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And yet, even in the statements which we obtain from this quarter, traces may easily be found of what the Egyptian hierarchy once was ; so that from these, when taken together, we are enabled to form a tolerably accurate idea of the earlier power which this remarkable order had enjoyed. The sacerdotal caste was spread over the whole of Egypt; their chief places of abode, however, were the great cities, which, at one time or other, had been the capitals of the land, or else had held a high rank among the other Egyptian cities. These were Thebes, Memphis, Sais, Heliopolis, &c. Here, too, were the chief temples, which are so often mentioned in the accounts of Herodotus and other writers. Every Egyptian priest had to belong to the service of some particular deity, or, in other words, to be attached to some temple. The number of priests for any deity was never determined; nor could it indeed have been subjected to any regulations on this head, since priesthood was hereditary in families, and these must have been more or less numerous according to circumstances. Not only was the priestly caste hereditary in its nature, but also the priesthoods of individual deities. The sons, for example, of the priests of Vulcan at Memphis, could not enter as members into the sacerdotal college at Heliopolis; nor could the offspring of the priests of Heliopolis belong to the college of Memphis. Strange as this regulation may appear, it was nevertheless a natural one. Each temple had extensive portions of land attached to it, the revenues of which, belonging as they did to those whose forefathers had erected the temple, were received by the priests as matters of hereditary right, and made those who tilled these lands be regarded as their dependants or subjects. Hence, as both the templelands and revenues were inherited, the sacerdotal colleges had of consequence to be kept distinct. The priesthood, moreover, of each temple was caresully organized. They had a high-priest over them, whose office was likewise hereditary. It need hardly be remarked. that there must have been gradations also among the various high-priests, and that those of Thebes, Memphis, and the other chief cities of the country, must have stood at the head of the order. These were, in a certain sense, a species of hereditary princes, who stood by the side of the monarchs, and enjoyed almost equal privileges. Their Egyptian title was Piromis, which Herodotus translates by kazoo kāyathóg, i.e., “noble and good,” and which points not so much to moral excellence as to nobility of origin. (Compare Welker, Theognidis Reliquiæ, p. xxiv.) Their statues were placed in the temples. Whenever they are mentioned in the history of the country, they appear as the first persons in the state, even in the Mosaic age. When Joseph was to be elevated to power, he had to connect himself by marriage with the sacerdotal caste, and was united to the daughter of the high-priest at On, or Heliopolis. The organization of the inferior priesthood was different probably in different cities, according to the situation and wants of the surrounding country. They formed not only the ruling caste, and supplicd from their number all the of: fices of government, but were in possession likewise of all the learning and knowledge of the land, and the exercise of this last had always immediate reference to the wants of the adjacent population. We must banish the idea, then, that the priests of Egypt were merely the ministers of religion, or that religious observances constituted their principal employment. They were, on the contrary, judges also, physicians, astronomers, architects; in a word, they had charge of every department that was in any way connected with learning and science. It appears, from the whole tenour of Egyptian history, that each of the great cities of the land possessed originally one chief temple, which, in process of time, became the head temple of the surrounding * and the deity worshipped in it the
local or patron deity of the adjacent country. The priests of Memphis were always styled (according to the momenclature of the Greeks) priests of Vulcan; those of Thebes, priests of the Theban Jove; those of Sais, priests of the Sun, &c. These head-temples mark the first settlements of the sacerdotal colonies as they gradually descended the valley of the Nile. The number of deities to whom temples were erected, in Upper Egypt at least, seem to have been always very limited. In this quarter we hear merely of the temples of Ammon, Osiris, Isis, and Typhon. In Middle and Lower Egypt, the number appears to have been gradually enlarged.