EGYPT has been called the "Father of History and the Mother of Civilization" and well may she be called both for her influence upon the ancient world must have been great. Thales, the founder of Greek philosophy, was a student of Egyptian thought and investigated all of their theories of the universe as well as their ideas about the gods. Herodotus, a Greek historian who visited Egypt about 450 B.C., has given a vivid description of the country and people, at that time and about 8 B.C. Diodorus Siculus, a Greek traveler, wandered up and down the bank of the Nile and he, like Herodotus, gives in his book a description of the country and the people. By far the most interesting, as well as accurate, account is given by Strabo, the great geographer of Greece, who was a contemporary of Diodorus. About 90 A.D., Plutarch wrote his celebrated treatise on Isis and Osiris, a work that Egyptologists today consider a most accurate presentation of the ideals and traditions of ancient Egypt.
In speaking of the sources for the historical material pertaining to the ancient Egyptian, Auguste Mariette in his short history said: "First and foremost in value and in quantity are the Egyptian monuments themselves: the temples, palaces, tombs, statues, and inscriptions. These have supreme authority, because they have the advantage of being the incontestable evidence of the events which they record. They have not long enjoyed this distinction, as the secret of the mysterious writing with which they are covered was, until lately, lost; and it was difficult to see in these relies of antiquity anything more than lifeless stones, devoid of interest. But about eighty-five years ago there appeared, in the person of Champollion, a true genius, who succeeded, by his keen insight, in throwing the most unexpected light upon the darkness of the Egyptian script. Through him these old monuments, so long silent, caused their voices to be heard; by him was the veil torn asunder, and the Egypt of bygone days, so renowned for her wisdom and power, stood revealed to the modern world.
No longer are the monuments objects of hopeless curiosity, rather are they books of stone wherein may be read, in legible writing, the history of the nation with which they were contemporaneous.
"Next to the monuments in importance comes the Greek history of Egypt, written by Manetho, an Egyptian priest, about B.C. 250; and were the book itself in existence, we could have no more trustworthy guide. Egyptian by birth and priest by profession, Manetho, besides being instructed in all the mysteries of his religion, must have also been conversant with foreign literature, for he was a Greek scholar, and equal to the task of writing a complete history of his own country in that language. If only we had that book today it would be a priceless treasure; but the work of the Egyptian priest perished, along with many others, in the great wreck of ancient literature, the burning of the great library at Alexandria, and all we possess of it are a few fragments preserved in the pages of subsequent historians."
ORIGIN OF THE EGYPTIAN RACE
Prof. Wallis Budge writes on the Egyptian race: "The flint tools and weapons that have been found on the skirts of the desert at various places in Egypt, and that are generally admitted to be older than those of the Neolithic period, i.e., the New Stone Age, render it extremely probable that the country was inhabited by men in the Palæolithic period, i.e., the Old Stone Age. The questions that naturally arise in connection with them are: Who were they? To what race did they belong? If they were immigrants, where did they come from? In the limited space afforded by a single chapter it is impossible to enumerate even the most important of the arguments of which these questions have formed the subjects, or the principal theories, old and new, of the origin of the Egyptians. Fortunately Egyptian archæology, even in its present imperfect state, supplies a number of facts, which will suggest answers to these questions that are tolerably correct; and, as time goes on and the results of further research are perfected, our knowledge of these difficult questions may assume a decisive character. The human remains that have been found in Neolithic graves in Egypt prove that the Egyptians of the Neolithic period in upper Egypt were Africans, and there is good reason for thinking that they were akin to all the other inhabitants of the Nile Valley at that time. When the great geological change took place that turned into a river valley the arm of the sea that extended as far as Esnâ, and the Nile deposits had formed the soil of Egypt, their ancestors migrated from the south to the north and occupied the land made by the Nile. Whether these facts apply equally to the Delta cannot be said, for no Neolithic graves in the Delta are known. Egyptian tradition of the Dynastic period held that the aboriginal home of the Egyptians was Punt, and though our information about the boundaries of this land is of the vaguest character, it is quite certain that a very large portion of it was in central Africa, and it probably was near the country called in our times 'Uganda.' There was in all periods frequent intercourse between Egypt and Punt, and caravans must have journeyed from one country to the other at least once a year. In the dynastic period several missions by sea were despatched to the port of Punt to bring back myrrh and other products of the country, which were so dear to the heart of the kinsmen of the Puntites who were settled in Egypt.
