صور الصفحة
PDF

handicraft employment was forbidden, afrricoltnral labours were enjoined. The monuments exhibit officers with recruiting parties, soldiers engaged in gymnastic exercises, and in the battle pieces, which are extremely spirited, all the arts of offensive and defensive war practised by the Egyptians are represented. The war-caste was necessarily a very im{Kjrtant element in a state which was frequently engaged in distant conquests, and had a wide extent of territory to defend. Yet until the reigns of Sethos, when the priests invaded its privileges, and of Psammetichus, when the king encroached u]>on them, we find no trace of mutiny or civil war in Egypt,—a proof that the Calasirians and Hermotybians were not only well disciplined, but also, in the main, contented with their lot.

VII. Cicil History. The History of Egypt is properly arranged under five eras.

1. Egypt under its native rulers—the Pharaonic Era. Its commencement in unknown: it closes with the conquest of the land by Cambyses in B. c. 523.

2. The Persian Era, from n. c. 525, to the Macedonian invasion, B. C. 332.

3. The Macedonian or Hellenic Era. This period is computed either from the foundation of Alexandria, in B. c. 332, or from B. c. 323, when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, converted the satrapy of Egypt iuto an hereditary kingdom. This period extends to the death of Cleopatra, in B. c. 30.

4. The Roman Era, from the surrender of Alexandria to Augustus, in B. c. 30, to the capture of that city by the Khalif Omar in A. D. 640.

5. The Mahommedan Era, from A. D. 640 to the present time.

The last of these periods belongs to modern history, and does not come within the scope of this wurk. The first of them must be very briefly treated, partly because it involves questions which it would demand a volume to discuss, and partly because Egypt came into the field of classical history through its relations with the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. For complete information the student of the Pharaonic era must consult the larger works of Denon, Young, Champollion, Rosellini, Heeren, Wilkinson, Bunscn and Lepsius; or the very lucid abstract of this period in Kcnrick's Ancient Egypt, which, indeed, contains all that the general reader can require.

I. Pharaonic Era. Authorities. — The original records of Egypt were kept with no ordinary care, and were very various in kind, sculpture, symbol, writing, all contributing to their contents. Herodotus (ii. 72—82), Theophrastus (op. Porphyr. de Abstinent, ii. 5), Cicero (<fe Jiepub. iii. 8) concur in describing the Egyptians as the most learned and accurate of mankind in whatsoever concerned their native annals. The priests, Diodorus (i. 44) assures us, had transmitted in unbroken succession written descriptions of all their kings — their physical powers and disposition, and their personal exploits. The antiquity of writing in Egypt is no longer a subject of dispute. Lepsius (Book of tkt Bead, Leipzig, 1842, Pref. p. 17) found on monuments as early as the 12th dynasty, the hieroglyphic sign of the papyrus; and on the 4th that of the stylus and inkstand. The Egyptians themselves also

observed 'he distinction between the dry pontifical chronicle and mythical and heroics! narratives couched in poetry and song. To this mass of written documents are to be added the sculptured monuments themselves, the tombs, obelisks, and temple walls, whose paintings and inscriptions have been partially decyphered by modern scholars, and are found generally to correspond with the written lists of kings compiled, in the first instance, by the native historian Manet ho. Egyptian history, however, in the modern acceptation of the word, began after the establishment of the Greek sovereignty of Egypt. The natives, with the natural pride of a once ruling but now subject race, were eager to impart to their Hellenic masters more correct notions of their history and religion than could be obtained either from the relations of Greek travellers, such as Tliales and Solon, or from the narratives of Hecataeus, Democritus, and Herodotus. Of Manctho, of Sextus Julius Africanus, from whose chronieon, in five books, Eusebius derived a considerable portion of his own clironicon, of Georgius the Synccllus, of Eratosthenes, the Alexandrian mathematician, who treated largely of Egyptian chronology, accounts have been given in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, and to its columns we must refer for the bibliography of Egyptian history. Lastly, we must point out the extreme value of the Hebrew scriptures and of Josephus among the records of the Nile-valley. The remote antiquity of Egyptian annals is not essentially an objection to their credibility. The Synccllus assigns 3555 years as the duration of Manctho's thirty dynasties. These being Egyptian years, are equivalent to 3553 Julian years, and, added to 339 B. c, when the thirtieth dynasty expired, give 3892 B. c. as the commencement of the reign of Menes, the founder of the monarchy. But although Bunsen and other distinguished Egyptologers are disposed to assign an historical personality to Menes, his very name, as the name of an individual man, seems suspicious. It too nearly resembles the Menu of the Indians, the Minyas and Minos of the Greeks, the Menerfa of the Etruscans, and the Mannus of the Germans — in all which languages the name is connected with a root — Man—signifying "to think and speak" (see Quarterly Review, vol. 78, p. 149) — to be accepted implicitly as a personal designation.

