Richard Lepsius.

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

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although we had blue sky above us. After a short ride
downwards from the summit, our guide pointed out the
ancient venerable forest of cedars at our feet in a great level
bay of the mountain range, from which King Hiram had
sent the huge stems to Solomon for the building of the
Temple ; it looked as small as a garden from this lofty point.
Por a long while it was considered the only remains of those
ancient forests, till, in recent times, several more tracts of
cedar forest have been discovered in some of the northern
parts of Libanon. We soon again lost sight of the cedars as
we descended deeper among the layers of cloud, which ex-
cluded all prospect. Suddenly the dark shade of these
gigantic trees rose like mountain spirits, close beside us, out
of the grey mass of mist. We rode to the chapel of the
hermit, who usually presents the stranger here, with a good
glass of wine of Libanon, but we found it closed ; just then
the clouds dissolved into a most prosaic rain, from which we
were scarcely able to shelter ourselves beneath the wide roof
of needles of the noble cedars. I foimd a beautiful cedar
cone hanging down sufficiently low for me to break it off
and take it away with me as a keepsake. Single stems of
these cedars are 40 feet in circumference, and 90 feet high ;
and as one cedar, which they pretend they know to be 100
years old, is only half a foot in diameter, the largest cedars
are stated to be 3000 years old, which would go back as far
as the time of Solomon. The rain increased, and we had
still several thousand feet to descend before reaching the
nearest village, Bscheeeeh. The lower we came, so much
the more slippery and dangerous grew the narrow, some-
times rocky, sometimes soaked footpath, which led along
the precipitous side of the valley with an abrupt precipice
to our right. Turning an angle of rock, we at length
gained sight of the night quarters we so longed to reach.
The wealthy, inviting, and important village of Bscherreh,
which gives a name to the whole district, is well known from


its powerful and influential, but ^\M, uncontrolled, and often
cruel iuhabitants.

The rain had abated, the white houses, with their terrace
roofs, between whicli a number of silver poplars, plane-trees,
and c^-presses, rise up singly, or in rows, were placed one
above the other in a semicircle, on a hill projecting from the
right side of the ^-alley, and shining after the rain, they
looked as if they had just emerged from a bath. Nothing
was stirring in the village ; it seemed as if it were perfectly
dead. I rode in advance of the rest of our party, with our
old guide, up a narrow path beside vineyard walls, when sud-
denly, at a bend lq the road, a strong voice called out to me,
and when I looked up, over the terrace of the vineyard,
which was about a man's height, to my no small surprise I
saw about twenty muskets pointed at me and the guide.
He let go the bridle of his horse, stretched out his hands
towards heaven, and shouted out to the people. I hastily
threw back the cape of my cloak, in order to show the
people my European hat, and let them see who we w^ere.
When they perceived that we were but a small party, and
that we did not put ourselves in any attitude of defence,
they came out in hundreds from behind the trees, surrounded
us with loud yells, and for a long time would not believe but
that we were soldiers in disguise. Some even struck at our
horses with staves, downwards from the terrace, while I was
endeavouring to explain to those nearest to us who we were.
Others liad more quickly perceived their error ; they came
down to the street, and took my horse by the bridle. One
especially, an animated boy of about fourteen, with a clear
eye, beautiful forehead, and ruddy, fresh cheeks, pressed
forwards towards me, calling out in Italian, that we should
fear nothing, it was all a mistake, we were their friends,
that I had only to ride on and dismount at the house of his
brother. Some vehement people continued to accompany
us, and called out to us from the wall, with the most angry
gesticulations, while the great mass were already satisfied,
and uttered a deafening cry of joy ; they fired off muskets


in the air, and now conducted us in triumph to the vil-

All were on foot in Bscherreh, which contains between
1200 and 1500 inhabitants, and there was pressing and
pusliing to kiss our hands and clothes ; the women began
their piercing shrieks, clapped their hands, and danced ; my
honest youth remained constantly by my side, and thus step
by step we made our way through the dense crowd, whom
we now also greeted as friends, till we arrived in front of the
Sheikh's house, whose youngest brother was my companion
and guide. We were led up the stone staircase, and the
open hall in front, to the spacious saloon which was to
shelter us.

