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those which express one Idea; and the determinatives, which arenned to indicate
many. In all insunoee, these ideographs are occasionally found preceded by
phonetic groups, which give the sound of the idea they are Intended to express in
the written language ; tlie aimple ideographs being found onlv preceded by one groop ;
while the determinatives are preceded bv many. The pure ideographs are of various
classes : first, those representing the object directbr, as a dog, «Jwir, to express the
idea dog ; secondly, those metaphorically conveying the requin^ meaning, as a woman
beating a tambonrino to indicate** joy," In which the action indicates the effect
produced; thirdly, that in which the nttribtite is expressed by the figure of some
object possessing it, as a jackal, to Indicate ** cunning " or ** oraf t ; " a flying ceo-

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8«r, toeli^Ifyfiiceofle.'' Or the direct actfon wis often r e p t ' CBeu ted ; stabird
flsliltig, to express the Men of fUhing in KeuemL Such a mode of depictlDg MeM
Id detail wtt8 only salted for ehiDoraCe uiouamonts; and the iimnber ci Meo-
graphs recfulred to express alt idea?, wonid liave been so inaoy as to have
overwhelmed the meinoiy of the learner, aud to ba\'e obecnred the eonprehen-
siou of the reader. lu order, therefore, to reduce the nomb^r of ideograph*, a cer-
tttiu uaniber of these hlerodyi^s were ascd to expresa more idea^ than one lu the
prluclpal classes of thoaghC Thus, a seated man, orleioally employed to signify
man. was applied to all relationsliiiM, fnticUons, and offices of men, as oCf, father;
aemorotlier; tMr, goreruor; hsntMUr, priest; hak^ laborer; the special menuin((
which it conveyed being shewn by the pliouetie grooi« which preci<ded it In the
■ame way, all beaftts or objects made oc leatlier were expresped by a ridn ; all pre-
dons stones of objects made of the same by a ring; all actions of locomotion by
two legs In tlie act of waBcing ; and all actions lu which tlio arms were nscd by an
arm tiokUuc a stick. Ttie namber of these signs may Iw computed at nlioat 175, aud
they resemble In tlielr use those of the Assyrian conelform. In which, althongh to a
more limited extent, the leading classes of tlioaght were determined by a diameter
prefixed to the phonetic groap giving the particaTar idea. Tlioa, iu the Assyrian, all
names of men are preoeMd by a single anright wedge ; all connaies by throe wedges
dfaiposed obllqaely ; and names of honied cattle by the gronpof tlvc we^^. In the
IBgyptiau frrstem, tiowevor, the determinathres ore always pTaoed after the phonetic
groups, and are more nnmeroua. Tiie Chinese system of writing approaches still
more closely to the Beyptlau, S4S radicals, as thcv are called, Irat really detprmino-
tives, beiuf placed after other groups and symbols, which indicate the special Idea
futeuded. In this last langoage, the radicals are genernlly placed to the left, as hcum^
^'good," iu which the ridlcal la «ie«, *'a woman,** except in titose Instances lu
Which they enclose the phonetic or special groapa. In the Egyptian hieroglyphs,
every woid not expressing an abstract Idea, as the verb to be. or the grammatical
forms, and pronouns, \a accompanied by its determinative, ana is Incomplete with-
out it. The gcnias of the writing Is tliat the phonetics aud Ideographs mutaally
explain each otlvM'. Sometimes, indeed, by a kind of rednndant pleonasm, tlie de-
terminatives are placed after tlie special Ideographs, as the three ringaof mdal after
the cape used to express gold and sliver; the tliree flowers after the lily to signify
Illy ; and the skin after tlie eo.nt to ineau goat. Tlie phonetic portion of the hiero-
glyphs consists, at the liert period of wntinr, of a limited nnmber of stena, aboat
ISO, employed as a syllabarlum ; and althongTi the term alphabet has been often
osed In speaking of the phonetic hieroglyphs, nothing of the natureof apure alpha-
bet existed tUl a later jieriod, when the Plioenicinns invented a puxdy alphabetic
iTstein, suppreaalng the vowel^ which the Greeks still further improved by reiutro-
dnciug tliem into their graphic system, and so bronghr. to pcrredion the iovalnahle
Invenuon of alphabetic writing, at once conckie; compenaioos and complete. But
the E^gyptbui hicroelypbs compriae two classes of »yna1)lcs— those ending «\ith
vowelis or the ao-cofled alpliabetics, and tlioae ending with consonants; or In other
worda, of monosyllables and polysyllabicii. As the mooo^llables enter Into tlie
composition of the polysyllabic groapa. It la evident that tliey are oldpr than the
billternl or dissyllabic hloroglvphs. The spoken Inngnago seems in fact to have
originally consisted q€ monosvllables, wbldi were sabseqnentty enriched by aggk)m-
eration and combined into blliteral and trlliterol roots. Sevemi of these monosvl-
lablc words liave descended from the ancient huiguage to tlie Copthr, as ab, a lamb ;
a«,acow; nMiw. alien; ro, the sun; jie, the heaven. Kumerona words of this
dass may atill be traced as tlie roots of the more andcnt language, but it is obvioaa
that only a few of the most manageable could be selected for the combined
purposes of sound and writiug. In some Instances two or more seem to liave
been selected for the same aounda, lu order to suit the style of vn-lting.
horisontol or verth»il signs being requirud for the careful packing of
the groups In the texts. Now, It will be necessaiy to bear hi mind
that each of tlieae hieroglyphs of the first phonetic division represents a monosyla-
ble, of which It represenu the whole by Itself considered aa the lulthii, but that It
was always capable of having the vowel hieroglyph which followed the inlUal placed
after it,and that In the hieratic or cursive Rgyptiaii writing, this was generally the case,
ta Older to diatisgaiah the algiia. Thia final vowd Is, howcrver, generally omitted In

