Title: A handbook for travellers in Lower and Upper Egypt [Electronic Edition]

Author: John Murray (Firm)
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Note: Illustrations have been included from the print version.

Title: A Handbook for Travellers in Lower and Upper Egypt

Author: John Murray (Firm)
Seventh Edition
File size or extent: Book [618] p. illus., plates, maps (partly fold.) plans (partly fold.) 18 cm.
Place of publication: London
Publisher: John Murray
Publication date: 1888
Identifier: From the collection of Dr. Paula Sanders, Rice University
Description of the project: This electronic text is part of the Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA), developed by Rice University.
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Origin/composition of the text: 1888
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  • Egypt -- Guidebooks
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A handbook for travellers in Lower and Upper Egypt [Electronic Edition]










Belgium, Holland, and Germany.








Spain and Portugal.


Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.




Ionian Islands.






Alexandria and Cairo.

V. Penasson.




THIS Edition contains such corrections of the last edition of
Murray's Handbook of Egypt as were necessary to bring it up
to date. The Egyptian rebellion, and the consequent occupation
of Egypt by the English troops, have led to very
considerable changes; while, at the same time, the recent
discoveries of Naville, Petrie, Maspero, and others, have
increased the knowledge of Egyptian antiquities. These
have been referred to, so far as is possible in the narrow
compass of a handbook, and everything has been done to
make the work as complete and useful for travellers as
possible. Some new plans of temples have been supplied by
Mr. Phené Spiers.
Year by year travelling in Egypt becomes more easy, and
elaborate preparations are less necessary. Steamers on the
Nile have almost superseded the luxurious but slow dahabieh,
and at the same time reduced the cost of the river trip,
bringing it within the limits of moderate means. It is to
be hoped that, as facilities are increased, the number of those
who enjoy this most enjoyable of voyages may increase in
number also.
January 1888.



IN the present Edition of the Handbook of Egypt the endeavour
has been not merely to keep pace with the rapid
changes which have taken place in Egypt during the last
few years, but to re-arrange and improve the whole plan of
the Handbook so as to render it as much of an improvement
on the editions of 1873 and 1875 as those were on
previous editions.
The original Handbook was a reprint of the late Sir
Gardner Wilkinson's learned work, ߢModern Egypt and
Thebes,’ corrected and revised by the erudite author himself,
so as to meet, as far as possible, the requirements of a
guide-book. A few additions and corrections were subsequently
made from time to time, but substantially the
Handbook remained the same as when it was first published
until 1873, when a thorough revision, and even re-casting of
the work became necessary. Since that date Egypt has
certainly not stood still: and its modern progress has been
more than equalled by the rapid advance made towards a
better knowledge of its ancient history.
To enumerate all the additions and alterations that have
been made in this edition would be to refer to every page in
the book, but attention may specially be drawn to Section I.,
General Information, nearly the whole of which is entirely
new; to the Description of Cairo and its Environs, a great
part of which has been rewritten; and to the additional
Maps and Plans. The work has also been divided into two
Parts, thus rendering it more convenient for carrying about.
The Editor's principal coadjutors have been the Rev. W.
J. Loftie and Mr. Roland L. N. Michell. The former has

supplied some of the papers in Sect. I. as, e.g., the General
Sketch of Egyptian History, § 16 (b), of the Method of
Writing Hieroglyphs, § 17 (a), the Old Egyptian Religion,
§ 18 (a), and Old Egyptian Archæology and Art, § 19 (a).
Many additions and corrections throughout the book are also
due to him. Mr. Michell's share has been chiefly confined
to a revision of the Description of Cairo, for which his long
residence in that city peculiarly qualified him; and he has
very much added to the usefulness and interest of that part
of the work by the complete account now given for the
first time of the Mosques, Tombs, Dervish Monasteries, and
principal Religious Festivals.
The Editor has again to repeat his acknowledgments to
those gentlemen whose names have been already mentioned
in the last two editions, especially to M. Mariette, Dr. Grant,
and Mr. Greville Chester. His thanks are also due for much
useful information to the Rev. Herbert Wilson, the Rev. F.
W. Holland, Mr. F. A. Floyer, Mr. H. C. Kay, Mr. W. B.
Greenfield, and many others.
In the revision of the Arabic Vocabulary he has received
valuable assistance from Mr. Alexander Baird and Ali
Hassan Bey. The system adopted in this Vocabulary, and
throughout the book, of spelling the Arabic words as nearly
as possible as they sound to an English ear, without any
attempt at orthographical transliteration, will no doubt
provoke the wrath and scorn of the learned purist, but it
seemed the best course to pursue, at any rate until some
authoritative method of writing Eastern names is generally
agreed upon.
Travellers are requested kindly to send to Mr. Murray,
50A, Albemarle Street, W., any information obtained on
the spot, which may serve either to correct errors, or
furnish fresh material for insertion.
January 1880.



PREFACE iii, v
a. Season for Visiting Egypt, page xiii.—b. Expenses of the Visit,
xiv.—c. Plan of Route and Disposition of Time, xiv.—d. Journey
from England to Egypt
, xiv.—e. Things that should be bought
in England, including a List of Books
, xv.
1. Passports—Custom House 2
2. Consulates—Courts of Justice 2
3. Money 2
4. Weights and measures 4
5. Railways—Modes of Travelling 5
6. Posts—Telegraphs 6
7. Hotels—Apartments—Servants 6
8. Climate 7
   (a) General Remarks on the
Sanitary State of the
   (b) Temperature 8
   (c) The Seasons 9
   (d) Diseases for which the Climate
is beneficial
   (e) Clothing and Mode of Life 12
   (f) Medicines and Treatment
of slight Ailments
9. Geography 13
   (a) Ancient Egypt 13
   (b) Modern Egypt 15
   (c) The Nile 17
10. Geology 19
11. Products 21
   (a) Plants—Vegetation 21
   (b) Agriculture 22
12. Natural History—Shooting 24
13. Inhabitants 29
14. Government—Revenue 34
15. Industry—Commerce 36
16. History 37
   (a) Sources of Ancient History 37
   (b) General Sketch 38
   (c) Chronological Table to B.C.
   (d) Ditto from B.C. 30 to A.D.
   (e) Ditto from A.D. 640 to the
present day
17. Hieroglyphs 67
   (a) Method of Writing 67
   (b) Hieroglyphic Names of some
of the principal Kings
18. Old Egyptian Religion 75
   (a) General Sketch 75
   (b) Illustrated List of the Principal
Egyptian Divinities
19. Archæology and Art 85
   (a) Old Egyptian 85
   (b) Arabian 90
20. Arabic Language and Vocabulary 93


  Preliminary Information 113
  Description 118
Route 1. Alexandria to Rosetta
(by Rail)
Route 2. Rosetta to Cairo 144
Route 3. Alexandria to Port Said
and Suez (by Water)
Route 4. Alexandria to Suez (by
Route 5. Alexandria to Cairo
(by the Mahmoodeyeh
Canal and the Nile).
Route 6. Alexandria to Cairo (by
  General Information 156
  Description 161
Environs of Cairo:—
  Excursion I. Shoobra 216
  Excursion II. Heliopolis 217
  Excursion III. The “Petrified
  Excursion IV. The Barrage 222
  Excursion V. Old Cairo and the
  Excursion VI. Boolak and Gezeereh 232
  Excursion VII. The Pyramids 234
  Excursion VIII. Sakkárah 263
  Excursion IX. Helwán, Toora and
Route 7. Cairo to the ,
Ismailia, Lake Timsah,
the Bitter Lakes, Suez,
and Port Said
Route 8. Cairo to Damietta (by
Water),' Bebayt el-Hágar,
Route 9. Cairo to Damietta (by
Route 10. Cairo to Sân, the ancient
Tauis, and Lake
Menzaleh (by Rail and
Water, viâ Zagazig)



Route 11. Cairo to the Convents
of St. Antony and
St. Paul
Route 12. The Valley of the Nile
(Keneh, Kobt, &c.)
to the Red Sea (Kosseir, &c.)
Route 13. Cairo to Gaza (Syria)
by the “Short Desert”
Route 14. Cairo to Mount Sinai 330
Route 15. Cairo to the Natron
Lakes and Monasteries
Route 16. Alexandria or Cairo to
the Oasis of Seewah
or Ammon
Route 17. Cairo to the Little
Onsis, the Oasis of
Dakhleh, and the
Great Oasis, by the
Route.18 Cairo to the Fayoom 376
Preliminary Information 385
Route 19. Cairo to Thebes 392
  Preliminary Information 451
Description of Thebes—its Ruins
and Remains


Route 20. Luxor (Thebes) to Assooán, the First Cataract, and Philæ 509
  General Observations 534
Route 21. Philæ (1st Cataract) to Wády Halfah (2nd Cataract) 537



Common Hieroglyphic Forms 69
Hieroglyphic Names of some of the principal Kings 71
Illustrated List of the principal Egyptian Divinities 79
Plans of Egyptian Temples 85
Plan of an Egyptian Tomb 87
Plan of Alexandria and Map of the Environs to face 113
Plan of Ancient Alexandria 121
Plan of Cairo to face 155
Plan of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan 176
Plan of the Tomb-Mosque of Sultan Berkook 190
Plan of the Boolak Museum 198
Map of the Environs of Cairo to face 216
Plan of the Mosque of Amer, old Cairo 225
Panorama of Pyramids from Aboo Roásh on the N. to Maydoom
on the S.
to face 239
Topographical Plan of the Pyramids of Geezeh 241
Section of the Great Pyramid 246
Map of Sakkárah, and Plan of the Apis Mausolcum between 268-269
Map of the Isthmus of Suez and Plan of Canal to face 279



Plan of Mount Sinai and of the surrounding Valleys and Hills 349
Plan of the Temple of Sethi I., Abydus 434
Plan of the Temple of Rameses II., Abydus 436
Plan of the Temple of Denderah 441
Map of Thebes—western bank to face 455
Plan of the Rameseum, or Memnonium, Thebes 458
Plan of the Temple of Medeenet Haboo, Thebes 468
Plan of the Tomb of Sethi I., Thebes 479
Plan of the Tombs of the Kings (Bab-El-Molook) 481
Map of Thebes and Luxor—eastern bank to face 497
Plan of the Great Temple of Karnak 500
Plan of the Temple of Edfoo 515
Plan of the Island of Philæ 530
Philæ, approaching it from the Cataracts 533
Plan and Section of the Great Temple of Aboo Simbel 547
Map of Egypt in pocket at the end.



a. Season for Visiting Egypt.— b. Expenses of the Visit. — c. Plan of
Route and Disposition of Time.
— d. Journey from England to
— e. Things that should be bought in England, including a
List of Books.


FROM October to April is the best season for a residence in Egypt.
For those who intend to do the whole Nile voyage, and who can choose
their own time, the months especially to be recommended, both for
climate and convenience of travelling, are November, December, January,
February and March. During those months winds from the North are
more or less prevalent, which cool the air pleasantly and add to the comfort
of travelling. A good deal will, of course, depend on the destination of
the traveller after leaving Egypt. If he intends going to Syria, he could
arrange so as not to get there before April, it being too cold to travel
comfortably in Syria before that date. For those who propose to do the
so-called Eastern tour completely, the following average time-table may
be given:—
Arrive in Egypt about the middle of November, and remain there till
the end of February, going to the second Cataract and back. Leave
Egypt at the beginning of March, and go by way of Sinai and Petra to
Jerusalem, arriving there about the second week in April. Five or six weeks
in Palestine will then bring the traveller to Beyrout before the end of May.
Or he may vary the latter part of this programme by only going to Mount
Sinai, and instead of continuing the Long Desert journey—undertaken by
comparatively few—return thence to Port Said and take steamer to Syria.
And should he care to spend no more than three months in Egypt he had
better not arrive there till December.
Of course these remarks are not intended to apply to those who merely
propose to do the country in the shortest possible time that steam and
their own energy can enable them to accomplish it in. They may go from
London to the Second Cataract and back in six weeks, and any time
during the months named above will be as good as another. But even to
them it may be said, choose, if you can, some period between the middle
of December and the middle of February. It is perhaps, everything considered,
the most delightful season in Egypt. The temperature is delicious,
often, indeed, cool, the Nile neither too high so as to cover land, nor too
low so as to look like a huge canal flowing between high banks, over which
it is impossible to see from the deck of either boat or steamer, and the
country is perfectly lovely in colouring—it is, in fact, spring time. Further

information useful for invalids, as to the season for visiting Egypt, will be
found under Section I., General Information, § 8.


It is difficult to give any trustworthy estimate of the expenses of a
visit to Egypt, as they must necessarily vary considerably according to
each traveller's wants and requirements, and the length of his purse.
The cost of the journey to Egypt will range from 20l. to 30l. Hotel
living in Egypt may be set down at from 15s. to 25s. a day. Travelling
by steamer or boat on the Nile at from 25s. to 2l. a day; travelling on
land by camels, donkeys, &c., and with tents, at about the same rate.
The actual cost of the Nile trip by steamer, including all expenses of
food, sight-seeing, &c., is as follows:—
Cairo to the First Cataract and back £50.
Cairo to the Second Cataract and back £70.
But many circumstances, such as the number of persons who join together
in sharing a dragoman and boat between them, the luxuries required by
the traveller, the parts of the country he may wish to visit, &c., will add
to or lessen the expense. Roughly speaking, it may be said that the
necessary expenses of a tour in Egypt, will average from 25s. to 35s. a day.


The following table may help to give the traveller some general idea on
this subject:—
Journey from England to Egypt (see below) 7-14 days.
Alexandria or Suez. 1 day.
From Alexandria or Suez to Cairo 1 day.
Cairo and Environs 6—10 days.
Excursion to the Fayoom 5—8 days.
Voyage up the Nile:—
(a) by steamer to First Cataract and back 21 days.
by steamer to Second Cataract and back 7 days additional.
(b) by dahabeeyeh to First Cataract and back 60—70 days.
by dahabeeyeh to Second Cataract and back 20—30 days additional.
Excursion to the 4—5 days.
Excursion to Mount Sinai 14—21 days.
The time occupied, therefore, in making the above tour will vary from
2 1/2 to 5 months.


There are various routes by which the traveller may reach Egypt from
England. The following are the principal:—

(a). Direct Sea Routes.

(1). London to Suez by the steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental
Company, every Thursday, touching at Gibraltar, Malta, and Port Said,
and going through the . Time occupied, about 14 days. Fares
(including food but not wine), 1st class, 22l., 2nd class and passenger's
servants, 14l.
(2). Liverpool to Alexandria, by the steamers of Messrs. Moss & Co., or
Messrs. Burns, McIver, & Co., touching at Gibraltar and Malta. Time
occupied, about 14 days. Fare (including food), 15l.

(b). Continental Routes.

(3). To Venice or Brindisi, and thence by the steamers of the Peninsular
and Oriental Company to Alexandria. The steamers leave Venice every
Friday, touch at Ancona and leave Brindisi at 4 a.m. on Monday morning.
Time occupied: London to Venice, 2 1/2—4 days; London to Brindisi, 2 1/2—4
days; Venice to Alexandria, 6 days; Brindisi to Alexandria, 3 days. Fares: to
Venice, 1st class, about 9l., 2nd class, about 7l.; to Brindisi, 1st class,
about 12l., 2nd class, about 9l.; from Venice or Brindisi to Alexandria the
fare (including food but not wine) is the same, 1st class, 12l., 2nd class, 9l. It is possible that, after a time, the steamers will go to Port Said instead
of Alexandria.
(4). To Marseilles, and thence by the steamers of the Messageries
Maritimes to Alexandria every Thursday, touching at Naples. Time
occupied: London to Marseilles, 1—1 1/2 day; Marseilles to Alexandria,
6 days. Fares: to Marseilles, 1st class, about 7l., 2nd class, about 5l 10s.;
Marseilles to Alexandria (food and wine included), 1st class, 15l., 2nd
class, 9l.
(5). To Trieste, and thence by the steamers of the Austrian Lloyd
Company to Alexandria every Friday, touching at Corfu. Time occupied:
London to Trieste, 2 1/2—4 days; Trieste to Alexandria, 5 1/2 days. Fares: to
Trieste, 1st class, about 11l., 2nd class, about 8l.; Trieste to Alexandria
(food and wine included), 1st class, 11l., 2nd class, 7l. 12s.
(6). To Naples, and thence by the steamers of the Messageries Maritimes
to Alexandria every Saturday. Time occupied: London to Naples,
3—5 days; Naples to Alexandria, 4 days. Fares: to Naples, 1st class,
about 12l., 2nd class, about 10l.; Naples to Alexandria (food and wine
included), 1st class, 11l., 2nd class, 7l.
Route (1) is the best for large families. Route (3) is the shortest sea
passage. The steamers by Routes (4), (5), and (6) are very good and the
food excellent. At Brindisi, Marseilles, and Trieste passengers can walk
on board the steamers from the quays; at Venice and Naples they are
conveyed to them in small boats.


It is not absolutely necessary for the traveller to provide himself, before
leaving England, with anything more than he would take for an ordinary
journey. There are shops at Alexandria and Cairo which will supply all
his wants more or less effectively; but at the same time there are certain
things which, though they could be procured in Egypt, can certainly be
bought better and cheeaper in Europe. These are:—
  • Guns.
  • Gunpowder.
  • Carridges, and all shooting appliances.
  • Thermometer, aneroid barometer, and all
  • Field-glasses, or telescope.
  • Measuring-tape.
  • Writing,drawing, and painting materials.
  • Magnesium wire and a lamp for burning
    it in. Very necessary for properly seeing
    tombs and excavated temples, without
    doing the injury to the sculptures
    and paintings that torches cause.
  • Saddle and bridle, for Syria and Greece. A
    lady will not only require a side-saddle
    for the Syrian journey, but also for the
    many excursions that are to be made on
    donkey-back up the Nile. Those who
    travel by Messrs. Cook's steamers will
    find side-saddles provided.
  • Clothes. See Sect. I., 8, e.
  • Medicine. A box of 3 gr. Quinine Pills is
    all that is required.
Books.—The following list comprises some
of the best known works on Egypt:—

Historical Works and Works of

  • Birch, Dr. S. Egypt from the monuments.
  • * Brugsch, H. History of Egypt under the
    Pharaohs. Translated from the German
    by P. Smith. 2 vols. 1879.
  • Bunsen. Egypt's Place in Universal
  • Butler. Ancient Coptic Churches of
  • Diodorus. Book I.
  • Herodotus (Rawlinson's). Book I.
  • * Lane. The Modern Egyptians, 2 vols.
  • * Mariette, A. Monuments of Upper
    Egypt. 1877.
  • * Mariette, A. Aperu générale de
    l'Histoire d'Egypte.
  • Maspero. Histoire Ancienne des Peuples
    de l'Orient. 1875.
  • Pierret. Dictionnaire de l'Arohéologie
  • Pierret. Essai sur la Mythologie Egyptienne.
  • Records of the Past. (Translations of
    Hieroglyphic Inscriptions.)
  • * Sharpe. History of Egypt (for the
    Ptolemæan and Roman Period.)
  • Soldi, E. La Sculpture Egyptienne, et
    L'Art Egyptien.
  • Strabo. Book 17.
  • * Wilkinson, Sir J. G. The Ancient Egyptians,
    Edited by Dr. Birch, 3 vols. 1878.
  • * Wilkinson, Sir. J. G. Plants of the
    Egyptian Desert. Edited by Mr. Wm.

Descriptive Works and Works of Fiction.

  • About, Edmund. Le Fellah.
  • Cooke, E. W., R.A. Leaves from my
    Sketch Book. Series ii., 1877.
  • Curtis. Nile Notes of a Howadji.
  • Curzon. Monasteries of the Levant.
  • De Leon. The Khedive's Egypt. 1877.
  • Didier. Cinq Cents Lienes sur le Nil.
  • Eber. Warda.
  • Eber. An Egyptian Princess.
  • Eden, F. The Nile without a Dragoman.
  • Edwards, Miss A. B. A Thousand Miles
    up the Nile. 1877.
  • * Edwards, Miss A. B. Egyptian Archæology
    by Maspero, translated by Miss
  • Fleming. A Nile novel.
  • Gordon, Lady Duff. Letters from Egypt,
    1866, 1875.
  • Hopley. Under Egyptian Palms.
  • Hoskins. Winter in Upper and Lower
  • Irby and Mangles. Travels in Egypt.
  • Kinglake. Eothen.
  • Kingsley. Hypatia.
  • * Lane. Arabian Nights.
  • Lindsay, Lord. Letters from Egypt and
    the Holy Land.
  • Loftie, Rev. W. J. A Ride in Egypt.
  • Macdonald, A. Too Late for Gordon
    and Khartoom.
  • Macgregor, J. Rob Roy on the Nile and
    the Jordan. 1871.
  • Martineau, Miss. Eastern Life.
  • Maxime du Camp. Le Nil.
  • * Petrie, F. The Pyramids and Templ
    of Gheezeh.
  • Paton. Egyptian Revolution.
  • * Poole, S. L. Art of the Saraoens in
  • Prime. Boat Life in Egypt and Nubia.
  • Rhoné. L'Egypte à Petites Journées.
  • Royle. Egyptian Campaigns.
  • * Shelley. Birds of Egypt. 1873.
  • Smith, Rev. A. C. Attractions of the
  • Smyth, Piazzi. Our inheritance in the
    Great Pyramid.
  • Spiers, R. Phené. Sketches in Egypt
  • * Stanley, Dean. Sinai and Palestine.
  • Stuart, Villiers. Nile Gleanings, 1879.
  • Warburton. The Crescent and the
  • Zincke, Rev. B. Egypt of the Pharaoh
    and the Khedive.



CAIRO , p. 157.
The Hotel d'Angleterre in the Esbekeeyeh Gardens is highly recommended;
it is well managed, and the cooking is excellent.
PORT SAID , p. 307.
The Hotel des Pays Bas has ceased to exist.
LUXOR , p. 451.
If Messrs. Cook and Son's hotel is full, the traveller is recommended to go
to the Karnac Hotel, kept by G. Naggiar, situated in a garden on the brink
of the Nile, away from the dust. Fine views towards the Western Temples.
Civil people. Good cuisine. Moderate charges.



3. MONEY 2
(a) General Remarks on the
Sanitary State of
the Country
(b) Temperature 8
(c) The Seasons 9
(d) Diseases for which the
Climate is beneficial
(e) Clothing and Mode of
(f) Medicines, and Treatment
of slight Ailments
(a) Ancient Egypt 13
(b) Modern Egypt 15
(c) The Nile 17
10. GEOLOGY 19
11. I'RODUCTS 21
(a) Plants — Vegetation 21
(b) Agriculture 22
16. HISTORY 37
(a) Sources of Ancient History 37
(b) General Sketch 38
(c) Chronological Table to
(d) Ditto from B.C. 30 to
A.D. 640
(e) Ditto from A.D. 640 to
the present day
(a) Method of Writing 67
(b) Hieroglyphic Names of
some of the principal
(a) General Sketch 75
(b) Illustrated List of the
principal Egyptian
(a) Old Egyptian 85
(b) Arabian 90


Passports, though not required, are sometimes, asked for on landing at
the Egyptian ports.
Custom-house.—All luggage is opened at the custom-house; but a baksheesh of a few shillings will generally save time and trouble. At Alexandria,
however, this mode of escape is no longer possible, as the custom-house there
is now under English control. There is a heavy duty on cigars, and great
difficulty is made about admitting guns and cartridges. An ad valorem duty
of 1 per cent. is levied on all goods leaving the country. Antiquities are
not allowed to be exported.


Each of the principal European powers is represented in Egypt by an agent
and consul-general, who is accredited direct to the Khedive, and resides
generally in Cairo. There are besides, Consuls, Vice-Consuls, and Consular
Agents, at the different ports and chief towns.
Until 1876, the Egyptian authorities had no civil or criminal jurisdiction
over foreigners, who were only amenable to their consuls. Consequently any
foreigner accused of a civil or criminal offence, had to be indicted in the
Consular Court of the nation of which he was a citizen. As there are
seventeen of these courts, it is easy to imagine the inconvenience caused by
such a system, and the miscarriage of justice which frequently resulted from
it. At the instance of the Egyptian Government, and chiefly through the
exertions of Nubar Pasha, an international commission was appointed in
1869, which recommended the abolition of this state of things, and the
appointment of mixed tribunals of natives and foreigners, for the trial of all
cases between foreigners of different nationalities, and natives and foreigners.
The law is administered in these tribunals, which consist of courts of first
and second instance, according to the Code Napoléon, adopted in Egypt with
some modifications. The languages employed are English, French, and
Italian. The Consular Courts still continue to have jurisdiction in criminal
and civil causes between foreigners of the same nationality. In cases of any
difficulty, the traveller had better apply immediately to his consular representative.


The probable expenses of a visit to Egypt have been already spoken of
in the Introduction.
The money tables for Egypt, if put into the form used in school arithmetics,
would be as follows:—
40 paras make 1 piastre,
100 piastres make 1 Egyptian Pound,
and happy would it be for the traveller if all his money transactions in the
country could be based on such a simple formula; but unfortunately there
are nearly as many foreign coinages current in Egypt as there are foreign
consuls, and the result is eminently unsatisfactory. At present the only
coinage accepted by the Egyptian Government are the Egyptian piastres and
its multiples, and French, English, and Italian gold. A new coinage has
lately been introduced in Egypt, in which the piastre is divided into 10
parts instead of into 40 paras, and the following coins have been put in

Silver.—Pieces of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 piastres.
Nickel.—Pieces of 1/10,2/10, and 5/10 of a piastre.
There are a larger number of bad piastres in circulation, and care should be
taken not to accept these. It is of importance to note that piastres have two
values—tariff and current; the tariff value is the standard one, and is used
in all the government offices, by bankers in their accounts, and in the lists of
fares for the railways and telegraphs; the current value sometimes changes
precisely as the value of paper money fluctuates as compared with gold, but
with this difference, that there is no paper money nor anything else to represent
the current piastre. All the petty commerce of Egypt at the markets and
in the bazaars is carried on in current piastres; and consequently, whenever
the traveller is told the price of anything in piastres, it is current piastres that
are meant. It may be taken as a general rule that the current piastre is half
the value of the tariff piastre; there is but one coin to represent the two
values. Those who wish to study the subject of Egyptian exchanges, and the
conversion of current into tariff piastres, should purchase the Egyptian Commercial
Calculating Tables
, published at Alexandria. There is also an old
copper coinage, but it is so greatly depreciated in value that it is little used.
When drawing money from a banker, English sovereigns or napoleons had
better be taken. The rate of exchange will be calculated in tariff piastres,
which vary from 97 1/2 par to 94 for the sovereign, and from 77 to 74 1/2 for the
napoleon. Letters of credit and circular notes should be taken without
charge by the bankers, but they will often claim from 1 1/2 to 2 per cent.
though 1 at the utmost is all that should be charged for commission.
The traveller should certainly resist a charge of 2 per cent., and, if it
Name of Coin in Arabic Coins. Egyptian Currency a English Currency. French Currency. Remarks.
Pas Taras. £. s. d. Frs. Cts.
Gineh Ingleekee English sovereign 195 0 1 0 0 25 0 a. Value in current piastres. Half the number of these piastres represent the tariff value.
Noos Ingleekee English 1/2 sovereign 97 20 10 0 12 50
Gineh Masree Egyptian sovereign 200 0 1 0 6 25 60
Noos Egyptian 1/2 sovereign 100 0 10 3 12 80
Gineh Stamboolee b. Turkish sovereign 175 20 18 0 22 80
Noos Stamboolee Turkish 1/2 sovereign 87 30 9 0 11 40
Binto Stamboolee Napoleon 155 0 16 0 20 0
Noos Binto Half napoleon 77 20 8 0 10 0 b. Seldom met with
Talari or Reyal Egyptian dollar 40 0 4 0 5 0
Medjidieh Turkish dollar 36 0 4 0 5 0
Khamsah franc 5-franc piece 38 20 4 0 5 0
Shilling Shilling 9 30 1 0 1 25
Noos shilling Sixpence 4 35 6 60
Franc Franc 7 20 10 1 0
Noos franc Half-franc 3 30 5 50
Groosh pl. geersh Egyptian silver piastre 2 0 2 1/2 25
Asharh fóddah Egyptian copper 20-para
20c. c. Nominal value, actual value is much less.
Asharah fóddah Do. do. 10-para piece 10c.
Khamsah fóddah Do. do. 5-para piece 5c

is persisted in, go to some other banker. It makes very little, or indeed
no difference, whether sovereigns or napoleons are taken. For all practical
purposes the sovereign may be reckoned at 25 francs (rather less
than its value), and the napoleon 16 shillings (rather more than its value).
In the European shops at Alexandria and Cairo the prices will be named
according to the nationality of the shopkeeper; and in the native shops to
which travellers usually resort the price is asked nearly always in sovereigns
(gineh), napoleons (binto), shillings (shilling), or francs (franc). The hotel
bills will be made out either in English or French money. Before starting
up the Nile, the traveller should provide himself with some small change for
purchases, &c. This should be taken in Egyptian dollars, 1 and 2 piastre
silver pieces, and 5, 10, and 20 para copper pieces, the copper being especially
required in Nubia.


8 Mitkál make 1 Okéea (wokéea) or Arab oz.
12 Okéea — 1 Rotl or pound (about 1 lb. avoirdupois).
2 3/4 Rotl — 1 Oka or Wukka (about 2 lbs. 11 oz.)
100 Rotl — 1 Kantár (about 98 3/4 avoirdupois).
102 Rotl — 1 Kantár for pepper, &c.
108 Rotl — 1 Kantár for coffee.
120 Rotl — 1 Kantár for cotton.
150 Rotl — 1 Kantár for gums, &c.
For Gold, Gums, &c.
4 Kumh (Grains) make 1 Keerát (Carat) or Kharóobeh.
64 Grains or 16 Keerát 1 Derhm (47 5/8 to 49 grains English).
1 1/2 Derhm, or 24 Kecrát 1 Mitkál (from about 1 drachm to 72 drachm to 72 grs. English).
12 Derhm 1 Okéea or oz. (from 571 1/2 to 576 grs. English).
12 Okéea 1 Rotl or pound.
150 Rotl 1 Kantár.

Measures of Length

  • Fitr, or span with forefinger and thumb.
  • Shíbr, longest span with little finger and thumb.
  • Kubdeh, human fist, with the thumb erect.
  • 1 Drah beledee, or cubit, equal to 22 to 22 2/3 inches English.
  • 1 Drah Stambóolee, or Pik, equal to 26 to 26 1/2 inches English.
  • 1 Drah Hindázee (for cloth, &c.) equal to about 25 inches English.
  • 2 Bah (braces) equal to 1 Kassobeh or 11 1/2 feet.
Land Measures.
22 (formerly 24) Kharóobeh or Kúbdeh make {1 Kassobeh, equal to from 11 ft. 4 1/2 in. to 11 ft. 7 1/4 in. English.
13 7/ Kassobeh or rods — 1 Keerát.
24 Keerát, or 333 Kassobeh — {1 Feddán or acre, equal to about 5082 square yards or 1 1/20 English acre.
Corn Measure.
In Lower Egypt.
2 Kadah make 1 Malwah.
2 Malwah 1 Roob.
2 Roob 1 Keilah.
2 Keilah 1 Waybeh.
6 Waybeh 1 Ardeb.
1 Kadah equals 467 gallon.
In Upper Egypt.
4 Roftow make 1 Mid.
3 Roob 1 Mid.
8 Mid or 1 Ardeb, or nearly 5 Eng. bushels.
6 Waybeh 1 Ardeb, or nearly 5 Eng. bushels


The first railway made in Egypt was that between Alexandria and Cairo
in 1855. Stephenson was the engineer, and he proposed it in conjunction
with the direct line between Cairo and Suez, now disused, as an alternative
for the Maritime Canal across the Isthmus of Suez . The Railway System now extends to a length of about 900 miles, and connects all the important
towns of the Delta, besides extending up the river as far as Asyoot,
with a branch to the Fayoom, &c. Owing to the extreme flatness of the
country, the cost of making the railways has been comparatively small, there
being no viaducts, tunnels, &c. The bridges over the two branches of the
Nile on the Alexandria-Cairo line are the only structures of importance. The
lines are uniformly laid on an embankment of earth thrown up to the height
of a few feet above the level of the soil. Cast-iron chairs, which look like
huge saucers, separated by transverse round iron bars, to keep them parallel,
support the rails. The Alexandria-Cairo line was entirely made by English
engineers, and for a long time the engine-drivers and stokers were mostly
Englishmen, but now the employés on all the lines are generally natives.
With the exception of the express trains between Alexandria and Cairo, which
are very punctual, time is badly kept on all the lines. The first-class
carriages are fairly good. It is well to be at the station some time before
the train starts, especially with luggage. The hours of departure are very
seldom altered, but the local time-tables had always better be consulted.
The great highway of Egypt, especially above Cairo, is the Nile, and sailing
or floating along it in a Dahabeeyeh is still, railways and steamboats notwithstanding,
the pleasantest way of seeing the country. These boats can be
hired at Alexandria, on the Mahmoodeeyeh Canal, but a far larger choice is
to be found at Cairo, and accordingly travellers usually wait till they arrive at
the latter place before taking one. Full particulars with regard to this mode
of travelling will be found in Section VII., where also information is given about
the Steamboats that ply between Cairo and the First Cataract during the winter
months. Small screw-steamers run between Port Said and Ismailia on
the , for which see p. 304
There are many places, however, in Egypt which can be reached by neither
railway nor boat, and recourse must then be had to that useful, and in Egypt
by no means to be despised animal, the donkey. The Egyptian Donkey is
patient, sure-footed, and very enduring, and his paces are generally easy. It
is best to use the saddle of the country, which has a hump like a lace-pillow
in front, but ladies will generally prefer a side-saddle, and had better therefore
provide themselves with one. As the native saddles are very apt to turn
round, no reliance should be placed on the stirrups.
For long excursions into the desert Camels will be required. The ordinary
baggage-camel is very heavy and rough in his paces, and it requires considerable
experience in camel riding before the Hegeen or trotting camel can
be mounted with any comfort. The paces of a quiet, smooth-walking camel
are, however, by no means unpleasant. Full particulrs as to camel-riding
will be found under Route 14a


Formerly, nearly every European country had its own Post Office at Alexandria
and Cairo, but that system has, with one or two exceptions at Alexandria,
been quite done away with, and both the external and internal service is performed
by the Egyptian Post Office. Letters to and from Egypt and Europe
can be despatched viâ Brindisi, Marseilles, or Trieste, there being a weekly
mail by each route. Egypt is now a member of the Postal Union, and the
postage between it and the other countries of the union (nearly all Europe)
is 2 1/2d. or 1 piastre the 1/2 oz. for letters, and 1/2d. or 20 paras the 1/2 oz. for
book-packets. The union post-cards can also be used. The postal communication
in Egypt itself is confined to the principal towns. The postage
varies from 5 paras to 1 piastre, according to weight and distance.
There are two Telegraph Systems in Egypt, one belonging to the Eastern
Telegraph Company, the other to the Egyptian Government. The Egyptian
Government telegraph is in operation throughout the whole of Egyptian
territory, and extends over more than 2700 miles, reaching southwards as
far as Wady Halfa; northwards it goes as far as Gaza. Messages can be
sent by it to and from all the principal towns in the Delta, the Fayoom, and
Upper Egypt. Between most of the stations telegrams can be sent in
English, French, or Italian, but at some of the smaller ones Arabic must
be used.


