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Title: Predecessors of Cleopatra
Author: North, Leigh
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Predecessors of Cleopatra" ***

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produced from images made available by the HathiTrust
Digital Library.)

Transcriber’s Note: The original copy of this book wasn’t very well
corrected, including transposed full lines of text. In one place (noted
below) at least one line was omitted completely: it wasn’t possible to
source another edition to check what the missing words might have been.
The spelling and hyphenation of Egyptian names are often inconsistent.

[Illustration: CLEOPATRA.]

                              OF CLEOPATRA

                               LEIGH NORTH

                       _5 Drawings by G. A. Davis_


                         BROADWAY PUBLISHING CO.
                           835 BROADWAY, N. Y.

                           Copyrighted, 1906.
                        BROADWAY PUBLISHING CO.,
                         _All Rights Reserved._



In attempting even a brief and imperfect outline of the history of
Egyptian queens the author has undertaken no easy task and craves
indulgence for its modest fulfillment. The aim has been merely to put the
little that is known in a readable and popular form, to gather from many
sources the fragments that remain, partly historic, partly legendary, of
a dead past. To present—however imperfectly—sketches of the women who
once lived and breathed as Queens of Egypt, which has been more ably
and completely done—as the period was less remote and the sources of
information fuller, for their royal sisters of other lands.

A short article published some years ago in Lippincott’s Magazine may
be said to be the nucleus of the present volume, the writer’s interest
in the subject having been awakened by the study necessary to its

We enter a house through the portico or vestibule. We form acquaintances
on somewhat the same principle. We begin perhaps with the weather, we
exchange comments on trifles, we pass through an introductory stage of
intercourse before we reach the real heart of the man or woman who, in
time, becomes our dearest friend. Skip the introduction if you will,
busy reader, but metaphorically it forms the portico or vestibule of the
Egyptian House.

From the darkness which envelopes the centuries modern research has
brought to light much that was unknown or forgotten. With almost the
creative touch it has made the dry bones to live again and link by link
drawn out the long chain of the years. What was once a mere roll of names
with a wide hiatus here and there has grown to be a record of the words
and deeds of men of like passions with ourselves. We feel once more in
touch with the past, as it is the aim of the highest altruism to beat
responsive to the heart of the present and the by-gone faces look forth
by the side of modern man and claim the universal brotherhood.

Well may we marvel at the faith, the patience, the ingenuity which
has unraveled so much of the tangled skein in “The Story of the
Nations.” Like Cuvier, from a single bone elaborating a whole animal,
the Egyptologist has patiently evolved from shreds of parchment, from
fragments of pottery, from broken plinth and capital a more or less
complete whole. He has woven a tapestry from which some of the figures
start forth with a lifelike vigor.

Few countries claim such antiquity as Egypt and of none were the
estimated dates more widely apart. Sometimes involving periods of
hundreds and thousands of years. An accumulation of difficulties meets
the student as it does the explorer. A cycle of time, beside which modern
life seems like a single breath. A language, at first indecipherable,
and even now imperfectly read. The hasty guesses of scholars anxious to
prove some point or be in the vanguard of discovery; broken monuments,
rifled tombs, and inscriptions, mutilated, erased and altered by the
monarchs of succeeding generations. Among all these difficulties lies the
way. But with patience and care we are rewarded and with “imagination for
a servant,” not a master, one “arrives,” as the French say (at least in a
measure), at last.

The list of authorities consulted by the author would be too long to
enumerate, but among them may be mentioned Rawlinson, Wilkinson, Maspero,
Erman, Ebers and later Edwards, Sayce, Petrie and Mahaffy, whose interest
is so absorbing and the researches of some of whom are of such recent
date. To these may be added the study of all available pictures and
photographs, and the experiences of late travel and travellers.


    INTRODUCTION                            i

                  CHAPTER ONE.

    The Black Hand                          1

                  CHAPTER TWO.

    The Queen                              15

                 CHAPTER THREE.

    Mertytefs                              26

                  CHAPTER FOUR.

    Nitocris                               42

                  CHAPTER FIVE.

    Sebek-Nefru-Ra                         57

                  CHAPTER SIX.

    Aah-Hotep                              74

                 CHAPTER SEVEN.

    Aahmes-Nefertari                       91

                 CHAPTER EIGHT.

    Hatshepsut                            110

                  CHAPTER NINE.

    Hatsheput—concluded                   125

                  CHAPTER TEN.

    Maut-a-mua                            142

                 CHAPTER ELEVEN.

    Tyi                                   157

                 CHAPTER TWELVE.

    Tyi—continued                         174

                CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

    Nefertiti                             187

                CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

    Tuaa                                  205

                CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

    Nofutari-Minimut                      218

                CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

    Ur-Maa-Nofur-Ra                       235

               CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

    Tausert                               253

                CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

    Succeeding Queens                     265

                CHAPTER NINETEEN.

    Succeeding Queens—continued           281

                 CHAPTER TWENTY.

    Daily Life                            299

               CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE.

    Persian Queens                        312

               CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO.

    Roxane                                335


    Ptolemy Queens                        348

              CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR.

    Arsinoe II.                           362

              CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE.

    Ptolemy Queens—continued              385

               CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX.

    Ptolemy Queens—continued              396


    Ptolemy Queens—continued              407


    Cleopatra VI.                         421

              CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE.

    Cleopatra VI.—continued               432

Predecessors of Cleopatra.



Kem, “the Black Land,” in hieroglyphic, or Kemi, in the later and more
familiar demotic, was so called from its dark and fruitful soil, a loam,
which turned up freshly, after a recent inundation of the Nile, has, as
one traveller describes it, “a brown and velvety lustre.”

Through it winds and flows the great river of which Homer speaks as
“Egypt’s Heaven descended stream” and that more than any other has set
its stamp upon the country and its inhabitants. So potent for weal or woe
is it that one scarce wonders it was worshipped as a deity, and the Arabs
call it “El Bahari,” the sea. It is difficult to find the word travel
in their language, with the Egyptian it is always up and down stream.
From the river he drew the fish which formed part of his daily food,
its fructifying waters, spreading over the land, called forth abundant
harvests, and from the mud on its banks he built the hut in which he
lived, or manufactured the bricks for the construction of his tomb or
other more ambitious edifice. The rushes that grew beside it furnished
his writing material, and its muddy or turbid water, as a beverage, had
for him the charm of a crystal rill.

Leigh Hunt says of the Nile:

    “It flows through old hushed Egypt and its sands
    Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream;
    And times and things as in that vision seem
    Keeping along it their eternal stands.”

The Nile has been said to be less like a river than a sinuous lake with
islands and sand-bars interspersed.

The sacred name of the Nile was “Hapi, the Concealed.” The early
Egyptians believed that its source was in fountains, bottomless and far
away, and the tears of the goddess Isis caused its ebb and flow. The
explorations of comparatively modern travellers have solved the mystery
of its being, and to-day we know that it springs from great lakes which
their discoverers named respectively, Victoria and Albert Nyanza.

Of the three great rivers, the Nile, the Mississippi, and the Amazon, the
first is the longest, the second has the largest number of ramifications,
and the third the greatest volume of water.

A Nilometer, a pillar standing in a pit, chronicles the rise of the tide,
and great festivities attended the opening of the canals which were
dug in all directions to carry its beneficent stream. A human victim
was sacrificed to appease the river god. A young girl was each year
dedicated to this purpose. Bound to a stake, adorned with flowers, and
hailed as “Aruseh, the bride of the Nile,” she stood and watched the
on-coming flood which was to shut out for her the light of day. Perhaps
it was in the terror with which the bounding pulses of youth must ever
regard the great Destroyer. Perhaps with the heroic spirit of a martyr
she awaited her fate, glorying in it and giving herself up a willing
sacrifice, as the Hindoo woman is said occasionally to have done in the
Suttee, when she cast herself on the funeral pile of her husband.

It was a Mohammedan general who put an end to this annual tragedy and
refused to permit the usual offering. The river delayed its rising, and
the murmurs of the people waxed loud against him. In this dilemma he
appealed to the Kadlif Omar, he who destroyed the Alexandria library,
saying that if it agreed with the Koran it was useless to preserve it,
and if it differed it was pernicious. But in this matter he showed
himself larger-minded. He obligingly wrote a letter which was cast into
the water and ran thus: A. D. 640, “From Abd Allah Omar, Prince of the
Faithful, to the Nile of Egypt. If thou flow of thine own accord, flow
not, but if it be Allah, the One, the Mighty, who causeth thee to flow,
then we implore Him to make thee flow.”

The prayer was successful and the inundation began. Henceforth a mud
pillar, originally no doubt in human form, and still called “the Bride
of the Nile,” was substituted for a trembling maiden, and melted away
before the encroaching stream. At the inundation the land looks like a
marsh, the towns, etc., being just above the level of the water, and even
now the crier announces the rise of the current.

The juncture of the White and Blue Nile shows the difference in the
tint of the water for some time after. The Nile has no tides. The dews
are heavy in Lower Egypt and the nights cool and refreshing, while the
temperature is, as a rule, most agreeable. From the low, long, level
shore and with a coast line much the same as three thousand years ago, we
follow the river through a fertile valley, which in time narrows between
mountains and table-lands of sand. At the cataracts the stream surges and
swells round little rocky islands and the rapids cause navigation to be
difficult if not dangerous.

The Delta, so called from its resemblance to the Greek letter, is a level
plain, highly cultivated, varied by lofty dark brown, ancient mounds, on
which villages are often built, surrounded by palm trees. The Greeks and
Romans divided Egypt into the Delta, or Lower Egypt, and the Thebaid or
Upper. The rocks are generally of limestone, till one reaches Thebes,
and then they are of sandstone, while at the first Cataract red granite
bursts through the sandstone. The granite is yellowish or reddish, with
no vegetation on the rocks. The drifts of yellow sand are everywhere. In
some parts the mountains are three hundred feet high, and at Thebes they
rise to four times that height. On the eastern side they are close to
the water, while on the western they are further from the edge. What is
called the Fayum is a fertile tract in the hollow of the desert, while at
the furthest extremity is a lake of brackish water.

Upper Egypt is bounded by mountains, through which the river has cut its
way, their height overshadowing it, but not rising into sharp peaks.
It is narrow and cultivated. From the mouth of the Nile to the first
cataract is six hundred miles of fertile valley, and it is said that the
scenery of the first cataract resembles nothing but that of the second.

The beauty of Egypt is in its coloring. The small proportion of green
is compensated for by its intensity. Over the velvet soil hangs a sky
of turquoise blue, the sand sparkles like precious stones and the clear
air is luminous. “The land where it is always afternoon” might almost
be named the golden land. The traveller with the poetic or enthusiastic
temperament revels in the delicate variety of its hues. He sees the
sun turning the sands to gold, the river reflecting the sky, the blue
lotus blossoms and the reeds, the picturesque buffaloes standing in the
water with sleepy blue eyes and the vivid green of wheat fields. Another
describes the rusty gold of the Libyan rocks, the paler hue of the driven
sand slopes, the warm mauve of the nearer Pyramid, which from a distance
is a tender rose, like the bloom of an apricot, in delicate tone against
the sky. Low on the horizon, soft and pearly tints, blue and luminous at
the zenith, while opalescent shadows, pale blue and violet and greenish
grey, nestle in the hollows of the rocks and curves of the sand drifts.
Lakelike plains, with palm groves and corn flats, relieve the glowing
distance. Even in the moonlight one seems to see the color.

From the top of the Pyramids the valley of the Nile looks like a carpet
of rich green, the groves of palm trees like figures woven in deeper
tints. Another speaks of the palms as sculptured in jasper and malachite
against the rosy evening sky.

A sense of rest and tranquillity pervades the mind.

    “Straight in his ears the gushing of the wave
    Far, far away did seem to mourn and rave.”

Even the conscience slumbers. But the prosaic traveller hurries through
all with unseeing eyes. Like the tourist who visited Cologne and was too
sleepy to get up and look at the Cathedral, he gapes at the Pyramids,
viewing them perhaps as “warts on the face of creation,” and sees no
glory in the heavens, no beauty in the earth, the story of the ages has
no charm for him.

Long before “Once upon a time,” if such a period can be conceived of,
the great monuments were raised, the colossal temples were built, which
have been the wonder of all succeeding centuries, and yet still back of
and beyond that, stretching away to the confines of Eternity, we picture
to ourselves the land as it then was, without these marvels of Art, when
Nature ruled supreme. Then as now the plains stretched out, the yellow
cliffs rose against the azure sky, the desert spread afar, the purple
cloud of the simoom hovered over it. The sun sank in splendor of violet,
rose and gold, the torn and ragged sides of the mountains poured down
their torrents of shining sand, the fissures burning with a crimson
lustre. The splendor passed and ashy paleness followed; then a second
paler but intense yellow hue, ere the stars shone out. And ever the Nile
calm and unruffled swept on with its eternal flow, while the air breathed
balm. Sometimes the waters gained, sometimes the sand. The byblos or
papyrus, now almost extinct, abounded; along the waters edge forests
and reeds, later destroyed, were plentiful, and wild bear, hippopotami
and crocodiles whose ancient haunts know them no more, roved freely.
The lakes abounded with fish, pelicans and ducks lived on the shores,
and turtle doves brooded on the palm trees. The language of Egypt has
been changed once, the religion twice, but the natural conditions remain

Before Menes, the first king of whom any distinct record has yet been
recovered, man, civilized man, possessed the earth. In tracing the course
of Egyptian history we never, as with many other nations, seem to reach
primeval humanity. Like Minerva, springing ready armed from the brain of
Jupiter, the earliest Egyptian known is in a measure civilized. The wild
savage, who develops into the more perfect man, exists in theory, but
we cannot lay our hand upon him. Some authorities, as Professor Petrie,
attribute the beginning of Egyptian civilization, as the Greeks found it,
to Mesopotamian influences, and think the conquering race came over the
Red Sea and the conquered were of the same general type as the Libyans
of North Africa. But none of these stories have yet been proved beyond
the possibility of differing opinion by other students. Strabo said “The
Egyptians lived from the first under a regular form of government, they
were a people of civilized manners and settled a well-known country.”

Claiming to be the most ancient of peoples the old story tells how the
Egyptians yet yielded their pretensions to the Phrygians. The king caused
a shepherd to bring up two children, nursed by a goat, and to observe
what word they first spoke. Running towards him they cried “Beccos,” the
Phrygian for bread, which decided the question, but the wise mother goat
perhaps considered they were but imitating her “ba-a!”

The early Egyptian believed that Osiris and Isis, brother and sister, as
also husband and wife, were the children of Seb (Saturn), and Nepthys
was the sister of Isis. The two were called “the incubators,” who spread
their wings over the mummy to impart new life, Isis, represented as a
female figure, wearing on her head the pshent or crown of Upper and Lower
Egypt, was the earth, the receptive one, was regarded as the mother of
all and held somewhat the position to the Egyptians that Juno did to
the Greeks. The Egyptians also believed that the heavens were upheld by
four pillars and that the stars were lamps lighted therein at night.
Osiris and Isis stood for the Nile and Egypt, and Osiris was the sun’s
power, the winter solstice, the birth of Horus the summer solstice, the
inundations of the Nile the autumnal Equinox. His gods and goddesses
were innumerable, their images existing for him in the shape of various
animals and birds, and, among royalties, the ancestors were deified.

We of to-day thrust from us the thought of death, and live as much as may
be in the present. Not so the Egyptian, it pervaded his daily life and
it shared in his feasts and festivals. It rang in his laughter, “Let us
eat and drink for to-morrow we die!” and his favorite occupation was the
building of his tomb.

No other nation possesses such a variety of monuments, says one
writer. Their stone quarries were inexhaustible, their facilities for
transportation on the great river unlimited, and the sand and the climate
combined to preserve what the hand of man erected. Kings pressed their
signets on the mountains that the generations to come might know of them
and their power.

The sun and soil of Egypt, we are told, demands one breed of men
and will no other. The children of aliens die, and the special race
characteristics remain to the present day. The Fellah woman, in the
picture often seen, crouching beside the statue of an ancient king,
has the same contour of face, the same high cheek bones and nose,
and the same immutable expression. As the life rule of Egypt’s great
river changes not, year after year repeating the same history, so
the race shows the same characteristics, century after century.
She shares with China her changelessness. Like Japan, she has her
types of face, long, oval, slender, with heavy lidded eyes, and nose
characteristically depressed at the tip, with sensitive open nostrils,
the under lip slightly projecting, the chin short and square, with a
slim square shouldered figure. Or a lower, squatter type, belonging to
the plebeian, forehead low, nose depressed and short, face prognathous
and sensual-looking, the chin heavy, the jaw large, the lips thick and
projecting. Both exist on the earliest monuments and to our own time. One
writer thinks that the mummies differ from the Arabs of the present day
in having a better balance of the intellectual and moral faculties. It
is also said that in men the countenance is narrower than in women. The
forehead small and retreating, with a long large black and well-shaped
eye, a long nose, with a slight bridge, cheek bones a little prominent,
an expressive mouth, with full lips, and white regular teeth, and a small
round chin. The complexion of men a dark brown, that of women olive to a
pink flesh color. The women and girls are slender, with small straight
brows and close lashes on each lid, which gives an animated expression to
their almond-shaped eyes, the use of kohl (sometimes said to be sanitary
in its effects) enhancing this. The forehead is receding, cheekbones
high, the bridge of the nose low, the mouth wide and thick-lipped. The
peasantry are darker than the townspeople and the color deepens from pale
brown to bronze as you go south.

Co-existent with, prior even, perhaps, to the pyramids is the great
Sphinx. Maspero believed that it dated before the time of Menes.
Battered, mutilated, time worn, yet rearing itself nobly still with
its majestic face in its tranquil grandeur, turned towards the East.
Towering sixty feet above one of the sand dunes, with a background of
yellow sand or sapphire sky, or whitening in the moonlight against the
starlit indigo heavens rises this colossal head and shoulders. “Mutilated
though it is,” says one traveller, “the changeless serenity, the eternal
repose of the noble countenance impresses and awes all beholders.”
The typical sphinx, a male or female head, with an animal’s body, in
the Greek “the strangler,” signifies intelligence or force. It was a
favorite form in architecture and sometimes the face was a portrait of an
existing king or queen. The great Sphinx is said, from an inscription at
Edfu, to represent one of the personifications of the god Horus. It was
designated as Horem Khou, “Horus on the Horizon,” and bore the shape of a
human-headed lion to vanquish Typhon (Set) principle of evil, and turning
East awaited the resurrection of his father Osiris. As Horus was supposed
to have reigned over Egypt, kings took the name Horus, or “Golden Hawk.”

A picture of the Sphinx, by Elihu Vedder, is very impressive. The great
head looms skyward, the desert spreads around, the silence of Eternity
broods over all. A crouching figure, old and tattered, kneels before it
and lays his ear to the silent lips, as if to learn their hidden secrets.

The land is rich in fruits and vegetables, but it has comparatively few
trees, and no great variety of flowers. Palms, sycamores, figs, and
accasias are among the most frequent of the former. Vegetables are peas,
lentils, leeks, onions, garlic, celery, cucumbers, carrots, turnips,
tomatoes, egg-fruit, peppers, etc. Fruits are melons, of which the flesh
is often a rich golden color, grapes, dates, almonds, figs, pomegranates,
apricots, peaches, etc. The lotus, now comparatively rare, might once
have been called the national, as it certainly was the favorite flower.
It was used at feasts and for decorations, and its buds, blossoms and
leaves were continually reproduced in architectural designs. It was
chiefly because the water lily bud opened its petals at sunrise and
closed them at sunset that the ancients held it sacred to the sun. Pliny
says: “It is reported that in the Euphrates the flower of the lotus
plunges into the water at night, remaining there until midnight, and to
such a depth that it cannot be reached with the hand. After midnight
it begins gradually to rise, and as the sun rises above the horizon
the flower also rises above the water, expands and raises itself some
distance above the element in which it grows.” “And it was also through
this peculiarity,” says another writer, “that Hankerville proved that the
Egyptians considered the lily an emblem of the world as it rose from the
waters of the deep.”

Other flowers include the rose, jassamine, narcissus, lily, convolvulus,
violet, chrysanthemum, geranium, dahlia, basil, etc.

The horse was not an early inhabitant—there were camels, elephants, and
cattle of special breeds, doves and other birds and many varieties of
fish. A number of animals were tamed in Egypt and some of them would seem
to us a singular collection of pets, lions, leopards, monkeys, gazelles
and even crocodiles, and, above all, cats were household pets, as were
the last two among the sacred animals.

Everywhere possible at the present day excavation is going on.
Seventy-five centimes a day was at one time the rate for the diggers and
fifty for the children who carried away the baskets of rubbish, the food
consisting of bread, water, a few dates, cucumbers or onions, and, rarely
if ever, any meat.

“The Nile shore,” says Bayard Taylor, “shows either palm groves, fields
of cane or doura, young wheat, or patches of bare sand blown from the
desert. The villages have mud walls and the tombs of Moslem saints
looking like white ovens. The Arabian and Libyan mountains sweep into
the foreground, the yellow cliffs overhang and recede into a violet haze
at the horizon, while the blue evening shadows lie on rose-hued mountain

Life in the East moves more slowly, even in modern times, than in the
strenuous West. One traveller playfully remarks that one can perceive in
the face after a Nile voyage something of the patience and resignation of
the Sphinx, and another says that Egypt is the best place in the world
to rest, and recommends that one “go 600 or 700 miles up the Nile before
the season opens and occupy a hotel alone. You will find each day at
least forty-eight hours long, and you will think of nothing but Egyptian
antiquities and Arabs, both of which are wonderfully soothing to the
tired mind.”

Egypt may be likened to a woman with coloring and charm, who surpasses
sometimes in attraction another of more beautiful and regular form. In
this land of golden light, of perpetual sunshine, lived and moved the
Egyptian queen. Different and yet the same as her sisters of to-day, now
she seemed a goddess in might and beauty, and again as the meanest of her
slaves, swayed by ambitions, torn by passions, swept by waves of love and
hate—a woman still. Each in turn played her little part on the stage of
life and passed beyond the curtain, leaving a few, and but few, traces
of her existence. Passed into “the land which loveth silence,” the dim
Amenti of the gods.



Egyptian Queens! What a picture their name seems to call up of old time
splendors—of the light of Eastern skies, the soft breath of eternal
summer—of the great river Nile as a beneficent deity, of monuments and
palaces, gardens and waving palm trees—houses with gorgeous coloring, of
princes and slaves—all mingled on the tapestry of time!

In an age sometimes called “the Woman’s Era,” when woman has become a
subject of analytical study to herself and to man, it may be interesting
to turn from the varieties of the “New Woman” to the very old. Even on
the borderland of mythology she asserts a strange individuality and is
vitalized for us in the pages of history and legend.

The Western woman on the stage of life is ever a prominent figure. The
Eastern has held a place in the background, giving glimpses only of
her real self, always a veiled form, with dark, shining eyes, merely
suggestive of beauty and charm. It may be matter of surprise, therefore,
to some, that in the most ancient of lands—or among the most ancient of
peoples, Eastern beyond dispute, woman held an almost modern place. In
this, in some respects, advanced civilization, religiously, politically
and socially she took her share in the world’s work and pleasure, and
was deemed, not the ignorant child or inferior of Semitic lands, but the
friend, the associate, the equal of man.

The Queen was the companion of her royal spouse, not his mere slave and
toy. From the time of the Second Dynasty she frequently ruled, as the
king’s guardian in youth, as regent in his absence, or as independent
sovereign after his decease, or in right of heredity. The succession was
continued on the maternal equally with the paternal side, and it was at
times through the female, and not through the male parent, that the king
traced his right to the throne.

Among the nobility also the same custom, to a degree, obtained. The
son of the eldest daughter was sometimes the heir. Thus we read in the
time of Sneferu of his “great legitimate daughter, Nefret-Kari,” and
her son was “High Treasurer.” In the hieroglyphic system after female
appellations, such as queen, wife, mother, daughter, and the like, the
figure of a seated woman appears usually on a modest stool.

On the monuments the queen is always treated as an official personage,
she shares the king’s honors and her name, like her husband’s, is
enclosed in a cartouch. We know more of her public than of her private

As a rule, to which there were exceptions, the king had but one legal
wife, of high or royal birth, the daughter of “the god,” as the late
king was called, and hence she was in many instances, in the strange
Egyptian fashion, her husband’s sister. One needs surely a different
standard from the Christian to judge of the morals of Egypt. The marriage
of a brother and sister, so abhorrent to our ideas, was frequent in the
Royal Family, nor does nature herself, at that period, seem to have set
upon it the same mark of disapprobation that one might expect. It began
in the heavens with the gods, who, according to Egyptian mythology, did
not dwell on earth, and why should not humanity follow their example.
Osiris and Isis were both brother and sister, husband and wife. Nor could
the gods any more than men get on without magic. Even the statues of the
former wore amulets as a protection against evil and death, and used
mystic formulae to constrain each other. Isis was above all the mistress
of magic and famous in incantations.

To her royal spouse the queen is spoken of as “thy beloved sister who
fills the palace with light,” or “thy sister who is in thine heart, who
sits near thee at the feast,” or “thy beloved sister with whom thou
dost love to speak.” A love song in which the woman seems the wooer is
preserved and we give one stanza.

    “Thou beloved one my wish is to be with thee as thy wife;
    That thy arm may lie upon my arm.
    Will not my elder brother come to-night?
    Otherwise I am as one who lies in the grave.
    For art thou not health and light?”

The other ladies of the harem are also occasionally called sisters.
“Sutem Mut” was the Royal Mother, “Sutem Hempt,” the Royal Wife. Under
the old empire the queen was spoken of as “she who sees the gods, Horus
and Set (that is possessor of both halves of the kingdom), the most
pleasant, the highly praised, the friend of Horus, the beloved of Ra,
who wears the two diadems.” In the New Empire she was designated as “the
consort of the god, the mother of the god, the great consort of the
king.” She was eligible to all but the highest offices of the priesthood
and held forth or played the sacred sistrum to the gods, sometimes
dedicating herself to one deity, while her husband served another, and
she deemed it the greatest honor to be called “the concubine of the god.”

All women desired the name of Hathor, Isis, the goddess of Love and
Fecundity, as in the Middle Ages the name of Mary, the mother of
Christ, was specially cherished. Other popular names under the Old
Empire signified “Beautiful,” “Strong,” etc. Under the new we also find
“Beautiful,” and in addition the names of trees, somewhat in Japanese
fashion, with their “Cherry Blossom” and “Plum Blossom,” as “Beautiful
Sycamore,” or, hardly admirable in the eyes of the Greeks or ourselves,
“Large Headed,” which some of their coiffures and head ornamentations
seemed to suggest.

The sons and daughters of the late king were always called the children
of the god. The education of both was conducted by the most learned men
of the kingdom, frequently priests, and this tutor was spoken of as
the “nurse.” The custom of entrusting the royal ladies to such severe
training reminds us of the preceptors and studies of Queen Elizabeth
and Lady Jane Grey. The queen held property in her own right. At one
time the revenues from the fisheries of Lake Moeris were appropriated to
her. A talent a day, or upwards of 700 pounds a year. Also the returns
from certain cities; as, for example, the taxes on wines of the city of
Anthylla, were a queen’s dowry for her dress, and this privilege was
continued to the queens of Persia after Cambyses conquered Egypt.

After death, at least from the Eighteenth Dynasty, divine honors were
frequently paid to the queen, and especially was this the case of Queens
Aah-hotep and Nefertari, the ancestresses of the race of kings who drove
out and succeeded the Hyksos, the usurping rulers, and restored Egypt to
its native sovereigns.

The palaces were usually of brick, as the temples were of stone adorned
with gorgeously painted walls and furnished with carpets, rugs of
skin and ebony and ivory chairs and couches. The queen was attended
by slaves, and some favored maid or official bore beside her a fan of
ostrich plumes. She wore in later periods the double crown of Egypt and
presided beside the king at feasts, where men and women, with unveiled
faces (veiling being an introduction of the Persians), enjoyed themselves
together. They decorated each other with flowers, which already in
profusion adorned the drinking vessels, listened to music and watched
the dancing of female slaves, the feats of jugglers, etc. Monkeys
were sometimes trained to act as torchbearers, and we can imagine the
confusion occasionally engendered when one or another of them, bursting,
so to speak, the bands of conventionality, reverted to his naturally
mischievous impulses and cast his flaming torch into the midst of the
festivities. Lions, leopards, dogs, and the specially sacred cats were
all numbered among the pets.

The cat, it is said, was created in the ark, hence the Garden of Eden,
“where the comforts of home were incompletely organized,” lacked
that ornament of the domestic hearth. But by the Egyptians she was,
above all, valued and adored. They mourned for her as for a dear and
familiar friend, and woe to the man who, even by accident, compassed
her destruction. She is most pleasingly set forth by one who evidently
admired and appreciated her:

    “A little lion, small and dainty sweet
                  (For such there be),
    With sea-grey eyes and softly stepping feet,
                  She prayed of me.
    For this, through lands Egyptian far away,
                  She bade me pass;
    But in an evil hour I said her nay;
                  And now, alas!
    Far-travelled Nicias hath wooed and won
    With gifts of furry creatures white and dun
                  From over sea.”

Till the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty there was little change in female
attire. A fine linen garment, through which the limbs could be plainly
seen, extended from below the breast to the ankle, sometimes supported by
straps over the shoulders, and sometimes so narrow as to require not even
these. Colored robes were used less frequently. To the man was left in
those days, as to the male bird, the gayer plumage. The woman contented
herself with the use of oils and cosmetics, blackening her brows and
eyes, leaving her hair flowing, bound by a fillet, or with braided locks,
or a wig, and encircling arms and limbs with innumerable chains and
bracelets. The queen wore a royal head-dress, with the asp, emblem of the
sun-god Ra, over her forehead, and the vulture, dedicated to Maut, mother
of Isis, above. The golden disk is said to be an emblem of the eternal
sunshine, the entwining asp of the winding Nile, and the outspread wings
of Upper and Lower Egypt, extending along the river.

Mrs. Stevenson mentions innumerable texts which refer to the god as
hidden in the disk, whilst a winged goddess makes light with her
feathers, with which light and heat are always associated. The mother
goddess of Thebes, Mut, in the shape of a vulture, spreads her wings and
says, “I cover thy couch and give life to die back of thy neck.” And the
mother of the sun-god at the moment of birth brings her own life “to
the back of his neck in flame.” The disk amulet was put under a mummy
to preserve the vital heat The winged disk, emblem of heaven, was, in
primeval times, conceived as a bird, which, under its embodiment as the
hawk, had come to dwell in the sun. “In the Eighteenth Dynasty this
symbol over monuments was supposed to guard and protect, and played in
Egypt the role that the winged bull of the Assyrians played on the banks
of the Euphrates.”

A poetic fancy has thus painted the queen:

    “Her form I know; in airless chambers
      Of vast old tombs it lives to-day;
    The quaint, stiff lines, the rigid posing,
      The vivid colors, fresh and gay,
    Of raiment striped and barred and fluted,
      And tasseled waist and sandaled feet,
    That lightly trod, in air and sunshine,
      The dust of some Egyptian street.

    Her face, I guess at line and color,
      Slow almond eyes, with sidelong glance,
    And full, calm lips, with curving corners,
      Just touched with sleepy scorn perchance,
    And straight, low brows, close bound for beauty,
      With beaten gold and burning gem,
    And the small asp, upreared for striking,
      Afront the quaint old diadem.

    So richly worn, so darkly splendid,
      Looks out her face from shadowland,
    Some night methinks I scarce should wonder
      To see a living presence stand
    Just in the shaft of light thrown dimly
      From this old swinging lamp—to hear
    A voice that speaks the tongue of Rameses
      Fall sweet and strange upon my ear.”

Pen, pencil, brush, and I may add imagination, have depicted for us the
royal surroundings. The reigning queen had, like all sovereigns, her
tasks to perform. Reports from all parts of the kingdom to receive,
the regulation of laws, the commerce and the domestic affairs of her
dominions. Luxury surrounded her, attendants and slaves waited upon her
bidding. Gold, silver, precious stones and valuable stuffs composed her
furniture, her table-service and her attire. Scribes indited at her
dictation and royal papyrus bore the impress of her signet, upon which
vermilion was rubbed from a small cushion, while blue and a somewhat
different stamp was used in religious matters. She dwelt among columns,
statues and sphinxes, and, always adorned with flowers and jewels, wore
over her shoulders, when in the character of a priestess, the leopard
skin of the sacrificer. As special honor to any subject she would bestow
upon him a chain of gold and put a ring on his finger. Her throne of
ivory was sometimes said to have been so finely carved that a breath
would move the foliage represented upon it.

Such in general outline was the position of the Egyptian Queen. But when
we approach the individual the difficulties in the study of personality
are manifold. Frequently hundreds of years pass and no queen’s name
appears—the roll of dynasty after dynasty is searched in vain. In
most cases this is enhanced by many names being applied to the same
individual, as they are derived from ancient Egyptian, Greek, Persian, or
other sources. To this one adds what is called the “Ka” name, a sort of
religious addition to the original cognomen.

A parallel to all this might be found in the case of the Duke of Argyle,
date 1734, who was also known as John Campbell, MacCallum More, and
Ian Roy Cean. The titular, family, and by, or nick-name, signifying
“red-headed.” A person searching the archives of Scotland a thousand
years hence might be as bewildered in such a case as the Egyptian student
is now.

Different authorities give dates hundreds of years apart, different
names to the same person, and different spelling to the same name. Some
of the queens were taken for men, and only in later and more exhaustive
researches was their sex and position ascertained. Nor is this to be
wondered at, when the various parts of speech applied to them are of the
male gender. Yet here and there a fragment is discovered and we learn
something, at least, of many of them.

The partial list extends from the earliest times to the Roman period.
Late discoveries give us fragmentary remains from the First Dynasty,
but Mertytefs of the Fourth seems the first distinct personality, and
the roll, virtually beginning with her, ends with the last and most
celebrated Cleopatra. Two of these figures at least stand out with
wonderful clearness, the great Hatasu, of the Eighteenth Dynasty, and
this same Cleopatra, and while of many others we know much less, we in
some cases possess their veritable jewels and ornaments, and in others
their actual mummies.

We are working, as it were, to restore a mutilated mosaic. Some of the
pieces are altogether gone, many others broken and discolored. From here
and there we gather a fragment for our task of restoration. They may vary
in shape, they may vary in tint, the recompleted whole is diverse from
the original, but it approximates—it gives us an idea of what the perfect
design has been, and with that, for the present, we must rest content.



Year by year the patient research of the archeologist unearths new
discoveries, confirming or contradicting those already made, and
translating, as it were, into actual fact much that had previously been
considered legendary. And still, year by year, till the whole history
is laid bare, the process is likely to continue. Comparatively late
discoveries at Abydos have converted the mythical kings of the First
Dynasty into real human beings, living and dying thousands of years ago.
Their burial places have been found, and Menes, Aha-Mena, is no longer a
suppositious, but a real character. Weapons, furniture, vases, drinking
vessels, jewelry, etc., with the names of various kings upon them, have
been dug up and may now be seen at Abydos, in the University Museum in
London, in that of the University of Pennsylvania, and in other places.

Among these we come upon the first memorial of a queen. From out of
the darkness of the centuries stretches forth a woman’s arm laden with
bracelets, and tells of the common humanity which unites us. It is thus
described: “The most important piece of gold work discovered consists
of the bracelets of the Queen of Zer. The queen’s arm had been broken
off long ago, when the tomb was originally plundered, and hidden in a
hole in the wall. There it had been overlooked alike by the builders of
the Osiris shrine, by the Coptic destroyers, and by the Arabs employed
by the French mission, until it was discovered by Professor Petrie’s
workmen, with the four bracelets in their original order. Each is made
in a different and somewhat elaborate design, partly in gold and partly
in beads of amethyst, turquoise or lazuli.” These “finds” also include
the tomb of a young girl, “Bener-Ab” (Sweet of Heart), whom some fancied
to be the daughter of Ment, which contained an ivory figure dressed in
flowing robes. And still another “find” includes some plaited locks and a
fringe of curly false hair.

The early Egyptian comes upon the historic stage very much decorated
as to head, very decollete as to garments. No Indian with war paint
and feathers was more elaborately gotten up. So that his peruke hung
in curled or braided locks about him, or, if of royal blood, he wore
his crown or double crown, all else seemed of minor importance. We can
imagine him lightly attired, treading the streets of modern London
and straying into the law courts, where he would encounter judges and
barristers in their wigs of office. Doubtless he would bow and touch his
head significantly, intimating that a common bond of taste united them.

So important were these coiffures that one of the earliest offices
of which we find record is that of “Superintendent of Wigs and
Head-dresses,” and among the treasures of various museums are specimens
of these belongings of royalty.

Reproduced in almost every book on Egypt are those most ancient portrait
statues of General Ra-hotep and his wife, the Princess Nefert. One
authority assigns them to the Third Dynasty, and already the wig was in
full flow. The gentleman wears a comparatively modest head covering,
but the lady’s was of portentous size and thickness, falling in curls
on either side of her face, with its artless, unaffected expression.
Doubtless the fashionable world of that day thought the wig gave “a
presence”—as an English dame said of caps—to the wearer. General Ra-hotep
had married a lady of rank, of royal blood, his superior in that respect,
but both were deemed important enough to have their massive statues cut,
sitting in the usual ceremonial attitude, bolt upright, the knees and
feet closely pressed together. “A statue of dignity culminating in a bust
of beneficence.”

The Egyptian ideal was a studied dignity of posture. The Greeks, aiming
at the grace and beauty of nature, sculptured their figures in the
various attitudes of the human form, as also, in a degree, did the
Romans. While we see on coins and in old manuscripts the Saxon and
early Norman kings with knees and feet wide apart, and this also is the
ceremonial Chinese attitude.

But even with a formal prescribed position of the figure the early
Egyptian faces were evidently true to nature to an extent not the case
in later times. There is an individuality about them which makes us feel
that we see a truthful personification. In the Old Empire the realistic
school is found side by side with conventional art. In the Fourth Dynasty
especially we see conventional figures and portrait heads, while in
the Fifth all is more natural. To this last belongs the fine limestone
statue of a scribe now in the Louvre. A slender but powerful figure,
square in the shoulders, with slight legs and long, flat feet, seated
in an Oriental manner and writing on a parchment unrolled on his knee.
The flesh tints a pale red, a false beard, bronze for the brows, eyes
enamelled alabaster and crystal, and a nail for the pupil.

Another portrait statue of great celebrity is that of the “wooden
man” reproduced in a plaster cast in almost every museum. It is half
life-size, probably the foreman of a gang of laborers, is called “Ra
Emka,” and was found at the Sakkarah pyramid. Its age has been said to be
six thousand years. It had originally eyes of opaque white quartz, pupils
of rock crystal, bronze eyelids, and arms made separately, with a staff
of office in one hand, and was once covered with linen, plastered and
painted. The Arabs called it “Sheikel Belel, or Belud,” “Village Chief.”
A mutilated statue of his wife was found beside him, only the head and
trunk being entire. The face was of the common Egyptian type, with rather
a peevish expression, in contrast to the husband’s more urbane and
amiable look. Statues of a certain Sepi and his wife, attributed to the
Third Dynasty, are also in the Louvre.

The outline of the physiognomy of General Ra-hotep and Ra-Emka are not
unlike in type. The Princess Nefert has buff flesh tints, her husband’s
are somewhat darker, and both have the crystal eyes which impart such a
lifelike appearance. A dignified and portly pair, who gaze steadily out
above the head of the sight-seer in the Gizeh museum. This collection,
first gathered at Boulak and later removed to Gizeh, is the youngest
but the richest in portrait statues of private individuals. Most are in
what is called the hieratic attitude, with the left arm close to the
body, the left hand holding a roll of papyrus, the right leg advanced,
the right hand raised, as if grasping a staff, or perhaps, as at the
Resurrection, holding the Book of the Dead. With Menes the first distinct
record of dynasties begins, so far as yet discovered, and mooted points
remain for the student as to which reigned simultaneously and which in
succession. The first two dynasties were Thinites, from Tini, Greek This,
near Abydos, in Upper Egypt, seat of the worship of Osiris, where their
tombs and various remains, as above referred to, have been found. One of
the most ancient is a fragment of jewelry bearing the name of Mena, who
is said to have founded Memphis, to have turned aside the course of the
river to build his city, to have reigned sixty-two years, and, finally,
to have been killed by a hippopotamus or crocodile. Zer, or Teta,
understood medicine and wrote astronomical books; of others it is said
that one wrote the sacred books, another introduced animal worship, and
another was a giant. Of this first dynasty there seem to have been some
seven or eight kings.

As early as the Second Dynasty, under Binothris, a law was passed
admitting women to sovereignty, and thereafter, from time to time, as
guardian, regent, or independent ruler, a woman held sway. As goddesses
above, so the woman below had her share of authority. The queen by
incantations protected the king when in his priestly robe he offered
sacrifices, played the sistrum (a sort of religious instrument) to drive
away evil spirits, offered libations, poured perfumes and cast flowers.
She walked behind the king in processions, gave audiences with him and
governed for him, as the goddess Isis for Osiris, in his absence. The
worship of the bull Apis, destined to so wide a popularity, was also
introduced in this dynasty.

No extended or separate account of the queens, with one or two
exceptions, can be found in the writers on Egypt, but here and there we
come across the mention of certain names and brief stories or conflicting
statements in regard to them. Several are spoken of by Maspero in his
account of these earliest times. But to Mertytefs or Mertitifsi chiefly
clings any sort of history which can vitalize her for us. We read of
Mirisonku, daughter of Kheops and sister and wife of Khephren, of
Mirtitifsi, of Khuit, of Miriri-ankh-nas, and of Meri-s-ankh, of the
Sixth Dynasty, worshipper of the gods. Another writer gives Meri-s-ankh
as the queen of Sneferu or Khafra, and Hentsen as Kufu’s daughter, says
that Hatshepset made scarabs of Menkaura, and mentions a statue of
Ra-en-usa, of the Fifth Dynasty. A stele in Gizeh, found at Abydos and
of the Fifth Dynasty, represents the royal spouse Pepi-ankhnes and the
“chef” Aou seated on each side of a table of offerings. The city of This
gave its name to the yet earliest known kings, but Memphis, “The Haven of
the Good,” was the great metropolis in the time of Mertitefs.

Queen Mertitefs is said to have been first the wife of King Seneferu,
“the Betterer,” whose mother is given by one authority as Queen
Hapunimait. Mertytefs was, some say, of the Third, some of the Fourth
Dynasty. In a limestone group in the Leyden Museum (among the oldest
portrait statues in the world) sit the queen, the mysterious Ka, which
may be briefly described as the embodied spirit, and her secretary, a
priest named Kenun. Without a secretary or scribe no royal personage’s
list of attendants was complete. It was hardly the private correspondence
which occupied their time, as in later days, though the habit of letter
writing then existed, but so many items had to be noted down. The queen
and her Ka sit side by side, with black hair and buff flesh tints just

Seneferu, founder of the Fourth Dynasty, is the first king of whom we
have contemporary monuments, and the Fourth is sometimes called the
“pyramid dynasty.” During this reign the kingdom was prosperous, the arts
flourished, and foreign conquests were made. The king left a good name,
and was worshipped till the Ptolemaic period.

Diodorus stated that in the marriage contracts the wife was to control
her husband. Be that as it may, she was doubtless, as in modern times,
the ruler of the household. Mertytefs was young, some say fourteen,
and probably beautiful, when she married Seneferu, whom she survived,
and, possessing the usual charm of widows, she again married the Cheops
of Herodotus, the Khufu of Manetho, of whom a small ivory has been
recently found by Professor Petrie at Abydos, the builder of the Great
Pyramid. Marriette assigns the date 4234 B. C., and Brugsch 3733 B. C.
to this period, while Petrie gives from the time of the First Dynasty to
the Sixth 4777 B. C. to 3503 B. C. Some writers interpolate a certain
Ratatef, sometimes said to be the son, sometimes the brother of Khufu.

The building of a pyramid as his sepulchre was one of the chief
occupations, might almost say the amusements or pleasures, of a king,
as the building of a house in modern times affords constant study and
entertainment to the constructor, and day after day he goes to watch
its progress. The thought of death had no terror for the Egyptians—to
the king it was simply a new world, peopled with gods and goddesses,
among whom he would take an honored place. His pyramid was the book, the
autobiography, often an illustrated one, that he published, filled with
accounts of his deeds and prowess and certain to give him name and fame
with posterity. The word pyramid is said to mean “king’s grave,” and thus
reveals its purpose.

So, slowly, under the eyes of Queen Mertytefs rose these gigantic and
marvellous structures. What matter, if the object were accomplished,
that hundreds of lives were sacrificed in the ceaseless and laborious
toil under a tropic sun. Herodotus says it took one hundred thousand,
Pliny three hundred thousand, men twenty years in the building. We can
imagine the queen from time to time going in state to view the progress
of the work and helping it on with her suggestions. Some traditions tell
that Khufu was specially tyrannical and cruel, and even stopped praying
to the gods to press on his great enterprise. The rock testimony styles
him brave and a conqueror.

“Egypt is the monumental land of the earth, as the Egyptians are the
monumental people,” says Bunsen. The history of Egypt goes, as it were,
against the stream; the earliest monuments are between Cairo and Siout,
in Lower Egypt, the latest temples in Nubia, Upper Egypt.

The pyramids, whose entrances pointed to the North star, and which were
perhaps two thousand years old when Abraham was born, looked from a
distance like isolated mountain peaks or faint blue triangles outlined
against the sky, and the clear air made them seem nearer than they were.
They occupied the whole horizon as one advanced beyond the plain of
tombs. “Anear,” says Miss Edwards, “a mighty shadow, sharp and distinct,
divided the sunlight where it fell, as its great original divided the
sunlight in the upper air and darkened the space it covered like an
eclipse—registering sixty centuries of history.” In the early times the
three large pyramids were probably almost central in the embrace of the
city, which stretched away westward from the Nile in “a succession of
gardens, squares, palaces and monuments, girdling the lake with beautiful
villages and climbing, with its terraces, grottoes, shrines and marble
pavilions, the very sides of the cliffs two leagues from the Nile. From
the top of the great pyramid of Cheops to-day one views the broad domes
and the minarets of Cairo, the hills beyond and a palm grove on the site
of ancient Memphis,” says Bayard Taylor. “Over the rich palm trees the
blue streak of the river and the plain beyond you see the phantoms of two
pyramids in the haze which still curtains the Libyan desert. Northward,
beyond the parks and palaces of Shoba, the Nile stretches his two great
arms towards the sea, dotted far into the distance with sails that flash
in the sun.” Many other pyramids are in sight, while higher than St.
Peter’s, Rome, St. Paul’s, London, or the Capitol at Washington, the
greatest of them, this enormous structure of past ages still dominates
the plain. A modern poet has said of them:

    “Amid the deserts of a mystic land,
      Like Sibyls waiting for a doom far-seen,
    Apart in awful solitude they stand,
      With thoughts unending caravan between.”

Even then it was probably a magnificent city in which Queen Mertytefs
dwelt. Colossal gateways, with the disk and extended wings above, pillars
on which lights burned at night, avenues of sphinxes, palaces along the
river bank, columns with carved capitals, with the lotus in bud and
bloom, as well as other plants, and gorgeously painted shafts, temples of
red sandstone, with forests of pillars, lakes surrounded with trees and
flowering shrubs, oranges, scarlet pomegranates, olives, figs, vines, and
everywhere crowds of freemen and troops of slaves.

The Sphinx, previously sculptured, doubtless underwent some work of
restoration at this time, and is said by certain authorities to bear the
features of Chephren aggrandized, by others that it was in the image of
the god Harmachis. The Arabs named it “Abuthol, Father of Terrors.” Its
present state called forth from an illiterate voyager of modern times
the caustic remark, “They keep it in shocking repair!” Maspero believed
the Sphinx belonged to the period of the Horshesu, “Followers of Horus,”
chiefs of the clans gathered into one kingdom under Menes.

The Book of the Dead, which laid down rules, as we may say, both for the
dead and the living, belonged to the Fourth Dynasty, and the fragments of
it which have descended to us are the source of much of our information
about this ancient land and people.

Besides the serious business of pyramid building, the kings and queens
had their amusements of other sorts. The harp and flute were known in
the Fourth Dynasty, and music, singing and dancing no doubt date from
the Garden of Eden. Dwarfs were favorite pets, and a story is told of
a frolic of King Seneferu’s, who, for diversion, kept a boat manned
with girls whose airy costumes consisted of network. Perchance he may
not have been so sober-minded a person as his successor in the queen’s
affections. Khufu built the Great Pyramid, and perhaps rebuilt the temple
of Isis near the Sphinx, also a temple at Denderah, added to or restored
later, first by Thothmes IV and afterwards by some of the Ptolemies.

Mertytefs or Khufu’s sons and daughters are spoken of by Rawlinson, and
a daughter, Hents or Hentsen, was buried under a small pyramid near her
father. There is a tradition that he sold his daughter for money to carry
on the building of his pyramid, while she, sharing in the profits, built
one for herself. The king consecrated gold and copper statues to Isis
in honor of his daughter. Other stories tell of treasures buried in the
pyramids which were appropriated by the sovereigns of other centuries.

Tutors, or “nurses,” as they were called, were appointed for the royal
children, and possibly the queen’s secretary, Kenun, may have held this
position. Record is made of a certain Shap-siska-fankhu, who was governor
of the “House of the Royal Children,” in the Fifth Dynasty. Shafra or
Khafra was thought to be son-in-law to Khufu and his wife; Meri-ankh-s,
or Meri-s-ankh, whose tomb is at Sakkarah, was a priestess of the god
Thoth. She was high in confidence and favor, and bore at least two sons.
Her husband, or another son of Khufu, was high priest at Heliopolis.

Mertytefs was evidently a lady of great vigor, capacity and attraction,
for two reigns did not exhaust her powers, and under the succeeding
king, Kafra or Chafra, probably son-in-law or nephew, and builder of
the second pyramid of Gizeh, she still in a measure held sway. The name
signified “beloved of her father,” but she was evidently beloved of
fortune also, for her sun sinks in splendor as the “Administrator of the
Great Hall of the Palace,” where she had probably innumerable slaves
to oversee and do her bidding, “Mistress of the Royal Wardrobe” and
“Superintendent of the Chamber of Wigs and Head-dresses”—three important
offices. Yet are women of forty on the Nile said to be as old as those
of sixty in Europe. Not this lady surely, else were her brilliant career
briefly run. To account for this singular history one commentator allows
her a hundred and six years, another a hundred and thirty. A lady’s age
is always a mystery. Perhaps she never told it, but “let concealment,
like a worm in the bud, feed on her damask cheek,” and after these lapses
of centuries it may be we shall never be set right on this point.

The statue of King Chefren, with his novel head-dress, serene expression,
and paucity of underwear, is familiar, but the upper class figures were
always more conventional, the lower more realistic. A new king meant
usually a new city, a new palace, and a new tomb, and architecture
flourished in these distant periods.

The duties of the Queen Dowager were doubtless arduous. “Administrator
of the Great Hall” probably included the direction and control of a
large retinue of servants and the preparations for feast and audiences.
“Mistress of the Royal Wardrobe” was perhaps a less onerous position,
owing to the brevity of the then fashionable costume. At some periods men
wore but two garments, women but one—a sort of narrow chemise of fine
linen, through which the limbs could be plainly seen, with or without a
strap over the shoulders. Another costume was a light skirt with long
shoulder straps and bound by a girdle, the ends falling in front. Over
this usually a full skirt of fine linen, with sleeves below the elbows
and broad skirt falling to the ground.

Both men and women adorned themselves with necklaces and bracelets, and
used stibium to darken under the eyelids—while the nails, hands and feet
were stained with henna, which gave them an orange tint. Occasionally,
also, an added decoration was a line drawn from the corner of the eye to
the temple. In the earliest times foot covering was seldom worn indoors.

But to be “Superintendent of the Chamber of Wigs and Head-dresses”
could have been no sinecure. Wigs! Wigs! Wigs! We can imagine them in
the room devoted to them, on shelves, in boxes, and on stands. Upon
this department of his wardrobe the Egyptian spent much time and care.
With head closely shaven, and frequently the chin also divested of all
natural endowment, he had unlimited opportunity to add what he considered
improvement of an artificial character. He wore a manufactured beard,
caps of a striped material, and wigs made both of human hair and sheep’s
wool. The wigs consisted of rows of little curls beginning at different
points and cut round and square. The shorter covered the head or neck,
and the longer lay on the shoulders; a wig in the Berlin museum shows
both short curls and long. In other instances braids and plaits were
preferred to curls. The peculiarity of the Egyptian head was a prominent
back, and this doubtless had to be considered in the shape of the wig
selected. The pages who served the king and queen in their private
apartments often wore a crown of natural flowers.

The women appear usually to have worn the wigs over their own hair,
which sometimes escaped below. It also hung down in two tresses on the
breast, and the young princes wore a side lock before the ear, as did the
youthful god Horus. So much pride did females take in their hair that an
especially fine lock was sometimes cut off and buried with them.

It was all deemed an important subject. A certain Shapsesre of later
time, superintendent at court, a wig-maker by profession, had four
statues of himself made for his tomb, each with a different style of wig!

The king wore a sort of handkerchief, a cap, or a helmet. The white
crown of Upper Egypt was a curious, high, white, conical cap; that of
Lower Egypt was red, had a high, narrow back and a metal ornament bent
obliquely forward. They were, after a time, worn together. The upreared
uraeus or asp was the sign of royalty. The goddess Ra-nu was represented
with the asp which was worn by the queen, with the addition of the
vulture with drooping or outspread wings, the winged sum disk and other
costly head-dresses.

A great stele found at the pyramid of Gizeh is dedicated to the memory
of a princess who, after being a great favorite in the court of Seneferu
and Khufu, was subsequently attached to the private house of Kafra, and
her history seems to run strangely parallel with that of the queen—if she
herself be not intended.

Four or five thousand years before Christ are the dates assigned to this
period. We must grope and work somewhat at random in the reconstruction
of our mosaic. Yet does Queen Mertytefs stand out with a certain
lifelikeness. Imagination plays around her active figure, and she looks
out at us from the shadows, not with languorous, soft glances and
gentle movements, but with vivacity and power in her black eyes and an
attractive and capable face. None but a woman of power and capacity, we
may be sure, could have been “Administrator of the Great Hall.”



The Sixth Dynasty is illustrated by the name of Queen Nitocris. Famed,
and it may be fabled, the obliterating touch of the centuries has yet
spared something of her personality. The “most beautiful and spirited
woman of her time” is the record that comes down to us from very ancient
sources, and “rosy-cheeked” the epithet applied to her. She was the last
sovereign of her dynasty, but first we must glance at a few, less noted,
that preceded her.

Dynasty after dynasty was named according to the great cities of the
provinces, and to the Fifth by some, or by others to the Sixth, was
applied the term Elephantines, from the city of Elephantine, in Syene.
According to certain authorities, the First, Second and Third Dynasties
of Manetho were ruling at This, while his Fourth and Sixth held sway
at Memphis, and during a portion of the time his Fifth at Elephantine,
Ninth at Heliopolis and Eleventh at Thebes or Diospolis. It is almost
impossible to tell which of the families or monarchs were contemporary,
or which ruled in succession. To unravel this tangled skein of history is
beyond the sphere of the present work.

With Manetho’s Second and Fourth Dynasty we reach the testimony of
the monuments, which is perhaps the chief source of information. The
Egyptians painted everything but the hardest and most valuable stone,
and both brush and chisel have furnished something of our partial and
fragmentary story. Our princesses lived in a blaze of color, in radiant
sunshine, and amid rainbow tints, sheltered by walls “lined throughout
with Oriental alabaster and stained with the orange flush of Egyptian

The winged sun disk, as a symbol, makes its appearance for the first
time on monuments of the Fifth Dynasty, a simple disk between two wings
inclining downward. Under the Sixth it was more conventionalized, the
wings were straightened out and the asp added. At one place Pepi I
appears protected on one side by a flying hawk and on the other by a
disk, evidently regarded as equivalent. To the Fifth Dynasty also belong
the precepts of Patah-hotep, which were found in what is called the
“Prisse” papyrus in Paris. “This,” says the script, “is the teaching
of the governor Patah-hotep, under his Majesty, King Assa—long may he
live.” This monarch appears to have been the first Pharaoh of the Fifth
Dynasty and the first who had the two names, the throne and the ordinary
name. The last, Unas, constructed a great truncated pyramid, now called
Mastaba, or “Pharaoh’s seat,” north of the pyramids of Dahshour.

King Shepseskaf, near or at the close of the Fifth Dynasty, who had
been adopted by King Mencheres, gave to a highly favored page in his
household the hand of his eldest daughter, the Princess Maat-kha. Less
frequently than in modern times were foreign alliances sought, and thus
the husband often mounted to a higher rung on the social ladder, or even
to the throne itself, assisted by the hand of his wife.

The first female name that attracts attention in the Sixth Dynasty is
that of Queen Shesh, mother of the king Tete or Pepe. This name occurs in
the Hindoo mythology as that of the king of serpents. Whether she showed
the wisdom attributed to the serpent or not may be questioned. At any
rate we do not find her occupied with matters of state; essentially her
interest lay in domestic affairs, but, even so, her name has come down
to posterity. She invented a world-famed pomade, since, after the lapse
of centuries, we can still read of it. The usual ingredients were the
tooth of a donkey boiled with dog’s foot and dates; but the royal lady
struck out boldly and substituted the hoof for the tooth of the former
beast. And who knows the saving virtues or beautifying qualities of this
compound, which perhaps entitled her majesty to the honors of a Lydia
Pinkham, a blessing to all her sex.

In the Sixth Dynasty were several kings of the name of Pepi or Pepy, and
the long reign of one of them, Pepi-Merira, is much celebrated. According
to the Greeks, it lasted a hundred years. Of his first wife, Antes, we
know nothing but her name; perchance she died early, and probably bore
no sons. His second wife and queen, Merera-Ankes, is more noted; even
the names of her parents have been preserved. Her father Khua, her mother
Neke-bit, and her two sons, Merenra and Nofer-ka-ra, while among the more
extensive ruins is a tomb at Abydos, the last resting place of this queen.

To “go to Abydos” was the equivalent of speaking of a death. It was the
sacred place of the Egyptians, the tomb of Osiris, around which the Isis
and Osiris legends gathered; where Mena of This, the founder of Memphis,
and all the succeeding monarchs of his dynasty were buried. The Step
pyramid at Sakkarah, said to be the oldest, is thought to belong to the
First Dynasty, Medoom to the Third, and Gizeh to the Fourth. The Fifth
Dynasty seems to have been priestly. The oldest dated papyrus of this
period was, in 1893, found at Sakkarah, while the figure of Menkahor was
found at the Serapeum. The Sixth Dynasty was said to be more limited
in power, and some of the minor principalities to have recovered their
independence, while in the latter part of the time civil strife broke
out, and it was followed by a new race till the Eleventh, though some of
the native princes are believed to have still ruled at Memphis.

But to return to the queens. One authority speaks of Queen Amitsi,
“great spouse of the king,” and her mother, the Princess Nibit, who,
of royal blood, transmitted rights to her daughter, which would have
made her heir to the throne in the early part of the Sixth Dynasty.
The brief mention of this queen and of Queen Merera-anknes are not
altogether reconcilable, but may perhaps apply to the same person.
Queen Merera-anknes is said not to have been of royal blood, or if it be
the same lady her claim to high lineage probably came from the mother’s
side. Whatever her origin, she was evidently well appreciated, since even
the names of her relatives were preserved. She at first bore some other
cognomen, but after coronation adopted that by which she is known in
history, and which couples, in a measure, her own and her husband’s. The
inscription on her tomb—on the tablet on which is a figure of Pepi—reads
“royal wife of Merira, great in all things, companion of Horus, mother
of Meren-ra.” There can be little doubt that she was specially devoted
to the service of the gods, and the priests were glad to hand down in
laudatory inscriptions her name and fame to later generations.

There is a mention of Pepi-Merira who “executed works to Hathor” at
Denderah, a temple which shows traces of the hand of various kings
from the earliest to the latest period. The end of this reign was also
distinguished by a festival inaugurating a new period of years, called
“Hib-set, the Festival of the Tail,” on the principle, perhaps, on which
the close of college exercises is called “Commencement,” in which we may
be sure Queen Merari-Anknes bore a distinguished part.

The eldest son, Meren-ra, succeeded his father, but him also his mother
survived, for in the reign of the second son, Nofer-ka-ra, she takes a
prominent position, if not a distinct share in the government, and her
name on the monuments seems to occupy as important a place as does that
of the king.

A sort of Nestor among these royal personages was a certain Una, or U’ne,
a favorite minister of more than one of the sovereigns. He was highly
trusted and employed on various important embassies. His records, saved
from destruction, form a valuable link in the historic chain. He speaks
of Pepi in terms now used by the faithful of the Pope, as “his Holiness.”
He chronicles foreign wars for the extension of territory, expeditions in
search of stone and other materials for the usual duty and pleasure, the
building of the king’s tomb; and last, perhaps most interesting of all
in connection with the queens, the private trial of one of these rulers.
Entese, queen of one of the Pepys, was the person in question. The king
evidently wished not to spread the scandal, whatever it might be, and Una
and one other official were alone present. It is the autobiography of
this somewhat voluble minister which gives us the fragment of the story,
that, like many others, lacks its termination. Perhaps he did not dare
to write the conclusion; perhaps that part of the work has disappeared,
or perhaps when the matter ceased to include himself he lost interest.
We wish, if our final supposition is correct, that this had not been the
case, and we wish also that, knowing so much, we knew a little more;
whether the lady was found innocent or guilty, and whether she was
forgiven or met with a tragic fate.

Says Una: “When the lawsuit was conducted secretly in the royal household
against the great consort, Entese, his Majesty ordered me to appear to
conduct the proceedings—I alone, no chief judge, nor governor, nor prince
was present—I alone, because I was agreeable and pleasant to the heart
of his Majesty, and because his Majesty loved me. I myself, I compiled
the written report—I alone and one single judge belonging to the town
Nechent. Yet formerly my office was only that of a superintendent of the
royal anterior country, and no one in my position had ever in earlier
times heard the secret of the royal household. I alone was excepted; his
Majesty allowed me to hear them, because I was more agreeable to the
heart of his Majesty than all his princes, than all his nobles, and than
all his servants.” The sentences are fairly spangled with “I’s,” all
other capitals being in abeyance. He quite hugs himself, does the good
Una, over his virtues and his honors. He has caught something of the
self-glorifying spirit which distinguished so many of the sovereigns. The
other judge does not seem to count for much; the queen herself is rather
in the background. Yet the naivete of this old world reporter—like that
quality in all ages—is not without its charm.

We are reminded of Pepys in the seventeenth century and of Boswell in
the eighteenth. “Boswell,” said Dr. Johnson, meeting the biographer on
the street, “I have been reading some of your manuscripts. There is a
good deal about yourself in them. They seem to me Youmoirs rather than
Memoirs.” We laugh a little in our sleeves perhaps at this early Jack
Horner, “who put in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and said what a
good boy am I.” But we are grateful for the realistic pictures he gives
us, and feel the touch of a common humanity which, the world over, from
the beginning to the end of time, shows the same virtues and foibles,
whatever its racial characteristics or its national individualities.

So the royal Vashti disappears into the shades and some happier Esther
takes her place. Evidently Entese did not win the favor that did Queen
Merari-anknes; no laudatory inscription on monument or tomb bears her
name as companion of the gods.

The ambition for larger territory and foreign wars seemed to stifle, as
it usually does, the artistic spirit, and few such marvels of sculpture
and portrait statues are attributed to the Sixth Dynasty as have made the
preceding the wonder of all following ages.

A woman’s name illumines this period, and with the beautiful Queen
Nitocris the dynasty comes to an end. Nitocris is not a usual name
in Egyptian history, but we find it occasionally mentioned there and
elsewhere. In later times it was borne by a daughter of Psammetic I,
whose sarcophagus is preserved. Some of the early writers on Egypt,
coming to conclusions hastily from insufficient data and previous to
the more modern discoveries, made a sort of composite photograph of a
queen by combining the brief history of several with some of the more
individual characteristics of the great Hatasu, and called it Nitocris,
but time has shown them to have been mistaken. Two traditions exist—those
derived from Manetho and those of the compilers from the remains at
Abydoh and Sakkarah and the author of the Turin papyrus.

Another celebrated queen of ancient history was called Nitocris, and
about her, too, the clouds of mist and fable enwreathe themselves. This
was Queen Nitocris of Babylon, who lived five hundred generations after
the warlike Semiramis. She turned the course of the Euphrates to make
navigation winding and difficult, that thus the city might be preserved
from the attacks of enemies. She ordered that she should be buried in a
chamber above one of the gates, through which for a long time after none
were willing to pass. She also promised treasure to the king who, in
great necessity and in straits only, should open her sepulchre, but when
at last Darius sought to avail himself of this he merely found an abusive
sentence for disturbing her.

The Egyptian Nitocris, according to Herodotus, who derived his tradition
from Manetho, lived 3066 years B. C., while to her dynasty he assigned
206 years, but the Turin papyrus and other records disprove this last.
These dates, if bearing any relation to fact (for upon this point
authorities differ so widely), seem almost like the astonishing figures
with which the astronomer leads us from world to world in his celestial
researches, and our imagination finds difficulty in grasping such
periods, nor is it strange that they are so seriously questioned by many

Queen Nitocris’ name appears among a list of three hundred and thirty
monarchs, and the duration of her reign is said to have been twelve
years. A sort of Cinderella legend attaches to her. An eagle carried off
the sandal of the beautiful maiden and dropped it before the prince, who
was sitting in an open air court in his office as judge. At once he was
fired with a desire to find the owner of that bewitching slipper, who
when found became the royal consort.

In the earliest times, as before mentioned, even the noblest in the land
wore no foot-covering within doors, and though sandals were more common
later, under the New Empire they were frequently carried by an attendant
slave and always put off in the presence of superiors. They were made
of leather or papyrus, with straps passing over the instep, and between
the toes, and occasionally a third strap to support the heel. Sometimes,
especially for solemn occasions, they were made with a peak turning up
in front, like Italian shoes of the fourteenth century, and as time went
on were turned up at the side (having at first only consisted of a flat
sole) and assumed more the shape of moccasins or regular slippers and

With her extensive wig, skimp linen robe, and bare feet or turned
up sandals, the lady of long ago seems to us a curious figure. The
Egyptians, to use modern slang, were extremely fond of “sitting upon
people,” tables and chairs were upheld by the forms of carven captives
and even the royal lady’s dainty foot sometimes pressed the painted
image of a slave, as the soles were occasionally lined with cloth and so
decorated. Specimen of the papyrus sandals may be seen in many museums,
among them Berlin, the Salt collection at Alnwick Castle, the New York
Historical Society and other places.

With Cleopatra, Mary Stuart and such world-wide charmers ranks perhaps
this celebrated beauty of the earliest times. Of her ancestry we know
nothing. Fair hair, rosy cheeks and light complexion seem scarcely to
suggest the Egyptian type; yet there is mention made of an occasional
instance of fair hair, and the complexions were often a clear,
light yellow, growing darker as one went southward. So as a blonde,
high-spirited, bewitching, beautiful and vengeful, Nitocris stands before
us. Nit-a-ker, “the perfect Nit,” as she is styled in the much injured
“Book of the Kings” in the Turin papyrus, where some say two of this
name are mentioned. A great contrast we feel her to be, in appearance
at least, to Queen Mertytefs; yet both were able women who left their
mark on their generation. Like others her name is variously rendered as
Nitocris—the best known appellation—Nitokris, the former from the Greek
Nitaquert, (Egyptian) Neit-go-ri, or Neit-a-cri.

Her chief claim to remembrance lies in the building of a third pyramid,
or more accurately the re-building of one, that of Mankaura or Mencheres.
Says Rawlinson, “If Nitocris is really to be regarded as the finisher of
the edifice, she must be considered a great queen, one of the few who
have left their mark upon the world by the construction of a really great

She placed a most beautiful casement, or revetement, of Syenitic granite
upon the unfinished pyramid of Men-kau-ra, begun a thousand years before,
and so important was her part that the whole erection has been sometimes
credited to her. She perhaps left the body of Men-kau-ra in a lower
chamber, and ordered her own, in a blue basalt sarcophagus, to be placed
above. The fine basalt sarcophagus found in this pyramid is said to be

Part of that of Men-kau-ra which was being carried off to England, was
lost in a vessel wrecked near Gibraltar. The cover of the sarcophagus,
with a prayer to Osiris upon it, is in the British Museum. It reads “O
Osiris who has become king of Egypt. Majesty living eternally, child
of Olympus, son of Urania. Heir of Kronos, over thee may she stretch
herself, and cover thee, thy divine mother, Urania, in her name as
Mistress of heaven. May she grant that thou should’st be like God, free
from all evils. King Majesty, living eternally.” The attenuated remains
of Men-kau-ra have been placed in one of the museums and the picture
taken of them is in all the collections of Egyptian kings, seeming to
verify the truth that “man is but a shadow.” There is a story that the
mummy or a wood-gilt image of the daughter of Men-ka-ra was placed in the
figure of a cow in a funeral chamber in Sais.

