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Title: Scarabs
       The History, Manufacture and Religious Symbolism of the Scarabaeus
       in Ancient Egypt, Phoenicia, Sardinia, Etruria, etc.

Author: Isaac Myer

Release Date: June 10, 2008 [EBook #25757]

Language: English

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Transcriber's Note:

The author of this ebook makes unusual use of commas and asterisks.

Hover over the greek word for a transliteration, like this.



History, Manufacture and Religious




Ancient Egypt, Phœnicia, Sardinia,
Etruria, etc.

Remarks on the Learning, Philosophy, Arts, Ethics,
Psychology, Ideas as to the Immortality of
the Soul, etc., of the Ancient Egyptians,
Phœnicians, etc.



Member of the American Oriental Society. The American Numismatic
and Archæological Society. The Numismatic and Antiquarian
Society of Philadelphia. La Société Royale de Numismatique
de Belgique. The Oriental Club of
Philadelphia. The New York Historical
Society Historical Society of
the State of Pennsylvania,
Author of the Qabbalah. The Philosophical Writings of
Solomon B. Yehudah Ibn. Gebirol, or Avicebron;
The Waterloo Medal, etc.

No. 641 Madison Avenue,
New York.

Querstrasse No. 14,

No. 67, Rue de Richelieu,


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1894, by
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

All Rights of Translation Reserved.



The following work is taken in part, from an address delivered by me before, The American Numismatic and Archæological Society, at its Hall in the City of New York, on March 30th, 1893. Since that time I have been led into a train of thought, having as its basis a more philosophical treatment of the meaning of the scarabæus as a symbol, in the religious metaphysic conception of it by the Ancient Egyptians, and have added much new matter. I am convinced that at the period when we first meet with the symbol of the scarabæus in Egypt, it was already the symbol and tangible [vi]expression of an elevated religious idea, embracing that of a future life of the human soul, a resurrection of it from the dead, and most likely, of a reward or punishment to it in the future life, based on its conduct when in the terrestrial life.

We know from the inscription on the lid of the coffin of Men-kau-Ra, king of the IVth, the Memphite Dynasty, (circa 3633-3600 B.C.,) and builder of the Third Pyramid at Gizeh; that some of the most elevated conceptions of the Per-em-hru, i.e., the so-called, Book of the Dead, were at that time in existence as accepted facts. The dead one at this early period became an Osiris, living eternally. We have every reason to think, that the use of the models of the scarabæus as the symbol of the resurrection or new-birth, and the future eternal life of the triumphant or justified dead, existed as an accepted dogma, before the earliest historical [vii]knowledge we have thus far been able to acquire of the Ancient Egyptians.

It most probably ante-dated the epoch of Mena, the first historical Egyptian king. How long before his period it existed, in the present condition of our knowledge of the ancient history and thought of Egypt, it is impossible to surmise. Of the aborigines of the land of Egypt we do not know nor are we very likely to know, anything. Of the race known to us as the Egyptian we can now assert with much certainty, that it was a Caucasian people, and likely came from an original home in Asia. When the invader arrived in the valley of the Nile, he appears to have been highly civilized and to have had an elevated form of religious belief.

The oldest stelæ known, one of which is now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, England, and the other in the [viii]Museum at Gizeh, Egypt; were made for the tomb of Shera, who is called on them, "a prophet" and "a royal relative." He was a priest of the period of Sent, the fifth king of the IInd Dynasty, who was living about 4000 B.C. The stele is shown by Lepsius in his Auswahl, Plate 9, and is the earliest example of a hieroglyphic inscription known. These stelæ are in the form of a false door.

Upon these stelæ of Shera, is inscribed the Egyptian prayer for the soul of the dead called, the Suten-hotep-ta, from its first words. The Suten-hotep-ta was supposed to have been delivered by divine revelation. An old text speaks of, a "Suten-hotep-ta exactly corresponding to the texts of sacrificial offerings, handed down by the ancients as proceeding from the mouth of God."[1] This prayer inscribed on the steles mentioned, asks that [ix]there may be granted the deceased in the other world, funeral oblations, "thousands of oxen, linen bandages, cakes, vessels of wine, incense, etc." This shows that at this very early period there was a belief in Egypt of the future life of the Ba, the responsible soul, and of the Ka, the vital soul, of the deceased. The word Ka enters into the names of kings Ka-kau, Nefer-ka-Ra, and Nefer-ka-seker of the IInd Dynasty (4133-3966 B.C.) In the same Dynasty the word Ba, the name of the responsible soul, and Baiu its plural, enter into the names Neter-Baiu and Ba-en-neter. Ab, i.e., the heart, also enters into the name of Per-ab-sen of this Dynasty. We also have Ba in the name of Mer-ba-pen, sixth king of the Ist Dynasty.

It was during the reign of king Sent, that a medical papyrus was edited which shows it was the result of years of [x]experience. From what we have just said it is extremely likely, that the body was mummified in Egypt from the earliest period of which we have knowledge.

Manetho says that Teta, the second king of the 1st Dynasty, circa 4366 B.C., wrote a book on anatomy, and experimented with drugs or chemicals. Shesh, the mother of this king, invented a hair wash.[2]

We can from the foregoing assume with some certainty, that before the historical period in Ancient Egypt, a religious belief existed, funeral ceremonies, and an expectation of an eternal life of the soul after the death of the body of [xi]man on this earth; whether a belief in rewards or punishments to be suffered or enjoyed by the soul after such death, for actions done by man in this earthly life, existed at that time, we cannot as yet, with certainty, affirm; but it is quite likely it did. In this connection a study of the "Pyramid Texts" published by Maspero in his Recueil de Travaux, is of great value to the student.

An element of great value to the student of religions is, that the scarabæus symbol, is the earliest expression of the most ancient idea of the immortality of the soul after death that has reached our day, taking us back however to a period which may be considered as civilized and enlightened and yet, so encompassed with the mists of the past, that the mental eye of to-day cannot grasp that past with much tangibility, and giving us almost cause to think, that the doctrine of the [xii]immortality of the human soul was a remnant of an early divine revelation, or at least, an advanced instinct of early humanity; for it is a curious phase of archaic Egyptian thought, that the further we go back in our investigations of the origins of its religious ideas, the more ideal and elevated they appear as to the spiritual powers and the unseen world. Idolatry made its greatest advance subsequent to the epoch of the Ancient Empire, and progressed until it finally merged itself into the animalism of the New Empire and the gross paganism of the Greeks and Romans.

We have not yet many religious texts of the Ancient Empire that have been fully studied and made known, but those that have been, exhibit an idealism as to the Supreme Deity and a belief in the immortality of the soul, based on the pious, ethical and charitable conduct of [xiii]man, which speak highly for an early very elevated thought in religious ideas.

There is however one thought which must strike the student of religions forcibly, that is the fact, that the idea of the re-birth and future eternal life of the pious and moral dead, existed among the Ancient Egyptians as an accepted dogma, long before the period in which Moses is said to have lived. Moses has been asserted both in the New Testament (Acts VII., 22), and by the so-called profane writers Philo and Josephus, to have been learned in all the wisdom and knowledge of the Egyptians of his time, yet we have not in the pages of the Pentateuch, which is usually by the theologians ascribed to him, any direct assertion of the doctrine of a future life or of an immortality of the human soul, or of a future reward or punishment in a future state of the soul. Ideas are therein set [xiv]forth however, of a separation of the spiritual part of man into different divisions.

It may be, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul was not accepted as a religious dogma, by the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings, an apparently Asiatic race, probably Semitic, of which we have not as yet very much knowledge. It is likely that it was under the Hyksos that the Hebrew, Joseph, was advanced to high honors in Egypt, and under their kings, that the influx and increase of the Hebrew population in Egypt began and prospered.

It may be advanced with much certainty, that the Hebrew people residing in Ancient Egypt, must have been acquainted with many of the Egyptian ideas on the subject of the eternal future life of the soul of the dead, and the reward or punishment of it in that future life, for [xv]these ideas were undoubtedly widely and generally known by the Egyptian people, and were too thoroughly formulated in the active and daily life of the Ancient Egyptian population, not to have been known by the Hebrews living in daily contact with them, but the Hebrews may not have accepted them as a verity.

It may have been, that as the idea of the future existence of the soul in its perfection, was based upon the mummification and preservation of the body of the dead, so that the Ka might remain with it, and go out and revisit it in the tomb; and also, on inscriptions either on the walls of the tomb or the papyri deposited with the body; that Moses, knowing that in his wanderings and journeyings, it would be impossible to have performed those ceremonies and preliminaries necessary under the Egyptian system, for the proper burial of the corpse; its mummification and [xvi]the preparation of the funeral inscriptions or papyri, considered as necessary to be inscribed on the walls of the tomb, or on the papyri, to be buried with the corpse, so as to assist the soul against the perils it was supposed it would encounter in its journey through the Underworld;[3] was therefore compelled to abandon a dogma based on preliminaries and preparations he could not, during such wanderings, have performed. This would be partly an explanation of a subject which has for many years caused much dispute among very erudite theologians.

In order to get some knowledge of the religious philosophical ideas of the Ancient Egyptians, a thorough study of the collection of papyri called, the Per-em-hru or Book of the Dead, is absolutely necessary, also the texts on the walls of [xvii]the tombs of the Ancient Empire especially those found at Saqqarah. The work of M. Edouard Naville on the Per-em-hru lately published, although it refers more especially to the Theban period, is of great value in this investigation, and when it has been translated into a modern language by a thoroughly competent scholar, will be a key to open many of the now hidden but elevated ideas in the religious philosophy of the Ancient Egyptians.

The edition of the Book of the Dead which I have quoted from is that of M. Paul Pierret, conservateur of the Egyptian Museum of the Louvre, Paris, France.[4] This is founded on the Papyrus of Turin, which is of about the XXVIth Dynasty, the Saïtic period; the [xviii]translator has also used in his work, the Egyptian manuscripts of the Louvre to assist in the elucidation of his readings of the Papyrus of Turin. His work is an advance on that of Dr. Samuel Birch, given in 1867, in the Vth volume of Baron von Bunsen's work on Egypt's Place in Universal History. A new translation of the Book of the Dead is now passing through the English press, by P. Le Page Renouf, Esq., but only a few chapters thus far have been printed. Mr. Renouf's work as an Egyptologist, deserves much more attention and credit from the learned of both his own and other countries, than it has so far received.

The following among Greek and other ancient writers have mentioned the scarabæus, mostly in connection with Egypt. Orpheus, Theophrastus, Aristophanes, Pliny, Plutarch, Ælian, Clement [xix]of Alexandria, Porphyry, Horapollon, Diogenes Laertius, who cites as works in which it was mentioned, the Natural Philosophy by Manetho (circa 286-247 B.C.,) the History of the Philosophy of the Egyptians, by Hecatæus (of Abdera? circa 331 B.C.,) and the writings of Aristagoras (circa 325-300 B.C.,) Eusebius, Arnobius, Epiphanius and Ausonius.

The subject has been somewhat neglected in modern times. Two small brochures on the subject were published by Johann Joachim Bellermann, under the title of; Ueber die Scarabäen-Gemmen, nebst Versuchen die darauf befindlichen Hieroglyphen zu erklären, one in 1820, the other 1821. Another very small catalogue entitled; Scarabées Égyptiens, figurés du Musée des Antiquea de sa majesté l'Empereur, Vienne, de l'Imprimerie d'Antoine Strauss, 1824, was published in that year in Vienna. None of the above [xx]contain information of importance on the subject.

Dr. Samuel Birch published the first classified collection in his; Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian Antiquities at Alnwick Castle,[5] in which he describes 565 scarabs, signets, etc. In 1884 the Rev. W.J. Loftie published his; An Essay of Scarabs, London, small 4to, no date, 125 numbered copies printed. It contained a brief essay, pp. V-XXXII., on scarabs, and a short description of 192. His collection was purchased in 1890 by the Trustees of the British Museum. In the summer of 1876, I published in, The Evening Telegraph, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the Centennial Exhibition; two Essays on Scarabæi and Cicadæ, and on those exhibited, especially those in the Egyptian Section and those [xxi]in the Castellani Collection. In 1887, Dr. E.A. Wallis Budge, F.S.A., gave a description of 150 scarabs in his, Catalogue of the Egyptian Collection of the Harrow School Museum, with translations of most of the inscriptions upon them. In 1888, Dr. A.S. Murray and Mr. Hamilton Smith in their, Catalogue of Gems, gave a list of scarabs and scaraboids. In 1889 Mr. Flinders Petrie published, Historical Scarabs: A series of Drawings from the Principal Collections, Arranged Chronologically. This book has only nine small pages of description but they are valuable. In his, History of Egypt, Prof. Wiedemann has catalogued a great many scarabs. I have not seen any of the above works except that by Bellermann, that published in Vienna, and those by Loftie and Petrie, all of which I have in my Library. Since my book was printed, I have had [xxii]my attention called to, The Mummy, Chapters on Egyptian Funeral Archæology, by E.A. Wallis Budge, Litt. D., F.S.A., Cambridge. At the University Press, 1893. In this p. 231 et seq., the learned author has a very interesting chapter on Scarabs.


[1] Lepsius, Denkmal III., pl. 13.

[2] Papyrus Ebers, Bd. II., Glossarium Hieroglyphicum, by Stern, p. 47. The Mummy, etc., by E.A. Wallis Budge, Litt. D., F.S.A., etc. Cambridge, 1893, pp. 176, 219, 353. Egypt Under the Pharaohs. London, 1891, pp. 27, 28. An interesting but condensed account of Ancient Egyptian medical knowledge, with references to the papyri, is given by M. Maspero in his, Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient, Paris, 1886, pp. 73-77.

[3] We use the word Underworld advisedly, it may be that the meaning of the word so translated, is that of a higher or opposite world to our terrestrial world.

[4] Le Livre des Morts, des Anciens Égyptiens, traduction complète d'après le Papyrus de Turin et les manuscrits du Louvre, accompagnée de Notes et suivie d'un Index analytique. Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1882.

[5] Privately printed by the Duke of Northumberland. London, 1880.



Introduction v-xxii
Table of Contents xxiii-xxvii
Forms of the Word Scarabæus. Veneration of the Ancient Egyptians for the scarabæus. Entomology of the insect. Symbolism of according to Plutarch, Pliny and Horapollo. Its astronomical value. Worship of insects by other peoples. Symbolism, with the Egyptians, of the scarabæus. Uses of it with them 1-17
Manufacture of the Scarabæi. Materials. Inscriptions on. Different periods of manufacture and the peculiarities of. How to judge of the epoch. 18-29
Method, period and antiquity, of engraving the scarab and other forms. Use of rings. Mention of, and of engraving and sealing, in the Old Testament. Use of cylinder signets by the Egyptians. Relations with Mesopotamia. Carving of diorite and other hard stone. The Egyptians did not borrow their engraving and the scarab, from Mesopotamia. Disuse of scarabs 30-45
The oldest scarabs. Classification and value of the scarab to the scholar of to-day. Large inscribed historical scarabs 46-56
Where usually found and the mode of wearing scarabs by the Egyptians, Book of the Dead. Egyptian scarabs found in Mesopotamia. The scarab in Christianity 57-64
The position of the scarab in Ancient Egyptian religion and the Book of the Dead. Egyptian philosophy. Advanced intellectuality of Egypt six thousand years ago. Deities of libraries and learning. Ancient librarians and books. The division of learned men into different branches of study. The statements of Greek writers on Egyptian thought not to be depended upon. Quotations from the Book of the Dead on the symbolism of the scarabæus deity. The symbolism of the Great Sphinx. Further quotations from the Book of the Dead, on the symbolism of the scarab deity 65-90
Importance of the heart in the Ancient Egyptian religion. Immortality of the soul according to that religion. Symbolism of the scarab in their doctrine of such immortality. No thing in this universe absolutely [xxvi]destroyed, only changed. The idea of metempsychosis in Ancient Egypt. Elevated ideas as to the deity. Hymn to Ammon-Ra cited. Quotations as to Egyptian philosophy, evolution of the universe and kosmogony. Of Khepra and of Tum or Atmu. Egyptian psychology and its divisions 91-122
Forgery of scarabs in modern times. Difficulty of detecting such. Other Egyptian antiquities also counterfeited by the present inhabitants of Egypt 123-127
Phœnician scarabs. Manufactured mostly as article of trade. Used inscribed scarabs as seals in commercial and other transactions. Many scarabs found in Sardinia 128-133
Etruscan scarabs. Origin of and where found. Copied from Egyptian but with changes in subjects, size and ornamentation. The engraving of. Where usually found. Uses by the Etruscans. Greek and Roman scarabs. Gnostic, of the Basilidians 134-143
Appendix A 145-154
Index 155-177


On Scarabs.ToC


Among the many animals, insects and creatures, held in veneration as symbols by the Ancient Egyptians; the one [2]universally in use as a symbol from a most remote period, were insects of the family of the scarabæidæ.