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bl4;rog)7pble tozta, and in nid to bo inUretU, or ovgbt to te proooanoed In tlie flnt
Uicro^iypb. The alphubetic syilaburiam U aa followa: an ei^» Aa; an arm, Aa ;
a rued, Aa ; o calf. An ; a heron, Ba ; a leg, Bu ; a cerastes, Fi ; au eaglet, Qa; a
Vttse, Qa: a viper, Gi ; W of a stool, Ha; u house, Ua; a papyrus plaut. Ua; fore-
part of lioii, Hft: twisted cord, Hi ; a task, Hu ; u clab. Ha; two reeds, la : two
oblique strokes, lu ; a bowl, K&; leaf oC water-lily, KUa ; a momiorus fish, KHa ; a
mace, KBa ; a ^leve. Kill : a garmeut, KHu. or Au ; a lion, Ru, or Lu ; n mouth, Ln,
or Ru ; a pen. Ma ; a weight. If a ; a hole. Ma ; an owl, Ma ; a vulture, Mu ; a water-
Hue, I^a : a red crowu, Na ; a vase, Na ; agoose flyiog. Pa ; a shutter, Pu ; a koee.Qa ;
astaudtOa; top of quiver. Sa ; a eoose, Sa ; a wolf, »a ; a reed. Sn ; a bolt, Su;buck
of chair, d(en or -et^; a garden, SHa ; part of dress, SHa ; a pooX SHi ; a spindle, Ta ;
a hand. Ti ; twisted cord, Tl ; a mufler, Tu ; a duckling, Ui ; a twisted cord, UL
Tills comprises all the signs which nuiy be considered alphabetic in their nature, at
the best period, or from the 4tti to the 21st dynasty, when a i-evolutiou took place in
the mode of writiuj^ and about 90 additional signs, taken frwn the ideographs and
syllabics, w^re ado^ to tiie preoodlug alphabetic, and used iudiscriiuinately — not,
-indeed, all at once, but by gradual iutrodoctions, from the 2l8t dynasty till the 8d c
▲. D. Itor are all the signs of the preceding alpkabet of equal antiquity, or ns much
used aa otbem. As to the inherent nature of the vowels, li may be ot>servcd that A,
the commonest, is often vrritten with Its complement o after it, as Au. and that Ha
is indifferently expressed with aa. as Ha. Of the three forms of the A, the first ex-
presses the aspirate, the second tbe nasel, and the third the soft breathiug. Besides,
too, their final complemoot, tbe initial sound, especially of consonants, urobabiy of
those newly introduced into the system, was placed before them« to explain their ns&
The oonsioenitiou of tbe sisus that precede and follow after, determines the sonal
^aliio of ourtaiu hieroglyphics which are thus eucaaed and explained by othe*