The cartouche of Queen Nitocris, with its encircling arabesque, stands
beside that of her husband, in the long list of Manetho. His name is
given as Nefer-ka-ra, and as Me-tes-ou-phis II, the question whether
he was her brother or not remains unsettled. On the king’s death the
queen succeeded as a matter of course, but either her husband or another
brother was murdered, probably by political adversaries, and her death
followed as a result of his. If it was her husband that she avenged
the desire for the destruction of his enemies long smouldered in her
breast. She built a hall of great dimensions and doubtless beauty, below
the level of the Nile and invited the murderers to a feast within its
walls. To disguise her purpose and lull suspicions must have taxed all
her powers and fascinations. Fish, beef, kids, gazelles, geese, pasties,
condiments and sweets of all sorts loaded the table. The guests sat,
rather than reclined, as in many Eastern countries, at the board. Beer is
said to be as old as the Fourth Dynasty and that and palm wine probably
flowed freely. As at the present day paste of almonds may have been mixed
with the Nile water to purify it, and wine and water stood in porous
jars, cooling by the process of evaporation, an attendant slave fanning
the vessels to hasten the effect. Flowers decorated everything, hung in
garlands and wreathed about the table, the water jars, and the persons of
the guests.

Darkness quickly follows daylight in Egypt, but it was probably at night
that the feast occurred. Music accompanied the festival, harps, flutes
and other instruments and dancing girls and jugglers added entertainment
and zest to the passing hour. Then, with a warning which was little
suspected, a small painted and gilded image of a mummy was carried
round among the mirthful crowd. Says Plutarch, “The skeleton which
the Egyptians appropriately introduce at their banquets, exhorting the
guests to remember that they shall soon be like him, though he comes
as an unwelcome and unseasonable boon-companion, is nevertheless, in a
certain sense, seasonable, if he exhorts them not to drink and indulge in
pleasure, but to cultivate mutual friendship and affection, and not to
render life, which is short in duration, long, by evil deeds.”

Possibly Nitocris shared the feast, beautiful and gracious, resplendent
in jewels and glowing with the fire of an intense internal and suppressed
excitement, such as a man may feel when he goes into battle. Not one
moment did she repent of her fearful scheme though she may well have
foreseen that she herself would probably fall a victim. Possibly she
shared the feast and left them to their revels, or her position as queen
may have made it derogatory to her dignity to be present, but by her
orders the waters of the great river were let in upon them and they were
drowned. Many lives perhaps for one.

But they were probably powerful nobles, with families and numerous
adherents and the queen feared the consequences of her act and preferred
to take her own life than trust to the mercy of their avengers. She is
said to have smothered herself with the fumes of ashes, a noble form of
self-destruction or so considered, like the Japanese hari-kari, but as
this was a Persian custom the story may belong to that period.

So ended the career of this beautiful and celebrated queen, called “the
Minerva Vietrix” of her time, “Neith the victorious,” and it is to be
inferred that the Sixth Dynasty closed with a period of convulsions.
The Arabs believe that the queen still haunts (a sort of Lorelei) the
vicinity of her pyramid, in the form of a naked woman, of such beauty
that all men who see her must needs fall in love with her and lose
their wits. Avenger, murderer, suicide, syren—all these characters are
attributed to her, but it is the image rather of the fair, innocent,
rosy-cheeked, beautiful young queen that the centuries have crystallized
and preserved for us.

Memphis had in previous reigns been the greatest city in Egypt, but now
others contested its claim, nevertheless it seems likely that it was
the scene of Queen Nitocris’ tragic fate. Some one has described Egypt
as a green belt, four miles wide, the Nile like a silver band, and the
cities on its borders like precious stones, and the river swept on, as
Leigh Hunt expressed it, “like a great purpose threading a dream,” swept
silently by, the giver of life and of death, the god beloved, worshipped
and adored, while the beautiful queen died and was buried, and the city
waned in prominence and power, and a new metropolis grew in strength and
magnificence and new dynasties lorded it over the land.



Spirit seems to have especially distinguished those queens who have made
their way up through the mists of oblivion which lie so heavily and
darkly over many centuries of the Egyptian chronology. No vast library
remains for us to turn to and in direct sequence acquaint ourselves with
the early history of this land and people. Broken monuments and tombs and
half obliterated fragments of papyrus alone tell the story.

Hence from the Sixth to the Twelfth Dynasty, during which period these
sources of information are notably lacking, no queen’s name appears. One
authority says that the register of the queen’s expenses for servants,
etc., in the Eleventh Dynasty, has been found, but no special name seems
to be connected with the list; and our knowledge of this time is very
meagre. An embalmed figure of the Lady Ament, priestess of Hathor, the
Egyptian Venus, has been credited to the Eleventh Dynasty. She is robed
in tissues as fine as lawn, with sandals in wood and leather fastened on
by worked bands. She wears a woven collar of pearls, in glass, gold and
silver, and has silver rings on her hands. Silver being then scarcer than
gold was esteemed even more highly. This Eleventh Dynasty was of the
Entef line, and, says Miss Edwards: “A mummy case of the Eleventh Dynasty
differs as much from the mummy case of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty as the
recumbent effigy of a crusader in chain-mail differs from the periwigged
memorial statue of the Queen Anne period.”

Interesting “finds” of this same dynasty are well preserved wooden boats
which had been used for the transportation of the dead and were exhumed
from the sand. Some are in the Museum of Cairo, some have been bought
for the collection in our own Chicago, and more from this region are
doubtless to be seen in various museums, gathered from the Dahshour
pyramids and other places.

With the Twelfth Dynasty Egypt seemed to wake to a new life in many
respects and the arts, which had deteriorated and languished, again
flourished. Says one traveller, surveying the remains of this and
other famous epochs, “Egypt has given me a new insight into that vital
beauty which is the soul of true art.” Another, speaking of the special
sculpture of this time, writes “This school represents the heroic age of
Egyptian sculpture. It lacks the startling naturalism of the school of
the Pyramid period, it never aspired to the great scale of the Eighteenth
and Nineteenth Dynasties, but it excels all in monumental majesty, and
not only the artist’s work, but the craftsman’s skill is seen at its best
during this age. No details are so finely cut, no surfaces glow with so
lustrous and indescribable a polish as those wrought by the lapidaries
of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. They finished their colossi as
fastidiously as a gem engraver finished a cameo. They even polished the
sunk surfaces of their hieroglyphics in incuse inscriptions.” In short,
“they worked like Titans and polished like jewellers.”

The monarchs of this generation, a noted race, gained new territory, and
in various ways sought to improve the internal condition of their kingdom
as well, while life, to the favored, became more luxurious.

There are those who hold the opinion that the divisions of the dynasties
are in some way connected with the reigns of the queens. Had that of
Nitocris immediately preceded that of Sebek-nefru-Ra, the fact that both
the Sixth and Twelfth ended with a queen might have given some color
to the idea, but there do not seem sufficient data to warrant any such

Ancient Egyptian history has been divided by some into three periods,
the Old, the Middle, and the New Empire, while others merely divide into
the Old and the New, including the Middle with the first. By the former
classification the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Dynasties are included under
the Old Empire, the Twelfth and Thirteenth under the Middle and the
Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth under the New. So that our course
of investigation has now reached the Middle period. Of the previous and
subsequent dynasties, those for some time before and after the Twelfth
the absence of monumental and other relics leave the history almost a
blank. The Twelfth is said to have lasted over two hundred years and
later Egyptians looked back to it as a period of National glory when
they were governed by wise rulers, literature and art flourished and the
language of the time was regarded as a standard of good writing.

Says a writer in “Monumental Records”: “Thanks to the effects of M. de
Morgan and his co-workers in the Nile valley we know much more about
Egypt and that wonderful Twelfth Dynasty, which flourished so many
centuries before Christ, than we do of the history of England’s kings
up to the time of Alfred the Great. The Egyptian Empire through all its
dynasties, certainly up to the Twelfth, on which the labors of M. de
Morgan at Dahshour throw so much light, consisted of three estates, the
Monarch, the Army and the Church. As the king’s authority came through
the gods his will was, in theory, absolute and his spoken or written
desires became laws; but in fact his education from the cradle was
directed and his whole reign dominated by the power of a well-organized,
patriotic priesthood. The army was made up of the farmers and workers,
every soldier being granted about eight acres of land for his family
which he could commute at his wish, the physical training of the
individual was scientific and the tactics suited to the warlike weapons
of the age arouse the admiration and amazement of the foremost soldiers
of our own time. But the priests were the power behind the throne, and
before the people, and, as a rule, this power was wisely used. The
priests established schools near the temples, they founded and fostered
engineering and the mechanical arts; they wrote books; they encouraged
the fine arts; and with the growth of wealth they sought to restrain the
corrupting influences of luxury.”

The same writer also draws attention to the fact that in the mural
paintings which tell us so much of the daily lives of the people the high
esteem in which women were held is to be everywhere noted.

Dynasty Twelfth began with Amenemhat I of the Theban line which now ruled
all Egypt and of which the red granite temple, whose remains have been
found at Tanis, has been called a family portrait gallery. The type shown
in a fine, though of course mutilated statue of this king, to this day
characterizes Upper Egypt. He wears the tall head-dress of Osiris and is
described as having “a large smiling face, thick lips, short nose and big
staring eyes,” with a benevolent, gentle expression. Miss Edwards gives
further particulars, “The cheek bones are high, the eyes prominent and
heavy lidded, the nostril open; the lips full, smiling and defined by a
slight ridge at the edges; the frontal bone is wide and the chin small
and shapely.” The statue was found in the ruins of Tanis and many relics
from there are in the museum at Turin. There is also a head of Usertesen
bearing resemblance to the former, but less attractive, though equally
smiling and amiable in expression. In later times Rameses, the Great, but
also the Despoiler, cut his own inscriptions on these and other statues
and ruthlessly appropriated the material of older temples to carry out
his own architectural plans.

The museum of the London Universary possesses the blue lettered portal
of the tomb of Amenemhat, son of Hor-ho-tep and his mother Erdus. Near
Silsileh is a tablet on which we see a queen behind Neb-kher-ra and we
read of “The royal mother his beloved Aah,” of the Eleventh or Twelfth
Dynasty. A certain queen, Mentu-hotep, is known by her coffin and
toilette box and there is a copy of an inscription, now destroyed, which
reads “Great royal wife Mentu-hotep, begotten of the vizier the keeper of
the palace, Semb-hena-f, born of the heiress Sebek-hotep.” So that this
royal lady was not of foreign lineage, but probably of princely blood by
the mother’s side. A certain Prince Heru-nefer is mentioned as the son of
King Menhotep and the “great royal wife,” Shertsat; while at Kha-taneh we
find record of Queen Sent, heiress, royal wife and royal mother. Almost
empty names which give to their bearers but little individuality.

Amenemhat I associated with him as co-regent his son Ousertesen, or
Usertesen I, as in after years his descendant Thothmes I did his daughter
Hatasu, and Usestesen succeeded his father. For this son, apparently
much beloved, Amenemhat wrote a series of “Instructions” which have been
preserved and form an interesting page in the history of the time. We are
reminded of Lord Chesterfield’s Letters to his son, though the former
deal with different subjects than manners and deportment, and Usertesen
was an abler man and better repaid his father’s interest than did the
youthful Chesterfield. This treatise contained the usual self-glorifying
records. “I conquered the Ethiopians. I led the Lybians. I made the
Asiatics run before me like greyhounds.”

From the pictures in the grottoes of Benee or Beni Hasan, by the Arabs
called “Stahl Haman, Pigion Stable,” which are sixty feet square and
forty high, impressive ruins, we view the plain of Siout and gain much
of our knowledge of these times. They were rock tombs in the face of the
mountain above the level of the Nile, containing memorials of a series of
ministers of State to the early monarchs of this race, perhaps favored
and appreciated as U’na of the Sixth Dynasty. The power of the nobles
seems to have been greater, the kings less autocratic than at an earlier

Palms, sycamores, fragrant acasias, mimosas and acanthus grow around
Siout and the air is fragrant with the rich odor of flowers. Bayard
Taylor thus describes the view of the plain of Siout viewed from these
grotto tombs. “Seen through the entrance it has a magical effect. From
the grey twilight of the hall in which you stand, the green of the
fields, the purple of the distant mountains and the blue of the sky
dazzle your eyes as if tinged with the broken rays of a prism.”

Of Amenemhat’s wife and Usertesen’s mother there seems no trace.
Usertisen I had a brilliant reign, to which the obelisk remaining at
Heliopolis, the fragments of statues at Tanis and the inscriptions in
the Sienaitic peninsula bear witness—some of these last are in the
Naples museum. It is a curious detail that at the obelisk of Heliopolis
it is said that the inscriptions on three sides, deeply cut, are
almost obliterated by the cells of bees, which have made nests in the

A great father was succeeded by a lesser son in Amenemhat II, of whose
wife there is little or no record. His son, Usertesen II, was the builder
of the pyramid of Illahun, where comparatively recent discoveries,
those of M. de Morgan in 1892-3-4 have brought to light various remains
of this period and the belongings of the sisters, wives and daughters
of the Amenemhats and Usertesens. Tombs, robbed and despoiled in the
time of the Hyksos and the Eighteenth Dynasty, yet yielded to the more
careful research of later explorations hidden treasures, workmen’s tools
of various sorts, and the ornaments, etc., of these long ago queens
and princesses. This is often of the finest quality and equals if not
excels, in the skill of the craftsman, that earlier discovered elsewhere,
belonging to the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Usertesen II had a wife named Nofrit or Nefert. The Gizeh museum has a
statue of her, in granite, in the general character of the sculpture of
the Tanite school. It goes almost without saying that it is mutilated,
the eyes formerly inlaid, have fallen out, the bronze eyelids are
lost, the arms have disappeared, but enough remains to show a young
and beautiful woman, the fine outlines of whose youthful form are seen
through the usual narrow linen robe. The head is adorned, or disfigured,
with the heavy wig worn by the goddess Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, of
which two enormous tresses surround the cheeks and curl outward on the
breasts. The queen also wears on her bosom a pectoral or ornament bearing
the name of her husband. Her titles are “Hereditary princess,” perhaps
the daughter of the former king, “the great favorite, the highly praised,
the beloved consort of the king, the ruler of all women, the king’s
daughter of his body, Nefert.” The title ruler or princess is peculiar
and suggests some prerogative of the government of the female half of
the population. Maspero believes that a statue of this same queen may be
found in the collection now in Marseilles.

Usertesen II and Queen Nefert seem to have been blessed with a number of
children and various daughters’ names are given, Atmu-neferu, Sat-hathor
and Sent-s-senb. In the subterranean chamber at Dashur or Dahshour, in
the pyramid of Illahur, the tomb of Usertesen II, before referred to, was
found a chest for Canopic jars and vases for perfumes, dishes of fowl,
wheat grains, a table for writing, a white swan carved in wood, canes and
jewelry, crowns, diadems and a gold vulture. The aperture in the ceiling
above beings closed by a stone had escaped the notice of the earlier
depredators whose purpose was in no way the cause of science. Contrary to
the usage of the Old Empire, but in conformity with that of the Twelfth
Dynasty, these sepulchral chambers do not contain the carved names of the
sovereign proprietors, but these are learned from texts on the wooden
coffins and on vases. We have the tombs of the Princess Iza and Knumit,
the tomb of Prince Khuma-Nub and the tombs of the Princess Sit-hat and
Ita-Qurt, “issues of royal blood” of the family of Amenhotep II. Of the
Amenemhats we have a list of the sisters, wives and daughters, Queen
Sonit, of whom there is a statuette in black granite, Nofirhonit, Soubit,
Sithathor and Monit, names only of whose private history nothing remains
to us.

The Princesses Knumit and Iza left much jewelry; the former, probably
the daughter of Amenemhat II, was evidently the more important person,
with the richer treasures. Among the rest a large necklace with beads of
silver, gold, carnelian, emerald, lapis-lazuli and hieroglyphic signs in
gold, crusted with precious stones. These were in sheathing of painted
and gilded paste, through which some of the network and jewels had
escaped. There was also a crown of lotus flowers, of jewelry, which was
so arranged that the wearer could place in it various plumes or feathers,
to be changed at pleasure.

Henut-tani was the queen of Usertesen III, the conqueror of Nubia, and
she was called queen consort, but not royal mother. Queen Merseker and
Queen Haankn’s are also mentioned as queens of the Usertesens. And the
queens and princesses were frequently priestesses to Nit or Hathor.

The temple of Kounah built by Amenhotep III is said to have contained 700
statues of the lion-headed goddess Seckmet, but they were rather the work
of the artisan than the artist and far below the level of the sculpture
of this period. There is a bust of Amenemhat III at St. Petersburgh. His
reign was distinguished by the construction of Lake Moeris, an artificial
reservoir of which traces yet remain, and of the great Labyrinth whose
purpose has not been made clear, but the ruins of which were discovered
by Dr. Lepsius, in the Prussian Expedition to Egypt. Lake Moeris, with
its network of canals, made all the land of the flat basin of the Fayum
a fertile garden and the fisheries of the lake were of great value and
formed part of the revenues of the queen.

It was a period of wealth and luxury. All the furniture, rosewood from
India, ebony from the far south, cedar from the slopes of Lebanon, and
pine from Syria was exquisitely carved. The walls were frescoed and
painted, decorated with vases for flowers and perfumes and with an altar
for unburnt offerings, and the rooms were in suites of chambers, sitting
rooms, and bath. The roof was flat, generally shaded with awning, and
hosts and guests could sit or lie upon it and enjoy the air and the view.

“The opulent Egyptian,” says Monumental Records, “of the time of
Amenemhat II had his country seat, like our modern prince. Its
high-walled garden was watered by a canal leading from the Nile. Along
the sides of this canal were walks shaded by the yellow blossomed acacia,
the sycamore and the Theban palm. In the centre of the garden was a
vineyard, the branches trained over trellis work and so forming a rustic
boudoir, with broad green leaves and clusters of red grapes on the walls.
At one end of the garden stood a summer house or kiosk; in front of this
was a pond covered with broad leaves and blue flowers of the lotus,
through which water fowl sported. This pond was stocked with fish and
the host invited his guest to join him in spearing or angling. Adjoining
this were the stables and coach houses, with a park near by, in which
gazelles were bred for coursing—for the gentry of old Egypt were lovers
of the chase. In hunting wild ducks they made use of decoys and trained
cats to retrieve. They speared hippopotami in the Nile and hunted lions
in the desert with dogs. They were pigeon-fanciers and were proud of
rare varieties.” In short one is “amazed to see in studying their social
enjoyments their resemblance to our own.”

The goddess Bast in the time of the ancient Empire was represented with
the head of a lioness and only in the Twelfth with that of a cat. The cat
and Dongalese dog were first represented on the walls of Beni-Hasan in
the time of the raids of the kings into Kush or Ethiopia, the Usertesens
and Amenemhats. There are cat cemeteries belonging to this time where
the skulls are larger than those of our common cats and also where the
animals had been cremated, while in Upper Egypt, in the Fayum, they were
found mummified and bandaged.

This dynasty closes, as did the Sixth, with a queen. Little as we know
of her she was a ruling monarch and gives her name to this chapter, as
she appears to have been the only one of this race who actually swayed
the sceptre in her own right. She was the daughter of Amenemhat III and
probably sister and wife of Amenemhat IV, whom she succeeded. As her
name takes precedence of his on the monuments they probably did not
have the same mother and hers may have been of higher lineage than his.
Queen Sebek-nefru-ra, or Sorknofrituri, is known chiefly from the traces
of her short reign found near Illahun, fragments of pillars bearing her
name beside the pre-nomen of her father. These or some portion of them
are to be seen in the British Museum. According to the Turin papyrus she
reigned three years, eight months and eighteen days, but no tradition has
come down to us of her appearance or personality and no romance or tragic
story of her life or fate.

Amenemhat III had also another daughter, Phat-neferu, who probably died
before her sister and was buried beside her father. Memorials of her are
an alabaster altar, a block of black granite, with names and titles and a
broken dish, inscribed “King’s daughter, Ptah-neferu.” A sphinx of grey
granite is thought to be Queen Sebek-nefrura, because different from the
others, which is of course not very conclusive proof and at Hawara her
name occurs as often as that of her father on columns and blocks, and
there is a cylinder of white schist, glazed blue, of unusual size and
bearing all her titles, also a scarab. But it is but little after all
that we know of her.

A romance has been discovered of this dynasty in the earlier period, in
a story of which a beginning is found on a piece of broken limestone,
the end of the tale having been for some time previously preserved
on a papyrus in the Berlin Museum. Probably it was a favorite piece
of literature, like the adventures of Robinson Crusoe to the English
speaking world, and might have been found in various forms. A certain
Senebat, an Egyptian, having overheard a state secret and fearing that
if this were discovered his life might pay the forfeit, fled to Syria.
Wandering in the desert and almost dying of thirst he was found by some
of the wild tribes, saved and adopted by them and in time rose to the
rank of chief. But homesickness at last overtook him and he sent an
appeal to the Egyptian king for permission to return. He was then invited
to court, where he wrote a curious account of his adventures and the
manners and customs of the Bedouins. He was much honored, being received
by the queen and family while the royal daughters performed a dance and
sang a chorus of praise to the king. The monarch even distinguished him
by taking an interest in the tomb which he prepared and at the end of a
sort of triumphal song, Senebat, says, “I was in favor with the king to
the day of his death.”

The Twelfth Dynasty is also interesting to us as being contemporaneous
with the birth of the Jewish nation, the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

A stele bears the names of the daughters or aunts of the deceased king
Sebek-hotep II adoring Min, and their names are Anhetabu and Anget-dudu,
born of Queen Nen-na. The parents of Sebek-hotep II are spoken of as “the
divine father Men-tuhotep III” and royal mother, Anhet-abu, after whom
evidently one of the daughters or grand-daughters was called. The name
Sebek-hotep was a favorite. The father of Nefer-hotep and Sebek-hotep III
was Ha’ankh’s, his mother Kema, his wife Sebsen and he had four royal
children. A statement of facts probably, but with little accompanying
detail. Sebek-hotep IV had for his queen Nub-em-hat and his daughter was
Sebek-emhat, and there is a certain Pernub, probably of this family,
descended from Queen Ha’ankh’s.

Queen Nub’kha’s was the wife of Sebek-em-saf, whose tomb was among
those discovered in 1881. It was first rifled in the Twentieth Dynasty
and is referred to in papyrus of the time of Rameses IX, of which the
Amherst and Abbott papyrus give accounts. Like so many of the queens
our only knowledge of her is from her tomb and that from the deposition
of the robber who violated it, which is thus given. “It (the tomb) was
surrounded by masonry and covered with roofing stone. We demolished it
and found them (the king and queen) reposing therein. We found the august
king with his divine axe beside him and his amulets and ornaments of gold
about his neck. His head was covered with gold and his august person
was entirely adorned with gold. His coffins were overlaid with gold
and silver within and without and incrusted with all kinds of precious
stones. We took the gold which we found upon the sacred person of this
god, as also his amulets and the ornaments which were about his neck
and the coffins in which he reposed. And having found the royal wife we
took all that we found upon her, in the same manner and we set fire to
their mummy cases and we seized upon the furniture, their vases of gold
and silver and bronze, and we divided them among ourselves.” Death was
deservedly the penalty for such offences, but probably the sinner felt a
certain relief in making a “clean breast” of it, or perhaps fancied in
some strange way that his wicked exploit conferred a sort of distinction
upon him.

A stele gives the genealogy of this queen as daughter of the chief of the
judges Sebek-dudu, who, rich or poor man, had four wives. The queen is
called on a stele in the Louvre “great heiress the greatly favored, the
ruler of all women, united to the crown,” thus showing that the kings
did not always marry princesses. In the Fourteenth Dynasty, up to this
writing, no queen’s name has been discovered. Weaker rulers followed, and
thus Asiatic invaders, the Hyksos, an alien race, mistakenly supposed by
Josephus to be Hebrews, were able to overpower and usurp the government,
ruling in some places simultaneously with, and in others expelling the
native sovereigns. They were called shepherd kings or princes. Some of
their statues remain, but as they were frequently re-inscribed by later
kings, there is doubt about some of them. All traces of the queens are,
so far, lost during this period. Whether these strange invaders kept
their women in the seclusion usual in the East or whether once existing
relics have been destroyed, we know not. Beside the few portrait statues
of the kings no royal consort appears, and they are of a different style
of art. Joseph is thought to have been the prime minister of one of the
Hyksos rulers and an inscription found which reads: “A famine having
broken out during many years I gave corn to the towns during each
famine,” is believed by some to relate to him. But it was not the wont
of the Egyptian monarchs to celebrate the achievements of their slaves
and such early memorials, if existing, would probably have been destroyed
when the Hebrew race was enslaved by their oppressors.

Petrie gives the approximate dates of 2821 B. C. to 1928 B. C. for these
various reigns.



Between the Fourteenth Dynasty, of which we last spoke, and the
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Dynasties, to which this chapter brings us,
occurs the third chasm in the monuments, and as they are the chief
dependence in learning the history of Egypt, the information in regard
to this intervening period is very meagre. Egypt was ruled with special
favor shown to the central portion, and weaker monarchs had succeeded the
great Amenemhats and Usertesens. Foreigners, the so-called Hyksos, or
Shepherd Kings, overran and took possession of the country and conquered
it, almost without battles, proceeding later to destroy the temples and
kill the inhabitants.

Among these kings’ names are that of Salatis, or Shaloti, and a certain
Apepi, of the Turanian type, a bust of whom is in the British Museum, and
another at Gizeh, while it is to one of these rulers that Joseph is by
some believed to have been the favored minister, but, as has been said
before, no queen appears amongst them.

After the lapse of five hundred years Egypt awoke from its partial
lethargy and, throwing off the yoke of these invaders, asserted its
independence under a line of native rulers. Battles were fought and
won, and the Theban princes again held sway. King Ta’a ruled, perhaps
tributary to the Hyksos, revolted and partially liberated himself from
thral, but it remained to his descendant Aahmes to completely accomplish
this object. It seemed somewhat characteristic of the Egyptian monarchs
that they did not know how to hold their conquered territory. Again and
again they won battles and subjected foreign peoples only to lose what
they had gained, to be once more fought for by their warlike successors.

The divisions into dynasties is said not to have been made by the
Egyptians themselves, but to have been used by historians for the greater
convenience of indicating the families who, together or in succession,
held the sceptre.

No woman’s strength had been able to struggle up through the previous
oblivion, but she now once more takes her place beside the king and
shares with him honors, both divine and human. “Divine spouse,” a term
not used before, is applied to the queens of this era, who were regarded
as the mothers of the race and worshipped for generations after.

It was sometimes inscribed on the monuments in Egypt that “the sons of
Misr” were all born equal, but this had about the same relation to facts
that the vaunted “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” sometimes bore. In
the Twelfth Dynasty, below the crown and royal family came, first, the
class of priests; second, the soldiers; third, the husbandmen, gardeners,
huntsmen and boatmen; fourth, tradesmen, shopkeepers, artificers in stone
and metal, boat builders, stone masons and public weighers; fifth,
shepherds, poulterers, fishermen, fowlers, laborers and the people at
large—distinctly a succession of classes. Laborers wore only an apron and
short trousers of coarse woven grass cloth.

The times were changing; this we learn from the numerous remains of this
period, on the sculptured and painted monuments and the papyri, of which
many have been discovered. The temples were growing in importance and the
kings were buried more in grottoes than, as formerly, in monuments. The
military man succeeded the farmer, and the priests gained in power. The
wall paintings give pictures of festivals, with music and dancing, and
less of the agricultural life previously so much dwelt upon.

It is interesting to know that the horse, in so many countries the useful
and often beloved companion of man, seems to have been first introduced
into Egypt in the Eighteenth Dynasty. After that he often figures in
battles, and draws the state chariot in which both kings and queens
take their pleasure. On the wall of a tomb at Thebes, that of a certain
Hui of the Eighteenth Dynasty, is the picture of a queen drawn by two
piebald bulls, like the modern Abyssinian breed. This, presumably, is
just before the period when horses were in general use. To this time
is also attributed the introduction of the pomegranate, the beautiful
Eastern fruit of which poets have often sung; and earrings were then said
to be added to the previous list of adornments, as the result of foreign
example—they first took the shape of broad disks, and later, under the
Twentieth Dynasty, became large rings.

In the Seventeenth Dynasty we have mention of a Queen Ansera. Of her
private history we know nothing, but after her death she extended her
hospitality to a number of her royal connections, for the great discovery
in the summer of 1881 brought to light the mummies of many kings and
queens gathered together in her tomb. Among these were the celebrated
King Rameses II, by some thought to be the oppressor of the Israelites;
Queen Aahmes-Nefertari, first of the Eighteenth Dynasty; Queen
Merit-Amen, Queen Hout-timoo-hoo and Queen Sitka, also belonging to this
dynasty, besides others of later date.

A certain confusion for a long time existed between the two queens,
Aah-hotep and Aahmes-Nefertari, but the late history of Professors
Petrie and Mahaffy has rendered the details of this period somewhat
clearer. Different authorities have varied the name and spelling of Queen
Aah-hotep. Thus we have in addition to the spelling above given, Aahotep,
Aah-hetep or Ahhot-pou. It has the pretty meaning, “gift of the moon,”
and she seems to have been a Theban princess, and first to have married
an Egyptian, perhaps not of royal rank, and then Seqenenra, whose mummy
has been found, showing that he had been wounded in battle. He was of
the Berber type—tall, slender and vigorous, with small, long head and
fine black hair. The reasons for this chronology are said not to be very
strong. Aahmes was perhaps son of the first, Nefertari, daughter of the
second, so the lawful heir, and Aahmes thus married his half-sister.
If Kames, at first thought to be the husband and later the son of Queen
Aah-hotep, was the elder brother, he had a short reign, followed by
Aahmes and Nefertari.

Queen Aah-hotep had several children and was a wonderful woman, according
to some accounts, with the longevity of a Mertytefs. A Theban stele of
Kames shows that in the tenth year of Amen-hotep I, that Aah-hotep, the
royal mother, was still active, revered and honored, taking a share
in the government and perhaps regent in the absence of the king, at
eighty-eight years of age, and she seems still to have been alive during
the reign of Tahutmes or Thothmes I. Hence she had seen the whole of the
revolution which again set the native princes upon the throne, during the
reigns of son, grandson and great grandson. Petrie says of her, she was
“one of the great queens of Egyptian history, important as the historic
link of the dynasties and revered along with her still more celebrated
and honored daughter, Nefertari.” Peculiarly close, and perhaps
personally tender, relations seem to have existed between these two, who
were both mother and daughter and mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. And
children and grandchildren appear to have paid highest respect to Queen

The esteem of the son for his mother in the time of the Old Empire seems
to have been great, as the Frenchman of to-day is said to be especially
devoted to his. The family groups representing the living or dead, and
sometimes both, frequently give the king, his wife and his mother, while
the father rarely appears; though this is probably more apt to be the
case when the royal dignity has descended on the maternal rather than the
paternal side.

Queen Aah-hotep was evidently much beloved by her martial son and
grandsons, for the latter lavished upon her dead body all sorts of
jewelry and ornaments to be buried with her. This large collection has
been found and preserved, and, until the discovery of the parure of some
of the princesses of the Twelfth Dynasty, was the finest specimen of
the skill of the Egyptian craftsman that had come down to modern times.
The body was found in the ancient necropolis of No, buried only a few
feet below the surface. This, of course, was not the original place of
sepulture, where the latest authorities believe it was placed, not by the
Arab plunderers of the other royal tombs, but by pious hands, to preserve
it from destruction, in the unsettled state of the country. Brugsch thus
describes it: “The cover of the coffin had the shape of a mummy and
was gilt above and below. The royal asp decked the brow. The white of
the eye is represented by quartz and the pupils by black glass. A rich
imitation necklace covers the breast and shoulders; the uræus serpent
and the vulture—the holy symbols of the Upper and Lower land of Kemi—lie
below the necklace. A closed pair of wings seem to protect the rest of
the body. At the soles of the feet stand the statues of the mourning
goddesses, Isis and Nepththys. The inscription in the middle row gives us
the queen Aah-hotep, as servant of the moon.”

The mummy of Queen Aah-hotep was discovered by rummaging Arabs in
1860, but was captured and confiscated by the authorities, who opened
the coffin and took away what it contained. The rumor of this theft
had spread, and Mariette, the great Egyptologist, who was in charge
of the museum at Boulak, put his hand on the coffin and the jewels,
but was not able to save them all. He believed that the queen was not
originally buried where the Arabs discovered her, but thinks that towards
the close of the Twentieth Dynasty she had been carried off by bands
of robbers, spoken of in the Abbott papyrus, and hidden by them to
despoil at leisure. Their design, however, was frustrated, as they were
probably caught and executed, and their secret perished with them, until
rediscovered hundreds of years later. As may be seen, the theories of
the authorities on these subjects differ somewhat, as is so frequently
the case. But to the latest researches and opinions perhaps should be
attached the greatest weight, since they have the advantage of their
predecessors’ views and the benefit of the most modern discoveries.

A fine illustration of female clothing and adornment is given in the
standing statue of the Dame or Lady “Takarshit.” She wears a short wig,
in rows of curls, and an embroidered band across her head, a very scant,
narrow, and short robe, which almost makes us wonder how she had free
play for her limbs (this, too, is embroidered in rows with religious
subjects), and she has bracelets and chains on her wrists and arms.
The face is older than the figure, as the Egyptians in sculpture would
occasionally unite the beauty of youthful form with that of the more
mature head and countenance.

The list of Queen Aah-hotep’s treasures, habited, as we can picture her
to be, in the garb just described, is a long one. On the gilded coffin
lid she is represented with face uncovered and body enveloped in wings of
Isis. This goddess was a special object of worship at this time, as later
in the Ptolemaic period also. Among the most interesting of the trinkets
is a little golden boat set on a wheeled wooden carriage and manned with
small figures, the central one of which is her son, King Kames, or, as
it was originally thought, her husband. He is going to Abydos, and holds
in his hand an axe and a sceptre. There is also another little silver
boat with its crew of rowers. A diadem as small as a bracelet for the
wrist was found attached to the head of the queen, and terminated in tiny
sphinxes, with the name of Aahmes engraved in letters of gold upon a
groundwork of lapis-lazuli. A funeral collar, prescribed by the ritual,
has designs of animals in chased gold, the figures outlined by fine
gold wires, like Chinese cloissonne, between paste and colored stones.
The coloring of all this enamel is particularly rich. There are three
massive gold bees, possibly intended as the decoration for some order;
also silver bees. A necklace with hanging ornaments in the shape of red
and blue almonds. A box in the form of a royal cartouch as a large seal
guarded by two sphinxes. A magnificent chain with the head of a goose at
either end, the name of King Aahmes on the neck and the scarabeus or
sacred beetle hanging from it.

Necklaces of gold and silver, rings and bracelets, the former with little
figures of the gods, or amulets of various sorts hanging from them, were
much worn; and it is said that after the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, owing to
Phoenician influences, the bracelets usually terminated in lions’ heads.
These amulets were supposed to preserve the wearer from harm, both in
a present and a future world, and the gods themselves, strange to say,
sought such protection. The “evil eye,” still thought to exist in our
comparatively modern life, as witness the Salem witchcraft craze, was
especially dreaded, and there were various designs to ward off its ill
effects. Among these were outstretched fingers; “Ut-a’” eyes, sometimes
with wings and hands, holding a disk, in different substances; the right
symbolized the king, as the sun, the left, the queen, as the moon, and,
either sculptured or worn, guarded the owner from this particular form of

The heart amulet and the scarab or scarabeus was very common. Many
curious notions prevailed about this insect. It was believed to be of
only one sex, and women ate it to induce fecundity. The fact that the
male and female closely resemble each other and share in the care of
their offspring probably was the foundation of this idea. A remarkable
example of a scarab was taken from the mummy of Tahut’mes III. It was of
steatite, glazed, of a greenish purple hue, in a hold frame bound across.
There was a figure of Tahut’mes kneeling, with crown on head, and the
whip, signifying authority, in his hand, while with the other he made an
offering to the god. A dog was represented in front and a hawk behind
him, and a gold loop was attached to hang the scarab to the chain on the
neck. All Egyptians loved jewelry, the men as well as the women wearing
necklaces, collars, etc., of gold, silver, beads and precious stones.
Great use was made of carnelian, lapis lazuli, jasper, etc., and ladies
would occupy themselves, as do the blind of our own time, in stringing
glass beads and bugles into network, which in these latter days is used
to trim the clothing of the living, while with the Egyptian it was
chiefly for the adornment of the dead.

A chapter from the Book of the Dead was found on a scarab of the time of
Mycerinas. These scarabs seem to have been of three classes; the first
merely for ornament, the second for historic record, and the third for
funeral purposes. They sometimes bore the names of kings earlier than
those with whose mummies they have been found. A signet ring was of
special importance and a necessary article among the belongings of either
king or queen, as also of many others of less elevated rank. It was the
same thing as the signing of a personal name at the present time—they
sealed instead of signing, and when an Eastern monarch wished to send
special orders he would sometimes intrust his signet ring to the bearer
in token of authority. This ring was of gold or less valuable material,
according to the rank of the owner. Many examples of a pretty class of
ring made of faience, in blue, green, purple, etc., and manufactured
at Tel-el-Amarna, the city built by Amen-hotep IV, formerly called
Khu-n-aten, in the latter part of the Eighteenth Dynasty have been found,
and are among the collections in various museums.

Some of these collections have sets of ornaments belonging to ancient
kings and queens. Berlin has that of an Ethiopean Candace. The Louvre
that of a Prince Pzar, with griffins and lotus. Also a ring of Rameses
II, with little horses standing on the bezel. At Gizeh are heavy earrings
of Rameses IX, with filagree chains and uræus, and bracelets of Pinotem
in gold encrusted with stones, like those made to-day in the Soudan. The
later discoveries of this sort, belonging to the latter period of the
Egyptian Empire, show Greek influences. But the most extensive, tasteful
and finely wrought of these objects was the parure of Queen Aah-hotep.
Chains to the women were as essential as rings to the men; a woman was
indeed poor if her jewel box held only one.

As the North American Indian slays the favorite horse and lays beside his
dead chief bows and arrows for use in the “happy hunting grounds,” so the
Egyptian placed in the tomb of his revered and beloved things that he
used in daily life. At one time it was even the custom in the case of a
king to kill some of his slaves, whose souls might accompany and attend
upon him, but this cruel practice was not kept up. For service in another
existence, food, furniture and personal belongings surrounded the dead
in his grave, as they had done the living in his household; and, in the
case of a woman especially, all her feminine appliances for the toilette
and many of her ornaments and jewels were included. Some were what had
belonged to her in the past, some were newly prepared for the future
state. Even faded flowers hundreds of years old have been discovered, and
fruit has been found with mummies of the Eleventh Dynasty.

One museum possesses a sarcophagus of a priest of Maut and a prophet
of Queen Aah-hotep. To her the priests of Amen rendered divine honors.
On the inside of the coffin are invocations to the divine Amenophis II
(a descendant of the queen’s), and also to both Queens Aah-hotep and
Nefertari Ahmes. The coffin of the former was not so gigantic as that
of the latter, and somehow one pictures her as rather smaller and more
feminine looking than the daughter who succeeded her in the royal honors,
with the thick eyelashes blackened with kohl, the straight brows, the
almond-shaped eyes and the other features characteristic of the Egyptian
face. Into the future life in which the Egyptian believed so ardently
she stepped, after a long pilgrimage in this world, accompanied by all
the little devices which had made her comfort and pleasure here, to be
honored and revered as she had been accustomed to be in the lower world.

Among the valued amulets was the buckle, or “Tie,” made of jasper,
carnelian, porphery, red glass, faience and sycamore wood, more rarely of
gold. The red material stood for the blood of Isis, and this amulet was
put on the neck of a mummy for its protection. Such were usually without
inscription, but two found together would occasionally be inscribed with
a chapter from the Book of the Dead. The “Tet,” made of gold, sometimes
had plumes, when it signified Osiris and meant firmness. This also was
for protection. Serpents’ heads guarded from their bites in another
world. The vulture amulet was of gold, but was not common. It referred
to “Mother Isis,” and bore such inscriptions from the Book of the Dead
as “His Mother, the mighty lady, makes his protection and brings him to
Horus.” This was sometimes suspended from the usual gold collar worn by
the dead. The “anck,” or life sign, was something like a small cross with
an oval ring on top instead of the upper arm, and was very frequent. The
amulet “Nefer” was for good luck. “Maut,” always worn by the god Ptah,
was a frequent emblem of Hathor. Frogs, disks, plumes, etc., were of this
list. Some of these, and more, probably surrounded Queen Aah-hotep.

In a pectoral on her breast King Ahmes was represented, while the two
divinities Amen and Ra poured the water of purification on his head; they
stand in a little green temple. Bracelets for the ankle or upper arm
were simple rings of gold, massive, solid or hollow, edged with threads
of gold to represent filagree. Others worn at the wrist, like ours, were
formed of beads of gold, lapis lazuli, carnelian and green feldspar,
mounted on threads of gold and disposed in squares in which half was a
different color. The fastenings were two gold plates united by an aiglet
of gold, the cartouch of Ahmes engraved lightly at the point. Some of
the bracelets were more complicated but not so fine in workmanship—three
parallel bands garnished with turquoise. There was also a vulture, the
queen’s special ornament, with outstretched wings; also the heads of
sparrow-hawks. Some of the ornaments were attached to the cloth in which
the mummy was wrapped by rings. But for what we may call the trousseau
of a bride of the tomb, jewelry was not sufficient. Arms, with which
she was to protect herself, or be protected, from the evil spirits of
another world, were also provided and placed with her. There was a unique
specimen of a baton, bent at the extremity and adorned with a spiral
of gold. Such forms as this are found to-day among the inhabitants of
Nubia and the Soudan, but probably have not the same meaning. An axe was
ornamented with gold and precious stones, inlaid, and with a picture
of the warlike Aahmes slaying an enemy. Handles of knives in ebony
were carved with the lotus. There were poinards with female heads, and
sheaths with raised ornaments of damascened gold and inscriptions. On
the blade on one side was “The beneficent god Ra-neb-pebti, life giver,
as the sun, ever.” On the other, “The son of the sun and of his side
Aahmes-nakht—life giver and always.” One hatchet had a handle of horn and
a silver blade. A poinard had a yellow bronze blade and silvered handle,
and there was also a clasp of bronze with holes left for ostrich feathers.

To these were added a large variety of toilette articles, vases and jars
of various sorts for spices, unguents, etc. Alabaster jars in tombs are
as ancient as the Fourth Dynasty, and examples are also known inscribed
with the name of Unas, Pepi I, Men-tu-em-saf, Amasis I, Tahutimes II,
Amenophis II, Rameses II, and Queen Amen-eritis.

The god Bes, said to be introduced from Punt, presided over the toilette.
He had a squat, hideous figure, and a face which was doubtless chiefly
appreciated from its contrast to that of his fair votaries. He bore a
double character, one side being military or martial in aspect, the other
a sort of Bacchus or god of Pleasure, and it was in this last, probably,
that he was regarded as a suitable guardian for the preparations for
feasts and revels. Toilette articles, of which a number were found with
the body of the queen, were mirrors, tweezers, hairpins of wood, bone,
ivory and metal, and occasionally combs of wood and ivory, though these
last are believed by some authorities not to have been introduced till
later. There were also kohl pots and little tubes and jars of various
forms. Tiny hands of ivory on a stick for scratching the back were
sometimes found.

The mirrors, from three to twelve inches in diameter, had handles
ornamented with flowers, particularly the well-beloved lotus, and heads
of the goddess Hathor and the god Bes. Vases and jars found in the tombs
were of various shapes, for wine, oils, spices, unguents, scents, etc.,
but transparent glass ones are not found earlier than the Twenty-sixth
Dynasty. The kohl pots were to hold stibium and antimony of copper to
stain the eyelids and eyebrows and give the eyes a wide-open appearance;
also for such purposes were little hollow tubes of wood, glass, ivory
and alabaster, a column with a palm leaf and figures of Bes. Sometimes
the tubes were double, with movable covers on a pivot and accompanied by
a stick of bronze wood to apply the unguent. The wicked Jezabel in the
Bible is said to have “set her eyes in stibium,” which was, however, a
common Eastern practice.

Fine examples of such articles, with the pre-nomen of Amenophis III
and his wife Tyi, and of Tut-arch-Amen and his wife Anknes-Amen, have
been found. Hematite pillows or head rests, generally uninscribed, and
papyrus sceptres mounted in mother-of-emerald and faience, may perhaps
be added to this list and not exhaust it. Thus was the queen, surrounded
by all the paraphernalia of life, laid in her last resting place. The
Egyptian, as has been before said, spent much of his time in preparing
and providing for a future existence, and it is through his death, as
it were, and on tombs and monuments that we attain to any realistic
knowledge of his living days.

The queen is believed to have had a number of children besides Aahmes and
Nefertari, whose personality stands out pre-eminent among them. Of these
are Birpu, who appears on a statuette, Amenmes and Uazrmes. Of Nebt’ta,
one of the daughters, a scarab is known. And Mut’nefert, subsequently
queen, may also have been of this family.

Queen Mertytefs’ name calls up this active, capable ruling spirit of
the household and the court. Queen Nitocris comes before us as the
beauty of her time—the Mary Stuart of an early age, lovely, captivating
and admired, but not blameless in her life story. Queen Sebek-nefru-ra
is associated with father and husband in works of public usefulness
and benefit. But Queen Aah-hotep seems to bear with her an atmosphere
of femininity and tenderness. A devout worshipper of the gods, we can
picture her as a frequent attendant upon the services and offerings in
the temples. At home, a woman perchance with some foibles and weaknesses
and a truly feminine love for ornamentation, and yet a mother who won an
undying affection. Lamentations and mourning doubtless followed her to
the tomb, and upon her inanimate form was lavished a wealth of adornment
which bespoke the clinging tenderness of the royal son whose name is
found so often inscribed upon her ornaments.



Aahmes, also called Amosis, son of Queen Aah-hotep and an Egyptian
father (whose history is as yet unknown), was one of the greatest
warriors and most noted kings of Egypt, and regarded as the savior of
his country, since he freed it from the long thrall of an alien race.
Ambition was evidently a ruling passion with him, but he appears to have
been devoted and even tender to those he loved. His wife, the Princess
Nefertari-Aahmes, or Aahmes-Nefertari, was long supposed to be the
daughter of an Ethiopian king, and therefore not of kin to him, since her
pictures on the monuments show a black skin, though Caucasian features.

[Illustration: NEFERTARI AAHMES.]

Later researches have proved her to be his half-sister, the daughter of
his mother, but not of his father. She was evidently the first daughter
of Queen Aah-hotep’s marriage with Sequenenra, and with a more direct
title to the succession than her husband, so that there were state
reasons as well as private ones for the marriage. From Sequenenra,
therefore, he being of the Berber type, she took her coloring and
the right of succession, and she may perhaps be said to have been
three-quarters black. The name signifies “good or beautiful companion,”
and she was regarded with great veneration on earth and shared with her
mother, and mother-in-law, divine honors after death.

Thebes, which had risen to political consequence in the time of the
Eleventh and Twelfth Dynasties, was now the royal city, the safest home
of the royal family, and was said to have stood to Ethiopia, as well as
to Egypt, as Rome did to mediaeval Christendom. It was in Upper Egypt,
the sacred city, and devoted to the worship of the god Amen, or Amon,
whom the Greeks regarded as their Jove. From here went out the great war
chariots and the bands of soldiers to battle, and often, especially at
this period, to conquest.

“The chief peculiarity of the Egyptians,” says a writer who is an
authority, “is the remarkable closeness of their eyelashes on both lids,
forming a dense double fringe, which gives so animated an expression to
their almond-shaped eyes.” The very ancient and still existing custom
of blackening the edges of the eyelids with antimony (kohl), which is
said to serve a sanitary purpose, contributes to enhance this natural
expression. The eyebrows are straight and smooth, never bushy. The mouth
is wide and thick-lipped, and very different from that of the Beduin or
inhabitant of the oases. The high cheek bones, the receding forehead,
the lowness of the bridge of the nose (this last in some pictures of the
statues of Queen Nefertari-Aahmes being noticeable), which is always
distinctly separated from the forehead, and the flatness of the nose
itself are the chief characteristics of the Egyptian skull; but as the
jaw projects less than those of most of the other African colored races,
it has been assumed that the skull is Asiatic and not African in shape.
A headless statue at Karnak and statuettes at various places exist. They
suggest a queenly bearing, and from these and the general description
we must form our mental picture of this dark-skinned lady. A light
complexion was much admired, but Queen Nefertari-Aahmes was of different
type, and perhaps set the fashion of her own style of beauty; at one
place she was painted yellow, and one authority claimed that she was only
black in a mythological sense, but it now seems to be agreed that to a
Berber father she owed her tint.

The two names, Nefruari and Nefertari, appear to be interchangeable, and
probably bear the same relation to each other as Mary and Maria. We can
see plainly the difference ’twixt our Jacks and Johns, our Marys and
Marias, but the alteration of a single letter in a foreign tongue leaves
us somewhat bewildered, and the Nofruaris and the Nefertaris, the Nefrits
and the Nofrits, etc., are often very puzzling, and, unless great care is
taken, may lead to serious complications and mistakes.

Our knowledge of this period comes largely from two sources, the tomb
of a naval officer in the service of Aahmes and the discoveries of
comparatively late years, which have brought to light many of the very
bodies of the kings, queens and princesses of this and subsequent lines.
Even in death the truth of the proverb seems to hold, that “uneasy lies
the head that wears a crown,” and not in what was intended to be their
last resting places, but in collections and museums, are gathered many
royalties whose eyes looked out on the light of an ancient world.

Aahmes, son of Abuna, directly or indirectly the king’s namesake, was
an officer of the ship called “The Calf,” and later served on one named
“Ruling in Memphis,” which perhaps celebrated the reconquering of the
ancient capital. Of his early life there are some amusing records: “I
was too young to have a wife, and slept in the semt cloth and shennu
garment.” This was about 1586 B. C., and his age perhaps twenty. Nor,
following the example of his sovereigns, does he hesitate to blow his
own trumpet “As soon as I had a house,” says the martial hero, “I was
taken to a ship called the ‘North’ on account of my valor.” Apparently,
he could face the enemy early in life, but not a fair lady. Diospolis,
or Thebes, “hundred-gated Thebes,” was now the chief city, and Officer
Aahmes saw active service, but survived and was rewarded by his monarch.
The chronicle reads: “I brought very many prisoners. I do not reckon
them,” and, further, that he was “presented with gold seven times in the
face of the whole land.” The story of his exploits on his tomb throws
much light upon the history of the time.

In the summer of 1881, in a pit, near Thebes, was found a concourse
of mummies, the bodies of many kings and queens, among them Queen
Nefertari-Aahmes. The existence of royal tombs had long been suspected
from the various articles which had found their way into the market,
and the authorities were at length able to secure the Arab who was the
chief purloiner. He and his accomplices long obstinately resisted all
inducements, even that of imprisonment, to reveal their secret, but
finally yielded, and the bodies of various sovereigns of the Seventeenth,
Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties (the Twentieth was
missing) were found.

The experienced archeologist can tell from the appearance of a mummy
case to what period it belongs. The oldest mummy in the world, until
recently, about which there was no doubt, is that of Saken-em-saf, son
of Pepi I, of the Sixth Dynasty. The mummies of the Eleventh Dynasty are
poorly made, brittle and yellowish; those of the Twelfth Dynasty are
black, and from these to the Seventeenth are also inferior. But those
of the Eighteenth are so finely embalmed that the limbs are pliable and
bend without breaking. At Thebes they were generally painted yellow.
Alexander the Great is said to have been buried in honey, as was the case
with others. Bitumen was used towards the time of the Ptolemies, and grew
hard with age. Later still, pieces of wood were inserted, with the face
painted upon them.

The “Book of the Dead,” so often spoken of, and whose reputed author was
the god Thoth, was a sort of Bible to the Egyptians, and contained minute
directions in regard to burial rites. It was written in chapters, and was
an accretion, taking shape gradually, some parts being much older than
others. It was seldom or never collected in one roll. It is said that a
fairly complete copy was ninety feet long and about fifteen inches wide.
It was written on papyrus; chapters of it were buried with the dead, and
extracts were inscribed on scarabs and other objects and used in the same
way. The book is a storehouse of information as regards Egyptian theology
and practice, and translations of it exist in several languages besides
English. Figures like small mummies and called Ushabti, or Ushebti,
“little servants,” to accompany and attend upon the departed, were buried
with them. This was probably a survival of the original custom of killing
some of his slaves at the tomb of the master. In the Thirteenth Dynasty
these images were made of granite or wood; in the Eighteenth of faience,
or made in moulds, and from the Twenty-fourth to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty
they were not much used, and later were carelessly made. They were often
inscribed with the Sixth chapter from the Book of the Dead.

The coffins of the Eighteenth Dynasty were larger than the previous
ones, and were shaped in the form of a mummy, with inscriptions running
from the breast to the feet. Of such colossal size was that of Queen
Nefertari-Aahmes that it took sixteen men to move it, and it was over
seven metres in height. After the Eighteenth Dynasty the cases were again
smaller. The queen’s was made of innumerable layers of linen, saturated
and hardened together by some kind of glue, was painted blue and yellow
with a mesh-like effect, and the features, necklace, bracelets, etc.,
picked out in blue. The face, evidently a portrait, was large and round,
with a sweet expression, and she wore an extensive wig, with the plumes
of Amen and Maut. In each hand she held the royal “ankh,” or life sign,
and the helmet and plumes, also the investiture of Osiris, were befitting
the wife of a warrior and one who was regarded as a goddess.

There was also the coffin of the Lady Rai, nurse of Queen Nefertari, in
green garnished with bands of yellow. Within were inscriptions to the
goddess Maut, in honor of Ra, and other inscriptions with the name of Ra,
but the body had disappeared. There has been found also the little blue
coffin of the Princess Sitamon, daughter of Aahmes and Nefertari.

The theories and ideas of the Egyptians seem utterly strange to us. So
strong was their belief in a future existence that their whole life in
this world was a preparation for it, and the greatest care was taken that
every portion of the body should be preserved—that no limb or member
should be lacking in another world.

The Egyptian was, according to his own idea, archeological authorities
tell us, a composite being, composed of several different entities, of
which each had its functions and its own life. There was, first, the
body, then the double, or “Ka,” images of which are found so constantly
in the tombs and reproduced in paintings and statues, as we remember
that of Queen Mertytefs and her Ka, before described. This double bore,
in miniature, the form and lineaments of the departed, and was a sort of
second example of the body in a less dense material than the corporal
body. A colored projection but an aerial one of the individual. It
represented the departed, feature for feature, male or female, adult or

After the double came the soul, “Ba” or “Bai,” which the popular
imagination represented under the figure of a bird; and after the soul
the luminous particle of light, “Khau,” detached from the divine fire.
None of these were imperishable, and the man left to himself would die a
second time and fall into nothing. By embalmment the body was preserved
from destruction, and by prayers and offerings the other portions of this
strange and composite whole. The double remained always with the mummy,
the others went and came. The places of sepulchre for the sovereigns were
the numerous pyramids, usually having sides to the points of the compass
and a door to the north; these were frequently enlarged and altered by
succeeding monarchs, as that of Mycerenas was so extended and beautified
by Queen Nitocris that it often bore her name, instead of its first

The stele were originally false doors by which the living world was
supposed to communicate with the dead. Food for the departed was
often placed before the door, and later represented upon it, which by
incantations became real. At last the stele were used only as a place for
inscriptions. This applies merely to funerary stele. Sometimes there was
a statue or bas-relief in the stele.

To the pyramids were added grottoes, rock, tombs and caves, not alone
for royalty, and the mastabas built of brick, like a truncated pyramid,
and so named by the Arabs because they resembled the long, low seat
used in Oriental houses. Naturally, the more important the person buried
was deemed the more indestructible were the materials of his tomb, and
the more care was taken to preserve them. Not many tombs were found
before the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties until the later discovery of the
burial places of the kings of the First Dynasty. It is the mastabas and
smaller tombs at Gizeh and elsewhere that teach us about the earliest
period in Egyptian history, those at Thebes later, and Beni-Hasen the
Middle Empire. The monuments and temples were the canvas upon which the
self-glorifying kings painted their own history, and it is the absence of
these, as has been before shown, which leaves the period in comparative
darkness. It is the tomb of Ty in the Fourth Dynasty and those of
Beni-Hassen in the Twelfth which are so invaluable in giving the pictures
of the daily life during their respective eras.

We read of a stele or tablet (which in the Eighteenth Dynasty were
usually rounded at the top) on which at the left is seated the figure of
King Amosis or Aahmes and “the divine spouse of Amen, the royal spouse,
Aahmes-Nefertari,” also at the left are seated King Amenophis I and his
spouse, Aahmes-Nefertari. “Is it the same queen?” questioned Mariette,
yet the spelling and the faces are different. There is also a stele
bearing the name of King Aahmes and his mother, Queen Aah-hotep. Another
statue is spoken of, whose pure profile recalls the handsome portraits of
Seti I. It represents the god Amen standing. On the base we read in red
ink, with the legend of Amenophis I, “the royal spouse whom he loves,

The mourning color of the Egyptians, as now of the Burmese, was yellow,
and it is curious to observe how varied in this respect are the customs
of different lands. With us, and all over Europe, since the days of Rome
black is the usual, as it seems the most natural, trapping of woe; but
it is stated that until 1498 white was worn in Spain for the members
of the family, as it or yellow now is in China. In Turkey the mourning
color is a bright violet, while formerly purple and violet were assumed
for the kings and cardinals of France. In Bokara and other parts of Asia
deep blue is used, and in Syria and Armenia, sky blue. In Persia it is
pale brown, the color of winter leaves; in the Soudan, grayish brown, the
color of the earth; and among the South Sea Islanders a black and white
striped goods serves for this purpose.

By different nations, too, various days in the week are observed for
public worship. The Christians keep Sunday, the Greeks Monday, the
Persians Tuesday, the Assyrians Wednesday, the Egyptians Thursday, the
Turks Friday, and the Jews Saturday.

At the time of a death, in token of grief the mourning women would leave
the house where the body was lying, put dust and mud on their heads and
faces, and with bare bosoms run through the streets, striking themselves
and uttering lamentations. Some of the pictures show even little
children thus testifying sorrow, and there is something both pathetic
and ludicrous in the scene. At the death and funeral of a member of the
royal family great ceremony was observed. The people wept, the temples
were closed, and no festival was kept for seventy-two days. The mourners
fasted and went round with mud on their heads and their garments knotted
together, like girdles, below the breast. They marched in procession,
singing funeral dirges. The statement is somewhere made that women of
quality were not embalmed immediately, but in so warm a climate the
process could not have been long delayed.

From the use of bitumen, “mumia,” the word “mummy” is derived. There were
several methods of preservation, varying in expense with the dignity
of the deceased and the financial ability of the survivors. The work
of preparation for the tomb was, especially in the case of the wealthy
and high-born, costly and protracted, and all details were prescribed.
The person who, in the service of the embalmer, commenced the task by
making a long cut in the side, was, as a matter of form, it is generally
believed, driven away with sticks and stones, but some authorities deny
this. The organs were then removed through this opening, embalmed and
placed in jars, each under the protection of its special god, the four
children of Horus. Mesta, with the head of a man, was for the stomach,
and, under the protection of Isis, thus justifying a modern theory that
a man can be influenced largely through his appetite and is most amiable
after dining. The jar Hapi, with the head of an ape, held the smaller
intestines, under the protection of Nepthys. The jar Tuan-antef, with
the head of a jackal, was for the heart, guarded by Neith. Qubhsennuf
was hawk-headed and held the liver. Examples of all these may perhaps be
seen in the New York Metropolitan Museum among the Egyptian antiquities
and other places. On a box for funerary jars is a figure of Isis, and the
inscription, “Says Isis, the divine mother, queen of heaven, first of the
gods: ‘I am come that I may be for thy protection, Osiris Chonsu.’”

The body was laid in liquid natron for seventy days, and was then stuffed
with spices and natron and sewed up again. Various trees have been
supposed to furnish the frankincense used by ancient peoples, the Indian
Olibanum among them. The Egyptians used it in their religious rites,
burning it on the altars of Osiris, Isis and Pasht, while it was exacted
as tribute from some of the conquered nations. It was also used by the
Jews in their sanctuary. All parts of the tree emit an agreeable odor,
something like lemon, the sap hardens into the gum used in commerce,
being extracted by incisions in the bark, as is the case with maple
sugar. It is an evergreen, the leaves are prettily notched, the flowers
small, pink and star-like, and the fruit also very small and three-sided.
It grows in Persia and Arabia.

After the body was thus prepared, the skull, from which the brains had
been drawn through the nose, was filled with plaster and the nostrils
plugged with small rolls of linen, and obsidian eyes placed in the
sockets. The Book of the Dead provided a formula for all this. The eye
of Horus was placed upon the breast, which signifies the transformation
by which life is preserved and constantly renewed, and was consecrated
to the god Ptah. A scarab was laid on the neck, the nails were stained
with henna, rings were placed on the hands and chains and necklets on the
throat. The bandages were narrow strips of linen inscribed with texts.

When the head was bandaged, an attendant recited this petition: “O most
august goddess, O lady of the West, O mistress of the East, come and
enter into the two ears of the deceased! O doubly powerful, eternal,
young and very mighty lady of the West and mistress of the East, may
breathing take place in the head of the deceased in the nether world.
Grant that he may see with his eyes, that he may hear with his two ears,
that he may breathe through his nose, that he may utter sounds with
his mouth and articulate with his tongue in the nether world. Receive
his voice in the hall of truth and justice and his triumph in the hall
of Seb, in the presence of the great lord of the West. O Osiris (this
addressed to the deceased), the thick oil which comes from thee furnishes
thy mouth with life and thine eye looketh into the lower heaven, as Ra
looketh upon the upper heaven. It giveth thee thy two ears to hear that
which thou wishest, just as Shu in Hebit heard merely that which he
wished to hear. It giveth thee thy nose to smell a beautiful perfume,
like Seb. It giveth thee thy mouth well furnished by its passage (into
the throat) like the mouth of Thoth when he weigheth Maat. It giveth thee
Maat (Law) in Hebit, O worshipper in Hetbenben, the cries of thy mouth
are in Siut. Osiris of Siut comes to thee, thy mouth is the mouth of
Ap-not in the mountains of the West.”

The god Osiris, so often referred to, was the great (unseen One), the
immortal divine spirit, and was always associated in the Egyptian’s mind
with the thought of immortality. He was usually colored blue, the tint
of the sky perhaps suggested perpetuity and immortality. The Egyptians
from the earliest times seem to have worshipped one divine spirit under a
thousand manifestations.

The coffins and covering were of wood, with human head and face; painted
with figures of gods, names and titles of the deceased, and cartouch of
the king. Inside was frequently a purple ground, painted with yellow
figures of apes, lions, etc., adoring Ra. The face on the coffin was
often a likeness, and the coffin was painted inside and out with figures
of protecting gods. Another coffin, more coarsely made and with less of
detail in its paintings, was placed over the first to preserve it. A
lady’s coffin sometimes contained spoons with female heads and various
toilette articles, mirrors, pins and cases for henna, stibium and other
cosmetics, while miniature figures, the little “ushebti,” like troops of
slaves, mounted guard. Sometimes these were hollow and contained chapters
from the Book of the Dead. An ordinance required that the nearest city
should embalm persons who were drowned or seized by crocodiles.

The funeral procession included players on lyres, flutes, harps and
servants carrying inverted bouquets, a red calf for sacrifice and white
geese. A sort of court was held before the body was deposited in the
tomb, in which those who had accusations against the deceased were
allowed to present them. If these were sustained, the mummy was sent
back to the house; but if not, the priest cried “Approved! Let the good
be entombed, and may their souls dwell in Amenti, with Osiris. Judgment
is passed in her favor! Let her be buried!” The dead sometimes carried
a papyrus on which his good deeds were written. The mummy was placed
recumbent or upright in the tomb, and the soul was received by Horus and
conducted to Amenti, where a sort of Cerberus kept the gate of Truth.
The goddess of Justice, with scales of gold, weighed the virtues of the
deceased, which the god Thoth wrote down on a tablet, like the scribes
of their daily life, and, after reading, Osiris presented him with the
ostrich feather, the emblem of Truth, while Isis led him to the abode of
the gods, where he dwelt in perpetual honor and happiness.

Very poetical are some of the tomb inscriptions relating to the future
state. “The Shining One cometh who dwelleth in Netat, the Master who
dwelleth in Tini (Thinis), and Isis speaks upon thee. Nephthys holdeth
converse with thee, and the Shining Ones come up to thee, bowing down
even to the ground in adoration at thy feet, by reason of the power of
the writing which thou hast, O Pepi, in the region of Sa (Sabu?). Thou
goest forth to thy Mother Nut (i.e., the sky), and strengthen thy arm,
and she maketh a way for thee through the road to the sky” (perhaps
referring to the Milky Way) “to the place where Ra (the sun-deity)
abideth. Thou hast then opened the two gates of heaven, thou hast opened
the two doors of Quobhu (i.e., the celestial deep), thou hast there found
Ra and he watcheth over thee, he hath taken thee by thy hand, he hath
guided thee into temples of heaven, and he hath placed thee upon the
throne of Osiris.” We are reminded of some parts of the book of Job or
some of the picturesque speeches of our own North American Indian.

Nefertari-Aahmes was a devout worshipper of the gods, like her mother
before her, and made valuable gifts to the temples, so these funeral
rites were doubtless observed with great care and ceremony, especially
as she had many children, some of whom survived her, to pay the last
tributes of love and respect. The list is given as Meryt-amen, the eldest
daughter, who died young; Sat-amen, a second daughter, who died as an
infant; Sa’pair, the eldest son, of whom some statuettes and memorials
remain, though he also appears to have died young and did not succeed his
father; Aah-hotep, doubtless named after the beloved grandmother, and
who also became queen later; Amenhotep I, who succeeded his father, and
Sat-Kames, a daughter. Besides Nefertari-Aahmes, the king seems to have
had another royal wife, called Queen Anhapi, who bore him a daughter,
Hent’ta’mehu, and a secondary wife, whose name is preserved as Kasmut,
and who bore him Tair and other children. Queen on earth and goddess in
heaven though she might be, Queen Aahmes-Nefertari had the common human
experience of sorrow; she lost a number of children, and though holding
the first place, and doubtless having her own establishment, shared her
husband’s attention and affection with various rivals. Yet human ambition
could reach no greater height; she was recorded as “the royal daughter,
sister and great royal wife, royal mother, great ruler, mistress of both
lands.” The ancestress and foundress of her race, she had a priesthood of
her own, a large sacred shrine, and was worshipped like the great gods at
Abydos, Karnak and Thebes. She is believed to have outlived her husband,
and to have reigned temporarily for her son, who was associated with her
and worshipped with her at Thebes. “She sits enthroned with her husband,”
says one writer, “at the head of all the Pharonic pairs and before all
the royal children of their race, as the specially venerated ancestress
of the Eighteenth Dynasty.” Her title of wife of the god Amen expressly
designated the chief priestess of the tutelary god of Thebes.

The wife and children of Aahmes often adopted or combined his name with
their own and encircled it with their cartouch. The king was called “the
golden Horus, the binding together of the two lands.” His coffin and body
were found at Deir-el-Bahri. The coffin was of the new style, plain in
outline, less massive and shaped to the figure behind, painted yellow,
picked out with blue, instead of gilt. The body was fairly preserved, the
head long and small, with thick and wavy hair, not shaved, as later. The
muscles were strong and vigorous, and he might have been something over
fifty at the time of his death. Not a long life, but that of a warrior
was perhaps necessarily a hard one. The mummy case of the queen was one
of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, and at the time it
was found contained also the mummy of Thothmes or Tehutimes III, which,
left unexamined and not properly cared for, decomposed, and had to be
buried. A headless statue of Queen Aahmes-Nefertari, smaller statuettes,
scarabs and a bas-relief or a statue in which she appears with her son
Amenophis I exist. So king and queen passed from earth to the delights of
heaven, and, as Curtis expresses it, exchanged “the silver for the golden

Amenhotep, Amenophis or Amenothes, son of Aahmes and Nefertari-Aahmes,
succeeded his father, and married his sister Aah-hotep II, or some say
Nefutari, of whom, beyond her name, we know little or nothing. The king
was about twenty, she probably younger, at the time. Like his father
before him, he was a warrior, and is pictured holding captives by the
hair, probably Lydians. His children are given as Uaz’mes, Aahmes,
Tehutimes I, Neb’ta and Mutnefert, whose statue is at Karnak. The first
two are on the tomb of a certain Peperi, where the king holds Prince
Uaz’mes on his knee.

