Richard Lepsius.

Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the peninsula of Sinai online

. (page 10 of 54)
Online LibraryRichard LepsiusLetters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the peninsula of Sinai → online text (page 10 of 54)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Franz (Corp. Inscr., vol. iii., p. 285), and also by the acknowledg-
ment of Letronne (Rec, vol. ii., p. 536), he must have been an elder
brother of Philometor, who died in a few months, and therefore was
omitted in the Ptolemaic canon.

But the son of Philometor, and of his sister, Cleopatra IL, mentioned
by Justinus and Josephus, who was formerly believed to have been
re -discovered in the Eupator of the [Leyden] papyrus, is particularly
mentioned in the hieroglyphic inscriptions among the other Ptolemies,
in his place between Philometor and Euergetes, and we thence become
acquainted with his name, which had not been added by the authors.
He is sometimes named Philopator, sometimes Neos Philopator,

* Note.— Leyden in place of Berlin, both here and below, is a correc-
tion by the author, April, 1853.— Tr.


sort Cleopatra, wlio, according to the hieroglypliic inscrip-
tions, was surnamed, by the Egyptians, TsTPHiENA.* A
fact worthy of consideration is connected with this, namely,
that in this Egyptian list of the Ptolemies, the first king
is never Ptolemy Soter I., but Philadelphxjs. In Qurna,
where Euergetes II. worships his predecessors, not alone
Philometor, the brother of Euergetes is wanting, which is
easily explained, but also Soter I., and Eosellini is mistaken
when he regards the king who is worshipped under the title
of Philadelphus, about whom Champollion was still doubtful,
as Soter I. instead of Euergetes I. It appears that the son
of Lagus, although he assumed the title of king from the year
305, was yet not acknowledged as such by the Egyptians, as

and he must therefore also be placed in future as Philopator II. in the
series of the reigning Ptolemies. Among fourteen hieroglyphic lists of
the Ptolemies, which come down at least as far as the second Euergetes,
seven of their number give Philopator II.; in four other lists, in
which his name might appear, he is passed over, and these all seem to
belong to the first years of Euergetes II., his murderer, when the omis-
sion is easily explained. It is natural that he does not appear in the
canon, because neither he nor Eupator lived to witness a change of
the Egyptian year during his reign ; on the other hand, as was to be
expected, he is also named in the protocol of the Demotic Papyrus, in
which the Ptolemies who are worshipped as divinities are exliibited,
and in which Young had also already correctly acknowledged Eupator.
In fact, he is here cited in all the lists with which I am acquainted (five
in Berlin, from the years 114, 103, 99, 89, one in Turin from the year
89), which are of more recent date than Euergetes II., as well as in a
Berlin papyrus from the fifty-second year of Euergetes himself (b.c.
118). A comparison also of* the demotic lists shows finally that the
transposition of the names Eupator and Philometor in the Greek papy-
rus from the year b.c. 105 (not 106, as Franz writes — Corp. Inscr.,
p. 285) is not alone an error of the copyist in writing, as this, and other
transpositions also, are not unfrequent in the Demotic Papyrus. The
diflferent object of the hieroglyphic and the demotic lists makes it con-
ceivable that such deviations were not admissible in the former, as in
the latter lists.

* Wilkinson (Mod. Eg. and Th., vol. ii., p. 275) considers this
Cleopatra Tryph^na to be the celebrated Cleopatra, the daughter
of Neos Dionysos; Champollion (Lettres d'Eg., p. 110) thinks she ia
the wife of Philometor; but the Shields connected with her name
belong neither to Ptolemy XIV., the elder son of Neos Dionysos, nor to
Ptolemy VI. Philometor, but to Ptolemy XIII. Neos Dionysos, or
Auletes, who is always called on the monuments Philopator Philadel-
phus. Cleopatra Tryph^na was, consequently, the wife of Ptolemt



ills shields do not appear on a single monument which was
erected by him. So much the more do I rejoice that I have
nevertheless found his name mentioned once, in an inscrip-
tion of Philadelphus, as the father of Arsinoe II. But here,
we must observe, Soter has, indeed, the royal ring round liis
name, and also a peculiar Throne-shield name, but quite con-
trary to the usual Egyptian custom, no king's title stands
before either of the shields, although his daughter is called
*• royal daughter" and " royal lady."*

