Records of the Past, 2nd series, Vol. II

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Records of the Past, 2nd series, Vol. II

By A. H. Sayce

Introduction - The Legend of the Expulsion of the Hyksos

The story of the quarrel between the Shepherd-king Apôpi and Soqnun-rî the hereditary prince of Thebes, which eventually led to the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt, is found, though unfortunately in a mutilated condition, in the first pages of the Papyrus Sallier I. The value of a historical document has long been attributed to it; but its style, as well as the expressions and the general character of the subject, imply a romance, where the principal parts in the scene are played by persons who belong to real history, though the scene itself is almost entirely the offspring of the popular imagination.

Champollion thrice saw the papyrus in the hands of its original owner, M. Sallier of Aix in Provence, in 1828, some days before his departure for Egypt, and in 1830 on his return. The notes published by Salvolini prove that he had recognised, if not the exact nature of the story, at all events the historical significance of the royal names occurring in it. The manuscript, purchased in 1839 by the British Museum, was published in facsimile (in 1841) in the Select Papyri, vol. i. pl. i sqq.; the notice by Hawkins, evidently compiled from information given by Birch, furnishes the name of the antagonist of Apophis, which had not been read by Champollion, but it attributes the cartouche of Apophis to king Phiops of the fifth dynasty. E. de Rouge was the first who actually-understood the contents of the first pages of the papyrus. Already in 1847 he gave Soqnun-rî his true place in the list of the Pharaohs; in 1 854 he pointed out the name of Hâuâru or Avaris in the fragment and inserted in the Athénæum Français 1854, p. 352, a fairly detailed analysis of the document. The discovery was popularised in Germany by Brugsch, who attempted to render the three first lines word for word (Ægyptische Studien, ii. 1854), then in England by Goodwin, who believed himself able to offer a complete translation of the papyrus ("Hieratic Papyri" in the Cambridge Essays, 1858, pp. 243–245). Since then, the text has been frequently studied, by Chabas (Les Pasteurs en Égypte, 1868), by Lushington (Fragment of the first Sallier Papyrus in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology, iv. pp. 263–266, reproduced in the first series of Records of the Past, vol. vii.), by Brugsch (History of Egypt, 2d Edit., vol. i. pp. 274 sqq.), by Ebers (Ægypten und die Bücher Moses, 1868, pp. 204 sqq.). Goodwin, after mature examination, hesitatingly advanced the opinion that an accurate narrative indeed could not be found in it, but only a historical novel (in the English translation of Bunsen's Egypt's Place in History, iv. p. 671). It is the opinion which I share, and which appears to have generally prevailed. The transcription and translation of the text and a commentary upon it are given in my Études égyptiennes, i. pp. 195–216; the translation alone is reproduced in my Contes égyptiens, 2d Edit., pp. 273286.

I believe the existing fragments allow us to restore almost the whole of the first two pages. Perhaps the attempt at restoration which I propose will appear adventurous even to Egyptologists; at all events it will be seen that I have not undertaken it rashly. A minute analysis of the text has led me to the results which I here submit to criticism.



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