« PreviousContinue »
whole of the second and the beginning of the third book of his work to a history of Egypt and the Egyptians, and his is the oldest Greek treatise on the subject known to us. In spite of the attacks made upon his work during the last few years, the evidence of the hieroglyphic inscriptions which are being deciphered year after year shows that on the whole his work is trustworthy. A work more valuable than that of Herodotus was the Egyptian history of Manetho (still living in B.C. 271) of Sebennytus, who is said by Plutarch to have been a contemporary of Ptolemy I. ; his work, now lost, appears to have been written during the reign of Ptolemy II. Philadelphus (B.C. 286-247). According to words put into his mouth, he was chief priest and scribe in one of the temples of Egypt, and he appears to have been perfectly acquainted with the ancient Egyptian language and literature. He had also had the benefit of a Greek education, and was therefore peculiarly fitted to draw up in Greek for Ptolemy Philadelphus a history of Egypt and her religion. The remains of the great Egyptian history of Manetho are preserved in the polemical treatise of Josephus agains Apion, in which a series of passages of Egyptian history from the XVth to the XIXth dynasties is given, and in the list of the dynasties, together with the number of years of the reign of each king, given by Africanus and Eusebius on his authority. At the beginning of his work Manetho gives a list of gods and demi-gods who ruled over Egypt before Menes, the first human king of Egypt; the thirty dynasties known to us he divides into three sections :I.-XI., XII.-XIX., and XX.-XXX. Diodorus Siculus, who visited Egypt about B.C. 57, wrote a history of the country, its people and its religion, based chiefly upon the works of Herodotus and Hekatæus. He was not so able a writer nor so accurate an observer as Herodotus, and his work contains many fanciful statements. Other important ancient writers on Egyptare Strabo,* Chaeremon, Ť Josephus, Plutarch and Horapollo. ||
According to Manetho, there reigned over Egypt before Mená, or Menes, the first mortal king of that country, a number of beings who may be identified with the Shesu Heru, or “followers of Horus”; of their deeds and history very little is known. During their rule Egypt was divided into two parts, each ruled by its own king; and the whole of Upper and Lower Egypt was divided into a large series of small, independent principalities, which were united under one head in the person of Menes. The kings of Egypt following after the mythical period of Manetho are divided into thirty dynasties. For the sake of convenience, Egyptian history is divided into three periods :- 1. the Ancient Empire, which includes the first eleven dynasties; II. the Middle Empire, which includes the next eight dynasties (XIIth-XIXth); and, III. the New Empire, which includes the remaining eleven dynasties, XXth-XXXth, one being Persian.
The rule of the Saïte kings was followed by that of the Persians, Macedonians, Ptolemies and Romans. The rule of the Arabs, which began A.D. 641, ended A.D. 1517, when the country was conquered by the Turks; since this time Egypt has been nominally a pashalik of Turkey.
The date assigned to the first dynasty is variously given by different scholars : by Champollion-Figeac it is B.C. 5867, by Böckh 5702, by Bunsen 3623, by Lepsius 3892, by Lieblein 3893, by Mariette 5004, and by Brugsch 4400. Much confusion has been introduced into Egyptian chronology by the attempt to make it square with Archbishop Ussher's dates, which have been, unfortunately, printed in the Authorised Version of the Bible, and by the wellineaning endeavours of those who would limit the existence * About A.D. 15. + About A. D. 50. I About A.D. 75.
§ About A.D. 100. About A. D. 400.
of ancient Egyptian civilization to a period of two or three thousand years. We have to remember that we possess long religious texts, which were cut on the walls of pyramids about B.C. 3300. In these are several passages which are so written that it is clear that the scribes who prepared the drafts for the mason did not understand their contents well. The copies we have bear traces of having been edited several times in bygone periods, and their contents prove that a considerable number of years must have passed between the making of the different recensions ; in fact, it is probable that the reduction of these compositions into writing dates from the time when the Egyptians acquired the art of writing. Many of the prayers and formulae must have come down to the Egyptians from the Predynastic Period, and have been some thousands of years old when the copies which we have were made. Brugsch's system of chronology is an extremely good one for all practical purposes, and his dates, with a few modifications, which are the results of new facts, are adopted throughout this book.
THE PREDYNASTIC PERIOD.
According to Manetho, the reigns of the gods and demi-gods lasted in Egypt about 12,843 years, and according to Panodorus only about 1,1833 years. The gods and demi-gods are probably nothing more than a long series of petty chiefs or kings who reigned over very limited areas in different parts of Egypt, many being, no doubt, contemporaneous. After these came the Nékves or Manes, who are said to have reigned for 5,813 years, and with some of these we are no doubt justified in identifying the SHEMSHU HERU, or “ Followers of Horus,” a class of beings who are frequently mentioned in Egyptian texts, and who seem to have introduced a higher grade of civilization • into Egypt. Eusebius says that the Gods, Demi-gods, and Manes reigned for 24,925 years; Manetho assigns to the Gods and Demi.gods 12,843 years of rule, and Panodorus 11833 years. The Old Chronicle enumerates 84 kings, and says they reigned 2,140 years. The Book of the Sothis mentions 86 kings, and says they reigned 2,500 years. Of some of the followers of Horus the tombs have undoubtedly been found at Abydos and other places in Upper Egypt, and their rule appears to have lasted until the time when Mená or Menes made himself sole king of Egypt. All the evidence on the subject now forthcoming proves that all Egypt was, before the time of Menes, divided into two entirely distinct and independent kingdoms. The kingdom of the Upper Country, or of the South, probably extended from the Fayyûm to Silsila, and that of the Lower
Country, or of the North, included the Delta, and most likely a small portion of Middle Egypt. The title of the Ruler of the South was “Suten,” which is indicated by ] or more fully , and the title of the North was “Båt,” which is indicated by the hornet (not the bee) 162, and may be of Libyan origin. King Menes, in order to show that he was lord both of the South and of the North, prefixed both signs that to his name, and all his successors followed his example. One of the commonest names for Egypt is “ Taui” 3 i.e., the “Two Countries,” and the countries referred to are those of the South and North. The Suten of the South wore the White
ind the Bit of the North wore the Red Cro the union of these symbolized the sovereignty of both countries, just as
adid. The early kings, who were Lords of both the South and the North, prefixed to their names the title ML, which indicated that they were Lords of the famous shrine and city of the goddess Nekhebet in the South, and of the shrine and city of the goddess Uatchet in the North. It is probable that at a very early period the SUTENS and BATS of Egypt were formally crowned, or acknowledged to be legal kings, by the priesthood of Nekhebet and of Uatchet respectively, and that the kings who prefixed the title ola to their names intended this fact to be understood. In fact, the title indicates that the kings who bore it were chosen to reign by the goddesses Nekhebet and Uatchet, just as in dynastic times the titles “chosen of Rā,” “chosen of Åmen,” “ chosen of Ptaḥ” proclaimed that the kings who adopted