Good Hotels are to be found at Alexandria, Cairo, Helwán (near Cairo),
Port Said, Suez, Ismailia, and Luxor. The pension system is adopted at all
of them, and so much a day charged for lodging, attendance, and board.
This charge varies from 12 fr. to 20 fr., and includes two or three meals in
the day; wine extra. Sitting-rooms can be had at the best hotels at from
10s. to 1l. a day. No difference is made in the charge whether the meals
are eaten in the house or not. If a long stay is intended, arrangements at a
lower rate should be made in advance. At Tantah, Mansoorah, Zagazig, and
one or two large towns in Upper Egypt, there are what the French would
call estaminets, where food and a bed can be obtained, but they are not to be
In all parts of Egypt where there are no hotels or inns, the traveller, if without
a dahabeeyeh or tents, must trust to the hospitality of the principal natives
or of European officials or merchants.
Apartments can be procured both at Alexandria and Cairo; but it is necessary
to have some knowledge of the country and the language, or to secure the
services of a very good and trustworthy servant. Under these conditions, and
if a long stay is to be made, the cost of living may be less than in an hotel.
Servants, a necessary evil anywhere, are especially so in the East. The
traveller may indeed, if he only intends visiting Alexandria and Cairo, and

the line of the , do without them, or at any rate he need only hire
an occasional valet de place, at from 5s. to 8s. a day, according to the service
rendered. But if he intends to travel about by himself, he must provide
himself with one or more; and should he know nothing of the country or the
language, a dragoman (terjumán) will be indispensable. The dragoman,
literally an interpreter, will take all trouble off his hands, and for a fixed
sum defray all the expenses of travelling, food, lodging, servants, &c.
All who can should get a dragoman recommended to them by friends who
have had experience of him: it will save them a great deal of trouble, and
they will feel more sure of the sort of man they have to deal with. Those
who are new to the country should apply to Messrs. T. Cook & Sons, who
have an office close to Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo.
There are dragomen of every sort and kind, good, bad, and indifferent; and
the traveller who has to choose from among the numbers who present themselves
at Alexandria and Cairo, must take his chance. But it is seldom that
the really good ones, who confessedly are at the head of their profession, fail
to give satisfaction. Their charges, however, are very extravagant; and
travellers who are not so particular as to comfort and luxuries; may find a
very fair dragoman who will do everything at a lower rate. As a class, dragomen
are obliging and honest, after an Eastern feshion; and, though their one
aim and object is to make the most of their bargain, they are, at any rate the
best of them liberal in the fulfilment of their contract. One thing, however.
the traveller must not expect, and that is, to obtain from them accurate information
any kind. They know absolutely nothing about the various objects
of interest in Cairo, and the old ruins on the Nile, which they go to year after
year: and though always ready with an answer if asked any question about
the country and the people, the probability is that the answer is as inaccurate
as it is prompt. The dragoman is in fact a courier and maître d'hôtel in
one, but he has none of the kind of information possessed by the commonest
laquais de place in a continental own.
The expense of a dragoman varies with the nature of the journey and the
things required. Full information on these points will be found at the beginning
of each Route.



The climate of Egypt is remarkably dry and salubrious, and, although the
mortality amongst the inhabitants is great, it can easily be accounted for apart
from the climate. Through the ignorance, superstition, and filthiness of the
natives, there is an excessive infant mortality, and the death -rate amongst the
young and adult Egyptians is greatly increased by the privations, hard work,
and exposure they have to endure. Besides this, a great number of the poor
die for want of medical care and advice, which the Government does not
supply them with, unless in the hospitals, of which the natives have a deepseated
dread. They prefer to die at their homes, surrounded by their friends,
rather than enter a hospital. Much, however, is being done to remedy this
state things, especially since the English occupation of Egypt; and the
sanitary service, which is under an English doctor, is greatly improved.
Except the Delta and sea-coast towns, the country is quite exempt from Iow
severs and disease of the chest. Ophthalmia, diarrhœa, dysentery, and affections
of the liver are the principal endemic complaints. Only two or three months of

the year can be called unhealthy, and that not to any great degree; but a
severe epidemic often sweeps over the country and depopulates whole districts.
Formerly it used to be “the plague,” but in later years it has taken the type
of cholera, which finds a favourable nidus for propagation in the pestiferous
houses of the towns and in the personal dirtiness of the fellaheen. When an
epidemic breaks out, it generally rages for three or four months; all business
is suspended, and Europeans and others flee the country, to return
again after the danger is past. Occasionally, also, murrain is prevalent as
an epidemio among the cattle, and vast numbers of them are destroyed by it.
An extremely low Nile is apt to produce disease both in man and beast: thus,
Cholera and murrain may both exist together, as in 1865 and 1883. In the
latter year the cholera was preceded by a bad type of cattle disease. The
mortality was considerable.


The Egyptian climate is more uniform than that of any other place on the
globe. Still it varies considerably through the different parts of the country.
The whole of Middle and Upper Egypt is characterised by great dryness and
clearness of the atmosphere, while the Delta enjoys a much cooler and damper
climate. Certain localities are having their climates noticeably modified by
new and extensive irrigation, by the cultivation of large tracts of previously
sterile land, and by the growth of trees. The immense surface of water now
exposed by the to the influence of a tropical sun must produce
local disturbances of the atmosphere, while the northerly winds, that blow for
about eight months in the year, as they pass over the Canal district, will carry
along with them a considerable amount of moisture, which, combined with that
arising from the annual overflow of the Nile, would lead us to expect still
milder summers but damper winters in Middle and Lower Egypt.
The mean annual temperature at Cairo is about 71° F. From the peculiar
dryness of the atmosphere it is rendered more susceptible of sudden changes of
temperature; but the fact of its dryness prevents the injurious effects that
often result from such sudden changes. The thermometer often indicates a
variation of 20°F. between morning and mid-day, and as much between midday
and evening. The early morning is invariably cool, but after two or three
hours the sun's warmth is speedily communicated to the atmosphere, which
continues warm till near sunset, when it rapidly cools; and if there be any
moisture in the air, it now appears as dew which has fallen on the ground, half
an hour after sunset. Although the thermometer falls suddenly about sunset,
it soon rises again from the radiation of the heat absorbed by the earth during
the day. Towards morning it falls again, to rise with the return of the sun.
The thermometer seldom falls to 40° F. at Cairo, but it is frequently lower
on the Nile. The coldest months in the year are December and January, and
the hottest are August and September, but even then it is cool in the shade.
The humidity of the atmosphere is principally controlled by the rise and fall
of the Nile. Fogs prevail during the first two months of the receding of the
waters. Evening fogs descend very quickly as the sun goes down, and are as
quickly deposited after the sun has set, leaving the sky clear and the air as
fresh as after a good shower. Morning fogs are soon dispelled by the heat of
the sun, and then follows the clear beautiful day.
On the desert the air is always dry and bracing, and much cooler than that
over cultivated land. Dews at night are common in the early and later parts
of the year, but exposure to them is not attended with any risk. During
winter the nights are piercingly cold on the desert. The moonlight nights
are singularly brilliant, but when there is no moon the darkness that envelopes
the earth seems so thick that you can almost feel it, while the sky above is
quite clear.


In Egypt there may be said to be only two seasons in the year—Summer
and Winter.
The Summer extends from April to the end of September. It is ushered in
by strong equinoctial winds, which are at first cool; but they soon give place to
the hot south wind, or khamseen, so called from blowing at intervals during a
period of 50 days. This wind is very peculiar, and may be thus described. It
is preceded by an unusual stillness of the atmosphere, and, as it approaches, the
air assumes a dusky yellow hue from being laden with impalpable dust, through
which the sun shines obscurely, and gradually becomes quite concealed. Electric
influences accompany this wind, so that, notwithstanding the excessive heat,
one feels excited rather than depressed by it. The respiration is quickened, and
the skin becomes quite dry and shrunk; and sometimes a prickly sensation is
felt all over the body. This wind blows generally for three days in succession,
with intervals of four or five days. It sometimes lasts from ten to twelve days
continuously, and if blowing from the south-east is not only very destructive
to vegetation, but exhausting to the animal organism. The khamseens are
not so severe as formerly, and they always cease about the middle of May;
northerly winds then set in and blow almost constantly till November, when
for two or three weeks easterly winds prevail.
A north wind blowing constantly during the summer months modifies the
heat considerably. After the harvest in June, the country becomes an aridlooking
waste; everything appears burned up, and the ground is dry and
cracked in every direction. During May and June the Nile remains at its
lowest, but by the end of June it begins to rise, and continues to increase till
the middle of September. Before it has reached its height all the canals are
filled, and the water is admitted into the fields. Such a surface of water
materially alters the temperature, and light dews now occur about sunset, all
through the lower country. As the river falls, leaving the land wet and
exposed to the action of the sun, exhalations arise, which render the Delta
somewhat unhealthy; the prevailing diseases then being ophthalmia, dysentery,
diarrhœa, and ague. By the middle of November the river has retired within
its banks; and, except at this particular time, the atmosphere is remarkably
free from humidity. The average summer temperature is about 85° F.: the
mornings and nights throughout the whole summer being always pleasantly
The Winter begins in October and ends in March. It is so genial and
uniform as to prove a great attraction to invalids, who find here a winter
climate unsurpassed by that of any other country in the world. “Boat life on
the Nile is the most enjoyable of all restoratives for the sick; and for lovers of
all that is luxurious in travel, of all that is glorious in memory, of the grand,
the beautiful, the picturesque, and the strange, Egyptian travel is the perfection
of life.” The atmosphere continues to be comparatively dry till the
middle of November, when there is an appreciable amount of humidity arising
from the land left wet by the Nile. The dews at night and in the morning
are now sometimes quite heavy, but they are of short duration, and by the end
of December they more or less disappear, and the air regains its former dryness,
though there are occasional showers.
Rain seldom falls in Upper Egypt; but on the Delta and along the Mediterranean
coast it is not at all uncommon at this season. About Alexandria
there would be on an average 13 rainy days during the winter. At Cairo,
five or six showers would be the average, and these not at all heavy. In
winter, as in summer, “great changes of temperature take place in the 24
hours, owing to the general dryness and clearness of the atmosphere, which
favour rapid evaporation during the day and radiation of heat during the

night.” At Cairo the thermometer seldom falls under freezing-point, and
natural ice is seen but rarely. ‘Snow is unknown: but in Upper Egypt and on
the Delta, hail and thunder storms sometimes oecur with great violence, and
do much injury; the hailstones being frequently as large as a pigeon's egg.
North winds prevail in December, January, and February, and they are often
piercingly cold. As you ascend the Nile the weather becomes warmer and
the atmosphere drier, so that Upper add Middle Egypt are more healthy than
the lower country or Delta.
The mean winter temperature at Cairo is about 58° F. The season ends
with boisterous southerly winds and dust storms, which begin to blow about
the latter part of March, and continue for one, two, or three days at a time
till the proper khamseen sets in.


The following very trustworthy and judicious remarks are from Dr. Patterson's
book, called Egypt and the Nile, a little work which every invalid would
do well to procure, in the absence of any exhaustive medical treatise on the
climate of Egypt, a thing much needed:—
“Phthisical and bronchial affections, chronic diseases of the mucous membranes,
congestive diseases of the abdominal viscera, nervous exhaustion,
debilitated circulation from progressive disease of the heart, and especially
that form attending advancing years, scrofulous diseases of every kind, and
struma in its various manifestations, are the diseases in which a most marked
improvement has been observed from a residence in Egypt. In the early stage
of phthisis, hereditary or acquired, indicated by general delicacy of constitution,
a prolonged residence in Egypt is generally attended with the best
results; but the patient should spend two or three winters at least. In that
form of early phthisis where much bronchial irritation exists, the stimulating
effect of the dry air on the irritable mucous membranes of the trachea and
bronchi is sometimes great for the first few days after arrival, but it soon
wears off. Cases of this kind should not come straight on to Cairo, but spend
a few days in Alexandria; they may then safely proceed on their Nile journey.
Under such favourable conditions of atmosphere, the effect of a comparatively
high temperature, and a peculiar, not to be described—stimulating, yet balmy
—influence in the general functions of the body, this climate may be, and often
is, of great service in the advanced stages of pulmonary phthisis. It may
succeed for a time, and I believe does, in arresting the progress of suppurative
tubercle; yet the effects of a long journey, the frequent changes of diet, and
the want of many of the personal comforts and attentions to which such
patients have been accustomed, cause me strongly to impress a careful consideration
before advising them to come to Egypt, and especially to go up the
Nile. If it be desirable that such cases should come, let them be advised to
remain in Cairo for a time, where they can lead a quiet, regular, and vegetative
sort of life; then, should they improve, they can try the Nile. As a
rule, the Nile-boat life is not adapted to such cases, unless they proceed under
very favourable conditions of attendance and companionship; otherwise the
fatigue and excitement attending the preparations and details of the Nile
voyage irritates and weakens them. They are far away from medical advice
and, from debility, are seldom in a condition to take the amount of exercise
requisite to keep their functions in order. … The invalid in an incipient
state of consumption can, by regulating his movements, command an almost
uniform condition of daily climate for several months: first, by a short stay in
Cairo; then, by following the seasons, he may proceed up the Nile until he
reaches a climate where the heat is just sufficient to allow him to spend much of
the day in the open air, and have regular exercise without being much fatigued.

He can then drop gradually down the Nile towards Cairo, keeping nearly the
same temperature all the way. If he reaches Cairo late in March, or even a
little earlier, he will then find a condition of climate such as is, probably,
found in no other place, in which he can remain a few weeks. About the
middle of April the mid-day temperature begins to be felt a little too warm
for a debilitated system, and the chance of being surprised by the hot winds
renders it advisable to depart. A short stay in Alexandria will then be found
beneficial, as the air is several degrees cooler than that of Cairo, the
humidity not too great, and the early hot winds are little felt. … Chronic
bronchitis, with or without much secretion of bronchial mucus, chronic
affections of the larynx and trachea, nearly all derive benefit. … Pure
asthmatic affections follow their usual vagaries here, as elsewhere. Some are
benefited, others not at all. Patients of this class however, when residing in
Egypt, are favourably situated as regards the facility for change. They are
within access of four modifications of climate—Alexandria, Cairo, Suez, and
Ismailia—so that when one does not give relief, another may be tried. There
are also the Nile and the desert. The latter, however, is seldom available,
except under circumstances unfavourable to debilitated states of system. …
The Egyptian climate, by allowing such great freedom for open-air exercise,
and exposure to the tonic action of sun-light, has a marked influence in
modifying the ill-effects arising from a scrofulous state of system. Few of the
sufferers from this disease, from colder latitudes, go away unbenefited. …
Diseases of rheumatic and gouty origin are often benefited, when the patient
will lead the life he ought to do; but this class of invalid seldom does so. …
To the overworked teacher and student, the care-burdened merchant and man
of business, and those subjected to a hard daily routine, which has broken down
their stamina, and induced a highly-excited state of nervous system; the confirmed
dyspeptic and hypochondriacal invalid; the depressed and anxiousminded;
the nervous and hysterical female;—to all these the Egyptian
climate may be beneficial. In a country where the manners and habits of
life are so different from what obtains in European countries, pleasant and
varied objects of attention, which strike the imagination and keep the mind
employed, tend much to improve the depressed morale and morbidly anxious
mind of the invalid. The bright and sunny sky is in itself an incentive to
cheerfulness and pleasure, which, combined with the amount of healthy
open-air exercise necessary to attain the enjoyment of sight-seeing, cannot
fail to produce favourable results whenever that is possible. Indeed, in all
cases where a dry and bracing air, bright sunshine, freedom from rain and
atmospheric impurities, are the desiderata, the Egyptian winter climate claims
an important, if not the most important, place.”
To these last remarks may well be added those of a recent writer on
Nile life, himself an invalid. Mr. Frederic Eden, in his Nile without a
, says:—” I cannot make an end without saying once more that the
climate of Upper Egypt, in the winter, is as enjoyable as I believe any on
earth can be; that of the monotony experienced by some travellers we found
none; and that, to a sick man, the life led on the Nile is as agreeable as it is
health-giving. To be absolutely free from any care, but that perversely
carried with you; to be absent from the hurry, bustle, and activity of home
daily life, with enough to occupy and distract, and nothing to fatigue the
brain; with air as balmy as it is soft, appetite-giving and sleep-compelling;
with sun to warm by day, and freshness by night to string and brace the
nerves; with all temptation to live in the open air, and cabins to retire to,
literally under the foot, whenever rest or quiet be desired;—every aid is
given to weary nature striving to recover her lost powers. And of all the
many places to which, seeking for health, I have been sent by doctors, by
friends recommended, or by fancy prompted, I know of none to be compared to

the Nile, either for the enjoyment it affords, or the chances of recovery it


Invalids coming to Egypt for the winter should be well provided with warm
Clothing, and should always wear flannel next the skin. Two tweed suits, one
of lighter texture than the other, form the best outfit for the ordinary traveller:
and on the Nile voyage he will find flannel shirts the best both for health and
convenience of washing. Should he, however, intend to make a long stay in
Alexandria or Cairo, and become acquainted with the European residents, he
will require a black coat, dress clothes, and white shirts. A broad belt round
the waist is thought to be a useful precaution; perhaps the best thing of its
kind is the Syrian silk scarf so much used by the natives. The head should
be well protected: for this purpose the best head-dress is a common felt
helmet or wide-awake, with a turban of white muslin (puggaree) wound
round it. Some prefer a pith helmet. The red tarboosh with which
travellers so often delight to adorn themselves, even when worn, as it should
be, with the linen cap or takeeyeh underneath, affords little or no protection
to those unaccustomed to an Egyptian sun, and as it is the mark of a Government
official, it is hardly a suitable headdress for the ordinary traveller.
Brown leather boots and shoes will be found the most useful up the Nile.
Ladies would find Wellington boots of brown leather a great convenience.
Coloured-glass spectacles with gauze sides afford great relief to the eye from
the glare of the sun, and a blue or green veil is often useful for the same
In winter it is unnecessary to make any change in the Mode of Living from
that usually adopted in Europe; and most persons may eat whatever they
are accustomed to in other countries. It is, however, better to avoid much
wine or spirits, as they tend to heat the blood, and cause the hot weather to be
more sensibly felt; and some will find that fish (chiefly those without scales),
eggs, and unboiled milk, do not always agree with them. Bathing in the
Nile is by no means prejudicial in the morning and evening; and, except in
the neighbourhood of sandbanks past the First Cataract, there is no fear of
crocodiles. Fruit and vegetables when the former are not eaten to excess,
and the latter are properly cooked, are wholesome and cooling, and mutton is
better than beef. The fish of the Nile are not very good. Light Bordeaux
and Rhine wines are the most wholesome; beer requires strong exercise.
“The Nile water, when well filtered, is soft and pure, and may be safely
used. With some it may at first disagree, and have a tendency to induce
diarrhœa, and until this is overcome it should be tempered with a little good
brandy.” Care should be taken never to sleep in a draught: and invalids
should avoid bedrooms on the ground-floor. A warm great-coat and rugs will
often be found needful in Egypt during the winter, as the evenings, especially
on the Nile, are often very cold.


There are very good European doctors and chemists at Alexandria and
Cairo, and in cases of serious illness resort should at once be had to a doctor.
The only medicines with which a traveller need provide himself are quinine
pills (three grains to each pill), chlorodyne, and sticking plaster.
The following directions, chiefly from Dr. Patterson's book, for the treatment of ailments incident to the climate, will be found of service.
Headache and biliary disturbance is often brought on by exposure to the
sun. It is best treated by a smart purgative, and by bathing the head
copiously with cold water, while the feet are kept in hot water, to which a
tea-spoonful of common mustard may be added. If very severe, 8 or 10 leeches
should be applied to the temples.
In simple diarrhœa take a blue pill, and after three hours 5 grains of
Dover's powder, which may be repeated, if need be, at the same interval;
or a small table-spoonful of castor-oil, with 10 drops of laudanum, or 3 grains
of Dover's powder. In severer cases of diarrhœa, take 15 drops of diluted
sulphuric acid in a small wine-glass of water every half-hour, till four doses
have been given; and if then no effect is produced, take Dover's powder as
For dysentery, the best treatment is first a blue pill, and after three hours a
table-spoonful of the following mixture, to be repeated every hour, or two hours,
according to the severity of the symptoms:—Castor-oil, 2 table-spoonfuls;
whites of 4 eggs; 2 wine-glassfuls of water to be added gradually, and beaten
up with the above; a little powdered gum-arabic may be usefully added to
this mixture.
In all cases of diarrhœa and dysentery, a rice diet is the best; and the
drink should be rice-water, or toast-and-water, or the whites of a few eggs
beaten up with water. A grain of quinine a day is a very convenient tonic
after the attack is over.
Ophthalmia begins by a slight redness and itching of the eyelids, and
feeling of grittiness in the eyes, as though sand had got into them, accompanied
after a time by a viscid matter causing the eyelids to adhere together.
The best simple remedies are constant sponging of the eyes with tepid water
and milk, or simple tepid (never cold) water, taking care to wipe them quite dry
afterwards, avoidance of light, wearing a shade, and dropping between the eyelids
three times a day a few drops of a wash containing from 5 to 6 grains of
sulphate of zinc in a large table-spoonful of water, or, still better, rose-water.
A slight purgative and low diet is also necessary. In very severe forms of
this complaint, it may be necessary to have recourse to more severe measures,
such as leeches, and the use of a strong collyrium containing from 5 to 8
grains of nitrate of silver in 1 oz. of water, or rose-water. Simply bathing the
eye with warm water will often remove an irritation which, if neglected, might
end in ophthalmia.
Any premonitory symptoms of fever should be at once met with a quinine
pill, to be repeated if necessary.
In all cases of sickness, one piece of advice should be borne in mind alike
by the physician and the patient. Use all medicines sparingly, especially the
stronger purgatives. “Many invalids partly nullify the good effect of change
of climate, by continually dosing themselves with physic, and keeping their
organs in a constant state of irritation.”



In the ancient Egyptian language, as well as in Coptic, Egypt is called
Khemi, or the land of Khem, the “Ham” of the Bible, meaning “the black
land,” a name derived from the blackness, of the soil. By the Hebrews it
was called Misraim, a name still preserved in the modern Arabic appellation
Misr , the meaning of which is doubtful. Its Greek name was .
From the old inscriptions we learn that the country was divided into two

large districts, styled the “land of the North” and the “land of the South,”
or the Upper country and the Lower country. The land of the North extended
from the neighbourhood of Memphis to the sea, and corresponded with what
was afterwards termed by the Greeks, from its resemblance to the fourth
letter of their alphabet, the Delta, the name by which it is known to us;
the Arabs styled it Beheyreh. The land of the South included the remainder
of the country as far as the island of Elephantine, opposite Syene (the modern
Assooán); this the Arabs called Saeed. One of the titles of the old kings
was “Lord of the two countries,” and on the day of their coronation they
received two crowns, a white upper one and a red lower one, in token of sovereignty
over the South and North respectively.
These two large divisions were further subdivided into districts, called by
the Greeks Nomes (Nó ). The number of these nomes seems to have
varied. The old Egyptian lists generally give 44; Pliny the same number;
Strabo and Diodorus 36; the usually received number is 42. Of these, 20
were in the Lower country, or Delta, and 22 in the Upper country. Each
nome had its own capital, the residence of the hereditary governor. “The
capital formed likewise the central point of the particular divine worship of
the district which belonged to it. The sacred lists of the nomes have handed
down to us the names of the temple of the chief deity, of the priests and
priestesses, of the holy trees, and also the names of the town-harbour of the
holy canal, the cultivated land, and the land which was only fruitful during
the inundation, and much more information, in such completeness, that we are
in a position, from the indications contained in these lists, to form the most
exact picture of each Egyptian nome in all its details, almost without any
gaps.”—Brugsch, ‘Egypt under the Pharaohs.'
The following is a list of the nomes, with their Greek names, and the
names of their capital towns, both in Egyptian and Greek, with the corresponding
modern Arabic town or village.
Egyptian. Greek. Modern Arabic.
1. Ombites Abu Ombos Kom Ombo.
2. Apollinopolites Teb Apollinopolis Magna Edfoo.
3. Latopolites Nekheb Latopolis Esneh.
Eileithyia El Kab.
4. Hermonthites Her-mont Hermonthis Erment.
5. Pathyrites Koorneh.
6. Diospolites No-amen Diospolis Magna Karnak and Luxor.
7. Coptites Kobti Coptos Kaft.
8. Tentyrites Tan-te-rer Tentyra Denderah.
9. Diospolites Ha Diospolis Parva How.
10. Thinites Abdu This, Abydus Beerbeh, Arábat el. Matfoon.
11. Panopolites Apu Panopolis Ekhmeem.
12. Aphroditopolites Tebu Aphroditopolis Atfeh.
13. Antæopolites Ni-ent-bak Antæopolis Gow el-Kebeer.
14. Hypselites Shas-hotep Hypselis Shodb.
15. Lycopolites Siaut Lycopolis Asyoot.
16. Antinotes Antinoöpolis Sheikh Abádch.
17. Hermopolites Khimunu Hermopolis Magna Oshmoonáyn.
18. Cynopolites Ku-sa Cynopolis El Kays.
19. Oxyrhinchites Pi-masa Oxyrhinchus Béhnesa.
20. Heracleopolites Khinensn Heracleopolis Ahnas el-Medeeneh.
21. Arsinoites Crocodilopolis, or Arsinoë Medeenet el-Fayoo.
22. Aphroditopolites Tep-ah Aphroditopolis Atfeeyeh.
Egyptian. Greek. Modern Arabic.
1. Memphites Men-nofer Memphis Mitrahenny.
2. Letopelites Sokhem Letopolis
3. Libya Ni-ent-hapi Apis
4. Saïtes Zoka Canopus
5. Saïtes Sa Saïs Sa el-Hagar.
6. Xoïtes Khesun Xoïs
7. Metelites Sonti-nefer Metelis Fooah.
8. Sethroïtes Thukot (Succoth?) Sethroë
9. Busirites Pi-usir Busiris Abooseer (?).
10. Athribites Ha-ta-hirab Athribis Tel Atreeb, Benha el-Assal.
11. Cabasites Ka-hebes Cabasa Kom Shabas.
12. Sebennytes Theb-nuter Sebennytus Semenhood.
13. Heliopolites Anu On, Heliopolis Matareeyeh.
14. Tanites Zoan Tanis San.
15. Hermopolites Pi-thnt Hermopolis Parva Damanhoor.
16. Mendesius Pi-bi-neb-dad Mendes Ashmoon, or Tel-et-Tmel.
17. Diospolites Pi-khun-en-Amen Diospolis
18. Bubastites Pi-bast Bubastis Tel Basta (Zagazig).
19. Pthenestes Pi-uto Buto
20. Pharbæthites Kosem Pharbæthus Herbit.
It may be remarked that at a later period there were three divisions,
portions of Upper and Lower Egypt being taken to form a Middle Egypt,
called by the Greeks, from its containing 7 nomes, Heptanomis. Upper
Egypt, or the Thebaïd, then reached to the Thebaïca Phylace (), now
Daroot esh-Shereéf; Heptanomis thence to the fork of the Delta; and the
rest was comprehended in Lower Egypt. In the time of the later Roman
emperors, the Delta, or Lower Egypt, was divided into 4 provinces or districts
—Augustamnica Prima and Secunda, and Ægyptus Prima and Secunda;
being still subdivided into the same nomes: and in the name of Arcadius, the
son of Theodosius the Great, Heptanomis received the name of Arcadia. The
Thebaïd, too, was made into two parts, under the name of Upper and Lower,
the line of separation passing between Panopolis and Ptolemaïs Hermii. The
nomes also increased in number, and amounted to 57, of which the Delta
contained 34, nearly equal to those of all Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs.
Although many of the old Egyptian kings extended their dominions from
time to time beyond the southern border of Elephantine, as is proved by the
various temples above the First Cataract, and one dynasty, the XXVth, was
actually composed of Ethiopian kings, who conquered the whole of Upper
Egypt, and reigned from Thebes to Napata, or Gebel Barkal, there is no
record of any geographical division of this more southern country. Under
the Ptolemies, the more northern portion of what is now called Nubia had
the name of Dodeca-Schænus, or “12 schænes,” and comprehended the district
from Syene to Hierasycaminon, now Maharraka.


If in the term Egypt we include all the countries over which the Khedive
claimed supremacy prior to the recent events in the Soodan, it is rather difficult
to determine its boundaries with the exception of the northern, which is
of course the Mediterranean. On the south its furthest limit nearly reached

the Equator, though it narrowed there almost to a point. Within its eastern
borders, which commenced on the Mediterranean at El-Areesh were included
the Peninsula of Sinai, the Gulf of Akaba , and a narrow strip of the east coast
of the Red Sea, as far as opposite Ras-Benar, from which point the boundary-line
continued down the west coast of that sea to Massowah, and on into the
Gulf of Aden to Berbera, though the Khedive's authority in this extreme
southern portion did not extend far from the coast; inland, Abyssinia and
some native tribes were independent. On the west, it was bounded by an
imaginary line from Ras-el-Kanaïs on the coast, through the Libyan Desert
to Darfoor, and thence trending in a westerly direction to the Blue Mountains.
The geographical limits of Egypt Proper, which, with the exception of
Suakin, is all that is now left to the Khedive, are the same as in the days
of the Pharaohs, and comprise the Delta and the Valley of the Nile as far as
the First Cataract, together with the Peninsula of Sinai and the Oases' of
the Libyan Desert. As of old, it is divided into two parts, Lower Egypt
and Upper Egypt; and each of these is subdivided into Provinces, with their
chief towns, as under.
Province. Chief Town.
Beheyreh. Damanhoor.
Menoofeeyeh. Shibeen el-Kom.
Sharkeeyeh. Zagazig.
Dakaleeyeh. Mansoorah.
Gharbeeyeh. Tantah.
Kalioobeeyeh. Benha.
Province. Chief Town.
Geezeh. Geezeh.
Benisooéf. Benisooéf.
Fayoom. Medeenet el-Fay-oom.
Minieh. Minieh.
Asyoot. Asyoot.
Girgeh. Soohág.
Keneh. Keneh.
Esneh. Esneh.
Each of these provinces has a governor called a Mudeer; and they are
subdivided again into districts, each under a Názir, or deputy-governor.
The towns of Alexandria, Cairo, Suez, Port Said, Ismailia, Rosetta. and
Damietta form separate special governments, called Mohafzas, independent of
the provinces in which they are situated.
The Soodán included a very wide area, embracing nearly all the more
recent acquisitions of territory made by the Khedive. It was divided into
the provinces of Khartoom, Kordofán, Senaar, Darfoor, Bahr el-Abiad (which
included all the region of the White Nile in the extreme south), Taka, and
The total area of the vast territory included in these three parts is estimated
at one million and a half square miles, and measures 2000 miles from
N. to S., and about 1500 from E. to W., drawing a line from Berbera to
Darfoor. The whole of this territory has now ceased to belong to Egypt.
The greater part of the Soudan is in a state of anarchy. Massowah has been
taken possession of by Italy; Zeila and Berbera by England. Of all the
country south of Wady Halfa, Suakin alone remains in the possession of
Egypt, which is again what it was of old, nothing more than the Valley of
the Nile, from the Mediterranean to Assooán, a tract of country containing
about 10,000 square miles of cultivable land (of which about 8500 square
miles are actually under tillage), just about half the size of Ireland.
More than half this land is in the Delta, which is 160 miles broad at its
Mediterranean base, but narrows to about 10 miles at its head below Cairo.

From this point to Assooán the alluvial soil, called by the Arabs Er-Reef,
nowhere extends to a greater width, and is indeed generally much narrower,
except at the quasi-oasis of the Fayoom, on the left bank of the river,
which measures about thirty miles from N. to S., and forty from E. to W.
The total length from the sea to the First Cataract is, in a straight line, 550
Of geographical features Egypt may be said to possess but one, its river:
for the hills which border the Nile's course on either side from Cairo to
Wady Halfa, branching out on the E. from Keneh to Kosseir, and on the W.
from Wady Halfa to the Great Oasis, never reach any great height; and the
lakes, with the exception of the Bitter Lakes, which must be considered as
artificial, and the Birket el-Korn, in the Fayoom, are nothing but lagoons, of
which the most considerable are Mareotis, Etko, Bourlos, and Menzaleh.
At the same time no geographical notice of Egypt, however slight, would
be complete without a mention of the Oases. These are five in number, and
are situated in the Libyan Desert several days' journey W. of the Nile. The
most northern is Seewah, the famed oasis of Jupiter Ammon; next comes the
Little Oasis, the Oasis Parva of antiquity, now called Wahat el-Bahreeyeh;
then the oases of Faráfreh and Dakhleh; and further to the S., the Great Oasis,
the Oasis Major of the Romans, now called the Wahat el-Khárgeh. There are
besides one or two smaller ones. The title given by the ancients to these
oases, of “islands of the blest” (), is somewhat misleading, as
they do not spring up from the surrounding desolation, but are depressions in
the lofty desert table-land, which rises above them in steep limestone cliffs.
Nor is the whole of their area cultivable soil, all being intersected by passes
of desert. They owe their existence and their fertility to the copiousness of
the springs with which they abound, and which are supposed to be connected
by subterranean channels with the Nile.
The following are some of the common Arab appellations of towns, &c.:—
The large, or market, towns have the title of Bender. Medeeneh is a
“capital,” and is applied to Cairo, and the capital of the Fayoom. Markaz is
an administrative division of a Province. Beled is the usual appellation of a
“town;” whence Ibn beled, “son of a town,” or “townsman.” Nahieh corresponds to a French “commune;” it may contain two or three villages.
Kafr is a village independent of the Nahieh; Nezleh, a village founded by the
people of another place, as Nezlet el-Fent. Minieh (corrupted into Mit,
particularly in the Delta) is also applied to villages colonised from other
places. Beni, “the sons,” is given to those founded by a tribe, or family, as
Beni Amrán, “the sons of Amran,” and then many villages in the district are
often included under the same name. Zówyeh is a hamlet having a mosque.
Kasr is a “palace,” or any large building. Boorg is a “tower” (like the
Greek ); and it is even applied to the pigeon-houses built in that
form. Sáhil
, a level spot, or opening in the bank, where the river is accessible
from the plain. Merseh, an anchoring-place, or harbour. Dayr is a “convent,”
and frequently points out a Christian village. Kom is a “mound,”
and indicates the site of an ancient town; and Tel is commonly used in the
Delta in the same sense. Kharáb and Kooffree are applied to “ruins.”
Beerbek (which is taken from the Coptic) signifies a “temple.” Wády is
“a valley;” Gebel, “a mountain;” and Birkeh, “a lake,” or “a reach” in
the Nile. The W. bank of the river is called ghárbee and the E. bank
shúrgee, and the common expressions for N. and S. are báhree, “seawards,”
and gúblee, “mountainwards.”