The Greek name of the models of these was Skarabaios, Skarabos, Karabos, Karabis; the Sanskrit, Carabha, which like the Latin Locusta, designated both the lobster and the grasshopper. The Latin name derived from the Greek, was, Scarabæus, the French, Scarabée. To the people of our day, the high position enjoyed in the religion of Ancient Egypt by this insect, appears very strange, for to us, there is nothing attractive about it. With that people however it held, for some fifty centuries; the position in their religion which the Latin cross now holds with us as Christians, and if we consider for an instant, our own veneration for the latter; it would doubtless have been considered, by those unfamiliar with our religion, as also based on a veneration [3]for a very strange emblem; for the cross was the instrument used by the Romans for punishing with death, murderers and criminals of the lowest type; and what would be thought to-day, of a man worshipping the gallows or the guillotine, or carrying copies modeled from the same, suspended from his neck. However we of to-day all understand the emblem of the cross, and the Ancient Egyptians in their time, all understood the emblem of the scarab.

"Men are rarely conscious of the prejudices, which really incapacitate them, from forming impartial and true judgments on systems alien to their own habits of thought. And philosophers who may pride themselves on their freedom from prejudice, may yet fail to understand; whole classes of psychological phenomena which are the result of religious practice, and are familiar to those alone to whom [4]such practice is habitual."[6] Said Thespesion to Apollonius Tyanæus, according to the biography of the latter, by Philostratus; "The Egyptians do not venture to give form to their deities, they only give them in symbols which have an occult meaning."

The family of the Scarabæidæ or Coprophagi is quite large, the type of the family is the genus Ateuchus, the members of this genus are more frequently found in the old world than the new, and of its forty species, thirty belong to Africa.

The sacred scarab of the Egyptians was termed by Linnæus, the Scarabæus sacer, but later writers have named it, Ateuchus sacer. This insect is found throughout Egypt, the southern part of Europe, in China, the East Indies, [5]in Barbary and at the Cape of Good Hope, Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is black and about one inch in length.

There was also another species of the scarabæus valued by the Ancient Egyptians, that termed by Cuvier, the Ateuchus sacer Ægyptiorum, which is larger and wider than the others of its family; it is of green golden tints, and is now found principally in Egypt and Nubia. Pliny, in his Natural History says: "The green scarabæus has the property of rendering the sight more piercing, (i.e., curing fatigue of the eye from its green color,) of those who gaze upon it; hence it is, that the engravers of precious stones use these insects to steady their sight."[7] M. Latreille thinks; the species he named Ateuchus Ægyptiorum, or ἡλικοκάνθαρος, and [6]which is of a green color, was that which especially engaged the attention of the Ancient Egyptians.

The Egyptian also held in estimation, the species Buprestis and the Cantharis and Copris, and used them as he did the members of the true family of the scarabæidæ, and S. Passalacqua found a species of Buprestis, embalmed in a tomb at Thebes.

At least four species of beetles appear to have been held in veneration and were distinguished, by the absence or presence, of striated elytra. The Ateuchus sacer is the one commonly represented on the monuments. The number of the toes, thirty, symbolized the days of the month, and the movement of the ball, which it manufactured and in which was deposited its egg, symbolized among other things, the action of Ra, the Egyptian sun-deity, at midday.

[7]The Egyptian soldier wore the scarab as a charm or amulet, to increase bravery;[8] the women, to increase fertility. The Greeks called it, Helio-cantharus, and, not understanding its significance, were disposed to ridicule it, as is apparent from the travesty upon it by Aristophanes in his comedy of Peace. Pliny also again speaks of it in his Natural History, saying:

"The scarabæus also, that forms pellets and rolls them along. It is on account of this kind of scarabæus that the people of a great part of Egypt worship those insects as divinities, an usage for which Apion gives a curious reason, asserting, as he does, by way of justifying the rites of his nation, that the insect in its operations portrays the revolution of the sun. [8]There is also another kind of scarabæus, which the magicians recommend to be worn as an amulet—the one that has small horns[9] thrown backwards—it must be taken up, when used for this purpose, with the left hand. A third kind also, known by the name of 'fullo' and covered with white spots, they recommend to be cut asunder and attached to either arm, the other kinds being worn upon the left arm."[10]

In the work on Egyptian hieroglyphics attributed to a writer called Horapollo, sometimes incorrectly called, Horus Apollo, the first part of which shows, that it was written by a person who was well acquainted with the Egyptian monuments and had studied them carefully, we find: "To denote an only begotten, or, [9]generation, or, a father, or, the world, or, a man, they delineate a scarabæus. And they symbolize by this, an only begotten; because the scarabæus is a creature self-produced, being unconceived by a female; for the propagation of it is unique and after this manner:—when the male is desirous of procreating, he takes the dung of an ox, and shapes it into a spherical form like the world; he then rolls it from him by the hinder parts from East to West, looking himself towards the East, that he may impart to it the figure of the world (for that is borne from East to West, while the course of the stars is from West to East;) then having dug a hole, the scarabæus deposits this ball in the earth for the space of twenty-eight days, (for in so many days the moon passes through the twelve signs of the zodiac.) By thus remaining under the moon, the race of scarabæi is endued [10]with life; and upon the nine and twentieth day after, having opened the ball, it casts it into the water, for it is aware, that upon that day the conjunction of the moon and sun takes place, as well as the generation of the world. From the ball thus opened in the water, the animals, that is the scarabæi, issue forth. The scarabæus also symbolizes generation, for the reason before mentioned;—and a father, because the scarabæus is engendered by a father only;—and the world because in its generation it is fashioned in the form of the world;—and a man, because there is not any female race among them. Moreover there are three species of scarabæi, the first like a cat,[11] and irradiated, which species they have consecrated to the sun from this similarity; for they say that the male cat changes the shape of the pupils [11]of his eyes according to the course of the sun; for in the morning at the rising of the god, they are dilated, and in the middle of the day become round, and about sunset, appear less brilliant; whence also, the statue of the god in the city of the sun[12] is of the form of a cat. Every scarabæus also has thirty toes, corresponding to the thirty days duration of the month, during which the rising sun performs his course. The second species is the two-horned and bull-formed; which are consecrated to the moon; whence the children of the Egyptians say, that the bull in the heavens is the exaltation of this goddess. The third species is, the one-horned and Ibis-formed, which they regard as sacred to Hermes (i.e., Thoth.) in like manner as the bird."[13][14]

[12]Horapollo also says: "To denote Hephæstos (Ptah,) they delineate a scarabæus and a vulture, and to denote Athena (Neith,) a vulture and a scarabæus."[15]

The scarabæus also had an astronomical value and is placed on some zodiacs in place of the crab. It may be found on the outside, or square planisphere, of the zodiac of the Temple of Denderah. Some archæologists think it preceded the crab, as the emblem of the division of the zodiac called by us, Cancer. Its emblem, as shown on the Hindu zodiac, looks more like a beetle or other insect than it does like a crab.[16]

The religious feeling for it, most probably existed among the early [13]Ethiopians, before the migration of the ancient race who were the originators of the Egyptians, into the land on the banks of the Nile. The cult is shown in more modern times by the veneration of the Hottentot for the same insect, and from the worship of the Holy Cricket by the natives of Madagascar. The Egyptians held the scarabæus especially sacred to Amen-Ra, i.e., the mystery of the sun-god. It was their symbol of the creative and fertilizing power, of the re-birth, resurrection and immortality of the soul, and was, through this, connected with their astronomical and funeral rites and knowledge. It was, as the living insect, the first living creature seen coming to life from the fertilizing mud of the Nile, under the influence of the hot rays of the sun, after the subsidence of the inundating waters of that river. The royal cartouches of their kings is in an oval [14]taken from the form of its under side. And this oval form has existed from the most remote times that we have any knowledge of the cartouch.

It is often found portrayed, as if a passenger in a boat, with extended wings; holding in its claws the globe of the sun, or elevated in the firmament, as the type of the creating power of the sun-god Ra, in the meridian. Other deities are sometimes shown praying to it.[17]

Ptah the Creative Power, and also Khepera, a kosmogonic deity of the highest type, had the scarab assigned to them as an emblem. It was one of the forms symbolic of the Demiurge or Maker of our universe. It was also the emblem of Ptah Tore, of Memphis, another [15]symbolic form of the creative power. It was assigned as an emblem of Ptah-Sokari-Osiris, the pigmy deity of Memphis, being placed on his head, and this deity was sometimes represented under the form of a scarab. It was also an emblem of Ra, the sun deity; also, an emblem of the world or universe; and was, as I have said, connected with astronomy and with funeral rites, and the second birth or re-birth, of the soul.

Another use of the scarabæus by the Egyptians was as an amulet and talisman, both for the living and the dead; and for that reason, images, symbols or words; supposed to be agreeable to the deity, or to the evil spirit sought to be conciliated; were incised, or engraved in intaglio, upon the under side. It was also used as a signet to impress on wax, clay or other material, so as to fasten up doors, boxes, etc., containing valuable things, so they could not [16]be opened without breaking the impression. The engraving on the under surface of the scarab was also impressed on wax, etc., to verify the execution of, or to keep secret, written documents; and in some instances, the papyrus or linen, was written upon, then rolled up, and a string used to fasten it; an impression of the signet, made on wax or other material, was then placed on it and the string, so that it could not be opened without breaking the impression.

In very ancient paintings especially those in the tombs of the kings of Thebes, the scarabæus plays a most remarkable part, as an emblem of the creating first source of life, which passes from it to the embryo, through the intermediary of a celestial generator, who is intended to represent the Makrokosm or great Ideal Man, as the demiurgos. We find the idea of the Makrokosm or great Ideal Man, [17]permeating those writings termed, the Books of Hermes Trismegistos, which have reached our day, and which, with some more recent matter, contain much very old, Egyptian philosophy.[18] Statements as to the Ideal Prototype and the Primordial Man, are apparently, set forth in many of the Ancient Egyptian writings.


[6] P. Le Page Renouf in: The Origin and Growth of Religion, as illustrated by the Religion of Ancient Egypt. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 6.

[7] Pliny's Natural History. Bk. XXIX., ch. 38 end. Bohn ed. by John Bostock and H.T. Riley. London, 1856, Vol. V., p. 416.

[8] Plutarch says: "The Egyptian warriors had a beetle carved upon their signets, because there is no such thing as a female beetle; for they are all males," etc.—Of Isis and Osiris §§ 10, 74, in Plutarch's Morals. Wm. W. Goodwin's English edition. Boston, 1878, Vol. IV., pp. 73, 132. Comp. Ælian X., 15.

[9] Probably the "lucanus" mentioned in Bk. XI., ch. 34, supposed to be the same as, the stag beetle.

[10] Bk. XXX., ch. 30. Bohn ed., Vol. V., p. 454. See also Vol. III., p. 34; Bk. XI, ch. 34.

[11] There is likely the word eye omitted here, it shining like a cat's eye. Myer.

[12] Heliopolis. Myer.

[13] The Ibis which was sacred to Thoth. Myer.

[14] The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo Nilous, by Alexander Turner Cory. London, 1840. See also, Horapollinis Niloi Hieroglyphica edidit, etc., Conradus Leemans, Amstelodami, 1835.

[15] Ptah Tore, the deformed pigmy god of Memphis, has a scarabæus on his head, and sometimes, stands on the figure of a crocodile. Ibid., Cory's ed., p. 29.

[16] Religions de l'Antiquité, etc., du Dr. Fréd. Creuzer, edition of J.D. Guigniaut. Paris, 1825, Vol. I., part 2, Hindu plates XVII., Egyptian plates XLIX.

[17] For such pictures see, Thomas J. Pettigrew's Hist. of Egyptian Mummies. London, 1834, Plate 8, Nos, 1, 2 and 3. Wilkinson's Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, 2nd Series. London, 1841, Vol. II., p. 256. Scarabées Égyptiens, figurés du Musée des Antiquea de sa majesté l'empereur, Vienne, 1824.

[18] Religions de l'Antiquité, etc., du Dr. Fréd. Creuzer, refondu, etc., par J.D. Guigniaut, Vol. I., part 2, Note 6, p. 821 et seq., p. 948 et seq., Nos. 187 and 187a of Plate XLVIII. and pp. 80, 82. As to the Makrokosm see, The Qabbalah, etc., by Isaac Myer. Philadelphia, 1888. Also; Le Papyrus de Neb-Qed. (Exemplaire hiéroglyphique du livre des morts) etc., by Théodule Devéria, translation by Paul Pierret. Paris, 1872, p. 9.




The representations of the insect are among the earliest sculpture of stones known, and were cut in various materials, steatite a species of soapstone being one of the earliest used. Some were perhaps first moulded in clay, dried, and then cut into shape.

Many of those in use in Egypt were carved out of opaque or semi-transparent stones, and those cut in hard stone were usually made of some one of the following varieties: green basalt, diorite, granite, [19]hæmatite, lapis lazuli, jasper, serpentine, verde antique, smalt, root of emerald, which is the same as plasma or prase[19] cornelian, amethyst, sardonyx, agate and onyx. Those of soft material were cut out of steatite, a soft limestone similar to chalk, but usually they were of a white or grayish slaty stone easily cut and which stood fire. After having been cut into the correct shape, these were glazed in the fire, with enamels of different colors, usually of a light bluish green. Those found now of a brownish or dirty white color, have lost the original color of the glaze from the ravages of time. Some were of clay only sun-dried, others of clay burned into pottery. They were also [20]made of porcelain, and also, but rarely, of colored glass. They have also been found made of gold, ivory and even of wood. Champollion thinks, that certain signets found made of wood or pottery bearing the figure of the scarabæus in intaglio, were used to mark the victims which had been examined and passed as proper for the sacrifice. The scarabs, as we have remarked, were usually engraved with incised hieroglyphic symbols on the under side, frequently with those used on one of his cartouches by the reigning pharaoh, and were then worn by their owners to show veneration for him, as the representative of the deity upon earth, or from national pride. The names of deities, officials, private persons, and even only monograms or devices, at later periods, were engraved on the bases. The best class were usually made of a fine, hard, green basalt; sometimes they were joined [21]to the representation of the human heart on which was inscribed "Life, Stability and Protection." This was evidently talismanic.

The principal period of their manufacture in large quantities, was in the reign of Tehuti-mes, or Thotmes IIIrd, of the XVIIIth Dynasty (circa 1600-1566 B.C.) Other times were the XIXth and XXth Dynasties.

The large and small scarabs form two classes. Those two to three inches in length belong to the larger, and were usually for use inside of the mummies in place of the heart. There are also some of very large size; one made of basalt now in the British Museum, is five feet high.

The making of the shape of the scarab in cameo, in soft material was easily done, and the incising of its flat under surface with the hieroglyphics not difficult; the [22]artist most likely used, one or more instruments of different sizes, formed at the end like a very small chisel or bradawl, and gouged or punched out the figures and inscriptions desired, before the glazing or enameling was put on, this gave a flat appearance at the depth or bottom of the incised work. On those of hard stone they used hand-drills or the lathe.

I condense the following remarks, adding however some of my own, from a very valuable little book recently published by the learned egyptologist Mr. W.M. Flinders Petrie, entitled: Historical Scarabs.[20]

I regret Mr. Petrie's lithographic drawings are so blurred that they are difficult to read, and hope that he will, in the near [23]future, get out a more artistic and complete book on this important subject.[21]

He shows 2,220 examples of incised historical scarabs. The first genuine historical scarabs he gives copies of, are those of Neb-ka of the IIIrd Dynasty; (circa 3933-3900 B.C.) He also shows some of the period of Nefer-ka-Ra or Huni, mentioned in Brugsch's History of the Pharaohs, pages 27 and 32; who lived 3800 B.C. The name Ra, forming part of the king's name at this period, is very unusual. It was not used, as a portion of his name, by any other Egyptian king from the Ist Dynasty to the second king of the IVth or Great Pyramid Dynasty, named Tatf-Ra. The next king to him was Khaf-Ra. The reign of Tatf-Ra was [24]preceded by that of Khufu, the Kheops of the Greek writers, builder of the Great Pyramid; (circa 3733-3700 B.C.)

