A singular instance of the wagon and funeral-boat in combination has been found on the bandage of a mummy, now preserved in the collection of S. d'Athanasi.
It is supposed by some modern authors
that Herodotus, in speaking of the religious ceremonies in honor of Mars, as performed in the city of Pampremis, refers to this vehicle. Among other things, he tells us that the priests placed an image in a wooden temple, gilded all over, which they carried to a sacred dwelling; "then the few who were left about the image draw a four-wheeled carriage containing the temple and the image."
A very showy affair is found in the next illustra-tion, rivaling the mourning equipages of modern times. Among other figures appear emblems of stability and security on the side panels. In this instance the undertaker removed a portion of the paneling so as to expose the head of the mummy-case. It would seem from this, that the modern practice of showing a coffin through a glass side is of great antiquity. Indeed, we seldom find anything new that has not an antiquarian origin, thus verifying the words of the wise man, "There is no new thing under the sun."
In one instance, as in the figure, taken from a tomb in Thebes, — an attendant is shown, pouring some kind of a liquid from a jar upon the ground, over which the sledge is drawn, to facilitate its progress. Examples of this nature are frequently seen in Egyptian bass-reliefs, depicting the removal of heavy loads. On this sledge-hearse the mummy-case, enclosing the corpse, is distinctly observed. With characteristic tenderness, two females steady the mummy as it moves along over the rough surface of the ground; the priest, meanwhile, mounted in front, scroll in hand, recites a panegyric, or perhaps delivers a funeral oration in honor of the dead.
It need not be inferred from what we have written that all bodies were hidden away in the tomb. On the contrary, many were consumed on the funeral pile, some were buried in the earth, while others again, after they had come from the embalmer's shop, were kept in the house for years, until finally they were deposited in the catacombs. The mourning for a good king lasted the space of seventy days, during which the people sang hymns commemorating his virtues, reading their garments, and covering their heads with mud and dust, some three hundred persons of both sexes coming together twice each day to publicly sing a funeral dirge, the entire nation abstaining from meat and other dainties during the whole time. On the last day of mourning, or in some instances many months afterward, the time for sepulture arrived. Supposing that an embalmed king is to be laid away, perhaps in a tomb on which a lifetime of preparation has been bestowed, the body is now brought out from the closet, where it has been carefully stored since the funeral ceremonies were performed, and given to the undertaker, who comes with a sledge-hearse, as shown in the engraving.
The several figures are thus arranged: in the center appear the sacred cows, decked with elegant blankets and ornamental head and neck gear, which last (of a peculiar pattern) is found attached to the heads of all female animals, in Egyptian bass-reliefs, drag-ropes in this case being fastened to the horns, evidently " more for ornament than use," two attendants furnishing the motive-power, while the third acts as conductor. In the foreground are four more representatives of the genus homo. First, we notice the priest, as indicated by the peculiarity of his dress. He appears in the act of anointing the dead body with sacred oil, or some other liquid, from a vessel of peculiar shape. Just in front of the priest, squatting near the earth, we find a mercenary mourner, her hair disheveled, her breasts exposed, and her hands fixed in the position most expressive of grief, no doubt crying as sincerely as in hired mourning it has ever been done. Around the third figure centers the greatest interest, since it represents the dead dressed in cerements for the tomb, to which the body is now about to be carried. The fourth, supporting the corpse in a leaning position, represents an attendant, who, in all probability, officiates both as priest and undertaker.
In the Hall of the Gods, in the Egyptian Museum, there is a small bronze plaque of great antiquity, where we see in relief a man flying the two extended wings. It is true that we agree to consider this piece as a symbolic composition rather than as the representation of an aircraft.
