Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

From the commencement of the to reconcile his views respecting the Egyptian monarchy under Menes to date of the commencement of the the death of Alexander the Great, Egyptian Empire, to the opinions hiwhen it was finally extinguished, the therto received upon that head, for we Chevalier's theory requires 3,000 years are not only not troubled with Miz. at least in uninterrupted sequence ; raim, the second son of Ham, and the and this portion of time must be far- grandson of Noah, who, in less ambither, and even indefinitely, enlarged, if tious histories, is said to have planted we consider that before the union Egypt, and to have bestowed his name the upper and lower countries, under upon both the country and the people, that sovereign, Egypt was not a newly but we are expressly told that the esplanted region, but had been long tablishment of the age of Menes is settled, and, though divided into sepa- merely the settlement of a particular rate provinces, was governed by a race point in Egyptian chronology, and not of native princes, who possessed vast the determination of the date of the landed property, and aspired to dy. arrival in Egypt of an Asiatic horde nastic honours. Now, Alexander the from the East, and, consequently, of Great died at Babylon, in the year the common history of the people 325, B.c., in the year of the world known to the world in aftertimes as 3681, as we commonly calculate, and Egyptians. On the contrary, it is asby ordinary computation, 2025 years sumed throughout, and is even a necesa after the flood ; if we take, therefore, sary condition of the Chevalier Bun. the 3000 years required by the hypo- sen's thesis, that Egyptian society did thesis, from his death to the accession not begin with Menes, the first king, of Menes, we shall reach the year of but that the elements of political life the world 975, and thus make the com- must have existed long before his day mencement of the united Egyptian to enable him to do what he did do; monarchy to fall about 45 years after but how long is the difficulty, which he the time assigned to the death of Adam, can only remove by disregarding what in the scriptural lists, and 81 years has been hitherto received as truth, before the birth of Noah, and, as a con- and substituting for it certain bold sequence, 681 years before the deluge. conjectures which, in the present state How far beyond this we should go in of our knowledge, are absolutely inorder to plant a people in the valley of compatible with any system of chrono. the Nile, and to allow time for the logy admitted among men, learned or growth of those “princely families who unlearned. The Chevalier has somewere the great landowners of the pro- where said that in inquiries of this kind vinces, and who called themselves a thousand years more or less are of Egyptian kings" (ii. 183), we are not very little consequence; and as he tells told; but from what we have stated it us in his first volume, that the history will be seen that it is impossible to ac- of the Egyptians “shows them to becommodate M. Bunsen's chronology long to the great middle age of manto the system in ordinary use, since kind" (Introduction, p. xxxii.) we the necessities of his theory would ob- need not further embarrass ourselves lige us to transcend the era of the by an attempt to elucidate a subject creation of man. Some of the more that only becomes darker and more obvious difficulties might be removed, perplexed, the more it is meddled with. perbaps, by the substitution of any of The flood is in great disfavour in Gerthe three Oriental epochs, which are many at this moment, and is particn. all more extensive than our own, and larly disliked by the whole brood of would widen the area of time suffici- Egyptologers in that country. The ently to admit of the colonisation of Chevalier Bunsen discards it altogeEgypt after the flood ; but as none of ther; but we would not be doing justhem would give what the Chevalier tice to him or to ourselves, if we did insists upon having, viz., 2000 years in not allow him to state, in his own a consecutive series, and without the words, how he proposes to deal with intervention of the flood, before Moses, this little impediment to the establishit would manifestly serve no practical ment of his chronological deduction :purpose to adopt them, instead of the vulgar and more limited canon in "People are ashamed of being ignorant common use. The very terms of his in matters of research, with which the sound proposition, indeed, forbid the attempt common sense of mankind might long ago have grappled ; but professed scholars even, the estimation of responsible beinys, especially in Germany, do not blush to parade but he has lived long enough in Engbefore all Europe a scandalous ignorance of land to know, that to believe in the Egyptian reseach, and to talk with caste

inspiration of the Scriptures is no proof arrogance of so-called contemporary monu

of either ignorance or fatuity, and that ments,' and 'pretended explanations of the

individuals whose erudition is little hieroglyphics. When, however, this will not answer their purpose any longer, they

less profound than his own would not come forward, especially in England, with

be thought the worse of amongst us theological suspicions, and charges of infide- if they considered it an exercise of lity-men who never gave a single proof of talent as useful to mankind to strengthbeing able to read and critically explain the en the bulwarks of the religion they records of their own faith in the original. . . profess, as to elucidate, by conjectural .... Yet these are the fairest opponents emendations, the monumental records amongst those who doubt the correctness of

of a people whose vanity on the subEgyptian archæology. What will become,

ject of their ancestry was notorious they ask first of all, of the Bible dates? And what becomes of the flood ? exclaim the

and ridiculous, and whose best mental zealots. Two thousand years' history and

qualities were clouded by credulity, chronology before Moses ! and that from one

superstition, and blindness. We have for whom the Bible chronology prior to Solo.

