The Project Gutenberg EBook of Crania Ægyptiaca, by Samuel George Morton

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: Crania Ægyptiaca
       Observations on Egyptian Ethnography derived from Anatomy,
              History and the Monuments

Author: Samuel George Morton

Release Date: June 21, 2019 [EBook #59789]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by deaurider, Barry Abrahamsen, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)


From the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. IX.



&c. &c. &c.,
February 23, 1844.


Read before the American Philosophical Society, in Philadelphia, December 16, 1842, and January 6, and April 6, 1843.


Egypt is justly regarded as the parent of civilization, the cradle of the arts, the land of mystery. Her monuments excite our wonder, and her history confounds chronology; and the very people who thronged her cities would be unknown to us, were it not for those vast sepulchres whence the dead have arisen, as it were, to bear witness for themselves and their country. Yet even now, the physical characteristics of the ancient Egyptians are regarded with singular diversity of opinion by the learned, who variously refer them to the Jews, Arabs, Hindoos, Nubians, and Negroes. Even the details of organic structure have been involved in the same uncertainty,—the configuration of the head, the position of the ear, the form of the teeth, the colour of the skin, and the texture of the hair; while the great question is itself undetermined—whether civilization ascended or descended the Nile;—whether it had its origin in Egypt or in Ethiopia. These conflicting opinions long since made me desirous to investigate the subject for myself; but the many difficulties in the way of obtaining adequate materials, compelled me to suspend the inquiry; and it is only within a recent period that I have been able effectively to resume it. It gives me great pleasure to state, that my present facilities have been almost exclusively derived, directly or indirectly, from the scientific zeal and personal friendship of George R. Gliddon, Esq., late United States consul for the city of Cairo. During a former visit to the United States, this gentleman entered warmly into my views and wishes; and on his return to the East, in 1838, he commenced his researches on my behalf; and in the course of his various travels in Egypt and in Nubia, as far as the second Cataract, he procured one hundred and thirty-seven human crania, of which one hundred pertain to the ancient inhabitants of Egypt. Of these last, seventeen were most obligingly sent me, at the instance of Mr. Gliddon, by M. Clot Bey, the distinguished Surgeon in chief to the Viceroy of Egypt. They are arranged by the latter gentleman into two series, the Pharaonic, and the Ptolemaic; but without availing myself of this classification, I have merely regarded them in reference to their national characters.

Mr. Gliddon’s residence for the greater part of twenty-three years in Egypt, and his varied official and other avocations, together with his acquaintance with the people, and their languages, have given him unusual facilities for collecting the requisite materials; 2while their authenticity is amply vouched for by one who blends the character of a gentleman with the attainments of a scholar.

The object of this memoir, therefore, will be to throw some additional light on the questions to which I have adverted, and to ascertain, if possible, the Ethnographic characters of the primitive Egyptians; or, in other words, to point out their relative position among the races of men.

It is necessary, however, to premise, that the materials in my possession, were collected without the slightest bias of opinion on the part of Mr. Gliddon, who, at the period in question, had paid no particular attention to Ethnography; and indeed very many of these crania were received by me in their original wrappings, which were first removed, after the lapse of ages, by my own hands.

It is farther requisite to bear in mind, that, with a few exceptions I have no clew whatever, whereby to ascertain or even to conjecture, the epoch to which these remains have belonged. The Egyptian catacombs do not always contain their original occupants; for these were often displaced and the tombs re-sold for mercenary purposes: whence it happens, that mummies of the Greek and Roman epochs have been found in those more ancient receptacles which had received the bodies of Egyptian citizens of a far earlier date. The bodies thus displaced, however, were not destroyed; and the Egyptians of at least twenty-five centuries before our era, though for the most part mingled without regard to rank or epoch, are still preserved in their interminable cemeteries.

I disclaim all knowledge of hieroglyphic literature; but I may express my conviction that the past discoveries and pending researches of Young, Champollion, Rosellini, Wilkinson, Lepsius, and some other illustrious men, are destined to unravel much that has hitherto been regarded as mystical in Egyptian history; while the invaluable disclosures which they have already made, entitle them to the lasting gratitude of the student of Archæology.

A few words in reference to chronology. Rosellini places the accession of the Sixteenth dynasty of Egyptian kings at 2272 years before Christ. Champollion adopts a nearly similar arrangement. The learned Dr. Wiseman admits that there are monuments in Egypt as old as 2200 years before our era; and Dr. Prichard dates the accession of Menes two centuries earlier in time. The veneration with which these authors regard the Sacred Writings, has given me the greater confidence in their opinions, which I therefore adopt in general for the distant landmarks of time; especially as the latter come fairly within the range of the Septuagint chronology, which places the epoch of the Deluge at 3154 years B.C., and thus gives room for the most ancient of the Egyptian monuments. In respect to later and subordinate dates, I have been governed exclusively by the published system of Professor Rosellini, which is regarded by competent judges as more complete than any other.

I have great pleasure in stating, that for the unrestricted use of the first copy of Rosellini’s splendid work which was brought to the United States, I am indebted to an accomplished traveller, Richard K. Haight, Esq., of New York; a gentleman who devotes his leisure hours and opulent income to the promotion of archaeological knowledge.

To John Gliddon, Esq., United States consul at Alexandria, to the Rev. George W. Bridges, and to M. E. Prisse, now in Egypt, I also take this occasion to express my sincere acknowledgments for the practical zeal with which they have aided my researches.

3I have been enabled to make extensive and satisfactory comparisons by means of nearly six hundred human crania, which form a part of my private anatomical collection. The numbers in brackets refer to corresponding numbers on the skulls themselves, and in my printed catalogue; and will serve as a future test of the accuracy of my observations, which, embracing as they do, such a multitude of details, may require some revision and correction.

How far the following observations may assist in solving a problem which, until lately, has been clothed in equal obscurity and interest, is not for me to determine; but I trust they will at least, have the effect of inciting others to researches of a similar nature.


“Vix quidem monitu opus est in tanta seculorum serie qua mos cadavera balsamo condiendi in Ægypto solemnis fecit, inque tam variorum ejus terræ dominorum et incolarum vicissitudine magnam mumias intercedere debere variatatem tam quod ad conditurse variam rationem et materiem; quam quod ad craniorum in mumiis gentilitiam formam et speciem.”—Blumenbach, Decad. Cran. p. 12.

It was remarked fifty years ago by the learned Professor Blumenbach, that a principal requisite for an inquiry such as we now propose, would be “a very careful, technical examination of the skulls of mummies hitherto met with, together with an accurate comparison of these skulls with the monuments.” This is precisely the design I have in view in the following memoir, which I therefore commence by an analysis of the characters of all the crania now in my possession. These may be referred to two of the great races of men, the Caucasian and the Negro, although there is a remarkable disparity in the number of each. The Caucasian heads also vary so much among themselves as to present several different types of this race, which may, perhaps, be appropriately grouped under the following designations:—


1. The [1]Pelasgic Type. In this division I place those heads which present the finest conformation, as seen in the Caucasian nations of western Asia, and middle and southern Europe. The Pelasgic lineaments are familiar to us in the beautiful models of Grecian art, which are remarkable for the volume of the head in comparison with that of the face, the large facial angle, and the symmetry and delicacy of the whole osteological structure. Plate III., Fig. 6, and Plate X., Fig. 8, are among the many examples of this conformation.

2. The Semitic Type, as seen in the Hebrew communities, is marked by a comparatively receding forehead, long, arched, and very prominent nose, a marked distance between the eyes, a low heavy broad, and strong and often harsh development of the whole facial structure. Plate XI., Fig. 2.

43. The Egyptian form differs from the Pelasgic in having a narrower and more receding forehead, while the face being more prominent, the facial angle is consequently less. The nose is straight or aquiline, the face angular, the features often sharp, and the hair uniformly long, soft, and curling. In this series of crania I include many of which the conformation is not appreciably different from that of the Arab and Hindoo; but I have not, as a rule, attempted to note these distinctions, although they are so marked as to have induced me, in the early stage of the investigation, and for reasons which will appear in the sequel, to group them, together with the proper Egyptian form, under the provisional name of Austral-Egyptian crania. I now, however, propose to restrict the latter term to those Caucasian communities which inhabited the Nilotic valley above Egypt. Among the Caucasian crania are some which appear to blend the Egyptian and Pelasgic characters: these might be called Egypto-Pelasgic heads; but without making use of this term, except in a very few instances by way of illustration, I have thought best to transfer these examples from the Pelasgic group to the Egyptian, inasmuch as they so far conform to the latter series as to be identified without difficulty. For examples of this mixed form, I refer especially to Plate XI., Fig. 1, and Plate III., Fig. 7.


The true Negro conformation requires no comment; but it is necessary to observe that a practised eye readily detects a few heads with decidedly mixed characters, in which those of the Negro predominate. For these I propose the name of Negroid crania; for while the osteological development is more or less that of the Negro, the hair is long but sometimes harsh, thus indicating that combination of features which is familiar in the mulatto grades of the present day. It is proper, however, to remark in relation to the whole series of crania, that while the greater part is readily referrible to some one of the above subdivisions, there remain other examples in which the Caucasian traits predominate, but are partially blended with those of the Negro, which last modify both the structure and expression of the head and face.

We proceed, in the next place, to analyze these crania individually, arranging them, for the purpose of convenience, into seven series, according to their sepulchral localities, beginning with the Necropolis of Memphis in the north:

First series, from the Memphite Necropolis.

A. Pyramid of five steps.
B. Saccàra, generally.
C. Front of the Brick Pyramid of Dashour.
D. North-west of the Pyramid of Five Steps.
E. Toora, on the Nile.
Second series, from the Grottoes of Maabdeh.
Third series, from Abydos.
Fourth series, from the Catacombs of Thebes.
Fifth series, from Koum Ombos.
Sixth series, from the Island of Beggeh, near Philæ.
Seventh Series, from Debod in Nubia.



This vast Necropolis extends from the Pyramids of Gizeh to the southern limit of Saccàra, a distance of about fifteen miles. The tombs are cut in the solid rock, and frequently communicate with one another, forming a vast subterranean labyrinth. Memphis is well known to be one of the oldest, if not indeed the oldest of the Egyptian cities; and among the tombs now extant Professor Rosellini has found some which bear inscriptions of a date nearly 2300 years before Christ, at which period Memphis must have been a large and flourishing city. The simpler catacombs were probably constructed before the pyramids; for these last could only result from centuries of civilization, and next to the catacombs, are the oldest existing monuments of the human race.


In the month of August, 1839, Mr. J. S. Perring, the distinguished Engineer, discovered a fourth entrance to this pyramid, which was found to communicate with a recess at the south-western corner of a large apartment described in his narrative. This communication is a horizontal gallery one hundred and sixty-six feet long, and the recess is seventy feet above the floor. “The southern end of the gallery,” observes Colonel Vyse, “was stopped up with sand; but for the length of one hundred and sixty feet from the interior it was open, and did not seem to have been previously visited, as nearly thirty mummies were found in it apparently undisturbed. They had neither coffins nor sarcophagi, nor, with the exception of three or four, any painted decorations. They crumbled to pieces on being touched, and could not be removed. Mr. Perring, therefore, proceeded to examine them. He found them enclosed in wrappers, with pitch and bitumen; but he did not meet with any of the objects usually deposited with mummies, excepting some of the common stone idols upon the body of the female. He therefore concluded that they were the bodies of persons employed in the building.”[2]

Fortunately for my inquiries, Mr. Gliddon was at hand when these relics were brought to light, and obtained them of Mr. Perring as a contribution to my researches. With the utmost care on Mr. Gliddon’s part, two of three reached me in safety, but the third was broken into numberless fragments. In fact, the consistence of these bones is but little firmer than unbaked clay, and the animal matter is nearly obliterated. If Mr. Perring’s opinion be correct, that the persons to whom these bodies belonged were coeval with the construction of the pyramid, we may with safety regard them as the most ancient human remains at present known to us. Whether, as that gentleman suggests, they pertained to workmen employed in building the pyramid, I will not pretend to decide; but although they present indifferent intellectual developments, their conformation is that of the Caucasian race.

Plate I., Fig. 1. (Cat. 838.) An oval head with a broad but rather low forehead, moderately elevated vertex, and full occiput. The superciliary ridges are prominent, the orbits oblong-oval, the nasal bones large, salient and aquiline, the teeth vertical 6and the whole facial structure delicate. The head of a woman of about forty years.[3]—I. C. 90 cubic inches. F. A. 81°. Pelasgic form.

Plate I., Fig. 2. (Cat. 837.) A large and ponderous skull, with, a broad but low forehead, and very prominent superciliary ridges. The vertex is elevated, the occipital region remarkably full, and the parietal diameter large. The bones of the face are delicately formed, the nose long and aquiline, the orbits rounded, the teeth vertical.—I. C. 97 cubic inches. F. A. 83°. Pelasgic form.

This is the skull of a man who may have reached his fiftieth year. The teeth are much worn, and parts of the sutures nearly obsolete. This person, long antecedent to his death, had received a severe wound over the right orbit, beginning at the nasal bone and extending upwards and outwards nearly two inches, fracturing and depressing both tables of the skull. The consequent deformity is manifest, although the cicatrization is complete.


Eleven skulls from various mummy pits in the great Necropolis of Saccàra. In Mr. Gliddon’s memoranda he remarks that these heads were mostly taken from the mummies themselves, and from the best constructed pits; and that having been enclosed in coffins painted and otherwise ornamented with different degrees of care, they probably pertained to the higher class of Egyptians.

Plate II., Fig. 1. (Cat. 808.) A large elongate-oval head, with a broad, high forehead, low coronal region, and strongly aquiline nose. The orbits nearly round; teeth perfect and vertical.—I. C. 97 cubic inches. F. A. 77°. Pelasgic form.

Plate II., Fig. 2. (Cat. 815.) A beautifully formed head, with a forehead high, full, and nearly vertical, a good coronal region, and largely developed occiput. The nasal bones are long and straight, and the whole facial structure delicately proportioned. Age, between thirty and thirty-five years.—I. C. 88 cubic inches. F. A. 81°. Pelasgic form.

Plate II., Fig. 3. (Cat. 812.) Skull of a woman of twenty years? with a beautifully developed forehead, and remarkably thin and delicate structure throughout. The frontal suture remains.—I. C. 82 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Pelasgic form.

Plate II., Fig. 4. (Cat. 806.) A thin cranium, of a short-oval form; the forehead is broad, the coronal region low, and the whole face prominent. Age, about thirty years. I. C. 83 cubic inches. F. A. 77°. Egyptian form.

Plate II., Fig. 5. (Cat. 814.) Cranium of a man of eighty or ninety years, with a full but rather receding forehead, and strongly developed cranial structure.—I. C. 97 cubic inches. Pelasgic form.

Plate II., Fig. 6. (Cat. 810.) An admirable conformation, as seen in the broad, high forehead, full occiput, and gently aquiline nose. Probably a female of twenty years.—I. C. 86 cubic inches. F. A. 78°. Egyptian form?

Plate II., Fig. 7. (Cat. 805.) A narrow, elongated head, with an indifferent frontal region. A man of fifty?—I. C. 79 cubic inches. F. A. 83°. Pelasgic form.

7Plate II., Fig. 8. (Cat. 807.) A large, thin, oval cranium, with a broad, receding forehead, tumid occiput, a long and very aquiline nose, and remarkably prominent face. The frontal suture remains entire. Probably a man of thirty years.—I. C. 88 cubic inches. F. A. 74°. Semitic form.

Plate III., Fig. 2. (Cat. 809.) A female head, with a somewhat receding forehead and low coronal region.—I. C. 81 cubic inches. F. A. 78°. Egyptian form.

Plate III., Fig. 1. (Cat. 811.) A small head, with a narrow frontal region, receding forehead, and broad parietal diameter. A female? of about twenty-five years.—I. C. 73 cubic inches. F. A. 76°. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 813.) Skull of a child of eight years, with a finely developed forehead, tumid occiput and full facial angle. Pelasgic form.


Three skulls exhumed by Mr. Perring from the above mentioned locality in the Memphite Necropolis. They were discovered in the month of August, 1839, in the process of trenching to find an entrance to the pyramid. The following extract from Col. Vyse’s admirable work embraces all the information we possess in relation to these remains, merely premising that none of the mummied heads alluded to has come into my possession.

“At the depth of about four feet six inches, above fifty bodies were found, ten of which were mummies, embalmed and deposited in the usual manner. The others were much decayed, and had been buried in their clothes, and in some instances were bound round with common cord and laid in wooden coffins, or among a few branches of date trees. Some of the clothes were woollen, others coarse linen, with a fringed border of bright scarlet worsted. The heads were covered with bright red network. Mr. Perring imagined that these bodies had belonged to a pastoral people, probably to Bedouins, and that they had been interred, together with the mummies, at a very early period, before the introduction of Christianity.” Vyse, Pyramids, III., p. 60.

These crania, which are remarkably small, possess much of the Egyptian form, and are well represented in the following outlines.

(Cat. 795.) An oval cranium with a receding forehead, full coronal region, strongly developed upper maxilla, and prominent face.—I. C. 75 cubic inches. F. A. 76°.—Egyptian blended with the Negroid form?

(Cat. 796.) A small oval head, low forehead, and salient and very aquiline nose. Facial 8bones thin and delicately proportioned.—I.C. 80 cubic inches. F.A. 75°. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 797.) A small, thin, irregularly formed head, with a full forehead and salient nose. The alveoli are absorbed by age. A woman of 70 years?—I.C. 76 cubic inches. Egyptian form.


Nine skulls of mummied Egyptians, taken by Mr. Gliddon from a large pit which had just been opened by the Arabs. Mr. G. remarks that No. 803 is a male, and 804 a female, both unwrapped by his own hands. “These mummies were all of a superior order, and enclosed in wooden cases. The pit was opened in my presence, and consisted of a deep shaft cut through the solid rock, with two or three chambers filled with undisturbed mummies.”

Scarcely any integuments remain on these heads, the removal of the wrappings leaving the bone for the most part completely denuded.

Plate III., Fig. 3. (Cat. 804.) A remarkably beautiful female head, not exceeding the age of twelve years. Pelasgic form.

Plate III., Fig. 4. (Cat. 799.) A ponderous skull, with a fine frontal, and full coronal region. Probably a man of 35 years.—I.C. 87 cubic inches. F.A. 82°. Pelasgic form.

Plate III., Fig. 5. (Cat. 816.) A beautifully oval and finely arched cranium, with a high, prominent forehead, tumid occiput, aquiline nose, and oblong orbitar cavities. A man of 45?—I.C. 92 cubic inches. F.A. 78°. Pelasgic form.

Plate III., Fig. 6. (Cat. 798.) A delicately proportioned and finely arched head. The cheek bones are small, and the nose strongly aquiline. Age, about 45 years.—I.C. 84 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Pelasgic form.

Plate III., Fig. 7. (Cat. 802.) A finely developed cranium, with a delicate, but rather prominent face, and strongly arched nose. Probably a female of 50 years.—I.C. 81 cubic inches. Egypto-Pelasgic form.

Plate III., Fig. 8. (Cat. 803.) A large, oval head, with a broad, receding forehead, low coronal region, and salient nose. A man of 45 or 50 years.—I. C. 92 cubic inches. F.A. 82°. Pelasgic form.

(Cat. 800.) Skull of a child of 10 years, with a receding forehead, narrow, projecting face, and salient teeth. Negroid form.

(Cat. 801.) A juvenile head, heavy, but beautifully proportioned, especially in the frontal region. Pelasgic form.

Plate III., Fig. 9. (Cat. 825.) A large and remarkably intellectual head, of the finest proportions throughout. The hair is in part preserved, and is long, smooth and of a dark-brown colour.—I. C. 93 cubic inches. F. A. 81°. Pelasgic form.


Plate II., Fig. 9. (Cat. 840.) Skull of a man from the ancient quarries at Toora, opposite Memphis, on the east bank of the Nile, about seven miles above Cairo. From 9this place the stones were obtained for building the Pyramids of Gizeh, and many later structures, down to the epoch of the Ptolemies. Mr. Gliddon was present at the exhumation of several of these crania, yet, owing to their extremely fragile state, but one reached me in safety, and for this I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Mash. They were found in rude sarcophagi of limestone, and wrapped in coarse matting. These remains, which were discovered in 1837-38, are supposed to have pertained to the master-quarrymen.

The head figured is of an elongated oval form, with a moderate frontal development and low coronal region. The nose is strongly salient and aquiline, and the whole cranial structure thin and delicate.—I. C. 89 cubic inches. F. A. 79°. Pelasgic form.

Remarks on the preceding series of Crania.—A mere glance at this group of skulls will satisfy any one accustomed to comparisons of this kind, that most of them possess the Caucasian traits in a most striking and unequivocal manner, whether we regard their form, size, or facial angle. It is, in fact, questionable whether a greater proportion of beautifully moulded heads would be found among an equal number of individuals taken at random from any existing European nation. The entire series consists of sixteen examples of the Pelasgic and seven of the Egyptian form, a single Semitic head, one of the Negroid variety, and one of mixed conformation. Of the antiquity of these remains there can be no question; and with respect to a part of them, those from the Pyramid of Five Steps, we have evidence of a more precise character.

These most ancient mummies appear to have been prepared with but little bitumen, and to have undergone desiccation by some primitive and simple process of embalming; such, for example, as first saturating the body in natron, and then subjecting it to heat in an oven. It is also to be remarked, that in these two heads the brain has not been removed through the nostrils, according to the general custom, for the ethmoid bone is unbroken; and the cranial contents could therefore only have been withdrawn through the foramen magnum at the base of the skull.

This last remark also applies to sixteen other heads of this series; whence I was at first led to suppose that they could not pertain to a very remote epoch. But when we find that the oldest remains are similarly characterized, and bear in mind that the removal of the brain through the nose was a conventional part of the more perfect art of embalming, may we not suppose that this imperforate state of the cranium points to an early epoch of Egyptian history, before mankind had resorted to those elaborate methods of preserving the dead body which are so remarkable in the Theban catacombs? It has been conjectured, that the proximity of the Natron Lakes to the city of Memphis gave rise to the custom of embalming; and it is not an improbable supposition that the profuse employment of bitumen was a subsequent refinement of the art. This suggestion derives some support from another fact; namely, that in every instance in which I have observed the brain to have been removed through the nose, the bones and integuments are much more charged with bitumen than in the imperforate crania.