I conversed almost the whole evening with the Sheikh of
the village, Jusef Haxna. Dauie, a young and handsome
man, with a serious, gentle countenance, inspiring confidence.
His father had fallen in the war, under Ibrahim Pascha, who
will soon be invested here with an odour of sanctity, should
the present abominations of the Turks last much longer.
Sheikh Jusef was the eldest son of this numerous and
ancient family, in which the dignity of Sheikh is hereditary.
He related to me with perfect frankness, composure, and
intelligence, what was now going on among them, how they
had resolved to supply the weapons which were required, but
had retracted this determination when they heard of the
disgraceful manner in which the Turkish military had be-
haved in the southern districts ; thirty-four villages had now
combined, and sworn in their churches not to furnish the
weapons, but to use them against the Turkish dogs. "When
I asked him if they had any prospect of being able to defend
themselves successfully against a disciplined army, especially
since the death of their common leader, Emir Beschir, he
told me that in Bscherreh alone there were 3000, and in the
whole of the district which had formed a combination 13,000
armed men — as large a number as the Turkish military in the
country. Besides this, they had their mountains, their snow
and rain, their passes and lurking holes, which would render

WAR ly LIB AXON. 353

all the Tnrkisli cavalry and artillery useless. I uevertlieless
advised them to apply to a consul at Berut, who was friendly
to their cause, to solicit some mediation, and to avoid the
last extremity. As I afterwards heard, this has taken place.
The French consul-general, Bourre, has treated with the
Pascha on their behalf

But all may have been too late, and I fear that the storm
of war has long since broken over my excellent hosts in
Bscherreh, and that their wives and children have been even
less spared than those of their weaker neighbours.

I was rejoiced to be of some service that evening to the
young JSheikh, whose pleasing and composed deportment pre-
possessed me much in his favour. I bound up a wound for
him better than was possible with the means he had at hand,
and provided him with linen and lint. He told me tliat we
could not set out next day, for he must prepare a feast for
us, roast a sheep, and show us that he was our friend ; but I
declined the invitation, which was made with all sincerity.

The following morning we took a servant of the Sheikh
with us as far as the next village, Ehden, which we also
found in great excitement, but not inimical to us. Outposts
had been stationed, and the variegated costume of the popu-
lation, tlieir bright red and yellow dresses, looked at a dis-
tance like a spring flower-garden among the green trees ;
they surrounded and questioned us, and even here there
seemed to be divided opinions as to what we were. One
young Amazon ran for a considerable distance beside us,
raised her finger in a menacing manner, and upbraided us
that we Franks did not openly and vigorously side with

"We here dismissed our companion from Bscherreh ; in his
place, a rider, on a magnificent fiery horse, unasked, attached
himself to our party ; he politely saluted us, and keeping at a
certain distance never lost sight of us. In about a couple of
hours afterAvards, at a more gentle inclination of the mountain,
we perceived a troop of armed people in the field, who had
planted the red banner of blood to preach war and revolt far

2 a


away over the plain. The patrol advanced to meet us,
and absolutely refused our proceeding any farther. It was
only after long negotiations that, by means of a gold piece
and the intercession of our companion, who seemed to be
the Sheikh of a neighbouring village, we were granted free
passage, but the whole troop accompanied us down the hill.
When we had passed the next and last village, Zaheea, our
attendant Sheikh was obliged to employ serious threats to
get us safe across the frontiers of the revolted district ; he
then accompanied us still farther down a valley, as far as a
turn of the rock, and then saluting us shortly, rode merrily
back among his mountains. "We were but a few hours dis-
tant from Teipolis, which we reached shortly after sunset ;
passing the grave Turkish guards, who may have possibly lost
some of their stupid indolence, with the prospect of a near
and desperate contest with the courageous inhabitants of the

