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Full text of "Religion and conscience in Ancient Egypt"

RELIGION AND CONSCIENCE 
IN ANCIENT EGYPT 



RELIGION 
AND CONSCIENCE 

IN ANCIENT EGYPT 



LECTURES DELIVERED AT 
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON 



BY 

W. M. FLINDERS PETRIE 

D.C.L., LL.D., PH.D. 



METHUEN & CO. 

36, ESSEX STREET, STRAND 

LONDON 

1898 




PREFACE 



THESE lectures, though based on the litera- 
ture of the Egyptians, cover also some 
general considerations which are equally 
applicable to the Religion and Conscience 
of other nations. They are intended as an 
attempt to indicate lines of study, and to 
observe what actually is the construction of 
human thought, as shown in some of the 
oldest and most continuous records. It may 
be said that the relation of these to certain 
standard views in ethics and religion should 
have been treated ; and that some more 
logical and systematic ideas are needed to 
start from. But my object was to see what 
really is, and not to try to fit that in with 
any theories, however highly supported, or 
any views, however orthodox. Treating the 
divagations of human thought as if they 
must have been systematic and logical has 
been the bane of all theories ; and many a 



6 PREFACE 

house of cards has been built to match one 
single fact or principle which has been 
grasped. I do not touch the larger ques- 
tions here, but only deal with what we can 
readily see and prove ; and in this place I 
no more attempt to enquire what lies behind 
the growth of ideas here traced, than the 
biologist enquires what lies behind the com- 
parison and nature of the structures which 
he unravels. We each try to see what 
actually exists ; usually a safe and needful 
course before attempting to account for its 
results or its causes. 

I need hardly say that these are mere 
sketches, intended to suggest a mode of 
looking at the subject ; and any one who 
might expect from the title to find a full 
account of matters so vast and complex, will 
be disarmed when he sees what a mere 
note-book this volume is. 

The Religion lectures are arranged as first 
used ; but the Conscience lectures seemed 
better to be here re-arranged into three, 
rather than two as originally delivered. 
The final notes deal with matters too 
lengthy for the scale of the lectures. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

PREFACE . . . ... 5 

LECTURE I. 

THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS OF RELIGIONS 

1. The need of realizing other minds . . II 

2. What is religion ? . . . 13 

3. The origin of intolerance . . 1 6 

4. Intolerance adopted religion . . 19 
""^5. Mixed religions of mixed races . . 20 

6. Law of mixture of religions . . 23 

7. Mixture in Egypt . . ... 26 

LECTURE II. 

THE POPULAR RELIGION OF EGYPT 

8. Magic in the tales . . ... 28 
y 9. Nature of the soul, Ba and Ka . . 30 

10. The tree spirit . . 33 

11. The sacred animals . . ... 36 

12. The Fates . . . ... 38 

13. The nature of the gods . . 39 

14. Objects of piety . . ... 43 

15. Isis and Horus worship of late times . 45 

LECTURE III. 
THE DISCORDANCES OF EGYPTIAN RELIGION 

1 6. Earthly theory of the soul . . 48 

17. Elysian and Solar theories . . . . 50 



8 CONTENTS 

PAGE 

1 8. Mummifying theory . . . . . 51 

19. Varying beliefs about gods . . . . 52 

20. Due to differences of race . . 54 

21. The Set and Horus discordance . . 56 

22. The superfluity of Hathor . . 58 

23. The discordance of Sebek . . . . 62 

24. Multiplicity of gods of one function . 63 



LECTURE IV. 
ANALYSIS OF THE EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 

25. General review of the divinities . . 68 

26. Spirits . . . ... 70 

27. Animals . . . . . . 71 

28. Local and minor deities . . 73 

29. Groups of the great gods . . . . 74 

30. Animal gods . . . ... ,76 

31. Human gods . . , ... 76 

32. Cosmic gods . . . 79 

33. Abstract gods . . . 81 

34. Foreign gods . . ... 83 

35. Fluctuations of popularity . . . . 84 



LECTURE V. 
THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

36. Material for Egyptian study . . 86 

\ 37- The inheritance of conscience . . , . 87 

38. Intuitions weeded out by utility . . 90 

^39. The value of inherited intuitions . . 93 

40. Use of a scale of conscience . . 95 

41. Curve of frequency of varieties . . 97 

42. Conscience money illustrates the law of distribution . 101 

43. Curves of various types of conscience . . .104 

44. Effect of standards on the conscience . . .106 



CONTENTS 9 

LECTURE VI. 
THE INNER DUTIES 

PAGE 

45. Classification of duties . . no 

46. The early lists of duties -. . . .in 

(1) PERSONAL CHARACTER 

47. Character in action . . . IJ2 

48. Character in reserve . . . . . 116 

49. Avoidance of asceticism . . 120 

50. Summary of personal character . . . .121 

(2) MATERIAL INTERESTS 

51. Material welfare . . . . . 123 

52. Summary of material character . . 129 

(3) FAMILY DUTIES 

53. Duties to women . . . 131 
N 54. Duties of parents and children . . 135 

LECTURE VII. 
THE OUTER DUTIES 

(4) RELATIONS TO EQUALS 

55. Honesty and truth . . . . . 139 

56. Kindness . . . ... 140 

57. Public affairs . . " . . . 143 

(5) RELATIONS TO SUPERIORS 

58. Respect and submission . . . .146 

59. In business . . . . 150 

(6) RELATIONS TO INFERIORS 

60. Morally . . . . . 152 

61. Materially . . . . . 154 

(7) DUTIES TO THE GODS 

62. In respect . . . ... 157 

63. In propitiation . . . 159 

64. Summary of Egyptian character . . 160 



io CONTENTS 



NOTE A. 

PAGE 

Inherited Intuitions . . . . 167 

NOTE B. 
The Ideal of Truth, Lucian . .169 

NOTE C. 
Statistics of Conscience Money . .170 

NOTE D. 
Nature of the Ka . . . . 178 



ABBREVIATIONS 

M. E. E. Maspero, Etudes de Mythologie et d'A rcheologie Egyptienne^ part ii. 

M. H. A. Maspero, Histoire Ancienne, torn, i., 1894. 

M. Dend. Marietta, Denderah texte. 

Rec. Recueil Egyptien (Maspero). 



RELIGION AND CONSCIENCE 
IN ANCIENT EGYPT 

LECTURE I. 

THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS OF 
RELIGIONS 

i. BEFORE considering the Egyptian re- 
ligion, it will be desirable to look briefly 
at the general laws which belong to similar 
cases of a mixture of religions and of races, 
and to observe what is to be looked for in 
examining this case in particular. It may 
seem strange to say that we are greatly in 
the dark about a religion which has left us 
the most ample remains of any in the 
ancient world ; but in this case we have 
enough material to begin to estimate our 
own ignorance and to realize how much is 
required before we can understand the 
mind of another race. That we have in 



12 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

Egypt to deal with a continuous record 
of four thousand years before Christianity, 
and an unknown age before that record, 
makes our difficulties the greater, but 
affords us an unparalleled spectacle of re- 
ligious history and development. And that 
we have in Egypt to deal with at least four 
distinguishable races in the earliest history, 
and a dozen subsequent mixtures of race 
during recorded history, again makes our 
difficulties the greater, but gives a fuller 
example of such a history of a religion than 
can be found elsewhere. 

Before we try to understand another 
mind and without such understanding we 
can never realize another religion we must 
quit our present point of view ; we must try 
to see how very different the minds of most 
other peoples have been from our own at 
present. We must feel that the greater 
part of mankind has had systems of lan- 
guage which would be wholly incapable 
of expressing our ideas ; systems of religion 
which would be a horror to us ; ideas of gods 
which would be monstrous to us ; their ways 
of life would make them flee into the fields 
from our dwellings ; their systems of pro- 
priety would bring them into the police 



OF RELIGIONS 13 

court ; and their systems of morality would 
land them at once in the law court. We 
must set aside all the framework of mind 
and thought and habit in which we have 
been formed, and try to leave our ideas free 
to re-crystallize in a different system. Of 
course we cannot do all this, we cannot do 
a tenth of it ; but if we can do a very little 
we shall at least feel how different the world 
must look, how different the motives must 
be, among people of another race, another 
faith, another standard, and another order 
of things. Close practical contact with a 
very different race is the best guide to 
seeing how far apart the organizations of 
thought are on different bases. Learn to 
respect, and love, and be intimate with, 
a man of a far distant stage of life, and 
you see then how very deep down is the 
wide platform of elemental feeling and 
thought which you have together in com- 
mon ; and you begin to perceive how much 
you have each built on that platform, which 
isolates you from one another, and makes 
the point of view of each incomprehensible 
to the other. 

2. In dealing with religion the first ques- 
tion is, What is religion ? To say it is the 



i 4 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

ideas about a divinity is to limit it at once 
to theology, which is only a branch of it. 
And what is a divinity? If it be anything 
that is worshipped, we are left at once with 
every visible object included, as there is 
perhaps no thing or no being that has not 
been worshipped at some time. The only 
view which will cover the extremely various 
instances is that religion is belief concerning 
any ideas which cannot be immediately 
verified by the physical senses. The ideas 
themselves do not constitute religion ; but 
the act of belief in what is not provable to 
the senses is the very basis and limiting' 
boundary of all religions. 

The idea of animism which constitutes 
so large a part of most religions is expressly 
an explanation of phenomena by bringing 
in a belief in that which is unprovable. 
The ideas of primitive medicine, which are 
incorporated so strongly in savage religion, 
again are based on beliefs about the un- 
provable ; and as the limits of proof 
expand by real knowledge, so the limits 
of religion in medicine contract. 

That the idea of personal morality is not 
an integral part of most religions, is obvious 
to anyone who has had a practical view of 



OF RELIGIONS 15 

them. Right and wrong do not enter into 
the circle of religious ideas to most races. 
The piety of the Carthaginian before 
Moloch, of the Roman as he sent his 
captives from the Capitol to be slaughtered 
in the Colosseum, of Louis XI. as he con- 
fided his duplicities to the Virgins in his 
hat-band, or of Louis XV. as he prayed 
in the Parc-aux-Cerfs, show what the 
brigand who pays for his masses, or the 
Arab who swindles in the intervals of his 
prayers, prove in the present day that the 
firmest religious beliefs have no necessary 
connection with the idea of moral action. 
In these instances, be it observed, we are 
not concerned with differences between 
profession and practice, but with simul- 
taneous acts of the same mind ; deeply 
religious on one side, but destitute of any 
sense of incongruity between the religion 
and the action which is recognizedly wrong 
on the other side. Another principle 
of many, perhaps most religions, is that 
they are public and not private ; they are 
collective and not individual. They are 
concerned with ceremonies, with common 
action, with the relation of man to man ; the 
initiation, the witch doctor, the tabu, are 



16 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

their prominent parts. The ideal of a 
purely personal religion, irrespective of any 
other human being, and inextricably inter- 
woven with the highest sense of right and 
wrong, is wholly different from what we have 
to review in the great mass of mankind, and 
is a growth of which the beginning may 
be seen but very rarely in ancient times. 
With that, therefore, we are not concerned 
at present. 

We may then begin to realize how hope- 
less it is for us to understand the ideas or 
feelings of those ancient people whose 
religion we would consider, if we try -to 
interpret their views by our own ; or for 
us to study them without emptying our 
minds as completely as we can to begin 
with. 

3. One common feature of many religions 
is intolerance ; and it is so essential to 
realize what this means, that we should 
look at it closely, the more so as we 
especially profess in the present time that 
we have rid ourselves of it, and look on it 
as being outside of our present motives. 
Intolerance is one of the strongest instincts 
of man ; it will entirely override his 
material interests, it can compete with his 



OF RELIGIONS 17 

strongest passions, and it moulds his social 
organization. And for what ? For merely 
a question of whether two persons think 
alike about what cannot be demonstrated 
to the senses, and what cannot visibly 
influence their condition in any way. 
Assuredly no such potent instinct can ever 
have arisen on such a shadowy ground. 

The practical working of intolerance is 
that it makes a sharp demarcation between 
one group of men and another ; in short, 
it defines the community, and prevents any 
person drifting from one community into 
another without taking a decisive step. It 
may be said that this only refers to religious 
communities ; but when we look at almost 
any country or any age but our own, we see 
that the religious and political communities 
are coterminous. There is perhaps not an 
instance to be found of warfare between 
those who hold exactly the same religious 
opinions. The Civil War in England was 
between Church and Nonconformity, the 
revolution in France was between a Church 
and Atheism, just as the earlier civil wars 
had been between Catholicism and Protes- 
tantism. The civil and religious com- 
munities are identical wherever intolerance 



i8 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

has a hold ; religion defines the community, 
and intolerance preserves the boundary. 

When we come to consider how far back 
this state of things has existed we reach an 
absolute limit for the action of religion at 
a point when man was incapable of express- 
ing abstract thought ; before that religion 
was impossible. But the community is far 
older ; man is a communal animal, and 
before man the system of community was 
fully developed by most varieties of animals, 
who find in it the best protection against 
their foes. When we look at these animal 
communities we see intolerance has the fullest 
sway, as the essential feature in common 
action. Every communal animal, from ants 
up to elephants, has a violent intolerance 
against those that do not belong to its 
community. And this is the very safe- 
guard of the system, as without it outsiders 
would claim the benefits of protection and 
help without any obligation to render the 
same in return. 

We then reach the position that Intoler- 
ance is as old as communal action in the 
animal world, giving the necessary cohesion 
to that action ; and we notice that all animals 
have tests for intolerance, they examine 



OF RELIGIONS 19 

others by smell, by appearance, by memory, 
to decide whether they are of the same stock 
or no. A test is needful for the action of 
this great safeguard. Now, when men be- 
came capable of religion, of abstract ideas, 
and of inherited beliefs, such proved at once 
to be far the most decisive test of the com- 
munity. If a man thought as you did about 
what he could not learn by his senses, he 
must have acquired his ideas in your own 
tribe, and belong to you. Hence Religion 
became the conclusive test of community, 
and animal Intolerance adopted the human 
acquirement of Religion as its most effective 
way to distinguish friends from enemies. 

4. Thus Religion has nothing essentially 
intolerant in it ; but the detestation of those 
who hold different opinions is merely the 
instinct of the herd transferred to those 
matters of opinion which give it the most 
effective definition. 

