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Title: History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria in the Light of Recent Discovery
Author: King, L. W. (Leonard William), Hall, H. R. (Harry Reginald)
Language: English
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[Illustration: Book Spines]




BY L. W. KING and H. R. HALL

Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum

Containing over 1200 colored plates and illustrations.

Copyright 1906

[Illustration: Frontispiece1]

[Illustration: Frontispiece1-text]

[Illustration: Titlepage1]

[Illustration: Versa1]


It should be noted that many of the monuments and sites of excavations
in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Kurdistan described in this volume
have been visited by the authors in connection with their own work in
those countries. The greater number of the photographs here published
were taken by the authors themselves. Their thanks are due to M. Ernest
Leroux, of Paris, for his kind permission to reproduce a certain number
of plates from the works of M. de Morgan, illustrating his recent
discoveries in Egypt and Persia, and to Messrs. W. A. Mansell & Co., of
London, for kindly allowing them to make use of a number of photographs
issued by them.


The present volume contains an account of the most important additions
which have been made to our knowledge of the ancient history of Egypt
and Western Asia during the few years which have elapsed since the
publication of Prof. Maspero’s _Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de
l’Orient Classique_, and includes short descriptions of the excavations
from which these results have been obtained. It is in no sense a
connected and continuous history of these countries, for that has
already been written by Prof. Maspero, but is rather intended as an
appendix or addendum to his work, briefly recapitulating and describing
the discoveries made since its appearance. On this account we
have followed a geographical rather than a chronological system of
arrangement, but at the same time the attempt has been made to suggest
to the mind of the reader the historical sequence of events.

At no period have excavations been pursued with more energy and
activity, both in Egypt and Western Asia, than at the present time, and
every season’s work obliges us to modify former theories, and extends
our knowledge of periods of history which even ten years ago were
unknown to the historian. For instance, a whole chapter has been added
to Egyptian history by the discovery of the Neolithic culture of the
primitive Egyptians, while the recent excavations at Susa are revealing
a hitherto totally unsuspected epoch of proto-Elamite civilization.
Further than this, we have discovered the relics of the oldest
historical kings of Egypt, and we are now enabled to reconstitute from
material as yet unpublished the inter-relations of the early dynasties
of Babylon. Important discoveries have also been made with regard to
isolated points in the later historical periods. We have therefore
attempted to include the most important of these in our survey of recent
excavations and their results. We would again remind the reader that
Prof. Maspero’s great work must be consulted for the complete history of
the period, the present volume being, not a connected history of Egypt
and Western Asia, but a description and discussion of the manner in
which recent discovery and research have added to and modified our
conceptions of ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization.


I. The Discovery of Prehistoric Egypt

II. Abydos and the First Three Dynasties

III. Memphis and the Pyramids

IV. Recent Excavations in Western Asia and the Dawn of Chaldæan History

V. Elam and Babylon, the Country of the Sea and the Kassites

VI. Early Babylonian Life and Customs

VII. Temples and Tombs of Thebes

VIII. The Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires in the Light of Recent

IX. The Last Days of Ancient Egypt


_In the Light of Recent Excavation and Research_


During the last ten years our conception of the beginnings of Egyptian
antiquity has profoundly altered. When Prof. Maspero published the
first volume of his great _Histoire Ancienne des Peuples des l’Orient
Classique_, in 1895, Egyptian history, properly so called, still began
with the Pyramid-builders, Sne-feru, Khufu, and Khafra (Cheops and
Chephren), and the legendary lists of earlier kings preserved at Abydos
and Sakkara were still quoted as the only source of knowledge of the
time before the IVth Dynasty. Of a prehistoric Egypt nothing was known,
beyond a few flint flakes gathered here and there upon the desert
plateaus, which might or might not tell of an age when the ancestors
of the Pyramid-builders knew only the stone tools and weapons of the
primeval savage.

Now, however, the veil which has hidden the beginnings of Egyptian
civilization from us has been lifted, and we see things, more or less,
as they actually were, unobscured by the traditions of a later day.
Until the last few years nothing of the real beginnings of history in
either Egypt or Mesopotamia had been found; legend supplied the only
material for the reconstruction of the earliest history of the oldest
civilized nations of the globe. Nor was it seriously supposed that any
relics of prehistoric Egypt or Mesopotamia ever would be found. The
antiquity of the known history of these countries already appeared
so great that nobody took into consideration the possibility of our
discovering a prehistoric Egypt or Mesopotamia; the idea was too remote
from practical work. And further, civilization in these countries had
lasted so long that it seemed more than probable that all traces
of their prehistoric age had long since been swept away. Yet the
possibility, which seemed hardly worth a moment’s consideration in 1895,
is in 1905 an assured reality, at least as far as Egypt is concerned.
Prehistoric Babylonia has yet to be discovered. It is true, for example,
that at Mukay-yar, the site of ancient Ur of the Chaldees, burials
in earthenware coffins, in which the skeletons lie in the doubled-up
position characteristic of Neolithic interments, have been found; but
there is no doubt whatever that these are burials of a much later date,
belonging, quite possibly, to the Parthian period. Nothing that may
rightfully be termed prehistoric has yet been found in the Euphrates
valley, whereas in Egypt prehistoric antiquities are now almost as well
known and as well represented in our museums as are the prehistoric
antiquities of Europe and America.

With the exception of a few palasoliths from the surface of the Syrian
desert, near the Euphrates valley, not a single implement of the Age
of Stone has yet been found in Southern Mesopotamia, whereas Egypt
has yielded to us the most perfect examples of the flint-knapper’s
art known, flint tools and weapons more beautiful than the finest that
Europe and America can show. The reason is not far to seek. Southern
Mesopotamia is an alluvial country, and the ancient cities, which
doubtless mark the sites of the oldest settlements in the land, are
situated in the alluvial marshy plain between the Tigris and the
Euphrates; so that all traces of the Neolithic culture of the country
would seem to have disappeared, buried deep beneath city-mounds, clay
and marsh. It is the same in the Egyptian Delta, a similar country; and
here no traces of the prehistoric culture of Egypt have been found. The
attempt to find them was made last year at Buto, which is known to be
one of the most antique centres of civilization, and probably was one of
the earliest settlements in Egypt, but without success. The infiltration
of water had made excavation impossible and had no doubt destroyed
everything belonging to the most ancient settlement. It is not going too
far to predict that exactly the same thing will be found by any explorer
who tries to discover a Neolithic stratum beneath a city-mound of
Babylonia. There is little hope that prehistoric Chaldæa will ever be
known to us. But in Egypt the conditions are different. The Delta is
like Babylonia, it is true; but in the Upper Nile valley the river flows
down with but a thin border of alluvial land on either side, through the
rocky and hilly desert, the dry Sahara, where rain falls but once in two
or three years. Antiquities buried in this soil in the most remote
ages are preserved intact as they were first interred, until the modern
investigator comes along to look for them. And it is on the desert
margin of the valley that the remains of prehistoric Egypt have been
found. That is the reason for their perfect preservation till our own
day, and why we know prehistoric Egypt so well.

The chief work of Egyptian civilization was the proper irrigation of
the alluvial soil, the turning of marsh into cultivated fields, and the
reclamation of land from the desert for the purposes of agriculture.
Owing to the rainless character of the country, the only means
of obtaining water for the crops is by irrigation, and where the
fertilizing Nile water cannot be taken by means of canals, there
cultivation ends and the desert begins. Before Egyptian civilization,
properly so called, began, the valley was a great marsh through which
the Nile found its way north to the sea. The half-savage, stone-using
ancestors of the civilized Egyptians hunted wild fowl, crocodiles,
and hippopotami in the marshy valley; but except in a few isolated
settlements on convenient mounds here and there (the forerunners of the
later villages), they did not live there. Their settlements were on
the dry desert margin, and it was here, upon low tongues of desert hill
jutting out into the plain, that they buried their dead. Their simple
shallow graves were safe from the flood, and, but for the depredations
of jackals and hyenas, here they have remained intact till our own
day, and have yielded up to us the facts from which we have derived our
knowledge of prehistoric Egypt. Thus it is that we know so much of the
Egyptians of the Stone Age, while of their contemporaries in Mesopotamia
we know nothing, nor is anything further likely to be discovered.

But these desert cemeteries, with their crowds of oval shallow graves,
covered by only a few inches of surface soil, in which the Neolithic
Egyptians lie crouched up with their flint implements and polished
pottery beside them, are but monuments of the later age of prehistoric
Egypt. Long before the Neolithic Egyptian hunted his game in the
marshes, and here and there essayed the work of reclamation for the
purposes of an incipient agriculture, a far older race inhabited the
valley of the Nile. The written records of Egyptian civilization go back
four thousand years before Christ, or earlier, and the Neolithic Age of
Egypt must go back to a period several thousand years before that. But
we can now go back much further still, to the Palaeolithic Age of Egypt.
At a time when Europe was still covered by the ice and snows of the
Glacial Period, and man fought as an equal, hardly yet as a superior,
with cave-bear and mammoth, the Palaeolithic Egyptians lived on the
banks of the Nile. Their habitat was doubtless the desert slopes, often,
too, the plateaus themselves; but that they lived entirely upon the
plateaus, high up above the Nile marsh, is improbable. There, it is
true, we find their flint implements, the great pear-shaped weapons of
the types of Chelles, St. Acheul, and Le Moustier, types well known
to all who are acquainted with the flint implements of the “Drift” in
Europe. And it is there that the theory, generally accepted hitherto,
has placed the habitat of the makers and users of these implements.

The idea was that in Palaeolithic days, contemporary with the Glacial
Age of Northern Europe and America, the climate of Egypt was entirely
different from that of later times and of to-day. Instead of dry desert,
the mountain plateaus bordering the Nile valley were supposed to have
been then covered with forest, through which flowed countless streams
to feed the river below. It was suggested that remains of these streams
were to be seen in the side ravines, or wadis, of the Nile valley, which
run up from the low desert on the river level into the hills on either
hand. These wadis undoubtedly show extensive traces of strong water
action; they curve and twist as the streams found their easiest way
to the level through the softer strata, they are heaped up with great
water-worn boulders, they are hollowed out where waterfalls once fell.
They have the appearance of dry watercourses, exactly what any mountain
burns would be were the water-supply suddenly cut off for ever, the
climate altered from rainy to eternal sun-glare, and every plant and
tree blasted, never to grow again. Acting on the supposition that this
idea was a correct one, most observers have concluded that the climate
of Egypt in remote periods was very different from the dry, rainless one
now obtaining. To provide the water for the wadi streams, heavy
rainfall and forests are desiderated. They were easily supplied, on the
hypothesis. Forests clothed the mountain plateaus, heavy rains fell, and
the water rushed down to the Nile, carving out the great watercourses
which remain to this day, bearing testimony to the truth. And the
flints, which the Palaeolithic inhabitants of the plateau-forests made
and used, still lie on the now treeless and sun-baked desert surface.


This is certainly a very weak conclusion. In fact, it seriously damages
the whole argument, the water-courses to the contrary notwithstanding.
The palæoliths are there. They can be picked up by any visitor. There
they lie, great flints of the Drift types, just like those found in the
gravel-beds of England and Belgium, on the desert surface where they
were made. Undoubtedly where they were made, for the places where
they lie are the actual ancient flint workshops, where the flints were
chipped. Everywhere around are innumerable flint chips and perfect
weapons, burnt black and patinated by ages of sunlight. We are taking
one particular spot in the hills of Western Thebes as an example, but
there are plenty of others, such as the Wadi esh-Shêkh on the right bank
of the Nile opposite Maghagha, whence Mr. H. Seton-Karr has brought
back specimens of flint tools of all ages from the Palaeolithic to the
Neolithic periods.

The Palæolithic flint workshops on the Theban hills have been visited of
late years by Mr. Seton-Karr, by Prof. Schweinfurth, Mr. Allen Sturge,
and Dr. Blanckenhorn, by Mr. Portch, Mr. Ayrton, and Mr. Hall. The
weapons illustrated here were found by Messrs. Hall and Ayrton, and are
now preserved in the British Museum. Among these flints shown we notice
two fine specimens of the pear-shaped type of St. Acheul, with curious
adze-shaped implements of primitive type to left and right. Below, to
the right, is a very primitive instrument of Chellean type, being merely
a sharpened pebble. Above, to left and right, are two specimens of the
curious half-moon-shaped instruments which are characteristic of
the Theban flint field and are hardly known elsewhere. All have the
beautiful brown patina, which only ages of sunburn can give. The
“poignard” type to the left, at the bottom of the plate, is broken off

[Illustration: 008.jpg Palaeolithic Implements of the Quaternary Period.
From the desert plateau and slopes west of Thebes.]

In the smaller illustration we see some remarkable types: two scrapers
or knives with strongly marked “bulb of percussion” (the spot where the
flint-knapper struck and from which the flakes flew off), a very regular
_coup-de-poing_ which looks almost like a large arrowhead, and on the
right a much weathered and patinated scraper which must be of immemorial

[Illustration: 009.jpg (right): PALAEOLITHIC IMPLEMENTS. From Man,
March, 1905.]

This came from the top plateau, not from the slopes (or subsidiary
plateaus at the head of the _wadis_), as did the great St. Acheulian
weapons. The circular object is very remarkable: it is the half of the
ring of a “morpholith “(a round flinty accretion often found in the
Theban limestone) which has been split, and the split (flat) side
carefully bevelled. Several of these interesting objects have been
found in conjunction with Palæolithic implements at Thebes. No doubt the
flints lie on the actual surface where they were made. No later water
action has swept them away and covered them with gravel, no later human
habitation has hidden them with successive deposits of soil, no gradual
deposit of dust and rubbish has buried them deep. They lie as they were
left in the far-away Palæolithic Age, and they have lain there till
taken away by the modern explorer.

But this is not the case with all the Palæolithic flints of Thebes. In
the year 1882 Maj.-Gen. Pitt-Rivers discovered Palæolithic flints in the
deposit of diluvial detritus which lies between the cultivation and the
mountains on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor. Many of these are
of the same type as those found on the surface of the mountain plateau
which lies at the head of the great _wadi_ of the Tombs of the Kings,
while the diluvial deposit is at its mouth. The stuff of which the
detritus is composed evidently came originally from the high plateau,
and was washed down, with the flints, in ancient times.

This is quite conceivable, but how is it that the flints left behind
on the plateau remain on the original ancient surface? How is it
conceivable that if (on the old theory) these plateaus were in
Palæolithic days clothed with forest, the Palæolithic flints could even
in a single instance remain undisturbed from Palæolithic times to the
present day, when the forest in which they were made and the forest soil
on which they reposed have entirely disappeared? If there were woods and
forests On the heights, it would seem impossible that we should find,
as we do, Palæolithic implements lying in situ on the desert surface,
around the actual manufactories where they were made. Yet if the
constant rainfall and the vegetation of the Libyan desert area in
Palæolithic days is all a myth (as it most probably is), how came the
embedded palaeoliths, found by Gen. Pitt-Rivers, in the bed of diluvial
detritus which is apparently _débris_ from the plateau brought down by
the Palæolithic _wadi_ streams?

Water erosion has certainly formed the Theban _wadis_. But this water
erosion was probably not that which would be the result of perennial
streams flowing down from wooded heights, but of torrents like those
of to-day, which fill the _wadis_ once in three years or so after heavy
rain, but repeated at much closer intervals. We may in fact suppose
just so much difference in meteorological conditions as would make it
possible for sudden rain-storms to occur over the desert at far more
frequent intervals than at present. That would account for the detritus
bed at the mouth of the _wadi_, and its embedded flints, and at the
same time maintain the general probability of the idea that the desert
plateaus were desert in Palæolithic days as now, and that early man only
knapped his flints up there because he found the flint there. He himself
lived on the slopes and nearer the marsh.

This new view seems to be much sounder and more probable than the old
one, maintained by Flinders Petrie and Blanckenhorn, according to which
the high plateau was the home of man in Palæolithic times, when the
rainfall, as shown by the valley erosion and waterfalls, must have
caused an abundant vegetation on the plateau, where man could live and
hunt his game. [*Petrie, Nagada and Ballas, p. 49.] Were this so, it
is patent that the Palæolithic flints could not have been found on the
desert surface as they are. Mr. H. J. L. Beadnell, of the Geological
Survey of Egypt, to whom we are indebted for the promulgation of the
more modern and probable view, says: “Is it certain that the high
plateau was then clothed with forests? What evidence is there to show
that it differed in any important respect from its present aspect? And
if, as I suggest, desert conditions obtained then as now, and man merely
worked his flints along the edges of the plateaus overlooking the
Nile valley, I see no reason why flint implements, dating even from
Palæolithic times should not in favourable cases still be found in
the spots where they were left, surrounded by the flakes struck off in
manufacture. On the flat plateaus the occasional rains which fall--once
in three or four years--can effect but little transport of material, and
merely lower the general level by dissolving the underlying limestone,
so that the plateau surface is left with a coating of nodules and blocks
of insoluble flint and chert. Flint implements might thus be expected
to remain in many localities for indefinite periods, but they would
certainly become more or less ‘patinated,’ pitted on the surface, and
rounded at the angles after long exposure to heat, cold, and blown
sand.” This is exactly the case of the Palæolithic flint tools from the
desert plateau.

IMPLEMENTS ARE FOUND, Thebes: 1,400 leet above the Nile.]

We do not know whether Palæolithic man in Egypt was contemporary with
the cave-man of Europe. We have no means of gauging the age of the
Palæolithic Egyptian weapons, as we have for the Neolithic period.
The historical (dynastic) period of Egyptian annals began with the
unification of the kingdom under one head somewhere about 4500 B.C. At
that time copper as well as stone weapons were used, so that we may say
that at the beginning of the historical age the Egyptians were living
in the “Chalcolithic” period. We can trace the use of copper back for
a considerable period anterior to the beginning of the Ist Dynasty,
so that we shall probably not be far wrong if we do not bring down the
close of the purely Neolithic Age in Egypt--the close of the Age of
Stone, properly so called--later than +5000 B.C. How far back in the
remote ages the transition period between the Palæolithic and Neolithic
Ages should be placed, it is utterly impossible to say. The use of stone
for weapons and implements continued in Egypt as late as the time of
the XIIth Dynasty, about 2500-2000 B.C. But these XIIth Dynasty stone
implements show by their forms how late they are in the history of the
Stone Age. The axe heads, for instance, are in form imitations of
the copper and bronze axe heads usual at that period; they are stone
imitations of metal, instead of the originals on whose model the metal
weapons were formed. The flint implements of the XIIth Dynasty were
a curious survival from long past ages. After the time of the XIIth
Dynasty stone was no longer used for tools or weapons, except for the
sacred rite of making the first incision in the dead bodies before
beginning the operations of embalming; for this purpose, as Herodotus
tells us, an “Ethiopian stone” was used. This was no doubt a knife of
flint or chert, like those of the Neolithic ancestors of the Egyptians,
and the continued use of a stone knife for this one purpose only is a
very interesting instance of a ceremonial survival. We may compare the
wigs of British judges.

[Illustration: 014.jpg FLINT KNIFE]

We have no specimen of a flint knife which can definitely be asserted to
have belonged to an embalmer, but of the archaistic flint weapons of the
XIIth Dynasty we have several specimens. They were found by Prof. Petrie
at the place named by him “Kahun,” the site of a XIIth Dynasty town
built near the pyramid of King Usertsen (or Senusret) II at Illahun,
at the mouth of the canal leading from the Nile valley into the
oasis-province of the Payyum. These Kahun flints, and others of probably
the same period found by Mr. Seton-Karr at the very ancient flint
works in the Wadi esh-Shêkh, are of very coarse and poor workmanship
as compared with the stone-knapping triumphs of the late Neolithic and
early Chalcolithic periods. The delicacy of the art had all been lost.
But the best flint knives of the early period--dating to just a little
before the time of the Ist Dynasty, when flint-working had attained its
apogee, and copper had just begun to be used--are undoubtedly the most
remarkable stone weapons ever made in the world. The grace and utility
of the form, the delicacy of the fluted chipping on the side, and
the minute care with which the tiny serrations of the cutting edge,
serrations so small that often they can hardly be seen with the naked
eye, are made, can certainly not be parallelled elsewhere. The art
of flint-knapping reached its zenith in Ancient Egypt. The specimen
illustrated has a handle covered with gold decorated with incised
designs representing animals.

The prehistoric Egyptians may also fairly be said to have attained
greater perfection than other peoples in the Neolithic stage of culture,
in other arts besides the making of stone tools and weapons. Their
pottery is of remarkable perfection. Now that the sites of the Egyptian
prehistoric settlements have been so thoroughly explored by competent
archæologists (and, unhappily, as thoroughly pillaged by incompetent
natives), this prehistoric Egyptian pottery has become extremely well
known. In fact, it is so common that good specimens may be bought
anywhere in Egypt for a few piastres. Most museums possess sets of this
pottery, of which great quantities have been brought back from Egypt
by Prof. Petrie and other explorers. It is of very great interest,
artistically as well as historically. The potter’s wheel was not yet
invented, and all the vases, even those of the most perfect shape, were
built up by hand. The perfection of form attained without the aid of the
wheel is truly marvellous.

The commonest type of this pottery is a red polished ware vase with
black top, due to its having been baked mouth downward in a fire, the
ashes of which, according to Prof. Petrie, deoxidized the hæmatite
burnishing, and so turned the red colour to black. “In good examples
the hæmatite has not only been reduced to black magnetic oxide, but
the black has the highest polish, as seen on fine Greek vases. This is
probably due to the formation of carbonyl gas in the smothered fire.
This gas acts as a solvent of magnetic oxide, and hence allows it to
assume a new surface, like the glassy surface of some marbles subjected
to solution in water.” This black and red ware appears to be the most
ancient prehistoric Egyptian pottery known. Later in date are a red
ware and a black ware with rude geometrical incised designs, imitating
basketwork, and with the incised lines filled in with white. Later again
is a buff ware, either plain or decorated with wavy lines, concentric
circles, and elaborate drawings of boats sailing on the Nile, ostriches,
fish, men and women, and so on.

[Illustration: 017.jpg (right) BUFF WARE VASE, Predynastic period,
before 4000 B.C.]

These designs are in deep red. With this elaborate pottery the Neolithic
ceramic art of Egypt reached its highest point; in the succeeding period
(the beginning of the historic age) there was a decline in workmanship,
exhibiting clumsy forms and bad colour, and it is not until the time of
the IVth Dynasty that good pottery (a fine polished red) is once more
found. Meanwhile the invention of glazed pottery, which was unknown to
the prehistoric Egyptians, had been made (before the beginning of the
Ist Dynasty). The unglazed ware of the first three dynasties was bad,
but the new invention of light blue glazed faience (not porcelain
properly so called) seems to have made great progress, and we possess
fine specimens at the beginning of the Ist Dynasty. The prehistoric
Egyptians were also proficient in other arts. They carved ivory and they
worked gold, which is known to have been almost the first metal worked
by man; certainly in Egypt it was utilized for ornament even before
copper was used for work. We may refer to the illustration of a flint
knife with gold handle, already given. [* See illustration.]

The date of the actual introduction of copper for tools and weapons into
Egypt is uncertain, but it seems probable that copper was occasionally
used at a very early period. Copper weapons have been found in
pre-dynastic graves beside the finest buff pottery with elaborate red
designs, so that we may say that when the flint-working and pottery of
the Neolithic Egyptians had reached its zenith, the use of copper was
already known, and copper weapons were occasionally employed. We can
thus speak of the “Chalcolithic” period in Egypt as having already begun
at that time, no doubt several centuries before the beginning of the
historical or dynastic age. Strictly speaking, the Egyptians remained
in the “Chalcolithic” period till the end of the XIIth Dynasty, but in
practice it is best to speak of this period, when the word is used, as
extending from the time of the finest flint weapons and pottery of the
prehistoric age (when the “Neolithic” period may be said to close) till
about the IId or IIId Dynasty. By that time the “Bronze,” or, rather,
“Copper,” Age of Egypt had well begun, and already stone was not in
common use.

The prehistoric pottery is of the greatest value to the archæologist,
for with its help some idea may be obtained of the succession of periods
within the late Neolithic-Chalcolithic Age. The enormous number of
prehistoric graves which have been examined enables us to make an
exhaustive comparison of the different kinds of pottery found in
them, so that we can arrange them in order according to pottery they
contained. By this means we obtain an idea of the development of
different types of pottery, and the sequence of the types. Thus it is
that we can say with some degree of confidence that the black and red
ware is the most ancient form, and that the buff with red designs is one
of the latest forms of prehistoric pottery. Other objects found in the
graves can be classified as they occur with different pottery types.

With the help of the pottery we can thus gain a more or less reliable
conspectus of the development of the late “Neolithic” culture of Egypt.
This system of “sequence-dating” was introduced by Prof. Petrie, and is
certainly very useful. It must not, however, be pressed too far or be
regarded as an iron-bound system, with which all subsequent discoveries
must be made to fit in by force. It is not to be supposed that all
prehistoric pottery developed its series of types in an absolutely
orderly manner without deviations or throws-back. The work of man’s
hands is variable and eccentric, and does not develop or evolve in an
undeviating course as the work of nature does. It is a mistake, very
often made by anthropologists and archæologists, who forget this
elementary fact, to assume “curves of development,” and so forth, or
semi-savage culture, on absolutely even and regular lines. Human culture
has not developed either evenly or regularly, as a matter of fact.
Therefore we cannot always be sure that, because the Egyptian black and
red pottery does not occur in graves with buff and red, it is for
this reason absolutely earlier in date than the latter. Some of the
development-sequences may in reality be contemporary with others instead
of earlier, and allowance must always be made for aberrations and
reversions to earlier types.

This caveat having been entered, however, we may provisionally
accept Prof. Petrie’s system of sequence-dating as giving the best
classification of the prehistoric antiquities according to development.
So it may fairly be said that, as far as we know, the black and red
pottery (“sequence-date 30--“) is the most ancient Neolithic Egyptian
ware known; that the buff and red did not begin to be used till about
“sequence-date 45;” that bone and ivory carvings were commonest in the
earlier period (“sequence-dates 30-50”); that copper was almost unknown
till “sequence-date 50,” and so on. The arbitrary numbers used range
from 30 to 80, in order to allow for possible earlier and later
additions, which may be rendered necessary by the progress of discovery.
The numbers are of course as purely arbitrary and relative as those
of the different thermometrical systems, but they afford a convenient
system of arrangement. The products of the prehistoric Egyptians are, so
to speak, distributed on a conventional plan over a scale numbered from
30 to 80, 30 representing the beginning and 80 the close of the term,
so far as its close has as yet been ascertained. It is probable that
“sequence-date 80” more or less accurately marks the beginning of the
dynastic or historical period.

This hypothetically chronological classification is, as has been said,
due to Prof. Petrie, and has been adopted by Mr. Randall-Maclver and
other students of prehistoric Egypt in their work. [*_El Amra and
Abydos_, Egypt Exploration Fund, 1902.] To Prof. Petrie then is due the
credit of systematizing the study of Egyptian prehistoric antiquities;
but the further credit of having _discovered_ these antiquities
themselves and settled their date belongs not to him but to the
distinguished French archæologist, M. J. de Morgan, who was for several
years director of the museum at Giza, and is now chief of the French
archæological delegation in Persia, which has made of late years so many
important discoveries. The proof of the prehistoric date of this class
of antiquities was given, not by Prof. Petrie after his excavations at
Dendera in 1897-8, but by M. de Morgan in his volume, _Recherches sur
les Origines de l’Égypte: l’Âge de la Pierre et les Métaux_, published
in 1895-6. In this book the true chronological position of the
prehistoric antiquities was pointed out, and the existence of an
Egyptian Stone Age finally decided. M. de Morgan’s work was based on
careful study of the results of excavations carried on for several years
by the Egyptian government in various parts of Egypt, in the course
of which a large number of cemeteries of the primitive type had been
discovered. It was soon evident to M. de Morgan that these primitive
graves, with their unusual pottery and flint implements, could be
nothing less than the tombs of the prehistoric Egyptians, the Egyptians
of the Stone Age.

Objects of the prehistoric period had been known to the museums for many
years previously, but owing to the uncertainty of their provenance and
the absence of knowledge of the existence of the primitive cemeteries,
no scientific conclusions had been arrived at with regard to them; and
it was not till the publication of M. de Morgan’s book that they were
recognized and classified as prehistoric. The necropoles investigated
by M. de Morgan and his assistants extended from Kawâmil in the north,
about twenty miles north of Abydos, to Edfu in the south. The chief
cemeteries between these two points were those of Bât Allam, Saghel
el-Baglieh, el-’Amra, Nakâda, Tûkh, and Gebelên. All the burials were
of simple type, analogous to those of the Neolithic races in the rest
of the world. In a shallow, oval grave, excavated often but a few inches
below the surface of the soil, lay the body, cramped up with the knees
to the chin, sometimes in a rough box of pottery, more often with only
a mat to cover it. Ready to the hand of the dead man were his flint
weapons and tools, and the usual red and black, or buff and red, pots
lay beside him; originally, no doubt, they had been filled with the
funeral meats, to sustain the ghost in the next world. Occasionally a
simple copper weapon was found. With the body were also buried slate
palettes for grinding the green eye-paint which the Egyptians loved even
at this early period. These are often carved to suggest the forms of
animals, such as birds, bats, tortoises, goats, etc.; on others are
fantastic creatures with two heads. Combs of bone, too, are found,
ornamented in a similar way with birds’ or goats’ heads, often double.
And most interesting of all are the small bone and ivory figures of men
and women which are also found. These usually have little blue beads for
eyes, and are of the quaintest and naivest appearance conceivable. Here
we have an elderly man with a long pointed beard, there two women with
inane smiles upon their countenances, here another woman, of better work
this time, with a child slung across her shoulder. This figure, which
is in the British Museum, must be very late, as prehistoric Egyptian
antiquities go. It is almost as good in style as the early Ist Dynasty
objects. Such were the objects which the simple piety of the early
Egyptian prompted him to bury with the bodies of his dead, in order that
they might find solace and contentment in the other world.

All the prehistoric cemeteries are of this type, with the graves pressed
closely together, so that they often impinge upon one another. The
nearness of the graves to the surface is due to the exposed positions,
at the entrances to _wadis_, in which the primitive cemeteries are
usually found. The result is that they are always swept by the winds,
which prevent the desert sand from accumulating over them, and so have
preserved the original level of the ground. From their proximity to
the surface they are often found disturbed, more often by the agency of
jackals than that of man.

Contemporaneously with M. de Morgan’s explorations, Prof. Flinders
Petrie and Mr. J. Quibell had, in the winter of 1894-5, excavated in
the districts of Tukh and Nakada, on the west bank of the Nile opposite
Koptos, a series of extensive cemeteries of the primitive type, from
which they obtained a large number of antiquities, published in their
volume Nagada and Dallas. The plates giving representations of the
antiquities found were of the highest interest, but the scientific value
of the letter-press is vitiated by the fact that the true historical
position of the antiquities was not perceived by their discoverers, who
came to the conclusion that these remains were those of a “New Pace” of
Libyan invaders. This race, they supposed, had entered Egypt after the
close of the flourishing period of the “Old Kingdom” at the end of the
VIth Dynasty, and had occupied part of the Nile valley from that time
till the period of the Xth Dynasty.

This conclusion was proved erroneous by M. de Morgan almost as soon
as made, and the French archæologist’s identification of the primitive
remains as pre-dynastic was at once generally accepted. It was obvious
that a hypothesis of the settlement of a stone-using barbaric race in
the midst of Egypt at so late a date as the period immediately preceding
the XIIth Dynasty, a race which mixed in no way with the native
Egyptians themselves, and left no trace of their influence upon the
later Egyptians, was one which demanded greater faith than the simple
explanation of M. de Morgan.

The error of the British explorers was at once admitted by Mr. Quibell,
in his volume on the excavations of 1897 at el-Kab, published in 1898.*
Mr. Quibell at once found full and adequate confirmation of M. de
Morgan’s discovery in his diggings at el-Kab. Prof. Petrie admitted
the correctness of M. de Morgan’s views in the preface to his volume
Diospolis Parva, published three years later in 1901.** The preface to
the first volume of M. de Morgan’s book contained a generous recognition
of the method and general accuracy of Prof. Petrie’s excavations, which
contrasted favourably, according to M. de Morgan, with the excavations
of others, generally carried on without scientific control, and with
the sole aim of obtaining antiquities or literary texts.*** That M. de
Morgan’s own work was carried out as scientifically and as carefully
is evident from the fact that his conclusions as to the chronological
position of the prehistoric antiquities have been shown to be correct.
To describe M. de Morgan’s discovery as a “happy guess,” as has been
done, is therefore beside the mark.

     * El-Kab. Egyptian Research Account, 1897, p. 11.

     ** Diospolis Parva. Egypt Exploration Fund, 1901, p. 2.

     *** Recherches: Age de la Pierre, p. xiii.

Another most important British excavation was that carried on by
Messrs. Randall-Maclver and Wilkin at el-’Amra. The imposing lion-headed
promontory of el-’Amra stands out into the plain on the west bank of the
Nile about five miles south of Abydos. At the foot of this hill M. de
Morgan found a very extensive prehistoric necropolis, which he examined,
but did not excavate to any great extent, and the work of thoroughly
excavating it was performed by Messrs. Randall-MacIver and Wilkin for
the Egypt Exploration Fund. The results have thrown very great light
upon the prehistoric culture of Egypt, and burials of all prehistoric
types, some of them previously unobserved, were found. Among the most
interesting are burials in pots, which have also been found by Mr.
Garstang in a predynastic necropolis at Ragagna, north of Abydos. One
of the more remarkable observations made at el-’Amra was the progressive
development of the tombs from the simplest pot-burial to a small brick
chamber, the embryo of the brick tombs of the Ist Dynasty. Among the
objects recovered from this site may be mentioned a pottery model of
oxen, a box in the shape of a model hut, and a slate “palette” with what
is perhaps the oldest Egyptian hieroglyph known, a representation of the
fetish-sign of the god Min, in relief. All these are preserved in the
British Museum. The skulls of the bodies found were carefully preserved
for craniometric examination.

In 1901 an extensive prehistoric cemetery was being excavated by Messrs.
Reisner and Lythgoe at Nag’ed-Dêr, opposite Girga, and at el-Ahaiwa,
further north, another prehistoric necropolis has been excavated by
these gentlemen, working for the University of California.


The cemetery of Nag’ed-Dêr is of the usual prehistoric type, with its
multitudes of small oval graves, excavated just a little way below the
surface. Graves of this kind are the most primitive of all. Those at
el-’Amra are usually more developed, often, as has been noted, rising to
the height of regular brick tombs. They are evidently later, nearer to
the time of the Ist Dynasty. The position of the Nag’ed-Dêr cemetery is
also characteristic. It lies on the usual low ridge at the entrance to a
desert _wadi_, which is itself one of the most picturesque in this
part of Egypt, with its chaos of great boulders and fallen rocks. An
illustration of the camp of Mr. Reisner’s expedition at Nag’ed-Dêr is
given above. The excavations of the University of California are carried
out with the greatest possible care and are financed with the greatest
possible liberality. Mr. Reisner has therefore been able to keep an
absolutely complete photographic record of everything, even down to
the successive stages in the opening of a tomb, which will be of the
greatest use to science when published.

For a detailed study of the antiquities of the prehistoric period the
publications of Prof. Petrie, Mr. Quibell, and Mr. Randall-Maclver are
more useful than that of M. de Morgan, who does not give enough details.
Every atom of evidence is given in the publications of the British
explorers, whereas it is a characteristic of French work to give
brilliant conclusions, beautifully illustrated, without much of the
evidence on which the conclusions are based. This kind of work does not
appeal to the Anglo-Saxon mind, which takes nothing on trust, even
from the most renowned experts, and always wants to know the why and
wherefore. The complete publication of evidence which marks the British
work will no doubt be met with, if possible in even more complete
detail, in the American work of Messrs. Reisner, Lythgoe, and Mace (the
last-named is an Englishman) for the University of California, when
published. The question of speedy versus delayed publication is a very
vexing one. Prof. Petrie prefers to publish as speedily as possible; six
months after the season’s work in Egypt is done, the full publication
with photographs of everything appears. Mr. Reisner and the French
explorers prefer to publish nothing until they have exhaustively studied
the whole of the evidence, and can extract nothing more from it. This
would be admirable if the French published their discoveries fully, but
they do not. Even M. de Morgan has not approached the fulness of
detail which characterizes British work and which will characterize Mr.
Reisner’s publication when it appears. The only drawback to this method
is that general interest in the particular excavations described tends
to pass away before the full description appears.

Prof. Petrie has explored other prehistoric sites at Abadiya, and Mr.
Quibell at el-Kab. M. de Morgan and his assistants have examined a large
number of sites, ranging from the Delta to el-Kab. Further research has
shown that some of the sites identified by M. de Morgan as prehistoric
are in reality of much later date, for example, Kahun, where the late
flints of XIIth Dynasty date were found. He notes that “large numbers
of Neolithic flint weapons are found in the desert on the borders of
the Fayyum, and at Helwan, south of Cairo,” and that all the important
necropoles and kitchen-middens of the predynastic people are to be found
in the districts of Abydos and Thebes, from el-Kawamil in the North to
el-Kab in the South. It is of course too soon to assert with confidence
that there are no prehistoric remains in any other part of Egypt,
especially in the long tract between the Fayyûm and the district of
Abydos, but up to the present time none have been found in this region.

This geographical distribution of the prehistoric remains fits in
curiously with the ancient legend concerning the origin of the ancestors
of the Egyptians in Upper Egypt, and supports the much discussed theory
that they came originally to the Nile valley from the shores of the Red
Sea by way of the Wadi Hammamat, which debouches on to the Nile in the
vicinity of Koptos and Kus, opposite Ballas and Tûkh. The supposition
seems a very probable one, and it may well be that the earliest
Egyptians entered the valley of the Nile by the route suggested and
then spread northwards and southwards in the valley. The fact that their
remains are not found north of el-Kawâmil nor south of el-Kab might
perhaps be explained by the supposition that, when they had extended
thus far north and south from their original place of arrival, they
passed from the primitive Neolithic condition to the more highly
developed copper-using culture of the period which immediately preceded
the establishment of the monarchy. The Neolithic weapons of the Fayyûm
and Hel-wân would then be the remains of a different people, which
inhabited the Delta and Middle Egypt in very early times. This people
may have been of Mediterranean stock, akin to the primitive inhabitants
of Palestine, Greece, Italy, and Spain; and they no doubt were identical
with the inhabitants of Lower Egypt who were overthrown and conquered by
Kha-sekhem and the other Southern founders of the monarchy (who belonged
to the race which had come from the Red Sea by the Wadi Hammamat), and
so were the ancestors of the later natives of Lower Egypt. Whether the
Southerners, whose primitive remains we find from el-Kawâmil to el-Kab,
were of the same race as the Northerners whom they conquered, cannot
be decided. The skull-form of the Southerners agrees with that of the
Mediterranean races. But we have no nécropoles of the Northerners to
tell us much of their peculiarities. We have nothing but their flint

But it should be observed that, in spite of the present absence of all
primitive remains (whether mere flints, or actual graves with bodies and
relics) of the primeval population between the Fayyûm and el-Kawâmil,
there is no proof that the primitive race of Upper Egypt was not
coterminous and identical with that of the lower country. It
might therefore be urged that the whole Neolithic population was
“Mediterranean” by its skull-form and body-structure, and specifically
“Nilotic” (indigenous Egyptian) in its culture-type. This is quite
possible, but we have again to account for the legends of distant origin
on the Red Sea coast, the probability that one element of the Egyptian
population was of extraneous origin and came from the east into the Nile
valley near Koptos, and finally the historical fact of an advance of the
early dynastic Egyptians from the South to the conquest of the North.
The latter fact might of course be explained as a civil war analogous
to that between Thebes and Asyût in the time of the IXth Dynasty, but
against this explanation is to be set the fact that the contemporary
monuments of the Southerners exhibit the men of the North as of foreign
and non-Egyptian ethnic type, resembling Libyans. It is possible that
they were akin to the Libyans; and this would square very well with the
first theory, but it may also be made to fit in with a development of
the second, which has been generally accepted.

According to this view, the whole primitive Neolithic population of
North and South was Miotic, indigenous in origin, and akin to the
“Mediterraneans “of Prof. Sergi and the other ethnologists. It was not
this population, the stone-users whose nécropoles have been found by
Messrs. de Morgan, Pétrie, and Maclver, that entered the Nile valley by
the Wadi Hammamat. This was another race of different ethnic origin,
which came from the Red Sea toward the end of the Neolithic period,
and, being of higher civilization than the native Nilotes, assumed the
lordship over them, gave a great impetus to the development of their
culture, and started at once the institution of monarchy, the knowledge
of letters, and the use of metals. The chiefs of this superior tribe
founded the monarchy, conquered the North, unified the kingdom, and
began Egyptian history. From many indications it would seem probable
that these conquerors were of Babylonian origin, or that the culture
they brought with them (possibly from Arabia) was ultimately of
Babylonian origin. They themselves would seem to have been Semites,
or rather proto-Semites, who came from Arabia to Africa by way of
the straits of Bab el-Mandeb, and proceeded up the coast to about the
neighbourhood of Kusêr, whence the Wadi Hammamat offered them an open
road to the valley of the Nile. By this route they may have entered
Egypt, bringing with them a civilization, which, like that of the other
Semites, had been profoundly influenced and modified by that of the
Sumerian inhabitants of Babylonia. This Semitic-Sumerian culture,
mingling with that of the Nilotes themselves, produced the civilization
of Ancient Egypt as we know it.

This is a very plausible hypothesis, and has a great deal of evidence in
its favour. It seems certain that in the early dynastic period two
races lived in Egypt, which differed considerably in type, and also,
apparently, in burial customs. The later Egyptians always buried the
dead lying on their backs, extended at full length. During the period of
the Middle Kingdom (XIth-XIIIth Dynasties) the head was usually turned
over on to the left side, in order that the dead man might look through
the two great eyes painted on that side of the coffin. Afterward the
rigidly extended position was always adopted. The Neolithic Egyptians,
however, buried the dead lying wholly on the left side and in a
contracted position, with the knees drawn up to the chin. The bodies
were not embalmed, and the extended position and mummification were
never used. Under the IVth Dynasty we find in the necropolis of Mêdûm
(north of the Payyûm) the two positions used simultaneously, and the
extended bodies are mummified. The contracted bodies are skeletons, as
in the case of most of the predynastic bodies. When these are found with
flesh, skin, and hair intact, their preservation is due to the dryness
of the soil and the preservative salts it contains, not to intentional
embalming, which was evidently introduced by those who employed the
extended position in burial. The contracted position is found as late as
the Vth Dynasty at Dashasha, south of the Eayyûm, but after that date it
is no longer found.

The conclusion is obvious that the contracted position without
mummification, which the Neolithic people used, was supplanted in the
early dynastic period by the extended position with mummification, and
by the time of the VIth Dynasty it was entirely superseded. This points
to the supersession of the burial customs of the indigenous Neolithic
race by those of another race which conquered and dominated the
indigenes. And, since the extended burials of the IVth Dynasty are
evidently those of the higher nobles, while the contracted ones are
those of inferior people, it is probable that the customs of extended
burial and embalming were introduced by a foreign race which founded the
Egyptian monarchical state, with its hierarchy of nobles and officials,
and in fact started Egyptian civilization on its way. The conquerors of
the North were thus not the descendants of the Neolithic people of the
South, but their conquerors; in fact, they dominated the indigenes both
of North and South, who will then appear (since we find the custom of
contracted burial in the North at Dashasha and Mêdûm) to have originally
belonged to the same race.

The conquering race is that which is supposed to have been of Semitic or
proto-Semitic origin, and to have brought elements of Sumerian culture
to savage Egypt. The reasons advanced for this supposition are the

(1) Just as the Egyptian race was evidently compounded of two elements,
of conquered “Mediterraneans” and conquering x, so the Egyptian language
is evidently compounded of two elements, the one Nilotic, perhaps
related in some degree to the Berber dialects of North Africa, the other
not x, but evidently Semitic.

(2) Certain elements of the early dynastic civilization, which do not
appear in that of the earlier pre-dynastic period, resemble well-known
elements of the civilization of Babylonia. We may instance the use of
the cylinder-seal, which died out in Egypt in the time of the XVIIIth
Dynasty, but was always used in Babylonia from the earliest to the
latest times. The early Egyptian mace-head is of exactly the same
type as the early Babylonian one. In the British Museum is an Egyptian
mace-head of red breccia, which is identical in shape and size with
one from Babylonia (also in the museum) bearing the name of
Shargani-shar-ali (i.e. Sargon, King of Agade), one of the earliest
Chaldæan monarchs, who must have lived about the same time as the
Egyptian kings of the IId-IIId Dynasties, to which period the Egyptian
mace-head may also be approximately assigned. The Egyptian art of the
earliest dynasties bears again a remarkable resemblance to that of early
Babylonia. It is not till the time of the IId Dynasty that Egyptian art
begins to take upon itself the regular form which we know so well, and
not till that of the IVth that this form was finally crystallized. Under
the 1st Dynasty we find the figure of man or, to take other instances,
that of a lion, or a hawk, or a snake, often treated in a style very
different from that in which we are accustomed to see a man, a lion, a
hawk, or a snake depicted in works of the later period. And the striking
thing is that these early representations, which differ so much from
what we find in later Egyptian art, curiously resemble the works of
early Babylonian art, of the time of the patesis of Shirpurla or the
Kings Shargani-shar-ali and Narâm-Sin. One of the best known relics
of the early art of Babylonia is the famous “Stele of Vultures” now in
Paris. On this we see the enemies of Eannadu, one of the early rulers
of Shirpurla, cast out to be devoured by the vultures. On an Egyptian
relief of slate, evidently originally dedicated in a temple record of
some historical event, and dating from the beginning of the Ist Dynasty
(practically contemporary, according to our latest knowledge, with
Eannadu), we have an almost exactly similar scene of captives being cast
out into the desert, and devoured by lions and vultures. The two reliefs
are curiously alike in their clumsy, naïve style of art. A further
point is that the official represented on the stele, who appears to be
thrusting one of the bound captives out to die, wears a long fringed
garment of Babylonish cut, quite different from the clothes of the later

(3) There are evidently two distinct and different main strata in the
fabric of Egyptian religion. On the one hand we find a mass of myth and
religious belief of very primitive, almost savage, cast, combining
a worship of the actual dead in their tombs--which were supposed
to communicate and thus form a veritable “underworld,” or, rather,
“under-Egypt”--with veneration of magic animals, such as jackals, cats,
hawks, and crocodiles. On the other hand, we have a sun and sky worship
of a more elevated nature, which does not seem to have amalgamated with
the earlier fetishism and corpse-worship until a comparatively late
period. The main seats of the sun-worship were at Heliopolis in the
Delta and at Edfu in Upper Egypt. Heliopolis seems always to have been
a centre of light and leading in Egypt, and it is, as is well known,
the On of the Bible, at whose university the Jewish lawgiver Moses is
related to have been educated “in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” The
philosophical theories of the priests of the Sun-gods, Râ-Harmachis and
Turn, at Heliopolis seem to have been the source from which sprang the
monotheistic heresy of the Disk-Worshippers (in the time of the XVIIIth
Dynasty), who, under the guidance of the reforming King Akhunaten,
worshipped only the disk of the sun as the source of all life, the door
in heaven, so to speak, through which the hidden One Deity poured
forth heat and light, the origin of life upon the earth. Very early
in Egyptian history the Heliopolitans gained the upper hand, and the
Râ-worship (under the Vth Dynasty, the apogee of the Old Kingdom) came
to the front, and for the first time the kings took the afterwards
time-honoured royal title of “Son of the Sun.” It appears then as a
more or less foreign importation into the Nile valley, and bears most
undoubtedly a Semitic impress. Its two chief seats were situated, the
one, Heliopolis, in the North on the eastern edge of the Delta,--just
where an early Semitic settlement from over the desert might be expected
to be found,--the other, Edfu, in the Upper Egyptian territory south
of the Thebaïd, Koptos, and the Wadi Ham-mamat, and close to the chief
settlement of the earliest kings and the most ancient capital of Upper

(4) The custom of burying at full length was evidently introduced into
Egypt by the second, or x race. The Neolithic Egyptians buried in the
cramped position. The early Babylonians buried at full length, as far
as we know. On the same “Stele of Vultures,” which has already been
mentioned, we see the burying at full length of dead warriors. [* See
illustration.] There is no trace of any _early_ burial in Babylonia in
the cramped position. The tombs at Warka (Erech) with cramped bodies
in pottery coffins are of very late date. A further point arises with
regard to embalming. The Neolithic Egyptians did not embalm the dead.
Usually their cramped bodies are found as skeletons. When they are
mummified, it is merely owing to the preservative action of the salt
in the soil, not to any process of embalming. The second, or x race,
however, evidently introduced the custom of embalming as well as that
of burial at full length and the use of coffins. The Neolithic Egyptian
used no box or coffin, the nearest approach to this being a pot, which
was inverted over the coiled up body. Usually only a mat was put over
the body.

[Illustration: 038.jpg Portion of the “Stele of Vultures” Found at

[Illustration: 038-text.jpg]

Now it is evident that Babylonians and Assyrians, who buried the dead at
full length in chests, had some knowledge of embalming. An Assyrian king
tells us how he buried his royal father:--

     “Within the grave, the secret place,
     In kingly oil, I gently laid him.
     The grave-stone marketh his resting-place.
     With mighty bronze I sealed its entrance,
     And I protected it with an incantation.”

The “kingly oil” was evidently used with the idea of preserving the body
from decay. Salt also was used to preserve the dead, and Herodotus
says that the Babylonians buried in honey, which was also used by the
Egyptians. No doubt the Babylonian method was less perfect than the
Egyptian, but the comparison is an interesting one, when taken in
connection with the other points of resemblance mentioned above.

We find, then, that an analysis of the Egyptian language reveals a
Semitic element in it; that the early dynastic culture had certain
characteristics which were unknown to the Neolithic Egyptians but are
closely parallelled in early Babylonia; that there were two elements in
the Egyptian religion, one of which seems to have originally belonged to
the Neolithic people, while the other has a Semitic appearance; and that
there were two sets of burial customs in early Egypt, one, that of the
Neolithic people, the other evidently that of a conquering race, which
eventually prevailed over the former; these later rites were analogous
to those of the Babylonians and Assyrians, though differing from them
in points of detail. The conclusion is that the x or conquering race
was Semitic and brought to Egypt the Semitic elements in the Egyptian
religion and a culture originally derived from that of the Sumerian
inhabitants of Babylonia, the non-Semitic parent of all Semitic

The question now arises, how did this Semitic people reach Egypt? We
have the choice of two points of entry: First, Heliopolis in the North,
where the Semitic sun-worship took root, and, second, the Wadi Hamma-mat
in the South, north of Edfu, the southern centre of sun-worship, and
Hierakonpolis (Nekheb-Nekhen), the capital of the Upper Egyptian kingdom
which existed before the foundation of the monarchy. The legends which
seem to bring the ancestors of the Egyptians from the Red Sea coast have
already been mentioned. They are closely connected with the worship
of the Sky and Sun god Horus of Edfu. Hathor, his nurse, the “House of
Horus,” the centre of whose worship was at Dendera, immediately opposite
the mouth of the Wadi Hammamat, was said to have come from Ta-neter,
“The Holy Land,” i.e. Abyssinia or the Red Sea coast, with the company
or _paut_ of the gods. Now the Egyptians always seem to have had some
idea that they were connected racially with the inhabitants of the Land
of Punt or Puenet, the modern Abyssinia and Somaliland. In the time of
the XVIIIth Dynasty they depicted the inhabitants of Punt as greatly
resembling themselves in form, feature, and dress, and as wearing the
little turned-up beard which was worn by the Egyptians of the earliest
times, but even as early as the IVth Dynasty was reserved for the
gods. Further, the word _Punt_ is always written without the hieroglyph
determinative of a foreign country, thus showing that the Egyptians did
not regard the Punites as foreigners. This certainly looks as if the
Punites were a portion of the great migration from Arabia, left behind
on the African shore when the rest of the wandering people pressed on
northwards to the Wadi Hammamat and the Nile. It may be that the modern
Gallas and Abyssinians are descendants of these Punites.

Now the Sky-god of Edfu is in legend a conquering hero who advances down
the Nile valley, with his _Mesniu_, or “Smiths,” to overthrow the people
of the North, whom he defeats in a great battle near Dendera. This may
be a reminiscence of the first fights of the invaders with the Neolithic
inhabitants. The other form of Horus, “Horus, son of Isis,” has also a
body of retainers, the _Shemsu-Heru_, or “Followers of Horns,” who are
spoken of in late texts as the rulers of Egypt before the monarchy. They
evidently correspond to the dynasties of _Manes_,

[Illustration: 041greek.jpg]

or “Ghosts,” of Manetho, and are probably intended for the early kings
of Hierakonpolis.

The mention of the Followers of Horus as “Smiths” is very interesting,
for it would appear to show that the Semitic conquerors were notable
as metal-users, that, in fact, their conquest was that old story in the
dawn of the world’s history, the utter overthrow and subjection of the
stone-users by the metal-users, the primeval tragedy of the supersession
of flint by copper. This may be, but if the “Smiths” were the Semitic
conquerors who founded the kingdom, it would appear that the use of
copper was known in Egypt to some extent before their arrival, for we
find it in the graves of the late Neolithic Egyptians, very sparsely
from “sequence-date 30” to “45,” but afterwards more commonly. It was
evidently becoming known. The supposition, however, that the “Smiths”
 were the Semitic conquerors, and that they won their way by the aid of
their superior weapons of metal, may be provisionally accepted.

In favour of the view which would bring the conquerors by way of the
Wadi Hammamat, an interesting discovery may be quoted. Immediately
opposite Den-dera, where, according to the legend, the battle between
the _Mesniu_ and the aborigines took place, lies Koptos, at the mouth of
the Wadi Hammamat. Here, in 1894, underneath the pavement of the ancient
temple, Prof. Petrie found remains which he then diagnosed as belonging
to the most ancient epoch of Egyptian history. Among them were some
extremely archaic statues of the god Min, on which were curious
scratched drawings of bears, _crioceras-shells_, elephants walking over
hills, etc., of the most primitive description. With them were lions’
heads and birds of a style then unknown, but which we now know to belong
to the period of the beginning of the Ist Dynasty. But the statues of
Min are older. The _crioceras-shells_ belong to the Red Sea. Are we to
see in these statues the holy images of the conquerors from the Red Sea
who reached the Nile valley by way of the Wadi Hammamat, and set up the
first memorials of their presence at Koptos? It may be so, or the Min
statues may be older than the conquerors, and belong to the Neolithic
race, since Min and his fetish (which we find on the slate palette from
el-’Amra, already mentioned) seem to belong to the indigenous Nilotes.
In any case we have in these statues, two of which are in the Ashmolean
Museum at Oxford, probably the most ancient cult-images in the world:

This theory, which would make all the Neolithic inhabitants of Egypt
one people, who were conquered by a Semitic race, bringing a culture of
Sumerian origin to Egypt by way of the Wadi Hammamat, is that generally
accepted at the present time. It may, however, eventually prove
necessary to modify it. For reasons given above, it may well be that the
Neolithic population was itself not indigenous, and that it reached the
Nile valley by way of the Wadi Hammamat, spreading north and south
from the mouth of the _wadi_. It may also be considered probable that
a Semitic wave invaded Egypt by way of the Isthmus of Suez, where
the early sun-cultus of Heliopolis probably marks a primeval Semitic
settlement. In that case it would seem that the _Mesniu_ or “Smiths,”
 who introduced the use of metal, would have to be referred to the
originally Neolithic pre-Semitic people, who certainly were acquainted
with the use of copper, though not to any great extent. But this is not
a necessary supposition. The _Mesniu_ are closely connected with the
Sky-god Horus, who was possibly of Semitic origin, and another Semitic
wave, quite distinct from that which entered Egypt by way of the
Isthmus, may very well also have reached Egypt by the Wadi Hammamat, or,
equally possibly, from the far south, coming down to the Nile from the
Abyssinian mountains. The legend of the coming of Hathor from Ta-neter
may refer to some such wandering, and we know that the Egyptians of the
Old Kingdom communicated with the Land of Punt, not by way of the Red
Sea coast as Hatshepsut did, but by way of the Upper Nile. This would
tally well with the march of the _Mesniu_ northwards from Edfu to their
battle with the forces of Set at Dendera.

In any case, at the dawn of connected Egyptian history, we find two main
centres of civilization in Egypt, Heliopolis and Buto in the Delta
in the North, and Edfu and Hierakonpolis in the South. Here were
established at the beginning of the Chalcolithic stage of culture, we
may say, two kingdoms, of Lower and Upper Egypt, which were eventually
united by the superior arms of the kings of Upper Egypt, who imposed
their rule upon the North but at the same time removed their capital
thither. The dualism of Buto and Hierakonpolis really lasted throughout
Egyptian history. The king was always called “Lord of the Two Lands,”
 and wore the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt; the snakes of Buto and
Nekhebet (the goddess of Nekheb, opposite Nekhen or Hierakonpolis)
always typified the united kingdom. This dualism of course often led to
actual division and reversion to the predynastic order of things, as,
for instance, in the time of the XXIst Dynasty.

It might well seem that both the impulses to culture development in the
North and South came from Semitic inspiration, and that it was to
the Semitic invaders in North and South that the founding of the two
kingdoms was due. This may be true to some extent, but it is at the same
time very probable that the first development of political culture at
Hierakonpolis was really of pre-Semitic origin. The kingdom of Buto,
since its capital is situated so near to the seacoast, may have owed
its origin to oversea Mediterranean connections. There is much in
the political constitution of later Egypt which seems to have been of
indigenous and pre-Semitic origin. Especially does this seem to be so in
the case of the division and organization of the country into nomes. It
is obvious that so soon as agriculture began to be practised on a large
scale, boundaries would be formed, and in the unique conditions of
Egypt, where all boundaries disappear beneath the inundation every
year, it is evident that the fixing of division-lines as permanently as
possible by means of landmarks was early essayed. We can therefore with
confidence assign the formation of the nomes to very early times. Now
the names of the nomes and the symbols or emblems by which they were
distinguished are of very great interest in this connection. They are
nearly all figures of the magic animals of the primitive religion, and
fetish-emblems of the older deities. The names are, in fact, those of
the territories of the Neolithic Egyptian tribes, and their emblems are
those of the protecting tribal demons. The political divisions of the
country seem, then, to be of extremely ancient origin, and if the nomes
go back to a time before the Semitic invasions, so may also the kingdoms
of the South and North.

Of these predynastic kingdoms we know very little, except from legendary
sources. The Northerners who were conquered by Aha, Narmer, and
Khâsekhehiui do not look very much like Egyptians, but rather resemble
Semites or Libyans. On the “Stele of Palermo,” a chronicle of early
kings inscribed in the period of the Vth Dynasty, we have a list of
early kings of the North,--Seka, Desau, Tiu, Tesh, Nihab, Uatjântj,
Mekhe. The names are primitive in form. We know nothing more about them.
Last year Mr. C. T. Currelly attempted to excavate at Buto, in order to
find traces of the predynastic kingdom, but owing to the infiltration of
water his efforts were unsuccessful. It is improbable that anything is
now left of the most ancient period at that site, as the conditions in
the Delta are so very different from those obtaining in Upper Egypt.
There, at Hierakonpolis, and at el-Kab on the opposite bank of the Nile,
the sites of the ancient cities Nekhen and Nekheb, the excavators have
been very successful. The work was carried out by Messrs. Quibell and
Green, in the years 1891-9. Prehistoric burials were found on the hills
near by, but the larger portion of the antiquities were recovered from
the temple-ruins, and date back to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty,
exactly the time when the kings of Hierakonpolis first conquered the
kingdom of Buto and founded the united Egyptian monarchy.

The ancient temple, which was probably one of the earliest seats of
Egyptian civilization, was situated on a mound, now known as _el-Kom
el-ahmar_, “the Red Hill,” from its colour. The chief feature of the
most ancient temple seems to have been a circular mound, revetted by a
wall of sandstone blocks, which was apparently erected about the end of
the predynastic period. Upon this a shrine was probably erected. This
was the ancient shrine of Nekhen, the cradle of the Egyptian monarchy.
Close by it were found some of the most valuable relics of the earliest
Pharaonic age, the great ceremonial mace-heads and vases of Narmer and
“the Scorpion,” the shields or “palettes” of the same Narmer, the vases
and stelas of Khâsekhemui, and, of later date, the splendid copper
colossal group of King Pepi I and his son, which is now at Cairo. Most
of the 1st Dynasty objects are preserved in the Ashmo-lean Museum at
Oxford, which is one of the best centres for the study of early Egyptian
antiquities. Narmer and Khâsekhemui are, as we shall see, two of the
first monarchs of all Egypt. These sculptured and inscribed mace-heads,
shields, etc., are monuments dedicated by them in the ancestral shrine
at Hierakonpolis as records of their deeds. Both kings seem to have
waged war against the Northerners, the _Anu_ of Heliopolis and the
Delta, and on these votive monuments from Hierakonpolis we find
hieroglyphed records of the defeat of the _Anu_, who have very
definitely Semitic physiognomies.

On one shield or palette we see Narmer clubbing a man of Semitic
appearance, who is called the “Only One of the Marsh” (Delta), while
below two other Semites fly, seeking “fortress-protection.” Above is a
figure of a hawk, symbolizing the Upper Egyptian king, holding a rope
which is passed through the nose of a Semitic head, while behind is a
sign which may be read as “the North,” so that the whole symbolizes the
leading away of the North into captivity by the king of the South. It
is significant, in view of what has been said above with regard to the
probable Semitic origin of the Heliopolitan Northerners, to find the
people typical of the North-land represented by the Southerners as
Semites. Equally Semitic is the overthrown Northerner on the other
side of this well-known monument which we are describing; he is being
trampled under the hoofs and gored by the horns of a bull, who, like the
hawk, symbolizes the king. The royal bull has broken down the wall of a
fortified enclosure, in which is the hut or tent of the Semite, and the
bricks lie about promiscuously.

In connection with the Semitic origin of the Northerners, the form of
the fortified enclosures on both sides of this monument (that to whose
protection the two Semites on one side fly, and that out of which the
kingly bull has dragged the chief on the other) is noticeable. As usual
in Egyptian writing, the hieroglyph of these buildings takes the form of
a plan. The plan shows a crenelated enclosure, resembling the walls of
a great Babylonian palace or temple, such as have been found at Telloh,
Warka, or Mukayyar. The same design is found in Egypt at the Shuret
ez-Zebib, an Old Kingdom fortress at Abydos, in the tomb of King Aha at
Nakâda, and in many walls of mastaba-tombs of the early time. This is
another argument in favour of an early connection between Egypt and
Babylonia. We illustrate a fragment of another votive shield or palette
of the same kind, now in the museum of the Louvre, which probably came
originally from Hierakonpolis. It is of exactly similar workmanship to
that of Narmer, and is no doubt a fragment of another monument of that
king. On it we see the same subject of the overthrowing of a Northerner
(of Semitic aspect) by the royal bull. On one side, below, is a
fortified enclosure with crenelated walls of the type we have described,
and within it a lion and a vase; below this another fort, and a bird
within it. These signs may express the names of the two forts, but,
owing to the fact that at this early period Egyptian orthography was
not yet fixed, we cannot read them. On the other side we see a row of
animated nome-standards of Upper Egypt, with the symbols of the god Min
of Koptos, the hawk of Horus of Edfu, the ibis of Thot of Eshmunên, and
the jackals of Anubis of Abydos, which drag a rope; had we the rest
of the monument, we should see, bound at the end of the rope, some
prisoner, king, or animal symbolic of the North. On another slate
shield, which we also reproduce, we see a symbolical representation of
the capture of seven Northern cities, whose names seem to mean the “Two
Men,” the “Heron,” the “Owl,” the “Palm,” and the “Ghost” Cities.

“Ghost City” is attacked by a lion, “Owl City” by a hawk, “Palm City” by
two hawk nome-standards, and another, whose name we cannot guess at, is
being opened up by a scorpion.

[Illustration: 050.jpg (left) OBVERSE OF A SLATE RELIEF.]

The operating animals evidently represent nomes and tribes of the Upper
Egyptians. Here again we see the same crenelated walls of the Northern
towns, and there is no doubt that this slate fragment also, which is
preserved in the Cairo Museum, is a monument of the conquests of Narmer.
It is executed in the same archaic style as those from Hierakonpolis.
The animals on the other side no doubt represent part of the spoil of
the North.

Returning to the great shield or palette found by Mr. Quibell, we see
the king coming out, followed by his sandal-bearer, the _Hen-neter_ or
“God’s Servant,” * to view the dead bodies of the slain Northerners which
lie arranged in rows, decapitated, and with their heads between their
feet. The king is preceded by a procession of nome-standards.

[Illustration: 051.jpg (right)]

Above the dead men are symbolic representations of a hawk perched on a
harpoon over a boat, and a hawk and a door, which doubtless again refer
to the fights of the royal hawk of Upper Egypt on the Nile and at the
gate of the North. The designs on the mace-heads refer to the same
conquest of the North.

     * In his commentary (Hierakonpolis, i. p. 9) on this scene,
     Prof. Petrie supposes that the seven-pointed star sign means
     “king,” and compares the eight-pointed star “used for king
     in Babylonia.” The eight-pointed star of the cuneiform
     script does not mean “king,” but “god.” The star then ought
     to mean “god,” and the title “servant of a god,” and this
     supposition may be correct. _Hen-neter_, “god’s servant,”
      was the appellation of a peculiar kind of priest in later
     days, and was then spelt with the ordinary sign for a god,
     the picture of an axe. But in the archaic period, with which
     we are dealing, a star like the Babylonian sign may very
     well have been used for “god,” and the title of Narmer’s
     sandal-bearer may read _Hen-neter_. He was the slave of the
     living god Narmer. All Egyptian kings were regarded as
     deities, more or less.

The monuments Khâsekhemui, a king, show us that he conquered the North
also and slew 47,209 “Northern Enemies.” The contorted attitudes of the
dead Northerners were greatly admired and sketched at the time, and were
reproduced on the pedestal of the king’s statue found by Mr. Quibell,
which is now at Oxford. It was an age of cheerful savage energy, like
most times when kingdoms and peoples are in the making. About 4000 B.C.
is the date of these various monuments.

[Illustration: 052.jpg OBVERSE OP A SLATE RELIEF.]

Khâsekhemui probably lived later than Narmer, and we may suppose that
his conquest was in reality a re-conquest. He may have lived as late
as the time of the IId Dynasty, whereas Narmer must be placed at the
beginning of the Ist, and his conquest was probably that which first
united the two kingdoms of the South and North. As we shall see in
the next chapter, he is probably one of the originals of the legendary
“Mena,” who was regarded from the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty onwards
as the founder of the kingdom, and was first made known to Europe by
Herodotus, under the name of “Menés.”


Narmer is therefore the last of the ancient kings of Hierakonpolis, the
last of Manetho’s “Spirits.” We may possibly have recovered the names of
one or two of the kings anterior to Narmer in the excavations at Abydos
(see Chapter II), but this is uncertain. To all intents and purposes we
have only legendary knowledge of the Southern kingdom until its close,
when Narmer the mighty went forth to strike down the Anu of the North,
an exploit which he recorded in votive monuments at Hierakonpolis, and
which was commemorated henceforward throughout Egyptian history in the
yearly “Feast of the Smiting of the Anu.” Then was Egypt for the first
time united, and the fortress of the “White Wall,” the “Good Abode” of
Memphis, was built to dominate the lower country. The Ist Dynasty was
founded and Egyptian history began.

