Title: History of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 4 (of 12)
Author: G. Maspero
Editor: A. H. Sayce
Translator: M. L. McClure
Release date: December 16, 2005 [eBook #17324]
Most recently updated: December 13, 2020
Credits: Produced by David Widger
THE FIRST CHALDEAN EMPIRE AND THE HYKSÔS IN EGYPT
SYRIA: THE PART PLAYED BY IT IN THE HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD— BABYLON AND THE FIRST CHALDÆAN EMPIRE—THE DOMINION OF THE HYKSÔS: ÂHMOSIS.
Syria, owing to its geographical position, condemned to be subject to neighbouring powers-Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, the valley of the Orontes and of the Litâny, and surrounding regions: the northern table-land, the country about Damascus, the Mediterranean coast, the Jordan and the Dead Sea-Civilization and primitive inhabitants, Semites and Asiatics: the almost entire absence of Egyptian influence, the predominance of that of Chaldæa.
Babylon, its ruins and its environs—It extends its rule over Mesopotamia; its earliest dynasty and its struggle with Central Chaldæa-Elam, its geographical position, its peoples; Kutur-Nakhunta conquers Larsam-Bimsin (Eri-Aku); Khammurabi founds the first Babylonian empire; Ids victories, his buildings, his canals—The Elamites in Syria: Kudurlagamar—Syria recognizes the authority of Hammurabi and his successors.
The Hyksôs conquer Egypt at the end of the XIVth dynasty; the founding of Avaris—Uncertainty both of ancients and moderns with regard to the origin of the Hyksôs: probability of their being the Khati—Their kings adopt the manners and civilization of the Egyptians: the monuments of Khiani and of Apôphis I. and II—The XVth dynasty.
Semitic incursions following the Hyksôs—The migration of the Phoenicians and the Israelites into Syria: Terah, Abraham and his sojourn in the land of Canaan—Isaac, Jacob, Joseph: the Israelites go down into Egypt and settle in the land of Goshen.
Thébes revolts against the Hyksôs: popular traditions as to the origin of the war, the romance of Apôphis and Saquinri—The Theban princesses and the last Icings of the XVIIth dynasty: Tiûdqni Kamosis, Ahmosis I.—The lords of El-Kab, and the part they played during the war of independence—The taking of Avaris and the expulsion of the Ilylcsôs.
The reorganization of Egypt—Ahmosis I. and his Nubian wars, the reopening of the quarries of Turah—Amenôthes I. and his mother Nofrîtari: the jewellery of Queen Âhhotpû—The wars of Amenôthes I., the apotheosis of Nofrîtari—The accession of Thûtmosis I. and the re-generation of Egypt.
List of Illustrations
Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world—Babylon and the first Chaldæan empire—The dominion of the Hyksôs: Âhmosis.
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. Chaldæa, 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 Litâny 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 Afrîn.
* 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-Kozîb, 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 Aûnrati, or Araûnti; it is mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions under the name of Arantû. All are agreed in acknowledging that this name is not Semitic, and an Aryan origin is attributed to it, but without convincing proof; according to Strabo (xvi. ii. § 7, p. 750), it was originally called Typhon, and was only styled Orontes after a certain Orontes had built the first bridge across it. The name of Axios which it sometimes bears appears to have been given to it by Greek colonists, in memory of a river in Macedonia. This is probably the origin of the modern name of Asi, and the meaning, rebellious river, which Arab tradition attaches to the latter term, probably comes from a popular etymology which likened Axios to Asi, the identification was all the easier since it justifies the epithet by the violence of its current.
The Litâny 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 Galilæan 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 Cæsars.
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 Afrîn 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. Primæval forests clothed the slopes of the Amanos, and pinewood from this region was famous both at Babylon and in the towns of Lower Chaldæa. 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 Chaldæa. 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 Litâny 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 corruption of the Phoenician name in that of Alcobile, which is mentioned hereabouts in the Itinerary of the pilgrim of Bordeaux. The order of the Itinerary does not favour this identification, and Alcobile is probably Jebail: it is none the less probable that the original name of the Nahr el Kelb contained from earliest times the Phoenician equivalent of the Arab word kelb, “dog.” *** 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.
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, Mê-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.
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.
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 Hûleh 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.
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 lôbacchos, labacchos, Iambykes. It is the present Nahr Zerqa. *** Numb. xxi. 13-26; Beut. ii. 24; the present Wady Môjib. [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 Seleucidæ.
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 Abbé 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 Khnûmhotpû, 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 Sinûhit 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 Chaldæo-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 Kadimâ, 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.
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.
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 Asiatics.” ** Thûtmosis III. went elephant-hunting near the Syrian town of Niî.
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 Kazarâti, 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 Predestined Prince, exiled from Egypt with his dog, pursues his way hunting till he reaches the confines of Naharaim, where he is to marry the prince’s daughter.
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 Chaldæa, and received, though at a distance, the continuous impress of the kingdoms of the Euphrates. The tradition which attributes to Sargon of Agadê, 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 Khnûmhotpû 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 Amenôthes 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 Assurbanipal, it is possible that the word Khati is merely the translation of a more ancient term, perhaps Martu. Winckler thinks it to be included in Lesser Armenia and the Melitônê of classical authors. ** Gubin is probably the Kûpûna, Kûpnû, of the Egyptians, the Byblos of Phoenicia. Amiaud had proposed a most unlikely identification with Koptos in Egypt. In the time of Inê-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 Chaldæa 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 ziggurâts and the palaces of Chaldæa 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.
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.
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 Babîl by the two Rawlinsons; and by Oppert; Hormuzd Rassam and Fr. Delitzsch locate it between the hill of Junjuma and the Kasr, and considers Babîl to be a palace of Nebuchadrezzar.
In early times it must have presented much the same appearance as the sanctuaries of Central Chaldæa: 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 ziggurât. 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 Amrân-ibn-Ali, the temple of Shamash, and others, which there will be occasion to mention later on in dealing with the second Chaldæan empire.
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.
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 Agadê, 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 Chaldæa.
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 Râ, 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 Chaldæa, 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.
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 Chaldæan 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 Chaldæan empire, is the Tela of classical authors, and probably the present Werânshaher, 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:** Chaldæan 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 Chaldæan 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 Chaldæan empire was pointed out by Winckler; but the theory according to which this town was the capital of the kingdom, called by the Chaldæan 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 Agadê. 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:—
The dates of this dynasty are not fixed with entire certainty. The first of them, Sumuabîm, 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. Sumulaîlu, who reigned after him, was only distantly related to his predecessor; but from Sumulaîlu 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.*
* Simulaîlu, also written Samu-la-ilu, whom Mr. Pinches has found in a contract tablet associated with Pungunila as king, was not the son of Sumuabîm, 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 Sumulaîlu 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—Immêru—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 Chaldæa. 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.
* Sumulaîlu 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 Sumuabîm* —the obscure Sumulaîlu, Zabum, the usurper Immeru, Abîlsin 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 Chaldæan 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 Chaldæa. ** 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 Halévy 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 Chaldæan 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 Babylonian Rim-Sin, “Have mercy, O Moon-god!” just as Abêsukh, the Hebrew Absihu’a (“the father of welfare”) was transformed into the Babylonian Ebisum (“the actor”).—Ed.]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief of Sargon II. in the Louvre.
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, Inê-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, à princess of Susa would be sent as a bride to one of the Chaldæan cities, or a Chaldæan lady of royal birth would enter the harem of a king of Anshân. Elam was protected along the course of the Tigris and on the shores of the Nâr-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 Chaldæa. 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 Ulaî***—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 Ulaî, mentioned in the Hebrew texts (Ban. viii. 2, 16), the Euloos of classical writers, also called Pasitigris. It is the Karun of the present day, until its confluence with the Shaûr, and subsequently the Shaûr itself, which waters the foot of the Susian hills.
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 negroid 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.
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 Chaldæa. They are said to have been the first to employ horses and chariots in warfare.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph furnished by Marcel Dieulafoy.
Semites of the same stock as those of Chaldæa 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 Anzân, or Anshân,** 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 Ulaî 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 Chaldæan empire they had assumed such importance that the Hebrews made out Elam to be one of the sons of Shem (Gen. x. 22). ** Anzân, Anshân, and, by assimilation of the nasal with the sibilant, Ashshân. 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 Chaldæan astronomers; it also occurs in the royal preamble of Cyrus and his ancestors, who like him were styled “kings of Anshân.” 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 Achæmenian 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 Anzân-Anshân was really the plain of Elam, from the mountains to the sea, and one set of authorities affirms that the word Anzân 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.
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 Chaldæo-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 VIII century B.C. it was enclosed by walls with bastions, which are shown on a bas-relief of Assurbanipal, but it was surrounded by unfortified suburbs.
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 Aiwân-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.
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 Arcæmenian 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 Æmmân, whom the Chaldæns 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 Chaldæans, 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, Ummân, 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 Nurrammân, or in the earlier part of that of Siniddinam, a King of Elam, by name Kudur-nakhunta, triumphantly marched through Chaldæa 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 reèd,—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 Chaldæa, including Babylon itself, was forced to acknowledge the supremacy of the invader;* a Susian empire thus absorbed Chaldæa, 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 provisionally accepted by most Assyriologists. Tiele, and Winckler after him, have suggested that Martu is here equivalent to Yamutbal, and that it was merely used to indicate the western part of Elam; Winckler afterwards rejected this hypothesis, and has come round to the general opinion.
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 Chaldæan 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 ziggurât 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 Chaldæan 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 Meîr* and Malgu. When the last revolt had been put down, all the countries speaking the language of Chaldæa 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.
* Maîru, Meîr, 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.
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 Chaldæa; 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 resemblance to the Semitic dialect of Chaldæa.
The house of Zamama and Ninni, at Kish, was out of repair, and the ziggurât 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 Chaldæa. 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.
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 Nâr-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 Nâr-Khammurabi, the source of wealth to the people. This fortress I called Dur-Sinmuballit-abim-uâlidiya, 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 Nâr-Malkâ, 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. Samsuîluna, 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. Abiêshukh,* 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.
* Abîshukh (the Hebrew Abishua) is the form of the name which we find in contemporary contracts. The official lists contain the variant Ebishu, Ebîshum. ** Ammiditana is only a possible reading: others prefer Ammisatana. The Nâr-Ammisatana is mentioned in a Sippar contract. Another contract is dated “the year in which Ammisatana, the king, repaired the canal of Samsuîluna.” *** 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 Minæan 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. Chaldæa 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.
* Samsuîluna repaired the five fortresses which his ancestor Sumulaîlu 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 Ammisatana.” Contract dated “the year in which the King Ammisatana repaired Dur-Iskunsin.” Contract dated “the year in which Samsuîluna caused ‘the wall of Uru and Uruk’ to be built.”
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 Chaldæa, 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. Durîlu probably fell ordinarily under Chaldæan 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 Chaldæans 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-anîn, “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 absolutely refused to credit the story in Genesis. Sayce thinks that the Bible story rests on an historic basis, and his view is strongly confirmed by Pinches’discovery of a Chaldæan document which mentions Kudur-lagamar and two of his allies. The Hebrew historiographer reproduced an authentic fact from the chronicles of Babylon, and connected it with one of the events in the life of Abraham. The very late date generally assigned to Gen. xiv. in no way diminishes the intrinsic probability of the facts narrated by the Chaldæan document which is preserved to us in the pages of the Hebrew book.
In the thirteenth year of his reign over the East, the cities of the Dead Sea—Sodom, Gomorrah, Adamah, Zeboîm, and Belâ—revolted against him: he immediately convoked his great vassals, Amraphel of Chaldæa, Ariôch 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—Zuzîm; as having a buzzing and indistinct manner of speech—Zamzummîm; as formidable monsters**—Emîm or Anakîm, before whom other nations appeared as grasshoppers;*** as the Horîm 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 Rephaîm near to Ashtaroth-Karnaîm, the Zuzîm near Ham,**** the Amîm at Shaveh-Kiriathaim, and the Horîm 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 Hazazôn-Tamar.
* Ellasar has been identified with Larsa since the researches of Rawlin-son and Norris; the Goîm, over whom Tidal was king, with the Guti. ** Sayce considers Zuzîm and Zamzummîm 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 Chaldæan 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 Zuzîm, others preferred Zamzummîm. *** Numb. xiii. 33. **** In Deut. ii. 20 it is stated that the Zamzummîm 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 Deuteronomy, and the difference between the spelling of the two would be due to the fact that the document reproduced in the XIVIIth chapter of Genesis had been originally copied from a cuneiform tablet in which the name of the place was expressed by the sign Ham-Am.
In the mean time, the kings of the five towns had concentrated their troops in the vale of Siddîm, 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 Chaldæan 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. Halévy, 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 Chaldæa 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 Belushallîm, 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 pschënt 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 Chaldæans 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 Chaldæans or of the Élamites who were oppressing Chaldæa.****
* 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 Chaldæa at an epoch prior to the Hyksôs invasion, is proved by a fragment of the Vulture Stele; it is therefore, natural to suppose that the Hyksôs used the chariot in war, and that the rapidity of their conquest was due to it. ** The name Salatis (var. Saitôs) seems to be derived from a Semitic word, Siialît = “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 Hyksôs king, but his title, which the Egyptians misunderstood, and from which they evolved a proper name: Uhlemann has, indeed, deduced from this that Manetho, being familiar with the passage referring to Joseph, had forged the name of Salatis. Ebers imagined that he could decipher the Egyptian form of this prince’s name on the Colossus of Tell-Mokdam, where Naville has since read with certainty the name of a Pharaoh of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties, Nahsiri. *** 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 hostilities against the Thebans. We are forced, therefore, to admit, either that Manetho took the title of lord of the high and low lands which belonged to Salatis, literally, or that the Thebans, after submitting at first, subsequently refused to pay tribute, thus provoking a war. **** Manetho here speaks of Assyrians; this is an error which is to be explained by the imperfect state of historical knowledge in Greece at the time of the Macedonian supremacy. We need not for this reason be led to cast doubt upon the historic value of the narrative: we must remember the suzerainty which the kings of Babylon exercised over Syria, and read Chaldæans where Manetho has written Assyrians. In Herodotus “Assyria” is the regular term for “Babylonia,” and Babylonia is called “the land of the Assyrians.”
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 Hâwârît-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 Chaldæan 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—Anôn, Apachnas, Apôphis 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 Amûû, Asiatics, or Monâtiû, the men of the desert.* They had already given the Bedouin the opprobrious epithet of Shaûsû—pillagers or robbers—which aptly described them;** and they subsequently applied the same name to the intruders—Hiq Shaûsû—from which the Greeks derived their word Hyksôs, or Hykoussôs, for this people.***
* The meaning of the term Monîti was discovered by E. de Rougé, who translated it Shepherd, and applied it to the Hyksôs; 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 spoilers.” *** Manetho declares that the people were called Hyksôs, from Syk, which means “king” in the sacred language, and sôs, 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. Shôs, 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- Shôs or Hyku-Shôs given by its inventors to the alien kings. Cham-pollion and Rosellini were the first to identify these Shôs with the Shaûsû 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 Shaûsû on these strangers, just as they had given those of Amûû and Manâtiû. The texts or writers from whom Manetho drew his information evidently mentioned certain kings hyku-Shaûsû; other passages, or, the same passages wrongly interpreted, were applied to the race, and were rendered hyku-Shaûsû = “the prisoners taken from the Shaûsû,” 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 “Sôs” an Egyptian word shôs = “soldiers,” and in the name of King Mîrmâshâû, which he read Mîrshôsû, an equivalent of the title Hyq- Shôsû.
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 Hyksôs with the Phoenicians, others regarded them as Arabs.* Modern scholars have put forward at least a dozen contradictory hypotheses on the matter. The Hyksôs 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 Apôphis 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-Farês 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 Hyksôs.
* 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 Sheddâd and the Adites is of recent origin, and was inspired by traditions in regard to the Hyksôs 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 Hyksôs. ** 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 Amenemhâît 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 Hyksôs 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 Chaldæan 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 Hyksôs 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 Hyksôs 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.
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 Apôpi II Âusirrî 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-maû,” * strangers, and in referring to them used the same vague appellations which they applied to the Bedouin of the Sinaitic peninsula,—Monâtiû, the shepherds, or Sâtiû, 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 sliemaû, is applied to them by Queen Hâtshopsîtu: 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 Aîti, Iaîti, Iadîti, was applied to the Nubians by the writer of the inscription of Ahmosi- si-Abîna, 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.”
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 Achæmenians and Greeks made use of the native employés, 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 Amenemhâîts 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 Sutkhû, the Great Sit.^
* The narrative of the Sallier Papyrus, No. 1, shows us the civil and military chiefs collected round the Shepherd- king Apôpi, 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 Abîsha at Beni-Hassan, which is also assumed by Khiani on several small monuments; Steindorff has attempted to connect it with the name of the Hyksôs. *** 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 Apôphis IL is proclaimed to be the living Horus, who joins the two earths in peace, the good god, Aqnunrî, son of the Sun, Apôpi, who lives for ever, on the statues of Mîrmâshâu, which he had appropriated, and on the pink granite table of offerings in the Gizeh Museum. **** The name of Baal, transcribed Baâlu, is found on that of a certain Petebaâlû, “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. ^ Sutikhû, Sutkhû, are lengthened forms of Sûtû, or Sîtû; and Chabas, who had at first denied the existence of the final Jehû, afterwards himself supplied the philological arguments which proved the correctness of the reading: he rightly refused, however, to recognise in Sutikhû or Sutkhû —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 Sutkhû is regarded as the indigenous equivalent of the great Asiatic god, elsewhere called Baal, or supreme lord. [Professor Pétrie 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 Sît, 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. Apôphis Aq-nûnrî, 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.
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 Amenemhâîts or to Mirmâshâû. Khianî, 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 Nofirhotpûs. But a small grey granite lion, also of the reign of Khianî, which by a strange fate had found its way to Bagdad, does not raise our estimation of the modelling of animals in the Hyksôs period.
* Naville, who reads the name Râyan or Yanrâ, 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. Pétrie proposed to read Khian, Khianî, and the fragment discovered at Gebeleîn confirms this reading, as well as a certain number of cylinders and scarabs. Mr. Pétrie 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 Hyksôs of the XVIth dynasty. The name Khianî, more correctly Khiyanî or Kheyanî, is connected by Tomkins, and Hilprecht with that of a certain Khayanû or Khayan, son of Gabbar, who reigned in Amanos in the time of Salmanasar II., King of Assyria.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Naville.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by E. Brugsch.
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 Apôphis IL Aûsirrî. 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 Hyksôs. 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 Hyksôs 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 Hyksôs 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 Chaldæa 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 Mâgan, 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 Chaldæans, 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-î-Nedjif and the environs of Babylon; others, the Lake of Bambykês 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 Chaldæan 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-Faddân, near Harrân.
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-Kashdîm, the Ur or Uru of the Chaldæans.*** He is said to have had three sons—Abraham, Nakhôr, and Harân. Harân begat Lot, but died before his father in Ur-Kashdîm, 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 Harân, and his daughter-in-law Sarah,**** went forth from Ur-Kashdîm (Ur of the Chaldees) to go into the land of Canaan.
* Nakhôr has been associated with the ancient village of Khaura, or with the ancient village of Hâditha-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 Chaldæans, but the first is interpreted in several ways—“frontier of the Chaldæans,” “domain of the Chaldæans.” 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 Chaldæans, i.e. Babylonia proper. *** Ur-Kashdîm 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 Halévy 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 Harrân 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 Abirâmu, in the contracts of the first Chaldæan empire.
And they came unto Kharân, and dwelt there, and Terakh died in Kharân.* It is a question whether Kharân is to be identified with Harrân in Mesopotamia, the city of the god Sin; or, which is more probable, with the Syrian town of Haurân, 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 ‘Ibrîm, 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-Kashdîm to Kharân, 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. Halévy 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 naïve 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 Kharân 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, Abîmelech 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 Abîmelech about the well (Gen. xxi. 22-34). The mention of the covenant of Abraham with Abîmelech 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 Jerusalem; the information, however, furnished by the Tel- el-Amarna tablets about the ancient city of Jerusalem and the character of its early kings have determined Sayce to pronounce Melchizedek to be an historical personage. ** 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. Lôtan, 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.
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 Siddîm, 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 différent 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 Abîmelech of Gerar.* He married his relative Rebecca, the granddaughter of Nâkhor 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 Aramæan 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 Penîel, “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 Succôth—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”—Mahanaîm.** 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 Aphôbis, a Hyksôs king, doubtless one of the Apôpi, and possibly the monarch who restored the monuments of the Theban Pharaohs, and engraved his name on the sphinxes of Amenemhâît III. and on the colossi of Mîrmâshâû.* 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 Apôphis 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 Ahmosîs, 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 Apôphis 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 Monatiû and the Hîrû-Shâîtû.*
* 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 Elohîm, they served Him with almost unbroken fidelity even in the presence of Râ and Osiris, of Phtah and Sûtkhû.
* 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 Hyksôs 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 Hyksôs 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 Hyksôs 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 Apôphis, probably the same who took the prsenomen of Aqnûnrî, was reigning at Tanis when the decisive revolt broke out, and Saqnûnrî Tiûâa 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 Saqnûnrî was regent of the city of the south, and that the Fever-stricken of the city of Râ were under the rule of Râ-Apôpi 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 Râ-Apôpi took to himself Sûtkhû for lord, and he did not serve any other god in the Whole Land except Sûtkhû, and he built a temple of excellent and everlasting work at the gate of the King Râ-Apôpi, 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 Phrâ-Harmâkhis.” 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 Râ-Apôpi 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 Râ-Apôpi commands thee: ‘If the chief of the South does not reply to my message, let him serve no longer any god but Sûtkhû. 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 Amonrâ, 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 Æsop.
The sequel is unfortunately lost. We may assume, however, without much risk of error, that Saqnûnrî came forth safe and sound from the ordeal; that Apôpi was taken in his own trap, and saw himself driven to the dire extremity of giving up Sûtkhû for Amonrâ or of declaring war. He was likely to adopt the latter alternative, and the end of the manuscript would probably have related his defeat.
Drawn from the original by Faucher- Gudin.
Hostilities continued for a century and a half from the time when Saqnûnrî Tiûâa 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 Tumilât. 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 Tiûâa 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, Tûaû, who accompanied this same Pharaoh in his expeditions; and the Gîzeh Museum is proud of having in its possession the i wooden sabre which this individual placed on the mummy of a certain Aqhorû, to enable him to defend himself against the monsters of the lower world. A second Saqnûnrî Tiûâa 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—Sakhontinibrî, Sanakhtû-niri, Hotpûrî, Manhotpûrî, Eâhotpû.*
* Hotpûrî and Manhotpûrî 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 Hotpûrî’s tomb, certainly situated at Thebes; we possess scarabs of this king, and Pétrie 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 Manhotpûrî is mentioned in a passage of the story as being the date of the death of a personage born under Hotpûrî. 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 Nûbhotpûrî, of whom we possess a few rather coarse scarabs.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Plinders Pétrie.
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 Râ. 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.
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-nûnrî Tiûâa known to us—he who added an epithet to his name, and was commonly known as Tiûâqni, “Tiûâa 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 Ahhotpû, possessed them.
* Thus we find Thûtmosis I. formally enthroning his daughter Hât-shopsîtû, 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 Tiûâa 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 Ahhotpû I.
His eldest son Ahmosû died prematurely; the two younger brothers, Kamosû and a second Ahmosû, the Amosis of the Greeks, assumed the crown after him. It is possible, as frequently happened, that their young sister Ahmasi-Nofrîtari entered the harem of both brothers consecutively.
Drawn by Bouclier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
We cannot be sure that she was united to Kamosû, 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 Ahhotpû, 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.
Tiûâqni, Kamosû,* and Ahmosis** quickly succeeded each other. Tiûâqni 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. Kamosû 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 Ahhotpû.
* With regard to Kamosû, we possess, in addition to the miniature bark which was discovered on the sarcophagus of Queen Ahhotpû, and which is now in the museum at Gîzeh, a few scattered references to his worship existing on the monuments, on a stele at Gîzeh, 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 Ilûâa and Amenôthês I. ** The name Amosû 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 Tiûâcrai, 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 Hyksôs. 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 rôle 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 Gîzeh 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.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Émil 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.
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 Hyksôs 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 Amôsis or Tethmôsis. Lepsius thought he saw grounds for preferring the second reading, and identified this Tethmôsis with Thûtmosi Manakhpirri, the ïhûtmosis 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 Rougé; 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—Âhmosi-si-Abîna—who belonged to the family of the lords of Nekhabît, 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. Nekhabît 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-Abîna, 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 Nekhabît is used to indicate the south, while the urseus of Buto denotes the extreme north; the title Râ-Nekhnît, “Chief of Nekhnît,” which is, hypothetically, supposed to refer to a judicial function, is none the less associated with the expression, “Nekhabît- Tekhnît,” as an indication of the south, and, therefore, can be traced to the prehistoric epoch when Nekhabît was the primary designation of the south.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
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 Syênê and Elephantine, where the commerce of neighbouring regions would naturally centre; or the erection, as at Ombos or Adfû, of a temple which would periodically attract a crowd of pilgrims. The principality of the Two Feathers comprised, besides Nekhabît, ât least two such towns—Anît, on its northern boundary, and Nekhnît almost facing Nekhabît 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, Sovkûnakhîti, gained the favour of Sovkhotpû III. Sakhemûaztaûirî, who granted him lands which made the fortune of his house; another of them, Aï, married Khonsu, one of the daughters of Sovkûmsaûf I. and his Queen Nûbkhâs, and it is possible that the misshapen pyramid of Qûlah, the most southern in Egypt proper, was built for one of these royally connected personages.
* Nekhnît is the Hieracônpolis of Greek and Roman times, Hâît-Baûkû, the modern name of which is Kom-el-Ahmar. ** Pihiri was, therefore, prince of Nekhabît and of Anît at one and the same time, whereas the town of Nekhnît had its own special rulers, several of whom are known to us from the tombs at Kom-el-Ahmar.
The descendants of Aï attached themselves faithfully to the Pharaohs of the XVIIth dynasty, and helped them to the utmost in their struggle against the invaders. Their capital, Nekhabît, 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 façades 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 Nekhabît, 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 Saîte 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 Champollion found only the foundations of the walls.
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, Bebî 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.”
Babaî, the first of the lords of El-Kab whose name has come down to us, was a captain in the service of Saqnûnrî Tiûâqni.* 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 Hyksôs 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 Abîna that of his grandfather; others think that Babai was his father and Abîna his mother; others, again, make out Babai and Abîna 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 Abîna, 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-Abîna 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-Abîna 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 “Zadikû,” and, with the Egyptian article, Pa-zadikû, or Pzadikû. 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.
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 Taqimît.* Here, again, the battle remained undecided, but Ahmosi-si-Abîna 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-Abîna 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 Taqimît is unknown. ** The prisoner who was given to Ahmosis after the victory, is probably Paâmû, 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 Sharûhana.* Ahmosi-si-Abîna 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.**
* Sharûhana, which is mentioned again under Thûtmosis 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-Sheriâh, 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 Hyksôs 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 corvée 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 Amenemhaît 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 Kûsh had laden with timber, gum, elephants’ tusks, and gold dust: from time to time a band of Bedouin from Uaûaît or Mazaiû 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 Khonthanûnofir, settled in the wadys east of the Nile, above Semneh, which required a lesson. The army which had just expelled the Hyksôs was rapidly conveyed to the opposite borders of the country by the fleet, the two Ahmosi of Nekhabît 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-Abîna 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 Hyksôs, 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 Tentoâ,* before they fell in with the Egyptian troops. Ahmosi-si-Abîna 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 Tantoâ may be the modern Tantah in the Delta.
A certain Titiânu, 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 Titiânu 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 Pentauîrît; Titiânu 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.
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 Hyksôs. 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 Amenemhâîts 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., Âhmosis expressly states that he opened new chambers in the quarries of Tûrah 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.
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 Tûrah 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 Amenemhâîts. 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 “Fankhûi,” 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 stelæ of Ahmosis show them in full activity under the corvée; we see here the stone block detached from the quarry being squared by the chisel, or transported on a sledge drawn by oxen.
* The Fankhûi are, properly speaking, all white prisoners, without distinction of race. Their name is derived from the root fôkhu, fankhu = to bind, press, carry off, steal, destroy; if it is sometimes used in the sense of Phoenicians, it is only in the Ptolemaic epoch. Here the term “Fankhûi” refers to the Shepherds and Asiatics made prisoners in the campaign of the year V. against Sharuhana.
Ahmosis had several children by his various wives; six at least owned Nofrîtari 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, Amenhotpû—called by the Greeks Amenôthes*—took his place.
* The form Amenôphis, which is usually employed, is, properly speaking, the equivalent of the name Amenemaupitu, or Amenaupîti, which belongs to a king of the XXIst Tanite dynasty; the true Greek transcription of the Ptolemaic epoch, corresponding to the pronunciation Amehotpe, or Amenhopte, is Amenôthes. Under the XVIIIth dynasty the cuneiform transcription of the tablets of Tel-el Amarna, Amankhatbi, seems to indicate the pronunciation Amanhautpi, Amanhatpi, side by side with the pronunciation Aman-hautpu, Amenhotpu.
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 employés 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 Thûtmosis IV. several times sent one of his messengers to Abydos for the purpose of presenting land to Osiris and to his own ancestor Ahmosis.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
Amenôthes I. had not attained his majority when his father “thus winged his way to heaven,” leaving him as heir to the throne.* Nofrîtari 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 Tûrah; 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 Amenôthes I. was a minor when he came to the throne; still the presumptions in favour of this hypothesis, afforded by the monuments, are so strong that many historians of ancient Egypt have accepted it. Queen Nofrîtari is represented as reigning, side by side with her reigning son, on some few Theban tombs which can be attributed to their epoch.
Drawn by Bouclier, from the photograph by M. de Mertens taken in the Berlin Museum.
The aged Ahhotpu, who, like Nofrîtari, 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 Kamosû—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.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Bechard.
Nofrîtari thus reigned conjointly with Amenôthes, 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 Nofrîtari 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 Amenôthes and several of her other children shared in it—her son Sipiri, for instance, and her daughters Sîtamon,* Sîtkamosi, and Marîtamon; Nofrîtari became, in fact, an actual goddess, taking her place beside Amon, Khonsû, and Maut,** the members of the Theban Triad, or standing alone as an object of worship for her devotees.
* Sîtamon is mentioned, with her mother, on the Karnak stele and on the coffin of Bûtehamon. ** She is worshipped with the Theban Triad by Brihor, at Karnak, in the temple of Khonsû.
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 Amenôthes (who is white) in the Deir el-Medineh tomb, now preserved in the Berlin Museum, in that of Nibnûtîrû, and hi that of Unnofir, at Sheikh Abd el-Qûrnah. 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 negro tribes in his wars, and that it was owing to this alliance that he succeeded in expelling the Hyksôs. Later discoveries have not confirmed these hypotheses. Nofrîtari was most probably an Egyptian of unmixed race, as we have seen, and daughter of Ahhotpû I., and the black or blue colour of her skin is merely owing to her identification with the goddesses of the dead.
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 Deîr-el-Baharî: 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 Nofrîtari the lack of zest evinced by Amenôthes 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 Hyksôs, Ahmosis seemed inclined to pursue a less timorous course. He made an advance on Sharûhana 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. Nofrîtari may have counselled her son not to break through the traditions which his father had so strictly followed, for Amenôthes I. confined his campaigns to Africa, and the traditional battle-fields there. He embarked for the land of Kûsh on the vessel of Ahmosi-si-Abîna “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”—Khnûmît hirît; instead of retracing his steps to the Nile squadron, and returning slowly by boat, Amenôthes 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.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph supplied by Flinders Pétrie.
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 Amenôthes 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 Amenôthes 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 Amenôthes excavated a cavern in the mountain of Ibrîm in Nubia, dedicated to Satît, one of the goddesses of the cataract.
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 Tûrah 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: Panaîti, 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 Thûtmosis III., whose cartouches alternate with those of Amenôthes I. The colossus is now in front of the third Pylon, and Wiedemann concluded from this fact that Amenôthes 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 Thûtmosis III.
As Nofrîtari had been metamorphosed into a form of Isis, Amenôthes 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 Amenôthes, whom he styles Amenôthes V.
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 Amenôthes 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 Amenôthes in the likeness of the king then reigning. ** We know, from the Abbott Papyrus, that the pyramid of Amenôthes 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.
Amenôthes had married Ahhotpû II, his sister by the same father and mother;* Ahmasi, the daughter born of this union, was given in marriage to Thûtmosis, one of her brothers, the son of a mere concubine, by name Sonisonbû.** Ahmasi, like her ancestor Nofrîtari, 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 Thûtmosis, and allowed him to assume the sole government.
* Ahhotpû II. may be seen beside her husband on several monuments. The proof that she was full sister of Amenôthes I. is furnished by the title of “hereditary princess” which is given to her daughter Àhmasi; this princess would not have taken precedence of her brother and husband Thûtmosis, who was the son of an inferior wife, had she not been the daughter of the only legitimate spouse of Amenôthes I. The marriage had already taken place before the accession of Thûtmosis I., as Ahmasi figures in a document dated the first year of his reign. ** The absence of any cartouche shows that Sonisonbû 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 Deîr el-Baharî; 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.”
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the photograph taken by Émil Brugsch-Bey.
He was crowned at Thebes on the 21st of the third month of Pirît; 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 Mâît, 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, Akhopirkerî, son of the Sun, Thûtmosis, 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 Akhopirkerî, living for ever, and then cause the oath to be taken in the name of my Majesty, born of the royal mother Sonisonbû, 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 Pirît, 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. Thûtmosis brought with him on ascending the throne the spirit of the younger generation, who, born shortly after the deliverance from the Hyksôs, had grown up in the peaceful days of Amenôthes, 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. Thûtmosis 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 Âhmosis 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. Thûtmosis 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 Âhmosis of El-Kab; (2) the Syrian campaign must have ended in the second year of the reign, since Thûtmosis 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 Hyksôs. 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:
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 Chaldæans, who still exercised an undisputed influence over it, and it was but natural that the conquerors of the Hyksôs 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. Thûtmosis 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 Khâti 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.
Meanwhile the Timihû, 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 Kûsh would take place, consisting of a rapid march across the sands of the Ethiopian desert and a cruise along the coasts of Pûanîfc. 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 negroes 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.
SYRIA AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EGYPTIAN CONQUEST
NINEVEH AND THE FIRST COSSÆAN KINGS-THE PEOPLES OF SYRIA, THEIR TOWNS, THEIR CIVILIZATION, THEIR RELIGION-PHOENICIA.
The dynasty of Uruazagga-The Cossseans: their country, their gods, their conquest of Chaldæa-The first sovereigns of Assyria, and the first Cossæan Icings: Agumhakrimê.
The Egyptian names for Syria: Kharâ, Zahi, Lotanû, Kefâtiu-The military highway from the Nile to the Euphrates: first section from Zalu to Gaza-The Canaanites: their fortresses, their agricultural character: the forest between Jaffa and Mount Carmel, Megiddo-The three routes beyond Megiddo: Qodshu-Alasia, Naharaim, Garchemish; Mitanni and the countries beyond the Euphrates.
Disintegration of the Syrian, Canaanite, Amorite, and Khdti populations; obliteration of types-Influence of Babylon on costumes, customs, and religion—Baalim and Astarte, plant-gods and stone-gods-Religion, human sacrifices, festivals; sacred stones—Tombs and the fate of man after death-Phoenician cosmogony.
Phoenicia—Arad, Marathus, Simyra, Botrys—Byblos, its temple, its goddess, the myth of Adonis: Aphaka and the valley of the Nahr-Ibrahim, the festivals of the death and resurrection of Adonis—Berytus and its god El; Sidon and its suburbs—Tyre: its foundation, its gods, its necropolis, its domain in the Lebanon.
Isolation of the Phoenicians with regard to the other nations of Syria; their love of the sea and the causes which developed it—Legendary accounts of the beginning of their colonization—Their commercial proceedings, their banks and factories; their ships—Cyprus, its wealth, its occupations—The Phoenician colonies in Asia Minor and the Ægean Sea: purple dye—The nations of the Ægean.
Nineveh and the first Cossæan kings—The peoples of Syria, their towns, their civilization, their religion—Phoenicia.
