Page images
PDF
EPUB

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PLATE ~ I. Frontispiece. Queen Hatshepsut. From Temple of Deir

el Bahari. Reproduced from T. M. Davis's Tomb of

Hatshopsita. II. Princess Nefert. (To face page 13.) Limestone statue in

Cairo Museum. Photographed by Brugsch. III. Queen Aah-hetep I. (To face page 47.) Coffin lid in Cairo

Museum. Photo. Brugsch. IV. An XVIIIth dynasty Princess. (To face page 56.) Lime

stone statue. Florence Arch. Museum. Photo. Brogi. · V. Queen Aahmes Nefertari. (To face page 59.) Wooden

statuette. Louvre Eg. Museum. Photo. Sauvanaud. · VI. Queen Aahmes. (To face page 75.) Temple Deir el

Bahari. Reproduced from T. M. Davis's Tomb

Håtshopsitů. - VII. Queen Tiaa. (To face page 100.) Statue Cairo Museum.

Photo. Brugsch. VIII. Queen Tiaa and Thotmes IV. (To face page 101.) Statue

Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch. IX. Queen Thạy. (To face page 106.) Alabaster Canopic jar

lid. Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch. X. Queen Thạy. (To face page 120.) Small head from Sinai.

Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch. XI. Queen Nefertiti and her children. (To face page 131.)

From Lepsius Denkmähler. Photo. Brugsch. XII. Queen Mut-nezemet. (?) (To face page 142.) Colossal

head. Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch. XIII. Queen Nefertari-meri-en-mut. (To face page 147.) From

colossus of Ramses II., Temple of Luxor. Photo.

Brugsch. XIV. Queen Nefertari-meri-en-mut. (To face page 150.) Abu

Simbel. From Lepsius Denkmähler. Photo. Brugsch. XV. Princess Bant-antha. (To face page 152.) From colossus

of Ramses II. at Memphis. Photo. Brugsch. XVI. Queen Maat-neferu-Ra. (To face page 154.) Abu Simbel. From Lepsius Denkmähler. Photo. Brugsch.

PLATE

XVII. “The White Queen.” (To face page 156.) Painted lime

stone bust. Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch. XVIII. Queen Makeri. (To face page 178.) Coffin lid in Cairo

Museum. Photo. Brugsch. XIX. Queen: Astemkheb l. (To face page 181.) Coffin lid in

Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch. XX. Queen Amenertas. (To face page 206.) Alabaster statue

in Cairo Museum. Photo. Brugsch.

THE QUEENS OF EGYPT.

CHAPTER I.

QUEENS OF DYNASTIES I-III.

The history of Ancient Egypt is full of surprises for the modern investigator. Its extraordinary culture, the high standard of its arts, the breadth of its philosophies, perfection of its mechanical skill and brilliancy of its conquests, make up the most remarkable and fascinating story in the annals of nations.

Every year the explorer brings to light new evidence of that mysterious world which had its being six thousand years ago in the land of the Nile ; flourished for forty centuries and then died, before the dawn of Western civilization.

These records glow with warm human life, are vigorous and keen, naively fresh and simple, like the enthusiasms of youth. Thousands of years have passed since these imprints of a nation were stamped on papyrus, graven on jewels, cut in stone, fixed in towering pyramid and pylon, hewn on the face of mountains, and thrust into the heart of the earth. No people have so impressed themselves on the land of their habitation. The whole country is an open book, in which all who will may read the story of the first sons of Egypt.

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this Ancient Empire is the very unusual position held in it by the Egyptian woman, a position unique and unparalleled in the history of womankind. Her importance in the State seems to have been recognized as supreme, and many writers on Egyptology hold that woman was the sole heiress; the man inheriting both property and position only through the rights of his wife or mother. This supremacy of the woman made her the legal head of the house, gave her the precedence over all the men of her family, and even carried her to the sovereignty of the State, placing the crown upon her head, and endowing her with the natural rights of government. Professor Petrie says: “It is very doubtful if a king could reign, except as the husband of the heiress of the kingdom, the right to which descended in the female line, like other property.”

Doubtless the law of the land gave theoretically the chief supremacy to women, but it is not possible to read the long lists of kings' names—lists which often cover several generations in time, and yet contain no reference whatever to either queen or heiress—without suspecting that the woman's right to govern was practically a dead letter. The man, perhaps, owed his inheritance to her ; nevertheless, his records, with few exceptions, represent himself as the sole executive power, standing quite alone before his people and his gods, pre-eminently the Chief.

It is clear, then, that the woman usually relegated her sovereign rights to her husband, who assumed the government in her stead, and performed all acts of the kingly office in his own name.

From very ancient times the possession of the realm appears to have been claimed as a divine inheritance.

Each Egyptian province had its own god, whose importance waxed or waned according to the fortunes of the province itself. Thus, the great sun-god of Heliopolis, Ra, was forced to give place to Amen, tutelary god of Thebes, when the supremacy of Egypt passed to the Theban princes. In later times, Amen absorbed the name and attributes of the Heliopolitan deity, and became

« PreviousContinue »