A Celebration of Women Writers







[Title Page]






Copyright, 1891, by HARPER & BROTHERS
All rights reserved.



THE following chapters contain, with large additions, notes, and references, the substance of a course of lectures on ancient Egyptian subjects recently delivered in the United States of America. While necessarily recasting the form of these lectures, I have to some extent preserved the colloquial style–in the hope, I confess, of being the better remembered by those who have heard them.

For permission to reproduce various illustrations from the works of Professor Maspero, MM. Perrot and Chipiez, Sir John Lubbock, and Mr. W. M. F. Petrie, I have to offer my grateful acknowledgements to Messrs. Grevel & Co., Chapman & Hall, Longmans, Williams & Norgate, and the Committee of the Egypt Exploration Fund.

The reproductions from Mr. W. M. F. Petrie's series of original photographs are executed by special arrangement with Mr. Petrie.


March, 1891.




Our knowledge of Egypt ever on the increase–Continuous march of exploration–Foundation of the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1883–Egypt an inexhaustible mine of antiquities–Funerary customs of the ancient Egyptians–Approximate number of mummies embalmed during 4700 years–Egyptian mounds–How these mounds were formed, their growth and decay–Story of a typical mound–Excavation of a typical mound–Objects likely to be found in Egyptian mounds–Exploration in Upper Egypt–The tomb-pits of Upper Egypt–Exploration in Lower Egypt–Excavation of Tell Nebesheh in the Eastern Delta–Interesting antiquities discovered at Tell Nebesheh–Tell Defenneh–Hardships incidental to the work of exploration in Egypt–Necessary qualifications of the explorer–Homer in the Fayûm–Definition of archæology–The explorer "born, not made"–Discovery of Naukratis by Mr. Petrie–Ruins of the temples of Apollo, Hera, Zeus, and Aphrodite mentioned by Herodotus–"The potter's quarter"–The house of the scarab-maker–The house of the jeweller–Evolution of Greek from Egyptian art–Discover of Masonic deposits–Great historial value of this discovery–Ceramic riches of Naukratis...................Pages 3-36


Extreme antiquity of the ancient Egyptian monarchy–The Horeshu, or "Followers of Horus"–Probable age of the Great Sphinx–Wealth of Egypt in building material–The ancient Egyptians a nation of builders–Destruction of the mounds of the Delta by native laborers–Excavations conducted by the Egypt Exploration Fund–Archæological survey of Egypt recently undertaken by this society–"Pithom and Raamses"–The Hebrews in the land of Goshen–Tell Abû Suleiman identified by Lepsius with Pithom and Tell-el-Maskhûtah with "Raamses"–Excavation of the mound of Maskhûtah by M. Naville–Tell-el-Maskhûtah proves to be "Pithom of Succoth"–Identification of the route [Page viii]  of the Exodus–Store-chambers of Pithom–Bricks of Pithom–Mr. Petrie's excavations at Tanis (Zoan)–The great temple of Tanis–The largest colossus ever sculptured by the hand of man–House of Bakakhui at Tanis–Great discovery of papyri and other manuscripts–The granite shrine of Saft el-Henneh–Daphnæ of Pelusium–The camps of Psammetichus–Occupation of Daphnæ by Greek mercenary troops–Siege of Jerusalem (B.C. 585) and flight of the daughters of Zedekiah into Egypt–Settlement of the Hebrew fugitives at Daphnæ–The prophecy of Jeremiah–Mr. Petrie's excavations at Daphnæ (Tell Defenneh)–Palace-fort of Psammetichus I.–Masonic deposits of Psammetichus I. –Identification of the palace-fort with "Pharoah's House in Tahpanhes"–Discovery of the brick-work, or pavement, mentioned by Jeremiah–Historical testimony of the ruins of the palace-fort of Psammetichus–Conflicting testimony of Egyptian and Babylonian inscriptions–Discovery of clay cylinders of Nebuchadnezzar...................Pages 37-69