The Nile (Greek , Latin Nilus. Arabic Neel) is supposed to derive its
name from the Semitic word Nahar or Nahal, “river;” and it certainly is

emphatically the river of the Old World. The Amazon of the New World
alone surpasses it in length, so far as that length is as yet known; but no
river, in either hemisphere, can in any degree equal it in historical and
geographical interest. By the ancient Egyptians it was honoured as a
divinity to whom their land was indebted for its very existence, Egypt being
most truly, as Herodotus puts it, “the gift of the Nile.” Its connection with
the most important events of ancient history, and the stupendous monuments
which still bear witness to its former wealth and civilization, render it an
object of the greatest interest to the antiquary and the student of history;
while the discovery of its source has been a problem which down to the
present day has never ceased to excite the curiosity and stimulate the zeal of
geographers and travellers. The words of Tibullus:
“Nile pater, quânam te possum dicere causâ,
Aut quibus in terris, occuluisse caput?”
have not received a complete answer even now, though the proverb “caput
Nili quærere” does not quite convey the idea of a hopeless enterprise that it
once did.
The latest discoverers place the Sources of the Nile in the Victoria Nyanza,
but it still remains to be proved that it does not flow into that lake
from some yet more distant source S. of the equator. From the Victoria
Nyanza it flows into the Albert Nyanza, and issues thence in a series of
rapids under the name of the Bahr el-Gebel. Passing Gondokoro near 5° N.
lat., it is joined near 9° N. lat. by the waters of the Bahr el-Ghazál (Gazelle
River) and the Sobát; from which points to Khartoom it is known as the Bahr
(White River) or White Nile, a name which may be derived either
from the whitish clay which it holds in solution, or from its contrast with
the Bahr el-Azrek (Blue River) or Blue Nile, which unites with it at Khartoom.
The length of its course to this point of junction is about 1500 miles.
The Bahr el-Azrek or Blue Nile, so called from the dark colour of
its waters, rises in the mountains of Abyssinia, and is joined by many
important tributaries before reaching Khartoom. At its point of confluence
with the White Nile it constitutes, under ordinary circumstances, but one-third
of the volume of water which henceforth flows on under the name
of the Babr en-Neel, but in the spring and summer this amount is
considerably increased. It is then swollen with the rains that have fallen in
the Abyssinian mountains, and sweeps along in an overflowing turbid stream,
thick with the fertilising mud from which it derives its name, and the
deposits of which have formed and still continue to maintain the land of
From Khartoom the Nile flows in one undivided stream, and fed only by
one affluent, the Atbara, to the sea, a distance of more than 1800 miles.
Nowhere is the cultivable land (except in the Fayoom and the Delta) more
than 10 miles broad, and in many places there is nothing but a strip of sand
between it and the hills which on either side flank the whole length of its
course as far as Cairo. Through these hills it has occasionally to force its way
in a series of falls, to which the name of cataract has been given, though
they bear no analogy with such cataracts as Niagara, being in fact merely
rapids. There are six of these cataracts, besides some smaller falls, between
Khartoom and Assooán. That at Assooán is known as the First Cataract.
The Nile now enters Egypt Proper and continues, at an average rate of
about 3 miles an hour, increased to 4 1/2 at the height of the inundation, a
quiet winding course varying in breadth from 350 yards at Silsilis to 3/4 mile
just above Cairo. So far its course is the same as in old times, but a considerable
change now takes place; for whereas formerly it discharged itself
into the sea by seven Mouths, at the present day these are reduced to
two. The point of separation, which constitutes the apex of the Delta, has

remained about the same. Its ancient name appears to have been Cercasorus,
the modern representative of which may be placed at a point opposite Shoobra.
Here the river anciently divided into three branches, the Pelusiac running E.,
the Canopic running W., and the Sebennytic which flowed between these two,
continuing indeed the general northward direction hitherto taken by the Nile,
and piercing the Delta through the centre. From this Sebennytic branch two
others were derived, the Tanitic and the Mendesian, both of which emptied
themselves between it and the Pelusian branch. The lower parts of the
remaining two branches, the Bolbitime and the Phatmetic, were artificial, and
were constructed probably when the other outlets began to dry up. It is by
these two mouths that the river at the present day finds its outlet. At the
point of bifurcation the general direction of the two streams is probably that of
the old Pelusian and Canopic branches, but they gradually quit the extreme
E. and W. course, and continue more in the centre of the Delta, the one to
Damietta, and the other to Rosetta, from which places they derive their
modern appellations.
The annual Inundations, which not only water the country, but supply it
with the fertilising deposit on which its very existence depends, are the result
of the rains falling in the mountains amongst which the Blue Nile has its
source, and in Central Africa along the course of the White Nile. Although
the rise of the river in the S. begins in April, its effects are not felt in Egypt
until June. The inundation continues about 3 months, and reaches its highest
point at the end of September, though very often there is a sudden final rise
in October. It then steadily subsides, and by the end of January the country
it has covered begins to dry up. From that time the river flows within its
natural limits, sinking gradually lower and lower, till the period of the next
rise. On the height of the inundations depends the prosperity of the country
for the ensuing year. Too great a rise involves a destruction of dykes and a
loss of life and property. A deficiency leaves large tracts unmoistened and
unfertilised, and the canals not sufficiently filled to supply water for irrigation
during the dry season. Great improvements have been introduced in the
system of irrigation in Egypt during the last few years, by Colonel Sir
Colin Scott Moncrieff, K.C.M.G., R.E., and his able staff of assistants, who
have been able to add considerably to the cultivable area of Egypt.
The importance, therefore, of watching the rise of the river and regulating
it by means of dykes, sluices and canals, has always been recognised. At the
present day the progress of the inundation is telegraphed from Wady Halfa,
just as in old times messages were sent from Assooán, and afterwards from
Semneh, the southernmost point of the kingdom in the days of Amenemhat
III. Several inscriptions at Semneh record the height of the Nile at different
times during the reign of this king, to whom Egypt was indebted for the Lake
Mœris, and many other important irrigation works. From them it would
appear that the highest recorded rise was 27 ft. 3 in. above any inundation of
the present day (see p. 546), The height of the inundation varies in different
parts of Egypt. At Cairo a good average is about 26 feet.
The mode of irrigation is essentially different in Upper and Lower Egypt.
In the former, the country on each side of the river is divided into basins
varying in area from 10,000 to 50,000 acres. These basins are filled by the
Nile in the time of the inundation, which is afterwards allowed to flow off,
leaving a deposit of Nile mud on the surface of the land. In Lower Egypt,
on the contrary, the water is distributed by an elaborate system of canals.


But for the mud deposited by the Nile, Egypt would be nothing but sand
and rock. This deposit varies in thickness, but its average depth may be taken
at about 30 ft. In many places during the low Nile the perpendicular side

of its banks are bared to this depth, and the strata can be seen, consisting of
layers of different coloured mud, with thin streaks of intervening sand. At
the farthest point on either side of the valley reached by the inundation, it
only however amounts to a few inches; and on the Delta the deposit, being
more widely spread, is also thinner. Whether, or to what extent, any increase
in the average depth of this soil has taken place is a matter of doubt, no
calculations that have been made seeming to rest on sufficient data. At the
same time there seems to be very little doubt that the bed of the river and the
valley on both sides are slowly rising. The deposit of the Nile when dry
resembles pottery, owing to the silica it contains; indeed, vessels of various
kinds are made out of it. Its composition slightly varies, owing to the greater
or less amount of sand it may contain. Regnault gives it as follows:
11.0 water, 9.0 carbon, 6.0 oxide of iron, 4.0 silica, 4.0 carbonate of magnesia,
18.0 carbonate of lime, 48.0 alumen.
Bordering, however, this alluvial soil, which everywhere presents the same
characteristics, are ranges of hills which present much more interesting
geological features. At Cairo, and southwards thence to between Edfoo and
Hagar Silsilis, these hills on either side of the river are formed of nummulite
or magnesian limestone—a hard white stone full of fossils. Beyond Edfoo
this limestone is replaced by what is known as “Nubian” sandstone. Through
this at Assooán there crop up large masses of primitive granite of different
colours, among which the most noticeable is the red variety, called from the
old name of Assooán—Syene—”Syenite.” South of Philæ the sandstone
again predominates, with here and there granite outbursts.
The deserts on both sides of the river present the same features on the
hills that immediately border it. The northern part of the Libyan Desert is
a monotonous table-land of nummulite limestone diversified by sandhills, and
hollowed here and there, so as to form deep depressions, such as the Oases
and the Natron Lakes. Further south comes the Nubian sandstone. This
sandstone also occurs in the southern part of the Arabian Desert, but is
interrupted by a range of primitive mountains, which, beginning in the interior
of the desert at about latitude 28°40', continues in a southerly direction,
and, increasing in breadth as it advances, branches off westward, and touches
the Nile, as mentioned above, at Assooán. Various granites, porphyry,
serpentines, breccia verde, slates, and other crystalline rocks, compose these
mountains, which rise to a very considerable height; one of them, Gebel
Gháreb, being 6000 ft. above the sea. The same formation occurs again on
the other side of the Red Sea in the Peninsula of Mount Sinai (see p. 336).
The northern part of the Arabian Desert, though, like the Libyan, composed
of limestone, is far less mountainous in character, being broken up into ravines
and precipices, and showing here and there signs of vegetation, especially in
the N. part, where there are a number of springs. Among the different formations
of this limestone district are alabaster and gypsum.
In the neighbourhood of Cairo there are several variations in the nature of
the strata, such as the Gebel Ahmar, “Red Mountain” (see p. 221), composed
of a siliceous red gritstone, and the Gebel Khashab, or so-called “Petrified
Forest” (see p. 221), a tract in the limestone desert covered with large and
small fragments of fossil wood. The whole of the limestone rock is very rich in
fossils, and this is especially the case at Gebels Mokattam, Toora, and Masarah
close to Cairo. Innumerable varieties of petrified shell-fish are to be found in
it, the most abundant being the kind of snail from which the stone, which is
one of the Eocene or earliest deposits of the tertiary period, takes its name of
“nummulite.” Along the Isthmus of Suez the limestone occasionally crops
up through the surface of gypsum and salt which covers the desert sand. At
Shaloof, for example, on the (see p. 300), a considerable amount
of this rock was found containing fossil remains of various marine and

amphibious mammalia. The stone in the neighbourhood of Alexandria is a
limestone of more recent formation, the character of which can be best seen
in the quarries at Mex.
Of the different varieties of stone to be found in their country the Egyptians
neglected none. From the quarries of Toora and Masarah came the limestone
blocks of which the Pyramids are constructed. The great temples of the
Thebaid were built of sandstone from the gigantic quarries at Silsilis. Obelisks,
statues, and even whole sanctuaries, were hewn out of the granite rocks at
Assooán. And the various marbles in the Arabian desert were all at some
time or another laid under contribution. A little quarrying is still done at
Toora for buildings at Cairo, and the quays of the new harbour of Alexandria
are made of stone from Mex, but elsewhere no modern tool has obliterated the
trace of the old Egyptian labourer and his method of working.



The Egyptian Flora consist of about 1300 specimens, of which indigenous
plants constitute the largest proportion, few countries having so small a number
of introduced plants as Egypt. The desert species alone, all of which are
indigenous, number nearly 250. Almost all the ordinary productions of the
present day appear to have been known to and cultivated by the ancient
Among the principal Crops are:
Wheat(kumh), barley (shayeer), maize(doora shámee, i.e. Syrian), the ordinary
Holchus Sorghum in two or three varieties (doora beledee, doora seyfeh), millet
(dokhn), rice (rooz, grown only in the Delta, and probably not known to the
ancients), sugar-cane (kasab es-sukkar), beans (fool), lentils (ads, or addus),
vetches or chick-peas (hummus), lupins (termus), peas (bisilleh), a kind of
French bean (loobieh), haricot bean (labláb), onion (bussal), leek (korrát), garlic
(tóm), the Hibiscus esculentus (bámia), mallows (khobbeyzeh), lettuces (khuss),
cabbage (curumb), egg-plant (bedingán), cress (rishad), radishes (figl, a
peculiar kind), cucumbers of various kinds (abdalawee, aggoor), water-melons
(batéekh), carrots (gazar), turnips (lift), clover (berseem), the Trigonella fœnum
Græcum (helbeh), the Lathyrus sativus, a kind of flat pea (gilbán), lucerne
(berseem hedjázee), cotton (koton), hemp (teel), Indian hemp (hasheesh), flax
(keltán), saffron (kortum), sesame (simsim), indigo (neeleh), the Lausonia
spinosa et inermis (henna), madder (fooah), tobacco (dokkán), poppies
(aboonoom, “father of sleep”), castor oil plant (kkirwa), rape (selgám), mustard
(khardal), cummin (kammim), coriander (koosbera).
Besides the vegetables included in the above list, there are others grown in
small quantities in gardens specially for the use of European residents.
The rose (werd), violet (benefsig), jasmine (yasmeen), and oleander are the
principal flowers, though many other kinds are now to be found in gardens.
The lotus (beshneen) is found in the Delta during the inundation in ponds
which are dry at other times, but never in the Nile itself; it is a water-lily of
two varieties, white and blue-tinged. The papyrus is no longer a native of
Egypt, being now only found in the Anapus, near Syracuse; there are, however,
other Cyperi still growing in the Delta. A very good paper is now made from
a wild grass (hilfeh) that grows in sandy, uncultivated spots.
The principal Trees of Egypt are: —
The date-palm ( nakhl, dates, balah), orange (naig heloo, oranges,
), lemon (leymoon), fig (teen), sycamore fig (gimmayz, the fruit
small and insipid), prickly pear (teen shók), bananas (mooz), apricot (mishmish),
peach (khookh), pomegranate (roommán), mulberry (toot), vine (enéb),

olive (zaytóon), almond (loz), acacia or mimosa Nilotica (sont, a thorny, small
leaved tree, with a small yellow flower), tamarisk (tarfa), carob or locust-tree
(kharóob), zizyphus, or rhamnus spina Christi (nebek), dom-palm (dóm),
acacia, or mimosa lebbekh (lebbekh, a thick-foliaged tree, with broad pods).
Most of these trees were known to the ancients, but some are of comparatively
recent introduction; among them the lebbekh acacia, which has proved
a most valuable acquisition, on account of the ease with which it takes root
and the rapidity of its growth. Nearly all the avenues round Cairo are
planted with this tree, which can be grown from cuttings of large branches,
and even from portions of the trunk, and will form a thick shady covering in
four or five years.
During the reign of Ismail Pasha great attention was paid to the
cultivation of plants and trees. The gardens of the Esbekeeyeh, and
the palaces of Gezeereh and Geezeh, were formed, and many new plants and
trees introduced.


The wealth and prosperity of Egypt have always depended on the cultivation
of the soil. Agriculture has consequently been one of the principal cares
of its inhabitants from the earliest times. It was no doubt the necessity for
accurately knowing the time of the rise of the Nile and when to sow, reap,
and carry on the other operations of husbandry, that caused the ancient
Egyptians to take such trouble to arrive at a fixed year. Originally the year
in all probability consisted of 12 lunar months; it was then changed to 12
solar months, of 30 days each, and 5 days added at the end of the last month
to ensure the return of the seasons at fixed periods. As, however, it soon
became apparent that some deficiency still existed, a quarter of a day was
added to each year, or rather one day to every four years, as in our leap year.
When, however, these changes were introduced is not clear, though it is
doubtful if a fixed year came into use before 27 B.C., when the calendar, was
finally reformed by Augustus.
The year was divided by the ancient Egyptians into 3 seasons of 4 months
each:—the Inundation, corresponding with the months of July, August,
September, and October; the Winter, with the months of November, December,
January, and February; and the Summer, with the months of March, April,
May, and June. These divisions are still retained. The Inundation, or, as it
may be called, the Autumn Season (ed'Demeereh), begins with the rise of the
Nile; and though less varied in its agricultural operations than the other
seasons, owing to the land being to a great extent under water, is of considerable
importance, as during it the maize (doora shámee) and millet (doorabeledee) crops are sown and harvested.
The Winter Season (es Shitáwee) is the most important of all, especially in
Upper Egypt, the principal crops raised being wheat, barley, clover, lentils,
beans, peas, vetches, &c. As soon as everithe inundation retires, these crops
are sown, and the harvest takes place from four to seven months after,
according to the nature of the crop; wheat and barley being seven months in
the ground, and the other crops four.
The Summer Season (es Seyfee) produces little of any great value in Upper
Egypt, with the exception of millet, chiefly in Nubia, and cucumbers and
melons, Sugar-cane, however, is sown in March and April, though it is not
cut till October for eating, and not till January and February for making into
sugar. But in the Delta this is an important time, rice, cotton, and indigo
being sown in March, April, and May. These crops require rather longer to
come to maturity than the winter ones, and are not harvested, as a rule, till
October, November, and even December. Tobacco is also grown in the
summer. Speaking generally, three crops are gathered on good land in Lower
Egypt, and two crops in Upper Egypt.
The cultivable land in Upper Egypt is divided into the “rei,” lands, which
are naturally watered by the inundation, and require no irrigation to ripen
the crops, and the “sharákee” lands, which are too high for the inundation to
reach, and must consequently be artificially irrigated. On some of the
sharákee lands as many as three crops are sometimes raised in the course of
the year. The rei lands, as a rule, only yield one crop—that of the winter
season; but in some parts they also can be irrigated, and made to yield a
a second or even third corp.
Irrigation has always been an important factor in the system of Egyptian
agriculture. Canals, dykes, and artificial lakes were constructed and kept up
with the greatest care in the old days of power and prosperity; but under the
Byzantine emperors and during the supremacy of the Memlooks they were
neglected, and as a result the productiveness of the country suffered considerably.
A great change for the better was effected by Mohamed Ali; Ismail
Pasha carried on the good work, and considerably increased the resources of
the country, by the various irrigation works constructed during his reign, for
the purpose of storing the waters of the inundation, and gradually distributing
them over the land. Since the English occupation, further great improvements
have been made, and others are now in progress, a sum of 1,000,000l.
supplied out of the guranteed loan of 1885 having been appropriated for the
Public Works Department.
The direct process of irrigating the land from the river and the canals is
carried on in the same way as of old, with the one addition of steam pumps,
which have been introduced in some parts of Upper Egypt where the banks of
the river are very high and a large quantity of water is required, as, for
instance, for the sugar-cane plantations. The most common machine in use is
the shadoóf, which consists of two posts, about 5 ft. in height and 3 apart,
joined at the top by a horizontal bar, across which is slung a branch of a tree,
having at one end a weight composed of mud, and at the other, suspended to
it by two palm-sticks, a bucket made of basket-work or matting, or of a
hoop with woollen stuff or leather. This is worked by one man, who is able
with it to throw up water to a height of about 8 ft. In the southern parts of
Upper Egypt, when the river is very low, four or five shadoófs, one above
another, are required to raise the water to the level of the land. There are
some shadoófs with two levers, worked of course by two men. This method of
raising water is a very laborious one. The other machine in constant use is
the sakeeyeh, a large vertical wheel, sometimes as much as 30 ft. in diameter,
with earthen pots attached to its circumference by cords, another small vertical
wheel with cogs fixed to the same axis, and a large horizontal cogged wheel,
which, turned by one or two buffaloes, cows, or other animals, sets the other
two wheels in motion, and raises the water in the pots. This machine is very
much employed in the irrigation of gardens. In Nubia they are very numerous,
and are often placed two or three deep. Being seldom or never greased,
the noise made by them is most disagreeable, varying from a dull groan to a
shrill shriek, as the wood is new or old. In the Delta, where it is only necessary
to raise the water a few feet, a modification of the sakeeyeh is used, called
a tabóot, which is a very light, easily-moved wheel, with hollow fellies
instead of pots. The water-wheels in the Fayoom are often so contrived as to
admit of being turned by the weight of the water.
The water, when raised, is distributed by dividing the land into small
squares, separated from each other by ridges of earth a foot or even less
in height, and by furrows. The water then flows from the machine along
a gutter, whence it is admitted into one furrow after another; these, owing to
the softness and plasticity of the river mud, being easily opened or closed with
the foot.
The fertilising properties of the Nile mud, renewed every year, answer, as a
rule, all the purposes of manure; but the exhausting nature of some of the

crops, the cultivation of which has considerably increased, such as sugar-cane
and cotton, renders some artificial dressing necessary. The manures most
usually employed are pigeons' dung, these birds being kept in enormous numbers
for this purpose, and the nitrous soil to be obtained from the mounds that
cover the sites of ancient towns.
The Agricultural Implements of the Egyptians are of a very rude and simple
kind, and differ very little, if at all, from those which, as we know from the
Scriptures, have been in use from the earliest times. The plough (mihrát)
consists of a pole, a share, and a handle, all of wood, the share being generally
tipped with iron. It is drawn by one or two animals—buffalo, ox, camel, or
donkey, as the case may be, attached to the pole by a yoke. Being very light,
it does little more than scratch the surface of the soil. In some parts, especially
where the sugar-cane is cultivated, steam-ploughs are now used. The
functions of a harrow are discharged by a machine called khon fud, “hedgehog,”
a roller studded with iron spikes. All digging and weeding is done with a
wooden hoe (migrafeh). Sowing is done by the hand, the seed being placed in
a basket slung from the left shoulder of the sower, who scatters it broadcast
with his right hand; it is then sometimes pressed in with a roller, or trodden
in by oxen. Wheat is cut down close to the ground with a sickle, but barley
and doora are plucked up by the roots. The threshing-floor is a level area
near the harvested field, in the centre of which the sheaves are heaped; they
are then scattered over the surrounding space, and the threshing process is
performed by a machine called a noreg, a wooden frame with three cross-bars
or axletrees, to which are attached small iron wheels or thin circular plates,
four each to the foremost and hindmost axle, and three to the centre one. On
the framework is fixed a chair, in which sits the driver, whose weight gives
additional effect to the machine, which is drawn by two oxen or some other
animals, round and round the central heap, the sharp wheels not only bruising
out the corn, but at the same time breaking up the straw. The winnowing is
done, first by throwing the mixed grain and straw about in the wind, and then
passing the grain through a sieve.


Domestic Animals.—The principal quadrupeds are: The Camel (gemel, trotting
dromedary, hegeen); the Horse (hossán, pl. kheyl, mare, farás); the Donkey
(homár); the Mule (bughl, bughleh); the Buffalo (gamóos); the Ox ( tor , cow,
bakarah, calf, igl); the Sheep (kharoóf, nágeh', pl. ghunnum); the Goat
(mayzeh, azeh, kid, giddee); the Pig (khanzeer); the Dog (kelb); the Cat
(kut). And among birds the principal are: The Turkey (farkhah roomee); the
Goose (wiz); the Chicken (hen, farkhah, cock, deek); the Pigeon (hammám).
Of these it is curious to remark that neither the camel, the buffalo, the sheep,
nor the chicken are found among the old sculptures; the horse was probably
introduced by the Shepherd Kings. The camel and the ass are the most
characteristic animals of Egypt, and they may certainly be said to bear the
burden and heat of the day in the way of work. The heavy baggage camel
is the one most commonly seen. The ass is of many kinds, from the magnificent
animal of 14 hands, worth from 100l. to 200l. down to the wretched
little drudge whose miserable carcase seems only fit for the vultures and the
jackals. Horses are comparatively not numerous, and the possession of them
is confined principally to rich people and Europeans. The old native Egyptian
breed is nearly extinct, but endeavours have been made to renew the stock. The
buffalo is a most useful animal, and has to a great extent taken the place of
the ox since the last two or three outbreaks of murrian. The sheep are very
rolific, Inmbing as a rule twice in the year; the flesh is good. The wool
varies according to the kind; the fat-tailed species are the most esteemed. Pigs

are kept only by Europeans. The native, or pariah, dog is generally considered
unclean by the natives, and a wretched miserable beast he is to look
at, but he performs, with the hawks, the useful duty of a scavenger; and
when taken care of as a puppy, grows up a fine animal, but is very difficult to
domesticate. There is a breed of big, rough-haired black dogs to be found at
Erment, and one or two villages near Thebes, that are celebrated for their
fierceness and courage, and make good watch dogs. The turkeys of Upper
Egypt are famed for their large size; and the chickens are equally remarkable
for their smallness.
The breeding and rearing of domestic animals is not carried on at the
present day to the extent that it appears to have been by the ancient
Egyptians. To judge from the sculptured and written records, they devoted
almost as much attention to pastoral as to agricultural pursuits; and though
the herdsmen and shepherds appear to have been held in disrepute, partly
owing perhaps to a remembrance of what the country had suffered during the
domination of the Hyksos, a shepherd race, no such feeling extended to those
who owned and bred flocks and herds. Nor did the old Egyptians confine
themselves to the rearing of the animals already mentioned, but devoted their
attention as well to the training and herding of the gazelle, the oryx, the
ibex, and others of the antelope tribe, and also to the geese and wild fowl of
the Nile.
Wild Animals. — There are but few wild animals in Egypt. Among the
principal may be named:—
The Wild Boar (haloóf), to be met with in the Delta, and on the shores of
the Birket el-Korn in the Fayoom. The Hyæna (dhabá), found on moonlight
nights in the outskirts of the desert, and among extensive ruins, such as
Karnak. The Gazelle (ghazála), often to be met with in parts where the
desert approaches the Nile; but great patience and watching are required to
get within shot. The Antelope (bakkar el wahsh) is said to exist in the region
of the Natron Lakes and the Oases. The Moufflon or Maned Sheep (kebsh elgebel)
is also said to be found in the same parts. The Ibex or “Wild Goat”
(beden) frequents the mountains between the Nile and the Red Sea, and also
those of the Sinaitic Peninsula, but is very shy and difficult of approach.
The Fox (aboo hosein) may often be put out of a patch of standing corn. The
Jackal (táleb) haunts quarries, cliffs, and rubbish heaps. The Wolf (deeb) is
rare. A species of Lynx or Wild Cat (tifal) is sometimes found in marshy
places in the Delta. The curious little Fennec Fox (fenek) lives in burrows in
the desert sand. The Ichneumon (nims) is found in gardens, and often tame.
The Desert Hare (arneb) is found in great numbers in some places in the
Fayoom, and now and then in the desert up the Nile. The Coney (webur
), the Dormouse (fár), and the Jerboa occur in the Sinaitic Desert. Bats
(watwat) are very common, and are found in large numbers among the ruins.
All the above belong to Egypt Proper. Of course the number might be
very largely increased if those to be found in the regious bordering on the
White and Blue Nile, the Soodán, &c, were included.
Of amphibious animals, the Crocodile (timsáh) is the only monster that the
ordinary Nile traveller will see. Careful inspection may discover a specimen
under the rocks of Gebel Aboo Faydah, and one may sometimes be found on
the large sandbank near the landing-place for Keneh; but it is very seldom
now that they are seen north of the First Cataract. In Nubia they are more
frequently met with, and on the sandbanks near Derr and Ibreem as many as
10 or 15 are sometimes basking in the sun together. It is by no means easy
to get a shot at them, as they are very shy, and slip into the water on the
slightest alarm. Of course any one devoting two or three days to waiting in
a hole in the sand, near where they are in the habit of coming up, will be

pretty certain to get a shot at one, but he must hit the eye, or the side of the
neck, to have much chance of killing. They are exceedingly tenacious of
life, and even when mortally wounded generally manage to slip into the
water. There is a kind of Lizard (wárran) sometimes found close to the
river-side: the traveller will probably have stuffed ones offered him as
“young crocodiles.”
Birds.—Besides being the home of a large number of species, the Nile
valley is one of the greatest bird-thoroughfares in the world, vast numbers
passing down it to colder climates in spring and returning in the autumn.
Some 350 species of birds are already known in Egypt and Nubia.
Land Birds.—Amongst these, birds of prey hold a prominent place. There
are many kinds of Eagles, of which the Spotted Eagle (Aquila nævia) and
the Osprey (Pandion Haliaëtus) are amongst those most frequently seen on
the Nile S. of Cairo; whilst the Golden (A. fulva) and the Imperial (A.
) occur in the Delta. The commonest Vulture is the black and
white Egyptian species (Neophron percnopterus, Arab. rákham), but its larger
congeners, the Griffon (Gyps fulvus) and the Black Vulture (Vultur monachus),
are frequently met with. Of the Kites, which are very numerous, there ae
at least two kinds—the Parasitic (Milvus Ægyptius, Arab. hedayeh), easily
distinguished by its yellow beak, and the Black Kite (M. migrans). Falcous
and Hawks are exceedingly plentiful and of many kinds. Amongst them may
be mentioned the Lanner (Falco lannarius), Peregrine (F. peregrinus), Merlin
(F. Æsalon), and Kestrel (F. tinnunculus): this last is the commonest hawk
in Egypt. The Hobby (F. surbuteo) is sometimes met with at the cliffs of
Aboo Faydah and elsewhere. The large falcon (Arab. saker) which the Arabs
train to hunt the Gazelle, is somewhat rare. The Long-legged Buzzard
(Buteo ferox) is plentifully distributed throughout Egypt and Nubia. Of
Owls there are several species, of which the small Carine meridionalis and
the Barn Owl (Aluco flammea) are the most abundant, being often seen in the
ruined temples as well as amongst rocks or thick-foliaged trees. The Egyptian
Eagle Owl (Bubo ascalaphus, Arab. boom) and the Long-eared Owl (Asio
) are not so frequently met with.
Many kinds of Plover are found in Egypt: of these the most plentiful is
the Spurwing (Hoplopterus spinosus, Arab. zikzak), supposed to be the
'trochilus' mentioned by Herodotus, as devouring the parasites which cover
the inside of the crocodile's mouth (Herod. B. ii. c. 68). The Blackheaded
Plover (Pluvianus Ægyptius) is a bird of beautiful plumage censtantly
to be seen on the banks of the river, especially in Upper Egypt. The Golden
Plover (Charadrius pluvialis) and the White-tailed Plover (Chettusia Villotæi)
are met with chiefly in the Delta. The Hoopoe (Arab. hudhud), with its fine
crest and strongly-marked plumage, is to be seen in every village—quite fearless
of man. Amongst Kingfishers the most abundant is the black and white
species (Ceryle rudis), which may be constantly seen hovering over the water
or darting down to seize its prey. The common Kingfisher (Alcedo ispida)
and the smaller variety (A. Bengalensis) are to be met with in the Delta, and
occasionally higher up the Nile.
In the early spring many species of brightly-plumaged birds move northwards
into Nubia and Egypt. Amongst these may be mentioned the Sunbird
(Nectarina metallica), Roller (Coracias garrula), Golden Oriole (Oriolus
), and the blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops Ægyptius). A smaller
species of Bee-eater (Merops viridis) remains in Egypt throughout the year,
and is plentiful, but during the winter is seldom found N. of Golosaneh.
The principal land-birds for the Sportsman are Sand Grouse, Pigeons, Quail,
and Snipe. Sand-grouse (Pterocles exustus or guttatus, Arab. gattah) are
often to be found in large numbers near the edge of the desert, and in barren
sandy tracts covered with hilfeh grass: they may sometimes be seen soon after