—The next subject of inquiry has reference to the revenues of the sacerdotal order. Here also we must dismiss the too common opinion, that the priests of Egypt were a class supported by the monarch or the state. They were, on the contrary, the principal landholders of the country, and, besides them, the right of holding lands was enjoyed only by the king and the military caste. Changes, of course, must have ensued amid the various political revolutions to which the state has been subject, in this important branch of the sacerdotal power, yet none of such a nature as materially to affect the right itself; and hence we find that a large, if not the largest and fairest, portion of the lands of Egypt, remained always in the hands of the priests. To each temple, as has already been remarked, were attached extensive domains, the common possession of the whole fraternity, and their original place of settlement. These lands were let out for a moderate sum, and the revenue derived from them went to the common treasury of the temple, over which a superintendent, or treasurer, was placed, who was also a member of the sacerdotal body. From this treasury were supplied the wants of the various families that composed the sacred college. They had also a common table in their respective temples, which was daily provided with all the good things, not excepting imported wines, that their rules allowed. So that no part of their private property was required for their immediate support. For that they possessed private property is not only apparent from the circumstance of their marrying and having families, but it is also expressly asserted by Herodotus. From all that has been said then, it follows, that the sacerdotal families of Egypt were the richest and most distinguished in the land, and that the whole order formed, in fact, a highly privileged nobility. . The priests of Egypt were distinguished for great cleanliness of person and peculiarity of attire. It cannot be doubted but that the nature of the climate and the character of the country exercised a great influence, not only on these points, but also on their general mode of life; though, independent of this, they would seem to have been well aware how important agents general cleanliness and frequent ablutions become in producing and establishing the blessings of health, both in individuals and communities. Hence the conspicuous example of external cleanliness which they made a point of showing the lower orders. They wore garments of linen, not, as some think, of fine cotton (Schmidt, de Sacerdotibus AEgypt., p. 26), fresh washed, taking particular care to have them always clean. They shaved all parts of their body once in three days. They wore shoes made of byblus, bathed themselves twice in cold water by day and twice by night, and entirely rejected the use of woollen garments. (Heeren's Ideen, 2, 2, 125, seqq.)
14. Motives for Embalming Bodies.
It has often been observed, that the practice of em." balming the dead, and preserving them with so much care and in so costly a manner, seems to indicate some peculiarity in the opinions of the Egyptian philosophers respecting the sate of the soul. On this subject wo have no precise and satisfactory **, The ancient writers have left us only a few hints, more or less obscure, which scarcely afford anything beyond a mere foundation for conjectures. The President de Goguet, relying on a statement of Servius, supposes that the Egyptians embalmed their dead for the sake of maintaining the connexion between the soul and the body, and preventing the former from transmigrating. (Origin of Laws, &c., vol. 3, p. 68, Eng. transl.) According to the Egyptian doctrine of transmigration, as explained by Herodotus (2,127), the soul of a man passed through the bodies of living creatures, and returned to inhabit a human form at the expiration of three thousand years. The cycle, however, does not commence until the body begins to perish, and the second human habitation of the soul is a new one. The pains and torments, therefore, of passing through this cycle of three thousand years, and through animals innumerable, might be reserved for those whose actions in life did not entitle them to be made into mummies, and whose bodies would therefore be exposed to decay. In a second trial in the world, the unfortunate penitent might avoid his former errors. Hence, say the advocates for this opinion, the body of a father or ancestor was often given as a pledge or security, and it was one that was valued more highly than any other. It was the most sacred of all the obligations which a man could bind himself by, and the recovery of the ledge, by performing the stipulated condition, was an indispensable duty. (Long's Anc. Geogr., p. 61.) Others have imagined, that the views with which the Egyptians embalmed their dead bodies were more akin to those which rendered the Greeks and Romans so anxious to perform the usual rites of sepulture to their departed warriors, namely, an idea that these solemnities expedited the journey of the soul to the appointed region, where it was to receive judgment for its former deeds, and to have its future doom fixed accordingly. This, they maintain, is implied by the prayer, said to have been uttered by the embalmers in the name of the deceased, entreating the divine powers to receive his soul into the regions of the gods. (Porphyr. de Abstinent., 4, 10–Prichard's Analysis of Egyptian Mythology, p. 200.) Perhaps, however, the practice of embalming in Egypt was the result more of necessity than of choice, and, like many other of the customs of the land, may have been identified by the priests with the national religion, in order to ensure its continuance. The rites of sepulture in Egypt grew out of circumstances peculiar to that country. The scarcity of fuel precluded the use of the funeral pile; the rocks which bounded the valley denied a grave; and the sands of the deserts afforded no protection from outrage by wild beasts; while the valley, regularly inundated, forbade it to be used as a charnel-house, under penalty of pestilence to the living. Hence grew the use of antiseptic substances, in which the nation became so skilled, as to render the bodies of their dead inaccessible to the ordinary process of decay.