no desire to undervalue the labours of mon is not good enough! And here a wide so distinguished a man on a field that door is opened for sarcasm and scoffing; for he has made almost his own, and who there are many zealous souls who desire no- has established so many clains upon thing better than to prove that the scoffer,' our generosity; but we must state, in the God-despiser,' the infidel critic, him

plain terms, that if his conclusions self deals uncritically. In such persons' offer a positive violence to the relieyes, however, every man is naturally a

gious convictions of the people of this scoffer who declares he does not believe anything (i. e., whatever) they assert, however

country, they will be rejected without devoid it may be of sound foundation, and

hesitation, and will deserve to be so. however insignificant in itself. Op

It can signify very little to the great ponents of this class will naturally consider

mass of mankind in Christian coup. us prejudiced throughout in favour of the

tries when Menės reigned, who préEgyptian authorities, of which we were the ceded or who succeeded him, or even first to prove the historical authenticity. The whether there was ever such a man affair, however, is no affair of ours. Be we at all ; but it does concern them inright, or be we wrong, it is truth of which timately to be assured that the great we are in search. What we contend against

lawgiver of the Hebrews was what he is, indifference to the discovery of truth in

represented himself to be, and not an the old traditions. It is the deceitful pretence of real knowledge which we have zea

impostor. Whatever comes of the molously laboured, and that not for a short time,

numents, the inscriptions, and the dyto expel, even in the domain of the oldest

nasties, we cannot afford, as yet, to chronology, from its prescriptive strongholds,

put them in the place of Moses and his to offer it up to the manes of Eratosthenes, writings. If the modern German schoof Scaliger, and of Niebuhr.”—(Vol. ii. pp. lars will not allow us to consider him 417-19.)

an inspired man, who was under the

guidance of a heavenly power, and We say nothing of the enthusiasm must be indulged with the liberty of which induces a man of learning to sneering at our simplicity when we do offer incense to the “manes of Eratos- so, they cannot prevent us from askthenes, Scaliger, and Niebuhr," nor ing where, in that case, he got that of the scholastic affectation that leads collection of strange and varied knowhim to disregard the testimony of ledge which he communicated to Moses, who certainly knew more about others, and which distinguishes him so Egypt than any of them; for we feel remarkably from all the profane writthat it is no business of ours to quar- ers of antiquity. The story which he rel with the Chevalier Bunsen's tastes; tells it is impossible he could have inbut we would venture to remark on vented. It is too complicated and too these not very decently-worded sen- multifarious for that; and if he has tences, that the men whom he derides

only bequeathed to posterity a series as zealots, and treats as fools, are as of old legends which had been premuch in earnest about the truth as he served among the descendants of the can be. They may differ from him as Noachidæ, can any good reason be asto what the truth is, or should be in signed why we should not put as much credence in them as in the infinitely condition than the ancient man, by more apocryphal traditions preserved sapping the foundations of his reliin Egyptian papyri, or engraved on gious belief, and replacing his positive Egyptian tablets, stelæ, and tombs? faith by an objectless pantheism. We know of none; and it seems to us We must pass over with a mere reto be unwise, to say the least, to treat ference the remarks on the pyramids, one species of ancient testimony as which are decided to be works of the worthless, which has long enjoyed the old empire, and demonstrated to have reverence of mankind, and to exalt been the rock sepulehres of the kings, another upon its discredit, which has enclosed in enormous cases of masonno greater claim upon our confidence, ry. Colonel Howard Vyse's labours in order that a chronological theory have been of great service here, and may be established, which, were it have enabled the author to give a decorroborated to-morrow, would add scription of those stupendous struclittle to our positive knowledge, and tures, which is perfect in all its denothing to our positive happiness. We tails. The drawings and illustrations must be allowed to doubt, also, the are likewise very distinct, and we expediency of reviving those claims to learn with some interest that a word a fabulous antiquity that distinguished which has been long naturalised in all the nations of the old world before every European language, and has so the rise of the Greeks, and of leading perfect a Greek look and sound, as us back to that state of helpless igno- pyramid, is, after all, pure Coptic, rance and stupid wonder, from which being a compound of the definite artia more correct knowledge of their an- cle pe and rama, height the lofty nals had enabled us to escape. Egypt (ii. 389), just as Herodotus's piromis ology is not only a fashionable study (ii. 143, Πιρωμις δε εστι κατ’ Ελλαδα at present but a fascinating one; and

