Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession of a country thus situated; it is seized upon bit by bit, and in the strife dismembered and trodden underfoot: at best the only course open to its inhabitants is to join forces with one of its invaders, and while helping the intruder to overcome the rest, to secure for themselves a position of permanent servitude. Should some unlooked-for chance relieve them from the presence of their foreign lord, they will probably be quite incapable of profiting by the respite which fortune puts in their way, or of making any effectual attempt to organize themselves in view of future attacks. They tend to become split up into numerous rival communities, of which even the pettiest will aim at autonomy, keeping up a perpetual frontier war for the sake of becoming possessed of or of retaining a glorious sovereignty over a few acres of corn in the plains, or some wooded ravines in the mountains. Year after year there will be scenes of bloody conflict, in which petty armies will fight petty battles on behalf of petty interests, but so fiercely, and with such furious animosity, that the country will suffer from the strife as much as, or even more than, from an invasion. There will be no truce to their struggles until they all fall under the sway of a foreign master, and, except in the interval between two conquests, they will have no national existence, their history being almost entirely merged in that of other nations.
From remote antiquity Syria was in the condition just described, and thus destined to become subject to foreign rule. Chaldaea, Egypt, Assyria, and Persia presided in turn over its destinies, while Macedonia and the empires of the West were only waiting their opportunity to lay hold of it. By its position it formed a kind of meeting-place where most of the military nations of the ancient world were bound sooner or later to come violently into collision. Confined between the sea and the desert, Syria offers the only route of easy access to an army marching northwards from Africa into Asia, and all conquerors, whether attracted to Mesopotamia or to Egypt by the accumulated riches on the banks of the Euphrates or the Nile, were obliged to pass through it in order to reach the object of their cupidity. It might, perhaps, have escaped this fatal consequence of its position, had the formation of the country permitted its tribes to mass themselves together, and oppose a compact body to the invading hosts; but the range of mountains which forms its backbone subdivides it into isolated districts, and by thus restricting each tribe to a narrow existence maintained among them a mutual antagonism. The twin chains, the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon, which divide the country down the centre, are composed of the same kind of calcareous rocks and sandstone, while the same sort of reddish clay has been deposited on their slopes by the glaciers of the same geological period.*
* Drake remarked in the Lebanon several varieties of limestone, which have been carefully catalogued by Blanche and Lartet. Above these strata, which belong to the Jurassic formation, come reddish sandstone, then beds of very hard yellowish limestone, and finally marl. The name Lebanon, in Assyrian Libnana, would appear to signify "the white mountain;" the Amorites called the Anti-Lebanon Saniru, Shenir, according to the Assyrian texts and the Hebrew books.
Arid and bare on the northern side, they sent out towards the south featureless monotonous ridges, furrowed here and there by short narrow valleys, hollowed out in places into basins or funnel-shaped ravines, which are widened year by year by the down-rush of torrents. These ridges, as they proceed southwards, become clothed with verdure and offer a more varied outline, the ravines being more thickly wooded, and the summits less uniform in contour and colouring. Lebanon becomes white and ice-crowned in winter, but none of its peaks rises to the altitude of perpetual snows: the highest of them, Mount Timarun, reaches 10,526 feet, while only three others exceed 9000.* Anti-Lebanon is, speaking generally, 1000 or 1300 feet lower than its neighbour: it becomes higher, however, towards the south, where the triple peak of Mount Hermon rises to a height of 9184 feet. The Orontes and the Litany drain the intermediate space. The Orontes rising on the west side of the Anti-Lebanon, near the ruins of Baalbek, rushes northwards in such a violent manner, that the dwellers on its banks call it the rebel -- Nahr el-Asi.** About a third of the way towards its mouth it enters a depression, which ancient dykes help to transform into a lake; it flows thence, almost parallel to the sea-coast, as far as the 36th degree of latitude. There it meets the last spurs of the Amanos, but, failing to cut its way through them, it turns abruptly to the west, and then to the south, falling into the Mediterranean after having received an increase to its volume from the waters of the Afrin.
* Bukton-Drake, Unexplored Syria, vol. i. p.88, attributed to it an altitude of 9175 English feet; others estimate it at 10,539 feet. The mountains which exceed 3000 metres are Dahr el-Kozib, 3046 metres; Jebel-Mislriyah, 3080 metres; and Jebel-Makhmal or Makmal, 3040 metres. As a matter of fact, these heights are not yet determined with the accuracy desirable.
** The Egyptians knew it in early times by the name of Aunrati, or Araunti; it is mentioned in Assyrian
The Litany rises a short distance from the Orontes; it flows at first through a wide and fertile plain, which soon contracts, however, and forces it into a channel between the spurs of the Lebanon and the Galilaean hills. The water thence makes its way between two cliffs of perpendicular rock, the ravine being in several places so narrow that the branches of the trees on the opposite sides interlace, and an active man could readily leap across it. Near Yakhmur some detached rocks appear to have been arrested in their fall, and, leaning like flying buttresses against the mountain face, constitute a natural bridge over the torrent. The basins of the two rivers lie in one valley, extending eighty leagues in length, divided by an almost imperceptible watershed into two beds of unequal slope. The central part of the valley is given up to marshes. It is only towards the south that we find cornfields, vineyards, plantations of mulberry and olive trees, spread out over the plain, or disposed in terraces on the hillsides. Towards the north, the alluvial deposits of, the Orontes have gradually formed a black and fertile soil, upon which grow luxuriant crops of cereals and other produce. Cole-Syria, after having generously nourished the Oriental empires which had preyed upon her, became one of the granaries of the Roman world, under the capable rule of the Caesars.
Syria is surrounded on all sides by countries of varying aspect and soil. That to the north, flanked by the Amanos, is a gloomy mountainous region, with its greatest elevation on the seaboard: it slopes gradually towards the interior, spreading out into chalky table-lands, dotted over with bare and rounded hills, and seamed with tortuous valleys which open out to the Euphrates, the Orontes, or the desert. Vast, slightly undulating plains succeed the table-lands: the soil is dry and stony, the streams are few in number and contain but little water. The Sajur flows into the Euphrates, the Afrin and the Karasu when united yield their tribute to the Orontes, while the others for the most part pour their waters into enclosed basins. The Khalus of the Greeks sluggishly pursues its course southward, and after reluctantly leaving the gardens of Aleppo, finally loses itself on the borders of the desert in a small salt lake full of islets: about halfway between the Khalus and the Euphrates a second salt lake receives the Nahr ed-Dahab, the "golden river." The climate is mild, and the temperature tolerably uniform. The sea-breeze which rises every afternoon tempers the summer heat: the cold in winter is never piercing, except when the south wind blows which comes from the mountains, and the snow rarely lies on the ground for more than twenty-four hours. It seldom rains during the autumn and winter months, but frequent showers fall in the early days of spring. Vegetation then awakes again, and the soil lends itself to cultivation in the hollows of the valleys and on the table-lands wherever irrigation is possible. The ancients dotted these now all but desert spaces with wells and cisterns; they intersected them with canals, and covered them with farms and villages, with fortresses and populous cities. Primaeval forests clothed the slopes of the Amanos, and pinewood from this region was famous both at Babylon and in the towns of Lower Chaldaea. The plains produced barley and wheat in enormous quantities, the vine throve there, the gardens teemed with flowers and fruit, and pistachio and olive trees grew on every slope. The desert was always threatening to invade the plain, and gained rapidly upon it whenever a prolonged war disturbed cultivation, or when the negligence of the inhabitants slackened the work of defence: beyond the lakes and salt marshes it had obtained a secure hold. At the present time the greater part of the country between the Orontes and the Euphrates is nothing but a rocky table-land, ridged with low hills and dotted over with some impoverished oases, excepting at the foot of Anti-Lebanon, where two rivers, fed by innumerable streams, have served to create a garden of marvellous beauty. The Barada, dashing from cascade to cascade, flows for some distance through gorges before emerging on the plain: scarcely has it reached level ground than it widens out, divides, and forms around Damascus a miniature delta, into which a thousand interlacing channels carry refreshment and fertility. Below the town these streams rejoin the river, which, after having flowed merrily along for a day's journey, is swallowed up in a kind of elongated chasm from whence it never again emerges. At the melting of the snows a regular lake is formed here, whose blue waters are surrounded by wide grassy margins "like a sapphire set in emeralds." This lake dries up almost completely in summer, and is converted into swampy meadows, filled with gigantic rushes, among which the birds build their nests, and multiply as unmolested as in the marshes of Chaldaea. The Awaj, unfed by any tributary, fills a second deeper though smaller basin, while to the south two other lesser depressions receive the waters of the Anti-Lebanon and the Hauran. Syria is protected from the encroachments of the desert by a continuous barrier of pools and beds of reeds: towards the east the space reclaimed resembles a verdant promontory thrust boldly out into an ocean of sand. The extent of the cultivated area is limited on the west by the narrow strip of rock and clay which forms the littoral. From the mouth of the Litany to that of the Orontes, the coast presents a rugged, precipitous, and inhospitable appearance. There are no ports, and merely a few ill-protected harbours, or narrow beaches lying under formidable headlands. One river, the Nahr el-Kebir, which elsewhere would not attract the traveller's attention, is here noticeable as being the only stream whose waters flow constantly and with tolerable regularity; the others, the Leon, the Adonis,* and the Nahr el-Kelb,* can scarcely even be called torrents, being precipitated as it were in one leap from the Lebanon to the Mediterranean. Olives, vines, and corn cover the maritime plain, while in ancient times the heights were clothed with impenetrable forests of oak, pine, larch, cypress, spruce, and cedar. The mountain range drops in altitude towards the centre of the country and becomes merely a line of low hills, connecting Gebel Ansarieh with the Lebanon proper; beyond the latter it continues without interruption, till at length, above the narrow Phoenician coast road, it rises in the form of an almost insurmountable wall. Near to the termination of Coele-Syria, but separated from it by a range of hills, there opens out on the western slopes of Hermon a valley unlike any other in the world. At this point the surface of the earth has been rent in prehistoric times by volcanic action, leaving a chasm which has never since closed up. A river, unique in character -- the Jordan -- flows down this gigantic crevasse, fertilizing the valley formed by it from end to end.***
* The Adonis of classical authors is now Nahr-Ibrahim. We have as yet no direct evidence as to the Phoenician name of this river; it was probably identical with that of the divinity worshipped on its banks. The fact of a river bearing the name of a god is not surprising: the Belos, in the neighbourhood of Acre, affords us a parallel case to the Adonis.
** The present Nahr el-Kelb is the Lykos of classical authors. The Due de Luynes thought he recognized a
*** The Jordan is mentioned in the Egyptian texts under the name of Yorduna: the name appears to mean the descender, the down-flowing.
Its principal source is at Tell el-Qadi, where it rises out of a basaltic mound whose summit is crowned by the ruins of Laish.*
* This source is mentioned by Josephus as being that of the Little Jordan.
[Illustration: 014.jpg THE MOST NORTHERN SOURCE OF THE JORDAN, THE NAIIR-EL-HASBANY]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by the Duc de Luynes.
The water collects in an oval rocky basin hidden by bushes, and flows down among the brushwood to join the Nahr el-Hasbany, which brings the waters of the upper torrents to swell its stream; a little lower down it mingles with the Banias branch, and winds for some time amidst desolate marshy meadows before disappearing in the thick beds of rushes bordering Lake Huleh.*
* Lake Huleh is called the Waters of Merom, Me-Merom, in the Book of Joshua, xi.5, 7; and Lake Sammochonitis in Josephus. The name of Ulatha, which was given to the surrounding country, shows that the modern word Huleh is derived from an ancient form, of which unfortunately the original has not come down to us.
[Illustration 014b.jpg LAKE OF GENESARATH]
At this point the Jordan reaches the level of the Mediterranean, but instead of maintaining it, the river makes a sudden drop on leaving the lake, cutting for itself a deeply grooved channel. It has a fall of some 300 feet before reaching the Lake of Grenesareth, where it is only momentarily arrested, as if to gather fresh strength for its headlong career southwards.
[Illustration: 017.jpg ONE OF THE REACHES OF THE JORDAN]
Drawn by Boudier, from several photographs brought back by Lortet.
Here and there it makes furious assaults on its right and left banks, as if to escape from its bed, but the rocky escarpments which hem it in present an insurmountable barrier to it; from rapid to rapid it descends with such capricious windings that it covers a course of more than 62 miles before reaching, the Dead Sea, nearly 1300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean.*
* The exact figures are: the Lake of Huleh 7 feet above the Mediterranean; the Lake of Genesareth 68245 feet, and the Dead Sea 1292 feet below the sea-level; to the south of the Dead Sea, towards the water-parting of the Akabah, the ground is over 720 feet higher than the level of the Red Sea.
[Illustration: 018.jpg THE DEAD SEA AND THE MOUNTAINS OF MOAB, SEEN FKOM THE HEIGHTS OF ENGEDI]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by the Duc de Luynes.
Nothing could offer more striking contrasts than the country on either bank. On the east, the ground rises abruptly to a height of about 3000 feet, resembling a natural rampart flanked with towers and bastions: behind this extends an immense table-land, slightly undulating and intersected in all directions by the affluents of the Jordan and the Dead Sea -- the Yarmuk,* the Jabbok,** and the Arnon.***
* The Yarmuk does not occur in the Bible, but we meet with its name in the Talmud, and the Greeks adopted it under the form Hieromax.
** Gen. xxxii.22; Numb, xxi.24. The name has been Grecized under the forms lobacchos, labacchos, Iambykes. It is the present Nahr Zerqa.
*** Numb. xxi.13-26; Beut. ii.24; the present Wady Mojib. [Shephelah = "low country," plain (Josh. xi.16). With the article it means the plain along the Mediterranean from Joppa to Gaza. -- Te.]
The whole of this district forms a little world in itself, whose inhabitants, half shepherds, half bandits, live a life of isolation, with no ambition to take part in general history. West of the Jordan, a confused mass of hills rises into sight, their sparsely covered slopes affording an impoverished soil for the cultivation of corn, vines, and olives. One ridge -- Mount Carmel -- detached from the principal chain near the southern end of the Lake of Genesareth, runs obliquely to the north-west, and finally projects into the sea. North of this range extends Galilee, abounding in refreshing streams and fertile fields; while to the south, the country falls naturally into three parallel zones -- the littoral, composed alternately of dunes and marshes -- an expanse of plain, a "Shephelah," dotted about with woods and watered by intermittent rivers, -- and finally the mountains. The region of dunes is not necessarily barren, and the towns situated in it -- Gaza, Jaffa, Ashdod, and Ascalon -- are surrounded by flourishing orchards and gardens. The plain yields plentiful harvests every year, the ground needing no manure and very little labour. The higher ground and the hill-tops are sometimes covered with verdure, but as they advance southwards, they become denuded and burnt by the sun. The valleys, too, are watered only by springs, which are dried up for the most part during the summer, and the soil, parched by the continuous heat, can scarcely be distinguished from the desert. In fact, till the Sinaitic Peninsula and the frontiers of Egypt are reached, the eye merely encounters desolate and almost uninhabited solitudes, devastated by winter torrents, and overshadowed by the volcanic summits of Mount Seir. The spring rains, however, cause an early crop of vegetation to spring up, which for a few weeks furnishes the flocks of the nomad tribes with food.
We may summarise the physical characteristics of Syria by saying that Nature has divided the country into five or six regions of unequal area, isolated by rivers and mountains, each one of which, however, is admirably suited to become the seat of a separate independent state. In the north, we have the country of the two rivers -- the Naharaim -- extending from the Orontes to the Euphrates and the Balikh, or even as far as the Khabur:* in the centre, between the two ranges of the Lebanon, lie Coele-Syria and its two unequal neighbours, Aram of Damascus and Phoenicia; while to the south is the varied collection of provinces bordering the valley of the Jordan.
* The Naharaim of the Egyptians was first identified with Mesopotamia; it was located between the Orontes and the Balikh or the Euphrates by Maspero. This opinion is now adopted by the majority of Egyptologists, with slight differences in detail. Ed. Meyer has accurately compared the Egyptian Naharaim with the Parapotamia of the administration of the Seleucidae.
It is impossible at the present day to assert, with any approach to accuracy, what peoples inhabited these different regions towards the fourth millennium before our era. Wherever excavations are made, relics are brought to light of a very ancient semi-civilization, in which we find stone weapons and implements, besides pottery, often elegant in contour, but for the most part coarse in texture and execution. These remains, however, are not accompanied by any monument of definite characteristics, and they yield no information with regard to the origin or affinities of the tribes who fashioned them.* The study of the geographical nomenclature in use about the XVIth century B.C. reveals the existence, at all events at that period, of several peoples and several languages. The mountains, rivers, towns, and fortresses in Palestine and Coele-Syria are designated by words of Semitic origin: it is easy to detect, even in the hieroglyphic disguise which they bear on the Egyptian geographical lists, names familiar to us in Hebrew or Assyrian.
* Researches with regard to the primitive inhabitants of Syria and their remains have not as yet been prosecuted to any extent. The caves noticed by Hedenborg at Ant-Elias, near Tripoli, and by Botta at Nahr el-Kelb, and at Adlun by the Duc de Luynes, have been successively explored by Lartet, Tristram, Lortet, and Dawson. The grottoes of Palestine proper, at Bethzur, at Gilgal near Jericho, and at Tibneh, have been the subject of keen controversy ever since their discovery. The Abbe Richard desired to identify the flints of Gilgal and Tibneh with the stone knives used by Joshua for the circumcision of the Israelites after the passage of the Jordan (Josh. v- 2-9), some of which might have been buried in that hero's tomb.
But once across the Orontes, other forms present themselves which reveal no affinities to these languages, but are apparently connected with one or other of the dialects of Asia Minor.* The tenacity with which the place-names, once given, cling to the soil, leads us to believe that a certain number at least of those we know in Syria were in use there long before they were noted down by the Egyptians, and that they must have been heirlooms from very early peoples. As they take a Semitic or non-Semitic form according to their geographical position, we may conclude that the centre and south were colonized by Semites, and the north by the immigrant tribes from beyond the Taurus. Facts are not wanting to support this conclusion, and they prove that it is not so entirely arbitrary as we might be inclined to believe. The Asiatic visitors who, under a king of the XIIth dynasty, came to offer gifts to Khnumhotpu, the Lord of Beni-Hasan, are completely Semitic in type, and closely resemble the Bedouins of the present day. Their chief -- Abisha -- bears a Semitic name,** as too does the Sheikh Ammianshi, with whom Sinuhit took refuge.***
* The non-Semitic origin of the names of a number of towns in Northern Syria preserved in the Egyptian lists, is admitted by the majority of scholars who have studied the question.
** His name has been shown to be cognate with the Hebrew Abishai (1 Sam. xxvi.6-9; 2 Sam. ii.18, 24; xxi.17) and with the Chaldaeo-Assyrian Abeshukh.
*** The name Ammianshi at once recalls those of Ammisatana, Ammiza-dugga, and perhaps Ammurabi, or Khammurabi, of one of the Babylonian dynasties; it contains, with the element Ammi, a final anshi. Chabas connects it with two Hebrew words Am-nesh, which he does not translate.
Ammianshi himself reigned over the province of Kadima, a word which in Semitic denotes the East. Finally, the only one of their gods known to us, Hadad, was a Semite deity, who presided over the atmosphere, and whom we find later on ruling over the destinies of Damascus. Peoples of Semitic speech and religion must, indeed, have already occupied the greater part of that region on the shores of the Mediterranean which we find still in their possession many centuries later, at the time of the Egyptian conquest.
[Illustration: 028.jpg ASIATIC WOMEN FROM THE TOMB OF KHNUMHOTPU]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger.
For a time Egypt preferred not to meddle in their affairs. When, however, the "lords of the sands" grew too insolent, the Pharaoh sent a column of light troops against them, and inflicted on them such a severe punishment, that the remembrance of it kept them within bounds for years. Offenders banished from Egypt sought refuge with the turbulent kinglets, who were in a perpetual state of unrest between Sinai and the Dead Sea. Egyptian sailors used to set out to traffic along the seaboard, taking to piracy when hard pressed; Egyptian merchants were accustomed to penetrate by easy stages into the interior. The accounts they gave of their journeys were not reassuring. The traveller had first to face the solitudes which confronted him before reaching the Isthmus, and then to avoid as best he might the attacks of the pillaging tribes who inhabited it.
[Illustration: 024.jpg TWO ASIATICS FKOM THE TOMB OF KHNUMHOPTU.]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger
Should he escape these initial perils, the Amu -- an agricultural and settled people inhabiting the fertile region -- would give the stranger but a sorry reception: he would have to submit to their demands, and the most exorbitant levies of toll did not always preserve caravans from their attacks.* The country seems to have been but thinly populated; tracts now denuded were then covered by large forests in which herds of elephants still roamed,** and wild beasts, including lions and leopards, rendered the route through them dangerous.
* The merchant who sets out for foreign lands "leaves his possessions to his children -- for fear of lions and
** Thutmosis III. went elephant-hunting near the Syrian town of Nii.
The notion that Syria was a sort of preserve for both big and small game was so strongly implanted in the minds of the Egyptians, that their popular literature was full of it: the hero of their romances betook himself there for the chase, as a prelude to meeting with the princess whom he was destined to marry,* or, as in the case of Kazarati, chief of Assur, that he might encounter there a monstrous hyena with which to engage in combat.
* As, for instance, the hero in the Story of the
These merchants' adventures and explorations, as they were not followed by any military expedition, left absolutely no mark on the industries or manners of the primitive natives: those of them only who were close to the frontiers of Egypt came under her subtle charm and felt the power of her attraction, but this slight influence never penetrated beyond the provinces lying nearest to the Dead Sea. The remaining populations looked rather to Chaldaea, and received, though at a distance, the continuous impress of the kingdoms of the Euphrates. The tradition which attributes to Sargon of Agade, and to his son Istaramsin, the subjection of the people of the Amanos and the Orontes, probably contains but a slight element of truth; but if, while awaiting further information, we hesitate to believe that the armies of these princes ever crossed the Lebanon or landed in Cyprus, we must yet admit the very early advent of their civilization in those western countries which are regarded as having been under their rule. More than three thousand years before our era, the Asiatics who figure on the tomb of Khnumhotpu clothed themselves according to the fashions of Uru and Lagash, and affected long robes of striped and spotted stuffs. We may well ask if they had also borrowed the cuneiform syllabary for the purposes of their official correspondence,* and if the professional scribe with his stylus and clay tablet was to be found in their cities. The Babylonian courtiers were, no doubt, more familiar visitors among them than the Memphite nobles, while the Babylonian kings sent regularly to Syria for statuary stone, precious metals, and the timber required in the building of their monuments: Urbau and Gudea, as well as their successors and contemporaries, received large convoys of materials from the Amanos, and if the forests of Lebanon were more rarely utilised, it was not because their existence was unknown, but because distance rendered their approach more difficult and transport more costly. The Mediterranean marches were, in their language, classed as a whole under one denomination -- Martu, Amurru,** the West -- but there were distinctive names for each of the provinces into which they were divided.
* The most ancient cuneiform tablets of Syrian origin are not older than the XVIth century before our era; they contain the official, correspondence of the native princes with the Pharaohs Amenothes III. and IV. of the XVIIIth dynasty, as will be seen later on in this volume; they were discovered in the ruins of one of the palaces at Tel el- Amarna in Egypt.
** Formerly read Akharru. Martu would be the Sumerian and Akharru the Semitic form, Akharru meaning that which is behind. The discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets threw doubt on the reading of the name Akharru: some thought that it ought to be kept in any case; others, with more or less certainty, think that it should be replaced by Amuru, Amurru, the country of the Amorites. But the question has now been settled by Babylonian contract and law tablets of the period of Khaminurabi, in which the name is written A- mu-ur-ri (ki). Hommel originated the idea that Martu might be an abbreviation of Amartu, that is, Amar with the feminine termination of nouns in the Canaanitish dialect: Martu would thus actually signify the country of the Amorites.