It may, perhaps, be conjectured by some that the Pelasgic heads of this series belong to the Ptolemaic epoch, and hence pertain to the Greek inhabitants of that age: but it must be remembered that the rule of the Ptolemies lasted but about three hundred years; whereas the Egyptians were themselves the masters of Memphis, and entombed their dead 10in its necropolis more than two thousand years before either the Persians or Greeks effected the conquest of the country, no less than during the period of and after these epochs of foreign domination.

Of the sixteen adult Pelasgic skulls in this series, two or three are small; yet the whole number gives about 88 cubic inches for the average internal capacity of the cranium, or size of the brain, while the mean of the facial angle is 80°. The seven Egyptian crania have a mean internal capacity of 80 cubic inches, and a facial angle of 77°.


This is the name of a series of sepulchral grottoes in Middle Egypt, on the limestone hill opposite Manfaloot, and near the modern village of Maabdeh. It is within the ancient nome of Heracleopolis. This cemetery is a natural cavern, which was chiefly dedicated to embalmed crocodiles, but in some measure, also, to man. Mr. Gliddon observes that the human mummies are of the common order, and adds: “I brought them from a measured distance of 438 feet under ground, horizontally, averaging about twenty feet below the surface.”

Plate IV., Fig. 1. (Cat. 833.) A large, oval head, with a very low, receding forehead, and large, aquiline nose. A man of 35 years? The hair is long, soft, and curling, and the beard is partially preserved on the lower jaw. Pelasgic form?

This person has been much disfigured by ulceration of the cartilage of the nose and the adjacent integuments; part of the upper lip has been removed by the disease, which appears partially on the lower jaw, and may account for the beard not having been shaved. The embalming process has been very carefully conducted. Large lozenge-shaped patches of gold-leaf are seen on the centre of the forehead and over each eye, with smaller pieces dispersed in other places, and especially on the bone and teeth of the upper jaw, where these have been denuded or exposed by ulceration.

Plate IV., Fig. 2. (Cat. 834.) A female head, of a short, oval form, with a narrow, receding forehead, prominent nose, and very protruding maxillæ. The teeth, which are salient, indicate a person of 25 or 30 years of age; and the lower jaw, which is very angular, has a remarkable downward projection. The hair was long, but harsh, and was necessarily removed with the integuments, on account of the imperfect nature of the embalmment, which appeared to have been effected with a soft or tar-like bitumen. Negroid form.

Plate IV., Fig. 3. (Cat. 835.) A woman of 30? with a long, narrow head, slightly salient nose, and very projecting face. The hair is eight or ten inches long, harsh, but not wiry. Negroid form. I.C. 71 cubic inches. F.A. 73°.

Plate IV., Fig. 4. (Cat. 836.) A female head of a fine oval form, with a broad, convex forehead, low coronal region, and strongly aquiline nose. This head retains a profusion of long, fine, curling hair, and the face is gilded over the eyes and lips. This is a striking example of the tumid face which is not unfrequently seen on the monuments. Egyptian form.

11Remarks.—The two Negroid heads belong, obviously, to the lower class of people, for the bodies have been hastily and imperfectly embalmed, without mummy cases, and in ordinary wrappings. The two latter remarks apply to the other individuals of this series, which have, nevertheless, been much more carefully embalmed.


The city of Abydos, the second in size in the Thebaid, was on the west bank of the Nile, and, like Thebes, possessed a palace of Rameses III., and a temple of Osiris, the guardian divinity of the city.

Plate V., Fig. 1, (Cat. 819.) An elongated head, with an indifferent frontal and low coronal region, straight nose, small orbits, and prominent upper jaw.—I. C. 85 cubic inches. F. A. 79°. Egyptian form.

Plate V., Fig. 2. (Cat. 820.) A large and finely moulded cranium, with a broad, full forehead, and long, but abruptly salient nose. The upper jaw has a remarkable downward elongation, which reduces the F. A. to 76°.—I. C. 96 cubic inches. A man of 40. Egyptian form.

Plate V., Fig. 3. (Cat. 817.) A large, beautifully developed cranium, of harmonious proportions, but somewhat ponderous structure.—I. C. 89 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Pelasgic form.

Plate V., Fig. 4. (Cat. 818.) A small head, narrow and retreating, with a tumid occiput, very large, aquiline nose, and delicate, prominent face.—I. C. 69 cubic inches. F. A. 77°. Semitic form.

Remarks.—In a memorandum accompanying these skulls, Mr. Gliddon observes that “they were obtained from a mummy-pit behind the temple of Rameses III., and they belong to the best class. Among the relics found in the same pit were a scarabæus, bearing the prenomen of Thotmes IV., and a piece of stamped pottery, (apparently enclosed with a mummy to denote the epoch,) which bore the nomen of Rameses III. It may, therefore, be reasonably conjectured, that these remains belong to the eighteenth Diospolitan dynasty, fixed by Professor Rosellini between the years 1822 and 1874, B.C.”

The four heads are entirely denuded, but little appearance of bitumen remaining; nor is the ethmoid bone perforated. The bones bear the impress of age, and, in one instance, have become softened, and almost friable, from decomposition.


The greater part of this extensive and singularly perfect and varied series of heads, was collected by Mr. Gliddon during two visits to Thebes. They were all taken from 12the catacombs at El Gourna, on the western bank of the Nile. If we may judge by the different degrees of care manifested in the embalming process, they embrace individuals of every class excepting the highest and lowest; for the latter, according to the testimony of Herodotus, were never embalmed in the proper sense of that word; and the former were deposited in more elaborate sepulchres.

Plate VI., Fig. 1. (Cat. 860.) A man of fifty, with a small but well proportioned cranium. The bones of the face are small, and the whole osseous structure very thin.—I. C. 80 cubic inches. F. A. 82°. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 853.) Head of a man of fifty, with a low coronal region, receding forehead, full occiput, aquiline nose, and remarkable flatness beneath the temporal muscles.—I. C. 95 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate VI., Fig 2. (Cat. 865.) An oval head with a full but retreating forehead, a large, aquiline nose, and angular, prominent face. The eyes are embalmed open. Semitic form.

Plate VI., Fig. 3. (Cat. 893.) A singularly thin cranium, especially in the lateral parietal regions. The forehead is moderately expanded and the nose straight.—I. C. 85 cubic inches. F. A. 81°. Pelasgic form.

Plate VI., Fig. 4. (Cat. 850.) A large oval cranium, with a voluminous forehead, a small aquiline nose, and rounded orbits. Age, seventy to eighty years?—I. C. 86 cubic inches. Pelasgic form.

Plate VI., Fig. 5. (Cat. 859.) An octogenarian female, with a small but well proportioned head, and delicate facial bones. This cranium, which is remarkable for its tenuity, retains a very little smooth, long hair.—I. C. 82 cubic inches. Pelasgic form.

Plate VI., Fig. 6. (Cat. 881.) Skull of a female not exceeding seventeen years of age, with a beautifully developed forehead, and delicate facial bones, yet possessing an obvious downward elongation of the upper jaw, as in the Hindoo.—I. C. 71 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Egyptian form.

Plate VI., Fig. 7. (Cat. 889.) A well formed, oval head, with a remarkably prominent nose and chin.—I. C. 83 cubic inches. F. A. 83°. Egyptian form.

Plate VI., Fig. 8. (Cat. 870.) A long oval cranium, with a broad, receding forehead, tumid occiput, very long aquiline nose, and sharp features. The hair, which is cut close, is brown and silky.—I. C. 79 cubic inches. A man of thirty? Semitic form.

Plate VI., Fig. 9. (Cat. 876.) A small, but oval male head, with hair of a fine texture and brown colour.—I. C. 83 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate VII., Fig. 1. (Cat. 851.) A narrow, elongated cranium, with a retreating forehead, and rather produced maxillæ. The whole osseous structure is remarkably delicate. A woman of thirty-five?—I. C. 79 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Egyptian form.

Plate VII., Fig. 2. (Cat. 861.) Skull of a man of fifty, large and massive: forehead and coronal region but moderately developed; face projecting, with a small, aquiline nose.—I. C. 91 cubic inches. F. A. 78°. Egyptian form.

Plate VII., Fig. 3. (Cat. 857.) A female cranium, long, narrow, and much flattened at the sides, and rather ponderous. The whole face is long, angular, and prominent, with a slight yet manifest negro expression. A little hair remains, long, black, and smooth.—I. C. 83 cubic inches. F. A. 77°. Egyptian, blended with the Negro form?

13Plate VII., Fig. 4. (Cat. 848.) A female head, with a narrow but elevated and finely arched frontal region, which forms, with the straight nose, something of a Grecian profile. The face, however, is not in keeping with the head, being much produced.—I. C. 82 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Egyptian form.

Plate VII., Fig. 5. (Cat. 847.) A small head, narrow and laterally compressed, with a well formed forehead, and full occiput. The nose is very large and salient, and the maxillary structure much produced. A woman of thirty.—I. C. 68 cubic inches. F. A. 76°. Egyptian form.

Plate VII., Fig. 6. (Cat. 854.) A small but well proportioned cranium of a female not exceeding fifteen years of age. The forehead is full (by an oversight inadequately represented in the drawing,) and the whole of the osseous structure extremely delicate. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 849.) Skull of a man of twenty-five years, finely oval, with a broad receding forehead, and full coronal region. Facial bones broken.—I. C. 81 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 894.) A beautiful juvenile head, with a broad high forehead, large, prominent nose, and oval orbits. Pelasgic form.

(Cat. 887.) A child of twelve or fourteen years, with a finely turned forehead, long, aquiline nose, and vertical teeth. A little long, fine hair remains on the occiput. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 868.) Skull of a child of beautiful organization, excepting a slight inequality in the occipital region. Pelasgic form.

Plate VIII., Fig. 1. (Cat. 878.) An elongated head, with a broad receding forehead, long and nearly straight nose, and prominent chin. This person has been most carefully embalmed, with a profusion of gilding on various parts of the face. The hair is soft and curling, and of a dark-brown colour. A man of fifty?—I. C. 77 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate VIII., Fig. 2. (Cat. 879.) A man of fifty, admirably embalmed. A broad and full, but receding forehead, a large aquiline nose, and strong maxillæ. Pelasgic head of the Roman conformation.

Plate VIII., Fig. 3. (Cat. 839.) A short-oval cranium, with a full but retreating forehead, straight nose, and large prominent maxillæ.—I. C. 74 cubic inches. F. A. 78°. Egyptian blended with the Negro form?

Plate VIII., Fig. 4. (Cat. 871.) A juvenile female head, with a full but receding frontal region, long nose, sharp features, tumid occiput, and rounded orbits. Egyptian form.

Plate VIII., Fig. 5. (Cat. 866.) A small, juvenile, female head, with a convex but retreating forehead, and the whole face remarkably sharp, projecting, and repulsive. This head is elaborately gilded, and retains a portion of long, fine, smooth hair. Egyptian form?

(Cat. 873.) An oval cranium, with a good frontal region, and salient nasal bones. The alveoli have been almost destroyed by absorption consequent to advanced age.—I. C. 88 cubic inches. Pelasgic form?

14Plate VIII., Fig. 6. (Cat. 883.) A well-developed cranium, with a long straight nose. A man of forty?—I. C. 82 cubic inches. F. A. 81°. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 888.) Head of a man of thirty-five years? most carefully embalmed, with a high frontal region, and very long prominent angular face.—I. C. 85 cubic inches. Egyptian blended with Negro or Malay lineaments? The conformation of this head is not unlike that of some modern Nubians.

Plate VIII., Fig. 7. (Cat. 880.) A female head? of a fine oval form, long, straight nose, and quadrangular orbits. The angles of the lower jaw are remarkably expanded. The hair, which is cut short, is fine, and of a dark-brown colour.—I. C. 85 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Egyptian form.

Plate VIII., Fig. 8. (Cat. 867.) A large head with a broad convex frontal region, and full occiput. The nose is large and remarkably salient, and the maxillary bones projecting and ponderous. A little soft, dark-brown hair is attached to some remaining fragments of the scalp.—I. C. 86 cubic inches. F. A. 78°. Egyptian form.

This person has evidently undergone decapitation, and in order to attach the head again to the body, a ball of mummy cloth has been formed on the end of a piece of reed within the cranium, and the other end has been thrust between the spine and adjacent muscles, and confined there by bandages. There is also an excision of the occipital protuberance, by means of an axe or other sharp instrument, seemingly made by an unskilful effort to sever the head from the body.

Plate VIII., Fig. 9. (Cat. 855.) Head of a female not exceeding eighteen years of age, with a finely developed forehead, very long aquiline nose, small but prominent face, and very peculiar features. Hair, dark-brown, and extremely fine. The face is gilded.—I. C. 78 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 874.) Head of a child of nine or ten years, closely shaved and elaborately gilded, with a high, full forehead, projecting jaws, and oblique teeth. Egyptian blended with the Negro form?

(Cat. 48.) Skull of a child of eight years, with a fine frontal region, but rather prominent face. Hair long, and of a dark-brown colour. Egyptian form.

Plate IX. (Cat. 856.) A cranium of harmonious proportions, with a fine forehead, gently aquiline nose, delicate facial bones, and perfect teeth. A man of thirty?—I. C. 92 cubic inches. F. A. 80°. Egypto-Pelasgic form.

Plate X., Fig. 1. (Cat. 844.) A finely formed female head, with a straight nose, and delicate facial bones. Hair abundant, soft, and curling.—I. C. 68 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 2. (Cat. 872.) A woman of fifty?—with a low receding forehead, and prominent facial structure. Hair abundant, long, and very fine, of a light brown or auburn colour, and elaborately curled and platted.—I. C. 72 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 3. (Cat. 862.) Head of a man of sixty, with a broad receding forehead, 15salient nose and light facial bones. Hair, long, soft, and curling.—I. C. 79 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 4. (Cat. 843.) Head of a woman of thirty? most carefully embalmed; with a full forehead, very long, straight nose, and sharp delicate features, but prominent face. There is a profusion of long, brown, curling hair.—I. C. 74 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 5. (Cat. 877.) Head of a man with a broad receding forehead, salient nose, and delicate features. Hair, dark-brown, smooth and curling. The beard, though short, is preserved.—I. C. 89 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 6. (Cat. 60.) Head of a female not exceeding eighteen years of age, with a low forehead, long, straight nose, and rather prominent face. Hair long and fine. This style of head is very common on the Egyptian monuments. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 7. (Cat. 882.) Head of a young girl, with a very prominent nose, and long, smooth, curling hair: gilding on the eyelids and nose. Egyptian form.

Plate X., Fig. 8. (Cat. 884.) Head of a woman of thirty, of a faultless Caucasian mould. The hair, which is in profusion, is of a dark-brown tint, and delicately curled. Pelasgic form.

Plate X., Fig. 9. (Cat. 875.) A small female head, of seventy? years, with a fine frontal development, straight nose, and large oval orbits. The long, curling hair is of a yellowish colour, but has probably been gray, and dyed by henna.—I. C. 73 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate XI., Fig. 1. (Cat. 846.) Head of a youth of about eighteen years, with a remarkably broad and lofty forehead, a small straight nose, and delicately formed face. A little smooth, dark hair remains, and the whole has been elaborately embalmed, with a profusion of gilding on the face.—I. C. 87 cubic inches. This is one of the most perfectly formed heads that have ever come under my notice, yet the eyes are widely separated, the distance between the nose and mouth is remarkable, and the chin is short and receding. Egypto-Pelasgic form.

Plate XI., Fig. 2. (Cat. 842.) Head of a man of about fifty years of age, with a broad but very low and receding forehead. The nose is very large, and strongly aquiline, the teeth vertical and much worn, the cheek bones prominent, and the whole face remarkable for harshness of expression. A little brown hair remains on the occiput.—I. C. 85 cubic inches. Semitic form.

This head possesses great interest, on account of its decided Hebrew features, of which many examples are extant upon the monuments.

(Cat. 886.) Head of a man of fifty? small but well proportioned throughout. The teeth, which are vertical, are remarkably worn by attrition.—I. C. 76 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate XII., Figs. 1, 2. (Cat. 845.) An oval head with a full forehead, and long aquiline nose. The orbits are far apart, and the balls replaced with bone, on which the iris is distinctly painted. The hair, which is cut short, is fine and straight.—I. C. 73 cubic inches. This head has something of the Semitic character, both as respects configuration and expression, and I class it, though with some hesitation, with that series.



Wood-cut 1. (Cat. 841.) An elongated head, with a very receding forehead, long, aquiline nose, and large, ponderous jaws, which project so as to reduce the facial angle to about 65°. This person has been embalmed with evident care, but with the mouth open, the tongue protruded, and the eyelids raised, giving a frightfully vacant expression to the whole countenance, and leaving no reasonable doubt that this is the head of an idiot. A little hair remains, which is remarkably fine, and encroaches on the eyebrows.

Wood-cut 2. (Cat. 863.) Another idiotic head, embalmed also with the mouth open and the tongue partially protruded. The cranium is long, the forehead low and receding, the face remarkably prominent, and the whole expression, as in the former instance, to the last degree vacant and repulsive. I presume that no one accustomed to comparisons of this nature can examine these heads, without agreeing with me in opinion as to their position in the intellectual scale. It may appear, and, indeed, is surprising, that two idiotic heads should be found among one hundred taken at random from the catacombs; and I can only explain the fact by supposing that a particular tomb was reserved for this unfortunate class of persons; and that the Arab servant employed by Mr. Gliddon, in his explorations at Thebes, invaded by chance this very sanctum. It is well known that idiotic persons have, in all ages, been regarded with a certain degree of veneration in the East; and hence their remains would be likely, in Egypt, to be carefully preserved after death. In examining Professor Rosellini’s plates, I find a solitary example of an idiot, whose head is represented in the annexed diagram; and it is curious to remark, that the sagacity of the Egyptian artist has admirably adapted this man’s vocation to his intellectual developments, for he is employed in stirring the fire of a blacksmith’s shop. This singular effigy is seen at Thebes.


In addition to the two heads of this class from Maabdeh and one from Memphis, I subjoin descriptions and outline drawings of five others from Thebes, which are here grouped for the advantage of more ready comparison.


Fig. 1. (Cat. 864.) A female cranium, of a narrow oval form, with a low, receding forehead, small nose, and protruding face. There is much of the Negro expression in the bony structure of this head.—I. C. 77 cubic inches. F. A. 75°.

Fig. 2. (Cat. 858.) A large and rather ponderous cranium, with a well developed forehead, salient nose, jaws powerfully developed and protruding, and the upper teeth presenting obliquely outwards.—I. C. 87 cubic inches. F. A. 77°.

Fig. 3. (Cat. 885.) An oval head, with a convex frontal region, small, depressed nose, and very projecting face.—I. C. 77 cubic inches. F. A. 76°.

Fig. 4. (Cat. 852.) A small head, with a low, receding forehead, and strong, small nose, projecting maxillæ, and obvious Negro expression. A little hair remained, which was cut short, and was coarse without being woolly.—I. C. 77 cubic inches. F. A. 75°.

Fig. 5. (Cat. 869.) An oval head, with a good frontal development, salient nose, and very projecting face.—I. C. 88 cubic inches. F. A. 76°.

In the preceding five crania, the Negro features and expression greatly predominate; at the same time there is an evident mixture of Caucasian characters. Two of them might pass, perhaps, for genuine Negroes, but for the comparatively fine texture of the hair. I therefore regard them as Mulattoes, to which class, also, may be referred a large proportion of the modern Copts.

(Cat. No. 1044.) The subjoined wood-cut illustrates a remarkable head, which may serve as a type of the genuine Egyptian conformation. The long, oval cranium, the receding forehead, gently aquiline nose, and retracted chin, together with a marked distance between the nose and mouth, and the long, smooth hair, are all characteristic of the monumental Egyptian.



The remains of this once celebrated city are seen on a sandy hill on the eastern bank of the Nile, to the south of Thebes. The Ombites were celebrated for the worship of the crocodile, which they embalmed with care and deposited in the catacombs. The three following heads were obtained by Mr. Gliddon from the Ombite necropolis.

Plate XII., Fig. 3. (Cat. 830.) A female head of 30 years, with a low, narrow forehead, straight nose, and sharp, prominent features. The hair, which is in profusion, is long, fine and curling.—I. C. 77 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate XII., Fig. 4. (Cat. 831.) Head of a woman of 30 years?, with a narrow, but high and convex forehead, strong aquiline nose, and sharp facial structure. The hair is abundant, long, fine and curling.—I. C. 68 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate XII., Fig. 5. (Cat. 832.) An oval, thin skull, with a good frontal development, salient nose and delicate facial bones.—F. A. 81°. Egyptian form.

It is remarkable that two of the preceding skulls (the third being too much broken for measurement) give an average internal capacity of less than 73 cubic inches.


Philæ was the ancient boundary between Egypt and Nubia, and this little island contained several of the most venerated shrines of the Egyptian deities. The island of Beggeh (the ancient Senem) was also a consecrated spot, and is immediately contiguous to Philæ. It contains a funereal tumulus, which is supposed to have been the common sepulchre of those pilgrims who died during their sojourn, and hence, as Mr. Gliddon remarks in his memoranda, “they may have been of any nation or of any epoch.”

Plate XII., Fig. 6. (Cat. 821.) A finely moulded head, with a good frontal development, aquiline nose, and delicate facial bones.—I. C. 74 cubic inches. F. A. 79°. Pelasgic form.

(Cat. 822.) A juvenile head, of perhaps 12 years, thin and inequilateral, with a good forehead, and broad, inter-parietal diameter. The face is broken, and the ethmoid bone imperforate. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 824.) A very narrow, infantile head, with brown, soft, curling hair. The face is deficient, and the head is rather desiccated than embalmed. Egyptian form?