In Tkipolis, now called Tauabltjs, we stayed in the Latin
convent, which is inhabited and taken care of by only two
monks. They related to us that the Christians of Libanon
had come to them a short time ago, and asked for their
spiritual intercessions, whereupon they had not scrupled to
dispense the holy sacrament for the space of three days.
Unfortunately, the Maronites fail much less in such spiritual
intercessions and good wishes than in the corporal provi-
sions of bread and powder, for the Turks cut off their

The following morning we visited the Prussian American
consul, who inhabits a handsome house, fitted up in the
Oriental style, and afterwards went to the Bazar. Just then a
large division of Turkish horsemen, on their road to Libanon,
passed over a beautiful old bridge in the centre of the town,
dressed in their party-coloured, streaked, dirty uniforms, with
their lances ten feet long adorned with black bunches of
ostrich feathers, their small war kettle-drums in full beat.
Towards noon we again departed, just as the new Turkish
general entered by the same gate from Berut, through which


Tve had ridden out. On the road we met the divisions of the
troops which had been ordered hither from Zachleh. From
this point our road lav along the sea-coast, and almost the
whole day we heard the thunder of the artillery in the ad-
jacent mountains.

"We spent the night in a Khan on this side of the promon-
tory of Eas e' Schekab, named after the ancient Seov
7rp6ao)7rov ; no doubt because the black mountain, which
here projects into the sea, assumes the exact form of a bust
to those coming from the north. The following day we
came to ancient Btbltjs (Gebel), and then crossed over
the Adonis river, which still, after violent rain, is occa-
sionally the colour of blood, mourning over the wounded
favourite of Aphrodite. Passing Guneh, generally proceed-
ing along the sea, sometimes even in it, we arrived at jN^ahe
EL Kelb, the ancient Ltcus, to the south of which the cele-
brated bas-reliefs of Ramses-Sesostris, and of a later Assyrian
king^, are engraved upon a rock projecting into the sea.
In spite of our rapid ride we did not reach the rock-tablets
till shortly after sunset, and we spent the night in the Khan

The following morning I investigated the sculpture more
accurately, close to which passed the very ancient, artificial
road, which is now destroyed, and I was rejoiced to make an
important acquisition, for I was enabled to decipher a date
in the hieroglyphic inscriptions. Among the three Egyptian
representations, which all bear the Shields of Eamses IL, the
central one is dedicated to the chief god of the Egyptians,
Ea (Helios), the southern one to the Theban or Upper Egyp-
tian Ammon, and the northern to the Memphitic or Lower

* The king here represented is explained by Eawlinson to be the
son of the builder of Khorsabad, Bel-Adonimseha. {A Commentary
on the Cuneiform Inscr. of Babylonia and Assyria. London, 1850,
p. 70.) According to Layard, the same king is found on the buildings
of Kuyung'ik, Nebbi Yunas, and Mossul (Nineveh, Lond., 1849, p. 142 —
144); who (p. 400) supposes that the cypress monument now to be
seen in Berlin belongs to him. (Compare Bonomi, Nineveh and its
Palaces. London, 1852, p. 127.)

356 BEEUT.

Egyptian Phtha ; this Eamses had also dedicated to tliese
same gods the three remarkable rock-temples in Nubia, at
Gerf HussEif, Sebua, and Deee, no doubt because they
were viewed by him as the three chief representatives of
Egypt. On the central stele, the inscription begins below
the representation, with the date of the 2nd Choiak of the
4th teae of the eeign of King Eamses ; the Ammon
stele, on the other hand, was dated from the second, or (if the
two strokes above were connected) from the tenth year ; at all
events, not the same year as the central stele, from which we
might conclude that all three representations referred to
different campaigns.

"VVe did not leave the tomb of St. George unvisited, and
the church dedicated to him near Nahr el Kelb ; and as we
entered Beeut towards evening, we deviated from our path
to visit the well where the dragon whicli he slew was in the
habit of drinking. Thus, on the 26th of November, we
ended our excursion to, and over the mountain range of,
Libanon ; justly lauded from its numerous historical recol-
lections, and its rare natural beauties, of which the poet says,
" that it bears winter on its head, spring upon its shoulders,
autumn in its lap, but that summer slumbers at its feet on
the Mediterranean."




BERLIN, 1849.