Probably even at that date they called the north Khati,* and Cole-Syria, Amurru, the land of the Amorites. The scattered references in their writings seem to indicate frequent intercourse with these countries, and that, too, as a matter of course which excited no surprise among their contemporaries: a journey from Lagash to the mountains of Tidanum and to Gubin, or to the Lebanon and beyond it to Byblos,** meant to them no voyage of discovery. Armies undoubtedly followed the routes already frequented by caravans and flotillas of trading boats, and the time came when kings desired to rule as sovereigns over nations with whom their subjects had peaceably traded.
* The name of the Khati, Khatti, is found in the Book of Omens, which is supposed to contain an extract from the annals of Sargon and Naramsin; as, however, the text which we possess of it is merely a copy of the time of
** Gubin is probably the Kupuna, Kupnu, of the Egyptians, the Byblos of Phoenicia. Amiaud had proposed a most unlikely identification with Koptos in Egypt. In the time of Ine-Sin, King of Ur, mention is found of Simurru, Zimyra.
It does not appear, however, that the ancient rulers of Lagash ever extended their dominion so far. The governors of the northern cities, on the other hand, showed themselves more energetic, and inaugurated that march westwards which sooner or later brought the peoples of the Euphrates into collision with the dwellers on the Nile: for the first Babylonian empire without doubt comprised part if not the whole of Syria.*
* It is only since the discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets that the fact of the dominant influence of Chaldaea over Syria and of its conquest has been definitely realized. It is now clear that the state of things of which the tablets discovered in Egypt give us a picture, could only be explained by the hypothesis of a Babylonish supremacy of long duration over the peoples situated between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean.
Among the most celebrated names in ancient history, that of Babylon is perhaps the only one which still suggests to our minds a sense of vague magnificence and undefined dominion. Cities in other parts of the world, it is true, have rivalled Babylon in magnificence and power: Egypt could boast of more than one such city, and their ruins to this day present to our gaze more monuments worthy of admiration than Babylon ever contained in the days of her greatest prosperity. The pyramids of Memphis and the colossal statues of Thebes still stand erect, while the ziggurats and the palaces of Chaldaea are but mounds of clay crumbling into the plain; but the Egyptian monuments are visible and tangible objects; we can calculate to within a few inches the area they cover and the elevation of their summits, and the very precision with which we can gauge their enormous size tends to limit and lessen their effect upon us. How is it possible to give free rein to the imagination when the subject of it is strictly limited by exact and determined measurements? At Babylon, on the contrary, there is nothing remaining to check the flight of fancy: a single hillock, scoured by the rains of centuries, marks the spot where the temple of Bel stood erect in its splendour; another represents the hanging gardens, while the ridges running to the right and left were once the ramparts.
[Illustration: 029.jpg THE RUINS OF BABYLON]
Drawn by Boudier, from a drawing reproduced in Hofer. It shows the state of the ruins in the first half of our century, before the excavations carried out at European instigation.
The vestiges of a few buildings remain above the mounds of rubble, and as soon as the pickaxe is applied to any spot, irregular layers of bricks, enamelled tiles, and inscribed tablets are brought to light -- in fine, all those numberless objects which bear witness to the presence of man and to his long sojourn on the spot. But these vestiges are so mutilated and disfigured that the principal outlines of the buildings cannot be determined with any certainty, and afford us no data for guessing their dimensions. He who would attempt to restore the ancient appearance of the place would find at his disposal nothing but vague indications, from which he might draw almost any conclusion he pleased.
[Illustration: 030.jpg PLAN OF THE RUINS OF BABYLON]
Prepared by Thuillier, from a plan reproduced in G. Rawlinson, Herodotus
Palaces and temples would take a shape in his imagination on a plan which never entered the architect's mind; the sacred towers as they rose would be disposed in more numerous stages than they actually possessed; the enclosing walls would reach such an elevation that they must have quickly fallen under their own weight if they had ever been carried so high: the whole restoration, accomplished without any certain data, embodies the concept of something vast and superhuman, well befitting the city of blood and tears, cursed by the Hebrew prophets. Babylon was, however, at the outset, but a poor town, situated on both banks of the Euphrates, in a low-lying, flat district, intersected by canals and liable at times to become marshy. The river at this point runs almost directly north and south, between two banks of black mud, the base of which it is perpetually undermining. As long as the city existed, the vertical thrust of the public buildings and houses kept the river within bounds, and even since it was finally abandoned, the masses of debris have almost everywhere had the effect of resisting its encroachment; towards the north, however, the line of its ancient quays has given way and sunk beneath the waters, while the stream, turning its course westwards, has transferred to the eastern bank the gardens and mounds originally on the opposite side. E-sagilla, the temple of the lofty summit, the sanctuary of Merodach, probably occupied the vacant space in the depression between the Babil and the hill of the Kasr.*
* The temple of Merodach, called by the Greeks the temple of Belos, has been placed on the site called Babil by the two Rawlinsons; and by Oppert; Hormuzd Rassam and Fr. Delitzsch locate it between the hill of Junjuma and the Kasr, and considers Babil to be a palace of Nebuchadrezzar.
In early times it must have presented much the same appearance as the sanctuaries of Central Chaldaea: a mound of crude brick formed the substructure of the dwellings of the priests and the household of the god, of the shops for the offerings and for provisions, of the treasury, and of the apartments for purification or for sacrifice, while the whole was surmounted by a ziggurat. On other neighbouring platforms rose the royal palace and the temples of lesser divinities,* elevated above the crowd of private habitations.
* As, for instance, the temple E-temenanki on the actual hill of Amran-ibn-Ali, the temple of Shamash, and others, which there will be occasion to mention later on in dealing with the second Chaldaean empire.
[Illustration: 032.jpg THE KASK SEEN FROM THE SOUTH]
Drawn by Boudier, from the engraving by Thomas in Perrot- Chipiez.
The houses of the people were closely built around these stately piles, on either side of narrow lanes. A massive wall surrounded the whole, shutting out the view on all sides; it even ran along the bank of the Euphrates, for fear of a surprise from that quarter, and excluded the inhabitants from the sight of their own river. On the right bank rose a suburb, which was promptly fortified and enlarged, so as to become a second Babylon, almost equalling the first in extent and population.
[Illustration: 033.jpg THE TELL OF BORSIPPA, THE PRESENT BIRS-NIMRUD]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after the plate published in Ohesney.
Beyond this, on the outskirts, extended gardens and fields, finding at length their limit at the territorial boundaries of two other towns, Kutha and Borsippa, whose black outlines are visible to the east and south-west respectively, standing isolated above the plain. Sippara on the north, Nippur on the south, and the mysterious Agade, completed the circle of sovereign states which so closely hemmed in the city of Bel. We may surmise with all probability that the history of Babylon in early times resembled in the main that of the Egyptian Thebes. It was a small seigneury in the hands of petty princes ceaselessly at war with petty neighbours: bloody struggles, with alternating successes and reverses, were carried on for centuries with no decisive results, until the day came when some more energetic or fortunate dynasty at length crushed its rivals, and united under one rule first all the kingdoms of Northern and finally those of Southern Chaldaea.
The lords of Babylon had, ordinarily, a twofold function, religious and military, the priest at first taking precedence of the soldier, but gradually yielding to the latter as the town increased in power. They were merely the priestly representatives or administrators of Babel -- shakannaku Babili -- and their authority was not considered legitimate until officially confirmed by the god. Each ruler was obliged to go in state to the temple of Bel Merodach within a year of his accession: there he had to take the hands of the divine statue, just as a vassal would do homage to his liege, and those only of the native sovereigns or the foreign conquerors could legally call themselves Kings of Babylon -- sharru Babili -- who had not only performed this rite, but renewed it annually.*
* The meaning of the ceremony in which the kings of Babylon "took the hands of Bel" has been given by Winckler; Tiele compares it very aptly with the rite performed by the Egyptian kings -- at Heliopolis, for example, when they entered alone the sanctuary of Ra, and there contemplated the god face to face. The rite was probably repeated annually, at the time of the Zakmuku, that is, the New Year festival.
Sargon the Elder had lived in Babylon, and had built himself a palace there: hence the tradition of later times attributed to this city the glory of having been the capital of the great empire founded by the Akkadian dynasties. The actual sway of Babylon, though arrested to the south by the petty states of Lower Chaldaea, had not encountered to the north or north-west any enemy to menace seriously its progress in that semi-fabulous period of its history. The vast plain extending between the Euphrates and the Tigris is as it were a continuation of the Arabian desert, and is composed of a grey, or in parts a whitish, soil impregnated with selenite and common salt, and irregularly superimposed upon a bed of gypsum, from which asphalt oozes up here and there, forming slimy pits. Frost is of rare occurrence in winter, and rain is infrequent at any season; the sun soon burns up the scanty herbage which the spring showers have encouraged, but fleshy plants successfully resist its heat, such as the common salsola, the salsola soda, the pallasia, a small mimosa, and a species of very fragrant wormwood, forming together a vari-coloured vegetation which gives shelter to the ostrich and the wild ass, and affords the flocks of the nomads a grateful pasturage when the autumn has set in. The Euphrates bounds these solitudes, but without watering them. The river flows, as far as the eye can see, between two ranges of rock or bare hills, at the foot of which a narrow strip of alluvial soil supports rows of date-palms intermingled here and there with poplars, sumachs, and willows. Wherever there is a break in the two cliffs, or where they recede from the river, a series of shadufs takes possession of the bank, and every inch of the soil is brought under cultivation. The aspect of the country remains unchanged as far as the embouchure of the Khabur; but there a black alluvial soil replaces the saliferous clay, and if only the water were to remain on the land in sufficient quantity, the country would be unrivalled in the world for the abundance and variety of its crops.
[Illustration: 036.jpg THE BANKS OF THE EUPHRATES AT ZULEIBEH]
Drawn by Boudier, from the plate in Chesney.
The fields, which are regularly sown in the neighbourhood of the small towns, yield magnificent harvests of wheat and barley: while in the prairie-land beyond the cultivated ground the grass grows so high that it comes up to the horses' girths. In some places the meadows are so covered with varieties of flowers, growing in dense masses, that the effect produced is that of a variegated carpet; dogs sent in among them in search of game, emerge covered with red, blue, and yellow pollen. This fragrant prairie-land is the delight of bees, which produce excellent and abundant honey, while the vine and olive find there a congenial soil. The population was unequally distributed in this region. Some half-savage tribes were accustomed to wander over the plain, dwelling in tents, and supporting life by the chase and by the rearing of cattle; but the bulk of the inhabitants were concentrated around the affluents of the Euphrates and Tigris, or at the foot of the northern mountains wherever springs could be found, as in Assur, Singar, Nisibis, Tilli,* Kharranu, and in all the small fortified towns and nameless townlets whose ruins are scattered over the tract of country between the Khabur and the Balikh. Kharranu, or Harran, stood, like an advance guard of Chaldaean civilization, near the frontiers of Syria and Asia Minor.** To the north it commanded the passes which opened on to the basins of the Upper Euphrates and Tigris; it protected the roads leading to the east and south-east in the direction of the table-land of Iran and the Persian Gulf, and it was the key to the route by which the commerce of Babylon reached the countries lying around the Mediterranean. We have no means of knowing what affinities as regards origin or race connected it with Uru, but the same moon-god presided over the destinies of both towns, and the Sin of Harran enjoyed in very early times a renown nearly equal to that of his namesake.
* Tilli, the only one of these towns mentioned with any certainty in the inscriptions of the first Chaldaean empire, is the Tela of classical authors, and probably the present Weranshaher, near the sources of the Balikh.
** Kharranu was identified by the earlier Assyriologists with the Harran of the Hebrews (Gen. v.12), the Carrhse of classical authors, and this identification is still generally accepted.
He was worshipped under the symbol of a conical stone, probably an aerolite, surmounted by a gilded crescent, and the ground-plan of the town roughly described a crescent-shaped curve in honour of its patron. His cult, even down to late times, was connected with cruel practices; generations after the advent to power of the Abbasside caliphs, his faithful worshippers continued to sacrifice to him human victims, whose heads, prepared according to the ancient rite, were accustomed to give oracular responses.* The government of the surrounding country was in the hands of princes who were merely vicegerents:** Chaldaean civilization before the beginnings of history had more or less laid hold of them, and made them willing subjects to the kings of Babylon.***
* Without seeking to specify exactly which were the doctrines introduced into Harranian religion subsequently to the Christian era, we may yet affirm that the base of this system of faith was merely a very distorted form of the ancient Chaldaean worship practised in the town.
** Only one vicegerent of Mesopotamia is known at present, and he belongs to the Assyrian epoch. His seal is preserved in the British Museum.
*** The importance of Harran in the development of the history of the first Chaldaean empire was pointed out by Winckler; but the theory according to which this town was the capital of the kingdom, called by the Chaldaean and Assyrian scribes "the kingdom of the world," is justly combated by Tiele.
These sovereigns were probably at the outset somewhat obscure personages, without much prestige, being sometimes independent and sometimes subject to the rulers of neighbouring states, among others to those of Agade. In later times, when Babylon had attained to universal power, and it was desired to furnish her kings with a continuous history, the names of these earlier rulers were sought out, and added to those of such foreign princes as had from time to time enjoyed the sovereignty over them -- thus forming an interminable list which for materials and authenticity would well compare with that of the Thinite Pharaohs. This list has come down to us incomplete, and its remains do not permit of our determining the exact order of reigns, or the status of the individuals who composed it. We find in it, in the period immediately subsequent to the Deluge, mention of mythical heroes, followed by names which are still semi-legendary, such as Sargon the Elder; the princes of the series were, however, for the most part real beings, whose memories had been preserved by tradition, or whose monuments were still existing in certain localities. Towards the end of the XXVth century before our era, however, a dynasty rose into power of which all the members come within the range of history.*
* This dynasty, which is known to us in its entirety by the two lists of G. Smith and by Pinches, was legitimately composed of only eleven kings, and was known as the Babylonian dynasty, although Sayce suspects it to be of Arabian origin. It is composed as follows: --
[Illustration: 039.jpg TABLE]
The dates of this dynasty are not fixed with entire certainty. The first of them, Sumuabim, has left us some contracts bearing the dates of one or other of the fifteen years of his reign, and documents of public or private interest abound in proportion as we follow down the line of his successors. Sumulailu, who reigned after him, was only distantly related to his predecessor; but from Sumulailu to Sam-shusatana the kingly power was transmitted from father to son without a break for nine generations, if we may credit the testimony of the official lists.*
* Simulailu, also written Samu-la-ilu, whom Mr. Pinches has found in a contract tablet associated with Pungunila as king, was not the son of Sumuabim, since the lists do not mention him as such; he must, however, have been connected with some sort of relationship, or by marriage, with his predecessor, since both are placed in the same dynasty. A few contracts of Sumulailu are given by Meissner. Samsuiluna calls him "my forefather (d-gula-mu), the fifth king before me."
Hommel believes that the order of the dynasties has been reversed, and that the first upon the lists we possess was historically the second; he thus places the Babylonian dynasty between 2035 and 1731 B.C. His opinion has not been generally adopted, but every Assyriologist dealing with this period proposes a different date for the reigns in this dynasty; to take only one characteristic example, Khammurabi is placed by Oppert in the year 2394-2339, by Delitzsch- Murdter in 2287-2232, by Winckler in 2264-2210, and by Peiser in 2139-2084, and by Carl Niebuhr in 2081-2026.
Contemporary records, however, prove that the course of affairs did not always run so smoothly. They betray the existence of at least one usurper -- Immeru -- who, even if he did not assume the royal titles, enjoyed the supreme power for several years between the reigns of Zabu and Abilsin. The lives of these rulers closely resembled those of their contemporaries of Southern Chaldaea. They dredged the ancient canals, or constructed new ones; they restored the walls of their fortresses, or built fresh strongholds on the frontier;* they religiously kept the festivals of the divinities belonging to their terrestrial domain, to whom they annually rendered solemn homage.
* Sumulailu had built six such large strongholds of brick, which were repaired by Samsuiluna five generations later. A contract of Sinmuballit is dated the year in which he built the great wall of a strong place, the name of which is unfortunately illegible on the fragment which we possess.
They repaired the temples as a matter of course, and enriched them according to their means; we even know that Zabu, the third in order of the line of sovereigns, occupied himself in building the sanctuary Eulbar of Anunit, in Sippara. There is evidence that they possessed the small neighbouring kingdoms of Kishu, Sippara, and Kuta, and that they had consolidated them into a single state, of which Babylon was the capital. To the south their possessions touched upon those of the kings of Uru, but the frontier was constantly shifting, so that at one time an important city such as Nippur belonged to them, while at another it fell under the dominion of the southern provinces. Perpetual war was waged in the narrow borderland which separated the two rival states, resulting apparently in the balance of power being kept tolerably equal between them under the immediate successors of Sumuabim* -- the obscure Sumulailu, Zabum, the usurper Immeru, Abilsin and Sinmuballit -- until the reign of Khammurabi (the son of Sinmuballit), who finally made it incline to his side.** The struggle in which he was engaged, and which, after many vicissitudes, he brought to a successful issue, was the more decisive, since he had to contend against a skilful and energetic adversary who had considerable forces at his disposal. Birnsin*** was, in reality, of Elamite race, and as he held the province of Yamutbal in appanage, he was enabled to muster, in addition to his Chaldaean battalions, the army of foreigners who had conquered the maritime regions at the mouth of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
* None of these facts are as yet historically proved: we may, however, conjecture with some probability what was the general state of things, when we remember that the first kings of Babylon were contemporaries of the last independent sovereigns of Southern Chaldaea.
** The name of this prince has been read in several ways -- Hammurabi, Khammurabi, by the earlier Assyriologists, subsequently Hammuragash, Khammuragash, as being of Elamite or Cossoan extraction: the reading Khammurabi is at present the prevailing one. The bilingual list published by Pinches makes Khammurabi an equivalent of the Semitic names Kimta- rapashtum. Hence Halevy concluded that Khammurabi was a series of ideograms, and that Kimtarapashtum was the true reading of the name; his proposal, partially admitted by Hommel, furnishes us with a mixed reading of Khammurapaltu, Amraphel. [Hommel is now convinced of the identity of the Amraphel of Gen. xiv. I with Khammurabi. -- Te.] Sayce, moreover, adopts the reading Khammurabi, and assigns to him an Arabian origin. The part played by this prince was pointed out at an early date by Menant. Recent discoveries have shown the important share which he had in developing the Chaldaean empire, and have, increased his reputation with Assyriologists.
*** The name of this king has been the theme of heated discussions: it was at first pronounced Aradsin, Ardusin, or Zikarsin; it is now read in several different ways -- Rimsin, or Eriaku, Riaku, Rimagu. Others have made a distinction between the two forms, and have made out of them the names of two different kings. They are all variants of the same name. I have adopted the form Rimsin, which is preferred by a few Assyriologists. [The tablets recently discovered by Mr. Pinches, referring to Kudur-lagamar and Tudkhula, which he has published in a Paper road before the Victoria Institute, Jan.20, 1896, have shown that the true reading is Eri-Aku. The Elamite name Eri-Aku, "servant of the moon- god," was changed by some of his subjects into the
It was not the first time that Elam had audaciously interfered in the affairs of her neighbours. In fabulous times, one of her mythical kings -- Khumbaba the Ferocious -- had oppressed. Uruk, and Gilgames with all his valour was barely able to deliver the town. Sargon the Elder is credited with having subdued Elam; the kings and vicegerents of Lagash, as well as those of Uru and. Larsam, had measured forces with Anshan, but with no decisive issue. From time to time they obtained an advantage, and we find recorded in the annals victories gained by Gudea, Ine-sin, or Bursin, but to be followed only by fresh reverses; at the close of such campaigns, and in order to seal the ensuing peace, a princess of Susa would be sent as a bride to one of the Chaldaean cities, or a Chaldaean lady of royal birth would enter the harem of a king of Anshan. Elam was protected along the course of the Tigris and on the shores of the Nar-Marratum by a wide marshy region, impassable except at a few fixed and easily defended places. The alluvial plain extending behind the marshes was as rich and fertile as that of Chaldaea. Wheat and barley ordinarily yielded an hundred and at times two hundredfold; the towns were surrounded by a shadeless belt of palms; the almond, fig, acacia, poplar, and willow extended in narrow belts along the rivers' edge. The climate closely resembles that of Chaldaja: if the midday heat in summer is more pitiless, it is at least tempered by more frequent east winds. The ground, however, soon begins to rise, ascending gradually towards the north-east. The distant and uniform line of mountain-peaks grows loftier on the approach of the traveller, and the hills begin to appear one behind another, clothed halfway up with thick forests, but bare on their summits, or scantily covered with meagre vegetation. They comprise, in fact, six or seven parallel ranges, resembling natural ramparts piled up between the country of the Tigris and the table-land of Iran. The intervening valleys were formerly lakes, having had for the most part no communication with each other and no outlet into the sea. In the course of centuries they had dried up, leaving a thick deposit of mud in the hollows of their ancient beds, from which sprang luxurious and abundant harvests. The rivers -- the Uknu,* the Ididi,** and the Ulai*** -- which water this region are, on reaching more level ground, connected by canals, and are constantly shifting their beds in the light soil of the Susian plain: they soon attain a width equal to that of the Euphrates, but after a short time lose half their volume in swamps, and empty themselves at the present day into the Shatt-el-Arab. They flowed formerly into that part of the Persian Gulf which extended as far as Kornah, and the sea thus formed the southern frontier of the kingdom.
* The Uknu is the Kerkhah of the present day, the Choaspes of the Greeks.
** The Ididi was at first identified with the ancient Pasitigris, which scholars then desired to distinguish from the Eulseos: it is now known to be the arm of the Karun which runs to Dizful, the Koprates of classical times, which has sometimes been confounded with the Eulaws.
*** The Ulai, mentioned in the Hebrew texts (Ban. viii.2, 16), the Euloos of classical writers, also called
From earliest times this country was inhabited by three distinct peoples, whose descendants may still be distinguished at the present day, and although they have dwindled in numbers and become mixed with elements of more recent origin, the resemblance to their forefathers is still very remarkable. There were, in the first place, the short and robust people of well-knit figure, with brown skins, black hair and eyes, who belonged to that negritic race which inhabited a considerable part of Asia in prehistoric times.*
* The connection of the id type of Susians with the negritic races of India and Oceania, has been proved, in the course of M. Dieulafoy's expedition to the Susian plains and the ancient provinces of Elam.
[Illustration: 045.jpg MAP OF CHALDAEA AND ELAM.]
[Illustration: 046.jpg AN ANCIENT SUSIAN OF NEGRETIC RACE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief of Sargon II. in the Louvre.
These prevailed in the lowlands and the valleys, where the warm, damp climate favoured their development; but they also spread into the mountain region, and had pushed their outposts as far as the first slopes of the Iranian table-land. They there contact with white-skinned of medium height, who were probably allied to the nations of Northern and Central Asia -- to the Scythians,* for instance, if it is permissible to use a vague term employed by the Ancients.
* This last-mentioned people is, by some authors, for reasons which, so far, can hardly be considered conclusive, connected with the so-called Sumerian race, which we find settled in Chaldaea. They are said to have been the first to employ horses and chariots in warfare.
[Illustration: 047.jpg NATIVE OF MIXED NEGRITIC RACE FROM SUSIANA]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph furnished by Marcel Dieulafoy.