Plate XII., Fig. 7. (Cat. 823.) An unmixed Negro, with a narrow, elongated head, well-developed forehead, short and flat nasal bones, everted upper jaw, and short, gray, woolly hair. This appears to be the cranium of a woman of at least 60 years of age. The bones are thin, and the whole structure remarkably small.—I. C. 73 cubic inches.



Debod or Deboud is about twelve miles south of Philæ, on the left bank of the Nile, and in north latitude 24°. It was the site of the ancient Parembole, and yet possesses some ruins of a once splendid temple of Ammon.

The following heads were all obtained from a single pit, and from the rude manner in which they were embalmed and wrapped, Mr. Gliddon (who obtained them with his own hands) supposes them to have pertained to people of the lower order.

Plate XII., Fig. 8. (Cat. 829.) Skull of a woman of 50? with a low but convex forehead, with which the nasal bones have formed a nearly straight line. The coronal region is low, and the whole osseous structure strong and rather harsh.—Egyptian form. I. C. 70 cubic inches. F. A. 85°.

Plate XII., Fig. 9. (Cat. 827.) Skull of a man of 40, which strongly resembles the preceding. The forehead is low, but broad and vertical, the whole cranium long, the coronal region compressed, the orbits large, and the upper maxillæ slightly everted.—I. C. 82 cubic inches. Egyptian form.

Plate XIII. (Cat. 826.) A fine oval head, with a broad, high, convex forehead, large, straight nose, and rather prominent maxillæ. On one side is a mass of long, black hair, much curled, and of a fine texture.—I. C. 74 cubic inches. F. A. 77°. Egyptian form.

(Cat. 828.) An elongated, infantile head, with a narrow but vertical forehead, delicately formed face, very full occiput, and (what is not uncommon in children) a F. A. of 90°. Egyptian form.

Remarks.—In addition to the preceding details, it remains to offer some general observations on the size and configuration of the head, together with a tabular view of the whole series of crania, arranged in the first place, according to their sepulchral localities, and, in the second, in reference to their national affinities.

Ethnographic Table of one hundred ancient Egyptian Crania.[4]
Localities. No. Egyptian. Pelasgic. Semitic. Mixed. Negroid. Negro. Idiot.
Memphis, 26 7 16 1 1 1    
Maabdeh, 4 1 1     2    
Abydos, 4 2 1 1        
Thebes, 55 30 10 4 4 5   2
Ombos, 3 3            
Philæ, 4 2 1       1  
Debod, 4 4            
  100 49 29 6 5 8 1 2

20The preceding table speaks for itself. It shows that more than eight tenths of the crania pertain to the unmixed Caucasian race; that the Pelasgic form is as one to one and two-thirds, and the Semitic form one to eight, compared with the Egyptian: that one twentieth of the whole is composed of heads in which there exists a trace of Negro and other exotic lineage:—that the Negroid conformation exists in eight instances, thus constituting about one thirteenth part of the whole; and, finally, that the series contains a single unmixed Negro.

To these facts I shall briefly add the results of the observations of some authors who have preceded me in this inquiry. “I have examined in Paris, and in the various collections of Europe,” says Cuvier, “more than fifty heads of mummies, and not one amongst them presented the characters of the Negro or Hottentot.”[5]

Two of the three mummy heads figured by Blumenbach, (Decad. Cran., Figs. 1 and 31,) are unequivocally Egyptian, but the second, as that accurate observer remarks, has something of the Negro expression.[6] The third cranium delineated in the same work, (Plate 52,) is also Caucasian, but less evidently Egyptian, and partakes, in Professor Blumenbach’s opinion, of the Hindoo form. Of the four mummies described by Söemmering, “two differed in no respect from the European formation; the third had the African character of a long space marked out for the temporal muscle; the characters of the fourth are not particularized. The skulls of four mummies in the possession of Dr. Leach, of the British museum, and casts of three others, agree with those just mentioned in exhibiting a formation not differing from the European, without any trait of the Negro character.”[7]

The two heads figured in the great French work, are both decidedly Egyptian, but the second and smaller one is the most strongly marked.[8]

Internal Capacity of the Cranium.[9]—As this measurement gives the size of the brain, I have obtained it in all the crania above sixteen years of age, unless prevented by fractures or the presence of bitumen within the skull; and this investigation has confirmed the proverbial fact of the general smallness of the Egyptian head, at least as observed in the catacombs south of Memphis. Thus, the Pelasgic crania from the latter city, give an average internal capacity of eighty-nine cubic inches; those of the same group from Thebes give eighty-six. This result is somewhat below the average of the existing Caucasian nations of the Pelasgic, Germanic, and Celtic families, in which I find the brain to be about ninety-three cubic inches in bulk. It is also interesting to observe that the Pelasgic brain is much larger than the Egyptian, which last gives an average of but eighty cubic inches; thus, as we shall hereafter see, approximating to that of the Indo-Arabian nations.

21The largest head in the series measures ninety-seven cubic inches; this occurs three times, and always in the Pelasgic group. The smallest cranium gives but sixty-eight cubic inches, and this is three times repeated in the Egyptian heads from Thebes. This last is the smallest brain I have met with in any nation, with three exceptions,—a Hindoo, a Peruvian, and a Negro.

The Negroid heads, it will be observed, measure, on an average, eighty cubic inches, which is below the Negro mean; while the solitary Negro head (that of a person advanced in years,) measures but seventy-three cubic inches.[10]

As this, however, is a question of much interest and some novelty, it may, perhaps, be better illustrated in a tabular form:—


No. of

C. I.

Pelasgic Form.
Memphis. Abydos. Thebes. Philæ. 14


Semitic Form.
Memphis. Abydos. Thebes. 1


Egyptian Form.
Memphis. Abydos. Thebes. Ombos. Debod. 7

Negroid Form. Maabdeh. Thebes. 1

Negro. Philæ. 1 73 73 73 73

22Facial Angle.—I have carefully measured the facial angle in all those adult skulls which are sufficiently denuded for that purpose, and have obtained the following results:—

Ethnographic Division. No.



Pelasgic form, 16 83° 73° 80°
Egyptian form, 20 83° 76° 78°
Semitic form, 2 77° 74° 75°
Negroid form, 6 77° 73° 75°

It is stated by M. Virey, that the numerous mummies which have been brought to Europe present the full facial angle of the Caucasian race.

The Structure of the Cranial Bones is as thin and delicate as in the European, and a ponderous skull is of unfrequent occurrence. I make this remark with the more satisfaction because it enables me to contest one of the observations of Herodotus; who tells us, that on visiting the field of battle whereon the Egyptians had fought with the Persians, he saw the bones of the latter lying on one side, and those of their enemies on the other. He then adds, that “the skulls of the former were so extremely soft as to yield to the slightest impression, even of a pebble; those of the Egyptians, on the contrary, were so firm that the blow of a large stone would hardly break them.” The historian then explains the reason of this difference, by stating that the Egyptians have thicker skulls, because their heads are frequently shaved and more exposed to the weather: while the Persians have soft skulls, owing to the habitual use of caps which protect their heads from the sun.

These reveries are wholly untenable in a physiological point of view, and derive not the smallest support from anatomy itself; nor can there be a question that the confiding historian received his impressions through the ignorance or imposition of others. I have in my possession eight skulls of Fellahs, or modern Egyptian peasants, who habitually shave the head, and wear a thin cap; and yet their skulls, which are of various ages from early youth to senility, are without exception thin and delicate.

Some modern authors have also attributed to the mummy skulls a density which is not characteristic, but which is adventitiously acquired by the infiltration of bitumen into the diplöic structure during the process of embalming.

Hair.—The hair is fortunately preserved on thirty-six heads, in some instances in profusion, in others scantily, but always in sufficient quantity to enable us to judge of its texture. Thirty-one of these examples pertain to the Caucasian series, and in these the hair is as fine as that of the fairest European nations of the present day. The embalming process has changed it, with a few exceptions, from a black to a dark-brown colour. There are also several instances of gray hair, and two in which it is of a true flaxen colour: it is more than probable, however, that the latter hue has been produced artificially,—a practice still in use among the Saumaulies south of Adel.

The preceding remarks on the texture of the hair accord with those of other observers, 23as well as with the monumental evidences of every epoch. Belzoni obtained plaited hair from the Theban catacombs eighteen inches in length; and M. Villoteau mentions another instance, from the same tombs, in which the tresses must have reached to the waist. Entire wigs of the same character are preserved, as every one knows, in the British and Berlin museums; and I also possess, through the kindness of Mr. Gliddon, a portion of a similar relic from Thebes, which is elaborately wrought into a great number of long and most delicate tresses.

These facts lead to a few observations on the celebrated passage of Herodotus, who, when speaking of the Colchians, gives, among other proofs of their Egyptian lineage, that they “were black, and had short curling hair.” [Greek: Melanchroes kai oulotriches]. The above translation, which is that of the learned Beloe, expresses, in respect to the mode of wearing the hair, precisely what is verified by my observations; for in nearly all the Caucasian heads on which it has been allowed to grow, it is remarkable for a profusion of short curls of extreme fineness,—a character which is preserved in several of the accompanying delineations.

Herodotus farther tells us that the Egyptians kept their heads shaved; or perhaps he might have said with more precision, closely cut. But while the priests conformed to this rule, we are certain, from the foregoing facts, that there was a diversity of usage among the other classes, which is also proved by another passage in the same historian; for he assures us that “you see fewer bald in Egypt than in any other country.” Now if the Egyptians of all classes kept their heads shaved, it would be difficult to ascertain, and yet more difficult to see whether they were subject to natural baldness or not. Again, if Herodotus had not been accustomed to observe the Egyptians wearing their hair, how could he have compared them in this respect to the people of Colchis?

The same author informs us that the inhabitants of Egypt permitted their hair to grow as a badge of mourning; an observation which is every where corroborated in monumental funereal scenes. This observation, however, was probably for a comparatively short period, and will not account for the frequent occurrence of long hair among the mummies of all classes. It is mentioned in history that among other indignities which Cambyses offered to the embalmed body of King Amasis, was that of tearing the hair from his head.

The monuments afford abundant proof that among the Egyptians, from the highest to the lowest castes, it was not unusual to wear the hair long. The marginal drawing represents a rustic, (one of six on the monument,) who is engaged in a wrestling match. And it is hardly to be supposed that the profusion of hair with which his head is covered, can be any other than the natural growth.[11] A man thus occupied would find a difficulty in keeping a wig on his head.

So also with another from a tomb at Thebes, wherein a carpenter of pleasing but rather effeminate physiognomy, is engaged in the labours of his art.[12]

24Another example, that subjoined (No. 1,) is derived from a funereal procession at Thebes,[13] but granting, what is quite possible, that the woman in this instance, wears only a head-dress, the contrary can be insisted on in reference to another painting, of a group of five women engaged in athletic exercises, in the midst of which, one of them holds and partially sustains the other by her long, straight hair; showing that the latter could be no other than the natural growth. (No. 2.) It is also interesting to remark, that this picture dates back into “the night of time,”—that remote period antecedent to the eighteenth dynasty, of which this is one of the many remains yet preserved in the celebrated tomb of Novotpth, at Beni-Hassan.[14]

No. 1          No. 2          No. 3          No. 4

Again, among the funereal processions at Thebes are several boat scenes, from one of which I derive the above drawing, representing an Egyptian woman in the act of lamentation, while her hair falls in long and graceful ringlets below her shoulders. (No. 3.)

Another effigy, (No. 4,) that of an Egyptian lady from a painting in the Theban catacombs,[15] has the hair dressed in the same manner in which it is worn by the modern Nubian girls, as represented in one of the beautiful sketches by Mr. Wathen in his work on Egyptian architecture.

These instances have been selected out of hundreds of a similar character which every where meet the eye on the Nilotic monuments, and which present a most satisfactory accordance with the evidence derived from the catacombs.

Hamilton, in his Ægyptiaca, when describing the paintings at Elytheias, says that “the labourers are dressed in a kind of skull-cap, and have very little if any hair on their heads; while that of the others who superintend them spreads out at the sides, as with the Nubians and Berabera above the cataracts,”—and yet among these very labourers the hair of some is represented so long, that it projects beneath the cap and falls upon the shoulders.[16] If I may judge from the heads that have come under my notice, I should infer that the women, as a general rule at least, allowed their hair to grow; but that the practice was much less frequent among the men.

In the heads of every Caucasian type in the series now before us, the hair is perfectly distinct from the woolly texture of the Negro, the frizzled curls of the Mulatto, or the lank, straight locks of the Mongolian.

Of the eight Negroid heads, four are more or less furnished with hair, one is closely 25shaved, and two are entirely denuded. In those which retain the hair, it is comparatively coarse, and in one instance somewhat wiry. The hair of the solitary Negro head possesses the characteristic texture.

I find a short beard (perhaps half an inch in length,) on three Theban heads of the Caucasian part of the series. (Plate IV., Fig. 1, Plate VIII., Fig. 1, and Plate X., Fig. 5.) The Egyptians habitually shaved the beard; but on their statues and paintings we frequently see a beard-case which, as Rosellini remarks, appears to be merely emblematical of the male sex and of manhood.

The Teeth.—Professor Blumenbach, in his Decades Craniorum, long ago pointed out what he considered a peculiarity in the conformation of the teeth in some Egyptian mummies; namely, that the crowns of the incisors are very large, thick, and cylindrical, or obtusely conical, in place of having the characteristic chisel-like form.[17] I have given especial attention to this supposed peculiarity; but although the incisors remain more or less perfect in forty-five crania, embracing upwards of two hundred teeth of this class, I have not been able to confirm the preceding observation. On the contrary, there does not appear to be the smallest deviation from the ordinary form or structure; and I feel confident, that the learned and accurate Blumenbach was deceived by the worn condition of the crowns of the teeth, obviously resulting from the habitual mastication of hard substances. Mr. Lawrence expresses the same opinion, from personal observation; Dr. Prichard inclines to a similar view of the case, and remarks, that “the most satisfactory method of obtaining information is by inspecting the mummies of children.” Here, again, I have been so fortunate as to examine the crania of three children from one year old to five years, and five others between the ages of five and ten years. The result is entirely confirmatory of the opinion I have already advanced, and also coincides with the observations of Mr. Estlin.[18]

What the masticated substances were, has not been ascertained; but the teeth of some Hindoos, even in early life, are as much worn away as those of the Egyptians. The latter, as a general rule, are remarkably free from decay, and in a number of instances the whole set remains unbroken. There are various examples in which the teeth appear to have been extracted; thus reminding us of the statement of Herodotus, that there was a class of physicians whose attention, like that of our modern dentists, was bestowed exclusively upon these organs.

The Nose.—A review of the preceding Anatomical details, and a glance at the accompanying delineations, will serve to show that the form of the nose in the Caucasian series was straight, or slightly aquiline, as in the Hindoo; more prominent, as in the Pelasgic tribes; and long, salient, and aquiline, as in the Arabian race, and more especially in the Semitic nations of that stock.

It may be here observed, that the nasal bones have in many instances been more or less broken in forcing a passage through the ethmoid bone, for the purpose of removing 26the brain. This operation, which appears to have been almost uniformly practised at Thebes, was comparatively unusual at Memphis; for of the twenty-six heads from the latter necropolis, five only are perforated; while of the fifty-five Theban crania, all are perforated but two; and in a third the ethmoid is so little broken that the brain could not have been removed through the orifice. I moreover detect three instances of complete perforation of the nose, in which the brain had been extracted through the foramen magnum, by cutting the neck half across behind; the bandages being folded over the incision. The absence of the ethmoidal perforation in the oldest heads from Memphis, and in many others of a later date from the same necropolis, leads me to suppose that the brain may have been primitively removed through the foramen magnum; and that its extraction through the nose, as already suggested, may have been a subsequent refinement of the embalming art. Again, the different provinces of Egypt may have had peculiar and conventional details in this as in other usages; for all the heads from Ombos and Maabdeh have the ethmoidal opening; all those from Abydos and Debod are without it; while of the four from Philæ, one is perforated and three are not.

Denon long ago pointed out a peculiarity of the Egyptian profile, as seen in the remarkable distance between the nostrils and the teeth. This feature, with a small receding chin, is of frequent occurrence both in the mummies and on the monuments.

Position of the Ear.—Every one who has paid the least attention to Egyptian art, has observed the elevated position which is given to the ear; and I have examined my entire series of heads, in order to ascertain whether this peculiarity has any existence in nature, but I can find nothing in them to confirm it. The bony meatus presents no deviation from the usual relative arrangement of parts; but the cartilaginous structure being desiccated, and consequently contracted, may not afford satisfactory evidence. Clot Bey and other authors have remarked an elevation of the ear in some modern Copts; and the traveller Raw, quoted by Virey, notices the same feature in the Hindoos, and it is said also to exist in degree in the Jews. There may, therefore, be some foundation for this peculiarity of Egyptian sculpture and painting; but I feel confident that in nature it is nothing more than an upward elongation of the auricular cartilages, without any modification of the bony meatus. It has also occurred to me that the appearance in question may be sometimes owing to the remarkable vertical length of the upper jaw in some heads (those represented Plate IV., Fig. 2, and Plate V., Fig. 2, for example,) in which it is manifest that the ear would possess a remarkable elevation in respect to the maxillary bones, without being any nearer to the top of the head than usual. These hints may possibly afford some clew to a satisfactory explanation of an almost invariable rule of Egyptian art.

Dr. Prichard (Researches Vol. II., p. 251,) has given an abstract of some observations made by M. De La Malle, on the mummies contained in the Museum of Turin. “In the skulls of these [six] mummies, as well as in many others brought from the same country, although the facial angle was not different from that of European heads, the meatus auditorius, instead of being situated in the same plane with the basis of the nose, was found by M. De Malle to be exactly on a level with the centre of the eye”! Unless M. De Malle is an anatomist, and accustomed to comparisons of this kind, I can imagine 27that he might be deceived by the mere position in which the head was placed for inspection; for the more the face is drawn downward, the higher will be the relative position of the ear, until it may be brought on a level either with the nostrils or the eye, at option. I am the more disposed to offer this suggestion because we are told that in the mummies in question “the facial angle was not different from that of European heads.” I need hardly remark, however, that the higher the external meatus of the ear, the less will be the facial angle; so that M. De Malle’s two observations manifestly contradict each other.

In the annexed plates the reader will find seventy-four accurate delineations of mummied heads, among which he will search in vain for the alleged peculiarity of the Egyptian ear. It is equally absent in the Pelasgic, Egyptian, Semitic, and Negroid forms: and yet the Egyptians, on their monuments, bestowed it alike on the people of all nations, of all epochs, and of every condition in life. See Plate XIV.

Complexion.—On this point our evidence is, perhaps, less conclusive than on most others connected with Egyptian ethnography. Yet, meagre as it may seem, we cannot pass it by without a few remarks.

Herodotus, in the passage already cited, (p. 115,) speaks of the colour of the Egyptians as if it were black; yet this is evidently a relative, and not an absolute term. This remark applies, also, to the hackneyed fable of the two black doves, who are said, in mythological language, to have flown from Egypt, and established (at least one of them) the oracle of Delphi. Here, again, Herodotus supposes that because the doves were black, they must have represented Egyptian personages. But the Greeks, observes Maurice, called every thing black that related to Egypt, not excepting the river, the soil, and even the country itself; whence the name [Greek: Ermochymios]—the black country of Hermes.

Again, in reference to the statement of Herodotus, on which I have already, perhaps, too largely commented, it may be well to give the evidence of another eye-witness, that of Ptolemy the geographer, who is believed to have been born in Egypt. He wrote in the second century of our era, and his observations must consequently have been made something more than five hundred years later than those of Herodotus. His words are as follow:—“In corresponding situations on our side of the equator, that is to say, under the tropic of Cancer, men have not the colour of Ethiopians, nor are there elephants and rhinoceroses. But a little south of this, the northern tropic, the people are moderately dark, ([Greek: êrema tynchanousi melanes],) as those, for example, who inhabit the thirty Schæni, (as far as Wady Halfa, in Nubia,) above Syene. But in the country around Meroë they are already sufficiently black, and there we first meet with pure Negroes.”[19]

Here is ample evidence to prove that the natural geographical position of the Negroes was the same seventeen centuries since as it is now; and for ages antecedent to Herodotus, the monuments are perfectly conclusive on the same subject. I could, therefore, much more readily believe that the historian had never been in Egypt at all,[20] than admit the literal and unqualified interpretation of his words which has been insisted on by some, and which would class the Egyptians with the Negro race.

28On the monuments the Egyptians represent the men of their nation red, the women yellow; which leads to the reasonable inference that the common complexion was dark, in the same sense in which that term is applicable to the Arabs and other southern Caucasian nations, and varying, as among the modern Hindoos, from comparatively fair to a dark and swarthy hue. “Two facts,” says Heeren, “are historically demonstrated; one, that among the Egyptians themselves there was a difference of colour; for individuals are expressly distinguished from each other by being of a darker or lighter complexion: the other, that the higher castes of warriors and priests, wherever they are represented in colours, pertain to the fairer class.”

That the Ethiopians proper, or Meroïtes, were of a dark, and perhaps very dark complexion, is more than probable; and among other facts in support of this view, we find that the mother of Amunoph III., and wife of Thotmes IV., who was a Meröite princess, is painted black on the monuments. Thus the different complexion of the great divisions of the Egyptian nation must sometimes have been blended, like their physiognomical traits, even in the members of the royal family.

It is not, however, to be supposed that the Egyptians were really red men, as they are represented on the monuments. This colour, with a symbolic signification, was conventionally adopted for the whole nation, (with very rare exceptions,) from Meröe to Memphis. Thus, also, the kings of the Greek and Roman dynasties are painted of the same complexion.[21]

Professor Rosellini supposes the Egyptians to have been of a brown, or reddish-brown colour, (rosso-fosco,) like the present inhabitants of Nubia; but, with all deference to that illustrious archæologist, I conceive that his remark is only applicable to the Austral-Egyptians as a group, and not to the inhabitants of Egypt proper, except as a partial result of that mixture of nations to which I have already adverted, and which will be more fully inquired into hereafter.

