Ancient Mysteries Egypt Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotos

Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotos

Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotos
Catalog # SKU3801
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name A. H. Sayce
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Egypt of the
Hebrews & Herodotos

A. H. Sayce

The travels of Herodotos in Egypt are followed for the first time in the light of recent discoveries, and the history of the intercourse between the Egyptians and the Jews is brought down to the age of the Roman Empire.



"Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there." When he entered the country the civilisation and monarchy of Egypt were already very old. The pyramids had been built hundreds of years before, and the origin of the Sphinx was already a mystery. Even the great obelisk of Heliopolis, which is still the object of an afternoon drive to the tourist at Cairo, had long been standing in front of the temple of the Sun-god.

The monuments of Babylonia enable us to fix the age to which Abraham belongs. Arioch of Ellasar has left memorials of himself on the bricks of Chalda, and we now know when he and his Elamite allies were driven out of Babylonia and the Babylonian states were united into a single monarchy. This was 2350 B.C.

The united monarchy of Egypt went back to a far earlier date. Menes, its founder, had been king of This (or Girgeh) in Upper Egypt, and starting from his ancestral dominions had succeeded in bringing all Egypt under his rule. But the memory of an earlier time, when the valley of the Nile was divided into two separate sovereignties, survived to the latest age of the monarchy. Up to the last the Pharaohs of Egypt called themselves "kings of the two lands," and wore on their heads the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. The crown of Upper Egypt was a tiara of white linen, that of Lower Egypt a throne-like head-dress of red. The double crown was a symbol of the imperial power.

To Menes is ascribed the building of Memphis, the capital of the united kingdom. He is said to have raised the great dyke which Linant de Bellefonds identifies with that of Kosheish near Kafr el-Ayyt, and thereby to have diverted the Nile from its ancient channel under the Libyan plain. On the ground that he thus added to the western bank of the river his new capital was erected.

Memphis is the Greek form of the old Egyptian Men-nefer or "Good Place." The final r was dropped in Egyptian pronunciation at an early date, and thus arose the Hebrew forms of the name, Moph and Noph, which we find in the Old Testament, while "Memphis" itself-Mimpi in the cuneiform inscriptions of Assyria-has the same origin. Another name by which it went in old Egyptian times was Anbu-hez, "the white wall," from the great wall of brick, covered with white stucco, which surrounded it, and of which traces still remain on the northern side of the old site. Here a fragment of the ancient fortification still rises above the mounds of the city; the wall is many feet thick, and the sun-dried bricks of which it is formed are bonded together with the stems of palms.

In the midst of the mounds is a large and deep depression, which is filled with water during the greater part of the year. It marks the site of the sacred lake, which was attached to every Egyptian temple, and in which the priests bathed themselves and washed the vessels of the sanctuary. Here, not long ago, lay the huge colossus of limestone which represented Ramses II. of the nineteenth dynasty, and had been presented by the Egyptian Khedive to the British Government. But it was too heavy and unwieldy for modern engineers to carry across the sea, and it was therefore left lying with its face prone in the mud and water of the ancient lake, a prey to the first comer who needed a quarry of stone. It was not until after the English occupation of Egypt that it was lifted out of its ignoble position by Major Bagnold and placed securely in a wooden shed. While it was being raised another colossus of the same Pharaoh, of smaller size but of better workmanship, was discovered, and lifted beyond the reach of the inundation.

The two statues once stood before the temple of the god Ptah, whom the Greeks identified with their own deity Hephstos, for no better reason than the similarity of name. The temple of Ptah was coeval with the city of Memphis itself. When Menes founded Memphis, he founded the temple at the same time. It was the centre and glory of the city, which was placed under the protection of its god. Pharaoh after Pharaoh adorned and enlarged it, and its priests formed one of the most powerful organisations in the kingdom.

The temple of Ptah, the Creator, gave to Memphis its sacred name. This was H-ka-Ptah, "the house of the double (or spiritual appearance) of Ptah," in which Dr. Brugsch sees the original of the Greek Aigyptos.

But the glories of the temple of Ptah have long since passed away. The worship of its god ceased for ever when Theodosius, the Roman Emperor, closed its gates, and forbade any other religion save the Christian to be henceforth publicly professed in the empire. Soon afterwards came the Mohammedan conquest of Egypt. Memphis was deserted; and the sculptured stones of the ancient shrine served to build the palaces and mosques of the new lords of the country. Fostt and Cairo were built out of the spoils of the temple of Ptah. But the work of destruction took long to accomplish. As late as the twelfth century, the Arabic writer 'Abd el-Latf describes the marvellous relics of the past which still existed on the site of Memphis. Colossal statues, the bases of gigantic columns, a chapel formed of a single block of stone and called "the green chamber"-such were some of the wonders of ancient art which the traveller was forced to admire.

The history of Egypt, as we have seen, begins with the record of an engineering feat of the highest magnitude. It is a fitting commencement for the history of a country which has been wrested by man from the waters of the Nile, and whose existence even now is dependent on the successful efforts of the engineer. Beyond this single record, the history of Menes and his immediate successors is virtually a blank. No dated monuments of the first dynasty have as yet been discovered. It may be, as many Egyptologists think, that the Sphinx is older than Menes himself; but if so, that strange image, carved out of a rock which may once have jutted into the stream of the Nile, still keeps the mystery of its origin locked up in its breast. We know that it was already there in the days of Khephrn of the fourth dynasty; but beyond that we know nothing.

268 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover - Print size, 13 point font

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