[Illustration: 054.jpg ]


Until the recent discoveries had been made, which have thrown so much
light upon the early history of Egypt, the traditional order and names
of the kings of the first three Egyptian dynasties were, in default of
more accurate information, retained by all writers on the history of the
period. The names were taken from the official lists of kings at Abydos
and elsewhere, and were divided into dynasties according to the system
of Manetho, whose names agree more or less with those of the lists and
were evidently derived from them ultimately. With regard to the fourth
and later dynasties it was clear that the king-lists were correct, as
their evidence agreed entirely with that of the contemporary monuments.
But no means existed of checking the lists of the first three dynasties,
as no contemporary monuments other than a IVth Dynasty mention of a IId
Dynasty king, Send, had been found. The lists dated from the time of
the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties, so that it was very possible that with
regard to the earliest dynasties they might not be very correct. This
conclusion gained additional weight from the fact that no monuments of
these earliest kings were ever discovered; it therefore seemed probable
that they were purely legendary figures, in whose time (if they ever did
exist) Egypt was still a semi-barbarous nation. The jejune stories told
about them by Manetho seemed to confirm this idea. Mena, the reputed
founder of the monarchy, was generally regarded as a historical figure,
owing to the persistence of his name in all ancient literary accounts
of the beginnings of Egyptian history; for it was but natural to suppose
that the name of the man who unified Egypt and founded Memphis would
endure in the mouths of the people. But with regard to his successors
no such supposition seemed probable, until the time of Sneferu and the

This was the critical view. Another school of historians accepted all
the kings of the lists as historical _en bloc_, simply because the
Egyptians had registered their names as kings. To them Teta, Ateth, and
Ata were as historical as Mena.

Modern discovery has altered our view, and truth is seen to lie between
the opposing schools, as usual. The kings after Mena do not seem to be
such entirely unhistorical figures as the extreme critics thought;
the names of several of them, e.g. Merpeba, of the Ist Dynasty, are
correctly given in the later lists, and those of others were simply
misread, e. g. that of Semti of the same dynasty, misread “Hesepti” by
the list-makers. On the other hand, Mena himself has become a somewhat
doubtful quantity. The real names of most of the early monarchs of Egypt
have been recovered for us by the latest excavations, and we can now see
when the list-makers of the XIXth Dynasty were right and when they were
wrong, and can distinguish what is legendary in their work from what is
really historical. It is true that they very often appear to have been
wrong, but, on the other hand, they were sometimes unexpectedly near
the mark, and the general number and arrangement of their kings
seems correct; so that we can still go to them for assistance in the
arrangement of the names which are communicated to us by the newly
discovered monuments. Manetho’s help, too, need never be despised
because he was a copyist of copyists; we can still use him to direct our
investigations, and his arrangement of dynasties must still remain the
framework of our chronological scheme, though he does not seem to have
been always correct as to the places in which the dynasties originated.

More than the names of the kings have the new discoveries communicated
to us. They have shed a flood of light on the beginnings of Egyptian
civilization and art, supplementing the recently ascertained facts
concerning the prehistoric age which have been described in the
preceding chapter. The impulse to these discoveries was given by the
work of M. de Morgan, who excavated sites of the early dynastic as
well as of the predynastic age. Among these was a great mastaba-tomb at
Nakâda, which proved to be that of a very early king who bore the name
of Aha, “the Fighter.” The walls of this tomb are crenelated like
those of the early Babylonian palaces and the forts of the Northerners,
already referred to. M. de Morgan early perceived the difference between
the Neolithic antiquities and those of the later archaic period of
Egyptian civilization, to which the tomb at Nakâda belonged. In the
second volume of his great work on the primitive antiquities of Egypt
_(L’Age des Métaux et lé Tombeau Royale de Négadeh)_, he described
the antiquities of the Ist Dynasty which had been found at the time he
wrote. Antiquities of the same primitive period and even of an earlier
date had been discovered by Prof. Flinders Petrie, as has already been
said, at Koptos, at the mouth of the Wadi Hammamat. But though Prof.
Petrie correctly diagnosed the age of the great statues of the god
Min which he found, he was led, by his misdating of the “New Race”
 antiquities from Ballas and Tûkh, also to misdate several of the
primitive antiquities,--the lions and hawks, for instance, found at
Koptos, he placed in the period between the VIIth and Xth Dynasties;
whereas they can now, in the light of further discoveries at Abydos, be
seen to date to the earlier part of the Ist Dynasty, the time of Narmer
and Aha.

It is these discoveries at Abydos, coupled with those (already
described) of Mr. Quibell at Hierakonpolis, which have told us most of
what we know with regard to the history of the first three dynasties.
At Abydos Prof. Petrie was not himself the first in the field, the site
having already been partially explored by a French Egyptologist, M.
Amélineau. The excavations of M. Amélineau were, however, perhaps
not conducted strictly on scientific lines, and his results have been
insufficiently published with very few photographs, so that with the
best will in the world we are unable to give M. Amélineau the full
credit which is, no doubt, due to him for his work. The system of Prof.
Petrie’s publications has been often, and with justice, criticized, but
he at least tells us every year what he has been doing, and gives us
photographs of everything he has found. For this reason the epoch-making
discoveries at Abydos have been coupled chiefly with the name of Prof.
Petrie, while that of M. Amélineau is rarely heard in connection with
them. As a matter of fact, however, M. Amélineau first excavated the
necropolis of the early kings at Abydos, and discovered most of the
tombs afterwards worked over by Prof. Petrie and Mr. Mace. Yet most of
the important scientific results are due to the later explorers, who
were the first to attempt a classification of them, though we must
add that this classification has not been entirely accepted by the
scientific world.

The necropolis of the earliest kings of Egypt is situated in the great
bay in the hills which lies behind Abydos, to the southwest of the main
necropolis. Here, at holy Abydos, where every pious Egyptian wished to
rest after death, the bodies of the most ancient kings were buried. It
is said by Manetho that the original seat of their dominion was This,
a town in the vicinity of Abydos, now represented by the modern Grîrga,
which lies a few miles distant from its site (el-Birba). This may be a
fact, but we have as yet obtained no confirmation of it. It may well be
that the attribution of a Thinite origin to the Ist and IId Dynasties
was due simply to the fact that the kings of these dynasties were buried
at Abydos, which lay within the Thinite nome. Manetho knew that they
were buried at Abydos, and so jumped to the conclusion that they lived
there also, and called them “Thinites.”

[Illustration: 060.jpg PROF. PETRIE’S CAMP AT ABYDOS, 1901.]

Their real place of origin must have been Hierakonpolis, where the
pre-dynastic kingdom of the South had its seat. The Hid Dynasty was no
doubt of Memphite origin, as Manetho says. It is certain that the
seat of the government of the IVth Dynasty was at Memphis, where the
pyramid-building kings were buried, and we know that the sepulchres
of two Hid Dynasty kings, at least, were situated in the necropolis of
Memphis (Sakkâra-Mêdûm). So that probably the seat of government was
transferred from Hierakonpolis to Memphis by the first king of the Hid
Dynasty. Thenceforward the kings were buried in the Memphite necropolis.

The two great nécropoles of Memphis and Abydos were originally the
seats of the worship of the two Egyptian gods of the dead, Seker and
Khentamenti, both of whom were afterwards identified with the Busirite
god Osiris. Abydos was also the centre of the worship of Anubis, an
animal-deity of the dead, the jackal who prowls round the tombs at
night. Anubis and Osiris-Khentamenti, “He who is in the West,” were
associated in the minds of the Egyptians as the protecting deities of
Abydos. The worship of these gods as the chief Southern deities of the
dead, and the preeminence of the necropolis of Abydos in the South, no
doubt date back before the time of the Ist Dynasty, so that it would
not surprise us were burials of kings of the predynastic Hierakonpolite
kingdom discovered at Abydos. Prof. Petrie indeed claims to have
discovered actual royal relics of that period at Abydos, but this seems
to be one of the least certain of his conclusions. We cannot definitely
state that the names “Ro,” “Ka,” and “Sma” (if they are names at all,
which is doubtful) belong to early kings of Hierakonpolis who were
buried at Abydos. It may be so, but further confirmation is desirable
before we accept it as a fact; and as yet such confirmation has not been
forthcoming. The oldest kings, who were certainly buried at Abydos, seem
to have been the first rulers of the united kingdom of the North and
South, Aha and his successors. N’armer is not represented. It may
be that he was not buried at Abydos, but in the necropolis of
Hierakonpolis. This would point to the kings of the South not having
been buried at Abydos until after the unification of the kingdom.

That Aha possessed a tomb at Abydos as well as another at Nakâda seems
peculiar, but it is a phenomenon not unknown in Egypt. Several kings,
whose bodies were actually buried elsewhere, had second tombs at Abydos,
in order that they might _possess_ last resting-places near the tomb
of Osiris, although they might not prefer to _use_ them. Usertsen (or
Senusret) III is a case in point. He was really buried in a pyramid at
Illahun, up in the North, but he had a great rock tomb cut for him in
the cliffs at Abydos, which he never occupied, and probably had never
intended to occupy. We find exactly the same thing far back at the
beginning of Egyptian history, when Aha possessed not only a great
mastaba-tomb at Nakâda, but also a tomb-chamber in the great necropolis
of Abydos. It may be that other kings of the earliest period also had
second sepulchres elsewhere. It is noteworthy that in none of the early
tombs at Abydos were found any bodies which might be considered those
of the kings themselves. M. Amélineau discovered bodies of attendants
or slaves (who were in all probability purposely strangled and buried
around the royal chamber in order that they should attend the king
in the next world), but no royalties. Prof. Petrie found the arm of a
female mummy, who may have been of royal blood, though there is nothing
to show that she was. And the quaint plait and fringe of false hair,
which were also found, need not have belonged to a royal mummy. It is
therefore quite possible that these tombs at Abydos were not the actual
last resting-places of the earliest kings, who may really have been
buried at Hierakonpolis or elsewhere, as Aha was. Messrs. Newberry
and Gtarstang, in their _Short History of Egypt_, suppose that Aha was
actually buried at Abydos, and that the great tomb with objects bearing
his name, found by M. de Morgan at Nakâda, is really not his, but
belonged to a royal princess named Neit-hetep, whose name is found in
conjunction with his at Abydos and Nakâda. But the argument is equally
valid turned round the other way: the Nakâda tomb might just as well be
Aha’s and the Abydos one Neit-hetep’s. Neit-hetep, who is supposed by
Messrs. Newberry and Garstang to have been Narmer’s daughter and Aha’s
wife, was evidently closely connected with Aha, and she may have been
buried with him at Nakâda and commemorated with him at Abydos.* It is
probable that the XIXth Dynasty list-makers and Manetho considered the
Abydos tombs to have been the real graves of the kings, but it is by no
means impossible that they were wrong.

     * A princess named Bener-ab (“Sweet-heart”), who may have
     been Aha’s daughter, was actually buried beside his tomb at

This view of the royal tombs at Abydos tallies to a great extent with
that of M. Naville, who has energetically maintained the view that M.
Amélineau and Prof. Petrie have not discovered the real tombs of the
early kings, but only their contemporary commemorative “tombs” at
Abydos. The only real tomb of the Ist Dynasty, therefore, as yet
discovered is that of Aha at Nakâda, found by M. de Morgan. The fact
that attendant slaves were buried around the Abydos tombs is no bar to
the view that the tombs were only the monuments, not the real graves,
of the kings. The royal ghosts would naturally visit their commemorative
chambers at Abydos, in order to be in the company of the great Osiris,
and ghostly servants would be as necessary to their Majesties at Abydos
as elsewhere.

It must not be thought that this revised opinion of the Abydos tombs
detracts in the slightest degree from the importance of the discovery of
M. Amélineau and its subsequent and more detailed investigation by Prof.
Petrie. These monuments are as valuable for historical purposes as
the real tombs themselves. The actual bodies of these primeval kings
themselves we are never likely to find. The tomb of Aha at Nakâda had
been completely rifled in ancient times.

The commemorative tombs of the kings of the Ist and IId Dynasties at
Abydos lie southwest of the great necropolis, far within the bay in the
hills. Their present aspect is that of a wilderness of sand hillocks,
covered with masses of fragments of red pottery, from which the site has
obtained the modern Arab name of _Umm el-Ga’ab_, “Mother of Pots.” It
is impossible to move a step in any direction without crushing some
of these potsherds under the heel. They are chiefly the remains of the
countless little vases of rough red pottery, which were dedicated here
as _ex-votos_ by the pious, between the XIXth and XXVIth Dynasties, to
the memory of the ancient kings and of the great god Osiris, whose tomb,
as we shall see, was supposed to have been situated here also.

[Illustration: 065.jpg (right) THE TOMB OF KING DEN AT ABYDOS. About
4000 B.C.]

Intermingled with these later fragments are pieces of the original
Ist Dynasty vases, which were filled with wine and provisions and were
placed in the tombs, for the refreshment and delectation of the royal
ghosts when they should visit their houses at Abydos. These were thrown
out and broken when the tombs were violated. Here and there one sees a
dip in the sand, out of which rise four walls of great bricks, forming
a rectangular chamber, half-filled with sand. This is one of the royal
tomb-chambers of the Ist Dynasty. That of King Den is illustrated above.
A straight staircase descends into it from the ground-level above. In
several of the tombs the original flooring of wooden beams is still
preserved. Den’s is the most magnificent of all, for it has a floor of
granite blocks; we know of no other instance of stone being used for
building in this early age. Almost every tomb has been burnt at some
period unknown. The brick walls are burnt red, and many of the alabaster
vases are almost calcined. This was probably the work of some unknown

The wide complicated tombs have around the main chamber a series of
smaller rooms, which were used to store what was considered necessary
for the use of the royal ghost. Of these necessaries the most
interesting to us are the slaves, who were, as there is little reason to
doubt, purposely killed and buried round the royal chamber so that their
spirits should be on the spot when the dead king came to Abydos; thus
they would be always ready to serve him with the food and other things
which had been stored in the tomb with them and placed under their
charge. There were stacks of great vases of wine, corn, and other food;
these were covered up with masses of fat to preserve the contents,
and they were corked with a pottery stopper, which was protected by
a conical clay sealing, stamped with the impress of the royal
cylinder-seal. There were bins of corn, joints of oxen, pottery dishes,
copper pans, and other things which might be useful for the ghostly
cuisine of the tomb. There were numberless small objects, used, no
doubt, by the dead monarch during life, which he would be pleased to see
again in the next world,--carved ivory boxes, little slabs for grinding
eye-paint, golden buttons, model tools, model vases with gold tops,
ivory and pottery figurines, and other _objets d’art_; the golden royal
seal of judgment of King Den in its ivory casket, and so forth. There
were memorials of the royal victories in peace and war, little ivory
plaques with inscriptions commemorating the founding of new buildings,
the institution of new religious festivals in honour of the gods, the
bringing of the captives of the royal bow and spear to the palace, the
discomfiture of the peoples of the North-land.

[Illustration: 067.jpg CONICAL VASE-STOPPERS. From Abydos. 1st Dynasty:
about 4000 B.C.]

All these things, which have done so much to reconstitute for us the
history of the earliest period of the Egyptian monarchy, were placed
under the care of the dead slaves whose bodies were buried round the
empty tomb-chamber of their royal master in Abydos.

The killing and entombment of the royal servants is of the highest
anthropological interest, for it throws a vivid light upon the manners
of the time. It shows the primeval Egyptians as a semi-barbaric people
of childishly simple ways of thought. The king was dead. For all his
kingship he was a man, and no man was immortal in this world. But yet
how could one really die? Shadows, dreams, all kinds of phenomena which
the primitive mind could not explain, induced the belief that, though
the outer man might rot, there was an inner man which could not die
and still lived on. The idea of total death was unthinkable. And where
should this inner man still live on but in the tomb to which the outer
man was consigned? And here, doubtless it was believed, in the house to
which the body was consigned, the ghost lived on. And as each ghost had
his house with the body, so no doubt all ghosts could communicate with
one another from tomb to tomb; and so there grew up the belief in a
tomb-world, a subterranean Egypt of tombs, in which the dead Egyptians
still lived and had their being. Later on the boat of the sun, in which
the god of light crossed the heavens by day, was thought to pass through
this dead world between his setting and his rising, accompanied by the
souls of the righteous. But of this belief we find no trace yet in the
ideas of the Ist Dynasty. All we can see is that the _sahus_, or bodies
of the dead, were supposed to reside in awful majesty in the tomb,
while the ghosts could pass from tomb to tomb through the mazes of
the underworld. Over this dread realm of dead men presided a dead god,
Osiris of Abydos; and so the necropolis of Abydos was the necropolis of
the underworld, to which all ghosts who were not its rightful citizens
would come from afar to pay their court to their ruler. Thus the man
of substance would have a monumental tablet put up to himself in this
necropolis as a sort of _pied-à-terre_, even if he could not be buried
there; for the king, who, for reasons chiefly connected with local
patriotism, was buried near the city of his earthly abode, a second tomb
would be erected, a stately mansion in the city of Osiris, in which his
ghost could reside when it pleased him to come to Abydos.

Now none could live without food, and men living under the earth needed
it as much as men living on the earth. The royal tomb was thus provided
with an enormous amount of earthly food for the use of the royal ghost,
and with other things as well, as we have seen. The same provision had
also to be made for the royal resting-place at Abydos. And in both cases
royal slaves were needed to take care of all this provision, and to
serve the ghost of the king, whether in his real tomb at Nakâda, or
elsewhere, or in his second tomb at Abydos. Ghosts only could serve
ghosts, so that of the slaves ghosts had to be made. That was easily
done; they died when their master died and followed him to the tomb.
No doubt it seemed perfectly natural to all concerned, to the slaves as
much as to anybody else. But it shows the child’s idea of the value of
life. An animate thing was hardly distinguished at this period from an
inanimate thing. The most ancient Egyptians buried slaves with their
kings as naturally as they buried jars of wine and bins of corn with
them. Both were buried with a definite object. The slaves had to die
before they were buried, but then so had the king himself. They all had
to die sometime or other. And the actual killing of them was no worse
than killing a dog, no worse even than “killing” golden buttons and
ivory boxes. For, when the buttons and boxes were buried with the king,
they were just as much dead as the slaves. Of the sanctity of _human_
life as distinct from other life, there was probably no idea at all. The
royal ghost needed ghostly servants, and they were provided as a matter
of course.

But as civilization progressed, the ideas of the Egyptians changed
on these points, and in the later ages of the ancient world they were
probably the most humane of the peoples, far more so than the Greeks,
in fact. The cultured Hellenes murdered their prisoners of war without
hesitation. Who has not been troubled in mind by the execution of Mkias
and Demosthenes after the surrender of the Athenian army at Syracuse?
When we compare this with Grant’s refusal even to take Lee’s sword
at Appomattox, we see how we have progressed in these matters; while
Gylippus and the Syracusans were as much children as the Ist Dynasty
Egyptians. But the Egyptians of Gylippus’s time had probably advanced
much further than the Greeks in the direction of rational manhood. When
Amasis had his rival Apries in his power, he did not put him to death,
but kept him as his coadjutor on the throne. Apries fled from him,
allied himself with Greek pirates, and advanced against his generous
rival. After his defeat and murder at Momemphis, Amasis gave him a
splendid burial. When we compare this generosity to a beaten foe with
the savagery of the Assyrians, for instance, we see how far the later
Egyptians had progressed in the paths of humanity.

The ancient custom of killing slaves was first discontinued at the death
of the lesser chieftains, but we find a possible survival of it in the
case of a king, even as late as the time of the XIth Dynasty; for at
Thebes, in the precinct of the funerary temple of King Neb-hapet-Râ
Mentuhetep and round the central pyramid which commemorated his memory,
were buried a number of the ladies of his _harîm_. They were all buried
at one and the same time, and there can be little doubt that they were
all killed and buried round the king, in order to be with him in the
next world. Now with each of these ladies, who had been turned into
ghosts, was buried a little waxen human figure placed in a little model
coffin. This was to replace her own slave. She who went to accompany
the king in the next world had to have her own attendant also. But, not
being royal, a real slave was not killed for her; she only took with her
a waxen figure, which by means of charms and incantations would, when
she called upon it, turn into a real slave, and say, “Here am I,” and do
whatever work might be required of her. The actual killing and burial
of the slaves had in all cases except that of the king been long
“commuted,” so to speak, into a burial with the dead person of
_ushabtis_, or “Answerers,” little figures like those described above,
made more usually of stone, and inscribed with the name of the deceased.
They were called “Answerers” because they answered the call of their
dead master or mistress, and by magic power became ghostly servants.
Later on they were made of wood and glazed _faïence_, as well as stone.
By this means the greater humanity of a later age sought a relief from
the primitive disregard of the death of others.

Anthropologically interesting as are the results of the excavations at
Umm el-Gra’ab, they are no less historically important. There is no need
here to weary the reader with the details of scientific controversy; it
will suffice to set before him as succinctly and clearly as possible the
net results of the work which has been done.

Messrs. Amélineau and Petrie have found the secondary tombs and have
identified the names of the following primeval kings of Egypt. We
arrange them in their apparent historical order.

1. Aha Men (?).

2. Narmer (or Betjumer) Sma (?).

3. Tjer (or Khent). Besh.

4. Tja Ati.

5. Den Semti.

6. Atjab Merpeba.

7. Semerkha Nekht.

8. Qâ Sen.

9. Khâsekhem (Khâsekhemui)

10. Hetepsekhemui.

11. Räneb.

12. Neneter.

13. Sekhemab Perabsen.

Two or three other names are ascribed by Prof. Petrie to the
Hierakonpolite dynasty of Upper Egypt, which, as it occurs before the
time of Mena and the Ist Dynasty, he calls “Dynasty 0.” Dynasty 0,
however, is no dynasty, and in any case we should prefer to call the
“predynastic” dynasty “Dynasty I.” The names of “Dynasty minus One,”
 however, remain problematical, and for the present it would seem safer
to suspend judgment as to the place of the supposed royal names “Ro” and
“Ka”(Men-kaf), which Prof. Petrie supposes to have been those of two
of the kings of Upper Egypt who reigned before Mena. The king
“Sma”(“Uniter”) is possibly identical with Aha or Narmer, more
probably the latter. It is not necessary to detail the process by which
Egyptologists have sought to identify these thirteen kings with the
successors of Mena in the lists of kings and the Ist and IId Dynasties
of Manetho. The work has been very successful, though not perhaps quite
so completely accomplished as Prof. Petrie himself inclines to believe.
The first identification was made by Prof. Sethe, of Gottingen, who
pointed out that the names Semti and Merpeba on a vase-fragment found
by M. Amélineau were in reality those of the kings Hesepti and Merbap
of the lists, the Ousaphaïs and Miebis of Manetho. The perfectly certain
identifications are these:--

5. Den Semti = Hesepti, _Ousaphaïs_, Ist Dynasty.

6. Atjab Merpeba = Merbap, _Miebis_, Ist Dynasty.

7. Semerkha Nekht= Shemsu or Semsem (?), _Semempres_, Ist Dynasty.

8. Qâ Sen = Qebh, _Bienehhes_, Ist Dynasty.

9. Khâsekhemui Besh = Betju-mer (?), _Boethos_, IId Dynasty.

10. Neneter = Bineneter, _Binothris_, IId Dynasty.

Six of the Abydos kings have thus been identified with names in the
lists and in Manetho; that is to say, we now know the real names of six
of the earliest Egyptian monarchs, whose appellations are given us
under mutilated forms by the later list-makers. Prof. Petrie further
identifies (4) Tja Ati with Ateth, (3) Tjer with Teta, and (1) Aha with
Mena. Mena, Teta, Ateth, Ata, Hesepti, Merbap, Shemsu (?), and Qebh are
the names of the 1st Dynasty as given in the lists. The equivalent of
Ata Prof. Petrie finds in the name “Merneit,” which is found at Umm
el-Ga’ab. But there is no proof whatever that Merneit was a king; he
was much more probably a prince or other great personage of the reign
of Den, who was buried with the kings. Prof. Petrie accepts the
identification of the personal name of Aha as “Men,” and so makes him
the only equivalent of Mena. But this reading of the name is still
doubtful. Arguing that Aha must be Mena, and having all the rest of the
kings of the Ist Dynasty identified with the names in the lists, Prof.
Petrie is compelled to exclude Narmer from the dynasty, and to relegate
him to “Dynasty 0,” before the time of Mena. It is quite possible,
however, that Narmer was the successor, not the predecessor, of Mena.
He was certainly either the one or the other, as the style of art in his
time was exactly the same as that in the time of Aha. The “Scorpion,”
 too, whose name is found at Hierakonpolis, certainly dates to the same
time as Narmer and Aha, for the style of his work is the same. And it
may well be that he is not to be counted as a separate king, belonging
to “Dynasty 0 “(or “Dynasty -I”) at all, but as identical with Narmer,
just as “Sma” may also be. We thus find that the two kings who left the
most developed remains at Hierakonpolis are the two whose monuments at
Abydos are the oldest of all on that site. That is to say, the kings
whose monuments record the conquest of the North belong to the period
of transition from the old Hierakonpolite dominion of Upper Egypt to the
new kingdom of all Egypt. They, in fact, represent the “Mena” or Menés
of tradition. It may be that Aha bore the personal name of _Men_, which
would thus be the original of Mena, but this is uncertain. In any case
both Aha and Narmer must be assigned to the Ist Dynasty, with the result
that we know of more kings belonging to the dynasty than appear in the

Nor is this improbable. Manetho’s list is evidently based upon old
Egyptian lists derived from the authorities upon which the king-lists of
Abydos and Sakkâra were based. These old lists were made under the
XIXth Dynasty, when an interest in the oldest kings seems to have been
awakened, and the ruling monarchs erected temples at Abydos in their
honour. This phenomenon can only have been due to a discovery of Umm
el-Ga’ab and its treasures, the tombs of which were recognized as
the burial-places (real or secondary) of the kings before the
pyramid-builders. Seti I. and his son Ramses then worshipped the kings
of Umm el-Ga’ab, with their names set before them in the order, number,
and spelling in which the scribes considered they ought to be inscribed.
It is highly probable that the number known at that time was not quite
correct. We know that the spelling of the names was very much garbled
(to take one example only, the signs for _Sen_ were read as one sign
_Qebh_), so that one or two kings may have been omitted or displaced.
This may be the case with Narmer, or, as his name ought possibly to be
read, _Betjumer_. His monuments show by their style that he belongs to
the very beginning of the Ist Dynasty. No name in the Ist Dynasty list
corresponds to his. But one of the lists gives for the first king of the
IId Dynasty (the successor of “Qebh” = Sen) a name which may also be read
Betjumer, spelt syllabically this time, not ideographically. On this
account Prof. Naville wishes to regard the Hierakonpolite monuments of
Narmer as belonging to the IId Dynasty, but, as we have seen, they are
among the most archaic known, and certainly must belong to the beginning
of the Ist Dynasty. It is therefore probable that Khasekhemui Besh
and Narmer (Betjumer?) were confused by this list-maker, and the
name Betjumer was given to the first king of the IId Dynasty, who was
probably in reality Khasekhemui. The resemblance of _Betju_ to _Besh_
may have contributed to this confusion.

So Narmer (or Betjumer) found his way out of his proper place at the
beginning of the 1st Dynasty. Whether Aha was also called “Men” or not,
it seems evident that he and Narmer were jointly the originals of the
legendary Mena. Narmer, who possibly also bore the name of Sma, “the
Uniter,” conquered the North. Aha, “the Fighter,” also ruled both South
and North at the same period. Khasekhemui, too, conquered the North, but
the style of his monuments shows such an advance upon that of the days
of Aha and Narmer that it seems best to make him the successor of Sen
(or “Qebh “), and, explaining the transference of the name Betjumer
to the beginning of the IId Dynasty as due to a confusion with
Khasekhemui’s personal name Besh, to make Khasekhemui the founder of the
IId Dynasty. The beginning of a new dynasty may well have been marked
by a reassertion of the new royal power over Lower Egypt, which may have
lapsed somewhat under the rule of the later kings of the Ist Dynasty.

Semti is certainly the “Hesepti” of the lists, and Tja Ati is probably
“Ateth.” “Ata” is thus unidentified. Prof. Petrie makes him = Merneit,
but, as has already been said, there is no proof that the tomb of
Merneit is that of a king. “Teta” may be Tjer or Khent, but of this
there is no proof. It is most probable that the names “Teta,” “Ateth,”
 and “Ata” are all founded on Ati, the personal name of Tja. The king
Tjer is then not represented in the lists, and “Mena” is a compound of
the two oldest Abydos kings, Narmer (Betjumer) Sma (?) and Aha Men (?).

These are the bare historical results that have been attained with
regard to the names, identity, and order of the kings. The smaller
memorials that have been found with them, especially the ivory plaques,
have told us of events that took place during their reigns; but, with
the exception of the constantly recurring references to the conquest of
the North, there is little that can be considered of historical interest
or importance. We will take one as an example. This is the tablet No.
32,650 of the British Museum, illustrated by Prof. Petrie, _Royal Tombs_
i (Egypt Exploration Fund), pi. xi, 14, xv, 16. This is the record of
a single year, the first in the reign of Semti, King of Upper and Lower
Egypt. On it we see a picture of a king performing a religious dance
before the god Osiris, who is seated in a shrine placed on a dais. This
religious dance was performed by all the kings in later times. Below we
find hieroglyphic (ideographic) records of a river expedition to fight
the Northerners and of the capture of a fortified town called An. The
capture of the town is indicated by a broken line of fortification,
half-encircling the name, and the hoe with which the emblematic hawks
on the slate reliefs already described are armed; this signifies the
opening and breaking down of the wall.

On the other half of the tablet we find the viceroy of Lower Egypt,
Hemaka, mentioned; also “the Hawk (i. e. the king) seizes the seat of
the Libyans,” and some unintelligible record of a jeweller of the palace
and a king’s carpenter. On a similar tablet (of Sen) we find the words
“the king’s carpenter made this record.” All these little tablets are
then the records of single years of a king’s life, and others like them,
preserved no doubt in royal archives, formed the base of regular annals,
which were occasionally carved upon stone. We have an example of one of
these in the “Stele of Palermo,” a fragment of black granite, inscribed
with the annals of the kings up to the time of the Vth Dynasty, when
the monument itself was made. It is a matter for intense regret that the
greater portion of this priceless historical monument has disappeared,
leaving us but a piece out of the centre, with part of the records
of only six kings before Snefru. Of these six the name of only one,
Neneter, of the lid Dynasty, whose name is also found at Abydos, is
mentioned. The only important historical event of Neneter’s reign seems
to have occurred in his thirteenth year, when the towns or palaces of
_Ha_ (“North”) and Shem-Râ (“The Sun proceeds”) were founded. Nothing
but the institution and celebration of religious festivals is recorded
in the sixteen yearly entries preserved to us out of a reign of
thirty-five years. The annual height of the Nile is given, and the
occasions of numbering the people are recorded (every second year):
nothing else. Manetho tells us that in the reign of Binothris, who
is Neneter, it was decreed that women could hold royal honours and
privileges. This first concession of women’s rights is not mentioned on
the strictly official “Palermo Stele.”

More regrettable than aught else is the absence from the “Palermo Stele”
 of that part of the original monument which gave the annals of the
earliest kings. At any rate, in the lines of annals which still exist
above that which contains the chronicle of the reign of Neneter no
entry can be definitely identified as belonging to the reigns of Aha
or Narmer. In a line below there is a mention of the “birth of
Khâsekhemui,” apparently a festival in honour of the birth of that king
celebrated in the same way as the reputed birthday of a god. This shows
the great honour in which Khâsekhemui was held, and perhaps it was he
who really finally settled the question of the unification of North and
South and consolidated the work of the earlier kings.

As far as we can tell, then, Aha and Narmer were the first conquerors
of the North, the unifiers of the kingdom, and the originals of the
legendary Mena. In their time the kingdom’s centre of gravity was still
in the South, and Narmer (who is probably identical with “the Scorpion”)
dedicated the memorials of his deeds in the temple of Hierakonpolis. It
may be that the legend of the founding of Memphis in the time of “Menés”
 is nearly correct (as we shall see, historically, the foundation may
have been due to Merpeba), but we have the authority of Manetho for
the fact that the first two dynasties were “Thinite” (that is, Upper
Egyptian), and that Memphis did not become the capital till the time of
the Hid Dynasty. With this statement the evidence of the monuments fully
agrees. The earliest royal tombs in the pyramid-field of Memphis date
from the time of the Hid Dynasty, so that it is evident that the kings
had then taken up their abode in the Northern capital. We find that soon
after the time of Khâsekhemui the king Perabsen was especially connected
with Lower Egypt. His personal name is unknown to us (though he may
be the “Uatjnes” of the lists), but we do know that he had two
banner-names, Sekhem-ab and Perabsen. The first is his hawk or
Horus-name, the second his Set-name; that is to say, while he bore the
first name as King of Upper Egypt under the special patronage of Horus,
the hawk-god of the Upper Country, he bore the second as King of Lower
Egypt, under the patronage of Set, the deity of the Delta, whose fetish
animal appears above this name instead of the hawk. This shows how
definitely Perabsen wished to appear as legitimate King of Lower as well
as Upper Egypt. In later times the Theban kings of the XIIth Dynasty,
when they devoted themselves to winning the allegiance of the
Northerners by living near Memphis rather than at Thebes, seem to have
been imitating the successors of Khâsekhemui.

Moreover, we now find various evidences of increasing connection with
the North. A princess named Ne-maat-hap, who seems to have been the
mother of Sa-nekht, the first king of the Hid Dynasty, bears the name of
the sacred Apis of Memphis, her name signifying “Possessing the right of
Apis.” According to Manetho, the kings of the Hid Dynasty are the first
Memphites, and this seems to be quite correct. With Ne-maat-hap the
royal right seems to have been transferred to a Memphite house. But the
Memphites still had associations with Upper Egypt: two of them, Tjeser
Khet-neter and Sa-nekht, were buried near Abydos, in the desert at Bêt
Khallâf, where their tombs were discovered and excavated by Mr. Garstang
in 1900. The tomb of Tjeser is a great brick-built mastaba, forty feet
high and measuring 300 feet by 150 feet. The actual tomb-chambers are
excavated in the rock, twenty feet below the ground-level and sixty feet
below the top of the mastaba. They had been violated in ancient times,
but a number of clay jar-sealings, alabaster vases, and bowls belonging
to the tomb furniture were found by the discoverer. Sa-nekht’s tomb is
similar. In it was found the preserved skeleton of its owner, who was a
giant seven feet high.

[Illustration: 082.jpg THE TOMB OF KING TJESER AT BÊT KHALLÂF. About
3700 B.C.]

It is remarkable that Manetho chronicles among the kings of the early
period a king named Sesokhris, who was five cubits high. This may have
been Sa-nekht.

Tjeser had two tombs, one, the above-mentioned, near Abydos, the
other at Sakkâra, in the Memphite pyramid-field. This is the famous
Step-Pyramid. Since Sa-nekht seems really to have been buried at Bêt
Khal-laf, probably Tjeser was, too, and the Step-Pyramid may have been
his secondary or sham tomb, erected in the necropolis of Memphis as a
compliment to Seker, the Northern god of the dead, just as Aha had his
secondary tomb at Abydos in compliment to Khentamenti. Sne-feru, also,
the last king of the Hid Dynasty, seems to have had two tombs. One of
these was the great Pyramid of Mêdûm, which was explored by Prof. Petrie
in 1891, the other was at Dashûr. Near by was the interesting necropolis
already mentioned, in which was discovered evidence of the continuance
of the cramped position of burial and of the absence of mummification
among a certain section of the population even as late as the time of
the IVth Dynasty. This has been taken to imply that the fusion of the
primitive Neolithic and invading sub-Semitic races had not been effected
at that time.

With the IVth Dynasty the connection of the royal house with the South
seems to have finally ceased. The governmental centre of gravity was
finally transferred to Memphis, and the kings were thenceforth for
several centuries buried in the great pyramids which still stand in
serried order along the western desert border of Egypt, from the Delta
to the province of the Fayyum. With the latest discoveries in this
Memphite pyramid-field we shall deal in the next chapter.

The transference of the royal power to Memphis under the Hid Dynasty
naturally led to a great increase of Egyptian activity in the Northern
lands. We read in Manetho of a great Libyan war in the reign of
Neche-rophes, and both Sa-nekht and Tjeser seem to have finally
established Egyptian authority in the Sinaitic peninsula, where their
rock-inscriptions have been found.

In 1904 Prof. Petrie was despatched to Sinai by the Egypt Exploration
Fund, in order finally to record the inscriptions of the early kings
in the Wadi Maghara, which had been lately very much damaged by the
operations of the turquoise-miners. It seems almost incredible that
ignorance and vandalism should still be so rampant in the twentieth
century that the most important historical monuments are not safe from
desecration in order to obtain a few turquoises, but it is so. Prof.
Petrie’s expedition did not start a day too soon, and at the suggestion
of Sir William Garstin, the adviser to the Ministry of the Interior, the
majority of the inscriptions have been removed to the Cairo Museum for
safety and preservation. Among the new inscriptions discovered is one of
Sa-nekht, which is now in the British Museum. Tjeser and Sa-nekht were
not the first Egyptian kings to visit Sinai. Already, in the days of the
1st Dynasty, Semerkha had entered that land and inscribed his name upon
the rocks. But the regular annexation, so to speak, of Sinai to Egypt
took place under the Memphites of the Hid Dynasty.

With the Hid Dynasty we have reached the age of the pyramid-builders.
The most typical pyramids are those of the three great kings of the IVth
Dynasty, Khufu, Khafra, and Menkaura, at Giza near Cairo. But, as
we have seen, the last king of the Hid Dynasty, Snefru, also had one
pyramid, if not two; and the most ancient of these buildings known to
us, the Step-Pyramid of Sakkâra, was erected by Tjeser at the beginning
of that dynasty. The evolution of the royal tombs from the time of the
1st Dynasty to that of the IVth is very interesting to trace. At the
period of transition from the predynastic to the dynastic age we have
the great mastaba of Aha at Nakâda, and the simplest chamber-tombs
at Abydos. All these were of brick; no stone was used in their
construction. Then we find the chamber-tomb of Den Semti at Abydos
with a granite floor, the walls being still of brick. Above each of the
Abydos tombs was probably a low mound, and in front a small chapel, from
which a flight of steps descended into the simple chamber. On one of the
little plaques already mentioned, which were found in these tombs, we
have an archaic inscription, entirely written in ideographs, which
seems to read, “The Big-Heads (i. e. the chiefs) come to the tomb.” The
ideograph for “tomb” seems to be a rude picture of the funerary chapel,
but from it we can derive little information as to its construction.
Towards the end of the Ist Dynasty, and during the lid, the royal tombs
became much more complicated, being surrounded with numerous chambers
for the dead slaves, etc. Khâsekhemui’s tomb has thirty-three such
chambers, and there is one large chamber of stone. We know of no other
instance of the use of stone work for building at this period except in
the royal tombs. No doubt the mason’s art was still so difficult that it
was reserved for royal use only.

Under the Hid Dynasty we find the last brick mastabas built for royalty,
at Bêt Khallâf, and the first pyramids, in the Memphite necropolis.
In the mastaba of Tjeser at Bêt Khallâf stone was used for the great
portcullises which were intended to bar the way to possible plunderers
through the passages of the tomb. The Step-Pyramid at Sakkâra is, so to
speak, a series of mastabas of stone, imposed one above the other; it
never had the continuous casing of stone which is the mark of a true
pyramid. The pyramid of Snefru at Mêdûm is more developed. It also
originated in a mastaba, enlarged, and with another mastaba-like
erection on the top of it; but it was given a continuous sloping casing
of fine limestone from bottom to top, and so is a true pyramid. A
discussion of recent theories as to the building of the later pyramids
of the IVth Dynasty will be found in the next chapter.

In the time of the Ist Dynasty the royal tomb was known by the name of
“Protection-around-the-Hawk, i.e. the king”(_Sa-ha-heru_); but under
the Hid and IVth Dynasties regular names, such as “the Firm,” “the
Glorious,” “the Appearing,” etc., were given to each pyramid.

[Illustration: 086.jpg FALSE DOOR OF THE TOMB OF TETA, about 3600 B.C.]

We must not omit to note an interesting point in connection with the
royal tombs at Abydos, In that of King Khent or Tjer (the reading of
the ideograph is doubtful) M. Amélineau found a large bed or bier of
granite, with a figure of the god Osiris lying in state sculptured in
high relief upon it. This led him to jump to the conclusion that he
had found the tomb of the god Osiris himself, and that a skull he found
close by was the veritable cranium of the primeval folk-hero, who,
according to the euhemerist theory, was the deified original of the god.
The true explanation is given by Dr. Wallis Budge in his _History of
Egypt_, i, p. 19. It is a fact that the tomb of Tjer was regarded by
the Egyptians of the XIXth Dynasty as the veritable tomb of Osiris.
They thought they had discovered it, just as M. Amélineau did. When the
ancient royal tombs of Umm el-Ga’ab were rediscovered and identified at
the beginning of the XIXth Dynasty, and Seti I built the great temple of
Abydos to the divine ancestors in honour of the discovery, embellishing
it with a relief of himself and his son Ramses making offerings to the
names of his predecessors (the “Tablet of Abydos “), the name of King
Khent or Tjer (which is perhaps the really correct original form) was
read by the royal scribes as “Khent” and hastily identified with the
first part of the name of the god _Khent-amenti_ Osiris, the lord of
Abydos. The tomb was thus regarded as the tomb of Osiris himself, and
it was furnished with a great stone figure of the god lying on his bier,
attended by the two hawks of Isis and Nephthys; ever after the site was
visited by crowds of pilgrims, who left at Umm el-Ga’ab the thousands of
little votive vases whose fragments have given the place its name of the
“Mother of Pots.” This is the explanation of the discovery of the “Tomb
of Osiris.” We have not found what M. Amélineau seems rather naively to
have thought possible, a confirmation of the ancient view that Osiris
was originally a man who ruled over Egypt and was deified after his
death; but we have found that the Egyptians themselves were more or less
euhemerists, and did think so.

It may seem remarkable that all this new knowledge of ancient Egypt is
derived from tombs and has to do with the resting-places of the kings
when dead, rather than with their palaces or temples when living. Of
temples at this early period we have no trace. The oldest temple in
Egypt is perhaps the little chapel in front of the pyramid of Snefru at
Mêdûm. We first hear of temples to the gods under the IVth Dynasty, but
of the actual buildings of that period we have recovered nothing but one
or two inscribed blocks of stone. Prof. Petrie has traced out the plan
of the oldest temple of Osiris at Abydos, which may be of the time of
Khufu, from scanty evidences which give us but little information. It is
certain, however, that this temple, which is clearly one of the oldest
in Egypt, goes back at least to his time. Its site is the mound
called Kom es-Sultan, “The Mound of the King,” close to the village of
el-Kherba, and on the borders of the cultivation northeast of the royal
tombs at Umm el-Oa’ab.

Of royal palaces we have more definite information. North of the Kom
es-Sultan are two great fortress-enclosures of brick: the one is known
as _Sûnet es-Zebîb_, “the Storehouse of Dried Orapes;” the other is
occupied by the Coptic monastery of Dêr Anba Musâs. Both are certainly
fortress-palaces of the earliest period of the Egyptian monarchy. We
know from the small record-plaques of this period that the kings were
constantly founding or repairing places of this kind, which were always
great rectangular enclosures with crenelated brick walls like those of
early Babylonian buildings.

We have seen that the Northern Egyptian possessed similar
fortress-cities which were captured by Narmer. These were the seats of
the royal residence in various parts of the country. Behind their walls
was the king’s house, and no doubt also a town of nobles and retainers,
while the peasants lived on the arable land without.

[Illustration: 089.jpg THE SHUNET EZ-ZEBIB: THE FORTRESS-TOWN, About
3900 B.C.]

The Shûnet ez-Zebîb and its companion fortress were evidently the royal
cities of the 1st and IId Dynasties at Abydos. The former has been
excavated by Mr. E. R. Ayrton for the Egypt Exploration Fund, under the
supervision of Prof. Petrie. He found jar-sealings of Khâsekhemui and
Perabsen. In later times the place was utilized as a burial-place for
ibis-mummies (it had already been abandoned as a city before the time of
the XIIth Dynasty), and from this fact it received the name of _Shenet
deb-hib_, or “Storehouse of Ibis Burials.” The Arab invaders adapted
this name to their own language in the nearest form which would have
any meaning, as _Shûnet ez-Zebïb_, “the Storehouse of Dried Grapes.”
 The Arab word _shûna_ (“Barn” or “Storehouse”) was, it should be noted,
taken over from the Coptic _sheune,_ which is the old-Egyptian _shenet_.
The identity of _sheune_ or _shûna_ with the German “Scheune” is a
quaint and curious coincidence. In the illustration of the Shûnet
ez-Zebib the curved line of crenelated wall, following the contour of
the hill, should be noted, as it is a remarkable example of the building
of this early period.

It will have been seen from the foregoing description of what
far-reaching importance the discoveries at Abydos have been. A new
chapter of the history of the human race has been opened, which contains
information previously undreamt of, information which Egyptologists
had never dared to hope would be recovered. The sand of Egypt indeed
conceals inexhaustible treasures, and no one knows what the morrow’s
work may bring forth.

_Ex Africa semper aliquid novi!_


Memphis, the “beautiful abode,” the “City of the White Wall,” is said
to have been founded by the legendary Menés, who in order to build it
diverted the stream of the Nile by means of a great dyke constructed
near the modern village of Koshêsh, south of the village of Mitrahêna,
which marks the central point of the ancient metropolis of Northern
Egypt. It may be that the city was founded by Aha or Narmer, the
historical originals of Mena or Menés; but we have another theory with
regard to its foundation, that it was originally built by King Merpeba
Atjab, whose tomb was also discovered at Abydos near those of Aha and
Narmer. Merpeba is the oldest king whose name is absolutely identified
with one occurring in the XIXth Dynasty king-lists and in Manetho. He
is certainly the “Merbap” or “Merbepa” (“Merbapen”) of the lists and the
_Miebis_ of Manetho. In both the lists and in Manetho he stands fifth in
order from Mena, and he was therefore the sixth king of the Ist Dynasty.
The lists, Manetho, and the small monuments in his own tomb agree in
making him the immediate successor of Semti Den (Ousaphaïs), and from
the style of these latter it is evident that he comes after Tja, Tjer,
Narmer, and Aha. That is to say, the contemporary evidence makes him the
fifth king from Aha, the first original of “Menés.”

Now after the piety of Seti I had led him to erect a great temple at
Abydos in memory of the ancient kings, whose sepulchres had probably
been brought to light shortly before, and to compile and set up in the
temple a list of his predecessors, a certain pious snobbery or snobbish
piety impelled a worthy named Tunure, who lived at Memphis, to put up in
his own tomb at Sakkâra a tablet of kings like the royal one at Abydos.
If Osiris-Khentamenti at Abydos had his tablet of kings, so should
Osiris-Seker at Sakkâra. But Tunure does not begin his list with Mena;
his initial king is Merpeba. For him Merpeba was the first monarch to be
commemorated at Sakkâra. Does not this look very much as if the strictly
historical Merpeba, not the rather legendary and confused Mena, was
regarded as the first Memphite king? It may well be that it was in
the reign of Merpeba, not in that of Aha or Narmer, that Memphis was

The XIXth Dynasty lists of course say nothing about Mena or Merpeba
having founded Memphis; they only give the names of the kings, nothing
more. The earliest authority for the ascription of Memphis to “Menés”,
is Herodotus, who was followed in this ascription, as in many other
matters, by Manetho; but it must be remembered that Manetho was writing
for the edification of a Greek king (Ptolemy Philadelphus) and his Greek
court at Alexandria, and had therefore to evince a respect for the great
Greek classic which he may not always have really felt. Herodotus is
not, of course, accused of any wilful misstatement in this or in any
other matter in which his accuracy is suspected. He merely wrote
down what he was told by the Egyptians themselves, and Merpeba was
sufficiently near in time to Aha to be easily confounded with him by
the scribes of the Persian period, who no doubt ascribed everything
to “Mena” that was done by the kings of the Ist and IId Dynasties.
Therefore it may be considered quite probable that the “Menés” who
founded Memphis was Merpeba, the fifth or sixth king of the Ist Dynasty,
whom Tunure, a thousand years before the time of Herodotus and his
informants, placed at the head of the Memphite “List of Sakkâra.”

The reconquest of the North by Khâsekhemui doubtless led to a further
strengthening of Memphis; and it is quite possible that the deeds of
this king also contributed to make up the sum total of those ascribed to
the Herodotean and Manethonian Menés.

It may be that a town of the Northerners existed here before the time of
the Southern Conquest, for Phtah, the local god of Memphis, has a very
marked character of his own, quite different from that of Khen-tamenti,
the Osiris of Abydos. He is always represented as a little bow-legged
hydrocephalous dwarf very like the Phoenician _Kabeiroi_. It may be
that here is another connection between the Northern Egyptians and the
Semites. The name “Phtah,” the “Opener,” is definitely Semitic. We may
then regard the dwarf Phtah as originally a non-Egyptian god of the
Northerners, probably Semitic in origin, and his town also as antedating
the conquest. But it evidently was to the Southerners that Memphis owed
its importance and its eventual promotion to the position of capital of
the united kingdom. Then the dwarf Phtah saw himself rivalled by another
Phtah of Southern Egyptian origin, who had been installed at Memphis by
the Southerners. This Phtah was a sort of modified edition of Osiris, in
mummy-form and holding crook and whip, but with a refined edition of
the Kabeiric head of the indigenous Phtah. The actual god of “the White
Wall” was undoubtedly confused vith the dead god of the necropolis,
whose name was Seker or Sekri (Sokari), “the Coffined.” The original
form of this deity was a mummied hawk upon a coffin, and it is very
probable that he was imported from the South, like the second Phtah, at
the time of the conquest, when the great Northern necropolis began
to grow up as a duplicate of that at Abydos. Later on we find Seker
confused with the ancient dwarf-god, and it is the latter who was
afterwards chiefly revered as Phtah-Socharis-Osiris, the protector of
the necropolis, the mummied Phtah being the generally recognized ruler
of the City of the White Wall.

It is from the name of Seker that the modern Sak-kâra takes its title.
Sakkâra marks the central point of the great Memphite necropolis, as it
is the nearest point of the western desert to Memphis. Northwards the
necropolis extended to Griza and Abu Roâsh, southwards, to Daslmr;
even the nécropoles of Lisht and Mêdûm may be regarded as appanages of
Sakkâra. At Sakkâra itself Tjeser of the IIId Dynasty had a pyramid,
which, as we have seen, was probably not his real tomb (which was
the great mastaba at Bêt Khallâf), but a secondary or sham tomb
corresponding to the “tombs” of the earliest kings at Umm el-Ga’ab in
the necropolis of Abydos. Many later kings, however, especially of the
Vith Dynasty, were actually buried at Sakkâra. Their tombs have all been
thoroughly described by their discoverer, Prof. Maspero, in his history.
The last king of the Hid Dynasty, Snefru, was buried away down south at
Mêdûm, in splendid isolation, but he may also have had a second pyramid
at Sakkâra or Abu Roash.

The kings of the IVth Dynasty were the greatest of the pyramid builders,
and to them belong the huge edifices of Griza. The Vth Dynasty favoured
Abusîr, between Cîza and Sakkâra; the Vith, as we have said, preferred
Sakkâra itself. With them the end of the Old Kingdom and of Memphite
dominion was reached; the sceptre fell from the hands of the Memphite
kings and was taken up by the princes of Herakleopolis (Ahnasyet
el-Medina, near Béni Suêf, south of the Eayyûm) and Thebes. Where the
Herakleopolite kings were buried we do not know; probably somewhere in
the local necropolis of the Gebel es-Sedment, between Ahnasya and the
Fayyûm. The first Thebans (the XIth Dynasty) were certainly buried at
Thebes, but when the Herakleopolites had finally disappeared, and all
Egypt was again united under one strong sceptre, the Theban kings seem
to have been drawn northwards. They removed to the seat of the dominion
of those whom they had supplanted, and they settled in the neighbourhood
of Herakleopolis, near the fertile province of the Fayyûm, and between
it and Memphis. Here, in the royal fortress-palace of Itht-taui,
“Controlling the Two Lands,” the kings of the XIIth Dynasty lived,
and they were buried in the nécropoles of Dashûr, Lisht, and Illahun
(Hawara), in pyramids like those of the old Memphite kings. These facts,
of the situation of Itht-taui, of their burial in the southern an ex of
the old necropolis of Memphis, and of the fori of their tombs (the
true Upper Egyptian and Thebian form was a rock-cut gallery and chamber
driven deep into the hill), show how solicitous were the Amenemhats
and Senusrets of the suffrages of Lower Egypt, how anxious they were to
conciliate the ancient royal pride of Memphis.

Where the kings of the XIIIth Dynasty and the Hyksos or “Shepherds” were
buried, we do not know. The kings of the restored Theban empire were
all interred at Thebes. There are, in fact, no known royal sepulchres
between the Fayyûm and Abydos. The great kings were mostly buried in
the neighbourhood of Memphis, Abydos, and Thebes. The sepulchres of the
“Middle Empire”--the XIth to XIIIth Dynasties--in the neighbourhood
of the Fayyûm may fairly be grouped with those of the same period at
Dashûr, which belongs to the necropolis of Memphis, since it is only a
mile or two south of Sakkâra.

It is chiefly with regard to the sepulchres of the kings that the most
momentous discoveries of recent years have been made at Thebes, and at
Sakkâra, Abusîr, Dashûr, and Lisht, as at Abydos. For this reason we
deal in succession with the finds in the nécropoles of Abydos, Memphis,
and Thebes respectively. And with the sepulchres of the “Old Kingdom,”
 in the Memphite necropolis proper, we have naturally grouped those of
the “Middle Kingdom” at Dashûr, Lisht, Illahun, and Hawara.

Some of these modern discoveries have been commented on and illustrated
by Prof. Maspero in his great history. But the discoveries that have
been made since this publication have been very important,--those at
Abusîr, indeed, of first-rate importance, though not so momentous as
those of the tombs of the Ist and IId Dynasties at Abydos, already
described. At Abu Roash and at Gîza, at the northern end of the Memphite
necropolis, several expeditions have had considerable success, notably
those of the American Dr. Reisner, assisted by Mr. Mace, who excavated
the royal tombs at Umm el-Ga’ab for Prof. Petrie, those of the
German Drs. Steindorff and Borchardt,--the latter working for the
_Beutsch-Orient Gesellschaft_,--and those of other American excavators.
Until the full publication of the results of these excavations appears,
very little can be said about them. Many mastaba-tombs have, it is
understood, been found, with interesting remains. Nothing of great
historical importance seems to have been discovered, however. It is
otherwise when we come to the discoveries of Messrs. Borchardt and
Schâfer at Abusîr, south of Gîza and north of Sakkâra. At this place
results of first-rate historical importance have been attained.

The main group of pyramids at Abusir consists of the tombs of the kings
Sahurà, Neferarikarâ, and Ne-user-Râ, of the Vth Dynasty. The pyramids
themselves are smaller than those of Gîza, but larger than those of
Sakkâra. In general appearance and effect they resemble those of Gîza,
but they are not so imposing, as the desert here is low. Those of Gîza,
Sakkâra, and Dashûr owe much of their impressiveness to the fact that
they are placed at some height above the cultivated land. The excavation
and planning of these pyramids were carried out by Messrs. Borchardt and
Schâfer at the expense of Baron von Bissing, the well-known Egyptologist
of Munich, and of the _Deutsch-Orient Gesell-schaft_ of Berlin. The
antiquities found have been divided between the museums of Berlin and

One of the most noteworthy discoveries was that of the funerary temple
of Ne-user-Râ, which stood at the base of his pyramid. The plan is
interesting, and the granite lotus-bud columns found are the most
ancient yet discovered in Egypt. Much of the paving and the wainscoting
of the walls was of fine black marble, beautifully polished. An
interesting find was a basin and drain with lion’s-head mouth, to
carry away the blood of the sacrifices. Some sculptures in relief were
discovered, including a gigantic representation of the king and the
goddess Isis, which shows that in the early days of the Vth Dynasty the
king and the gods were already depicted in exactly the same costume as
they wore in the days of the Ramses and the Ptolemies. The hieratic art
of Egypt had, in fact, now taken on itself the final outward appearance
which it retained to the very end. There is no more of the archaism
and absence of conventionality, which marks the art of the earliest

We can trace by successive steps the swift development of Egyptian art
from the rude archaism of the Ist Dynasty to its final consummation
under the Vth, when the conventions became fixed. In the time of
Khäsekhemui, at the beginning of the IId Dynasty, the archaic character
of the art has already begun to wear off. Under the same dynasty we
still have styles of unconventional naïveté, such as the famous Statue
“No. 1” of the Cairo Museum, bearing the names of Kings Hetepahaui,
Neb-râ, and Neneter. But with the IVth Dynasty we no longer look for
unconventionality. Prof. Petrie discovered at Abydos a small ivory
statuette of Khufu or Cheops, the builder of the Great Pyramid of Gîza.
The portrait is a good one and carefully executed. It was not till
the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, indeed, that the Egyptians ceased
to portray their kings as they really were, and gave them a purely
conventional type of face. This convention, against which the heretical
King Amenhetep IV (Akhunaten) rebelled, in order to have himself
portrayed in all his real ungainliness and ugliness, did not exist till
long after the time of the IVth and Vth Dynasties.

[Illustration: 100.jpg STATUE NO. 1 OF THE CAIRO MUSEUM, About 3900

The kings of the XIIth Dynasty especially were most careful that their
statues should be accurate portraits; indeed, the portraits of Usertsen
(Senusret) III vary from a young face to an old one, showing that the
king was faithfully depicted at different periods of his life.

But the general conventions of dress and deportment were finally fixed
under the Vth Dynasty. After this time we no longer have such absolutely
faithful and original presentments as the other little ivory statuette
found by Prof. Petrie at Abydos (now in the British Museum), which shows
us an aged monarch of the Ist Dynasty. It is obvious that the features
are absolutely true to life, and the figure wears an unconventionally
party-coloured and bordered robe of a kind which kings of a later day
may have worn in actual life, but which they would assuredly never be
depicted as wearing by the artists of their day. To the end of Egyptian
history, the kings, even the Roman emperors, were represented on the
monuments clothed in the official costume of their ancestors of the IVth
and Vth Dynasties, in the same manner as we see Khufu wearing his robe
in the little figure from Abydos, and Ne-user-Rà on the great
relief from Abusîr. There are one or two exceptions, such as the
representations of the original genius Akhunaten at Tell el-Amarna and
the beautiful statue of Ramses II at Turin, in which we see these kings
wearing the real costume of their time, but such exceptions are very

The art of Abusîr is therefore of great interest, since it marks the end
of the development of the priestly art. Secular art might develop as it
liked, though the crystallizing influence of the ecclesiastical canon is
always evident here also. But henceforward it was an impiety, which only
an Akhunaten could commit, to depict a king or a god on the walls of a
temple otherwise (except so far as, the portrait was concerned) than as
he had been depicted in the time of the Vth Dynasty.

Other buildings have been excavated by the Germans at Abusîr, notably
the usual town of mastaba-tombs belonging to the chief dignitaries of
the reign, which is always found at the foot of a royal pyramid of this
period. Another building of the highest interest, belonging to the same
age, was also excavated, and its true character was determined. This is
a building at a place called er-Rîgha or Abû Ghuraib, “Father of Crows,”
 between Abusîr and Gîza. It was formerly supposed to be a pyramid, but
the German excavations have shown that it is really a temple of the
Sun-god Râ of Heliopolis, specially venerated by the kings of the Vth
Dynasty, who were of Heliopolitan origin. The great pyramid-builders of
the IVth Dynasty seem to have been the last true Memphites. At the end
of the reign of Shepseskaf, the last monarch of the dynasty, the sceptre
passed to a Heliopolitan family. The following VIth Dynasty may again
have been Memphite, but this is uncertain. The capital continued to be
Memphis, and from the beginning of the Hid Dynasty to the end of the Old
Kingdom and the rise of Herakle-opolis and Thebes, Memphis remained the
chief city of Egypt.

The Heliopolitans were naturally the servants of the Sun-god above all
other gods, and they were the first to call themselves “Sons of the
Sun,” a title retained by the Pharaohs throughout all subsequent
history. It was Ne-user-Râ who built the Sun-temple of Abu Ghuraib,
on the edge of the desert, north of his pyramid and those of his two
immediate predecessors at Abusir. As now laid bare by the excavations of
1900, it is seen to consist of an artificial mound, with a great court
in front to the eastward. On the mound was erected a truncated obelisk,
the stone emblem of the Sun-god. The worshippers in the court below
looked towards the Sun’s stone erected upon its mound in the west,
the quarter of the sun’s setting; for the Sun-god of Heliopolis was
primarily the setting sun, Tum-Râ, not Râ Harmachis, the rising sun,
whose emblem is the Great Sphinx at Gîza, which looks towards the east.
The sacred emblem of the Heliopolitan Sun-god reminds us forcibly of the
Semitic _bethels_ or _baetyli_, the sacred stones of Palestine, and may
give yet another hint of the Semitic origin of the Heliopolitan cult.
In the court of the temple is a huge circular altar of fine alabaster,
several feet across, on which slain oxen were offered to the Sun, and
behind this, at the eastern end of the court, are six great basins of
the same stone, over which the beasts were slain, with drains running
out of them by which their blood was carried away. This temple is a most
interesting monument of the civilization of the “Old Kingdom” at the time
of the Vth Dynasty.

At Sakkâra itself, which lies a short distance south of Abusir, no new
royal tombs have, as has been said, been discovered of late years. But a
great deal of work has been done among the private mastaba-tombs by the
officers of the _Service des Antiquités_, which reserves to itself the
right of excavation here and at Dashûr. The mastaba of the sage and
writer Kagernna (or rather Gemnika, “I-have-found-a-ghost,” which
sounds very like an American Indian appellation) is very fine.
“I-have-found-a-ghost” lived in the reign of the king Tatkarâ Assa, the
“Tancheres” of Manetho, and he wrote maxims like his great contemporary
Phtahhetep (“Offered to Phtah”), who was also buried at Sakkâra. The
officials of the _Service des Antiquités_ who cleaned the tomb unluckily
misread his name Ka-bi-n (an impossible form which could only mean,
literally translated, “Ghost-soul-of” or “Ghost-soul-to-me”), and they
have placed it in this form over the entrance to his tomb. This mastaba,
like those, already known, of Mereruka (sometimes misnamed “Mera”)
and the famous Ti, both also at Sakkâra, contains a large number of
chambers, ornamented with reliefs. In the vicinity M. Grébaut, then
Director of the Service of Antiquities, discovered a very interesting
Street of Tombs, a regular Via Sacra, with rows of tombs of the
dignitaries of the VIth Dynasty on either side of it. They are generally
very much like one another; the workmanship of the reliefs is fine, and
the portrait of the owner of the tomb is always in evidence.

Several of the smaller mastabas have lately been disposed of to the
various museums, as they are liable to damage if they remain where they
stand; moreover, they are not of great value to the Museum of Cairo,
but are of considerable value to various museums which do not already
possess complete specimens of this class of tombs. A fine one, belonging
to the chief Uerarina, is now exhibited in the Assyrian Basement of the
British Museum; another is in the Museum of Leyden; a third at Berlin,
and so on. Most of these are simple tombs of one chamber. In the centre
of the rear wall we always see the _stele_ or gravestone proper,
built into the fabric of the tomb. Before this stood the low table
of offerings with a bowl for oblations, and on either side a tall
incense-altar. From the altar the divine smoke (_senetr_) arose when
the _hen-ka_, or priest of the ghost (literally, “Ghost’s Servant”),
performed his duty of venerating the spirits of the deceased, while the
_Kher-heb_, or cantor, enveloped in the mystic folds of the leopard-skin
and with bronze incense-burner in hand, sang the holy litanies and
spells which should propitiate the ghost and enable him to win his way
to ultimate perfection in the next world.

The stele is always in the form of a door with pyloni-form cornice. On
either side is a figure of the deceased, and at the sides are carved
prayers to Anubis, and at a later date to Osiris, who are implored to
give the funerary meats and “everything good and pure on which the god
there (as the dead man in the tomb has been constituted) lives;” often
we find that the biography and list of honorary titles and dignities of
the deceased have been added.

Sakkâra was used as a place of burial in the latest as well as in the
earliest time. The Egyptians of the XXVIth Dynasty, wearied of the long
decadence and devastating wars which had followed the glorious epoch of
the conquering Pharaohs of the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties, turned for
a new and refreshing inspiration to the works of the most ancient kings,
when Egypt was a simple self-contained country, holding no intercourse
with outside lands, bearing no outside burdens for the sake of pomp and
glory, and knowing nothing of the decay and decadence which follows in
the train of earthly power and grandeur. They deliberately turned their
backs on the worn-out and discredited imperial trappings of the Thothmes
and Ramses, and they took the supposed primitive simplicity of the
Snefrus, the Khufus, and the Ne-user-Râs for a model and ensampler to
their lives. It was an age of conscious and intended archaism, and in
pursuit of the archaistic ideal the Mem-phites of the Saïte age had
themselves buried in the ancient necropolis of Sakkâra, side by side
with their ancestors of the time of the Vth and VIth Dynasties. Several
of these tombs have lately been discovered and opened, and fitted with
modern improvements. One or two of them, of the Persian period, have
wells (leading to the sepulchral chamber) of enormous depth, down which
the modern tourist is enabled to descend by a spiral iron staircase. The
Serapeum itself is lit with electricity, and in the Tombs of the Kings
at Thebes nothing disturbs the silence but the steady thumping pulsation
of the dynamo-engine which lights the ancient sepulchres of the
Pharaohs. Thus do modern ideas and inventions help us to see and so to
understand better the works of ancient Egypt. But it is perhaps a little
too much like the Yankee at the Court of King Arthur. The interiors of
the later tombs are often decorated with reliefs which imitate those of
the early period, but with a kind of delicate grace which at once marks
them for what they are, so that it is impossible to confound them with
the genuine ancient originals from which they were adapted.

Riding from Sakkâra southwards to Dashûr, we pass on the way the
gigantic stone mastaba known as the _Mastabat el-Fara’ûn_, “Pharaoh’s
Bench.” This was considered to be the tomb of the Vth Dynasty king,
Unas, until his pyramid was found by Prof. Maspero at Sakkâra. From its
form it might be thought to belong to a monarch of the Hid Dynasty, but
the great size of the stone blocks of which it is built seems to point
rather to the XIIth. All attempts to penetrate its secret by actual
excavation have been unavailing.

Further south across the desert we see from the Mastabat el-Fara’ûn
four distinct pyramids, symmetrically arranged in two lines, two in each
line. The two to the right are great stone erections of the usual
type, like those of Gîza and Abusîr, and the southernmost of them has a
peculiar broken-backed appearance, due to the alteration of the angle
of inclination of its sides during construction. Further, it is covered
almost to the ground by the original casing of polished white limestone
blocks, so that it gives a very good idea of the original appearance
of the other pyramids, which have lost their casing. These two
pyramids very probably belong to kings of the Hid Dynasty, as does the
Step-Pyramid of Sakkâra. They strongly resemble the Gîza type, and
the northernmost of the two looks very like an understudy of the Great
Pyramid. It seems to mark the step in the development of the royal
pyramid which was immediately followed by the Great Pyramid. But no
excavations have yet proved the accuracy of this view. Both pyramids
have been entered, but nothing has been found in them. It is very
probable that one of them is the second pyramid of Snefru.

The other two pyramids, those nearest the cultivation, are of very
different appearance. They are half-ruined, they are black in colour,
and their whole effect is quite different from that of the stone
pyramids. For they are built of brick, not of stone. They are pyramids,
it is true, but of a different material and of a different date from
those which we have been describing. They are built above the sepulchres
of kings of the XIIth Dynasty, the Theban house which transferred
its residence northwards to the neighbourhood of the ancient Northern
capital. We have, in fact, reached the end of the Old Kingdom at
Sakkâra; at Dashûr begin the sepulchres of the Middle Kingdom. Pyramids
are still built, but they are not always of stone; brick is used,
usually with stone in the interior. The general effect of these brick
pyramids, when new, must have been indistinguishable from that of the
stone ones, and even now, when it has become half-ruined, such a great
brick pyramid as that of Usertsen (Senusret) III at Dashûr is not
without impressiveness. After all, there is no reason why a brick
building should be less admirable than a stone one. And in its own way
the construction of such colossal masses of bricks as the two eastern
pyramids of Dashûr must have been as arduous, even as difficult, as that
of building a moderate-sized stone pyramid. The photograph of the brick
pyramids of Dashûr on this page shows well the great size of these
masses of brickwork, which are as impressive as any of the great brick
structures of Babylonia and Assyria.