The mummy of the king is among those that have been discovered. It was
clothed in an orange robe, held in place by bands of linen. There was a
mask of wood and painted pasteboard identical with the outside. He was
enveloped from head to foot with long garlands, among which a wasp had
crawled, attracted by the flowers, and thus preserved for centuries.
According to the traditions, he also was a devout worshipper of the gods,
and accorded divine honors. So for all these had come the day when they
drew towards “the land that loveth silence.”



With Hatshepsut, or Hatsu, some 1600 B. C., we come to the most
celebrated of all the Egyptian queens, not perhaps excluding the
world-renowned Cleopatra, and her reign bears also a noteworthy feature,
an especial ornament to a woman’s brow—it was a reign of peace. Her
father and brothers, especially the younger, were warriors, but she was
not. To the male of all species the fighting instinct more particularly
and rightfully belongs. No wars of defence, none of aggression and
conquest, disturbed the peaceful course of her rule. The arts flourished,
and friendly expeditions sought distant shores to gain fresh knowledge of
the outer world, to extend the hand of fellowship, and to exchange in the
ordinary channels of commerce the products and manufactures of one land
for those of the other.

[Illustration: HATASU.]

No such lengthened gap exists between Hatshepsut and the previous kings
as we have noted earlier in our study. She was in direct descent,
being the great-grand-daughter of Aahmes and Nefertari-Aahmes, and
the grand-daughter of Amenhotep or Amenophis I. Her father was Tutmes
or Tahutmes I, “Thut’s child,” and her mother, probably his sister,
Aahmes, A’mose or Amensi, of whom there is a profile portrait in one of
Maspero’s books. Some things suggest that the mother of Queen Amensi was
of different and higher birth than the mother of Tahutmes, and this may
account for the position which seemed at once accorded to Hatshepsut.
Another legend states that the god Amen was Hatshepsut’s father, and
being of divine origin, a sort of Minerva sprung from the brain of
Jupiter, she took unquestioned the first place; but she was evidently
of the blood royal and the arrangement which gave her precedence of
her brothers and claim to the crown did not seem to be disputed. Every
princess at her birth received the title of “royal consort.” A son and
daughter of Tahutmes, probably older than Hatshepsut, died in childhood,
the former named Uatmes (who by some is believed to be brother rather
than son of Tahutmes) and a daughter Kheb-no-fru-ra or Nefer’kebt.
Tahutmes himself is considered the son of Amenhotep I and Queen Sen-semb.

Tahutmes I, like his predecessors, was a warrior. He fought in the north,
made conquests in Palestine and Syria and penetrated into Mesopotamia. A
stele, erected east of the Euphrates, bore record of his victories, but
his daughter adopted a different policy. She and her brother regarded
many of these conquests as empty possessions, difficult to retain and of
no real value to the kingdom, so preferred to abandon them.

Hatshepsut rejoiced in the usual wealth of names, in addition to or
instead of that by which she is most generally known, Hatasu, each
writer selecting a different one for his own reasons. These were
Hatshopsitou, Hasheps, Hatshepsut, which seems to be generally used by
Petrie, Khnumt-Amen, Chuemtamun, the throne name Ra-ma-ka, Maat-ka-ra,
etc., as derived from different languages and given by different

The Egyptian’s awe of and respect for his monarch was usually so great
that he hesitated to speak of him directly, but used some circumlocution
or descriptive phrase. The name of the god Ra seems to have been
frequently, though not invariably, introduced. This was the principal
solar deity of Egypt, the “sun-god,” the “father of gods and men,” the
chief seat of this very ancient worship being Heliopolis. The sun’s disk
was his emblem, and he was pictured as hawk-headed.

The tie between Tahutmes I and his daughter, admirable wherever seen,
was one of close affection, and the former doubtless recognized and took
pride in the ability of his gifted child. The male historians, with one
or two exceptions, seem rather grudgingly to admit Hatasu’s claims,
pass somewhat slightingly over her achievements and attribute to her
successors what may really be her due. Miss Edwards, on the contrary, is
fired with enthusiasm, encircles this queenly figure with the halo of her
own poetic imagination and claims for her certain engineering works which
others believe to be the performance of her successors.

There is one familiar portrait bust, a copy of which is in the
Metropolitan Museum in New York and in other places, which has been
appropriated by different authorities to different queens. It is a
smiling, womanly face, with well-rounded lips and a dimpled chin.
Mariette calls it Queen Ti, Maspero believes it to be the wife of
Horemheb, and Miss Edwards claims it as Hatasu. The original, in
limestone and of colossal size, is at Gizeh. It is a masterpiece of
Egyptian art and was found in a chamber back of the obelisk of Hatasu at
Karnak, which perhaps gives color to Miss Edwards’ theory. She says of
it, “the eyes laugh, the lips all but speak, and every feature is alive
with a vivacious charm which is the rarest achievement in sculpture.”
Certainly, if it be this queen, beauty and charm were added to mental
capacity. A half-mocking smile wreathes the lips and seems to suggest a
keen sense of humor.

Maspero describes her, probably in later life, and says her portraits
have “refined features and a proud and energetic expression. The oval of
the face is elongated, cheeks a little hollow, eyes deep set under arch
of brows, lips thin and tightly closed.” Many little statuettes, headless
statues, etc., exist in various places. The temple of Deir el Bahri was
approached by an avenue of sphinxes, each figure head being a portrait of
the queen, two of which are preserved at Berlin. One, brought from Thebes
and thought to be done in comparatively recent years with brows and eyes
inlaid, is in the Metropolitan Museum. Her Ka statue was in her temple in
the shape of a small bearded man, which was probably taken at the period
when she wore male attire. It has the Ka arms and the Ka name of the
queen, grasps the ankh and feather of Ma in its right hand, and a human
headed staff, also like the queen, in its left. Her cartouch is on the
shoulder of the previously mentioned statue and the father and daughter
are often united in a double cartouch.

Hatshepsut has been called the Semiramis, the Catharine, and the
Elizabeth of Egyptian history. Bold and clever, no ideal womanly soul
was this, but the masculine grasp, the masculine intellect was hers.
Strong but centered on a few her love was probably not given to the
many; her attachment to her father cannot be doubted. Her ambition and
determination to keep the royal power is evident, but it was not the
ambition of the soldier and the conqueror. She loved power, she wished
to rule, but the belongings of others did not excite her cupidity. Her
desire was to build up her own kingdom, and the way to that was not, in
her eyes, through annexation and conquest. No claims of posterity, no
pleas for “the cause of humanity” stained her pathway with blood. One of
her boasts was that she had imported and caused to grow a great variety
of trees. Some philosopher has said that he who can make two blades
of grass grow where one grew before is the greatest benefactor of his
race, and some such credit as this seems rightfully to belong to Queen

The early historians, whose mistakes later discoveries have corrected,
combined Hatshepsut and Nitocris, calling this composite figure
Amen-Nitocris, and said that she was the last of the Memphite sovereigns
and by a marriage with Thothmes united the crowns of Upper and Lower
Egypt. That she was handsome among women and brave among men, that she
governed with splendor, added to the temple of Karnak and built the
smallest of the pyramids. But the patient research of scholars has
disentangled the two stories and given to each her own meed of fame.

The mummy of Tahutmes I was among those found at Deir el Bahri and the
body showed him to have been a man of vigor, with a fine form. His
coffin and other relics, bricks with his name, etc., were also found.
Of his mother Sensenb there was a picture on the walls of the temple
at Deir el Bahri as of Hatshepsut’s mother, Queen Aahmes, wearing the
royal asp and head-dress. In these the conventional form is of course
strictly preserved and yet there is a certain individuality. Pictures
(reproductions of them) may be seen in Petrie’s and Mahaffy’s history of
Egypt, as in other places. An ivory wand of Queen Aahmes, scarabs, etc.,
remain. Queen Mut’nefert appears to have been another wife of Tahutmes
I and mother of Tahutmes II. She was said to have been a daughter of
Amenhotep and appears on the statue of her son Tahutmes II at Karnak as
“royal daughter, royal wife.” “A fine statue of her,” says Petrie, “made
of sandstone, was found in the chapel of Uazmes and bears the inscription
‘The good god, lord of both lands, Aa’kheperren’ra (Tahutmes II) made by
him his monuments of his mother; royal wife, royal mother, Mut’nefert,
makheru.’” These relics seem to give proof of the respect and affection
of the children for their parents, but beyond our limited knowledge of
the bare facts of their relationships the two queens are but mere names
and we turn to the more clearly defined and striking figure of the great
queen Hatshepsut.

In the latter part of his reign Tahutmes I associated his daughter
with him in the imperial power, as he had probably taken her into his
counsel previously in matters of state policy and shared with her all
the pleasures of his daily life. Their mutual devotion and his high
appreciation of her great abilities is evident, even after the lapse of

The two half-brothers of Hatshepsut were Tahutmes II and Tahutmes III,
or as later authorities say Tahutmes III was son of Tahutmes II, the
latter proved to be a ruler of great ability, but neither seemed to hold
the place in the father’s regard that she did, and being much younger
were naturally not equally companionable to him. The limestone statue of
Queen Mut-nefert, mother of Tahutmes II, before referred to, was found at
Thebes in 1886 and is now at Gizeh. Her son had it carved and it was in
the ruins of a little temple. She is seated, in a long white robe, which
shows the form and the flesh is colored yellow. The whole is refined and
well proportioned, and despite the mutilation of the nose one notices
the sweetness of expression, lightened by large eyes. To this day one
sees the type near Thebes. The mother of Tahutmes III was more truly a
concubine and was called the Lady As’t, she was a royal mother but not a
royal wife.

Shortly before her father’s death, according to the Egyptian custom,
Hatshepsut married her brother Tahutmes II, who shared the throne with
her or she with him, but it is evident she was the ruling spirit. There
is little doubt that she was the elder of the two; it is estimated that
at this time she was about twenty-four and Tahutmes seventeen. A somewhat
similar instance to this is narrated by the African traveller, Captain A.
St. H. Gibbons, who describes an ancient custom which he found prevailing
at Nalolo, whereby the eldest surviving sister of the ruling king was
invested with the prerogatives of a queen, without whose advice and
consent her brother could not arrange matters of state. She was absolute
in her own district, held the power of life and death over her subjects
and wedded or deposed a husband at will.

A statue of Tahutmes II exists at Gizeh, which bears some resemblance
to the ancient King Chafre. He is not of large size, has fine pathetic
eyes, a gentle expression and perhaps resembles his mother. That no love
was lost between the consorts is evident from the fact that Hatsheput
conferred such special marks of favor upon her architect Semut, and
after the death of Tahutmes II (in which old historians, some of them,
though perhaps unfairly, were disposed to implicate her) she erased his
name from many of the monuments, giving all honor, where possible, to
her father or keeping it for herself, to the great bewilderment of later
day students. She is said to have detained Tahutmes II, in his younger
days, in Buto, away from her palace and the seat of power, and doubtless
relegated him to the background wherever she could. No more than Queen
Elizabeth perhaps had custom and conventionality permitted her to stand
quite alone, would she have accepted a consort.

Dress, which had for many reigns and centuries remained unchanged,
began somewhat to alter at the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty and more
rapidly later. The highest orders of women wore petticoats or gowns
secured at the waist by a colored sash, or a strap over the shoulder and
over this a large loose robe of the finest linen and tied in front and
under the breast, the right arm was left exposed at religious ceremonies
and funerals. Another description says that the long tunic, called a
basui, was suspended by straps or bracers over the shoulders or a short
petticoat with the body strapped over the shoulder and a loose upper
garment, which exposed the breast and which could be easily laid aside.
There also came changes in the patterns of beads, mode of glazing, hair
dressing, furniture and the painting of tombs. The net work of beads was
of course largely used for the decoration of mummies. The admixture of
blood with Syrian and other captives, as wives and concubines, seemed to
introduce a new ideal type, with small features and fascinating, graceful
figures. The ends of the braided hair were fringed during the Middle
Empire, and during the New the face was framed with wonderful plaits and
short tresses, which were secured with combs. Or, more naturally, it
hung loose or was bound with a fillet. Female servants wore their hair
fastened at the back of the head with loops or plaits. They had a plain
garment with short sleeves, but threw off the upper part when working.
In the earliest times, as has before been said, men seemed to care for
dress more than women. From the queen to the peasant female attire was
similar, and from the Fourth to the Eighteenth Dynasty there was little
change. About the time of Hatshepsut it assumed a new character, and the
upper part of the body was also clothed. At one period color and pattern
had been almost excluded and the higher classes wore linen so fine that
the figure showed through. Bands woven or embroidered were later added,
but their neighbors, the Syrians, always wore more elaborate embroidery
than the Egyptians. Shend’ot was the name of the royal dress under the
Old Empire. Men wore a short skirt round the hips, and a second was added
during the Middle Empire; in one century this was short and narrow, in
another wide and shapeless, and in a third, peculiarly folded; the breast
was also covered, and the apron, now chiefly a female appanage, was then
exclusively the property of men.

Costumes differed with classes, yet, as with us, a fashion initiated by
uppertendom would sometimes descend and spread. The lords and the priests
and priestesses in offering sacrifices bore a panther skin thrown over
the shoulder, the small head and forepaws hanging down. To the hindpaws
long ribbons were attached, which were drawn forward, and it was the
fashion to play with them when sitting idle. Perhaps it was an aid to
conversation thus to trifle, as with Madame de Stael’s well-known sprig
of poplar. Soldiers and merchants wore white garments bordered with
colored fringes. Policemen carried staves, and priests went about in long
white robes with aprons and jewelled collars.

The woman’s short petticoat under the tunic, called a basni, was white,
red, yellow and sometimes, in the Middle Empire, green. The higher
orders sometimes secured the petticoat at the waist with a colored sash.
Occasionally there was only one sleeve for the left arm. The cloak of
the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties fell over the arms with a short
sleeve added and at the end of the Twentieth Dynasty there was a thick
underdress. The bare foot of the earliest times, as has been shown, was
later sandalled and shod.

As time went on the tendency seemed to be more and more to vary from the
fashions of the Garden of Eden and to add to the amount of clothing.
The more civilized the nation the more elaborate the covering. The
primitive Egyptian thought more of painting and rouging the face and
oiling the limbs, of both living and dead, than he did of dress. Two
colors were chiefly used, green, with which under the Old Empire they
put a line below the eye, and black for brows and lids, to make the eyes
look larger and more brilliant. The eyelids were dyed with mestem, the
finger nails made red with henna. For this, of course, many kohl pots
and mirrors were needed. The latter were of burnished metal, chiefly of
copper, round, with wooden or ivory handles and ornamented with carved
lotus buds. Necklaces and bracelets on the upper arm and wrist were worn
by both men and women, but the latter only used anklets. Earrings were
round, single loops of gold, and rings, especially on the third finder
and thumb, were numerous.

Of the daily life of a queen we have no detailed account, but various
pictures and inscriptions make a sort of outline which study and
imagination may fill up and not be utterly astray. One writer has
sketched some such programme as this, of course that of a queen who
was herself regent, or ruled in her own right. After the first meal of
the day the queen would go to the throne room and listen to reports,
petitions, etc., doubtless attended by scribes, who were more ubiquitous
than even the modern reporter, to note down everything and extol her
majesty’s power, clemency and charm. Before the heat grew excessive she
might walk in the garden or among the colonnades of the palace or ride
out to take the air and view the public works which were in process of

Neither horses nor camels are represented on the monuments in the
earliest times. Persons of distinction were borne in chariots or chairs
carried by bands of slaves, and the ass or mule was the beast of burden.
A royal chariot was sometimes adorned by a burnished shield rising above
the back, carved with open work and lined with silk. It had two wheels,
and a pair of horses were attached to the car by a single trace, their
heads held up by a bridle made fast to a hook in front of the saddle.
The long reins passed through a loop at the side; the horses’ heads were
adorned with plumes, and the harness and housings ornamented with the
royal devices in gold, silver and brass. Sometimes for ladies there was a
seat, one in each chariot, but the usual rule was not to have any, a man
stood. Says one writer, “When the queen rides she stands on a dais borne
at speed by six horses abreast, and looks like a flying goddess.” Thus
perhaps our fancy may paint Queen Hatshepsut.

Later came the mid-day dinner, usual in Egypt, then doubtless a rest
during the hottest hours, after which the reception of ambassadors and
court dignitaries and an evening given more to pleasures, such as music
and watching the acrobatic sports and juggling of trained performers and
the dancing of female slaves. The guest whom the queen delighted to honor
had a special place assigned him at table, portions sent to him from the
royal dishes and sometimes, as a particular mark of favor, had a gold
chain placed about his neck by the monarch’s own hand.

The throne room was probably a magnificent apartment of immense size
with a polished floor, on which were laid the skins of beasts. Enormous
statues of the gods, chief among them, Osiris and Isis, were ranged on
either side, between tall granite columns with lotus capitals, looking
like a forest of great trees. The throne of ivory stood on a raised
platform, to which one ascended by steps, guarded on either side by
carven figures of sphinxes and crouching animals. Behind were again
immense statues of Justice and Truth. The steps were of valuable marbles,
and the throne itself inlaid with jewels, all the numbers and designs
were symbolic, the footstool was of precious marbles, in a gold frame,
and above the throne was a canopy of silk upheld by slender white and
gold columns and embroidered with the stars and constellations. Bands of
soldiers and officers, richly attired, waited upon the queen. She, on
all solemn occasions, wore the double crown of Egypt, which one writer
describes as a graceful conical bonnet of white silk, ending in a knob
like a pomegranite, the color white, of Upper, as the outer band of gold
lined with red silk, was of Lower Egypt, the vulture wings and the raised
asp. Her garments were of finest linen with silk robe of white and green
and a girdle adorned with diamonds and precious stones. With these or
similar surroundings we imagine Queen Hatshepsut.

There is a picture in Erman of King “Tuet-anch-amun” giving audience
to a governor of Ethiopia. The king wears his war helmet and carries a
whip and sceptre, while the governor bears a sceptre and fan as sign of
rank. The king is called “Lord of Hermothis.” Sceptre and whip doubtless
Hatshepsut could wield right royally, but the war bonnet she probably
had little occasion for. Some writers claim that it was her father’s
conquests which gave her immunity from warfare and that it was her
peaceful reign and neglect to keep the wild tribes in orderly submission
that paved the way for the career of bloodshed which distinguished her
great successor, Tahutmes III, so that on this question, as on most,
there will always remain a wide difference of opinion. But that a
peaceful reign is in many respects a great blessing and a justifiable
cause of pride to its successful promoter, and that peace and not war is
the ideal state, cannot be denied.

The coronation of Hatshepsut, the building of her great temple at Deir
el Bahri and the expedition to Punt are events of such moment that they
deserve a volume rather than the narrow space of a single chapter to do
them justice.



An inscription in the temple of Karnak reads thus, it is as it were the
deed of gift of the royal father Tahutmes I to his favorite child, and
addressed to the god Amen: “I bestow the Black Land and the Red Land
upon my daughter, the queen of Lower and Upper Egypt Ma-Ka-ra, living
eternally. Thou hast transmitted the world into her power, thou hast
chosen her as king.” Hatshepsut claimed divine origin in that the god
Amen had taken upon him the person of her father and in an especial
manner considered herself the daughter of the god. Hatshepset spelled
with the e means “the first among the favorite women,” but the queen
changed the e to u and later called herself Hatshepsut, which signifies
“the first among the great and honorable nobles of the kingdom,” which
she considered more befitting her exalted position.

The Eighteenth Dynasty is included in the Golden Age of Egyptian history,
and in no period was its power more widely felt, its individual monarchs
more remarkable or its architectural and literary remains grander or more

Before his death Tahutmes I seems to have had celebrated the marriage of
his two children, his daughter of twenty-four and his son of seventeen.
All things combined to put Hatshepsut in the first place, her more
royal heritage, by the mother’s side, her father’s devotion to her, her
superiority in years and her more striking talents, while Tahutmes II
was perhaps both physically and mentally her inferior. Death at last
had severed the tie which bound father and daughter together, but no
such tender feeling seems to have existed between the two now occupying
the throne, hers was the dominant will, hers is the prominent figure.
After this she frequently wore male attire and the dress and ornaments
belonging to a king, and doubtless, had it been a matter of choice, she
would have been a man.

She styles herself “King Horus abounding in divine gifts, mistress of
diadems, rich in years (not a claim the modern lady is ever anxious to
establish) the golden Horus, goddess of diadems, queen of Upper and Lower
Egypt, daughter of the sun, consort of Ammon, daughter of Ammon, living
forever and dwelling in his breast.” Another inscription reads, speaking
of her by her name Cheremtamun, “He has created (her) in order to exalt
his splendor. She who creates beings like the god Chefr’a. She whose
diadems shine like those of the god of the horizon.”

She used both the male and female sign and the title, “daughter of
the sun.” As the sphinx bore sometimes a male, sometimes a female
head, so this strange and wonderful woman assumed now the one, now
the other character. A curious life this old Egyptian history brings
before us, so permeated as it was with the constant thought of death
and its belief, real or assumed, in the actual intercourse with a race
of superior beings, gods, and yet set forth in the lowest images of
the brute creation. To the poor and uneducated doubtless as in all
idolatrous countries, the semblance seemed the reality and their thought
did not pierce beyond the image before them, but the more intellectual
and spiritual minds must have rent the veil of sense and stretched out
longingly to the infinite beyond, if peradventure they might “feel after
and find” the truly godlike.

Hatshepsut did not at once set to work, like the early kings, to build a
pyramid in which she might herself be interred. Mundane subjects at first
occupied her, and later she built a memorial to her father in the form of
an obelisk which described his powers and virtues, and temples for the
worship and to the glory of the gods.

Probably the regulation of the country and the administration of internal
affairs occupied the earliest years of Hatshepsut’s rule, after the death
of Tahutmes I, but in them she was also preparing for the expedition
which was one of the great features of her reign and took place in its
ninth year. Punt, a country on the eastern bank of the Red Sea, had
been, to some extent, known to the Egyptians in the earliest times,
those of Chafre’ of the Fourth Dynasty. “Under the name of Punt,” says
one writer, “the old inhabitants of Kemi meant a distant land washed by
the great ocean, full of valleys and hills, abounding in ebony and other
rich woods, balsams, spices, precious metals and stones and of animals,
hunting-leopards, panthers, dog-headed apes, etc.” It was the Ophir of
the Egyptians, the present coast of Somali, perhaps the land in sight of
Arabia, but separated by the Red Sea.

Old traditions said that it was the original seat of the gods, and from
it had travelled the holy ones to the Nile valley, at their head Amen,
called Kak, as king of Punt, Horus and Hathor. This last was the queen
and ruler of Punt, Hor, the holy morning star, which rose to the west of
the land. The god Bes also was peculiarly associated with the country.
Under the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty is said to have taken place
the first journey to Ophir and Punt, and the envoys sent were attended
by three thousand men and brought back spices and precious stones. After
that it seemed to relapse in the popular imagination into a sort of
fairyland which was inhabited by strange serpents.

Like a new Columbus the great queen decided to attempt the rediscovery
and exploration of these distant shores. Amen of Thebes, the lord of
gods, it is said, had suggested the thought to her, “because he held this
ruler so dear, dearer than any other king who had been in this country.”
Pictures and accounts of this expedition were afterwards placed in
illustration on the walls of the temple of Deir-el-Bahari, built by the
queen, and the inscription concludes with the statement that nothing like
it had been done under any king before. “And,” says an authority on these
subjects, “it speaks the truth. Hatasu showed her people the way to the
land whose products were later to fill the treasuries not only of the
Pharaohs, but also of the Phoenicians and the Jews.”

It was a peaceful expedition, perhaps the only one that had ever been
sent forth, this voyage of discovery, nearly sixteen hundred years
before the Christian Era; but of course great preparations and even some
military ones had to be made that in case of unexpected attack they might
be prepared. Ships were built for the expedition, and doubtless years
passed between the time of the first conception of the enterprise and its

An inscription by the picture of the squadron thus describes it.
“Departure of the squadron of the Lord of the two Worlds, traversing the
great sea on the Good Way to the Land of the gods, in obedience to the
will of the King of the gods, Amen of Thebes. He commanded that there
should be brought to him the marvellous products of the Land of Punt, for
he loveth the Queen Hatasu above all other kings that have ruled this

A canal connecting the Nile with the Red Sea which has been attributed
to Seti I Miss Edwards claims as an engineering feat of Hatasu, as it
would shorten the length of the voyage rather than to take the almost
inconceivably long trip around the west coast of Africa, the Cape of Good
Hope, the Mosambique Channel and the coast of Zanzibar.

The ships, five in number, were large and stately for the time. They are
described as having a narrow keel with stern and prow high above the
water, seventy feet in length and with no cabin accommodations. A raised
platform at either end, with a balustrade, probably afforded some shelter
to the officers. A single mast supported the spreading sail, there were
no decks and the hull was fitted with seats for the rowers. After the
Old Empire all large boats were adapted for sailing, as well as rowing.
Other vessels of this or a little later time were one-decked galleys with
thirty oars, with seats and shrines and the stern ornamented with figures
of animals. The cabin of those of royal or high rank was a stately
house, with roof and pillars, sides brightly colored, in the fore, large
paintings and the stern a gigantic lotus. The blade of the oar was like
a bouquet of flowers with the head of the king at top, the sails the
richest cloth of gay colors. A royal vessel of this description belonged
to King Thothmes III, Hatasu’s successor and was called “Star of the two

Another description speaks of war ships having the poop twisted, with
armed mariners in helmets of brass, with four short masts and on each a
large castle containing bowmen with steel-headed arrows. Upon the prow
a sort of fortress, the soldiers carrying long spears and oval shields
decorated with hieroglyphics in brilliant colors. Above the rowers large
black Ethiopians in steel cuirasses and long swords. The captains in
variegated armor and accompanied by a thousand soldiers and three hundred
rowers. The prow ornamented with a lion’s head and colossal shoulders
across a broad gilded image of the feathered globe of the sun, the emblem
of Egypt and the inscription, “Mistress of the World.” But Hatasu’s
fleet was going on a peaceful errand and required no such panoply of war.
Experienced seamen managed it, while soldiers, ambassadors and, some say,
even ladies, accompanied it and bore with them a variety of presents to
win the friendship and favor of the inhabitants of this strange land. The
envoys had a small guard of soldiers, but all included did not number
more than two hundred and ten men.

The voyagers were met with a friendly welcome and returned with stores
of treasures. The inhabitants of Punt lived in little round shaped
huts, built on stages and reached by ladders, all under the shade of
spreading palms. A picture on the wall of the temple shows the prince of
the land Parihu by name, with his wife, Ati or Aty, the latter fat and
ungainly (though probably considered a specimen of great beauty by her
countrymen), with a donkey to ride upon, followed by two sons and a young
daughter, the last giving promise of rivaling her mother in rotundity of
outline. Gold, spices, ivory, incense bearing trees, to the number of
thirty-one, precious gums, used in the service of the temple, and various
animals were brought back to Egypt as a result of this most successful
journey. The return was celebrated by a high festival in the temple.
Hatshepsut or Hatasu appeared in fullest royal attire, adorned in the
richest manner, a helmet on her head, a spotted leopard skin covering her
shoulders and her limbs “perfumed like fresh dew.” She offered incense to
the god Amen, as his priestess, bearing two bowls full and weighing out
gold with her own hand. This was before the sacred boat of Amen Ra, with
a ram’s head at each end, and carried by high priests, also in leopard
skins. The Naka, or incense bearing trees, were borne in tubs, and the
weights for weighing the precious metals were gold rings in the shape of
recumbent oxen.

Later, as was his iconoclastic wont, Rameses II destroyed some of these
pictures and inscriptions and inserted his own name.

Although the name of Tahutmes II, husband and co-ruler with the queen,
is not specially mentioned in connection with this great expedition,
he shared in the after festival. He, too, designated by his court name
of King Menkhefer-ka-ra, offered incense in the boat of Amen, carried
on the shoulders of men. “Thus,” says Miss Edwards, “to the sound of
trumpets and drums, with waving of green boughs and shouts of triumph,
and followed by an ever gathering crowd, the great procession takes its
way between avenues of sphinxes, past obelisks and pylons, and up one
magnificent flight of steps after another till the topmost terrace of the
Great Temple is reached, where the Queen herself welcomed them to the
presence of Hathor, the Beautiful, the Lady of the Western Mountain, the
Goddess Regent of the Land of Punt.”

At what period is not exactly known, but of course earlier than this,
since he is believed to have designed the beautiful temple of Deir el
Bahri, the queen called to her assistance the services of the architect
Senmut, whose statue is in the Berlin Museum. He, it is implied, usurped
the place in Hatasu’s affection which rightfully belonged to her husband,
but of this it is not possible to speak with any degree of certainty or
authority. We only know that he was a man of great ability in his own
line, of intelligent mind and skillful hand, and was highly appreciated
by her majesty. In an inscription in the Berlin Museum he says his lady
ruler made him “great in both countries” and “chief of the chiefs” in the
whole of Egypt. The buildings which the queen and he erected are said to
be among the most tasteful, complete and brilliant in the land. He was
of lowly birth, and therefore his position was the more surprising. He
appears to have occupied in the queen’s counsels something of the place
of Disraeli to Queen Victoria, whose Jewish origin made his occupancy of
the position he gained remarkable. After Senmut’s death Hatasu raised to
him a stone memorial as a token of gratitude, with his portrait in black
granite and in an attitude of repose. On his shoulder were the short but
significant words, “there was not found in writing his ancestors.” He is
also introduced in an inscription, as himself speaking, where he used the
male pronoun “he” in mentioning the queen refers to his own services and
ends with styling her “the lord of the country, the King of Makara.”

Senmut was evidently the chief counsellor and favorite of Hatshepsut,
but there was also another highly regarded officer who shared with or
succeeded him in the queen’s favor and good graces. This was a certain
Aahmes, who had also served her father, Thothmes, or Tahutmes I, and
whose tomb was discovered by Brugsch, and bears this inscription, “I was
during my existence in the favor of the king, and was rewarded by His
Holiness, and a divine woman gave me further reward, the defunct great
queen Makara (Hashop), because I brought up her daughter, the great
queen’s daughter, the defunct Nofrerura.” It is of course plain that he
survived the queen, but we do not know whether he met with equal favor
at the hand of her successor. Possibly the mother’s heart, little given
to tenderness, may have had an especial softness towards this “nurse” or
tutor of her dead child, her father’s trusted servant and perhaps, on
that very account, hers also.

Two children were born to the queen, both daughters, Neferura, the
heiress, who is spoken of as “the mistress of both lands,” who died in
the beginning of the reign of Tahutmes III, and Hatasu Meri or Merytra,
who it is estimated was born about 1512 B. C. and became heiress
Princess, inheriting all her mother’s rights. To establish the throne
more firmly therefore, she was married to Tahutmes III. This king was
long supposed to be the youngest son of Tahutmes I, but the latest
authorities, although they do not speak with absolute assurance, incline
to believe he was the son of Tahutmes II, by a concubine, hence he was
in one case the uncle, and in the other the half or step-brother of the
young princess, but with a less direct title to the throne than she.
A certain Renekheb is also spoken of as a tutor of the young queen.
This marriage appears to have taken place when they were both children
and before the death of Tahutmes II, which is proved by the cartouches
of Tahutmes II and Tahutmes III being found together upon some of
the monuments, and at the same time suggests that the juvenile pair,
nominally at least, shared in the government.

Tahutmes II, born about 1533 B. C., appears to have died at about thirty,
in 1503, and some writers maintain that Hatshepsut usurped the power
which rightfully belonged to Tahutmes III, but Miss Edwards (ever ready
to champion her heroine) finds in the above fact strong proof that the
queen really protected the interests of her young half-brother or nephew.
While Petrie admits that it would be unlikely and perhaps even unnatural
that a capable and ambitious woman, still in the prime of life, should
immediately hand over the reins of government, placed in her hands by
her father, to a young and inexperienced boy and justifies her retention
of them, the more that it was she and not he who had the stronger legal
claim. Be this as it may, if Tahutmes III owed gratitude to Hatshepsut
for care or protection he showed her little return. Whether from the
general unpopularity of mothers-in-law, from her treatment of his brother
or uncle, from the feeling that he was suppressed and kept in the
background, or from some unknown cause, he evidently hated her. When he
came into power he endeavored to destroy the memorials of her from off
the earth and cause her memory even to be forgotten. He injured or erased
her name constantly and whenever possible and substituted that of his
brother or himself.

Tahutmes I had continued the building of Thebes and set up his two
granite obelisks. Tahutmes II and Hatshepsut continued building at
Karnak, the temple having been in existence, it is said, as far back
as the Eleventh Dynasty. So gigantic was the scale on which these
architectural works were undertaken that one life seldom saw their
completion. Like the coral reef the temples grew and were added to,
monarch after monarch of succeeding generations taking a share in the
general design.

Tahutmes I had raised at Karnak two obelisks seventy feet in height, his
daughter’s far outdid them, for hers were the loftiest then known in
Egypt, a flawless block of red granite or rose quartz, rising 108 or 109
feet into the air. This was erected in the sixteenth year of her reign
and after the death of her husband, which took place some dozen or more
years after that of his father. Probably the ceremonial mourning was
observed for him, but the heart of Hatshepsut was hard and cold and even
if we exonerate her from the implication of being directly concerned in
his decease, which stands “not proven,” there seems little doubt that she
rejoiced to be comparatively free and hold the reins of power exclusively
in her own hands. Nothing seemed missing from her life or her pursuits,
which she followed with renewed energy and appeared more constantly than
ever in male attire, the short kilt and sandals, the war helmet and even
perhaps, as in her reproduction, a beard. Architecture was evidently of
great interest to her as to many of her predecessors and obelisks and
temples still, after the lapse of centuries, bear witness to her power
and skill.

It took nineteen months from its first inception to the completion
of her great obelisk and even so, when one thinks of its magnificent
proportions, the work seems to have proceeded with wonderful celerity.
Inscriptions by Senmut record the quarrying. Her brother’s name appears
at the side. One face was covered with gold, which the queen is believed
to have weighed out with her own hand. The beautifully carved centre was
inlaid with electrum or silver gilt and related to herself. “Amen-Khnum
Hatasu, the golden Horus, Lord of the two lands hath dedicated to her
father, Amen of Thebes, two obelisks of Maket stone (red granite) hewn
from the quarries of the South. Their summits were sheathed with pure
gold, taken from the chiefs of all nations.” “His Majesty gave these two
gilded obelisks to her father, Amen, that her name should live forever
in his temple,” and adds towards the conclusion, “when Ra arises betwixt
them as he journeys upward from the heavenly horizon they flood the two
Egypts with the glory of their brightness.” Rosellini says, speaking
of the fineness of the work, “every figure seems rather to have been
impressed with a seal than graven with a chisel.” An inscription at
the bottom states that it was erected to her father, Tahutmes I. This
obelisk, with its mate, was to occupy a place in the centre court of
the palace at Karnak. Dr. Naville, the explorer, discovered the burial
chamber of Tahutmes in 1893 and a great altar erected by the queen.

In an inscription on part of the rock-cut temple of Speos Artemidos,
south Beni-hasan, reciting her re-establishment of Egyptian power and
worship after destruction by the Hyksos, Hatshepsut says: “The abode of
the mistress of Qes (Kusae on west side) was fallen in ruin, the earth
had covered her beautiful sanctuary and children played over her temple—I
cleared and rebuilt it anew—I restored that which was in ruins and I
completed that which was left unfinished. For there had been Amu in the
midst of the Delta and in Hanar and the foreign hoardes of their number
had destroyed the ancient works. They reigned ignorant of the god Ra.”

The temple of Deir-el-Bahri or “Dayre-el-Bahari,” its present Arabic
name, was perhaps the greatest work of Hatshepsut’s life and enough of
the ruins still remained for the clever French architect, M. Brune, to
reconstruct its plan for us. The site was one that would have been chosen
by the Greeks for a theatre, but the Egyptian dedicated it to what he
deemed a higher object, the worship of the gods. Situated on a green
plain, near the tombs of the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, it was a
magnificent natural amphitheatre on the shore of the river and, terrace
by terrace, rose from the edge of the water to its steep background of
golden brown rock, in which the inner temple, the “holy of holies,” was
excavated. Of its structure Senmut or Sen-Maut was the presiding genius.
The name “Dayre-el-Bahari” means North church, or monastery, and was, of
course, applied to it in later times from the ruins of an old monastery
which was yet young and modern beside the original erection. An avenue
of sphinxes connected the landing for boats with the four terraces.
These were supported by earth-works and stone and guarded by hawk-headed
figures, in marble, bearing the uraeus. Columns also supported it, some
of them polygonal in shape, with the head of the goddess Hathor as a
capitol, and were later restored and kept in order till the time of the
Ptolemies. “This temple,” says one writer, “was a splendid specimen of
Egyptian Art history, whether we consider the treatment of the stone or
the richness of the colored decorations,” and it was unique in design and
differed from all others. In the inner recesses of the rock-cut chambers
was a picture of the queen, representing her as sucking the milk of the
sacred cow, the incarnation of the goddess Hathor, thereby intimating her
divine origin.

Some sixteen or seventeen years after the death of Tahutmes II the
cartouch of Tahutmes III becomes associated with that of Hatshepsut and
then her brilliant career terminates, but the end is wrapped in mystery.
Whether she voluntarily laid aside her royal power, which seems unnatural
and unlikely, whether she met with foul play or whether she died a
natural death, we know not The remains of many others of her family, more
or less illustrious, were found, but hers were not among them. Her place
of sepulture was discovered by Mr. Rhind in 1841 in a cliff side near her
temple, but, strange to say, was again lost sight of, and her successor,
showing plainly his feeling towards her, has constantly chiselled out her
name. A party of modern travelers, however, claim to have rediscovered it.

Her cartouch, which may be seen in Baedaker and other works, seems
comparatively simple, beside the more elaborate ones of other monarchs.
It is a circle with a dot in the centre, a small seated female figure,
wearing the plumes of a goddess and below two right angles joined.
The three hieroglyphic signs are explained to mean “Ma, the sitting
figure of the goddess of Truth, Law and Justice; Ka, represented by the
hieroglyphic of the uplifted arms and signifying Life, and the sun’s
disk, representing Ra, the supreme solar god of the universe.”

Many memorials of this great queen, spite of the efforts made to destroy
them, remain to us. The ruins of the temple, the great obelisks, one of
which is still standing, various statues and statuettes, many sun-dried
brick with her cartouch and that of her father, some of which can be seen
in our own Metropolitan Museum in New York, a cabinet in wood and ivory,
her standard, her signet ring in turquoise and gold, in the possession of
an English gentleman, and, most interesting of all perhaps, the remains
of her throne chair, now in the British Museum. It is made of a dark
wood, not natural to Egypt, and probably from the land of Punt. The legs
are decorated with ucilisks in gold, and the carven hoof of some animal.
The other parts are ornamented with hieroglyphics in gold and silver
and one fragmentary royal oval in which the name of Hatasu appears and
thereby identifies the owner of the throne.

Thus ends in comparative mystery, darkness and silence this brilliant
life, of which we were long in ignorance.

Says Curtis in his charming “Nile Notes”: “The history of Eastern life
is embroidered to our youngest eyes in that airy arabesque—an Eastern
book cannot be written without a dash of the Arabian Nights—the East
throughout hath that fine flavor.”



The great Hatasu was no more and after her no woman held such extended
and absolute sway. The next queen whose name occurs at all prominently
is Maut-a-mua, or Maut-em-va, “Mother of the boat,” wife of Tahutmes IV
and mother of Amenophis III. She appears to have held the regency after
her husband’s death till her son assumed full power, or if not actually
in this official position, to have had great influence with him. The tie
between mother and son was a close one and even his marriage did not seem
to weaken it.

But before entering upon such fragmentary history of her as remains
to us it may be well to enumerate briefly the lists of sovereigns
which connects Hatasu or Hatshepsut with her great grandson’s or
great nephew’s wife. Her half-brother or step son-in-law, Tahutmes or
Thothmes III, sometimes called the Alexander of Egypt, who succeeded
or wrested the power from her hands, had a long reign of fifty-three
or fifty-four years. Hatshepsut died at fifty-nine, and Tahutmes III
ascended the throne at thirty-one years of age. The computation of his
reign probably dates from the time he was first associated with his
sister or stepmother in the regal power. He was one of the most noted of
the Egyptian kings, laid aside the peace policy of his predecessors and
entered on a series of wars and conquests, marked with many cruelties.
The records of his military expeditions are said to give us great insight
into the condition of Syria and Palestine about the fifteenth century B.
C. He, like his predecessor, was interested in architecture, builded and
added to the temples and showed individual taste in his additions. He has
left more monuments behind him than any of the Egyptian kings but Rameses
II. He built at Heliopolis, Memphis, Thebes, Elephantine and nearly every
town in Nubia. Four of his obelisks have come down to us—one in Rome, one
in Constantinople, one in London and one in New York. These last bear the
popular title of “Cleopatra’s needle,” though erected in a much earlier
time than the era of that renowned queen. The first, “the greatest of all
extant monoliths,” is standing before the church of St. John Lateran, at
Rome. Many, many years were occupied in its preparation. Obelisks were
generally erected in pairs and occasionally several of them in succession
formed an avenue. In the temple of Deir el Bahri are pictures of
Hatshepset and Tahutmes III making offerings to the gods. Says Baedaker:
“On the upper part of the right wall is a noteworthy scene. Makere,
Hatshepsut I, Thutmosis III, and the Princess Ranofru sacrificing to the
boat of Ammon, behind which stands Thutmosis I with his consort, Aahmes,
and their little daughter, Binofru. A similar scene was represented
above the recess on the left wall; the kneeling Thutmosis III and the
Princess Binofra may still be distinguished.” The statues of Tahutmes III
are numerous, but not colossal.

He “took to wife” in the old Eastern phrase, Hatasu-Meri, daughter of
the great Hatshepsut and his own near relative, but our knowledge of
her is extremely limited. She evidently did not inherit her mother’s
characteristics and possibly did not live any great length of time.
Or if her husband transferred to her any portion of the dislike which
he so evidently bore her mother he may have purposely kept her in the
background, but in any case she cannot be looked upon as an assertive
character. Her second name is given as Meri or Merira and there is a
picture of her on a throne behind, not beside, her husband. She is,
however, attired as a goddess, with whip, ankh and tall plumes. This is
at Medinet Habu; again she is spoken of as Meryt-ra Hatshepset, mother of
Amenophis II, and a scene in a tomb represents her, accompanied by her
son. A female sphinx representing her with her husband’s name inscribed
was found in the temple of Isis and is now in the Baracco collection at
Rome and casts are at Turin and Berlin. One inscription, and possibly
more, remain, however, speaking of her as “beloved consort,” or some
other form expressing a degree of affection, but at this late period it
is impossible to determine whether it was the usual conventional phrase
or had some foundation in truth. She lived and died, but whether her
life was a long and happy one or short and sorrowful we cannot tell.

The reign of Tahutmes III is among the longest in history. It was,
however, exceeded by some monarchs, Louis XIV, seventy-two years.
George III and Queen Victoria over sixty, Henry III occupied the throne
fifty-six years, Edward III fifty, and there was also one of the Mogul
Emperors, as well as others. A glass vase in the British Museum, said
to be the oldest in existence, bears the name of Tahutmes III. There
are various mementoes or memorials of him in different places, the most
personal perhaps, his coffin, much damaged and stripped of its gilding,
which may be seen in the Gizeh Museum.

Amenophis or Amenhotep II, son probably of Hatasu-Meri, succeeded his
father. Of him also we read as a warrior and a cruel one, bringing
back the bodies of several kings whom he had slain with his own hand.
The Egyptians were said not to be so cruel in battle as the Assyrians,
but there seems little to choose between them. There is a picture of
Amenophis II on the wall at Abd-el-Gurneh, as a child on the lap of a
nurse, the heads and backs of five Asiatics serving him as a footstool,
implying doubtless that he himself would be, or his father before him had
been, a warrior and a conqueror. There is also a kneeling statue of him,
in later life, holding a globular vase in his hand. He succeeded to the
throne when young, perhaps at eighteen, and his reign was comparatively
short as was that of his son and successor, Tahutmes IV. His queen was
named Ta-aa and is recorded on a double statue of her and her son,
Tahutmes IV. She is called “royal mother and wife,” showing her to be his
mother. We knew less of her than of almost any of the queens, that she
continued the royal line and her name seems but brief record of her.

Of Tahutmes IV it is said that he spent much time in youth in hunting
and field sports. He married Mautamua, or Maut-em-va, or as she is
again spoken of, Moutetemarait, possibly an Ethiopian princess. Various
inter-marriages, as in modern times not unfrequently, making the families
in adjacent kingdoms near of kin.

The name of Tahutmes IV is especially associated with the great Sphinx
and we cannot doubt the whole matter was of much interest to the queen
also. The god Harmaehis appeared to the king in a dream and promised him
his special favor if he would dig out the Sphinx which bore his image and
lay half buried in the sand. The monarch obeyed, restored and repaired
the grand monument and built a temple at its base. This stands between
the two extended paws, on one of which the king’s name has been found
inscribed. It was an open temple with an altar and on the breast of the
colossus was the memorial stone with the king’s name, made of red granite.

Dreams seem to have borne a special art in the family history. The queen
also had a noted dream. It was said that she was sleeping in the most
beautiful room in the palace and awoke and saw her husband by her side.
Then a few moments after the figure of the god Amen appeared and, when
she cried out in alarm, he predicted the birth of her son and vanished in
clouds of sweet perfume. Hence the young king was considered in a sense
the son of the god. Mautamua is elsewhere called a princess of Mitanni
and seems to have been won with difficulty by the young Egyptian prince
or kin. One of the tablets found says: “When the father of Nimmuriya
(Tahutmes IV) sent to Artotama my grandfather and asked for his daughter
to wife, my grandfather refused his request, and though he sent the fifth
time and the sixth time he would not give her to him. It was only after
he had sent the seventh time that he gave her to him, being compelled for
many reasons.” This was among the noted collection of the Tel-el-Amarna
tablets and is believed by late authorities to refer to Queen Maut-amua,
who is also spoken of as the divine wife and mother.

The queen’s home was in Thebes, which had succeeded Memphis as the
great city of the Empire, standing, it is said, to Ethiopia and Egypt
“in the relation occupied by Rome to Mediæval Christianity, the capital
sacerdotal city of all who worshipped the god Amen.” On the wall of what
is called the “Birth Room” at the temple of Luxor are various reliefs
relating to the birth of Amenophis III, showing Queen Maut-a-mua, the
nurses, the goddess Isis and others. In one the Queen, after the birth
of her son (Ra-ma-neb), is seen kneeling on a kind of dais. The goddess
Hathor kneels facing her with the babe in her arms. The Ka of both are
repeated, making double figures, and the sacred cow suckles the child.
For some reason, not given, Amenophis III was particularly rich in Ka
names, for he had seven. Another relief shows Hathor presenting the child
to the goddess Safekh, and to Amen-Ra, the god of Thebes. Behind Amen-Ra
stands the god Nilus and behind him another carrying three ankhs or life
signs for the family, throne and Ka name. Safekh dips her pen in ink to
record his birth; the royal and Ka ovals are inscribed above. Says Miss
Edwards: “Each sovereign on succeeding to the throne not only assumed
a throne name, but took also a name for his Ka. The throne name was
enclosed in a royal oval, or cartouch, like the family name, but the Ka
name was represented as if inscribed above the false doorway, just where
the name of a deceased person would be inscribed above the actual door of
his sepulchre.”

As the goddess Safekh was the patron deity of libraries we may judge
that the king had intellectual tastes, though we know him to have been
something of an athlete and a great sportsman. Indeed, it was to this
last that he owed his wife, for it was on a hunting expedition that
he encountered and fell in love with her. Queen Maut-amua and her
daughter-in-law, Ti or Thi, were associated much together, as were
Queen Aahotep and her daughter-in-law, Nefertari-Aahmes, though not so
generally considered divinities as were the founders of the race.

Maut-a-mua must have been a woman of intellect, capacity and attraction
since she was her son’s guardian, and probably regent, and his
attachment to her seems to have been strong and enduring. She lived many
years after her husband, whose reign was brief, lasting not more than
eight or nine years.

The likenesses of these various kings and queens are often found among
the wall pictures in the tombs and are reproduced in many of the books on
Egypt. The bas-reliefs and statues which decorated temples and tombs were
mostly painted. Says Maspero: “That the Egyptians studied from Nature is
proved by the facility with which they seized likenesses and drew the
appropriate movements of animals. These figures are strange, but they
live and have a certain charm.” To paint men brown and women yellow was
the rule, but to this there were occasional exceptions. At Sackuarah, in
the time of the Fifth Dynasty, the flesh tint of the men is yellow, while
at Istamboul, or Abu Simbel, it is red, as also in the tombs of the epoch
of Thotmosis IV.

The early Egyptian is said to have had a fine forehead, small, aquiline
nose and a well-formed chin. The picture preserved of Queen Maut-a-mua,
with the royal asp above her forehead, gives a long, slightly aquiline
nose and a small, well-shaped chin. It is rather startling, in turning
to her daughter-in-law, Ti, to find this face repeated in a sort of
caricature, devoid of beauty. As in most cases, doctors differ as to
the amount of reliance that can be placed upon the verisimilitude of
the portraits and statues of these various kings and queens that have
come down to us. Some authorities maintain that there existed an ideal
conventional type, to which the actual bore little or no resemblance,
and point out how each is but the modification of the other. Some again
claim for them considerable authenticity. Perhaps a middle ground may
come nearest to the truth. The conventional type no doubt dominated the
painter’s or sculptor’s mind. But when the statues are proved to have
been executed in the lifetime of the original it seems likely that some
resemblance was aimed at, and the differences that exist go to show
this. Also in many cases they belonged to the same family, and may well
have had features common to all; as in later times the Hapsburgh jaw was
handed down from generation to generation. How hard we have found it to
reconcile the picture in the various galleries with the reputation of
the charming, beautiful and unhappy Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and yet
doubtless there was a resemblance. How often, too, the photograph of a
near and dear friend has an utterly unfamiliar aspect. So that we may
fairly admit that even in these ancient times statues and pictures (at
least in some cases) a suggestion of the original may remain to us.

The head of Tahutmes IV, which is preserved in a statue or statuette,
gives a pleasing face, with an amiable expression. At Luxor, Queen
Maut-a-mua appears without the king, but with her son, whose paternity
is ascribed to Amen. There is also a picture of the king, smiting some
negroes, and behind is a queen called Ai’at who is spoken of as royal
daughter, sister and wife, but it is thought this may be intended for an
ideograph of the “goddess queen,” Maut-a-mua, as there is no other trace
of her. On one private tomb is a picture of Amenophis III and his mother,
and there are also various small remains in the way of scarabs, rings,
etc. In one of the reliefs in the “Birth Room,” before referred to, the
god Amen and the queen are seated upon the hieroglyphic symbol for heaven
and supported by the goddesses Selqet and Neith.

King Amenophis III did not resemble his mother. It is quite a different
face, with good features and a resolute, though pensive expression. The
forehead is high, the eyes full, the nose long but rounded at the end,
the upper lip short, and the chin prognathous. He is described as amiable
and generous, and showed deference and strong affection both for mother
and wife. He seems among the most pleasing of the Egyptian kings. Engaged
in wars, devoted to hunting, especially the chase of the lion, which led
him far afield, he was yet, as were many of his predecessors, deeply
interested in architectural enterprises and the era is noted for the
spirit and beauty of its sculpture. Court and colonnade at Karnak were of
his building, and on the walls of various apartments are pictures of the
coronation of the king and other details of his life.

He is best known to us, and his fame rests chiefly on the marvellous
colossi which he erected, “the grandest the world has ever seen.” They
are sixty feet high, and when they wore the crown of an Egyptian king,
which has since been destroyed, towered seventy feet into the air, a
solid block of sandstone. Miss Martineau, a traveller of comparatively
modern times, thus describes the impression they made upon her. “There
they sit, together yet apart, in the midst of the plain, serene and
vigilant, still keeping their untired watch over the lapse of ages
and the eclipse of Europe. I can never believe that anything else so
majestic as this pair has been conceived of by the imagination of Art,
nothing certainly, even in Nature, ever affected me so unspeakably. The
pair, sitting alone amid the expanse of verdure, with islands of ruins
behind them, grow more striking to us every day. The impression of
sublime tranquility which they convey, when seen from distant points, is
confirmed by a nearer approach. There they sit, keeping watch, hands on
knees, gazing straight forward, seeming, though so much of the face is
gone, to be looking over to the monumental piles on the other side of the
river, which became gorgeous temples after these throne seats were placed
here—the most immovable thrones that have ever been established on the

It is rarely that the name of an Egyptian sculptor is preserved, but this
case is an exception. An inscription records his name and his naturally
proud and exultant feelings at the completion of his work. He was called
Amen-hotep or Amen-hept, and thus speaks: “I immortalized the name of
the king and no one has done the like of me in my works. I executed two
portrait statues of the king, astonishing for their breadth and height,
their completed form dwarfed the temple tower; forty cubits was their
measure: they were cut in the splendid sandstone mountain, on either side
the eastern and the western, I caused to be built lightships whereon the
statues were carried up the river; they were emplaced in their sublime
temple; they will last as long as heaven. A joyful event was it when they
were landed at Thebes and raised up in their place.”

The stone is of a yellowish brown color and very difficult to work. Both
statues represent the king and stood before a temple which he built, but
of which the veriest fragments remain. We are reminded somewhat by the
sculptor’s triumphant pæan of the good Un’e, who was minister to Pepi VI
and so exulted in his work and position. Fond as Amenophis was of both
his mother and his foreign wife, for whose pleasure and diversion he
constructed a great lake, neither of them sit beside him or share the
honor of so majestic a statue, as we might suppose, especially as regards
his wife, would have been the case; he immortalizes himself alone. Two
figures of queens, Maut-a-mua and Ti, are, however sculptured at the base
of the statues; they measure eighteen feet in height, but appear small
beside the colossi. Says one visitor, the surface of the statues was
originally beautifully polished. The thrones on which they are seated are
covered with sculptures; the god Hapi (the Nile) is weaving together the
lotus lily and papyrus plant, implying the rule of the monarch over Upper
and Lower Egypt.

Homer calls Amenophis III, the Memnon of the Greeks, “the most stately
of living men,” and according to a later legend he was the son of
Aurora. It was during the Roman imperial epoch that they were taken for
the statues of Memnon, who slew Nestor’s son, Antiochus, in the Trojan
war, and was himself slain by Achilles, and to explain the fact that
the Trojan hero should thus appear in Egypt a legend was invented. The
so-called “vocal Memnon,” the more Eastern of the statues, greeted his
mother, Eos, with musical sounds and the morning dews were supposed to be
the tears which the goddess shed upon her beloved child. The two statues
stood at the end of an avenue of gigantic figures, leading to the temple
of Amen, and from the river to the temple, a mile in length, went the
Strada Regia, the royal street of Thebes.

Says our own Curtis, who has written so charmingly of his Egyptian
experiences: “Yearly comes the Nile humbly to his feet, and leaving them
pays homage. Then receding slowly leaves water plants wreathed around the
throne, on which he is sculptured as a good genius harvesting the lotus,
and brings a hundred travellers to perpetuate the homage. These sublime
sketches in stone are an artist’s work. In those earlier days Art was
not content with the grace of Nature, but coped with its proportions.
Vain attempts, but glorious!” The fact of this musical note being heard
from “the darling of the dawn” is recorded on the base of the statue, and
is mentioned by Strabo, the elder Pliny and many others. Sandy beaches
sometimes emit musical sounds and something in the structure of the
rock, warmed by the rays of the rising sun, may have caused the sounds
to be heard, or they may have been produced by artificial means, at the
instance of the priests, striving to impress the people. The true origin
of the mystery was never discovered, though its existence seems well
attested, and eventually the sounds ceased, probably as the result of
an earthquake or the restoration of the figures which was undertaken by
a later king. Another theory lays the injury of the statues at the door
of Cambyses, who was credited with all possible crimes, and a sculptured
inscription reads: “I wrote after having heard Memnon. Cambyses has
wounded me. A stone cut into the image of the sun-king. I had once the
sweet voice of Memnon, but Cambyses has deprived me of the accents which
express joy and grief.”

The sounds are said by some authorities to have been heard during a
period of two hundred and twenty years. Travellers in ancient times (like
the modern vandal) were very fond of scribbling their names on monuments,
which should be held in more respect, and a number of these, including
some of their remarks and silly verses, have been found on the base of
the statue and refer to the sounds. At the time of their erection the
level of the Nile was evidently different from that of the present day
for its waters, as Curtis has said, now occasionally leave the feet of
the giant pair.

Amenophis III began quarrying stone for his numerous architectural works
in the first and second years of his reign from quarries near Silseleh,
and his palace was said to resemble that subsequently built by his son at
Tel-el-Amarna in some respects. Scarabs bearing the name of this king are
to be seen in our own New York Museum, as also in various other places,
but those of Tahutmes III are still more frequent here. The tomb of
Amenophis III was found in the west valley of the Tombs of the Kings by a
French expedition.

Queen Maut-a-mua had the pleasure, we may believe, of seeing a number of
grandchildren, as Amenophis III had four sons and three daughters, if not
others unmentioned, and so kindly seem to have been the family relations
that we may perhaps picture her with her son’s wife in the midst of the
home circle spoiling them quite like a modern grandmother. Up to this
period the men of the family appear to have been a stalwart, good-looking
race, while the women probably possessed more beauty than their pictures
would lead us to infer. Of the general outline of their history we have
some knowledge, but seldom or never can we definitely place the day
of their birth or that of their death. So at what exact period Queen
Maut-a-mua passed away we cannot state, only we may believe she was
watched over by filial affection to the last, was buried amid tears and
lamentations, and had all due funeral rites observed, even if she was not
numbered among those royalties who were specially regarded as divinities,
the founders of the race, and to whom divine honors were subsequently
paid, yet is she occasionally spoken of as “the goddess queen.”



With Queen Tyi (or as her name is variously spelled, Ti, Tai, Tity, Tii,
Teye, Tuaa, Thua) we again consider the story of a woman of unusual
power, and though not leaving such indelible impression upon the page of
history as did Queen Hatasu, her influence was strongly felt. Both as
wife and mother we see the traces of her ideas and wishes on the actions
of husband and son; both, evidently, turned to her for counsel and each
in his own way showed her devoted affection. So potent was her sway over
the latter that to it is largely attributed the religious and political
revolution which occurred in the lifetime of Amenophis IV. Though its
effects were comparatively temporary and passed away during the reign of
his successors for the time being it convulsed Egypt to its centre and
the records of it have not been obliterated by the lapse of centuries.

Amenophis III, son of Tahutmes IV and Maut-a-mua, was, we judge, an
attractive youth. He had a fine presence, an agreeable expression and
an amiable and generous disposition, while his love story holds more
of romance than usually falls to the lot of kings or queens. He is
credited with a number of wives or less reputable connections. Perhaps
they included the errors of the “sowing of wild oats,” and at any rate
seem to have been relegated to or kept in the background by a devoted
affection for the lady who became pre-eminently his legal wife. These
various wives are given as a sister and two daughters of Kalima-Sin, King
of Karaduniyash, and a sister and daughter of Tushratta, King of Mittani,
none of whom, it is said, were acknowledged queen of Egypt, while other
records seem to imply that Queen Tyi was the daughter of Tushratta of
Dushratta, King of Mittanni. A letter to Babylon seems to show that
Amenophis III had married a Babylonish princess, and that her brother,
Kali-masin, was not satisfied about her safety, but was reassured by
Amenophis. A match between another princess of that country and the
Egyptian sovereign seems to have failed for lack of sufficient gold on
the lady’s part. Wars also interfered with connubial arrangements.

Another account says that Amenophis III haughtily refused when the
King of Mesopotamia, Kalima-Sin, wished to marry one of the Egyptian
princesses, saying that the daughter of the king of the Land of Egypt
had never been given to a “nobody.” This, of course, occurred later, if
at all, and it seems not quite reasonable that the king himself should
take a princess as his wife from the same family to which he refused his
daughter. The sovereign of great Egypt evidently viewed with contempt the
claims of these petty princes to be considered in any way his equal. Yet
one letter in the collection found at Tel-el-Amarna shows that Tahutmes
III, Tahutmes IV and Amenophis IV all married Mitannian princesses. After
such a lapse of time and among conflicting statements it is hard to
arrive at the absolute facts, but as our present concern is chiefly with
Queen Tyi it matters the less. She alone of these various ladies has a
distinct personality and takes a prominent place.

Hunting was, with Amenophis III, a passion, the hunting of the lion
a royal sport, for the sake of which he journeyed far and no doubt
underwent many enforced privations. It must have been in the heyday
of youth and manly vigor that, on one of his long expeditions, he
encountered the foreign princess who at once won his heart and probably
reciprocated to a more than ordinary degree the affection she inspired.
Spite of the rather unattractive effigies which bear her name, we must
believe that she was beautiful and winning, since for her sake he cast
aside the so frequent custom of marriage with a sister or some home
dignitary and invited her to share his throne.

Probably then, or later, the queen participated in the favorite amusement
of her husband, not wanting in courage for the perils or hardships
involved, nor did she shrink as a more sensitive female of later times
might have done from what was painful, cruel or revolting in the death
throes of the mighty beast.

Scarabs, so often used by the Egyptians to record events which they
considered of importance, have been found, bearing such inscriptions as
this: “Amenhotep, prince of Thebes, giver of life, and royal spouse Thi.
In respect of lions, brought Majesty his from shooting his own, beginning
from year first to year tenth, lions fierce 102.”

These scarabs, giving the names of gods, kings and singers are often most
valuable in filling gaps in other records. The most frequently found are
those of Tahutmes III, of which there are a number in the Metropolitan
Museum in New York; Amenophis III, Seti I and Rameses II, and they
are inscribed with the names of kings from Mena to the Roman Emperor
Antoninus. Hence on those known to be of a particular period and found
with the royal mummies, the name of much earlier kings are frequently
traced. Scarabs were copied by the Phoenicians and are imitated in these
modern times in Egypt. The work, at first very clumsy, has gradually
become better executed, while the real ones have, of course, grown dearer
as well as rarer.

A brief enumeration of some of the scarabs relating to these periods
to be seen in the New York Museum may not be without interest. One of
Tahutmes or Thothmes III has the figure of the god Bes in the centre,
flanked by cartouches of the king a winged scarab below and obscure
ornamentation above. The color of the composition of which it is made
a faded reddish brown. Another of soft blue stone or paste has the
pre-nomen of the same king called “subduer of foreigners in all lands.”
One of green porcelain, beautifully executed, shows a squatting figure
with extended arms, upholding the divine boat, and above, the pre-nomen
of King Thothmes. Inscriptions are “the good god” and “lord of both
lands,” while the ankh, or life sign, is both behind the body and
attached to the knees. On another of grey composition, above a horse,
chariot and charioteer, is the pre-nomen of the king, in a cartouch,
with the ends reversed. A bead or seal of hard, green stone has on the
one side the pre-nomen of Thothmes III, with the Tet sign below, each
flanked by uraei, and on the reverse a Hathor-headed sistrum also flanked
by uraei. A cartouch of Amenophis III and the symbol of “truth” is on
a scarab of green and brown pottery. Another has “Praise of Amenophis
III.” His cartouch and “lord of might” is on one of green pottery, while
a scarab in grey composition, beautifully executed bears the pre-nomen
of the king on both sides, with a winged beetle and disk flanked by
uraei and a human headed sphinx with the words, “Living god Tum.” Most
interesting of all, however, in connection with the present chapter, is a
green pottery scaraboid, symbolic eye, bearing the words “The royal wife
Tii,” wife of Amenohotep III.

Melville has graphically described the setting forth of a royal hunt,
in another ancient kingdom, which, in some particulars at least, may
reproduce the Egyptian pageant. “A queen and all her glittering train
defiled from the lofty porches of Babylon the Great, with tramp of horses
and ring of bridle, with steady footfalls of warriors, curled, bearded,
erect and formidable, with ponderous tread of stately elephants,
gorgeous in trappings of scarlet, pearl and gold, with stealthy gait
of meek-eyed camels, plodding patient with their burdens in the rear.
Scouring into the waste before that jewelled troop of wild asses bruised
and broke the shoots of wormwood beneath their flying hoofs, till the hot
air was laden with an aromatic smell, the ostrich spread her scant and
tufted wings to scud before the wind, tall, swift, ungainly, in a cloud
of yellow dust; the fleet gazelle, with beating heart and head, tucked
back, sprang forward like an arrow from the bow, never to pause nor stint
in her terror-stricken flight, till man and horse, game and hunter were
left hopelessly behind—far down beyond the unbroken level of the horizon.
But the monarch of the desert, the grim and lordly lion, sought no refuge
in flight, accepted no compromise of retreat. Driven from his covert he
might move slowly and sullenly away, but it was to turn in savage wrath
on the eager horseman who approached too near, or the daring archer who
ventured to bend his bow within point-blank distance of such an enemy.
Nevertheless, even the fiercest of their kind must yield before man, the
conqueror of beasts, before woman, the conqueror of man, and on the shaft
which drank his life blood and transfixed the lion from side to side was
graven the royal tiara of a monarch’s mate.”

Amid such scenes sped the wooing, and no doubt in later years passed many
exciting hours. Amenophis or Amenhotep III reared young lions as pets,
and also presented live ones as gifts to the temples, estimating them as
of great value, though we may wonder in what special manner they could be
of profit, service or pleasure there.

The pictures of Queen Tyi, or Tai, in the tombs of the Queens, near
Thebes, and in other places, copied by Champollion and Rosellini show
her with blue eyes, a skin of pinkish hue, like a Northern maiden,
and a pleasing expression. Many of the queens were buried in a valley
behind the temple of Medinet Haboo at Thebes others were laid beside
their lords. Tyi, as has been said, was considered by some to be the
daughter of a Mesopotamian, Asiatic, Dashratta or Tushratta, king of
Mitanni, Maten of the hieroglyphics. Other authorities, from cuneiform
tablets found at Tel-el-amarna, give her paternity as that of a sister
of or daughter of Kalimma Sin, king of Koraduniyash, probably a county
northeast of Syria. Kings and queens of Babylon claimed Amenophis III as
a new kinsman, perhaps as the result of this marriage.

Scarabs were engraved in honor of the union and part of a scarab gives
the record “Amenhetep, prince of Thebes, giver of life and royal spouse
mighty lady Thi, living one—the name of father her (was) Tuaa or Juaa,
the name of mother her (was) Thuau, the wife to wit of the king powerful.
Frontier his South is as far as Kerei, land of Nubia, frontier North is
as far as Netharina (Mesopotamia).” Part of another reads, “A wonderful
thing they brought to Majesty his, life, strength, health, the daughter
of the prince of Mesopotamia, Sotharna. Kirkipa and the chiefs of women
her 300 + 10 + 7.” The mummies of her parents have been recently found.

Many of these scarabs are preserved in the Museums of Gizeh, Berlin and
other places. An enamelled vase in different colors in the Gizeh Museum
also bears the name of Amenophis III and Tyi, a potsherd, in one of the
older museums gives the coronation date of Amenophis III as “the 13th day
of the month Epiphi,” said to correspond in part to our April and May,
which, without this otherwise valueless fragment we might perhaps never
have known.

Queen Tyi was attended as the scarab notes, by three hundred and
seventeen women, which would of course imply a force of male protectors
as well. A very precious bride. This may recall the story in the Talmud
about Abraham, who on approaching Egypt locked Sarah in a chest to hide
her dangerous beauty. The custom officers asked if he carried clothes.
He answered, “I will pay for clothes.” Then they raised their demand,
“Thou carriest gold?” To this he also agreed and further to the price of
the finest silks and precious stones. Finding they could name nothing of
greater value than he held his treasure they at last insisted that he
should open the box and the tale ends “the whole of Egypt was illuminated
with the lustre of Sarah’s beauty.” Whether Queen Tyi’s beauty thus
surprised and delighted the people of her new home we can only surmise,
but at least she was deemed precious enough to be well served and

So the bond was sealed between the royal lovers and away from her own
land journeyed the newly elected queen. A woman with a fair face and
figure, a heart keenly responsive to human affections, with a deep-seated
faith in the religion of her fore-fathers, worshippers of the sun, and,
perhaps even at that early period, a quiet determination that she would
win her husband and his people from what she must have deemed the error
of their ways, their worship of so many gods under the form of beasts and
birds, introduce a purer, simpler religion among them. Something of the
spirit of Joan of Arc may have animated her; something of the religious
fervor of an Ursula and her eleven thousand virgins (or was it only
eleven martyrs, the M being mistaken for a thousand?) as the one girded
herself for battle and the other took up her pious pilgrimage.

We know less of the formalities necessary for the conclusion of a royal
marriage among the Egyptians than we do of their funeral rites and
ceremonies. The latter as ushering them into a new and higher existence
were deemed the more important and of greater concern to both the present
generation and to posterity, especially the latter, and its records and
momentoes tell the story a thousand times, but we may take for granted
that many observances, both civil and religious, marked the union of man
and woman, in particular those of nobles and kings. Some authorities
have questioned Queen Tyi’s claim to royal birth, but the retinue of
attendants and servants that accompanied her leave little doubt that she
was a princess of note.