In this point of view we see at once how 
it can be that intolerance is so strong and 
masterful an instinct. It has been necessary 
to the welfare of the community and hence 
also of the individual during the greater 
part of the history of animal life on the 
earth. And the desperate vigour of wars 




20 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

of religion is because they are the descen- 
dants of those struggles which each animal 
has made to preserve its own species. The 
prominence and sacredness of initiation to 
people of all grades of religion is thus 
explained : on reaching independence it is 
needful for each individual to be put in 
possession of all the inherited beliefs which 
serve to prove his right to the protection of 
his community, and to test the claims of 
others upon his own assistance. This sub- 
ject has necessarily only been sketched in 
the shortest way here as a preliminary to 
our next consideration. 

5. What the results are of a fusion of 
races upon their beliefs have to be noticed 
before we can deal with the construction of 
the Egyptian religion. In considering this 
the modern fusions of race are unfortunately 
not examples to the point ; nearly all 
modern fusions that we can examine being 
between monotheism and polytheism, and 
in such the exclusive claims of monotheism 
leave but scanty ground for the previous 
polytheism in any form. 

But turning to the ancient world, there 
are some good examples for study. The 
Greek settlers in Egypt, we find, largely 



OF RELIGIONS 21 

adopted Egyptian gods ; for instance, Aris- 
toneikos appears on his stele as a mummy 
introduced by Anubis to the presence of 
Osiris and Isis ; and the mummy-case of 
Artemidoros is covered with figures of 
Anubis, Osiris, Isis, Nebhat, &c. As a 
whole, the Greek settlers in their day 
appear to have readily adopted both 
Egyptian customs and Egyptian gods. On 
the other hand, Greek gods were freely 
worshipped in Egypt wherever Greek popu- 
lation was in force. There seems to have 
been no obstacle to the free acceptance of 
each other's mythology, after the initial 
question of fusion of the races was settled. 
The Greeks adopted as their great local god 
for the new city of Alexandria the deified 
Hapi, which had been worshipped as a bull 
at Memphis ; and they recognized him as a 
god that died and was renewed by calling 
him the Osirian, Osir-hapi, or Serapis. The 
human form that was given him made him 
practically a Greek Zeus, and so ensured his 
acceptance by the Greek world. 

Looking at earlier times in Egypt, we see 
the same process. After the fusion of the 
Egyptian and Syrian races in the XVIIIth 
Dynasty, Syrian gods, Baal, Ashteroth, 



22 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

Anaitis, and others, were freely worshipped 
in Egypt, probably by the mixed descen- 
dants of the two races. 

Again, in the West we can trace similar 
results. In Gaul and Britain we find side 
by side altars to Keltic and to Latin deities ; 
neither of them excluded the other, and the 
mixed descendants of legionaries and natives 
worshipped the gods of either side. 

When we turn to the fusions in which 
monotheism takes one part, we find consider- 
able signs of the same results, in spite of its 
exclusiveness. In ancient Judaism so long 
as any fusion of race was allowed the worship 
of the gods of both sides was freely followed ; 
and we find Manasseh building altars to all 
the host of heaven in the temple of Yahveh 
at Jerusalem. (2 Kings xxi. 5.) It is only 
by the most rigid racial separation (Ezra x. 
11, &c.) that a fusion of religion was pre- 
vented in later times. The same thing is 
obvious in the history of Christianity ; the 
polytheism of the ancestors of the mixed 
races has never been eradicated ; the Keltic 
fairies were quite as real to the men of past 
generations as any of the saints, and many a 
man would sooner brave the terrors of the 
church than insult the local spirits of the 



OF RELIGIONS 23 

moor or river. What we superciliously call 
superstitions are the fossilized religion of our 
ancestors ; and we see every day now around 
us men who are far more annoyed by thirteen 
at dinner than by breaking any precept of 
the Sermon on the Mount, and who believe 
in charms, luck, and other barbaric notions 
quite as strongly as in any element of their 
professed religion. The same is seen when 
we look at races which have recently adopted 
Christianity ; on all sides, from Africa, from 
Siberia, from New Zealand, we hear that 
the old beliefs are hardly impaired, and on 
any great trouble or danger the venerated 
customs and incantations and offerings have 
their full sway. In Hayti, where the negro 
has his own way, there appears to be a 
complete equality of the old and new 
beliefs. 

6. From this review of examples of 
mixture we may conclude that the usual 
law is that one religion does not supplant 
another, but is only superadded to it, the 
old and the new being each impaired by 
only receiving a partial support. Also that 
in a fusion of race there is a complete 
mixture of religion ; and in a change of 
civilization an adoption of much of the new 



24 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

beliefs. And that the question of which 
shall be predominant depends on the general 
predominance of the race or civilization at 
any point in question. But Intolerance 
assures us that a mixture of race and a 
mixture of religion will always accompany 
each other, excepting, perhaps, in a few 
cases of an overwhelming influence of a 
great civilization. 

Closely connected with this is the differ- 
ence between a popular and a priestly 
religion. In every country we see two 
editions of what professes to be the same 
faith ; one used in the household or family 
life, the other in public worship under the 
direction of the state. This divergence is 
generally clue to the state religion belonging 
to a later importation of a ruling race, while 
the domestic religion retains more of the 
aboriginal type. We may see this among 
ourselves where many ideas of a future 
state commonly accepted belong evidently 
to Keltic or Saxon faiths, and have no root 
whatever in the doctrines of the Church. 
And we note the result of the same action 
in the Teutonic ideas of equality which are 
inherent in the Nonconformist rebellion 
against that priestly character of the Church, 



OF RELIGIONS 25 

which is of Latin origin and of Norman 
enforcement. 

So we may reasonably expect to find 
more of the native parts of a religion show- 
ing in the popular and domestic worship ; 
while the later elements will be stronger in 
the official worship. Thus the divergence 
between these two may serve as a test of 
the relative ages of different articles of belief. 

On another point we have little or no 
data to positively guide us ; but it seems 
not unlikely that older beliefs when partially 
overgrown with newer will gradually force 
their way into prominence again, while 
the newer will fade in importance. This 
may be surmised when we note that a 
conquered race always subdues its con- 
querors to its own type after a few 
centuries of fusion. The Lombard- Italians, 
the Norman - French, the Anglo-Irish, 
illustrate this. And what is true of the 
races is probably true of the religions. 
Hence when a particular belief which be- 
longs to the people steadily wins its way 
against more ostentatious and dominant 
worship, there is a fair presumption that 
it belongs to the other stratum, which has 
been temporarily overlaid. 



26 THE HISTORICAL CONDITIONS 

We have now endeavoured to reach some 
ideas of the phenomena of mixture in re- 
ligion ; and to gain some guide by which 
we may interpret what we notice in con- 
sidering the Egyptian religion in its historical 
aspect. 

7. When we look to the evidences of the 
various races which together formed the 
population of Egypt at the earliest historical 
age, we are able to glean some valuable 
hints, mainly from the portraiture. Three 
distinct types are met with on the sculptures 
of the IVth Dynasty. The ruling race is 
akin to the type of the people of Punt, the 
"divine land"; and it seems most probable 
that the dynastic Egyptians entered the 
Nile valley at Koptos from the Red Sea. 
Another type found in high position is akin 
to the early Mesopotamian heads from Tell 
Lo ; and it is generally recognized that there 
are so many traces of influence from that 
region that an immigration thence is a 
probable factor. Thirdly, there is a coarse 
type of a mulatto appearance ; and as it is 
certain anatomically that there is much 
negro blood in the oldest Egyptians, we 
have one element of the mulatto in evidence. 
The light element is doubtless Libyan, be- 



OF RELIGIONS 27 

cause throughout historic times invasions 
from the West have occurred every few 
centuries, and they are not likely to have 
originated at the rise of Egyptian power : 
also the negroes are most likely to have 
mixed with the fair races which bounded 
their region in the North. This has been 
stated at length in the History (i. 12-15), 
and need not, therefore, be more fully 
entered on here. 

We have thus to expect a first stratum 
of negro and Libyan, then a Mesopotamian 
influence, and lastly a Punite power, in the 
religions as also in the races. 



LECTURE II. 
THE POPULAR RELIGION OF EGYPT 

8. FROM the scarcity of objects of domestic 
worship belonging to early times, it is difficult 
to trace the popular religion on the material 
side, as we can study the official religion 
upon the monuments. It is nevertheless 
the most important source that we can have 
for understanding the early beliefs, as it 
probably represents the religion of an earlier 
type than that officially adopted. Happily 
we have a tolerable outline of it embodied 
in the priceless series of tales, which reveal 
to us so much of Egyptian life. 

The first thing that strikes us in the tales 
is that the gods are by no means omniscient 
nor omnipotent. There appear to be three 
independent powers the gods, fate, and 
man ; and each of these can act irrespective 
of the others. 

The powers of man are expressed in 
magic ; and in this we see what is probably 






POPULAR RELIGION OF EGYPT 29 

the very earliest form of belief. The lack 
of realizing what the limits of natural 
action are, the readiness to credit exceptional 
persons with powers which we do not 
possess, is one of the most frequent errors 
of the uninstructed mind, and one which we 
may see around us at present. In all the 
earliest tales the magician is the mainspring 
of the action. He can make magical animals 
by modelling them, and make them live and 
act, or return to their original material at his 
will. He can resuscitate decapitated animals. 
He can divide the river, and descend to its 
bed. There is nothing that is impossible 
to him in dealing either with inert or with 
living matter. So far there is nothing 
spiritual in question, but simply the limit of 
man's control over matter and life, which 
appears to be quite undefined, and to be 
credited with any amount of extension. 
Such was the belief in the Old Kingdom to 
which the writing of these tales belongs. 

When we look at later tales we do not 
find magic predominant until the Ptolemaic 
age. At that time the physical magic of 
the early times reappears in full force. A 
magic cabin with men and tackle is made 
to work under water ; and a magical recita- 



30 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

tion can make the dead to speak, although 
it cannot restore them to life. Magic is also 
connected at this time with powers over that 
which is out of reach, so that all that is 
beyond our ken should be perceived by eye 
and ear ; the birds of the air, and the fish 
of the deep are to be understood, and the 
dead shall hear and see all that the living 
perceive and do, by means of these magic 
spells. This bears the general character of 
the later magic of the Gnostics. 

9. Regarding the soul, we do not glean 
any belief from the earlier tales. The 
king's soul is referred to as a hawk, in the 
Xllth Dynasty, and again in the XlXth ; 
thus explaining the hawk which is figured 
over the king's ka name, as being his soul 
or ba. The combination of the human- 
headed bird for the ba of ordinary men is 
doubtless later than the belief in the royal 
ba being a hawk ; later because it would be 
the more noble to have a human head than 
a bird's head, and the hawk must have been 
firmly attached to the theory of the royal 
soul before the half-human form was devised 
for all men ; also later because the sup- 
position of the soul flitting as a bird would 
precede the invention of a monstrous form 



OF EGYPT 31 

to represent it. How early the da-bird was 
invented is not known. The oldest repre- 
sentations of it are not before the New King- 
dom ; and as in that age we find another 
belief about the soul, it seems as if the 
da-bird was not universally accepted at that 
time. 

This other belief is that the soul could 
be taken out of the body at will, and placed 
in any other position ; in this case of Bata 
it was hidden on the top of a tree. While 
the soul was thus deposited, the life of the 
man was independent of what might occur 
to his body ; but he fell down dead if the 
seat of his soul was destroyed. This belief 
is spread from the Celts to the Chinese, and 
is, therefore, a standard piece of psychology. 
But as we do not meet with it elsewhere 
in Egypt, and it is antagonistic to the ba 
theory, it is more likely not to belong to 
Egypt, but to have been imported from 
Asia Minor along with the rest of the 
Atys myth in which it appears. 

The ka is not alluded to in the tales until 
Ptolemaic times, although we know from 
monuments that the belief in it belongs to 
the earliest religion. We gain, however, an 
enlarged idea of it from its action in the tale 



32 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

of Setna. There a ka has the affections of 
its former life, and it will wander hundreds 
of miles from its own tomb to dwell in the 
tomb of its mate. Yet it is uneasy at being 
so separated from its own tomb, as the union 
of the two burials is desired by it. The ka 
is equally visible, and viable whether in its 
own place or any other. It can talk and 
describe the past ; it can argue, it can play 
games with mortals, it can inflict super- 
natural penalties. But its powers cease 
where physical force is concerned ; Setna, 
after stories, arguments, and gaming have 
been tried on him in vain, takes by force 
the roll which he covets, simply reaching 
out his hand for the book and taking it. 
Thus, while the senses, the memory, the 
speech, discernment, and motion are all 
credited to the ka, and we begin to wonder 
in what it differs from the living person, the 
touch of simple force undoes its powers at 
once. It has then all the full properties of 
mind, but not the abilities to act with force 
upon matter. Though this is a very late 
account of the ka, yet it accords well with 
the partial light on its nature that we have 
on the older monuments. The whole motive 
of tomb decoration was to provide a home 



OF EGYPT 33 

for the ka, furnished with all good things. 
The models and images of the food and 
furniture, servants and estates, are the 
equivalent of the realities to the mind ; and 
as the ka cannot exercise force upon matter, 
the provision of actual matter is not required. 
No doubt this is a logical refinement on the 
primitive offering of the cake of bread and 
jar of water, such as we find in the earliest 
tombs, and such as is still presented after 
six thousand years in the tombs of the 
fellahin now. There the actual material 
without any theorizing is placed by the body 
for its sustenance, and its sandals and staff 
for its long journey lie by it. And as the 
offering is still now made, so probably it 
had been made for thousands of years before 
the earliest burials that we know. The 
dogma of the ka using these offerings with- 
out any material diminution of them, and 
its satisfaction with the images of the offer- 
ings, is evidently a later conception ; while 
yet we see the earlier idea in its most 
primitive simplicity lasting until the present 
day. 

10. So far we have dealt with man and 
his parts ; we now turn to the supernatural 
forces around him. Closely linked with the 



34 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

belief in the ka and ba was the worship of 
the tree spirit. In many representations we 
have the tree goddess in various forms 
human, cow-headed, or shown as a mere 
arm emerging from the branches of the 
sycomore, and pouring out blessings on the 
kneeling ka and the bowing ba bird. The 
sustenance of the parts of the dead was 
attributed to the beneficent tree spirit, and 
hence the widespread veneration of the 
sycomore in every home, and more par- 
ticularly about Memphis with its vast 
cemetery of Sakkara, where the great 
sycomore of the south was a noted feature. 
It is alluded to in the Xllth Dynasty as 
a well-known point in the country. This 
group of ideas of the ka, ba, and sycomore 
spirit, was associated with the domestic 
worship, and perhaps formed the main part 
of it. In the Ramesseum dwellings a niche 
in the wall has this group painted in it ; 
another such niche has a flight of steps 
leading up to it as a sacred place, and similar 
niches are found in the private houses of 
Tell el Amarna. The focus of domestic 
worship then appears to have been a niche 
or false door in the wall of the principal 
hall, usually in the west wall like the false 



OF EGYPT 35 

doors of tombs; this was dignified with 
steps in some cases, and painted with the 
objects of adoration, the ancestral double 
and spirit, ka and 6a, and the tree-genius 
who preserved them. 

