under Rehoboam. The prophecies against Egypt are numerous (see Isaiah xix., xx., xlv. 14; Jeremiah xliii. 8-13 ; xliv. 30, xlvi. ; Ezekiel xxix.-xxxii.; Joel iii. 19 ; Zechariah x. 11, etc.), and they throw much light upon the relations which existed between the kings of that country and Palestine in the eighth and seventh centuries before Christ. The New Testament supplies very little information about Egypt, but in the Apocryphal Gospels are preserved a number of interesting traditions of the sojourn of the Holy Family in the region of Heliopolis, and of the miracles which were wrought by the Child, and Egyptian literature of the Christian period is full of legends of the wanderings of Mary the Virgin, who is said to have journeyed up the Nile with our Lord nearly so far as Luxor. Both traditions and legends are often improbable, but the light which they throw upon the social condition of Egypt is considerable, and the narratives themselves are valuable material for the study of Egyptian Christianity.

VI. The Tell al-'Amarna Tablets, or the collection of about 320 documents written in cuneiform on clay which were found at Tell al-Amarna, the site of the town built by Khu-en-åten or Amenophis IV., about 180 miles south of Memphis. The Berlin Museum acquired 160, a large number being fragments, the British Museum 86, and 55 are in the Museum in Cairo. These documents were probably written between the years B.C. 1500-1450.

The Tell al-Amarna tablets supply entirely new information concerning the political relations which existed between the kings of Egypt and the kings of Western Asia, and prove that an important trade between the two countries existed from very early times. They also supply facts concerning treaties, alliances, religious ceremonies, etc., which cannot be derived from any other source, and they give us for the first time the names of Artatama, Artashumara, and Tushratta, kings of Mitani (the Māthen of the Egyptian inscriptions), and of Kadashman-Bêl (?), king of Karaduniyash. They mention also two kings of Babylonia called Burraburiyash and Kurigalzu. The dialect in which most of these inscriptions are written has a close affinity with the language of the Old Testament.

The first conquest of Syria by the Egyptians took place in the reign of Amāsis I., B.C. 1700. Thothmes I., B.C. 1633, conquered all Palestine and Syria, and set up a tablet at Ruthen to mark the boundary of Egypt. Thothmes III., B.C. 1600, marched through Palestine and Syria and made himself master of all the country from Gaza to the Euphrates. At Tunip he established the Egyptian religion, and at Ruthen, in the 33rd year of his reign, he set up a tablet by the side of that of Thothmes I. The cuneiform tablets call him


D.P. Ma - na - akh - bi - ir - ya a very close imitation of the pronunciation of this king's prenomen Men-Kheper-Rā (

Amenophis 11., B.C. 1566, marched to Nî on the Euphrates, and slew seven kings in Ruthen, and brought their bodies to Egypt. Amenophis III. was not a great conqueror in the strict sense of the word, but he was proclaimed conqueror of Kadesh, Tunip, Sanķar, and northwestern Mesopotamia, to which country he was in the habit of going to shoot lions. Now we know from a scarab that a lady called Thi (902) came to Egypt to become the wife of Amenophis in the tenth year of his reign. We know also that she became the "great Queen of Egypt,” and as she is depicted with a fair complexion and blue eyes, there is no doubt that she is to be identified with the lady called Ti Y E E, in the inscriptions on the Tell al-Amarna tablets, who came from the country to the north-east of Syria. Thi was the mother of Amenophis IV., the “heretic king." Her father was called Iuia 94 , and her mother Thuầu

their tomb was discovered at Thebes by Mr. Theodore M. Davis on February 12, 1905. The inscriptions on their tomb-furniture give us no clue to the country of their origin, but we learn from them that Iuda held several important offices at Thebes, and that her mother was made a priestess of Amen. Besides this lady, we learn from the tablets that Amenophis married at least five other ladies from Mesopotamia, viz., a sister and two daughters of Kadashman-Bêl (?), king of Karaduniyash, and a sister and daughter of Tushratta, king oi Mitani ; but none of these ladies was acknowledged as “Queen of Egypt.” Tushratta's sister was called Kilķipa !