The world beyond the Arabian desert presented to the eyes of the enterprising Pharaohs an active and bustling scene. Babylonian civilization still maintained its hold there without a rival, but Babylonian rule had ceased to exercise any longer a direct control, having probably disappeared with the sovereigns who had introduced it. When Ammisatana died, about the year 2099, the line of Khammurabi became extinct, and a family from the Sea-lands came into power.*
* The origin of this second dynasty and the reading of its name still afford matter for discussion. Amid the many conflicting opinions, it behoves us to remember that Gulkishar, the only prince of this dynasty whose title we possess, calls himself King of the Country of the Sea, that is to say, of the marshy country at the mouth of the Euphrates: this simple fact directs us to seek the cradle of the family in those districts of Southern Chaldæa. Sayce rejects this identification on philological and chronological grounds, and sees in Gulkishar, “King of the Sea-lands,” a vassal Kaldâ prince.
This unexpected revolution of affairs did not by any means restore to the cities of Lower Chaldæa the supreme authority which they once possessed. Babylon had made such good use of its centuries of rule that it had gained upon its rivals, and was not likely now to fall back into a secondary place. Henceforward, no matter what dynasty came into power, as soon as the fortune of war had placed it upon the throne, Babylon succeeded in adopting it, and at once made it its own. The new lord of the country, Ilumaîlu, having abandoned his patrimonial inheritance, came to reside near to Merodach.*
* The name has been read An-ma-an or Anman by Pinches, subsequently Ilumaîlu, Mailu, finally Anumaîlu and perhaps Humaîlu. The true reading of it is still unknown. Hommel believed he had discovered in Hilprecht’s book an inscription belonging to the reign of this prince; but Hilprecht has shown that it belonged to a king of Erech, An-a-an, anterior to the time of An-ma-an.
He was followed during the four next centuries by a dynasty of ten princes, in uninterrupted succession. Their rule was introduced and maintained without serious opposition. The small principalities of the south were theirs by right, and the only town which might have caused them any trouble—Assur—was dependent on them, being satisfied with the title of vicegerents for its princes,—Khallu, Irishum, Ismidagan and his son Sarnsiramman I., Igurkapkapu and his son Sarnsiramman II.* As to the course of events beyond the Khabur, and any efforts Ilumaîlu’s descendants may have made to establish their authority in the direction of the Mediterranean, we have no inscriptions to inform us, and must be content to remain in ignorance. The last two of these princes, Melamkurkurra and Eâgamîl, were not connected with each other, and had no direct relationship with their predecessors.** The shortness of their reigns presents a striking contrast with the length of those preceding them, and probably indicates a period of war or revolution. When these princes disappeared, we know not how or why, about the year 1714 B.C., they were succeeded by a king of foreign extraction; and one of the semi-barbarous race of Kashshu ascended the throne which had been occupied since the days of Khammurabi by Chaldæans of ancient stock.***
* Inscription of Irishum, son of Khallu, on a brick found at Kalah-Shergat, and an inscription of Sarnsiramman II., son of Igurkapkapu, on another brick from the same place. Sarnsiramman I. and his father Ismidagan are mentioned in the great inscription of Tiglath-pileser II., as having lived 641 years before King Assurdân, who himself had preceded Tiglath-pileser by sixty years: they thus reigned between 1900 and 1800 years before our era, according to tradition, whose authenticity we have no other means of verifying. ** The name of the last is read Eâgamîl, for want of anything better: Oppert makes it Eâgâ, simply transcribing the signs; and Hilprecht, who took up the question again after him, has no reading to propose. *** I give here the list of the kings of the second dynasty, from the documents discovered by Pinches: No monument remains of any of these princes, and even the reading of their names is merely provisional: those placed between brackets represent Delitzsch’s readings. A Gulkishar is mentioned in an inscription of Belnadiuabal; but Jensen is doubtful if the Gulkishar mentioned in this place is identical with the one in the lists.
These Kashshu, who spring up suddenly out of obscurity, had from the earliest times inhabited the mountainous districts of Zagros, on the confines of Elymai’s and Media, where the Cossæans of the classical historians flourished in the time of Alexander.*
* The Kashshu are identified with the Cossæans by Sayce, by Schrader, by Fr. Delitzsch, by Halévy, by Tiele, by Hommel, and by Jensen. Oppert maintains that they answer to the Kissians of Herodotus, that is to say, to the inhabitants of the district of which Susa is the capital. Lehmann supports this opinion. Winckler gives none, and several Assyriologists incline to that of Kiepert, according to which the Kissians are identical with the Cossæans.
It was a rugged and unattractive country, protected by nature and easy to defend, made up as it was of narrow tortuous valleys, of plains of moderate extent but of rare fertility, of mountain chains whose grim sides were covered with forests, and whose peaks were snow-crowned during half the year, and of rivers, or, more correctly speaking, torrents, for the rains and the melting of the snow rendered them impassable in spring and autumn. The entrance to this region was by two or three well-fortified passes: if an enemy were unwilling to incur the loss of time and men needed to carry these by main force, he had to make a detour by narrow goat-tracks, along which the assailants were obliged to advance in single file, as best they could, exposed to the assaults of a foe concealed among the rocks and trees. The tribes who were entrenched behind this natural rampart made frequent and unexpected raids upon the marshy meadows and fat pastures of Chaldæa: they dashed through the country, pillaging and burning all that came in their way, and then, quickly regaining their hiding-places, were able to place their booty in safety before the frontier garrisons had recovered from the first alarm.* These tribes were governed by numerous chiefs acknowledging a single king—ianzi—whose will was supreme over nearly the whole country:** some of them had a slight veneer of Chaldæan civilization, while among the rest almost every stage of barbarism might be found. The remains of their language show that it was remotely allied to the dialect of Susa, and contained many Semitic words.*** What is recorded of their religion reaches us merely at second hand, and the groundwork of it has doubtless been modified by the Babylonian scribes who have transmitted it to us.****
* It was thus in the time of Alexander and his successors, and the information given by the classical historians about this period is equally applicable to earlier times, as we may conclude from the numerous passages from Assyrian inscriptions which have been collected by Fr. Delitzsch. ** Delitzsch conjectures that Ianzi, or Ianzu, had become a kind of proper name, analogous to the term Pharaoh employed by the Egyptians. *** A certain number of Cossæan words has been preserved and translated, some in one of the royal Babylonian lists, and some on a tablet in the British Museum, discovered and interpreted by Fr. Delitzsch. Several Assyriologists think that they showed a marked affinity with the idiom of the Susa inscriptions, and with that of the Achæmenian inscriptions of the second type; others deny the proposed connection, or suggest that the Cossæan language was a Semitic dialect, related to the Chaldæo-Assyrian. Oppert, who was the first to point out the existence of this dialect, thirty years ago, believed it to be the Elamite; he still persists in his opinion, and has published several notes in defence of it. **** It has been studied by Pr. Delitzsch, who insists on the influence which daily intercourse with the Chaldæans had on it after the conquest; Halévy, in most of the names of the gods given as Cossæan, sees merely the names of Chaldæan divinities slightly disguised in the writing.
They worshipped twelve great gods, of whom the chief—Kashshu, the lord of heaven-gave his name to the principal tribe, and possibly to the whole race:* Shûmalia, queen of the snowy heights, was enthroned beside him,** and the divinities next in order were, as in the cities of the Euphrates, the Moon, the Sun (Sakh or Shuriash), the air or the tempest (Ubriash), and Khudkha.*** Then followed the stellar deities or secondary incarnations of the sun,—Mirizir, who represented both Istar and Beltis; and Khala, answering to Gula.****
* The existence of Kashshu is proved by the name of Kashshunadinakhé: Ashshur also bore a name identical with that of his worshippers. ** She is mentioned in a rescript of Nebuchadrezzar I., at the head of the gods of Namar, that is to say, the Cossæan deities, as “the lady of the shining mountains, the inhabitants of the summits, the frequenter of peaks.” She is called Shimalia in Rawlinson, but Delitzsch has restored her name which was slightly mutilated; one of her statues was taken by Samsirammân III., King of Assyria, in one of that sovereign’s campaigns against Chaldæa. *** All these identifications are furnished by the glossary of Delitzsch. Ubriash, under the form of Buriash, is met with in a large number of proper names, Burnaburiash, Shagashaltiburiash, Ulamburiash, Kadashmanburiash, where the Assyrian scribe translates it Bel-matâti, lord of the world: Buriash is, therefore, an epithet of the god who was called Rammân in Chaldæa. The name of the moon-god is mutilated, and only the initial syllable Shi... remains, followed by an indistinct sign: it has not yet been restored. **** Halévy considers Khala, or Khali, as a harsh form of Gula: if this is the case, the Cossæans must have borrowed the name, and perhaps the goddess herself, from their Chaldæan neighbours.
The Chaldæan Ninip corresponded both to Gidar and Maruttash, Bel to Kharbe and Turgu, Merodach to Shipak, Nergal to Shugab.* The Cossæan kings, already enriched by the spoils of their neighbours, and supported by a warlike youth, eager to enlist under their banner at the first call,** must have been often tempted to quit their barren domains and to swoop down on the rich country which lay at their feet. We are ignorant of the course of events which, towards the close of the XVIIIth century B.C., led to their gaining possession of it. The Cossæan king who seized on Babylon was named Gandish, and the few inscriptions we possess of his reign are cut with a clumsiness that betrays the barbarism of the conqueror. They cover the pivot stones on which Sargon of Agadê or one of the Bursins had hung the doors of the temple of Nippur, but which Gandish dedicated afresh in order to win for himself, in the eyes of posterity, the credit of the work of these sovereigns.***
* Hilprecht has established the identity of Turgu with Bel of Nippur. ** Strabo relates, from some forgotten historian of Alexander, that the Cossæans “had formerly been able to place as many as thirteen thousand archers in line, in the wars which they waged with the help of the Elymæans against the inhabitants of Susa and Babylon.” *** The full name of this king, Gandish or Gandash, which is furnished by the royal lists, is written Gaddash on a monument in the British Museum discovered by Pinches, whose conclusions have been erroneously denied by Winckler. A process of abbreviation, of which there are examples in the names of other kings of the same dynasty, reduced the name to Gandê in the current language.
Bel found favour in the eyes of the Cossæans who saw in him Kharbê or Turgu, the recognised patron of their royal family: for this reason Gandish and his successors regarded Bel with peculiar devotion. These kings did all they could for the decoration and endowment of the ancient temple of Ekur, which had been somewhat neglected by the sovereigns of purely Babylonian extraction, and this devotion to one of the most venerated Chaldæan sanctuaries contributed largely towards their winning the hearts of the conquered people.*
* Hilpreoht calls attention on this point to the fact that no one has yet discovered at Nippur a single ex-voto consecrated by any king of the two first Babylonian dynasties.
The Cossæan rule over the countries of the Euphrates was doubtless similar in its beginnings to that which the Hyksôs exercised at first over the nomes of Egypt. The Cossæan kings did not merely bring with them an army to protect their persons, or to occupy a small number of important posts; they were followed by the whole nation, and spread themselves over the entire country. The bulk of the invaders instinctively betook themselves to districts where, if they could not resume the kind of life to which they were accustomed in their own land, they could, at least give full rein to their love of a free and wild existence. As there were no mountains in the country, they turned to the marshes, and, like the Hyksôs in Egypt, made themselves at home about the mouths of the rivers, on the half-submerged low lands, and on the sandy islets of the lagoons which formed an undefined borderland between the alluvial region and the Persian Gulf. The covert afforded, by the thickets furnished scope for the chase which these hunters had been accustomed to pursue in the depths of their native forests, while fishing, on the other hand, supplied them with an additional element of food. When their depredations drew down upon them reprisals from their neighbours, the mounds occupied, by their fortresses, and surrounded by muddy swamps, offered them almost as secure retreats as their former strongholds on the lofty sides of the Zagros. They made alliances with the native Aramæans—with those Kashdi, properly called Chaldæans, whose name we have imposed upon all the nations who, from a very early date, bore rule on the banks of the Lower Euphrates. Here they formed themselves into a State—Karduniash—whose princes at times rebelled, against all external authority, and at other times acknowledged the sovereignty of the Babylonian monarchs.*
* The state of Karduniash, whose name appears for the first time on the monuments of the Cossæan period, has been localised in a somewhat vague manner, in the south of Babylonia, in the country of the Kashdi, and afterwards formally identified with the Countries of the Sea, and with the principality which was called Bît-Yâkin in the Assyrian period. In the Tel-el-Amarna tablets the name is already applied to the entire country occupied by the Cossæan kings or their descendants, that is to say, to the whole of Babylonia. Sargon II. at that time distinguishes between an Upper and a Lower Karduniash; and in consequence the earliest Assyriologists considered it as an Assyrian designation of Babylon, or of the district surrounding it, an opinion which was opposed by Delitzsch, as he believed it to be an indigenous term which at first indicated the district round Babylon, and afterwards the whole of Babylonia. From one frequent spelling of the name, the meaning appears to have been Fortress of Duniash; to this Delitzsch preferred the translation Garden of Duniash, from an erroneous different reading—Ganduniash: Duniash, at first derived from a Chaldæan God Dun, whose name may exist in Dunghi, is a Cossæan name, which the Assyrians translated, as they did Buriash, Belmatâti, lord of the country. Winckler rejects the ancient etymology, and proposes to divide the word as Kardu-niash and to see in it a Cossæan translation of the expression mât-kaldi, country of the Caldæans: Hommel on his side, as well as Delitzsch, had thought of seeking in the Chaldæans proper—Kaldi for Kashdi, or Kash-da, “domain of the Cossæans “—the descendants of the Cossæans of Karduniash, at least as far as race is concerned. In the cuneiform texts the name is written Kara—D. P. Duniyas, “the Wall of the god Duniyas” (cf. the Median Wall or Wall of Semiramis which defended Babylonia on the north).
The people of Sumir and Akkad, already a composite of many different races, absorbed thus another foreign element, which, while modifying its homogeneity, did not destroy its natural character. Those Cossæan tribes who had not quitted their own country retained their original barbarism, but the hope of plunder constantly drew them from their haunts, and they attacked and devastated the cities of the plain unhindered by the thought that they were now inhabited by their fellow-countrymen. The raid once over, many of them did not return home, but took service under some distant foreign ruler—the Syrian princes attracting many, who subsequently became the backbone of their armies,* while others remained at Babylon and enrolled themselves in the body-guard of the kings.
* Halévy has at least proved that the Khabiri mentioned in. the Tel el-Amarna tablets were Cossæans, contrary to the opinion of Sayce, who makes them tribes grouped round Hebron, which W. Max Müller seems to accept; Winckler, returning to an old opinion, believes them to have been Hebrews.
To the last they were an undisciplined militia, dangerous, and difficult to please: one day they would hail their chiefs with acclamations, to kill them the next in one of those sudden outbreaks in which they were accustomed to make and unmake their kings.* The first invaders were not long in acquiring, by means of daily intercourse with the old inhabitants, the new civilization: sooner or later they became blended with the natives, losing all their own peculiarities, with the exception of their outlandish names, a few heroic legends,** and the worship of two or three gods—Shûmalia, Shugab, and Shukamuna.
* This is the opinion of Hommel, supported by the testimony of the Synchronous Hist.: in this latter document the Cossæans are found revolting against King Kadashmankharbé, and replacing him on the throne by a certain Nazibugash, who was of obscure origin. ** Pr. Delitzsch and Schrader compare their name with that of Kush, who appears in the Bible as the father of Nimrod (Gen. x. 8-12); Hommel and Sayce think that the history of Nimrod is a reminiscence of the Cossæan rule. Jensen is alone in his attempt to attribute to the Cossæans the first idea of the epic of Gilgames.
As in the case of the Hyksôs in Africa, the barbarian conquerors thus became merged in the more civilized people which they had subdued. This work of assimilation seems at first to have occupied the whole attention of both races, for the immediate successors of Gandish were unable to retain under their rule all the provinces of which the empire was formerly composed. They continued to possess the territory situated on the middle course of the Euphrates as far as the mouth of the Balikh, but they lost the region extending to the east of the Khabur, at the foot of the Masios, and in the upper basin of the Tigris: the vicegerents of Assur also withdrew from them, and, declaring that they owed no obedience excepting to the god of their city, assumed the royal dignity. The first four of these kings whose names have come down to us, Sulili, Belkapkapu, Adasi, and Belbâni,* appear to have been but indifferent rulers, but they knew bow to hold their own against the attacks of their neighbours, and when, after a century of weakness and inactivity, Babylon reasserted herself, and endeavoured to recover her lost territory, they had so completely established their independence that every attack on it was unsuccessful. The Cossæan king at that time—an active and enterprising prince, whose name was held in honour up to the days of the Ninevite supremacy—was Agumkakrimê, the son of Tassigurumash.**
* These four names do not so much represent four consecutive reigns as two separate traditions which were current respecting the beginnings of Assyrian royalty. The most ancient of them gives the chief place to two personages named Belkapkapu and Sulili; this tradition has been transmitted to us by Rammânnirâri III., because it connected the origin of his race with these kings. The second tradition placed a certain Belbâni, the son of Adasi, in the room of Belkapkapu and Sulili: Esarhaddon made use of it in order to ascribe to his own family an antiquity at least equal to that of the family to which Rammânnirâri III. belonged. Each king appropriated from the ancient popular traditions those names which seemed to him best calculated to enhance the prestige of his dynasty, but we cannot tell how far the personages selected enjoyed an authentic historical existence: it is best to admit them at least provisionally into the royal series, without trusting too much to what is related of them. ** The tablet discovered by Pinches is broken after the fifth king of the dynasty. The inscription of Agumkakrimê, containing a genealogy of this prince which goes back as far as the fifth generation, has led to the restoration of the earlier part of the list as follows: Gandish, Gaddash, Adumitasii .... 1655-? B.C. Gandê ........................... 1714-1707 B.C. Tassigurumash.................... ? Agumrabi, his son................ 1707-1685 Agumkakrimê ..................... ? [A]guyashi ...................... 1685-1663 Ushshi, his son.................. 1663-1655
This “brilliant scion of Shukamuna” entitled himself lord of the Kashshu and of Akkad, of Babylon the widespread, of Padan, of Alman, and of the swarthy Guti.* Ashnunak had been devastated; he repeopled it, and the four “houses of the world” rendered him obedience; on the other hand, Elam revolted from its allegiance, Assur resisted him, and if he still exercised some semblance of authority over Northern Syria, it was owing to a traditional respect which the towns of that country voluntarily rendered to him, but which did not involve either subjection or control. The people of Khâni still retained possession of the statues of Merodach and of his consort Zarpanit, which had been stolen, we know not how, some time previously from Chaldæa.** Agumkakrimê recovered them and replaced them in their proper temple. This was an important event, and earned him the good will of the priests.
* The translation black-headed, i.e. dark-haired and complexioned, Guti, is uncertain; Jensen interprets the epithet nishi saldati to mean “the Guti, stupid (foolish? culpable?) people.” The Guti held both banks of the lower Zab, in the mountains on the east of Assyria. Delitzsch has placed Padan and Alman in the mountains to the east of the Diyâleh; Jensen places them in the chain of the Khamrîn, and Winckler compares Alman or Halman with the Holwân of the present day. ** The Khâni have been placed by Delitzsch in the neighbourhood of Mount Khâna, mentioned in the accounts of the Assyrian campaigns, that is to say, in the Amanos, between the Euphrates and the bay of Alexandretta: he is inclined to regard the name as a form of that of the Khâti.
The king reorganised public worship; he caused new fittings for the temples to be made to take the place of those which had disappeared, and the inscription which records this work enumerates with satisfaction the large quantities of crystal, jasper, and lapis-lazuli which he lavished on the sanctuary, the utensils of silver and gold which he dedicated, together with the “seas” of wrought bronze decorated with monsters and religious emblems.* This restoration of the statues, so flattering to the national pride and piety, would have been exacted and insisted upon by a Khammurabi at the point of the sword, but Agumkakrimê doubtless felt that he was not strong enough to run the risk of war; he therefore sent an embassy to the Khâni, and such was the prestige which the name of Babylon still possessed, from the deserts of the Caspian to the shores of the Mediterranean, that he was able to obtain a concession from that people which he would probably have been powerless to extort by force of arms.**
* We do not possess the original of the inscription which tells us of these facts, but merely an early copy. ** Strictly speaking, one might suppose that a war took place; but most Assyriologists declare unhesitatingly that there was merely an embassy and a diplomatic negotiation.
The Egyptians had, therefore, no need to anticipate Chaldæan interference when, forsaking their ancient traditions, they penetrated for the first time into the heart of Syria. Not only was Babylon no longer supreme there, but the coalition of those cities on which she had depended for help in subduing the West was partially dissolved, and the foreign princes who had succeeded to her patrimony were so far conscious of their weakness, that they voluntarily kept aloof from the countries in which, previous to their advent, Babylon had held undivided sway. The Egyptian conquest of Syria had already begun in the days of Agumkakrimê, and it is possible that dread of the Pharaoh was one of the chief causes which influenced the Cossæans to return a favourable answer to the Khâni. Thûtmosis I., on entering Syria, encountered therefore only the native levies, and it must be admitted that, in spite of their renowned courage, they were not likely to prove formidable adversaries in Egyptian estimation. Not one of the local Syrian dynasties was sufficiently powerful to collect all the forces of the country around its chief, so as to oppose a compact body of troops to the attack of the African armies. The whole country consisted of a collection of petty states, a complex group of peoples and territories which even the Egyptians themselves never completely succeeded in disentangling. They classed the inhabitants, however, under three or four very comprehensive names—Kharû, Zahi, Lotanû, and Kefâtiû—all of which frequently recur in the inscriptions, but without having always that exactness of meaning we look for in geographical terms. As was often the case in similar circumstances, these names were used at first to denote the districts close to the Egyptian frontier with which the inhabitants of the Delta had constant intercourse. The Kefâtiû seem to have been at the outset the people of the sea-coast, more especially of the region occupied later by the Phoenicians, but all the tribes with whom the Phoenicians came in contact on the Asiatic and European border were before long included under the same name.*
* The Kefâtiû, whose name was first read Kefa, and later Kefto, were originally identified with the inhabitants of Cyprus or Crete, and subsequently with those of Cilicia, although the decree of Canopus locates them in Phoenicia.
Zahi originally comprised that portion of the desert and of the maritime plain on the north-east of Egypt which was coasted by the fleets, or traversed by the armies of Egypt, as they passed to and fro between Syria and the banks of the Nile. This region had been ravaged by Ahmosis during his raid upon Sharuhana, the year after the fall of Avaris. To the south-east of Zahi lay Kharû; it included the greater part of Mount Seir, whose wadys, thinly dotted over with oases, were inhabited by tribes of more or less stationary habits. The approaches to it were protected by a few towns, or rather fortified villages, built in the neighbourhood of springs, and surrounded by cultivated fields and poverty-stricken gardens; but the bulk of the people lived in tents or in caves on the mountain-sides. The Egyptians constantly confounded those Khauri, whom the Hebrews in after-times found scattered among the children of Edom, with the other tribes of Bedouin marauders, and designated them vaguely as Shaûsû. Lotanû lay beyond, to the north of Kharû and to the north-east of Zahi, among the hills which separate the “Shephelah” from the Jordan.*
* The name of Lotanû or Rotanû has been assigned by Brugsch to the Assyrians, but subsequently, by connecting it, more ingeniously than plausibly, with the Assyrian iltânu, he extended it to all the peoples of the north; we now know that in the texts it denotes the whole of Syria, and, more generally, all the peoples dwelling in the basins of the Orontes and the Euphrates. The attempt to connect the name Rotanû or Lotanû with that of the Edomite tribe of Lotan (Gen. xxxvi. 20, 22) was first made by P. de Saulcy; it was afterwards taken up by Haigh and adopted by Renan.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger.
As it was more remote from the isthmus, and formed the Egyptian horizon in that direction, all the new countries with which the Egyptians became acquainted beyond its northern limits were by degrees included under the one name of Lotanû, and this term was extended to comprise successively the entire valley of the Jordan, then that of the Orontes, and finally even that of the Euphrates. Lotanû became thenceforth a vague and fluctuating term, which the Egyptians applied indiscriminately to widely differing Asiatic nations, and to which they added another indefinite epithet when they desired to use it in a more limited sense: that part of Syria nearest to Egypt being in this case qualified as Upper Lotanû, while the towns and kingdoms further north were described as being in Lower Lotanû. In the same way the terms Zahi and Kharû were extended to cover other and more northerly regions. Zahi was applied to the coast as far as the mouth of the Nahr el-Kebir and to the country of the Lebanon which lay between the Mediterranean and the middle course of the Orontes. Kharû ran parallel to Zahi, but comprised the mountain district, and came to include most of the countries which were at first ranged under Upper Lotanû; it was never applied to the region beyond the neighbourhood of Mount Tabor, nor to the trans-Jordanie provinces. The three names in their wider sense preserved the same relation to each other as before, Zahi lying to the west and north-west of Kharû, and Lower Lotanû to the north of Kharû and north-east of Zahi, but the extension of meaning did not abolish the old conception of their position, and hence arose confusion in the minds of those who employed them; the scribes, for instance, who registered in some far-off Theban temple the victories of the Pharaoh would sometimes write Zahi where they should have inscribed Kharû, and it is a difficult matter for us always to detect their mistakes. It would be unjust to blame them too severely for their inaccuracies, for what means had they of determining the relative positions of that confusing collection of states with which the Egyptians came in contact as soon as they had set foot on Syrian soil?
A choice of several routes into Asia, possessing unequal advantages, was open to the traveller, but the most direct of them passed through the town of Zalû. The old entrenchments running from the Ked Sea to the marshes of the Pelusiac branch still protected the isthmus, and beyond these, forming an additional defence, was a canal on the banks of which a fortress was constructed. This was occupied by the troops who guarded the frontier, and no traveller was allowed to pass without having declared his name and rank, signified the business which took him into Syria or Egypt, and shown the letters with which he was entrusted.*
* The notes of an official living at Zalu in the time of Mîneptah are preserved on the back of pls. v., vi. of the Anastasi Papyrus III,; his business was to keep a register of the movements of the comers and goers between Egypt and Syria during a few days of the month Pakhons, in the year III.
It was from Zalû that the Pharaohs set out with their troops, when summoned to Kharû by a hostile confederacy; it was to Zalû they returned triumphant after the campaign, and there, at the gates of the town, they were welcomed by the magnates of the kingdom. The road ran for some distance over a region which was covered by the inundation of the Nile during six months of the year; it then turned eastward, and for some distance skirted the sea-shore, passing between the Mediterranean and the swamp which writers of the Greek period called the Lake of Sirbonis.*
* The Sirbonian Lake is sometimes half full of water, sometimes almost entirely dry; at the present time it bears the name of Sebkhat Berdawil, from King Baldwin I. of Jerusalem, who on his return from his Egyptian campaign died on its shores, in 1148, before he could reach El-Artsh.
This stage of the journey was beset with difficulties, for the Sirbonian Lake did not always present the same aspect, and its margins were constantly shifting. When the canals which connected it with the open sea happened to become obstructed, the sheet of water subsided from evaporation, leaving in many places merely an expanse of shifting mud, often concealed under the sand which the wind brought up from the desert. Travellers ran imminent risk of sinking in this quagmire, and the Greek historians tell of large armies being almost entirely swallowed up in it. About halfway along the length of the lake rose the solitary hill of Mount Casios; beyond this the sea-coast widened till it became a vast slightly undulating plain, covered with scanty herbage, and dotted over with wells containing an abundant supply of water, which, however, was brackish and disagreeable to drink.
Beyond these lay a grove of palms, a brick prison, and a cluster of miserable houses, bounded by a broad wady, usually dry. The bed of the torrent often served as the boundary between Africa and Asia, and the town was for many years merely a convict prison, where ordinary criminals, condemned to mutilation and exile, were confined; indeed, the Greeks assure us that it owed its name of Rhinocolûra to the number of noseless convicts who were to be seen there.*
* The ruins of the ancient town, which were of considerable extent, are half buried under the sand, out of which an Egyptian naos of the Ptolemaic period has been dug, and placed near the well which supplies the fort, where it serves as a drinking trough for the horses. Brugsch believed he could identify its site with that of the Syrian town Hurnikheri, which he erroneously reads Harinkola; the ancient form of the name is unknown, the Greek form varies between Rhinocorûra and Rhinocolûra. The story of the mutilated convicts is to be found in Diodorus Siculus, as well as in Strabo; it rests on a historical fact. Under the XVIIIth dynasty Zalû was used as a place of confinement for dishonest officials. For this purpose it was probably replaced by Rhinocolûra, when the Egyptian frontier was removed from the neighbourhood of Selle to that of El-Arîsh.
At this point the coast turns in a north-easterly direction, and is flanked with high sand-hills, behind which the caravans pursue their way, obtaining merely occasional glimpses of the sea. Here and there, under the shelter of a tower or a half-ruined fortress, the traveller would have found wells of indifferent water, till on reaching the confines of Syria he arrived at the fortified village of Raphia, standing like a sentinel to guard the approach to Egypt. Beyond Raphia vegetation becomes more abundant, groups of sycamores and mimosas and clusters of date-palms appear on the horizon, villages surrounded with fields and orchards are seen on all sides, while the bed of a river, blocked with gravel and fallen rocks, winds its way between the last fringes of the desert and the fruitful Shephelah;* on the further bank of the river lay the suburbs of Gaza, and, but a few hundred yards beyond, Gaza itself came into view among the trees standing on its wall-crowned hill.**
* The term Shephelah signifies the plain; it is applied by the Biblical writers to the plain bordering the coast, from the heights of Gaza to those of Joppa, which were inhabited at a later period by the Philistines (Josh. xi. 16; Jer. xxxii. 44 and xxxiii. 13). ** Guérin describes at length the road from Gaza to Raphia. The only town of importance between them in the Greek period was Iênysos, the ruins of which are to be found near Khan Yunes, but the Egyptian name for this locality is unknown: Aunaugasa, the name of which Brugsch thought he could identify with it, should be placed much farther away, in Northern or in Coele-Syria.
The Egyptians, on their march from the Nile valley, were wont to stop at this spot to recover from their fatigues; it was their first halting-place beyond the frontier, and the news which would reach them here prepared them in some measure for what awaited them further on. The army itself, the “troop of Râ,” was drawn from four great races, the most distinguished of which came, of course, from the banks of the Nile: the Amû, born of Sokhît, the lioness-headed goddess, were classed in the second rank; the Nahsi, or negroes of Ethiopia, were placed in the third; while the Timihû, or Libyans, with the white tribes of the north, brought up the rear. The Syrians belonged to the second of these families, that next in order to the Egyptians, and the name of Amu, which for centuries had been given them, met so satisfactorily all political, literary, or commercial requirements, that the administrators of the Pharaohs never troubled themselves to discover the various elements concealed beneath the term. We are, however, able at the present time to distinguish among them several groups of peoples and languages, all belonging to the same family, but possessing distinctive characteristics. The kinsfolk of the Hebrews, the children of Ishmael and Edom, the Moabites and Ammonites, who were all qualified as Shaûsû, had spread over the region to the south and east of the Dead Sea, partly in the desert, and partly on the confines of the cultivated land. The Canaanites were not only in possession of the coast from Gaza to a point beyond the Nahr el-Kebir, but they also occupied almost the whole valley of the Jordan, besides that of the Litâny, and perhaps that of the Upper Orontes.* There were Aramaean settlements at Damascus, in the plains of the Lower Orontes, and in Naharaim.**
* I use the term Canaanite with the meaning most frequently attached to it, according to the Hebrew use (Gen. x. 15- 19). This word is found several times in the Egyptian texts under the forms Kinakhna, Kinakhkhi, and probably Kûnakhaîû, in the cuneiform texts of Tel el-Amarna. ** As far as I know, the term Aramæan is not to be found in any Egyptian text of the time of the Pharaohs: the only known example of it is a writer’s error corrected by Chabas. W. Max Müller very justly observes that the mistake is itself a proof of the existence of the name and of the acquaintance of the Egyptians with it.
The country beyond the Aramaean territory, including the slopes of the Amanos and the deep valleys of the Taurus, was inhabited by peoples of various origin; the most powerful of these, the Khâti, were at this time slowly forsaking the mountain region, and spreading by degrees over the country between the Afrîn and the Euphrates.*
The Canaanites were the most numerous of all these groups, and had they been able to amalgamate under a single king, or even to organize a lasting confederacy, it would have been impossible for the Egyptian armies to have broken through the barrier thus raised between them and the rest of Asia; but, unfortunately, so far from showing the slightest tendency towards unity or concentration, the Canaanites were more hopelessly divided than any of the surrounding nations. Their mountains contained nearly as many states as there were valleys, while in the plains each town represented a separate government, and was built on a spot carefully selected for purposes of defence. The land, indeed, was chequered with these petty states, and so closely were they crowded together, that a horseman, travelling at leisure, could easily pass through two or three of them in a day’s journey.**
* Thûtmosis III. shows that, at any rate, they were established in these regions about the XVIth century B.C. The Egyptian pronunciation of their name is Khîti, with the feminine Khîtaît, Khîtit; but the Tel el-Amarna texts employ the vocalisation Khâti, Khâte, which must be more correct than that of the Egyptians, The form Khîti seems to me to be explicable by an error of popular etymology. Egyptian ethnical appellations in îti formed their plural by -âtiû, -âteê, -âti, -âte, so that if Khâte, Khâti, were taken for a plural, it would naturally have suggested to the scribes the form Khîti for the singular. ** Thûtmosis III., speaking to his soldiers, tells them that all the chiefs the projecting spur of some mountain, or on a solitary and more or less irregularly shaped eminence in the midst of a plain, and the means of defence in the country are shut up in Megiddo, so that “to take it is to take a thousand cities:” this is evidently a hyperbole in the mouth of the conqueror, but the exaggeration itself shows how numerous were the chiefs and consequently the small states in Central and Southern Syria.
Not only were the royal cities fenced with walls, but many of the surrounding villages were fortified, while the watch-towers, or migdols* built at the bends of the roads, at the fords over the rivers, and at the openings of the ravines, all testified to the insecurity of the times and the aptitude for self-defence shown by the inhabitants.
* This Canaanite word was borrowed by the Egyptians from the Syrians at the beginning of their Asiatic wars; they employed it in forming the names of the military posts which they established on the eastern frontier of the Delta: it appears for the first time among Syrian places in the list of cities conquered by Thûtmosis III.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Beato.
The aspect of these migdols, or forts, must have appeared strange to the first Egyptians who beheld them. These strongholds bore no resemblance to the large square or oblong enclosures to which they were accustomed, and which in their eyes represented the highest skill of the engineer. In Syria, however, the positions suitable for the construction of fortresses hardly ever lent themselves to a symmetrical plan. The usual sites had to be adapted in each case to suit the particular configuration of the ground.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken at Karnak by Beato.
It was usually a mere wall of stone or dried brick, with towers at intervals; the wall measuring from nine to twelve feet thick at the base, and from thirty to thirty-six feet high, thus rendering an assault by means of portable ladders, nearly impracticable.*
* This is, at least, the result of investigations made by modern engineers who have studied these questions of military archæology.
The gateway had the appearance of a fortress in itself. It was composed of three large blocks of masonry, forming a re-entering face, considerably higher than the adjacent curtains, and pierced near the top with square openings furnished with mantlets, so as to give both a front and flank view of the assailants. The wooden doors in the receded face were covered with metal and raw hides, thus affording a protection against axe or fire.*
* Most of the Canaanite towns, taken by Ramses II. in the campaign of his VIIIth year were fortified in this manner. It must have been the usual method of fortification, as it seems to have served as a type for conventional representation, and was sometimes used to denote cities which had fortifications of another kind. For instance, Dapûr-Tabor is represented in this way, while a picture on another monument, which is reproduced in the illustration on page 185, represents what seems to have been the particular form of its encompassing walls.
The building was strong enough not only to defy the bands of adventurers who roamed the country, but was able to resist for an indefinite time the operations of a regular siege. Sometimes, however, the inhabitants when constructing their defences did not confine themselves to this rudimentary plan, but threw up earthworks round the selected site. On the most exposed side they raised an advance wall, not exceeding twelve or fifteen feet in height, at the left extremity of which the entrance was so placed that the assailants, in endeavouring to force their way through, were obliged to expose an unprotected flank to the defenders. By this arrangement it was necessary to break through two lines of fortification before the place could be entered. Supposing the enemy to have overcome these first obstacles, they would find themselves at their next point of attack confronted with a citadel which contained, in addition to the sanctuary of the principal god, the palace of the sovereign himself. This also had a double enclosing wall and massively built gates, which could be forced only at the expense of fresh losses, unless the cowardice or treason of the garrison made the assault an easy one.*
* The type of town described in the text is based on a representation on the walls of Karnak, where the siege of Dapûr-Tabor by Ramses II. is depicted. Another type is given in the case of Ascalon.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken by Dévéria in 1865.