The scarabs of the time of Khufu are all small and of fine work but without elaboration, and the colors are delicate, beautiful and permanent. Under Khaf-Ra or Khefren, there was a deterioration; the work is inferior and the glazing has often perished, indeed good glazes are rare after this period until the XIth Dynasty; (circa 2500 B.C.) The glazes of this latter period are hard, unalterable and of fine colors, some under the XIIth are fine but often they are decomposed. Blue is a special color of this time and it is also used in the sculpture. Under Pepi, IVth Dynasty, (circa 3233 B.C.,) the scroll pattern first arises as a system, but is not found continuously in the scarabs of his period. In the XIIth Dynasty, (2466-2266 B.C.,) the continuous scroll [25]pattern was developed, it became general in the XIIIth, (circa 2233 B.C.,)and XIVth Dynasties, and lingered as far as the XIXth (1400 B.C.)

Brown scarabs were originally green glazed but have faded, white were originally blue, excepting possibly some of Amen-hotep IIIrd. There are also white and gray, without any glaze remaining, which were originally blue or green.

The cowroids, with a rope border on the back, are of the Hyksos period.

The XVIIIth Dynasty (1700-1400 B.C.,) begins with some of a poor style but it soon disappeared. The peculiarity of the first part of this Dynasty is the dark green glaze—rather greyish—this was followed by those of brilliant tints in the time of Amen-hotep IIIrd, (1500-1433 B.C.,) those of red, yellow, violet, chocolate and other colors. They are never met with later.

At the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty, [26]pottery rings came into general use and are more frequently met with than scarabs. Their range is from Amen-hotep IIIrd to Rameses IInd.

In the XVIIIth Dynasty the art of glazing deteriorated, and most of the scarabs of this period have now lost their original colors, and are at present only browns and greys.

Under Rameses IInd and his successors the work is poorly done.

In the XXIVth (the Saïtic Period, circa 733 B.C.,) and in the XXVth Dynasties, there was a revival and better work and glaze and there remain of this time some fine examples.

The XXVIth (666-528 B.C. Saïtic,) was poor in results but the work neat. The scarab form had nearly run its course and continued, in a debased style, until the close of the native monarchy with the XXXth Dynasty (circa 378 B.C.)

[27]Place had much to do with the difference between scarabs, local styles of manufacture made more differences than various Dynasties. This is a subject very difficult to investigate; we have but few sources of information on this subject. At ancient Tanis (now called by the Arabs, San,) they are all of schist, rough and small, the glaze nearly always gone; within a short distance from there, at Nebesheh, they are usually of pottery with bright apple-green glazes; at Naukratis, the Ancient Egyptian name of which was Am and which was a city in the time of the XIIth Dynasty, they are mostly of soft glazed pottery, or, of a blue paste, and nearly all are small; in the ruins of this city was found a factory for making Greek scarabs in imitation of the Egyptian style.[22] It is said, that those with scroll [28]border, are from the ancient city of Abydos.

A curious thing is, the re-issue of those of an earlier king by a later monarch, examples of these are, re-issues under queen Hatshepsu (circa 1600 B.C.,) and Tehuti-mes IIIrd (circa 1600-1566 B.C.,) of the XVIIIth Dynasty. The earlier and later names are often on one scarab. We cannot therefore be sure of the age of a scarab, even from the inscription, as it may be of a period subsequent to the king named on it. However these re-issues were only in a few special periods. One point to be noted is, we find similar work and color in the majority of those made under each pharaoh, and such style is different from that of any earlier or later age; through this we have a guide as to the original dating of most scarabs from the IVth Dynasty to the end. No subsequent period shows us [29]similarities to the majority of the scarabs of any one king.

To the unlearned probably all scarabs look alike, but to an eye educated on the subject, the peculiarities of each Dynasty, and even of separate reigns, become evident. The value of scarabs to the historian is therefore great, as the study of scarabs will reveal, the names of kings unknown heretofore from any of the other monuments so far discovered.


[19] This is chalcedony penetrated by minute green fibres of hornblende. It is now found principally in India and China. The color is frequently equal to that of the finest emerald, but the yellow patches or black spots running through it, distinguish its species. Ancient specimens have been found free of these marks and very transparent. They may have had a method in ancient times of freeing the stone from these spots.

[20] Historical Scarabs. A series of Drawings from the Principal Collections. Arranged chronologically, by W.M. Flinders Petrie, author of, Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, etc. London, D. Nutt, 1889.

[21] I have generally used in this work the ordinary well known forms of the Egyptian proper names, such as Rameses, Thotmes, Amen-hotep, etc., instead of the more unusual, but more correct and learned, names: Ra-messu, Tehuti-mes, Amen-hetep, etc. The dates are based on those of Dr. Heinrich Brugsch-Bey.

[22] Ten Years Digging in Egypt, etc., by W.M. Flinders Petrie. London, 1892, p. 45.




The art of the lapidary is asserted in the Book of Enoch, to have been taught to mankind by the angel Azazel,[23] chief of the angels who took to themselves [31]wives from among the daughters of men. The most ancient method consisted, in obtaining a flat surface by rubbing or scraping, with corundum or other hard and wearing stone, the stone to be engraved. If a very hard stone, the incising or cutting was done by drilling, wearing and polishing, through attrition, by means of a wooden or metal point, kept in connection with a silicious sand or corundum, by the medium of oil or water; and also, by the use of the punch and of the wheel. The Greek artists likely used powdered emery and copper drills. Bronze and iron drills, and those of other metals may have been used at a very early period. Pliny says, corundum was used in the form of a splinter fixed in an iron style. The ancients also appear at a very early period, to have used diamond dust and oil, and diamond splinters, framed in iron.

It has been shown by recent [32]investigations, that the Ancient Egyptians, before the building of the Great Pyramid; cut diorite, syenite and other very hard stone, by means of saws, some of them nine feet long, having jeweled teeth inserted; and that they excavated the centre of large blocks of hard stones for use as sarcophagi, etc., by means of tubular or circular hollow drills, the cutting surface of which was armed with jewels. They then took out the core and broke down the partitions between the drilled holes, with the chisel and hammer, and thus made large excavations in the block of hard stone. They also used lathes at a most archaic period in cutting diorite and other hard stones.[24] They also used the bow-drill,[25] They also may have known and used boort.

[33]As early as the first Theban Dynasty, the XIIth Egyptian (2466-2266 B.C.,) the Dynasty in which lived the Amen-em-hats and the Usertsens, the great early art period of the Egyptian empire,[26] the Egyptians engraved on amethyst, jasper and rock crystal, and at that early period did some of the most beautiful work remaining to us of their glyptography. The signets however were not always in scarab form, they were sometimes squares or parallelograms.[27]

There is now in the Museum of the Louvre in Paris, France, the finest old cameo in the world. It is of the reign of Amen-em-hat IIIrd of the XIIth Dynasty, (2300 B.C.) This was the first Theban Dynasty and is a very rare period for Egyptian cameo work, as they then [34]usually incised their engraving on precious stones and did not engrave them in relief.[28] The stone is a square sardonyx and is engraved in relief, with great fineness on one side, with a figure the name of which can be read Ha-ro-bes, the other side is incised and has the figure of a pharaoh killing a prisoner, whom he holds by the beard, with a mace; the cartouch reads, Ra-en-ma, i.e., Amen-em-hat IIIrd. The intaglio work on this side is not equal to that in cameo, on the other.

There is yet in existence the signet ring of the celebrated Queen Hatshepsu (circa 1600-1566 B.C.) It is made of fine turquoise, cut in the form of a scarab, perforated longitudinally and hung on a swivel. On the under side is engraved the family name of the Queen.[29] There [35]also exists the signet ring of Amen-hotep IInd, (1566-1533 B.C.,) having inserted in it a fine green glazed scarab.[30]

The description of the working and engraving of precious stones in the VIIth century before our era, is given in Ezekiel[31] where addressing the king of Tyre, he says: "Thou art covered with precious stones of all kinds, with the ruby, emerald, diamond, hyacinth, onyx, jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, sardonyx and gold. The wheels and drills of the lapidaries, were prepared in thy service for the day in which thou wert created."

The use of the signet ring is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament.[32] There, are also the phrases, "Sealed up in a [36]bag;"[33] "A book that is sealed;"[34] "Written evidence sealed;"[35] "Sealed with clay;"[36] "Sealing with the signet of the king."[37] There are also many places referring to the use of seals in the New Testament.

In Genesis, we find Thamar asking from Judah, his seal, seal string and staff; in pledge.[38] In the same book, but referring to a much later period,[39] Pharaoh takes his signet ring, in which was likely set a scarab, from his hand and puts it on the hand of Joseph, so as to confer sovereign authority upon him.[40]

[37]In Exodus,[41] mention is made of the engraving of Shoham stones as a signet, i.e., in intaglio, as done by Betzaleel for the ephod of the High Priest, and for his breastplate, engraved in the same way; these were hard precious stones. We do not know with certainty the names of these stones in English. The Hebrew names of those on the first row of the ephod, are; odem, piteda, bareketh; second row, nophesh, saphir, yahlome; third row, leshéme, shevo, a'halama; fourth and last row, tarshish, shokam, yoshphé.

Some archæologists argue, that the original form of the Egyptian seal was that of a cylinder, and from thence would deduce, that the Egyptians, or at the least Egyptian art, came from Mesopotamia. I would now say, that I do not believe that fact can be correctly deduced, from the cylindrical form sometimes used in [38]Egypt. The cylinder perforated is only a form of the bead, and beads were one of the earliest forms of decoration and ornament, used by primitive man. The earliest shape of genuine seals known and used in Egypt, is that in the scarab form and that form is peculiarly Egyptian; cylinders however were sometimes used by that people in early times. The Egyptians at a time, to us beyond all positive history, took advantage of and used the intaglio seal, so as to secure, by its impression, the authenticity of personal acts whether done by the sovereign, his chancellor, or his treasurer, or by private individuals; and they sometimes made use of signets of a cylindrical form, which they applied upon clay or wax, but such were not frequently used in Egypt. The cartouch of the earliest known king, Mena, (4400 B.C.,) is in the form of the outline of the under side of the scarab.

[39]It was because of its shape, the oval, ellipse, or ring form of the line around the cartouch, it not having an end; that the pharaohs, always having in mind immortality, have placed their names within that form. The incised oval capable of producing millions of impressions, would also be thought of as an emblem of reproduction, renewment and eternity.

Indeed in all the different epochs of its greatness, we will find used in Egypt, a few cylinders of hard stone upon which are well engraved cartouches. There is one in serpentine in the National Library of Paris bearing the name of Khufu or Kheops, of the IVth Dynasty, (3733 B.C.,) builder of the Great Pyramid at Gizeh. They have been found of soapstone made in the period of the IVth Dynasty, and of schist enameled green, of the periods of Amen-em-hat Ist, Amen-em-hat IInd and of Sovkhotpu IIIrd, [40]pharaohs of the XIIth and XIIIth Dynasties. These were royal cylinders. After the XVIIIth Dynasty such are very rare in that form.

"The cylinders," says a very learned writer upon Oriental Glyptic Art; "whatever may be their material, have never shown the mark of a foreign influence upon the soil of Egypt. Nevertheless the relations of Egypt and Chaldea date from the very highest antiquity."[42] Scarabs became unfashionable in Egypt in the XIIth Dynasty and cylinders were largely used. They were used by the Usertsens and the Amen-em-has, but after the XIIth Dynasty cylinders are rare in Egypt. The shape of the cartouch does not appear to have been changed.

Rings came into fashion with Amen-hotep IIIrd and died out under Rameses [41]IInd, the last king whose name we find on a bezel. I do not deny that relations existed from the most archaic periods between the people of Mesopotamia and those of Egypt, the discoveries of the magnificent sculpture in and beautifully incised writing on, green diorite; one of the hardest, toughest, and heaviest, stones known; found at Telloh by M. de Sarzec, which had to be brought in large blocks from the quarries of Sinai; take us back to the most remote period, in which we have any knowledge of the inhabitants of Lower Mesopotamia. One of the most wonderful ancient statues in existence is that of king Khaf-Ra of the IVth Dynasty, the Khephren of the Greek writers, builder of the second Great Pyramid of Gizeh, (circa 3666 B.C.,) now in the Museum of Gizeh, Egypt. This statue, a full sized portrait-statue, is made of green diorite highly polished and is a [42]magnificent work of Egyptian art. Its base is inscribed: "Image of the Golden Horus, Khephren, beautiful god, lord of diadems."[43] This shows, that the Egyptians worked the quarries of diorite at Sinai and sculptured in it, about 4000 B.C.[44] The figures found at Telloh are in a seated position, are sculptured in archaic Egyptian style, and are covered with beautifully incised writing.[45]

I also know from the cuneiform inscriptions, that relations existed between the First Empire of Chaldea and the pharaohs of the Great Pyramids of Gizeh, as early as the reign of the Chaldean king Naram-Sin; (circa 3755 B.C.) [43]Subsequent to the periods cited, there exist a number of historical facts showing the knowledge of each other, possessed by the inhabitants of the valley of the Nile and the people of Mesopotamia.[46]

The same specialist in Oriental glyptics, says: "The efforts of some learned men to discover traces of a reciprocal influence have been fruitless. The pyramids of Egypt have no affinity with those of Chaldea, the sculpture of Egypt does not resemble in anything that of Nineveh or Caleh; would the glyptic art have escaped that individual development which characterizes the two peoples? I think not; at least we have no proof of it."[47]

And a very erudite archæologist of our day, Hodder M. Westropp, holds; that the Assyrian cylinders came into that [44]country from Egypt and did not come from Assyria into Egypt.[48]

Scarabs went out of use under the so-called Heretic kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty. Some fine enamel work on other subjects was made in this period, showing that art had not degenerated, indeed the discoveries made in the ruins of Khuaten, the present town called Tell-el-Amarna, show remains of magnificent monuments sculptured in the period of the Heretic kings of Egypt, (circa 1466-1400 B.C.)

The scarab became again in use in the time of Hor-em-heb and Sethi I., and rings again became fashionable in Egypt.

After the fall of the Ramessidian kings, the priestly Dynasty of Her-hor does not appear to have made use of them very largely. In the recent great [45]discovery at Dayr-el-Baharee very few were found, and none bearing the name of Her-hor or his immediate family.


[23] The Book of Enoch, etc., by Rev. George H. Schodde, Ph.D. Andover, 1882, pp. 67, 68.

[24] Ten Years Digging in Egypt, 1881-1891, by W.M. Flinders Petrie, etc. The Religious Tract Soc. London, 1892, pp. 19, 20, 26 et seq., 119.

[25] Ibid., p. 119.

[26] Egypt Under the Pharaohs, etc., by Heinrich Bragsch-Bey. London, 1891, p. 80 et seq.

[27] M. Menant in, Les Pierres Gravées de la Haute-Asie. Paris, 1886, Part II., p. 193 et seq.

[28] Ibid., p. 194.

[29] Recueil de Travaux Relatifs à la Philol. et à l'Archéol. Égypt, etc., publié sous la direction de G. Maspero. Paris, 1888, Vol. X., p. 126.

[30] Ibid.

[31] XXVIII., 13. Comp. De Luynes, Numismatique des Satrapies, p. 71. G. Perrot and C. Chipiez, Histoire de l'Art Phènicie, Vol. III., p. 632.

[32] I Kings, XXI., 8; Deut. XXXII., 34; Neh. IX., 38, XI., 1; Esth. VIII., 8, 10.

[33] Job XIV., 17.

[34] Isa. XXIX., 11; Dan. IX., 24, XII., 49.

[35] Jer. XII., 10, XXXII., 11, 14, 44.

[36] Job XXXVIII., 14; Isa. VIII., 16.

[37] Dan. VI., 17; Esth. III., 12, VIII., 8, 10; I Kings, XXI., 8.