My clironological work (the first volume of which is now
before you), starting from a far more limited point of view,
has a less remote aim than your history^, and will be at most
but a supplemental elaboration of the ideas originally laid
down in your more comprehensive plan. It is not my task
to indicate the position Egypt occupies in the IIistoet of
THE AVoELD, but only in its external form in the History of
Time ; it is tlierefore chronological, not historical. But to
obtain the chronological basis was, with reason in your opinion
also, the first and most important point of your inquiry, be-
cause upon this must depend every extensive development of
history. You derived your information directly from those
authors from whom we learn the connection of events, as a
whole, and in detail. I obtained mine from the monuments,
which establish the authenticity of the Greek account, fre-
quently disclose their meaning, and necessarily correct, com-
plete, and confirm their separate statements. The mutual
interchanjre was intended to have led to a common result. If
formerly this was not always tlie case, the interruption of our
intercourse could not but lead us in many points still farther
apart. I have never hesitated to express myself freely when
I have differed from you, because I well know that, like me,
you alone regard the subject before you, and are convinced
that truth is finally elicited only by a distinct presentation of
opposing possibilities. In the present investigations, also, I

' JEgjiptens Slelle in der Weltgeschichie. (Egypt's Place in Universal
History. Trans, by C. H. Cottrell.)

360 THE authoe's dedication

have yielded to this conviction, but on that account have felt
it still more obligatory to lay them first of all before you, and
fulfilling an agreeable duty, dedicate them to you as a public
testimony of my gratitude.

In this work I have touched upon the most various pro-
vinces of archaeology, and have frequently been obliged to
oppose, in essential points, the views of men whom I honour
and admire as the heroes of science, and as unsurpassed
models in criticism and true inquiry. This opposition would
be presumptuous were it not that these contested points are
mere specialities in the wide domain over which those men
rule, to refute which, even successfully, could not abate from
their just fame ; while, on the other hand, most of them are
vital questions in the solution of the present undertaking,
and closely connected with the very substance of those in-
vestigations, with which I have especially endeavoured to
render myself familiar.

Had my vocation placed me in a pohtical position, my
motto would have been Eeyerence and Freedom, and with
EEVEEENCE and FREEDOM (those are your words) science
must also be pursued. Eeverence, for everything that is
venerable, sacred, noble, great, and approved ; freedom, wher-
ever truth and a conviction of it are to be obtained and
expressed. AVhere the latter is wanting, there fear and
hypocrisy will exist; where the former, insolence and pre-
sumption will luxuriate in science as in life.

The investigation of Egyptian history will gradually exer-
cise an extensive influence upon all branches of archaeology —
upon our whole conception of the past history of man. We
must therefore expect a reaction from all these sides. Some
of these influential points have been already vindicated, partly
by you and partly in the investigations now before us. They
will not fail to call forth an animated opposition, and at best
elicit discussion, going to tlie root of the question, and
emendation on the part of the learned, to whose opinion I
attach the greatest weight.

That section of my volume which endeavours to establish


the relation of the Egyptian to the Old Hebrew Chronology,
will meet with most opposition. Considering the intimate
connection that necessarily subsists between the philological
and dogmatical method of examining the Biblical Eecords, it
is perfectly natural, that whenever a step in advance, or an
error, strives to obtain a place on the philological side,
theological interest, so much more universally distributed,
takes a part either for, or against it. "Whoever would dispute
its right to do this, must deny to theolog}^ in general its cha-
racter as a science. Tlie Christianity, which derives its origin
and its sustenance from the Bible, is essentially and intrinsi-
cally wholly independent of all learned confirmation. But it is
the duty of theology, whose task it is to fathom Christianity in
a rational manner, and prove its results, to decide scientifically
what are the essential points in the holy Scriptures on which
it founds its system of Christian belief. Should its true sup-
ports not be recognised, but imaginary ones placed in their
stead, it will not injure Christianity, but the theological sys-
tem, or that portion of it which was built on unstable ground.
That truth which is discerned by the sound progress of any
science whatsoever, cannot be hostile to Christian truth, but
must promote it ; for all truths, from the very beginning, have
formed a compact league against everything that is false and
erroneous. Theology, however, possesses no other means
than every other science to distinguish scientifically, in any
department, between truth and error, namely, only a reason-
able and circumspect criticism. AVhatever is brought forward
according to this method, can only be corrected, or entirely
refuted, by a still better and more circumspect criticism.