The well known observation of Ammianus Marcellinus, “Homines Ægyptii plerique subfusculi sunt, et atrati,” is sufficiently descriptive, and corresponds with other positive evidence, in relation to the great mass of the people; and when the author subsequently tells us that the Egyptians “blush and grow red,” we find it difficult to associate these ideas with a black, or any approximation to a black skin.[22]

The late Doctor Young, in his Hieroglyphical Literature, has given a translation of a deed on papyrus of the reign of Ptolemy Alexander I., in which the parties to a sale of 29land at Thebes are described in the following terms:—“Psammonthes, aged about 45, of middle size, dark complexion and handsome figure, bald, round-faced and straight-nosed; Snachomneus, aged about 20, of middle size, sallow complexion, round-faced and straight-nosed; Semmuthis Persinei, aged about 22, of middle size, sallow complexion, round-faced, flat-nosed, and of quiet demeanour; and Tathlyt Persinei, aged about 30, of middle size, sallow complexion, round face and straight nose, the four being children of Petepsais of the leather-dressers of the Memnonia; and Necheutes the less, the son of Azos, aged about 40, of middle size, sallow complexion, cheerful countenance, long face and straight nose, with a scar upon the middle of the forehead.” In another deed of the same epoch, also translated by Dr. Young, an Egyptian named Anophris is described as “tall, of a sallow complexion, hollow-eyed and bald.”

Independently of the value of the other physical characters preserved in these documents, the remarks on complexion have a peculiar interest; for they show that among six individuals of three different families, one only had a dark complexion, and that all the rest were sallow.

From the preceding facts, and many others which might be adduced, I think we may safely conclude, that the complexion of the Egyptians did not differ from that of the other Caucasian nations in the same latitudes. That while the higher classes, who were screened from the action of a burning sun, were fair in the comparative sense, the middle and lower classes, like the modern Berbers, Arabs, and Moors, presented various shades of complexion, even to a dark and swarthy tint, which the Greeks regarded as black in comparison with their own. To these diversities must also be added others incident to a vast servile population, derived from all the adjacent nations, among which the sable Negro stood forth in bold and contrasted characters.

Dr. Wiseman, after a critical examination of the evidence in reference to this mooted question, has arrived at the following philosophical conclusion;—“It is not easy to reconcile the conflicting results thus obtained from writers and from monuments; and it is no wonder that learned men should have differed widely in opinion on the subject. I should think the best solution is, that Egypt was the country where the Greeks most easily saw the inhabitants of interior Africa, (the Negroes,) many of whom, doubtless, flocked thither and were settled there, or served in the army as tributaries or provincials, as they have done in later times; and thus they came to be confounded by writers with the country where alone they knew them, and were considered part of the indigenous population.”[23]

External Configuration.—On this subject I have nothing to add but the following external measurements,[24] (taken with my own hands,) derived from each group, and embracing all the denuded adult crania excepting two of the Semitic form.

30Table I. Pelasgic Group.
No. in Cat.


Longitud. Diam.

Parietal Diam.

Frontal Diam.

Vertical Diam.

Inter-mastoid Diam.  Line.

Occipito-Frontal Arch.

Horizontal Periphery.
Thebes, 856 IX.     7.5 5.6 4.5 5.2 15.1 4.2 15.6 21.
Thebes, 859 VI., 5. 7.1 5.1 4.3 5.3 14.1 4.1 14.5 20.
Thebes, 850 VI., 4. 7.4 5.3 4.3 5.4 15. 4.3 15.3 20.5
Thebes, 893 VI., 3. 7.2 5.4 4.4 5.3 14.6 4.1 14.7 20.3
Abydos, 817 V., 3. 7.1 5.7 4.5 5.4 15.6 3.9 15.3 20.5
Memphis, 803 III., 8. 7.5 5.6 4.3 5. 14.8 4. 14.9 20.8
Memphis, 808 II., 1. 7.4 5.7 4.8 5.1 15. 4. 14.9 21.
Memphis, 816 III., 5. 7.4 5.1 4.3 5.5 15. 4. 15.1 20.6
Memphis, 802 III., 7. 6.8 5.2 4.3 5.4 13.9 4.2 14. 19.
Memphis, 812 II., 3. 6.8 5.5 4.5 4.8 13.6 4. 14.1 19.9
Memphis, 815 II., 2. 7. 5.2 4.1 5.4 14.6 3.9 15. 19.9
Memphis, 799 III., 4. 7.2 5.7 4.2 5. 14.9 3.7 14.8 20.4
Memphis, 814 II., 5. 7.3 5.8 4.6 5.2 15.4 4.3 15.5 20.8
Memphis, 805 II., 7. 7.4 5. 3.9 5.3 14.4 3.9 15. 19.8
Memphis, 838 I., 1. 7.5 5.5 4.4 5.5 14.7 4. 15. 20.7
Memphis, 837 I., 2. 7.8 5.7 4.6 5.7 15. 4.1 15.6 21.2
Memphis, 798 III., 6. 6.9 5.5 4.4 5.1 14.2 4.1 14.5 19.5
Memphis, 825 III., 9. 7.5 5.7 4.3 5.3 15. 4.2 15. 20.7
Memphis, 840 II., 9. 7.3 5.4 4.6 5.2 14.8 4.1 15. 20.6
Philæ, 821 XII., 6. 6.9 5.2 4.4 4.9 14. 4. 14. 19.5
Highest in the series, 7.8 5.8 4.8 5.7 15.6 4.3 15.6 21.2
Mean, 7.25 5.44 4.38 5.25 14.6 4.05 14.85 20.33
Lowest in the series, 6.8 5.1 3.9 4.8 13.6 3.7 14. 19.

The frontal diameter is taken between the anterior inferior angles of the parietal bones.

The vertical diameter is measured from the fossa between the condyles of the occipital bone, to the top of the skull.

The inter-mastoid arch is measured, with a graduated tape, from the point of one mastoid process to the other, over the external table of the skull.

The inter-mastoid line is the distance, in a straight line, between the points of the mastoid processes.

The occipito-frontal arch is measured by a tape over the surface of the cranium, from the posterior margin of the foramen magnum to the suture which connects the os frontis with the bones of the nose.

The horizontal periphery is measured by passing a tape around the cranium so as to touch the os frontis immediately above the superciliary ridges, and the most prominent part of the occipital bone.

31Table II. Egyptian Group.
No. in Cat.


Longitud. Diam.

Parietal Diam.

Frontal Diam.

Vertical Diam.

Inter-mastoid Arch.

Inter-mastoid Line.

Occipito-Frontal Arch.

Horizontal Periphery.
Thebes, 857 VII., 3. 7. 5. 4. 5.3 14.6 3.8 14.9 19.6
Thebes, 849   7.1 5.5 4.4 5.2 14.8 3.9 14.6 20.1
Thebes, 860 VI., 1. 7. 5.4 4.4 5.3 14.7 4. 14.2 20.
Thebes, 848 VII., 4. 7.1 5.2 4.1 5. 14.2 3.7 15. 20.
Thebes, 847 VII., 5. 6.8 4.8 3.9 5. 13.5 4. 13.9 18.8
Thebes, 851 VII., 1. 7. 5.3 4.5 5. 14. 4. 14. 19.7
Thebes, 853   7.5 5.6 4.3 5. 15.5 4.1 15. 20.7
Abydos, 820 V., 2. 7.5 5.5 4. 5.5 15.2 3.9 15.7 20.9
Abydos, 819 V., 1. 7.3 5.3 4. 5. 14.6 4. 14.6 19.8
Memphis, 806 II., 4. 6.6 5.9 4. 4.8 14.6 4.2 13.6 19.7
Memphis, 811 III., 1. 6.9 5.5 4. 4.8 14.5 3.7 14.4 19.5
Memphis, 809 III., 2. 7.3 5.3 4.2 4.9 14.3 3.9 14.5 20.6
Memphis, 795   7. 5.3 4.1 5.1 14.9 3.9 14.4 19.5
Memphis, 796   6.7 5.4 4.3 4.8 14.3 3.9 13.9 19.5
Memphis, 797   6.8 5.2 4.4 5.1 14.5 4. 14.2 19.4
Debod, 827 XII., 9. 7.3 5.2 4.5 4.9 13.7 4.2 14.9 20.5
Debod, 826 XIII.     7. 5.1? 4. 5.4 14. 4. 14.5 19.
Debod, 829 XII., 8. 7. 5.1 4.3 5. 13.7 3.6 13.7 19.5
Thebes, 867 VIII., 8. 7.8 5.4 4.3 5.5 15. 4.3 15.5 21.4
Thebes, 861 VII., 2. 7.3 5.3 4.4 5.5 14.7 4.2 15.2 20.3
Memphis, 810 II., 6. 7.2 5.5 4.4 5.2 14.7 3.8 15.2 20.7
Thebes, 889 VI., 7. 7.5 5.2 4.4 5.8 14.4 4.3 15.2 20.5
Ombos, 832 XII., 5. 7.4 5.4 4.5 5. 15. 4.2 14.9 20.5
Highest in the series, 7.8 5.9 4.5 5.8 15.5 4.3 15.7 21.4
Mean, 7.15 5.32 4.21 5.14 14.5 4. 14.6 20.1
Lowest in the series, 6.6 4.8 3.9 4.8 13.5 3.6 13.6 18.8
Table III. Negroid Group.
  No. in Cat.
Page or Plate

Longitud. Diam.

Parietal Diam.

Frontal Diam.

Vertical Diam.

Arch.    Line
Occipito-Frontal Arch.
Horizontal Periphery.
Thebes, 864 Page 17, 7. 5.1 4.2 5.4 14.4 3.3 14.6 19.6
Thebes, 885 "   " 7. 5.5 4.5 5.1 14.4 3.5 14.8 19.7
Thebes, 858 "   " 7.4 5.3 4.5 5. 14.6 4.4 14.6 20.5
Thebes, 852 "   " 7.2 5.1 4.4 5.2 14. 4.3 14.3 19.5
Thebes, 869 "   " 7.4 5.4 4.1 5.5 13.9 4.3 15.5 20.
Maabdeh, 834 IV., 2 6.4 5.5 4.2 5.1 13.8 4. 13.8 18.7
Mean, 7.05 5.3 4.3 6.2 14.2 4. 14.6 19.6

These measurements, it must be confessed, possess merely an isolated interest until they can be compared with those derived from the other races of men.[25] Meanwhile I 32give them as I find them, and in the hope of being able to institute the desired comparisons on some future occasion.

Stature.—Mr. Pettigrew’s measurements seem to prove, what the size of the head also indicates, that the Egyptians were of the middle stature. He met with no instance which, even enveloped in its bandages, would measure more than five feet six inches. Perhaps, however, sufficient allowance has not been made for the contraction of the joints, and especially of the intervertebral substance, which in a state of complete desiccation, would diminish the length of the body at least two inches. In the year 1833, I purchased of the heirs of the late Senior Lébolo, a dilapidated mummy from Thebes, of which I prepared the skeleton, now preserved in the Anatomical Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. It measures about five feet ten inches, and is in every respect beautifully developed excepting the cranium, which is small in proportion and of indifferent conformation.[26]

Age.—It is a familiar fact that the mummies of children are rarely found in the Egyptian catacombs, at least in comparison with those of adults; a circumstance which has not been satisfactorily explained.

Champollion Figeac observes that the Egyptians were a long-lived people, as proved by their funereal inscriptions which frequently speak of the dead as having passed the age of fourscore years; a remark which derives some confirmation from the following table, wherein the crania in my possession are proximately classed according to their respective ages:—

From one year old to five, 3
From five to ten, 5
From ten to fifteen, 4
From fifteen to twenty, 9
From twenty to thirty, 27
From thirty to forty, 25
From forty to fifty, 18
From fifty to sixty, 2
From sixty to seventy, 2
From seventy to eighty, 3
From eighty to ninety, 2

Having thus identified, in the catacombs, the remains of the various people who constituted the Nilotic family, we proceed in the next place to trace them on the monuments of Egypt and Nubia; and as the value of this comparison must depend on the fidelity of the artists who have copied the paintings and bas-reliefs, we shall derive the following illustrations, with one or two exceptions, from the admirable works of Champollion, Rosellini, and Hoskins.



The monuments from Meroë to Memphis, present a pervading type of physiognomy which is every where distinguished at a glance from the varied forms which not unfrequently attend it, and which possesses so much nationality both in outline and expression, as to give it the highest importance in Nilotic ethnography. We may repeat that it consists in an upward elongation of the head, with a receding forehead, delicate features, but rather sharp and prominent face, in which a long and straight or gently aquiline nose forms a principal feature. The eye is sometimes oblique, the chin short and retracted, the lips rather tumid, and the hair whenever it is represented, long and flowing.

This style of features pertains to every class, kings, priests, and people, and can be readily traced through every period of monumental decoration, from the early Pharaohs down to the Greek and Roman dynasties. Among the most ancient and at the same time most characteristic examples, are the heads of Amunoph the Second, and his mother, as represented in a tomb at Thebes,[27] which dates, in Rosellini’s chronology, seventeen hundred and twenty-seven years before our era. In these effigies all the features are strictly Egyptian, and how strikingly do they correspond with those of many of the embalmed heads from the Theban catacombs!

Fig. 1.                Fig. 2.

A similar physiognomy preponderates among the royal Egyptian personages of every epoch, as will be manifest to any one who will turn over the pages of Champollion and Rosellini. The head of Horus (Plate XIV., Fig. 2,) is an admirable illustration, while in the portraits of Rameses IV., and Rameses IX., (Plate XIV., Fig. 6 and 7,) the same lines are apparent, though much less strongly marked. How admirably also are they seen in the subjoined juvenile head, (Fig. 1,) which is that of a royal prince, copied from the very ancient paintings in the tomb of Pehrai, at Eletheias.[28] So also in the face of Rameses VII., (Fig. 2,) who lived perhaps one thousand years later in time.


Fig. 1.                Fig. 2.

I observe that the priests almost invariably present this physiognomy, and in accordance with the usage of their caste, have the head closely shaven. When coloured they are red, like the other Egyptians. The subjoined drawing, (No. 1,) which is somewhat harsh in outline, is from the portico of one of the pyramids of Meroë,[29] and is probably one of the oldest human effigies in Nubia. They abound in all the temples of that country, and especially at Semneh, Dakkeh, Soleb, Gebel-Berkel, and Messoura.[30]

From the numberless examples of similar conformation, I select another of a priest from the bas-relief at Thebes, which is remarkable for delicacy of outline and pleasing serenity of expression.[31] (No. 2.)

So invariably are these characters allotted to the sacerdotal caste, that we readily detect them in the two priests who, by some unexplained contingency, become kings in the twentieth dynasty. Their names read Amensi-Hrai-Pehor and Phisham on the monuments; and the accompanying outline is a fac-simile of Rosellini’s portrait of the latter personage, who lived about eleven hundred years before the Christian era.[32] In this head the Egyptian and Pelasgic characters appear to be blended, but the former preponderate. (No. 3.)

The last outline, (No. 4,) represents a modification of the same type, that of the Harper in Bruce’s tomb at Thebes. The beautiful form of the head and the intellectual character of the face, may be compared with similar efforts of Grecian art. It dates with Rameses the IV.[33]

     1.                            2.                                 3.                                 4.               

35As I believe this to be a most important ethnographic indication, and one which points to the vast body of the Egyptian people, I subjoin four additional heads of priests from a tomb at Thebes, of the eighteenth dynasty. We are forcibly impressed with the delicate features and oblique eye of the left hand personage, and with the ruder but characteristic outline of the other figures, in which the prominent face, though strongly drawn, is essentially Egyptian.[34]

The annexed outlines, which present more pleasing examples of the same ethnographic character, are copied from the tomb of Titi, at Thebes, and date with the remote era of Thotmes IV.[35] They represent five fowlers in the act of drawing their net over a flock of birds. The long, flowing hair is in keeping with the facial traits, which latter are also well characterized in the subjoined drawings, derived from monuments of different epochs and localities.

     1.                            2.                                 3.                                 4.          

Fig. 1, is the head of a weaver, from the paintings in the very ancient tomb of Roti and Menoph at Beni-Hassan, wherein the same cast of countenance is reiterated without number.[36]

Fig. 2, a wine-presser, is also from Beni-Hassan, and dates with Osortasen, more than 2000 years before the Christian era.[37]

Fig. 3, is a cook, who in the tomb of Rameses the Fourth, at Thebes, is represented with many others in the active duties of his vocation.[38]

Fig. 4. I have selected this head as an exaggerated or caricatured illustration of the same type of physiognomy. It is one of the goat-herds painted in the tomb of Roti, at Beni-Hassan.[39]

36The most recent of these last four venerable monuments of art, dates at least 1450 years before our era: the oldest belongs to unchronicled times; and the same physical characters are common on the Nubian and Egyptian monuments down to the Ptolemaic and Roman epochs.

The peculiar head-dress of the Egyptians often greatly modifies and in some degree conceals their characteristic features; and may at first sight lead to the impression that the priests possessed a physiognomy of a distinct or peculiar kind. Such, however, was not the case, as a little observation will prove. Take, for example, the three following drawings from a Theban tomb, in which two mourners have head-dresses and two priests are without them. Are not the national characteristics unequivocally manifest in them all?[40]

In addition to the copious remarks already made in reference to the hair, we cannot omit the annexed picture from a tomb in Thebes, which represents an Egyptian woman in the act of lamentation before the embalmed body of a relative, while the long, black hair reaches even below the waist.[41]

It is thus that we trace this peculiar style of countenance in its several modifications through epochs and in localities the most remote from each other, and in every class of the Egyptian people. How different from the Pelasgic type, yet how obviously Caucasian! How varied in outline, yet how readily identified! And if we compare these features with those of the Egyptian series of embalmed heads, are we not forcibly impressed with a striking analogy not only in osteological conformation, but also in the very expression of the face? Compare, for example, the head on page 17 . Observe, also, the six skulls figured, Plate VII., Plate XII., Fig. 4; Plate X., Fig. 4; Plate VIII., Fig. 9, and the numerous accompanying illustrations, and no one, I conceive, will question the analogy I have pointed out. This type is certainly national, and presents to our view the genuine Egyptian physiognomy, which, in the Ethnographic 37scale, is intermediate between the Pelasgic and Semitic forms. We may add, that this conformation is the same which Prof. Blumenbach refers to the Hindoo variety in his triple classification of the Egyptian people.[42] And this leads us briefly to inquire, who were the Egyptians?

It is in the sacred writings only that we find any authentic records of the primeval migrations of our species. “In the general allotment of territories to the offspring of Noah,” observes Mr. Gliddon, “Egypt, by the concurrent testimony of all Biblical commentators, was assigned to Mizraim, the son of Ham, as a domain and for an inheritance;” whence Egypt has, from the remotest times, been called by the names of Mizraim and Ham, or Khemé. Mr. Gliddon adds, that “although the name of Mizraim has not yet been found in hieroglyphic legends, there is abundant scriptural evidence to prove that the country was called Mizraim and Mitzar by the Jews; while at the present day throughout the east, Egypt and Cairo are universally known by the cognate appellation of Muss’r.”[43]

Entering Africa by the Isthmus of Suez,[44] the children of Ham were ushered into the fertile valley of the Nile, a region prepared by nature for settled communities and a primeval civilization. In a country bounded by the Red Sea on the one side, and by a wilderness on the other, and presenting but a narrow strip of land for its inhabitants, laws would at once become necessary for mutual protection; and we may suppose that while one portion of the Mizraimites embraced these social restrictions, another, impatient of control, passed beyond the desert barrier on the west, and spreading themselves over the north of Africa, became those nomadic tribes to which the earliest annals give the name of Libyans.[45] It follows from this view of the question, that we suppose the Egyptians and Libyans to have been cognate people; that the former were the aboriginal[46] inhabitants of the valley of the Nile; and that their institutions, however modified by intrusive nations in after times, were the offspring of their own minds.

It will, however, be very naturally objected that among the Egyptians no gradations are apparent between barbarism and refinement, “It is a remarkable fact,” says Sir G. Wilkinson, “that the first glimpse we obtain of the history and manners of the Egyptians, shows a nation already advanced in the arts of civilized life; and the same customs and inventions that prevailed in the Augustan era of that people, after the accession of the eighteenth dynasty, are found in the remote age of Osortasen, the contemporary of 38Joseph.” How then could a branch of the Libyan race, a people so comparatively obscure, have become the mighty Egyptian nation? How could families of mankind so widely different in their intellectual manifestations, have been derived from a cognate stock? To which we reply, that the Egyptians and Libyans were not in this respect more widely separated than were the Saracens under the Caliphs, and the wandering Bedouins; yet, both these were branches of the Arabian race. Egypt may perhaps be regarded as the intellectual centre of the posterity of Ham.

The evidences of these opinions, it must be confessed, are as yet few in number. That the Libyan or Berber speech was once the language of all northern Africa has long been maintained by Ritter, Heeren and Shaler, and by Mr. Hodgson in his very interesting Letters from Algiers, during the period in which he held the United States consulate in that regency.[47] Prof. Ritter (whose work I have not seen) asserts that the Amazirgh, or Berber language, as detected by certain prefixes and affixes peculiar to it and the Coptic tongue, is to be found across the whole breadth of the continent, from the Red Sea to the Canary Isles; and he supposes, too, that the Hazorta tribes, like the old Bejas and modern Bishareens, were originally of the same parent stock. To these evidences we may add those of Prof Vater, who traced some affinity between the Berber and the Coptic and Amharic, but not sufficient to lead to satisfactory results.

I have before me an obliging communication from Mr. Hodgson, in which he informs me, that he also discovered what he believed to be incontrovertible evidence of the Berber origin of the Bishareen language, before he had read the work of Prof. Ritter; and in an essay just published on the Foulahs of central Africa, he reiterates the opinion early expressed by him, that the Berber or Libyan tongue was spoken in the valley of the Nile, prior to the existence of the Coptic or monumental language; a theory which, he further remarks, is in accordance with the nature of things and the probable course of events.