     XIITH DYNASTY. Excavated by M. de Morgan, 1895. This is the
     secondary tomb of Amenemhat III; about 2200 B.C.

The XIIth Dynasty use of brick for the royal tombs was a return to the
custom of earlier days, for from the time of Aha to that Tjeser, from
the 1st Dynasty to the Hid, brick had been used for the building of the
royal mastaba-tombs, out of which the pyramids had developed.

At this point, where we take leave of the great pyramids of the Old
Kingdom, we may notice the latest theory as to the building of these
monuments, which has of late years been enunciated by Dr. Borchardt, and
is now generally accepted. The great Prussian explorer Lepsius, when he
examined the pyramids in the ‘forties, came to the conclusion that each
king, when he ascended the throne, planned a small pyramid for himself.
This was built in a few years’ time, and if his reign were short, or if
he were unable to enlarge the pyramid for other reasons, it sufficed for
his tomb. If, however, his reign seemed likely to be one of some length,
after the first plan was completed he enlarged his pyramid by building
another and a larger one around it and over it. Then again, when this
addition was finished, and the king still reigned and was in possession
of great resources, yet another coating, so to speak, was put on to the
pyramid, and so on till colossal structures like the First and Second
Pyramid of Giza, which, we know, belonged to kings who were unusually
long-lived, were completed. And finally the aged monarch died, and was
buried in the huge tomb which his long life and his great power had
enabled him to erect. This view appeared eminently reasonable at the
time, and it seemed almost as though we ought to be able to tell whether
a king had reigned long or not by the size of his pyramid, and even
to obtain a rough idea of the length of his reign by counting the
successive coats or accretions which it had received, much as we tell
the age of a tree by the rings in its bole. A pyramid seemed to have
been constructed something after the manner of an onion or a Chinese

Prof. Pétrie, however, who examined the Griza pyramids in 1881, and
carefully measured them all up and finally settled their trigonometrical
relation, came to the conclusion that Lepsius’s theory was entirely
erroneous, and that every pyramid was built and now stands as it was
originally planned. Dr.


Borchardt, however, who is an architect by profession, has examined
the pyramids again, and has come to the conclusion that Prof. Pétrie’s
statement is not correct, and that there is an element of truth in
Lepsius’s hypothesis. He has shown that several of the pyramids, notably
the First and Second at Giza, show unmistakable signs of a modified,
altered, and enlarged plan; in fact, long-lived kings like Khufu seem
to have added considerably to their pyramids and even to have entirely
remodelled them on a larger scale. This has certainly been the case with
the Great Pyramid. We can, then, accept Lepsius’s theory as modified by
Dr. Borchardt.

Another interesting point has arisen in connection with the Great
Pyramid. Considerable difference of opinion has always existed between
Egyptologists and the professors of European archaeology with regard
to the antiquity of the knowledge of iron in Egypt. The majority of
the Egyptologists have always maintained, on the authority of the
inscriptions, that iron was known to the ancient Egyptians from the
earliest period. They argued that the word for a certain metal in old
Egyptian was the same as the Coptic word for “iron.” They stated that in
the most ancient religious texts the Egyptians spoke of the firmament
of heaven as made of this metal, and they came to the conclusion that it
was because this metal was blue in colour, the hue of iron or steel; and
they further pointed out that some of the weapons in the tomb-paintings
were painted blue and others red, some being of iron, that is to
say, others of copper or bronze. Finally they brought forward as
incontrovertible evidence an actual fragment of worked iron, which had
been found between two of the inner blocks, down one of the air-shafts,
in the Great Pyramid. Here was an actual piece of iron of the time of
the IVth Dynasty, about 3500 B.C.

This conclusion was never accepted by the students of the development of
the use of metal in prehistoric Europe, when they came to know of it.
No doubt their incredulity was partly due to want of appreciation of the
Egyptological evidence, partly to disinclination to accept a conclusion
which did not at all agree with the knowledge they had derived from
their own study of prehistoric Europe. In Southern Europe it was quite
certain that iron did not come into use till about 1000 B.C.; in Central
Europe, where the discoveries at Hallstatt in the Salzkammergut exhibit
the transition from the Age of Bronze to that of Iron, about 800 B.C.
The exclusively Iron Age culture of La Tène cannot be dated earlier than
the eighth century, if as early as that. How then was it possible that,
if iron had been known to the Egyptians as early as 3500 B.C., its
knowledge should not have been communicated to the Europeans until over
two thousand years later? No; iron could not have been really known to
the Egyptians much before 1000 B.C. and the Egyptological evidence was
all wrong. This line of argument was taken by the distinguished
Swedish archaeologist, Prof. Oscar Montelius, of Upsala, whose previous
experience in dealing with the antiquities of Northern Europe, great as
it was, was hardly sufficient to enable him to pronounce with authority
on a point affecting far-away African Egypt. And when dealing with Greek
prehistoric antiquities Prof. Montelius’s views have hardly met with
that ready agreement which all acknowledge to be his due when he is
giving us the results of his ripe knowledge of Northern antiquities. He
has, in fact, forgotten, as most “prehistoric” archaeologists do forget,
that the antiquities of Scandinavia, Greece, Egypt, the Semites,
the bronze-workers of Benin, the miners of Zimbabwe, and the Ohio
mound-builders are not to be treated all together as a whole, and that
hard and fast lines of development cannot be laid down for them, based
on the experience of Scandinavia.

We may perhaps trace this misleading habit of thought to the influence
of the professors of natural science over the students of Stone Age and
Bronze Age antiquities. Because nature moves by steady progression and
develops on even lines--_nihil facit per sal-tum_--it seems to have been
assumed that the works of man’s hands have developed in the same way,
in a regular and even scheme all over the world. On this supposition it
would be impossible for the great discovery of the use of iron to have
been known in Egypt as early as 3500 B.C. for this knowledge to have
remained dormant there for two thousand years, and then to have
been suddenly communicated about 1000 B.C. to Greece, spreading with
lightning-like rapidity over Europe and displacing the use of bronze
everywhere. Yet, as a matter of fact, the work of man does develop
in exactly this haphazard way, by fits and starts and sudden leaps of
progress after millennia of stagnation. Throwsback to barbarism are just
as frequent. The analogy of natural evolution is completely inapplicable
and misleading.

Prof. Montelius, however, following the “evolutionary” line of thought,
believed that because iron was not known in Europe till about 1000 B.C.
it could not have been known in Egypt much earlier; and in an important
article which appeared in the Swedish ethnological journal _Ymer_ in
1883, entitled _Bronsaldrn i Egypten_ (“The Bronze Age in Egypt”), he
essayed to prove the contrary arguments of the Egyptologists wrong. His
main points were that the colour of the weapons in the frescoes was of
no importance, as it was purely conventional and arbitrary, and that the
evidence of the piece of iron from the Great Pyramid was insufficiently
authenticated, and therefore valueless, in the absence of other definite
archaeological evidence in the shape of iron of supposed early date. To
this article the Swedish Egyptologist, Dr. Piehl, replied in the same
periodical, in an article entitled _Bronsaldem i Egypten_, in which he
traversed Prof. Montelius’s conclusions from the Egyptological point of
view, and adduced other instances of the use of iron in Egypt, all,
it is true, later than the time of the IVth Dynasty. But this protest
received little notice, owing to the fact that it remained buried in
a Swedish periodical, while Prof. Montelius’s original article was
translated into French, and so became well-known.

For the time Prof. Montelius’s conclusions were generally accepted, and
when the discoveries of the prehistoric antiquities were made by M. de
Morgan, it seemed more probable than ever that Egypt had gone through a
regular progressive development from the Age of Stone through those of
copper and bronze to that of iron, which was reached about 1100 or 1000
B.C. The evidence of the iron fragment from the Great Pyramid was put on
one side, in spite of the circumstantial account of its discovery
which had been given by its finders. Even Prof. Pétrie, who in 1881
had accepted the pyramid fragment as undoubtedly contemporary with that
building, and had gone so far as to adduce additional evidence for its
authenticity, gave way, and accepted Montelius’s view, which held its
own until in 1902 it was directly controverted by a discovery of Prof.
Pétrie at Abydos. This discovery consisted of an undoubted fragment of
iron found in conjunction with bronze tools of VIth Dynasty date; and it
settled the matter.* The VIth Dynasty date of this piece of iron, which
was more probably worked than not (since it was buried with tools), was
held to be undoubted by its discoverer and by everybody else, and, if
this were undoubted, the IVth Dynasty date of the Great Pyramid fragment
was also fully established. The discoverers of the earlier fragment had
no doubt whatever as to its being contemporary with the pyramid, and
were supported in this by Prof. Pétrie in 1881. Therefore it is now
known to be the fact that iron was used by the Egyptians as early as
3500 B.C.**

     * See H. R. Hall’s note on “The Early Use of Iron in Egypt,”
      in _Man_ (the organ of the Anthropological Society of
     London), iii (1903), No. 86.

     ** Prof. Montelius objected to these conclusions in a review
     of the British Museum “Guide to the Antiquities of the
     Bronze Age,” which was published in Man, 1005 (Jan.), No 7.
     For an answer to these objections, see Hall, ibid., No. 40.

It would thus appear that though the Egyptians cannot be said to have
used iron generally and so to have entered the “Iron Age” before about
1300 B.C. (reign of Ramses II), yet iron was well known to them and had
been used more than occasionally by them for tools and building purposes
as early as the time of the IVth Dynasty, about 3500 B.C. Certainly
dated examples of its use occur under the IVth, VIth, and XIIIth
Dynasties. Why this knowledge was not communicated to Europe before
about 1000 B.C. we cannot say, nor are Egyptologists called upon to find
the reason. So the Great Pyramid has played an interesting part in the
settlement of a very important question.

It was supposed by Prof. Pétrie that the piece of iron from the Great
Pyramid had been part of some arrangement employed for raising the
stones into position. Herodotus speaks of the machines, which were used
to raise the stones, as made of little pieces of wood. The generally
accepted explanation of his meaning used to be that a small crane or
similar wooden machine was used for hoisting the stone by means
of pulley and rope; but M. Legrain, the director of the works of
restoration in the Great Temple of Karnak, has explained it differently.
Among the “foundation deposits” of the XVIIIth Dynasty at Dêr el-Bahari
and elsewhere, beside the little plaques with the king’s name and the
model hoes and vases, was usually found an enigmatic wooden object like
a small cradle, with two sides made of semicircular pieces of wood,
joined along the curved portion by round wooden bars. M. Legrain has now
explained this as a model of the machine used to raise heavy stones from
tier to tier of a pyramid or other building, and illustrations of
the method of its use may be found in Choisy’s _Art de Bâtir chez les
anciens Egyptiens_. There is little doubt that this primitive machine
is that to which Herodotus refers as having been used in the erection of
the pyramids.

The later historian, Diodorus, also tells us that great mounds or ramps
of earth were used as well, and that the stones were dragged up these
to the requisite height. There is no doubt that this statement also is
correct. We know that the Egyptians did build in this very way, and
the system has been revived by M. Legrain for his work at Karnak, where
still exist the remains of the actual mounds and ramps by which the
great western pylon was erected in Ptolemaïc times. Work carried on
in this way is slow and expensive, but it is eminently suited to the
country and understood by the people. If they wish to put a great stone
architrave weighing many tons across the top of two columns, they do not
hoist it up into position; they rear a great ramp or embankment of earth
against the two pillars, half-burying them in the process, then drag
the architrave up the ramp by means of ropes and men, and put it into
position. Then the ramp is cleared away. This is the ancient system
which is now followed at Karnak, and it is the system by which, with the
further aid of the wooden machines, the Great Pyramid and its compeers
were erected in the days of the IVth Dynasty. _Plus cela change, plus
c’est la même chose_.

The brick pyramids of the XIIth Dynasty were erected in the same way,
for the Egyptians had no knowledge of the modern combination of wooden
scaffolding and ladders. There was originally a small stone pyramid of
the same dynasty at Dashûr, half-way between the two brick ones, but
this has now almost disappeared. It belonged to the king Amenemhat II,
while the others belonged, the northern to Usertsen (Sen-usret) III, the
southern to Amenemhat III. Both these latter monarchs had other tombs
elsewhere, Usertsen a great rock-cut gallery and chamber in the cliff at
Abydos, Amenemhat a pyramid not very far to the south, at Hawara, close
to the Fayyûm. It is uncertain whether the Hawara pyramid or that of
Dashûr was the real burial-place of the king, as at neither place is his
name found alone. At Hawara it is found in conjunction with that of his
daughter, the queen-regnant Se-bekneferurâ (Skemiophris), at Dashûr with
that of a king Auabrâ Hor, who was buried in a small tomb near that of
the king, and adjoining the tombs of the king’s children. Who King Hor
was we do not quite know. His name is not given in the lists, and was
unknown until M. de Morgan’s discoveries at Dashûr. It is most probable
that he was a prince who was given royal honours during the lifetime of
Amenemhat III, whom he predeceased.* In the beautiful wooden statue
of him found in his tomb, which is now in the Cairo Museum, he is
represented as quite a youth. Amenemhat III was certainly succeeded by
Amenemhat IV, and it is impossible to intercalate Hor between them.

     * See below, p. 121. Possibly he was a son of Amenemhat III.

The identification of the owners of the three western pyramids of Dashûr
is due to M. de Morgan and his assistants, Messrs. Legrain and Jéquier,
who excavated them from 1894 till 1896. The northern pyramid, that of
Usertsen (Senusret) III, is not so well preserved as the southern. It is
more worn away, and does not present so imposing an appearance. In
both pyramids the outer casing of white stone has entirely disappeared,
leaving only the bare black bricks. Each stood in the midst of a great
necropolis of dignitaries of the period, as was usually the case.
Many of the mastabas were excavated by M. de Morgan. Some are of older
periods than the XIIth Dynasty, one belonging to a priest of King
Snefru, Aha-f-ka (“Ghost-fighter”), who bore the additional titles of
“director of prophets and general of infantry.” There were pluralists
even in those days. And the distinction between the privy councillor
(Geheimrat) and real privy councillor (Wirk-licher-Greheimrat) was quite
familiar; for we find it actually made, many an old Egyptian officially
priding himself in his tomb on having been a real privy councillor! The
Egyptian bureaucracy was already ancient and had its survivals and its
anomalies even as early as the time of the pyramid-builders.

In front of the pyramid of Usertsen (Senusret) III at one time stood the
usual funerary temple, but it has been totally destroyed. By the side of
the pyramid were buried some of the princesses of the royal family, in
a series of tombs opening out of a subterranean gallery, and in this
gallery were found the wonderful jewels of the princesses Sit-hathor and
Merit, which are among the greatest treasures of the Cairo Museum. Those
who have not seen them can obtain a perfect idea of their appearance
from the beautiful water-colour paintings of them by M. Legrain, which
are published in M. de Morgan’s work on the “Fouilles à Dahchour”
 (Vienna, 1895). Altogether one hundred and seven objects were recovered,
consisting of all kinds of jewelry in gold and coloured stones. Among
the most beautiful are the great “pectorals,” or breast-ornaments, in
the shape of pylons, with the names of Usertsen II, Usertsen III, and
Amenemhat III; the names are surrounded by hawks standing on the sign
for gold, gryphons, figures of the king striking down enemies, etc., all
in _cloisonné_ work, with beautiful stones such as lapis lazuli, green
felspar, and carnelian taking the place of coloured enamels. The massive
chains of golden beads and cowries are also very remarkable. These
treasures had been buried in boxes in the floor of the subterranean
gallery, and had luckily escaped the notice of plunderers, and so by a
fortunate chance have survived to tell us what the Egyptian jewellers
could do in the days of the XIIth Dynasty. Here also were found two
great Nile barges, full-sized boats, with their oars and other gear
complete. They also may be seen in the Museum of Cairo. It can only be
supposed that they had served as the biers of the royal mummies, and had
been brought up in state on sledges. The actual royal chamber was not
found, although a subterranean gallery was driven beneath the centre of
the pyramid.

The southern brick pyramid was constructed in the same way as the
northern one. At the side of it were also found the tombs of members of
the royal house, including that of the king Hor, already mentioned, with
its interesting contents. The remains of the mummy of this ephemeral
monarch, known only from his tomb, were also found. The entrails of the
king were placed in the usual “canopic jars,” which were sealed with the
seal of Amenemhat III; it is thus that we know that Hor died before him.
In many of the inscriptions of this king, on his coffin and stelo, a
peculiarly affected manner of writing the hieroglyphs is found,--the
birds are without their legs, the snake has no tail, the bee no head.
Birds are found without their legs in other inscriptions of this period;
it was a temporary fashion and soon discarded.

In the tomb of a princess named Nubhetep, near at hand, were found more
jewels of the same style as those of Sit-hathor and Merit. The pyramid
itself contained the usual passages and chambers, which were reached
with much difficulty and considerable tunnelling by M. de Morgan. In
fact, the search for the royal death-chambers lasted from December 5,
1894, till March 17, 1895, when the excavators’ gallery finally struck
one of the ancient passages, which were found to be unusually extensive,
contrasting in this respect with the northern pyramid. The royal
tomb-chamber had, of course, been emptied of what it contained. It must
be remembered that, in any case, it is probable that the king was not
actually buried here, but in the pyramid of Hawara.

The pyramid of Amenemhat II, which lies between the two brick pyramids,
was built entirely of stone. Nothing of it remains above ground, but the
investigation of the subterranean portions showed that it was remarkable
for the massiveness of its stones and the care with which the masonry
was executed. The same characteristics are found in the dependent tombs
of the princesses Ha and Khnumet, in which more jewelry was found. This
splendid stonework is characteristic of the Middle Kingdom; we find it
also in the temple of Mentuhetep III at Thebes.

Some distance south of Dashûr is Mêdûm, where the pyramid of Sneferu
reigns in solitude, and beyond this again is Lisht, where in the
years 1894-6 MM. Gautier and Jéquier excavated the pyramid of Usertsen
(Sen-usret) I. The most remarkable find was a cache of the seated
statues of the king in white limestone, in absolutely perfect condition.
They were found lying on their sides, just as they had been hidden. Six
figures of the king in the form of Osiris, with the face painted red,
were also found. Such figures seem to have been regularly set up in
front of a royal sepulchre; several were found in front of the funerary
temple of Mentu-hetep III, Thebes, which we shall describe later. A
fine altar of gray granite, with representations in relief of the nomes
bringing offerings, was also recovered. The pyramid of Lisht itself is
not built of bricks, like those of Dashûr, but of stone. It was not,
however, erected in so solid a fashion as those of earlier days at Gîza
or Abusîr, and nothing is left of it now but a heap of débris. The XIIth
Dynasty architects built walls of magnificent masonry, as we have
seen, and there is no doubt that the stone casing of their pyramids
was originally very fine, but the interior is of brick or rubble; the
wonderful system of building employed by kings of the IVth Dynasty at
Giza was not practised.

South of Lisht is Illahun, and at the entrance to the province of the
Fayyûm, and west of this, nearer the Fayyûm, is Hawara, where Prof.
Petrie excavated the pyramids of Usertsen (Senusret) II and Amenem-hat
III. His discoveries have already been described by Prof. Maspero in his
history, so that it will suffice here merely to compare them with the
results of M. de Morgan’s later work at Dashûr and that of MM. Gautier
and Jéquier at Lisht, to note recent conclusions in connection with
them, and to describe the newest discoveries in the same region.

Both pyramids are of brick, lined with stone, like those of Dashûr, with
some differences of internal construction, since stone walls exist in
the interior. The central chambers and passages leading to them were
discovered; and in both cases the passages are peculiarly complex, with
dumb chambers, great stone portcullises, etc., in order to mislead
and block the way to possible plunderers. The extraordinary sepulchral
chamber of the Hawara pyramid, which, though it is over twenty-two feet
long by ten feet wide over all, is hewn out of one solid block of hard
yellow quartzite, gives some idea of the remarkable facility of dealing
with huge stones and the love of utilizing them which is especially
characteristic of the XIIth Dynasty. The pyramid of Hawara was provided
with a funerary temple the like of which had never been known in Egypt
before and was never known afterwards. It was a huge building far larger
than the pyramid itself, and built of fine limestone and crystalline
white quartzite, in a style eminently characteristic of the XIIth
Dynasty. In actual superficies this temple covered an extent of ground
within which the temples of Karnak, Luxor, and the Ramesseum, at Thebes,
could have stood, but has now almost entirely disappeared, having been
used as a quarry for two thousand years. In Roman times this destroying
process had already begun, but even then the building was still
magnificent, and had been noted with wonder by all the Greek visitors to
Egypt from the time of Herodotus downwards. Even before his day it
had received the name of the “Labyrinth,” on account of its supposed
resemblance to the original labyrinth in Crete.

That the Hawara temple was the Egyptian labyrinth was pointed out by
Lepsius in the ‘forties of the last century. Within the last two or
three years attention has again been drawn to it by Mr. Arthur Evans’s
discovery of the Cretan labyrinth itself in the shape of the Minoan
or early Mycenæan palace of Knossos, near Candia in Crete. It is
impossible to enter here into all the arguments by which it has been
proved that the Knossian palace is the veritable labyrinth of the
Minotaur legend, nor would it be strictly germane to our subject were we
to do so; but it may suffice to say here that the word

[Illustration: 125.jpg (Greek word)]

has been proved to be of Greek-or rather of pre-Hellenic-origin, and
would mean in Karian “Place of the Double-Axe,” like La-braunda in
Karia, where Zeus was depicted with a double axe (labrys) in his hand.
The non-Aryan, “Asianic,” group of languages, to which certainly Lycian
and probably Karian belong, has been shown by the German philologer
Kretschmer to have spread over Greece into Italy in the period before
the Aryan Greeks entered Hellas, and to have left undoubted traces of
its presence in Greek place-names and in the Greek language itself.
Before the true Hellenes reached Crete, an Asianic dialect must have
been spoken there, and to this language the word “labyrinth” must
originally have belonged. The classical labyrinth was “in the Knossian
territory.” The palace of Knossos was emphatically the chief seat of the
worship of a god whose emblem was the double-axe; it was the Knossian
“Place of the Double-Axe,” the Cretan “Labyrinth.”

It used to be supposed that the Cretan labyrinth had taken its name from
the Egyptian one, and the, word itself was supposed to be of Egyptian
origin. An Egyptian etymology was found for it as “_Ro-pi-ro-henet_,”
 “Temple-mouth-canal,” which might be interpreted, with some violence to
Egyptian construction, as “The temple at the mouth of the canal,” i.e.
the Bahr Yusuf, which enters the Fayyûm at Hawara. But unluckily this
word would have been pronounced by the natives of the vicinity as
“Elphilahune,” which is not very much like

[Illustration: 126.jpg (Greek word)]

“_Ro-pi-ro-henet_” is, in fact, a mere figment of the philological
imagination, and cannot be proved ever to have existed. The element
_Ro-henet_, “canal-mouth” (according to the local pronunciation of the
Fayyûm and Middle Egypt, called _La-hunè_), is genuine; it is the
origin of the modern Illahun (_el-Lahun_), which is situated at the
“canal-mouth.” However, now that we know that the word labyrinth can be
explained satisfactorily with the help of Karian, as evidently of Greek
(pre-Aryan) origin, and as evidently the original name of the Knossian
labyrinth, it is obvious that there is no need to seek a far-fetched
explanation of the word in Egypt, and to suppose that the Greeks called
the Cretan labyrinth after the Egyptian one.

The contrary is evidently the case. Greek visitors to Egypt found a
resemblance between the great Egyptian building, with its numerous halls
and corridors, vast in extent, and the Knossian palace. Even if very
little of the latter was visible in the classical period, as seems
possible, yet the site seems always to have been kept holy and free from
later building till Roman times, and we know that the tradition of the
mazy halls and corridors of the labyrinth was always clear, and was
evidently based on a vivid reminiscence. Actually, one of the most
prominent characteristics of the Knossian palace is its mazy and
labyrinthine system of passages and chambers. The parallel between the
two buildings, which originally caused the Greek visitors to give the
pyramid-temple of Hawara the name of “labyrinth,” has been traced still
further. The white limestone walls and the shining portals of “Parian
marble,” described by Strabo as characteristic of the Egyptian
labyrinth, have been compared with the shining white selenite or gypsum
used at Knossos, and certain general resemblances between the Greek
architecture of the Minoan age and the almost contemporary Egyptian
architecture of the XIIth Dynasty have been pointed out.* Such
resemblances may go to swell the amount of evidence already known, which
tells us that there was a close connection between Egyptian and Minoan
art and civilization, established at least as early as 2500 B.C.

     * See H. R. Hall, Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1905 (Pt.
     ii). The Temple of the Sphinx at Gîza may also be compared
     with those of Hawara and Knossos. It seems most probable
     that the Temple of the Sphinx is a XIIth Dynasty building.

For it must be remembered that within the last few years we have learned
from the excavations in Crete a new chapter of ancient history, which,
it might almost seem, shows us Greece and Egypt in regular communication
from nearly the beginnings of Egyptian history. As the excavations which
have told us this were carried on in Crete, not in Egypt, to describe
them does not lie within the scope of this book, though a short sketch
of their results, so far as they affect Egyptian history in later days,
is given in Chapter VII. Here it may suffice to say that, as far as
the early period is concerned, Egypt and Crete were certainly in
communication in the time of the XIIth Dynasty, and quite possibly in
that of the VIth or still earlier. We have IIId Dynasty Egyptian vases
from Knossos, which were certainly not imported in later days, for no
ancient nation had antiquarian tastes till the time of the Saïtes in
Egypt and of the Romans still later. In fact, this communication seems
to go so far back in time that we are gradually being led to perceive
the possibility that the Minoan culture of Greece was in its origin an
offshoot from that of primeval Egypt, probably in early Neolithic times.
That is to say, the Neolithic Greeks and Neolithic Egyptians were both
members of the same “Mediterranean” stock, which quite possibly may have
had its origin in Africa, and a portion of which may have crossed the
sea to Europe in very early times, taking with it the seeds of culture
which in Egypt developed in the Egyptian way, in Greece in the Greek
way. Actual communication and connection may not have been maintained
at first, and probably they were not. Prof. Petrie thinks otherwise, and
would see in the boats painted on the predynastic Egyptian vases (see
Chapter I) the identical galleys by which, in late Neolithic
times, commerce between Crete and Egypt was carried on across the
Mediterranean. It is certain, however, that these boats are ordinary
little river craft, the usual Nile _felûkas_ and _gyassas_ of the time;
they are depicted together with emblems of the desert and cultivated
land,-ostriches, antelopes, hills, and palm-trees,-and the thoroughly
inland and Upper Egyptian character of the whole design springs to the
eye. There can be no doubt whatever that the predynastic boats were not
seagoing galleys.

It was probably not till the time of the pyramid-builders that
connection between the Greek Mediterraneans and the Nilotes was
re-established. Thence-forward it increased, and in the time of the
XIIth Dynasty, when the labyrinth of Amenemhat III was built, there
seems to have been some kind of more or less regular communication
between the two countries.

It is certain that artistic ideas were exchanged between them at this
period. How communication was carried on we do not know, but it was
probably rather by way of Cyprus and the Syrian coast than directly
across the open sea. We shall revert to this point when we come to
describe the connection between Crete and Egypt in the time of the
XVIIIth Dynasty, when Cretan ambassadors visited the Egyptian court and
were depicted in tomb paintings at Thebes. Between the time of the XIIth
Dynasty and that of the XVIIIth this connection seems to have been very
considerably strengthened; for at Knossos have been found an Egyptian
statuette of an Egyptian named Abnub, who from his name must have lived
about the end of the XIIIth Dynasty, and the top of an alabastron with
the royal name of Khian, one of the Hyksos kings.

Quite close to Hawara, at Illahun, in the ruins of the town which was
built by Usertsen’s workmen when they were building his pyramid, Prof.
Petrie found fragments of pottery of types which we now know well from
excavations in Crete and Cyprus, though they were then unknown. They are
fragments of the polychrome Cretan ware called, after the name of the
place where it was first found in Crete, Kamares ware, and of a black
ware ornamented with small punctures, which are often filled up with
white. This latter ware has been found elsewhere associated with XIIIth
Dynasty antiquities. The former is known to belong in Crete to the
“early Minoan” period, long anterior to the “late Minoan” or “Palace”
 period, which was contemporary with the Egyptian XVIIIth Dynasty.
We have here another interesting proof of a connection between XIIth
Dynasty Egypt and early Minoan Crete. The later connection, under the
XVIIIth and following dynasties, is also illustrated in the same reign
by Prof. Petrie’s finds of late Mycenaean objects and foreign graves at
Medinet Gurob.*

     * One man who was buried here bore the name An-Tursha,
     “Pillar of the Tursha.” The Tursha were a people of the
     Mediterranean, possibly Tylissians of Crete.

These excavations at Hawara, Illahun, Kahun, and Gurob were carried out
in the years 1887-9. Since then Prof. Petrie and his co-workers have
revisited the same district, and Gurob has been re-examined (in 1904)
by Messrs. Loat and Ayrton, who discovered there a shrine devoted to
the worship of fish. This work was carried on at the same time as Prof.
Petrie’s main excavation for the Egypt Exploration Fund at Annas, or
Ahnas-yet el-Medina, the site of the ancient Henensu, the Herakleopolis
of the Greeks. Prof. Naville had excavated there for the Egypt
Exploration Fund in 1892, but had not completely cleared the temple.
This work was now taken up by Prof. Petrie, who laid the whole building
bare. It is dedicated to Hershefi, the local deity of Herakleopolis.
This god, who was called Ar-saphes by the Greeks, and identified with
Herakles, was in fact a form of Horus with the head of a ram; his name
means “Terrible-Face.” The greater part of the temple dates to the time
of the XIXth Dynasty, and nothing of the early period is left. We know,
however, that the Middle Kingdom was the flourishing period of the
city of Hershefi. For a comparatively brief period, between the age of
Memphite hegemony and that of Theban dominion, Herakleopolis was the
capital city of Egypt. The kings of the IXth and Xth Dynasties were
Herakleopolites, though we know little of them. One, Kheti, is said to
have been a great tyrant. Another, Nebkaurâ, is known only as a figure
in the “Legend of the Eloquent Peasant,” a classical story much in vogue
in later days. Another, Merikarâ, is a more real personage, for we have
contemporary records of his days in the inscriptions of the tombs at
Asyût, from which we see that the princes of Thebes were already wearing
down the Northerners, in spite of the resistance of the adherents of
Herakleopolis, among whom the most valiant were the chiefs of Asyût. The
civil war eventuated in favour of Thebes, and the Theban XIth Dynasty
assumed the double crown. The sceptre passed from Memphis and the North,
and Thebes enters upon the scene of Egyptian history.

With this event the Nile-land also entered upon a new era of
development. The metropolis of the kingdom was once more shifted to the
South, and, although the kings of the XIIth Dynasty actually resided
in the North, their Theban origin was never forgotten, and Thebes
was regarded as the chief city of the country. The XIth Dynasty kings
actually reigned at Thebes, and there the later kings of the XIIIth
Dynasty retired after the conquest of the Hyksos. The fact that with
Thebes were associated all the heroic traditions of the struggle against
the Hyksos ensured the final stability of the capital there when the
hated Semites were finally driven out, and the national kingdom
was re-established in its full extent from north to south. But for
occasional intervals, as when Akhunaten held his court at Tell el-Amarna
and Ramses II at Tanis, Thebes remained the national capital for six
hundred years, till the time of the XXIId Dynasty.

Another great change which differentiates the Middle Kingdom
(XIth-XIIIth Dynasties) from the Old Kingdom was caused by Egypt’s
coming into contact with other outside nations at this period. During
the whole history of the Old Kingdom, Egyptian relations with the outer
world had been nil. We have some inkling of occasional connection
with the Mediterranean peoples, the _Ha-nebu_ or Northerners; we have
accounts of wars with the people of Sinai and other Bedawin and negroes;
and expeditions were also sent to the land of Punt (Somaliland) by way
of the Upper Nile. But we have not the slightest hint of any connection
with, or even knowledge of, the great nations of the Euphrates valley
or the peoples of Palestine. The Babylonian king Narâm-Sin invaded the
Sinaitic peninsula (the land of Magan) as early as 3750 b. c, about
the time of the IIId Egyptian Dynasty. The great King Tjeser, of that
dynasty, also invaded Sinai, and so did Snefru, the last king of the
dynasty. But we have no hint of any collision between Babylonians and
Egyptians at that time, nor do either of them betray the slightest
knowledge of one another’s existence. It can hardly be that the two
civilized peoples of the world in those days were really absolutely
ignorant of each other, but we have no trace of any connection between
them, other than the possible one before the founding of the Egyptian

This early connection, however, is very problematical. We have seen that
there seems to be in early Egyptian civilization an element ultimately
of Babylonian origin, and that there are two theories as to how it
reached Egypt. One supposes that it was brought by a Semitic people of
Arab affinities (represented by the modern Grallas), who crossed the
Straits of Bab el-Man-deb and reached Egypt either by way of the Wadi
Hammamat or by the Upper Nile. The other would bring it across the
Isthmus of Suez to the Delta, where, at Heliopolis, there certainly
seems to have been a settlement of a Semitic type of very ancient
culture. In both cases we should have Semites bringing Babylonian
culture to Egypt. This, as we may remind the reader, was not itself of
Semitic origin, but was a development due to a non-Semitic people,
the Sumerians as they are called, who, so far as we know, were the
aboriginal inhabitants of Babylonia. The Sumerian language was of
agglutinative type, radically distinct both from the pure Semitic idioms
and from Egyptian. The Babylonian elements of culture which the early
Semitic invaders brought with them to Egypt were, then, ultimately of
Sumerian origin. Sumerian civilization had profoundly influenced the
Semitic tribes for centuries before the Semitic conquest of Babylonia,
and when the Sumerians became more and more a conquered race, finally
amalgamating with their conquerors and losing their racial and
linguistic individuality, they were conquered by an alien race but not
by an alien culture. For the culture of the Semites was Sumerian, the
Semitic races owing their civilization to the Sumerians. That is as
much as to say that a great deal of what we call Semitic culture is
fundamentally non-Semitic.

In the earliest days, then, Egypt received elements of Sumerian culture
through a Semitic medium, which introduced Semitic elements into the
language of the people, and a Semitic racial strain. It is possible.
that both theories as to the routes of these primeval conquerors are
true, and that two waves of Semites entered the Nile valley towards
the close of the Neolithic period, one by way of the Upper Nile or Wadi
Hammamat, the other by way of Heliopolis.

After the reconsolidation of the Egyptian people, with perhaps an
autocratic class of Semitic origin and a populace of indigenous Nilotic
race, we have no trace of further connection with the far-away centre of
Semitic culture in Babylonia till the time of the Theban hegemony.
Under the XIIth Dynasty we see Egyptians in friendly relations with the
Bedawin of Idumsea and Southern Palestine. Thus Sanehat, the younger son
of Amenemhat I, when the death of his royal father was announced, fled
from the new king Usertsen (Senusret) into Palestine, and there married
the daughter of the chief Ammuanshi and became a Syrian chief himself,
only finally returning to Egypt as an old man on the assurance of the
royal pardon and favour. We have in the reign of Usertsen (Senusret) II
the famous visit of the Arab chief Abisha (Abêshu’) with his following
to the court of Khnumhetep, the prince of the Oryx nome in Middle Egypt,
as we see it depicted on the walls of Khnumhetep’s tomb at Beni Hasan.
We see Usertsen (Senusret) III invading Palestine to chastise the land
of Sekmem and the vile Syrians.*

     * We know of this campaign from the interesting historical
     stele of the general Sebek-khu (who took part in it), which
     was found during Mr. Garstang’s excavations at Abydos, not
     previously referred to above. They were carried out in 1900,
     and resulted in the complete clearance of a part of the
     great cemetery which had been created during the XIIth
     Dynasty. The group of objects from the tombs of this
     cemetery, and those of XVIIIth Dynasty tombs also found, is
     especially valuable as showing the styles of objects in use
     at these two periods (see Garstang, el-Ardbah, 1901).

The arm of Egypt was growing longer, and its weight was being felt in
regions where it had previously been entirely unknown. Eventually the
collision came. Egypt collided with an Asiatic power, and got the worst
of the encounter. So much the worse that the Theban monarchy of the
Middle Kingdom was overthrown, and Northern Egypt was actually conquered
by the Asiatic foreigners and ruled by a foreign house for several
centuries. Who these conquering Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, were no
recent discovery has told us. An old idea was that they were Mongols. It
was supposed that the remarkable faces of the sphinxes of Tanis, now
in the Cairo Museum, which bore the names of Hyksos kings, were of
Mongolian type, as also those of two colossal royal heads discovered
by M. Naville at Bubastis. But M. Golénischeff has now shown that these
heads are really those of XIIth Dynasty kings, and not of Hyksos at all.
Messrs. Newberry and Garstang have lately endeavoured to show that this
type was foreign, and probably connected with that of the Kheta, or
Hittites, of Northern Syria, who came into prominence as enemies of
Egypt at a later period. They think that the type was introduced into
the Egyptian royal family by Nefret, the queen of Usertsen (Senusret)
II, whom they suppose to have been a Hittite princess. At the same time
they think it probable that the type was also that of the Hyksos, whom
they consider to have been practically Hittites. They therefore revive
the theory of de Cara, which connects the Hyksos with the Hittites and
these with the Pelasgi and Tyrseni.

This is a very interesting theory, which, when carried out to its
logical conclusion, would connect the Hyksos and Hittites racially with
the pre-Hellenic “Minoan” Mycenseans of Greece, as well as with the
Etruscans of Italy. But there is little of certainty in it. It is by no
means impossible that we may eventually come to know that the Hittites
(_Kheta_, the _Khatte_ of the Assyrians) and other tribes of Asia
Minor were racially akin to the “Minoans” of Greece, but the connection
between the Hyksos and the Hittites is to seek. The countenances of the
Kheta on the Egyptian monuments of Ramses II’s time have an angular
cast, and so have those of the Tanis sphinxes, of Queen Nefret, of
the Bubastis statues, and the statues of Usertsen (Senusret) III
and Amenemhat III. We might then suppose, with Messrs. Newberry and
Garstang, that Nefret was a Kheta princess, who gave her peculiar racial
traits to her son Usertsen (Senusret) III and his son Amenem-hat, were
it not far more probable that the resemblance between this peculiar
XIIth Dynasty type and the Kheta face is purely fortuitous.

There is really no reason to suppose that the type of face presented by
Nefret, Usertsen, and Amenemhat is not purely Egyptian. It may be seen
in many a modern fellah, and the truth probably is that the sculptors
have in the case of these rulers very faithfully and carefully depicted
their portraits, and that their faces happen to have been of a rather
hard and forbidding type. But, if we grant the contention of Messrs.
Newberry and Garstang for the moment, where is the connection between
these XIIth Dynasty kings and the Hyksos? All the Tanite monuments with
this peculiar facial type which would be considered Hyksos are certainly
of the XIIth Dynasty. The only statue of a Hyksos king, which was
undoubtedly originally made for him and is not one of the XIIth Dynasty
usurped, is the small one of Khian at Cairo, discovered by M. Naville at
Bubastis, and this has no head. So that we have not the slightest idea
of what a Hyksos looked like. Moreover, the evidence of the Hyksos names
which are known to us points in quite a different direction. The Kheta,
or Hittites, were certainly not Semites, yet the Hyksos names are
definitely Semitic. In fact it is most probable that the Hyksos, or
Shepherd Kings, were, as the classical authorities say they were, and as
their name (_hiku-semut_ or _hihu-shasu_,) “princes of the deserts” or
(“princes of the Bedawîn”) also testifies, purely and simply Arabs.

Now it is not a little curious that almost at the same time that a nomad
Arab race conquered Lower Egypt and settled in it as rulers (just as
‘Amr and the followers of Islam did over two thousand years later),
another Arab race may have imposed its rule upon Babylonia. Yet this
may have been the case; for the First Dynasty of Babylon, to which the
famous Hammurabi belonged, was very probably of Arab origin, to judge by
the forms of some of the royal names. It is by no means impossible that
there was some connection between these two conquests, and that both
Babylonia and Egypt fell, in the period before the year 2000 B.C. before
some great migratory movement from Arabia, which overran Babylonia,
Palestine, and even the Egyptian Delta.

In this manner Egypt and Babylonia may have been brought together
in common subjection to the Arab. We do not know whether any regular
communication between Egypt, under Semitic rule, and Babylonia was now
established; but we do know that during the Hyksos period there were
considerable relations between Egypt and over-sea Crete, and relations
with Mesopotamia may possibly have been established. At any rate, when
the war of liberation, which was directed by the princes of Thebes, was
finally brought to a successful conclusion and the Arabs were expelled,
we find the Egyptians a much changed nation. They had adopted for war
the use of horse and chariot, which they learnt from their Semitic
conquerors, whose victory was in all probability largely gained by their
use, and, generally speaking, they had become much more like the Western
Asiatic nations. Egypt was no longer isolated, for she had been forcibly
brought into contact with the foreign world, and had learned much.
She was no longer self-contained within her own borders. If the Semites
could conquer her, so could she conquer the Semites. Armed with horse
and chariot, the Egyptians went forth to battle, and their revenge was
complete. All Palestine and Syria were Egyptian domains for five hundred
years after the conquest by Thothmes I and III, and Ashur and Babel sent
tribute to the Pharaoh of Egypt.

The reaction came, and Egypt was thrown prostrate beneath the feet of
Assyria; but her claim to dominion over the Western Asiatics was never
abandoned, and was revived in all its pomp by Ptolemy Euergetes, who
brought back in triumph to Egypt the images of the gods which had been
removed by Assyrians and Babylonians centuries before. This claim was
never allowed by the Asiatics, it is true, and their kings wrote to the
proudest Pharaoh as to an absolute equal. Even the King of Cyprus calls
the King of Egypt his brother. But Palestine was admitted to be
an Egyptian possession, and the Phoenicians were always energetic
supporters of the Egyptian régime against the lawless Bedawîn tribes,
who were constantly intriguing with the Kheta or Hittite power to the
north against Egypt.

The existence of this extra-Egyptian imperial possession meant that the
eyes of the Egyptians were now permanently turned in the direction of
Western Asia, with which they were henceforth in constant and intimate
communication. The first Theban period and the Hyksos invasion,
therefore, mark a turning-point in Egyptian history, at which we may
fitly leave it for a time in order to turn our attention to those
peoples of Western Asia with whom the Egyptians had now come into
permanent contact.

Just as new discoveries have been made in Egypt, which have modified our
previous conception of her history, so also have the excavators of
the ancient sites in the Mesopotamian valley made, during the last few
years, far-reaching discoveries, which have enabled us to add to and
revise much of our knowledge of the history of Babylonia and Assyria. In
Palestine and the Sinaitic peninsula also the spade has been used with
effect, but a detailed account of work in Sinai and Palestine falls
within the limits of a description of Biblical discoveries rather than
of this book. The following chapters will therefore deal chiefly with
modern discoveries which have told us new facts with regard to the
history of the ancient Sumerians themselves, and of the Babylonians,
Elamites, Kassites, and Assyrians, the inheritors of the ancient
Sumerian civilization, which was older than that of Egypt, and which, as
we have seen, probably contributed somewhat to its formation. These
were the two primal civilizations of the ancient world. For two thousand
years each marched upon a solitary road, without meeting the other.
Eventually the two roads converged. We have hitherto dealt with the road
of the Egyptians; we now describe that of the Mesopotamians, up to the
point of convergence.


In the preceding pages it has been shown how recent excavations in Egypt
have revealed an entirely new chapter in the history of that country,
and how, in consequence, our theories with regard to the origin of
Egyptian civilization have been entirely remodelled. Excavations have
been and are being carried out in Mesopotamia and the adjacent countries
with no less enthusiasm and energy than in Egypt itself, and, although
it cannot be said that they have resulted in any sweeping modification
of our conceptions with regard to the origin and kinship of the early
races of Western Asia, yet they have lately added considerably to our
knowledge of the ancient history of the countries in that region of the
world. This is particularly the case in respect of the Sumerians, who,
so far as we know at present, were the earliest inhabitants of the
fertile plains of Mesopotamia. The beginnings of this ancient people
stretch back into the remote past, and their origin is still shrouded in
the mists of antiquity. When first we come across them they have already
attained a high level of civilization. They have built temples and
palaces and houses of burnt and unburnt brick, and they have reduced
their system of agriculture to a science, intersecting their country
with canals for purposes of irrigation and to ensure a good supply of
water to their cities. Their sculpture and pottery furnish abundant
evidence that they have already attained a comparatively high level in
the practice of the arts, and finally they have evolved a complicated
system of writing which originally had its origin in picture-characters,
but afterwards had been developed along phonetic lines. To have attained
to this pitch of culture argues long periods of previous development,
and we must conclude that they had been settled in Southern Babylonia
many centuries before the period to which we must assign the earliest of
their remains at present discovered.

That this people were not indigenous to Babylonia is highly probable,
but we have little data by which to determine the region from which
they originally came. Prom the fact that they built their ziggurats, or
temple towers, of huge masses of unburnt brick which rose high above
the surrounding plain, and that their ideal was to make each “like a
mountain,” it has been argued that they were a mountain race, and the
home from which they sprang has been sought in Central Asia. Other
scholars have detected signs of their origin in their language and
system of writing, and, from the fact that they spoke an agglutinative
tongue and at the earliest period arranged the characters of their
script in vertical lines like the Chinese, it has been urged that
they were of Mongol extraction. Though a case may be made out for this
hypothesis, it would be rash to dogmatize for or against it, and it is
wiser to await the discovery of further material on which a more certain
decision may be based. But whatever their origin, it is certain that the
Sumerians exercised an extraordinary influence on all races with
which, either directly or indirectly, they came in contact. The ancient
inhabitants of Elam at a very early period adopted in principle
their method of writing, and afterwards, living in isolation in the
mountainous districts of Persia, developed it on lines of their own. [*
See Chap. V, and note.] On their invasion of Babylonia the Semites
fell absolutely under Sumerian influence, and, although they eventually
conquered and absorbed the Sumerians, their civilization remained
Sumerian to the core. Moreover, by means of the Semitic inhabitants of
Babylonia Sumerian culture continued to exert its influence on other
and more distant races. We have already seen how a Babylonian element
probably enters into Egyptian civilization through Semitic infiltration
across the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb or by way of the Isthmus of Suez,
and it was Sumerian culture which these Semites brought with them.
In like manner, through the Semitic Babylonians, the Assyrians, the
Kassites, and the inhabitants of Palestine and Syria, and of some
parts of Asia Minor, Armenia, and Kurdistan, all in turn experienced
indirectly the influence of Sumerian civilization and continued in a
greater or less degree to reproduce elements of this early culture.

It will be seen that the influence of the Sumerians furnishes us with
a key to much that would otherwise prove puzzling in the history of the
early races of Western Asia. It is therefore all the more striking to
recall the fact that but a few years ago the very existence of this
ancient people was called in question. At that time the excavations in
Mesopotamia had not revealed many traces of the race itself, and its
previous existence had been mainly inferred from a number of Sumerian
compositions inscribed upon Assyrian tablets found in the library
of Ashur-bani-pal at Nineveh. These compositions were furnished with
Assyrian translations upon the tablets on which they were inscribed,
and it was correctly argued by the late Sir Henry Rawlinson, the late M.
Oppert, Prof. Schrader, Prof. Sayce, and other scholars that they were
written in the language of the earlier inhabitants of the country whom
the Semitic Babylonians had displaced. But M. Halévy started a theory to
the effect that Sumerian was not a language at all, in the proper sense
of the term, but was a cabalistic method of writing invented by the
Semitic Babylonian priests.


     Drawn up by an Assyrian scribe to assist him in his studies
     of early texts. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

The argument on which the upholders of this theory mainly relied was
that many of the phonetic values of the Sumerian signs were obviously
derived from Semitic equivalents, and they hastily jumped to the
conclusion that the whole language was similarly derived from Semitic
Babylonian, and was, in fact, a purely arbitrary invention of the
Babylonian priests. This theory ignored all questions of inherent
probability, and did not attempt to explain why the Babylonian priests
should have troubled themselves to make such an invention and afterwards
have stultified themselves by carefully appending Assyrian translations
to the majority of the Sumerian compositions which they copied out.
Moreover, the nature of these compositions is not such as we should
expect to find recorded in a cabalistic method of writing. They contain
no secret lore of the Babylonian priests, but are merely hymns and
prayers and religious compositions similar to those employed by the
Babylonians and Assyrians themselves.

But in spite of its inherent improbabilities, M. Halévy succeeded in
making many converts to his theory, including Prof. Friedrich Delitzsch
and a number of the younger school of German Assyriologists. More
conservative scholars, such as Sir Henry Rawlinson, M. Oppert, and Prof.
Schrader, stoutly opposed the theory, maintaining that Sumerian was a
real language and had been spoken by an earlier race whom the Semitic
Babylonians had conquered; and they explained the resemblance of some of
the Sumerian values to Semitic roots by supposing that Sumerian had
not been suddenly superseded by the language of the Semitic invaders
of Babylonia, but that the two tongues had been spoken for long periods
side by side and that each had been strongly influenced by the other.
This very probable and sane explanation has been fully corroborated
by subsequent excavations, particularly those that were carried out at
Telloh in Southern Babylonia by the late M. de Sarzec. In these mounds,
which mark the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Shirpurla, were
found thousands of clay tablets inscribed in archaic characters and in
the Sumerian language, proving that it had actually been the language of
the early inhabitants of Babylonia; while the examples of their art and
the representations of their form and features, which were also afforded
by the diggings at Telloh, proved once for all that the Sumerians were
a race of strongly marked characteristics and could not be ascribed to a
Semitic stock.

The system of writing invented by the ancient Sumerians was adopted by
the Semitic Babylonians, who modified it to suit their own language.
Moreover, the archaic forms of the characters, many of which under the
Sumerians still retained resemblances to the pictures of objects from
which they were descended, were considerably changed. The lines, of
which they were originally composed, gave way to wedges, and the number
of the wedges of which each sign consisted was gradually diminished, so
that in the time of the Assyrians and the later Babylonians many of the
characters bore small resemblance to the ancient Sumerian forms
from which they had been derived. The reading of Sumerian and early
Babylonian inscriptions by the late Assyrian scribes was therefore an
accomplishment only to be acquired as the result of long study, and it
is interesting to note that as an assistance to the reading of these
early texts the scribes compiled lists of archaic signs. Sometimes
opposite each archaic character they drew a picture of the object from
which they imagined it was derived. This fact is significant as proving
that the Assyrian scribes recognized the pictorial origin of cuneiform
writing, but the pictures they drew opposite the signs are rather
fanciful, and it cannot be said that their guesses were very successful.
That we are able to criticize the theories of the Assyrians as to the
origin and forms of the early characters is in the main due to M. de
Sarzec’s labours, from whose excavations many thousands of inscriptions
of the Sumerians have been recovered.

The main results of M. de Sarzec’s diggings at Telloh have already been
described by M. Maspero in his history, and therefore we need not go
over them again, but will here confine ourselves to the results which
have been obtained from recent excavations at Telloh and at other sites
in Western Asia. With the death of M. de Sarzec, which occurred in his
sixty-fifth year, on May 31, 1901, the wonderfully successful series of
excavations which he had carried out at Telloh was brought to an end. In
consequence it was feared at the time that the French diggings on this
site might be interrupted for a considerable period. Such an event would
have been regretted by all those who are interested in the early history
of the East, for, in spite of the treasures found by M. de Sarzec in the
course of his various campaigns, it was obvious that the site was far
from being exhausted, and that the tells as yet unexplored contained
inscriptions and antiquities extending back to the very earliest periods
of Sumerian history.


     Opposite each the scribe has drawn a picture of the object
     from which he imagined it was derived. Photograph by Messrs.
     Mansell & Co.

The announcement which was made in 1902, that the French government had
appointed Capt. Gaston Cros as the late M. de Sarzec’s successor, was
therefore received with general satisfaction. The fact that Capt. Cros
had already successfully carried out several difficult topographical
missions in the region of the Sahara was a sufficient guarantee that the
new diggings would be conducted on a systematic and exhaustive scale.

The new director of the French mission in Chaldæa arrived at Telloh in
January, 1903, and one of his first acts was to shift the site of the
mission’s settlement from the bank of the Shatt el-Hai, where it had
always been established in the time of M. de Sarzec, to the mounds where
the actual digging took place. The Shatt el-Hai had been previously
chosen as the site of the settlement to ensure a constant supply of
water, and as it was more easily protected against attack by night.
But the fact that it was an hour’s ride from the diggings caused an
unnecessary loss of time, and rendered the strict supervision of the
diggers a matter of considerable difficulty. During the first season’s
work rough huts of reeds, surrounded by a wall of earth and a ditch,
served the new expedition for its encampment among the mounds of Telloh,
but last year these makeshift arrangements were superseded by a regular
house built out of the burnt bricks which are found in abundance on the
site. A reservoir has also been built, and caravans of asses bring water
in skins from the Shatt el-Hai to keep it filled with a constant supply
of water, while the excellent relations which Capt. Cros has established
with the Karagul Arabs, who occupy Telloh and its neighbourhood, have
proved to be the best kind of protection for the mission engaged in
scientific work upon the site.

The group of mounds and hillocks, known as Telloh, which marks the site
of the ancient Sumerian city of Shirpurla, is easily distinguished from
the flat surrounding desert. The mounds extend in a rough oval formation
running north and south, about two and a half miles long and one and a
quarter broad. In the early spring, when the desert is covered with a
light green verdure, the ruins are clearly marked out as a yellow spot
in the surrounding green, for vegetation does not grow upon them. In the
centre of this oval, which approximately marks the limits of the ancient
city and its suburbs, are four large tells or mounds running, roughly,
north and south, their sides descending steeply on the east, but with
their western slopes rising by easier undulations from the plain. These
four principal tells are known as the “Palace Tell,” the “Tell of the
Fruit-house,” the “Tell of the Tablets,” and the “Great Tell,” and,
rising as they do in the centre of the site, they mark the position of
the temples and the other principal buildings of the city.

An indication of the richness of the site in antiquities was afforded
to the new mission before it had started regular excavation and while
it was yet engaged in levelling its encampment and surrounding it with a
wall and ditch. The spot selected for the camp was a small mound to the
south of the site of Telloh, and here, in the course of preparing the
site for the encampment and digging the ditch, objects were found at
a depth of less than a foot beneath the surface of the soil. These
included daggers, copper vases, seal-cylinders, rings of lapis and
cornelian, and pottery. M. de Sarzec had carried out his latest
diggings in the Tell of the Tablets, and here Capt. Cros continued
the excavations and came upon the remains of buildings and recovered
numerous objects, dating principally from the period of Gudea and
the kings of Ur. The finds included small terra-cotta figures, a
boundary-stone of Gamil-Sin, and a new statue of Gudea, to which we will
refer again presently.

In the Tell of the Fruit-house M. de Sarzec had already discovered
numbers of monuments dating from the earlier periods of Sumerian history
before the conquest and consolidation of Babylonia under Sargon of
Agade, and had excavated a primitive terrace built by the early king
Ur-Ninâ. Both on and around this large mound Capt. Cros cut an extensive
series of trenches, and in digging to the north of the mound he found a
number of objects, including an alabaster tablet of Ente-mena which had
been blackened by fire. At the foot of the tell he found a copper helmet
like those represented on the famous Stele of Vultures discovered by
M. de Sarzec, and among the tablets here recovered was one with an
inscription of the time of Urukagina, which records the complete
destruction of the city of Shirpurla during his reign, and will be
described in greater detail later on in this chapter. On the mound
itself a considerable area was uncovered with remains of buildings
still in place, the use of which appears to have been of an industrial
character. They included flights of steps, canals with raised banks,
and basins for storing water. Not far off are the previously discovered
wells of Bannadu, so that it is legitimate to suppose that Capt. Cros
has here come upon part of the works which were erected at a very early
period of Sumerian history for the distribution of water to this portion
of the city.

[Illustration: 154.jpg Obelisk of Manishtusu.]

     An early Semitic king of the city of Kish in Babylonia. The
     photograph is taken from M. de Morgan’s Delegation en Perse,
     M’em., t. i, pi. ix.

In the Palace Tell Capt. Cros has sunk a series of deep shafts to
determine precisely the relations which the buildings of Ur-Bau and
Gudea, found already on this part of the site, bear to each other, and
to the building of Adad-nadin-akhê, which had been erected there at
a much later period. Prom this slight sketch of the work carried out
during the last two years at Telloh it will have been seen that the
Prench mission in Chaldæa is at present engaged in excavations of a
most important character, which are being conducted in a regular and
scientific manner. As the area of the excavations marks the site of the
chief city of the Sumerians, the diggings there have yielded and
are yielding material of the greatest interest and value for the
reconstruction of the early history of Chaldæa. After briefly describing
the character and results of other recent excavations in Mesopotamia and
the neighbouring lands, we will return to the discoveries at Telloh and
sketch the new information they supply on the history of the earliest
inhabitants of the country.

Another French mission that is carrying out work of the very greatest
interest to the student of early Babylonian history is that which is
excavating at Susa in Persia, under the direction of M. J. de Morgan,
whose work on the prehistoric and early dynastic sites in Egypt has
already been described. M. de Morgan’s first season’s digging at Susa
was carried out in the years 1897-8, and the success with which he met
from the very first, when cutting trenches in the mound which marks
the acropolis of the ancient city, has led him to concentrate his main
efforts in this part of the ruins ever since. Provisional trenches cut
in the part of the ruins called “the Royal City,” and in others of the
mounds at Susa, indicate that many remains may eventually be found there
dating from the period of the Achæmenian Kings of Persia. But it is in
the mound of the acropolis at Susa that M. de Morgan has found monuments
of the greatest historical interest and value, not only in the history
of ancient Elam, but also in that of the earliest rulers of Chaldæa.

In the diggings carried out during the first season’s work on the site,
an obelisk was found inscribed on four sides with a long text of some
sixty-nine columns, written in Semitic Babylonian by the orders
of Manishtusu, a very early Semitic king of the city of Kish in
Babylonia.[* See illustration.] The text records the purchase by the
King of Kish of immense tracts of land situated at Kish and in
its neighbourhood, and its length is explained by the fact that it
enumerates full details of the size and position of each estate, and the
numbers and some of the names of the dwellers on the estates who were
engaged in their cultivation. After details have been given of a number
of estates situated in the same neighbourhood, a summary is appended
referring to the whole neighbourhood, and the fact is recorded that the
district dealt with in the preceding catalogue and summary had been duly
acquired by purchase by Manishtusu, King of Kish. The long text upon
the obelisk is entirely taken up with details of the purchase of the
territory, and therefore its subject has not any great historical value.
Mention is made in it of two personages, one of whom may possibly
be identified with a Babylonian ruler whose name is known from other
sources. If the proposed identification t should prove to be correct,
it would enable us to assign a more precise date to Manishtusu than has
hitherto been possible. One of the personages in question was a certain
Urukagina, the son of Engilsa, patesi of Shirpurla, and it has been
suggested that he is the same Urukagina who is known to have occupied
the throne of Shirpurla, though this identification would bring
Manishtusu down somewhat later than is probable from the general
character of his inscriptions. The other personage mentioned in the text
is the son of Manishtusu, named Mesalim, and there is more to be said
for the identification of this prince with Mesilim, the early King of
Kish, who reigned at a period anterior to that of Eannadu, patesi of

The mere fact of so large and important an obelisk, inscribed with a
Semitic text by an early Babylonian king, being found at Susa was
an indication that other monuments of even greater interest might be
forthcoming from the same spot; and this impression was intensified when
a stele of victory was found bearing an inscription of Naram-Sin, the
early Semitic King of Agade, who reigned about 3750 B.C. One face of
this stele is sculptured with a representation of the king conquering
his enemies in a mountainous country. [* See illustration.] The king
himself wears a helmet adorned with the horns of a bull, and he carries
his battle-axe and his bow and an arrow. He is nearly at the summit of
a high mountain, and up its steep sides, along paths through the
trees which clothe the mountain, climb his allies and warriors bearing
standards and weapons. The king’s enemies are represented suing for
mercy as they turn to fly before him. One grasps a broken spear, while
another, crouching before the king, has been smitten in the throat by an
arrow from the king’s bow. On the plain surface of the stele above the
king’s head may be seen traces of an inscription of Narâm-Sin engraved
in three columns in the archaic characters of his period. From the few
signs of the text that remain, we gather that Narâm-Sin had conducted
a campaign with the assistance of certain allied princes, including the
Princes of Sidur, Saluni, and Lulubi, and it is not improbable that
they are to be identified with the warriors represented on the stele as
climbing the mountain behind Narâm-Sin.

In reference to this most interesting stele of Narâm-Sin we may here
mention another inscription of this king, found quite recently at
Susa and published only this year, which throws additional light on
Narâm-Sin’s allies and on the empire which he and his father Sargon
founded. The new inscription was engraved on the base of a diorite
statue, which had been broken to pieces so that only the base with
a portion of the text remained. From this inscription we learn that
Narâm-Sin was the head of a confederation of nine chief allies, or
vassal princes, and waged war on his enemies with their assistance.
Among these nine allies of course the Princes of Sidur, Saluni, and
Lulubi are to be included. The new text further records that Narâm-Sin
made an expedition against Magan (the Sinaitic peninsula), and defeated
Manium, the lord of that region, and that he cut blocks of stone in the
mountains there and transported them to his city of Agade, where
from one of them he made the statue on the base of which the text was
inscribed. It was already known from the so-called “Omens of Sargon
and Narâm-Sin” (a text inscribed on a clay tablet from Ashur-bani-pal’s
library at Nineveh which associates the deeds of these two early rulers
with certain augural phenomena) that Narâm-Sin had made an expedition
to Sinai in the course of his reign and had conquered the king of the
country. The new text gives contemporary confirmation of this assertion
and furnishes us with additional information with regard to the name of
the conquered ruler of Sinai and other details of the campaign.

That monuments of such great interest to the early history of Chaldæa
should have been found at Susa in Persia was sufficiently startling,
but an easy explanation was at first forthcoming from the fact that
Narâm-Sin’s stele of victory had been used by the later Elamite king,
Shutruk-Nakhkhunte, for an inscription of his own; this he had engraved
in seven long lines along the great cone in front of Narâm-Sin, which is
probably intended to represent the peak of the mountain. From the fact
that it had been used in this way by Shutruk-Nakhkhunte, it seemed
permissible to infer that it had been captured in the course of a
campaign and brought to Susa as a trophy of war. But we shall see later
on that the existence of early Babylonian inscriptions and monuments in
the mound of the acropolis at Susa is not to be explained in this way,
but was due to the wide extension of both Sumerian and Semitic influence
throughout Western Asia from the very earliest periods. This subject
will be treated more fully in the chapter dealing with the early history
of Blam.

The upper surface of the tell of the acropolis at Susa for a depth of
nearly two metres contains remains of the buildings and antiquities
of the Achæmenian kings and others of both later and earlier dates.
In these upper strata of the mound are found remains of the
Arab, Sassanian, Parthian, Seleucian, and Persian periods, mixed
indiscriminately with one another and with Elamite objects and materials
of all ages, from that of the earliest patesis down to that of the
Susian kings of the seventh century B.C.

[Illustration: 160.jpg BABIL.]

     The most northern of the mounds which now mark the site of
     the ancient city of Babylon; used for centuries as a quarry
     for building materials.

The reason of this mixture of the remains of many races and periods is
that the later builders on the mound made use of the earlier building
materials which they found preserved within it. Along the skirts of the
mound may still be seen the foundations of the wall which formed the
principal defence of the acropolis in the time of Xerxes, and in many
places not only are the foundations preserved but large pieces of the
wall itself still rise above the surface of the soil.

[Illustration: 160a.jpg “STELE OF VICTORY”]

[Illustration: 160a-text.jpg TEXT FOR “STELE OF VICTORY”]

     Stele of Narâm-Sin, an early Semitic King of Agade in
     Babylonia, who reigned about B. C. 3750. From the photograph
     by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

The plan of the wall is quite irregular, following the contours of the
mound, and, though it is probable that the wall was strengthened and
defended at intervals by towers, no trace of these now remains. The
wall is very thick and built of unburnt bricks, and the system of
fortification seems to have been extremely simple at this period.


     The group probably represents Babylon or the Babylonian king
     triumphing over the country’s enemies. The Arabs regard the
     figure as an evil spirit, and it is pitted with the marks of
     bullets shot at it. They also smear it with filth when they
     can do so unobserved; in the photograph some newly smeared
     filth may be seen adhering to the side of the lion.

The earlier citadel or fortress of the city of Susa was built at the top
of the mound and must have been a more formidable stronghold than that
of the Achæmenian kings, for, besides its walls, it had the additional
protection of the steep slopes of the mound.

Below the depth of two metres from the surface of the mound are found
strata in which Elamite objects and materials are, no longer mixed with
the remains of later ages, but here the latest Elamite remains are found
mingled with objects and materials dating from the earliest periods of
Elam’s history. The use of un-burnt bricks as the principal material
for buildings erected on the mound in all ages has been another cause
of this mixture of materials, for it has little power of resistance to
water, and a considerable rain-storm will wash away large portions
of the surface and cause the remains of different strata to be mixed
indiscriminately with one another. In proportion as the trenches were
cut deeper into the mound the strata which were laid bare showed remains
of earlier ages than those in the upper layers, though here also remains
of different periods are considerably mixed. The only building that has
hitherto been discovered at Susa by M. de Morgan, the ground plan of
which was in a comparatively good state of preservation, was a small
temple of the god Shu-shinak, and this owed its preservation to the
fact that it was not built of unburnt brick, but was largely composed of
burnt brick and plaques and tiles of enamelled terra-cotta.

But although the diggings of M. de Morgan at Susa have so far afforded
little information on the subject of Elamite architecture, the separate
objects found have enabled us to gain considerable knowledge of the
artistic achievements of the race during the different periods of
its existence. Moreover, the stelæ and stone records that have been
recovered present a wealth of material for the study of the long history
of Elam and of the kings who ruled in Babylonia during the earliest


     Showing the depth in the mound to which the diggings are

The most famous of M. de Morgan’s recent finds is the long code of
laws drawn up by Hammurabi, the greatest king of the First Dynasty of
Babylon.* This was engraved upon a huge block of black diorite, and
was found in the tell of the acropolis in the winter of 1901-2. This
document in itself has entirely revolutionized current theories as to
the growth and origin of the principal ancient legal codes. It proves
that Babylonia was the fountainhead from which many later races borrowed
portions of their legislative systems. Moreover, the subjects dealt
with in this code of laws embrace most of the different classes of the
Babylonian people, and it regulates their duties and their relations
to one another in their ordinary occupations and pursuits. It therefore
throws much light upon early Babylonian life and customs, and we shall
return to it in the chapter dealing with these subjects.

     * It will be noted that the Babylonian dynasties are
     referred to throughout this volume as “First Dynasty,”
      “Second Dynasty,” “Third Dynasty,” etc. They are thus
     distinguished from the Egyptian dynasties, the order of
     which is indicated by Roman numerals, e.g. “Ist Dynasty,”
      “IId Dynasty,” “IIId Dynasty.”

The American excavators at Nippur, under the direction of Mr. Haynes,
have done much in the past to increase our knowledge of Sumerian and
early Babylonian history, but the work has not been continued in
recent years, and, unfortunately, little progress has been made in the
publication of the material already accumulated. In fact, the leadership
in American excavation has passed from the University of Pennsylvania to
that of Chicago. This progressive university has sent out an expedition,
under the general direction of Prof. R. F. Harper (with Dr. E. J. Banks
as director of excavations), which is doing excellent work at Bismya,
and, although it is too early yet to expect detailed accounts of their
achievements, it is clear that they have already met with considerable
success. One of their recent finds consists of a white marble statue of
an early Sumerian king named Daudu, which was set up in the temple of
E-shar in the city of Udnun, of which he was ruler. From its archaic
style of workmanship it may be placed in the earliest period of Sumerian
history, and may be regarded as an earnest of what may be expected to
follow from the future labours of Prof. Harper’s expedition.