Of these bulwarks of Canaanite civilization, which had been thrown up by hundreds on the route of the invading hosts, not a trace is to be seen to-day. They may have been razed to the ground during one of those destructive revolutions to which the country was often exposed, or their remains may lie hidden underneath the heaps of ruins which thirty centuries of change have raised over them.*
* The only remains of a Canaanite fortification which can be assigned to the Egyptian period are those which Professor F. I. Petrie brought to light in the ruins of Tell el-Hesy, and in which he rightly recognised the remains of Lachish.
The records of victories graven on the walls of the Theban temples furnish, it is true, a general conception of their appearance, but the notions of them which we should obtain from this source would be of a very confused character had not one of the last of the conquering Pharaohs, Ramses III., taken it into his head to have one built at Thebes itself, to contain within it, in addition to his funerary chapel, accommodation for the attendants assigned to the conduct of his worship. In the Greek and Roman period a portion of this fortress was demolished, but the external wall of defence still exists on the eastern side, together with the gate, which is commanded on the right by a projection of the enclosing-wall, and flanked by two guard-houses, rectangular in shape, and having roofs which jut out about a yard beyond the wall of support. Having passed through these obstacles, we find ourselves face to face with a migdol of cut stone, nearly square in form, with two projecting wings, the court between their loop-holed walls being made to contract gradually from the point of approach by a series of abutments. A careful examination of the place, indeed, reveals more than one arrangement which the limited knowledge of the Egyptians would hardly permit us to expect. We discover, for instance, that the main body of the building is made to rest upon a sloping sub-structure which rises to a height of some sixteen feet.
This served two purposes: it increased, in the first place, the strength of the defence against sapping; and in the second, it caused the weapons launched by the enemy to rebound with violence from its inclined surface, thus serving to keep the assailants at a distance. The whole structure has an imposing look, and it must be admitted that the royal architects charged with carrying out their sovereign’s idea brought to their task an attention to detail for which the people from whom the plan was borrowed had no capacity, and at the same time preserved the arrangements of their model so faithfully that we can readily realise what it must have been. Transport this migdol of Ramses III. into Asia, plant it upon one of those hills which the Canaanites were accustomed to select as a site for their fortifications, spread out at its base some score of low and miserable hovels, and we have before us an improvised pattern of a village which recalls in a striking manner Zerîn or Beîtîn, or any other small modern town which gathers the dwellings of its fellahin round some central stone building—whether it be a hostelry for benighted travellers, or an ancient castle of the Crusading age.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
There were on the littoral, to the north of Gaza, two large walled towns, Ascalon and Joppa, in whose roadsteads merchant vessels were accustomed to take hasty refuge in tempestuous weather.* There were to be found on the plains also, and on the lower slopes of the mountains, a number of similar fortresses and villages, such as Iurza, Migdol, Lachish, Ajalon, Shocho, Adora, Aphukîn, Keilah, Gezer, and Ono; and, in the neighbourhood of the roads which led to the fords of the Jordan, Gibeah, Beth-Anoth, and finally Urusalim, our Jerusalem.** A tolerably dense population of active and industrious husbandmen maintained themselves upon the soil.
* Ascalon was not actually on the sea. Its port, “Maiumas Ascalonis,” was probably merely a narrow bay or creek, now, for a long period, filled up by the sand. Neither the site nor the remains of the port have been discovered. The name of the town is always spelled in Egyptian with an “s “— Askaluna, which gives us the pronunciation of the time. The name of Joppa is written Yapu, Yaphu, and the gardens which then surrounded the town are mentioned in the Anastasi Papyrus I. ** Urusalim is mentioned only in the Tel el-Amarna tablets, alongside of Kilti or Keilah, Ajalon, and Lachish. The remaining towns are noticed in the great lists of Thûtmosis III.
The plough which they employed was like that used by the Egyptians and Babylonians, being nothing but a large hoe to which a couple of oxen were harnessed.* The scarcity of rain, except in certain seasons, and the tendency of the rivers to run low, contributed to make the cultivators of the soil experts in irrigation and agriculture. Almost the only remains of these people which have come down ti us consist of indestructible wells and cisterns, or wine and oil presses hollowed out of the rock.**
* This is the form of plough still employed by the Syrians in some places. ** Monuments of this kind are encountered at every step in Judaea, but it is very difficult to date them. The aqueduct of Siloam, which goes back perhaps to the time of Hezekiah.
Fields of wheat and barley extended along the flats of the valleys, broken in upon here and there by orchards, in which the white and pink almond, the apple, the fig, the pomegranate, and the olive flourished side by side.
Drawn by Boudier, from a plate in Chesney.
Jerusalem, possibly in part to be attributed to the reign of Solomon, are the only instances to which anything like a certain date may be assigned. But these are long posterior to the XVIIIth dynasty. Good judges, however, attribute some of these monuments to a very distant period: the masonry of the wells of Beersheba is very ancient, if not as it is at present, at least as it was when it was repaired in the time of the Cæsars; the olive and wine presses hewn in the rock do not all date back to the Roman empire, but many belong to a still earlier period, and modern descriptions correspond with what we know of such presses from the Bible.
If the slopes of the valley rose too precipitously for cultivation, stone dykes were employed to collect the falling earth, and thus to transform the sides of the hills into a series of terraces rising one above the other. Here the vines, planted in lines or in trellises, blended their clusters with the fruits of the orchard-trees. It was, indeed, a land of milk and honey, and its topographical nomenclature in the Egyptian geographical lists reflects as in a mirror the agricultural pursuits of its ancient inhabitants: one village, for instance, is called Aubila, “the meadow;” while others bear such names as Ganutu, “the gardens;” Magraphut, “the mounds;” and Karman, “the vineyard.” The further we proceed towards the north, we find, with a diminishing aridity, the hillsides covered with richer crops, and the valleys decked out with a more luxuriant and warmly coloured vegetation. Shechem lies in an actual amphitheatre of verdure, which is irrigated by countless unfailing streams; rushing brooks babble on every side, and the vapour given off by them morning and evening covers the entire landscape with a luminous haze, where the outline of each object becomes blurred, and quivers in a manner to which we are accustomed in our Western lands.* Towns grew and multiplied upon this rich and loamy soil, but as these lay outside the usual track of the invading hosts—which preferred to follow the more rugged but shorter route leading straight to Carmel across the plain—the records of the conquerors only casually mention a few of them, such as Bîtshaîlu, Birkana, and Dutîna.**
* Shechem is not mentioned in the Egyptian geographical lists, but Max Müller thinks he has discovered it in the name of the mountain of Sikima which figures in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1. ** Bîtshaîlu, identified by Chabas with Bethshan, and with Shiloh by Mariette and Maspero, is more probably Bethel, written Bît-sha-îlu, either with sh, the old relative pronoun of the Phoenician, or with the Assyrian sha; on the latter supposition one must suppose, as Sayce does, that the compiler of the Egyptian lists had before him sources of information in the cuneiform character. Birkana appears to be the modern Brukin, and Dutîna is certainly Dothain, now Tell-Dothân.
Beyond Ono reddish-coloured sandy clay took the place of the dark and compact loam: oaks began to appear, sparsely at first, but afterwards forming vast forests, which the peasants of our own days have thinned and reduced to a considerable extent. The stunted trunks of these trees are knotted and twisted, and the tallest of them do not exceed some thirty feet in height, while many of them may be regarded as nothing more imposing than large bushes.* Muddy rivers, infested with crocodiles, flowed slowly through the shady woods, spreading out their waters here and there in pestilential swamps. On reaching the seaboard, their exit was impeded by the sands which they brought down with them, and the banks which were thus formed caused the waters to accumulate in lagoons extending behind the dunes. For miles the road led through thickets, interrupted here and there by marshy places and clumps of thorny shrubs. Bands of Shaûsû were accustomed to make this route dangerous, and even the bravest heroes shrank from venturing alone along this route. Towards Aluna the way began to ascend Mount Carmel by a narrow and giddy track cut in the rocky side of the precipice.**
* The forest was well known to the geographers of the Græco- Roman period, and was still in existence at the time of the Crusades. ** This defile is described at length in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1, and the terms used by the writer are in themselves sufficient evidence of the terror with which the place inspired the Egyptians. The annals of Thûtmosis III. are equally explicit as to the difficulties which an army had to encounter here. I have placed this defile near the point which is now called Umm-el-Fahm, and this site seems to me to agree better with the account of the expedition of Thûtmosis III. than that of Arraneh proposed by Conder.
Beyond the Mount, it led by a rapid descent into a plain covered with corn and verdure, and extending in a width of some thirty miles, by a series of undulations, to the foot of Tabor, where it came to an end. Two side ranges running almost parallel—little Hermon and Glilboa—disposed in a line from east to west, and united by an almost imperceptibly rising ground, serve rather to connect the plain of Megiddo with the valley of the Jordan than to separate them. A single river, the Kishon, cuts the route diagonally—or, to speak more correctly, a single river-bed, which is almost waterless for nine months of the year, and becomes swollen only during the winter rains with the numerous torrents bursting from the hillsides. As the flood approaches the sea it becomes of more manageable proportions, and finally distributes its waters among the desolate lagoons formed behind the sand-banks of the open and wind-swept bay, towered over by the sacred summit of Carmel.*
* In the lists of Thûtmosis III. we find under No. 48 the town of Rosh-Qodshu, the “Sacred Cape,” which was evidently situated at the end of the mountain range, or probably on the site of Haifah; the name itself suggests the veneration with which Carmel was invested from the earliest times.
No corner of the world has been the scene of more sanguinary engagements, or has witnessed century after century so many armies crossing its borders and coming into conflict with one another. Every military leader who, after leaving Africa, was able to seize Gaza and Ascalon, became at once master of Southern Syria. He might, it is true, experience some local resistance, and come into conflict with bands or isolated outposts of the enemy, but as a rule he had no need to anticipate a battle before he reached the banks of the Kishon.
Drawn by Boudier, from a pencil sketch by Lortet.
Here, behind a screen of woods and mountain, the enemy would concentrate his forces and prepare resolutely to meet the attack. If the invader succeeded in overcoming resistance at this point, the country lay open to him as far as the Orontes; nay, often even to the Euphrates. The position was too important for its defence to have been neglected. A range of forts, Ibleâm, Taanach, and Megiddo,* drawn like a barrier across the line of advance, protected its southern face, and beyond these a series of strongholds and villages followed one another at intervals in the bends of the valleys or on the heights, such as Shunem, Kasuna, Anaharath, the two Aphuls, Cana, and other places which we find mentioned on the triumphal lists, but of which, up to the present, the sites have not been fixed.
* Megiddo, the “Legio” of the Roman period, has been identified since Robinson’s time with Khurbet-Lejûn, and more especially with the little mound known by the name of Tell-el-Mutesallim. Conder proposed to place its site more to the east, in the valley of the Jordan, at Khurbet-el- Mujeddah.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Lortet.
From this point the conqueror had a choice of three routes. One ran in an oblique direction to the west, and struck the Mediterranean near Acre, leaving on the left the promontory of Carmel, with the sacred town, Rosh-Qodshu, planted on its slope.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Beato.
Acre was the first port where a fleet could find safe anchorage after leaving the mouths of the Nile, and whoever was able to make himself master of it had in his hands the key of Syria, for it stood in the same commanding position with regard to the coast as that held by Megiddo in respect of the interior. Its houses were built closely together on a spit of rock which projected boldly into the sea, while fringes of reefs formed for it a kind of natural breakwater, behind which ships could find a safe harbourage from the attacks of pirates or the perils of bad weather. From this point the hills come so near the shore that one is sometimes obliged to wade along the beach to avoid a projecting spur, and sometimes to climb a zig-zag path in order to cross a headland. In more than one place the rock has been hollowed into a series of rough steps, giving it the appearance of a vast ladder.* Below this precipitous path the waves dash with fury, and when the wind sets towards the land every thud causes the rocky wall to tremble, and detaches fragments from its surface. The majority of the towns, such as Aksapu (Ecdippa), Mashal, Lubina, Ushu-Shakhan, lay back from the sea on the mountain ridges, out of the reach of pirates; several, however, were built on the shore, under the shelter of some promontory, and the inhabitants of these derived a miserable subsistence from fishing and the chase. Beyond the Tyrian Ladder Phoenician territory began. The country was served throughout its entire length, from town to town, by the coast road, which turning at length to the right, and passing through the defile formed by the Nahr-el-Kebîr, entered the region of the middle Orontes.
* Hence the name Tyrian Ladder, which is applied to one of these passes, either Ras-en-Nakurah or Ras-el-Abiad.
The second of the roads leading from Megiddo described an almost symmetrical curve eastwards, crossing the Jordan at Beth-shan, then the Jab-bok, and finally reaching Damascus after having skirted at some distance the last of the basaltic ramparts of the Haurân. Here extended a vast but badly watered pasture-land, which attracted the Bedouin from every side, and scattered over it were a number of walled towns, such as Hamath, Magato, Ashtaroth, and Ono-Eepha.*
* Proof that the Egyptians knew this route, followed even to this day in certain circumstances, is furnished by the lists of Thûtmosis III., in which the principal stations which it comprises are enumerated among the towns given up after the victory of Megiddo. Dimasqu was identified with Damascus by E. de Rougé, and Astarotu with Ashtarôth-Qarnaim. Hamatu is probably Hamath of the Gadarenes; Magato, the Maged of the Maccabees, is possibly the present Mukatta; and Ono-Repha, Raphôn, Raphana, Arpha of Decapolis, is the modern Er-Rafeh.
Probably Damascus was already at this period the dominant authority over the region watered by these two rivers, as well as over the villages nestling in the gorges of Hermon,—Abila, Helbôn of the vineyards, and Tabrûd,—but it had not yet acquired its renown for riches and power. Protected by the Anti-Lebanon range from its turbulent neighbours, it led a sort of vegetative existence apart from invading hosts, forgotten and hushed to sleep, as it were, in the shade of its gardens.
The third road from Megiddo took the shortest way possible. After crossing the Kishon almost at right angles to its course, it ascended by a series of steep inclines to arid plains, fringed or intersected by green and flourishing valleys, which afforded sites for numerous towns,—Pahira, Merom near Lake Huleh, Qart-Nizanu, Beerotu, and Lauîsa, situated in the marshy district at the head-waters of the Jordan.* From this point forward the land begins to fall, and taking a hollow shape, is known as Coele-Syria, with its luxuriant vegetation spread between the two ranges of the Lebanon. It was inhabited then, as at the time of the Babylonian conquest, by the Amorites, who probably included Damascus also in their domain.**
* Pahira is probably Safed; Qart-Nizanu, the “flowery city,” the Kartha of Zabulon; and Bcerôt, the Berotha of Josephus, near Merom. Maroma and Lauîsa, Laisa, have been identified with Merom and Laish. ** The identification of the country of Amâuru with that of the Amorites was admitted from the first. The only doubt was as to the locality occupied by these Amorites: the mention of Qodshu on the Orontes, in the country of the Amurru, showed that Coele-Syria was the region in question. In the Tel el-Amarna tablets the name Amurru is applied also to the country east of the Phoenician coast, and we have seen that there is reason to believe that it was used by the Babylonians to denote all Syria. If the name given by the cuneiform inscriptions to Damascus and its neighbourhood, “Gar-Imirîshu,” “Imirîshu,” “Imirîsh,” really means “the Fortress of the Amorites,” we should have in this fact a proof that this people were in actual possession of the Damascene Syria. This must have been taken from them by the Hittites towards the XXth century before our era, according to Hommel; about the end of the XVIIIth dynasty, according to Lenormant. If, on the other hand, the Assyrians read the name “Sha-imiri-shu,” with the signification, “the town of its asses,” it is simply a play upon words, and has no bearing upon the primitive meaning of the name.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
Their capital, the sacred Qodshu, was situated on the left bank of the Orontes, about five miles from the lake which for a long time bore its name, Bahr-el-Kades.* It crowned one of those barren oblong eminences which are so frequently met with in Syria. A muddy stream, the Tannur, flowed, at some distance away, around its base, and, emptying itself into the Orontes at a point a little to the north, formed a natural defence for the town on the west. Its encompassing walls, slightly elliptic in form, were strengthened by towers, and surrounded by two concentric ditches which kept the sapper at a distance.
* The name Qodshu-Kadesh was for a long time read Uatesh, Badesh, Atesh, and, owing to a confusion with Qodi, Ati, or Atet. The town was identified by Champollion with Bactria, then transferred to Mesopotamia by Bosollini, in the land of Omira, which, according to Pliny, was close to the Taurus, not far from the Khabur or from the province of Aleppo: Osburn tried to connect it with Hadashah (Josh. xv. 21), an Amorite town in the southern part of the tribe of Judah; while Hincks placed it in Edessa. The reading Kedesh, Kadesh, Qodshu, the result of the observations of Lepsius, has finally prevailed. Brugsch connected this name with that of Bahr el-Kades, a designation attached in the Middle Ages to the lake through which the Orontes flows, and placed the town on its shores or on a small island on the lake. Thomson pointed out Tell Neby-Mendeh, the ancient Laodicea of the Lebanon, as satisfying the requirements of the site. Conder developed this idea, and showed that all the conditions prescribed by the Egyptian texts in regard to Qodshu find here, and here alone, their application. The description given in the text is based on Conder’s observations.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
A dyke running across the Orontes above the town caused the waters to rise and to overflow in a northern direction, so as to form a shallow lake, which acted as an additional protection from the enemy. Qodshu was thus a kind of artificial island, connected with the surrounding country by two flying bridges, which could be opened or shut at pleasure. Once the bridges were raised and the gates closed, the boldest enemy had no resource left but to arm himself with patience and settle down to a lengthened siege. The invader, fresh from a victory at Megiddo, and following up his good fortune in a forward movement, had to reckon upon further and serious resistance at this point, and to prepare himself for a second conflict. The Amorite chiefs and their allies had the advantage of a level and firm ground for the evolutions of their chariots during the attack, while, if they were beaten, the citadel afforded them a secure rallying-place, whence, having gathered their shattered troops, they could regain their respective countries, or enter, with the help of a few devoted men, upon a species of guerilla warfare in which they excelled.
The road from Damascus led to a point south of Quodshu, while that from Phonicia came right up to the town itself or to its immediate neighbourhood. The dyke of Bahr el-Kades served to keep the plain in a dry condition, and thus secured for numerous towns, among which Hamath stood out pre-eminently, a prosperous existence. Beyond Hamath, and to the left, between the Orontes and the sea, lay the commercial kingdom of Alasia, protected from the invader by bleak mountains.*
* The site of Alasia, Alashia, was determined from the Tel el-Amarna tablets by Maspero. Niebuhr had placed it to the west of Cilicia, opposite the island of Eleousa mentioned by Strabo. Conder connected it with the scriptural Elishah, and W. Max Millier confounds it with Asi or Cyprus.
On the right, between the Orontes and the Balikh, extended the land of rivers, Naharaim. Towns had grown up here thickly,—on the sides of the torrents from the Amanos, along the banks of rivers, near springs or wells—wherever, in fact, the presence of water made culture possible. The fragments of the Egyptian chronicles which have come down to us number these towns by the hundred,* and yet of how many more must the records have perished with the crumbling Theban walls upon which the Pharaohs had their names incised! Khalabu was the Aleppo of our own day,** and grouped around it lay Turmanuna, Tunipa, Zarabu, Nîi, Durbaniti, Nirabu, Sarmata,*** and a score of others which depended upon it, or upon one of its rivals. The boundaries of this portion of the Lower Lotanû have come down to us in a singularly indefinite form, and they must also, moreover, have been subject to continual modifications from the results of tribal conflicts.
* Two hundred and thirty names belonging to Naharaim are still legible on the lists of Thûtmosis III., and a hundred others have been effaced from the monument. ** Khalabu was identified by Chabas with Khalybôn, the modern Aleppo, and his opinion has been adopted by most Egyptologists. *** Tunipa has been found in Tennib, Tinnab, by Noldoke; Zarabu in Zarbi, and Sarmata in Sarmeda, by Tomkins; Durbaniti in Deîr el-Banât, the Castrum Puellarum of the chroniclers of the Crusades; Nirabu in Nirab, and Tirabu in Tereb, now el-Athrib. Nirab is mentioned by Nicholas of Damascus. Nîi, long confounded with Nineveh, was identified by Lenormant with Ninus Vetus, Membidj, and by Max Millier with Balis on the Euphrates: I am inclined to make it Kefer- Naya, between Aleppo and Turmanin.
We are at a loss to know whether the various principalities were accustomed to submit to the leadership of a single individual, or whether we are to relegate to the region of popular fancy that Lord of Naharaim of whom the Egyptian scribes made such a hero in their fantastic narratives.*
* In the “Story of the Predestined Prince” the heroine is daughter of the Prince of Naharaim, who seems to exercise authority over all the chiefs of the country; as the manuscript does not date back further than the XXth dynasty, we are justified in supposing that the Egyptian writer had a knowledge of the Hittite domination, during which the King of the Khâti was actually the ruler of all Naharaim.
Carchemish represented in this region the position occupied by Megiddo in relation to Kharû, and by Qodshu among the Amorites; that is to say, it was the citadel and sanctuary of the surrounding country. Whoever could make himself master of it would have the whole country at his feet.
It lay upon the Euphrates, the winding of the river protecting it on its southern and south-eastern sides, while around its northern front ran a deep stream, its defence being further completed by a double ditch across the intervening region. Like Qodshu, it was thus situated in the midst of an artificial island beyond the reach of the battering-ram or the sapper. The encompassing wall, which tended to describe an ellipse, hardly measured two miles in circumference; but the suburbs extending, in the midst of villas and gardens, along the river-banks furnished in time of peace an abode for the surplus population. The wall still rises some five and twenty to thirty feet above the plain. Two mounds divided by a ravine command its north-western side, their summits being occupied by the ruins of two fine buildings—a temple and a palace.* Carchemish was the last stage in a conqueror’s march coming from the south.
* Karkamisha, Gargamish, was from the beginning associated with the Carchemish of the Bible; but as the latter was wrongly identified with Circesium, it was naturally located at the confluence of the Khabur with the Euphrates. Hincks fixed the site at Rum-Kaleh. G. Rawlinson referred it cursorily to Hierapolis-Mabog, which position Maspero endeavoured to confirm. Finzi, and after him G. Smith, thought to find the site at Jerabis, the ancient Europos, and excavations carried on there by the English have brought to light in this place Hittite monuments which go back in part to the Assyrian epoch. This identification is now generally accepted, although there is still no direct proof attainable, and competent judges continue to prefer the site of Membij. I fall in with the current view, but with all reserve.
Reproduced by Faucher-Gudin, from a cut in the Graphic.
For an invader approaching from the east or north it formed his first station. He had before him, in fact, a choice of the three chief fords for crossing the Euphrates. That of Thapsacus, at the bend of the river where it turns eastward to the Arabian plain, lay too far to the south, and it could be reached only after a march through a parched and desolate region where the army would run the risk of perishing from thirst.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
For an invader proceeding from Asia Minor, or intending to make his way through the defiles of the Taurus, Samosata offered a convenient fording-place; but this route would compel the general, who had Naharaim or the kingdoms of Chaldæa in view, to make a long detour, and although the Assyrians used it at a later period, at the time of their expeditions to the valleys of the Halys, the Egyptians do not seem ever to have travelled by this road. Carchemish, the place of the third ford, was about equally distant from Thapsacus and Samosata, and lay in a rich and fertile province, which was so well watered that a drought or a famine would not be likely to enter into the expectations of its inhabitants. Hither pilgrims, merchants, soldiers, and all the wandering denizens of the world were accustomed to direct their steps, and the habit once established was perpetuated for centuries. On the left bank of the river, and almost opposite Carchemish, lay the region of Mitânni,* which was already occupied by a people of a different race, who used a language cognate, it would seem, with the imperfectly classified dialects spoken by the tribes of the Upper Tigris and Upper Euphrates.** Harran bordered on Mitânni, and beyond Harran one may recognise, in the vaguely defined Singar, Assur, Arrapkha, and Babel, states that arose out of the dismemberment of the ancient Chaldæan Empire.***
* Mitânni is mentioned on several Egyptian monuments; but its importance was not recognised until after the discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets and of its situation. The fact that a letter from the Prince of Mitânni is stated in a Hieratic docket to have come from Naharaim has been used as a proof that the countries were identical; I have shown that the docket proves only that Mitânni formed a part of Naharaim. It extended over the province of Edessa and Harran, stretching out towards the sources of the Tigris. Niebuhr places it on the southern slope of the Masios, in Mygdonia; Th. Reinach connects it with the Matiôni, and asks whether this was not the region occupied by this people before their emigration towards the Caspian. ** Several of the Tel el-Amarna tablets are couched in this language. *** These names were recognised from the first in the inscriptions of Thûtmosis III. and in those of other Pharaohs of the XVIIIth and XIXth dynasties.
The Carchemish route was, of course, well known to caravans, but armed bodies had rarely occasion to make use of it. It was a far cry from Memphis to Carchemish, and for the Egyptians this town continued to be a limit which they never passed, except incidentally, when they had to chastise some turbulent tribe, or to give some ill-guarded town to the flames.*
* A certain number of towns mentioned in the lists of Thûtmosis III. were situated beyond the Euphrates, and they belonged some to Mitânni and some to the regions further away.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
It would be a difficult task to define with any approach to accuracy the distribution of the Canaanites, Amorites, and Aramæans, and to indicate the precise points where they came into contact with their rivals of non-Semitic stock. Frontiers between races and languages can never be very easily determined, and this is especially true of the peoples of Syria. They are so broken up and mixed in this region, that even in neighbourhoods where one predominant tribe is concentrated, it is easy to find at every step representatives of all the others. Four or five townships, singled out at random from the middle of a province, would often be found to belong to as many different races, and their respective inhabitants, while living within a distance of a mile or two, would be as great strangers to each other as if they were separated by the breadth of a continent.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
It would appear that the breaking up of these populations had not been carried so far in ancient as in modern times, but the confusion must already have been great if we are to judge from the number of different sites where we encounter evidences of people of the same language and blood. The bulk of the Khâti had not yet departed from the Taurus region, but some stray bands of them, carried away by the movement which led to the invasion of the Hyksôs, had settled around Hebron, where the rugged nature of the country served to protect them from their neighbours.*
* In very early times they are described as dwelling near Hebron or in the mountains of Judah. Since we have learned from the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments that the Khâti dwelt in Northern Syria, the majority of commentators have been indisposed to admit the existence of southern Hittites; this name, it is alleged, having been introduced into the Biblical around text through a misconception of the original documents, where the term Hittite was the equivalent of Canaanite.
The Amorites* had their head-quarters Qodshul in Coele-Syria, but one section of them had taken up a position on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias in Galilee, others had established themselves within a short distance of Jaffa** on the Mediterranean, while others had settled in the neighbourhood of the southern Hittites in such numbers that their name in the Hebrew Scriptures was at times employed to designate the western mountainous region about the Dead Sea and the valley of the Jordan. Their presence was also indicated on the table-lands bordering the desert of Damascus, in the districts frequented by Bedouin of the tribe of Terah, Ammon and Moab, on the rivers Yarmuk and Jabbok, and at Edrei and Heshbon.***
* Ed. Meyer has established the fact that the term Amorite, as well as the parallel word Canaanite, was the designation of the inhabitants of Palestine before the arrival of the Hebrews: the former belonged to the prevailing tradition in the kingdom of Israel, the latter to that which was current in Judah. This view confirms the conclusion which may be drawn from the Egyptian monuments as to the power of expansion and the diffusion of the people. ** These were the Amorites which the tribe of Dan at a later period could not dislodge from the lands which had been allotted to them. *** This was afterwards the domain of Sihon, King of the Amorites, and that of Og.
The fuller, indeed, our knowledge is of the condition of Syria at the time of the Egyptian conquest, the more we are forced to recognise the mixture of races therein, and their almost infinite subdivisions. The mutual jealousies, however, of these elements of various origin were not so inveterate as to put an obstacle in the way, I will not say of political alliances, but of daily intercourse and frequent contracts. Owing to intermarriages between the tribes, and the continual crossing of the results of such unions, peculiar characteristics were at length eliminated, and a uniform type of face was the result. From north to south one special form of countenance, that which we usually call Semitic, prevailed among them.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The Syrian and Egyptian monuments furnish us everywhere, under different ethnical names, with representations of a broad-shouldered people of high stature, slender-figured in youth, but with a fatal tendency to obesity in old age. Their heads are large, somewhat narrow, and artificially flattened or deformed, like those of several modern tribes in the Lebanon. Their high cheek-bones stand out from their hollow cheeks, and their blue or black eyes are buried under their enormous eyebrows. The lower part of the face is square and somewhat heavy, but it is often concealed by a thick and curly beard. The forehead is rather low and retreating, while the nose has a distinctly aquiline curve. The type is not on the whole so fine as the Egyptian, but it is not so heavy as that of the Chaldæans in the time of Gudea. The Theban artists have represented it in their battle-scenes, and while individualising every soldier or Asiatic prisoner with a happy knack so as to avoid monotony, they have with much intelligence impressed upon all of them the marks of a common parentage.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original wooden object.
One feels that the artists must have recognised them as belonging to one common family. They associated with their efforts after true and exact representation a certain caustic humour, which impelled them often to substitute for a portrait a more or less jocose caricature of their adversaries. On the walls of the Pylons, and in places where the majesty of a god restrained them from departing too openly from their official gravity, they contented themselves with exaggerating from panel to panel the contortions and pitiable expressions of the captive chiefs as they followed behind the triumphal chariot of the Pharaoh on his return from his Syrian campaigns.*
* An illustration of this will be found in the line of prisoners, brought by Seti I. from his great Asiatic campaign, which is depicted on the outer face of the north wall of the hypostyle at Karnak.
Where religious scruples offered no obstacle they abandoned themselves to the inspiration of the moment, and gave themselves freely up to caricature. It is an Amorite or Canaanite—that thick-lipped, flat-nosed slave, with his brutal lower jaw and smooth conical skull—who serves for the handle of a spoon in the museum of the Louvre. The stupefied air with which he trudges under his burden is rendered in the most natural manner, and the flattening to which his forehead had been subjected in infancy is unfeelingly accentuated. The model which served for this object must have been intentionally brutalised and disfigured in order to excite the laughter of Pharaoh’s subjects.*
* Dr. Regnault thinks that the head was artificially deformed in infancy: the bandage necessary to effect it must have been applied very low on the forehead in front, and to the whole occiput behind. If this is the case, the instance is not an isolated one, for a deformation of a similar character is found in the case of the numerous Semites represented on the tomb of Rakhmiri: a similar practice still obtains in certain parts of modern Syria.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger.
The idea of uniformity with which we are impressed when examining the faces of these people is confirmed and extended when we come to study their costumes. Men and women—we may say all Syrians according to their condition of life—had a choice between only two or three modes of dress, which, whatever the locality, or whatever the period, seemed never to change. On closer examination slight shades of difference in cut and arrangement may, however, be detected, and it may be affirmed that fashion ran even in ancient Syria through as many capricious evolutions as with ourselves; but these variations, which were evident to the eyes of the people of the time, are not sufficiently striking to enable us to classify the people, or to fix their date. The peasants and the lower class of citizens required no other clothing than a loin-cloth similar to that of the Egyptians,* or a shirt of a yellow or white colour, extending below the knees, and furnished with short sleeves. The opening for the neck was cruciform, and the hem was usually ornamented with coloured needlework or embroidery. The burghers and nobles wore over this a long strip of cloth, which, after passing closely round the hips and chest, was brought up and spread over the shoulders as a sort of cloak. This was not made of the light material used in Egypt, which offered no protection from cold or rain, but was composed of a thick, rough wool, like that employed in Chaldæa, and was commonly adorned with stripes or bands of colour, in addition to spots and other conspicuous designs.
* The Asiatic loin-cloth differs from the Egyptian in having pendent cords; the Syrian fellahin still wear it when at work.
Rich and fashionable folk substituted for this cloth two large shawls—one red and the other blue—in which they dexterously arrayed themselves so as to alternate the colours: a belt of soft leather gathered the folds around the figure. Red morocco buskins, a soft cap, a handkerchief, a kejfîyeh confined by a fillet, and sometimes a wig after the Egyptian fashion, completed the dress.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a figure on the tomb of Ramses III.
Beards were almost universal among the men, but the moustache was of rare occurrence. In many of the figures represented on the monuments we find that the head was carefully shaved, while in others the hair was allowed to grow, arranged in curls, frizzed and shining with oil or sweet-smelling pomade, sometimes thrown back behind the ears and falling on the neck in bunches or curly masses, sometimes drawn out in stiff spikes so as to serve as a projecting cover over the face.
The women usually tired their hair in three great masses, of which the thickest was allowed to fall freely down the back; while the other two formed a kind of framework for the face, the ends descending on each side as far as the breast. Some of the women arranged their hair after the Egyptian manner, in a series of numerous small tresses, brought together at the ends so as to form a kind of plat, and terminating in a flower made of metal or enamelled terracotta. A network of glass ornaments, arranged on a semicircle of beads, or on a background of embroidered stuff, was frequently used as a covering for the top of the head.*
* Examples of Syrian feminine costume are somewhat rare on the Egyptian monuments. In the scenes of the capturing of towns we see a few. Here the women are represented on the walls imploring the mercy of the besieger. Other figures are those of prisoners being led captive into Egypt.
The shirt had no sleeves, and the fringed garment which covered it left half of the arm exposed. Children of tender years had their heads shaved, as a head-dress, and rejoiced in no more clothing than the little ones among the Egyptians. With the exception of bracelets, anklets, rings on the fingers, and occasionally necklaces and earrings, the Syrians, both men and women, wore little jewellery. The Chaldæa women furnished them with models of fashion to which they accommodated themselves in the choice of stuffs, colours, cut of their mantles or petticoats, arrangement of the hair, and the use of cosmetics for the eyes and cheeks. In spite of distance, the modes of Babylon reigned supreme. The Syrians would have continued to expose their right shoulder to the weather as long as it pleased the people of the Lower Euphrates to do the same; but as soon as the fashion changed in the latter region, and it became customary to cover the shoulder, and to wrap the upper part of the person in two or three thicknesses of heavy wool, they at once accommodated themselves to the new mode, although it served to restrain the free motion of the body. Among the upper classes, at least, domestic arrangements were modelled upon the fashions observed in the palaces of the nobles of Car-chemish or Assur: the same articles of toilet, the same ranks of servants and scribes, the same luxurious habits, and the same use of perfumes were to be found among both.*
* An example of the fashion of leaving the shoulder bare is found even in the XXth dynasty. The Tel el-Amarna tablets prove that, as far as the scribes were concerned, the customs and training of Syria and Chaldæa were identical. The Syrian princes are there represented as employing the cuneiform character in their correspondence, being accompanied by scribes brought up after the Chaldæan manner. We shall see later on that the king of the Khati, who represented in the time of Ramses II. the type of an accomplished Syrian, had attendants similar to those of the Chaldæan kings.
From all that we can gather, in short, from the silence as well as from the misunderstandings of the Egyptian chroniclers, Syria stands before us as a fruitful and civilized country, of which one might be thankful to be a native, in spite of continual wars and frequent revolutions.
The religion of the Syrians was subject to the same influences as their customs; we are, as yet, far from being able to draw a complete picture of their theology, but such knowledge as we do possess recalls the same names and the same elements as are found in the religious systems of Chaldæa. The myths, it is true, are still vague and misty, at least to our modern ideas: the general characteristics of the principal divinities alone stand out, and seem fairly well defined. As with the other Semitic races, the deity in a general sense, the primordial type of the godhead, was called El or Ilû, and his feminine counterpart Ilât, but we find comparatively few cities in which these nearly abstract beings enjoyed the veneration of the faithful.* The gods of Syria, like those of Egypt and of the countries watered by the Euphrates, were feudal princes distributed over the surface of the earth, their number corresponding with that of the independent states. Each nation, each tribe, each city, worshipped its own lord—Adoni** —or its master—Baal*** —and each of these was designated by a special title to distinguish him from neighbouring Baalîm, or masters.
* The frequent occurrence of the term Ilû or El in names of towns in Southern Syria seems to indicate pretty conclusively that the inhabitants of these countries used this term by preference to designate their supreme god. Similarly we meet with it in Aramaic names, and later on among the Nabathseans; it predominates at Byblos and Berytus in Phoenicia and among the Aramaic peoples of North Syria; in the Samalla country, for instance, during the VIIIth century B.C. ** The extension of this term to Syrian countries is proved in the Israelitish epoch by Canaanitish names, such as Adonizedek and Adonibezek, or Jewish names such as Adonijah, Adonikam, Adoniram-Adoram. *** Movers tried to prove that there was one particular god named Baal, and his ideas, popularised in Prance by M. de Vogiié, prevailed for some time: since then scholars have gone back to the view of Münter and of the writers at the beginning of this century, who regarded the term Baal as a common epithet applicable to all gods.
