Title: The Nile : notes for travellers in Egypt [Electronic Edition]

Author: Budge, E. A. Wallis Sir, 1857-1934. (Ernest Alfred Wallis)
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Title: THE NILE: Notes for Travellers in Egypt

8th ed.
File size or extent: xxvi, 674 p. : ill., map ; 19 cm.
Publisher: T. Cook & Son
Place of publication: London ; Cairo
Publication date: 1902
Identifier: Fondren Library, DT45 .B9 1902
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  • Egypt -- Guidebooks
  • Nile River -- Guidebooks
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The Nile : notes for travellers in Egypt [Electronic Edition]


Notes for Travellers in Egypt.


Notes for Travellers in Egypt.






Having for some years felt the insufficiency of
the information given by Dragomans to travellers
on the Nile, and finding with one or two striking
exceptions how limited is their knowledge of facts
relating to the history of the antiquities in Upper
Egypt, Messrs. Thos. Cook and Son have arranged
with Dr. E. A. Wallis Budge to compile the following
pages, which they have much pleasure in presenting
to every passenger under their Nile arrangements on
their Tourist Steamers and Dhahabiyyahs. In this
way passengers will no longer be liable to be misled
(unintentionally) by Dragomans, but will be able at
their leisure to prepare themselves for what they
have to see, and thus by an agreeable study add
to the interest with which their visits to the various
places are made.


Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road.


The short descriptions of the principal Egyptian
monuments on each side of the Nile between Cairo
and Kharṭûm, printed in the following pages, are
not in any way intended to form a “Guide to
Egypt.” They are drawn up for the use of those
travellers who have a very few weeks to spend in
Egypt, and who wish to carry away from that
country some of the more important facts connected
with the fast-perishing remains of one of the most
interesting and ancient civilizations that has been
developed on the face of the earth. The existing
guide books are too full, and they contain too many
details for such travellers. Experience has shown
that the greater number of travellers in Egypt are
more interested in the remains and civilization of
the ancient Egyptians than in the history of Egypt
under the rule of the Persians, Ptolemies, Romans,
Arabs, and Turks. It is for this reason that no
attempt has been made to describe, otherwise than
in the briefest manner possible, its history under
these foreign rulers, and only such facts connected
with them as are absolutely necessary for a right
understanding of its monuments have been inserted.

In addition to such descriptions, a few chapters have
been added on the history of the country during
the rule of the Pharaohs, and on its people, and
their buildings, their religion, and their methods of
writing. The lists of hieroglyphic characters and
their phonetic values, printed on pp. 133-139, will,
it is hoped, be useful to those who may wish to
spell out the royal names on tombs, and temples, and
the commoner words which occur in the inscriptions.
In transcribing Arabic names of places, the system
in general use throughout Europe has been employed,
but well-known names like “Cairo,” “Luxor,” etc.,
have not been altered. Similarly, the ordinary well-known
forms of Egyptian proper names such as
“Rameses,” “Amenophis,” “Hophra,” etc., have been
used in preference to the more correct transcriptions,
“Rā-messu,” “Ạmen-ḥetep,” and “Uaḥ-ạb-Rā.”
The dates assigned to the Egyptian kings are those
of the late Dr. Heinrich Brugsch, who based his calculations
on the assumption that the average duration of
a generation was thirty-three years. Hence it will be
readily understood that the date assigned to Rameses
II. (B.C. 1333), for instance, is only approximately
correct. In recent years many attempts have been
made to reduce the length of the historic period
of Egypt, and to prove that the reigns of the historic
kings of Egypt were considerably antedated by the
early Egyptologists. Recent excavations, however,
have shown that the historical Egyptians and their
immediate ancestors have occupied the Nile Valley

for many thousands of years, and even if Manetho's
list of kings were to be proved incorrect in every
particular, and the total years of the reigns of the
historical kings be reduced by 1500 years, the great
antiquity of Egyptian civilization cannot be doubted.
In the last two editions of “Nile Notes,” considerable
alterations and additions have been made.
As a result of recent excavations many of the articles
have been entirely re-written, and a brief description
of the antiquities between Wâdî Ḥalfah and Kharṭûm
has been included. So much general interest has
been aroused in the Copts and Muḥammadans, that
additional chapters on the religious history of these
peoples have been added. In deference to many
suggestions, the summary of the events which have
taken place in Egypt under British influence has
been considerably amplified, and the short chapter
on “Progress in Egypt” will prove to what excellent
purpose Lord Cromer has toiled in that land. The
notes on the history and development of the idea of
the Mahdi among the Muḥammadans, will, it is
hoped, explain to the reader, who has not found time
to examine into the Arabic sources, how religious
fanaticism, acting on the minds of people who have
been the victims of a long course of systematic
misgovernment and oppression, has overthrown
kings and deluged whole countries with blood. In
compiling certain sections of this work for facts and
figures I have drawn frequently from Lord Cromer's
official Despatches, and from the reports and works

of Sir William Garstin, K.C.M.G., Major H. G.
Lyons, R.E., Major Willcocks, C.M.G., and other
officials in the service of the Egyptian Government.
The works of Sir F. R. Wingate, K.C.B., etc., Sir
Rudolf von Slatin Pâsha, K.C.B., Father Ohrwalder,
and Mr. Royle have supplied many facts concerning
Mahdiism and the reconquest of the Sûdân, and from
Edward Lane's “Modern Egyptians” I have derived
much information concerning phases of modern
Egyptian life which have now passed away.
During recent years the positions of many of the
antiquities exhibited in the Gîzeh Museum have been
changed frequently, and no Guide, not even that
issued by the officials of the institution, correctly
described the places where all the objects could be
found for more than a few months at a time. It is
understood that at the present moment a number of
the antiquities are packed up awaiting removal to
the new Museum at Cairo, and as it is, therefore,
impossible to make a complete description of the
contents of the Gîzeh Museum, Messrs. Thos. Cook
and Son have decided to reprint the description
which appeared in the sixth edition of “Nile Notes.”
When the antiquities have been re-arranged in their
new home, a new and full account of them will, it
is hoped, be included in the future editions of this


June 16, 1902.


Map of Egypt
Introduction v
Preface to the Seventh Edition vii-x
Excavations in 1901-02 xvii-xxvi
Egyptian History and its sources 1
Historical Summary—
Ancient Empire 10
Middle Empire 13
New Empire 16
Persians 19
Macedonians 19
Ptolemies 19
Romans 21
The Byzantines 24
Muḥammadans 26
Dates assigned to the Egyptian Dynasties by Egyptologists 50
Progress in Egypt under British Rule 51
The Country of Egypt 57
The Nomes of Egypt 61
The Ancient Egyptians 64
The Nile 73
The Oases 94
Ancient Egyptian Buildings, Sculpture, Painting, etc. 98
Egyptian Writing 121
A list of some Hieroglyphic Signs 133
Arabic Alphabet 139
Coptic Alphabet 140
Egyptian Months 141


The Religion and Gods of Egypt 143
The Modern Egyptians 191
Sketch of Coptic History 200
The Arabs, Muḥammad, etc 211
Alexandria 247
The Pharos 248
Pompey's Pillar 251
Cleopatra's Needles 251
Catacombs 252
Damanhûr 253
Kafr ez-Zaiyât 254
Ṭanṭa 254
Benha el-‘Asal 254
Rosetta Stone 255
Suez and the Suez Canal 256
Shibîn el-Ḳanâṭir 261
Zaḳâzîḳ and Tell-Basṭa 262-264
Abu Ḥammâd 264
Tell el-Kebîr 264
Maḥsamah 264
Isma‘îlîya 265
Nefîsheh 265
Tanis 265-267
Cairo 268
Coptic Churches 269
Mosques 273
Tombs of the Khalifs 278
Tombs of the Mamelukes 278
The Citadel 278
Joseph's Well 279
The Library 279
Ezbekîyeh Garden 279
The Nilometer at Rôḍa 280
Heliopolis 281
The Pyramids of Gîzeh 283


The Great Pyramid 285
The Second Pyramid 289
The Third Pyramid 291
The Sphinx 294
The Temple of the Sphinx 295
The Tomb of Numbers 295
Campbell's Tomb 296
The Pyramids of Abu-Roâsh 296
The Pyramids of Abuṣir 296
Bedrashên, Memphis, and Saḳḳârah 298
The Statue of Rameses II. 301
The Step Pyramid 302
Pyramid of Unạs 303
Pyramid of Tetạ 303
Pyramid of Pepi I. 304
The Serapeum 305
The Tomb of Thi 307
Mariette's House 310
The Pyramids of Dahshûr 311
The Quarries of Ma‘ṣara and Ṭurra 319
The Pyramid of Mêdûm 319
Upper Egypt Railway 321
Wasṭa and the Fayyûm 325
Aṭfîḥ 329
Beni Suwêf 329
Maghâghah 330
Cynopolis 331
Convent of the Pulley 332
Minyeh 333
Beni Hasân 334
Rôḍa 343
Melâwî 345
Haggi Ḳandîl 345
Gebel Abu Faḍah 348
Manfalûṭ 348


Asyûṭ 349
Abu Tîg 350
Ṭahṭah 351
Sûhâg 351
The White and Red Monasteries 351-353
Akhmîm, Menshiah, Girgeh 353
Abydos 355
Temple of Seti I. 357
Temple of Rameses II. 360
Farshûṭ 363
Nag' Ḥamâdî 363
Ḳaṣr eṣ-Ṣayyâd 363
Ḳeneh 363
The Temple of Denderah 364
Ḳufṭ 367
Ḳûs 368
Naḳadah 368
Luxor and Thebes 370
The Temple of Luxor 374
The Temple at Karnak 381
The Temple at Ḳûrnah 392
The Ramesseum 392
The Colossi of Amenophis III. 394
Medînet Habû 395
The Temple of Rameses III. 396
Dêr el-Baḥari 403
Dêr el-Medînet 411
The Discovery of Royal Mummies at Dêr el-Baḥari 412
The Tombs of the Kings
Tomb of Seti I. 418
Tomb of Rameses III. 420
Tomb of Rameses IV 420
Tomb of Rameses VI. 420
Tomb of Rameses IX. 420
Tomb of Rameses I. 421


Tomb of Thothmes III. 421
Tomb of Amenophis II. 421
Tomb of Rechmạ-Rā 422
Tomb of Nekht 422
Erment 432
Gebelên 432
Esneh 433
El-Kâb 435
Edfû 438
Hagar Silsileh 439
Kom Ombo 439
Aswân 444
Elephantine 445
The First Cataract 453
Philae 455
The Nile between the First and Second Cataracts 466
Dabôd 467
Ḳartassi 467
Wâdi Tâfah 468
Kalâbshah 468
Bêt el-Walî 468
Dendûr 469
Gerf-Hussên 469
Dakkeh 470
Kubân 471
Kûrta 472
Miḥarrakah 472
Wâdi Sebûa 472
Korosko 473
Amada 473
Dêrr 474
Abû-Simbel 474
Map of the Country south of Wâdî Ḥalfah 480
Wâdî Ḥalfah 480
Wâdî Ḥalfah to Kharṭûm 481-518


Sûdân Military Railway 485
Sarras, Semneh, Kummeh 489
Mughrat Wells, Akasheh, Ferket, Kosheh, Sai,
Amârah 491
Sedênga, Suarda, Gebel Dûsh, Soleb, Sesebi, Dalgo,
Al-Ḥafîr, New Donḳola or Ḳaṣr Donḳola 493
Old Donḳola 494
Abu Gûs, Al-Dabbah, Ḳûrṭa 495
Kurru, Zuma, Tanḳassi 496
Marawî and Gebel Barkal 497
Nuri 502
Fourth Cataract 503
Abu Ḥamed 504
Berber 505
Atbara 506
Meroë 507
Shendi 513
Nâga 514
Ben Nâga 514
Muṣawwarât aṣ-Ṣufra 515
Omdurmân 516
Kharṭûm and Tuti Island 517
List of Hieroglyphic names of Kings 519
Gîzeh Museum 555
Rôda Gauge 628
Index 629


The principal excavations carried on in Upper Egypt
during the winter of 1900-01 are those of Mr. Garstang at
Bêt Ḳhallâf, Messrs. Reisner, Mace, and Lithgow, on a site
opposite the town of Girgeh, and of Professor Petrie at Abydos.
The village of Bêt Khallâf lies about nine miles west of
Girgeh, on the skirt of the desert, and some distance to the
north of it Mr. Garstang beâan to work; in the course of
his excavations he discovered several maṣṭaba tombs of the
Early Empire. Three miles south-west of Bêt Khallâf, in
the desert, he discovered in 1900-01 the two large maṣṭaba
tombs of KHET-NETER and ḤEN NEKHT, kings of the IIIrd
Dynasty. The first of these names is the Horus name of
the well-known king Tcheser, who built a pyramid at
Saḳḳâra, and is famous as the king who reigned over Egypt
during a famine which lasted seven years. The skeleton of
ḤEN-NEKHT was discovered in his tomb at Bêt Khallâf,
and it is evident that the king was a man of extraordinary
stature; Egyptian tradition has preserved many stories of
kings of gigantic height, e.g., Osiris and Sesostris were said
to be 8 cubits 6 palms and 3 fingers in height, and Sesochris
was said to be 5 cubits high, and 3 cubits broad.
The maṣṭaba of Tcheser is a very imposing building, and
the labour expended in constructing it was enormous, for
the interior is hewn out of the limestone to a depth which
is almost equal to the height of the brick building above
ground; it is well worth visiting and should be ascended:
the descent into the interior, however, is unsafe, and without
suitable tackle should not be attempted. Between the
royal maṣṭabas and the neighbouring village of Bêt Da‘ûd
lies an interesting tomb of an early ḥạ prince; it is approached
by means of an inclined plane and is worth a


Mr. Reisner excavated on sites of the predynastic period,
and of the IVth Dynasty, and of the period following the
VIth Dynasty. His works have been carried out with great
care, and when his results are published, it will probably be
found necessary to revise some of the existing ideas on the
subject of the development of Egyptian civilization in the
light of his discoveries. Professor Petrie, it is understood,
has been excavating within the area of the Temple of Osiris
at Arâbaṭ al-Madfûnah, north of the Temple of Rameses II.
at Abydos, and is said to have discovered predynastic
tombs on the slope of Kôm es-Sulṭân. In Lower Egypt
excavations have been carried out by the German Archaeological
Mission, under the direction of Dr. Borchardt, at
Abuṣîr, near Gîzeh, with successful results.


In the year 1900 a magnificent tomb of the Roman
period was discovered at Kôm esh-Shuḳâfa, near Pompey's
Pillar, in the quarry at this place, by some workmen, and
thanks to the exertions of Dr. Botti, the Director of the
Museum at Alexandria, this extremely interesting monument
has been preserved in the state in which it was found.
The tomb is divided into three stages, which descend into
the living rock. It is entered by means of a circular staircase
(A), which has been more or less restored, and when the
visitor has passed through a narrow way with a semicircular
recess (B) on each side, he arrives at a large rotunda (c)
with a circular gallery (DDDD), out of which open a series
of chambers (EEEE) which appear to have been dedicated
to the worship of the dead. On the right the two chambers
contain niches and sarcophagi; on the left is a large rectangular
chamber, the roof of which is supported by four pillars,
and it contains three tables hewn out of the solid rock,

A Circular staircase (entrance). B Corridor with semicircular recesses. C Rotunda. D Circular gallery. F Staircase to second stage. G Entrance to third stage. H Ante-chamber. I Funeral chamber. J Sarcophagus chamber. K Funeral chambers with cavities for dead bodies.


which were used for festival purposes by the relatives and
friends of the dead who assembled there at certain times
during the year. From the circular gallery a staircase leads
to the second stage of the tomb, which contains the chief
sarcophagus chamber; but a little way down it forks, and
passes round the entrance (G) to the third or lowest stage
of the tomb. The ante-chamber (H) of the tomb, or
pronaos, contains two Egyptian columns which support a
cornice ornamented with the winged solar disk, hawks, etc.,
in relief. In each of the side walls of the chamber is a
niche, in the form of an Egyptian pylon; that on the right
contains the statue of a man, that on the left the statue of
a woman. It has been thought that these niches are
ancient openings in the walls which were closed up for the
purpose of receiving the statues. The door of the actual
funeral chamber (1) is ornamented with the winged solar
disk, and a cornice of uraei; on each side of the door, on a
pylon-shaped pedestal, is a large serpent wearing the double
crown , and with each are the caduceus of Hermes,
and the thyrsus of Dionysos. These serpents are probably
intended to represent the goddesses Uatchet and Nekhebet.
Above each serpent is a circular shield with a Gorgon's
head. The roof of the funeral chamber is vaulted, and the
stone is of the colour of old gold; at each corner is a
pilaster with a composite capital. In each of the three
sides is a niche containing a sarcophagus, which is hewn
out of the solid rock; the fronts of the three sarcophagi are
ornamented with festoons of vine leaves and bunches of
grapes, the heads of bulls, heads of Medusa, etc. Curiously
enough no one seems to have been laid in them. In
the principal relief of the right niche we see the figure of
a king, or prince, wearing the crowns of the South and
North, making an offering of a deep collar or breastplate
to the Apis Bull, which stands on a pylon-shaped pedestal,

and has a disk between its horns; behind Apis stands
Isis with a solar disk encircled by a uraeus upon her head,
and holding in her right hand the feather of Maạt. The
walls of the niches are ornamented with figures of Egyptian
gods, and in the central niche is a scene in which the
mummy of the deceased is represented lying upon its bier.
The bier has the usual form , but above the lion's head
is the Atef crown of Osiris, and at the feet is the feather of
Maạt. By the side of the bier stands Anubis, with the
solar disk and uraei on his head; at the head of the
bier stands Thoth, and at the feet is Horus, and under the
bier are vases containing the intestines of the deceased
dedicated to Qebḥsennuf (hawk-headed), Mesthạ (human
headed), and Ḥạpi (ape-headed). To the right and left of
the door are figures of:-1. Anubis, standing upright, in
human form, jackal-headed, with a solar disk on his head;
his right hand rests upon the edge of a shield which stands
on the ground by his side, and in his left he clasps a
spear. Round his neck and shoulder hangs a belt from
which is suspended a short sword. 2. Set (?), in the form
of a human body with arms and hands of a man, and the
head and tail of a crocodile; in his right hand he clasps a
spear, and in the left the end of a cloak.
Round the funeral chamber in which these reliefs occur,
on three sides, is a comparatively spacious gallery, in the walls
of which are hollowed-out cavities, each large enough to hold
three dead bodies; there are traces of names of those who
were buried in them. At the north-west corner of this gallery
is a corridor which leads into four other chambers, two of
which have in them niches for sarcophagi, and two are
provided with cavities wherein bodies might be laid on
stone slabs at intervals, one above the other. We have
already mentioned a third stage of the tomb, which was
approached by an entrance situated just below the place
where the staircase leading from the first to the second

stage forked; this is now filled with water, and cannot be
investigated. The tomb is the most interesting of all the
tombs of the Roman period which have been found in
Alexandria, and is very instructive. It is, unfortunately,
impossible to assign an exact date to it, but it was probably
built in the first century B.C. or the first century A.D. The
name of the man for whom it was built is unknown, but it
is clear that he was of high rank, and there is no doubt
that his religion was au fond Egyptian. The artistic treatment
of the figures of the gods, and of the walls, pillars,
etc., exhibits strong Roman influence, and the mixture of
the two styles of funereal art is better illustrated in this
tomb than in any other of the period to which it belongs. It
is hard to explain why the sarcophagi in the niches of the
main funeral chamber have not been occupied by the
people for whom they were intended, and it is difficult to
understand why others were made in other chambers of the
tomb whilst these remained empty. It would appear that
the tomb was made for the head of a large and powerful
family, the members of which respected the places that had
been left for certain members of it, and judging from the
amount of space for burial which was actually occupied, we
are justified in thinking that the tomb was used as a
private mausoleum for about 150 or 200 years.


The revenue of the Sûdân was £E238,500, and the
expenditure £E403,000; the revenue for the past three
years was:-
1899 126,500
1900 157,000
1901 238,500
In 1881 the amount of gum exported was 150,861

kantars (the kantars = 99.05 1bs.); in 1901 it was
170,781 kantars; the amount exported in 1900 was 60,912
kantars, and in 1899 41,963 kantars. The military
charge on the Sûdân has been reduced from £E222,000
to £E122,000, and the general contribution of the Egyptian
treasury to make good the Sûdân deficit, both civil
and military, has been reduced from about £E417,000 in
1901 to about £E390,000 in 1902. The total receipts of
the Sûdân railways were £E165,000, the working expenses
being £E124,000; 6,703 passengers were carried in 1900,
and 8,265 in 1901; 27,555 tons of goods were carried in
1900, and 63,874 in 1901. The imports are valued at
£E370,852, and consist of:—
Tons. Value (£E).
Cotton stuffs 1,387 217,482
Flour 431 6,034
Rice 76 760
Spirits 250 8,400
Provisions 163 6,520
Sugar 1,733 19,687
Perfumes 7 2,800
Soap 117 3,217
Oil 98 2,352
Tallow 7 230
Dates 851 6,195
Tea 26 2,912
Petroleum 90 583
Tobacco 115 31,280
Miscellaneous 1,950 62,400
7,301 370,852
On telegraphs the estimated revenue was £E4,500,
and the expenditure £E15,000; had the Government
telegrams been charged at the ordinary rates, the deficit of
£E10,500 would have been turned into a surplus of about
£E6,000. A new telegraph line from Suakin to Erkourt,
a distance of 40 miles, has been constructed. The net
revenue of the Post Office was rather less than £E5,000.

A tract of country about 300 miles long, and from 100 to
150 miles broad, has been made into a game preserve; it
lies between the Blue and White Niles, the Sobat River,
and the Abyssinian frontier. The wild animals killed under
license in 1901 numbered 842. Small civil hospitals have
been established at Omdurmân, Kharṭûm, Ḥalfa, Berber,
Dongola, Suakin, and Kassala. On Military and Civil
Works £E68,000 were spent, exclusive of £25,000 for
barracks to house a British battalion at Kharṭûm, a charge
which is borne by the British Government. The Gordon
College will be finished in the present year (1902), and a
primary school of 170 boys will be established in it. The
material condition of the people has greatly improved.
The population of Dongola in 1901 showed an increase of
14,046 over 1900; of this increase, 12,899 are children.
“The point of chief importance in connexion with the
government of the Sûdân since its reoccupation has
been to avoid serious fiscal and administrative errors at
starting, which it might possibly have been difficult to
rectify later. I think it may be said that no such errors
have been committed. The form of government is suitable
to the present very backward condition of the country. It
is not a military government, if I understand the use of that
very vague and indefinite expression. It is a government
which endeavours to carry out the ordinary principles of
civil administration through the agency of a number of
carefully selected officials, most of whom are military
officers. It is only necessary to read the reports…to be
convinced that … the spirit which inspires the whole
administration is, in its essence, not military, but civil…
Under all the circumstances of the case, the existing machine
of government, taken as a whole, is probably as good as any
that could be devised. Save in some few very remote localities,
life and property may be said to be everywhere secure.
The ordinary principles of civil and criminal justice are

applied throughout by far the greater part of the country
In the second place, so far as I can gather, the people seem
contented. Their contentment rests, I believe, on two
main grounds. First, there has been no interference with
their religion or religious customs; secondly, they are not
overtaxed.… A somewhat long experience of the
East has led me to attach more importance to low taxation
than to reforms, however necessary these may, from the
European point of view, appear. As the revenue grows,
and as funds become available, these various reforms will
be accomplished in the Soudan, as they have for the most
part been already accomplished in Egypt, though I do not
doubt that the process of reformation will be relatively
slow.… The main requirement of the Soudan, for the
moment, is, as I have already mentioned, the improvement
of its communications, and notably the establishment of
connexion by rail between the Nile Valley and the Red
Sea. When the Engineer officers can report with confidence
as to the best method of attaining this latter object, the
funds necessary for the execution of the work shall be
forthcoming, and the very important question of the labour,
through the agency of which the railway shall be constructed,
will be fully considered.” See the Earl of Cromer
in his Report on Egypt and the Soudan in 1901, Egypt,
No. 1 (1902), pp. 75, 76.


THE history of Egypt is the oldest history known to us.
It is true that the earliest of the Babylonian kings whose
names are known lived very little later than the earliest
kings of Egypt, nevertheless our knowledge of the early
Egyptian is greater than of the early Babylonian kings.
A large portion of Egyptian history can be constructed
from the native records of the Egyptians, and it is now
possible to correct and modify many of the statements
upon this subject made by Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus
and other classical authors. The native and other documents
from which Egyptian history is obtained are:—
I. Lists of Kings found in the Turin Papyrus, the
Tablet of Abydos , the Tablet of Ṣaịịâra, and the
Tablet of Karnak . The Turin papyrus contained a
complete list of kings, beginning with the god-kings and
continuing down to the end of the rule of the Hyksos,
about B.C. 1700. The name of each king during this period,
together with the length of his reign in years, months and
days, was given, and it would have been, beyond all doubt,
the most valuable of all documents for the chronology of the
oldest period of Egyptian history, if scholars had been able
to make use of it in the perfect condition in which it was

discovered. When it arrived in Turin, however, it was
found to be broken into more than one hundred and fifty
fragments. So far back as 1824, Champollion recognized
the true value of the fragments, and placed some of them
in their chronological order. Its evidence is of the greatest
importance for the history of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties,
because in this section the papyrus is tolerably perfect;
for the earlier dynasties it is of very little use.
On the monuments each Egyptian king has usually two
names, the prenomen and the nomen; each of these
is contained in a cartouche.*
* Cartouche is the name which is usually given to the oval , in
which the name of a royal person is enclosed.
Thus the prenomen of
Thothmes III. is Rā-men-Kheper, and his
nomen is Teḥuti-mes. Rā-men-Kheper means
something like “Rā (the Sun-god) establishes becoming
or existence”; Teḥuti-mes means “born of Thoth,” or
“Thoth's son.” These names are quite distinct from
his titles. Before the prenomen comes the title suten net (or bāt),
† The ordinary word for “king” is suten. The word
Pharaoh, פרעח, which the Hebrews called the kings of Egypt, is
derived from the Egyptian per āa, otherwise written or
“King of the North and South,” and after
it comes sa Rā, “son of the Sun,” preceding the
nomen. Each prenomen has a meaning, but it is at times
difficult to render it exactly in English. Every king styled
himself king of “the North and South,” and “son of the
Sun.” The first title is sometimes varied by “Beautiful

god, lord of the two earths.”*
* Some kings had a large number of titles. Thus Thothmes III. is
styled “Horus, mighty bull, diademed with law, the lord,
maker of things, Rā-men-kheper,” etc., etc. He is also called:
, “King of the North and
South, mighty of terror in all lands”; ,
“Horus, exalted one of the white crown, beloved of Rā”;
, “Golden Horus,
mighty of valour, smiter of the Nine Bows,” etc.
In the earliest times the
kings were named after some attribute possessed by them;
thus Menȧ, the first king of Egypt, is the “firm” or “established.”
In the Turin Papyrus only the prenomens of
the kings are given, but its statements are confirmed and
amplified by the other lists.
The Tablet of Abydos
† See pp. 626, 627. There is a duplicate in the British
Museum (Northern Egyptian Gallery, No. 117).
was discovered by Dümichen
in the temple of Osiris at
Abydos, during M. Mariette's
excavations there in 1864. This list gives us the names
of seventy-five kings, beginning with Menā or Menes, and
ending with Seti I., the father of Rameses II.; it is not a
complete list, and it would seem as if the scribe who drew
up the list only inserted such names as he considered
worthy of living for ever. The Tablet of Sakkâra
‡ See page 587.
discovered at Ṣaịịâra by Mariette, in the grave of a dignitary
who lived during the reign of Rameses II. In spite of
a break in it, and some orthographical errors, it is a valuable
list; it gives the names of forty-seven kings, and it agrees
very closely with the
Abydos list. It is a curious fact that
it begins with the name of Mer-ba-pen, the sixth king of
the Ist dynasty. The Tablet of Karnak was discovered at
Karnak by Burton, and was taken to Paris by Prisse. It

was drawn up in the time of Thothmes III., and contains
the names of sixty-one of his ancestors. They are not
arranged in any chronological order, but the tablet is of the
highest historical importance, for it records the names of
some of the rulers from the XIIIth to the XVIIth
dynasties, and gives the names of those of the XIth
dynasty more completely than any other list.
II. Annals of Egyptian Kings inscribed upon the
walls of temples, obelisks, and buildings. The narrative of
such inscriptions is very simple, and practically these records
merely represent itineraries in which the names of conquered
and tributary lands and people are given; incidentally facts
of interest are noted down. As the day and month and
regnal years of the king by whom these expeditions were
undertaken are generally given, these inscriptions throw
much light on history. The lists of tribute are also useful,
for they show what the products of the various countries
were. The poetical version*
* See the notice of the official Egyptian account on page 478.
of the history of the famous
battle of Rameses II. against the Kheta by the poet Pen-ta-urt
is a pleasant variety of historical narrative. The inscription
on the Stele
† Preserved at Gîzeh. See page 583.
of Piānkhi, the Ethiopian conqueror of Egypt,
is decidedly remarkable for the minute details of his fights,
the speeches made by himself and his conquered foes, and
the mention of many facts
‡ For example, it is stated that when Piānkhi had taken possession
of the storehouses and treasury of Nemart (Nimrod) his foe, he went
afterwards into the stables, and found that the horses there had been
kept short of food. Bursting into a rage, he turned to Nimrod and
said, “by my life, by my darling Rā, who revives my nostrils with
life, to have kept my horses hungry is more heinous in my sight
than any other offence which thou hast committed against me.”
Mariette, Monuments Divers, pl. 3, 11. 65, 66.
which are not commonly noticed
by Egyptian annalists. The vigour and poetical nature of
the narrative are also very striking.