Semites of the same stock as those of Chaldaea pushed forward as far as the east bank of the Tigris, and settling mainly among the marshes led a precarious life by fishing and pillaging.* The country of the plain was called Anzan, or Anshan,** and the mountain region Numma, or Ilamma, "the high lands:" these two names were subsequently used to denote the whole country, and Ilamma has survived in the Hebrew word Elam.*** Susa, the most important and flourishing town in the kingdom, was situated between the Ulai and the Ididi, some twenty-five or thirty miles from the nearest of the mountain ranges.
* From the earliest times we meet beyond the Tigris with names like that of Durilu, a fact which proves the existence of races speaking a Semitic dialect in the countries under the suzerainty of the King of Elam: in the last days of the Chaldaean empire they had assumed such importance that the Hebrews made out Elam to be one of the sons of Shem (Gen. x.22).
** Anzan, Anshan, and, by assimilation of the nasal with the sibilant, Ashshan. This name has already been mentioned in the inscriptions of the kings and vicegerents of Lagash and in the Book of Prophecies of the ancient Chaldaean astronomers; it also occurs in the royal preamble of Cyrus and his ancestors, who like him were styled "kings of Anshan." It had been applied to the whole country of Elam, and afterwards to Persia. Some are of opinion that it was the name of a part of Elam, viz. that inhabited by the Turanian Medes who spoke the second language of the Achaemenian inscriptions, the eastern half, bounded by the Tigris and the Persian Gulf, consisting of a flat and swampy land. These differences of opinion gave rise to a heated controversy; it is now, however, pretty generally admitted that Anzan-Anshan was really the plain of Elam, from the mountains to the sea, and one set of authorities affirms that the word Anzan may have meant "plain" in the language of the country, while others hesitate as yet to pronounce definitely on this point.
*** The meaning of "Nunima," "Ilamma," "Ilamtu," in the group of words used to indicate Elam, had been recognised even by the earliest Assyriologists; the name originally referred to the hilly country on the north and east of Susa. To the Hebrews, Elam was one of the sons of Shem (Gen. x.22). The Greek form of the name is Elymais, and some of the classical geographers were well enough acquainted with the meaning of the word to be able to distinguish the region to which it referred from Susiana proper.
[Illustration: 048.jpg THE TUMULUS OF SUSA, AS IT APPEARED TOWARDS THE MIDDLE OF THE XIXth CENTURY]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after a plate in Chesney.
Its fortress and palace were raised upon the slopes of a mound which overlooked the surrounding country:* at its base, to the eastward, stretched the town, with its houses of sun-dried bricks.**
* Susa, in the language of the country, was called Shushun; this name was transliterated into Chaldaeo-Assyrian, by Shushan, Shushi.
** Strabo tells us, on the authority of Polycletus, that the town had no walls in the time of Alexander, and extended over a space two hundred stadia in length; in the
Further up the course of the Uknu, lay the following cities: Madaktu, the Badaca of classical authors,* rivalling Susa in strength and importance; Naditu,** Til-Khumba,*** Dur-Undash,**** Khaidalu.^ -- all large walled towns, most of which assumed the title of royal cities. Elam in reality constituted a kind of feudal empire, composed of several tribes -- the Habardip, the Khushshi, the Umliyash, the people of Yamutbal and of Yatbur^^ -- all independent of each other, but often united under the authority of one sovereign, who as a rule chose Susa as the seat of government.
* Madaktu, Mataktu, the Badaka of Diodorus, situated on the Eulaaos, between Susa and Ecbatana, has been placed by Rawlinson near the bifurcation of the Kerkhah, either at Paipul or near Aiwan-i-Kherkah, where there are some rather important and ancient ruins; Billerbeck prefers to put it at the mouth of the valley of Zal-fer, on the site at present occupied by the citadel of Kala-i-Riza.
** Naditu is identified by Finzi with the village of Natanzah, near Ispahan; it ought rather to be looked for in the neighbourhood of Sarna.
*** Til-Khumba, the Mound of Khumba, so named after one of the principal Elamite gods, was, perhaps, situated among the ruins of Budbar, towards the confluence of the Ab-i-Kirind and Kerkhah, or possibly higher up in the mountain, in the vicinity of Asmanabad.
**** Dur-Undash, Dur-Undasi, has been identified, without absolutely conclusive reason, with the fortress of Kala-i- Dis on the Disful-Rud.
^ Khaidalu, Khidalu, is perhaps the present fortress of Dis- Malkan.
^^ The countries of Yatbur and Yamutbal extended into the plain between the marshes of the Tigris and the mountain; the town of Durilu was near the Yamutbal region, if not in that country itself. Umliyash lay between the Uknu and the Tigris.
[Illustration: 050.jpg Page Image]
The language is not represented by any idioms now spoken, and its affinities with the Sumerian which some writers have attempted to establish, are too uncertain to make it safe to base any theory upon them.*
* A great part of the Susian inscriptions have been collected by Fr. Lenormant. An attempt has been made to identify the language in which they are written with the Sumero-accadian, and authorities now generally agree in considering the Arcaemenian inscriptions of the second type as representative of its modern form. Hommel connects it with Georgian, and includes it in a great linguistic family, which comprises, besides these two idioms, the Hittite, the Cappadocian, the Armenian of the Van inscriptions, and the Cosstean. Oppert claims to have discovered on a tablet in the British Museum a list of words belonging to one of the idioms (probably Semitic) of Susiana, which differs alike from the Suso-Medic and the Assyrian.
The little that we know of Elamite religion reveals to us a mysterious world, full of strange names and vague forms. Over their hierarchy there presided a deity who was called Shushinak (the Susian), Dimesh or Samesh, Dagbag, As-siga, Adaene, and possibly Khumba and AEmman, whom the Chaldaens identified with their god Ninip; his statue was concealed in a sanctuary inaccessible to the profane, but it was dragged from thence by Assurbanipal of Nineveh in the VIIth century B.C.* This deity was associated with six others of the first rank, who were divided into two triads -- Shumudu, Lagamaru, Partikira; Ammankasibar, Uduran, and Sapak: of these names, the least repellent, Ammankasibar, may possibly be the Memnon of the Greeks. The dwelling of these divinities was near Susa, in the depths of a sacred forest to which the priests and kings alone had access: their images were brought out on certain days to receive solemn homage, and were afterwards carried back to their shrine accompanied by a devout and reverent multitude. These deities received a tenth of the spoil after any successful campaign -- the offerings comprising statues of the enemies' gods, valuable vases, ingots of gold and silver, furniture, and stuffs. The Elamite armies were well organized, and under a skilful general became irresistible. In other respects the Elamites closely resembled the Chaldaeans, pursuing the same industries and having the same agricultural and commercial instincts. In the absence of any bas-reliefs and inscriptions peculiar to this people, we may glean from the monuments of Lagash and Babylon a fair idea of the extent of their civilization in its earliest stages.
* Shushinak is an adjective derived from the name of the town of Susa. The real name of the god was probably kept secret and rarely uttered. The names which appear by the side of Shushinak in the text published by H. Rawlinson, as equivalents of the Babylonian Ninip, perhaps represent different deities; we may well ask whether the deity may not be the Khumba, Umma, Umman, who recurs so frequently in the names of men and places, and who has hitherto never been met with alone in any formula or dedicatory tablet.
The cities of the Euphrates, therefore, could have been sensible of but little change, when the chances of war transferred them from the rule of their native princes to that of an Elamite. The struggle once over, and the resulting evils repaired as far as practicable, the people of these towns resumed their usual ways, hardly conscious of the presence of their foreign ruler. The victors, for their part, became assimilated so rapidly with the vanquished, that at the close of a generation or so the conquering dynasty was regarded legitimate and national one, loyally attached to the traditions and religion of its adopted country. In the year 2285 B.C., towards the close of the reign of Nurramman, or in the earlier part of that of Siniddinam, a King of Elam, by name Kudur-nakhunta, triumphantly marched through Chaldaea from end to end, devastating the country and sparing neither town nor temple: Uruk lost its statue of Nana, which was carried off as a trophy and placed in the sanctuary of Susa. The inhabitants long mourned the detention of their goddess, and a hymn of lamentation, probably composed for the occasion by one of their priests, kept the remembrance of the disaster fresh in their memories. "Until when, oh lady, shall the impious enemy ravage the country! -- In thy queen-city, Uruk, the destruction is accomplished, -- in Eulbar, the temple of thy oracle, blood has flowed like water, -- upon the whole of thy lands has he poured out flame, and it is spread abroad like smoke. -- Oh, lady, verily it is hard for me to bend under the yoke of misfortune! -- ? Oh, lady, thou hast wrapped me about, thou hast plunged me, in sorrow! -- The impious mighty one has broken me in pieces like a reed, -- and I know not what to resolve, I trust not in myself, -- like a bed of reeds I sigh day and night! -- I, thy servant, I bow myself before thee!" It would appear that the whole of Chaldaea, including Babylon itself, was forced to acknowledge the supremacy of the invader;* a Susian empire thus absorbed Chaldaea, reducing its states to feudal provinces, and its princes to humble vassals. Kudur-nakhunta having departed, the people of Larsa exerted themselves to the utmost to repair the harm that he had done, and they succeeded but too well, since their very prosperity was the cause only a short time after of the outburst of another storm. Siniddinam, perhaps, desired to shake off the Elamite yoke. Simtishilkhak, one of the successors of Kudur-nakhunta, had conceded the principality of Yamutbal as a fief to Kudur-mabug, one of his sons. Kudur-mabug appears to have been a conqueror of no mean ability, for he claims, in his inscriptions, the possession of the whole of Syria.**
* The submission of Babylon is evident from the title Adda Martu, "sovereign of the West," assumed by several of the Elamite princes (of. p.65 of the present work): in order to extend his authority beyond the Euphrates, it was necessary for the King of Elam to be first of all master of Babylon. In the early days of Assyriology it was supposed that this period of Elamite supremacy coincided with the Median dynasty of Berosus.
** His preamble contains the titles adda Martu, "prince of Syria;" adda lamutbal, "prince of Yamutbal." The word adda seems properly to mean "lather," and the literal translation of the full title would probably be "father of Syria," "father of Yamutbal," whence the secondary meanings "master, lord, prince," which have been
He obtained a victory over Siniddinam, and having dethroned him, placed the administration of the kingdom in the hands of his own son Eimsin. This prince, who was at first a feudatory, afterwards associated in the government with his father, and finally sole monarch after the latter's death, married a princess of Chaldaean blood, and by this means legitimatized his usurpation in the eyes of his subjects. His domain, which lay on both sides of the Tigris and of the Euphrates, comprised, besides the principality of Yamutbal, all the towns dependent on Sumer and Accad -- Uru, Larsa, Uruk, and Nippur, He acquitted himself as a good sovereign in the sight of gods and men: he repaired the brickwork in the temple of Nannar at Uru; he embellished the temple of Shamash at Larsa, and caused two statues of copper to be cast in honour of the god; he also rebuilt Lagash and Grirsu. The city of Uruk had been left a heap of ruins after the withdrawal of Kudur-nakhunta: he set about the work of restoration, constructed a sanctuary to Papsukal, raised the ziggurat of Nana, and consecrated to the goddess an entire set of temple furniture to replace that carried off by the Elamites. He won the adhesion of the priests by piously augmenting their revenues, and throughout his reign displayed remarkable energy. Documents exist which attribute to him the reduction of Durilu, on the borders of Elam and the Chaldaean states; others contain discreet allusions to a perverse enemy who disturbed his peace in the north, and whom he successfully repulsed. He drove Sinmuballit out of Ishin, and this victory so forcibly impressed his contemporaries, that they made it the starting-point of a new semi-official era; twenty-eight years after the event, private contracts still continued to be dated by reference to the taking of Ishin. Sinmuballit's son, Khammurabi, was more fortunate. Eimsin vainly appealed for help against him to his relative and suzerain Kudur-lagamar, who had succeeded Simtishilkhak at Susa. Eimsin was defeated, and disappeared from the scene of action, leaving no trace behind him, though we may infer that he took refuge in his fief of Yamutbal. The conquest by Khammurabi was by no means achieved at one blow, the enemy offering an obstinate resistance. He was forced to destroy several fortresses, the inhabitants of which had either risen against him or had refused to do him homage, among them being those of Meir* and Malgu. When the last revolt had been put down, all the countries speaking the language of Chaldaea and sharing its civilization were finally united into a single kingdom, of which Khammurabi proclaimed himself the head. Other princes who had preceded him had enjoyed the same opportunities, but their efforts had never been successful in establishing an empire of any duration; the various elements had been bound together for a moment, merely to be dispersed again after a short interval. The work of Khammurabi, on the contrary, was placed on a solid foundation, and remained unimpaired under his successors. Not only did he hold sway without a rival in the south as in the north, but the titles indicating the rights he had acquired over Sumer and Accad were inserted in his Protocol after those denoting his hereditary possessions, -- the city of Bel and the four houses of the world. Khammurabi's victory marks the close of those long centuries of gradual evolution during which the peoples of the Lower Euphrates passed from division to unity. Before his reign there had been as many states as cities, and as many dynasties as there were states; after him there was but one kingdom under one line of kings.
* Mairu, Meir, has been identified with Shurippak; but it is, rather, the town of Mar, now Tell-Id. A and Lagamal, the Elamite Lagamar, were worshipped there. It was the seat of a linen manufacture, and possessed large shipping.
Khammurabi's long reign of fifty-five years has hitherto yielded us but a small number of monuments -- seals, heads of sceptres, alabaster vases, and pompous inscriptions, scarcely any of them being of historical interest. He was famous for the number of his campaigns, no details of which, however, have come to light, but the dedication of one of his statues celebrates his good fortune on the battlefield. "Bel has lent thee sovereign majesty: thou, what awaitest thou? -- Sin has lent thee royalty: thou, what awaitest thou? -- Ninip has lent thee his supreme weapon: thou, what awaitest thou? -- The goddess of light, Ishtar, has lent thee the shock of arms and the fray: thou, what awaitest thou? -- Shamash and Bamman are thy varlets: thou, what awaitest thou? -- It is Khammurabi, the king, the powerful chieftain -- who cuts the enemies in pieces, -- the whirlwind of battle -- who overthrows the country of the rebels -- who stays combats, who crushes rebellions, -- who destroys the stubborn like images of clay, -- who overcomes the obstacles of inaccessible mountains." The majority of these expeditions were, no doubt, consequent on the victory which destroyed the power of Kimsin. It would not have sufficed merely to drive back the Elamites beyond the Tigris; it was necessary to strike a blow within their own territory to avoid a recurrence of hostilities, which might have endangered the still recent work of conquest. Here, again, Khammurabi seems to have met with his habitual success.
[Illustration: 057.jpg HEAD OF A SCEPTRE IN COPPER, BEARING THE NAME OF KHAM-MURABI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a rapid sketch made at the British Museum.
Ashnunak was a border district, and shared the fate of all the provinces on the eastern bank of the Tigris, being held sometimes by Elam and sometimes by Chaldaea; properly speaking, it was a country of Semitic speech, and was governed by viceroys owning allegiance, now to Babylon, now to Susa.* Khammurabi seized this province, and permanently secured its frontier by building along the river a line of fortresses surrounded by earthworks. Following the example of his predecessors, he set himself to restore and enrich the temples.
* Pognon discovered inscriptions of four of the vicegerents of Ashnunak, which he assigns, with some hesitation, to the time of Khammurabi, rather than to that of the kings of Telloh. Three of these names are Semitic, the fourth Sumerian; the language of the inscriptions bears a
The house of Zamama and Ninni, at Kish, was out of repair, and the ziggurat threatened to fall; he pulled it down and rebuilt it, carrying it to such a height that its summit "reached the heavens." Merodach had delegated to him the government of the faithful, and had raised him to the rank of supreme ruler over the whole of Chaldaea. At Babylon, close to the great lake which served as a reservoir for the overflow of the Euphrates, the king restored the sanctuary of Esagilla, the dimensions of which did not appear to him to be proportionate to the growing importance of the city. "He completed this divine dwelling with great joy and delight, he raised the summit to the firmament," and then enthroned Merodach and his spouse, Zarpanit, within it, amid great festivities. He provided for the ever-recurring requirements of the national religion by frequent gifts; the tradition has come down to us of the granary for wheat which he built at Babylon, the sight of which alone rejoiced the heart of the god. While surrounding Sippar with a great wall and a fosse, to protect its earthly inhabitants, he did not forget Shamash and Malkatu, the celestial patrons of the town. He enlarged in their honour the mysterious Ebarra, the sacred seat of their worship, and that which no king from the earliest times had known how to build for his divine master, that did he generously for Shamash his master. He restored Ezida, the eternal dwelling of Merodach, at Borsippa; Eturka-lamma, the temple of Anu, Ninni, and Nana, the suzerains of Kish; and also Ezikalamma, the house of the goddess Ninna, in the village of Zarilab. In the southern provinces, but recently added to the crown, -- at Larsa, Uruk, and Uru, -- he displayed similar activity.
[Illustration: 059.jpg Page Image]
He had, doubtless, a political as well as a religious motive in all he did; for if he succeeded in winning the allegiance of the priests by the prodigality of his pious gifts, he could count on their gratitude in securing for him the people's obedience, and thus prevent the outbreak of a revolt. He had, indeed, before him a difficult task in attempting to allay the ills which had been growing during centuries of civil discord and foreign conquest. The irrigation of the country demanded constant attention, and from earliest times its sovereigns had directed the work with real solicitude; but owing to the breaking up of the country into small states, their respective resources could not be combined in such general operations as were needed for controlling the inundations and effectually remedying the excess or the scarcity of water. Khammurabi witnessed the damage done to the whole province of Umliyash by one of those terrible floods which still sometimes ravage the regions of the Lower Tigris,* and possibly it may have been to prevent the recurrence of such a disaster that he undertook the work of canalization.
* Contracts dated the year of an inundation which laid waste Umliyash; cf. in our own time, the inundation of April 10, 1831, which in a single night destroyed half the city of Bagdad, and in which fifteen thousand persons lost their lives either by drowning or by the collapse of their houses.
He was the first that we know of who attempted to organize and reduce to a single system the complicated network of ditches and channels which intersected the territory belonging to the great cities between Babylon and the sea. Already, more than half a century previously, Siniddinam had enlarged the canal on which Larsa was situated, while Bimsin had provided an outlet for the "River of the Gods" into the Persian Gulf:* by the junction of the two a navigable channel was formed between the Euphrates and the marshes, and an outlet was thus made for the surplus waters of the inundation. Khammurabi informs us how Anu and Bel, having confided to him the government of Sumer and Accad, and having placed in his hands the reins of power, he dug the Nar-Khammurabi, the source of wealth to the people, which brings abundance of water to the country of Sumir and Accad. "I turned both its banks into cultivated ground, I heaped up mounds of grain and I furnished perpetual water for the people of Sumir and Accad. The country of Sumer and Accad, I gathered together its nations who were scattered, I gave them pasture and drink, I ruled over them in riches and abundance, I caused them to inhabit a peaceful dwelling-place. Then it was that Khammurabi, the powerful king, the favourite of the great gods, I myself, according to the prodigious strength with which Merodach had endued me, I constructed a high fortress, upon mounds of earth; its summit rises to the height of the mountains, at the head of the Nar-Khammurabi, the source of wealth to the people. This fortress I called Dur-Sinmuballit-abim-ualidiya, the Fortress of Sinmuballit, the father who begat me, so that the name of Sinmuballit, the father who begat me, may endure in the habitations of the world."
* Contract dated "the year the Tigris, river of the gods, was canalized down to the sea"; i.e. as far as the point to which the sea then penetrated in the environs of Kornah.
This canal of Khammurabi ran from a little south of Babylon, joining those of Siniddinam and Rimsin, and probably cutting the alluvial plain in its entire length.* It drained the stagnant marshes on either side along its course, and by its fertilising effects, the dwellers on its banks were enabled to reap full harvests from the lands which previously had been useless for purposes of cultivation. A ditch of minor importance pierced the isthmus which separates the Tigris and the Euphrates in the neighbourhood of Sippar.** Khammurabi did not rest contented with these; a system of secondary canals doubtless completed the whole scheme of irrigation which he had planned after the achievement of his conquest, and his successors had merely to keep up his work in order to ensure an unrivalled prosperity to the empire.
* Delattre is of opinion that the canal dug by Khammurabi is the Arakhtu of later epochs which began at Babylon and extended as far as the Larsa canal. It must therefore be approximately identified with the Shatt-en-Nil of the present day, which joins Shatt-el-Kaher, the canal of Siniddinam.
** The canal which Khammurabi caused to be dug or dredged may be the Nar-Malka, or "royal canal," which ran from the Tigris to the Euphrates, passing Sippar on the way. The digging of this canal is mentioned in a contract.
Their efforts in this direction were not unsuccessful. Samsuiluna, the son of Khammurabi, added to the existing system two or three fresh canals, one at least of which still bore his name nearly fifteen centuries later; it is mentioned in the documents of the second Assyrian empire in the time of Assurbanipal, and it is possible that traces of it may still be found at the present day. Abieshukh,* Ammisatana,** Ammizadugga,*** and Samsusatana,**** all either continued to elaborate the network planned by their ancestors, or applied themselves to the better distribution of the overflow in those districts where cultivation was still open to improvement.
* Abishukh (the Hebrew Abishua) is the form of the name which we find in contemporary contracts. The official lists contain the variant Ebishu, Ebishum.
** Ammiditana is only a possible reading: others prefer Ammisatana. The Nar-Ammisatana is mentioned in a Sippar contract. Another contract is dated "the year in which Ammisatana, the king, repaired the canal of Samsuiluna."
*** This was, at first, read Ammididugga. Ammizadugga is mentioned in the date of a contract as having executed certain works -- of what nature it is not easy to say -- on the banks of the Tigris; another contract is dated "the year in which Ammizadugga, the king, by supreme command of Sha-mash, his master, [dug] the Ndr-Ammizadugga-nulchus-nishi (canal of Ammizadugga), prosperity of men." In the Minaean inscriptions of Southern Arabia the name is found under the form of Ammi-Zaduq.
**** Sometimes erroneously read Samdiusatana; but, as a matter of fact, we have contracts of that time, in which a royal name is plainly written as Samsusatana.
We should know nothing of these kings had not the scribes of those times been in the habit of dating the contracts of private individuals by reference to important national events. They appear to have chosen by preference incidents in the religious life of the country; as, for instance, the restoration of a temple, the annual enthronisation of one of the great divinities, such as Shamash, Merodach, Ishtar, or Nana, as the eponymous god of the current year, the celebration of a solemn festival, or the consecration of a statue; while a few scattered allusions to works of fortification show that meanwhile the defence of the country was jealously watched over.* These sovereigns appear to have enjoyed long reigns, the shortest extending over a period of five and twenty years; and when at length the death of any king occurred, he was immediately replaced by his son, the notaries' acts and the judicial documents which have come down to us betraying no confusion or abnormal delay in the course of affairs. We may, therefore, conclude that the last century and a half of the dynasty was a period of peace and of material prosperity. Chaldaea was thus enabled to fully reap the advantage of being united under the rule of one individual. It is quite possible that those cities -- Uru, Larsa, Ishin, Uruk, and Nippur -- which had played so important a part in the preceding centuries, suffered from the loss of their prestige, and from the blow dealt to their traditional pretensions.
