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which may be compared with that at Denderah treat, would choose Canopus, though a man may for preservation, and which is generally at- be good and honest even at Canopus.” tributed to the age of the Ptolemies. The in- These are all the cities of which we can give habitants of Apollinopolis, it is said, rivalled the any detailed information. Others are mentioned Tentyrites in their enmity to, and abhorrence of by ancient writers, but for the most part they are the crocodile.
known only by name.
And of those we have
described, the reader will have observed that LATOPOLIS.
little remains to testify their pre-existence. They
have mouldered into dust, and the plough has This city was called Latopolis from the fish gone over their site, or other cities or towns and latus, which was worshipped in that city. About villages have been erected on their ruins ; thus three miles to the nn.w. of the present town of bearing mournful evidence to the truth of the Esne are to be seen the ruins of an ancient
words of the Grecian sage, that temple, which Pococke supposes to have been the temple of Pallas and the fish latus at Latopolis,
“Nothing is lasting on the world's great stage." where they were both worshipped. Within this
All sublunary enjoyments imitate the changetemple, says this traveller, are three stories of ableness, as well as feel the influence of the hieroglyphics of men, about three feet high, and planets they are under. Time, like a river, carat one end the lowest figures are as large as life; ries them all away with a rapid course. They one of them is adorned with the head of the ibis.
swim above the stream for a little while, but they The ceiling is curiously adorned with all sorts
are quickly swallowed up by the waves, and seen of animals, and painted in beautiful colours.
The very cities men build for their habitations, and the monuments they raise to perpetuate their names, consume and moulder
away, and proclaim their own mortality, as well as This city, according to ancient geographers, testify that of others. But there are enjoyments stood to the south of Thebes. It is identified indestructible in their nature, and endless in their with Comombo, or “ The Hill of Ombo,” where duration ! There is a city whose foundations the ruins of an ancient temple are still to be
can never be shaken, and which God hath preThe inhabitants of Ombos, as before pared for them that love him! Like the stars hinted, were famous for the worship of the cro
and orbs above, which shine with undiminished codile. Ælian says, they fed them in their lustre, and move with the same unwearied moponds, where they became so tame as to obey tion, with which they did from the first date of them when called.
their creation, these enjoyments are ever full, fresh, and entire; and they will abide when sun, and moon, and nature itself, shall be employed
The righteous shall This city stood about twelve miles south of by Providence no more. Syene, in an island of the same name, not above appear in the eternal city, when the earth and
all that is therein shall have been consumed, a quarter of a mile long, and half a quarter and enjoy one perpetual and everlasting daybroad. The island of Phylæ was deemed sacred from an opinion, according to Diodorus, that
a day commensurate to the unlimited eternity of
God himself. Osiris was buried there; and the ruins of a magnificent temple are still found on the island. It
“ There is a place beyond that flaming hill, appears from the notitia, that the Romans had a From whence their stars their thin appearance shed; garrison at Phylæ, which was the most southern A place beyond all place, where never ill city of all Egypt. Between this place and Syene
Nor impure thought was ever harboured :
But saintly heroes are for ever said is the lesser cataract, and the greater at a small To keep an everlasting sabbath's rest; distance from Pselca, a town in Ethiopia. Cicero Still wishing that of which they're still possessed, says, that the people who lived near the lesser Enjoying but one joy—but one of all joys best.”
Giles Fletcher. cataract were all deaf from the noise which the river made in falling from the high mountains. But this is an error; for the fall is in no "part above seven or eight feet, and, therefore, could have little effect on the organs of hearing.
HISTORY OF THE POLITY OF EGYPT.
