Page images

dous architecture, and of their costume, as transaction is recorded ; not a monument, not depicted on the Fgyptian monuments, are even a grave (for the pyramids he thinks older still found.*

still) remains! The monuments indeed repThis extraordinary movement may, in fact, resent Amenemha, the last of the old Egyphave had its beginning in Egypt, since the tian rulers, as being succeeded by Amosis, Philistim and the Caphtorim (or Copts) are the first of the New Monarchy. This, we both enumerated among the descendants of are to believe, was only a regal fiction, like Mizraim.f The former, however, had removed Charles II. coming next to his father on the into the south of Palestine as early as Abra- throne of England ; in reality, there was an ham's time, leaving the ancestral country to interregnum-an interval as long as from be called Egypt, “ the land of the Copt.” Alfred the Great to Queen Victoria—when This separation seems to have been a promi- Egypt was subject to a foreign race ; after nent event in primitive history,g and the which she expelled the usurpers en masse, and Egyptian monuments show that war continued not the slightest assimilation having taken to be waged for many a long year between the place between them-quietly returned to the Copts and the Philistines.

former state of things! Such a miracle in These Phoenicians, like the latter Arabs, history is only to be paralleled from the roamed alike the sea and the desert; they were “ Arabian Nights," where the vizier, in fact, at once mariners and sheep-owners, the two only dipped his head into a bucket and took it occupations most detested by the Egyptians. out again, but the force of imagination conWhen the herbage of the wilderness failed jured a whole life into the interval. them, the marauders drove their flocks into To return to Herodotus, whom Baron Bunthe fertile fields of the Delta. Similar dep- sen compassionates for his credulity ;-he redations were experienced from the sons of heard less about Cephrenes than Cheops, but Shem on the Arabian side of the desert, hence he is great on Mycerinus. He was a good

every shepherd was an abomination unto the and pious king, an orthodox idolater, who reEgyptians." There was a tradition which opened the temples, restored the sacrifices, Josephus has preserved out of Manetho, that and consulted the oracles. He was snatched on one occasion the strangers seized Memphis away by the gods as too good for the wickeditself, and made themselves masters of all ness of the times, though not at all to his own Egypt; levying tribute from the native rulers, satisfaction, nor without a very decided reclamuch as the Mongols did in later times from mation on his part. There was indeed anthe Russian princes. These were the Hyksos, other story about the Third or Red * Pyramid, or “Shepherd Kings,” described as cruel ene- which Herodotus treated as a ridiculous anmies both to the people and the gods of Egypt, achronism. Still people said that it was raised burning the temples, slaying the priests, and by Rhodopis, a Greek beauty, once a slave in driving those who refused their yoke into the the same house with Æsop the writer of Upper Valley where, a stand being made, a fables, who, having gained her freedom, setforce was collected, the shepherds were at last tled at Naucratis, and acquired great riches, expelled, and Egypt was united into a mon- but no way sufficient for such a monument; archy under the King of Thebes.

besides she was of the time of King Amasis, The date and duration of this struggle are B.c. 566, and Herodotus calculated Cheops to wholly unknown. Manetho assigns five of have reigned about B.c. 800. his dynasties to it (13th-17th), but can only Such was the information collected by the name six rulers, none of whose names are Father of History. Very little was added by found on any monument. Out of this tradi- the inquiries of the after Greek and Roman tion, however, Baron Bunsen has built up a visitors. Diodorus, four and a half centuries “Middle Empire” of shepherd-kings ruling later, wrote Chembes in place of Cheops, and Egypt from the year B.c. 2567 to B.c. 1625. Chabryis for Cephrenes, adding that neither This is a period equal in length to the entire was actually interred in his pyramid, for the history of England, in all which not a single populace, enraged at their tyranny, had * See Bryant's · Ancient History and Mythology.' threatened to tear up their corpses, to avoid Gen. x. 14; 1 Chron. i. 12.

* So called from being faced with the fine red | Amos ix. 7.

Syenite, which Herodotus calls “Ethiopian granite." Gen. xlvi. 34.