A flute-concert is painted on one of the tombs in the pyramids of Gizeh and dates, according to Lepsius, from an age earlier than B.C. 2000. Eight musicians are performing on flutes. Three of them, one behind the other, are kneeling and holding their flutes in exactly the same manner. Facing these are three others, in a precisely similar position. A seventh is sitting on the ground to the left of the six, 13with his back turned towards them, but also in the act of blowing his flute, like the others. An eighth is standing at the right side of the group with his face turned towards them, holding his flute before him with both hands, as if he were going to put it to his mouth, or had just left off playing. He is clothed, while the others have only a narrow girdle round their loins. Perhaps he is the director of this singular band, or the solo performer who is waiting for the termination of the tutti before renewing his part of the performance. The division of the players into two sets, facing each other, suggests the possibility that the instruments were classed somewhat like the first and second violins, or the flauto primo and flauto secondo of our orchestras. The occasional employment of the interval of the third, or the fifth, as accompaniment to the melody, is not unusual even with nations less advanced in music than were the ancient Egyptians.
The most renowned monarch that ever reigned over Egypt was Sesostris. The date of his reign is not precisely known; but there is a carving in stone, lately found in Egypt among the ruins of an ancient city. which is more than three thousand years old, and supposed to be a portrait of him. It is doubtless the oldest portrait in existence. This king formed the design of conquering the world, and set out from Egypt with more than a million of foot soldiers, twenty-four thousand horsemen, and twenty-seven thousand armed chariots.
His ambitious projects were partially successful. He made great conquests, and wherever he went he caused marble pillars to be erected, and inscriptions to be engraved on them, so that future ages might not forget his renown.
The following was the inscription on most of the pillars: - SESOSTRIS, KING OF KINGS, HAS CONQUERED THIS TERRITORY BY HIS ARMS. But the marble pillars have long ago crumbled into dust, or been buried under the earth; and the history of Sesostris is so obscure, that some writers have even doubted whether he made any conquest's at all.
The earlier Pharaohs were not improbably regarded as incarnations of the dominant god. The falcon god Horus sits behind the head of the great statue of Chephren.
It was Cheops and Chephren and Mycerinus of this IVth Dynasty who raised the vast piles of the great and the second and the third pyramids at Gizeh. These unmeaning sepulchral piles, of an almost incredible vastness, erected in an age when engineering science had scarcely begun, exhausted the resources of Egypt through three long reigns, and left her wasted as if by a war.
Opinions upon Amenophis IV, or Akhnaton, differ very widely. There are those who regard him as the creature of his mother’s hatred of Ammon and the uxorious spouse of a beautiful wife. Certainly he loved his wife very passionately; he showed her great honour—Egypt honoured women, and was ruled at different times by several queens—and he was sculptured in one instance with his wife seated upon his knees, and in another in the act of kissing her in a chariot; but men who live under the sway of their womenkind do not sustain great empires in the face of the bitter hostility of the most influential organized bodies in their realm. Others write of him as a “gloomy fanatic.” Matrimonial bliss is rare in the cases of gloomy fanatics.
Because it developed in the comparatively warm and tranquil waters of the eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the western horn of the Indian Ocean, the shipping of the ancient world retained throughout certain characteristics that make it differ very widely from the ocean-going sailing shipping, with its vast spread of canvas, of the last four hundred years. “The Mediterranean,” says Mr. Torr, “is a sea where a vessel with sails may lie becalmed for days together, while a vessel with oars would easily be traversing the smooth waters, with coasts and islands everywhere at hand to give her shelter in case of storm. In that sea, therefore, oars became the characteristic instruments of navigation, and the arrangement of oars the chief problem in shipbuilding. And so long as the Mediterranean nations dominated Western Europe, vessels of the southern type were built upon the northern coasts, though there generally was wind enough here for sails and too much wave for oars.... The art of rowing can first be discerned upon the Nile. Boats with oars are represented in the earliest pictorial monuments of Egypt, dating from about 2500 B.C.;
Egyptian peasants seized for non-payment of taxes ... (Pyramid Age)
The long list of gods was further increased in two ways. The priests sometimes made a new god by uniting two or three, or four into one, and at other times by dividing one into two or three or more. Thus out of Horus and Ra they made Horus-Ra, called by the Greeks Aroeric. Out of Osiris and Apis the bull of Memphis made of Osiris-Apis or Serapis. He carries the two sceptres of Osiris and has a bull's head.