The Pharaonic era of Egyptian history may be divided into three portions—the Old, the Middle, and the New monarchy. The first extends from the foundation of the kingdom in B. c. 3892 to the invasion of the Hyksos. The second from the conquest of Lower Egypt by the Hyksos and the establishment of an independent kingdom in the Thebaid, to the expulsion of the Hyksos. The third from the re-establHirnent of the native monarchy by Amosis to the final conquest by Cambyses in B. c. 525. (Kenrick, Ancient Egypt, vol. ii. p. 110.)

(1.) The Old Monarchy. The chronology of this and the succeeding division of the Egyptian monarchy is beset viith. at present, insurmountable difficulties; since, in the first place, there are no synchronisms in the annals of other countries to guide the inquirer, and in the next, we know not whether the dynasties in Manctho should be taken as a series, or whether he enumerates contemporaneous families of kings, some of whom reigned, at the sum time, at Memphis, and others at &us, X'lis, Thebes, &c. And even if Manetho himself intended his dynasties to follow one another in direct order, the question still remains whether his authorities did so too. Gods, spirits, demigods, and Manes, or the souls of men were, according to Manetho, the first rulers of Egypt. They began with Ptha or Hephaestus and closed with Horus. Then follow thirty dynasties of mortal kings, 300 in number, according to the lowest, and 500, according to the highest computation. The time over which they extend varies also between the limits of 3555 and 50+9 years. Manetho's account of these dynasties h Detained in three volumes: Herodotus, Diodorus, Eratosthenes and Manetho, amid their many disagreements, concur in this statement—that Menes of This was the first mortal king of Mizrahn, the double land, L e., Upper and Lower Egypt. Here, indeed, their coincidence ends. For Herodotus makes Menes the founder of Memphis, as well as of the monarchy: whereas Diodorus states that Memphis, the embankrant* which supported its area, and the diversion of the Kile stream were the works of a monarch, who lived many centuries afterwards. The second name in the 4th dynasty is Suphis, to whom Manetho ascribes the building of the Great Pyramid. Here we seem to touch upon historical ground, since in a recently opened room of that pyramid has been deciphered the name of Chufu or Shufu, the Cheops of Herodotus, who, however, places that monarch much lower. The erection of the Second Pyramid is attributed by Herodotus and Diodorus to Chephren; and upon the neighbouring tombs, fur the pyramid itself seems to be uninscribed, has been read the name of Shafre, accompanied by a pyramidal figure. There is sufficient approximate between Shafre and Chephren to identify them with each other, although no corresponding name occurs in either Eratosthenes or 3Ianetho. Fourth in the 4th dvnasty is Mencheres, the builder of the third pyramid, the Mycerinus of Herodotus (ii. 127) and Diodorus (i. 64); and their statement is fully ooonnned by the discovery of a mummy case in that pyramid, with the inscription, Menkera. Manetho, indeed, makes Nitocris, a queen of the 6th dynasty, the Nitocris of Herodotus (ii. 100), to have built the third pyramid. The 7th dynasty was apparently a period of anarchy, since it contains 70 Mraiphite kings, who reigned fur 70 days only. They were probably interreges or vice-kings. Of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th dynasties not even the names of the kings are known. Two of these were Mem phi te dynasties, two Heracleopolitan. and one Diospolitan, the dynasty being in each case named apparently from the birth-place of its Grander. The 12th dynasty bears in Manetho's list a very historical aspect, since its catalogue of seven Diospolitan kings is not only complete, but comprises also the name of Sesostris, or more properly Sesortasen or Sesortosis, who, it is said, " subdued all Asia in nine years, and part of Europe as fer as Thrace," as well as that of Lacharis (Lamaris or Maras), who built the Labyrinth in the Arsmoito Dome. Yet, until recently this list has received no confirmation from hieroglyphics. Even the conquests of Sesostris probably belong to the 18th dynasty and to Hamcses III. Both Herodotus and Diodorus place Sesostris much later: and the former historian refers the erection of the Labyrinth to the period of the Dodecarohia. The 13th dynasty confisted of 60 Diospolite kings, who reigned, it in aid, 453 years, and the 14th of 76 Xoite kings,

| who reigned 184 years, but the names and acts of both have perished. With the 14th dynasty close* the first period of the Pharaonic era.