This bridal train may recall another of later times, that of Henrietta
Maria of France, as she journeyed to meet her future husband, Charles I
of England. She, too, was attended by a large retinue: she, too, held
strongly a different faith and more or less, on that account, awakened
the prejudices of her new subjects, and she, too, was involved in a
revolution, partly religious in character. But here the parallel ends,
for the one remained in possession of her power, while the other was
driven from her throne and became an exile.

Perhaps the new queen was taken at once to her palace, the remains of
which were discovered by Greaut at Malgata, and which, after being
pillaged, were subsequently excavated by Newberry and Titus. Or she may
have watched its erection with interest, after her arrival. The original
edifice is thus described by those who have made a careful study of the
fragmentary remains. “The plan of the palace seems to have been quite
similar to that of the palace which Amenophis IV erected for himself in
Tel-el-Amarna, and which was several years ago explored by Petrie. In the
palace of Amenophis III the rooms were likewise adorned by beautifully
decorated stucco floors, and the roof were supported by columns. The
walls were embellished with stucco work, the representations, in part,
setting forth every-day life. In addition to staterooms, working rooms,
the kitchen with its storage closets, a faience factory, in which the
different amulets and ornaments were made, can be distinguished. Not
far from the palace was found an altar, built of tile, and at one time
probably wainscotted with slabs of stone. It was quite similar to the
one in the temple of Deir-el-Bahri, and this one was certainly dedicated
to the sun-god. As the altars of ancient Israel most likely also had a
similar form, these remains of the old Egyptian cultus have an especial
Biblical interest.” The columns of the great temple and likely of the
palace also, were sculptured to resemble the buds of the lotus, sometimes
called the Egyptian immortelle, which might also be called the national
flower, so highly was it regarded and so constantly was it used as a
model for architectural designs.

That the foreign daughter-in-law was kindly received by Queen Maut-a-mua
we may well believe from the harmony which seemed to exist between
them later and the union of their two statues with that of Amenophis
III; while in her turn Queen Tyi, when she occupied the same position,
extended a like friendly affection to her son’s wife.

The influence of the new queen was soon perceived in the institution, by
the king, of a religious festival in honor of the sun’s disk. Many of the
people may have been charmed to have anything like another holiday, with
its attendant pageants and observances, added to their list, but there
can be little doubt that it awakened the suspicion of the priests, who
jealously guarded the ancient faith and beheld with disfavor anything
that might involve less devotion to the numerous gods which they
worshipped and of whose interests they were the guardians, and any change
that might minimize their influence or deplete the resources in the
treasuries of the temples.

Queen Tyi seems not to have been popular. She was a foreigner, which in
itself often awakens an antagonistic feeling, amusingly illustrated in
the story of the English laborer who when told that a passer by was a
stranger exclaimed, “Eave alf a brick at im’.” She held a different faith
and in all probability the priests with a consciousness of her latent or
expressed views and principles used their great influence quietly to set
the people against her and this dislike was transferred to her son.

But to her husband she was ever a first consideration. The records give
an account of an enterprise which he early undertook for her pleasure.
This was the construction of a large artificial lake on which she
might sail or row at will. Again the scarabs chronicle this tribute
of connubial tenderness, and again we see the queen’s religious views
considered. It begins as usual with an ascription to the gods. “Under
the majesty of Horus the golden, mighty of valor, full power, diademed
with law (lord of the North and South) establisher of laws, pacifier of
the two lands. Horus, the golden, mighty of valor, smiter of foreign
lands. Ordered majesty his the oaking of a lake for the royal spouse,
mighty lady Thi. Length its (was) cubits 3000-6000, breadth its cubits
600. Made majesty his festival of the entrance of the waters on month
third of sowing day sixteenth. Sailed majesty in his boat ‘Atenneferu’
‘Disk of beauties’ or ‘the most beautiful disk.’” He sailed across to
inaugurate the opening and perhaps to show her that all was safe and well
and then doubtless the queen held sway over it, permitting only such as
she chose to share the pleasure with her and perhaps making it a mark of
special favor when she did so. The Egyptians held many of their religious
festivals on the Nile and this lake may have been specially devoted to
such religious observances as the queen wished to hold in honor of the
celestial god whom she worshipped. The place selected for this feat of
engineering skill was near the town of Tarucha.

The remains of a beautiful temple at Sideruga, built by Amenophis III to
or for Queen Tyi, have also been found and an inscription says Amenhotep
“made his monuments for the great and mighty heiress, the mistress of all
lands, Tyi.” A group of the king and Tyi is in the Summa collection and
an inscription reads: “Amen’nekht, princess, prays with her mother before
Amenhotep III, because he praises her beautiful face and honors her
beauty.” A Usheti box in the Berlin Museum bears the name of Tyi and the
monuments of her are numerous. She is by the colossi of her husband and
appears with him in official scenes at Saleb. The figure sculptured in
the tomb of Huy at Tel-el-Amarna, on a scarab, etc., is shown seated; her
name alone appears in a quarry at the same place, after her husband’s
death. And her parents are named as Yoman and Thuaa.

The additions made by Amenophis III to the long list of Egyptian temples
are among the most noted. He built the oldest part of the Serapeum at
Sakkarah, the temple of Amen-Ra at Karnak and also at Luxor a sanctuary
with surrounding chambers, a pro-naos or hall with four columns, and
another large court (which was evidently used afterwards as a place of
worship by the early Christians), and a noble hypostycle court with four
rows of lofty columns bearing the lotus capital. At the end nearest the
sanctuary on either side are double rows of the same columns, then a huge
pilon, and in front of all, a noble avenue of fourteen still more massive
and lofty columns bearing the lotus-flower capital. This avenue with the
usual pylon appears to have completed the Temple of Amenophis III. About
1600 B. C. is the date sometimes set for this work. An avenue of Sphinxes
connected the two temples. The temple of Mut at Karnak was Amenophis’
special work. At el Kab there is also a beautiful little temple or chapel
built by him containing various pictures of the king making offerings to
the gods, etc. Other works might be named as well as the grand statues
already referred to.

As devoted as was Amenophis III to the god Amen, on whose temples he
lavished gifts and to whom he paid special honors, so antagonistic was
his son and successor to the same deity. May it chance that as the mother
taught and impressed upon the youthful minds of her children her own
religious ideas, so the father especially in the case of this son, forced
them to acts of worship to the many gods of Egypt which revolted them and
in the end served only to drive them the further from the old faith. Such
is the perversity of human nature that the very means taken to win assent
to any proposition or principle are often those which have most influence
in causing the pendulum of thought and opinion to swing to the opposite

It is said that the striking change in the physiognomy and ideal type of
the upper classes in the latter part of the Eighteenth Dynasty points
to strong foreign infusion. The bold, active faces of earlier times are
replaced by sweetness and delicacy, a gentle smile and small, gracefully
curved nose, this is characteristic of the time of Amenophis III.

The life of King Amenophis was an active one, less warlike than most
of his predecessors, but leaving behind many memorials. It is possible
that his long and doubtless exposing hunting expeditions may have had
a bad effect upon him, for it was still in his prime probably that his
life ended and his wife seems long to have survived him. His reign,
however, covers a lengthy period, thirty-six years, but he, owing to his
father’s early death, ascended the throne in youth. So, in the quaint and
beautiful language of Scripture, Amenophis III “slept with his fathers,”
and Amenophis IV reigned in his stead.

The tomb of Amenophis III, discovered by the French Expedition, is
in the West Valley of the Tombs of the Kings. Here also his father
and many other Egyptian sovereigns were buried. On the rocky walls
are representations of the king and the gods, some of which were only
partially completed. Amenophis III stands out an attractive personality
among the long list of Egyptian kings. We cannot doubt that he was
mourned by many, especially by the love of his youth and later years,
Queen Tyi. Henceforth her life was bound up with that of her eldest
son. She and Amenophis III had, some say two, some say four sons, and
four or five daughters. The eldest son, who changed his name, was first
called Amenophis IV and his next brother, Tahutmes, after the grandfather
or other ancestor of that name. The daughters were Isis, Heot-mi-hib
Satamon, of whom some memorials remain, and some say Beckaten, youngest
and favorite, but who is elsewhere termed grand-daughter, rather than
daughter, of Tyi.

That Queen Tyi was a faithful mother whose affectionate heart clung to
her children as she had been a loving and devoted wife we cannot doubt.
But her eldest son, the champion of her faith, the earnest disciple of
her teachings, which had sunk into his heart and borne abundant fruit,
must have been especially beloved. With him her after history is closely
associated, and her influence is shown even more strongly than during the
life of her husband and there is little question that to it is largely
due the subsequent course of events. Amenophis III had deferred to her
wishes and shown special marks of favor to her religious views, but her
son accepted them with his whole heart and spent his life in trying to
make them the religion of his native land.



As the reign and influence of Queen Hatasu or Hatshepsut included, in
part as those of her father and two brothers, so did that of Queen
Tyi those of husband and son. The fair young girl who had left her
own country with high hopes and aspirations had crystallized into the
determined woman, who bent all the energies of a strong nature to
the accomplishment of her wishes and purposes. The religion of her
fore-fathers was no longer kept in the background. She inspired her son
with the zeal of an apostle or a fanatic, as we may choose to consider
it, and the king devoted his life to upturning the old order of things
and an endeavor to establish the new. His father had shown much deference
to his wife’s religious faith. In the new festival, instituted in his
honor, that of the Solar Disk, on the 16th of Athyr (October 4th), a
prominent place had been assigned in the procession to the boat of the
sun “Aten-ne-fru.” He also put the disk on the head of his crlo-sphinxes
and on the statues of the goddesses Pasht and Sekhet; but all this was,
in a measure, tentative.

It remained for Amenophis IV, who was by early writers numbered among
the Stranger kings, till his true paternity was discovered and now
styled himself “Akhenaten” of “Khu-n-aten,” Worshipper of the (Sun’s
Disk) to proclaim openly his mother’s faith. It has been suggested that
his aim was to provide a god visible to all the people of his extensive
empire, and who could be worshipped in common by all, or jealousy between
the priests of Heliopolis and those of Thebes may have been another
ingredient in the mixed and vexed problem. Beside his father’s great
temple at Luxor he erected a sanctuary of the sun, and in various places
the name of Amon was obliterated.

Whatever the subsequent history of Queen Tyi’s other children, it was
to the eldest son that the mother evidently clung, and we may perhaps
believe that he, chiefly of them all, shared her views and opinions. On
slips from toilette boxes, etc., are found the names of the princesses
Sat-amen, Hent-mer-hab and Ast; there was also a son, with the family
name of Tahutmes. Bekaten is by some believed to be the youngest and
favorite daughter of Tyi, by others to be her grand-daughter, the child
of Amenophis IV, who is thought to have married before his father’s
death. At Somma is a group of the king and Tyi. At Qurneh a funeral
temple north of Ramesseum, rearranged by Amenhotep III for his daughter
Sit-amen, which proves that this child, at least, died before the father.
Another inscription read, “Amen’nekht, princess, prays with her mother,
before Amenhotep III, because he praises her beautiful face and honors
her beauty.” Some of the children probably died young, some may have
married and gone elsewhere, but the eldest, the father’s successor, had
both the will and the power to plant the new faith, and with him Queen
Tyi’s later life seems closely associated.

As the character of this prince has afforded historians much ground
for speculation, so do the presentments that remain of him. No cartoon
in Punch could more ludicrously caricature the human face than do the
pictures that are preserved of King Khu-n-aten. Yet in their ghastly
ugliness they still retain the conventional type. Many writers seem
to consider them as reliable as other likenesses, and attribute the
protruding lips and attenuated mis-shapen proportions to heredity, some
ancestor of negro blood, or the results of ill health. Others offer no
explanation. It seems impossible that any reigning king (and in no period
of Egyptian history does the monarch appear to be more autocratic than at
this time) should have permitted such portraits of himself to remain to
posterity. He was the son of handsome parents. It is possible that the
conventional type was considered so beautiful that no deviation which
yet preserved the general outline could mar it? Or perchance is there
another solution. The king forced upon the country a religion abhorrent
to the priests, to the majority of the people, and to his successors, who
soon returned to the polytheistic faith and worship of earlier centuries,
and who might well have taken pleasure in caricaturing and handing down
to their descendants a garbled picture of the hated monarch, iconoclast
as he seemed to them, reformer as he doubtless appeared in the eyes of
his mother and all the converts to the worship of the sun. The slanting
forehead, the long thin nose, the protruding, flexible mouth, the
serpent-like neck and the ungainly proportions of the figure are little
calculated to attract admiration.

A parallel to this might perhaps be found in the case of Richard III of
England, who, as he was a monster of wickedness, must needs be a monster
of ugliness as well, and whose personal defects have been exaggerated by
limner and scribe until his traditional semblance is that of a dwarfish

Says Curtis, “the old Egyptian artist was as sure of his hand and eye
as the French artist who cut his pupil’s paper with his thumb nail to
indicate that the line should run so and not otherwise. The coloring is
rude and inexpressive, the drawing of the human figure conventional, for
the church or the priests ordained how the human form should be drawn.
Later the church and priests ordained how the human form should be
governed. Yet, O sumptuous scarlet queen sitting on seven hills, you were
generous to art, while you were wronging nature.”

Khu-n-aten or Akhenaten married, however, and probably in youth, as he
was the father of quite a large family. His wife is spoken of as the
daughter of Dushratta and may have been the grand-daughter of an Egyptian
king, her mother having married a Syrian prince. Dushratta, writing
to Queen Tyi, before Amenophis IV took up affairs, greets Tadekhipa,
his daughter, Tyi’s daughter-in-law. As seems to have been the custom,
she changed her name on coming to Egypt and is known as Aten’neferu,’
Nefertiti, or Nefertity. She was always closely associated with the king
and there seems no mention of other wives or connections of any kind.
She doubtless shared or was a convert to his faith and we may judge its
enthusiastic supporter.

Queen Tyi appears to have remained in Thebes while the king and his
wife went to superintend the building of the temple, palaces, etc., of
the new city which Khu-n-aten had resolved to build and make his royal
residence. Angry blood rose between him, his priests and his people,
but he was dictator, he would no longer dwell among them, but in a new
and richly adorned city, worthy of the faith which he held, and whose
building should equal or surpass older monuments. He issued a command
to obliterate from the tombs of his ancestors the names of the god Amon
and the goddess Mut. This fanned the smouldering discontent into flames
and open rebellion broke out. Against Amon the king seemed to hold a
particular spite, and around the shrine of this god priests and followers
mustered their forces.

But although the king abandoned Thebes, he retained his power and was not
overthrown. No council of priests or people brought him to trial, sent
him into exile, or took his life. Nor in turn does he seem to have been
severe or vengeful. No records remain, as is frequently the case in such
instances, of barbarous punishments or cruel executions being meted out
to the offenders. For the time being, if for that only, he was absolute
and carried his point. He could afford to be generous.

The new capital was distant from both Memphis and Thebes, in middle
Egypt, and received the name of Khu-a-ten, or as it is elsewhere given,
Khuteteyn, “the horizon of the sun,” the modern Tel-el-Amarna or
El-Amarna, the extensive ruins of which may yet be seen on both banks
of the Nile. Like Solomon in Scripture, the potentate summoned to his
assistance both artists and artizans, and the work was pressed with all
possible vigor and speed. First the temple, then the palaces and homes
of the nobility, lastly, in the neighborhood, their tombs. It is said
that a revolution in art proceeded side by side with that in religion,
an attempt was made to discard the older traditions and approximate more
nearly to nature, and the specimen of these attempts at realism, to be
found in the tombs, are of great interest. To this fact some authorities
attribute the singular and disagreeable portraits of the king before
referred to.

How deeply Queen Tyi’s heart was stirred and how keenly her feelings were
concerned we may well conceive. The great enterprise was the development
of her heart’s desire and every aid in her power she must have lent to
the king’s assistance. Remaining in the old city she could no doubt
expedite the sending of all sorts of supplies and materials required for
the buildings and the private needs of her beloved son and his family.

Architecture and sculpture were ever important in the eyes of the
Egyptian kings, and even the queens had their own sculptors and overseers
of such work. Timber was scarce, quarries of sandstone and limestone
numerous, hence the more enduring was the commoner material, which has
preserved to posterity much that, had the ancient world been constructed
of our more perishable wood and brick, in all probability would have
utterly passed away. Some of the temples, as many of the tombs, of which
those at Beni Hassan are an example, were in grottoes and caves, others
stood alone in majestic grandeur; in all columns were used and the lotus
was the prevailing ornament. Says Kendric, “As the columns of Beni Hassan
gave rise to the Doric, so those which imitate plants and flowers appear
to be the origin of the Corinthian. The Ionian volute is found in the
columns of Persepolis, but in no Egyptian monument. It was probably of
Assyrian origin, as it has been found in the remains of Nineveh.”

An inscription at Telel-Amarna reads, “And for the first time the king
gave the command to call together all the masons from the Island of
Elephantine to the town of Samud (special name for Migdol in Lower Egypt)
and the chiefs and the leaders of the people to open a great quarry
of the hard stone for the erection of the great obelisk of Har-makhu,
by his name, as the god of light, who is (worshipped) as the sun’s
disk in Thebes. Thither came the great and noble lords and the chief
of the fan-bearers, to superintend the cutting and shipping of the
stone.” Brugsch tells us that the stone quarry of Assoan and the cliffs
of Silsilis on each side of the river furnished, the former rose and
black granite, and the latter hard brown sandstone for this work. He
also thinks that King Khu-n-aten designed to build in Thebes a gigantic
pyramid of this same stone to the honor of his god.

Not far from the Nile, in the new city, rose the great temple of the sun.
It was on a wide plain, the mountains rising behind it as says the same
author, “like an encompassing wall.” The king also bestowed great honor
upon his chief overseers and helpers, who accepted the new faith and
entered into the work with real or assumed enthusiasm.

One named Meri-ra or Mery-Re “dear to the sun” was high-priest or
prophet, the Pharaoh bestowing upon him words of praise and commendation
and investing him with that special kingly reward, a golden necklace. His
tomb at Tel el Amarna is one of the most interesting and largest that
have been found. It is supported by columns and on its walls are depicted
many scenes giving portraits of the deceased and his wife, the king and
queen making offerings to the sun, the princesses and others. And it is
here that is found the picture of the bestowal of the golden necklace.

A certain Aahmes, one of the many, for this seems long to have been a
favorite name in Egypt, was another highly valued assistant and among
the sepulchral inscriptions found at Tel-el-Amarna was a prayer to the
son written by him. Beginning with ascription, it reads, “Beautiful is
thy setting thou son’s disk of life, thou lord of lords and king of
worlds,” and ending with professions of devotion to the king, as his
“divine benefactor,” who had raised him to greatness, which naturally
perhaps appears to have produced a very pleasing state of mind, for
he concludes “the servant of the prince rejoices and is in a festive
disposition every day.”

At this time there were at least several grandchildren of Queen Tyi, as
special houses were prepared for them in connection with the palace. We
can therefore imagine the impatience with which the dowager queen awaited
the time for her journey to the new city and rejoining her loved ones,
and couriers were doubtless busy, passing back and forth, with orders and
directions from the king, as well as messages of affection to his mother,
which were returned in full measure. It seems almost as if it might be at
his special desire that she remained in Thebes, to lend him, as before
said, all the aid in her power towards the completion of his work and
that he might have the satisfaction of welcoming her to his new capital
in a nearly completed state. She may also have acted to some extent as
regent in his absence.

Her time of anticipation therefore must have endured for some years,
since the erection of buildings of such magnitude could not have been
accomplished in a very short period, no matter what the expedition used
for the purpose. This second journey may well have reminded Queen Tyi
of an earlier one she had taken in her youth, from her far native land,
as the wife or the affianced bride of Amenophis III. That had been the
seed-time, the sowing of which had produced such great fruits. Again she
went forward attended by a large retinue, but now it was not to a land of
promise, but one of fulfilment.

The king and his wife met the dowager queen after their long separation
with all honor and affection, and themselves conducted her into the
new temple. A picture of this scene, which remains, is thus inscribed,
“Introduction of the queen mother to behold her sun shadow,” and very
happy she must have felt in thus viewing the visible tokens of the
realization of the dreams, hopes and prayers of many years. She must
inspect the temple, the palaces of the king, queen and the various
princesses, as well as the dwelling prepared for herself, and no doubt
be made acquainted with the chief overseers and artists whom “the king
delighted to honor,” and under whose charge the work had so prospered.
The private houses were probably varied in color and frequently decorated
on the outside with pictures of the occupations or professions of the
owners. Beyond, some such scene as this, an immense meadow cut through
with a blue stream, north and south, white walls of towns, on the
horizons rim the reddish sands of the desert. The myth they believed in
was this, “Osiris fell in love with this strip of land in the midst of
deserts. He covered it with plants and living creatures, so as to have
from them profit. Then the kindly god took a human form and became the
first pharaoh. When he felt that his body was withering he left it and
entered into his son and later into his son’s son. The lord has extended
like a mighty tree. All the pharaohs are his roots, the nomarks and
priests his larger branches, the nobles the smaller branches. The visible
god sits on the throne of the earth and receives the income which belongs
to him from Egypt; the invisible god receives offerings in his temples
and declares his will through the lips of the priesthood.”

It was a joyful reunion, this of the elder queen with her son and his
family, an occasion never to be forgotten in their domestic annals,
and we may imagine how the story was handed down from generation to
generation. The day when grandmother, or great-grandmother came and
saw the new temple and new city. Loved and honored Queen Tyi probably
settled down with or near her son and his wife, enjoying to the full the
kindly family life and seeing as had her mother-in-law before her the
grandchildren gather around. Perhaps she regretted that no son was born
to succeed his father, for King Khu-n-aten had daughters only, but her
life had been a full and happy one and she had enjoyed the blessing,
accorded to but few, of seeing her heart’s dearest wishes fulfilled. What
more could she ask?

Whether she passed away in Khu-aten, or Tel-el-Amarna, we do not know,
but if the former was the case a long mourning procession, attended
with every honor, must have borne her inanimate form preserved in the
highest style of the embalmer’s art, back to Thebes, for there in the
Tombs of the Queens her last resting place has been found. These tombs
are at the end of a valley, which extends for nearly a mile to the west
of the temple of Medinet Habu, that of Tyi is said to be among the
most perfect. The valley which leads to the tombs has bare and lofty
limestone cliffs on either side, which are covered with inscriptions; it
is not so familiar as some other places in Egypt, not being very easy
of access. More than twenty tombs in various stages of completion have
been discovered, some of them mere caves with their records often made
not in the solid stone, but in plaster. Queen Tyi’s tomb consists of an
ante-chamber, passages, a chapel, and small chambers, all more or less
decorated with paintings. At the entrance, on either side, is Maat, the
goddess of Truth, with extended wings, to protect those who come in.
There are various pictures of the gods and of Queen Tyi, in one of which
she prays to them, seated at a banquet table.

Of these tombs Curtis says, “The sculpture and paintings are gracious and
simple. They are not graceful, but suggest the grace and repose which the
ideal of female life requires. In the graceful largeness and simplicity
of the character of the decoration it seems as if the secret or reverence
for womanly character and influence, which was to be later revealed was
instinctively suggested by those who knew them not. The cheerful yellow
hues of the walls and their exposure to the day, the warm silence of the
hills, seclusion, and the rich luminous landscape in the vista of the
steep valley, make these tombs pleasant pavilions of memory.”



Before the death of Amenophis III he seems to have adopted the frequent
Egyptian habit of associating his son with him on the throne, though the
latter was probably young, as Queen Tyi appears to have acted as regent
after her husband’s death. Also, at the time of his death, the father was
negotiating for a marriage between his heir and a Mitannian princess,
the same country from which had come Queen Tyi herself, and the wife of
Thothmes IV. That the existing relationship gave the new queen some title
to the throne is proved by her being spoken of as “the great heiress,
princess of all women,” and “the princess of South and North, the lady of
both lands,” which imply hereditary rights, possibly through the mother.

She was the daughter of Dushratta, King of Mitanni, and it may have
been that her father was Queen Tyi’s brother and she herself the cousin
of Amenophis IV, but the matter is not absolutely clear. A certain
Dushratta, not satisfied about the safety of his sister, who had married
Amenophis III, had sent to Egypt to inquire after her, but the repetition
or duplication of a name often makes it difficult to decide upon the
exact relationship. From the letters found on tablets in the ruins of
Tel-el-Amarna, many of which of course are broken and imperfect, we
have chiefly derived the information we possess of these transactions.
Queen Tyi seems also to have held the power for a brief period at
Tel-el-Amarna, but exactly when this was the case has not been discovered.

In her own country the bride-elect bore the name of Tadukipa, but in
Egypt she became Nefert-Thi, Nefertity, or Nefertiti, her full name being
known as Aten’nefer’ neferu’nefertiti. After the death of Amenophis
III Queen Tyi sent word of this event to the Babylonish prince, and
some correspondence took place between them before matters were finally
settled and Amenophis IV or Napkhurruiya, as he is called in the letters,
was married and assumed full control of his own affairs. There was, of
course, an exchange of presents, gold, slaves, etc., as was usual on such
occasions, and no failure on either side of a satisfactory pecuniary
showing seems to have interfered with the prospects of the youthful pair,
such as had been known, not unfrequently, in other cases.

The beautiful, deserving or undeserving, are apt to win favor. By this
rule therefore the pictures of King Khu-n-aten or Aten’ nefer’neferu
and Queen Nefertiti are sufficiently ugly to prejudice the most casual
observer. One is tempted to see in these hideous effigies rather the
work of a defamer than a true portrait. Early pictures of the king are
handsome and not unlike some of Rameses II, the change is attributed by
late writers to the new style of art to be seen in his reign. Certainly
the king sacrificed himself nobly to the cause of Truth, if he was a
consenting party to his own portraiture.

It is believed that the accession of Khu-n-aten took place in the
thirty-first year of his father’s reign, in the month Pakhons, or
February, and that his marriage occurred in the month Epiphi, or May,
four years later. In his sixth year he abandoned the god Amon, or Amen,
and adopted the Aten worship. In his sixth year also, after the birth of
his second daughter, came the change of name and facial type at Thebes,
Maat only of the old divinities seems to have been retained. The pictures
of this period show rays of sunbeams terminating in tiny hands which
support the bodies, crowns, etc., of the royal pair.

From first to last the queen is closely associated with her husband,
constantly pictured with him, a true companion and helpmate, a faithful
guardian of his children, and a devoted daughter to his mother, possibly
her aunt, whose name, in part, she seems to have taken. As Kidijah
upheld and supported Mahomet in the promulgation of his newly received
revelation, so did Nefertiti accept and lend her wifely aid to the faith
of her husband and his mother.

A prayer or address to the rising sun is attributed to her and shows the
religious fervor with which she was penetrated.

“Thou disk of the sun, thou living god! there is none other beside thee!
Thou givest health to the eyes through thy beams, creator of all beings.
Thou goest up on the eastern horizon of the heavens to dispense life to
all whom thou hast created; to man, to four-footed beasts, birds and all
manner of creeping things on the earth, when they live. Thus they behold
thee and they go to sleep when thou settest.

“Grant to thy son who loves thee life in truth to the Lord of the land
that he may live united with thee in eternity.

“Behold his wife the queen Nefert-i-Thi, may she live forevermore and
eternally by his side, well pleasing to thee she admires what thou hast
created day by day. He (the king) rejoices at the sight of thy benefits.
Grant him a long existence as king of the land.”

At Heliopolis the sun-god Ra had been specially worshipped. He was
pictured hawk-headed, surmounted by disk and uraeus, hence with priests
at Heliopolis the king may have been in greater sympathy than with those
at other points, where the various gods were worshipped. It is possible,
too, that they were less antagonistic to him than the others, or may even
have supported him. Be that as it may, at Heliopolis Khu-n-aten built
a temple. The shrine received gifts from Pharaoh after Pharaoh and was
very wealthy. It also had at one time an immense library. “The city,”
says Strabo, who came to it shortly after the Christian Era, “is situated
upon a large mound. It contains the Temple of the Sun,” probably a later
one than that of Amenophis IV, “and the Ox Mnevis, which is kept in a
sanctuary, and is regarded by the inhabitants as a god.” Says Pollard,
“The temple had three courts, each one probably adorned with obelisks,
which were so numerous that one was called ‘The City of Obelisks.’
Pharaohs of different dynasties erected a pair of obelisks in the temple
of the Sun as an offering and a memorial. After the third court came
the Naos, with its outer chamber or holy place and its inner or holy of
holies, in which was the shrine with the symbol of the deity. Strabo
tells us that the ox Mnevis was kept in the sanctuary.”

Six daughters, one after another, enlarged the family circle of the
palace “a garland of princesses,” as they have been poetically called.
They constantly appear in the pictures with their parents and even
attended their father in his expeditions in his chariot. Their names
are given as Mi-aten or Mut-aten, Mak-aten, Anknes-aten, Nofru-aten, or
Nofrura, Ta-shera, Satem-en-ra and Bek-aten, some doubt seems to exist
as to whether the last was daughter or grand-daughter of Queen Tyi. A
standing figure of this princess, at which the artists are still seen
chiselling from life, under the eye of the queen’s overseer, Putha, by
name, is among the various wall paintings. Perhaps she was an especial
darling, this youngest child, or she may have had a particularly
beautiful face and form; but the temple walls were said to have been
nearly covered with the pictures of the king, queen and princess.
Aten-en-aten or Khu-n-aten’s feelings towards his family were tinged
with all a lover’s enthusiasm. His words have a poetic cast.

“The beams of the sun’s disk shone over him with a pure light so as to
make young his body daily.

“Therefore King Khu-n-aten swore an oath to his father thus: Sweet love
fills my heart for the queen, for her young children. Grant a great age
to the queen Nofrit-Thi in long years; may she keep the hand of Pharaoh.
Grant a great age to the royal daughter Meri-aten and to the royal
daughter Mak-aten and to their children, may they keep the hand of the
queen their mother eternally and forever.

“What I swear is a true avowal of what my heart says to me. Never is
there falsehood in what I say,” and he ends a long inscription, relative
to the setting up of various memorial tablets with, “These memorial
tablets which were placed in the midst had fallen down. I will have them
raised up afresh and have them placed again in the situation in which
they were (previously). This I swear to do in the 8th year, in the month
Tybi, on the 9th day the king was in Khuaten and Pharaoh mounted on his
court chariot of polished copper to behold the memorial tablets of the
disk of the sun which are on the hills of the territory to the south-east
of Khu-aten.” And perhaps the queen and the eldest daughters followed
him to make this investigation. Brugsch says the inscriptions on these
tablets were first found and published by Prisse d’Avennes.

The series of tablets discovered at Tel-el-Amarna in 1888 are chiefly in
the museums of London, Berlin, Paris and St. Petersburgh, with a few at
Gizeh. One letter is from a lady who styles herself “the handmaid” of the
king and others relate to the exchange of presents and slaves, men and

Another beloved member of this amiable family was the princess Notem-Mut,
younger sister of the queen, who seems quite to have been counted in.
She, too, had a special palace built for her, and married Horem-heb or
Ho-rem-hib, not of royal birth, but who eventually became the last king
of this, the Eighteenth Dynasty. He may have had two wives, or else
Notem-mut changed her name, as we read also of a queen Ese as his spouse.

The temples and palaces were of a somewhat different style of
architecture from the usual Egyptian form, but they were beautiful, with
their open courts, and calculated for the needs of those who were to
occupy them, as well as for the character of the country and climate. The
names of the artists and architects are preserved, which is not usually
the case, and their talent seems to have descended in the family, for we
learn that a certain Bek, overseer, artist and teacher of the king, was a
grandson of Hor-amoo, who had served in the same office under Amenophis

“The tombstone of the artist, Bek,” says Brugsch, “was put up for sale
some years ago in the open market place in Cairo. My respected friend,
Mr. L. Vassali, bought it, and was good enough to give me an exact
drawing of the carving upon it and a paper impression of the inscription.”

The wall pictures that were found in the tombs present the king and queen
seated on a balcony with their eldest children, the baby in the mother’s
lap, enduring certain officials with the necklace of honor and casting
down presents to the crowd. A pleasant sport, enjoyed in common by the
whole family party. Queen Tyi, the chief of the women’s department, named
Hai, the steward, the treasurer and other members of the court, also
shared in the fun.

Another picture gives the king and queen worshipping the sun, accompanied
by two of their daughters, showing clearly that all the duties and
pleasures of life were shared in this amiable family. A touch of Nature
makes us all kin, and this recalls the picture one often sees of domestic
life among the Germans, where father, mother and children go off for a
picnic or a frolic together, while the Frenchman perhaps is in the café

The Egyptians were highly skilled in pottery and faience; fine glazing on
pottery, stone and in enamels on goldsmith work is shown at the beginning
of the New Empire. Tel-el-Amarna seems to have been quite celebrated
for its pottery and the fabrication of delicate enamels, of which many
specimens, in a great variety of colors, have been found. The vase of
Queen Tyi, preserved in the Boulak Museum, is grey and blue. Olive-shaped
amulets of the kings and princesses of this family show delicate blue
hieroglyphics on a mauve ground, while the potters of the time of
Amenophis III are said to have been particularly fond of violets and

Less warlike than the majority of his predecessors, we still read of some
fighting during Aten-aten’s or Khu-n-aten’s reign and victories over the
Syrians and other nations, which the king, though probably not taking
the field himself, celebrated with the customary festival. He appears in
“the full Pharaonic attire, adorned with the insignia of his rank, on
his lion throne, carried on the shoulders of his warriors. At his side
walk servants, who, with long fans, wave the cool air upon their heated
lord.” This was in the twelfth year of his reign, on the 18th day of the
month Mekhir, December. The crook, whip, and sickle-shaped sword were
emblems of royalty, while of the New Empire was a canopy raised on wooden
pillars, colored and ornamented, with a thick carpet on seat, footstool
and floor. On ordinary occasions the king was probably carried in a sort
of Sedan chair of splendid appearance.

Later occurred the marriages of some of the daughters, and as no son was
born, two at least of the sons-in-law seem to have ruled in succession,
and it is pleasant to be able to believe that this was peacefully
accomplished, without the family jars and broils so often coincident
with the dividing of a heritage. In modern parlance the ladies do not
seem to have made very brilliant matches. No foreign prince or monarch
is recorded as being an accepted suitor. “Home talent” was strictly
patronized, and the sons of high officials were deemed suitable parties,
who by right of their wives it would seem, succeeded each other as king.
Their reigns were short enough for each to have a turn as the pleasant
task of ruling.

Several of his daughters, as well as his wife, waited on Khu-n-aten in
his last illness; Nefertiti survived him and may have lived till the
time of Horem-heb, or even to that of Sety I. The tomb of the king was
seven miles from the river in one of the great valleys which open on the
plain of Tel-el-Amarna, the situation resembling that of Amenophis III at
Thebes. That he was mourned deeply, at least by those nearest and dearest
to him, there can be little doubt, yet his children soon turned from the
religion he had tried to establish, to the earlier worship, in its form
of devotion to many gods, under the semblance of various animals. The
slabs found at Memphis, the stele at Sakkarah, and the remains of the
great temple at Tel-el-Amarna, twenty-five feet square, the enclosure
nearly half a mile long, all speak of this king.

Statues of him, his wife and Queen Tyi have been found, a beautiful and
perfect one of the king is in the Louvre, and there is a death mask,
which, among his various names, speaks of him as the “lord of the sweet
wind.” Fragments of the stele with which his palace was decorated are
to be seen in some of the museums in Europe, also in the museum of the
University of Pennsylvania, and perhaps at other points in this country.

It seems to have been the sons-in-law who took chief authority, after
Khu-n-aten’s death, and not the queen. She survived her husband for
years. Her palace had a court, or harim, with glazed tiles, the walls
painted with scenes, and the floor with pools, birds, cattle and wild
plants. In the court was a fine well with a canopy on carved columns, and
round coping, and an inscription with the queen’s titles. In the temple
offerings of flowers were made and hymns sung to the accompaniment of
harps, it was perhaps a return to the practice of the earliest times, and
one writer suggests that its simplicity points to the Vedism of India.
The queen and her daughters are shown waiting on the king in his illness.
There is a fine fragment of a statue of the queen at Amherst college,
and a gold ring and some other personal belongings at other places.
With the death mask of the king in the University of Pennsylvania are
some fragments from Tel-el-Amarna giving the names and title of Queen
Nefertiti. Khu-n-aten is thought by late discoveries to have reigned
seventeen or eighteen years.

As usual authorities differ, some giving Ai as the immediate successor
of Khu-n-aten, others placing before him several kings, and numbering
him just before Horem-heb, Horem-hib or Horus, the last monarch of the
Eighteenth Dynasty. Some again refuse to recognize the heretic king and
his descendants at all, and consider Horem-hib, who had returned to the
polytheistic creed, as the true and direct successor of Amenophis III.
It seems likely, however, that the eldest daughter, Mut-aten, born in
the fourth year of her father’s reign was married just before his death
to Re’smenkh’ka and that her husband was, for a time, co-regent. Both
his and her name have been found on a tomb, these tomb inscriptions
always throwing great light on this history of the time to which they
refer. If, as estimated, she was thirteen at the time of her marriage and
twenty-five at her husband’s death, he reigned over twelve years.

The second daughter, Mak-aten, died before her father, between her ninth
and eleventh years; her tomb is in a side chapel of her father’s and the
family are shown mourning for her, but she appears in the picture of the
six princesses. Anknes-aten or Ankh s’en’pa’aten was born in the eighth
year of her father’s reign and was ten years of age at his death. In her
sister’s reign she was married to Tut-ankh’aten and changed her name to
Ankh’s’en’amen, “her life is from Amen,” showing that already the changes
her father had made were discarded. A few rings belonging to her remain,
but with the exception of these relics nothing more is known of the other
daughters, also nothing is known beyond figures and names on general
monuments. Of Ras’ Ra’smenka or Ra’smenkh’ka’ser’kheperu, husband of the
eldest daughter of Queen Nefertiti it is believed that he abandoned the
palace in his third year of sovereignty and perhaps went to Thebes;
there are few remains of him, but the dates are estimated as 1368-1358 B.

Tut’ankh-Amon or Twet-Ankh-Amon, “the living image of Aman” and husband
of Anknes-amon, transferred his residence to Thebes (which, after
all, had suffered little from the rivalry of Tel-el-Amarna), hastily
finished the great hall and had it decorated with reliefs, representing
the great festival which occurred at Luxor on New Year’s Day, when the
sacred boats were brought up in procession, on the Nile, from Karnak,
and carried into the temple. In these reliefs, of course, the king’s
name largely figured, but, in the not uncommon fashion of these various
monarchs, his brother-in-law, who later succeeded him, King Horem-heb,
freely substituted his own name. A picture of King Tut’ankh Amon holding
court and receiving a negro queen, either as a visitor or as offering
tribute, was found on the wall of a tomb. The royal lady was depicted
in a chariot, drawn by oxen and surrounded by her servants, a prototype
of a later visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. From the north
also came the ruddy princes of the land of Ruthen, with curly black
hair and in rich dresses. The two governors of the South and North, Hi
and Amenhotep, also came; they had served under Amenophis III and must
have been of ripe years. Brugsch calls it “a large and lively picture of
the manners and riches of the South and of the North in the fifteenth
century, before Christ.” All bring rich gifts and ask for peace and
friendship between themselves and the great Pharaoh.

King Ai was probably husband of one of the daughters, though his wife is
elsewhere spoken of as the foster-mother of King Khu-n-aten, which seems
rather hopelessly to mix up the chronology. In this case she is spoken
of as Thi, the beloved name of that king’s own mother. They are also
called respectively “the dressers of the king,” and “the high nurse, the
nourishing mother of the godlike one.” Ai’s fine tomb at Tel-el-Amarna
gives an account of his marriage. The tomb was never entirely finished;
it is described by one traveller as having a sepulchral hall, beautifully
painted, with colors still fresh and brilliant, with the sarcophagus
standing in the middle, among the pictures, the king painted red and the
queen of a pale yellow, are shown gathering lotus flowers; also the king
being presented by the goddesses Mat and Hathor to Osiris. Perhaps two
wives shared the honor of sovereignty with King Ai, or the second may
have been espoused after the death of the first, and it seems likely the
latter was much her husband’s junior.

Maspero gives a description of the palace of King Ai, also pictured
on the walls of the Tel-el-Amarna tombs. He calls him the son-in-law
of Khu-en-aten. “An oblong tank with sloping sides and two descending
flights of steps, faces the entrance. The building is rectangular, the
width being somewhat greater than the depth. A large doorway opens in
the front, and gives access to a court planted with trees, and flanked
by storehouses, fully stocked with provisions. Two small courts, placed
symmetrically in the two further corners, contain the staircases, which
lead up to the terrace. This first building, however, is but the frame
which surrounds the owner’s dwelling. The two frontages are much adorned
with a pillared portico and a pylon. Passing the outer door, one enters
a sort of central passage, divided by two walls, pierced with doorways,
so as to form three successive courts. The inside court is bordered by
chambers, the two others open to right and left upon two smaller courts,
whence flights of steps lead up to the terraced roof. This central
building is called the ‘Akhonuti,’ or private dwelling of kings and
nobles, to which only the family or intimate friends had access.”

All this, of course, varied in different cases with the taste of the
owner, and the long, straight wall in front was sometimes divided and
ornamented with colonnades and towers.

The old religion was resuming its sway, and the priests of Amon regaining
their lost influence. They accepted the rule of Tut’ankh-Amon, whose
monuments are said to extend only from Memphis to Thebes, and still
more that of Ay, who was a true worshipper of the old gods. His reign,
however, is spoken of as “feeble,” and the principal monument of the
time is a shrine, high up in the face of cliffs, behind Ekhmin. King Ay
seemed to have a special passion for tomb building, as there are no less
than three attributed to him. The first at Tel-el-Amarna, the last at
Thebes, coincident probably with his complete change of religious views
and associations.

Ay died and left no children, and was succeeded by Horem-heb, or
Horem-hib, who then was, or subsequently became, his uncle by a marriage
with the Princess Notem-Mut, or Nezem-Mut, sister of Queen Nefertiti. The
history of this time is, as yet, far from clear, and dates which fit in
approximately to one set of theories, refuse to combine with others; some
hold that Queen Nefertiti had been originally sent to Egypt to be the
bride of Amenophis III, and that his death occurring before her arrival,
she then became the wife of his son. This last arrangement, judging
by the probable years of the parties, was more natural, and the union
seemed to have proved a most happy one, as all the pictures show complete
concord of interest and sentiment between the two. Defaced pictures
of both Queen Tyi and Queen Nefertiti are found in the tombs, and the
mummy of King Khu-n-aten was found in the tomb of Amenophis II, where
it had, probably been removed to avoid spoliation, his tomb having been
originally elsewhere.

King Horem-heb seems first to have been a renowned general in the
army, and though not of royal birth, his horoscope foretold for him
great success. The earlier histories of him say that he was a special
favorite of King Khu-n-aten, who made him guardian of the kingdom, which
position, so near the throne, suggests opportunities to win the heart
of the princess. The god Amon, it is said, brought her to him, “the
crown prince Horem-hib,” and the inscription adds, “she bowed herself
and embraced his pleasant form, and placed herself before him.” Was it
perchance on account of this kind service of the god that they both
espoused his religion so fervently, or did the priests tamper with the
princess and she inspire her lover with enthusiasm for the old beliefs?

This romantic history, however, loses somewhat of its glamour under the
realistic touches and conclusions of later students. The princess was a
priestess of Amon, and the marriage of the two, it is claimed, was merely
a political one, both king and queen being between fifty and sixty at the
time of their union. The kind offices of the god may be, so to speak,
mythologically considered. The long account which gives an exultant story
of his coronation, prejudges the fact that both the king and queen were
zealous supporters of the ancient religion, and again Thebes became the
royal city. The work of Khu-n-aten there was destroyed and a new temple
built. At Karnak, as was frequently the wont of the kings, Horem-hib
built with materials taken from a ruined temple of Amenophis II. He
also built a rock temple at Silsilis, where inscriptions certify to his

The pictures of this king and his mother Sonit, at a banquet, where some
of the company were of the living, some of the dead, has been described
in an earlier chapter, as also the statues of himself and his wife, he
with a handsome, melancholy face, she also handsome, but with a touch of
sarcasm in her smile. Her likeness has been ascribed to other queens.

The group of Horem-hib and the god Amon, in the Turin Museum, is
pronounced to be “dry in treatment,” while the colossi in red granite,
against his pylon at Karnak, the bas-reliefs at Silsilis, and the
portrait statue just referred to are deemed by the same critic
“faultless.” Other wall decorations show the king conferring the insignia
of the Golden Collar upon a certain Nefer-hotep of Thebes. He is
sometimes improperly called Horus, while Manetho by this name refers to

Of Queen Nezem-mut there are not many remains, and these may be briefly
enumerated. She figures in the tomb of Ay in a family group; there is
the statue of her with the King at Turin; she appears as a female sphinx
as given by Rosellini, there is a scarab at Berlin, and a frog with her
name at Abydos. Since, with the reign of Horem-hib the eighteenth dynasty
concludes, and so little is to be found as regards his wife, we have
included her brief history with that of her sister, Queen Nefertiti, in
the present chapter. A new dynasty, the nineteenth, succeeded, while some
authorities maintain that the early members of the Ramesside family were
contemporary with Horem-hib.



Probably years after Queen Tyi, or Tuaa, wife of Amenophis III and mother
of the heretic King Khu-n-aten, was laid in her grave, her grand-daughter
and namesake became the consort of the reigning monarch. The Eighteenth
Dynasty had passed away and a new race held sway. They seem to have had
no hereditary title to the crown, but may have claimed Hyksos ancestry.
Might, however, often makes right, and they were a noted and powerful
succession of monarchs. After King Horem-hib and Queen Notem-Mut came
in Rameses I, of the Nineteenth Dynasty, of whose wife we at present
know nothing, though future discoveries may reveal her identity. After
a short reign the king was succeeded by his son Seti, or Sety I, called
Merenptah or Mereptah, “Son of Ptah,” who strengthened his position by
marrying a descendant of the preceding royal line. She brought him as her
dower, in addition to whatever else she might have been mistress of, the
valuable possession of the true “blue blood,” which she conferred upon
her son, Rameses II, “born of Ra,” and thus made his claim to the crown

Queen Ti, Thy, Tyi, Tui, or Tuaa, as her name is variously spelled,
did not have so romantic a love story as did her great ancestress, but
neither would it be quite fair to set down her marriage with Set I as
purely one of convenience, no matter how much each might have gained by
the union. Their opportunities of meeting, since Egyptian women are not
so cloistered as other Eastern nations, may have been frequent, and it is
possible the connection may have been one of feeling, as well as of state
policy. Of her early life, however, we know nothing, nor are we assured
of the name of her parents. In marrying her Seti I conformed to the usual
but not invariable custom of these monarchs, in uniting themselves with a
princess of Egyptian lineage.

The priests acknowledged the new queen as of the blood royal, the
true Theban line, hence there could be no dispute as to the rights of
her children. Her experiences were different from those of her great
predecessor of the name; she did not journey from a far country to meet
her husband, in all probability, as did her great-grandmother, nor did
she share with him as did her grandmother, in the effort to promulgate a
new religion, constantly pictured beside him in all his occupations. She
was both the wife and mother of a warrior, and life must of necessity
have passed much a part from them.

To us Queen Tuaa is but a shadowy form, chiefly known as the mother of
perhaps the greatest king in the long Egyptian line. Some of her traits
of character, some of her features, may have descended to this haughty
scion of the race, but they are now beyond our power of specification. He
did not show her, apparently, the devotion the first Tyi received from
her son, and in his attention to his father’s tomb there is no record of
any special care of his mother’s, though doubtless it was not neglected.
“On the walls of one of the temples,” says one traveler, “the youthful
Rameses is being suckled by the goddesses; on the one side by Anek (or
Anouka) ‘his divine mother, Lady of Elephantine’; on the other by Hathor,
with a similar inscription, the features are so much alike that they
probably represent those of his own mother.” As a child even Rameses must
have been freed, in great measure, from his mother’s guidance, since, to
establish himself more firmly on the throne, Seti made his son co-ruler
with himself, and, to some extent, a sharer in the cares of state and
knowledge of warfare.

It is said that Queen Tuaa acted as regent for husband or son during a
Syrian campaign. She must have been proud of her talented and precious
child, but state etiquette doubtless separated her much from him, and
there may have been more outlet for motherly care and tenderness among
her other children; of these we do not find much record, save one
brother, to whom Rameses was greatly attached. This brother was called
Khamus. Tuaa is not recorded as having shared her queenly honors or her
husband’s affection with other wives, at any rate, she was the legal

Lady Duff Gordon speaks of Egypt as “the palimpsest in which the Bible
is written over Herodotus, and the Koran over that.” At this period it
was in the middle stage of this classification. The modern Copt most
resembles the ancient Egyptian; the nose and eyes are the same as in the
profiles in the tombs and temples. The fellah woman of the present, it is
said, walks around the ancient statues in order to have children, and the
customs at birth and burial are the same as in ancient times. Of marriage
customs of the past less is known, as we have to bear in mind, than of
their funeral ceremonies. The genuine Egyptian had a bronze colored skin,
recognizing a brother countryman at a glance and despising black, yellow
and even white skins; the queen herself, being of ancient race, may have
indulged this feeling; certainly it was most apparent in her haughty son.

Was Queen Tuaa beautiful, good looks being usually thought an important
part of the claims of a royal bride to her position, a picture, often
flattered, being the only means a royal suitor had to judge of his
future wife? Curtis thus describes a beautiful Egyptian: “The Greek
Venus was sea born, but our Egyptian is sun born. The brown blood of
the sun burns along her veins—the soul of the sun streams shaded from
her eyes.” Fascinating are the almond-eyes of Egyptian women, bordered
black with the kohl, whose intensity accords with the sumptuous passion
that mingles moist and languid with their light; Eastern eyes are full
of moonlight. Eastern beauty is a dream of passionate possibility. Was
the queen perchance of this temperament: “I am of a silent disposition.
I never tell what I see. I spoil not the sweetness of my fruits by vain
tattling.” For posterity, at least, she has proved so, for we know little
of her.

The chief, if not the only picture of Queen Tuaa, is in the temple
of Goornah or El Kurn-neh, which is described as a memorial edifice,
like the Medici Chapel in Florence. Begun by Seti I, as a memorial to
Rameses I, it was completed by Rameses II. They were handsome men of a
Dantesque type, and their mothers and wives probably fair women, the men,
especially, different in appearance from the preceding race. Rameses
I was the tutelary deity of the shrine. He stands swathed and crowned
like Osiris, with the pointed and upturned beard peculiar to the gods,
worshipped, in one picture, by his own son, Seti I, and in another by his
grandson, Rameses II.

“In Egypt every man,” especially if he were of royal birth, “received,
after death, by courtesy, the title of Osiris, because it was hoped he
had attained blessedness in the bosom of the god.”

Queen Tuaa stands behind her husband, and Miss Edwards finds in her
delicate but slightly angular profile a resemblance to some of the
portraits of Queen Elizabeth. In Rameses II she says “the beauty of the
race culminates. The artists of the Egyptian Renaissance, always great
in profile portraits, are nowhere seen to better advantage than in this

A statue of the Lady Nai, in the Louvre, may give some idea of the dress
of this period, the nineteenth dynasty. She wears a long wig, with a band
round her head, a tight garment of linen, not unlike the modern chemise,
only narrower, and a strip of linen hanging down in front.

This temple of El Kurneh is at the entrance of the valley of the Tombs
of the Kings, and the cutting is called by the Arabs Bab-el-Molook,
“gate of the Sultan.” The road is narrow and stony, its desert sands
dazzling in the brilliant sunshine, leading to a lonely and sepulchral
glen, honeycombed with the tombs of past dignitaries, nobles, priests and

Here and there, as we study the history of Egypt, is a link with the
Bible story, though nothing very definite has yet been discovered. It is
believed by some writers that Moses and Aaron lived in the age of Seti
I, and that Moses was brought up with the youthful Rameses II. Others
make the time somewhat later, and think that the princess who rescued the
deliverer of the Israelites from the water was one of the many daughters
of the great Sesostris.

Thebes was probably Queen Tuaa’s principal residence, and the palace
saw many partings, since with warriors for husband, sons and grandsons,
if the queen survived so long, they must have been frequently absent,
and she must needs have passed some anxious hours. But so essentially
was war the trade of the monarchs of ancient times, and in the lives of
their female relatives so much a matter of course, that it would seem
as if the feminine heart must have become somewhat hardened. Doubtless
the royal lady looked forward to receiving a victor laden with spoils.
We almost seem to hear the burden of the refrain, “Have they not sped,
have they not divided the prey, to every man a damsel or two, to Sisera a
prey of diverse colors of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of
them that take the spoil?” What matter to the conqueror, or even to his
consort, if thousands of lives paid the price?

Seti I was “a man of blood,” and is spoken of as “a jackal which rushes
leaping through the land, a grim lion that frequents the more hidden
paths of all regions, a powerful bull with a sharpened pair of horns.”
His chariot horses were called “Amon gives him strength.” But if, in
Scripture language, he chastised the people “with whips,” Rameses II, his
son, “chastised them with scorpions.”

Side by side with his father fought the youthful hero, and we are
reminded by them of a similar pair in more modern history, Edward III
of England and the Black Prince. Chief among the wars was that against
Khita, or Hittites, from which, as Queen Tuaa anticipated, Seti I
returned victorious. He came laden with rich booty, silver, gold, blue,
green, red and other precious stones. At the frontier the priests,
nobles and great men met him with gifts and flowers—conqueror, as he was
reported to be, of thirteen peoples and many cities. And we cannot doubt
that the palace, too, by Queen Tuaa’s orders, was specially beautified
and decorated with plants and flowers in honor of the victor’s return.
Booty and prisoners were dedicated to the god Amon, his wife Mut, and his
son Khonsu.

Little, perhaps, did Queen Tuaa then imagine that one of her
daughters-in-law, a princess of Khita, would be from among the conquered
people. But so it proved, when Rameses II formed an alliance with the
King of Khita and took his daughter to wife; but Queen Tuaa may not have
lived to see the union, since Rameses II in earlier times had probably
already provided himself with a wife.

Queen Tuaa must have viewed with interest, as did Queen Mertytefs of the
fourth dynasty, the magnificent architectural works of her husband. In
one case a temple of the gods, which yet recorded the king’s own power,
and in the other the tomb or monument which should keep before the eyes
of all future generations the name of its builder. The temple lies
largely in ruins, but the older structure has withstood to a much greater
degree the ravages of time and the wanton destruction of man.

The city of Thebes was magnificent with temples and palaces, and was
built on both sides of the Nile, the flat plain stretched away to the
mountains, and against the blue of the cloudless sky rose its towers and
pylons, its colossal columns and statues. Clusters or avenues of palms
lent a light but grateful shade from the sun’s unveiled brightness, and
added a touch of living green to the azure of the firmament and creamy
whiteness of some of the buildings. Others were of different colors,
giving a jewel-like effect at a distance in the rays of the brilliant
sun. In some instances the trade or profession of the owner was pictured
on the front walls. The streets were crowded with people; beasts of
burden, heavily laden, made their way slowly along. Vendors of all sorts
lined the sides of the street, and a hubbub of voices rose constantly. In
the grander objects Nature had furnished the model, the mountain summits
suggested the form of the pyramid and the caves of the Nile valley the

The temple of Luxor, or El Uksor, was near the river, but faced from it
toward that of Karnak, and a long avenue of sphinxes, a mile in extent,
connected the two. What one king began, another added to, and a third,
perhaps, finished; thus Seti I, and his, in some respects, greater son,
are, in their architectural works, constantly associated, together. The
sculpture of Siti, however, is considered the finer. The interiors of the
temples were often gloomy and dim, but at the summer solstice the sun
penetrated to the inner sanctuary of Karnak.

The grandeur of Karnak dwarfs that of Luxor, and the Hypostyle Hall,
built by Seti I for the celebration of religious festivals, in which
Queen Tuaa may have taken part, is, even in its ruined state, one of the
wonders of the world. In recent times some of the columns have fallen.
The temple was one hundred and seventy feet in length, three hundred
and twenty-nine in width, and supported by one hundred and thirty-four
columns, as large in circumference, though not so high, as the Vendome
column in Paris. The central lines are seventy feet in height and twelve
in diameter, while those on either side are forty in height and nine in
diameter. The effect of the great hall with its forest of columns is
awe-inspiring; one writer after another describes himself as empty of
words and dumb before it. No matter how familiar one may be with the
place from descriptions of it, previously read, this remains true, just
as the Taj Mahal, in India, is to the eye of each new gazer a dream of
beauty. Says one writer: “Karnak is to Egyptian architecture what the
Parthenon is to Greek, the Pantheon to Roman, and Notre Dame in Paris to
Medieval; but it is far grander than them all.”

Seti’s battles and Seti’s victories have passed away, but Seti’s temple
stands, eternal almost as the mountains. Walls and columns were decorated
with sculptures, begun by the father, finished by the son, those of Seti
on the north, of Rameses on the south wall. Those of Seti are the finer,
and represent the king in his chariot doing battle with his enemies,
while on the columns both monarchs are presenting offerings to the
gods. The statues and the sacred lakes, which formed part of the temple
adjuncts, correspond in size. At the present time this great temple is
spoken of as the greatest ruin in the world, the crowning triumph of
Egyptian art.

The winged disk, symbolizing the victory of Horus over Typhon, was, by
command of the god Thoth, placed over all entrances. At the gate of the
temple of Karnak was a representation of the coronation of Rameses I,
father of a celebrated son and more celebrated grandson. The winter of
1897-8 saw the discovery of the tomb of Osiris, and the god kings Horus
and Set, remains from the time of Seti I.

The name of the architect of the magnificent Hypostile Hall is preserved,
and the Glyptohek in Munich possesses a statute of this Michael Angelo of
his time, as Miss Edwards calls him. An old man with a beard, in a loose
robe, sitting upon the ground, lost in meditation. High priest and first
prophet of Amon under Seti, he became, under Rameses, the chief architect
of the Thebaid, and royally commissioned to embellish the temples. He was
called Bak-en-Khonsu.

The oldest map in existence is said to be that of a gold mine worked
by Seti I, which furnished perhaps some of the means for his great
architectural undertakings, but which was worked to still better
advantage by his son.

Seti I reigned about twenty-seven years, was buried with great honors,
and his memory was kept fresh by the devotion of his son; but Queen Ti,
or Tuaa, though described on the monuments as “royal wife, royal mother,
and heiress and sharer of the throne,” seems to fade out of sight,
perhaps dying before him, and the profile on the wall remains to us the
strongest image of her.

Seven hundred ushebti were said to have been buried with Seti, images of
slaves who were to accompany and wait upon him in the land of Amenti.
A curious little dialogue between master and servants is preserved. The
deceased says, “O ye figures, be ye ever watchful to work, to plough, to
sow the fields, to water the canals and to carry sand from the east and
from the west.” The figures reply, “Here am I when thou callest.”

Seti’s name is given as “Ra-user-Kheperu-meri-Amen
Seb-Ra-Seti-Mer-en-ptah,” His tomb was discovered by Belzoni in 1817, and
is one of the most beautiful ever found, the sarcophagus, in which the
body was originally placed, being of the finest alabaster, delicately
sculptured both outside and within. This was eventually purchased by
an Englishman and rests in the Sloan Museum. Seti is spoken of as the
“justified,” and hence had successfully passed the great tribunal to
which all the departed were subjected.

But the grave afforded no permanent resting-place for the great monarch,
warrior and builder. His mummy, his veritable self, with that of his son
and many other kings and queens, is in the museum at Gizeh. Even from
these withered remains we can judge that Seti was an unusually handsome
man. The Louvre contains a full-length portrait of Seti I, cut out bodily
from the walls of the sepulchre in the Tombs of the Kings. Placed in a
tomb, from which he was removed to that of Queen Ansera, for fear of
robbers, it was eventually broken into, and after other like journeys and
removals he is now the object of the curious or interested gaze of the
passing traveler. The mummy is said to be one of the finest ever found,
and clearly shows his claim to beauty, even preserving to a certain
degree the expression of his face.

There is a figure of Seti I in the British Museum, and smaller memorials
of him in other collections, among them the Metropolitan Museum of New
York. Of one of the paintings in his tomb, Lady Duff Gordon says: “The
face of the goddess of the Western shore Amenti. Athar or Hecate is
ravishing, and she welcomes the king to her regions; death was never
painted so lovely.” Was it possible that with the artist’s conception of
the goddess might mingle a memory of the dead Queen Tuaa, with whom her
royal spouse had now joined company; we can but surmise.

Turn we next to the consideration of the wives of that much married man,
Rameses II.



With the exception of Cleopatra, one or two Ptolemy queens, Hatasu,
and possibly Nitocris, the history of Egypt which has come down to us
deals principally with the kings, and not with the queens. The latter
are mentioned incidentally, or not at all, though holding a very
different place from the female sovereigns of other Eastern nations, and
the student explorer who endeavors to vitalize these fragmentary and
scattered outlines has not an easy task.

In no case is the above more true than in that of the wife or wives of
Rameses II, the Sesostris of the Greeks who waged tedious wars against
the Hittites, with whom he made peace in the twenty-first year of his
reign, and of whom Herodotus speaks. It is the king whose striking and
heroic figure in childhood, youth and manhood, occupies the foreground
of the canvas, dwarfing into comparative insignificance all who stand
near him, and leaving the details as regards female relationships but as
accessories and background.

[Illustration: NOFRITARI MINIMUT.]

Says an ardent Egyptologist, “One of the handsomest of men, we come in
time to recognize his face, with its haughty beauty, just as we do that
of Henry VIII or Louis XIV.” Curtis speaks thus on the general subject:
“Oriental masculine beauty is so mild and feminine that the men are like
statues of men seen in the most mellowing and azure atmosphere. The forms
of the face have a surprising grace and perfection. They are not statues
and gods so seen, but the budding beauty of the Antinous when he, too,
had been in the soft climate, the ripening rounding lip, the arched brow,
the heavy, drooping lid, the crushed, closed eye, like a bud bursting
with voluptuous beauty, the low broad brow; these I remember at Asyoot
and remember forever.”

Much of this, perhaps, constituted the charm of the youthful Rameses
face, but to it must be added something of the strength and intellect
which were often lacking.

From his mother, Queen Tuaa, Rameses II, of the nineteenth dynasty,
received the heritage of royal ancestry; his father, Seti I, belonged
to a new family, who, in view of descent, had no claim to the throne.
So say most authorities, though some dispute it. As a child, his father
made him co-ruler with himself. An inscription of Rameses II reads, “I
was a boy in his lap,” referring to his father, “and he spoke thus, ‘I
will have him crowned as king, for I desire to behold his grandeur while
I am still alive.’” Officers then came forward to place the crown on his
head, and Seti said: “Place the royal circlet on his brow.” After this
ceremony, however, he was still left in the house of the women and royal
concubines, but was put in command of a band of Amazons, “maidens who
wore a harness of leather.” So that soldier and conqueror though he so
early became, his associations from childhood up were constantly with
women, and for the sex in general his subsequent conduct may lead us to
infer he had a special weakness.

Another inscription reads, “when thou wast a boy with the youth locks
of hair, no monument saw the light without thy command, no business was
conducted without thy knowledge.” He laid foundation stones even in
childhood. Little wonder that no prouder monarch ever held sway and that
we associate the idea of unwonted magnificence with him and his queens.

“Rameses the Great, if he was as much like his portraits as they are like
each other, must have been one of the handsomest men, not only of his
own day, but of all history,” says the enthusiastic Miss Edwards. There
is a bas-relief of him during his first campaign as a beautiful youth
with “a delicate, Dantesque face.” Some years later we see him at Abydos
in the temple of Seti I with a boyish beard. The likeness with which we
become most familiar, in the prime of life, is thus described: “The face
is oval, the eyes are long, prominent and heavy-lidded, the nose slightly
aquiline and characteristically depressed at the tip. The nostrils are
open and sensitive, the under lip projects, the chin is short and square.”

It seems likely that it was true of Rameses II as is said of the sailor,
that he had a “sweetheart in every port.” No woman could boast that she
alone reigned in his heart. Two, if not three, wives were made his legal
consorts, and he had numerous concubines. The king’s name was branded on
female slaves that they could not escape undiscovered.

Little or nothing is known of the queen’s previous history; she may be
said to have had no childhood or youth as regards our story. As the wife
of Rameses II and the mother of his children she first becomes known to
us. Queen Nofritari seems to have been his earliest consort, probably
his sister or the daughter of some Egyptian noble. One writer, Pollard,
gives authority for considering her the princess who rescued Moses, the
daughter of the king, whom he subsequently married; but as the king
doubtless married in his youth, and she is the first queen of whom we
find record, this seems unlikely. Says the same writer, speaking of the
temple of Luxor, “Rameses the Great, some two hundred and thirty years
afterwards, added another large court, which was surrounded by a double
row of columns; between these are gigantic statues of this monarch, more
or less perfect. One on the left of the court is very beautiful, in most
perfect condition, and represents him as a young man. The expression of
the countenance is very pleasing. By his side, her head reaching to his
knee, stands the diminutive but beautiful form of his beloved Nefert-ari.”

The queen’s name, as usual, is variously spelled

Nofritari-Minimut, Nefertari, Nofertuit-Meri-en Mut, and Nofruari,
and means, as did that of Queen Nefertari-Aahmes, “good or beautiful
companion.” She shared her honors with a Khi-tan princess, whose brief
story is told in a later chapter, and with another lady, Isis-Nefer.

Rameses II even lies under the suspicion of having married two of his
own daughters, Honuttani and Bint-Antha, the latter whom Baedaker speaks
of as queen under the title of Bint-Anat, and of a small statue of her
standing by the knee of a larger one of Rameses II, of whom he was known
to be especially fond. It is this princess who is made the heroine of
Ebers’ story of “Uarda,” but she is here provided with a more suitable
lover, while Rameses himself is depicted as a more noble character than
is perhaps quite warranted by the historical records. So true, however,
are Professor Ebers’ stories to the ascertained facts in each case, that,
as a rule, they may, serve as admirable historical studies, quite aside
from any merit they may possess as artistic works of fiction.

Jewish tradition mentions a certain Princess Moeris (which some writers
have believed to be one of Rameses II’s youngest children, the Princess
Meri) as the one who rescued Moses in infancy, as above referred to.

Pictures and inscriptions give the number of Rameses II’s children as
sixty sons and fifty-nine daughters, and one enumeration even reaches to
one hundred and seventy-one children. Some of Rameses’ daughters were
Meri Amun, Beken-Mut, Noferari, Nebtani and Isiemkheb, of whom Meri-Amun
and Neb-tani, in addition to Houttani, and Bint-Antha are marked as
queens in the family list, probably the wives of their brothers or near

On the walls of the temple at Deir Champollion found an imperfect list
of these sons and daughters. As a curiosity one may cite the different
dates assigned by historians as the beginning of the reign of Rameses II:
Brugsch, B. C. 1407; Mariette, 1405; Lepsius, 1388; Bunson, 1352, and
Poole, 1283.

Since his son was of the blood royal, it was the policy of Seti I to
unite him with himself, as has been shown, in the government of the
kingdom, thus pacifying all adherents to the old regime, and Queen Tuaa,
from whom Rameses II derived his “blue blood,” appears in the family
group. The attachment between this father and son is an attractive
feature of their joint reigns, and reminds one of the similar bond
between Thothmes I and his daughter Hatasu. In peace and war Seti and
Rameses were ever side by side. Together they governed, together they
took their pleasure and rode forth, each in his royal chariot, to fight
and to conquer.

At Abydos, Karnak and other places are pictures of the prince; in one of
them, adorned with the priestly panther skin, he is pouring libations on
the altar in front of him, while his father holds a censor; according to
these same representations and many inscriptions in the various temples
adorned with his statues, the youthful Rameses performed prodigies of
valor in the field. In the little temple of Betel-Wali are shown, on the
right wall, the victories of Rameses II over the Libyans and Syrians, and
on the left, over the Ethiopians. He was a “Black Prince” for whom the
hand of fate did not lay out a brief career. The delight of his father’s
heart, he lived to assume the full government and to pay royal honors in
that beloved parent.

Like his ancestor Amenophis III, Rameses II seems to have had a passion
for lions, not so much for the sport of hunting them as to train them
for pets or instruments of warfare. Doubtless there was something that
specially ministered to the pride of the haughty monarch in these
favorites, known as the lion has ever been as “the king of beasts,” the
“monarch of the forest,” etc.

Whether the queen shared his partiality we are not told, but since they
were his playthings and his companions, she must have accepted them in a
measure, if with a trembling heart. His favorite lion lay at the door of
the king’s tent and went forth with him to the battlefield, probably at
times even set loose to slay and destroy the enemy. The wall paintings
show the king’s lions in various places.

There is something both attractive and repellant in this figure of the
proud, handsome, vainglorious monarch, in the full vigor of his manhood,
accompanied by this dangerous ally and slave. The tale of the lion and
the mouse, Esop’s well known fable, is said to be of Egyptian origin, and
within the last forty or fifty years many romantic stories and many love
tales of the Egyptians have come to light.