sunrise and just before sunset coming in flocks to the river to drink. Hey's
Partridge (Arab. hágel) and the Red-legged Partridge are found in the desert
E. of the Nile and in the Sinaitic Peninsula. Pigeons (hammám) should
never be shot at in a village, and care should always be taken not to
shoot tame ones anywhere; they may easily be distinguished from the quasiwild
ones which are kept in the pigeon-towers for the sake of the manure they
afford, and which the natives offer no objection to the shooting of in moderation
away from the village. Quails (Coturnix communis, Arab. summán) are very
abundant; they reach Egypt on their way north in the winter, and the traveller
will probably first meet with them in any numbers near Kom Ombo in January
or February; they then go gradually down the river, and reach the neighbourhood
of Cairo about the middle of March. They afford most capital sport, and
are first-rate eating, as soon as they have settled down a bit and bad time to
get fat on the ripe corn. Alternate patches of corn and green stuff, such as
berseem, clover, húmmus, a kind of vetch, meláneh, chick-pea, and ads, lentils,
are their favourite resort. Snipe are rarely met with above Cairo, but there are
places in the Delta where they are very numerous in the winter. Atfeh is an
especially good place, and there are some capital marshes near Benha; but the
traveller will have some difficulty in finding out the best snipe preserves unless
he happens to know some resident in the country well up in these matters.
The painted snipe is often found in the Delta.
Aquatic Birds.—These are very numerous and varied in kind. Three
species of Pelican are known. The large Dalmatian Pelican (P. crispus), which
measures six feet from the tip of the beak to the tail, is perhaps the kind
most frequently met with. These may be seen, like ships riding at anchor,
amongst the smaller birds. They are plentiful near Golosaneh, in the Fayoom,
and especially in the brackish water lakes of Egypt. Storks, Cranes, Herons,
Spoonbills, and other Waders are to be seen in great numbers during the
winter months. The Sacred Ibis (I. Æthiopica) is common in the Soodán
and is said to breed at Wady Halfah, but is never found in Egypt. The white
bird by some miscalled the Ibis, and by others the Paddy bird, so commonly
seen in the fields of Lower Egypt and the constant friend and companion of
the buffalo, is the Buff-backed Heron (Ardeolata russata). The Glossy Ibis
(I. falcinellus) is occasionally found. The Flamingo (Phœnicopterus antiquorum,
Arab. gemel el-bahr or basharoos) is abundant on the lakes of Lower
Egypt, but is seldom seen on the Nile itself. The curious Scissor-beak
(Rhynchops flavirostris) is often seen in the summer. Vast numbers of geese
are to be seen in winter, the most common being the White-fronted Goose
(Anser albifrons)., “When on the wing, they fly in a wedge-shaped flock,
and frequently utter a loud harsh cry, which may be heard at a considerable
distance. They are generally on the move just before sunrise and sunset; and
as they are very regular, taking the same line and feeding at the same spot
each day, they may most readily be obtained by lying in wait for them, If
once fired at the flock generally leaves the neighbourhood altogether. “—Captain
The handsome Egyptian Goose (Chenalopex Ægyptiacus), though evenly
distributed throughout Egypt and Nubia, is by no means so common as the
species last mentioned. It is a very wary bird and hard to approach. It
seems to have been domesticated from the earliest times; the oldest picture
in the world, found in a tomb of the IIIrd Dynasty, representing some of these
geese. Of Wild Duck and Teal there are some eight or ten varieties, some
very common and others, such as the Ruddy Sheldrake, the Pintail, the
Gargancy, &c., more rarely found. There is very good duck shooting on Lake
Menzalch, but the birds are sometimes difficult to approach.
During the months of November, December, January, and February,
immense numbers of birds are to be seen on the sandbanks of the river, and
in some small lakes and canals inland. But, except under certain favourable
circumstances, it is very difficult to get within shot of them. To do so
with any chance of success requires a small boat, in which to sail up to er
float down upon them. The larger birds offer a very good mark for a light
rifle. After February the river sandbanks become comparatively deserted,
but rare birds are often met with in the spring and summer. The best districts
both for number and variety of birds are the Fayoom, the Delta
(especially near Damietta), and that part of the Nile which lies between
Minieh and Esneh.
Reptiles.—The Crocodile, of which there are several varieties, and the Water
Lizard, have been already spoken of. There are several other kinds of Lizards.
The Chameleon (herbayeh) is very common in Nubia. The Nile Turtle
(Trionyx Niloticus) is to be found among the rocks in the First Cataract.
Frogs are numerous. Among the Snakes (tábán) are the Horned Viper
(Cerastes, Arab. nasher), the Asp of antiquity, the Hooded Snake, and the
Echis, all of which are venomous, besides other kinds which are harmless.
They are generally found in ruins and near the edge of the desert.
Insects.—The famous Scarabæus (jorán) claims the first mention, though
which of the dozen or more varieties of beetles to be found in Egypt is the
representative of the old Ateuchus sacer or Ægyptiorum must be considered
doubtful. Grasshoppers are common, and the Locust (jerád) sometimes commits
serious ravages. Butterflies are rare, but Moths and Ephemeridæ are
numerous. Scorpions are not often found, but Spiders, some of large size and
poisonous, are common. Every visitor to Egypt will have cause to lament the
numbers and pertinacity of the Fly, the Mosquito, and the Flea.
Fish.—The fish of the Nile are very numerous, but there is not one worth
eating: they are all soft and woolly, and have a strong flavour of mud. Among
the most numerous and the most commonly used for food are the Bayád, a
large fish, sometimes reaching 31/2 feet in length; the Shilbeh, with a sharp
spinous fin; the Shál, of which there are several varieties, called also Kurkar,
from a sort of grunting sound which it is supposed to emit, with a very long
dorsal fin; and the Garmoot, also a very long, large fish. All these are
Siluridæ, fish without scales. Among the scaly fish are several members of
the Perch and Carp tribe. One of the most curious fish is the Polypterus
(bisheer), a long fish covered with thick bony scales, and having no less than
16 to 18 long dorsal fins; it is not common, and is generally only caught when
the Nile is low. Other curious fish are the Oxyrhinchus (gamoor), with its
long snout ending in a very small mouth; and the Tetrodon, or Ball Fish
(fakáka), found both in the Nile and the Red Sea, and so often offered for sale
Hints on Shooting.—Some information on this point has been already given
in speaking of the wild animals and birds. Guns should be brought from
England; but they may be purchased or hired at Alexandria and Cairo.
There is sometimes a difficulty in getting them through the custom-house.
It is as well too to bring cartridges (unloaded) from England, though they
too, both pin and central-fire, can be bought at Alexandria and Cairo. If it
is intended to go in for snipe and quail shooting, a large number of cartridges
will be required. A few wire-cartridges with No. 1 shot will be found very
effective for the larger birds, as well as for duck at long ranges. Shot can be
bought at Alexandria, Cairo, Port Said, Suez, &c., and at towns like Asyoot
and Keneh up the river. Powder is a great source of difficulty, as the Egyptian
Government forbid its importation and sale: consequently, if the traveller
overcomes the difficulty of getting it conveyed to Egypt, he will find it seized
at the custom-house, and be obliged to apply to the consular autho ities, not

always successfully, to get it out for him; and if he trusts to purchasing it
at Alexandria or Cairo, he will find it scarce, bad, and dear, probably from
seven to ten shillings the pound. The best plan is to send out a moderate
quantity, and apply in time to the Consulate at Alexandria to get it passed.
A heavy big game-rifle is useless during the ordinary voyage in Egypt. A
common rifle with an explosive bullet is quite enough for a crocodile.
No really good wild-fowl shooting can be had without a small boat. The
native sandal, or small boat attached to the dababeeyeh, is of no use whatever;
it draws a great deal too much water, is clumsy to manage, and requires two
men to row it. A light English pair-oar gig or a dingy is the best thing:
either of these will float in the shallows, and at the same time weather the
extremely rough water which is often experienced on the Nile when the wind
is high and the current strong. It should be furnished with a lug-sail, and
spare oars and sculls should be taken, as they cannot be replaced in Egypt.
A punt and duck-gun is a method of wholesale slaughter most strongly to be
The traveller in Egypt is accustomed to go where he likes in pursuit of
game: ripe standing crops offer no obstacle to him, and very often the proprietor
will sometimes make no objection; but this license should not be
abused, and a request to keep off any ground should instantly be complied
with. There have been several instances lately in which Europeans have got
into difficulties with the natives, owing to not knowing the language. A
licence from the police to carry fire-arms is legally necessary, and is sometimes
asked for.
‘The Birds of Egypt,' by Captain Shelley, is a valuable companion to the
naturalist and the sportsman. Some useful information on this subject will
also be found in Smith's’ Attractions of the Nile.
Travellers who intend to collect skins should provide themselves with the
few instruments necessary, and with arsenical soap and alum, before leaving
England. Tow or cotton wool, plenty of which should be taken, can be
procured at Alexandria or Cairo. No. 12 shot will be wanted for small birds.
In sending home skins an air-tight case should be used, each skin being
wrapped separately in paper. Very small birds may be preserved whole in
cotton soaked with carbolic acid.


The total Population of Egypt Proper, according to the Census of 1882, is
6,809,747, of whom 90,888 were foreigners. It was larger in ancient times.
Herodotus states that there were 20,000 populous cities in the time of Amasis;
Diodorus reckons the population at 7 millions; and Josephus places it at 71/2
millions in the reign of Vespasian. It had, however, sunk in the time of the
Memlooks to three millions. Since the accession of Mohamed Ali it has
steadily increased, and is no doubt still rising, notwithstanding the commonly
expressed opinion to the contrary.
The various elements of the motley population of Egypt may be divided
into Egyptians, who may again be subdivided into the country population
(Fellaheen), the inhabitants of the towns (Oulád el-Arab), and the wandering
tribes (Bedaween); Nubians; Abyssinians and Negroes; Turks; Levantines;
Armenians; Jews; and Europeans.
The Fellaheen are the most numerous, and the most important element,
amounting to more than three-fourths of the whole population. The Felláh (fem. Felláhah) is the representative of the conquering Arabs who came with
Amer; but these have so mingled and intermarried with the original
inhabitants, and with Abyssinians, Nubians, and others, that they present
but very slight resemblance to the original stock. Indeed in many parts of
Egypt the peasantry exhibit more likeness to the old Egyptians, as depicted

on the monuments, than to the true descendants of their Arab ancestors, the
Bedaween. They are, as a rule, a handsome well-formed race, with fine
oval faces, bright deep-set black eyes, straight thick noses, large well-formed
mouths, full lips, beautiful teeth, broad shoulders, and good-shaped limbs. It
is astonishing that such pot-shaped, perfectly proportioned men and women
should grow out of such pot-bellied, shrunken-limbed things as the children
are. The colour of the skin varies considerably,—light and tawny in the
north of Egypt, and gradually getting darker in the south. The most beautiful
tint is the deep bronze one of Upper Egypt. The fellaheen are patient,
industrious labourers, docile and intelligent when young, but crushed as they
grow old beneath the weight of unceasing toil and oppressive taxation. Their
dwellings are made of mud-bricks sometimes mixed with straw, the thatch
palm-branches or doora straw and rags. Most of them have two rooms, but
very few are two stories high. Near the roof are apertures for the admission of
light and air. The furniture consists of a few mats and some earthen vessels.
Bread made of millet or maize forms the staple of their food, together with
the common vegetables of the country, milk, cheese, eggs, and dates; meat is
seldom tasted. The ordinary meal is bread dipped in a mixture called dukkah,
composed of lentils seasoned with salt, pepper, onions, and a variety of herbs.
The two luxuries in which the fellah chiefly delights are tobacco and coffee.
The dress of the fellah needs little description, consisting at the most of a
pair of drawers, a long full shirt or gown of blue cotton or linen (eeree), or of
brown woollen stuff (zaáboot), and a white or brown felt cap (libdeh), with a
tarboosh over it, and a turban of white, red, or yellow cotton or muslin; shoes
when woru are pointed red or broad yellow morocco; in winter a brown and
white striped cloak is worn in addition. Some of the very poor classes however have nothing but the cotton shirt and felt cap; and when at work find
the cap alone sufficient. The fellaheen women when quite young are generally
models of beauty in form and limbs, and often pleasing in countenance;
the eyes especially being very beautiful. They lose their good looks, both of
shape and feature, however, at a very early age. Their dress is as simple as
the men's, consisting of a pair of white cotton or linen drawers (shintiyán); a
blue linen or cotton shirt like the men's, reaching to the feet; a face veil (burko)
of thick black crape; and a long dark blue muslin or linen veil (turbah), covering
the head and hanging down behind. In Upper Egypt most of the women
wear nothing but a large piece of dark brown woollen stuff (hulaleeyeh)
wrapped round the body, and fastened over the shoulders with a piece of the
same for a turbah. Nearly all wear trumpery brass ornaments, blacken the
edge of their eyelids with kohl, stain their finger and toe nails and the palms
of their hands with henneh, and tattoo different parts of their person.
The Inhabitants of the Towns (Oolád or Ibn el-Arab, as they are called)
differ in many respects from the peasantry, though the distinction is chiefly
noticeable as regards the Cairenes, who consider themselves, and with some
justice, the superiors, mentally and physically, of the Fellaheen. No doubt
they are a more mixed race, showing signs both of European and African
descent, the result of the constant introduction of white and black slaves.
The dress of the lower orders of townspeople, both men and women, is
much the same as that of the Fellaheen. That of the men of the middle and
higher classes consists of a pair of full drawers (libás); a shirt of linen, cotton,
silk, or muslin (kamees); a short sleeveless vest of cloth or striped silk and
cotton (sudeyreh); a long vest of striped silk and cotton (kuftán), reaching
to the ankles, and with long sleeves extending beyond the fingers, but opening
at the wrist; a girdle of silk or muslin (hezám) wound round the waist; and
over all a long cloth coat (gibbeh), or a black woollen cloak (abbayeh). On
the head is worn a small, close-fitting cotton cap (takeeyeh), and over this a
red cloth cap (tarboosh), with a tassel of blue or black silk, round which is

wound a piece of white or figured muslin, or a Cashmere shawl, thus forming
the turban. Red or yellow shoes, and sometimes socks, complete the attire.
The above is the proper native dress, but a great many of the middle and
upper classes, especially in the towns, now wear a semi-European dress; and
the Turkish tarboosh, without a turban, is worn instead of the Egyptian
tarboosh. The dress of the women consists of the shintiyán; the kamees; a
long vest (yelek) something like the kuftán, or a short one (antéree); a shawl
girdle; and a gibbeh of cloth, velvet, or silk, something like the man's, or a
jacket (saltah). The headdress is formed of a takeeyeh and tarboosh, with
muslin or crape wound round it, forming what is called a rabtah, and over
this hangs a long piece of muslin embroidered at the ends (turbah). Sewn on
the top of the turban is a round convex ornament of plain gold, or gold and
diamonds (kurs); and the hair hangs down behind in numerous braids, tied
with black silk, and with little ornaments of gold attached. Shoes of yellow
or red morocco, and ornaments of various kinds, complete the indoor dress of
women of the upper and middle classes. On going out they wear in addition
a large loose silk gown (tôb); a face-veil of muslin (burko), concealing the
whole of the face except the eyes, and reaching nearly to the feet; and over
all, from the head to the feet, a black or white silk cloak (habarah).
The Bedaween, sing. Bedawee, are the wandering Arabs living in the
desert on either side of the Nile, and in the Sinaitic Peninsula. The total
number living upon Egyptian territory is about 225,000, of whom 125,000
live in villages, or hamlets, and the remaining 100,000 live a wandering life.
The Bedaween are divided into seventy-five tribes, of which the principal are
as follows—
Tribe. Number. Province.
Owlad Ali 19,500 Beheyreh.
Guemeat 6,000 do.
Nagameh 6,000 Gharbeeyeh. Geezeh.
Hanadl 10,500 Sharkeeyeh.
Temeilah 5,000 do.
Heweitah 5,000 Kalloobeeyeh.
Harabl 9,500 Fayoom.
Samalous 5,000 do.
Fargan 5,000 Fayoom.
Fawaieh 13,000 Fayoom, Benisooef.
Do'afa 7.000 Benisooef.
Ma'azeh 5,000 Benisooef, Minieh.
Gawazi 10,000 Minieh.
Elekah 8,000 Keneh, Esneh.
Ababdeh 19,500 do. do.
Of the remaining sixty tribes, twenty-five number between 1000 and 5000,
and the remainder number less than 1000 persons each. The Bedaween in
Lower Egypt speak Arabic, as do also some of the tribes in Upper Egypt; but
the Ababdeh, who occupy the country between the Nile and the Red Sea from
Keneh southward, speak a different language, which is known as Bedy or To
Bedawi. This language, which has some resemblance to the Ancient Egyptian
is spoken also by the Bishareen, whose territory lies south of the
Ababdeh, and by the Hadendoa tribes in the vicinity of Suakin. Many of
the Ababdeh, who live near the Nile, also speak Arabic. The Ababdeh are
supposed by some authorities to be the descendants of the Blemmyes, who
formerly occupied part of Nubia. There is a resemblance between them and
the Bishareen, and a certain amount of intermarriage takes place. Until the
Soudan was abandoned, a sub-tribe of the Ababdeh was held responsible for
the safety of the road from Korosko to Berber, and the Sheikh of this tribe,
Hussein Pasha Khalifa, was the Governor of Berber when it fell into the
hands of the Mahdi.
There is a considerable difference between the nomad Bedaween and those
who live in villages. The latter have lost much of the wild character of the
desert Arab and become more civilised.
The Copts (Kubtee, Gubtee, or Ubtee, pl. Kubt) are considered to be tho
descendants of the ancient Egyptians; but they are by no means an unmixed
race. Their Arabic name may be derived from Coptos in Upper Egypt, now
Kubt or Kuft, the headquarters of the Christians till the Mohammedan conquest;

but it has probably some analogy with the Greek A . Much stress
has been laid upon their resemblance to the sculptured portraits of the ancient
Egyptians, but it is difficult to trace the likeness much more in them than in
their Muslim fellow-countrymen, except perhaps in the eyes, which are exceptionally
large and almond-shaped, and slope slightly upwards from the nose.
The Copts, too, are rather under the middle size, as were, to judge from the
mummies, the ancient Egyptians. Their dress is the same as the Muslims,
except that they often wear a black or blue turban, which the latter never do.
It should be remembered, however, that there are Muslim Copts as well as
Christian Copts, though the name is generally applied exclusively to the
native Christians of Egypt. The number of Copts has been variously estimated
from 150,000 to 500,000. In Upper Egypt there are whole villages
composed of them, and they are numerous at Cairo and in the Fayoom; there
are but few in the Delta. They are in general better educated than the rest of
their countrymen, and are extensively employed in all the public offices as
clerks, accountants, &c.
The tenets of the Coptic Church are those of the sect called Jacobites,
Eutychians, Monophysites, and Monothelites, pronounced heretical by the
Council of Chalcedon in the year 451 A.D. Their secession from the orthodox
Oriental Church was the occasion of bitter enmity between them and the
Greeks, and they gladly welcomed the Arabs, and helped to drive out their
hated fellow-Christians. The orders in the Coptic Church are the Patriarch
(Batrak), always chosen from among the monks of the convent of St. Antony
in the eastern desert, Metropolitan of the Abyssinians (Mitrán), Bishop
(Uskuf), Arch Priest (Kummoos), Priest (Kasees), Deacon (Shemmás), and
Monk (Ráhib). The convents and churches are very numerous, especially at
Cairo and Old Cairo (see pp 186, 227). The liturgy of the Coptic Church is
based upon those of St. Gregory of Nazianzen, St. Basil, and that called of
St. Mark. The Holy Communion is administered in both kinds and to children.
The priests always celebrate barefooted, a practice doubtless of great antiquity,
and recalling God's command to Moses at the Burning Bush. The services
are very long. An account of their principal festivals is given under Sect. III.
description of Cairo.
The language of the Copts of the present day is that of the rest of the
country, the Egyptian dialect of Arabic. Coptic is only used in some of
the Church prayers, and then they are repeated in Arabic for the benefit
of the hearers; indeed, the priests who use them have merely learnt them by
heart, and know hardly anything of the language. The Coptic language
began to fall into disuse after the Mohammedan conquest, and by the 15th or
16th century was quite replaced by the Arabic. It is undoubtedly one of the
oldest used by mankind, and in its original purity was that of the old
Egyptians. It underwent a great change after the conquest of Alexander
and the spread of the Greek language, and especially after the introduction
of Christianity into Egypt. It then began to be written from left to right,
contrary to the ancient and Oriental manner, and in a character mostly
adapted from the Greek, from which the Copts also borrowed many words
and expressions. But notwithstanding the modification it has undergone, it
is still the language written on the monumental walls of old Egypt, and to it
the world is indebted for the key by which the hieroglyphics have been
interpreted. Coptic MSS. are rarely written on vellum, but on charta bombycina,
or cotton paper. A few exist on papyrus.
The Nubians may be considered as the inhabitants of the country between
the First Cataract and Khartoom; Nubia being the title under which all that
district is known to us, just as the Greeks called it Ethiopia. By the Arabs
the Nubians are called Barábra, sing. Berberee, a name applied much in the
same sense as “Barbaroi” by the Greeks.
Owing to the extreme poverty of the greater part of their own country, great

numbers of Nubians come to Egypt, where they are employed in the towns as
doorkeepers (bowáb), grooms (seiyis), coachmen (arabugee), house-servants
(khaddám) and cooks (tabákh), each of these classes being constituted as a
guild with its own sheykh, who is responsible for the character of the members.
They are preferred to Egyptian servants as being more honest and truthful,
and generally cleaner, but in mental capacity they are inferior. They are
devotedly attached to their country and their countrymen. Brave and independent
in character, they differ also in these respects from the Egyptians;
and in some parts of Nubia their constant feuds keep up a warlike spirit, in
which their habit of going about armed enables them frequently to indulge.
Those who know how to read and write are in a far greater proportion than
in Egypt among the same class; for, with the exception of their chiefs, they
have no wealthy or upper orders. Like the blacks, they are fond of intoxicating
liquors; and they extract a brandy and a sort of wine from the datefruit,
as well as boóza, a fermented drink made from barley, bread, and
many other things, which are found to furnish this imperfect kind of beer.
They also are fond of smoking hashish.
Many of the Nubians, as soon as ever they have put by a little money, return
to their own country and settle down there, resuming their primitive way of
life and dress. As a rule they never marry Egyptian wives. In physiognomy
and general appearance they differ equally from the Egyptian and the
negro. In his own country the Nubian seldom shaves or wears anything
upon his head, but allows his hair to grow long and shaggy, soaking it
well in castor-oil; and though less attentive to his toilette than the longhaired
Ababdeh, a well-greased Nubian does not fail to rejoice in his shining
shoulders. Nor are the means for keeping up the constant unction often
wanting, as the castor-oil plant is much cultivated in Nubia; and though the
oil, as extracted by the natives, can hardly be called “fine-drawn,” it answers
the. Nubians' purpose well enough, the women especially soaking their
wonderfully plaited tresses in it constantly. Prior's epigrammatic lines on
the ladies of another African race might well be applied to the Nubian dames
and damsels—
“Before you see, you smell your toast,
And sweetest she, who stinks the most.”
The Turks were formerly a more numerous and important section of the
population than they are now. Their numbers in all probability do not at the
present time exceed 100,000, nor do they fill, as was at one time the case, all
the more important civil and military posts. They are chiefly to be found in
the towns employed as officials, soldiers, merchants, and shopkeepers. Many
of them are emancipated Circassian slaves, while others are the descendants of
Turks born in Egypt, and of very mixed origin. They are as a rule handsome
and dignified in appearance, and courteous in their manner to strangers, though
haughty and overbearing to the natives.
The Abyssinians and Negroes, of whom there are a considerable number in
Egypt, are mostly slaves. The latter come chiefly from the Soodán and
Darfoor. The females of the former race are much prized for their beautiful
figures, agreeable features, and amiability of character. Negresses are principally
employed as domestic servants. Though the slave-trade is officially
forbidden in Egypt, and slaves who desire it can obtain their freedom, it
certainly cannot yet be said that slavery is done away with, nor indeed are
slaves as a rule anxious to obtain their release, as they are generally very
well treated and sure of support in sickness and old age.
The Levantines may be described as Arabic-speaking Christians of European
and Syrian origin; there are few of them who, in addition to their mother
tongue, are not acquainted with several other languages. They are chiefly

engaged in commerce, many of them being very wealthy. Most of the
subordinate employés at the Coursulates are Levantines, their linguistic acquirements
rendering them peculiarly fitted for such posts. The term Levantine
is sometimes applied to persons of European origin born in the East.
The Armenians form a small but important community. They are chiefly
engaged in commerce and trades, especially as goldsmiths and jewellers; but
many of them hold important posts in the government offices. One of Egypt's
most distinguished public men, Nubar Pasha, is an Armenian.
The Jews (Yahood, sing. Yahoodee) are often remarkable in Egypt for their
fair hair, blue eyes, and white skin, just as in Europe they are generally to be
distinguished by opposite characteristics. The street money-changers (serdf)
in the towns are Jews, and there are many wealthy merchants and shopkeepers, though the Jews' quarter is a poor, miserable-looking one, and they
themselves are said to be dirty in person and unclean in their habits. They
are, however, subjected to no persecution, nor do they labour under any civil
The Europeans are an important and ever-increasing section of the population,
especially in Cairo and Alexandria and the towns of the Delta. The
total number may probably be set down at about 90,000, of which one-half are
Greeks and one-quarter Italians, the remainder being made up of French,
English (including Maltese), Germans, Swiss, and various, in the order
named. It is essentially a floating population, though among the Greeks
especially there are many permanent settlers, particularly at Alexandria,
where the wealthiest members of the mercantile community are Greeks.
Nearly all the small general shops at which European articles can be purchased,
both in the Delta and up the country, are kept by Greeks, Maltese, or
Italians. These three nationalities, the first two especially, contribute very
largely to the criminal classes in Egypt; indeed the great majority of crimes
with violence are attributed, and with justice, to them. Many of the most
respectable tradesmen in Alexandria and Cairo are French, and there are a
certain number of Frenchmen employed under the Government. The English
proper are not very numerous, but there are some good English mercantile
houses at Alexandria, while several Englishmen hold high official posts, and
others are employed as engineers. There are 1662 Europeans in Egyptian
Government employ, of whom 427 are English, 319 French, 511 Italians, and
153 Austrians. The remainder are of other nationalities.
There is very little religious fanaticism in Egypt, and natives and Europeans,
the latter generally included by the former under the general term
“Frangi,” live very peaceably together. European travellers need be under
no apprehension of meeting with any rudeness; on the contrary, they will
find themselves treated as a rule with politeness and good nature.
The infant mortality among all classes of the population in Egypt is very
great; but once arrived at puberty, the natives, both men and women, are
fairly long-lived. This, however, is not the case with any of the foreign
elements of the population; either European or African, though the effect of
the climate does not show itself on the former till perhaps the second or third
generation, whereas the African transplanted from his native south is seldom


Egypt is nominally a Viceroyalty, under the suzerainty of the Porte. Its
relations with Turkey were regulated by the treaties of 1840 and 1841, in which
latter year the government of Egypt was declared by a special firman to be
hereditary in the family of Mohammed Ali. This concession was further
extended in 1866, when by another firman the succession was allowed to pass

from father to son, instead of, as is the usual Mohammedan custom, to the
eldest member of the family. In 1867 another firman was issued, conferring
on the ruler of Egypt the title of Khedive, or more properly Khidewi, a
Persian title, of which it is difficult to determine the exact signification and
value; but at any rate it marked an increase of rank and independence. In
1879 the Sultan removed Ismail from the viceroyalty, and replaced him by his
eldest son Mahomed Tewfik, to whom he sent a firman dated August 1879,
confirming the privileges granted to previous viceroys. The annual tribute
to Turkey was fixed at 678,400l. Of this only 13,570l. is paid to Turkey,
the remainder being sent to England direct for the payment of the Turkish
Since the occupation of Egypt by England, the power of the Khedive has
been greatly curtailed, and although theoretically the English Governmemt
does not interfere in the internal Government of the country, yet in reality
every question of importance is referred to London through the English
Consul General.
The Khedive is assisted in the governmemt of the country by a Council of
Ministers appointed by himself. The Council consists of the Ministers of
Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, War, Finance, Public Works, and Public
Instruction. At the present time Nubar Pasha, who is the President of the
Council, is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice; one
Minister also holds the Portfolios of War and of the Interior. There is also
an “Assembly of Notables,” composed of village sheykhs elected by the communes,
which meets for a short time once a year, but has very little, if any,
power or control.
The country is divided into provinces, each under a governor, called a
Mudeer. The Mudeer is assisted in the administration of his province by
a council, of which the principal members are the Wekeel, or deputy-governor,
and the kádi, or judge. Each province is subdivided into districts, presided
over by a Nazir; and every village in these districts has its chief, called the
Sheykh-el-beled. Certain towns—Alexandria, Cairo, Suez, Port Said, Damietta,
Rosetta, Kosseir, and el Arish—have their own system of government, independent of the Province in which they are situated.
Since the English occupation, the Egyptian Army has been completely
remodelled by General Sir Evelyn Wood, V.C., G.O.B. It now consists of
about 9000 men, of whom the greater part is raised by conscription, but there
are two battalions of Black troops, who are recruited by voluntary enlistment.
All the superior officers are English and a large proportion of the lieutenantcolonels
and majors. A new law of conscription was passed in 1885, and
every effort is made to carry it out fairly.
The Egyptian Police has also been entirely reorganised by the late General
V. Baker Pashs, and the superior officers are English.
The Egyptian Navy has ceased to exist, with the exception of two small
vessels in the Red Sea, and a guard ship at Alexandria and Port Said.
The Administration of Justice in the mixed tribunals has been already
referred to (p. 2) There are two courts—one of first instance at Alexandria,
Cairo, and Mansourab. The Court of first instance at Cairo has ten European
and seven native judges; that at Alexandria fourteen European and nine
native judges; that at Mansourah has an European judge; and one of appeal
at Alexandria; and no case can be decided by less than five judges, three
Europeans and two natives. The Court of Appeal consists of fourteen judges,
of whom nine are Europeans and five natives; and no case can be decided by
less than eight, five Europeans and three natives. Civil and commercial
cases between natives and foreigners and between foreigners of different

nationalities, are tried by these courts, and the Khedive and the Government
are amenable to its jurisdiction without appeal. The system of law administered
is based on the Code Napoléon. For the administration of justice
among the natives there are two systems. First, the Native Tribunals recently
established, with a Code founded to a great extent on the Code Napoléon;
and, secondly, the Kadi's court, which deals with questions of inheritance
marriage, &c. The justice administered by the Kadi is founded upon the
Koráu. The Native Tribunals are hardly yet in full working order.
Education made considerable progress in Egypt during the reign of the
late Khedive. Mohamed Ali founded public schools, but they were
neglected by his immediate successors. Under Ismail Pasha, however, they
were put into good working order. The present Minister of Public Instruction,
Yacoub Pasha Artin,. is a very accomplished person, and has done much
to improve the system of education, but the amount granted for this service
has been diminished from 99,500l. in 1883 to 68,500l. in 1887. They are
divided into primary schools, secondary or preparatory schools, and special
schools; there are also military schools. The headquarters of these schools is
at Cairo. The free native schools, in which only the Korán and reading and
writing are taught, are very numerous; there is one attached to every sebeel or drinking-fountain. Some of the mosques, notably El Azhar at Cairo, have
schools attached to them, in which the Mohammedan religion and law are
more especially taught. All the different native Christian communities
have schools in most of the towns and villages; and there are several
English, French, and American schools, chiefly at Alexandria and Cairo.
One of the causes which brought Egypt to the verge of bankruptcy was
the undertaking of too many Public works, and the endeavour to execute them
within too short a space of time. Among the large and important works
carried out are the harbour of Alexandria; the harbour of Suez; several
railways, there being now more than 1000 miles of railway, as against 245
at the accession of Ismail Pasha in 1863; telegraphs; lighthouses; and
last, but not least, canals for storing and distributing the surplus waters of
the inundation, many of which, too, are navigable. The present underMinister
of Public Works, Colonel Sir Colin Scott Moncrieff, has done much
to improve the irrigation of the country, and, when the 1,000,000l. which has
been granted for the amelioration of the system of water-supply has been
expended, it is probable that Egypt will be in a better condition, so far as
irrigation is concerned, than she has been for centuries.
The Revenue of Egypt as estimated in the Budget for 1887 is 9,675,247l.
This is the gross amount, but if only the profits of such administration as the
railways, telegraphs, post-offices, &c. are taken into account, the Revenue is
8,752,284l. Of this 4,365,579l. is paid as interest on debt, and 678,397l. as
tribute to Turkéy, leaving 3,708,308l. for the administrative expenses of Egypt.
The land tax is the chief source of revenue, and was calculated to yield
5,141,731l. for 1887. Direct taxes give 648,828l. The other principal sources
of revenue are customs, which yield 913,400l.; octrois 315,330l.; and salt,
218,506l. There appears little doubt that the amount paid as interest on
debt is more than the country can fairly stand, but political reasons prevent
it being reduced.


Industry.—The bulk of the population of Egypt is, as has been already
shown, engaged in agricultural pursuits. The recent extended cultivation
of the sugar-cane, and the establishment of large sugar manufactories, has
created a new industry, but it is not one which as yet has been of much
benefit to the country, as, owing to the reckless and extravagant manner in
which the manufacture was at first conducted, the sugar was produced in some
cases at a loss, and could not compete either in quality or price with French

made sugar even in the country itself. There are more than twenty sugar
manufactories, most of them in the province of Minieh, in Upper Egypt, but
several of these are now standing idle.
Another recently-introduced industry is the manufacture of paper, which
is, however, confined to one establishment at Boolak, near Cairo. Very good
kinds of paper are made there from maize, straw, and hilfeh grass. Attached
to it is a printing office, and there are also other printing offices at Alexandria
and Cairo.
Large quantities of natron and salt are found in different parts of the valley
of the Nile, and their extraction from the soil gives employment to a considerable
number of people.
One of the oldest industries in Egypt is artifical egg-hatching. It is
principally carried on by Copts. There are said to be in all more than 600
ovens, called maamal el ferákh or farroog, in the country; and the production
of chickens by this process is reckoned at some ten millions.
Among other native industries, may be mentioned the manufacture of silk
and cotton stuffs, dyeing, the distillation of scents and essences, pottery
making, gold and silver embroidery work, jewellery, &c. A number of
articles are made out of the trunk, branches, and leaves of the palm-tree,
such as seats, bed frames, chests, baskets, mats, brooms, and ropes.
Commerce.—The commerce of Egypt is very considerable. In 1885, the
total value of exports was 11,425,000l., and of imports 9,198,145l. The
principal exports were cotton, cotton-seed, sugar, beans, and wheat. Formerly
a large quantity of gum and ivory, and ostrich-feathers were exported, but
this trade has ceased since the rebellion in the Soudan. The principal imports
were cotton goods and other clothing materials, coal, timber, wines and spirits,
coffee and tobacco. About half of the entire trade is with England.



The materials for a knowledge of the history and the manners and customs
of the old Egyptians, have been almost entirely derived from two sources.
Their public annals are written on the walls of the temples—their private
history on the walls of the tombs. And from temple or tomb have also come
most of the objects in the different museums, which help to throw such light
on this subject.
The Table of Abydus, of which there are two copies —a mutilated one in
the British Museum, found in the Temple of Rameses Il. at Abydus, and a
perfectly complete one, found in 1865 on a wall of the Temple of Sethi I.
At that place, and still remaining there—serves as an excellent guide towards
the chronological arrangement of a œrtain number of the kings of Egypt.
It contains the names of 76 kings, a comparison of whose names with the lists
of Manetho has much helped towards the work of reconstructing portions of
Egyptian history.
Of the same character are the Table of Sakkárah, containing the names of
55 kings; the Hall of Ancestors, a small chamber at Karnak, on whose walls
was a tablet, now in Paris, containing the names of 60 kings; and the Papyrus
of Turin
, containing also what was once by far the most complete list of kings,
but so mutilated that it has not yet been fully deciphered.
The Ritual, or Book of the Dead, is a papyrus found buried with the mummies. It consists of chapters describing the adventures of the soul after
death, and the prayers offered to the gods. The largest and most complete
specimen is in the Turin Museum. From this book is learnt the ideas held
by the ancient Egyptians as to a future state.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the other almost equally important
objects, existing either in museums or in situ, which help to a knowledge of

thre public and private life of the old Egyptians. There is hardly any one of
them indeed which does not contribute its share.
The first who attempted to write a history of Egypt was Manetho, an
Egyptian priest who lived in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, circ. 263 B.O.
His history was written in Greek, and contained a list of the kings who had
reigned in Egypt from the earliest times to the conquest of Alexander. The
history is lost; but the lists are preserved in the Chronology of George
Syncellus, a Byzantine monk who lived at the beginning of the 9th century.
He had collected them, not from the original work, which had long been lost,
but from copies made by Julius Africanus in the 3rd century, and Eusebius
in the 4th. To what extent credence can be given to these lists, which, supposing
them originally correct, had probably been altered and manipulated by
the Christian writers above mentioned, is a point much disputed by modern
Egyptologists. Many are now disposed to consider that recent discoveries
have rather confirmed their title to be looked upon as to a certain extent
trustworthy guides.
What the classic historians have to say about Egypt may be read in the
2nd book of Herodotus, the 1st book of Diodorus, the 17th book of Strabo,
and the treatise de Iside et Osiride of Plutarch. Their accounts are, however,
at the best secondhand traditions, which have served rather to confuse and
falsify the history of Egypt, and to mix up with it a number of tales and
The only certain sources of Egyptian history are the monuments, which are
now rapidly yielding up the wealth of their written records to the learned
and indefatigable scholars of Germany, France, and England, who have made
Egyptology their special study.


Although historians have differed as much as 3000 years in the date they
have assigned to the beginning of the Egyptian monarchy, it is not difficult
to obtain a clear view of those successive periods of prosperity in which
history was written. From the beginning until now we have a constant
repetition of the same class of events. The cycle commences with a native
monarchy, ruling despotically but peacefully: wealth and power, perhaps
attack from without, lead to foreign wars: a strange race, encouraged by
internal discord, conquers the country, and a long period of decadence ensues.
Then comes a revival, which lasts perhaps during the reign of only one
family, perhaps for three or four; followed by foreign wars, conquest,
decline, and subjection as before. During these periods of misfortune the
arts have been neglected, history has remained unwritten, and it is often
impossible even to approximate to the time which elapsed before the next
revival took place.
The successive periods of prosperity were as follows: (1) The early
monarchy—Mena to Neferkara. (2) A revival under the later kings of
the XIth Dynasty, and under the XIIth, seems to have ended with
Amenemhat IV, (3) A second revival under Aahmes, about the year 1700
B.C., lasted during the reigns of the XVIIIth and two following dynasties,
and was followed, about 1000 B.C., by a long succession of foreign invasions,
culminating in the conquest by the Persians. (4) The prosperous reigns of
the early Ptolemies (322—165 B.C.) brought wealth back to Egypt; but after
about 150 years the power of the dynasty declined, and in 30 B.C. Egypt
became a Roman province. (5) A period of comparative prosperity returned
under the Roman emperors from Nero (54 A.D.) to Theodosius (379 A.D.), after
which, misgovernment reduced the country once more to insignificance.
(6) The early Mohammedan conquerors brought in a flourishing state, and,

in spite of constant contests for power among the rulers, Egypt became once
more a centre of the arts and sciences. This era closed with the conquest of
the country by the Turks (A.D. 1517), since which time Egypt has been a
Turkish Pashalic. Mohammed Ali, who was appointed Pasha in 1805, after the
temporary occupation by the French, endeavoured to assert his independence
of the Porte, and so far succeeded that the government was made hereditary
in his family, though the Sultan still retained a nominal suzerainty over
the country.
First Period.—The Early Monarchy. Mena, though no contemporary monuments
remain, is universally regarded as the first king of a united Egypt. His
name occurs at the head of the Tables of Kings which have been found in
various places (Abydus, Karnak, Turin papyrus, &c.). He is believed to have
sprung from an ancient line of local monarchs seated at This or Thinis, a
town adjoining Abydus, the place of the burial of the mythical Osiris.
Seven kings of the same dynasty followed him on the throne of Memphis,
a city near the S. point of the Delta, which he founded. The fourth,
Ouenephes or Ata, is said to have been the first to build pyramids.
The IInd Dynasty consisted of nine kings, of whom no monuments
have been recognised. The second, Kakaoo, is said to have appointed the
worship of the bull Apis at Memphis, the bull Mnevis at Heliopolis, and
the goat Mendes. With the IIIrd Dynasty the series of extant monuments
commences. The second king, Zasor (Tosorthros) or Nebka, is recorded to
have built a palace of stone; but the oldest buildings identified are some
tombs of the time of Seneferoo, the eighth and last king, at Maydoom. Seneferoo
is also named on the rocks at Wady Maghárah on the Peninsula of
Sinai. The first king of the eight whose names are mentioned under the IVth
Dynasty was Shoofoo or Khufu (Suphis or Cheops), who in his long reign
erected the Great Pyramid. He also is mentioned in the rock sculptures of
Maghárah. The next king but one was Rakhaf or Khafra (Chephren), who
built the second Pyramid, and is supposed also to have built the granite
and alabaster tomb, or temple, near the Sphinx. He is the first Pharaoh
whose statues are extant. The fourth king was Ramenkaoo or Menkaoora
Mycerinus or Mencheres), who built the third Pyramid. Of the remaining
kings of this family little or nothing but the names are known. The Vth
Dynasty came, according to Manetho, from Elephantine, or the island of
Aboo, near the First Cataract and the modern Assooán. The second king,
Saoora, built the first pyramid of Abooseer, and his name occurs among
the inscriptions at Wady Maghárah, where he is represented-as smiting his
enemies. Records also exist there of several of his successors, of whom
Raenooser built the middle pyramid of Abooseer; Hormenkaoo or Menkauhor,
probably one of the pyramids of Sakkárah; and Oonas or Unas (Obnos), the
flat-topped tomb known as the Mastábat el-Pharaoon. Thy, or Tih, whose
tomb at Sakkárah is well known, lived at this time. Oonas was the last of
this dynasty. The VIth commenees with Teta, who is sometimes looked
upon as the last king of the previous family, and as having reigned at
Memphis; while Ate, his successor, was already king of Upper Egypt. Be
this as it may, the monuments show that whether on account of civil wars
or from natural decay, the early monarchy was declining. Ate's successor,
Pepi, or Rameri—who, according to Greek accounts was a giant, and
reigned a century—made some attempts to revive the glories of his predecessore. His name occurs in many places, and his minister, Oona, has left, in
a monument found at Memphis and now in the Boolak Museum, many interesting
notices of his reign. Pepi married Meri-ra-ankhnes, the daughter
of Khooa, the member of a priestly family. Her tomb has been found at
Abydus. She had two sons, Merenra and Raneferka or Neferkara, who
each in turn succeeded his father. The kingdom seems now to have rapidly

declined, and, if we may believe Herodotus, Nitocris, a queen, whose Egyptian
name is Nitaker, precipitated the downfall of the dynasty.
Meanwhile the Asiatic tribes on the N.E. had commenced to invade Egypt;
and whether the VIIth and VIIIth Dynasties were of foreign blood or not, we
know that the IXth and Xth were aliens, reigning in the Delta. The visit
of Abraham may have been made to one of them. Meanwhile it would
seem that, in a time of great confusion and obscurity, the old succession was
kept up among a number of kinglets, of whom we only know a few names,
and that their circumscribed dominions were in Upper Egypt. They form the
XIth Dynasty, and appear to have made Coptos or Kupt and Thebes their headquarters.
Among them were several kings who bore the name of Enentef and of
Mentuhotep, and these last left some remains of importance. One of these
Enentefs is styled in an inscription on a coffin in the Louvre “the Great,”
and a Mentuhotep is commemorated on the rocks of the island of Konosso,
near Philæ, as the conqueror of thirteen nations, and the servant of Khem,
the god of Coptos. The name of Mentuhotep also occurs on the rocks in
the valley of Hammamat, leading from Coptos to the Red Sea. Under
Sankhkara, whose name occurs as the 58th on the Table of Abydus,
lived a functionary named Hannu, who records on a rock-inscription,
in this same valley of Hammamat, some particulars of his reign, from
which it appears that the kings of this dynasty had dealings with Arabia;
and the trade thus introduced directly by the valley route from Coptos to
the Red Sea, seems to have revived the fallen fortunes of the old monarchy.
We now begin to meet with the names of some Asiatic deities, of whom
Amen eventually became to a great extent supreme in the minds of religious
Second Period.—Amenemhat, the first king of the XIIth Dynasty, seems to
have been the representative, perhaps in the female line, of the older kings.
By this time almost everything of the ancient monarchy, except what was
imperishable, must have disappeared. But the new kings were men of
sagacity as well as action, and there can be no doubt that foreign trade added
to their wealth. The provinces of Lower Egypt were slowly won back from
the invader, and the obscure kings of the rival dynasty expelled with their
people. The second king, Osirtasen I., has left many memorials of his power
all over the country. The restoration of the old temple of the Sun, Ra, at On
(Heliopolis); the foundation of the temple of Knum at Karnak, with both of
which divinities Amen was associated; the commencement of the gigantic
enterprise which created the Fayoom—all these must be attributed to him.
The renaissance of art, especially architecture, at this period is remarkable.
In the ruined “proto-Doric” colonnade of Karnak, and in the tombs of Beni
Hassan sculptured for a family of local magnates, we have examples
worthy of the best ages. There are many inscriptions, both public and
private, of this reign, for the art of writing had not been lost; and though the
primitive simplicity of the early period both in grammar and form is gone,
we are compensated by the first indications of verse composition. But the
greatest work of the dynasty was accomplished by Amenemhat III. By
noting the height of the Nile at different places, and by observations on the
level of the surrounding country, a series of works of irrigation to which the
world offers no parallel was completed. The great opening and dam, Hoont,
the great temple of the canal mouth, Lapero, are still preserved for us in
the names of Illahoon and the Labyrinth. Lake Mœris, with its sacred
crocodiles, has disappeared; but the Fayoom is still, after a lapse of forty
centuries, the most fertile part of Egypt. The worship of the crocodileheaded
god, Sebek, is indicated in the later names of this dynasty, and the
early names of the XIIIth, which appears to have succeeded through an heiress,
the queen Sebek-neferoo-ra, on the death of the seventh king, Amenemhat IV.;

but the vigour of the older race did not descend with the crown. Once more
there is obscurity and confusion; and though the blood of the early Pharaohs
was transmitted eventually to a more powerful family, it was not until many
hundred years of foreign oppression had elapsed. Sebekhotep IV., and
perhaps some of the other kings, appear to have descended successfully upon
the rich plains of the Delta, and their memorials have been found at Tunis, one
of the strongholds of the rival dynasties (the XIVth, XVth, and XVIth). But
the foreigners, who have been generally recognised in history as the Hyksos
or Shepherd Kings, and who have sometimes been in part identified with the
Phœnicians, gradually seem to have conquered the whole country, and, if they
allowed the princes of the legitimate line to live, exacted obedience from
them. The capital of the XVIIth Dynasty was at Karba (Avaris), perhaps the
biblical Zoan, the Greek Tanis, and the modern Sân, a place built upon the
alluvial soil of the Delta, but now a barren waste covered with the ruins of
vast edifices of marble and granite. It was, almost without doubt, under one
of the kings of this foreign race that Joseph came into Egypt; and there is
sufficient evidence, were any wanting, to show that the Hyksos had adopted
the style, religion, arts, language, and above all the writing, of the conquered
country. They were served by the descendants of the ancient Egyptians,
just as the Turks are now served by the Copts, on account of their intellectual
superiority. One precious document, in a fragmentary state (Sallier Papyrus, I.
Brit. Mus.), relates to the commencement of the resistance of the princes of
the south against the tyrants of Avaris; and we have the name of Ra-sekenen,
a king of Thebes, or, as he is called in the Papyrus, “Hak of the town of the
South,” in whose family the old line continued. There were several Ra-sekeuens
among the members recorded of the XIIIth Dynasty; and during the
time of one of them, whose dominions included the town of El Kab, where a
great fortress of crude brick still exists, a terrible famine devastated the land.
This may well have been the famine described in the Bible, and Joseph
may have been in the service of the rival of Ra-sekenen, whose name was
Apap or Apopi.
Third Period (circ. B.C. 1700-1000).—Aahmes, or Amosis, the first king of
the XVIIIth Dynasty, appears to have been the son of Kames, the successor of
Ra-sekenen, and Aah-hotep, the queen whose jewels form so remarkable a
feature of the Boolak Museum. Amosis took the capital of the Hyksos, and
drove them out of Egypt. The arts immediately revived, and the dynasty of
the Deliverers, as they are sometimes called, raised many of the finest monuments
which will be visited by the traveller: Dayr el-Bahree, the tomb or
temple of Hatasoo, whose obelisk in the Temple of Karnak to the memory of her
father, Thothmes I., is the highest in the world; the quarry works at Silsilis;
the first rock tombs in the Theban mountain; a portion of the Temple
of Karnak; the mighty figures of Amenhotep or Amunoph (Amenophis) III.,
in the plain of Thebes: innumerable temples, statues, and inscriptions commemorate
the reigns of this family; and poetry flourished as well as the other
arts, a hymn to Amen Ra, inscribed on granite, and now in the Boolak
Museum, anticipating in its lofty tone the triumphal Song of Moses, 300 years
later. Egypt may be said to have reached its highest point of prosperity, the
foreign conquests of Thothmes III. comprising almost all the countries which
border the Mediterranean, and the interior wealth of the country being
marked by magnificent buildings, and such works of art as obelisks, of which
one specimen of this period is now in London. Thothmes III. continued for
centuries in the grateful memory of his country, and his title, Ramenkheper,
is found inscribed on innumerable amulets of all periods as of the luckiest
omen. There was a temporary interruption to this prosperity under Amenhotep
IV., who, as Khoo-en-aten, adopted, perhaps from his mother, a
foreign form of solar worship, and, defacing the older temples, built a new

capital at Tel-el-Amarna, about half-way between Memphis and Thebes.
The history of this period, however, is very obscure, and it may be that
Amenhotep IV. and Khoo-en-aten were different persons. Horus, or
Hor-em-heb, seems to have restored the ancient city and the ancient gods,
and the XIXth Dynasty succeeded peacefully. The reigns of Rameses I. and
Sethi I. were much taken up with the repression of a new Asiatic invasion,
which threatened at one time to bring back the oppressions of the Hyksos
Rameses II. carried his arms far among the people of Asia, and, probably
dreading the resistance of the kindred tribes settled in the northern and,
eastern portion of his dominions, pressed them in to forced labour. This was
the “night of bondage” for the Israelites, whose champion Moses was educated
at the court of Rameses. Most of the finest buildings now remaining
are of this period. The reign of his successor, Meneptah, is remarkable,
first, for the Exodus, which probably took place early in it, and secondly for
the celebration of a “Sothic period,” or commencement of a cycle of 1460
years, by which we are enabled to assign the year B.C. 1325 as an approximately
certain date in his annals. He did not perish in the passage of the
Red Sea, though, according to the song of Moses, he must have had a narrow
escape, as his horse was lost (Exod. xv. 19). His death at a good old age is
lamented in an elegy (Records of the Past, iv. 49), and his beautiful tomb in the
Báb el-Molook is well known. There seems to have been some decline among
the succeeding kings, but Rameses III., the first of the XXth Dynasty, revived
the fading glories of the throne; and his annals, which are written in the
famous Harris papyrus, prove him to: have rivalled Thothmes III. and
Rameses II. in his foreign conquests and the erection of great buildings. Of
these the temple of Medeenet Haboo on the plain of Thebes is perhaps the most
remarkable. Among the inscriptions there, is one which mentions, for the first
time in history, several of the nations of Europe. A long line of kings of
the same name, of whom the last was Rameses XVI., followed, and ended in
a series of revolutions. A priest of Tanis seated himself on the throne as
founder of the XXIst Dynasty, but his son Piankh, though vigorous and
capable, was uuable without submission to his neighbours to transmit
the crown to his posterity, and even the little kingdom of Israel was able
to demand for Solomon the hand of a daughter of Pharaoh. The names
of Sheshonk and Osorkon, Bokenranef and Taharaka, Sabatak and Psametik,
of the XXIInd and four following dynasties, sufficiently indicate their
alien origin. The power of Babylon, and subsequently of the Persians,
kept them constantly occupied in Asiatic wars. Sheshonk interfered between
Judah and Israel; Taharaka was defeated by Esarhaddon, the son of
Sennacherib; and Neco slew Josiah at Megiddo. A partial revival of the
arts took place under the XXVIth Dynasty, and some fine works bear the
names of Psametik, Queen Ameniritis, and Uahbra or Hophra; and Amasis II.
was worthy to sit on the throne of the Pharaohs. His son, Psametik III.,
was defeated and put to death by Cambyses, who made Egypt a province of
the Persian Empire.
Fourth Period (B.C. 525-30).—The Persians are reckoned as the XXVIIth
Dynasty, and during their occupation attempts more or less successful were
made by native insurgents to drive them out. Amyrtæus, who is said to
have been a scion of the ancient royal family, made the best stand, and is
reckoned the sole king of the XXVIIIth Dynasty. In his reign Herodotus came
to Egypt. There were several sovereigns of the XXIXth Dynasty; among
whom we need only mention Neferites I., Aehoris, and Neferites II., all of whom
were for a time independent. The struggle went on under Nectanebo, whose
name remains on the magnificent granite shrine of the temple at Edfoo. In
his time Plato visited Egypt as an oil merchant. Two weak kings succeeded
Nectanebo, and form the XXXth Dynasty; but the overwhelming power of

Alexander the Great soon annihilated finally the independendence of Egypt, and
it fell on his death to the share of Ptolemy, who, putting an end to the disorder
which had prevailed for two centuries, was hailed as the founder of a
new dynasty and the saviour (soter) of the country. Under his wise administration
Egypt once more prospered. His capital was the new city of Alexandria,
where the body of the great Macedonian was preserved for ages, and
under him and the second and third kings of his family learning and the arts
flourished. The Ptolemies conformed to the customs and religion of their
new country; they built new temples and restored the old sanctuaries. Some
of the most remarkable of the gigantic edifices of the old Pharaohs were emulated
in Denderah, Edfoo, Esneh, and Philæ: while the inner shrines of
Karnak and Luxor attest their devotion to the Egyptian gods. Their names,
translated but awkwardly into the hieroglyphic character, occur in many
places, but their coins are Greek. Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus) employed
Manetho to make his History, of which the List of Kings alone has been
preserved. The schools of Alexandria now became the best in the civilized
world, and the wisdom which so largely enters into the teaching of Moses
and of Plato was rather illustrated than altogether superseded. Diodorus
visited Egypt in the reign of Ptolemy XIII. (Auletes). Family strife eventually
reduced the Ptolemaic kingdom to a state of subjection to Rome,
and, before the dawn of the Christian era, Augustus put the last of the
family, Cæsarion, the son of Cleopatra and Julius Cæsar, to death, and
annexed Egypt to the Roman Empire.
Fifth Period (B.C. 30—A.D. 640).—Under Rome Egypt was for a time well
governed and rich, but its importance in the history of early Christianity
gives it an interest beyond that derived from its actual condition. Though
the names of the Cæsars occur in cartouches, and one or two temples, as that
at Shenhoor and “Pharaoh's Bed” at Philæ, attest their care for the old
religion, it rapidly declined among the people; and Hadrian, who visited
Egypt in A.D. 122, gave it a blow by his addition of Antinous to the number
of the Egyptian gods. Before the reign of Severus edicts were necessary for
the repression of Christianity, to which the persecution of Diocletian only
added strength. Alexandria became a nursery of rival sects; and to their
zeal and learning the modern world owes the collection and preservation of
the books of the New Testament. Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, annexed
Egypt to her short-lived realm, A.D. 270, but at her defeat Rome was again
supreme. Though Constantine made Christianity the established religion of
his empire, heathenism, especially under a modified Gnostic form, still
lingered in Egypt until the edict of Theodosius, A.D. 379, which made it unlawful.
Yet proofs exist that in the holy isle of Philæ and other places the
altars of Osiris and Isis were not wholly quenched for nearly a century later.
The period of Egyptian decline culminated under the feeble rule of the Byzantine
emperors, heretics raised the people in frequent tumults, famine followed
maladministration; and though another Asiatic invasion, under Ghosroes the
Persian, gave the country comparative rest for ten years (A.D. 619–629), its
resources, like its ancient civilization, were wholly exhausted, and it fell an
easy prey to the Arabs under Amer or Amroo, A.D. 640.
Sixth Period (A.D. 640-1517).—Although the first care of the new masters
of Egypt was rather to change and destroy, it was not long before the new
conquest became the head-quarters of Islam. In many places, as the Delta,
the peasants accepted the new faith. In others, as the Howara, colonies from
Arabia almost exterminated the old inhabitants. The Copts, as the Egyptian
Christians are still called, were first treated with toleration; but, owing
chiefly to their own seditions, were afterwards persecuted, and for many centaries
were kept in a state of subjection. The Abbaside Khalifs promoted
learning and architecture. El Mamoon, a son of the celebrated Haroon er

Rasheed, caused the translation of Greek mathemetical and astronomical
works. His nephew, El Motawukkel, established the Nilometer at Roda,
On the accession of the Tooloonide kings Egypt became really if not nominally
independent of the Khalif, who latterly resided, as a kind of pope, in
semi-obscurity under their protection. Ahmed ibn et Tooloon built the great
mosque which bears his name within the walls of Cairo; but the capital was
then Fostat. The first of the Fatemites in Egypt, Aboo Tummeem or El Moöz,
built Cairo in A.D. 969, and it has ever since been the chief city. Under this
dynasty the country flourished. The great mosque of El Hakim was built
in A.D 1003. In 1176 the Frank Crusaders attacked and partly burnt Cairo,
but Yoosef, called Saladin, erected the fortifications which still remain, and
left marks of his munificence and taste in many places. The Bahr Yoosef, a
canal which he made, or perhaps restored, runs for nearly four hundred miles
parallel to the Nile, and irrigates vast tracks. In 1249 the French king,
Louis IX., was taken prisoner in Egypt, almost at the same time that the
dynasty of Saladin came to an end. The Baharite Memlook sultans continued,
however, the great public works he had commenced, and the mosques
of Sultan Kalaoon and Sultan Hassan are so fine as almost to make amends
for the destruction of the ancient monuments from whose materials they were
built. The number of handsome buildings of this period all over Egypt attests
the general prosperity of the country, notwithstanding the unsettled state of
the government, which passed from sultan to sultan, and from family to
family, with a frequency which is bewildering. The tombs of these Memlook
kings, and the magnificent copies of the Korán written for them and now in
the library at Cairo, show that the arts still flourished. The mosque of Berkook
dates before 1399; that of Kaitbey is all but a century later. In 1501
Sultan el Ghoree was defeated at Aleppo by the Turks, and in 1517 Sultan
Toman Bey, his nephew, lost a second battle near Heliopolis, and was put to
death by the invader.
Seventh Period (A.D. 1517-1879).—The Turks removed the residence of the
fainéant Khalif to Constantinople, and made Egypt a pashalik. Their careless
government was much impeded by the local Arab magnates, who formed tributary
principalities all through the country. During the war of the Turks with
Russia in 1771, one of these princes, Ali Bey, made himself master of all Egypt.
His successor was recognised by the Turks, and it seemed for a time as if a
native dynasty was once more about to be established; but in 1798 General
Bonaparte invaded Egypt, defeated the so-called Memlooks near the Pyramids,
and took Cairo. Lord Nelson having at the battle of the Nile destroyed the
French fleet, Bonaparte retired to France, leaving General Kleber behind.
Kleber was assassinated by an Arab, and General Menou, his successor, had
to capitulate to the English, who, under Abercromby, had won the battle of
Alexandria, 21st March, 1801. A few years later the Turks appointed the
clever but unscrupulous Mohammed Ali to the government of Egypt; and
after a few years of struggle with the native chiefs, his power was finally
established in 1811 by the treacherous slaughter of the Memlook Beys and
their followers, 470 in number, in the citadel of Cairo. Under the rule
of Mohammed Ali Egypt rapidly rose in importance, and in 1831 he declared
war against the Sultan with the view of obtaining complete independence. His efforts would probably have been successful but for the intervention
of the European Powers, who obliged him to quit Syria, which had
been conquered from the Turks by his son Ibrahim, and acknowledge the Porte
as his suzerian. Abdul Medjid, on receiving his submission in 1841, made the
viceroyalty hereditary in his family. During his long reign Mohammed Ali
endeavoured in many ways to improve the material and moral condition of
the country. Schools were founded, Europeans were encouraged to settle in
the country, and were even appointed to public offices; canals and embankments

were restored, the cultivation of the cotton plant was introduced, &c. In the
latter years of his life he became imbecile, and in 1848 was succeeded by his
son Ibrahim, who however died the following year, just shortly before Mohammed
Ali's own death. The next ruler was Abbas Pasha, son of Toossoon
Pasha, and grandson of Mohammed Ali. He was a suspicious and brutal
tyrant, who stopped the reforms begun by his grandfather, and lived in constant
dread of assassiuation, a fate which eventually befell him in 1854, at the
hands of his own servants. His uncle Said Pasha, Mohammed Ali's third
son, succeeded, and under him Egypt again entered on the path of reform.
But unfortunately the finances of the country were not equal to supporting
the extravagance of an Oriental potentate as well as his schemes for its
improvement, and in 1862 Egypt began the rôle of a borrower, which she has
since followed with such fatal facility. Railways were begun in this reign;
the scheme for cutting through the Isthmus of Suez assumed a definite shape,
and a commencement of the actual canal was made; and the first steps were
taken towards making the study and preservation of the old monuments a
national care. At the death of Said in 1863, Ismail Pasha, the second
son of Ibrahim Pasha, a nephew of Said, succeeded to the vice-royalty.
Able and energetic in a remarkable degree, he endeavoured to carry out
all his grandfather's schemes for the introduction of European civilization,
and indeed went far beyond them. In order the better to succeed he
at once aimed at securing virtual if not actual independence of the Porte;
and by the firman of 1866 giving him the title of Khedive, and making
the succession direct from father to son instead of its descending according to
Turkish law to the eldest heir, and a subsequent firman of 1873 giving him
the power to make treaties and otherwise act independently, his object was
nearly attained. The reforms accomplished during his reign were many
and important, and numerous public works bear witness to his zeal; but
unfortunately the resources of the country did not keep pace with these
many improvements, which have only been accomplished at the expense of
burdening the country with an enormous debt, and completely impoverishing
the peasantry. That future generations will benefit cannot be doubted,
but more credit would have been gained for what has really been done had it
been done gradually, with a better adaptation of the means to the end, and
without pressing so hardly on the present generation. In June 1879 Ismail
was deposed by the Sultan at the request or dictation of the European Powers
interested in Egypt, and his eldest son, Mohammed Tewfik, succeeded him and
is the present Khedive. Tewfik, having owed his throne to the action of the
European powers, placed himself entirely under their control, and the
Government of the country was practically in the hands of Major Baring,
now Sir E. Baring, and Monsieur de Blignieres, the English and French
Commissioners of the debt. Every effort was made to reduce expenditure.
and among other economies, the army was very largely reduced. This created
a serious feeling of discoutent among the officers, and in February 1881 a
military revolt broke out, which was the commencement of future troubles.
On the 10th January, 1882, the English and French Consuls General presented
a joint note to the Khedive to the effect that under certain circumstances the
governments of France and England might be obliged to take a more active
part to guard against all chance of complications in Egypt. The Egyptian
Chamber of Notables had assembled on the 26th December 1881, and on the
31st they claimed their right to consider the Egyptian Budget. On the 20th
January 1881, Sir E. Malet pointed out to the English Government that
armed intervention in Egypt would become a necessity if the Chamber of
Notables was refused permission to vote on the Budget. His prediction
proved correct, and, after much correspondence, an Anglo-French fleet
assembled at Crete, and arrived in Alexandria on the 20th May. On the

28th May the Egyptian Ministry resigned, on the ground that the Khedive,
in acquiescing in foreign interference, had acted in opposition to the firmans of
the Sultan. Tewfik telegraphed to the Sultan, asking that a Turkish
Commissioner might be sent to Egypt. The request was acceded to, and
Dervish Pasha arrived at Alexandria on the 7th June. The situation became
more strained daily, and on the 11th June a riot took place in Alexandria, in
which a number of Europeans lost their lives. The power of the Khedive
diminished, while the influence of Araby Pasha and the military party, who
believed that Tewfik was playing into the hands of France and England,
increased. A conference assembled at Constantinople, but this led to little
result. The French Government having failed to obtain a vote of audit from
the Chamber of Deputies, were unable to take active measures. The English
Admiral, Sir Beauchamp Seymour, observing that the Egyptians were
arming some batteries, sent an ultimatum to the Egyptian Commander, and
on the refusal of the latter to desist, opened fire on the forts on the 11th July.
The forts were silenced, and on the following day Alexandria was fired by
the Egyptian troops, who retired into the interior of the country. An English
expedition was sent out under the command of Lord Wolseley, who, after
defeating the Egyptian troops at Tel-el-Kebir, took possession of Cairo on the
14th September. The Khedive was brought back under English protection,
and since that time Egypt has been occupied by English troops and been
under the English Government, although a native ministry still conducts the
internal affairs of the country.


Any chronological table of the early Kings of Egypt must necessarily be
given with great reserve. There can be no certainty before the reign of
Psammetichus I., 665 B.C. The enormous number of years required by the
only ancient authority extant, the lists of Manetho, has caused many authors
to consider some of the dynasties given by him as not successive but contemporaneous.
Recent discoveries, however, seem to show that the dynasties he
gives a list of did succeed one another, though it is possible there may have
been others reigning at the same time in different parts of Egypt, which are
considered by him as illegitimate, and therefore left unnoticed. This does not,
however, throw much light on the chronological question, and some who agree
in considering Manetho's dynasties as, with one or two exceptions, successive,
recoil from accepting the result which the addition of the duration assigned
by him to each dynasty makes.
The following table embraces the period from the first known landmark in
Egyptian history, the accession of Menes, to the final absorption of the country
into the Roman Empire. It gives the number and title of each dynasty, the
places at which monuments of it are found, the names of the principal kings,
and the dates according to the different computations of Sir Gardner
Wilkinson—W., M. Mariette-Bey—M., and Dr. Brugsch-Bey—B.
I. THINITE (from This, near Abydus). W. 2320; M. 5004; B.4400.