The Baal who ruled at Zebub was styled “Master of Zebub,” or Baal-Zebub;* and the Baal of Hermon, who was an ally of Gad, goddess of fortune, was sometimes called Baal-Hermon, or “Master of Hermon,” sometimes Baal-G-ad, or “Master of Gad;” ** the Baal of Shechem, at the time of the Israelite invasion, was “Master of the Covenant”—Baal-Berîth—doubtless in memory of some agreement which he had concluded with his worshippers in regard to the conditions of their allegiance.***
* Baal-Zebub was worshipped at Ekxon during the Philistine supremacy. ** The mountain of Baal-Hermon is the mountain of Baniâs, where the Jordan has one of its sources, and the town of Baal-Hermon is Baniâs itself. The variant Baal-Gad occurs several times in the Biblical books. *** Baal-Berith, like Baal-Zebub, only occurs, so far as we know at present, in the Hebrew Scriptures, where, by the way, the first element, Baal, is changed to El, El-Berith.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from coloured sketches by Prisse d’Avennes.
The prevalent conception of the essence and attributes of these deities was not the same in all their sanctuaries, but the more exalted among them were regarded as personifying the sky in the daytime or at night, the atmosphere, the light,* or the sun, Shamash, as creator and prime mover of the universe; and each declared himself to be king—melek—over the other gods.** Bashuf represented the lightning and the thunderbolt;*** Shalmân, Hadad, and his double Bimmôn held sway over the air like the Babylonian.
* This appears under the name Or or Ur in the Samalla inscriptions of the VIIIth century B.C.; it is, so far, a unique instance among the Semites. ** We find the term applied in the Bible to the national god of the Ammonites, under the forms Moloch, Molech, Mikôm, Milkâm, and especially with the article, Ham-molek; the real name hidden beneath this epithet was probably Amnôn or Ammân, and, strictly speaking, the God Moloch only exists in the imagination of scholars. The epithet was used among the Oanaanites in the name Melchizedek, a similar form to Adonizedek, Abimelech, Ahimelech; it was in current use among the Phoenicians, in reference to the god of Tyre, Melek-Karta or Melkarth, and in many proper names, such as Melekiathon, Baalmelek, Bodmalek, etc., not to mention the god Milichus worshipped in Spain, who was really none other than Melkarth. *** Resheph has been vocalised Rashuf in deference to the Egyptian orthography Rashupu. It was a name common to a whole family of lightning and storm-gods, and M. de Rougé pointed out long ago the passage in the Great Inscription of Ramses III. at Medinet-Habu, in which the soldiers who man the chariots are compared to the Rashupu; the Rabbinic Hebrew still employs this plural form in the sense of “demons.” The Phoenician inscriptions contain references to several local Rashufs; the way in which this god is coupled with the goddess Qodshu on the Egyptian stelæ leads me to think that, at the epoch now under consideration, he was specially worshipped by the Amorites, just as his equivalent Hadad was by the inhabitants of Damascus, neighbours of the Amorites, and perhaps themselves Amorites.
Rammânu;* Dagon, patron god of fishermen and husbandmen, seems to have watched over the fruitfulness of the sea and the land.** We are beginning to learn the names of the races whom they specially protected: Rashuf the Amorites, Hadad and Rimmon the Aramæans of Damascus, Dagon the peoples of the coast between Ashkelon and the forest of Carmel. Rashûf is the only one whose appearance is known to us. He possessed the restless temperament usually attributed to the thunder-gods, and was, accordingly, pictured as a soldier armed with javelin and mace, bow and buckler; a gazelle’s head with pointed horns surmounts his helmet, and sometimes, it may be, serves him as a cap.
* Hadad and Rimmon are represented in Assyrio-Chaldæan by one and the same ideogram, which may be read either Dadda- Hadad or Eammânu. The identity of the expressions employed shows how close the connection between the two divinities must have been, even if they were not similar in all respects; from the Hebrew writings we know of the temple of Rimmon at Damascus (2 Kings v. 18) and that one of the kings of that city was called Tabrimmôn = “llimmon is good” (1 Kings xv. 18), while Hadad gave his name to no less than ten kings of the same city. Even as late as the Græco- Roman epoch, kingship over the other gods was still attributed both to Rimmon and to Hadad, but this latter was identified with the sun. ** The documents which we possess in regard to Dagon date from the Hebrew epoch, and represent him as worshipped by the Philistines. We know, however, from the Tel el-Amarna tablets, of a Dagantakala, a name which proves the presence of the god among the Canaanites long before the Philistine invasion, and we find two Beth-Dagons—one in the plain of Judah, the other in the tribe of Asher; Philo of Byblos makes Dagon a Phoenician deity, and declares him to be the genius of fecundity, master of grain and of labour. The representation of his statue which appears on the Græco- Roman coins of Abydos, reminds us of the fish-god of Chaldæa.
Each god had for his complement a goddess, who was proclaimed “mistress” of the city, Baalat, or “queen,” Milkat, of heaven, just as the god himself was recognised as “master” or “king.” * As a rule, the goddess was contented with the generic name of Astartê; but to this was often added some epithet, which lent her a distinct personality, and prevented her from being confounded with the Astartês of neighbouring cities, her companions or rivals.**
* Among goddesses to whom the title “Baalat “was referred, we have the goddess of Byblos, Baalat-Gebal, also the goddess of Berytus, Baalat-Berîth, or Beyrut. The epithet “queen of heaven “is applied to the Phoenician Astartê by Hebrew (Jer. vii. 18, xliv. 18-29) and classic writers. The Egyptians, when they adopted these Oanaanitish goddesses, preserved the title, and called each of them nibît pit, “lady of heaven.” In the Phoenician inscriptions their names are frequently preceded by the word Rabbat: rabbat Baalat-Gebal, “(my) lady Baalat-Gebal.” ** The Hebrew writers frequently refer to the Canaanite goddesses by the general title “the Ashtarôth” or “Astartês,” and a town in Northern Syria bore the significant name of Istarâti = “the Ishtars, the Ashtarôth,” a name which finds a parallel in Anathôth = “the Anats,” a title assumed by a town of the tribe of Benjamin; similarly, the Assyrio- Chaldæans called their goddesses by the plural of Ishtar. The inscription on an Egyptian amulet in the Louvre tells us of a personage of the XXth dynasty, who, from his name, Rabrabîna, must have been of Syrian origin, and who styled himself “Prophet of the Astartês,” Honnutir Astiratu.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a copy of an original in chased gold.
Thus she would be styled the “good” Astartê, Ashtoreth Naamah, or the “horned” Astartê, Ashtoreth Qarnaîm, because of the lunar crescent which appears on her forehead, as a sort of head-dress.* She was the goddess of good luck, and was called Gad;** she was Anat,*** or Asîti,**** the chaste and the warlike.
* The two-horned Astartê gave her name to a city beyond the Jordan, of which she was, probably, the eponymous goddess: (Gen xiv. 5) she would seem to be represented on the curious monument called by the Arabs “the stone of Job,” which was discovered by M. Schumacher in the centre of the Hauran. It was an analogous goddess whom the Egyptians sometimes identified with their Hâthor, and whom they represented as crowned with a crescent. ** Gad, the goddess of fortune, is mainly known to us in connection with the Aramæans; we find mention made of her by the Hebrew writers, and geographical names, such as Baal-Gad and Migdol-Gad, prove that she must have been worshipped at a very early date in the Canaanite countries. *** Anat, or Anaîti, or Aniti, has been found in a Phoenician inscription, which enables us to reconstruct the history of the goddess. Her worship was largely practised among the Canaanites, as is proved by the existence in the Hebrew epoch of several towns, such as Beth-Anath, Beth- Anoth, Anathôth; at least one of which, Bît-Anîti, is mentioned in the Egyptian geographical lists. The appearance of Anat-Anîti is known to us, as she is represented in Egyptian dress on several stelæ of the XIXth and XXth dynasties. Her name, like that of Astartê, had become a generic term, in the plural form Anathôth, for a whole group of goddesses. **** Asîti is represented at Radesieh, on a stele of the time of Seti I.; she enters into the composition of a compound name, Asîtiiàkhûrû (perhaps “the goddess of Asiti is enflamed with anger “), which we find on a monument in the Vienna Museum. W. Max Müller makes her out to have been a divinity of the desert, and the place in which the picture representing her was found would seem to justify this hypothesis; the Egyptians connected her, as well as the other Astartês, with Sit-Typhon, owing to her cruel and warlike character.
The statues sometimes represent her as a sphinx with a woman’s head, but more often as a woman standing on a lion passant, either nude, or encircled round the hips by merely a girdle, her hands filled with flowers or with serpents, her features framed in a mass of heavy tresses—a faithful type of the priestesses who devoted themselves to her service, the Qedeshôt. She was the goddess of love in its animal, or rather in its purely physical, aspect, and in this capacity was styled Qaddishat the Holy, like the hetairæ of her family; Qodshu, the Amorite capital, was consecrated to her service, and she was there associated with Rashuf, the thunder-god.*
* Qaddishat is know to us from the Egyptian monuments referred to above. The name was sometimes written Qodshû, like that of the town: E. de Bougé argued from this that Qaddishat must have been the eponymous divinity of Qodshû, and that her real name was Kashit or Kesh; he recalls, however, the rôle played by the Qedeshoth, and admits that “the Holy here means the prostitute.”
But she often comes before us as a warlike Amazon, brandishing a club, lance, or shield, mounted on horseback like a soldier, and wandering through the desert in quest of her prey.* This dual temperament rendered her a goddess of uncertain attributes and of violent contrasts; at times reserved and chaste, at other times shameless and dissolute, but always cruel, always barren, for the countless multitude of her excesses for ever shut her out from motherhood: she conceives without ceasing, but never brings forth children.** The Baalim and Astartês frequented by choice the tops of mountains, such as Lebanon, Carmel, Hermon, or Kasios:*** they dwelt near springs, or hid themselves in the depths of forests.**** They revealed themselves to mortals through the heavenly bodies, and in all the phenomena of nature: the sun was a Baal, the moon was Astartê, and the whole host of heaven was composed of more or less powerful genii, as we find in Chaldæa.
* A fragment of a popular tale preserved in the British Museum, and mentioned by Birch, seems to show us Astartê in her character of war-goddess, and the sword of Astartê is mentioned by Chabas. A bas-relief at Edfû represents her standing upright in her chariot, drawn by horses, and trampling her enemies underfoot: she is there identified with Sokhît the warlike, destroyer of men. ** This conception of the Syrian goddesses had already become firmly established at the period with which we are dealing, for an Egyptian magical formula defines Anîti and Astartê as “the great goddesses who conceiving do not bring forth young, for the Horuses have sealed them and Sit hath established them.” *** The Baal of Lebanon is mentioned in an archaic Phoenician inscription, and the name “Holy Cape” (Rosh- Qodshu), borne in the time of Thûtmosis III. either by Haifa or by a neighbouring town, proves that Carmel was held sacred as far back as the Egyptian epoch. Baal-Hermon has already been mentioned. **** The source of the Jordan, near Baniâs, was the seat of a Baal whom the Greeks identified with Pan. This was probably the Baal-Gad who often lent his name to the neighbouring town of Baal-Hermon: many of the rivers of Phoenicia were called after the divinities worshipped in the nearest city, e.g. the Adonis, the Bêlos, the Asclepios, the Damûras.
They required that offerings and prayers should be brought to them at the high places,* but they were also pleased—and especially the goddesses—to lodge in trees; tree-trunks, sometimes leafy, sometimes bare and branchless (ashêrah), long continued to be living emblems of the local Astartês among the peoples of Southern Syria. Side by side with these plant-gods we find everywhere, in the inmost recesses of the temples, at cross-roads, and in the open fields, blocks of stone hewn into pillars, isolated boulders, or natural rocks, sometimes of meteoric origin, which were recognised by certain mysterious marks to be the house of the god, the Betyli or Beth-els in which he enclosed a part of his intelligence and vital force.
* These are the “high places” (bamôth) so frequently referred to by the Hebrew prophets, and which we find in the country of Moab, according to the Mesha inscription, and in the place-name Bamoth-Baal; many of them seem to have served for Canaanitish places of worship before they were resorted to by the children of Israel.
The worship of these gods involved the performance of ceremonies more bloody and licentious even than those practised by other races. The Baalim thirsted after blood, nor would they be satisfied with any common blood such as generally contented their brethren in Chaldæa or Egypt: they imperatively demanded human as well as animal sacrifices. Among several of the Syrian nations they had a prescriptive right to the firstborn male of each family;* this right was generally commuted, either by a money payment or by subjecting the infant to circumcision.**
* This fact is proved, in so far as the Hebrew people is concerned, by the texts of the Pentateuch and of the prophets; amongst the Moabites also it was his eldest son whom King Mosha took to offer to his god. We find the same custom among other Syrian races: Philo of Byblos tells us, in fact, that El-Kronos, god of Byblos, sacrificed his firstborn son and set the example of this kind of offering. ** Redemption by a payment in money was the case among the Hebrews, as also the substitution of an animal in the place of a child; as to redemption by circumcision, cf. the story of Moses and Zipporah, where the mother saves her son from Jahveh by circumcising him. Circumcision was practised among the Syrians of Palestine in the time of Herodotus.
At important junctures, however, this pretence of bloodshed would fail to appease them, and the death of the child alone availed. Indeed, in times of national danger, the king and nobles would furnish, not merely a single victim, but as many as the priests chose to demand.* While they were being burnt alive on the knees of the statue, or before the sacred emblem, their cries of pain were drowned by the piping of flutes or the blare of trumpets, the parents standing near the altar, without a sign of pity, and dressed as for a festival: the ruler of the world could refuse nothing to prayers backed by so precious an offering, and by a purpose so determined to move him. Such sacrifices were, however, the exception, and the shedding of their own blood by his priests sufficed, as a rule, for the daily wants of the god. Seizing their knives, they would slash their arms and breasts with the view of compelling, by this offering of their own persons, the good will of the Baalim.**
* If we may credit Tertullian, the custom of offering up children as sacrifices lasted down to the proconsulate of Tiberius. ** Cf., for the Hebraic epoch, the scene where the priests of Baal, in a trial of power with Elijah before Ahab, offered up sacrifices on the highest point of Carmel, and finding that their offerings did not meet with the usual success, “cut themselves... with knives and lancets till the blood gushed out upon them.”
The Astartês of all degrees and kinds were hardly less cruel; they imposed frequent flagellations, self-mutilation, and sometimes even emasculation, on their devotees. Around the majority of these goddesses was gathered an infamous troop of profligates (kedeshîm), “dogs of love” (kelabîm), and courtesans (kedeshôt). The temples bore little resemblance to those of the regions of the Lower Euphrates: nowhere do we find traces of those ziggurat which serve to produce the peculiar jagged outline characteristic of Chaldæan cities. The Syrian edifices were stone buildings, which included, in addition to the halls and courts reserved for religious rites, dwelling-rooms for the priesthood, and storehouses for provisions: though not to be compared in size with the sanctuaries of Thebes, they yet answered the purpose of strongholds in time of need, and were capable of resisting the attacks of a victorious foe.* A numerous staff, consisting of priests, male and female singers, porters, butchers, slaves, and artisans, was assigned to each of these temples: here the god was accustomed to give forth his oracles, either by the voice of his prophets, or by the movement of his statues.** The greater number of the festivals celebrated in them were closely connected with the pastoral and agricultural life of the country; they inaugurated, or brought to a close, the principal operations of the year—the sowing of seed, the harvest, the vintage, the shearing of the sheep. At Shechem, when the grapes were ripe, the people flocked out of the town into the vineyards, returning to the temple for religious observances and sacred banquets when the fruit had been trodden in the winepress.***
* The story of Abimelech gives us some idea of what the Canaanite temple of Baal-Berîth at Shechem was like. ** As to the regular organisation of Baal-worship, we possess only documents of a comparatively late period. *** It is probable that the vintage festival, celebrated at Shiloh in the time of the Judges, dated back to a period of Canaanite history prior to the Hebrew invasion, i.e. to the time of the Egyptian supremacy.
In times of extraordinary distress, such as a prolonged drought or a famine, the priests were wont to ascend in solemn procession to the high places in order to implore the pity of their divine masters, from whom they strove to extort help, or to obtain the wished-for rain, by their dances, their lamentations, and the shedding of their blood.*
*Cf., in the Hebraic period, the scene where the priests of Baal go up to the top of Mount Carmel with the prophet Elijah.
Almost everywhere, but especially in the regions east of the Jordan, were monuments which popular piety surrounded with a superstitious reverence. Such were the isolated boulders, or, as we should call them, “menhirs,” reared on the summit of a knoll, or on the edge of a tableland; dolmens, formed of a flat slab placed on the top of two roughly hewn supports, cromlechs, or, that is to say, stone circles, in the centre of which might be found a beth-el. We know not by whom were set up these monuments there, nor at what time: the fact that they are in no way different from those which are to be met with in Western Europe and the north of Africa has given rise to the theory that they were the work of some one primeval race which wandered ceaselessly over the ancient world. A few of them may have marked the tombs of some forgotten personages, the discovery of human bones beneath them confirming such a conjecture; while others seem to have been holy places and altars from the beginning. The nations of Syria did not in all cases recognise the original purpose of these monuments, but regarded them as marking the seat of an ancient divinity, or the precise spot on which he had at some time manifested himself. When the children of Israel caught sight of them again on their return from Egypt, they at once recognised in them the work of their patriarchs. The dolmen at Shechem was the altar which Abraham had built to the Eternal after his arrival in the country of Canaan. Isaac had raised that at Beersheba, on the very spot where Jehovah had appeared in order to renew with him the covenant that He had made with Abraham. One might almost reconstruct a map of the wanderings of Jacob from the altars which he built at each of his principal resting-places—at Gilead [Galeed], at Ephrata, at Bethel, and at Shechem.* Each of such still existing objects probably had a history of its own, connecting it inseparably with some far-off event in the local annals.
* The heap of stones at Galeed, in Aramaic Jegar- Sahadutha, “the heap of witness,” marked the spot where Laban and Jacob were reconciled; the stele on the way to Ephrata was the tomb of Rachel; the altar and stele at Bethel marked the spot where God appeared unto Jacob.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
Most of them were objects of worship: they were anointed with oil, and victims were slaughtered in their honour; the faithful even came at times to spend the night and sleep near them, in order to obtain in their dreams glimpses of the future.*
* The menhir of Bethel was the identical one whereon Jacob rested his head on the night in which Jehovah appeared to him in a dream. In Phoenicia there was a legend which told how Usôos set up two stellæ to the elements of wind and fire, and how he offered the blood of the animals he had killed in the chase as a libation.
Men and beasts were supposed to be animated, during their lifetime, by a breath or soul which ran in their veins along with their blood, and served to move their limbs; the man, therefore, who drank blood or ate bleeding flesh assimilated thereby the soul which inhered in it. After death the fate of this soul was similar to that ascribed to the spirits of the departed in Egypt and Chaldæa. The inhabitants of the ancient world were always accustomed to regard the surviving element in man as something restless and unhappy—a weak and pitiable double, doomed to hopeless destruction if deprived of the succour of the living. They imagined it as taking up its abode near the body wrapped in a half-conscious lethargy; or else as dwelling with the other rephaim (departed spirits) in some dismal and gloomy kingdom, hidden in the bowels of the earth, like the region ruled by the Chaldæan Allât, its doors gaping wide to engulf new arrivals, but allowing none to escape who had once passed the threshold.*
* The expression rephaim means “the feeble”; it was the epithet applied by the Hebrews to a part of the primitive races of Palestine.
There it wasted away, a prey to sullen melancholy, under the sway of inexorable deities, chief amongst whom, according to the Phoenician idea, was Mout (Death),* the grandson of El; there the slave became the equal of his former master, the rich man no longer possessed anything which could raise him above the poor, and dreaded monarchs were greeted on their entrance by the jeers of kings who had gone down into the night before them.
*Among the Hebrews his name was Maweth, who feeds the departed like sheep, and himself feeds on them in hell. Some writers have sought to identify this or some analogous god with the lion represented on a stele of Piraeus which threatens to devour the body of a dead man.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph in Lortet.
The corpse, after it had been anointed with perfumes and enveloped in linen, and impregnated with substances which retarded its decomposition, was placed in some natural grotto or in a cave hollowed out of the solid rock: sometimes it was simply laid on the bare earth, sometimes in a sarcophagus or coffin, and on it, or around it, were piled amulets, jewels, objects of daily use, vessels filled with perfume, or household utensils, together with meat and drink. The entrance was then closed, and on the spot a cippus was erected—in popular estimation sometimes held to represent the soul—or a monument was set up on a scale proportionate to the importance of the family to which the dead man had belonged.* On certain days beasts ceremonially pure were sacrificed at the tomb, and libations poured out, which, carried into the next world by virtue of the prayers of those who offered them, and by the aid of the gods to whom the prayers were addressed, assuaged the hunger and thirst of the dead man.** The chapels and stellæ which marked the exterior of these “eternal” *** houses have disappeared in the course of the various wars by which Syria suffered so heavily: in almost all cases, therefore, we are ignorant as to the sites of the various cities of the dead in which the nobles and common people of the Canaanite and Amorite towns were laid to rest.****
* The pillar or stele was used among both Hebrews and Phoenicians to mark the graves of distinguished persons. Among the Semites speaking Aramaic it was called nephesh, especially when it took the form of a pyramid; the word means “breath,” “soul,” and clearly shows the ideas associated with the object. ** An altar was sometimes placed in front of the sarcophagus to receive these offerings. *** This expression, which is identical with that used by the Egyptians of the same period, is found in one of the Phoenician inscriptions at Malta. **** The excavations carried out by M. Gautier in 1893-94, on the little island of Bahr-el-Kadis, at one time believed to have been the site of the town of Qodshu, have revealed the existence of a number of tombs in the enclosure which forms the central part of the tumulus: some of these may possibly date from the Amorite epoch, but they are very poor in remains, and contain no object which permits us to fix the date with accuracy.
In Phoenicia alone do we meet with burial-places which, after the vicissitudes and upheavals of thirty centuries, still retain something of their original arrangement. Sometimes the site chosen was on level ground: perpendicular shafts or stairways cut in the soil led down to low-roofed chambers, the number of which varied according to circumstances: they were often arranged in two stories, placed one above the other, fresh vaults being probably added as the old ones were filled up. They were usually rectangular in shape, with horizontal or slightly arched ceilings; niches cut in the walls received the dead body and the objects intended for its use in the next world, and were then closed with a slab of stone. Elsewhere some isolated hill or narrow gorge, with sides of fine homogeneous limestone, was selected.*
* Such was the necropolis at Adlûn, the last rearrangement of which took place during the Græco-Roman period, but which externally bears so strong a resemblance to an Egyptian necropolis of the XVIIIth or XIXth dynasty, that we may, without violating the probabilities, trace its origin back to the time of the Pharaonic conquest.
In this case the doors were placed in rows on a sort of façade similar to that of the Egyptian rock-tomb, generally without any attempt at external ornament. The vaults were on the ground-level, but were not used as chapels for the celebration of festivals in honour of the dead: they were walled up after every funeral, and all access to them forbidden, until such time as they were again required for the purposes of burial. Except on these occasions of sad necessity, those whom “the mouth of the pit had devoured” dreaded the visits of the living, and resorted to every means afforded by their religion to protect themselves from them. Their inscriptions declare repeatedly that neither gold nor silver, nor any object which could excite the greed of robbers, was to be found within their graves; they threaten any one who should dare to deprive them of such articles of little value as belonged to them, or to turn them out of their chambers in order to make room for others, with all sorts of vengeance, divine and human. These imprecations have not, however, availed to save them from the desecration the danger of which they foresaw, and there are few of their tombs which were not occupied by a succession of tenants between the date of their first making and the close of the Roman supremacy. When the modern explorer chances to discover a vault which has escaped the spade of the treasure-seeker, it is hardly ever the case that the bodies whose remains are unearthed prove to be those of the original proprietors.
The gods and legends of Chaldæa had penetrated to the countries of Amauru and Canaan, together with the language of the conquerors and their system of writing: the stories of Adapa’s struggles against the south-west wind, or of the incidents which forced Irishkigal, queen of the dead, to wed Nergal, were accustomed to be read at the courts of Syrian princes. Chaldæan theology, therefore, must have exercised influence on individual Syrians and on their belief; but although we are forced to allow the existence of such influence, we cannot define precisely the effects produced by it. Only on the coast and in the Phoenician cities do the local religions seem to have become formulated at a fairly early date, and crystallised under pressure of this influence into cosmogonie theories. The Baalim and Astartês reigned there as on the banks of the Jordan or Orontes, and in each town Baal was “the most high,” master of heaven and eternity, creator of everything which exists, though the character of his creating acts was variously defined according to time and place. Some regarded him as the personification of Justice, Sydyk, who established the universe with the help of eight indefatigable Cabiri. Others held the whole world to be the work of a divine family, whose successive generations gave birth to the various elements. The storm-wind, Colpias, wedded to Chaos, had begotten two mortals, Ulom (Time) and Kadmôn (the First-Born), and these in their turn engendered Qên and Qênath, who dwelt in Phoenicia: then came a drought, and they lifted up their heads to the Sun, imploring him, as Lord of the Heavens (Baalsamîn), to put an end to their woes. At Tyre it was thought that Chaos existed at the beginning, but chaos of a dark and troubled nature, over which a Breath (rûakh) floated without affecting it; “and this Chaos had no ending, and it was thus for centuries and centuries.—Then the Breath became enamoured of its own principles, and brought about a change in itself, and this change was called Desire:—now Desire was the principle which created all things, and the Breath knew not its own creation.—The Breath and Chaos, therefore, became united, and Mot the Clay was born, and from this clay sprang all the seed of creation, and Mot was the father of all things; now Mot was like an egg in shape.—And the Sun, the Moon, the stars, the great planets, shone forth.* There were living beings devoid of intelligence, and from these living beings came intelligent beings, who were called Zophesamîn, or ‘watchers of the heavens.‘Now the thunder-claps in the war of separating elements awoke these intelligent beings as it were from a sleep, and then the males and the females began to stir themselves and to seek one another on the land and in the sea.”
* Mot, the clay formed by the corruption of earth and water, is probably a Phoenician form of a word which means water in the Semitic languages. Cf. the Egyptian theory, according to which the clay, heated by the sun, was supposed to have given birth to animated beings; this same clay modelled by Khnûmû into the form of an egg was supposed to have produced the heavens and the earth.
A scholar of the Roman epoch, Philo of Byblos, using as a basis some old documents hidden away in the sanctuaries, which had apparently been classified by Sanchoniathon, a priest long before his time, has handed these theories of the cosmogony down to us: after he has explained how the world was brought out of Chaos, he gives a brief summary of the dawn of civilization in Phoenicia and the legendary period in its history. No doubt he interprets the writings from which he compiled his work in accordance with the spirit of his time: he has none the less preserved their substance more or less faithfully. Beneath the veneer of abstraction with which the Greek tongue and mind have overlaid the fragment thus quoted, we discern that groundwork of barbaric ideas which is to be met with in most Oriental theologies, whether Egyptian or Babylonian. At first we have a black mysterious Chaos, stagnating in eternal waters, the primordial Nû or Apsû; then the slime which precipitates in this chaos and clots into the form of an egg, like the mud of the Nile under the hand? of Khnûmû; then the hatching forth of living organisms and indolent generations of barely conscious creatures, such as the Lakhmû, the Anshar, and the Illinu of Chaldæan speculation; finally the abrupt appearance of intelligent beings.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Cabinet des Médailles.
The Phoenicians, however, accustomed as they were to the Mediterranean, with its blind outbursts of fury, had formed an idea of Chaos which differed widely from that of most of the inland races, to whom it presented itself as something silent and motionless: they imagined it as swept by a mighty wind, which, gradually increasing to a roaring tempest, at length succeeded in stirring the chaos to its very depths, and in fertilizing its elements amidst the fury of the storm. No sooner had the earth been thus brought roughly into shape, than the whole family of the north winds swooped down upon it, and reduced it to civilized order. It was but natural that the traditions of a seafaring race should trace its descent from the winds.
In Phoenicia the sea is everything: of land there is but just enough to furnish a site for a score of towns, with their surrounding belt of gardens. Mount Lebanon, with its impenetrable forests, isolated it almost entirely from Coele-Syria, and acted as the eastward boundary of the long narrow quadrangle hemmed in between the mountains and the rocky shore of the sea. At frequent intervals, spurs run out at right angles from the principal chain, forming steep headlands on the sea-front: these cut up the country, small to begin with, into five or six still smaller provinces, each one of which possessed from time immemorial its own independent cities, its own religion, and its own national history. To the north were the Zahi, a race half sailors, half husbandmen, rich, brave, and turbulent, ever ready to give battle to their neighbours, or rebel against an alien master, be he who he might. Arvad,* which was used by them as a sort of stronghold or sanctuary, was huddled together on an island some two miles from the coast: it was only about a thousand yards in circumference, and the houses, as though to make up for the limited space available for their foundations, rose to a height of five stories. An Astartê reigned there, as also a sea-Baal, half man, half fish, but not a trace of a temple or royal palace is now to be found.**
* The name Arvad was identified in the Egyptian inscriptions by Birch, who, with Hincks, at first saw in the name a reference to the peoples of Ararat; Birch’s identification, is now accepted by all Egyptologists. The name is written Aruada or Arada in the Tel el-Amarna tablets. ** The Arvad Astartê had been identified by the Egyptians with their goddess Bastît. The sea-Baal, who has been connected by some with Dagon of Askalon, is represented on the earliest Arvadian coins. He has a fish-like tail, the body and bearded head of a man, with an Assyrian headdress; on his breast we sometimes find a circular opening which seems to show the entrails.
The whole island was surrounded by a stone wall, built on the outermost ledges of the rocks, which were levelled to form its foundation. The courses of the masonry were irregular, laid without cement or mortar of any kind. This bold piece of engineering served the double purpose of sea-wall and rampart, and was thus fitted to withstand alike the onset of hostile fleets and the surges of the Mediterranean.*
* The antiquity of the wall of Arvad, recognised by travellers of the last century, is now universally admitted by all archæologists.
There was no potable water on the island, and for drinking purposes the inhabitants were obliged to rely on the fall of rain, which they stored in cisterns—still in use among their descendants. In the event of prolonged drought they were obliged to send to the mainland opposite; in time of war they had recourse to a submarine spring, which bubbles up in mid-channel. Their divers let down a leaden bell, to the top of which was fitted a leathern pipe, and applied it to the orifice of the spring; the fresh water coming up through the sand was collected in this bell, and rising in the pipe, reached the surface uncontaminated by salt water.*
* Renan tells us that “M. Gaillardot, when crossing from the island to the mainland, noticed a spring of sweet water bubbling up from the bottom of the sea.... Thomson and Walpole noticed the same spring or similar springs a little to the north of Tortosa.”
The harbour opened to the east, facing the mainland: it was divided into two basins by a stone jetty, and was doubtless insufficient for the sea-traffic, but this was the less felt inasmuch as there was a safe anchorage outside it—the best, perhaps, to be found in these waters. Opposite to Arvad, on an almost continuous line of coast some ten or twelve miles in length, towns and villages occurred at short intervals, such as Marath, Antarados, Enhydra, and Karnê, into which the surplus population of the island overflowed. Karnê possessed a harbour, and would have been a dangerous neighbour to the Arvadians had they themselves not occupied and carefully fortified it.*
* Marath, now Amrît, possesses some ancient ruins which have been described by Renan. Antarados, which prior to the Græco-Roman era was a place of no importance, occupies the site of Tortosa. Enhydra is not known, and Karnê has been replaced by Karnûn to the north of Tortosa. None of the “neighbours of Arados” are mentioned by name in the Assyrian texts; but W. Max Müller has demonstrated that the Egyptian form Aratût or Aratiût corresponds with a Semitic plural Arvadôt, and consequently refers not only to Arad itself, but also to the fortified cities and towns which formed its continental suburbs.
The cities of the dead lay close together in the background, on the slope of the nearest chain of hills; still further back lay a plain celebrated for its fertility and the luxuriance of its verdure: Lebanon, with its wooded peaks, was shut in on the north and south, but on the east the mountain sloped downwards almost to the sea-level, furnishing a pass through which ran the road which joined the great military highway not far from Qodshu. The influence of Arvad penetrated by means of this pass into the valley of the Orontes, and is believed to have gradually extended as far as Hamath itself—in other words, over the whole of Zahi. For the most part, however, its rule was confined to the coast between G-abala and the Nahr el-Kebîr; Simyra at one time acknowledged its suzerainty, at another became a self-supporting and independent state, strong enough to compel the respect of its neighbours.* Beyond the Orontes, the coast curves abruptly inward towards the west, and a group of wind-swept hills ending in a promontory called Phaniel,** the reputed scene of a divine manifestation, marked the extreme limit of Arabian influence to the north, if, indeed, it ever reached so far.
* Simyra is the modern Surnrah, near the Nahr el-Kebîr. ** The name has only come down to us under its Greek form, but its original form, Phaniel or Penûel, is easily arrived at from the analogous name used in Canaan to indicate localities where there had been a theophany. Renan questions whether Phaniel ought not to be taken in the same sense as the Pnê-Baal of the Carthaginian inscriptions, and applied to a goddess to whom the promontory had been dedicated; he also suggests that the modern name Cap Madonne may be a kind of echo of the title Rabbath borne by this goddess from the earliest times.
Half a dozen obscure cities flourished here, Arka,* Siani,** Mahallat, Kaiz, Maîza, and Botrys,*** some of them on the seaboard, others inland on the bend of some minor stream. Botrys,**** the last of the six, barred the roads which cross the Phaniel headland, and commanded the entrance to the holy ground where Byblos and Berytus celebrated each year the amorous mysteries of Adonis.
* Arka is perhaps referred to in the tablets of Tel el- Amarna under the form Irkata or Irkat; it also appears in the Bible (Gen. x. 17) and in the Assyrian texts. It is the Cassarea of classical geographers, which has now resumed its old Phoenician name of Tell-Arka. ** Sianu or Siani is mentioned in the Assyrian texts and in the Bible; Strabo knew it under the name of Sinna, and a village near Arka was called Sin or Syn as late as the XVth century. *** According to the Assyrian inscriptions, these were the names of the three towns which formed the Tripolis of Græco-Roman times. **** Botrys is the hellenized form of the name Bozruna or Bozrun, which appears on the tablets of Tel el-Amarna; the modern name, Butrun or Batrun, preserves the final letter which the Greeks had dropped.
Gublu, or—as the Greeks named it—Byblos,* prided itself on being the most ancient city in the world. The god El had founded it at the dawning of time, on the flank of a hill which is visible from some distance out at sea. A small bay, now filled up, made it an important shipping centre. The temple stood on the top of the hill, a few fragments of its walls still serving to mark the site; it was, perhaps, identical with that of which we find the plan engraved on certain imperial coins.**
* Gublu or Gubli is the pronunciation indicated for this name in the Tel el-Amarna tablets; the Egyptians transcribed it Kupuna or Kupna by substituting n for l. The Greek name Byblos was obtained from Gublu by substituting a b for the g. ** Renan carried out excavations in the hill of Kassubah which brought to light some remains of a Græco-Roman temple: he puts forward, subject to correction, the hypothesis which I have adopted above.
Two flights of steps led up to it from the lower quarters of the town, one of which gave access to a chapel in the Greek style, surmounted by a triangular pediment, and dating, at the earliest, from the time of the Seleucides; the other terminated in a long colonnade, belonging to the same period, added as a new façade to an earlier building, apparently in order to bring it abreast of more modern requirements.
The sanctuary which stands hidden behind this incongruous veneer is, as represented on the coins, in a very archaic style, and is by no means wanting in originality or dignity. It consists of a vast rectangular court surrounded by cloisters. At the point where lines drawn from the centres of the two doors seem to cross one another stands a conical stone mounted on a cube of masonry, which is the beth-el animated by the spirit of the god: an open-work balustrade surrounds and protects it from the touch of the profane. The building was perhaps not earlier than the Assyrian or Persian era, but in its general plan it evidently reproduced the arrangements of some former edifice.*
* The author of the De Deâ Syrâ classed the temple of Byblos among the Phoenician temples of the old order, which were almost as ancient as the temples of Egypt, and it is probable that from the Egyptian epoch onwards the plan of this temple must have been that shown on the coins; the cloister arcades ought, however, to be represented by pillars or by columns supporting architraves, and the fact of their presence leads me to the conclusion that the temple did not exist in the form known to us at a date earlier than the last Assyrian period.