This city stood on the coast near the outlet of The Egyptians attained a high degree of refinethe western or Canopic branch of the Nile. It ment and luxury at a time when the whole was forty miles from Alexandria by land, with western world was involved in barbarism, when which it was connected by a canal. In the time the history of Europe, including Greece, was not of Strabo, it contained a great temple of Serapis. yet unfolded, and ages before Carthage, Athens, It is said to have been built by the Spartans, on and Rome were founded. They were, indeed, their return from the Trojan war, and to have the first people who rightly understood the rules taken its name from Canopus, the pilot of Mene- of government, who perceived that the just delaus, who died, and was buried in this place. sign of politics is, to make life easy and a people The city was noted for the lewd and dissolute happy. This high state of civilization was atdiversions which the. Alexandrians indulged tained under a system of institutions and policy themselves in here, whence Seneca writes in one bearing some resemblance to those of the Hinof his epistles thus : “ No one, thinking of a re- doos. It was a monarchy based upon a potent
THE KINGLY POWER,
hierarchy. To enable the reader to understand is further confirmed by Herodotus, and the forthis, the different orders of which the state was mula in the Rosetta stone: “ The kingdom being composed shall be described.
established unto him, and unto his children for ever.”
But although the monarchy of Egypt was he
reditary, the kings did not presume, in conseThe kings of Egypt were anciently indiscri- quence of this right, to infringe the rules enacted minately called Pharaoh. This was not a proper for their public and private conduct. The laws name : Josephus says, the word signified king in of Egypt, which formed part of the sacred books, the Egyptian language; and it appears to have were acknowledged to be of divine origin, and been used as a prefix to the proper name, in the were looked upon with superstitious reverence. same manner that Ptolemy was, after the subju- To have disobeyed them, would have been congation of Egypt by the Greeks. When used in- sidered rebellion against the deity, and would dependently of the proper name, it distinguished have called forth vengeance upon the head of the the king of Egypt from other monarchs.
offender, even should that offender have been the The kingdom of Egypt was hereditary, but, monarch on his throne. These laws were framed according to Diodorus, the Egyptian princes with the strictest regard to the welfare of the (unlike other monarchies, in which the prince community, as the ancient history of the Egypacknowledges no other rule of his actions than
tians abundantly proves. Diodorus observes on his own arbitrary will and pleasure) were under this subject : This unparalleled country could greater restraint from the law than their sub- never have continued throughout ages in such a jects. These laws were contained in the sacred flourishing condition if it had not enjoyed the books, and were digested by one of their earliest best laws and customs, and if the people had monarchs, so that every thing was settled by, and not been guided by the most salutary regulathey lived according to ancient custom; treading tions.” the same path as their ancestors.
When a sovereign, having been educated in The king appears to have been the chief both the military class, was ignorant of the mysteries of religion and state. He held the right of re- of his religion, due care was taken, on his accesgulating the sacrifices, and of offering them to sion to the throne, to have him informed therein, the gods upon grand occasions. The title and and to enrol him in the college of the priests. office of President of the Assemblies ” belonged He was instructed in all that related to the gods, exclusively to him, and he superintended the the temple, the laws of the country, and the feasts and festivals celebrated in honour of their duties of a monarch. In order to preserve his false gods. He could proclaim peace and war; dignity, and his morality, it was carefully prohe commanded the armies, and rewarded those vided that neither slave nor hired servant should who deserved his approbation; and every pri- hold any office about his person, but that the vilege seems to have been granted him which children of the priestly order, who were remarkdid not interfere with the welfare of his sub- able for a refined education, should alone be perjects.