At Fâra and at Abû Hatab in Babylonia, the Deutsch-Orient Gesellschaft,
under Dr. Koldewey’s direction, has excavated Sumerian and Babylonian
remains of the early period. At the former site they unearthed the
remains of many private houses and found some Sumerian tablets of
accounts and commercial documents, but little of historical interest;
and an inscription, which seems to have come from Abu Hatab, probably
proves that the Sumerian name of the city whose site it marks was
Kishurra. But the main centre of German activity in Babylonia is the
city of Babylon itself, where for the last seven years Dr. Koldewey has
conducted excavations, unearthing the palaces of Nebuchadnezzar II on
the mound termed the Kasr, identifying the temple of E-sagila under the
mound called Tell Amran ibn-Ali, tracing the course of the sacred way
between E-sagila and the palace-mound, and excavating temples dedicated
to the goddess Ninmakh and the god Ninib.


     In the middle distance may be seen the metal trucks running
     on light rails which are employed on the work for the
     removal of the débris from the diggings.

Dr. Andrae, Dr. Koldewey’s assistant, has also completed the excavation
of the temple dedicated to Nabû at Birs Nimrud. On the principal mound
at this spot, which marks the site of the ancient city of Borsippa,
traces of the ziggurat, or temple tower, may still be seen rising from
the soil, the temple of Nabû lying at a lower level below the steep
slope of the mound, which is mainly made up of débris from the
ziggurat. Dr. Andrae has recently left Babylonia for Assyria, where
his excavations at Sher-ghat, the site of the ancient Assyrian city of
Ashur, are confidently expected to throw considerable light on the early
history of that country and the customs of the people, and already he
has made numerous finds of considerable interest.


Since the early spring of 1903 excavations have been conducted at
Kuyunjik, the site of the city of Nineveh, by Messrs. L. W. King and R.
C. Thompson on behalf of the Trustees of the British Museum, and have
resulted in the discovery of many early remains in the lower strata of
the mound, in addition to the finding of new portions of the two palaces
already known and partly excavated, the identification of a third
palace, and the finding of an ancient temple dedicated to Nabû, whose
existence had already been inferred from a study of the Assyrian
inscriptions.* All these diggings at Babylon, at Ashur, and at Nineveh
throw more light upon the history of the country during the Assyrian and
Neo-Babylonian periods, and will be referred to later in the volume.

     * It may be noted that excavations are also being actively
     carried on in Palestine at the present time. Mr. Macalister
     has for some years been working for the Palestine
     Exploration Fund at Gezer; Dr. Schumacher is digging at
     Megiddo for the German Palestine Society; and Prof. Sellin
     is at present excavating at Taanach (Ta’annak) and will
     shortly start work at Dothan. Good work on remains of later
     historical periods is also being carried on under the
     auspices of the Deutsch-Orient Gesellschaft at Ba’albek and
     in Galilee. It would be tempting to include here a summary
     of the very interesting results that have recently been
     achieved in this fruitful field of archaeological research,
     for it is true that these excavations may strictly be said
     to bear on the history of a portion of Western Asia. But the
     problems which they raise would more naturally be discussed
     in a work dealing with recent excavation and research in
     relation to the Bible, and to have summarized them
     adequately would have increased the size of the present
     volume considerably beyond its natural limits. They have
     therefore not been included within the scope of the present


Meanwhile, we will return to the diggings described at the beginning
of this chapter, as affording new information concerning the earliest
periods of Chaldæan history.

A most interesting inscription has recently been discovered by Capt.
Cros at Telloh, which throws considerable light on the rivalry which
existed between the cities of Shirpurla and Gishkhu, and at the same
time furnishes valuable material for settling the chronology of the
earliest rulers whose inscriptions have been found at Mppur and their
relations to contemporary rulers in Shirpurla.


The cities of Gishkhu and Shirpurla were probably situated not far from
one another, and their rivalry is typical of the history of the early
city-states of Babylonia. The site of the latter city, as has already
been said, is marked by the mounds of Telloh on the east bank of the
Shatt el-Hai, the natural stream joining the Tigris and Euphrates, which
has been improved and canalized by the dwellers in Southern Babylonia
from the earliest period.


The site of Gishkhu may be set with considerable probability not far to
the north of Telloh on the opposite bank of the Shatt el-Hai. These
two cities, situated so close to one another, exercised considerable
political influence, and though less is known of Gishkhu than of
the more famous Babylonian cities such as Ur, Brech, and Larsam, her
proximity to Shirpurla gave her an importance which she might not
otherwise have possessed. The earliest knowledge we possess of the
relations existing between Gishkhu and Shirpurla refers to the reign of
Mesilim, King of Kish, the period of whose rule may be provisionally set
before that of Sargon of Agade, i.e, about 4000 B.C.

At this period there was rivalry between the two cities, in consequence
of which Mesilim, King of Kish, was called in as arbitrator. A record of
the treaty of delimitation that was drawn up on this occasion has been
preserved upon the recently discovered cone of Entemena. This document
tells us that at the command of the god Enlil, described as “the king
of the countries,” Ningirsu, the chief god of Shirpurla, and the god of
Gishkhu decided to draw up a line of division between their respective
territories, and that Mesilim, King of Kish, acting under the direction
of his own god Kadi, marked out the frontier and set up a stele between
the two territories to commemorate the fixing of the boundary.

This policy of fixing the boundary by arbitration seems to have been
successful, and to have secured peace between Shirpurla and Gishkhu
for some generations. But after a period which cannot be accurately
determined a certain patesi of Gishkhu, named Ush, was filled with
ambition to extend his territory at the expense of Shirpurla. He
therefore removed the stele which Mesilim had set up, and, invading the
plain of Shirpurla, succeeded in conquering and holding a district named
Gu-edin. But Ush’s successful raid was not of any permanent benefit to
his city, for he was in his turn defeated by the forces of Shirpurla,
and his successor upon the throne, a patesi named Enakalli, abandoned a
policy of aggression, and concluded with Eannadu, patesi of Shirpurla, a
solemn treaty concerning the boundary between their realms, the text of
which has been preserved to us upon the famous Stele of Vultures in the

     * A fragment of this stele is also preserved in the British
     Museum. It is published in Cuneiform Texts in the British
     Museum, Pt. vii.

According to this treaty Gu-edin was restored to Shirpurla, and a deep
ditch was dug between the two territories which should permanently
indicate the line of demarcation. The stele of Mesilim was restored to
its place, and a second stele was inscribed and set up as a memorial
of the new treaty. Enakalli did not negotiate the treaty on equal terms
with Eannadu, for he only secured its ratification by consenting to pay
heavy tribute in grain for the supply of the great temples of Nin-girsu
and Ninâ in Shirpurla. It would appear that under Eannadu the power
and influence of Shirpurla were extended over the whole of Southern
Babylonia, and reached even to the borders of Elam. At any rate, it is
clear that during his lifetime the city of Gishkhu was content to remain
in a state of subjection to its more powerful neighbour. But it was
always ready to seize any opportunity of asserting itself and of
attempting to regain its independence.

[Illustration: 172.jpg CLAY MEMORIAL-TABLET OF EANNADU.]

     The characters of the inscription well illustrate the
     pictorial origin of the Sumerian system of writing.
     Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

Accordingly, after Eannadu’s death the men of Gishkhu again took the
offensive. At this time Urlumma, the son and successor of Enakalli, was
on the throne of Gishkhu, and he organized the forces of the city
and led them out to battle. His first act was to destroy the frontier
ditches named after Ningirsu and Ninâ, the principal god and goddess of
Shirpurla, which Eannadu, the powerful foe of Gishkhu, had caused to be
dug. He then tore down the stele on which the terms of Eannadu’s treaty
had been engraved and broke it into pieces by casting it into the fire,
and the shrines which Eannadu had built near the frontier, and had
consecrated to the gods of Shirpurla, he razed to the ground. But
again Shirpurla in the end proved too strong for Gishkhu. The ruler
in Shirpurla at this time was Enannadu, who had succeeded his brother
Eannadu upon the throne. He marched out to meet the invading forces
of the men of Gishkhu, and a battle was fought in the territory of
Shirpurla. According to one account, the forces of Shirpurla were
victorious, while on the cone of Ente-mena no mention is made of
the issue of the combat. The result may not have been decisive, but
Enannadu’s action at least checked Urlumma’s encroachments for the time.

It would appear that the death of the reigning patesi in Shirpurla was
always the signal for an attack upon that city by the men of Gishkhu.
They may have hoped that the new ruler would prove a less successful
leader than the last, or that the accession of a new monarch might give
rise to internal dissensions in the city which would weaken Shirpurla’s
power of resisting a sudden attack. As Eannadu’s death had encouraged
Urlumma to lead out the men of Gishkhu, so the death of Enannadu seemed
to him a good opportunity to make another bid for victory. But this time
the result of the battle was not indecisive. Entemena had succeeded his
father Enannadu, and he led out to victory the forces of Shir-purla. The
battle was fought near the canal Lumma-girnun-ta, and when the men of
Gishkhu were put to flight they left sixty of their fellows lying dead
upon the banks of the canal. Entemena tells us that the bones of these
warriors were left to bleach in the open plain, but he seems to have
buried those of the men of Gishkhu who fell in the pursuit, for he
records that in five separate places he piled up burial-mounds in which
the bodies of the slain were interred. Entemena was not content with
merely inflicting a defeat upon the army of Gishkhu and driving it back
within its own borders, for he followed up his initial advantage and
captured the capital itself. He deposed and imprisoned Urlumma, and
chose one of his own adherents to rule as patesi of Gishkhu in his
stead. The man he appointed for this high office was named Hi, and he
had up to that time been priest in Ninâb. Entemena summoned him to his
presence, and, after marching in a triumphal procession from Girsu
in the neighbourhood of Shirpurla to the conquered city, proceeded to
invest him with the office of patesi of Gishkhu.

Entemena also repaired the frontier ditches named after Ningirsu and
Ninâ, which had been employed for purposes of irrigation as well as for
marking the frontier; and he gave instructions to Hi to employ the men
dwelling in the district of Karkar on this work, as a punishment for
the active part they had taken in the recent raid into the territory of
Shirpurla. Entemena also restored and extended the system of canals
in the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates, lining one of the
principal channels with stone.

[Illustration: 175.jpg MARBLE GATE]

     Socket Bearing An Inscription Of Entemena, A Powerful
     Patesi, Or Viceroy, Of Shirpurla. In the photograph the
     gate-socket is resting on its side so as to show the
     inscription, but when in use it was set flat upon the ground
     and partly buried below the level of the pavement of the
     building in which it was used. It was fixed at the side of a
     gateway and the pivot of the heavy gate revolved in the
     shallow hole or depression in its centre. As stone is not
     found in the alluvial soil of Babylonia, the blocks for
     gate-sockets had to be brought from great distances and they
     were consequently highly prized. The kings and patesis who
     used them in their buildings generally had their names and
     titles engraved upon them, and they thus form a valuable
     class of inscriptions for the study of the early history.
     Photograph by Messrs. Man-sell & Co.

He thus added greatly to the wealth of Shirpurla by increasing the area
of territory under cultivation, and he continued to exercise authority
in Gishkhu by means of officers appointed by himself. A record of his
victory over Gishkhu was inscribed by Entemena upon a number of clay
cones, that the fame of it might be preserved in future days to the
honour of Ningirsu and the goddess Ninâ. He ends this record with a
prayer for the preservation of the frontier. If ever in time to come the
men of Gishkhu should break out across the frontier-ditch of Ningirsu,
or the frontier-ditch of Ninâ, in order to seize or lay waste the lands
of Shirpurla, whether they be men of the city of Gishkhu itself or men
of the mountains, he prays that Enlil may destroy them and that Ningirsu
may lay his curse upon them; and if ever the warriors of his own city
should be called upon to defend it, he prays that they may be full of
courage and ardour for their task.

The greater part of this information with regard to the struggles
between Gishkhu and Shirpurla, between the period of Mesilim, King of
Kish, and that of Entemena, is supplied by the inscription of the latter
ruler which has been found written around a small cone of clay. There is
little doubt that the text was also engraved by the orders of Entemena
upon a stone stele which was set up, like those of Mesilim and Eannadu,
upon the frontier. Other copies of the inscription were probably
engraved and erected in the cities of Gishkhu and Shirpurla, and to
ensure the preservation of the record Entemena probably had numerous
copies of it made upon small cones of clay which were preserved and
possibly buried in the structure of the temples of Shirpurla. Entemena’s
foresight in this matter has been justified by results, for, while his
great memorials of stone have perished, the preservation of one of his
small cones has sufficed to make known to later ages his own and his
forefathers’ prowess in their continual contests with their ancient rival

After the reign of Entemena we have little information with regard to
the relations between Gishkhu and Shirpurla, though it is probable that
the effects of his decisive victory continued to exercise a moderating
influence on Gishkhu’s desire for expansion and secured a period
of peaceful development for Shirpurla without the continual fear of
encroachments on the part of her turbulent neighbour. We may assume that
this period of tranquillity continued during the reigns of Enannadu II,
Enlitarzi, and Lugal-anda, but, when in the reign of Urukagina the men
of Gishkhu once more emerge from their temporary obscurity, they appear
as the authors of deeds of rapine and bloodshed committed on a scale
that was rare even in that primitive age.

In the earlier stages of their rivalry Gishkhu had always been defeated,
or at any rate checked, in her actual conflicts with Shirpurla. When
taking the aggressive the men of Gishkhu seem generally to have confined
themselves to the seizure of territory, such as the district of Gu-edin,
which was situated on the western bank of the Shaft el-Hai and divided
from their own lands only by the frontier-ditch. If they ever actually
crossed the Shaft el-Hai and raided the lands on its eastern bank, they
never ventured to attack the city of Shirpurla itself. And, although
their raids were attended with some success in their initial stages, the
ruling patesis of Shirpurla were always strong enough to check them; and
on most occasions they carried the war into the territory of Gishkhu,
with the result that they readjusted the boundary on their own terms.
But it would appear that all these primitive Chalæan cities were subject
to alternate periods of expansion and defeat, and Shirpurla was not an
exception to the rule. It was probably not due so much to Urukagina’s
personal qualities or defects as a leader that Shirpurla suffered
the greatest reverse in her history during his reign, but rather to
Gishkhu’s gradual increase in power at a time when Shirpurla herself
remained inactive, possibly lulled into a false sense of security by the
memory of her victories in the past. Whatever may have been the cause of
Gishkhu’s final triumph, it is certain that it took place in Urukagina’s
reign, and that for many years afterwards the hegemony of Southern
Babylonia remained in her hands, while Shirpurla for a long period
passed completely out of existence as an independent or semi-independent

The evidence of the catastrophe that befell Shirpurla at this period is
furnished by a small clay tablet recently found at Telloh during Captain
Cros’s excavations on that site. The document on which the facts in
question are recorded had no official character, and in all probability
it had not been stored in any library or record chamber. The actual spot
at Telloh where it was found was to the north of the mound in which
the most ancient buildings have been recovered, and at the depth of two
metres below the surface. No other tablets appear to have been found
near it, but that fact in itself would not be sufficient evidence on
which to base any theory as to its not having originally formed part of
the archives of the city. Its unofficial character is attested by the
form of the tablet and the manner in which the information upon it is
arranged. In shape there is little to distinguish the document from the
tablets of accounts inscribed in the reign of Urukagina, great numbers
of which have been found recently at Telloh. Roughly square in shape,
its edges are slightly convex, and the text is inscribed in a series of
narrow columns upon both the obverse and the reverse. The text itself
is not a carefully arranged composition, such as are the votive and
historical inscriptions of early Sumerian rulers. It consists of a
series of short sentences enumerating briefly and without detail the
separate deeds of violence and sacrilege performed by the men of Gishkhu
after their capture of the city. It is little more than a catalogue or
list of the shrines and temples destroyed during the sack of the city,
or defiled by the blood of the men of Shirpurla who were slain therein.
No mention is made in the list of the palace of the Urukagina, or of any
secular building, or of the dwellings of the citizens themselves. There
is little doubt that these also were despoiled and destroyed by the
victorious enemy, but the writer of the tablet is not concerned for the
moment with the fate of his city or his fellow citizens. He appears to
be overcome with the thought of the deeds of sacrilege committed against
his gods; his mind is entirely taken up with the magnitude of the
insult offered to the god Ningirsu, the city-god of Shirpurla. His bare
enumeration of the deeds of sacrilege and violence loses little by its
brevity, and, when he has ended the list of his accusations against the
men of Gishkhu, he curses the goddess to whose influence he attributes
their success.

No composition at all like this document has yet been recovered, and as
it is not very long we may here give a translation of the text. It will
be seen that the writer plunges at once into the subject of his
charges against the men of Gishkhu. No historical _résumé_ prefaces
his accusations, and he gives no hint of the circumstances that have
rendered their delivery possible. The temples of his city have been
profaned and destroyed, and his indignation finds vent in a mere
enumeration of their titles. To his mind the facts need no comment,
for to him it is barely conceivable that such sacred places of ancient
worship should have been defiled. He launches his indictment against
Gishkhu in the following terms: “The men of Gishkhu have set fire to the
temple of E-ki [... ], they have set fire to Antashura, and they have
carried away the silver and the precious stones therefrom! They have
shed blood in the palace of Tirash, they have shed blood in Abzubanda,
they have shed blood in the shrine of Enlil and in the shrine of the
Sun-god, they have shed blood in Akhush, and they have carried away the
silver and the precious stones therefrom! They have shed blood in the
Gikana of the sacred grove of the goddess Ninmakh, and they have carried
away the silver and the precious stones therefrom! They have shed blood
in Baga, and they have carried away the silver and the precious stones
therefrom! They have shed blood in Abzu-ega, they have set fire to
the temple of Gatumdug, and they have carried away the silver and the
precious stones therefrom, and have destroyed her statue! They have set
fire to the.... of the temple E-anna of the goddess Ninni, and they
have carried away the silver and the precious stones therefrom, and have
destroyed her statue! They have shed blood in Shapada, and they have
carried away the silver and precious stones therefrom! They have....
in Khenda, they have shed blood in the temple of Nindar in the town
of Kiab, and they have carried away the silver and the precious stones
therefrom! They have set fire to the temple of Dumuzi-abzu in the town
of Kinunir, and they have carried away the silver and the precious
stones therefrom! They have set fire to the temple of Lugaluru, and they
have carried away the silver and the precious stones therefrom! They
have shed blood in E-engura, the temple of the goddess Ninâ, and they
have carried away the silver and the precious stones therefrom! They
have shed blood in Sag..., the temple of Amageshtin, and the silver
and the precious stones of Amageshtin have they carried away! They have
removed the grain from Ginarbaniru, the field of the god Ningirsu,
so much of it as was under cultivation! The men of Gishkhu, by the
despoiling of Shirpurla, have committed a transgression against the god
Ningirsu! The power that is come unto them, from them shall be taken
away! Of transgression on the part of Urukagina, King of Girsu, there
is none. As for Lugalzaggisi, patesi of Gishkhu, may his goddess Ni-daba
bear on her head (the weight of) this transgression!”

Such is the account, which has come down to us from the rough tablet of
some unknown scribe, of the greatest misfortune experienced by Shirpurla
during the long course of her history. Many of the great temples
mentioned in the text as among those which were burnt down and despoiled
of their treasures are referred to more than once in the votive and
historical inscriptions of earlier rulers of Shirpurla, who occupied the
throne before the ill-fated Urukagina. The names of some of them, too,
are to be found in the texts of the later pate-sis of that city, so
that it may be concluded that in course of time they were rebuilt and
restored to their former splendour. But there is no doubt that the
despoiling and partial destruction of Shirpurla in the reign of
Urukagina had a lasting effect upon the fortunes of that city, and
effectively curtailed her influence among the greater cities of Southern

We may now turn our attention to the leader of the men of Gishkhu, under
whose direction they achieved their final triumph over their ancient,
and for long years more powerful, rival Shirpurla. The writer of our
tablet mentions his name in the closing words of his text when he curses
him and his goddess for the destruction and sacrilege that they have
wrought. “As for Lugalzaggisi,” he says, “patesi of Gishkhu, may his
goddess Nidaba bear on her head (the weight of ) this transgression!”
 Now the name of Lugalzaggisi has been found upon a number of fragments
of vases made of white calcite stalagmite which were discovered by Mr.
Haynes during his excavations at Nippur. All the vases were engraved
with the same inscription, so that it was possible by piecing the
fragments of text together to obtain a more or less complete copy of
the records which were originally engraved upon each of them. From
these records we learned for the first time, not only the name of
Lugalzaggisi, but the fact that he founded a powerful coalition of
cities in Babylonia at what was obviously a very early period in the
history of the country. In the text he describes himself as “King of
Erech, king of the world, the priest of Ana, the hero of Nidaba, the
son of Ukush, patesi of Gishkhu, the hero of Nidaba, the man who was
favourably regarded by the sure eye of the King of the Lands (i.e.
the god Enlil), the great patesi of Enlil, unto whom understanding was
granted by Enki, the chosen of the Sun-god, the exalted minister of
Enzu, endowed with strength by the Sun-god, the worshipper of Ninni, the
son who was conceived by Nidaba, who was nourished by Ninkharsag with
the milk of life, the attendant of Umu, priestess of Erech, the servant
who was trained by Ninâgidkhadu, the mistress of Erech, the great
minister of the gods.” Lugalzaggisi then goes on to describe the extent
of his dominion, and he says: “When the god Enlil, the lord of the
countries, bestowed upon Lugalzaggisi the kingdom of the world, and
granted unto him success in the sight of the world, when he filled the
lands with his power, and conquered them from the rising of the sun unto
the setting of the same, at that time he made straight his path from the
Lower Sea of the Tigris and Euphrates unto the Upper Sea, and he granted
him dominion over all from the rising of the sun unto the setting of the
same, so that he caused the lands to dwell in peace.”

Now when first the text of this inscription was published there existed
only vague indications of the date to be assigned to Lugalzaggisi and
the kingdom that he founded. It was clear from the titles which he bore,
that, though Gishkhu was his native place, he had extended his authority
far beyond that city and had chosen Erech as his capital. Moreover,
he claimed an empire extending from “the Lower Sea of the Tigris and
Euphrates unto the Upper Sea.” There is no doubt that the Lower Sea here
mentioned is the Persian Gulf, and it has been suggested that the Upper
Sea may be taken to be the Mediterranean, though it may possibly have
been Lake Van or Lake Urmi. But whichever of these views might be
adopted, it was clear that Lugalzaggisi was a great conqueror, and had
achieved the right to assume the high-sounding title of lugal halama,
“king of the world.” In these circumstances it was of the first
importance for the study of primitive Chaldæan history and chronology
to ascertain approximately the period at which Lugalzaggisi reigned.

The evidence on which such a question could be provisionally settled was
of the vaguest and most uncertain character, but such as it was it
had to suffice, in the absence of more reliable data. In settling all
problems connected with early Chaldæan chronology, the starting-point
was, and in fact still is, the period of Sargon I, King of Agade,
inasmuch as the date of his reign is settled, according to the reckoning
of the scribes of Nabonidus, as about 3800 B.C. It is true that this
date has been called in question, and ingenious suggestions for amending
it have been made by some writers, while others have rejected it
altogether, holding that it merely represented a guess on the part of
the late Babylonians and could be safely ignored in the chronological
schemes which they brought forward. But nearly every fresh discovery
made in the last few years has tended to confirm some point in the
traditions current among the later Babylonians with regard to the
earlier history of their country. Consequently, reliance may be placed
with increased confidence on the truth of such traditions as a
whole, and we may continue to accept those statements which yet await
confirmation from documents more nearly contemporary with the early
period to which they refer. It is true that such a date as that assigned
by Nabonidus to Sargon is not to be regarded as absolutely fixed, for
Nabonidus is obviously speaking in round numbers, and we may allow for
some minor inaccuracies in the calculations of his scribes. But it is
certain that the later Babylonian priests and scribes had a wealth of
historical material at their disposal which has not come down to us. We
may therefore accept the date given by Nabonidus for Sargon of Agade
and his son Narâm-Sin as approximately accurate, and this is also the
opinion of the majority of writers on early Babylonian history.

The diggings at Nippur furnished indications that certain inscriptions
found on that site and written in a very archaic form of script were
to be assigned to a period earlier than that of Sargon. One class of
evidence was obtained from a careful study of the different levels at
which the inscriptions and the remains of buildings were found. At a
comparatively deep level in the mound inscriptions of Sargon himself
were recovered, along with bricks stamped with the name of Narâm-Sin,
his son. It was, therefore, a reasonable conclusion roughly to date the
particular stratum in which these objects were found to the period of
the empire established by Sargon, with its centre at Agade. Later on
excavations were carried to a lower level, and remains of buildings
were discovered which appeared to belong to a still earlier period
of civilization. An altar was found standing in a small enclosure
surrounded by a kind of curb. Near by were two immense clay vases which
appeared to have been placed on a ramp or inclined plane leading up to
the altar, and remains were also found of a massive brick building in
which was an arch of brick. No inscriptions were actually found at this
level, but in the upper level assigned to Sargon were a number of texts
which might very probably be assigned to the pre-Sargonic period. None
of these were complete, and they had the appearance of having been
intentionally broken into small fragments. There was therefore something
to be said for the theory that they might have been inscribed by the
builders of the construction in the lowest levels of the mound, and that
they were destroyed and scattered by some conqueror who had laid their
city in ruins.

But all such evidence derived from noting the levels at which
inscriptions are found is in its nature extremely uncertain and liable
to many different interpretations, especially if the strata show signs
of having been disturbed. Where a pavement or building is still intact,
with the inscribed bricks of the builder remaining in their original
positions, conclusions may be confidently drawn with regard to the age
of the building and its relative antiquity to the strata above and below
it. But the strata in the lowest levels at Nippur, as we have seen, were
not in this condition, and such evidence as they furnished could only be
accepted if confirmed by independent data. Such confirmation was to be
found by examination of the early inscriptions themselves.

It has been remarked that most of them were broken into small pieces,
as though by some invader of the country; but this was not the case with
certain gate-sockets and great blocks of diorite which were too hard
and big to be easily broken. Moreover, any conqueror of a city would be
unlikely to spend time and labour in destroying materials which might
be usefully employed in the construction of other buildings which he
himself might erect. Stone could not be obtained in the alluvial plains
of Babylonia and had to be quarried in the mountains and brought great

[Illustration: 188.jpg STONE GATE]

     Socket Bearing An Inscription of Uk-Engur, An Early King
     of The City Of Ur. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

From any building of his predecessors which he razed to the ground, an
invader would therefore remove the gate-sockets and blocks of stone for
his own use, supposing he contemplated building on the site. If he left
the city in ruins and returned to his own country, some subsequent king,
when clearing the ruined site for building operations, might come across
the stones, and he would not leave them buried, but would use them for
his own construction. And this is what actually did happen in the case
of some of the building materials of one of these early kings, from the
lower strata of Nippur. Certain of the blocks which bore the name of
Lugalkigubnidudu had been used again by Sargon, King of Agade, who
engraved his own name upon them without obliterating the name of the
former king.

It followed that Lugalkigubnidudu belonged to the pre-Sargonic period,
and, although the same conclusive evidence was not forthcoming in the
case of Lugalzag-gisi, he also without much hesitation was set in
this early period, mainly on the strength of the archaic forms of the
characters employed in his inscriptions. In fact, they were held to be
so archaic that, not only was he said to have reigned before Sargon of
Agade, but he was set in the very earliest period of Chaldæan history,
and his empire was supposed to have been contemporaneous with the very
earliest rulers of Shirpurla. The new inscription found by Captain
Cros will cause this opinion to be considerably modified. While it
corroborates the view that Lugalzaggisi is to be set in the pre-Sargonic
period, it proves that he lived and reigned very shortly before him. As
we have already seen, he was the contemporary of Urukagina, who belongs
to the middle period of the history of Shirpurla. Lugalzaggisi’s capture
and sack of the city of Shirpurla was only one of a number of conquests
which he achieved. His father Ukush had been merely patesi of the city
of Gish-khu, but he himself was not content with the restricted sphere
of authority which such a position implied, and he eventually succeeded
in enforcing his authority over the greater part of Babylonia. From
the fact that he styles himself King of Erech, we may conclude that
he removed his capital from Ukush to that city, after having probably
secured its submission by force of arms. In fact, his title of “king of
the world” can only have been won as the result of many victories, and
Captain Cros’s tablet gives us a glimpse of the methods by which he
managed to secure himself against the competition of any rival. The
capture of Shirpurla must have been one of his earliest achievements,
for its proximity to Gish-khu rendered its reduction a necessary
prelude to any more extensive plan of conquest. But the kingdom which
Lugalzaggisi founded cannot have endured long.

Under Sargon of Agade, the Semites gained the upper hand in Babylonia,
and Erech, Grishkhu, and Shirpurla, as well as the other ancient cities
in the land, fell in turn under his domination and formed part of the
extensive empire which he ruled.

Concerning the later rulers of city-states of Babylonia which succeeded
the disruption of the empire founded by Sargon of Agade and consolidated
by Narâm-Sin, his son, the excavations have little to tell us which has
not already been made use of by Prof. Maspero in his history of this

     * The tablets found at Telloh by the late M. de Sarzec, and
     published during his lifetime, fall into two main classes,
     which date from different periods in early Chaldæan
     history. The great majority belong to the period when the
     city of Ur held pre-eminence among the cities of Southern
     Babylonia, and they are dated in the reigns of Dungi, Bur-
     Sin, Gamil-Sin, and Ine-Sin. The other and smaller
     collection belongs to the earlier period of Sargon and
     Narâm-Sin; while many of the tablets found in M. de Sarzec’s
     last diggings, which were published after his death, are to
     be set in the great gap between these two periods. Some of
     those recently discovered, which belong to the period of
     Dungi, contain memoranda concerning the supply of food for
     the maintenance of officials stopping at Shirpurla in the
     course of journeys in Babylonia and Elam, and they throw an
     interesting light on the close and constant communication
     which took place at this time between the great cities of
     Mesopotamia and the neighbouring countries.

[Illustration: 190.jpg STATUE OF GUDEA.]

     The most famous of the later patesis, or viceroys, of
     Shirpurla, the Sumerian city in Southern Babylonia now
     marked by the mounds of Telloh. Photograph by Messrs.
     Mansell & Co.

Ur, Isin, and,Larsam succeeded one another in the position of leading
city in Babylonia, holding Mppur, Eridu, Erech, Shirpurla, and the other
chief cities in a condition of semi-dependence upon themselves. We may
note that the true reading of the name of the founder of the dynasty
of Ur has now been ascertained from a syllabary to be Ur-Engur; and an
unpublished chronicle in the British Museum relates that his son Dungi
cared greatly for the city of Eridu, but sacked Babylon and carried off
its spoil, together with the treasures from E-sagila, the great temple
of Marduk. Such episodes must have been common at this period when each
city was striving for hegemony. Meanwhile, Shirpurla remained the centre
of Sumerian influence in Babylonia, and her patesis were content to owe
allegiance to so powerful a ruler as Dungi, King of Ur, while at all
times exercising complete authority within their own jurisdiction.

During the most recent diggings that have been carried out at Telloh a
find of considerable value to the history of Sumerian art has been
made. The find is also of great general interest, since it enables us
to identify a portrait of Gudea, the most famous of the later Sumerian
patesis. In the course of excavating the Tell of Tablets Captain Cros
found a little seated statue made of diorite. It was not found in place,
but upside down, and appeared to have been thrown with other débris
scattered in that portion of the mound. On lifting it from the trench it
was seen that the head of the statue was broken off, as is the case
with all the other statues of Gudea found at Telloh. The statue bore an
inscription of Gudea, carefully executed and well preserved, but it
was smaller than other statues of the same ruler that had been
already recovered, and the absence of the head thus robbed it of any
extraordinary interest. On its arrival at the Louvre, M. Léon Heuzey was
struck by its general resemblance to a Sumerian head of diorite formerly
discovered by M. de Sarzec at Telloh, which has been preserved in the
Louvre for many years. On applying the head to the newly found statue,
it was found to fit it exactly, and to complete the monument, and we
are thus enabled to identify the features of Gudea. Prom a photographic
reproduction of this statue, it is seen that the head is larger than
it should be, in proportion to the body, a characteristic which is also
apparent in a small Sumerian statue preserved in the British Museum.


     Probably situated in the neighbourhood of Telloh. The
     circular shape is very unusual, and appears to have been
     used only for survey-tablets. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell
     & Co.

Gudea caused many statues of himself to be made out of the hard diorite
which he brought for that purpose from the Sinaitic peninsula, and from
the inscriptions preserved upon them it is possible to ascertain the
buildings in which they were originally placed. Thus one of the statues
previously found was set up in the temple of Ninkharsag, two others in
E-ninnû, the temple of the god Ningirsu, three more in the temple of the
goddess Bau, one in E-anna, the temple of the goddess Ninni, and another
in the temple of Gatumdug. The newly found statue of the king was made
to be set up in the temple erected by Gudea at Girsu in honour of the
god Ningishzida, as is recorded in the inscription engraved on the front
of the king’s robe, which reads as follows:

“In the day when the god Ningirsu, the strong warrior of Enlil, granted
unto the god Ningishzida, the son of Ninâzu, the beloved of the gods,
(the guardianship of) the foundation of the city and of the hills and
valleys, on that day Gudea, patesi of Shirpurla, the just man who
loveth his god, who for his master Ningirsu hath constructed his temple
E-ninnu, called the shining Imgig, and his temple E-pa, the temple
of-the seven zones of heaven, and for the goddess Ninâ, the queen, his
lady, hath constructed the temple Sirara-shum, which riseth higher than
(all) the temples in the world, and hath constructed their temples for
the great gods of Lagash, built for his god Ningishzida his temple in
Girsu. Whosoever shall proclaim the god Ningirsu as his god, even as
I proclaim him, may he do no harm unto the temple of my god! May he
proclaim the name of this temple! May that man be my friend, and may he
proclaim my name! Gudea hath made the statue, and ‘Unto - Gudea - the
- builder - of - the - temple - hath life-been-given hath he called its
name, and he hath brought it into the temple.”

The long name which Gudea gave to the statue, “Unto - Gudea - the -
builder - of - the - temple - hath - life-been-given,” is characteristic
of the practice of the Sumerian patesis, who always gave long and
symbolical names to statues, stelae, and sacred objects dedicated and
set up in their temples. The occasion on which the temple was built, and
this statue erected within it, seems to have been the investiture of
the god Ningishzida with special and peculiar powers, and it possibly
inaugurated his introduction into the pantheon of Shirpurla. Ningishzida
is called in the inscription the son of Ninazu, who was the husband of
the Queen of the Underworld.

In one of his aspects he was therefore probably a god of the underworld
himself, and it is in this character that he was appointed by Ningirsu
as guardian of the city’s foundations. But “the hills and valleys”
 (i.e. the open country) were also put under his jurisdiction, so that
in another aspect he was a god of vegetation. It is therefore not
improbable that, like the god Dumuzi, or Tammuz, he was supposed to
descend into the underworld in winter, ascending to the surface of the
earth with the earliest green shoots of vegetation in the spring.*

     * Cf. Thureau-Dangin, Rev. d’Assyr., vol. vi. (1904), p. 24.

A most valuable contribution has recently been made to our knowledge of
Sumerian religion and of the light in which these early rulers regarded
the cult and worship of their gods, by the complete interpretation of
the long texts inscribed upon the famous cylinders of Gudea, the patesi
of Shirpurla, which have been preserved for many years in the Louvre.
These two great cylinders of baked clay were discovered by the late M.
de Sarzec so long ago as the year 1877, during the first period of his
diggings at Telloh, and, although the general nature of their contents
has long been recognized, no complete translation of the texts inscribed
upon them had been published until a few months ago. M. Thureau-Dangin,
who has made the early Sumerian texts his special study, has devoted
himself to their interpretation for some years past, and he has just
issued the first part of his monograph upon them. In view of the
importance of the texts and of the light they throw upon the religious
beliefs and practices of the early Sumerians, a somewhat detailed
account of their contents may here be given.

The occasion on which the cylinders were made was the rebuilding by
Gudea of E-ninnû, the great temple of the god Ningirsu, in the city of
Shirpurla. The two cylinders supplement one another, one of them having
been inscribed while the work of construction was still in progress, the
other after the completion of the temple, when the god Ningirsu had been
installed within his shrine with due pomp and ceremony. It would appear
that Southern Babylonia had been suffering from a prolonged drought, and
that the water in the rivers and canals had fallen, so that the crops
had suffered and the country was threatened with famine. Gudea was at a
loss to know by what means he might restore prosperity to his country,
when one night he had a dream, and it was in consequence of this dream
that he eventually erected one of the most sumptuously appointed of
Sumerian temples. By this means he secured the return of Ningirsu’s
favour and that of the other gods, and his country once more enjoyed the
blessings of peace and prosperity.

In the opening words of the first of his cylinders Gudea describes how
the great gods themselves took counsel and decreed that he should build
the temple of E-ninnû and thereby restore to his city the supply of
water it had formerly enjoyed. He records that on the day on which the
destinies were fixed in heaven and upon earth, Enlil, the chief of the
gods, and Ningirsu, the city-god of Shirpurla, held converse. And Enlil,
turning to Ningirsu, said: “In my city that which is fitting is not
done. The stream doth not rise. The stream of Enlil doth not rise. The
high waters shine not, neither do they show their splendour. The stream
of Enlil bringeth not good water like the Tigris. Let the King (i.e.
Ningirsu) therefore proclaim the temple. Let the decrees of the temple
E-ninnû be made illustrious in heaven and upon earth!” The great gods
did not communicate their orders directly to Gudea, but conveyed their
wishes to him by means of a dream. And while the patesi slept a vision
of the night came to him, and he beheld a man whose stature was so great
that it equalled the heavens and the earth. And by the crown he wore
upon his head Gudea knew that the figure must be a god. And by his side
was the divine eagle, the emblem of Shirpurla, and his feet rested upon
the whirlwind, and a lion was crouching upon his right hand and upon his
left. And the figure spoke to the patesi, but he did not understand the
meaning of the words. Then it seemed to Gudea that the sun rose from
the earth and he beheld a woman holding in her hand a pure reed, and she
carried also a tablet on which was a star of the heavens, and she seemed
to take counsel with herself. And while Gudea was gazing he seemed to
see a second man who was like a warrior; and he carried a slab of lapis
lazuli and on it he drew out the plan of a temple. And before the patesi
himself it seemed that a fair cushion was placed, and upon the cushion
was set a mould, and within the mould was a brick, the brick of destiny.
And on the right hand the patesi beheld an ass which lay upon the

Such was the dream which Gudea beheld in a vision of the night, and he
was troubled because he could not interpret it. So he decided to go
to the goddess Ninâ, who could divine all mysteries of the gods, and
beseech her to tell him the meaning of the vision. But before applying
to the goddess for her help, he thought it best to secure the mediation
of the god Ningirsu and the goddess Gatumdug, in order that they should
use their influence with Ninâ to induce her to reveal the interpretation
of the dream. So the patesi set out to the temple of Ningirsu, and,
having offered a sacrifice and poured out fresh water, he prayed to the
god that his sister, Ninâ, the child of Eridu, might be prevailed upon
to give him help. And the god hearkened to his prayer. Then Gudea made
offerings, and before the sleeping-chamber of the goddess Gatumdug he
offered a sacrifice and poured out fresh water. And he prayed to the
goddess, calling her his queen and the child of the pure heaven, who
gave life to the countries and befriended and preserved the people or
the man on whom she looked with favour.

“I have no mother,” cried Gudea, “but thou art my mother! I have no
father, but thou art a father to me!” And the goddess Gatumdug gave
ear to the patesi’s prayer. Thus encouraged by her favour and that of
Ningirsu, Gudea set out for the temple of the goddess Ninâ.

On his arrival at the temple, the patesi offered a sacrifice and poured
out fresh water, as he had already done when approaching the presence of
Ningirsu and Gatumdug. And he prayed to Ninâ, as the goddess who divines
the secrets of the gods, beseeching her to interpret the vision that had
been sent to him; and he then recounted to her the details of his dream.
When the patesi had finished his story, the goddess addressed him and
told him that she would explain the meaning of his dream to him. And
this was the interpretation of the dream. The man whose stature was so
great that it equalled the heavens and the earth, whose head was that
of a god, at whose side was the divine eagle, whose feet rested on the
whirlwind, while a lion couched on his right hand and on his left, was
her brother, the god Ningirsu. And the words which he uttered were an
order to the patesi that he should build the temple E-ninnû. And the sun
which rose from the earth before the patesi was the god Ningishzida,
for like the sun he goes forth from the earth. And the maiden who held
a pure reed in her hand, and carried the tablet with the star, was her
sister, the goddess Nidaba: the star was the pure star of the temple’s
construction, which she proclaimed. And the second man, who was like a
warrior and carried the slab of lapis lazuli, was the god Nindub, and the
plan of the temple which he drew was the plan of E-ninnû. And the brick
which rested in its mould upon the cushion was the sacred brick of
E-ninnû. And as for the ass which lay upon the ground, that, the goddess
said, was the patesi himself.

Having interpreted the meaning of the dream, the goddess Ninâ proceeded
to give Gudea instruction as to how he should go to work to build the
temple. She told him first of all to go to his treasure-house and bring
forth his treasures from their sealed cases, and out of these to make
certain offerings which he was to place near the god Ningirsu, in the
temple in which he was dwelling at that time. The offerings were to
consist of a chariot, adorned with pure metal and precious stones;
bright arrows in a quiver; the weapon of the god, his sacred emblem, on
which Gudea was to inscribe his own name; and finally a lyre, the music
of which was wont to soothe the god when he took counsel with himself.
Ninâ added that if the patesi carried out her instructions and made the
offerings she had specified, Ningirsu would reveal to him the plan on
which the temple was to be built, and would also bless him. Gudea bowed
himself down in token of his submission to the commands of the goddess,
and proceeded to execute them forthwith. He brought out his treasures,
and from the precious woods and metals which he possessed his craftsmen
fashioned the objects he was to present, and he set them in Ningirsu’s
temple near to the god. He worked day and night, and, having prepared a
suitable spot in the precincts of the temple at the place of judgment,
he spread out upon it as offerings a fat sheep and a kid and the skin of
a young female kid. Then he built a fire of cypress and cedar and other
aromatic woods, to make a sweet savour, and, entering the inner chamber
of the temple, he offered a prayer to Ningirsu. He said that he wished
to build the temple, but he had received no sign that this was the will
of the god, and he prayed for a sign.

While he prayed the patesi was stretched out upon the ground, and the
god, standing near his head, then answered him. He said that he who
should build his temple was none other than Gudea, and that he would
give him the sign for which he asked. But first he described the plan
on which the temple was to be built, naming its various shrines and
chambers and describing the manner in which they were to be fashioned
and adorned. And the god promised that when Gudea should build the
temple, the land would once more enjoy abundance, for Ningirsu would
send a wind which should proclaim to the heavens the return of the
waters. And on that day the waters would fall from the heavens, the
water in the ditches and canals would rise, and water would gush out
from the dry clefts in the ground. And the great fields would once
more produce their crops, and oil would be poured out plenteously in
Sumer[sp.] and wool would again be weighed in great abundance. In that
day the god would go to the mountain where dwelt the whirlwind, and he
would himself direct the wind which should give the land the breath of
life. Gudea must therefore work day and night at the task of building
the temple. One company of men was to relieve another at its toil, and
during the night the men were to kindle lights so that the plain should
be as bright as day. Thus the builders would build continuously. Men
were also to be sent to the mountains to cut down cedars and pines and
other trees and bring their trunks to the city, while masons were to go
to the mountains and were to cut and transport huge blocks of stone to
be used in the construction of the temple. Finally the god gave Gudea
the sign for which he asked. The sign was that he should feel his side
touched as by a flame, and thereby he should know that he was the man
chosen by Ningirsu to carry out his commands.

Gudea bowed his head in submission, and his first act was to consult the
omens, and the omens were favourable. He then proceeded to purify the
city by special rites, so that the mother when angered did not chide her
son, and the master did not strike his servant’s head, and the mistress,
though provoked by her handmaid, did not smite her face. And Gudea drove
all the evil wizards and sorcerers from the city, and he purified and
sanctified the city completely. Then he kindled a great fire of cedar
and other aromatic woods, to make a sweet savour for the gods, and
prayers were offered day and night; and the patesi addressed a prayer
to the Anun-naki, or Spirits of the Earth, who dwelt in Shirpurla,
and assigned a place to them in the temple. Then, having completed
his purification of the city itself, he consecrated its immediate
surroundings. Thus he consecrated the district of Gu-edin, whence the
revenues of Ningirsu were derived, and the lands of the goddess Ninâ
with their populous villages. And he consecrated the wild and savage
bulls which no man could turn aside, and the cedars which were sacred
to Ningirsu, and the cattle of the plains. And he consecrated the armed
men, and the famous warriors, and the warriors of the Sun-god. And the
emblems of the god Ningirsu, and of the two great goddesses, Ninâ and
Ninni, he installed before them in their shrines.

Then Gudea sent far and wide to fetch materials for the construction of
the temple. And the Elamite came from Elani, and men of Susa came from
Susa, and men brought wood from the mountains of Sinai and Melukh-kha.
And into the mountain of cedars, where no man before had penetrated,
the patesi cut a road, and he brought cedars and beams of other precious
woods in great quantities to the city. And he also made a road into the
mountain where stone was quarried, into places where no man before had
penetrated. And he carried great blocks of stone down from the mountain
and loaded them into barges and brought them to the city. And the barges
brought bitumen and plaster, and they were loaded as though they were
carrying grain, and all manner of great things were brought to the
city. Copper ore was brought from the mountain of copper in the land of
Kimash, and gold was brought in powder from the mountains, and silver
was brought from the mountains and porphyry from the land of Melukhkha,
and marble from the mountain of marble. And the patesi installed
goldsmiths and silversmiths, who wrought in these precious metals, for
the adornment of the temple; and he brought smiths who worked in copper
and lead, who were priests of Nin-tu-kalama. In his search for fitting
materials for the building of the temple, Gudea journeyed from the lower
country to the upper country, and from the upper country to the lower
country he returned.

The only other materials now wanting for the construction of the temple
were the sun-dried bricks of clay, of which the temple platform and
the structure of the temple itself were in the main composed. Their
manufacture was now inaugurated by a symbolical ceremony carried out by
the patesi in person. At dawn he performed an ablution with the fitting
rites that accompanied it, and when the day was more advanced he slew
a bull and a kid as sacrifices, and he then entered the temple of
Ningirsu, where he prostrated himself. And he took the sacred mould
and the fair cushion on which it rested in the temple, and he poured a
libation into the mould. Afterwards, having made offerings of honey and
butter, and having burnt incense, he placed the cushion and the mould
upon his head and carried it to the appointed place. There he placed
clay in the mould, shaping it into a brick, and he left the brick in its
mould within the temple. And last of all he sprinkled oil of cedar-wood

The next day at dawn Gudea broke the mould and set the brick in the sun.
And the Sun-god was rejoiced at the brick that he had fashioned. And
Gudea took the brick and raised it on high towards the heavens, and he
carried the brick to his people. In this way the patesi inaugurated the
manufacture of the sun-dried bricks for the temple, the sacred brick
which he had made being the symbol and pattern of the innumerable bricks
to be used in its construction. He then marked out the plan of the
temple, and the text states that he devoted himself to the building of
the temple like a young man who has begun building a house and allows
no pleasure to interfere with his task. And he chose out skilled workmen
and employed them on the building, and he was filled with joy. The gods,
too, are stated to have helped with the building, for Enki fixed the
temennu of the temple, and the goddess Ninâ looked after its oracles,
and Gatumdug, the mother of Shir-purla, fashioned bricks for it morning
and evening, while the goddess Bau sprinkled aromatic oil of cedar-wood.
Gudea himself laid its foundations, and as he did so he blessed the
temple seven times, comparing it to the sacred brick, to the holy
libation-vase, to the divine eagle of Shirpurla, to a terrible couching
panther, to the beautiful heavens, to the day of offerings, and to the
morning light which brightens the land. He caused the temple to rise
towards heaven like a mountain, or like a cedar growing in the desert.
He built it of bricks of Sumer, and the timbers which he set in place
were as strong as the dragon of the deep.

While he was engaged on the building Gudea took counsel of the god Enki,
and he built a fountain for the gods, where they might drink. With the
great stones which he had brought and fashioned he built a reservoir
and a basin for the temple. And seven of the great stones he set up as
stelæ, and he gave them favourable names. The text then recounts
the various parts and shrines of the temple, and it describes their
splendours in similes drawn from the heavens and the earth and the
abyss, or deep, beneath the earth. The temple itself is described as,
being like the crescent of the new moon, or like the sun in the midst
of the stars, or like a mountain of lapis lazuli, or like a mountain of
shining marble. Parts of it are said to have been terrible and strong as
a savage bull, or a lion, or the antelope of the abyss, or the monster
Lakhamu who dwells in the abyss, or the sacred leopard that inspires
terror. One of the doors of the temple was guarded by a figure of the
hero who slew the monster with six heads, and at another door was a good
dragon, and at another a lion; opposite the city were set figures of
the seven heroes, and facing the rising sun was fixed the emblem of the
Sun-god. Figures of other heroes and favourable monsters were set up as
guardians of other portions of the temple. The fastenings of the main
entrance were decorated with dragons shooting out their tongues, and the
bolt of the great door was fashioned like a raging hound.

After this description of the construction and adornment of the
temple the text goes on to narrate how Gudea arranged for its material
endowment. He stalled oxen and sheep, for sacrifice and feasting, in the
outhouses and pens within the temple precincts, and he heaped up grain
in its granaries. Its storehouses he filled with spices so that
they were like the Tigris when its waters are in flood, and in its
treasure-chambers he piled up precious stones, and silver, and lead in
abundance. Within the temple precincts he planted a sacred garden which
was like a mountain covered with vines; and on the terrace he built
a great reservoir, or tank, lined with lead, in addition to the great
stone reservoir within the temple itself. He constructed a special
dwelling-place for the sacred doves, and among the flowers of the temple
garden and under the shade of the great trees the birds of heaven flew
about unmolested.

The first of the two great cylinders of Gudea ends at this point in the
description of the temple, and it is evident that its text was composed
while the work of building was still in progress. Moreover, the writing
of the cylinder was finished before the actual work of building the
temple was completed, for the last column of the text concludes with a
prayer to Ningirsu to make it glorious during the progress of the work,
the prayer ending with the words, “O Ningirsu, glorify it! Glorify the
temple of Ningirsu during its construction!” The text of the second of
the two great cylinders is shorter than that of the first, consisting
of twenty-four instead of thirty columns of writing, and it was composed
and written after the temple was completed. Like the first of the
cylinders, it concludes with a prayer to Ningirsu on behalf of the
temple, ending with the similar refrain, “O Ningirsu, glorify it!
Glorify the temple of Ningirsu after its construction!” The first
cylinder, as we have seen, records how it came about that Gudea decided
to rebuild the temple E-ninnû in honour of Ningirsu. It describes how,
when the land was suffering from drought and famine, Gudea had a dream,
how Ninâ interpreted the dream to mean that he must rebuild the temple,
and how Ningirsu himself promised that this act of piety would restore
abundance and prosperity to the land. Its text ends with the long
description of the sumptuous manner in which the patesi carried out the
work, the most striking points of which we have just summarized. The
narrative of the second cylinder begins at the moment when the building
of the temple was finished, and when all was ready for the great god
Nin-girsu to be installed therein, and its text is taken up with a
description of the ceremonies and rites with which this solemn function
was carried out. It presents us with a picture, drawn from life, of the
worship and cult of the ancient Sumerians in actual operation. In view
of its importance from the point of view of the study and comparison of
the Sumerian and Babylonian religious systems, its contents also may be
summarized. We will afterwards discuss briefly the information furnished
by both the cylinders on the Sumerian origin of many of the religious
beliefs and practices which were current among the later Semitic
inhabitants of Babylonia and Assyria.

When Gudea had finished building the new temple of E-ninnû, and had
completed the decoration and adornment of its shrines, and had planted
its gardens and stocked its treasure-chambers and storehouses, he
applied himself to the preliminary ceremonies and religious preparations
which necessarily preceded the actual function of transferring the
statue of the god Ningirsu from his old temple to his new one. Gudea’s
first act was to install the Anunnaki, or Spirits of the Earth, in the
new temple, and when he had done this, and had supplied additional
sheep for their sacrifices and food in abundance for their offerings, he
prayed to them to give him their assistance and to pronounce a prayer at
his side when he should lead Ningirsu into his new dwelling-place.
The text then describes how Gudea went to the old temple of Ningirsu,
accompanied by his protecting spirits who walked before him and behind
him. Into the old temple he carried sumptuous offerings, and when he
had set them before the god, he addressed him in prayer and said: “O
my King, Ningirsu! O Lord, who curbest the raging waters! O Lord, whose
word surpasseth all others! O Son of Enlil, O warrior, what commands
shall I faithfully carry out? O Ningirsu, I have built thy temple, and
with joy would I lead thee therein, and my goddess Bau would install at
thy side.” We are told that the god accepted Gudea’s prayer, and thereby
he gave his consent to be removed from the old temple of E-ninnû to his
new one which bore the same name.

But the ceremony of the god’s removal was not carried out at once, for
the due time had not arrived. The year ended, and the new year came,
and then “the month of the temple” began. The third day of the month
was that appointed for the installation of Ningirsu. Gudea meanwhile had
sprinkled the ground with oil, and set out offerings of honey and butter
and wine, and grain mixed with milk, and dates, and food untouched
by fire, to serve as food for the gods; and the gods themselves had
assisted in the preparations for the reception of Ningirsu. The god
Asaru made ready the temple itself, and Ninmada performed the ceremony
of purification. The god Enki issued oracles, and the god Nindub, the
supreme priest of Eridu, brought incense. Ninâ performed chants within
the temple, and brought black sheep and holy cows to its folds and
stalls. This record of the help given by the other gods we may interpret
as meaning that the priests attached to the other great Sumerian
temples took part in the preparation of the new temple, and added their
offerings to the temple stores. To many of the gods, also, special
shrines within the temple were assigned.

When the purification of E-ninnû was completed and the way between
the old temple and the new made ready, all the inhabitants of the city
prostrated themselves on the ground. “The city,” says Gudea, “was like
the mother of a sick man who prepareth a potion for him, or like the
cattle of the plain which lie down together, or like the fierce lion,
the master of the plain, when he coucheth.” During the day and the night
before the ceremony of removal, prayers and supplications were uttered,
and at the first light of dawn on the appointed day the god Ningirsu
went into his new temple “like a whirlwind,” the goddess Bau entering
at his side “like the sun rising over Shirpurla.” She entered beside his
couch, like a faithful wife, whose cares are for her own household, and
she dwelt beside his ear and bestowed abundance upon Shirpurla.

As the day began to brighten and the sun rose, Gudea set out as
offerings in the temple a fat ox and a fat sheep, and he brought a vase
of lead and filled it with wine, which he poured out as a libation, and
he performed incantations. Then, having duly established Ningirsu and
Bau in the chief shrine, he turned his attention to the lesser gods and
installed them in their appointed places in the temple, where they would
be always ready to assist Ningirsu in the temple ceremonies and in the
issue of his decrees for the welfare of the city and its inhabitants.
Thus he established the god Galalim, the son of Ningirsu, in a chosen
spot in the great court in front of the temple, where, under the orders
of his father, he should direct the just and curb the evil-doer; he
would also by his presence strengthen and preserve the temple, while
his special duty was to guard the throne of destiny and, on behalf of
Ningirsu, to place the sceptre in the hands of the reigning patesi.
Near to Ningirsu and under his orders Gudea also established the god
Dunshaga, whose function it was to sanctify the temple and to look after
its libations and offerings, and to see to the due performance of the
ceremonies of ablution. This god would offer water to Ningirsu with a
pure hand, he would pour out libations of wine and strong drink, and
would tend the oxen, sheep, kids, and other offerings which were brought
to the temple night and day. To the god Lugalkurdub, who was also
installed in the temple, was assigned the privilege of holding in his
hand the mace with the seven heads, and it was his duty to open the door
of the Gate of Combat. He guarded the sacred weapons of Ningirsu and
destroyed the countries of his enemies. He was Ningirsu’s chief leader
in battle, and another god with lesser powers was associated with him as
his second leader.

Ningirsu’s counsellor was the god Lugalsisa, and he also had his
appointed place in E-ninnû. It was his duty to receive the prayers
of Shirpurla and render them propitious; he superintended and blessed
Ningirsu’s journey when he visited Eridu or returned from that city,
and he made special intercessions for the life of Gudea. The minister of
Ningirsu’s harîm was the god Shakanshabar, and he was installed near to
Nin-girsu that he might issue his commands, both great and small. The
keeper of the harîm was the god Urizu, and it was his duty to purify the
water and sanctify the grain, and he tended Ningirsu’s sleeping-chamber
and saw that all was arranged therein as was fitting. The driver of
Ningirsu’s chariot was the god Ensignun; it was his duty to keep the
sacred chariot as bright as the stars of heaven, and morning and evening
to tend and feed Ningirsu’s sacred ass, called Ug-kash, and the ass
of Eridu. The shepherd of Ningirsu’s kids was the god Enlulim, and he
tended the sacred she-goat who suckled the kids, and he guarded her so
that the serpent should not steal her milk. This god also looked
after the oil and the strong drink of E-ninnû, and saw that its store

Ningirsu’s beloved musician was the god Ushum-gabkalama, and he was
installed in E-ninnû that he might take his flute and fill the temple
court with joy. It was his privilege to play to Ningirsu as he listened
in his harîm, and to render the life of the god pleasant in E-ninnû.
Ningirsu’s singer was the god Lugaligi-khusham, and he had his appointed
place in E-ninnû, for he could appease the heart and soften anger; he
could stop the tears which flowed from weeping eyes, and could lessen
sorrow in the sighing heart. Gudea also installed in E-ninnû the seven
twin-daughters of the goddess Bau, all virgins, whom Ningirsu had
begotten. Their names were Zarzaru, Impaë, Urenuntaëa, Khegir-nuna,
Kheshaga, Gurmu, and Zarmu. Gudea installed them near their father that
they might offer favourable prayers.

The cultivator of the district of Gu-edin was the god Gishbare, and he
was installed in the temple that he might cause the great fields to be
fertile, and might make the wheat glisten in Gu-edin, the plain assigned
to Ningirsu for his revenues. It was this god’s duty also to tend the
machines for irrigation, and to raise the water into the canals and
ditches of Shirpurla, and thus to keep the city’s granaries well filled.
The god Kal was the guardian of the fishing in Gu-edin, and his chief
duty was to place fish in the sacred pools. The steward of Gu-edin was
the god Dimgalabzu, whose duty it was to keep the plain in good order,
so that the birds might abound there and the beasts might raise their
young in peace; he also guarded the special privilege, which the plain
enjoyed, of freedom from any tax levied upon the increase of the
cattle pastured there. Last of all Gudea installed in E-ninnû the god
Lugalenurua-zagakam, who looked after the construction of houses in the
city and the building of fortresses upon the city wall; in the temple it
was his privilege to raise on high a battle-axe made of cedar.

All these lesser deities, having close relations to the god Ningirsu,
were installed by Gudea in his temple in close proximity to him, that
they might be always ready to perform their special functions. But the
greater deities also had their share in the inauguration of the temple,
and of these Gudea specially mentions Ana, Enlil, Ninkharsag, Enki, and
Enzu, who all assisted in rendering the temple’s lot propitious. For at
least three of the greater gods (Ana, Enlil, and the goddess Nin-makh)
Gudea erected shrines near one another and probably within the temple’s
precincts, and, as the passage which records this fact is broken, it is
possible that the missing portion of the text recorded the building of
shrines to other deities. In any case, it is clear that the composer
of the text represents all the great gods as beholding the erection and
inauguration of Ningirsu’s new temple with favour.

After the account of the installation of Ningirsu, and his spouse Bau,
and his attendant deities, the text records the sumptuous offerings
which Gudea placed within Ningirsu’s shrine. These included another
chariot drawn by an ass, a seven-headed battle-axe, a sword with nine
emblems, a bow with terrible arrows and a quiver decorated with wild
beasts and dragons shooting out their tongues, and a bed which was
set within the god’s sleeping-chamber. On the couch in the shrine the
goddess Bau reclined beside her lord Ningirsu, and ate of the great
victims which were sacrificed in their honour.

When the ceremony of installation had been successfully performed, Gudea
rested, and for seven days he feasted with his people. During this time
the maid was the equal of her mistress, and master and servant consorted
together as friends. The powerful and the humble man lay down side by
side, and in place of evil speech only propitious words were heard. The
rich man did not wrong the orphan and the strong man did not oppress the
widow. The laws of Ninâ and Ningirsu were observed, justice was bright
in the sunlight, and the Sun-god trampled iniquity under foot. The
building of the temple also restored material prosperity to the land,
for the canals became full of water and fish swarmed in the pools, the
granaries were filled with grain and the flocks and herds brought forth
their increase. The city of Shirpurla was satiated with abundance.

Such is a summary of the account which Gudea has left us of his
rebuilding of the temple E-ninnû, of the reasons which led him to
undertake the work, and of the results which followed its completion. It
has often been said that the inscriptions of the ancient Sumerians are
without much intrinsic value, that they mainly consist of dull votive
formulæ, and that for general interest the best of them cannot be
compared with the later inscriptions of the Semitic inhabitants
of Mesopotamia. This reproach, for which until recently there was
considerable justification, has been finally removed by the working
out of the texts upon Gudea’s cylinders. For picturesque narrative, for
wealth of detail, and for striking similes, it would be hard to find
their superior in Babylonian and Assyrian literature. They are, in fact,
very remarkable compositions, and in themselves justify the claim that
the Sumerians were possessed of a literature in the proper sense of the

But that is not their only value, for they give a vivid picture of
ancient Sumerian life and of the ideals and aims which actuated the
people and their rulers. The Sumerians were essentially an unmilitary
race. That they could maintain a stubborn fight for their territory is
proved by the prolonged struggle maintained by Shirpurla against her
rival Gishkhu, but neither ruler nor people was inflamed by love of
conquest for its own sake. They were settled in a rich and fertile
country, which supplied their own wants in abundance, and they were
content to lead a peaceful life therein, engaged in agricultural and
industrial pursuits, and devoted wholly to the worship of their gods.
Gudea’s inscriptions enable us to realize with what fervour they carried
out the rebuilding of a temple, and how the whole resources of the
nation were devoted to the successful completion of the work. It is true
that the rebuilding of E-ninnû was undertaken in a critical period when
the land was threatened with famine, and the peculiar magnificence with
which the work was carried out may be partly explained as due to the
belief that such devotion would ensure a return of material prosperity.
But the existence of such a belief is in itself an index to the people’s
character, and we may take it that the record faithfully represents the
relations of the Sumerians to their gods, and the important place which
worship and ritual occupied in the national life.

Moreover, the inscriptions of Gudea furnish much valuable information
with regard to the details of Sumerian worship and the elaborate
organization of the temples. From them we can reconstruct a picture of
one of these immense buildings, with its numerous shrines and courts,
surrounded by sacred gardens and raising its ziggurat, or temple tower,
high above the surrounding city. Within its dark chambers were the
mysterious figures of the gods, and what little light could enter would
have been reflected in the tanks of sacred water sunk to the level of
the pavement. The air within the shrines must have been heavy with the
smell of incense and of aromatic woods, while the deep silence would
have been broken only by the chanting of the priests and the feet of
those that bore offerings. Outside in the sunlight cedars and other rare
trees cast a pleasant shade, and birds flew about among the flowers and
bushes in the outer courts and on the garden terraces. The area covered
by the temple buildings must have been enormous, for they included the
dwellings of the priests, stables and pens for the cattle, sheep, and
kids employed for sacrifice, and treasure-chambers and storehouses and
granaries for the produce from the temple lands.

We also get much information with regard to the nature of the offerings
and the character of the ceremonies which were performed. We may mention
as of peculiar interest Gudea’s symbolical rite which preceded the
making of the sun-dried bricks, and the ceremony of the installation of
Ningirsu in the presence of the prostrate city. The texts also throw
an interesting light on the truly Oriental manner in which, when
approaching one deity for help, the cooperation and assistance of other
deities were first secured. Thus Gudea solicited the intercession of
Ningirsu and Gatumdug before applying to the goddess Ninâ to interpret
his dream. The extremely human character of the gods themselves is also
well illustrated. Thus we gather from the texts that Ningirsu’s temple
was arranged like the palace of a Sumerian ruler and that he was
surrounded by gods who took the place of the attendants and ministers
of his human counterpart. His son was installed in a place of honour and
shared with him the responsibility of government. Another god was his
personal attendant and cupbearer, who offered him fair water and looked
after the ablutions. Two more were his generals, who secured his country
against the attacks of foes. Another was his counsellor, who received
and presented petitions from his subjects and superintended his
journeys. Another was the head of his harîm, a position of great
trust and responsibility, while a keeper of the harîm looked after the
practical details. Another god was the driver of his chariot, and it
is interesting to note that the chariot was drawn by an ass, for horses
were not introduced into Western Asia until a much later period. Other
gods performed the functions of head shepherd, chief musician, chief
singer, head cultivator and inspector of irrigation, inspector of the
fishing, land steward, and architect. His household also included his
wife and his seven virgin daughters. In addition to the account of the
various functions performed by these lesser deities, the texts also
furnish valuable facts with regard to the characters and attributes
of the greater gods and goddesses, such as the attributes of Ningirsu
himself, and the character of Ninâ as the goddess who divined and
interpreted the secrets of the gods.

But perhaps the most interesting conclusions to be drawn from the texts
relate to the influence exerted by the ancient Sumerians upon Semitic
beliefs and practices. It has, of course, long been recognized that the
later Semitic inhabitants of Babylonia and Assyria drew most of their
culture from the Sumerians, whom they displaced and absorbed. Their
system of writing, the general structure of their temples, the ritual of
their worship, the majority of their religious compositions, and many of
their gods themselves are to be traced to a Sumerian origin, and much of
the information obtained from the cylinders of Gudea merely confirms
or illustrates the conclusions already deduced from other sources. As
instances we may mention the belief in spirits, which is illustrated by
the importance attached to the placating of the Anunnaki, or Spirits of
the Earth, to whom a special place and special offerings were assigned
in E-ninnû. The Sumerian origin of ceremonies of purification is
confirmed by Gudea’s purification of the city before beginning the
building of the temple, and again before the transference of the god
from his old temple to the new one. The consultation of omens, which was
so marked a feature of Babylonian and Assyrian life, is seen in actual
operation under the Sumerians; for, even after Gudea had received direct
instructions from Ningirsu to begin building his temple, he did not
proceed to carry them out until he had consulted the omens and found
that they were favourable. Moreover, the references to mythological
beings, such as the seven heroes, the dragon of the deep, and the god
who slew the dragon, confirm the opinion that the creation legends and
other mythological compositions of the Babylonians were derived by them
from Sumerian sources. But there are two incidents in the narrative
which are on a rather different plane and are more startling in their
novelty. One is the story of Gudea’s dream, and the other the sign
which he sought from his god. The former is distinctly apocalyptic in
character, and both may be parallelled in what is regarded as purely
Semitic literature. That such conceptions existed among the Sumerians is
a most interesting fact, and although the theory of independent origin
is possible, their existence may well have influenced later Semitic


Up to five years ago our knowledge of Elam and of the part she played in
the ancient world was derived, in the main, from a few allusions to the
country to be found in the records of Babylonian and Assyrian kings. It
is true that a few inscriptions of the native rulers had been found in
Persia, but they belonged to the late periods of her history, and the
majority consisted of short dedicatory formulae and did not supply us
with much historical information. But the excavations carried on since
then by M. de Morgan at Susa have revealed an entirely new chapter of
ancient Oriental history, and have thrown a flood of light upon the
position occupied by Elam among the early races of the East.