The syllables are coustrticted on tbe same plan. They consist of an initial blci^
oglyph. which is capable of expressing by itself the whole syllable, as Am^er,
but which take after them their inherent consonant or complement, aa AM, UEB,
and are someUmes preceded l^ tlieir iuitial complement. These are more nnmep>
ous tluui the alphabetico-syllabfc class, and are as commonly used in the texts. Tho
language has impressed upon it by this mode of writing a certain ideographic char-
acter, which it retained, certain words being only written by certain sylUiltics, and
the use of tbe two syllabaries was by no means nromiscuous, the examples of differ-
ent modes of grouping the same word being aouormal, and referable only to lOng
intervals of time. For although several hundred papyri exist in the museums of
Europe, aud no two are wrriUeu precisely alike, yet the greatest differences will be
observable in those which are aimilar texts, written at long intervals of time from
eacli otlter. Nevertheless, some latitude prevails in the writing of certalu woitla
and proper names, and those hieroglyphs which appear in the corresponding places
of otlu;rs are called variante or homopUane%. Sometimes tbe same proper name it
represented by six different groupe of hieroglyphs, yet they could only have beeu
pronounced in one way. as they represent the sauvi name, and the different hier-
oglvphs are oonseouently only iDterchanged to express tbe same Hoouds.

1 lie lanfptage of the hieroglyphs is nearest to tlio Ckiptic, the form which it as-
fumed about the 8d c. Juik, when the Qreek alphabet, reinforced by letters borrowed
from tbe demotic or tx>ptilar cursive hand of the period, Bupersedodthc demotic mid
hieroi^lypliic mode oc writing. This language, extinct only aaspokeu al>oat a cen-
tury auaa half ago (see Coptic), differs considerably from the munumeutal texts.
having been corrnpted by the Introduction of Qreek, Latin, aud Arabic words, bat
this contains, as its base, the old laugtuige of the country — a lon^^ analogous in
some respects to the Semitic dialects, out in others of a coustruotioo which may bo
called Hnraitic, or allied to tho African. The great peculiarity of the hiei*oglyphic
language is, that the verbal root both of the nouns, adjectives, and verbs rcmaina
nncluinged, and that the dual and plural are made by postfixes, thocaset* of tbe nouns
formed by prepositionSf aud the tenses of the verba oy tbe prefixing of the declined
abstract aiuUiary verbs, Ao, An, or Kheper, to be; or by tbe afllxiug of the pro-
nouns a, le, £,/, a, nen, ten, sen. preceded py prepositions, to tbe verbal roots. Tho
pronomis are either detached and prefixed or affixed, aud the prepofitions, are
either simple or compouud: many remarkable forma of the last class existing la the

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609 HiMqfinihiM

Itncrnage. Tb«re is a gmtvagnenefls in tbdr e uip lojr m ent» and their meaning is
often aoDormal, and only daflned by the context.

Considered as the most andent written language, the blerogljpbs throw great
light open comparative philology, the relatire antiquity of Tarioos words andlocn-
tions, the general construction of langaage itself, nud the development of picture,
writlog iuto the abstract ciphers of sound, called icttws. A great portion of the
words are similar to the Semitic, either directly orindireotly : Uins iwiML^ the sea, is
like the Hebrew yam; Im^, an ape, like q<nf. The majority are, of conrae, purely
Coptic; bntat the period of the 19th dynasty, or about 1800 n.a, many Hebrew,
'^ ' ic, and Aramaic words were Introduced iuto the luugusge bv the progress of tlie
Aian arms to the £ast, and such words as teto for StfK a house, moiaturu for
o<» a tower, and othm, appear; tbev are, however, rare aud few in number
comnared to the body of the language. Majiy other words appear to be ludo-Ger-
manlc. The literature nill be found under the word Pafybus.