At an early time El was spoken of as the first king of G-ablu in the same manner as each one of his Egyptian fellow-gods had been in their several nomes, and the story of his exploits formed the inevitable prelude to the beginning of human history. Grandson of Eliûn who had brought Chaos into order, son of Heaven and Earth, he dispossessed, vanquished, and mutilated his father, and conquered the most distant regions one after another—the countries beyond the Euphrates, Libya, Asia Minor and Greece: one year, when the plague was ravaging his empire, he burnt his own son on the altar as an expiatory victim, and from that time forward the priests took advantage of his example to demand the sacrifice of children in moments of public danger or calamity.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Cabinet des Médailles.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Cabinet des Médailles.
He was represented as a man with two faces, whose eyes opened and shut in an eternal alternation of vigilance and repose: six wings grew from his shoulders, and spread fan-like around him. He was the incarnation of time, which destroys all things in its rapid flight; and of the summer sun, cruel and fateful, which eats up the green grass and parches the fields. An Astartê reigned with him over Byblos—Baalat-Gublu, his own sister; like him, the child of Earth and Heaven. In one of her aspects she was identified with the moon, the personification of coldness and chastity, and in her statues or on her sacred pillars she was represented with the crescent or cow-horns of the Egyptian Hâthor; but in her other aspect she appeared as the amorous and wanton goddess in whom the Greeks recognised the popular concept of Aphroditê. Tradition tells us how, one spring morning, she caught sight of and desired the youthful god known by the title of Adoni, or “My Lord.” We scarce know what to make of the origin of Adonis, and of the legends which treat him as a hero—the representation of him as the incestuous offspring of a certain King Kinyras and his own daughter Myrrha is a comparatively recent element grafted on the original myth; at any rate, the happiness of two lovers had lasted but a few short weeks when a sudden end was put to it by the tusks of a monstrous wild boar. Baalat-Gublu wept over her lover’s body and buried it; then her grief triumphed over death, and Adonis, ransomed by her tears, rose from the tomb, his love no whit less passionate than it had been before the catastrophe. This is nothing else than the Chaldæan legend of Ishtar and Dûmûzi presented in a form more fully symbolical of the yearly marriage of Earth and Heaven. Like the Lady of Byblos at her master’s approach, Earth is thrilled by the first breath of spring, and abandons herself without shame to the caresses of Heaven: she welcomes him to her arms, is fructified by him, and pours forth the abundance of her flowers and fruits. Them comes summer and kills the spring: Earth is burnt up and withers, she strips herself of her ornaments, and her fruitfulness departs till the gloom and icy numbness of winter have passed away. Each year the cycle of the seasons brings back with it the same joy, the same despair, into the life of the world; each year Baalat falls in love with her Adonis and loses him, only to bring him back to life and lose him again in the coming year.
The whole neighbourhood of Byblos, and that part of Mount Lebanon in which it lies, were steeped in memories of this legend from the very earliest times. We know the precise spot where the goddess first caught sight of her lover, where she unveiled herself before him, and where at the last she buried his mutilated body, and chanted her lament for the dead. A river which flows southward not far off was called the Adonis, and the valley watered by it was supposed to have been the scene of this tragic idyll. The Adonis rises near Aphaka,* at the base of a narrow amphitheatre, issuing from the entrance of an irregular grotto, the natural shape of which had, at some remote period, been altered by the hand of man; in three cascades it bounds into a sort of circular basin, where it gathers to itself the waters of the neighbouring springs, then it dashes onwards under the single arch of a Roman bridge, and descends in a series of waterfalls to the level of the valley below.
* Aphaka means “spring” in Syriac. The site of the temple and town of Aphaka, where a temple of Aphroditê and Adonis still stood in the time of the Emperor Julian, had long been identified either with Fakra, or with El-Yamuni. Seetzen was the first to place it at El-Afka, and his proposed identification has been amply confirmed by the researches of Penan.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
The temple rises opposite the source of the stream on an artificial mound, a meteorite fallen from heaven having attracted the attention of the faithful to the spot. The mountain falls abruptly away, its summit presenting a red and bare appearance, owing to the alternate action of summer sun and winter frost. As the slopes approach the valley they become clothed with a garb of wild vegetation, which bursts forth from every fissure, and finds a foothold on every projecting rock: the base of the mountain is hidden in a tangled mass of glowing green, which the moist yet sunny Spring calls forth in abundance whenever the slopes are not too steep to retain a shallow layer of nourishing mould. It would be hard to find, even among the most picturesque spots of Europe, a landscape in which wildness and beauty are more happily combined, or where the mildness of the air and sparkling coolness of the streams offer a more perfect setting for the ceremonies attending the worship of Astartê.*
* The temple had been rebuilt during the Roman period, as were nearly all the temples of this region, upon the site of a more ancient structure; this was probably the edifice which the author of De Deâ Syrâ considered to be the temple of Venus, built by Kinyras within a day’s journey of Byblos in the Lebanon.
In the basin of the river and of the torrents by which it is fed, there appears a succession of charming and romantic scenes—gaping chasms with precipitous ochre-coloured walls; narrow fields laid out in terraces on the slopes, or stretching in emerald strips along the ruddy river-banks; orchards thick with almond and walnut trees; sacred grottoes, into which the priestesses, seated at the corner of the roads, endeavour to draw the pilgrims as they proceed on their way to make their prayers to the goddess;* sanctuaries and mausolea of Adonis at Yanukh, on the table-land of Mashnaka, and on the heights of Ghineh. According to the common belief, the actual tomb of Adonis was to be found at Byblos itself,** where the people were accustomed to assemble twice a year to keep his festivals, which lasted for several days together.
* Renan points out at Byblos the existence of one of these caverns which gave shelter to the kedeshoth. Many of the caves met with in the valley of the Nahr-Ibrahîm have doubtless served for the same purpose, although their walls contain no marks of the cult. ** Melito placed it, however, near Aphaka, and, indeed, there must have been as many different traditions on the subject as there were celebrated sanctuaries.
At the summer solstice, the season when the wild boar had ripped open the divine hunter, and the summer had already done damage to the spring, the priests were accustomed to prepare a painted wooden image of a corpse made ready for burial, which they hid in what were called the gardens of Adonis—terra-cotta pots filled with earth in which wheat and barley, lettuce and fennel, were sown. These were set out at the door of each house, or in the courts of the temple, where the sprouting plants had to endure the scorching effect of the sun, and soon withered away. For several days troops of women and young girls, with their heads dishevelled or shorn, their garments in rags, their faces torn with their nails, their breasts and arms scarified with knives, went about over hill and dale in search of their idol, giving utterance to cries of despair, and to endless appeals: “Ah, Lord! Ah, Lord! what is become of thy beauty.” Once having found the image, they brought it to the feet of the goddess, washed it while displaying its wound, anointed it with sweet-smelling unguents, wrapped it in a linen and woollen shroud, placed it on a catafalque, and, after expressing around the bier their feelings of desolation, according to the rites observed at fanerais, placed it solemnly in the tomb.*
* Theocritus has described in his fifth Idyll the laying out and burial of Adonis as it was practised at Alexandria in Egypt in the IIIrd century before our era.
The close and dreary summer passes away. With the first days of September the autumnal rains begin to fall upon the hills, and washing away the ochreous earth lying upon the slopes, descend in muddy torrents into the hollows of the valleys. The Adonis river begins to swell with the ruddy waters, which, on reaching the sea, do not readily blend with it. The wind from the offing drives the river water back upon the coast, and forces it to cling for a long time to the shore, where it forms a kind of crimson fringe.* This was the blood of the hero, and the sight of this precious stream stirred up anew the devotion of the people, who donned once more their weeds of mourning until the priests were able to announce to them that, by virtue of their supplications, Adonis was brought back from the shades into new life. Shouts of joy immediately broke forth, and the people who had lately sympathized with the mourning goddess in her tears and cries of sorrow, now joined with her in expressions of mad and amorous delight. Wives and virgins—all the women who had refused during the week of mourning to make a sacrifice of their hair—were obliged to atone for this fault by putting themselves at the disposal of the strangers whom the festival had brought together, the reward of their service becoming the property of the sacred treasury.**
* The same phenomenon occurs in spring. Maundrell saw it on March 17, and Renan in the first days of February. ** A similar usage was found in later times in the countries colonised by or subjected to the influence of the Phoenicians, especially in Cyprus.
Berytus shared with Byblos the glory of having had El for its founder.* The road which connects these two cities makes a lengthy detour in its course along the coast, having to cross numberless ravines and rocky summits: before reaching Palai-Byblos, it passes over a headland by a series of steps cut into the rock, forming a kind of “ladder” similar to that which is encountered lower down, between Acre and the plains of Tyre.
* The name Berytus was found by Hincks in the Egyptian texts under the form. Bîrutu, Beîrutu; it occurs frequently in the Tel el-Amarna tablets.
The river Lykos runs like a kind of natural fosse along the base of this steep headland. It forms at the present time a torrent, fed by the melting snows of Mount Sannin, and is entirely unnavigable. It was better circumstanced formerly in this respect, and even in the early years of the Boman conquest, sailors from Arvad (Arados) were accustomed to sail up it as far as one of the passes of the lower Lebanon, leading into Cole-Syria. Berytus was installed at the base of a great headland which stands out boldly into the sea, and forms the most striking promontory to be met with in these regions from Carmel to the vicinity of Arvad. The port is nothing but an open creek with a petty roadstead, but it has the advantage of a good supply of fresh water, which pours down from the numerous springs to which it is indebted for its name.* According to ancient legends, it was given by El to one of his offspring called Poseidon by the Greeks.
* The name Beyrut has been often derived from a Phconician word signifying cypress, and which may have been applied to the pine tree. The Phoenicians themselves derived it from Bîr, “wells.”
Adonis desired to take possession of it, but was frustrated in the attempt, and the maritime Baal secured the permanence of his rule by marrying one of his sisters—the Baalat-Beyrut who is represented as a nymph on Græco-Roman coins.* The rule of the city extended as far as the banks of the Tamur, and an old legend narrates that its patron fought in ancient times with the deity of that river, hurling stones at him to prevent his becoming master of the land to the north. The bar formed of shingle and the dunes which contract the entrance were regarded as evidences of this conflict.**
* The poet Nonnus has preserved a highly embellished account of this rivalry, where Adonis is called Dionysos. ** The original name appears to have been Tamur, Tamyr, from a word signifying “palm” in the Phoenician language. The myth of the conflict between Poseidon and the god of the river, a Baal-Demarous, has been explained by Renan, who accepts the identification of the river-deity with Baal- Thamar, already mentioned by Movers.
Beyond the southern bank of the river, Sidon sits enthroned as “the firstborn of Canaan.” In spite of this ambitious title it was at first nothing but a poor fishing village founded by Bel, the Agenor of the Greeks, on the southern slope of a spit of land which juts out obliquely towards the south-west.* It grew from year to year, spreading out over the plain, and became at length one of the most prosperous of the chief cities of the country—a “mother” in Phoenicia.**
* Sidon is called “the firstborn of Canaan” in Genesis: the name means a fishing-place, as the classical authors already knew—“nam piscem Phonices sidôn appellant.” ** In the coins of classic times it is called “Sidon, the mother—Om—of Kambe, Hippo, Citium, and Tyre.”
The port, once so celebrated, is shut in by three chains of half-sunken reefs, which, running out from the northern end of the peninsula, continue parallel to the coast for some hundreds of yards: narrow passages in these reefs afford access to the harbour; one small island, which is always above water, occupies the centre of this natural dyke of rocks, and furnishes a site for a maritime quarter opposite to the continental city.* The necropolis on the mainland extends to the east and north, and consists of an irregular series of excavations made in a low line of limestone cliffs which must have been lashed by the waves of the Mediterranean long prior to the beginning of history. These tombs are crowded closely together, ramifying into an inextricable maze, and are separated from each other by such thin walls that one expects every moment to see them give way, and bury the visitors in the ruin. Many date back to a very early period, while all of them have been re-worked and re-appropriated over and over again. The latest occupiers were contemporaries of the Macedonian kings or the Roman Cæsars. Space was limited and costly in this region of the dead: the Sidonians made the best use they could of the tombs, burying in them again and again, as the Egyptians were accustomed to do in their cemeteries at Thebes and Memphis. The surrounding plain is watered by the “pleasant Bostrênos,” and is covered with gardens which are reckoned to be the most beautiful in all Syria—at least after those of Damascus: their praises were sung even in ancient days, and they had then earned for the city the epithet of “the flowery Sidon.” **
* The only description of the port which we possess is that in the romance of Olitophon and Leucippus by Achilles Tatius. ** The Bostrênos, which is perhaps to be recognised under the form Borinos in the Periplus of Scylax, is the modern Nahr el-Awaly.
Here, also, an Astartê ruled over the destinies of the people, but a chaste and immaculate Astartê, a self-restrained and warlike virgin, sometimes identified with the moon, sometimes with the pale and frigid morning star.* In addition to this goddess, the inhabitants worshipped a Baal-Sidon, and other divinities of milder character—an Astartê Shem-Baal, wife of the supreme Baal, and Eshmun, a god of medicine—each of whom had his own particular temple either in the town itself or in some neighbouring village in the mountain. Baal delighted in travel, and was accustomed to be drawn in a chariot through the valleys of Phoenicia in order to receive the prayers and offerings of his devotees. The immodest Astartê, excluded, it would seem, from the official religion, had her claims acknowledged in the cult offered to her by the people, but she became the subject of no poetic or dolorous legend like her namesake at Byblos, and there was no attempt to disguise her innately coarse character by throwing over it a garb of sentiment. She possessed in the suburbs her chapels and grottoes, hollowed out in the hillsides, where she was served by the usual crowd of Ephébæ and sacred courtesans. Some half-dozen towns or fortified villages, such as Bitzîti,** the Lesser Sidon, and Sarepta, were scattered along the shore, or on the lowest slopes of the Lebanon.
* Astartê is represented in the Bible as the goddess of the Sidonians, and she is in fact the object of the invocations addressed to the mistress Deity in the Sidonian inscriptions, the patroness of the town. Kings and queens were her priests and priestesses respectively. ** Bitzîti is not mentioned except in the Assyrian texts, and has been identified with the modern region Ait ez-Zeîtûn to the south-east of Sidon. It is very probably the Elaia of Philo of Byblos, the Biais of Dionysios Periegetes, which Renan is inclined to identify with Heldua, Khan-Khaldi, by substituting Eldis as a correction.
Sidonian territory reached its limit at the Cape of Sarepta, where the high-lands again meet the sea at the boundary of one of those basins into which Phoenicia is divided. Passing beyond this cape, we come first upon a Tyrian outpost, the Town of Birds;* then upon the village of Nazana** with its river of the same name; beyond this upon a plain hemmed in by low hills, cultivated to their summits; then on tombs and gardens in the suburbs of Autu;*** and, further still, to a fleet of boats moored at a short distance from the shore, where a group of reefs and islands furnishes at one and the same time a site for the houses and temples of Tyre, and a protection from its foes.
* The Phoenician name of Ornithônpolis is unknown to us: the town is often mentioned by the geographers of classic times, but with certain differences, some placing it to the north and others to the south of Sarepta. It was near to the site of Adlun, the Adnonum of the Latin itineraries, if it was not actually the same place. ** Nazana was both the name of the place and the river, as Kasimîyeh and Khan Kasimîyeh, near the same locality, are to-day. *** Autu was identified by Brugsch with Avatha, which is probably El-Awwâtîn, on the hill facing Tyre. Max Müller, who reads the word as Authu, Ozu, prefers the Uru or Ushu of the Assyrian texts.
It was already an ancient town at the beginning of the Egyptian conquest. As in other places of ancient date, the inhabitants rejoiced in stories of the origin of things in which the city figured as the most venerable in the world. After the period of the creating gods, there followed immediately, according to the current legends, two or three generations of minor deities—heroes of light and flame—who had learned how to subdue fire and turn it to their needs; then a race of giants, associated with the giant peaks of Kasios, Lebanon, Hermon, and Brathy;* after which were born two male children—twins: Samem-rum, the lord of the supernal heaven, and Usôos, the hunter. Human beings at this time lived a savage life, wandering through the woods, and given up to shameful vices.
* The identification of the peak of Brathy is uncertain. The name has been associated with Tabor: since it exactly recalls the name of the cypress and of Berytus, it would be more prudent, perhaps, to look for the name in that of one of the peaks of the Lebanon near the latter town.
Samemrum took up his abode among them in that region which became in later times the Tyrian coast, and showed them how to build huts, papyrus, or other reeds: Usôos in the mean time pursued the avocation of a hunter of wild beasts, living upon their flesh and clothing himself with their skins. A conflict at length broke out between the two brothers, the inevitable result of rivalry between the ever-wandering hunter and the husbandman attached to the soil.
Usôos succeeded in holding his own till the day when fire and wind took the part of his enemy against him.* The trees, shaken and made to rub against each other by the tempest, broke into flame from the friction, and the forest was set on fire. Usôos, seizing a leafy branch, despoiled it of its foliage, and placing it in the water let it drift out to sea, bearing him, the first of his race, with it.
* The text simply states the material facts, the tempest and the fire: the general movement of the narrative seems to prove that the intervention of these elements is an episode in the quarrel between the two brothers—that in which Usôos is forced to fly from the region civilized by Samemrum.
Landing on one of the islands, he set up two menhirs, dedicating them to fire and wind that he might thenceforward gain their favour. He poured out at their base the blood of animals he had slaughtered, and after his death, his companions continued to perform the rites which he had inaugurated.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Cabinet des Médailles.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Cabinet des Médailles.
The town which he had begun to build on the sea-girt isle was called Tyre, the “Rock,” and the two rough stones which he had set up remained for a long time as a sort of talisman, bringing good luck to its inhabitants. It was asserted of old that the island had not always been fixed, but that it rose and fell, with the waves like a raft. Two peaks looked down upon it—the “Ambrosian Rocks”—between which grew the olive tree of Astartê, sheltered by a curtain of flame from external danger. An eagle perched thereon watched over a viper coiled round the trunk: the whole island would cease to float as soon as a mortal should succeed in sacrificing the bird in honour of the gods. Usôos, the Herakles, destroyer of monsters, taught the people of the coast how to build boats, and how to manage them; he then made for the island and disembarked: the bird offered himself spontaneously to his knife, and as soon as its blood had moistened the earth, Tyre rooted itself fixedly opposite the mainland. Coins of the Roman period represent the chief elements in this legend; sometimes the eagle and olive tree, sometimes the olive tree and the stelo, and sometimes the two stelæ only. From this time forward the gods never ceased to reside on the holy island; Astartê herself was born there, and one of the temples there showed to the admiration of the faithful a fallen star—an aerolite which she had brought back from one of her journeys.
Baal was called the Melkarth. king of the city, and the Greeks after» wards identified him with their Herakles. His worship was of a severe and exacting character: a fire burned perpetually in his sanctuary; his priests, like those of the Egyptians, had their heads shaved; they wore garments of spotless white linen, held pork in abomination, and refused permission to married women to approach the altars.*
* The worship of Melkarth at Gados (Cadiz) and the functions of his priests are described by Silius Italicus: as Gades was a Tyrian colony, it has been naturally assumed that the main features of the religion of Tyre were reproduced there, and Silius’s account of the Melkarth of Gades thus applies to his namesake of the mother city.
Festivals, similar to those of Adonis at Byblos, were held in his honour twice a year: in the summer, when the sun burnt up the earth with his glowing heat, he offered himself as an expiatory victim to the solar orb, giving himself to the flames in order to obtain some mitigation of the severity of the sky;* once the winter had brought with it a refreshing coolness, he came back to life again, and his return was celebrated with great joy. His temple stood in a prominent place on the largest of the islands furthest away from the mainland. It served to remind the people of the remoteness of their origin, for the priests relegated its foundation almost to the period of the arrival of the Phoenicians on the shores of the Mediterranean. The town had no supply of fresh water, and there was no submarine spring like that of Arvad to provide a resource in time of necessity; the inhabitants had, therefore, to resort to springs which were fortunately to be found everywhere on the hillsides of the mainland. The waters of the well of Eas el-Aîn had been led down to the shore and dammed up there, so that boats could procure a ready supply from this source in time of peace: in time of war the inhabitants of Tyre had to trust to the cisterns in which they had collected the rains that fell at certain seasons.**
* The festival commemorating his death by fire was celebrated at Tyre, where his tomb was shown, and in the greater number of the Tyrian colonies. ** Abisharri (Abimilki), King of Tyre, confesses to the Pharaoh Amenôthes III. that in case of a siege his town would neither have water nor wood. Aqueducts and conduits of water are spoken of by Menander as existing in the time of Shalmaneser; all modern historians agree in attributing their construction to a very remote antiquity.
The strait separating the island from the mainland was some six or seven hundred yards in breadth,* less than that of the Nile at several points of its course through Middle Egypt, but it was as effective as a broader channel to stop the movement of an army: a fleet alone would have a chance of taking the city by surprise, or of capturing it after a lengthened siege.
* According to the writers who were contemporary with Alexander, the strait was 4 stadia wide (nearly 1/2 mile), or 500 paces (about 3/8 mile), at the period when the Macedonians undertook the siege of the town; the author followed by Pliny says 700 paces, possibly over—mile wide. From the observations of Poulain de Bossay, Renan thinks the space between the island and the mainland might be nearly a mile in width, but we should perhaps do well to reduce this higher figure and adopt one agreeing better with the statements of Diodorus and Quintus Curtius.
Like the coast region opposite Arvad, the shore which faced Tyre, lying between the mouth of the Litany and ras el-Aîn, was an actual suburb of the city itself—with its gardens, its cultivated fields, its cemeteries, its villas, and its fortifications. Here the inhabitants of the island were accustomed to bury their dead, and hither they repaired for refreshment during the heat of the summer. To the north the little town of Mahalliba, on the southern bank of the Litâny, and almost hidden from view by a turn in the hills, commanded the approaches to the Bekaa, and the high-road to Coele-Syria.* To the south, at Ras el-Aîn, Old Tyre (Palastyrus) looked down upon the route leading into Galilee by way of the mountains.**
* Mahalliba is the present Khurbet-Mahallib. ** Palrotyrus has often been considered as a Tyre on the mainland of greater antiquity than the town of the same name on the island; it is now generally admitted that it was merely an outpost, which is conjecturally placed by most scholars in the neighbourhood of Ras el-Aîn.
Eastwards Autu commanded the landing-places on the shore, and served to protect the reservoirs; it lay under the shadow of a rock, on which was built, facing the insular temple of Melkarth, protector of mariners, a sanctuary of almost equal antiquity dedicated to his namesake of the mainland.* The latter divinity was probably the representative of the legendary Samemrum, who had built his village on the coast, while Usôos had founded his on the ocean. He was the Baalsamîm of starry tunic, lord of heaven and king of the sun.
* If the name has been preserved, as I believe it to be, in that of El-Awwâtîn, the town must be that whose ruins we find at the foot of Tell-Mashûk, and which are often mistaken for those of Palastyrus. The temple on the summit of the Tell was probably that of Heracles Astrochitôn mentioned by Nonnus.
As was customary, a popular Astartê was associated with these deities of high degree, and tradition asserted that Melkarth purchased her favour by the gift of the first robe of Tyrian purple which was ever dyed. Priestesses of the goddess had dwellings in all parts of the plain, and in several places the caves are still pointed out where they entertained the devotees of the goddess. Behind Autu the ground rises abruptly, and along the face of the escarpment, half hidden by trees and brushwood, are the remains of the most important of the Tyrian burying-places, consisting of half-filled-up pits, isolated caves, and dark galleries, where whole families lie together in their last sleep. In some spots the chalky mass has been literally honeycombed by the quarrying gravedigger, and regular lines of chambers follow one another in the direction of the strata, after the fashion of the rock-cut tombs of Upper Egypt. They present a bare and dismal appearance both within and without. The entrances are narrow and arched, the ceilings low, the walls bare and colourless, unrelieved by moulding, picture, or inscription. At one place only, near the modern village of Hanaweh, a few groups of figures and coarsely cut stelae are to be found, indicating, it would seem, the burying-place of some chief of very early times.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Lortet.
These figures run in parallel lines along the rocky sides of a wild ravine. They vary from 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet in height, the bodies being represented by rectangular pilasters, sometimes merely rough-hewn, at others grooved with curved lines to suggest the folds of the Asiatic garments; the head is carved full face, though the eyes are given in profile, and the summary treatment of the modelling gives evidence of a certain skill. Whether they are to be regarded as the product of a primitive Amorite art or of a school of Phoenician craftsmen, we are unable to determine. In the time of their prosperity the Tyrians certainly pushed their frontier as far as this region. The wind-swept but fertile country lying among the ramifications of the lowest spurs of the Lebanon bears to this day innumerable traces of their indefatigable industry—remains of dwellings, conduits and watercourses, cisterns, pits, millstones and vintage-troughs, are scattered over the fields, interspersed with oil and wine presses. The Phoenicians took naturally to agriculture, and carried it to such a high state of perfection as to make it an actual science, to which the neighbouring peoples of the Mediterranean were glad to accommodate their modes of culture in later times.*
* Their taste for agriculture, and the comparative perfection of their modes of culture, are proved by the greatness of the remains still to be observed: “The Phoenicians constructed a winepress, a trough, to last for ever.” Their colonists at Carthage carried with them the same clever methods, and the Romans borrowed many excellent things in the way of agriculture from Carthaginian books, especially from those of Mago.
Among no other people was the art of irrigation so successfully practised, and from such a narrow strip of territory as belonged to them no other cultivators could have gathered such abundant harvests of wheat and barley, and such supplies of grapes, olives, and other fruits. From Arvad to Tyre, and even beyond it, the littoral region and the central parts of the valleys presented a long ribbon of verdure of varying breadth, where fields of corn were blended with gardens and orchards and shady woods. The whole region was independent and self-supporting, the inhabitants having no need to address themselves to their neighbours in the interior, or to send their children to seek their fortune in distant lands. To insure prosperity, nothing was needed but a slight exercise of labour and freedom from the devastating influence of war.
The position of the country was such as to secure it from attack, and from the conflicts which laid waste the rest of Syria. Along almost the entire eastern border of the country the Lebanon was a great wall of defence running parallel to the coast, strengthened at each extremity by the additional protection of the rivers Nahr el-Kebîr and Litany. Its slopes were further defended by the forest, which, with its lofty trees and brushwood, added yet another barrier to that afforded by rocks and snow. Hunters’ or shepherds’ paths led here and there in tortuous courses from one side of the mountain to the other. Near the middle of the country two roads, practicable in all seasons, secured communications between the littoral and the plain of the interior. They branched off on either side from the central road in the neighbourhood of Tabakhi, south of Qodshu, and served the needs of the wooded province of Magara.* This region was inhabited by pillaging tribes, which the Egyptians called at one time Lamnana, the Libanites,** at others Shausu, using for them the same appellation as that which they bestowed upon the Bedouin of the desert.
* Magara is mentioned in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1, and Chabas has identified it with the plain of Macra, which Strabo places in Syria, in the neighbourhood of Eloutheros. ** The name Lamnana is given in a picture of the campaigns of Seti I.
The roads through this province ran under the dense shade afforded by oaks, cedars, and cypresses, in an obscurity favourable to the habits of the wolves and hyamas which infested it, and even of those thick-maned lions known to Asia at the time; and then proceeding in its course, crossed the ridge in the neighbourhood of the snow-peak called Shaua, which is probably the Sannîn of our times. While one of these roads, running north along the lake of Yamuneh and through the gorge of Akura, then proceeded along the Adonis* to Byblos, the other took a southern direction, and followed the Nahr el-Kelb to the sea.
* This is the road pointed out by Renan as the easiest but least known of those which cross the Lebanon; the remains of an Assyrian inscription graven on the rocks near Aîn el- Asafîr show that it was employed from a very early date, and Renan thought that it was used by the armies which came from the upper valley of the Orontes.
Towards the mouth of the latter a wall of rock opposes the progress of the river, and leaves at length but a narrow and precipitous defile for the passage of its waters: a pathway cut into the cliff at a very remote date leads almost perpendicularly from the bottom of the precipice to the summit of the promontory. Commerce followed these short and direct routes, but invading hosts very rarely took advantage of them, although they offered access into the very heart of Phoenicia. Invaders would encounter here, in fact, a little known and broken country, lending itself readily to surprises and ambuscades; and should they reach the foot of the Lebanon range, they would find themselves entrapped in a region of slippery defiles, with steep paths at intervals cut into the rock, and almost inaccessible to chariots or horses, and so narrow in places that a handful of resolute men could have held them for a long time against whole battalions. The enemy preferred to make for the two natural breaches at the respective extremities of the line of defence, and for the two insular cities which flanked the approaches to them—Tyre in the case of those coming from Egypt, Arvad and Simyra for assailants from the Euphrates. The Arvadians, bellicose by nature, would offer strong resistance to the invader, and not permit themselves to be conquered without a brave struggle with the enemy, however powerful he might be.* When the disproportion of the forces which they could muster against the enemy convinced them of the folly of attempting an open conflict, their island-home offered them a refuge where they would be safe from any attacks.
* Thûtmosis III. was obliged to enter on a campaign against Arvad in the year XXIX., in the year XXX., and probably twice in the following years. Under Amenôthes III. and IV. we see that these people took part in all the intrigues directed against Egypt; they were the allies of the Khati against Ramses II. in the campaign of the year V. and later on we find them involved in most of the wars against Assyria.
Sometimes the burning and pillaging of their property on the mainland might reduce them to throw themselves on the mercy of their foes, but such submission did not last long, and they welcomed the slightest occasion for regaining their liberty. Conquered again and again on account of the smallness of their numbers, they were never discouraged by their reverses, and Phoenicia owed all its military history for a long period to their prowess. The Tyrians were of a more accommodating nature, and there is no evidence, at least during the early centuries of their existence, of the display of those obstinate and blind transports of bravery by which the Arvadians were carried away.*
* No campaign against Tyre is mentioned in any of the Egyptian annals: the expedition of Thûtmosis III. against Senzauru was directed against a town of Coele-Syria mentioned in the Tel el-Amarna tablets with the orthography Zinzar, the Sizara-Larissa of Græco-Roman times, the Shaizar of the Arab Chronicles. On the contrary, the Tel el-Amarna tablets contain several passages which manifest the fidelity of Tyre and its governors to the King of Egypt.
Their foreign policy was reduced to a simple arithmetical question, which they discussed in the light of their industrial or commercial interests. As soon as they had learned from a short experience that a certain Pharaoh had at his disposal armies against which they could offer no serious opposition, they at once surrendered to him, and thought only of obtaining the greatest profit from the vassalage to which they were condemned. The obligation to pay tribute did not appear to them so much in the light of a burthen or a sacrifice, as a means of purchasing the right to go to and fro freely in Egypt, or in the countries subject to its influence. The commerce acquired by these privileges recouped them more than a hundredfold for all that their overlord demanded from them. The other cities of the coast—Sidon, Berytus, Byblos—usually followed the example of Tyre, whether from mercenary motives, or from their naturally pacific disposition, or from a sense of their impotence; and the same intelligent resignation with which, as we know, they accepted the supremacy of the great Egyptian empire, was doubtless displayed in earlier centuries in their submission to the Babylonians. Their records show that they did not accept this state of things merely through cowardice or indolence, for they are represented as ready to rebel and shake off the yoke of their foreign master when they found it incompatible with their practical interests. But their resort to war was exceptional; they generally preferred to submit to the powers that be, and to accept from them as if on lease the strip of coast-line at the base of the Lebanon, which served as a site for their warehouses and dockyards. Thus they did not find the yoke of the stranger irksome—the sea opening up to them a realm of freedom and independence which compensated them for the limitations of both territory and liberty imposed upon them at home.
The epoch which was marked by their first venture on the Mediterranean, and the motives which led to it, were alike unknown to them. The gods had taught them navigation, and from the beginning of things they had taken to the sea as fishermen, or as explorers in search of new lands.* They were not driven by poverty to leave their continental abode, or inspired thereby with a zeal for distant cruises. They had at home sufficient corn and wine, oil and fruits, to meet all their needs, and even to administer to a life of luxury. And if they lacked cattle, the abundance of fish within their reach compensated for the absence of flesh-meat.
* According to one of the cosmogonies of Sanchoniathon, Khusôr, who has been identified with Hephsestos, was the inventor of the fishing-boat, and was the first among men and gods who taught navigation. According to another legend, Melkarth showed the Tyrians how to make a raft from the branches of a fig tree, while the construction of the first ships is elsewhere ascribed to the Cabiri.
Nor was it the number of commodiously situated ports on their coast which induced them to become a seafaring people, for their harbours were badly protected for the most part, and offered no shelter when the wind set in from the north, the rugged shore presenting little resource against the wind and waves in its narrow and shallow havens. It was the nature of the country itself which contributed more than anything else to make them mariners. The precipitous mountain masses which separate one valley from another rendered communication between them difficult, while they served also as lurking-places for robbers. Commerce endeavoured to follow, therefore, the sea-route in preference to the devious ways of this highwayman’s region, and it accomplished its purpose the more readily because the common occupation of sea-fishing had familiarised the people with every nook and corner on the coast. The continual wash of the surge had worn away the bases of the limestone cliffs, and the superincumbent masses tumbling down into the sea formed lines of rocks, hardly rising above the water-level, which fringed the headlands with perilous reefs, against which the waves broke continuously at the slightest wind. It required some bravery to approach them, and no little skill to steer one of the frail boats, which these people were accustomed to employ from the earliest times, scatheless amid the breakers. The coasting trade was attracted from Arvad successively to Berytus, Sidon, and Tyre, and finally to the other towns of the coast. It was in full operation, doubtless, from the VIth Egyptian dynasty onwards, when the Pharaohs no longer hesitated to embark troops at the mouth of the Nile for speedy transmission to the provinces of Southern Syria, and it was by this coasting route that the tin and amber of the north succeeded in reaching the interior of Egypt. The trade was originally, it would seem, in the hands of those mysterious Kefâtiu of whom the name only was known in later times. When the Phoenicians established themselves at the foot of the Lebanon, they had probably only to take the place of their predecessors and to follow the beaten tracks which they had already made. We have every reason to believe that they took to a seafaring life soon after their arrival in the country, and that they adapted themselves and their civilization readily to the exigencies of a maritime career.*
* Connexion between Phoenicia and Greece was fully established at the outbreak of the Egyptian wars, and we may safely assume their existence in the centuries immediately preceding the second millennium before our era.
In their towns, as in most sea-ports, there was a considerable foreign element, both of slaves and freemen, but the Egyptians confounded them all under one name, Kefâtiu, whether they were Cypriotes, Asiatics, or Europeans, or belonged to the true Tyrian and Sidonian race. The costume of the Kafîti was similar to that worn by the people of the interior—the loin-cloth, with or without a long upper garment: while in tiring the hair they adopted certain refinements, specially a series of curls which the men arranged in the form of an aigrette above their foreheads. This motley collection of races was ruled over by an oligarchy of merchants and shipowners, whose functions were hereditary, and who usually paid homage to a single king, the representative of the tutelary god, and absolute master of the city.*
* Under the Egyptian supremacy, the local princes did not assume the royal title in the despatches which they addressed to the kings of Egypt, but styled themselves governors of their cities.
The industries pursued in Phoenicia were somewhat similar to those of other parts of Syria; the stuffs, vases, and ornaments made at Tyre and Sidon could not be distinguished from those of Hamath or of Carchemish.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the coloured sketches by Prisse d’Avennes in the Natural Hist. Museum.
All manufactures bore the impress of Babylonian influence, and their implements, weights, measures, and system of exchange were the same as those in use among the Chaldæans. The products of the country were, however, not sufficient to freight the fleets which sailed from Phoenicia every year bound for all parts of the known world, and additional supplies had to be regularly obtained from neighbouring peoples, who thus became used to pour into Tyre and Sidon the surplus of their manufactures, or of the natural wealth of their country. The Phoenicians were also accustomed to send caravans into regions which they could not reach in their caracks, and to establish trading stations at the fords of rivers, or in the passes over mountain ranges. We know of the existence of such emporia at Laish near the sources of the Jordan, at Thapsacus, and at Nisibis, and they must have served the purpose of a series of posts on the great highways of the world. The settlements of the Phoenicians always assumed the character of colonies, and however remote they might be from their fatherland, the colonists never lost the manners and customs of their native country. They collected together into their okels or storehouses such wares and commodities as they could purchase in their new localities, and, transmitting them periodically to the coast, shipped them thence to all parts of the world.