Lying to the north of the Persian Gulf and to the east of the Tigris,
and rising from the broad plains nearer the coast to the mountainous
districts within its borders on the east and north, Elam was one of the
nearest neighbours of Chaldæa. A few facts concerning her relations with
Babylonia during certain periods of her history have long been known,
and her struggles with the later kings of Assyria are known in some
detail; but for her history during the earliest periods we have had to
trust mainly to conjecture. That in the earlier as in the later periods
she should have been in constant antagonism with Babylonia might
legitimately be suspected, and it is not surprising that we should find
an echo of her early struggles with Chaldæa in the legends which were
current in the later periods of Babylonian history. In the fourth and
fifth tablets, or sections, of the great Babylonian epic which describes
the exploits of the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh, a story is told of an
expedition undertaken by Gilgamesh and his friend Ba-bani against an
Elamite despot named Khum-baba. It is related in the poem that Khumbaba
was feared by all who dwelt near him, for his roaring was like the
storm, and any man perished who was rash enough to enter the cedar-wood
in which he dwelt. But Gilgamesh, encouraged by a dream sent him by
Sha-mash, the Sun-god, pressed on with his friend, and, having entered
the wood, succeeded in slaying Khumbaba and in cutting off his head.
This legend is doubtless based on episodes in early Babylonian and
Elamite history. Khumbaba may not have been an actual historical ruler,
but at least he represents or personifies the power of Elam, and the
success of Gilgamesh no doubt reflects the aspirations with which many a
Babylonian expedition set out for the Elamite frontier.

Incidentally it may be noted that the legend possibly had a still closer
historical parallel, for the name of Khumbaba occurs as a component in
a proper name upon one of the Elamite contracts found recently by M. de
Morgan at Mai-Amir. The name in question is written _Khumbaba-arad-ili_,
“Khumbaba, the servant of God,” and it proves that at the date at which
the contract was written (about 1300-1000 B.C.) the name of Khumbaba was
still held in remembrance, possibly as that of an early historical ruler
of the country.

In her struggles with Chaldæa, Elam was not successful during the
earliest historical period of which we have obtained information; and,
so far as we can tell at present, her princes long continued to own
allegiance to the Semitic rulers whose influence was predominant from
time to time in the plains of Lower Mesopotamia. Tradition relates that
two of the earliest Semitic rulers whose names are known to us, Sargon
and Narâm-Sin, kings of Agade, held sway in Elam, for in the “Omens”
 which were current in a later period concerning them, the former is
credited with the conquest of the whole country, while of the latter it
is related that he conquered Apirak, an Elamite district, and captured
its king. Some doubts were formerly cast upon these traditions inasmuch
as they were found in a text containing omens or forecasts, but these
doubts were removed by the discovery of contemporary documents by which
the later traditions were confirmed. Sargon’s conquest of Elam, for
instance, was proved to be historical by a reference to the event in a
date-formula upon tablets belonging to his reign. Moreover, the event
has received further confirmation from an unpublished tablet in the
British Museum, containing a copy of the original chronicle from which
the historical extracts in the “Omens” were derived. The portion of
the composition inscribed upon this tablet does not contain the lines
referring to Sargon’s conquest of Elam, for these occurred in an earlier
section of the composition; but the recovery of the tablet puts beyond
a doubt the historical character of the traditions preserved upon the
omen-tablet as a whole, and the conquest of Elam is thus confirmed
by inference. The new text does recount the expedition undertaken by
Narâm-Sin, the son of Sargon, against Apirak, and so furnishes a direct
confirmation of this event.

Another early conqueror of Elam, who was probably of Semitic origin,
was Alu-usharshid, king of the city of Kish, for, from a number of his
inscriptions found near those of Sargon at Nippur in Babylonia, we learn
that he subdued Elam and Para’se, the district in which the city of Susa
was probably situated. From a small mace-head preserved in the British
Museum we know of another conquest of Elam by a Semitic ruler of this
early period. The mace-head was made and engraved by the orders of
Mutabil, an early governor of the city of Dûr-ilu, to commemorate his
own valour as the man “who smote the head of the hosts” of Elam. Mutabil
was not himself an independent ruler, and his conquest of Elam must have
been undertaken on behalf of the suzerain to whom he owed allegiance,
and thus his victory cannot be classed in the same category as those of
his predecessors. A similar remark applies to the success against
the city of Anshan in Elam, achieved by Grudea, the Sumerian ruler
of Shirpurla, inasmuch as he was a patesi, or viceroy, and not an
independent king. Of greater duration was the influence exercised over
Elam by the kings of Ur, for bricks and contract-tablets have been found
at Susa proving that Dungi, one of the most powerful kings of Ur, and
Bur-Sin, Ine-Sin, and Oamil-Sin, kings of the second dynasty in that
city, all in turn included Elam within the limits of their empire.

Such are the main facts which until recently had been ascertained
with regard to the influence of early Babylonian rulers in Elam. The
information is obtained mainly from Babylonian sources, and until
recently we have been unable to fill in any details of the picture
from the Elamite side. But this inability has now been removed by M.
de Morgan’s discoveries. From the inscribed bricks, cones, stelæ, and
statues that have been brought to light in the course of his excavations
at Susa, we have recovered the name of a succession of native Elamite
rulers. All those who are to be assigned to this early period, during
which Elam owed allegiance to the kings of Babylonia, ascribe to
themselves the title of _patesi_, or viceroy, of Susa, in acknowledgment
of their dependence. Their records consist principally of building
inscriptions and foundation memorials, and they commemorate the
construction or repair of temples, the cutting of canals, and the like.
They do not, therefore, throw much light upon the problems connected
with the external history of Elam during this early period, but we
obtain from them a glimpse of the internal administration of the
country. We see a nation without ambition to extend its boundaries, and
content, at any rate for the time, to owe allegiance to foreign rulers,
while the energies of its native princes are devoted exclusively to the
cultivation of the worship of the gods and to the amelioration of the
conditions of the life of the people in their charge.

A difficult but interesting problem presents itself for solution at the
outset of our inquiry into the history of this people as revealed by
their lately recovered inscriptions,--the problem of their race and
origin. Found at Susa in Elam, and inscribed by princes bearing purely
Elamite names, we should expect these votive and memorial texts to be
written entirely in the Elamite language. But such is not the case,
for many of them are written in good Semitic Babylonian. While some
are entirely composed in the tongue which we term Elamite or Anzanite,
others, so far as their language and style is concerned, might have been
written by any early Semitic king ruling in Babylonia. Why did early
princes of Susa make this use of the Babylonian tongue?

At first sight it might seem possible to trace a parallel in the use of
the Babylonian language by kings and officials in Egypt and Syria
during the fifteenth century B.C., as revealed in the letters from
Tell el-Amarna. But a moment’s thought will show that the cases are not
similar. The Egyptian or Syrian scribe employed Babylonian as a medium
for his official foreign correspondence because Babylonian at that
period was the _lingua franca_ of the East. But the object of the
early Elamite rulers was totally different. Their inscribed bricks and
memorial stelæ were not intended for the eyes of foreigners, but for
those of their own descendants. Built into the structure of a temple,
or buried beneath the edifice, one of their principal objects was to
preserve the name and deeds of the writer from oblivion. Like similar
documents found on the sites of Assyrian and Babylonian cities, they
sometimes include curses upon any impious man, who, on finding the
inscription after the temple shall have fallen into ruins, should in
any way injure the inscription or deface the writer’s name. It will be
obvious that the writers of these inscriptions intended that they should
be intelligible to those who might come across them in the future. If,
therefore, they employed the Babylonian as well as the Elamite language,
it is clear that they expected that their future readers might be either
Babylonian or Elamite; and this belief can only be explained on the
supposition that their own subjects were of mixed race.

It is therefore certain that at this early period of Elamite history
Semitic Babylonians and Elamites dwelt side by side in Susa and retained
their separate languages. The problem therefore resolves itself into the
inquiry: which of these two peoples occupied the country first? Were the
Semites at first in sole possession, which was afterwards disputed by
the incursion of Elamite tribes from the north and east? Or were the
Elamites the original inhabitants of the land, into which the Semites
subsequently pressed from Babylonia?

A similar mixture of races is met with in Babylonia itself in the
early period of the history of that country. There the early Sumerian
inhabitants were gradually dispossessed by the invading Semite, who
adopted the civilization of the conquered race, and took over the system
of cuneiform writing, which he modified to suit his own language. In
Babylonia the Semites eventually predominated and the Sumerians as a
race disappeared, but during the process of absorption the two languages
were employed indiscriminately. The kings of the First Babylonian
Dynasty wrote their votive inscriptions sometimes in Sumerian, sometimes
in Semitic Babylonian; at other times they employed both languages
for the same text, writing the record first in Sumerian and afterwards
appending a Semitic translation by the side; and in the legal and
commercial documents of the period the old Sumerian legal forms and
phrases were retained intact. In Elam we may suppose that the use of the
Sumerian and Semitic languages was the same.

It may be surmised, however, that the first Semitic incursions into Elam
took place at a much later period than those into Babylonia, and under
very different conditions. When overrunning the plains and cities of the
Sumerians, the Semites were comparatively uncivilized, and, so far as we
know, without a system of writing of their own. The incursions into
Elam must have taken place under the great Semitic conquerors, such as
Sar-gon and Narâm-Sin and Alu-usharshid. At this period they had fully
adopted and modified the Sumerian characters to express their own
Semitic tongue, and on their invasion of Elam they brought their system
of writing with them. The native princes of Elam, whom they conquered,
adopted it in turn for many of their votive texts and inscribed
monuments when they wished to write them in the Babylonian language.

Such is the most probable explanation of the occurrence in Elam of
inscriptions in the Old Babylonian language, written by native princes
concerning purely domestic matters. But a further question now suggests
itself. Assuming that this was the order in which events took place,
are we to suppose that the first Semitic invaders of Elam found there a
native population in a totally undeveloped stage of civilization? Or did
they find a population enjoying a comparatively high state of culture,
different from their own, which they proceeded to modify and transform!
Luckily, we have not to fall back on conjecture for an answer to these
questions, for a recent discovery at Susa has furnished material from
which it is possible to reconstruct in outline the state of culture of
these early Elamites.

This interesting discovery consists of a number of clay tablets
inscribed in the proto-Elamite system of writing, a system which was
probably the only one in use in the country during the period before the
Semitic invasion. The documents in question are small, roughly formed
tablets of clay very similar to those employed in the early periods of
Babylonian history, but the signs and characters impressed upon them
offer the greatest contrast to the Sumerian and early Babylonian
characters with which we are familiar. Although they cannot be fully
deciphered at present, it is probable that they are tablets of accounts,
the signs upon them consisting of lists of figures and what are
probably ideographs for things. Some of the ideographs, such as that for
“tablet,” with which many of the texts begin, are very similar to the
Sumerian or Babylonian signs for the same objects; but the majority are
entirely different and have been formed and developed upon a system of
their own.


     The photograph is taken from M. de Morgan’s _Délégation en
     Perse, Mem._, t. vi, pi. 23.

On these tablets, in fact, we have a new class of cuneiform writing in
an early stage of its development, when the hieroglyphic or pictorial
character of the ideographs was still prominent.


     The photograph is reproduced from M. de Morgan’s _Délégation
     en Perse, Mém._, t. vi, pi. 22.

Although the meaning of the majority of these ideographs has not yet
been identified, Père Scheil, who has edited the texts, has succeeded
in making out the system of numeration. He has identified the signs for
unity, 10, 100, and 1,000, and for certain fractions, and the signs for
these figures are quite different from those employed by the Sumerians.

[Illustration: 231a.jpg Fractions]

The system, too, is different, for it is a decimal, and not a
sexagesimal, system of numeration.

That in its origin this form of writing had some connection with that
employed and, so far as we know, invented by the ancient Sumerians
is possible.* But it shows small trace of Sumerian influence, and the
disparity in the two systems of numeration is a clear indication that,
at any rate, it broke off and was isolated from the latter at a very
early period. Having once been adopted by the early Elamites, it
continued to be used by them for long periods with but small change or
modification. Employed far from the centre of Sumerian civilization, its
development was slow, and it seems to have remained in its ideographic
state, while the system employed by the Sumerians, and adopted by the
Semitic Babylonians, was developed along syllabic lines.

     * It is, of course, also possible that the system of writing
     had no connection in its origin with that of the Sumerians,
     and was invented independently of the system employed in
     Babylonia. In that case, the signs which resemble certain of
     the Sumerian characters must have been adopted in a later
     stage of its development. Though it would be rash to
     dogmatize on the subject, the view that connects its origin
     with the Sumerians appears on the whole to fit in best with
     the evidence at present available.

It was without doubt this proto-Elamite system of writing which the
Semites from Babylonia found employed in Elam on their first incursions
into that country. They brought with them their own more convenient form
of writing, and, when the country had once been finally subdued, the
subject Elamite princes adopted the foreign system of writing and
language from their conquerors for memorial and monumental inscriptions.
But the ancient native writing was not entirely ousted, and continued
to be employed by the common people of Elam for the ordinary purposes
of daily life. That this was the case at least until the reign of
Karibu-sha-Shu-shinak, one of the early subject native rulers, is clear
from one of his inscriptions engraved upon a block of limestone to
commemorate the dedication of what were probably some temple furnishings
in honour of the god Shu-shinak.


     The photograph is taken from M. de Morgan’s _Délégation en
     Perse_, Mém., t. vi, pi. 2.

The main part of the inscription is written in Semitic Babylonian,
and below there is an addition to the text written in proto-Elamite
characters, probably enumerating the offerings which the
Karibu-sha-Shushinak decreed should be made for the future in honour
of the god.* In course of time this proto-Elamite system of writing by
means of ideographs seems to have died out, and a modified form of the
Babylonian system was adopted by the Elamites for writing their own
language phonetically. It is in this phonetic character that the
so-called “Anzanite” texts of the later Elamite princes were composed.

     *We have assumed that both inscriptions were the work of
     Karibu-sha-Shushinak. But it is also possible that the
     second one in proto-Elamite characters was added at a later
     period. From its position on the stone it is clear that it
     was written after and not before Karibu-sha-Shushinak’s
     inscription in Semitic Babylonian. See the photographic

Karibu-sha-Shushinak, whose recently discovered bilingual inscription
has been referred to above, was one of the earlier of the subject
princes of Elam, and he probably reigned at Susa not later than B.C.
3000. He styles himself “patesi of Susa, governor of the land of Elam,”
 but we do not know at present to what contemporary king in Babylonia
he owed allegiance. The longest of his inscriptions that have been
recovered is engraved upon a stele of limestone and records the building
of the Gate of Shushinak at Susa and the cutting of a canal; it also
recounts the offerings which Karibu-sha-Shushinak dedicated on the
completion of the work. It may here be quoted as an example of the
class of votive inscriptions from which the names of these early Elamite
rulers have been recovered. The inscription runs as follows: “For
the god Shushinak, his lord, Karibu-sha-Shushinak, the son of
Shimbi-ish-khuk, patesi of Susa, governor of the land of Elam,--when
he set the (door) of his Gate in place,... in the Gate of the god
Shushinak, his lord, and when he had opened the canal of Sidur, he set
up in face thereof his canopy, and he set planks of cedar-wood for its
gate. A sheep in the interior thereof, and sheep without, he appointed
(for sacrifice) to him each day. On days of festival he caused the
people to sing songs in the Gate of the god Shushinak. And twenty
measures of fine oil he dedicated to make his gate beautiful. Four
_magi_ of silver he dedicated; a censer of silver and gold he dedicated
for a sweet odour; a,sword he dedicated; an axe with four blades
he dedicated, and he dedicated silver in addition for the mounting
thereof.... A righteous judgment he judged in the city! As for the man
who shall transgress his judgment or shall remove his gift, may the
gods Shushinak and Shamash, Bel and Ea, Ninni and Sin, Mnkharsag and
Nati--may all the gods uproot his foundation, and his seed may they

It will be seen that Karibu-sha-Shushinak takes a delight in enumerating
the details of the offerings he has ordained in honour of his city-god
Shushinak, and this religious temper is peculiarly characteristic of the
princes of Elam throughout the whole course of their history. Another
interesting point to notice in the inscription is that, although the
writer invokes Shushinak, his own god, and puts his name at the head
of the list of deities whose vengeance he implores upon the impious, he
also calls upon the gods of the Babylonians. As he wrote the inscription
itself in Babylonian, in the belief that it might be recovered by
some future Semitic inhabitant of his country, so he included in his
imprecations those deities whose names he conceived would be most
reverenced by such a reader. In addition to Karibu-sha-Shushinak the
names of a number of other patesis, or viceroys, have recently
been recovered, such as Khutran-tepti, and Idadu I and his son
Kal-Rukhu-ratir, and his grandson Idadu II. All these probably ruled
after Karibu-sha-Shushinak, and may be set in the early period of
Babylonian supremacy in Elam.

It has been stated above that the allegiance which these early Elamite
princes owed to their overlords in Babylonia was probably reflected in
the titles which they bear upon their inscriptions recently found at
Susa. These titles are “_patesi_ of Susa, _shakkannak_ of Elam,” which
may be rendered as “viceroy of Susa, governor of Elam.” But inscriptions
have been found on the same site belonging to another series of rulers,
to whom a different title is applied. Instead of referring to themselves
as viceroys of Susa and governors of Elam, they bear the title of
_sukkal_ of Elam, of Siparki, and of Susa. Siparki, or Sipar, was
probably the name of an important section of Elamite territory, and
the title _sukkalu_, “ruler,” probably carries with it an idea of
independence of foreign control which is absent from the title of
_patesi_. It is therefore legitimate to trace this change of title to
a corresponding change in the political condition of Elam; and there is
much to be said for the view that the rulers of Elam who bore the title
of _sukkalu_ reigned at a period when Elam herself was independent, and
may possibly have exercised a suzerainty over the neighbouring districts
of Babylonia.

The worker of this change in the political condition of Elam and
the author of her independence was a king named Kutir-Nakhkhunte or
Kutir-Na’khunde, whose name and deeds have been preserved in
later Assyrian records, where he is termed Kudur-Nankhundi and
Kudur-Nakhundu.* This ruler, according to the Assyrian king
Ashur-bani-pal, was not content with throwing off the yoke under which
his land had laboured for so long, but carried war into the country of
his suzerain and marched through Babylonia devastating and despoiling
the principal cities. This successful Elamite campaign took place,
according to the computation of the later Assyrian scribes, about the
year 2280 B. c, and it is probable that for many years afterwards the
authority of the King of Elam extended over the plains of Babylonia.
It has been suggested that Kutir-Nakh-khunte, after including Babylonia
within his empire, did not remain permanently in Elam, but may have
resided for a part of each year, at least, in Lower Mesopotamia.
His object, no doubt, would have been to superintend in person the
administration of his empire and to check any growing spirit of
independence among his local governors. He may thus have appointed in
Susa itself a local governor who would carry on the business of the
country during his absence, and, under the king himself, would wield
supreme authority. Such governors may have been the sukkali, who, unlike
the patesi, were independent of foreign control, but yet did not enjoy
the full title of “king.”

     * For references to the passages where the name occurs, see
     King, _Letters of Hammurabi_, vol. i, p. Ivy.

It is possible that the sukkalu who ruled in Elam during the reign of
Kutir-Nakhkhunte was named Temti-agun, for a short inscription of
this ruler has been recovered, in which he records that he built and
dedicated a certain temple with the object of ensuring the preservation
of the life of Kutir-Na’khundi. If we may identify the Kutir-Va’khundi
of this text with the great Elamite conqueror, Kutir-Nakhkhunte, it
follows that Temti-agun, the sukkal of Susa, was his subordinate. The
inscription mentions other names which are possibly those of rulers of
this period, and reads as follows: “Temti-agun, sukkal of Susa, the son
of the sister of Sirukdu’, hath built a temple of bricks at Ishme-karab
for the preservation of the life of Kutir-Na’khundi, and for the
preservation of the life of Lila-irtash, and for the preservation of his
own life, and for the preservation of the life of Temti-khisha-khanesh
and of Pil-kishamma-khashduk.” As Lila-irtash is mentioned immediately
after Kutir-Na’khundi, he was possibly his son, and he may have
succeeded him as ruler of the empire of Elam and Babylonia, though no
confirmation of this view has yet been discovered. Temti-khisha-khanesh
is mentioned immediately after the reference to the preservation of the
life of Temti-agun himself, and it may be conjectured that the name was
that of Temti-agun’s son, or possibly that of his wife, in which event
the last two personages mentioned in the text may have been the sons of

This short text affords a good example of one class of votive
inscriptions from which it is possible to recover the names of Elamite
rulers of this period, and it illustrates the uncertainty which at
present attaches to the identification of the names themselves and the
order in which they are to be arranged. Such uncertainty necessarily
exists when only a few texts have been recovered, and it will disappear
with the discovery of additional monuments by which the results already
arrived at may be checked. We need not here enumerate all the names of
the later Elamite rulers which have been found in the numerous votive
inscriptions recovered during the recent excavations at Susa. The order
in which they should be arranged is still a matter of considerable
uncertainty, and the facts recorded by them in such inscriptions as we
possess mainly concern the building and restoration of Elamite temples
and the decoration of shrines, and they are thus of no great historical
interest. These votive texts are well illustrated by a remarkable find
of foundation deposits made last year by M. de Morgan in the temple of
Shushinak at Susa, consisting of figures and jewelry of gold and silver,
and objects of lead, bronze, iron, stone, and ivory, cylinder-seals,
mace-heads, vases, etc. This is the richest foundation deposit that has
been recovered on any ancient site, and its archaeological interest in
connection with the development of Elamite art is great. But in no other
way does the find affect our conception of the history of the country,
and we may therefore pass on to a consideration of such recent
discoveries as throw new light upon the course of history in Western

With the advent of the First Dynasty in Babylon Elam found herself
face to face with a power prepared to dispute her claims to exercise a
suzerainty over the plains of Mesopotamia. It is held by many writers
that the First Dynasty of Babylon was of Arab origin, and there is much
to be said for this view. M. Pognon was the first to start the theory
that its kings were not purely Babylonian, but were of either Arab or
Aramaean extraction, and he based his theory on a study of the forms of
the names which some of them bore. The name of Samsu-imna, for instance,
means “the sun is our god,” but the form of the words of which the name
is composed betray foreign influence. Thus in Babylonian the name for
“sun” or the Sun-god would be _Shamash_ or _Shamshu_, not _Samsu_; in
the second half of the name, while _ilu_ (“god”) is good Babylonian, the
ending _na_, which is the pronominal suffix of the first person plural,
is not Babylonian, but Arabic. We need not here enter into a long
philological discussion, and the instance already cited may suffice to
show in what way many of the names met in the Babylonian inscriptions
of this period betray a foreign, and possibly an Arabic, origin. But
whether we assign the forms of these names to Arabic influence or not,
it may be regarded as certain that, the First Dynasty of Babylon had
its origin in the incursion into Babylonia of a new wave of Semitic


The invading Semites brought with them fresh blood and unexhausted
energy, and, finding many of their own race in scattered cities and
settlements throughout the country, they succeeded in establishing a
purely Semitic dynasty, with its capital at Babylon, and set about the
task of freeing the country from any vestiges of foreign control. Many
centuries earlier Semitic kings had ruled in Babylonian cities, and
Semitic empires had been formed there. Sargon and Narâm-Sin,
having their capital at Agade, had established their control over a
considerable area of Western Asia and had held Elam as a province. But
so far as Elam was concerned Kutir-Nakhkhunte had reversed the balance
and had raised Elam to the position of the predominant power.

Of the struggles and campaigns of the earlier kings of the First Dynasty
of Babylon we know little, for, although we possess a considerable
number of legal and commercial documents of the period, we have
recovered no strictly historical inscriptions. Our main source of
information is the dates upon these documents, which are not dated by
the years of the reigning king, but on a system adopted by the early
Babylonian kings from their Sumerian predecessors. In the later periods
of Babylonian history tablets were dated in the year of the king who was
reigning at the time the document was drawn up, but this simple system
had not been adopted at this early period. In place of this we find that
each year was cited by the event of greatest importance which occurred
in that year. This event might be the cutting of a canal, when the year
in which this took place might be referred to as “the year in which
the canal named Ai-khegallu was cut;” or it might be the building of a
temple, as in the date-formula, “the year in which the great temple of
the Moon-god was built;” or it might be “the conquest of a city, such
as the year in which the city of Kish was destroyed.” Now it will be
obvious that this system of dating had many disadvantages. An event
might be of great importance for one city, while it might never have
been heard of in another district; thus it sometimes happened that the
same event was not adopted throughout the whole country for designating
a particular year, and the result was that different systems of
dating were employed in different parts of Babylonia. Moreover, when a
particular system had been in use for a considerable time, it required
a very good memory to retain the order and period of the various events
referred to in the date-formulae, so as to fix in a moment the date of a
document by its mention of one of them. In order to assist themselves
in their task of fixing dates in this manner, the scribes of the First
Dynasty of Babylon drew up lists of the titles of the years, arranged
in chronological order under the reigns of the kings to which they
referred. Some of these lists have been recovered, and they are of the
greatest assistance in fixing the chronology, while at the same time
they furnish us with considerable information concerning the history of
the period of which we should otherwise have been in ignorance.

From these lists of date-formulæ, and from the dates themselves which
are found upon the legal and commercial tablets of the period, we learn
that Kish, Ka-sallu, and Isin all gave trouble to the earlier kings of
the First Dynasty, and had in turn to be subdued. Elam did not watch the
diminution of her influence in Babylonia without a struggle to retain
it. Under Kudur-mabug, who was prince or governor of the districts lying
along the frontier of Elam, the Elamites struggled hard to maintain
their position in Babylonia, making the city of Ur the centre from which
they sought to check the growing power of Babylon. From bricks that have
been recovered from Mukayyer, the site of the city of Ur, we learn that
Kudur-mabug rebuilt the temple in that city dedicated to the Moon-god,
which is an indication of the firm hold he had obtained upon the city.
It was obvious to the new Semitic dynasty in Babylon that, until Ur and
the neighbouring city of Larsam had been captured, they could entertain
no hope of removing the Elamite yoke from Southern Babylonia. It is
probable that the earlier kings of the dynasty made many attempts to
capture them, with varying success. An echo of one of their struggles in
which they claimed the victory may be seen in the date-formula for the
fourteenth year of the reign of Sin-muballit, Hammurabi’s father and
predecessor on the throne of Babylon. This year was referred to in the
documents of the period as “the year in which the people of Ur were
slain with the sword.” It will be noted that the capture of the city
is not commemorated, so that we may infer that the slaughter of the
Elamites which is recorded did not materially reduce their influence,
as they were left in possession of their principal stronghold. In fact,
Elam was not signally defeated in the reign of Kudur-mabug, but in that
of his son Rim-Sin. From the date-formulæ of Hammurabi’s reign we learn
that the struggle between Elam and Babylon was brought to a climax in
the thirtieth year of his reign, when it is recorded in the formulas
that he defeated the Elamite army and overthrew Rim-Sin, while in the
following year we gather that he added the land of E’mutbal, that is,
the western district of Elam, to his dominions.

An unpublished chronicle in the British Museum gives us further details
of Hammurabi’s victory over the Elamites, and at the same time makes it
clear that the defeat and overthrow of Rim-Sin was not so crushing
as has hitherto been supposed. This chronicle relates that Hammurabi
attacked Rim-Sin, and, after capturing the cities of Ur and Larsam,
carried their spoil to Babylon. Up to the present it has been supposed
that Hammurabi’s victory marked the end of Elamite influence in
Babylonia, and that thenceforward the supremacy of Babylon was
established throughout the whole of the country. But from the
new chronicle we gather that Hammurabi did not succeed in finally
suppressing the attempts of Elam to regain her former position. It is
true that the cities of Ur and Larsam were finally incorporated in the
Babylonian empire, and the letters of Hammurabi to Sin-idinnam, the
governor whom he placed in authority over Larsam, afford abundant
evidence of the stringency of the administrative control which he
established over Southern Babylonia. But Rîm-Sin was only crippled for
the time, and, on being driven from Ur and Larsam, he retired beyond
the Elamite frontier and devoted his energies to the recuperation of his
forces against the time when he should feel himself strong enough again
to make a bid for victory in his struggle against the growing power of
Babylon. It is probable that he made no further attempt to renew the
contest during the life of Hammurabi, but after Samsu-iluna, the son
of Hammurabi, had succeeded to the Babylonian throne, he appeared in
Babylonia at the head of the forces he had collected, and attempted to
regain the cities and territory he had lost.


     Inscribed in the reign of Hammurabi with a deed recording
     the division of property. The actual tablet is on the right;
     that which appears to be another and larger tablet on the
     left is the hollow clay case in which the tablet on the
     right was originally enclosed. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell
     & Co.

The portion of the text of the chronicle relating to the war between
Rîm-Sin and Samsu-iluna is broken so that it is not possible to follow
the campaign in detail, but it appears that Samsu-iluna defeated
Rim-Sin, and possibly captured him or burnt him alive in a palace in
which he had taken refuge.

With the final defeat of Rîm-Sin by Samsu-iluna it is probable that Elam
ceased to be a thorn in the side of the kings of Babylon and that
she made no further attempts to extend her authority beyond her own
frontiers. But no sooner had Samsu-iluna freed his country from all
danger from this quarter than he found himself faced by a new foe,
before whom the dynasty eventually succumbed. This fact we learn from
the unpublished chronicle to which reference has already been made, and
the name of this new foe, as supplied by the chronicle, will render
it necessary to revise all current schemes of Babylonian chronology.
Samsu-iluna’s new foe was no other than Iluma-ilu, the first king of the
Second Dynasty, and, so far from having been regarded as Samsu-iluna’s
contemporary, hitherto it has been imagined that he ascended the throne
of Babylon one hundred and eighteen years after Samsu-iluna’s death.
The new information supplied by the chronicle thus proves two important
facts: first, that the Second Dynasty, instead of immediately succeeding
the First Dynasty, was partly contemporary with it; second, that during
the period in which the two dynasties were contemporary they were at
war with one another, the Second Dynasty gradually encroaching on
the territory of the First Dynasty, until it eventually succeeded in
capturing Babylon and in getting the whole of the country under its
control. We also learn from the new chronicle that this Second Dynasty
at first established itself in “the Country of the Sea,” that is to say,
the districts in the extreme south of Babylonia bordering on the Persian
Gulf, and afterwards extended its borders northward until it gradually
absorbed the whole of Babylonia. Before discussing the other facts
supplied by the new chronicle, with regard to the rise and growth of the
Country of the Sea, whose kings formed the so-called “Second Dynasty,”
 it will be well to refer briefly to the sources from which the
information on the period to be found in the current histories is

All the schemes of Babylonian chronology that have been suggested during
the last twenty years have been based mainly on the great list of kings
which is preserved in the British Museum. This document was drawn up in
the Neo-Babylonian or Persian period, and when complete it gave a list
of the names of all the Babylonian kings from the First Dynasty of
Babylon down to the time in which it was written. The names of the kings
are arranged in dynasties, and details are given as to the length of
their reigns and the total number of years each dynasty lasted. The
beginning of the list which gave the names of the First Dynasty is
wanting, but the missing portion has been restored from a smaller
document which gives a list of the kings of the First and Second
Dynasties only. In the great list of kings the dynasties are arranged
one after the other, and it was obvious that its compiler imagined that
they succeeded one another in the order in which he arranged them.
But when the total number of years the dynasties lasted is learned, we
obtain dates for the first dynasties in the list which are too early to
agree with other chronological information supplied by the historical
inscriptions. The majority of writers have accepted the figures of the
list of kings and have been content to ignore the discrepancies; others
have sought to reconcile the available data by ingenious emendations of
the figures given by the list and the historical inscriptions, or have
omitted the Second Dynasty entirely from their calculations. The new
chronicle, by showing that the First and Second Dynasties were partly
contemporaneous, explains the discrepancies that have hitherto proved so

It would be out of place here to enter into a detailed discussion of
Babylonian chronology, and therefore we will confine ourselves to a
brief description of the sequence of events as revealed by the new
chronicle. According to the list of kings, Iluma-ilu’s reign was a long
one, lasting for sixty years, and the new chronicle gives no indication
as to the period of his reign at which active hostilities with Babylon
broke out. If the war occurred in the latter portion of his reign, it
would follow that he had been for many years organizing the forces of
the new state he had founded in the south of Babylonia before making
serious encroachments in the north; and in that case the incessant
campaigns carried on by Babylon against Blam in the reigns of Hammurabi
and Samsu-iluna would have afforded him the opportunity of establishing
a firm foothold in the Country of the Sea without the risk of Babylonian
interference. If, on the other hand, it was in the earlier part of his
reign that hostilities with Babylon broke out, we may suppose that,
while Samsu-iluna was devoting all his energies to crush Bim-Sin, the
Country of the Sea declared her independence of Babylonian control. In
this case we may imagine Samsu-iluna hurrying south, on the conclusion
of his Elamite campaign, to crush the newly formed state before it had
had time to organize its forces for prolonged resistance.

Whichever of these alternatives eventually may prove to be correct, it
is certain that Samsu-iluna took the initiative in Babylon’s struggle
with the Country of the Sea, and that his action was due either to her
declaration of independence or to some daring act of aggression on the
part of this small state which had hitherto appeared too insignificant
to cause Babylon any serious trouble. The new chronicle tells us that
Samsu-iluna undertook two expeditions against the Country of the Sea,
both of which proved unsuccessful. In the first of these he penetrated
to the very shores of the Persian Gulf, where a battle took place in
which Samsu-iluna was defeated, and the bodies of many of the Babylonian
soldiers were washed away by the sea. In the second campaign Iluma-ilu
did not await Samsu-iluna’s attack, but advanced to meet him, and again
defeated the Babylonian army. In the reign of Abêshu’, Samsu-iluna’s
son and successor, Iluma-ilu appears to have undertaken fresh acts of
aggression against Babylon; and it was probably during one of his raids
in Babylonian territory that Abêshu’ attempted to crush the growing power
of the Country of the Sea by the capture of its daring leader, Iluma-ilu
himself. The new chronicle informs us that, with this object in
view, Abêshu’ dammed the river Tigris, hoping by this means to cut off
Iluma-ilu and his army, but his stratagem did not succeed, and Iluma-ilu
got back to his own territory in safety.

The new chronicle does not supply us with further details of the
struggle between Babylon and the Country of the Sea, but we may conclude
that all similar attempts on the part of the later kings of the First
Dynasty to crush or restrain the power of the new state were useless. It
is probable that from this time forward the kings of the First Dynasty
accepted the independence of the Country of the Sea upon their southern
border as an evil which they were powerless to prevent. They must have
looked back with regret to the good times the country had enjoyed under
the powerful sway of Hammurabi, whose victorious arms even their ancient
foes, the Blamites, had been unable to withstand. But, although the
chronicle does not recount the further successes achieved by the Country
of the Sea, it records a fact which undoubtedly contributed to hasten
the fall of Babylon and bring the First Dynasty to an end. It tells us
that in the reign of Samsu-ditana, the last king of the First Dynasty,
the men of the land of Khattu (the Hittites from Northern Syria) marched
against him in order to conquer the land of Akkad; in other words, they
marched down the Euphrates and invaded Northern Babylonia. The chronicle
does not state how far the invasion was successful, but the appearance
of a new enemy from the northwest must have divided the Babylonian
forces and thus have reduced their power of resisting pressure from the
Country of the Sea. Samsu-ditana may have succeeded in defeating the
Hittites and in driving them from his country; but the fact that he
was the last king of the First Dynasty proves that in his reign Babylon
itself fell into the hands of the king of the Country of the Sea.

The question now arises, To what race did the people of the Country
of the Sea belong? Did they represent an advance-guard of the Kassite
tribes, who eventually succeeded in establishing themselves as the Third
Dynasty in Babylon? Or were they the Elamites who, when driven from Ur
and Larsam, retreated southwards and maintained their independence on
the shores of the Persian Gulf? Or did they represent some fresh wave of
Semitic immigration’? That they were not Kassites is proved by the new
chronicle which relates how the Country of the Sea was conquered by the
Kassites, and how the dynasty founded by Iluma-ilu thus came to an end.
There is nothing to show that they were Elamites, and if the Country of
the Sea had been colonized by fresh Semitic tribes, so far from opposing
their kindred in Babylon, most probably they would have proved to them
a source of additional strength and support. In fact, there are
indications that the people of the Country of the Sea are to be referred
to an older stock than the Elamites, the Semites, or the Kassites. In
the dynasty of the Country of the Sea there is no doubt that we may
trace the last successful struggle of the ancient Sumerians to retain
possession of the land which they had held for so many centuries before
the invading Semites had disputed its possession with them.

Evidence of the Sumerian origin of the kings of the Country of the
Sea may be traced in the names which several of them bear. Ishkibal,
Grulkishar, Peshgal-daramash, A-dara-kalama, Akur-ul-ana, and
Melam-kur-kura, the names of some of them, are all good Sumerian names,
and Shushshi, the brother of Ishkibal, may also be taken as a Sumerian
name. It is true that the first three kings of the dynasty, Iluma-ilu,
Itti-ili-nibi, and Damki-ilishu, and the last king of the dynasty,
Ea-gamil, bear Semitic Babylonian names, but there is evidence that
at least one of these is merely a Semitic rendering of a Sumerian
equivalent. Iluma-ilu, the founder of the dynasty, has left inscriptions
in which his name is written in its correct Sumerian form as
Dingir-a-an, and the fact that he and some of his successors either bore
Semitic names or appear in the late list of kings with their Sumerian
names translated into Babylonian form may be easily explained by
supposing that the population of the Country of the Sea was mixed and
that the Sumerian and Semitic tongues were to a great extent employed
indiscriminately. This supposition is not inconsistent with the
suggestion that the dynasty of the Country of the Sea was Sumerian, and
that under it the Sumerians once more became the predominant race in

The new chronicle also relates how the dynasty of the Country of the
Sea succumbed in its turn before the incursions of the Kassites. We know
that already under the First Dynasty the Kassite tribes had begun to
make incursions into Babylonia, for the ninth year of Samsu-iluna was
named in the date-formulae after a Kassite invasion, which, as it
was commemorated in this manner by the Babylonians, was probably
successfully repulsed. Such invasions must have taken place from time to
time during the period of supremacy attained by the Country of the Sea,
and it was undoubtedly with a view to stopping such incursions--for the
future that Ea-gamil--the last king of the Second Dynasty, decided to
invade Elam and conquer the mountainous districts in which the Kassite
tribes had built their strongholds. This Elamite campaign of Ea-gamil
is recorded by the new chronicle, which relates how he was defeated and
driven from the country by Ulam-Buriash, the brother of Bitiliash the
Kassite. Ulam-Buriash did not rest content with repelling Ea-gamil’s
invasion of his land, but pursued him across the border and succeeded
in conquering the Country of the Sea and in establishing there his own
administration. The gradual conquest of the whole of Babylonia by the
Kassites no doubt followed the conquest of the Country of the Sea,
for the chronicle relates how the process of subjugation, begun by
Ulam-Buriash, was continued by his nephew Agum, and we know from the
lists of kings that Ea-gamil was the last king of the dynasty founded by
Iluma-ilu. In this fashion the Second Dynasty was brought to an end, and
the Sumerian element in the mixed population of Babylonia did not again
succeed in gaining control of the government of the country.

It will be noticed that the account of the earliest Kassite rulers of
Babylonia which is given by the new chronicle does not exactly tally
with the names of the kings of the Third Dynasty as found upon the
list of kings. On this document the first king of the dynasty is named
Gandash, with whom we may probably identify Ulam-Buriash, the Kassite
conqueror of the Country of the Sea; the second king is Agum, and the
third is Bitiliashi. According to the new chronicle Agum was the son
of Bitiliashi, and it would be improbable that he should have ruled in
Babylonia before his father. But this difficulty is removed by supposing
that the two names were transposed by some copyist. The different
names assigned to the founder of the Kassite dynasty may be due to
the existence of variant traditions, or Ulam-Buriash may have assumed
another name on his conquest of Babylonia, a practice which was usual
with the later kings of Assyria when they occupied the Babylonian

The information supplied by the new chronicle with regard to the
relations of the first three dynasties to one another is of the greatest
possible interest to the student of early Babylonian history. We see
that the Semitic empire founded at Babylon by Sumu-abu, and consolidated
by Hammurabi, was not established on so firm a basis as has hitherto
been believed. The later kings of the dynasty, after Elam had been
conquered, had to defend their empire from encroachments on the south,
and they eventually succumbed before the onslaught of the Sumerian
element, which still remained in the population of Babylonia and had
rallied in the Country of the Sea. This dynasty in its turn succumbed
before the invasion of the Kassites from the mountains in the western
districts of Elam, and, although the city of Babylon retained her
position as the capital of the country throughout these changes of
government, she was the capital of rulers of different races, who
successively fought for and obtained the control of the fertile plains
of Mesopotamia.

It is probable that the Kassite kings of the Third Dynasty exercised
authority not only over Babylonia but also over the greater part of
Elam, for a number of inscriptions of Kassite kings of Babylonia have
been found by M. de Morgan at Susa. These inscriptions consist of
grants of land written on roughly shaped stone stelæ, a class which the
Babylonians themselves called _kudurru_, while they have been frequently
referred to by modern writers as “boundary-stones.” This latter term
is not very happily chosen, for it suggests that the actual monuments
themselves were set up on the limits of a field or estate to mark its
boundary. It is true that the inscription on a kudurru enumerates the
exact position and size of the estate with which it is concerned,
but the kudurru was never actually used to mark the boundary. It was
preserved as a title-deed, in the house of the owner of the estate or
possibly in the temple of his god, and formed his charter or title-deed
to which he could appeal in case of any dispute arising as to his right
of ownership. One of the kudurrus found by M. de Morgan records the
grant of a number of estates near Babylon by Nazimaruttash, a king of
the Third or Kassite Dynasty, to the god Marduk, that is to say they
were assigned by the king to the service of E-sagila, the great temple
of Marduk at Babylon.

[Illustration: 256.jpg A KUDURRU OR “BOUNDARY-STONE.”]

     Inscribed with a text of Nazimaruttash, a king of the Third
     or Kassite Dynasty, conferring certain estates near Babylon
     on the temple of Marduk and on a certain man named Kashakti-
     Shugab. The photograph is reproduced from M. de Morgan’s
     Delegation en Perse, Mêm., t. ii, pi, 18.

All the crops and produce from the land were granted for the supply of
the temple, which was to enjoy the property without the payment of any
tax or tribute. The text also records the gift of considerable tracts of
land in the same district to a private individual named Kashakti-Shugab,
who was to enjoy a similar freedom from taxation so far as the lands
bestowed upon him were concerned.

This freedom from taxation is specially enacted by the document in
the words: “Whensoever in the days that are to come the ruler of the
country, or one of the governors, or directors, or wardens of these
districts, shall make any claim with regard to these estates, or shall
attempt to impose the payment of a tithe or tax upon them, may all the
great gods whose names are commemorated, or whose arms are portrayed, or
whose dwelling-places are represented, on this stone, curse him with an
evil curse and blot out his name!”

Incidentally, this curse illustrates one of the most striking
characteristics of the kudurrus, or “boundary-stones,” viz. the carved
figures of gods and representations of their emblems, which all of them
bare in addition to the texts inscribed upon them. At one time it was
thought that these symbols were to be connected with the signs of the
zodiac and various constellations and stars, and it was suggested that
they might have been intended to represent the relative positions of the
heavenly bodies at the time the document was drawn up. But this text
of Nazimaruttash and other similar documents that have recently been
discovered prove that the presence of the figures and emblems of the
gods upon the stones is to be explained on another and far more simple
theory. They were placed there as guardians of the property to which the
kudurru referred, and it was believed that the carving of their figures
or emblems upon the stone would ensure their intervention in case of
any attempted infringement of the rights and privileges which it was
the object of the document to commemorate and preserve. A photographic
reproduction of one side of the kudurru of Nazi-maruttash is shown in
the accompanying illustration. There will be seen a representation of
Gula or Bau, the mother of the gods, who is portrayed as seated on
her throne and wearing the four-horned head-dress and a long robe
that reaches to her feet. In the field are emblems of the Sun-god, the
Moon-god, Ishtar, and other deities, and the representation of divine
emblems and dwelling-places is continued on another face of the stone
round the corner towards which Grula is looking. The other two faces of
the document are taken up with the inscription.

An interesting note is appended to the text inscribed upon the stone,
beginning under the throne and feet of Marduk and continuing under the
emblems of the gods upon the other side. This note relates the history
of the document in the following words: “In those days Kashakti-Shugab,
the son of Nusku-na’id, inscribed (this document) upon a memorial
of clay, and he set it before his god. But in the reign of
Marduk-aplu-iddina, king of hosts, the son of Melishikhu, King
of Babylon, the wall fell upon this memorial and crushed it.
Shu-khuli-Shugab, the son of Nibishiku, wrote a copy of the ancient
text upon a new stone stele, and he set it (before the god).” It will be
seen, therefore, that this actual stone that has been recovered was not
the document drawn up in the reign of Nazimaruttash, but a copy made
under Marduk-aplu-iddina, a later king of the Third Dynasty. The
original deed was drawn up to preserve the rights of Kashakti-Shugab,
who shared the grant of land with the temple of Marduk. His share was
less than half that of the temple, but, as both were situated in the
same district, he was careful to enumerate and describe the temple’s
share, to prevent any encroachment on his rights by the Babylonian

It is probable that such grants of land were made to private individuals
in return for special services which they had rendered to the king. Thus
a broken kudurru among M. de Morgan’s finds records the confirmation of
a man’s claims to certain property by Biti-liash II, the claims being
based on a grant made to the man’s ancestor by Kurigalzu for services
rendered to the king during his war with Assyria. One of the finest
specimens of this class of charters or title-deeds has been found at
Susa, dating from the reign of Melishikhu, a king of the Third Dynasty.
The document in question records a grant of certain property in the
district of Bît-Pir-Shadû-rabû, near the cities Agade and Dûr-Kurigalzu,
made by Melishikhu to Marduk-aplu-iddina, his son, who succeeded him
upon the throne of Babylon. The text first gives details with regard to
the size and situation of the estates included in the grant of land, and
it states the names of the high officials who were entrusted with the
duty of measuring them. The remainder of the text defines and secures
the privileges granted to Marduk-aplu-iddina together with the land,
and, as it throws considerable light upon the system of land tenure at
the period, an extract from it may here be translated:

“To prevent the encroachment on his land,” the inscription runs, “thus
hath he (i.e. the king) established his (Marduk-aplu-iddina’s) charter.
On his land taxes and tithes shall they not impose; ditches, limits, and
boundaries shall they not displace; there shall be no plots, stratagems,
or claims (with regard to his possession); for forced labour or public
work for the prevention of floods, for the maintenance and repair of
the royal canal under the protection of the towns of Bit-Sikkamidu
and Damik-Adad, among the gangs levied in the towns of the district of
Ninâ-Agade, they shall not call out the people of his estate; they are
not liable to forced labour on the sluices of the royal canal, nor
are they liable for building dams, nor for closing the canal, nor for
digging out the bed thereof.”

[Illustration: 260.jpg KUOTTRRU, OR “BOUNDARY-STONE.”]

     Inscribed with a text of Melishikhu, one of the kings of the
     Third or Kassite Dynasty of Babylon, recording a grant of
     certain property to Marduk-aplu-iddina, his son The
     photograph is reproduced from M. de Morgan’s Delegation en
     Perse, Mem., t. ii, pi. 24.

“A cultivator of his lands, whether hired or belonging to the estate,
and the men who receive his instructions (i.e. his overseers) shall no
governor of Bît-Pir-Shadû-rabû cause to leave his lands, whether by the
order of the king, or by the order of the governor, or by the order of
whosoever may be at Bît-Pir-Shadû-rabû. On wood, grass, straw, corn,
and every other sort of crop, on his carts and yoke, on his ass and
man-servant, shall they make no levy. During the scarcity of water in
the canal running between the Bati-Anzanim canal and the canal of the
royal district, on the waters of his ditch for irrigation shall they
make no levy; from the ditch of his reservoir shall they not draw water,
neither shall they divert (his water for) irrigation, and other land
shall they not irrigate nor water therewith. The grass of his lands
shall they not mow; the beasts belonging to the king or to a governor,
which may be assigned to the district of Bît-Pir-Shadû-rabû, shall they
not drive within his boundary, nor shall they pasture them on his grass.
He shall not be forced to build a road or a bridge, whether for the
king, or for the governor who may be appointed in the district of
Bît-Pir-Shadû-rabû, neither shall he be liable for any new form of
forced labour, which in the days that are to come a king, or a governor
appointed in the district of Bît-Pir-Shadû-rabû, shall institute and
exact, nor for forced labour long fallen into disuse which may be
revived anew. To prevent encroachment on his land the king hath fixed
the privileges of his domain, and that which appertaineth unto it, and
all that he hath granted unto him; and in the presence of Shamash, and
Marduk, and Anunitu, and the great gods of heaven and earth, he hath
inscribed them upon a stone, and he hath left it as an everlasting
memorial with regard to his estate.”

The whole of the text is too long to quote, and it will suffice to note
here that Melishikhu proceeds to appeal to future kings to respect the
land and privileges which he has granted to his son, Marduk-aplu-iddina,
even as he himself has respected similar grants made by his predecessors
on the throne; and the text ends with some very vivid curses against
any one, whatever his station, who should make any encroachments on the
privileges granted to Marduk-aplu-iddina, or should alter or do any harm
to the memorial-stone itself. The emblems of the gods whom Melishikhu
invokes to avenge any infringement of his grant are sculptured upon one
side of the stone, for, as has already been remarked, it was believed
that by carving them upon the memorial-stone their help in guarding the
stone itself and its enactments was assured.

From the portion of the text inscribed upon the stone which has just
been translated it is seen that the owner of land in Babylonia in the
period of the Kassite kings, unless he was granted special exemption,
was liable to furnish forced labour for public works to the state or to
his district, to furnish grazing and pasture for the flocks and herds of
the king or governor, and to pay various taxes and tithes on his land,
his water for irrigation, and his crops. From the numerous documents
of the First Dynasty of Babylon that have been recovered and published
within the last few years we know that similar customs were prevalent at
that period, so that it is clear that the successive conquests to which
the country was subjected, and the establishment of different dynasties
of foreign kings at Babylon, did not to any appreciable extent affect
the life and customs of the inhabitants of the country or even the
general character of its government and administration. Some documents
of a commercial and legal nature, inscribed upon clay tablets during the
reigns of the Kassite kings of Babylon, have been found at Nippur,
but they have not yet been published, and the information we possess
concerning the life of the people in this period is obtained indirectly
from kudurrus or boundary-stones, such as those of Nazimaruttash and
Melishikhu which have been already described. Of documents relating to
the life of the people under the rule of the kings of the Country of the
Sea we have none, and, with the exception of the unpublished chronicle
which has been described earlier in this chapter, our information for
this period is confined to one or two short votive inscriptions. But the
case is very different with regard to the reigns of the Semitic kings of
the First Dynasty of Babylon. Thousands of tablets relating to legal and
commercial transactions during this period have been recovered, and more
recently a most valuable series of royal letters, written by Hammurabi
and other kings of his dynasty, has been brought to light.

[Illustration: 264.jpg Upper Part of the Stele of Hammurabi, King of

     The stele is inscribed with his great code of laws. The Sun-
     god is represented as seated on a throne in the form of a
     temple façade, and his feet are resting upon the mountains.
     Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

Moreover, the recently discovered code of laws drawn up by Hammurabi
contains information of the greatest interest with regard to the
conditions of life that were prevalent in Babylonia at that period.
From these three sources it is possible to draw up a comparatively full
account of early Babylonian life and customs.


In tracing the ancient history of Mesopotamia and the surrounding
countries it is possible to construct a narrative which has the
appearance of being comparatively full and complete. With regard to
Babylonia it may be shown how dynasty succeeded dynasty, and for long
periods together the names of the kings have been recovered and the
order of their succession fixed with certainty. But the number and
importance of the original documents on which this connected narration
is based vary enormously for different periods. Gaps occur in our
knowledge of the sequence of events, which with some ingenuity may be
bridged over by means of the native lists of kings and the genealogies
furnished by the historical inscriptions. On the other hand, as if to
make up for such parsimony, the excavations have yielded a wealth of
material for illustrating the conditions of early Babylonian life which
prevailed in such periods. The most fortunate of these periods, so far
as the recovery of its records is concerned, is undoubtedly the period
of the Semitic kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon, and in particular
the reign of its greatest ruler, Hammurabi. When M. Maspero wrote his
history, thousands of clay tablets, inscribed with legal and commercial
documents and dated in the reigns of these early kings, had already been
recovered, and the information they furnished was duly summarized by
him.* But since that time two other sources of information have been
made available which have largely increased our knowledge of
the constitution of the early Babylonian state, its system of
administration, and the conditions of life of the various classes of the

     * Most of these tablets are preserved in the British Museum.
     The principal?works in which they have been published are
     Cuneiform Texts in the British Museum (1896, etc.),
     Strassmaier’s Altbabylonischen Vertràge aus Warka, and
     Meissner’s Beitràge zum altbabylonischen Privatrecht. A
     number of similar tablets of this period, preserved in the
     Pennsylvania Museum, will shortly be published by Dr. Ranke.

One of these new sources of information consists of a remarkable series
of royal letters, written by kings of the First Dynasty, which has been
recovered and is now preserved in the British Museum. The letters were
addressed to the governors and high officials of various great cities in
Babylonia, and they contain the king’s orders with regard to details of
the administration of the country which had been brought to his notice.
The range of subjects with which they deal is enormous, and there is
scarcely one of them which does not add to our knowledge of the period.*
The other new source of information is the great code of laws, drawn up
by Hammurabi for the guidance of his people and defining the duties and
privileges of all classes of his subjects, the discovery of which at
Susa has been described in a previous chapter. The laws are engraved on
a great stele of diorite in no less than forty-nine columns of writing,
of which forty-four are preserved,* and at the head of the stele is
sculptured a representation of the king receiving them from Shamash, the

     * See King, Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi, 3 vols.

This code shows to what an extent the administration of law and justice
had been developed in Babylonia in the time of the First Dynasty. From
the contracts and letters of the period we already knew that regular
judges and duly appointed courts of law were in existence, and the code
itself was evidently intended by the king to give the royal sanction to
a great body of legal decisions and enactments which already possessed
the authority conferred by custom and tradition. The means by which such
a code could have come into existence are illustrated by the system of
procedure adopted in the courts at this period. After a case had been
heard and judgment had been given, a summary of the case and of the
evidence, together with the judgment, was drawn up and written out on
tablets in due legal form and phraseology. A list of the witnesses was
appended, and, after the tablet had been dated and sealed, it was stored
away among the legal archives of the court, where it was ready for
production in the event of any future appeal or case in which the
recorded decision was involved. This procedure represents an advanced
stage in the system of judicial administration, but the care which
was taken for the preservation of the judgments given was evidently
traditional, and would naturally give rise in course of time to the
existence of a recognized code of laws.

Moreover, when once a judgment had been given and had been duly recorded
it was irrevocable, and if any judge attempted to alter such a decision
he was severely punished. For not only was he expelled from his
judgment-seat, and debarred from exercising judicial functions in the
future, but, if his judgment had involved the infliction of a penalty,
he was obliged to pay twelve times the amount to the man he had
condemned. Such an enactment must have occasionally given rise to
hardship or injustice, but at least it must have had the effect
of imbuing the judges with a sense of their responsibility and of
instilling a respect for their decisions in the minds of the people. A
further check upon injustice was provided by the custom of the elders of
the city, who sat with the judge and assisted him in the carrying out
of his duties; and it was always open to a man, if he believed that he
could not get justice enforced, to make an appeal to the king. It is not
our present purpose to give a technical discussion of the legal contents
of the code, but rather to examine it with the object of ascertaining
what light it throws upon ancient Babylonian life and customs, and the
conditions under which the people lived.

The code gives a good deal of information with regard to the family life
of the Babylonians, and, above all, proves the sanctity with which the
marriage-tie was invested. The claims that were involved by marriage
were not lightly undertaken. Any marriage, to be legally binding, had to
be accompanied by a duly executed and attested marriage-contract. If a
man had taken a woman to wife without having carried out this necessary
preliminary, the woman was not regarded as his wife in the legal sense.
On the other hand, when once such a marriage-contract had been drawn up,
its inviolability was stringently secured. A case of proved adultery
on the part of a man’s wife was punished by the drowning of the guilty
parties, though the husband of the woman, if he wished to save his wife,
could do so by an appeal to the king. Similarly, death was the penalty
for a man who ravished another man’s betrothed wife while she was still
living in her father’s house, but in this case the girl’s innocence
and inexperience were taken into account, and no penalty was enforced
against her and she was allowed to go free. Where the adultery of a wife
was not proved, and only depended on the accusation of the husband, the
woman could clear herself by swearing her own innocence; if, however,
the accusation was not brought by the husband himself, but by others,
the woman could clear herself by submitting to the ordeal by water; that
is to say, she would plunge into the Euphrates; if the river carried her
away and she were drowned, it was regarded as proof that the accusation
was well founded; if, on the contrary, she survived and got safely
to the bank, she was considered innocent and was forthwith allowed to
return to her household completely vindicated.

It will have been seen that the duty of chastity on the part of a
married woman was strictly enforced, but the husband’s responsibility to
properly maintain his wife was also recognized, and in the event of
his desertion she could under certain circumstances become the wife of
another man. Thus, if he left his city and fled from it of his own free
will and deserted his wife, he could not reclaim her on his return,
since he had not been forced to leave the city, but had done so because
he hated it. This rule did not apply to the case of a man who was taken
captive in battle. In such circumstances the wife’s action was to be
guided by the condition of her husband’s affairs. If the captive husband
possessed sufficient property on which his wife could be maintained
during his captivity in a strange land, she had no reason nor excuse
for seeking another marriage. If under these circumstances she became
another man’s wife, she was to be prosecuted at law, and, her action
being the equivalent of adultery, she was to be drowned. But the case
was regarded as altered if the captive husband had not sufficient means
for the maintenance of his wife during his absence. The woman would then
be thrown on her own resources, and if she became the wife of another
man she incurred no blame. On the return of the captive he could reclaim
his wife, but the children of the second marriage would remain with
their own father. These regulations for the conduct of a woman, whose
husband was captured in battle, give an intimate picture of the manner
in which the constant wars of this early period affected the lives of
those who took part in them.

Under the Babylonians at the period of the First Dynasty divorce was
strictly regulated, though it was far easier for the man to obtain one
than for the woman. If we may regard the copies of Sumerian laws, which
have come down to us from the late Assyrian period, as parts of the code
in use under the early Sumerians, we must conclude that at this earlier
period the law was still more in favour of the husband, who could
divorce his wife whenever he so desired, merely paying her half a mana
as compensation. Under the Sumerians the wife could not obtain a
divorce at all, and the penalty for denying her husband was death. These
regulations were modified in favour of the woman in Hammurabi’s code;
for under its provisions, if a man divorced his wife or his concubine,
he was obliged to make proper provision for her maintenance. Whether
she were barren or had borne him children, he was obliged to return
her marriage portion; and in the latter case she had the custody of the
children, for whose maintenance and education he was obliged to furnish
the necessary supplies. Moreover, at the man’s death she and her
children would inherit a share of his property. When there had been no
marriage portion, a sum was fixed which the husband was obliged to pay
to his divorced wife, according to his status. In cases where the wife
was proved to have wasted her household and to have entirely failed in
her duty, her husband could divorce her without paying any compensation,
or could make her a slave in his house, and the extreme penalty for
this offence was death. On the other hand, a woman could not be divorced
because she had contracted a permanent disease; and, if she desired to
divorce her husband and could prove that her past life had been seemly,
she could do so, returning to her father’s house and taking her marriage
portion with her.

It is not necessary here to go very minutely into the regulations given
by the code with regard to marriage portions, the rights of widows,
the laws of inheritance, and the laws regulating the adoption and
maintenance of children. The customs that already have been described
with regard to marriage and divorce may serve to indicate the spirit
in which the code is drawn up and the recognized status occupied by the
wife in the Babylonian household. The extremely independent position
enjoyed by women in the early Babylonian days is illustrated by the
existence of a special class of women, to which constant reference is
made in the contracts and letters of the period. When the existence of
this class of women was first recognized from the references to them in
the contract-tablets inscribed at the time of the First Dynasty, they
were regarded as priestesses, but the regulations concerning them which
occur in the code of Hammurabi prove that their duties were not strictly
sacerdotal, but that they occupied the position of votaries. The
majority of those referred to in the inscriptions of this period
were vowed to the service of E-bab-bara, the temple of the Sun-god at
Sippara, and of E-sagila, the great temple of Marduk at Babylon, but
it is probable that all the great temples in the country had classes of
female votaries attached to them. From the evidence at present
available it may be concluded that the functions of these women bore no
resemblance to that of the sacred prostitutes devoted to the service of
the goddess Ishtar in the city of Erech. They seem to have occupied a
position of great influence and independence in the community, and
their duties and privileges were defined and safeguarded by special

Generally they lived together in a special building, or convent,
attached to the temple, but they had considerable freedom and could
leave the convent and also contract marriage. Their vows, however,
while securing them special privileges, entailed corresponding
responsibilities. Even when married a votary was still obliged to remain
a virgin, and, should her husband desire to have children, she could not
bear them herself, but must provide him with a maid or concubine. Also
she had to maintain a high standard of moral conduct, for any breach
of which severe penalties were enforced. Thus, if a votary who was not
living in the convent opened a beer-shop, or should enter one for drink,
she ran the risk of being put to death. But the privileges she enjoyed
were also considerable, for even when unmarried she enjoyed the status
of a married woman, and if any man slandered her he incurred the penalty
of branding on the forehead. Moreover, a married votary, though she
could not bear her husband children, was secured in her position as the
permanent head of his household. The concubine she might give to her
husband was always the wife’s inferior, even after bearing him children,
and should the former attempt to put herself on a level of equality with
the votary, the latter might brand her as a slave and put her with the
female slaves. If the concubine proved barren she could be sold. The
votary could also possess property, and on taking her vows was provided
with a portion by her father exactly as though she were being given
in marriage. Her portion was vested in herself and did not become the
property of the order of votaries, nor of the temple to which she
was attached. The proceeds of her property were devoted to her own
maintenance, and on her father’s death her brothers looked after
her interests, or she might farm the property out. Under certain
circumstances she could inherit property and was not obliged to pay
taxes on it, and such property she could bequeath at her own death; but
upon her death her portion returned to her own family unless her father
had assigned her the privilege of bequeathing it. That the social
position enjoyed by a votary was considerable is proved by the fact that
many women of good family, and even members of the royal house, took
vows. The existence of the order and its high repute indicate a
very advanced conception of the position of women among the early

From the code of Hammurabi we also gather considerable information with
regard to the various classes of which the community was composed and
to their relative social positions. For the purposes of legislation
the community was divided into three main classes or sections, which
corresponded to well-defined strata in the social system. The lowest
of these classes consisted of the slaves, who must have formed a
considerable portion of the population. The class next above them
comprised the large body of free men, who were possessed of a certain
amount of property but were poor and humble, as their name, _muslikênu_,
implied. These we may refer to as the middle class. The highest, or
upper class, in the Babylonian community embraced all the officers and
ministers attached to the court, the higher officials and servants
of the state, and the owners of considerable lands and estates. The
differences which divided and marked off from one another the two great
classes of free men in the population of Babylonia is well illustrated
by the scale of payments as compensation for injury which they were
obliged to make or were entitled to receive. Thus, if a member of the
upper class were guilty of stealing an ox, or a sheep, or an ass, or
a pig, or a boat, from a temple or a private house, he had to pay the
owner thirty times its value as compensation, whereas if the thief were
a member of the middle class he only had to pay ten times its price, but
if he had no property and so could not pay compensation he was put to
death. The penalty for manslaughter was less if the assailant was a man
of the middle class, and such a man could also divorce his wife more
cheaply, and was privileged to pay his doctor or surgeon a smaller fee
for a successful operation.

But the privileges enjoyed by a man of the middle class were
counterbalanced by a corresponding diminution of the value at which
his life and limbs were assessed. Thus, if a doctor by carrying out an
operation unskilfully caused the death of a member of the upper class,
or inflicted a serious injury upon him, such as the loss of an eye, the
punishment was the amputation of both hands, but no such penalty seems
to have been exacted if the patient were a member of the middle class.
If, however, the patient were a slave of a member of the middle class,
in the event of death under the operation, the doctor had to give the
owner another slave, and in the event of the slave losing his eye, he
had to pay the owner half the slave’s value. Penalties for assault were
also regulated in accordance with the social position and standing
of the parties to the quarrel. Thus, if one member of the upper class
knocked out the eye or the tooth of one of his equals, his own eye or
his own tooth was knocked out as a punishment, and if he broke the limb
of one of the members of his own class, he had his corresponding limb
broken; but if he knocked out the eye of a member of the middle class,
or broke his limb, he suffered no punishment in his own person, but was
fined one mana of silver, and for knocking out the tooth of such a man
he was fined one-third of a mana. If two members of the same class were
engaged in a quarrel, and one of them made a peculiarly improper assault
upon the other, the assailant was only fined, the fine being larger
if the quarrel was between members of the upper class. But if such an
assault was made by one man upon another who was of higher rank than
himself, the assailant was punished by being publicly beaten in the
presence of the assembly, when he received sixty stripes from a scourge
of ox-hide. These regulations show the privileges and responsibilities
which pertained to the two classes of free men in the Babylonian
community, and they indicate the relative social positions which they

Both classes of free men could own slaves, though it is obvious that
they were more numerous in the households and on the estates of members
of the upper class. The slave was the absolute property of his master
and could be bought and sold and employed as a deposit for a debt,
but, though slaves as a class had few rights of their own, in certain
circumstances they could acquire them. Thus, if the owner of a female
slave had begotten children by her he could not use her as the payment
for a debt, and in the event of his having done so he was obliged to
ransom her by paying the original amount of the debt in money. It was
also possible for a male slave, whether owned by a member of the upper
or of the middle class, to marry a free woman, and if he did so, his
children were free and did not become the property of his master. Also,
if the free woman whom the slave married brought with her a marriage
portion from her father’s house, this remained her own property on the
slave’s death, and supposing the couple had acquired other property
during the time they lived together as man and wife, the owner of the
slave could only claim half of such property, the other half being
retained by the free woman for her own use and for that of her children.

Generally speaking, the lot of the slave was not a particularly hard
one, for he was a recognized member of his owner’s household, and, as a
valuable piece of property, it was obviously to his owner’s interest to
keep him healthy and in good condition. In fact, the value of the slave
is attested by the severity of the penalty imposed for abducting a male
or female slave from the owner’s house and removing him or her from
the city; for a man guilty of this offence was put to death. The same
penalty was imposed for harbouring and taking possession of a runaway
slave, whereas a fixed reward was paid by the owner to any one by whom
a runaway slave was captured and brought back. Special legislation was
also devised with the object of rendering the theft of slaves difficult
and their detection easy. Thus, if a brander put a mark upon a slave
without the owner’s consent, he was liable to have his hands cut off,
and if he could prove that he did so through being deceived by another
man, that man was put to death. For bad offences slaves were liable to
severe punishments, such as cutting off the ear, which was the penalty
for denying his master, and also for making an aggravated assault on a
member of the upper class of free men. But it is clear that on the whole
the slave was well looked after. He was also not condemned to remain
perpetually a slave, for while still in his master’s service it was
possible for him, under certain conditions, to acquire property of his
own, and if he did so he was able with his master’s consent to purchase
his freedom. If a slave were captured by the enemy and taken to a
foreign land and sold, and were then brought back by his new owner to
his own country, he could claim his liberty without having to pay any
purchase-money to either of his masters.