"Now, if the inhabitants of the southern portion of the Valley of the Nile were attracted to the good and fertile land of Egypt, it follows, as a matter of course, that foreign peoples who heard of this rich land would migrate thither in order to partake of its products and to settle in it. The peoples on the western bank--Libyans--and the dwellers in the eastern desert would intermarry with the native Egyptians, and the same would be the case with the negro and half-negro tribes in the Sûdân. At a very early period, and certainly in Neolithic times, a considerable number of Semites must have made their way into Egypt, and these came from the Arabian peninsula on the other side of the Red Sea, either for trading purposes or to settle in Egypt. Some of these crossed the Red Sea in its narrowest part, probably near the straits of Bâb al-Mandib at the southern end of it, and made their way into the country where the comparatively modern town of Sennaar now stands, just as their descendants did some three to five thousand years later. Here they would find themselves not only in fertile land, but they would also be in touch with the tribes living in the region where, from time immemorial, alluvial gold has been found in considerable quantities. Others of the Semites must have made their way into the Delta by the Isthmus of Suez, and there is no doubt that by intermarriage they modified the physical characteristics of many of the natives. Others, again, must have entered Egypt by way of the very ancient caravan route through the Wadi Hammânât, which left the Red Sea near the modern town of Kusêr and ended on the Nile near Kenâ in upper Egypt. It is impossible to think that the Semites in Arabia had no seagoing boats in which to cross the Red Sea, and that those who lived on the coast halfway down the Red Sea would be obliged to go so far north as the Isthmus of Suez, or so far south as Bâb al-Mandib before they could cross over into Africa.
"In the case of the natives of the Delta foreign influences of another kind would be at work. Here would flock traders of all kinds from the land that is now called Palestine, and from the islands of the Mediterranean, and from the seacoast and the countries inland to the west of Egypt. Some think that even in the Neolithic period there were many settlers who had come from the southern countries of Europe. If the above remarks are only approximately true, we are justified in assuming that the population of the Valley of the Nile was even at this early period very much mixed. It must, however, be noted that neither Libyans, nor Semites, nor seafaring folk of any kind, altered the fundamental characteristics of the African dwellers on the Nile."
THE BEGINNING OF EGYPTIAN HISTORY
Towards the end of the New Stone Age the Egyptians acquired the knowledge of working in copper, and with tools of this metal they found themselves able to do many things that were before impossible to them. With copper drills they perforated beads and hollowed out stone jars and vessels, and with copper knives and chisels they sculptured stone figures of men, animals, etc., with a skill that was truly wonderful. They had long known how to produce fire and one of its principal uses among them was to smelt copper. In many respects the state of Egypt at the close of this period was not greatly unlike that in which we know it to have been in the earliest part of the dynastic period. It was divided roughly into districts, or as we might say, counties, which at a later period were called "nomes" by the Greeks. Each district had its own symbol, which was generally that of its totem, and probably its own god, or gods, who must have been served by some kind of priest. The laws which men draw up for the protection of their wives, cattle, and possessions generally, as soon as they settle down in towns and villages, were, no doubt, administered in the rough and ready way that has been common among African communities from time immemorial. A system of irrigation must have been in use at this time, but it is improbable that there was any central controlling authority. The men of each district protected the part of the bank of the Nile that belonged to them, and made and maintained their own canals, and the high, banked causeways, which connected the towns and villages during the period of the Nile flood, and served as roads. There must have been a head man or governor in each district who possessed a good deal of power, and each town was probably ruled by a kind of mayor with due regard to the interests of the owners of large properties of different kinds. In the villages the largest landowners were probably supreme, but the "old men" or "fathers" of each village must have enjoyed a certain authority.
For a considerable time before the dynastic period there must have been kings in Egypt, some ruling over upper Egypt, and some over lower Egypt and the Delta. A portion of a monument, now called the "Palermo Stone" because it is preserved in the museum of Palermo in Sicily, supplies the names of several kings of lower Egypt, e.g., Seka, Tau, Thesh, Neheb, Uatchnâr, and Mekha.
It is quite certain that the names of several kings of upper Egypt were given on the missing portion of the monument, and this fact proves that at that time southern and northern Egypt formed two separate and independent kingdoms. When complete the Palermo stone contained a series of annals, which recorded the principal events in the reigns of the pre-dynastic kings, and also of the dynastic kings down to the middle of the fifth dynasty. There were also included the names of the principal festivals that were celebrated in these reigns, and also the height of the Nile flood yearly, given in cubits, palms, fingers, and spans. How these heights were ascertained is not clear, but it was probably by means of lines cut into a rock on the river bank, or on a slab built into a wall of a well at Memphis. The height of the Nile flood then, as now, was valuable for determining the degree of prosperity of the country that was probable during the year.