The invention of hierof^yphs, called KtUr kkaru^ or *■* divine words,'' was at-
tributed to the tfod Thoth. the Bgyptian Logos, who is repeatedly called the scribe
of the gods, ana lord of tne hieroglyphs. Pliny attributes their invention to Mentui.
The literature of the Bgypttans was in fact styled Hermaic or Hermeiic, on account
of its supposed divine origin, and tlie knowledge of hieroglyphs was, to a certain
extent, a mystery to tbe ignorant, although universally emploved by the Mcerdo-
tal and instructed classes. To forden nations, the hieroglyphs alwavs remained
BO,'afthough Moses is supposed to nave been versed in ihe knowledge of I hem
CPkUo^ vita Moysis); but Joeeph ia described ascouverslng with his brethren through
interpreters, aud does not appear to allude to hieroglyphic writing. The Greeks,
who had settled on the coast as early as the •tb c B.a, do not appear to have pos-
sessed more than a colloquial knowledge of the language ; and altboueh Boion,
688 B. c, is said to have studied Bgyptian doctrines at Sebennytus and Heliopolls,

and the doctrines of Pythagoras are thought to have been derived from Bgypt,'
these sages could only have acquired their Knowledge from interpretations of hier-
oglyphic writings. Hecatsus (5S1 B.a) and Herodofus (464 B.O.), who visited Bgvpt

in their travels, obtained from similar sources the information th^ have afford^ of
the language or monnments of the country. Democritns of Abdera, indeed, about
the same period (460 B.O.), had described both the Ethiopian hleroglyplis and the
Babvlonian cuneiform, but his work has disappeared. After the conquest of Beypt
by Alexander, the Greek rulers began to pay attention to the language and hletory
of their subjects, and Eratosthenes, the keeper of the museum at Alexandria, aud
Manetho, the hish-prlest of Sebennytus. hod drawn up accouuts of the national
chronology and history from hieroglyphic sources. Under the Roman empire, in
the reigu of Augustus, one Chtaremou, the keeper of the library at tiie Serapnum,
had drawn up a dictionary of the hieroglyphs ; and both Diodorus aud Strabo men-
tion them, and describe their nature, ^iicitns, later under the empire, gives the
account of the monuments of Thebes translated by the Bgyptian priests to Ger-
nuinicus ; Irat after his time, the knowledge of them beyond Bgypt itself was ex-
ceedingly limited, and does not reappear Sll the 8d and subsequent centuries ▲. n.,
when they are montionod by Ammliiuns Marcallinns, who cites the
translation of one of the ol)eUsks at Kome by oue Hermapion, and
by Julius Valerius, the author of the apocryphal life of Alexander,
who gives tliat of another. Heliodorus, a novelist who flourished 400
A.D., diracribes a liieroglyphic letter written by Queen Cuudaco (iv. 8). The first
positive information on the subject is by Clement of Alexandria (SLl a.ix), who
mentions the symbolical and phonetic, or, as he calls it, cyriologic nature of hiero-
glyphics. Porphyry (804 ▲.&.) divides them al^o into conologic or phonetic, aud
enigmatic or symbolic Horapollo or Horus-Apollon, who is supposed to have
flourished about 600 a.d., wrote two books explanatory of the hieroglyphs, a rude,
ill-assorted confusion of truth and fiction, in which are given the interpretation of
many hlerogljrphs, and their esoteric meaning. After titis writer, all knowledge of
them disappeiued till the revival of letters. At tlie beginning of the 16th c 1629
▲.D., these symbols first attracted attention* and soon after Kircber, a learned Jesuit,
pretended to Interpret them by vague eeotericnotiouA derived from his own fancy,
on the supposition that the hieroglypha were ideoerapliic, a theory which barred all
progresa, and was held in its f alT extent by tbe learuedt till Zoega, at the close of