“Whilst the positive records of modern history,” observes Mr. Hodgson, “show that the Coptic tongue has been obliterated from the map of Egypt within the short period which has elapsed since the Saracenic invasion, need we wonder that so few traces remain of the language of that country in primeval and unrecorded times? These vestiges, however, have been detected by me, and, I think, with a strong degree of probability, in the mythologic and geographical names transmitted to us from the earliest periods of Egyptian history. The meaning of Ammon, Thebes, Themis, and Nile, and of Heliopolis (Tadij) and Apollinopolis (Etfu) have been explained from the modern Berber language; and the very name of Hykshos, who were called shepherds, means also shepherds in Berber.[48]

“These etymologies serve, at least, as tokens of the existence of the Libyans in the 39valley of the Nile, at a period anterior to that of the monumental Egyptians. I have, also, found grammatical affinities between the Coptic and the Berber, which suggest that the monosyllabic elements of the former have been imposed upon the Berber syntax, and, therefore, that the Coptic is posterior in nationality to the Berber.”

Leaving this important and difficult philological inquiry to the abler hands of Mr. Hodgson, (for it involves some points on which I am not qualified to judge, and therefore offer no opinion,) we may merely remark, that the Berber theory is farther countenanced by various mythological considerations, among the most remarkable of which is the supposed Libyan origin of several Egyptian divinities.

Particular communities of the Libyans are familiar in history by the names of Mauritanians, Numidians and Getuli. Respecting the physical characteristics of these people, history is nearly silent; yet there is sufficient evidence to prove, that they possessed those features which are now called Caucasian, independently of any modifications that may have resulted from their long intercourse with Phenician colonies, and the Romans, Arabs and Vandals in later periods of time. The Libyans were a nomadic and warlike people; they were habitually employed in the Carthagenian armies, and in the earlier ages contended with the Egyptians themselves; for we learn from a passage in Manetho, (Cory, Frag. p. 100,) that in the remote age of Necherophes, of the third dynasty, the Libyans revolted from the Egyptians, but were soon again subdued. The monuments record similar triumphs in the reigns of Osortasen 1st., Thotmes 1st., Rameses the 3d, and indeed in almost every dynasty down to the Ptolemaic epoch, when Libya continued to be an Egyptian province. In fact, the Libyans hung upon the skirts of Egypt as the Goths did upon Rome; and until the researches of the hierologists identified the Hykshos or shepherd kings with an Asiatic people, there was strong presumptive evidence that these ruthless invaders were, at least in part, no other than the Libyans themselves.[49]

The Libyans are represented in our day by the various and motley Berber tribes, who under the names of Tuaricks, Kabyles and Siwahs, inhabit both north and south of Mt. Atlas; and in their physical characters combine the Caucasian physiognomy with various shades of complexion, from a fair skin to a dark and tawny hue.

“The Kabyles,” says Mr. Shaler, “are a white people, of middle stature, muscular, athletic and active, but never corpulent; and are of lively, social manners and of ingenious dispositions. Many of them are of light complexions, with hair approaching to flaxen, resembling rather the peasants of the south of Europe than the inhabitants of Africa.”[50] Then come the darker Tuaricks, men of fine mould and adventurous spirit, but nomadic, unfeeling and vindictive.

Dr. Oudney, who saw them in great number, describes them in nearly similar terms, but assures us that under favourable circumstances their good, sound sense, would soon render them “a shining people.” It is curious, also, to note the following remark of the same intelligent traveller: “On almost every stone, in places they frequent, the Tuarick characters are hewn out. It matters not whether the letters are written from right to 40left, or vice versa, or horizontally,” a singular accordance with the graphical system of the ancient Egyptians.[51] It would therefore appear, that these roving descendants of the Libyan race possess, even now, some vestiges of that innate love of sculpture which was cultivated on so grand a scale by the temple-builders of the Nile.

Yet farther south are the darker Berber tribes called Siwahs or Shouas, who are said by Major Denham to have “free open countenances, with aquiline noses and large eyes; their complexion is a light copper colour. They possess great cunning with their courage, and resemble, in appearance, some of the best favoured Gypsies in England.” Dark as they are, he remarks that “in comparison with the Negresses they are almost white.” They are vastly numerous throughout all Soudan, Houssa and Bornou, and the Sultan of the latter country has no less than 15,000 of them in his army.[52]

In other instances, although they are few in comparison, the Berbers assimilate more to the Negro on account of the proximity of the two races; a remark which is especially made by Dr. Oudney in reference to the Tuaricks of Mourzouk, who have black and curling hair, but which, “from a Negro mixture, is inclined to be crispy.”[53]

Here then are the various gradations of the Caucasian type which appear to have marked the ancient Egyptians, together with a degree of that intermixture of the Negro race which is revealed in the catacombs, and perpetuated in the modern Coptic population.

In connexion with this subject, it is curious to remark that the Guanches of the Canary Islands were a branch of the Berber or Libyan stock; and the singular perfection to which they brought the art of embalming, long since led to the supposition that they might have been affiliated with the Egyptians. The only Berber skull in my possession is of this insular branch of that race, and like the one figured by Professor Blumenbach, bears a striking resemblance to the Egyptian conformation.[54]

The Ethiopians.—Every one who has paid the slightest attention to the present inquiry, is aware of the entire vagueness of the name Ethiopia (Cush) as used by the ancients; which, like India in modern times, was applied to countries very remote from each other, and whose inhabitants were remarkably dissimilar. Thus Austral-Egyptians, Hindoos, Arabs, and Negroes, and even the Egyptians themselves, have each in turn been embraced in this designation.

Our present inquiry, however, relates to that people who occupied the valley of the Nile, from Philæ to Meroë, and perhaps yet farther south; a region at the present time inhabited by the Nubians, Senàaree and the Abyssinians, with all those endless varieties of race which necessarily result from immemorial proximity to the Negro countries. It is a point of great interest and importance to ascertain the physical characteristics of the aboriginal communities of this branch of the Nilotic family; but they become at an early 41period so blended with exotic nations that their distinctive features must be chiefly derived from the monuments, unless the catacombs of Meroë should hereafter throw additional light on the subject. Of the monumental evidence we have already spoken: we have seen that the proper Egyptian physiognomy, the same which abounds at Thebes, is every where conspicuous on the tombs and temples of the Meröite[55] or monumental Ethiopians. That these people had no affinity, even in the remotest times, to the Negro race, would appear from the evidence already adduced, and also from other facts which remain to be noticed. Among the paintings of the Grand Procession (epoch of Thotmes IV.,) at Thebes, Mr. Hoskins remarks that the Negro is represented with all the characteristic features of his race, but that the Ethiopians are painted red like the Egyptians, having their hair dressed in curls above their foreheads, and in ringlets upon their shoulders.[56] (Plate XIV., Fig. 22.) So also in the voyage of Scylax, B.C. 360, the Ethiopians are described as a beautiful people, with long hair and beard; and the distinguished English traveller just quoted remarks that the heads sculptured on the pyramids of Meroë have a nearly European profile. Two of these, which are associated with the same legend, are represented by the subjoined figures.[57] The one to the left hand (that of an unknown king) has mixed lineaments, neither strictly Pelasgic nor Egyptian; while the right hand personage, who appears to be a priest doing homage, presents a countenance which corresponds in essentials to the Egyptian type, although the profile approaches closely to the Grecian.

The annexed head, also of a king, and bearing some resemblance to the one above figured, is copied from Mr. Waddington’s[58] drawing of a group over the portico of the Fifth Pyramid at Djebel Birkel (the ancient Armada?) supposed to be among the oldest sculptures in Nubia.

We have already alluded to the opinion of Prof. Ritter and others, that the old Bejas and the modern Bishareens were derived from the Berber or Libyan stock of nations. I am ready 42to go farther and adopt the sentiment of the learned Dr. Murray, that the Egyptians and monumental Ethiopians “were of the same lineage, and probably descended from a Libyan tribe.”

This view of the case at once reconciles the remark of Champollion, Rosellini, Heeren and Rüppell, that they could detect the present Nubian physiognomy every where on the monuments; but at the same time it supersedes the necessity of their inference that Nubia was the cradle of civilization, and that the arts, descending the river, were perfected in Egypt. The latter question cannot be definitively settled until the archæologists decide on the relative antiquity of the Egyptian and Nubian monuments. In the present state of the discussion, however, the preponderance of facts is greatly in favour of Egypt.[59]

Without attempting to discuss this intricate question on the present occasion, I will merely add my conviction that the original Meröites were neither Arabs nor Hindoos, (although, as we shall explain, they became greatly modified by these nations in after time) but that they formed an unequivocal link in the Libyan chain of primitive Caucasian nations.

The Fellahs.—These people, also called Arab-Egyptians, are found every where in the valley of the Nile, of which they are the principal cultivators. “Their heads,” observes Mr. Lane, “are a fine oval, the forehead of moderate size, not high, but generally prominent; their eyes are deep sunk, black and brilliant; the nose is straight and rather thick; the mouth well formed; the lips are rather full than otherwise; the teeth particularly beautiful, and the beard is commonly black and curly, but scanty.”[60] They have a yellowish complexion, and are, in general, a strong, well formed people. There can be little question that the Fellahs are a mixture of the Arab stock with the old rural population of Egypt; an amalgamation which dates chiefly from the seventh century of our era, (A. D. 640,) when the Saracens under Amrou conquered the country, and separated it from the Greek empire. The constant influx of Arab population from that time to the present must have more or less modified the features of the previous inhabitants; and yet even now we are assured by Jomard and others, that the Fellahs of upper Egypt present a striking resemblance, in all respects, to the monumental paintings and sculptures. “A l’aspect des hommes du territoire d’Esné, d’Ombos, ou d’Edfoû, ou des environs de Selsélé, il semblerait (pour emprunter une image du plus célèbre des ecrivains modernes) que les figures des monuments de Latopolis, d’Ombos, ou d’Apollinopolis Magna, se sont détachées des murailles, et sont descendues dans la campagne.”[61]

Mr. Gliddon’s kindness has furnished me with eight Fellah skulls, of which five are represented in the subjoined wood-cuts. Three of them only are adult, and all are small, and present a remarkable prominence of the face (termed prognathous by Dr. Prichard;) a feature which appears exaggerated in the following outlines, on account of the occiput and teeth being drawn on the same plane.


The large receding forehead,[62] so characteristic of both Arabs and Fellahs (and, as we have seen, of the several links of the great Semitic chain of nations,) is well marked in most of these crania, together with the long and salient nose.

That several of them are in feature more Arab or even Hebrew than Egyptian (A, C,) is obvious, and the reason has been already given; yet how far the Fellahs will compare, in the details of physical character, with the true Libyan or Berber tribes, remains for future investigation. When this shall have been accomplished, it may be found that the Fellahs preserve the nearest approximation to the ancient Egyptians of any people now inhabiting the valley of the Nile.


The proofs that people of the Pelasgic stock were in early times the rulers of Egypt is attested by history and the monuments. Manetho states that the XVI. dynasty was composed “Of thirty-two Hellenic shepherd kings, ([Greek: poimenes Ellênes basileis],[64]) who reigned five hundred and eighteen years.” It is not to be supposed that the number of either kings or years is accurately given: all that is necessary to our purpose is the main fact of Hellenic dominion in Egypt, which is moreover sustained by monumental evidence; for happily the tombs and temples preserve the portraits of the Nilotic sovereigns, executed with so much individuality of feature and expression, as to leave little doubt of the general fidelity of the likenesses. These effigies, which are now indelibly preserved in the great works of Champollion and Rosellini, present the following interesting results.[65]


The oldest identified human effigy now extant is that on the Tablet of Wady Halfa, preserved in the gallery of Florence.[66] This venerable relic, which has been satisfactorily proved to date more than two thousand two hundred years before the Christian era,[67] represents Osortasen the First in the form of Ammon, and receiving from the god Monthou (Mars) the people of Lybia bound with cords as captive nations.

The features of the king are strictly Pelasgic; and the facial angle, (allowing for the unnatural elevation of the ear,) measures upwards of eighty degrees. It is also remarkable that this head is strikingly like those of the Ptolemaic sovereigns of Egypt, and especially corresponds in every feature with the portrait of Ptolemy Euergetes II., although eighteen centuries elapsed between their respective reigns. We therefore recur to our proposition, that whether this effigy be a portrait or not, it at least proves that the artists of those primeval times derived their ideas of the human countenance from Caucasian models.

The next of these heads which can be identified with its epoch, is that of Amunoph I. This again presents a fine cast of European features; such, in fact, as would embellish a Grecian statue; and yet this monarch reigned in the valley of the Nile, and held his court in Memphis more than eighteen hundred years before the birth of Christ. (Plate XIV., Fig. 1.) And if from this remote period we trace the physiognomy of the kings and queens of the subsequent reigns, we perceive among them many equally beautiful models, some of which are not inferior to the beau ideal of classic art. Take, for example, the heads of Menepthah and Rameses III., in the character of priest,—Rameses X., Rameses XI., and Amenmeses,—the queens Nofre-Ari, and Nitocris, and the daughter of Phisham (or Pihmé,) the regent priest, and let me ask among what people we shall find more graceful facial lines, or more varied intellectual expression? (Plate XIV.)

It may be suggested that in some of these heads the Pelasgic character is not wholly unmixed, and especially in reference to Amunoph the First. In this instance there is something of the Egyptian, or, as Professor Blumenbach would express it, the Hindoo physiognomy. I wish it to be understood, however, that I do not assert all these sovereigns to have been of the Pelasgic or Japetic stock; for some of them, as Rameses the Third, and Menepthah the First, are on other occasions represented with decidedly Egyptian features. These mixed and varied Caucasian lineaments may perhaps have been derived from the antecedent Hellenic kings, who in giving place again to the native Egyptians, must doubtless have left their national characteristics more or less blended with those of the indigenous families.

45The following heads, which are all of strictly Caucasian proportions, are fac simile copies from Rosellini. They are derived from groups of figures engaged in various mechanical and other operations, as represented in the tombs and temples of Thebes, and various other parts of Egypt.

The annexed head, (1) that of a reaper, is one of a great number executed in bas-relief in the celebrated tombs of Eilethyas, which possess a greater interest and value in ethnography on account of their venerable antiquity; for they date with and before the eighteenth dynasty, and consequently are at least three thousand six hundred years old.[68] The great French work, (Déscription de l’Egypte,) contains an extended series of illustrations from the same remarkable tombs in which a similar cast of features is almost every where apparent.[69]

The same style of face is not less decidedly expressed in another head (2) from Rosellini,[70] of which the original painting is preserved in the Royal Gallery at Florence. It represents an artisan. How admirably do the features conform to the Grecian type!

I repeat the remark, and yet more emphatically, in reference to the admirable battle scene at Abousimbel, of the age of Rameses the Third, wherein eighty soldiers are depicted in a single group, each one bearing a shield and spear.[71] Are they mercenaries from one of the Hellenic tribes? I select the two subjoined examples; (3) for a close resemblance pervades them all. Here again every line is Grecian; and yet when these paintings were executed, the wandering Pelasgi had hardly begun to associate themselves in civilized communities, and the arts of Greece were unknown.

Paintings of a similar ethnographic character are seen in profusion at Beni-Hassan, whence is derived the annexed outline, representing one of the leather-dressers of that group. The straight line for the nose and forehead is strictly Pelasgic, and conforms in most respects to the other facial traits. (4)

The same general physiognomy is often much more rudely expressed, as in the tomb of Imai, at Gizeh, which is of the age of Shufo, of the fourth dynasty, and consequently the period of disputed chronology. Rude as these figures are, and identified with an humble sphere of life, they have the Caucasian form, and partake of the same ethnographic lineaments with the more elaborately finished

46outlines delineated above. It may be observed, with respect to Egyptian art, that while the bas-reliefs are for the most part executed with remarkable beauty and precision, the paintings, owing to the use of a single colour, and the absence of perspective or shading, are often coarse and defective; and the two annexed drawings will serve to illustrate this negligent style of art.

It is thus that we trace the Pelasgic type of feature and expression through all the various castes of the Egyptian population, beginning with kings and ending with peasants and plebeians. The illustrations have been purposely selected from those remote times wherein chronology becomes confusion, down to the later periods of recorded history,—a vast period of thirteen centuries, of which the latest date looks back nine hundred years before the birth of Christ!

People of Pelasgic features and complexion are often seen on the monuments as prisoners taken in war. One of these is copied, Plate XIV., Fig. 23. It is from Abousimbel, and dates with Rameses III. The very fair skin, regular features and black hair seem to point to a nation of southern Europe. The nose is nearly straight, and on the same line with the forehead, although the latter recedes more than is consistent with our ideas of the Grecian profile.[72]


That people of this great family were numerous in Egypt is amply attested both by sacred and profane history; and the proximity of their respective countries necessarily brought the Semitic and Egyptian communities into frequent contact for war or for peace. This fact is abundantly proved by the monuments. The Jewish people, however, appears, for the most part, to have been admitted into Egypt upon sufferance; for the Exodus, and all subsequent annals, are conclusive on this subject.

Those peculiar lineaments which, from very remote times, have characterized some of the Semitic nations, have been already noticed. How many of these nations possessed these physical characters, cannot now be determined; but it is probable that all partook of them in degree. It is in the temple of Beyt-el-Wàlee, in Nubia, in paintings of the age of Rameses II., (B.C. 1579,) that we meet with one of the earliest unquestionable delineations of these people. (Plate XIV., Fig. 24.)

47An additional illustration is that given in the margin. It is also preserved in the temple of Bey-el-Wàlee, and is of the same date as the head above described. These people are generally represented as enemies or bondsmen; nor have I any doubt that the figures in the celebrated Brickmaker’s scene, in the tomb of Rekshari, at Thebes, of the age of Thotmes IV., are those of a Semitic nation, and, in all probability, Hebrews. Their features obviously correspond with those of the latter people; and their scanty beards, which have been made an objection to this view of their nationality, may be regarded as a compulsory badge of captivity. Perhaps the most Hebrew portrait on the monuments is that of Aahmes-Nofre-Ari, Queen of Amunoph I., who is said by the hieroglyphists to have been by birth a Meröite. (Plate XIV., Fig. 13.) Semitic features, as we have already shown, are occasionally found among the embalmed heads from the catacombs; in proof of which I refer, with confidence, to Plate XI., Fig. 2; and also, though less strongly marked, to Plate II., Fig. 8, Plate VI., Figs. 2 and 8, and to Plate XII., Figs. 1 and 2.

My studies have not qualified me for philological comparisons and inferences, but I cannot forbear introducing the following views of the learned Dr. Lepsius, on account of their direct bearing upon this interesting question. Speaking of the Egyptian and Coptic tongues, he says:—“I have now discovered, in the essence of the language itself, not only that there is no appearance whatever of any grammatical change, and that it possesses, perhaps in a higher degree, that principle of stability so peculiar to the Semitic dialects, but also that it has preserved in its formation traces of a higher antiquity than any Indo-Germanic or Semitic language wherewith I am acquainted, which traces will therefore be most unexpectedly important even for these two families. At the same time the Coptic cannot be termed either Semitic or Indo-Germanic. It has its own peculiar formation, though, at the same time, its fundamental relationship with these two families is not to be mistaken.”[74]

The Arabs.—The southern or peninsular Arabs are a people of middle stature, with a complexion varying from a sallow hue to a very dark colour. They have sharp, bold features, a rather prominent face, and a straight or gently aquiline nose. The head is, moreover, comparatively small, and the forehead rather narrow and sensibly receding; to which may often be added a meagre and angular figure,[75] long, slender limbs, and large knees. Some tribes are also remarkable for the small stature of the men, which, according to Burckhardt, does not exceed five feet two or three inches; while, with a thick head of hair, they possess a short, thin, and pointed beard.[76]

Such are some of the Bedouins; but the most formidable Arab tribes have always been the Hemyarites of Yemen; a restless and enterprising people, whose migrations have been 48chiefly directed to Africa, and especially to the valley of the Nile; a region which they have invaded and more or less occupied from the earliest times, through the reigns of the Pharaohs, Ptolemies, and Cæsars, down to a recent period of our own era. What language can be stronger than that of Juba, (about the commencement of our own era,) that the inhabitants of the valley of the Nile, from Philæ to Meroë, were not Ethiopians, but Arabs? So, also, in the days of Strabo, half the population of Coptos itself was made up of the same people.

The cranial resemblances between the Arabs and ancient Egyptians impressed me forcibly from the commencement of my inquiries; which last I have been able to prosecute in a more satisfactory manner by means of a series of Arab skulls, obtained in Egypt by Mr. Gliddon. I subjoin outline drawings of five of them, in order that the reader may judge for himself.

These skulls are all adult, and though comparatively small, give a mean internal capacity of eighty-four cubic inches, which is above the Egyptian average. The analogy, however, is greater in form than in size, as may be observed by comparing the above outlines with several of the embalmed heads from the catacombs, and especially that figured Plate VI., Fig. 7. In fact, the resemblance between the Egyptian and Arab head is so striking, that nothing but a faithful study of the monuments has satisfied me that the two nations were primitively distinct from each other; and that what I at first believed to be the Austral-Egyptian conformation, is no other than the Egyptian itself. Some very ancient paintings, copied by Rosellini from the temple decorations at Beyt-el-Wàlee, in Nubia, appear, also, to pertain to the Arab physiognomy. (Plate XIV., Figs. 19, 20.) In these the yellowish-red complexion indicates, we might suppose, some affinity with the Egyptian nation, while the small, pointed beard, and sharp, prominent face, point to the Arabian stock of nations. Their name reads Tohen on the monuments; and they pertain to the age of Rameses II., and illustrate the conquests of that monarch 1579 years before Christ.

Without entering into a philological discussion, it is worthy of remark, that the Gheez or Ethiopic language, the oldest of the known tongues of Abyssinia, is directly allied to the Arabic and Hebrew. The period of its introduction into Africa is unknown, though it probably dates far beyond our era. Moreover, among the ruins recently discovered at Hasan Ghorâb, (170 miles east of Aden,) at Sanaa, and at other places in Yemen, inscriptions have been abundantly found in the old Ethiopic tongue, which, in the opinion of the late Professor Gesenius, is a modification of the parent Hemyarite language.

These few facts, with others which will be adduced hereafter, go to prove that the Egyptian people must have been more or less blended with the Arabian race; nor can 49there be a question that the Meröite or Austral-Egyptian communities were composed, at least in part, of an Indo-Arabian stock engrafted on the aboriginal Libyan population.

An able but anonymous author not only asserts the Arab origin of the monumental Ethiopians, but endeavours to prove, by an ingenious series of facts and reasonings, that they were the “Blemies of history, a Bejáwy branch of the Arabian family;” that they were broken and finally dispersed by the policy of the Roman government, which, in the reign of Dioclesian, introduced Negro colonies from Kordofan; and, finally, that the Nubians of our day are not, as a nation, descended from the ancient stock. The last proposition, as a general rule, is undeniable; but the preceding conclusions are not yet susceptible of proof.[77]

Convinced as we are that the Egyptians were a distinct and aboriginal people, the sentiment of M. Jomard may yet become, to a certain extent, an axiom in ethnography:—“L’Arabie à été de tout temps, et elle est encore de nos jours, l’aliment de la population Egyptienne.”[78]


I observe among the Egyptian crania, some which differ in nothing from the Hindoo type either in respect to size or configuration. I have already, in my remarks upon the ear, mentioned a downward elongation of the upper jaw, which I have more frequently met with in Egyptian and Hindoo heads than in any others, although I have seen it occasionally in all the races. This feature is remarkable in two of the following five crania, (A, B,) and may be compared with a similar form from Abydos. (Plate V., Fig. 2.)

The Hindoo head is also remarkable for its small size, its narrow form, especially in front, and often, also, for the delicacy of the osteological structure. The bones of the face, however, project more than those of the European, and there is not unfrequently a manifest eversion of the upper jaw. (B.) The nose is rather small, and the bones are variously aquiline, straight, or moderately compressed. My observations have been made on thirty-seven crania, for which I am indebted to Drs. Burrough and Carson, of this city, and to Dr. Martin and Mr. H. Piddington, of Calcutta. Of these, twenty-four are adult, varying from eighteen to eighty years of age, and give an average internal capacity of but eighty cubic inches; the largest head measuring ninety cubic inches, the smallest only sixty-nine.[79] They pertain, for the most part, to low-caste Bengalees.


It is in that mixed family of nations which I have called Austral-Egyptian that we should expect to meet with the strongest evidence of Hindoo lineage; and here, again, we can only institute adequate comparisons by reference to the works of Champollion and Rosellini. I observe the Hindoo style of features in several of the royal effigies, and in none more decidedly than in the head of Asharramon, as sculptured in the temple of Debod, in Nubia. The date of this king has not yet been ascertained; but as he ruled over Meroë, and not in Egypt, (probably in Ptolemaic times,) he may be regarded as a good illustration of at least one modification of the Austral-Egyptian type.

Another set of features, but little different, however, from the preceding, is seen among the middling class of Egyptians as pictured on the monuments, and these I also refer to the Hindoo type. Take, for example, the four annexed outlines, copied from a sculptured fragment preserved in the museum of Turin. These effigies may be said to be essentially Egyptian; but do they not forcibly remind us of the Hindoo?[80] The mummied head figured Plate X., Fig. 6, has the same general form and cast of features.

The Hindoos are also represented on the monuments as prisoners and tribute-bearers to the kings. My drawing, Plate XIV., Fig. 21, is copied from the “Grand Procession” of Thotmes IV. The man leads a bear; an indication that he is of a foreign country, for there are no bears indigenous to Africa. Moreover, the characters of the animal, as delineated in Rosellini, are not unlike those of the celebrated grotesque species of India called by naturalists Ursus labiatus, which has been, in all ages, a favourite with Hindoo mountebanks. The man himself has an aquiline and pointed nose, thin beard, receding forehead, and comparatively fair complexion, which assimilate him to some Indo-Semitic or Indo-Persian tribe.

In the same celebrated scene I notice another head of the same general cast, but of a darker complexion and more delicate features, who answers yet more accurately to the type of the northern Hindoos. He wears a light dress and grass hat, and moreover leads an elephant, all of which point to a warm climate. Mr. Hoskins remarks that “the elephant must be from Ethiopia: if, therefore, they [the attendants] are Scythians, as some suppose, they must be employed as slaves bringing the produce of Ethiopia.” And he concludes by suggesting that they may be white slaves of the latter country, sent as a present to the Egyptian king. This appears to me to be an involved and unsatisfactory explanation. The elephant, like the bear, is obviously an Asiatic animal, (for the Egyptians made no use of the living native species,) and it is evident that this group is merely typical of some conquered Hindoo nation, or proximate and cognate tribe.

51Winkelman, Blumenbach, and other authors, have also been struck with these cranial resemblances; and certain physical analogies were familiar to the writers of antiquity. They are especially recorded by Strabo and Arrian, who compare the southern Hindoos to the Ethiopians, and the northern Hindoos to the Egyptians. Various shades of complexion, as we have remarked, were common to both countries, together with a small stature and slender limbs.

History, mythology and the arts discover various additional analogies between these venerable nations. Apis, the Egyptian bull, was the symbol of Osiris; and the white bull is the animal on which Siva is represented on the Indian pagodas: worship was bestowed alike on the Ganges and the Nile; both nations paid homage to the sun and the serpent; and even at the present time, the objects held in greatest veneration by the Hindoos of the Vishnu sect are the ape, the monkey, the bird called garruda, and the serpent capella. Among the symbols of superstition in each are the sphinx, the lotus, the lingam, and the cross. “The dog, sacred to Bhairava, a form of Siva, and the jackall of Durga, remind us of the barking Anubis, the companion of Osiris. The dogs of Yama, one of which was termed Cerbura, or spotted, and was feigned to have three heads, corresponds remarkably, as Mr. Wilford has observed, with the three-headed Cerberus, the dog of Pluto.”[81]

This affinity is also recognised in their almost exclusive vegetable diet, and by the singular institution of castes. Analogies are, moreover, traced in the architecture of the two nations, whether in their monolithic temples and subterranean sanctuaries, or in the statuary and minor decorations of their stupendous temples.[82]

That there was extensive and long-continued intercourse between the Hindoos and Egyptians is beyond a question; and history speaks, also, of conquest and migration. Which was primitively the dominant power? The Egyptians very naturally decided this point in their own favour; for they assert that Osiris crossed Arabia to the utmost inhabited parts of India, and built many cities there. “He left, likewise,” says Diodorus, “many other marks of his being in these parts, which have induced the inhabitants to believe and affirm, that this god (Osiris) was born in India.”[83] Thus it appears that, in the age of Diodorus, the Hindoos not only worshipped, but claimed as original to themselves, the principal divinity of the Egyptians. There is, moreover, a passage in Syncellus which directly asserts that the Hindoos, who, as we have observed, are sometimes called Ethiopians in ancient history, formed colonies in Egypt. “Æthiopes ab Indo fluvio profecti, supra Ægyptum sedem sibi eligerunt.” Heeren, from whom I derive this quotation, remarks, that as the Hindoos would necessarily arrive by sea, they would establish themselves on the coast. We grant it; but a commercial and migratory people would soon find their way to the great mart of Meroë, and thence to every part of the Egyptian provinces. It has been observed by Mr. Bonomi, that the affiliation of the Hindoos with the people of the upper Nile is confirmed by the affinity which exists 52between the Ethiopic and Sanscrit systems of writing, as pointed out by Dr. Wall and Mr. Tudor.[84]

Dr. Prichard, whose profound investigations into this and all other questions in ethnography, command our highest respect, while he admits that great difficulties present themselves in the present inquiry, remarks “that a common origin, if not of the races themselves, at least of the mental culture characteristic of both of them, has been proved; and that the people of India and of Egypt derived from one source the first principles of all their peculiarities of thought and action, of their religious and social observances, and civil and political institutions; and that these principles had even been developed to a considerable extent, before the nations themselves were entirely cut off from communication with each other or with a common centre.”[85]

It has been proved by the philosophic Heeren, that Meroë was the grand emporium of the trade between the richest and most productive portions of the earth; the gold countries of eastern Africa, the spice lands of India, and the region of frankincense and precious stones in southern Arabia. He has shown that the communication between these countries was established in the most ancient periods, and continued without interruption through successive ages of time; that the ruins of Adulé, Azab, and Axum, yet mark the caravan routes between Meroë and Arabia Felix; and that Yemen, though separated from India by an open sea, is yet connected with it by nature in an extraordinary manner. “One half of the year,” he adds, “from spring to autumn, the wind regularly sets in and wafts the vessels from Arabia to India; the other half, from autumn to spring, it as regularly carries them back from India to Arabia.”[86]

In truth, what Diodorus says, in general, of early Egyptian commerce and conquest by sea, need be no longer regarded as fabulous, although the details, like much that we glean from the remote history of all heathen nations, are to be received with circumspection. He tells us that Sesostris (Rameses III.) fitted out a fleet of four hundred ships in the Arabian gulf, with which he conquered all the countries bordering on the Erythrean sea, as far as India, whence he led an army beyond the Ganges until he again reached the ocean. This account is not likely to be all fable, especially since it comes from a Greek historian; and we may safely regard it as an indication of that extensive maritime enterprise in which the Egyptians engaged with the southern nations of Asia. When the Romans under the guidance of Hippalus, eighty years after their conquest of Egypt, began to trade with India by way of the Red Sea and Malabar, they only re-established the ancient route, which had been long forgotten amidst the chaos of political revolutions. In fine, if the Egyptians had been their own historians, we should probably learn that they were as familiar with India in ancient as the English are in modern times.[87]

53While we conclude, therefore, that the Egyptians were a distinct people from either the Arabs or Hindoos, we cannot deny those resemblances which are too obvious to be mistaken, yet not to be accounted for without difficulty; nor can there be a reasonable doubt that the people of both these nations formed an important part of the once multitudinous population of Egypt.[88]


There is no fact in history more familiar than the rule of the Hykshos or shepherd kings in Egypt. The word Hykshos is the same as we have seen (p. 38,) both in the Egyptian and Berber or Libyan tongues, and signified a shepherd or a wanderer. It was applied to all those foreigners who at different times displaced the native dynasties,—Scythians, Hellenic tribes, Phenicians, and others.

Reserving some remarks for a future part of this memoir, we shall briefly observe that there is no monumental record of more than one of these sovereignties, namely, that which was expelled by Amunoph the First of the eighteenth dynasty, about eighteen centuries before Christ. These people, whose name was held in execration by the Egyptians, are said by Herodotus and other historians to have possessed a fair complexion, blue eyes, and reddish hair. That they were of the Caucasian race there is no question; but the preceding traits apply equally to the Scythians, the Phenicians, and the Edomim or Edomites, and it is probable that the shepherd dynasties of Manetho embraced kings from all these sources.[89]

The portraits of these intrusive kings, as recently discovered in various parts of Egypt, not only present a physiognomy entirely different from that of the legitimate monarchs, but the symbol of their religion is also different, being “the sun, whose rays terminate in human hands,” while the accompanying hieroglyphic legends make no allusion to the Egyptian deities. “Their features,” observes Mr. Perring, from whom I derive these facts, “do not at all resemble the Egyptian; and, though much defaced, are evidently the same as those found on the propyla of Karnak, where we may recognise a similarity with the tall, white, slender, blue-eyed, and red-haired race, painted on the soles of the Egyptian sandals, and appearing also on the monuments, where they are emphatically called the wicked race of Scheto.”[90] One of these effigies is found only on fragments of stone which had pertained to temples antecedent to the eighteenth dynasty, which structures were overturned by the legitimate kings of that and the succeeding reigns, and 54the materials used in erecting those splendid Pharaonic monuments of which they yet form a part.

The three following heads are copied from Mr. Perring’s very interesting memoir.

No. 1, the portrait of a king whose name is read Skai by Champollion, copied from his tomb in the western valley near Thebes. The bold, heavy features, and harsh expression are very remarkable, and Mr. Perring observes that this personage is represented of a much lighter red than is usual with the Egyptians.

No. 2. Head of another king of this exotic dynasty, with long sharp features, whose name reads Atenre-Backhan on the monuments, copied from a stone in the second propylon of Karnak.

No. 3. Another effigy of the same king, from the grottoes of El Tell, of which Mr. Perring remarks, that having been copied in haste it is somewhat in caricature.

El Tell, or Tel-el-Amarna, appears to have been the stronghold of these “foreign marauders,” respecting whom Mr. Gliddon, after suggesting the probability that the sovereigns may have been of Arabian origin, inquires—“whether the present inhabitants, whose village occupies the once warlike camp or city of Atenre, have in their views and in their physical conformation, some vestiges of that early tribe of heterodox conquerors? And may not then the cause of the almost instinctive terror with which the natives of other parts of Egypt regard this vicinity, proceed from vague traditions of ancient predatory habits,—some fitful legend that has outlived thirty-five centuries?”[91]

There are many effigies of the same general character of the age of the fourth Rameses. One of them, a captive, is figured in the margin. Wilkinson reads their name Tochari on the monuments; Rosellini translates it Fekkaro. To my view they have the lined and hardy features of the Celts or Gauls, of whom, however, we have little knowledge at that remote date, (B.C. 1400,) although even then they occupied a large part of southern Europe. They perhaps rather pertain to the Phenician branch of the Caucasian race.


There are other paintings, especially some at Abousimbel of the age of Rameses III., which correspond in every particular with the Scythian physiognomy as recorded in history;[92] and the name of Scheto, by which they are designated on the monuments, confirms the suggestion of the hieroglyphists that they represent a Scythian or Scytho-Bactrian people.[93]

The researches of Lord Lindsay seem to prove that the Assyrians were also among the Hykshos conquerors of Egypt; and the shepherds who invaded Egypt before the time of Abraham are called Cushim by the ancients, which means Ethiopians or Babylonians; for the country on both sides of the Persian Gulf was called Cush.[94]

Plutarch, quoting Manetho, asserts that Tiphonean or red-haired men were sacrificed in the temples of Eletheias, and their ashes scattered to the winds. Was this done in commemoration of the hatred which the Egyptians bore to the red-haired Hykshos?


From various antecedent remarks it will be perceived that I regard the Copts as a mixed community, derived in diverse proportions from the Caucasian and the Negro; and this diversity of origin may explain the dissimilar characteristics which travellers have ascribed to them.

Denon, for example, described them as having “flat foreheads, eyes half closed, and raised up at the angles, high cheek bones, a broad, flat, and short nose, a large, flattened mouth, placed at a considerable distance from the nose, thick lips, a little beard, a shapeless body, crooked legs, without expression in the contour, and long, flat toes.”[95] Denon even thinks that these features correspond, in a remarkable manner, with the human face and figure as represented in Egyptian painting and sculpture! And Sonnini, after describing them in nearly analogous terms, adds the moral reproach, that while “they are the ugliest of men, they are the filthiest and most disgusting.”[96]

If we compare these seemingly exaggerated descriptions with those of Brown, Lane, and some other travellers, the discrepancy is so great as, at first thought, to baffle all explanation. Brown, for example, “was not struck with any resemblance to the Negro features or form;” and he saw nothing remarkable in the texture of the hair.[97] “The eyes of the Copts,” says Mr. Lane, “are generally large and elongated, slightly inclining from the nose upwards, and always black. The nose is straight, excepting at the end, where it is rounded and wide; and the lips are rather thick, and the hair is black and curly.”[98] Madden adds that they are characterized by a remarkable distance between the eyes. Belzoni observed among them some as fair as Europeans; Rosellini assures us that they are largely mixed with Jewish and Roman blood;[99] and D’Avezac, like Depauw, discovers in them a partial Chinese ancestry. These, and numberless other opinions 56which might be cited, prove that the Copts differ greatly among themselves; and that they are, physically and morally, a mixture of all the nations which have successively held dominion in Egypt, or swelled its varied population—Egyptians of various castes, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Hebrews, Negroes, and some others Such was, at least in part, the opinion of Pugnet, (whose memoir I have not seen,) for he separates them “into two divisions; those whose ancestry has been intermixed, and partly of Greek and Latin descent, and a class of purely Egyptian origin.”[100] But, after all, perhaps the traces which are most invariable in the Copt are derived from the Negro; and they are manifest in the very bones of the head and face.

“The inhabitants of the towns of Arabia and Egypt,” says Burckhardt, “are in the daily habit of taking in wedlock Abyssinian as well as Negro slaves;”[101] and, in a subsequent part of his travels, the same intelligent author describes a class of people in Nubia who are the direct offspring of this mixture of race, and who seem, from his description, to answer the characters of the Copts themselves. “The Nouba slaves (among whom must be reckoned those who are born in Senaar of male Negroes and female Abyssinians) form a middle class between the blacks and the Abyssinians. Their features, though they retain evident signs of Negro origin, have still something of what is called regular; their noses, though smaller than those of Europeans, are less flat than those of Negroes their lips are less thick, and the cheek bones less prominent. The hair of some is woolly but among the greater part it is similar to the hair of Europeans, but stronger, and always curled.” Another, and yet more striking example of the Negroid conformation is seen in the vast Foulah or Fellatah population of central Africa, which is now spread over a region of fifteen hundred miles from east to west, and five hundred miles from north to south. That they are a mixed progeny of Arabs, Berbers and Negroes, no longer admits of a reasonable doubt. Such is the opinion of D’Avezac and Hodgson, Vater, Adelung, and most other inquirers. “In the midst of the Negro races,” observes M. D’Avezac, “there stands out a métive population, of tawny or copper colour, prominent nose, small mouth, and oval face, which ranks itself among the white races, and asserts itself to be descended from Arab fathers and Taurodo mothers. Their crisped hair, even woolly, though long, justifies their classification among the Oulotric (woolly-haired) populations; but neither the traits of their features, nor the colour of their skin, allow them to be confounded with Negroes, however great the fusion of the two types may be.”[102] These and other facts derived from the slave trade, when considered in connexion with the Negro colonization of Nubia in the reign of Dioclesian, will account, I may repeat, not only for every blending of race observable in that country, but also assists us in tracing the origin of the Copts;—not to a period of time, it is true, but to circumstances which have been in operation for ages, and which were once, in all probability, far more active than they are at present.

By the kindness of Mr. Gliddon I possess three Coptic skulls, two of which are adult, and are accurately sketched in the subjoined drawings, (A and B.)


In A the cranium is elongated, narrow, but otherwise mediately developed in front, with great breadth and fulness in the whole posterior region. The nasal bones, though prominent, are broad, short, and concave, and the upper jaw is everted. There is, also, a remarkable distance between the eyes. The facial angle measures 81°, the internal capacity 85 cubic inches.

In the second head, B, the head is long and narrow, with a receding forehead, flat or concave nasal bones, and short, everted upper maxilla. Facial angle 78°; internal capacity 77 cubic inches.

A glance at these two crania will satisfy any one that they possess, in degree, both the conformation and expression of the Negro.

The third skull, that of a child of two years of age, corresponds in general form with the preceding, without having the African characteristics quite so obviously expressed.

It therefore follows, from all the evidence we possess in relation to the Copts, that, as a people, they partake sensibly, and sometimes largely, of Negro lineage.

An inspection of the royal portraits preserved in Rosellini, shows several heads which are obviously of the Coptic form; those, for example, of Sabakon and Tirhaka, of the Ethiopian dynasty, and of the queen Metumva, of an earlier epoch. (Plate XIV.) The same lineaments, though in less degree, are also obvious in the effigies of Sheshonk (Shishak) and Osorkon II., of the twenty-second dynasty, and in a few others of different periods of time. I wish it to be understood that I do not say these sovereigns were of Coptic lineage; but merely that their physiognomy, as expressed on the monuments, has the Coptic character. The history of the Copts remains an enigma in Egyptian ethnography.


It seems necessary, in further elucidation of this subject, to submit a few additional facts and observations in reference to the Berbers, or present inhabitants of Nubia, in order to show their relative position to the ancient occupants of that country. As the celebrated Burckhardt saw them in almost every locality, we shall mainly content ourselves with his graphic delineation. The Berbers, says he, are of a dark red-brown complexion, “which, if the mother is a slave from Abyssinia, becomes a light brown in the children; and if from the Negro countries, extremely dark. Their features are not at all those of the Negro, the face being oval, the nose often perfectly Grecian, and the cheek bones not prominent. The upper lip, however, is somewhat thicker than is considered beautiful among northern 58nations, though it is still far from the Negro lip. Their hair is bushy and strong, but not woolly.” The same intelligent traveller subsequently speaks of their language, respecting which he was certainly well qualified to judge; he assures us that the people south of Siout are ancient Bedouin tribes, who speak a very pure Arabic; and he makes a nearly similar remark respecting those who inhabit the river banks from Dongola to Senaar, and thence westward to Bornou, although they speak many different dialects.[103]

It is well known, however, that there are whole tribes in Nubia whose language is not derived from the Arabic; and these may be more nearly allied to the primitive population. “The inhabitants of Dar Dongola,” says Dr. Rüppell, “are divided into two principal classes, namely, the Barábra, or descendants of the old Ethiopian natives of the country, and the races of Arabs who have emigrated from the Hedjar. The ancestors of the Barábra, who, in the course of centuries have been repeatedly conquered by hostile tribes, must have undergone some intermixture with people of foreign blood; yet an attentive inquiry will enable us to distinguish among them the old national physiognomy which their forefathers have marked upon colossal statues, and the bas-reliefs of temples and sepulchres. A long, oval countenance, a beautifully curved nose, somewhat rounded towards the tip, proportionately thick lips, but not protruding excessively, a retreating chin, scanty beard, lively eyes, strongly frizzled but never woolly hair, a remarkably beautiful figure, generally of middle size, and a bronze colour, are the characteristics of the genuine Dungolawi.”[104] He adds, that the same traits of physiognomy are generally found among the Ababdé, the Bishareen, and partially among the people of Shendy and Abyssinia.