We have already said that the native African element in upper Egypt was reinforced continually from the south, and we may assume that the process of reinforcement usually went on peacefully, and that the Egyptians in upper Egypt assimilated their newly-arrived kinsmen from the south without difficulty. This, however, was fated not to go on indefinitely, for on one occasion at least, probably a century or two before the dynastic period began, a host of men from the south or southeast swept down upon Egypt. This invasion in many respects seems to have been similar to that which took place under Piânkhi, the king of Nubia, whose capital was at Napt, or Napata, about 720 B.C.; but whilst Piânkhi returned to Nubia, the southern folk and their leaders who invaded Egypt towards the close of the pre-dynastic period did not do so. If we take into account the effect of this pre-dynastic invasion upon the civilization of Egypt we must assume that the invaders were more highly civilized than the people they conquered. And if we assume this we must further assume that the invaders came from the country now called Abyssinia and the lands to the south of it. Their route was the old trade route known today as the "Blue Nile caravan route," which has been chosen from time immemorial by the captains of caravans, because it makes it unnecessary to traverse the first four cataracts. Among the invaders who came by this route were natives of the Eastern Desert, the remote ancestors of the Blemmyes and the modern Hadenduwa and cognate tribes, and Semites, who had originally crossed the Red Sea from Asia to Africa. We have no distinct record of this invasion, still less have we any details of it, and we have no knowledge of the causes that led up to it; but in an inscription of the Ptolemaic period cut on the walls of the temple of Edfû in upper Egypt, we certainly have a legendary account of it. In this inscription the victorious leader is accompanied by men who are called "Mesniu," or "Blacksmiths," who came from the west of the Nile, i.e., from a country to the south of Egypt, and not from a country to the southeast. This view agrees quite well with what is known of the dynastic period, for the Pharaohs often had to fight hordes of enemies from countries so far south as the White Nile and the Gazelle and Jûr Rivers, and their descendants were probably to be found in the Nobadae, who terrified the Romans, and the "Baggârah" who fought under the Mahdi in our own times. There may have been a conquest of Egypt by the peoples to the west of Egypt at one time, and another by the peoples to the east at another time, or the enemies of Egypt on both banks of the White and Blue Niles may have invaded the country together. In any case the purport of the inscription, the contents of which we will now describe, is to show that the king of the south and his descendants first conquered upper Egypt and then lower Egypt.
The Edfu text sets forth that Râ-Harmakhis was king of Ta-sti, the "Land of the Bow," i.e., the country of all the peoples who fought with bows and arrows, or the eastern Sûdân. In the 363d year of his reign he dispatched a force into Egypt, and overcoming all opposition, this god established himself and his followers at Edfû. Having discovered that the enemy had collected in force to the southeast of Thebes, Horus and his followers, or the blacksmiths, armed with spears and chains, set out and joined battle with them, and utterly defeated them at a place called Tchetmet. For the first time probably the natives armed with weapons made of flint found themselves in mortal combat with foreign enemies armed with metal weapons; their defeat was unavoidable. Soon after this battle the natives again collected in force to the northeast of Denderah, about fifty miles north of Thebes, where they were attacked and again defeated by Horus. Another battle took place a little later on at Heben, about one hundred and fifty miles south of Memphis, and Horus cut up many of his defeated foes and offered them to the gods. Horus then pursued the enemy into the Delta, and wherever he did battle with them he defeated them. In one place the arch-rebel Set appeared with his followers and fought against Horus and his "blacksmiths," but Horus drove his spear into Set's neck, fettered his limbs with his chain, and then cut off his head, and the heads of all his followers. Horus then sailed over the streams in the Delta, and slew the enemy in detail, and made himself master of the whole of the Delta, from the swamps on the west of the left main arm of the Nile to the desert in the east. The text goes on to say that companies of the "blacksmiths" settled down on lands given to them by Horus on the right and left banks of the Nile and in what is now called "middle Egypt"; thus the followers of Horus from the south effectively occupied the country. Horus returned to Edfû and made an expedition against the people of Uauat (now northern Nubia), and punished their rebellion. He then sailed back to Edfû and established the worship of Horus of Edfû, and ordered a symbol of this god to be placed in every temple of Egypt. Now the symbol referred to is the winged solar disk, with a serpent on each side of it, and the statement suggests that Horus established the worship of a form of the sun-god in Egypt. If this be really so, Horus and his followers must have come from the east, where sun-worship was common, and must have found that the Egyptians were not sun-worshippers. The Egyptians, like most of the peoples in the Nile Valley, ancient and modem, only worshipped the sun under compulsion. On the other hand, the worship of the moon was universal, and the native gods of the Egyptians were of a kind quite different from those worshipped in the Eastern Desert and among the peoples of Arabia, Syria, and the northern Delta.
