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Character. the Ptolemies, mummies become black and heavy; bandages istics of mummies

and body are made by the bitumen into one solid mass, of different which can only be properly examined by the aid of a hatchet. periods.


Such mummies are often wrapped in coverings inscribed with scenes and texts, copied, without any knowledge of their meaning, by an artist who altered them to suit his own fancy or purpose.

About B.C. 100 mummies were very carefully bandaged ; each limb was treated separately, and retained its natural shape after bandaging, and the features of the face, somewhat blunted, are to be distinguished beneath the bandages.

About A.D. 50 the desire on the part of relatives and friends to see the face of the deceased resulted in the insertion of a piece of wood, painted with his portrait, over the face of the dead man. The mummies, from this time on to the fourth century, are of little interest, for they become mere bundles ; scenes were painted, athwart and along the bodies, in which the deceased is represented adoring ill-shaped Egyptian deities; but little by little the hieroglyphic inscriptions disappear, and finally those in Greek take their place.

A remarkable example of a very late Græco-Roman mummy, mummies. probably of the fourth century A.D., is British Museum

No. 21,810. The body is enveloped in a number of wrappings, and the whole is covered with a thin layer of plaster painted a pinkish-red colour. Over the face is inserted a portrait of the deceased, with a golden laurel crown on his head ; on the breast, in gold, is a collar, each side of which terminates in the head of a hawk. The scenes painted in gold on the body are: I. Anubis, Isis, and Nephthys at the bier of the deceased. 2. Thoth, Horus, uræi, etc., referring probably to the scene of the weighing of the heart. 3. The soul revisiting the body, which is attempting to rise up from a bier, beneath which are two jars; beneath this scene is a winged disk. Above these scenes in a band is inscribed, in Greek, “O Artemidorus, farewell.” APTEMIAWPH, EY+YXI ; and above the band is a vase de, on each side of which is a figure of Maāt . Mummies of children of this period have the hair curled and gilded, and hold bunches of flowers in their hands, which are crossed over their breasts.


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In the early centuries of our era, mummies of wealthy people Descripwere wrapped in royal cloth made wholly of silk. When Pisentios, Bishop of Coptos, and his disciple John took up by Pisentheir abode in a tomb in the“ mountain of Tchêmi” (NITWOT Ì Heer


) found it filled with a number of mummies, the names of which were written on a parchment roll which lay close by them. The two monks took the mummies and piled them up one upon the other; the outer coffins were very large, and the coffins in which the bodies were laid were much decorated. The first mummy near the door was of great size, and his fingers and his toes were bandaged separately (RETHB ì XIX NEU Neysedarx KHC À Oras oral); the clothes in which he Silken was wrapped were made entirely of silk (802ochpikon cloths. NTE NJOrpwor). The monk who wrote this description of mummies, and coffins, and silk, evidently described what he had actually seen. The huge outer coffins to which he refers belong to a very late period, as do also the highlydecorated inner coffins; the fingers and toes being bandaged separately also points to a late Roman period. His testimony


Silk, Heb. V (Ezek. xvi. 10, 13), LXX., tpixantov, onpınds (Rev. xvii. 12), Syr. Lakin, was common in Greece and Rome at the end of the second century of our era. According to Aelius Lampridius (cap. 26), Heliogabalus was the first Roman who wore cloth made wholly of silk, holoseriia veste, and an idea of the value of silk in the early days of its adoption in Europe is gained from the fact that Aurelian denied his wife a shawl of purple silk because a pound of silk cost ne pound weight in gold (Flavius Vopiscus, Vit. Aur., cap. 45). The custom of women wearing silk was railed at by Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Ambrose, Chrysostom and others; yet Basil, about A.D. 370, illustrated the doctrine of the resurrection from the change of the chrysalis into a butterfly. The custom in Italy of wrapping dead bodies in silk is probably not earlier than the end of the third century, and in Egypt we may place it about one hundred years later. On the use of silk by the ancients, see Yates, Textrinum Antiquorum, pp. 161-249, and for the collected statements of ancient authors on the subject, see G. D. Hoffman, Observationes circa Bombyces, Sericum, et Moros, ex antiquitatum, historiarum, juriumque penu deprompta ; Tübingen, 4to., 1757.

2 Greek όλοσηρικός.

3 For the complete text see Amélineau, Etude sur le Christianisme en Egypte, p. 143.

that silk was used for wrapping mummies is corroborated by
the fact that within the last few years a number of mummies
wrapped in cloths covered with silk' have been found. In
the British Museum is a fine specimen (No. 17,173), in which
two men on horseback, four dogs, flowers, etc., are woven
in green and yellow on a reddish ground. The whole is
inside a circular border ornamented with flowers.

This piece
of silk is sewn on a piece of fine yellow silk which is in turn

sewn on a piece of ordinary mummy cloth to strengthen it. Mummy Mummies of the Roman period were identified by small labels.

wooden labels, of an average size of five inches by two inches,
pierced at one end, and tied to the necks of the dead. The
inscriptions record the name of the deceased, and sometimes
those of his father and mother, and the number of years of his
life; some are in Greek only, a large number are bilingual,
Greek and demotic, and a few also give the equivalent of the
inscriptions in hieroglyphics. Unfortunately they are very
easy to forge, for the natives use old wood from Egyptian
coffins, and are able to imitate the inscriptions very closely,

and many imitations are sold to tourists annually. Decline

The Egyptian Christians appear to have adopted the balming in system of mummifying, and to have mixed up parts of the Egypt due

old Egyptian mythology with their newly adopted Christi-
to Chris-
tianity. anity. Already in the IIIrd century of our era the art of

mummifying had greatly decayed, and although it was
adopted by wealthy people, both Christian and Pagan, for
two or three centuries longer, it cannot be said to have been
generally in use at a period later than the IVth century.
I believe that this fact was due to the growth of Christianity
in Egypt. The Egyptian embalmed his dead because he
believed that the perfect soul would return to its body after
death, and that it would animate it once more ; he therefore
took pains to preserve the body from all destroying influences
in the grave. The Christian believed that Christ would give
him back his body changed and incorruptible, and that it
was therefore unnecessary for him to preserve it with spices

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For excellent coloured representations of Byzantine mummies, see Plates
A and B, in Mémoires de la Mission Archéologique Française au Caire, tom. iii.,
Paris, 1890.

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