Page images

considers the species which he has named Ateuchus Aegyptiorum, or ijXioicdvOapos, and which is of a fine greenish colour, as that which especially engaged the attention of the early Egyptians; and Dr. G. W. Clarke affirms that it is eaten by the women of Egypt because it is considered an emblem of fertility. Horapollo, and other1 ancient writers, state that a female scarabaeus docs not exist. According to Horapollo Descrip(ed. Leemans, p. 11), a scarabaeus denotes an only begotten,* beetle by generation, father, world, and man. It represents an only Horapollo. begotten, because the scarabaeus is a creature self-produced, being unconceived by a female. The male, when desirous of procreating, takes some ox dung, and shapes it into a spherical form like the world. He next rolls it from east to west, looking himself towards the east. Having dug a hole, he buries it in it for twenty-eight days; on the twenty-ninth day he opens the ball, and throws it into the water, and from it the scarabaei come forth. The idea of generation arises from its supposed acts. The scarabaeus denotes a father because it is engendered by a father only, and world because in its generation it is fashioned in the form of the world, and man because there is no female race among them. Every scarabaeus was also supposed to have thirty toes, corresponding with the thirty days' duration of the month.3 Latreille thinks that the belief that one sex only existed among scarabaei arose from the fact that the females are exceedingly like the males, and that both sexes appear to divide the care of the preservation of their offspring equally between them.

1 'O KavSapoi; d0ij\u Jiiov iffri, Aelian, De Natura Animal., x. xv. ed. Diclot, p. 172, Kaviapos yap rat ajiprjv, Porphyry, De Atstinentia, iv. 9, ed. Didot, p. 74.

3 For the word scaraieus applied to Christ compare, "Vermis in cruce: scarabeus in cruce: et bonus vermis qui haesit in ligno bonus scarabeus qui clamavit e ligno. Quid clamavit? Domine, nt staluas illis hoc fttcatum. Clamavit latroni: Hodie mecum eris in paradise Clamavit quasi scarabeus: Deut, Deus mens, quart me dercliquisti t Et bonus scarabeus qui lutum corporis nostri ante informe ac pigrum virtutum versabat vestigiis: bonus scarabeus, qui de stercore erigit pauperem." See the exposition of St. Luke, by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (Opera, Paris edition, 1686, torn. I. col. 1528, No. 113).

3 "En comptant pour un doigt chaque article des tarses, on reconnaitra que cet insecte avait 6t6 bien attcntivement examined" Mulsant, Histoire Nalurelle des Cottoptires de France, Lamellicornes; Paris, 1842, p. 48.

Egyptian The Egyptians called the scarabseus Tmj O^b^ &te

name for W <—> 1

the beetle, pern, and the god whom this insect represented was called

go(|] Cheperd. This god usually wears a beetle on

his head, and sometimes he has a beetle, with or without outstretched wings, in the place of a head.1 The god The Chepera was the " father of the gods," and the creator of all emUemnot things in heaven and earth. He made himself out of the Chepera. matter which he himself produced. He was identified with the rising sun, and thus typified resurrection and new birth


generally. The word i\ which is usually translated

"to exist, to become, to make," also means "to roll," and the "roller," or "revolver," was a fitting name for the sun, according to the Egyptian ideas of that luminary. The

abstract noun ® ^ |j| | j j cheperu, may very well be

rendered by "evolutions." Classes of Scarabs may, for convenience of consideration, be divided into three classes:—I. Funereal scarabs; 2. Scarabs worn for ornament; 3. Historical scarabs. Of the first class the greater number found measure from half to two inches in length, and they are made generally of faTence or steatite, glazed blue or green; granite, basalt, jasper, amethyst, lapislazuli, ruby, carnelian, and in the Roman period glass also, are often used. Upon the flat base of the scarab the Egyptians engraved the names of gods, kings, priests, officials, private persons, monograms, and floral and other devices. Sometimes the base of the scarab takes the form of a heart, and sometimes the scarab is united with the u'tat ^^9, or eye of Horus; it is also found united with a frog, the emblem of "myriads" and of "revivification." Rarely the back of the scarab is ornamented with a pattern made up of a number of small scarabs. Such small scarabs were set in rings, and placed upon the fingers of the dead, or were wrapped up in the linen bandages with which the mummy was swathed over the heart. They represented the belief of the Egyptians in the revivification of the body, and

1 See Lanzone, Dizionario, pi. ccexxix.

in the renewed life after death, which was typified by the Sun, who renewed his life daily.