15. Arts and Manufactures of the Egyptians.
The topics on which we intend here to touch, derive no small degree of elucidation from the paintings discovered in the tombs of Egypt. . Weaving appears to have been the employment of a large majority of the nation. According to Herodotus (2, 35), it was an occupation of the men, and, therefore, not merely a domestic employment, but a business carried on also in large establishments or manufactories. The process of weaving is frequently the subject of Egyptian paintungs. It is depicted in the most pleasing manner in she drawing given by Minutoli (pl. 24, 2) from the tombs of Beni Hassan. The loom is here of very simple construction, and is fastened to four props or supports driven into the ground. The finished part of the work is checkered green and yellow, the byssus being generally dyed before weaving. Even as early
as the time of Moses, this class of manufactures had attained a very great perfection (Gogurt, Origin of Laurs, &c., vol. 2, p. 86, seqq.); and, at a still more distant period, the time of Joseph (Genesis, 45, 22), fine vestments were among the articles most usually bestowed as presents. We have no necessity, however, to go back b these authorities; the monuments speak a language that cannot be misunderstood. Both in the plates accompanying the great French work on Egypt, as well as the drawings obtained by Belzoni from the tombs of the kings at Thebes, and those given by Minutoli, we see these vestments in all their gay colours, and of various degrees of fineness. Some are so fine that the limbs appear through them. (Compare, in particular, the vestment of the king, as given in the Description de l'Egypt, Planches, vol. 2, pl. 31, and Belzoni's plates.) Others, on the contrary, are of a thicker texture. The kings and warriors commonly wear short garments; the agricultural and working classes, merely a kind of white apron. The priests have long vestments, sometimes white, at other times with white and red stripes: sometimes adorned with stars, at other times with flowers, and again glittering with all the colours of the East. Whether silk vestments can be found among them remains still undecided. (Heeren's Ideen, vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 368, seqq.) The Egyptians, from a most remote era, were celebrated for their manufacture of linen. The quantity, indeed, that was manufactured and used in Egypt was truly surprising ; and, independently of that made up into articles of dress, the great abundance used for enveloping the mummies, both of men and animals, show how large a supply must have been kept ready for the constant demand at home, as well as for that of the foreign market. That the bandages employed in wrapping the dead are of linen, and not, as some have imagined, of cotton, has been ascertained by the most satisfactory tests. (Wilkinson, vol. 3, p. 115.) That the skill of the Egyptians in the application of colours kept pace with that displayed in the art of weaving, is evident from what has already been remarked. We find among them all colours; white, yellow, red, blue, green, and black. What the colouring materials themselves were, how far they were obtained from Egypt, or to what extent they were brought from Babylonia and India, cannot be clearly determined. That the Tyrians had a share in these will appear more than probable, when we call to mind that they were permitted to have an establishment or factory at Memphis. Pliny (35,42) extols the beautiful pigments of the Egyptians, and the testimony of all modern travellers is in full accordance with his statements. The Egyptians mixed their paint with water, and it is probable that a little portion of gum was sometimes added, to render it more tenacious and adhesive. In most instances we find red, green, and blue adopted; a union which, for all subjects and in all parts of Egypt, was a particular favourite. When black was introduced, yellow was added to counteract or harmonize with it; and, in like manner, they sought for every hue its congenial companion. The following analysis of Egyptian colours, that were brought by Wilkinson from Thebes, is given by Dr. Ure. “The colours are green, blue, red, black, yellow, and white. 