Pasht, the goddess of Virtue, has a cat's head. She belonged to Lower Egypt, and was the wife of Amun-Ra and gave her name to the city Aphroditopolis.
Isis, or Isitis, the Earth, or rather the corn-bearing Land, the mother of all creation was another, and perhaps the chief favourite with the nation. She is known by the throne upon her head, because a throne form the first syllable of her name.
Horus has a hawk's head, and wears the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, formed of a plate of gold over and around the mitre. sometimes he is a crowned hawk.
Other goddesses were attributes or feelings, made into persons, such as Athor the goddess of ove and Beauty. She has cow's horns, and sometimes a cow's head.
Anubis has the head of a dog or a jackal, or is represented as the animal a jackal. He never takes a foremost place among the gods, but usually stands at the attendant or servant of Osiris.
There was a third class of gods, who were spoken of as if they had once been mortal and had lived upon earth. These were Osiris, the husband of Isis; and their sone Horus, so named from Chori (Strong); and Anubis, Nephtthys, and the wicked Typhon, who put Osiris to death. Osiris, like Pthah is bandage as a mummy.
Typhon is a hippopotamus, usually walking on its hind legs, and with female breasts, sometimes with a sword in his hand, to show his wicked nature. He is th chief author of evil.
When the land was divided into separate estates or properties, Thoth, the Pillar or Landmark at the corner of the field, became an important god; and as the owner's name was carved upon it, he was the god of letters and of all learning.
Having thus created for themselves a number of gods, their own feelings, and what they saw around them, would naturally lead them to create an equal number of goddesses. Of these Neith, the Heavens, was one.
She is often drawn with wings stretched out as if covering the whole earth. At other times she is formed into an arch, with her feet and fingers on the ground, while her body forms the blue vault overhead and is spangled with stars. At other times she is simply a woman, with the hieroglyphical character for her name as the ornament on top of her head.
Kneph, the Wind or Air, or Breath of our bodies, was supposed to be the god of Animal and Spiritual Life. He has the head and horns of a ram.
Pthah, the god of Fire, was more particularly the god of Memphis, as Amun-Ra of Thebes; and the kings in that city were said to the "Beloved by Pthah." His figure is bandages like a mummy and his head shaven like a priest.
Another great god was their narrow valley, the country in which they lived, clearly divided from the yellow desert by the black Nile-mud, y which it is covered and made fertile, and hence called Chemi, the Black Land, or when made into a person, Chem, or Ham. He was the father of their race, called in the Bible, one of the sons of Noah, and considered by themselves the god of increase, the Priapus of the Greeks.
Chem has a cap with two tall feathers like that of Amun-Ra, so large that it was necessary to give him a metal support to hold it on the head. His right arm is raises and holds a whip, his left arm is hid under his dress, which is the tight garment of the Egyptian women.
Next was Hapimou, the Nile, whose waters were the chief source of their food, whose overflow marked the limits between the cultivated land and the desert; to him they owed nothing but grateful thanks. He is a figure of both sexes, having the beard of a man and the breastes of a child-bearing woman. He carries in his arms fruits and flowers and sometimes waterfowls.
In the Western half of the Delta, the Sun is worshipped as Mando-Ra. Like Amun-Ra, he wears the two tall feathers and the Sun on his head, but he differs from him in having a hawk's face.
First among these gods of the Egyptians was Ra, the Sun, or Amun-Ra, the Great Sun, whose warmth ripened their harvests, but whose scorching rays made his power felt as much as an enemy as a friend.
Over the portico of the Theban temple there is usually a ball or sun, ornamented with outstretched wings, representing the all-seeing Providence thus watching over and sheltering the world. From this sun hang two asps wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Details of decoration
Ani, a scribe 1450 B.C.
An Egyptian queen
A goddess, 700 B.C., is an exact copy of an Egyptian drawing.
THuthu, wife of Ani
The God Osiris
The illustration shows a priest wearing nothing but a loin cloth and a leopard skin.