γλωσσαν, καλος καγαθος) is resolvable we are bound to add, that amongst into pe rome, the man. We must also ourselves it has been heretofore prose- be contented with a mere allusion to cuted in a spirit of becoming respect the admirable dissertations on the for the paramount authority of the He- Lake Mæris and the Labyrinth, both brew writings, from Prichard (“My- of which display in a marked manner thology,” 1817), with whom a scien- M. Bunsen's analytical talent, and tific analysis of Egyptian philosophy proceed to offer a few general remarks and literature, properly speaking, be on the Hyksos, or middle period, acgan, down to Mr. Osburn, whose very cording to our author, of the Egypinteresting treatise (" Ancient Egypt, tian monarchy, on which he entertains her Testimony to the Truth of the Bi- opinions that are in a great measure ble," 1846) is devoted to the confirma proper to himself. tion of the Mosaic narrative; and it At a period in the history of Egypt, will be a subject of sincere regret to the precise date of which cannot

now those who entertain a rational desire be ascertained, but which Prichard to see the history of Egypt cleared of places hypothetically in the year of the that mystery which has so long en- world 2071, or about 11 years before shrouded it, should the mistaken zeal, the call of Abraham, the old empire, and the misdirected enthusiasm of a under the successors of Menes, fell into few learned foreigners, succeed in decline, and was subdued by a body surrounding it with incredible pro- of foreign invaders, known as the perties, and in identifying it with re- Hyksos, or Royal Shepherds—for such pulsive theories. It is for

this reason is the meaning of the words Hyk and that we have dwelt at such length on sos, of which the designation is comthe Chevalier Bunsen's system of posed. It is in a quotation from Manechronology. His high personal charac- tho, given by Josephus, that the first ter and his wonderful attainments ne- mention of these people is made, and cessarily impress much weight on his the Jewish historian obviously borindividual opinions; and many unre- rowed it, with the design of applying flecting persons will adopt his views, it to his ancestors (agorovo), whose without considering that if they were to Egyptian career, he thought, would prevail over those which have been re- be thus made to look more honourable ceived unsuspectingly by the great in the eyes of the Gentile nations, for body of Christians, for 1850 years, they whom he wrote. This pious fiction, would leave the modern man in a worse however, has been long exploded, as

[graphic]

was

it is quite impossible to reconcile the from the Chevalier Bunsen, that condition of the captive Hebrews with though the subjection of Egypt to that of the triumphant and dominant these strangers was complete, and so Hyksos, who held Egypt in subjection far universal that their sovereignty for centuries, and made her princes everywhere recognised, their tributary. That this is a very intri- authority was exercised through the cate piece of history cannot be denied; native governors of provinces who but unless we suppose the Hyksos rule continued, as of old, to perform the to have ended a considerable time be- duties demanded of them by the anfore the settlement of the Israelites in cient constitution of the country. Egypt, instead of being, as many be- This is a very important fact, and, we lieve, contemporaneous with that event, rather think, a novel one, in the hiswe cannot understand why it should be tory of the Hyksos dominion, and we said, when the children of Jacob went consider it right, therefore, to give its down there, that “shepherds were announcement in M. Bunsen's own an abomination unto the Egyptians.” words :The cruelties perpetrated by these strangers on the native population " The notion of a total subversion of life were great, and will account for this and manners is wholly unwarranted-a pure feeling; but it is not easy to see why,

fancy. Althongh tributary, the greater part if the reigning Pharaoh in Joseph's

of the land of the Pharaohs obeyed its natime was a shepherd prince, he should

tive princes. The seat of the shepherd soput into the mouths of his brethren a

vereignty was a fortified camp. They held speech that could not fail to be highly

possession of Memphis, but their residence

was a vast fortress on the frontiers of the offensive to him. We confess, then,

Syrian desert, not far from old Pelusium, that without overlooking the chrono

the very spot, probably, where, in the latter logical difficulties that arise from the

centuries of the old empire, the Heracleoadoption of such an opinion, our politan princes founded an empire of their own impression is, that the Hyksos own. The southernmost point they occupied must have preceded the Hebrew shep- was the primeval royal residence in lower herds by many years, perhaps by half Egypt, Memphis. From hence, says Manea century; and that Mr. Bryant's tho, they held the Egyptians in subjection, view of the matter that to the Israel.

and took tribute of their princes. Not only

did the Thebans then continue to exercise ites was assigned the district they had latterly occupied_bas always appeared

the sovereignty in the Thebaid as princes of

a tributary Egyptian empire, but also the to us an exceedingly probable one.