A more modern character, Sir Henry Rawlinson, who wrote much on Egypt
and also a great authority on Persian inscriptions, shared with this
ancient king his taste for barbarous pets. He brought up a young lion
who followed him around like a dog and lay at his feet when he wrote and
studied. He also made such a pet of a leopard that it knew him after long
separation, and displayed pleasure at his presence, when he visited the
Zoological Garden in England, to which he had given it. The story goes
that he put his hand into the cage when the keeper, who did not know him,
exclaimed: “Take your hand out of the cage! The animal is very savage and
will bite you!”

“I don’t think he will bite me,” said Sir Henry, “will you Fahad?” and
the beast answered with a purr and would hardly let the hand be withdrawn.

Queen Nefritare-Minimut was the first, the chief, and the best beloved,
there seems little question, of the wives of Rameses II, since it is her
picture that appears with that of the king in various places and she
is termed “Beloved Companion.” Maspero gives a picture of her in her
chariot, following the king and says, “Still a young woman with delicate,
regular features already faded and wrinkled under her powder. Like her
husband she wears a long robe, its folds, through the rapid motion,
floating behind her.” There is a large escort and every one stands in
a chariot driven by a groom. This queen was the mother of a number of
children, who, in the temple of Abou Simbel, elsewhere called Ibsamboul,
are grouped with her. We may accord her some charm of beauty since the
monarch of that time selected his wife, not from a list of foreign
princesses of suitable rank, but from among the children of his own
nobles, or relatives, with whose attractions he could become more readily
acquainted. More than one writer speaks of the queen’s figure being full
of grace and her features refined and attractive in her pictures.

There are two temples at Abou Simbel, translated “Father of the Corn”
or “Father of the Sickle,” excavated in the solid rock. The larger
has statues chiefly of the king, though there are smaller ones of his
mother, wife and some of his children. The smaller, of the queen also
of equal size with her husband, and smaller ones of some of their sons
and daughters. These are the most familiar effigies of Rameses II and
Nofritare-Minimut together, the male figure being full of spirit, the
female of grace. “Rameses, the Strong in Truth, the beloved of Amen,”
says the outer legend, “made this divine abode for his wife, Nefertari,
whom he loves.” Within the words are “his royal wife, who loves him,
Nefertari, the beloved of Maut, constructed for him this abode in the
mountain of Pure Waters.”

Curtis says, “In these faces of Rameses, seven feet long, is a godlike
grandeur and beauty which the Greeks never reached—the mind cannot
escape the feeling that they were conceived by colossal minds. Such
only cherish the idea of repose so profound—their beauty is steeped in a
placid passion that seems passionless. In those earlier days Art was not
content with the grace of Nature, but coped with its proportions. Vain
attempt, but glorious!”

Miss Edwards was present and took part in the discovery of some portions
of this edifice and describes the occurrences and her sensations with her
usual picturesqueness and enthusiasm.

On the inner north wall there is a picture, presumably of Queen
Nofritari, with a blue head-dress and disk, in her right hand the ankh or
life sign and in her left a jackal-headed sceptre. Vases of a blue color
stand on a table of offerings near.

It is at this temple that we know Rameses best, fifteen or twenty years
later than the pictures of him before described. Here, to quote from
the same author, he has “outlived the rage of early youth and become
implacable. God-like serenity, superhuman pride, immutable will breathe
from the stone. He has learned to believe his power irresistible and
himself divine.”

The queen wears the plumes and disk of Hathor and has her daughters with
her. She has much sweetness and grace if not positive beauty.

The colossi are difficult to see but the southernmost may be best viewed
in profile on a sand slope level with the beard. Even the great cast in
the British Museum cannot be well seen. The temple at Abou Simbel has
one hall and many large chambers. The colossi are placed two to the
right and two to left of the door; they are sixty feet high without the
platform and measure across the chest twenty-five feet four inches. The
figures are sealed, but if standing would be eighty-three feet high.
Little dimples giving sweetness to the corners of the mouth and, tiny
depressions in the lobe of the ear, are as large as saucers. The most
southward statue is best preserved. The next statue is shattered to the
waist, the head lying in the sand, at its feet. The third is nearly
perfect. The fourth has lost beard, uraeus and arms, and has a hole in
front. The heads are worked out, the bodies generalized. The figures are
naked to the waist, and clothed below in the usual striped tunic. They
wear the double crown, rich collars, no sandals or bracelets, and there
are holes in the stone which may have held bronze or gold belts. The
cartouches of the king are on his breast, and arm, having been probably
tatooed upon his person. The statues are executed in a light vein of
rock and were, it is likely, not painted, like those of Siva’s temple in
Elephantine, in India. Above the door is a twenty-foot statue of Ra and
on either side a portrait of the king in bas relief.

The smaller temple has six statues, three on each side of the door, over
thirty feet high, the King and Queen Nofritari. The king is crowned
with the pashent, and uraeus and wears a fantastic helmet, adorned with
plumes and horns. He has some of his sons, she her daughters with her,
ten feet in height, reaching to the knees of their parents. The names
of the royal consorts appear on every pillar and on every wall, with the
statement that affection unites them. The queen is seen on the facade as
the mother of six children and adorned with the attributes of a goddess.
The king is attended by captives of different nations. The temple seems
to have been left unfinished. The larger temple is within twenty-five
yards of the brink of the river, the smaller within as many feet. They
are of different shades of yellow.

In some of the pictures the figures wear pectoral ornaments and a
rich necklace, with alternate vermilion and black drops, and a golden
yellow belt, studded with red and black stones. The throne is on a blue
platform, painted in stripes, red, blue and white. The platform is
decorated with gold colored stars and tan crosses, picked out with red.
Amon-Ra, the god whom they worship, is here represented with a blue-black
complexion, a corselet of gold chain, armor, and a head-dress of towering
plumes. On the altar is a blue lotus with a red stalk, and a vessel with
a spout like a coffee pot. There are as many varieties of this god in
Egypt as of the Madonna in Italy and Spain.

An earthquake in the time of Rameses II may have accounted for the
partial overthrow of the statues on the outside of the temple. The cast
of a stele in the Louvre states that Rameses II made artesian wells in
the desert.

In one of the pictures of the queen she advances with two sistra, the
sacred instrument introduced in the Fourth Dynasty, time of Mertytefs.
This consists of a frame, somewhat oval in shape, with bars across,
strung with rings, which slipped up and down. We can fancy the music
produced to be rather Chinese in character and not such as would appeal
to Western ears as charming. The priestess of the god was the “divine
wife,” or the “divine handmaid,” a position of great honor, even for the
queen. The handle of the sistrum in the oldest times was always cow-eared
and ornamented with the head of Hathor, the Egyptian Venus.

One of the goddesses to whom the queen is paying honor is Ta-ur-t, who
has the face of a woman on the body of a hippopotamus. She wears a wig,
and a robe of state with five capes, described as a cross between that of
a Lord Chancellor and a coachman. Behind the goddess stand the gods Thoth
and Nut.

Thebes was no doubt the chief residence of Queen Nofritari, Tunis that of
the Khitan Princess; the king’s enormous domestic establishments probably
being in different places. There is a story, who can tell whether it be
founded on fact? that the king and queen, by the treacherous dealing of
one of the king’s relatives, were shut up in a certain city which was
then set on fire, the intriguer doubtless intending to usurp the throne,
and that at the queen’s suggestion some of the king’s sons formed their
bodies into a bridge by which he might escape, some of them suffering
death in consequence.

The great Thebes is said to have been as large as London. On the Eastern
bank, the Arabian side of the Nile, stand Karnak and Luxor. On the
western or Lybian bank, Goornah, the Rameseum and Medinet Haboo. The
Rameseum, a palace and temple combined, faces about half way between
Karnak and Luxor. Medinet Haboo is further to the south than any building
on the east side of the river. Behind the western group is the great
Theban Metropolis, along the Lybian range, further back in radiating
valleys, are the Tombs of the Kings. Between Karnak and Luxor is a little
less than two miles, from Medinet Haboo to Goornah something under four.

The prostrate statue of Rameses II, near Memphis, so long covered with
Nile mud, repeats the lineaments of the Abou Simbel statue. This colossus
kept vigil at the gate of the temple and is serene and dignified, even in
its overthrow; it is of Syenite and probably stood in front of the temple
of Ptah, mentioned both by Herodotus and Diodorus. Says a poetic writer,
“I fancy the repose of that court in a Theban sunset, the windless
stillness of the air, and cloudlessness of the sky. The king enters,
thoughtfully pacing by the calm browed statue, that seems the sentinel of
heaven. In the presence of the majestic columns, humanly carved, their
hands sedately folded upon their breasts—his weary soul is bathed with
peace, as a weary body with living water.” This statue is one of the most
pleasing of the many likenesses of Rameses II, and a cast of it has been
taken. Mariette said “the head modelled with a grandeur of style which
one never tires of admiring, is an authentic portrait of the celebrated
conqueror of the Nineteenth Dynasty.”

The pre-nomen of Rameses II was “Ra-usr-mat-setep-en-Ra,” “Sun strong in
Truth, approved of the Sun, son of the Sun, Beloved of Amon.” The foot is
eleven feet by four feet ten inches, and on the peristyle is inscribed,
“I am Osymandies, King of Kings. If any would know how great I am and
where I lie, let him excel me in any of my works.”

The passion for building, characteristic of many Egyptian kings, was
specially strong in the father and son, Seti I and Rameses II, and the
latter completed many structures begun by the former. To Seti I are
credited the grand temple of Osiris at Abydos, the temple and palace
of Karnak at Thebes, and his tomb, which is said to excel those of the
other Theban kings in its sculpture, colored decorations and alabaster
sarcophagi. But his Hypostyle Hall at Karnak exceeds them all.

To Rameses II are credited many architectural works along the Nile, from
the Delta to the capital of Ethiopia. The list comprises the splendid
rock temples at Abou Simbel, in Nubia, just described, the Rammesium or
Memnonium, called by Diodorus “the tomb of Osymandius,” on the walls of
which are sculptured the story of Rameses’ reign, large portions of the
temple palaces of Karnak and Luxor, before which last stands the column
whose mate is now in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, a small temple
at Abydos, and various works in the Fayum, at Memphis and at Tunis, of
which last he was especially fond. In nothing apparently did he take more
delight than in erecting gigantic statues of himself.

To accomplish these great architectural designs required an immense
army of workmen and no monarch was more ruthless in his expenditure of
human life. Some have believed that to this period belongs in large
part the slavery of the Hebrews, whose cries reached the very ears of
Heaven and it is said that he deported whole tribes to accomplish his
purposes. History repeats itself; as in the earlier reigns, during the
structure of the pyramids, and Queen Nofritari Minimut, like Queen
Mertytefs, must have witnessed much suffering and viewed it perhaps with
a like indifference. Proud of her husband’s deeds and accomplishments,
what mattered the cost of such monuments. Of little more value than an
insect’s life was that of the innumerable slaves that bowed, trembled
and toiled at the great monarch’s command. We can believe that the sound
of the taskmaster’s whip woke no echo of pity in that haughty breast.
Devotion to the gods, exultation in her husband, more or less passionate
devotion to her children, these left no room for the consideration of the
life and sorrows of a slave.

    “By the Nile the sacred river
    I can see the captive hordes
    Bend beneath the lash and quiver
    At the long papyrus cords;
    While in granite wrapt and solemn
    Rising over roof and column
    Amen-Hotep dreams or Rameses,
    Lord of Lords.”

So the curtain drops over the queen in the zenith of her powers, and we
hear the tinkle of her sistrum, faintly, faintly down the centuries.
Priestess, queen, wife, mother, statue, shadow—thus she stands smiling
stonily, yet sweetly, on succeeding ages. Rich in this world’s goods,
beloved of Heaven. Yet did she, too, exclaim with Solomon, “Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity!” Who can tell?



The many wived Rameses II, if so he was, did not adopt Blue Beard’s plan
of despatching one before he espoused another, but merely set up separate
establishments for each, and so preserved the peace. The king could do no
wrong in those days, his divine right never being questioned, and it may
be doubted whether the first wife was surprised at, or even objected to,
the arrangement. It was an early form of Mormonism and accepted without

While Queen Nofritari-Minimut was, there is little question, first and
chief wife, and probably had been so for many years, and also the mother
of a number of children, the Keetan princess, and perhaps others, shared
the honor of being legal consort.

We know little about the marriage ceremonials of the Egyptians, compared
to our very full knowledge of their funeral rites, but a late writer thus
describes a wedding which may in part resemble that used by the kings.
“At the temple the people remained outside the walls, while the bride and
groom, the pharaoh and dignitaries, entered the hall of columns. There
Hebron (the bride) burned incense before the veiled statue of Amon,
priestesses performed a sacred dance and Tutmosis (the groom) read the
following act from a papyrus:

“‘I, Tutmosis, commander of the guard of his holiness Rameses XIII, take
thee, Hebron, daughter of Antefa, the monarch of Thebes, to wife, as
wife—I give thee now the sum of ten talents, because thou hast consented
to marry me. For thy robes I designate to thee three talents yearly, and
for household expenses one talent a month. Of the children which we may
have the eldest son will be heir to the property, which I possess now,
and which I may acquire hereafter, if I should not live with thee, but
divorce myself and take another wife, I shall be obliged to pay thee
forty talents, which sum I secure with my property. Our son on receiving
his estate is to pay thee fifteen talents yearly. Children of another
wife are to have no right to the property of our first-born son.’

“The chief judge appeared now and read an act in which the bride promised
to give good food and raiment to her husband, to care for his house,
family, servants, slaves and cattle, and to entrust to that husband the
management of the property which she had received, or would receive, from
her father.

“After the facts were read Herhor gave Tutmosis a goblet of wine. The
bridegroom drank half, the bride moistened her lips with it, and then
both burned incense before the purple curtain.

“Leaving the temple of Amon the young couple and their splendid retinue
passed through the avenue of sphinxes, to the pharaoh’s palace. Crowds of
people and warriors greeted them with shouts, scattering flowers on their

The experience of this same Khitan or Chetan princess, who adopted the
name of Ur-maa-nofru-ra, or, as given in other places, Noferura-Urmda
and Ra-maa-nofre, “Sun, Truth, Beautiful exceedingly,” reminds one of
that of Maria Louisa of Austria, who became the wife of Napoleon First
of France. The father of each had to bow the neck to the conqueror, the
daughter became in a sense the hostage, she paid the penalty of defeat.
There could not but have been a sense of bitterness at such a fate, in
which love could have had no share. How far did ambition, the feeling of
being the wife of the greatest monarch of the then known world, satisfy
the empty heart?

Among Rameses II’s numerous children his favorites are known to have been
his son, Khamus, and his daughter, Bint-Antha, both perhaps the children
of Nofritari-Minimut, though one writer gives Isemofer, probably not a
legal consort, as the mother of Khamus. We do not know the names of the
children of the Khitan princess or even if she had any. A picture of a
number of his sons and daughters, with names attached, the sons with
fans, the daughters with sistra, is between Elephantine and Abou Simbel.

Among the pictures of his children are those of the Ramessium at Thebes,
where Khamus, his favorite son, is represented in a battle. There are
two processions of his children and in one, two princesses. The eldest
son of the Pharaoh was called “Prince of Cush,” as the eldest son of the
king of England is now called “Prince of Wales.”

“Sutem-hemt” was the royal wife, “Sutem-Mut,” the royal mother, as
such in the prime of life we see Queen Nofritari-Minimut. Queen
Urm-maa-nofru-ra appears only in her beautiful youth, as the bride; she
herself, says one inscription, “knew not the impression her beauty made
on the heart of the king.” In a novel founded on this part of Egyptian
history a queen is thus described, “her eyes were the color of her hair,
a rich sunny brown, like Syriac women of Damascus. On her head the double
diadem of Thebes and Memphis, the inner crown a graceful conical bonnet
of white silk, terminating in a knob like a pomegranite bud. Outside a
rich band of gold and lined with red silk; red, the special color of
Lower, as white was of Upper Egypt; this was open at the top and worn
over the other. Then a necklace of precious stones, with a clasp of a
vulture, his neck encircled by an asp, emblem of the goddess, Maut. She
wore a white vestment of gauzy Persian silk, enriched with gold and
blue needlework below the waist, and secured by a girdle blazing with
diamonds. A long royal robe from the Damascus looms descended to her
feet.” Some such outline perhaps conveys an idea of the new queen. Not an
exact portrait, but a mere suggestion, helpful in filling in our mosaic.

Beautiful we may believe her to have been, and much the junior of the man
she must needs accept for a husband. She was never allowed to forget the
cost at which her honors were bought, however; on many walls of temples
and perhaps palaces also, the painted record stared her in the face.
Yet did the conqueror regard his adversary, Khitazar or Khitasar, king
or prince of the Khitans (by some believed to be the Hittites of the
Scriptures or, accord to others, the Aramaeans), as no mean foe and the
compact of peace between them, which was engraved on a silver tablet, was
honorable to both. King Khitazar seems to have inspired Rameses II with
more respect than some of his adversaries, on whom he looked down with
the utmost contempt. It is said that he refused an offer of marriage for
one of his daughters from a Mesopotamian prince or king, stating that he
would not give his daughter to a “nobody.”

The vanquished Kitazar offered his daughter to the victor, who accepted
this marriage as a means of cementing the alliance between them. Rameses
had married Nofritari-Minimut, who is spoken of as the “great princess,
of every grace in her heart, the beloved palm, mistress of both lands,
beloved of the king and united with the ruler,” before the death of his
father, Seti I, Ur-maa-nofru-ra years after. The queen’s establishments
were far apart, probably they seldom or never met, but doubtless Queen
Nofritari-Minimut held proudly to her position as first consort. Both
queens must have had some acquaintance with the king’s singular and
dangerous pet, the lion, who fought with him in his battle against the
Khita, one of which is named in the picture in which he accompanied the
king, “Smaru-khef-tu-f,” “the tearer in pieces.”

According to most authorities the marriage of Rameses II and
Ur-maa-nofru-ra took place in the fifth year of the king’s sole reign.
Near the temple of Abou-Simbel there is a passage in the rocks, where
there is a picture of Rameses II, sitting under a canopy, between two
gods, while before him appears the Khitan princess, followed by her
father, Kitazar, in the dress of his country. The princess’ name is
enclosed with that of Rameses II in a royal cartouche, which shows her
to have been his legal consort. The stele celebrating this event was
probably put up in the 34th year of his reign, a number of years after
the marriage.

Perhaps the most ancient international treaty in the world, which differs
little from those of modern times, is this concordat established between
Rameses II and Kitazar, which was intended to put an end to the wars
between the Egyptians and Asiatics. On the side wall of the temple of
Amon at Karnak it is given in an inscription. It is dated 21st Tybi, in
21st year of Rameses II Miamun, in the town of Tanis and was engraved on
a silver tablet and brought by ambassadors of peace. After speaking of
the fact that there had been peace between their ancestors at one time,
it goes on to say, “Khetasar, prince of the Khita, unites with Rameses
Miamun, the mighty king of Egypt, to cause to exist between them good
peace and good alliance, from this time on forever. He shall be allied
with me, he shall be at peace with me. And I, I shall be allied with
him, and I, I shall be at peace with him forever.” Many pictures of the
battles which preceded this agreement of peace are also to be seen on the
temple walls.

Rameses II’s reign was also something of an Elizabethan age in Egyptian
literature. A number of old works on papyrus have been found, left by
a galaxy of Theban writers. History, divinity, practical philosophy,
poetry and tales are among them. A list of temple scribes is given,
naming Bek-en-tah, Qu-ge-bu, Hor Anna, Mer-Em-aput, Amen-em-api, Pan and
Pentaur. The victorious campaign of Rameses II against the Ethiopians
is described by Herodotus, who perhaps derived his authority from some
of these sources. Pentaur, sometimes spoken of as the jovial poet, was
easily laureate of this reign. In high, joyful, but martial strains,
he celebrated, in heroic verse, the achievements of his master. He
glorifies his every deed and makes him a demi-god rather than a man.
Again and again Rameses II had Pentaur’s poem, the so-called Iliad
of the Egyptians, inscribed on the temple walls. To the east of the
southern door, near the great Hall of Columns at Karnak, the poem is to
be found. At Abydos, Luxor, Karnak, the Ramessium, on the inner face of
the pylon at the Ramessium, and at the Memnonium or tomb of Osymandeus
and Abou-Simbel the same familiar scene of Rameses fighting alone is
pictured or described. The king is shown in a chariot with prancing
horses, and again on a throne with the inscription, “Victory for Thebes.”
Four of these copies of the poem are perfect, at Abydos, Luxor and
Abou-Simbel, a fifth, without illustration, is on the wall of the temple
of Karnak and a fragment at the temple of Deir in Nubia.

“Where art thou, O father Amon!” prays the king, “Does a father forsake
his son? Not one of my generals, not one of my captains is with me.” “I
hasten to thine aid, O Rameses, my son, beloved of Amon,” answers the
god and singly and alone enables him to perform prodigies of valor. “My
soldiers have abandoned me, my horsemen have fled,” cries the king. “I am
more to thee than hundreds of thousands,” comes the response and again,
“the youthful king with his bold hand has not his equal. His arms are
powerful, his heart is firm. His courage is like that of the god of war.”
Again the king speaks. “The diadem of the royal snake adorns my head.
It spits fire and glowing flame in the face of my enemies. They cried
out to one another, ‘Take care! Do not fall, for the powerful snake of
royalty has placed itself on his horse.’” The great temple of Abou-Simbel
is said by some to have been made in honor of his first victory over the
Khitans, years before his marriage with the princess. “The freshness of
the statues there,” says Curtis, “is startling. It is sublime.”

All these laudations gratified the king’s pride, for the little queen
there must have been in it all something of a trial. But it was not a
time distinguished for consideration of the feelings of others. For her
the old life was probably closed; there was not likely to have been much
intercourse, merely for her pleasure, between her and her family. For
purposes of war, and perhaps for hunting, they went far afield, but we
can well believe that few trips to a distance, solely for the pleasure of
the ladies, were undertaken.

Innumerable are the pictures and statues of Rameses II. Alone, with Queen
Nofritare-Minimut and his sons and daughters, and in one or two places
with his wife, the Khitan princess. At Gibel Silsileh, on a tablet, is
a picture of the king, Queen Nofritari Minimut, Queen Tuaa or Ti, the
king’s mother, and the princess Bint-antha, all appear in a bas-relief.
Again the king appears before the gods Ptah and Nefertum. A stele in
the third year of the reign of Rameses II gives the route to the gold
mines which Rameses had worked. In the rock temple of Gerf Husen the
king appears as a founder and god to be worshipped. In the half rock
temple of Sebuah is a large statue of him. At the temple of Deir there is
another picture of him. On the stele of a certain General Amenti, near
Abou-Simbel appears Prince Seti, named, of course, for the father of
Rameses II, the king’s mother and the Princess Bint Antha. There are, or
were, enormous statues of the king at Karnak, Tanis, and elsewhere.

To the British Museum and other places in Europe some of these statues
have been removed, and among those in this country may be named one in
the museum of the University of Pennsylvania. In the museum of Gizeh is a
red granite figure of Rameses II, life size, as a youth, at eighteen or
twenty, crowned with an elaborate Osirian helmet, issuing from a diadem,
encircled by uraei; this known as the atef-crown.

The Hebrews, some believe to have been the slaves who built for Rameses
II the treasure cities of Pithon and Rameses, the Pa-Tum and Pa-Rameses
of the inscriptions, and bricks made with stubble, or no straw, have been
found, confirming, it is thought, the Bible record. The Egyptian kings,
bent on leaving behind them such mammoth structures, all worked with a
reckless expenditure of the lives of their slaves and captives.

Some of the pictures on tombs give representations of conquered peoples,
such as the brown and coal black people of the Soudan, their princess in
a chariot drawn by oxen and shaded by an umbrella, her attendants with
feathers in their hair and a kind of hood, like that worn by some wild
tribes in the present day.

Rameses II instituted several festivals, among which may be mentioned
that of the Nile and that of Seknet and the goddess Bast at Bubastis,
where joyous and licentious festivals, like those of Hathor, at Denderah,
were held. At the former festival the king was seated on a throne, borne
by twelve nobles, adorned with feathers, the throne having the back
and feet of a lion. The king wore a war helmet and carried a staff.
Behind were the court officials, warding off the sun’s rays, with the
long-handled flabellium, while the lower order of priests, the Kherheb,
carried and swung censors of incense. Trains of captives followed and the
king was hailed as “Rameses Miamun, who loves the Nile, the father of the
gods, his creator.”

As the Nile rose lights were lighted like beacon fires at different
points, till the whole country was a blaze of joyful illumination. To the
inhabitants the rising of the Nile meant in great degree life, health
and happiness. A hymn sung to celebrate this desired event is vouched
for by Glovatski, who has evidently made a close study of his subject,
as authentic. “Be greeted, O Nile, sacred river, which appearest on this
country! Thou comest in peace to give life to Egypt. O hidden deity, who
scatterest darkness, who moistenest the fields to bring food to dumb
animals, O thou precious one, descending from heaven to give drink to the
earth, O friend of bread, thou who gladdenest our cottages! Thou art the
master of fishes; when thou art in our fields no bird dares touch the
harvest. Thou art the creator of grain and the parent of barley; thou
givest rest to the hands of millions of the unfortunate and for ages thou
securest the sanctuary.” In some such words as these rose to the blue
heavens the praise and acclaim of the grateful people.

In the month Paofi, the second half of July, the waters are rising as
much as two hands a day, so that the waves in a continuous murmur may be
heard plashing over soil dry in the morning, while the color changes
from greenish white to a ruddy tint. Then growing darker, as in the
month Hator, including part of August, it has reached half its height,
and where men previously walked they now travel in boats from the middle
of September to the middle of October, the month Cheoeak, the waters
at their height began to fall, while trees blossomed a second time,
and fruits were gathered in the gardens. For the next month, Tobi, the
waters would continue to fall disclosing more and more of the rich and
fructified earth. While the winter season, the most delightful in Egypt,
was beginning, the heat rarely going beyond 70 Fahrenheit. As the month
Mechir advanced more and more land appeared and flowers of varied hue
sprang up amid the emerald green of the fresh grass. By Phaenoth, part of
December, and January, the whole land was abloom. No wonder the heavens
rang with the acclaim of the people who witnessed this daily miracle.

Bubastis was the goddess Aphrodite of foreigners, represented with the
head of a lion or cat. The cat was sacred to this goddess and said to
have honorable burial here. Indeed a regular cat cemetery, filled with
the remains of mummied felines, has been found. The feast was held at
what corresponds to our Christmas time, and Herodotus thus describes it.
“When the Egyptians travel to Bubastis they do it in this manner. Men
and women sail together and in each boat there are many persons of both
sexes. Some of the women make a noise with rattles and some blow pipes
during the whole journey, while the other men and women sing and clap
their hands. If they pass a town on the way they lay to and some of the
women land and shout and mock at the women of the place, while others
dance and make a disturbance. They do this at every town that lies on
the Nile and when they arrive at Bubastis they begin the festival with
great sacrifices and on this occasion more wine is consumed than during
the whole of the rest of the year. All the people of both sexes, except
children, make a pilgrimage thither, 700,000 persons in all, as the
Egyptians assert.” In these festivals both queens probably, separately or
together, took a share.

Amen-Ra was the patron deity of Rameses II, but he also paid homage to
Sutech in honor probably to his Khitan wife, as this was chiefly confined
to Tanis, where we may believe Ur-maa-nofru-ra resided. The god is
represented with the head-dress of a Khitan prince. Whatever travelling
she may have done, whatever her experiences, Tanis was home to this
queen, while the city grew in magnificence and she watched the erection
of a grand temple to the god of her fathers, some proof at least that she
held a high place in Rameses’ affection and regard.

The name Thebes is of Greek origin, as are many of the Egyptian places,
our knowledge of the country being in so large a part derived from the
Greeks. Tanis also was so named by the Greeks. This formerly great city,
of which now only mounds, ruins, etc., remain, was variously known as
Tanis, Zoan, or San, the last of Arab designation. It is believed by
some authorities to be the Zoan of the Bible, where the miracles were
performed. Its history is now told by broken statues, mounds, tombs and
hieroglyphics. Scarcely one stone remains upon another. It is in the
Delta of the Nile and is called in some of the inscriptions, “The Place
of the Leg,” “The Winged Disk of the North,” and “The Cradle of Lower
Egypt.” It was an old city when Rameses II occupied and embellished it.
He never hesitated to pull down and use the materials with which his
predecessors had builded, nor to smooth out their cartouches and replace
them with his own. Why should he, the greatest monarch the world had
ever known, as he doubtless thought himself, shrink from taking his full
rights or even obliterating the name and fame of some more insignificant
ancestor. And devoted as he seemed to have been to his father’s memory,
he even did the like occasionally with his father’s signature.

The monumental history of Tanis, it is said, begins with the Twelfth
Dynasty, a fine broken statue of Amenemhat I having been found. Then
follow memorials of later times. Superb statues of the Hyksos period
have also been discovered. Of the work of Rameses II it is quoted that
“he found the place given over to the abomination of desolation, he left
it one of the most magnificent of Egyptian cities.” For this purpose he
laid all Egypt under contribution, red granite and black from Syene,
and the Valley of Hammamat, sandstone and limestone from Silsilis and
Toorah. His great temples to the gods were but as the parchment on which
he inscribed the story of his own victories. It was the spirit of the
Pharisee which said, ‘I am not as other men are.’

Wars and fires at different times have done much to obliterate Tanis and
its records as well as to destroy all traces of it. Mr. Petrie, who,
like many archeologists, spares neither strength nor effort to bring to
light the history of the past, with the true lover’s fervency in his
favorite pursuit, which is to be a gain not to himself, but to the world,
and Miss Edwards, who to a close study of the old ruins and remains,
adds a charming power of picturesque description, have both told much of
Tanis. We condense their accounts of the city at this past era. The Nile
was alive with vessels, the banks bordered with towns and villas, the
land beyond occupied by villages. The great temple, which looked like a
fortress, was half a mile from the shore, and approached by a fine road,
in part bordered by sphinxes and the city entered by a massive gateway.
Gigantic statues of the king alternated with sphinxes, the last statue
being fourteen times the size of a man. There was a grand avenue bordered
by columns, thirty-six feet in height. Pylons, statues, obelisks, a very
forest of them—the tribute of the previous centuries, many of them, to
the present king. Through these passed many processions, the king, his
son and officials, his warriors and his captives. He, with the double
crown on his head, and glittering with jewels, the leopard skin over
his shoulders, to be received by the priests, with divine honors, amid
the plaudits and adulation of the people. All to the sound of the harp
and flute, cimbals and sistrum. The queen doubtless looking, from some
gorgeously decorated point of vantage when she did not personally share
in the pageant.

This was the home of the young queen, these the magnificent sights to
which her eyes were accustomed. Parts of private letters on parchment
and on pottery have been found, telling familiarly of the feasts and
festivals, the expenses and the daily incidents of the life of this
period. And the love stories and other fragments of fiction which have,
come down to us also give their share of local color.

The last forty-six years of Rameses II’s long reign (which is said
to have lasted sixty-seven) were peaceful, and says one author, “It
became his passion and his pride to found new cities, to raise dykes,
to dig canals, to build fortresses, to multiply statues, obelisks and
inscriptions, and to erect the most costly temples in which man ever

His eldest sons appear to have died before him, or been passed over in
the succession, for it was his thirteenth son, Meremptah, who shared his
authority and eventually succeeded him. He is believed to have been the
Pharaoh of the Exodus, as Rameses II of the oppression of the Israelites.

In strange contrast to the life of Rameses II was the disposition of
his body after death; there is a story told of the mummy of one of the
Pharaohs, that in order to obtain entrance into Cairo, with his prize,
Bruch Bey was obliged to pay octroi duty on “dead fish,” as the officials
refused to admit it free of duty and the register contained no directions
as to mummies. Doubtless Rameses II received magnificent burial, but in
later reigns many royal tombs were rifled and his among them; the empty
tomb now remains, but only filled with rubbish, the body of the king,
with those of many others, being removed. Inscriptions record that this
occurred more than once. In the sixteenth year of the reign of Pinotem I
it was placed in the tomb of Amenophis I, so that even in death sometimes
“uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” It is said that in 1880 his
mummy was offered for sale to an American gentleman, who, doubting its
genuineness, refused to purchase.

In 1881 the wonderful discovery of the shaft containing so many royal
mummies was made, and their removal to the museum of Gizeh is thus
described, “Already it was known, far and wide, that these kings and
queens of ancient times were being conveyed to Cairo, and for more than
fifty miles below Thebes the villages turned out en masse, not merely to
stare at the piled decks, as the steamer went by, but to show respect to
the illustrious dead. Women, running along the banks and shrieking the
death wail; men, ranged in solemn silence and firing their guns in the
air, greeted the Pharaohs as they passed.”

And so after change of burial place and even of coffin, one of the most
celebrated of human monarchs lies in a museum, for the inspection of
every careless passerby; a strong commentary on human greatness and human

The mummy was unrolled, by Maspero, June, 1886, and was found to be
five feet six inches in length. The head was small and long; the hair,
apparently white at the time of death, was made yellow with drugs; the
forehead, low and narrow; the eyebrows, arched and bushy; the eyes, small
and close to the thin-hooked nose; the temples were hollow, the cheek
bones prominent and the ears wearing rings were round. The expression he
calls intelligent, but slightly sensual, proud, obstinate and majestic,
even in death.

And what of Queen Urmaa-nofrura? As the bride alone, young and fair, she
comes before us, and we find no record of her further history, or of
her death. Was it in her power, as in that of the fair Queen Esther of
Scripture, to do aught for the people of her native land or to influence
in any way for good the haughty sovereign to whom she was allied?
Perhaps, and perhaps only.



As Queen Urma-nofru-Ra may be considered the bride of life, so we may
call Queen Tausert the bride of the tomb, since it is from her tomb alone
that we learn anything of her history, and even there the information
is most meagre. Her name is mentioned as Ta-ursr, Tauser, Tausert or
Taosiri, and it makes her somewhat distinctive among the various Neferts
and Tis. She is called “the great queen and the lady of the land, the
princess of Upper and Lower Egypt.”

She is noteworthy chiefly as being of the blood royal and thus conferring
dignity upon her husband, Siptah, or Si-Ptah, her name taking precedence
of his on the monuments, as did that of Queen Ti, wife of Seti I. Also
she was the last queen of the great Nineteenth Dynasty, of which Seti
I and Rameses II were such renounced monarchs, and of whose queens Ti,
Nofritari Mini-mut and Urma-nofru-Ra we have already given outline
sketches. To this Dynasty, called Diospolites, Lepsius gives the date
beginning 1443 B. C., and Wilkinson 1340 B. C., and one division makes it
the Middle Empire.

The earliest Egyptian monarchs of whom we have any record built for
themselves tombs which seemed destined to last till eternity, the
Pyramids, which some one has finely described as “stony tents where
innumerable centuries have encamped, which time in vain seeks to drive
from the field,” and which seem more like Druidical remains than
specimens of architecture.

Says Lady Duff Gordon, in her charming “Letters:” “There is such a
curious sight of a crowd of men carrying huge blocks of stone up out of a
boat. One sees exactly how the stones were carried in ancient times; they
sway their bodies all together like one great lithe animal, with many
legs, and hum a low chant to keep time. It is quite unlike carrying heavy
weights in Europe.”

Later kings spent their energies differently. They built palaces and
temples and chose to be buried in caverns in the natural rocks through
which they honeycombed innumerable passages, hewed out great halls, or
constructed pits in which their mortal remains could be hidden from the
light of day.

Rameses II lived to a ripe old age, his wives perhaps dying before him,
as many of his children certainly did. Of their lives we know little,
of their death nothing. The sacred books say of one Pharaoh, perhaps of
Rameses II, that in heaven he will, at his pleasure, take wives from
their husbands, so idolatrous was the worship accorded to these haughty,
and often tyrannical kings. Seti I had, as we have seen, in early
years united his son, Rameses, with himself in the government of his
kingdom, and Rameses II adopted the same plan, making his thirteenth son,
Meremptah, co-ruler, with himself. In the government of the kingdom. The
elder sons, of whom Khamus is known to have been an especial favorite of
his father (as was Bint-Antha among the daughters), died before him, or
there was some other reason which prevented their following in natural
succession. The consensus of opinion seems to be that Rameses II was the
oppressor of the Hebrews, and Meneptah the monarch from whom they escaped.

The Israelites are believed to have toiled on the temples, palaces and
other architectural works at Tanis, and on the treasure city of Paten or
Pithom. They are mentioned in a triumphal inscription, found by Petrie,
near the temple of Medinet Aboo, opposite Thebes. It was engraved on an
old slab, originally polished, inscribed and put in place in a temple,
by Amen-hotep III, which Meremptah, with the ruthlessness of many of the
kings, took and also inscribed on the back, or rougher side, to glorify
himself. Part of it reads, “The Hittites are quieted. Taken is Askelon.
The Israelites are

(Transcriber’s Note: A line (or more) seems to be missing here from the

tions, who had invaded Egypt. Petrie also found, among the ruins of a
funeral temple at Thebes, a bust of this king, in grey granite, which
has “a firm and rather dogged expression, not untinged with melancholy.”
The wife of Meremptah is given as Ast-Nefert or Isis Nefert, but of her
personal history we know nothing. The mummy of a certain Queen Anhipu,
said to belong to the Nineteenth Dynasty, was found, but no details of
her life.

Amenmesses “Mighty Bull, beloved of Maat,” is, by some authorities, said
to have usurped the throne after Meremptah; his mother is given as Taak
Taakhat, “divine mother, royal mother, great Lady,” and his wife as
“royal spouse, the great one, lady of the two lands.” He built a tomb in
the Valley of the Kings, and he, with his mother and wife, are buried
there. It has three corridors and two chambers, and in one his mother and
in another his wife are making offerings to the gods.

Another list commonly given is as follows, Rameses II, then Meremptah,
Seti II, his grandson, and Siptah, his great-grandson, perhaps by
marriage. Reproductions of the pictures of Seti II and Siptah are given
in Petrie’s articles, in Miss Edward’s “Pharaohs, Fellahs and Explorers,”
as well doubtless as in other places, and she claims for each of them the
distinctive features of the Rammeside family, long heads, long noses,
long bodies and long legs. Photographs have been taken of Siptah and
others from the bas-reliefs in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, at
Thebes. Ebers, in his romance of “Joshua,” mentions Siptah as the nephew
of Meremptah and as intriguing to supplant him.

Queen Tausert’s husband is elsewhere spoken of as Meremptah Siptah, the
son of an usurper, giving color to the idea that it was she and not he
who was the descendant of Rameses II. Among ordinary people the tomb was
often prepared for husband and wife together, and occasionally the mummy
of the first who died was kept in the house till the death of the second,
a constant suggestion that they might soon be reunited, and in pictures
they are often betrayed with the arm of one around the neck or waist of
the other, showing that affectionate relations were usual. Death and the
future life appear to have occupied so large a share in the thoughts of
the ancients that their daily life was a sort of Appian Way, lined with
tombs, and we know much more of their funerals than of their marriages
and other festivities.

The Egyptians were among the earliest, if not the earliest nation to
regard literature, to write books (the inscribed papyrus roll being their
printed page, to be handed down to posterity) and to preserve and value

The Book of the Dead, of which sections belonging to different periods
have been found, was a sort of Bible, for which the Egyptians entertained
the most profound respect and whose maxims they seem to have used, both
as a guide in life and in their preparation of the dead for the tomb. The
papyrus containing the tale of “The Two Brothers,” in which the younger
was unjustly accused of wrongdoing towards his elder brother’s wife,
bears some resemblance to the Bible story of Joseph’s experiences, and
belongs to the period of Seti II.

Diodorus speaks of a sacred library which he said was inscribed
“Dispensary of the Mind,” and belonged to the period of Rameses III;
some ruins believed to have been this building have been found. There
was a great hall and several smaller rooms, supported by columns. “On
the jamb of one of the smaller rooms,” says Kendrick, “was sculptured
Thoth, the inventor of Letters, and the goddess Saf, his companion,
with the title of ‘Lady of Letters and President of the Hall of Books,’
accompanied, the former with an emblem of the sense of sight, the latter
with that of hearing.”

Treaties with foreign nations were often inscribed, like that of Rameses
II and the father of Queen Urma-nofrura, on tablets of silver or other
metal, while accounts, letters and more trivial matters, were written
on pottery, fragments of which have come down to our own day. In these
times, or even earlier, the Greeks made their way into Egypt, and
through them, as well as from the monuments, we have derived much of our
knowledge of the Egyptians.

A late writer on Egypt, Isaac Meyer, draws a parallel between
Christianity and the old Egyptian religion, and advances a theory, more
ingenious than reliable, that Christ may have been in Egypt later than in
his infancy. The “Book of the Dead,” said to be the great storehouse of
Egyptian theology, shows refined and ethical ideas. Horus, the sun-god,
the victorious of the resurrection from the dead to eternal life, is
found chief among the deities there represented, wearing the Osirian
crown, and with an endless serpent, symbolic of eternity. Chapters
of this book were found in isolated places, and at different times,
“a collection of preceptus and maxims on the conduct of life.” Many
had fragments of the revered volume buried beside them or engraved on
scarabeii as ornaments and decorations. In later times than those which
we are now considering the mummy of a young girl was found, with part of
Homer in her coffin, having in life probably been devoted to his poetry.

Some archeologists and students see traces of original monotheism in the
religion of the Egyptians, one central idea of deity perhaps under many
forms, but the idea is not supported by general testimony. “Deities,”
says one writer, “were merged into one another, qualities of one were
attributed to another till the pantheon resembled the shifting pictures
of the kaleidoscope.”

Some of the Egyptian precepts and maxims are not without their value in
modern times, such as “If thou humblest thyself in obeying a superior,
thy conduct is wholly good before God. Knowing who ought to obey and who
ought to command, lift not thy heart against the latter.” And again,
“If thou desirest thy conduct to be good and preserved from evil, keep
thyself from attacks of bad temper. It is wrong to fly in a passion with
one’s neighbor to the point of not knowing how to manage one’s words.”

Siptah is sometimes spoken of as an anti-king, regarded as an usurper,
rather than a rightful heir, and his name is occasionally omitted from
the list of kings. His Horus name is said to mean Horus rising in Khebit;
he added nothing important to the temples and, though depicted in relief
in Silsila and other places, it is probably only commemorative of small
repairs. Buried in his wife’s tomb, he was removed, in the troublous
times of the Twentieth Dynasty, to the tomb of Amenhetep II. The original
tomb has three or four corridors and several chambers. A picture of the
queen, offering gifts to the gods, was plastered over by Sek-nebta, who
usurped the tomb. The remains of the funeral temple of the king and queen
were excavated by Professor Petrie in 1896. Her temple was between those
of Meren-Ptah and Thothmes IV, and his north of the temple of Amenhetep

Another suggestion as regards Siptah is that he may have ruled over one
part of Egypt—the rightful king over another. But, whatever the ambiguity
of his earlier history, it is known that he was buried with his wife in
the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, Queen Tausert taking her place with
her husband, and not among the Tombs of the Queens where so many of the
royal ladies were laid.

There were probably revolutions and counter revolutions, till the reins
of government were once more finally in the hands of Rameses III. Whether
from the ambition of an usurper to be laid with the true line of kings,
or from a deep affection, Siptah and Tausert shared their tomb, the
queen probably having died first, and the king subsequently, no doubt by
special order being laid beside her. The tomb was elaborately painted
and inscribed, but much is faded by time and the light and air admitted
by explorers. Champoleon believed, we are told, that he had discovered
a cartouch of Seti-Nekht, engraved above that of Seti II, and the latter
above that of Tausert and Siptah; but “there is no visible trace of this
superposition which would assign to Siptah a date anterior to Seti II.”

One writer says of Tausert that who the queen was is unknown; she may
have been a queen dowager, with special rights as daughter of a Pharaoh,
and may have been the widow of Seti I and mother of the Prince of Cush,
if so Siptah was her husband’s brother and child’s uncle. She is also
spoken of as “hereditary daughter—exalted.”

Belzone made a close investigation of these tombs, discovering various
points of interest which had escaped the notice of earlier explorers. The
tombs were cut in the face of the limestone rock, with passages, steps
and doorways, and a pit at the end, probably to discourage intruders.
He broke through a wall which gave a hollow sound when struck, and
discovered several more pillared halls and passages. The body, which,
by embalming, was converted into a mummy, was, especially in the case
of royalty and other distinguished people, most carefully preserved.
First placed in a casket of cedar or other wood elaborately painted with
figures of the gods, this again in an outer casket of wood, more roughly
decorated, and finally in a stone sarcophagus.

Reference has been made before to a sort of court or trial which was held
at the entrance to the grave to decide if the deceased was worthy to
enter the presence of Osiris.

In a modern Arab funeral a number of men walk first, chanting a ritual.
The bier, with a high peak in front, like the prow of a Nile boat, is
carried by friends and comes next, and upon the bier a tin horn is placed
if the corpse is a man, a shawl and jewelry and other ornaments, if a
woman, and a red shawl indicates youth. A more minute description of
this is given by Pollard, in the “Land of the Monuments.” The funerals
take place within a few hours of death. Different from the old Egyptian
custom, the body in its winding sheet is covered with shawls, and
the procession is closed by the chief mourners, followed by friends,
sometimes walking hand in hand.

Details as regards the tomb of Tausert and Siptah are to be found in the
guide books, but the passing traveller will probably glance hastily at
pictures and inscriptions and hurry on; only the student has leisure or
inclination for minute or accurate investigation. The tomb represents the
royal couple absorbed in religious exercises, offering to the various
gods and goddesses their prayers, praises and gifts. The queen stands
before Harmachus, “god of the morning,” and Anubis, “the god of the
dead,” and Ne-fer-tum-Hor, and again before Ptah, “the Opener,” and Ma,
“goddess of Truth.” All representations of this last goddess are said to
be “refined, calm and peaceful” in expression and worthy of the character
of the goddess of Truth.

Then the king stands before Isis, “the mother,” and Horns, “the son,”
and in other pictures the royal consorts are together before some god,
perhaps carrying or crowned with flowers. And again the queen before
Harmachus, Hathor, the Egyptian Venus, and Nepthys, “lady of the house.”
The sarcophagus of Tausert bears her likeness, between Isis and Nepthys,
a conventional idea of what a goddess was or should be, setting the

The tomb has also other pictures of some of the lesser gods, armed
with knives, keeping guard over a chapel, to ward off evil ones,
Hathor standing in the doorway. Again the king and the high priest,
sacrificing to Osiris and the winged goddess Ma in the doorway of a
chapel, signifying that only Truth may enter. Here is what is called the
act of opening the mouth of the royal likeness in the Hall of Gold. The
high priest appears with his staff and panther skin, the Kereb and lower
priests, who take part in the ceremony, and the people as “those who come
to the tomb,” offering incense. Various rooms are carved and ornamented
with pictures of numerous gods, Thoth with the moon upon his head, Ma
with outspread wings, serpents, boats and other symbols.

Mrs. Stevenson, who has made an especial study of Egyptian symbols, says
that most of the Egyptian goddesses may be said, broadly speaking, to
represent either luminous space, or the activity of the god with whom
they are associated, and their common attributes make it easy for the
Egyptians to reduce them to one type. Sekhet, “the striker”; Neith, who
“shoots”; Hat-Hor, meaning “the home of Horus,” the mother of Horus; one
of those designations is “the mighty striker,” son of Hat-Hor, and who,
at Dendereh, where she was especially worshipped as the “holy one,” is
expressly called Sekhet-Neith, while all are called “Eye of Ra.” “There
are,” she continues, “exceptions, such as Maut, who represents abstract
truth and justice, Safekh, etc.; and in certain localities where the
goddess stood alone, like Neith at Sais, she included all the attributes
of divinity, but her place in the local triad is as indicated above.”

But to return to the tomb. One hall with seats seems to suggest that
another sarcophagus rested there. So we spell out, read and speculate
over these monuments of long ago. This king and queen were doubtless
buried with great honors; which was it, love or ambition, that ruled
their lives and stamped with its signet even their tomb? Could it be said
of them that “they were lovely in their lives and in death they were not
divided”? Evidently they did not wish to accept the common lot of man, to
pass away and be forgotten.



From the time of Rameses II to that of the Ptolemy period no queen seems
to make a marked impression on the passing centuries. We have here and
there a name, here and there an anecdote; but no figure, with salient
points, stands out, about which cluster vitalizing incidents, or upon
whom we may drape a robe of woven romance. Nor were there many, even
among the kings, who have the bold outlines of some of their predecessors.

Seck-net or Seti-nekht was first of the Twentieth Dynasty, is believed to
have reigned seven years, and united with himself, and was succeeded by,
his son Rameses III. He seems to have made no special mark upon his time,
was neither a great ruler nor a great builder, and we know little of him.
There is a picture of him and Rameses III kneeling on either side of the
sun’s disk, and he appropriated and enlarged the tomb of Queen Tausert
for himself, covering the figures and name of the queen with stucco.

Rameses III was a builder of temples, a rich, magnificent and
splendor-loving monarch, a warrior and conqueror. His Hobrus names were
“Mighty bull, great one of kings,” and “Mighty bull, beloved of Maat,
establisher of the lands.” But, even at a period, whose moral point of
view was so different from the Christian, it is claimed that this was a
court distinguished for its licentiousness. His queen’s name is given as
Ast, or Ise, also as Hemalczotha, which seems to suggest that she was a
foreigner, possibly a Khitan or Assyrian princess. Her father is spoken
of as Hebuansozanath. Often the space beside the king’s name is left
vacant, as if she could not or would not appear in his company. From her
tomb also her name is obliterated, while that of her husband and son

The walls of the temples and palaces built by Rameses III are adorned
with the story of his life. There are naval engagements, the ships with
embroidered sails, and the king is seen as a conqueror, of the Libyans
and others, carried in state above the heads of the people, surrounded by
priests and followed by warriors and captives, while in other processions
the queen also appears, following. The great Harris papyrus, too, of the
thirty-second year of his reign, found near the temple of Medinet-Abou
or Haboo, gives much information concerning him and a long list of gifts
which he presented to the temples.

Among the other pictures on the walls we see Rameses III enjoying himself
in the midst of, some say his daughters, but more probably the members
or slaves of his harem. Others, again, believe them to be intended for
goddesses or mythological characters. Sylph-like figures attend upon
the king. To quote from a previous article upon the subject, “One plays
draughts with him, another holds a lotus blossom to his nose (a favorite
attention in Egypt), others offer him wine and refreshments. The queen,
as a chief figure, nowhere appears. The costumes approach that of the
Garden of Eden, a necklace and light sandals. We are reminded of the
description of a Japanese family: ‘The summer costume of a middle class
Japanese consists of a queue, a breechcloth and a pair of sandals; that
of his son and heir the same minus the queue, the cloth and the sandals,
while that of his spouse is a little, and only a little more elaborate.’”

It is impossible, naively and gravely, remarks one critic, rather than
from the standpoint of the Twentieth Century, than the Twentieth Dynasty,
that respectable families should so have conducted themselves, therefore
the garments must have evaporated in the course of years. But it was
so near the Garden of Eden, the climate was so warm, and the little
creatures seem so at ease in their airy nothings, that it is almost
appears as if “beauty unadorned was adorned the most.” Some of the
pictures are too obscene for reproduction.

It is of interest to note how very ancient are certain games, such as
chess, draughts or checkers, and others which still hold a place among
our modern amusements. Other pictures, discovered years ago in the
mastabas or grave chambers, of still earlier date, 5200 B. C., give also
the game of chess, the invention of which has been attributed both to
India and China.

Extensive insurrection and disturbances, it is evident, had prevailed in
the kingdom, and that Rameses III had brought order out of the chaos. He
described himself as “the darling of Amen, the victory-bringing Horus.”
After his conquests he turned his attention to building, commerce,
digging of reservoirs and planting of trees; nevertheless a general
decline of Egypt is said to have begun in his reign.

But if the king had restored order in the land, not so well had he kept
his own household in check. Records remain of a conspiracy which arose
in his harem, headed by the Lady Ti, Thi, or Tey, said to be the mother
of a certain Pentaur or Pen-ta-urt, whom she wished to put upon the
throne. She probably hated the “royal wife, the great lady, the lady
of two lands, Ast.” In exactly what way the Lady Ti was related to the
king is not specified. In both the museums of Paris and Turin there is
some account of this _cause celebre_. The steward, Pal-bak-Amen, was her
chief co-adjutor, also a certain Penhuiban or Hui, a cattle inspector,
who indulged in “Black Art,” made amulets and images of wax for ladies,
and had books containing directions how to strike people blind and to
make figures in effigy to bring trouble upon any one who was hated.
Melting wax figures and sticking pins in them to harm an enemy we think
of as belonging to the age of Queen Elizabeth, and lo, it was known and
practiced in Egypt thousands of years before!

On the other hand, may it not have been also possible that Queen Ise or
Ast had some share in the plot, or at least sympathized with it, thus
giving another reason for the non-appearance of her name beside the
king’s. One of the ladies concerned wrote to her brother, commanding the
army in Ethiopia, and ordered or entreated him to fight against the king.
But whether he did as was desired or not, the revolt was unsuccessful. It
was crushed with some severity, and it is said forty men and six women
were compelled to commit suicide, and a mummy, thought to be that of
Pentaur, and showing signs of death by poison, has been found.

Rameses III reigned thirty-seven years, and there is a list of his
sons, several of whom succeeded him. He was buried in the Tombs of the
Kings, doubtless with all the honors of state, but his body was not
allowed to rest in peace, it was included in the general upheaval caused
by robbers, before described. His mummy was found in the large coffin
of Nefertari-Aames, and on being unrolled fell to dust. His features
were said to be softer, finer and more intelligent than some of his
predecessors, his figure less straight and vigorous and his shoulders
narrower. His red granite sarcophagus is in the Louvre and the lid in
the Fitz-William museum at Cambridge. His tomb is sometimes called
“the Harpers,” from the figure of two harpers in a scene on one side,
also “Bruce’s tomb” from the name of the modern discoverer. Among the
treasures found in this tomb were two golden baskets. His period is
given as 1200 B. C.

Rameses III was succeeded by his sons or connections of the same name,
who followed him, as one writer has said, with “ominous rapidity,” from
number one to number thirteen. They seem to have been a faineant race,
and the proud name of Rameses degenerated from reign to reign. Here and
there in the Tombs of the Kings, or in other spots, we find their last
resting places.

Among them, perhaps, Rameses IV was one of the most conspicuous; and
his queen, given as Isis-Ast, was buried in the Tombs of the Queens.
The tombs of Rameses IV and VI are decorated with astronomical designs;
the sun appears in his chariot as Horus-Ra, and that of Rameses IV
has pictures of the resurrection. The seventh son is given as Ramessu
Meritum, son of Queen Muf-nofer-ari.

A papyrus of the time of Rameses IX gives an account of the violation of
the royal tombs by robbers, which was then discovered; and this Abbott
papyrus contains a list of the tombs inspected, hence the mummies were
removed at different periods from place to place for greater safety. A
woman called “Little Cat” confessed that she had been in the tomb of
Queen Ast, wife of Rameses III, and purloined various articles.

The line of priest-kings, of whom Her-Hor was the first, chose a common
place of sepulture, and thither were at last carried many of the earlier
royal remains. The discovery of these in the cave at Deir-el-Bahari made
a world-wide sensation and has already been referred to. There were
three kings of the Thothmes name, two Rameses and Seti I, as well as the
later kings of the priestly line, Pinotem or Pinozem I and II.

Here, too, we learn the little we know of some of the queens. There
was Queen Ansera, of the Seventeenth Dynasty, Queen Aames Nofritari,
Hatimoohoo, and Sitha of the Eighteenth, and queens Notem-Maut,
Hathor-Houtta-ni, Ma-ka-Ra, and Isem-Kheb, and a queen Hest-em-Seket, as
well as Princess Nesi-Khonsu, and a number of princesses and priestesses,
called “Singers of Amen.”

Some of the coffins of this period show, on a yellow ground, a picture of
the dead piercing a serpent with a lance. Among the Tombs of the Queens
are a few of the Eighteenth, but more of the Nineteenth and Twentieth
Dynasties. Here was placed the wife of Rameses III, with name no longer
legible. Here Queen Ti, or Titi, wife of the earlier King Amenophis III,
with her blue eyes and fair skin, pictured as making offerings to the
gods. Here Bint-Antha, favorite daughter of Rameses II. One tomb has the
name obliterated and Tuattent-apt written upon it in red ink. Here is
Isis-Ast, wife of Rameses IV, Queen Sitra of the Twentieth Dynasty, and
many others.

There is an interesting story of a queen, by some authorities said to be
the wife of Rameses XIII, by others of Rameses XII, and by some queen of
Rameses II or III, claiming that Rameses XII was never in Mesopotamia,
while Mariette believes it to have been merely a legend invented by the
priests to do honor to the god Chonsu or Khonsu. This king, whatever his
place in the royal line, was, like his great predecessor, Amenophis III,
fond of hunting. He also went abroad to collect tribute from subjugated
peoples, and in Mesopotamia among those who came to pay was a certain
chief or prince, who brought with him a beautiful daughter, with whom
the Egyptian king at once fell in love and bore her home to share his
life and throne. This princess of Bakhten took the name of Ra-neferu,
“the glories of the sun,” and evidently had much influence with her
husband. For later came messengers from her native country, saying that
her sister, Bentresh, was ill, and begging for the loan of the ark of the
god Khonsu, which was sure to cure her. We can hardly imagine the king
willing to part with such a treasure, except to pleasure the queen. To
her wishes, therefore, he yielded, and the ark, with a proper escort, was
sent away, and accomplished a miraculous cure, as had been anticipated.
Naturally, those who were benefited clung to the same, and years passed
without the return of the borrowed treasure. But finally the king, or
prince, of Bakhtan, “dreamed a dream,” like the Pharaoh of Scriptures,
in which a golden hawk came out of the ark and flew to Egypt. Possibly
the king of Egypt had demanded its return before, or perhaps the queen’s
influence had been used to induce him to leave it, for the benefit of her
family, as long as possible. The explanation is not given, but at last
the conscience of the delinquent was pricked, and the ark, with royal
honors, was returned to its native land.

Queen Ra-neferu is variously spoken of as Mesopotamian, Bakhtan or
Lidyan. From this story we may infer that she was young and beautiful at
the period of her marriage, that she had great influence with the king,
and possessed near relatives to whom she was warmly attached. But this,
so far as we know it, is the whole of her history, and other queens than
she of this same general period make no figure among the records.

For some time the priests had been gaining in power and influence,
and Rameses XIII seems to have been set aside and Her-Hor, priest of
Amen, the third who had directed affairs of state, seized the reins of
government. He is described as of a “pleasing countenance,” with features
that were delicate and good, and expression that was mild and agreeable.
The priest-kings were the chief rulers, but a few descendants of previous
Pharaohs held sway in a portion of the kingdom, as Japan was once divided
between the Mikado of the old regime and the Shogun, the military and
political chief.

Of these monarchs and such of their consorts as are mentioned we now
give a brief summary, chiefly following the guidance of the well known
Egyptologist, Professor Wallis Budge.

Nes-ba-Tettet is called the first king of the Twenty-first Dynasty of
Tanis. From the time of this king to that of Rsammetichus II, third king
of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, the dates are given as from about 1100 to
600 B. C. Egypt declined in power and influence, and its tributaries
recovered their independence. With the close of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty
the New Empire came to an end, and the period of Egyptian Renaissance
began. The feeble kingdoms of the South and North were again united,
under Shashang I, and a Libyan reigned. The worship of the cat-headed
goddess Bast increased, and that of Amen-Ra declined, while his priests
were forced to seek refuge in Napata, Nubia. Esarhaddon, king of Asyria,
sacked Thebes, and ruled by governors.

Nes-ba-Tettet, the Smendes of Manetho, possibly a descendant of Rameses
II, reigned at Tanis, while the priest king Her-Hor reigned at Thebes.
The name of the former’s queen, Thent-Amen, is about all we know of her,
and is thought to suggest her having the true claim to the throne. King
Nes-ba-Tettet reigned twenty-nine years, making no such mark in history
as did his great predecessors. This king is also called Nessu Ba-neb-Tet.

Next came Pasebkhanut I, second of the Tanite kings, who was called the
“Mighty Bull,” and reigned forty-one years. The statues of the Nile,
North and South, in the Cairo Museum, are said to belong to this period.

Long and uneventful seem to have been the reigns of these kings, for
Amen-em-apt, “Amen in Karnak,” a descendant of Nes-ba-Tettet, reigned
forty-nine years, and our chief knowledge of him seems to be derived from
a stele at Cairo, making offerings to Isis, his favorite goddess.

Possibly this king was succeeded by one or two others, with short reigns.
Authorities do not seem decided on this point. A king, Sa-Sa-Amen,
is believed to have reigned sixteen years; his greatest work was the
restoration of the pylons of the temple of Rameses III at Tanis. Gold and
porcelain tablets have also been found, engraved with his name, and he
added it also to the two obelisks taken from Heliopolis to Alexandria,
and thence in modern times to London and New York, thereby proving he had
authority in Heliopolis.

Pasebkhanut II added Heru to his name, thus distinguishing himself
from Pasebkhanut I. He was the last king of the Tanite, Twenty-first
Dynasty, and his daughter is said to have married Solomon. We read in I
Kings: “And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and took
Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David.” Thus, in the
so usual fashion, he strengthened his political connection by marriage.
And the Bible further says: “Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had gone up and
taken Gezer and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt
in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s
wife.” Pasebkhanut II reigned, it is said, twelve years, and another
daughter married Osorkon I, the first king of the Twenty-second Dynasty.

We now turn again to the priest-kings in Thebes, also called the
Twenty-first Dynasty. Of the first of them, Her-Heru, or Her-Hor, we
have already spoken. A common title of his was “Living, beautiful god,
son of Amen, lord of the two lands, lord of diadems,” and he wore the
royal uraeus on his forehead. Queen Notem-Mut, Notimit, or Netchemet,
was either mother or wife of King Her-Hor—authorities differ as to which
relation she held to him. By some she was believed to be a princess of
Rammeside blood, as her name is found encircled by a royal cartouch,
while that of the king was not so decorated until the fifth year of his
reign. Another says she was called “great royal consort,” but not king’s
daughter or princess. There is a finely executed but dilapidated statue
of this queen, inlaid with glass, and her head is also on a sphinx. A
papyrus belonging to her, illustrated with medallion heads, or portrait
vignettes of her husband, or son, Her-Hor, still exists, part being in
the Louvre, part in the British Museum, and part in the possession of a
lady in Berlin. It was the sale of some of these fragments that led to
the discovery of the royal mummies at Deir-el-Bahari. The canopic boxes
of Queen Notem-Mut represented, according to custom, a little chapel,
placed on a sledge, a small jackal in black wood, mounted on the cover.
Many were found, like the mummies themselves, in coffins not belonging
to them, but their inscriptions tell who were the rightful owners. Miss
Edwards discovers a likeness between one of the carved masks of Rameses
II and the vignettes of Her-Hor, and thinks the mummy case may have been
made in the time of the Twenty-first Dynasty and given the likeness of
the reigning king, rather than the person for whom it was intended.
Her-Hor repaired and preserved many of the mummies of the more ancient

He was succeeded, apparently, not by his son Piankhi, or Pianchi (who
perhaps died before him or whose reign was too short or insignificant to
be dwelt upon), but by his grandson, Pinotem, Pinozem, or Pai-netchem
I, who is said to have married a princess of the old line, a daughter
of Pa-seb-kha-nut I, king of Tanis, and who is variously termed
Maat-ka-Ra, Ra-ma-ka, or Rahama. He was both high priest and king,
which has caused some confusion to the chronologists. His Horus name
was “he who satisfieth the gods, he who performeth glorious things for
their doubles.” He had a long reign, some say twenty-one years. Queen
Maat-ka-Ra is called on one of her coffins, “divine wife, a priestess of
Amen, in the Apts, lady of the two lands.” In the same coffin was the
tiny mummy of her infant daughter, Mutem-hat. Mother and child evidently
died soon after the birth of the latter. A box with two compartments
accompanied them, filled with funeral statuettes for the two queens, for
the baby, though she died and was embalmed in infancy, is called Queen
Maut-em-hat. An accompanying papyrus gives the royal cartouch, around
the name of Maat-ka-Ra, but to the child also, strangely enough, the
title of “Royal Wife,” etc. Another wife of the same king was called
Henttaui, daughter of Nebseni, and Thent-Amen, and mother of the high
priest of Amen, Men-keper-Ra. Her mummy, with double coffin, was found
at Deir-el-Bahari. Great efforts had been made to preserve the lifelike
aspect, red was put on the lips and cheeks, and the eyes were treated
with eye-paint. She wore a much becurled wig, and even the furrows made
by mummification were filled with paste. Pai-netchem I had also been
removed to Deir-el-Bahari, and the upper part of the body was found
rifled of amulets, but the lower part was intact, the Book of the Dead
between the legs. He had repaired and found places of safety for royal
mummies, Amen-hetep II, Thothmes II, Rameses II and Rameses III.

The priest kings made Thebes their residence while the old line dwelt
at Tanis or San. One writer says that the papyri of the princes
and princesses of the family of Pai-netchem or Pi-nozem show the
best traditions of art to have been yet in force in the time of the
Twenty-first Dynasty. The ushabti, little figures which so often were
placed in the tombs with the mummies, came into general use in the
Eighteenth Dynasty. They were made of painted limestone, hard stone,
steatite, wood, etc. At the end of the dynasty they began to be made of
porcelain, and were glazed with such colors as mauve, yellow, chocolate
and blue. In the Nineteenth Dynasty blue was the universal color, and
figures were made like living people, in every-day clothes, rather than,
as previously, to resemble mummies. This continued through the Twentieth
Dynasty and is found sporadically under the Twenty-second, while in the
Twenty-first, as a general rule, they had returned to the mummy form and
had a brilliant blue glaze with black inscriptions. In the “Book of the
Dead,” in the Eighteenth Dynasty, the vignettes were sometimes colored,
sometimes plain, later coarser and more representative of modern things.

Masaherth and Men-kheper-Ra, sons of Pai-netchem I, seem to have been
priests rather than kings. The latter married Ast-em-khebit, and became
the father of Pai-netchem II, Hent-taui, and others. Ast-em-khebit or
Ist-em-khebit is sometimes spoken of as queen, and probably belonged to
the royal line. Authorities differ much as to this period, and it is
difficult to give a perfectly clear account of the succession. Many of
this lady’s belongings were found among those of the royal mummies so
often referred to. That she died before her husband is proved by his
seals remaining unbroken upon the hamper of mummified food accompanying
the body. She was evidently much beloved, and buried, like others of her
family, with special care, in three coffins, elaborately decorated and
swathed in the finest of linen, in long plaits. The usual shabti, or
“little servants,” accompanied her, as well as beautiful vases in blue
glass, inscribed with funerary legends. Baskets of food, boxes with wigs,
and many other articles, the reproductions of those used in daily life,
were included in her burial outfit. A pet gazelle was also mummified
and buried with her, a pathetic suggestion of her tenderness of heart.
While crumbled and cast aside was her funeral tent, with an inscription
wishing her “a happy repose,” among the first articles found when the
modern discoverers entered these long hidden places of sepulture.

Pai-netchem II, son of Ast-em-Khebit, married Nes-su-Khensu, who seems
sometimes to be regarded as a queen, and is the last of the line of whom
we have record. Her husband, too, appears rather as a high priest and
commander of soldiers than a king, and again the claim to higher descent
may have been on the lady’s side. There were several children of this
marriage, but they are not specially noteworthy.

The priests apparently did little for the enlargement or aggrandizement
of Egypt. They ruled about a hundred and twenty-five years, preserved
generally friendly relations with the more ancient royal line, seem to
have been less oppressive and despotic than some of the earlier kings,
and contented themselves with repairing the temples and the royal
mummies, and have left behind many interesting funeral remains and
papyri, said to form a highly important class of literature.



Authorities agree that the Twenty-second Dynasty made Bubastis its
principal city, and seem to have been descended from a race of great
chiefs. Shashanq or Sheshenk I, the Sesonchis of the Greeks, and Shishak
of I Kings, was the first king of the dynasty, a Libyan, son of the chief
Namareth, who was buried at Abydos, and of whom there are statues in
Florence, as well as gold bracelets with his name in the British Museum.
Also the grandson of Shashanq, the “great prince of Mashauasha,” and
the Egyptian princess, Mehtet-en-usekht. Shashanq I married a Rammeside
princess, and through her, probably, or possibly through his Egyptian
grandmother, laid claim to the throne. His reign seems to have begun
before the death of Paseb-khanut II, last king of the Twenty-first,
Tanite Dynasty. One author says his wife’s rank was shown by the prefix
Sutem-sat, or others claim that this belonged to the Egyptian grandmother.