* Samsuiluna repaired the five fortresses which his ancestor Sumulailu had built. Contract dated "the year in which Ammisatana, the king, built Dur-Ammisatana, near the Sin river," and "the year in which Ammisatana, the king, gave its name to Dur-Iskunsin, near the canal of
Up to this time they had claimed the privilege of controlling the history of their country, and they had bravely striven among themselves for the supremacy over the southern states; but the revolutions which had raised each in turn to the zenith of power, had never exalted any one of them to such an eminence as to deprive its rivals of all hope of supplanting it and of enjoying the highest place. The rise of Babylon destroyed the last chance which any of them had of ever becoming the capital; the new city was so favourably situated, and possessed so much wealth and so many soldiers, while its kings displayed such tenacious energy, that its neighbours were forced to bow before it and resign themselves to the subordinate position of leading provincial towns. They gave a loyal obedience to the officers sent them from the north, and sank gradually into obscurity, the loss of their political supremacy being somewhat compensated for by the religious respect in which they were always held. Their ancient divinities -- Nana, Sin, Anu, and Ra -- were adopted, if we may use the term, by the Babylonians, who claimed the protection of these gods as fully as they did that of Merodach or of Nebo, and prided themselves on amply supplying all their needs. As the inhabitants of Babylon had considerable resources at their disposal, their appeal to these deities might be regarded as productive of more substantial results than the appeal of a merely local kinglet. The increase of the national wealth and the concentration, under one head, of armies hitherto owning several chiefs, enabled the rulers, not of Babylon or Larsa alone, but of the whole of Chaldaea, to offer an invincible resistance to foreign enemies, and to establish their dominion in countries where their ancestors had enjoyed merely a precarious sovereignty. Hostilities never completely ceased between Elam and Babylon; if arrested for a time, they broke out again in some frontier disturbance, at times speedily suppressed, but at others entailing violent consequences and ending in a regular war. No document furnishes us with any detailed account of these outbreaks, but it would appear that the balance of power was maintained on the whole with tolerable regularity, both kingdoms at the close of each generation finding themselves in much the same position as they had occupied at its commencement. The two empires were separated from south to north by the sea and the Tigris, the frontier leaving the river near the present village of Amara and running in the direction of the mountains. Durilu probably fell ordinarily under Chaldaean jurisdiction. Umliyash was included in the original domain of Kham-murabi, and there is no reason to believe that it was evacuated by his descendants. There is every probability that they possessed the plain east of the Tigris, comprising Nineveh and Arbela, and that the majority of the civilized peoples scattered over the lower slopes of the Kurdish mountains rendered them homage. They kept the Mesopotamian table-land under their suzerainty, and we may affirm, without exaggeration, that their power extended northwards as far as Mount Masios, and westwards to the middle course of the Euphrates.
At what period the Chaldaeans first crossed that river is as yet unknown. Many of their rulers in their inscriptions claim the title of suzerains over Syria, and we have no evidence for denying their pretensions. Kudur-mabug proclaims himself "adda" of Martu, Lord of the countries of the West, and we are in the possession of several facts which suggest the idea of a great Blamite empire, with a dominion extending for some period over Western Asia, the existence of which was vaguely hinted at by the Greeks, who attributed its glory to the fabulous Memnon.* Contemporary records are still wanting which might show whether Kudur-mabug inherited these distant possessions from one of his predecessors -- such as Kudur-nakhunta, for instance -- or whether he won them himself at the point of the sword; but a fragment of an old chronicle, inserted in the Hebrew Scriptures, speaks distinctly of another Elamite, who made war in person almost up to the Egyptian frontier.** This is the Kudur-lagamar (Chedorlaomer) who helped Eimsin against Hammurabi, but was unable to prevent his overthrow.
* We know that to Herodotus (v.55) Susa was the city of Memnon, and that Strabo attributes its foundation to Tithonus, father of Memnon. According to Oppert, the word Memnon is the equivalent of the Susian Umman-anin, "the house of the king:" Weissbach declares that "anin" does not mean king, and contradicts Oppert's view, though he does not venture to suggest a new explanation of the name.
** Gen. xiv. Prom the outset Assyriologists have never doubted the historical accuracy of this chapter, and they have connected the facts which it contains with those which seem to be revealed by the Assyrian monuments. The two Rawlinsons intercalate Kudur-lagamar between Kudur-nakhunta and Kudur-mabug, and Oppert places him about the same period. Fr. Lenormant regards him as one of the successors of Kudur-mabug, possibly his immediate successor. G. Smith does not hesitate to declare positively that the Kudur-mabug and Kudur-nakhunta of the inscriptions are one and the same with the Kudur-lagamar (Chedor-laomer) of the Bible. Finally, Schrader, while he repudiates Smith's view, agrees in the main fact with the other Assyriologists. On the other hand, the majority of modern Biblical critics have
In the thirteenth year of his reign over the East, the cities of the Dead Sea -- Sodom, Gomorrah, Adamah, Zeboim, and Bela -- revolted against him: he immediately convoked his great vassals, Amraphel of Chaldaea, Arioch of Ellasar,* Tida'lo the Guti, and marched with them to the confines of his dominions. Tradition has invested many of the tribes then inhabiting Southern Syria with semi-mythical names and attributes. They are represented as being giants -- Rephalm; men of prodigious strength -- Zuzim; as having a buzzing and indistinct manner of speech -- Zamzummim; as formidable monsters** -- Emim or Anakim, before whom other nations appeared as grasshoppers;*** as the Horim who were encamped on the confines of the Sinaitic desert, and as the Amalekites who ranged over the mountains to the west of the Dead Sea. Kudur-lagamar defeated them one after another -- the Rephaim near to Ashtaroth-Karnaim, the Zuzim near Ham,**** the Amim at Shaveh-Kiriathaim, and the Horim on the spurs of Mount Seir as far as El-Paran; then retracing his footsteps, he entered the country of the Amalekites by way of En-mishpat, and pillaged the Amorites of Hazazon-Tamar.
* Ellasar has been identified with Larsa since the
** Sayce considers Zuzim and Zamzummim to be two readings of the same word Zamzum, written in cuneiform characters on the original document. The sounds represented, in the Hebrew alphabet, by the letters m and w, are expressed in the Chaldaean syllabary by the same character, and a Hebrew or Babylonian scribe, who had no other means of telling the true pronunciation of a race-name mentioned in the story of this campaign, would have been quite as much at a loss as any modern scholar to say whether he ought to transcribe the word as Z-m-z-m or as Z-w-z-vo; some scribes read it Zuzim, others preferred Zamzummim.
*** Numb. xiii.33.
**** In Deut. ii.20 it is stated that the Zamzummim lived in the country of Ammon. Sayce points out that we often find the variant Am for the character usually read Ham or Kham -- the name Khammurabi, for instance, is often found written Ammurabi; the Ham in the narrative of Genesis would, therefore, be identical with the land of Ammon in
In the mean time, the kings of the five towns had concentrated their troops in the vale of Siddim, and were there resolutely awaiting Kudur-lagamar. They were, however, completely routed, some of the fugitives being swallowed up in the pits of bitumen with which the soil abounded, while others with difficulty reached the mountains. Kudur-lagamar sacked Sodom and Gomorrah, re-established his dominion on all sides, and returned laden with booty, Hebrew tradition adding that he was overtaken near the sources of the Jordan by the patriarch Abraham.*
* An attempt has been made to identify the three vassals of Kudur-lagamar with kings mentioned on the Chaldaean monuments. Tidcal, or, if we adopt the Septuagint variant, Thorgal, has been considered by some as the bearer of a Sumorian name, Turgal= "great chief," "great son," while others put him on one side as not having been a Babylonian; Pinches, Sayce, and Hommel identify him with Tudkhula, an ally of Kudur-lagamar against Khammurabi. Schrader was the first to suggest that Amraphel was really Khammurabi, and emended the Amraphel of the biblical text into Amraphi or Amrabi, in order to support this identification. Halevy, while on the whole accepting this theory, derives the name from the pronunciation Kimtarapashtum or Kimtarapaltum, which he attributes to the name generally read Khammurabi, and in this he is partly supported by Hommel, who reads "Khammurapaltu."
After his victory over Kudur-lagamar, Khammurabi assumed the title of King of Martu,* which we find still borne by Ammisatana sixty years later.** We see repeated here almost exactly what took place in Ethiopia at the time of its conquest by Egypt: merchants had prepared the way for military occupation, and the civilization of Babylon had taken hold on the people long before its kings had become sufficiently powerful to claim them as vassals. The empire may be said to have been virtually established from the day when the states of the Middle and Lower Euphrates formed but one kingdom in the hands of a single ruler. We must not, however, imagine it to have been a compact territory, divided into provinces under military occupation, ruled by a uniform code of laws and statutes, and administered throughout by functionaries of various grades, who received their orders from Babylon or Susa, according as the chances of war favoured the ascendency of Chaldaea or Elam. It was in reality a motley assemblage of tribes and principalities, whose sole bond of union was subjection to a common yoke.
* It is, indeed, the sole title which he attributes to himself on a stone tablet now in the British Museum.
** In an inscription by this prince, copied probably about the time of Nabonidus by the scribe Belushallim, he is called "king of the vast land of Martu."
They were under obligation to pay tribute, and furnish military contingents and show other external marks of obedience, but their particular constitution, customs, and religion were alike respected: they had to purchase, at the cost of a periodical ransom, the right to live in their own country after their own fashion, and the head of the empire forbore all interference in their affairs, except in cases where the internecine quarrels and dissensions threatened the security of his suzerainty. Their subordination lasted as best it could, sometimes for a year or for ten years, at the end of which period they would neglect the obligations of their vassalage, or openly refuse to fulfil them: a revolt would then break out at one point or another, and it was necessary to suppress it without delay to prevent the bad example from spreading far and wide. The empire was maintained by perpetual re-conquests, and its extent varied with the energy shown by its chiefs, or with the resources which were for the moment available.
Separated from the confines of the empire by only a narrow isthmus, Egypt loomed on the horizon, and appeared to beckon to her rival. Her natural fertility, the industry of her inhabitants, the stores of gold and perfumes which she received from the heart of Ethiopia, were well known by the passage to and fro of her caravans, and the recollection of her treasures must have frequently provoked the envy of Asiatic courts. Egypt had, however, strangely declined from her former greatness, and the line of princes who governed her had little in common with the Pharaohs who had rendered her name so formidable under the XIIth dynasty. She was now under the rule of the Xoites, whose influence was probably confined to the Delta, and extended merely in name over the Said and Nubia. The feudal lords, ever ready to reassert their independence as soon as the central power waned, shared between them the possession of the Nile valley below Memphis: the princes of Thebes, who were probably descendants of Usirtasen, owned the largest fiefdom, and though some slight scruple may have prevented them from donning the pschent or placing their names within a cartouche, they assumed notwithstanding the plenitude of royal power. A favourable opportunity was therefore offered to an invader, and the Chaldaeans might have attacked with impunity a people thus divided among themselves.* They stopped short, however, at the southern frontier of Syria, or if they pushed further forward, it was without any important result: distance from head-quarters, or possibly reiterated attacks of the Elamites, prevented them from placing in the field an adequate force for such a momentous undertaking. What they had not dared to venture, others more audacious were to accomplish. At this juncture, so runs the Egyptian record, "there came to us a king named Timaios. Under this king, then, I know not wherefore, the god caused to blow upon us a baleful wind, and in the face of all probability bands from the East, people of ignoble race, came upon us unawares, attacked the country, and subdued it easily and without fighting."
* The theory that the divisions of Egypt, under the XIVth dynasty, and the discords between its feudatory princes, were one of the main causes of the success of the Shepherds, is now admitted to be correct.
It is possible that they owed this rapid victory to the presence in their armies of a factor hitherto unknown to the African -- the war-chariot -- and before the horse and his driver the Egyptians gave way in a body.* The invaders appeared as a cloud of locusts on the banks of the Nile. Towns and temples were alike pillaged, burnt, and ruined; they massacred all they could of the male population, reduced to slavery those of the women and children whose lives they spared, and then proclaimed as king Salatis, one of their chiefs.** He established a semblance of regular government, chose Memphis as his capital, and imposed a tax upon the vanquished. Two perils, however, immediately threatened the security of his triumph: in the south the Theban lords, taking matters into their own hands after the downfall of the Xoites, refused the oath of allegiance to Salatis, and organized an obstinate resistance;*** in the north he had to take measures to protect himself against an attack of the Chaldaeans or of the Elamites who were oppressing Chaldaea.****
* The horse was unknown, or at any rate had not been employed in. Egypt prior to the invasion; we find it, however, in general use immediately after the expulsion of the Shepherds, see the tomb of Pihiri. Moreover, all historians agree in admitting that it was introduced into the country under the rule of the Shepherds. The use of the war-chariot in Chaldaea at an epoch prior to the Hyksos invasion, is proved by a fragment of the Vulture Stele; it is therefore, natural to suppose that the Hyksos used the chariot in war, and that the rapidity of their conquest was due to it.
** The name Salatis (var. Saitos) seems to be derived from a Semitic word, Siialit = "the chief," "the governor;" this was the title which Joseph received when Pharaoh gave him authority over the whole of Egypt (Gen. xli.43). Salatis may not, therefore, have been the real name of the first Hyksos king, but his title, which the Egyptians
*** The text of Manetho speaks of taxes which he imposed on the high and low lands, which would seem to include the Thebaid in the kingdom; it is, however, stated in the next few pages that the successors of Salatis waged an incessant war against the Egyptians, which can only refer to
**** Manetho here speaks of Assyrians; this is an error which is to be explained by the imperfect state of
From the natives of the Delta, who were temporarily paralysed by their reverses, he had, for the moment, little to fear: restricting himself, therefore, to establishing forts at the strategic points in the Nile valley in order to keep the Thebans in check, he led the main body of his troops to the frontier on the isthmus. Pacific immigrations had already introduced Asiatic settlers into the Delta, and thus prepared the way for securing the supremacy of the new rulers; in the midst of these strangers, and on the ruins of the ancient town of Hawarit-Avaris, in the Sethro'ifce nome -- a place connected by tradition with the myth of Osiris and Typhon -- Salatis constructed an immense entrenched camp, capable of sheltering two hundred and forty thousand men. He visited it yearly to witness the military manoeuvres, to pay his soldiers, and to preside over the distribution of rations. This permanent garrison protected him from a Chaldaean invasion, a not unlikely event as long as Syria remained under the supremacy of the Babylonian kings; it furnished his successors also with an inexhaustible supply of trained soldiers, thus enabling them to complete the conquest of Lower Egypt. Years elapsed before the princes of the south would declare themselves vanquished, and five kings -- Anon, Apachnas, Apophis I., Iannas, and Asses -- passed their lifetime "in a perpetual warfare, desirous of tearing up Egypt to the very root." These Theban kings, who were continually under arms against the barbarians, were subsequently classed in a dynasty by themselves, the XVth of Manetho, but they at last succumbed to the invader, and Asses became master of the entire country. His successors in their turn formed a dynasty, the XVIth, the few remaining monuments of which are found scattered over the length and breadth of the valley from the shores of the Mediterranean to the rocks of the first cataract.
The Egyptians who witnessed the advent of this Asiatic people called them by the general term Amuu, Asiatics, or Monatiu, the men of the desert.* They had already given the Bedouin the opprobrious epithet of Shausu -- pillagers or robbers -- which aptly described them;** and they subsequently applied the same name to the intruders -- Hiq Shausu -- from which the Greeks derived their word Hyksos, or Hykoussos, for this people.***
* The meaning of the term Moniti was discovered by E. de Rouge, who translated it Shepherd, and applied it to the Hyksos; from thence it passed into the works of all the Egyptologists who concerned themselves with this question, but Shepherd has not been universally accepted as the meaning of the word. It is generally agreed that it was a generic term, indicating the races with which their conquerors were supposed to be connected, and not the particular term of which Manetho's word Hoiveves would be the literal translation.
** The name seems, in fact, to be derived from a word which meant "to rob," "to pillage." The name Shausu, Shosu, was not used by the Egyptians to indicate a particular race. It was used of all Bedouins, and in general of all the marauding tribes who infested the desert or the mountains. The Shausu most frequently referred to on the monuments are those from the desert between Egypt and Syria, but there is a reference, in the time of Ramses II., to those from the Lebanon and the valley of Orontes. Krall finds an allusion to them in a word (Shosim) in Judges ii.14, which is generally translated by a generic expression, "the
*** Manetho declares that the people were called Hyksos, from Syk, which means "king" in the sacred language, and sos, which means "shepherd" in the popular language. As a matter of fact, the word Hyku means "prince "in the classical language of Egypt, or, as Manetho styles it, the sacred language, i.e. in the idiom of the old religious, historical, and literary texts, which in later ages the populace no longer understood. Shos, on the contrary, belongs to the spoken language of the later time, and does not occur in the ancient inscriptions, so that Manetho's explanation is valueless; there is but one material fact to be retained from his evidence, and that is the name Hyk- Shos or Hyku-Shos given by its inventors to the alien kings. Cham-pollion and Rosellini were the first to identify these Shos with the Shausu whom they found represented on the monuments, and their opinion, adopted by some, seems to me an extremely plausible one: the Egyptians, at a given moment, bestowed the generic name of Shausu on these strangers, just as they had given those of Amuu and Manatiu. The texts or writers from whom Manetho drew his information evidently mentioned certain kings hyku-Shausu; other passages, or, the same passages wrongly interpreted, were applied to the race, and were rendered hyku-Shausu = "the prisoners taken from the Shausu," a substantive derived from the root haka = "to take" being substituted for the noun hyqu = "prince." Josephus declares, on the authority of Manetho, that some manuscripts actually suggested this derivation -- a fact which is easily explained by the custom of the Egyptian record offices. I may mention, in passing, that Mariette recognised in the element "Sos" an Egyptian word shos = "soldiers," and in the name of King Mirmashau, which he read Mirshosu, an equivalent of the title Hyq- Shosu.
But we are without any clue as to their real name, language, or origin. The writers of classical times were unable to come to an agreement on these questions: some confounded the Hyksos with the Phoenicians, others regarded them as Arabs.* Modern scholars have put forward at least a dozen contradictory hypotheses on the matter. The Hyksos have been asserted to have been Canaanites, Elamites, Hittites, Accadians, Scythians. The last opinion found great favour with the learned, as long as they could believe that the sphinxes discovered by Mariette represented Apophis or one of his predecessors. As a matter of fact, these monuments present all the characteristics of the Mongoloid type of countenance -- the small and slightly oblique eyes, the arched but somewhat flattened nose, the pronounced cheekbones and well-covered jaw, the salient chin and full lips slightly depressed at the corners.** These peculiarities are also observed in the three heads found at Damanhur, in the colossal torso dug up at Mit-Fares in the Fayum, in the twin figures of the Nile removed to the Bulaq Museum from Tanis, and upon the remains of a statue in the collection at the Villa Ludovisi in Rome. The same foreign type of face is also found to exist among the present inhabitants of the villages scattered over the eastern part of the Delta, particularly on the shores of Lake Menzaleh, and the conclusion was drawn that these people were the direct descendants of the Hyksos.
* Manetho takes them to be Phoenicians, but he adds that certain writers thought them to be Arabs: Brugsch favours this latter view, but the Arab legend of a conquest of Egypt by Sheddad and the Adites is of recent origin, and was inspired by traditions in regard to the Hyksos current during the Byzantine epoch; we cannot, therefore, allow it to influence us. We must wait before expressing a definite opinion in regard to the facts which Glaser believes he has obtained from the Minoan inscriptions which date from the time of the Hyksos.
** Mariette, who was the first to describe these curious monuments, recognised in them all the incontestable characteristics of a Semitic type, and the correctness of his view was, at first, universally admitted. Later on Hamy imagined that he could distinguish traces of Mongolian influences, and Er. Lenormant, and then Mariette himself came round to this view; it has recently been supported in England by Flower, and in Germany by Virchow.
This theory was abandoned, however, when it was ascertained that the sphinxes of San had been carved, many centuries before the invasion, for Amenemhait III., a king of the XIIth dynasty. In spite of the facts we possess, the problem therefore still remains unsolved, and the origin of the Hyksos is as mysterious as ever. We gather, however, that the third millennium before our era was repeatedly disturbed by considerable migratory movements. The expeditions far afield of Elamite and Chaldaean princes could not have taken place without seriously perturbing the regions over which they passed. They must have encountered by the way many nomadic or unsettled tribes whom a slight shock would easily displace. An impulse once given, it needed but little to accelerate or increase the movement: a collision with one horde reacted on its neighbours, who either displaced or carried others with them, and the whole multitude, gathering momentum as they went, were precipitated in the direction first given.*
* The Hyksos invasion has been regarded as a natural result of the Elamite conquest.
A tradition, picked up by Herodotus on his travels, relates that the Phoenicians had originally peopled the eastern and southern shores of the Persian Gulf;* it was also said that Indathyrses, a Scythian king, had victoriously scoured the whole of Asia, and had penetrated as far as Egypt.** Either of these invasions may have been the cause of the Syrian migration. In. comparison with the meagre information which has come down to us under the form of legends, it is provoking to think how much actual fact has been lost, a tithe of which would explain the cause of the movement and the mode of its execution. The least improbable hypothesis is that which attributes the appearance of the Shepherds about the XXIIIrd century B.C., to the arrival in Naharaim of those Khati who subsequently fought so obstinately against the armies both of the Pharaohs and the Ninevite kings. They descended from the mountain region in which the Halys and the Euphrates take their rise, and if the bulk of them proceeded no further than the valleys of the Taurus and the Amanos, some at least must have pushed forward as far as the provinces on the western shores of the Dead Sea. The most adventurous among them, reinforced by the Canaanites and other tribes who had joined them on their southward course, crossed the isthmus of Suez, and finding a people weakened by discord, experienced no difficulty in replacing the native dynasties by their own barbarian chiefs.***
* It was to the exodus of this race, in the last analysis, that the invasion of the shepherds may be attributed
** A certain number of commentators are of opinion that the wars attributed to Indathyrses have been confounded with what Herodotus tells of the exploits of Madyes, and are nothing more than a distorted remembrance of the great Scythian invasion which took place in the latter half of the VIIth century B.C.
*** At the present time, those scholars who admit the Turanian origin of the Hyksos are of opinion that only the nucleus of the race, the royal tribe, was composed of Mongols, while the main body consisted of elements of all kinds -- Canaanitish, or, more generally, Semitic.
[Illustration: 079.jpg PALLATE OF HYKSOS SCRIBE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by M. de Mertons. It is the palette of a scribe, now in the Berlin Museum, and given by King Apopi II Ausirri to a scribe named Atu.
Both their name and origin were doubtless well known to the Egyptians, but the latter nevertheless disdained to apply to them any term but that of "she-mau,"* strangers, and in referring to them used the same vague appellations which they applied to the Bedouin of the Sinaitic peninsula, -- Monatiu, the shepherds, or Satiu, the archers. They succeeded in hiding the original name of their conquerors so thoroughly, that in the end they themselves forgot it, and kept the secret of it from posterity.
The remembrance of the cruelties with which the invaders sullied their conquest lived long after them; it still stirred the anger of Manetho after a lapse of twenty centuries.** The victors were known as the "Plagues" or "Pests," and every possible crime and impiety was attributed to them.
* The term shamamil, variant of sliemau, is applied to them by Queen Hatshopsitu: the same term is employed shortly afterward by Thutmosis III., to indicate the enemies whom he had defeated at Megiddo.
** He speaks of them in contemptuous terms as men of ignoble race. The epithet Aiti, Iaiti, Iaditi, was applied to the Nubians by the writer of the inscription of Ahmosi- si-Abina, and to the Shepherds of the Delta by the author of the Sallier Papyrus. Brugsch explained it as "the rebels," or "disturbers," and Goodwin translated it "invaders"; Chabas rendered it by "plague-stricken," an interpretation which was in closer conformity with its etymological meaning, and Groff pointed out that the malady called Ait, or Adit in Egyptian, is the malignant fever still frequently to be met with at the present day in the marshy cantons of the Delta, and furnished the proper rendering, which is "The Fever-stricken."
