Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

eating and drinking of the funereal offerings. When the last person has left the mummy chamber, masons bring along slabs of stone and lime which they have ready and wall it up; the joints between the stones are so fine that the blade of a modern penknife can with difficulty be inserted to the depth of half an inch. We have seen Ani's body embalmed, we have watched all the stages of the manufacture of his coffin, we have seen the body dressed and laid in it, we have accompanied him to the tomb, we have gone through it and seen how it is arranged and decorated, and we have assisted at the funereal ceremonies; in his beautiful tomb then, let us leave him to enjoy his long rest in the company of his wife. Ani did not cause such a large and beautiful tomb to be hewn for him merely to gratify his pride; with him, as with all educated Egyptians, it was the outcome of the belief that his soul would revivify his body, and was the result of a firm assurance in his mind of the truth of the doctrine of immortality, which is the foundation of the Egyptian religion, and which was as deeply rooted in them as the hills are in the earth.

the word

MUMMY. Mummy is the term which is generally applied to the body of a human being, animal, bird, fish, or reptile, which has been preserved by means of bitumen, spices, gums, or natron. As far as can be discovered, the word is neither a Origin of corruption of the ancient Egyptian word for a preserved body,

“Mummy." nor of the more modern Coptic form of the hieroglyphic name. The word “mummy” is found in Byzantine Greek (uovula, uculov), and in Latin, and indeed in almost all European languages. It is derived from the Arabic luggé, “bitumen," and the Arabic word for mummy is üzyć, which means a “ bitumenized thing," or a body preserved by bitumen. The Syriac-speaking people called it liscosô, the Greeks mittáo

1 I have reproduced here many paragraphs from my Prefatory Remarks mode on Egyptian Mummies, on the occasion of the unrolling of the Mummy of Bak-kan, privately printed; London, 1890.

? It appears in Latin about A.D. 1000. Wiedemann, Herodots Zweites Bush; Leipzig, 1890, p. 349.

the substance


paltos, and the Persians call a drug used in medicine s'lilogo The celebrated Arabic physician Ibn Bêtår (died A.H. 646), quoting Dioscorides,' who lived in the first century of our era, says that Mumia is found in the country called Apollonia, and that it flows down with water from the "lightning mountains," and being thrown by the water on the sides of the water courses, becomes hard and thick, and that it has a smell like that of pitch. Having further quoted the article by Dioscorides

on Pittasphaltus, he adds, “What I say on this subject is as “Mummy” follows: The name múmia sluogo is given to the drug of

which mention has just been made, and to that which is called used in embalming Bitumen of Judæa,' sogeul geöll, and to the mûmîa of the

, Egypt, and which is nothing else than a mixture which the Byzantine Greeks used formerly for embalming their dead, in order that the dead bodies might remain in the state in which they were buried, and experience neither decay nor change. Bitumen of Judæa is the substance which is obtained from the Asphaltites Lake, Inger 3,6.." 'Abd el-Lațifo mentions that he saw múmia or bitumen which had been taken out of the skulls and stomachs of mummies sold in the towns, and he adds that he bought "the contents of three skulls for half an


, pitch, for which it can be substituted if one takes the trouble

which is found in great quantities in ,الموميای القبورى tombs

ولقد اشتريت ثلثة اروس مملوة منه بنصف ”,Egyptian dirhem and says that it varies very little from mineral ,درهم مصری

to procure it.

sold as
a drug.

About three or four hundred years ago Egyptian mummy formed one of the ordinary drugs in apothecaries' shops. The trade in mummy was carried on chiefly by Jews, and as early as the twelfth century a physician called El-Magar was in the habit of prescribing mummy to his patients. It was said to be good for bruises and wounds. After a time, for various reasons, the supply of genuine mummies ran short, and the

i Materia Medica (ed. Kühn, in Medicorum Graecorum Opera, tom. xxv., Leipzig, 1829, p. 101).

? See Abd el-Latif, Relation de l'Egypte, tr. by De Sacy, Paris, 1810, p. 273, and Abdollutiphi Historiæ Ægypli Compendium, Ed. White, Oxford, 1810, p 150.

Jews were obliged to manufacture them. They procured the bodies of all the criminals that were executed in gaols, and of people who had died in hospitals, Christians and others. They filled the bodies with bitumen and stuffed the limbs with the same substance ; this done, they bound them up tightly and exposed them to the heat of the sun. By this means they made them look like old mummies. In the year 1564 a physician called Guy de la Fontaine made an attempt to see the stock of the mummies of the chief merchant in mummies at Alexandria, and he discovered that they were made from the bodies of slaves and others who had died of the most loathsome diseases. The traffic in mummies as a drug was stopped in a curious manner. A Jew at Damietta who traded in mummies had a Christian slave who was treated with great harshness by him because he would not consent to become a Jew. Finally, when the ill-treatment became so severe that he could bear it no longer, the slave went to the Pasha and informed him what his master's business was. The Jew was speedily thrown into prison, and only obtained his End of the liberty by payment of three hundred pieces of gold. Every

mummy. Jewish trader in mummy was seized by the local governor of the place where he lived, and money was extorted from him. The trade in mummy being hampered by this arbitrary tax, soon languished, and finally died out entirely."

trade in


name of Sāḥu, and the word used to indicate the act of making a dead the em

balmed man into a mummy is 498 or mo qes; it means to

body. "wrap up in bandages.” The Coptic forms of the latter word are kec, KHC, KWC, KwWc, kwwce, and they were used by the Copts to translate the Greek ενταφιασμός, ταφή, ένταφιάζειν, Dámtelv, etc.; the word eriòdwr, “mummy,” is also given by Kircher, Lingua Aegyptiaca Restituta, Rome, 1643, p. 183, at the foot. The mummifier was called pegawc; compare orog &TkwC el nicpana axe ripecjawc= kai évetaφίασαν οι ενταφιασται τον Ισραήλ.3

· Pettigrew on Mummies, p. 4.
? Lagarde, Der Pentateuch Koptisch, Gen. 1. 2.
3 Lagarde, Librorum Vet. Test. Canon., Gen. I. 2, p. 51.

« PreviousContinue »