Not only were they acquainted with every part of the Mediterranean, but they had even made voyages beyond its limits. In the absence, however, of any specific records of their naval enterprise, the routes they followed must be a subject of conjecture. They were accustomed to relate that the gods, after having instructed them in the art of navigation, had shown them the way to the setting sun, and had led them by their example to make voyages even beyond the mouths of the ocean. El of Byblos was the first to leave Syria; he conquered Greece and Egypt, Sicily and Libya, civilizing their inhabitants, and laying the foundation of cities everywhere. The Sidonian Astartê, with her head surmounted by the horns of an ox, was the next to begin her wanderings over the inhabited earth. Melkarth completed the task of the gods by discovering and subjugating those countries which had escaped the notice of his predecessors. Hundreds of local traditions, to be found on all the shores of the Mediterranean down to Roman times, bore witness to the pervasive influence of the old Canaanite colonisation. At Cyprus, for instance, wo find traces of the cultus of Kinyras, King of Byblos and father of Adonis; again, at Crete, it is the daughter of a Prince of Sidon, Buropa, who is carried off by Zeus under the form of a bull; it was Kadmos, sent forth to seek Buropa, who visited Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclades before building Thebes in Boeotia and dying in the forests of Illyria. In short, wherever the Phoenicians had obtained a footing, their audacious activity made such an indelible impression upon the mind of the native inhabitants that they never forgot those vigorous thick-set men with pale faces and dark beards, and soft and specious speech, who appeared at intervals in their large and swift sailing vessels. They made their way cautiously along the coast, usually keeping in sight of land, making sail when the wind was favourable, or taking to the oars for days together when occasion demanded it, anchoring at night under the shelter of some headland, or in bad weather hauling their vessels up the beach until the morrow. They did not shrink when it was necessary from trusting themselves to the open sea, directing their course by the Pole-star;* in this manner they often traversed long distances out of sight of land, and they succeeded in making in a short time voyages previously deemed long and costly.
* The Greeks for this reason called it Phonikê, the Phoenician star; ancient writers refer to the use which the Phoenicians made of the Pole-star to guide them in navigation.
It is hard to say whether they were as much merchants as pirates—indeed, they hardly knew themselves—and their peaceful or warlike attitude towards vessels which they encountered on the seas, or towards the people whose countries they frequented, was probably determined by the circumstances of the moment.* If on arrival at a port they felt themselves no match for the natives, the instinct of the merchant prevailed, and that of the pirate was kept in the background. They landed peaceably, gained the good will of the native chief and his nobles by small presents, and spreading out their wares, contented themselves, if they could do no better, with the usual advantage obtained in an exchange of goods.
* The manner in which the Phoenicians plied their trade is strikingly described in the Odyssey, in the part where Eumaios relates how he was carried off by a Sidonian vessel and sold as a slave: cf. the passage which mentions the ravages of the Greeks on the coast of the Delta. Herodotus recalls the rape of Io, daughter of Inachos, by the Phoenicians, who carried her and her companions into Egypt; on the other hand, during one of their Egyptian expeditions they had taken two priestesses from Thebes, and had transported one of them to Dodona, the other into Libya.
They were never in a hurry, and would remain in one spot until they had exhausted all the resources of the country, while they knew to a nicety how to display their goods attractively before the expected customer. Their wares comprised weapons and ornaments for men, axes, swords, incised or damascened daggers with hilts of gold or ivory, bracelets, necklaces, amulets of all kinds, enamelled vases, glass-work, stuffs dyed purple or embroidered with gay colours. At times the natives, whose cupidity was excited by the exhibition of such valuables, would attempt to gain possession of them either by craft or by violence. They would kill the men who had landed, or attempt to surprise the vessel during the night. But more often it was the Phoenicians who took advantage of the friendliness or the weakness of their hosts.
They would turn treacherously upon the unarmed crowd when absorbed in the interest of buying and selling; robbing and killing the old men, they would make prisoners of the young and strong, the women and children, carrying them off to sell them in those markets where slaves were known to fetch the highest price. This was a recognised trade, but it exposed the Phoenicians to the danger of reprisals, and made them objects of an undying hatred. When on these distant expeditions they were subject to trivial disasters which might lead to serious consequences. A mast might break, an oar might damage a portion of the bulwarks, a storm might force them to throw overboard part of their cargo or their provisions; in such predicaments they had no means of repairing the damage, and, unable to obtain help in any of the places they might visit, their prospects were of a desperate character. They soon, therefore, learned the necessity of establishing cities of refuge at various points in the countries with which they traded—stations where they could go to refit and revictual their vessels, to fill up the complement of their crews, to take in new freight, and, if necessary, pass the winter or wait for fair weather before continuing their voyage. For this purpose they chose by preference islands lying within easy distance of the mainland, like their native cities of Tyre and Arvad, but possessing a good harbour or roadstead. If an island were not available, they selected a peninsula with a narrow isthmus, or a rock standing at the extremity of a promontory, which a handful of men could defend against any attack, and which could be seen from a considerable distance by their pilots. Most of their stations thus happily situated became at length important towns. They were frequented by the natives from the interior, who allied themselves with the new-comers, and furnished them not only with objects of trade, but with soldiers, sailors, and recruits for their army; and such was the rapid spread of these colonies, that before long the Mediterranean was surrounded by an almost unbroken chain of Phoenician strongholds and trading stations.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato.
All the towns of the mother country—Arvad, Byblos, Berytus, Tyre, and Sidon—possessed vessels engaged in cruising long before the Egyptian conquest of Syria. We have no direct information from any existing monument to show us what these vessels were like, but we are familiar with the construction of the galleys which formed the fleets of the Pharaohs of the XVIIIth dynasty. The art of shipbuilding had made considerable progress since the times of the Memphite kings. Prom the period when Egypt aspired to become one of the great powers of the world, she doubtless endeavoured to bring her naval force to the same pitch of perfection as her land forces could boast of, and her fleets probably consisted of the best vessels which the dockyards of that day could turn out. Phoenician vessels of this period may therefore be regarded with reason as constructed on lines similar to those of the Egyptian ships, differing from them merely in the minor details of the shape of the hull and manner of rigging. The hull continued to be built long and narrow, rising at the stem and stern. The bow was terminated by a sort of hook, to which, in time of peace, a bronze ornament was attached, fashioned to represent the head of a divinity, gazelle, or bull, while in time of war this was superseded by a metal cut-water made fast to the hull by several turns of stout rope, the blade rising some couple of yards above the level of the deck.* The poop was ornamented with a projection firmly attached to the body of the vessel, but curved inwards and terminated by an open lotus-flower. An upper deck, surrounded by a wooden rail, was placed at the bow and stern to serve as forecastle and quarterdecks respectively, and in order to protect the vessel from the danger of heavy seas the ship was strengthened by a structure to which we find nothing analogous in the shipbuilding of classical times: an enormous cable attached to the gammonings of the bow rose obliquely to a height of about a couple of yards above the deck, and, passing over four small crutched masts, was made fast again to the gammonings of the stern. The hull measured from the blade of the cut-water to the stern-post some twenty to five and twenty yards, but the lowest part of the hold did not exceed five feet in depth. There was no cabin, and the ballast, arms, provisions, and spare-rigging occupied the open hold.**
* To get a clear idea of the details of this structure, we have only to compare the appearance of ships with and without a cut-water in the scenes at Thebes, representing the celebration of a festival at the return of the fleet. ** M. Glaser thinks that there were cabins for the crew under the deck, and he recognises in the sixteen oblong marks on the sides of the vessels at Deîr el-Bahari so many dead-lights; as there could not have been space for so many cabins, I had concluded that these were ports for oars to be used in time of battle, but on further consideration I saw that they represented the ends of the beams supporting the deck.
The bulwarks were raised to a height of some two feet, and the thwarts of the rowers ran up to them on both the port and starboard sides, leaving an open space in the centre for the long-boat, bales of merchandise, soldiers, slaves, and additional passengers.* A double set of steering-oars and a single mast completed the equipment. The latter, which rose to a height of some twenty-six feet, was placed amidships, and was held in an upright position by stays. The masthead was surmounted by two arrangements which answered respectively to the top [“gabie”] and calcet of the masts of a galley.** There were no shrouds on each side from the masthead to the rail, but, in place of them, two stays ran respectively to the bow and stern. The single square-sail was extended between two yards some sixty to seventy feet long, and each made of two pieces spliced together at the centre. The upper yard was straight, while the lower curved upward at the ends. The yard was hoisted and lowered by two halyards, which were made fast aft at the feet of the steersmen. The yard was kept in its place by two lifts which came down from the masthead, and were attached respectively about eight feet from the end of each yard-arm. When the yard was hauled up it was further supported by six auxiliary lifts, three being attached to each yard-arm. The lower yard, made fast to the mast by a figure-of-eight knot, was secured by sixteen lifts, which, like those of the upper yard, worked through the “calcet.”
* One of the bas-reliefs exhibits a long-boat in the water at the time the fleet was at anchor at Puanît. As we do not find any vessel towing one after her, we naturally conclude that the boat must have been stowed on board. ** The “gabie” was a species of top where a sailor was placed on the look-out. The “calcet” is, properly speaking, a square block of wood containing the sheaves on which the halyards travelled. The Egyptian apparatus had no sheaves, and answers to the “calcet” on the masts of a galley only in its serving the same purpose.
The crew comprised thirty rowers, fifteen on each side, four top-men, two steersmen, a pilot at the bow, who signalled to the men at the helm the course to steer, a captain and a governor of the slaves, who formed, together with ten soldiers, a total of some fifty men.* In time of battle, as the rowers would be exposed to the missiles of the enemy, the bulwarks were further heightened by a mantlet, behind which the oars could be freely moved, while the bodies of the men were fully protected, their heads alone being visible above it. The soldiers were stationed as follows: two of them took their places on the forecastle, a third was perched on the masthead in a sort of cage improvised on the bars forming the top, while the remainder were posted on the deck and poop, from which positions and while waiting for the order to board they could pour a continuous volley of arrows on the archers and sailors of the enemy.**
* I have made this calculation from an examination of the scenes in which ships are alternatively represented as at anchor and under weigh. I know of vessels of smaller size, and consequently with a smaller crew, but I know of none larger or more fully manned. ** The details are taken from the only representation of a naval battle which we possess up to this moment, viz. that of which I shall have occasion to speak further on in connection with the reign of Ramses III.
The first colony of which the Phoenicians made themselves masters was that island of Cyprus whose low, lurid outline they could see on fine summer evenings in the glow of the western sky. Some hundred and ten miles in length and thirty-six in breadth, it is driven like a wedge into the angle which Asia Minor makes with the Syrian coast: it throws out to the north-east a narrow strip of land, somewhat like an extended finger pointing to where the two coasts meet at the extremity of the gulf of Issos. A limestone cliff, of almost uniform height throughout, bounds, for half its length at least, the northern side of the island, broken occasionally by short deep valleys, which open out into creeks deeply embayed. A scattered population of fishermen exercised their calling in this region, and small towns, of which we possess only the Greek or Grecised names—Karpasia, Aphrodision, Kerynia, Lapethos—led there a slumbering existence. Almost in the centre of the island two volcanic peaks, Troodes and Olympos, face each other, and rise to a height of nearly 7000 feet, the range of mountains to which they belong—that of Aous—forming the framework of the island. The spurs of this range fall by a gentle gradient towards the south, and spread out either into stony slopes favourable to the culture of the vine, or into great maritime flats fringed with brackish lagoons. The valley which lies on the northern side of this chain runs from sea to sea in an almost unbroken level. A scarcely perceptible watershed divides the valley into two basins similar to those of Syria, the larger of the two lying opposite to the Phoenician coast. The soil consists of black mould, as rich as that of Egypt, and renewed yearly by the overflowing of the Pediæos and its affluents. Thick forests occupied the interior, promising inexhaustible resources to any naval power. Even under the Koman emperors the Cypriotes boasted that they could build and fit out a ship from the keel to the masthead without looking to resources beyond those of their own island. The ash, pine, cypress, and oak flourished on the sides of the range of Aous, while cedars grew there to a greater height and girth than even on the Lebanon. Wheat, barley, olive trees, vines, sweet-smelling woods for burning on the altar, medicinal plants such as the poppy and the ladanum, henna for staining with a deep orange colour the lips, eyelids, palm, nails, and fingertips of the women, all found here a congenial habitat; while a profusion everywhere of sweet-smelling flowers, which saturated the air with their penetrating odours—spring violets, many-coloured anemones, the lily, hyacinth, crocus, narcissus, and wild rose—led the Greeks to bestow upon the island the designation of “the balmy Cyprus.” Mines also contributed their share to the riches of which the island could boast. Iron in small quantities, alum, asbestos, agate and other precious stones, are still to be found there, and in ancient times the neighbourhood of Tamassos yielded copper in such quantities that the Romans were accustomed to designate this metal by the name “Cyprium,” and the word passed from them into all the languages of Europe. It is not easy to determine the race to which the first inhabitants of the island belonged, if we are not to see in them a branch of the Kefâtiu, who frequented the Asiatic shores of the Mediterranean from a very remote period. In the time of Egyptian supremacy they called their country Asi, and this name inclines one to connect the people with the Ægeans.* An examination of the objects found in the most ancient tombs of the island seems to confirm this opinion. These consist, for the most part, of weapons and implements of stone—knives, hatchets, hammers, and arrow-heads; and mingled with these rude objects a score of different kinds of pottery, chiefly hand-made and of coarse design—pitchers with contorted bowls, shallow buckets, especially of the milk-pail variety, provided with spouts and with pairs of rudimentary handles.
* “Asi,” “Asîi,” was at first sought for on the Asiatic continent—at Is on the Euphrates, or in Palestine: the discovery of the Canopic decree allows us to identify it with Cyprus, and this has now been generally done. The reading “Asebi” is still maintained by some.
The pottery is red or black in colour, and the ornamentation of it consists of incised geometrical designs. Copper and bronze, where we find examples of these metals, do not appear to have been employed in the manufacture of ornaments or arrow-heads, but usually in making daggers. There is no indication anywhere of foreign influence, and yet Cyprus had already at this time entered into relations with the civilized nations of the continent.* According to Chaldæan tradition, it was conquered about the year 3800 B.C. by Sargon of Agadê: without insisting upon the reality of this conquest, which in any case must have been ephemeral in its nature, there is reason to believe that the island was subjected from an early period to the influence of the various peoples which lived one after another on the slopes of the Lebanon. Popular legend attributes to King Kinyras and to the Giblites [i.e. the people of Byblos] the establishment of the first Phoenician colonies in the southern region of the island—one of them being at Paphos, where the worship of Adonis and Astartê continued to a very late date. The natives preserved their own language and customs, had their own chiefs, and maintained their national independence, while constrained to submit at the same time to the presence of Phoenician colonists or merchants on the coast, and in the neighbourhood of the mines in the mountains. The trading centres of these settlers—Kition, Amathus, Solius, Golgos, and Tamassos—were soon, however, converted into strongholds, which ensured to Phonicia the monopoly of the immense wealth contained in the island.**
* An examination into the origin of the Cypriotes formed part of the original scheme of this work, together with that of the monuments of the various races scattered along the coast of Asia Minor and the islands of the Ægean; but I have been obliged to curtail it, in order to keep within the limits I had proscribed for myself, and I have merely epitomised, as briefly as possible, the results of the researches undertaken in those regions during the last few years. ** The Phoenician origin of these towns is proved by passages from classical writers. The date of the colonisation is uncertain, but with the knowledge we possess of the efficient vessels belonging to the various Phoenician towns, it would seem difficult not to allow that the coasts at least of Cyprus must have been partially occupied at the time of the Egyptian invasions.
Tyre and Sidon had no important centres of industry on that part of the Canaanite coast which extended to the south of Carmel, and Egypt, even in the time of the shepherd kings, would not have tolerated the existence on her territory of any great emporium not subject to the immediate supervision of her official agents. We know that the Libyan cliffs long presented an obstacle to inroads into Egyptian territory, and baffled any attempts to land to the westwards of the Delta: the Phoenicians consequently turned with all the greater ardour to those northern regions which for centuries had furnished them with most valuable products—bronze, tin, amber, and iron, both native and wrought. A little to the north of the Orontes, where the Syrian border is crossed and Asia Minor begins, the coast turns due west and runs in that direction for a considerable distance. The Phoenicians were accustomed to trade along this region, and we may attribute, perhaps, to them the foundation of those obscure cities—Kibyra, Masura, Euskopus, Sylion, Mygdalê, and Sidyma*—all of which preserved their apparently Semitic names down to the time of the Roman epoch. The whole of the important island of Rhodes fell into their power, and its three ports, Ialysos, Lindos*, and Kamiros, afforded them a well-situated base of operations for further colonisation. On leaving Rhodes, the choice of two routes presented itself to them. To the south-west they could see the distant outline of Karpathos, and on the far horizon behind it the summits of the Cretan chain. Crete itself bars on the south the entrance to the Ægean, and is almost a little continent, self-contained and self-sufficing.
* No direct evidence exists to lead us to attribute the foundation of these towns to the Phoenicians, but the Semitic origin of nearly all the names is an uncontested fact.
It is made up of fertile valleys and mountains clothed with forests, and its inhabitants could employ themselves in mines and fisheries. The Phoenicians effected a settlement on the coast at Itanos, at Kairatos, and at Arados, and obtained possession of the peak of Cythera, where, it is said, they raised a sanctuary to Astartê. If, on leaving Rhodes, they had chosen to steer due north, they would soon have come into contact with numerous rocky islets scattered in the sea between the continents of Asia and Europe, which would have furnished them with as many stations, less easy of attack, and more readily defended than posts on the mainland. Of these the Giblites occupied Melos, while the Sidonians chose Oliaros and Thera, and we find traces of them in every island where any natural product, such as metals, sulphur, alum, fuller’s earth, emery, medicinal plants, and shells for producing dyes, offered an attraction. The purple used by the Tyrians for dyeing is secreted by several varieties of molluscs common in the Eastern Mediterranean; those most esteemed by the dyers were the Murex trunculus and the Murex Brandaris, and solid masses made up of the detritus of these shells are found in enormous quantities in the neighbourhood of many Phoenician towns. The colouring matter was secreted in the head of the shellfish. To obtain it the shell was broken by a blow from a hammer, and the small quantity of slightly yellowish liquid which issued from the fracture was carefully collected and stirred about in salt water for three days.
It was then boiled in leaden vessels and reduced by simmering over a slow fire; the remainder was strained through a cloth to free it from the particles of flesh still floating in it, and the material to be dyed was then plunged into the liquid. The usual tint thus imparted was that of fresh blood, in some lights almost approaching to black; but careful manipulation could produce shades of red, dark violet, and amethyst. Phoenician settlements can be traced, therefore, by the heaps of shells upon the shore, the Cyclades and the coasts of Greece being strewn with this refuse. The veins of gold in the Pangaion range in Macedonia attracted them off the Thracian coast* received also frequent visits from them, and they carried their explorations even through the tortuous channel of the Hellespont into the Propontis, drawn thither, no doubt by the silver mines in the Bithynian mountains** which were already being worked by Asiatic miners.
* The fact that they worked the mines of Thasos is attested by Herodotus. ** Pronektos, on the Gulf of Ascania, was supposed to be a Phoenician colony.
Beyond the calm waters of the Propontis, they encountered an obstacle to their progress in another narrow channel, having more the character of a wide river than of a strait; it was with difficulty that they could make their way against the violence of its current, which either tended to drive their vessels on shore, or to dash them against the reefs which hampered the navigation of the channel. When, however, they succeeded in making the passage safely, they found themselves upon a vast and stormy sea, whose wooded shores extended east and west as far as eye could reach.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the facsimile in Perrot-Chipiez.
From the tribes who inhabited them, and who acted as intermediaries, the Phoenician traders were able to procure tin, lead, amber, Caucasian gold, bronze, and iron, all products of the extreme north—a region which always seemed,to elude their persevering efforts to discover it. We cannot determine the furthest limits reached by the Phoenician traders, since they were wont to designate the distant countries and nations with which they traded by the vague appellations of “Isles of the Sea” and “Peoples of the Sea,” refusing to give more accurate information either from jealousy or from a desire to hide from other nations the sources of their wealth.
Drawn by Faucher- Gudin.
The peoples with whom they traded were not mere barbarians, contented with worthless objects of barter; their clients included the inhabitants of the iEgean, who, if inferior to the great nations of the East, possessed an independent and growing civilization, traces of which are still coming to light from many quarters in the shape of tombs, houses, palaces, utensils, ornaments, representations of the gods, and household and funerary furniture,—not only in the Cyclades, but on the mainland of Asia Minor and of Greece. No inferior goods or tinsel wares would have satisfied the luxurious princes who reigned in such ancient cities as Troy and Mycenae, and who wanted the best industrial products of Egypt and Syria—costly stuffs, rare furniture, ornate and well-wrought weapons, articles of jewellery, vases of curious and delicate design—such objects, in fact, as would have been found in use among the sovereigns and nobles of Memphis or of Babylon. For articles to offer in exchange they were not limited to the natural or roughly worked products of their own country. Their craftsmen, though less successful in general technique than their Oriental contemporaries, exhibited considerable artistic intelligence and an extraordinary manual skill. Accustomed at first merely to copy the objects sold to them by the Phoenicians, they soon developed a style of their own; the Mycenaean dagger in the illustration on page 299, though several centuries later in date than that of the Pharaoh Ahmosis, appears to be traceable to this ancient source of inspiration, although it gives evidence of new elements in its method of decoration and in its greater freedom of treatment. The inhabitants of the valleys of the Nile and of the Orontes, and probably also those of the Euphrates and Tigris, agreed in the, high value they set upon these artistic objects in gold, silver, and bronze, brought to them from the further shores of the Mediterranean, which, while reproducing their own designs, modified them to a certain extent; for just as we now imitate types of ornamental work in vogue among nations less civilized than ourselves, so the iEgean people set themselves the task through their potters and engravers of reproducing exotic models. The Phoenician traders who exported to Greece large consignments of objects made under various influences in their own workshops, or purchased in the bazaars of the ancient world, brought back as a return cargo an equivalent number of works of art, bought in the towns of the West, which eventually found their way into the various markets of Asia and Africa. These energetic merchants were not the first to ply this profitable trade of maritime carriers, for from the time of the Memphite empire the products of northern regions had found their way, through the intermediation of the Haûinibû, as far south as the cities of the Delta and the Thebaid. But this commerce could not be said to be either regular or continuous; the transmission was carried on from one neighbouring tribe to another, and the Syrian sailors were merely the last in a long chain of intermediaries—a tribal war, a migration, the caprice of some chief, being sufficient to break the communication, and even cause the suspension of transit for a considerable period. The Phoenicians desired to provide against such risks by undertaking themselves to fetch the much-coveted objects from their respective sources, or, where this was not possible, from the ports nearest the place of their manufacture. Reappearing with each returning year in the localities where they had established emporia, they accustomed the natives to collect against their arrival such products as they could profitably use in bartering with one or other of their many customers. They thus established, on a fixed line of route, a kind of maritime trading service, which placed all the shores of the Mediterranean in direct communication with each other, and promoted the blending of the youthful West with the ancient East.
THE EIGHTEENTH THEBAN DYNASTY THÛTMOSIS I. AND HIS ARMY—HÂTSHOPSITÛ AND THÛTMOSIS III.
Thutmosis I.‘s campaign in Syria—The organisation of the Egyptian army: the infantry of the line, the archers, the horses, and the charioteers—The classification of the troops according to their arms—Marching and encampment in the enemy’s country: battle array—Chariot-charges—The enumeration and distribution of the spoil—The vice-royalty of Rush and the adoption of Egyptian customs by the Ethiopian tribes.
The first successors of Thutmosis I.: Ahmasi and Hatshopsitit, Thûtmosis II—The temple of Deîr el-Bahari and the buildings of Karnah—The Ladders of Incense—The expedition to Pûanît: bartering with the natives, the return of the fleet.
Thûtmosis III.: his departure for Asia, the battle of Megiddo and the subjection of Southern Syria—The year 23 to the year 28 of his reign—Conquest of Lotanû and of Mitânni—The campaign of the 33rd year of the king’s reign.
Thûtmosis I. and his army—Hâtshopsîtû and Thûtmosis III.
The account of the first expedition undertaken by Thûtmosis in Asia, a region at that time new to the Egyptians, would be interesting if we could lay our hands upon it. We should perhaps find in the midst of official documents, or among the short phrases of funerary biographies, some indication of the impression which the country produced upon its conquerors.
With the exception of a few merchants or adventurers, no one from Thebes to Memphis had any other idea of Asia than that which could be gathered from the scattered notices of it in the semi-historical romances of the preceding age. The actual sight of the country must have been a revelation; everything appearing new and paradoxical to men of whom the majority had never left their fatherland, except on some warlike expedition into Ethiopia or on some rapid raid along the coasts of the Red Sea. Instead of their own narrow valley, extending between its two mountain ranges, and fertilised by the periodical overflowing of the Nile which recurred regularly almost to a day, they had before them wide irregular plains, owing their fertility not to inundations, but to occasional rains or the influence of insignificant streams; hills of varying heights covered with vines and other products of cultivation; mountains of different altitudes irregularly distributed, clothed with forests, furrowed with torrents, their summits often crowned with snow even in the hottest period of summer: and in this region of nature, where everything was strange to them, they found nations differing widely from each other in appearance and customs, towns with crenellated walls perched upon heights difficult of access; and finally, a civilization far excelling that which they encountered anywhere in Africa outside their own boundaries. Thûtmosis succeeded in reaching on his first expedition a limit which none of his successors was able to surpass, and the road taken by him in this campaign—from Gaza to Megiddo, from Megiddo to Qodshû, from Qodshû to Carchemish—was that which was followed henceforward by the Egyptian troops in all their expeditions to the Euphrates. Of the difficulties which he encountered on his way we have no information. On arriving at Naharaim, however, we know that he came into contact with the army of the enemy, which was under the command of a single general—perhaps the King of Mitanni himself, or one of the lieutenants of the “Cossæan King of Babylon”—who had collected together most of the petty princes of the northern country to resist the advance of the intruder. The contest was hotly fought out on both sides, but victory at length remained with the invaders, and innumerable prisoners fell into their hands. The veteran Âhmosi, son of Abîna, who was serving in his last campaign, and his cousin, Âhmosi Pannekhabît, distinguished themselves according to their wont. The former, having seized upon a chariot, brought it, with the three soldiers who occupied it, to the Pharaoh, and received once more “the collar of gold;” the latter killed twenty-one of the enemy, carrying off their hands as trophies, captured a chariot, took one prisoner, and obtained as reward a valuable collection of jewellery, consisting of collars, bracelets, sculptured lions, choice vases, and costly weapons. A stele, erected on the banks of the Euphrates not far from the scene of the battle, marked the spot which the conqueror wished to be recognised henceforth as the frontier of his empire. He re-entered Thebes with immense booty, by which gods as well as men profited, for he consecrated a part of it to the embellishment of the temple of Amon, and the sight of the spoil undoubtedly removed the lingering prejudices which the people had cherished against expeditions beyond the isthmus. Thûtmosis was held up by his subjects to the praise of posterity as having come into actual contact with that country and its people, which had hitherto been known to the Egyptians merely through the more or less veracious tales of exiles and travellers. The aspect of the great river of the Naharaim, which could be compared with the Nile for the volume of its waters, excited their admiration. They were, however, puzzled by the fact that it flowed from north to south, and even were accustomed to joke at the necessity of reversing the terms employed in Egypt to express going up or down the river. This first Syrian campaign became the model for most of those subsequently undertaken by the Pharaohs. It took the form of a bold advance of troops, directed from Zalû towards the north-east, in a diagonal line through the country, who routed on the way any armies which might be opposed to them, carrying by assault such towns as were easy of capture, while passing by others which seemed strongly defended—pillaging, burning, and slaying on every side. There was no suspension of hostilities, no going into winter quarters, but a triumphant return of the expedition at the end of four or five months, with the probability of having to begin fresh operations in the following year should the vanquished break out into revolt.*
* From the account of the campaigns of Amenôthes II., I thought we might conclude that this Pharaoh wintered in Syria at least once; but the text does not admit of this interpretation, and we must, therefore, for the present give up the idea that the Pharaohs ever spent more than a few months of the year on hostile territory.
The troops employed in these campaigns were superior to any others hitherto put into the field. The Egyptian army, inured to war by its long struggle with the Shepherd-kings, and kept in training since the reign of Âhmosis by having to repulse the perpetual incursions of the Ethiopian or Libyan barbarians, had no difficulty, in overcoming the Syrians; not that the latter were wanting in courage or discipline, but owing to their limited supply of recruits, and the political disintegration of the country, they could not readily place under arms such enormous numbers as those of the Egyptians. Egyptian military organisation had remained practically unchanged since early times: the army had always consisted, firstly, of the militia who held fiefs, and were under the obligation of personal service either to the prince of the nome or to the sovereign; secondly, of a permanent force, which was divided into two corps, distributed respectively between the Sa’id and the Delta. Those companies which were quartered on the frontier, or about the king either at Thebes or at one of the royal residences, were bound to hold themselves in readiness to muster for a campaign at any given moment. The number of natives liable to be levied when occasion required, by “generations,” or as we should say by classes, may have amounted to over a hundred thousand men,* but they were never all called out, and it does not appear that the army on active service ever contained more than thirty thousand men at a time, and probably on ordinary occasions not much more than ten or fifteen thousand.**
* The only numbers which we know are those given by Herodotus for the Saïte period, which are evidently exaggerated. Coming down to modern times, we see that Mehemet-Ali, from 1830 to 1840, had nearly 120,000 men in Syria, Egypt, and the Sudan; and in 1841, at the time when the treaties imposed upon him the ill-kept obligation of reducing his army to 18,000 men, it still contained 81,000. We shall probably not be far wrong in estimating the total force which the Pharaohs of the XVIIIth dynasty, lords of the whole valley of the Nile, and of part of Asia, had at their disposal at 120,000 or 130,000 men; these, however, were never all called out at once. ** We have no direct information respecting the armies acting in Syria; we only know that, at the battle of Qodshû, Ramses II. had against him 2500 chariots containing three men each, making 7500 charioteers, besides a troop estimated at the Ramesseum at 8000 men, at Luxor at 9000, so that the Syrian army probably contained about 20,000 men. It would seem that the Egyptian army was less numerous, and I estimate it with great hesitation at about 15,000 or 18,000 men: it was considered a powerful army, while that of the Hittites was regarded as an innumerable host. A passage in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1, tells us the composition of a corps led by Ramses II. against the tribes in the vicinity of Qocoîr and the Rahanû valley; it consisted of 5000 men, of whom 620 were Shardana, 1600 Qahak, 70 Mashaûasha, and 880 Negroes.
The infantry was, as we should expect, composed of troops of the line and light troops. The former wore either short wigs arranged in rows of curls, or a kind of padded cap by way of a helmet, thick enough to deaden blows; the breast and shoulders were undefended, but a short loin-cloth was wrapped round the hips, and the stomach and upper part of the thighs were protected by a sort of triangular apron, sometimes scalloped at the sides, and composed of leather thongs attached to a belt. A buckler of moderate dimensions had been substituted for the gigantic shield of the earlier Theban period; it was rounded at the top and often furnished with a solid metal boss, which the experienced soldiers always endeavoured to present to the enemy’s lances and javelins. Their weapons consisted of pikes about five feet long, with broad bronze or copper points, occasionally of flails, axes, daggers, short curved swords, and spears; the trumpeters were armed with daggers only, and the officers did not as a rule encumber themselves with either buckler or pike, but bore and axe and dagger, an occasionally a bow.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken by Naville.
The light infantry was composed chiefly of bowmen—pidâtû—the celebrated archers of Egypt, whose long bows and arrows, used with deadly skill, speedily became renowned throughout the East; the quiver, of the use of which their ancestors were ignorant, had been borrowed from the Asiatics, probably from the Hyksôs, and was carried hanging at the side or slung over the shoulder. Both spearmen and archers were for the most part pure-bred Egyptians, and were divided into regiments of unequal strength, each of which usually bore the name of some god—as, for example, the regiment of Ra or of Phtah, of Arnon or of Sûtkhû*—in which the feudal contingents, each commanded by its lord or his lieutenants, fought side by side with the king’s soldiers furnished from the royal domains. The effective force of the army was made up by auxiliaries taken from the tribes of the Sahara and from the negroes of the Upper Nile.**
* The army of Ramses II. at the battle of Qodshû comprised four corps, which bore the names of Amon, Râ, Phtah, and Sûtkhû. Other lesser corps were named the Tribe of Pharaoh, the Tribe of the Beauty of the Solar dish. These, as far as I can judge, must have been troops raised on the royal domains by a system of local recruiting, who were united by certain common privileges and duties which constituted them an hereditary militia, whence they were called tribes. ** These Ethiopian recruits are occasionally represented in the Theban tombs of the XVIIIth dynasty, among others in the tomb of Pahsûkhîr.
These auxiliaries were but sparingly employed in early times, but their numbers were increased as wars became more frequent and necessitated more troops to carry them on. The tribes from which they were drawn supplied the Pharaohs with an inexhaustible reserve; they were courageous, active, indefatigable, and inured to hardships, and if it had not been for their turbulent nature, which incited them to continual internal dissensions, they might readily have shaken off the yoke of the Egyptians. Incorporated into the Egyptian army, and placed under the instruction of picked officers, who subjected them to rigorous discipline, and accustomed them to the evolutions of regular troops, they were transformed from disorganised hordes into tried and invincible battalions.*
* The armies of Hâtshopsîtû already included Libyan auxiliaries, some of which are represented at Deîr el- Baharî; others of Asiatic origin are found under Amenôthes IV., but they are not represented on the monuments among the regular troops until the reign of Ramses II., when the Shardana appear for the first time among the king’s body- guard.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The old army, which had conquered Nubia in the days of the Papis and Usirtasens, had consisted of these three varieties of foot-soldiers only, but since the invasion of the Shepherds, a new element had been incorporated into the modern army in the-shape of the chariotry, which answered to some extent to the cavalry of our day as regards their tactical employment and efficacy. The horse, when once introduced into Egypt, soon became fairly adapted to its environment. It retained both its height and size, keeping the convex forehead—which gave the head a slightly curved profile—the slender neck, the narrow hind-quarters, the lean and sinewy legs, and the long flowing tail which had characterised it in its native country. The climate, however, was enervating, and constant care had to be taken, by the introduction of new blood from Syria, to prevent the breed from deteriorating.*
* The numbers of horses brought from Syria either as spoils of war or as tribute paid by the vanquished are frequently recorded in the Annals of Thûtmosis III. Besides the usual species, powerful stallions were imported from Northern Syria, which were known by the Semitic name of Abîri, the strong. In the tombs of the XVIIIth dynasty, the arrival of Syrian horses in Egypt is sometimes represented.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken by Petrie.
The Pharaohs kept studs of horses in the principal cities of the Nile valley, and the great feudal lords, following their example, vied with each other in the possession of numerous breeding stables. The office of superintendent to these establishments, which was at the disposal of the Master of the Horse, became in later times one of the most important State appointments.*
* In the story of the conquest of Egypt by the Ethiopian Piônkhi, studs are indicated at Hermopolis, at Athribis, in the towns to the east and in the centre of the Delta, and at Sais. Diodorus Siculus relates that, in his time, the foundations of 100 stables, each capable of containing 200 horses, were still to be seen on the western bank of the river between Memphis and Thebes.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The first chariots introduced into Egypt were, like the horses, of foreign origin, but when built by Egyptian workmen they soon became more elegant, if not stronger than their models. Lightness was the quality chiefly aimed at; and at length the weight was so reduced that it was possible for a man to carry his chariot on his shoulders without fatigue. The materials for them were on this account limited to oak or ash and leather; metal, whether gold or silver, iron or bronze, being used but sparingly, and then only for purposes of ornamentation. The wheels usually had six, but sometimes eight spokes, or occasionally only four. The axle consisted of a single stout pole of acacia. The framework of the chariot was composed of two pieces of wood mortised together so as to form a semicircle or half-ellipse, and closed by a straight bar; to this frame was fixed a floor of sycomore wood or of plaited leather thongs. The sides of the chariot were formed of upright panels, solid in front and open at the sides, each provided with a handrail. The pole, which was of a single piece of wood, was bent into an elbow at about one-fifth of its length from the end, which was inserted into the centre of the axletree. On the gigantic T thus formed was fixed the body of the chariot, the hinder part resting on the axle, and the front attached to the bent part of the pole, while the whole was firmly bound together with double leather thongs. A yoke of hornbeam, shaped like a bow, to which the horses were harnessed, was fastened to the other extremity of the pole. The Asiatics placed three men in a chariot, but the Egyptians only two; the warrior—sinni—whose business it was to fight, and the shield-bearer—qazana—who protected his companion with a buckler during the engagement. A complete set of weapons was carried in the chariot—lances, javelins, and daggers, curved spear, club, and battle-axe—while two bow-cases as well as two large quivers were hung at the sides. The chariot itself was very liable to upset, the slightest cause being sufficient to overturn it. Even when moving at a slow pace, the least inequality of the ground shook it terribly, and when driven at full speed it was only by a miracle of skill that the occupants could maintain their equilibrium. At such times the charioteer would stand astride of the front panels, keeping his right foot only inside the vehicle, and planting the other firmly on the pole, so as to lessen the jolting, and to secure a wider base on which to balance himself. To carry all this into practice long education was necessary, for which there were special schools of instruction, and those who were destined to enter the army were sent to these schools when little more than children. To each man, as soon as he had thoroughly mastered all the difficulties of the profession, a regulation chariot and pair of horses were granted, for which he was responsible to the Pharaoh or to his generals, and he might then return to his home until the next call to arms. The warrior took precedence of the shield-bearer, and both were considered superior to the foot-soldier; the chariotry, in fact, like the cavalry of the present day, was the aristocratic branch of the army, in which the royal princes, together with the nobles and their sons, enlisted. No Egyptian ever willingly trusted himself to the back of a horse, and it was only in the thick of a battle, when his chariot was broken, and there seemed no other way of escaping from the mêlée, that a warrior would venture to mount one of his steeds. There appear, however, to have been here and there a few horsemen, who acted as couriers or aides-de-camp; they used neither saddle-cloth nor stirrups, but were provided with reins with which to guide their animals, and their seat on horseback was even less secure than the footing of the driver in his chariot.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Flinders Petrie.