mitted to attend him. This measure was dictated The sovereign power in Egypt was hereditary. by the persuasion that no monarch gives way to In the event of an heir failing, however, the the impulse of evil passions, unless he finds those claims for succession were determined by near- about him ready to serve as instruments to his ness of relationship. Queens were not forbidden caprices, and abettors of his excesses. to undertake the management of affairs, and on This, it may be mentioned, agrees very well the demise of their husbands, they were allowed with the sculptures, which represent priests as to assume the office of regent. Such, at least, are pages and fan bearers. Diodorus says, that the mentioned by historians, and introduced into the king's sons, also held such offices. Reynier, inannals of Manetho; but their names do not ap- deed, questions whether slavery existed at all in pear in the lists of sovereigns sculptured in the Egypt previous to the period when its ancient temples of Thebes and Abydos. In some in- | institutions became in a great degree changed. stances, the kingdom was usurped by a powerful His doubts arise from the difficulty of reconciling chief, as in the case of Amasis, or by some Ethi- the existence of slaves with the organization of opian prince, who, either claiming a right to the the Egyptians under their theocracy. But that crown, or taking advantage of internal disturb- they did possess slaves at the earliest period, we ances, obtained possession of it by force of arms. learn from Scripture. The king of Egypt gave Synesius intimates, that the Egyptian monarchy male and female slaves to Abraham, Gen. xii. was elective; but there is no instance on record 16; and Joseph, the beloved son of good old that would lead to such a conclusion, except in Israel, was sold as a slave “unto Potiphar, an the case of the twelve kings who reigned in officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard," union, and that is an exception to the general Gen. xxxvii. 36. This latter fact is met by the practice. Diodorus says, indeed, that, in ancient author named, by an observation, that the domitimes, kings, instead of succeeding by right of nation of the shepherd kings must have operated inheritance, were selected for their merits; but in modifying the peculiar usages of the Egypwhether this really was the case at the com- tians. Among the Egyptian laws, however, as mencement of the Egyptian monarchy, it is dif- cited by Diodorus, there is one that inflicts the ficult to determine. The same author, in fact, punishment of death on a person who kills his states in another place, that the first kings were slave, and another that denounces a severe punsucceeded by their offspring, and we have hiero-ishment against one who violates a free woman, glyphical evidence that such was the case during which proves there were some not free. The the eighteenth and succeeding dynasties. This former of these laws is illustrated by the conduct which Potiphar pursued towards his slave Jo- ligious to the gods, affable to men, moderate, just, seph. On the report of his mistress, Potiphar magnanimous, sincere, an enemy to falsehood, believed his slave had dealt most perfidiously liberal, master of his passions, punishing crimes and ungratefully towards him, acting in a way with the utmost lenity, but boundless in rewardcalculated to provoke indignation and summary ing merit. He next mentioned the faults of punishment; but he committed no violence upon which kings might be guilty, but supposed, at the him; he respected the laws of his country, and same time, that they never committed any, exsent him to the royal prison, apparently intend-cept by surprise or ignorance; and they loaded ing that, after trial and conviction, he should such of their ministers as gave them ill counsel, receive the punishment adjudged by the laws to and suppressed or disguised the truth, with imhis offence. See Gen. xxxix. 13—20.
precations. After the prayers and sacrifices The first slaves were, doubtless, prisoners were ended, the counsels and actions of great taken in war, who became the property of the men were read to the king out of the sacred captors. Afterwards, these prisoners were sold books, in order that he might govern his doto others who might require servants; and, event- minions according to their maxims, and maintain ually, any persons offered for sale were bought the laws which had made his predecessors and solely as a trading speculation, as we see in the their subjects happy. case of Joseph, and as they are to this day in The paramount function of kings is the admithat country. The captives brought to Egypt nistration of justice to their subjects. Accordwere employed in the service of the monarch, in ingly, the kings of Egypt diligently cultivated building temples, cutting canals, raising dykes this duty, convinced that on this depended both and embankments, and other public works, as in the comfort of individuals and the happiness of the days of Sesostris; and some, who were pur- the state. To assist them in the administration chased by the grandees, were employed in the of justice, they selected thirty judges out of the same capacity as the Memlooks of the present. principal cities, as will be seen in a future page. Women slaves were also engaged in the service Great respect was paid in Egypt to the moof families, like the Greeks and Circassians in narchs. They were honoured, indeed, whilst Modern Egypt, and other parts of the Turkish living, as so many visible representations of the empire; and, from finding them represented in Deity; and, after their death, lamented for as the sculptures of Thebes, accompanying men of the fathers of their country. These sentiments their own nation, who bear tribute to the Egyp- of respect and tenderness proceeded from a tian monarch, we may conclude that a certain strong persuasion that the Divinity himself had number were annually sent to Egypt from the placed them upon the throne, as he distinguished conquered provinces of the north and east, as them so greatly from all other human beings; well as from Ethiopia. It is evident that both and that kings bore the most noble characteriswhite and black slaves were employed as serv- tics of the Supreme Being, as the power and will
They attended on the guests when in- of doing good to others were united in their vited to the house of their master; and, from persons. It was the blind adoration they paid their being in the families of priests as well as to their monarchs, which led them to believe of the military chiefs, we may infer that they that after death their spirits passed into, and were purchased with money, and that the right became the animating principle of some heavenly of possessing slaves was not confined to those body, and consequently they became the object who had taken them in war. The traffic in slaves of their worship. Thus Thoth (2nd) or Hermes was tolerated ; and it is reasonable to suppose Trismegistus, the thirty-fifth king of Thebes, is that many persons were engaged, as at present, said to have been deified, because he was the in bringing them to Egypt for public sale, inde- reviver and second founder of the theology, laws, pendent of those who were sent as part of the and social institutions of the Egyptians, all of tribute, and who were probably at first the pro- which he brought into that system which has perty of the monarch.