1. The green pigment, scraped from the painting in distemper, resists the solvent action of muriatic acid, but becomes thereby of a brilliant blue colour, in consequence of the abstraction of a small portion of yellow ochreous matter. The residuary blue powder has a sandy texture; and, when viewed in the microscope, is seen to consist of small particles of blue glass. On fusing this vitreous matter with potash, digesting the compound in diluted muriatic acid, and treating the solution with water of ammonia in excess, the presence of copper becomes manifest. A certain portion of precipitate fell, which, being dissolved in muriatic acid and tested, proved to be the oxyde of iron. We may hence conclude, that the green pigment is a mixture of a little ochre, with a pulverulent glass, made by vitrifying the oxydes of copper and iron with sand and soda. 2. The blue pigment is a pulverulent blue glass, of like composition, without the ochreous admixture, brightened with a little of the chalky matter used in the distemper preparation. 3. The red pigment is merely a red earthy bole. 4. The black is bone black, mixed with a little gum, and containing some traces of iron. 5. The white is nothing but a very pure chalk, containing hardly any alumina, and a mere trace of iron. 6. The yellow pigment is a yellow iron ochre.” (Wilkinson, vol. 3, p. 301.) Next in importance to weaving must be ranked Metallurgy. As far as we can judge from the colour, which is always green, brass seems to have been constantly employed where in other nations iron would be. The war-chariots appear to be entirely of the former metal. Their green colour, as well as their shape, and the lightness and elegance of their wheels, are thought clearly to indicate this. The arms, moreover, of the Egyptians appear to be nearly all of brass, and not only the swords, but the bows also, and quivers are made of it. These, together with the instruments for cutting that are found depicted among the hieroglyphics, are always green. In the infancy of the arts and sciences, the difficulty of working iron might long withhold the secret of its superiority over copper or bronze; but it cannot reasonably be supposed that a nation so far advanced, and so eminently skilled in the art of working metals as the Egyptians, should have remained ignorant of its use, even if we had no evi: dence of its having been known to the Greeks and other people; and the constant employment of bronze arms and implements is not a sufficient argument against their knowledge of iron, since we find the Greeks and Romans made the same things of bronze, long after the period when iron was universally known. If we reject this view of the question, we must come at once to the conclusion that the Egyptians possessed an art of hardening copper and bronze which is now lost to the world. The skill of the Egyptians in compounding metals is abundantly proved by the vases, mirrors, arms, and implements of bronze discovered at Thebes; and the numerous methods they adopted for varying the composition of bronze by a judicious mixture of alloys, are shown in the many qualities of the metal. They had even the secret of giving to bronze or brass blades a certain degree of elasticity, as may be seen in the dagger of the Berlin museum. Another remarkable feature in their bronze is the resistance it offers to the effects of the atmosphere; some continuing smooth and bright, though buried for ages, and since exposed to the damp of European climates. (Wilkinson, vol. 3, p. 253.) Other lost arts in metallurgy may be evidenced by the well-known fact, that the Hebrew legislator inferentially ascribes to the Egyptian chemists the art of making gold liquid, and of retaining it in that state. This we have not the power to do. Still, however, it must be confessed, that the Egyptians cannot properly be considered as at any time acquainted with the science of chemistry; though they were early made aware of various chemical facts, and many and indubitable proofs of this have been collected in one or two not inconsiderable works devoted to the subject. Their progress in the manufacture of not only white but coloured glass may also be instanced. Seneca informs us that they made artificial gems of extraordinary beauty. (Epist., 90.) They had a method of purifying matron, and of extracting potash from cinders. They prepared lime by the calcination of calcareous stones, and had an intimate knowledge of the uses to which it may be applied, as also that it renders the carbonate of soda caustic. Litharge, together with the vitriolic and many other