* The inscription alludecJ to is to be found in the rock-grotto of
EcHMiM. and M-as undoubtedly first engraved before the reign of Ptolemy
Philadclplius. He is also named with double shields and tlie usual
royal titles, but without the surname of Soter upon a stele in Vienna,
•which was erected in tlie reign of Phiiopator. Here, however, he bears
a different Throne shield from that in Eclunim, and certainly, strange
to say, it is the same which even before his time was borne by Philip
Aridaius, and Alexander II., under whom Ptolemy, son of Lagus, was
governor of Egypt. He is also mentioned upon a statue of the king in
the ruins of Memphis, on which the Horus name of the king also ap-
pears, and which probably might have been engraved during his reign.
Finally, tlie Soters are also frequently mentioned by tlieir surnames
alone at the head of the worshipped ancestors of later kings; as in the
liosetta inscription, and in the bilinqual decrees of PhilsD (see below,

p. 121), T* T* . while Soter II. is always written r-i ^

p. iiuter enti nehem, which would correspond to the Coptic n . flOTTOCiT-

n(J^I_I,f/ews servator. In the demotic inscriptions, the first Soters are
also designated by nehem, and in the singular by the Greek word,
p. s>iter.

Although, therefore, it cannot be doubted that the Soters who, ac-
cording to the Demotic Papyrus, were especially worshipped along with
the otiier Ptolemies, not only in Alexandria and Ptole3iais, but also
in TiiKBEs, were regarded as the head of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, it is
nevertheless so much the more remarkable, that hitherto not a single
structure can be pointed out which was erected under Ptolemy Soter
when king, although he ruled twenty years in this capacity. In addi-
tion to this, the above-mentioned hieroglyphic lists of the Ptolemies
commence the series without exception, not with the Soters, but with
the Adelphes ; and, as was mentioned before, his shields in Echmim bear
nn royal title; and in Karnak under Euergetes II., in one and the same
representation, Philadelphus is designated as king, and the Soter, cor-
responding to him in space, as 710 king. In the demotic series of kings,
also, of the Papyrus, the Alexandrine series was wont to omit the
Soters, till the reign of Philometor, and to make the Adelphes imme-
diately succeed Alexander the Great. The earliest period that I have
met with the Soters is in a Papyrus, from the 17th year of Phiiopator


It is astonishing how little Champ ollion seems to have
attended to the monuments of the Old Monarchy. During
his whole journey through Central Egypt, as far as Dendera,
he only found the rock-tombs of Benihassan worthy of
notice, and these also, he considered to be works of the 16th
and 17th Dynasties, therefore belonging to the New Mo-
narchy. He also mentions Zauiet el Meitin and Siut, but
hardly notices them.

So little has been said by others, besides, on most of the
monuments of Central Egypt, that almost everything that
we here found was new to me. I, therefore, was not a little
astonished when we discovered in Zauiet el Meitin a series
of nineteen rock-tombs, all of them bearing inscriptions, which
informed us who were their inhabitants, and belonging to the
old time of the 6th Dynasty, therefore extending almost to
the period of the great Pyramids. Eive among them con-
tain, more than once, the Shield of Makrobioten Apappus
Pepi, who is said to have lived to the age of a hundred and
six years, and to have reigued a hundred years ; in another,
Cheops is mentioned. Apart from these there is also a
single grave from the period of Ramses.

In Benihassan, I have had a complete drawing made of
an entire rock-tomb ; it is to give a specimen of the magnifi-
cent style of architecture and artistic skill, from the second

(B.C. 210), the oldest of the Berlin collection; the Theban worship of
the Ptolemies seems to have whuUy excluded the Soters. Although
the commencement of the roy.d guvernment is therefore fixed in the
year b.c. 305, as is specified in tlie canon, and most undeniably con-
firmed by the above-mentioned liieroglyphic stele in Vienna, which has
been already cited for that purpose by my friend, M. Pinder (Beitr.
zur Aelterem Miinzkunde, vol. i., p. 201) in his instructive essay, On
the Era of Phihp upon Coins, it appears, however, to have offered
another legitimate opinion, by which not Ptolemy Lagus, but Phila-
delphus, the first son of the king (if not Porphyrogenitus), was con-
sidered the head of the Ptolemies. It may thence be also explained
why we find an astronomical Era employed in the reign of Euergetes,
that of the otherwise unknown Dionysius, which began from the year
285, the first year of the rei^in of Pliiladelphus, while the coins of Phi-
ladelphus do not reckon as the cianmenceraent of a new era from the
beginning of his own reign, nor from the year 305, but from the year of
the death of Alexander the Great, or the commencement of the gover-
norship of Ptolemy. (See Pinder, p. 205.)