III. Historical Stelae and Papyri, which briefly relate
in chronological order the various expeditions undertaken
by the king for whom they were made. Egyptian kings
occasionally caused summaries of their principal conquests
and of the chief events of their reign to be drawn up;
examples of these are (a) the stele of Thothmes III.,*
* Preserved at Gîzeh; see page 587.
(b) the last section of the great Harris Papyrus, in which
Rameses III. reviews all the good works which he has
brought to a successful issue to the glory of the gods of
Egypt and for the benefit of her inhabitants. This wonderful
papyrus measures 135 feet by 17 inches, and was found
in a box in the temple at Medînet Habû, built by Rameses
III.; it is now in the British Museum.
IV. Decrees, Scarabs, Statues of Kings and
Private Persons
are fruitful sources of information about
historical, religious, and chronological subjects.
V. Biblical notices about Egypt and allusions to events
of Egyptian history.
VI. The Cuneiform Inscriptions. In 1887 about
310 tablets
† See the description of the Gîzeh Museum, pp. 592-595.
inscribed in cuneiform were found at Tell
el-Amarna. The inscriptions relate to a period of Egyptian
history which falls in the fifteenth century B.C., and
they are letters from the kings of Babylon, and cities of
Mesopotamia and Phaenicia relating to marriages, offensive
and defensive alliances, military matters, etc., etc., and
reports on the rebellions and wars which took place at that
time, addressed to Amenophis III. and to his son Khut-en-āten
or Amenophis IV. The Babylonian king who writes
is called Kurigalzu. Thothmes III. had carried his victorious
arms into Mesopotamia, and one of his successors,
Amenophis III., delighted to go there and shoot the lions

with which the country abounded. During one of these
hunting expeditions he fell in love with the lady Thi (in cuneiform ), the daughter of
Iuạa and Thuạa , and
married her, and he brought her to Egypt, with another
wife named Kilịipa (in cuneiform
Gi-lu-khi-pa), accompanied by 317 of her
attendants. It will require time to settle the historical and
philological difficulties which are raised by these tablets, but
the examination of them already made has thrown most
valuable light upon the social condition of Egypt and of
other countries. One of the tablets is written in the
language of Mitani, and others are inscribed with cuneiform
characters in a language which is at present unknown; and
some of them have dockets in hieratic which state from what
country they were brought. The discovery of these tablets
shows that there must have been people at the court of
Amenophis III. who understood the cuneiform characters,
and that the officers in command over towns in Phaenicia
subject to the rule of Egypt could, when occasion required,
write their despatches in cuneiform. The greater part of
these tablets are now in the Museums of London and
Berlin, some are at the Gîzeh Museum, and a few are in
private hands. Summaries of the contents of those
preserved in the British Museum are given in the Tell
el-Amarna Tablets
(Bezold—Budge), London, 1892; and for
translations of most of the tablets of the “find,” see the Tell
el-Amarna Letters
, by H. Winckler, London and Berlin, 1894.
The Assyrian kings Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Assurbanipal
marched against Egypt; Tirhakah defeated Sennacherib
at Eltekeh, but was defeated by Esarhaddon, the
son of Sennacherib, who drove him back into Ethiopia.
Esarhaddon's son, Assurbanipal, also attacked Tirhakah and

defeated him. Thebes was captured, and Egypt was
divided into twenty-two provinces, over some of which
Assyrian viceroys were placed. A fragment of a Babylonian
tablet states that Nebuchadnezzar II. marched
into Egypt.
VII. The Greek and Roman writers upon Egypt
are many; and of these the best known are Herodotus,
Manetho, and Diodorus Siculus. Herodotus devotes the
whole of the second and the beginning of the third book
of his work to a history of Egypt and the Egyptians, and his
is the oldest Greek treatise on the subject known to us.
In spite of the attacks made upon his work during the
last few years, the evidence of the hieroglyphic inscriptions
which are being deciphered year after year shows that on
the whole his work is trustworthy. A work more valuable
than that of Herodotus is the Egyptian history of Manetho
(still living in B.C. 271) of Sebennytus, who is said by
Plutarch to have been a contemporary of Ptolemy I.; his
work, however, was written during the reign of Ptolemy II.
Philadelphus (B.C. 286-247). According to words put into
his mouth, he was chief priest and scribe in one of the
temples of Egypt, and he appears to have been perfectly
acquainted with the ancient Egyptian language and literature.
He had also had the benefit of a Greek education, and
was therefore peculiarly fitted to draw up in Greek for
Ptolemy Philadelphus a history of Egypt and her religion.
The remains of the great Egyptian history of Manetho are
preserved in the polemical treatise of Josephus against
Apion, in which a series of passages of Egyptian history
from the XVth to the XIXth dynasties is given, and in the
list of the dynasties, together with the number of years of
the reign of each king, given by Africanus and Eusebius
on his authority. At the beginning of his work Manetho
gives a list of gods and demi-gods who ruled over Egypt
before Menes, the first human king of Egypt; the thirty

dynasties known to us he divides into three sections:—
I-XI, XII-XIX, and XX-XXX. Diodorus Siculus,
who visited Egypt about B.C. 57, wrote a history of the
country, its people and its religion, based chiefly upon the
works of Herodotus and Hekataeus. He was not so able a
writer nor so accurate an observer as Herodotus, and his
work contains many blunders. Other important ancient
writers on Egypt are Strabo,*
* About A.D. 15.
† About A.D. 50.
‡ About A. D. 75.

§ About A.D. 100.
and Horapollo.|
| About A.D. 400.
According to Manetho, there reigned over Egypt before
Menā, or Menes, the first mortal king of that country, a
number of beings who may be identified with the Shesu
Ḥeru, or “followers of Horus”; of their deeds and
history nothing is known. Some have believed that
during their rule Egypt was divided into two parts, each
ruled by its own king; and others have thought that the
whole of Upper and Lower Egypt was divided into a large
series of small, independent principalities, which were
united under one head in the person of Menes. There
is, however, no support to be obtained from the inscriptions
for either of these theories. The kings of Egypt
following after the mythical period are divided into thirty
dynasties. For the sake of convenience, Egyptian history
is divided into three periods:—I, the Ancient Empire,
which includes the first eleven dynasties; II, the Middle
, which includes the next nine dynasties (XIIth-XXth);
and, III, the New Empire, which includes the
remaining ten dynasties, XXIst-XXXth, one being Persian.
The rule of the Saïte kings was followed by that of the
Persians, Macedonians, Ptolemies and Romans.
The rule of the Arabs which began A.D. 641, ended A.D.
1517, when the country was conquered by the Turks; since
this time Egypt has been nominally a pashalik of Turkey.


The date assigned to the first dynasty is variously given
by different scholars: by Champollion-Figeac it is B.C. 5867,
by Böckh 5702, by Bunsen 3623, by Lepsius 3892, by
Lieblein 3893, by Mariette 5004, and by Brugsch 4400.
As far as can be seen, there is much to be said in favour
of that given by Brugsch, and his dates are adopted
throughout in this book.

[Back to top]




Dynasty I, from This.

4400. Menà,* the first human king of Egypt, founded
Memphis, having turned aside the course of the
Nile, and established a temple service there.
4366. Tetà, wrote a book on anatomy, and continued
buildings at Memphis.
4266. Semti . Some papyri say that the
64th Chapter of the Book of the Dead was
“found” in his time.

Dynasty II, from This.

4133. Neter-baiu, in whose reign an earthquake
swallowed up many people at Bubastis.
4100. Kakau, in whose days the worship of Apis at
Memphis, and that of Mnevis at Heliopolis, was
4066. Ba-en-neter, in whose reign, according to John of
Antioch, the Nile flowed with honey for eleven
days. During the reign of this king the succession
of females to the throne of Egypt was
declared valid.
4000. Sent. Sepulchral stelae of this king's priests are preserved
at Oxford and at Gîzeh; see paèe 572.
Nefer-ka-Seker, in whose reign an eclipse appears
to be mentioned.

Dynasty III, from Memphis.

3900. Tcheser, the builder of the famous “Step Pyramid
at Saịịâra.

Dynasty IV, from Memphis.

3766. Seneferu. Important contemporaneous monuments
of this king exist. During his reign the copper
mines of Wâdî Ma‘ârah were worked. He built
the pyramid of Mêdûm.
3733. Khufu (Cheops), who fought with the people of
Sinai; he built the first pyramid of Gîzeh.
3666. Khā-f-Rā (Chephren), the builder of the second
pyramid at Gîzeh.
3633. Men-kau-Rā (Mycerinus), the builder of the third
pyramid at Gîzeh. The fragments of his coffin are
in the British Museum. Some copies of the Book
of the Dead say that the 64th chapter of that work
was compiled during the reign of this king.

Dynasty V, from Elephantine.

3533. Saḥu-Rā, the builder of a pyramid at Abuṣîr.
3443. Rā-en-user, the builder of a pyramid at Abuṣîr.
3366. Ṭeṭ-ka-Rā. The Precepts of Ptaḥ-ḥetep were
written during the reign of this king.
3333. Unas, whose pyramid at Saịịâra was explored in 1881.

Dynasty VI, from Memphis.

3266. Tetā, the builder of a pyramid at Ṣaịịâra.
3233. Pepi-meri-Rā, the builder of a pyramid at Ṣaịịâra.
3200. Mer-en-Rā.
3166. Nefer-ka-Rā.
3133 (?). Nit-ạqert (Nitocris), “the beautiful woman with rosy cheeks.”
3100. Dynasties VII and X, from Memphis .
3033. Nefer-ka-Rā.
3000. Nefer-ka-Rā-Nebi.
2966. Ṭeṭ-ka-Rā….
2933. Nefer-ka-Rā-Khenṭu.
2900. Mer-en-Ḥeru.
2866. Se-nefer-ka-Rā.
2833. Ka-en-Rā.
2800. Nefer-ka-Rā-Tererl.
2766. Nefer-ka-Rā-Ḥeru.
2733. Nefer-ka-Rā Pepi Seneb.
2700. Nefer-ka-Rā-Ạnnu.
2633. Nefer-kau-Rā.
2600. Nefer-kau-Ḥeru.
2533. Nefer-āri-ka-Rā.*

Dynasty XI, from Diospolis, or Thebes.

It is not at present possible to arrange in chronological
order the names of the kings of this dynasty, although
several of them are well known. Names common to several
of them are Ạntef and Menthu-ḥetep. Some of the kings
appear to have ruled for long periods, but their reigns were
on the whole uneventful; the burial place of the kings of
this dynasty is at Drah abu'l-Neịịah.
2500. Se-ānkh-ka-Rā. This king is known to us through
an inscription at Ḥamâmât, which states that he sent
an expedition to the land of Punt; this shows
that at that early date an active trade must have
been carried on across the Arabian desert between
Egypt and Arabia. The other kings of the XIth
dynasty bore the names of Ạntef-āa, Ạn-ạntef,
Ạmentuf, Ạn-āa, and Mentu-ḥetep. Se-ānkh-ka-Rā
appears to have been the immediate predecessor of
the XIIth dynasty.


Dynasty XII, from Diospolis, or Thebes.

2466. Ạmenemḥāt I. ascended the throne of Egypt after
hard fighting; he conquered the Uaua, a Libyan
tribe that lived near Korosko in Nubia, and wrote
a series of instructions for his son Usertsen I. The
story of Senehet was written during this reign.
2433. Usertsen I. made war against the tribes of Ethiopia;
he erected granite obelisks and built largely at Heliopolis.
He and his father built pyramids at Lisht, a
necropolis situated about 30 miles south of Cairo.
2400. Ạmenemḥāt II. Khnemu-ḥetep, son of Neḥerạ,
whose tomb is at Beni-hasân, lived during the
reign of this king.
2366. Usertsen II. He built a pyramid at Illahûn.
2333. Usertsen III.
2300. Ạmenemḥāt III. During this king's reign special
attention was paid to the rise of the Nile, and
canals were dug and sluices made for irrigating the
country; in this reign the famous Lake Moeris, in
the district called by the Arabs El-Fayyûm, * was
built. This rise of the Nile was marked on the rocks
at Semneh, about thirty-five miles above the second
cataract, and the inscriptions are visible to this day.
He built a pyramid at Ḥawâra and the Labyrinth.
* In Arabic , from the Coptic , “the lake,”
2266. Ạmenemḥāt IV.
2233. Dynasties XIII-XVII. The so-called Hyksos Period.
According to Manetho these dynasties were as follows:—
Unfortunately there are no monuments whereby we can
correct or modify these figures. The number of years
assigned to the rule of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties
seems excessive. The Hyksos appear to have made their
way from the countries in and to the west of Mesopotamia
into Egypt. They joined with their countrymen, who had
already settled in the Delta, and were able to defeat the
native kings; it is thought that their rule lasted 500 years,
and that Joseph arrived in Egypt towards the end of this
period. The name Hyksos is derived from the Egyptian
Ḥequ Shaạsu, i.e., “princes
of the Shasu,” or nomad tribes on the east and north-east
of Egypt. The principal Hyksos kings of the XVIth
dynasty are Ạpepạ I. and Ạpepạ II.; Nubti and the native
Egyptian princes ruled under them. Under Se-qenen-Rā,
a Theban ruler of the XVIIth dynasty, a war broke out
between the Egyptians and the Hyksos, which continued
for many years, and resulted in the expulsion of the foreign

Dynasty XVIII, from Thebes.

1700. Ạāḥmes I., who re-established the independence of
1666. Ạmen-ḥetep (Amenophis) I.
1633. Teḥuti-mes (Thothmes) I.
1600. Teḥuti-mes (Thothmes) II.
1600. Ḥāt-shepset, sister of Thothmes II. She sent
an expedition to Punt.
Teḥuti-mes (Thothmes) III. made victorious expeditions
into Mesopotamia. He was one of
the greatest kings that ever ruled over Egypt.
1566. Ạmen-ḥetep II.
1533. Teḥuti-mes IV.
1500. Ạmen-ḥetep III. warred successfully in the lands
to the south of Egypt and in Asia. He made it a
custom to go into Mesopotamia to shoot lions, and,
while there he married a sister and daughter of
Tushratta, the king of Mitani, and a sister and a
daughter of Kadashman-Bêl (?), king of Karaduniyash;
he afterwards made proposals of marriage
for another daughter of this latter king called
Sukharti. The correspondence and despatches
from kings of Babylon, Mesopotamia, and
Phaenicia were found in 1887 at Tell el-Amarna ,
and large portions of them are now preserved in
the Museums of London, Berlin, and Gîzeh.
Ạmen-ḥetep IV. or Khu-en-Ạten (“brilliance, or
glory of the solar disk”), the founder of the city Khuạten,
the ruins of which are called Tell el-Amarna ,
and of the heresy of the disk-worshippers. He
was succeeded by a few kings who held the same
religious opinions as himself.

Dynasty XIX, from Thebes.

1400. Rameses I.
1366. Seti I. conquered the rebellious tribes in Western
Asia, and built the Memnonium at Abydos. He
was famous as a builder, and attended with great
care to the material welfare of his kingdom. He
is said to have built a canal from the Nile to the
Red Sea.
1333. Rameses II. subjugated Nubia and Mesopotamia.
He was a great builder, and a liberal patron
of the arts and sciences; learned men like Pentaurt
were attached to his court. He is famous as one
of the oppressors of the Israelites.
1300. Seti Meneptaḥ I. is thought to have been the
Pharaoh of the Exodus; his mummy was found
in the tomb of Amenophis II. at Thebes.


Dynasty XX, from Thebes.

1200. Rameses III. was famous for his buildings, and for
the splendid gifts which he made to the temples of
Thebes, Abydos and Heliopolis. His reign represented
an era of great commercial prosperity.
1166-1133. Rameses IV.-XII.

Dynasty XXI, from Tanis and Thebes.

B.C. I. Tanis. II. Thebes.
Pasebkhānu I.
Pasebkhānu II.
Ḥer-Ḥeru, the first
Pai-net'em I-III.

Dynasty XXII, Libyans who ruled the country from
Bubastis (Tell-Basṭa).

966. Shashanq (Shishak) I. (See 1 Kings, xiv. 25-28;
2 Chron., xii. 2-13) besieged Jerusalem, and having
conquered it, pillaged the Temple and carried
away much spoil.
933. Uasarken I. Under the rule of these kings
Egypt finally lost most of her
foreign possessions, and the
feebleness of their rule made
her an easy prey for the warlike.
900. Takeleth I.
866. Uasarken II.
833. Shashanq II.
Takeleth II.
Shashanq III.
800. Pamai
Shashanq IV.

Dynasty XXIII, from Tanis.

766. Peṭā-Bast.
Uasarken III.

Dynasty XXIV, from Saïs (Sâ el-Ḥagar).

733. Bak-en-ren-f (Bocchoris).

Dynasty XXV, from Ethiopia.

700. Shabaka (Sabaco). See 2 Kings, xvii. 4.
693. Taharqa (Tirhakah, 2 Kings, xix. 9) is famous for
having conquered Sennacherib and delivered Hezekiah;
he was, however, defeated by Esarhaddon
and Assurbanipal, the son and grandson of
Sennacherib. Tirhakah's son-in-law, Urdamanah,
was also defeated by the Assyrians.

Dynasty XXVI, from Saïs.

666. Psemthek I. (Psammetichus) allowed Greeks to
settle in the Delta, and employed Greek soldiers
to fight for him.
612. Nekau II. (Necho) defeated Josiah, king of Judah,
and was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar II. son of
Nabopolassar, king of Babylon. See 2 Kings, xxiii,
29 ff; Jeremiah xlvi. 2.
596. Psammetichus II.
591. Uah-ạb-Rā, Apries (Hophra of the Bible, Gr.
Apries) marched to the help of Zedekiah, king of
Judah, who was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar II.
His army rebelled against him, and he was
dethroned; Amāsis, a general in his army, then
succeeded to the throne. See Jeremiah, xliv. 30.
572. Ạāḥmes or Amāsis II. favoured the Greeks, and
granted them many privileges; in his reign
Naucratis became a great city.
528. Psammetichus III. was defeated at Pelusium by
Cambyses the Persian, and taken prisoner; he
was afterwards slain for rebellion against the

Dynasty XXVII, from Persia.

527. Cambyses marched against the Ethiopians and the
inhabitants of the Oases.

521. Darius I. (Hystaspes) endeavoured to open up
the ancient routes of commerce; he established a
coinage, and adopted a conciliatory and tolerant
system of government, and favoured all attempts
to promote the welfare of Egypt.
486. Xerxes I.
465. Artaxerxes I., during whose reign the Egyptians
revolted, headed by Amyrtaeus.
425. Darius II. (Nothus), during whose reign the
Egyptians revolted successfully, and a second
Amyrtaeus became king of Egypt.
405. Artaxerxes II.

Dynasty XXVIII, from Saïs.

Ạmen-ruṭ (Amyrtaeus), reigned six years.

Dynasty XXIX, from Mendes.

399. Naifāauruṭ I.
393. Haịar.
380. P-se-mut.
379. Naifāauruṭ II.

Dynasty XXX, from Sebennytus.

378. Nekht-Heru-heb (Nectanebus I.) defeated the
Persians at Mendes.
360. T'e-ḥer surrendered to the Persians.
358. Nekht-neb-f (Nectanebus II.) devoted himself to
the pursuit of magic, and neglected his empire;
when Artaxerxes III. (Ochus) marched against him,
he fled from his kingdom, and the Persians again
ruled Egypt.


340. Artaxerxes III. (Ochus).
338. Arses.
336. Darius III. (Codomannus) conquered by Alexander
the Great at Issus.


332. Alexander the Great founded Alexandria. He
showed his toleration of the Egyptian religion
by sacrificing to the god Ạmen of Libya.


222. Ptolemy IV. Philopator defeated Antiochus, and
founded the temple at Edfû.
205. Ptolemy V. Epiphanes. During his reign the help
of the Romans against Antiochus was asked for by
the Egyptians. Coelesyria and Palestine were lost
to Egypt. He was poisoned B.C. 182, and his son
Ptolemy VI. Philometor, died in that same year.
The Rosetta Stone was set up in the eighth year
of the reign of this king.
Ptolemy VI. Philometor did not reign a full year.
181. Ptolemy VII. Eupator was taken prisoner at
Pelusium by Antiochus IV., B.C. 171, and died
B.C. 146. He reigned alone at first, then conjointly
(B.C. 170—165) with Ptolemy IX. Euergetes
II. (also called Physcon), and finally having gone to
Rome on account of his quarrel with Physcon,
he reigned as sole monarch of Egypt (B.C. 165).
Physcon was overthrown B.C. 132, reigned again
B.C. 125, and died B.C. 117.
170. Ptolemy VIII. Neos Philopator is murdered by
146. Ptolemy IX. Euergetes II. (Physcon).
117. Ptolemy X. Soter II. Philometor II. (Lathyrus),
reigns jointly with Cleopatra III. Ptolemy X. is
banished (B.C. 106), his brother Ptolemy XI.
Alexander I. is made co-regent, but afterwards
banished (B.C. 89) and slain (B.C. 87); Ptolemy X.
is recalled, and dies B.C. 81.
88. Ptolemy XII. Alexander II. is killed.
81. Ptolemy XIII. Alexander II. is slain.
81. Ptolemy XIII. Neos Dionysos (Auletes), ascends
the throne; dies B.C. 52.
B. C.
52. Ptolemy XIV. Dionysos II. and Cleopatra VII. are,
according to the will of Ptolemy XIII., to marry
each other; the Roman senate to be their guardian.
Ptolemy XIV. banishes Cleopatra, and is a party to
the murder of Pompey, their guardian, who visits
Egypt after his defeat at Pharsalia. Caesar arrives
in Egypt to support Cleopatra (B.C. 48); Ptolemy
XIV. is drowned; Ptolemy XV., brother of
Cleopatra VII., is appointed her co-regent by Caesar
(B.C. 47); he is murdered at her wish, and her son
by Caesar, Ptolemy XVI. Caesarion, is named
co-regent (B.C. 45).
42. Antony orders Cleopatra to appear before him,
and is seduced by her charms; he kills himself,
and Cleopatra dies by the bite of an asp. Egypt
becomes a Roman province B.C. 30.


Caesar Augustus becomes master of the Roman Empire.
Cornelius Gallus is the first prefect of Egypt. Under the
third prefect, Aelius Gallus, Candace, queen of the Ethiopians,
invades Egypt, but is defeated.
In the consulship of Marcus Silanus and Lucius
Norbanus, Germanicus set out (A.D. 19) for Egypt to
study its antiquities. His ostensible motive, however,
was solicitude for the province. He sailed up the Nile
from the city of Canopus, which was founded by the
Spartans because Canopus, pilot of one of their ships,
had been buried there, when Menelaus on his return to
Greece was driven into a distant sea and to the shores of
Libya. “Next he visited the vast ruins of ancient Thebes.
There yet remained on the towering piles Egyptian inscriptions,
with a complete account of the city's past grandeur.

One of the aged priests, who was desired to interpret the
language of his country, related how once there had dwelt
in Thebes 700,000 men of military age, and how with such
an army Rhamses conquered Libya, Ethiopia, Media,
Persia, Bactria, and Scythia, and held under his sway
the countries inhabited by the Syrians, Armenians, and
their neighbours, the Cappadocians, from the Bithynian to
the Lycian Sea. There was also to be read what tributes
were imposed on these nations, the weight of silver and
gold, the tale of arms and horses, the gifts of ivory and of
perfumes to the temples, and the amount of grain and
supplies furnished by each people, a revenue as magnificent
as is now exacted by the might of Parthia or the power
of Rome. But Germanicus also bestowed attention on
other wonders. Chief of these were the stone image of
Memnon, which, when struck by the sun's rays, gives out
the sound of a human voice; the pyramids, rising up like
mountains amid almost impassable wastes of shifting sand;
raised by the emulation and vast wealth of kings; the lake
(i.e., Moeris) hollowed out of the earth to be a receptacle for
the Nile's overflow; and elsewhere the river's narrow
channel and profound depth which no line of the explorer
can penetrate. He then came to Elephantine and Syene,
formerly the limits of the Roman empire, which now extends
to the Red Sea.” — Tacitus, book ii., §§ 59-61 (Church and
14. Tiberius. In his reign Germanicus visited Egypt.
37. Caligula. In his reign a persecution of the Jews
took place.
41. Claudius.
55. Nero. In his reign Christianity was first preached
in Egypt by Saint Mark. The Blemmyes made
raids upon the southern frontier of Egypt.
69. Vespasian. Jerusalem destroyed A.D. 70.
82. Domitian causes temples to Isis and Serapis to be
built at Rome.
98. Trajan. The Nile and Red Sea Canal (Amnis
Trajânus) re-opened.
117. Hadrian. Visited Egypt twice.
138. Antoninus Pius.
161. Marcus Aurelius caused the famous Itinerary to
be made.
180. Commodus.
193. Septimius Severus.
211. Caracalla visited Egypt, and caused a large number
of young men to be massacred at Alexandria.
217. Macrinus.
218. Elagabalus.
249. Decius. Christians persecuted.
253. Valerianus. Christians persecuted.
260. Gallienus. Persecution of Christians stayed.
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, invades Egypt A.D.
270. Aurelian. Zenobia becomes Queen of Egypt for a
short time, but is dethroned A.D. 273.
276. Probus.
284. Diocletian. “Pompey's Pillar” erected A.D. 302,
persecution of Christians A.D. 304. The Copts
date the era of the Martyrs from the day of
Diocletian's accession to the throne (August 29).
324. Constantine the Great, the Christian Emperor, in
whose reign, A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea was
held. At this council it was decided that Christ
and His Father were of one and the same nature,
as taught by Athanasius; and the doctrine of
Arius,* that Christ and God were only similar
in nature, was decreed heretical.
337. Constantius. George of Cappadocia, an Arian, is
made Bishop of Alexandria.
361. Julian, the Apostate.
379. Theodosius I., the Great, proclaims Christianity
the religion of his empire. The Arians and
followers of the ancient Egyptian religion were


395. Arcadius, Emperor of the East. The Anthropomorphites,
who affirmed that God was of human form,
destroyed the greater number of their opponents.
† The leader of this persecution was Theophilus, Bishop of Alexandria,
who, before he discovered that the majority of the Egyptian
monks were Anthropomorphites, was himself opposed to this body.
408. Theodosius II. In his reign the doctrines of
Nestorius were condemned by Cyril of Alexandria.
Nestorius, because of the two natures of Christ, inferred
also two persons, a human and a divine. “In
the Syrian school, Nestorius had been taught (A.D.
429-431) to abhor the confusion of the two natures,
and nicely to discriminate the humanity of his
master Christ from the Divinity of the Lord Jesus.
The Blessed Virgin he revered as the mother of
Christ, but his ears were offended with the rash
and recent title of mother of God, which had been
insensibly adopted since the origin of the Arian
controversy. From the pulpit of Constantinople,
a friend of the patriarch,* and afterwards the
patriarch himself, repeatedly preached against the
use, or the abuse, of a word unknown to the
apostles, unauthorized by the church, and which
could only tend to alarm the timorous, to mislead
the simple, to amuse the profane, and to justify,
by a seeming resemblance, the old genealogy of
Olympus. In his calmer moments Nestorius confessed,
that it might be tolerated or excused by the
union of the two natures, and the communication
of their idioms (i.e., a transfer of properties of each
nature to the other—of infinity to man, passibility
to God, etc.): but he was exasperated, by contradiction,
to disclaim the worship of a newborn,
an infant Deity, to draw his inadequate similes
from the conjugal or civil partnerships of life, and
to describe the manhood of Christ, as the robe,
the instrument, the tabernacle of his Godhead.”—Gibbon,
Decline and Fall, chap. 47.
450. Marcianus. The Monophysite doctrine of Eutyches
was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon,
A.D. 451. Eutyches, from the one person of Christ,
inferred also one nature, viz., the Divine—the
human having been absorbed into it. Silko invaded
Egypt with his Nubian followers.
474. Zeno. He issued the Henoticon, an edict which,
while affirming the Incarnation, made no attempt
to decide the difficult question whether Christ
possessed a single or a double nature.
491. Anastasius.
527. Justinian. The Monophysites separated from the
Melkites, or “Royalists,” and chose their own
patriarch; they were afterwards called Copts,
610. Heraclius. The Persians under Chosroes held
Egypt for ten years; they were expelled by
Heraclius A.D. 629.


640. ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aṣi conquers Egypt. ‘Amr began his
expedition against Egypt with about 4,000 men,
but the Khalîfa Omar sent him reinforcements,
and by the time the famous general arrived at
‘Arîsh his army numbered 16,000 men. Having
vanquished the garrison at Pelusium, he marched
along the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, and passed
by way of Bubastis to Heliopolis. A truce of four
days was obtained for George, the Maịawịas,
the governor of Upper , by the Coptic
Patriarch Benjamin, and it seems that the Egyptian
official, who was a Jacobite Copt, and a hater
of the ruling class in Egypt, greatly aided the
Arab general. The Arabs moved on towards
Memphis, and soon after, under Zubêr, ‘Amr's
colleague, made a general assault upon the fortress
of Babylon, scaled the walls, and so became masters
of the capital of Upper Egypt. George, the
Maịawịas, arranged the details of the capitulation,
and a capitation tax of two dînârs for every male
adult, besides other payments. ‘Amr then marched
on Alexandria, and as the Greeks took to their
ships and fled, George, the Maịawịas, who had
gone to Alexandria after the fall of Babylon, offered
to capitulate on the same terms as he had made
for that city. ‘Amr returned to Memphis, and
made the head-quarters of the army at Fosṭâṭ,
near which the modern town of Cairo has grown
up. ‘Amr refused to possess himself of any land,
and he was not even given a site whereon to build
a house. One of his most useful works was to reopen
the old canal which ran from Belbês through
the Wâdî Ṭûmîlât to the Bitter Lakes, and thence
to the Red Sea; by this means it was possible
to convey corn which had been loaded into ships
at Memphis from that city into Yenbô, the port
of Medîna in Arabia, without transhipment. This
canal was in use for about eighty years, when it
became silted up. After the second siege of Alexandria
(A.D. 646) the Arabs made Fosṭaṭ the capital
of Egypt.
644. ‘Othmân.
750. Merwân II., the last of the ‘Omayyade dynasty, was
put to death in Egypt.
750-870. The ‘Abbasides rule over Egypt.
786. Harûn ar-Rashîd.
813. Mâmûn visited Egypt, and opened the Great Pyramid.
870. Aḥmad ibn-Ṭulûn governs Egypt.
884. Khamârûyeh enlarges Fosṭât.
969-1171. The Fâṭimites govern Egypt, with Maṣr el-Ḳâhira*
(Cairo) as their residence.
975. Al-‘Azîz, son of Mu‘izz, great grandson of ‘Obêdallâh.
996. Ḥâkim, son of ‘Azîz, founder of the Druses. This
remarkable prince wished to be considered God
1020. Ẓâhir, son of Ḥâkim.
1036. Abu Tamîm el-Mustanṣir.
1094. Musta‘li, son of el-Mustanṣir, captured Jerusalem
(A.D. 1096), but was defeated by the Crusaders
under Godfrey de Bouillon.
1160. ‘Aḍîd Ledînallâh, the last of the Fâṭimites.
1171. Ṣalâḥeddîn (Saladin) defeated the Crusaders at
Ḥittîn, and recaptured Jerusalem.
1193. Melik al-‘Adîl.
1218. Melik al-Kâmil, the builder of Manṣûrah.
1240. Melik aṣ-Ṣâleḥ, the usurper, captured Jerusalem,
Damascus, and Ascalon. Louis IX. of France,
attacked and captured Damietta, but was made
prisoner at Manṣûrah, with all his army.
1250-1380. The Baḥrite Mamelukes.
1260. Bêbars.
1277. Ḳalâûn.
1291. Al-Ashraf Khalîl captured Acre.
1346. Ḥasan.
1382-1517. Burgite or Circassian Mamelukes.
1382. Barịûị.
1422. Bursbey.
1468. Ḳâit Bey.
1501. Al-Ghûri.
1517. Ṭûmân Bey is deposed by Selim I. of Constantinople,
and Egypt becomes a Turkish Pashalik.
Soon after his conquest of Egypt, Selim divided
the country into twenty-four provinces, over each
of which he appointed a local governor; these
governors were placed in subjection to a Pâsha,
who, with the help of a council of seven Turkish
officials, ruled the country. One of the twenty-four
governors was elected to the important office of
“Shêkh al-balad,” or governor of the metropolis,
a post which was greatly coveted by his colleagues
when they saw what frequent opportunities were
enjoyed by him of “squeezing” the natives, and
of making himself a rich man. This system worked
well for a time, but as the power of Turkey declined,
so the power of her nominees the Pâshas of Egypt
declined, and at length the twenty-four local governors
became the actual rulers of Egypt, for the
revenues of the country were in their hands, and
they paid the Turkish Pâsha his salary.
1771. ‘Ali Bey, a slave, obtains great power in Egypt. He
was accused of entering into a conspiracy against
the Sulṭân at Constantinople, and a messenger was
sent to Egypt to bring back ‘Ali Bey's head. ‘Ali
caught and slew the messenger, and having called
his colleagues together, drove out the Pâsha and
1772. declared Egypt independent. He was poisoned
by Muḥammad abu-Dhabad, a man on whom he
had showered favours.
1773. Ismâ‘îl, Ibrâhîm, and Murâd strive for the mastery
over Egypt. When Murâd became ruler, a Turkish
army invaded Egypt and seized Cairo, and attempted
1790. to follow the rebel (Murâd) into Upper
1798. Napoleon Bonaparte lands near Alexandria with
an army of 36,000 men (July 1); storming of
Alexandria (July 5); Murâd meets the French in
battle at Embâbeh, opposite Cairo, with 60,000
men, but is beaten, and about 15,000 of his men
are killed. This fight is commonly called the
Battle of the Pyramids. A few days later
Nelson destroyed the French fleet in Abuịîr Bay.
1799. Destruction of the Turkish army by the French at
1800. Sir Sydney Smith signs a treaty at Al-‘Arîsh granting
General Kléber's army permission to leave Egypt
(February 24), but as he had to admit later that
he had exceeded his powers, and that the British
Government demanded the surrender of the whole
French army as prisoners of war, Gen. Kléber
attacked the Turks at the village of Maṭarîyeh
and is said to have routed 70,000 men, an army
six times as large as his own. A few months later
Kléber was assassinated, and General Menou
became commander-in-chief of the French army
in Egypt.
1801. Sir Ralph Abercromby lands at Abuịîr Bay with
17,000 men (March 8); battle of Alexandria and
defeat of the French (March 21); the French
capitulate at Cairo (June 27); the French capitulate
at Alexandria (August 30); evacuation of
Egypt by the French (September).
1803. England restores Egypt to the Turks. As soon as
the English left Egypt, severe conflicts took place
between two Turkish parties in the country, the
Albanians and the Ghuzz; to the former belonged
Muḥammad ‘Ali.
1805. Muḥammad Ali is elected Pâsha of Egypt by the
people. His election was afterwards confirmed
by the Porte. He was born at Cavalla, a small
town on the sea-coast of Albania, in 1769, and he
served in the Turkish army at an early age. He
was sent with a body of troops to fight against
the French, and enjoyed at that time the rank of
major (bimbashi); he married the daughter of the
governor of his native town, and by her had three
sons, Ibrâhîm, Ṭusûn, and Ismâ‘îl.
1807. General Fraser arrives at Alexandria with 5,000
British troops (March 17), but being unsuccessful
in his mission, he evacuated Alexandria on September
1811. Assassination of the Mamelukes by Muḥammad ‘Ali.
These unfortunate men were invited by Muḥammad
Ali to attend the investiture of his son Ṭusûn
with a garment of state at the Citadel on March 1.
When they arrived they were graciously received
and led into the Citadel, but as soon as they were
inside the gates were closed and Muḥammad ‘Ali's
soldiers opened fire upon them; about 470 of the
Beys and their followers were murdered, and of all
who entered only one is said to have escaped.
1820. Expedition to the Sûdân led by Ismâ‘îl, who was
burned to death by an Arab shêkh called Nimr
1821. Muḥammad ‘Ali sends about 8,000 troops to assist
the Turks against the Greeks. In 1824 a false
Mahdi appeared near Thebes, with about 25,000
followers, but nearly all of them were massacred
by the Government troops.
1831. Invasion of Syria by Ibrâhîm, son of Muḥammad
‘Ali. Acre was invested on November 29, but
was not captured until May 27, 1832. Ibrâhîm
was victorious at Emesa on July 8, he defeated
Rashîd Pâsha, and destroyed the Turkish fleet so
completely that Constantinople was in imminent
danger of capture. In 1833 the whole of Syria
was ceded to Muḥammad ‘Ali, and the rule of his
son Ibrâhîm was firm but just. In 1839 war
again broke out between the Turks and Egyptians,
and two years later Syria was given back to the
former. In 1847 Muhammad ‘Ali visited Constantinople,
and soon after his reasoning powers
became impaired.
Ibrâhîm is appointed to rule Egypt on account of
his father's failing health. He died after the
reign of a few months, but Muḥammad did not
die until August 3, 1849. Muḥammad ‘Ali was
1849.an able ruler, and one who had the interest of his
country at heart. He created an army and a navy,
and established equitable laws for collecting the
revenues; he founded colleges of various kinds,
and also the famous Bûlâk printing press. There
is no doubt that but for the obstacles placed
in his way by the British Government, and its interference,
he would have freed Egypt entirely from
Turkish misrule. His health and spirits were broken
by England when she reduced his army to 18,000
men and forbade him to employ his fleet, which
rotted away as it lay inactive at Alexandria.
1849. ‘Abbâs Pâsha, the son of Ṭusûn, the son of
Muḥammad ‘Ali, succeeds Ibrâhîm. He was an
incapable ruler, and is said to have been strangled
at Benha in July, 1854.
1854. Sa‘îd Pâsha, the fourth son of Muḥammad ‘Ali,
becomes ruler of Egypt. Though not a strong
ruler, he was a just man, and he will be chiefly
remembered for having abolished a number of
cruel monopolies. In many particulars he sought
to carry out his father's plans, and first and foremost
among these must be mentioned the building
of railways in the Delta, and the enlarging of the
canals with the view of improving irrigation and
of facilitating communication. He it was who
supported the project of making the Suez Canal,
and he gave M. de Lesseps the concession for it.
He founded the Bûlâị Museum, and encouraged
excavations on the sites of the ancient cities of
Ismâ‘îl, son of Ibrâhîm Pâsha, and grandson of
Muḥammad ‘Ali, becomes the ruler of Egypt; he
was born in 1830, and by a decree of the Sulṭân,
dated May 14, 1867, was made “Kheîve” * of
Egypt. In the early years of the rule of this
remarkable man everything seemed to go well,
and the material welfare of the country of Egypt
appeared to be secured. Apparently Ismâ'îl
was straining every nerve to rule his country
according to Western ideas of justice and progress.
Railways were built, schools were opened, trade
of every kind was fostered, and agriculture, upon
which the prosperity of Egypt depends, was
encouraged to a remarkable degree. The making
of the Suez Canal, which was begun in 1859,
was carried on with great zeal under his auspices
(as well as the Fresh Water Canal, which was
begun in 1858 and finished in 1863), and the
work was successfully accomplished in 1869. But
the various enterprises in which he embarked cost
large sums of money, and towards the end of 1875
his liabilities amounted to £77,667,569 sterling.
The salaries of the officials were in arrear, and the
Treasury bills were shunned by all. In this year
he sold 176,602 Suez Canal shares to the British
Government for £3,976,582 sterling; these shares
are now worth over 25 millions sterling. In 1878
M. Waddington, the French Minister of Foreign
Affairs, urged Lord Derbyu to co-operate with
France in an attempt to put the finances of Egypt
on a sounder base, and a Commission of Inquiry
was instituted by the Decree of March 30, under
the presidency of Mr. Rivers Wilson. In April
Ismâ'îl was obliged to find the sum of £1,200,000
to pay the May coupon of the Unified Debt, and
it is said that he did so by the familiar process of
“squeezing” the native. The labours of the
Commission proved that “the land tenures were
so arranged that the wealthier proprietors evaded
a great portion of the land tax, and the system of
forced labour was applied in a way which was
ruinous to the country.” (Royle, Egyptian Campaigns, p. 6.)
Ismâ'îl had built himself palaces
everywhere, and he and his family had become
possessed of one-fifth of the best of the land of
Egypt. The taxes were collected with great
cruelty and injury to the native, and peculation
and bribery were rampant everywhere. In August
of this year a Cabinet was formed with Nubar
Pâsha at the head, with Rivers Wilson as Minister of
Finance, and M. de Blignières as Minister of
Public Works. At this time Ismâ'îl announced
that he was, in future, determined to rule the
country through a Council of Ministers. It must
be remembered that the debt of Egypt at this
time was about £90,000,000. On February 18th,
1879, Nubar Pâsha and his Cabinet were, owing
to the machinations of Ismâ'îl, mobbed by about
2,500 officers and men at the Ministry of Finance,
but at the critical moment Ismâ'îl himself appeared,
and the uproar ceased. At the same time, however,
he told the European Consuls-General that
unless more power were given to him he would not
be answerable for what might happen. Soon after
this he issued a Decree to raise the number of
men in the army to 60,000, and in April he
reduced the interest on the Debt. When Nubar
Pâsha resigned his office, Ismâ'îl appointed his
own son Tawfîk as Prime Minister, but soon after
this he dismissed the whole Cabinet and appointed
1879 a set of native Ministers with Sherîf Pâsha as
Prime Minister. As the result of this truly
Oriental proceeding England and France, after
much hesitation, demanded the deposition of
Ismâ'îl from the Sultân. About this time Ismâ'îl
sent large bribes to the Sultân, but these availed
him nothing, and on June 25th Mr. Lascelles, the
British Consul-General, and M. Tricon, the French
Consul-General, together with Sherîf Pâsha, waited
upon Ismâ'îl to inform him that he must at once
abdicate in obedience to the orders of his sovereign
master, the Sultân, which had been received
from Constantinople. Ismâ'îl of course refused
to do this, but about 10.30 a.m. a telegram
addressed to Ismâ'îl Pâsha, late Khedive of Egypt,
was received at the Abdîn Palace, and it was
taken to him by Sherîf Pâsha, who called upon his
master to resign in favour of Tawfîk Pâsha.
Almost at the same hour Tawfîk received at the
Isma'îlîyyeh Palace a telegram addressed to
Muhammad Tawfîk, Khedive of Egypt, and when
he went to the Abdîn Palace with Sherîf Pâsha,
who had come from there to tell him about the
telegram to Ismâ'îl, he found his father ready to
salute and to wish him better fortune than he himself
had enjoyed. On Monday, the 30th of June,
Ismâ'îl left Egypt in the Khedivial yacht for
Smyrna, taking with him a large sum of money
and about 300 women; in 1887 he settled in
Constantinople, where he died in 1895. Under
Tawfîk's rule the Control was restored, and on
September 4 Rîaz Pâsha became Prime Minister.
1880. Commission of Liquidation appointed, and a number
of reforms, including a reduction of the taxes, are
1881. A rebellion headed by Ahmad Arabi or “Arabi
and others breaks out. Arabi was born
in the year 1840 in Lower , and was the son
of a peasant farmer. He offended Ismâ'îl, and
was accused of malpractices and misappropriation
of army stores, but this the despot forgave him,
and promoted him to the rank of colonel, and
gave him a royal slave to wife. Arabi was the
leader of a secret society, the aim of which was to
free Egypt from foreign interference and control,
and to increase the army, and make Tawfîk
appoint an Egyptian to the office of Minister of
War in the place of Osman Rifki. These facts
coming to the notice of the authorities, Arabi and
two of his colleagues were ordered to be arrested,
and when this had been done, and they had been
taken to the barracks in Cairo for examination,
the soldiers who were in their companies rushed
into the rooms and rescued them. The rebel
officers and men next went to the palace where
Tawfîk was, and compelled him to grant their
requests, and to do away with the cause of their
1881. On February 2 of this year Tawfîk was called upon
to form a new Cabinet, and Arabi became
Minister of War, and Mahmûd Sami was appointed
President of the Council; Arabi was created a
Pâsha by the Sultân and his power became paramount.
In May a serious dispute arose between
Arabi and his colleagues and the Khedive; and
on the 19th and 20th three British and three
French vessels arrived at Alexandria. On May
25th the Consuls-General of England and France
demanded the resignation of Mahmûd Sami's
Cabinet, and the retirement of Arabi from the
  country. These demands were conceded on the
following day, but shortly after Tawfîị reinstated
Arabi, with the view of maintaining order and
the tranquillity of the country. “On June 3 three
more British and three more French warships
arrived at Alexandria. On June 11 a serious riot
broke out at Alexandria; and the British Consul
was stoned and nearly beaten to death, and Mr.
Ribton, a missionary, and a British naval officer and
two seamen were actually killed.” The massacre
had been threatened by Maḥmûd Sami, and the
riot was pre-arranged, and the native police and
soldiery were parties to the murders of the
Europeans which took place on that day; Mr.
Royle (Egyptian Campaigns, p. 54) estimates the
number of Europeans killed at 150. On June
25 the Sulṭân decorated Arabi with the Grand
Order of the Medjidieh! On July 11 at 7 a.m.
the bombardment of Alexandria was begun by
H.M.S. “Alexandra” firing a shell into the newly
made fortifications of the city, and the other
British ships, “Inflexible,” “Superb,” “Sultan,”
“Téméraire,” “Invincible,” “Monarch,” and
“Penelope,” soon after opened fire. After the
bombardment was over the city was plundered
and set on fire by the natives, and an idea of the
damage done may be gained from the fact that
the Commission of Indemnities awarded the
claimants the sum of £4.341,011 sterling (Royle,
op. cit., p. 102). On July 14th British seamen
were landed to protect the city, and on the 15th
many forts were occupied by them. Early in
August Arabi was removed from his post, and he
at once began to prepare to resist the English
soldiers who were known to be on their way to
Egypt; on August 15 Sir Garnet Wolseley arrived
in Egypt; on the 18th the British fleet arrived at
Port Ṣa‘îd; on the 20th the British seized the
Suez Canal, and the British Government was
declared by M. de Lesseps to have paid to him
£100,000 for loss of business! (Royle, op. cit.,
p. 152). On September 13 Sir Garnet Wolseley
was victorious at Tell el-Kebîr, at a cost of about
460 British officers and men; the Egyptians
lost about 2,000, and several hundreds were
wounded. On the 15th Cairo was occupied by
the British, and the 10,000 Egyptian soldiers there
submitted without fighting. On December 26th
Arabi left Egypt for exile in Ceylon.
1883. A rebellion led by the Mahdi breaks out in the
Sûdân. The Mahdi was one Muḥammad Aḥmad,
a carpenter, who was born between 1840 and 1850;
his native village was situated near the Island of
Argo, in the province of Donịola, and though
poor, his parents declared that they belonged to
the Ashraf, or “nobility,” and claimed to be
descendants of Muḥammad the Prophet. His
father was a religious teacher, and had taught him
to read and write. He studied at Berber under
Muḥammad al-Khên, and later at Kharṭûm under
the famous Shêkh Muḥammad Sherîf, and when
he became a man he led a life of great asceticism
on the Island of Abba in the White Nile. His
piety and learning secured for him a great reputation
in the Sûdân, and the greater number of
the inhabitants sided with him in a serious quarrel
which he had with Muḥammad Sherîf. He
wandered about preaching against the Christians,
and he declared that the decay in the Muḥammadan
religion was due to the contact of Arabs
with Christians, that true faith was dead, and that
he was deputed by God to restore it. He then
attached a number of important people to himself,
and having retired to Abba Island, he declared
himself to be the “Mahdi,” or the being whose
advent had been foretold by Muḥammadan writers,
who would restore the religion of the Arabs to its
former purity. In July, 1881, Rauf Pâsha, the
Governor-General of the Sûdân, sent for him to
come to Kharṭûm, but the Mahdi refused, and six
weeks later he and his followers defeated the
Government troops which had been sent to bring
him, and slew half of them. In December he
defeated Rashîd Bey, the Governor of Fashôda,
and slew nearly all the 400 soldiers which he had
with him at Geddîn. In April, 1882, Giegler
Pâsha, the temporary Governor-General, next
attacked the Mahdi, and under his able generalship
considerable loss was inflicted on the rebels;
but on June 7 the Mahdi and his Dervishes
massacred the combined forces of ‘Abd-Allah and
Yussuf Pâsha, and in September he besieged
El-Obêd, which capitulated on January 17, 1883.
In the same month Colonel W. Hicks, a retired
Indian officer, was appointed head of the Army in
the Sûdân, and on February 7 he left Cairo for
Kharṭûm viâ Berber, which he reached on March 1;
in April he set out against the Dervishes, and on
the last day of the month he defeated about 4,000
of them and killed about 500. On September 9
he set out with reinforcements for Duêm, intending
to recapture El-Obêd, but early in November the
Mahdi attacked his force of about 10,000 men
with some thousands of soldiers from the old
Egyptian Army, near Lake Rahad, it is said, and
the gallant Englishman and his officers and men,
who were suffering greatly from want of water,
having been led into an ambush, were cut to pieces.
Thus the Mahdi became master of the Sûdân.
1884 In February Baker Pâsha set out with about 3,800
men to relieve Sinkat, but his motley troops were
defeated at Tokar, and about 2,400 of them slain,
and thousands of rifles and much ammunition fell
into the hands of the Dervishes. In January of
this year Charles George Gordon (born January
28, 1833, murdered at Kharṭûm on the night of
January 26, 1885) was sent to Kharṭûm to arrange
for the evacuation of the Sûdân; he left Cairo on
January 26 and arrived there on February 18. On
February 28, General Graham defeated the Dervishes
at El-teb, and nearly 1,000 of them were
slain. On March 13 he defeated Osman Diịna's *
army at Tamaai and killed about 2,500 of his
men; Osman's camp was burnt, and several hundred
thousand of the cartridges which had been
taken from Baker Pâsha were destroyed. On the
27th, Tamanib was occupied by Graham and then
burnt. About the middle of April the Mahdi began
to besiege Gordon in Kharṭûm, and preparations for
a relief expedition were begun in England in May;
this expedition was placed (August 26) under Sir
Garnet Wolseley, who decided to attempt to reach
Kharṭûm by ascending the Nile. This route made
it necessary to travel 1,700 miles against the stream,
and six cataracts, and other natural barriers, made
the progress extremely slow; General Sir F.
Stephenson, the highest authority on the subject,
A.D. 1884
advised the route viâ Sawwaịîn (Suâkin) and
Berber, and by it troops could have entered Kharṭûm
some months before Gordon was murdered.
On the other hand it has been urged that, as the
town of Berber surrendered on May 26, the main
reason for an advance along the Suâkin-Berber road
was taken away (Sudan Campaign, Pt. I, p. 25).
The expedition consisted of 7,000 men, and all of
them had reached Wâdî Ḥalfa by the end of
November. On December 2, the troops at Donịola
set out for Korti, which was reached by Sir
Herbert Stewart on the 13th of the same month.
Here it was decided to send a part of the force to
Kharṭûm across the desert, viâ Matemmah, and a
part by way of the river. On December 30, Sir
Herbert Stewart set out with about 1,100 officers
and men, and on January 2 he seized the Gakdul
Wells, 95 miles from Korti; after one day he
returned with the greater part of his force to
Korti (January 5) to fetch further supplies, having
left 400 men at Gakdul to build forts and to guard
the wells. On the 8th, he again set out for
Gakdul, and on the 16th he reached a spot about
four miles from the wells of Abu Klea,* and
23 miles from Matemmah; next day the famous
battle of Abu Klea was fought, and 1,500 British
soldiers defeated 11,000 Dervishes. The Dervishes
succeeded in breaking the British square,
but every one of them who got in was killed,
and 1,100 of their dead were counted near it;
their number of wounded was admitted by them
to have been very large. On the 18th General
Stewart moved on towards Matemmah and, after
a march which lasted all day and all night, again
fought the Dervishes on the 19th, and killed or
wounded 800; in this fight, however, he received
the wound of which he died. On the 20th
Abu Kru, or Gubat, was occupied by the British:
on the 21st Sir Charles Wilson attempted to take
Matemmah, but the force at his command was
insufficient for the purpose. On the 22nd the
British soldiers began to build two forts at Abu
Kru; on the 23rd Sir C. Wilson began to make
the steamers ready to go to Kharṭûm; and on the
24th he set out with two steamers and twenty men.
Four days later he came to Tuti Island and found
that Kharṭûm was in the hands of the Mahdi,
whereupon he ordered his vessels to turn and run
down the river with all speed; when they were
out of the reach of the enemy's fire, Sir C. Wilson
stopped them and sent out messengers to learn
what had happened, and it was found that
Kharṭûm had fallen on the night of the 26th,
and that Gordon had been murdered a little
before sunrise on the 27th. His head was cut
off and taken to the Mahdi, but his body was left
in the garden for a whole day, and thousands of
Dervishes came and plunged their spears into it;
later the head was thrown into a well. On
February 13 the British troops, including those
which had marched with General Buller to Gubat,
retreated to Abu Klea, and a fortnight later they
set out for Korti, which they reached on March 1.
The portion of the British troops which attempted
to reach Khartûm by river left Korti on December
28, 1884, and reached Berti on February 1,
1885, and on the 9th was fought the battle of
Kirbekan, in which General Earle was shot dead
On the 17th the house, palm trees, and water-wheels
of Sulêmân Wad Gamr, who murdered
Colonel Stewart, were destroyed, and on the 24th,
orders having been received to withdraw, the river
column made ready to return to Korti, which was
reached on the 8th of March. When it was seen
that Lord Wolseley's expedition had failed to bring
Gordon from Kharṭûm, it was decided by the
British Government to break the power of Osman
Diịna, and with this object in view the Suâkin
Expedition was planned. On February 17, 1885,
the British Government made a contract with
Messrs. Lucas and Aird to construct a railway of
4 feet 8½ inches gauge from Suâkin to Berber. On
the 20th General Graham was placed in command
of the Suâkin Field Force, which consisted of
about 10,500 officers and men. On March 20
General Graham fought an action at Hashin, and
two days later a fierce fight took place at Tofrik,
between Suâkin and Tamaai. General McNeill
was attacked by about 3,000 Dervishes, of whom
1,000 were killed, but the British loss was, relatively,
considerable. In May the British Government
recalled Graham's expedition, and abandoned the
making of the railway to Berber, and thus Osman
Diịna was again able to boast that he had driven
the English out of the country (Royle, Sudan
, p. 436). On June 22, the death of
the Mahdi
occurred; he was succeeded by
‘Abd-Allah, better known as the “Khalîfa.” In
July the last of the British troops of Lord
Wolseley's expedition left Donịola; by the end of
September nearly the whole country as far north
as Wâdi Ḥalfa was in the hands of the Mahdi, and

it was seen that, unless checked, the Dervishes
would invade Egypt. General Sir F. Stephenson
and General Sir Francis Grenfell attacked them at
Kosheh and Ginnis on December 30, and about
A.D. 1,000 of the Mahdi's troops were killed and wounded.
* More correctly Abu Tliḥ , i.e., a place abounding in
acacia trees.
1886. Towards the close of this year Osman Dikịna with-drew
from Suâkin to Omdurmân, partly because
the Arabs about Suâkin had defeated his troops and
occupied Tamaai, and partly because he hoped for
much benefit from the Mahdi's attack on Egypt.
1887. In June, Osman Diịna returned to Suâkin with
about 2,000 Baggara Dervishes, but failed to move
the people of the country; in the following month he
returned to Omdurmân, but hearing that the Egyptian
garrison at Suâkin had been reduced, he returned
with 5,000 men and determined to capture the city.
1888. On January 17, Colonel (now Lord) Kitchener, at
the head of some friendly Arabs, attacked and
captured the Dervish camp, but eventually the
Dervishes re-formed and turned the Egyptian victory
into a defeat. On December 20, General Grenfell,
with reinforcements, attacked Osman Diịna's troops
and killed and wounded 500 of them.
1889. In April Wad en-Negûmi had advanced as far north
as Hafîr with about 5,000 men, and another 1,000
were at Sarras, only about 33 miles south of Wâdi
Ḥalfa. On July 1, Colonel Wodehouse, with
about 2,000 Egyptian soldiers, defeated the Dervishes,
under Wad en-Negûmi, at Argîn, near Wâdi
Ḥalfa, killing 900 and taking 500 prisoners. On
the 5th, General Grenfell left Cairo for the south
with reinforcements, and made arrangements to
meet the attack of Wad en-Negûmi, who, undaunted
by his defeat at Argîn, was marching
north; and on August 1 this redoubtable warrior
collected his force of 3,300 men and 4,000 followers
on the hills to the south of Tushki, or Toski. On
the 3rd General Grenfell disposed his British and
Egyptian troops in such a way as to check the
advance of Wad en-Negûmi, who, however, only
wished to get away and not to fight. He was at
length forced to fight, and he fought bravely, but
General Grenfell's tactics were so thoroughly well
planned and carried out, that the Dervish force
was completely routed and destroyed. About
1,200 were killed and 4,000 were taken prisoners,
and the Egyptian loss only amounted to 25 killed
and 140 wounded. The effect on the country was
marvellous, for, as Mr. Royle says (op. cit., p. 485),
“the victory of Toski marked the turning point in
the invasion, and was a shock to the cause of
Mahdism which it took years to recover.” The
Dervish reinforcements beat a hasty retreat, and
the Mahdi suspended all further operations for the
invasion of Egypt.
1890. Osman Diịna continued to make raids upon Suâkin
from Tokar.
1891. In January Colonel (now Sir C.) Holled-Smith set
out to attack Osman Diịna, and on February 19
he routed the enemy at Tokar, killing 700 men.
1892-1895. Osman Diịna continued to harass the Arabs
round Suâkin, and made raids wherever he thought
he had any chance of success. On January 7,
1892, the Khedive, Tawfîk Pâsha, died after a
short illness at Ḥelwân, and he was succeeded by
his eldest son, Abbâs II. Hilmy; the Imperial
Firman from the Porte confirming his succession
cost about £6,154, and was read on April 14.
1896. In the early part of this year Osman Diịna's forces
were attacked and defeated with great loss by
Colonel Lloyd, Major Sydney, and Captain Fenwick.
On February 29 the Italians were defeated
with severe loss at Adowa, and the Italian garrison
at Kassala was in imminent danger from the
Dervishes. With a view of assisting Italy by
making it necessary for the Dervishes to turn
their attention elsewhere, the British Government
determined to advance to Akasheh and Donịola.
In the hands of General Kitchener, who had
succeeded General Grenfell as Sirdar of the
Egyptian Army in April, 1892, the conduct of
the new Sûdân Expedition was placed. On
March 21 he left Cairo for the south, and the
first serious skirmish between the Dervishes and
Egyptians took place on May 1. Early in June
the Sirdar divided his forces, and one column
marched upon Ferket by way of the river, and
another across the desert. On June 7 the two
columns joined hands, and a fierce fight ensued.
The Sirdar's arrangements were so skilfully made
and carried out, that the Dervishes were utterly
routed; they lost about 1,000 killed and wounded,
and 500 were made prisoners. Among the killed
were about forty of their chief men. The Egyptian
loss was 100 killed and wounded. On September
19 the Sirdar occupied Hafîr after a fight, and four
days later the Egyptian troops entered Donịola;
Debbeh, Korti, and Marawî were next occupied, and
the country as far as the foot of the Fourth Cataract
was once more in the hands of the Egyptians.
Early in this year the decision to make the Wâdi
Ḥalfa and Abu-Ḥamed Railway was arrived at, for
the Sirdar regarded it as absolutely necessary; by
this route nearly 350 miles of difficult river transport
would be avoided. When the railway had
advanced considerably more than half way to Abu
Ḥamed, General Hunter marched from Marawî
to Abu Ḥamed and defeated the Dervishes, who
held it in force, and occupied it on August 7. Of
the Dervish garrison of 1,500 men, about 1,300
were killed and wounded. Soon afterwards the
Dervishes evacuated Berber, which was entered
by General Hunter on September 13. On
October 31 the railway reached Abu-Hamed.
1898. On April 8th, Good Friday, the Sirdar utterly
defeated the great Dervish force under Maḥmûd
at the Battle of the Atbara; the Dervish loss was
about 3,000 killed, and 2,000 were taken prisoners,
while the Sirdar's loss was under 600 killed and
wounded. The forces engaged on each side were
about 14,000. On September 2nd the capture of
Omdurmân and the defeat of the Khalîfa
‘Abdu-Allahi were accomplished by the Sirdar. The
Khalîfa's forces numbered at least 50,000, and
those of the Sirdar about 22,000. The Dervish
loss was at least 11,000 killed and 16,000
wounded, and over 4,000 were made prisoners;
the Sirdar's loss was rather more than 400 killed
and wounded. The Khalîfa escaped and fled south,
having first taken care to bury his treasure; the
body of the Mahdi was removed from its tomb,
and burnt, and the ashes were thrown into the
Nile; the head is said to be buried at Wâdi
Ḥalfa. The tomb was destroyed because, if left
untouched, it would always have formed a centre
for religious fanaticism and sedition. On Sunday,
September 4, the Sirdar held a memorial service
for General Gordon at Kharṭûm, when the British
and Egyptian flags were hoisted. On the 19th the
Sirdar hoisted the Egyptian flag at Fashôda, which
had been occupied by Major Marchand, the head
of a French expedition, who sought to claim as a
right a position on the Nile on behalf of France.
* In January General Kitchener set out to catch the
Khalîfa, who had fled towards Kordofân, but his
expedition failed for want of water. In November
it was said that the Khalîfa was at Gebel Geddîr,
which lay to the north-west of Fashôda, on the
west bank of the Nile, and about 160 miles from
the river. The Sirdar pursued with a large force,
but the Khalîfa fled towards Khartûm. On
November 22 Colonel (now Sir) F. R. Wingate (now
Sirdar of the Egyptian army) pursued him to
Abba Island on the Nile, and learning that he was
encamped at Umm Dabrikât, attacked him on the
24th. After a fierce but short fight in the early
morning, Colonel Wingate defeated the Khalîfa,
killing over 1,000 of his men, and taking prisoners
3,000. The Khalîfa met his fate like a man, and
seeing that all was lost, seated himself upon a
sheepskin with his chief Emîrs, and with them fell
riddled with bullets. The Egyptian loss was 15
killed and wounded. The death of the Khalîfa
was the death-blow to Mahdism.
* On March 4 of this year, Mr. John M. Cook, the late head
of the firm of Thomas Cook and Son, died at Walton-on-Thames.
The services which he rendered to the Egyptian
Government were very considerable. In the Gordon Relief
Expedition his firm transported from Asyût to Wâdî Ḥalfa, a
distance of about 550 miles, Lord Wolseley's entire force,
which consisted of 11,000 British and 7,000 Egyptian troops,
800 whalers, and 130,000 tons of stores and war materials.
In 1885, 1886, and 1896 his firm again rendered invaluable
services to the Government, and one is tempted to regret,
with Mr. Royle (The Egyptian Campaigns, p. 554), that, in
view of the melancholy failure of the Gordon Relief
Expedition, his contract did not include the rescue of
Gordon and the Sûdân garrisons. He transported the
wounded to
Cairo by water after the battle of Tell el-Kebîr,
and when the British Army in Egypt was decimated with
enteric fever, conveyed the convalescents by special steamers
up the Nile, and made no charge in either case except the
actual cost of running the steamers. He was greatly beloved
by the natives, and the Luxor Hospital, which he founded,
is one of the many evidences of the interest which he took
in their welfare. Thousands of natives were employed in
his service, and it would be difficult to estimate the benefits
which accrued indirectly to hundreds of families in all parts
of the country through his energy and foresight.
1900. In January Osman Diịna was in hiding near Tokar,
and Muḥammad ‘Ali, the loyal Gamilab Shêkh,
found that he had entered his country. Major
Burges and Aḥmad Bey, left Suâkin on January 8
and 10 respectively, and a few days later they
arrived at the Warriba range, which about 90 miles
to the south-west of Suâkin; and there Osman was
seen apparently waiting to partake of a meal from
a recently killed sheep. At the sight of his pursuers
he fled up a hill, but was soon caught, and was despatched
from Suâkin in the S.S. “Behera,” and
arrived at Suez on January 25, en route for Rosetta,
where he now lies in prison. On September 25
Slatin Pâsha was appointed British Inspector of the
Sûdân. On November 2 Major Hobbs opened
a branch of the Bank of Egypt at Kharṭûm.
1902. On February 4 Kaimakam Matthews reported that
the Ṣudd would be cleared from Baḥral-Jabal by
about March 1.