[38] Gen. XXXVIII., 18, 25, 26.

[39] Ibid. XLL, 42.

[40] Brugsch-Bey says: "The immigration of Joseph into Egypt was about 1730 B.C., near the time of the reign of the Hyksos King, Nub." Egypt Under the Pharaohs. London, 1891, p. 120 et seq.

[41] XXXIX., 6, 7, 10, 14.

[42] M. Joachim Menant, Les Pierres Gravées de la Haute-Asie. Recherches sur la Glyptique Orientale. Paris, 1886, Part II., p. 197.

[43] Bragsch-Bey in his, Egypt Under the Pharaohs. London, 1891, p. 36 et seq.

[44] M. Auguste Mariette, Outlines of Ancient Egyptian History, makes the IVth Dynasty begin at 4235 B.C.

[45] Découvertes en Chaldée par M. Ernest de Sarzec, etc. Ouvrage accompagné de planches, etc. Paris, 1884, et seq. See also, Article in Harper's Magazine, January, 1894, and Qabbalah, etc., by Isaac Myer. Philadelphia, 1888, p. 237 et seq.

[46] See the instances given by M. Menant in his Les Pierres Gravées de la Haute-Asie. Recherches sur la Glyptique Orientale, etc. Paris, 1886, p. 197 et seq.

[47] Ibid., p. 200.

[48] Hand-book of Archæology. London, 1867, pp. 253, 289. Recently Dr. Fritz Hommel, in his, Der babylonische Ursprung der ägyptischen Kultur, München, 1892, has endeavored to prove the contrary.




The oldest scarabs, as to which one can feel any certainty of their being genuine, are those I have mentioned bearing the name of Neb-Ka incised on the under surface. This pharaoh was of the IIIrd Dynasty and was living according to Brugsch-Bey, (3933-3900 B.C.)[49] That would make 5,826 years past according to Brugsch. Auguste Mariette would make it much more ancient.

These scarabs were made of pottery and glazed a pale green. It has been stated by some archæologists that the oldest [47]scarabs were not engraved, the under part being made to represent the legs of the beetle folded under its body, but this is only a supposition, as the age can only be determined with any certainty, by the inscriptions incised on the under part and those not so inscribed, may be of different periods, some of very late times.

The forms usually met with in the tombs are, first; those with the lower part as a flat level surface for the purpose of having an inscription incised upon it; those having the engraving incised upon such a surface; and those with the legs inserted under them in imitation of nature. Sometimes the head and thorax are replaced by a human face, and occasionally the body or the elytra have the form of the Egyptian royal cap.

They often hold between the fore-legs representations of the sun.

The smaller scarabs have as subjects [48]engraved upon them, representations of the Egyptian deities, the names of the reigning pharaohs, of queens, animals, religious symbols, sacred, civil and funeral emblems, names of priests, nobles, officers of state and private individuals, ornaments, plants, and sometimes dates and numbers written in ciphers. Some have upon them mottoes, such as: "Good Luck," "A Happy Life," etc., being used for sealing letters, etc., and as presents. The larger sized have frequently texts and parts of chapters from the Book of the Dead.

We can therefore make a general classification of scarabs into:

I. Mythological or Religious, containing subjects, figures or inscriptions, connected with kosmogony, kosmology, or, religion.

II. Historical, containing royal cartouches and names of men, and figures relating to civil customs.

[49]III. Physiographical, containing animals or plants connected with consecrated symbols.

IV. Funereal, connected with the Ka or life of the mummy in this world, and with the journey of his Ba or responsible soul, through the under-world.

V. Talisman or Amulets, to preserve the wearer from injury in this world, by men or by evil spirits.

VI. Signets or Seals for official use, to verify documents or evidence, protect property and correspondence, etc.

VII. And others, which have upon them only ornamental designs, as to which we cannot, up to this time, ascertain the meaning.

The Historical scarabs are of great value in ascertaining or displaying, in chronological series, the cartouches or shield names, if I may be permitted thus to term them, of the monarchs of Egypt; [50]going from the most remote antiquity of the Egyptian kingdom, to A.D. 200.

"The Ancient Egyptians," remarks the Rev. Mr. Loftie, in his admirable little book; Of Scarabs, p. 30 et seq., "happy people, had no money on which to stamp the image and superscription of their Pharaohs. A collection of scarabs, inscribed with the names of kings, stands therefore to Egyptian history as a collection of coins stands to the history of the younger nations of the earth. The day must come when our Universities and other bodies of learned folk, will study the beginnings of things as they are presented in Egyptian history, and some knowledge of these curious little objects will become indispensable to an educated man * * * * The collection now arranged in the British Museum is second to none."

I would also say, those in the Louvre [51]at Paris, are now arranged chronologically. A good collection is also in the Egyptian Museum at Gizeh, collected by M. Mariette; formerly it was very fine. Mr. W.M. Flinders Petrie asserts[50] that most have been stolen, and further says: "I hear that they were mainly sold to General Cesnola for New York." If these are in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of New York City, it possesses a genuine and rare collection of scarabs.

A large number of scarabs bear the names of the pharaonic kings; this is not strange when we remember that the pharaoh was Horus, Khepera, and also a son of Ra and of Osiris. These cartouches are those of kings of orthodox Egyptian descent, we do not find the names of the Greek Ptolemies upon them, [52]the Roman Emperors, as conquerors, sometimes used them but that does not prove their abstract right to do so.

The latest, in the collection belonging to France, is of Nectanebo the last native pharaoh, (circa 300 B.C.)

Some of them, as did those of Thotmes IIIrd, bear the inscription, Ra-men-kheper, i.e., Ra, the sun-god establishes the future resurrection. This is found on fully one-half of the specimens from the XVIIIth Dynasty down.

The art of making the scarabs as I have said before, varies with the epochs. The most elegantly finished are those of the time of the IVth Dynasty (3733-3600 B.C.,) that of the Great Pyramids; in the XIIth Dynasty (2466-2266 B.C.,) fine work again appears, then comes inartistic work. Again with the XVIIIth Dynasty (1700-1433 B.C.,) arises another period of splendor, and the art after again [53]deteriorating revived under the XXVIth, the Saïtic Dynasty, (666-528 B.C.)

Amenophis (or Amen-hotep) IIIrd of the XVIIIth Dynasty, the Memnon of the Greeks,[51] (circa 1500-1466 B.C.,) had a number of large scarabs made, their object was not sepulchral nor were they to be used as talisman, but they apparently were made for the incising upon them, of purely historical inscriptions; such monuments are exceedingly rare and are almost limited to the time of this Pharaoh. In the great building erected by him, now known as the Temple of Luxor, were found four of these great inscribed scarabs. Rosellini has given copies and explanations of two of them. Dr. Samuel Birch has given a translation of them, which I think is subject to revision.[52] One relates to the marriage of Amen-hotep IIIrd in [54]the tenth year of his reign, with his queen Thya, (Taia, or Thai;) a second relates to the same subject and to the arrival of Thya and Gilukipa in Egypt, with 317 women; a third, now in the Vatican, mentions a tank or sacred lake, made for the queen Thya, in the eleventh year and third month of his reign, to celebrate the Festival of the Waters, on which occasion he entered it, in a boat of "the most gracious Disk of Ra," i.e., the sun-god. This substitution of the boat of the "Disk of Ra" for the usual boat of Amen-Ra, is the first indication of a new, or heretical, sun worship.[53]

One in the Museum of the Louvre (No. 580-747, Vitrine N.) reads: "The living Horus, the bull strong through the Ma, the sovereign of the two regions, supporter of the laws and preserver of the [55]land (country,) the Horus triumphant and great by his valor, vanquisher of the Asiatics, king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ra-ma-neb (the prenomen of the king,) son of the sun, Amenophis III., giving life. The queen Taia living.

Account of the lions brought from Asia by his Majesty, namely: from the first year to the tenth, savage lions 102."

Another in the same Museum (582-787, Vitrine N.) This begins, as the preceding, with an eulogy of Amenophis III. and follows with: "The principal consort Taia, living, the name of her father (is) Auaa. The name of her mother (is) Tuaa, She is the consort of the victorious king whose frontiers (extend) to the south as far as Ka ro (or, Karai, perhaps Soudan,) to the north as far as Naharina," i.e., Mesopotamia. There are many other historical scarabs in this Museum but these have the longest and most important inscriptions.

[56]Another scarab of this Pharaoh is in the collection of the Rev. W.J. Loftie, of London, England. It is large, 3½ inches long by 2¼ inches wide, it is made of steatite and glazed; it tells: "The number of fierce lions brought in by his majesty, and killed by him, from the beginning of his first (year) to the tenth year of his reign, were 102."[54]


[49] Egypt Under the Pharaohs, etc. London, 1891, p. 20.

[50] Historical Scarabs, etc., by W.M. Flinders Petrie. London, 1889, p. 14.

[51] Egypt Under the Pharaohs, by Brugsch-Bey. London, 1891, pp. 205, 206, 208.

[52] Records of the Past, Vol. XII., p. 37 et seq.

[53] Bunsen. Egypt's Place in Hist., etc., III., p. 142, etc.; also Records of Past, above cited.

[54] An Essay of Scarabs, by W.J. Loftie, B.A., F.S.A. London, (125 copies printed,) pp. 37, 38.




The small sized scarabs were usually incised with hieroglyphics and perforated longitudinally; they are generally found on the breasts of mummies next the skin or suspended from the neck, by a wire of gold or other metal, or a string going through them, or worn like a ring stone on the forefinger of the left hand; and sometimes, grasped inside of the closed left hand. The inscriptions on them usually run from right to left. One [58]method of wearing them by the living, a very ancient one, was by stringing them on a cord or a wire, so that they could be worn as a bracelet on the wrist, a necklace around the throat, or as a pendant to a necklace. The engraved base serving not only as an amulet but also as the private signet of the owner. Soldiers wore them suspended around the neck, as a talisman when going into battle and also to instil courage in them during the fray. But the most usual mode of mounting them by the living, was as a stone for a finger ring on a swivel, or a wire, passing through the longitudinal perforation and then curved into a ring shape; this was usually worn on the forefinger of the left hand, as that finger was thought by the Egyptians, to contain a nerve leading directly to the heart; the engraved part was turned next to the flesh. M. Mariette says, that the mummies of the XIth [59]Dynasty nearly always have a scarab on the little finger of the left hand.[55]

Sometimes they were made of baked clay or cut in steatite, with the head of a hawk, cow, ram, dog, cat, lion, or even of a man, and such have been found buried with the mummies. Those found on the breasts of mummies embalmed most carefully and expensively, and in immediate contact with the flesh, have sometimes bodies of stone with extended wings, as if flying; these wings sometimes having been made of metal, frequently of gold, and at other times of cut stone.[56] Those found made of stone with extended wings, also had the latter often made of lead or silver; when of blue pottery, the wings were generally made of the same material.

On the lids of the outer cases of many coffins, especially of the finest; the [60]position over the breast of the mummy was occupied by a large winged scarabæus, moulded apparently, of pasteboard or of successive layers of gummed linen, and then beautifully painted in colors. This was to act as the protector Khepra, of the ka or immaterial vitality of the sahu or mummy. The Egyptians had a complicated psychology which we will refer to more fully hereafter.

Those within the coverings were most probably put inside of the mummy wrappings to act as talisman, like the writing upon the linen wrappings, and the bandelettes inscribed with texts from the Book of the Dead, or, the Shait an Sensen, i.e., Book of the Breathings of Life, and as also were enclosed, copies of entire chapters and parts, of the Book of the Dead, written upon papyrus or linen; or inscribed on the large stone scarabs, which were put in the body of the corpse, to take the [61]place of the heart, the last having been deposited with the lungs, in the jar of Tuamautef, one of the four Canopic jars. The idea being to drive away evil spirits, supposed to be injurious to the passage of the soul of the dead, upon its journey through the under-world to the new birth and power of transformation, in the eternal heaven of the Egyptians.

There appears to have been two divisions of that eternal heaven, one called Aar and Aanru, the place in which agricultural labors were performed, and the other Hotep, the place of repose. Both are mentioned in the Book of the Dead.

Indeed some chapters of the Book of the Dead were only inscribed on the linen winding sheet of the mummy, and the texts of the CLIVth chapter were only recovered recently, upon the unrolling of the mummy of Tehuti-mes, or Thotmes, IIIrd (1600 B.C.,) of the XVIIIth [62]Dynasty, the great warrior king of Egypt, found a few years past at Dayr-el-Baharee; inscribed upon his linen winding sheet. As the winding sheet was the only proper place for this text, and as it is unique, it likely would not ever have been known, if this Pharaoh's mummy had not been discovered unmutilated.

The small scarabs were usually placed upon the eyes or the breast, sometimes over the stomach. They were strung into a net to cover the corpse and were sewed on the wrappings. As many as three thousand have been found in one tomb.

Egyptian scarabs were found by Mr. Layard, in his explorations on the banks of the Khabour in Mesopotamia, at Arban; and he gives plates of the same.[57] Three are of the reigns of the Egyptian kings Thotmes IIIrd, and one of Amenophis [63]IIIrd. They are mostly of steachist, and of the XVIIIth Dynasty. He found one of hard stone, an agate, engraved with an Assyrian emblem.[58] He also found at Nimrûd; cubes of bronze upon which were scarabs with outstretched wings, inlaid in gold,[59] and bronze bowls with conventional forms of the scarab, rather Phœnician than Egyptian, in the centre of the inside.[60]

After the Christian era the influence of cult of the scarab was still felt. St. Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, calls Jesus: "The good Scarabæus, who rolled up before him the hitherto unshapen mud of our bodies."[61] St. Epiphanius has been quoted as saying of Christ: "He is the scarabæus of God," and indeed it appears [64]likely that what may be called, Christian forms of the scarab, yet exist. One has been described as representing the crucifixion of Jesus; it is white and the engraving is in green, on the back are two palm branches; many others have been found apparently engraved with the Latin cross.[62]


[55] Cat. of the Museum of Boulak, p. 34.

[56] Pettigrew, Hist. of Mummies, p. 220.

[57] Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon, etc., by Austen H. Layard, M.P. New York, 1853, p. 280 et seq.

[58] Ibid., p. 595.

[59] Ibid., p. 196.

[60] Ibid., p. 186.

[61] Works, Paris, 1686, Vol. I., col. 1528, No. 113. Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity, etc., by Samuel Sharpe. London, 1863, p. 3.

[62] An Essay of Scarabs, by W.J. Loftie, B.A., F.S.A., pp. 58, 59.




As I have already said: the larger scarabs are usually found in the body of the mummy in place of the heart, which was always taken out of the corpse and placed in one of the visceral vases, that of Tuamautef. The scarab was a symbol of the re-birth, resurrection and the eternal life of the soul, pronounced pure at the psychostasia; and we know from the Book of the Dead, that at the moment of resurrection, in analogy to the beginning of terrestrial life, it was the heart that was asserted to be given to the dead so as to receive the first vitality of the second birth, it was through the heart that the mummy would revive, thence the inscribed scarab was placed in the mummy in the place formerly occupied by its heart [67]when in terrestrial life. Sometimes the representation of a human heart was engraved on the scarabæus. The small scarabs are not often found inside of the mummy. But frequently large stone scarabs have been found in it in the place of the heart, on which, incised in very small characters, are portions of the Book of the Dead. Those usually inscribed are, the XXXth chapter or those parts of the LXIVth, line 34, or of the XXVIIth chapters, which relate to the heart of a man. They begin usually with the formula: "My heart which comes from my mother, my heart which is necessary for my transformations," etc. They are, following the commands in the Book of the Dead, frequently set in gold, sometimes in bronze, and sometimes are incised with the shape of the hieroglyph for the heart.