been regarded with wonder in every subsequent The kings of Egypt freely permitted not only age. the quality and proportion of what they ate and On the death of every Egyptian king, a general drank to be prescribed them, but that all their mourning was instituted throughout all Egypt hours, and almost every action, should be under for seventy-two days; hymns commemorating his the regulation of the laws. In the morning, at virtues were sung; the temples were closed ; day-break, when the head is clearest, and the sacrifices were no longer offered ; and no feasts thoughts unperplexed, they read the several or festivals were celebrated during that period. letters they had received, thereby forming a dis- The people tore their garments, and covering tinct idea of the affairs which would fall under their heads with dust and mud, formed a protheir consideration during the day. As soon as cession of two or three hundred persons of both they were dressed, they went to the daily sacri- sexes, who met publicly twice a day, to sing the fice performed in the temple; where, surrounded funeral dirge. A general fast was also observed, by their whole court, and the victims placed be- and they neither allowed themselves to taste fore the altar, they assisted at the prayer pro- meat or wheat bread, and abstained from wine nounced aloud by the high priest, in which he and every luxury. In the mean time, the funeral asked of the gods health and all other blessings was prepared, and on the last day the body was for the king, because he governed his people with placed in state within the vestibule of the tomb, clemency and justice, and made the laws of his and an account was given of the life and conkingdom the rule and standard of his actions. duct of the deceased. It was permitted to any The high priest then entered into a long detail of present to offer himself as an accuser, and the his royal virtues, observing, that a king was re- voice of a people might prevent a sovereign from
CASTES OF THE PEOPLE.
receiving funeral honours. This was an ordeal, The priests of Egypt possessed great privileges the dread of which would, doubtless, tend to sti- and revenues. See Gen. xlvii. 22. 26. The mulate the Egyptian monarchs to the practice of prince usually honoured them with a large share their duty; for there is planted in the human of his confidence, because they were better edubreast, in all ages, and in all countries of the cated than any other caste, and were most world, an ardent desire that a last tribute of re- strongly attached to the person of the king, and spect should be paid to frail humanity.
the good of the public. In the priesthood, not only must the son of a priest be a priest, but he
must be a priest to the particular deity to whom The division of Egyptian society into separate his father had ministered. The priests were disclasses, or castes, has been noticed by many an- persed in parties in the several districts, where cient writers. Herodotus says, they were di- they constituted the governing body; but the vided into seven tribes,-priests, soldiers, herds- large cities which had at different times been the men, swineherds, shopkeepers, interpreters, and capitals of Egypt, and where their great temples boatmen. Diodorus states, that, like the Athe- were found, formed their principal seats. Every nians, (who, being an Egyptian colony, derived priest was attached to some temple or other, and this institution from the parent country,) they every temple had its chief priest, whose office were distributed into three classes, the priests, was hereditary. In the principal cities, the high husbandmen, from whom the soldiers were priests were, to a certain extent, hereditary levied, and the artizans, who were employed in princes, who ranked next the kings, and enjoyed handicraft, and other similar occupations, and nearly equal advantages. Such a person was in common offices among the people. This au- Potipherah, “priest of On.” Heeren concludes, thor, however, in another page, extends the num- that the organization of the inferior priesthood ber of castes to five, reckoning the pastors, was different in different cities, according to the husbandmen, and artificers, independently of the extent and wants of the locality: On the posisoldiers and priests.