Dates assigned to the Egyptian Dynasties by

Dynasty. Champollion-Figeac. Lepsius (in 1858). Brugsch (in 1877). Mariette.
I. B.C. 5,867 3,892 4,400 5,004
II. 5,615 3,639 4,133 4,751
III. 5,318 3,338 3,966 4,449
IV. 5,121 3,124 3,733 4,235
V. 4,673 2,840 3,566 3,951
VI. 4,425 2,744 3,300 3,703
VII. 4,222 2,592 3,100 3,500
VIII. 4,147 2,522 3,500
IX. 4,047 2,674 3,358
X. 3,947 2,565 3,249
XI. 3,762 2,423 3,064
XII. 3,703 2,380 2,466 2,851
XIII. 3,417 2,136 2,235
XIV. 3,004 2,167 2,398
XV. 2,520 2,101 2,214
XVI. 2,270 1,842
XVII. 2,082 1,684
XVIII. 1,822 1,591 1,700 1,703
XIX. 1,473 1,443 1,400 1,462
XX. 1,279 1,269 1,200 1,288
XXI. 1,101 1,091 1,100 1,110
XXII. 971 961 966 980
XXIII. 851 787 766 810
XXIV. 762 729 733 721
XXV. 718 716 700 715
XXVI. 674 685 666 665
XXVII. 524 525 527 527
XXVIII. 404 525 406
XXIX. 398 399 399 399
XXX. 377 378 378 378
XXXI. 339 340 340 340

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The progress made in Egypt since the country passed
under the rule of the British is astonishing, even to those
who knew its wonderfully recuperative powers. Its material
prosperity is so great and advances with such rapid strides
that it is difficult to understand its miserable and bankrupt
condition at the time of Arabi Pâsha's rebellion. A journey
through the country reveals the fact that for one beast seen
in the fields at that time, ten may now be counted, for the
peasant farmer need not now fear the sudden descent of
arbitrary tax-gatherers who would carry off the occupants
of his fields and byres. In the towns and villages the
houses are better built and kept in better repair, for their
owners need not fear that the laying on of a coat of paint
or whitewash will be taken as evidence that they possess
superfluous cash, and so bring down upon themselves a
visit from the local revenue officer and increased taxation.
The water supply is regulated with justice, and the peasant
obtains his due as surely and as regularly as the Pâsha, and
it is now impossible for any large landowner to irrigate his
garden at the expense of the parched plots of his poor
neighbours. One of the greatest boons which Britain has
conferred upon the Egyptian is the abolition of the Corvée.
The work to be done by the corvée was of two kinds, viz.,
(1) to make and upkeep earthworks, i.e., to cut and clean
canals, etc., (2) to protect the river banks during the inundation.
The liability of the Egyptian male to be called
upon to do work of the former class was abolished in 1889,
and although it costs Egypt £420,000 per annum to do
without forced labour, it is admitted on all hands that the
expenditure is justified. Under the old system the most
shameful abuses crept in, and hundreds of the official

classes had their houses built, canals cut and cleaned, and
estates watered entirely by the corvée. The iniquity of the
system was that it pressed hardest upon the poorest classes.
Mr. Willcocks, of the Egyptian Irrigation Department, first
showed that by adopting improved methods the necessity
for much of the labour was done away with, and its abolition
is one of Viscount Cromer's most brilliant achievements.
It must not be forgotten that men have to be
called out each year to protect the river banks in time of
flood, and that all the inhabitants may be called out in any
sudden emergency, the following figures give the numbers
for the last few years of those called out:—
1891 44,962
1892 84,391
1893 32,752
1894 49,448
1895 36,982
1896 25,794
1897 11,069
1898 10,079
1899 7,893
1900 14,180
1900 8,763*
* Parliamentary Papers, Egypt No. 1, 1900, p. 19; Egypt No. 1,
1902, p 24.
The official returns show the increase in the revenue
during the last ten years:—
1890 10,237,000
1891 10,539,000
1892 10,297,000
1893 10,242,000
1894 10,161,000
1895 10,431,000
1896 10,694,000
1897 11,093,000
1898 11,132,000
1899 11,200,000
1900 11,663,000
1901 12,160,000


This has been the case notwithstanding that a considerable
diminution in taxation has been effected; the taxation
per head of the population was in 1881 £1 2s. 2d., and
that of the debt £14 8s. 9d.; in 1897 the corresponding
figures were 17s. 9d. and £10 0s. 2d. (Mr. Dawkins, in
Milner, England in Egypt, p. 384). Between 1890 and
1901 taxes to the extent of £E1,408,000 per annum have
been remitted. The following, taken from the Parliamentary
Papers (1896, No. 1, p. 3, etc.), will show the
amounts of surplus and deficit between 1883 and 1901—
Surplus. Deficit.
£E. £E.
1883 920,000
1884 460,000
1885 697,000
1886 684,000
1887 111,000
1888 1,000
1889 160,000
1890 591,000
1891 951,000
1892 769,000
1893 720,000
1894 785,000
1895 1,088,000
1896 690,000
1897 630,000
1898 1,376,000
1899 1,848,000
1900 559,000
1901 764,000
The financial situation on December 30, 1901, may be
thus summarised:—
The National Debt £E.103,710,000, but £E.7,273,000
of this sum was held by the Commissioners of the Public
Debt. There is no floating debt. The General Reserve
amounted to £E.3,795,000; the Special Reserve
Fund to £E.1,287,000; and the accumulated Conversion
Economies amounted to £E.4,485,000. The Economies
Fund “is invested in Egyptian bonds, and Egypt is
therefore becoming pro tanto the holder of her own
debt. But to buy up your debts at a premium of
8 per cent., instead of paying them off at par, a premium
continually forced up by further obligatory purchases on
your own part, is extravagant finance. It is an extravagance
forced on Egypt by international conventions, for which, in
the present case, the word ‘France' might be used”

(Dawkins, op. cit., p. 302). The sum of £E.2,500,000
which was spent on the Sûdân Expedition in 1896-98 may
be regarded as a good investment, for as assets Egypt has
760 miles of railway, with an adequate number of engines,
rolling-stock, etc.; 2,000 miles of telegraph line, six new
gun-boats, barges, etc., and the whole Sûdân (Kitchener's
speech in London, Nov. 4, 1898). Railways in 1899
brought in £E.1,222,000. The cost of the repairs to the
Embâbeh Bridge has been very large. The bridge was
built by a French firm for £E.80,000, but £E.43,000(!)
more has had to be spent upon it before it was safe for
traffic. Telegraphs brought in £E.64,000; salt , under
the new regulations, brought in £E.223,000; customs
£E.2,563,193, being £145,218 in excess of the revenue
in 1900. The revenue from this last source has, therefore,
increased greatly for the amount collected in 1889 only
amounted to £E.1,027,000. The value of the Imports
in 1901 was £E.15,245,000, which is £E.1,133,000 more
than the figure for 1900; and the value of the Exports
was £E.15,730,000, a decrease of £E.1,036,000 over
1900. The Post Office yields a net revenue to the
Government of £E.28,000. The total number of persons
confined in prisons in 1901 was 9,357; 11 cases of
prosecution for slave dealing were carried on in 1900;
23,447 cases were treated in the Government hospitals;
357,000 successful vaccinations were made in 1900;
80,011 legal cases were brought before Native Tribunals;
the system of Village Justice evolved by Lord Cromer and
his legal advisers has proved to be a great success; the
powers of the Mixed Tribunals have been modified, and
considerable alterations have been made in the application
of Muḥammadan Law. In Education great strides have
been made. In 1887 only 1,919 pupils were under the
direct management of the Department of Public Instruction;
in 1898 the number had grown to 19,684, and in 1899 to

23,390. The school fees in 1887 were £E.9,000, and in
1899 £E.36,000. It is a remarkable fact that the percentage
of Muḥ.ammadan pupils in schools and colleges
under the Department is less than the percentage of the
Muḥammadans in the total population, while the percentage
of Coptic pupils in the same schools is almost treble the
percentage of Copts throughout Egypt. Thus Muḥammadans
form 93 per cent. of the total population, and the
number of their children in the schools forms 78 per cent.
of the pupils; the Copts form 6 per cent. of the total
population, but the number of their children in the schools
forms 17 per cent. of the pupils. At the beginning of the
British occupation of Egypt the principal European language
taught in the Government schools was French;
English was either altogether neglected or was very badly
taught. The schools of the American Missionaries were
the only places where English was taught, and the splendid
services rendered by these institutions in this respect must
not be forgotten. Until the last few years nearly every
railway, postal, or telegraph official in Egypt who possessed
any competent knowledge of the English language owed
his instruction to the American missionaries. The following
figures illustrate the growth of the study of English in
Government schools:—
English. French.
1889 1,063 2,994
1890 1,747 3,199
1891 2,032 2,852
1892 2,237 2,864
1893 2,434 2,585
1894 2,669 3,748
1895 2,665 3,417
1896 2,800 3,363
1897 3,058 3,150
1898 3,859 1,881
1899 4,401 1,210
Thus in 1899 about 78 per cent. of the pupils were
studying English and 22 per cent. French; in 1889 the

figures were 26 per cent. and 74 per cent. respectively.
In 1884 about 360,000 tons of coal were imported at
Alexandria, and 726,000 at Port Ṣa'îd; in 1901 these
numbers had risen to 867,150 and 228,865 tons respectively.
In January, 1882, “Egyptian Unifieds” were
quoted at 61⅛, and in January, 1901, at 106½. Worthy
of mention too is the success of the societies which have
been established in Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Ṣa'îd
for the prevention of cruelty to animals. In Cairo 1,178
animals were treated in the infirmary in 1900, in Alexandria
2,384, and in Port Sa‘îd 159; it is good to learn
that Lord Cromer thinks the action of these societies is
causing a steady improvement in the condition of the
animals employed in the towns where the societies exist.
The productive and recuperative powers of Egypt have
been proverbial from time out of mind, but the most
sanguine reformer of Egypt in 1883 could never have
expected that the last year of the century would have
witnessed such a state of prosperity in the country as
now exists. This is due entirely to the fidelity with
which the civil and military officials have performed their
duties, and to the carrying out of the consistent and
wise policy which was inaugurated by Viscount Cromer,
whose strong hand has ceaselessly guided and supported
every work which tended to the welfare and prosperity
of Egypt.

Ceiling ornament at Philae.

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Geology.—In ancient days Egypt proper terminated at
Aswân (Syene), but now the term Egypt includes that
portion of the Nile valley which lies between the Mediterranean
and Wâdî Ḥalfa, i.e., between 22° and 31° 30′ N.
latitude. According to Major H. G. Lyons,*
* I quote from his description of the geology of Egypt written for
Major Willcocks, C.M.G., and printed in Egyptian Irrigation, 2nd
edition, London, 1899.
of Surveys of
Egypt, the country consists chiefly
of a series of sedimentary deposits of Cretaceous and
Tertiary ages, which have been laid down upon the uneven
and eroded surface of a great mass of crystalline rocks,
which come to the surface on the edge of the eastern desert
and also cover large areas of it. The direction of the Nile
Valley is generally north and south, and is due to the great
earth movements which took place in Miocene times;
indeed, the Nile Valley itself has been determined by a
line of fracture which is traceable from the sea nearly to
the First Cataract. Into this valley in late Miocene or
early Pliocene times the sea penetrated at least as far as
Esneh, and laid down thick deposits of sand and gravel on
the floor of the valley and up to the foot of the cliffs
bounding it, while the tributary streams, fed by a rainfall
much heavier than that of to-day, brought down masses of
detritus from the limestone plateaux and piled them up
along the margins of the valley. A subsequent rise of the
area converted this “fiord” into a river valley, and the deposition
of the Nile mud and the formation of cultivable
land began. The crystalline rocks occur at Aswân, Kalâbsheh,
Wâdî Ḥalfa, and other points further south, forming
cataracts and gorges. East and north-east of Ḳeneh

their base is a gneiss, overlaid by mica, talc, and chlorite
schists, and above these is a thick volcanic series, into
which intrudes a gray hornblendic granite, and also a later
red granite. The best known of these is the red hornblendic
granite of Aswân, which was largely used by the Egyptians
for temples, statues, etc., and also the fine porphyry, much
used by the Roman emperors. The tops of such rocks
rise to the surface of the ground at Aswân, Kalâbsheh,
and Wâdî Ḥalfa. In Nubia nearly the whole of the eroded
surface of the crystalline rocks has been overlaid by a
yellowish sandstone, which at its base usually becomes a
quartz conglomerate. Above these lies a large series of
green and gray clays with thick band of soft white limestone.
Next comes an immense thickness of soft white limestone,
which forms the cliffs of the Nile Valley from Luxor to
Cairo, and furnishes almost the whole of the building stone
in Egypt. These strata have been greatly affected by the
great earth movements of the Miocene period, which resulted
in the formation of the Red Sea, Gulf of , Gulf
of Aqaba, the Jordan Valley, and the Nile Valley, and the
salts of the Wâdî Naṭrûn are due to the shore lagunes when
they existed there. As a result of this, thick deposits of
sand and gravel were laid down, which to-day underlie the
later Nile mud deposits and which furnish a good water
supply. After this, climatic conditions analogous to those
of to-day seem to have soon set in, and river deposits of
dark sandy mud were laid down, which were at levels considerably
above the deposits of to-day. Nile mud with
shells similar to those now existing occurs in Nubia at 30
metres, and in Egypt at lesser heights, above the present
Nile flood level. To-day the Nile is depositing in its bed
at the rate of about 0.12 metre per century. At Benha,
Maḥallat Rûḥ (in the Tanṭa district), and Ḳalyûb (all in
the Delta), the thickness of the layer of Nile mud is 17, 18,
and 12'5 metres respectively; while at Zaịâziị, Beni Suwêf,

and Suhâg (all in the Nile Valley), it is 33.11 and 17
metres respectively. Between the First and Second
Cataracts the proportion of sandstone to granite is about 9
to 1, and good granite is only met with at Kalâbsheh,
where the pass is about 168 yards wide, and the depth of
water at low Nile about 111 feet. No fossils whatever are
found in the Nubian sandstone. From Abû Simbel northwards
the valley is bounded on the left by the high limestone
plateau called by the Arabs Sinn al-Kiddâb, which, at
this point, is more than 50 miles distant from the river, and
it gradually approaches the stream until at Aswân it is only
25 miles distant, and at Gebelên it marches with the river.
There is a similar plateau between Gebelên and Esneh.
At the First Cataract there is an extensive outcrop of granite
and quartz diorite. Between Aswân and a little south of
Esneh the river flows between sandstone hills, except at the
plains of Kom Ombos and Edfu; these plains were originally
ancient deltas of rivers coming down from the high
ranges which skirt the Red Sea. In the Kom Ombos
plain the Nile deposit is about 80 feet above the maximum
flood level of to-day. At Ra‘âmah, about 38 miles north
of Aswân, limestone is met with, and immediately north of
it is the sandstone of Silsileh. The channel at Silsileh
does not represent the original bed of the Nile, for it is
only a branch of it; the true channel, which was nearly a
mile wide and 50 feet deep, lies on the right of the hill in
which the quarries are, and is now buried under mud and
silt. There was never a cataract at Silsileh. At Luxor the
Nile again enters low denuded plains, and a part of the
plateau of the Sinn al-Kiddâb lies on its left; the plateau
again appears at Ḳeneh, and from this place to Cairo the
river flows between limestone hills. At Ḳeneh the lower
Londinian formation dips below the level of the Nile
deposit, and the upper Londinian formation monopolises
the whole section of the limestone as far as a point midway

between Asyûṭ and Minyeh; here the lower Parisian strata
appear on the tops of the plateaux, and the upper Londinian
strata finally disappear a little to the north of Minyeh.
The lower Parisian formation is now generally met with as
far as Cairo.
The Ancient Egyptians called Egypt Baq or
Baqet; Ta-merạ; and
Qemt. Baq seems to refer to Egypt as the olive-producing
country, and Ta-merạ as the land of the inundation; the
name by which it is most commonly called in the inscriptions
is Qem, i.e., “Black,” from the darkness of its soil.
It was also called the “land of the sycamore,” and the
“land of the eye of Horus” (i.e., the Sun). It was divided
by the Egyptians into two parts: I. Upper Egypt
Ta-res or Ta-qemā, “the southern land”; and
II. Lower Egypt , Ta-meḥ, “the northern land.”
The kings of Egypt styled themselves suten net (or bạt),
“king of the North and South,” and neb taui, “lord of two
* As ruler of the two countries, each king wore the crown ,
which was made up of , the teśer, or red crown, representing the
northern part of Egypt, and , the ḥet', or white crown, representing
the southern part of Egypt.
The country was divided into nomes, the number
of which is variously given; the list given by some of the
classical authorities contains thirty-six, but judging by the
monuments the number was nearer forty. The nome (ḥesp)
was divided into four parts; 1, the capital town (nut); 2, the
cultivated land; 3, the marshes, which could only at times
be used for purposes of cultivation; and 4, the canals,
which had to be kept clear and provided with sluices, etc.,
for irrigation purposes. During the rule of the Greeks
Egypt was divided into three parts: Upper, Central, and

Lower Egypt; Central Egypt consisted of seven nomes, and
was called Heptanomis.
List Of Nomes Of EgyptUpper .
Nome. Capital. Divinity.
1. Ta-Kens. Ābu (Elephantine), in later times Nubt (Ombos). Khnemu.
2. Tes-Ḥeru. Ṭeb (Apollinopolis magna, Arab. Uṭfu or Edfû). Ḥeru - Beḥu tet.
3. Ten. Nekheb (Eileithyia), in later times Sene (Latopolis), Esneh. Nekheb.
4. Uast. Uast (Thebes), in later times Hermonthis. Ạmen-Rā.
5. Ḥerui. Kebti (Coptos). Ạmsu.
6. Āa-ti. Taenterer (Denderah). Hathor (Ḥet Ḥert).
7. Sekhem. Ḥa (Diospolis parva). Hathor.
8. Ạbṭ. Ạbṭu (Abydos), in earlier times Teni (This). Anḥur.
9. Ạmsu. Ạpu (Panopolis). Ạmsu.
10. Uat'et. Ṭebu (Aphroditopolis). Hathor.
11. Set. Shasḥetep (Hypsele). Khnemu.
12. Ṭuf. Nen-ent-bak (Antaeopolis). Horus.
13. Atefkhent. Saiut (Lycopolis, Arab Sîûṭ). Ạp-uat.
14. Atef-peḥ. Kesi (Cusae). Hathor.
15. Un. Khemennu (Hermopolis). Thoth.
16. Meḥ-maḥet. Ḥebennu (Hipponon). Horus.
17. ……… Kasa (Cynonpolis). Anubis.
18. Sapet. Ḥa-suten (Alabastronpolis). Anubis.
19. Uab. Pa-mat'et (Oxyrhynchos). Set.
20. Am-khent. Khenensu (Heracleopolis magna). Ḥeru-shefi.


Nome. Capital. Divinity.
21. Am-peḥ. Se-men Ḥeru. Khnemu.
22. Maten. Ṭep-āḥet (Aphroditopolis). Hathor.
Lower Egypt .
1. Aneb-ḥet'. Men-nefer (Memphis). Ptaḥ.
2. Aā. Sekhem (Letopolis). Ḥeru-ur,
3. Ạment. Nenten-Ḥapi (Apis). Ḥathor-nub
4. Sepi-res. T'eka (Canopus). Ạmen-Rā.
5. Sepi-emḥet. Sa (Sais). Neit.
6. Kaset Khesun (Xoïs). Ạmen-Rā.
7. … Ạment. Sent-Nefer (Metelis). Ḥu.
8. … Ạbṭet. T'ukot (Sethroë). Atmu.
9. At'i. Per-Ausār (Busiris). Osiris.
10. Kakem. Ḥataḥerāb (Athribis). Ḥeru-khenti khati.
11. Kaḥebes. Kaḥebes (Kabasos). Isis.
12. Kat'eb. T'eb-neter (Sebennythos). Anḥur
13. Ḥakaṭ. Ạnnu (Heliopolis). Rā.
14. Khent-ābeṭ. T'an (Tanis). Horus.
15. Teḥuti. Pa-Teḥuti (Hermopolis). Thoth.
16. Khar. Pabaneb-ṭeṭ (Mendes). Ba-neb-ṭeṭ
17. Sam-beḥutet. Pa-khen-en-Ạmen (Diospolis). Ạmen-Rā.
18. Amchent. Pa-Bast (Bubastis). Bast.
19. Am-peḥ. Pa-Uat' (Buto). Uat'.
20. Sept. Kesem (Phakussa). Sept.
Lower is divided into six provinces:—


Upper is divided into seven districts:—
Large towns like Alexandria, Port Sa‘îd, Suez, Cairo,
Damietta, and El‘arîsh are governed by native rulers.
In ancient days the population of Egypt proper is said to
have been from seven and a half to nine millions; at the
present time (1900) it is probably well over ten millions.
The population of the provinces south of Egypt, which
originally belonged to her, has never been accurately ascertained.
The country on each side of the Bahr el-Abyad
is very thickly peopled; it is generally thought that the
population of this and the other provinces which belonged
to Egypt in the time of Ismâ‘îl amounts to about ten

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The Egyptians, whom the sculptures and monuments
made known to us as being among the most ancient inhabitants
of the country, belong, according to some, to the
Caucasian race, and according to others, to the Libyan.
The original home of the invaders was, probably, Asia,
and they made their way across Mesopotamia and
Arabia, and across the Isthmus of Suez into Egypt. It
has been suggested that they sailed across the Indian
Ocean and up the Red Sea, on the western shore of
which they landed; that they came viâ Arabia is more
probable. It is, however, very doubtful if a people,
who lived in the middle of a huge land like central
Asia, would have enough experience to make and handle
ships sufficiently large to cross such seas. No period can
be fixed for the arrival of the new-comers from the East
into Egypt; we are, however, justified in assuming that it
took place long before B.C. 5000.
When the people from the East had made their way
into Egypt, they found there aboriginal races, one with a
dark, and one with a fair skin. The Egyptians generally
called their land Qemt, i.e., “black”; and if the
dark, rich colour of the cultivated land of Egypt be
considered, the appropriateness of the term is evident.
The hieroglyphic which is read Qem, is the skin of a
crocodile, and we know from Horapollo (ed. Cory,
p. 87), that this sign was used to express anything of a
dark colour.*
* “To denote darkness, they represent the TAIL OF A CROCODILE,
for by no other means does the crocodile inflict death and destruction
on any animal which it may have caught than by first striking it with
its tail, and rendering it incapable of motion.”
The name “Ham” is given to Egypt by the

Bible; this word may be compared with the Coptic
or . The children of Ham are
said to be Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. The second
of these, Misraim, is the name given to Egypt by the
Hebrews. The dual form of the word, which means “the
double Misor,” probably has reference to the “two lands”
(in Egypt.

, over which the Egyptian kings, in their
inscriptions, proclaimed their rule. The descendants of
Cush are represented on the monuments by the inhabitants
of Nubia and the negro tribes which live to the south of
that country. In the earliest times the descendants of Cush
appear to have had the same religion as the Egyptians. The
Put of the Bible is thought by some to be represented by
the land of Punt, or spice-land, of the monuments. The
people of Punt appear to have dwelt on both sides of the
Red Sea to the south of Egypt and on the Somâli coast,
and as far back as B.C. 2500 a large trade was carried
on between them and the Egyptians; it is thought that the
Egyptians regarded them as kinsmen. The aboriginal
inhabitants of Phaenicia were probably the kinsfolk of the
descendants of Misraim, called by the Bible Canaanites.
Diodorus and some other classical authorities tell us that
Egypt was colonized from Ethiopia; for this view, however,
there is no support. The civilization, religion, art of
building, etc., of the Ethiopians are all of Egyptian origin,
and in this, as in so many other points relating to the
history of Egypt, the Greeks were either misinformed, or
they misunderstood what they were told.
An examination of the painted representations of the
Egyptians by native artists shows us that the pure Egyptian
was of slender make, with broad shoulders, long hands and feet,
and sinewy legs and arms. His forehead was high, his chin
square, his eyes large, his cheeks full, his mouth wide, his lips
full, and his nose short and rounded. His jaws protruded
slightly, and his hair was smooth and fine. The evidence

of the pictures on the tombs is supported and confirmed by
the skulls and bones of mummies which anthropologists have
examined and measured during the last few years; hence
all attempts to prove that the Egyptian is of negro origin
are overthrown at the outset by facts which cannot be controverted.
In cases where the Egyptians intermarried with
people of Semitic origin, we find aquiline noses.*
* A very good example of this is seen in the black granite head of
the statue of Osorkon II., presented to the British Museum (No. 1063)
by the Committee of the
Egypt Exploration Fund. The lower part
of the nose is broken away, but enough of the upper part remains to
show what was its original angle. It was confidently asserted that this
head belonged to a statue of one of the so-called Hyksos kings, but the
assertion was not supported by any trustworthy evidence. The face
and features are those of a man whose ancestors were Semites and
Egyptians, and men with similar countenances are to be seen in the
desert to the south-east of Palestine to this day. A clinching proof that
the statue is not that of a Hyksos king was brought forward by Prof.
Lanzone of Turin, who, in 1890, had in his possession a small statue
of Osorkon II., having precisely the same face and features. The
XXIInd dynasty, to which this king belonged, were Semites, as their
names show, and they were always regarded by the Egyptians as
foreigners, and , the determinative of a man from a foreign
country, was placed after each of their names.
One of
the most remarkable things connected with the Egyptians of
to-day is the fact that a very large number of them have
reproduced, without the slightest alteration, many of the
personal features of their ancestors who lived seven
thousand years ago. The traveller is often accompanied
on a visit to a tomb of the Ancient Empire by a modern
Egyptian who, in his attitudes, form, and face, is a veritable
reproduction of the hereditary nobleman who built the tomb
which he is examining. It may be that no invading race
has ever found itself physically able to reproduce persistently
its own characteristics for any important length of
time, or it may be that the absorption of such races by
intermarriage with the natives, together with the influence

of the climate, has made such characteristics disappear; the
fact, however, remains, that the physical type of the Egyptian
fellâḥ is exactly what it was in the earliest dynasties. The
invasions of the Babylonians, Hyksos, Ethiopians (including
negro races), Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs,
and Turks, have had no permanent effect either on their
physical or mental characteristics. The Egyptian has seen
the civilizations of all these nations rise up, progress,
flourish, decay, and pass away; he has been influenced
from time to time by their religious views and learning; he
has been the servant of each of them in turn, and has paid
tribute to them all; he has, nevertheless, survived all of
them save one. It will, of course, be understood that the
inhabitants of the towns form a class quite distinct from the
Egyptians of the country; the townsfolk represent a mixture
of many nationalities, and their character and features
change according to the exigencies of the time and circumstances
in which they live and the influence of the ruling
In recent years, thanks chiefly to the excavations and
labours of M. J. de Morgan,*
formerly Director of the
Gîzeh Museum, very considerable light has been thrown
upon the autochthones of Egypt, and the results of his
work may be here briefly summarised. At the end of 1894
M. de Morgan made excavations at Al-'Amrah, a place
which is situated a few miles to the south of Abydos,
where he found a number of what are now rightly called
pre-dynastic tombs. The tombs were in the form of
oval pits from three to five feet deep, and in these bodies
had been laid on their left side with their legs doubled up
in such wise that the knees were almost on a level with the
chin. The head was bent forwards slightly, and the forearms

were laid in such a position that the hands, one resting
upon the other, might be in front of the face. Round the
body were a number of large and small vases filled with
burnt bones, etc., and quite close to it were red and black
vases, stone pots, figures of fish in schist, worked or unworked
flints, alabaster objects like mace-heads, shell bracelets,
etc. In tombs of this class, objects in bronze were
rarely found, a fact which proves that the metal was not
common when the tombs were made. Most of the tombs
are, according to M. de Morgan, the sepulchres of neolithic
man in Egypt, but some of them seem to belong to the
transition period between the stone and the bronze age.
The bodies found in the tombs seem to have been treated
with salt and some preparation of bitumen, and if this be
so they are probably the oldest mummified remains known.
During the winter of 1894-5, Prof. Petrie carried on
excavations along the edge of the desert between Ballas
and Naịâda, about 30 miles north of Thebes. He stated
that, in the course of his work, he found a maṣṭaba pyramid,
similar to that of Ṣaịịâra, and a number of tombs of the
IVth, Vth, and VIth dynasties; the pyramid, and all the
tombs save one, had been plundered in ancient days. He
believed his main discovery to be that of “a fresh and
hitherto unsuspected race, who had nothing of the Egyptian
civilization.” The early announcements of his discovery
stated that they were cannibals. According to Prof. Petrie,
they lived after the rule of the IVth dynasty, and before
that of the XIIth. “This new race must therefore be the
people who overthrew the first great civilization of Egypt
at the fall of the VIth dynasty, and who were in turn
overthrown by the rise of the XIth dynasty at Thebes.
As the Xth dynasty in Middle Egypt was contemporary
with the greater part of the XIth dynasty, this limits the
new race to the age of the VIIth to the IXth dynasty
(about 3000 B.C.), who ruled only in Middle Egypt, and of

whom no trace has been yet found, except a few small
objects and a tomb at Siut. The extent to which Egypt
was subdued by these people is indicated by their remains
being found between Gebelen and Abydos, over rather
more than a hundred miles of the Nile valley……The
invaders completely expelled the Egyptians.” Their graves
were square pits, measuring usually 6x4x5 feet. “The
body was invariably laid in a contracted position, with the
head to the south, face west, and on the left side…
A regular ceremonial system is observable …… From
the uniformity of the details it is clear that a system of
belief was in full force.”*
* Quoted from Petrie, Catalogue of a Collection of Egyptian Antiquities,
London, 1895.
In March, 1897, M. de Morgan decided to excavate the
pre-dynastic cemeteries of
Upper , and began to work
at Naịâdah near the site of Prof. Petrie's labours two years
before; two cemeteries were chosen for examination, the
one, to the south, belonging to the indigenous peoples of
Egypt, and the other, to the north, containing burials of
ancient Egyptians. After a short time he discovered to
the north of the northern necropolis, the remains of a
monument, built of unbaked bricks, which had been
destroyed by fire. From the fact that all the jars and
objects which had been placed in the building were
broken, it was clear that he had come upon a tomb
belonging to an extremely ancient period; in the tombs
of the neolithic period the vessels, etc., are found whole.
The building contained 21 chambers, and was undoubtedly
a royal tomb, judging from the abundance of the
offerings which had been placed in them; it was rectangular
in shape, and measured 54 metres by 27 metres,
and its main sides were oriented at an angle of 15° E. of
the magnetic north. Close by this tomb was another,
which had been wrecked and spoiled in modern times.