flourisliing period of the Old Monarcliy, during the powerful
12th Dj-nasty.* I think it will excite some attention among
the Eg}'ptologists, when they shortly learn from Bunsen's
work, why I make a division in the tablet of Abydos, and
why I ventured to transfer Sestjetesen and Amenemha,
these well-known Pharaohs of Heliopolis, the Faiiim, Beni-
hassan, Thebes, and as far as "Wadi Haifa, from the New,
to the Old Monarchy. It must have been a brilliant period
in Egypt at that time, which these magnificent halls for the
dead alone testify. At the same time, among the rich re-
presentations on the walls, which exhibit a high standard
of the peaceful arts, as well as the refined luxury of the
great at that period, it is interesting even then to meet with
the prognostics of that great adverse destiny, which brought
Egypt for several centuries under the power of her northern
enemies. Gladiatorial games, which form a characteristic re-
presentation of frequent recurrence, in many tombs occupy
entire walls, by which we may conclude they were extensively
practised at that period, but afterwards almost disappeared.
Among these we frequently find amidst the red or dark-
brown people of the Egyptian race, and of those races dwell-
ing more to the south, a very light-coloured people, standing
singly or in small divisions, who have usually a different
costume, and most of them have the hair of the head and
beard red, and have blue eyes. They also sometimes appear
among the domestics of persons of rank, and are manifestly
of northern, probably of Semetic, origin. "We find victories
of the kings over the Ethiopians and Negroes mentioned on
the monuments of that period ; therefore it is not surprising
to see black slaves and attendants. We learn nothing of
wars against the northern neighbours, but it appears that
the migrations of people from the north-east had already
begun at that time, and that many emigrants sought a home
in the fruitful land of Egypt, in exchange for service, or
other useful employments.

* See Denkmaler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, Abth. II., Bl.


I here allude particularly to tlie remarkable scene in the
tomb of the royal relative Neheea-si-Numhotep, the
second tomb approaching from the north, which gives au
animated idea of the entrance of Jacob with his family, and
which might tempt us really to connect these circumstances,
if Jacob had not come at a much later period, and if we were
not compelled to acknowledge that such immigrations of single
families could never have been a rare event. These, how-
ever, were the predecessors of the Hyksos, and assuredly in
many respects paved the way for them. As it is only painted,
and is still in very good preservation, I have traced through
the whole representation, which is about eight feet long, and
one and a half high. The royal scribe Nefeuhotep, who
introduces the company before the high official, to whom the
tomb belongs, hands him a sheet of papyrus. Upon this, the
sixth year of King Sesurtesen II. is mentioned, when that
family of thirty-seven persons came to Egypt. Their chief,
and lord, was called Abscha, they themselves Aamf, a
popular name, which we meet with again associated with the
same light- coloured race ; this, with three other races, is
frequently represented in the royal tombs of the 19th
Dynasty, and formed one of the four principal families of
the human race known to the Egyptians. Champollion,
when he was in Benihassan, regarded them as Greeks ; he
was not then aware of the extreme age of the monuments
which were before him. Wilkinson considers them to be
prisoners ; this is contradicted by their appearing with
weapons and lyres, with women, children, asses, and baggage.
I view them as a migrating Hyksos family, who pray to be
received into the blessed land, and whose descendants, per-
haps, opened the gates of Egypt to the Semetic conquerors,
aUied to them by race.

The town, to which the rich rock-necropolis of Beni-
hassan belonged, and which is named in the hieroglyphic
inscriptions Nus, must have been of considerable size, and,
doubtless, lay opposite, on the left bank of the Nile, where
ancient mounds exist even at the present time, and are


marked upon the French maps. That no more of this town
of ]N'us vras known in the geography of the Greeks and
Eomans than of many other towns of the Old Monarchy,
ought not to surj)rise us, if we consider that the dominion of
the Hyksos intervened, which lasted five hundred years. It
is thought that the sudden fall of the Monarchy, and of this
flourishing town, may be ti-aced, even now, to have happened
at the end of the 12t]i Dynasty by this circumstance — that
only eleven of the numerous rock-tombs have inscriptions,
and that among these, three alone were quite completed.
Special roads of considerable width led to these last, ascend-
ing direct from the bank of the river, which near the steep
upper part ended in steps cut out of the rock.

