« PoprzedniaDalej »
The Bible and Wadern Discovery.
Egypt: Its Treasures of stroy treasures which could never be Ancient Art & Literature.
replaced. All honour to the French
savant, M. Maspero, who, with rare For forty centuries and more Egypt courage, has remained at his post as has occupied a prominent place in his
director and guardian of the Boulak tory, and now the attention of the
Museum. world is once again concentrated upon The Egyptians were from time imit. In art, architecture, and general memorial a warlike people. They carcivilization it was the pioneer of the ried their victorious arms into every nations of antiquity. The records on
country of the then known world ; and its papyrus rolls, the inscriptions on
they were themselves in turn conquered its temples and monuments, and the and ruled over by several of the great paintings on the walls of its tombs,
historic nations of the East. Being are at once the oldest and the most
artistic and literary in their tastes, instructive we possess. As each new they carved and painted on the walls discovery is made in those marvellous
of their public buildings life-pictures rock sepulchres, and as each new dis- of their famous battles and conquests: entombed writing is deciphered, fresh and they attached to them in most light is thrown upon primeval history, cases, long, minute, and graphic demanners and customs, and religions. scriptions. The wars of one monarch Egypt, in fact, as is now proved by its alone, as written, record more than a long buried remains, has influenced and thousand names of places. Their his. moulded, far more largely than is gen- torians also wrote, upon prepared leaves erally supposed, not art, letters, and
of papyrus, accounts of the campaigns philosophy merely, but the dogmas and of noted princes and generals, of their forms of the various faiths of mankind, journeys, their discoveries in science, even including Judaism and Christ
their faith, their forms of worship, ianity.
their political and social institutions Many circumstances have combined everything, in a word, calculated to to make the monuments of Egypt of illustrate their achievements and glory. inestimable value, and to invest the The monuments and papyri of Egypt country itself with surpassing interest. may thus be regarded as constituting The present, it seems to me, is a fit- an encyclopædia of primeval geograting time to call attention to these phy, history, and antiquities. They facts. English power is now supreme record the names of countries, cities, there; and every scholar in the world peoples, kings, generals ; the numbers will join with me in the expression of and equipments of armies; voyages an earnest hope that Egypt's priceless to remote regions; lists and descriptions monuments will be watched over with
of spoils and merchandise; whether religious care by British solders. This slaves, cattle, gold, silver, gems, rare is absolutely necessary; for fanaticism animals, perfumes, vases, fruits, or is rampant among certain classes of
other things peculiar to the several the population, and such a calamity at countries from which they were taken. Cairo as that which native .barbarism. Then we have portraits of leading brought upon Alexandria would de.
personages, with their dress, arms,
EGYPT: ITS TREASURES OF ANCIENT ART.
chariots and attendants ;
we have plans of battles and fortifications ; we have representations of execution, torture, and other punishments inflicted on prisoners, and the treatment and employment of those reduced to slavery. We can at this day see in the monumental remains of Egypt the marked features and simple costumes of the Amu or Badawy shepherds of Sinai and Arabia, who invaded the delta of the Nile in prehistoric times, subdued the Egyptians, and committed such acts of cruelty that when the patriarch Jacob entered the country
every shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians." We can see also in the painted sepulchral chambers the enslaved Hebrews making bricks and building cities under the lash of the taskmaster. We can see, on the walls of Luxor, the siege of Kadesh, the sacred city of the Hittites, Abraham's friends, and the King Rameses in his war chariot riding triumphantly through the midst of their panicstricken hosts. We can see the wellknown figures, dress, and arms of the Assyrians, the Persians, the Phæni. cians, and strangers from India, Europe, and Central Africa, all bowing down to the proud Pharaohs, and presenting tribute, each in the products of his native land.
The Egyptians were likewise eminently religious people. The words St. Paul addressed to the Athenians might with equal appropriateness have been applied to the Egyptians : "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” Their noblest works of art and architecture were devoted to their gods. Magnificent temples were erected; colossal statues of deities were hewn out; sacred obelisks were reared up; vast tombs were excavated, in which the embalmed bodies of deified bulls, crocodiles, ibises, cats, serpents, and sundry other
creatures, products of degraded fetichism, were enshrined in granite sarcophagi or richly painted coffins; and the walls of the tombs themselves were covered with paintings and inscriptions giving their history and object, the rites and ceremonies by which the deities were worshipped, and in some cases detailing the doctrines held regarding a future state.