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salts, were perfectly known to them. They made wine, vinegar, and even beer. Their method of embalming, whatever it was, may be reckoned among the evidences of their chemical knowledge. The statements on this subject by Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus are very unsatisfactory; and there is reason to believe, as it was the object of the embalmers to shroud their art in mystery, that those writers were either totally deceived, or, at least, that the mummifying drug was artfully concealed from their knowledge. Another important branch of the domestic arts was Pottery, in which the Egyptians displayed a skill not at all inferior to that of the Greeks; and they who suppose that graceful forms in pottery, porcelain, bronze, or even more precious materials, were indigenous to Greece alone, will find many things to undeceive them in the paintings of Egypt. The country possessed a species of clay extremely well ...]". this purpose, and which is still found there. (Reynier, Economies des Egypt., p. 274.) Coptos was the chief seat of this branch of industry, as Keft (or Kuft), in its immediate vicinity, is at the present day. The vases thus manufactured served for holding the water of the Nile, to which they were believed to impart an agreeable coolness, an opinion that pre
vails even in modern times. Besides, however, being applied to household purposes, they were used also for the purpose of holding the mummies of the sacred animals, such as the ibis and others. The vases depicted on the monuments of Egypt are sometimes adorned with the most brilliant colours. As to the elegance of form and ornament in domestic and other articles, the Egyptians can stand comparison with any other nation of antiquity, the Greeks not excepted. Their couches and seats might serve as patterns even for our own ; their silver tripods, beautiful baskets, and distaffs, as we see them in paintings, were known even in the days of the Odyssey (4, 128), and their musical instruments exceed those of modern times in the beauty and variety of their shape. Those who wish to examine more fully into this branch of our subject are referred to Rossellini's great work, or the more accessible one of Wilkinson. The productions of the goldsmiths and silversmiths of Thebes are exhibited by Rossellini, and they fully demonstrate the high pitch of refinement to which they had brought the working of the precious metals. He exhibits gold and silver tureens, urns, vases, banqueting cups, &c., of the most exquisitely beautiful workmanship, and of the most tasteful as well as elegant forms. In surveying..them, the classical reader will be convinced that Hömer drew little on his imagination in describing the gift of plate made to Helen by the wife of the Egyptian king Thone. But Homer ascribes still more extraordinary wonders to the goldsmiths of the same time. They must have succeeded in uniting the most skilful mechanical clockwork with the workmanship of gold; for he describes golden statues, thrones, and footstools moving about as if instinct with life. It would appear, indeed, that we had made, at the present day, little or perhaps no improvement on the forms of the vases and vessels to which we have above referred, and that an Egyptian buffet or sideboard, with all its details, not excluding dishes, plates, knives, and spoons, near four thousand years ago, bore a striking resemblance to the sideboards of modern palaces and villas. Still farther, a survey of the trades and manufactures of Egypt, as afforded by the ancient paintings, exhibits, in a great degree, the same tools, implements, and processes, as are employed in workshops and manufactories at the present day. The whole process of manufacturing silk and cotton, with all its details of reeling, carding, weaving, dying, and patterning, may be more especially named. (Foreign Quarterly Rerica, No 32, p. 208, scqq.) 51