At some very remote period, so remote that we cannot even surmise its date, the [68]scarabæus symbol was considered as embodying not only the idea of the creator but also, the idea of the life beyond the grave in eternal futurity. Some scholars assert that the Egyptians rejected every abstraction and did not have any philosophy. This I do not and cannot believe from my investigations of their learning, but I do think, that we have not yet grasped nor understood that philosophy in its fullness, from the few remnants of it which have reached our day. The oldest texts and monuments show, a high condition of culture and thought as well as artistic feeling; the unknown deity was idealized and never represented to the eye on the monuments of early times; the Great Sphinx, itself a philosophical abstraction, was made long before the historical period; and the Book of the Dead, shows beneath its pages, a hidden religious metaphysical philosophy not yet [69]unraveled. This was, likely, secretly taught by word of mouth as Qabbalah or Oral Tradition to the initiates, and was never put into writing. Some of these ideas we have just grasped, for instance, we now have some knowledge of the Egyptian divisions of the spiritual or immaterial part of man, of his psychology, and upon studying these divisions one can readily imagine, a secret religious philosophy accompanying those separations of the spiritual in man. We are also obtaining some knowledge, of their idea of God and of their kosmology and kosmogony.

Six thousand years ago Egypt had attained great advancement. "Its religion was established. It possessed a language and writing. Art under the IVth and Vth Dynasties had reached a height which the following Dynasties[63] never surpassed. [70]It had an especially complicated administration, the result of many years. The Egyptians had civil grades and religious grades, bishops as well as prefects. Registration of land surveys existed. The pharaoh had his organized court, and a large number of functionaries, powerfully and wisely arranged, gravitated around him. Literature was honored and books were composed on morals, some of which have reached our day. This was under the Ancient Empire during which existed the builders of the Pyramids."[64] The deities of literature and of libraries already existed, they were Thoth, the Greek Hermes; Atmu, of Thebes; Ma or Maat, goddess of the harmony of the entire universe, or its law of existence, and of righteousness; Pacht, the mistress of thoughts; Safekh, goddess of books, who presided [71]over the foundations of monuments and who was venerated at Memphis as early as the IVth Dynasty; Selk, who was also the goddess of libraries.

"In one of the tombs at Gizeh, a great functionary of the first period of the VIth Dynasty (circa 3300 B.C.,) takes the title of: 'Governor of the House of Books.' This simple mention incidentally occurring between two titles, more exalted, would suffice, in the absence of others, to show us the extraordinary development which had been reached in the civilization of Egypt at that time. Not only had that people a literature, but that literature was sufficiently large to fill libraries; and its importance was so great, that one of the functionaries of the court was especially attached to the care and preservation of the royal library. He had, without doubt, in his keeping with the contemporaneous works, the books written [72]under the first Dynasties, books of the time of Mena and perhaps of kings anterior to Mena. The works in the library would be composed of religious works; chapters of the Book of the Dead, copied after authentic texts preserved in the Temples; scientific treatises on geometry, medicine and astronomy; historic books in which were preserved the sayings and doings of the ancient kings, together with the number of the years of their lives and the exact duration of their reigns; manuals of philosophy and practical morals and perhaps some romances," etc.[65]

The learned of that ancient people followed special lines of study and thought. There was a division of them known as the Herseshta, or Teachers of Mysteries. These were subdivided, [73]among other divisions into: "The Mystery Teachers of Heaven," or, the astronomers and astrologers; "The Mystery Teachers of All Lands," or, the geographers and those who studied other peoples and countries; "The Mystery Teachers of the Depth," likely, the possessors of a knowledge of minerals, mining, varieties of rocks, etc.; "Mystery Teachers of the Secret Word," doubtless those interested in abstract thought, religious metaphysics and philosophy; "Mystery Teachers of the Sacred Language," men who devoted themselves to grammar and the form of writing; "Mystery Teachers of Pharaoh, or, 'of all the commands of Pharaoh,'" wise men, likely private scribes and secretaries of the king; "Mystery Teachers who examine Words," likely learned men who sat as judges to hear complaints, and sift the opposing statements of litigants and witnesses. [74]The learned writers known as scribes were also divided into many branches.[66]

We cannot accept the statements of most of the Greek authors upon this subject, for the study of the last few years of the Ancient Egyptian papyri and other remains, shows that they either did not know or they willfully misrepresented, Egyptian abstract thought; about the only works, outside of the papyri and the monuments, from which we can gather as to it with any sureness, meagre details; are the writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistos; the Osiris and Isis, of Plutarch; the work ascribed to Horapollon, and the book of Iamblichus, entitled: A Treatise on the [75]Mysteries. The Greek writers upon Ancient Egypt, Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Thales, Plato, Pythagoras, Solon, and others, of less note; give but little assistance, indeed in many cases their statements are misleading. It is a question yet to be solved, as to how much of the foundations of the philosophy of Pythagoras, Plato, Solon and other Greek writers, were obtained from the learned men of Egypt or their writings.[67]

Chapter XXX. of the Per-em-hru, or, Book of the Dead, has frequently in the papyrus copies, a picture of the soul of the dead in adoration before a scarabæus set upright upon a support. This chapter is entitled: "Chapter of not allowing the heart of a man to have opposition made to it in the divine inferior region." It says [76]towards the end: "This chapter is to be said over a scarabæus of hard stone, formed and set in gold, which should be placed in the breast of the man, after the opening of the mouth has been made and the head anointed with oil; then the following words shall be said over him in right of a magical charm: 'My heart which comes to me from my mother, my heart which is necessary to me for my transformations.'" See, Appendix A.

The whole of this chapter was frequently engraved upon the large scarabs, which were placed in the breasts of the mummies in place of the heart.

The LXIVth chapter of the Book of the Dead, is one of the oldest of the entire collection and line 34 et seq., uses the same language as to the heart, and says: "Put it on a scarabæus of hard stone set in gold, in the breast of the mummy, having engraved on it: 'My heart is my [77]mother,'" etc. This chapter is fuller than the other just cited.

The CLXIIIrd chapter, lines 9, 10, says: "O Amen bull-scarabæus, master of the eyes: 'Terrible with the pupil of the eye' is thy name. The Osiris * * * (here the name of the deceased was inserted,) is the emanation of thy two eyes." That is, Amen is here invoked as the bull-symbol of generation and also as the scarabæus, that is, as the creator who has engendered himself.

Chapter CLXV. of the same book, has as a vignette or picture: The god Khem, ithyphallic, with the body of a scarab, etc., line 11 reads: "I do all thy words. Saying (them) over the image of the god raising the arm, having the double plume upon his head, the legs separated and the body of the scarabæus."

The rising sun or Horus, in whose arms it was asserted, the dead arose into [78]the upper life, was represented by the scarabæus under the name of Khepra, Khepera, or Khepri, this name among its other meanings signifying: "The itself transforming," and this is hieroglyphically written by the use of the scarabæus. The body of Khepera as a deity is surmounted in some of the representations, by a scarab in place of a human head.

In chapter XXIV. of the Book of the Dead, we read: "Khepra transforms itself, (or, gives itself a form to itself,) on high, from the thigh of its mother." This is more fully developed in a papyrus in the Louvre which reads: "The majesty of this great god attains that reign (the twelfth division of the subterranean world, responding to the twelfth hour of the night,) which is the end of absolute darkness. The birth of this great god, when it became Khepra, took place in that region * * * It went out from the [79]inferior region. It joined the boat mad. It raised itself above the thighs of Nut."

"O Khepra who created itself on high, from the thigh of its mother, i.e., Nu, or Nut."[68]

Nut was the goddess personifying the vault of heaven, the sky, and the space, in which the sun was supposed to have been born. The scarab it must be remembered was in the Egyptian thought, an androgyne.

In a papyrus now in Turin, Italy, we may read: "I am Khepera, the morning; Ra, the midday; Tum, the evening." It is said of Khepra as of Horus, that it produced the Ma, i.e., the law or harmony which uphold the universe, and it is merged with a form of Horus, under the [80]name of: "Harmakhis-Khepra who gives itself its form." One of the parts played by Khepra in Ancient Egyptian thought, is condensed in that figure which we find on the top of some of the Osirian naos's or arks, the scarab in the middle of the disk emerging from the horizon.

The perpetuity of the transformations or the power to become, whenever it pleased, the form it desired; was everywhere recalled to the mind of the people of Ancient Egypt, by the symbolic figure of the scarab, the hieroglyph of the words: To become, to be, to be existing, as also creator, an amulet of power above all others. "Khepra in its bark is Har-em-Khu (or, Harmakhis) himself," (chapter XVII. Book of the Dead, line 79.) The latter is the sun re-born every day at sunrise in the East under the name of Horus, it is: "Horus in the horizon," the conqueror of darkness. The scarab as [81]Tum-Ra-Khepra is the, "illuminator of the double earth at its going out of the under-world, great god, and master of the Ma:" that is, of the Harmony and Law, whereby the universe came into being and exists.

The similarity attached to the idea in the symbolism of the sphinx, causes the close student of Egyptology to see, that the scarab and the sphinx represent similar ideas. The Great Sphinx of Gizeh near the Great Pyramids, is an image of Ra-Harmakhis or, "Horus in the two horizons," (the rising and the setting sun;) one of the names of the sphinx is seshep (i.e., to make the light.) The sphinx is said to be, an emblem of energy and force united to intellect, it is one of the very earliest of the Ancient Egyptian emblems, that of Gizeh was old and needing repairs when the Pyramids were being built; (circa 3733 B.C.) That abstraction does not appear to me, to be beyond the [82]philosophy of the archaic Egyptians. The head of the Great Sphinx signified the Khu, or intellectual part of the soul, in their psychology; and the lion-shaped body, signified force, vitality or energy, the life principle or Ka.[69]

The promise of the resurrection of the soul was symbolized, by the Great Sphinx of Gizeh, old at the beginning of the Ancient Empire; by the Phœnix, and by the Scarab, the antiquity of the symbolism of which no Egyptologist has yet fathomed. We have it set forth in writing on the inscriptions of the earliest Dynasties.[70]

[83]On a stele found between the paws of the Great Sphinx of Gizeh is: "The majesty of this beautiful god speaks by its own mouth, as a father speaks to his child, saying: Look to me, let thine eye rest on me, my son Thutmes! I, thy father, Harmakhu-Khepra-Ra-Tum, I give thee the kingdom." This monarch was Thutmes IVth (1533 B.C.)[71]

In the interior of the pyramid of Mer-en-Ra (or Mirinri Ist,) 3200 B.C., was inscribed on the walls: "And they installing this Mihtimsaouf Mirini upon their thrones at the head of the divine Nine, mistress of Ra, it who has its dwelling fixed, because they cause that Mihtimsaouf Mirini may be as Ra, in its name of the [84]Scarabæus, and thou hast entered as to thyself as Ra," etc.[72]

"Salutation to thee Tumu,[73] salutation to thee, Scarabæus-god, who art thyself; thou who liftest up, in that holding thy name of lifter up ('from the earth,' 'the stairway,' or 'stairs,') and who art (Khopiru) in this, holding the name of the Scarabæus-god (Khopiru)! Salutation to thee Eye of Horus, whom it has furnished with its two creating hands (Tumuï,)" etc.[74]

Chapter XVII., line 75, of the Book [85]of the Dead, reads: "O Khepra in its boat! the society of the gods is its body, in other words, it is Eternity."

Chapter XXIV., lines 1, 2, say: "I am Khepra who gives to itself a form on high, from the thigh of its mother, making a wolf-dog, for those who are in the celestial abyss, and the phœnix, for those who are among the divine chiefs." That is, as Harmakhis.

Chapter XV., lines 3, 4, read: "Salutation to thee, Harmakhis-Khepra who to itself gives a form to itself! Splendid is thy rising in the horizon, illuminating the double earth with thy rays." The same chapter, line 47, reads: "Khepra, father of the gods! He (the defunct) has never any more injury to fear, thanks to that deliverance."

Chapter CXXXIV., line 2, says: "Homage to Khepra in its boat who every day overthrows Apap." Comp., [86]chapter CXXX., line 21, XLI., line 2. Apap was the evil serpent, the executioner of the gods, that is, the principal evil one; and Khepra, the scarabæus deity, overthrows the principal evil one, every day, according to this text.

"The Osiris * * * (name of the defunct was inserted in this blank,) is considered as a lord of eternity, he is considered as Khepra, he is lord of the diadem, he is in the eye of the sun," etc., says chapter XLII., lines 12, 13 et seq.

And in chapter XVII., which is one of the oldest chapters of the Per-em-hru, lines 76, 77, 78, is; "O Khepra in thy boat! (i.e., as Harmakhis) the body of the gods is even thy body, or so to say, it is Eternity. Save Osiris * * * from those watching judges (i.e., Isis and Nephthys,) to whom the master of spells has entrusted, at his pleasure, the watching of his enemies—whom the [87]executioner will strike—and from whose observation none escape. Let me not fall under their sword; let me not go into their place of torture; let me not remain supplicating in their abodes; let me not come into their place for execution; let me not sit down in their boilers; let me not do those things which are done by those whom the gods detest," etc.

Further according to the Book of the Dead, the soul of the dead man, says: "I fly among those of the divine essence, I become in it, Khepra ... I am that, which is in the bosom of the gods." (Chapter LXXXIII., lines 1, 2.)

Another text reads: "O it who establishes the mysteries which are in me, produce the transformations as Khepra, going out of the condition of the disk so as to give light (or, to enlighten.)" Chapter LXIV., line 16. (Comp. also chapter XCIII.)

[88]Another text says: "I give vigor to the murdering sword which is in the hand of Khepra against the rebels." (Chapter XCV., line 3.)

Khepra is also called, Tum-Khepra. (Chapter CXLI., line 6.)

Reaching the eternal abode, the soul, says: "I am intact, intact as my father Osiris-Khepra, of whom the image is, the man whose body is not decomposed." (Chapter CLIV., lines 1, 2.)

On articles of furniture, on toys, on the coffins of mummies, on papyri and linen and other monuments, the scarabæus appears and sets off in a strong light, the Egyptian belief in the resurrection and re-birth of the pious dead. The very idea of the transformation is shown, by the hieroglyph of the scarab for the word Kheper, i.e., to be, to become, to raise up. One of the most urgent prayers to be found in many places, in the Book of the [89]Dead as made by the deceased, is, that he may go out of the under-world to the higher regions of light, and have power to "go forth as a living soul, to take all the forms which may please him." Chabas says as to this: "We know that such was the principal beatitude of the elect in the Egyptian heaven; it allowed the faculty of transformation into all the universe under the form wished for." The god Khepra with folding wings symbolized these metamorphoses.

It figures continually in the sepulchral paintings on the walls of the hypogea of Thebes, and it announces the second birth of the soul to the future eternal life. Some figures have the scarab over the head, sometimes in place of the head. In the Great Temple at Edfu a scarab has been found portrayed with two heads, one of a ram, the symbol of Amen, or Ammon; the hidden or mysterious highest deity of [90]the priesthood especially of Thebes; the other of a hawk, the symbol of Horus, holding in its claws a symbol of the universe.[75] It may symbolize by this form, the rising sun and the coming of the Spring sun of the vernal equinox in the zodiacal sign of the ram, but more likely has a much deeper religious meaning.[76] Represented with the head and legs of a man the scarab was an emblem of Ptah.


[63] Unless it be the XIIth. Myer.

[64] La Galerie de l'Égypte Ancienne, etc., by Aug. Ed. Mariette-Bey. Paris, 1878, pp. 46, 47.

[65] Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient, by G. Maspero. Paris, 1886, p. 68 et seq.

[66] Brugsch-Bey in, Egypt Under the Pharaohs. London, 1891, pp. 25, 26. As to the knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians; Comp. Egyptian Science from the Monuments and Ancient Books, treated as a general introduction to the History of Science, by N.E. Johnson, B.A., etc. London, (1891?) Ten Years Digging in Egypt, 1881-1891, by W.M. Flinders Petrie, etc. London, 1892, pub. by The Religious Tract Society.

[67] Comp. La Morale Égyptienne, etc., by E. Amelineau. Paris, 1892. Introd. pp. LXXXII. et seq., XX. et seq. Ritual Funéraire de Pamonth, by M. Eugène Revillout. Paris, 1889.

[68] Le Papyrus de Neb-Qed (exemplaire hiéroglyphique du Livre des Morts,) reproduit, etc., par Théodule Devéria avec la traduction du texte par Paul Pierret conservateur-adjoint du Musée Égyptien du Louvre. Paris, 1872, pl. III., col. 13, 14, p. 3.

[69] Comp. as to the Sphinx, Egypt Under the Pharaohs, by Heinrich Brugsch-Bey. London, 1891, pp. 37, 38, and especially p. 199 et seq. Also G. Maspero in his, Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient. Paris, 1886, pp. 28, 50, 64, 209.