Among the objects found in the chambers of the larger
monument were fragments of vases and vessels made of
various kinds of hard stone, alabaster, etc., flint knives,
ivory vases and plaques, terra-cotta vases and vessels, etc.,
many of which were inscribed. The large mud sealings of
the wine jars bore impressions of inscribed seals, and these
proved beyond a doubt that the building wherein they were
found was a royal one. An examination of the tombs of
less importance close by led to conclusions of a far-reaching
and important character. M. de Morgan was
accompanied in his work by the eminent German Egyptologist,
Prof. A. Wiedemann, and by M. Jéquier, and he
thus had the benefit of trained, expert opinion on philological
problems, which his own profession of mathematician
and civil engineer had left him no time to study exhaustively.
Briefly, the conclusions arrived at after an examination
of a large number of tombs of the same class as those
excavated by Prof. Petrie were as follows:-(1) The people
to whom the tombs belong occupied not a small portion of,
but the whole valley of the Nile. (2) Their manners,
customs, industries, and abilities were different from those
of the Egyptians, and physically the two peoples had
nothing in common
. (3) The people called the “new
race” by Prof. Petrie were the inhabitants of Egypt long
before those whom we call Egyptians
; and it was from
them that the Egyptians of dynastic times learned many
of their industries, etc.; in other words, the Egyptians
borrowed a great deal from these their predecessors in the
valley of the Nile. “La new race de M. Flinders Petrie
devient done une vêritable old race, celle des aborigènes,
que les Égyptiens pharaoniques rencontrèrent quand ils
envahirent l'Egypte”;*
in fact, the “new race” were of
the highest antiquity in Egypt, which they had occupied

some thousands of years before the time of Menes. The
graves excavated by M. de Morgan show that the dead
were buried in three ways, i.e., with the bones separated
one from another, or with the complete skeleton bent up
in a position similar to that of a child before birth, or with
the whole body buried and then burnt in the tomb. Each
method is different from that employed by the Egyptians,
among whom every effort was made to bury the dead in as
perfect a form as possible, for they believed that the continuance
of the future life of the dead depended upon it.
In the religious texts of the Egyptians there are frequent
allusions to the customs of dismemberment, and decapitation,
and burning of the dead, which prove, if proof be
needed, that such things were customary long before their
time, and that the Egyptians on their arrival in Egypt adopted
gradually certain of the funeral customs and beliefs of the
autochthones, but considerably modified others.
It has not yet been definitely decided to what race the
people who were buried in such graves were related, but
there are many grounds for thinking that they were either
members of a tribe of the Taḥennu, or Thaḥennu, who
are often mentioned in the texts of historical kings, or
were akin to them. Pictures of them show that they were
people with light skins, blue eyes, and fair hair, and
although in historic times the tribes certainly lived to the
north-west of Lower Egypt, we know that in the VIth
dynasty they possessed settlements as far to the south as
Nubia. The name commonly given to the Taḥennu is
“Libyans,” and the known facts point to the conclusion
that some tribe, or group of tribes, of the Libyans formed
the autochthones of Egypt. The Libyans seem to have
been conquered by a race that invaded and reduced Egypt
to slavery, and when the foreign kings began to reign
over Egypt the conquered people formed the inferior
portion of the population. It is still a subject open to

debate where the invaders came from; some think they
were of Asiatic origin and entered Egypt by way of the
Isthmus of Suez ; others think that they came from the
south, that is to say, from Ethiopia (compare Ezekiel xxix.
14, where the home of the Egyptians is said to be Pathros,
i.e., the Egyptian Pa-ta-reset ); and others
believe they made their way up or across the Red Sea to
Ḳuṣêr (), a port for the ships coming from Yaman,
and across the Eastern Desert to Coptos on the Nile. But
by which road they entered Egypt is, relatively, of little
importance; that they came primarily from the East is
beyond dispute. All the known evidence contradicts the
theory that Arabia was the home of the invaders of Egypt,
and although there are many striking resemblances between
the art of the statues and other objects which have been
excavated at Tell Lo and other ancient sites in Southern
Babylonia in recent years, and pre-dynastic and early
dynastic objects found by Messrs. de Morgan, Amélineau,
and Petrie at Abydos and Naịâdah, they do not in the
writer's opinion prove conclusively that the invaders of
Egypt and the Babylonians were of the same race. The culture
and civilization of the Babylonians between B.C. 6000 and
B.C. 2300 were derived from their Sumerian conquerors, whose
method of writing, and much of their learning and literature
the Babylonians adopted, modified, and then assimilated.
There is no evidence to show that the invaders of Egypt were
kinsfolk of the Babylonians, but there are very strong probabilities
that the civilizations of both peoples sprang from a
common stock; what that stock was, or where the race lived,
or when its cognate peoples took possession of Southern
Babylonia and of Egypt, no one can at present say with

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The source of the Nile was discovered
by Captains Grant and
Speke and Sir Samuel Baker, who
made out that its parents are the
Albert Nyanza and Victoria Nyanza;*
* Nyanza means “Lake.”

into the latter the Tangourie
River, which rises a few degrees to
the south of the Equator, empties
itself. Lake Victoria is situated on
the Equator in the region of perpetual
rains, and it is also fed by
springs and tributaries like the
Tangourie River. Strictly speaking,
the Nile is formed by the junction,
at 15° 34′ N. lat., and 30° 30′ 58” E.
long., of two great tributaries called
respectively the Baḥr al-Azraị, i.e.,
the “lurid” or Blue Nile, and the
Baḥr al-Abyaḍ, i.e., the “clear,” or
White Nile. From Lake Victoria
to Kharṭûm the distance by river is
about 2,185 miles; from Kharṭûm
Aswân is 1,130 miles; and
from Aswân to the sea about
750 miles more, so that if we
include the length of any of the
larger tributaries of Lake Victoria
in the length of the Nile, we may
say that this wonderful river is about
4,100 miles long. The White Nile

is so called because of the fine, whitish clay which colours
its waters. It is broader and deeper than the eastern arm,
and it brings down a much larger volume of water; the
ancients appear to have regarded it as the true Nile. There
can, however, be no doubt that either the Blue Nile
or the Atbara is the true Nile, for during their rapid
courses from the Abyssinian mountains they carry down
with them all the rich mud which, during the lapse of ages,
has been spread over the land on each side of its course,
and which has formed the land of Egypt. In truth, Egypt
is the gift of the Blue Nile and the Atbara. Lake Victoria
lies about 3,675 feet above the sea, and is 1,625 feet higher
than Lake Albert, and when the river leaves the lake it is
about 1,300 feet wide*
* I am indebted for a number of the facts here given to Mr. Willcocks
exhaustive work, “Egyptian Irrigation,” London, 1899, p. 27 ff.
; at the Ripon Falls it drops about
13 feet. Between the Victoria and Albert Lakes, a distance
of 300 miles, the White Nile, known here as the “Somerset,”
passes through a number of swamps, and then flows into
the N.E. corner of Lake Albert; from Lake Albert it flows
in a broad, deep, and almost level stream for a distance of
125 miles to the Fola Falls, a little to the north of Duffilé,
at which point the river is nearly 300 feet wide, and becomes
almost a torrent. Flowing on to Lado, about 125 miles
from Duffịlé, the river becomes only 6½ feet deep in the
winter at low water, and 15 feet in flood. From Lado to
Bôhr, a distance of about 75 miles, the river has a rapid fall
and keeps to one channel, but from Bôhr, to the mouth of
the Gazelle River (a distance of about 235 miles), the
stream passes through many channels. Here are the large
masses of living vegetation which are commonly called
“Sudd,” and which form almost insuperable barriers to
navigation. The Gazelle River flows into the Nile on its
west, and 60 miles further north the Sobat (or Sawbat)

River flows into it from the east or right bank. From the
latter river to Kharṭûm, a distance of about 560 miles, the
White Nile flows slowly in a stream about 6½ feet deep, and
considerably more than a mile wide. At Kharṭûm, where
the Blue Nile from Abyssinia joins the White Nile, the
river is about 1,270 feet above sea-level. The Blue Nile,
which is about 840 miles long, is almost clear in summer,
but from June to October its water is of a reddish-brown
colour, and is highly charged with alluvium. The greenish
colour which is sometimes observed in the Nile far to the
north is due to the decaying vegetation which is brought
down by the White Nile. About 56 miles below Kharṭûm
is the Sixth Cataract, and 145 miles lower down the
river Atbara flows into the Nile on the east or right bank.
The Atbara rises in the Abyssinian mountains, and its
waters bring down with them a large quantity of volcanic
dust, which is an excellent fertilizing element; after the
Atbara the Nile on its journey north receives no other
tributary. About 32 miles below the Atbara is the Fifth
, which is over 100 miles in length; between the
southern and the northern end the Nile drops about 205
feet. About 60 miles lower down begins the Fourth
, which is 66 miles long; between the southern
and the northern end the Nile drops 160 feet. About
195 miles lower down begins the Third Cataract, which
is 45 miles long; between the southern and the northern
end the river drops 36 feet. The Second Cataract
begins about 70 miles lower down; it is 125 miles long,
and between its two ends the river drops about 213 feet.
At Semneh, which is rather more than 35 miles south
of Wâdî Ḥalfa, are the rocks where the late Dr. Lepsius
discovered the gauges which were cut by order of the kings
of the XIIth dynasty, about B.C. 2300, and these show
that the Nile flood recorded there was 26 feet higher than
any flood of to-day. The eminent irrigation authority,

Mr. Willcocks, thinks that the Nile could very easily be
barred by a dam at Semneh, and it is possible that

Sketch showing the height of the Nile above mean sea-level at different points of its course.

Ạmen-em-ḥāt III. tried to
build one there in the hope
of forming a reservoir. The
distance between the
Second and First Cataract
is about 210 miles, and
the stream is usually about
1,630 feet wide. The
First Cataract is about
three miles long, and
between Philae at the
southern end, and Aswân
at the northern end the
river drops over 16 feet.
From Aswân to the Barrage,
a little to the north
of Cairo, the length of
the river is about 600
miles, and its mean width
is 3,000 feet.
The ancient Egyptians
kept careful record of the
height of the Nile in flood,
and numbers of ancient
Nilometers have been
found, e.g., at Philae,
Elephantine, Edfu, Esneh,
Karnak, etc., from the readings
of which it is possible
to determine the rate of the
rise of the bed of the Nile.
According to a calculation quoted by Mr. Willcocks, between
A.D. 200 and A.D. 1800 the banks and bed of the Nile have

risen 2.11 metres, or 0.132 metre per 100 years. When the
famous Nilometer at Rôḍa (see page 280) was constructed,
a reading of 16 cubits meant the lowest level at which flood
irrigation could be ensured everywhere. The level of to-day
is 20½ cubits on the Nilometer, and the difference between
them is 1.22 metre; according to these data the rise is 12
centimetres per 100 years (Willcocks, op. cit., p. 32). A
little to the north of Cairo the Nile splits up into the
Rosetta and Damietta branches, each of which is about
140 miles long; the mean width of the former branch is
1,630 feet, and that of the latter, 870 feet. In ancient days
the Nile emptied its waters into the sea by seven mouths,
viz., the Pelusiac, Tanitic, Mendesian, Phatnitic, Sebennytic,
Bolbitic, and the Canopic. In flood time the waters
of the Nile take 50 days to flow from Lake Victoria to the
sea, and at low water 90 days:—From Lake Victoria to
Lake Albert 8 days, Lake Albert to Lado 5 days, Lado to
Kharṭûm 20 days, Kharṭûm to Aswân 10 days, Aswân to
Cairo 5 days, Cairo to the sea 2 days; at low water the
times are 8, 5, 36, 26, 12 and 3 days respectively.
The width of the Nile valley varies from 4 to 10 miles
in Nubia, and from 15 to 30 in Egypt. The width of the
strip of cultivated land on each bank in Nubia is sometimes
only a few feet, and even in Egypt proper, when taken
together, it is never more than 8 or 9 miles. The Delta
is, in its widest part, about 90 miles across from east to
west, and the distance of the apex from the sea is also 90
miles. The Nile drains an area of 3,110,000 square
kilometres. The inundation is caused by the rains
which fall in the country round about Lake Victoria and in
the Abyssinian mountains; in the former the rainy season
lasts from February to November, with one maximum in
April and another in October, and in the latter there are
light rains in January and February, and heavy rains from
the middle of April to September, with a maximum in

August. In April the heavy rains near Lado force down
the green water of the swamps, and about April 15 the
Nile has begun to rise at this place; this rise is felt at
Kharṭûm about May 20, and at Aswân about June 10, and
the green water announcing this rise is seen at Cairo about
June 20. About June 5 the Blue Nile begins to rise
quickly, and it reaches its ordinary maximum by August 25;
its red, muddy water reaches Aswân about July 15, and
Cairo 10 days later. When once the red water has appeared
the rise of the Nile is rapid, for the Atbara is in flood shortly
after the Blue Nile; the Atbara flood begins early in July
and is at its highest about August 20. The Nile continues
to rise until the middle of September, when it remains
stationary for a period of about three weeks, sometimes a
little less. In October it rises again, and attains its highest
level. From this period it begins to subside, and, though
it rises yet once more, and reaches occasionally its former
highest point, it sinks steadily until the month of June,
when it is again at its lowest level. Thus it is clear that
the Sobat, Blue Nile, and Atbara rivers supply the waters
of the inundation, and that the White Nile supplies Egypt
for the rest of the year. The ordinary maximum discharge
of the Nile at Aswân is 10,000 cubic metres per second,
and the ordinary minimum discharge 410 cubic metres per
second; the ordinary maximum discharge at Cairo is 7,600
cubic metres per second, and the ordinary minimum discharge
380 cubic metres per second.
The irrigation of Egypt is gauged by the height of the
river at Aswân. When the maximum rise of the river is
only 21 feet there will be famine in parts of Upper ;
when the rise is between 21 and 23 feet much of the land
of Upper will be imperfectly watered; when the rise
is between 23 feet 6 inches and 25 feet certain lands will
only be watered with difficulty; when the rise is between
25 feet and 26 feet 6 inches the whole country can be

watered; when the rise is between 26 feet 6 inches and
28 feet the country will be flooded; and any rise beyond
the last figure will spell misery and the ruin of many. The
slope of water surface of the Nile is in summer 1/13000, and
in flood 1/12200; the cubic contents of the trough of the Nile
between Aswân and Cairo are 7,000,000,000 cubic metres;
direct irrigation between these places takes 50 cubic metres;
per second, evaporation 130, and absorption 400, The
amount of water discharged by the Nile into the sea is
65,000,000,000 cubic metres per annum, and in an average
year the amount of solid matter carried by the Nile to the
sea is 36,600,000 tons.
The dykes, or embankments, which kept the waters of
the Nile in check, and regulated their distribution over
the lands, were in Pharaonic days maintained in a state of
efficiency by public funds, and, in the time of the Romans,
any person found destroying a dyke was either condemned
to hard labour in the public works or mines, or to be branded
and sent to one of the Oases. If we accept the statements
of Strabo, we may believe that the ancient system of irrigation
was so perfect that the varying height of the inundation
caused but little inconvenience to the inhabitants of Egypt,
as far as the results of agricultural labours were concerned,
though an unusually high Nile would of course wash away
whole villages and drown much cattle. If the statements
made by ancient writers be compared with facts ascertained in
modern times, it will be seen that the actual height of the inundation
is the same now as it always was, and that it maintains
the same proportion to the land it irrigates. From what has
been said above it will be evident that the Nile is the chief
physical characteristic of Egypt, and as such it has excited
the surprise, wonder, admiration, and reverence of countless
generations of men. Without it Egypt would have been a
desert, and uninhabitable to any but nomad tribes; it has
always formed the water supply of the whole country, and

the existence of men and animals has depended entirely
upon the existence of the river in all ages. The Nile was
the highway of Egypt, and to it the Egyptians owed their
wealth and prosperity, and their importance as owners of
a great corn producing country among the peoples of the
ancient world. In the earliest times the rulers of Egypt gave
their deepest attention to the irrigation of the country, and
no efforts were spared to obtain the best agricultural results
by means of canals and embankments. It seems that each
village or city or district was responsible for the maintenance
of its river banks in good order, but details as to the way
in which the work was carried out are wanting. Under
despotic rulers the banks must always have been maintained
by forced labour, and the cutting and cleaning
of the canals and reservoirs was, of course, carried out
by the same means. As long as everyone was made
to take a share in such labour the hardship was not
great, for all were interested in the irrigation of the
country, but it will be readily seen that under a despotic
government or a corrupt administration certain individuals
would be exempted from the performance of such labour
at the expense of the other members of the community.
Also, forced labour gangs would, by bribing the officials,
be made to do work which ought to be done at the
expense of private individuals, and members of such gangs
who had no friends or influence among the official classes
would be kept at forced labour practically the whole year
round. Whatever may have happened in early times, this
was certainly the case in Egypt until the British began to
gain power, and all the work done in connexion with the
cleaning of canals, and the protecting of the banks during
the inundation, and the strengthening of the dykes, was
done by forced labour or corvée. Sa‘îd Pâsha used the
corvêe in making the Suez Canal, and Ismâ‘îl Pâsha boldly
used it in digging a canal in Upper Egypt, the chief object

of which was to water his own private estates. The high
officials exempted their own tenants and co-religionists from
the corvée, and made the wretched fellaḥîn do the work
for them. The corvée had to work for nine months of the
year, and they had to provide spades, and baskets, and
food; their place of abode was changed almost daily, and
they had to sleep on the ground. During the inundation
they had to live on the river bank, and to provide the
materials for the protection of the bank on each side of the
Nile. Every male between 15 and 50 years of age was
liable to serve in the corvée, and each quarter of the male
population was expected to serve for 45 days during the
summer. In 1881 nearly one-half of the men who were
liable had succeeded in freeing themselves from their duty.
In a decree dated January 25, 1881 (see the text in Willcocks,
op. cit., p. 402), the terms on which certain privileged
classes could redeem their tenants from the corvée are set
forth, but as no penalties were laid down for those who
neither sent men nor paid the redemption tax, every man
of any position freed himself from the liability, and the
whole of the forced labour fell on the poorer classes. In
1885 Sir Evelyn Baring (Lord Cromer) approved of an
advance of £30,000, with the view of trying to substitute
hand labour by contract for the corvée, and the experiment
was a success. A year later, a quarter of a million was
granted towards the relief of the corvée, and for the first
time in Egyptian history, the State paid towards the up-keep
of the canals and river banks of the country. The total
relief of the earthwork maintenance corvée costs the State
£420,000 a year. In December, 1889, the corvée was
abolished as far as the clearance of canals and repairs of
banks was concerned, and the Public Works Department
undertook to do all the repairs; but the corvée for the
protection of the Nile banks during the inundation could
not be abolished, and a certain number of men have to be

called out each year. In 1899 the Nile was abnormally
low, and it in many respects resembled that of 1888; in
1899, however, only 10,079 were called out per 100 days
(which is the lowest number on record), while in 1888 the
number was 58,788 men per 100 days (Cromer, Report,
Egypt No. 1 (1900), p. 19). The abolition of the earthworks
corvée is due entirely to the exertions of Viscount Cromer
and the officials of the Irrigation Department, who have toiled
unceasingly for years to remove an infamous burden from the
shoulders of the men who were the least able to bear it.
Sir Samuel Baker (Albert Nyanza, vol. ii. p. 331) and
many other travellers have described the masses of vegetation,
both living and dead, which in parts of the White Nile,
e.g., Baḥr el-Ghazal, completely obstruct the fairway of the
river. These masses, or blocks of sudd *
* Arab. sadd, or sudd; plural .
as they are called,
are often of very considerable length, and where they exist
the river becomes practically a mere swamp. Sir Samuel
describes one which was three-quarters of a mile wide; it
was perfectly firm, and was already overgrown with high
reeds and grass. The graves of the people who had died
of the plague were actually upon it. When the Nile stream
approached this vegetable dam it plunged beneath it by a
subterranean channel with a rush like a cataract. From
time to time these dams are added to by small islands of
vegetation, which drift down upon them, and trees and dead
crocodiles, and hippopotami, help to make the mass more
dense. Sudd is met with between Shambe (lat. 7° 5′ 53″
north) and the Sobat River (lat. 9° 22′ 8″ north), or a
distance of 250 miles, and on the White Nile between
Lake No and the Sobat River. See “Report on the
Soudan,” by Sir W. Garstin, K.C.M.G., London,
1899. With the view of opening the White Nile to
navigation, the Egyptian Government, in 1899, voted the

sum of £E.10,000 for cutting the sudd between Lake No
and Shambe, and a party of 700 men, 4 officers, with 4
steamers, left Omdurmân in December, 1899, to carry out
the work. The blocks of sudd were nine in number. The
grass and dry vegetation upon them were set fire to, and
when they were burnt, the blocks were cut gradually into
sections, each of which had to be towed away by a steamer,
by means of a steel hawser. The sudd cutting party was
under the command of Major Peake, who, according to a
telegram of May 17th, from Cairo, stated that the White
Nile was then clear as far as Bedden, and that Sir W.
Garstin's orders had been effectively carried out.
When the sudd was removed, a vast amount of stagnant
water was set free, and as a result the fish died in large
numbers in the lower reaches of the river.
The Barrage or Barrages. from time immemorial
the Nile has been allowed to water the land of Egypt
according to its own will and pleasure, and there are no
records to show that any ruler of Egypt seriously undertook
to regulate the supply of water to the cultivable lands by
means of dams or reservoirs. The river has been allowed
to waste itself for thousands of years, and it was not until the
present century that any attempt was made to keep the
Nile and its branches within bounds. It is recorded by Clot
Bey (Willcocks, op. cit., p. 257; R. H. Brown, History of
the Barrage
, p. I; Milner, England in Egypt, p. 239) that
Napoleon I. saw the necessity of some means of regulating
the supply of water to the Rosetta and Damietta branches
of the Nile, with the view of letting the whole of it flow
first down one branch and then down the other, thus
doubling the effect of the inundation in flood. In 1833
Muḥammad ‘Ali blocked the head of the Rosetta branch
with a stone dam, which made the Nile stream flow into the
Damietta branch, wherefrom all the large canals in the
Delta drew their supply. Linant Pâsha, seeing the serious

effect which would be produced upon Alexandria and the
Eastern Delta if this action were continued, remonstrated
with his master, and proposed as an alternative the
construction of a Barrage across the head of each branch,
about six miles below the bifurcation of the river. This
proposal was approved by Muḥammad ‘Ali, and when
informed by Linant Pâsha of the amount of stone, etc.,
which would be required, promptly ordered it to be taken
from the Pyramids, and only relinquished this plan when it
was proved to him that stone could be got at a cheaper rate
from the quarries at Cairo. The work was begun in 1833,
and was continued until 1835, but towards the end of this
year it was carried on with less vigour, and soon after it was
entirely stopped. For seven years the old system of
clearing out the canals by the corvée was revived, and
nothing more was done. In 1842 Mougel, a French
engineer, proposed a system of Barrages, to which was
united a series of fortifications which were to be built at the
bifurcation of the river, and the idea pleased Muḥammad
‘Ali, who ordered the work to be undertaken at once.
The Damietta Barrage was begun in 1843, and the
Rosetta Barrage in 1847. The work was hurried on so
fast that it was badly done, and the disrepute into which
Mougel's magnificent scheme fell in later years was due to
his master's impatience and interference with his plans. In
1853, the new Viceroy, ‘Abbâs Pâsha, dismissed Mougel,
being dissatisfied with the rate of progress made, and
Mazhar Bey was ordered to finish the Barrages on Mougel's
plans. Commissions sat on the matter, and although the
defects of the work already done were well known, no
attempt was made to remedy them, and the Barrages were
finished in 1861. They had cost £1,800,000, exclusive of
the corvée, and the fortifications, etc., cost £2,000,000
more. These works form the famous “Barrage,” which lies
about fourteen miles to the north of Cairo; the Rosetta

Barrage has 61 arches and two locks, and is about 1,512
feet long; the Damietta Barrage has 61 arches (originally
71) and two locks, and is about 1,730 feet long. In 1863
the gates of the Rosetta Barrage were closed, so that more
water might be turned into the , and cracks
promptly appeared in the structure. In 1867 ten openings
or arches of the Rosetta Barrage separated themselves
from the rest of the work, and moved out of their places.
In 1876, Mr. (late Sir) John Fowler reported on the Barrage,
and he proved that the floor and foundations were
cracked, that the latter were too shallow, and that £1,200,000
would have to be spent to make the work fit for any useful
purpose; General Rundall, R.E., also reported on the
Barrage, and estimated that it could be made serviceable
for £500,000, and described how the repairs were to be
carried out*
* Major H. Brown (op. cit., p. 94) says “the manner of restoring
Barrage as recommended by General Rundall is very nearly that
which was actually adopted, and further, the cost of the restoration was
correctly estimated.”
. Finally, in 1883, Rousseau Pâsha, Director
General of Public Works, declared that the Barrage could
only be used as a distributor of the river discharge between
the two branches, and that to make it fit for this purpose
it would be necessary to spend about £400,000 upon it.
With the failure of the Barrage to do its work, the supply of
water in the canals naturally failed, and the Egyptian Government
had to pay a Company £26,000 per annum to pump
water into one canal only; and when Sir Colin Scott Moncrieff,
in 1883, came to Egypt, ministers were solemnly
thinking of adopting a scheme for pumping water into
all the canals in the Delta. The engines were to cost
£E.700,000, and the annual cost was to be about £250,000;
and “the Egyptian Government was actually on the verge of
trying to lift the whole river” (Milner, op. cit., p. 242),