BEGINNING OF DYNASTIC HISTORY
As the result, however, of one of the battles between the forces of the south and north, which was fought probably near Anulater Heliopolis--the king of the south gained the victory, and he was henceforth able to call himself "King of the South, King of the North." Who this mighty "uniter of the two lands" really was is not known, but the native tradition, which was current at Abydos, and presumably throughout Egypt, in the thirteenth century before Christ, stated that he was called Mena; this tradition was also accepted in the time of the Greek historians, for they all agree in saying that the first king of Egypt was called Menes.
MANETHO--THE EGYPTIAN HISTORIAN ON THE DYNASTIES
In this history of Egypt, Manetho gave a list of the kings of Egypt, which he divided into three parts, each containing several groups of kings which he called "dynasties," but it is not quite clear what he meant by the word "dynasty." Though his history is lost, four copies of his king-list are preserved in the works of later writers. The oldest of these is that which is said to have been written by Julius Africanus, in the third century of our era, which is preserved in the "Chronicle of Eusebius," bishop of Cæsarea, born A.D. 264, and died about 340. In this work Eusebius also gives a copy of the list of
THE DYNASTIES OF ANCIENT EGYPT
Dynasties Duration in years
1-2 Thinite 555
3-5 Memphite 746
6 Elephantine 203
7-8 Memphite 142 years, 70 days
9-10 Heracleopolite 294
11-13 Theban 666
14 Xoite 184
15-17 Hyksos (Delta) 511
18-20 Theban 593
21 Tanite 130
22 Bubastite 170
23 Tanite 89
24 Saïte 6
25 Ethiopian 50
26 Saïte 138
27 Persian 121
28 Saïte 7
29 Mendesian 21
30 Sebennyte 38
31 Persian 8
Amen-em-hat I 12
Aahmes I 18
Seti I 19
Ramses III 20
Shashanq I (Shishak) 22
Osorkon II (Zerah?)
Tefnekht (Piankhi King of Ethiopia took Memphis) 23
Shabaka. His sister Ameniritis married Piankhi II and their daughter became the queen of Psamethek I 25
Taharaqa (Tirhakah) 26
Neku II (Necho)
Uahabra (Hophra) 30
Nekthorheb (Nectanebo I)
Nektnebef (Nectanebo II)
Manetho made by himself, but the copy of Julius Africanus agrees better with the results derived from the monuments which we now have than that of Eusebius. The dynasties of Manetho's king-list that represent that "archaic period" are the first p. 18
three. According to this, the kings of the first dynasty were eight in number and reigned 263 years; those of the second dynasty were nine in number and reigned 214 years. The first and second dynasties reigned at Thnis--Abydos--and the third dynasty at Memphis. The original Egyptian forms of many of the royal names given by Manetho have been identified without doubt; the identifications of a few others are nearly certain, and about the remainder there exist many different opinions. Besides Áha and Nârmer, or Nârmer and Áha, for the true order of these two kings is uncertain.
THOTHMES III OF THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY
Thothmes III is generally regarded as the greatest of the kings of Egypt--the Alexander the Great of the Egyptian history. The name Thothmes means "child of Thoth," and was a common name among the ancient Egyptians. He is represented by a sphinx presenting gifts of water and wine to Tum, the setting sun, a solar deity worshipped at Heliopolis. On the hieroglyphic paintings at Karnak, the fact of the heliacal rising of Sothis, the dog-star, is stated to have taken place during this reign, from which it appears that Thothmes III occupied the throne of Egypt about 1450 B.C. This is one of the few dates of Egyptian chronology that can be authenticated.
Thothmes III belonged to the eighteenth dynasty, which included some of the greatest of Egyptian monarchs. Among the kings of this dynasty were four that bore the name of Thothmes, and four the name of Amenophis, which means "peace of Amen." The monarchs of this dynasty were Thebans.