W. 2320
M. 5004
B. 4400
Mena (Menes). The first known Egyptian king, and founder of Memphis.
Tota (Athothis)
(Quenephes I.) Perhaps the builder of the step pyramid of
II. MEMPHITE. M. 4751; B.4133.
B. 4100 Kakaoo (Kaiechos). The worship of Apis established at Memphis,
and of Mnevis at On, Heliopolis.
III. MEMPHITE. M. 4449; B. 3966.
Pyramid of Maydoom; Wady Maghárah, Sinai.
B. 3766 Seneferoo. The first king whose name appears on contemporaneous
IV. MEMPHITE. W. 2128; M. 4235; B. 3733.
Geezeh; Sakkárah; Wady Maghárah, Sinai.
W. 2123
M. 4235
B. 3733
Shoofoo or Khufu ( Cheops, Suphis). Great Pyramid of Geezeh
B. 3666 Khafra ( Chephren ). Second Pyramid of Geezeh built.
B. 3633 Menkaoora (Mycerinus). Third Pyramid of Geezeh built.
V. ELEPHANTINE. M. 3951; B. 3566.
Sakkárah; Abooseer; Wady Maghárah, Sinai.
B. 3433 Raenooser (Rathoures). The first king who used the double
B. 3366 Tatlcara or Assa (Tancheres). The tomb of Tih at Sakkárah dates
from about this period.
B. 3333 Oonas (Obnos). Builder of the great truncated pyramid at Sakkárah, called the Mastábat el Pharaoon.
VI. MEMPHITE. M. 3703; B. 3300.
Sân; Sakkárah; El Bersheh; Zowyet el Myiteen; Sheykh Said; Abydus;
Wady Maghárah, Sinai; &c.
W. 2001
B. 3233
Merira Pepi (Apappus). The name of this king is found in a
great many places from Sân to Assooán; he appears to have
been an able and powerful ruler. According to the Greek
accounts he reigned 100 years. Pyramid at Sakkarah.
VII. MEMPHITE. M. 3500; B. 3100.
IX. Heracleopolite (Ahnasieh). M. 3358.
X. Heracleopolite (Ahnasieh). M. 3249.
No record of these four dynasties has as yet been found on any of the
monuments. Brugsch makes no attempt to assign a date to the eighth, ninth,
or tenth. The fabulous Queen Nitocris belongs probably to the early part
of this period.
XI. THEBAN. M. 3064.
Drah Aboo'l Negga, Thebes; Hammamat; Konosso.
B.C. Enentef and Mentuhotep appear to have been the names borne
alternately by many of the kings of this dynasty. Under one
of the latter Egypt appears to have again risen in importance.
B. 2500 Sankhkara. An inscription in the rocky valley of Hammamat, on
the road from the ancient Coptos to the Red Sea, commemorates
this king as the first to send an expedition to
Ophir and “Punt,” probably Southern Arabia.
XII. THEBAN. M. 3064; B. 2466.
Sán; Heliopolis; Fayoom; Beni Hassan; Asyoot; Abydus; Karnak; Semneh;
Wady Maghárah, Sinai.
M. 3064
B. 2466
Amenemhat I. The first king of this dynasty, under which
Egypt reached to a high pitch of prosperity.
W. 1740
B. 2433
Osirtasen I. The obelisk now standing at Heliopolis was erected
in this king's reign. His glories and those of his two successors,
Amenemhat II. and Osirtasen II., are celebrated in inscriptions
in the tombs of Améni and Knumhotep at Beni
B. 2333 Osirtasen III. A great conqueror; memorials of his victories
over the “Kush,” or negroes, are found at Semneh, above the
Second Cataract.
W. 1621
B. 2300
Amenemhat III. Conferred great benefit on the country by the
construction of dykes, reservoirs, and canals for regulating the
inundations of the Nile; the most celebrated of these works
was Lake Mœris in the Fayoom, close to which he also built
the famous Labyrinth. Records of the rise of the Nile during
his reign are found at Semneh, where he caused regular
observations of the increase in the river to be taken and forwarded
XIII. THEBAN. M. 2851; B. 2233.
Sár; Asyoot; Abydus; Thebes; El Kab; First Cataract>; Semneh; Argo.
Sebekhotep. This name appears to have been borne by several
kings of this dynasty; one, Sebekhotep III., records the height
of the Nile in the third year of his reign on the rocks al
XIV. XOITE. M. 2398.
B. 1750 Nub or Nubti. According to Dr. Brugsch, Joseph arrived in
Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Nub, B.C. 1730, and
rose to honour under Apopi.
The whole of the period of Egyptian history from the XIIIth to the XVIIth
Dynasty inclusive is wrapped in obscurity. It is probable that while the
three Hyksos dynasties reigned in Lower Egypt and the Delta, the old Theban
royal race still held sway in the south as tributaries of the Hyksos. The
Sallier papyrus in the British Museum introduces us to Apopi and a certain
Rasekenen, a “hak” or governor of “the town of the south,” as contemporaries;
and a long inscription in a tomb at El Kab gives an account of the
capture of Avaris, the chief town of the Hyksos, by Aahmes, or Amosis, the
successor of Rasekenen, and the first king of the XVIIIth Dynasty.
XVIII. THEBAN. W. 1575; M. 1703; B. 1700.
Heliopolis; Toora and Masárah; Tel el Amarna; Karnak; El Kab; Silsilis;
Kom Ombos; Elephantine; Amada; Wady Halfah; Gebel Barkal; Soleb;
Sardbit el Khadem, Sinai; Wady Maghárah, Sinai.
W. 1575
M. 1703
B. 1700
Aahmes (Amosis). The conqueror of the Hyksos, and founder
of a powerful monarchy.
B. 1666 Amenhotep or Amunoph (Amenophie) I. The boundaries of
Egypt extended.
W. 1532
B. 1633
Thothmes (Thothmosis) I. A great conqueror, who carried the
arms of Egypt into Syria. One of the results of his Asiatic
campaigns was the introduction of the horse into Egypt; at
any rate, the first representation of that animal occurs on a
monument of this reign.
W. 1505
B. 1600
Thothmes II. Reigned but a short time, in conjunction with his
sister and queen, Hatasoo.
Amennoohet, Hatasoo, Hashop, or Makara. Reigned alone for
some time, on the death of her brother, Thothmes II. The
sculptures on the walls of Dayr el Bahree at Thebes commemorate
a great expedition sent by her to the land of Punt.
She was succeeded by another brother, Thothmes III., who for
a short time reigned in conjunction with her.
W. 1495
B. 1600
Thothmes III. One of the most famous of Egyptian kings.
During his long reign Egypt, in the language of the hieroglyphs,
“placed its frontier where it pleased.” He carried his
victorious arms into Western Asia. The walls of his magnificent
temple at Karnak are covered with inscriptions recounting
his triumphs, and giving a list of the countries and
peoples conquered by him. His cartouche, with the name
Ramenkheper, occurs more frequently on remains of every kind,
from temples down to scarabæi, than that of any other monarch.
B. 1566 Amenhotep II.
B. 1533 Thothmes IV.
W. 1430
B. 1500
Amenhotep III. Also a great conqueror. He appears to have
carried his victorious arms far into the Soodán. Numerous
monuments, especially at Luxor and Karnak, attest the length
and glory of his reign. The famous so-called Colossi, one of
which is celebrated in Greek and Roman tradition as the vocal
Memnon, bear his name.
W. 1408 Amenhotep IV. or Khooenaten. This king, under the influence
of his mother, a foreigner, changed the religion of Egypt, substituting
a Semitic god, Aten or Hormakhu (the sun's disk),
for the Theban Amen, and removed the seat of government
from Thebes to a city which he founded and called Khooaten,
the modern Tel-el-Amarna. He was succeeded by two or
three other kings holding the same religious opinions. It has
been conjectured, however, that Amenhotep IV. and Khooeuaten
were different persons.
Horemneb (Horus). On the accession of Horus as a legitimate
sovereign the old worship and capital were restored, and all traces
of his heretical predecessors destroyed as much as possible.
XIX. THEBAN. W. 1395; M. 1462; B. 1400.
Sân; Memphis; Abydus; Karnak; Koorneh; Luxor; Bayt el- Wellee;
Derr; Aboo Simbel.
W. 1395
M. 1462
B. 14000
Rameses I.
W. 1385
B. 1366
Sethi or Meneptah I. (Sethos). A great conqueror, who carried
his victorious arms far into Asia. He made the first canal
between the Red Sea and the Nile. Many monuments of his
magnificance exist in Egypt, especially at Karnak, Koorneh,
and Abydus; and his tomb (“Belzoni's”) is the most remarkable
in every way of the “Tombs of the Kings” at Thebes.
W. 1355
B. 1333
Rameses II. (the Great). The legendary Sesostris of the Greek
historians. His name appears on nearly every monument of
importance in Egypt, and the story of his conquests and deeds
of valour is recounted in numerous inscriptions and papyrus
rolls. He has also left memorials of his victories in some of
the countries he conquered, as, for instance, on the tablet
at the mouth of the Nahr el-Kelb near Beyrout. He erected
many splendid buildings, as the ruins still testify, during his
long reign of 67 years.
W. 1289
B. 1300
Sethi Meneptah II. Probably the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Two
or three other unimportant reigns conclude this dynasty.
XX. THEBAN. W. 1235; M. 1288; B. 1200.
Both sides of the river at Thebes.
W. 1235
M. 1288
B. 1200
Rameses III. The Rhampsinitus of Herodotus. He was the
last of the famous warrior kings of Egypt. Besides subduing
foreign nations, he also cultivated commercial relations with
them, and established intercourse by land and sea with the
countries on the shores of the Indian Ocean. His exploits
are recounted on the walls of the magnificent building erected
by him at Medeenet Háboo. His tomb is one of the finest
of the “Tombs of the Kings.”
The remaining kings of this dynasty all appear to have borne the name
of Rameses: the only ones of any note are Rameses VI. and IX. During
their reigns Egypt gradually declined in importance.
XXI. TANITE. W. 1095; M. 1110; B. 1100.
The history of this dynasty is somewhat obscure: a high priest of the god
Amen, named Hirhor, appears to have been the founder of it. During its
continuance Egypt was invaded by the Assyrians under Naromath (Nimrod),
whose son Shashank founded the next dynasty.
XXII. BUBASTITE. W. 981; M. 980; B. 966.
Apis Mausoleum at Sakkárah; Karnak; Silslis.
W. 981
M. 980
B. 986
Shashank or Sheshonk I. (Sesonchis). The Shishak of the Bible,
who captured and pillaged Jerusalem (1 Kings xiv. 25-28;
2 (Chron. xii.). An inscription on one of the walls of the
Great Hall at Karnak commemorates this campaign against
Judah, and gives a list of the conquered towns and districts.
The remaining kings of this dynasty are of little importance. Many of
them bore Assyrian names, such as Osorkon (Sargon) and Takeloth (Tiglath);
and indeed they seem, from the Apis memorial stones at Sakkárah, to have
been little more than Assyrian satraps.
XXIII. TANITE. W. 903; M. 810; B. 766.
An obscure dynasty of petty kings, of whom there appear from the monuments
to have been three.
XXIV. SAITE. W. 812; M. 721; B. 733.
Manetho assigns one king, Bocchoris, called on the monuments Bokenranef,
to this dynasty, and gives him a short reign of six years. During the period
embracing the latter part of the XXIInd Dynasty, and the whole of the
XXIIIrd and XXIVth, the Ethiopians would appear to have gained the same
ascendency in the south of Egypt as the Assyrians in the north. A memorial
stone discovered at Gebel Barkal, near Meroë, gives an account of the conquests
in Egypt of the Ethiopian king Piankhi, whose successors founded the
next dynasty.
XXV. ETHIOPIAN. W. 773; M. 715; B. 700.
W. 773
M. 715
B. 700
Shabak or Sabaco Shabatak One of these two kings was probably the So
of the Bible (2 Kings xvii. 4).
W. 710
B. 693
Takaraka or Tirhakah. Called “king of Ethiopia” (2 Kings
xix. 9).
From some Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions found at Nineveh, it would
appear that during the rule of this dynasty Egypt was invaded by the
Assyriaus under Esarhaldon the gradson of Sennacherib, who defeated

Tirhakah and drove him out of Lower Egypt, and set up some petty kings in
his stead. On these revolting at Esarhaddon's death, and joining with
Tirhakah, the country was again invaded by Esarhaddon'a son, Assurbanipal
(Sardanapalus); and first Tirhakah, and then his successor, called in the
inscriptions Urdamaneh, were completely subdued, and Thebes taken. The
Assyrian king divided Egypt into twelve provinces, each with a governor,
one of whom was Psametik or Psammetichus, the founder of the next dynasty.
XXVI. SAITE. W. 664; M. 665; B. 666.
Sân; Apis Mausoleum at Sakkárah; Karnak; Luxor; Aboo Simbel.
W. 664
M. 665
B. 666
Psametik (Psammetichus) I. First settlement of Greeks in
Egypt. An interesting inscription on the shin of one of the
statues of Rameses II. at Aboo Simbel records the pursuit
of Psammetichus, at the head of his Ionian and Carian soldiers,
of some native Egyptian troops who had deserted, owing to
jealousy of the favour shown to these mercenaries.
B. 612 Keco or Necho. Son of Psammetichus. He attempted to reopen
Sethi's canal between the Red Sea and the Nile, and
sent a flect to circumnavigate Africa. He made war against
the Assyrians, and defeated their ally Josiah, king of Judah,
at Megiddo, but was afterwards himself defeated by Nebuchadnezzar
at Carchemish.
B. 596 Psammetichus II. His reign was short and inglorious.
B. 591 Uahbra or Hophra (Apries). Son of Psammetichus II. He went
to the assistance of Zedekiah, when besieged in Jerusalem by
Nebuchadnezzar, but afterwards allowed the Babylonians to
capture the city and put an end to the kingdom of Judæa.
During his reign a large number of Jews settled in Egypt.
He was dethroned by one of his generals, Aahmes.
B. 572
B. 528
Aahmes (Amasis). During his long and prosperous reign Egypt
regained some of its former splendour. Aahmes allied himself
with the Greeks, and granted them many religious and
commercial privileges: among the latter being the removal
of the whole of the Mediterranean trade from Tanis, Mendes,
and Bubastis to the Greek port Naucratis, a few miles below
Saïs on the Canopic branch of the Nile. During his reign
the Persian empire was founded by Cyrus, whose son Cambyses advanced against Egypt, and, having defeated Amasis'
son and successor Psammetichus III. at Pelusium, captured
Memphis and became master of the country.
XXVII. PERSIAN. W. 525; M. 527; B. 527.
Oasis of El Khargeh; Rocks of Hammamat.
W. 525
B. 527
M. 527
Cambyses. This monarch's sway in Egypt is chiefly known by
his unsuccessful expeditions against Ethiopia and the Oases,
and his violent intolerance, according to the Greek historians,
of the Egyptian religion, though lately deciphered inscriptions
appear to prove the contrary.
521 Darius Hystaspes. Showed his reverence for the Egyptian
religion by building a temple to Amen-Ra at the Oasis of El
Khargeh; and his desire to promote the prosperity of the
country and conciliate the people by endeavouring to re-open

the canal between the Red Sea and the Nile, by re-establishing
the route between Coptos and the Red Sea, by replacing with
regular coins the rings and weights which had hitherto done
duty as money, and by appointing a descendant of the old native
kings, Amasis, satrap.
486 Xerxes I. The defeat of the Persians at Marathon by the Greeks
encouraged the Egyptians to revolt under Khabbash, but they
were soon reduced to submission and placed under the severe
government of Achaemenes, brother of Xerxes.
465 Artaxerxes Longimanus. The Egyptians again revolted under Inarus
and Amyrtæus, and, aided by the Athenians, were for a time
partially successful. During this period Herodotus visited Egypt.
424 Darius Nothos. After continued efforts the Egyptians succeeded in
regaining their independence under Amyrtæus, who was recognised
as King of Egypt.
XXVIII. SAITE. W. 414; M. 406.
This dynasty consisted of but one king, Amyrtæus, who only reigned six
years. The Egyptians, however, succeeded in maintaining their independence,
and another native king, Naifaurut (Nepherites), founded a new dynasty.
XXIX. MENDESIAN. W. 408; M. 399; B. 399.
Medeenet Háboo.
The duration of this dynasty was short, though it contained four kings—
Naifaurut (Nepherites) I.; Hakor (Achoris), who allied himself with Evagoras,
tyrant of Salamis, against the Persians; Psemaut (Psammuthis); and Naifaurut II. It ruled Egypt from Mendes in the Delta, and was succeeded by
another race of native princes from the neighbouring town of Sebennytus.
XXX. SEBENNYTE. W. 387; M. 378; B. 378.
Sakkárah; Karnak; Edfoo; Philæ.
Nectanebo I., who founded this dynasty, successfully repelled the attacks of
the Persians, and secured eighteen years' peace and tranquillity for Egypt;
but the attack was renewed during the reign of his successor Tachos by
Artaxerxes Mnemon, and only repelled through the aid of the Spartans under
Agesilaus. Tachos' son, Nectanebo II., after varying success, was finally conquered
by Artaxerxes Ochus, and Egypt again became a Persian province.
Plato visited Egypt during the reign of Nectanebo I.
The second domination of the Persians in Egypt was of short duration.
After Alexander had defeated Darius III. (Codomanus) at the Issus, he marched
upon Egypt and reached Memphis without opposition, the native Egyptians
and Greeks welcoming him as a deliverer.
During his short stay in Egypt Alexander the Great founded the city of
Alexandria, He showed his respect for the ancient religion by joining in the

worship of Apis, and by going to the Oasis of Ammon to lay his offerings as
the “son of the Sun” on the altar of Amen-Ra. At his death in 323, and the
division of the various provinces amongst his generals as lieutenants of his
titular successor Philip Aridæus, Egypt fell to Ptólemy, the son of Lagus, who
continued to administer the country as governor during the lifetime of Aridæus
and the young Alexander Œgus. On the murder of the latter by Cassander,
Ptolemy assumed the title of king.
Alexandria; Sakkárah; Denderah; Thebes (both sides of the river); Erment,
Esneh; Edfoo; Kom Ombos; Philæ; Kalabsheh; and various other places in
305 Ptolemy Soter. Though constantly at war, chiefly with Antigonus, for
the protection of his kingdom, Ptolemy did not neglect the prosperity
of the country, which greatly increased beneath his rule. Learning
and the arts also flourished, the foundation of the Museum and
Library at Alexandria attracting learned men from all parts of
the world. Ptolemy abdicated two years before his death in 284
in favour of his son.
286 Ptolemy Philadelphus. Continued the wise and beneficent rule of his
father. He erected the famous Pharos at Alexandria, founded the
cities of Berenice and Arsinoë on the Red Sea, and re-opened the
canal between the Red Sea and the Nile. Manetho's History of
Egypt and the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as
the Septuagint were undertaken by Philadelphus' command.
247 Ptolemy Euergretes I. Conquered the empire of the Seleucides and
extended his rule over the whole of Asia Minor. Egypt had now
reached the height of prosperity and power. All the learned and
accomplished men of the day flocked to Ptolemy's court. The
decree of Canopus or the stone of San was set up in the ninth
year of his reign.
222 Ptolemy Philopator. A cruel and self-indulgent king, under whose
rule Egypt began to decline. He roused himself to meet Antiochus
the Great, who had gradually reconquered from Egypt all the
provinces of Syria, and defeated him at the battle of Raphia, a
village on the borders of Egypt and Palestine. Founded the Temple
of Edfoo.
205 Ptolemy Epiphanes. During the minority of this king internal dissensions,
and the attacks of Antioohus the Great, induced his guardians
to invoke the protection of the Roman Senate, and Egypt henceforth
became in reality, though not in name, a Roman province. The
Rosetta Stone belongs to the year 196 B.C. in this reign.
182 Ptolemy Philometor. Philometor first reigned alone, and then jointly
with his brother Physcon I., and again alone, Physcon being
allotted by the Romans Cyrene as a separate kingdom. During
the reign of Philometor Egypt recovered a little of its former
greatness and prosperity. A Jewish temple was built at On by
Onias, the high priest of the Jews.
146 Ptolemy Euergetes II. (Physcon). A cruel tyrant and a debauchee. In
132 the Alexandrians revolted and made Cleopatra his sister and
divorced wife queen, Physcon retiring to Cyprus. He recovered his
throne in 125. “Pharaoh's bed” at Philæ was built in this reign.
117 Ptolemy Lathyrus. The son of Physcon; he first reigned jointly with
his mother Cleopatra Circe, but was afterwards banished, and his

brother Ptolemy' Alexander 1. put in his place. Alexander
murdered his mother, and was killed himself in a naval battle.
Lathyrus then reigned alone. Thebes rebelled against him and
was utterly destroyed.
81 Ptolemy Alexander II. Reigned. jointly with his step-mother Berenice;
murdered her, and was then killed himself.
81 Ptolemy Auletes or Dionysus I. An illegitimate son of Lathyrus.
Was driven from the throne in 57, but reinstated by Gabinius, the
Roman pro-consul in Syria. Diodorus visited Egypt during this
reign. The temple of Kom Ombos was finished, and those of
Esneh and. Denderah begun, in this reign.
Cleopatra. Was left by her father Autetes joint heir with her brother
Ptolemy Dionysus II., under the guardianship of the Roman Senate.
Is banished by Dionysus. Pompey, seeking refuge in Egypt after
his defeat at Pharsalia, is murdered with Dionysus' consent.
Cæsar, after a long struggle, in the course of which Dionysus was
drowned in the Nile, reinstated Cleopatra, but gave her as a
colleague another brother, also named Ptolemy, whom she murdered.
Cæsarion, her son by Cæsar, was then appointed
co-regent. On the death of Cæsar, Antony, who had summoned
the Queen to Tarsus, to answer for having allowed her forces
to take the side of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi, fell a victim
to her charms, and passed the greater part of the next nine
years with her in idleness. During this time Octavianus was
gradually rising in power, and on the Roman Senate declaring
Antony an enemy of the State, he marched against Egypt, defeated
the combined naval forces of Antony and Gleopatra at Actium,
and took Alexandria. Antony and Cleopatra both committed
suicide, and Egypt became a Roman province governed by prefects.


This includes the period, an uneventful one for Egypt, during which it
formed a part first of the Roman Empire as a whole, and then of the Roman
Empire of the East. The reign of the Roman emperors is sometimes reckoned
as a XXXIVth Dynasty, their style and title in the hieroglyphic inscriptions
being, besides Autocrator, Cæsar, Son of the Sun, and King of Upper and
Lower Egypt, as in the old days of independence.
Augustus. Octavius in the year 27 became sole ruler of the Roman
Empire under the title of Cæsar Augustus. The government of
Egypt was given to a prefect, who was always to be of equestrian
rank: the first was Cornelius Gallus. The Julian year was brought
into use and other changes made, but the ancient religion was not
interfered with, and inscriptions at Denderah, Philæ, and Kalabsheh
prove that temple-building was still carried on.: The Ethiopians,
under Queen Candace, invaded Egypt, but were repulsed by Ælius
Galus, the third prefect, who marched as far as Napata, but
did not hold the country, fixing the boundary at Hiera Sycaminon,
seventy miles, or twelve schæni, beyond Syene (Assooán), whence
that part was called Dodecashænus. Strabo visited Egypt during
the prefecture of Ælius Gallus.
14 Tiberius. The name of this emperor is found on many Egyptian

monuments at Denderah, Thebes, Philæ, &c. Germanicus visited
Egypt, going as far as Syene.
37 Caligula. During this reign the Jews, who formed a large and
important part of the population of Alexandria, were persecuted;
Philo pleaded their cause against Apion, and Josephus wrote an
answer to the latter's attacks upon the Jews and their religion.
41 Claudius. The Jews regained the rights of citizenship taken from
them in the last reign. Greek and Roman merchants began to
use Egypt as a commercial station on the road to India, going by the
old route up the Nile to Coptos, and thence to Berenice on the Red
Sea. Lake Mœris, owing to the embankments being neglected,
began to dry up. The name of Claudius is found on many temples.
55 Nero. Christianity is said to have been introduced into Egypt during
this reign by St. Mark: according to Eusebius the first bishop was
named Annianus. Constant attacks on the southern frontier were
made by the Blemmyes, a tribe of Ethiopian Arabs.
68 Galba; Otho; and Vitellius followed one another within the space of a year.
69 Vespasian.U Visited Alexandria soon after being proclaimed emperor,
and in the following year despatched thence Titus on the expedition
against the Jews, which ended in the siege and capture of Jerusalem.
The temple of Esneh was finished in this reign.
79 Titus. The only trace of his reign is his name on one or two temples.
82 Domitian. Juvenal, banished to Syene during this reign, has left some
account of the condition of the country, and of its religious superstitions.
Domitian encouraged the Egyptian religion by building
temples to Isis and Serapis at Rome.
97 Nerva relieved the Jews from the poll-tax they had hitherto paid.
98 Trajan. The Jews revolted at Alexandria, but were put down, and
the poll-tax restored. The Red Sea and Nile canal was re-opened,
starting however from a different point of the river, Babylon above
Cairo instead of Bubastis, and was called the Amnis Trajanus.
117 Hadrian. Visited Egypt twice. On the first occasion was accompanied
by Antinous, who was drowned in the Nile; the emperor built
a city near the spot, called Antinoë or Antinoöpolis, some ruins of
which exist opposite Roda. His queen Sabina was with him
when he visited Thebes some years after; one of her attendants,
Julia Balbilla, has recorded the event on the foot of one of the
Colossi. To judge from his letter to Servianus (p. 134), Hadrian
had a poor opinion of the Egyptians.
138 Antoninus Pius. The survey of all the military roads of the Roman
Empire, known as the Itinerary of Antoninus, was made in this
reign. It included the roads of Egypt, six in number, of which
the two principal were from Babylon opposite Memphis along the east
bank of the Nile to Contra Pselcis in Nubia, and from Alexandria
along the east bank to Hiera Sycaminon in Nubia.
Marcus Aurelius. The Egyptian legions proclaim Avidius Cassius,
who had successfully quelled some revolted Arabs in the Delta,
emperor; before, however, the arrival of Aurelius at Alexandria,
they repented and put Avidius and his son Mæcianus to death.
The spread of Christianity is shown by the appointment of three
bishops under the Bishop of Alexandria, who henceforth is styled
Patriarch. The first patriarch was Demetrius.
181 Commodus. About this period the Coptic alphabet was formed by tho
addition to the Greek alphabet of six letters taken from the hieroglyphics.
194 Pertinax. Niger. The latter had commanded the legions in Egypt
employed in repelling the incursions of the Saracens, as they were
already sometimes called, during the reign of Commodus, and was
proclaimed emperor by the Egyptians at the same time as Septimius
Severus; was defeated by the latter and killed.
Septimius Several. Visited Egypt, and granted several privileges to
the Alexandrians. Issued an edict forbidding any one from becoming
a Jew or a Christian. An active persecution followed, during which
the celebrated school of Catechists at Alexandria, which included
at that period Pantænus, Clemens of Alexandria, and Origen, was
broken up. Julius Africanus wrote his work on Chronology.
211 Caracalla. On the occasion of his visit to Egypt, he revenged himself on
the Alexandrians for the jokes they had made at his expense by
massacring all the youths of an age to bear arms. He also took
away many of their privileges, and favoured the native Egyptians,
giving some of them a seat in the senate, and cultivating their
religion by building a temple in Rome to Isis.
217 Macrinus was declared emperor by the Egyptians on the murder of
Caracalla, but he was soon defeated and killed by
218 Elagabalus, whom however the Egyptians would not for some time
acknowledge, and sanguinary contests took place in Alexandria.
222 Alexander Severus. This reign is chiefly remarkable for having witnessed
the foundation of the School of Neo-Platonists by Ammonius Saccas,
and his pupils Plotinus and Longinus. Heraclas succeeded Demetrius
as patriarch, and increased the number of bishops to twenty. During
the civil wars that took place after the death of Alexander, the
Egyptians appear to have acknowledged in turn the various pretenders that succeeded one another from 235 to 249.
249 Decius. The Christians in Egypt were much persecuted in this reign.
252 Gallus. Egypt was visited by a dreadful plague.
254 Valerian. Another persecution of the Christians took place.
Gallienus. On the death of his father Valerian, who was defeated and
put to death by Sapor king of Persia, Gallienus associated with
himself as emperor Odenathus, king of Palmyra, who as the ally
of Rome had for a long time guarded its eastern frontier. The
Egyptians, however, declared for Macrianus, and, after he had
been defeated and killed by Domitian, the general of Gallienus
for Æmilianus Alexander who met with the same fate. Gallienus
stopped the persecution of the Christians, and accorded them full
toleration. On the death of Odenathus, his queen Zenobia declared
war against Rome, and invaded Egypt, which she claimed as a descendant
of Cleopatra; but, though she defeated the Roman army,
she did not succeed in gaining Egypt, Claudius being acknowledged
emperor on the death of Gallienus.
270 Aurelian. On the death of Claudius, Zenobia renewed her attacks on
Egypt, and was for a short time successful, being acknowledged as
queen, and granted by Aurelian the rank of his colleague. He soon,
however, led his forces against her, and, having defeated her at
Emessa, took her prisoner to Rome. Her son Vaballathus was
allowed to rule for a short time, but was soon deposed and put to
death. The Egyptians then set up Firmus, a Syrian, who established
his court at Coptos and Ptolemaïs, but he likewise was conquered
and slain by Aurelian. Nero, the patriarch, built the church
of St. Mary at Alexandria, the first Christian church built in Egypt.
276 Frobus had been left by Aurelian in command of the army in Egypt,
and continued in that post during the regency of Aurelian's widow
Severina, and the short reign of his son Tacitus. On the death of
Tacitus, the Egyptian legions proclaimed Probus emperor. The
Blemmyes, who had obtained possession of Upper Egypt, were reduced
to obedience.
Diocletian. Upper Egypt rebelled under Achilleus, and its example
was followed by Alexandria. Diocletian himself marched against
the rebels, and took Coptos and Busiris. He, however, resolved to
fix the limit of the empire at Elephantine, and gave up the Dodecaschænus
to the Nobatæ. He afterwards besieged and took
Alexandria, and put Achilleus to death. The column known as
Pompey's Pillar was erected to commemorate his stopping the
pillage of the city by his troops. Issued his famous edict against
the Christians, and the persecution which followed was nowhere
more severe than in Egypt.
Galeriuts. Maximin. Licinius. These three reigned in the East while
Constantine Chlorus and his son Constantino reigned in the West.
The persecution of the Christians was continued. Arius, a presbyter
of Alexandria, first broached his heresy, and the Bible was translated
into Coptic during this period.
Constantino the Great. After defeating Licinius near Adrianople, Constantino became sole emperor. The Christians were released from
every civil and religious disability by the emperor, himself a
Christian. In consequence of the disputes as to the nature of Christ
between Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria, and Arius, the Emperor,
who had been appealed to, summoned the Council of Nice,
where the question whether the Son was of the same or only of
similar substance with the Father (homoousios, or homoiousios) was
disputed by Arius as the champion of the latter form of belief, and
Athanasius, a deacon of Alexandria, of the former. The decision in
favour of the Homoousians was embodied in what is known as the
Nicene Creed. After the foundation of Constantinople, Alexandria
began to decline in importance.
338 Constantius at first divided the empire with his two brothers Constantino II. and Constans, but afterwards reigned alone. He
favoured Arianism, and deposed Athanasius, who had been made
bishop of Alexandria. After a long struggle, George of Cappadocia
was elected bishop by the Arians, and the followers of Athanasius
were severely persecuted. The monastic system, which had been
first started in Egypt at the end of the last century, began now to
assume considerable proportions under the influence and example of
St. Antony.
361 Julian. Under the patronage of this emperor paganism regained its
ascendency for a short time. George of Cappadocia was murdered
by the Alexandrian mob, and Athanasius again returned to power,
only, however, to be banished again. He was recalled by Jovian,
but was once more sent away by
Valens, who, however, afterwards allowed him to return and die in peace
at Alexandria. Monasticism had now reached its full growth. The
Thebaïd and the district of Nitria (Wady Natroon) swarmed with
hermits and anchorites, living either separately or in communities.
One of the most famous monasteries was that founded by Pachomius
and 1400 monks on the island of Tabenna, near Denderah, where
Rufinus afterwards found 3000 monks. The city of Oxyrhinchus, according
to the same authority, boasted of 10,000 monks and 20,000

nuns. In Nitria there were said to be 5000 hermits and 50 monasteries.
379 Theodosius I. in his first year issued an edict proclaiming Christianity
the religion of the Empire. The temple of Serapis at Alexandria
was destroyed, and the old Egyptian religion proscribed.
394 Arcadius. The Roman Empire was divided on the death of Theodosius,
Arcadius the elder son ruling the East from Constantinople, and
Honorius the younger the West from Rome. Violent disputes took
place in Egypt between those who affirmed and those who denied
that the Creator was of human form; the former party, who were
called Anthropomorphites, led by Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria,
attacked and exterminated their opponents.
Theodosius II. Cyril succeeded Theophilus as patriarch of Alexandria.
Hypatia, the daughter of Theon, murdered by the Christians. The
doctrines of Nestorius are condemned at the Council of Ephesus,
chiefly through the exertions of Cyril.
Marcian. The doctrine of Eutyches, that Christ possessed but one
nature, the divine, and was in no respect human, is condemned by
the Council of Chalcedon. The decision was rejected by the
Egyptian Church, which adhered to the monophysite doctrine of
Eutyches. Upper Egypt was overrun by the Nobatæ or Nubians
in this reign; Silco, their king, has recorded his victories at Kalabsheh.
An inscription at Philæ shows that the worship of Isis and
Serapis was still practised more than seventy years after the edict of
457 Leo. Leo the Younger.
Zeno. In order to put a stop to the quarrels between the two parties in
the Church, and the continual struggles between the patriarchs of
Alexandria nominated by the emperor, and those who had been
chosen by the people, the emperor issued an edict, called the Henoticon,
affirming the doctrine of the Incarnation, without however defining
the question of a double or single nature. Like most attempts at a
compromise, it proved a failure.
Anastasius. The Persians invaded Egypt; their retreat was followed
by a famine.
518 Justin I.
527 Justinian. A final separation took place between the Orthodox or
Melchite party and the Monophysites or Jacobites, who were afterwards
called Copts: each had its patriarch. The convents of
St. Catherine at Mount Sinai and of St. Paul and St. Antony in the
desert near the Red Sea were built probably as fortresses to repel the
attacks of the Arabs.
566 Justin II. Tiberius II. Mauricius. Phocas.
Heraclius. The Persians under Chosroes invaded Egypt and held
it for ten years, but, weakened by the rising of their Arab allies
in the year of the Hégira or Flight of Mahomet, they were driven
out by Heraclius. He in his turn soon had to make terms with
the followers of Mohammed, who, however, overran Syria and,
entering Egypt, rapidly made themselves masters of the country,
the capture of Alexandria by Amer or Amroo marking the end of
the Roman rule over Egypt.


This may be called the Mohammedan period. Egypt accepted the religion
of its Arab conquerors, and henceforth formed a part of the kingdom of the
Khalifs. Its history during this period is generally devoid of interest.
Omar. Amroo, or Amer ibn el As, entered Egypt in 638 by way of
Pelusium, and advanced up the country to Memphis: thence, after
taking the neighbouring fortress of Babylon, he marched to Alexandria,
of which he became master after a siege of fourteen months.
On the date of his entry into the city—Friday, December 22, 640,
the first day of the Mohammedan month Moharram, and the New
Year's day of the twentieth year of the Hégira—Egypt ceased to be
a Roman province. Amer founded Fostat (Old Cairo ), and the
mosque there which bears his name; and restored the canal between
the Nile and the Red Sea.
644 Othman. Conquest of Africa begun by Abdallah ibn Saad, who had
replaced Amer as governor of Egypt.
656 Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, maintained a constant struggle for
the Khalifat with Moawiyeh. Assassinated 661.


661 Moawiyeh. After the death of Ali, and the abdication of his son
Hassan, Moawiyeh obtained undisputed possession of the Khalifate,
and founded the dynasty of the Ommiades, which reigned for nearly
100 years. Constantinople was besieged by the Arabs without
680 Yezeed I., son of Moawiyeh. Hoseyn, Ali's second son, assuming the
title of Khalif, is defeated and killed at Kerbela.
Moawiyeh II., son of Yezeed, abdicated after a reign of six months, when
Merwán I., also of the family of Ommiah, was elected Khalif, and
reigned a short year.
684 Abd el Melek, son of Merwán, completed the conquest of Africa. Abd
el Azeez, his brother, made a Nilometer at Helwán, near Cairo.
First Arab coinage struck.
El Weleed, son of Abd el Melek. First Nilometer at the island of
Roda built by Usámeh ibn Zeyd. Spain conquered by the Moslems;
and India invaded by them.
Soolaymán, brother of El Weleed; Omar II., son of Abd el Azeez;
Yezeed II., son of Abd el Melek; Heshám, brother of Abd el Melek,
during whose reign the Saracens under Abd er Rahmán, were defeated
by Charles Martel; El Weleed II., son of Yezeed; Yezeed III. and Ibrahim, sons of El Weleed II. All these followed one another
in quick succession.
744 Merwán II., grandson of Merwán I., and last of the Ommiades. He
was defeated by Aboo 'l Abbas, and killed at Abooseer in the


749 Aboo 'l Abbas, a descendant of Abbas, an uncle of Mohammed's. Founded
the dynasty of the Abbasides, and put to death all the descendants of
Merwán I., with the exception of Abd er Rahmán, who escaped and
established the Ommiade dynasty at Cordova in Spain.
El Mansoor, brother of Abbas. Founded Bagdad, and made it the
capital of the Abbaside Khalifs.
775 El Mahdes Mohammed; El Hadee Moosa. Sons of El Mansoor.
Haroon er Rasheed, also a son of El Mansoor. The famous hero of
Arabian tales. Ibrahim ibn el Agleeb, governor of Egypt, declared
himself independent, and founded the Aglebite dynasty, of which the
capital was Kayrewan, 70 miles south of Tunis. The kingdom of
Fez was also founded by the Edrissites in this reign.
809 El Ameen, son of Haroon.
813 El Mamoon, son of Haroon. A great encourager of arts and sciences,
particularly astronomy. Visited Egypt and patronised the learned
men there. Caused Arabic translations of Greek authors to be
made. Opened the Great Pyramid in the hope of finding treasure.
El Mautússim, brother of Mamoon. El Wathek, son of Mautússim.
Rome attacked by the Saracens.
847 El Motawúkkel, brother of Wathek. Built the Nilometer at the island
of Roda, now existing.
861 El Muntusser, son of Motawúkkel. El Mostain. El Mautuz.


Ahmed ibn Tooloon. Governor of Egypt. Declares himself independent
of the Khalifs. Usurps the sovereignty of the country, and founds
the dynasty of the Tooloonides. Added the suburb of Kataeéa to
Fostat, and built the mosque that bears his name. Arab writers
celebrate his wealth, magnificence, and warlike successes.
884 Khamaraweeyeh, son of Tooloon. Built a palace at Fostat.
896 Asáker; Haroon, Sons of Khamaraweeyeh. Magházee Sheeban, son of
Tooloon. With him the dynasty ends.