Shashanq I married Karama, or Karamat, called “a morning star of
Amen,” daughter of the last Tanite king. She had been despoiled of
her inheritance and was restored to all her rights by this marriage.
The custom of taking more than one wife often enables the student to
reconcile apparent discrepancies.

Brugsch says the ordinance relating to this marriage was engraved on the
north side of a pylon, near the temple of Amon in Karnak. “Thus spake
Amon, the king of the gods,” “with regard to any object of any kind,
which Karamat, the daughter of the king of Upper Egypt, Miamun Pisebkhan,
has brought with her as the hereditary possession which had descended
to her in the Southern district of the country, and with regard to each
object of any kind whatever which the people of the land have presented
to her, which they have at any time taken from the (royal) lady, we
hereby restore it to her. Any object of any kind. Any object of any kind
whatsoever (which) belongs (as an inheritance to the children) that (we
hereby restore) to her children for all time. Thus speaks Amon-Ra, the
king of the gods, the great king of the beginning of all being, Mut,
Khonsu and the great gods,” etc., etc., at great length and with much
repetition, closing with a number of threats, if this command is not
complied with, and ending with “we will sink their noses in the earth,”
and an unfinished, “we will.”

Josephus says that Jeraboam, the son of Nebat, who revolted against
Solomon, took refuge with Shashanq I, until Solomon’s death, and married
a daughter of the king of Egypt. Later Shashanq I made an expedition
against Rehoboam, son of Solomon, who governed the two tribes, and
was proud of the victory by which he recovered the Egyptian hold on
Palestine. The dates of the Twenty-second Dynasty are given by Budge as
966 to 750 B. C. Shashanq I also repaired the temples and caused his son,
the viceroy of a part of Egypt, to remove to a place of greater safety
various royal mummies, who perhaps travelled more after death than during
life. Shashanq reigned twenty-one years, called himself “Prince, doubly
mighty, subduer of the nine Bows, greatest of the mighty ones of all
lands,” thus falling not a whit behind his Rammeside predecessors in his
estimate of himself.

He was succeeded by his son Osorkon, or Usarkon I, who, according to
Manetho, reigned fifteen years. There is a head of Osorkon in the British
Museum, of a Mongolian type, once thought to be one of the Hyksos kings.
He appears to have had two wives, Ta-shet-Kensu, whose son Thekeleth
succeeded to the throne, and Maat-Ka-Ra, daughter of a Tanite king, whose
son Shashanq became high priest and commander of the forces. He is, by
some, credited with a third wife, but she was perhaps merely a concubine,
and the two others evidently occupy a first place.

Takelut or The-keleth I followed, with a wife named Shepes, daughter of
Neter-mer-Heru, probably a priest, or one of the Egyptian nobles, and
they had two sons; the eldest, Namareth became a priest, while a second,
Osorkon, succeeded. Manetho says Thekeleth I reigned twenty-three years,
but there are few authentic records remaining either of him or his queens.

Usarkon or Osorkon II had three wives, and according to the same
authority reigned twenty-nine years. One queen’s name was Karama,
or Kareama, and she had a son called Shashanq, a name which seems
frequently handed down in this race. A second queen, Mat-ketch-ankh-s,
or, as she is elsewhere called, Mut-hat-ankhes, whose son Namareth was
again high priest, and a third, Ast-em-khebit, daughter of the princess
Thes-bast-peru, who gave to her daughter her mother’s name. During the
reign of these sovereigns the goddess Bast, who had formerly been a mere
local deity, rose to first importance, and Bubastis superseded Memphis
and Thebes as the principal city. The king held magnificent festivals
in honor of Amen and as a tribute of respect to the queen, who not only
inherited sovereign rights over the principality of Thebes, but was also
high priestess of Amen. Pontifical rights were sometimes inherited in the
female line, and this gave her husband claims at Thebes, Bubastis being
the chief seat of his government.

A colossal Hathor-headed capitol, in the museum in Boston, bears this
inscription: “In the year 22, in the first day of Choriak (October 8th of
our reckoning) the appearing of his majesty in the Hall of Festival. He
reposes on the throne, and the consecration is begun, the consecration of
the harem of the house of Amon” (the priestesses of Amon were designated
as the wives of the god) “and the consecration of all the women who have
dwelt as priestesses therein since the day of his fathers.”

There is a bas-relief showing a procession, first the king, then the
queen and her daughters, followed by many priests and women, these last
slender and graceful, carrying water jars, said to be of electrum, others
bearing sheafs of flowers, some the ankh or life sign, and still others
in single file, clapping their hands in measured time.

Queen Karama is followed by her or the king’s daughters, and little
dwarfs, like the god Bes, are also included in the procession. The
princesses are called Tasbakeper, Karoma and Meri-Amen. The queen assists
the king in making offerings in the great festival hall, built especially
for the purpose. A sculptured bas-relief of King Osorkon II and Queen
Karama, at full length, is in the British Museum. Scarabs of these and
later periods are in the New York Museum and in many other places. An
inscription remains telling of a great flood which occurred in this
reign, so that in order to enter the temples the priests had to wade
through water several feet deep, and it is said to have been the highest
rise of the Nile ever known.

Of Shashanq II, who succeeded, or of his wife, almost nothing is
recorded; he was probably a peaceful king and did little towards building
or repairing temples.

Queen Karemama was the wife of the next king, Takelut or Theke-leth
II, who reigned fifteen years, and is described as the “Great chief
of Mashanasha”; the queen is called “great royal wife” and “beloved of
Mut.” Brugsch speaks of her as a daughter of Nimrod, and gives her a very
lengthy name, which we can only hope that the lady was of sufficient size
to carry. Another wife is called Mut-em-hat-sat-Amen. The former was
the mother of the high priest Uarsarken. The queen was descended from
one of the royal families of Thebes, and, perhaps in deference to her
wishes, they dwelt for a while in Thebes, with a view also, no doubt, of
propitiating the priests. The queen is also called “princess, great lady
and mistress of the South.”

Shashanq III turned the huge statue of Rameses II into a pylon, having
no more respect for his predecessors than did Rameses II himself, and
his exploits are inscribed and described after those of Rameses II and
Seti I. He adopted the pre-nomen of Rameses II. An Apis bull, a tablet
records, was born in the twenty-eighth year of his reign; but, though it
lasted fifty-two years, there seem to be no memorials remaining, which
was also the case with his successor, Pamai. Nor in the reign of his son
Shashanq or Shishak IV do we find mention of the queen. The former seems
to have reigned only two, the latter thirty-seven years.

All this time Egypt was in more or less of a turmoil, with a divided
or disputed succession, “Such a condition of things,” says one writer,
“was of course fatal to literature and art,” which latter “did not so
much decline as disappear,” and after Shashanq I no monarch of the line
left any building or sculpture of the slightest importance. In this
period of doubt and disorder we have the names of a king, Peta-Bast,
Auuth-meri-Amen and Uasar-ken or Osorkon III, whose mother and wife are
probably mentioned as “Royal mother, royal wife, Tata-Bast, and son of
the sun, Nasaek (en) living forever” in a golden aegis of the goddess
Sekhet, in the Louvre.

Named as one of the Twenty-third Dynasty, we have Pi-ankhi, who descended
on Egypt from Ethiopia, whither the priests had retired, who made his
capital at Napata and who, probably through his wife was connected
with the old royal families of Egypt. Pi-ankhi called himself “King of
Kush,” and the mother, sister and daughter of the king bore each a title
of honor as “Queen of Kush.” In inscriptions the king is spoken of as
being “like a panther,” and we further read that “Then Nimrod sent forth
his wife, the queen and daughter of a king, Nes-thent-nes,” or, as she
elsewhere is called, Nes-thent-meh to supplicate the queens and royal
king’s daughters and sisters. And they threw themselves prostrate in the
women’s house before the queens (saying), “Pray come to me, ye queens,
king’s daughters and king’s sisters! Appease Horus, the ruler of the
palace. Exalted is his person, great his triumphs. Cause his anger to be
appeased before my (prayer), else he will give over to death the king,
my husband (but) he is brought low”; when they had finished her majesty
was moved in her heart at the supplication of the queen. This comes from
a closely written memorial stone set up by the king. It is spoken of
as “The Inscription of Pi-ankhi Mer-Amen, king of Egypt, in the eighth
century B. C.,” and the Nimrod mentioned was probably Nemareth, one of
the petty rulers of Egypt before referred to. The stone was discovered at
Mont Barkal, the place where it was originally set up, and the words in
brackets are those half obliterated and restored to make out the sense.

When the victor entered the conquered city we are told that “then came
to him the king’s wives, and the king’s daughters, and they praised
his majesty, after the manner of women; but his majesty did not turn
his countenance upon them.” Ungallant majesty, who was hastening on to
further conquests and had no time for social amenities! To Nemareth,
however, who finally came, leading “a horse with his right hand, and
holding a sistrum made of gold and lapis-lazuli in his left,” Pi-ankhi
was more condescending—nobly forgave him, like some other nations we
have heard of, for defending his own territory, and accompanied him to
the temples, and then to Nemareth’s stables, where he, with further
condescension, actually scolded the grooms for giving the horses too
short rations during the siege.

Elsewhere the queen Pi-anchi, or the next monarch, is spoken of as
“sister and wife, the queen of Kekmi (Egypt) Ge-ro-a-ro-pi.” The stone
from which this was taken has two pictures, the other showing also
the Ethiopian queen. Says Brugsch, “While this sister of the king
is designated as Queen of Nubia, another, who was also a wife of
Miamun-Mut, is called Queen of Egypt.” His majesty seems to have spent a
great deal of time sailing up and down the river, yet conquering wherever
he went. And it is probable, after the weak rulers had all submitted to
him, he returned to Ethiopia, where he died.

According to Manetho there was but one king of the Twenty-fourth Dynasty,
of the old line, named Barkenrenef, who reigned for six years only, at
Sais, and there is no mention of his wife. But meanwhile an Ethiopian,
possibly the son of Pi-ankhi, held authority at Thebes, and is called
“King of the South, Kasta.” He seems to have married a priestess of Amon,
called “divine adorer” or “morning star,” a daughter of Osorken III by
the name of Shep-en-apt, and Sabaka, who became king, and Amenartas, a
priestess, who held the rank of “Neter tuat,” which her mother had also

This Sabaka, or Sabaco, became king of the Nubian Twenty-fifth Dynasty
and reigned about twelve years. He called himself “king of the South
and North” and “son of the sun.” He appears to have made repairs on
various temples and was a contemporary of Sargon and Sennacherib, kings
of Assyria, with which country, as well as with Palestine, the confused
history of Egypt, through all this period, is much associated.

Queen Amenartas, or, as she is elsewhere called, Ameneritis, married
Pi-ankhi, a Nubian prince, and styled herself “royal daughter, royal
sister, royal wife.” Her husband called himself “Uniter of two lands”
and “multiplier of mighty men.” The queen was a zealous restorer of the
temples, and added chambers and small sanctuaries at Karnak, in one of
which a fine limestone statue of her was found. We know that she was
considered beautiful, and Brugsch says, “sweet peace seems to hover about
the features; even the flower in her hand suggests her high mission as
reconciler of the long feud.” A part of the inscription at her feet, on
the base of the statue at Gizeh, from which the names of her father and
mother are erased, reads: “May he (the god Amen) grant everything that
is good and pure by which the divine nature lives, all that the heaven
bestows and the earth brings forth, to the princess, the most pleasant,
the most gracious, the kindest and most amiable queen of Upper and Lower
Egypt, the sister of the king (Sabaco), the ever-living, the daughter
of the deceased king (Khasta), the wife of the divine one, Amenisitis.
May she live!” Of herself she says, “I was the wife of the divine one, a
benefactress to her city (Thebes), a bounteous giver for her land. I gave
food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked.” So we
may judge that she was good, beautiful and beloved.

There is an ivory plaque of Queen Ameneritis in the New York Museum
bearing a figure and a cartouch of “the divine wife, Ameneritis, daughter
of Ra Khasta,” the sister, and it says also, the wife of Sabaco of the
Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The queen is shown on the plaque kneeling on
the right, holding a lotus in each extended hand, with a necklace and
short hair, like a man’s, and on her head a crescent and disk. There
is an alabaster statue of Queen Ameneritis on a base of gray granite
in the Gizeh Museum, which has a rather long but slim and delicate
figure; but the head is overweighted with the wig of a god and she has
a gloomy expression—possibly brought on by the discomfort of her wig in
particular, and her experiences of life in general. Numerous monuments
and scarabs bear her name and titles, and Budge says that within the
last few years the British Museum has secured a remarkable object once
belonging to her. It is of glazed steatite, with the cartouch and a short
prayer cut in hieroglyphics upon it; at one end a perforated projection
by which it was probably hung, and on the other a sign; its use is

Shabataka, “son of the sun,” is accounted the second king of the
Twenty-fifth Dynasty, and was probably associated with his father in
the government. A stele now in Turin represents Shap-en-apt with her
mother, Amenar, her husband, Pi-ankhi, and Shabataka, showing them to
be contemporaries. Brugsch says that Pi-ma or Pi-mai means the “male
cat.” King Shabataka or Shabata-k, the son of Sabaco, is in the Barabra
language Sab-ato-ki, “the male cat’s son,” just as a Barabran word,
Kash-ato, “horse’s son,” lies at the base of the name Kash-ta, which
is an interesting little piece of philology. An ancient tradition, it
is said, affirms that at the end of twelve years Shabataka was taken
prisoner and put to death at Tirhakah, who became the last king of the
dynasty, and reigned, some say eighteen, some twenty-five years. He
married the princess Amen-tak-het, “the chief wife, the royal sister, the
royal wife.” The name of his mother is thought to be “Akalouka,” though
it is mutilated in the inscriptions, and as she appears to have been
related to the priest-kings, it was probably through her that Tirhakah
laid claim to the throne. It is said that when he was about twenty years
old he was proclaimed king of Napata, and leaving his mother behind, who
had doubtless used her influence to produce this result, he hastened
to Egypt, overthrew and perhaps slew Shabataka, who was then reigning.
A stele which he set up at Tanis gives the further information that he
was the younger but favorite son of his father, and certainly a youth of
ability, to accomplish what he did at the early age of twenty. He called
himself, Son of Amen, and was crowned with royal honors according to the
customs of the ancient Egyptian kings. He sent for his mother and saluted
her as the spouse of Amen, while she, says Brugsch, “looked upon him
with the same pride which Isis felt as she gazed upon her son Horus.”
And, leaving out any moral aspect of the question, a mother might well
be proud of such an able and energetic son. Some believe the Taket-Amen,
whom he married, was the widow of Shabaka, first king of the Twenty-fifth
Dynasty, as he was the last king of the same, and upon both mother and
wife he bestowed high titles and many honors. 693 or 691 B. C. is the
period given as that on which he ascended the throne. The priests had,
so far as in them lay, made Napata a duplicate of Thebes, but not its
equal in fineness of architectural work. Tirhakah added materially to the
building and repairing of the temples. He built one at Napata or Gebel
Barkal, subsequently destroyed by the fall of overhanging rocks, and
added to and restored many in Egypt, in all of which no doubt his mother,
if not his wife, took great interest, as did Queen Thi, in the work of
her son Khu-en-aten. The early part of his reign was peaceful; then
Seracherib, king of Assyria, seems to have defeated the king of Egypt
and others in battle and caused him to flee, returning temporarily to
overthrow the governors appointed by the Assyrian king, when Esarhaddon,
the son, succeeded, only to be again overthrown. Before the king’s death,
which is spoken of as going to his “dark doom,” he associated with him
Tannath-Amen or Tanut-Amen. The last appearance mentioned of the women
is on a stele at Gebel Barkal, where the king is making an offering
to the god Amen and his sister, Quelhetat, a tiny figure, is pouring
out a libation and shaking a sistrum. Behind the king stands his wife,
Kerearhenti, and while the king has on sandals of a peculiar shape, the
two ladies are in bare feet. Still another king is called Tandamanie, son
of the sister of Tishakah, yet the former seems accounted the final ruler
of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty.

Of the time from the Twenty-second to the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, says
Budge: “With this period the New Empire comes to an end, and we are on
the threshold of the Renaissance of the Egyptian kingdom, with all its
ancient arts and sciences brought into connection with the Greece of the
Seventh Century before Christ.” Under Shashanq a slight revival took
place, and he ruled the whole land, putting an end to the weak dynasties
of Tanis and Thebes. But with the close of the priestly dynasty the glory
of Thebes, which had lasted two thousand years, had departed, and by the
time of the Ptolemies the city was almost in ruins, and Bubastis, in the
Delta, of whose festivals Herodotus has given us an account, rose to the
first place.

During this time, to quote again from Budge. “Much of the spirit of the
old art had undoubtedly been lost, the hieroglyphic script had become
chiefly an official and sacred code of writing used for funeral prayers,
historical inscriptions, etc. And the decay of the written language,
begun as early as the Eighteenth Dynasty, was followed by the decay
of the writing, which became more conventional and abbreviated, and
the hierotic, supplemented by the newly developed script, is now known
as Enchorial or Demotic, the peoples’ or common writing.” It is also
said that the Eighteenth Dynasty was much more elaborate and luxurious
in costume than the earlier ages, but that the severe simplicity of
the former commended itself to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, which we now

The first queen seems to have been Shep-en-apt II, a descendant of Queen
Ameneritis. Her cartouch was found on a cornice, and she probably was
of higher birth than her husband, Psamthek I or Psammetichus I, who is
thought to have been merely the son of a governor, while she was of the
blood royal. The queen was a priestess of the grade “neter tuat,” and
through her doubtless her husband laid claim to the throne. Psammetichus
I made Sais his capital; he was, after he was once established on the
throne, less fond of war than many of his predecessors, was a patron
of the arts and sciences, and turned his attention to the building of
temples. A distinct Renaissance of art took place at this period, with
high finish and elaboration of detail, a certain elegance suggestive of
Greek influences. He added a large gallery, with side chambers, to the
Serapeum at Sakkarah, and the stele found here by Mariette are of the
greatest chronological importance. We learn from them that Psammetichus I
immediately succeeded Tirhakah, by the records of the birth and death of
the Apis bull. His name is found in various places, Philæ and elsewhere,
and an obelisk belonging to his reign was brought by the Emperor Augustus
to Rome. He was, some say, of Nubian, some of Lidyan origin; and there
is a glazed porcelain ushabti figure in the British Museum, supposed to
be a likeness of him, which is very fat and jolly-looking. He had a long
reign of fifty-four years, and both Herodotus and Diodorus give accounts
of him. The daughter of this marriage was named Nitocris, or Nit-a-quert,
and an inscription says, Psammetichus has made a gift to his father
Amon: he “has given him his eldest daughter Nitaquit-Shapen-apit, to
be his divine spouse, that she may shake the sistrum before him.” This
princess traveled from one part of the kingdom to another and was
received with great honor. Sometimes the queens adopted daughters and
associated them in the governing power. One stele found at Karnak states
that the king caused his daughter to be adopted by the lady Shep-en-apt,
the sister of Tirhakah, who had inherited property from her father and
mother, and had previously adopted a daughter of Tirhakah’s, Amenartas
(II). Says Budge: “The stele, which is dated in the ninth year of the
reign of Psammetichus I, proves that Tirhakah’s sister was ruling at
Thebes, as a priestess of Amen, while Psammetichus I was reigning at
Sais, and that when Nit-aquert had been adopted by her, the daughter of
the king of Sais (Nit-aquert) took her name also. The stele was set up
to commemorate her journey to Thebes, where she was welcomed with the
greatest joy as the heiress of Tirhakah’s sister, and where she no doubt
received not only the property, but also the rank and position of her
whose name she took, Shap-en-apt, the daughter of Pi-anchi and Amen-artis
I, and grand-daughter of Khasta and Shep-en-apt I, the last named lady
being a daughter of Osorkon.” The distinction between Shep-en-apt, the
wife of the king, and the adopted mother of her daughter, does not seem
to be very clear. Nitocris bore the same name as the last ruler of the
Sixth Dynasty, and a rose-colored sarcophagus inscribed with this, and
having a granite cover, is in one of the museums.

All this period is to some extent still a matter of dispute among
authorities as to the exact titles and order of succession of the kings,
and as to their importance in the line; compared to their predecessors,
and even to their successors, they were but petty rulers, holding control
over but a portion of the country, and in many cases more like governors
than chief authorities.

According to Professor Budge, Apries was the next king. His Horus name
was U-ah-ab-Ra, and he is spoken of as Pharaoh Hophra in the Bible, of
whom, though he reigned from nineteen to twenty-five years, we know
little, and his wife is not mentioned. He was overthrown by his own
general, Amasis, or Aames II, who became king, and apparently lived in
peace with his predecessor for some years, but slew him, or permitted
him to be slain, when Apries endeavored to regain his lost authority.
Amasis II took unto himself several wives, and welcomed and favored
the settlement of Greek colonies in Egypt. He took the Horus name of
Smen-Maat, “Stablisher of Law,” and was apparently good-natured and
affable when not fighting. His wives are given as the lady Shent-kheta,
daughter of Peta-Nit, and the queen, Takanath, daughter of Psammetichus
I. She had been chosen heiress of Nitocris or Nit-a-quert, and it was
doubtless to legalize his claim to the throne that Amasis II contracted
the marriage. The female pieces in this regal game of chess were of
immense value. What share the ladies had in the disposal of their hands
we do not learn, but in most cases it could hardly have been an important
one. Amasis II was a builder and restorer of temples, and his name is
found in many places. At the end of his forty-fourth year to power he
died and was buried at Sais. Queens Shep-an-apt and Nitocris, who were
priestesses of Amen, were buried at el Aso-fif, and laid, as were other
ladies of royal blood, in tombs with finely worked ante-chambers and
inscriptions, and with false doors.

Psamthek or Psammetichus III, who reigned only six months, succeeded
to Amasis II, and is sometimes omitted from the list of kings. He was
the son of the Lady Thent-kheta, and some reliefs of him are found in a
small temple near the temple of Amasis II and Nitocris, where there are
pictures of these queens; and with him ends the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, and
we come to the consideration of the Persian rule, numbered, though of
entirely different blood, as the Twenty-seventh Dynasty.



“How lived, how loved, how died she?” are questions that rise in the mind
in thinking of these royal ladies of the past. Of their individual lives
but few records remain, and it is from inscriptions and paintings on the
tombs, especially of those of less prominence than the kings, we may
gather something of the daily life of the queens.

“No nation of the earth has shown so much zeal and ingenuity, so much
method and regularity in recording the details of private life as the
Egyptians,” says Brugsch. The kings’ tombs chiefly celebrated their
victories, the king riding forth in his chariot, or with his captives by
the hair, in the act of slaying them, or the king—sometimes accompanied
by the queen—making offerings to the gods, these are the favorite
subjects for the artist’s pencil, but for the details of female life we
must look elsewhere.

From the tomb of Ti, of the Fifth Dynasty sometimes called the Pepys
of that period, and from the sepulchres at Beni Hassen, much has been
learned of the domestic life. Ti was a favorite subject of the king’s, an
official of high rank, and his wife a lady of noble birth, of kin to the
royal house. So we have pictures of all the household arrangements, the
feeding and preparing of animals for food, the tenants, male and female,
bringing of the fruits of the earth to their master, and he himself,
after the Egyptian manner, painted of larger size than his inferiors,
going forth to fish and to hunt. Sometimes, but rarely, the women also
accompanied their husbands on these expeditions.

A statue of Ti bears the same likeness as the figure in the tomb. It is
that of a fine young man, with regular features, and the statue of his
wife Nofre-hoteps, grand-daughter of a Pharaoh, was also found.

As has been said before, the women in Egypt had no such separate and
secluded life as those in the Eastern countries, they appear to have
mingled freely with their male relatives, and the queens acted as regents
during the absence of their husbands, or the minority of their sons, or
sometimes ruled in their own right, from the earliest times.

There were the apartments of the women or the king’s harem, but not in
such an exclusive sense as in many other Eastern countries, nor was the
chief official in charge invariably an eunuch.

The seat of government changed from time to time under the different
dynasties, so that some of the queens lived chiefly in Memphis, some in
Thebes, some in Tanis, and, among the later rulers, in Sais and Napata.

The palaces were not many stories in height, and had, sometimes, pylons
and columns in front, the rooms were built round a succession of open
courtyards, which were shaded by palm, orange, olive, fig and other
trees, and they also had large and beautiful gardens with fountains,
especially in the royal country villas. On the flat roofs the people
passed many hours, and disported themselves under awnings, and slept
there on rugs and mats. In the country the houses and grounds were
usually surrounded by high walls. Large mansions stood detached and
had doors opening on various sides, and before the columns or colossi,
at the entrance, hung ribbons or banners, especially on festival
occasions. Sometimes a portico had a double row of columns, with
statues between, these were also colored, and, when not of stone, were
stained to represent it. The walls and ceilings of the palaces were
brilliantly painted. They were also at times inlaid or adorned with
lapis-lazuli, which was a favorite stone, amber and malachite. In the
royal establishments there were porticoes and vestibules, constructed
with great splendor, numerous columns, walls glittering with jewels, and
curtains of gold tissue.

Floors were of stone or composition, roofs with rafters of date palm, and
transverse beams of larger palm. Stone arches have been found both of the
time of Rameses III and Psamettichus. Rare woods were imported, and also
demanded as tribute from foreign nations, conquered by the Egyptians, as
well as gold, silver, precious stones and slaves.

After passing through the servants’ offices one came to the store-rooms,
the great dining hall, the sleeping rooms, and the kitchens, and at the
further end of a piece of ground two buildings, turned back to back, and
separated by small gardens, were the women’s apartments, which often had
shutters closed with valves to keep out the heat.

The lady is spoken of as “Mistress of the House,” or “Lady of the House,”
and seemed to have full rule over it—there is even a story that her
husband himself was bound to obey her indoors, but this is hardly likely.

They had low stools for tables, flat baskets for dinner plates, and
pretty Syrian maidens were favorite slaves. Couches, chairs, stools and
tables were of wood, bronze and silver, the feet were often of lions’
claws, and the top of the tables were upheld by figures of captives and
slaves. The furniture was carved with serpents, lotus flowers and other
designs, and the back of a couch or chair was sometimes a hawk with
outspread wings, and the ends of the couch terminated in the head of a
lion or other beast. Sometimes the couches were used for beds and made
ornamental in the day time. The Egyptians had alabaster or wooden head
rests, like the Japanese, though the manner of hair dressing did not
seem to require it to the same extent. The ladies’ dressing tables were
covered with boxes for ointment, bottles for cosmetics, perfumes, and
oils, and they used small metal mirrors, often with the figure of the god
Bes as a handle.

The costumes, adapted to the climate, were light, especially in the
earlier times, and the chief part was of fine linen. Later there seems
to have been more elaboration and heavier and richer materials used.
Wigs protected the head of both male and female from the sun, as did the
turbans and veils of other countries. The vulture, with outspread wings,
emblem of the goddess Mut, formed part of the queen’s head-dress, as did
the royal asp, raised in act to strike.

Thoth was the god of learning, called “the baboon with shining hair and
amiable face,” the “letter writer for the gods.” Children and youth were
expected to study and exhorted, even as far back as the time of King
Pepys, “Give thy heart to learning and love her like a mother.” And there
is also a touch of kinship with more modern times in the statement that
the boy scholar be not allowed to oversleep and that children left school
“shouting for joy.” Severity was sometimes used, as we read, “The youth
has a back, he attends when it is beaten.” And again, “The ears of the
young are placed in the back, and he hears when he is flogged.” Copy
books of 1700 B. C. have been found, and we possess the school exercises
of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. Such examples in mental
arithmetic as “There were seven men, each had seven cats, each cat had
eaten seven mice, each mouse had eaten seven grains of barley. How much
barley had been lost in this way?” etc., etc.

But neither were the pleasures and amusements of the little ones
overlooked, and there have been preserved little wooden soldiers, in the
dress of ancient times, dolls, balls and many other things that still
delight the child of to-day; such as tops, boats, etc.

An olive branch was hung at the door on the birth of a boy and a strip of
woolen cloth at that of a girl. If a new born babe cried “Ny!” it would
live, but if it cried “Nibe!” it would die. Mothers nursed their children
for three years, and upon daughters more than upon sons was laid the
obligation of looking after their parents in old age. The royal children
had also, when they were old enough, quarters of their own, where they
were under the charge of a tutor who was called a nurse. Those of the
higher orders, dressed like grown people, as in the present day the
children of Holland are often the amusing reproductions, in miniature, of
their parents. The children of the lower orders dispensed in great part,
or entirely, with any sort of covering.

Women were mistresses in their own house, came and went freely and so
much so that we have an amusing story that among the lower classes the
husbands sometimes hid their wives’ shoes to keep them at home, and this
before the days of female clubs! But in spite of her privileges child
bearing and work soon aged this class of women.

Among the moral precepts of the Egyptians in a papyrus now in the Louvre
is one that says, “Ill treat not thy wife, whose strength is less than
thine. Be thou her protector,” showing that it was no slavish relation
that was expected to exist between man and wife. And again in another
place we have a father who exhorts his son to have regard for his mother.
“It is God Himself who gave her to thee, and now that thou art grown up
and hast a wife and house in thy turn, remember always thine helpless
infancy and the care thy mother lavished upon thee, so that she may never
have occasion to reproach thee, nor to raise her hands to heaven against
thee, for God would fulfill her curse.”

At the door of a house where there was a bride, flowers were hung, and
a vessel of water was placed where there was a death. Fragments of
impassioned love songs have come down to us, and though we know little
of their marriage customs, compared to their funerals, the freedom of
intercourse between the sexes and the greater opportunity for personal
acquaintance than was usually afforded in Eastern countries, leads to
the supposition that real love matches were not infrequent. Like the
Japanese, they compared the beloved object to blossoms and flowers; nor
were the ladies apparently behind the gentlemen in the free expression of
ardent feeling.

“Thou beautiful one my wish is to be with thee as thy wife,” says or
sings the enthusiastic maiden, and Miss Edwards and others give instances
where each strophe begins with an invocation to a flower, thus curiously
resembling the stornelli of the Tuscan peasantry, of which every verse
begins and ends with a similar invocation to some familiar blossom or

    “O flower of henna,
    My heart stands still in thy presence.

    I have made mine eyes brilliant for thee with kohl,
    When I behold thee, I fly to thee, oh, my beloved!

    Oh, lord of my heart, sweet is this hour.
    An hour passed with thee is worth an hour of eternity!”


    “Oh, flower of marjoram!
    Fair would I be to thee as the garden in which I
    Have planted flowers and sweet-smelling shrubs!
    The garden watered by pleasant rivulets, and
    Refreshed by the north breeze!

    Here let us walk, oh, my beloved, hand in hand, our
    Hearts filled with joy. Better than food, better
    Than drink, is it to behold thee.
    To behold thee, and to behold thee again!”

This shows clearly the freedom of intercourse permitted, and with what
naivete and frankness it is written! No effort at dissimulation in
acknowledging the artificial enhancement of her charms. Rather perhaps
did she feel herself worthy of commendation for the pains she had taken.
It reminds one of the Southern girl who remarked casually to a party of
friends, of both sexes: “How chilly it is this morning! Oh, now I know
why; I forgot to pencil my eyebrows!”

In their feasts and amusements men and women met together and scenes
in the tombs of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties show ladies
discussing their earrings and jewelry, as they might be doing to-day. To
perform toilettes together, put on necklets and exchange flowers was
part of the entertainment, and talking, eating and dressing all went on
to the sound of music. Birthdays and many other festivals, religious and
social, were celebrated, and there were lucky and unlucky days for music,
as well as for many other things. It was especially to be avoided on the
fourteenth Tybi. Pollard mentions “a musical at-home” among the pictures
on the walls of the tombs at Beni-Hassan, where two harpists, a sistrum
player and others are helping to entertain the visitors.

The guests sat on chairs, or on the floor, and did not recline at table,
as was the custom of many other Eastern nations. Their entertainment
consisted of meat, chiefly beef and kid, geese, fish, vegetables, of
which leeks and onions formed a large part; fruit, bread, cakes, which
the bakers made in various shapes, and wine. This was freely used and
the pictures sometimes show over indulgence on the part of the women as
well as that of the men. Sometimes there were separate tables for men and
women, sometimes they sat together, and frequently dipped into a common
dish. They had spoons for fluids with various designs for handles, but
the use of fingers was general for most purposes, hence the necessity of
frequent washing of the hands.

Of the use of leeks and onions Story says, speaking of an Italian: “Nor
is he without authority for his devotion to those twin saints, Apollo
(or is it Cipollo) and Aglio. There is an odor of sanctity about them,
turn up our noses as we may. The ancient Egyptian offered them as first
fruits, upon the altars of their gods, and employed them also in the
service of the dead, and such was their attachment to them that the
followers of Moses hankered after them, despite the manna, and longed for
‘the leeks and the onions and the garlic, which they did eat in Egypt
freely.’ Nay the fastidious Greeks not only used them as a charm against
the ‘evil eye,’ but ate them with delight—there is a certain specific
against them—eat them yourself—you will smell them no longer.”

The host and hostess sat together, flowers were abundant, and a special
token of regard was a wreath placed around the neck of the guest. Women
were attended by women slaves who offered them ointment and other
toilette articles. Oil poured upon the head is an attention which would
fail of appreciation in these modern times, but was then considered so
agreeable that a ball was sometimes soaked in oil and placed on the
head of the master of the feast, so that it might trickle down into his
hair. At the close of the banquet a mummy in miniature, richly gilded,
was carried round to remind them of their latter end, or may it not have
been to suggest that happy as they were, they could be happier still in
another world?

We can imagine the olfactories of the Egyptians to have been abnormally
developed, so constantly were they smelling flowers and holding them
under each others noses—even the sacred nose of royalty.

“Smell of my lotus!” “How charming, how delicious!” We can almost hear
the echo. Statues often show husband and wife sitting with hand on
knees, or across the breast, or sometimes on the same chair with arms
around each other’s waist or neck. Doubtless they offered each other what
we may call the tribute of the lotus, or the lotus courtesy, murmuring,
“My dearest, how lovely you are looking.” Chiefly to the lady, of course,
etc., etc.

In the earliest times musical instruments seem to have been played
chiefly by men, and women sang without accompaniment. But later, female,
as well as male, voices combined with all sorts of instruments. There
were kettle-drums, round and square, harps, lyres, guitars, flutes or
pipes, and lastly, specially Egyptian, the sistrum, not melodious in
sound we may judge, but used chiefly, though not invariably in, the
service of the gods. Wilkinson gives many illustrations of these various
instruments, and the picture of a lady with a guitar is in the Berlin
museum. The flute, so easily handled, has always seemed to be reserved
for male performers. Perhaps it takes too much breath from the ladies, or
perhaps Minerva, having discovered that it was unbecoming, they have all
resolved to shun it.

Pollard speaks of a harp inlaid with gold, silver and gems, which had
been presented by a royal personage to the temple of Amen-Ra and was
kept near the sanctuary, and of the hymns sung to the deity to the
accompaniment of this precious instrument. We also have the song of
a harper found on the wall of the tomb of a certain Nefer-hotep, who
lived under King Horus, of the Eighteenth Dynasty. It is called “the
word of the harper, who tarries in the tomb of Osiris,” etc. “Celebrate
the great day, O prophet. Well is to thee fragrant resin and ointments
are laid before thee. Here are wreaths and flowers for the vases and
shoulders of thy sister, who is pleasant to thy heart, as she rests
beside thee. Let us then sing and strike the harp in thy presence. Leave
all cares behind and think of the joys, until the day of the voyage comes
when man casts anchor on the land which delights in silence.”

To rejoice and to dance were synonymous terms, and the royal ladies had
dancing women to perform before them as well as gymnasts. They played
draughts and checkers sitting on the ground, while dice belonged to the
subsequent Roman period.

Dwarfs and deformed persons formed, occasionally, part of the king’s
or queen’s household. As a rule dancing seems to have been rather for
princesses to look upon than share in, unless they danced in the temples
before the gods.

Female dancers wore short skirts, necklets, anklets, ribbons round their
bodies and wreaths of flowers, with plain wigs that made them look like
children, and they sometimes dressed their hair to look like a crown.
Ball playing was considered a variety of dancing. The dances of the older
period were more quiet and measured than in later times, but none appear
to have been objectionable, according to modern standards, to the extent
of some now practiced in the East.

The maids of honor and princesses carried fans, which they held over the
queen, and bore the title of “dearest friend.” When the queen and royal
ladies drove forth, it was in chariots, sometimes of gold, and drawn by
a pair of horses (after the introduction into Egypt of that valuable
animal, of which there is no representation on the monuments of the very
earliest times), adorned with plumes, while an umbrella was occasionally
fixed to the chariot to protect them from the sun.

But the queen’s highest position was as priestess, concubine, daughter,
wife, of the god. Egyptian queens or princesses held the service of Amon
or Jove and the queen followed in the king playing on the sistrum and
making offerings. No queen held the highest priestly office, but they
were called “singers of Amon,” and “wives of the god.” Occasionally the
mummy of the daughter will be found among the priests, the mother among
the royalties.

The queen was “Neter-Hemt, prophetess,” “Neter-hemet, divine wife,” or
“Neter-tut, divine handmaid.” The sistrum was from eight to eighteen
inches in length, Hathor-headed, cow-eared, and sometimes inlaid with
silver or gilt and the noise was supposed to frighten away Typho, the
spirit of evil. The action of shaking was called “Art Ses.” A sistrum in
either hand standing before the altar of the god, the queen had reached
the highest pinnacle of human greatness or human ambition.



With the conquests of Cambyses Egypt became subject to a new set of
rulers, by whom its manners and customs were, in a degree, changed or
modified. Yet such are its inherent characteristics that it has been
often said of Egypt, as of Greece, that she rather impressed herself upon
her masters, than was impressed by them. Through the Persian period, to
that of the Ptolemies, women retired into the background, and no one
name comes into prominence, at least in an official character. It is
in connection with Persia rather than with Egypt that we learn of the
queens, some, perhaps most of whom, remained in their own land, while
their husbands were absent, engaged in wars and conquests. The kings,
distracted by wars in all directions, often made hurried visits to their
conquered territories, leaving satraps and deputies to rule in their
absence. The legal queen, we may believe, tarried at home, while the
warriors left their women behind or were accompanied by their concubines,
to whom no formal honors were paid.

Hence it is more than possible that although nominally queens of Egypt
but few of them ever resided in the country, those of the kings who
reigned longest, of course, being most likely to do so. The Persian kings
usually chose their wives from among their own nobility, the concubines
were of varied nationality.

In thinking of these royal ladies we seem to see a veiled figure, with
beautiful shining eyes, wandering among the gardens of the palaces,
which gardens were said to be less formally laid out than those of the
native Egyptians, but she is silent. Or behind palace walls we hear the
echo of distant music, and perchance the sound of soft singing, to the
accompaniment of a lute, or some other instrument. If she looked forth
from her windows it was from behind curtains and lattice work, and if
she appeared in public it was with a veiled countenance, only the eyes

The ruins at Persepolis, Ecbatana, the capital of Media, and Suza
acquaint us with the construction of Persian palaces, which differ
somewhat from the Egyptian. When in Egypt the Persian kings probably
accepted, to a considerable extent, the architecture and general
arrangements of that country. Madame Ragozin gives us, from an earlier
source, an account of the palace built by Darius, at Persepolis. “A
central hall flanked by two sets of apartments, of four rooms each,
with a front entrance, composed of a door and four windows, opening on
a porch, supported by four columns, and forming at the same time the
landing between the two flights of stairs,” such the ruins disclose.
“The throne and audience hall, the reception and banqueting hall, was
two hundred and twenty-seven feet every way, with cedar and cypress
beams upborne by a hundred columns ten rows of ten, tall and slender,
they rested lightly on their inverted flower base, carrying the raftered
ceilings proudly and with ease on the strong, bent necks of the animals
which adorned their capitals, of that peculiarly and matchless fanciful
type which is the most distinctive feature of Akhaemenian architecture.”

The king’s throne was supported by rows of warriors and he wore the
flowing Median garb, or the tight-fitting Persian doublet and hose.
The master of ceremonies kept his hand before his mouth, and all who
approached kept their hands hidden in their sleeves in token of peaceful
intentions. The remains of the palace of Xerxes, the Ahasuerus of the
Bible, have also been found, similar to, but not so fine as, those of
Darius. The buildings were usually of one story and set on a terrace or
platform, sometimes made of columns. Of the Great Hall of Xerxes Mr.
Fergusson says: “We have no cathedral in England that at all comes near
it in dimensions; nor indeed in France and Germany is there one that
covers so much ground. Cologne comes nearest.”

Of the women’s appointed place we read:

    “Between the porphyry pillars that upheld
      The rich moresque-work of the roof of gold
    Aloft the Haram’s curtained galleries rise
    Where through the silken net-work glancing eyes,
    From time to time, like sudden gleams that glow
    Through autumn clouds, shine on the pomp below.”

The gardens attached to the palaces we may well believe favorite resorts
of the queen and her attendant ladies. Shaded paths, sparkling fountains,
retired resting places and beds ablaze with flowers, all these made a
charming retreat. In the midst was usually a hall, kiosk or arbor, raised
on several steps, a fountain in the centre making a musical murmur and
spreading coolness around. It was enclosed with gilded lattices over
which rioted in careless grace vines of jassamine, honeysuckle and other
creepers—a fair green wall overhung and protected by tall trees. Here,
too, doubtless the king enjoyed some of his hours of leisure, wrapped
about with the perfume of violets and sipping a sherbet of violets
and sugar, a favorite drink in Persia. We learn of a “Betel-carrier
and Taster of Sherbets to the Emperor.” Lest poison might secretly be
prepared for the royal palate it was always necessary to have a taster,
the first victim in case of evil intent. To this other duties were added
such as “Chief Holder of the Girdle of Beautiful Forms and Grand Nazir
or Chamberlain of the Harem.” King Canute sat on the brink of the ocean
and ordered it to come no further; King Darius or Xerxes laid a similar
prohibition on the waxing proportions of his spouse—neither perhaps was
strictly obeyed by Dame Nature. At least it appears to have been the
duty of the “Holder of the Girdle of Beautiful Forms” to do what he
could—“Permit me, most gracious Lady. Alas, one inch beyond the line of
beauty!” Subsequently perhaps starvation and tears to insure return to
the stipulated measure.

Costly materials rather than shape were prized by the Persians, and their
ornaments were less ornate and elaborate than those of the Egyptians;
rings and bracelets were of plain gold, collars of twisted gold, but
comparatively unartificial. Their household utensils too seem to have
been few and simple in pattern, a covered dish and a goblet with an
inverted saucer over it are often pictured in the hands of the royal
attendants. Occasionally, but rarely, we hear of Persian women indulging
in manly sports, as Roxane, daughter of Idernes, and half sister of
Terituchmes was skilled in the use of the bow and the javelin.

The queen mother, when the widow of the late king, took precedence of
her daughter-in-law, the wife of the reigning monarch, had certain
privileges, peculiar to herself, was attended by a band of eunuchs and
dined with her son in the women’s apartment. Though not nominally in
public life her influence was often very great and at times used or
abused most cruelly.

As in the earlier times, certain cities in Egypt were assigned to furnish
the revenues of the queen, and that of Anthylla was appointed to provide
her with shoes. This must also, it would seem, have applied to the
females of her household, as a single pair of feet, even though royal,
could have been but a slight tax on the revenues of a town.

To return to the thread of history which we are following. King Apries
was overthrown and succeeded by Amasis, who, usurper though he was,
seems to have reigned long and well. The date given for the close of the
reign of Apries is B. C. 579, and Amasis ruled for forty-five years; his
son Psammetic III had been on the throne but a few months when Cambyses
conquered Egypt.

Syria appears to have been held by Egypt during the Eighteenth and
Nineteenth Dynasties, while later Egypt disputed its possession with
Assyria, and lastly the Ptolemies and Califs ruled it from Egypt. But the
Egypt of which we now make study was no longer a country united under
one head and going forth to conquer and demand tribute from surrounding
nations. She was alternately divided under the sovereignty of a number of
petty kings or ground under the heel of some all-conquering but more or
less temporary master. Wars and internal dissentions were constant, with
now and then a longer period of comparative peace and tranquility, in
which the country had breathing space to recover from the desolation and
ruin that had preceded it.

The Persians, numbered as the Twenty-seventh Dynasty, came in as masters
who desired rather to trample upon than conciliate their subjects. They
outraged the sensibilities and prejudices of the people, and, it is
said, that the arts, long in decline, received a severe blow from their
invasion, while many of the finest buildings in Egypt were mutilated
and destroyed by Cambyses, hence revolts against the new authority were
frequent. Cambyses himself appears to have acted at times like a cruel
madman, and whether the story of his stabbing the revered Apis bull be
true or not, and, like all old stories, its authenticity is sometimes
disputed, the incident is but an illustration of the general course which
he pursued.

He was son of Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, said to be the grandson
of the Median King Astyages, and his mother was said by Ctesias to be
Amytias and, by Herodotus, to be Cassandane or Kassomdane, daughter of
Pharnespes, a member of the royal family, who died before her husband.
Cambyses was in every way inferior to his father. The children of this
marriage were two sons and three daughters, the sons Cambyses and
Smerdis, the daughters Atossa, Roxana and Artystone.

Cyrus left his kingdom to his elder son, but placed so much power also in
the hands of the younger that Cambyses caused his brother to be secretly
murdered that his rights might be undisputed. Following the Egyptian
custom, or setting up a law for himself, since it does not seem to have
been the habit of the Persian monarchs, he married his two sisters,
Atossa and Roxana. The Persian judges said it was not lawful for a man
to marry his sister, but the king could of course do as he pleased. The
unfortunate Roxana excited the fury of this monster by mourning for her
brother Smerdis, and is said also to have been killed by Cambyses with a
kick. A Greek inscription at Behistan affirms that Smerdis was murdered
before Cambyses started for Egypt; that the latter committed suicide in
the end; that the rebellion was a religious one, and that the Magian
was not Smerdis but Gomates, and the discovery of the imposture is not
as generally given. Other authorities claim that Smerdis was murdered by
Cambyses’ orders during his absence, but the affair seems much involved
in mystery.

Cambyses adopted as his Horus name “Horus, the Unifier of Two Lands,” and
styled himself “Born of Ra.” For a third wife he took Nitetis, daughter
of the Previous Egyptian king, Apries, but sent to him as the daughter
of Amasis, the reigning monarch. Upon this deception, it is asserted,
hinged the invasion of Egypt. There seems to be a discrepancy in dates,
some holding that Nitetis would have been too old a bride for Cambyses,
and therefore it must have been Cyrus that took her to wife, and that
Cambyses was her son rather than her husband. But this tale is believed
to be of Egyptian origin, made up to remove from their shoulders the
stigma of being merely a conquered people and set up a pretence that
Cambyses had some legal right to the throne by descent from an Egyptian

Another tale is thus given by Herodotus. A Persian woman visited
the harem of King Cyrus, was struck with the beauty of the children
of Cassadane and praised them greatly to their mother. “Yet would
you believe it,” said Cassadane, “Cyrus neglects me, the mother of
such children as these, to pay honor to an Egyptian interloper!” On
this Cambyses, her eldest son, a boy of ten years of age, exclaimed:
“Therefore, mother, when I am a man, I will turn Egypt upside down!”
Which threat, if ever made by him, was most surely fulfilled.

Supposing Nitetis to have been the grand-daughter, rather than the
daughter of Apries, the dates become more intelligible. It is this period
of history that Ebers has selected for his romance of an “Egyptian
Princess,” which, like all his historical novels, if lacking perhaps
great vitality in the individual characters, has a carefully studied and
interesting ground work of historical fact. The truth or the tradition,
which ever it be, runs thus: Amassis, King of Egypt, sent by request
to the King of Persia, suffering with some trouble of the eyes, his
special oculist. The physician, resentful of long ostracism from home and
friends, suggested to his patron that he should demand in marriage the
daughter of the Egyptian king. The plan was proposed not in good faith,
but with a desire to make trouble.

Perhaps the reputation of Cambyses was already evil and well known.
At any rate, the proposal produced consternation rather than joy and
satisfaction in the circle of the bride-elect. Possibly Amasis held
with special tenderness the daughter in question. Be this as it may, he
sent not the princess demanded, but one who was probably considered of
inferior dignity. Doubtless she went adorned in regal splendor that the
deception might not be suspected. Her finger tips would have been tinged
with henna to look like branches of coral; she would perhaps wear the
Persian head dress, composed of a light golden chain work set with small
pearls, with a thin gold plate pendant about the size of a crown piece
on which was impressed an Arabian prayer and which hung upon the cheek
below the ear. The kohl’s jetty dye would give that “long, dark, languish
to the eye.” A small coronet of jewels would be placed upon her head and
over all a rosy veil. The veils the Eastern women wore over the head were
coquettishly managed to add to their attractions. Says the poet in “Lalla

    “Veiled by such a mask as shades
    The features of young Arab maids,
    A mask that leaves but one eye free
    To do its best in witchery.”

The Arab women wear black masks prettily disposed, and Niebuhr mentions
their showing but one eye in conversation, and again says Moore:

    “And bright the glancing looks they hide
    Beneath their litters roseate veils.”

So Nitetis, hardly a happy bride, was wedded to the Persian king, and
“nightingales warbled their enchanting notes and rent the thin veils
of the rosebud and the rose,” according to a favorite image of the
Oriental poets. But not joy, peace and happiness resulted—rather wars
and bloodshed. Perhaps in innocence, perhaps in malice, the new queen
revealed the secret of her identity to the king. Since he did not put
her to death we may believe that she herself had some attractions for
him, but the deception he would not forgive and seized upon it, only too
gladly, as a pretext for invading Egypt.

Across the desert which protected Egypt on the northeast marched Cambyses
and his army, while his fleet, supplied by the Phoenician cities and
the Greeks of Asia Minor, blockaded the Egyptian king (Psammetic III,
only recently come to the throne) in Memphis. The herald was sent in
a Greek vessel to demand surrender. The Egyptians, with mad and cruel
folly, courting their own destruction, since such an act would be sure
to infuriate the invader, seized the ship and tore the crew to pieces.
If not before, from that moment their doom was sealed. Cambyses took
Memphis, B. C. 525, on the pyramid plain, where later Napoleon bade his
soldiers do their best, for the Centuries looked down upon them. It is
said that Cambyses put cats and other sacred animals before his troops so
that the Egyptians were afraid to attack. Be this as it may, the Persians
obtained the mastery, and Cambyses took his revenge on Amasis for the
affront offered him by causing his dead body to be burned.

One cannot help thinking of the homely phrase, “Give a dog a bad name,”
in connection with this ancient king, all the ruin that occurred for
hundreds of years seems set down to the credit of Cambyses, who, with
the most evil intent in the world, could hardly have accomplished all
that was claimed for him. He is said to have left nothing unburnt in
Thebes that fire would consume. “An earthquake and Cambyses,” says
Curtis, “divide the shame of the partial destruction of Memnon.” An old
inscription at the base of the statue reads: “I write after having heard
Memnon. Cambyses has wounded me, a stone cut into the image of the sun
king. I had once the sweet voice of Memnon, but Cambyses has deprived me
of the accents which express joy and grief.”

Tradition also says that Cambyses threw down the magnificent statues
set up to adorn the temple of victory, built by Seti I at old Quernah,
yet Pliny has preserved a story that the same king was so struck by
the beauty of a certain statue that he ordered the flames which he had
kindled extinguished at its base.

It is probable that all his other crimes paled into insignificance in the
eyes of the Egyptians before his murder of their sacred bull. For this
his memory would have been execrated forever had it been his only deed of
violence. But whereas the Persians spoke of Cyrus as “Father” they called
Cambyses “Despot” or “Master”; ferocity and cruelty seemed to distinguish
most of his actions.

Both the hawk and the bull appeared as emblems of royalty and divinity
among the Egyptians from the earliest times. But the bull was also
highly regarded in Assyria, India and among other ancient nations.
The hawk was sacred to the sun, the Apis bull, the living image of
Osiris, the incarnation of a source of life and creative energy. Upon
this animal, so revered and worshipped, Cambyses dared to lay what was
deemed a sacrilegious hand; in the eyes of his new subjects he could
have committed no greater crime. Says one writer: “At Memphis the Apis
bull was bred, nurtured and honored with all the devotion that Asiatic
superstition lavished upon the representative of their miscalled deities.”

It was said of the god Apis that “his glory was sought for in all Egypt,”
and an inscription reads: “He was found after some months in the city of
Ho-shed-abot. He was solemnly introduced into the temple of Ptah, beside
his father, the Memphian god Phthah of the South Wall by the high priest
in the temple of Phthah, the great prince of the Mashuash Petise, the son
of the high priest of Memphis and great prince of the Mashuash, Takelut
and of the princess of royal race, Thes-bast-per.”

The priests would search through the land for the new Apis, which must
have certain marks upon it. The rules required that the young bull
should be black, with a white triangle on his forehead, the likeness
of a vulture on his back, a crescent moon on his side, two kinds of
hair in his tail and an excrescence under his tongue like the sacred
beetle. Naturally it took a long time to find just such an animal, and
the time between the death of one and the finding of another was kept
as a period of fasting and mourning. It is said that when the old Apis
outlived twenty-five years he was quietly drowned by the priests, and
the bodies of the dead bulls were embalmed and buried with royal honors
in tombs in the desert. When the new bull was found it was a period of
great rejoicing. The mother and calf were brought to the temple and
housed with all honor and regard. The bull was consulted as an oracle
by offering it food, and the omen was favorable or the reverse, as it
accepted or refused it. This doubtless gave opportunity to the priests
and care-takers to direct the matter as they saw fit. A hungry bull would
be much more apt to give a favorable response, as one may well perceive
than an already satiated one.

Memphis, the “City of the White Wall” which was to the Greeks as Cairo is
to us now, the typical Oriental city, was especially celebrated for its
worship of Apis or Hapi and was selected for its residence because one of
the limbs of Osiris, killed by Typhon, the evil spirit, were found there.
One pauses to wonder at the curious mingling of power and powerlessness
which the ancients attributed to their gods. Proof against all dangers
and performing miracles of all sorts they yet at times, even the very
greatest of them, suffered and “died like men.”

Thus the sacred bull, selected by certain particular marks and guarded
and cared for with special reverence, was looked upon as the incarnation
of the god. It is in the Serapium (or bulls’ burying place), a word
regarded as a contraction of Osiris-Apis, that various tablets and
inscriptions were found which give the chief dates and information which
we possess as regards the reigns of certain kings. The records of the
Apis bulls are more complete than the Mnevis bulls, and he is spoken of
as “a fair and beautiful image of the soul of Osiris.”

It was upon this adored treasure that Cambyses cruelly and unwisely
vented his evil temper. After the conquest of Egypt he again engaged
in other aggressive wars and, returning unsuccessful from one of his
expeditions against Nubia and even more morose and ill-natured than
usual, he found the people celebrating one of their religious festivals,
and, thinking, or pretending to think, that they were deriding him and
rejoicing at his ill-success, he poured out the viols of his wrath. “Oh
stupid mortals!” he exclaimed. “Are these your gods? Creatures of flesh
and blood and sensible to the touch of steel!” and he caused the sacred
bull to be brought forth and stabbed it in the thigh and put several of
the priests to death.

One of the most interesting events of modern times was the discovery by
Mariette of the long lost Serapeum in 1850. The temple had been described
by Strabo, but the lapse of years and the drifting sands of the desert
had obliterated it from memory and hidden it from sight. Wandering in
the neighborhood of the Step Pyramid of Sakkarah, the oldest in the
world, believed to have been erected only eighty years after the time
of Menes, this noted archaeologist stumbled against an object which
proved to be the head of a sphinx, and immediately the description of
Strabo came into his mind. At once, with characteristic patience and
determination, he set his men to work and had the immense satisfaction
after innumerable difficulties of discovering the avenue of sphinxes
which led to the Serapeum and the buried temple itself. It extended
640 feet into the solid rock, with long galleries, sixty-four vaulted
chambers on either side and a vaulted roof twenty feet high, while the
breadth of the gallery was about the same. In one chamber he discovered
the Apis, who died in the sixtieth year of Rameses II, so fresh and
undisturbed did this seem that the finger marks could be seen on the
walls and footprints in the sand. A human mummy, which Mariette at first
took to be an Apis, was also discovered, and proved by the inscription to
be that of the favorite son of Rameses II Kha-em-uas, high priest of the
temple of Ptah and governor of Memphis. The body was covered with jewels,
gold chains and amulets, precious and gold washed, all of which are now
in the Louvre. Huge granite sarcophagi were discovered in twenty-four
cells, bearing the name of the king on the throne at the time the Apis
was buried. The most recent mummies discovered were from the time of
Psammetichus II of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, 660 B. C., to a Ptolemy
Dynasty 500 years later.

At certain periods the votaries of Serapis celebrated festivals in
the temple and recorded them on votive tablets, which were found in
the galleries of the Serapeum. From these we gather that the reign of
Psammetichus was brief; that there were six kings of the Twenty-sixth
Dynasty, 666 B. C.; that following Psammetichus I came Necho II, in
the sixteenth year of whose reign an Apis was born. That another was
installed in the temple of Ptah in the first year of the reign of
Psamettic II; that an Apis died in the twelfth year of Apries, and that
this king was succeeded by Amasis and Psammetic III.

Unable to carry away all of his finds to place them in greater security
in various museums, Mariette buried some of them temporarily near the
spot, which Miss Edwards says was betrayed and sold by the Arabs to a
certain Austrian arch-duke, who took possession and carried them to
Trieste. Among them was said to be the bull stabbed by Cambyses, while in
the rooms of the New York Historical Society the same, or very similar,
mummy of an Apis is to be seen. Whether the wound of the bull proved
fatal and he was secretly buried by the priests, or whether he survived
till the fourth year of Darius’ reign, as the Serapeum tablets seem to
indicate, is a mooted point. Ne-chatano, a subsequent and native Egyptian
king, is believed to have rebuilt or restored the Serapeum in 350 B. C.
One tablet in the collection records the death of an Apis in the sixth
year of Cambyses.

But the reign of this cruel king at last came to an end. A revolt took
place in Persia, the murdered Smerdis was represented by an imposter,
who for some time deceived the people, and Cambyses, hastening home,
either died or, some say, committed suicide by stabbing himself with his
dagger, so runs the legend, while mounting a horse in the same place as
he had wounded the bull. It was the custom of the Egyptian women to go
two days in the week to the tombs of their dead and to throw upon them
a sweet smelling herb, like basil, but for Cambyses we can imagine no
such mourning was made. The world was well rid of a monster, and even
his wives must have felt that they were freed from the tyrant. Custom
permitted the Persian king to have several legal wives, but one only was
the legal queen. Atossa probably occupied this position. Her experiences
in husbands were varied and her charms probably great.

Magus, by others called Gomates, personated the dead Smerdis or Bardiya
and took Cambyses’ wives, but kept them in separate establishments that
his secret might not be discovered. The story goes that for some previous
crime the ears of the impostor had been cut off, but that he covered
the place with his hair. In his sleep, however, one of his wives, the
daughter of Otanes, suspecting his impersonation, passed her hand over
his head, and thus his fraud was made public. In the end he was slain by
Darius, a member of the royal family, who now laid claim to the throne
and proved to be an excellent sovereign.

He again took Queen Atossa to wife, and her influence over him is said to
have been unbounded, and she became the mother of Xerxes, who succeeded
him. She survived Salamis and was actually, in part, contemporary with
Herodotus, from whom we derive the information regarding her so numerous
marriages. Cyrus had one legal wife, Cambyses three and Darius five.

His wives are given as first a daughter of Gobryas, whose children were
Artabazanes, and two others—Atossa, by whom he had Xerxes; Hystaspes,
Akhaemenes and Masistes; Arystone, by whom he had Arsames and Gobryas;
Parmys, by whom he had Ariomardas, and, lastly, Phrataguma, by whom he
had Abrocome and Hyperanthe.

Darius seems to have been the one Persian king beloved by the Egyptians,
towards whom he showed himself in great contrast to his predecessor, most
considerate and regardful, associating with the priests and studying
their theology. During his lifetime he was called a god by the Egyptians
and he is the only Persian king whose name is accompanied with a titular
shield and whose phonetic shield bears the crest of the vulpauser and
disk ‘son of the sun.’ The only one whose phonetic name is accompanied by
a pre-nomen, like those of the ancient kings. He obtained while living
the title of “Divus” and received, after death, the same honors as the
native Egyptian sovereigns, of the earlier centuries. On an ornament of
porcelain in the museum at Florence he is called “beneficent god.” He is
even represented in sculpture as worshipping the Egyptian god Athor, and
the mummy of Osiris, with the lighted lamp, the emblem of fire (the great
divinity of Persia) in each hand. But in spite of this another authority
states that no Persian king’s name is found on a public monument in Egypt.

When the Persian kings were present in Egypt comparative peace reigned,
but, when they left the government in the hands of deputies, revolts
were numerous. Darius put his satrap Aryandes to death for presuming
to coin money; he being so distasteful to the Egyptians that they were
on the point of revolt when Darius returned. But spite of the personal
popularity of Darius the Persian yoke was hateful to the Egyptians, and
when the king’s back was once turned, his presence withdrawn, and he
became involved in other wars, they again rose against the invaders.

While preparing to crush Egypt Darius died, leaving the task to Xerxes,
his son by the beloved Atossa. His first wife had been a daughter of
Gobryas and her son, older than Xerxes, would naturally have, succeeded,
but Artobazanes had been born before his father became king, and this
fact, coupled doubtless with the paramount influence of Queen Atossa,
decided the question in favor of Xerxes, who had been born after his
father ascended the throne.

For the few succeeding dynasties the balance of power swung between the
native rulers and their Persian conquerors, Xerxes or Khshaiarsha, whose
wife was named Amestris, reconquered Egypt in the second year of his
reign, and increased its burdens. He also seems to have made love to
the wife of his brother Masistes and to her daughter, the wife of his
son Darius, and because Xerxes gave this daughter-in-law Artaynte, for
whom he had an unlawful affection, a beautiful mantle, woven by his wife
Amestris, the queen had the mother of her rival most cruelly mutilated.
Xerxes was himself subsequently murdered, apparently a not undeserved

Under Artaxerxes his son, who succeeded, B. C. 465, the Egyptians
again threw off the hated yoke, but after various vicissitudes were
reconquered. This prince was said to be largely under the influence of
his mother Amestris and his sister Amytir, both women of ill-regulated
lives. His only legal wife was Damaspia, but he had many children by
his concubines. Several native rulers who reigned briefly and were
murdered in succession, came next. Then we have Darius II, previously
called Ochus, and subsequently Nothus, said to be one of the seventeen
illegitimate sons of Artaxerxes I, who married Paraysatis, daughter of
Xerxes I. Darius II reigned nineteen years and was followed by Artaxerxes
II, said to be the last Persian king who left any memorial of himself in
Egypt. He styled himself “Beloved of Amen-Ra,” and “Beautiful god, lord
of the two lands.”

During this period the Egyptians associated themselves with the Athenians
and Amyrtaeus, a descendant of the Saite kings, ruled for a period of
six years. He is sometimes considered identical with a certain Amen-rut
and a portion of the coffin of his daughter, Ar-Bast-utchat-nifu, is in
the Berlin museum, but that the two are the same king is questioned by
others. Amyrtaeus was deemed of sufficient importance, however, to be
counted as the Twenty-eighth Dynasty, but we find no mention of his queen.

Nepherites is given as the only king of the Twenty-ninth Dynasty, from
Mendes, and reigned some years, but again we learn nothing of the queen.
Akhoris or Haker was first king of the Thirtieth Dynasty, he repaired
various temples, and his name is found in several places. Several
unimportant kings followed, one authority says that the revolt of the
Medes permitted the authority of the Egyptian king Hakis, Akhorus or
Achorus, of whom we have made mention, and of whom some memorials are
found here and there, and a sphinx in Paris bears his name. The kings who
succeeded are regarded as of little moment, Nectanebus I is frequently
considered the next king and he succeeded in keeping the authority in
his hands, some say ten, some eighteen years. He seems to have been
capable both as a soldier and a ruler, and somewhat revived the pomp
which had been so characteristic of the earlier kings. He built some
temples and shrines and repaired many of the important ones, and his name
appears in various places. An obelisk cut by this king (whose name occurs
at Philae), but which was not inscribed, was afterwards floated down the
Nile by Ptolemy Philadelphus and erected in honor of his sister in the
Arsinoite home. The fine stone lions once at the Fontane di Termine at
Rome, but now placed in the Egyptian Museum in the Vatican, are said to
be the last piece of Egyptian sculpture executed under native princes.
He seems to have been one of the few kings who defeated the Persians.
Nectanebus II, who was both a builder and a warrior, was the only other
king of importance of this dynasty.

Ochus, Artaxerxes III, of the Thirty-first Dynasty, out-heroded Herod
and led to the final collapse of the Persian power in Egypt. He emulated
and even surpassed Cambyses, causing the sacred bull not only to be
killed, but cooked and eaten at a feast. Darius Codomanus was the last
Persian king, and when Alexander came as conqueror of these hated rulers
the Egyptians made him welcome. He at once began a conciliatory policy,
sacrificed to Apis, built a temple to Isis, and caused himself to be
adopted by and proclaimed son of Zeus-Amon. He remained some time,
founded the city of Alexandria, placed rulers over Egypt and departed
from Memphis B. C. 331. Living he never again saw the land, but his
corpse was brought back from Babylon and deposited in a sarcophagus in

The favorite stone of the Persian gem engravers was chalcedony, a
semi-transparent, white quartz, the blue variety of which is the sapphire
and on this one sometimes finds engraved the head of a Persian king.



The Persian yoke had become so intolerable to the Egyptians that they
were prepared to accept any other conqueror with positive enthusiasm,
and the Macedonian Alexander and his followers were welcomed rather as
friends than as enemies and hated masters.

The colossal empire created by the splendid military audacity combined
with the judicious tolerance of Alexander the Great may be said to have
dropped to pieces by its own weight, and a comparatively few years after
his short career was ended, for he died at thirty-two, it had been
partitioned among his generals.

Roxane or Roxana, first or chief wife of Alexander, for he married others
later, could only in a theoretic sense be called Queen of Egypt, as of
other countries of which her husband was master. The mad rush of battle
and conquest left little time for the ostentatious display of royalty.
Alexander was rather a great general than a reigning king intent upon
the government and internal improvement of the various countries under
his sway. He seemed to have hardly time to place one crown upon his head
before he was fighting for another, and the outward trappings of his
office must have been military rather than royal. There could have been
little opportunity for his wife to realize the grandeur of her position.
Hence it was, in all probability, not till after his death that Roxane,
the queen, entered Egypt, and then it was rather as a captive than as a
reigning princess.

By a previous connection, not a legal marriage, with Barsine, widow of
Darius’ best Greek general, Memnon, Alexander had a son named Herakles,
who afterwards laid some claim to the kingdom, but it was Roxane, a
Bactrian princess, famed for her beauty, that he first made his lawful
wife. She was the daughter of Oxyartes, “who commanded the Sagdian rock
for Darius,” and on the reduction of this fortress, married the conqueror.

We can picture to ourselves a beautiful mountain region, the mad onrush
of troops, the clang of arms, the brief delirium of a battle and then a
cessation of hostilities and the natural man seeking once more excitement
in amusement. It is said that it was at a feast or drinking bout, where
dancing was also going on, that Alexander first saw and at once fell in
love with the handsome Roxane, spoken of by one writer as “of surpassing
beauty and a grace rarely seen among barbarians.”

Alexander himself was a handsome man in the perfection of manhood. Born
356 B. C. he was twenty-nine years of age at the time of this marriage,
which is said to have united two strains of Indo-European blood. The
bride was probably much younger. Of him many likenesses, usually busts
or profiles on coins, exist. There is a bust of him in the British
Museum, a terra-cotta in Munich, and he appears as the sun-god in the
Capitoline Museum in Rome, as the Vernal-sun in a marble relief in the
Louvre, in Paris, beside other places and his head on the coins. He was
fair and ruddy, with finely cut features, an alert agreeable expression,
a look of power and intellect and a full eye which could blaze with anger
or melt into tenderness.

As opposites attract, and judging by the race from which she sprang
(Bactria was approximately the present Bokhara and “has no small claim
to be called the cradle of our present civilization”), we may believe
Roxane to have been dark as Alexander was fair. A soft yet brilliant
black or brown eye, raven tresses, ideal in feature and in form, and
endowed with every grace. Alexander had proved himself invulnerable to
many of the sex. The wife and daughter of Darius—women famed for their
good looks—were treated by him with a respect and indifference to their
charms unusual in such times and in such cases. He worshipped the god of
war rather than the god of love. But the fair Roxane proved irresistible.
He left her for a brief time and then returned and married her. To be
the bride of the conqueror, especially when he was young and handsome,
what more could any maiden desire? “None but the brave deserve the
fair,” physical courage was the most admired of all the virtues, holding
its place even in these latter days, and of that Alexander had a large
share, as well as of other lovable qualities, impulsive, generous and
large-minded, as he often showed himself. He wore a great plume of white
feathers on either side of his helmet which made his ever a conspicuous
object of the field of battle, yet he bore a charmed life and escaped

Cruel at times, he was still warm-hearted. Between his mother and himself
existed a strong affection, and in a quarrel between her and his father,
Philip, he took her side and fled with her. She was the imperious,
passionate and fanatical Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemus, king of
Epirus, to which country she returned with the son who inherited some of
her traits, and to whom she was passionately attached. Plutarch gives
many pleasant anecdotes of Alexander and refers to the numerous letters
he wrote to his mother and other relatives and friends. He deprecated
his mother’s interference with matters of war and state, but bore her
reproaches with patience, and when Antipater wrote to him complaining
of her he nobly replied, “One tear of a mother effaces a thousand such
letters as these.”