The father of Thothmes III was a great warrior. He conquered the Canaanitish nations of Palestine, took Nineveh from the Rutennu, the confederate tribes of Syria, laid waste Mesopotamia, and introduced war chariots and horses into the army of Egypt.
Thothmes III, however, was even a greater warrior than his father; and during his long reign Egypt reached the climax of her greatness. His predecessors of the eighteenth dynasty had extended the dominions of Egypt far into Asia and the interior of Africa. He was a king of great capacity and a warrior of considerable courage. The records of his campaigns are for the most part preserved on a sandstone wall surrounding the great temple of Karnak, built by Thothmes III in honor of Amen-Ra. From these hieroglyphic inscriptions it appears that Thothmes' first great campaign was made in the twenty-second year of his reign, when an expedition was made into the land of Taneter, that is, Palestine. A full account of his marches and victories is given, together with a list of one hundred and nineteen conquered towns.
This monarch lived before the time of Joshua, and therefore the records of his conquests present us with the ancient Canaanite nomenclature of places in Palestine between the times of the patriarchs and the conquest of the land by the Israelites under Joshua. Thothmes set out with his army from Tanis, that is Zoan; and after taking Gaza, he proceeded, by way of the plain of Sharon, to the more northern parts of Palestine. At the battle of Megiddo he overthrew the confederated troops of native princes; and in consequence of this signal victory the whole of Palestine was subdued. Crossing the Jordan near the Sea of Galilee, Thothmes pursued his march to Damascus, which he took by the sword; and then returning homeward by the Judean hills and the south country of Palestine, he returned to Egypt laden with the spoils of victory.
In the thirtieth year of his reign Thothmes led an expedition against the Rutennu, the people of northern Syria. In this campaign he attacked and captured Kadesh, a strong fortress in the valley of Orontes, and the capital town of the Rutennu. The king pushed his conquests into Mesopotamia, and occupied the strong fortress of Carchemish, on the banks of the Euphrates. He then led his conquering troops northward to the sources of the Tigris and the Euphrates, so that the kings of Damascus, Nineveh, and Assur became his vassals, and paid tribute to Egypt.
Punt or Arabia was also subdued, and in Africa his conquests extended to Cush or Ethiopia. His fleet of ships sailed triumphantly over the waters of the Black Sea. Thus Thothmes ruled over lands extending from the mountains of Caucasus to the shores of the Indian Ocean, and from the Libyan Desert to the great river Tigris.
Besides distinguishing himself as a warrior and as a record writer, Thothmes III was one of the greatest of Egyptian builders and patrons of art. The great temple of Ammon at Thebes was the special object of his fostering care, and he began his career of builder and restorer by repairing the damages which his sister Hatasu had inflicted on that glorious edifice to gratify her dislike of her brother Thothmes III, and her father Thothmes I, Statues of Thothmes I and his father Amenophis, which Hatasu had thrown down, were re-erected by Thothmes III, before the southern propylæa of the temple in the first year of his independent reign. The central sanctuary which Usertesen I had built in common stone, was next replaced by the present granite edifice, under the directions of the young prince, who then proceeded to build in the rear of the old temple a magnificent hall or pillared chamber of dimensions previously unknown in Egypt. This edifice was an oblong square, one hundred and forty-three feet long by fifty-five feet wide, or nearly half as large again as our largest cathedral. The whole of this apartment was roofed in with slabs of solid stone; two rows of circular pillars thirty feet in height supported the central part, dividing it into three avenues, while on each side of the pillars was a row of square piers, still further extending the width of the chamber and breaking it up into five long vistas. In connection with this noble ball, on three sides of it, north, east, and south, Thothmes erected further chambers and corridors, one of the former situated towards the south containing the "Great Table of Karnak."