(2.) The Middle Monarchy. The second j*riod, consisting of three dynasties, is that of the Shepherd Kings. A passage of Manetho's lost work Aegyptiaca, cited by Josephus in his rejoinder to the Graeco-Egyptian grammarian Apion (Joseph. c. Apion. L 14), places this period in comparative light before us. That a Nomadic Arab horde for several centuries occupied and made Egypt tributary; tliat their capital was Memphis; that in the Scthroite nome they constructed an immense earthcamp which they called Aharis; that at a certain period of their occupation two independent kingdoms were formed in Egypt, one in the Thebaid, in iirtiinate relations with Acthiopia, another at Xois, among the marshes of the Nile; that, finally, the Egyptians regained their independence and expelled the Hyksos, who thereupon retired into Palestine, are probably authentic facts, and indeed involve in themselves no just cause for doubt The only suspicious circumstance in Manetho's narrative is the exaggeration of numbers, but this is a defect common to all primeval record. The Hyksos indeed left behind them no architectural memorials, and the Egyptians, when they recovered Lower Egypt, would not be likely to perpetuate their own subjection, nor the priests who instructed Herodotus and Diodorus to confess that the Nile-valley had ever paid tithe or toll to an abominable race of shepherd kings. The silence of annalists and monuments is therefore at least a negative argument in support of the truth of Manetho's account: nor is it improbable that the long and inveterate hatred with which the Egyptians regarded the pastoral tribes of Arabia owed its origin to their remembrance of this period of humiliation.

The Middle Monarchy extended over a period of 953 years according to the Syncellus and Africanns: but, according to Manetho, the Hyksos were lords of Egypt only 511 years. The larger number probably includes the sum of the years of the three contemporaneous dynasties at Xois, Memphis, and Thebes.

(3.) The New Monarchy. The third period, of the New Monarchy, extends from the commencement of the 18th to the end of the 30th dynasty.

The New Monarchy commence-* with the expulsion of the Hyksos, or rather perhaps with the revolt of the Thebaid which effected it. The earlier kings of the 18th dynasty, Amosis, Misphragmuthofds, &c. were apparently engaged in successive attacks upon the intruders. But, after its final victory, Egypt again, or perhaps now for the first time a united kingdom, attained a long and striking pros]*rity. The names of Thutmosis (Tlmthnies), of Amonophi's (the Greek Mernnon ?), and above all, of Pameses III., are read on various monuments in Nubia and Egypt, and most conspicuously in the Thebaid temples at Luxor and Kaniak. The 18th dynasty was the flourishing age of Egyptian art: its sculpture became bolder, its paintings more artistic and elaborate: the appliances and inventions of civilisation more diversified. Eameses, if indeed under his name are not embodied the acts of his dynasty, was the Alexander of the Nile-valley. Seventeen centuries after his reign Germanints visited Thebes, and the priests read to him, on the monuments, tho acts and wars, the treasures and the tributes, the subjects and the domains of this powerful king (Tac. Ann. ii. 60). This was no Eastern exaggeration. The " Tablet of Karnak," says Kenrick (vol. ii p. 229), whose inscription was interpreted to Gerinanicus in A. r>. 16, " was strictly an historical and statistical document. Its dates are precise; and though we may bo unable to identify the countries named, the exactness with which they are enumerated, with the weights and numbers of the objects which they bring, proves that wc have before us an authentic record, at least of the tribute enjoined upon the nations." About this time the southern frontier of Egypt extended beyond the Second Cataract: to the west the power of Thothmcs or Iiameses reached over the negro tribes of the interior: the cast was guarded by strong fortresses: while by the north the Egyptian monarch went forth as a conqueror, and, proceeding along the Syrian coast, passed into Asia Minor, and planted his standard on the frontiers of Persia, and upon the shores of the Caspian Sea. His campaigns required the cooperation of a fleet; and Egypt became, for the first time in history, a maritime power. It is probable indeed that its navy was furnished by its subjects, the inhabitants of the coast of Western Asia. The period of time assigned to this dynasty is about two centuries and u half. Iiameses III., there is every reason to think, is the Scsostris or Sesortoscn of Herodotus and Diodorus.