906 Muktuffee. Egypt subject to the Khalifs. Kataeea burnt.
Muktuddir. During this reign Abayd Allah el Mahdee usurped the
government of Eastern Africa, and founded the dynasty of the
Fatemites at Tunis. He invaded Egypt, but was defeated by
932 El Káher. Er Rádee.


936 Mohammed el Akhsheed. Usurps the government of Egypt.
948 Abool Kasem; Abool Hassan. Sons of Mohammed.
967 Kafoor; a black slave. Abool Fowáris, son of Abool Hassan.


El Moëz, or Aboo Tummeem, great grandson of Abayd Allah, the founder
of the Fatemite dynasty at Tunis. Sent Gowher with an army to
invade Egypt, which he took. Built the city of Masr el Káherah
(Cairo), and transferred the seat of government there, assuming at
the same time the title of Khalif.
975 El Azeez. Encouraged learning and science. Converted the mosque
of El Azhar at Cairo, which had been built by Gowher, into an
El Hakim succeeded his father Azeez at 10 years old. Believed

himself to be an incarnation of the Deity, and in conjunction with
Ed Derazi and Hamzeh founded the sect of the Druses. He
persecuted the Christians and plundered their churches. Many of
the Christians turned Musulmans. Built the mosque of Häkim at
Cairo. Was assassinated at the instigation, it is said, of his sister.
The followers of his sect, however, believe that he was withdrawn
from the world, and that he will reappear as the mehdee or last
Imám, to receive the adoration of all mankind.
1021 El Zahir, son of Hakim.
1036 Ez Mustansir, son of Zahir. The Turcomans, who had been gradually
rising in power since 980, attack Egypt, but are repulsed. In his
reign the King of Abyssinia is said to have stopped the waters of
the Nile, until the Coptic patriarch prayed him to cut the dam.
Fostat began to decay. El Mustansir rebuilt the three gates of
El Mustálee, son of Mustanser. Takes Jerusalem and other Syrian
towns from the Turks; but is immediately deprived of them by the
Crusaders, under Godfrey de Bouillon.
1101 El Amer. El Háfuz. Ed Dháfer. El Fivéz.
1160 El Aadud. The intrigues of Shawer and Darghan for the office of
Vizier bring about the dissolution of the dynasty. The former is
assisted by Noor ed Deen, the ruler of Aleppo, with Kurdish troops
under Salah ed Deen (Saladin), but afterwards quarrels with them
and drives them out of Egypt with the assistance of Amaury.
king of Jerusalem, who in his turn endeavours to gain possession of
Egypt, and penetrates to Cairo, but Fostat is burnt on his approach
and he is compelled to retreat, the Kurds being again called in.
Shirkuh, a Kurd, becomes Vizier, and afterwards Salah ed Deen.


Melek Yoosef Salah ed Deen (Saladin). On the death of Aadud, Saladin
usurped the sovereignty and founded the Ayoobite dynasty of Kurds.
He afterwards obtained possession of Syria on the death of Noor ed
Deen. Defeated the Crusaders at the battle of Hattin, overthrew
the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and retook that city. Successfully
repulsed the Third Crusade under Frederick Barbarossa, Philip
Augustus, and Richard Cœur de Lion. Built the citadel and walls
of Cairo (1166).
1193 Melek el Azeez, second son of Saladin.
1200 Melek el Mansoor, son of Azeez; a child.
1200 Melek el Adel, brother of Saladin. Usurps the throne.
Melek el Kámel, son of El Adel. The Crusaders. (Fifth Crusade)
penetrate into Egypt and take Damietta, but are obliged to abandon
it after being defeated at a spot where El Kámel was building a
new city, which he called Mansoorah (the Victorious). The
Emperor Frederick II. also obtains possession of Jerusalem and
other Syrian towns. Endeavoured, according to the Arab historians,
to demolish the Third Pyramid.
1238 Melek el Adel, son of El Kámel.
Melek es Sáleh, brother of El Adel. Louis IX, (St. Louis) of France,
at the head of the Sixth Crusade, captures Damietta, but is taken
prisoner at Mansoorah while marching on Cairo, and only released
on the evacuation of Damietta and the payment of 400,000 pieces
of gold.
1249 Melek el Moëzzem, son of Sáleh. Murdered by his father's Memlooks.
1250 Shegeret ed Door, widow of Sáleh. Abdicates after three months.
1250 Melek el Ashraf. Deposed by the Memlook Moëz.


1250 El Moëz, Eibeg et Toorkománee. Marries Shegeret, and is killed by
her from jealousy.
1256 El Mansoor, son of Moëz.
1259 El Mozuffer. Recovers Syria from the Tartars.
Ez Záhir Baybers. A Memlook slave. Succeeds to the throne after
assassinating Mozuffer. Repels a fresh invasion of the Tartars in
Syria, takes Damascus, and extends his conquests over a great part
of Armenia. Brings the representative of the Abbaside Khalifs,
El Hakim be Omr Illah, who had been dethroned by the Mongols,
to Egypt, and recognises him as nominal Khalif. From this
period until the taking of Egypt by Sultan Selim, the Abbaside
Khalifs held nominal sway in Egypt. Death of St. Louis before
1277 Mohammed es Said; El Adel Beder ed Deen. Sons of Baybers.
El Mansoor Kalaoon. A Memlook slave. Continued the warlike
enterprises of Baybers by defeating the Mongolians at Homs,
recovering Damascus, which had been again lost, capturing Tripoli,
&c. At home his reign was celebrated by alternate acts of cruelty
and beneficence. In one of his fits of anger he delivered up Cairo
to sword and plunder for three days. In the eyes of native historians
the good acts of his reign have outweighed the evil. In
modern Cairo his name is handed down as that of a great physician.
Founded the Muristán at Cairo.
El Ashraf Khaleel, son of Kalaoon. Takes Akka (Acre) from the
Christians. The Khan Khaleel at Cairo built.
En Nasr Mohammed, son of Kalaoon. Succeeds at nine years old.
Is dethroned by Ketbogha, who usurps the sceptre, but is in his
turn overthrown by Hesám Lageen. On the assassination of the
latter, Nasr is restored. After ten years, however, he is again deposed,
and El Mozuffer Baybers proclaimed in his stead. Nasr
again returns, and, with the help of the Syrian Emeers with
whom he had taken refuge at Kerak on the Dead See, regains the
throne. The Arab historians celebrate him as a powerful and
wealthy monarch, whose territories extended from Tunis to Bagdad,
and who greatly increased the prosperity and well-being of Egypt
by making and restoring canals, encouraging agriculture, and fostering
the arts. Cairo was greatly extended and embellished by
him. He built the mosque of Nasr in the Citadel.
1341 Seven sons of Nasr followed him in quick succession—El Mansoor
Aboo Bekr; El Ashraf Kegek; En Nasr Shahab ed Deen; Es Saleh
Ismail; El Kámel Shaban; El Meduffer
; and
Hassan, a minor at the time of his accession; he was deposed by Es
, but recovered his throne three years later. During the
interval a fearful plague devastated Egypt. Built the mosque
at Cairo which bears his name. Was again dethroned and assassinated.
1361 El Mansoor Mohammed, grandson of Kalaoon.
El Ashraf Shaabán, great grandson of Kalaoon. Ordered the Shereefs
or descendants of Mohammed to wear green turbans. Peter de
Lusignan, king of Cyprus, besieges Alexandria, but fails.
1377 El Mansoor Ali. Es Sáleh Hágee, the last of the dynasty.


Ez Zahir Berkook. A Circassian slave, who deposed Hágee and
usurped the throne. Was dethroned by the Emeers, but regained
his power the following year. He built the tomb mosque of
En Nasr Fareq, son of Berkook. Is engaged in continual warfare
with the Tartars, whom he finally defeats, and in putting down
repeated revolts of the turbulent Memlooks. Is put to death by
El Moaiyud. Many sumptuary laws enacted against the Christians
and Jews. Revolts in Syria successfully put down. Built the mosque
known by his name, at Cairo.
1421 El Meduffer Ahmed. Ez Záhir Tatar. Es Sáleh Mohammed.
1422 El Ashraf Bursabey. Attacked Cyprus and took the king, John III.,
prisoner, but released him on the promise of an annual tribute.
Concluded a peace with the Tartars. Gained possession of Jeddah,
the port of Mecca, and monopolised the Indian trade there.
1438 Abd el Azeez. Ez Záhir Gekmeh.
1453 El Mansoor Othman. El Ashraf Eenál. Constantinople taken by the
1461 El Moaiyud Ahmed. Ez Záhir Khoshkadem.
1467 Ez Záhir Bolbey. Ez Záhir Tumr Boghá.
El Ashraf Kaitbey. A Memlook of Ez Záhir Gekmeh. Elected by
the Emeers. After a successful war against the Turks under
Sultans Mahmood and Bajazid, Kaitbey concluded a treaty of peace
with them. Cyprus taken by the Venetians, who, however, continued
to pay the tribute to Egypt. Is compelled by the riotous
Memlooks to abdicate in favour of his son. There are numerous
monuments of his reign in Cairo.
1496 En Nasr Mohammed. Ez Záhir Kansooh.
1500 El Ashraf Ganbalát. El Adel Tomán Bey.
El Ghóree Khansooh. A Memlook of Kaitbey. Was over 60 years of
age when chosen to succeed Tomán. Built the mosque and
schools at Cairo that bear his name, and rebuilt in stone Saladin's
wooden aqueduct. Encouraged learning. Fitted out an expedition
against the Portuguese in order to injure their trade with India by
the Cape route. Entered into correspondence with the Doge of
Venice with the view of making the . Was defeated by
the Turks under Selim I. near Aleppo, and slain.
1517 El Ashraf Tomán Bey, nephew of Ghóree. After the defeat and
death of Ghóree, Selim advanced on Egypt, and, after defeating
Tomán at Heliopolis, entered Cairo. Tomán was taken and
hanged outside the Báb ez Zuweyleh. With him ended the
Memlook dynasty, and Egypt became a Turkish Pashalic.
1543 Though Selim abolished the monarchy, he left the aristocracy of the
Memlooks on certain conditions; the chief of which were—annual
tribute, obedience in matters of faith to the decisions of the Mufti
of Constantinople, and the insertion of the name of the Sultan of
the Osmanlis in the public prayers and on coins. Selim also compelled
the lost scion of the Abbaside Khalifs, El Motawúkkel, to
leave Cairo and reside at Constantinople; and at his death
the Sultans of Constantinople assumed the title of Khalif.
The history of Egypt for the next 250 years is almost entirely without
interest. The Turkish Pashas who nominally governed the country

soon became subordinate to the Memlook Beys, one of whom, All
, declared himself independent, conquered Arabia and Syria,
and allied himself with Russia against the Turks. At his death
his son-in-law, Aboo Dahab, was recognised by the Sultan as
ruler of Egypt. The chief power after Aboo Dahab's death was
shared by Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey, who opposed
Napoleon Buonaparte when he landed at Alexandria (July 1) for the
purpose of occupying Egypt. They were defeated, however, at the
Battle of the Pyramids (July 21), and Napoleon entered Cairo.
Immediately after (Aug. 1), the French fleet was destroyed by
Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. Napoleon, after completely breaking
the power of the Memlooks, left Egypt on his Syrian expedition,
and on his return to France appointed General Kleber as commander
in Egypt. Kleber signed the convention of El Areesh (Jan. 24),
for the evacuation of Egypt by the French; but the convention
being broken, he marched on Cairo, defeated the Turks at
Heliopolis (March 20), and retook the city. He was assassinated
(June 14), and General Menou succeeded to the command. The
French were defeated by the English under Sir Ralph Abercromby
at the battle of Alexandria (March 13), and driven out of Egypt.
After the French occupation, Egypt once more fell a prey to the
Memlooks and anarchy till the Porte appointed
Mohammed Ali, a Roumelian, born at Cavala in 1768, Pasha of
Egypt. He established his power by the massacre of all the
Memlook beys in the citadel of Cairo. Various expeditions, under
his sons Toossoon and Ibrahim Pasha, were undertaken against
the Wahabees in Arabia, and the countries bordering the Nile as
far as Khartoom, which he founded. He also endeavoured to
ameliorate the condition of the country by making new canals
and embankments, improving the system of agriculture, founding
schools, and introducing various forms of European civilization.
During the Greek war he sent troops to aid the Turks, but soon
afterwards declared himself independent of the Porte and invaded
Syria, which was quickly overrun by the Egyptians under his
son Ibrahim, and the Turkish fleet totally destroyed at Konieh
(Iconium). By the intervention of the European Powers his victorious
career was stopped, and a peace signed at Kutayah in
which he acknowledged the suzerainty of the Porte. The war
again breaking out, Ibrahim defeated the Turks at Nezib and
menaced Constantinople, but was compelled to quit Syria by the
European Powers. Mohammed Ali then acknowledged the suzerainty
of the Porte, and in return the Sultan Abdul Medjid made
the government of Egypt hereditary in his family, subject to the
payment of an annual tribute. Owing to his mind failing, Mohammed
Ali resigned, and was succeeded by
1848 Ibrahim, his son, who died after reigning 4 months.
1849 Abbas, son of Toossoon and grandson of Mohammed Ali. Soon after
his accession his grandfather died, August 2, 1849. A cruel and
avaricious ruler, who was murdered by his own slaves.
Said, son of Mohammed Ali. Endeavoured to carry on the work of
reform and progress begun by his father. Completed the railway
from Alexandria to Cairo, and supported the scheme for making
the , which was begun in his reign. Encouraged the
discovery and preservation of the old monuments of the country, and
founded the Boolak Museum. Visited England. Died Jan. 18, 1863.
Ismail, son of Ibrahim and grandson of Mohammed Ali. Born Dec.
31, 1830. Continued the work of progress and reform by constructing
railways, canals, harbours, and telegraphs, organizing a
postal system, increasing the number of schools, &c. Obtained
from the Porte, in return for additional tribute, the right of
succession to his children in the direct line, and the title of
Khedive. Visited England July 1867. The opened
Nov. 19, 1869. Completion of the docks at Suez. The new harbour and quays at Alexandria begun. The Khedive obtains a
firman from the Porte granting him further privileges, and rendering
him almost independent, these concessions being paid
for by a fresh addition to the tribute, which was raised to nearly
700,000l. Owing to the rapidly increasing debt of the country,
which threatened insolvency, the revenue and expenditure
were placed under the control of a commission, chiefly European.
The Khedive surrendered his private estates towards meeting the
requirements of the debt, and consented to the appointment of an
English Minister of Finance (Mr. Rivers Wilson) and a French
Minister of Public Works (M. de Blignières). These, however, he
soon dismissed, as well as the members of the Financial Commission.
The European governments in consequence required tho Porte to
dethrone him.
1879 Tewfik , eldest son of Ismail, succeeded on the deposition of his father.
1880 Appointment of the Commission of Liquidation to prepare a law for
the settlement of the Egyptian debt.
1881 Military Revolt. In December the Chamber of Notables expressed a
wish to examine the Egyptian budget. This was refused, and the socalled
National movement commenced.
1882 The situation became more strained. On the 20th May the French and
English Fleets entered Alexandria. On the 11th July the forts of
Alexandria were bombarded by the English fleet. This was followed
by the invasion of Egypt by an English army and the occupation
of Cairo on the 14th September. About the same time the
rebellion in the Soudan became serious.
Hicks Pasha was defeated in Kordofan, and a force was sent under
Baker Pasha to Suakin. In December the English Government
ordered the Khedive to abandon the whole of the Soudan. Sheriff
Pasha refused to comply, and was succeeded by Nubar Pasha as
Prime Minister. An English expedition was sent to Suakin,
which defeated the rebels near that place and returned to Cairo.
General Gordon was sent to Khartoum. In August it was decided
to send an English expedition up the Nile to assist Gordon.
1885 The English force having failed to arrive in time, Khartoum fell on
the 26th January, and Gordon was killed. The whole Soudan was
then given up from Wady Halfa to the South.
1886 Reforms carried out in Egypt under English officials. The English
troops remained in occupation.
1887 Sir H. Drummond Wolff sent to Constantinople to conclude a convention
with the Porte respecting the occupation of Egypt, but the
Sultan declined to sign it.



Like the Chinese system of writing, that of the ancient Egyptians must at
first have been purely symbolic. But in the earliest inscriptions yet discovered,
it is already something more. Picture-writing is so far retained
that a determinative assists the reader in every sentence. But grammatical
inflections, and many ideas very far abstracted from mere representation of
tangible objects, are clearly expressed. How long it took to grow we know not;
but the few writings of the time of the IIIrd Dynasty extant show that the
power of recording had even then reached a point far removed from infancy.
In the great days of the XIIth, XVIIIth, and XIXth Dynasties a further
development took place, and poetry appears in many inscriptions, hymns, epics,
odes, and even ballads or lyric pieces, like the song of the ox-driver on the
walls of a tomb at El Kalh (p. 514). Under the Ptolemies many letters were
added, and many sounds represented, foreign to the original forms; and we
find the hieroglyphs still in use for religious inscriptions as late as the reign
of the Emperor Decius, A.D. 250. Within a very few years from this time,
however, the knowledge of hieroglyphs was entirely lost, and the most
absurd guesses were made as to their meaning by mediæval and modern
authors before, and even in, the present century. The preservation of the
ancient language in the so-called Coptic dialect was eventually the means of
placing the key to the whole system in the hands of an Englishman, Thomas
Young, who in his Account of some Recent Discoveries in Hieroglyphical Literature (London, Murray, 1823) amply but modestly vindicated his claim to
priority. This fact should not be forgotten, as, though Young did but find
the key for others to use, those who borrowed it from him have for the
most part been content to ignore his labours altogether.
The proximate cause of Young's discovery was undoubtedly the capture in
1799 of a fragmentary inscription found at Rosetta by some French engineers,
and taken to England by the English fleet. But it was not until 1814 that
Dr. Young made his first communication on the subject to the Society of
Antiquaries, and offered a complete translation of the three inscriptions—
Greek, enchorial, and hieroglyphic—which appear on the black basalt slab now
in the British Museum. He afterwards deciphered various other inscriptions,
more or less correctly, in the three forms of Egyptian writing described below.
A particular account of the discovery was circulated on the Continent after
the peace in 1815, but was not generally published till 1821. Dr. Young
sent an early copy to M. Champollion, who in 1822 issued a translation in his
own name, with but slight acknowledgment of the labours of our ocuntryman.
From the time of Young and Champollion progress has not been rapid.
But Dr. Birch's Egyptian Dictionary, and the Grammar of Dr. Brugsch-Bey,
with other works of a scientific character, have rendered the study
comparatively easy, and within the last few years many important texts
have been translated. Dr. Lepsius, the Vicomte de Rougé, and M. Mariette-Bey,
with the learned Egyptologists already named, may be mentioned as
among those who have done most to clear the way.
In addition to the pure hieroglyphs, two developments of them, the hieratic and demotic or enchorial, have been referred to above. The hieratic letters
stand to the hieroglyphs as our manuscript stands to print. In the demotic
the early type is still further obscured: it came into use before the Persian
Conquest, and was largely employed by the native merchants of the time of
the Greek domination. But the hieratic occurs on papyrus as early as the

time of the XIIth Dynasty: from it, and therefore indirectly from the hieroglyphs,
the Greek Alphabet was derived; and our so-called Arabic numerals
represent some archaic forms of the same system.
In architectural inscriptions only the pure hieroglyphs were employed.
Upwards of 3000 signs have been identified. They may be divided into two
classes, as indicated by their origin in picture-writing, namely: 1. Figures; 2. Sounds. The signs which stand for sounds in one place may be used for
complete words or ideas in another, but the use of Determinatives assists the
reader. The writing is generally from right to left, but often, even in
very early examples, the reverse way, and often, like Chinese, in columns, to
suit purposes of architectural decoration. The direction is easily found by
the rule that all animals represented face towards the commencement of the
line. The best and simplest forms, both of writing and of grammar, are the
earliest. The letters are large, open, and clearly cut in the inscriptions on the
statues of Ra-hotep and Nefert in the Boolak Museum, the oldest sculptures so
far identified. The style is little changed as late as the time of Thothmes III.
Under Rameses II. it becomes smaller and closer, but perhaps more delicate.
Under the Ptolemies it has lost much of its beauty, is stiff, conventional, and
crowded. The language had, of course, changed in the interval, and the
difficulty of deciphering a recent inscription is very much greater than that
of reading the plain characters of an earlier páriod.
The principal signs employed may be briefly enumerated, with special
reference to the early Pharaonic cartouches. The name of a king is marked
by being included within an oval line. In later inscriptions the determinative,
which gives a clue to the name, is the figure of a royal personage
with his sceptre. The double kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt is
denoted by a bee, : the king by a leek—suten, . Sometimes the form
used is the word neb or lord, represented by a bowl and followed
by a double crown , and three lines signifying plurality . The
king's name is within the oval: thus the builder of the Great Pyramid
Shoofoo, is represented by a disk for the letter sh, a quail for co (the
sound of that bird's cry), an eared snake or cerastes for f, and another
quail, all within the oval. The cartouche of Chafra or Khafra is more complicated.
It begins with the name of the sun-god Ra, represented by a globe : this
symbol forms a syllable in the names of many Egyptian kings, and is sometimes
read at the beginning and sometimes at the end of the name, though
its position is usually at the head of the cartouche. Next comes the double
crown cha or kha, followed by the snake for f. Thus we have the word
Ra-cha-f, but it is generally read Chafra, in accordance with its Greek rendering,
Chephren. The same principle applies to several other names. After the
XIth Dynasty we find a system of double names, one of them a title assumed
on ascending the throne; and kings go in history sometimes by one name,
sometimes by the other. All the kings of the XXth Dynasty bore the name
of Rameses, and their cartouches are distinguished by the form of the private
name. The names of the second king of the XIIth Dynasty, being easily spelled
out, may afford an example. In the first cartouche we have the globe
for Ra; a beetle for cheper or kheper, signifying the Creator; and two arms
and hands , a very common symbol for the letter k, or the syllable ka,
which appears to mean “the living image,” or “representative.” Here then
we find the king's formal title, Ra-kheper-ka, “the representative of the Sun,
the Creator.” In the second oval we have his private name: U or O, s,

r, t, s, n, Usertasen or Osirtasen. Visitors to Heliopolis
will find these cartouches on the obelisk.
Next to the titles of kings those of great personages will be the most
important. Under the early dynasties a tomb usually contains a portrait of
the deceased, with his name and rank written over his head. At Sakkárah,
for instance, the tomb usually visited is that of a functionary whose name is
thus written . The upper letter answers to our th; the two lower ones,
written together, seem to have borne a sound very similar to our y, or
the Dutch ij. The name will thus stand Thy. It is, however, owing
to the manner in which it became first known, usually written Tih oI
Ti, in accordance with the nearest French form. One more example
may be given from the early sculptures. All visitors to the Boolak
Museum admire the remarkable seated statue of a lady taken from a tomb
at Maydoom. The back of the seat bears this inscription, which is the more
interesting as perhaps the earliest piece of writing now extant:
Here we have first a group of four signs which convey that the lady was
“cousin to the king,” suten resht. Many epitaphs contain this form. It
is appended, for instance, to the name of Tih's wife. In other words,
he was granted by his master a bride from the royal house. It occurs
also with the names of many priests and councillors, and will be
easily recognised by the visitor. The letters forming the abbreviated
group are separately, suten, r, sh, t. Next we have a group
of four letters with a determinative of sound and one of sense: N, a
letter which in a shortened form still holds a place in our alphabets; the
crowned snake or cerastes , which written fast forms our f; the mouth
r; the polisher t; n, f, r, t. By the side of the first three is the nefer,
or nofre, a guitar, an object of very frequent occurrence in the spelling of old
names. It signifies, by a play upon the words, “grace,” “beauty,” or “goodness,” or all combined, and later came to be used for “a girl,” spelled as here
with the assistance of the feminine form t, making up the word Nefert. Below
is the sitting figure, determinative of the idea of womanhood.
From these examples, purposely selected for their simplicity and antiquity,
the reader will derive some idea both of the difficulties in the way of hieroglyphic
interpretation and the helps through which they have been surmounted.

List of the more common Hieroglyphic forms.

  • a.
  • a.
  • a.
  • i.
  • i.
  • p.
  • k.
  • k.
  • k.
  • f.
  • h.
  • l.
  • m.
  • n.
  • r.
  • s.
  • s.
  • t.
  • th.
  • t or d.
  • z.
  • kha.
  • her.
  • ka.
  • mer.
  • tum.
  • am.
  • tat.
  • nefer.
  • sen.
  • us or os
  • neter.
  • kheper.
  • hotep.
  • nen.
  • u.
  • b.
  • uten.
  • ab.
  • ha.
  • h.
  • sh or kh.
  • as.
  • hor.
  • ab.
  • sh.
  • sh.
  • mes.
  • men.
  • teser.
  • ar.
  • peh.
  • nem.
  • mer.
  • nub.
  • neb.
  • ra.
  • ankh.
  • menkh.
  • setep.
  • ba.
  • sebek.

Deities used as Hieroglyphs.

  • Amen.
  • Ptah.
  • Ma.
  • Ra.
  • Set.
  • Asar or Osiris.


  • (Crown of) Lower Egypt.
  • (Crown of) Upper Egypt.
  • Upper and Lower Country.
  • a man.
  • a woman.
  • a husbandman.
  • a soldier.
  • a child.
  • a foreigner.
  • oh!
  • a proper name.
  • a priest.
  • a priest.
  • a day.
  • a month.
  • a region.
  • hills.
  • an ancestor.
  • sorrow.
  • water.
  • goddess.
  • god.
  • skin, a quadruped.
  • night.
  • roll or book, literature.
  • country.
  • district.
  • field.
  • heart, centre.
  • tomb, burial.
  • a house.
  • fort.
  • vegetation.
  • tree.


The list here given of the names of kings as sculptured on the monuments
is necessarily incomplete, but it includes all the principal rulers of Egypt
from Menes of the Ist Dynasty to the Emperor Commodus, soon after whose
time the practice of sculpturing inscriptions in hieroglyphs ceased.
A king's name is always enclosed in an elliptical frame with a base called
by Champollion a cartouche, by others an oval or shield. As has been already
explained, after the earlier dynasties each king, in addition to his own name,
assumed a royal name on ascending the throne. In the following list the
cartouche with the private name is placed first, and that with the royal name

second. The rendering of the royal name is placed underneath the double
cartouche; that of the private name, when given, above it.



The earliest Egyptian religion of which we know anything may be defined
as a very simple form of Pantheism. God was seen in all nature. Many
animals were especially sacred. The king was an incarnation of God, and
was worshipped both in life and after death. The sun was looked upon as a
visible manifestation of the deity. True, there were many divinities and many
forms, but a great majority can be accounted for as examples of the symbolism
in which the Egyptian mind delighted; and if we knew enough, it is probable
by analogy that all might be thus resolved. The oldest sculptures show no
acts of adoration or of sacrifice, except those of worship at the shrine of a

deceased ancestor or relative: yet Manetho tells us of the establishment of
the worship of the sacred bulls at Memphis and On, by Kakaoo, of the
IInd Dynasty; and the bull was already venerated as a symbol of productive
force, if we may trust the story which attributes the building of his burial-place
to Ouenephes, the fourth king of the Ist Dynasty. The bull Apis,
at Memphis, was a symbol, or perhaps rather an incarnation, of Ptah, the
creator of the world; the bull Men, at On, was the earthly representative in
like manner of Ra, the Sun.
What the religion of the next period was may perhaps partly be gathered
from the inscription on a tablet discovered near the Great Pyramid, which
contains the names of a considerable number of the divinities worshipped in
the time of the IVth Dynasty. It is the copy of a decree made by Shoofoo.
The king is called the “living Horus,” and mention is made by name of Isis,
, the Sphinx , and Athor, and representations added of Thoth, Nephthys,
Selk, Ptah, Pasht, Tum
, besides several forms of Horus and Isis. We are
here at once introduced to an extended pantheon, which even includes Khem,
the god afterwards so devotedly worshipped at Thebes. The local gods
were received at this period by all Egypt. Yet nearly all the members
of the list, long as it is, may be resolved into the two deities, Ptah
and Ra, with the addition of Isis, or the Moon. The Creator, called by
various names in various places, and venerated under various forms, was
Ptah. The vivifier, the daily renewer of life, was Ra, the Sun, whether
worshipped as on the horizon (Harmachis, of whom the Sphinx was the
visible representative), in midday strength (Ra), at sunset (Tum), during the
hours of darkness (Osiris, in the lower world), or by the addition of the mere
surname “Ra” to the title of any other god, or to that of the king himself.
Within the period known as the Early Empire (Dynasties I. to X.), the worship
of these gods was alluded to but sparingly in sculptures and paintings.
Votaries making offerings are shown very early, but no god's name is mentioned;
and the scenes made so familiar by the carvings in the tomb of Tih,
and in the painted grottoes of Beni Hassan, are domestic and agricultural,
anything but religious. Shoofoo may have worshipped Osiris, Isis, Ptah,
&c., separately and collectively; but there are many indications, though
chiefly of a negative kind, that the majority of his subjects worshipped but
one god in each place, and applied different names in different places to the
some divinity. Ptah and Ra, Osiris, Isis and Nephthys, Horus, Anubis and
Thoth, are so far hardly to be distinguished from symbolic names for different
parts of the same idea of one universal God, who formed all things out of
nothing, who makes of dead nature a living being, who rules the day and the
night, who combats evil and loves the right, who controls the domestic happiness
and the national history of men, who is typified by the most prolific, the
most beautiful, the most powerful, the most beneficent among visible beings,
and is worshipped in the sun, the moon, the king, the hawk, the bull, or
whatever else recalls the attribute to which in his devotion the suppliant
would turn. On the oldest coffin now extant, that of Menkaoora or Mycerinus,
there is a prayer to Noot, the Heaven, and Osiris is named. On the coffin of
Shoofoo-ankh, Anubis is similarly invoked. Under the VIth Dynasty the
monuments make more and more frequent mention of Osiris, who comes to
be regarded as the judge of the dead, as well as “lord of the lower world;”
and in a tablet at Boolak of this period there occurs for the first time a
form of expression which afterwards became so famous: Hapi, priest of the
temple attached to the pyramid of King Teta, is described as “justified by
A few centuries later the legendary assumes greater prominence. The arts,
which began to revive under the XIth Dynasty, revived religion with them,
but no longer in the old and simple form. The unruffled calm of the isolated

nation, as it was under the early kings, is disturbed. The contact of Egyptian
symbolism with the mystic theologies of the East produces a new phase of the
old story of creation. Under the XIIth Dynasty not only are there many new
gods, but legends are attached to the names of the older gods. Horus becomes
the offspring of (the sun and moon) Osiris and Isis, begotten after the death
(sunset) of his father, and all the changes of seasons and days are made into
divinities and have their appropriate myths. To many local objects of worship
the name of Ra was added; and while the gods of Memphis and On
received a renewed worship, the gods of Upper Egypt, Khem and Knum,
the generator and the establisher, begin to come into greater prominence.
But on the monuments Osiris is the most important deity. To him, rather
than to the dead, the friends and family offer their sacrifices. A court is
formed for him. Thoth, the recorder, Anubis, the watcher, Ma, the impersonation
of truth, and others assist in judgment on the soul. The name of the
deceased is constantly accompanied with the formula, “justified,” or “the
Osirian.” In one monument of the XIIth Dynasty, the whole of a family,
a majority of whom must have been alive at the time, are thus, by a kind
of anticipation not unknown in later times, proclaimed just. Under this
dynasty it was that the great temple of Ra at On (Heliopolis) was
rebuilt, and the obelisk first used as a symbol at once of the sun's rays and
of the generative power by which in successive ages the life of men and beasts
is carried on. Already, and even under the later kings of the XIth Dynasty,
the name of Amen, who may be looked upon as a local divinity at Coptos,
and later at Thebes, was associated with the lordship of a distant and mysterious
land in the east from which the gods were said to have come; and the
misshapen Bes, a kind of local Ptah, is honoured as a satellite of the oldest
godhead of Punt.
The great Book of the Dead, or funereal ritual, came into existence about
this time, and gradually grew into its enormous development in the time of
the Ptolemies. The most complete copy of this book, which is at Turin,
contains no fewer than 165 chapters, and describes the trials of the soul after
death. A portion of it, written on papyrus, or engraved on the coffin,
occurs in every burial under the New and Later Monarchies. The morality
inculcated is of an elevated kind, and reminds the reader in many places of
the Mosaic law. On the other hand, the purgatory of souls and the complicated
arrangement of the different stages of progress remind him rather of a
mediæval “miracle play,” or of Dante's Inferno.
With the XVIIIth Dynasty a second great revival took place. Though
the kings of the XIIth Dynasty had already built the early portion of the
temple of Amen-Khem at Karnak, it was under the Thothmes and Amunophs
or Amenhoteps that the worship of Amen assumed its full proportions.
Now legends begin to crowd thick around the names of the gods. Amen is
sometimes united with Ra, sometimes with Ptah, sometimes with Osiris,
often with Khem. The name Amen points to the idea of one “invisible,”
all-pervading god; and he was held to be united with every other god as
each attribute came into prominence. The successes of the early kings of
this dynasty against the Hyksos, and other causes of the same kind, spread
the worship of Amen over all Egypt, though at Memphis Ptah was still
regarded in one legend as the father of Amen; and at On, Ra and Amen
were identified. Towards the close of the XVIIIth Dynasty, Amunoph IV.,
influenced probably by the Shemitic connections of his family, threw off
allegiance to Amen and his hundred subject gods, and, devoting himself to
the worship of the sun alone (Aten or Adon-ai), assumed the name of
Khoo-en-aten (the sunshine, or “reflection of the sun's disk”), and built a
new capital at Tel el-Amarna, half-way between hebes and Memphis. But
the old worship was soon restored; and under the great kings of the XIXth

and XXth Dynasties, Amen and all his train of subordinate or competing
gods are again established.
From this time the religion of Egypt may be looked upon as more or less a
fixed and homogeneous system. Hadrian and Diocletian worshipped Amen
as Rameses and Amasis had done, under the forms of Apis and Horus,
Ptah, Ra and Osiris, Athor and Isis, according as they visited Memphis or
Heliopolis, Thebes or Denderah, the Cataracts or the mouths of the Nile.
Under the XIXth Dynasty began the worship of local triads, a foreshadowing
of the great Christian doctrine, which in after-ages took such hold of the
Egyptian mind, and produced, in the person of the Egyptian Athanasius,
its strongest champion. At Thebes, Amen-Khem and Amen-Ra were
associated sometimes with Horus and Athor, sometimes with Maut and
Khonsoo. Osiris and Isis are accompanied sometimes by Nephthys, sometimes
by Horus. At Denderah, where Isis was worshipped as Athor, she was associated
with Tum and Maut. At Abydos, the local triad was Osiris, Isis, and
Horus; at Elephantine, Kneph, Anouké, and Bes; at Silsilis, Ra, Ptah, and
Hapi or the Nile. The great Osirian myth is more and more elaborated.
Apis is recognised as the representative of Osiris, incarnate by the special
visitation of Ptah. Horus, too, the god of Edfoo, has his representative, the
sacred kestrel (windhover), which, hovering between heaven and earth,
symbolizes the soul; or carrying the sacred scarabæus, the image of Kheper,
the creator, signifies the resurrection. Horus appears in many other forms,
and is connected with the vast network of Osirian myth in several almost, if
not quite, inconsistent characters. Pasht, again, appears as a cat. She is
the favourite of the dwarfish Ptah. Thoth is an ibis, Anubis a jackal,
Sebek a crocodile, Isis a cow, and Knum or Kneph a ram; whence, in the time
of Alexander, Amen-Knum was identified with Zeus, or Jupiter Ammon, and
the king's head figured with horns.
After this period, too, the gods were divided into three orders. The eight
gods of the first order are enumerated nearly as follows by Dr. Birch:—At
Memphis they were: 1. Ptah; 2. Shu; 3. Tefnu; 4. Set; 5. Noot; 6. Osiris;
7. Isis; 8. Horus. At Thebes they were: 1. Amen; 2. Mentu; 3. Atum;
4. Shoo; 5. Seb; 6. Osiris; and Set with his wife Nephthys, or Athor with
Horus her son. These divinities were fabled to have reigned on earth before
the first dynasty, and both in monuments, papyri, and inscriptions on scarabæi,
we find their names recorded as Pharaohs. “A detailed ‘saga’ about Horus,”
as it is called by Dr. Brugsch-Bey, tells us how Isis by magical rites awakens
him to life from the dead body of Osiris, in the form of a little child, and how
with his companions he combats Set, the brother and murderer of his father,
and finally how the god of light is victorious over Set, the prince of darkness,
how there is eternal enmity between them, and how Horus ascends the
throne of Osiris, whom he has avenged. Such legends as this may be traced
from many sources and into many branches. The Egyptian traveller will
meet with them in many forms.