It is the well-known material of the obelisks, state || Gen. xxi. 32, 34.

ues, etc., of Theban Art.

which they were secretly buried by their reputation—and he was called a lesser Plato friends in some unknown place. Diodorus —could not float his Egyptian history to posnoticed an ascent cut in the side of the Second terity. Josephus has preserved a few scraps Pyramid. It had no inscription. The Third of Manetho, cooked to the Hebrew taste; and had the name of Mycerinus carved on the a list of his “ Dynasties was included in northern face some, however, still called it the Chronology of Julius Africanus, a bishop the sepulchre of Rhodopis, and indeed there of the third century. Africanus was rewas absolutely no agreement as to any of the bashed and served up again by Eusebius. founders—some assigning the Great Pyramid But alas ? the two Christian prelates soon to Armæus, the Second to Amosis, the Third shared the fate of their heathen predecessors. to Inaron. *

They survive only in the pages of George, a Strabo, who was there shortly after Diodo- Greek monk, who had the honor of being rus, also gives the Third Pyramid to Rhodopis, Syncellus (or cell companion) to Tarasius, by Sappho called Doricha. Pliny repeats Master of the Horse to the amiable Irene, and the same story, which by his time seems to Patriarch of Constantinople at the second have become the favorite tradition ; but he Council of Nicæa (A.D. 780.) An Armenian concludes that all authorities were at fault, translation of Eusebius, however, lately disand that the real authors of these idle and covered, and translated into Latin, confirms foolish exhibitions of wealth had been over the substantial fidelity of Syncellus. Of taken by a well-merited oblivion. I

Eratosthenes all that remains is a list of The Later still, when the Ptolemies reigned in ban kings, copied by Syncellus out of ApolloEgypt, and took every means of flattering the dorus of Athens. It begins with “ Menes national pride, it was resolved to try the effect the first king,” but knows nothing of the of a book in establishing the antiquities. Thirty Dynasties, and has so little in common Manetho, a priest of Sebennytus, undertook with Manetho that it was never thought posto write a history of Egypt from the days of sible to reconcile them, till Bunsen put both Menesmay, and of the gods before him.g into his alemhic, with many other ingredients, He distributed the kings from Menes to Nec- and, by the aid of a powerful imagination, tanebus, the last of the native Pharaohs, into distilled them into his “ New Extract of Thirty Dynasties. His book was written in Chronology." Greek, with the avowed purpose of correct These learned Thebans tell us little of the ing the mistakes of Herodotus, but it seems Pyramids, and it grieves us to read of an ecto have found little favor abroad or at home. clesiastic, though of the idolatrous persuasion, The Greeks took no notice of it, perhaps they the terms in which that little is introduced did not believe in the antediluvian “pillars in by Syncellus, who knew his author best. the Syriadic land,” from which he pretended " Manetho (writes this George without the to copy his information. Perhaps they sup-drag-on), high-priest of the detestable Egypposed that, after two centuries of foreign tian Mysteries, as great a liar as Berosus !rule, including several changes of masters, Gently, good monk, gently! There may be with the usual accompaniments of revolution reason for your indignation, and in the days and civil war, the priests were not likely to of General Councils your word would cerknow more of their antiquities than was tainly have carried the day. But we have known to their predecessors, when Egypt was changed all that now; we no longer believe first opened to extraneous inquiry.

in monks; we prefer a heathen priest to an At any rate, Manetho had little success ; inspired prophet, and can swallow any miraand another Ptolemy employed Eratosthenes cle, provided it be not recorded in Holy Writ. to write another history. Both have been so beware of personalities, good Syncellus, or long as dead as Cheops. All Eratosthenes's you will find to your cost that two can play * Diod. Sic., i. 63.

