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chorography of Egypt, and also the topography of the temple sites, and lastly the arrangements of the furniture of the temple. The other four, the astrological, more properly called by us the astronomical, were committed to a particular class of scholars, the horoscopi, or time-seers. This portion entered into everything that was necessary to be acquainted with for the calculation of time, especially the stars, the arrangement of the planets, the conjunctions and phases of the sun and moon, and lastly the rising of the stars.
Then came two books of the chanter, that is the precentor, a practical leader of the religious and festive songs. His two books contained hymns to the gods and observations on the royal life, as a subject matter of religious charms. The last six books were on medicine.'
Astronomy was cultivated in the most elaborate and complete manner. “ We have discovered,” says Lepsius, "a division of time less than the hour to the sixty times sixtieth part of a minute; and above an hour to a period of 36,525 years. Between these there were the greatest variety of cycles, such as no other ancient nation, except the Egyptians, have been able to produce in equal perfection. ... They recognized as forms of years, and carried out in a calendar both the oldest lunar year, as well as the solar year of 365 days, and the Sirius year, which was one fourth of a day longer. The civil solar year, after twenty-five years, namely at the Apis period, agreed again with the lunar year; in the same way, calculating by the day, it agreed with the Sirius year at a lustrum of four years; and in the space of 1461 years it agreed completely with the Sothis period. The Phønix period of 1500 years was employed to make the civil year agree with the tropical year. Finally the Sidereal year, or the slow receding of the ecliptic to the west, became known, and it was expressed, although with an imperfect comprehension of the direction and the velocity of the movement, by its greatest astronomical period of 36,525 years.”
1 Extracted from Lepsius.
Such were the studies cultivated by an Egyptian scholar; and we watch this student of their sciences, Mo-uses, as through long weary days he worked his way more and more deeply into the national lore, his mind oppressed unceasingly with the sufferings of his countrymen. The full extent of the learning of the country was known only to their priests, and the fact that Moses became a complete adept in it seems scarcely to leave a doubt of the correctness of the opinion held by a great many that he was himself enrolled in the priesthood at their sacred city of On. Strabo, who probably took his account of him from Hecatæus, speaks of him as an Egyptian priest; and so does Manetho, who informs us that his name is said to have been also Osarsiph, from Osiris, “who was the god of Heliopolis.” As an adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter, he would, according to Egyptian usages, be thus enrolled and thus educated: and the ordinances which afterward came from him for the Israelites when in Arabia show an intimate acquaintance with the Egyptian hierarchy.
We turn to gaze at him then in this anomalous and most uncomfortable position, against which all his feelings had gradually risen into rebellion, and in which the favors he received were grating harshly upon him, as he saw his countrymen ground into the dust by the tyranny of the Egyptian monarch, who was sustained in this by the jealousy and fears of the Egyptian people respecting his race. He had come to recognize himself fully as an Israelite; and although his fetters were of gold, he felt himself still to be a slave among enslaved people, who were now receiving all his sympathies. He looked round at the sculptured figures of gods in these magnificent halls and temples, and at Apis and Mnevis, the supposed incarnations of their deities; and amid his honors, which his heart felt now to be degradation, he turned in humility to seek after the God whom his forefathers worshipped, and respecting whom in his now cultivated intercourse with his own people he more frequently heard. Jehovah, even to the Israelites in their debasement and ignorance, was a dimmed vision, but was still adhered to as the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob; and now, though seemingly forsaking them, was still the centre of hopes faint but not quite yielded up—their only hope.
1 Jos. Cor. Ap. I. & 26.
During this condition of Moses and the Israelites, the monarch Ramesses II., mis-called “ The Great,” was exercising a despotism which has not had a parallel in that country. After his successful wars, during which he had sculptures cut on the rocks near what is now Beyrout representing his conquests and where the figures remain to this day, he engaged in architectural projects so grand and wide that all Egypt is still covered with the wonderful results. Among these are rock-temples, all the walls of which are faced with splendid bassi-relievi, the statues as large as life; also splendid palaces and sphinx-avenues, and propylons and columnar-avenues at Thebes, and colossal statues of himself, one of them at Memphis thirty-four feet and a half in height, and one, a sitting one, at Thebes, forty feet from the seat,—so large that the foot measures eleven feet in length. One of his statues is part of a group in which he is represented as the god Ra, sitting between the gods Ammon and Muth, and giving life and purity to the king, that is to himself. One of his obelisks is now in the Place de Concorde at Paris. Many of these Egyptian sculptures are in granite, so hard that the hardest steel makes little impression on it, and yet the figures are cut with a sharpness of angle and outline that always excites
the wonder of the beholder. A beneficent work of this monarch was his canal made from the most eastern arm of the Nile, commencing at Pithom and ending at Ramesses, where he had built two "treasure-cities,” noticed in Ex. i. 11; Ramesses was also the starting-place of the Israelites (Ex. xii. 37), in the Exodus. There has lately been discovered on its site a monument containing three figures cut in a block of granite, one of them Ramesses II., between the gods Ra and Tum, and having the cartouches of Ramesses cut on it six times.
It will be seen that the reign of such a sovereign-projector must have been terribly oppressive to all his subjects, and especially so to the enslaved Israelites. We give here a copy of his face taken from the monuments, and the reader will notice the expression, showing a nature cold, decided, self-satisfied, dark and secret. “Who is the colossal figure,” says Stanley, in writing about this monarch, “ that sits repeated, again and again, at the entrance of every temple ? who is it that rides in his chariot, leading diminutive nations captive behind him? To whom is it that in the frontispiece of every gateway the gods give the falchion of destruction, with the command to ‘slay and slay and slay'? whose sculptured image, in the interior of the temples, is it that we see brought into the most familiar relations with the highest powers, equal in form and majesty, suckled by the greatest goddess, fondled by the greatest god, sitting beside them, arm entwined in arm, in the recess of the most holy place ? We see his profound yet scornful repose expressed both in countenance and attitude; we see the long profile, majestic and beautiful beyond any of his successors or predecessors. We see even the peculiar curl of his nostrils and the fall of his under lip.”
Such was the Pharaoh in the palace, while Moses was growing into manhood, and was then advancing onward, getting mature in years and clear in his observations of rulers and