Egyptian sculptures and paintings the oldest in the world–The art of drawing more ancient than that of sculpture–Prehistoric art–Subjects of the earliest Egyptian paintings–Treatment of the human figure by ancient Egyptian daughtsmen –Conventional coloring of ancient Egyptian artists–The skill with which Egyptian artists reproduced the ethnic types of foreign nations–Errors of ancient Egyptian artists–The same errors common to early art in all the nations of antiquity–Ancient Greek painting–The art of painted vases–Ancient criticisms and anecdotes of Polygnotus; of Xeuxis; of Apelles–Unparalleled luxury of the early Greek painters–The Proto-Homeric vases of Athens–Pliny on the priority of ancient Greek painting–Early relations between the Pelasgic Greeks and the ancient Egyptians–Inscription of Sankhara in the Valley of Hammamat–The Greeks in Egypt under the Eighteenth and later dynasties–Mr. Petrie's discoveries at Tell Kahûn and Tell Gurob–Inscribed potsherds found in these mounds–Traces of Foreign settlers at Gurob–The Tursha identified by Lenormant with the Etruscans–Etruscan alphabetic signs at Tell Gurob–Comparative antiquity of the earliest Greek alphabets–Foreign captives in Egypt during the Nineteenth and Twentieth dynasties–Momentous results of Mr. Petrie's discoveries–Special characteristics of the Egyptian School of figure-painting–The "four races" of men: the typical Syrian, the typical Egyptian, the typical Libyan, the typical Ethiopian–The tomb of Hui–The Sardinian in Egyptian art–The charioteer of the "pre-Homeric" vases–Archaic Greek painted ware of Daphnæ–Egyptian conventionalities reproduced in early Greek painting–First appearance of the Sphinx in Greek art–The Sphinx-plate of [Page ix]  Naukratis–The wall-paintings of Etruria; their relations to ancient Egyptian art–The Cervetri tomb of 1889–Etruscan reproduction of the conventionalities of Egyptian art–Genealogy of the French eagles–Discovery of the laws of chiaroscuro and foreshortening by Apollodorus–The Labyrinth; its destruction by the Roman Government–Excavations by Mr. Petrie on the site of the Labyrinth–Ruins of the Roman town on the Labyrinth platform–Mixed character of its ancient population–Successive styles of mummification practised by the inhabitants of this town–The evolution of painting on panel from painted cartonnage and painted canvas–Painting in Egypt in the time of Hadrian–Reaction of Greek art upon Egyptian art–Great discovery of panel-portraits in the Fayûm–Methods employed by the Græco-Egyptian portrait painters of this period–The beeswax medium of Egypt not identical with the "encaustic" painting of the Greeks–Pigments employed by Græco-Egyptian painters–Various nationalities depicted in these portraits–Egyptian names of Greek and Roman settlers–Series of portraits of Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and Egyptians–Styles of jewelry depicted–Diogenes, the flautist–The elderly Roman–The lotus-bud necklace of Etruria an ancient Egyptian design–Antiquity of the "Oxford pattern" frame–Inequality of artistic merit in the Fayûm portraits–Singularly modern character of the heads–Close resemblance of the ancient Greeks and Romans to the people of modern Europe and America–Unchanged racial types of Egypt, Nubia, and Palestine–Persistence of ancient Egyptian types................... Pages 70-112


Our interest in the past history of the human race–Great value of the art of portraiture as preserved to us in the sculptures of Assyria, Babylon, Susa, Persepolis, and ancient Egypt–Ancient Egyptian portraiture the most ancient in the world–Funerary portrait statues of the Ancient Empire–Singular custom of immuring these statues–Ancient Egyptian notions regarding the nature of man–The Ka–Various definitions of the Ka–Portraits for the benefit of the Ka–Tablet of Pepi-Na–Tablet of Napu–Voracious appetite of the Ka–Funerary statues and paintings fashioned for the benefit of the Ka–The Ka identified with the life–The three names of the Pharaohs–Sculptured representations of the Ka–Remarkable tableaux of Amenhotep III. and his Ka in the Great Temple of Luxor–Association of the Ka with the "ankh"–Historical sculptures of Seti I. and his Ka on the walls of the Great Temple of Karnak–Invariable inscription accompanying royal Kas–Concrete mode of thought of the ancient Egyptians–Reasons why the Ka needed food and drink offerings–Greek conception of life borrowed from Egyptian sources–The Hebrew notion of the "Khai," or [Page x]  "life," identical with the Egyptian Ka–Extreme truth to nature of Egyptian Ka-statues–Egyptian funerary portrait-statues carefully studied from the life–The leading schools of Egyptian art–Great superiority of the earliest Egyptian school of portraiture–The oldest historical portrait-statue known–Group of Queen Mertetefs, her Ka, and private secretary, at Leyden–Semnefer and his wife–General Ra-hotep and Princess Nefert–The "Wooden Man" of Bûlak–Funerary statue of Ti–Admirable anatomical development of the "Cross-legged Scribe"–The Memphite School represents the finest period of Egyptian portraiture–Erroneous estimate commonly formed of the merits of Egyptian sculpture–Comparison of the sculptures of ancient Egypt with those of ancient Greece–The Twelfth Dynasty school–The Hyksôs school–The colossal sitting statues of Bubastis–The Eighteenth Dynasty school–Colossal head of Queen Hatasu–The Nineteenth and Twentieth dynasties register a new phase of Egyptian art–Semitic characteristics of this school–Remarkable family likeness of the Pharaohs of the two Ramesside dynasties–Art of portraiture in wood, as preserved in the mummy-cases of this time–Colossal mummy-case of Queen Ahmes Nefertari–Beautiful mask of Rameses II.–Probability that this mask may represent Her-Hor...................Pages 113-157