Xoites in the Delta. Manetho expressly That the royal shepherds were not mentions several tributary princes; and had Hebrews is certain; but who they he not done so we should have been obliged were it is not so easy to tell. They to assume the existence of a northern have been called Arabs, Scythians, and Egyptian dynasty."- vol. ii. p. 422. even Assyrians; but M. Bunsen af. firms that they were, according to the Everything connected with the testimony of the Egyptians themselves, Hyksos dominion in Egypt is obscure “neighbouring Semitic tribes from the and intricate, and has been felt to be north-east of Egypt—that is, Canaan. so by all the writers who have treated ites, associated possibly with the Be- of it; but the commonly received douins of Northern Arabia and the pe- opinion is, that the shepherds were ninsula of Sinai" (vol. ii. p. 421). mere intruders on the Egpytian soil, We know not how this positive state- the possession of which they held by ment is to be established, as all that the power of the sword alone

a body Manetho says of them is, that they of foreign military governors, in fact, were an obscure race of men (ardewton who had forcibly seized the country and το γένος ατιμι), and that they came from

usurped the supreme authority - and the east (εκ των προς ανατολην μερων); but that they continued to be wholly dishowever this may be, it seems certain tinct from the native Egyptian poputhat they established themselves in lation, though their kings, whose lower Egypt, and having chosen a names appear in the regal lists, reignking, that they fixed his residence at ed collaterally with the native Theban, Memphis, the ancient royal city of the but tributary princes, by whose exnative Pharaohs, from which co ertions they were ultimately expelled. venient locality they governed the The duration of their rule it is diffiwhole country. We learn, however, cult if not impossible to fix accurately;

.

1347 years.

and it is upon this point that M. Bun- what we have already said on the subsen differs most widely from his pre- ject of M. Bunsen's chronology genedecessors. Their stay in Egypt has rally; but it will now be seen why he been generally assumed to have been requires that extension of time which about 250 years ; but though this num- would carry him beyond the Flood, ber would be undoubtedly more con- and why he has been compelled to disvenient, in all respects, than one ma- own that event altogether. If the terially lower or higher, it must be middle empire, or shepherd period, confessed that it rests on no satisfac- needed a thousand years, or thereby, tory grounds. Manetho, in the pas. it was necessary to get them somesage already referred to as being pre- where; and if this period of a thouserved by Josephus, gives 511 years ; sand years be interposed between the but this also is rejected by M. Bun- old and the new empires, it must, of sen, whose view of the matter, if we necessity, push the commencement of take it up correctly, is this :

the first empire far beyond any date The Egyptian monarchy, from in the world's history, which a postMenes to Alexander, is divisible into diluvian calculation will allow. It is three periods—the old, the middle, and this necessity, then, which has led the the new empires—making in all a Chevalier to quarrel so loudly with the period of 3555 years; and the middle received opinions; to put himself and period is that of the shepherd rule, Lepsius against Moses; and to ask, which lasted for at least « five full more baughtily we think than the centuries, perhaps nine" (ü. 416). doubtful nature of his conclusions will Ultimately, and after much critical justify, an acquiescence in his views, discussion, the period of 922 years is which, in this country at least, will adopted, and Manetho's number of certainly not be granted. Those who 3555 years for the duration of the en- can command the necessary leisure, tire en pire is thus made up :

and who desire to know on what

grounds our author rests his hypothesis Old Empire ...

respecting the Hyksos, we must refer Middle, or Hyksos period 922

to the work itself, where they will find New Empire

1286

a multiplicity of curious and minute

details of which it is not practicable Total

to give any account in such a notice

as this; and we shall now close our It would thus appear that the cha- remarks on a volume of extraordinary racter of the shepherd sovereignty in erudition, by the statement of a few Egyrt has been wholly misunderstood general reasons, unconnected altoge. heretofore, chiefly from the desire of ther with chronology, which lead us to the older Christian writers, and espe- question the truth of those bold hiscially Eusebius, to accommodate the torical assumptions on the shepherd figures of the Alexandrian chronolo- rule in Egypt, which the Chevalier gists to the limits of the Hebrew com- Bunsen believes that he has invested putation of time. But all this is now with the immoveable characters of subcorrected — the shepherds take their stantial and documentary history. proper place in Egyptian history, not Wherever the shepherds came from, as the temporary occupants of the and whoever they were, it is agreed Egyptian territory, but as its perma- that they were not Egyptians, but nent lords for nearly a thousand years. strangers who invaded the land, and And it is in the “General Introduce who neither understood the language, tion to the Middle and New Empires, nor practised the rites, of the people. at the beginning of the third book, It is impossible now to ascertain their and which is prefatory to the an- number when they took possession of nouncement of this discovery, that Egypt, and reduced its princes to a those bitter reflections will be found state of vassalage, though Mr. Bryant, to which we have before alluded, upon what authority we know not, and which contrast so strongly with makes it 240,000 (vi. p. 165); but the habitually calm tone of the Che- it was probably not greater than a novalier Bunsen's writings. Upon this madic tribe could contrive to feed and conjectural restoration of a history keep together; and it is generally adand a chronology, we do not feel that mitted, that the ease and rapidity with we are called upon to add anything to which they effected their conquests,

...

3555 years.

« ПредишнаНапред »