The tombs of Egypt are among the grandest and most striking of its
The pyramids were tombs, and they are still wonders of the world. The rock-hewn sepulchres, however, which surround the pyramids, and which dot the mountain gorges of Thebes and Bene-Hassen are now probably the most instructive. Their chambers are so many museums, containing not merely the embalmed remains, but, on the inscribed and sculptured walls the whole history of the mighty dead. Nothing is overlooked or forgotten that would throw light on their lives and labours. In this way we have a most vivid picture of ancient Egypt: the victories of kings; processes in law courts; the building of cities; the hewing and transport of colossal statues and obelisks; the embalming of the dead; funeral processions; marriage ceremonies; every department of household work and family life, such as cooking, washing, dressing, shaving the head and beard, eating; trades of all kinds-goldsmiths, painters, potters, glass-blowers, bakers, weavers; games and amusementsjugglers, music, dancing; tilling the soil; irrigating the fields ; feeding and milking the cows; watering flax, reaping, threshing, grinding-all these and many other things are delineated with singular, and not unfrequently amusing, minuteness of detail. In examining those unique tombs one can study the manners and customs, the private life and public acts, the religious rites and
ceremonies, the features and dress of those who lived in cottage and palace in that country from three to four thousand years ago, with almost as much advantage as if he lived among them.
The perfect preservation of the paintings and papyri is astonishing. In this Western land of rain and frost half a century of neglect would destroy them; but in upper Egypt rain and frost are unknown. The dry and equable climate is the grand curator ; and this has been materially assisted by the desert sand, which has partially covered some of the monuments, and for long ages hermetically sealed many of the finest tombs. The figures and brilliant colouring on the walls, and the written characters upon the papyrus, have thus been preserved as fresh as if only finished yesterday, Looking at them one can scarcely believe that their age has to be reckoned by thousands of years.
The great temples and monuments, it is unfortunately true, have been shattered by time and ruthless hands of strangers. Some of them, too, have been transported to other lands, and now adorn Constantinople, Rome, Paris, London, and even New York; but they are not lost. They are instructive in their exile. They retain, wherever placed, the indelible impress of the primeval civilization, and they form imperishable memorials of the greatness and grandeur of ancient Egypt.
The most moderate estimate--and of those very remote ages only an estimate can be formed
assigns the reign of Menes, the founder of Memphis, and the earliest known Egyptian monarch, to the twenty eighth century B.C. M. Mariette, a modern Egyptologist of profound learning, places Menes, more than two thousand years earlier. At whatever time he llved, however, it seems that he planned and
perfected the gigantic works of engineering, the construction of the huge dyke which diverted the Nile from its own channel, and reclaimed for cultivation the rich plain west of Cairo. Cheop, who built the great pyramid, Aourished,'according to Mariette, eight hundred years later; and it is evident that his architect was both a mathematician and an astronomer, for the base of the pyramid is an exact square, and its sides face the cardinal points; there are besides other details of form and construction, noticed by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, which show astonishing technical and scientific knowledge. Cheops left records of his reign, not only on cities and monuments in Egypt, but on tablets at the turquoise mines of Mount Sinai. A few years later, what is supposed to be the oldest papyrus now extant was penned by Prince Patah-hotop, and some of its sentences show that the Egyptian literati were already as deeply versed in the principles of ethics as they were in science :-“If thou art become great after thou hast been humble, and if thou hast amassed riches after poverty, being because of that the first in thy town; if thou art known for thy wealth, and art become a great lord, let not thy heart become proud because of thy riches, for it is God that is the author of them for thee. Despise not another who is as thou wast; be toward him as toward thy equal.” This reminds one of the choicest passages in the writings of Solomon; and it illustrates the force and meaning of that pointed statement of the sacred writer, “ Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” One can understand, too, how such instruction fitted him intellectually and morally for his great task as the leader and law-giver of Israel.
J. L. Porter, D.D.
LOMBARD STREET & CHARING CROSS,
Insurances against Loss by Fire and Lightning are effected upon very description of Property, in all parts of the World, on the most ivourable terms.
The settlement of claims arranged with promptitude and liberality, his Company having already paid for Losses more than FOURTEEN MILLIONS STERLING,
WILLIAM C. MACDONALD, Joint
Secretaries. Rates and Particulars of Insurance may be obtained at the Chief Offices, -QMBARD STREET, and CHARING Cross, and from the respective Agents of the Company throughout the Kingdom.
By a combination of two of his latest inventions, Mr.J. SHIPLEY SLIPPER is now enabled to adapt Artificial Teeth to the mouth without the extraction of loose teeth or stumps.
These Teeth never change colour, are fitted to the mouth with. out any unsightly wire or fastenings, and are so life-like as to defy the keenest and
most experienced observer. RTIFICIAL TEETH.
Testimonial from a Nonconformist Minister,
101, Beaufort Street, Chelsea. Dear Sir,--The teeth you have fitted in for me and the friends I have recommended to your establishment have given every satisfaction, and while it is so I shall continue to say to my friends, 'Go to Shipley Slipper, and you will get good fitting teeth at small cost.'
"'Yours very truly, J. S. Slipper, Esq.
IRTIFICIAL TEETH sets, including all charges from 20s.
Old Teeth made by other Dentists repaired and made to fit.
(Directly opposite Chancery Lane). Hours of Attendance, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays, till 3 p.m. Consultation and every information FREE. Prospectus and copies of Testimonials orwarded gratis, and post free on application to J. SHIPLEY SLIPPER, Dental Surgeon,
37, High Holborn, London.