The infantry was divided into platoons of six to ten men each, commanded by an officer and marshalled round an ensign, which represented either a sacred animal, an emblem of the king or of his double, or a divine figure placed upon the top of a pike; this constituted an object of worship to the group of soldiers to whom it belonged. We are unable to ascertain how many of these platoons, either of infantry or of chariotry, went to form a company or a battalion, or by what ensigns the different grades were distinguished from each other, or what was their relative order of rank. Bodies of men, to the number of forty or fifty, are sometimes represented on the monuments, but this may be merely by chance, or because the draughtsman did not take the trouble to give the proper number accurately. The inferior officers were equipped very much like the soldiers, with the exception of the buckler, which they do not appear to have carried, and certainly did not when on the march: the superior officers might be known by their umbrella or flabellum, a distinction which gave them the right of approaching the king’s person.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The military exercises to which all these troops were accustomed probably differed but little from those which were in vogue with the armies of the Ancient Empire; they consisted in wrestling, boxing, jumping, running either singly or in line at regular distances from each other, manual exercises, fencing, and shooting at a target; the war-dance had ceased to be in use among the Egyptian regiments as a military exercise, but it was practised by the Ethiopian and Libyan auxiliaries. At the beginning of each campaign, the men destined to serve in it were called out by the military scribes, who supplied them with arms from the royal arsenals. Then followed the distribution of rations. The soldiers, each carrying a small linen bag, came up in squads before the commissariat officers, and each received his own allowance.*
* We see the distribution of arms made by the scribes and other officials of the royal arsenals represented in the pictures at Medinet-Abu. The calling out of the classes was represented in the Egyptian tombs of the XVIIIth dynasty, as well as the distribution of supplies.
Once in the enemy’s country the army advanced in close order, the infantry in columns of four, the officers in rear, and the chariots either on the right or left flank, or in the intervals between divisions. Skirmishers thrown out to the front cleared the line of march, while detached parties, pushing right and left, collected supplies of cattle, grain, or drinking-water from the fields and unprotected villages. The main body was followed by the baggage train; it comprised not only supplies and stores, but cooking-utensils, coverings, and the entire paraphernalia of the carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ shops necessary for repairing bows, lances, daggers, and chariot-poles, the whole being piled up in four-wheeled carts drawn by asses or oxen. The army was accompanied by a swarm of non-combatants, scribes, soothsayers, priests, heralds, musicians, servants, and women of loose life, who were a serious cause of embarrassment to the generals, and a source of perpetual danger to military discipline. At nightfall they halted in a village, or more frequently bivouacked in an entrenched camp, marked out to suit the circumstances of the case. This entrenchment was always rectangular, its length being twice as great as its width, and was surrounded by a ditch, the earth from which, being banked up on the inside, formed a rampart from five to six feet in height; the exterior of this was then entirely faced with shields, square below, but circular in shape at the top. The entrance to the camp was by a single gate in one of the longer sides, and a plank served as a bridge across the trench, close to which two detachments mounted guard, armed with clubs and naked swords.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The royal quarters were situated at one end of the camp. Here, within an enclosure, rose an immense tent, where the Pharaoh found all the luxury to which he was accustomed in his palaces, even to a portable chapel, in which each morning he could pour out water and burn incense to his father, Amon-Râ of Thebes. The princes of the blood who formed his escort, his shield-bearers and his generals, were crowded together hard by, and beyond, in closely packed lines, were the horses and chariots, the draught bullocks, the workshops and the stores.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato. It represents the camp of Ramses II. before Qodshû: the upper angle of the enclosure and part of the surrounding wall have been destroyed by the Khâti, whose chariots are pouring in at the breach. In the centre is the royal tent, surrounded by scenes of military life. This picture has been sculptured partly over an earlier one representing one of the episodes of the battle; the latter had been covered with stucco, on which the new subject was executed. Part of the stucco has fallen away, and the king in his chariot, with a few other figures, has reappeared, to the great detriment of the later picture.
The soldiers, accustomed from childhood to live in the open air, erected no tents or huts of boughs for themselves in these temporary encampments, but bivouacked in the open, and the sculptures on the façades of the Theban pylons give us a minute picture of the way in which they employed themselves when off duty. Here one man, while cleaning his armour, superintends the cooking. Another, similarly engaged, drinks from a skin of wine held up by a slave. A third has taken his chariot to pieces, and t is replacing some portion the worse for wear. Some are sharpening their daggers or lances; others mend their loin-cloths or sandals, or exchange blows with fists and sticks. The baggage, linen, arms, and provisions are piled in disorder on the ground; horses, oxen, and asses are eating or chewing the cud at their ease; while here and there a donkey, relieved of his burden, rolls himself on the ground and brays with delight.*
* We are speaking of the camp of Thûtmosis III. near Âlûna, the day before the battle of Megiddo, and the words put into the mouths of the soldiers to mark their vigilance are the same as those which we find in the Ramesseum and at Luxor, written above the guards of the camp where Ramses II. is reposing.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Beato.
The success of the Egyptians in battle was due more to the courage and hardihood of the men than to the strategical skill of their commanders. We find no trace of manouvres, in the sense in which we understand the word, either in their histories or on their bas-reliefs, but they joined battle boldly with the enemy, and the result was decided by a more or less bloody conflict. The heavy infantry was placed in the centre, the chariots were massed on the flanks, while light troops thrown out to the front began the action by letting fly volleys of arrows and stones, which through the skill of the bowmen and slingers did deadly execution; then the pikemen laid their spears in rest, and pressing straight forward, threw their whole weight against the opposing troops. At the same moment the charioteers set off at a gentle trot, and gradually quickened their pace till they dashed at full speed upon the foe, amid the confused rumbling of wheels and the sharp clash of metal.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a drawing by Champolion.
The Egyptians, accustomed by long drilling to the performance of such evolutions, executed these charges as methodically as though they were still on their parade-ground at Thebes; if the disposition of the ground were at all favourable, not a single chariot would break the line, and the columns would sweep across the field without swerving or falling into disorder. The charioteer had the reins tied round his body, and could, by throwing his weight either to the right or the left, or by slackening or increasing the pressure through a backward or forward motion, turn, pull up, or start his horses by a simple movement of the loins: he went into battle with bent bow, the string drawn back to his ear, the arrow levelled ready to let fly, while the shield-bearer, clinging to the body of the chariot with one hand, held out his buckler with the other to shelter his comrade. It would seem that the Syrians were less skilful; their bows did not carry so far as those of their adversaries, and consequently they came within the enemy’s range some moments before it was possible for them to return the volley with effect. Their horses would be thrown down, their drivers would fall wounded, and the disabled chariots would check the approach of those following and overturn them, so that by the time the main body came up with the enemy the slaughter would have been serious enough to render victory hopeless. Nevertheless, more than one charge would be necessary finally to overturn or scatter the Syrian chariots, which, once accomplished, the Egyptian charioteer would turn against the foot-soldiers, and, breaking up their ranks, would tread them down under the feet of his horses.*
* The whole of the above description is based on incidents from the various pictures of battles which appear on the monuments of Ramses II.
Nor did the Pharaoh spare himself in the fight; his splendid dress, the urasus on his forehead, and the nodding plumes of his horses made him a mark for the blows of the enemy, and he would often find himself in positions of serious danger. In a few hours, as a rule, the conflict would come to an end.
ENLARGE TO FULL SIZE
Once the enemy showed signs of giving way, the Egyptian chariots dashed upon them precipitously, and turned the retreat into a rout: the pursuit was, however, never a long One; some fortress was always to be found close at hand where the remnant of the defeated host could take refuge.* The victors, moreover, would be too eager to secure the booty, and to strip the bodies of the dead, to allow time for following up the foe.
* After the battle of Megiddo, the remnants of the Syrian army took refuge in the city, where Thûtmosis III. besieged them; similarly under Ramses II. the Hittite princes took refuge in Qodshû after their defeat.
The prisoners were driven along in platoons, their arms bound in strange and contorted attitudes, each under the charge of his captor; then came the chariots, arms, slaves, and provisions collected on the battle-field or in the camp, then other trophies of a kind unknown in modern warfare. When an Egyptian killed or mortally wounded any one, he cut off, not the head, but the right hand or the phallus, and brought it to the royal scribes. These made an accurate inventory of everything, and even Pharaoh did not disdain to be present at the registration. The booty did not belong to the persons who obtained it, but was thrown into a common stock which was placed at the disposal of the sovereign: one part he reserved for the gods, especially for his father Amon of Thebes, who had given him the victory; another part he kept for himself, and the remainder was distributed among his army. Each man received a reward in proportion to his rank and services, such as male or female slaves, bracelets, necklaces, arms, vases, or a certain measured weight of gold, known as the “gold of bravery.” A similar sharing of the spoil took place after every successful engagement: from Pharaoh to the meanest camp-follower, every man who had contributed to the success of a campaign returned home richer than he had set out, and the profits which he derived from a war were a liberal compensation for the expenses in which it had involved him.
The results of the first expedition of Thûtmosis I. were of a decisive character; so much so, indeed, that he never again, it would seem, found it necessary during the remainder of his life to pass the isthmus. Northern Syria, it is true, did not remain long under tribute, if indeed it paid any at all after the departure of the Egyptians, but the southern part of the country, feeling itself in the grip of the new master, accepted its defeat: Gaza became the head-quarters of a garrison which secured the door of Asia for future invasion,* and Pharaoh, freed from anxiety in this quarter, gave his whole time to the consolidation of his power in Ethiopia.
* This fact is nowhere explicitly stated on the monuments: we may infer it, however, from the way in which Thûtmosis III. tells how he reached Gaza without opposition at the beginning of his first campaign, and celebrated the anniversary of his coronation there. On the other hand, we learn from details in the lists that the mountains and plains beyond Gaza were in a state of open rebellion.
The river and desert tribes of this region soon forgot the severe lesson which he had given them: as soon as the last Egyptian soldier had left their territory they rebelled once more, and began a fresh series of inroads which had to be repressed anew year after year. Thûtmosis I. had several times to drive them back in the years II. and III., but was able to make short work of their rebellions. An inscription at Tombos on the Nile, in the very midst of the disturbed districts, told them in brave words what he was, and what he had done since he had come to the throne. Wherever he had gone, weapon in hand, “seeking a warrior, he had found none to withstand him; he had penetrated to valleys which were unknown to his ancestors, the inhabitants of which had never beheld the wearers of the double diadem.” All this would have produced but little effect had he not backed up his words by deeds, and taken decisive measures to restrain the insolence of the barbarians. Tombos lies opposite to Hannek, at the entrance to that series of rapids known as the Third Cataract. The course of the Nile is here barred by a formidable dyke of granite, through which it has hollowed out six winding channels of varying widths, dotted here and there with huge polished boulders and verdant islets. When the inundation is at its height, the rocks are covered and the rapids disappear, with the exception of the lowest, which is named Lokoli, where faint eddies mark the place of the more dangerous reefs; and were it not that the fall here is rather more pronounced and the current somewhat stronger, few would suspect the existence of a cataract at the spot. As the waters go down, however, the channels gradually reappear. When the river is at its lowest, the three westernmost channels dry up almost completely, leaving nothing but a series of shallow pools; those on the east still maintain their flow, but only one of them, that between the islands of Tombos and Abadîn, remains navigable. Here Thûtmosis built, under invocation of the gods of Heliopolis, one of those brickwork citadels, with its rectangular keep, which set at nought all the efforts and all the military science of the Ethiopians: attached to it was a harbour, where each vessel on its way downstream put in for the purpose of hiring a pilot.*
The monarchs of the XIIth and XIIIth dynasties had raised fortifications at the approaches to Wady Haifa, and their engineers skilfully chose the sites so as completely to protect from the ravages of the Nubian pirates that part of the Nile which lay between Wady Haifa and Philse.*
* The foundation of this fortress is indicated in an emphatic manner in the Tombos inscription: “The masters of the Great Castle (the gods of Heliopolis) have made a fortress for the soldiers of the king, which the nine peoples of Nubia combined could not carry by storm, for, like a young panther before a bull which lowers its head, the souls of his Majesty have blinded them with fear.” Quarries of considerable size, where Cailliaud imagined he could distinguish an overturned colossus, show the importance which the establishment had attained in ancient times; the ruins of the town cover a fairly large area near the modern village of Kerman.
Henceforward the garrison at Tombos was able to defend the mighty curve described by the river through the desert of Mahas, together with the island of Argo, and the confines of Dongola. The distance between Thebes and this southern frontier was a long one, and communication was slow during the winter months, when the subsidence of the waters had rendered the task of navigation difficult for the Egyptian ships. The king was obliged, besides, to concentrate his attention mainly on Asiatic affairs, and was no longer able to watch the movements of the African races with the same vigilance as his predecessors had exercised before Egyptian armies had made their way as far as the banks of the Euphrates. Thutmosis placed the control of the countries south of Assuan in the hands of a viceroy, who, invested with the august title of “Royal Son of Kûsh,” must have been regarded as having the blood of Râ himself running in his veins.*
* The meaning of this title was at first misunderstood. Champollion and Rosellini took it literally, and thought it referred to Ethiopian princes, who were vassals or enemies of Egypt. Birch persists in regarding them as Ethiopians driven out by their subjects, restored by the Pharaohs as viceroys, while admitting that they may have belonged to the solar family.
Sura, the first of these viceroys whose name has reached us, was in office at the beginning of the campaign of the year III.* He belonged, it would seem, to a Theban family, and for several centuries afterwards his successors are mentioned among the nobles who were in the habit of attending the court. Their powers were considerable: they commanded armies, built or restored temples, administered justice, and received the homage of loyal sheikhs or the submission of rebellious ones.** The period for which they were appointed was not fixed by law, and they held office simply at the king’s pleasure. During the XIXth dynasty it was usual to confer this office, the highest in the state, on a son of the sovereign, preferably the heir-apparent. Occasionally his appointment was purely formal, and he continued in attendance on his father, while a trusty substitute ruled in his place: often, however, he took the government on himself, and in the regions of the Upper Nile served an apprenticeship to the art of ruling.
* He is mentioned in the Sehêl inscriptions as “the royal son Sura.” Nahi, who had been regarded as the first holder of the office, and who was still in office under Thutmosis III., had been appointed by Thutmosis I., but after Sura. ** Under Thutmosis III., the viceroy Nahi restored the temple at Semneh; under Tutankhamon, the viceroy Hui received tribute from the Ethiopian princes, and presented them to the sovereign.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken by Insinger.
This district was in a perpetual state of war—a war without danger, but full of trickery and surprises: here he prepared himself for the larger arena of the Syrian campaigns, learning the arts of generalship more perfectly than was possible in the manouvres of the parade-ground. Moreover, the appointment was dictated by religious as well as by political considerations. The presumptive heir to the throne was to his father what Horus had been to Osiris—his lawful successor, or, if need be, his avenger, should some act of treason impose on him the duty of vengeance: and was it not in Ethiopia that Horus had gained his first victories over Typhon? To begin like Horus, and flesh his maiden steel on the descendants of the accomplices of Sit, was, in the case of the future sovereign, equivalent to affirming from the outset the reality of his divine extraction.*
* In the Orbiney Papyrus the title of “Prince of Kûsh” was assigned to the heir-presumptive to the throne.
As at the commencement of the Theban dynasties, it was the river valley only in these regions of the Upper Nile which belonged to the Pharaohs. From this time onward it gave support to an Egyptian population as far as the juncture of the two Niles: it was a second Egypt, but a poorer one, whose cities presented the same impoverished appearance as that which we find to-day in the towns of Nubia. The tribes scattered right and left in the desert, or distributed beyond the confluence of the two Niles among the plains of Sennar, were descended from the old indigenous races, and paid valuable tribute every year in precious metals, ivory, timber, or the natural products of their districts, under penalty of armed invasion.*
* The tribute of the Ganbâtiû, or people of the south, and that of Kûsh and of the Ûaûaîû, is mentioned repeatedly in the Annales de Thûtmosis III. for the year XXXI., for the year XXXIII., and for the year XXXIV. The regularity with which this item recurs, unaccompanied by any mention of war, following after each Syrian campaign, shows that it was an habitual operation which was registered as an understood thing. True, the inscription does not give the item for every year, but then it only dealt with Ethiopian affairs in so far as they were subsidiary to events in Asia; the payment was none the less an annual one, the amount varying in accordance with local agreement.
Among these races were still to be found descendants of the Mazaiû and Ûaûaîû, who in days gone by had opposed the advance of the victorious Egyptians: the name of the Uaûaîû was, indeed, used as a generic term to distinguish all those tribes which frequented the mountains between the Nile and the Red Sea,* but the wave of conquest had passed far beyond the boundaries reached in early campaigns, and had brought the Egyptians into contact with nations with whom they had been in only indirect commercial relations in former times.
* The Annals of Thûtmosis III. mention the tribute of Pûanît for the peoples of the coast, the tribute of Uaûaît for the peoples of the mountain between the Nile and the sea, the tribute of Kûsh for the peoples of the south, or Ganbâtiû.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Insinger.
Some of these were light-coloured men of a type similar to that of the modern Abyssinians or Gallas: they had the same haughty and imperious carriage, the same well-developed and powerful frames, and the same love of fighting. Most of the remaining tribes were of black blood, and such of them as we see depicted on the monuments resemble closely the negroes inhabiting Central Africa at the present day.
They have the same elongated skull, the low prominent forehead, hollow temples, short flattened nose, thick lips, broad shoulders, and salient breast, the latter contrasting sharply with the undeveloped appearance of the lower part of the body, which terminates in thin legs almost devoid of calves. Egyptian civilization had already penetrated among these tribes, and, as far as dress and demeanour were concerned, their chiefs differed in no way from the great lords who formed the escort of the Pharaoh. We see these provincial dignitaries represented in the white robe and petticoat of starched, pleated, and gauffered linen; an innate taste for bright colours, even in those early times, being betrayed by the red or yellow scarf in which they wrapped themselves, passing it over one shoulder and round the waist, whence the ends depended and formed a kind of apron. A panther’s skin covered the back, and one or two ostrich-feathers waved from the top of the head or were fastened on one side to the fillet confining the hair, which was arranged in short curls and locks, stiffened with gum and matted with grease, so as to form a sort of cap or grotesque aureole round the skull. The men delighted to load themselves with rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, while from their arms, necks, and belts hung long strings of glass beads, which jingled with every movement of the wearer. They seem to have frequently chosen a woman as their ruler, and her dress appears to have closely resembled that of the Egyptian ladies. She appeared before her subjects in a chariot drawn by oxen, and protected from the sun by an umbrella edged with fringe. The common people went about nearly naked, having merely a loin-cloth of some woven stuff or an animal’s skin thrown round their hips. Their heads were either shaven, or adorned with tufts of hair stiffened with gum. The children of both sexes wore no clothes until the age of puberty; the women wrapped themselves in a rude garment or in a covering of linen, and carried their children on the hip or in a basket of esparto grass on the back, supported by a leather band which passed across the forehead. One characteristic of all these tribes was their love of singing and dancing, and their use of the drum and cymbals; they were active and industrious, and carefully cultivated the rich soil of the plain, devoting themselves to the raising of cattle, particularly of oxen, whose horns they were accustomed to train fantastically into the shapes of lyres, bows, and spirals, with bifurcations at the ends, or with small human figures as terminations. As in the case of other negro tribes, they plied the blacksmith’s and also the goldsmith’s trade, working up both gold and silver into rings, chains, and quaintly shaped vases, some specimens of their art being little else than toys, similar in design to those which delighted the Byzantine Caesars of later date.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a painting on the tomb of Hûi.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
A wall-painting remains of a gold epergne, which represents men and monkeys engaged in gathering the fruit of a group of dôm-palms. Two individuals lead each a tame giraffe by the halter, others kneeling on the rim raise their hands to implore mercy from an unseen enemy, while negro prisoners, grovelling on their stomachs, painfully attempt to raise their head and shoulders from the ground. This, doubtless, represents a scene from the everyday life of the people of the Upper Nile, and gives a faithful picture of what took place among many of its tribes during a rapid inroad of some viceroy of Kush or a raid by his lieutenants.
The resources which Thûtmosis I. was able to draw regularly from these southern regions, in addition to the wealth collected during his Syrian campaign, enabled him to give a great impulse to building work. The tutelary deity of his capital—Amon-Râ—who had ensured him the victory in all his battles, had a prior claim on the bulk of the spoil; he received it as a matter of course, and his temple at Thebes was thereby considerably enlarged; we are not, however, able to estimate exactly what proportion fell to other cities, such as Kummeh, Elephantine,* Abydos,** and Memphis, where a few scattered blocks of stone still bear the name of the king. Troubles broke out in Lower Egypt, but they were speedily subdued by Thûtmosis, and he was able to end his days in the enjoyment of a profound peace, undisturbed by any care save that of ensuring a regular succession to his throne, and of restraining the ambitions of those who looked to become possessed of his heritage.***
* Wiedemann found his name there cut in a block of brown freestone. ** A stele at Abydos speaks of the building operations carried on by Thûtmosis I. in that town. *** The expressions from which we gather that his reign was disturbed by outbreaks of internal rebellion seem to refer to a period subsequent to the Syrian expedition, and prior to his alliance with the Princess Hâtshopsîtû.
His position was, indeed, a curious one; although de facto absolute in power, his children by Queen Ahmasi took precedence of him, for by her mother’s descent she had a better right to the crown than her husband, and legally the king should have retired in favour of hie sons as soon as they were old enough to reign. The eldest of them, Uazmosû, died early.* The second, Amenmosu, lived at least to attain adolescence; he was allowed to share the crown with his father from the fourth year of the latter’s reign, and he also held a military command in the Delta,** but before long he also died, and Thûtmosis I. was left with only one son—a Thûtmosis like himself—to succeed him. The mother of this prince was a certain Mûtnofrit,*** half-sister to the king on his father’s side, who enjoyed such a high rank in the royal family that her husband allowed her to be portrayed in royal dress; her pedigree on the mother’s side, however, was not so distinguished, and precluded her son from being recognised as heir-apparent, hence the occupation of the “seat of Horus” reverted once more to a woman, Hâtshopsîtû, the eldest daughter of Âhmasi.
* Uazmosû is represented on the tomb of Pahiri at El-Kab, where Mr. Griffith imagines he can trace two distinct Uazmosû; for the present, I am of opinion that there was but one, the son of Thûtmosis I. His funerary chapel was discovered at Thebes; it is in a very bad state of preservation. ** Amenmosû is represented at El-Kab, by the side of his brother Uazmosû. Also on a fragment where we find him, in the fourth year of his father’s reign, honoured with a cartouche at Memphis, and consequently associated with his father in the royal power. *** Mûtnofrit was supposed by Mariette to have been a daughter of Thûtmosis II; the statue reproduced on p. 345 has shown us that she was wife of Thûtmosis I. and mother of Thûtmosis II.
Hâtshopsîtû herself was not, however, of purely divine descent. Her maternal ancestor, Sonisonbû, had not been a scion of the royal house, and this flaw in her pedigree threatened to mar, in her case, the sanctity of the solar blood. According to Egyptian belief, this defect of birth could only be remedied by a miracle,* and the ancestral god, becoming incarnate in the earthly father at the moment of conception, had to condescend to infuse fresh virtue into his race in this manner.
* A similar instance of divine substitution is known to us in the case of two other sovereigns, viz. Amenôthes III., whose father, Titmosis IV., was born under conditions analogous to those attending the birth of Thûtmosis I.; and Ptolemy Caesarion, whose father, Julius Cæsar, was not of Egyptian blood.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Naville.
The inscriptions with which Hâtshopsîtû decorated her chapel relate how, on that fateful night, Amon descended upon Ahmasi in a flood of perfume and light. The queen received him favourably, and the divine spouse on leaving her announced to her the approaching birth of a daughter, in whom his valour and strength should be manifested once more here below. The sequel of the story is displayed in a series of pictures before our eyes.
The protecting divinities who preside over the birth of children conduct the queen to her couch, and the sorrowful resignation depicted on her face, together with the languid grace of her whole figure, display in this portrait of her a finished work of art. The child enters the world amid shouts of joy, and the propitious genii who nourish both her and her double constitute themselves her nurses. At the appointed time, her earthly father summons the great nobles to a solemn festival, and presents to them his daughter, who is to reign with him over Egypt and the world.*
* The association of Hâtshopsîtû with her father on the throne, has now been placed beyond doubt by the inscriptions discovered and commented on by Naville in 1895.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Naville.
From henceforth Hâtshopsîtû adopts every possible device to conceal her real sex. She changes the termination of her name, and calls herself Hâtshopsîû, the chief of the nobles, in lieu of Hâtshopsîtû, the chief of the favourites. She becomes the King Mâkerî, and on the occasion of all public ceremonies she appears in male costume. We see her represented on the Theban monuments with uncovered shoulders, devoid of breasts, wearing the short loin-cloth and the keffieh, while the diadem rests on her closely cut hair, and the false beard depends from her chin.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by M. de Mertens. This was the head of one of the sphinxes which formed an avenue at Deîr el-Baharî; it was brought over by Lepsius and is now in the Berlin Museum. The fragment has undergone extensive restoration, but this has been done with the help of fragments of other statues, in which the details here lost were in a good state of preservation.
She retained, however, the feminine pronoun in speaking of herself, and also an epithet, inserted in her cartouche, which declared her to be the betrothed of Amon—khnûmît Amaûnû.*
* We know how greatly puzzled the early Egyptologists were by this manner of depicting the queen, and how Champollion, in striving to explain the monuments of the period, was driven to suggest the existence of a regent, Amenenthes, the male counterpart and husband of Hâtshopsîtû, whose name he read Amense. This hypothesis, adopted by Rosellini, with some slight modifications, was rejected by Birch. This latter writer pointed out the identity of the two personages separated by Champollion, and proved them to be one and the same queen, the Amenses of Manetho; he called her Amûn-nûm- hc, but he made her out to be a sister of Amenôthes I., associated on the throne with her brothers Thûtmosis I. and Thûtmosis IL, and regent at the beginning of the reign of Thûtmosis III. Hineks tried to show that she was the daughter of Thûtmosis I., the wife of Thûtmosis II. and the sister of Thûtmosis III.; it is only quite recently that her true descent and place in the family tree has been recognised. She was, not the sister, but the aunt of Thûtmosis III. The queen, called by Birch Amûn-nûm-het, the latter part of her name being dropped and the royal prenomen being joined to her own name, was subsequently styled Ha-asû or Hatasû, and this form is still adopted by some writers; the true reading is Hâtshopsîtû or Hâtshopsîtû, then Hâtshopsîû, or Hâtshepsîû, as Naville has pointed out.
Her father united her while still young to her brother Thûtmosis, who appears to have been her junior, and this fact doubtless explains the very subordinate part which he plays beside the queen. When Thûtmosis I. died, Egyptian etiquette demanded that a man should be at the head of affairs, and this youth succeeded his father in office: but Hâtshopsîtû, while relinquishing the semblance of power and the externals of pomp to her husband,* kept the direction of the state entirely in her own hands. The portraits of her which have been preserved represent her as having refined features, with a proud and energetic expression. The oval of the face is elongated, the cheeks a little hollow, and the eyes deep set under the arch of the brow, while the lips are thin and tightly closed.
* It is evident, from the expressions employed by Thûtmosis I. in associating his daughter with himself on the throne, that she was unmarried at the time, and Naville thinks that she married her brother Thûtmosis II. after the death of her father. It appears to me more probable that Thûtmosis I. married her to her brother after she had been raised to the throne, with a view to avoiding complications which might have arisen in the royal family after his own death. The inscription at Shutt-er-Ragel, which has furnished Mariette with the hypothesis that Thûtmosis I. and Thûtmosis IL reigned simultaneously, proves that the person mentioned in it, a certain Penaîti, flourished under both these Pharaohs, but by no means shows that these two reigned together; he exercised the functions which he held by their authority during their successive reigns.
She governed with so firm a hand that neither Egypt nor its foreign vassals dared to make any serious attempt to withdraw themselves from her authority. One raid, in which several prisoners were taken, punished a rising of the Shaûsû in Central Syria, while the usual expeditions maintained order among the peoples of Ethiopia, and quenched any attempt which they might make to revolt. When in the second year of his reign the news was brought to Thutmosis II. that the inhabitants of the Upper Nile had ceased to observe the conditions which his father had imposed upon them, he “became furious as a panther,” and assembling his troops set out for war without further delay. The presence of the king with the army filled the rebels with dismay, and a campaign of a few weeks put an end to their attempt at rebelling.
The earlier kings of the XVIIIth dynasty had chosen for their last resting-place a spot on the left bank of the Nile at Thebes, where the cultivated land joined the desert, close to the pyramids built by their predecessors. Probably, after the burial of Amenôthes, the space was fully occupied, for Thutmosis I. had to seek his burying-ground some way up the ravine, the mouth of which was blocked by their monuments. The Libyan chain here forms a kind of amphitheatre of vertical cliffs, which descend to within some ninety feet of the valley, where a sloping mass of detritus connects them by a gentle declivity with the plain.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The great lords and the queens in the times of the Antufs and the Usirtasens had taken possession of this spot, but their chapels were by this period in ruins, and their tombs almost all lay buried under the waves of sand which the wind from the desert drives perpetually over the summit of the cliffs. This site was seized on by the architects of Thûtmosis, who laid there the foundations of a building which was destined to be unique in the world. Its ground plan consisted of an avenue of sphinxes, starting from the plain and running between the tombs till it reached a large courtyard, terminated on the west by a colonnade, which was supported by a double row of pillars.
Drawn by Bouclier, from a photograph supplied by Naville.
Above and beyond this was the vast middle platform,* connected with the upper court by the central causeway which ran through it from end to end; this middle platform, like that below it, was terminated on the west by a double colonnade, through which access was gained to two chapels hollowed out of the mountain-side, while on the north it was bordered with excellent effect by a line of proto-Dorio columns ranged against the face of the cliff.
* The English nomenclature employed in describing this temple is that used in the Guide to Deir el-Bahari, published by the Egypt Exploration Fund.—Tr.
This northern colonnade was never completed, but the existing part is of as exquisite proportions as anything that Greek art has ever produced. At length we reach the upper platform, a nearly square courtyard, cutting on one side into the mountain slope, the opposite side being enclosed by a wall pierced by a single door, while to right and left ran two lines of buildings destined for purposes connected with the daily worship of the temple. The sanctuary was cut out of the solid rock, but the walls were faced with white limestone; some of the chambers are vaulted, and all of them decorated with bas-reliefs of exquisite workmanship, perhaps the finest examples of this period. Thûtmosis I. scarcely did more than lay the foundations of this magnificent building, but his mummy was buried in it with great pomp, to remain there until a period of disturbance and general insecurity obliged those in charge of the necropolis to remove the body, together with those of his family, to some securer hiding-place.* The king was already advanced in age at the time of his death, being over fifty years old, to judge by the incisor teeth, which are worn and corroded by the impurities of which the Egyptian bread was full.
* Both E. de Rougé and Mariette were opposed to the view that the temple was founded by Thûtmosis I., and Naville agrees with them. Judging from the many new texts discovered by Naville, I am inclined to think that Thûtmosis I. began the structure, but from plans, it would appear, which had not been so fully developed as they afterwards became. Prom indications to be found here and there in the inscriptions of the Ramesside period, I am not, moreover, inclined to regard Deîr el-Bâhâri as the funerary chapel of tombs which were situated in some unknown place elsewhere, but I believe that it included the burial-places of Thûtmosis I., Thûtmosis II., Queen Hâtshopsîtû, and of numerous representatives of their family; indeed, it is probable that Thûtmosis III. and his children found here also their last resting-place.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph taken by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The body, though small and emaciated, shows evidence of unusual muscular strength; the head is bald, the features are refined, and the mouth still bears an expression characteristic of shrewdness and cunning.*
* The coffin of Thûtmosis I. was usurped by the priest-king Pinozmû I., son of Piônkhi, and the mummy was lost. I fancy I have discovered it in mummy No. 5283, of which the head presents a striking resemblance to those of Thûtmosis II. and III.
Thûtmosis II. carried on the works begun by his father, but did not long survive him.* The mask on his coffin represents him with a smiling and amiable countenance, and with the fine pathetic eyes which show his descent from the Pharaohs of the XIIth dynasty.
* The latest year up to the present known of this king is the IInd, found upon the Aswan stele. Erman, followed by Ed. Meyer, thinks that Hâtshop-sîtû could not have been free from complicity in the premature death of Thûtmosis II.; but I am inclined to believe, from the marks of disease found on the skin of his mummy, that the queen was innocent of the crime here ascribed to her.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph in the possession of Emil Brugsch Bey.
His statues bear the same expression, which indeed is that of the mummy itself. He resembles Thûtmosis I., but his features are not so marked, and are characterised by greater gentleness. He had scarcely reached the age of thirty when he fell a victim to a disease of which the process of embalming could not remove the traces. The skin is scabrous in patches, and covered with scars, while the upper part of the skull is bald; the body is thin and somewhat shrunken, and appears to have lacked vigour and muscular power. By his marriage with his sister, Thûtmosis left daughters only,* but he had one son, also a Thûtmosis, by a woman of low birth, perhaps merely a slave, whose name was Isis.** Hâtshopsîtû proclaimed this child her successor, for his youth and humble parentage could not excite her jealousy. She betrothed him to her one surviving daughter, Hâtshopsîtû II., and having thus settled the succession in the male line, she continued to rule alone in the name of her nephew who was still a minor, as she had done formerly in the case of her half-brother.
* Two daughters of Queen Hâtshopsîtû I. are known, of whom one, Nofîrûrî, died young, and Hâtshopsîtû II. Marîtrî, who was married to her half-brother on her father’s side, Thûtmosis III., who was thus her cousin as well. Amenôthes II. was offspring of this marriage. ** The name of the mother of Thûtmosis III. was revealed to us on the wrappings found with the mummy of this king in the hiding-place of Deîr el-Baharî; the absence of princely titles, while it shows the humble extraction of the lady Isis, explains at the same time the somewhat obscure relations between Hâtshopsîtû and her nephew.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph in the possession of Emil Brugsch-Bey.
Her reign was a prosperous one, but whether the flourishing condition of things was owing to the ability of her political administration or to her fortunate choice of ministers, we are unable to tell. She pressed forward the work of building with great activity, under the direction of her architect Sanmût, not only at Deîr el-Baharî, but at Karnak, and indeed everywhere in Thebes. The plans of the building had been arranged under Thûtmosis I., and their execution had been carried out so quickly, that in many cases the queen had merely to see to the sculptural ornamentation on the all but completed walls.
This work, however, afforded her sufficient excuse, according to Egyptian custom, to attribute the whole structure to herself, and the opinion she had of her own powers is exhibited with great naiveness in her inscriptions. She loves to pose as premeditating her actions long beforehand, and as never venturing on the smallest undertaking without reference to her divine father.
This is what I teach to mortals who shall live in centuries to come, and whose hearts shall inquire concerning the monument which I have raised to my father, speaking and exclaiming as they contemplate it: as for me, when I sat in the palace and thought upon him who created me, my heart prompted me to raise to him two obelisks of electrum, whose apices should pierce the firmaments, before the noble gateway which is between the two great pylons of the King Thûtmosis I. And my heart led me to address these words to those who shall see my monuments in after-years and who shall speak of my great deeds: Beware of saying, ‘I know not, I know not why it was resolved to carve this mountain wholly of gold!’ These two obelisks, My Majesty has made them of electrum for my father Anion, that my name may remain and live on in this temple for ever and ever; for this single block of granite has been cut, without let or obstacle, at the desire of My Majesty, between the first of the second month of Pirîfc of the Vth year, and the 30th of the fourth month of Shomû of the VIth year, which makes seven months from the day when they began to, quarry it. One of these two monoliths is still standing among the ruins of Karnak, and the grace of its outline, the finish of its hieroglyphics, and the beauty of the figures which cover it, amply justify the pride which the queen and her brother felt in contemplating it.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by M. de Mortens: the original is in the Berlin Museum, whither Lepsius brought it. Sanmût is squatting and holding between his arras and knees the young king Thût-mosis III,, whose head with the youthful side lock appears from under his chin.