The code of Hammurabi also contains detailed regulations concerning the
duties of debtors and creditors, and it throws an interesting light
on the commercial life of the Babylonians at this early period. For
instance, it reveals the method by which a wealthy man, or a merchant,
extended his business and obtained large profits by trading with other
towns. This he did by employing agents who were under certain fixed
obligations to him, but acted independently so far as their trading was
concerned. From the merchant these agents would receive money or grain
or wool or oil or any sort of goods wherewith to trade, and in return
they paid a fixed share of their profits, retaining the remainder as
the recompense for their own services. They were thus the earliest of
commercial travellers. In order to prevent fraud between the merchant
and the agent special regulations were framed for the dealings they had
with one another. Thus, when the agent received from the merchant the
money or goods to trade with, it was enacted that he should at the time
of the transaction give a properly executed receipt for the amount he
had received. Similarly, if the agent gave the merchant money in return
for the goods he had received and in token of his good faith, the
merchant had to give a receipt to the agent, and in reckoning their
accounts after the agent’s return from his journey, only such amounts as
were specified in the receipts were to be regarded as legal obligations.
If the agent forgot to obtain his proper receipt he did so at his own


     Dating from the period of the First Dynasty of Babylon.

Travelling at this period was attended with some risk, as it is in the
East at the present day, and the caravan with which an agent travelled
was liable to attack from brigands, or it might be captured by enemies
of the country from which it set out. It was right that loss from this
cause should not be borne by the agent, who by trading with the goods
was risking his own life, but should fall upon the merchant who had
merely advanced the goods and was safe in his own city. It is plain,
however, that disputes frequently arose in consequence of the loss of
goods through a caravan being attacked and robbed, for the code states
clearly the responsibility of the merchant in the matter. If in the
course of his journey an enemy had forced the agent to give up some of
the goods he was carrying, on his return the agent had to specify the
amount on oath, and he was then acquitted of all responsibility in the
matter. If he attempted to cheat his employer by misappropriating the
money or goods advanced to him, on being convicted of the offence before
the elders of the city, he was obliged to repay the merchant three times
the amount he had taken. On the other hand, if the merchant attempted
to defraud his agent by denying that the due amount had been returned to
him, he was obliged on conviction to pay the agent six times the amount
as compensation. It will thus be seen that the law sought to protect the
agent from the risk of being robbed by his more powerful employer.

The merchant sometimes furnished the agent with goods which he was to
dispose of in the best markets he could find in the cities and towns
along his route, and sometimes he would give the agent money with which
to purchase goods in foreign cities for sale on his return. If the
venture proved successful the merchant and his agent shared the profits
between them, but if the agent made bad bargains he had to refund to the
merchant the value of the goods he had received; if the merchant had not
agreed to risk losing any profit, the amount to be refunded to him was
fixed at double the value of the goods advanced.

[Illustration: 282.jpg A TRACK IN THE DESERT.]

This last enactment gives an indication of the immense profits which
were obtained by both the merchant and the agent from this system of
foreign trade, for it is clear that what was regarded fair profit for
the merchant was double the value of the goods disposed of. The profits
of a successful journey would also include a fair return to the agent
for the trouble and time involved in his undertaking. Many of the
contract tablets of this early period relate to such commercial
journeys, which show that various bargains were made between the
different parties interested, and sometimes such contracts, or
partnerships, were entered into, not for a single journey only, but for
long periods. We may therefore conclude that at the time of the First
Dynasty of Babylon, and probably for long centuries before that period,
the great trade-routes of the East were crowded with traffic. With the
exception that donkeys and asses were employed for beasts of burden and
were not supplemented by horses and camels until a much later period, a
camping-ground in the desert on one of the great trade-routes must have
presented a scene similar to that of a caravan camping in the desert at
the present day.


The rough tracks beaten by the feet of men and beasts are the same
to-day as they were in that remote period. We can imagine a body of
these early travellers approaching a walled city at dusk and hastening
their pace to get there before the gates were shut. Such a picture as
that of the approach to the city of Samarra, with its mediaeval walls,
may be taken as having had its counterpart in many a city of the early
Babylonians. The caravan route leads through the desert to the city
gate, and if we substitute two massive temple towers for the domes of
the mosques that rise above the wall, little else in the picture need be


     A small caravan is here seen approaching the city at sunset
     before the gates are shut. Samarra was only founded in A. D.
     834, by the Khalif el-Motasim, the son of Harûn er-Rashîd,
     but customs in the East do not change, and the photograph
     may be used to illustrate the approach of an early
     Babylonian caravan to a walled city of the period.

The houses, too, at this period must have resembled the structures of
unburnt brick of the present day, with their flat mud tops, on which
the inmates sleep at night during the hot season, supported on poles
and brushwood. The code furnishes evidence that at that time, also, the
houses were not particularly well built and were liable to fall, and,
in the event of their doing so, it very justly fixes the responsibility
upon the builder. It is clear from the penalties for bad workmanship
enforced upon the builder that considerable abuses had existed in the
trade before the time of Hammurabi, and it is not improbable that the
enforcement of the penalties succeeded in stamping them out. Thus, if
a builder built a house for a man, and his work was not sound and the
house fell and crushed the owner so that he died, it was enacted that
the builder himself should be put to death. If the fall of the house
killed the owner’s son, the builder’s own son was to be put to death.


If one or more of the owner’s slaves were killed, the builder had to
restore him slave for slave. Any damage which the owner’s goods might
have suffered from the fall of the house was to be made good by the
builder. In addition to these penalties the builder was obliged to
rebuild the house, or any portion of it that had fallen through
not being properly secured, at his own cost. On the other hand, due
provisions were made for the payment of the builder for sound work; and
as the houses of the period rarely, if ever, consisted of more than one
story, the scale of payment was fixed by the area of ground covered by
the building.

[Illustration: 286.jpg THE CITY OF MOSUL.]

     Situated on the right bank of the Tigris opposite the mounds
     which mark the site of the ancient city of Nineveh. The
     flat-roof ednouses which may be distinguished in the
     photograph are very similar in form and construction to
     those employed by the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians.

From the code of Hammurabi we also gain considerable information with
regard to agricultural pursuits in ancient Babylonia, for elaborate
regulations are given concerning the landowner’s duties and
responsibilities, and his relations to his tenants. The usual practice
in hiring land for cultivation was for the tenant to pay his rent in
kind, by assigning a certain proportion of the crop, generally a third
or a half, to the owner. If a tenant hired certain land for cultivation
he was bound to till it and raise a crop, and should he neglect to do
so he had to pay the owner what was reckoned as the average rent of the
land, and he had also to break up the land and plough it before handing
it back. As the rent of a field was usually reckoned at harvest, and its
amount depended on the size of the crop, it was only fair that damage to
the crop from flood or storm should not be made up by the tenant; thus
it was enacted by the code that any loss from such a cause should be
shared equally by the owner of the field and the farmer, though if the
latter had already paid his rent at the time the damage occurred he
could not make a claim for repayment.

[Illustration: 287.jpg THE VILLAGE OF NEBI YUNUS.]

     Built on one of the mounds marking the site of the Assyrian
     city of Nineveh. The mosque in the photograph is built over
     the traditional site of the prophet Jonah’s tomb. The flat-
     roofed houses of the modern dwellers on the mound can be
     well seen in the picture.

It is clear from the enactments of the code that disputes were frequent,
not only between farmers and landowners, but also between farmers and
shepherds. It is certain that the latter, in the attempt to find pasture
for the flocks, often allowed their sheep to feed off the farmers’ fields
in the spring. This practice the code set itself to prevent by fixing a
scale of compensation to be paid by any shepherd who caused his sheep to
graze on cultivated land without the owner’s consent. If the offence was
committed in the early spring, when the crop was still small, the farmer
was to harvest the crop and receive a considerable price in kind as
compensation for the shepherd. But if it occurred later on in the
spring, when the sheep had been brought in from the meadows and turned
into the great common field at the city gate, the offence would less
probably be due to accident and the damage to the crop would be greater.
In these circumstances the shepherd had to take over the crop and pay
the farmer very heavily for his loss.

[Illustration: 288.jpg Portrait-sculpture of Hammurabi, King of Babylon]

     From a stone slab in the British Museum.

The planting of gardens and orchards was encouraged, and a man was
allowed to use a field for this purpose without paying a yearly rent. He
might plant it and tend it for four years, and in the fifth year of
his tenancy the original owner of the field took half of the garden
in payment, while the other half the planter of the garden kept for
himself. If a bare patch had been left in the garden it was to be
reckoned in the planter’s half. Regulations were framed to ensure the
proper carrying out of the planting, for if the tenant neglected to do
this during the first four years, he was still liable to plant the plot
he had taken without receiving his half, and he had to pay the owner
compensation in addition, which varied in amount according to the
original condition of the land. If a man hired a garden, the rent he
paid to the owner was fixed at two-thirds of its produce. Detailed
regulations are also given in the code concerning the hire of cattle
and asses, and the compensation to be paid to the owner for the loss or
ill-treatment of his beasts. These are framed on the just principle that
the hirer was responsible only for damage or loss which he could have
reasonably prevented. Thus, if a lion killed a hired ox or ass in the
open country, or if an ox was killed by lightning, the loss fell upon
the owner and not on the man who hired the beast. But if the hirer
killed the ox through carelessness or by beating it unmercifully, or if
the beast broke its leg while in his charge, he had to restore another
ox to the owner in place of the one he had hired. For lesser damages to
the beast the hirer had to pay compensation on a fixed scale. Thus, if
the ox had its eye knocked out during the period of its hire, the man
who hired it had to pay to the owner half its value; while for a broken
horn, the loss of the tail, or a torn muzzle, he paid a quarter of the
value of the beast.

Fines were also levied for carelessness in looking after cattle, though
in cases of damage or injury, where carelessness could not be proved,
the owner of a beast was not held responsible. A bull might go wild at
any time and gore a man, however careful and conscientious the owner
might be, and in these circumstances the injured man could not bring an
action against the owner. But if a bull had already gored a man, and,
although it was known to be vicious, the owner had not blunted its horns
or shut it up, in the event of its goring and killing a free man, he had
to pay half a mana of silver. One-third of a mana was the price paid for
a slave who was killed. A landed proprietor who might hire farmers to
cultivate his fields inflicted severe fines for acts of dishonesty with
regard to the cattle, provender, or seed-corn committed to their charge.
If a man stole the provender for the cattle he had to make it good, and
he was also liable to the punishment of having his hands cut off. In
the event of his being convicted of letting out the oxen for hire, or
stealing the seed-corn so that he did not produce a crop, he had to pay
very heavy compensation, and, if he could not pay, he was liable to be
torn to pieces by the oxen in the field he should have cultivated.

In a dry land like Babylonia, where little rain falls and that in only
one season of the year, the irrigation of his fields forms one of the
most important duties of the agriculturist. The farmer leads the water
to his fields along small irrigation-canals or channels above the level
of the soil, their sides being formed of banks of earth. It is clear
that similar methods were employed by the early Babylonians. One such
channel might supply the fields of several farmers, and it was the duty
of each man through whose land the channel flowed to keep its banks on
his land in repair. If he omitted to strengthen his bank or dyke, and
the water forced a breach and flooded his neighbour’s field, he had to
pay compensation in kind for any crop that was ruined; while if he could
not pay, he and his goods were sold, and his neighbours, whose fields
had been damaged through his carelessness, shared the money.

The land of Babylonian farmers was prepared for irrigation before it was
sown by being divided into a number of small square or oblong tracts,
each separated from the others by a low bank of earth, the seed being
afterwards sown within the small squares or patches. Some of the banks
running lengthwise through the field were made into small channels, the
ends of which were carried up to the bank of the nearest main irrigation
canal. No system of gates or sluices was employed, and when the farmer
wished to water one of his fields he simply broke away the bank opposite
one of his small channels and let the water flow into it. He would let
the water run along this small channel until it reached the part of
his land he wished to water. He then blocked the channel with a little
earth, at the same time breaking down its bank so that the water flowed
over one of the small squares and thoroughly soaked it. When this square
was finished he filled up the bank and repeated the process for the
next square, and so on until he had watered the necessary portion of
the field. When this was finished he returned to the main channel and
stopped the flow of the water by blocking up the hole he had made in the
dyke. The whole process was, and to-day still is, extremely simple,
but it needs care and vigilance, especially in the case of extensive
irrigation when water is being carried into several parts of an estate
at once. It will be obvious that any carelessness on the part of the
irrigator in not shutting off the water in time may lead to extensive
damage, not only to his own fields, but to those of his neighbours. In
the early Babylonian period, if a farmer left the water running in his
channel, and it flooded his neighbour’s field and hurt his crop, he had
to pay compensation according to the amount of damage done.

It was stated above that the irrigation-canals and little channels were
made above the level of the soil so that the water could at any point
be tapped and allowed to flow over the surrounding land; and in a flat
country like Babylonia it will be obvious that some means had to be
employed for raising the water from its natural level to the higher
level of the land. As we should expect, reference is made in the
Babylonian inscriptions to irrigation-machines, and, although their
exact form and construction are not described, they must have been very
similar to those employed at the present day. The modern inhabitants of
Mesopotamia employ four sorts of contrivances for raising the water into
their irrigation-channels; three of these are quite primitive, and are
those most commonly employed. The method which gives the least trouble
and which is used wherever the conditions allow is a primitive form of
water-wheel. This can be used only in a river with a good current.
The wheel is formed of rough boughs and branches nailed together, with
spokes joining the outer rims to a roughly hewn axle. A row of rough
earthenware cups or bottles are tied round the outer rim for picking
up the water, and a few rough paddles are fixed so that they stick out
beyond the rim. The wheel is then fixed in place near the bank of the
river, its axle resting in pillars of rough masonry.


As the current turns the wheel, the bottles on the rim dip below the
surface and are raised up full. At the top of the wheel is fixed a
trough made by hollowing half the trunk of a date-palm, and into this
the bottles pour their water, which is conducted from the trough by
means of a small aqueduct into the irrigation-channel on the bank.

The convenience of the water-wheel will be obvious, for the water is
raised without the labour of man or beast, and a constant supply is
secured day and night so long as the current is strong enough to turn
the wheel. The water can be cut off by blocking the wheel or tying it
up. These wheels are most common on the Euphrates, and are usually set
up where there is a slight drop in the river bed and the water runs
swiftly over shallows. As the banks are very high, the wheels are
necessarily huge contrivances in order to reach the level of the fields,
and their very rough construction causes them to creak and groan as they
turn with the current. In a convenient place in the river several of
these are sometimes set up side by side, and the noise of their combined
creakings can be heard from a great distance. Some idea of what one of
these machines looks like can be obtained from the illustration. At Hit
on the Euphrates a line of gigantic water-wheels is built across the
river, and the noise they make is extraordinary.

Where there is no current to turn one of these wheels, or where the bank
is too high, the water must be raised by the labour of man or beast. The
commonest method, which is the one employed generally on the Tigris, is
to raise it in skins, which are drawn up by horses, donkeys, or cattle.
A recess with perpendicular sides is cut into the bank, and a wooden
spindle on wooden struts is supported horizontally over the recess. A
rope running over the spindle is fastened to the skin, while the funnel
end of the skin is held up by a second rope, running over a lower
spindle, until its mouth is opposite the trough into which the water
is to be poured. The beasts which are employed for raising the skin
are fastened to the ends of the ropes, and they get a good purchase for
their pull by being driven down a short cutting or inclined plane in the
bank. To get a constant flow of water, two skins are usually employed,
and as one is drawn up full the other is let down empty.

The third primitive method of raising water, which is commoner in Egypt
than in Mesopotamia at the present day, is the _shadduf_, and is worked
by hand. It consists of a beam supported in the centre, at one end of
which is tied a rope with a bucket or vessel for raising the water, and
at the other end is fixed a counterweight.* On an Assyrian bas-relief
found at Kuyunjik are representations of the shadduf in operation,
two of them being used, the one above the other, to raise the water to
successive levels. These were probably the contrivances usually employed
by the early Babylonians for raising the water to the level of their
fields, and the fact that they were light and easily removed must have
made them tempting objects to the dishonest farmer. Hammurabi therefore
fixed a scale of compensation to be paid to the owner by a detected
thief, which varied according to the class and value of the machine
he stole. The rivers and larger canals of Babylonia were used by the
ancient inhabitants not only for the irrigation of their fields, but
also as waterways for the transport of heavy materials. The recently
published letters of Hammurabi and Abêshu’ contain directions for the
transportation of corn, dates, sesame seed, and wood, which were ordered
to be brought in ships to Babylon, and the code of Hammurabi refers to
the transportation by water of wool and oil. It is therefore clear that
at this period considerable use was made of vessels of different size
for conveying supplies in bulk by water. The method by which the size of
such ships and barges was reckoned was based on the amount of grain
they were capable of carrying, and this was measured by the _gur_, the
largest measure of capacity. Thus mention is made in the inscriptions of
vessels of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, and
seventy-five gur capacity. A boat-builder’s fee for building a vessel of
sixty gur was fixed at two shekels of silver, and it was proportionately
less for boats of smaller capacity. To ensure that the boat-builder
should not scamp his work, regulations were drawn up to fix on him the
responsibility for unsound work. Thus if a boat-builder were employed to
build a vessel, and he put faulty work into its construction so that it
developed defects within a year of its being launched, he was obliged to
strengthen and rebuild it at his own expense.

     * The fourth class of machine for raising water employed in
     Mesopotamia at the present day consists of an endless chain
     of iron buckets running over a wheel. This is geared by
     means of rough wooden cogs to a horizontal wheel, the
     spindle of which has long poles fixed to it, to which horses
     or cattle are harnessed. The beasts go round in a circle and
     so turn the machine. The contrivance is not so primitive as
     the three described above, and the iron buckets are of
     European importation.

The hire of a boatman was fixed at six gur of corn to be paid him
yearly, but it is clear that some of the larger vessels carried crews
commanded by a chief boatman, or captain, whose pay was probably on
a larger scale. If a man let his boat to a boatman, the latter was
responsible for losing or sinking it, and he had to replace it. A
boatman was also responsible for the safety of his vessel and of any
goods, such as corn, wool, oil, or dates, which he had been hired to
transport, and if they were sunk through his carelessness he had to make
good the loss. If he succeeded in refloating the boat after it had been
sunk, he was only under obligation to pay the owner half its value in
compensation for the damage it had sustained. In the case of a collision
between two vessels, if one was at anchor at the time, the owner of the
other vessel had to pay compensation for the boat that was sunk and its
cargo, the owner of the latter estimating on oath the value of what
had been sunk. Boats were also employed as ferries, and they must have
resembled the primitive form of ferry-boat in use at the present day,
which is heavily built of huge timbers, and employed for transporting
beasts as well as men across a river.


     Employed for ferrying caravans across the river.

There is evidence that under the Assyrians rafts floated on inflated
skins were employed for the transport of heavy goods, and these have
survived in the keleks of the present day. They are specially adapted
for the transportation of heavy materials, for they are carried down by
the current, and are kept in the course by means of huge sweeps or oars.
Being formed only of logs of wood and skins, they are not costly, for
wood is plentiful in the upper reaches of the rivers. At the end of
their journey, after the goods are landed, they are broken up. The wood
is sold at a profit, and the skins, after being deflated, are packed on
to donkeys to return by caravan.


It is not improbable that such rafts were employed on the Tigris and the
Euphrates from the earliest periods of Chaldæan history, though boats
would have been used on the canals and more sluggish waterways.

In the preceding pages we have given a sketch of the more striking
aspects of early Babylonian life, on which light has been thrown by
recently discovered documents belonging to the period of the First
Dynasty of Babylon. We have seen that, in the code of laws drawn up
by Hammurabi, regulations were framed for settling disputes and fixing
responsibilities under almost every condition and circumstance which
might arise among the inhabitants of the country at that time; and the
question naturally arises as to how far the code of laws was in actual


It is conceivable that the king may have held admirable convictions, but
have been possessed of little power to carry them out and to see
that his regulations were enforced. Luckily, we have not to depend on
conjecture for settling the question, for Hammurabi’s own letters which
are now preserved in the British Museum afford abundant evidence of the
active control which the king exercised over every department of his
administration and in every province of his empire. In the earlier
periods of history, when each city lived independently of its neighbours
and had its own system of government, the need for close and frequent
communication between them was not pressing, but this became apparent
as soon as they were welded together and formed parts of an extended
empire. Thus in the time of Sargon of Agade, about 3800 B.C., an
extensive system of royal convoys was established between the principal
cities. At Telloh the late M. de Sarzec came across numbers of lumps of
clay bearing the seal impressions of Sargon and of his son Narâm-Sin,
which had been used as seals and labels upon packages sent from Agade
to Shirpurla. In the time of Dungi, King of Ur, there was a constant
interchange of officials between the various cities of Babylonia and
Elam, and during the more recent diggings at Telloh there have been
found vouchers for the supply of food for their sustenance when stopping
at Shirpurla in the course of their journeys. In the case of Hammurabi
we have recovered some of the actual letters sent by the king himself to
Sin-idinnam, his local governor in the city of Larsam, and from them we
gain considerable insight into the principles which guided him in the
administration of his empire.

The letters themselves, in their general characteristics, resembled the
contract tablets of the period which have been already described. They
were written on small clay tablets oblong in shape, and as they were
only three or four inches long they could easily be carried about the
person of the messenger into whose charge they were delivered. After the
tablet was written it was enclosed in a thin envelope of clay, having
been first powdered with dry clay to prevent its sticking to the
envelope. The name of the person for whom the letter was intended was
written on the outside of the envelope, and both it and the tablet were
baked hard to ensure that they should not be broken on their travels.
The recipient of the letter, on its being delivered to him, broke the
outer envelope by tapping it sharply, and it then fell away in pieces,
leaving the letter and its message exposed. The envelopes were very
similar to those in which the contract tablets of the period were
enclosed, of which illustrations have already been given, their only
difference being that the text of the tablet was not repeated on the
envelope, as was the case with the former class of documents.

The royal letters that have been recovered throw little light on
military affairs and the prosecution of campaigns, for, being addressed
to governors of cities and civil officials, most of them deal with
matters affecting the internal administration of the empire. One letter
indeed contains directions concerning the movements of two hundred
and forty soldiers of “the King’s Company” who had been stationed in
Assyria, and another letter mentions certain troops who were quartered
in the city of Ur. A third deals with the supply of clothing and oil
for a section of the Babylonian army, and troops are also mentioned
as having formed the escort for certain goddesses captured from the
Elamites; while directions are sent to others engaged in a campaign upon
the Elamite frontier. The letter which contains directions for the
safe escort of the captured Elamite goddesses, and the one ordering the
return of these same goddesses to their own shrines, show that
foreign deities, even when captured from an enemy, were treated by the
Babylonians with the same respect and reverence that was shown by them
to their own gods and goddesses. Hammurabi gave directions in the first
letter for the conveyance of the goddesses to Babylon with all due pomp
and ceremony, sheep being supplied for sacrifice upon the journey,
and their usual rites being performed by their own temple-women and
priestesses. The king’s voluntary restoration of the goddesses to their
own country may have been due to the fact that, after their transference
to Babylon, the army of the Babylonians suffered defeat in Elam. This
misfortune would naturally have been ascribed by the king and the
priests to the anger of the Elamite goddesses at being detained in a
foreign land, and Hammurabi probably arrived at his decision that they
should be escorted back in the hope of once more securing victory for
the Babylonian arms.

The care which the king exercised for the due worship of his own gods
and the proper supply of their temples is well illustrated from the
letters that have been recovered, for he superintended the collection
of the temple revenues, and the herdsmen and shepherds attached to the
service of the gods sent their reports directly to him. He also took
care that the observances of religious rites and ceremonies were duly
carried out, and on one occasion he postponed the hearing of a lawsuit
concerning the title to certain property which was in dispute, as it
would have interfered with the proper observance of a festival in
the city of Ur. The plaintiff in the suit was the chief of the temple
bakers, and it was his duty to superintend the preparation of certain
offerings for the occasion. In order that he should not have to leave
his duties, the king put off the hearing of the case until after the
festival had been duly celebrated. The king also exercised a strict
control over the priests themselves, and received reports from the chief
priests concerning their own subordinates, and it is probable that the
royal sanction was obtained for all the principal appointments. The
guild of soothsayers was an important religious class at this time,
and they also were under the king’s direct control. A letter written by
Ammiditana, one of the later kings of the First Dynasty, to three high
officials of the city of Sippar, contains directions with regard to
certain duties to be carried out by the soothsayers attached to the
service of the city, and indicates the nature of their functions.
Ammiditana wrote to the officials in question, stating that there was a
scarcity of corn in the city of Shagga, and he therefore ordered them
to send a supply thither. But before the corn was brought into the city
they were told to consult the soothsayers, who were to divine the future
and ascertain whether the omens were favourable. If they proved to be
so, the corn was to be brought in. We may conjecture that the king took
this precaution, as he feared the scarcity of corn in Shagga was due
to the anger of some local deity or spirit, and that, if this were the
case, the bringing in of the corn would only lead to fresh troubles.
This danger it was the duty of the soothsayers to prevent.

Another class of the priesthood, which we may infer was under the king’s
direct control, was the astrologers, whose duty it probably was to make
reports to the king of the conjunctions of the heavenly bodies, with a
view to ascertaining whether they portended good or evil to the
state. No astrological reports written in this early period have
been recovered, but at a later period under the Assyrian empire the
astrologers reported regularly to the king on such matters, and it is
probable that the practice was one long established. One of Hammurabi’s
letters proves that the king regulated the calendar, and it is
legitimate to suppose that he sought the advice of his astrologers as
to the times when intercalary months were to be inserted. The letter
dealing with the calendar was written to inform Sin-idinnam, the
governor of Larsam, that an intercalary month was to be inserted. “Since
the year (i.e. the calendar) hath a deficiency,” he writes, “let the
month which is now beginning be registered as a second Elul,” and the
king adds that this insertion of an extra month will not justify any
postponement in the payment of the regular tribute due from the city of
Larsam, which had to be paid a month earlier than usual to make up for
the month that was inserted. The intercalation of additional months
was due to the fact that the Babylonian months were lunar, so that the
calendar had to be corrected at intervals to make it correspond to the
solar year.

From the description already given of the code of laws drawn up by
Hammurabi it will have been seen that the king attempted to incorporate
and arrange a set of regulations which should settle any dispute likely
to arise with regard to the duties and privileges of all classes of
his subjects. That this code was not a dead letter, but was actively
administered, is abundantly proved by many of the letters of Hammurabi
which have been recovered. From these we learn that the king took a very
active part in the administration of justice in the country, and that he
exercised a strict supervision, not only over the cases decided in the
capital, but also over those which were tried in the other great cities
and towns of Babylonia. Any private citizen was entitled to make a
direct appeal to the king for justice, if he thought he could not obtain
it in his local court, and it is clear from Hammurabi’s letters that he
always listened to such an appeal and gave it adequate consideration.
The king was anxious to stamp out all corruption on the part of those
who were invested with authority, and he had no mercy on any of his
officers who were convicted of taking bribes. On one occasion when he
had been informed of a case of bribery in the city of Dûr-gurgurri, he
at once ordered the governor of the district in which Dûr-gurgurri lay
to investigate the charge and send to Babylon those who were proved to
be guilty, that they might be punished. He also ordered that the bribe
should be confiscated and despatched to Babylon under seal, a wise
provision which must have tended to discourage those who were inclined
to tamper with the course of justice, while at the same time it enriched
the state. It is probable that the king tried all cases of appeal in
person when it was possible to do so. But if the litigants lived at
a considerable distance from Babylon, he gave directions to his local
officials on the spot to try the case. When he was convinced of
the justice of any claim, he would decide the case himself and send
instructions to the local authorities to see that his decision was duly
carried out. It is certain that many disputes arose at this period in
consequence of the extortions of money-lenders. These men frequently
laid claim in a fraudulent manner to fields and estates which they had
received in pledge as security for seed-corn advanced by them. In
cases where fraud was proved Hammurabi had no mercy, and summoned the
money-lender to Babylon to receive punishment, however wealthy and
powerful he might be.

A subject frequently referred to in Hammurabi’s letters is the
collection of revenues, and it is clear that an elaborate system was in
force throughout the country for the levying and payment of tribute
to the state by the principal cities of Babylonia, as well as for the
collection of rent and revenue from the royal estates and from the lands
which were set apart for the supply of the great temples. Collectors of
both secular and religious tribute sent reports directly to the king,
and if there was any deficit in the supply which was expected from a
collector he had to make it up himself; but the king was always ready
to listen to and investigate a complaint and to enforce the payment of
tribute or taxes so that the loss should not fall upon the collector.
Thus, in one of his letters Hammurabi informs the governor of
Larsam that a collector named Sheb-Sin had reported to him, saying
“Enubi-Marduk hath laid hands upon the money for the temple of
Bît-il-kittim (i.e. the great temple of the Sun-god at Larsam) which is
due from the city of Dûr-gurgurri and from the (region round about the)
Tigris, and he hath not rendered the full sum; and Gimil-Marduk hath
laid hands upon the money for the temple of Bît-il-kittim which is due
from the city.of Rakhabu and from the region round about that city, and
he hath not (paid) the full amount. But the palace hath exacted the full
sum from me.” It is probable that both Enubi-Marduk and Gimil-Marduk
were money-lenders, for we know from another letter that the former had
laid claim to certain property on which he had held a mortgage, although
the mortgage had been redeemed. In the present case they had probably
lent money or seed-corn to certain cultivators of land near Dûr-gurgurri
and Rakhabu and along the Tigris, and in settlement of their claims they
had seized the crops and had, moreover, refused to pay to the king’s
officer the proportion of the crops that was due to the state as
taxes upon the land. The governor of Larsam, the principal city in the
district, had rightly, as the representative of the palace (i.e.
the king), caused the tax-collector to make up the deficiency, but
Hammurabi, on receiving the subordinate officer’s complaint, referred
the matter back to the governor. The end of the letter is wanting, but
we may infer that Hammurabi condemned the defaulting money-lenders to
pay the taxes due, and fined them in addition, or ordered them to be
sent to the capital for punishment.

On another occasion Sheb-Sin himself and a second tax-collector named
Sin-mushtal appear to have been in fault and to have evaded coming to
Babylon when summoned thither by the king. It had been their duty to
collect large quantities of sesame seed as well as taxes paid in money.
When first summoned, they had made the excuse that it was the time of
harvest and they would come after the harvest was over. But as they
did not then make their appearance, Hammurabi wrote an urgent letter
insisting that they should be despatched with the full amount of the
taxes due, in the company of a trustworthy officer who would see that
they duly arrived at the capital.

Tribute on flocks and herds was also levied by the king, and collectors
or assessors of the revenue were stationed in each district, whose duty
it was to report any deficit in the revenue accounts. The owners of
flocks and herds were bound to bring the young cattle and lambs that
were due as tribute to the central city of the district in which they
dwelt, and they were then collected into large bodies and added to the
royal flocks and herds; but, if the owners attempted to hold back any
that were due as tribute, they were afterwards forced to incur the extra
expense and trouble of driving the beasts to Babylon. The flocks and
herds owned by the king and the great temples were probably enormous,
and yielded a considerable revenue in themselves apart from the tribute
and taxes due from private owners. Shepherds and herdsmen were placed in
charge of them, and they were divided into groups under chief shepherds,
who arranged the districts in which the herds and flocks were to be
grazed, distributing them when possible along the banks and in the
neighbourhood of rivers and canals which would afford good pasturage and
a plentiful supply of water. The king received reports from the chief
shepherds and herdsmen, and it was the duty of the governors of the
chief cities and districts of Babylonia to make tours of inspection
and see that due care was taken of the royal flocks and sheep. The
sheep-shearing for all the flocks that were pastured near the capital
took place in Babylon, and the king used to send out summonses to his
chief shepherds to inform them of the day when the shearing would take
place; and it is probable that the governors of the other great cities
sent out similar orders to the shepherds of flocks under their charge.
Royal and priestly flocks were often under the same chief officer, a
fact which shows the very strict control the king exercised over the
temple revenues.

The interests of the agricultural population were strictly looked
after by the king, who secured a proper supply of water for purposes of
irrigation by seeing that the canals and waterways were kept in a proper
state of repair and cleaned out at regular intervals. There is also
evidence that nearly every king of the First Dynasty of Babylon cut new
canals, and extended the system of irrigation and transportation which
had been handed down to him from his fathers. The draining of the
marshes and the proper repair of the canals could only be carried out
by careful and continuous supervision, and it was the duty of the local
governors to see that the inhabitants of villages and owners of land
situated on the banks of a canal should keep it in proper order. When
this duty had been neglected complaints were often sent to the king,
who gave orders to the local governor to remedy the defect. Thus on one
occasion it had been ordered that a canal at Erech which had silted
up should be deepened, but the dredging had not been carried out
thoroughly, so that the bed of the canal soon silted up again and boats
were prevented from entering the city. In these circumstances Hammurabi
gave pressing orders that the obstruction was to be removed and the
canal made navigable within three days.

Damage was often done to the banks of canals by floods which followed
the winter rains, and a letter of Abêshu’ gives an interesting account of
a sudden rise of the water in the Irnina canal so that it overflowed its
banks. The king was building a palace at the city of Kâr-Irnina, which
was supplied by the Irnina canal, and every year it was possible to put
so much work into the building. But one year, when little more than a
third of the year’s work was done, the building operations were stopped
by flood, the canal having overflowed its banks so that the water rose
right up to the wall of the town. In return for the duty of keeping
the canals in order, the villagers along the banks had the privilege of
fishing in its waters in the portion which was in their charge, and
any poaching by other villagers in this part of the stream was strictly
forbidden. On one occasion, in the reign of Samsu-iluna, Hammurabi’s son
and successor, the fishermen of the district of Rabim went down in their
boats to the district of Shakanim and caught fish there contrary to the
law. So the inhabitants of Shakanim complained of this poaching to the
king, who sent a palace official to the authorities of Sippar, near
which city the districts in question lay, with orders to inquire into
the matter and take steps to prevent all such poaching for the future.

The regulation of transportation on the canals was also under the royal
jurisdiction. The method of reckoning the size of ships has already
been described, and there is evidence that the king possessed numerous
vessels of all sizes for the carrying of grain, wool, and dates, as well
as for the wood and stone employed in his building operations. Each ship
seems to have had its own crew, under the command of a captain, and it
is probable that officials who regulated the transportation from the
centres where they were stationed were placed in charge of separate
sections of the rivers and of the canals.

It is obvious, from the account that has been given of the numerous
operations directly controlled and superintended by the king, that
he had need of a very large body of officials, by whose means he was
enabled to carry out successfully the administration of the country.
In the course of the account we have made mention of the judges and
judicial officers, the assessors and collectors of revenue, and the
officials of the palace who were under the king’s direct orders. It is
also obvious that different classes of officers were in charge of all
the departments of the administration. Two classes of officials,
who were placed in charge of the public works and looked after and
controlled the public slaves, and probably also had a good deal to do
with the collection of the revenue, had special privileges assigned
to them, and special legislation was drawn up to protect them in the
enjoyment of the same. As payment for their duties they were each
granted land with a house and garden, they were assigned the use of
certain sheep and cattle with which to stock their land, and in addition
they received a regular salary. They were in a sense personal retainers
of the king and were liable to be sent at any moment on a special
mission to carry out the king’s commands. Disobedience was severely
punished; for, if such an officer, when detailed for a special mission,
did not go but hired a substitute, he was liable to be put to death and
the substitute he had hired could take his office. Sometimes an officer
was sent for long periods some distance from his home to take charge
of a garrison, and when this was done his home duties were performed by
another man, who temporarily occupied his house and land, but gave it
back to the officer on his return. If such an officer had a son old
enough to perform his duty in his father’s absence, he was allowed to
do so and to till his father’s lands; but if the son was too young,
the substitute who took the officer’s place had to pay one-third of
the produce of the land to the child’s mother for his education. Before
departing on his journey to the garrison it was the officer’s duty to
arrange for the proper cultivation of his land and the discharge of his
local duties during his absence. If he omitted to do so and left
his land and duties neglected for more than a year, and another had
meanwhile taken his place, on his return he could not reclaim his land
and office. It will be obvious, therefore, that his position was a
specially favoured one and much sought after, and these regulations
ensured that the duties attaching to the office were not neglected.

In the course of his garrison duty or when on special service, these
officers ran some risk of being captured by the enemy, and in that event
regulations were drawn up for their ransom. If the captured officer was
wealthy and could pay for his own ransom, he was bound to do so, but
if he had not the necessary means his ransom was to be paid out of the
local temple treasury, and, when the funds in the temple treasury
did not suffice, he was to be ransomed by the state. It was specially
enacted that his land and garden and house were in no case to be sold
in order to pay for his ransom. These were inalienably attached to the
office which he held, and he was not allowed to sell them or the sheep
and cattle with which they were stocked. Moreover, he was not allowed
to bequeath any of this property to his wife or daughter, so that his
office would appear to have been hereditary and the property attached to
it to have been entailed on his son if he succeeded him. Such succession
would not, of course, have taken place if the officer by his own neglect
or disobedience had forfeited his office and its privileges during his

It has been suggested with considerable probability that these officials
were originally personal retainers and follows of Sumu-abu, the founder
of the First Dynasty of Babylon. They were probably assigned lands
throughout the country in return for their services to the king, and
their special duties were to preserve order and uphold the authority of
their master. In the course of time their duties were no doubt modified,
but they retained their privileges and they must have continued to be a
very valuable body of officers, on whose personal loyalty the king could
always rely. In the preceding chapter we have already seen how grants of
considerable estates were made by the Kassite kings of the Third Dynasty
to followers who had rendered conspicuous services, and at the same time
they received the privilege of holding such lands free of all liability
to forced labour and the payment of tithes and taxes. We may conclude
that the class of royal officers under the kings of the First Dynasty
had a similar origin.

In the present chapter, from information recently made available, we
have given some account of the system of administration adopted by the
early kings of Babylon, and we have described in some detail the
various classes of the Babylonian population, their occupations, and the
conditions under which they lived. In the two preceding chapters we have
dealt with the political history of Western Asia from the very earliest
period of the Sumerian city-states down to the time of the Kassite
kings. In the course of this account we have seen how Mesopotamia in the
dawn of history was in the sole possession of the Sumerian race and how
afterwards it fell in turn under the dominion of the Semites and the
kings of Elam. The immigration of fresh Semitic tribes at the end of the
third millennium before Christ resulted in the establishment in Babylon
of the Semitic kings who are known as First Dynasty kings; and under the
sway of Hammurabi, the greatest of this group of kings, the empire thus
established in Western Asia had every appearance of permanence. Although
Elam no longer troubled Babylon, a great danger arose from a new and
unexpected quarter. In the Country of the Sea--which comprised the
districts in the extreme south of Babylonia on the shores of the Persian
Gulf--the Sumerians had rallied their forces, and they now declared
themselves independent of Babylonian control. A period of conflict
followed between the kings of the First Dynasty and the kings of the
Country of the Sea, in which the latter more than held their own; and,
when the Hittite tribes of Syria invaded Northern Babylonia in the reign
of Samsu-ditana, Babylon’s power of resistance was so far weakened that
she fell an easy prey to the rulers of the Country of the Sea. But the
reappearance of the Sumerians in the rôle of leading race in Western
Asia was destined not to last long, and was little more than the last
flicker of vitality exhibited by this ancient and exhausted race. Thus
the Second Dynasty fell in its turn before the onslaught of the Kassite
tribes who descended from the mountainous districts in the west of Elam,
and, having overrun the whole of Mesopotamia, established a new dynasty
at Babylon, and adopted Babylonian civilization.

With the advent of the Kassite kings a new chapter opens in the history
of Western Asia. Up to that time Egypt and Babylon, the two chief
centres of ancient civilization, had no doubt indirectly influenced one
another, but they had not come into actual contact. During the period of
the Kassite kings both Babylon and Assyria established direct relations
with Egypt, and from that time forward the influence they exerted upon
one another was continuous and unbroken. We have already traced the
history of Babylon up to this point in the light of recent discoveries,
and a similar task awaits us with regard to Assyria. Before we enter
into a discussion of Assyria’s origin and early history in the light of
recent excavation and research, it is necessary that we should return
once more to Egypt, and describe the course of her history from the
period when Thebes succeeded in displacing Memphis as the capital city.



We have seen that it was in the Theban period that Egypt emerged from
her isolation, and for the first time came into contact with Western
Asia. This grand turning-point in Egyptian history seemed to be the
appropriate place at which to pause in the description of our latest
knowledge of Egyptian history, in order to make known the results of
archaeological discovery in Mesopotamia and Western Asia generally. The
description has been carried down past the point of convergence of the
two originally isolated paths of Egyptian and Babylonian civilization,
and what new information the latest discoveries have communicated to us
on this subject has been told in the preceding chapters. We now have to
retrace our steps to the point where we left Egyptian history and resume
the thread of our Egyptian narrative.

The Hyksos conquest and the rise of Thebes are practically
contemporaneous. The conquest took place perhaps three or four hundred
years after the first advancement of Thebes to the position of capital
of Egypt, but it must be remembered that this position was not retained
during the time of the XIIth Dynasty. The kings of that dynasty, though
they were Thebans, did not reign at Thebes. Their royal city was in the
North, in the neighbourhood of Lisht and Mêdûm, where their pyramids
were erected, and their chief care was for the lake province of the
Fayyûm, which was largely the creation of Amenemhat III, the Moeris
of the Greeks. It was not till Thebes became the focus of the
national resistance to the Hyksos that its period of greatness began.
Henceforward it was the undisputed capital of Egypt, enlarged and
embellished by the care and munificence of a hundred kings, enriched by
the tribute of a hundred conquered nations.

But were we to confine ourselves to the consideration only of the latest
discoveries of Theban greatness after the expulsion of the Hyksos, we
should be omitting much that is of interest and importance. For the
Egyptians the first grand climacteric in their history (after the
foundation of the monarchy) was the transference of the royal power from
Memphis and Herakleopolis to a Theban house. The second, which followed
soon after, was the Hyksos invasion. The two are closely connected in
Theban history; it is Thebes that defeated Herakleopolis and conquered
Memphis; it is Theban power that was overthrown by the Hyksos; it is
Thebes that expelled them and initiated the second great period of
Egyptian history. We therefore resume our narrative at a point before
the great increase of Theban power at the time of the expulsion of the
Hyksos, and will trace this power from its rise, which followed
the defeat of Herakleopolis and Memphis. It is upon this epoch--the
beginning of Theban power--that the latest discoveries at Thebes have
thrown some new light.

More than anywhere else in Egypt excavations have been carried on at
Thebes, on the site of the ancient capital of the country. And here, if
anywhere, it might have been supposed that there was nothing more to be
found, no new thing to be exhumed from the soil, no new fact to be added
to our knowledge of Egyptian history. Yet here, no less than at Abydos,
has the archaeological exploration of the last few years been especially
successful, and we have seen that the ancient city of Thebes has a great
deal more to tell us than we had expected.

The most ancient remains at Thebes were discovered by Mr. Newberry in
the shape of two tombs of the VIth Dynasty, cut upon the face of the
well-known hill of Shêkh Abd el-Kûrna, on the west bank of the Nile
opposite Luxor. Every winter traveller to Egypt knows, well the ride
from the sandy shore opposite the Luxor temple, along the narrow pathway
between the gardens and the canal, across the bridges and over the
cultivated land to the Ramesseum, behind which rises Shêkh Abd el-Kûrna,
with its countless tombs, ranged in serried rows along the scarred and
scarped face of the hill. This hill, which is geologically a fragment of
the plateau behind which some gigantic landslip was sent sliding in the
direction of the river, leaving the picturesque gorge and cliffs of Dêr
el-Bahari to mark the place from which it was riven, was evidently the
seat of the oldest Theban necropolis. Here were the tombs of the Theban
chiefs in the period of the Old Kingdom, two of which have been found
by Mr. Newberry. In later times, it would seem, these tombs were largely
occupied and remodelled by the great nobles of the XVIIIth Dynasty, so
that now nearly all the tombs extant on Shêkh Abd el-Kûrna belong to
that dynasty.

Of the Thebes of the IXth and Xth Dynasties, when the Herakleopolites
ruled, we have in the British Museum two very remarkable statues--one of
which is here illustrated--of the steward of the palace, Mera. The tomb
from which they came is not known. Both are very beautiful examples
of the Egyptian sculptor’s art, and are executed in a style eminently
characteristic of the transition period between the work of the Old and
Middle Kingdoms. As specimens of the art of the Hierakonpolite period,
of which we have hardly any examples, they are of the greatest interest.
Mera is represented wearing a different head-dress in each figure; in
one he has a short wig, in the other a skullcap.

[Illustration: 320.jpg STATUE OF MERA]

When the Herakleopolite dominion was finally overthrown, in spite of the
valiant resistance of the princes of Asyût, and the Thebans assumed the
Pharaonic dignity, thus founding the XIth Dynasty, the Theban necropolis
was situated in the great bay in the cliffs, immediately north of Shêkh
Abd el-Kûrna, which is known as Dêr el-Bahari. In this picturesque part
of Western Thebes, in many respects perhaps the most picturesque
place in Egypt, the greatest king of the XIth Dynasty, Neb-hapet-Râ
Mentuhetep, excavated his tomb and built for the worship of his ghost
a funerary temple, which he called _Akh-aset_, “Glorious-is-its-
Situation,” a name fully justified by its surroundings. This temple is
an entirely new discovery, made by Prof. Naville and Mr. Hall in 1903.
The results obtained up to date have been of very great importance,
especially with regard to the history of Egyptian art and architecture,
for our sources of information were few and we were previously not very
well informed as to the condition of art in the time of the XIth

The new temple lies immediately to the south of the great XVIIIth
Dynasty temple at Dêr el-Bahari, which has always been known, and which
was excavated first by Mariette and later by Prof. Naville, for the
Egypt Exploration Fund. To the results of the later excavations we shall
return. When they were finally completed, in the year 1898, the great
XVIIIth Dynasty temple, which was built by Queen Hatshepsu, had been
entirely cleared of débris, and the colonnades had been partially
restored (under the care of Mr. Somers Clarke) in order to make a roof
under which to protect the sculptures on the walls. The whole mass of
débris, consisting largely of fallen _talus_ from the cliffs above,
which had almost hidden the temple, was removed; but a large tract lying
to the south of the temple, which was also covered with similar mounds
of débris, was not touched, but remained to await further investigation.
It was here, beneath these heaps of débris, that the new temple was
found when work was resumed by the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1903. The
actual tomb of the king has not yet been revealed, although that of
Neb-hetep Mentuhetep, who may have been his immediate predecessor,
was discovered by Mr. Carter in 1899. It was known, however, and still
uninjured in the reign of Ramses IX of the XXth Dynasty. Then, as we
learn from the report of the inspectors sent to examine the royal tombs,
which is preserved in the Abbott Papyrus, they found the _pyramid-tomb_
of King Xeb-hapet-Râ which is in Tjesret (the ancient Egyptian name for
Dêr el-Bahari); it was intact. We know, therefore, that it was intact
about 1000 B.C. The description of it as a pyramid-tomb is interesting,
for in the inscription of Tetu, the priest of Akh-aset, who was buried
at Abydos, Akh-aset is said to have been a pyramid. That the newly
discovered temple was called Akh-aset we know from several inscriptions
found in it. And the most remarkable thing about this temple is that in
its centre there was a pyramid. This must be the pyramid-tomb which was
found intact by the inspectors, so that the tomb itself must be close
by. But it does not seem to have been beneath the pyramid, below which
is only solid rock. It is perhaps a gallery cut in the cliffs at the
back of the temple.

The pyramid was then a dummy, made of rubble within a revetment of heavy
flint nodules, which was faced with fine limestone. It was erected on a
pyloni-form base with heavy cornice of the usual Egyptian pattern. This
central pyramid was surrounded by a roofed hall or ambulatory of small
octagonal pillars, the outside wall of which was decorated with coloured
reliefs, depicting various scenes connected with the _sed-heb_ or
jubilee-festival of the king, processions of the warriors and magnates
of the realm, scenes of husbandry, boat-building, and so forth, all of
which were considered appropriate to the chapel of a royal tomb at that
period. Outside this wall was an open colonnade of square pillars.
The whole of this was built upon an artificially squared rectangular
platform of natural rock, about fifteen feet high. To north and south of
this were open courts. The southern is bounded by the hill; the northern
is now bounded by the Great Temple of Hat-shepsu, but, before this was
built, there was evidently a very large open court here. The face of the
rock platform is masked by a wall of large rectangular blocks of fine
white limestone, some of which measure six feet by three feet six
inches. They are beautifully squared and laid in bonded courses of
alternate sizes, and the walls generally may be said to be among the
finest yet found in Egypt. We have already remarked that the architects
of the Middle Kingdom appear to have been specially fond of fine masonry
in white stone. The contrast between these splendid XIth Dynasty walls,
with their great base-stones of sandstone, and the bad rough masonry of
the XVIIIth Dynasty temple close by, is striking. The XVIIIth Dynasty
architects and masons had degenerated considerably from the standard of
the Middle Kingdom.

This rock platform was approached from the east in the centre by an
inclined plane or ramp, of which part of the original pavement of wooden
beams remains _in situ_.

[Illustration: 324.jpg XIth DYNASTY WALL: DÊR EL-BAHARI.]

     Excavated by Mr. Hall, 1904, for the Egypt Exploration Fund.

To right and left of this ramp are colonnades, each of twenty-two square
pillars, all inscribed with the name and titles of Mentuhetep. The walls
masking the platform in these colonnades were sculptured with various
scenes, chiefly representing boat processions and campaigns against the
Aamu or nomads of the Sinaitic peninsula. The design of the colonnades
is the same as that of the Great Temple, and the whole plan of this
part, with its platform approached by a ramp flanked by colonnades,
is so like that of the Great Temple that we cannot but assume that the
peculiar design of the latter, with its tiers of platforms approached by
ramps flanked by colonnades, is not an original idea, but was directly
copied by the XVIIIth Dynasty architects from the older XIth Dynasty
temple which they found at Dêr el-Bahari when they began their work.

[Illustration: 325.jpg XVIIIth DYNASTY WALL, DBR EL-BAHARI.]

     Excavated by M. Naville, 1896; repaired by Mr. Howard
     Carter, 1904.

The supposed originality of Hatshepsu’s temple is then non-existent;
it was a copy of the older design, in fact, a magnificent piece of
archaism. But Hatshepsu’s architects copied this feature only; the
actual arrangements _on_ the platforms in the two temples are as
different as they can possibly be. In the older we have a central
pyramid with a colonnade round it, in the newer may be found an open
court in front of rock-cave shrines.


Before the XIth Dynasty temple was set up a series of statues of King
Mentuhetep and of a later king, Amenhetep I, in the form of Osiris, like
those of Usertsen (Senusret) I at Lisht already mentioned. One of these
statues is in the British Museum. In the south court were discovered
six statues of King Usertsen (Senusret) III, depicting him at different
periods of his life. Pour of the heads are preserved, and, as the
expression of each differs from that of the other, it is quite evident
that some show him as a young, others as an old, man.


     Of The XIth Dynasty Temple At Dee El-Bahari. About 2500 B.C.

The face is of the well-known hard and lined type which is seen also in
the portraits of Amenemhat III, and was formerly considered to be that
of the Hyksos. Messrs. Newberry and Garstang, as we have seen, consider
it to be so, indirectly, as they regard the type as having been
introduced into the XIIth Dynasty by Queen Nefret, the mother of
Usertsen (Sen-usret) III. This queen, they think, _was_ a Hittite
princess, and the Hittites were practically the same thing as the
Hyksos. We have seen, however, that there is very little foundation for
this view, and it is more than probable that this peculiar physiognomy
is of a type purely Egyptian in character.


     On The Platform Of The XIth Dynasty Temple, Der El-Bahari,

On the platform, around the central pyramid, were buried in small
chamber-tombs a number of priestesses of the goddess Hathor, the
mistress of the desert and special deity of Dêr el-Bahari. They were
all members of the king’s harîm, and they bore the title of “King’s
Favourite.” As told in a previous chapter, all were buried at one
time, before the final completion of the temple, and it is by no means
impossible that they were strangled at the king’s death and buried round
him in order that their ghosts might accompany him in the next world,
just as the slaves were buried around the graves (or secondary graves)
of the 1st Dynasty kings at Aby-dos. They themselves, as also already
related, took with them to the next world little waxen figures which
when called upon could by magic be turned into ghostly slaves. These
images were _ushabtiu,_ “answerers,” the predecessors of the little
figures of wood, stone, and pottery which are found buried with the
dead in later times. The priestesses themselves were, so to speak, human
_ushabtiu,_ for royal use only, and accompanied the kings to their final

With the priestesses was buried the usual funerary furniture
characteristic of the period. This consisted of little models of
granaries with the peasants bringing in the corn, models of bakers and
brewers at work, boats with their crews, etc., just as we find them
in the XIth and XIIth Dynasty tombs at el-Bersha and Beni Hasan. These
models, too, were supposed to be transformed by magic into actual
workmen who would work for the deceased, heap up grain for her, brew
beer for her, ferry her over the ghostly Nile into the tomb-world, or
perform any other services required.

Some of the stone sarcophagi of the priestesses are very elaborately
decorated with carved and painted reliefs depicting each deceased
receiving offerings from priests, one of whom milks the holy cows of
Hathor to give her milk. The sarcophagi were let down into the tomb in
pieces and there joined together, and they have been removed in the same
way. The finest is a unique example of XIth Dynasty art, and it is now
preserved in the Museum of Cairo.


In memory of the priestesses there were erected on the platform behind
the pyramid a number of small shrines, which were decorated with the
most delicately coloured carvings in high relief, representing chiefly
the same subjects as those on the sarcophagi. The peculiar style of
these reliefs was previously unknown. In connection with them a most
interesting possibility presents itself.


We know the name of the chief artist of Mentuhetep’s reign. He was
called Mertisen, and he thus describes himself on his tombstone from
Abydos, now in the Louvre: “I was an artist skilled in my art. I knew
my art, how to represent the forms of going forth and returning, so that
each limb may be in its proper place. I knew how the figure of a man
should walk and the carriage of a woman, the poising of the arm to
bring the hippopotamus low, the going of the runner. I knew how to make
amulets, which enable us to go without fire burning us and without the
flood washing us away. No man could do this but I, and the eldest son
of my body. Him has the god decreed to excel in art, and I have seen
the perfections of the work of his hands in every kind of rare stone,
in gold and silver, in ivory and ebony.” Now since Mertisen and his son
were the chief artists of their day, it is more than probable that they
were employed to decorate their king’s funerary chapel. So that in all
probability the XIth Dynasty reliefs from Dêr el-Bahari are the work
of Mertisen and his son, and in them we see the actual “forms of going
forth and returning, the poising of the arm to bring the hippopotamus
low, the going of the runner,” to which he refers on his tombstone. This
adds a note of personal interest to the reliefs, an interest which is
often sadly wanting in Egypt, where we rarely know the names of the
great artists whose works we admire so much. We have recovered the names
of the sculptor and painter of Seti I’s temple at Abydos and that of the
sculptor of some of the tombs at Tell el-Amarna, but otherwise very few
names of the artists are directly associated with the temples and tombs
which they decorated, and of the architects we know little more. The
great temple of Dêr el-Bahari was, however, we know, designed by Senmut,
the chief architect to Queen Hatshepsu.

It is noticeable that Mertisen’s art, if it is Mertisen’s, is of a
peculiar character. It is not quite so fully developed as that of the
succeeding XIIth Dynasty. The drawing of the figures is often peculiar,
strange lanky forms taking the place of the perfect proportions of the
IVth-VIth and the XIIth Dynasty styles. Great elaboration is bestowed
upon decoration, which is again of a type rather archaic in character
when compared with that of the XIIth Dynasty. We are often reminded of
the rude sculptures which used to be regarded as typical of the art of
the XIth Dynasty, while at the same time we find work which could not
be surpassed by the best XIIth Dynasty masters. In fact, the art of
Neb-hapet-Râ’s reign was the art of a transitional period. Under the
decadent Memphites of the VIIth and VIIIth Dynasties, Egyptian art
rapidly fell from the high estate which it had attained under the Vth
Dynasty, and, though good work was done under the Hierakonpolites, the
chief characteristic of Egyptian art at the time of the Xth and early
XIth Dynasties is its curious roughness and almost barbaric appearance.
When, however, the kings of the XIth Dynasty reunited the whole land
under one sceptre, and the long reign of Neb-hapet-Râ Mentuhetep enabled
the reconsolidation of the realm to be carried out by one hand, art
began to revive, and, just as to Neb-hapet-Râ must be attributed the
renascence of the Egyptian state under the hegemony of Thebes, so must
the revival of art in his reign be attributed to his great artists,
Mertisen and his son. They carried out in the realm of art what their
king had carried out in the political realm, and to them must be
attributed the origin of the art of the Middle Kingdom which under the
XIIth Dynasty attained so high a pitch of excellence. The sculptures
of the king’s temple at Dêr el-Bahari, then, are monuments of the
renascence of Egyptian art, after the state of decadence into which it
had fallen during the long civil wars between South and North; it is
a reviving art, struggling out of barbarism to regain perfection, and
therefore has much about it that seems archaic, stiff, and curious when
compared with later work. To the XVIIIth Dynasty Egyptian it would no
doubt have seemed hopelessly old-fashioned and even semi-barbarous, and
he had no qualms about sweeping it aside whenever it appeared in the
way of the work of his own time; but to us this very strangeness
gives additional charm and interest, and we can only be thankful that
Mertisen’s work has lasted (in fragments only, it is true) to our own
day, to tell us the story of a little known chapter in the history of
ancient Egyptian art.

From this description it will have been seen that the temple is an
important monument of the Egyptian art and architecture of the Middle
Kingdom. It is the only temple of that period of which considerable
traces have been found, and on that account the study of it will be of
the greatest interest. It is the best preserved of the older temples of
Egypt, and at Thebes it is by far the most ancient building recovered.
Historically it has given us a new king of the XIth Dynasty,
Sekhâhe-tep-Râ Mentuhetep, and the name of the queen of Neb-hapet-Râ
Mentuhetep, Aasheit, who seems to have been an Ethiopian, to judge from
her portrait, which has been discovered. It is interesting to note that
one of the priestesses was a negress.

The name Neb-hapet-Râ may be unfamiliar to those readers who are
acquainted with the lists of the Egyptian kings. It is a correction
of the former reading, “Neb-kheru-Râ,” which is now known from these
excavations to be erroneous. Neb-hapet-Râ (or, as he used to be called,
Neb-kheru-Râ) is Mentuhetep III of Prof. Petrie’s arrangement. Before
him there seem to have come the kings Mentuhetep Neb-hetep (who is also
commemorated in this temple) and Neb-taui-Râ; after him, Sekhâhetep-Râ
Mentuhetep IV and Seânkhkarâ Mentuhetep V, who were followed by an
Antef, bearing the banner or hawk-name Uah-ânkh. This king was followed
by Amenemhat I, the first king of the XIIth Dynasty. Antef Uah-ânkh may
be numbered Antef I, as the prince Antefa, who founded the XIth Dynasty,
did not assume the title of king.

Other kings of the name of Antef also ruled over Egypt, and they used to
be regarded as belonging to the XIth Dynasty; but Prof. Steindorff
has now proved that they really reigned after the XIIIth Dynasty, and
immediately before the Sekenenrâs, who were the fighters of the Hyksos
and predecessors of the XVIIIth Dynasty. The second names of Antef III
(Seshes-Râ-up-maat) and Antef IV (Seshes-Râ-her-her-maat) are exactly
similar to those of the XIIIth Dynasty kings and quite unlike those of
the Mentuheteps; also at Koptos a decree of Antef II (Nub-kheper-Râ) has
been found inscribed on a doorway of Usertsen (Senusret) I; so that
he cannot have preceded him. Prof. Petrie does not yet accept these
conclusions, and classes all the Antefs together with the Mentuheteps in
the XIth Dynasty. He considers that he has evidence from Herakleopolis
that Antef Xub-kheper-Râ (whom he numbers Antef V) preceded the XIIth
Dynasty, and he supposes that the decree of Nub-kheper-Râ at Koptos is
a later copy of the original and was inscribed during the XIIth Dynasty.
But this is a difficult saying. The probabilities are that Prof.
Steindorff is right. Antef Uah-ânkh must, however, have preceded the
XIIth Dynasty, since an official of that period refers to his father’s
father as having lived in Uah-ânkh ‘s time.

The necropolis of Dêr el-Bahari was no doubt used all through the period
of the XIth and XIIth Dynasties, and many tombs of that period have been
found there. A large number of these were obliterated by the building
of the great temple of Queen Hatshepsu, in the northern part of the
cliff-bay. We know of one queen’s tomb of that period which runs right
underneath this temple from the north, and there is another that is
entered at the south side which also runs down underneath it. Several
tombs were likewise found in the court between it and the XIth Dynasty
temple. We know that the XVIIIth Dynasty temple was largely built over
this court, and we can see now the XIth Dynasty mask-wall on the west of
the court running northwards underneath the mass of the XVIIIth Dynasty
temple. In all probability, then, when the temple of Hatshepsu
was built, the larger portion of the Middle Kingdom necropolis (of
chamber-tombs reached by pits), which had filled up the bay to the north
of the Mentuhetep temple, was covered up and obliterated, just as
the older VIth Dynasty gallery tombs of Shêkh Abd el-Kûrna had been
appropriated and altered at the same period.

The kings of the XIIth and XIIIth Dynasties were not buried at Thebes,
as we have seen, but in the North, at Dashûr, Lisht, and near the
Fayymn, with which their royal city at Itht-taui had brought them into
contact. But at the end of the XIIIth Dynasty the great invasion of the
Hyksos probably occurred, and all Northern Egypt fell under the Arab
sway. The native kings were driven south from the Fayymn to Abydos,
Koptos, and Thebes, and at Thebes they were buried, in a new necropolis
to the north of Dêr el-Bahari (probably then full), on the flank of a
long spur of hill which is now called Dra’ Abu-’l-Negga, “Abu-’l-Negga’s
Arm.” Here the Theban kings of the period between the XIIIth and XVIIth
Dynasties, Upuantemsaf, Antef Nub-kheper-Râ, and his descendants, Antefs
III and IV, were buried. In their time the pressure of foreign invasion
seems to have been felt, for, to judge from their coffins, which show
progressive degeneration of style and workmanship, poverty now afflicted
Upper Egypt and art had fallen sadly from the high standard which it had
reached in the days of the XIth and XIIth Dynasties. Probably the later
Antefs and Sebekemsafs were vassals of the Hyksos. Their descendants
of the XVIIth Dynasty were buried in the same necropolis of Dra’
Abu-’l-Negga, and so were the first two kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty,
Aahmes and Amenhetep I. The tombs of the last two have not yet been
found, but we know from the Abbott Papyrus that Amenhetep’s was
here, for, like that of Menttihetep III, it was found intact by the
inspectors. It was a gallery-tomb of very great length, and will be a
most interesting find when it is discovered, as it no doubt eventually
will be. Aahmes had a tomb at Abydos, which was discovered by Mr.
Currelly, working for the Egypt Exploration Fund. This, however, like
the Abydene tomb of Usert-sen (Senusret) III, was in all likelihood a
sham or secondary tomb, the king having most probably been buried at
Thebes, in the Dra’ Abu-’l-Negga. The Abydos tomb is of interesting
construction. The entrance is by a simple pit, from which a gallery
runs round in a curving direction to a great hall supported by eighteen
square pillars, beyond which is a further gallery which was never
finished. Nothing was found in the tomb. On the slope of the mountain,
due west of and in a line with the tomb, Mr. Currelly found a
terrace-temple analogous to those of Dêr el-Bahari, approached not
by means of a ramp but by stairways at the side. It was evidently the
funerary temple of the tomb.

[Illustration: 338.jpg Statue of Queen Teta-shera]

     Grandmother of Aahmes, the conqueror of the Hyksos and
     founder of the XVIIIth Dynasty. About 1700 B. C. British
     Museum. From the photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

The secondary tomb of Usertsen (Senusret) III at Abydos, which has
already been mentioned, was discovered in the preceding year by Mr. A.
E. P. Weigall, and excavated by Mr. Currelly in 1903. It lies north of
the Aahmes temple, between it and the main cemetery of Abydos. It is a
great _bâb_ or gallery-tomb, like those of the later kings at Thebes,
with the usual apparatus of granite plugs, barriers, pits, etc., to
defy plunderers. The tomb had been plundered, nevertheless, though it is
probable that the robbers were vastly disappointed with what they
found in it. Mr. Currelly ascribes the absence of all remains to the
plunderers, but the fact is that there probably never was anything in
it but an empty sarcophagus. Near the tomb Mr. Weigall discovered
some dummy mastabas, a find of great interest. Just as the king had a
secondary tomb, so secondary mastabas, mere dummies of rubble like the
XIth Dynasty pyramid at Dêr el-Bahari, were erected beside it to look
like the tombs of his courtiers. Some curious sinuous brick walls which
appear to act as dividing lines form a remarkable feature of this sham
cemetery. In a line with the tomb, on the edge of the cultivation,
is the funerary temple belonging to it, which was found by Mr.
Randall-Maclver in 1900. Nothing remains but the bases of the fluted
limestone columns and some brick walls. A headless statue of Usertsen
was found.

We have an interesting example of the custom of building a secondary
tomb for royalties in these two nécropoles of Dra’ Abu-’l-Negga and
Abydos. Queen Teta-shera, the grandmother of Aahmes, a beautiful
statuette of whom may be seen in the British Museum, had a small pyramid
at Abydos, eastward of and in a line with the temple and secondary tomb
of Aahmes. In 1901 Mr. Mace attempted to find the chamber, but could
not. In the next year Mr. Currelly found between it and the Aahmes
tomb a small chapel, containing a splendid stele, on which Aahmes
commemorates his grandmother, who, he says, was buried at Thebes and had
a _mer-âhât_ at Abydos, and he records his determination to build her
also a pyramid at Abydos, out of his love and veneration for her memory.
It thus appeared that the pyramid to the east was simply a dummy,
like Usertsen’s mastabas, or the Mentuhetep pyramid at Dêr el-Bahari.
Teta-shera was actually buried at Dra’ Abu-’l-Negga. Her secondary
pyramid, like that of Aahmes himself, was in the “holy ground” at
Abydos, though it was not an imitation _bâb_, but a dummy pyramid of
rubble. This well illustrates the whole custom of the royal primary and
secondary tombs, which, as we have seen, had obtained in the case of
royal personages from the time of the 1st Dynasty, when Aha had two
tombs, one at Nakâda and the other at Abydos. It is probable that all
the 1st Dynasty tombs at Abydos are secondary, the kings being really
buried elsewhere. After their time we know for certain that Tjeser and
Snefru had duplicate tombs, possibly also Unas, and certainly Usertsen
(Senusret) III, Amenemhat III, and Aahmes; while Mentuhetep III and
Queen Teta-shera had dummy pyramids as well as their tombs. Ramses III
also had two tombs, both at Thebes. The reasons for this custom were
two: first, the desire to elude plunderers, and second, the wish to give
the ghost a _pied-à-terre_ on the sacred soil of Abydos or Sakkâra.

As the inscription of Aahmes which records the building of the dummy
pyramid of Teta-shera is of considerable interest, it may here be
translated. The text reads: “It came to pass that when his Majesty the
king, even the king of South and North, Neb-pehti-Râ, Son of the Sun,
Aahmes, Giver of Life, was taking his pleasure in the _tjadu_-hall,
the hereditary princess greatly favoured and greatly prized, the king’s
daughter, the king’s sister, the god’s wife and great wife of the king,
Nefret-ari-Aahmes, the living, was in the presence of his Majesty. And
the one spake unto the other, seeking to do honour to These There,*
which consisteth in the pouring of water, the offering upon the altar,
the painting of the stele at the beginning of each season, at the
Festival of the New Moon, at the feast of the month, the feast of the
going-forth of the _Sem_-priest, the Ceremonies of the Night, the Feasts
of the Fifth Day of the Month and of the Sixth, the _Hak_-festival, the
_Uag_-festival, the feast of Thoth, the beginning of every season of
heaven and earth. And his sister spake, answering him: ‘Why hath one
remembered these matters, and wherefore hath this word been said?
Prithee, what hath come into thy heart?’ The king spake, saying: ‘As for
me, I have remembered the mother of my mother, the mother of my father,
the king’s great wife and king’s mother Teta-shera, deceased, whose
tomb-chamber and _mer-ahât_ are at this moment upon the soil of Thebes
and Abydos. I have spoken thus unto thee because my Majesty desireth to
cause a pyramid and chapel to be made for her in the Sacred Land, as a
gift of a monument from my Majesty, and that its lake should be dug, its
trees planted, and its offerings prescribed; that it should be provided
with slaves, furnished with lands, and endowed with cattle, with
_hen-ka_ priests and _kher-heb_ priests performing their duties, each
man knowing what he hath to do.’ Behold! when his Majesty had thus
spoken, these things were immediately carried out. His Majesty did these
things on account of the greatness of the love which he bore her, which
was greater than anything. Never had ancestral kings done the like for
their mothers. Behold! his Majesty extended his arm and bent his hand,
and made for her the king’s offering to Geb, to the Ennead of Gods, to
the lesser Ennead of Gods... [to Anubis] in the God’s Shrine, thousands
of offerings of bread, beer, oxen, geese, cattle... to [the Queen
Teta-shera].” This is one of the most interesting inscriptions
discovered in Egypt in recent years, for the picturesqueness of its
diction is unusual.