16. Trade of Egypt.
Nature has destined Egypt, by its products, its general character, and its geographical position, for one of the principal trading countries of the globe. . Neither the despotism under which it has groaned for centuries, nor the bloody feuds and wars of which it has so often been the scene, have operated, for any length of time, to deprive it of these advantages; the purposes of Nature may be impeded, but they cannot be wholly destroyed. The situation of Egypt, a fertile district, abounding in the first necessaries of life, between the arid deserts of Asia and Africa, has in all ages given it a value which, in another position, it could not have. From the time of Jacob to the present day, it has been the granary of the less fertile neighbouring countries. The natural facilities for internal communication were, at an early period, increased by the formation of canals, which united the various arms of the river that bound or flow through the Delta. From Syene to about lat. 31° N. there is one uninterrupted boat-navigation, which is seldom impeded for want of water. The conveyance of articles up the stream is favoured at certain seasons by the steady winds from the north. A description of the Nile-boat, called Baris, is given by Herodotus (2,96). One of the great national festivals, that of Artemis at Bubastis, was celebrated during the annual inundation: the people, in boats, sailed from one town to another, and their numbers were increased by the inhabitants of every town that was visited. As it was an idle time for the agriculturists, like the winter of other climates, it was spent in carousing and drunkenness. The quantity of wine consumed was immense, and the whole of it was procured by giving in exchange Egyptian commodities. The Egyptians were never a nation of sailors, for their country furnished no materials for building large vessels. Till the time of Psammetichus, foreigners, though allowed to trade, there, were subject to many strict regulations, and were regarded as suspicious persons, , Egypt, being, a grain-country, would be more likely to receive the visits of foreigners, than to make, herself, any active commercial speculations. The later Pharaohs, after Psammetichus, as also the Ptolemies, could only then build fleets when the woods of Phoenicia were under their control; and it is well known what bloody wars were carried on for the possession of these regions between the Ptolemies and Seleucidae. It may be easily imagined, too, that the Tyrians and Sidonians were never anxious to make the Egyptians a maritime people, even if the latter had possessed the inclination to become such. The true reason why the Egyptians forbade all foreigners to approach their coast, is to be found in the peculiar character of early commerce. All the nations that trafficked on the Mediterranean were at that time pirates, with whom the carrying away the inhabitants from the coasts and selling them for slaves had become a lucrative branch of commerce. It was natural, then, that a people who had no ships of their own to oppose to such visitants, should forbid them, under any pretext, to approach their coasts. Passages occur, it is true, in the ancient writers, which render it doubtful whether there were not some exceptions to what has just been remarked. Homer makes Menelaus to have sailed to Egypt, and Diodorus Siculus mentions a maritime city, named Thonis, to which he assigns a great antiquity. The colonies, too, that are said to have sailed from Egypt to Greece, as, for example, those of Danaus and Cecrops, suppose an acquaintance with the art of navigation. The question, however, admits of a serious consideration, whether the Phoenicians were not in these cases the agents of commerce and transportation. The reign of Psammetichus and his successors changed the character of the Egyptians, or at least altered the old and settled
ject to fewer restraints; the exchange of Egyptian commodities was extended; and, as Herodotus expressly remarks, agriculture and individual wealth were never so much improved in Egypt as under this system of free trade. The Egyptian kings now acquired a fleet, the materials for which, or the vessels themselves, they could procure from the Phoenicians or the Greeks. Neco, the successor of Psammetichus, and the conqueror of Jerusalem (Herod., 2, 159—Compare Kings, book 2, ch. 23, and Jeremiah, ch. 46), formed the project of uniting the Nile to the Red Sea by a canal: this canal was not completed till the time of Darius I., the Persian king. The object of the Pharaohs and the monarchs of Persia was to facilitate the transportation of commodities from the Red Sea to Egypt; for the Egyptians had long been accustomed to receive the products of India and Arabia up this gulf. This artificial channel was neglected on account of the difficulty of navigating the northern part of the Red Sea; it existed under the Ptolemies, but a land communication was also formed between Coptos and the ports of Myos-hormos and Berenice on the gulf, and this remained for a long time the great commercial road between the western and the eastern world. In Upper Egypt, the city of Thebes was once the centre of commerce for Africa and Arabia: under its colossal