Well! Manetho, as reported by Africanus, + Strabo, lib, xvii. * Nat. Hist., xxxvi. 16.

as reported by Eusebius, as reported by Syn$ In Herodotus's time the Egyptian priests ridi- cellus, says, that the pyramid which Herodoled the notion of a god ever having lived upon tus ascribed to Cheops, was built by Suphis, th; but Manetho did not choose to be behind the eks, and gives us whole dynasties of gods reign- a ruler of his Fourth Dynasty,“ who was a and having children in Egypt.

despiser of the gods, and wrote a sacred

at that game.

book.” Africanus adds, that he himself ob- world to cover them with mats. All this tained a copy of this book when in Egypt, as was unknown to credulous old Herodotus, a valuable prize. The Second Pyramid Man- and shows the valųe of critical and scientific etho does not mention at all. Of Mycerinus, investigation. whom he writes Mencheres, he had nothing But now, what say the Pyramids themto record, but that he was the successor of selves? First, They affirm themselves to be Suphis. The Third Pyramid he assigns to tombs, not temples. Sepulchral vaults have Nitocris, the last sovereign of the Sixth Dy- been discovered under each, but there is no nasty; the most beautiful of women, having trace of any religious uses whatever. * The rosy cheeks and fair hair, who succeeded to vaults, however, have no communications, the throne on the murder of her husband, and never could have had any–with the Nile, and destroyed his assassins by letting the Nile being all considerably above its level. Hence, into the apartment where she had invited the story of Cheops and his insulated tombe them to a banquet.

only proves that the priests were not acHerodotus had heard of Nitocris and her quainted with the interior of the pyramids. tragical revenge. She was the only female At what time they were first opened we know in a list of three hundred sovereigns, read to not, apparently not till after Herodotus's him by the priests from a book; but they visit; perhaps before Strabo’s, who mentions said nothing of her building a pyramid, noth- the entrance into the larger one covered by a ing of her beauty or foreign complexion ; on movable stone. They were probably violated the contrary, they called her the sole native by the Persians, and certainly by the Arabian queen, and represented the king whom she caliphs of the seventh century. Hence the avenged as her brother.

absence of a body, or any traces of one, in the In regard to the Third Pyramid, then, larger pyramids, does not amount to a corManetho is distinctly at variance with the roboration of the legend, that the founders older priests ; as for the First, the difference were never buried there.f Though the vault of name is more apparent than real, since is empty, the Great Pyramid contains what Cheops and Suphis may be only two ways of neither Herodotus nor Diodorus ever expected, spelling the same hieroglyphical name. a chamber-indeed two-in the heart of the

Here ends the Egyptian information; it superstructure; and in one of these, called would be to little purpose to interrogate the the King's Chamber, a plain granite sarcomany learned travellers who have since tried phagus still remains. It must be noted that: to unravel our tangle. It has been tugged all the chambers and vaults are secured by: and twisted and bit at, in every imaginable portcullises of stone, with every precaution, way. The Pyramids are Joseph's granaries ; against disturbance or subsequent entry. or his sepulchre, opened at the Exodus to Another point to be noted is, that the. carry mummy up to the Land of Promise ; vaults are entered by sloping passages open-. or the Pharaoh's tomb who was drowned in" ing high in the northern face of each pyramid, the Red Sea ; or temples for the mystical and running at about the same angle straight rites of Osiris ; or water temples ; or temples into the bowels of the earth. In the Great, to Venus ; or observatories ; or emblems of Pyramid the passage is upwards of three hun-. the sacred sphere, proving the Egyptians to dred feet long, and so exactly straight, that have been acquainted with the quadrature of the sky is visible from the lower end. Its the circle. They were built by Nimrod, or angle with the horizon is 26 degs. 41 mins., by the Israelites, or by Queen Daluka ; or (if wbich, according to a calculation made by Sir you listen to the Arabs) by Surid, a king of John Herschel, would have pointed four Egypt before the Flood. They were the thousand years ago to the star a in the contombs of Seth, of Enoch, of Adam. They stellation of Draco, which was then the north were covered with inscriptions " containing

* It is the pleasure of some travellers to call the every charm and wonder of physic in the ruins on their eastern sides temples, but there is not Mosannad character.” The founder clothed a shadow of evidence to sustain the hypothesis. them in rich brocade, and challenged all the + On the contrary, if Cheops was succeeded by a

brother (or a son) who reigned fifty-six years, there * The ch in Egyptian seems to have been both soft was clearly power to protect his grave, and the preand hard, as in English, and p is always interchang- cautions taken to close the tombs indicate an actual able with ph or f.