The tree is named as the residence of 
a human spirit in the XlXth Dynasty, when 
Data places his soul on a tree to preserve 
it, and drops dead himself when the tree is 
cut down. Again, he is transformed into 
two trees, and speaks from a tree to his 
wicked wife. Hence it seems that a tree 
with its thick hiding foliage and deep shade 
was thought to be particularly a suitable 
abode for both human and divine spirits ; 
and " the sycomore of the south " is called 
the living body of Hathor. 

Offerings were made to trees, evidently 
to propitiate the spirit which dwelt in 
them ; the peasant is figured bowing to 
the sycomore in his field, and surrounding 
it with jars of drink offerings ; and when 
Bata is transformed into two Persea trees, 
"there were offerings made to them." 

What divinities were associated with trees 
is a very variable point. The Sycomore has 
always a goddess, generically described as 
Hathor, or specifically as Nut, Selk, or Neit. 



36 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

This variation shows that the tree does not 
belong to any of these deities in particular, 
but is only the residence of a beneficent 
tree-goddess, who was identified with any 
goddess that was prominent. In fact it 
belongs to a different religion to that of 
these human goddesses, and was combined 
with them afterwards. In one case a god 
is named, when a tall palm is identified with 
Tahuti. 

ii. The part that animals hold in the 
religion is important, yet we find very little 
trace of it in the tales. In the earliest 
time a crocodile is always the minister of 
vengeance, but is not regarded as divine. 
In the Xllth Dynasty the serpents of the 
enchanted island talk, and in the XlXth 
Dynasty the kine of Bata talk. The first 
case is however a part of distant marvels ; 
and the second probably means that Bata 
was so observant and sympathetic with his 
cattle, that their actions were like speech to 
him. It does not then seem that talking 
animals, which are so familiar in other 
beliefs, had any real place in Egyptian 
ideas. The worship of the sacred bull 
appears in the tale of Bata ; and there a 
great feast is made to the animal god just 



OF EGYPT 37 

before he is killed. That killing the god 
was part of the religion we can well believe 
when we see it in other countries ; and even 
in Egypt a ram was killed yearly at Thebes, 
and the statue of Amen covered with its 
skin. The actual remains of the bulls found 
in the Serapeum by Mariette show that in 
the XlXth Dynasty they were consumed 
by the worshippers, as is shown by Data's 
wife eating the bull's liver. That the 
slaughter of venerated animals was not 
discordant to Egyptian ideas, we also see 
by the death of the cow which had been 
specially selected and brought up as a mate 
to the Apis bull, but which was killed im- 
mediately after consorting with him. The 
Egyptian regarded a continuity of life as 
so assured through the ka and the ba, that 
it did not make much break in the life for 
it to be transferred from one state to the 
other. 

Other popular worships of animals are 
seen in the treatment of the sacred serpent 
or good genius of buildings and places ; 
and the serpent goddess of agriculture 
Renent, who was adored with offerings. 
This is probably a very primitive worship, 
as also that of the cynocephali baboons, 



38 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

with their solemn faces, which gave them 
the credit of the embodiment of wisdom, 
and their activity at sunrise, when they were 
supposed to adore the sun-god. 

12. Of the purely spiritual conceptions is 
that of the fates, who predict an enigmatical 
future for the man at his birth. In the early 
time the goddess Meskhent a birth-deity 
predicts the future of the infant ; but in 
the New Kingdom we see that a group of 
goddesses, generically termed Hathors, are 
present and give an oracular utterance which 
may have several interpretations. They 
appear to see a part of the future, to be 
able to assign the limits of its uncertainties, 
but not to control or regulate it in the least. 
Much of the choice of the future lies with 
man himself; his own foresight and in- 
genuity is to help him ; yet he cannot step 
beyond certain limits where his fate meets 
him, and bounds his freedom of action. 
This is a very practical version of the 
limited freedom of action which men possess; 
reconciling the apparent ability of man to 
determine his condition, with the ruthless 
chapter of accidents which binds him. He 
has a certain course and end broadly assigned 
to him, within the limits of which he can 



OF EGYPT 39 

modify his life and rule his state. When he 
has overcome one of the possibilities of evil 
which beset him, he is thenceforth free of 
that risk for the future, " Thy god has given 
one of thy dooms into thy hand." This 
conception would seem to have arisen from 
a man overcoming some particular tempta- 
tion which might be a doom to him, and so 
being delivered from its overwhelming him 
in future. 

13. We lastly turn to what views the 
people had of their gods. In the Old 
Kingdom tales we find Ra supreme ; but 
that is to be expected, as the Vth Dynasty, 
which is in question, is described as being 
descended from Ra, and called its kings 
"Sons of Ra." Ra there orders the other 
deities, I sis and Nebhat, the osiride god- 
desses, Meskhent, the name goddess, Hekt, 
the goddess of birth, and Khnumu, the 
creative god, who gives strength to the 
limbs of the new-born. All of these deities 
are purely human in form, and they appear as 
a party of travelling dancing girls with a 
porter. It is evident, then, that the osiride 
group were the prominent human divinities 
as distinguished from the cosmic Ra at 
that time ; and that the domestic deities of 



40 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

creation and birth were familiar to the Egyp- 
tian. But no marvels are attributed to them 
beyond the control of the weather, and the 
making of models of royal crowns which 
gave out a sound of festivity afterwards 
when hidden. 

In a later time we find in the New King- 
dom Ra is appealed to as a deliverer, who 
can interpose obstacles to an unjust attack. 
And swearing by Ra-Harakhti was the 
regular form of a strong asseveration of the 
truth, as it occurs in two tales. 

Beside Ra, we find in the XlXth Dynasty 
an Ennead, or group of nine gods, who are 
popularly supposed to walk together on the 
earth to view all that passes. Ra-Harakhti 
is at the head of this group, and Khnumu is 
of the company ; but the remainder are 
unspecified, and as the well-known enneads 
do not contain Khnumu we cannot be certain 
who was implied in this, or, indeed, if any 
gods were referred to in particular. Pro- 
bably it only implies the principal gods in 
general. But it is remarkable that they do 
not rule immovable in heaven, but walk 
together on the earth "to look upon the 
whole land." Khnumu, the potter who 
forms mankind on his wheel, here frames a 



OF EGYPT 41 

non-human woman, who is devoid of all 
natural feeling or passions, and has but a 
craving for power. 

On reaching the Ptolemaic times we get 
further light on the popular conceptions of 
the gods. When Na-nefer-ka-ptah by magic 
obtains the hidden book of Thoth, it takes 
apparently a day or two for Thoth to dis- 
cover the loss. He is therefore dependent 
upon sources of information, and is not 
omniscient. Next he goes to Ra to 
complain ; Ra therefore is not omniscient. 
And Ra gives Thoth permission to punish 
Na-nefer-ka-ptah ; Thoth therefore cannot 
avenge himself without permission. Next, 
neither of the gods can act directly by his 
will upon man or matter, as Ra "sent a 
power from heaven with the command " to 
injure Na-nefer-ka-ptah. This introduces 
another conception, that of angels or 
messengers, which became so important in 
gnosticism and Christianity. The power 
accordingly acts at once, and evil ensues, 
the child is drowned. The drowned child 
can be forced into speech by reading magic 
spells over him ; and in this state he can 
reveal what the gods had done. This 
suggests the idea that the news of the 



42 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

spiritual world goes round from mouth to 
mouth as in this world ; and when a spirit 
once went there the acts of the gods became 
known to it. 

Thus we see that the belief in the gods 
was entirely different from modern ideas. 
They were neither self- informed nor self- 
acting ; but they depended on information 
received, and they acted through messengers. 
This may be a later form of belief, as in 
earlier times we see Bata calling on Ra, and 
Ra directly listening to him and attending 
to his needs. 

Passing now from the tales we may glean 
somewhat about the popular beliefs from the 
lesser remains, such as private tablets and 
little figures of gocls, which are frequently 
found, and yet which are some of them of 
different type to anything pourtrayed in 
the temples. The serpent-worship of the 
goddess Renent Nebtka, the divinity of 
cultivation, is shown at a harvest festival. 
A great heap of the grain is piled up before 
her ; the long-handled shovels and forks and 
the winnowing scrapers are stuck upright 
into the heap as being done with ; two men 
are still piling on the grain from measures 
which they carry ; while beyond, the 



OF EGYPT 43 

winnowers are finishing the winnowing over 
another heap of grain. This is a scene of 
the beginning of the XlXth Dynasty, and 
shows a popular festival of that time. 

14. The ivory wands covered with incised 
figures belonging to the Middle Kingdom 
show a large number of deities and genii, 
which have more connection with the Book 
of the Dead than with any state worship. 
Among these the great cat, who is in the 
Persea tree of Heliopolis, the Mehurt cow, 
and the eye of Horus, all belong to the 
XVI I th chapter, which is considered one 
of the earliest. Beside these there are 
shown Taurt devouring a captive ; Bes, 
both in male and female form, holding 
serpents ; Taurt and Sekhet devouring 
serpents ; and Set. The tortoise, frog, and 
scarab appear ; and several monsters, as 
a serpent -headed leopard ; hawk -headed 
leopard winged, with a human head between 
the wings ; sphinx ; and winged uraeus. 
These figures are akin to those monsters 
represented at Beni Hasan. This group of 
supernatural figures gives an outline of the 
commonly received ideas, apparently con- 
nected with the coming forth from Duat, or 
the under- world, like the XVIIth chapter, 



44 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

which has evidently a connection with these 
carvings. 

Coming to later times one of the most 
usual objects of popular worship is a small 
stele or tablet with Horus on the crocodiles. 
In the earliest form, about the XVIIIth- 
XlXth Dynasty (basalt tablet, P.P. coll.), 
Horus is a hunter armed with bow and 
quiver ; we see then that the animals must 
be those which he has slain. As Maspero 
has pointed out, all the animals figured were 
supposed to fascinate man, the lion, oryx, 
scorpion, serpent, and crocodile ; and Horus 
conquered them to protect man. Next, in 
the XXI Ind Dynasty, we have a similar 
idea of Ptah-Sokar, the deformed pigmy 
figure, who stands on crocodiles, and grasps 
serpents in his hands. These serpents some- 
times are figured as being half in his mouth, 
with only the tails out. This is another view 
of the protection against serpents by eating 
them, which is the common practice of South 
African people at present, and probably of all 
serpent charmers. Experiments very com- 
pletely performed with serpent poisons, and 
just published, show that doses of poison 
and also of serpent's blood taken internally 
confer on the eater immunity from the effects 



OF EGYPT 45 

of injected poison, such as that infused by 
bites. The Ptah-Sokar eating serpents is, 
therefore, overcoming them in another way. 
In the later Ptolemaic times, tablets of 
Horns on the crocodiles are very common, 
crowded on the back and sides with in- 
scriptions which have neither accuracy nor 
meaning. Such tablets abound just when 
the use of other amulets came into common 
fashion, and they lead on to the great belief 
in amulets in gnostic times. We see then 
here an important element of popular religion 
in these tablets, which were to serve for the 
protection of the owner from noxious animals. 
1 5. The main worship of the people in the 
later times of the Greek and Roman occupa- 
tions seems to have been concentrated upon 
Isis and Horus. The innumerable cheap 
terra-cotta figures of Horus in all forms, are 
the commonest objects of the Roman period. 
With a hole in the back to hang on a peg in 
the wall, they were placed in the huts of the 
poorest of the people ; their cost must have 
been so minute that none would be so poor 
as not to own one. No other god seems to 
have had such popularization, and even Isis 
and Serapis come far behind Horus in their 
general acceptance. Broadly speaking, the 



46 THE POPULAR RELIGION 

Egyptians were a Horus-worshipping people 
in Roman times, honouring I sis also as his 
mother ; and the influence that this had on 
the development of Christianity was pro- 
found. We may even say that but for the 
presence of Egypt we should never have 
seen a Madonna. Isis had obtained a great 
hold on the Romans under the earlier 
Emperors, her worship was fashionable and 
wide-spread ; and when she found a place in 
the other great movement, that of the 
Galileans, when fashion and moral conviction 
could shake hands, then her triumph was 
assured, and, as the Mother Goddess, she has 
ruled the devotion of Italy ever since. How 
much Horns has entered into the popular 
development of Christianity how the figure 
of the Divine Teacher, set in a sad, stern 
frame of Semitic and Syrian influence, has 
become changed into the rampant baby of 
Correggio is seen readily when we note the 
general popular worship of the child Horus, 
and see that passing over into the rising 
influence of Christianity. In one small 
particular there is much significance. The 
well-known Christian monogram (khi-rho) 
may be seen in course of gradual formation 
in Egypt or possibly in course of alteration ; 



OF EGYPT 



47 



but the rho is usually figured as an upright 
staff with the lock of Horus at the top, and 
not the letter rho. Essentially it is the sign 
of Horus, and only became Christian by 
adoption. 

We have now briefly gone over the 
various elements of popular religion in 
Egypt, as distinct from that of the temples ; 
religion which was far less influenced by 
political and other changes, and was really 
the vital belief of the greater part of the 
inhabitants. It is simpler than the official 
and priestly worship, and has a much greater 
vitality. Buried in the hearts of millions, 
changes could not uproot it, and with 
nominal modifications, and with new ideals 
implanted in it, the old framework has 
largely kept its hold down to the present 
time, excepting where the violent mono- 
theism of Islam has crushed it. The 
conquests of Islam were not so much over 
Christianity as over the elder paganism, 
which had retained its hold and its position ; 
and it was that alone which gave force and 
point to the invectives of Muhammed 
against the far older Tritheism, Mariolatry, 
and Saint-worship which went by the name 
of Christianity in his times. 



LECTURE III. 

THE DISCORDANCES OF EGYPTIAN 
RELIGION 

1 6. THE discordances and contradictions 
in any religion are one of the most important 
evidences of its history. The ruling idea of 
most religious beliefs is the need of account- 
ing for something, and of explaining the 
mysteries of life. Hence beliefs which 
explain the unseen in a totally different 
way and with different ideals will not be 
needlessly produced at a single source. 
Some new influence must be at work to 
cause diversity ; and when two views live 
on side by side with partial fusion, it is like 
instances of two mythologies an evidence 
of a mixture of peoples who had held 
varying opinions. 