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BtevaflfpUai giO

the 18tk c, 1787, a.d., flrrt eo^ndAted that the ovtlt or cartoadiM oonUlued roral
names, sad that the lilerog^lypba, or some of thein. were need to ezprau aouuos.
More monnmentfl were known, and jostcr ideas had be^u to dawn on the Ewt^xmn
mind ; aiid thediswovery by the French, In ITM^of the so-called KoseCta Stone, a slab
of hiMck granite, hsTing Inscribed npon it, Orst in hieroiclyphica, seoondjy in deinotie
or enchorial (a cursive popular form of wrkiuK extant at the period), and thirdly in
Gntek, a decree of the priesto of Egypt assenmlt^ In synod at Meniplris, In honor
of Ptolomy v., ^'9^ the (Irst due to tiie decipherment. The first attempts, indeed,
were madrt npon the demotic text by Silvestre de Sacy wttli some sacces*, but it
WNS soon discovered that the demotic was not pnrelv alpliaiietic Crude notions of
tho ideographic nature of the hieroglyphs prevailed till Dr. Yoang. in 1818, first gave
ont the hypothesis, that the hieroglyphs were osed as sounds in royal proper name&
He WAS led to this conclusion by tracing Ute hieroglyphs through the cursive kie-
raiic to tlie more cursive demollc ; and as this last was known to be alphal>etic, he
duduced that the corresponding hieroglyphic signs were so. lu this manner, he
came to the conclusion that the first hieroglyph in t4io name of Ptolemy in the
Rosotia Stone (a mat) represented a P ; the second (bami»phere) a T; the third (a
)oop) he supposed to be superfluous ; the fourth (a lion) he read OLE: the fifth and
«ixih, the syllable MI ; and seventh, t4ie back of the seat, an S. Unaided 1^ ^Uln-
^nl monaroents, he es^yed to decipher the name of Berenice, and altogether esub-
lished the value of five hieroglyphs as letters oot of two names, bnt was oiiable to
proceed further. Oharapolllou, lu 1883, by menus of an luscripiioa fomid on au
obelisk at PhlUe, whksh hnd at the base a Greek Inscriptkni, recognised the name oC
Cleopatra, and by comparison with that of IHolemy, at once pro red tlie purely al-
phabetic, not syllabico-alphabotic nature of the signs. Bxtcnding ttie principle, he
read by its means the names of the Greek and Roman, and finally those of the na-
tive monarchs. It was soon seen that the same liioroglyphs as those used in iheaa
names were extensively used in the texts for words, and these words turned out, in
most instances, to be anak>gons to the Coptic AUbonuh the discoveries of Obam-
pollion were received by many of the learned in Europe with distrustort^t his metliod
of research was slowly adopted by Roselliui and Salvolini in 1838, and snbse-
aiieiiily extended methodically by Lep^lus In 1837, and by Bnnsen, Hliicks, De
Aonge, Birch, Goodwin, Chabf^ Bnigsch, and others.

IHie method of interpretation adopted has been strictly Indnctive, the valoe of
ttie characters being dcduce<l from the equation of sounds, or liomophoues of simi-
lar groups. The meaning of tlie groups or words has been determined by examin-
ing all known instances in which they occur In passages capable of being interpr»>
ted, tliat of tlie Ideographs by ol>serving the form of symbols; many of them have
been made out from the pictures which Uiey explain, or the phonetic gronpe which
accompany them. A carerul comparison has been insUtnted with corresponding
Coptic and Hebrew roots when they exist. In sliort, a careful principle of iuducdou
has been applied to the study of the hieroglyphs.

The discovery of another trilingual inscription, that of tiie tablet at San or Tunis,
recording a s3rnodical act of ttie priests in the reign of Ptolemy Buergetes IL, b.o.
88$, has confirmed the results obtained by Bgyptologista, the meaning of almost all
the words having been previously determined; while the power of reading all doco-
ineiits and inscriptions afforded bv their researches have resulted in the remscitation
of a knowledge of the history, science, and literature of the ancient Bgj'ptians. Tlie
study has long passed into the cattery of a recognised branch of oriental learning,
and the researches have assumed a more critical form. This lias been owing to the
uuml>er of students, and the abundance of material extant and published. The
doubts with which the Interpretations were at first received liave succumbed to the
conviction that nothiuff but a current system of interpretation could have obtained
such logical results. Whatever doubt, In fact, may exist as to the minor details and
more delicate shades of language, alt the grammatical forms and three-fonrtha of
the words of the old Egyptian lauguoge have been established.