The tops of the pyramids were gilt, so that “they could be seen from both banks of the river,” and “their brilliancy lit up the two lands of Egypt:” needless to say these metal apices have long disappeared.
Later on, in the the queen’s reign, Amon enjoined a work which was more difficult to carry out. On a day when Hâtshopsîtû had gone to the temple to offer prayers, “her supplications arose up before the throne of the Lord of Karnak, and a command was heard in the sanctuary, a behest of the god himself, that the ways which lead to Pûanît should be explored, and that the roads to the ‘Ladders of Incense’ should be trodden.” *
* The word “Ladders” is the translation of the Egyptian word “Khâtiû,” employed in the text to designate the country laid out in terraces where the incense trees grew; cf. with a different meaning, the “ladders” of the eastern Mediterranean.
Gums required for the temple service had hitherto reached the Theban priests solely by means of foreign intermediaries; so that in the slow transport across Africa they lost much of their freshness, besides being defiled by passing through impure hands. In addition to these drawbacks, the merchants confounded under the one term “Anîti” substances which differed considerably both in value and character, several of them, indeed, scarcely coming under the category of perfumes, and hence being unacceptable to the gods. One kind, however, found favour with them above all others, being that which still abounds in Somali-land at the present day—a gum secreted by the incense sycomore.*
* From the form of the trees depicted on the monument, it is certain that the Egyptians went to Pûanît in search of the Boswellia Thurifera Cart.; but they brought back with them other products also, which they confounded together under the name “incense.”
Drawn by Fauchon-Gudin, from a photograph by Gayet.
It was accounted a pious work to send and obtain it direct from the locality in which it grew, and if possible to procure the plants themselves for acclimatisation in the Nile valley. But the relations maintained in former times with the people of these aromatic regions had been suspended for centuries. “None now climbed the ‘Ladders of Incense,’ none of the Egyptians; they knew of them from hearsay, from the stories of people of ancient times, for these products were brought to the kings of the Delta, thy fathers, to one or other of them, from the times of thy ancestors the kings of the Said who lived of yore.” All that could be recalled of this country was summed up in the facts, that it lay to the south or to the extreme east, that from thence many of the gods had come into Egypt, while from out of it the sun rose anew every morning. Amon, in his omniscience, took upon himself to describe it and give an exact account of its position. “The ‘Ladders of Incense’ is a secret province of Tonûtir, it is in truth a place of delight. I created it, and I thereto lead Thy Majesty, together with Mût, Hâthor, Uîrît, the Lady of Pûanît, Uîrît-hikaû, the magician and regent of the gods, that the aromatic gum may be gathered at will, that the vessels may be laden joyfully with living incense trees and with all the products of this earth.” Hâtshopsîtû chose out five well-built galleys, and manned them with picked crews. She caused them to be laden with such merchandise as would be most attractive to the barbarians, and placing the vessels under the command of a royal envoy, she sent them forth on the Bed Sea in quest of the incense.
We are not acquainted with the name of the port from which the fleet set sail, nor do we know the number of weeks it took to reach the land of Pûanît, neither is there any record of the incidents which befell it by the way. It sailed past the places frequented by the mariners of the XIIth dynasty—Suakîn, Massowah, and the islands of the Ked Sea; it touched at the country of the Ilîm which lay to the west of the Bab el-Mandeb, went safely through the Straits, and landed at last in the Land of Perfumes on the Somali coast.* There, between the bay of Zeîlah and Bas Hafun, stretched the Barbaric region, frequented in later times by the merchants of Myos Hormos and of Berenice.
* That part of Pûanît where the Egyptians landed was at first located in Arabia by Brugsch, then transferred to Somali-land by Mariette, whose opinion was accepted by most Egyptologists. Dumichen, basing his hypothesis on a passage where Pûanît is mentioned as “being on both sides of the sea,” desired to apply the name to the Arabian as well as to the African coast, to Yemen and Hadhramaut as well as to Somali-land; this suggestion was adopted by Lieblein, and subsequently by Ed. Meyer, who believed that its inhabitants were the ancestors of the Sabseans. Since then Krall has endeavoured to shorten the distance between this country and Egypt, and he places the Pûanît of Hâtshopsîtû between Suakin and Massowah. This was, indeed, the part of the country known under the XIIth dynasty at the time when it was believed that the Nile emptied itself thereabouts into the Red Sea, in the vicinity of the Island of the Serpent King, but I hold, with Mariette, that the Pûanît where the Egyptians of Hâtshopsîtû’s time landed is the present Somali-land—a view which is also shared by Navillo, but which Brugsch, in the latter years of his life, abandoned.
The first stations which the latter encountered beyond Cape Direh—Avails, Malao, Mundos, and Mosylon—were merely open roadsteads offering no secure shelter; but beyond Mosylon, the classical navigators reported the existence of several wadys, the last of which, the Elephant River, lying between Bas el-Eîl and Cape Guardafui, appears to have been large enough not only to afford anchorage to several vessels of light draught, but to permit of their performing easily any evolutions required. During the Roman period, it was there, and there only, that the best kind of incense could be obtained, and it was probably at this point also that the Egyptians of Hâtshopsîtû’s time landed. The Egyptian vessels sailed up the river till they reached a place beyond the influence of the tide, and then dropped anchor in front of a village scattered along a bank fringed with sycomores and palms.*
* I have shown, from a careful examination of the bas- reliefs, that the Egyptians must have landed, not on the coast itself, as was at first believed, but in the estuary of a river, and this observation has been accepted as decisive by most Egyptologists; besides this, newly discovered fragments show the presence of a hippopotamus. Since then I have sought to identify the landing-place of the Egyptians with the most important of the creeks mentioned by the Græco-Roman merchants as accessible for their vessels, viz. that which they called the Elephant River, near to the present Ras el-Fîl.
The huts of the inhabitants were of circular shape, each being surmounted with a conical roof; some of them were made of closely plaited osiers, and there was no opening in any of them save the door. They were built upon piles, as a protection from the rise of the river and from wild animals, and access to them was gained by means of moveable ladders. Oxen chewing the cud rested beneath them. The natives belonged to a light-coloured race, and the portraits we possess of them resemble the Egyptian type in every particular. They were tall and thin, and of a colour which varied between brick-red and the darkest brown. Their beards were pointed, and the hair was cut short in some instances, while in others it was arranged in close rows of curls or in small plaits. The costume of the men consisted of a loin-cloth only, while the dress of the women was a yellow garment without sleeves, drawn in at the waist and falling halfway below the knee.
The royal envoy landed under an escort of eight soldiers and an officer, but, to prove his pacific intentions, he spread out upon a low table a variety of presents, consisting of five bracelets two gold necklaces, a dagger with strap and sheath complete, a battle-axe, and eleven strings of glass beads.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The inhabitants, dazzled by the display of so many valuable objects, ran to meet the new-comers, headed by their sheikh, and expressed a natural astonishment at the sight of the strangers. “How is it,” they exclaimed, “that you have reached this country hitherto unknown to men? Have you come down by way of the sky, or have you sailed on the waters of the Tonûtir Sea? You have followed the path of the sun, for as for the king of the land of Egypt, it is not possible to elude him, and we live, yea, we ourselves, by the breath which he gives us.” The name of their chief was Parihû, who was distinguished from his subjects by the boomerang which he carried, and also by his dagger and necklace of beads: his right leg, moreover, appears to have been covered with a kind of sheath composed of rings of some yellow metal, probably gold.* He was accompanied by his wife Ati, riding on an ass, from which she alighted in order to gain a closer view of the strangers. She was endowed with a type of beauty much admired by the people of Central Africa, being so inordinately fat that the shape of her body was scarcely recognisable under the rolls of flesh which hung down from it. Her daughter, who appeared to be still young, gave promise of one day rivalling, if not exceeding, her mother in size.**
* Mariette compares this kind of armour to the “dangabor” of the Congo tribes, but the “dangabor “is worn on the arm. Livingstone saw a woman, the sister of Sebituaneh, the highest lady of the Sesketeh, who wore on each leg eighteen rings of solid brass as thick as the finger, and three rings of copper above the knee. The weight of these shining rings impeded her walking, and produced sores on her ankles; but it was the fashion, and the inconvenience became nothing. As to the pain, it was relieved by a bit of rag applied to the lower rings. ** These are two instances of abnormal fat production—the earliest with which we are acquainted.
After an exchange of compliments, the more serious business of the expedition was introduced. The Egyptians pitched a tent, in which they placed the objects of barter with which they were provided, and to prevent these from being too great a temptation to the natives, they surrounded the tent with a line of troops.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The main conditions of the exchange were arranged at a banquet, in which they spread before the barbarians a sumptuous display of Egyptian delicacies, consisting of bread, beer, wine, meat, and carefully prepared and flavoured vegetables. Payment for every object was to be made at the actual moment of purchase. For several days there was a constant stream of people, and asses groaned beneath their burdens. The Egyptian purchases comprised the most varied objects: ivory tusks, gold, ebony, cassia, myrrh, cynocephali and green monkeys, greyhounds, leopard skins, large oxen, slaves, and last, but not least, thirty-one incense trees, with their roots surrounded by a ball of earth and placed in large baskets. The lading of the ships was a long and tedious affair. All available space being at length exhausted, and as much cargo placed on board as was compatible with the navigation of the vessel, the squadron set sail and with all speed took its way northwards.
ENLARGE TO FULL SIZE
Drawn by Bouclier, from a photograph by Beato.
The Egyptians touched at several places on the coast on their return journey, making friendly alliances with the inhabitants; the Him added a quota to their freight, for which room was with difficulty found on board,—it consisted not only of the inevitable gold, ivory, and skins, but also of live leopards and a giraffe, together with plants and fruits unknown on the banks of the Nile.*
* Lieblein thought that their country was explored, not by the sailors who voyaged to Pûanît, but by a different body who proceeded by land, and this view was accepted by Ed. Meyer. The completed text proves that there was but a single expedition, and that the explorers of Pûanît visited the Ilîm also. The giraffe which they gave does not appear in the cargo of the vessels at Pûanît; the visit must, therefore, have been paid on the return voyage, and the giraffe was probably represented on the destroyed part of the walls where Naville found the image of this animal wandering at liberty among the woods.
The fleet at length made its reappearance in Egyptian ports, having on board the chiefs of several tribes on whose coasts the sailors had landed, and “bringing back so much that the like had never been brought of the products of Pûanît to other kings, by the supreme favour of the venerable god, Amon Râ, lord of Karnak.” The chiefs mentioned were probably young men of superior family, who had been confided to the officer in command of the squadron by local sheikhs, as pledges to the Pharaoh of good will or as commercial hostages. National vanity, no doubt, prompted the Egyptians to regard them as vassals coming to do homage, and their gifts as tributes denoting subjection. The Queen inaugurated a solemn festival in honour of the explorers. The Theban militia was ordered out to meet them, the royal flotilla escorting them as far as the temple landing-place, where a procession was formed to carry the spoil to the feet of the god. The good Theban folk, assembled to witness their arrival, beheld the march past of the native hostages, the incense sycomores, the precious gum itself, the wild animals, the giraffe, and the oxen, whose numbers were doubtless increased a hundredfold in the accounts given to posterity with the usual official exaggeration. The trees were planted at Deîr el-Baharî, where a sacred garden was prepared for them, square trenches being cut in the rock and filled with earth, in which the sycomore, by frequent watering, came to flourish well.*
* Naville found these trenches still filled with vegetable mould, and in several of them roots, which gave every indication of the purpose to which the trenches were applied. A scene represents seven of the incense sycomores still growing in their pots, and offered by the queen to the Majesty “of this god Amonrâ of Karnak.”
The great heaps of fresh resin were next the objects of special attention. Hâtshopsîtû “gave a bushel made of electrum to gauge the mass of gum, it being the first time that they had the joy of measuring the perfumes for Amon, lord of Karnak, master of heaven, and of presenting to him the wonderful products of Pûanît. Thot, the lord of Hermo-polis, noted the quantities in writing; Safkhîtâbûi verified the list. Her Majesty herself prepared from it, with her own hands, a perfumed unguent for her limbs; she gave forth the smell of the divine dew, her perfume reached even to Pûanît, her skin became like wrought gold,* and her countenance shone like the stars in the great festival hall, in the sight of the whole earth.”
* In order to understand the full force of the imagery here employed, one must remember that the Egyptian artists painted the flesh of women as light yellow.
Hâtshopsîtû commanded the history of the expedition to be carved on the wall of the colonnades which lay on the west side of the middle platform of her funerary chapel: we there see the little fleet with sails spread, winging its way to the unknown country, its safe arrival at its destination, the meeting with the natives, the animated palavering, the consent to exchange freely accorded; and thanks to the minuteness with which the smallest details have been portrayed, we can as it were witness, as if on the spot, all the phases of life on board ship, not only on Egyptian vessels, but, as we may infer, those of other Oriental nations generally. For we may be tolerably sure that when the Phoenicians ventured into the distant parts of the Mediterranean, it was after a similar fashion that they managed and armed their vessels.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Beato.
Although the natural features of the Asiatic or Greek coast on which they effected a landing differed widely from those of Pûanît, the Phoenician navigators were themselves provided with similar objects of exchange, and in their commercial dealings with the natives the methods of procedure of the European traders were doubtless similar to those of the Egyptians with the barbarians of the Red Sea.
Hâtshopsîtû reigned for at least eight years after this memorable expedition, and traces of her further activity are to be observed in every part of the Nile valley. She even turned her attention to the Delta, and began the task of reorganising this part of her kingdom, which had been much neglected by her predecessors. The wars between the Theban princes and the lords of Avaris had lasted over a century, and during that time no one had had either sufficient initiative or leisure to superintend the public works, which were more needed here than in any other part of Egypt. The canals were silted up with mud, the marshes and the desert had encroached on the cultivated lands, the towns had become impoverished, and there were some provinces whose population consisted solely of shepherds and bandits. Hâtshopsîtû desired to remedy these evils, if only for the purpose of providing a practicable road for her armies marching to Zalû en route for Syria.*
* This follows from the great inscription at Stabl-Antar, which is commonly interpreted as proving that the Shepherd- kings still held sway in Egypt in the reign of Thûtmosis III., and that they were driven out by him and his aunt. It seems to me that the queen is simply boasting that she had repaired the monuments which had been injured by the Shepherds during the time they sojourned in Egypt, in the land of Avaris. Up to the present time no trace of these restorations has been found on the sites. The expedition to Pûanît being mentioned in lines 13, 14, they must be of later date than the year IX. of Hâtshopsîtû and Thûtmosis III.
She also turned her attention to the mines of Sinai, which had not been worked by the Egyptian kings since the end of the XIIth dynasty. In the year XVI. an officer of the queen’s household was despatched to the Wady Magharah, the site of the ancient works, with orders to inspect the valleys, examine the veins, and restore there the temple of the goddess Hâthor; having accomplished his mission, he returned, bringing with him a consignment of those blue and green stones which were so highly esteemed by the Egyptians.
Meanwhile, Thûtmosis III. was approaching manhood, and his aunt, the queen, instead of abdicating in his favour, associated him with herself more frequently in the external acts of government.*
* The account of the youth of Thûtmosis III., such as Brugsch made it out to be from an inscription of this king, the exile of the royal child at Bûto, his long sojourn in the marshes, his triumphal return, must all be rejected. Brugsch accepted as actual history a poetical passage where the king identifies himself with Horus son of Isis, and goes so far as to attribute to himself the adventures of the god.
She was forced to yield him precedence in those religious ceremonies which could be performed by a man only, such as the dedication of one of the city gates of Ombos, and the foundation and marking out of a temple at Medinet-Habû; but for the most part she obliged him to remain in the background and take a secondary place beside her. We are unable to determine the precise moment when this dual sovereignty came to an end. It was still existent in the XVIth year of the reign, but it had ceased before the XXIInd year. Death alone could take the sceptre from the hands that held it, and Thûtmosis had to curb his impatience for many a long day before becoming the real master of Egypt. He was about twenty-five years of age when this event took place, and he immediately revenged himself for the long repression he had undergone, by endeavouring to destroy the very remembrance of her whom he regarded as a usurper. Every portrait of her that he could deface without exposing himself to being accused of sacrilege was cut away, and he substituted for her name either that of Thûtmosis I. or of Thûtmosis II.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Petrie.
A complete political change was effected both at home and abroad from the first day of his accession to power. Hâtshopsîtû had been averse to war. During the whole of her reign there had not been a single campaign undertaken beyond the isthmus of Suez, and by the end of her life she had lost nearly all that her father had gained in Syria; the people of Kharu had shaken off the yoke,* probably at the instigation of the king of the Amorites,** and nothing remained to Egypt of the Asiatic province but Gaza, Sharûhana,*** and the neighbouring villages. The young king set out with his army in the latter days of the year XXII. He reached Gaza on the 3rd of the month of Pakhons, in time to keep the anniversary of his coronation in that town, and to inaugurate the 24th year of his reign by festivals in honour of his father Amon.**** They lasted the usual length of time, and all the departments of State took part in them, but it was not a propitious moment for lengthy ceremonies.
* E. de Rougé thought that he had discovered, in a slightly damaged inscription bearing upon the Pûanît expedition, the mention of a tribute paid by the Lotanû. There is nothing in the passage cited but the mention of the usual annual dues paid by the chiefs of Pûanît and of the Ilîm. ** This is at least what may be inferred from the account of the campaign, where the Prince of Qodshû, a town of the Amaûru (Amorites), figures at the head of the coalition formed against Thûtmosis III. *** This is the conclusion to be adopted from the beginning of the inscription of Thûtmosis III.: “Now, during the duration of these same years, the country of the Lotanû was in discord until other times succeeded them, when the people who were in the town of Sharûhana, from the town of Yûrza, to the most distant regions of the earth, succeeded in making a revolt against his Majesty.” **** The account of this campaign has been preserved to us on a wall adjoining the granite sanctuary at Karnak.
The king left Gaza the following day, the 5th of Pakhons; he marched but slowly at first, following the usual caravan route, and despatching troops right and left to levy contributions on the cities of the Plain—Migdol, Yapu (Jaffa), Lotanû, Ono—and those within reach on the mountain spurs, or situated within the easily accessible wadys, such as Sauka (Socho), Hadid, and Harîlu. On the 16th day he had not proceeded further than Yahmu, where he received information which caused him to push quickly forward. The lord of Qodshû had formed an alliance with the Syrian princes on the borders of Naharaim, and had extorted from them promises of help; he had already gone so far as to summon contingents from the Upper Orontes, the Litany, and the Upper Jordan, and was concentrating them at Megiddo, where he proposed to stop the way of the invading army. Thûtmosis called together his principal officers, and having imparted the news to them, took counsel with them as to a plan of attack. Three alternative routes were open to him. The most direct approached the enemy’s position on the front, crossing Mount Carmel by the saddle now known as the Umm el-Fahm; but the great drawback attached to this route was its being so restricted that the troops would be forced to advance in too thin a file; and the head of the column would reach the plain and come into actual conflict with the enemy while the rear-guard would only be entering the defiles in the neighbourhood of Aluna. The second route bore a little to the east, crossing the mountains beyond Dutîna and reaching the plain near Taânach; but it offered the same disadvantages as the other. The third road ran north of Zafîti, to meet the great highway which cuts the hill-district of Nablûs, skirting the foot of Tabor near Jenîn, a little to the north of Megiddo. It was not so direct as the other two, but it was easier for troops, and the king’s generals advised that it should be followed. The king was so incensed that he was tempted to attribute their prudence to cowardice. “By my life! by the love that Râ hath for me, by the favour that I enjoy from my master Amon, by the perpetual youth of my nostril in life and power, My Majesty will go by the way of Aluna, and let him that will go by the roads of which ye have spoken, and let him that will follow My Majesty. What will be said among the vile enemies detested of Râ: ‘Doth not His Majesty go by another way? For fear of us he gives us a wide berth,’ they will cry.” The king’s counsellors did not insist further. “May thy father Amon of Thebes protect thee!” they exclaimed; “as for us, we will follow Thy Majesty whithersoever thou goest, as it befitteth a servant to follow his master.” The word of command was given to the men; Thûtmosis himself led the vanguard, and the whole army, horsemen and foot-soldiers, followed in single file, wending their way through the thickets which covered the southern slopes of Mount Carmel.*
* The position of the towns mentioned and of the three roads has been discussed by E. de Rougé, also by P. de Saulcy, who fixed the position of Yahmu at El-Kheimeh, and showed that the Egyptian army must have passed through the defiles of Umm el-Rahm. Conder disagreed with this opinion in certain respects, and identified Aluna, Aruna, at first with Arrabeh, and afterwards with Arraneh; he thought that Thûtmosis came out upon Megiddo from the south-east, and he placed Megiddo at Mejeddah, near Beisan, while Tomkins placed Aruna in the Wady el-Arriân. W. Max Millier seems to place Yahinu too much to the north, in the neighbourhood of Jett.
They pitched their camp on the evening of the 19th near Aluna, and on the morning of the 20th they entered the wild defiles through which it was necessary to pass in order to reach the enemy. The king had taken precautionary measures against any possible attempt of the natives to cut the main column during this crossing of the mountains. His position might at any moment have become a critical one, had the allies taken advantage of it and attacked each battalion as it issued on to the plain before it could re-form. But the Prince of Qodshû, either from ignorance of his adversary’s movements, or confident of victory in the open, declined to take the initiative. Towards one o’clock in the afternoon, the Egyptians found themselves once more united on the further side of the range, close to a torrent called the Qina, a little to the south of Megiddo. When the camp was pitched, Thûtmosis announced his intention of engaging the enemy on the morrow. A council of war was held to decide on the position that each corps should occupy, after which the officers returned to their men to see that a liberal supply of rations was served out, and to organise an efficient system of patrols. They passed round the camp to the cry: “Keep a good heart: courage! Watch well, watch well! Keep alive in the camp!” The king refused to retire to rest until he had been assured that “the country was quiet, and also the host, both to south and north.” By dawn the next day the whole army was in motion. It was formed into a single line, the right wing protected by the torrent, the left extended into the plain, stretching beyond Megiddo towards the north-west. Thûtmosis and his guards occupied the centre, standing “armed in his chariot of electrum like unto Horus brandishing his pike, and like Montû the Theban god.” The Syrians, who had not expected such an early attack, were seized with panic, and fled in the direction of the town, leaving their horses and chariots on the field; but the citizens, fearing lest in the confusion the Egyptians should effect an entrance with the fugitives, had closed their gates and refused to open them. Some of the townspeople, however, let down ropes to the leaders of the allied party, and drew them up to the top of the ramparts: “and would to heaven that the soldiers of His Majesty had not so far forgotten themselves as to gather up the spoil left by the vile enemy! They would then have entered Megiddo forthwith; for while the men of the garrison were drawing up the Lord of Qodshû and their own prince, the fear of His Majesty was upon their limbs, and their hands failed them by reason of the carnage which the royal urous carried into their ranks.” The victorious soldiery were dispersed over the fields, gathering together the gilded and silvered chariots of the Syrian chiefs, collecting the scattered weapons and the hands of the slain, and securing the prisoners; then rallying about the king, they greeted him with acclamations and filed past to deliver up the spoil. He reproached them for having allowed themselves to be drawn away from the heat of pursuit. “Had you carried Megiddo, it would have been a favour granted to me by Râ my father this day; for all the kings of the country being shut up within it, it would have been as the taking of a thousand towns to have seized Megiddo.” The Egyptians had made little progress in the art of besieging a stronghold since the times of the XIIth dynasty. When scaling failed, they had no other resource than a blockade, and even the most stubborn of the Pharaohs would naturally shrink from the tedium of such an undertaking. Thûtmosis, however, was not inclined to lose the opportunity of closing the campaign by a decisive blow, and began the investment of the town according to the prescribed modes.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato.
His men were placed under canvas, and working under the protection of immense shields, supported on posts, they made a ditch around the walls, strengthening it with a palisade. The king constructed also on the east side a fort which he called “Manakhpirrî-holds-the-Asiatics.” Famine soon told on the demoralised citizens, and their surrender brought about the submission of the entire country. Most of the countries situated between the Jordan and the sea—Shunem, Cana, Kinnereth, Hazor, Bedippa, Laish, Merom, and Acre—besides the cities of the Haurân—Hamath, Magato, Ashtarôth, Ono-repha, and even Damascus itself—recognised the suzerainty of Egypt, and their lords came in to the camp to do homage.*
* The names of these towns are inscribed on the lists of Karnak published by Mariette.
The Syrian losses did not amount to more than 83 killed and 400 prisoners, showing how easily they had been routed; but they had abandoned considerable supplies, all of which had fallen into the hands of the victors. Some 724 chariots, 2041 mares, 200 suits of armour, 602 bows, the tent of the Prince of Qodshû with its poles of cypress inlaid with gold, besides oxen, cows, goats, and more than 20,000 sheep, were among the spoil. Before quitting the plain of Bsdraelon, the king caused an official survey of it to be made, and had the harvest reaped. It yielded 208,000 bushels of wheat, not taking into account what had been looted or damaged by the marauding soldiery. The return homewards of the Egyptians must have resembled the exodus of some emigrating tribe rather than the progress of a regular army
Thûtmosis caused a long list of the vanquished to be engraved on the walls of the temple which he was building at Karnak, thus affording the good people of Thebes an opportunity for the first time of reading on the monuments the titles of the king’s Syrian subjects written in hieroglyphics. One hundred and nineteen names follow each other in unbroken succession, some of them representing mere villages, while others denoted powerful nations; the catalogue, however, was not to end even here. Having once set out on a career of conquest, the Pharaoh had no inclination to lay aside his arms. From the XXIIth year of his reign to that of his death, we have a record of twelve military expeditions, all of which he led in person. Southern Syria was conquered at the outset—the whole of Kharû as far as the Lake of Grennesareth, and the Amorite power was broken at one blow.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The three succeeding campaigns consolidated the rule of Egypt in the country of the Negeb, which lay to the south-west of the Dead Sea, in Phoenicia, which prudently resigned itself to its fate, and in that part of Lotanii occupying the northern part of the basin of the Orontes.**
* We know of these three campaigns from the indirect testimony of the Annals, which end in the year XXIX. with the mention of the fifth campaign. The only dated one is referred to the year XXV., and we know of that of the Negeb only by the Inscription of Amenemhabî, 11. 3-5: the campaign began in the Negeb of Judah, but the king carried it to Naharaim the same year.
None of these expeditions appear to have been marked by any successes comparable to the victory at Megiddo, for the coalition of the Syrian chiefs did not survive the blow which they then sustained; but Qodshû long remained the centre of resistance, and the successive defeats which its inhabitants suffered never disarmed for more than a short interval the hatred which they felt for the Egyptian.
On One Of The Pylons Of The Temple At Karnak. Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
During these years of glorious activity considerable tribute poured in to both Memphis and Thebes; not only ingots of gold and silver, bars and blocks of copper and lead, blocks of lapis-lazuli and valuable vases, but horses, oxen, sheep, goats, and useful animals of every kind, in addition to all of which we find, as in Hâtshopsîtû’s reign, the mention of rare plants and shrubs brought back from countries traversed by the armies in their various expeditions. The Theban priests and savants exhibited much interest in such curiosities, and their royal pupil gave orders to his generals to collect for their benefit all that appeared either rare or novel. They endeavoured to acclimatise the species or the varieties likely to be useful, and in order to preserve a record of these experiments, they caused a representation of the strange plants or animals to be drawn on the walls of one of the chapels which they were then building to one of their gods. These pictures may still be seen there in interminable lines, portraying the specimens brought from the Upper Lotanû in the XXVth year of Thûtmosis, and we are able to distinguish, side by side with many plants peculiar to the regions of the Euphrates, others having their habitat in the mountains and valleys of tropical Africa.
This return to an aggressive policy on the part of the Egyptians, after the weakness they had exhibited during the later period of Hâtshopsîtû’s regency, seriously disconcerted the Asiatic sovereigns. They had vainly flattered themselves that the invasion of Thûtmosis I. was merely the caprice of an adventurous prince, and they hoped that when his love of enterprise had expended itself, Egypt would permanently withdraw within her traditional boundaries, and that the relations of Elam with Babylon, Carchemish with Qodshû, and the barbarians of the Persian Gulf with the inhabitants of the Iranian table-land would resume their former course. This vain delusion was dispelled by the advent of a new Thûtmosis, who showed clearly by his actions that he intended to establish and maintain the sovereignty of Egypt over the western dependencies, at least, of the ancient Chaldæan empire, that is to say, over the countries which bordered the middle course of the Euphrates and the coasts of the Mediterranean. The audacity of his marches, the valour of his men, the facility with which in a few hours he had crushed the assembled forces of half Syria, left no room to doubt that he was possessed of personal qualities and material resources sufficient to carry out projects of the most ambitious character. Babylon, enfeebled by the perpetual dissensions of its Cossæan princes, was no longer in a position to contest with him the little authority she still retained over the peoples of Naharaim or of Coele-Syria; protected by the distance which separated her from the Nile valley, she preserved a sullen neutrality, while Assyria hastened to form a peaceful alliance with the invading power. Again and again its kings sent to Thûtmosis presents in proportion to their resources, and the Pharaoh naturally treated their advances as undeniable proofs of their voluntary vassalage. Each time that he received from them a gift of metal or lapis-lazuli, he proudly recorded their tribute in the annals of his reign; and if, in exchange, he sent them some Egyptian product, it was in smaller quantities, as might be expected from a lord to his vassal.*
* The “tribute of Assûr” is mentioned in this way under the years XXIII. and XXIV. The presents sent by the Pharaoh in return are not mentioned in any Egyptian text, but there is frequent reference to them in the Tel el-Amarna tablets. It may be mentioned here that the name of Nineveh does not occur on the Egyptian monuments, but only that of the town Nîi, in which Champollion wrongly recognised the later capital of Assyria.
Sometimes there would accompany the convoy, surrounded by an escort of slaves and women, some princess, whom the king would place in his harem or graciously pass on to one of his children; but when, on the other hand, an even distant relative of the Pharaoh was asked in marriage for some king on the banks of the Tigris or Euphrates, the request was met with a disdainful negative: the daughters of the Sun were of too noble a race to stoop to such alliances, and they would count it a humiliation to be sent in marriage to a foreign court.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after Champollion.
Free transit on the main road which ran diagonally through Kharû was ensured by fortresses constructed at strategic points,* and from this time forward Thûtmosis was able to bring the whole force of his army to bear upon both Coele-Syria and Naharaim.** He encamped, in the year XXVII., on the table-land separating the Afrîn and the Orontes from the Euphrates, and from that centre devastated the district of Ûânît,*** which lay to the west of Aleppo; then crossing “the water of Naharaim” in the neighbourhood of Carchemish, he penetrated into the heart of Mitanni.
* The castle, for instance, near Megiddo, previously referred to, which, after having contributed to the siege of the town, probably served to keep it in subjection. ** The accounts of the campaigns of Thûtmosis III. have been preserved in the Annals in a very mutilated condition, the fragments of which were discovered at different times. They are nothing but extracts from an official account, made for Amon and his priests. *** The province of the Tree Ûanû; cf. with this designation the epithet “Shad Erini,” “mountain of the cedar tree,” which the Assyrians bestowed on the Amanus.
The following year he reappeared in the same region. Tunipa, which had made an obstinate resistance, was taken, together with its king, and 329 of his nobles were forced to yield themselves prisoners. Thûtmosis “with a joyous heart” was carrying them away captive, when it occurred to him that the district of Zahi, which lay away for the most part from the great military highroads, was a tempting prey teeming with spoil. The barns were stored with wheat and barley, the cellars were filled with wine, the harvest was not yet gathered in, and the trees bent under the weight of their fruit. Having pillaged Senzaûrû on the Orontes,* he made his way to the westwards through the ravine formed by the Ishahr el-Kebîr, and descended suddenly on the territory of Arvad. The towns once more escaped pillage, but Thutmosis destroyed the harvests, plundered the orchards, carried off the cattle, and pitilessly wasted the whole of the maritime plain.
* Senzaûrû was thought by Ebers to be “the double Tyre.” Brugsch considered it to be Tyre itself. It is, I believe, the Sizara of classical writers, the Shaizar of the Arabs, and is mentioned in one of the Tel el-Amarna tablets in connection with Nîi.
There was such abundance within the camp that the men were continually getting drunk, and spent their time in anointing themselves with oil, which they could do only in Egypt at the most solemn festivals. They returned to Syria in the year XXX., and their good fortune again favoured them. The stubborn Qodshû was harshly dealt with; Simyra and Arvad, which hitherto had held their own, now opened their gates to him; the lords of Upper Lotanû poured in their contributions without delay, and gave up their sons and brothers as hostages. In the year XXXI., the city of Anamut in Tikhisa, on the shores of Lake Msrana, yielded in its turn;* on the 3rd of Pakhons, the anniversary of his coronation, the Lotanû renewed their homage to him in person.
* The site of the Tikhisa country is imperfectly defined. Nisrana was seemingly applied to the marshy lake into which the Koweik flows, and it is perhaps to be found in the name Kin-nesrîn. In this case Tikhisa would be the country near the lake; the district of the Grseco-Roruan Chalkis is situated on the right of the military road.
The return of the expedition was a sort of triumphal procession. At every halting-place the troops found quarters and provisions prepared for them, bread and cakes, perfumes, oil, wine, and honey being provided in such quantities that they were obliged on their departure to leave the greater part behind them. The scribes took advantage of this peaceful state of affairs to draw up minute accounts of the products of Lotanû—corn, barley, millet, fruits, and various kinds of oil—prompted doubtless by the desire to arrive at a fairly just apportionment of the tribute. Indeed, the results of the expedition were considered so satisfactory that they were recorded on a special monument dedicated in the palace at Thebes. The names of the towns and peoples might change with every war, but the spoils suffered no diminution. In the year XXXIII., the kingdoms situated to the west of the Euphrates were so far pacified that Thutmosis was able without risk to carry his arms to Mesopotamia. He entered the country by the fords of Carchemish, near to the spot where his grandfather, Thutmosis I., had erected his stele half a century previously. He placed another beside this, and a third to the eastward to mark the point to which he had extended the frontier of his empire.. The Mitanni, who exercised a sort of hegemony over the whole of Naharaim, were this time the objects of his attack. Thirty-two of their towns fell one after another, their kings were taken captive and the walls of their cities were razed, without any serious resistance. The battalions of the enemy were dispersed at the first shock, and Pharaoh “pursued them for the space of a mile, without one of them daring to look behind him, for they thought only of escape, and fled before him like a flock of goats.” Thutmosis pushed forward as far certainly as the Balikh, and perhaps on to the Khabur or even to the Hermus; and as he approached the frontier, the king of Singar, a vassal of Assyria, sent him presents of lapis-lazuli.
When this prince had retired, another chief, the lord of the Great Kkati, whose territory had not even been threatened by the invaders, deemed it prudent to follow the example of the petty princes of the plain of the Euphrates, and despatched envoys to the Pharaoh bearing presents of no great value, but testifying to his desire to live on good terms with Egypt. Still further on, the inhabitants of Nîi begged the king’s acceptance of a troop of slaves and two hundred and sixty mares; he remained among them long enough to erect a stele commemorating his triumph, and to indulge in one of those extensive hunts which were the delight of Oriental monarchs. The country abounded in elephants. The soldiers were employed as beaters, and the king and his court succeeded in killing one hundred and twenty head of big game, whose tusks were added to the spoils. These numbers indicate how the extinction of such animals in these parts was brought about. Beyond these regions, again, the sheikhs of the Lamnaniû came to meet the Pharaoh. They were a poor people, and had but little to offer, but among their gifts were some birds of a species unknown to the Egyptians, and two geese, with which, however, His Majesty deigned to be satisfied.*
* The campaign of the year XXXI. It is mentioned in the Annals of Thulmosis III., 11. 17-27; the reference to the elephant-hunt occurs only in the Inscription of Amenemhabi, 11. 22, 23; an allusion to the defeat of the kings of Mitanni is found in a mutilated inscription from the tomb of Manakhpirrîsonbû. It was probably on his return from this campaign that Thûtmosis caused the great list to be engraved which, while it includes a certain number of names assigned to places beyond the Euphrates, ought necessarily to contain the cities of the Mitanni.
END OF VOL. IV.