The names of the monarchs of the 18th dynasty are obtained from two important monuments, the Tablet of Abydos and the Tablet of Karnak.

The 19th dynasty is probably a continuation of its predecessor, and its details are extremely confused and uncertain. Tile 20th was composed entirely of kings bearing the name of Barneses (Iiameses IV.—XIII.), of whom Kameses IV. alone maintained the military renown of his illustrious precursors. The 21st is uninteresting. But in the 22nd we come upon the first ascertained synchronism with the annals of the Hebrews, and consequently at this point Egyptian chronology begins to blend with that of the general history of the world. There is no doubt that Abraham and his son visited Egypt; that the Nile-valley had at one era a Hebrew prime minister, who married a daughter of the high priest of Hcliopolis; or that the most illustrious of the Hebrew monarchs maintained close political and commercial relations with Egypt, and allied himself with its royal family. But although the facts are certain, the dates are vague. Now, however, in the 22nd dynasty, we can not only identify the Shishak who took and plundered Jerusalem with the Scsoncliis or Sesonchosis of the Greeks and the Sheshonk of the native monuments, but we can also assign to him contemporaneity with llehoboam, and fix the date of hU capture of Jerusalem to about the year D. c. 972. By the establishment of the date of Shcshonk's plundering of Jerusalem, we also come to the knowledge that the Pharaoh whose daughter was espoused to Solomon, and the sister of whose queen Tahpenes was, in the reign of David, married to lladod the Edomitc, was a monarch of the 21st dynasty (1 King), be 16; xi. 19, seq.).

Osorthen or Osorcho, Sheshonk's successor, is probably the Zcrah of Scripture (2 Kings, xvii. 4.; 2 Ckron. xiv. 9). The Sesostrid kingdom was now on the decline,and at the close of the 24th dynasty Egypt was subjugated by the Ethiopians, and three kings of that nation, Sabaco, Sebichot or Scvekos, and Tarkus, reigned for 44 years, and composed the 25th dynasty. Scvekos is obviously the Seva, king of Egypt, with whom Hoshea, king of Israel, in B.C.

722, entered into an alliance (2 Kings, xvii. 4); while Tarkus is Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, the enemy of Assyria and Sennacherib {Isaiah, xxxvii. 9). Herodotus indeed makes no mention of any Ethiopian king except Sabaco (Sebichos), who, according to his account, reigned for half a centary, and then voluntarily withdrew into his own Nubian dominions. (Herod, ii. 139.) The Aethiopian dynasty was the second foreign occupation of Egypt, but it differed materially from the earlier usurpation of the land by the Hyksos. The 25th dynasty does not appear to have been regarded by the Egyptians themselves as a period of particular woe or oppression. The alliance between the country above and the country below Elephantine and the Second Cataract was apparently, at all times, very close: the religion and manners of the adjoining kingdoms differed but little from one another: and the Aethiopian sovereigns perhaps merely exchanged, during their tenure of Egypt, a less civilised for a more civilised realm. On the retirement of the Ethiopians, there was an apparent re-action, since Sethos, a priest of Phtah, made himself master of the throne. His power seems to have been exercised tyrannically, if Herodotus (ii. 147) is correct in saying that after the death or deposition of this "priest of Hephacstos" the Egyptians were "set free." One important change, indicating a decay of the ancient constitution, occurred in this reign. The military caste was degraded, and the crown even attempted to deprive them of their lands. It Li probable that this was a revolutionary- phase common to all countries at certain eras. Egypt had become in some degree a naval power. The commercial classes were rivalling in power the agricultural and military, and the priest-king, for his own interests, took part with the former. Sethos was succeeded (b. O. 700—670) by the dodecarchy, or twelve contemporaneous kings; whether this number were the result of convention, or whether the twelve reguli were the heads of the twelveGreaterNomes.cannot be ascertained. From the commencement of this period, however, we enter upon a definite chronology. History is composed of credible facts, and the lists of the kings are conformable with the monuments