[Illustration: 080.jpg A HYKSOS PRISONER GUIDING THE PLOUGH, AT EL-KAB]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger.
But the brutalities attending the invasion once past, the invaders soon lost their barbarity and became rapidly civilized. Those of them stationed in the encampment at Avaris retained the military qualities and characteristic energy of their race; the remainder became assimilated to their new compatriots, and were soon recognisable merely by their long hair, thick beard, and marked features. Their sovereigns seemed to have realised from the first that it was more to their interest to exploit the country than to pillage it; as, however, none of them was competent to understand the intricacies of the treasury, they were forced to retain the services of the majority of the scribes, who had managed the public accounts under the native kings.* Once schooled to the new state of affairs, they readily adopted the refinements of civilized life.
* The same thing took place on every occasion when Egypt was conquered by an alien race: the Persian Achaemenians and Greeks made use of the native employes, as did the Romans after them; and lastly, the Mussulmans, Arabs, and Turks.
The court of the Pharaohs, with its pomp and its usual assemblage of officials, both great and small, was revived around the person of the new sovereign;* the titles of the Amenemhaits and the Usirtasens, adapted to these "princes of foreign lands,"** legitimatised them as descendants of Horus and sons of the Sun.*** They respected the local religions, and went so far as to favour those of the gods whose attributes appeared to connect them with some of their own barbarous divinities. The chief deity of their worship was Baal, the lord of all,**** a cruel and savage warrior; his resemblance to Sit, the brother and enemy of Osiris, was so marked, that he was identified with the Egyptian deity, with the emphatic additional title of Sutkhu, the Great Sit.^
* The narrative of the Sallier Papyrus, No.1, shows us the civil and military chiefs collected round the Shepherd- king Apopi, and escorting him in the solemn processions in honour of the gods. They are followed by the scribes and magicians, who give him advice on important occasions.
** Hiqu Situ: this is the title of Abisha at Beni-Hassan, which is also assumed by Khiani on several small monuments; Steindorff has attempted to connect it with the name of the Hyksos.
*** The preamble of the two or three Shepherd-kings of whom we know anything, contains the two cartouches, the special titles, and the names of Horus, which formed part of the title of the kings of pure Egyptian race; thus Apophis IL is proclaimed to be the living Horus, who joins the two earths in peace, the good god, Aqnunri, son of the Sun, Apopi, who lives for ever, on the statues of Mirmashau, which he had appropriated, and on the pink granite table of offerings in the Gizeh Museum.
**** The name of Baal, transcribed Baalu, is found on that of a certain Petebaalu, "the Gift of Baal," who must have flourished in the time of the last shepherd-kings, or rather under the Theban kings of the XVIIth dynasty, who were their contemporaries, whose conclusions have been adopted by Brugsch.
^ Sutikhu, Sutkhu, are lengthened forms of Sutu, or Situ; and Chabas, who had at first denied the existence of the final Jehu, afterwards himself supplied the philological arguments which proved the correctness of the reading: he rightly refused, however, to recognise in Sutikhu or Sutkhu -- the name of the conquerors' god -- a transliteration of the Phoenician Sydyk, and would only see in it that of the nearest Egyptian deity. This view is now accepted as the right one, and Sutkhu is regarded as the indigenous equivalent of the great Asiatic god, elsewhere called Baal, or supreme lord. [Professor Petrie found a scarab bearing the cartouche of "Sutekh" Apepi I. at Koptos. -- Te.]
He was usually represented as a fully armed warrior, wearing a helmet of circular form, ornamented with two plumes; but he also borrowed the emblematic animal of Sit, the fennec, and the winged griffin which haunted the deserts of the Thebaid. His temples were erected in the cities of the Delta, side by side with the sanctuaries of the feudal gods, both at Bubastis and at Tanis. Tanis, now made the capital, reopened its palaces, and acquired a fresh impetus from the royal presence within its walls. Apophis Aq-nunri, one of its kings, dedicated several tables of offerings in that city, and engraved his cartouches upon the sphinxes and standing colossi of the Pharaohs of the XIIth and XIIIth dynasties.
[Illustration: 082.jpg TABLE OF OFFERINGS BEARING THE NAME OF APOTI AQNUNRI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by E. Brugsch.
[Illustration: 083.jpg Page Image]
He was, however, honest enough to leave the inscriptions of his predecessors intact, and not to appropriate to himself the credit of works belonging to the Amenemhaits or to Mirmashau. Khiani, who is possibly the Iannas of Manetho, was not, however, so easily satisfied.* The statue bearing his inscription, of which the lower part was discovered by Naville at Bubastis, appears to have been really carved for himself or for one of his contemporaries. It is a work possessing no originality, though of very commendable execution, such as would render it acceptable to any museum; the artist who conceived it took 'his inspiration with considerable cleverness from the best examples turned out by the schools of the Delta under the Sovkhotpfts and the Nofirhotpus. But a small grey granite lion, also of the reign of Khiani, which by a strange fate had found its way to Bagdad, does not raise our estimation of the modelling of animals in the Hyksos period.
* Naville, who reads the name Rayan or Yanra, thinks that this prince must be the Annas or Iannas mentioned by Manetho as being one of the six shepherd-kings of the XVth dynasty. Mr. Petrie proposed to read Khian, Khiani, and the fragment discovered at Gebelein confirms this reading, as well as a certain number of cylinders and scarabs. Mr. Petrie prefers to place this Pharaoh in the VIIIth dynasty, and makes him one of the leaders in the foreign occupation to which he supposes Egypt to have submitted at that time; but it is almost certain that he ought to be placed among the Hyksos of the XVIth dynasty. The name Khiani, more correctly Khiyani or Kheyani, is connected by Tomkins, and Hilprecht with that of a certain Khayanu or Khayan, son of Gabbar, who reigned in Amanos in the time of Salmanasar II., King of Assyria.
[Illustration: 084.jpg BROKEN STATUE OF KHIANI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Naville.
It is heavy in form, and the muzzle in no way recalls the fine profile of the lions executed by the sculptors of earlier times. The pursuit of science and the culture of learning appear to have been more successfully perpetuated than the fine arts; a treatise on mathematics, of which a copy has come down to us, would seem to have been recopied, if not remodelled, in the twenty-second year of Apophis IL Ausirri. If we only possessed more monuments or documents treating of this period, we should doubtless perceive that their sojourn on the banks of the Nile was instrumental in causing a speedy change in the appearance and character of the Hyksos. The strangers retained to a certain extent their coarse countenances and rude manners: they showed no aptitude for tilling the soil or sowing grain, but delighted in the marshy expanses of the Delta, where they gave themselves up to a semi-savage life of hunting and of tending cattle. The nobles among them, clothed and schooled after the Egyptian fashion, and holding fiefs, or positions at court, differed but little from the native feudal chiefs. We see here a case of what generally happens when a horde of barbarians settles down in a highly organised country which by a stroke of fortune they may have conquered; as soon as the Hyksos had taken complete possession of Egypt, Egypt in her turn took possession of them, and those who survived the enervating effect of her civilization were all but transformed into Egyptians.
If, in the time of the native Pharaohs, Asiatic tribes had been drawn towards Egypt, where they were treated as subjects or almost as slaves, the attraction which she possessed for them must have increased in intensity under the shepherds. They would now find the country in the hands of men of the same races as themselves -- Egyptianised, it is true, but not to such an extent as to have completely lost their own language and the knowledge of their own extraction. Such immigrants were the more readily welcomed, since there lurked a feeling among the Hyksos that it was necessary to strengthen themselves against the slumbering hostility of the indigenous population. The royal palace must have more than once opened its gates to Asiatic counsellors and favourites. Canaanites and Bedouin must often have been enlisted for the camp at Avaris. Invasions, famines, civil wars, all seem to have conspired to drive into Egypt not only isolated individuals, but whole families and tribes. That of the Beni-Israel, or Israelites, who entered the country about this time, has since acquired a unique position in the world's history. They belonged to that family of Semitic extraction which we know by the monuments and tradition to have been scattered in ancient times along the western shores of the Persian Gulf and on the banks of the Euphrates. Those situated nearest to Chaldaea and to the sea probably led a settled existence; they cultivated the soil, they employed themselves in commerce and industries, their vessels -- from Dilmun, from Magan, and from Milukhkha -- coasted from one place to another, and made their way to the cities of Sumer and Accad. They had been civilized from very early times, and some of their towns were situated on islands, so as to be protected from sudden incursions. Other tribes of the same family occupied the interior of the continent; they lived in tents, and delighted in the unsettled life of nomads. There appeared to be in this distant corner of Arabia an inexhaustible reserve of population, which periodically overflowed its borders and spread over the world. It was from this very region that we see the Kashdim, the true Chaldaeans, issuing ready armed for combat, -- a people whose name was subsequently used to denote several tribes settled between the lower waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates. It was there, among the marshes on either side of these rivers, that the Aramoans established their first settlements after quitting the desert. There also the oldest legends of the race placed the cradle of the Phoenicians; it was even believed, about the time of Alexander, that the earliest ruins attributable to this people had been discovered on the Bahrein Islands, the largest of which, Tylos and Arados, bore names resembling the two great ports of Tyre and Arvad. We are indebted to tradition for the cause of their emigration and the route by which they reached the Mediterranean. The occurrence of violent earthquakes forced them to leave their home; they travelled as far as the Lake of Syria, where they halted for some time; then resuming their march, did not rest till they had reached the sea, where they founded Sidon. The question arises as to the position of the Lake of Syria on whose shores they rested, some believing it to be the Bahr-i-Nedjif and the environs of Babylon; others, the Lake of Bambykes near the Euphrates, the emigrants doubtless having followed up the course of that river, and having approached the country of their destination on its north-eastern frontier. Another theory would seek to identify the lake with the waters of Merom, the Lake of Galilee, or the Dead Sea; in this case the horde must have crossed the neck of the Arabian peninsula, from the Euphrates to the Jordan, through one of those long valleys, sprinkled with oases, which afforded an occasional route for caravans.* Several writers assure us that the Phoenician tradition of this exodus was misunderstood by Herodotus, and that the sea which they remembered on reaching Tyre was not the Persian Gulf, but the Dead Sea. If this had been the case, they need not have hesitated to assign their departure to causes mentioned in other documents. The Bible tells us that, soon after the invasion of Kudur-lagamar, the anger of God being kindled by the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, He resolved to destroy the five cities situated in the valley of Siddim. A cloud of burning brimstone broke over them and consumed them; when the fumes and smoke, as "of a furnace," had passed away, the very site of the towns had disappeared.** Previous to their destruction, the lake into which the Jordan empties itself had had but a restricted area: the subsidence of the southern plain, which had been occupied by the impious cities, doubled the size of the lake, and enlarged it to its present dimensions. The earthquake which caused the Phoenicians to leave their ancestral home may have been the result of this cataclysm, and the sea on whose shores they sojourned would thus be our Dead Sea.
* They would thus have arrived at the shores of Lake Merom, or at the shores either of the Dead Sea or of the Lake of Gennesareth; the Arab traditions speak of an itinerary which would have led the emigrants across the desert, but they possess no historic value is so far as these early epochs are concerned.
** Gen. xix.24-29; the whole of this episode belongs to the Jehovistic narrative.
One fact, however, appears to be certain in the midst of many hypotheses, and that is that the Phoenicians had their origin in the regions bordering on the Persian Gulf. It is useless to attempt, with the inadequate materials as yet in our possession, to determine by what route they reached the Syrian coast, though we may perhaps conjecture the period of their arrival. Herodotus asserts that the Tyrians placed the date of the foundation of their principal temple two thousand three hundred years before the time of his visit, and the erection of a sanctuary for their national deity would probably take place very soon after their settlement at Tyre: this would bring their arrival there to about the XXVIIIth century before our era. The Elamite and Babylonian conquests would therefore have found the Phoenicians already established in the country, and would have had appreciable effect upon them.
The question now arises whether the Beni-Israel belonged to the group of tribes which included the Phoenicians, or whether they were of Chaldaean race. Their national traditions leave no doubt upon that point. They are regarded as belonging to an important race, which we find dispersed over the country of Padan-Aram, in Northern Mesopotamia, near the base of Mount Masios, and extending on both sides of the Euphrates.*
* The country of Padan-Aram is situated between the Euphrates and the upper reaches of the Khabur, on both sides of the Balikh, and is usually explained as the "plain" or "table-land" of Aram, though the etymology is not certain; the word seems to be preserved in that of Tell-Faddan, near Harran.
Their earliest chiefs bore the names of towns or of peoples, -- N akhor, Peleg, and Serug:* all were descendants of Arphaxad,** and it was related that Terakh, the direct ancestor of the Israelites, had dwelt in Ur-Kashdim, the Ur or Uru of the Chaldaeans.*** He is said to have had three sons -- Abraham, Nakhor, and Haran. Haran begat Lot, but died before his father in Ur-Kashdim, his own country; Abraham and Nakhor both took wives, but Abraham's wife remained a long time barren. Then Terakh, with his son Abraham, his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarah,**** went forth from Ur-Kashdim (Ur of the Chaldees) to go into the land of Canaan.
* Nakhor has been associated with the ancient village of Khaura, or with the ancient village of Haditha-en-Naura, to the south of Anah; Peleg probably corresponds with Phalga or Phaliga, which was situated at the mouth of the Khabur; Serug with the present Sarudj in the neighbourhood of Edessa, and the other names in the genealogy were probably borrowed from as many different localities.
** The site of Arphaxad is doubtful, as is also its meaning: its second element is undoubtedly the name of the Chaldaeans, but the first is interpreted in several ways -- "frontier of the Chaldaeans," "domain of the Chaldaeans." The similarity of sound was the cause of its being for a long time associated with the Arrapakhitis of classical times; the tendency is now to recognise in it the country nearest to the ancient domain of the Chaldaeans, i.e. Babylonia proper.
*** Ur-Kashdim has long been sought for in the north, either at Orfa, in accordance with the tradition of the Syrian Churches still existing in the East, or in a certain Ur of Mesopotamia, placed by Ammianus Marcellinus between Nisibis and the Tigris; at the present day Halevy still looks for it on the Syrian bank of the Euphrates, to the south-east of Thapsacus. Rawlin-son's proposal to identify it with the town of Uru has been successively accepted by nearly all Assyriologists. Sayce remarks that the worship of Sin, which was common to both towns, established a natural link between them, and that an inhabitant of Uru would have felt more at home in Harran than in any other town.
**** The names of Sarah and Abraham, or rather the earlier form, Abram, have been found, the latter under the form Abiramu, in the contracts of the first Chaldaean empire.
And they came unto Kharan, and dwelt there, and Terakh died in Kharan.* It is a question whether Kharan is to be identified with Harran in Mesopotamia, the city of the god Sin; or, which is more probable, with the Syrian town of Hauran, in the neighbourhood of Damascus. The tribes who crossed the Euphrates became subsequently a somewhat important people. They called themselves, or were known by others, as the 'Ibrim, or Hebrews, the people from beyond the river;** and this appellation, which we are accustomed to apply to the children of Israel only, embraced also, at the time when the term was most extended, the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Ishmaelites, Midianites, and many other tribes settled on the borders of the desert to the east and south of the Dead Sea.
* Gen. xi.27-32. In the opinion of most critics, verses 27, 31 32 form part of the document which was the basis of the various narratives still traceable in the Bible; it is thought that the remaining verses bear the marks of a later redaction, or that they may be additions of a later date. The most important part of the text, that relating the migration from Ur-Kashdim to Kharan, belongs, therefore, to the very oldest part of the national tradition, and may be regarded as expressing the knowledge which the Hebrews of the times of the Kings possessed concerning the origin of their race.
** The most ancient interpretation identified this nameless river with the Euphrates; an identification still admitted by most critics; others prefer to recognise it as being the Jordan. Halevy prefers to identify it with one of the rivers of Damascus, probably the Abana.
These peoples all traced their descent from Abraham, the son of Terakh, but the children of Israel claimed the privilege of being the only legitimate issue of his marriage with Sarah, giving naive or derogatory accounts of the relations which connected the others with their common ancestor; Ammon and Moab were, for instance, the issue of the incestuous union of Lot and his daughters. Midian and his sons were descended from Keturah, who was merely a concubine, Ishmael was the son of an Egyptian slave, while the "hairy" Esau had sold his birthright and the primacy of the Edomites to his brother Jacob, and consequently to the Israelites, for a dish of lentils. Abraham left Kharan at the command of Jahveh, his God, receiving from Him a promise that his posterity should be blessed above all others. Abraham pursued his way into the heart of Canaan till he reached Shechem, and there, under the oaks of Moreh, Jahveh, appearing to him a second time, announced to him that He would give the whole land to his posterity as an inheritance. Abraham virtually took possession of it, and wandered over it with his flocks, building altars at Shechem, Bethel, and Mamre, the places where God had revealed Himself to him, treating as his equals the native chiefs, Abimelech of Gerar and Melchizedek of Jerusalem,* and granting the valley of the Jordan as a place of pasturage to his nephew Lot, whose flocks had increased immensely.** His nomadic instinct having led him into Egypt, he was here robbed of his wife by Pharaoh.***
* Cf. the meeting with Melchizedek after the victory over the Elamites (Gen. xiv.18-20) and the agreement with Abimelech about the well (Gen. xxi.22-34). The mention of the covenant of Abraham with Abimelech belongs to the oldest part of the national tradition, and is given to us in the Jehovistic narrative. Many critics have questioned the historical existence of Melchizedek, and believed that the passage in which he is mentioned is merely a kind of parable intended to show the head of the race paying tithe of the spoil to the priest of the supreme God residing at
** Gen. xiii.1-13. Lot has been sometimes connected of late with the people called on the Egyptian monuments Rotanu, or Lotanu, whom we shall have occasion to mention frequently further on: he is supposed to have been their eponymous hero. Lotan, which is the name of an Edomite clan, (Gen. xxxvi.20, 29), is a racial adjective, derived from Lot.
*** Gen. xii.9-20, xiii.1. Abraham's visit to Egypt reproduces the principal events of that of Jacob.
[Illustration: 093.jpg THE TRADITIONAL OAK OF ABRAHAM AT HEBRON]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph brought home by Lortet.
On his return he purchased the field of Ephron, near Kirjath-Arba, and the cave of Machpelah, of which he made a burying-place for his family* Kirjath-Arba, the Hebron of subsequent times, became from henceforward his favourite dwelling-place, and he was residing there when the Elamites invaded the valley of Siddim, and carried off Lot among their prisoners.
* Gen. xiii.18, xxiii. (Elohistic narrative). The tombs of the patriarchs are believed by the Mohammedans to exist to the present day in the cave which is situated within the enclosure of the mosque at Hebron, and the tradition on which this belief is based goes back to early Christian times.
Abraham set out in pursuit of them, and succeeded in delivering his nephew.* God (Jahveh) not only favoured him on every occasion, but expressed His will to extend over Abraham's descendants His sheltering protection. He made a covenant with him, enjoining the use on the occasion of the mysterious rites employed among the nations when effecting a treaty of peace. Abraham offered up as victims a heifer, a goat, and a three-year-old ram, together with a turtle-dove and a young pigeon; he cut the animals into pieces, and piling them in two heaps, waited till the evening. "And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham; and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him," and a voice from on high said to him: "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.... And it came to pass, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces." Jahveh sealed the covenant by consuming the offering.
* Gen. xiv.12-24.2 Gen. xv., Jehovistic narrative.
Two less important figures fill the interval between the Divine prediction of servitude and its accomplishment. The birth of one of them, Isaac, was ascribed to the Divine intervention at a period when Sarah had given up all hope of becoming a mother. Abraham was sitting at his tent door in the heat of the day, when three men presented themselves before him, whom he invited to repose under the oak while he prepared to offer them hospitality. After their meal, he who seemed to be the chief of the three promised to return within a year, when Sarah should be blessed with the possession of a son. The announcement came from Jahveh, but Sarah was ignorant of the fact, and laughed to herself within the tent on hearing this amazing prediction; for she said, "After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" The child was born, however, and was called Isaac, "the laugher," in remembrance of Sarah's mocking laugh.* There is a remarkable resemblance between his life and that of his father.** Like Abraham he dwelt near Hebron,*** and departing thence wandered with his household round the wells of Beersheba. Like him he was threatened with the loss of his wife.
* Gen. xviii.1-16, according to the Jehovistic narrative. Gen. xvii.15-22 gives another account, in which the Elohistic writer predicts the birth of Isaac in a different way. The name of Isaac, "the laugher," possibly abridged from Isaak-el, "he on whom God smiles," is explained in three different ways: first, by the laugh of Abraham (ch. xvii.17); secondly, by that of Sarah (xviii.12) when her son's birth was foretold to her; and lastly, by the laughter of those who made sport of the delayed maternity of Sarah (xxi.6).
** Many critics see in the life of Isaac a colourless copy of that of Abraham, while others, on the contrary, consider that the primitive episodes belonged to the former, and that the parallel portions of the two lives were borrowed from the biography of the son to augment that of his father.
*** Gen. xxxv.27, Elohistic narrative.
Like him, also, he renewed relations with Abimelech of Gerar.* He married his relative Rebecca, the granddaughter of Nakhor and the sister of Laban.** After twenty years of barrenness, his wife gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob, who contended with each other from their mother's womb, and whose descendants kept up a perpetual feud. We know how Esau, under the influence of his appetite, deprived himself of the privileges of his birthright, and subsequently went forth to become the founder of the Edomites. Jacob spent a portion of his youth in Padan-Aram; here he served Laban for the hands of his cousins Rachel and Leah; then, owing to the bad faith of his uncle, he left him secretly, after twenty years' service, taking with him his wives and innumerable flocks. At first he wandered aimlessly along the eastern bank of the Jordan, where Jahveh revealed Himself to him in his troubles. Laban pursued and overtook him, and, acknowledging his own injustice, pardoned him for having taken flight. Jacob raised a heap of stones on the site of their encounter, known at Mizpah to after-ages as the "Stone of Witness " -- G-al-Ed (Galeed).*** This having been accomplished, his difficulties began with his brother Esau, who bore him no good will.
* Gen. xxvi.1 -- 31, Jehovistic narrative. In Gen. xxv.11 an Elohistic interpolation makes Isaac also dwell in the south, near to the "Well of the Living One Who seeth me."
** Gen. xxiv., where two narratives appear to have been amalgamated; in the second of these, Abraham seems to have played no part, and Eliezer apparently conducted Rebecca direct to her husband Isaac (vers.61-67).
*** Gen. xxxi.45-54, where the writer evidently traces the origin of the word Gilead to Gal-Ed. We gather from the context that the narrative was connected with the cairn at Mizpah which separated the Hebrew from the Aramaean speaking peoples.
One night, at the ford of the Jabbok, when he had fallen behind his companions, "there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day," without prevailing against him. The stranger endeavoured to escape before daybreak, but only succeeded in doing so at the cost of giving Jacob his blessing. "What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Jacob called the place Peniel, "for," said he, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." The hollow of his thigh was "strained as he wrestled with him," and he became permanently lame.* Immediately after the struggle he met Esau, and endeavoured to appease him by his humility, building a house for him, and providing booths for his cattle, so as to secure for his descendants the possession of the land. From this circumstance the place received the name of Succoth -- the "Booths " -- by which appellation it was henceforth known. Another locality where Jahveh had met Jacob while he was pitching his tents, derived from this fact the designation of the "Two Hosts" -- Mahanaim.** On the other side of the river, at Shechem,*** at Bethel,**** and at Hebron, near to the burial-place of his family, traces of him are everywhere to be found blent with those of Abraham.