[70] Comp. Recherches sur les monum. qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières Dynasties de Manethon, etc., by M. Le vicomte Emmanuel de Rougé. Paris, Imp. Imper., 1866. Recueil de Travaux Relatifs à la Philol. et à l'Arch. Égypt. et Assyri, edited by Maspero, Vol. III. and IV., 1882 et seq.

[71] Comp. Egypt Under the Pharaohs, etc., by Heinrich Brugsch-Bey. London, 1891, p. 199 et seq. The Nile. Notes for Travellers in Egypt by E.A. Wallis Budge. Litt. D., F.S.A. London, 1892, pp. 194-5. Hist. of the Egyptian Relig., by Dr. C.P. Tiele, trans. by James Ballingal. Boston, 1882, p. 81 et seq.

[72] Recueil de Travaux Relatifs à la Philol. et à l'Arch. Égypt., etc., publié de sous la direction de G. Maspero, Vol. XI., fas. I, pp. 2, 3. See also as to mention of Tumu, the Scarabæus, in the pyramid of Pepi II. (Nefer-ka-Ra) 3166 B.C. Ibid., Vol. XII., pp. 144, 153.

[73] Tumu or Tmu was also called Hor-em-khu, i.e., Horus on the horizon, or, the rising sun, he was the deity Harmakhis of the Greeks; his symbol, as before mentioned, was the Great Sphinx. Egypt Under the Pharaohs, by Brugsch-Bey. London, 1891, pp. 199, 201. As to Tum, see Supra.

[74] Recueil, etc., before cited, Vol. XII., p. 160 et seq., 189, 190. Pyramid of Pepi II. See also the Book of the Dead, Turin Mss. ch. CXLI., A. 6; Ibid., ch. XVII. beginning; Ibid., ch. LXXIX., l. 1; Ibid., ch. LXXVIII., l. 12.

[75] Religions de l'Antiquité, etc., by J.D. Guigniaut, founded on the German work of Dr. Fréd. Creuzer. Paris, 1825, Vol. I., part 2, pl. XLVIII., 187b. Compare the other curious figures of the scarabæus in this volume, also p. 948 et seq.

[76] Comp. Wilkinson, Manners, etc., of the Ancient Egyptians, 2nd series, London, 1841, Vol. II., p. 260, Vol. I., pp. 250, 256.




The human heart, the first life principle of human existence and regeneration, the first apparent individuality of embryonic human life; was symbolized, [92]in the Per-em-Hru, i.e., the Book of the Dead, by Khepra, the scarabæus deity; this is one reason why the texts (chapters XXX. and XXVII., see also LXIV.,) which related to the heart, were those usually inscribed on the funeral scarabæi, and consecrated to the preservation of the heart of the dead. The condition of death was described by the Egyptian expression: "The one whose heart does not beat." The resurrection or re-birth from the dead only began, according to the Egyptian idea, when this organ, so essential and necessary to all animal life, was returned to the deceased Ba, i.e., responsible soul, by the decree of Osiris and the judges of the dead, which Thoth registers: "To him is accorded that his heart may be in its place." Indeed most of the texts of the Per-em-Hru, as we have seen, are dedicated to the preservation of the heart of the dead one. The philosophic student [93]can therefore from this, at once see, the great value of the scarabæus symbol to the whole religious thought-world of Ancient Egypt. It was the symbol, when returned to the dead, of the regenerated and resurrected life of the dead one to the heavenly regions of the blessed for all eternity, to the second birth in the regions of eternal rest and happiness.

Taking as a model the daily course of the sun, which rising in the morning as Horus; reaching the zenith at noon as Ra; setting in the evening, in the regions of darkness as Tum; and absent during the night and until the morrow as Osiris; upon which, victorious over the chaotic darkness, it arose in triumph again as Horus; the birth and journey of man on earth, was considered by the Ancient Egyptians as similar to the solar journey; and death, the end of that journey, was assimilated to the course of the sun when [94]at night it was, according to their astronomical knowledge, supposed to be in the Lower Regions or Underworld, the abode of Osiris. When he died, the Egyptian became as Osiris, "the nocturnal sun;" resurrected, he became Horus, the new-born and rising sun; in midday, he was Ra. Horus was: "The Old One who rejuvenated himself." Such a re-birth of the dead to immortality, was the recompense promised by the Egyptian religion, to the soul of the man pious and good during this life, but the wicked were to be tortured, transformed into lower forms, or annihilated.[77] Matter, according to it, does not perish but only changes and the earth itself, was deified as Seb, Isis, Ta-nen, and Ptah-Tatunen.

What then did matter become, it was transformed, the deities were transformed. Matter was transformed,—this is explained [95]to us through the symbolism of the scarab, the hieroglyph of the word Kheper, i.e., "to be," "to exist," "to become," "to create," "to emanate;" of which, as I have said, the Great Sphinx is the symbol, and has therefore the philosophical value of creator and created.[78] God and His universe, existence and change or transformation, death and dissolution, all which were only considered as regeneration and re-birth in another form. Thence becomes apparent to us, the great value and importance to the Egyptian people of the symbolism of the scarab, it was, to them, the emblematic synthesis of their religion as to-day to Christians, the Latin or the Greek cross, is the emblematic synthesis of Latin or Greek Christianity. The philosophic Egyptian, thought, the atoms and molecules of all bodies and of all matter, [96]were never destroyed or lost, they were always in motion but were only transformed and changed, by death or the dissolution of forms. Death on this earth did not destroy the personality of the human being, that continued beyond death on our earth, and as to those who had been good and pious during their life here, their personality continued eternally; but the punishment of the wicked was, the annihilation of that personality or an immobility which was almost the same. The work entitled, Hermes Trismegistos, contains a resumé of that idea, saying, among other things: "What was composed is divided. That division is not Death, it is the analysis of a combination; but the aim of that analysis is not destruction, it is the renewment. What is in effect the energy of life? Is it not movement? What then is there in this world, immovable?"[79]

[97]The everlasting interchange of life and death, flows throughout all the religious philosophy of the Ancient Egyptians; basing itself on the continual return of day from night and of day to night, and upon the apparent course of the sun, they seem to have formulated the idea of the immortality of the soul of man after death.

Herodotus tells us,[80] that the Egyptians believed, that the soul of the departed passed into an animal, and after having gone through all the ranks of the animal world, was at the end of three thousand years reunited to the human body; but from the remains of the Egyptian religion we have to-day, next to nothing has been found that will confirm this statement, but much that shows the Greek authors were frequently in error. In the realm of the dead, according to the texts of the Book of the Dead, [98](chapter LXXXIX. and other places,) the responsible soul or Ba of the deceased, may become a sparrow-hawk, an adder, a crocodile-headed being, etc., but only to deceive its demon enemies;[81] not until after this, is the Khu, the intellectual soul, which accompanies the Ba, which is represented under the symbolized form of a sparrow-hawk with a human head, reunited to the Ba. This however all occurs, not on earth, but in the realms of the dead. The Ancient Egyptian believed, that as the setting of the sun was an actual separation of the body and soul of the sun-god; and its rising, a reunion of the two; so it happened to the future of the spiritual of man, and that after man's death on this earth, his spirit, as did that of the sun-god; would arise again to life, but it would be to a life of immortality in a higher sphere. I am inclined also to [99]think, that they believed the spiritual body of the new-born child came down from the sun-disk or from some very exalted sphere.[82]

The following quotations from Eugène Grébaut's translation in French, of the Hymn to Ammon-Ra, are important for an understanding of the positions of Khepra and of Turn during the Theban Dynasties.

"Hail to thee Ra, lord of the maat, (the) mysterious in his shrine. Master (i.e., father) of the gods, Khepra in its boat, (it) sending forth the word (i.e., the creative word,) the gods came into existence. Hail god Tum, maker of intelligent beings, who determines their manner of [100]existence, artisan of their existences; (and who) distinguishes (their) colors, one from the other."[83] "Author of humanity, making the form of all things to become (or, former who produced every thing;) it is in thy name of Tum-Khepra."[84] "Khepra is father of the gods and the producer of the maat."[85]

The deities go out of the mouth of their father Khepra, and are nourished by the maat, i.e., the Harmony or Law of the universe;[86] men go out of its eyes, that is from the light of the deity, and it is this light which vivifies the entire universe. The Hymn says: "O Form, ONE, [101]producing all things, the ONE, who art Alone; producing existences! Men come forth from Its two eyes, the gods come into existence from Its Word. Author of the green pastures, which nourish the cattle, and of the nutritious plants for the use of mankind. It who maketh that fishes live in the rivers and the winged fowl in the air; who giveth the breath of life to (the germ) in the egg. It maketh to live birds of all species, and likewise the insects which creep and also those which fly. It maketh provision for the rats in their holes, and nourisheth the birds that are on the trees. Hail to Thee, O Author of the totality of all forms. The ONE who art alone, yet numberless through Thy extended arms: watching over all humanity when it sleeps, seeking the good of Its creatures."[87] I have used the neuter It and not He, the Egyptian idea [102]of the highest deity was, that it was androgenic not masculine. Although it would seem that this Hymn, of which I have cited but a small portion, applied to Ammon-Ra, yet it expressly says, that: Its name is also Tum (or, Atmu,)—Khepra.[88]

Another text reads: "O Bull of the western region[89] concealed in the concealed region (i.e., Amenti or the Underworld) from whom emanates all the gods (and all) the goddesses who are with him! The Osiris, the Hathor * * * (the name of the dead was inserted here) the justified (or, triumphant,) comes towards thee; the becoming which is in the becoming of all things when they become.[90] Powerful lords, beneficent, divine, [103]judging the speech (words) of the inhabitants of the countries; lords of Truth![91] Hail to thee! gods, essence of the essences without their bodies, ruling the generations of Ta-nen (i.e., of this earth) and the births (begettings) in the temple of Mesxen[92] (they raise the generations?) from the first essence of the divine essences, third greatness above the father of their fathers; invoking the soul from its Almightiness when are produced its Desires (Will;) adoring their Father in his glorifications; divine Prototypes of the Types of all that exists, Fathers and Mothers of the solar disk, Forms, Great Ancients, Divine Essences, first from Atum (i.e., chaos,) emanating humanity; causing to emerge the forms of all forms; lords of the divine sustenance; homage to thee! Lords from [104]everlasting, possessing eternity," etc.[93] "All that is done and said upon earth has its source in the heights, from whence the essences are dispensed to us with measure and equilibrium; and there is not anything, which does not emanate from on high and which does not return thereto."[94]

The verb Kheper usually translated "to be," "to exist," "to become," also has the meaning of "to roll" or "revolve." The sun apparently rolled or revolved around the earth. In the British Museum, in a hieratic papyrus (No. 10,188,) Khepera is identified with the deity Neb-er'-ter, and the latter says, in it:—"I am He (It?) who evolved Himself (Itself?) under the form of the god Khepera. I, [105]the evolver of evolutions, evolved Myself, the evolver of all evolutions, after a multitude of evolutions and developments which came forth from My mouth.[95] There was not any heaven, earth was not, animals which move upon the earth and reptiles existed not in that place. I constructed their forms out of the inert mass of watery matter. I did not find any place upon which I could stand. By the power which was in My Will I laid the foundation (of things) in the form of the god Shu[96] and I created (emanated?) for them every attribute which they have. I alone existed, for I had not, as yet, made Shu emanate from Me, and I had not [106]ejected the spittle which became Tefnut (i.e., the deity or personification of, moisture.) There did not exist any other to work with Me. By My own Will I laid the foundation of all things, and the evolutions of things, and the evolutions which took place from the evolutions of their births, which took place through the evolutions of their offspring, became multiplied. My shadow[97] was united with Me, and produced Shu and Tefnut from the emanation of Myself, * * * thus from one deity I became three deities * * * I gathered together My members and wept over them, and from the tears which fell from My eye, men and women sprung into existence."

The duplicate copy of this chapter reads: "I developed Myself from the primeval matter which I made. My name is Osiris, the germ of primeval matter. I [107]have worked My Will to its full extent in this earth, I have spread abroad (or, expanded Myself,) and fitted it * * * I uttered My Name as a Word of Power, from My own mouth, and I straightway developed Myself by evolution. I evolved Myself under the form of the evolutions of the god Khepera, and I developed Myself out of the primeval matter which has evolved multitudes of evolutions from the beginning of time. No-thing existed on this earth (before Me,) I made all things. There was none other who worked with Me at that time. I made all evolutions by means of that soul, which I raised up there from inertness out of the watery matter."[98] This is a most important papyrus for a knowledge of Ancient Egyptian philosophy.

"'In the beginning: When there was [108]not yet heaven, when there was not yet earth, when there were not yet men, when the gods were not yet born, when there was not yet death.'[99] Nu alone was existing, the water (or humid) principle of all things, and in that primordial water, Tumu, the father of the gods.[100] The day of creation came, Shu raised the waters upon the staircase which is in Khmunu.[101] The earth was made even under his feet, as a long united table; heaven appeared above his head as a ceiling of iron (or steel) upon which rolled the divine Ocean. Hor (Horus) and his sons Hapi, Amsit [109](or Mestha,) Tuamautef and Qebhsennuf, the gods of the four cardinal points, went out at once and posted themselves at the four corners of the inferior table, and received the four angles of the firmament upon the point of their sceptres; the sun appeared and the voice of the god, the first day is arisen and the world was thereafter constituted, such as it ought to ever remain!"[102]

"Glory of all things, God, the divine and the divine nature. Principles of the beings; God, the Intelligence, nature and matter. Wisdom manifests the universe, of which the divine is the principle, the nature, energy, necessity, the end and the renewing.

There was darkness without limit over the abyss and the water, and a subtle and intelligent spirit, contained in chaos [110]by the divine power. Then gushed forth the holy light, and under the sand (i.e., the atomic dryness) the elements went forth from the humid essence, and all the gods distributed the fecundity of nature. The universe being in confusion and disorder, the buoyant elements ascended, and the heavier were established as a foundation under the damp sand, (and) everything became separated by fire and suspended, so as to be raised by the spirit."[103]

The Ancient Egyptians made many more statements which undoubtedly referred to an unknown, all-powerful, ideal deity of the highest order, I have a great number of such, but will not bring them forward in this writing; I refer the reader [111]for some quotations on this subject, to the valuable writings of Mr. P. Le Page Renouf, especially to his; Religion of Ancient Egypt (Hibbert Lectures for 1879), which I have already cited in several places.

It will be seen from these quotations, that Khepra, the scarabæus deity, especially as Tum-Khepra; occupied a most elevated position, I might say the most elevated, of all the religious conceptions of the Ancient Egyptians, for beyond it, was the unknown ideal deity whom none could form a conception of. Khepra was asserted to have generated and caused to come into existence, itself through itself, it united in itself, the male and female principles of life. It was androgenic. The scarabæus was the hieroglyph of the creator, the to be, to become, to exist, the eternal, the coming into being from chaotic non-being, also the itself transforming or [112]becoming, the emanating or creating power, also, the universe. Khepra was "Father of the gods," connected with the idea of the rising of the sun from the darkness of night, Khepra was used to typify the resurrection from the dead of the spirits of men. It represented the active and positive in antithesis to Atmu, or Tum. With Atmu as Atmu (or, Tum)-Khepra, it represented the positive and negative united, spirit and matter.

Atmu, Tum or Tmu, was the symbol of the eternal night or darkness of Chaos, which preceded the emanation of light, it was the type of senility and absolute death, the negative and end. It was the nocturnal or hidden sun, as Horus was the rising sun, and Ra the risen sun, proceeding in its course each day through the firmament. Tum was not however considered as absolutely inert, it was the [113]precursor of the rising sun, and the point of departure of the setting sun, and was the nocturnal sun, and was also a point of departure into existence, of all the created and emanated in the universe. It, as well as Khepra, in some of the texts is called "Father of the gods."[104]

This deity was the unknown and inaccessible, primordial deity of chaos, "existing alone in the abyss," before the appearance of Light. One of the texts reads:

"Homage to thee, sun at its setting, Tum-Harmakhis, god renewing and forming itself in itself, double essence. * * Hail to thee author of the gods, who hast suspended heaven for the circulation of thy two eyes, author of the earth in its extent, and from whom the light is, so as [114]to give to all men the sensation of the sight of his fellow creature."[105]

It is of the greatest importance to an understanding of the Egyptian religion and philosophy, and especially of the Per-em-hru, the so-called, Book of the Dead; that the Egyptian psychology be comprehended; in order to enable the reader to do this, I have prepared the following condensed statement of the same.