Psammetichus I., who reigned 54 years, B. C. 671—617, supplanted the dodecarchy by the aid of Greek and Phoenician auxiliaries, and in Lower Egypt at least founded a cosmopolite kingdom, such as the Ptolemies established three centuries afterwards. (Diod. i.66; Herod, i. 171; Polyaen. StraL vii. 3.) His Ionian and Corian or Milesian auxiliaries he settled in a district on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, between the Mediterranean and the Bubastite Nome; while the Phoenicians who had helped him to the throne were probably located near Memphis, in an allotment called the Tyrian camp. (Herod, ii. 112.) The native militia were now superseded by Hellenic regular soldiers, and a portion at least of the war-caste migrated, in dudgeon at this preference, to Aethiopia. Historians have too readily taken for granted that this was a mi gration of the whole body of the Hermotybians and Calasirians. It was more probably a revolt of the southern garrisons on the Nubian frontier. In the reign of Psammetichus was also instituted the casto of interpreters or dragomans between the natives and foreigners; and it strikingly marks the decline of the ancient system that Psammetichus caused his own sons to be instructed in the learning of the Greeks (Diod. i. 67).

Parmnetichns was succeeded by his son Neoo or N'echao, the Pharaoh Necho of the second book of Kiagt, who reigned 16 years, B. c. 617—601. Among the greatest of his works was the canal between the Nile and the Red Sea. Whether he completed it or not is doubtful; in the reign of Darius it was, however, certainly open for vessels of Urge burden, and was finished by the Ptolemies (Plin. vi. 33). Modern surveys have ascertained that this canal left the Kile in the neighbourhood of the modem town of Belbeis — probably the Bubastis Agria of the Greeks — and ran E. and S. to Suez. (Herod, iv. 42; Diod. L 33.) At Neco's command also the Phoenicians undertook the circumnavigation of toe African peninsula. The success of this enterprise a problematical, but, as Major Rennell, in his Essay on the Geography of Herodotus, has d&wn, by no means impossible. In the reign of Necho Egypt came into direct collision with the Babylonian empire, at that time rising upon the ruins of the Assyrian. Egypt seems to have been in alliance with the latter, since about the time when Cyaxares resumed the siege of Niniveh, Necho marched towards the Euphrates, apparently to relieve the beleaguered city. Judah was then in league with Babylon; and its king Josiah threw himself in the way of Necho, and was defeated by him at Megiddo. The Jewish monarch died of his wounds at Jerusalem, and the conqueror entered the holy city, probably the Cadytis of Herodotus (ii 159, iii. 5). Secho deposed and sent captive to Egypt Jehoehaz, the son and successor of Josiah, made his younger brother Eliakim king in his stead, and imposed an annual tribute on Judaea. The Judaean monarchs were four years later avenged. From the plains of Carcbemish or Circesium, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Neco fled to Egypt, leaving all his Asiatic conquests to the victor Nebuchadnezzar.

Necho was succeeded by his son Psammis, who reigned 6 years, B. c. 601—595, and Psammis by his son Apries, the Uaphris of the monuments, and the Pharaoh Hophra of the Scriptures, who reigned 25 years, B. c. 595—570. The earlier rears of Apries were signalised by his victories over the Trrians, Sidonians, Phoenicians, and Cypriots. Bat these acquisitions were transient, and there is reason to suppose that Lower Egypt at least was invaded by Nebuchadnezzar (Strab. p. 687; Jere•aai, iliii. 12, xlvi. 13—26; Ezdael, xxix). Apries experienced even greater calamities on his western frontier, a quarter from which Egypt had been hitherto unassailed. The Greeks of Cyrene exterminated his army at Irasa (.{in Erten), between the bay of Bomba and Cyrene. His defeat, and the cruelties to which it led, rendered him odioaa to his subjects. A fortunate soldier, Amasis or Amosis, deposed, succeeded, and finally strangled him,

Asisis reigned 44 years, B. c. 570—526. He is the first Egyptian monarch with whose personal character we have any acquaintance. His friendship with Polycrates is well known. Hewas ashrewd, sctirt, and intelligent sovereign, who possessed the love of the soldiers and the people, and nearly disregarded the rules and ceremonies of the priests. His reign was eminently prosperous, and his death occurred just in time to prevent his witnessing the subjugation of Egypt by the Persians under Cambyses, which took place in the reign of his son PsamMemtus (b.c. 525), who sat upon the throne only

2. Pertian Era.

The 27th dynasty contains 8 Persian kings, and extends over a period of 124 years, B. c. 525—401. Egypt became a satrapy, not, however, without much relnctation and various revolutions; for between the worshippers of animals and the worshippers of fire a religious antipathy subsisted which aggravated the pressure of conquest and the burden of subjection. The Persians indeed were the only masters of Egypt who assailed by violence, as well as regarded with contempt, its religious and political institutions. From this cause, no less than from the numerous Greek and Hebrew settlers in the Delta, the Macedonian conqueror, in B. C. 332, found scarcely any impediment to his occupation of Egypt. During the 27th dynasty Egypt became, for the first time, involved in European politics. A revolt, which commenced in the reign of Darius, B. c. 488, and which delayed for three years the second Persian invasion of Greece, was repressed by his son and successor Xerxes, in B. c. 486. A second revolt, in B. c. 462, was put down, in B. c. 456, by the satrap Megabyzus; but its leader Inaros, son of Psammitichus, was aided by the Athenians.