The irresistible fascination of Egyptology–Ancient Egyptian civilization the earliest known–Extent of the debt of the early Greeks to the ancient Egyptians–First mention of the Greeks upon the monuments of Egypt–The "Hanebu"–The Danæans in the time of Thothmes III. –The earliest portrait of a Greek in the world–Greeks of Thrace and Asia Minor, in alliance with the Syrian nations, invade Egypt in the time of Rameses II. –Armor of the Achæans–The Greek greave as an Egyptian hieroglyph–Carian and Ionian Greek troops of Psammetichus I. –Daphnæ of Pelusium, an early Greek settlement–Establishment of Greek traders at Naukratis–The æsthetic debt of Greece to Egypt–The earliest known examples of Greek architecture, sculpture, and decorative design copied from Egyptian sources–Wall and ceiling decoration of the rock-cut tombs of Beni-Hasan–Spiral ornament of Mycenæ–Spiral of Beni-Hasan–The herz-blatt and key patterns of Greece copied from Beni-Hasan designs–The ceiling pattern of the treasury of Minyas at Orchomenos–This pattern reproduces the cornice patterns of Beni-Hasan–"Proto-Doric" columns of the Beni-Hasan tombs–Comparison of these columns with Greek Doric–Egyptian origin of the Ionic capital–The Ionic capital derived from the lotus of the Nile–The lotus in nature and the lotus in art–The conventional lotus of Egyptian art–The earliest temple known to belong to the Ionic [Page xi]  order discovered by Mr. Petrie at Naukratis–Egyptian origin of the Anthemion and Palmette–Egyptian origin of the "honeysuckle" pattern of the Greeks–Early Greek painted vases found at Daphnæ–Florid development of Egyptian lotus pattern by Greek potters–The lotus pattern in Greek goldsmith's work–Various religious conceptions of the ancient Egyptians borrowed by the Greeks–The Egyptian soul, or Ba, transformed into the harpy and syren of Greek art–Egyptian character of early Greek statues...................Pages 158-192


Literary activity not a necessary result of the possession of an alphabet–Importance of a material on which to write–Pastoral and literary tendencies of the ancient Egyptians–Great antiquity of papyrus as a writing material–"The oldest book in the world"–Second dynasty tablet at Oxford–Varied character of ancient Egyptian literature–Greek and Roman papyri found in Egypt–Homer in Egypt–No contemporary history of ancient Egypt yet discovered–The lost history of Manetho–Peculiar characteristics of ancient Egyptian poetry–"Chant of Victory" of Thothmes III.–The heroic poem of Pentaur–This poem composed in commemoration of the victory of Rameses II. over the allied forces of Syria and Asia Minor–Stratagem of the Hittites–Brilliant feat of arms of Rameses II.–The battle of Kadesh–Poetic treatment of the facts by Pentaur–Introduction of the Deus ex machina–Literary style of the poem–Its reproduction on the walls of various great temples in Egypt–A copy on papyrus in the British Museum–Great tableau of the battle of Kadesh at Abû-Simbel–Curious incident of the drowning of the Prince of Aleppo–The scientific literature of the ancient Egyptians–Its value purely archæological–Astronomical observations of the ancient Egyptians–Their knowledge of the movement of the earth–Mathematical papyri–Medical papyri–The Ebers medical papyrus–Unpleasant character of ancient Egyptian pharmacopæia–The moral philosophy of the ancient Egyptians–The maxims of Ptah-hotep–The maxims of the scribe Ani–Romantic literature of the ancient Egyptians–Egyptian origin of Aesop's fables, and of various well-known popular tales–The story of Rhodopis–The tale of the two brothers–The taking of Joppa–The doomed prince–The shipwrecked mariner–Historic characters introduced into ancient Egyptian fiction–Popular poetry of the ancient Egyptians–A love song–Threshing song from the tomb of Pahiri–The religion of ancient Egypt–Its obscurity and diversity–Religions of various periods–Was monotheism the foundamental principle of the ancient Egyptian religion? –Theories of M. Pierret and Dr. Brugsch–Barbaric origin of the ancient Egyptians–The prehistoric Egyptians and the North American Indians–The "to-[Page xii] tems" of the North American Indians–Importance of a tribal name among barbaric and semi-civilized communities–Totemism common to all quarters of the globe–Totemism the origin of animal worship–Totemism of the prehistoric Egyptians–Subsequent evolution of the Egyptian religion–Exalted pantheism of Ra-worship–Local character of the monotheism of the ancient Egyptians–Great local deities identified one with another–The ancient Egyptians the first people to recognize the immortality of the soul–"The negative confession"–Ancient Egyptian standards of morality...................Pages 193-233