This discrepancy in belief is most charac- 
teristic of Egypt, and we need to disentangle 
the elements before we can venture to classify 
them. 



DISCORDANCES OF RELIGION 49 

Concerning the future state of man there 
were at least three wholly contradictory 
theories ; the Earthly, the Elysian, and the 
Solar theories : and it is probable that the 
mummy theory is a fourth. 

The Earthly theory was that of the ka, or 
double, which, as we have seen, had the feel- 
ings and the activities of life, only limited 
by the inability to act on matter. This ka 
required a supply of food, in the form of 
continually renewed offerings, for which a 
place of offering was provided in front of the 
doorway which led to the tomb-pit. Up that 
pit from the sepulchre passed the ka, and 
also the ba or soul, and coming out through 
the imitation door that was provided it fed 
on the offerings which were laid on the altar 
in front of the door. Soon a recess was 
made for the altar by added coatings to the 
mastaba that developed into a chamber, and 
then that chamber was elaborated into a 
dwelling for the ka, its walls were covered 
with figures of offerings and of servants, and 
large granaries and store-rooms were pro- 
vided in it. Being incapable of acting on 
matter, the image of an offering was as good 
as the object itself to the ka ; and so the 
continually renewed offerings of the earliest 



50 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

times became changed for the permanent 
pictures of the offerings. This view of the 
ka and the ba was associated with the tree- 
spirit worship, and these together formed a 
domestic worship, which was associated with 
niches or figures of doorways in dwellings 
where the ancestors were adored. All of this 
theory implies a continued after-life upon the 
earth, dependent on earthly support. 

17. The Elysian theory was entirely in- 
dependent of any connection with the earth. 
The dead became the subjects of the great 
god of the dead, Osiris ; they lived in Aalu, 
a mythic land beyond the ken of man, at first 
supposed to be on earth or later on in heaven. 
There they navigated on the canals, they 
tilled the soil, they planted, they watered, 
they reaped. And admission to this dupli- 
cate of earthly life was obtained by a test 
of weighing the heart to see if it were true 
and right, and denying the commission of 
all earthly sins before the judgment-seat of 
Osiris. Here we have a totally different 
theory, and one which left no time or oppor- 
tunity for the ka to wander on this earth, 
and no need for it to be provided with 
earthly sustenance. 

The Solar theory was equally independent 






EGYPTIAN RELIGION 51 

of both of the others. The deceased flew 
up to the sun, and joined the solar bark : he 
passed through all the perils of the night 
under the protection of Ra, and emerged 
into new day at sunrise. For ever he dwelt 
with Ra, and shared his dangers by night 
and his success by day. 

1 8. Now, none of these theories, it will 
be observed, requires the mummy. The 
Elysian and Solar theories ignore the body 
on earth ; and the figure of the deceased in 
the Osirian judgment is always as a living 
person, and not a mummy. It is only in the 
age of greatest confusion and mixture, under 
the Ptolemies and Emperors, that the mummy 
is supported by Anubis into the presence of 
Osiris. The ka and ba theory might involve 
the preservation of the mummy ; and in the 
comparatively late age of the New Kingdom 
the ba flies down the tomb-pit to the mummy, 
and the ba lingers longingly on the breast 
of the mummy pleading to return to its 
place. But the earlier evidence may make 
us doubt whether mummification were an 
original part of the ka and ba theory. Why, 
for example, should the ka require sustenance 
if the mummified body remains unaltered 
and imperishable? And at the beginning 



52 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

of the IVth Dynasty mummification was at 
a point of elaborate resemblance to the living 
body, by modelling in resin, a system which 
rapidly deteriorated a few generations later ; 
such a history indicates that it was a some- 
what recent introduction, whereas the ka and 
ba theory is probably of the earliest race and 
age, before the Elysian or Solar theories. 
It seems, then, probable that the mummi- 
fying may belong to another theory that 
of revivification, with which it is always 
associated by writers ; whereas there is 
neither place nor purpose in any bodily re- 
vivification in the ka theory or the Elysian 
or Solar theories. There are then certainly 
three, and perhaps four, views about the 
soul which have no original unity, but rather 
show a complete discordance, apparently due 
to different origins and races. 

19. Now, as there are diversities in the 
beliefs about the soul, so there are like di- 
versities in the beliefs about the divinities. 
It is familiar how confused the mythology 
is owing to parallel gods alike, yet distinct ; 
and fused gods unalike, yet combined ; how 
a god would be in power at one time and 
rejected at another. All this change is 
vaguely put down to local influences, which 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 53 

is only the first step in tracing the causation. 
Differences between neighbouring places in 
their fundamental beliefs are not mere 
senseless vagaries ; they imply a difference 
between the people that is, a difference in 
race. According to most Egyptologists the 
variety of gods was determined by the 
different beliefs of every petty capital of 
every province of Egypt. Yet these authori- 
ties avoid the conclusion that these gods 
belong to different ancestries. Let us just 
see what this position requires of us. If the 
gods arise without difference of ancestry in 
their worshippers and it is admitted that 
all the principal gods are far prehistoric- 
then we have the view that there existed in 
Egypt a unified mass of population, which 
had mingled without having any previous 
mythologies ; and subsequently in Egypt 
they evolved different gods at many different 
centres. This is what is generally tacitly 
assumed, even by Maspero, who sees the 
perspective of the history of mythology far 
more than any other authority. But such 
a view requires us to believe that for long 
ages, while these gods were being evolved 
and brought into contact in Egypt, not a 
single serious immigration of foreign races 



54 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

had taken place. In short, that though the 
known history of Egypt shows a great influx 
of neighbouring people every few centuries, 
we are asked to suppose that such mixtures 
were quite insignificant in all the far longer 
prehistoric ages, while the gods were in 
course of evolution. Such a view, thus 
reduced to historic parallelism, is an insult 
to our sense of probability. 

20. That great mixtures of race had taken 
place in the prehistoric ages, probably oftener 
than once in a thousand years, is practically 
certain, when we view the known history. 
And as such mixtures always produce local 
diversity, we should expect to see differences 
and incongruities between the beliefs of all 
the principal, and even the minor, centres of 
population. In one town the A tribe would 
be strongest ; in the next the B tribe still 
remained in power ; on the opposite side the 
C tribe had later thrust themselves in. Such 
is the view which is forced upon us by the 
historic probabilities of the country. Hence, 
local differences are only another name for 
tribal differences and diversities of origin. 

It may be said that we do not see such 
new gods being introduced by the migrations 
during historic times, and hence we should 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 55 

not expect these changes to result from the 
prehistoric migrations. This is a very partial 
view. In the first place new gods were need- 
less, because almost every race that could 
burst into Egypt had already come in and 
planted their gods, hence reconquests by the 
same race a second time merely brought 
forward their already-present god. To take 
an acknowledged instance, the Libyan con- 
quest by the XXI Ind and XXVIth Dynasties 
forced Neith, the Libyan goddess, into pro- 
minence, after she had almost disappeared in 
Egypt. When a really fresh race came in 
their gods then appear also as new gods 
in Egypt, such as the Syrian gods and the 
Greek gods. Then, moreover, when once 
the religion had become fixed by written 
formulae and types of worship on monu- 
ments, the beliefs already figured on the 
spot held their ground against the unwritten 
faith of the moving immigrants. 

While, therefore, fully recognizing that the 
diversities of belief were local, and that the 
prominence of a deity was largely due to the 
political importance of his centre of worship, 
yet we must logically see behind these local 
differences the racial and tribal differences 
by which they were caused ; and behind the 



56 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

political power of a place we must perceive 
the political power of the race who dwelt 
there, and whose beliefs were spread around 
by their political predominance. Amen-wor- 
ship spread from Thebes, or Neit-worship 
from Sais, not merely because those places 
were the seat of power, but because the 
people of those places who worshipped Amen 
and Neit extended their power and dwelt as 
governors and officials in the rest of the 
country. It is race and not place that is 
the real cause of change. 

21. One of the best known incongruities 
is the position of Set. In the earliest times 
Set and Horus appear as co-equal or twin- 
gods (M.E.E., 329) closely associated. In 
the VHIth Chapter of the Book of the 
Dead the deceased, who is usually identified 
with Osiris, states that he is identical with 
Set : while, evidently after the antagonistic 
view of Set and Horus had come in, a 
sentence was added deprecating the wrath 
of Horus. Now the possibility of such a 
view of Set is explained by the earliest 
history of Horus. Maspero states that Isis 
was originally the Virgin-mother, dwelling 
alone as a separate sole goddess at Buto, 
from whom Horus was self -produced 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 57 

(M.H.A., 131). The union of Osiris to 
Isis, and his adoption of Horus, was a 
later modification. Hence there was no 
incongruity in the earliest view of Horus 
and Set being honoured side by side. But 
when Horus became the step-son of Osiris, 
later the full son of Osiris himself, he was 
bound to be antagonistic to Set. That Set 
belongs to the Libyans or Westerns is pro- 
bable, because he is considered to have red 
hair and a white skin ; in fact, the Tahennu, 
or clear-race complexion. And it is probable 
that the Osiris- 1 sis group is also of Libyan 
origin, as we shall see later on. 

Hence we may picture to ourselves the 
gods Isis, Osiris, and Set, as the three divini- 
ties of different tribes of Libyans. So long 
as the Isis worshippers and Set worshippers 
were in fraternity and tribal union, Horus 
and Set were coequal gods. But when the 
Osiris worshippers, with whom the Setites 
were at feud, united with the Isiac tribe, and 
Osiris was married to Isis, it became the 
duty of Horus to fight Set. Accordingly 
we see the war of Horus and Set throughout 
Egypt, and garrisons of the followers of 
Horus were established by the side of the 
principal centres of Set worship to keep 



58 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

down the Setite tribe. (See Masp., Etudes 
ii. 324.) This tribal view of the religious 
discordances and changes seems to be the 
only rational cause that can be assigned. 
That tribal wars existed no one would 
venture to dispute, and that religious changes 
would ensue from political changes we see 
exemplified all through the history of Egypt. 
The cause existed for such divergences, and 
it was capable of producing these diver- 
gences : while no other reasonable cause can 
be assigned, and the gods are expressly 
represented as fighting and vanquishing each 
other's followers. We need hardly say that 
the Syrian god Sutekh, which comes in 
about the XlXth Dynasty, has no connection 
with the primitive Egyptian god Set. 

22. Another puzzling and discordant 
element in the mythology is the goddess 
Hathor. She is the most ubiquitous deity 
of all. Yet she is seldom worshipped alone 
and unmodified, and she is usually identified 
with some other goddess or with a female 
form of some god. Sekhet, Neit, lusaas, Best, 
Uazit, Mut, Hekt, and Aset are all identi- 
fied with her at different places, and she 
appears as female forms of Sopd, Behudt, 
Anpu, and Tanen. She has no permanent 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 59 

characteristics, no special attributes. The 
uncouth human face with cow's ears and 
modified cow's horns is the only typical form 
of the goddess, and the cow and the sistrum 
are her only emblems ; but these distinctions 
are not constant. Worshipped in every 
nome of Upper and Lower Egypt, she was 
yet one of the most evasive deities, and most 
easily modified and combined. 

Let us reflect on what this indicates. That 
the worship was thus general, equally diffused 
over the country, points to the country having 
been under a uniform condition of subjection 
to her worshippers. While the fact that at 
no centre is she solely worshipped, and at 
very few places even prominently, points to 
other deities having been already in posses- 
sion of the country when her devotees spread 
her adoration. Where then are we to look 
for her native land ? It has been shown that 
Hathor was lady of Punt, and was thence 
introduced into Egypt. And we may see 
further confirmation of this. The only places 
outside of Egypt with which she is connected 
are Punt, Mafekt (Sinai) where the Punites 
are very likely to have settled on the Red 
Sea and Kapna. This last is usually 
rendered as equal to the Gubla or Byblos, 



60 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

but another Kapna was in the land of Punt, 
and in the only place where Hathor is lady 
of Kapna she is also lady of Wawat on the 
Upper Nile. (Rec. II. 120.) Hence it is 
more likely that the Kapna of Hathor is a 
district of Punt. Further, of Isis, who is 
identified at Dendera with Hathor, it is said, 
" Isis was born in the Iseum of Dendera of 
Apt, the great one of the temple of Apt, 
under the form of a woman black and red." 
(M. Dend. text 30.) This points to a southern 
origin. The Punites are coloured dark red, 
and the neighbouring peoples black, while 
the Asiatics are yellow, and the Libyans fair. 
When we come to look to the nature of the 
goddess we see further connection. That 
Min was a Punite god is most likely, as his 
position at Koptos on the Red Sea road 
indicates, as well as his three colossal statues 
there, apparently carved by a Red Sea people 
in prehistoric time. And Min was the great 
father-god. Hathor is the co-relative mother- 
god, she in whom dwells the son Hor. Her 
character as the universal mother is well 
recognized, and is plainly on a par with the 
idea of Min as the great father. Thus the 
two gods whom we are led to connect with 
the Punite race by their position, are similar 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 61 

in nature and point to a worship of reproduc- 
tion apparently belonging to that people. 
Another connection is seen in the position of 
Hathor in the country. The only supreme 
centre for her was at Dendera, which is 
opposite to Koptos, the seat of Min, and 
on the line of any invaders from the Red 
Sea into the Nile valley. 

That Hathor was brought in by a people 
after the establishment of the other deities 
we have already observed. And this exactly 
agrees to her belonging to the Punite race 
which founded the dynastic history. Their 
great female divinity they identified with 
every other goddess that they met through- 
out Egypt, and established her worship also 
as a local Hathor in every nome, calling her 
the " princess of the gods." The whole 
phenomena of the diffusion of her worship 
are thus accounted for by the historical 
connection in which her origin leads us to 
place her. Therefore, by her being stated 
to come from Punt, by the foreign places to 
which she is connected, by her colour, by 
her being complementary to Min the other 
Punite god, by the place of her main 
sanctuary, and by the peculiar diffusion of 
her worship, we are led to one conclusion 



62 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

throughout that Hathor was the Punite 
goddess introduced at the beginning of the 
dynastic history. 

23. Another prominent case of discordance 
is in the worship of the crocodile god Sebek. 
This was most prevalent in the Fayum, 
" the lake of the crocodile"; and the marshy, 
shallow margins of the wide lake as it then 
was must have been very favourable to 
such amphibia. Up the Nile other places 
were also devoted to crocodile worship, such 
as Silsileh, Ombos, and Nubt, while at 
neighbouring towns the animal was detested 
and attacked, as at Dendera, Apollinopolis, 
and Heracleopolis. 