     * A polite periphrasis for the dead.

As has already been said, the king Amenhetep I was also buried in the
Dra’ Abu-’l-Negga, but the tomb has not yet been found. Amenhetep I and
his mother, Queen Nefret-ari-Aahmes, who is mentioned in the inscription
translated above, were both venerated as tutelary demons of the Western
Necropolis of Thebes after their deaths, as also was Mentuhetep III. At
Dêr el-Bahari both kings seem to have been worshipped with Hathor, the
Mistress of the Waste. The worship of Amen-Râ in the XVIIIth Dynasty
temple of Dêr el-Bahari was a novelty introduced by the priests of Amen
at that time. But the worship of Hathor went on side by side with that
of Amen in a chapel with a rock-cut shrine at the side of the Great
Temple. Very possibly this was the original cave-shrine of Hathor, long
before Mentuhetep’s time, and was incorporated with the Great Temple and
beautified with the addition of a pillared hall before it, built
over part of the XIth Dynasty north court and wall, by Hatshepsu’s

The Great Temple, the excavation of which for the Egypt Exploration Fund
was successfully brought to an end by Prof. Naville in 1898, was erected
by Queen Hatshepsu in honour of Amen-Râ, her father Thothmes I, and her
brother-husband Thothmes II, and received a few additions from Thothmes
III, her successor. He, however, did not complete it, and it fell into
disrepair, besides suffering from the iconoclastic zeal of the heretic
Akhunaten, who hammered out some of the beautifully painted scenes upon
its walls. These were badly restored by Ramses II, whose painting is
easily distinguished from the original work by the dulness and badness
of its colour.

The peculiar plan and other remarkable characteristics of this temple
are well known. Its great terraces, with the ramps leading up to them,
flanked by colonnades, which, as we have seen, were imitated from the
design of the old XIth Dynasty temple at its side, are familiar from a
hundred illustrations, and the marvellously preserved colouring of its
delicate reliefs is known to every winter visitor to Egypt, and can be
realized by those who have never been there through the medium of Mr.
Howard Carter’s wonderful coloured reproductions, published in Prof.
Naville’s edition of the temple by the Egypt Exploration Fund. The Great
Temple stands to-day clear of all the débris which used to cover it, a
lasting monument to the work of the greatest of the societies which busy
themselves with the unearthing of the relics of the ancient world.

[Illustration: 334.jpg THE TWO TEMPLES OF DES EL-BAHARI.] Excavated by
Prof. Nayille, 1893-8 and 1903-6, for the Egypt Exploration Fund

The two temples of Dêr el-Bahari will soon stand side by side, as they
originally stood, and will always be associated with the name of the
society which rescued them from oblivion, and gave us the treasures
of the royal tombs at Abydos. The names of the two men whom the Egypt
Exploration Fund commissioned to excavate Dêr el-Bahari and Abydos, and
for whose work it exclusively supplied the funds, Profs. Naville and
Petrie, will live chiefly in connection with their work at Dêr el-Bahari
and Abydos.

The Egyptians called the two temples _Tjeserti_, “the two holy places,”
 the new building receiving the name of _Tjeser-tjesru_, “Holy of
Holies,” and the whole tract of Dêr el-Bahari the appellation _Tjesret_,
“the Holy.” The extraordinary beauty of the situation in which they are
placed, with its huge cliffs and rugged hillsides, may be appreciated
from the photograph which is taken from a steep path half-way up the
cliff above the Great Temple. In it we see the Great Temple in the
foreground with the modern roofs of two of its colonnades, devised in
order to protect the sculptures beneath them, the great trilithon gate
leading to the upper court, and the entrance to the cave-shrine of
Amen-Râ, with the niches of the kings on either side, immediately at the
foot of the cliff. In the middle distance is the duller form of the XIth
Dynasty temple, with its rectangular platform, the ramp leading up
to it, and the pyramid in the centre of it, surrounded by pillars,
half-emerging from the great heaps of sand and débris all around. The
background of cliffs and hills, as seen in the photograph, will serve to
give some idea of the beauty of the surroundings,--an arid beauty, it is
true, for all is desert. There is not a blade of vegetation near; all
is salmon-red in colour beneath a sky of ineffable blue, and against the
red cliffs the white temple stands out in vivid contrast.

The second illustration gives a nearer view of the great trilithon
gate in the upper court, at the head of the ramp. The long hill of Dra’
Abu-’l-Negga is seen bending away northward behind the gate.


     Of The Xviiith Dynasty Temple At Dêk El-Bahari. About 1500

This is the famous gate on which the jealous Thothmes III chiselled out
Hatshepsu’s name in the royal cartouches and inserted his own in
its place; but he forgot to alter the gender of the pronouns in the
accompanying inscription, which therefore reads “King Thothmes III, she
made this monument to her father Amen.”

Among Prof. Naville’s discoveries here one of the most important is that
of the altar in a small court to the north, which, as the inscription
says, was made in honour of the god Râ-Harmachis “of beautiful white
stone of Anu.” It is of the finest white limestone known. Here also were
found the carved ebony doors of a shrine, now in the Cairo Museum. One
of the most beautiful parts of the temple is the Shrine of Anubis, with
its splendidly preserved paintings and perfect columns and roof of
white limestone. The effect of the pure white stone and simplicity of
architecture is almost Hellenic.

The Shrine of Hathor has been known since the time of Mariette, but in
connection with it some interesting discoveries have been made during
the excavation of the XIth Dynasty temple. In the court between the two
temples were found a large number of small votive offerings, consisting
of scarabs, beads, little figures of cows and women, etc., of blue
glazed _faïence_ and rough pottery, bronze and wood, and blue glazed
ware ears, eyes, and plaques with figures of the sacred cow, and other
small objects of the same nature. These are evidently the ex-votos of
the XVIIIth Dynasty fellahîn to the goddess Hathor in the rock-shrine
above the court. When the shrine was full or the little ex-votos broken,
the sacristans threw them over the wall into the court below, which thus
became a kind of dust-heap. Over this heap the sand and débris gradually
collected, and thus they were preserved. The objects found are of
considerable interest to anthropological science.

The Great Temple was built, as we have said, in honour of Thothmes I
and II, and the deities Amen-Râ and Hathor. More especially it was the
funerary chapel of Thothmes I. His tomb was excavated, not in the Dra’
Abu-l-Negga, which was doubtless now too near the capital city and not
in a sufficiently dignified position of aloofness from the common herd,
but at the end of the long valley of the Wadiyên, behind the cliff-hill
above Dêr el-Bahari. Hence the new temple was oriented in the direction
of his tomb. Immediately behind the temple, on the other side of the
hill, is the tomb which was discovered by Lepsius and cleared in 1904
for Mr. Theodore N. Davis by Mr. Howard Carter, then chief inspector of
antiquities at Thebes. Its gallery is of very small dimensions, and it
winds about in the hill in corkscrew fashion like the tomb of Aahmes at
Aby-dos. Owing to its extraordinary length, the heat and foul air in the
depths of the tomb were almost insupportable and caused great difficulty
to the excavators. When the sarcophagus-chamber was at length reached,
it was found to contain the empty sarcophagi of Thothmes I and of
Hatshepsu. The bodies had been removed for safe-keeping in the time of
the XXIst Dynasty, that of Thothmes I having been found with those
of Set! I and Ramses II in the famous pit at Dêr el-Bahari, which was
discovered by M. Maspero in 1881. Thothmes I seems to have had another
and more elaborate tomb (No. 38) in the Valley of the Tombs of the
Kings, which was discovered by M. Loret in 1898. Its frescoes had been
destroyed by the infiltration of water.

The fashion of royal burial in the great valley behind Dêr el-Bahari
was followed during the XVIIIth, XIXth, and XXth Dynasties. Here in the
eastern branch of the Wadiyên, now called the _Bibân el-Mulûk_, “the
Tombs of the Kings,” the greater number of the mightiest Theban Pharaohs
were buried. In the western valley rested two of the kings of the
XVIIIth Dynasty, who desired even more remote burial-places, Amenhetep
III and Ai. The former chose for his last home a most kingly site.
Ancient kings had raised great pyramids of artificial stone over their
graves. Amenhetep, perhaps the greatest and most powerful Pharaoh of
them all, chose to have a natural pyramid for his grave, a mountain for
his tumulus. The illustration shows us the tomb of this monarch, opening
out of the side of one of the most imposing hills in the Western Valley.
No other king but Amenhetep rested beneath this hill, which thus marks
his grave and his only.

It is in the Eastern Valley, the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings
properly speaking, that the tombs of Thothmes I and Hatshepsu lie, and
here the most recent discoveries have been made. It is a desolate spot.
As we come over the hill from Dêr el-Bahari we see below us in the
glaring sunshine a rocky canon, with sides sometimes sheer cliff,
sometimes sloped by great falls of rock in past ages. At the bottom
of these slopes the square openings of the many royal tombs can be
descried. [See illustration.] Far below we see the forms of tourists
and the tomb-guards accompanying them, moving in and out of the openings
like ants going in and out of an ants’ nest. Nothing is heard but the
occasional cry of a kite and the ceaseless rhythmical throbbing of the
exhaust-pipe of the electric light engine in the unfinished tomb of
Ramses XI. Above and around are the red desert hills. The Egyptians
called it “The Place of Eternity.”


In this valley some remarkable discoveries have been made during the
last few years. In 1898 M. Grébaut discovered the tomb of Amenhetep
II, in which was found the mummy of the king, intact, lying in its
sarcophagus in the depths of the tomb. The royal body now lies there
for all to see. The tomb is lighted with electricity, as are all the
principal tombs of the kings. At the head of the sarcophagus is a single
lamp, and, when the party of visitors is collected in silence around the
place of death, all the lights are turned out, and then the single
light is switched on, showing the royal head illuminated against the
surrounding blackness. The effect is indescribably weird and impressive.
The body has only twice been removed from the tomb since its burial, the
second time when it was for a brief space taken up into the sunlight to
be photographed by Mr.. Carter, in January, 1902. The temporary removal
was carefully carried out, the body of his Majesty being borne up
through the passages of the tomb on the shoulders of the Italian
electric light workmen, preceded and followed by impassive Arab
candle-bearers. The workmen were most reverent in their handling of the
body of “_ il gran ré_,” as they called him.

In the tomb were found some very interesting objects, including a model
boat (afterwards stolen), across which lay the body of a woman. This
body now lies, with others found close by, in a side chamber of the
tomb. One may be that of Hatshepsu. The walls of the tomb-chamber are
painted to resemble papyrus, and on them are written chapters of the
“Book of What Is in the Underworld,” for the guidance of the royal

In 1902-3 Mr. Theodore Davis excavated the tomb of Thothmes IV. It
yielded a rich harvest of antiquities belonging to the funeral state of
the king, including a chariot with sides of embossed and gilded leather,
decorated with representations of the king’s warlike deeds, and much
fine blue pottery, all of which are now in the Cairo Museum. The
tomb-gallery returns upon itself, describing a curve. An interesting
point with regard to it is that it had evidently been violated even in
the short time between the reigns of its owner and Horem-heb, probably
in the period of anarchy which prevailed at Thebes during the reign
of the heretic Akhunaten; for in one of the chambers is a hieratic
inscription recording the repair of the tomb in the eighth year of
Horemheb by Maya, superintendent of works in the Tombs of the Kings. It
reads as follows: “In the eighth year, the third month of summer, under
the Majesty of King Tjeser-khepru-Râ Sotp-n-Râ, Son of the Sun, Horemheb
Meriamen, his Majesty (Life, health, and wealth unto him!) commanded
that orders should be sent unto the Fanbearer on the King’s Left Hand,
the King’s Scribe and Overseer of the Treasury, the Overseer of the
Works in the Place of Eternity, the Leader of the Festivals of Amen
in Karnak, Maya, son of the judge Aui, born of the Lady Ueret, that he
should renew the burial of King Men-khepru-Râ, deceased, in the August
Habitation in Western Thebes.” Men-khepru-Râ was the prenomen or
throne-name of Thothmes IV. Tied round a pillar in the tomb is still a
length of the actual rope used by the thieves for crossing the chasm,
which, as in many of the tombs here, was left open in the gallery to bar
the way to plunderers. The mummy of the king was found in the tomb of
Amenhetep II, and is now at Cairo.

The discovery of the tomb of Thothmes I and Hat-shepsu has already been
described. In 1905 Mr. Davis made his latest find, the tomb of Iuaa
and Tuaa, the father and mother of Queen Tii, the famous consort of
Amenhetep III and mother of Akhunaten the heretic. Readers of Prof.
Maspero’s history will remember that Iuaa and Tuaa are mentioned on one
of the large memorial scarabs of Amenhetep III, which commemorates his
marriage. The tomb has yielded an almost incredible treasure of funerary
furniture, besides the actual mummies of Tii’s parents, including a
chariot overlaid with gold. Gold overlay of great thickness is found on
everything, boxes, chairs, etc. It was no wonder that Egypt seemed the
land of gold to the Asiatics, and that even the King of Babylon begs
this very Pharaoh Amenhetep to send him gold, in one of the letters
found at Tell el-Amarna, “for gold is as water in thy land.” It is
probable that Egypt really attained the height of her material wealth
and prosperity in the reign of Amenhetep III. Certainly her dominion
reached its farthest limits in his time, and his influence was felt from
the Tigris to the Sudan. He hunted lions for his pleasure in Northern
Mesopotamia, and he built temples at Jebel Barkal beyond Dongola. We see
the evidence of lavish wealth in the furniture of the tomb of Iuaa and
Tuaa. Yet, fine as are many of these gold-overlaid and overladen objects
of the XVIIIth Dynasty, they have neither the good taste nor the charm
of the beautiful jewels from the XIIth Dynasty tombs at Dashûr. It is
mere vulgar wealth. There is too much gold thrown about. “For gold is as
water in thy land.” In three hundred years’ time Egypt was to know what
poverty meant, when the poor priest-kings of the XXIst Dynasty could
hardly keep body and soul together and make a comparatively decent show
as Pharaohs of Egypt. Then no doubt the latter-day Thebans sighed for
the good old times of the XVIIIth Dynasty, when their city ruled a
considerable part of Africa and Western Asia and garnered their riches
into her coffers. But the days of the XIIth Dynasty had really been
better still. Then there was not so much wealth, but what there was (and
there was as much gold then, too) was used sparingly, tastefully, and
simply. The XIIth Dynasty, not the XVIIIth, was the real Golden Age of

From the funeral panoply of a tomb like that of Iuaa and Tuaa we can
obtain some idea of the pomp and state of Amenhetep III. But the remains
of his Theban palace, which have been discovered and excavated by Mr. C.
Tytus and Mr. P. E. Newberry, do not bear out this idea of magnificence.
It is quite possible that the palace was merely a pleasure house,
erected very hastily and destined to fall to pieces when its owner tired
of it or died, like the many palaces of the late Khedive Ismail. It
stood on the border of an artificial lake, whereon the Pharaoh and his
consort Tii sailed to take their pleasure in golden barks. This is now
the cultivated rectangular space of land known as the Birket Habû, which
is still surrounded by the remains of the embankment built to retain its
waters, and becomes a lake during the inundation. On the western shore
of this lake Amenhetep erected the “stately pleasure dome,” the
remains of which still cover the sandy tract known as el-Malkata, “the
Salt-pans,” south of the great temple of Medînet Habû. These remains
consist merely of the foundations and lowest wall-courses of a
complicated and rambling building of many chambers, constructed of
common unburnt brick and plastered with white stucco on walls and
floors, on which were painted beautiful frescoes of fighting bulls,
birds of the air, water-fowl, fish-ponds, etc., in much the same style
as the frescoes of Tell el-Amarna executed in the next reign. There
were small pillared halls, the columns of which were of wood, mounted
on bases of white limestone. The majority still remain in position. In
several chambers there are small daïses, and in one the remains of a
throne, built of brick and mud covered with plaster and stucco, upon
which the Pharaoh Amenhetep sat. This is the palace of him whom the
Greeks called Memnon, who ruled Egypt when Israel was in bondage and
when the dynasty of Minos reigned in Crete. Here by the side of his
pleasure-lake the most powerful of Egyptian Pharaohs whiled away his
time during the summer heats. Evidently the building was intended to be
of the lightest construction, and never meant to last; but to our ideas
it seems odd that an Egyptian Pharaoh should live in a mud palace. Such
a building is, however, quite suited to the climate of Egypt, as are the
modern crude brick dwellings of the fellahîn. In the ruins of the
palace were found several small objects of interest, and close by was
an ancient glass manufactory of Amenhetep III’s time, where much of the
characteristic beautifully coloured and variegated opaque glass of the
period was made.


The tombs of the magnates of Amenhetep III’s reign and of the reigns
of his immediate predecessors were excavated, as has been said, on the
eastern slope of the hill of Shêkh ‘Abd el-Kûrna, where was the earliest
Theban necropolis. No doubt many of the early tombs of the time of the
VIth Dynasty were appropriated and remodelled by the XVIIIth Dynasty
magnates. We have an instance of time’s revenge in this matter, in the
case of the tomb of Imadua, a great priestly official of the time of
the XXth Dynasty. This tomb previously belonged to an XVIIIth Dynasty
worthy, but Imadua appropriated it three hundred years later and covered
up all its frescoes with the much begilt decoration fashionable in his
period. Perhaps the XVIIIth Dynasty owner had stolen it from an original
owner of the time of the VIth Dynasty. The tomb has lately been cleared
out by Mr. Newberry.

Much work of the same kind has been done here of late years by Messrs.
Newberry and R. L. Mond, in succession. To both we are indebted for the
excavation of many known tombs, as well as for the discovery of many
others previously unknown. Among the former was that of Sebekhetep,
cleared by Mr. Newberry. Se-bekhetep was an official of the time of
Thothmes III. From his tomb, and from others in the same hill, came many
years ago the fine frescoes shown in the illustration, which are among
the most valued treasures of the Egyptian department of the British
Museum. They are typical specimens of the wall-decoration of an XVIIIth
Dynasty tomb. On one may be seen a bald-headed peasant, with staff in
hand, pulling an ear of corn from the standing crop in order to see if
it is ripe. He is the “Chief Reaper,” and above him is a prayer that the
“great god in heaven” may increase the crop. To the right of him is a
charioteer standing beside a car and reining back a pair of horses, one
black, the other bay. Below is another charioteer with two white
horses. He sits on the floor of the car with his back to them, eating
or resting, while they nibble the branches of a tree close by. Another
scene is that of a scribe keeping tally of offerings brought to the
tomb, while fellahm are bringing flocks of geese and other fowl, some in
crates. The inscription above is apparently addressed by the goose-herd
to the man with the crates. It reads: “Hasten thy feet because of the
geese! Hearken! thou knowest not the next minute what has been said
to thee!” Above, a reïs with a stick bids other peasants squat on the
ground before addressing the scribe, and he is saying to them: “Sit ye
down to talk.” The third scene is in another style; on it may be seen
Semites bringing offerings of vases of gold, silver, and copper to the
royal presence, bowing themselves to the ground and kissing the dust
before the throne. The fidelity and accuracy with which the racial type
of the tribute-bearers is given is most extraordinary; every face
seems a portrait, and each one might be seen any day now in the Jewish
quarters of Whitechapel.

[Illustration: 358.jpg Wall-Painting from a Tomb]

The first two paintings are representative of a very common style of
fresco-pictures in these tombs. The care with which the animals
are depicted is remarkable. Possibly one of the finest Egyptian
representations of an animal is the fresco of a goat in the tomb of
Gen-Amen, discovered by Mr. Mond. There is even an attempt here at
chiaroscuro, which is unknown to Egyptian art generally, except at Tell
el-Amarna. Evidently the Egyptian painters reached the apogee of
their art towards the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty. The third, the
representation of tribute-bearers, is of a type also well known at
this period. In all the chief tombs we have processions of Egyptians,
Westerners, Northerners, Easterners, and Southerners, bringing tribute
to the Pharaoh. The North is represented by the Semites, the East by the
Punites (when they occur), the South by negroes, the West by the Keftiu
or people of Crete and Cyprus. The representations of the last-named
people have become of the very highest interest during the last few
years, on account of the discoveries in Crete, which have revealed to
us the state and civilization of these very Keftiu. Messrs. Evans
and Halbherr have discovered at Knossos and Phaistos the cities and
palace-temples of the king who sent forth their ambassadors to far-away
Egypt with gifts for the mighty Pharaoh; these ambassadors were painted
in the tombs of their hosts as representative of the quarter of the
world from which they came.

The two chief Egyptian representations of these people, who since they
lived in Greece may be called Greeks, though their more proper title
would be “Pe-lasgians,” are to be found in the tombs of Rekhmarâ and
Senmut, the former a vizier under Thothmes III, the latter the
architect of Hatshepsu’s temple at Dêr el-Bahari. Senmut’s tomb is a
new rediscovery. It was known, as Rekhmarâ’s was, in the early days of
Egyptological science, and Prisse d’Avennes copied its paintings. It was
afterwards lost sight of until rediscovered by Mr. Newberry and Prof.

[Illustration: 360.jpg FRESCO IN THE TOMB OF SENMUT AT THEBES.] About
1500 B.C.

The tomb of Rekhmarâ (No. 35) is well known to every visitor to Thebes,
but it is difficult to get at that of Senmut (No. 110); it lies at the
top of the hill round to the left and overlooking Dêr el-Bahari,
an appropriate place for it, by the way. In some ways Senmut’s
representations are more interesting than Rekhmarâ’s. They are more
easily seen, since they are now in the open air, the fore hall of the
tomb having been ruined; and they are better preserved, since they have
not been subjected to a century of inspection with naked candles and
pawing with greasy hands, as have Rekhmarâ’s frescoes. Further, there
is no possibility of mistaking what they represent. From right to
left, walking in procession, we see the Minoan gift-bearers from Crete,
carrying in their hands and on their shoulders great cups of gold and
silver, in shape like the famous gold cups found at Vaphio in Lakonia,
but much larger, also a ewer of gold and silver exactly like one of
bronze discovered by Mr. Evans two years ago at Knossos, and a huge
copper jug with four ring-handles round the sides. All these vases are
specifically and definitely Mycenaean, or rather, following the new
terminology, Minoan. They are of Greek manufacture and are carried on
the shoulders of Pelasgian Greeks. The bearers wear the usual Mycenaean
costume, high boots and a gaily ornamented kilt, and little else, just
as we see it depicted in the fresco of the Cupbearer at Knossos and
in other Greek representations. The coiffure, possibly the most
characteristic thing about the Mycenaean Greeks, is faithfully
represented by the Egyptians both here and in Rekhmarâ’s tomb. The
Mycenaean men allowed their hair to grow to its full natural length,
like women, and wore it partly hanging down the back, partly tied up
in a knot or plait (the _kepas_ of the dandy Paris in the Iliad) on the
crown of the head. This was the universal fashion, and the Keftiu are
consistently depicted by the XVIIIth Dynasty Egyptians as following it.
The faces in the Senmut fresco are not so well portrayed as those in the
Rekhmarâ fresco. There it is evident that the first three ambassadors
are faithfully depicted, as the portraits are marked. The procession
advances from left to right. The first man, “the Great Chief of the
Kefti and the Isles of the Green Sea,” is young, and has a remarkably
small mouth with an amiable expression. His complexion is fair rather
than dark, but his hair is dark brown. His lieutenant, the next in
order, is of a different type,--elderly, with a most forbidding visage,
Roman nose, and nutcracker jaws. Most of the others are very much
alike,--young, dark in complexion, and with long black hair hanging
below their waists and twisted up into fantastic knots and curls on the
tops of their heads. One, carrying on his shoulder a great silver vase
with curving handles and in one hand a dagger of early European Bronze
Age type, is looking back to hear some remark of his next companion.
Any one of these gift-bearers might have sat for the portrait of
the Knossian Cupbearer, the fresco discovered by Mr. Evans in the
palace-temple of Minos; he has the same ruddy brown complexion, the same
long black hair dressed in the same fashion, the same parti-coloured
kilt, and he bears his vase in much the same way. We have only to allow
for the difference of Egyptian and Mycenaean ways of drawing. There is
no doubt whatever that these Keftiu of the Egyptians were Cretans of the
Minoan Age. They used to be considered Phoenicians, but this view was
long ago exploded. They are not Semites, and that is quite enough.
Neither are they Asiatics of any kind. They are purely and simply
Mycenaean, or rather Minoan, Greeks of the pre-Hellenic period--Pelasgi,
that is to say.

Probably no discovery of more far-reaching importance to our knowledge
of the history of the world generally and of our own culture especially
has ever been made than the finding of Mycenæ by Schliemann, and
the further finds that have resulted therefrom, culminating in the
discoveries of Mr. Arthur Evans at Knossos. Naturally, these discoveries
are of extraordinary interest to us, for they have revealed the
beginnings and first bloom of the European civilization of to-day. For
our culture-ancestors are neither the Egyptians, nor the Assyrians, nor
the Hebrews, but the Hellenes, and they, the Aryan-Greeks, derived most
of their civilization from the pre-Hellenic people whom they found in
the land before them, the Pelasgi or “Mycenæan” Greeks, “Minoans,” as we
now call them, the Keftiu of the Egyptians. These are the ancient Greeks
of the Heroic Age, to which the legends of the Hellenes refer; in their
day were fought the wars of Troy and of the Seven against Thebes, in
their day the tragedy of the Atridse was played out to its end, in their
day the wise Minos ruled Knossos and the _Ægean_. And of all the events
which are at the back of these legends we know nothing. The hiéroglyphed
tablets of the pre-Hellenic Greeks lie before us, but we cannot read
them; we can only see that the Minoan writing in many ways resembled
the Egyptian, thus again confirming our impression of the original early
connection of the two cultures.

In view of this connection, and the known close relations between Crete
and Egypt, from the end of the XIIth Dynasty to the end of the XVIIIth,
we might have hoped to recover at Knossos a bilingual inscription in
Cretan and Egyptian hieroglyphs which would give us the key to the
Minoan script and tell us what we so dearly wish to know. But this hope
has not yet been realized. Two Egyptian inscriptions have been found at
Knossos, but no bilingual one. A list of Keftian names is preserved in
the British Museum upon an Egyptian writing-board from Thebes with what
is perhaps a copy of a single Cretan hieroglyph, a vase; but again,
nothing bilingual. A list of “Keftian words” occurs at the head of a
papyrus, also in the British Museum, but they appear to be nonsense,
a mere imitation of the sounds of a strange tongue. Still we need
not despair of finding the much desired Cretan-Egyptian bilingual
inscription yet. Perhaps the double text of a treaty between Crete and
Egypt, like that of Ramses II with the Hittites, may come to light.
Meanwhile we can only do our best with the means at our hand to trace
out the history of the relations of the oldest European culture with
the ancient civilization of Egypt. The tomb-paintings at Thebes are very
important material. Eor it is due to them that the voice of the doubter
has finally ceased to be heard, and that now no archaeologist questions
that the Egyptians were in direct communication with the Cretan
Mycenæans in the time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, some fifteen hundred years
before Christ, for no one doubts that the pictures of the Keftiu are
pictures of Mycenaeans.

As we have seen, we know that this connection was far older than the
time of the XVIIIth Dynasty, but it is during that time and the Hyksos
period that we have the clearest documentary proof of its existence,
from the statuette of Abnub and the alabastron lid of King Khian,
found at Knossos, down to the Mycenaean pottery fragments found at Tell
el-Amarna, a site which has been utterly abandoned since the time of
the heretic Akhunaten (B.C. 1430), so that there is no possibility of
anything found there being later than his time. That the connection
existed as late as the time of the XXth Dynasty we know from the
representations of golden _Bügelkannen_ or false-necked vases of
Mycenaean form in the tomb of Ramses III in the Bibân el-Mulûk, and of
golden cups of Vaphio type in the tomb of Imadua, already mentioned.
This brings the connection down to about 1050 B.C.

After that date we cannot hope to find any certain evidence of
connection, for by that time the Mycenaean civilization had probably
come to an end. In the days of the XIIth and XVIIIth Dynasties a great
and splendid power evidently existed in Crete, and sent its peaceful
ambassadors, the Keftiu who are represented in the Theban tombs, to
Egypt. But with the XIXth Dynasty the name of the Keftiu disappears from
Egyptian records, and their place is taken by a congeries of warring
seafaring tribes, whose names as given by the Egyptians seem to be forms
of tribal and place names well known to us in the Greece of later days.
We find the Akaivasha (_Axaifol_, Achaians), Shakalsha (Sagalassians of
Pisidia), Tursha (Tylissians of Crete?), and Shardana (Sardians) allied
with the Libyans and Mashauash (Maxyes) in a land attack upon Egypt in
the days of Meneptah, the successor of Ramses II--just as in the later
days of the XXVIth Dynasty the Northern pirates visited the African
shore of the Mediterranean, and in alliance with the predatory Libyans
attacked Egypt.

Prof. Petrie has lately [History of Egypt, iii, pp. Ill, I12.] proffered
an alternative view, which would make all these tribes Tunisians and
Algerians, thus disposing of the identification of the Akaivasha with
the Achaians, and making them the ancient representatives of the town
of el-Aghwat (Roman Agbia) in Tunis. But several difficulties might be
pointed out which are in the way of an acceptance of this view, and it
is probable that the older identifications with Greek tribes must still
be retained, so that Meneptah’s Akaivasha are evidently the ancient
representatives of the Achai(v)ans, the Achivi of the Roman poets. The
terminations _sha_ and _na_, which appear in these names, are merely
ethnic and locative affixes belonging to the Asianic language system
spoken by these tribes at that time, to which the language of the Minoan
Cretans (which is written in the Knossian hieroglyphs) belonged. They
existed in ancient Lycian in the forms _azzi_ and _nna_, and we find
them enshrined in the Asia Minor place-names terminating in _assos_
and _nda_, as Halikarnassos, Sagalassos (Shakalasha in Meneptah’s
inscription), Oroanda, and Labraunda (which, as we have seen, is the
same as the [Greek word], a word of pre-Hellenic origin, both meaning
“Place of the Double Axe”) The identification of these _sha_ and _nal_
terminations in the Egyptian transliterations of the foreign names, with
the Lycian affixes referred to, was made some five years ago,* and is
now generally accepted. We have, then, to find the equivalents of
these names, to strike off the final termination, as in the case of
Akaiva-sha, where Akaiva only is the real name, and this seems to be
the Egyptian equivalent of _Axaifol_, Achivi. It is strange to meet with
this great name on an Egyptian monument of the thirteenth century B.C.
But yet not so strange, when we recollect that it is precisely to that
period that Greek legend refers the war of Troy, which was an attack
by Greek tribes from all parts of the Ægean upon the Asianic city
at Hissarlik in the Troad, exactly parallel to the attacks of the
Northerners on Egypt. And Homer preserves many a reminiscence of early
Greek visits, peaceful and the reverse, to the coast of Egypt at this
period. The reader will have noticed that one no longer treats the siege
of Troy as a myth. To do so would be to exhibit a most uncritical mind;
even the legends of King Arthur have a historic foundation, and those of
the Nibelungen are still more probable.

     * See Hall, Oldest Civilization of Greece, p. 178/.

[Illustration: 368.jpg Page Image to display Greek words]

[Illustration: 369.jpg Page Image to display Greek words]

In the eighth year of Ramses III the second Northern attack was made,
by the Pulesta (_Pelishtim_, Philistines), Tjakaray, Shakalasha
(Sagalassians), Vashasha, and Danauna or Daanau, in alliance with North
Syrian tribes. The Danauna are evidently the ancient representatives of
the _Aavaoî_, the Danaans who formed the bulk of the Greek army against
Troy under the leadership of the long-haired Achaians, [Greek words]
(like the Keftiu). The Vashasha have been identified by the writer with
the Axians, the [Greek word] of Crete. Prof. Petrie compares the name
of the Tjakaray with that of the (modern) place Zakro in Crete.
Identifications with modern place-names are of doubtful value;
for instance, we cannot but hold that Prof. Petrie errs greatly in
identifying the name of the Pidasa (another tribe mentioned in Ramses
II’s time) with that of the river Pidias in Cyprus. “Pidias” is a purely
modern corruption of the ancient Pediseus, which means the “plain-river”
 (because it flows through the central plain of the island), from the
Greek [Greek word]. If, then, we make the Pidasa Cypriotes we assume
that pure Greek was spoken in Cyprus as early as 1100 b. c, which is
highly improbable. The Pidasa were probably Le-leges (Pedasians); the
name of Pisidia may be the same, by metathesis. Pedasos is a name always
connected with the much wandering tribe of the Leleges, where-ever they
are found in Lakonia or in Asia Minor. We believe them to have been
known to the Egyptians as Pidasa. The identification of the Tjakaray
with Zakro is very tempting. The name was formerly identified with
that of the Teukrians, but the v in the word Tewpot lias always been a
stumbling-block in the way. Perhaps Zakro is neither more nor less than
the Tetkpoc-name, since the legendary Teucer, the archer, was connected
with the eastern or Eteokretan end of Crete, where Zakro lies. In
Mycenæan times Zakro was an important place, so that the Tjakaray may
be the Teukroi, after all, and Zakro may preserve the name. At any rate,
this identification is most alluring and, taken in conjunction with
the other cumulative identifications, is very probable; but the
identification of the Pidæa with the river Pediæus in Cyprus is
neither alluring nor probable.

In the time of Ramses II some of these Asia Minor tribes had marched
against Egypt as allies of the Hittites. We find among them the Luka or
Lycians, the Dardenui (Dardanians, who may possibly have been at that
time in the Troad, or elsewhere, for all these tribes were certainly
migratory), and the Masa (perhaps the Mysians). With the Cretans of
Ramses Ill’s time must be reckoned the Pulesta, who are certainly the
Philistines, then most probably in course of their traditional migration
from Crete to Palestine. In Philistia recent excavations by Mr. Welch
have disclosed the unmistakable presence of a late Mycenæan culture,
and we can only ascribe this to the Philistines, who were of Cretan

Thus we see that all these Northern tribal names hold together with
remarkable persistence, and in fact refuse to be identified with any
tribes but those of Asia Minor and the Ægean. In them we see the broken
remnants of the old Minoan (Keftian) power, driven hither and thither
across the seas by intestinal feuds, and “winding the skein of grievous
wars till every man of them perished,” as Homer says of the heroes after
the siege of Troy. These were in fact the wanderings of the heroes, the
period of _Sturm und Drang_ which succeeded the great civilized epoch of
Minos and his thalassocracy, of Knossos, Phaistos, and the Keftius.
On the walls of the temple of Medînet Habû, Ramses III depicted the
portraits of the conquered heroes who had fallen before the Egyptian
onslaught, and he called them heroes, _tuher_ in Egyptian, fully
recognizing their Berserker gallantry. Above all in interest are the
portraits of the Philistines, those Greeks who at this very time seized
part of Palestine (which takes its name from them), and continued to
exist there as a separate people (like the Normans in France) for at
least two centuries. Goliath the giant was, then, a Greek; certainly he
was of Cretan descent, and so a Pelasgian.

Such are the conclusions to which modern discovery in Crete has impelled
us with regard to the pictures of the Keftiu at Shêkh ‘Abd el-Kûrna. It
is indeed a new chapter in the history of the relations of ancient Egypt
with the outside world that Dr. Arthur Evans has opened for us. And in
this connection some American work must not be overlooked. An expedition
sent out by the University of Pennsylvania, under Miss Harriet Boyd,
has discovered much of importance to Mycenæan study in the ruins of an
ancient town at Gournia in Crete, east of Knossos. Here, however, little
has been found that will bear directly on the question of relations
between Mycenaean Greece and Egypt.

The Theban nécropoles of the New Empire are by no means exhausted by a
description of the Tombs of the Kings and Shêkh ‘Abd el-Kûrna; but few
new discoveries have been made anywhere except in the picturesque valley
of the Tombs of the Queens, south of Shêkh ‘Abd el-Kûrna. Here the
Italian Egyptologist, Prof. Schiaparelli, has lately discovered and
excavated some very fine tombs of the XIXth and XXth Dynasties. The best
is that of Queen Nefertari, one of the wives of Ramses II. The colouring
of the reliefs upon these walls is extraordinarily bright, and the
portraits of the queen, who has a very beautiful face, with aquiline
nose, are wonderfully preserved. She was of the dark type, while another
queen, Titi by name, who was buried close by, was fair, and had a
retroussé nose. Prof. Schiaparelli also discovered here the tombs of
some princes of the XXth Dynasty, who died young. All the tombs are
much alike, with a single short gallery, on the walls of which are
mythological scenes, figures of the prince and of his father, the king,
etc., painted in a crude style, which shows a great degeneration from
that of the XVIIIth Dynasty tombs.

We now leave the great necropolis and turn to the later temples of the
Western Bank at Thebes. These were of a funerary character, like those
of Dêr el-Bahari, already described. The most imposing of all in some
respects is the Ramesseum, where lies the huge granite colossus of
Ramses II, prostrate and broken, which Diodorus knew as the statue of
Osymandyas. This name is a late corruption of Ramses II’s throne-name,
User-maat-Rà, pronounced Ûsimare. The temple has been cleared by
Mr. Howard Carter for the Egyptian government, and the small town of
priests’ houses, magazines, and cellars, to the west of it, has been
excavated by him. This is quite a little Pompeii, with its small
streets, its houses with the stucco still clinging to the walls, its
public altar, its market colonnade, and its gallery of statues. The
statues are only of brick like the walls, and roughly shaped and
plastered, but they were portraits, undoubtedly, of celebrities of
the time, though we do not know of whom. On either side are the long
magazines in which were kept the possessions of the priests of the
Ramesseum, the grain from the lands with which they were endowed, and
everything meet to be offered to the ghost of the king whom they served.
The plan of the place had evidently been altered after the time of
Ramses II, as remains of overbuilding were found here and there. The
magazines were first investigated in 1896 by Prof. Petrie, who also
found in the neighbourhood the remains of a number of small royal
funerary temples of the XVIIIth Dynasty, all looking in the direction of
the hill, beyond which lay the tombs of the kings.


     In which Prof. Schiaparelli discovered the tomb of Ramses
     II’s wife (1904).

We may now turn to Luxor, where immediately above the landing-place of
the steamers and dahabiyas rise the stately coloured colonnades of the
Temple of Luxor. Unfortunately, modern excavations have not been
allowed to pursue their course to completion here, as in the first great
colonnaded court, which was added by Ramses II to the original building
of Amenhetep III, Tutankhamen, and Horemheb, there still remains
the Mohammedan Mosque of Abu-’l-Haggâg, which may not be removed.
Abu-’l-Haggâg, “the Father of Pilgrims” (so called on account of the
number of pilgrims to his shrine), was a very holy shêkh, and his memory
is held in the greatest reverence by the Luksuris. It is unlucky that
this mosque was built within the court of the Great Temple, and it
cannot be removed till Moslem religious prejudices become at least
partially ameliorated, and then the work of completely excavating the
Temple of Luxor may be carried out.

Between Luxor and Karnak lay the temple of the goddess Mut, consort of
Amen and protectress of Thebes. It stood in the part of the city known
as Asheru. This building was cleared in 1895 at the expense and under
the supervision of two English ladies, Miss Benson and Miss Gourlay.

[Illustration: 374.jpg THE NILE-BANK AT LUXOR]

     With A Dahabîya And A Steamer Of The Anglo-American Nile

The temple had always been remarkable on account of the prodigious
number of seated figures of the lioness-headed goddess Sekhemet, or
Pakhet, which it contains, dedicated by Amenhetep III and Sheshenk I;
most of those in the British Museum were brought from this temple.
The excavators found many more of them, and also some very interesting
portrait-statues of the late period which had been dedicated there.
The most important of these was the head and shoulders of a statue of
Mentuemhat, governor of Thebes at the time of the sack of the city by
Ashur-bani-pal of Assyria in 668 B.C. In Miss Benson’s interesting book,
_The Temple of Mut in Asher_, it is suggested, on the authority of Prof.
Petrie, that his facial type is Cypriote, but this speculation is a
dangerous one, as is also the similar speculation that the wonderful
portrait-head of an old man found by Miss Benson [* Plate vii of her
book.] is of Philistine type. We have only to look at the faces of
elderly Egyptians to-day to see that the types presented by Mentuemhat
and Miss Benson’s “Philistine” need be nothing but pure Egyptian. The
whole work of the clearing was most efficiently carried out, and the
Cairo Museum obtained from it some valuable specimens of Egyptian

The Great Temple of Karnak is one of the chief cares of the Egyptian
Department of Antiquities. Its paramount importance, so to speak, as the
cathedral temple of Egypt, renders its preservation and exploration a
work of constant necessity, and its great extent makes this work one
which is always going on and which probably will be going on for many
years to come. The Temple of Karnak has cost the Egyptian government
much money, yet not a piastre of this can be grudged. For several years
past the works have been under the charge of M. Georges Legrain, the
well-known engineer and draughtsman who was associated with M. de
Morgan in the work at Dashûr. His task is to clear out the whole temple
thoroughly, to discover in it what previous investigators have left
undiscovered, and to restore to its original position what has fallen.

[Illustration: 376.jpg THE GREAT TEMPLE OP KAKNAK.]

     The left-hand obelisk is the highest in Egypt, and was
     erected by Hatshepsu; the right-hand obelisk was put up by
     Thothmes III. No general work of restoration is
     contemplated, nor would this be in the slightest degree
     desirable. Up to the present M. Legrain has certainly
     carried out all three branches of his task with great
     success. An unforeseen event has, however, considerably
     complicated and retarded the work.

In October, 1899, one of the columns of the side aisles of the great
Hypostyle Hall fell, bringing down with it several others. The whole
place was a chaotic ruin, and for a moment it seemed as though the whole
of the Great Hall, one of the wonders of the world, would collapse.
The disaster was due to the gradual infiltration of water from the Nile
beneath the structure, whose foundations, as is usual in Egypt, were of
the flimsiest description. Even the most imposing Egyptian temples
have jerry-built foundations; usually they are built on the top of the
wall-stumps of earlier buildings of different plan, filled in with a
confused mass of earlier slabs and weak rubbish of all kinds. Had the
Egyptian buildings been built on sure foundations, they would have been
preserved to a much greater extent even than they are. In such a climate
as that of Egypt a stone building well built should last for ever.

M. Legrain has for the last five years been busy repairing the damage.
All the fallen columns are now restored to the perpendicular, and the
capitals and architraves are in process of being hoisted into their
original positions. The process by which M. Legrain carries out this
work has been already described. He works in the old Egyptian fashion,
building great inclines or ramps of earth up which the pillar-drums,
the capitals, and the architrave-blocks are hauled by manual labour, and
then swung into position. This is the way in which the Egyptians built
Karnak, and in this way, too, M. Le-grain is rebuilding it. It is a slow
process, but a sure one, and now it will not be long before we shall
see the hall, except its roof, in much the same condition as it was when
Seti built it. Lovers of the picturesque will, however, miss the famous
leaning column, hanging poised across the hall, which has been a main
feature in so many pictures and photographs of Karnak. This fell in the
catastrophe of 1899, and naturally it has not been possible to restore
it to its picturesque, but dangerous, position.

The work at Karnak has been distinguished during the last two years by
two remarkable discoveries. Outside the main temple, to the north of
the Hypostyle Hall, M. Legrain found a series of private sanctuaries or
shrines, built of brick by personages of the XVIIIth Dynasty and later,
in order to testify their devotion to Amen. In these small cells were
found some remarkable statues, one of which is illustrated. It is one of
the most perfect of its kind. A great dignitary of the XVIIIth Dynasty
is seen seated with his wife, their daughter standing between them.
Round his neck are four chains of golden rings, with which he had been
decorated by the Pharaoh for his services. It is a remarkable group,
interesting for its style and workmanship as well as for its subject. As
an example of the formal hieratic type of portraiture it is very fine.

The other and more important discovery of the two was made by M. Legrain
on the south side of the Hypo-style Hall.

[Illustration: 379.jpg THE GREAT TEMPLE OP KAKNAK.]

The left-hand obelisk is the highest in Egypt, and was erected by
Hatshepsu; the right-hand obelisk was put up by Thothmes III.

M. de Morgan in the work at Dashûr. His task is to clear out the whole
temple thoroughly, to discover in it what previous investigators have
left undiscovered, and to restore to its original position what has
fallen. Tentative excavations, begun in an unoccupied tract under the
wall of the hall, resulted in the discovery of parts of statues; the
place was then regularly excavated, and the result has been amazing.
The ground was full of statues, large and small, at some unknown period
buried pell-mell, one on the top of another. Some are broken, but the
majority are perfect, which is in itself unusual, and is due very much
to the soft, muddy soil in which they have lain. Statues found on dry
desert land are often terribly cracked, especially when they are of
black granite, the crystals of which seem to have a greater tendency to
disintegration than have those of the red syenite. The Karnak statues
are figures of pious persons, who had dedicated portraits of themselves
in the temple of Amen, together with those of great men whom the king
had honoured by ordering their statues placed in the temple during their

Of this number was the great sage Amenhetep, son of Hapi, the founder of
the little desert temple of Dêr el-Medîna, near Dêr el-Bahari, who was
a sort of prime minister under Amenhetep III, and was venerated in later
days as a demigod. His statue was found with the others by M. Legrain.
Among them is a figure made entirely of green felspar, an unusual
material for so large a statuette. A fine portrait of Thothmes III was
also found. The illustration shows this wonderfully fruitful excavation
in progress, with the diggers at work in the black mud soil, in the
foreground the basket-boys carrying away the rubbish on their shoulders,
and the massive granite walls of the Great Hypostyle Hall of Seti in the
background. The huge size of the roof-blocks is noticeable. These are
not the actual uppermost roof-blocks, but only the architraves from
pillar to pillar; the original roof consisted of similar blocks laid
across in the transverse direction from architrave to architrave. An
Egyptian granite temple was in fact built upon the plan of a child’s box
of bricks; it was but a modified and beautified Stonehenge.


     Of The Time Of The Xviiith Dynasty. Discovered by M. Legrain
     at Karnak.

Other important discoveries have been made by M. Legrain in the course
of his work.


     The Tomb of Pentu (No. 5) at Tell el-Amarna, inhabited by
     Mr. de G. Davies during his work for the Archaeological
     Survey of Egypt (Egypt Exploration Fund). About 1400 B.C.

Among them are statues of the late Middle Kingdom, including one of King
Usertsen (Senusret) IV of the XIIIth Dynasty. There are also reliefs of
the reign of Amenhetep I, which are remarkable for the delicacy of their
workmanship and the sureness of their technique.

We know that the temple was built as early as the time of TJsertsen,
for in it have been found one or two of his blocks; and no doubt the
original shrine, which was rebuilt in the time of Philip Arrhidseus, was
of the same period, but hitherto no remains of the centuries between his
time and that of Hatshepsu had been found. With M. Legrain’s work in the
greatest temple of Thebes we finish our account of the new discoveries
in the chief city of ancient Egypt, as we began it with the work of M.
Naville in the oldest temple there.

One of the most interesting questions connected with the archaeology
of Thebes is that which asks whether the heretical disk-worshipper
Akhunaten (Amenhetep IV) erected buildings there, and whether any
trace of them has ever been discovered. To those who are interested in
Egyptian history and religion the transitory episode of the disk-worship
heresy is already familiar. The precise character of the heretical
dogma, which Amenhetep IV proclaimed and desired his subjects to.
accept, has lately been well explained by Mr. de Garis Davies in his
volumes, published by the “Archaeological Survey of Egypt” branch of
the Egypt Exploration Fund, on the tombs of el-Amarna. He shows that the
heretical doctrine was a monotheism of a very high order. Amenhetep IV
(or as he preferred to call himself, Akhunaten, “Glory of the Disk”) did
not, as has usually been supposed, merely worship the Sun-disk itself
as the giver of life, and nothing more. He venerated the glowing disk
merely as the visible emanation of the deity behind it, who dispensed
heat and life to all living things through its medium. The disk was, so
to speak, the window in heaven through which the unknown God, the “Lord
of the Disk,” shed a portion of his radiance on the world. Now, given
an ignorance of the true astronomical character of the sun, we see how
eminently rational a religion this was. In effect, the sun is the source
of all life upon this earth, and so Akhunaten caused its rays to be
depicted each with a hand holding out the sign of life to the earth. The
monotheistic worship of the sun alone is certainly the highest form of
pagan religion, but Akhunaten saw further than this. His doctrine was
that there was a deity behind the sun, whose glory shone through it and
gave us life. This deity was unnamed and unnamable; he was “the Lord
of the Disk.” We see in his heresy, therefore, the highest attitude
to which religious ideas had attained before the days of the Hebrew

This religion seems to have been developed out of the philosophical
speculations of the priests of the Sun at Heliopolis. Akhunaten with
unwise iconoclastic zeal endeavoured to root out the worship of the
ancient gods of Egypt, and especially that of Amen-Bà, the ruler of the
Egyptian pantheon, whose primacy in the hearts of the people made him
the most redoubtable rival of the new doctrine. But the name of the
old Sun-god Bà-Harmaehis was spared, and it is evident that Akhunaten
regarded him as more or less identical with his god.

It has been supposed by Prof. Petrie that Queen Tii, the mother of
Akhunaten, was of Mitannian (Armenian) origin, and that she brought the
Aten religion to Egypt from her native land, and taught it to her son.
Certainly it seems as though the new doctrine had made some headway
before the death of Amenhetep III, but we have no reason to attribute it
to Tii, or to suppose that she brought it with her from abroad. There is
no proof whatever that she was not a native Egyptian, and the mummies of
her parents, Iuaa and Tuaa, are purely Egyptian in facial type. It
seems undoubted that the Aten cult was a development of pure Egyptian
religious thought.

At first Akhunaten tried to establish his religion at Thebes alongside
that of Amen and his attendant pantheon. He seems to have built a temple
to the Aten there, and we see that his courtiers began to make tombs for
themselves in the new realistic style of sculptural art, which the king,
heretical in art as in religion, had introduced. The tomb of Barnes at
Shêkh ‘Abd el-Kûrna has on one side of the door a representation of
the king in the old regular style, and on the other side one in the new
realistic style, which depicts him in all the native ugliness in which
this strange truth-loving man seems to have positively gloried. We
find, too, that he caused a temple to the Aten to be erected in far-away
Napata, the capital of Nubia, by Jebel Barkal in the Sudan. The facts
as to the Theban and Napata temples have been pointed out by Prof.
Breasted, of Chicago.

But the opposition of the Theban priesthood was too strong. Akhunaten
shook the dust of the capital off his feet and retired to the isolated
city of Akhet-aten, “the Glory of the Disk,” at the modern Tell
el-Amarna, where he could philosophize in peace, while his kingdom was
left to take care of itself. He and his wife Nefret-iti, who seems to
have been a faithful sharer of his views, reigned over a select court
of Aten-worship-ping nobles, priests, and artists. The artists had under
Akhunaten an unrivalled opportunity for development, of which they had
already begun to take considerable advantage before the end of his reign
and the restoration of the old order of ideas. Their style takes on
itself an almost bizarre freedom, which reminds us strongly of the
similar characteristic in Mycenaean art. There is a strange little
relief in the Berlin Museum of the king standing cross-legged, leaning
on a staff, and languidly smelling a flower, while the queen stands
by with her garments blown about by the wind. The artistic monarch’s
graceful attitude is probably a faithful transcript of a characteristic

We see from this what an Egyptian artist could do when his shackles were
removed, but unluckily Egypt never produced another king who was at the
same time an original genius, an artist, and a thinker. When Akhunaten
died, the Egyptian artists’ shackles were riveted tighter than ever.
The reaction was strong. The kingdom had fallen into anarchy, and the
foreign empire which his predecessors had built up had practically
been thrown to the winds by Akhunaten. The whole is an example of the
confusion and disorganization which ensue when a philosopher rules. Not
long after the heretic’s death the old religion was fully restored, the
cult of the disk was blotted out, and the Egyptians returned joyfully
to the worship of their myriad deities. Akhunaten’s ideals were too high
for them. The débris of the foreign empire was, as usual in such
cases, put together again, and customary law and order restored by
the conservative reactionaries who succeeded him. Henceforth Egyptian
civilization runs an uninspired and undeveloping course till the days
of the Saïtes and the Ptolemies. This point in the history of Egypt,
therefore, forms a convenient stopping-place at which to pause, while
we turn once more to Western Asia, and ascertain to what extent recent
excavations and research have thrown new light upon the problems
connected with the rise and history of the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian

[Illustration: 387.jpg]


The early history of Assyria has long been a subject on which historians
were obliged to trust largely to conjecture, in their attempts to
reconstruct the stages by which its early rulers obtained their
independence and laid the foundations of the mighty empire over which
their successors ruled. That the land was colonized from Babylonia and
was at first ruled as a dependency of the southern kingdom have long
been regarded as established facts, but until recently little was known
of its early rulers and governors, and still less of the condition of
the country and its capital during the early periods of their existence.
Since the excavations carried out by the British Museum at Kala
Sherghat, on the western bank of the Tigris, it has been known that
the mounds at that spot mark the site of the city of Ashur, the first
capital of the Assyrians, and the monuments and records recovered
during those excavations have hitherto formed our principal source of
information for the early history of the country.* Some of the oldest
records found in the course of these excavations were short votive texts
inscribed by rulers who bore the title of _ishshakku_, corresponding to
the Sumerian and early Babylonian title of patesi, and with some such
meaning as “viceroy.” It was rightly conjectured from the title which
they bore that these early rulers owed allegiance to the kings of
Babylon and were their nominees, or at any rate their tributaries. The
names of a few of these early viceroys were recovered from their votive
inscriptions and from notices in later historical texts, but it was
obvious that our knowledge of early Assyrian history would remain very
fragmentary until systematic excavations in Assyria were resumed. Three
years ago (1902) the British Museum resumed excavations at Kuyunjik, the
site of Nineveh. The work was begun and carried out under the direction
of Mr. L. W. King, but since last summer has been continued by Mr. R. C.
Thompson. Last year, too, excavations were reopened at Sherghat by
the Deutsch-Orient Ge-sellschaft, at first under the direction of Dr.
Koldewey, and afterwards under that of Dr. Andrae, by whom they are
at present being carried on. This renewed activity on the sites of the
ancient cities of Assyria is already producing results of considerable
interest, and the veil which has so long concealed the earlier periods
in the history of that country is being lifted.

     * For the texts and translations of these documents, see
     Budge and King, Annals of the Kings of Assyria, pp. iff.

Shortly before these excavations in Assyria were set on foot an
indication was obtained from an early Babylonian text that the history
of Assyria as a dependent state or province of Babylon must be pushed
back to a far more remote period than had hitherto been supposed. In one
of Hammurabi’s letters to Sin-idinnam, governor of the city of Larsam,
to which reference has already been made, directions are given for
the despatch to the king of “two hundred and forty men of ‘the King’s
Company’ under the command of Nannar-iddina... who have left the country
of Ashur and the district of Shitullum.” From this most interesting
reference it followed that the country to the north of Babylonia was
known as Assyria at the time of the kings of the First Dynasty of
Babylon, and the fact that Babylonian troops were stationed there
by Hammurabi proved that the country formed an integral part of the
Babylonian empire.

These conclusions were soon after strikingly confirmed by two passages
in the introductory sections of Hammurabi’s code of laws which was
discovered at Susa. Here Hammurabi records that he “restored his (i.e.
the god Ashur’s) protecting image unto the city of Ashur,” and a few
lines farther on he describes himself as the king “who hath made
the names of Ishtar glorious in the city of Nineveh in the temple of
E-mish-mish.” That Ashur should be referred to at this period is what we
might expect, inasmuch as it was known to have been the earliest capital
of Assyria; more striking is the reference to Nineveh, proving as it
does that it was a flourishing city in Hammurabi’s time and that the
temple of Ishtar there had already been long established. It is true
that Gudea, the Sumerian patesi of Shirpurla, records that he rebuilt
the temple of the goddess Ninni (Ishtar) at a place called Nina. Now
Nina may very probably be identified with Nineveh, but many writers have
taken it to be a place in Southern Babylonia and possibly a district of
Shirpurla itself. No such uncertainty attaches to Hammurabi’s reference
to Nineveh, which is undoubtedly the Assyrian city of that name.
Although no account has yet been published of the recent excavations
carried out at Nineveh by the British Museum, they fully corroborate the
inference drawn with regard to the great age of the city. The series of
trenches which were cut deep into the lower strata of Kuyunjik revealed
numerous traces of very early habitations on the mound.

Neither in Hammurabi’s letters, nor upon the stele inscribed with his
code of laws, is any reference made to the contemporary governor or
ruler of Assyria, but on a contract tablet preserved in the Pennsylvania
Museum a name has been recovered which will probably be identified
with that of the ruler of Assyria in Hammurabi’s reign. In legal and
commercial documents of the period of the First Dynasty of Babylon the
contracting parties frequently swore by the names of two gods (usually
Shamash and Marduk) and also that of the reigning king. Now it has been
found by Dr. Banke that on this document in the Pennsylvania Museum the
contracting parties swear by the name of Hammurabi and also by that of
Shamshi-Adad. As only gods and kings are mentioned in the oath formulas
of this period, it follows that Shamshi-Adad was a king, or at any rate
a patesi or ishshakku. Now from its form the name Shamshi-Adad must
be that of an Assyrian, not that of a Babylonian, and, since he is
associated in the oath formula with Hammurabi, it is legitimate to
conclude that he governed Assyria in the time of Hammurabi as a
dependency of Babylon. An early Assyrian ishshakku of this name, who was
the son of Ishme-Dagan, is mentioned by Tiglath-Pileser I, but he cannot
be identified with the ruler of the time of Hammurabi, since,
according to Tiglath-Pileser, he ruled too late, about 1800 B.C.
A brick-inscription of another Shamshi-Adad, however, the son of
Igur-kapkapu, is preserved in the British Museum, and it is probable
that we may identify him with Hammurabi’s Assyrian viceroy. Erishum and
his son Ikunum, whose inscriptions are also preserved in the British
Museum, should certainly be assigned to an early period of Assyrian

The recent excavations at Sherghat are already yielding the names
of other early Assyrian viceroys, and, although the texts of the
inscriptions in which their names occur have not yet been published, we
may briefly enumerate the more important of the discoveries that have
been made. Last year a small cone or cylinder was found which, though
it bears only a few lines of inscription, restores the names of no less
than seven early Assyrian viceroys whose existence was not previously
known. The cone was inscribed by Ashir-rîm-nishêshu, who gives his own
genealogy and records the restoration of the wall of the city of Ashur,
which he states had been rebuilt by certain of his predecessors on
the throne. The principal portion of the inscription reads as
follows: “Ashir-rîm-nishêshu, the viceroy of the god Ashir, the son of
Ashir-nirari, the viceroy of the god Ashir, the son of Ashir-rabi, the
viceroy. The city wall which Kikia, Ikunum, Shar-kenkate-Ashir, and
Ashir-nirari, the son of Ishme-Dagan, my forefathers, had built, was
fallen, and for the preservation of my life... I rebuilt it.” Perhaps no
inscription has yet been recovered in either Assyria or Babylonia which
contained so much new information packed into so small a space. Of the
names of the early viceroys mentioned in it only one was previously
known, i.e. the name of Ikunum, the son of Erishum, is found in a late
copy of a votive text preserved in the British Museum. Thus from these
few lines the names of three rulers in direct succession have been
recovered, viz., Ashir-rabi, Ashir-nirari, and Ashur-rîm-nishêshu, and
also those of four earlier rulers, viz., Kikia, Shar-kenkate-Ashir,
Ishme-Dagan, and his son Ashir-nirari. Another interesting point about
the inscription is the spelling of the name of the national god of the
Assyrians. In the later periods it is always written _Ashur_, but at
this early time we see that the second vowel is changed and that at
first the name was written _Ashir_, a form that was already known
from the Cappadocian cuneiform inscriptions. The form Ashir is a good
participial construction and signifies “the Beneficent,” “the Merciful

Another interesting find, which was also made last year, consists of
four stone tablets, each engraved with the same building-inscription
of Shalmaneser I, a king who reigned over Assyria about 1300 B.C. In
recording his rebuilding of E-kharsag-kurkura, the temple of the god
Ashur in the city of Ashur, he gives a brief summary of the temple’s
history with details as to the length of time which elapsed between
the different periods during which it had been previously restored. The
temple was burned in Shalmaneser’s time, and, when recording this fact
and the putting out of the fire, he summarizes the temple’s history in a
long parenthesis, as will be seen from the following translation of the
extract: “When E-kharsag-kurkura, the temple of Ashur, my lord, which
Ushpia (variant _Aushpia_), the priest of Ashur, my forefather, had
built aforetime,--and it fell into decay and Erishu, my forefather,
the priest of Ashur, rebuilt it; 159 years passed by after the reign of
Erishu, and that temple fell into decay, and Shamshi-Adad, the priest
of Ashur, rebuilt it; (during) 580 years that temple which Shamshi-Adad,
the priest of Ashur, had built, grew hoary and old--(when) fire broke
out in the midst thereof..., at that time I drenched that temple (with
water) in (all) its circuit.”

From this extract it will be seen that Shalmaneser gives us, in Ushpia
or Aushpia, the name of a very early Assyrian viceroy, who in his belief
was the founder of the great temple of the god Ashur. He also tells us
that 159 years separated Erishu from a viceroy named Shamshi-Adad, and
that 580 years separated Shamshi-Adad from his own time. When these
inscriptions were first found they were hailed with considerable
satisfaction by historians, as they gave what seemed to be valuable
information for settling the chronology of the early patesis. But
confidence in the accuracy of Shalmaneser’s reckoning was somewhat
shaken a few months afterwards by the discovery of a prism of
Esarhaddon, who gave in it a history of the same temple, but ascribed
totally different figures for the periods separating the reigns
of Erishu and Shamshi-Adad, and the temple’s destruction by fire.
Esarhaddon agrees with Shalmaneser in ascribing the founding of the
temple to Ushpia, but he states that only 126 years (instead of 159
years) separated Erishu (whom he spells Irishu), the son of Ilu-shumma,
from Shamshi-Adad, the son of Bêl-kabi; and he adds that 434 years
(instead of 580 years) elapsed between Shamshi-Adad’s restoration of the
temple and the time when it was burned down. As Shalmaneser I lived over
six hundred years earlier than Esarhaddon, he was obviously in a better
position to ascertain the periods at which the events recorded took
place, but the discrepancy between the figures he gives and those of
Esarhaddon is disconcerting. It shows that Assyrian scribes could make
bad mistakes in their reckoning, and it serves to cast discredit on the
absolute accuracy of the chronological notices contained in other
late Assyrian inscriptions. So far from helping to settle the unsolved
problems of Assyrian chronology, these two recent finds at Sherghat
have introduced fresh confusion, and Assyrian chronology for the earlier
periods is once more cast into the melting pot.

In addition to the recovery of the names of hitherto unknown early
rulers of Assyria, the recent excavations at Sherghat have enabled us to
ascertain the true reading of the name of Shalmaneser I’s grandfather,
who reigned a considerable time after Assyria had gained her
independence. The name of this king has hitherto been read as Pudi-ilu,
but it is now shown that the signs composing the first part of the name
are not to be taken phonetically, but as ideographs, the true reading of
the name being Arik-dên-ilu, the signification of which is “Long
(i.e. far-reaching) is the judgment of God.” Arik-dên-ilu was a great
conqueror, as were his immediate descendants, all of whom extended the
territory of Assyria. By strengthening the country and increasing her
resources they enabled Arik-dên-ilu ‘s great-grandson, Tukulti-Ninib I,
to achieve the conquest of Babylon itself. Concerning Tukulti-Ninib’s
reign and achievements an interesting inscription has recently been
discovered. This is now preserved in the British Museum, and before
describing it we may briefly refer to another phase of the excavations
at Sherghat.

[Illustration: 396.jpg Stone Object Bearing a Votive Inscription of

     An early independent King of Assyria, who reigned about B.C.
     1350. Photograph by Messrs. Mansell & Co.

The mounds of Sherghat rise a considerable height above the level of
the plain, and are to a great extent of natural and not of artificial
formation. In fact, the existence of a group of high natural mounds at
this point on the bank of the Tigris must have led to its selection
by the early Assyrians as the site on which to build their first
stronghold. The mounds were already so high, from their natural
formation, that there was no need for the later Assyrian kings
to increase their height artificially (as they raised the chief
palace-mound at Nineveh), and the remains of the Assyrian buildings of
the early period are thus only covered by a few feet of débris and not
by masses of unburnt brick and artificially piled up soil. This fact
has considerably facilitated the systematic uncovering of the principal
mound that is now being carried out by Dr. Andrae.


Work has hitherto been confined to the northwest corner of the mound
around the ziggurat, or temple tower, and already considerable traces of
Assyrian buildings have been laid bare in this portion of the site. The
city wall on the northern side has been uncovered, as well as quays with
steps leading down to the water along the river front. Part of the
great temple of the god Ashur has been excavated, though a considerable
portion of it must be still covered by the modern Turkish fort at the
extreme northern point of the mounds; also part of a palace erected
by Ashur-nasir-pal has been identified. In fact, the work at Sherghat
promises to add considerably to our knowledge of ancient Assyrian

The inscription of Tukulti-Ninib I, which was referred to above as
having been recently acquired by the trustees of the British Museum,
affords valuable information for the reconstruction of the history of
Assyria during the first half of the thirteenth century B.C.* It is seen
from the facts summarized that for our knowledge of the earlier
history of the country we have to depend to a large extent on short
brick-inscriptions and votive texts supplemented by historical
references in inscriptions of the later period. The only historical
inscription of any length belonging to the early Assyrian period,
which had been published up to a year ago, was the famous memorial slab
containing an inscription of Adad-nirari I, which was acquired by the
late Mr. George Smith some thirty years ago. Although purchased in
Mosul, the slab had been found by the natives in the mounds at Sherghat,
for the text engraved upon it in archaic Assyrian characters records the
restoration of a part of the temple of the god Ashur in the ancient city
of Ashur, the first capital of the Assyrians, now marked by the
mounds of Sherghat, which have already been described. The object of
Adad-nirari in causing the memorial slab to be inscribed was to record
the restoration of the portion of the temple which he had rebuilt,
but the most important part of the inscription was contained in the
introductory phrases with which the text opens. They recorded
the conquests achieved not only by Adad-nirari but by his father
Arik-dên-ilu, his grandfather Bél-nirari, and his great-grandfather
Ashur-uballit. They thus enabled the historian to trace the gradual
extension and consolidation of the Assyrian empire during a critical
period in its early history.

     * For the text and translation of the inscription, see King,
     Studies it Eastern History, i (1904).

The recently recovered memorial slab of Tukulti-Ninib I is similar to
that of his grandfather Adad-nirari I, and ranks in importance with it
for the light it throws on the early struggles of Assyria. Tukulti-Ninib
‘s slab, like that of Adad-nirari, was a foundation memorial intended to
record certain building operations carried out by order of the king.
The building so commemorated was not the restoration of a portion of
a temple, but the founding of a new city, in which the king erected
no less than eight temples dedicated to various deities, while he also
records that he built a palace therein for his own habitation, that he
protected the city by a strongly fortified wall, and that he cut a canal
from the Tigris by which he ensured a continuous supply of fresh water.
These were the facts which the memorial was primarily intended to
record, but, like the text of Adad-nirari I, the most interesting events
for the historian are those referred to in the introductory portions of
the inscription. Before giving details concerning the founding of the
new city, named Kar-Tukulti-Mnib, “the Fortress of Tukulti-Mnib,”
 the king supplies an account of the military expeditions which he
had conducted during the course of his reign up to the time when the
foundation memorial was inscribed. These introductory paragraphs record
how the king gradually conquered the peoples to the north and northeast
of Assyria, and how he finally undertook a successful campaign against
Babylon, during which he captured the city and completely subjugated
both Northern and Southern Babylonia. Tukulti-Mnib’s reign thus marks an
epoch in the history of his country.