A new definition of the genus homo–The infancy of writing and the infancy of language–Limited vocabulary of prehistoric man–Writing a spontaneous growth–The beginnings of writing everywhere the same–Picture-writing–The picture-writing of the Hittites, Babylonians, Assyrians,and Chinese–The origin of picture-writing–Message of the Scythians to Darius–Object-writing the natural predecessor of picture-writing–Picture-writing of Mexico–The tribute-lists of the Mexican kings–General picture-written literature of the Mexicans–Picture-writing of the North American Indians–A petition of certain Indian chiefs–Incised sketches and bone drawings of prehistoric times–Prehistoric Egypt–The age of the "Horshesu" the probable age of Egyptian picture-writing–Successive stages of Egyptian writing–Ideography–Pictorial phonetism–Monosyllabic character of the earliest Egyptian vocabulary–Common objects of daily life the origin of hieroglyphic characters–Transition from pictorial phonetism to alphabetism–Immense antiquity of the ancient Egyptian alphabet–This alphabet the parent stock of all the alphabets of Europe–The way in which the alphabet was formed–The hieroglyphic alphabet as commonly in use–Conservatism of the ancient Egyptians–Egyptian spelling–Alphabetism in common with ideography–Determinating hieroglyphs–Determinatives of sound–Determinatives of sense–Generic determinatives–The great number and variety of hieroglyphic signs–Pictorial character of hieroglyphic signs–Their archæological and scientific value–Part played by the human figure in the hieroglyphic system–The study of hieroglyphs–Its facilities and difficulties–Perplexing simplicity of ancient Egyptian thought–Hieroglyphs relating to the sky, night, day, rain, and the like, with their esoteric meanings–The hieroglyph for "land," and its interpretation–Survival of ancient Egyptian words in European languages–Ancient name of Egypt in hieroglyphs–Hieroglyphic spellings of various words in common use–Other scripts in use by the ancient Egyptians–Necessity for a cursive writing–The hieratic script an abridgement of the hieroglyphic–Charac-[Page xiii] teristics of the hieratic at various periods–The demotic script–The demotic script an abridgement of the hieratic–Great wealth of European museums in demotic documents–Classification of the three writings of the Egyptians–Obscure origin of the Egyptian language–The Egyptian language a member of the Khamitic family of tongues–The Khamitic and Semitic languages derived from a common prehistoric parent–The Egyptian verb as described by Mr. Le Page Renou...................Pages 234-260


Queen Hatasu–Her birth and parentage–Important historical inscriptions at Karnak–Accession of Queen Hatasu during her father's lifetime–Throne-name of Hatasu–Her marriage to Thothmes II. –Recent discovery by M. Grébaut of the chapel of Prince Uatmes–The mothers of Thothmes II. and Thothmes III. –Incorrectness of the assumption that Hatasu was a usurper–Hatasu as Pharoah–Profound peace during her reign–Her works of building and restoration–Obelisks of Hatasu at Karnak–Great temple of Hatasu on the western bank of the Nile–Novelty of its design–Sen-Maut the architect–Restoration of the temple of Dayr-el-Bahari by M. Brune–The chamber of the cow at Dayr-el-Bahari–Portrait of Queen Hatasu as a young prince–Hatasu despatches a maritime expedition to the land of Punt–The expedition depicted on the walls of her temple at Dayr-el-Bahari–Construction of the vessels built for this expedition–Strength of the expedition–Probable route taken by the exploring squadron–The ancient canal in the Wady Tûmilât probably constructed by Hatasu–Arrival of the squadron–Gifts of Queen Hatasu to the Prince of Punt–The Princess of Punt and her personal peculiarities–The odoriferous sycamores of Punt–Pliny's description of the myrrh-tree of "the land of the Troglodytes"–Identity of this tree with the "Ana-sycamore"–Landing of the Egyptian ships with sycamore saplings, ivory, ebony, and other products of Punt–Banquet offered to the Prince of Punt by the royal Envoy–Return of the squadron to Thebes–Processional subjects depicted in these tableaux: the procession from the ships, the procession of welcome, the procession of the Queen, sacrifice in the temple of Amen at Karnak, solemn visit of the naval expedition to the temple of Dayr-el-Bahari–Close of the reign of Hatasu wrapped in obscurity–Wholesale forgeries of Thothmes III.–Discovery of the tomb of Hatasu by Mr. Rhind–Extant relics of Queen Hatasu–Throne-chair of Queen Hatasu...................261-300

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom