Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

These curious and interesting objects are made of basalt and other kinds of hard stone, and calcareous stone; they are in the shape of a rounded tablet, and vary in size from 3 in. x 2 in., to 20 in. x 16 in.; the Metternich stele is, however, very much larger. The scenes engraved upon them represent the triumph of light over darkness, the victory of good over evil, and cippi were used as talismans by those who were initiated into the mysteries of magic, to guard them from the attacks of noxious beasts, and from the baneful influence of Set, the god of all evil. To give an idea of these magical objects, a description of an example, in a good state of preservation, now in the British Museum (No. 957«) is here appended.1 On the front, in relief, is a figure of Horus, naked, standing upon two crocodiles, which are supported by a projecting ledge at the foot of the stele. Hurus has the lock of hair, emblematic of youth, on the right side of his head, and above him, resting on the top of his head, is a head of Bes, also in relief. His arms hang at a little distance from his sides; in the right hand he holds two serpents, a scorpion, and a ram or stag,

Scenes on and in the left two serpents, a scorpion, and a lion. On the HorusT °f r'gnt 's a sceptre, upon which stands the hawk of Horus wearing horns, disk and feathers,1 and on the left is a lotusheaded sceptre with plumes and two mendts* (see p. 265). To the right and to the left of tlie god, outside tlx sceptres, are eight divisions; those on the right represent:—

1. Oryx, with a hawk on his back, in front is inscribed

^37 |J 0 Q. "Horus, lord of Hebennu," i.e., the metropolis of the sixteenth nome of Upper Egypt

1 A faulty copy is given in Wilkinson, The Ancient Egyptians, Vol. III., pi. XXXIII.

1 % - r-l A

* The inscription reads <=^>

* The inscription reads, _

[graphic]

2. Ibis-headed god, Thoth, :: = ^^3?'"j |_, "lord of Chemennu, lord of divine words," and the god Her-shef <M>*^< hawk-headed, wearing the triple crown Jgj^j

3. "Heka, lord of enchantments," c-^v—1, hawkheaded, holding a serpent in each hand; "Neith, mighty lady, divine mother, lady of Safe" ^ (j^^^^^ ^ ©•

4. Hawk-headed god, mummified, wearing disk and holding a serpent in each hand; the inscription is * 1 tfc\ ^—7

TT * '/~\ f —ZI N

$ © "^-nensu' 'orc* °* Sam-behutet."

5. Isis, jj ^"^^^^Qi with the body of a hippopotamus,

holding a snake; on her head she wears a disk and horns.

6. Ptah, in the form of a squat child standing on a

pedestal with four or five steps; the inscription is § Ptah ser da, " Ptah, prince, mighty

7. The goddess Serqet, scorpion-headed, holding a serpent

with both hands; the inscription is p <~> ^37 ■y "Serqet,

lady of life." °

8. Goddess, wearing disk and serpent, 50, on her head, Scenes on standing between two serpents; the inscription reads ^37 HorusUS°f "Nebthetep."

The eight scenes on the left hand side of Horus represent :—

1. Goddess, having a disk and two scorpions on her head, which is in the form of two serpents' heads, standing on a crocodile; she holds a serpent in her right hand, and a serpent and a scorpion in the left ; on the crocodile's head is a bird. The inscription reads, ^fe^ LJ xz? ^

2. Crocodile, with disk and horns, on a stand; behind it a serpent Usert, ^ The inscription reads,"^ | "great god"

3. Isis suckling Horus among papyrus plants, under a canopy formed by two serpents, called Nechebet -j- J] Q and Uatchet T^, wearing the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt respectively; under each serpent is a scorpion. The inscription reads jj ^^37®Jj <^>, "Isis, lady of Cheb."

4* Crocodile-headed god Sebek |1 J1^—^ seated- This scene is rendered incomplete by a break in the cippus.

5. Hawk-headed god wearing the crown of Lower Egypt,

and holding a serpent in his hands; he is called ^j^O jj^j jjj w^jjCi, "Horus, son of Osiris, born of Isis."

6. Hawk of Horus wearing horns and plumes

standing on p£5"\; behind him is Q ien, and a goddess, wearing disk and horns, and having the body of a scorpion,

called "Isis-Serqet" jj^P^^

7. Horus, in the form of a boy, holding /\ over his left shoulder, seated on a crocodile, under a canopy formed by twoserpents; the inscription reads, ^ fl j§) ||||.

8. The goddess LTatchet J^, wearing crown of Lower

Egypt, on a papyrus sceptre ; behind her Hu *= and Sau ^^a, each holding a knife.

Above the two crocodiles on which Horus stands are two small scenes in each of which is a crocodile, one being on a stand ; that to the right of Horus has on his head and

that on the left ;the former is called Itm[

"Hidden is his name," and the latter 1 (2, "Horus

in Uu."

The inscription, which covers the front and base of the pedestal and back and sides of the cippus, contains an invocation to the god from whom the person for whom it was made seeks to gain power. Late date Cippi of Horus belong probably to the period which Ho^iof followed soon after the end of the rule of the XXVIth dynasty over Egypt, and the inscriptions on them are badly executed. They are generally found broken in half, or if not broken, the head of Horus has been hammered to deface the features; these injuries probably date from ancient times.

The largest and finest specimen of the cippi of Horus is The Metthat preserved in the Museum of Metternich Castle at Konigs- ^""gCh warth in Bohemia. It was found in the beginning of this century at Alexandria during the building of a fountain in a Franciscan convent there, and was given to Prince Metternich by Muhammad 'Ali in 1828. It is made of a hard, darkgreen stone upon which the figures of the gods and the inscriptions are finely and beautifully cut. The inscriptions have much in common with the magical texts inscribed upon papyri in London, Turin, and Paris, and are of great interest; this stele was made for Nectanebus I., about B.C. 370. A fac-simile of the stele and the text was published with a German translation and notes by W. Golenischeff, Die Metternicltstele .. .. sum ersten Mai herausgegeben, Leipzig, 1877. A long article is devoted to the consideration of the cippi of Horus by Lanzone, Dizionario, pp. 583-594; and see Birch in Arundaleand Bonomi, Gallery of Antiquities, p. 39 ff.

The Egyptian Year.1

The ancient Egyptians had:—I. The vague, or civil year, which consisted of 360 days; it was divided into twelve months of thirty days each, and five intercalary days * were added at the end. II. The Sothic year of 365\ days. The first year of a Sothic period began with the rising of Sirius or the dog-star, on the 1st of the month Thoth, when it coincided with the beginning of the inundation. III. The solar year, which was practically the same as the civil year, and which was a quarter of a day shorter than the Sothic year, an error which corrected itself in 1460 fixed years or 1461 vague years. The true year was estimated approximately by the conjunction of the sun with Sirius. Dr. Brugsch

1 The whole subject of the origin of the Egyptian year has recently been discussed with excellent results in Nature, Vol. XLV., 1892, p. 487, by Prof. N. Lockyer; and Vol. XLVI., p. 104 ff.

J Called in Egyptian "1 ®, { "five days over the year." The

first was called the " birth of Osiris," the second "the birth of Horus," the third "the birth of Set," the fourth " the birth of Isis," and the fifth the "birth of Nephthys." The Greeks called these days, t'rayofuvai t)fiipm ne'rr*, and the Copts rtli.fkrr ItKOfXI, " the little month."

thinks {Egypt under the Pharaohs, Vol. II., p. 17) that as early as B.C. 2500 four different forms of the year were already in use, and that the "little year" corresponded with the lunar year, and the "great year" with a lunar year having intercalated days.1 The divisions of time of the

Egyptians were ant, "one-sixtieth of a second,"

T"m© "second>" J© at' "minute>" """«'.

"hour," O hru, "day," x abet, "month," renfiit,

"year'" ]X[ sed> "Period of thirty years," [^[=j» hen,

"period," ^ heh, "millions of years," heh, and

tetta, "immeasurable time," or '* eternity." The Egyptian week consisted of ten days O fl.

1 See Lepsius, Die ChronotogU der Aegypier, p. 147 fT.

« PreviousContinue »