porticoes and market-houses, the wares of southern Africa, and the products of Arabia and India, were collected. Its same had spread, probably through the Phoenician traders, as far as the country of the Homeric poems (ll, 9,381). A modern traveller, Denon, standing amid the ruins of Thebes, could feel and comprehend the advantages of its situation: he could compute the number of days’ journey which separated him from the towns of Arabia, the emporium of Meroe, and the cities of central Africa. In the mountains east of Thebes, the precious metals were once found: the mines were worked by prisoners of war or by slaves. Agatharchides, a Greek geographer (Geogr. Gr. Min., vol. 1, p. 212, ed. Hudson), in the time of the sixth Ptolemy, visited these mines, of which he has given a most exact description. Thus Thebes possessed, in the precious metals, one of those articles of commerce which invite strangers. Memphis, in Lower Egypt, was the centre of commerce when Herodotus visited Egypt. The gold, the ivory, and the slaves of Africa, the salt of the desert, wine imported from Greece and Phoenicia twice a year, with the products of India and Yemen, were collected in this market. In exchange, the merchants received the precious metals, grain, and linen (or perhaps cotton) cloths, which Herodotus compares with those of Colchis. Amasis, who was a usurper, and a prince fond of foreign luxuries, did not scruple to make great innovations. He admitted foreigners more freely into Lower Egypt, and appointed Naucratis, on the Canopic branch, as the residence of the Greek merchants. He carried his liberality so far as to permit non-resident Greeks to build temples to their national gods, and use the precincts as market-places: several Ionian and Dorian cities of Asia, together with the town of Mytilene, built a noble temple, calied the Hellenium, and, by their joint votes, appointed the superintendents of the -market and the commercial establishment. Some other Greek towns also followed their example. (Long's Anc. Geogr., p. 64, seqq.—Heeren's Ideen, vol. 2, pt. 2, p. 373, seqq.)
17. Style of Egyptian Art.
The same veneration for ancient usage and the stern regulations of the priesthood, which forbade any innovation in the form of the human figure, particularly in subjects connected with religion, fettered the genius of the Egyptian artists, and prevented its developement. The same formal outline, the same attitudes and pos. resenting the different parts, were adhered to at the latest as at the earliest periods. No improvements, resulting from experience and observation, were admitted in the mode of drawing the figure; no attempt was made to copy nature, or to give proper action to the limbs. Certain rules, certain models, had been established by law, and the faulty conceptions of earlier times were copied and perpetuated by every successive artist. Egyptian bas-relief appears to have been, in its origin, a mere copy of painting, its predecessor. The first attempt to represent the figures of the gods, sacred emblems, and other subjects, consisted in painting simple outlines of them on a flat surface, the details being afterward put in with colour. But, in process of time, these forms were traced on stone with a tool, and the intermediate space between the various figures being afterward cut away, the once level surface assumed the appearance of a bas-relief. It was, in fact, a pictorial representation on stone, which is evidently the character of all the bas-reliefs on Egyptian monuments, and which readily accounts for the imperfect arrangement of their figures. Deficient in conception, and, above all, in a proper knowledge of grouping, they were unable to form those combinations which give true expression. Every picture was made up of isolated parts, put together according to some general notions, but without harmony or preconceived effect. The human face, the whole body, and everything they introduced, were composed, in the same manner, of separate members, placed together one by one, according to their relative situations: the eye, the nose, and other features, composed a face; but the expression of feelings and passions was entirely wanting ; and the countenance of the king, whether charging an enemy's phalanx in the heat of battle, or peaceably offering incense in a sombre temple, presented the same outline, and the same inanimate look. The peculiarity of the front view of an eye, introduced in a profile, is thus accounted for; it was the ordinary representation of that feature added to a profile, and no allowance was made for any change in the position of the head. It was the same with drapery. The figure was first drawn, and the drapery was then added, not as a part of the whole, but as an accessory. They had no general conception, no previous idea of the effect required to distinguish the warrior or the priest, beyond the impression received from costume, or from the subject of which they formed a part; and the same figure was dressed according to the character it was intended to perform. Every portion of a picture was conceived by itself, and inserted as it was wanted to complete the scene; and when the walls of a building, where a subject was to be drawn, had been accurately