It must be acknowledged, however, that we can hardly expect to find the genuine Egypto-Ethiopian lineaments in any considerable number among the modern Nubians. Placed as the former were, between the Egyptians on the north, the Indo-Arabian nations on the east, and the Negroes on the south and west, and this, too, through the long period of several thousand years, their features must have become sensibly modified, even in the earliest times, by that blending of race which was inseparable from their position; and as the Koldagi and other Negro tribes have, at different times, established themselves in large bodies in Nubia, we need be at no loss, I conceive, in accounting for any traces of Negro lineage in some Barábra communities of the present day.

Dr. Prichard considers “the descent of the modern Nubians, or Barábra, from the Nouba (a Negro nation) of the hill country of Kordofan, to be as well established as very many facts which are regarded as certain by writers on ethnography.” With every deference to that distinguished ethnographer, we may inquire, what became of the pre-existing inhabitants when the tribes of Kordofan colonized Nubia? Were they destroyed or expelled? History makes no mention of either; and we are justified in the opinion that an amalgamation of races took place, whence some of those diversities of organization observable in the modern Nubians. That this intermixture of races has continued to the present time, the reader will find abundant evidence in other parts of this memoir; yet I cannot here refrain from adding an observation from Cailliaud, who, remarking on the shortness of life among the people of Senaar from disease and dissipation, declares that the number of Negroes which pours into the country, and the fruitfulness of the women, 59are the resources which serve to repair the vast and continual waste of population.[105] I may be told that this is proving too much. A sensible writer, and one who has ingeniously and instructively investigated the Nubian question, remarks as follows:—“The Arab tribes near Shendy may still, perhaps, justly boast of the purity of their blood; but, generally speaking, within the limits mentioned above, the slave or Negro population is about a sixth of the whole, and continually amalgamating with it. While nature kindly endeavours to wash out the stain, every caravan from the south or west pours in a new supply of slaves, and restores the blackening element.”[106]

This author, however, in his desire to ascribe to climate the chief agency in the transformation of the Negro into the Nubian, seems to overlook the fact that while the Negroes flow into the country on the one side, the migratory Arabs invade it on the other, thus furnishing inexhaustible materials for the blending of the two races. I fully acquiesce, as before hinted, in the accuracy of the following opinion, as applied to a large proportion of the modern Nubians; namely, “that they are descended, not from the possessors of Ethiopia in its flourishing period, but from the prædial and slave population of the country, increased by colonists, and raised into a nation by peculiar circumstances between the third and sixth centuries of the Christian era.”[107]


We have the most unequivocal evidence, historical and monumental, that slavery was among the earliest of the social institutions of Egypt, and that it was imposed on all conquered nations, white as well as black.[108] So numerous was this unfortunate class of persons, that it was the boast of the Egyptian kings, recorded by Diodorus, that the vast structures of Luxor and Karnak were erected by the labour of foreigners alone. Of Negro slavery, in particular, the paintings and sculptures give abundant illustration. “Black people,” says Sir G. Wilkinson, “designated as natives of the foreign land of Cush, are generally represented on the Egyptian monuments as captives or bearers of tribute to the Pharaohs;” and the attendant circumstances of this inhuman traffic appear to have been much the same in ancient as in modern times. It is curious, also, in a numerical point of view, to observe that Arrian, who wrote in the second century, gives three thousand as the number of Negroes annually brought down the Nile in his time; while Madden, writing in our own day, and consequently sixteen hundred years later than Arrian, estimates 60the present number in nearly the same words. If it be allowable to make these data the basis of calculation for the past thirty-five centuries, it will follow that upwards of ten millions of Negroes have been brought as bondsmen into Egypt during that period. This I regard a reasonable calculation; for in the present wasted and depopulated condition of the country, the demand for servants and slaves must be far below what it was in the flourishing epoch of the Pharaohs.[109]

This vast influx of Negroes into the valley of the Nile must necessarily have left its impression on the physical traits of the Egyptians themselves; in modern times, as seen in the Copts, and in more distant periods, as proved by the Negroid heads, in which both the configuration and expression are too obvious to be mistaken. But it may be inquired, how does it happen that Negroes or their descendants should be found in the catacombs, if they constituted a menial or slave-caste in Egypt? In reply, it may be observed that persons of this race have been capable, in all ages, of elevating themselves to posts of distinction in the east, and especially and proverbially those who have belonged to the class of eunuchs.[110] It is also important to observe, that so tenacious were the Egyptians of the rights of their offspring, that they admitted them to equal privileges with themselves, even when the mother was a slave; and these usages extended to inheritance.[111]

The preceding facts, without multiplying more on the same subject, amply account for that interminable amalgamation of the Caucasian and Negro races which has been going on in Egypt from the remotest times; while they also explain that incidental social elevation of the Negro caste, to which the monuments and catacombs alike bear witness.

This blending of races is farther illustrated in the present population of Nubia. The traveller Burckhardt remarks, that the slaves sent down the Nile, and those transported to Arabia, bear but a small proportion to the number kept by the Mahommedans of the more southern countries of Africa. At Shendy, for example, from one to six are seen in every family; and the custom prevails as far as Senaar, and westward to Kordofan, Darfour and Bornou. All the Bedouin tribes who inhabit or surround these countries are well stocked with slaves, nor does the number diminish in the very remote provinces of Houssa and Begarmeh; and we are told by the same intelligent observer, that the result of this promiscuous intercourse is a mixed progeny, which blends the characteristics of the Arab with those of the Negro.[112]

Negroes are abundantly represented on the pictorial delineations of the Egyptian monuments of every epoch. Complexion, features, and expression, these and every other attribute of the race, are depicted precisely as we are accustomed to see them in our daily walks: indeed, were we to judge by the drawings alone, we might suppose them to have 61been executed but yesterday; and yet some of these vivid delineations are nearly three thousand five hundred years old! and, moreover, as if to enforce the distinction of race by direct contrast, they are placed side by side with people of the purest Caucasian features.

The delineations of the Negro which are supposed to be of the most ancient date have not yet been identified with the epoch to which they belong. Such are those in a tomb at Thebes of the age of Amontuonch, an “unplaced king,” who is supposed to date prior to the sixteenth dynasty, and consequently more than two thousand years before Christ.[113] There is, however, a difference of opinion on this point; but we can refer with confidence and certainty to the celebrated “Procession” of the age of Thotmes the Fourth, at Thebes, in which Negroes are represented as tribute-bearers to that monarch at a period which dates about seventeen hundred years before our era.[114]

Sir G. Wilkinson describes a painting in a catacomb at Thebes of the age of Amunoph the Third, in which that personage, seated on his throne, receives the homage and tribute of various nations. Among these are represented several “black chiefs of Cush, or Ethiopia,” whose presents consist of rings of gold, bags of precious stones, “a camelopard, panthers, skins, and long-horned cattle, whose heads are strangely ornamented with the hands and heads of Negroes.”[115] The author justly adds, that the latter effigies were probably artificial; for the people of Cush would scarcely have decapitated their own people to adorn their offerings to a foreign prince: yet at the same time these melancholy symbols were obviously designed to express the most abject self-abasement and vassalage.

Other Negro delineations which can be identified with the age to which they belong, are found on the monuments of Horus, Rameses the Second, Rameses the Third, &c. in various places in Egypt and Nubia; and the first of these kings, (who dates with the nineteenth dynasty,) is represented standing on a platform which is supported by prostrate Negroes.[116]

For the purpose of illustration, we select a single picture from the temple (hemispeos) of Beyt-el-Wàlee, in Nubia, in which Rameses the Second is represented in the act of making war upon the Negroes; who, overcome with defeat, are flying in consternation before him. From the multitude of fugitives in this scene, (which has been vividly copied by Champollion[117] and Rosellini, and which I have compared in both,) I annex a fac-simile group of nine heads, which, while they preserve the national features in a remarkable degree, present also considerable diversity of expression.


The hair on some other figures of this group is dressed in short and separate tufts, or inverted cones, precisely like those now worn by the Negroes of Madagascar, as figured in Botteller’s voyage.

In the midst of the vanquished Africans, seated in his car and urging on the conflict, is Rameses himself; whose manly and beautiful countenance will not suffer by comparison with the finest Caucasian models. The annexed outline, (for all the figures are represented in outline only,) will enable the reader to form his own conclusions respecting this extraordinary group, which is believed to date about fifteen hundred and seventy years before the Christian era.



It has been contended by Depauw, and others that the ancient Egyptians were of the Mongolian race. I find nothing like Mongolian features in any embalmed head in my collection, unless some general resemblance can be traced in a solitary instance from Thebes, (Plate XII., Figs. 1, 2,) which, however, partakes more obviously of the Semitic form. This observation sustains the opinion of Professor Blumenbach, who in comparing the Egyptians with the several races of men, asserts, that “they differ from none more than from the Mongolian, to which the Chinese belong.”[118]

That the Chinese had commercial intercourse with the Egyptians in very early times, is beyond question; for vessels of Chinese porcelain, with inscriptions in that language, have been repeatedly found in the Theban catacombs.[119] Yet in every instance wherein we detect Mongolians on the monuments, they are represented as foreigners and enemies. The annexed wood-cut, with the small and somewhat depressed nose, shaven head, and crown-lock, scanty beard, moustache, and sallow complexion, seems clearly to indicate a man of that race. It is copied from a drawing in Rosellini, in which Rameses the Third is represented fighting against the Sheto or Scythians, among whom the Mongols appear to be allies or mercenaries.


Since the physical characteristics of the ancient Nilotic population, as derived from history and the monuments, coincide in a remarkable manner with the facts derived from anatomical comparison, it becomes in the next place necessary to offer some explanation of these results; or, to show at what periods and under what circumstances several different branches of the Caucasian race were blended into a single nation possessing more or less the characteristics of each, and this again modified in degree by another race wholly different from either. It is in the first place necessary to recur to the fact of the very long occupation of Egypt by successive dynasties of Hykshos or shepherd kings, and that these were not of one but of several nations—Phenicians, Pelasgi, and Scythians; while to these followed, at a long interval, an Ethiopian or Austral-Egyptian dynasty. Each of these great revolutions must have tended in turn to the amalgamation of the Egyptians with other nations; and this result may be referred to three principal epochs, independently of several subordinate ones.

The first epoch embraces the dynasty of the Hykshos or shepherd kings, commencing before Christ two thousand and eighty, and having a duration of two hundred and sixty years.

It is important, however, to observe, that Josephus quoting Manetho, makes the Hykshos dynasty last five hundred and eleven years; and the learned Baron Bunsen, whose work has not yet appeared, extends it to 1000, beginning B.C. 2514.[120] The shorter 64period is that of Rosellini; but the longer one is perhaps most consistent with facts, and at least makes room for those various dominations which, in the lists of Manetho, precede the eighteenth dynasty; which last, headed by Amunoph the First, drove out the intrusive kings. During this long period the legitimate sovereigns were exiled into Ethiopia; and it is evident, that had Meroë been any other than a province or dependency of Egypt, it is hardly probable that the Egyptians,—kings, priests, and people,—could have found a safe asylum in that country during the long period of their exile. It is expressly stated by Josephus that the shepherd kings lived at Memphis, “and made both the upper and lower country pay tribute.” It would appear, however, that during the greater part of the Hykshos dynasty, the Egyptians retained possession of the Thebaid: nevertheless the occupation of Lower Egypt by their enemies, must have effectually precluded all communication with other countries excepting Ethiopia, southern Arabia and India; which fact will account for a vast influx of population from those countries, (and consequently from the slave-regions of Africa) into the Upper Nilotic provinces.

It is moreover reasonable to suppose that even after the expulsion of the Hykshos, multitudes of Egyptians would remain in Ethiopia,—that country wherein whole generations of their ancestors had lived and died; at the same time that great numbers of Meröites, influenced by a variety of motives and especially by social alliances, would descend the Nile into Egypt.

It is moreover evident that while the Egyptians became thus fraternized with the nations of southern Asia, and the motley races of the Upper Nile, the provinces of Lower Egypt would be overrun with the Caucasian tribes of Europe and western Asia; for these, either as cognate with the Hykshos or as allies in their service, must have been in immense number to have conquered so populous a country, and especially to have kept possession during so long a period. It is to these events, then, that we attribute that blending of nations which appears to have been coeval with the early ages of the Nilotic Family, and which amply accounts for the ethnographic diversities every where manifest on the monuments.

The second epoch is comprised in the Ethiopian Dynasty of three kings, which lasted forty-four years, beginning B.C. 719.

These Meröite or Austral-Egyptian kings, during their intrusive occupation of Egypt, would naturally, and indeed necessarily engage the neighbouring tribes, and especially such as were hostile to Egypt, as mercenary soldiers; and there are more than conjectural grounds for believing that the Negroes themselves were thus employed. We are told in the Sacred Writings (2 Chron. Chap. xii.) that when Shishak king of Egypt, who is identical with Sheshonk of the monuments,—went up against Jerusalem, he took with him “1200 chariots, and three-score thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims and the Ethiopians.” Of this multitude we may presume that the horsemen, and people in chariots were part of the Egyptian army; the Lubims and Sukkiims are by most commentators regarded as Libyans and Meröites, while, as the Ethiopians are placed last on the list, and are designated in the Hebrew original by the name of Cush, it is not unreasonable to suppose that they were Negroes. This view is sustained by a passage in Herodotus,[121] who states that 65in the army of Xerxes which invaded Greece was a legion of Western Ethiopians, “who had hair more crisp and curling than any other men.”[122] Now if the army of Xerxes embraced a legion of African Negroes, it would not be remarkable if the Egyptian troops should have been composed in part of the same people; which, indeed, with respect to the Ethiopian dynasty, may be assumed as a thing of course: for the Meröites would naturally avail themselves of every expedient to establish their power by augmenting the number of their exotic confederates, and by extending to them those privileges which had once been sacred to particular castes. For these and other oppressive acts, the Meröite kings were hated by the Egyptians; and no sooner were they expelled than their names were erased from the monuments.[123]

The third epoch dates from the conquest by Cambyses, B.C. 525, and continues through the whole of the Persian dynasty, or, in other words, until the Ptolemaic era, B. C. 332,—a period of nearly two hundred years.

Every one knows that the Persian dominion in Egypt was marked by an utter disregard of all the established institutions. No occasion was omitted which could humble the pride or debase the character of the people. The varied inhabitants of Europe, Asia and Nigritia poured into the valley of the Nile, abolishing in degree the exclusiveness of caste, and involving an endless confusion of races.

The prelude to these changes and misfortunes can be traced to the reign of Psammeticus the First, who permitted to foreigners, and especially to the Greeks, a freedom of ingress which the laws and usages of the country had previously denied them. The same policy appears to have been fostered by the subsequent kings of the same dynasty, until its consummation by Amasis; (B.C. 569) when, in the language of Champollion-Figéac, Egypt became at once Egyptian, Greek, and Asiatic; her national character was lost for ever; her armies were filled with foreign mercenaries; the throne was guarded by European soldiers, and continual wars completed the destruction of a tottering kingdom.[124]


1. The valley of the Nile, both in Egypt and in Nubia, was originally peopled by a branch of the Caucasian race.

2. These primeval people, since called Egyptians, were the Mizraimites of Scripture, the posterity of Ham, and directly affiliated with the Libyan family of nations.

3. In their physical character the Egyptians were intermediate between the Indo-European and Semitic races.

664. The Austral-Egyptian or Meröite communities were an Indo-Arabian stock engrafted on the primitive Libyan inhabitants.

5. Besides these exotic sources of population, the Egyptian race was at different periods modified by the influx of the Caucasian nations of Asia and Europe,—Pelasgi, or Hellenes, Scythians and Phenicians.

6. Kings of Egypt appear to have been incidentally derived from each of the above nations.

7. The Copts, in part at least, are a mixture of the Caucasian and the Negro in extremely variable proportions.

8. Negroes were numerous in Egypt, but their social position in ancient times was the same that it now is, that of servants and slaves.

9. The national characteristics of all these families of Man are distinctly figured on the monuments; and all of them, excepting the Scythians and Phenicians, have been identified in the catacombs.

10. The present Fellahs are the lineal and least-mixed descendants of the ancient Egyptians; and the latter are collaterally represented by the Tuaricks, Kabyles, Siwahs, and other remains of the Libyan family of nations.

11. The modern Nubians, with a few exceptions, are not the descendants of the monumental Ethiopians, but a variously mixed race of Arabs and Negroes.

12. Whatever may have been the size of the cartilaginous portion of the ear, the osseous structure conforms in every instance to the usual relative position.

13. The Teeth, differ in nothing from those of other Caucasian nations.

14. The Hair of the Egyptians resembled, in texture, that of the fairest Europeans of the present day.

15. The physical or organic characters which distinguish the several races of men, are as old as the oldest records of our species.

Note.—I have taken frequent occasion to quote the opinions of the late Professor Blumenbach, of Göttingen, whose name is inseparably connected with the science of Ethnography; but I have to regret that up to the present time I have not been able to procure either in this country or from Europe, the last two memoirs which embrace his views on Egyptian subjects, and especially the work entitled, “Specimen historiæ naturalis antique artis operibus illustratæ.” His views, however, as previously given to the world, have been repeatedly adverted to in these pages; and his matured and latest observations, as quoted by Dr. Wiseman, appear to have confirmed his original sentiments. “In 1808,” says Dr. Wiseman, “he more clearly expressed his opinion that the monuments prove the existence of three distinct forms or physiognomies among the ancient inhabitants of Egypt. Three years later he entered more fully into this inquiry, and gave the monuments, which he thought bore him out in this hypothesis. The first of these forms he considers to approach to the Negro model, the second to the Hindoo, the third to the Berber, or ordinary Egyptian head. (Beträge zur Naturgeschichte, 2 ter Th. 1811.) But I think an unprejudiced observer will not easily follow him so far. The first head has nothing in common with the Black race, but is only a coarser representation of the Egyptian type; the second is only its mythological or ideal purification.” Lectures on the Connexion between Science and Revealed Religion, 2d edit. p. 100.

I thus place side by side the opinions of these learned men. With respect to Professor Blumenbach, I may add that when he wrote on Egyptian ethnography there were no fac simile copies of the monuments, such as have since been given to the world by the French and Tuscan Commissions; and again, that learned author had not access lo a sufficient number of embalmed heads to enable him to compare these with the monumental effigies. With these lights he would at once have detected an all-pervading physiognomy which is peculiarly and essentially Egyptian; and in respect to which all the other forms,—Pelasgic, Semitic, Hindu and Negro are incidental and subordinate; sometimes, it is true, represented with the attributes of royalty, but for the most part depicted as foreigners, enemies and bondsmen.

67With Egyptian statuary I am little acquainted. The only four years of my life which were spent in Europe were devoted almost exclusively to professional pursuits; and the many remains of Egyptian art which are preserved in the British and continental museums, have left but a vague impression on my memory. How invaluable to Ethnography are the two statues of the First Osortasen, now in the royal cabinet of Berlin! These I have not seen, nor the memoir in which Dr. Lepsius has described them.

I have, for the most part, omitted any remarks on the intellectual and moral character of the Egyptians, because they would have extended my work beyond the limits prescribed by the present mode of publication. I have also avoided, as much as possible, those philological disquisitions which have of late years combined so much interest and discrepancy, but which are all-important to Egyptian ethnography, and are daily becoming better understood, and therefore of more practical value. For an instructive view of this question, and many collateral facts and opinions, the reader is referred to the third volume of Dr. Prichard’s Researches into the Physical History of Mankind; a work which commands our unqualified admiration both in respect to the multitude and the accuracy of the facts it contains, and the genius and learning with which they are woven together.

I look with great interest to the researches of Dr. Lepsius at Meroë; as well as to those of my friend Dr. Charles Pickering, who is now in Egypt for the sole purpose of studying the monuments in connexion with the people of that country. And finally, it gives me great pleasure to state that the profound erudition of the Baron Alexander de Humboldt is at this moment engaged in a work which will embrace his views on Egyptian ethnography, and give to the world the matured opinions of a mind which has already illuminated every department of natural science.



Page 36,—fifth line from the bottom, for “page 109,” read page 17.
    "   36,—fourth line from the bottom, for “six figured skulls,” read six skulls figured.
    "   41,—fifth line from the bottom, for “Armada,” read Armada?
    "   43,—fourth line from the top, for “Semitic” read Hebrew.
    "   45,—eighth line from the bottom, for “are” read is, and “conform” read conforms.

[Transcriber’s Note: These changes have been made in the electronic versions of this book. June, 2019]


Pl. I.
M. S. Weaver del.

T. Sinclair’s Lith. Phila.


Pl. II.
M. S. Weaver del.

T. Sinclair’s Lith. Phila.


Pl. III.

J. T. French del.

T. Sinclair’s Lith. Phila.


Pl. IV.
M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. V.
M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. VI.
M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. VII.
M. S. Weaver del.

T. Sinclair’s Lith. Phila.


J. T. French del.

T. Sinclair’s Lith. Phila.


Pl. IX.
M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. X.
M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. XI.
M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. XII.
M. S. Weaver del.

Figs. 1. 2. Catacombs of Thebes.
Figs. 3. 4. 5. Tombs of Koum Ombos.
Figs. 6. 7. From a Tumulus at Philæ.
Figs. 8. 9. From Nubia.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


M. S. Weaver del.

Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


Pl. XIV.
Drawn from Rossellini by R. H. Kern. On stone by M. S. Weaver

Figs. 1. to 18. (inclusive) Portraits of the Kings and Queens of Egypt.
Figs. 19. to 24. (inclusive) People of various Nations.
Lith. of T. Sinclair, Phila.


1.  I do not use this term with ethnographic precision; but merely to indicate the most perfect type of cranio-facial outline.

2.  Explorations at the Pyramids, Vol. III., p. 44.

3.  The letters I. C., denote the internal capacity of the cranium.—F. A., the Facial Angle. The skulls of persons under sixteen or eighteen years of age are seldom measured, and never admitted into the computations of this memoir.

4.  It will be observed, on comparing this table with the original one published in the Proceedings of the Society for December, 1842, (and since republished in Mr. Gliddon’s Ancient Egypt,) that there is a great difference in the relative number of Pelasgic and Egyptian heads; which fact has been already adverted to, and explained, (page 4.) I have been governed in the present classification, by the manifest presence of the Egyptian physiognomy, even in those instances in which it appears to be blended with an equal and even preponderating Pelasgic character. It will be observed, however, that the whole number of Caucasian heads is nearly the same in both tables; and that the relative proportion of Semitic, Negro and Negroid crania is unaltered.

5.  Lawrence’s Lectures on Zoology, &c., p. 347.

6.  Decas Quarta, p. 6.

7.  Lawrence, ut supra, eighth edition, p. 325.

8.  Description de L’Egypte, Antiq. II., pl. 49, 50.

9.  In my Crania Americana, p. 283, I have described an ingenious method of measuring the internal capacity of the cranium, devised by my friend Mr. John S. Phillips. The material used for filling the skull, as there directed, was white pepper seed, which was chosen on account of its spheroidal form, and general uniformity of size. Finding, however, that considerable variation occurred in successive measurements of the skull, I substituted leaden shot one tenth of an inch in diameter, in place of the seeds. The skull must be completely filled by shaking it while the shot is poured in at the foramen magnum, into which the finger must be frequently pressed for the same purpose, until the various sinuosities will receive no more. When this is accomplished, the shot on being transferred to the tube, will give the absolute capacity of the cranium, or size of the brain, in cubic inches.

10.  I have in my possession seventy-nine crania of Negroes born in Africa, for which I am indebted to Doctors Goheen and M’Dowell, lately attached to the medical department of the Colony at Liberia, in western Africa; and especially to Don Jose Rodriguez Cisneros, M. D., of Havana, in the island of Cuba. Of the whole number, fifty-eight are adult, or sixteen years of age, and upwards, and give eighty-five cubic inches for the average size of the brain. The largest head measures ninety-nine cubic inches; the smallest but sixty-five. The latter, which is that of a middle-aged woman, is the smallest adult head that has hitherto come under my notice.

11.  Rosellini, M. R. Plate 102, Fig. 47.

12.  Idem, M. C. Plate 43, Fig. 45.

13.  Rosellini, M. C., Plate 128, Fig. 2.

14.  Idem, Plate 101, Fig. 2.

15.  Rosellini, M. C. Plate 127.

16.  Description de L’Egypte, Antiq. T. I. pl. 68, fig. 114.—Hamilton, Ægyptiaca, p. 55.

17.  “Dentes vegrandes, et incisorum quoque coronæ crassé cylindricæ magis aut obtusé conicæ, quam scalpriformes.” Decas prima, p. 12. See also Trans. Royal Soc. of London, 1794.

18.  Prichard, Researches, Vol. II., p. 250.

19.  Ptolemæi Geog. Lib. I., cap. ix., as quoted in Edinburgh Review, Vol. LX. p. 312.

20.  Did any one ever read the Euterpe for the first time without some misgivings of this kind? I ask this question with a profound respect for the venerable historian and traveller.

21.  It is a curious fact observed by Rosellini and others, that the Greeks painted some of their divinities red, as Jupiter and Pan; and even Venus herself appears to have been sometimes represented of the same colour. Monumenti Civili, II., p. 169.

22.  “By saying that the Egyptians, for the most part, are of a brownish or somewhat brown colour, and of a tanned and blackened hue, the writer shows that this was not the case equally, at least, with all of them; and the expression subfusculi and atrati are very different from nigri or atri.”—Prichard, Researches, II., p. 232.

“Tra le specie d’uomini non affatto neri di pelle, e di fattezze diversi da quelli che noi siam soliti chiamare Africani, furono gli antichi Egizi: e quando Erodoto afferma che i Colchi erano una colonia d’Egitto, perché dessi pure avevano nero colore, non vuolsi già intende rigorosamente di quel colore, che proprio è dei Neri; ma tale ci lo chiama per rispetto al colore dei Bianchi e dei Greci stessi; e perché veramente l’incarnato degli Egiziani al nero in qualche modo si avvicinava. Noi lo diremmo con più giustezza color fosco; e questo epiteto diedero anche i Latini agli abitanti dell’Egitto, come si legge in Properzio: “An tibi non satis est fuscis Egyptus alumnis?””—Rosellini, Mon. Civ., II., p. 167.

23.  Lectures on the connexion between Science and Revealed Religion, p. 102, 2d edit.

These remarks will also serve to explain why Aristotle has placed the Egyptians and Negroes in the same national category; which is not more surprising than his referring the Thracians to the Mongolian race, and attributing to them a red complexion.

24.  The longitudinal diameter is measured from the most prominent part of the os frontis, between the superciliary ridges, to the extreme end of the occiput.

The parietal diameter is measured between the most distant points of the parietal bones, which are, for the most part, the protuberances of these bones.

25.  I have been engaged for several years past in obtaining and arranging a series of measurements of the nature here indicated, under the title of Craniometrical Tables; but it will be readily conceived that the difficulty of procuring the requisite materials, renders the progress of such an undertaking extremely slow and uncertain.

26.  I have reason to believe that this cranium, which I obtained separate from the rest of the mummy, belonged to another Egyptian skeleton subsequently procured from the same source.

27.  Champollion, Monumens de l’Egypte, Tom. II., plate 160, fig. 3.

28.  Rosellini, M. C., plate CXXXIII., fig. 3.

29.  Hoskins’ Travels in Ethiopia, plate XI.

30.  Cailliaud, plate XVI. to XX. For the use of the only copy of this work now in the United States, I am indebted to the politeness of Colonel Pleasanton, of this city.

31.  Rosellini, Monumenti, M. C., plate CXXXIII.

32.  Champollion-Figeac, Egypte Ancienne, p. 356.

33.  Rosellini, M. C., plate XCVII., and Wilkinson’s Topography of Thebes, p. 109.

34.  Rosellini, M. C. Plate 126.

35.  Idem. Vol. 1, Plate 4.

36.  Idem. M. C. Plate 41.

37.  Idem. M. C. Plate 37.

38.  Idem. M. C. Plate 86.

39.  Idem. M. C. Plate 29.

40.  Rosellini, M. C. Plate 132, Fig. 1.

41.  Idem. Plate 127, Fig. 1.

42.  Trans. Royal Society of London, 1794, passim, and Plate 16, Fig. 2, of that work.

43.  Ancient Egypt, p, 46, 47.

44.  The learned Dr. Beke reverses the route, and supposes that the “Cushite descendants of Ham” first settled on the western side of the Arabian Peninsula, crossed thence into Ethiopia, and descending the Nile, became the Egyptians of after times.—Origines Biblicæ, 1, p. 162.

45.  I use the terms Libyan and Ethiopian as they are handed down to us from antiquity. “Speaking with all the precision I am able,” says Herodotus, “the country I have been describing is inhabited by four nations only; of these two are natives and two are strangers. The natives are the Libyans ([Greek: Dibyes]) and the Ethiopians, ([Greek: Aithiopes]); one of which possesses the northern, the other the southern parts of Africa. The strangers are the Phoenicians and the Greeks.”—Melpomene, 197. In the days of Herodotus nomad Libyans still inhabited the vicinity of Avaris.

46.  I use the word aboriginal in this place with some reservation. It has been supposed by learned authorities that Africa was peopled by Negroes before the Hamitic tribes entered that country. I do not suppose Ham to have been the progenitor of the Negro race; and, with Dr. Wiseman, Mr. Lawrence and many others, I regard as a “conjecture” in Science, that doctrine which would attribute the physical gradations between the white man and the Negro to any other natural process than that of direct amalgamation.—Lawrence, Lectures on Zoology, 8th edit. p. 264. Wiseman, Lectures, 2d edit. p. 158. Beke, Origines Biblicæ, Tom. I., p. 162.

47.  These Letters, which are addressed to Peter S. Duponceau, Esq., are contained in the fourth volume of the Transactions of this Society; and to this source the reader is referred for a mass of interesting details which is necessarily excluded in this place. The valuable communications of Mr. Shaler, also addressed to Mr. Duponceau, are published in the second volume of the same work.

48.  “The phrase a shepherd fed his flock, is thus rendered in that language:—amiksa iksa thikhsi. These words, moreover, constitute a beautiful illustration of the genius of the language. In amiksa we have the formative particle am; and in thikhsi there is the feminine prefix th, a peculiarity alike of the Berber and the Coptic. The prefixes and suffixes t, th, are Berber indications throughout the whole extent of north Africa.” Vide also Hornemann, Voyage, Vocab. p. 431.

49.  In Jeremiah Cush and Phut are names of African nations; while in hieroglyphics Libya is called Nephaiat, the “country of the nine bows.” The root of Nephaiat being Phut (in Coptic a bow) connects the Libyans with Phut, the son of Ham, (Gen. x. 6,) and confirms the affiliation of the Libyans and Egyptians. See Gliddon, Anc. Egypt, p. 25, 27, 41.

50.  Sketches of Algiers, p. 91. Capt. Lyon’s observations are to the same purpose. Trav. p. 109.—Denham and Clapperton, p. 73.

51.  Denham and Clapperton, Introd. p. 67. To give some idea of the number of the Tuaricks, these gentlemen mention that no less than two thousand were executed at Sackatoo, in Houssa, on a single occasion, for a predatory irruption into the territories of the Negro sultan of that country.—Journey from Kano to Sackatoo, p. 107.

52.  Ibid. p. 941, 213, 237, 263, 315.

53.  Denham and Clapperton, p. 50. See also Hornemann, Voy. en Afrique, p. 147.—All the Tibboo tribes appear to be Negroes modified by intermixture with the Arabs and Berbers who surround them.

54.  For the funereal rites of the Guanches as compared with those of the Egyptians, see Bertholet, “Mémoires sur les Guanches,” in Mémoires de la Société Ethnologique de Paris, Tome I.—See also Blumenbach, Decad. Cran. Tab. XLII.

55.  I use the word Meroë in a comprehensive sense for all the ancient civilized region south of Egypt.

56.  Travels in Ethiopia, p. 329. Wilkinson, M. and C. Vol. I., Plate LXII.

57.  Idem. Plate X.

58.  Travels in Ethiopia, Plate XIV. See also Cailliaud, Voy. à Meroë, and Hoskins, Plate XXIX.

59.  See Gliddon, Ancient Egypt, passim.

60.  Modern Egyptians, Vol. II., p. 32.

61.  Jomard, apud Mengin, Hist, de l’Egypte, p. 408. To this valuable memoir the reader is referred for various additional analogies which are unavoidably omitted on the present occasion.

62.  “Le front haut et large, découvert et un pen fuyant.”—Jomard.

63.  In addition to the few remarks already made in reference to my use of this term, I may observe that the Pelasgi were generally regarded as the aboriginal inhabitants of Thessaly; but their warlike and roving propensities led them to extend their migrations in various directions, until we find it difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between them and the affiliated tribes of Dacians, Macedonians and Thracians. At one period they ranged nearly the whole country from Illyria to the Black Sea, and gave the name of Pelasgia to all Greece; and, as every one knows, the Greeks or Hellenes were their lineal descendants. See Prichard, Researches, Vol. III., and Mrs. Gray’s History of Etruria, Vol. I., p. 86.

64.  Cory, Frag. p. 114.

65.  For the proofs that these effigies are really portraits of the persons represented, the reader is referred to Rosellini’s chapter entitled, “Iconografia dei Faraouni e dei re Greci de ’Egitto,” in his Monumenti, M. S., Vol. II., p. 461. Portraits of the same king sometimes differ very considerably from each other, I grant, but the instances are few in comparison, and may have been intended to designate different periods of life; nor are these differences greater than we are accustomed to see in the physiognomy of modern kings, as represented on their respective coins and medals. But even if it could be demonstrated that the Nilotic paintings are not portraits, it would not diminish their ethnographic value, for they at least delineate the characteristic physiognomy of the Egyptians. See also, Champollion, “Lettres écrites de l’Egypte et de la Nubie.”

66.  Champollion, Monuments, Tom. I., Plate I. The annexed figure is greatly enlarged from Champollion’s drawing. See also Rosellini, M. R., Plate XXV., in which the eye is wanting.

67.  Champollion-Figéac, Egypte, p. 293.

68.  Rosellini, M. C., Plate 33.

69.  Antiquités, Tom. I., Plate 68.

70.  Rosellini, M. C., Plate 13.

71.  Idem. M. R., Plate 96.

72.  Rosellini, M. R., Plate 158.

73.  The Semitic race extended from the Mediterranean sea on the west to the confines of Persia on the East, and doubtless possessed great variety of feature and complexion. They derive their collective name from Shem, “from whom, in the table of nations in the book of Genesis, entitled Toldoth Beni Noah, many of them are declared to have descended.” Prichard, Researches, II., p. 208, 2d ed. The principal of these nations, adds Dr. Prichard, were those of Elam, to the north-west of the Persian Gulf; the Assyrians; the Chasdim, or Chaldeans, who are the ancestors of the Hebrews and Arabs; the Lydians; and the Syrians, or people of Aram. They are also called, collectively, Syro-Arabian nations.

The Jews were immensely numerous in Egypt during the Ptolemaic and Roman epochs. Vide Josephus, Book XII., chap. ii—Sharpe, Egypt under the Romans, p. 13.

74.  Letter to the Chev. Bunsen. See Wiseman’s Lectures on Science and Revealed Religion, 2d edit., p. 62; and a note at the end of that most learned and instructive work, “on the conformity between the Semitic and the Indo-European grammatical forms.”

75.  “Toutes leurs formes sout anguleuses,” says Denon; “leur barbe courte et à mèches pointues.” Voyage en Egypte, I., p. 92.

76.  Bedouins and Wahabys, p. 28.—Clot Bey, Aperçu generale de l’Egypte, I., p. 161.

77.  Edinburgh Review, Vol. LX., p. 297.

78.  Apud Mengin, Hist. de l’Egypte, III., p. 406.

79.  I have stated, in my “Crania Americana,” that the Hindoos appear to have the smallest heads of any existing people; and that in the Inca Peruvians the brain was but a fraction larger. Later observations, however, have led me to believe that the Nigritos, or aboriginal Negro race of the Indian archipelago, present a nearly parallel example.

80.  Rosellini, M. S. H. II, p. 174, 238.

81.  Prichard, Egyptian Mythology, p. 35.

82.  Crania Americana, p. 37.

83.  Bibliotheca, B. I., C. 2. “Khem, of whom Osiris is a form, is the great deity corresponding to the Indian Siva; Phthah, of whom Horus is another form, is the Indian Brahma; and Kneph is the counterpart of Vishnu.” Cory, in Harapollo, Pref., p. x.

84.  Trans. Roy. Soc. of Literature, I., p. 173. (London.)

85.  Prichard, Researches, Vol. II., p. 218.

86.  Ancient African Nations.—That the Indo-European race (of which the Hindoos are a branch,) has been among the most enterprising and widely distributed nations of the earth, is incontestably proved by the prevalence of the Sanscrit tongue as an element of many languages from Hindostan westward to the shores of Iceland, and eastward to the Polynesian Isles.—Malte Brun, Geography, Vol. I., p. 660.

87.  It is curious to observe that although the Hindoos in our day have little intercourse with Nubia and the adjacent provinces, the circumstance is owing to a want of those incentives to commerce which existed in antiquity; but Burckhardt describes the remains of Indian traffic as now seen in Mecca and Djidda, in Arabia, where the Hindoos yet sell the manufactures and other productions of their own country.—Travels in Arabia, p. 14, 119.

88.  The opinions of Sir G. Wilkinson are eminently entitled to respect on all Egyptian questions; and I need not apologize for quoting his opinions (however they may differ from those just given,) as briefly expressed in the following passage. “In manners, language, and many other respects, Egypt was certainly more Asiatic than African; and though there is no appearance of the Hindoo and Egyptian religions having been borrowed from one another, which many might be induced to conclude from their great analogy in some points, yet it is not improbable that these two nations may have proceeded from the same stock, and have migrated southward from their parent country in central Asia.”—Ancient Egypt, Vol. I., p. 3.

89.  St. Augustine states that the Punic or Phenician tongue was in his day (the fifth century) a living language, and very like the Hebrew; and that the Canaanitish language was mediate between the Egyptian and the Hebrew. Mrs. H. Gray. Hist, of Etruria, p. 124.

90.  Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, Vol. I., p. 140.

91.  Appeal to the Antiquarians of Europe on the destruction of the monuments of Egypt. By George R. Gliddon. p. 27. The portrait of Atenre-Backhan, another of these Hykshos kings, will be found in Wilkinson, second series, Plate XXX.

92.  Prichard, Researches, Vol. III., p. 441.

93.  Champollion, Monumens, Tom. I., Plate XXXVI.

94.  Mrs. H. Gray, History of Etruria, Vol. I., p. 31, 39.

95.  Voyage en Egypte, I., p. 206.

96.  Trav. in Egypt, II., p. 168. See also Volney, Voyage, I., p. 70.

97.  Trav. in Africa, p. 77.

98.  Modern Egyptians, II., p. 310.

99.  Monumenti, M. C. II., p. 77.

100.  Prichard, Researches, II., p. 238.

101.  Trav. in Nubia, p. 217.

102.  For ample details of this interesting question, see D’Avezac, Esquisse générale de l’Afrique, p. 55; and Hodgson on the Foulahs of Central Africa, p. 5, et passim.

103.  Trav. in Nubia, p. 353.

104.  Prichard, Researches &c. vol. II. p. 174.

105.  Voyage à Meroë, II., p. 276.

106.  Edinburgh Review, Vol. LX., p. 311.

107.  Idem., p. 307. The antiquity of the name Nubia, is of some importance in this discussion. Heeren and others state that it first occurs in history during the epoch of the Ptolemies; but Rosellini has now discovered that it is at least as old as the age of Menepthah I., (B.C. 1600,) on whose monuments it is found.

Since the above note was written, Mr. Gliddon has obligingly furnished me with the following interesting memorandum: “The name Nubia, with its derivatives of Nouba and Noubatæ, may be readily traced to Noubnoub, a Nubian divinity in the hieroglyphical legends of Menepthah I. and Rameses II. and III., and may possibly be derived from the root noub, gold, from the proximity of Nubia to the Ethiopian gold countries. The word Berber, as applied to the people of Nubia, (now called Berabera in the plural, from Berberri, the singular,) is without question derived from the hieroglyphical name Barobaro, by which at least one tribe inhabiting Nubia was known to the Egyptians of the 18th dynasty.”

108.  Clot Bey states the present black population of Egypt to be twenty thousand; and he adds that Negresses form the greater number of women in almost every harem. Aperçu Générale de l’Egypte, I., p. 329.

109.  Sir G. Wilkinson observes that “no difficulty occurred to the Ishmaelites in the purchase of Joseph from his brethren, nor on his subsequent sale to Potiphar on arriving in Egypt.” Ancient Egyptians, I., p. 404.

110.  A passage in Manetho establishes at the same time the antiquity and the power of eunuchs in Egypt; for he relates that king Ammenemes, of the twelfth dynasty, was slain by them. This event will date, by the received chronology, upwards of twenty-two hundred years B.C. Cory, Frag., p. 110. Eunuchs appear, also, to be figured on the monuments. Vide Rosellini, M. C. III., p. 133.

111.  Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, II., p. 64.

112.  Notwithstanding this mixture of nations, Mr. Hoskins observes, that the higher classes of modern Ethiopians (Nubians,) pay great respect to the distinctions of race; that they esteem nothing more than a light complexion, which the petty kings or chiefs make a prerequisite to the selection of wives; and that, with this class, “all mixture with the Negro blood is carefully shunned.”—Travels in Ethiopia, p. 357.

113.  Rosellini, Appendix, No. 13.—Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, Vol. III.

114.  Hoskins, Travels in Ethiopia. Procession, Part First.

115.  Topography of Thebes, p. 136.

116.  Champollion, Monumens de l’Egypte, Plate CX.

117.  Vide Champollion, Monumens de l’Egypte, Tom. I., Plate LXXI., LXXII.; and Rosellini, Monumenti, M. R., Tav. LXXV. A glance at these illustrations will convince any one that the slave-hunts or ghrazzies, as now practised by the Arabs, Tuaricks and Turks, and which are so feelingly described by Cailliaud, and by Denham and Clapperton, were in active operation, with all their atrocities, in the most flourishing periods of Pharaonic Egypt.

118.  Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1794, p. 193.

119.  Wilkinson’s Ancient Egyptians, Vol. III. p. 108.

120.  See Mrs. Hamilton Gray’s History of Etruria, Vol. I., p. 29.

121.  In my Crania Americana, Note p. 29, I have employed this passage to show, that those Colchians whom Herodotus mentions as forming “part of the troops of Sesostris,” might have been Negroes acting as mercenary or auxiliary soldiers. I am now satisfied that such explanation is at least unnecessary, and I, therefore, take this occasion to withdraw it.

122.  Polhym. Cap. lxx.

123.  Among the meager facts which history has preserved in relation to these intrusive kings, the following is the most remarkable: “Sabakon (the first king of the Ethiopian dynasty) having taken Boccoris (the legitimate sovereign) captive, burnt him alive.” Manetho apud Cory, Frag. p. 126. Could any circumstance have rendered the Ethiopians more detestable in the eyes of the Egyptians than this first act of barbarian policy?

124.  Egypte Ancienne, p. 207.



End of Project Gutenberg's Crania Ægyptiaca, by Samuel George Morton


***** This file should be named 59789-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by deaurider, Barry Abrahamsen, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive
specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this
eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook
for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports,
performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given
away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks
not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the
trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the
person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the
Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work
on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
  most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no
  restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
  under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
  eBook or online at If you are not located in the
  United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you
  are located before using this ebook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format
other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain
Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
provided that

* You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
  the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
  you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
  to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he has
  agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
  within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
  legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
  payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
  Section 4, "Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
  Literary Archive Foundation."

* You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
  you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
  does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
  License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
  copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
  all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg-tm

* You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
  any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
  electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
  receipt of the work.

* You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
  distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and The
Project Gutenberg Trademark LLC, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is in Fairbanks, Alaska, with the
mailing address: PO Box 750175, Fairbanks, AK 99775, but its
volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous
locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt
Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to
date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and
official page at

For additional contact information:

    Dr. Gregory B. Newby
    Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular
state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.