Benihassan, however, is not the only place where we
became acquainted with the works of the 12th Dynasty. At
Beescheh, a little to the south of the great plain, where
the Emperor Hadrian, in honour of his favourite, who was
there drowned, built the town of Antixoe, with its splendid
streets, even now partly passable, and encompassed with
hundreds of columns, a narrow valley opens to the east,
where we again found a series of splendidly executed rock-
tombs of the 12th Dynasty, most of which, unfortunately,
were mutilated by recent quarrying. In the tomb of Ki-si-
Tutliotep there is a representation of the transport of the
great Colossus, which has been already published by EoseUini,
but without the accompanpng inscriptions ; from these we
perceive that it was formed of limestone (here, for the first
time, I learned the hieroglyphic term for this), and that it was
13 Egyptian ells high, which is about 21 feet.* A series of
still older tombs are hewn into the face of the rock on the
southern side of the same valley, but with very few inscrip-
tions ; to judge by the style of the hieroglj^Dhics, and the
titles of the deceased, they belong to the 6th Dynasty.

Some hours farther to the south there is another group of
tombs, which also belong to the 6th Dynasty ; here, likewise,
King Cheops is occasionally mentioned, whose name we

* See Denkmal. Abth. n., Bl. 134.


114 SITJT.

several times met witli before, in a hieratic inscription in
Benibassan. "We found tombs from the 6th Dynasty, though
with few inscriptions, in two other places situated, between
the valley El Amaexa, which contains the very remarkable
tomb-grottoes of King Bech-en-Aten, and Siut. Perring, the
measurer of the Pyramids, a short time ago seriously endea-
voured, in an essay, to maintain the strange opinion, which,
however, I also met with while in Cairo, that the monuments
of El Amarna were derived from the Hyksos ; others, on ac-
count of their striking, though not inexplicable peculiarities,
would even carry them back to the time before Menes.
While still in Europe I had recognised the builder of these
monuments, and some other allied kings, to be antagonistic
kings of the 18th Dynasty.

Eock-tombs of vast size open on the side of the valley
behind Siut, in which, even from a distance, we recognised
the imposing style of the 12th Dynasty. Here also, un-
fortunately, many of these splendid remains have been de-
stroyed of late, as it was found more convenient to break
away the walls and columns of the grottoes, than to hew out
building stones from the rock itself.

I learned from Selim Pascha, the Governor of Upper
Egypt, who received us in a most friendly manner in Siut,
that the Bedouins had a short time ago discovered some
alabaster quarries in the eastern range of mountains, between
two and three hours distant, the working of which had been
committed to him by Mohammed Ali ; and I heard from his
dragoman, that in that place also there was an inscription on
the rock. I therefore determined to start the following day,
accompanied by the two Weidenbachs, our dragoman and
Kawass, on this hot ride, on the Pascha' s horses, which he
had sent to El Bosra for the purpose. "We found there a
little colony of eighteen labourers, thirty-one souls altogether,
in the lonely, sultry, rocky defile, occupied in working the
quarries. On the side of the rock, behind the tent of the
overseer, the name and titles of the wife, so highly venerated
by the Egyptians of the first Amasis, the head of the 18th


D}TiastT which expelled the Ilyksos, were preserved in dis-
tinct, sharp-cut hieroglypliics, the remains of an inscription
that had been formerly longer. These are the first alabaster
quarries the age of which is proved by an inscription. Not
far from that place there have been others also, which, how-
ever, had been worked out in ancient times. Above three
hundred blocks have been already obtained from the one now
re-opened during the last four months, the largest of which
are eight feet long and two feet thick. The Pascha informed
me, through his dragoman, that on our return I should find
a slab, whose size and form I might myself determine, of the
best quality in the quarry, and which I might accept, as a
token of the pleasure he had derived from our visit. The
alabaster quarries which have hitherto been discovered in
tills neighbourhood, are all between Berscheh and Gauata;
we might be inclined, therefore, to view El Bosra as the
ancient Alabastron, if the passage in Ptolemy could be recon-
ciled with it. At any rate, Alabastron has certainly nothing
to do with the ruins in the valley of El Amarna, for which it
has hitherto been taken, which does not either agree with
the statement of Ptolemy, and with which it appears to liave
a totally difterent relation. The hieroglyphic name of these
ruins frequently appears in the inscriptions.

in the rocky chain of Gebel Selin" there are some more
vor}^ early tombs belonging to the Old Monarchy, probably
to the 6th Dynasty, but with few inscriptions.