* Gen. xxxii.22-32. This is the account of the Jehovistic writer. The Elohist gives a different version of the circumstances which led to the change of name from Jacob to Israel; he places the scene at Bethel, and suggests no precise etymology for the name Israel (Gen. xxxv.9-15).
** Gen. xxxii.2, 3, where the theophany is indicated rather than directly stated.
*** Gen. xxxiii.18-20. Here should be placed the episode of Dinah seduced by an Amorite prince, and the consequent massacre of the inhabitants by Simeon and Levi (Gen. xxxiv.). The almost complete dispersion of the two tribes of Simeon and Levi is attributed to this massacre: cf. Gen. xlix.5-7.
**** Gen. xxxv.1-15, where is found the Elohistic version (9-15) of the circumstances which led to the change of name from Jacob to Israel.
By his two wives and their maids he had twelve sons. Leah was the mother of Keuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zabulon; Gad. and Asher were the children of his slave Zilpah; while Joseph and Benjamin were the only sons of Rachel -- Dan and Naphtali being the offspring of her servant Bilhah. The preference which his father showed to him caused Joseph to be hated by his brothers; they sold him to a caravan of Midianites on their way to Egypt, and persuaded Jacob that a wild beast had devoured him. Jahveh was, however, with Joseph, and "made all that he did to prosper in his hand." He was bought by Potiphar, a great Egyptian lord and captain of Pharaoh's guard, who made him his overseer; his master's wife, however, "cast her eyes upon Joseph," but finding that he rejected her shameless advances, she accused him of having offered violence to her person. Being cast into prison, he astonished his companions in misfortune by his skill in reading dreams, and was summoned to Court to interpret to the king his dream of the seven lean kine who had devoured the seven fat kine, which he did by representing the latter as seven years of abundance, of which the crops should be swallowed up by seven years of famine. Joseph was thereupon raised by Pharaoh to the rank of prime minister. He stored up the surplus of the abundant harvests, and as soon as the famine broke out, distributed the corn to the hunger-stricken people in exchange for their silver and gold, and for their flocks and fields. Hence it was,that the whole of the Nile valley, with the exception of the lands belonging to the priests, gradually passed into the possession of the royal treasury. Meanwhile his brethren, who also suffered from the famine, came down into Egypt to buy corn. Joseph revealed himself to them, pardoned the wrong they had done him, and presented them to the Pharaoh. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan: and take your father and your household, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land." Jacob thereupon raised his camp and came to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac; and Jahveh commanded him to go down into Egypt, saying, "I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt: and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes." The whole family were installed by Pharaoh in the province of Goshen, as far as possible from the centres of the native population, "for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians."
In the midst of these stern yet touching narratives in which the Hebrews of the times of the Kings delighted to trace the history of their remote ancestors, one important fact arrests our attention: the Beni-Israel quitted Southern Syria and settled on the banks of the Nile. They had remained for a considerable time in what was known later as the mountains of Judah. Hebron had served as their rallying-point; the broad but scantily watered wadys separating the cultivated lands from the desert, were to them a patrimony, which they shared with the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns. Every year, in the spring, they led their flocks to browse on the thin herbage growing in the bottoms of the valleys, removing them to another district only when the supply of fodder was exhausted. The women span, wove, fashioned garments, baked bread, cooked the viands, and devoted themselves to the care of the younger children, whom they suckled beyond the usual period. The men lived like the Bedouin -- periods of activity alternating regularly with times of idleness, and the daily routine, with its simple duties and casual work, often gave place to quarrels for the possession of some rich pasturage or some never-failing well.
A comparatively ancient tradition relates that the Hebrews arrived in Egypt during the reign of Aphobis, a Hyksos king, doubtless one of the Apopi, and possibly the monarch who restored the monuments of the Theban Pharaohs, and engraved his name on the sphinxes of Amenemhait III. and on the colossi of Mirmashau.* The land which the Hebrews obtained is that which, down to the present day, is most frequently visited by nomads, who find there an uncertain hospitality.
* The year XVII. of Apophis has been pointed out as the date of their arrival, and this combination, probably proposed by some learned Jew of Alexandria, was adopted by Christian chroniclers. It is unsupported by any fact of Egyptian history, but it rests on a series of calculations founded on the information contained in the Bible. Starting from the assumption that the Exodus must have taken place under Ahmosis, and that the children of Israel had been four hundred and thirty years on the banks of the Nile, it was found that the beginning of their sojourn fell under the reign of the Apophis mentioned by Josephus, and, to be still more correct, in the XVIIth year of that prince.
The tribes of the isthmus of Suez are now, in fact, constantly shifting from one continent to another, and their encampments in any place are merely temporary. The lord of the soil must, if he desire to keep them within his borders, treat them with the greatest prudence and tact. Should the government displease them in any way, or appear to curtail their liberty, they pack up their tents and take flight into the desert. The district occupied by them one day is on the next vacated and left to desolation. Probably the same state of things existed in ancient times, and the border nomes on the east of the Delta were in turn inhabited or deserted by the Bedouin of the period. The towns were few in number, but a series of forts protected the frontier. These were mere village-strongholds perched on the summit of some eminence, and surrounded by a strip of cornland. Beyond the frontier extended a region of bare rock, or a wide plain saturated with the ill-regulated surplus water of the inundation. The land of Goshen was bounded by the cities of Heliopolis on the south, Bubastis on the west, and Tanis and Mendes on the north: the garrison at Avaris could easily keep watch over it and maintain order within it, while they could at the same time defend it from the incursions of the Monatiu and the Hiru-Shaitu.*
* Goshen comprised the provinces situated on the borders of the cultivable cornland, and watered by the infiltration of the Nile, which caused the growth of a vegetation sufficient to support the flocks during a few weeks; and it may also have included the imperfectly irrigated provinces which were covered with pools and reedy swamps after each inundation.
The Beni-Israel throve in these surroundings so well adapted to their traditional tastes. Even if their subsequent importance as a nation has been over-estimated, they did not at least share the fate of many foreign tribes, who, when transplanted into Egypt, waned and died out, or, at the end of two or three generations, became merged in the native population.* In pursuing their calling as shepherds, almost within sight of the rich cities of the Nile valley, they never forsook the God of their fathers to bow down before the Enneads or Triads of Egypt; whether He was already known to them as Jahveh, or was worshipped under the collective name of Elohim, they served Him with almost unbroken fidelity even in the presence of Ra and Osiris, of Phtah and Sutkhu.
* We are told that when the Hebrews left Ramses, they were "about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks and herds, even very much cattle" (Exod. xii.37, 38).
The Hyksos conquest had not in any way modified the feudal system of the country. The Shepherd-kings must have inherited the royal domain just as they found it at the close of the XIVth dynasty, but doubtless the whole Delta, from Avaris to Sais, and from Memphis to Buto, was their personal appanage. Their direct authority probably extended no further south than the pyramids, and their supremacy over the fiefs of the Said was at best precarious. The turbulent lords who shared among them the possession of the valley had never lost their proud or rebellious spirit, and under the foreign as under the native Pharaohs regulated their obedience to their ruler by the energy he displayed, or by their regard for the resources at his disposal. Thebes had never completely lost the ascendency which it obtained over them at the fall of the Memphite dynasty. The accession of the Xoite dynasty, and the arrival of the Shepherd-kings, in relegating Thebes unceremoniously to a second rank, had not discouraged it, or lowered its royal prestige in its own eyes or in those of others: the lords of the south instinctively rallied around it, as around their natural citadel, and their resources, combined with its own, rendered it as formidable a power as that of the masters of the Delta. If we had fuller information as to the history of this period, we should doubtless see that the various Theban princes took occasion, as in the Heracleopolitan epoch, to pick a quarrel with their sovereign lord, and did not allow themselves to be discouraged by any check.*
* The length of time during which Egypt was subject to Asiatic rule is not fully known. Historians are agreed in recognizing the three epochs referred to in the narrative of Manetho as corresponding with (1) the conquest and the six first Hyksos kings, including the XVth Theban dynasty; (2) the complete submission of Egypt to the XVIth foreign dynasty; (3) the war of independence during the XVIIth dynasty, which consisted of two parallel series of kings, the one Shepherds (Pharaohs), the other Thebans. There has been considerable discussion as to the duration of the oppression. The best solution is still that given by Erman, according to whom the XVth dynasty lasted 284, the XVIth 234, and the XVIIth 143 years, or, in all, 661 years. The invasion must, therefore, have taken place about 2346 B.C., or about the time when the Elamite power was at its highest. The advent of the XVIth dynasty would fall about 2062 B.C., and the commencement of the war of independence between 1730 and 1720 B.C.
The period of hegemony attributed by the chronicles to the Hyksos of the XVIth dynasty was not probably, as far as they were concerned, years of perfect tranquillity, or of undisputed authority. In inscribing their sole names on the lists, the compilers denoted merely the shorter or longer period during which their Theban vassals failed in their rebellious efforts, and did not dare to assume openly the title or ensigns of royalty. A certain Apophis, probably the same who took the prsenomen of Aqnunri, was reigning at Tanis when the decisive revolt broke out, and Saqnunri Tiuaa I., who was the leader on the occasion, had no other title of authority over the provinces of the south than that of hiqu, or regent. We are unacquainted with the cause of the outbreak or with its sequel, and the Egyptians themselves seem to have been not much better informed on the subject than ourselves. They gave free flight to their fancy, and accommodated the details to their taste, not shrinking from the introduction of daring fictions into the account. A romance, which was very popular with the literati four or five hundred years later, asserted that the real cause of the war was a kind of religious quarrel. "It happened that the land of Egypt belonged to the Fever-stricken, and, as there was no supreme king at that time, it happened then that King Saqnunri was regent of the city of the south, and that the Fever-stricken of the city of Ra were under the rule of Ra-Apopi in Avaris. The Whole Land tribute to the latter in manufactured products, and the north did the same in all the good things of the Delta. Now, the King Ra-Apopi took to himself Sutkhu for lord, and he did not serve any other god in the Whole Land except Sutkhu, and he built a temple of excellent and everlasting work at the gate of the King Ra-Apopi, and he arose every morning to sacrifice the daily victims, and the chief vassals were there with garlands of flowers, as it was accustomed to be done for the temple of Phra-Harmakhis." Having finished the temple, he thought of imposing upon the Thebans the cult of his god, but as he shrank from employing force in such a delicate matter, he had recourse to stratagem. He took counsel with his princes and generals, but they were unable to propose any plan. The college of diviners and scribes was more complaisant: "Let a messenger go to the regent of the city of the South to tell him: The King Ra-Apopi commands thee: 'That the hippopotami which are in the pool of the town are to be exterminated in the pool, in order that slumber may come to me by day and by night.' He will not be able to reply good or bad, and thou shalt send him another messenger: The King Ra-Apopi commands thee: 'If the chief of the South does not reply to my message, let him serve no longer any god but Sutkhu. But if he replies to it, and will do that which I tell him to do, then I will impose nothing further upon him, and I will not in future bow before any other god of the Whole Land than Amonra, king of the gods!'" Another Pharaoh of popular romance, Nectanebo, possessed, at a much later date, mares which conceived at the neighing of the stallions of Babylon, and his friend Lycerus had a cat which went forth every night to wring the necks of the cocks of Memphis:* the hippopotami of the Theban lake, which troubled the rest of the King of Tanis, were evidently of close kin to these extraordinary animals.
* Found in a popular story, which came in later times to be associated with the traditions connected with AEsop.
The sequel is unfortunately lost. We may assume, however, without much risk of error, that Saqnunri came forth safe and sound from the ordeal; that Apopi was taken in his own trap, and saw himself driven to the dire extremity of giving up Sutkhu for Amonra or of declaring war. He was likely to adopt the latter alternative, and the end of the manuscript would probably have related his defeat.
[Illustration: 106.jpg PALLATE OF Tiuaa]
Drawn from the original by Faucher-Gudin.
Hostilities continued for a century and a half from the time when Saqnunri Tiuaa declared himself son of the Sun and king of the two Egypts. From the moment in which he surrounded his name with a cartouche, the princes of the Said threw in their lot with him, and the XVIIth dynasty had its beginning on the day of his proclamation. The strife at first was undecisive and without marked advantage to either side: at length the Pharaoh whom the Greek copyists of Manetho call Alisphragmouthosis, defeated the barbarians, drove them away from Memphis and from the western plains of the Delta, and shut them up in their entrenched camp at Avaris, between the Sebennytic branch of the Nile and the Wady Tumilat. The monuments bearing on this period of strife and misery are few in number, and it is a fortunate circumstance if some insignificant object tarns up which would elsewhere be passed over as unworthy of notice. One of the officials of Tiuaa I. has left us his writing palette, on which the cartouches of his master are incised with a rudeness baffling description.
We have also information of a prince of the blood, a king's son, Tuau, who accompanied this same Pharaoh in his expeditions; and the Gizeh Museum is proud of having in its possession the i wooden sabre which this individual placed on the mummy of a certain Aqhoru, to enable him to defend himself against the monsters of the lower world. A second Saqnunri Tiuaa succeeded the first, and like him was buried in a little brick pyramid on the border of the Theban necropolis. At his death the series of rulers was broken, and we meet with several names which are difficult to classify -- Sakhontinibri, Sanakhtu-niri, Hotpuri, Manhotpuri, Eahotpu.*
* Hotpuri and Manhotpuri are both mentioned in the fragments of a fantastic story (copied during the XXth dynasty), bits of which are found in most European museums. In one of these fragments, preserved in the Louvre, mention is made of Hotpuri's tomb, certainly situated at Thebes; we possess scarabs of this king, and Petrie discovered at Coptos a fragment of a stele bearing his name and titles, and describing the works which he executed in the temples of the town. The XIVth year of Manhotpuri is mentioned in a passage of the story as being the date of the death of a personage born under Hotpuri. These two kings belong, as far as we are able to judge, to the middle of the XVIIth dynasty; I am inclined to place beside them the Pharaoh Nubhotpuri, of whom we possess a few rather coarse scarabs.
As we proceed, however, information becomes more plentiful, and the list of reigns almost complete. The part which the princesses of older times played in the transmission of power had, from the XIIth dynasty downward, considerably increased in importance, and threatened to overshadow that of the princes. The question presents itself whether, during these centuries of perpetual warfare, there had not been a moment when, all the males of the family having perished, the women alone were left to perpetuate the solar race on the earth and to keep the succession unbroken. As soon as the veil over this period of history begins to be lifted, we distinguish among the personages emerging from the obscurity as many queens as kings presiding over the destinies of Egypt. The sons took precedence of the daughters when both were the offspring of a brother and sister born of the same parents, and when, consequently, they were of equal rank; but, on the other hand, the sons forfeited this equality when there was any inferiority in origin on the maternal side, and their prospect of succession to the throne diminished in proportion to their mother's remoteness from the line of Ra. In the latter case all their sisters, born of marriages which to us appear incestuous, took precedence of them, and the eldest daughter became the legitimate Pharaoh, who sat in the seat of Horus on the death of her father, or even occasionally during his lifetime. The prince whom she married governed for her, and discharged those royal duties which could be legally performed by a man only, -- such as offering worship to the supreme gods, commanding the army, and administering justice; but his wife never ceased to be sovereign, and however small the intelligence or firmness of which she might be possessed, her husband was obliged to leave to her, at all events on certain occasions, the direction of affairs.
[Illustration: 109.jpg NOFRITARI, FROM TUE WOODEN STATUETTE IN THE TURIN MUSEUM]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Plinders Petrie.
At her death her children inherited the crown: their father had formally to invest the eldest of them with royal, authority in the room of the deceased, and with him he shared the externals, if not the reality, of power.* It is doubtful whether the third Saq-nunri Tiuaa known to us -- he who added an epithet to his name, and was commonly known as Tiuaqni, "Tiuaa the brave"** -- united in his person all the requisites of a Pharaoh qualified to reign in his own right. However this may have been, at all events his wife, Queen Ahhotpu, possessed them.
* Thus we find Thutmosis I. formally enthroning his daughter Hat-shopsitu, towards the close of his reign.
** It would seem that the epithet Qeni ( = the brave, the robust) did not form an indispensable part of his name, any more than Ahmosi did of the names of members of the family of Ahmosis, the conqueror of the Shepherds. It is to him that the Tiuaa cartouche refers, which is to be found on the statue mentioned by Daninos-Pasha, published by Bouriant, and on which we find Ahmosis, a princess of the same name, together with Queen Ahhotpu I.
His eldest son Ahmosu died prematurely; the two younger brothers, Kamosu and a second Ahmosu, the Amosis of the Greeks, assumed the crown after him. It is possible, as frequently happened, that their young sister Ahmasi-Nofritari entered the harem of both brothers consecutively.
[Illustration: 110.jpg THE HEAD OF SAQNURI]
Drawn by Bouclier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
We cannot be sure that she was united to Kamosu, but at all events she became the wife of Ahmosis, and the rights which she possessed, together with those which her husband had inherited from their mother Ahhotpu, gave him a legal claim such as was seldom enjoyed by the Pharaohs of that period, so many of them being sovereigns merely de facto, while he was doubly king by right.
Tiuaqni, Kamosu,* and Ahmosis** quickly succeeded each other. Tiuaqni very probably waged war against the Shepherds, and it is not known whether he fell upon the field of battle or was the victim of some plot; the appearance of his mummy proves that he died a violent death when about forty years of age. Two or three men, whether assassins or soldiers, must have surrounded and despatched him before help was available. A blow from an axe must have severed part of his left cheek, exposed the teeth, fractured the jaw, and sent him senseless to the ground; another blow must have seriously injured the skull, and a dagger or javelin has cut open the forehead on the right side, a little above the eye. His body must have remained lying where it fell for some time: when found, decomposition had set in, and the embalming had to be hastily performed as best it might. The hair is thick, rough, and matted; the face had been shaved on the morning of his death, but by touching the cheek we can ascertain how harsh and abundant the hair must have been. The mummy is that of a fine, vigorous man, who might have lived to a hundred years, and he must have defended himself resolutely against his assailants; his features bear even now an expression of fury. A flattened patch of exuded brain appears above one eye, the forehead is wrinkled, and the lips, which are drawn back in a circle about the gums, reveal the teeth still biting into the tongue. Kamosu did not reign long;'we know nothing of the events of his life, but we owe to him one of the prettiest examples of the Egyptian goldsmith's art -- the gold boat mounted on a carriage of wood and bronze, which was to convey his double on its journeys through Hades. This boat was afterwards appropriated by his mother Ahhotpu.
* With regard to Kamosu, we possess, in addition to the miniature bark which was discovered on the sarcophagus of Queen Ahhotpu, and which is now in the museum at Gizeh, a few scattered references to his worship existing on the monuments, on a stele at Gizeh, on a table of offerings in the Marseilles Museum, and in the list of princes worshipped by the "servants of the Necropolis." His pyramid was at Drah- Abu'l-Neggah, beside those of Iluaa and Amenothes I.
** The name Amosu or Ahmosi is usually translated "Child of the Moon-god" the real meaning is, "the Moon-god has brought forth," "him" or "her" (referring to the person who bears the name) being understood.
Ahmosisa must have been about twenty-five years of age when he ascended the throne; he was of medium height, as his body when mummied measured only 5 feet 6 inches in length, but the development of the neck and chest indicates extraordinary strength. The head is small in proportion to the bust, the forehead low and narrow, the cheek-bones project, and the hair is thick and wavy. The face exactly resembles that of Tiuacrai, and the likeness alone would proclaim the affinity, even if we were ignorant of the close relationship which united these two Pharaohs.* Ahmosis seems to have been a strong, active, warlike man; he was successful in all the wars in which we know him to have been engaged, and he ousted the Shepherds from the last towns occupied by them. It is possible that modern writers have exaggerated the credit due to Ahmosis for expelling the Hyksos. He found the task already half accomplished, and the warfare of his forefathers for at least a century must have prepared the way for his success; if he appears to have played the most important role in the history of the deliverance, it is owing to our ignorance of the work of others, and he thus benefits by the oblivion into which their deeds have passed. Taking this into consideration, we must still admit that the Shepherds, even when driven into Avaris, were not adversaries to be despised. Forced by the continual pressure of the Egyptian armies into this corner of the Delta, they were as a compact body the more able to make a protracted resistance against very superior forces.
* Here again my description is taken from the present appearance of the mummy, which is now in the Gizeh Museum. It is evident, from the inspection which I have made, that Ahmosis was about fifty years old at the time of his death, and, allowing him to have reigned twenty-five years, he must have been twenty-five or twenty-six when he came to the throne.
[Illustration: 113.jpg THE SMALL GOLD VOTIVE BARQUE OF PHARAOH KAMOSU, IN THE GIZEH MUSEUM.]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The impenetrable marshes of Menzaleh on the north, and the desert of the Red Sea on the south, completely covered both their wings; the shifting network of the branches of the Nile, together with the artificial canals, protected them as by a series of moats in front, while Syria in their rear offered them inexhaustible resources for revictualling their troops, or levying recruits among tribes of kindred race. As long as they could hold their ground there, a re-invasion was always possible; one victory would bring them to Memphis, and the whole valley would again fall under then-suzerainty. Ahmosis, by driving them from their last stronghold, averted this danger. It is, therefore, not without reason that the official chroniclers of later times separated him from his ancestors and made him the head of a new dynasty.
[Illustration: 114.jpg Page Image]
His predecessors had in reality been merely Pharaohs on sufferance, ruling in the south within the confines of their Theban principality, gaining in power, it is true, with every generation, but never able to attain to the suzerainty of the whole country. They were reckoned in the XVIIth dynasty together with the Hyksos sovereigns of uncontested legitimacy, while their successors were chosen to constitute the XVIIIth, comprising Pharaohs with full powers, tolerating no competitors, and uniting under their firm rule the two regions of which Egypt was composed -- the possessions of Sit and the possessions of Horus.*
* Manetho, or his abridgers, call the king who drove out the Shepherds Amosis or Tethmosis. Lepsius thought he saw grounds for preferring the second reading, and identified this Tethmosis with Thutmosi Manakhpirri, the ihutmosis III. of our lists; Ahmosis could only have driven out the greater part of the nation. This theory, to which Naville still adheres, as also does Stindorff, was disputed nearly fifty years ago by E. de Rouge; nowadays we are obliged to admit that, subsequent to the Vth year of Ahmosis, there were no longer Shepherd-kings in Egypt, even though a part of the conquering race may have remained in the country in a state of slavery, as we shall soon have occasion to observe.
The war of deliverance broke out on the accession of Ahmosis, and continued during the first five years of his reign.* One of his lieutenants, the king's namesake -- Ahmosi-si-Abina -- who belonged to the family of the lords of Nekhabit, has left us an account, in one of the inscriptions in his tomb, of the numerous exploits in which he took part side by side with his royal master, and thus, thanks to this fortunate record of his vanity, we are not left in complete ignorance of the events which took place during this crucial struggle between the Asiatic settlers and their former subjects. Nekhabit had enjoyed considerable prosperity in the earlier ages of Egyptian history, marking as it did the extreme southern limit of the kingdom, and forming an outpost against the barbarous tribes of Nubia. As soon as the progress of conquest had pushed the frontier as far south as the first cataract, it declined in importance, and the remembrance of its former greatness found an echo only in proverbial expressions or in titles used at the Pharaonic court.* The nomes situated to the south of Thebes, unlike those of Middle Egypt, did not comprise any extensive fertile or well-watered territory calculated to enrich its possessors or to afford sufficient support for a large population: they consisted of long strips of alluvial soil, shut in between the river and the mountain range, but above the level of the inundation, and consequently difficult to irrigate.
* This is evident from passage in the biography of Ahmosi- si-Abina, where it is stated that, after the taking of Avaris, the king passed into Asia in the year VI. The first few lines of the Great Inscription of El-Kab seem to refer to four successive campaigns, i.e. four years of warfare up to the taking of Avaris, and to a fifth year spent in pursuing the Shepherds into Syria.