star.* This fact has been called in to assist kind of garret over it, only two or three feet in determining the date of the structare; at bigh, which was entered by Mr. Davison in all events, when coupled with the exact em- 1765, and called by his name. Colonel Vyse, placement of the sides, it proves that some in 1837, discovered four similar chambers over astronomical considerations were in view, Mr. Davison’s, one above another, and clearly though the pyramids are hardly suited for designed (like his) to take off the weight from observatories. †

the ilat roof of the king's chamber. The The most remarkable testimony, however, walls of these apartments, never entered, and derived from the pyramids themselves, is of never meant to be entered, since the complethe kind immortalized by our noble Foreign tion of the structure, were found abundantly Secretary, as conspicuous for its absence.”' marked with hieroglyphics. They were only Their vast surfaces are without any kind of rude, unintelligible scrawls, made, in all inscription or sculpture; while every other probability, at the quarries from which the Egyptian monument is profusely embellished stones were brought; but among them apwith figures and hieroglyphics. The casing peared a royal name, which had been previstill remains on the upper part of the Second ously found in the tombs adjacent to the Pyramid, and the stones which are fallen at pyramids, and read, Chufu. This was held the foot of each have been examined; search to be the same which Herodotus wrote has been made also at Fostat and Cairo, Cheops, and Manetho Suphis ; but as the where the casing stones were made use of, tombs are certainly posterior to the pyramids, but po trace of an inscription has been heard -and no one can say how long,—the identiof, beyond the two observed by Herodotus fication was incomplete till the discovery of and Diodorus. The inscriptions talked of by the same characters in the pyramid itself. the Arabs are about as reliable as their hang If the discovery had ended here, it would ings of silk brocade. The interior of the bave been better for the solution; we all pyramids, too, with a couple of exceptions to know the inconvenience of proving too much. be noticed directly, are as dumb as the exte- These same quarry marks, however, contain rior. The passages, vaults, chambers, sarco- another royal ring, enclosing three of the

phagi, all witnessing to a bold and skilful four characters read Chufu, preceded by two use of the graving-tool, are without any figures others supposed to be symbols of Kneph, the or characters whatsoever. So marked a con- most ancient name in Egypt for the divinity. trast to all other Egyptian tombs and tem- Now of this Nef-chufu there are more theories ples, certainly suggests a different race or than we care to recount. The general notion :age ; and Colonel Vyse, on this account, ac- makes him another king of the same family; cepts the tradition of a Shepherd origin. and as Manetho actually has a second Suphis

To this intelligent explorer are owing the succeeding the first, let it be agreed that here latest and inost important discoveries, consti are their names. tuting the two exceptions just referred to.

We proceed to the Second Pyramid. 'The first is in the Great Pyramid, where the Wanted, a monumental identification for Ceking's chamber was long known to have a phrenes or Chabryis. Nothing easier, says Col. Howard Vyse's comprehensive work. Some of hides the dust of an architect whose epitaph

* The calculation is given in the Appendix to the Egyptologist. One of the adjacent tombs the popular epitomes of Astronomy substitute the star y for a Draconis, fixed upon by Herschel.

attaches him to “Shafra, the great one of the + The objections to their being actually designed Pyramids." Shafra is the name you are in as observatories are, the limited view from the in- search of, so hand over the reward. But stay terior, and the unnecessary height and difficulty of access, if a platform be imagined on the top. Still, a little ; an advertisement of this sort often it is certain that the transit of the heavenly bodies brings in many candidates, and it is not across the mouth of these inclined passages might be noted at the bottom, just as they are reflected at every one taken up on suspicion that proves to this day in a vessel of quicksilver at the bottom of bes wanted.” Shafra is found about the place, the well in the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. it is true, though not actually on the premThe passages would act, indeed, as telescopes (before ises ; but we have yet to find that he was lenses were known); and the same may be said of the singular narrow tubes in the King's Chamber. there at the time. :which are called ventilators. On the exterior it is The most vulnerable point in Egyptology possible that observations were made before the is the facility with which it “identifies present heights were attained ; moreover, Diodorus mentions a way of ascent outside.