Among funereal scarabs must be mentioned those of Descripgreen basalt, which were specially made to be laid upon funereal the breasts of mummies. Of this class there are many scarab, varieties, but the form most approved by the Egyptians seems to have consisted of a scarab of fine, hard basalt, let into a gold border, to which was attached a fine gold wire for hanging round the neck. The folds of the wings of the beetles were indicated either by lines of gold painted on the back, or by pieces of gold inlaid therein. Occasionally, the scarab itself is let into a mount of solid gold (B.M. No. 7876), and sometimes the scarab is joined to a heart, and pierced for suspension, the heart being ornamented with hieroglyphics meaning "life, stability, and protection"

iSff (B-M- 7925)- On the back of the scarab we at

times have a figure of a bennu bird and the inscription | ^

^ 0 O j|| "the mighty heart of Ra" (B.M. No. 7878),

at others the boat of the Sun Ini, nfats the bennu or phcenix , and Ra ^(B.M. No. 7883); and sometimes the scarab is human-headed (B.M. Nos. 15,516 and 7999). One instance is known where the back of the scarab is ornamented with incised figures of Greek deities (B.M. No. 7966). In late times this class of scarab was made of blue and green faYcnce, and inserted in pectorals of the same material, upon which were painted the boat of the sun, and figures of Isis and Nephthys, one at each end of the boat; the scarab occupied the middle of the boat (B.M. Nos. 7864 and 7865). The bases of large funereal scarabs were usually inscribed with the text of the 30th chapter of the Book of the Dead, but this was not always the case. Some scarabs have only scenes of the deceased adoring Osiris (B.M. No. 7931), and others figures of Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys (B.M. Nos. 7930, 15,500 and 15,507). At times Descripthe inscriptions are merely written with gold or ink (B.M. }u°"r^i Nos. 7915 and 15,518). As such scarabs formed part of scarabs, the stock-in-trade of the Egyptian undertaker, the names

of the persons with whom they were buried are not found inscribed upon them, although blank spaces are left (B.M. No. 7877); frequently scarabs have neither figures nor inscriptions upon their bases. A remarkable example of funereal scarab is B.M. No. 18,190, which was taken from the mummy of Thothmes III., found at Der el-Bahari. This object is made of steatite, glazed a greenish (purple in some places) colour. A frame of gold runs round the base, the two sides of which are joined by a band of the same metal across the back; a thin layer of gold covered the back, but parts of this are hidden by the remains of the mummy cloth which adhere to it. The base is inscribed with a figures of Thothmes III., kneeling; on his head is the crown , in the right hand he holds the

whip /\, and with the left he is making an offering. Before him is a dog (?) seated, and behind him a hawk. Above is the sign J nefer, and the legend "Ra-men-cheper, triumphant

before the gods for ever." [sea|]" * 111 ^

The surface of the base was covered with a layer of gold, parts of which still remain. This scarab is 3 inches long. On the upper end of the gold frame was a loop by which the scarab, by means of a chain, was attached to a bronze collar round the neck of the mummy. The The chapter from the Book of the Dead called 30B by

of^'heTM M. Naville {Das Aegyptische Todtenbuch, pi. xliii.), engraved heart. upon scarabs, is one of a series of seven chapters, relating to the heart, which are entitled :—

Chap. 26. Chapter of giving a heart to N.1 in the underworld.

Chaps. 27, 28 and 29. Chapter of not allowing his heart to be carried off from him in the underworld.

Chap. 29 B. Another chapter of a heart of carnelian.

Chaps. 30A and 30B. Chapter of not allowing to be repulsed the heart of N. in the underworld. According to a papyrus in Berlin, Ba in Naville's edition, chap. 26 is entitled "Chapter of a heart of lapis-lazuli (_®_ J

1 N. =name of the person for whom the scarab or papyrus was made.

chesbef)"; chap. 27, "Chapter of a heart of opal (?), (1^^ n 11 neshevi) "; chap. 29 B, "Chapter of a heart of carnelian(?) (P <~> *o j sekert)"; and chap. 30B, "Chapter of a heart of green jasper (fi ££SX ° meht)" The most im


portant of these chapters is the 30th, which exists in two different versions, called 30A and 30B, but it appears that the former was never inscribed upon scarabs. According to the rubric found in a papyrus at Parma (see Naville, Todtenbuch,2 Bd. ii. bl. 99), this chapter was found during the reign of Mycerinus in Hermopolis, under the feet of the majesty of this god, by rleru-ta-ta-f his son.

This interesting text reads :—

ft! T 8 it-JJSkS*.

met her xePer en me'?" f mesesbeb em chapter

To be said over a scarab of green jasper bound round with

smu ant - f em het' ertau en

smu metal, ring its [being] of silver, to be placed on

<=> St ^S^oS 1 ^

xu er xeX " f qementu re pen em

a blessed one1 over throat his. Was found chapter this in


xemennu xer re? en ben en neter pen -s Hermopolis under the feet of the majesty of god this, {^^'^j

her tebt en bat qemau em na neter upon a slab of steel of the south with the writing of the god

1 Quoted by Birch in Alg. Zeitschrift, 1867, p 17.

1 First published by Birch in Aeg. Zeitschrift, 1867, p. 54.

* I.e., the deceased.

« PreviousContinue »