With Alexander the name of Cleopatra is introduced into Egypt, where it
was borne by a bewildering number of the subsequent royal family. His
father put away his mother and married a second wife of that name, and
to his sister Cleopatra, who married her uncle Alexander, her mother’s
brother, King of Epirus, he was, as well as to Olympias, warmly attached.

The marriage of the conqueror with the native princess placated the
Bactrians and peace was restored. But the restless spirit of Alexander
know no pause—he could not stay to dally in the arms of his love, no
matter how beautiful, ambition was even a more powerful mistress and he
rushed onward to new conquests.

He had adopted a conciliatory policy towards the Jews, he showed the same
in Egypt. He sacrificed to the gods of the land, to Apis in particular,
in marked and acceptable contrast to the conduct of Cambyses and Ochus,
showed great favor to the priests and placed native Egyptians in posts of
honor and command. He made a journey into the desert, a most difficult,
hazardous and dangerous expedition, to visit the oracle of Amon, and
caused himself to be proclaimed son of the god, with a curious mingling
of faith in the oracle and deliberate adoption of a policy which conduced
to his own interest as well as to those of the people whom he had
conquered. He founded the city of Alexandria, which alone might have
made famous any single or ordinary man, in addition to all else that he
accomplished in his comparatively short life. The old Naucrates yielded
its trade to the new city and the port of Canopus was closed, while
Alexandria grew in splendor, importance and intellectual prestige and
became one of the renowned cities of the world.

Separation and the life of constant excitement which he led may have
lessened the hold of Roxane upon Alexander’s affection and a sudden
passion for other women have overtaken him, but it is more probable that
motives of policy dictated his subsequent course.

At Suza occurred what was called “the great marriage of Europe and Asia.”
Planned by Alexander to celebrate his victories and perhaps to hasten
the return of peace and good-will. He took to wife Statira, daughter of
Darius, and some authorities say, also Parysatis, daughter of Ochus,
brother of Darius and one of the last Persian kings of Egypt. He coerced
or persuaded his officers to follow his example, and not one but many
marriages were then performed.

So intent was Alexander on his purpose that he put a premium on such
connections and promised to pay the debts of those who would take Persian
wives. At this time Ptolemy, later king of Egypt, was united to a certain
princess Aatakama, daughter of Artabanes, of whom we find no further
mention, suggesting that these enforced unions were not lasting, and were
perhaps regarded by their principals as a mere spectacular performance,
or even a comedy. These nuptials were celebrated with great magnificence
the banqueting hall was laid with tables for numberless guests and was
gorgeously decorated. Pillars of gold and silver, set with jewels,
upheld the awning above, and nothing that Eastern luxury could suggest
was spared to embellish the feast. According to the Persian custom a
row of armchairs was placed for the bridegrooms and one beside each for
the brides, who came in procession, fair to look upon, in beautiful and
shining garments, enhanced by all the appliances of the toilette, and
took each her place beside her lord.

It was a marriage of fatal import to all concerned. We can imagine the
jealous passion aroused in the breast of Roxane at the sight or report of
all this, doubtless in striking contrast with her own simple nuptials,
jeopardizing as it did the right of succession which might be claimed
by her own children, yet unborn. Perchance the new queen added fuel to
the flame by a haughty demeanor, a half-concealed or openly expressed
contempt for the barbarian chief’s daughter who had preceded her. Be
this as it may, Roxane rested not till, with the aid of Perdiccas, one
of Alexander’s generals, she had her put to death. The story goes that
after Alexander was dead she sent a forged letter to Statira, either as
coming from him or with purport that he was still alive and got Queen
Statira into her power and caused both her and her sister, perhaps the
before-mentioned Parysatis, to be murdered and their bodies thrown into a
well and covered with earth. Having thus disposed of a hated rival, she
rested in fancied security, but her own destruction eventually avenged
this cruel deed.

The life of Alexander, lived too fast, and with little regard perhaps
either to the laws of health or morality, came to a speedy close. He died
323 B. C. Either ignorant of or indifferent to the approaching birth of a
child of his own, he is said to have left his kingdom to “the worthiest,”
or some say “the strongest”—the first a person far to seek in the midst
of such a grasping blood-thirsty throng. Some months after Alexander’s
death Roxane bore a son, who was named Alexander Aegus, and the infant,
in conjunction with Alexander’s natural brother Philip Arridaeus,
apparently a man of weak intellect, were nominally kings, under the
regency of Perdicas, or Perdikkas, one of Alexander’s most prominent
generals. No such giant succeeded the heroic figure, almost that of a
demi-god, whose life had just closed, and the conglomerate kingdom which
he had created fell into numerous fragments or divisions.

Roxane evidently could play the part of a Margaret of Anjou and her
subsequent history is but a pitiful tale. She and her son fell into the
power of the generals, who, like vultures, settled upon their prey. No
noble emotion of protecting the helpless stirred in their breasts. It
was a period of the world’s history in which weakness courted its own
destruction. “Might was right,” a theory not altogether known in modern
times, was the general rule of existence and some years after Alexander’s
death Roxane and the young Alexander were put out of the way to make room
for the grasp of stronger hands than those of a woman and child.

At first the spoilers called themselves Satraps, but eventually claimed
or accepted the title of king. Ptolemy took Egypt; Seleucus, Babylon and
Syria; Antigonus, Asia Minor, and Antipater, Macedon, later conquered by
descendants of Antigonus; Lysimachus took Thrace; Leonatus, Phrygia; and
Eumenes, Cappadocia.

Alexander Aegus, like Caesarion, son of Cleopatra VI of Egypt, was never
allowed to succeed his father, but his life was cut short in youth.
Mother and child were simply used as pawns on the great chess board of
kings and when their existence interfered with the designs of those
in power they were disposed of. The then known world was in a tumult,
war was the order of the times, peace almost unknown. The uprising
and overthrow of one power and of one individual after another was
continuous, the pages of history were stained with the blood, alike of
the guilty and the innocent.

The years succeeding the death of Alexander must have been ones of
anxiety, if not of absolute terror to Roxane, and the possibility of a
violent death for herself and her child could not but have suggested
itself to her. Nominally wife and mother of a king, she enjoyed little of
the pleasures of state, but was hurried here and there and from camp to
camp with scant ceremony. A possession too valuable to those who held her
to let her go and in the end too valuable to keep.

The disposal of Alexander’s body was a matter of dispute. A counsel of
officers decreed that it should be buried in the Oasis of Amon, where
Alexander had been adopted by the god; Perdikhas wished that it should
be laid with the ancient Macedonian kings, while Ptolemy was determined
that it should rest in Alexandria, the new city. Ptolemy triumphed and
the sarcophagus of gold remained there for some time; we do not know how
long. Diodorus says “a coffin of beaten gold was provided, so wrought by
the hammer as to answer the proportion of the body. It was half filled
with aromatic spices, which served as well to delight the senses as to
preserve the body from putrefaction. Over the coffin was a cover of gold,
so exactly fitted as to answer the higher part every way. Over this was
thrown a curious purple coat, near to which were placed the arms of the
deceased, that the whole might represent the acts of his life.” This was
placed on a magnificent chariot adorned with figures, symbolic designs,
arches, floral designs in gold and funerary urns, an absorbing spectacle
to the people. It seems almost strange that so much honor was paid to the
body of Alexander, so little to his very flesh and blood.

This settlement of the place of burial brought on a conflict with the
regent who came to Egypt, bringing King Philip and his wife Euridike
and Alexander IV and his mother Roxane, perhaps her first visit to
a land where she had been nominally queen. Perdikhas acted in his
treatment of soldiers and enemies with great cruelty, Ptolemy with a
marked clemency, and the cavalry of the former rose up and murdered him.
Ptolemy was then offered the regency and the charge of the royal princes.
But he was a cautious and far-seeing man and content with what he had
already secured—the mastership of Egypt—firmly declined so dangerous
a responsibility. The regency was then conferred upon or seized by
Antipator, and new distributions and divisions of ownership ensued.

A mother and sister of Alexander, Olympias and Cleopatra, had raised a
faction against Antipator and divided the government between them. A
firm believer in “women’s rights” were these ancient and warlike dames;
rights in which there should be no distinction of sex, yet as ever the
weaker went to the wall. Cleopatra, it is said, lived a royal widow
at Sardis, wooed by all the world—a woman doubtless of beauty, as she
showed herself of vigor and capacity. She would have married Perdikhas
or Leonatus, who had died, but spurned the rest. Like England’s Queen
Elizabeth, she had many suitors. At last to escape Antigonas she agreed
to marry Ptolemy, and thereby secured her own destruction, for Antigonas
could not contemplate a union which might prove so injurious to himself
and had her secretly murdered. Some one seems always to have stood ready
for the commission of such deadly crimes. But to throw dust in the eyes
of the people Antigonas gave her a magnificent funeral and proceeded
against the woman who had been instrumental in her murder.

Time passed on and Antipater was succeeded by his son Cassander, more
ruthless, cruel and self-seeking, if possible, than his predecessor, and
he determined to rid himself of a charge become useless to him and assume
full regal power. Olympias had meanwhile secured the death of Philip
Arridaeus and his wife and carried off the young king and his mother to
Pydna. Cassander besieged and took them, and Olympias was cited to appear
before a public assembly of the Macedonians and answer for the murders
she had committed. Trusting in her own power and influence she haughtily
complied, but was condemned to death and secretly executed by the
relatives of those she had injured.

The young king and his mother were shut up in the castle of Amphipolis,
where they were treated rather as captives than as royal personages,
and finally put to death. It seems almost strange that Roxane, still
young and probably beautiful, was not forcibly married by one of the
contestants, and the question settled in this way rather than by such
tragic means, but it was not to be, and the son of Alexander must needs
die or others could not grasp the power which should have descended to

Ptolemy, if not directly accessory, at least connived at this murder, and
thus secured himself in his new kingdom. It is said that the restoration
of the outward shrine of the great temple at Luxor, built by Thothmes III
and ruined by the Persians, took place during the nominal sovereignty
of Philip Arridaeus and Alexander IV, and therefore quite early in
Ptolemy’s satrapy. This restoration of the inner cella was in the name
of the boy king Alexander. A statue of the young king is in the Gizeh
Museum. It is of granite and about nine feet in height. The gentle and
melancholy expression seems well suited to the youth’s tragic fate, but
he is represented as much older than when he died, and it is probably a
conventional likeness, with a mingling of the Egyptian and Greek in type
and attributes. A certain inscription in Egypt mentions Ptolemy in the
seventh year of the absent Alexander. His destroyer kept up the fiction
of his authority, thus Ptolemy granted lands in the name of Alexander
and Philip after their decease.

We can almost imagine the unfortunate Queen Roxane ready to lay down her
harassed and weary life, but such is the natural clinging to the known
and visible that doubtless she had occasional periods of pleasure and
even of reviving hope for her child and herself. She had committed or
been accessory to the blackest crime to secure his succession. Surely it
could not be in vain?

Alexander the Great was born in 355 B. C. and died in 323. His son
Alexander IV was born 323 B. C. and died 310, but his name appears as
king till 305. Thus all the family of Alexander the Great perished by
violent deaths. First his mother, then his wife and child, and lastly in
309 B. C. his sister and his natural son Herakles or Hercules.



In the study of the Ptolemy period, compared with the dates of earlier
times, we seem to come so much nearer to the modern era that we might
look for certain knowledge. The more, as we now have the histories of
early writers, such as Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, etc., to
consult, as well as the coinage, with dates and portraits of kings and
queens, to assist us. But the historical account is frequently at second
hand and not as to matters which the writer has himself seen and known,
and even some of the coins are found to be ambiguous and referable to
different reigns. The relationships, too, are so mixed and the same names
so often repeated that at many points we are baffled in our search, and
various parts of this complex history remain in darkness, which further
investigation may yet lighten, but which at present give room for the
conflicting theories and opinions of different writers.

The chronology of Egypt, as before said, has always been a subject of
difficulty to students, and their researches lead many to different
conclusions. Even in the time of the Ptolemies, which seems modern
compared to the periods we have been considering, the same problem
confronts us, and the fact that the Olympian and the Julian year do
not coincide makes exact chronology impossible. Constant discoveries
are adding new light, and often in this and other respects proving
earlier conclusions incorrect. Thus even in the Ptolemy period we do but
approximate to some of the dates, etc.

The testimony of the coins is of extreme value, and we feel that like
hard facts they never lie, yet it is difficult to draw the line between
the conventional and the real likeness and between a flattering and an
unflattering presentment. The portraits of the queens, celebrated in
their own times and in succeeding ages as miracles of beauty and charm,
sometimes strikes us with amazement so utterly devoid do they seem of
either. We have to recall the possible potency of coloring and animation,
the fascination of manner and of voice to rehabilitate them, reflecting
how sometimes even in the modern photograph, for which it is said “the
sun cannot lie,” the plain woman sometimes appears beautiful and the
beauty almost plain.

As a rule the women of the Ptolemy family seem to have been handsome,
ambitious, capable, daring and cruel, and, save in the cases of the three
first kings, were in many instances superior to their husbands. They
shared with husbands and brothers the desire to keep the reins of power
in their own hands, and the willingness to do away with those who stood
in their path. Murder and assassination were but the means to an end and
daunted but few of them. Yet here and there we come across an incident
or an anecdote which throws a softer light upon their history, a touch of
amiability or kindness, which reveals “the eternal feminine” still latent
in their hearts.

The long line of Arsinoes, Berenikes and Cleopatras is like a tangled
skein of many colors and most difficult to disentangle and render
distinct. Mother, daughter and sister perhaps bear the same appellation,
and one is reminded of the English fashion of using the same or very
similar names for a whole region, as Highbury, Highbury Hill, Highbury
Crescent, etc., till the stranger is fairly bewildered.

In the division of the vast landed possessions of Alexander the Great,
Ptolemy, son of Lagos and Arsinoe, chose Egypt for his share and founded
a new line of kings. He was one of Alexander’s generals and allied to him
by blood, some say the natural son of his father Philip.

It is probably the eagle on the Ptolemy coins that suggested the fable
or tradition that the first Ptolemy was cared for by an eagle, as
Romulus and Remus by a wolf. Mahaffy, one of the later and most reliable
authorities on the Egypt of this period, says that Ptolemy was, it is
probable, born 367 B. C., and hence was some years older than Alexander,
but still young enough to be associated with him, and accompanied him
into exile, returning to court on his accession.

Whether he went with Alexander to Egypt is not positively known, but it
seems likely that some personal acquaintance with and admiration for
that country dictated his choice. It may be said to have been a love
match between Ptolemy and the land of his adoption, which could hardly
have been the case had he never seen it. Virtually he threw himself into
the arms of this new mistress, who received him with no less enthusiasm,
stiff-necked rebel as she had been against Persian rule. He and his
successors, especially the earlier ones, embraced the Egyptian theology,
built temples to the gods, accepted the manners and customs of the people
and affiliated themselves with them in every way.

They married their nearest relatives in Egyptian fashion and even
surpassed their predecessors in the dubious nature of these unions.
Alternately they seem to have adored the women whom they selected as
partners, to whom they paid special honors, having their portraits
stamped upon the coins (up to this time gold rings had been used as a
medium of exchange) and naming various cities after them or to have
quarrelled with and even murdered them.

To the massive dignity of design in the Egyptian architecture the
Ptolemies added something of the Greek ideal, and the temples erected in
their time are among the most beautiful in the land.

The seat of power and government changed from time to time. First
Memphis, the “City of the Good”; the “White Walled,” founded by Menes,
with its great temple of Ptah, which dominated it like a fortress.
Next “Hundred-gated Thebes,” the “City of Amon”; then Sais, situated
on a hill, with a royal citadel and storied and painted houses. Tanis,
recreated from an earlier settlement and stamped with his signet, his
giant statue, eighty or a hundred feet in height by Rameses the Great—all
these in turn were sovereign in the land and the dwelling places of the
queens. Now under Ptolemies, Alexandria, one of the masterpieces of the
great Macedonian, rose into prominence, vieing with Athens as a seat of
learning and the scene of unrivaled splendor, magnificence and debauchery.

Deinocrates, the gifted architect of Alexander, created a city of noble
proportions, and inaugurated a new style of architecture, happily
combining the values of the Oriental and the Greek. The so-called
“Pompey’s pillar” is the only one remaining of the forest of columns
which formed part of the Greek temple of Serapis, the platform on the
top reached by a hundred steps, and the walls incrusted with metals and
jewels. It stood high above the city, which was regularly laid out, with
streets cutting each other at right angles, and bordered with colonnades.
Among the other noted buildings of which nothing now remains, were the
Mausoleum of Alexander, the harbor works uniting the city and island of
Pharos, the temple of Pan, and that built by Ptolemy II, on the outside
of one of the city gates, to celebrate the Elusinian mysteries, the
aqueduct and others, of which no trace remains, but of whose existence we
learn from early writers. The present Rue de Rosette is said to follow
the course of the ancient main street, which crossed the city from the
east to the west gates. The paintings still seen on the walls of Pompeii
give us an idea of the decorations of Alexandrine architecture.

The great museum was a combination of university, club and social
gathering place. The early Ptolemies, especially, were patrons of
learning, and people of all nations met at their brilliant court,
and thus it is said “arose in Egypt the Neo-Greek culture which we
are accustomed to call Hellenism.” Literature, science and sculpture
flourished, and painting took on new forms and woke to new life. The
beautiful head of Alexander in the British Museum and many other fine
examples of sculpture have come down to us from this period.

The goldsmith’s work was also a fashionable art and as Louis XVI of
France amused himself by being a locksmith—and how differently might life
have ended for him had Nature made him of that class—Ptolemy II amused
himself by being a goldsmith.

For several years Ptolemy Sotor I, of the House of Diodachi, reigned as
nominal satrap or governor. He then assumed the title of king, which he
bore for twenty-three years, dying at the advanced age of eighty-four.
His administration was beneficial to the country, and he attached the
people to him by kindness and clemency, in marked contrast to his Persian
predecessors. He had not hesitated to secure his throne by permitting
the murder of the young king, but showed himself, in general, less cruel
and blood-thirsty than many of his contemporaries. He established wise
regulations, encouraged literature and art, and brought captive Jews to
people Alexandria. His title of Sotor or Saviour was derived from the
assistance he lent the people of Rhodes against their enemies. Though
brought up to a military life and often engaged in war he evidently did
not love it for its own sake, and was not the dashing soldier, but where
diplomacy and cautious measures would serve his purpose, preferred to
employ them.

The only portrait of Ptolemy Sotor is on the coins, coinage being
introduced into Egypt under the Ptolemies. Here he appears, like other
members of the family with a full, rounded face, a forehead not high but
fleshy over the eyes, arched brows, a nose rather too short and with
wide nostrils, a firm mouth and a prominent chin. Not so handsome as
Alexander, the Ptolemies, especially the earlier ones, must yet have had
considerable claim to good looks.

The cartouches of Ptolemy I are uncertain and not familiarly known, while
those of Ptolemy XIV and XV had not up to a very recent date been found.

What is called the throne names of the Ptolemies were as follows: Ptolemy
Sotor, Arsinoe III, and Philip Arridaeus had the same pre-nomen “chosen
of Ra, beloved of Ra.”

Arsinoe IV “Joy of the heart of Amen, chosen of Ra, living image of
Amen.” Ptolemy III and his wife were spoken of as “Fraternal gods, chosen
of Ra, living image of Amen.”

Ptolemy IV was spoken of as “heir of the beneficent gods, chosen of Ptah,
strength of the Ka of Ra, living image of Amen.”

Ptolemy VII as “heir of the (two) manifest gods, form of Ptah, chosen of
Amen, doing the rule of Ra.”

Ptolemy IX, “heir of the (two) manifest gods, chosen of Ptah, doing the
rule of Amen, living image of Ra.”

Ptolemy X, “heir of the beneficent god and of the beneficent goddess,
chosen of Ptah, doing the rule of Ra, living image of Amen.”

Ptolemy XI one cartouch “heir of the (two) beneficent gods, chosen of
Ptah, doing the rule of Amen, living image of Ra.”

A second cartouch reads “Ptolemy, called Alexander, living forever,
beloved of Ptah.” Ptolemy XIII, “heir of the god that saves, chosen of
Ptah, doing the rule of Amen, living image of Ra.”

Various amours are credited to Ptolemy I which at this late date would
be difficult to either prove or disprove, among many with a bad record
he was not notably vicious. Three wives might legally have claimed the
title, but his love was evidently given to the last and probably the
youngest. Doubtless at Alexander’s behest he first took a Persian wife,
the Princess Artakama, the daughter of Artabasus. Only two of these
Persian wives are known to appear in later history, Amestris, daughter
of Oxyartes, and probably a sister or half sister of Roxane, married to
Krateras and subsequently to Lysimachus, and Apame, who married Seleukas
and became the ancestress of the Seleukid dynasty.

Ptolemy I married the Princess Artakama 330 B. C., which would make him,
if born 367 B. C., thirty-seven years of age at his first marriage. He
again wedded Eurydike, daughter of Antipater, nine years later, and
Berenike, evidently his favorite wife, when he was fifty. All the ladies
were doubtless much his juniors. The Princess Artakama could not properly
be called queen, since she passes out of Ptolemy’s life and history
before he assumed the title of king.

The marriage with Eurydike, the daughter of Antipater, who had
subsequently made himself king of Macedon, may have been merely a matter
of policy and not dictated by any motives of affection. Ptolemy’s
subsequent action and marked preference for Berenike seems to suggest
this; but that he lived with her as his legal wife and acknowledged the
children of both is matter of history. Eurydike came with a retinue to
Egypt, in the style of a great princess. It seems to have been after the
death of her father and during the reign of her brother Cassander, with
whom Ptolemy had formed an alliance and wished to keep on peaceful terms,
perhaps this very marriage was a pledge of their friendship. We judge
Eurydike to have been of less fiery temper and disposition than Roxane,
since she seems to have accepted a successor and rival with comparative
equanimity and apparently made no effort to get rid of or destroy her.
In her train came a grand niece of Antipater, doubtless young and
beautiful, a widow with all the fascinations pertaining to that class,
which probably she did not hesitate to use upon the middle-aged king. The
situation bears some resemblance to that of Catharine of Aragon and Anne
Boleyn, though less fatal in its immediate results.

One writer has made Berenike daughter of Lagos and therefore step-sister
of Ptolemy, but Mahaffy says “it is likely he was misled by the formula
‘wife and sister’ applied to Egyptian queens as a mere title of honor
and which was probably used in many documents regarding the present
princess.” And since Sotor was one of the few Ptolemies who did not marry
his immediate relatives, it is well he should have credit therefor.

Both ladies appear to have been amiably disposed and Berenike was
evidently a strong character as well, who maintained a life-long
influence over her husband and secured for herself and her children the
first place. She was more strictly speaking the queen, since it was after
this last marriage that Ptolemy assumed the title, and it was Berenike’s
son who succeeded to the throne, as did the son of Atossa; Eurydike had
children, a son Ptolemy Keraunos and others, and several daughters, whose
claims were all set aside for those of the more favored Berenike. So
in 317 B. C. Ptolemy married his chosen princess and gave her and her
children the first place. By her previous marriage Berenike already had
three children, a son, Magas, and two daughters, Theoxena and Antigone.
These three Ptolemy seems to have accepted almost as his own, using the
princesses as the cards or dice of the great games he was playing, as
auxiliaries in cementing his political alliances. In arranging all these
marriages we may infer that Berenike’s opinions and wishes had weight and
who knows but she may have used her influence to induce Ptolemy himself
to assure the title of King of Egypt. She would be neither the first nor
the last wife who has endeavored to fire her husband with ambition.

To anticipate somewhat, her son, Magas, became King of Cyrene, and
Theoxena was married to Agathocles of Syracuse, who was an upstart and
adventurer, but clever and able and making so much of himself and his
opportunities that he had to be reckoned with by the contesting powers.
“Antigone was married to Pyrrus; Lysandra to Sassander’s son, Alexander;
Lysandra (probably a second of the name), to Agathocles, son of
Lysimachus of Thrace; Arsinoe to Lysimachus himself; Eirene to Eunostos,
king of Soli in Cyprus, and ultimately in 287 B. C., even Ptolemais to
Demetrius.” Thus Ptolemy Sotor utilized his large family, consisting, it
is said, of twelve children, to serve his political purposes.

Ptolemy Keraunos, the eldest son and rightful heir of his father, beheld,
with bitterness, himself set aside in favor of his younger brother and
continued, during his stormy life, to be a thorn in the side of the
Ptolemy succession. Our line of research is to follow the domestic
histories rather than the public acts of the king, already made familiar
by the pens of many able writers.

The first child of Sotor by his marriage with Berenike was a daughter,
later the well-known Arsinoe II, queen of Egypt. The son Ptolemy
Philadelphus, who succeeded his father, was born in 308 B. C. (on the
island of Kos, a favorite retreat from Alexandria) during one of the
campaigns of Ptolemy in the Aegean, whither Berenike had accompanied
her husband, either from the affection between them which forbade
separation, or the desire on the queen’s part to keep near the king that
she might continue to use her great influence, seeking to bend the course
of events as they arose, to her own purposes. She might well have earned
the title both of Berenike the Ambitious, and Berenike the Successful,
but scarcely those of Berenike the Just or the Generous. The virtues of
self-sacrifice and generosity were sometimes shown under the ancient
moral code, but consideration and Justice were fruits of the Christian

Ptolemy Sotor did not marry young, but lived to see his children grow
up and to associate with him, on the throne, his son Ptolemy, called
Philadelphus, son of Berenike, and for the last years of his life seemed
to have resigned the regal power into his hands. So large a family,
composed of such diverse elements, would, even in modern times, have been
apt to have difficulties as regards matters of inheritance, and it is
little to be wondered at perhaps that such was supremely the case in this
instance. But, during his lifetime, the arrangements of Ptolemy Sotor
seem to have been accepted, in a great degree, and it was not till after
his death that a fierce conflict broke out among the rival claimants.

Ptolemy Sotor is said to have eaten with the poor and borrowed plate
from the rich. The use of gold, silver and copper coins had been common
in Phoenicia and other countries before it was introduced into Egypt by
the first Ptolemy, but Poole says “the monograms and symbols indicating
mints are more constant and regular in the coinage of the Ptolemies than
in any other series of Greek regal money.” The pictures of the kings and
queens on the coins, albeit frequently conventionalized, assist us much
in our search for knowledge concerning them. The regular silver coinage
presents the heads of kings and queens on one side, often those of the
gods, eagles, etc., on the other. The place of the mint name was usually
on the reverse side, and, if dated, on opposite sides of the field. A
rare place for the mint name was between the legs of the eagle. The gold
coinage was often not struck in the time of those whose heads it bears.
Thus Philadelphus honored both his parents after their decease. Queen
Berenike I appears on the coins both alone and with her husband. The face
is dignified and beautiful, a straight Greek nose and regular features.
Of her death we find no record, but she appears to have been loved and
honored by both husband and son, and whichever survived her no doubt she
was buried with all possible respect.

Though many wars occurred during the reign of Ptolemy Sotor, yet it
was so long that he had also much time to spare for the internal
administration and improvement of his kingdom, and some writers believe
that many things of benefit thereto, attributed to Ptolemy Philadelphus
should really be credited, at least in their inception, to Ptolemy
Sotor. He built and added to some of the finest temples, extended and
adorned Alexandria and is said to have written a history of Alexander’s
campaigns, which, unfortunately, has been lost, and showed his
appreciation of mental attainments by surrounding himself with men of
learning and culture.

Queen Eurydike seems to have endured with what grace she might the
secondary place accorded to her and her children, till the younger
Ptolemy was made king, when they all left Egypt, no doubt in bitterness
of soul and resolved if possible to wrest from him, whom they regarded as
a usurper of his elder brother’s rights, his regal powers.

The Ptolemies, called the Lagidae, were a popular race. Ptolemy Sotor
seems to have possessed much suavity and personal charm of manner, and
the Egyptians and other conquered peoples were treated by him and the
earlier Ptolemies with much more consideration and humanity than by other
more ruthless conquerors. Ptolemy Sotor is said to have had at least
twelve children by different wives, as well as by the courtezan Thais.
Statues of him are mentioned by various writers, but have not been found,
and his portrait on the coins is the only one that remains to us. The
three earliest members of the family seem to have a stronger claim to
good looks than their successors, who, both in regularity of outline and
general expression, are distinctly below the ancestral level.

Eurydike, though probably the elder, may have survived her rival, but
their part was now played on the stage of history and they passed from
the scene, leaving it to a multitude of other actresses, some of whom
excelled them in beauty and celebrity, while others remain to us but as a
shadow and a name.



The most prominent figure in the long and involved list of Ptolemy
queens, next to that of the famed Cleopatra, is Arsinoe II, daughter of
Sotor and Berenike, and sister and wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus. She is
spoken of on the Mendes stele, now at Gizeh, as “the charming princess,
the most attractive, lovely and beautiful, the crowned one, who has
received the double diadem, whose splendor fills the palace, the friend
of the sacred Ram and his priestess Uta Utaba, the king’s sister and wife
who loves him, the queen Arsinoe.” And of no other queen do we find so
many monuments in various parts of the Greek world.

To the day of Arsinoe’s death she seems to have had the strongest hold
upon her husband’s affections and no token of honor and respect was
too great to lavish upon her while living, or to eulogize her merits
after her decease. The early part of her life was a tragic story, but
she survived the cruel sorrows which might have killed a woman of less
toughness of fibre than that which distinguished all the female members
of the Ptolemy race, and lived through a prosperous and successful middle
life, turning her back on the bitterness of the past and making the most
of the honors and dignity which came to her in the course of years.

[Illustration: ARSINOE.]

In placing his younger son on the throne, instead of the elder, who
would usually have been considered the rightful heir, Ptolemy Sotor
may have been influenced by the personal character of the two, as well
as by other motives. The elder bore the name of Ptolemy Keraunos, a
soubriquet or nick-name meaning gloomy or violent, and was “of fiery
temper and unsteady life.” Mahaffy suggests that the thunderbolt added
to the Ptolemy coins at the time of his birth possibly gave rise to the
nick-name. History does not chronicle details, but there may have been
actual quarrels between father and son, a state of affairs not unknown
in modern times. Be this as it may, the younger was preferred before
the elder. Neither succession perhaps could have prevented subsequent
bitterness of feeling and strife. Yet peace was outwardly observed during
the life of the old king. Keraunos submitted and left Egypt with his
mother, brothers and sister, while Berenike’s son was made king, co-ruler
with his father (who virtually abdicated in 285-4) with feasts and

Ptolemy the younger was “fair haired and delicate” in youth, resembling
his father, but with more regular features, and the thick neck
characteristic of many members of the family. His manners were gentle as
well as popular and probably he had already shown an appreciation of his
father’s policy and a taste for intellectual and scientific pursuits. Few
fathers would not take more pleasure in the succession of a son likely
to carry out their views, than in one who seemed disposed to change and
alter all their arrangements.

Gorgeous pageants celebrated the advent of the new king. His father, it
may be said, had in a certain measure slipped into power; not so with
the son, his successor. It was a matter of direct inheritance and in
Egypt at least his claim was not disputed. Whatever assistance Ptolemy
Keraunos secured was from foreign aid and not from partizans at home. The
banqueting hall was decorated with sculpture and painted and carpeted
with flowers, the gold and silver vessels, crown treasures, were carried
in the grand procession. There were fruits of all sorts displayed and
droves of camels, elephants and other wild animals. Elephants were then
much in favor as battle chargers with the kings of this period, and
though the Ptolemies made less use of them in this respect, they too had
large numbers of them. Their popularity, however, soon declined and in
later wars they were no longer deemed available. Ptolemy Sotor presented
the victors in the games at his son’s coronation with twenty crowns,
Queen Berenike with twenty-three.

Historical and allegorical tableaux were interspersed and eighty thousand
troops of cavalry and infantry took part. It must have been a combination
of the circus processions of modern times, with less tinsel and more of
solid value, with a fine military parade. It delighted the people from
morning till evening and showed to all strangers the wealth and power of
the Ptolemy House.

Spite of gentle seeming, as soon as his father’s death left him in
possession of the regal power, the new king made it quite clear he would
tolerate no rival and meant to keep possession of all he had gained. Like
his father, perhaps, he had no special taste for the shedding of blood;
indeed he is said to have deplored what he considered the necessity of
pursuing this policy, none the less did he hesitate to do so to secure
his throne, and several people were put to death whom he thought might
give him trouble. Probably his elder brother would have been among these
could he have laid his hand on him. It was mortal strife between them,
and Ptolemy Keraunos was now in another country doing his best to unseat
the young king.

Some years before her brother’s accession the young Arsinoe, a girl of
sixteen, first child of Ptolemy Sotor and Berenike, had married, or
rather been married, to the elderly Lysimachus, King of Thrace (disparity
of years was of course of no account in a political marriage), and had
exchanged her sunny Egyptian home for the cooler and more rigorous
climate of the mountainous regions of Northern Greece. Beautiful, clever
and ambitious, as were most of the Ptolemy women, she was prominent among
them and destined to have strong influence wherever she went, especially
over two at least of the men with whom she was most closely associated.
This marriage took place about 300 B. C.

So anxious was Ptolemy Sotor to cement the alliance between Lysimachus
and himself, that marriage after marriage was arranged for and it might
have been supposed that the two families were so closely united that
peace among them had been secured. His step-daughter Lysandra was given
to the Thracian Crown Prince Agathocles, thus making her at the same time
sister and daughter-in-law of Arsinoe, who was probably the younger of
the two, and not content with this, a marriage was arranged between the
young king of Egypt and Arsinoe, daughter of Lysimachus, and half-sister
of Agathocles, who thus became Queen Arsinoe I of Egypt.

She, too, was a person of spirit, decision and character, bloodshed
marked her footsteps; she caused an illicit lover of her mother’s to be
slain, and is said herself, young though she was, to have hastened on
her marriage with the Egyptian king. One of policy rather than affection
probably on both sides. It requires a clear head to follow out these
complicated relationships. Arsinoe I had attained her ambition, but it
was a position, in those unsettled times, involving quite as much peril
as honor. She became the mother of several children, but whether her life
was a happy one we may justly have our doubts. It held, however, less
tragedy than that of her successor. Perhaps she was neither beautiful
nor winning, certain it is that the courtesies which were subsequently
paid to various queens, of putting their likeness on the coins and naming
cities after them, were omitted in her case.

Ptolemy Philadelphus founded, it is said, four Berenikes in honor of
his mother, eighteen Arsinoes, in honor of his second wife, and three
Philoteras, in honor of his sister, in Egypt and elsewhere. These last
were out of regard to a favorite sister Philotera, who dwelt in single
blessedness—shall we call it a rare privilege in those days?—and lived in
great harmony with her brother and his queens. As to the queen, Arsinoe
II, so to the maiden sister also poems were addressed by the versifiers
of the times.

The Thracian Arsinoe I, notwithstanding her early self-assertion, seems
to have made little mark either upon her husband or upon Egypt. The
comparative neglect with which she was treated may have embittered her
and made true the accusation brought against her of having conspired
against the life of her husband. If it was true she was leniently dealt
with. She was divorced about 277 B. C. in the eighth or ninth year of
Ptolemy’s reign, and banished to Koptos, where she lived in some state
and appears from certain records to have been accompanied or visited by
her younger son. She kept up her intercourse, too, perhaps with some of
her Thracian relatives; and built shrines to the gods. The very fact
that her life did not pay the forfeit of her alleged crime seems to
throw doubt upon it. Or possibly, though this seems less likely, Arsinoe
II, her supplanter, who in general, her purpose accomplished, showed no
desire for the shedding of blood, may have induced the king to spare her.
We can only surmise.

Ptolemy Philadelphus was a prosperous and popular king; living in
comparative peace in sunny Egypt with his Thracian wife, remote from
most of the wars which were carried on in his name and caring little what
battles raged at a distance so that he preserved himself and his kingdom
in relative quiet. There were wars and rebellions afar, there were times
even when Egypt itself was threatened, but through it all, at home,
Ptolemy was able to pursue a relatively peaceful way. He spent his time
adorning his splendid city and enlarging and, so to call it, emphasizing
the scope of his great museum, a combination of university, club and
social gathering place. The early Ptolemies, especially, were patrons
of learning and people of all nations met at their brilliant court. He
gathered around him men of intellectual and scientific pursuits and
enjoyed mental pleasures as well as those of a lower order. His courtiers
lavished upon him unstinted adulation and he might well have walked the
earth as proudly as the great Rameses II, his predecessor.

It is to him we owe the translation of the Bible called the Septuagent,
from the seventy translators who were gathered together to accomplish the
task. Manetho, of Sebennytus, a priest of Heliopolis, was also employed
by the king to collect the fragments of Egyptian history, from the time
of Menes 4455 B. C. to 322 B. C. which had lain hidden or neglected in
the various temples, and prepare from them a consecutive narrative. But
unfortunately only fragments of this also now remain to us, and it is
from these, given by Josephus and other Jewish and Christian writers that
we have obtained our earliest knowledge, in a literary form, of Egyptian
history. This work enjoyed a high reputation.

The king himself must have had some literary ability, or at least a
pretty turn for the use of the pen, for he wrote a history of Alexander’s
conquests. That it was much celebrated and lauded goes without saying;
even in modern times the literary productions of king or president are
much in demand and widely read. But of its intrinsic merits we are unable
to judge, since it too is lost to us, an unfortunate fact, as it could
not fail to have been of interest, whatever its method of treatment or
literary value.

Ptolemy made wise laws and so far as he could, combined with his own
personal advantage, wrought in every way for the internal improvement of
his kingdom. Notwithstanding the modern assertions of liberty, equality
and fraternity, it may be doubted whether in all ages and at all times
man is not more or less a slave to circumstance and environment, but
certainly the slaves of the early Ptolemies might have contrasted
favorably both with those that who came before and those who came after.
Less trampled upon and oppressed than in the reigns of the Pyramid
builders, the great Rameses, or the Persian line, they appear also to
have been better off and more peaceful than under the later Ptolemy

Ptolemy, ably seconded by his favorite wife, was devoted to the service
of the temples and favorable to the priests, a policy which helped to
strengthen his place and power. He built and restored temples both to
the gods of Greece and Egypt. These last were approached in solemn
procession, and were not merely, like the Greeks, to hold images of the
gods, or like the later Christian places of worship to accommodate a
congregation. They had a holy of holies, into which only the high priest
entered. Through the avenue of sphinxes, which frequently gave entrance
to the temples, the long line would wind from their gaily decorated boats
on the Nile, while the sacred lakes and the sacred grove were generally
within the enclosure. The pylons or entrances were most imposing and an
open court and a great hall beyond, with colonnades and columns, adorned
with sculpture and paintings, gave entrance to this highest sanctuary,
containing the symbol of the god or sacred animal.

No traces remain of the temple building of Ptolemy Philadelphus beyond
the beautiful island of Philae; but at many other points ruins and
fragments are to be found. Those of the temple of Isis in Hebt are near
the present Mausura. These are of red and grey granite, with columns
and architraves. There are figures of the king making offerings to Isis
and among others an inscription which reads “Isis, Mistress of Hebit,
who lays everything before her royal brother.” Of the portrait statues
of the Egyptian kings and queens Dr. Lepsius says: “They wear the same
character of monumental repose as the gods themselves and yet without
the possibility of their human individuality being confounded with the
universally typical features of the divine images.”

But intellectual, or so called religious pursuits, not alone shared
Ptolemy’s heart and attention. His was a pleasure-loving nature;
beautiful women thronged his court, sought his favor and beamed upon him
with smiles and blandishments. No claim of legal wife, not even the true
and devoted affection which he showed so plainly that he felt for his
latest spouse, prevented his indulging in baser connections. He was the
king—if no other man—the king at least might do as he pleased, there was
none to criticise, none to prevent. Then, too, he amused himself with
his goldsmith’s work, bench and tools doubtless occupied some favorite
nook in the palace, and since this fancy is matter of record, we may
judge that he turned out some creditable specimens of work, was no mean
craftsman and perhaps adorned with his own skill the favorite of the
hour, or the plumb and beautiful form of his beloved Arsinoe II.

To the personal history of this same princess, the subject of the present
sketch, we turn once more. Like Roxane, wife of Alexander, she in a
measure deserved and prepared the way for her own subsequent misfortunes.
She was queen of Thrace, a distinguished and honorable position, but
obtained at the cost of the honor, feelings and probably affections of
the previous queen. Lysimachus had lived at Sardis, apparently in harmony
with a noble Persian wife, Amestris. But, probably for political reasons
alone, he sent her away, and married the young daughter of Ptolemy Sotor.

The new queen of Thrace resembled her mother Berenike in her ambition
and tact. She, too, acquired great influence over an old husband, as
far as in her lay, ousted her step-children from their natural rights,
and secured all she could for her own. She obtained from the king the
session of several valuable towns, but was not contented. Again like
her mother before her she wished to supplant the elder members of the
family. At this crisis Ptolemy Keraunos, “the Embroiler,” arrived at the
Thracian court, and instead of, as might have been expected, siding with
his own sister Lysandra, who had married the Crown Prince, Agathocles,
calumniated him to the king, showing how completely the old man was under
Arsinoe’s powerful influence, and succeeded in having the prince put
to death. None of which shows Arsinoe in a very amiable light, but she
doubtless thought one must fight for one’s self, by whatever means, or be
driven to the wall.

There were other allies, Magas, King of Cyrene and half brother of
Ptolemy Keraunos, seems to have leaned to his side, in the contest which
the latter was waging for his rights, and been ready to throw off the
yoke of Egypt. These were stirring times, men and women too, whether they
would or not must lead “the strenuous life.” Seleukos, King of Syria,
lent aid to Ptolemy Keraunos, and attacked Lysimachus, who lost his life
in battle, but instead of proceeding further to place Keraunos on the
throne of Egypt, as the latter expected, he suddenly determined to go
back to his old home in Macedonia. Disappointed and enraged, Keraunos
secured the murder of Seleukos and proclaimed himself king in his place.
That he could have succeeded in this gigantic scheme, Mahaffy considers,
shows him to have had many fellow conspirators.

His Egyptian projects had now to be abandoned, as Antiochus, son of
Seleukos, was already hastening to avenge the death of his father. So
Keraunos, nothing loth probably, seized upon the throne of Thrace, the
king and his eldest son both being dead. Grabbing a Kingdom seems to have
been comparatively easy—the pastime of adventurers in those days—but
it was frequently “light come and light go”—there was seldom any real
stability in these self-made royalties.

Again Arsinoe, the Egyptian born, appears in an unfavorable light (though
how far independence of action or any other course was possible to her
we cannot judge) for she married this murderer of kings, the son of her
father’s first wife. Doubtless she must have foreseen the possibility
of ill consequences, for she was a woman of acute mind, but probably in
the midst of such troublous times and so many perplexities it seemed
the safest thing to her to marry the strongest, the man who had proved
himself a success, and she believed that it would secure her and her
children the throne of Thrace. She had already lent herself to cruel
deeds to secure this object, she must needs go on in the same path. Few
more unlovely characters than Keraunos appear in this dark period of
history. It is evident that he simply married Arsinoe to get her in his
power, for no sooner had he done so than he murdered her young children
and banished her childless and heart-broken to the island of Samothrace,
to repent in bitterness of soul her sad mistake. Two years later the
monster was overthrown in battle, dragged from his elephant, and hacked
to pieces by the barbarous Gauls, leaving, we may imagine, but few to
mourn his well-deserved fate.

Meanwhile the childless widow, stripped of throne, honors and kindred
abode in the holy, isle. To her perhaps life seemed ended, little
foreseeing the splendid future before her. Turning to religious
consolations in time of sorrow, she worshipped the strange divinities of
the place, building shrines to them, of which traces have been discovered
in modern times, and even adding them to the long list of Egyptian
divinities and building temples to them when she returned to her native

Deeply attached to her as he proved himself to be later, we cannot
suppose Ptolemy Philadelphus to have been unmoved by the great
misfortunes of his sister, but news traveled slowly in those days, and
whatever the cause, he seems to have done nothing at once to avenge her
losses. Whether at his instance or hers we know not, but after a certain
length of time Arsinoe returned to Egypt. She took new hold of life and
perhaps even began to scheme for the attainment of the honors which she
shortly won. Recognized or not, her presence was a menace to the reigning
queen. Equally it remains possible that she was innocent in this matter,
further than acquiescence in the wishes of the king, but her previous
course in Thrace lends color to the former idea.

So Arsinoe I was banished and Ptolemy married the widow, who now
became Arsinoe II, called Philadelphus during her lifetime, and only
subsequently was the title bestowed upon her husband to distinguish him
among the long list of Ptolemy kings. This strange marriage was quite in
accordance with Egyptian customs, where the queen was frequently called
the king’s sister, as a term of honor, whether she was so or not, and
shows how the Ptolemies had accepted Egyptian ideas, which no doubt
largely account for their popularity. But to the Greeks such unions were
an offence and deemed, as we would in a Christian age, incestuous. But
the king was absolute, one of the courtiers, if not more, who dared to
criticise and disapprove, paid with life for his temerity.

The first marriage occurred probably when Arsinoe II was about sixteen,
her third and last when she was thirty-nine or forty. There can be little
doubt that she had beauty and charm, a vigorous mind and great tact. She
needed scope for her powers and in becoming queen of Egypt found a field
well suited to her desires and abilities. We seem to see some resemblance
between her and Queen Mertytefs of ancient times. Both were in succession
wife to different kings, both were women of great attractiveness and
capacity, and both took a personal share in public affairs. Step by step
the new queen rose to greater prominence. Her sorrows were of the past,
now life was all sunshine. She attained the highest point to which mortal
could reach, she was finally worshipped as a goddess, and on a certain
stele found at Pithon, she is even represented as a deity bestowing
favors on her husband.

In the fifteenth year of Ptolemy’s reign Arsinoe II was made goddess of
Mende, in the nineteenth at Thebes and in the twentieth or twenty-first,
as Isis-Arsinoe, she was worshipped at Sais, and the king claimed these
honors for her in all the temples of Egypt. There had been a city, the
centre of the Egyptian worship of the crocodile, this Ptolemy re-named
after the queen; it was enlarged, embellished and Hellenised to a great
extent by the introduction of the Greek language and the erection of
temples to the Greek gods and institutions on a Greek pattern. Its
population at one time was said to amount to a hundred thousand.

Among other attractions for the king, perhaps, was also the fact that
Arsinoe was a great heiress. She had proprietary claims on Cassandrea,
Pontiac, Heraclia and its dependent cities, bestowed on her by her first
husband. In the region called the Fayum, the former Lake Moeris was
drained and turned into a fertile plain and this work was attributed to
Arsinoe and it was now called the Arsinoe nome, and from it the queen
derived part of her revenues. Old records show that it was settled by
veteran soldiers who brought wives from Greek lands, and that it was an
orderly and well managed society, with few crimes laid to its account.

Arsinoe II was an ideal stepmother, in the better sense of the word.
The children of Ptolemy were treated by her as her own—only one son
appears to have accompanied his mother into exile, if even he remained
permanently with her—all the others dwelt in apparent harmony and
affection with her supplanter. Thus Ptolemy Philadelphus had an
intellectual companion whose advice he sought and upon whose judgment
he relied, whose personal charms were great, who made life smooth and
agreeable and who dwelt at peace both with his favorite sister and his
children. While last, and perhaps not least in her catalogue of virtues
in his eyes, she was lenient to his defections from the moral code and
saved him from the desire and peril of other alliances. Such as she was
the king seems to have idolized her and paid her every possible honor
in life and in death. That she was some years his senior in no way
interfered with a marriage apparently most congenial to both.

Deprived first of parents, then of husband, children and throne Arsinoe
had a strange and rare experience, virtually a second life lay before
her, surpassing in all respects her earlier career. She dwelt in light
and airy palaces built of brick and wood, richly decorated with color,
adorned with balconies and surrounded by gardens and ponds. The music
of tambourine, drum and flute, violin with one string, zither, lute or
mandolin—and song and chorus, she had but to speak her pleasure and
silence became melodious. Rhythm but not time, and monotonous singing
through the nose, not pleasing to the European ear, is said to describe
Egyptian music of to-day and probably that of the past also, but it was
doubtless to their taste. The queen, too, had the privilege of being
priestess in the temples and playing the sacred sistrum before the gods.
She dwelt in an increasingly beautiful city, with wide streets, splendid
palaces and many fine buildings.

Her associations were with men of culture and learning. She was
surrounded by courtiers and poets who paid her homage and wrote in her
praise. Doubtless, too, through her many tried to obtain favors from
and influence with the king. She was for those times a deeply religious
woman, building temples to the gods and lavishing gifts upon them.
Thereby, of course, she endeared herself to the priests, always a more or
less influential class, and it was probably owing to this, in addition
to her husband’s partiality, that she was, even during her lifetime,
deified. Both she and the king, we may judge, had affable and agreeable
manners and both seem to have been very popular with the people.

In all the concerns of the kingdom she took an active share, and it
is said that “no queen till we reach the last Cleopatra ever wielded
greater political influence.” Wars and rumors of wars there were, but
Egypt itself in this reign rested in comparative peace. The queen’s life
must have been busy and full of interest, thus enabling her to recover
from her earlier sorrows. Egypt was a country flowing not with milk and
honey, but with oil and wine, the juices of the olive and the grape,
from which large revenues were derived. As the great museum is said to
have formed part of the palace, and contained cloisters or porticoes, a
public theatre, or lecture room, and an immense dining hall, where the
learned feasted together, it is possible that the queen may have been no
unfamiliar figure within its walls. The person of the Ptolemy queens was
doubtless as well known to the people as the wife of many a modern ruler,
the Persian custom of strict seclusion for women not obtaining among the
Greeks and their descendants.

There is a story told of Queen Arsinoe II, considered reliable, to the
effect that she took exception to the ordering of a feast to one of the
gods, remarking “this is a shabby consorting together, for the company
must be a mixed crowd of all sorts, the food stale and not decently
served,” and thereafter provided for better arrangements at her own
expense. Hitherto each guest, somewhat in the manner of a modern country
picnic, having brought a miscellaneous and disorderly collection. And
whatever the queen did in the matter was doubtless accepted by the king.

Together with his sister, the royal pair travelled through the country
and cities were founded bearing the name of both ladies. Together the
king and queen seem to have governed and planned for the internal
improvement of the kingdom, studying its needs and necessities by
personal inspection. They made two visits to Pithon, and their foreign
officials brought back elephants and various curiosities, to pleasure
their majesties, or by special command. Part of the text of an ancient
inscription found in the mounds of the ruins of this very city reads:
“He brought all the things which are agreeable to the king, and to his
sister, his royal wife who loves him;” further, “and he built a great
city to the king with the illustrious name of the king, the lord of
Egypt, Ptolemais. And he took possession of it with the soldiers of his
majesty and all the workmen of Egypt and the land of Punt.” Also they
caught elephants and in another place it proceeds, “and in this place
(Kemuer-sea) the king had founded a large city to his sister, with the
illustrious name of King Ptolemy (Philotera).” The same beloved sister,
to whom, as well as to the queen herself, court poets, like Callimachus,
addressed poems. Sanctuaries were also built there to the princess

The delicate and pleasure-loving king never commanded his armies in
person, but was quick to take advantage of anything in his own favor. He
sent ambassadors to treat with the great and growing power of Rome, and
made alliances wherever possible with any power strong enough to do his
harm. With Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, he was connected by the marriage of
a step-sister, Antigone; his mother, Berenike’s daughter, by her first

Always beside the king, Arsinoe II was a woman of affairs, busy and
capable, but not too much occupied to enjoy the amenities of life and
make it agreeable to her consort. In his foreign wars and alliances,
in the internal improvement of the kingdom, in his literary work, the
story of Alexander’s campaigns, in Manetho’s History of Egypt, in the
translation of the Septuagent, in the additions to the great library in
which at the time of his death Ptolemy Philadelphus is said to have left
700,000 volumes, in the marriages of his children we cannot doubt the
queen’s active interest and sympathetic share, above all others she was
the Privy Councillor.

At Karnak and various points along the Nile as far as Philae, are
fragments of temples both to Egyptian and Greek gods, built or restored
by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and both he and his wife were interested in
the Cabeiri mysteries, probably in their later years as some one has
well said, “to still the longings of the soul with spiritual food and
with dim revelations of the unseen,” here, too, perhaps, we may see the
queen’s influence, since they were celebrated with special solemnity at
Samothrace, the home of her widowhood. The king and queen lived in an
atmosphere of adulation, like that which surrounded Louis XIV. Writers of
the time drew flattering pictures of them and coarse caricatures of the
masses. As to-day newspapers, whatever the private convictions of their
editors, will bow and truckle to what they believe to be the popular view
of any subject, so in ancient times it was the king and queen alone and
those in high places who thus swayed the pen.

Some writers believe that Ptolemy and Arsinoe had one son who died in
youth, but the weight of testimony is against this. In regard to the
marriages of her step-children, whom she had brought up as her own, we
may well believe the queen’s influence was great. The eldest daughter,
Berenike, the child of Arsinoe I, was married to Antiochus II, the sickly
king of Syria, chiefly in the hope of establishing an Egyptian claim to
the throne of that monarchy. Sacrificed like so many young princesses,
both before and after, to political purposes. Yet Ptolemy Philadelphus
seems to have regarded this daughter with especial tenderness, for he
accompanied her to her husband’s kingdom, was present at the marriage,
and continued to send her the water of the fertile, beloved and
worshipped Nile for use in her distant home. To accomplish this marriage
Antiochus II had put away his first wife, Laodike. But this last was
not a woman to submit meekly to such indignity, and stopped at nothing
to recover her lost position. Who did in those days—even the best of
them—hesitate at any crime to secure her object? The injured queen,
burning to avenge her wrongs, caused the king to be poisoned, he, perhaps
weakly, having put himself in her power by going to see her at Ephesus,
even after the birth of a son by the new queen. Nor was this enough, for
the death of her rival was also determined upon, Laodike having many
adherents, and ere her father could come to her rescue, poor Berenike
and her babe were also murdered, innocent victims of political intrigue.
Ptolemy Philadelphus perhaps lived long enough to hear of this tragic
death, but not long enough to avenge it—a task he left to the son who
succeeded him.

Of the personality and general characteristics of no queen in the long
Ptolemy line can we gather a clearer idea from the records that remain
to us. There is a statue of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe II in the
Vatican, with, Mahaffy thinks, the dear sister Philactera beside them.
Not only on coins, but among the effigies at the entrance of the Odeum
at Athens, where the statues of the Egyptian kings were set up, she had
her place. Pausanius also saw at Helicon a statue of her “riding upon an
ostrich in bronze.” A position elevated, but lacking in dignity, perhaps,
like a grey-haired lady on the modern bicycle. “It is very likely,”
continues Mahaffy, “that this statue or a replica was present to the mind
of Callicachus when he spake in the ‘Coma Berinices,’ of ‘the winged
horse, brother of the Aethiopian Memnon, who is the messenger of Queen
Arsinoe, she is also in that poem called Venus and Zaphyrion.”

From the coins we learn of Arsinoe II that there were octadrams in all
metals with her image, and those with portraits of Ptolemy I and Berenike
I, and those of Ptolemy II and herself; and in silver of Ptolemy I, and
also of her alone, struck in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus; also
gold coins with Arsinoe II alone. The coins of Arsinoe II were mainly
octadrams in gold and decadrams in silver. On these and also on those of
her step-daughter, Berenike II, both queens are diademed and veiled, with
regular features, indisputably handsome but conventionalized. Arsinoe II
appears with the horn of Zeus Amon, diadem, stephane or crown, veil and
sceptre. She is beautiful in youth and still handsome, though more portly
as depicted in later years. Most of the Ptolemy queens grew comfortably
plump with time; the murder of a rival or even the death of their nearest
relatives appears to have interfered little with their digestion.

But death earnest last to put an end to these ceaseless activities,
whether by slow decay or sudden illness, we know not. Ptolemy
Philadelphia died 247 B. C., Arsinoe II, some say 270 B. C., but we
have no precise date. The king was in no sense a faithful lover, since
he had a succession of feminine favorites, alternating in the company of
philosophers and mistresses. Yet he seems to have mourned Arsinoe with
a passionate grief, and indulged in what may be called wild schemes to
do her honor. One of these was the building of a temple with a loadstone
in the roof which should hold, suspended in mid-air, an iron statue of
the queen. In everything he had leaned upon her, and she had made life
agreeable to him, his sorrow for her loss was sincere and deep. Her
popularity with the people was also widespread, more inscriptions in
her honor have been found all over Egypt than of those of any of the
succeeding queens.

Ptolemy Philadelphus reigned more than thirty-six years and left his
kingdom peacefully to his son Euergetes, whose name had long been
associated with his in public acts.



Ptolemy Euergetes, the Benefactor, son of Ptolemy Philadelphus and
Arsinoe II, was the third of his race to become king of Egypt. He
ascended the throne when past his early youth, and appears to have
remained unmarried until this time. We know little of his early life, and
one writer suggests that the all-pervading power and influence of his
stepmother, Arsinoe II, may have caused him to absent himself from his
native land, but this is merely hypothesis.

He chose for himself, or his father chose for him, Berenike, daughter
and heiress of Magas, King of Cyrene, who at the time of their marriage
was reigning queen in her father’s stead, the Egyptian prince having
been declared Lord of Cyrene, and on this marriage King Consort, while
she now became Berenike II of Egypt. Magas was the son of Berenike
I, the grandmother of Euergetes by a marriage previous to that with
Ptolemy Sotor, hence there was a sort of cousinship between Euergetes
and his bride. Personal acquaintance there may have been also, and real
affection, of which it is pleasant to read, appears between them. It is
said too that no breath of scandal touched Ptolemy Euergetes’ name,
which is indeed an unique record in his family. Like many other princes,
and others of a later day, Euergetes may have been sent abroad to
complete his education and see some thing of the world. If these travels
led him to Cyrene, as appears likely, since he was proclaimed Lord of the
same on the death of Magas, he may have become familiar with the lady of
his choice and seen or heard tales of her prowess. A brave and valiant
figure, this same Berenike II, warm-hearted, affectionate and courageous
to a degree. Stories are told of her valor in rescuing her father, when
in the midst of enemies, by riding in among and putting them to flight.
Like the late Empress of Austria she was a splendid horsewoman, was
accustomed to break horses for the Olympian games and performed other
equestrian feats.

An individual figure was she, like her predecessor on the throne of
Egypt, Arsinoe II, but a very different one, save in the fact that the
husband of both seemed devoted to them. With these experiences behind
her Berenike could not have been very young when she became queen of
Egypt. Such as she was, doubtless handsome, intrepid and fascinating,
she won the heart of a prince to whom she seems to have given her own
unreservedly; even so the course of true love did not run quite smooth.
Her mother, Berenike, also opposed the match, for reasons not given, but
did not succeed in breaking it off. One line by a poet of the time gives
an attractive touch to the picture of the new queen.

“He who seated facing thee sees and hears thy laughter sweet.”

Of her, too, we have portraits on the coins, beautiful, regular-featured
and conventional. These were gold octadrams and others. In some she
appears with the king, in some alone, with diadem, veil and necklace.
Others are remarkable for the absence of the veil, there is a cornucopia
and it is accompanied by a single star. Berenike II was the first
Egyptian queen who bore her title on the coins.

Shortly before the accession of Ptolemy III and his marriage, which
occurred 247 B. C., had come the tragic news of the murder of his sister
Berenike, the young queen of Syria, of which it is uncertain whether his
father was aware. Euergetes, apparently the most personally valiant and
warlike of the three first Ptolemies, set out to avenge her death.

Queen Berenike II implored the gods to restore her beloved husband, and
vowed to Venus the tresses of her hair, bright, beautiful and abundant,
in case of his safe return. Fragments of papyri, found by Professor
Petrie, confirm the fact that the king was successful in his war, and
came again in triumph. With what rejoicing he was received by his wife we
can well imagine, who faithfully carried out her vow and this “woman’s
crown” was placed in the sanctuary. The king, while highly appreciating
this token of affection, must have felt some regret at the sacrifice. It
recalls a story of later date where the Duchess of Marlborough, of the
time of William III, cut off her beautiful hair, not to dedicate it to
the gods, but to throw it indignantly at her husband’s feet, as revenge
for some act of his of which she did not approve. She had not even the
satisfaction of rousing him, for he took no notice, but after his death
she found locked up in a drawer her heavy curls, which he had always

Berenike’s hair, however, was stolen from the temple, to the grief and
indignation of the king. To account for it courtiers and poets devised
legends and the mathematician Conon said it had been raised to the
heavens to become a constellation, the “Coma Berenice,” a small group of
stars still to be seen. Of this miracle Catullus wrote:

    “Behold we stream along the liquid air,
    A radiant lock of Berenice’s hair,
    Which the fond queen with hands uplifted vow’d
    A welcome offering to each favoring god.”

And speaking of the king it continues:

    “Speed his return, with triumph crown his stay,
    And subject Asian realms to Egypt’s sway;
    This once attained, among the gods I shine,
    Absolving all thy oaths a new made sign.”
    “That the yellow tresses of my fair
    Sacred to love might gild the illumed air.”

And the hair, impersonated by the poet, laments its separation from its
mistress’s head. These flights of fancy were no doubt very pleasing to
the king.

Like her mother-in-law, if to a less degree, Berenike II seems to have
taken an active interest in the affairs of the kingdom. At Canopus,
an old trading post, a temple was erected to the king and queen, who
were there deified as “Benefactor Gods,” referring probably to the
active measures which they took to avert a threatened famine. From the
Canopus decree which bears some resemblance to the celebrated Rosetta
stone, and from a gold plaque found in the ruins of tombs we obtain
this information. In the sanctuary at Philae is still a pedestal placed
here by Euergetes and his wife, on which stood the sacred boat with the
image of Isis, and on a wall in the same temple is his father Ptolemy
Philadelphus offering incense and pouring water on the altar.

To the Princess Berenike, probably the first child of this marriage, who
had died, a statue was set up, beside the gods. The head-dress of young
Berenike differs in that it has two ears of corn, in the midst of which
is the asp-shaped diadem, behind is a papyrus-shaped sceptre, about which
the tail of the diadem’s serpent is wound.

The year after the Canopus decree, the tenth of his reign, Ptolemy
Euergetes went with great pomp to the refounding of the temple of Edfu,
in Upper Egypt, one of the most splendid with which the Ptolemy name is
connected, and where a great feast was held for six days.

We know but little definitely about the private life of the king and
queen, but one or two incidents connected with her are preserved. Other
wives or mistresses, claimants on her husband’s affection, made no
figure, if they existed, so we may believe Berenike’s marriage relations
to have been more than usually peaceful and happy. One pleasant anecdote
is told of her which Mahaffy gives in a footnote. While the king was
one day playing at dice, an officer came to him to read out a list of
criminals to be condemned, but the queen gently took it away and would
not allow him to decide so important a matter so hastily, and at such a
time, and it further states that the king yielded to her wishes. That the
queen thus dared to interfere and the king so readily accepted her action
seems to give proof of the peculiarly amiable relations existing between

The queen is also spoken of as a patroness of various aromatic oils,
toilette articles, etc., which leads us to suppose she was particular
about and careful of her personal appearance. Ptolemy Euergetes was, like
his predecessor, fat and handsome, with a full, voluptuous face. The
early Ptolemies all had full, voluptuous faces, but handsome, while in
the cases of their successors the features were less regular, the nose
sharper, and the chin more prominent.

The royal pair had several children, of whom the oldest succeeded his
father, the king dying in the twenty-fifth year of his reign. The three
first Ptolemies were men of mark, their descendants were decadents,
profligate, perfidious and cruel, unfaithful in every way to moral
obligations and their task of governing.

Ptolemy Philopator was a young man when he ascended the throne, 222 B.
C., his name is said to signify “the son designated for the throne by
his father,” with whom, as was so frequently the case, he had probably
already been associated in the government. Some authors even suggest
that he was not even innocent of the death of this parent, as that of
the other was certainly laid at his door, and that he selected the
name Philopater to disarm suspicion. But possibly, like Cambyses, as he
proved himself a man of evil, nothing was too bad to believe of him.
Immediately on his accession he murdered his younger brother Magas, of
this there seems no doubt. Berenike II was much attached to this younger
son and perhaps wished him to succeed his father, as Philadelphus had
done, in preference to Keraunos, which may have been the cause of the
new king’s unnatural hatred against her, she was given in charge of
Sosibios, an official and favorite of the king’s, and is said either to
have been murdered or committed suicide by poison, so unendurable to the
high-spirited princess was her imprisonment. She who had been reigning
queen and so beloved. It was a melancholy close to her life’s story.

A number of other murders are laid to the king’s charge, through the
influence of the same Sosibios. Polybius, who is deemed a reliable
authority on this period, says the king “would attend to no business
and would hardly grant an interview to the officials about the court,”
but was “absorbed in unworthy intrigues and senseless and continual
drunkenness,” and “treated the several branches of the government with
equal indifference;” all was managed by the officials, or any who
might seize the power. His generals fought his battles and gained his
victories, with little thanks due to the wisdom or judgment of the king.
Agathocles and Sosibios were his leading ministers. But occasionally,
at least, he seems to have roused himself and appeared in person on
the field, as we read of his setting out from Alexandria with 70,000
infantry, 5,000 cavalry and 73 elephants. At Raphia was fought a great
battle, between Antiochus of Syria and Ptolemy, which was opened by a
charge of elephants in which the Egyptians came off victorious.

And here we catch a glimpse of the next queen of Egypt (subsequently
deified with her husband as gods Philapatores) Arsinoe III, daughter
of Euergetes I and Berenike II. She accompanied her brother and rode
with him, a fearless horsewoman, like her mother, perhaps, in front of
the troops, before the battle, exhorting the soldiers to courage and
conquest. Like her mother also she is said to have dedicated a lock of
her hair in the temple, but the story is not so well authenticated.
Besides this little glimpse of her personality at the battle, which
shows vigor and bravery, we learn little of her, probably she was fair,
perhaps virtuous. She was a late child of her parents’ marriage, it may
be the youngest, and it seems to be implied that she was early left an
orphan and had a sad youth. It was some years after this battle about
213 B. C. that she was married to Ptolemy Philopator, and became Arsinoe
III of Egypt. Her husband, given to debauchery, amusing himself with
literary work, a taste he shared with the earlier Ptolemies, and not, we
may imagine, of a very high character, and under the influence of his
minister, Sosibios, as well as Agathocles and Agathoclea, sister of the
latter, could not have been a very love inspiring companion. The queen
bore a son in 210 or 209 B. C., who succeeded his father at five years
of age, under the title of Ptolemy V, Epiphanes.

The cruelties to the Jews practiced or allowed by Ptolemy IV were in
contrast to the policy of his predecessors, and though some inscriptions
remain (the temple of Edfu has mention of this) which do him honor, the
weight of testimony seems to be that he was an oppressive and cruel king
and hated by his subjects. Yet these few inscriptions, as is frequently
the case, for in any important matter the testimony is often conflicting,
give a different and better view of his character. The chief cause of, or
accessory to many murders he undoubtedly was.

A temple in Nubia gives pictures of Ptolemy Philopater and his wife,
Arsinoe III, receiving offerings, as well as those of his father and
mother, grandfather and grandmother. It is thought that the Prince of
Nubia may have assisted in putting down a revolt of his subjects.

The murder of Arsinoe III was due to the influence of the king’s
shameless mistress, Agathoclea and her brother Agathocles, but what had
made the unfortunate queen especially obnoxious to them we do not know.
Perhaps she was merely an obstacle in the path of their ambition, and
they thought that if they could get the child absolutely in their power
they could regulate things better to their own liking; perhaps some
stories, true or false, were raised against the queen to justify their
proceedings. She seems to have had a sad life and to have been friendless
in the midst of enemies.

There is something very pathetic in the story of the early life of
Ptolemy V., Epiphanes, who became king, at five years of age, his father
dead, his mother murdered, so soon that he could scarcely have remembered
her, and he left in the hands of her murderers. Polybius gives a picture
of these events in the following words: “The next step of Agathocles was
to summon a meeting of the Macedonian guards. He entered the assembly
accompanied by the young king and his own sister, Agathoclea. At first he
feigned not to be able to say what he wished for tears, but after again
and again wiping his eyes with his chlamys, he at length mastered his
emotion, and, taking the young king in his arms, he spoke as follows:
Take this boy, whom his father on his death bed placed in this lady’s
care (pointing to his sister) and confided to your loyalty, men of
Macedonia. Her affection has but little influence in securing the child’s
safety; it is on you that safety now depends, ‘his fortunes are in your
hands.’” He then proceeded to inveigh against Tlepolemus, governor of
Pelusium, and a general in the army, who was evidently popular with the
soldiers and in so doing overshot his mark.