** The vulture of Nekhabit is used to indicate the south, while the urseus of Buto denotes the extreme north; the title Ra-Nekhnit, "Chief of Nekhnit," which is,
[Illustration: 116.jpg THE WALLS OF EL-KAB SEEN FROM THE TOMB OF PIHIRI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
[Illustration: 116a.jpg COLLECTION OF VASES] MODELLED AND PAINTED IN THE GRAND TEMPLE. PHILAE ISLAND.
These nomes were cultivated, moreover, by a poor and sparse population. It needed a fortuitous combination of circumstances to relieve them from their poverty-stricken condition -- either a war, which would bring into prominence their strategic positions; or the establishment of markets, such as those of Syene and Elephantine, where the commerce of neighbouring regions would naturally centre; or the erection, as at Ombos or Adfu, of a temple which would periodically attract a crowd of pilgrims. The principality of the Two Feathers comprised, besides Nekhabit, at least two such towns -- Anit, on its northern boundary, and Nekhnit almost facing Nekhabit on the left bank of the river.* These three towns sometimes formed separate estates for as many independent lords:** even when united they constituted a fiefdom of but restricted area and of slender revenues, its chiefs ranking below those of the great feudal princes of Middle Egypt. The rulers of this fiefdom led an obscure existence during the whole period of the Memphite empire, and when at length Thebes gained the ascendency, they rallied to the latter and acknowledged her suzerainty. One of them, Sovkunakhiti, gained the favour of Sovkhotpu III. Sakhemuaztauiri, who granted him lands which made the fortune of his house; another of them, Ai, married Khonsu, one of the daughters of Sovkumsauf I. and his Queen Nubkhas, and it is possible that the misshapen pyramid of Qulah, the most southern in Egypt proper, was built for one of these royally connected personages.
* Nekhnit is the Hieraconpolis of Greek and Roman times, Hait-Bauku, the modern name of which is Kom-el-Ahmar.
** Pihiri was, therefore, prince of Nekhabit and of Anit at one and the same time, whereas the town of Nekhnit had its own special rulers, several of whom are known to us from the tombs at Kom-el-Ahmar.
The descendants of Ai attached themselves faithfully to the Pharaohs of the XVIIth dynasty, and helped them to the utmost in their struggle against the invaders. Their capital, Nekhabit, was situated between the Nile and the Arabian chain, at the entrance to a valley which penetrates some distance into the desert, and leads to the gold-mines on the Red Sea. The town profited considerably from the precious metals brought into it by the caravans, and also from the extraction of natron, which from prehistoric times was largely employed in embalming. It had been a fortified place from the outset, and its walls, carefully repaired by successive ages, were still intact at the beginning of this century. They described at this time a rough quadrilateral, the two longer sides of which measured some 1900 feet in length, the two shorter being about one-fourth less. The southern face was constructed in a fashion common in brick buildings in Egypt, being divided into alternate panels of horizontally laid courses, and those in which the courses were concave; on the north and west facades the bricks were so laid as to present an undulating arrangement running uninterruptedly from one end to the other. The walls are 33 feet thick, and their average height 27 feet; broad and easy steps lead to the foot-walk on the top. The gates are unsymmetrically placed, there being one on the north, east, and west sides respectively; while the southern side is left without an opening. These walls afforded protection to a dense but unequally distributed population, the bulk of which was housed towards the north and west sides, where the remains of an immense number of dwellings may still be seen. The temples were crowded together in a small square enclosure, concentric with the walls of the enceinte, and the principal sanctuary was dedicated to Nekhabit, the vulture goddess, who gave her name to the city.* This enclosure formed a kind of citadel, where the garrison could hold out when the outer part had fallen into the enemy's hands. The times were troublous; the open country was repeatedly wasted by war, and the peasantry had more than once to seek shelter behind the protecting ramparts of the town, leaving their lands to lie fallow.
* A part of the latter temple, that which had been rebuilt in the Saite epoch, was still standing at the beginning of the XIXth century, with columns bearing the cartouches of Hakori; it was destroyed about the year 1825, and
[Illustration: 119.jpg THE RUINS OF THE PYRAMID OF QULAH, NEAR MOHAMMERIEH]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch- Bey.
Famine constantly resulted from these disturbances, and it taxed all the powers of the ruling prince to provide at such times for his people. A chief of the Commissariat, Bebi by name, who lived about this period, gives us a lengthy account of the number of loaves, oxen, goats, and pigs, which he allowed to all the inhabitants both great and little, down even to the quantity of oil and incense, which he had taken care to store up for them: his prudence was always justified by the issue, for "during the many years in which the famine recurred, he distributed grain in the city to all those who hungered."
Babai, the first of the lords of El-Kab whose name has come down to us, was a captain in the service of Saqnunri Tiuaqni.* His son Ahmosi, having approached the end of his career, cut a tomb for himself in the hill which overlooks the northern side of the town. He relates on the walls of his sepulchre, for the benefit of posterity, the most praiseworthy actions of his long life. He had scarcely emerged from childhood when he was called upon to act for his father, and before his marriage he was appointed to the command of the barque The Calf. From thence he was promoted to the ship The North, and on account of his activity he was chosen to escort his namesake the king on foot, whenever he drove in his chariot. He repaired to his post at the moment when the decisive war against the Hyksos broke out.
* There are still some doubts as to the descent of this Ahmosi. Some authorities hold that Babai was the name of his father and Abina that of his grandfather; others think that Babai was his father and Abina his mother; others, again, make out Babai and Abina to be variants of the same name, probably a Semitic one, borne by the father of Ahmosi; the majority of modern Egyptologists (including myself) regard this last hypothesis as being the most probable one.
The tradition current in the time of the Ptolemies reckoned the number of men under the command of King Ahmosis when he encamped before Avaris at 480,000. This immense multitude failed to bring matters to a successful issue, and the siege dragged on indefinitely. The king afc length preferred to treat with the Shepherds, and gave them permission to retreat into Syria safe and sound, together with their wives, their children, and all their goods. This account, however, in no way agrees with the all too brief narration of events furnished by the inscription in the tomb. The army to which Egypt really owed its deliverance was not the undisciplined rabble of later tradition, but, on the contrary, consisted of troops similar to those which subsequently invaded Syria, some 15,000 to 20,000 in number, fully equipped and ably officered, supported, moreover, by a fleet ready to transfer them across the canals and arms of the river in a vigorous condition and ready for the battle.*
* It may be pointed out that Ahmosi, son of Abina, was a sailor and a leader of sailors; that he passed from one vessel to another, until he was at length appointed to the command of one of the most important ships in the royal fleet. Transport by water always played considerable part in the wars which were carried on in Egyptian territory; I have elsewhere drawn attention to campaigns conducted in this manner under the Horacleopolitan dynasties, and we shall see that the Ethiopian conquerors adopted the same mode of transit in the course of their invasion of Egypt.
As soon as this fleet arrived at the scene of hostilities, the engagement began. Ahmosi-si-Abina conducted the manouvres under the king's eye, and soon gave such evidence of his capacity, that he was transferred by royal favour to the Rising in Memphis -- a vessel with a high freeboard. He was shortly afterwards appointed to a post in a division told off for duty on the river Zadiku, which ran under the walls of the enemy's fortress.* Two successive and vigorous attacks made in this quarter were barren of important results. Ahmosi-si-Abina succeeded in each of the attacks in killing an enemy, bringing back as trophies a hand of each of his victims, and his prowess, made known to the king by one of the heralds, twice procured for him, "the gold of valour," probably in the form of collars, chains, or bracelets.**
* The name of this canal was first recognised by Brugsch, then misunderstood and translated "the water bearing the name of the water of Avaris." It is now road "Zadiku," and, with the Egyptian article, Pa-zadiku, or Pzadiku. The name is of Semitic origin, and is derived from the root meaning "to be just;" we do not know to which of the watercourses traversing the east of the Delta it ought to be applied.
** The fact that the attacks from this side were not successful is proved by the sequel. If they had succeeded, as is usually supposed, the Egyptians would not have fallen back on another point further south in order to renew the struggle.
[Illustration: 122.jpg THE TOMBS OF THE PRINCES OF NEKHABIT, IN THE HILLSIDE ABOVE EL-KAB]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The assault having been repulsed in this quarter, the Egyptians made their way towards the south, and came into conflict with the enemy at the village of Taqimit.* Here, again, the battle remained undecided, but Ahmosi-si-Abina had an adventure. He had taken a prisoner, and in bringing him back lost himself, fell into a muddy ditch, and, when he had freed himself from the dirt as well as he could, pursued his way by mistake for some time in the direction of Avaris. He found out his error, however, before it was too late, came back to the camp safe and sound, and received once more some gold as a reward of his brave conduct. A second attack upon the town was crowned with complete success; it was taken by storm, given over to pillage, and Ahmosi-si-Abina succeeded in capturing one man and three women, who were afterwards, at the distribution of the spoil, given to him as slaves.** The enemy evacuated in haste the last strongholds which they held in the east of the Delta, and took refuge in the Syrian provinces on the Egyptian frontier. Whether it was that they assumed here a menacing attitude, or whether Ahmosis hoped to deal them a crushing blow before they could find time to breathe, or to rally around them sufficient forces to renew the offensive, he made up his mind to cross the frontier, which he did in the 5th year of his reign.
* The site of Taqimit is unknown.
** The prisoner who was given to Ahmosis after the victory, is probably Paamu, the Asiatic, mentioned in the list of his slaves which he had engraved on one of the walls of his tomb.
It was the first time for centuries that a Pharaoh had trusted himself in Asia, and the same dread of the unknown which had restrained his ancestors of the XIIth dynasty, doubtless arrested Ahmosis also on the threshold of the continent. He did not penetrate further than the border provinces of Zahi, situated on the edge of the desert, and contented himself with pillaging the little town of Sharuhana.* Ahmosi-si-Abina was again his companion, together with his cousin, Ahmosi-Pannekhabit, then at the beginning of his career, who brought away on this occasion two young girls for his household.**
* Sharuhana, which is mentioned again under Thutmosis III. is not the plain of Sharon, as Birch imagined, but the Sharuhen of the Biblical texts, in the tribe of Simeon (Josh. xix.6), as Brugsch recognised it to be. It is probably identical with the modern Tell-esh-Sheriah, which lies north-west of Beersheba.
** Ahmosi Pannekhabit lay in tomb No.2, at El-Kab. His history is briefly told on one of the walls, and on two sides of the pedestal of his statues. We have one of these, or rather two plates from the pedestal of one of them, in the Louvre; the other is in a good state of preservation, and belongs to Mr. Finlay. The inscription is found in a mutilated condition on the wall of the tomb, but the three monuments which have come down to us are sufficiently complementary to one another to enable us to restore nearly the whole of the original text.
The expedition having accomplished its purpose, the Egyptians returned home with their spoil, and did not revisit Asia for a long period. If the Hyksos generals had fostered in their minds the idea that they could recover their lost ground, and easily re-enter upon the possession of their African domain, this reverse must have cruelly disillusioned them. They must have been forced to acknowledge that their power was at an end, and to renounce all hope of returning to the country which had so summarily ejected them. The majority of their own people did not follow them into exile, but remained attached to the soil on which they lived, and the tribes which had successively settled down beside them -- including the Beni-Israel themselves -- no longer dreamed of a return to their fatherland. The condition of these people varied according to their locality. Those who had taken up a position in the plain of the Delta were subjected to actual slavery. Ahmosis destroyed the camp at Avails, quartered his officers in the towns, and constructed forts at strategic points, or rebuilt the ancient citadels to resist the incursions of the Bedouin. The vanquished people in the Delta, hemmed in as they were by a network of fortresses, were thus reduced to a rabble of serfs, to be taxed and subjected to the corvee without mercy. But further north, the fluctuating population which roamed between the Sebennytic and Pelusiac branches of the Nile were not exposed to such rough treatment. The marshes of the coast-line afforded them a safe retreat, in which they could take refuge at the first threat of exactions on the part of the royal emissaries. Secure within dense thickets, upon islands approached by interminable causeways, often covered with water, or by long tortuous canals concealed in the thick growth of reeds, they were able to defy with impunity the efforts of the most disciplined troops, and treason alone could put them at the mercy of their foes. Most of the Pharaohs felt that the advantages to be gained by conquering them would be outweighed by the difficulty of the enterprise; all that could result from a campaign would be the destruction of one or two villages, the acquisition of a few hundred refractory captives, of some ill-favoured cattle, and a trophy of nets and worm-eaten boats. The kings, therefore, preferred to keep a close watch over these undisciplined hordes, and as long as their depredations were kept within reasonable limits, they were left unmolested to their wild and precarious life.
The Asiatic invasion had put a sudden stop to the advance of Egyptian rule in the vast plains of the Upper Nile. The Theban princes, to whom Nubia was directly subject, had been too completely engrossed in the wars against their hereditary enemy, to devote much time to the continuation of that work of colonization in the south which had been carried on so vigorously by their forefathers of the XIIth and XIIIth dynasties. The inhabitants of the Nile valley, as far as the second cataract, rendered them obedience, but without any change in the conditions and mode of their daily life, which appear to have remained unaltered for centuries. The temples of Usirtasen and Amenemhait were allowed to fall into decay one after another, the towns waned in prosperity, and were unable to keep their buildings and monuments in repair; the inundation continued to bring with it periodically its fleet of boats, which the sailors of Kush had laden with timber, gum, elephants' tusks, and gold dust: from time to time a band of Bedouin from Uauait or Mazaiu would suddenly bear down upon some village and carry off its spoils; the nearest garrison would be called to its aid, or, on critical occasions, the king himself, at the head of his guards, would fall on the marauders and drive them back into the mountains. Ahrnosis, being greeted on his return from Syria by the news of such an outbreak, thought it a favourable moment to impress upon the nomadic tribes of Nubia the greatness of his conquest. On this occasion it was the people of Khonthanunofir, settled in the wadys east of the Nile, above Semneh, which required a lesson. The army which had just expelled the Hyksos was rapidly conveyed to the opposite borders of the country by the fleet, the two Ahmosi of Nekhabit occupying the highest posts. The Egyptians, as was customary, landed at the nearest point to the enemy's territory, and succeeded in killing a few of the rebels. Ahmosi-si-Abina brought back two prisoners and three hands, for which he was rewarded by a gift of two female Bedouin slaves, besides the "gold of valour." This victory in the south following on such decisive success in the north, filled the heart of the Pharaoh with pride, and the view taken of it by those who surrounded him is evident even in the brief sentences of the narrative. He is described as descending the river on the royal galley, elated in spirit and flushed by his triumph in Nubia, which had followed so closely on the deliverance of the Delta. But scarcely had he reached Thebes, when an unforeseen catastrophe turned his confidence into alarm, and compelled him to retrace his steps. It would appear that at the very moment when he was priding himself on the successful issue of his Ethiopian expedition, one of the sudden outbreaks, which frequently occurred in those regions, had culminated in a Sudanese invasion of Egypt. We are not told the name of the rebel leader, nor those of the tribes who took part in it. The Egyptian people, threatened in a moment of such apparent security by this inroad of barbarians, regarded them as a fresh incursion of the Hyksos, and applied to these southerners the opprobrious term of "Fever-stricken," already used to denote their Asiatic conquerors. The enemy descended the Nile, committing terrible atrocities, and polluting every sanctuary of the Theban gods which came within their reach. They had reached a spot called Tentoa,* before they fell in with the Egyptian troops. Ahmosi-si-Abina again distinguished himself in the engagement. The vessel which he commanded, probably the Rising in Memphis, ran alongside the chief galliot of the Sudanese fleet, and took possession of it after a struggle, in which Ahmosi made two of the enemy's sailors prisoners with his own hand. The king generously rewarded those whose valour had thus turned the day in his favour, for the danger had appeared to him critical; he allotted to every man on board the victorious vessel five slaves, and five ancra of land situated in his native province of each respectively. The invasion was not without its natural consequences to Egypt itself.
* The name of this locality does not occur elsewhere; it would seem to refer, not to a village, but rather to a canal, or the branch of a river, or a harbour somewhere along the Nile. I am unable to locate it definitely, but am inclined to think we ought to look for it, if not in Egypt itself, at any rate in that part of Nubia which is nearest to Egypt. M. Revillout, taking up a theory which had been abandoned by Chabas, recognising in this expedition an offensive incursion of the Shepherds, suggests that Tantoa may be the modern Tantah in the Delta.
A certain Titianu, who appears to have been at the head of a powerful faction, rose in rebellion at some place not named in the narrative, but in the rear of the army. The rapidity with which Ahmosis repulsed the Nubians, and turned upon his new enemy, completely baffled the latter's plans, and he and his followers were cut to pieces, but the danger had for the moment been serious.* It was, if not the last expedition undertaken in this reign, at least the last commanded by the Pharaoh in person. By his activity and courage Ahmosis had well earned the right to pass the remainder of his days in peace.
* The wording of the text is so much condensed that it is difficult to be sure of its moaning. Modern scholars agree with Brugsch that Titianu is the name of a man, but several Egyptologists believe its bearer to have been chief of the Ethiopian tribes, while others think him to have been a rebellious Egyptian prince, or a king of the Shepherds, or give up the task of identification in despair. The tortuous wording of the text, and the expressions which occur in it, seem to indicate that the rebel was a prince of the royal blood, and even that the name he bears was not his real one. Later on we shall find that, on a similar occasion, the official documents refer to a prince who took part in a plot against Ramses III. by the fictitious name of Pentauirit; Titianu was probably a nickname of the same kind inserted in place of the real name. It seems that, in cases of high treason, the criminal not only lost his life, but his name was proscribed both in this world and in the next.
A revival of military greatness always entailed a renaissance in art, followed by an age of building activity. The claims of the gods upon the spoils of war must be satisfied before those of men, because the victory and the booty obtained through it were alike owing to the divine help given in battle. A tenth, therefore, of the slaves, cattle, and precious metals was set apart for the service of the gods, and even fields, towns, and provinces were allotted to them, the produce of which was applied to enhance the importance of their cult or to repair and enlarge their temples. The main body of the building was strengthened, halls and pylons were added to the original plan, and the impulse once given to architectural work, the co-operation of other artificers soon followed. Sculptors and painters whose art had been at a standstill for generations during the centuries of Egypt's humiliation, and whose hands had lost their cunning for want of practice, were now once more in demand. They had probably never completely lost the technical knowledge of their calling, and the ancient buildings furnished them with various types of models, which they had but to copy faithfully in order to revive their old traditions. A few years after this revival a new school sprang up, whose originality became daily more patent, and whose leaders soon showed themselves to be in no way inferior to the masters of the older schools. Ahmosis could not be accused of ingratitude to the gods; as soon as his wars allowed him the necessary leisure, he began his work of temple-building. The accession to power of the great Theban families had been of little advantage to Thebes itself. Its Pharaohs, on assuming the sovereignty of the whole valley, had not hesitated to abandon their native city, and had made Heracleopolis, the Fayum or even Memphis, their seat of government, only returning to Thebes in the time of the XIIIth dynasty, when the decadence of their power had set in. The honour of furnishing rulers for its country had often devolved on Thebes, but the city had reaped but little benefit from the fact; this time, however, the tide of fortune was to be turned. The other cities of Egypt had come to regard Thebes as their metropolis from the time when they had temples. The main body of the building was strengthened, halls and pylons were added to the original plan, and the impulse once given to architectural work, the co-operation of other artificers soon followed. Sculptors and painters whose art had been at a standstill for generations during the centuries of Egypt's humiliation, and whose hands had lost their cunning for want of practice, were now once more in demand. They had probably never completely lost the technical knowledge of their calling, and the ancient buildings furnished them with various types of models, which they had but to copy faithfully in order to revive their old traditions. A few years after this revival a new school sprang up, whose originality became daily more patent, and whose leaders soon showed themselves to be in no way inferior to the masters of the older schools. Ahmosis could not be accused of ingratitude to the gods; as soon as his wars allowed him the necessary leisure, he began his work of temple-building. The accession to power of the great Theban families had been of little advantage to Thebes itself. Its Pharaohs, on assuming the sovereignty of the whole valley, had not hesitated to abandon their native city, and had made Heracleopolis, the Fayum or even Memphis, their seat of government, only returning to Thebes in the time of the XIIIth dynasty, when the decadence of their power had set in. The honour of furnishing rulers for its country had often devolved on Thebes, but the city had reaped but little benefit from the fact; this time, however, the tide of fortune was to be turned.
[Illustration: 130.jpg PAINTING IN TOMB OF THE KINGS THEBES]
The other cities of Egypt had come to regard Thebes as their metropolis from the time when they had learned to rally round its princes to wage war against the Hyksos. It had been the last town to lay down arms at the time of the invasion, and the first to take them up again in the struggle for liberty. Thus the Egypt which vindicated her position among the nations of the world was not the Egypt of the Memphite dynasties. It was the great Egypt of the Amenemhaits and the Usirtasens, still further aggrandised by recent victories. Thebes was her natural capital, and its kings could not have chosen a more suitable position from whence to command effectually the whole empire. Situated at an equal distance from both frontiers, the Pharaoh residing there, on the outbreak of a war either in the north or south, had but half the length of the country to traverse in order to reach the scene of action. Ahmosis spared no pains to improve the city, but his resources did not allow of his embarking on any very extensive schemes; he did not touch the temple of Amon, and if he undertook any buildings in its neighbourhood, they must have been minor edifices. He could, indeed, have had but little leisure to attempt much else, for it was not till the XXIInd year of his reign that he was able to set seriously to work.*
* In the inscription of the year XXII., Ahmosis expressly states that he opened new chambers in the quarries of Turah for the works in connection with the Theban Amon, as well as for those of the temple of the Memphite Phtah.
An opportunity then occurred to revive a practice long fallen into disuse under the foreign kings, and to set once more in motion an essential part of the machinery of Egyptian administration. The quarries of Turah, as is well known, enjoyed the privilege of furnishing the finest materials to the royal architects; nowhere else could be found limestone of such whiteness, so easy to cut, or so calculated to lend itself to the carving of delicate inscriptions and bas-reliefs. The commoner veins had never ceased to be worked by private enterprise, gangs of quarrymen being always employed, as at the present day, in cutting small stone for building purposes, or in ruthlessly chipping it to pieces to burn for lime in the kilns of the neighbouring villages; but the finest veins were always kept for State purposes. Contemporary chroniclers might have formed a very just estimate of national prosperity by the degree of activity shown in working these royal preserves; when the amount of stone extracted was lessened, prosperity was on the wane, and might be pronounced to be at its lowest ebb when the noise of the quarryman's hammer finally ceased to be heard.
[Illustration: 132.jpg A CONVOY OF TURAH QUARRYMEN DRAWING STONE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Vyse-Perring.
Every dynasty whose resources were such as to justify their resumption of the work proudly recorded the fact on stelae which lined the approaches to the masons' yards. Ahmosis reopened the Turah quarry-chambers, and procured for himself "good stone and white" for the temples of Anion at Thebes and of Phtah at Memphis. No monument has as yet been discovered to throw any light on the fate of Memphis subsequent to the time of the Amenemhaits. It must have suffered quite as much as any city of the Delta from the Shepherd invasion, and from the wars which preceded their expulsion, since it was situated on the highway of an invading army, and would offer an attraction for pillagers. By a curious turn of fortune it was the "Fankhui," or Asiatic prisoners, who were set to quarry the stone for the restoration of the monuments which their own forefathers had reduced to ruins.* The bas-reliefs sculptured on the stelae of Ahmosis show them in full activity under the corvee; we see here the stone block detached from the quarry being squared by the chisel, or transported on a sledge drawn by oxen.