One of the most interesting Pharaohs of Egypt was Akhnaton, who is called the first individualist of history and a great idealist. Prof. Wallis Budge gives this account of his kingship:
"Amen-Hetep--Akhnaton--was the son of Amen-hetep III by his wife Tî, and he reigned about twenty years. Whether he ascended the throne immediately after his father's death is not known, but whether he did or not matters little, for it is quite certain that for some years at least his mother was the actual ruler of Egypt, and that she ordered works to be carried out as if she were its lawful sovereign. His wife Nefertithi, who was probably of Asiatic origin like his mother, also obtained a power and an authority in Egypt which were not usually enjoyed by Egyptian queens. These facts are proved by the monuments, in which both Tî and Nefertithi are represented as equals in every respect of Amen-hetep IV, and their names are accorded prominence similar to those of the king. The pictures and sculptured representations of Amen-hetep IV show that his physical characteristics were wholly of a non-Egyptian character, and suggest that he was of a highly nervous and sensitive disposition, lacking in purpose, firmness, and decision, full of prejudices, self-will, and obstinacy. His acts prove that he was unpractical in every matter connected with the rule of Egypt and her Nubian and Asiatic provinces, which had been won for her by the great Thothmes III, and the story of the break-up of the great Egyptian empire owing to his weakness and incapacity is almost the saddest page of Egyptian history. His alien blood, derived from his mother and grandmother, caused to develop in him a multitude of strange ideas about religion, art, and government that were detestable to the Egyptians, whose national characteristics he neither recognized nor understood, and with whom he had no true sympathy. When he ascended the throne he adopted a series of names that proclaimed to all Egypt that he held religious views of a different character from those held by the majority of the Egyptians. Some of these resembled the doctrines of the Sun-god as taught by the priests of Heliopolis, but others were obnoxious to the Egyptians generally. His father and grandfather probably held exactly the same religious views, but if they did they took care not to allow them to disturb the peace of the country, nor to interrupt the business of the state. Amen-hetep IV proclaimed a new form of worship, and, to all intents and purposes, a new god, whom he called Aten. Now Aten was well known to the Egyptians as the god of the solar disk, and they had been familiar with him from the earliest period; but Amen-hetep IV assigned to him new attributes, which are very difficult to describe. He taught that Aten was the unseen, almighty, and everlasting power that made itself manifest in the form of the solar disk in the sky, and was the source of all life in heaven and earth and the underworld. He ascribed to Aten a monotheistic character, or oneness, which he denied to every other god, but when we read the hymns to Aten of which the king approved, it is extremely difficult to understand the difference between the oneness of Aten and the oneness of Amen-Râ, or Râ, or of any other great Egyptian god.
"During the first four years of his reign Amen-hetep IV lived at Thebes, but during the whole of this period he was quarrelling actively with the priests of Amen-Râ, whose god Amen was an abomination to him. As king he had great resources at his command, and besides building a sanctuary called Kem Aten at Thebes, he set up shrines to Aten at various places in Egypt, and also in the Sudan. The most important in the latter country was Kem Aten, which was probably situated at or near Sadengah, where his father had built a temple in honor of Queen Tî. Whilst this work was going on Amen-hetep IV caused the name of Amen to be hammered out from the inscriptions on existing monuments, and he suppressed by every means in his power the cults of the other gods. Such an intolerant religious fanatic was never before seen in Egypt, and the king hated Amen and his name so thoroughly that he changed his own name from Amen-hetep to "Khu-en-Aten," or "Aakh-en-Aten," a name meaning "spirit soul of Aten." Besides his fanaticism there was also a material reason for his hatred of Amen. He saw the greater part of the revenues of the country being absorbed slowly but surely by the greedy priesthood of this god, and he felt that their wealth made their power to be actually greater than that of the king.
"Of the details of the fight between the priesthoods of the old gods of Egypt and the king little is known, but it is clear that the Egyptians found some effective way of showing their resentment to the king, for in the fifth year of his reign he forsook Thebes, and founded a new capital, wherein Aten alone was to be worshipped. The site of the new capital which was called Khut-en-Aten, or 'horizon of Aten,' was on the east bank of the Nile, about two hundred miles south of Memphis, and is marked today by the villages of Haggî Kandil, and Tell al-Amarnah. Here he built a large temple to Aten and two or three smaller sanctuaries for the private use of the ladies of his family. Near the temple was the palace, which was splendidly decorated and furnished with beautiful objects of every kind, and the priests and high officials and nobles who had followed the king were provided with rock-hewn tombs in the mountain behind the new capital. A considerable space of ground about this capital was set apart as the property of Aten, and its confines were marked with boundary stones, and the revenues of some of the old sanctuaries were wrested from them by the king and applied to the support of Aten. Amen-hetep IV and his followers lived in Khut-en-Aten for some twelve or fifteen years in comparative peace, and the king occupied himself in playing the priest, and in superintending the building operations and the laying out of large and beautiful gardens by the court architect Bek. The high priest bore the title of the high priest of Heliopolis, and the form of worship there seems to have had much in common with the old solar cult of Heliopolis. The king composed one or two hymns which were sung in his temple, and copies of these were painted on the walls of the tombs of his favourites.
