George Rawlinson.

A history of ancient Egypt (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 40)
Online LibraryGeorge RawlinsonA history of ancient Egypt (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




University of California Library/ Los Angeles


^ '^

The Works of

George Rawlinson, M.A.


Volume One


Maps, Diagrams and Illustrations


New York Philadelphia Chicago


Limited to One Thousand Sets
Printed for Subscribers Only



The work here offered to the public, conceived and com-
menced in the year 1876, was designed to supply what seemed
a crying need of English literature — viz., an account of
Ancient Egypt, combining its antiquities with its history, ad-
dressed partly to the eye, and presenting to the reader, within
a reasonable compass, the chief points of Egyptian life — man-
ners, customs, art, science, literature, religion — together with
a tolerably full statement of the general course of historical
events, whereof Egypt was the scene, from the foundation of
the monarchy to the loss of independence. Existing English
histories of Ancient Egypt were either slight and scantly illus-
trated, like those of Canon Trevor and Dr. Birch, or wanting
in illustrations altogether, like Mr. Kenrick's, or not confined
to the period which seemed to deserve special attention, like
the ''Egypt" of Mr. Samuel Sharpe. Accordingly, the
present writer, having become aware that no ** History of
Eg3-pt " on a large scale was contemplated by Dr. Birch, de-
signed in 1876 the work now published, regarding it in part
as necessary to round off and complete his other principal
labors in the historical field, in part as calculated to fill up a
gap, which it was important to fill up, in the historical litera-
ture of his country. Since his intention was announced, and
the sheets of his first volume to some extent printed off, Eng-
lisli literature has been enriched by two most important pub-
lications on the subject of Egypt — Dr. Birch's excellent edition
of Wilkinson's "Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyp-
tians," and the translation of Dr. Brugsch's " Geschichte
Aegyptens " made by the late ]Mr. Danby Seymour and Mr.
Philip Smith. Had these works existed in the year 1876, or
had he then known that they were forthcoming, the author



feels that the present volumes would never have seen the
light. But, as they were tolerably advanced when he first be-
came aware to what rivalry his poor efforts would be sub-
jected, it was scarcely possible for him to draw back and
retract his announced intentions. Instead of so doing, he took
refuge in the hope that neither of the two new works would
altogether pre-occupy the ground which he had marked out
for himself, and in the pleasing persuasion that the general
public, when books are published on a subject in which it
feels an interest, and are devoured with avidity, has its appe-
tite rather whetted by the process than satisfied. He trusts
therefore to find, in England and America, a sufficient body
of readers to justify his present venture, and prevent his pub-
lishers from suffering any loss through him.

In preparing the volumes, the author has endeavored to
utilize the enormous stores of antiquarian and historical ma-
terial accumulated during the last eighty years, and laid up
in works of vast size and enormous cost, quite inaccessible to
the general public. Of these the most magnificent are the
** Description de I'Egypte," published by the French savants
who accompanied the expedition of the great Napoleon; the
" Monument! dell' Egitto e della Nubia " of Ippolito Rosel-
lini; and the " Denkmaler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien "
of Professor Lepsius. M. Mariette's " Monuments Divers
recueillis en Egypte et en Nubie " have also furnished him
with a considerable number of illustrations. Possessing only
a rudimentary knowledge of the Egyptian language and
writing, he has made it his aim to consult, as far as possible,
the various translations of the Egyptian documents which have
been put forth by advanced students, and to select the render-
ing which seemed on the internal evidence most satisfactory. '
He has based his general narrative to a large extent on these
translations; and, where they failed him, has endeavored to
supply their place by a careful study, not only of finished
" Histories of Egypt," like those of Lenormant, Birch, and
Brugsch, but those of elaborate " monographs " upon special
pointy \sx which French and German scholars subject to the


keenest scrutiny the entire evidence upon this or that subject
or period. Such books as De Kouge's ** Kecherches sur les
Monuments qu'on pent attribuer aux six premieres dynasties
de Manethon," Chabas' "Pasteurs en Egypte," "Melanges
Egyptologiques," and "Recherches pour servir a I'histoire de
la XlXme Dynastie et specialement a celle des temps de FEx-
ode/' Lepsins^s pamphlet " Ueber die XII. agyptische Konigs-
dynastie, nebst einigen Bemerkungen zu der XXVI. und
andern Dynastien des neuen Reichs," and his '* Konigsbuch
der alten Aegypter," Diimichen's " Flotte einer agyptisclien
Konigin " and " Historische Inschriften alt-agyptischer Denk-
maler/' are specimens of the class of works to which allusion
is here made, and have been the sources of the present nar-
rative much more than any methodized ** Histories." The
author, however, is far from wishing to ignore the obligations
under which he lies to former historians of Egypt, such as
Bunsen, Kenrick, Lenormant, Birch, and Brugsch, without
whose works his could certainly not have been written. He is
only anxious to claim for it a distinct basis in the monographs
of the best Egyptologists and the great collections of illustra-
tions above noticed, and to call attention to the fact that he
has endeavored in all cases to go behind the statements of the
historiographers, and to draw his own conclusions from the
materials on which those statements were based.