Opposite to old PA^fOPOLis, or Chemmis, we climbed up to
the remarkable rock-grotto of Pan (Chem). It was founded
by another rival kmg of the 18th Dynasty, whose tomb we
have since visited in Thebes. The holy name of the city
frequently appears in the inscriptions here — " The Habita-
tion of Chem," i. c. Panopolis. Whether the popular name
Chemmis, now Echmim, originated from this, is perhaps
doubtful. I have always found two difterent names for Siut,
Dendera, Abydos, and other towns ; the holy and the popular
name. The first is taken from the chief god of the local
temple ; the second has nothing to do with this. My hiero-

I 2


glyptic geograpby increases nearly witli every new monu-
mental locality. In Abydos we came to tlie first of the
larger temple structures. The last interesting tombs of the
Old Monarchy we found at Qase e' Saiat ; they go as far
back as the 6th Dynasty. In Dendeea we visited the
imposing Temple of Hathor, perhaps the best preserved in
all Egypt.

"We spent twelve overwhelming and astounding days in
Thebes, which were scarcely sufficient to enable us to thread
our way among the palaces, temples, and tombs, whose royal
gigantic splendour fills this wide plain. "We celebrated the
birthday of our beloved king with a feu de joie, and waving
of banners, with chorus songs and heartfelt toasts, which we
pledged in a glass of genuine German Ehine wine, in the
jewel of aU the splendid buildings of Egypt — the palace of
Eamses-Sesostris : it was erected by this greatest of the
Pharaohs to "Ammon-Ea, the "King of the Gods," the
tutelar patron of the royal city of Amnion, situated on a
terrace of gentle elevation, calculated to command the wide
plain on both sides of the majestic river, and was worthy of
himself and of the god. I need scarcely say that on such
an occasion we also thought of you with a full heart. "When
night came, we kindled a kettle of pitch above the outer
entrance between the Pylones, on both sides of which our
banners were planted, and then made a great fire flame up
from the flat roof of the Pronaos (or vestibule), which ex-
hibited the beautiful proportions of the hall of columns in
splendid relief; for the first time since thousands of years
we again restored this to its original destination as a festive
hall — the saloon of " panegyrics."* The two mighty Memnon
Colossi, calmly reposing on their thrones, were also magically
lighted up in the distance.

We have reserved all great undertakings for our return ;
but it will be difficult to select from the inexhaustible mate-
rials for our particular object, and with reference to what

* Panegyrics: public religious assemblies which were periodically
held in Egypt.— Kenrick's Ancient Egypt.— Tb.


has been already communicated in other works. On the
10th of October we quitted Thebes. HEEiioifTHis we saw
in passing. The great hall of Esxeh was several years ago
excavated down to the foundation by order of the Pascha,
and afforded us a magnificent spectacle. We remained three
days in El Kab, the ancient Eileithyia, Still more won-
derful than the different temples of this once mighty place,
are its rock-tombs, most of which date from the commence-
ment of the EgyjDtian War of Freedom against the Hyksos,
and throw much light on the relations between the D>Tiasties
of that period. Several distinguished persons, buried there,
bear the strange title of Masculine K'urse of a Eoyal Prince,
by the well-known group mena, and the determinative of the
female breast, in the Coptic tongue expressed uoni. The
deceased is represented with the prince upon his lap.

The Temple of Enrr is also among those which are in
best preservation ; it was dedicated to Horus and to Hathor,
the Egyptian Venus, who is here in one place called " The
Queen of Men and Women." Horus, as a child, is repre-
sented naked, as are all children on the monuments, and
with his finger on his mouth. I had before explained the
name of Harpokeates from it, which now I have found
represented and written here complete, as Hae-pe-cheoti,
i.e. "Horus the child." The Eomans misunderstood the
Egyptian gesture of the finger, and out of the child who
cannot yet speak, they made the Grod of Silence who will
not speak. The most interesting inscription, hitherto neither
noticed nor mentioned by any one, is on the outer eastern
wall of the temple built by Ptolemy Alexander I. It
contains several dates, of the kings Darius, JS'ectanebus, and
of the falsely so-called Amyrtseus, and refers to the landed
estates which belonged to the temple. The intense heat of the
day we spent there caused me to postpone, till our return, a
closer examination, and taking the paper impression of this
wall.* Gebel Silsilis is one of the places most abundant

* See Denkmiil. Abth. IV., Bl. 38, 39.— A special essay on these
inscriptions is prepared.


in historical inscriptions, •vrhicli are cTiieflj connected with
the vast workings of the sandstone quarries.

I was rejoiced to find a third canon of tlie proportioiis of

Online LibraryRichard LepsiusLetters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the peninsula of Sinai → online text (page 10 of 54)