We have already seen how, during the early ages of her history, Assyria
had been merely a subject province of the Babylonian empire. Her rulers
had been viceroys owing allegiance to their overlords in Babylon,
under whose orders they administered the country, while garrisons of
Babylonian soldiers, and troops commanded by Babylonian officers, served
to keep the country in a state of subjection. Gradually, however, the
country began to feel her feet and long for independence. The conquest
of Babylon by the kings of the Country of the Sea afforded her the
opportunity of throwing off the Babylonian yoke. In the fifteenth
century the Assyrian kings were powerful enough to have independent
relations with the kings of Egypt, and, during the two centuries which
preceded Tukulti-Mnib’s reign.

Assyria’s relations with Babylon were the cause of constant friction due
to the northern kingdom’s growth in power and influence. The frontier
between the two countries was constantly in dispute, and, though
sometimes rectified by treaty, the claims of Assyria often led to war
between the two countries. The general result of these conflicts was
that Assyria gradually extended her authority farther southwards, and
encroached upon territory which had previously been Babylonian. The
successes gained by Ashur-uballit, Bêl-nirari, and Adad-nirari I against
the contemporary Babylonian kings had all resulted in the cession of
fresh territory to Assyria and in an increase of her international
importance. Up to the time of Tukulti-Mnib no Assyrian king had actually
seated himself upon the Babylonian throne. This feat was achieved by
Tukulti-Mnib, and his reign thus marks an important step in the gradual
advance of Assyria to the position which she later occupied as the
predominant power in Western Asia.

Before undertaking his campaign against Babylon, Tukulti-Mnib secured
himself against attack from other quarters, and his newly discovered
memorial inscription supplies considerable information concerning the
steps he took to achieve this object. In his inscription the king does
not number his military expeditions, and, with the exception of the
first one, he does not state the period of his reign in which they
were undertaken. The results of his campaigns are summarized in four
paragraphs of the text, and it is probable that they are not described
in chronological order, but are arranged rather according to the
geographical position of the districts which he invaded and subdued.
Tukulti-Ninib records that his first campaign took place at the
beginning of his sovereignty, in the first year of his reign, and it was
directed against the tribes and peoples inhabiting the territory on the
east of Assyria. Of the tribes which he overran and conquered on this
occasion the most important was the Kuti, who probably dwelt in the
districts to the east of the Lower Zâb. They were a turbulent race and
they had already been conquered by Arik-dên-ilu and Adad-nirari I, but
on neither occasion had they been completely subdued, and they had soon
regained their independence. Their subjugation by Tukulti-Ninib was
a necessary preliminary to any conquest in the south, and we can well
understand why it was undertaken by the king at the beginning of his
reign. Other conquests which were also made in the same region were the
Ukumanî and the lands of Elkhu-nia, Sharnida, and Mekhri, mountainous
districts which probably lay to the north of the Lower Zâb. The country
of Mekhri took its name from the mekhru-tree, a kind of pine or fir,
which grew there in abundance upon the mountainsides, and was highly
esteemed by the Assyrian kings as affording excellent wood for building
purposes. At a later period Ashur-nasir-pal invaded the country in the
course of his campaigns and brought back beams of mekhru-wood, which he
used in the construction of the temple dedicated to the goddess Ishtar
in Nineveh.

The second group of tribes and districts enumerated by Tukulti-Ninib as
having been subdued in his early years, before his conquest of Babylon,
all lay probably to the northwest of Assyria. The most powerful among
these peoples were the Shubari, who, like the Kutî on the eastern
border of Assyria, had already been conquered by Adad-nirari I, but had
regained their independence and were once more threatening the border on
this side. The third group of his conquests consisted of the districts
ruled over by forty kings of the lands of Na’iri, which was a general
term for the mountainous districts to the north of Assyria, including
territory to the west of Lake Van and extending eastwards to the
districts around Lake Urmi. The forty kings in this region whom
Tukulti-Ninib boasts of having subdued were little more than chieftains
of the mountain tribes, each one possessing authority over a few
villages scattered among the hills and valleys. But the men of Na’iri
were a warlike and hardy race, and, if left long in undisturbed
possession of their native fastnesses, they were tempted to make raids
into the fertile plains of Assyria. It was therefore only politic for
Tukulti-Ninib to traverse their country with fire and sword, and, by
exacting heavy tribute, to keep the fear of Assyrian power before their
eyes. From the king’s records we thus learn that he subdued and crippled
the semi-independent races living on his borders to the north, to the
northwest, and to the east. On the west was the desert, from which
region he need fear no organized attack when he concentrated his army
elsewhere, for his permanent garrisons were strong enough to repel and
punish any incursion of nomadic tribes. He was thus in a position to try
conclusions with his hereditary foe in the south, without any fear of
leaving his land open to invasion in his absence.

The campaign against Babylon was the most important one undertaken by
Tukulti-Ninib, and its successful issue was the crowning point of his
military career. The king relates that the great gods Ashur, Bel, and
Shamash, and the goddess Ishtar, the queen of heaven and earth, marched
at the head of his warriors when he set out upon the expedition. After
crossing the border and penetrating into Babylonian territory he seems
to have had some difficulty in forcing Bitiliashu, the Kassite king who
then occupied the throne of Babylon, to a decisive engagement. But by
a skilful disposition of his forces he succeeded in hemming him in, so
that the Babylonian army was compelled to engage in a pitched battle.
The result of the fighting was a complete victory for the Assyrian arms.
Many of the Babylonian warriors fell fighting, and Bitiliashu himself
was captured by the Assyrian soldiers in the midst of the battle.
Tukulti-Ninib boasts that he trampled his lordly neck beneath his feet,
and on his return to Assyria he carried his captive back in fetters to
present him with the spoils of the campaign before Ashur, the national
god of the Assyrians.

Before returning to Assyria, however, Tukulti-Ninib marched with his
army throughout the length and breadth of Babylonia, and achieved
the subjugation of the whole of the Sumer and Akkad. He destroyed the
fortifications of Babylon to ensure that they should not again be used
against himself, and all the inhabitants who did not at once submit to
his decrees he put co the sword. He then appointed his own officers
to rule the country and established his own system of administration,
adding to his previous title of “King of Assyria,” those of “King of
Karduniash (i. e. Babylonia)” and “King of Sumer and Akkad.” It was
probably from this period that he also adopted the title of “King of the
Poor Quarters of the World.” As a mark of the complete subjugation of
their ancient foe, Tukulti-Ninib and his army carried back with them
to Assyria not only the captive Babylonian king, but also the statue of
Marduk, the national god of Babylon. This they removed from B-sagila,
his sumptuous temple in Babylon, and they looted the sacred treasures
from the treasure-chambers, and carried them off together with the spoil
of the city.

Tukulti-Ninib no doubt left a sufficient proportion of his army in
Babylon to garrison the city and support the governors and officials
into whose charge he committed the administration of the land, but he
himself returned to Assyria with the rich spoil of the campaign, and
it was probably as a use for this large increase of wealth and material
that he decided to found another city which should bear his own name and
perpetuate it for future ages. The king records that he undertook this
task at the bidding of Bel (i.e. the god Ashur), who commanded that he
should found a new city and build a dwelling-place for him therein.
In accordance with the desire of Ashur and the gods, which was thus
conveyed to him, the king founded the city of Kar-Tukulti-Ninib, and
he erected therein temples dedicated not only to Ashur, but also to the
gods Adad, and Sha-mash, and Ninib, and Nusku, and Nergal, and Imina-bi,
and the goddess Ishtar. The spoils from Babylon and the temple treasures
from E-sagila were doubtless used for the decoration of these temples
and the adornment of their shrines, and the king endowed the temples and
appointed regular offerings, which he ordained should be their property
for ever. He also built a sumptuous palace for his own abode when he
stayed in the city, which he constructed on a mound or terrace of earth,
faced with brick, and piled high above the level of the city. Finally,
he completed its fortification by the erection of a massive wall around
it, and the completion of this wall was the occasion on which his
memorial tablet was inscribed.

The memorial tablet was buried and bricked up within the actual
structure of the wall, in order that in future ages it might be read by
those who found it, and so it might preserve his name and fame. After
finishing the account of his building operations in the new city and
recording the completion of the city wall from its foundation to its
coping stone, the king makes an appeal to any future ruler who should
find it, in the following words: “In the days that are to come, when
this wall shall have grown old and shall have fallen into ruins, may
a future prince repair the damaged parts thereof, and may he anoint my
memorial tablet with oil, and may he offer sacrifices and restore
it unto its place, and then Ashur will hearken unto his prayers. But
whosoever shall destroy this wall, or shall remove my memorial tablet or
my name that is inscribed thereon, or shall leave Kar-Tukulti-Ninib, the
city of my dominion, desolate, or shall destroy it, may the lord Ashur
overthrow his kingdom, and may he break his weapons, and may he cause
his warriors to be defeated, and may he diminish his boundaries, and may
he ordain that his rule shall be cut off, and on his days may he bring
sorrow, and his years may he make evil, and may he blot out his name and
his seed from the land!”

By such blessings and curses Tukulti-Ninib hoped to ensure the
preservation of his name and the rebuilding of his city, should it at
any time be neglected and fall into decay. Curiously enough, it was in
this very city that Tukulti-Ninib met his own fate less than seven years
after he had founded it. At that time one of his own sons, who bore the
name of Ashur-nasir-pal, conspired against his father and stirred up the
nobles to revolt. The insurrection was arranged when Tukulti-Ninib was
absent from his capital and staying in Kar-Tukulti-Ninib, where he was
probably protected by only a small bodyguard, the bulk of his veteran
warriors remaining behind in garrison at Ashur. The insurgent nobles,
headed by Ashur-nasir-pal, fell upon the king without warning when
he was passing through the city without any suspicion of risk from a
treacherous attack. The king defended himself and sought refuge in a
neighbouring house, but the conspirators surrounded the building and,
having forced an entrance, slew him with the sword. Thus Tukulti-Ninib
perished in the city he had built and beautified with the spoils of his
campaigns, where he had looked forward to passing a peaceful and secure
old age. Of the fate of the city itself we know little except that its
site is marked to-day by a few mounds which rise slightly above the
level of the surrounding desert. The king’s memorial tablet only has
survived. For some 3,200 years it rested undisturbed in the foundations
of the wall of unburnt brick, where it was buried by Tukulti-Ninib on
the completion of the city wall.

[Illustration: 408.jpg Stone Tablet. Bearing an inscription of
Tukulti-Ninib I]

     King of Assyria, about B. C. 1275.

Thence it was removed by the hands of modern Arabs, and it is now
preserved in the British Museum, where the characters of the inscription
may be seen to be as sharp and uninjured as on the day when the Assyrian
graver inscribed them by order of the king.

In the account of his first campaign, which is preserved upon
the memorial tablet, it is stated that the peoples conquered by
Tukulti-Ninib brought their yearly tribute to the city of Ashur. This
fact is of considerable interest, for it proves that Tukulti-Ninib
restored the capital of Assyria to the city of Ashur, removing it from
Calah, whither it had been transferred by his father Shalmaneser I. The
city of Calah had been founded and built by Shalmaneser I in the same
way that his son Tukulti-Ninib built the city of Kar-Tukulti-Ninib, and
the building of both cities is striking evidence of the rapid growth
of Assyria and her need of expansion around fresh centres prepared for
administration and defence. The shifting of the Assyrian capital to
Calah by Shalmaneser I was also due to the extension of Assyrian power
in the north, in consequence of which there was need of having the
capital nearer the centre of the country so enlarged. Ashur’s recovery
of her old position under Tukulti-Ninib I was only a temporary check to
this movement northwards, and, so long as Babylon remained a conquered
province of the Assyrian empire, obviously the need for a capital
farther north than Ashur would not have been pressing.


But with Tukulti-Ninib’s death Babylon regained her independence and
freed herself from Assyrian control, and the centre of the northern
kingdom was once more subject to the influences which eventually
resulted in the permanent transference of her capital to Nineveh. To the
comparative neglect into which Ashur and Calah consequently fell, we
may probably trace the extensive remains of buildings belonging to the
earlier periods of Assyrian history which have been recovered and still
remain to be found, in the mounds that mark their sites.

We have given some account of the results already achieved from the
excavations carried out during the last two years at Sherghat, the site
of the city of Ashur. That much remains to be done on the site of Calah,
the other early capital of Assyria, is evident from even a cursory
examination of the present condition of the mounds that mark the
location of the city. These mounds are now known by the name of Nimrûd
and are situated on the left or eastern bank of the Tigris, a short
distance above the point at which it is joined by the stream of the
Upper Zâb, and the great mound which still covers the remains of the
ziggurat, or temple tower, can be seen from a considerable distance
across the plain. During the excavations formerly carried out here for
the British Museum, remains of palaces were recovered which had been
built or restored by Shal-maneser I, Ashur-nasir-pal, Shalmaneser II,
Tiglath-pileser III, Sargon, Esarhaddon, and Ashur-etil-ilâni. After the
conclusion of the diggings and the removal of many of the sculptures to
England, the site was covered again with earth, in order to protect the
remains of Assyrian buildings which were left in place. Since that time
the soil has sunk and been washed away by the rains so that many of the
larger sculptures are now protruding above the soil, an example of which
is seen in the two winged bulls in the palace of Ashur-nasir-pal. It
is improbable that the mounds of Nimrûd will yield such rich results
as Sherghat, but the site would probably well repay prolonged and
systematic excavation.

We have hitherto summarized and described the principal facts,
with regard to the early history of Babylonia and Assyria and the
neighbouring countries, which have been obtained from the excavations
conducted recently on the sites of ancient cities. From the actual
remains of the buildings that have been unearthed we have secured
information with regard to the temples and palaces of ancient rulers and
the plans on which they were designed. Erom the objects of daily life
and of religious use which have been recovered, such as weapons of
bronze and iron, and vessels of metal, stone, and clay, it is possible
for the archaeologist to draw conclusions with regard to the customs of
these early peoples; while from a study of their style and workmanship
and of such examples of their sculpture as have been brought to light,
he may determine the stage of artistic development at which they had
arrived. The clay tablets and stone monuments that have been recovered
reveal the family life of the people, their commercial undertakings,
their system of legislation and land tenure, their epistolary
correspondence, and the administration under which they lived, while the
royal inscriptions and foundation-memorials throw light on the religious
and historical events of the period in which they were inscribed.
Information on all these points has been acquired as the result of
excavation, and is based on the discoveries in the ruins of early cities
which have remained buried beneath the soil for some thousands of years.
But for the history of Assyria and of the other nations in the north
there is still another source of information to which reference must now
be made.

The kings of Assyria were not content with recording their achievements
on the walls of their buildings, on stelae set up in their palaces and
temples, on their tablets of annals preserved in their archive-chambers,
and on their cylinders and foundation-memorials concealed within the
actual structure of the buildings themselves. They have also left
records graven in the living rock, and these have never been buried,
but have been exposed to wind and weather from the moment they
were engraved. Records of irrigation works and military operations
successfully undertaken by Assyrian kings remain to this day on the
face of the mountains to the north and east of Assyria. The kings of
one great mountain race that had its capital at Van borrowed from the
Assyrians this method of recording their achievements, and, adopting the
Assyrian character, have left numerous rock-inscriptions in their own
language in the mountains of Armenia and Kurdistan. In some instances
the action of rain and frost has nearly if not quite obliterated the
record, and a few have been defaced by the hand of man. But as the
majority are engraved in panels cut on the sheer face of the rock, and
are inaccessible except by means of ropes and tackle, they have escaped
mutilation. The photograph reproduced will serve to show the means that
must be adopted for reaching such rock-inscriptions in order to examine
or copy them.


     In The Gorge Of The River Gomel, Near Bavian.

The inscription shown in the photograph is one of those cut by
Sennacherib in the gorge near Bavian, through which the river Gomel
flows, and can be reached only by climbing down ropes fixed to the top
of the cliff. The choice of such positions by the kings who caused the
inscriptions to be engraved was dictated by the desire to render it
difficult to destroy them, but it has also had the effect of delaying to
some extent their copying and decipherment by modern workers.


     Near Bavian In Assyria.

Considerable progress, however, has recently been made in identifying
and copying these texts, and we may here give a short account of what
has been done and of the information furnished by the inscriptions that
have been examined.

Recently considerable additions have been made to our knowledge of the
ancient empire of Van and of its relation to the later kings of Assyria
by the labours of Prof Lehmann and Dr. Belck on the inscriptions which
the kings of that period caused to be engraved upon the rocks among the
mountains of Armenia.

[Illustration: 415.jpg THE ROCK AND CITADEL OF VAN.]

The flat roofs of the houses of the city of Van may be seen to the left
of the photograph nestling below the rock.

The centre and capital of this empire was the ancient city which stood
on the site of the modern town of Van at the southwest corner of the
lake which bears the same name. The city was built at the foot of a
natural rock which rises precipitously from the plain, and must have
formed an impregnable stronghold against the attack of the foe.

In this citadel at the present day remain the ancient galleries and
staircases and chambers which were cut in the living rock by the kings
who made it their fortress, and their inscriptions, engraved upon the
face of the rock on specially prepared and polished surfaces, enable us
to reconstruct in some degree the history of that ancient empire. From
time to time there have been found and copied other similar texts, which
are cut on the mountainsides or on the massive stones which formed part
of the construction of their buildings and fortifications. A complete
collection of these texts, together with translations, will shortly be
published by Prof. Lehmann. Meanwhile, this scholar has discussed and
summarized the results to be obtained from much of his material, and
we are thus already enabled to sketch the principal achievements of the
rulers of this mountain race, who were constantly at war with the later
kings of Assyria, and for two centuries at least disputed her claim to
supremacy in this portion of Western Asia.

The country occupied by this ancient people of Van was the great
table-land which now forms Armenia. The people themselves cannot
be connected with the Armenians, for their language presents no
characteristics of those of the Indo-European family, and it is equally
certain that they are not to be traced to a Semitic origin. It is true
that they employed the Assyrian method of writing their inscriptions,
and their art differs only in minor points from that of the Assyrians,
but in both instances this similarity of culture was directly borrowed
at a time when the less civilized race, having its centre at Van, came
into direct contact with the Assyrians.


The exact date at which this influence began to be exerted is not
certain, but we have records of immediate relations with Assyria in the
second half of the ninth century before Christ. The district inhabited
by the Vannic people was known to the Assyrians by the name of Urartu,
and although the inscriptions of the earlier Assyrian kings do not
record expeditions against that country, they frequently make mention of
campaigns against princes and petty rulers of the land of Na’iri. They
must therefore for long have exercised an indirect, if not a direct,
influence on the peoples and tribes which lay more to the north.

The earliest evidence of direct contact between the Assyrians and the
land of Urartu which we at present possess dates from the reign of
Ashur-nasir-pal, and in the reign of his son Shalmaneser II three
expeditions were undertaken against the people of Van. The name of the
king of Urartu at this time was Arame, and his capital city, Arzasku,
probably lay to the north of Lake Van. On all three occasions the
Assyrians were victorious, forcing Arame to abandon his capital
and capturing his cities as far as the sources of the Euphrates.
Subsequently, in the year 833 B.C., Shalmaneser II made another attack
upon the country, which at that time was under the sway of Sarduris I.
Under this monarch the citadel of Van became the great stronghold of the
people of Urartu, for he added to the natural strength of the position
by the construction of walls built between the rock of Van and the
harbour. The massive blocks of stone of which his fortifications
were composed are standing at the present day, and they bear eloquent
testimony to the energy with which this monarch devoted himself to the
task of rendering his new citadel impregnable. The fortification and
strengthening of Van and its citadel was carried on during the reigns of
his direct successors and descendants, Ispui-nis, Menuas, and Argistis
I, so that when Tiglath-pile-ser III brought fire and sword into the
country and laid siege to Van in the reign of Sarduris II, he could not
capture the citadel.


It was not difficult for the Assyrian king to assault and capture the
city itself, which lay at the foot of the citadel as it does at the
present day, but the latter, within the fortifications of which Sarduris
and his garrison withdrew, proved itself able to withstand the Assyrian
attack. The expedition of Tiglath-pileser III did not succeed in
crushing the Vannic empire, for Rusas I, the son and successor of
Sarduris II, allied himself to the neighbouring mountain races and gave
considerable trouble to Sargon, the Assyrian king, who was obliged to
undertake an expedition to check their aggressions.

It was probably Rusas I who erected the buildings on Toprak Kala, the
hill to the east of Van, traces of which remain to the present day. He
built a palace and a temple, and around them he constructed a new city
with a reservoir to supply it with water, possibly because the slopes
of Toprak Kala rendered it easier of defence than the city in the
plain (beneath the rock and citadel) which had fallen an easy prey to
Tiglath-pileser III. The site of the temple on Toprak Kala has been
excavated by the trustees of the British Museum, and our knowledge of
Vannic art is derived from the shields and helmets of bronze and small
bronze figures and fittings which were recovered from this building. One
of the shields brought to the British Museum from the Toprak Kala, where
it originally hung with others on the temple walls, bears the name of
Argistis II, who was the son and successor of Rusas I, and who attempted
to give trouble to the Assyrians by stirring the inhabitants of the land
of Kummukh (Kommagene) to revolt against Sargon. His son, Rusas II,
was the contemporary of Esarhaddon, and from some recently discovered
rock-inscriptions we learn that he extended the limits of his kingdom on
the west and secured victories against Mushki (Meshech) to the southeast
of the Halys and against the Hittites in Northern Syria. Rusas III
rebuilt the temple on Toprak Kala, as we know from an inscription of his
on one of the shields from that place in the British Museum. Both he and
Sarduris III were on friendly terms with the Assyrians, for we know that
they both sent embassies to Ashur-bani-pal.

By far the larger number of rock-inscriptions that have yet been found
and copied in the mountainous districts bordering on Assyria were
engraved by this ancient Vannic people, and Drs. Lehmann and Belck have
done good service by making careful copies and collations of all those
which are at present known. Work on other classes of rock-inscriptions
has also been carried on by other travellers. A new edition of the
inscriptions of Sennacherib in the gorge of the Gomel, near the village
of Bavian, has been made by Mr. King, who has also been fortunate enough
to find a number of hitherto unknown inscriptions in Kurdistan on the
Judi Dagh and at the sources of the Tigris. The inscriptions at
the mouth of the Nahr el-Kelb, “the Dog River,” in Syria, have
been reexamined by Dr. Knudtzon, and the long inscription which
Nebuchadnezzar II cut on the rocks at Wadi Brissa in the Lebanon,
formerly published by M. Pognon, has been recopied by Dr. Weissbach.
Finally, the great trilingual inscription of Darius Hystaspes on the
rock at Bisutun in Persia, which was formerly copied by the late Sir
Henry Raw-linson and used by him for the successful decipherment of the
cuneiform inscriptions, was completely copied last year by Messrs. King
and Thompson.

     Messrs. King and Thompson are preparing a new edition of
     this inscription.

The main facts of the history of Assyria under her later kings and of
Babylonia during the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods were many years
ago correctly ascertained, and recent excavation and research have done
little to add to our knowledge of the history of these periods. It was
hoped that the excavations conducted by Dr. Koldewey at Babylon would
result in the recovery of a wealth of inscriptions and records referring
to the later history of the country, but unfortunately comparatively
few tablets or inscriptions have been found, and those that have been
recovered consist mainly of building-inscriptions and votive texts. One
such building-inscription contains an interesting historical reference.
It occurs on a barrel-cylinder of clay inscribed with a text of
Nabopolassar, and it was found in the temple of Ninib and records the
completion and restoration of the temple by the king. In addition to
recording the building operations he had carried out in the temple,
Nabopolassar boasts of his opposition to the Assyrians. He says: “As for
the Assyrians who had ruled all peoples from distant days and had set
the people of the land under a heavy yoke, I, the weak and humble man
who worshippeth the Lord of Lords (i.e. the god Marduk), through the
mighty power of Nabû and Marduk, my lords, held back their feet from the
land of Akkad and cast off their yoke.”

It is not yet certain whether the Babylonians under Nabopolassar
actively assisted Cyaxares and the Medes in the siege and in the
subsequent capture of Nineveh in 606 B.C. but this newly discovered
reference to the Assyrians by Nabopolassar may possibly be taken
to imply that the Babylonians were passive and not active allies of
Cyaxares. If the cylinder were inscribed after the fall of Nineveh we
should have expected Nabopolassar, had he taken an active part in the
capture of the city, to have boasted in more definite terms of his
achievement. On his stele which is preserved at Constantinople,
Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian empire, who himself
suffered defeat at the hands of Cyrus, King of Persia, ascribed the fall
of Nineveh to the anger of Marduk and the other gods of Babylon because
of the destruction of their city and the spoliation of their temples by
Sennacherib in 689 B.C. We see the irony of fate in the fact that Cyrus
also ascribed the defeat and deposition of Nabonidus and the fall of
Babylon to Marduk’s intervention, whose anger he alleges was aroused
by the attempt of Nabonidus to concentrate the worship of the local
city-gods in Babylon.

Thus it will be seen that recent excavation and research have not
yet supplied the data for filling in such gaps as still remain in our
knowledge of the later history of Assyria and Babylon. The closing
years of the Assyrian empire and the military achievements of the great
Neo-Babylonian rulers, Nabopolassar, Nerig-lissar, and Nebuchadnezzar
II, have not yet been found recorded in any published Assyrian or
Babylonian inscription, but it may be expected that at any moment
some text will be discovered that will throw light upon the problems
connected with the history of those periods which still await solution.
Meanwhile, the excavations at Babylon, although they have not added
much to our knowledge of the later history of the country, have been
of immense service in revealing the topography of the city during the
Neo-Babylonian period, as well as the positions, plans, and characters
of the principal buildings erected by the later Babylonian kings. The
discovery of the palaces of Nebuchadnezzar II on the mound of the Kasr,
of the small but complete temple E-makh, of the temple of the goddess
Nin-makh to the northeast of the palaces, and of the sacred road
dividing them and passing through the Great Gate of Ishtar (adorned with
representations of lions, bulls, and dragons in raised brick upon its
walls) has enabled us to form some conception of the splendour and
magnificence of the city as it appeared when rebuilt by its last native
rulers. Moreover, the great temple E-sagila, the famous shrine of the
god Marduk, has been identified and partly excavated beneath the huge
mound of Tell Amran ibn-Ali, while a smaller and less famous temple of
Ninib has been discovered in the lower mounds which lie to the eastward.
Finally, the sacred way from E-sagila to the palace mound has been
traced and uncovered. We are thus enabled to reconstitute the scene of
the most solemn rite of the Babylonian festival of the New Year, when
the statue of the god Marduk was carried in solemn procession along this
road from the temple to the palace, and the Babylonian king made his
yearly obeisance to the national god, placing his own hands within those
of Marduk, in token of his submission to and dependence on the divine


Though recent excavations have not led to any startling discoveries
with regard to the history of Western Asia during the last years of
the Babylonian empire, research among the tablets dating from the
Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods has lately added considerably to our
knowledge of Babylonian literature. These periods were marked by great
literary activity on the part of the priests at Babylon, Sippar, and
elsewhere, who, under the royal orders, scoured the country for all
remains of the early literature which was preserved in the ancient
temples and archives of the country, and made careful copies and
collections of all they found. Many of these tablets containing
Neo-Babylonian copies of earlier literary texts are preserved in the
British Museum, and have been recently published, and we have thus
recovered some of the principal grammatical, religious, and magical
compositions of the earlier Babylonian period.

[Illustration: 426.jpg TRENCH IN THE BABYLONIAN PLAIN]

     Between The Mound Of The Kasr And Tell Amran Ibn-Ali,
     Showing A Section Of The Paved Sacred Way.

Among the most interesting of such recent finds is a series of tablets
inscribed with the Babylonian legends concerning the creation of the
world and man, which present many new and striking parallels to the
beliefs on these subjects embodied in Hebrew literature. We have not
space to treat this subject at greater length in the present work, but
we may here note that discovery and research in its relation to the
later empires that ruled at Babylon have produced results of literary
rather than of historical importance. But we should exceed the space
at our disposal if we attempted even to skim this fascinating field of
study in which so much has recently been achieved. For it is time we
turned once more to Egypt and directed our inquiry towards ascertaining
what recent research has to tell us with regard to her inhabitants
during the later periods of her existence as a nation of the ancient


Before we turned from Egypt to summarize the information, afforded by
recent discoveries, upon the history of Western Asia under the kings
of the Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods, we noted that the Asiatic
empire of Egypt was regained by the reactionary kings of the XIXth
Dynasty, after its temporary loss owing to the vagaries of Akhunaten.
Palestine remained Egyptian throughout the period of the judges until
the foundation of the kingdom of Judah. With the decline of military
spirit in Egypt and the increasing power of the priesthood, authority
over Asia became less and less a reality. Tribute was no longer paid,
and the tribes wrangled without a restraining hand, during the reigns of
the successors of Ramses III. By the time of the priest-kings of Thebes
(the XXIst Dynasty) the authority of the Pharaohs had ceased to be
exercised in Syria. Egypt was itself divided into two kingdoms, the one
ruled by Northern descendants of the Ramessids at Tanis, the other by
the priestly monarchs at Thebes, who reigned by right of inheritance as
a result of the marriage of the daughter of Ramses with the high
priest Amenhetep, father of Herhor, the first priest-king. The Thebans
fortified Gebelên in the South and el-Hêbi in the North against attack,
and evidently their relations with the Tanites were not always friendly.

In Syria nothing of the imperial power remained. The prestige of the god
Amen of Thebes, however, was still very great. We see this clearly from
a very interesting papyrus of the reign of Herhor, published in 1899 by
Mr. Golenischeff, which describes the adventures of Uenuamen, an envoy
sent (about 1050 B.C.) to Phoenicia to bring wood from the mountains of
Lebanon for the construction of a great festival bark of the god Amen
at Thebes. In the course of his mission he was very badly treated
(We cannot well imagine Thothmes III or Amenhetep III tolerating
ill-treatment of their envoy!) and eventually shipwrecked on the coast
of the land of Alashiya or Cyprus. He tells us in the papyrus, which
seems to be the official report of his mission, that, having been given
letters of credence to the Prince of Byblos from the King of Tanis,
“to whom Amen had given charge of his North-land,” he at length reached
Phoenicia, and after much discussion and argument was able to prevail
upon the prince to have the wood which he wanted brought down from
Lebanon to the seashore.

Here, however, a difficulty presented itself,--the harbour was filled
with the piratical ships of the Cretan Tjakaray, who refused to allow
Uenuamen to return to Egypt. They said, ‘Seize him; let no ship of his
go unto the land of Egypt!’ “Then,” says Uenuamen in the papyrus, “I sat
down and wept. The scribe of the prince came out unto me; he said unto
me, ‘What ail-eth thee?’ I replied, ‘Seest thou not the birds which fly,
which fly back unto Egypt? Look at them, they go unto the cool canal,
and how long do I remain abandoned here? Seest thou not those who would
prevent my return?’ He went away and spoke unto the prince, who began
to weep at the words which were told unto him and which were so sad. He
sent his scribe out unto me, who brought me two measures of wine and a
deer. He sent me Tentnuet, an Egyptian singing-girl who was with him,
saying unto her, ‘Sing unto him, that he may not grieve!’ He sent word
unto me, ‘Eat, drink, and grieve not! To-morrow shalt thou hear all that
I shall say.’ On the morrow he had the people of his harbour summoned,
and he stood in the midst of them, and he said unto the Tjakaray, ‘What
aileth you?’ They answered him, ‘We will pursue the piratical ships
which thou sendest unto Egypt with our unhappy companions.’ He said unto
them, ‘I cannot seize the ambassador of Amen in my land. Let me send him
away and then do ye pursue after him to seize him!’ He sent me on board,
and he sent me away... to the haven of the sea. The wind drove me upon
the land of Alashiya. The people of the city came out in order to slay
me. I was dragged by them to the place where Hatiba, the queen of the
city, was. I met her as she was going out of one of her houses into
the other. I greeted her and said unto the people who stood by her, ‘Is
there not one among you who understandeth the speech of Egypt?’ One
of them replied, ‘I understand it.’ I said unto him, ‘Say unto thy
mistress: even as far as the city in which Amen dwelleth (i. e. Thebes)
have I heard the proverb, “In all cities is injustice done; only in
Alashiya is justice to be found,” and now is injustice done here every
day!’ She said, ‘What is it that thou sayest?’ I said unto her, ‘Since
the sea raged and the wind drove me upon the land in which thou livest,
therefore thou wilt not allow them to seize my body and to kill me, for
verily I am an ambassador of Amen. Remember that I am one who will be
sought for always. And if these men of the Prince of Byblos whom they
seek to kill (are killed), verily if their chief finds ten men of thine,
will he not kill them also?’ She summoned the men, and they were brought
before her. She said unto me, ‘Lie down and sleep...’”

At this point the papyrus breaks off, and we do not know how Uenuamen
returned to Egypt with his wood. The description of his casting-away and
landing on Alashiya is quite Homeric, and gives a vivid picture of the
manners of the time. The natural impulse of the islanders is to kill
the strange castaway, and only the fear of revenge and of the wrath of a
distant foreign deity restrains them. Alashiya is probably Cyprus, which
also bore the name Yantinay from the time of Thothmes III until the
seventh century, when it is called Yatnan by the Assyrians. A king
of Alashiya corresponded with Amenhetep III in cuneiform on terms of
perfect equality, three hundred years before: “Brother,” he writes,
“should the small amount of the copper which I have sent thee be
displeasing unto thy heart, it is because in my land the hand of Nergal
my lord slew all the men of my land (i.e. they died of the plague), and
there was no working of copper; and this was, my brother, not pleasing
unto thy heart. Thy messenger with my messenger swiftly will I send, and
whatsoever amount of copper thou hast asked for, O my brother, I,
even I, will send it unto thee.” The mention by Herhor’s envoy of
Nesibinebdad (Smendes), the King of Tanis, a powerful ruler who in
reality constantly threatened the existence of the priestly monarchy
at Thebes, as “him to whom Amen has committed the wardship of his
North-land,” is distinctly amusing. The hard fact of the independence of
Lower Egypt had to be glozed somehow.

The days of Theban power were coming to an end and only the prestige
of the god Amen remained strong for two hundred years more. But the
alliance of Amen and his priests with a band of predatory and destroying
foreign conquerors, the Ethiopians (whose rulers were the descendants
of the priest-kings, who retired to Napata on the succession of the
powerful Bubastite dynasty of Shishak to that of Tanis, abandoning
Thebes to the Northerners), did much to destroy the prestige of Amen
and of everything connected with him. An Ethiopian victory meant only
an Assyrian reconquest, and between them Ethiopians and Assyrians had
well-nigh ruined Egypt. In the Saïte period Thebes had declined greatly
in power as well as in influence, and all its traditions were anathema
to the leading people of the time, although not of course in Akhunaten’s

With the Saïte period we seem almost to have retraced our steps and to
have reentered the age of the Pyramid Builders. All the pomp and glory
of Thothmes, Amenhetep, and Ramses were gone. The days of imperial Egypt
were over, and the minds of men, sickened of foreign war, turned for
peace and quietness to the simpler ideals of the IVth and Vth Dynasties.
We have already seen that an archaistic revival of the styles of the
early dynasties is characteristic of this late period, and that men
were buried at Sakkâra and at Thebes in tombs which recall in form and
decoration those of the courtiers of the Pyramid Builders. Everywhere
we see this fashion of archaism. A Theban noble of this period named
Aba was buried at Thebes. Long ago, nearly three thousand years before,
under the VIth Dynasty, there had lived a great noble of the same name,
who was buried in a rock-tomb at Dêr el-Gebrâwî, in Middle Egypt. This
tomb was open and known in the days of the second Aba, who caused to be
copied and reproduced in his tomb in the Asasîf at Thebes most of the
scenes from the bas-relief with which it had been decorated. The tomb
of the VIth Dynasty Aba has lately been copied for the Archaeological
Survey of Egypt (Egypt Exploration Fund) by Mr. de Garis Davies, who has
found the reliefs of the XXVIth Dynasty Aba of considerable use to him
in reconstituting destroyed portions of their ancient originals.

During late years important discoveries of objects of this era have been
few. One of the most noteworthy is that of a contemporary inscription
describing the battle of Momemphis, which is mentioned by Herodotus (ii,
163, 169). We now have the official account of this battle, and know
that it took place in the third year of the reign of Amasis--not before
he became king. This was the fight in which the unpatriotic king,
Apries, who had paid for his partiality for the Greeks of Nau-kratis
with the loss of his throne, was finally defeated. As we see from this
inscription, he was probably murdered by the country people during his

The following are the most important passages of the inscription: “His
Majesty (Amasis) was in the Festival-Hall, discussing plans for his
whole land, when one came to say unto him, ‘Hââ-ab-Râ (Apries) is rowing
up; he hath gone on board the ships which have crossed over. Haunebu
(Greeks), one knows not their number, are traversing the North-land,
which is as if it had no master to rule it; he (Apries) hath summoned
them, they are coming round him. It is he who hath arranged their
settlement in the Peh-ân (the An-dropolite name); they infest the whole
breadth of Egypt, those who are on thy waters fly before them!’... His
Majesty mounted his chariot, having taken lance and bow in his hand...
(the enemy) reached Andropolis; the soldiers sang with joy on the
roads... they did their duty in destroying the enemy. His Majesty fought
like a lion; he made victims among them, one knows not how many. The
ships and their warriors were overturned, they saw the depths as do the
fishes. Like a flame he extended, making a feast of fighting. His heart
rejoiced.... The third year, the 8th Athyr, one came to tell Majesty:
‘Let their vile-ness be ended! They throng the roads, there are
thousands there ravaging the land; they fill every road. Those who are
in ships bear thy terror in their hearts. But it is not yet finished.’
Said his Majesty unto his soldiers: ‘...Young men and old men, do this
in the cities and nomes!’... Going upon every road, let not a day pass
without fighting their galleys!’... The land was traversed as by the
blast of a tempest, destroying their ships, which were abandoned by the
crews. The people accomplished their fate, killing the prince (Apries)
on his couch, when he had gone to repose in his cabin. When he saw his
friend overthrown... his Majesty himself buried him (Apries), in order
to establish him as a king possessing virtue, for his Majesty decreed
that the hatred of the gods should be removed from him.”

This is the event to which we have already referred in a preceding
chapter, as proving the great amelioration of Egyptian ideas with regard
to the treatment of a conquered enemy, as compared with those of other
ancient nations. Amasis refers to the deposed monarch as his “friend,”
 and buries him in a manner befitting a king at the charges of Amasis
himself. This act warded off from the spirit of Apries the just anger
of the gods at his partiality for the “foreign devils,” and ensured his
reception by Osiris as a king neb menkh, “possessing virtues.”

The town of Naukratis, where Apries established himself, had been
granted to the Greek traders by Psametik I a century or more before. Mr.
D. G. Hogarth’s recent exploration of the site has led to a considerable
modification of our first ideas of the place, which were obtained
from Prof. Petrie ‘s excavations. Prof. Petrie was the discoverer of
Naukratis, and his diggings told us what Naukratis was like in the first
instance, but Mr. Hogarth has shown that several of his identifications
were erroneous and that the map of the place must be redrawn. The chief
error was in the placing of the Hellenion (the great meeting-place of
the Greeks), which is now known to be in quite a different position from
that assigned to it by Prof. Petrie. The “Great Temenos” of Prof. Petrie
has now been shown to be non-existent. Mr. Hogarth has also pointed out
that an old Egyptian town existed at Nau-kratis long before the Greeks
came there. This town is mentioned on a very interesting stele of black
basalt (discovered at Tell Gaif, the site of Naukratis, and now in the
Cairo Museum), under the name of “Permerti, which is called Nukrate.”
 The first is the old Egyptian name, the second the Greek name adapted
to Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stele was erected by Tekhtnebf, the last
native king of Egypt, to commemorate his gifts to the temples of Neïth
on the occasion of his accession at Sais. It is beautifully cut, and the
inscription is written in a curious manner, with alphabetic spellings
instead of ideographs, and ideographs instead of alphabetic spellings,
which savours fully of the affectation of the learned pedant who drafted
it; for now, of course, in the fourth century before Christ, nobody but
a priestly antiquarian could read hieroglyphics. Demotic was the only
writing for practical purposes.

We see this fact well illustrated in the inscriptions of the Ptolemaïc
temples. The accession of the Ptolemies marked a great increase in the
material wealth of Egypt, and foreign conquest again came in fashion.
Ptolemy Euergetes marched into Asia in the grand style of a Ramses and
brought back the images of gods which had been carried off by Esarhaddon
or Nebuchadnezzar II centuries before. He was received on his return
to Egypt with acclamations as a true successor of the Pharaohs. The
imperial spirit was again in vogue, and the archaistic simplicity and
independence of the Saïtes gave place to an archaistic imperialism, the
first-fruits of which were the repair and building of temples in the
great Pharaonic style. On these we see the Ptolemies masquerading as
Pharaohs, and the climax of absurdity is reached when Ptolemy Auletes
(the Piper) is seen striking down Asiatic enemies in the manner of
Amen-hetep or Ramses! This scene is directly copied from a Ramesside
temple, and we find imitations of reliefs of Ramses II so slavish that
the name of the earlier king is actually copied, as well as the relief,
and appears above the figure of a Ptolemy. The names of the nations who
were conquered by Thothmes III are repeated on Ptolemaic sculptures to
do duty for the conquered of Euergetes, with all sorts of mistakes
in spelling, naturally, and also with later interpolations. Such an
inscription is that in the temple of Kom Ombo, which Prof. Say ce has
held to contain the names of “Caphtor and Casluhim” and to prove the
knowledge of the latter name in the fourteenth century before Christ.
The name of Caphtor is the old Egyptian Keftiu (Crete); that of Casluhim
is unknown in real Old Egyptian inscriptions, and in this Ptolemaic list
at Kom Ombo it may be quite a late interpolation in the lists, perhaps
no older than the Persian period, since we find the names of Parsa
(Persia) and Susa, which were certainly unknown to Thothmes III,
included in it. We see generally from the Ptolemaic inscriptions that
nobody could read them but a few priests, who often made mistakes. One
of the most serious was the identification of Keftiu with Phoenicia in
the Stele of Canopus. This misled modern archaeologists down to the
time of Dr. Evans’s discoveries at Knossos, though how these utterly
un-Semitic looking Keftiu could have been Phoenicians was a puzzle to
everybody. We now know, of course, that they were Mycenaean or
Minoan Cretans, and that the Ptolemaic antiquaries made a mistake in
identifying the land of Keftiu with Phoenicia.

We must not, however, say too much in dispraise of the Ptolemaic
Egyptians and their works. We have to be grateful to them indeed for the
building of the temples of Edfu and Dendera, which, owing to their later
date, are still in good preservation, while the best preserved of the
old Pharaonic fanes, such as Medinet Habû, have suffered considerably
from the ravages of time. Eor these temples show us to-day what an
old Egyptian temple, when perfect, really looked like. They are, so to
speak, perfect mummies of temples, while of the old buildings we have
nothing but the disjointed and damaged skeletons.

A good deal of repairing has been done to these buildings, especially
to that at Edfu, of late years. But the main archaeological interest of
Ptolemaic and Roman times has been found in the field of epigraphy and
the study of papyri, with which the names of Messrs. Kenyon, Grenfell,
and Hunt are chiefly connected. The treasures which have lately been
obtained by the British Museum in the shape of the manuscripts of
Aristotle’s “Constitution of Athens,” the lost poems of Bacchylides, and
the Mimes of Herondas, all of which have been published for the trustees
of that institution by Mr. Kenyon, are known to those who are interested
in these subjects. The long series of publications of Messrs.
Grenfell and Hunt, issued at the expense of the Egypt Exploration Fund
(Graeco-Roman branch), with the exception of the volume of discoveries
at Teb-tunis, which was issued by the University of California, is also
well known.

The two places with which Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt’s work has been
chiefly connected are the Fayyûm and Behnesâ, the site of the ancient
Permje or Oxyr-rhynchus. The lake-province of the Fayyûm, which attained
such prominence in the days of the XIIth Dynasty, seems to have had
little or no history during the whole period of the New Empire, but in
Ptolemaic times it revived and again became one of the richest and
most important provinces of Egypt. The town of Arsinoë was founded at
Crocodilopolis, where are now the mounds of Kom el-Fâris (The Mound of
the Horseman), near Medinet el-Payyum, and became the capital of the
province. At Illahûn, just outside the entrance to the Fayyûm, was the
great Nile harbour and entrepôt of the lake-district, called Ptolemaïs

The explorations of Messrs. Hogarth, Grenfell, and Hunt in the years
of 1895-6 and 1898-9 resulted in the identification of the sites of the
ancient cities of Karanis (Kom Ushîm), Bacchias (Omm el-’Atl), Euhemeria
(Kasr el-Banât), Theadelphia (Harît), and Philoteris (Wadfa). The work
for the University of California in 18991900 at Umm el-Baragat showed
that this place was Tebtunis. Dime, on the northern coast of the Birket
Karûn, the modern representative of the ancient Lake Moeris, is now
known to be the ancient Sokno-paiou Nesos (the Isle of Soknopaios), a
local form of Sebek, the crocodile-god of the Fayyûm. At Karanis this
god was worshipped under the name of Petesuchos (“He whom Sebek
has given”), in conjunction with Osiris Pnepherôs (P-nefer-ho,
“the beautiful of face”); at Tebtunis he became Seknebtunis., i.e.
Sebek-neb-Teb-tunis (Sebek, lord of Tebtunis). This is a typical example
of the portmanteau pronunciations of the latter-day Egyptians.

Many very interesting discoveries were made during the course of the
excavations of these places (besides Mr. Hogarth’s find of the temple
of Petesuchos and Pnepherôs at Karanis), consisting of Roman pottery
of varied form and Roman agricultural implements, including a perfect
plough.* The main interest of all, however, lies, both here and at
Behnesâ, in the papyri. They consist of Greek and Latin documents of
all ages from the early Ptolemaic to the Christian. In fact, Messrs.
Grenfell and Hunt have been unearthing and sifting the contents of the
waste-paper baskets of the ancient Ptolemaic and Roman Egyptians, which
had been thrown out on to dust-heaps near the towns. Nothing perishes
in,, the dry climate and soil of Egypt, so the contents of the ancient
dust-heaps have been preserved intact until our own day, and have been
found by Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt, just as the contents of the houses
of the ancient Indian rulers of Chinese Turkestan, at Niya and Khotan,
with their store of Kha-roshthi documents, have been preserved intact in
the dry Tibetan desert climate and have been found by Dr. Stein.** There
is much analogy between the discoveries of Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt in
Egypt and those of Dr. Stein in Turkestan.

     * Illustrated on Plate IX of Fayûm Towns and Their Papyri.

     ** See Dr. Stein’s Sand-buried Ruins of Khotan, London,

The Græco-Egyptian documents are of all kinds, consisting of letters,
lists, deeds, notices, tax-assessments, receipts, accounts, and business
records of every sort and kind, besides new fragments of classical
authors and the important “Sayings of Jesus,” discovered at Behnesâ,
which have been published in a special popular form by the Egypt
Exploration Fund.*

     * Aoyla ‘Itjffov, 1897, and New Sayings of Jesus, 1904.

These last fragments of the oldest Christian literature, which are
of such great importance and interest to all Christians, cannot be
described or discussed here. The other documents are no less
important to the student of ancient literature, the historian, and the
sociologist. The classical fragments include many texts of lost authors,
including Menander. We will give a few specimens of the private
letters and documents, which will show how extremely modern the ancient
Egyptians were, and how little difference there actually is between our
civilization and theirs, except in the-matter of mechanical invention.
They had no locomotives and telephones; otherwise they were the same. We
resemble them much more than we resemble our mediaeval ancestors or even
the Elizabethans.

This is a boy’s letter to his father, who would not take him up to town
with him to see the sights: “Theon to his father Theon, greeting. It was
a fine thing of you not to take me with you to the city! If you won’t
take me with you to Alexandria, I won’t write you a letter, or speak to
you, or say good-bye to you; and if you go to Alexandria I won’t take
your hand or ever greet you again. That is what will happen if you
won’t take me. Mother said to Archelaus, ‘It quite upsets him to be left
behind.’ It was good of you to send me presents on the 12th, the day
you sailed. Send me a lyre, I implore you. If you don’t, I won’t eat, I
won’t drink: there now!’” Is not this more like the letter of a spoiled
child of to-day than are the solemnly dutiful epistles of even our
grandfathers and grandmothers when young? The touch about “Mother said
to Archelaus, ‘It quite upsets him to be left behind’” is delightfully
like the modern small boy, and the final request and threat are also
eminently characteristic.

Here is a letter asking somebody to redeem the writer’s property from
the pawnshop: “Now please redeem my property from Sarapion. It is
pledged for two minas. I have paid the interest up to the month Epeiph,
at the rate of a stater per mina. There is a casket of incense-wood,
and another of onyx, a tunic, a white veil with a real purple border, a
handkerchief, a tunic with a Laconian stripe, a garment of purple linen,
two armlets, a necklace, a coverlet, a figure of Aphrodite, a cup, a big
tin flask, and a wine-jar. From Onetor get the two bracelets. They have
been pledged since the month Tybi of last year for eight... at the
rate of a stater per mina. If the cash is insufficient owing to the
carelessness of Theagenis, if, I say, it is insufficient, sell the
bracelets and make up the money.” Here is an affectionate letter of
invitation: “Greeting, my dear Serenia, from Petosiris. Be sure, dear,
to come up on the 20th for the birthday festival of the god, and let me
know whether you are coming by boat or by donkey, that we may send for
you accordingly. Take care not to forget.”

Here is an advertisement of a gymnastic display:

“The assault-at-arms by the youths will take place to-morrow, the 24th.
Tradition, no less than the distinguished character of the festival,
requires that they should do their utmost in the gymnastic display. Two
performances.” Signed by Dioskourides, magistrate of Oxyrrhynchus.

Here is a report from a public physician to a magistrate: “To
Claudianus, the mayor, from Dionysos, public physician. I was to-day
instructed by you, through Herakleides your assistant, to inspect the
body of a man who had been found hanged, named Hierax, and to report to
you my opinion of it. I therefore inspected the body in the presence
of the aforesaid Herakleides at the house of Epagathus in the Broadway
ward, and found it hanged by a noose, which fact I accordingly report.”
 Dated in the twelfth year of Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 173).

The above translations are taken, slightly modified, from those in The
Oxyrrhynchus Papyri, vol. i. The next specimen, a quaint letter, is
translated from the text in Mr. Grenfell’s Greek Papyri (Oxford, 1896),
p. 69: “To Noumen, police captain and mayor, from Pokas son of Onôs,
unpaid policeman. I have been maltreated by Peadius the priest of the
temple of Sebek in Crocodilopolis. On the first epagomenal day of the
eleventh year, after having abused me about... in the aforesaid temple,
the person complained against sprang upon me and in the presence of
witnesses struck me many blows with a stick which he had. And as part of
my body was not covered, he tore my shirt, and this fact I called upon
the bystanders to bear witness to. Wherefore I request that if it seems
proper you will write to Klearchos the headman to send him to you, in
order that, if what I have written is true, I may obtain justice at your

A will of Hadrian’s reign, taken from the Oxyrrhynchus Papyri (i, p.
173), may also be of interest: “This is the last will and testament,
made in the street (i.e. at a street notary’s stand), of Pekysis, son of
Hermes and Didyme, an inhabitant of Oxyrrhynchus, being sane and in his
right mind. So long as I live, I am to have powers over my property,
to alter my will as I please. But if I die with this will unchanged, I
devise my daughter Ammonous whose mother is Ptolema, if she survive me,
but if not then her children, heir to my shares in the common house,
court, and rooms situate in the Cretan ward. All the furniture,
movables, and household stock and other property whatever that I shall
leave, I bequeath to the mother of my children and my wife Ptolema, the
freedwoman of Demetrius, son of Hermippus, with the condition that
she shall have for her lifetime the right of using, dwelling in, and
building in the said house, court, and rooms. If Ammonous should die
without children and intestate, the share of the fixtures shall belong
to her half-brother on the mother’s side, Anatas, if he survive, but if
not, to... No one shall violate the terms of this my will under pain of
paying to my daughter and heir Ammonous a fine of 1,000 drachmae and to
the treasury an equal sum.” Here follow the signatures of testator and
witnesses, who are described, as in a passport, one of them as follows:
“I, Dionysios, son of Dionysios of the same city, witness the will of
Pekysis. I am forty-six years of age, have a curl over my right temple,
and this is my seal of Dionysoplaton.”

During the Roman period, which we have now reached in our survey, the
temple building of the Ptolemies was carried on with like energy. One of
the best-known temples of the Roman period is that at Philse, which
is known as the “Kiosk,” or “Pharaoh’s Bed.” Owing to the great
picturesqueness of its situation, this small temple, which was built in
the reign of Trajan, has been a favourite subject for the painters of
the last fifty years, and next to the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and Karnak,
it is probably the most widely known of all Egyptian buildings. Recently
it has come very much to the front for an additional reason. Like all
the other temples of Philse, it had been archæologically surveyed and
cleared by Col. H. Gr. Lyons and Dr. Borchardt, but further work of a
far-reaching character was rendered necessary by the building of the
great Aswan dam, below the island of Philse, one of the results of
which has been the partial submergence of the island and its temples,
including the picturesque Kiosk. The following account, taken from the
new edition (1906) of Murray’s _Guide to Egypt and the Sudan_, will
suffice better than any other description to explain what the dam is,
how it has affected Philse, and what work has been done to obviate the
possibility of serious damage to the Kiosk and other buildings.

“In 1898 the Egyptian government signed a contract with Messrs. John
Aird & Co. for the construction of the great reservoir and dam at
Shellâl, which serves for the storage of water at the time of the flood
Nile. The river is ‘held up’ here sixty-five feet above its old normal
level. A great masonry dyke, 150 feet high in places, has been carried
across the Bab el-Kebir of the First Cataract, and a canal and four
locks, two hundred feet long and thirty feet wide, allow for the passage
of traffic up and down the river.

[Illustration: 447.jpg The Great Dam Of Aswân]

     Showing Water Rushing Through The Sluices

The dam is 2,185 yards long and over ninety feet thick at the base; in
places it rises one hundred feet above the bed of the river. It is built
of the local red granite, and at each end the granite dam is built into
the granite hillside. Seven hundred and eight thousand cubic yards of
masonry were used. The sluices are 180 in number, and are arranged at
four different levels. The sight of the great volume of water pouring
through them is a very fine one. The Nile begins to rise in July, and at
the end of November it is necessary to begin closing the sluice-gates
to hold up the water. By the end of February the reservoir is usually
filled and Philæ partially submerged, so that boats can sail in and out
of the colonnades and Pharaoh’s Bed. By the beginning of July the water
has been distributed, and it then falls to its normal level.

“It is of course regrettable that the engineers were unable to find
another site for the dam, as it seemed inevitable that some damage would
result to the temples of Philæ from their partial submergence. Korosko
was proposed as a site, but was rejected for cogent reasons, and
apparently Shellâl was the only possible place. Further, no serious
person, who places the greatest good of the greatest number above
considerations of the picturesque and the ‘interesting,’ will deny
that if it is necessary to sacrifice Philæ to the good of the people of
Egypt, Philæ must go. ‘Let the dead bury their dead.’ The concern of the
rulers of Egypt must be with the living people of Egypt rather than with
the dead bones of the past; and they would not be doing their duty did
they for a moment allow artistic and archaeological considerations to
outweigh in their minds the practical necessities of the country. This
does not in the least imply that they do not owe a lesser duty to the
monuments of Egypt, which are among the most precious relics of the past
history of mankind. They do owe this lesser duty, and with regard to
Philae it has been conscientiously fulfilled. The whole temple, in order
that its stability may be preserved under the stress of submersion, has
been braced up and underpinned, under the superintendence of Mr. Ball,
of the Survey Department, who has most efficiently carried out this
important work, at a cost of £22,000.


Steel girders have been fixed across the island from quay to quay,
and these have been surrounded by cement masonry, made water-tight
by forcing in cement grout. Pharaoh’s Bed and the colonnade have been
firmly underpinned in cement masonry, and there is little doubt that the
actual stability of Philae is now more certain than that of any other
temple in Egypt. The only possible damage that can accrue to it is
the partial discolouration of the lower courses of the stonework of
Pharaoh’s Bed, etc., which already bear a distinct high-water mark. Some
surface disintegration from the formation of salt crystals is perhaps
inevitable here, but the effects of this can always be neutralized
by careful washing, which it should be an important charge of the
Antiquities Department to regularly carry out.”

[Illustration: 450.jpg THE ANCIENT QUAY OP PHILÆ, NOVEMBER, 1904.]

     This is entirely covered when the reservoir is full, and the
     palm-trees are farther submerged.

The photographs accompanying the present chapter show the dam, the Kiosk
in process of conservation and underpinning (1902), and the shores of
the island as they now appear in the month of November, with the water
nearly up to the level of the quays. A view is also given of the island
of Konosso, with its inscriptions, as it is now. The island is simply a
huge granite boulder of the kind characteristic of the neighbourhood of
Shellâl (Phila?) and Aswan.

On the island of Elephantine, opposite Aswan, an interesting discovery
has lately been made by Mr. Howard Carter. This is a remarkable well,
which was supposed by the ancients to lie immediately on the tropic. It
formed the basis of Eratosthenes’ calculations of the measurement of the
earth. Important finds of documents written in Aramaic have also been
made here; they show that there was on the island in Ptolemaic times a
regular colony of Syrian merchants.

South of Aswan and Philse begins Nubia. The Nubian language, which is
quite different from Arabic, is spoken by everybody on the island of
Elephantine, and its various dialects are used as far south as Dongola,
where Arabic again is generally spoken till we reach the land of the
negroes, south of Khartum. In Ptolemaic and Roman days the Nubians were
a powerful people, and the whole of Nubia and the modern North Sudan
formed an independent kingdom, ruled by queens who bore the title or
name of Candace. It was the eunuch of a Candace who was converted to
Christianity as he was returning from a mission to Jerusalem to salute
Jehovah. “Go and join thyself unto his chariot” was the command to
Philip, and when the Ethiopian had heard the gospel from his lips he
went on his way rejoicing. The capital of this Candace was at Meroë, the
modern Bagarawiya, near Shendi. Here, and at Naga not far off, are
the remains of the temples of the Can-daces, great buildings of
semi-barbaric Egyptian style. For the civilization of the Nubians, such
as it was, was of Egyptian origin. Ever since Egyptian rule had been
extended southwards to Jebel Barkal, beyond Dongola, in the time of
Amenhetep II, Egyptian culture had influenced the Nubians. Amenhetep III
built a temple to Amen at Napatà, the capital of Nubia, which lay
under the shadow of Mount Barkal; Akhunaten erected a sanctuary of the
Sun-Disk there; and Ramses II also built there.

[Illustration: 452.jpg THE ROOK OF KONOSSO IN JANUARY, 1902, BEFORE THE

The place in fact was a sort of appanage of the priests of Amen at
Thebes, and when the last priest-king evacuated Thebes, leaving it to
the Bubastites of the XXIId Dynasty, it was to distant Napata that he
retired. Here a priestly dynasty continued to reign until, two centuries
later, the troubles and misfortunes of Egypt seemed to afford an
opportunity for the reassertion of the exiled Theban power. Piankhi
Mera-men returned to Egypt in triumph as its rightful sovereign, but his
successors, Shabak, Shabatak, and Tirha-kah, had to contend constantly
with the Assyrians. Finally ITrdamaneh, Tirhakah’s successor, returned
to Nubia, leaving Egypt, in the decadence of the Assyrian might, free to
lead a quiet existence under Psametik I and the succeeding monarchs of
the XXVIth Dynasty. When Cambyses conquered Egypt he aspired to conquer
Nubia also, but his army was routed and destroyed by the Napatan king,
who tells us in an inscription how he defeated “the man Kambasauden,”
 who had attacked him. At Napata the Nubian monarchs, one of the greatest
of whom in Ptolemaic times was Ergam-enes, a contemporary of Ptolemy
Philopator, continued to reign. But the first Roman governor of Egypt,
Ælius Gallus, destroyed Napata, and the Nubians removed their capital
to Meroë, where the Candaces reigned.

The monuments of this Nubian kingdom, the temples of Jebel Barkal, the
pyramids of Nure close by, the pyramids of Bagarawiya, the temples of
Wadi Ben Naga, Mesawwarat en-Naga, and Mesawwarat es-Sufra (“Mesawwarat”
 proper), were originally investigated by Cailliaud and afterwards by
Lepsius. During the last few years they and the pyramids excavated by
Dr. E. A. Wallis-Budge, of the British Museum, for the Sudan government,
have been again explored. As the results of his work are not yet
fully published, it is possible at present only to quote the following
description from Cook’s _Handbook for Egypt and the Sudan_ (by Dr.
Budge), p. 6, of work on the pyramids of Jebel Barkal: “the writer
excavated the shafts of one of the pyramids here in 1897, and at the
depth of about twenty-five cubits found a group of three chambers, in
one of which were a number of bones of the sheep which was sacrificed
there about two thousand years ago, and also portions of a broken
amphora which had held Rho-dian wine. A second shaft, which led to the
mummy-chamber, was partly emptied, but at a further depth of twenty
cubits water was found. The high-water mark of the reservoir when full
is ------ and, as there were no visible means for pumping it out, the
mummy-chamber could not be entered.” With regard to the Bagarawîya
pyramids, Dr. Budge writes, on p. 700 of the same work, à propos of the
story of the Italian Ferlini that he found Roman jewelry in one of these
pyramids: “In 1903 the writer excavated a number of the pyramids of
Meroë for the Governor-General of the Sudan, Sir F. R. Wingate, and
he is convinced that the statements made by Ferlini are the result of
misapprehension on his part. The pyramids are solid throughout, and the
bodies are buried under them. When the details are complete the proofs
for this will be published.” Dr. Budge has also written upon the subject
of the orientation of the Jebel Barkal and Nure pyramids.


It is very curious to find the pyramids reappearing in Egyptian
tomb-architecture in the very latest period of Egyptian history. We
find them when Egyptian civilization was just entering upon its vigorous
manhood, then they gradually disappear, only to revive in its decadent
and exiled old age. The Ethiopian pyramids are all of much more
elongated form than the old Egyptian ones. It is possible that they may
be a survival of the archaistic movement of the XXVIth Dynasty, to which
we have already referred.

These are not the latest Egyptian monuments in the Sudan, nor are the
temples of Naga and Mesawwarat the most ancient, though they belong
to the Roman period and are decidedly barbarian as to their style and,
especially, as to their decoration. The southernmost as well as latest
relic of Egypt in the Sudan is the Christian church of Soba, on the Blue
Mie, a few miles above Khartum. In it was found a stone ram, an emblem
of Amen-Râ, which had formerly stood in the temple of Naga and had been
brought to Soba perhaps under the impression that it was the Christian
Lamb. It was removed to the garden of the governor-general’s palace at
Khartum, where it now stands.

The church at Soba is a relic of the Christian kingdom of Alua, which
succeeded the realm of the Candaces. One of its chief seats was at
Dongola, and all Nubia is covered with the ruins of its churches. It
was, of course, an offshoot of the Christianity of Egypt, but a late
one, since Isis was still worshipped at Philse in the sixth century,
long after the Edict of Theodosius had officially abolished paganism
throughout the Roman world, and the Nubians were at first zealous
votaries of the goddess of Philo. So also when Egypt fell beneath the
sway of the Moslem in the seventh century, Nubia remained an independent
Christian state, and continued so down to the twelfth century, when the
soldiers of Islam conquered the country.

Of late pagan and early Christian Egypt very much that is new has been
discovered during the last few years. The period of the Lower Empire
has yielded much to the explorers of Oxyrrhynchus, and many papyri of
interest belonging to this period have been published by Mr. Kenyon in
his _Catalogue of the Greek Papyri in the British Museum_, especially
the letters of Flavius Abinæus, a military officer of the fourth
century. The papyri of this period are full of the high-flown titles
and affected phraseology which was so beloved of Byzantine scribes.
“Glorious Dukes of the Thebaïd,” “most magnificent counts and
lieutenants,” “all-praiseworthy secretaries,” and the like strut across
the pages of the letters and documents which begin “In the name of Our
Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the God and Saviour of us all, in
the year x of the reign of the most divine and praised, great, and
beneficent Lord Flavius Heraclius (or other) the eternal Augustus and
Auto-krator, month x, year x of the In diction.” It is an extraordinary
period, this of the sixth and seventh centuries, which we have now
entered, with its bizarre combination of the official titulary of
the divine and eternal Cæsars Imperatores Augusti with the initial
invocation of Christ and the Trinity. It is the transition from the
ancient to the modern world, and as such has an interest all its own.

In Egypt the struggle between the adherents of Chalcedon, the “Melkites”
 or Imperialists of the orthodox Greek rite, and the Eutychians or
Mono-physites, the followers of the patriarch Dioskoros, who rejected
Chalcedon, was going on with unabated fury, and was hardly stopped even
by the invasion of the pagan Persians. The last effort of the party of
Constantinople to stamp out the Monophysite heresy was made when Cyril
was patriarch and governor of Egypt. According to an ingenious theory
put forward by Mr. Butler, in his _Arab Conquest of Egypt_, it is Cyril
the patriarch who was the mysterious Mukaukas, the [Greek word], or
“Great and Magnificent One,” who played so doubtful a part in the
epoch-making events of the Arab conquest by Amr in A.D. 639-41. Usually
this Mukaukas has been regarded as a “noble Copt,” and the Copts have
generally been credited with having assisted the Islamites against
the power of Constantinople. This was a very natural and probable
conclusion, but Mr. Butler will have it that the Copts resisted the
Arabs valiantly, and that the treacherous Mukaukas was none other than
the Constantinopolitan patriarch himself.

In the papyri it is interesting to note the gradual increase of Arab
names after the conquest, more especially in those of the Archduke
Rainer ‘s collection from the Fayyûm, which was so near the new capital
city, Fustât. In Upper Egypt the change was not noticeable for a long
time, and in the great collection of Coptic _ostraka_ (inscriptions on
slips of limestone and sherds of pottery, used as a substitute for paper
or parchment), found in the ruins of the Coptic monastery established,
on the temple site of Dêr el-Bahari, we find no Arab names. These
documents, part of which have been published by Mr. W. E. Crum for the
Egypt Exploration Fund, while another part will shortly be issued for
the trustees of the British Museum by Mr. Hall, date to the seventh and
eighth centuries. Their contents resemble those of the earlier papyri
from Oxyrrhynchus, though they are not of so varied a nature and are
generally written by persons of less intelligence, i.e. the monks and
peasants of the monasteries and villages of Tjême, or Western Thebes.
During the late excavation of the XIth Dynasty temple of Dêr el-Bahari,
more of these _ostraka_ were found, which will be published for the
Egypt Exploration Fund by Messrs. Naville and Hall. Of actual buildings
of the Coptic period the most important excavations have been those of
the French School of Cairo at Bâwît, north of Asyût. This work, which
was carried on by M. Jean Clédat, has resulted in the discovery of very
important frescoes and funerary inscriptions, belonging to the monastery
of a famous martyr, St. Apollo. With these new discoveries of Christian
Egypt our work reaches its fitting close. The frontier which divides the
ancient from the modern world has almost been crossed. We look back from
the monastery of Bâwît down a long vista of new discoveries until, four
thousand years before, we see again the Great Heads coming to the Tomb
of Den, Narmer inspecting the bodies of the dead Northerners, and,
far away in Babylonia, Narâm-Sin crossing the mountains of the East to
conquer Elam, or leading his allies against the prince of Sinai.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria in the Light of Recent Discovery" ***

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