In conclusion he would express his obligations to his en-
graver and artist, Mr. G. Pearson and Mr. P. Hundley, in
respect of his illustrations; to the late Colonel Howard Vyse
in respect of all that he has ventured to say concerning the
Pyramids; to Mr. James Fergusson in respect of his remarks
on the rest of Egyptian architecture; to his old friend and
colleague, the late Sir Gardner Wilkinson, in respect of the
entire subject of Egyptian customs andjmanners; to M. AViede-
mann in respect of the history of the twenty-sixth dynasty;
and to Mr. R. Stuart Poole, Dr. Eisenlohr, M. Deveria, and
other writers on Egyptian subjects in the " Dictionary of the
Bible," the '' Revue Archeologique," and the " Transactions
of the Society of Biblical Archgeology." He has lived to feel,


continually more and more, how small a part of each
** History '^ is due to the nominal author, and how large a
share belongs to the earlier workers in the field. He trusts
that in the past he has never failed conspicuously in the duty
of acknowledging obligations; but, however that may be, he
would at any rate wish, in the present and in the future, not
to be liable to the charge of such failure. To all those whose
works he has used he would hereby express himself greatly
beholden; he would ask their pardon if he has involuntarily
misrepresented them, and would crave at their hands a lenient
judgment of the present volumes.

Cantebbxjey, December 31, 1880.





Geography of Egypt. Boundaries, Dimensions, and Character
of the Country. Proportion of cultivable Territory. Depend-
ence on the Nile. Course of the Nile — its Tributaries — Time
and Causes of the Inundation. Chief Divisions of the Terri-
tory: the Nile Valley; the Delta; the Fayoum; the Eastern
Desert ; the Valley of the Natron Lakes. Character of the
adjoining Countries. . . . . . . 1



Climate of Egypt — of the Nile Valley — of the Eastern Highland.
Vegetable Productions — Indigenous Trees and Plants —
Plants anciently cultivated. Indigenous Wild Animals —
Domesticated Animals. Birds, Fish, Reptiles, and Insects.
Mineral Products. . . . , , . 23



The Egyptians of Asiatic Origin — Imraigrants from the East —
Not a colony from Ethiopia — Proof of this — So far peculiar as
to constitute a distinct Race — Their Complexion dark, but
not black — their Hair not woolly. Description of their
Features : of their Form. Their Subdivisions, original and
later. Their Intellectual Characteristics. Their Artistic
Pow^ers. Theirl^Iorality, theoretic and practical. Their Num-
ber. Nations bordering upon Egypt : The Libu (Libyans), or
Tahennu on the West ; the Nahsi (Negroes) and Cush (Ethi-
opians) on the South ; the A7nu (Shemites) and Shasu
(Arabs) on the East. Nascent Empu-es in this quarter. . 48





Proposed Mode of Treatment. General Character of the Lan-
guage. Connection of the Ancient Egyptian with the Coptic.
Three Forms of Egyptian Writing. The Hieroglyphic Signs
Pictorial. The Signs of four sorts, Representative, Figurative,
Determinative, and Phonetic. Table of the most common
Phonetics ; other Phonetics. Number of the Signs. Ar-
rangement of the Writing. Signs for Numerals — for Gods —
for Months. Egyptian Grammar. . . , .57



General Character of the Egyptian Literature, mediocre — perhaps
at present not fairly appreciated. Variety and Extent of the
Literature. Works on Religious Subjects — "Ritual of the
Dead." Shorter Works on Religion — Specimen. Historical
Poems — Specimens. Lyrical Poems — Specimen from the
" Song of the Harper." Travels. Romances. Autobiog-
raphies — Sketch from the "Story of Saneha" — Specimen.
Correspondence. Scientific Treatises. Works on Magic. . 68



Extraordinary Productiveness of Egypt in Ancient Times. Ten-
ure of Land under the Pharaohs — Absence of Governmental
Interference with the Cultivation. Farming Operations— Pre-
paration of the Soil. Character of the Plough used. Mode of
Ploughing. Use of the Hoe. Sowing. Kinds of Corn grown.
Cultivation of Wheat — of Barley —of the Doora or Holcus Sor-
ghum. Great Variety of other Crops. System of Irrigation
employed. Use of the Shadoof. Hydraulic Works of the
Fayoum. Cultivation of the Olive. Cultivation of the Vine.
Care of Cattle 79



Earliest Egyptian Architecture sepulchral. Most Ancient Tombs.
Primitive stepped Pyramids — Pyramid of Meydoun— of Sac-
carah. Great Pyramids of Ghizeh. Intention of the Pyra-



mids — Their technic excellence. Their aesthetic merit.
Pyramids of two elevations. Rock Tombs. Primitive Tem-
ples. Later ones — Temple at Medinet-Abou — Rameseum —
Great Temple of Karnak. Obelisks. Southern Karnak Tem-
ple. Mammeisi. Beauties of the Architecture — Massiveness
— Elegance of Columns and Capitals — Caryatide Piers — Em-
ployment of Color. Egyptian Domestic Architecture. Pa-
vilion of Rameses III. Houses of Private Persons. Chief
PecuUarities of Egyptian Construction. Non-employment
of the Arch — Symmetrophobia — Contrivances for increasing
apparent Size of Buildings. . . . . .91



Sculpture of Ancient Egypt — single Statues of full size— peculiari-
ties. Groups. Principal Defects and Merits. Statuettes. Gen-
eral Uniformity and its Causes. Works in high Relief,
rare. Works in Bas-relief, and Intaglio. Defects. Superior-
ity of the Animal over the Human Forms. Examples — Ga-
zelle Hunt — Lion Hunt. Foreshortening. Want of Propor-
tion. Absence of Perspective. Ugliness. Four Classes of Sub-
jects: 1. Rehgious; 2. Processional: 8. Military; and 4. Do-
mestic. Playful Humor in the Domestic Scenes. Egyptian
Painting — its general Character. Mechanism employed —
Colors. Paintings good as Wall Decorations. Stages of
Egyptian Mimetic Art. ..... 123



Egyptian Science. Arithmetic. Geometry. Astronomy — Obser-
vations of Eclipses — Planetary Occultations — Motions and Pe-
riods of the Planets — Tables of the Stars — Acquaintance with
true Solar Year — General Character of the Astronomy.
Egyptian Astrology. Medicine. Engineering Science. 137



Large Share occupied by Religion in the Life of the Nation —
Esoteric and Exoteric Systems. Nature of the Esoteric Reli-
gion. Opinions concerning God, concerning Evil, and con-
cerning the Soul. Exoteric Religion. Local Origin of the



Polytheism. Egyptian Pantheon — Amnion — Kn^pli — Khem
— Phthah — Maut — Sati — Neith — the Sun-Gods, Ra, Osiris, &c.
Osirid Myths. Minor Deities — Atlior, Isis, Khons, Thoth, &c.
Powers of Evil, Set, Nubi, Taouris, Bes, Apap. Genii, Anubis,
Amset, Hapi, &c. Orders of Gods. Triads. Character of
the Worship — Prayers, Hymns, Sacrifices. Animal Worship.
Apis, Mnevis, and Bacis Bulls — Momemphite Cow. Origin
of the Animal Worship. Outward Aspect of the Religion —
Festivals, Processions, and Worship of Ancestors. The
Mysteries. ....... 146



Question of the Peculiarity of Egyptian Customs — proposed mode
of treating the Subject. Division of the People into Classes —
Number of the Classes. Account of the Priests — The Sa-
cred Women. The Soldiers — Number of these last — Training
— Chief Divisions — The Infantry — The Cavalry — The Chariot
Service — Weapons — Tactics — Mode of Conducting Sieges.
Naval Warfare. Treatment of Prisoners and of the Slain.
Camps — Marches — Signals — Triumphs. Condition of the
Agricultural Laborers — of the Tradesmen and Artisans.
Principal Trades — Building — Weaving — Furniture-Making —
Glass-blowing — Pottery — Metallurgy, &c. Artistic Occupa-
tions — Sculpture, Painting, Music and Dancing. Musical In-
struments and Bands. Professions — the Scribe's — tlije Physi-
cian's — the Architect's. Lower Grades of Population — Boat-
men — Fowlers — Fishermen — Swineherds. Life of the Upper
Classes. Sports — Entertainments — Games. Conclusion. 203

Notes. • • * • • • • . • 261


na. t>LATx.

1. Date and Dom Palms (from the "Description deTEgypte") 1

2. Ichneumon (from the '•Description de I'Egypte ") 1

3. Egyptian Hare (from the same) 2

4. Ibex, Oryx, and Gazelle (from the monuments) 2

4}^. Gazelles (from Rosellinis " Monumenti Civili ") Page 36

5. The Smaller Monitor (from the '" Description de I'Egypte") 2

61^. Egyptian Horses (from Rosellini's "Monumenti Storici") Page 37

6. The Great Monitor (from the same) 3

7. Fruit of the Nymjjhcea Nelumbo 3

8. Egyptian Ass (from Ro8

Online LibraryGeorge RawlinsonA history of ancient Egypt (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 40)