The 28th dynasty contains only one name, that of Amyrtaeus the Suite. In his reign of six years, through some unexplained weakness in Persia, Egypt regained its independence, for monuments at Karnak and Eiltthya prove that the Saitc monarch was king of the whole land. Amyrtaeus was magnificently interred in a sarcophagus of green breccia, which, after passing from an Egyptian tomb to a Greek basilica, from a Greek basilica to a Moslem mosque, finally rests in the British Museum. The 29th dynasty contained four kings, of whom hardly any thing is related, and the 30th dynasty three kings, Nectamkbus I., Tachos, and NectaxeBus II., who are better known from their connection with Grecian history. In the reign of Nectanebus II., and in the year B. C 350, Egypt was reconquered by Bagoas and Mentor, the generals of Darius Ochus, and the last Pharaoh of the 30 dynasties retired an exile into Aethiopia. The succession of Egyptian monarchs, embracing a period of 3553 years, is unexampled in history. Upon the annals of their successors the Ptolemies we shall not however enter, since the lives of the Macedonian kings are given in the Dictionary of Biography (art. Ptokmaeut). It will suffice in this place to make a few general remarks upon the political aspect of Egypt under its Greek and Roman masters.

3. Macedonian or Hellenic Era. Many causes rendered the accession of a Greek dynasty an easy and even a welcome transition to the Egyptian people. In the decline of the native monarchy, they had suffered much from anarchy and civil wars. For two centuries the yoke of Persia had pressed heavily upon their trade, agriculture and religion; their wealth had been drained, their children enslaved, their ceremonial and national prejudices systematicaUy outraged by their rulers. For the advent of the Greeks a gradual preparation had been made since the reign of Psammetichus. Hellenic colonies had penetrated to the Great Oasis and the coast of the Red Sea. Greek travellers and philosophers had explored the Thebaid, and Greek immigrants had established numerous colonies in the Delta. Lower Egypt too had admitted Spartans and Athenians alternately as the allies of the Saite and Memphite sovereigns: so that when in B. c. 332 Alexander reached Pelusium, tliat city opened its gates to him, and his march to Memphis resembled tho peaceful progress of a native king.

The regulations which Alexander mftde for the government of his new conquest were equally wise and popular: and as they were generally adopted by his successors the Lagidae, they may be mentioned in this place. The Egyptians were governed by their own laws. The privileges of the priests and their exemption from land-tax were secured to them, and they were encouraged, if not assisted, to repair the temples, and to restore the ancient ritual. Already in the reign of Ptolemy Soter the inner-chamber of the Temple of Kamak was rebuilt, and the name of Philip Arrhidacus, the son of Alexander, inscribed upon it. Alexander himself offered sacrifice to Apis at Memphis, and assumed the titles of " Son of Ammon " and " Beloved of Ammou"; and when the sacred Bull died of old age Ptolemy I. bestowed fifty talents upon his funeral. Euergetes, the third monarch of the Lagid house, enlarged the temple of Kamak, added to that of Ammon in the Great Oasis, and erected smaller shrines to Osiris at Canobus, and to Leto, at Esne or Latopolis. The structures of the Ptolemies will be noticed under the names of the various places which they restored or adorned.

It would have been impolitic to reinstate the ancient militiaof Egypt, which indeed had long been superseded by a standing army or Greek mercenaries. Under the most despotic of the Ptolemies, however, we meet with few instances of military oppression, and these rarely extended beyond the suburbs of Alexandria or the frontiers of the Delta. Alexander established two principal garrisons, one at Pelusium, as the key of Egypt, and another at Memphis, as the capital of the Lower Country. Subsequently Parembole in Nubia, Elephantine, and the Greek city of Ptolemais in the Thebaid were occupied by Macedonian troops. The civil jurisdiction he divided between two nomarchies or judgeships, and he appointed as nomarchs two native Egyptians, Doloaspis and Petisis. (Arrian, Anab. iii. 5. § 2.)