The murder of the queen, and even of the man into whose hands the letter
ordering the same had fallen, seems gradually to have been traced (though
at first kept secret) to its true authors, and this added to other acts
of cruelty and unlawful seizure of power, raised a storm of feeling
among the soldiers and the populace generally, against Agathocles and
his associates, and his words were received with “hootings and loud
murmurs,” so that he began to fear the worst for himself and made haste
to escape. The fury of a mob, of any nationality and at any period of
the world’s history, once raised, is not easy to allay, and seldom have
such uprisings been known, unattended by bloodshed. In this, as in other
cases, there were some leaders ready to fan rather than to extinguish the
flame of popular wrath, and they determined to overthrow the obnoxious

The whole city was in a ferment and the next morning the Macedonian
guard broke open the palace, seized the person of the little king,
placed him on horseback and led him among the people, who shouted and
clapped their hands. They then put him on the royal seat and extracted
from the, doubtless frightened, child permission to surrender to the
populace “those who had injured him or his mother.” Pitiful it must
have been to see a mere baby placed in such circumstances. Whether he
really understood anything of what was going on, or had any affection for
those in question we cannot tell. It of course resulted in the murder of
Agathocles and all his kinsfolk. A fate well deserved perhaps by most of
them, but horrible to contemplate. But the dreadful thirst for blood was
awakened in the angry crowd, and there were bound to be victims, more or
less numerous.



Thus tragically was ushered in the reign of the boy-king, Ptolemy V,
Epiphanes, the Illustrious, whose dates are 205-182 B. C., and whose
pre-nomen or throne name, found on his cartouch, means “heir of the
(two) father loving gods, chosen of Ptah, strength of the Ka of Ra,
living image of Amen.” Too young to take matters into his own hands, the
power seems to have been divided between Tlepolemus as military, and
Aristomenes, called the king’s tutor, as civil administrator of affairs.
The reign of a minor is apt to be distracted by conflicts of one sort and
another, and this proved no exception.

In the case of the youthful son of Alexander the Great it was the
generals of his father’s army who wrested from him his inheritance;
in that of the young Ptolemy it was the foreign powers, the kings
of Macedonia and Syria, who sought to do so. But the Romans proved
the instruments of the boy’s salvation, though not for his sake, and
conquered in battle and made tributary the men who were his enemies,
while the two ministers who had taken his affairs in charge guarded him
well at home.

There are also some who maintain that the guardianship of the boy’s
rights was offered to the Romans, though the weight of evidence seems
against this idea. Certain it is, however, that Ptolemy Epiphanes, or
those who acted for him, sent very submissive embassies to this great and
growing power, destined eventually to swallow up his country, or rather
to become possessed of its sovereignty.

We cannot trace the course of foreign wars or native rebellions, but must
return to the more domestic aspect of the history. The little king lived
in Alexandria and very early in his life there seems to have been some
suggestion of his marriage with the daughter of the king of Syria, and
in the seventh year of his reign, when he must have been about twelve,
it is said that the betrothal took place. It was of course a political
alliance, to cement a good understanding between the two nations. How
much greater the privileges and the independence, at least on the
question of marriage, of the private individual over the sometimes envied
king or queen.

At thirteen or fourteen years of age Ptolemy V was crowned at Memphis
and the decree of the Rosetta Stone was issued. It begins “In the reign
of the young,” and then goes on to enumerate the king’s ancestors, to
name priests and priestesses, and to give a detailed list of the benefits
his Majesty had bestowed upon the kingdom, “in requittal of which the
gods have given him health, victory, power and all other good things,
his sovereignty remaining to him and his children for all time. With
propitious fortune. It seemed good to the priests of all the temples in
the land to increase greatly the existing honors of the king, Ptolemy,
his parents, grand-parents, etc.” As Ptolemy was but in early childhood
when he is said to have bestowed so many benefits upon the kingdom it
was to his ministers rather than to himself that any such praise was
due. Possibly it was a mutual agreement between them and the priests to
strengthen his power, since there seemed more chance of dispute in the
case of a child than when a full-grown man had ascended the throne.

The Rosetta Stone has been virtually the key which has, in part at least,
revealed the mysteries of the Hieroglyphics to Europeans. The inscription
was written in Hieroglyphic, the original form of Egyptian writing, in
the Demotic, the subsequent and common language of later dynasties, and
in Greek, which was of course largely introduced by the Ptolemies. And
as the three inscriptions are approximately alike, Greek scholars were
able to interpret the two former by the last. The original Rosetta Stone
is in the British Museum, but copies of it may be seen in many of the
collections abroad, and in the United States, such as the University of
Pennsylvania, etc.

Meanwhile the boy-king was growing to manhood and there is record of his
being trained to equestrianism and athletic sports. At a certain banquet
an ambassador, in speaking of the king, “said a great deal in his praise,
quoting anecdotes of his skill and boldness in hunting, as well as his
excellence in riding and the use of arms;” and ended by averring in
proof of this that “the king on horseback once transfixed a bull with a

When Ptolemy Epiphanes was but sixteen or seventeen his marriage took
place, the new queen being presumably near his age. With her we enter
on the puzzling list of Cleopatras, and she seems to have been a woman
of character and ability, and worthy of respect. Her father, Antiochus
of Syria, a country with which the inter-marriages of the kings of
this dynasty were very frequent, brought her to the bridegroom, with a
splendid retinue, and the nuptials were handsomely celebrated at the
border town of Raphia. It was here that the mother of the king had ridden
before the troops many years previously to encourage them on the eve of
the battle between Ptolemy IV. and Antiochus. The dowry of the bride
was the taxes of Coele, Syria and Palestine, but not, it is said, the
possession of the land.

The young queen loyally accepted the duties and obligations attaching to
her new position; “Thy people shall be my people” was the spirit that
distinguished her actions, and she stood to this even when her husband’s
interests were opposed to those of her native country. It is said of her
that she was a “vigorous and prudent woman, and she certainly introduced
new blood into a stock likely to degenerate from the constant unions
of close blood relations.” Nor do there seem to be any special stories
recorded of cruelty on her part, such as we have in other instances of
Ptolemy queens. We may presume also that she had more or less claim to
beauty and had attractions both of person and mind.

Like his predecessors, Ptolemy V. worked upon the temples, notably that
of Philæ. The temple of Asklepias was especially credited to this king,
and we cannot but suppose that the queen, too, had a great interest. An
inscription, the duplicate of the Rosetta Stone, was placed on one of the
walls at Philæ by Epiphanes, but afterwards carved out by another ruler.

Cleopatra I, like some others of the Ptolemy women, was the superior
of the man to whom she was united, yet, as far as we can judge at
this distance of time, the marriage was on the whole a harmonious and
satisfactory one. At least no special quarrels are recorded and the
husband did not make way with his wife in the all too common fashion.
She seems to have been joined with her husband in public acts, as were
Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe II, even when these were directed
against her father and her native land. Mahaffy says that it is
noteworthy that Livy speaks of the king and queen as of equal importance,
but perhaps this may have referred to Cleopatra I. and her son when she
was regent, rather than to her husband. Livy says “Ambassadors were sent
from Ptolemy and Cleopatra, sovereigns of Egypt, with congratulations
that Manius Acilius, the consul, had driven King Antiochus from Greece,
and advising the Romans to send their army over to Asia, that all Syria
as well as Asia was in a panic, that the sovereigns of Egypt were
prepared to do whatever the senate desired.” A proof that Egypt was now
continually bending before the power of Rome.

Ptolemy wished to secure some of the Syrian provinces and of the queen
it is said “she was always striving to spread her influence towards the

Disputes had arisen between the priests and the crown as to the dowries
of the late deified queens, which had become part of the temple revenues,
and were again absorbed by the throne. This with other causes resulted in
a revolution led by the last native prince whose claim preceded that of
the Ptolemies, which was put down with much cruelty and broken faith by
the king. It is these insurrections, occurring frequently in the reigns
of the later Ptolemies, that are believed to be one cause of Egypt’s
submissive attitude towards Rome.

Ptolemy Epiphanes seems less odious than his predecessor, but as he grew
to manhood, he, too, was accused of cruel murders, among them that of
his tutor Aristomenes, to whose care it seems as if he must have owed
much. The cartouch of Ptolemy V. is said to be the most rarely found on
Ptolemic buildings. He also worked at Edfu and Philæ, the “so-called
chapel of Aesculapius,” at the latter place having an inscription
declaring it to be founded by “Ptolemy Epiphanes and Cleopatra and their
son, to Imhotep, the son of Ptah.” In modern times a temple said to be
built by them, at Antæpolis, was undermined and destroyed by the Nile.

The king died, murdered by poison by some of his courtiers, while still a
young man, in his twenty-ninth year and twenty-fifth of his reign, and
was succeeded by his son under the guardianship of his mother. Whether
the queen deeply mourned her husband or whether his increasing vices had
alienated her from him we cannot say. She was doubtless an ambitious
woman and not averse to holding the reins of power. There are coins of
hers issued during her regency. She is there called queen, which is not
the case with all the wives of the different kings, and appears as Isis
(though with a less conventional face than some), wearing a corn wreath,
above which are a globe and horns. A copper coin gives her as Isis with
long curls and a band with corn. She seems to have been an able ruler
and survived her husband some eight years, dying in 174 B. C. before
she had fairly entered on middle life. There were several children of
this marriage, and, as if for the bewilderment of students, the sons are
called Ptolemy and the daughter Cleopatra. During the queen’s regency
Egypt seems to have remained peaceful and we have no revolting tales of
murder or general bloodshed.

The matter of succession now became somewhat involved, so often was it
disputed and so frequently divided between rival claimants. Mahaffy says,
“From henceforth we have almost constantly rival brothers asserting
themselves in turn, queen mothers controlling their king sons—intestine
feuds and bloodshed in the royal house, till the stormy end of the
dynasty with the daring Cleopatra VI.”

Some call Philometer the VI and some the VII. If the latter there was
probably an elder brother, Ptolemy Eupator, thus called the VI, who
survived his father but for a brief period, being nominally king, and
then died. Certain it is that the Syrian Cleopatra I was regent and that
one of her sons, Philometor, succeeded to the actual power, 173 B. C. He
reverted to the earlier customs and married his sister Cleopatra, who
then became the second queen of the name. This union is believed to have
taken place a year after the death of his mother in 173 B. C. Perhaps had
she lived she might have arranged for a different connection.

The peaceful period of the regency of Cleopatra I. now came to an end
and Egypt prepared to seize the lands which had furnished the dowry of
the late queen, the three powers, Egypt, Syria and Rome being involved,
the two first in active warfare. This resulted in the capture and
imprisonment of the Egyptian king by the Syrian monarch, Antiochus
IV at a battle which occurred on the borders of Egypt. The people of
Alexandria, who it is said spoke more completely the voice of Egypt
than Paris does of France, made a counter move by raising to the throne
the younger brother, a lad of fifteen or sixteen, who took the name of
Euergetes II, later called Physcon, the “pot bellied” or “the fat,”
Ptolemy VI, and who in his proportions accentuated the usual liberal
outline of the Ptolemy race. The youth proved strong and ambitious enough
to hold on to the power thus secured and never willingly relaxed his

Antiochus then attacked Alexandria with the nominal purpose of restoring
Philometer. Through their mother the young kings were of course related
to the invader, but the relationship seems to have had little effect in
preventing a contest. Different authorities give different names and
numbers to the various Ptolemy kings and we have taken Mahaffy, who has
devoted much time to the study of this period, as our special guide.

Antiochus IV finally left Philometer at Memphis and returned home.
The latter, apparently seeing the folly of a divided sovereignty and
realizing that he would no longer be recognized as sole king, made
overtures to his brother and, owing, it is said, to the mediation of
their sister Cleopatra, they came to terms in 170 B. C. This compact
roused Antiochus IV. to a renewed attack. The beseeching embassies of
the Ptolemies to Rome, however, finally produced an effect and Antiochus
was ordered to withdraw and the powerful Romans virtually held a sort of
protectorate over Egypt till they finally and absolutely absorbed it. The
embassies of Philometer and Cleopatra II professed that they were more
indebted to the Senate and people of Rome, than to their own parents,
more than to the immortal gods since by their help they had been relieved
from Antiochus, and Rome seemed disposed to keep up the agreeable
sentiment, as their embassy is recorded as having brought a purple gown
and vest and an ivory chair to King Philometer, and an embroidered gown
and a purple robe for Queen Cleopatra II.

The king and queen are spoken of in all solemn datings as “gods
Philopatores.” On the walls of the temple at Der el Medineh there are
pictures of Ptolemy VII and IX and Cleopatra II, and a Syrian coin of
Philometer gives a strong head and face. There are inscriptions relating
to Ptolemy Philometer, wife and children, in Nubia. It was after the
Romans restored Philometer to Egypt that he and his queen made their
solemn progress to Memphis.

Some of the so-called “friends of the king” tried to make trouble between
the brothers and to induce the younger to slay the elder, implying that
Philometer had designs upon him. But in this instance Euergetes, usually
regarded with abhorrence, showed himself at his best and dismissed
suspicions and to prove their harmony went with his brother in royal
apparel to show themselves to the people. A quarrel, however, eventually
broke out between them, Philometer was expelled and threw himself on the
protection of the Romans, who were thus continually able to interfere
in the affairs of Egypt. The Romans decreed that the kingdom should be
divided between the two, which of course gave satisfaction to neither,
and Euergetes II went to Rome to protest against the division. An
interesting and almost an amusing episode is connected with this visit
when, it is said, Euergetes asked Cornelia, the mother of the Gracci, to
marry him. The lady, however, declined, “probably,” says one writer, “she
held him in such esteem as an English noblewoman now would hold an Indian
Rajah proposing marriage.”

The quarrels and fighting between the two brothers continued, but
finally Euergetes attacked Cyprus which had been adjudged by the Romans
to Philometer, and was forced to surrender. Philometer now showed himself
the generous one, for he forgave Euergetes, restored him to Cyrene and
for the last eight or nine years of his reign remained at peace with him.



Cleopatra II appears with her husband Philometor, Ptolemy VII, in
statutes excavated at Cyprus, which were set up “at a temple to the
Paphian Aphrodite,” yet we know little of her. There is also an appeal
spoken of by Josephus in which a certain Jew begs the king and queen’s
permission to build a temple to the God of Israel and reports their
majesties’ favorable reply, but the story is not altogether credited.
We hear also of the king and queen receiving other petitions, usually a
popular action. Polybius, whose testimony seems so generally full and
reliable was in Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy Philometer.

Of course there was a daughter of Philometor and Cleopatra II, also
called Cleopatra, whom Philometor gave in marriage to an aspirant to
the throne of Syria (though apparently not the rightful heir) called
Alexander Bala, and accompanied the princess to Ptolemais in Palestine,
where the ceremony took place, probably about 150 B. C. After this
Ptolemy VII discovered a real or pretended conspiracy against his life,
in which his new son-in-law was implicated. He then went over to the
side of the other claimant to the Syrian throne, Demetrius Nicator, and
regardless of the marriage contract previously concluded, transferred
his daughter to him. She seems to have been still in the power of her
father, rather than that of her husband, and neither she nor her mother
appear to have had any voice in the matter. It is possible she may not
have really lived with Bala at all.

Ptolemy Philometor himself was crowned king at Antioch, and it is on
this account, probably, we have the Syrian coin with his head, but he
evidently did not care to retain the position, for he finally persuaded
the people to accept Demetrius in his stead.

Philometor, Ptolemy VII., died, as had few of his race, in, or rather
as the result of, a battle, he was thrown from an elephant, or some say
a horse, like Keraunos, and wounded by his enemies with fatal results
following, first having learned of the death of Bala, with whom he had
been fighting. In contrast with his brother Euergetes II. he is spoken
well of by many writers, and his gentleness and humanity are dwelt upon,
which recalls the familiar axiom that “all things go by comparison.” So
some speak highly of and some judge him harshly. In youth he is said to
have been handsome, with a countenance full of sweet expression. His
death occurred 146 B. C.

There were now again rival claimants for the throne, Euergetes II,
Physcon, the brother of the late king, with whom the kingdom had been
divided, and Ptolemy Philometor’s son, Ptolemy Neos, Philopator II,
Ptolemy VIII, whose cause his mother Cleopatra II. espoused. But Physcon
proved to be the more powerful and either directly or indirectly
murdered his young nephew, feeling that while the boy lived his own claim
to the throne would not be secure. It is said the unfortunate heir had
been recognized as the crown prince over the whole empire, not only at
Cyprus, but at Philæ, for Professor Cayce found on the island of Huseh a
granite slab, which had supported figures of the king and queen with this
youth standing between them.

The list of queens, a puzzling one, as all must admit, is as follows:
Ptolemy I, Sotor, married Eurydike, and Berenike I, Ptolemy II,
Philadelphus, married Arsinoe I and Arsinoe II; Ptolemy III, Euergetes
I, married Berenike II; Ptolemy IV, Philopator, married Arsinoe III;
Ptolemy V, Epiphanes, married Cleopatra I; Ptolemy VI, Eupator, died in
childhood. Ptolemy VII, Philometor, married Cleopatra II; Ptolemy VIII,
Philopator II, Neos, was murdered in youth. Ptolemy IX, Euergetes II,
Physcon, married Cleopatra I, widow of his brother, and Cleopatra III,
his niece. Ptolemy X, Lathyrus, married Cleopatra IV, and subsequently
Selene, his sisters. Ptolemy XI, Alexander, married Berenike III, whose
parentage seems in doubt. Ptolemy XII, Alexander II, married this same
Berenike, his stepmother. Ptolemy XIII, Auletes married Cleopatra V,
surnamed Tryphæna. Ptolemy XIV and Ptolemy XV reigned in conjunction with
their sister, Cleopatra VI, to whom they were successively married, and
died young, as did Ptolemy XVI, her son Cæsarion, who died unmarried.

Within the year (and some say the murder of her son occurred during the
nuptial ceremonial) Physcon married the widow of his brother, Cleopatra
II. Evidently no love was lost between them; how could it be under the
circumstances? If this marriage, perhaps, insisted on by the Alexandrian
party of Cleopatra II, she having a claim to the crown, jointly with her
brothers, there seems to have been one son, Memphites, who soon died,
or was murdered, it is even reported, by his own unnatural father, who
feared a rival.

Cleopatra II. had two daughters of the same name. The elder was married
first to Alexander Bala and then to Demetrius Nicator of Syria. She seems
to have been an embodiment of Ptolemaic cruelty and vice. When her second
husband was taken prisoner, she accepted his brother, Antiochus Sidetes,
in his stead, and placed him upon the throne. But nine years afterwards,
on the return of Demetrius, murdered Sidetes and her son Seleukos, who
had attempted to assume the crown. She had also, it is said, prepared
poison for her second son, Antiochus Grippus, but he discovered her
intent and forced her to swallow the fatal draught herself. Her younger
sister Cleopatra, only a year or two after Physcon’s marriage with
her mother Cleopatra II, he also took to wife, thus establishing one
of the most revolting connections entered into by any member of this
atrocious family, yet, strange to say, both were recognized in public
acts as queens of Egypt, the younger bearing the title of Cleopatra
III. Incomprehensible and repellant as this seems, it appears well
authenticated. There is a relief of Philometer, clad in a white mantle,
and accompanied by one of the Cleopatras. At Kom Ombos there is on the
wall of the temple a picture of Ptolemy VII, and also of Ptolemy IX,
between the goddesses and again of Horus bestowing gifts on Ptolemy IX.
and the two Cleopatras. We read of an inscription from Kos, too, where
the children of both were perhaps educated, in which “the king and his
two queens honor with a golden crown and gilded image the tutor of their

In 146 B. C. Physcon apparently married Cleopatra II. and two or three
years later her daughter. In 130 or 129 B. C. he was exiled and obliged
to flee the country, Cleopatra II reigning alone for about two years, at
the expiration of which time the absent king returned and again took the
power into his own hands. In his private life Ptolemy Physcon appears as
a monster, in his public career he has been esteemed by some writers as
a good, or at least a great king. That is, his sway was widely extended,
and he built or added to innumerable temples to the gods. At Edfu, begun
by Ptolemy III, Euergetes, in 237 B. C., he completed the great hypostile
hall, in 122 B. C. At Der-el-Medineh he finished the graceful temple
begun by Ptolemy IV. and dedicated to Hathor. At El Kab he built a rock
temple, while at Karnak and many other places he added his portion to
the great whole. “At Thebes we find no reign so marked.” He seems to
have showed special favor to the native Egyptian population, but is
credited with many cruelties to others. With Rome he kept up friendly,
if subservient, relations.

At what precise time the elder Cleopatra passed away from the scene
we do not know, but she died before Physcon, leaving her successor
to a certain extent to re-enact her story. Physcon gave his daughter
Tryphena to Grippus, the Syrian prince who had poisoned his mother, and
her aunt, Cleopatra. Ptolemy IX, Physcon, died in 117 B. C., having
reigned twenty-nine years since the death of his brother, Philometor.
His widow, Cleopatra III, Cocce, succeeded to the power and is sometimes
called queen, sometimes regent. She appears to have held the position
for a while alone, and then her son, Ptolemy X, Philometor, or Sotor
II (Lathyrus), was associated with her. She was, it is said, a “strong
and remarkable woman,” considerably younger than her husband and having
great influence with him. She succeeded in having the elder son, and
natural successor, sent away, as governor to Cyprus, and thus deprived
him of the power of claiming his inheritance. She preferred her younger
son Alexander, whom she had made independent king of Cyprus, but the
people would not accept him, and Ptolemy X (Lathyrus), as has been said,
succeeded. He apparently was already married to his sister, another
Cleopatra, called the IV, but his mother obliged him, from motives not
clear to us, though it has been suggested that it was because only such
children as were born to the purple, could reign; to put her away and
marry a younger sister Selene. This queen’s name does not appear in some
of the inscriptions which read “in the name of Queen Cleopatra and King
Ptolemy, gods Philometores, Sotores and his children.”

This Cleopatra IV was, no more than the rest of the Ptolemy women, meek
or submissive. She naturally resented the treatment she had received and
offered herself and the riches of which she seemed possessed to one of
the claimants of the Syrian throne, but only to meet the too common fate,
for the wife of the said Antiochus Grippus, her own sister Tryphæna,
caused her to be murdered. Some of the Egyptian princesses, as has been
narrated, went to Syria, and of them it is said that “they show the usual
features ascribed to Ptolemaic princesses—great power and wealth which
makes an alliance with them imply the command of large resources in men
and money; mutual hatred, disregard of all ties of family and affection;
the dearest object fratricide—such pictures of depravity as make any
reasonable man pause and ask whether human nature had deserted these
women and the Hyrcanian tiger of the past taken its place.”

The history of the Jews is largely involved with that of Egypt during
many of the Ptolemy reigns, but it is not within the scope of this small
monograph to include these relationships in the more purely personal
story. The new king, to a greater or less extent, now held the power,
as testified to by the coinage bearing simply “the year of Lathyrus”
instead of his mother Cleopatra III. He appears in a copper coin clad
in an elephant skin, and there are also joint coins of Cleopatra III
and Alexander. The queen, indisposed to yield her authority, succeeded
in raising the populace against Lathyrus, so that he fled to Cyprus,
his brother Alexander returning from there and sharing the throne with
his mother. Lathyrus meanwhile was attempting to set up a kingdom in
Palestine, but the powerful queen wrested it from him and added it to her
own dominions. Ptolemy Apion, an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Physcon,
had been ruling in Cyrene the home and possession of the former queen,
Berenike II, which he left on his death to the Roman people, who thus,
whenever their other warlike entanglements permitted, tightened their
grasp on everything Egyptian, but the Egyptian monarchs, busy with more
personal and family difficulties, did not interfere.

Ptolemy X, Alexander I, reigned with his mother till 101 B. C. when,
weary perhaps of her powerful hand, which kept him from full possession
of the throne, he murdered her. Possibly she would have done the like to
him, but it seems a shocking and ungrateful return for the preference for
him which she at first so evidently showed. Other authorities throw some
doubt on this matricide, but the weight of opinion seems to certify to it.

The next queen is spoken of as Cleopatra, Berenike IV, or Berenike III,
and her name is sometimes associated both with Alexander, whom she
married, and the queen mother. She is believed to have been a daughter
of Sotor II (Lathyrus), and hence Alexander’s niece. This marriage may
not have been agreeable to the elder queen, who so evidently hated her
elder son, the father of the bride. This king is sometimes spoken of as
“Ptolemy, also called Alexander, the god Philometor.” In the midst of
these domestic quarrels and public difficulties, the king yet kept up
the usual habit of temple building and his name appears in connection
with several, especially Denderah. Says Mahaffy: “It is difficult not
to suspect in the continued building of the same temples by Philometor
and Euergetes II, of Sotor II, and of Alexander, the influence of the
great ladies who lived through the change of kings without stay or
intermittence of their royalty,” though, strange to say, the priests of
Edfu do not speak of them. Alexander appears in communion with the gods
and, triumphing over his enemies. “It is also certain that the crypts
of the temple of Denderah, finished by Cleopatra VI, were commenced
according to an ancient plan by the X and XI Ptolemies.”

After the murder of Cleopatra III the people rose against Alexander and
recalled Lathyrus, who, upon regaining the crown, pursued his brother,
who was slain in a naval battle, thus leaving his widow Berenike III to
share with her father the Egyptian throne. She seems to have lived at
peace with him after his return and is regarded by some as co-regent or
ruler, by others as not assuming power till after his death.

Lathyrus is considered as among the gentler and better members of the
Ptolemy family. Even so he put down a rebellion of the native population
with great severity and razed Thebes to the ground. Dying, at about
the age of sixty, he left the kingdom in the hands of his daughter,
Cleopatra IV, Berenike III, who reigned for some six months, when
Alexander, son of Alexander I, by another marriage, returned from Rome
and was accepted as king, under the title of Alexander II, Ptolemy XII,
sharing the throne with Berenike, the queen. Though his stepmother,
there was probably no great disparity in their years, and it was by
the suggestion of the Roman dictator, Sylla, that he contracted this
strange alliance. But the abhorrent connection was of brief duration,
for Alexander II murdered his wife and was himself murdered in turn
by her household troops, within a month. As queen or regent she had
been associated with the royal power for a number of years, and this
prompt avengement of her death seems to prove that she had her share of

At this period, and indeed for a long time, what the Alexandrians willed
seems to have been law to the whole country.

The Ptolemy queens were women, as a rule, presumably handsome,
certainly able and sagacious, ambitious and brave, daring and cruel. To
differentiate them accurately, particularly the latter members of the
family, who were on the throne briefly, and in quick succession, requires
a more extended knowledge of the subject than has yet been secured,
either by the researches of students or the “finds” of archaeologists.

The deaths last mentioned extinguished, it is said, the claim of
legitimate Ptolemy heirs to the Egyptian throne, but other writers
assert that this is probably a Roman invention to justify their
ultimate seizure of the country and that princes were living who would
be recognized elsewhere as legal successors. Be this as it may, Ptolemy,
familiarly known as Auletes (the flute player), son of Lathyrus, with the
bar sinister, now came from Syria and assumed the crown, under the title
of Ptolemy XIII. (Neos Dionysus, Philopater III, Philadelphus II), in 81
B. C. This was evidently with the consent of the Egyptians themselves
and the tacit permission of Rome, to whom some even claim that Alexander
had willed his kingdom. The Senate, however, did not give him official
recognition, though he made great efforts and offered many bribes to
secure it. A stele speaks of a high priest “who placed the uræus crown on
the head of the new king of Egypt, on the day that he took possession of
Upper and Lower Egypt. He landed at Memphis, he came into the temple of
Qe, with his nobles, his wives and his children.”

The sons of the Egyptian princess Silene also came from Syria to Rome to
assert a better right to the Egyptian succession, but were unsuccessful.
The Romans engaged in other wars and interests, for the time being,
concerned themselves little with the Egyptian question.

Tryphæna, Cleopatra V, possibly a sister of the king, was his legal
consort and his eldest daughter, Berenike IV, was probably born 77 B. C.
The last Cleopatra about 68 B. C., and later another daughter, Arsinoe,
and two sons. Berenike was so much older than the other children that
some suppose a second marriage, of which, however, no official record
has been found. The imputation of illegitimacy has been thrown both on
the king and his celebrated daughter, but the Romans, as previously
stated, may, for their own purposes, have accepted or disseminated the
idea. The first Ptolemy had in a sense wrested the country from its
native rulers, and his successors were only receiving in their turn what
they had meted out.

Like his predecessors, Ptolemy XIII built on the temples, and there
are pictures of him between two goddesses in the favorite mode and in
other situations. In spite of this he is spoken of as the “most idle and
worthless of the Ptolemies.” His life “idle, worthless, devoted to the
orgies of Dionysus (whence his title), and disgracing himself by public
competitions on the flute (whence his nick-name), he has not a good word
recorded of him.” And Cicero says he was plaintive and persuasive when in
need, but worthless and tyrannous when in power. The direct testimony of
Cicero and Diodorus Siculus (which we possess) in regard to this period
is of great value.

It was the debasing of the coinage that especially caused the revolt that
obliged Auletes to flee the country, in addition to the fact that he lent
no help to his brother at Cyprus, overpowered by the Romans. Auletes had
assumed the crown in 81 B. C., and kept possession for a number of years,
but a revolt of the Alexandrians, for the reasons given above, forced him
to fly in 58 B. C.

When he was thus driven from the country Cleopatra V, Tryphæna (whom some
call his wife and some his eldest daughter), with the spirit of that
dominant race of women, at once assumed the crown, of which, however,
death deprived her within the year. She was followed by Berenike IV,
possibly her daughter, certainly that of Auletes, who ruled for two
years, marrying first Seleukos of the royal house of Syria (whom she put
away, finding him weak and unsatisfactory), and substituted Archelaos,
the high priest of Komana. Seleukos is supposed to have been the person
who stole the golden coffin of Alexander the Great and replaced it by a
glass one.

From subsequent events it is quite evident that Berenike IV possessed
the usual characteristics of the Ptolemy women, both in capacity and
ambition, having no intention of handing back the authority she had
assumed to its previous possessor, her father though he might be.

But Auletes, either by persuasion or bribery, secured the powerful aid
of the Romans, whom Egypt was no longer strong enough to resist. The
Roman general Gabinius invaded Egypt and conquering in the battle put the
husband of Berenike IV to death, restored Auletes and left him to mete
out further retribution as he would.

No pleadings for mercy, no claims of relationship ever stayed the bloody
hand of a Ptolemy from executing his will, and, doubtless regarding her
as a traitor, Auletes put his daughter to death, of which details are
not given. There then remained two daughters, Cleopatra and Arsinoe, and
two sons merely called Ptolemy. Restored in 55 B. C. Ptolemy XIII only
lived till 51 B. C. and died, bequeathing his kingdom jointly to his
eldest daughter and son and disregarding the fact that he had virtually
mortgaged it to the Romans he adjured them to carry out his intentions,
calling all the gods to witness. A double copy of his will was made, the
one being sent to Rome, the other kept in Alexandria.



We have shown how the Persian rule in Egypt was followed by that of the
Ptolemies, and at first the union between prince and people was close
and satisfactory. From Ptolemy I to Cleopatra VI the rulers identified
themselves with the interests, and especially with the religion of the
nation, with whom they were not allied by blood, built cities and temples
and, the earlier members of the dynasty at least, wrought for the general
good. In the case of most of the later kings, however, they were more
cruel and oppressive, and revolts were more common than at first.

The architecture, especially the portrait sculpture of the Ptolemy
period, was inferior to some of earlier date, but in the encouragement of
literature, the building of libraries and other public edifices, and the
extending of commerce the race distinguished itself.

As regents or independent rulers their queens held sway. The family
intermarried to an extent shocking to Christian ideas, and Ptolemy after
Ptolemy took his sister or other near relatives, usually called Arsinoe,
Berenike or Cleopatra, to wife. These close relationships, however, did
not seem to strengthen the family affections—it is a blood-stained
history, and the murders were almost as numerous as the unions. Various
towns were built and called after the queens, Arsinoe and Berenike, but
though Cleopatra seems to have been a favorite name, and there were, six
or seven of them in succession, this name was not so often used as the
cognomen of a town.

There are a few names in the world’s history that stand alone. Many may
share in the same, but to speak them is to call up one dominating image.
In this sense there was but one Caesar, but one Washington, but one Eve,
but one Semiramis, and to this class belongs Cleopatra. There are others,
such as Helen or Troy and Mary Stuart, who have shared with these high
reputation, but in these cases further identification is needed than the
single name. Cleopatra stands among the few daughters of Eve pre-eminent
for wit, charm, power and perhaps beauty, and to this must be added
ambition and vice.

“The laughing queen who held the world’s great hands,” having won the
heart of the world’s greatest rulers, yet lays her magic touch upon the
centuries. Artists and writers have never tired of limning her personal
charms and special characteristics. No colors have been too bright, none
too dark to be used. Shakespeare, has pictured her with his immortal
genius, and hundreds of others, with more or less skill, have attempted
the same task. Protean in shape, no two perhaps resemble each other. In
the conception of some, she is slender, graceful, exquisitely beautiful,
and at the other extreme, as in the old tapestry in the New York Museum,
she is like a fat Dutch woman, a decadence from Rubens’ overblown
beauties; so each land has pictured her according to its own ideal.

Some have denied her pre-eminent beauty and the conventional portrait of
her which still exists upon the wall at Denderah, as well as her face
upon the few battered coins of her time which have come down to us,
scarcely suggest it. But the woman who made men her slaves at a single
interview surely lacked no charm that nature could bestow. Unbridled both
in passions and ambitions, she knew no limit to either and grasped at
universal empire.

The greatest men of her time bowed at her feet, and she changed the fate
of battle with the turning of her vessel’s prow. She was over twenty when
she captivated Caesar, over thirty when Antony became her slave. Of her
numerous lovers, Antony was the chosen of that wayward, passionate heart.
She refused to survive his defeat and death and perished by her own hand.
Though not, strictly speaking, Egyptian queens, the Ptolemy race were
yet queens of Egypt—and thus ended the long line of female royalties,
extending from the dim ages of mythology to the Roman period.

Cleopatra VI has been described by a late novelist, his picture drawn
perhaps from some historical source, as having “a broad head, wavy hair,
deep-set eyes, full, eloquent mouth and a long, slender throat.” Charm
and talent of the highest order are generally credited to her. She had a
musical voice and was a linguist of ability, skilled in Greek and Latin
and could converse with Ethiopians, Jews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes and
Persians and was proficient in music. Tennyson says of her:

    “Her warbling voice a lyre of wildest range,
    Struck by all passions.”

And another writer, disputing the fact that she is sometimes depicted as
swarthy, says she was “a pure Macedonian of a race akin to and perhaps
fairer than the Greeks.”

Ptolemy XIII, the so-called Auletes, came to the throne in a sense
under the protection of the Romans, and again took possession of the
kingdom. It was at this time that Antony first saw Cleopatra, a girl of
fifteen, and was struck with her beauty, he being Master of Horse to the
conquering general, Gabrinus. But the acquaintance, if such it was, and
not merely a glimpse on Antony’s part, went no further then, and neither
probably anticipated their subsequent relations.

Auletes’ will, demanding that his eldest son and daughter should succeed
him, was accepted by the mixed populace of Alexandria, and in a degree
by the whole country, and for the moment Rome did not interfere. It
was a youthful pair to have laid upon them or undertake such a grave
responsibility—a mere girl and a child. Cleopatra was but sixteen,
Ptolemy only ten. But though young in years, Cleopatra soon showed that
she had both the capacity and ambition of an older woman. The direct
heritage perhaps from one or other parent included beauty and charm,
but a worthless father had but little in the way of character or mental
abilities with which to endow his children, and perhaps it was rather
from her mother that she derived her superior characteristics. With such
paternity and the traditions of the entire race we can hardly wonder at
the instances of vice and cruelty which we find recorded of this last
royal member of her family. That her story is so interwoven with Roman
affairs gives us a clearer knowledge of it than of much of the previous
history, which was included only in that of Egypt and Syria.

So Cleopatra, a mere girl of sixteen or seventeen, and her brother of
ten, succeeded to the throne and were accepted by the Alexandrians. But
the boy was persuaded by his counsellors to oust his sister, who was
forced to yield and fled to Syria. That she had both adherents and means,
however, is proved by the fact that she did not tamely submit to this
violation of the agreement, but promptly raised an army, and this alone
seems to indicate that, young as she was, she already showed remarkable
abilities and returned to recover her lawful heritage. To live at peace
with each other seemed beyond the power of most of the Ptolemy race.

At this point Pompey, seeking for allies, turned toward Egypt, and the
father of the young king having been under obligations to him he made
overtures to the boy sovereign. But the party in power, who for the
time being were “the power behind the throne,” decided to receive him
with apparent friendliness, and then treacherously murdered him, hoping
thereby to secure the more powerful friendship of his adversary, Caesar.
Meanwhile the armies of the young king and his sister lay opposite
to each other. Caesar at once came to Egypt and was revolted at the
treacherous deed, but was not in a sufficiently strong position to
punish the murderers. He was received somewhat coldly and had to proceed
with caution, but summoning his legions he remanded that the youthful
contestants for the crown should appear before him and discuss their
claims peacefully, rather than by force of arms.

This was Cleopatra’s opportunity; her strongest weapons were her personal
charms rather than her military powers. At twenty years of age she must
have been in the perfect bloom of her beauty, with exquisite eyes and
coloring, the sweetest of voices, a fascinating manner, ample powers of
wit and rare conversational abilities. To these she trusted, and not in
vain. Her position, her very life was at stake; her adversaries, who
could probably hope for no consideration at her hands should she again
come into power, would no doubt have been glad to assassinate her had
opportunity afforded. Fearing this, it is said, and time seems to give
credit to the story, she hid herself in a bale of carpet and caused it to
be carried to Caesar’s palace by night. No device which her fertile brain
and keen wit could invent, we may be sure, was lacking in the accessories
of the toilette to produce the effect she desired, to move his pity and
secure his assistance. She played a great stake, perhaps with confidence,
perhaps with trembling of heart, but she won, for from that time forward
till his death Caesar, elderly man though he was, between fifty and sixty
years of age, became her fervent admirer. Rarely, if ever, had woman
accomplished so much in a single interview. She must have been elated
with triumph and renewed confidence in her powers. Yet Caesar did not
attempt to make her sole monarch; he lost his heart, so to speak, but
not his head, as Antony subsequently did. He decreed that the will of
Auletes should be carried out, restored Cyprus to Egypt and proposed that
the younger brother and sister, Ptolemy and Arsinoe, should be made its
governors. He even insisted that the money Cleopatra’s father had pledged
to Rome should be paid. For this purpose it is said the young king’s
plate was ostentatiously pawned.

The king’s chief counsellor, Pothinos, not realizing the strength that
Caesar could command, nor the personal ability of the man with whom he
had to deal, recalled the army and virtually declared war. Cleopatra’s
troops had either been hired mercenaries, who deserted or whose time had
expired, and who went over to what they considered the winning side, or
they had been defeated, for in this emergency she seems to have been
able to afford little support to Caesar. In defending himself he set
fire to the ships in the harbor, and it is even reported that the great
library was burnt, but as various authors make no mention of it this last
disaster is questioned.

Caesar put to death the councillor, Pothinos, and kept with him in
the fortress his new love, the beautiful Cleopatra, and the two boys,
the young king and his brother. The Princess Arsinoe, probably also
beautiful and attractive, and, young as she was, realizing perhaps the
character and ambition of her elder sister, fled to the Egyptian camp,
thus refusing to put herself under the protection of the conquering
Roman, though it was to him she owed her position as ruler of Cyprus;
but distrust was natural and perhaps not unfounded. The Egyptians then
demanded the young king, and Caesar, though virtually master, was not yet
in a sufficiently strong position to refuse, so, knowing that this mere
boy could do him no harm, he released him. It was, however, but the poor
youth’s death warrant, for in the subsequent attack upon the Egyptians
they were driven into the river, and the royal boy came to his end by
drowning, saved by this possibly from even a worse fate.

The Egyptians, disheartened, now gave up the contest. Caesar treated them
with comparative leniency, set Cleopatra with the youngest Ptolemy as her
nominal husband over them and carried the poor Princess Arsinoe to Rome,
where, led in chains, she was among the captives to grace the triumph.
She did not prove to have the power of her sister’s fascinations to melt
his hard heart. Caesar may have considered that she was in debt to him
and had proved ungrateful and treacherous, but this was an act unworthy
of his character and is attributed to the evil influence of Cleopatra.
There is no direct proof of this, though his subsequent treatment of her
sister gives color to the idea.

After Caesar’s departure a child was born to Cleopatra, whom she stated
to be his son, gave him the name of Caesarion, or some say the name was
given by the Alexandrians, and always upheld his royal prerogative
even as against later children of the more beloved Antony. These
irregularities and evil doings seem to have been calmly accepted by the
people, and in inscriptions the boy is entitled, “Ptolemy, also Caesar,
the god Philopator Philometor.” He is to be numbered among the young
princes who came to an untimely end; a brief life and a sad one, yet it
is possible, even probable, that it had its periods of the pleasure and
joy natural to his age, if no prolonged happiness.

Some time between 48 and 44 B. C. Cleopatra left Egypt with her brother
and joined Caesar in Rome. Probably he summoned her to come to him, more
probably it was of her own motion, fearing that out of sight was out of
mind, or might prove so, and that her presence was necessary to retain
over him the influence she had gained. It was a shameful connection, as
Caesar already had a wife, Caepurnia, and caused much scandal, even in
scandalous Rome. She is mentioned by Cicero and others, but it is not her
beauty and her grace that he dwells upon, but her haughtiness. Knowing
full well probably how she was regarded, she returned the latent contempt
which she divined in her visitor, even if he did not make it apparent,
with a proud and supercilious demeanor. She had nothing to gain from him
and she did not seek to charm and conciliate as she had done with Caesar.
She is, however, said to have promised him books from the Alexandrian
library, which seems to suggest that there was some part of it yet
remaining even if it had suffered damage by fire, but failed to perform
her promise.

Many of Caesar’s actions are credited to her influence, and it is even
believed that she desired him to establish an empire with Alexandria
rather than Rome for its capital. The ostensible cause of her visit to
Rome was to negotiate a treaty between the former and the country over
which she nominally ruled. She dwelt in Caesar’s palace across the Tiber
and held court, at which not only Caesar’s adherents, but his opponents,
appeared, and it is said that statues of her, beautiful probably as the
Venus of Pauline Bonaparte, were erected in the temple of the goddess of
Love and Beauty.

Yet this was no position of true dignity for the nominal queen of a
foreign land, and when in 44 B. C. Caesar’s murder took from her his
support and protection she sailed for Egypt, no broken-hearted mourner,
but a woman still ambitious and grasping all the possibilities of
life. The next year she disposed of her last incumbrance and is held
responsible for the murder of her youngest and only surviving brother,
the nominal king. Four years each is the period assigned to her joint
rule with her two brothers. She had no love to spare for her own kin, and
too evidently was glad to be rid of them, even if the suspicion of her
having poisoned the last of her family, who appears to have died in the
same year as Caesar, may chance to be unfounded.

Now for a time Cleopatra bided at home, waiting and watching for further
opportunities of conquests in love or dominion. Life with her was
devoted to self-seeking and pleasure, yet it must have had some serious
moments, some space for display of maternal feeling, some days and hours
devoted to actual study; though it is hard and unfamiliar to think of
her in this aspect else could she not have been mistress of so many
languages as are attributed to her. She, nominally at least, governed
the kingdom, cautiously kept out of Roman entanglements and pleaded her
inability to assist the contestants with subsidies, which, it is said,
Cassius demanded from her on the score of poverty. And indeed Egypt was
in no condition to be either a principal or an ally in warfare at this
time. The people suffered, the queen probably still lived in luxury and



Now again came Cleopatra’s opportunity. Antony, victorious in the battle
of Philippi, turned his attention to the East, and summoned Cleopatra
before him, she being accused, as it has been seen, perhaps untruly, of
sending aid to his rival, Cassius. Antony was of the party of Caesar,
had delivered his funeral oration and was in a sense his successor. Like
Caesar, also he had a fair and devoted wife, the noble Fulvia, but no
legal bonds could resist “the Sorceress of the Nile.”

Dellius, Antony’s messenger, at once foresaw the probable result of a
meeting between his master and the fascinating Egyptian, advised her
to go in her “best style” and vaunted his chief as the “gentlest and
kindliest of soldiers.” But Cleopatra was no subservient slave to hasten
at the first bidding, and, disregarding many summons, took her own time
and way to comply.

Her interview with Antony was in singular contrast with her first meeting
with Caesar. As a fugitive and suppliant she conquered the one, with
regal pomp and magnificence the other. Perhaps each method appealed
most directly to the man she had to deal with, and her keen perception
indicated the different modes. Cæsar might have shown himself less
malleable to the dominant queen, Antony to the pleading and powerless

Josephus speaks of her corrupting Antony with her “love trick,” and says
he was bewitched and utterly conquered by her charms—her “tricks” were
of large and magnificent description. She made great preparations and
gathered together splendid ornaments and costly gifts. At last, with
full and well deserved confidence in her own powers of fascination she
started. Plutarch’s words will best describe the gorgeous pageant she
devised. “She came sailing up the River Cydnus” (Antony was in Cilicia)
“in a barge with gilded stem and outspread sails of purple, while oars
of silver beat time to the music of flutes and pipes and harps. She
herself lay all along under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus
in a picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids, stood on
each side to fan her. Her maids were dressed like sea Nymphs and Graces,
some steered at the rudder, some working at the ropes. The perfumes
diffused themselves from the vessel to the shore, which was covered with
multitudes.” The people vacated the whole place and hastened to gaze upon
the wondrous and beautiful sight, while Antony remained alone, awaiting
the humble petitioner whom perhaps he expected to appear before him. But
finally as Cleopatra intended he went to her.

“He found the preparations to receive him magnificent beyond expression,
but nothing so admirable as the number of lights, for on a sudden there
was let down together so great a number of branches with lights in them
so ingeniously disposed, some in squares, some in circles, that the whole
thing was a spectacle that has seldom been equalled for beauty.”

This beginning was the keynote of their future intercourse, amusements,
banquets, entertainments of all sorts. Cleopatra sent Antony the whole
gold service which he admired, and, according to the familiar story,
dissolved her pearl earring in a cup of vinegar or sour wine, which she
made him drink. Pleasure was the goddess whom they worshipped. Unworthy
though it might be of her fine powers and abilities, this was perhaps the
happiest time of Cleopatra’s life. Antony tried to vie with her in the
splendor of his entertainments, but laughingly confessed she far outdid

Something like true love for him seems to have inspired the fickle queen.
Caesar was but three years dead, but he was unmourned and forgotten.
Antony was a handsome man of fine and attractive appearance and is thus
described: “His beard was well grown, his forehead large and his nose
aquiline, giving him altogether a bold, masculine look that reminded
people of the face of Hercules in painting and sculpture.”

He was of the type that is most apt to win general regard generous and
lavish, if not always just or honest, free and easy in manner to his
inferiors, full of jokes and raillery and ready to drink and gamble with
almost any one. Physically the two, the man and the woman, were splendid
specimens of the human race. Morally what can be said of them?

Meanwhile Antony’s wife was fighting his battles at Rome and beseeching
him to return, which he finally promised to do, but the Circe who held
him in thrall willed rather that he should go with her to Alexandria, and
prevailed, for he basely yielded to her arguments and spent the winter
there, giving himself with her wholly up to the pursuit of pleasure in
every form and the wildest revelry.

The inferior officers must have fulfilled their duties more faithfully
than their superiors or the whole land would have been plunged in anarchy
and destruction. The laws were administered, industry and commerce
flourished, and Alexandria continued to be a large, populous and busy
city, full of life and animation and adorned with many magnificent
buildings. The Pharos steadily cast its beneficent light across the
waters to be a guide to mariners; the Temple of Serapis, on its high
platform, called attention to the worship of the gods; the Library was
as yet the casket of valuable treasures; the Museum was thronged with
students and scholars; palaces and public buildings adorned the beautiful
streets, forts and castles, breakwaters and harbor were laid out and
perfected and Alexandria was alone rivalled by Rome.

The gods, too, no matter what might be the moral aspect of the private
life of royalty, were worshipped and revered, and with the temples of
Denderah and Philæ the name of Cleopatra VI is especially associated.
Though less gigantic than some of the others, the Temple of Hathor, the
Goddess of Love, at Denderah, with that at Philae were none the less
beautiful. Here at Dendera or Denderah, the Tentyra of the Greeks, a
yearly festival was conducted with great splendor. The original edifice
dated back to the earliest period of Egyptian history; it was added to
and altered by the monarchs of the Twelfth Dynasty, by Thothmes III
and by Rameses II and III. It is said to have contained no less than
twelve crypts. On the site of this old building the later Ptolemies had
re-erected a newer structure, and it is here, on the southern, rear wall
was found the conventional portrait of Cleopatra VI, as Isis, and her son

The exquisite beauty of the ruins at Philae still charm the
beholder—graceful columns and feathery palms, like cameos against the
radiant blue of the sky, the river softly lapping at their feet. We can
imagine the splendor and magnificence of it all, when in the completeness
of its perfection and the queenly Venus with her attendant train of
followers, adding its artistic and picturesque human element to the scene.

Thus in gaiety and revel the Roman soldier, forgetful of his duties,
and his fair enchantress, passed the time. Says Plutarch further of
Cleopatra: “Plato admits four sorts of flattery, but she had a thousand.
Were Antony serious or disposed to mirth she had at any moment some new
delight or charm to meet his wishes; at every turn she was upon him,
drank with him, hunted with him, and when he exercised in arms she was
there to see. At night she would go rambling with him to disturb and
torment people at their doors and windows, dressed like a servant woman,
for Anthony also went in servant’s disguise.” But it is further added
that “the Alexandrians in general all liked it well enough and joined
good humoredly and kindly in his frolic and play, saying they were much
obliged to Antony for acting the tragic parts at Rome and keeping his
comedy for them.”

The story of the fishing party is among the more innocent of these
frolics. Antony, not having good luck, secretly caused divers to put
fishes upon his hook, which Cleopatra discovering, got beforehand with
him and had a salted, dried fish put on, which of course caused much
amusement and merriment when drawn to the surface, and “the laughing
queen” is reported to have said, “Leave the fishing, General, to us poor
sovereigns of Pharos and Canopus; your game is cities, kingdoms and

But the blackest stain upon this period is the murder of the poor
princess, Arsinoe, who had taken refuge at Miletus, in the temple of
Artemis Leucophryne, and who was put to death there by Antony’s orders,
at the instigation of Cleopatra. Perhaps beautiful and attractive also,
if to a less extent, how different were the experiences of the two
sisters! It seems strange that Arsinoe was not already the wife of and
under the protection of some powerful noble or king—but Fate decreed

Their mad existence could not continue forever and matters at Rome
grew so serious for Antony that he finally tore himself away from his
enchantress and returned. His wife came to meet him, but died on the
journey, so that legally he was now a free man. One almost wonders that
he did not marry Cleopatra and try to make himself king of Egypt, as the
first Ptolemy had done. But probably his reason forbade the attempt,
and old relations once more began to hold sway. He made peace with the
new Caesar, Octavian, Julius’ nephew, and accepted his offer of his
half-sister, Octavia, the recent widow of Caius Marcellus, for his wife,
the Senate dispensing with the law which obliged a widow to pay the
respect of ten months of single life to her late husband. Octavia was a
fine and beautiful woman, and is spoken of as serious and gentle, worthy
of a better fate than to be the mate of Antony. For a time, however, she
won his regard and an influence for good over him, recalling him to his
better self, and a return to public duties, till Antony undertook the
campaign against Parthion, and came once more within reach of his former

For four years he seems to have been separated from Cleopatra, who had
borne him twins, and with strange patience bided her time. She is said
to have maintained the claims of her eldest son Caesarion and during all
this time to have made no demands on Antony. He had left her, spite of
all she had done, or could do, to detain him, and wounded, mortified and
indignant, perhaps, she held her peace.

Pride is sometimes as strong a motive as love itself. So far solace she
turned, as so many before her had done, to the building and repairing of

Ebers has assumed in the preface to his “Cleopatra” that the colossal
pair, hand in hand, found at Alexandria in 1892, of which the female
figure is fairly preserved, represent Antony and Cleopatra. Once within
reach of her, Antony’s old passion revived, and he sent for her to Syria.
Very differently she acted from the first time he had summoned her; she
needed no second bidding, but came at his call, and all was as before
between them. He made her numerous and valuable gifts, acknowledged the
twins as his own, giving them the names of Alexander and Cleopatra, and
as surnames the titles of “Sun” and “Moon,” and utterly broke loose from
all his obligations. Once more Cleopatra triumphed.

She then returned to Egypt, while Antony went further afield; she in
the interval going in state to Jerusalem, to visit Herod the Great.
Says another writer in “The Greek World Under Roman Sway:” “The scene
at Herod’s palace must have been inimitable. The display of counter
fascinations between the two tigers, their voluptuous natures mutually
attracted, their hatred giving to each the deep interest in the other
which so often turns to mutual passion while it incites to conquest, the
grace and finish of their manners, concealing a ruthless ferocity, the
splendor of their appointments—what more dramatic picture can we imagine
in history?”

But in this instance Cleopatra did not make the usual conquest, though
she doubtless exerted all her powers. Although (under unjust accusation)
he was eventually persuaded to put her to death, Herod was at that time
passionately attached to his wife, Mariamme, and withstood Cleopatra’s
fascinations. The reunion of Antony and Cleopatra was most alarming to
him, and he even consulted his council as to whether she, being in his
power, he might dare to make away with her, but the dread of Antony’s
vengeance prevented, and with much polite attention and many gifts, she
was escorted back to Egypt.

Antony’s campaign against Parthia was a failure, but as before two
women stood ready to assist him. Cleopatra on the one hand, accused of
having violated tombs and robbed temples, perhaps for this very purpose,
hastened to Syria to meet him, with provisions and clothing for his
distressed army, while on the other Octavia came to Athens with even
larger supplies. But as against Fulvia, so now, Cleopatra was victor, and
Antony accompanied her to Alexandria. Again he gave himself up to his mad
infatuation, incensing the Romans (who regarded Cleopatra with horror and
aversion) at every step.

Plutarch gives us a graphic picture: “Assembling the people in the
exercise grounds and causing two golden thrones to be placed on a
platform of silver, the one for him, the other for Cleopatra, and at
their feet lower down for their children, he proclaimed Cleopatra
Queen of Egypt, Cyprus, Libya and Coele-Syria, and with her co-jointly
Caesarion, the reported son of the former Caesar. His own sons by
Cleopatra (she bore him two sons and a daughter) were to have the
style of ‘king of kings;’ to Alexander he gave Armenia and Media,
with Parthia, so soon as it should be overcome; to Ptolemy, Phœnicia,
Syria and Cilicia. Alexander was brought before the people in Median
costume, the tiara and upright peak, and Ptolemy in boots and mantle and
Macedonian cap, done about with the diadem, for this was the habit of the
successors of Alexander, as the other was of the Medes and Armenians. As
soon as they had saluted their parents the one was received by a guard
of Macedonians, the other by one of Armenians.” Cleopatra was then, as
at other times when she appeared in public, dressed in the habit of the
goddess Isis.

These theatrical performances were doubtless entertaining to the people,
who, in all countries, love public shows, as well to the principals who
never seemed to tire of their masquerading and lulled to rest complaints
and dissatisfaction, with the existing order of things. For now Antony
and Cleopatra proceeded to Athens to enact similar scenes. The people
there were said to be attached to and to have paid great regard to
Octavia, and Cleopatra claimed the like honors.

But the folly of Antony’s course was raising against him a powerful
faction, and Cæsar Octavian did everything to augment this feeling and
prepared for war. Cleopatra now put all the resources of her kingdom at
Antony’s command and insisted on accompanying him to battle, herself in
charge of the Egyptian fleet. They went to Samos and to Actium, where
Antony gathered together his army and it is said would have fought on
land, but Cleopatra insisted that the strength of the rivals should
be tested at sea. One dominant thought possessed her, as strong, or
stronger, than her love for Antony—it was an invincible dread of being
taken captive by and made to grace the triumph of the brother of the
outraged Octavia. At sea she might hope to escape as she could not on
land. It was this doubtless, more than cowardice, for however wicked she
certainly was a brave woman and not lacking in physical courage, that
made her at the first evidence that the battle was going against Antony,
turn her vessel’s prow and seek safety in flight.

Losing heart and head at once Antony blindly followed. For years
Cleopatra had been his inspiration, his passion, his lode-star; where
else to fly he knew not, his old world was, all too deservedly, against
him. Yet it was not now for joyance that he sought, though he followed
her; he steeled his heart against her sorceries, and shut himself up in
morbid communings with his own spirit. He would not see her and for some
time it was in vain that her maidens pleaded with and tried to comfort

It seemed for the moment as if Cleopatra’s power, she who “governed men
by change” had failed. Her heart cried out,

    “Where is Mark Antony?
    The man my lover with whom I rode sublime
    On Fortune’s neck; we sat as god by god;
    The Nilus would have risen before his time,
    And flooded at our nod.”

But a reconciliation finally ensued. Not to be at peace with Cleopatra
was to give up his last hope, and apparently his only chance for a
renewal of life and power. His army, deserted by its officers, made
submission to Cæsar, who thus remained complete victor.

Arrived in Africa, Cleopatra proceeded to Alexandria, while Antony
remained alone, wandering about in comparative solitude, with only one
of two friends. Reaching home, the queen pretended to have conquered
rather than been defeated, and proceeded to put to death people, official
and otherwise, of whom she wished to be rid. Not for one moment does
she seem to have sat down and given up to despair, as did Antony. One
project after another was entered upon and put in execution, and when
Antony, weary of wandering, at last joined her again, he found her busy
endeavoring to have her fleet dragged across the Isthmus of Suez, from
the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, that she might escape to the other
side and find a place of refuge and safety. But the Arabians burnt her
ships and she was forced to abandon her gigantic scheme. She also sent
embassies to Cæsar, praying that she might be allowed to retain Egypt for
herself and her children and that Antony might dwell there or in Athens
as a private individual. Cæsar professed to be willing to grant her
anything that was reasonable, but was inexorable as regards Antony. If
she would murder Antony, get him out of the way by whatever means, then
her own prospects would be better.

But wicked, ambitious, and cruel as Cleopatra undoubtedly was, the most
sincere sentiment of her wayward life seems her attachment to Antony.
To this she clung, preferring to share his fate—even death itself, than
abandon or kill him. Nevertheless Antony was jealous and suspicious of
her, and once more shut himself up in moody solitude. That her star had
set, the knell of her doom sounded, Cleopatra must have clearly foreseen,
but to the very end she held her head proudly and showed unbroken spirit.
Not for her in modern parlance was “the white feather.” Once more and
for the last time she tempted Antony to her side. It must have been
impossible for him to withhold his meed of admiration from this undaunted
soul. Once more it was for them both, “Let us eat and drink for to-morrow
we die!” and they plunged into the same revelry, almost on the brink, as
it were, of the grave. For them life had held little that was better,
but the fine flavor of earlier times must have departed and there could
not but be bitterness in their souls as they partook of their “dead sea

Cleopatra now completed her tomb, which, like so many Egyptian monarchs,
she had begun before; in which she gathered together all her treasures
and made strange experiments, with various poisons, on her unfortunate
slaves, seeking to know how death might be most easily attained. While
inexorable fate in the person of the world conqueror, Octavius Cæsar,
moved steadily and surely towards the besotted pair, Cleopatra _would_
not put herself in the power of the conqueror, she _would_ not grace his
triumph. Rather than that welcome death!

Cæsar on his part was most anxious to possess himself of her valuables
and to prevent her from killing herself, as he feared she might do, and
continued to send her plausible messages, but she did not trust him. He
had taken Pelusium and now advanced to invest Alexandria. The toils were
tightening around the tiger queen, like the iron tower which enshrouded
the prisoner and daily grew smaller, so misfortune closed in upon her.
She deserved her fate, she had even done much to provoke it, but one
cannot withhold some pity and admiration from the dauntless, if wicked,

Antony plucked up his spirit and made one successful sally against the
surrounding host, but it was but the dying flicker of the candle; defeat
followed, and his fleet and troops deserted to the conqueror. He accused
Cleopatra of treachery, rushing through the streets and decrying her
aloud in his mad fury. She fled and shut herself up with her maidens and
attendants in her well guarded tomb, while Antony retired to his palace.
She then caused word to be sent to him that she had committed suicide,
and a wave of tenderness overwhelmed him, while he lauded her bravery and
begged his attendant to kill him, but the faithful servant only thrust
his sword into his own body, and fell dead at his master’s feet. In
despair Antony wounded himself, but not at once fatally, and word being
brought him that Cleopatra still lived, he demanded and entreated to be
carried to her.

Fearful of Cæsar’s emissaries, she refused to unbar the great stone door,
but she and her maidens drew her dying lover up to the balcony, exerting
all their strength, and laid his on a bed, where he expired in her arms.

Like a requiem mournfully seems to float in fragmentary cadence,

    “I am dying, Egypt, dying,
    Ebbs the crimson life tide fast,
    His who drunk with thy caresses
    Madly threw a world away,
    And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian,
    Glorious sorceress of the Nile,
    Light the path to Stygian horrors
    With the splendors of thy smile;
    Isis and Osiris guard thee,
    Cleopatra, Rome, farewell!”

Then she gave herself up to a passionate grief, of which we cannot
doubt the sincerity, children—country—_all_ was forgotten in her wild
outburst of sorrow, and still the pitiful story drew to its close.
Cleopatra attempted suicide, but Cæsar’s messengers having now reached
the upper story, with scaling ladders, arrived in time to prevent, and
drew her dagger away, even threatening her with the destruction of
all her children if she did not desist. Now for a space she changed
her policy, but probably never her mind, which was evidently bent on
self-destruction. She arrayed herself in fine garments and received
Cæsar, delivering over to him, nominally, all her treasures, but flying
into a furious passion with a servant who betrayed that she was
withholding a part; alternate gusts of fury and grief swayed the now
enfeebled and broken body, and the tormented soul. At one instant she
drew herself up in queenly dignity, at another threw herself at Cæsar’s
feet, bathed in tears. He raised and tried to reassure her, pretending
that he intended her no harm, but never relinquishing the fixed purpose
of having her grace his triumph. While she, on her part, allowing herself
to seem comforted, was equally unchanged in her determination. ’Tis said
that during this interview Octavius kept his eyes upon the ground that
neither the sight of her beauty nor her grief might move him.

And now comes the last act of the theatrical and tragic story. A
basket of figs was sent up to the queen, and hidden in that, or in the
apartment, was the asp, the messenger of death. Crowned and arrayed as
for a festival she laid herself upon the bed where Antony had expired,
and received a bite from the irritated snake, which she had tormented
to his fatal task, she breathed her last. The passionate devotion she
had inspired was proven by the self-destruction of her two maidens, Iras
and Charmian, both of whom followed her example. Many old stories have
been, by modern criticism and research, proved to be mythical tales,
but this seems to hold its own. She had written a pitiful entreaty to
Cæsar that she might be buried in the same tomb with Antony, the last
proof that her love for him was indeed a true affection. No sooner had
Octavius received this than he suspected her design, and again sent his
messengers, if possible, to prevent it. But they were too late, and we
close with Plutarch’s words: “Iras, one of her women, lay dying at her
feet and Charmian, just ready to fall, scarce able to hold up her head,
was adjusting her mistress’ diadem.” The picture is very touching. “And,”
continues the narrative, “when one that came in said, ‘Was this well done
of your lady, Charmian?’ ‘Perfectly well,’ she answered, ‘and as became
the daughter of so many kings.’ And as she said this she fell dead by the

Thus the curtain was rung down on the last act of the tragedy. Though
faded in bloom, and torn with emotions the still beautiful queen, in all
the statuesque majesty of death, lay upon her couch, while as in life her
faithful maidens bore her company. So expired the last and most noted
queen of Egypt and Rome, long virtually master, took full possession.
Balked in his scheme of carrying Cleopatra captive, Cæsar showed what his
fixed determination had been by having a golden statue of her made, with
the asp upon her arm, and carried in his triumphal procession.

Of the fate of Cleopatra’s children, history makes brief mention. The
young Cæsarion, whose rights his mother had always so carefully guarded,
had been sent away with his tutor to the town of far Berenike, but the
faithless man betrayed him to Octavian, who had both him and Antony’s
son, Antyllus, who had been declared an hereditary prince, cruelly
murdered. The younger children, though they soon pass from the records
and are lost to sight, had perchance a happier fate. The young princess
Cleopatra, Antony’s daughter, who doubtless possessed at least a portion
of her mother’s beauty, was married to Juba, the so-called “literary
king” of Mauritania, and Octavian, having removed those members of the
family that he considered in any way dangerous to his own autocratic
authority, permitted the sister to carry with her the two younger
brothers, Alexander and Ptolemy, and thus the once mighty kingdom of
Egypt lay prostrate under the foot of the temporary master of the
world and became a Roman province; and the history of the Ptolemy race
virtually ends with that of the world renowned queen, as Tennyson says,
“a name forever.”

Sam S. & Lee Shubert

direct the following theatres and theatrical attractions in America:

    Lyric, Casino and Princess Theatres, New York.

    Garrick Theatre, Chicago.

    Lyric Theatre, Philadelphia.

    Shubert Theatre, Brooklyn.

    Belasco Theatre, Washington.

    Belasco Theatre, Pittsburg.

    Empire Theatre, Newark.

    New Theatre, Utica.

    Grand Opera House, Syracuse.

    Baker Theatre, Rochester.

    Shubert Theatre, Providence.

    Worcester Theatre, Worcester.

    Hyperion Theatre, New Haven.

    Lyceum Theatre, Baltimore.

    Lyceum Theatre, Buffalo.

    Colonial Theatre, Cleveland.

    Rand’s Opera House, Troy.

    Garrick Theatre, St. Louis.

    Sam S. Shubert Theatre, Norfolk, Va.

    Grand Opera House, Columbus.

    New Theatre, Cincinnati.

    Mary Anderson Theatre, Louisville.

    New Theatre, Richmond, Va.

    New Theatre, Lexington, Ky.

    New Theatre, Mobile.

    New Theatre, Atlanta.

    Shubert Theatre, Milwaukee.

    Lyric Theatre, New Orleans.

    New Marlowe Theatre, Chattanooga.

    New Theatre, Detroit.

    Grand Opera House, Davenport, Iowa.

    New Theatre, Toronto.

    New Sothern Theatre, Denver.

    Sam S. Shubert Theatre, Kansas City.

    Majestic Theatre, Los Angeles.

    Belasco Theatre, Portland.

    Shubert Theatre, Seattle.

    Majestic Theatre, San Francisco.

    Mme. Bernhardt in repertoire.

    E. H. Sothern & Julia Marlowe in repertoire.

    Mrs. Patrick Campbell in repertoire.

    Margaret Anglin in repertoire.

    Virginia Harned in “The Girl in Waiting.”

    Drina De Wolfe and Charles Cartwright in a new play.

    Cyril Maude and Winifred Emery in repertoire.

    Arnold Daly in repertoire.

    Henry Miller in a new play.

    Louis Mann and Clara Lipman in “Julie Bonbon.”

    Guy Standing in a new play.

    Mary Shaw in “The Love That Blinds.”

    Henry Woodruff in “Brown of Harvard.”

    W. H. Thompson in “Money Talks.”

    “A Midsummer’s Eve,” by Evelyn Greenleaf Sutherland.

    A new play by George Hazleton.

    “The Secret Orchard,” by Channing Pollock.

    De Wolf Hopper in “Happyland.”

    Paula Edwardes in “Princess Beggar.”

    Eddie Foy in “The Earl and the Girl.”

    Jefferson De Angelis in “Fantana.”

    Julia Sanderson in “The Motor Girl.”

    Marguerite Clark, in a new opera.

    Christie Macdonald in a new opera.

    “Mexicana,” with Louis Harrison.

    “The Social Whirl,” with Adele Ritchie, Jos. Coyne and Ross &

    “The Babes and the Baron.”

    “The Blue Moon.”


    Peter F. Dailey in a new musical comedy.

    “Queen Xixi of Ix.”

The following attractions also play exclusively in their theatres:


    Mrs. Leslie Carter in a new play.

    Blanche Bates in “The Girl of the Golden West.”

    David Warfield in “The Music Master.”

    Bertha Galland in a new play.


    Mrs. Fiske in “The New York Idea.”

    “Leah Kleschna.”

    Mme. Kalich in “Therese Raquin.”


    Henry E. Dixey in “The Man on the Box.”

    Cyril Scott in “The Prince Chap.”

    “Mrs. Temple’s Telegram.”

    Carlotta Nillson in a new play.


    “Before and After.”

You cannot go wrong in selecting one of these play-houses for an
evening’s entertainment in whatever city you may happen to be.


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