Here such discordant beliefs could not 
be supposed to spring up side by side 
amongst a homogeneous people living 
together ; on the contrary, they show a 
difference of thought and of belief which 
must have been developed at different places 
and under different conditions. Sebek was 
a creative god ; being the largest and most 
intelligent animal of the water, the crocodile 
was the emblem of the ruler of the primordial 
ocean. And in later times Osiris was 
identified with the crocodile, and appears 
as the reptile with a human head in the 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 63 

Fayum. As it is impossible for the crocodile 
worship to have originated outside of Egypt, 
we may look on it as one of the oldest 
worships in the country, as the people who 
adopted such a belief cannot have had any 
other very fixed or developed worship 
already adopted. That it originated in the 
Fayum is possible from its permanence 
there, from that being a great haunt of 
crocodiles in early times, and from a 
western goddess, Neith, being figured as 
suckling two crocodiles. The seats of 
Sebek-worship elsewhere in Egypt might, 
if so, point to migrations of the tribe who 
occupied the Fayum in the earliest times. 

We have now seen enough of these 
examples of discordant beliefs to credit the 
view that they are an evidence of the differ- 
ences of race, and of the various elements 
of the religion having been introduced by 
different tribes from various quarters, who 
had successively forced their way into 
Egypt. 

24. Before going further it will be well 
to note some of the instances of changes 
in the religion, and of one belief altering 
or superseding another, which are already 
observed and acknowledged by the best 



64 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

students. The following illustrations are 
all taken from the studies published by 
Maspero, who well recognizes that "a 
religion always has a history, at whatever 
time after its origin we may view it," and 
that a study of isolated gods must always 
precede the treatment of their combined 
forms. 

Of the creative gods there are three 
Khnum, Sebek, and Ptah which do not 
correspond to the same view of creation, 
and reigned over different worshippers, at 
least at first. They were completely 
strangers, and sometimes enemies, with no 
more connection than had the princes of 
the very different districts of Egypt to 
which they belonged. And even Ptah had 
a long history, for Tatnen is the oldest 
form of Ptah ; or rather as we should say, 
a previous god of Memphis, who was 
absorbed in the later god Ptah, and whose 
memory was kept up by the compound 
god Ptah-Tatnen. Ptah was alone at first, 
and subsequently Sekhet was brought in 
to the Memphite worship as the wife of 
Ptah, although her previous position was 
with Atmu of Heliopolis. Imhotep was 
at first an epithet of Ptah, before being 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 65 

made into a separate god as the son of 
Ptah. 

Turning to the Heliopolitan gods the 
changes and growth are frequent. Shu, 
who was at first space or air, was made 
into a son of Atmu ; then later he became 
identified with Atmu. In the later growth 
of the Ra worship some kept to only a 
human figure of Ra, and a hawk-headed 
Horakhti ; others brought in new names 
for the new conceptions Atmu for the past 
sun, Khepra for the present sun, &c. 
Then these again became compounded, 
as A tmu-Harakhti- Khepra. 

At Thebes alterations are also seen. 
The whole Thebaid was originally subject 
to Mentu ; Amen then came forward, and 
Mentu was reduced to being a son of Amen. 

The gods of the dead varied as much as 
any. Sokar at Memphis and Mertseger 
at Thebes were the earliest. The kingdom 
of Sokar in the west was adopted into the 
Book of Duat ; as also was the kingdom 
of Osiris in the north, and in the stars. 
And Sokar became identified with Osiris 
of the Delta, they both being gods of the 
dead. Then Osiris became also mingled 
with Khentamenti of Abydos, another god 

E 



66 THE DISCORDANCES OF 

of the dead. And Osiris was also married 
to I sis, and established the popular Osirian 
cycle. After that came the combination 
of the Osiride and Sokar myths in the 
various ritual books of the future life, where 
the increasing solarization can be traced as 
late as the XXth Dynasty. As Maspero 
says, " The increasingly intimate connection 
of Osiris and Ra, gradually mixed both 
myths and dogmas which had been entirely 
separate at first. The friends and enemies 
of each became the friends and enemies 
of the other, and lost their native character 
in forming combined personages, in whom 
the most contradictory elements were 
mixed, often without succeeding in uniting 
them." 

Later than all these changes, and attempted 
unification of gods, whose nature or whose 
territories overlapped, came the great sorting 
movement of forming triads and enneads in 
highly artificial orders and combinations, 
which in their turn led up to the idea of 
the unity of all the gods, that is so promi- 
nent in the later pantheistic views. These 
latest ideas put forward in the elaborate 
and lengthy inscriptions of Ptolemaic times 
are what have led many scholars to lose sight 



EGYPTIAN RELIGION 67 

of the several earlier stages which we have 
here been noticing. 

We have now seen how important the 
discordances and alterations of the Egyp- 
tian religion are for throwing some light on 
the history of its many modifications a 
history which passed away before our 
earliest records, and which can only be 
recovered by the comparison of different 
and contradictory views. In these we 
have embalmed for study the only frag- 
ments of the prehistoric age that we can 
work on ; and it is this which gives such 
study a value far beyond that belonging to 
the religion alone. We gain a glimpse of 
the perspective of the growth of mind. 



LECTURE IV. 

ANALYSIS OF THE EGYPTIAN 
MYTHOLOGY 

25. To anyone attempting to look at 
first at the mythology of Egypt, the great 
number of gods and their often complex 
and ill-defined attributes, render the view 
most perplexing and repulsive. It appears 
almost impossible to master the multitude 
of details, and as if they had little reality 
and significance when at last understood. 
We have in the previous sections considered 
how such a complex subject should be 
approached, and what the laws are of a 
mixture of religions ; we have then reviewed 
the popular religion as being the simplest, 
and showing the point of view of the Egyp- 
tian mind ; then we have noted the discor- 
dances, the contradictions and duplications, 
and the most obvious changes in mythology, 
as evidence of its complex origin. Lastly 

68 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 69 

we now turn to making a brief analysis of 
the whole mass of supernatural existences 
which were recognized in Egypt, so as to 
gain a grasp of the whole material, and to 
be able to realize its extent and its nature. 
All of this study may be regarded as 
prolegomena to the treatment of the 
mythology in detail ; but without such a 
consideration of principles, and system of 
classification, we should grope helplessly in 
the dark, and feel that our view was but 
partial and imperfect. We may in such a 
general review as this omit much that is 
important and overlook many beliefs which 
were prominent and familiar ; but at least we 
shall see the plan of the whole field and 
realize its extent and the relation of its 
parts. It will then remain to explore each 
myth and trace each deity separately, with 
the general clue in hand of its position and 
relation to other beliefs around it. 

For this general analysis we may take 
Lanzone's Mythology as a standard list. No 
doubt many obscure and derivative spirits 
may yet be brought to light ; but they will 
only swell the least important section of the 
mythology. The total number of gods, 
spirits, and sacred beings or animals in this 



70 ANALYSIS OF THE 

record is about 438. These may be classi- 
fied in the following groups : 

Hades, spirits and genii . .153 

serpents . . . -35 

188 

Animals, serpents .... 7 

mammalia, &c. . .24 

3 1 

Monsters ..... 7 

Local and minor gods ... 71 

Abstractions ..... 13 

Elemental ..... 4 
Feminine forms and sons of gods, 

derived ..... 21 

Animal and human compound gods 14 

Gods of dead .... 2 

Human gods .... 1 1 

Cosmic gods .... IT 

Human gods of principles . . 6 

varieties of Hathor . 51 

Foreign gods .... 8 



438 

26. The first of these groups is known 
by the Book of the Dead, and other works 
that deal with the future state, such as the 
Book of Knowing Duat, with its twelve 
hours of the solar passage ; the Book of 
Gates or Book of Hades, with its twelve 
names fenced off by separate portals ; the 
Book of the opening of the Mouth, and other 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 71 

ritual works. These are mostly of a com- 
paratively late date, the Book of the Dead 
being probably the oldest ; but in all of 
them the various stages of the religion are 
mixed and combined as best they might 
be. The genii that are met with in these 
works are therefore of all ages. Some like 
the great serpent Apap, and the great cat of 
the Persea tree, may belong to the earliest 
beliefs ; others were added as the need of 
explanation grew, and many were probably 
invented for the sake of uniformity, when 
the consciousness of constructing a system- 
atic guide-book to the unseen was realized 
by the Egyptian scribes and dogma-makers. 
Doubtless many of the genii and of the 
serpents are duplications and subdivisions of 
the same idea. 

2 7. Of sacred animals we find thirty-one, of 
which seven are serpents. Four views of 
this animal worship are now held. Some 
regard the animals as having been first 
worshipped for their powers and unexplained 
actions, simply as fellow -beings with man. 
Another view is that they were worshipped 
as exemplifying certain characteristics of 
power, fertility, cunning, &c. A third view 
is that they were only sacred to the gods, 



72 ANALYSIS OF THE 

and that they were not directly worshipped, 
except as a corruption in late times. A 
fourth view is that they were worshipped 
because of their utility. This last view is 
certainly not solid, as many of the animals 
worshipped had no utility to man in any way. 
The view that they were only emblems of 
gods, and that the worship of the gods 
preceded the animal worship is not satis- 
factory. We see that the tree was sacred 
before it was connected with a goddess, 
because many different goddesses are united 
to tree worship. In the same way different 
gods are united to the worship of the same 
animals ; the ram is adored for Khnum, for 
Amen, for Osiris, or for Neit, according to 
the locality ; the bull is connected with Ra, 
with Osiris, with Set, or with Ptah, and four 
sacred bulls are specified. Here the pre- 
sumption certainly is that the trees and 
animals were sacred already, before they 
were attached to the worship of one god 
or other. And, further, we see animals 
worshipped, and tablets carved to their 
honour, as animals alone, without any con- 
nection with a god, such as the wagtail and 
the cat ; and also adored in preference to the 
god, as the goose of Amen, the cat of Neit, 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 73 

and the rams of Amen. The view, there- 
fore, that the animals were worshipped 
independently of the gods, and united to the 
divine worship subsequently, seems the more 
reasonable. Whether the abstraction of 
characteristics preceded animal worship, we 
cannot say ; probably unconsciously it did so, 
and they were reverenced for their being the 
greatest exemplification of various qualities. 
Mysterious intelligence was also attributed 
to their actions, and the baboon, the ibis, the 
cat, or the cobra, were each supposed to 
reason like a man. Remembering the adora- 
tion paid both to trees and to serpents at 
present in Africa, it seems not improbable 
that we may see the negro element in this 
plant and animal worship. 

Beside animals, various monsters were 
invented and worshipped ; seven such are 
specified. 

28. Then there comes the great mass of 
local and minor deities, who are only known 
in a few instances, and who may have held 
in Egypt much the same place that saints do 
in Christianity or in Islam. There are 
several abstractions, which were none of 
importance ; such as the god of Fishers, of 
Cultivation, of Corn, of Wine, of Earth, of 



74 ANALYSIS OF THE 

Fire, of Foreigners, of Writing, of Hearing, 
of Speech, of Taste, and of Destiny. Most 
of these are probably of late invention, and 
have no part in the early systems. There 
are also elemental gods, and those of Her- 
mopolis, the eight associated with Tahuti. 
Purely theoretical gods were invented to 
complete the triads, and twenty-one are 
feminine forms of a male god, or sons who 
are otherwise of no importance. 

29. We have now passed over more than 
three-quarters of the spiritual beings : about 
one hundred remain. Of these half are 
local forms of Hathor, and eight are foreign, 
leaving forty-three as the number of impor- 
tant divinities, the great gods as we may call 
them. These can be divided into four great 
groups : the partly-animal gods, the essen- 
tially human gods (Osirian group), the 
cosmogonic gods (Ra group), and the gods 
of human principles. The relative order of 
the introduction of these groups is as here 
arranged, so far as we can glean it from their 
relations to each other. As we have already 
pointed out, the worship of animals probably 
preceded that of abstract deities, and hence 
the half-animal gods are probably older than 
the others. Then Maspero has shown how 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 75 

the Osirian doctrine was modified to agree to 
the solar Ra ; and that the heaven created by 
Horus, and sustained by his four sons, the 
pillars, is older than the Heliopolitan cos- 
mogony of Ra. The Osirian group of 
human gods belongs, then, to an older order 
of things than the cosmogonic gods. Lastly, 
the fact that Ptah, one of the gods of prin- 
ciples, had to borrow a partner, Sekhet, who 
was originally the mate of Atmu, and who 
had a son, Nefertum, points to his being 
later than the Ra group. And the diffusion 
of Hathor worship appears to belong to the 
latest of the prehistoric layers. 

Now, without entering on the details at 
present, it is at least allowable to point 
out that four successive races in Egypt 
have been deduced from the examination 
of the monuments, without looking to any 
relation to the religion : the Negro, the 
Libyan, the Mesopotamian, the Punite. And 
these four races have direct links to the four 
successive classes of gods which we have 
just specified. For the present this is an 
hypothesis ; some of these gods can be 
identified with those of certain of the races 
without much question, how far they all can 
remains yet to be studied. 



76 ANALYSIS OF THE 

30. The first group, the partly animal 
gods, which we should expect to be linked 
more or less with the negro element, are 
fourteen in number. Selk, the scorpion ; 
Uazit and Nekhebt, the serpents of north and 
south ; Hekt, the frog of birth ; Horakhti, 
the hawk ; Mentu, the hawk ; Tahuti, the 
ibis; Sebek, the crocodile; Taurt, the hippo- 
potamus ; Hapi, the bull ; Khnum, the ram ; 
Un-nefer, the hare ; Anpu or Apuat, the 
jackal ; Sekhet or Bast, the lion. Each 
of these may appear in human form, with 
the head or some attribute of the animal, or 
at least standing and acting as a human 

o o 

being. In this they are distinct from the 
sacred animals. Apparently of this same 
stratum are the gods of the dead, Mert- 
seger, the serpent of Thebes, and Seker of 
Sakkara, whose kingdom of the dead is 
older than that of Osiris, and whose form 
apart from other gods we do not know, 
unless it be that of the mummied hawk 
which broods over his sacred bark and 
shrine. With this stratum we may probably 
also link the ka and ba ; their purely earthly 
existence and their dependence on the tree- 
spirit pointing to their early position. 