I. The Body was called Khat. This was embalmed and then placed in the tomb.

II. The Soul was called, Ba or Bai, plur. Baiu. This was the part of the spiritual which was thought to contain the elements necessary for the world-life of a man, such as judgment, conscience, etc. It seems to be the same termed psuke or [115]psyche by the Greeks. This Ba performed the pilgrimage in the underworld, and was judged for the conduct of the man it inhabited in this world, by Osiris and the Forty-two judges. It was usually represented as a bird, especially as a human-headed sparrow-hawk. It fluttered to and fro between this world and the next, sometimes visiting the mummy in its tomb. It was sometimes represented as a crane, at others as a lapwing. It is paralleled by the Rua'h of the Hebrew Qabbalah.

III. The Intellectual part of man's spirit was called, Xu or Khu. It was considered as part of the flame detached from the upper divine fire. Freed from mortality it wandered through space and had the power of keeping company with or haunting humanity, and even of entering into and taking possession of the body [116]of a living man. The Egyptians spoke of being possessed with a khu as we would say of a being possessed by a spirit.[106] It was considered as a luminous spirit. It was the Intelligence and answers to the Nous of the Greeks and the Neshamah of the Hebrew Qabbalah.

IV. The Shadow or Shade was called, Khaibit. This created the Individuality, and was an important part of the personality. There was a valley in which the Shades were, in the Underworld. It was restored to the soul in the second life. They are frequently mentioned in the Per-em-hru. His shadow, would early attract the attention of the primitive man.

V. The Name was called, Ren. This was the Personality, that something, which continued to know itself as a [117]distinct individual, through every change of the atoms and appearances of the body. In the Per-em-hru was written: "The Osiris (then the name of the dead was inserted.)" It was restored eternally to the soul in the second life. The Ba retained the Ren in its journey through the Underworld.

VI. The life or Double was called, Ka, plur. Kau. This was the vital principle, necessary to the existence of man as an animal being on this earth. It was a spiritual double, a second perfect exemplar or copy, of his flesh, blood, etc., body; but of a matter less dense than corporeal matter, but having all its shape and features, being child, man, or woman, as the living had been. It dwelt with the mummy in the tomb and had a semi-material form and substance, and I am inclined to think, from the texts, it had [118]power to leave the tomb when it pleased but always returned. Its emblem was the ankh or crux ansata. It was something like the higher Nephesh of the Hebrew Qabbalah. The sacrificial food left in the tombs and the pictures on their walls were for the benefit of the Ka. The Ka corresponded to the Latin, genius. Its original meaning may have been image;[107] it was like the Greek eidolon, i.e., ghost. The funeral oblations were made to the image or Ka. The Ka was a spiritual double of the man, a kind of prototype in the Upper World, of the man in the Lower World, our earth.[108]

VII. The Mummy or the Husk was called, Sahu. It was the body after embalmment. "His body is in the condition [119]of being true; it will not perish."[109] The Sahu was considered a true being as it was assumed that it would always remain the same. It was like the lower form of the Nephesh of the Hebrew Qabbalah. The atoms of the mummy-body were still intact held together by the cohesion of the particles. This cohesion was looked upon as a spiritual energy keeping the particles together, in the form of the mummy. The word Sahu may sometimes refer to this living personality.

VIII. The Heart was called Ab. This was thought to be the seat of life, the life being in the blood, and the embryonic life starting with the pulsations of the heart. See, Appendix A.

The Ba, performed the journey through the Underworld accompanied by [120]the Name and Shadow, until it reached the Hall of Judgment; if pronounced pure, the Heart was then given it. The Name, Shadow and Heart, then awaited reunion with the Khu and Ka for the condition of final immortality and the power to make the transformations. The body was embalmed and the Ka dwelt in the sepulchre with it, but went in and out of the tomb. The Khu also accompanied the Ba in its journey through the Underworld and assisted it, but in case of an adverse judgment in the Hall of Osiris and the decree of annihilation; the Khu fled back to its immortal source of life and light.

Not any of these, by its own nature, could exist for any length of time entirely separated from the others; if left to itself, that so separated, would in time dissolve into new elements and if it were the soul, it would die a second time, the personality and individuality would then [121]perish and become annihilated; this was the much feared, second death. This however might be prevented by the piety of the survivors, in repeating the prayers and litanies and performing the lustrations and sacrifices, for the dead. The lot to do this usually fell to the eldest son and in default of sons, to the daughters, etc., no relations existing, the dead persons' slaves could perform it. The priests were also left annuities to perform perpetually, the sacred duties to the dead. Embalmment preventing for centuries, decomposition; continued prayers, devotions and offerings would save, it was believed, the Ka, the Ba, and the Khu, from the second death, and procure for them what was necessary to prolong their existence. The Ka, they thought, never quitted the place where the mummy was except at some time to return. The Ba, and the Khu went away from it to follow [122]the gods, but they continually returned as would a traveler who re-entered his house after an absence. The tomb was the defunct's "eternal dwelling house" on earth, the houses of the living were only as inns or stopping places. In case of a judgment in favor of the Ba in the Hall of Osiris, the Khu united to the Ba, Khaibet, Ab, Ka, etc., rose up to the Egyptian heaven, and the whole united was able to make whatever transformations pleased it.


[77] Comp. Hist. of the Egypt. Relig., by Dr. C.P. Tiele. London, 1892, pp. 89, 127, 139.

[78] Most likely the Egyptian idea was "to emanate" more than "to create."

[79] Louis Ménard's edition. Paris, 1867, p. 89.

[80] Book II., ch. 123.

[81] Hist. of the Egypt. Relig., by C.P. Tiele, pp. 47, 71.

[82] Comp. Hist, of the Egypt. Relig., by C.P. Tiele. London, 1890, p. 127. The Book of the Dead. Fac-simile of the Papyrus of Ani, etc., notes by P. Le Page Renouf. London, 1890, p. 16, note. See also supra reference to the Mesxen. A similar idea is in the Zohar, compare Qabbalah, etc., by Isaac Myer. Philadelphia, 1888, pp. 397, 388, 389, 108 et seq., 190, 196, 418, and many other places.

[83] Hymne à Ammon-Ra des papyrus Égyptiens du Musée de Boulaq, traduit et commenté, by Eugène Grébaut, etc. Paris, 1874, p. 11.

[84] Ibid., p. 28. See also, pp. 115, 120-122, 295.

[85] Ibid., pp. 112, 115.

[86] As to the meaning of the important word maat, see, Religion of Ancient Egypt, by P. Le Page Renouf—Hibbert Lectures for 1879. New York, pp. 73 et seq.; 123 et seq. Hymne à Ammon-Ra, last before cited, notes p. 110 et seq.

[87] Hymne à Ammon-Ra, p. 16 et seq.

[88] Ibid., pp. 27, 28.

[89] Comp. Hymne à Ammon-Ra, by E. Grébaut, pp. 3, 4, and notes to same, p. 39 et seq.

[90] Or, "the changing which is in the changing of all things when they change."

[91] That is: "Lords of maat," i.e., of the harmony of the universe.

[92] Place of the soul's birth. This refers to the upper prototypic world. The same idea is in the Zohar.

[93] Catalogue des Manuscrits Égyptiens, etc., au Musée Égypt. du Louvre, par Feu Théodule Devéria. Paris, 1881, No. 3283; pp. 143, 144. Comp. Hermès Trismégiste, par Louis Ménard, second ed. Paris, 1867, pp. 188, 190, 117 et seq.; 147.

[94] Hermès Trismégiste, edition last cited, p. 218.

[95] By the Word or Logos. The Logos occupied an important position in the Ancient Egyptian religion. See my Article on the subject in, The Oriental Review, January-February, 1893, p. 20 et seq.

[96] Shu corresponds to the Makrokosm, the primordial Adam or androgenic Adam Qadmon, of the first chapter of the Hebrew Book of Genesis. As to Shu, see: History of the Egypt. Relig., by Dr. C.P. Tiele. Boston, 1882, pp. 84, 85, 155, 156.

[97] The Hebrew She-kheen-ah, or Glory?

[98] The Nile. Notes for Travellers in Egypt, by E.A. Wallis Budge, Litt. D., F.S.A., etc., second ed. London, 1892, p. 165 et seq.

[99] Inscriptions in the pyramid of Pepi I., l. 664 (circa 3233-3200 B.C.,) in the Recueil de Travaux Relatifs à la Philol., et à l'Arch. Égypt., etc., Vol. VIII., p. 104.

[100] Comp. The Per-em-hru or, Book of the Dead, edition of Ed. Naville, ch. XVII., l. 3, 4. In the passage cited from Pepi, I. 664 et seq., Tumu is also a primordial deity and its female sakti or principle, is Nu or Nut, the sky.

[101] It is from this action that the deity was named Shu from the root, Shu to lift up, to raise. Later, through a pun, he obtained the meaning of Luminous. Comp. also Naville's ed. of the Per-em-hru last cited, l. 4 et seq.

[102] G. Maspero in the Revue de l'Hist. des Religions. Le Livre des Morts, Vol. XV., pp. 269, 270.

[103] Hermès Trismégistos, second ed., by Louis Ménard. Paris, 1867. pp. 27, 28. Hermetis Trismegisti Poemander; ad fidem codicum manu scriptorum recognovit, by Gustavus Parthey. Berolini, 1854, p. 31. The word "sand" is used to symbolize the positive or atomic dryness, and "damp sand," the atomic humidity, or the negative.

[104] Book of the Dead, ch. XVII., l. 1-4; XV., l. 28, 29, 43, 47; LXXIX., l. 1, 2; LXXVIII., l. 12. Hymne à Ammon-Ra, by Eugène Grébaut. Paris, 1874, pp. 11, 28, 112, 115, 120-122, 295.

[105] Paul Pierret, Études Égyptol., I., 81.

[106] F. Chabas, l'Égyptologie. Paris, 1878, Vol. II., p. 103.

[107] Comp. Trans. Soc. Biblical Literature, Vol. VI., pp. 494-508.

[108] Comp. Religion of Ancient Egypt by P. Le Page Renouf, p. 153 et seq.

[109] Mythe d' Horus, by E. Naville.




M. Prisse says:[110] "Most of the fellahs who inhabit the land, formerly Memphis and Thebes, live only from the products of their finds. Constrained to cease from their lucrative researches, they are reduced to the counterfeiting of figurines, amulets and the other objects of art which they formerly found in the earth. Necessity the mother of industry has caused them in a short [124]time to make wonderful progress. Without any practice in the arts, and with the rudest tools, some of the peasants have carved scarabs and beautiful statuettes and ornamented them with hieroglyphic legends. They very well know that cartouches add much value to the antiquities, and they are never in want of copies of them either from the great monuments or the original scarabs. They use in making the copies a limestone of fine and compact grain, soapstone, serpentine and alabaster. The objects made of limestone are daubed with bitumen taken from the mummies, or from the colors taken away from the paintings in the hypogea, finally some are covered uniformly with a brilliant pottery glaze which renders, it is true, the forms rather blurred and not easy to see, but which resembles in a surprising manner, antiquities which the action of fire or of earth, impregnated with saltpetre, have [125]slightly damaged. The feigned hieroglyphs therein are mistaken for those as to which the work has been neglected. Their statuettes recall the figurines of poor ware, which the Ancient Egyptians placed in so great a number in their tombs. In spite of their imperfections, the fellahs have been perfectly successful in deceiving most of the travelers, generally grossly ignorant of antiquities. Hard stones, such as basalt, green jasper, burnt serpentine, green feldspar, chalcedony, cornelian, etc., upon which the rude tools of the fellahs would not have worked, would have become, for the amateurs in antiquities, the only pieces of authentic origin; but the Jews of Cairo, also as rapacious and more able than the Arabs, have engraved with the wheel, scarabs and amulets denuded of legends; and finally have entirely counterfeited them, so that all these little objects are now very much [126]suspected, and their appreciation to-day, demands understanding of the text much more than knowledge of Egyptian art.

Not only the tourists, the people of leisure from Europe, who bring back from all the classic lands some antiquities, in place of observation and study, which are not sold; purchase these falsified antiquities, but also people who pride themselves upon having a knowledge of archæology, often buy them. Most of the collections of the Museums of Europe contain, more or less, objects fabricated in our day in Egypt. 'Luxor' says M. Mariette, 'is a centre for fabrications in which scarabs, statuettes and even steles, are imitated with an address which often leads astray the most instructed antiquary.'"

Mr. Henry A. Rhind[111] writing in 1862 says: "There is now at Thebes an [127]arch-forger of scarabæi—a certain Ali Gamooni, whose endeavors, in the manufacture of these much sought after relics, have been crowned with the greatest success. * * Scarabæi of elegant and well finished descriptions, are not beyond the range of this curious counterfeiter. These he makes of the same material as the ancients used—a close-grained, easily cut limestone—which, after it is cut into shape and lettered, receives a greenish glaze by being baked on a shovel with brass filings. Ali not content with closely imitating, has even aspired to the creative; so antiquarians must be on their guard lest they waste their time and learning, on antiquities of a very modern date."[112]


[110] Collections d'Antiquités Égypt. au Caire, p. 1 et seq.

[111] Thebes; its Tombs and their Tenants, ancient and modern. London, 1862.

[112] Ibid., pp. 253-255. Comp. Gliddon, Indigenous Races, p. 192 note.




Archæologists frequently find in lands bordering on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, scarabs and scarabeoids, on which are engraved subjects which are Egyptian, Chaldean, Assyrian, Hittite or Persian; they were intended apparently to be used as signets, and were incised with short inscriptions in Phœnician, and sometimes, in Aramaic or in Hebrew, giving the name of the owner of the signet.

[129]These had been mostly manufactured in their entirety, as articles of trade, for sale by the ancient merchants of Tyre and Sidon, or they were Egyptian, Assyrian or other originals upon which, Phœnician lapidaries had engraved the name of the later Phœnician owner. In spite of not being an artistic people producing works of originality, this people, the great mariners and merchants of antiquity, had in an eminent degree the genius of assimilation or adaptation, and manufactured cylinders, cones, spheroids, scarabs and signets of all kinds, at first for themselves, and afterwards as an article of sale to the people with whom they traded.

They also used seals in their commercial and maritime transactions, which they surrounded with the same formalities which we find in Assyria, Babylonia and Chaldea. When they dealt with these [130]last mentioned peoples, the Phœnicians came into contact with nations, whose most unimportant transactions were put into writing by a scribe, and sealed in the presence of witnesses, with the seal of the contracting parties. They therefore in dealing with these people were obliged to have and use signets.[113][114] Such contracts have been found dating between 745-729 B.C.

In the island of Sardinia have been found numerous intaglios under the form of scarabs, they were apparently used as signets. The under parts are incised with Egyptian, Assyro-Chaldean or Persian subjects. In the necropolis of Tharros, an early Phœnician colony situated near [131]the present Torre di San Giovanni di Sinis, have been found more than 600 scarabs ornamented with Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian subjects;[115] and one might believe a colony which came from Egypt or Assyria settled there. These scarabs are usually cut in dark green jasper, some are made of cornelian, others of a glass-paste, rarely in amethyst or sardonyx. The work is variable sometimes carefully done, but none of the scarabs have the clearness of those found in Egypt, nor of the Assyro-Chaldean of Asia. Most of these scarabs, which are always made in nearly the same form, were mounted, some in gold and others in silver; also sometimes in other metals which the corrosions from age had already caused to disappear when they were found.

These intaglios can be divided from [132]the nature of the subjects into three varieties. The first those imitating the Egyptian; the second, the Assyro-Chaldean; and the third, the Persian. All these scarabs are of Phœnician manufacture, but they were probably made in Sardinia, as the remains of the workshops and materials used in making them, have been found there. They do not go back of 500 B.C. The Phœnicians in their colonies, showed no more originality in their work than they did in the mother country, and have been only the intermediary agents between the civilization of the Orient and that of the Occident. This people even counterfeited Egyptian manufactures and antiquities in order to sell them, and the borrowings in their own religion show, they were governed more by the gains of trade than the desires or depths of piety. There are a number in the Cesnola collection in the [133]Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

There is a magnificent scarab in green jasper in the British Museum, but where it was produced is not known. It appears to be from the chisel of an Egyptian artist. The base however has been engraved by another; its subject is clearly Assyrian, in the style of work done with the drill, by the artists of Calah. In the field of the signet is a symbol unknown to Assyria or Egypt, below this is evidently the Egyptian ankh or crux ansata and below this is the inscription: "(Signet) of Hodo, the Scribe." This a beautiful specimen of the intelligent work of the Phœnicians.


[113] Such contracts written on terra cotta, have been found sealed with impressions of the finger nails on the margin of the terra cotta before it was baked; others have had something as to the act done, referred to on the margins, written in Phœnician letters. There has been found an example of this as early as 783 B.C.

[114] Menant. Les Pierres Gravées de la Haute-Asie, p. 211 et seq.

[115] Crespi, Catalogo, p. 138, No. 1.




The archaic people of ancient Etruria did not make cameos, their gems were intaglios and were incised on the under side, on forms shaped in the model of the scarabæus or beetle. The use of the form therefore was most likely derived from those used in the valley of the Nile. The Etruscan scarabs were however not correct representations; they [135]were conventional and exaggerated resemblances of the insect.

The Etruscan scarabæus is found in different parts of Italy, quite frequently at Chiusi, in Tuscany, which was formerly ancient Etruria; from whence, the name Etruscan for those found in this part of Italy, has been derived.

They were usually manufactured of common red sard, such as is now often met with in the beds of Italian torrents, but Etruscan scarabs have also been found made of sardonyx, cornelian, onyx and agate, also, but rarely, of chalcedony.

The ancient inhabitants of Italy followed the Egyptian form in making the representation except, that the back and the wing cases of the scarab are set much higher than the Egyptian, and there is usually a raised ridge running along the junction, also the legs are cut out on the side, and a slight difference exists in the [136]ornamentation and engraving of the wing cases. The stones have been rubbed into shape apparently by corundum. Few exceed an inch, and most are not over half an inch in length, whereas the Egyptian were from the size of our ordinary house fly to those a number of feet across. The material of the Etruscan is also always semi-transparent, except those burned which has made the sard opaque. The flat side or base was engraved with intaglio. This engraving though in early examples rude and done with the drill, was in later times, improved by the use of the wheel, diamond dust and the diamond point, and by the polishing of both the surface and the incised parts, and also, by the addition, both at the sides and around the engraved base, of an ornamental border of small strokes following each other closely, resembling in some specimens, the milling of a coin; in [137]others, it is like a widely linked chain or string of beads, or a loosely twisted cable, and in others like the ornamentation known as "egg moulding."

In Egyptian scarabs the flat or under part of the stone, which is the side engraved in intaglio, has representations of deities or hieroglyphs; in the Etruscan, the subjects engraved in intaglio on the base, are representations of animals, wild or domestic, or are those derived from Egyptian, Assyrian or Babylonian sources, and after acquaintance with the Greeks, subjects derived from early Greek myths, especially the deeds of Herakles and of the heroes of the Trojan War, of those of Thebes and the sports of the Palæstra.

Sometimes the name of the subject was engraved on one side of it, and occasionally the wearer's name or a word of mystic meaning, rarely symbols or figures of the Etruscan gods or chimæras. [138]The engraving is of great service to the historian and student of the glyptic art, as the subjects show the transition from Assyrian, Egyptian, and Persian forms and figures, to the archaic Greek and the best period of stone engraving.

Many of the Etruscan examples have been found at Præneste, the modern Palestrina, and in the necropolis of Clusium; some of those found there, have engraved on the base the lotus flower with four-winged figures of archaic Etruscan form, the kynokephallos ape, the sacred asp or uræus of Egypt, the winged sun of Thebes and the bull Apis; on others are figures copied from Assyrian originals; on others are Herakles fighting the lion, Herakles stealing the tripod of Apollo and discovered by the latter; Ajax and Cassandra, a Harpy, etc. Some of these have been found in tombs and other places with the color changed to an [139]opaque white by the action of fire. These have been burned with the body of their owner when he was cremated.

The Etruscans have evidently borrowed the form without caring for the cult; there does not appear with them any mysterious, religious or astronomical meaning, nor the veneration for it, which existed among the old Egyptians; but no doubt, the representation was considered as a talisman or preservative amulet and was worn as such, but in many instances likely, only as a matter of ornament in dress.

They were pierced like those of Egypt longitudinally, and one method of wearing them, was, by stringing them, intermingled with beads, as a necklace, but they were also worn as a signet stone in a ring with a swivel, so they could be turned and the incised part used as a seal by the owner.

[140]I think it likely that the Etruscans at first, purchased the scarabs from the Phœnician traders whose merchant ships, as I have said in the preceding chapter, trafficked in ornaments and jewelry at an early period, and who likely, at first, may have brought some from Egypt and afterwards manufactured scarabs as an article of barter.

There is one peculiarity to be noted in the glyptography of the Etruscans, the absence of a transitional period between the extremely rude designs of the early style, made almost entirely by the use of the drill, and the intaglios of the most beautiful finish in low relief. Mr. King, in his work on Antique Gems, says: "While the first class offers caricatures of men and animals, the favorite subjects being figures throwing the discus, fawns with amphora, cows with sucking calves, or the latter alone, the second gives us [141]subjects from the Greek mythology, especially scenes from Homer and the tragedians, among which, the stories of Philoctetes and Bellerophon occur with remarkable frequency." I think the rudely made are likely of Etruscan or Phœnician manufacture, the finely executed of Greek.

The inscriptions on Etruscan stones are nearly always the names of the persons represented on them. There are but few exceptions to this. We may therefore divide Etruscan glyptography into:

I. Etruscan scarabs, with Etruscan or Assyrian subjects.

II. Etruscan scarabs, with archaic Greek subjects.

There are many more of the latter than the former. The Greek subjects most frequently met with, refer to actions by Herakles, Perseus, Tydeus, Theseus, Peleus, Ulysses, Achilles and Ajax.

[142]The time of manufacture and use by the Etruscans was most probably before the IIIrd century B.C., at which time, Etruria was conquered by the Romans, its manufactures destroyed and its artists taken to Rome.

The Greeks borrowed the form from the Egyptians, but improved on the engraving, which they made more natural and artistic; finally they suppressed the insect but preserved the oval form of the base. The Romans also adopted, it may be surmised from the Etruscans, the scarab signet and retained its form until the later days of the Republic. Winckelmann, says: Those with the figures or heads of Serapis or Anubis incised upon them are of this period.[116] I think it likely, that those with this deity upon them may go back to the period of the Ptolemys.

[143]At the end of the Ist or beginning of the IInd century A.D., arose the gnostic Egyptian sect called the Basilidians. They introduced an amulet or talisman. It was made oval in the form of the base of the Egyptian scarab. Such talisman were usually made of black Egyptian basalt, sometimes of sard or other hard stones. Upon them were engraved mysterious hieroglyphs and figures, called Abraxas, and they are known as Abraxoides. Among the figures engraved was frequently that of the scarabæus. Montfaucon has given a number of them in his Antiquities.[117] Chifflet has also given several.[118]


[116] Winckelmann, Art. 2, c. 1.

[117] Vol. II., part 2, p. 339. Ed. of Paris.

[118] Comp. Fosbrooke Encyc. of Antiq. London, 1825, part I., p. 208.




The heart of man was considered to be the source from whence proceeded, not only the beginnings of life but also the beginnings of thought. It was symbolized by the scarab. Examples of the heart have been found, some with a representation of the human head at the top of them, and of human hands crossed over them; and others, having a figure of the soul in the shape of a hawk with outstretched wings, incised on one side of the model.

Since the foregoing chapters were put in type, which were based on the Book of the Dead as published by M. Paul Pierret in a French translation, from the Turin papyrus and the papyri in the Louvre, as mentioned in my Introduction; the Translation and Commentary of "The Egyptian Book of the Dead" by P. Le [146]Page Renouf, Esq.,[A] Parts I. and II., have appeared.

Mr. Renouf's translation is based on Das Ægyptische Todtenbuch der XVIII. bis XX. Dynastie by M. Edouard Naville,[B] and is from papyri of the Theban Dynasties and from a very much older period than that of the Turin papyrus.

The chapters so far given in Mr. Renouf's translation which relate to the heart, are the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29A, 29B, 30A, and 30B. They are as follows:


Chapter whereby the Heart is given to a person in the Netherworld.

He saith: Heart,[C] mine to me, in the place of Hearts! Whole Heart! mine to me in the place of Whole Hearts!

[147]Let me have my Heart that it may rest within me; but I shall feed upon the food of Osiris, on the eastern side of the mead of amaranthine flowers.

Be mine a bark, for descending the stream and another, for ascending.

I go down into the bark wherein thou art.

Be there given to me my mouth wherewith to speak, and my feet for walking; and let me have my arms wherewith to overthrow my adversaries.

Let two hands from the Earth open my mouth: Let Seb, the Erpā[D] of the gods, part my two jaws; let him open my two eyes which are closed, and give motion to my two hands which are powerless: and let Anubis give vigour to my legs, that I may raise myself up upon them.

And may Sechit, the divine one, lift me up; so that I may arise in Heaven and issue my behest in Memphis.

I am in possession of my Heart, I am in possession of my Whole Heart, I am in possession of my arms and I have possession of my legs.

[148][I do whatsoever my Genius (Ka?) willeth, and my Soul (Ba?) is not bound to my Body (Khat?) at the gates of Amenta.]


Chapter whereby the Heart of a person is not taken from him in the Netherworld.

O ye gods who seize upon Hearts and who pluck out the Whole Heart; and whose hands fashion anew the Heart of a person according to what he hath done; lo now, let that be forgiven to him by you.

Hail to you, O ye Lords of Everlasting Time and Eternity!

Let not my Heart be torn from me by your fingers.

Let not my Heart be fashioned anew according to all the evil things said against me.

For this Heart of mine is the Heart of the god of mighty names (i.e., Thoth,) of the great god whose words are in his members, and who giveth free course to his Heart which is within him.

[149]And most keen of insight is his Heart among the gods. Ho to me! Heart of mine; I am in possession of thee, I am thy master, and thou art by me; fall not away from me; I am the dictator whom thou shalt obey in the Netherworld.


Chapter whereby the Heart of a person is not taken from him in the Netherworld.

O Lion-God!

I am Unbu[E] and what I abominate is the block of execution.

Let not this Whole Heart of mine be torn from me by the Divine Champions[F] in Heliopolis.

O thou who clothest Osiris and hast seen Sutu.

O thou who turnest back after having smitten him, and hast accomplished the overthrow.

This Whole Heart of mine remaineth weeping over itself in (the) presence of Osiris.

[150]Its strength proceedeth from him, it hath obtained it by prayer from him.

I have had granted to it and awarded to it, the glow of heart at the hour of the god of the Broad Face, and have offered the sacrificial cakes in Hermopolis.

Let not this Whole Heart of mine be torn from me.[G] It is I who entrust to you its place, and vehemently stir your Whole Heart towards it in Sechit-hotepit and the years of triumph over all that it abhors, and taking all provisions at thine appointed time from thine hand after thee.

And this Whole Heart of mine is laid upon the tablets of Tmu, who guideth me to the caverns of Sutu and who giveth me back my Whole Heart which hath accomplished its desire in (the) presence of the Divine Circle which is in the Netherworld.

The sacrificial joint and the funereal raiment, let those who find them bury them.



Chapter whereby the Heart of a person may not be taken from him in the Netherworld.

Back thou Messenger[H] of thy god! Art thou come to carry off by violence this Whole Heart of mine, of the Living.[I] The gods have regard to my offerings and fall upon their faces, all together, upon their own earth.[J]

Certain chapters referring to the Heart were incised upon hard precious stones,[K] and used as amulets and talisman. The XXVIth upon Lapis-lazuli, the XXVIIth on green Felspar, the XXXth on Serpentine. The following was usually incised on Carnelian.


Chapter of the Heart; upon Carnelian.

I am the Heron, the Soul of Ra, who conducts the Glorious ones to the Tuat.

[152]It is granted to their Souls (Baiu?) to come forth upon the Earth, to do whatsoever their Genius (Ka?) willeth.

It is granted to the Soul (Ba?) of the Osiris (the name of the deceased was inserted here) to come forth upon the Earth to do whatsoever his Genius (Ka?) willeth.


Chapter whereby the Heart of a person is not kept back from him in the Netherworld.

Heart mine which is that of my Mother, Whole Heart mine which was that of my coming upon Earth,

Let there be no estoppel against me through evidence; let not hindrance be made to me by the Divine Circle; let there not be a fall of the Scale[L] against me in (the) presence of the great god, Lord of Amenta.

Hail, to thee, Heart mine; Hail to thee, Whole Heart mine, Hail to thee, Liver mine!

Hail to you, ye gods who are on the side [153]lock, conspicuous by your sceptres, announce my glory to Ra and convey it to Nehabkau.

[And lo, though he be buried in the deep deep Grave, and bowed down to the region of annihilation, he is glorified there.]


Heart mine which is that of my Mother, Whole Heart mine which is that of my birth,

Let there be no estoppel against me through evidence, let no hindrance be made to me by the Divine Circle; fall thou not against me in (the) presence of him who is at the Balance.

Thou art my Genius (Ka?) who art by me, the Artist who givest soundness to my limbs.

Come forth to the bliss towards which we are bound;

Let not those Ministrants[M] who deal with a man according to the course of his life give a bad odour to my Name.

Pleasant for us, pleasant for the listener, is the joy of the Weighing of the Words.

[154]Let not lies be uttered in the presence of the great god (Osiris?) Lord of Amenta.

Lo! how great art thou [as the Triumphant one.]

This chapter is found upon numerous papyri and scarabs. The differences in the texts are many, the principal may be considered as in the 30A and 30B, of Naville's Text.

The oldest copy we have on a scarab, is on that of king Sebak-em-saf of the XIIIth Dynasty. In the British Museum, No. 7876. Dr. Samuel Birch has described it[N] in his study on the "Formulas relating to the Heart." He says: "This amulet is of unusual shape; the body of the insect is made of a remarkably fine green jasper carved into the shape of the body and head of the insect. This is inserted into a base of gold in the shape of a tablet. * * * The legs of the insect are * * * of gold and carved in relief * * * The hieroglyphs are incised in outline, are coarse, and not very legible."[O]


[A] Privately printed for, The Society of Biblical Archæology. London, 1893.

[B] Berlin, Asher und Co., 1886. Einleitung, in 4to, v.; 204 p.; 1er Band, Text und Vignetten, in folio, CCXII. pl., 2e Band, Varianten, 447 p.

[C] The Egyptian texts have two names for the Heart. One ab, the other, hatu. Ab used as connected with lively motion. The word hatu seems to include not only the heart properly to say, but also the lungs, and by it the heart was likely considered also in connection with the larynx and the respiratory organs of man. Mr. Renouf uses in his translation, for the latter, the expression; Whole Heart.

[D] See, Trans. Soc. Bibl. Arch., XII., p. 359.

[E] One of the names of the solar god.

[F] Likely the Forty-two Judges of the Psychostasia. Myer.

[G] M. Pierret stops his translation of this chapter here, saying: The end of this chapter is absolutely unintelligible; the variants of the hieratic manuscripts do not make it clear.

[H] The same as, angel, or one sent.

[I] That is, of the saved, of those declared re-born, in opposition to the heart of the wicked, those adjudged to be annihilated or suffer the second death.

[J] The most ancient copies of this chapter are found, one on the coffin of Amamu, the other on that of Horhotep. Mission. Arch. Fran. au Caire, Tom. I., p. 157, l. 335-337. They are not perfect. The papyrus of Ani contains an imperfect copy of the chapter.

[K] See, Zeits, 1880, Einige inedita by Prof. Ebers.

[L] That is at the Psychostasia or weighing of the Ba, or responsible soul, of the defunct. Myer.

[M] This refers likely to the Forty-two Judges in the Psychostasia. Myer.

[N] Zeitschr, 1870, p. 32.

[O] See further on the subject of the Heart, Zeitschr, 1866, 69 et seq., 1867, pp. 16, 54, and Dr. Samuel Birch in, Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in Alnwick Castle, p. 224.



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