I believe that you, my honoured friend, and myself, have
only one opinion on these points, I have therefore ventured
to refer, at the conclusion of this section, to your excellent
words, written on an occasion snnilar to the present. It
seems to me, also, that the practical religious meaning, which
the Old Testament possesses for every Christian reader, is
very independent of the dates of periods, the exact know-
ledge of which could only have been known by means of a
piu-poseless inspiration to the authors and elaborators of those

362 THE author's dedication

writings, many of whom lived several centuries later. Strict
science has also very generally decided in this manner for a
long time past, and has not failed to exercise its purifying
reaction upon the dogmatical comprehension of the matter.
So much the more solicitous am I, however, as to whether
my views will stand your examination, and the judgments of
other far more competent investigators than myself in this
department, or will, at any rate, meet your consideration.

The two numbers, namely the 430 years of the sojourn of
the Israelites in Egypt, and the 480 years from the Exodus to
the building of the Temple, have been entirely abandoned by
me, but have been the points on which all the most modem
investigations have rested, though they appear to have been
quite unknown, at least not brought uuder the consideration
of all the older scholars, as Josephus, Africanus, Eusebius,
Syncellus, &c- On the other hand, I have clung to the Le-
vitical registers of Generations as a far more certain guide ;
and thus, in place of a chronological fabric, which had been
already long considered untenable, I immediately obtained a
true historical foundation, and a chronology" bordering, at
least, on a perfectly reliable one, as far back as Abraham, and
this not only most satisfactorily coincided with all the other
historical relations in the writings of the Old Testament,
but also with the already established Manethonic-Egyptinn
computation of time. The path which I have here taken is
by no means new. Des Vignolles, Bockh, and Bertheau had
already abandoned the number 480 years ; you yourself de-
cided against the 430 years, and I find the same path pursued
by Engelstoft in the most decided manner in his interesting
work, to which, however, too little attention has been paid.
Other preparatory labours in the widely extended department
of this literatm'e may have escaped my notice, but, at all
events, these opinions had hitherto been unable to make
themselves properly appreciated, as is evident from the latest
works of the most important inquirers ; and first among them
Ewald's profound and acute history. Were it only occasioned
by this mode of apprehension being hitherto not sufficiently
carried out, and requiring especially the essential confirma-


tion of Egyptian clironology, and should tlie new course whicli
I have adopted on that account win a more general assent, it
would be no slight satisfaction to me, and would especially
afford me one more guarantee of the genuineness of the
Egyptian chronology.

But the real foundation for the Egyptian computation of
time, according as, in my opinion, it should he restored, is to
be found in the last section of this volume in the criticism
upon the authorities which derive their information from Ma-
netho. This is a detailed and complicated investigation, and
the superabundant material which is presented, forms a knot
whicli the labour of almost a thousand years, in place of dis-
entangling, has only drawn still tighter, because the wrong
ends of the threads were always pulled. It was first of all
necessary carefully to pursue these false ends through all their
twistings — I mean especially the spurious writings, and the
influences exercised by them, and separate them distinctly ;
but to recognise the true character of the remaining genuine
portion, and to fix securely the few principal points. Besides
my own^reparatory labours, I possessed two admirable re-
searches, upon which I could still further build : your own
work, and the one by Bockh upon the Manethonic Computa-
tion of Time. The result of the two investigations, which
were obtained independently of each other, and published
almost simultaneously, deviate very much from one another,
since you fix Menes more than 2000 years later than Bockh
believes he is placed by Manetho. This discrepancy must
be the immediate result of the difference in your fundamental
views, which caused Bockh to regard the Manethonic Dynas-
ties as uninterruptedly consecutive, you as partly reigning
contemporaneously. Bockh especially cited in support of his
view the circumstance, that if we count the Dynasties ac-