The English ministers set aside this scheme at once, and
directed Mr. Willcocks to test the capacity of the Barrage
and its power to hold up water. These instructions were
carried out, and it was found that parts of the structure
had not been finished, and that the Damietta section
had never been provided with gates. At the cost of about
£26,000 he effected such important repairs, that he was able
to hold up water to the depth of nearly four feet more than
had ever been possible before, and the cotton crop in 1884
amounted to 3,630,000 ịanṭars (I ịanṭar = 101¼ lbs.), as
against that of 1879, at that time the highest known, which
amounted to 3,186,600 ịanṭars. The work was a great
triumph, and Mr. Willcocks continued his experiments in
1885 with even greater success. It now became possible
to consider the systematic repair of the Barrage, and the
complete restoration of this fine work was begun in 1886,
and finished at a cost of about £472,000 in 1891 at which
time it was able to hold up a head of about 13 feet of water.
Thus Mougel's Barrage was made a success, and it would be
difficult to describe the greatness of the benefit which the
English officials conferred upon Egypt by making it perform
the work intended. Now during the years while the Barrage
was an object of ridicule, the position of Mougel Bey
went from bad to worse, and at length he became extremely
poor and forgotten; the Egyptian Government had visited
upon him the sins of Muḥammad ‘Ali, who had made the
Barrage a failure by his haste and impatience, and had left
him unprovided for, and the French Government had done
nothing for him. At the moment when Sir Colin Moncrieff
was planning the restoration of the Barrage, the poor old
man, broken down by grief and semi-starvation, was brought
to his notice, and he left no stone unturned until the
Egyptian Government bestowed an adequate pension upon
him, and lifted him out of the reach of want.
But although the Barrage is now doing splendid work,

it does not even now store all the water which is required
for the cotton and other crops in the summer throughout
Egypt, not to mention the water which is necessary for
new plantations. This fact has been borne in mind for
many years past, and Sir William Garstin and Mr. Willcocks
have been giving their most earnest attention to the finding
of some means whereby the lands which are at present
waste may be brought under cultivation. Speaking broadly,
the cultivated land in Egypt is now producing nearly all it
is capable of, and as the revenue of the country depends
upon agricultural prosperity, little more revenue is to be
expected until more land is brought under irrigation. As
Sir Alfred Milner says, “In Egypt prosperity and water go
hand in hand.” After much thought the English engineers
of the Irrigation Department decided that the only way to
provide more water, and so increase the revenue, was to
build a huge reservoir, preferably at Aswân. Statistics
prepared by Mr. Willcocks (op. cit., p. 428), show that about
one-third of the land in Egypt is undeveloped, that nearly
the whole of this undeveloped land lies in the perennially
irrigated tracts, and that the summer supply of water is not
sufficient for perennial irrigation. There are about
2,000,000 acres of waste land in Egypt, and to redeem
these and water all the cultivable land, 6,000,000,000 cubic
metres of water will be required. The proposal to build the
Aswân Reservoir was opposed violently by archaeologists,
because, according to the original plans, the beautiful temple
at Philae would have been submerged annually and finally
destroyed by the water. Instead of holding up the water
at a level of 114 metres above mean sea level, Sir W.
Garstin reduced the level to 106 metres, which satisfied
most people; but Mr. Willcocks thinks (p. 437) that “this
action of the archaeologists has hurt the reservoir and will
not in the end save the temple.” After some difficulties as
to ways and means, Messrs. Aird and Co. signed a contract

with the Egyptian Government, undertaking to build the
Aswân Dam and supplementary works for the sum of
£2,000,000; the works are to be completed in 1903,
Messrs. Aird will receive no payment until that date, when
the debt is to be paid off in 30 half-yearly annuities of
£78,613. The canals and drains, which form an important
part of the scheme, are to be made within the five years in
which Messrs. Aird are building the dam, and will cost
about £2,000,000 sterling more. When the works are
completed, it is calculated that the revenues of the country
will be increased by about £2,750,000, and while they
are in progress Egypt pays nothing.
The Aswân Dam stands in the First Cataract, a few
miles south of Aswân. It is designed to hold up water
to a level of 106 metres above mean sea level, or rather
more than 20 metres above the low-water level of the Nile
at site. Its total length will be 2,156 yards, with a width
at crest of 26.4 feet. The width of the base at the deepest
portion will be 82.5 feet, and the height of the work at the
deepest spot will be 92.4 feet. The dam will be pierced
by 180 openings, or under-sluices, of which 140 are 23.1
feet by 6.6 feet, and 40 are 18.2 feet by 66 feet, provided
with gates. Three locks will be built, and a navigation
channel made on the west of the river. The Asyûṭ
will be what is called an open Barrage, and will consist
of in 111 bays or openings, each 16.5 feet wide, and each
bay will be provided with regulating gates. The total
length of the work will be 903 yards, and a lock 53 feet
wide will be built on the west bank, large enough to pass
the largest tourist boat plying on the river. Both works
were begun by Messrs. Aird in 1898.
The ancient Egyptians called the Nile Ḥāp, or Ḥāpi
, and the Arabs call it “Baḥr,” which is
a term applied to any large mass of natural water, whether

sea, lake, or river. As the Egyptians divided their
country into north and south, even so they conceived the
existence of two Niles,
which they called “Ḥāp
reset” ,
the “South Nile,” and “Ḥāp
meḥet” ,
the “North Nile.” Both
Niles were represented by
men bearing upon their
heads the plant which was
characteristic of the region
through which that Nile
flowed; thus , the papyrus
plant, represented the
country of the south where
the papyrus grew, and ,
the lotus plant, typified the
country of the north, i.e.,
the Delta, where the lotus
grew. The god of one
Nile was coloured red and
the god of the other a
greenish-blue; it has been
thought that these colours
have reference to the colour
of the waters of the Nile
after and before the inundation.
The ancient
Egyptians seem to have

The Source of the Nile at Philae. (From Rosellini.)

had no knowledge of the source of the Nile, and in
late times it was thought that the river sprang out of the

ground between two mountains which lay between the
Island of Elephantine and Philae. Herodotus tells us that
these mountains were called ΚρŵØι and ΜŵØι, in which some
have sought to identify the Egyptian words Qer-Ḥāpi
, and Mu-Ḥāpi .
In the temple at Philae is a very interesting relief in which

The Nile god pouring water over the soul of Osiris. (From Rosellini.)

an attempt is
made to depict
the source of the
Nile of the South.
Here we see a
huge mass of
rocks piled one
upon the other,
and standing on
the top of them
are a vulture and
a hawk; beneath
the mass of rocks
is a serpent, within
the coil of which
kneels the Nile
god of the South
with a cluster of
papyrus plants
upon his head.
In his hand he
holds two vases,
out of which he is pouring water. The reverence paid to
the Nile was very great from the earliest period, for the
Egyptians recognized that their health, happiness, and
wealth depended upon its waters. The god of the
Nile was addressed as the “Father of the gods,” and
we are told in a hymn that if he were to fail, “the

gods would fall down headlong, and men would perish”;
his majesty was considered to be so great that it is said
of him, “he cannot be sculptured in stone; he is not to
be seen in the statues on which are set the crowns of the
South and of the North; neither service nor oblations can
be offered unto him in person; and he cannot be brought
forth from his secret habitations; the place where he
dwelleth is unknown; he is not to be found in the shrines
whereon are inscriptions; no habitation is large enough to
hold him; and he cannot be imagined by thee in thy
heart.” This extract is sufficient to show that the Egyptians
ascribed to the god of the Nile many of the attributes
of God.
Among the festivals of the ancient Egyptians that which
was celebrated in honour of the Nile was of prime importance.
It was believed that unless the prescribed ceremonies
were performed at the right season, in the proper manner,
by a duly qualified person or persons, the Nile would refuse
to rise and water their lands. The festival was celebrated
by all classes with the greatest honour and magnificence
when the river began to rise at the summer solstice, and the
rejoicings were proportionate to the height of the rise.
Statues of the Nile-god were carried about through the
towns and villages, so that all men might honour him and
pray to him. The ancient Egyptian festival finds its equivalent
among the Muhammadans in that which is celebrated
by them on the 11th day of the Coptic month Paoni, i.e.,
June 17, and is called Lêtet al-Nuịṭa, or the “Night
of the Drop,” because it is believed that a miraculous drop
then falls into the Nile and causes its rise. The astrologers
and soothsayers pretend to be able to state the exact
moment when the drop is to fall. Many of the Egyptians
spend this night in the open air, usually on the banks of the
Nile, and Mr. Lane says (Modern Egyptians, vol. II., p. 224)
that the women observe a curious custom. After sunset

they place as many lumps of dough on the terrace as there
are persons in the house, and each person puts his or her
mark upon one of them; on the following morning each
looks at the lump of dough upon which he set his mark the
evening before, and if any lump be found to be cracked, it
is held to be a sign that the life of the person whom it
represents will soon come to an end. About a fortnight later,
criers begin to go about in the streets and proclaim the
height of the daily rise of the river, each being usually
accompanied by a boy; they are listened to with respect,
but no one believes the statements they make about the
height of the rise. The criers converse with the boys that
are with them, and invoke blessings upon the houses of the
people before which they stand, the object being, of course,
that alms may be given to them. A little before the middle
of August, the criers, accompanied by little boys carrying
coloured flags, announce the “Completion of the Nile,”
i.e., that the water reaches to the mark of the 16th cubit on
the Nilometer. According to an old law the land tax
cannot be exacted until the Nile rises to this height, and it
is said that in old days the Government officials used to
deceive the people regularly as to the height of the Nile,
and demanded the tax when it was not due. The day
after this announcement is made, the Cutting of the
at Fum al-Khalîg, in Cairo, takes place. This dam
is made yearly near the mouth of the Khalîg Canal, and the
top of it rises to the height of about 22 or 23 feet above the
level of the Nile at its lowest; a short distance in front of
the dam is heaped up a conical mound of earth called the
arûa or “bride,” in allusion to the young virgin who, in
ancient days, was cast into the river as a sacrifice, in order
to obtain a plentiful inundation. This mound is always
washed away before the dam is cut. At sunrise, on the day
following the “completion” of the Nile, the thickness of the
dam is thinned by workmen, and at length a boat is rowed

against it, and breaking the dam passes through with the
current. The ceremony attracts large crowds, and is usually
accompanied by singing, dancing and fireworks.
Between Wâdi Halfa and Cairo there are, on the right
bank of the Nile, 312 towns and villages, and the cultivated
land amounts to 381,000 feddâns*
* The faddân or feddân, Arab. is the amount of land which
a pair of oxen can plough in a day. The feddân contains 4,200
square metres, or about 5,082 square yards, and = rather less than one
fortieth part of an acre.
; between the same
limits, on the left bank, are 1,058 towns and villages with
1,638,000 feddâns of cultivated land. The province of the
Fayyûm contains 85 towns and villages, with 328,000
feddâns of cultivated land; the whole Delta contains 847
towns and villages, with 1,430,000 feddâns; east of the
Delta are 1,017 towns and villages, with 1,271,000 feddâns;
west of the Delta are 367 towns and villages, with 601,000
feddâns; the Isthmus of contains 6 towns and villages,
with 1,000 feddâns. Egypt contains an amount of land
suitable for cultivation which is equal to about 8,000,000
feddâns, or 33,607 square kilomètres, or 12,976 square
miles. The cultivated area of Egypt is about 5,650,000
feddâns, or 23,735 square kilomètres, the proportion for
Lower and Upper Egypt being 3,303,000 feddâns, with a
population of 5,675,109 inhabitants, and 2,347,000 feddâns,
with a population of 4,058,296 inhabitants. That is to
say, for every 127 inhabitants there are 100 feddâns of
cultivated land. According to Mr. Willcocks (Egyptian
, p. 17) the summer crops for the whole of Egypt
cover 2,046,500 acres, and yield £15,177,500; the flood
crops cover 1,510,000 acres, and yield £6,870,000; and the
winter crops cover 4,260,000 acres, and yield £17,013,000;
the whole area of 5,750,000 acres has a gross yield of
£39,060,500, or £7 per acre.


In connection with the Nile may be fittingly mentioned
the Oases, for it is probable that, in addition to the springs
which are found in these natural depressions in the desert,
a quantity of water finds its way to them by underground
channels from the Nile. The Egyptian for an oasis was
ut, or perhaps uḥet; from this was derived the
Coptic , and the Arabic (plur. ). In
Ptolemaïc times seven oases were enumerated,*
* The texts are given by Dümichen in Die Oasen der Libyschen
Wüste; Strassburg, 1877
and their
hieroglyphic names are as follows:—
  • 1. KENEMET , or Ut-res “Oasis
    of the South.”
  • 3. TA-ẠḤET
  • 4. UT-MEḤT “Oasis of the North.”
  • 6. UT
1. The Oasis of Kenemet is called to-day Al-Khârgeh,
and lies almost due west of the town of Esneh,
at a distance of about four days' journey; it is best known
by the name of the “Great Oasis.” Population in
1897, 7,200. The name “Oasis of the South” was
given to it to distinguish it from the “Oasis of
the North.” The ancient name of the chief town was
Hebt, , and the principal object of interest in the

Oasis is the ruined ancient Egyptian temple, wherein the
god Ạmen-Rā was worshipped. The temple was founded by
Darius I. Hystaspes (B.C. 521-486), and finished by Darius II.
Nothus (B.C. 425-405), and restored by Nectanebus I.
(B.C. 378-360), the first king of the XXXth dynasty. The
scenes on the walls represent these kings making offerings
and adoring a number of the great gods and goddesses of
Egypt, e.g., Ạmen-Rā, mut, Temu, Uatchit, Menthu, Rā
Harmachis, Khensu, Khnemu, Isis, Osiris, Anḥur-Shu,
Nephthys, etc. Among the inscriptions worthy of special
interest are the famous Hymn to the Sun-god which was
inscribed on the walls of a small chamber in the temple,
and a text written in the so-called enigmatical writing. It
is interesting to note too the rare prenomen
Settu-Rā, which is here applied to one of the Darius kings
(Brugsch, Reise, pl. VIII.). In other parts of the Oasis are
a number of ruins of Roman and Christian buildings, and,
as political offenders were banished there by the various
rulers of Egypt, and Christians fled there for refuge, this is
not to be wondered at; the ruins of a Roman fort suggest
that the Oasis was used for garrison purposes at one period.
2. The Oasis of Tchestcheset is called to-day Dâkhel,
and lies to the west of Al-Khârgeh, at a distance of about four
days' journey; it is best known by the name of Oasis Minor.
Population in 1897, 17,090. The chief town of this Oasis was
called Ạuset Ạāḥet, “the seat of the Moongod,”
and the principal object of worship was the god ẠmenRā,
“Ạmen-Rā, lord of the
country of the Moon.” The ruins prove that the temple was
founded and restored by Titus and other Roman
3. The Oasis of Farâfra lies to the north-west of the
Great Oasis, and there seems to be little doubt that it

represents the Ta-āḥet of the Egyptian texts; it lies about
half-way between the Oasis of Baḥriyeh and Dâkhel, Population,
1897, 542. The god worshipped there was called
4. The Oasis of Baḥrîyeh lies to the north-east of
the Oases of Farâfra and Dâkhel, at a distance of about
four days' journey from the Fayyûm. The ruins there
belong chiefly to the Roman period. The Arabic name
“Northern Oasis” seems to be a translation of its old Egyptian
name, “Oasis of the North.” Population in 1897, 6,082.
5. The Oasis of Sîwa, better known by the name of the
Oasis of Jupiter Ammon, is the most northerly of all the Oases,
and lies west of Cairo at a distance of about sixteen days'
journey. Population in 1897, 5,200. The god worshipped
there was Ạmen-Rā. The name given to it by the Egyptians,
Sekhet-Ạmit, means the “field of the palm trees,” and the
many thousands of loads of dates which are exported annually
justify the selection of this name. In very early times a
temple dedicated to the god Ammon or Ạmen stood here,
and the reputation of its priests was so wide-spread that it
tempted Alexander the Great to visit it in order that he
might consult the famous oracle. Christianity is said to
have been preached in this oasis by one of the Apostles.
6. The Oasis. This oasis has not been identified, but
it lay most probably at no great distance from the Oasis of
Sîwa, and it may have formed part of the Sekhet-Ạmit.
Dümichen suggests (op. cit., p. 33) that it may be the
Oasis of Araj, which is a journey of two days from Siwa.
7. Sekhet-ḥemam, or the “Salt-field,” is no doubt to
be identified with the Wâdî Naṭrûn or Natron Valley.
The determinative of the word for oasis in Egyptian ()
indicates that the inhabitants of the oases were not Egyptians,
but it is quite certain that as early as the time of
Thothmes III. the inhabitants paid tribute to the kings of
Egypt. Rameses the Great kept a number of troops

stationed in the largest of the oases, and it is probably
from the officers and soldiers who went there from Egypt,
that the inhabitants learned to know and worship Egyptian
gods. Between the oases and Egypt there must have been
a very considerable trade, for the wine of Kenem, and the
dates of Sekhet-Ạmit, and the salt of Sekhet-ḥemam, were
famous throughout the Nile Valley of Egypt.

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The oldest buildings in Egypt are Tombs, and whether
large or small they reflect in every age the religious ideas
of those who built them. The excavations made in recent
years show that the Egyptian tomb in the first instance was
an oval hollow, either dug in the sand, or roughly cut in
the limestone, and when the body had been laid therein, it
was covered over with sand. It was, however, soon found
that the wild animals scratched away the sand, and dragged
out the bodies and devoured them; to prevent this the
friends of the dead laid slabs of stone loosely over the
hollow in the ground. As time went on these slabs of stone
were better fitted and plaster was used to keep them
together, and finally the sides and bottom of the grave were
lined with mud bricks or stone slabs. Thus the stone (or
brick) lined grave is the oldest building in Egypt, and the
Egyptians made it as a result of their belief in the resurrection
of the body. But even at this early period there must
have been numbers of the dead who were laid to their rest
in the sand. After a further lapse of time and as a result
of the development of religious ideas, men began to raise
stone structures over the graves, whereon they might lay
their offerings to the dead, and hold some kind of intercourse
with them. What the earliest structures were like
we do not know, but in the earlier part of the historic period
the kings, and nobles, and high officials, were buried in
chambers cut in the solid rock several yards below the
surface of the ground, and rectangular chambers made of
stones were built over them. The tops of such structures
were perfectly flat, and the sides sloped outwards very
slightly; a building of this kind is commonly called
Maṣtăba, because it resembles a bench. They did not

resemble portions of pyramids, but, as Mariette said, a
maṣṭăba somewhat resembles a section cut horizontally out
of an obelisk, supposing the obelisk to have a rectangular
base. The walls are of varying thickness, and few are built
in exactly the same way; it is a common characteristic of
them all that the cores are made of very poor materials. It
is hard to understand why the builders, who gave so much
time and attention and labour to such buildings, did not go
a step further and build their walls solidly throughout.

Door from a maṣṭăba tomb at Memphis. (After Prisse d' Avennes.)

Maṣṭăba tombs were oriented
towards the north. They vary
in length and breadth, but
all consist of a hall for
prayer and sacrifice, of a shaft
or pit leading to the chamber
where the mummy lies, and
of the mummy chamber. The
entrance to the maṣṭăba is
through an opening on the
eastern side, and this opening
is often quite plain. Above
the opening is a lintel, a portion
of which is rounded, and
here is found the name of the
deceased; occasionally the opening
is sunk in the wall to a considerable depth, and a
kind of small portico, with square pillars, appears in front.
The interior of the maṣtăba may be divided into chambers,
the number of these varying according to the size of the
monument and the fancy of the builder; usually, however,
a maṣṭăba contains only one. On the ground inside a stele,
or tombstone, which always faces the east, is found; at its
foot stands an altar or table intended for offerings, and near
it is a chamber in which a statue of the deceased was placed.
The pit leading to the mummy chamber was square or

rectangular, and, when the dead body had been laid away
in its coffin or sarcophagus, was filled up once and for all.
The maṣṭăbas were built in rows and stood close together,
having narrow passages between them.
Contemporary with the maṣṭăbas are the tombs which

Royal pyramid with rows of maṣṭăba tombs behind it.

were built in the form of pyramids,
but which preserved all the main
features of the maṣṭăba as far as
religious ideas were concerned.
For various reasons it was found
impossible to build a hall inside a
great pyramid sufficiently large to
accommodate all those who would
bring offerings and pray for the
deceased buried below; therefore
a hall was built outside in the
form of a chapel. Instead of
descending perpendicularly, the
shaft which led to the mummy
chamber beneath the pyramid is
sometimes diagonal, in which case
heavy sarcophagi were more easily
lowered down it. It is probable
that step-pyramids, which are after all only modifications

The Great Pyramid, showing passages and mummy chambers.

of maṣṭăbas,
are older than the
true pyramid, and
it is also probable
that they fell into
disuse because
they could be
more easily wrecked.
Well built
stone pyramids
with the steps

filled up by stones that fitted closely have proved to be almost
indestructible, especially if built on a grand scale. Examples
of the step-pyramid are found at Ṣaḳḳâra and Mêdûm, in
Egypt, and at Gebel Barkal, ri, and to the east of the

The Step Pyramid at Ṣaḳḳâra. (From a photograph by A. Beato of Luxor.)

site of the ancient city of Meroë, where Candace ruled;
the so-called Blunted Pyramid at Dahshûr is the unique
example of a most unusual type of pyramid, for about half

The Blunted Pyramid at Dahshûr.

way up the side of each
face the inclination
changes, and while the
lower portion of the
face forms an angle of
54° 11′ with the horizon,
the angle which the
upper portion makes
with the horizon is only 42° 59′. The pyramids of the
Sûdân form a class by themselves. The outsides are built
of well cut stones, carefully laid in their places, but the

insides are filled with masons' rubbish and sand. In the
upper part of the east face is an opening, and the door
faces the east nearly. Each has a chapel, or hall for
offerings, in front of it. The stone pyramid was, in the
Early Empire, usually the tomb of a king or royal personage,
but in later times both kings and priestly or military officials,
while adopting the form, built their tombs of brick; this
class formed the next development in the architecture of the
tomb, and is characteristic of the XIIth and following
dynasties. The pyramidal tombs of this period are usually
from fifteen to twenty feet high, and the bricks are made
of unbaked mud; when they stood anywhere on ground

Pyramid and chapel at Gebel Barkal. (After Prisse d' Avennes.)

which was tolerably level they were
surrounded by a wall. On one side
of the pyramid is a sepulchral stele
or a small rectangular building
which served the purpose of the
chapel to a large pyramid, for here
the funeral ceremonies were performed,
and offerings made, and
prayers said on behalf of the dead.
The oldest examples of this class
of tomb are at Abydos; they date
from the VIth to the XIIth dynasty.
The next step in the development of the tomb was the
building it in the mountains on one side or the other of
the Nile, where the hall, shaft, and mummy chamber, were
hewn out of the living rock. A small portico is often
formed by means of two or more square or rectangular
pillars cut out of the rock, also an entablature which consists
of an architrave and a kind of cornice. When space permitted
a portion of the hill or mountain immediately in
front of the tomb was levelled, and served to accommodate
the visitors who went to the tomb. Passing between the
pillars we enter the rock-hewn chamber, usually with square

pillars, where, in a niche, was a statue of the deceased; as
the double (ka) was supposed to dwell in the statue of a
man, this arrangement was excellent for enabling the
deceased to see the offerings that were made in his chapel,
and for hearing the prayers said. This niche is the equivalent
of the serdâb in the maṣṭăba tomb. In a corner of the
hall or chapel, or, if there be more than one hall, in the
hall most remote, is the entrance to the square pit
which leads to the mummy chamber. The best examples
of tombs of this period are at Beni-Ḥasan and Aswân,
and at each place there are many really fine tombs.
At Aswân is a very interesting flight of steps, up which
coffins and sarcophagi were dragged from the level
of the river into the tombs, and it is probable that
a similar arrangement was provided wherever rock-hewn
tombs were made in the side of a steep, high hill. The
rock-hewn tomb was very popular in Egypt among high
military and priestly officials, and this is hardly to be
wondered at, for a body carefully buried therein would be
extremely difficult to find when once the opening of the
tomb had been blocked up. Coming to the period of the
XVIIIth and four following dynasties, we find that it
became the fashion among kings and royal personages to
have magnificent tombs with long corridors and numerous
chambers hewn out of the solid rock; and as the kings of
this period reigned at Thebes, the Theban mountains were
literally turned into a cemetery. In various parts of the
rocky ground on the western bank the priests and high
officials caused magnificent tombs to be hewn, and, although
the fundamental ideas which guided the builders of the
pyramid and maṣṭăba tombs were still all-powerful, the
shape, the disposition of the chambers, the ornamentation,
and texts inscribed upon the walls show that many new
religious ideas had sprung into being in the mind of the
Egyptian. The tombs of the kings at Thebes are the best

examples of the royal tombs of the period, and in them
all we have the equivalents of the hall, the stele, the
serdâb, the statue, the shaft or pit, and the mummy-chamber;
there is, however, one great difference. In the Theban
mountains it was found to be impossible to build chapels of
a size proportionate to the tombs hewn within them,
therefore the kings decided to have their funeral chapels
built on the level ground near the river, where they were
easy of access, and where there was abundant room for
crowds of people to make their offerings to their kings,
and to pray for them. In them also the religious were
free to worship the gods they loved, as well as perform
commemoration services, and in this way temples like
the Ramesseum acquired a double character. As every
man seems to have had his tomb prepared according to
his own plans, it follows as a matter of course that in
details hardly any two tombs are alike; nevertheless the
central ideas of providing for the hiding of the body
and for the supply of suitable offerings at regular intervals
for the ka of the deceased were never lost sight of. The
tombs constructed under the rule of the priests of Amen
are inferior to those made in the time of the great
Theban kings. In the XXVIth dynasty an attempt was
made to revive the funeral ceremonies of the Early
Empire, and, in consequence, a number of modifications
were made in the internal arrangement of the subterranean
rooms, etc.; but very soon the old ideas reasserted themselves,
and the Egyptians who could afford to hew
sepulchres out of the rocks adopted the class of tomb in
general use at the time.
It has been said above that the oldest buildings in
Egypt are tombs, and although the necessary evidence,
in the shape of ruins, which would prove the great
antiquity of the use of temples in Egypt, is not forthcoming,
we are fully justified in assuming that, after

tombs, the building of temples for the safe-keeping of
the statues of the gods, and for their worship, would
form the next subject of earnest consideration in the
minds of the people of that country. In fact, as soon
as the Egyptian arrived at any comparatively advanced
stage of civilization, he would set to work to build “a house
of God” , or temple, suitable to the rank
and position of this god in the land. That the pre-dynastic
and early dynastic Egyptians believed in numbers of gods
goes without saying; unfortunately, however, their houses,
or temples, were built of such fragile materials that even the
sites of them are unknown. It has been thought that the
earliest temples of the Egyptians were built of wood, that
bricks formed the next material employed, and that stone
was employed last of all. The earliest stone temples were
probably contemporary with the earliest of the maṣṭâba
tombs, but what such temples were like we shall never
know, for they were at a very remote period restored, or
enlarged, or reconstructed out of existence. One thing
about them, however, is certain: the sites of the principal
temples have remained unchanged. The sanctuaries of
Heliopolis, Memphis, Abydos, Thebes, and other cities
were the abodes of gods probably ten thousand years ago.
The names and characteristics of the gods worshipped in
them have changed, no doubt, and dozens of buildings have,
successively, been erected upon them, but the sites must
always have enjoyed a solid reputation for holiness, even
though the histories or legends which gave them their
reputations have been forgotten. The earliest known
temple in Egypt is the granite and limestone Temple of
the Sphinx
, which was discovered by Mariette in 1853, and
which lies about 130 feet to the south-east of the right foot
of the Sphinx at Gîzeh. The following plan (after Perrot
and Chipiez) will illustrate its arrangement:—The room or

hall (A), with six square granite pillars, measures about
32 feet by 23 feet, and the pillars are about 16 feet 6 inches
high, and 4 feet square. The room or hall (B), which

The Temple of the Sphinx.

opens out of this, runs
from east to west, and
measures about 56 feet
by 30 feet; the granite
pillars here are ten in
number. To the east of
the smaller hall is a corridor
(c), having a room
at each end, and near
the opening into it is
a well, wherein a number
of statues of king
Chephren were found
by Mariette. In the
room (D), which is
entered from the small hall, mummies were probably
kept, and when we bear in mind the well, or pit, in
the hall (c), it seems not unlikely that this massive
little temple was originally nothing more than a royal
funeral chapel. The pillars are without any ornament
or decoration, and the walls have neither bas-reliefs
nor paintings on them; the outsides of the walls are,
however, ornamented with vertical and horizontal channels
only, and resemble the outside of a sarcophagus of the early
maṣṭăba period. Strictly speaking, the idea of the temple,
such as we see at Karnak and elsewhere, was not imagined
in the Early Empire, and the Temple of the Sphinx is the
most complete example known of those that were built
between B.C. 4500 and B.C. 2500. Of the temples which were
built in Egypt between B.C. 2500 and B.C. 1700, we have
very few remains, but it is certain that the great kings of the
XIIth dynasty restored the temples which had been erected

on historic sites by their predecessors, and it is probable
that they built new ones. There are many reasons for
believing that the temples of the XIIth dynasty were large,
beautiful, and richly decorated, among the chief of these
being the fact that beautifully painted rock-hewn tombs were
executed at this period. Now the public temples, especially
if they had been originally funeral chapels, must have been
as grand and beautiful as the chapels of private individuals.
We know, too, that the XIIth dynasty temples must have
been of very considerable size, otherwise the huge granite
obelisks which were set up before them would have looked
absurdly out of proportion, and the pylons would have
dwarfed the rest of the buildings on the site. Belonging to
this period, and worthy of special note, are the ruins of the
little temple which the Ạmen-em-ḥāt and Usertsen kings
built at Karnak in honour of the god Ạmen; this temple
formed the nucleus of all the buildings which the succeeding
kings of Egypt vied with each other in raising upon that site.
From about B.C. 1700 to B.C. 1400, a favourite form of temple
was a rectangular building with a colonnade running round
all four sides; a parapet, which rested upon the severely plain
square pillars that supported the roof, was one of its
prominent features. The temple was entered through a
door at the east end, which was usually approached by
steps. At the top of the steps on each side was a pillar
with a decorated capital, and between these pillars the two
leaves of a door were hung; immediately opposite to them
was the door of the temple building leading to the shrine, and
it also was provided with swinging leaves that were probably
plated with smu metal or copper. The shrine was, of
course, at the other end of the building. At a later time,
when all the chief characteristics of such a temple were
changed, the interior was divided into three parts, a portico,
a pronaos, and a shrine. Under the kings of the XIXth
dynasty the temple buildings consisted of:—(1) Pylons; (2)

an open courtyard; (3) a hypostyle hall; and (4) a shrine,
which could be completely cut off from the rest of the
temple, and a number of chambers intended to hold statues
or emblems of the gods. The first pylon was approached
by a broad path, or dromos, on each side of which were
arranged, at regular intervals, stone figures of ram-headed
or human-headed sphinxes, mounted on pedestals, and having
their heads turned towards the axis of the path. The length
of the path varies, but the longest known is that which leads
from Luxor to Karnak, and which is more than a mile and
a quarter long. It is probable that the sphinxes were
intended either to contain or to represent guardian spirits.
The temple buildings were enclosed within a wall of unbaked
mud bricks, but the avenue of sphinxes was outside this
wall. The pylon consists of a large rectangular doorway
and two high massive towers, built with sides which slope
towards a common centre, and it forms, probably, one of the
most prominent characteristics of the Egyptian temple buildings.
On festal occasions the towers were ornamented by a
number of painted poles, from which flew coloured streamers
or flags. At each side of the doorway of the pylon stood a
colossal figure of the king in granite, limestone, or sandstone,
and a granite obelisk, mounted on a pedestal of suitable
dimensions, and colossal statues were sometimes also placed
in front of the towers of the pylon. The open court was
furnished with a colonnade on three sides, and it is probable
that those who sold objects used by the worshippers had
their stalls situated in it; both this court and the hypostyle
beyond it, which was entered through the doorway of
another pylon, were thronged on festal occasions, and in one
or both the animals intended for slaughter were offered up.
All that part of the temple which lay beyond the hypostyle
hall was probably reserved for the use of the priests and
the performance of the sacred ceremonies in connection with
the worship of the god. In the most holy part of the shrine,

and jealously guarded, was the statue, or boat, or emblem
of the god, which was only looked upon by the high priest,
or by some extremely privileged visitor, about once a year.
It was kept inside a sacred ark or tabernacle, made of
precious wood or metal, elaborately painted and gilded and
worked, and was provided with doors and bolts. In the
ground outside the temple-walls, but within the surrounding
mud-brick wall, lay the sacred lake or lakes, wherein the
devout bathed, and in the waters of which the processions
of the sacred boats took place. Speaking generally, the
above is a brief description of the principal characteristics
of Egyptian temples, and it applies to those that were built
or restored between B.C. 1370 and B.C. 200. About the latter
date many of the small temples built by the Ptolemies are
only modified copies of the small temples of the latter part
of the XVIIIth dynasty. An examination of a number of
temples will show the visitor to Egypt that in comparatively
minor matters each temple possesses characteristics which
are peculiar to itself. Thus in the temple at Luxor the
open court and the rest of the temple are connected by
means of a long, narrow courtyard, which is wanting in
many temples; and at Abydos, because there was no room
to build all the various parts of the temple in a straight line
as usual, the portion which contains the sanctuary has been
built to the side of one end of it. Before passing on to
other matters, mention must be made of temples which
were hewn out of the rock, and of this class, which is a
very small one, those of Bêt el-Wali and Abu Simbel in Nubia
are the finest specimens. The other temples in Nubia, and
those in the Eastern Sûdân, form a class by themselves,
and although of those the sites are of a venerable antiquity,
the greater number of the buildings belong to the Ptolemaïc
period. At Gebel Barkal, parts of the largest temple there
are probably as old as the XVIIIth dynasty, and the general
teaching of Egyptian history would lead us not to expect to

find any ruins older than the time of Amenophis I. In
outlying districts the Egyptian temple served both as a
place of worship and a place of refuge, and in many
respects the building became half temple, half fortress.
The ornamentation of tombs and temples varied
at different periods. The earliest tombs are almost bare in

Scene from the Wall of a Tomb. Deceased fowling.

every part,
and contain
nothing but
a few brief
Later the
were multiplied,
human and
animal figures,
cut in low
relief or
painted in tempera, began to fill the walls and to cover the
sides of the rectangular pillars which supported the roof.