Like their predecessors the Pharaohs, the Ptolemies aspired to extend their power over Palestine and Syria, and protracted wars were the results of their contests with the Seleucid kings. But even these campaigns tended to the augmentat ion of the Egyptian navy; and, in consequence of the foundation of Alexandria the country possessed one of the strongest and most capacious havens in the Mediterranean. Becoming a maritime, the Egyptians became also an actively commercial nation, and exported corn, papyrus, linen, and the articles of their Libyan and Indian traffic to western Asia and Europe. Ptolemy Philadelphus pave a new impulse to the internal trade of the Nile-valley, in the first place, by establishing a system of police from Cercasorum to Syene, and, in the next, by completing the canal which Necho and Darius Hystaspis had begun, from the Pelusiac arm of the Nile to Arsinoii at the head of the Red Sea. (Plin. vi. 33; Herod, ii. 158) [Bi'BASTis; Arsinoe]. He also rebuilt the old port of Aennum or Cosseir [philotera], and improved the caravan route from the interior by erecting inns and cisterns in the desert between Coptos and Berenice. The monnments of Lower Nubia attest the wealth and enterprise of tho Lagid monarchs. Egypt indeed did not regain under this family the splendour which it had enjoyed under Thoutmosis and Rameses III., but it was perhaps more uniformly prosperous, and less exposed to in

vasion from Cyreno and Arabia than it had ever been since the 18th dynasty occupied the thione of

Menes.

In one respect the amalgamation of the Egyptians with their conquerors was incomplete. The Greeks were always the dominant class. The children of mixed marriages were declared by the Macedonian laws to be Egyptian not Greek. They were incapable of the highest offices in the state or the army, and worshipped Osiris and Isis, rather than Zeus or Hera. Thus, according to Hellenic prejudices, they were regorded as barbarian or at most as Perioeci, and not as full citizens or freemen. To this distinction may in part be ascribed the facility with which both races subsequently submitted to the auhority of the Roman emperors.

The ancient divisions of the Upper and Lower kingdoms were under the Macedonian dynasty revived but inverted. Power, population, wealth and enterprise were drawn down to the Delta and to the space between its chief cities Memphis and Alexandria. The Thebaid gradually declined. Its temples were indeed restored: and its pompous hierarchy recovered much of their influence. But the rites of religion could not compete with the activity of comineree. The Greek and Hebrew colonists of the Delta absorbed the vitality of the land: and long before the Romans converted Egypt into a province of the empire, the Nubians and Arabs had encroached upon the upper country, and the ancient Diospolite region partly returned to the waste, and partly displayed a superannuated grandeur, in striking contrast with the busy and productive energy of the Lower Country. This phenomenon is illustrated by the mummies which are found in the tombs of Memphis and the catacombs of Thebes respectively. Of one hundred mummies taken from the latter, about twenty show an European origin, while of every hundred derived from the necropolite receptacles of the former, seventy have lost their Coptic peculiarities (Sharpe, History °f Egypt, p. 133, 2nd ed.). The Delta had, in fact, become a cosmopolite region, replenished from Syria and Greece, and brought into contact with general civilisation. The Thebaid remained stationary, and reverted to its ancient Aethinpian type, neglecting or incapable of foreign admixture.

4. Roman Era. For more than a century previous to B. C. 30 the family and government of the Lagid house had been on the decline. It was rather the jealousy of the Roman senate which dreaded to see one of its own members an Egyptian proconsul, than its own integral strength, which delayed the conversion of the Nilevalley into a Roman province. When however the Roman commonwealth had passed into a monarchy, and the final struggle between Antonius and Augustus had been decided by the surrender of Alexandria, Egypt ceased to be an independent- kingdom. The regulations which Augustus made for his new acquisition manifested at once his sense of its value, and his vigilance against intrusion. Egypt became properly a province neither of tho senate nor the emperor. It was thenceforth governed by a prefect, called Praefectus Aegypti, afterwards Praefectus Angustalis, immediately appointed by the Caesar and responsible to him alone. The prefect was taken from the equestrian order; and no senator was permitted to set foot in Egypt without special imperial license (Tac. Ann. ii. 59, Hist. ii. 74; Dion Cass. li. 17; Arriaiij Anab. iii. 5.) Even after Diocletian had re

« السابقةمتابعة »