"Meanwhile what was happening to Egypt and her Asiatic and Nubian provinces? For a time the kings of Mitanni and Babylonia sent dispatches to Amen-hetep IV as they did to his father, and some of the chiefs of the neighboring countries sent tribute to him as they did to his father. When, however, the envoys returned to their countries and reported that Pharaoh, whose mere name had struck terror into the Asiatics, was at enmity with all his people, and was devoting all his time to theological matters, and to the founding of new canons of art, and to the selfish enjoyment of a religion that was detested by all the Egyptian priesthoods, with the exception of the priesthood of Heliopolis, the enemies of the Egyptian power in western Asia felt that the time of their deliverance was at hand. With one accord they ceased to pay tribute, and gathering together their forces, they attacked the Egyptian garrisons in Syria and Palestine, and one by one the cities fell, and the Egyptian governors and their troops were slain or scattered. The Kheta, or Hittites, swept down from the north upon the possessions of Egypt, and being joined by the Khabiri and by the vassal princes of Egypt, were irresistible. They first attacked and took the inland cities, and then advancing westward they captured city after city along the coast until Beyrut, Tyre, Ascalon, Gezer, and Lachish were at their mercy. The Tell al-Amarnah letters contain piteous appeals to Amen-hetep IV for help from all parts of Syria and Palestine, and every writer entreats the king to protect his own possessions; but the king had no help to send, and even if he had had troops available for despatch they would never have been sent, for he hated war in all its forms. Thus Egypt lost her Asiatic possessions which it had taken her kings nearly two hundred years to acquire. Meanwhile discontent was growing everywhere in Egypt itself, and conspiracies against the king were spreading in all directions; when these had reached formidable proportions the king died, but whether his death was due to anxiety, disease, or poison cannot be said. Amen-hetep IV had no son, and his family consisted of six daughters, the eldest of whom died before her father. He was buried in a tomb hewn in the mountains behind his town, and his stone coffin, or sarcophagus, was found there in 1893 by the native tomb robbers, who cut out the cartouches from it and sold them to travellers.
"Amen-hetep IV was succeeded by Sâakarâ who had married one of his daughters called Merit-Aten, and had probably assisted his father-in-law in his various religious undertakings. Sâakarâ ruled the town of Khut-en-Aten for two or three years, and was succeeded by Tut-Ánkh-Amen, a son of Amen-hetep III, who married a daughter of Amen-hetep IV called Ánkhsenpaaten. Tut-ânkh-Amen was undoubtedly supported by the priests of Amen, as the presence of the name of the god in his name testifies, and his accession to the throne marks the triumph of the priesthood of Amen over Aten and his followers. He made his wife change her name to Ankhsen-Amen, and removed the court to Thebes, where he at once set to work to repair portions of the great temples of Amen at Karnak and Luxor. Wherever it was possible to do so he restored the name and figure of the god Amen, which his father-in-law had attempted to obliterate. He carried out certain building operations in the Sudan and received tribute from the chiefs of the country, but he undertook no military expeditions into Syria, and made no attempt to renew the sovereignty of Egypt in western Asia. When Tut-Ankh-Amen removed his court to Thebes, he was quickly followed by many of the nobles who had settled at Khut-en-Aten, and the capital of Amen-hetep IV began at once to decline. The services in the temple languished, and the sculptors and artists who had designed their works in accordance with the canons of art devised and approved by Amen-hetep IV found themselves without employment; the working classes who had lived on the court left the town, which in a very few years became forsaken. The Aten temples were thrown down, and before many years had passed the town became a heap of ruins. Thus the triumph of Amen, the god who had delivered the Egyptians from the Nyksos, was complete."
RAMESES II OF THE NINETEENTH DYNASTY
Rameses II, called the Napoleon of Egypt, lived about two centuries after Thothmes III, and ascended the throne about 1300 B.C. Rameses I was the third king of the nineteenth dynasty; and for personal exploits, the magnificence of his works, and the length of his reign, he was not surpassed by any of the kings of ancient Egypt, except by Thothmes III.