Portion of a Ceiling Ornament.

Still later, every available
space in the tomb
was filled with scenes
most elaborately
drawn and painted in
vivid colours, and the
ceilings were ornamented
with geometrical
patterns and
designs, edged with
floral and other borders.
As time went
on it seemed to be the aim of the funeral artist to make

the walls of the tomb to reproduce scenes of all the
principal events which had occurred in the life of the
deceased, and to describe his wealth and power. But
under the rule of the Theban kings of the XVIIIth dynasty,
it became the fashion with many to make such painted
scenes and the accompanying descriptive texts subordinate
to religious inscriptions, and many tombs are almost entirely
covered with extracts from the Book of the Dead, or from
works of a similar character, and with scenes illustrative of
them. The earliest temples were, probably, without ornamentation
of any kind, but when it became the fashion to
decorate the tombs with bas-reliefs, or painted scenes, the
walls and pillars of the temples were treated in the same
manner. In the XVIIIth and following dynasties the outsides
of the walls of temples were covered with inscriptions
and scenes which recorded the victories of the king or kings
who built them, and the insides were decorated with figures
of the gods and of the king performing religious ceremonies;
later, both the insides and outsides of the walls were devoted
to representations of colossal figures of the king slaughtering
rebels in masses, and to religious scenes.
The Palace and the House. The palace of an
Egyptian king was enclosed within a wall like a temple, and
was often built of stone; unfortunately, however, the ruins
of the royal residences known to us, with but one or two
exceptions, do not permit the laying down of any general
rule about their construction. It is probable that kings
often lived in buildings attached to the temples, and in this
case the style of the palace would resemble that of the
temple. The entrance into the outside grounds was made
through a pylon, and the building which formed the palace
consisted of large numbers of rooms, lighted by means of
grating-work windows, grouped round open courts, which
were separated from each other by pylons. Some rooms
were set apart for state receptions and ceremonies, others

for the sleeping apartments of the male members of the
household, and others for the royal ladies. The servants,
and others who were not in close attendance on the family,
lived and slept outside the palace proper, but within the
grounds, in small chambers built against the surrounding
wall. In some part of the grounds spice, incense, and fruit
trees grew, and one or two ponds, or small lakes, with
reedy margins, afforded excellent cover for water fowl. The
private house was a rectangular building of two storeys
with a flat roof, the whole being made of unbaked mud
bricks, with the exception of the lintels of the doors. A
man of means enclosed his house and a piece of ground
within a wall, and then he had space enough to build a
portico, or colonnade, before his house, where he could find
shelter from the sun, and lay out a courtyard. A portion of
the enclosed space was laid out as gardens or planted with
trees, a lake or fountain of water was made near the house,
and the servants or slaves, and others, lived in small buildings,
or booths, not very far from the house. In fact, the
house and garden of a Theban gentleman or high official
must have resembled closely the house and courtyard, and
garden, with its fountain of running water and scented
trees, of a Muhammadan gentleman of Damascus, or Cairo,
or any other flourishing city in the beginning of the Middle
Ages. The courtyard was then, as now, probably tiled,
and the outside walls of the house painted in one or two
bright colours; the internal decorations of the walls and
ceilings consisted of some intricate geometrical design,
elaborately painted in several bright colours. The Egyptian
house must always have been a comparatively simple
building, for its owner really only needed shelter from the
cold by night, and a shady place wherein to sit or sleep in
the afternoons. The peasant farmer's house was a small,
strong building, with a courtyard large enough to hold his
cattle and granaries wherein to stock his grain. His living

and sleeping rooms were usually low and small, but, judging
by the models of houses which are to be seen in our
museums, he often sat on the roof in a sort of small
summerhouse, where he could catch the breeze; the roof
was approached by means of a flight of steps. The cooking
for his house was done in the courtyard by his wives and
female slaves.
Among miscellaneous Egyptian buildings must be
mentioned the fortified or fenced cities, which were
very numerous, and were surrounded by thick walls and
guarded by gates; in fact, any place where many men of
means had assembled and accumulated wealth had to be
fortified in order that their possessions might be defended
against the attacks of marauding tribes. The fortresses at
Semneh, in Nubia, and El-kab, in Upper Egypt, are excellent
examples of such buildings, and the ruins of them
prove that the Egyptians were skilful military architects,
and that they not only knew how to choose a site for
a fort, but how to erect on it a strong building. In
places where they had the choice of more than one site
they invariably selected the best, and they seem instinctively
to have availed themselves of every advantage which
the natural position of that site gave them. The space
here available will not permit of any attempt being made
to describe methods of construction and cognate matters,
but attention must be called to the fact that the Egyptian
architects did not pay sufficient attention either to the
making of foundations, or to the roofing of their temples.
The expert researches made by Mr. Somers Clarke at
El-kab, Karnak, Dêr el-baḥarî, and other sites, have revealed
some very curious facts about the scantiness and
insecurity of the foundations of columns, etc., and the
wonder is that the temples have stood so long in the condition
in which we now find them. The whole civilized
world laments the falling of eleven pillars at Karnak in

1899, but an examination of the foundations shows that in
the first place they were too small, and in the second that
the materials of which they were made had been thrown
into them in a reckless fashion. The question that now
arises is, “Are the foundations of all the columns of
Egyptian temples as badly made?” and none but an expert
can answer it satisfactorily. It is clear that we owe the
preservation of most of the temples to the heaps of rubbish
which had covered them up, and it is equally clear that no
one should be allowed to remove such heaps from precious
ruins except under the advice of some competent architect
or engineer. The field of Egyptology is so large in these
days, that the archæologist cannot expect to become a
skilled engineer, still less ought he to take upon himself the
risk of destroying the ruins of buildings which form part of
the scientific heritage not of the Egyptians only, but of the
present and future civilized nations of the world.
The Pillar *
* For fuller information on these subjects the reader is referred to
Perrot and Chipiez, L'Égypte, p. 346, ff., and for examples to Prisse
d'Avennes, Histoire de l'Art, to which excellent work I am indebted
for the illustrations here given.
and the Column,*
* For fuller information on these subjects the reader is referred to
Perrot and Chipiez, L'Égypte, p. 346, ff., and for examples to Prisse
d'Avennes, Histoire de l'Art, to which excellent work I am indebted
for the illustrations here given.
after the walls, are
perhaps the most prominent features of the Egyptian building.
The oldest pillars were square, and generally monolithic,
and the sides were either parallel or slightly sloping
upwards; frequently they had neither base nor capital. In
the Early Empire they were not decorated in any way, but
in the Middle Empire the sides were ornamented with scenes
and inscriptions, or with bas-reliefs, or with figures of gods
in very high relief, and the capitals with Hathor heads
and sistra. The “Osirian Pillar,” i.e., a pillar with an
upright colossal figure of Osiris in high relief on one side of
it, is seen to advantage both in the second court in the
temple of Medînet Habu, and in the rock-hewn temple at
Abu Simbel; in the Sûdân the god chosen to decorate

rectangular pillars was Bes, as may be seen from the ruins
of the temples at Gebel Barkal and Ben-Nâga. A variety
of the rectangular pillar is the pillar stele, of which examples

Pillar stelae inscribed with the names of Thothmes III., XVIIIth dynasty.

are to be
found at Karnak,
but it seems never
to have been used
as an actual support.
Out of the rectangular
pillar a new
variety was made by
cutting off the four
angles; thus the pillar
had eight sides
instead of four;
when it was desired
to make the appearance
of the new
variety of pillar
lighter still, the eight
angles were cut off,
and the pillar now
had sixteen sides.
Examples of both
kinds of pillar will
be found in the same
tomb at Beni Hasan.
To these new forms,
which are called
polygonal, polyhedral
or prismatic, bases and capitals were added, and
thus they came to be compared with certain Greek
pillars and so called Proto-Doric. Another interesting
variety of the rectangular pillar is found at Beni Hasan,
and is called cruciform. The column has many

varieties, but all have the same characteristics; it has
a base, and a capital, which is surmounted by a
rectangular slab of stone, whereon the framework of the

Entrance to the tomb of Khnemu-ḥetep II. at Beni Ḥasan, with Proto-Doric pillars. (From a photograph by A. Beato of Luxor.)

roof rests. The capitals are of several kinds. The bud
capital, the cup capital, the palm capital. A curious variety
of the cup capital occurs at Karnak, where in a part of the
building of Thothmes III. the capitals are in the form of
inverted cups. In the time of the Ptolemies the architect
or master-mason made many variations in the details of the
capitals, and frequently with very pleasing results; the
authorities, however, do not seem to be agreed as to the
canon of proportion employed.
It is at present impossible to gauge by years the antiquity
of the period when the Egyptians began to be skilled in the
art of sculpture and the making of bas-reliefs, but it is

certain that in pre-dynastic times they possessed marvellous
skill in working the hardest kinds of stone, and in the early
dynasties they were masters in the art of painting statues to
resemble their living originals. In estimating the character

Pillar with figures of Amenophis III. and the goddess Hathor.

Column with lotus capital.

of Egyptian
sculpture, it
must be remembered
that many
statues and
were executed
and probably
at a
fixed rate,
to satisfy
such work
the best
skill is not
to be looked
for. Speaking
the sculptor's
seemed to
culminate between the middle of the IVth and the end
of the Vth dynasty. At this period statues and bas-reliefs,
and the hieroglyphics of inscriptions, both raised and incuse,
possessed a fidelity to life, an attention to detail, and a

Palm-leaf capital.

Hathor-headed capital.

spirit of repose
and dignity which
are lacking in the
work of later
periods. The
Egyptians themselves
thought this,
for in the XXVIth
dynasty, when the
Saïte kings attempted
to revive
the dying arts of
sculpture and
painting, they took
the works of the
great artists of

Ornate capital (Philae).

the IVth and Vth
dynasties as their
models. The men who
made them were no
mere hirelings, and their
work shows that they
tried to represent men
and things as they saw
them; the unbiassed
will probably admit
that they succeeded
admirably in doing
this. In the Gîzeh
Museum are fine series
of examples of statues,
etc., of this period, which
testify to the great skill
of the Egyptian artists,
both as sculptors and

painters. It seems that the earliest statues were made of

Canon of proportion.

wood, like the
earliest temples
and other buildings,
and as rare
specimens of artistic
work in wood
the reader should
note the panels
from the tomb of
Ḥesi at Ṣaḳḳâra,
which were made
about B.C. 3,600;
these panels are
now in the Gîzeh
Museum, and they
are undoubtedly
the finest known
examples of that
particular class of
work. It is, as a
rule, to the private
tombs that we must look for the best examples of artistic

Sarcophagus of King Ai, XVIIIth dynasty.

work of all kinds,
for the individual
was more free to
follow his own dictates
in the selection
of both subject
and artist
than the royal
personage, who
was practically
obliged to employ
court draughtsmen, court artists, and court sculptors.

In bas-reliefs and painted scenes, much of the artistic
effect is lost because perspective was either not understood,
or was little practised, and as a result where
rows of men, and groups of animals or objects, etc.,
have to be depicted, they are represented in such a way
that they seem to be standing one above the other or
upon the other. The artist's skill in drawing which is
exhibited by the paintings in all periods is marvellous,
but the greatest skill is certainly displayed in the fishing
and hunting scenes, and in those which are commonly
found in tombs. Even in these, however, the artist often
breaks away from his fetters of conventionality, and depicts
some ludicrous or amusing incident quite out of keeping
with the general character of the subject. The sense of fun
which the Egyptian possessed in all periods of his history
must have found an outlet in many comic sketches on
papyri, but unfortunately besides the so-called satirical
papyri very few examples of such have come down to us;
touches of realism which western artists would not have
included in their compositions occur every here and there,
but these are due rather to an attempt to be true to nature
than to depraved ideas.

The Lion and the Unicorn playing draughts. From a “Satirical” papyrus in the British Museum.

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The system of writing employed by the earliest inhabitants
of the Valley of the Nile known to us was entirely
pictorial, and had much in common with the pictorial
writing of the Chinese and the ancient people who migrated
into Babylonia from the East. There appears to be no
inscription in which pictorial characters are used entirely,
for the earliest inscriptions now known to us contain
alphabetic characters. Inscriptions upon statues, coffins,
tombs, temples, etc., in which figures or representations of
objects are employed, are usually termed ‘Hieroglyphic’
(from the Greek ἱερογλυφικός); for writing on papyri a
cursive form of hieroglyphic called ‘Hieratic’ (from the
Greek ἱερατικός) was employed by the priests, who, at
times, also used hieroglyphic; a third kind of writing,
consisting of purely conventional modifications of hieratic
characters, which preserve little of the original form, was
employed for social and business purposes; it is called
demotic (from the Greek δημοτικός). The following will
show the different forms of the characters in the three
styles of writing—

I. Hieratic.

II. Hieroglyphic Transcript Of No. I.

III. Demotic.

IV. Hieroglyphic Transcript Of No. III.

No. I is copied from the Prisse*
papyrus (Maxims of
Ptaḥ-ḥetep, p. V. l, 1), and is transcribed and translated as
ạb temu ạn se१a - nef sef
… the heart fails, not remembers he yesterday.
qes men-f en āuu bu nefer १eper em-
The body suffers it in [its] entirety, happiness becomes
bu [bạn]
† Ptaḥ-ḥetep is lamenting the troubles of old age, and the complete
passage runs: “The understanding perisheth, an old man remembers
not yesterday. The body becometh altogether pain; happiness
turneth into wretchedness; and taste vanisheth away.”
No. III. is copied from the demotic version inscribed
on the stele of
Canopus (see p. 19), and No. IV. is the
corresponding passage in the hieroglyphic version of the

Decree. The transliteration of the Demotic, according to
Hess (Roman von Stne Ha-m-us, p. 80), is:—p-ḥon
…… ua n-n-uêb' ent sâtp er-p-ma uêb er-ube p-gi-n-er
mnḫ n-n-nuter'
, “a prophet, or one of the priests who are
selected for the sanctuary to perform the dressing of the
gods.” The transliteration of the hieroglyphic text is:
ḥen neter erpu uā ạm॒ ạbu setep er āb-ur ạu smā er māret
neteru em sati-sen
The earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions are the names of
the kings of the first dynasty which have been found at
Naḳâda and Abydos. The oldest hieratic inscription is that
contained in the famous Prisse papyrus which records the
advice of Ptaḥ-ḥetep to his son. It dates from the XIth or
XIIth dynasty. The demotic writing appears to have
come into use about B.C. 900. Hieroglyphics were used
until the third century after Christ, and hieratic and
demotic for at least a century later. The inscriptions on
the Rosetta and Canopus stelae are written in hieroglyphic,
demotic, and Greek characters. The Egyptians inscribed,
wrote, or painted inscriptions upon almost every kind of
substance, but the material most used by them for
their histories, and religious and other works was papyrus.
Sections from the stem of the papyrus plant were carefully
cut, and the layers were taken off, pressed flat, and several
of them gummed one over the other transversely; thus
almost any length of papyrus for writing upon could be
made. The longest known is the great Harris papyrus,
No. 1; it measures 135 feet by 17 inches. The scribe
wrote upon the papyrus with reeds, and the inks were
principally made of vegetable colours. Black and red are
the commonest colours used, but some papyri are painted
with as many as eleven or thirteen. The scribe's palette
was a rectangular piece of wood varying from six to thirteen
inches long by two, or two and a half, inches wide. In the
middle was a hollow for holding the reeds, and at one end

were the circular or oval cavities in which the colours were
At the beginning of the Greek rule over Egypt, the
knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language began to
decline, and the language of Greece began to modify
and eventually to supersede that of Egypt. When we
consider that Ptolemy I., Soter, succeeded in attracting to
Alexandria a large number of the greatest Greek scholars
of the day, such as Euclid the mathematician, Stilpo of
Megara, Theodorus of Cyrene and Diodorus Cronus the
philosophers, Zenodotus the grammarian, Philetas the
poet from Cos, and many others, this is not to be wondered
at. The founding of the great Alexandrian Library and
Museum, and the endowment of these institutions for the
support of a number of the most eminent Greek philosophers
and scholars, was an act of far-sighted policy on
the part of Ptolemy I., whose aim was to make the learning
and language of the Greeks to become dominant in Egypt.
Little by little the principal posts in the Government were
monopolised by the Greeks, and little by little the Egyptians
became servants and slaves to their intellectually superior
masters. In respect to their language, “the Egyptians
were not prohibited from making use, so far as it seemed
requisite according to ritual or otherwise appropriate, of the
native language and of its time-hallowed written signs; in this
old home, moreover, of the use of writing in ordinary inter-course
the native language, alone familiar to the great public,
and the usual writing must necessarily have been allowed not
merely in the case of private contracts, but even as regards
tax-receipts and similar documents. But this was a concession,
and the ruling Hellenism strove to enlarge its domain.”
Mommsen, The Provinces of the Roman Empire, Vol. II.,
p. 243. It is true that Ptolemy II., Philadelphus, employed the
famous Manetho (i.e., , Mer-en-Teḥuti, ‘beloved
of Thoth’) to draw up a history of Egypt, and an account

of the ancient Egyptian religion from the papyri and other
native records; but it is also true that during the reigns of
these two Ptolemies the Egyptians were firmly kept in
obscurity, and that the ancient priest-college of Heliopolis
was suppressed. A century or two after the Christian era,
Greek had obtained such a hold upon the inhabitants of
Egypt that the Egyptian Christians, the followers and
disciples of St. Mark, were obliged to use the Greek
alphabet to write down the Egyptian, that is to say, Coptic
translation of the books of the Old and New Testaments.
The letters were
added from the demotic forms of hieratic characters to
represent sounds which were unknown in the Greek language.
During the Greek rule over Egypt many of the
hieroglyphic characters had new phonetic values given to
them; by this time the knowledge of hieroglyphic writing
had practically died out.
The history of the decipherment of hieroglyphics is of
great interest, but no thorough account of it can be
given here; only the most important facts connected
with it can be mentioned. During the XVIth-XVIIIth
centuries many attempts were made by scholars to interpret
the hieroglyphic inscriptions then known to the
world, but they resulted in nothing useful. The fact is that
they did not understand the nature of the problem to
be solved, and they failed to perceive the use of the
same hieroglyphic character as a phonetic or determinative
in the same inscription. In 1799, a French officer discovered
at Bolbitane or Rosetta a basalt slab inscribed in the
hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek characters; it was shortly
after captured by the English army, and taken to London,
where it was carefully examined by Dr. Thomas Young.*
* Thomas Young was born at Milverton, in Somersetshire, on the
13th of June, 1773; both his parents were Quakers. At the age of
fourteen he is said to have been versed in Greek, Latin, French,
Italian, Hebrew, Persian and Arabic. He took his degree of M.D. in
July, 1796, in 1802 he was appointed professor of natural philosophy
at the Royal Institution, and in 1810 he was elected physician to
St. George's Hospital. He was not, however, a popular physician.
He died on the 10th of May, 1829.

The Society of Antiquaries published a fac-simile of the
inscription, which was distributed among scholars, and
Silvestre de Sacy and Akerblad made some useful discoveries
about certain parts of the demotic version of the
inscription. Dr. Young was enabled, ten years after, to make
translations of the three inscriptions, and the results of his
studies were published in 1821. In 1822 M. Champollion*
* Jean Francois Champollion le Jeune was born at Figeac, department
du Lot, in 1796. He was educated at Grenoble, and afterwards
at Paris, where he devoted himself to the study of Coptic. In the
year 1824 he was ordered by Charles X. to visit all the important
collections of Egyptian antiquities in Europe. On his return he was
appointed Director of the Louvre. In 1828 he was sent on a scientific
mission to Egypt, and was afterwards made professor of Egyptian
antiquities at the Collège de France. He died in 1831.
(Le Jeune) published a translation of the same inscriptions,
and was enabled to make out something like an alphabet.
There appears to be no doubt that he was greatly helped
by the publications and labours of Young, who had succeeded
in grouping certain words in demotic, and in assigning accurate
values to some of the hieroglyphic characters used in
writing the names of the Greek rulers of
Egypt. Young
made many mistakes, but some of his work was of value,
Champollion, to whom the credit of definitely settling the
phonetic values of several signs really belongs, had been
carefully grounded in the Coptic language, and was therefore
enabled with little difficulty to recognize the hieroglyphic
forms of the words which were familiar to him in
Coptic; Young had no such advantage. Champollion's
system was subjected to many attacks, but little by little it
gained ground, and the labours of other scholars have

proved that he was right. The other early workers in the
field of hieroglyphics were Dr. Samuel Birch in England;
Dr. Lepsius in Germany, and MM. Rosellini and Salvolini
in Italy. The study of hieroglyphics has become comparatively
general, and each year sees books of texts published,
learned papers on Egyptian grammar written, and translations
made into the various European languages.
In hieroglyphic inscriptions the signs are used in two
ways: I, IDEOGRAPHIC, II, PHONETIC. In the ideographic
system a word is expressed by a picture or ideograph thus:
mu, ‘water’; in the phonetic system the same word is
written m + u, no regard being paid to the fact
that represents an owl and a rope, for their sounds
only are needed. Similarly emsuḥ is a ‘crocodile’ in
the ideographic system, but phonetically it is written
m + s + u + . The ideographic system is
probably older than the phonetic.
PHONETIC signs are: I, ALPHABETIC, as m, s,
u; or II, SYLLABIC, as mer, १eper, ḥetep.
The sign १eper can be written 1, ; 2, ;
3, ; 4, ; the sign nefer can be written
1, ; 2, ; 3, ; 4, ; 5, .
The scribes took pains to represent the exact value of
these syllabic signs in order that no mistake might be
The IDEOGRAPHIC signs are also used as determinatives,
and are placed after words written phonetically to determine
their meaning. For example, nem means ‘to
sleep’ ‘to walk,’ ‘to go back,’ ‘to become infirm’ ‘tongue,’

and ‘again’; without a determinative the meaning of
this word in a sentence would be easily mistaken.
DETERMINATIVES are of two kinds: I, ideographic, and II,
generic. Thus after mạu, ‘cat,’ a cat, , was
written; this is an ideographic determinative. After
ḳerḥ, ‘darkness,’ the night sky with a star in it, , was
written; this is a generic determinative. A word has frequently
more than one determinative; for example, in the
word bāḥ, ‘to overflow,’ is
a determinative of the sound bāḥ; is a determinative
of water, of a lake or collection of water, and of
ground. The list of hieroglyphic signs with their phonetic
values given on pp. 133-138 will be of use in reading kings'
names, etc.; for convenience, however, the hieroglyphic
alphabet is added here. The system of transliteration of
Egyptian characters used in this book is that most generally
r or l
X (kh)
0 (th)
ť (like ch in child)
The number of hieroglyphic characters is about two thousand.


uā one
sen, two
khemet, three
fṭu, four
ṭua, five
sȧs, six
sekhef, seven
khemennu, eight
paut or psṭ, nine
met, ten
ťaut, twenty
māb, thirty
śaā, a hundred
kha, a thousand
ťebā, ten thousand
ḥefnu, a hundred thousand
ḥeḥ, a million
The forms of the numbers 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 are
not known exactly.
Hieroglyphic inscriptions are usually to be read in the
opposite direction to which the characters face; there is
however no hard and fast rule in this matter. On the
papyri they are read in various directions, and there are
instances in which the ancient copyist mistook the end of a

chapter for its beginning, and copied the whole of it in the
reverse order. Some inscriptions are to be read in perpendicular
The following transliterated and translated extract from
the first page of the “Tale of the Two Brothers” will
explain the foregoing statements.
1. There were once on a time brothers two [the children]

of one mother and of one father;

Anubis was the name of the elder, was Bata

the name of the younger. Now as regards

Anpu, he possessed a house [and] had a wife,
[and] was his brother younger [living] with him

after the manner of a servant, for it was he

who made the clothes, it was he who followed

after his [Anpu's] cattle in the fields,
he it was who did the ploughing,

he it was who laboured, he it was who

performed the duties all which were [connected] with

the fields; and behold was the young man
a farmer excellent, not existed the like of him in the land the whole of it … Now thus it was during

days many upon those [days] that

was his brother younger following after his

cattle according to his wont of

every day, and he returned to

his house every evening, and

he was laden with vegetables of all kinds

of the fields.

A List Of Some Of The Principal Hieroglyphic Signs
And Their Phonetic Values

Men and Women.

ȧn āx ȧm śeps
ḥa qa ȧr ȧmen
ur qeṭ sa āb
ser seḥer fa xer
ȧΘi tut ḥeḥ ḥenen
ȧau ḥeḥ maāt

Limbs, &C., Of Men.

ḥu xu sem
ḥrȧ, ḥer sep t'eser seśem
ȧnem ka xen ȧn
ut'a xen t śen
tȧa ȧn, ȧt t'ebā tet or
ȧn ā ka, met
ȧri sem b
ȧr, sa next i āā, āu
r or l ṭā seb


l, r āb nefer ȧb
neb sāb ka ba
ser set āu mȧu

Limbs, &C., Of Animals.

peḥ śef xent, fenṭ āb
ḥā us setem xepes
at bȧ ȧp peḥ
śes xen ȧau nem or


Ḥeru, bak ur m u
ba ba neḥ pa
xu mut qem ten
āq sa ti rex
śerȧ mer a senṭ

Parts Of Birds.

meḥ maāt, śu sa


ȧn xa betu


sebek t' f
ḥfen āf, net, xeb
sexet, bȧt
serq qem

Trees And Plants.

ȧm net'em su i
xet uat' resu mes
ḥen xa qemā ḥet'
un meḥ renp sen
uaḥ ḥa śa ḥen
sek nexeb sexet ȧs
bener enen t'er

Celestial Objects.

seb, ṭua
Θeḥen xu ȧāḥ

Objects Of Earth.

ta ṭu set, semt ȧner


mu n ś mer āb


nu seḥ ā ṭeṭ
per ḥeb s ȧs, or ȧst
ḥet ȧneb ȧn

Arms, Etc.

neter ma s net'
meḥ ām, t'ā,
āb or
sem śeṭ set'eb menx
nemmat xu xen xa
seq ṭem ut sa
ṭep ḥeq meṭ sma
āa āu Θ setp
uas t'a ut'ā
peṭ sexem men Θ
śemer xerp Θes, res mer
āḥa ȧmen āb, qes,
qeṭ āb seḥ

Musical Instruments.

nefer sexem maāt
ḥes men sa


ḥet' meḥ sexet
net, bȧt śu atf


qes, śes ut,
nes ṭeb
śen u āṭ nub
reṭ set Θes xaker
śen ua net śen
sa sāḥ
menx mer āper ānx

Mathematical Figures.

x ḥu h ḥer
sep sepṭ mer t'eṭ
paut ṭā rer qen,
t p ṭeben ȧmsu
xemt ḥāp ren ȧp
q uu, ur, śes tenȧ,

Vases, Etc.

nu qebḥ ta xer
xnem ḥen ta k
ȧb mȧ ḥetep neb
ḥes āu, āb ȧa ḥeb
xent ba nā, ān

Ships, Etc.

xent ḥem seśep max
ȧm nef āu ȧm
āḥā ḥer,
xent tem sext


to call of women of birds
to pray of birth of goddesses
to rejoice to see of trees
to dance of strength of grain
to plough to give of heaven
foes to walk, stand of light
of men of flesh of country
of gods to breathe
of towns
of iron of metals of festival
of water writing,
and abstract
of unguents
of houses of roads
of writing of ships
of ground of fire of winds

The Arabic Alphabet.

The Coptic Alphabet (31 letters).

* In the Boheiric dialect there are thirty-two.

Names Of The Months.