ruled with squares, the figures were introduced, and fitted to this mechanical arrangement. The members were appended to the body, and these squares regulated their form and distribution, in whatever posture they might be placed. In the paintings of the tombs, greater license was allowed in the representation of subjects relating to private lise, the trades, or the manners and occupations of the people; and some indications of perspective in the position of the figures may occasionally be observed; but the attempt was imperfect, and, probably, to an Egyptian eye, unpleasing; for such is the force of habit, that, even where nature is copied, a conven. tional style is sometimes preferred to a more accurate representation. In the battle scenes on the temples of Thebes, some of the figures representing the monarch pursuing the flying enemy, despatching a hostile chief with his sword, and drawing his bow, as his horses carry his car over the prostrate bodies of the slain, are drawn with much spirit; but still the same imperfections of style and want of truth are observed: there is action, but no sentiment, no expression of the passions, or life in the features. In the representation of animals they appear not to have been restricted to
polity of the country. Foreign merchants were sub-ltures of the body, the same conventional mode of rep
the same rigid style; but genius once cramped can scarcely be expected to make any great effort to rise, or to succeed in the attempt; and the same union of parts into a whole, the same preference for profile, are observable in these as in the human figure. It must, however, be allowed, that, in general, the character and form of animals were admirably portrayed; the parts were put together with greater truth; and the same license was not resorted to as in the shoulders and other portions of the human body. (Wilkinson, vol. 3, p. 263, scqq.)
18. Egyptian Architecture.
The earliest inhabitants of Egypt appear to have been of Troglodytic habits, or, in other words, to have inhabited caves. The mountain ranges on either side of the stream would easily supply them with abodes of this kind. From the site of ancient Memphis, until we ascend the Nile beyond Thebes, these mountains are composed of stratified limestone, full of organic remains. Such rocks, it is well known, abound in natural caverns in all eastern countries; and although no cavities are now found in Egypt that do not bear marks of human skill, we have no right to assert that it was not in many cases merely called in for the aid of nature, to smooth and embellish abodes originally provided by her. Much of this rock, too, was of a highly sectile and friable nature, and easily worked, therefore, by the hand of man. When the natural caverns then became insufficient for the growing population, the artificial formation of others would be no difficult task. With the demand, the skill of workmanship would naturally increase; harder limestone would be worked, then the flinty but friable sandstones of the quarries of Selseleh, and, finally, the hard and imperishable rock that still bears the name of the city of Syene. To understand fully the causes which led to the erection of such enormous works by the Egyptians, as still astonish and have for ages astonished the world, we must investigate other circumstances besides those of climate and position. The government of Egypt was monarchical from the very earliest date; and a monarchical and despotic government, if it be only stable, is incontestibly more favourable to the execution of magnificent structures than one more free. Hence one cause for the vast structures of Egypt. The population, too, of the country was probably redundant beyond any modern parallel. Considered as a grain country alone, it was capable of supporting a population three times as great as one of equal extent in a less favoured climate. It produces, besides, those tropical plants which yield more fruit on a given space of ground than any of the vegetables of the temperate zone, and which grow where, from the aridity of the soil, the cereal gramina cannot vegetate. Domestic animals, too, multiply with great rapidity, and the prolific influence of the waters of the Nile is said to extend to the human race. With a population created and supported by such causes, we cannot wonder that a government, commanding without fear of accountability the whole resources of the country, could project and execute works, at which the richest and most powerful nations of modern times would hesitate. Many causes must have conspired to induce the abandonment of the cavern habitations of the early inhabitants. Besides the necessity which existed of providing receptacles for the embalmed bodies of the dead, and for which purpose these caverns would admirably answer, a growing and improving people could not long endure to be shut up in rocky grottoes during the inundation, or to pursue their agricultural labours at other seasons, far from a fixed abode. A remedy for these inconveniences was found in the erection of mounds in the plain, and quays upon the banks of the river, exceeding in elevation its utmost rise, and extended with the increase of population until they could *. important