“SION in cuneiform - »MO LEY Gi-lu-khi-pa, and his daughter Tatum-khipa. In the time of Amenophis III. a Mesopotamian princess was honoured by marriage with the king of Egypt, but when Kadashman-Bel (?) wished to marry an Egyptian princess, Amenophis replied haughtily, “the daughter of the king of the land of Egypt hath never been given to a nobody”; yet in the reign of Khu-en-åten we learn that an Egyptian princess was given in marriage to Burraburiyash, king of Karaduniyash, a proof that the Egyptian power was waning in Mesopotamia. The greater number of the tablets are addressed to "the king of Egypt,” either Amenophis III. or his son Amenophis IV., and they reveal a state of disorganization and rebellion in the Egyptian dependencies in Palestine and Syria which cannot be understood unless we assume that for some years before the death of Amenophis III, the Semitic peoples of Western Asia were being encouraged to reject the rule of the Egyptians by their kinsfolk living in Egypt.

It will require time to settle all the historical and philological difficulties which are raised by these tablets, but the examination of them already made has thrown most valuable light upon the social condition of Egypt and of the neighbouring countries. One of the tablets is written in the language of Mitani, and others are inscribed with cuneiform characters in a language which is at present unknown ; and some of them have dockets in hieratic which state from what country they were brought. The discovery of these tablets shows that there must have been people at the court of Amenophis III. who understood the cuneiform characters, and that the officers in command over towns in Phoenicia subject to the rule of Egypt could, when occasion required, write their despatches in cuneiform. The following is a list of the Tell al-Amarna Tablets in the Museum at Cairo :

1. Letters from Kadashman-Bel (?). 9. Letter from Ashur-uballit, King of Assyria, B.C. 1400. 10. Letter from Amenophis III. to Tarhundaradush, King

of Arzapi. II, 12, 14. Letters from the King of Alashiya. 40. Letter from Aziru. 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 78, 79, 83. Letters from Rib-Adda. 94. Letter from Zatadna. 96. Letter from Namyawiza. 98, 99. Letters from Abu-Milki. 100. Letter from Shuardata. 109. Letter from Milkili.

115. Letter from Biridiwi.
116, 117. Letters from Shubandi.
118, 121. Letters from Widya.
124. Letter from Yabnî-ili.
125. Letter from Arzawya.
127. Letter from Dashru.
131. Letter from Shamu-Adda.
138. Letter from the lady. TEY BY IVY Yst
150. Letter from Nurtuwi .... (?)
151. Letter from the governor of the city of Nazima.
152. Letter from Ara ..... of the city of Kumiți.
153. Letter from Pu-Addu.
154. Letter from Addu-asharid.
195. Letter from Bayawi.
196. Letter from Aba .... zi.
239. Part of a legend.
5, 17, 18, 20, 197-209. Letters from unknown writers.

From the Annals of the Kings of Assyria we learn that Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal marched against Egypt; Tirhakah defeated Sennacherib at Eltekeh, but was defeated by Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, who drove him back into Ethiopia. Esarhaddon's son, Ashurbanipal, also attacked Tirhakah and defeated him. Tanut-Amen, the Tandamanie of the Assyrian texts, attempted to re-assert the Nubian supremacy, but he was obliged to fee before the Assyrian army, and Ashurbanipal marched up the Nile so far south as Thebes, and looted the city. Egypt was divided by Esarhaddon into twenty-two provinces, over some of which Assyrian viceroys were placed. A fragment of a Babylonian tablet states that Nebuchadnezzar II. marched into Egypt.

VII. The Greek and Roman writers upon Egypt are many; and of these the best known are Herodotus, Manetho, and Diodorus Siculus. Herodotus devotes the

« PreviousContinue »