Strabo limits then to tion they held in the state, this author says, three, the priests, soldiers, and husbandmen; and that they did not constitute the ruling race Plato divides them into six bodies,--the priests, merely because from them were chosen the servsoldiers, artificers, huntsmen,* husbandmen, and ants of the state, but much rather because they shepherds : each peculiar art, or occupation, he monopolized every branch of scientific knowobserves, being confined to a certain subdivision ledge, which was entirely formed by the locality, of the caste, and every one engaged in his own and had immediate reference to the wants of the branch, without interfering with the occupation people. Their sole, or even their most usual of another, as in India and China, where the employment, was not the service of the gods : same trade or employment is followed in suc- they were judges, physicians, soothsayers, archicession by father and son.
tects; in short, every thing in which any speFrom these statements it will be perceived, cies of scientific knowledge was concerned. that the exact number of classes into which the Annexed to each temple and settlement of priests Egyptians were divided is uncertain : the most were extensive estates, which were farmed out at probable inference we can draw from them is, moderate rents. The produce of these lands that there were five distinct castes in Egypt, supplied a common fund, which furnished prowith certain subdivisions.
visions for the priests and their families, thereby
rendering it unnecessary, as Herodotus observes, The Priestly Power.
to contribute any thing from their own The priesthood formed the second, and the private resources towards their support; from ruling power in Egypt. The authority and which we discover, that they had private proparamount influence, indeed, of the priestly perty and estates exclusive of their common order were such as to render the Egyptian go- | lands. vernment rather ecclesiastical than monarchical. The priests had possession of the sacred books, We have seen that when a king was elected who which contained the principles of government, was not previously of the sacerdotal caste, he as well as the mysteries of divine worship, and was adopted into that caste, and instructed in its which, like their temples, were not open to the mysteries and science. This may explain the vulgar. These were both commonly involved union of Joseph with Asenath, the daughter of in symbols and enigmas, which made truth more the “priest of On.” The desire of the priest- venerable, and excited more strongly the curiohood to concentrate all power into their own sity of the multitude. The figure of Harpocrates, body, may have induced them to wish that in the Egyptian sanctuaries, with his finger upon Joseph should be connected with them; or, the his mouth, seemed to intimate that mysteries king may have desired it to establish him in his were there enclosed. As much may be said of position, by securing him the support and coun- the sphinxes placed at the entrance of every tenance of the priestly order in his undertakings, temple; and it is well known, that the pyramids, without which all his plans must have proved obelisks, pillars, statues, etc., were usually adorned abortive, though dictated by ever so much wis- with hieroglyphics, or symbolical writings, under dom.
which was couched a hidden and parabolical * This class appears to have comprehended those who meaning. It is stated by Porphyry and Clemens sought the young of gazelles, and other wild animals of Alexandrinus, that the writing of the Egyptian the desert, and those who, as fowlers, sought for birds in priests was of four kinds. The first, HIEROa wild state, which they caught in large clap-nets. It is GLYPHIC and this twofold ; the more rude called supposed that, like a similar class of persons in India, as described by Megasthenes, they led a wandering life, curiologic, and the more artificial called tropical : dwelling in tents.
the second SYMBOLIC, and this likewise was twofold; the simple and the mysterious, that tro- for the orders and motions of the stars are obpical, this allegorical. These two kinds of writ- served at least as industriously by the Egyptians ing were not composed of the letters of an as any people whatever, and they keep records alphabet, but of characters which stood for things, of the motions of each for an incredible number not words. Thus, to signify the sun, they some- of years, the study of this science having been, times painted a hawk; this was tropical: some- from the remotest times, an object of national times a scarabæus with a round ball in its claws; ambition with them. They have also most this was enigmatical. The third form of writ- punctually observed the motions, periods, and ing was called EPISTOLIC, from its being first stations of the planets, as well as the powers applied to civil matters; and the fourth, HIERO- which they possess with respect to the nativities GRAMMATIC, from its being used only in religious of animals, and what good or evil influences they matters. These last two kinds of writing ex- exert; and they frequently foretell what is to pressed words, and were formed by the letters of happen to a man throughout his life, and not an alphabet : thus, Y. K., in the Egyptian uncommonly predict the failure of crops, or an tongue, signifying a serpent; and a serpent, in abundance, and the occurrence of epidemic distheir hieroglyphics, denoting a king; Y. K., as eases among men and beasts; foreseeing also stated by Manetho, signified the same in the earthquakes and floods, the appearance of comets, sacred dialect.