* The Fankhui are, properly speaking, all white prisoners, without distinction of race. Their name is derived from the root fokhu, fankhu = to bind, press, carry off, steal, destroy; if it is sometimes used in the sense of
Ahmosis had several children by his various wives; six at least owned Nofritari for their mother and possessed near claims to the crown, but she may have borne him others whose existence is unrecorded. The eldest appears to have been a son, Sipiri; he received all the honours due to an hereditary prince, but died without having reigned, and his second brother, Amenhotpu -- called by the Greeks Amenothes* -- took his place.
* The form Amenophis, which is usually employed, is, properly speaking, the equivalent of the name
Ahmosis was laid to rest in the chapel which he had prepared for himself in the cemetery of Drah-abu'l-Neggah, among the modest pyramids of the XIth, XIIIth, and XVIIth dynasties.* He was venerated as a god, and his cult was continued for six or eight centuries later, until the increasing insecurity of the Theban necropolis at last necessitated the removal of the kings from their funeral chambers.** The coffin of Ahmosis was found to be still intact, though it was a poorly made one, shaped to the contours of the body, and smeared over with yellow; it represents the king with the false beard depending from his chin, and his breast covered with a pectoral ornament, the features, hair, and accessories being picked out in blue. His name has been hastily inscribed in ink on the front of the winding-sheet, and when the lid was removed, garlands of faded pink flowers were still found about the neck, laid there as a last offering by the priests who placed the Pharaoh and his compeers in their secret burying-place.
* The precise site is at present unknown: we see, however, that it was in this place, when wo observe that Ahmosis was worshipped by the Servants of the Necropolis, amongst the kings and princes of his family who were buried at Drah- abu'l-Neggah.
** His priests and the minor employes of his cult are mentioned on a stele in the museum at Turin, and on a brick in the Berlin Museum. He is worshipped as a god, along with Osiris, Horus, and Isis, on a stele in the Lyons Museum, brought from Abydos: he had, probably, during one of his journeys across Egypt, made a donation to the temple of that city, on condition that he should be worshipped there for ever; for a stele at Marseilles shows him offering homage to Osiris in the bark of the god itself, and another stele in the Louvre informs us that Pharaoh Thutmosis IV. several times sent one of his messengers to Abydos for the purpose of presenting land to Osiris and to his own ancestor Ahmosis.
[Illustration: 135.jpg COFFIN OF AHMOSIS IN THE GIZEH MUSEUM]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
Amenothes I. had not attained his majority when his father "thus winged his way to heaven," leaving him as heir to the throne.* Nofritari assumed the authority; after having shared the royal honours for nearly twenty-five years with her husband, she resolutely refused to resign them.** She was thus the first of those queens by divine right who, scorning the inaction of the harem, took on themselves the right to fulfil the active duties of a sovereign, and claimed the recognition of the equality or superiority of their titles to those of their husbands or sons.
* The last date known is that of the year XXII. at Turah; Manetho's lists give, in one place, twenty-five years and four months after the expulsion; in another, twenty-six years in round numbers, as the total duration of his reign, which has every appearance of probability.
** There is no direct evidence to prove that Amenothes I. was a minor when he came to the throne; still the
[Illustration: 136.jpg NOFRITARI, HIE BLACK-SKINNED GODDESS]
Drawn by Bouclier, from the photograph by M. de Mertens taken in the Berlin Museum.
The aged Ahhotpu, who, like Nofritari, was of pure royal descent, and who might well have urged her superior rank, had been content to retire in favour of her children; she lived to the tenth year of her grandson's reign, respected by all her family, but abstaining from all interference in political affairs. When at length she passed away, full of days and honour, she was embalmed with special care, and her body was placed in a gilded mummy-case, the head of which presented a faithful copy of her features. Beside her were piled the jewels she had received in her lifetime from her husband and son. The majority of them a fan with a handle plated with gold, a mirror of gilt bronze with ebony handle, bracelets and ankle-rings, some of solid and some of hollow gold, edged with fine chains of plaited gold wire, others formed of beads of gold, lapis-lazuli, cornelian, and green felspar, many of them engraved with the cartouche of Ahmosis. Belonging also to Ahmosis we have a beautiful quiver, in which figures of the king and the gods stand out in high relief on a gold plaque, delicately chased with a graving tool; the background is formed of small pieces of lapis and blue glass, cunningly cut to fit each other. One bracelet in particular, found on the queen's wrist, consisted of three parallel bands of solid gold set with turquoises, and having, a vulture with extended wings on the front. The queen's hair was held in place by a gold circlet, scarcely as large as a bracelet; a cartouche was affixed to the circlet, bearing the name of Ahmosis in blue paste, and flanked by small sphinxes, one on each side, as supporters. A thick flexible chain of gold was passed several times round her neck, and attached to it as a pendant was a beautiful scarab, partly of gold and partly of blue porcelain striped with gold. The breast ornament was completed by a necklace of several rows of twisted cords, from which depended antelopes pursued by tigers, sitting jackals, hawks, vultures, and the winged urasus, all attached to the winding-sheet by means of a small ring soldered on the back of each animal. The fastening of this necklace was formed of the heads of two gold hawks, the details of the heads being worked out in blue enamel. Both weapons and amulets were found among the jewels, including three gold flies suspended by a thin chain, nine gold and silver axes, a lion's head in gold of most minute workmanship, a sceptre of black wood plated with gold, daggers to defend the deceased from the dangers of the unseen world, boomerangs of hard wood, and the battle-axe of Ahmosis. Besides these, there were two boats, one of gold and one of silver, originally intended for the Pharaoh Kamosu -- models of the skiff in which his mummy crossed the Nile to reach its last resting-place, and to sail in the wake of the gods on the western sea.
[Illustration: 136b.jpg THE JEWELS AND WEAPONS OF QUEEN AHHHOTPU I. IN THE GIZEH MUSEUM]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Bechard.
Nofritari thus reigned conjointly with Amenothes, and even if we have no record of any act in which she was specially concerned, we know at least that her rule was a prosperous one, and that her memory was revered by her subjects. While the majority of queens were relegated after death to the crowd of shadowy ancestors to whom habitual sacrifice was offered, the worshippers not knowing even to which sex these royal personages belonged, the remembrance of Nofritari always remained distinct in their minds, and her cult spread till it might be said to have become a kind of popular religion. In this veneration Ahmosis was rarely associated with the queen, but Amenothes and several of her other children shared in it -- her son Sipiri, for instance, and her daughters Sitamon,* Sitkamosi, and Maritamon; Nofritari became, in fact, an actual goddess, taking her place beside Amon, Khonsu, and Maut,** the members of the Theban Triad, or standing alone as an object of worship for her devotees.
* Sitamon is mentioned, with her mother, on the Karnak stele and on the coffin of Butehamon.
** She is worshipped with the Theban Triad by Brihor, at Karnak, in the temple of Khonsu.
[Illustration: 141.jpg THE TWO COFFINS OF AHHOTP II. AND NOFRITARI STANDING IN TUB VESTIBULE OF THE OLD BULAK MUSEUM.]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch- Bey.
She was identified with Isis, Hathor, and the mistresses of Hades, and adopted their attributes, even to the black or blue coloured skin of these funerary divinities.*
* Her statue in the Turin Museum represents her as having black skin. She is also painted black standing before Amenothes (who is white) in the Deir el-Medineh tomb, now preserved in the Berlin Museum, in that of Nibnutiru, and hi that of Unnofir, at Sheikh Abd el-Qurnah. Her face is painted blue in the tomb of Kasa. The representations of this queen with a black skin have caused her to be taken for a negress, the daughter of an Ethiopian Pharaoh, or at any rate the daughter of a chief of some Nubian tribe; it was thought that Ahmosis must have married her to secure the help of the tribes in his wars, and that it was owing to this alliance that he succeeded in expelling the Hyksos. Later discoveries have not confirmed these hypotheses. Nofritari was most probably an Egyptian of unmixed race, as we have seen, and daughter of Ahhotpu I., and the black or blue colour of her skin is merely owing to her
Considerable endowments were given for maintaining worship at her tomb, and were administered by a special class of priests. Her mummy reposed among those of the princes of her family, in the hiding-place at Deir-el-Bahari: it was enclosed in an enormous wooden sarcophagus covered with linen and stucco, the lower part being shaped to the body, while the upper part representing the head and arms could be lifted off in one piece. The shoulders are covered with a network in relief, the meshes of which are painted blue on a yellow background. The Queen's hands are crossed over her breast, and clasp the crux ansata, the symbol of life. The whole mummy-case measures a little over nine feet from the sole of the feet to the top of the head, which is furthermore surmounted by a cap, and two long ostrich-feathers. The appearance is not so much that of a coffin as of one of those enormous caryatides which we sometimes find adorning the front of a temple.
We may perhaps attribute to the influence of Nofritari the lack of zest evinced by Amenothes for expeditions into Syria. Even the most energetic kings had always shrunk from penetrating much beyond the isthmus. Those who ventured so far as to work the mines of Sinai had nevertheless felt a secret fear of invading Asia proper -- a dread which they never succeeded in overcoming. When the raids of the Bedouin obliged the Egyptian sovereign to cross the frontier into their territory, he would retire as soon as possible, without attempting any permanent conquest. After the expulsion of the Hyksos, Ahmosis seemed inclined to pursue a less timorous course. He made an advance on Sharuhana and pillaged it, and the booty he brought back ought to have encouraged him to attempt more important expeditions; but he never returned to this region, and it would seem that when his first enthusiasm had subsided, he was paralysed by the same fear which had fallen on his ancestors. Nofritari may have counselled her son not to break through the traditions which his father had so strictly followed, for Amenothes I. confined his campaigns to Africa, and the traditional battle-fields there. He embarked for the land of Kush on the vessel of Ahmosi-si-Abina "for the purpose of enlarging the frontiers of Egypt." It was, we may believe, a thoroughly conventional campaign, conducted according to the strictest precedents of the XIIth dynasty. The Pharaoh, as might be expected, came into personal contact with the enemy, and slew their chief with his own hand; the barbarian warriors sold their lives dearly, but were unable to protect their country from pillage, the victors carrying off whatever they could seize -- men, women, and cattle. The pursuit of the enemy had led the army some distance into the desert, as far as a halting-place called the "Upper cistern" -- Khnumit hirit; instead of retracing his steps to the Nile squadron, and returning slowly by boat, Amenothes resolved to take a short cut homewards. Ahmosi conducted him back overland in two days, and was rewarded for his speed by the gift of a quantity of gold, and two female slaves. An incursion into Libya followed quickly on the Ethiopian campaign.
[Illustration: 144.jpg STATUE OF AMENOTHES I. IN THE TURIN MUSEUM]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph supplied by Flinders Petrie.
The tribe of the Kihaka, settled between Lake Mareotis and the Oasis of Amon, had probably attacked in an audacious manner the western provinces of the Delta; a raid was organized against them, and the issue was commemorated by a small wooden stele, on which we see the victor represented as brandishing his sword over a barbarian lying prostrate at his feet. The exploits of Amenothes appear to have ended with this raid, for we possess no monument recording any further victory gained by him. This, however, has not prevented his contemporaries from celebrating him as a conquering and 'victorious king. He is portrayed standing erect in his chariot ready to charge, or as carrying off two barbarians whom he holds half suffocated in his sinewy arms, or as gleefully smiting the princes of foreign lands. He acquitted himself of the duties of the chase as became a true Pharaoh, for we find him depicted in the act of seizing a lion by the tail and raising him suddenly in mid-air previous to despatching him. These are, indeed, but conventional pictures of war, to which we must not attach an undue importance. Egypt had need of repose in order to recover from the losses it had sustained during the years of struggle with the invaders. If Amenothes courted peace from preference and not from political motives, his own generation profited as much by his indolence as the preceding one had gained by the energy of Ahrnosis. The towns in his reign resumed their ordinary life, agriculture flourished, and commerce again followed its accustomed routes. Egypt increased its resources, and was thus able to prepare for future conquest. The taste for building had not as yet sufficiently developed to become a drain upon the public treasury. We have, however, records showing that Amenothes excavated a cavern in the mountain of Ibrim in Nubia, dedicated to Satit, one of the goddesses of the cataract.
[Illustration: 146.jpg Page Image]
It is also stated that he worked regularly the quarries of Silsileh, but we do not know for what buildings the sandstone thus extracted was destined.* Karnak was also adorned with chapels, and with at least one colossus,** while several chambers built of the white limestone of Turah were added to Ombos. Thebes had thus every reason to cherish the memory of this pacific king.
* A bas-relief on the western bank of the river represents him deified: Panaiti, the name of a superintendent of the quarries who lived in his reign, has been preserved in several graffiti, while another graffito gives us only the protocol of the sovereign, and indicates that the quarries were worked in his reign.
** The chambers of white limestone are marked I, K, on Mariette's plan; it is possible that they may have been merely decorated under Thutmosis III., whose cartouches alternate with those of Amenothes I. The colossus is now in front of the third Pylon, and Wiedemann concluded from this fact that Amenothes had begun extensive works for enlarging the temple of Amon; Mariette believed, with greater probability, that the colossus formerly stood at the entrance to the XIIth dynasty temple, but was removed to its present position by Thutmosis III.
As Nofritari had been metamorphosed into a form of Isis, Amenothes was similarly represented as Osiris, the protector of the Necropolis, and he was depicted as such with the sombre colour of the funerary divinities; his image, moreover, together with those of the other gods, was used to decorate the interiors of coffins, and to protect the mummies of his devotees.*
* Wiedemann has collected several examples, to which it would be easy to add others. The names of the king are in this case constantly accompanied by unusual epithets, which are enclosed in one or other of his cartouches: Mons. Kevillout, deceived by these unfamiliar forms, has made out of one of these variants, on a painted cloth in the Louvre, a new Amenothes, whom he styles Amenothes V.
[Illustration: 147.jpg THE COFFIN AND MUMMY OF AMENOTHES]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch- Bey.
One of his statues, now in the Turin Museum, represents him sitting on his throne in the posture of a king giving audience to his subjects, or in that of a god receiving the homage of his worshippers. The modelling of the bust betrays a flexibility of handling which is astonishing in a work of art so little removed from barbaric times; the head is a marvel of delicacy and natural grace. We feel that the sculptor has taken a delight in chiselling the features of his sovereign, and in reproducing the benevolent and almost dreamy expression which characterised them.* The cult of Amenothes lasted for seven or eight centuries, until the time when his coffin was removed and placed with those of the other members of his family in the place where it remained concealed until our own times.**
* Another statue of very fine workmanship, but mutilated, is preserved in the Gizeh Museum; this statue is of the time of Seti I., and, as is customary, represents Amenothes in the likeness of the king then reigning.
** We know, from the Abbott Papyrus, that the pyramid of Amenothes I. was situated at Dr-ah Abou'l-Neggah, among those of the Pharaohs of the XIth, XIIth, and XVIIth dynasties. The remains of it have not yet been discovered.
It is shaped to correspond with the form of the human body and painted white; the face resembles that of his statue, and the eyes of enamel, touched with kohl, give it a wonderful appearance of animation. The body is swathed in orange-coloured linen, kept in place by bands of brownish linen, and is further covered by a mask of wood and cartonnage, painted to match the exterior of the coffin. Long garlands of faded flowers deck the mummy from head to foot. A wasp, attracted by their scent, must have settled upon them at the moment of burial, and become imprisoned by the lid; the insect has been completely preserved from corruption by the balsams of the embalmer, and its gauzy wings have passed un-crumpled through the long centuries.
Amenothes had married Ahhotpu II, his sister by the same father and mother;* Ahmasi, the daughter born of this union, was given in marriage to Thutmosis, one of her brothers, the son of a mere concubine, by name Sonisonbu.** Ahmasi, like her ancestor Nofritari, had therefore the right to exercise all the royal functions, and she might have claimed precedence of her husband. Whether from conjugal affection or from weakness of character, she yielded, however, the priority to Thutmosis, and allowed him to assume the sole government.
* Ahhotpu II. may be seen beside her husband on several monuments. The proof that she was full sister of Amenothes I. is furnished by the title of "hereditary princess" which is given to her daughter Ahmasi; this princess would not have taken precedence of her brother and husband Thutmosis, who was the son of an inferior wife, had she not been the daughter of the only legitimate spouse of Amenothes I. The marriage had already taken place before the accession of Thutmosis I., as Ahmasi figures in a document dated the first year of his reign.
** The absence of any cartouche shows that Sonisonbu did not belong to the royal family, and the very form of the name points her out to have been of the middle classes, and merely a concubine. The accession of her son, however, ennobled her, and he represents her as a queen on the walls of the temple at Deir el-Bahari; even then he merely styles her "Royal Mother," the only title she could really claim, as her inferior position in the harem prevented her from using that of "Royal Spouse."
[Illustration: 150.jpg THUTMOSIS I., FROM A STATUE IN THE GIZEH MUSEUM]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the photograph taken by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
He was crowned at Thebes on the 21st of the third month of Pirit; and a circular, addressed to the representatives of the ancient seignorial families and to the officers of the crown, announced the names assumed by the new sovereign. "This is the royal rescript to announce to you that my Majesty has arisen king of the two Egypts, on the seat of the Horus of the living, without equal, for ever, and that my titles are as follows: The vigorous bull Horus, beloved of Mait, the Lord of the Vulture and of the Uraeus who raises itself as a flame, most valiant, -- the golden Horns, whose years are good and who puts life into all hearts, king of the two Egypts, Akhopirkeri, son of the Sun, Thutmosis, living for ever.* Cause, therefore, sacrifices to be offered to the gods of the south and of Elephantine,** and hymns to be chanted for the well-being of the King Akhopirkeri, living for ever, and then cause the oath to be taken in the name of my Majesty, born of the royal mother Sonisonbu, who is in good health. -- This is sent to thee that thou mayest know that the royal house is prosperous, and in good health and condition, the 1st year, the 21st of the third month of Pirit, the day of coronation."
* This is really the protocol of the king, as we find it on the monuments, with his two Horus names and his solar titles.
** The copy of the letter which has come down to us is addressed to the commander of Elephantine: hence the mention of the gods of that town. The names of the divinities must have been altered to suit each district, to which the order to offer sacrifices for the prosperity of the new sovereign was sent.
The new king was tall in stature, broad-shouldered, well knit, and capable of enduring the fatigues of war without flagging. His statues represent him as having a full, round face, long nose, square chin, rather thick lips, and a smiling but firm expression. Thutmosis brought with him on ascending the throne the spirit of the younger generation, who, born shortly after the deliverance from the Hyksos, had grown up in the peaceful days of Amenothes, and, elated by the easy victories obtained over the nations of the south, were inspired by ambitions unknown to the Egyptians of earlier times. To this younger race Africa no longer offered a sufficiently wide or attractive field; the whole country was their own as far as the confluence of the two Niles, and the Theban gods were worshipped at Napata no less devoutly than at Thebes itself. What remained to be conquered in that direction was scarcely worth the trouble of reducing to a province or of annexing as a colony; it comprised a number of tribes hopelessly divided among themselves, and consequently, in spite of their renowned bravery, without power of resistance. Light columns of troops, drafted at intervals on either side of the river, ensured order among the submissive, or despoiled the refractory of their possessions in cattle, slaves, and precious stones. Thutmosis I. had to repress, however, very shortly after his accession, a revolt of these borderers at the second and third cataracts, but they were easily overcome in a campaign of a few days' duration, in which the two Ahmosis of Al-Kab took an honourable part. There was, as usual, an encounter of the two fleets in the middle of the river: the young king himself attacked the enemy's chief, pierced him with his first arrow, and made a considerable number of prisoners. Thutmosis had the corpse of the chief suspended as a trophy in front of the royal ship, and sailed northwards towards Thebes, where, however, he was not destined to remain long.* An ample field of action presented itself to him in the north-east, affording scope for great exploits, as profitable as they were glorious.**
* That this expedition must be placed at the beginning of the king's reign, in his first year, is shown by two facts: (1) It precedes the Syrian campaign in the biography of the two Ahmosis of El-Kab; (2) the Syrian campaign must have ended in the second year of the reign, since Thutmosis I., on the stele of Tombos which bears that date, gives particulars of the course of the Euphrates, and records the submission of the countries watered by that river. The date of the invasion may be placed between 2300 and 2250 B.C.; if we count 661 years for the three dynasties together, as Erman proposes, we find that the accession of Ahmosis would fall between 1640 and 1590. I should place it provisionally in the year 1600, in order not to leave the position of the succeeding reigns uncertain; I estimate the possible error at about half a century.
** It is impossible at present to draw up a correct table of the native or foreign sovereigns who reigned over Egypt during the time of the Hyksos. I have given the list of the kings of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties which are known to us from the Turin Papyrus. I here append that of the Pharaohs of the following dynasties, who are mentioned either in the fragments of Manetho or on the monuments:
[Illustration: 153.jpg Table]
Syria offered to Egyptian cupidity a virgin prey in its large commercial towns inhabited by an industrious population, who by maritime trade and caravan traffic had amassed enormous wealth. The country had been previously subdued by the Chaldaeans, who still exercised an undisputed influence over it, and it was but natural that the conquerors of the Hyksos should act in their turn as invaders. The incursion of Asiatics into Egypt thus provoked a reaction which issued in an Egyptian invasion of Asiatic soil. Thutmosis and his contemporaries had inherited none of the instinctive fear of penetrating into Syria which influenced Ahmosis and his successor: the Theban legions were, perhaps, slow to advance, but once they had trodden the roads of Palestine, they were not likely to forego the delights of conquest. From that time forward there was perpetual warfare and pillaging expeditions from the plains of the Blue Nile to those of the Euphrates, so that scarcely a year passed without bringing to the city of Amon its tribute of victories and riches gained at the point of the sword. One day the news would be brought that the Amorites or the Khati had taken the field, to be immediately followed by the announcement that their forces had been shattered against the valour of the Egyptian battalions. Another day, Pharaoh would re-enter the city with the flower of his generals and veterans; the chiefs whom he had taken prisoners, sometimes with his own hand, would be conducted through the streets, and then led to die at the foot of the altars, while fantastic processions of richly clothed captives, beasts led by halters, and slaves bending under the weight of the spoil would stretch in an endless line behind him.
[Illustration: 154.jpg SIGNS, ARMS AND INSTRUMENTS]
Meanwhile the Timihu, roused by some unknown cause, would attack the outposts stationed on the frontier, or news would come that the Peoples of the Sea had landed on the western side of the Delta; the Pharaoh had again to take the field, invariably with the same speedy and successful issue. The Libyans seemed to fare no better than the Syrians, and before long those who had survived the defeat would be paraded before the Theban citizens, previous to being sent to join the Asiatic prisoners in the mines or quarries; their blue eyes and fair hair showing from beneath strangely shaped helmets, while their white skins, tall stature, and tattooed bodies excited for a few hours the interest and mirth of the idle crowd. At another time, one of the customary raids into the land of Kush would take place, consisting of a rapid march across the sands of the Ethiopian desert and a cruise along the coasts of Puanifc. This would be followed by another triumphal procession, in which fresh elements of interest would appear, heralded by flourish of trumpets and roll of drums: Pharaoh would re-enter the city borne on the shoulders of his officers, followed by heavily chained, or coupled in such a way that it was impossible for them to move without grotesque contortions, while the acclamations of the multitude and the chanting of the priests would resound from all sides as the cortege passed through the city gates on its way to the temple of Amon. Egypt, roused as it were to warlike frenzy, hurled her armies across all her frontiers simultaneously, and her sudden appearance in the heart of Syria gave a new turn to human history. The isolation of the kingdoms of the ancient world was at an end; the conflict of the nations was about to begin.