ạbeṭ uā ͇at Month one of sowing August 29*
ạbeṭ sen ṣa Month two of sowing September 28
ạbeṭ chemt ͇at Month three of sowing October 28
ạbeṭ fṭu ͇at Month four of sowing November 27
ạbeṭ uā pert Month one of growing December 27
ạbeṭ sen pert Month two of growing January 26
ạbeṭ chemt pert Month three of growing February 25
ạbeṭ fṭu pert Month four of growing March 27

ạbeṭ uā ͇et Month one of inundation April 26
ạbeṭ sen ͇et Month two of inundation May 26
ạbeṭ chemt ͇et Month three of inundation June 25
ạbeṭ fṭu ͇et Month four of inundation July 25
The ancient Egyptians had: I. the vague or civil year,
which consisted of 365 days; it was divided into twelve
months of thirty days each, and five intercalary days were
added at the end; II. the Sothic year of 365 ¼ days. The
first year of a Sothic period began with the rising of Sirius
or the dog-star, on the 1st of the month Thoth, when it coincided
with the beginning of the inundation; III. the Egyptian
solar year,*
* It was practically the same as the civil year.
which was treated as if it were a quarter of
a day shorter than the Sothic year, an error which corrected
itself in 1460 fixed years or 1461 vague years. The true year
was estimated approximately by the conjunction of the sun
with Sirius. Dr. Brugsch thinks (Egypt under the Pharaohs,
Vol. I., p. 176) that as early as B.C. 2500 five different
forms of the year were already in use, and that the “little year'
corresponded with the lunar year, and the “great year” with
a lunar year having intercalated days. Each month was
dedicated to a god.
† Some of the Coptic names of the months show that they have
been derived from the ancient Egyptian: thus Thôth is from
Teḥuti, Pachôn from Khensu, Athôr from , Ḥet-Ḥeru,
Mesôre from mes-Ḥeru, “the birth of Horus” festival,
etc. The Cops have I. an agricultural year, and II. an ecclesiastical
year; the latter consists of twelve months of thirty days, with a
thirteenth month called Nissi of five or six intercalary days.
The Egyptians dated their stelae and
documents by the day of the month and the year of the
king who was reigning at the time. The Copts first dated
their documents according to the years of the INDICTION;
the indictions were periods of fifteen years, and the first
began A.D. 312. In later times the Copts made use of the
era of the Martyrs, which was reckoned from the 29th of
August, A.D. 284. About the ninth century after Christ
they began to adopt the Muḥammadan era of the Hijrah
or “flight,” which was reckoned from A.D. 622.

[Back to top]



The religion of the ancient Egyptians is one of the most
difficult problems of Egyptology, and though a great deal has
been written about it during the last few years, and many
difficulties have been satisfactorily explained, there still
remain unanswered a large number of questions connected
with it. In all religious texts the reader is always assumed
to have a knowledge of the subject treated of by the writer,
and no definite statement is made on the subject concerning
which very little, comparatively, is known by students today.
For example, in the texts inscribed inside the
pyramids of Unạs, Tetạ, and Pepi (B.C. 3300-3233), we
are brought face to face with religious compositions which
mention the acts and relationships of the gods, and refer to
beliefs, and give instructions for the performance of certain
acts of ritual which are nowhere explained. It will be
remembered that Ptolemy II. Philadelphus instructed
Manetho to draw up a history of the religion of the ancient
Egyptians. If such a work was needed by the cultured
Greek who lived when the religion of ancient Egypt, though
much modified, was still in existence, how much more is
it needed now? The main beliefs of the Egyptian religion
were always the same. The attributes of one god were
applied to another, or one god was confused with
another; the cult of one god declined in favour of
another, or new gods arose and became popular, but the

fundamentals of the religion of Egypt remained unchanged.
Still, it is asserted by some that the religion of the Early
Empire was simpler than that of the Middle and New
Empires, in which the nature and mutual relationships
of the gods were discussed and theogonies formulated.
Many of the gods of Egypt were the everlasting and unalterable
powers of nature. The oldest god of Egypt is
Ḥeru, and his symbol was a hawk. The great Sun-god
Rā, or Ạmen-Rā, as he was called in the Middle Empire,
was said to be the maker of all things; the various gods
Horus, Ạtmu, etc., were merely forms of him. Rā was
self-begotten, and hymns to him never cease to proclaim
his absolute and perfect unity in terms which resemble
those of the Hebrew Scriptures. It will be seen from the
translation of a hymn given in the following pages that he
is made to possess every attribute, natural and spiritual,
which Christian peoples ascribe to God Almighty, and there
is no doubt that long before this hymn was written, the
Egyptians had formulated a belief in One God, who was
almighty and was self-existent. The material symbol of
God was the sun, who was personified under the form of
Rā, or later Amen-Rā; and although Osiris, who was an
indigenous Libyan (?) god, is far older than Rā in Egypt,
Rā was declared to have been the father of Osiris, and
Osiris was his only son. Osiris was of divine origin, and
he reigned wisely and well on earth, but at length he was
slain and mutilated by Set, the personification of the powers
of darkness. But he rose from the dead, and became
the god of the underworld and of the beings who were
therein. Because he suffered, died, and rose from the
dead, he became the type of the Resurrection to the
Egyptians, who based all their hopes of everlasting life
upon the belief that Osiris was immortal and eternal.
When, where, or how this belief arose cannot be said, but,
however far back we go in dynastic, and even pre-dynastic,

times in Egypt, we find evidences that the belief in the
resurrection and eternal life was universal. Under the
earliest dynasties tombs*
* “Les belles tombes que l'on admire dans les plaine de Thèbes
et de Saḳḳârah ne sont donc pas dues à l'orgueil de ceux qui les ont
érigées. Une pensée plus large a présidé à leur construction. Plus
les matériaux sont enormes, plus on est sûr que les promesses faites par
la religion recevront leur exécution. En ces sens, les Pyramides ne
sont pas des monuments ‘de la vaine ostentation des rois’; elles sont
des obstacles impossibles à renverser, et les preuves gigantesques d'un
dogme consolant.” (Mariette, Notices des Principaux Monuments,
p. 44.)
were built in order that the
bodies placed in them might be preserved until the
Resurrection should take place. It is clear from the
papyri that man was supposed to possess a body,

khat, a soul, ba, a “double,” ka, an intelligence,
khu, a shadow khaibit, a form, sekhem, a
heart, ạb, a name, ren, and a spiritual body,
sāḥ. The body, freed from all its most
corruptible portions, was preserved by being filled with
bitumen, spices, and aromatic drugs, and having been
swathed with many a fold of linen, and protected by
amulets and religious texts, awaited in its tomb the visit of
its soul.
Of the funeral procession we are able to gain some idea
from the vignettes which are given in hieroglyphic copies
of the Book of the Dead. In the centre of p. 147 the dead
man is seen lying on a bier in a chest mounted on a boat
with runners, which is drawn by oxen. In the rear is a
sepulchral ark or chest surmounted by a figure of Anubis,
the god of the dead. In front of the boat are a group of

women (p. 148) beating their faces and wailing, and a youth
carrying the staff, chair, and box of the deceased. At the
head of the procession is the kher ḥeb or master of funereal
ceremonies, who reads from an open roll of papyrus the
funereal service. The scene on page 148 represents the
ceremony of “opening the mouth,” which takes place at the
door of the tomb. Before the tomb stands the mummy of
Hu-nefer to receive the final honours; behind him, and
embracing him, stands Anubis, the god of the dead, and at
his feet in front kneel his wife Nasha and her daughter to
take a last farewell of the body. By the side of a table
of offerings stand three priests: the sem priest, who wears a
panther's skin, holding in his right hand a libation vase,
and in the left a censer; a priest who offers vases of
unguents to the deceased; and a priest who holds in one
hand the instrument ur-ḥeka with which he is
about to touch the eyes and mouth of the mummy, and in
the other the instrument for “opening the mouth.”
On the rounded stele , at the door of the tomb, is
inscribed:—“Hail, Osiris, chief of Amenta, the lord of
eternity, spreading out in everlastingness, lord of adorations,
chief of the cycle of his gods; and hail, Anubis [dweller] in
the tomb, great god, chief of the divine dwelling. May
they grant that I may go in and come out from the underworld;
that I may follow Osiris in all his festivals at the
beginning of the year; that I may receive cakes, and that I
may come forth in the presence of [Osiris], I the ka of
Osiris, the greatly favoured of his god, Hu-nefer.”
In the lower register are a cow and calf, a priest holding
a vase , a priest carrying a haunch of a bull , a table
of offerings, a sepulchral box , and a table upon which
are arranged the instruments employed in the ceremony of

An Egyptian Funeral Procession. The hieroglyphic text beneath is the First Chapter of the Book of the Dead. (From British Museum Papyrus, No. 9901.)

An Egyptian Funeral Procession and the Performance of the Ceremony of “Opening the Mouth” at the Door of the Tomb. (From British Museum Papyrus, No. 9,901.)

opening the mouth, viz., the Pesh-en-kef , the haunch ,
the libation vases , the feather , the instruments
, the ur-ḥeka, the boxes of purification
, the bandlet , etc.
After the death of a man it was thought that he was taken
into the hall of the god Osiris, judge of the dead, and that
his conscience, symbolized by the heart, was weighed in the
balance before him. An excellent idea of what the Egyptians
believed in this matter may be gathered from the two
following scenes in the Papyrus of Ani. Ani and his wife
Thuthu are entering the Hall of Double Truth, wherein the
heart is to be weighed against the feather , emblematic
of Right and Truth, or Law. This ceremony is being performed
in the presence of the gods “Ḥeru-khuti (Harmachis)
the great god within his boat”
; Temu

; Shu ; “Tef
nut, lady of heaven,” ; Seb ;
“Nut, lady of heaven,” ; Isis

; Nephthys
; “Horus, the great god,” ; “Hathor,
lady of Amenta”, ; Hu ;
and Sa . Upon the beam of the scales is the dog-headed
ape , the companion or attendant of Thoth,
“the scribe of the gods.” The god Anubis, jackal-headed,
is kneeling to examine the indicator of the balance, which
is suspended from a projection made in the form of . The
inscription above the head of Anubis reads:—“Saith he

The Heart Of Ani Being Weighed In The Balance. (From British Museum Papyrus, No. 10,470.)

Horus Introducing Ani To The God Osiris. (From British Museum Papyrus, NO. 10,470.)

who is in the abode of the dead, ‘Turn thy face, O just and
righteous weigher [who weighest] the heart in the balance,
to stablish it.’” Facing Anubis, a god of the dead,
stands Ani's “Luck” or “Destiny,” Shai ,
and above is a human-headed object resting upon a pylon
which is supposed to be connected with the place where he
was born. Behind these stand the goddesses Meskhenet
and Renenet , who were the
deities who presided over the birth and education of children.
Near these is the soul of Ani in the form of a human-headed
bird , standing upon a pylon . On the right
of the balance, behind Anubis, stands Thoth, the scribe of
the gods, with his reed-pen and palette containing black
and red ink, with which to record the result of the trial.
Behind Thoth is the female monster Ạmām ,
the “Devourer,” called also Ạm-mit ,
the “Eater of the Dead.” She has the fore-part of a
crocodile, the hind-quarters of a hippopotamus, and the
middle part of a lion. Ani says:—
“My heart my mother, my heart my mother, my heart
my coming into being. May there be no resistance to me
in [my] judgment; may there be no opposition to me from
the divine chiefs; may there be no parting of thee from me
in the presence of him who keepeth the scales! Thou
art my ka (double) within my body which knitteth and
strengtheneth my limbs. Mayest thou come forth to the
place of happiness to which we advance. May the divine
chiefs (Shenit) not make my name to stink, and may no lies
be spoken against me in the presence of the god. It is
good for thee to hear [glad tidings of joy at the weighing of

words. May no false accusation be made against me in
the presence of the great god. Verily, exceedingly mighty
shalt thou be when thou risest].”
Thoth, the righteous judge of the great cycle of the gods
who are in the presence of the god Osiris, saith, “Hear ye
this judgment. The heart of Osiris hath in very truth been
weighed and his soul hath stood as a witness for him; his
trial in the Great Balance is true. There hath not been
found any wickedness in him; he hath not wasted the
offerings in the temples; he hath not harmed any by his
works; and he uttered not evil reports while he was upon
Next the great cycle of the gods reply to Thoth dwelling
in Khemennu (Hermopolis): “That which cometh forth
from thy mouth cannot be gainsaid. Osiris, the scribe
Ani, the victorious one in judgment, is just and righteous.
He hath not committed sin, neither hath he done evil
against us. The Devourer shall not be allowed to prevail
over him; he shall be allowed to enter into the presence of
the god Osiris, and offerings of meat and drink shall be
given unto him, together with an abiding habitation in
Sekhet-ḥetepu, as unto the followers of Horus.”
In the second part of this scene we have Ani being led
into the presence of the god Osiris. On the left the hawk-headed
god Horus , the son of Isis, wearing the crowns
of the North and South , holding Ani by the hand,
leads him into the presence of “Osiris, the lord of
eternity,” Ạusạr neb t'etta. This god is
seated within a shrine in the form of a funereal chest, and
he wears the atef crown , with plumes; at the back of
his neck hangs a menāt , the emblem of joy and

Scene Of The Weighing Of The Heart In The Hall Of Osiris. (From British Museum Papyrus, No. 9,901.)
Here it will be noticed that the details of the Judgment Scene are different from those given in the Papyrus of Ani.
Thus Meskhenet, Renenet, Meskhen, Shai, and the soul of the deceased are omitted; the pillar of the balance is
surmounted by a head of the goddess Maāt; the wife of the deceased is omitted, and the throne of Osiris is set
upon water.

happiness. In his hands he holds the crook , sceptre ,
and the flail , emblems of rule, sovereignty and
dominion. On the side of his throne are depicted
the doors of the tomb with bolts, . Behind him stand
Nephthys on his right and Isis on his left. Standing upon
a lotus flower which springs from the ground, are the
four deities generally known as “the children of Horus”
(or Osiris); they represent the cardinal points. The
first, Mestha , has the head of a man ; the
second, Ḥāpi , the head of an ape ; the third,
Ṭuamāutef , the head of a jackal ; and the
fourth, Qebḥsennuf, , the head of a hawk .
Suspended near the lotus flower is a bullock's hide, into
which the deceased, or the person who represented him at
funereal ceremonies, was supposed to enter. The roof of
the shrine rests upon pillars with lotus capitals, and is
ornamented with a cornice of uraei; the hawk-headed figure
above represents the god Horus-Sepṭ or Horus-Seker.
At the foot of steps leading to the throne of Osiris,
kneels Ani upon a mat made of fresh reeds; his right hand
is raised in adoration, and in his left he holds the kherp
sceptre . He wears a whitened wig surmounted by a
“cone,” the signification of which is unknown. Round his
neck is the collar . Close by are a table of offerings of
meat, fruit, flowers, etc., and a number of vases containing
wine, beer, unguents, , etc.; with these are
trussed ducks , flowers , cakes and loaves of
bread , etc. The inscription above the

table of offerings reads, “Osiris, the scribe Ani.”
. The inscription above Ani
reads: “O Lord of Amenta (the underworld), I am in thy
presence. There is no sin in my body, I have uttered no
lie wilfully, and I have done nothing with a double motive.
Grant that I may be like unto those favoured beings who
[stand] about thee, and that I may be an Osiris greatly
favoured of the beautiful god and beloved of the lord of
the world—[I] who am in truth a royal scribe loving him,
Ani, victorious in judgment before the god Osiris.”
To Osiris Horus says:—“I have come to thee,
O Unnefer, and I have brought the Osiris Ani to thee.
His heart is righteous coming forth from the balance, and
it hath not committed sin against any god or any goddess.
Thoth hath weighed it according to the directions spoken
to him by the cycle of the gods; and it is very true and
righteous. Grant unto him offerings of meat and drink,
permit him to enter into the presence of Osiris, and grant
that he may be like unto the followers of Horus for ever.”
An interesting vignette in the papyrus of Neb-seni
(British Museum, No. 9,900) shows the deceased being
weighed against his own heart in the presence of the god
If the result of the weighing of the heart was unfavourable,

the Devourer stepped forward and claimed the
dead man as his. Annihilation was the result.
The following is a specimen of the hymns which the
deceased addresses to Rā:—

A Hymn To Rā [To Be Sung] When He Riseth In The
Eastern Sky
(From British Museum Papyrus, No. 9,901.)

“Homage to thee, O thou who art Rā when thou risest
and Tmu when thou settest. Thou risest, thou risest; thou
shinest, thou shinest, O thou who art crowned king of the
gods. Thou art the lord of heaven, thou art the lord of
earth, thou art the creator of those who dwell in the heights,
and of those who dwell in the depths. Thou art the ONE
god who came into being in the beginning of time. Thou
didst create the earth, thou didst fashion man, thou didst
make the watery abyss of the sky, thou didst form Ḥāpi
(Nile); thou art the maker of all streams and of the great
deep, and thou givest life to all that is therein. Thou hast
knit together the mountains, thou, thou hast made mankind
and the beasts of the field, thou hast created the heavens
and the earth. Worshipped be thou whom the goddess Maāt
embraceth at morn and at eve. Thou stridest across the sky
with heart expanded with joy; the Lake of Tchestches is at
peace. The fiend Nạk hath fallen and his two arms are
cut off. The boat of the rising sun hath a fair wind, and
the heart of him that is in its shrine rejoiceth. Thou art
crowned with a heavenly form, thou the Only ONE art provided
[with all things]. Rā cometh forth from nu (sky) in
triumph. O thou mighty youth, thou everlasting son, self-begotten,
who didst give birth to thyself; O thou mighty
One of myriad forms and aspects, King of the world, Prince
of Ạnnu (Heliopolis), lord of eternity, and ruler of the
everlasting, the company of the gods rejoice when thou

risest, and when thou sailest across the sky, O thou who art
exalted in the sektet boat. Homage to thee, O Ạmen-Rā,
thou who dost rest upon Maāt, thou who passest over
heaven, [from] every face that seeth thee. Thou dost wax
great as thy Majesty doth advance, and thy rays are upon
all faces. Thou art unknown and inscrutable …; thou
art the Only One. [Men] praise thee in thy name [Rā],
and they swear by thee, for thou art lord over them. Thou
hast heard with thine ears and thou hast seen with thine
eyes. Millions of years have gone over the world; those
through which thou hast passed I cannot count. Thy heart
hath decreed a day of happiness in thy name [of Rā]. Thou
dost pass over and travellest through untold spaces of
millions and hundreds of thousands of years, thou settest in
peace and thou steerest thy way across the watery abyss to
the place which thou lovest; this thou doest in one little
moment of time, and thou dost sink down and make an
end of the hours. Hail my lord, thou that passest through
eternity and whose being is everlasting. Hail thou Disk,
lord of beams of light, thou risest and thou makest all
mankind to live. Grant thou that I may behold thee at
dawn each day.”
From the scene on p. 159, we may form an idea of how
the deceased was supposed to employ his time in the
“islands of the blessed,” which the Egyptians called “Sekhet-Ḥetepu.”
Here we have an estate intersected by canals of
waters. To the left in the upper division are three pools
called Qenqenet, Ạnttenet and Nut-ur. Beneath is the
legend:—“The being in peace in the Fields of Air (?).”
Before three gods who are described as “gods of the horizon”
is an altar with flowers, “an offering to the great god,
the lord of heaven.” On a pylon stands a hawk. Next we
see the deceased making an offering of incense to his own
soul in the form of a human-headed hawk . In a boat,

The Sekhet-Ḥetepu Or Elysian Fields Of The Egyptians.

in which stand tables of offerings, sits the deceased paddling
himself along. The legend reads, “Osiris, the living one,
the victorious one sailing over the Lake of Peace.” Behind,
the deceased and his father and mother are offering incense
to the “great cycle of the gods”; close by stands Thoth
the scribe of the gods. In the second division the deceased,
with his father and mother, is adoring “Ḥāpi (Nile), the
father of the gods,” and we see him ploughing, sowing,
reaping and winnowing the luxuriant wheat along a track by
the canal the “length of which is one thousand measures,
and the width of which cannot be told.” The legend says
concerning this canal:—

“Not exist fishes any in it, not exist

ȧu fishes any in it, not exist worms snakes

any in it.
In the third division are:—five islands (?); “the boat of
Rā-Harmachis when he goeth forth to Sekhet-Ạanre”; a
boat the master of which is the god Un-nefer; and three
small divisions formed by the “water of the sky.” In the
first are “beatified beings seven cubits high, and wheat
three cubits high for spiritual beings who are made

perfect”; the second is the place where the gods refresh
themselves; and in the third live the gods Seb, Shu and
After death the soul of the dead man was supposed to
have many enemies to combat, just as the sun was supposed
to spend the time between his setting and rising in fighting
the powers of mist, darkness, and night. These he
vanquished by the knowledge and use of certain “words
of power.” The deceased was also supposed to be condemned
to perform field labours in the nether-world, but
to avoid this, stone, wooden, or Egyptian porcelain figures
were placed in his tomb to do the work for him. After
undergoing all these troubles and trials the soul went into
the abode of beatified spirits, and there did everything wished
by it, and remained in bliss until it rejoined its body in the
tomb. During its wanderings it might make its transformations
into a phaenix (bennu), a heron, a swallow, a snake,
a crocodile, etc.

The Soul Revisiting The Body In The Tomb. (From the Papyrus of Neb-seni, British Museum, No. 9,900.)

In the Hall of Osiris the soul was supposed to affirm
before the Forty-Two gods that it had not committed any of

the forty-two sins which are detailed in good papyri at full
length as follows:—
  • 14. O Legs of Flame, who come forth from the darkness
    of night, I have never made an attack upon any man.
  • 15. O Eater of Blood, who comest forth from the block of
    sacrifice, I have never meditated upon iniquity.
  • 16. O Eater of the intestines, who comest forth from the
    Abode of the Thirty, I have never stolen tilled ground.
  • 17. O Lord of Law, who comest forth from the abode of
    Law, I have never entered into a conspiracy.
  • 18. O thou that stridest backwards, who comest forth from
    Bubastis, I have never accused any man of crime.
  • 19. O Serṭiu, who comest forth from Heliopolis, I have
    never been angry without cause.
  • 20. O god of two-fold evil, who comest forth from the nome
    Atchi,* I have never committed adultery.
  • 21. O Uamemti, who comest forth from Khebt, I have
    never committed adultery.
  • 22. O thou that observest what hath been brought into the
    Temple of Ạmsu, I have never defiled myself.
  • 23. O ye Chiefs, who come forth from the persea trees, I
    have never caused terror.
  • 24. O Khemi, who comest forth from Ḳu, I have never
  • 25. O Reciter of words, who comest forth from Urit, I
    have never spoken in hot anger.
  • 26. O Babe, who comest forth from Uab, I have never
    made my ear (literally, face) deaf to the sound of
    words of truth.
  • 27. O Kenememti, who comest forth from Kenemmet, I
    have never uttered curses.
  • 28. O thou that bringest thy offering, who comest forth
    from Seut, I have never put out my hand in a
  • 29. O thou that orderest words, who comest forth from
    Unaset, I have never been an excitable and contentious
  • 30. O Lord of [various] aspects, who comest forth from
    Netchefet, I have never been precipitate in judgment.
  • 31. O Sekheriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have
    never stirred up conspiracy.
  • 32. O Lord of the double horns, who comest forth from
    Senti, I have never multiplied my words against those
    of others.
  • 33. O Nefer-Temu, who comest forth from Ḥet-ka-Ptaḥ
    (Memphis), I have never meditated evil, and I have
    never done evil.
  • 34. O Temu in his seasons, who comest forth from Ṭaṭṭu, I
    have never committed an act of wrong against
    the king.
  • 35. O thou that workest in thy heart, who comest forth
    from Sahu, I have never turned running water out of
    its course.
  • 36. O Akhi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never been
    arrogant in speech.
  • 37. O thou who verdifiest mankind, who comest from Seu,
    I have never blasphemed God.
  • 38. O Neḥebka, who comest forth from thy shrine, I have
    never committed fraud.
  • 39. O thou who art dowered with splendours, who comest
    forth from thy shrine, I have never defrauded the
    gods of their offerings.
  • 40. O Ser-ṭep, who comest forth from [thy] shrine, I have
    never robbed the dead.
  • 41. O thou that bringest thy arm, who comest forth from
    the place of double truth, I have never robbed the
    child nor defiled the god of [my] town.
  • 42. O Illuminator of the lands, who comest forth from Tashe
    (Fayyûm), I have never slain the animals sacred
    to the gods.
It is tolerably evident then that grand tombs were not
built as mere objects of pride, but as “everlasting habitations”
which would serve to preserve the body from
decay, and keep it ready to be re-inhabited by the soul
at the proper season. Greek authors have written much
about the beliefs of the Egyptians; but the greater number of
their statements are to be received with caution. They wrote
down what they were told, but were frequently misinformed.
The papyri which have come down to us show that the
moral conceptions of the Egyptians were of a very high
order: and works like the Maxims of Ptaḥ-ḥetep and the
Maxims of Ani*
* See page 597.
show clearly that a man's duty to his god
and to his fellow-man was laid down in a distinct manner.
Such works will compare very favourably with the Proverbs
of Solomon and the Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach.

Vignette And Chapter Of The Book Of The Dead. F(rom the Papyrus of Nu in the British Museum. Early XVIIIth dynasty.)

The following is a list of the most important gods with
their names in hieroglyphics; it will be readily seen how
very many of them are merely forms of the sun-god Rā,
and how many of them have the same attributes:—
* The authorities for the figures of the gods are given by Lanzone
in his Dizionario di Mitologia Egizia.
the ‘Moulder,’ , is represented
with the head of a ram, and is one of the oldest gods of
the Egyptian religion. He was thought
to possess some of the attributes of
Ạmen, Rā, and Ptah, and shared with
the last-named god the attribute of
“maker of mankind.” At Philae he is
represented making man out of clay on
a potter's wheel. Khnemu put together
the scattered limbs of the dead body of
Osiris, and it was he who constructed
the beautiful woman who became the
wife of Bata in the Tale of the Two
Brothers. Like Ạmen-Rā he is said to
be the father of the gods. His cult
had great vogue in the regions round
about the first cataract, where he was
always associated with Āneq and Sati.
In bas-reliefs he is usually coloured
green, and wears the atef crown
uraei, etc.
Ptah , the ‘Blacksmith,’ one of the oldest of the
gods, was honoured with a temple and worshipped at


Memphis from the time of the Ist dynasty.
He is said to be the father of the gods, who
came forth from his eye, and of men, who
came forth from his mouth. He is represented
in the form of a mummy, and he
holds a sceptre composed of usr, ‘strength,’
ānkh, ‘life,’ and ṭeṭ, ‘stability.’ In
connection with the resurrection and the
nether-world, he is called PTAḤ-SEKERẠSẠR,
and is then represented as a little
squat boy, at times wearing a beetle on his
head. He is at times represented with
Isis and Nephthys, and then appears to be a form of
Temu , or ẠTMU , a form
of the Sun-god, was the ‘Closer’ of the day or night.



mut , the ‘Mother,’ was one of the divinities of
the Theban triad; she was supposed to represent Nature,
the mother of all things.
Kheperạ , the ‘Creator,’ was associated with
Ptaḥ, and was supposed to be the god who caused himself
to come into existence. He is represented with a beetle
for his head. He was supposed to be the father of the gods
and creator of the universe, and his attributes were ascribed
to Rā under the Middle Empire; he was the father of Shu
and Tefnut.
Bast was principally worshipped in Lower
at Bubastis, where a magnificent temple was built in her
honour (see p. 263); she is represented with the head of a
cat, and was associated with Ptaḥ. Her sister goddess was
Sekhet, who had the head of a lion, and typified the
scorching heat of the sun.



Nit was in late times made to be a counterpart
of mut and Hathor. She was the goddess of hunting, and
is represented holding bows and arrows; her cult is older
than the Ist dynasty.
Ra, , the Sun-god, was the creator of gods and
men; his emblem was the sun's disk. His worship was
very ancient, and he was said to be the offspring of Nut, or
the sky. He assumed the forms of several other gods, and
is at times represented by the lion, cat, and hawk. In
papyri and on bas-reliefs he is represented with the head of
a hawk and wearing a disk, in front of which is an uraeus .
He was particularly adored at Thebes. When he rose in the
morning he was called Heru-khuti or Harmachis; and at
night, when he set, he was called Ạtmu, or ‘the closer.’
During the night he was supposed to be engaged in fighting
Āpep, the serpent, who, at the head of a large army of
fiends, personifications of mist, darkness, and cloud, tried to
overthrow him. The battle was fought daily, but Rā always
conquered, and appeared day after day in the sky.
Horus, , Ḥeru, is the morning sun, and is also
represented as having the head of a hawk; he was said to
be the son of Isis and Osiris, and is usually called the
“avenger of his father,” in reference to his defeat of Set.



Ạmen-Rā , mut , and Khonsu formed the
great triad of Thebes. Ạmen-Rā was said to be the son of


Ptaḥ, and he seems to have usurped
the attributes of many of the gods.
The word Ạmen means ‘hidden.’ His
chief titles were “lord of the thrones
of the two lands,” and “king of the
gods.” He is represented as wearing
horns and feathers, and holding
‘rule,’ ‘dominion,’ ‘power,’ and
‘stability.’ The god Ạmsu was
a form of Ạmen-Rā. The exalted
position which Ạmen-Rā, originally a
mere local deity, occupied at Thebes,
will be best understood from the
translation of a hymn to him written
in hieratic during the XVIIIth or
XIXth dynasty:—
“Hail to thee, Ạmen-Rā, lord of the thrones of the two
lands, at the head of the Ạpts.
The bull of his mother,
at the head of his fields, the extender of footsteps, at the
head of the “land of the South,”††
†† Ethiopia and Asia.
lord of the Mat'au, §
§ A country in Asia.

prince of Araby, lord of the sky, eldest son of earth, lord

of things which exist, establisher of things, establisher of
all things.
“One in his times, as among the gods. Beautiful bull of
the cycle of the gods, president of all the gods, lord of Law,
father of the gods, maker of men, creator of beasts, lord
of things which exist, creator of the staff of life, maker of
the green food which makes cattle to live. Form made by
Ptaḥ, beautiful child, beloved one. The gods make
adorations to him, the maker of things which are below, and
of things which are above. He shines on the two lands sailing
through the sky in peace. King of the South and North,
the SUN (Rā), whose word is law, prince of the world!
The mighty of valour, the lord of terror, the chief who
makes the earth like unto himself. How very many more
are his forms than those of any (other) god! The gods
rejoice in his beauties, and they make praises to him in the
two great horizons, at (his) risings in the double horizon of
flame. The gods love the smell of him when he, the eldest
born of the dew,*
* Compare Psalm cx. 3.
comes from Araby