The following is an illustrated list, arranged alphabetically, of the deities
most often seen on the monuments.

Amen or Amen-Ra, represented standing, and wearing a flat cap with two tall plumes; or as a mummy, seated, with the same headdress, and holding the sceptre, scourge, and crook, when he is Amen-Osiris. He is also found identified with many other gods, as Amen-Khem, Amen-Knum.

Annbis has a jackal's head; the god'bf the embalmers, and guardian of tombs.

Athor has a cow's head, with the moon's disk between her horns.

Horus is sometimes represented with a boy's head, wearing a side lock, and placing his finger to his lips; sometimes with a hawk's head, and wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Isis wears the vulture cap, cow's horns, and disk of the moon, surmounted by the step-shaped throne of her husband Osiris.

Knum or Kneph has a ram's head, and a tall cap with feathers. He is identified as Amen-Khnum with the Greek Zeus Ammon, or Jupiter Ammon in Latin sculptures.

Khem, a mummy, the right hand uplifted behind him, and supporting a scourge or flail.

Khons, the rising sun; is often represented with the moon's disk on a hawk's head.

Ma, the goddess of truth, has a single feather rising from her head, and often wears a covering on the eyes which might be mistaken for spectacles.

Maut, the universal mother; wears the vulture cap, with the double crown, or has a vulture's head.

Neith, a form of Isis; wears sometimes a shuttle on her head, sometimes the crown of Lower Egypt.

Nephthys has a kind of tower on her head, and the vulture cap.

Osiris, a mummy, wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, sometimes with, sometimes without ostrich feathers; and holding the crook and scourge, either alone or combined with the sceptre.

Pasht, or Sekket, has a cat's head, or, in older sculptures, a lion's, crowned with a disk and asp.

Ptah, a mummy, holding a sceptre compounded of the Tat, or emblem of stability; the Ankh, or emblem of life; and the User, or emblem of power.

Ra, the midday sun; hawk-headed, crowned with a disk and asp.

eb has a goose on his head represents the primeval earth.

Thoth, the god of letters, and recorder of the court of Osiris, judge of the dead; has an ibis head, sometimes surmounted with a crescent moon and feather; holds a pen and tablet, or pen and palm branch.

Tum, Atum, or Nefer-Atum, the setting Sun; wears long hair crowned with a lotus, or a plums the double crown of Egypt.



Archæology.—The monumental remains of Egypt consist entirely of temples
and tombs.
The Egyptian Temple was not a place of public worship like a Greek or
Roman temple, or a Christian church. It was an edifice erected by a king in
honour of some divinity, sometimes of a triad of divinities, to whom he wished
to pay special homage, either in return for benefits conferred, or in the hope of
future favours. This is shown by the sculptures on the walls, in all of which
the king is the principal subject. He wages war with the enemies of Egypt
and brings them home captive; or he offers, in times of peace, gifts and
sacrifices. The prayers are all recited in his name, and he leads the processions
in which are carried the statues and emblems of the divinities. The
temples are always built of stone, and surrounded by a high and massive
crude-brick enclosure, which shut out from the vulgar gaze all that took
place inside. Near every temple is a lake. The following diagrams will
show the various plans and arrangements most usual in Egyptian temples of
the middle and Ptolemaic periods:—

Fig. 1 is a simple
form of a temple,
consisting of
(b b b) the dromos or avenue of
sphinxes, 8 8 8,
three propylons or
pylons, a a a; the
pronaos or portico,
d; and the adytum
(sêlcos) or sanctuary,
e, which was
either isolated, or
occupied the whole
of the naos, as in
fig. 2. c c are
screens, reaching
half-way up the
columns, as seen
in fig. 3. In the
adytum (e, fig. 2)
is an altar, f. W
W, the crude-brick
wall of the temenos,
or sacred enclosure.
Fig. 4, a,
the pylon; b, the
avenue without
sphinxes; c c, screens; d, pronaos or portico; e, the
hall of assembly; f, transverse ante-room, or proselcos,
a sort of transept; g, the central adytum, or sekos; h h,
side adyta. Fig. 5, a, pylon; b, avenue of sphinxes;
c c, obelisks; d d, propyla or pyramidal towers of the
propylæum; e, propylæum, area, or vestibule; f f,
statues of the king; g g, inner towers with staircases
leading to the top, as in d d; h, inner vestibule; i i,
screens from pillar to pillar, forming a sort of j ante-room
or portico to k, the hall of assembly; l, transept; m,
central adytum; n n, side adyta. Fig. 6, a raised
hypæthral building of columns and connecting screens,
with steps leading to it from within b, the dromos; the rest as fig. 5 to l, the inner hall,
which has several small chambers at the side; o, an isolated adytum, with a pedestal in the
middle for holding the sacred ark of the deity; p, q q, n n n, three adyta and other chambers.
All behind the Pronaos, or portico, is called the naos, which includes the sélcos within it, and
answers to the cella of Greek temples.
Fig. 7 shows b b, the pyramidal towers, with a, the pylon, between them, and the lines d d
curving over towards each other; h h, the colossal figures; g g, the
flag-staffs; f, a torus that runs up the wall, and under the cornice; c, fillet of the cornice.

With regard to the use of the word propylon, it may be observed, that propylon, pylon, and pylônê are all properly applied to the gateway (fig. 7, a); but the first of these was also used to designate the pylon with its towers: to prevent confusion, therefore, and to avoid the long expression “towers of the propylæum,” the word pylon has been adopted for the gateway, and propyla for the towers.

The Tombs of the old Egyptians were always situated either in the desert or
in the side of a mountain. The Egyptian of all ages looked upon his tomb as
a place of abode. Numerous passages in papyri testify to the care with which
in the lifetime of every great man his eternal dwelling was prepared.
In the early period it consisted of three parts:— 1. An exterior building (A),
containing one or
more chambers: 2.
A vertical pit (B):
and 3. the vault (c),
generally excavated
at right angles to
the pit, in which
was placed the sarcophagus
the body (D). The
outer covering was
usually in the form
of what has been
called a mastabah,
the best illustrations
of which may be

seen at the Pyramids. Indeed the Pyramids themselves
are, there is now no doubt, the tombs of great
kings, exactly similar in construction and arrangement,
only on a gigantic scale, to the other tombs by which
they are always surrounded. (See further, p. 238.)
The tombs at Sakkárah and Beni Hassan give the
most complete idea of the interior arrangement. The
entrance varies in its proportions from a simple doorway
to a highly ornamental facade according to the
rank and importance of the owner of the tomb. On
the lintel is an inscription, setting forth the name and
titles of the deceased, followed by an invocation
addressed to Anubis, the guardian of tombs, in which
he is prayed, 1. To accord to the person named
propitious funeral rites, and a good burial-place in
the cemetery after a long and happy life: 2. To be
favourably disposed towards the deceased in his
journey through the regions beyond the tomb: and,
3. To secure to him through all eternity the proper
paying of what the
text calls “funereal
offerings.” This invocation
is followed
by a list of these
funereal offerings,
and of the anniversaries
on which
they are to be paid.
It is to be noted
that all the scenes
sculptured on the walls of the chamber contained in this exterior building
have reference to these three subjects of invocation. The chambers vary in
number and size; sometimes there is only one. They served the purpose
of mortuary chapels, in which the parents of the deceased and the priests
attached to the service of the cemetery celebrated, on the anniversary

festivals mentioned in the inscription over the door, certain ceremonies
in honour of the dead, and offered the appropriate gifts. The walls
were covered with sculptures or paintings representing the scenes in
which the deceased person had been accustomed to pass his life; ending
with the last act at which he may be said to have assisted in this world, the
transport of his mummied body to the place of burial. The tables of
offerings, which no doubt also formed part of the furniture of the chambers,
are depicted on the walls covered with the gifts of meat, fruits, bread, and
wine, which had to be presented in kind. At the end of the principal
chamber was a stela, containing what might be called the epitaph of the
deceased. Under the Ancient Empire these stelæ are quadrangular stones,
often of large size, and sculptured so as to represent the exterior of a temple
of the period. The statues of the defunct are often found concealed in one of
the chambers. They were generally placed in a sort of corridor contrived in
the thickness of one of the outer walls, and excluded from all external communication.
Sometimes, however, a small opening in one of the walls of the
principal room indicates the presence of a shaft reaching to the spot where
the statues are concealed, and through which the scent of incense might pass.
The entrance to the pit which forms the second part of the tomb is found
either in one of the chambers, or some hidden corner of the outer monument.
The upper part, dug through the overlying stratum of sand, is cased with
stones, the remainder being excavated out of the rock. These pits vary
from 10 to 30 yards in depth, are vertical in direction, and of square or
rectangular form. Those that have not previously been opened have been
found filled with a hard cement composed of stones, sand, and earth. At the
bottom of the pit appears on one side a constructed stone wall. This closes
the entrance to the third part of the tomb, the sepulchral chamber.
In this sepulchral chamber, hollowed out of the rock, lay the mummied
body, protected from all probable chances of violation by the solid stone
sarcophagus, the cavern hewn deep into the rock, and the pit filled with
compact débris, and with its entrance concealed from view.
The principle of construction in the royal tombs at Báb el-Molook at Thebes
is entirely different. Here there is no mastabah, and no exterior chambers,
in which the surviving relations met at certain seasons to pay their respects
to the dead. The “Tombs of the Kings” are all excavated out of the rock,
and consist of long inclined passages, with here and there halls and small
chambers, penetrating to a greater or less distance into the heart of the
mountain. Once the royal mummy was safely deposited in its resting-place,
the entrance was built up, and the surrounding rock levelled, so as to leave
no trace of the existence of the tomb. The place of the mastabah, or outer
covering, was taken by a temple built on the edge of the desert, nearer the
river. Here, as in a cenotaph, the memory of the king was preserved and
worshipped. Thus the Rameseum would be, as it were, the mastabah of the
tomb of Rameses II.; Medeenet Háboo, of the tomb of Rameses III.;
Koorneh, of the tomb of Rameses I., and so on. The walls of the entrance
and passages are covered with quotations from the Book of the Dead, and
representations of religious subjects.
Art.—The oldest Egyptian buildings, as distinguished from pyramids,
betray the universl use of wood for ordinary constructive purposes. The
roof of a tomb at Geezeh, though cut in the solid rock, is carved in imitation
of the trunks of palm-trees. The so-called “temple of the Sphinx” represents
a still ruder type. It has been well compared with Stonehenge.
Vast square columns of red granite support simple cross-beams, of the same
massive character and material. The lighter graces of Architecture are first
met with under the XIIth Dynasty at Beni Hassan. But here also the columns,
though cut from the solid rock, are imitations of wooden structures. Two
principal styles are found:—1. The shaft, formed of an imitation of the stalk

of the lotus or the papyrus, bound together at intervals, the capital being
made of the leaves or flowers. 2. The whole column, made of the trunk of
a single tree, imitated in stone, the cylinder being fluted into sixteen sides. In
the first examples of this latter style, which has been named the proto-Doric,
from its close resemblance to a Greek order, the column is octagonal; and in
others the sides, whether 8 or 16, are flat, so as to admit of inscriptions. In
some there are only two plain sides left. Of the same period and character
are the columns in the Temple of Karnak which bear the cartouche of
Osirtasen. The well-known columns in the great hall of the same temple
present the most characteristic specimens of the art of building as it was
practised under the kings of the XIXth Dynasty. The other temples at
Thebes (Medeenet Háboo, the Memuonium, &c.) bring us down to the end of
the XXth Dynasty. A revival of short duration took place under the XXVIth
Dynasty, when the early portion of the Temple of Philæe was built, and the
marvellous granite shrine made for the Temple of Philæ and the great
buildings at Sân, mentioned with so much admiration by Herodotus, still mark,
in vast heaps of ruins, the graves of the last native kings. Under the Ptolemies,
though great works were accomplished, and some of the most perfect of the
existing temples (Denderah, Esneh, Edfoo, Philæ, &c.) built, true art rapidly
declined. The Romans, except in buildings of a strictly sacred character,
imported their own engineering style, of which the principal remains now
existing are the fortress at Old Cairo , the gate (unfinished) of Diocletian at
Philæ, and many fragments at Alexandria. In Christian remains of early time
Egypt is very full, and the fortress of Old Cairo , just mentioned, is a fairly
typical example of the way in which older buildings have been utilised for
Christian worship. In Nubia one or two Ptolemaic temples were turned into
churches; and at Philæ, Luxor, and Karnak, a porch was similarly changed
by building up the door of the sanctuary and placing the altar against it.
It may be mentioned that the arch was known in very early times. The
best examples of its use may be found close to the tomb of Queen Makara
(Hatasoo), at Dayr el-Bahree, near Thebes. Yet it never came into
common use, and the flat stone lintel continued always the favourite expedient
of the Egyptian architects, from the time of Seneferoo to that of Hadrian.
The opinions formerly held as to the early Egyptian arts of Sculpture and
Painting have been much modified by recent discoveries. The first artists
were not tied to an arbitrary canon of proportion, but were desirous of representing
what they saw as exactly as possible. The oldest painting yet found
is that of a flock of geese pasturing, now in the Museum at Boolak. It comes
from a tomb at Maydoom. Equally early are two statues in the same collection
which were found in another tomb at the same place. They date from
the reign of Seneferoo of the IIIrd Dynasty, and therefore considerably anterior
to the period of the Great Pyramid. Painting and sculpture were even then in
an advanced state of cultivation. Very soon conventionality begins to appear,
and the statues of Khafra, admirable in their skilful execution, are yet inferior
in freedom of design. Rigid laws of proportion were in use as early as the
XIIth Dynasty, but were varied under the XXIInd Dynasty. Individuality
was by degrees completely lost, and we are by far more certain of the
actual likeness of Nefert, under the IIIrd Dynasty, than of that of Cleopatra,
though as late as the reigns of the XXVIth Dynasty portraiture continued
to be a living art. In bas-relief, always a favourite art with the Egyptians,
several styles may be found together. At Maydoom and Sakkárah, that is
under the Ancient Empire, a very low relief was preferred. As early as the
time of the XVIIIth Dynasty a kind of incised relief was introduced. It is
almost peculiar to Egypt, where the strong light of a cloudless sky renders
greater definition unnecessary. The figures are in relief, but the surrounding
stone is not cut away. Under the Ptolemies this style prevailed more and

more; and the latest and poorest sculptures—at Edfoo and Denderah, for
example—are thus executed. The low relief of the Ancient Empire was
revived with great success under Rameses II. and his successors; a few
examples, as in the grotto of Horus at Silsileh, occurring earlier. In the
oldest tombs a kind of coloured inlay was sometimes, but sparingly, used, the
outline being wholly cut out and filled in with an enamel. Such are the
decorations of the tomb of Nefermat at Maydoom, now almost wholly defaced.
It was also revived under Rameses II., and examples have recently been discovered
of his time at Tel el-Yahoodeh, near Cairo. The most elaborate
paintings are on the plastered walls of the Tombs of the Kings at Báb el-Molook;
but the style of those executed for the family of hereditary governors
buried at Beni Hassan, though it is comparatively simple, will continue to be
more pleasing until the not very distant period when the depredations of
ignorant and wanton travellers have defaced the last remnants.
In the goldsmith's art the excellence of very early work is remarkable,
though the mechanical finish is sometimes inferior to the design and execution
of the more ornamental portions. The jewellery of Queen Aahhotep, in the
Boolak Museum, shows more taste in colour and design than actual skill
in workmanship. Metal work was much developed under the Pharaohs
of the Middle Empire, and retained its vitality to a late period. Bronze
statuettes of great beauty were made even down to Roman times. Pottery
was another manufacture in which the ancient Egyptians excelled at all
periods; the finest examples occurring under the XIXth Dynasty. They
were also acquainted with glass from an early time.
In the art of quarrying the Egyptians have never been excelled. The
temple or tomb near the Sphinx contains blocks of granite 18 ft. in length,
brought from Syene, yet the date of the building cannot be later than the
IVth Dynasty. The great quarries of Toora and Masárah, and of Silsileh, are
in their way as wonderful as the buildings, and should be visited by every


In no country did Arab art reach so high a point of excellence as in
Egypt, and there are fortunately still many monuments left there to prove
it, though some of them, alas! are fast falling to decay. All the important
examples are at Cairo, few buildings worth notice being found in other
parts of the country. They date from the building of the city in 973, down
to the Turkish conquest in 1517. An excellent account of the history of
Arab art in Egypt is given in Stanley Lané Poole's work on “The Art of the
Saracens in Egypt,” which should be studied by those who are interested in
the question.
The edifices in which the chief and characteristic features of Arabian
Architecture are displayed are the Mosques. These may be roughly classified
according to three types:—
  • 1. In the first type we find a large open court surrounded by arcades, or
    roofed colonnades; the side towards Mecca being more spacious than the
    others, and containing 3, 4, or 5 rows of columns supporting pointed arches.
    This is the most ancient and characteristic type of mosque; but it is reproduced
    under the succeeding dynasties. The Mosque of Amer at Old Cairo
    may be taken as a sample of it (see p. 224).
  • 2. The second type is developed during the epoch of the Memlook dynasties.
    In mosques of this class a smaller hypæthral court forms the centre; while
    in place of the arcades, or porticoes, are four deep niches with plain pointed
    vaulting. The niches on the Mecca and its opposite side (especially the
    former) are more spacious than those to the N. and S. There are separate
    chambers built as mausolea for the founders or their families; and the domes

    that rise above them are conspicuous for beauty of form and decoration.
    The Mosque of Sultan Hassan is the largest and grandest in this style (see
    p. 175). In the smaller ones the whole is roofed, and a skylight is introduced.
  • 3. The third type presents the Turkish style transported from Constantinople
    to Cairo. The Mosque of Mohammed Ali reproduces the Stamboul
    model on the most elevated and commanding site in Cairo. Here the main
    edifice for prayer consists of a square surmounted by a large central dome, and
    by subordinate and half domes. Adjoining it is the open court, surrounded
    by a colonnade with dome vaultings, and containing in the centre the hánafeeyeh
    for ablution. Already in some of the mosques left by Turkish rulers—e.g. the Sinaneeyeh mosque at Boolak, and that of Mohammed Bey Aboo Dáhab,
    near the Azhar—we have a foretaste of what might be expected to follow;
    and the little mosque of Sitt Safeea (p. 184), in the heart of Cairo, is an
    effort to reproduce in miniature the Turkish model.
In the numerous mosques of Cairo there are, of course, various modifications
of the two first types, and others which fall under no particular category.
Many merely consist of rectangular buildings, entirely roofed, and
containing rows of columns supporting pointed, rarely round, arches. Connected
with many of the mosques are colleges and schools (medresseh and
kutáb), libraries, hospitals, almshouses, and dervish retreats (kháneeka),
drinking-fountains (sebeel), &c. But most of these, except the sebeels and
small schools, are in a state of dilapidation.
The following terms may be found useful as explaining the essential features
of a mosque:—
Hôsh or Sáhn el-Gámah, the open court. Mehrab, or more commonly Kíbleh,
the niche, situated in the principal wall, in the direction of Mecca. Mimbar,
the pulpit of wood or stone, invariably placed immediately to the right or S.
of the kibleh. Dikkeh, a platform with parapet, generally supported by four
columns; or introduced as a gallery supported by pendentives or otherwise,
in no fixed position; but generally, in the larger mosques, in the leewan el-kibleh.
Leewan el-kibleh
, the principal portico, or portion of the mosque in
which is the kibleh; generally raised above the Sáhn el-Gámah. Koorsee, the
chair or desk for the Korán. Meydaah, the open tank for ablution; sometimes
in the Sáhn el-Gámah, but generally in a side space outside the mosque:
usually shaded by a roof or canopy supported by small columns. Hánafeeyeh,
the place of ablution, with running taps, generally in the Sáhn el-Gámah, in
large mosques—with canopy. Maksoorah, a compartment separated from the
main space by screen or otherwise. Kubbeh, a dome, or chamber with
a dome, mausoleum, &c. Mídneh, a minaret. Mabkháreh, a tower somewhat
similar to a minaret, but without balconies, and containing numerous
apertures in the upper portion, through which were formerly diffused the
fumes of incense burned during hours of prayer, &c. Amóod, a column.
Sharáfa (Sharafát), the ornamental stones forming the parapets. Tareek,
the inscription giving the date of the edifice.
One of the chief features of Arab architecture, the Dome, was borrowed
from the Byzantine style, but the Pointed Arch may have had its origin in
Egypt and spread westward through the Saracenic invaders of Europe. The
oldest pointed arches are believed to be those in the Mosque of Amer, or
Amroo, in Old Cairo ; but their exact date is doubtful, as that mosque has
been so often altered and rebuilt. The earliest building in which pointed
architecture occurs as a general characteristic is the Mosque of Tooloon, A.D. 876
(A.H. 263), though perhaps a somewhat earlier example is seen in the Nilometer
of Roda, built fifteen years before in the same reign.
Decoration has always formed an important feature of Arab architecture,
and no one can fail to be struck with the richness and beauty of the ornamentation

lavished on many of the buildings, cspecially those of the era of the
Memlook sultans. All this ornament, whether fretwork in plaster, as at the
Mosque of Kalaoon, or inlay, as at Sultan Hassan, or carving, as at Kaitbey,
is carried out without the use of natural forms, or the representation of any
animal or man. In a few places, as in the black and white painting of the
screen in the Mosque of Barkook, flowers are sparingly employed. Richness
of material—as porphyry, jasper, turquoise, alabaster, coloured marbles and
granites, ivory, bronze, and even mother-of-pearl—were lavished freely on patterns
the monotony of which was relieved by the frequent introduction of
legends from the Korán in ornamental bands and borders, or in plaques of
intricate monograms. Stained glass is similarly treated—vegetable forms
being more frequent, and the occasional use of a very conventional peacock,
or pheasant, being permitted. The pulpits are usually of wood, and on them
the visitor will often find exquisite specimens of carved ivory, concealed under
the dirt of ages.
The Domestic Art of the Arabs in Egypt may, like the religious, be
studied best in Cairo. On this subject there is no better guide than Stanley
Lane Poole's work, already quoted. A visit should be paid to the Museum of
Arab art in the Mosque of Hakim (p. 202). Some of the private Houses,
especially those annexed to ancient offices and inhabited by the sheykhs of
orders, have been very magnificent. Occasionally it is possible, through the
kindness of the inhabitant or owner, to see the interior of such a residence
in use (see p. 163). The wall towards the street is blank below except
for the door, above which on an upper story are oriel windows of carved
wood-work. From these windows a miniature oriel often projects; the
whole window is a roshan, the small projection a meshrebeeyeh, or “place
for drink,” from shrab, a draught, as in it bottles of porous earthenware filled
with water are placed to cool. The interior of one of the older houses
always surrounds a court. On one side, that facing the N., is generally a hall
or a mákad, having an open front, with two or three lofty arches supported
by graceful pillars. These mákads, which are usually lined with costly
mosaics, tiles, and marble-work, often remain half-ruined or with their arches
built up, after the rest of the house has been destroyed. A large chamber
for the reception of guests is on the ground-floor, and is called a mandárah. It is also magnificently ornamented, and has a marble fountain in the centre.
The design and ornamentation of these fountains are of the greatest beauty and
intricacy. The windows are filled with stained glass, set in a plaster framework
forming a kind of tracery and representing sometimes a bird, sometimes
a jar of flowers. A chamber, usually over the gate, and belonging strictly to
the Hareem, is sometimes similarly decorated, and the visitor who obtains
access to one is able to judge of the effect of the roshan from the interior.
The most perfect examples of old Arab art now remaining are the Illuminated
exhibited at the Khedivial Library at Cairo (see p. 197).
They were collected from the mosques, where they had been deposited for
centuries, and where they suffered much from neglect. Most of them contain
some reference to the personages for whom they were written, and the finest
prove to belong to the same periods which, under the Memlook sultans, produced
the most beautiful mosques. Unlike the mediæval MSS. of Western
Europe, they are almost without exception, not on parchment or vellum, but on
paper. Writing is still practised as an ornamental art by the Arabs; the letters
of the modern alphabet being often twisted and turned, in mere handbills and
notices, into forms of considerable elegance. The old Kufic alphabet, which
stood to the modern letters as Old English stood to our present print, was
gradually disused after the 14th century; but it is not possible to give any
exact date at which the new characters came into exclusive use.
The beautiful glazed Pottery and Glass, with fragments of which the

ounds of Old Cairo abound, are not made in Egypt now. The ancient
Arab glass-makers have never been excelled. Many very beautiful specimens
of the mosque lamps are preserved in the Arab Museum in the Mosque of
Hakim. Some of these have, by the kindness of the Khedive, been lent to
the South Kensington Museum. Like architecture and writing, these sumptuous
and beautiful works were produced under the Memlook sultans of the
13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. Some account of the most remarkable
examples remaining will be found in Mr. Nesbitt's work on “Glass in the
South Kensington Museum,” in the appendix to which book will be found
also almost all that is known about the so-called glass coins which are
often seen in Egypt, and which are, according to the late Rogers Bey, really
weights for drugs and jewels. The inscriptions on them are sometimes of
great antiquity, but for the most part they belong to the three prolific
centuries mentioned above.
Of Art Manufacture there is now very little, except of a poor and coarse
kind. The tent-makers produce some pleasing patterns in “appliqué”, and
sometimes a good modern carpet is to be seen, but not often. The old Arabs
excelled in all kinds of needlework; and examples of ancient carpet and
shawl making, and of embroidery, may be obtained in the bazaar. Good
specimens of old metal work are rare, and, though it cannot be said that
damascening and filigree are extinct, they are carried on with little taste or
technical skill.
Jewellery.—Old silver and sometimes gold bracelets and rings may occasionally
be found, and in these, but especially in the large silver thumb rings,
some fine designs occur. Every woman wears a necklace (ekd) of beads
(karras), generally of little value, but occasionally beautiful examples of
ancient work may be found. The toke, or necklace of a single piece of
silver, with a loop and hook, has become rarer since the impoverishment of
the fellah; but it is very characteristic, and may have been made in gold as
well as in the inferior metals.
The manufacture of Spurious Antiquities must unfortunately be included
among Arab arts. So largely is it carried on that the traveller should
never buy anything of value without the opinion of an expert. A well-known
factory of spurious scarabæi was founded some years ago at Luxor by
a “Frank,” and is still carried on. Small figures in black granite are
among the most successful of these forgeries, but may usually be detected
(1) by the imperfection of the hieroglyphs, (2) by the violations of the
ancient canons of proportion. Earthenware scarabæi may be detected similarly
by the hieroglyphs, which are either too good to be true, being copied from
well-known inscriptions, or so bad as to be unreadable, and by the failure of
the forgers to imitate successfully the fine glaze of the ancients.


Arabic is a Semitic language, the offspring, according to learned Arabs
themselves, of the Syriac, though Mr. Lane, in the Preface to his Arabic
Dictionary, considers this opinion as absurd, “unless by the Syriac we understand
a lost language, very different from that which is known to us by this
appellation.” The language is divided into the literary or classical and the
vulgar dialect. The classical language is a compound of the many sister-dialects
spoken throughout Arabia before the time of Mohammed. The
vulgar language is the result of the corruption in the classical consequent
on the Arab conquests under Mohammed and his immediate successors. The
chief difference between the two consists in the omission in the vulgar language
of most of the terminal inflexions, and the neglect of grammatical rules. The

standard of the classical language, which is still written with purity by well-educated
Arabs, is primarily the Korán, and then the works of such poets as
lived before, or at the time of, the Hégira. Of the vulgar colloquial language
there are several dialects. That spoken in Egypt, though inferior to the
Bedaween dialect, is to be preferred to that in use in Syria and in Western
The Alphabet consists of 28 letters.
Names. Forms. Power. Remarks.
Alif ا a
Ba ب b as in English.
Ta ت t
Tha ث th a soft th, as in thing.
Geem ج j or g pronounced in Cairo and most parts of Egypt
as a hard g, as in give; in Syria and Arabia
as a soft g, as in gem.
ح h a sharp guttural aspirate.
Khá خ kh a guttural ch, as in German or the Scotch
word loch.
Dál د d as in English.
Thál or Dhál ذ th a hard th, as in this.
ر r a distinctly pronounced r.
Zain ز z as in English.
Sheen س s
Sheen ش sh
Sád ص s a hard, emphasized s, something like ss in
Dád ض d pronounced with great emphasis, the tongue
being firmly pressed against the palate.
ط t
Tháor Zá ظ th
Ain ع a a peculiar, and (for Europeans) unpronounceable,
Names. Forms. Power. Remarks.
Ghain غ gh a strong guttural, pronounced with a gargling
sound; something like the French r
Fa ف f as in English.
Káf ق k a guttural k, often pronounced like a hard g. In vulgar Egyptian Arabic the sound is
almost dropped. Kasr is pronounced 'asr.
Káf ك k as in English.
Lám ل l
Meem م m
Noon ن n
Ha ه h
Waw و w
Ya ي y
Pronunciation.—In the Vocabulary and throughout the Handbook no
attempt has been made to render the Arabic words and names orthographically.
They are spelt as nearly as possible as they sound to an English ear. Nor
has it been thought necessary to distinguish by any system of dots or strokes
the different h's, d's, s's, &c., of the Arabic alphabet. The traveller will
soon learn for himself the right pronunciation of ordinary words, but it is
almost impossible to represent Arabic sounds correctly in Roman letters.
The acute accent is used to show on which syllable stress is to be laid; and
when over an a, it indicates in addition that that letter is to be pronounced
broadly, as in “father.” Occasionally a circumflex is used over the vowel
in words of one syllable, to show that it is to be pronounced very broadly.
The article el is assimilated before words beginning with dentals, sibilants,
and n and r: thus not el rás, the head, but er rás; not el shemál, the left,
but esh shemál, &c.


The Verbs are given in the second person singular of the Imperative.
Able káder.
Above fôk.
Afraid kheif.
I am afraid ána kheif, a-kháf.
After bád.
Afterwards báden.
Again, once more kamán, kamán nóba.
Age omr.
His age omroo.
Agent wekeél.
Agree, v. itteffaka.
A pledge, earnest, in an agreement arboón.
We agreed together itteffakna.
Air hówa.
Alabaster marmar.
Alive hei, sáheh (awake).
All kool, koolloo, pl. kool-loohom.
All together kolloohom sówa.
At all wásel.
Almond lôz.
Aloe subbára.
Alter, v. ghéier.
Alum shabbeh.
Always daiman.
Amber kahrámán.
American Amerikánee.
Anchor murseh, helb.
Ancient kadeém, antéeka.
The ancients en nas el kodám.
And wa.
Angel malák, pl. maléieekeh.
Angry, to be za' alan.
Animal heiwán.
Ankle kholkhál.
Another wahed tánee.
Answer gowáb.
You are answerable for élzemak.
Ant numleh, pl. nemel.
Antiquities, curiosities antéeka.
Have you any antiquities? fee andak anteeka?
Ape kird, pl. koróod.
Apostle rossoól.
It appears baiéen.
Appetite shahiéh.
Apple teffahah, pl. teffáh.
Apricot (fresh or dry) mishmish.
Arabic Arabee.
In Arabic bil Arabee.
Arab (i.e. of the desert) Bedáwee, pl. Bedaween (Sheykh - el - Arab, an Arab chief).
Arch, bridge kántarah, kúbree.
Arm (of man) drah.
Arms (weapon) silláh, soolláh.
Art, trade sunnah, messele.
As zay.
Ashes roomád.
Ass homár, pl. homéer.
Ask, v. essál, saal.
Ask for, v. étloob.
At fee, and.
Awake, v. u. sáheh.
Awl mukhruz.
Awning (of a boat, &c.) tenda.
Axe, or hatchet balta.
Pickaxe azmeh.
Back dáhr, kuffah (of neck).
Back stream, eddy sheemeeyeh.
Bad (see Good) rádee, batál.
A bag kees.
Banana môz.
Bank of a river sahil.
Barber mezayin.
Bark, v. hábháb.
Bark, 8. gishr.
Barley shaéer.
Barrel burmeél.
Basket muktaf, kóffah.
— (of palm sticks) kúffass.
—, wicker me-shénneh.
Basin tisht.
Bat (bird) watwát, pl. watawéet.
Bath hammám.
Bathe, v. istahámma.
Battle harb.
Bead kharras.
Beads, string of, carried by the Moslems sibha.
Beans fool.
Bear, support, v. isned; (raise)