The hieroglyphs stood in the same relation to the other two forma of writing the
character, caUud hieratic and demotic, as type does to handwriting. Their noe was
chiefly for ofllclal inscriptions on public or private monuments, religious formate
and prayers, and rituals or hermetic books (see Papyrus). The most remarkable
liieroglyphic iuacriptlous are— that of Una, recording the conquest of the huida of

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Um nepoM at the time of <he ith d jnavty ; Id boaor of Khmirabetp at Benifaa»nin,
rvoordugthe tnTmtment of his fninily; the campalgus of Ahine« agaiiitt tho
Hykeboe at El-Kab ; tlieatiuals of Tbotbroea III. at Karuak, the cain|>algii of
Ramepea II. asnlnat the Kbita, aiid the treaty with them ; the aocuaiit of the tank
for tfold*waiibtiiff8 in the relgu or Seti I. and Raincaes II. at Koobao and Hedesicli ;
the iiivaaioD of Efry)>t in the r<nirn of Mencptali by tli« allied torces of the Libyans,
Mazyee. Achaioi or Oreeka, SicIliaDa, Etruccana, Lyciaue, and otiter people of tlie
baain of the Mediterraneau ; theatar-riainffaon rh«toiuhof Raraeeea V. ; tbeionnioy
of the ark of Khoua to Baklitao, in ll:e reieii of KnmcaeH X. ; tbe nccoont of Cnni-
bya«!8 and Darlna on ihe atatne of the VatHuin ; the tilrendy-cited ayuodipnl nci of
the prieata in honor of Ptolemy £nergetes IL, and that of the prieata aaaenibled at
Memphia on tho Uoaetta atone iu the reign of Ptolemy V., tho aepak;hral tableta of
the family of Paaiierenptah, and the k>^ acriea of aopDJcbml tableta of the boll
Apia foaud in the Sonpeion, rocording the birth, installation, and death of tlio bulla
froin tlie 18tli dyuoatv to tlie Peraiaua.

In coimectiou vrith the hieroglyphica are two modes of writing tiirm, flrat the
hUratie writing, conaiating of a kind of abridged hieroglyphs. Tlie namber of these
\rritten cliarttctera is fewer than that of the hleroglyplie, the generic determinatives
being more employed, and tlie Yocattc complements of the conaonanta being con-
atauny written, in order to diatinguish simihir forms. This writing was more ex«
tenaively nacd than the hieroglyphic, 1)eing employed for state papers, legal docu-
ments, inemuranda, accounts, religious bookH, ritoala. and nil the purposea of private
and public life. Boolcs were generally written in hieratic It commencca aa early
as tbie 4tb or 6th dynasty, and icrminatea only ubont the 8d or 4lli c of oor era. At
the earlieat period, it is occaaionally written perpendicularly, but it waa afterwards
only written borisontally, and has generally portiouain red iuk,com>apondingtoonr
initial illuminated letters or rubrica. For the literary coutcnta of thcde rulls, aee
PAFYBU8. Some, indeed, have auppoaed that the hieratic alphabet gave rise to the
Plicenician, and have endeavored to truce the Phceniciau alphabet from hieratic
sources. But although much ingeuoitv has been expended in this inquiry, the pre-
cii*o source of Phcenician writing remains involved m ob9< *" " . . . , .

obscurity, the principal fart

vii*v mjuit^v ui 1 iiwiiiuiau wiiiiiijg, rt;iiiaiiiB liiTuivtru lu «jws<vui ii j, »iiv |riiijvip'ii ta« •>

being that a eyllabary exiated long prior to the Fbceuician alphabet, which did not
reach the perfection of the Greeks, owing to the aupprcsaion of vowels. Theaecond
kind of hieroglyphic hand-writing was the demotic^ or ao-called enchoriaL It waa a
still farther redaction of the hieratic, aimplcr forms being need, while
the complements are not naed, and it approncliee atill nearer the alphabetic ayatem.
It containa an alphabet of 49 letters, and a syllabary of 48 chanictt'ra, and ia low« rich
In the number of determinativea and ideograplis than the hieratic. It ii*, like all
cursive handa, more difficult to decipher than the hicrutic. It was introduced Into
the Egyptian graphic ayatem about the commencement of the Mth dynasty, or the
6th c. B.'j., and continued in nae till tlie 8d c. a.d. Thia waa the last native form ttf

Online LibraryJames OrrChambers's new handy volume American encyclopaedia: being a ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 118 of 196)