31. The second group is distinguished by 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 77 

being linked together in the mythology, and 
being in almost every case represented under 
purely human forms. I sis and her son Horus 
worshipped at Buto, and Osiris, afterwards 
united to her, are the principal and typical gods 
of this group. Set the only animal-headed 
god of the group is closely related to the 
great triad, first as the fellow-god of Horus, 
and later as the enemy of Osiris and Horus. 
The outline of the history of this change 
we have already noticed, and its significance 
as embodying a piece of tribal history. 
There is also the great Horus, or elder 
Horus, who appears to represent the heaven, 
the her, or upper region, and whose two eyes 
are the sun and moon. Very possibly he 
was one with the younger Horus originally, 
who became posed as a son of I sis in con- 
sequence of some tribal union requiring a 
fusion of the gods. Nebhat is the remaining 
divinity of this family, whom some regard 
as a mere interpolation to provide a wife 
to Set. 

Another family of this same character is 
that of the Thebaid. Amen is a human 
god, and Mut and Khonsu are purely human 
in their figures. Anher is another god of 
the heaven, probably belonging to a different 



78 ANALYSIS OF THE 

tribe from the Horus worshippers. Net or 
Neith, the great goddess of Sais, was like- 
wise entirely human. All of these gods 
are figured as men and women, they have 
essentially human passions and action, and 
there is nothing mystic about them. That 
they form a different class to the first is seen 
by their duplication : worshippers of Tahuti 
had no need to invent a fresh god of the moon 
and of time, in Khonsu ; those who went to 
Sokar had no need to invent Osiris as a god 
of the dead. The links of this class are all 
to the western races. Osiris was identified 
with the worship of the Dad emblem, lord 
of Daddu ; and this appears connected with 
the south Libyan god Dadun. The Diony- 
siac character of Osiris is very strong, and 
Dionysos was reared in Libya. Osiris 
appears to be the god of vegetation, the 
corn god, which was a main deity of the 
white races. The oracular character of 
Amen and Khonsu is a western idea, and 
Amen was expressly the god of the great 
Oasis, and was worshipped in Laconia, Elis, 
and Bceotia. Neit has always been recog- 
nized as a Libyan goddess ; and the very 
close connection of her nature (as the 
goddess of the lance or arrow, and also of 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 79 

weaving) links her with Athena, who came 
from Libya. The Elysian theory of the soul 
is that belonging to this second group. 

32. The next main group is that of the 
cosmic gods, of whom Ra is the chief. 
Beside the main figure of Ra there are the 
parallel gods Atmu, the sun before the 
world, ever-existing ; Khepra, the present 
sun ; and Harakhti, the rising sun. Of 
these Ra was the direct primitive god, and 
Harakhti a popular variant combined with 
the previous Horus worship ; while Atmu 
and Khepra are more theological gods, 
never worshipped by the people. Nefer- 
atmu was a son of Atmu, who was hardly 
more than of local importance. Nut and 
Seb were the heaven and the earth, and Shu 
the air or space which separates them. In 
the earliest form it is Ra who separates 
them ; but either form of the daily rising 
of Nut from Seb is evidently the lifting of 
the fog and mist of the Nile valley from off 
the earth and raising it up into the clouds 
of the sky. The sun does this by shining 
on it, so Ra separates Seb and Nut ; while 
later the more abstract idea of space 
Shu was considered the separator. The 
ostrich feather, the hieroglyph of Shu, is 



So ANALYSIS OF THE 

the most imponderable object for its bulk 
that could be selected, and hence the 
emblem of space. Tefnut is merely com- 
plementary to Shu. The moon-god Aah 
probably belongs to this group ; and the 
other form of the sun Aten being wor- 
shipped in the centre of Ra influence, 
belongs to the same ideas. 

These gods, though human in form, differ 
essentially from the previous group, as 
having all of them a cosmic meaning, and 
representing the elements of nature, earth, 
sky, air, and sun. Their connection with 
the twelve hours is very marked ; the sun 
was always passing through the hours of 
day or night, and every hour had a different 
nature and was the region of different spirits. 
The great seat of this worship was at Heli- 
opolis ; and that city the abode of " the 
spirits of Heliopolis "- was a centre of 
literature and theology. In this we see a 
strong kinship to Mesopotamia ; there the 
twelve hours ruled all divisions of time or 
space, the worship of spirits or demons was 
frequent, and great libraries were associated 
with the temples. Above all the cosmic 
view of religion predominated ; the sun, 
moon, and stars were adored, and the 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 81 

watery chaos was parallel to the waters 
of Nu, while the waters above the heavens 
were parallel to the solar river of the 
Egyptians on which the bark of the sun was 
navigated. Of course, the solar theory of 
the soul was that associated with this religion. 
The Mesopotamian influence in Egypt has 
long been recognized, and is seen to be later 
than the Osirian. In this it agrees to the 
position of the Mesopotamians invading the 
Negro- Libyan population. And we should, 
perhaps, see in Heliopolis the centre of 
power of the Eastern invaders. 

33. The fourth class of gods are those 
which embody more abstract ideas. Ptah 
the creator, who is neither Atmu the sun, 
nor Khnumu the modeller, but rather the 
architect of the universe, who puts it all 
into order, with his companion Maat, who 
is abstract truth and law. This is a very 
different view to that of any of the other 
gods. And similar in idealism is Min the 
all-father, and Hathor the all-mother. Later 
developments of these brought in Imhotep 
with Ptah, as a son representing the peace 
and learning which follows on law and order. 
And Hathor became linked with Isis, the 
previous mother goddess, though both are 

F 



82 ANALYSIS OF THE 

still figured separately side by side in the 
XlXth Dynasty ; and Horus thus came to 
be connected with the Min-worship. The 
general diffusion of Hathor- worship over all 
the country, without excluding any previous 
divinity, led to special Hathors of each 
nome, like the special Madonnas of different 
towns ; and to Hathor being identified with 
many of the goddesses. It is not im- 
probable that the system of mummifying 
belongs to this class of gods. We have 
noticed that it is independent of all the 
other theories of the soul, and was probably 
a later system ; and the fact of the Hathor 
cow being represented as galloping into the 
unseen world bearing the mummy on her 
back, points to the mummification being 
part of the religion of Hathor. Historically 
we should see in this class of gods those 
of the latest prehistoric invaders, the Punite 
race. Min and Hathor we have already 
seen to belong to that quarter ; and Ptah is 
the same as the Patekh of the Phoenicians, 
another branch of the Punites. 

We must, however, carefully notice that 
this view of some group of gods having 
the same nature, and belonging to the same 
race, does not at all imply that they were 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 83 

originally worshipped together. They may 
very probably have belonged to different 
tribes ; and only have been put side by 
side as tribal or political union spread. Min 
and Ptah may never have been worshipped 
together until their tribes entered Egypt. 
Amen and Osiris may have been strangers 
until their followers became unified in one 
land. All that we can venture to do is to 
outline a broad classification by general 
direction, east, west, or south, and gain 
some general idea of the sequence in 
time, without any hope as yet of separating 
between the various tribes of each quarter. 
34. There now remain to be considered 
the gods which appear to be foreign, that 
is to say, which belong to invaders who 
did not exercise an influence over the whole 
country. One of the most important of 
these is Bes, the god of dancing, music, 
and luxury. The earliest of such figures 
are clearly female, and down to the latest 
age a female Bes appears as well as the 
male form. The shaggy lion's head is seen 
on a carving of the Xllth Dynasty to be 
a skin worn on the head, with the tail 
hanging down behind ; and such a mask 
was imitated in cartonnage for the use of 



84 ANALYSIS OF THE 

dancers. How ancient professional dancers 
were in Egypt is seen in the Westcar 
papyrus, where the goddesses appear as 
travelling dancing girls. It seems then that 
Bes originates in the type of a girl wearing 
a lion's skin. It was considered Arabian in 
origin, but has been connected with the 
Denga or dwarf who is named as dancing 
a sacred dance in the Vth and Vlth 
Dynasties. It seems hard not to connect 
this with the lion-headed goddess of the 
Arabian nome, Best or Bast, especially as 
dancing festivals were held in her honour. 

The distinctly Syrian deities are six : 
Anaitis, Astarte, Baal, Keclesh, Reshpu, 
and Sutekh ; and the worship of these be- 
longs to the great age of Syrian mixture, 
the XVIIIth and XlXth Dynasties. 

35. It remains now to notice how much 
the worship of many of these gods fluctuates, 
how one god would sink, while others rose in 
importance. We can best see this statisti- 
cally by the number of references to gods 
in various periods ; but we must first set 
aside those which rose in one age without 
any previous popularity, such as Amen. 
Fixing our attention on the principal gods 
worshipped throughout all ages, and reducing 



EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY 85 

the numbers so as to give them a percentage 
in each period, we have the following results : 

IVth Vth Vhh Xllth XVIII.-Am.IV.- 
Dynasty. Dynasty. Dynasty. Dynasty. Am. III. XX. 



Hekt . 


. 


i 


2 


5 





i 


Tahuti 


23 


21 


17 


10 


7 


9 


Khnumu 


i 








17 


i 





Anpu . 


. 


3 


2 





4 


5 


Sokar . 


10 


i3 


14 





i 


2 


Osiris . 


5 





2 


12 


8 


12 


Isis 


i 





2 


2 


9 


12 


Horus . 


10 


10 


5 


7 


18 


15 


Neit . 


. 8 


7 


5 


7 


i 


2 


Ra . 


i 


i 


5 


2 


26 


14 


Seb . 


i 





2 





5 


2 


Ptah . 


9 


2 


13 


2 


i 


8 


Maat . 


i 


8 


5 





3 


5 


Min . 


5 


5 


5 


12 


i 


4 


Hathor 


25 


29 


21 


24 


'5 


9 



Here we can see how the Osiride and 
Cosmic gods rose in importance as time 
went on, while the Abstract gods continually 
sank on the whole. This agrees to the 
general idea that the later imported gods 
have to yield their position gradually to the 
older and more deeply-rooted faiths. 



LECTURE V. 

THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

36. IT has long been recognized that the 
Egyptians had a much more highly organ- 
ized conscience than that of most other 
nations of early times. They are often 
spoken of as a more moral people ; but that 
phrase is ambiguous, as it may refer to the 
complexity of the conscience, or the practical 
conformity to the conscience. How far the 
Egyptians conformed to their theoretic stan- 
dards is quite a different question ; but their 
standards were certainly more definite, and 
apparently higher, than those of many other 
peoples. In many respects they are far 
higher than those of the Greeks, and ap- 
proach most to the Roman standard after 
Stoic philosophy and Christianity had suc- 
cessively purged and improved it. This 
organized conscience has left many detailed 
expositions to us, in the Precepts of Kagemni 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 87 

and Ptahhotep of the Vth Dynasty ; in the 

two negative confessions or repudiations of 

sins before the judgment of Osiris, which 

are probably much older, but only exist in 

later versions ; in the tablet of Antef of the 

Xllth Dynasty (Brit. Mus., Sharpe, ii. 83); 

Instructions of Amenemhat of the Xllth 

Dynasty ; in the maxims of Any of the 

XlXth Dynasty ; the precepts in a Ptolemaic 

papyrus in the Louvre (x. 9), and isolated 

sayings in the Xlth Dynasty Song of the 

Harper, and some grave steles. We are, 

therefore, able to study it in detail, and to 

classify a mass of ideas which have definite 

dates affixed to them as a minimum ; hence 

we obtain a tolerably complete view of the 

Conscience of the Egyptians. One great 

value of such a study is that it is dealing 

with a people so much more advanced than 

their neighbours in such ideas, that we have 

before us an internally developing system 

rather than an accidental jumble of imposed 

ideas from other sources, which constitutes 

the morality of most later races. 

37. It may not be out of place to consider 
first, somewhat briefly, what we mean by 
conscience : not by any means to construct 
an artificial definition of the idea, nor to 



88 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

argue as to its limits in relation to other 
conceptions, for that would lead us into the 
barren grounds of speculation. But rather let 
us look practically at the acts of others around 
us, and into own our minds. Conscience 
is that mass of the intuitions of right and 
wrong, which are born in the structure of 
the thoughts, though they may often need 
development before the latent structure 
becomes active. A plant does not put out 
its leaves and flowers all at once ; yet they 
are latent, and are inevitable if any develop- 
ment of growth takes place. And thus, 
perhaps, some can look back to a time when 
only one or two elements of conscience were 
yet active in their minds, such as a sense 
of justice and injustice, and they reflected 
then that no act would seem wrong or 
shocking if it was not unjust. Yet later 
on, as the mind grew (and growth or death 
is the choice to the mind, though the body 
may continue an animal existence), the 
various other elements of conscience un- 
folded gradually from some central stem 
(such as that of justice) which had first 
sprung up. 

It is needful to remember thus that con- 
science is an inherited development, as much 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 89 

an inheritance in the structure of the brain 
as any other special modification is in the 
body needful because in the consideration 
of the springs of action it has been generally 
the habit to deal with the individual as if 
he had a perfectly blank mind, and was only 
impressed by the facts of life around him in 
a perfectly calculating and unbiassed manner. 
On the contrary the untrained mind teems 
with prospects of every kind, possible and 
impossible, at every change of surrounding, 
and acts far more by impulse and intuition 
than by precise calculations of theoretical 
right or utility. This is seen most plainly 
in the waywardness of children and savages ; 
the ideas of all kinds of possibilities are 
present, and the growth of conscience 
and of habit is not yet strong enough to 
determine uniformly which opening shall be 
followed. Thus we may look on each person 
as only a fragment of the common life of 
mankind, inheriting in his brain-structure a 
tendency to certain lines of action and cer- 
tain choices between opposing claims. He 
is the heir of all his ancestors, and specially 
of those nearest to him ; for, as Galton 
has shown by physical tests, inheritance of 
special characters rapidly diminishes in each 



90 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

succeeding generation, and there is a constant 
tendency thus to revert to an average type. 