His grandfather, Rameses I, was the founder of the dynasty. His father, Seti I, is celebrated for his victories over the Rutennu, or Syrians, and over the Shasu, or Arabians, as well as for his public works, especially the great temple he built at Karnak. Rameses II, was, however, a greater warrior than his father. He first conquered Kush, or Ethiopia; then he led an expedition against the Khitæ, or Hittites, whom he completely routed at Kadesh, the ancient capital, a town on the River Orontes, north of Mount Lebanon. In this battle Rameses was placed. in the greatest danger; but his personal bravery stood him in good stead, and he kept the Hittites at bay till his soldiers rescued him. He thus commemorates on the monuments his deeds:
"I became like the god Mentu; I hurled the dart with my right hand; I fought with my left hand; I was like Baal in his time before their slight; I had come upon two thousand five hundred pairs of horses; I was in the midst of them; but they were dashed in pieces before my steeds. Not one of them raised his hand to fight; their courage was sunken in their breasts; their limbs gave way; they could not hurl the dart, nor had they strength to thrust the spear. I made them fall into the waters like crocodiles; they tumbled down on their faces one after another. I killed them at my pleasure, so that not one looked back behind him; nor did any turn round. Each fell, and none raised himself up again." 1
Rameses fought with and conquered the Amorites, Canaanites, and other tribes of Palestine and Syria. His public works are also very numerous; he dug wells, founded cities, and completed a great wall begun by his father Seti, reaching from Pelusium to Heliopolis, a gigantic structure designed to keep back the hostile Asiatics, thus reminding one of the Great Wall of China. Pelusium was situated near the present Port Said, and the wall must therefore have been about a hundred miles long. In its course it must have passed near the site of Tel-el-Kebir. It is now certain that Rameses built the treasure cities spoken of in Exodus: "Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses"--Exod. i. 11. According to Dr. Brich, Rameses II was a monarch of whom it was written: "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt who knew not Joseph."
He enlarged On and Tanis, and built temples at Ipsambul, Karnak, Luxor, Abydos, Memphis, etc.
The most remarkable of the temples erected by Rameses is the building at Thebes, once called the Memnonium, but now commonly known as the Rameseum; and the extraordinary rock temple of Ipsambul, or Abu-Simbel, the most magnificent specimen of its class which the world contains.
The façade is formed by four huge colossi, each seventy feet in height, representing Rameses himself seated on a throne, with the double crown of Egypt upon his head. In the center, flanked on either side by two of these gigantic figures, is a doorway of the usual Egyptian type, opening into a small vestibule, which communicates by a short passage with the main chamber. This is an oblong square, sixty feet long, by forty-five, divided into a nave and two aisles by two rows of square piers with Osirid statues, thirty feet high in front, and ornamented with painted sculptures over its whole surface. The main chamber leads into an inner shrine or adytum, supported by four piers with Osirid figures, but otherwise as richly adorned as the outer apartment. Behind the adytum. are small rooms for the priests who served in the temple. It is the façade of the work which constitutes its main beauty. 1
"The largest of the rock temples at Ipsambul," says Mr. Fergusson, "is the finest of its class known to exist anywhere. Externally the façade is about one hundred feet in height, and adorned by four of the most magnificent colossi in Egypt, each seventy feet in height, and representing the king, Rameses II, who caused the excavation to be made."
His character has been well summarized by Canon Rawlinson: "His affection for his son, and for his two principal wives, shows that the disposition of Rameses II was in some respects amiable; although, upon the whole, his character is one which scarcely commends itself to our approval. Professing in his early years extreme devotion to the memory of his father, he lived to show himself his father's worst enemy, and to aim at obliterating his memory by erasing his name from the monuments on which it occurred, and in many cases substituting his own. Amid a great show of regard for the deities of his country, and for the ordinances of the established worship, he contrived that the chief result of all that he did for religion should be the glorification of himself. Other kings had arrogated to themselves a certain qualified dignity, and after their deaths had sometimes been placed by some of their successors on a par with the real national gods; but it remained for Rameses to associate himself during his lifetime with such leading deities as Ptah, Ammon, and Horus, and to claim equally with them the religious regards of his subjects. He was also, as already observed, the first to introduce into Egypt the degrading custom of polygamy and the corrupting influence of a harem. Even his bravery, which cannot be denied, loses half its merit by being made the constant subject of boasting; and his magnificence ceases to appear admirable when we think at what a cost it displayed itself. If, with most recent writers upon Egyptian history, we identify him with the 'king who knew not Joseph,' the builder of Pithom and Raamses, the first oppressor of the Israelites, we must add some darker shades to the picture, and look upon him as a cruel and ruthless despot, who did not shrink from inflicting on innocent persons the severest pain and suffering."
33:1 Brugsch, "History of Egypt," Vol. II, p. 5U, 1st ed.
34:1 Rawlinson's "Ancient Egypt," Vol. I, p. 318.
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