hieroglyphic name, found anywhere, with


any historical personage unprovided with a cient divinities, Amun and Nef, who, in later monument. Hieroglyphics afford a delight- days, were written Amun-ra and Nef-ra. ful latitude for these experiments : they are To this later period Shafra must unquestionread backward or forward, upward or down-ably belong. ward, from centre to flank, or from flank to Baron Bunsen ipsists on idolatry being cocentre, at the pleasure of the artist, or the in-eval with the language and nationality of terpreter. Many of the phonetic characters Egypt, and will allow of no changes in the stand for more letters than one, and all the religion or monarchy through all his romansymbolical ones may be variously interpreted; tic periods. But inquirers of a lower flight 80 that it may be truly said of this study that will find in the Pyramids themselves the the vowels go for nothing, and any consonant clearest evidence of at least one entire revomay be changed into another. It would be lution. Not only are they manifestly differhard if, with such advantages, monumental ent in character from all other monuments, evidence could not be found. In point of but the very tradition of their origin was fact, a large proportion of modern “identifi- lost. The idol priests knew nothing about cations” consists of such mere resemblances, them. Their founders were impious accursed arbitrarily brought together, and as arbitra- men, who closed the temples,Philition the rily removed when a different hypothesis re- Shepherd, and so forth. What does this quires a new arrangement. We have names mean, but that they were men of another reslipped a thousand years up or down the chro-ligion, who lived before the temples were nological scale at pleasure; and it is quite built? The Pyramids were like Stonehenge ; common with Baron Bunsen to assign as a relicts of a former state of society, which had proof of identity that no other place fits 80 no succession among those who talked so igwell. He might as well take his readers into norantly. Moses' shop and asseverate that the best fit It might be possible to trace a similar indiwas made to their own measure.

cation in the founder's name which EratosA tomb which is certainly later than the thenes writes Saophis, and translates kouaotne, Pyramid, and in a place which continued a the hairy one, or “ lord of hair.” This was necropolis for centuries, will not of itself at- an appellation given to the prophet Elijah, * test the identity of Shafra and Cephrenes. and it is certainly more intelligible of a PhoeIt is no more than a similarity of sound; nician or Arab, than of the shorn and shaven even that is not certain! Maga's old eyes are Egyptian. On the other hand, the shepherd bardly keen enough to discern at this dis- kings do not come in till the Fifteenth Dytance whether the first sign is a circle with a nasty of Manetho; while Suphis is a native dot, denoting the sun, or a circle with two Pharaoh of the Fourth. The Pyramid, too, strokes, denoting a sieve : if the former, it is is so essentially an indigenous structure, the sign of the God Ra, and to be read at the that the hieroglyphic name of Memphis is end of the name ; but if the latter, it is the the “ City of Pyramids.” And finally, the initial letter ch as in Chufu. Again the anvil, discovery of hieroglyphics in the Great Pyraor diadem, which forms the second sign, is mid proves the language (though not the reoftener read m than sh; so that if we were ligion) of Chufu. in quest of an identity it would not be hard On the whole, the most probable hypotheto change Shafra into Chemef, and compare sis might be that Chufu was one of the anit with the Chembes of Diodorus.

cient rulers of Memphis before the Shepherd If Shafra be the right reading, it is a name invasion, when the Copts were confined to of quite a different character from Chufu, its Upper Egypt, and Thebes, the mother of alleged predecessor. The strongest argument idols, had not extended her arms or her arts for the high antiquity of the Pyramids is the into the Delta. Such a ruler was the Phaabscence of the idolatrous sculptures which raoh who entertained Abraham, and who cover the other monuments. Chufu and Nef- was sufficiently acquainted with his God to chufu are names agreeing with this peculiar- be the bearer of the Divine rebuke to the paity, since neither exhibits the sun, whose disc triarch himself. The Sacred history menwas invariably placed in the shield of the idol- tions no idolatry at this time either in Canaan atrous Pharaohs. Menes and Athothes are or in Egypt. Abraham had been called out of the same class; so, too, are the most an

* 2 Kings, i. 8.

« PreviousContinue »