38. From this point of view we see at once 
how it is that the utilitarian such as Mill 
or Herbert Spencer can point triumphantly 
to the fact that the moral ideas of right 
conform to what is the greatest utility, though 
often a far-fetched utility to the race, rather 
than utility directly to the individual. It is 
not, as he assumes, that the individual argues 
carefully from utility to right ; but, rather, 
that the stress of utility has throughout 
human history crushed out all those strains 
of thought that were least helpful. Starting 
with the wild mass of wayward minds with 
infinitely varying choice of action before 
each, all those which were least useful in 
the long run went to the wall, found diffi- 
culties and hindrances to life prevail against 
them, and died out. Those minds whose 
impulses were the most useful and most 
regular and consistent succeeded best, and 
hence that type of brain descended to future 
generations. In short, utility has been the 
great selecting agent in brain variation as 
in bodily variation. And the result is that 
the great mass of inherited habits of thought, 
which we call intuitions or conscience, are 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 91 

those which in the long run are most useful 
to the individual and to his community in 
general ; those which will lead his descen- 
dants most surely to success among their 
fellows, and which will help his community 
to hold its ground against others. Here we 
have a complete explanation of the often 
distant and intricate utility of some intuition 
or moral principle, which may be directly 
opposed to the comfort or even the well- 
being of the individual. A mental type of 
a community which produces on the average 
a certain number of martyrs to conscience, 
may thus ensure to itself that strength which 
may lead it to success over the fallen bodies 
of its saviours ; their conduct is strictly 
utilitarian, though it would be impossible 
to deduce it from any argument of utility 
to themselves. I have dwelt on this because 
it constrains us in the most decisive way to 
place utility as the blind selecting agent 
acting on the race, and not as the choice 
of the individual, and so explains the utili- 
tarian action of the person apart from 
any argument in his own mind. (See 
Note A.) 

This clears out of the way the imperious, 
yet sole, argument against the reality of the 



92 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

rule of intuition ; and we are free to accept 
what is to some perhaps to all the obvious 
mode of working of the mind. We do not 
act by elaborate calculation of consequences, 
but by a certain sense of what seems the 
inevitable course in the circumstances ; we 
follow our inherited intuitions, and the more 
we develop and unfold them, the more we 
let them rule over the mere impulse of the 
momentary feeling, the safer we are and 
the more surely are we in the way of right 
fulfilment. We are, then, trusting not to 
momentary expediency, but to the great 
growth of intuition, battered and lopped 
and toughened into its most sturdy and 
useful form by all the blasts of adversity 
that countless ancestors have endured, and 
by which they have been shaped. This is 
Conscience. 

In thus briefly glancing over the ground, 
as a mere explanatory preface to our view of 
Conscience among the Egyptians, we cannot 
possibly deal with the various constructive 
evidences by which we are led to this general 
statement : such as the examples of heredi- 
tary intuition and mental processes, apart 
from education ; the parallels of physical in- 
heritance ; the manifest growth of a body 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 93 

of moral intuition, even in the midst of 
decaying societies where everything was 
against each fresh generation ; the absence 
of conscience in most races where early 
marriage prevails ; and the well-known ad- 
vantage of the later over the earlier members 
of the same family in their mental ability, 
tact, and intuition, due to their inheriting a 
more developed brain. But we have here 
indicated that such a view of the conscience, 
as a body of intuition gradually shaped by 
the stress of hard utility, and pruned of all 
its varieties that were not permanently suc- 
cessful, that such a view is the key which 
fits the great puzzle of the strength of in- 
tuition and the prevalence of utility, as no 
other explanation can fit it. 

39. This leads to the practical view of the 
paramount value of the proper unfolding of 
the inherited intuitions, and of the strengthen- 
ing, selecting, and guarding of them by each 
person who is thus the temporary trustee of 
the great inheritance of the race. A duty to 
this precious growth which is paramount over 
all other duties of life to the person, to the 
fellow-men to whom the individual's charac- 
ter is the most valued part of him, and to 
those who may come after. A rightly organ- 



94 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

ized intuition of moral perception, of judg- 
ment, and of feeling, is worth any amount of 
temporizing calculations, which always have 
to deal with unknown forces. And this is 
indeed most closely parallel to our acquisi- 
tion of knowledge in other matters. Pro- 
bably few, if any, persons remember even a 
small part of what they read ; and yet there 
is all the difference possible between a well- 
read and an ignorant man. In what does 
this difference consist if the actual words 
and facts are not remembered ? It consists 
in the education of his intuitive knowledge, 
in shaping and leading the mind, so that 
without being able to quote a single exact 
parallel, he can yet frame a correct judg- 
ment on history or on present life, and say 
at once if an assertion is likely or a future 
event is probable. Often a book is read- 
perhaps most books are read not to retain 
a single detail in mind, but in order to 
consciously modify or expand the general 
mass of opinion and knowledge in the mind. 
And this is one of the strongest revelations 
to us of the vast mass of organized intuitions 
which we unconsciously bear in our minds, 
to which we apply on all occasions, and by 
which we rule our lives. 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 95 

40. To most people the ideas of varieties 
of right and wrong are but vague ; some 
things are judged to be always right, others 
always wrong, and many between are said 
to " depend upon circumstances." The 
whole subject seems indefinable ; a sort of 
mist, with some kind of a heaven at the top, 
and some kind of a hell at the bottom of it. 
And often there is a vague notion that many 
things are right according to one code, and 
wrong according to another ; a difference 
formulated in the discrepancies between 
custom, law, and canon law. 

Yet amid all this there is a general agree- 
ment as to the relative scale of right and 
wrong actions in any one subject, and most 
people will agree that one action is certainly 
better or worse than another. The confusion 
mainly comes in when we attempt to pit 
a right of one kind against a wrong of 
another kind, as when we attempt to weigh 
kindness against injustice. 

Now if we can bring in any system of 
thought in order to arrange our ideas on 
this it will be a great gain. Not an arbitrary 
regulation, nor a code of abstract notions, 
nor any a priori arguments ; of such there 
have been far too many. What we need to 



96 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

do is to ascertain what the actual ways of 
human thoughts really are, and to what laws 
they conform. The only way to begin is 
to view one subject at a time, such as truth- 
fulness, kindness, self-restraint, or justice. 
Of these it will be most convenient to take 
truthfulness as the example for discussion ; 
and one particular branch of that, as ex- 
hibited in honesty towards the government, 
is what we can learn more about than any 
other. 

The first thing to arrange our ideas about 
is the relative order in which most men 
regard degrees of truthfulness. Let us lay 
down certain stages of falsehood which may 
be generally regarded as clearly each worse 
than the previous. 

Lying to save many innocent lives, 
to save one innocent life, 
to save great losses of property or character 

to others, 

to save great pain to others, 
to avoid great pain, 
to save family character, 
to gain advantage for a family, 
to save personal character, 
to gain important personal advantage, 
for moderate gain, 
for pleasures, 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 97 

Lying for sake of contradictions, 
for trivial gain, 
to annoy others, 

to avoid slight pain or inconvenience, 
for pleasure of deception, 
from hatred of anything going aright. 

Here we should have something like a 
definite scale of one particular virtue, always 
supposing that the directness of the lie was 
equal, say a plain direct negative to a direct 
question clearly expected. Of course many 
people would descend to a far lower level 
if a mere suggestion or innuendo would gain 
their end. Now this is not a mere curiosity, 
or piece of casuistry, to form such a scale ; 
it is like the earliest thermometers, divided 
into " temperate," "summer heat," " blood 
heat," and "fever heat," it is the first step 
to definition. What point in the scale some 
ancient Greeks would have occupied may be 
seen in Note B. 

41. The next step is to consider how 
many people will descend to each of these 
levels. Out of a hundred ordinary people 
perhaps only one would refuse to tell a lie to 
save a man's life ; perhaps twenty or thirty 
might be truthful in face of great pain of 
mind or body ; perhaps fifty would be 

G 



98 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

truthful where no great advantage was to 
be gained ; perhaps eighty would resist the 
temptation where only small gains or spite 
was the reason; and only one or two would 
lie out of sheer perversity. 

The common idea probably is that a large 
part of our race are to be classed as 
"truthful," all much alike, and below that 
there are fewer and fewer truthful folks 
found in increasing " depths of depravity." 
Perhaps those who would be reckoned 
usually as truthful are people who would not 
lie to save themselves great pain, or to 
save the characters of their family. If we 
then call attention to higher degrees of 
truthfulness they are merely said to be 
" exceptional." 

In short, if we were to 
represent each person who de- 
scended to a particular level 
by a stroke, I, we should have 
so many strokes above one 
level, so many more who de- 
scended lower, so many more 
who descended lower still, and 
so forth, until we could define FIG. i. 

the proportion of people who 
are included in each successive stage of 




THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 99 

truthfulness by an outline as here shown. 

(Fig. i.) 

But we have no right to draw a line 
anywhere as the abstract truthfulness ; the 
higher grades are just as much 
part of the whole series as the 
lower ; and if it is true that very 
few persons will limit themselves 
by the highest grades, so it is also 
true that very few descend to the 
lowest. The extreme cases are 
the exceptions, and we may mark 
them by a single example ; on 
the other hand, there is a great 
mass of mankind about the middle 
grades, and we must, therefore, 
have a great many strokes there 
(Fig. 2) ; the outline then that 
defines the commonness of differ- 
ent grades of lying will be widest 
out in the middle, and run off tapering above 
and below. 

Now this approximates to the result which 
is very well known as the law of distribution 
of errors, or the " probability curve." That 
is to say, that whenever a simple quality is 
liable to variation, whether it be the height 
or weight of a large number of men or 







ioo THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

animals, the variations of temperature, the 
errors of measurement, or any other simple 
variable, it is always found that the greater 
part of the examples are in the middle, and 
fewer toward the ends ; and that if, for in- 
stance, a certain number of men vary one 
inch from the average height, there will be 
a fixed proportion that vary two inches, 
and another fixed proportion that vary three 
inches, and so forth. So that the distribution 
of variation, or the number of examples that 
agree to each different standard, always fol- 
lows a certain law of distribution. So certain 
is this that any distinct departure from this 
distribution is always accepted as proof that 
some disturbing cause is at work ; a different 
kind of distribution would be found for 
instance in the height of soldiers, because 
all men below a certain standard are rejected. 
Is it possible then that moral distribution 
follows the same law as all other natural 
variations ? To anyone accustomed to the 
regularity of the distribution of all other 
variations, this would hardly seem to need 
proof. But to many persons moral law is 
supposed to be something so spiritual, and 
so outside of the realm of force and matter, 
that it may be surprising to see it treated 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 101 

like any other case of the variations found in 
nature. It is difficult to obtain any sufficient 
mass of accurate information on any subject 
of morals or conscience for us to test exactly 
this general similarity that we have seen to 
probably hold good between moral and 
physical distribution. 

42. One subject, however, promises to 
give a result. The well-known contribu- 
tions of " Conscience Money" to the Ex- 
chequer afford a large mass of statistics, 
and I have dealt with nearly five thousand 
amounts received during thirty years, the 
details of which I was permitted to have 
extracted from the Treasury records. It is 
true that this only refers to a section of 
the population, those who happen to escape 
paying their legal assessment, and who yet 
feel uneasy at not having done so. From 
certain details that we can observe, it appears 
that these payments are largely the sums of 
continued accumulations of arrears, rather 
than single large items ; and this is all the 
better for our purpose, as the amounts thus 
represent what strains the conscience in 
different individuals and makes them uneasy 
enough to take the trouble, and make up 
their minds, to give up the amount due to 



102 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

the Exchequer. This is also an admirable 
subject for study from the comparative sim- 
plicity of the motives involved. There is 
no influence of affection nor of shame, as 
the payment is made to the impersonal 
nation at large, and is very generally 
anonymous, and never the subject of self- 
advertisement or glorification. We cannot 
say as much for any other form of payment 
depending on the conscience. Moreover, 
it covers all classes of society except the 
very lowest, and varies as much as one to 
a million in its effects. 

When we come to treat the amounts thus 
received we find that they follow very 
closely indeed the general law of the distri- 
bution of variations. The main exception 
is the deficiency from about \ los. to $, 
and the great excess at ,5. This is 
readily accounted for by the fact that so 
many payments are anonymous, and a $ 
note is one of the handiest ways of making 
anonymous payments. That this facility of 
the ^5 note abstracts from the proportion of 
lower payments is interesting evidence that 
the payments are cumulative amounts and 
not mostly single dues. The man who owes 
over 3O/- or so is induced to hold back until 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 103 

he can send the convenient ^5 note. The 
many other results we cannot treat of at 
present, but will only say that the more 
punctilious conscience belongs to rather 
poorer people whose average is only 2 
or ^3 due, and not ^5 16*., which is the 
usual average due ; that conscience is twice 
as keen in March as it is in September, the 
economy of the winter enabling men to 
afford a conscience better than when antici- 
pating or enjoying the summer holiday ; 
and the clearing of conscience is largely a 
vague affair of a round lump sum, not half 
the payments being at all exact amounts. 

The most important result, however, is 
that conscience is, like all other variables, 
subject to the laws of averages and distri- 
bution. That exactly as many people will 
pay in a tenth of the average amount as pay 
in ten times the average, as many payments 
of io/- as there are of ^50; or further, as 
many people will pay in 1/6 or uV of the 
average as pay in ^320 or 64 times the 
average. This distinctive point of the law 
of probabilities, the equality of instances 
at points equidistant from the average, 
above and below it, is fully and remark- 
ably carried out, though we here deal with 



104 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 

conscience concerning pence on the one hand 
and hundreds of pounds on the other. For 
some further details see Note C. 

43. Having thus obtained one of the best 




FIG. 3. FIG. 4. 

and most unmixed confirmations that we can 
hope to get of the application of the laws 
of distribution to moral questions, let us 
apply this system as a mode of visualizing 
and giving consistency to our thoughts on 
such subjects. We may say in looking at 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 105 



such a curve that it represents the variations 
of mood and influences in the individual 
which determine his good and bad acts; 
or the variations between individuals in a 
whole class or nation. 
We can contrast rigid 
and narrow habits 
(Fig. 3) with those 
of wider feeling and 
passion (Fig. 4). We 
can represent the 
character of the mo- 
rality of different men 
or different races 
( Fi g- 5) some (A) 
very variable and 
reachinggreat heights 
as well as great depths 
some (B) rather 
high as a whole, but 
not varying so much 
and never so good or so bad as A ; some 
(c) very uniform, but never worth much. 

And further, this enables us to clearly 
think of the effects which a standard of 
conduct may have on the national conscience. 
Many people will be affected by the existence 
of a standard ; those who are naturally a 




FIG. 5. 



106 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 



little worse than the standard will be con- 
siderably drawn to conform to it ; those who 
are more distant from it will less often feel 
it possible to pay attention to it ; and those 
who are very far below it will not even try 





FIG. 



FIG. 7. 



to regard it. Also those who would other- 
wise be a little better than the standard will 
give way and say that it is good enough 
for them, while those far above it will hold 
to their own high level. 