and a variety of other things, which appear One of the principles in the religious policy of impossible to the multitude.* It is said that the Egypt, was, that the government of the world Chaldeans in Babylon are derived from an had, by the Supreme Ruler of the universe, been Egyptian colony, and have acquired their reputcommitted to subordinate local, tutelary deities, ation for astrology by means of the information amongst whom the several regions of the earth obtained from the priests in Egypt. were divided ; that these were the proper objects “ But the generality of the common people of all public and popular religion; and that the learn only from their parents or relations that knowledge of the ONE TRUE God, the CREATOR which is required for the exercise of their peculiar of all things, was highly dangerous to be com- professions, as we have already shown; a few municated to the people, but was to be secreted, only being taught any thing of literature, and and shut up in their MYSTERIES, and in them to those principally the better classes of artificers.” be revealed only occasionally, and to a few; and In their minute observations respecting events those few the wise, the learned, and the mighty of consequence, Herodotus observes, that the among mankind.
Egyptians excelled all other people ; and when Another fundamental maxim in the religious any thing occurs, they put it down in writing, policy of Egypt was, to propagate, by every and pay particular attention to the circumstances means, the doctrine of a future state of rewards which follow it; and if, in process of time, any and punishments, as the necessary support of all similar occurrence takes place, they conclude it religion and government.
Thus their tenets will be attended with the same results. were dictated by worldly wisdom, for the support But, if the priests were anxious to establish a only of the state. How unlike such are the pure character for learning and piety, they were equally doctrines of the gospel! While they form a
solicitous to excel in propriety of conduct, and broad security for good order in a state, they to exhibit a proper example of humility and selfteach mankind the knowledge of the one true
denial. In their mode of living, they were re. God, and the way of salvation through a crucified markable for simplicity and abstinence; comRedeemer.
mitting no excesses either in eating or drinking. Diodorus observes, on the education of the Their food was plain, and they ate a stated Egyptians :-" The children of the priests are quantity; their wine, also, was used with the taught two different kinds of writing, what is strictest regard to moderation. So fearful were called the sacred, and the more general; and they, indeed, lest the body should not “sit light they pay great attention to geometry and arith- upon the soul,” and excess should increase “ the metic : "for the river, changing the appearance corporeal man,” that they paid a scrupulous of the country very materially every year, is the attention to the most trifling particulars of diet. cause of many and various discussions among Similar precautions were extended to the deified neighbouring proprietors about the extent of animals; Plutarch says that Apis was not allowed their property; and it would be difficult for
to drink the water of the Nile, on account of its person to decide upon their claims without geo- fattening properties. metrical reasoning, founded on actual observ- Their scruples were not confined to the quanation.*
tity, but they extended to the quality of their “Of arithmetic they have also frequent need, food ; certain viands were alone allowed to be both in their domestic economy, and in the ap
set before them. Above all meats, that of swine plication of geometrical theorems, besides its was most obnoxious; and fish, both of the sea utility in the cultivation of astronomical studies ;
* The false science of astrology was created by the
priests of Egypt, for the sake of establishing and preserv• According to some authors, Sesostris was the first who ing their power. Induced by the illusion of his senses to divided Egypt by a measure amongst his subjects, and regard himself as the centre of the universe, man was thus gave a beginning to the science of geometry. Sir easily persuaded that his destiny was influenced by the Isaac Newton ascribes the origin of this science to Moeris, heavenly bodies, and that it was possible to foretell it by the fifth from Sesostris, confounding Sesostris with Osiris. observing their aspect at his birth. This illusive notion But it is evident from Scripture, that an exact division of kept its ground til the end of the seventeenth century, private landed property existed in Egypt before the days when knowledge generally diffused the true system of the of Joseph, whose wise administration commenced ages world over Europe, and destroyed the imposing fabric of anterior to the period assigned by Newton. See Gen. astrology, dispersing its reveries and follies, as the beams xlvii. 20—26.
of the sun disperse the morning mists.