44. This brings before us very forcibly 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 107 



the question of the benefit of a very high 
standard, or one nearer the common average. 
In the case of a very high standard the 
danger is that it will attract such a slender 
portion of the whole area 
of variation that it will 
benefit very few people 
(Fig. 6) ; and, in short, be 
hypocritically concurred 
in, but practically dis- 
regarded. A standard 
nearer to the average will 
have a more generally 
useful effect (Fig. 7) ; 
while one even lower may 
yet be more useful, as in 
Fig. 8. But too low a 
standard may do no good 
by not being far enough 
from the average to raise 
it. Of course, the stronger 
the standard, or the greater influence there 
is of religion, shame, good feeling, or other 
motive for obeying it, the further it may be 
placed from the average, while yet having 
sufficient attractive power to be of value in 
its results. 

There may be also two or three different 




FIG. 8. 



io8 THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 



standards all acting at once (Fig. 9) ; a very 
high church -going standard, very seldom 
effective; a powerful lower standard of 
trade custom ; and a residuum much lower 
than that, of the natural character. 





FIG. 9. 



FIG. 10. 



And two or three standards may co-exist 
in one character owing to antagonistic 
motives, which result in a course of action 
which is often in extremes (Fig. 10). For 
instance, on a basis of general good nature 
(A) a man may have a strong family 



THE NATURE OF CONSCIENCE 109 

affection (B), but be extremely avaricious 
(c). When he comes to dealing with his 
children he may be therefore in money 
matters readily in extremes, but not so often 
in a middle course. 

We have at least now seen enough to be 
able to picture before us the variations of 
motive and character ; and we can thus 
consider the nature of conscience with a 
mental analysis and a clearness of concep- 
tion which would otherwise be impossible. 



LECTURE VI. 
THE INNER DUTIES 

45. IN dealing with nearly two hundred 
maxims or expressions of conscience which 
we have gathered from Egyptian sources, 
it is needful to have some system of classi- 
fying them, so as to place together those 
which are similar and which serve together 
to build up a picture of the Egyptian mind 
on one side or another. Seven classes are 
here separately dealt with, namely, the rules 
and maxims of ( i ) the personal character ; 
(2), the material interests ; (3), the family 
duties, all of which we may call the inner 
duties; while the outer duties are (4) the 
relations to equals ; (5), the relations to 
superiors ; (6), the relations to inferiors ; 
(7), the duties to the gods. And in each 
class we shall deal with the general ideas 
before noticing the more particular and 
detailed. For most of the translations here 



THE INNER DUTIES in 

I am indebted tCv Mr. Griffith, who feels 
considerable reserve about some of the 
renderings. The tablet of Antef is from 
a copy made by Mr. Alan Gardiner. 

46. One of the most valuable sources 
of our information is in the (5) great 
" negative confession" as it is commonly 
called, or rather " repudiation of sins " as 
it might be better termed, before the judg- 
ment of Osiris. It is probably one of the 
oldest documents that remain to us on this 
subject, and is specially valuable, as it pre- 
sumably strings together every action that 
was felt to be an infringement of moral law 
at the time when it was composed. There 
are two forms of this repudiation ; one of 
about 37 declarations, and another, similar 
in nature, often repeating the earlier list, 
but of 42 declarations. The latter is more 
artificial, as it calls on a separate spirit in 
each declaration ; and the number 42 is 
probably connected with the 42 judges who 
sit with Osiris, and those, in turn, with the 
division of Egypt into 42 nomes. 

It is strange that there are no family 
duties in either declaration ; and this sug- 
gests that the bond of the family was not of 
prominent importance at the time of the 



ii2 THE INNER DUTIES 

framing of these lists, but that such duties 
were considered only as a part of the 
general duties to fellow-beings. Of the 
classes of duties then we find 

LIST A. LIST B. 

Duties to character . . 7 ... 1 8 

Duties to material welfare . o ... o 

Duties to family . . . o ... o 

Duties to equals . . . 13 ... 16 

Duties to inferiors . 10 ... I 

Duties to superiors . . o ... o 

Duties to gods . . . 9 ... 6 

The main difference between these two 
lists is that in the earlier time the duties 
to inferiors were put more forward than the 
duties to the man's own character ; in the 
later time the duty to the development of 
character and of intuitions was felt to in- 
clude in it all that was needful to recount 
as duty to inferiors. The two lists are 
simply referred to as A and B hereafter. 

47. The Egyptian felt very strongly the 
value of strength of character, and of self- 
control. " I have not been weak," he boldly 
asserted to Osiris (A. 10) as one of the 
repudiations of wrong-doing, which qualified 
him for eternal blessing. And Any says, 



THE INNER DUTIES 113 

" Let not the heart despair before thyself, 
turning upside down its favours (happiness)* 
at once after an evil hour " (60) ; this large- 
minded steadfastness is also enjoined by Any 
thus, "If thou art good thou shalt be re- 
garded ; and in company or in solitude thou 
findest thy people (helpers) and they do all 
thy commands." (34.) And similarly Any 
enjoins firm resolutions, " If thou goest in 
the straight road, thou shalt reach the 
intended place " (Any, 29) ; and also " Give 
thine eye (look well to thyself) ; thy exist- 
ence lowly or lofty is not well fixed (is 
liable to change) ; go straight forward, and 
thou wilt fill the way." (Any, 44.) There 
will be no room for deviation and uncertainty 
if a resolute course is firmly adopted. 

Of self-training and control we read, "If 
thou art found good in the time of prosperity, 
when adversity comes thou wilt find thyself 
able to endure." (Any, 32.) And again, " Be 
not greedy to fill thy stomach, for one knows 
no reason why he should do so ; when thou 
earnest into existence I gave thee a different 
excellency." (Any, 42.) Or to put this in 

* The words and phrases in parentheses are paraphrases, 
additions, or alternative expressions to show the meaning 
more clearly, while not modifying the actual idiom of the 
original. 

H 



114 THE INNER DUTIES 

western words, " Yield not to mere desires 
which rest not upon reason, for you were 
made for better things than that." 

Self-respect is also enjoined by Any : " If 
a man is drunken, go not before him, even 
when it would be an honour to be introduced" 
(6) ; and also, " Go not among the multitude, 
in order that thy name may not be fouled." 
(9.) And in the later precepts it is said, 
" Make not a companion of a wicked man." (3.) 

Readiness and boldness appear in the 
early time of Ptah-hotep : "If thou findest 
a debater in his moment (speaking success- 
fully) thine equal, who is within thy reach, 
to whom thou canst cause thyself to become 
superior, be not silent when he speaketh 
evil ; a great thing is the approval of the 
hearers, that thy name should be good in 
the knowledge of the nobles." (3.) And 
later Any says similarly, " He who is 
embarrassed by a liar should make reply ; 
then god judgeth truly, and his trespass 
riseth against him." (38.) 

Activity was also one of the great claims 
for the future blessing : before Osiris the 
soul declared, "I have not been lazy" 
(B. n), and "I have not been empty (of 
good)." (A. 9.) And similarly, "I have 



THE INNER DUTIES 115 

not known vanity (meanness or unprofit- 
ableness) " (A. 4) ; and " I have not made 
bubbles." (B. 39.) Special importance to 
straightforwardness was also given in the 
declaration at the judgment. " I have not 
acted perversely instead of straightforwardly." 
(A. 3.) "I have not acted crookedly" 
(B. 7); "I have not made confusion" 
(B. 25) ; "I have not been deaf to the 
words of truth." (B. 24.) Thus no less 
than eight declarations in the most solemn 
list of the great judgment turn on the 
activity and directness of character, which 
has in all ages been a quality worth even 
more than the cleverness of subtlety. 

A delightful picture is drawn by Ptah- 
hotep of the disastrous lack of common 
sense, that is as well known now as in his 
early times. " Verily the ignorant man who 
hearkeneth not, nothing can be done to him. 
He seeth knowledge as ignorance ; profitable 
things as hurtful ; he maketh every kind of 
mistake so that he is reprimanded every 
day. His life is as death therewith ; it is 
his food. Absurdity of talk he marvelleth 
at as the knowledge of nobles, dying while 
he liveth every day. People avoid having 
to do with him, on account of the multitude 



ii6 THE INNER DUTIES 

of his continual misfortunes." (Ptah-hotep, 
40.) And this avoidance of fools appears 
again in the late precept " Go not out with a 
foolish man, nor stop to listen to his words " 
(Precepts, 21, 22), and " Do not according to 
the advice of a fool." (Precept 4.) 

48. But, perhaps, greater stress is laid 
upon discretion and quietness than on any 
other qualities of character. It is remark- 
able that it does not occur at all in the 
earlier repudiation of sins, but is very 
prominent in the later ; in that we find, 
" My mouth hath not run on" (B. 17) : " My 
mouth hath not been hot" (B. 23) ; " I have 
not quarrelled" (B. 29) ; " My voice has not 
been voluble in my speech" (B. 33); and 
" My voice is not loud." (B. 37.) Here five 
out of the forty pleas of goodness turn on a 
single quality, which would hardly appear at 
all in a board-school code of morals. Yet such 
are the virtues requisite for the blessed fields 
of Aalu in the kingdom of Osiris. This 
same discreetness is urged by old Ptah- 
hotep, " Let thy heart be overflowing, but 
let thy mouth be restrained: consider how 
thou shalt behave among the nobles. Be 
exact in practice with thy master ; act so 
that he shall say, ' The son of that man shall 



THE INNER DUTIES 117 

speak to those that shall hearken ; praise- 
worthy also is he who formed him.' Apply 
thine heart while thou art speaking, that 
thou mayest speak things of distinction ; 
then the nobles who shall hear will say, 
' How good is that which proceedeth out of 
his mouth.' ' (Ptah-hotep, 42.) Later on 
Antef says, " I am one who is cool, free 
of hastiness of countenance, knowing results." 
(2.) And Any also has several injunctions 
to the same quietness. " Seek silence for 
thee." (Any, 62.) " Go not into the crowd if 
thou findest thyself excited in the presence 
of violence." (Any, 49.) " Of what shouldest 
thou talk daily ? Let officials talk of their 
affairs, a woman talk of her husband, and 
every man talk of his business." (Any, 30.) 
And in more detail he says, "If there is 
enquiry, increase not thy words ; in keeping 
quiet thou wilt do best ; do not be a talker" 
(Any, 10) ; and again, " Guard thyself from 
sinning in words, that they may not wound ; 
a thing to be condemned in the breast of 
man is malicious gossip, which is never still. 
Discard the man who errs (thus) and let him 
not be thy companion." (Any, 16.) And the 
repudiation of sins also brings in the con- 
demnation of gossip. " I have not been 



n8 THE INNER DUTIES 

a tale-bearer in business not mine own." 
(B. 18.) 

Extreme reserve is inculcated by some 
writers. Kagemni says, " The cautious man 
succeeds, the accurate man is praised, to the 
man of silence (even) the sleeping chamber 
is opened. Wide scope hath he who is 
acquiescent in his speech ; knives are set 
against him who forceth his way wrongfully." 
(Kagemni i.) Amenemhat bitterly remarks 
as a precept for the highest station, " Man- 
kind turn their heart to him who inspireth 
them with fear : fill not thy heart with a 
brother" (Am. ii.) ; and again, "Keep to 
thyself thy own heart, for friends exist not 
for a man on the day of troubles." (Am. iii.) 
Such cynical reserve was not, however, the 
Egyptian ideal, but it was what they pre- 
ferred at least to weak gossip. 

Covetousness is named in the repudiation 
of sins. "I have not been covetous" (B. 
3.) ; and this is put in a more concrete form 
by Any, " Fill not thy heart with the things 
of another ; beware of this. For thy own 
sake go not near the things of another, 
unless he shows them himself in thy house." 
(Any, 24.) 

The evil of presumption and pride was 



THE INNER DUTIES 119 

met by remarks on the uncertainty of life. 
Kagemni says : " Let not thy heart be 
proud for valour in the midst of thy troops. 
Beware of overbearingness, for one knoweth 
not what shall happen, or what a god will 
do when he striketh." (Kagemni, 5.) And 
similarly Ptah-hotep begins : " Let not thy 
heart be great because of thy knowledge, 
but converse with the ignorant as with the 
learned ; for the limit of skill is not attain- 
able, and there is no expert who is completely 
provided with what is profitable to him. 
Good speech is more hidden than are the 
precious stones sought for by female slaves 
amid the pebbles." (Ptah-hotep, i.) And 
more picturesquely does Any remark on the 
ever changing nature of things. " The 
water- courses shifted in past years, and will 
yet again the next year. The large pools 
dry up, and their shores become deep cracks. 
Nothing comes to man alike. This is the 
reply of the Mistress of Life." (Any, 43.) 
And the steadfast unwavering mind that 
these reflections should enlarge is held up 
as a heavenly requisite in the repudiation 
of sins, where the soul asserts " I have not 
given way to anxious care " (A. 8) ; and " I 
am not of inconstant mind" (B. 31); and 



120 THE INNER DUTIES 

again, similarly, " I have not been wretched." 
(A. ii.) 

49. But beside all these fortifying maxims 
the Egyptians had a keen idea, sometimes 
coming to the surface, that virtue was not 
entirely its own reward, and not solely an 
end in itself; but that the end of right con- 
duct was right enjoyment. Ptah - hotep 
inculcated this : " He who doth accounts 
all clay long hath not a pleasant moment ; 
and yet he who enjoyeth himself all day 
long cloth not provide for his house. The 
archer hitteth his mark, and so doth he who 
steereth, by letting it alone at one time and 
pulling at another. He that obeyeth his 
heart shall command." (Ptah-hotep, 250.) 
And again, " Follow thy heart the time that 
thou hast ; do not more than is commanded. 
Diminish not the time of following the heart, 
for that is abomination to the ha* that its 
moment (opportunity of action) should be 
disregarded. Spend not the time of each 
day beyond what is needful for providing 
for thy house. When possessions are 
obtained follow the heart, for possessions 



* For the consideration of the nature of the ka, as shown 
here, see Note D. 






THE INNER DUTIES 121 

are not made of full use if (thou art) weary." 
(Ptah-hotep, 10.) And the song of the 
harper more freely enjoins : " Follow thy 
heart so long as thou existest . . . enjoy 
thyself beyond measure, let not thy heart 
faint, follow thy desire and thy happiness 
while thou art on earth." Such doctrine 
naturally led too far, as when a man in 
Ptolemaic times ingeniously places in his 
deceased wife's mouth on her tombstone 
the commands : " Enjoy the love of women 
and make holiday. . . . Thy desire to drink 
and to eat hath not ceased, therefore be 
drunken." But occasional intoxication does 
not seem to have been looked on very 
seriously, perhaps, just because it was so 
very occasional ; in the tomb of Paheri 
(XVIIIth Dynasty) one lady at the party 
says : " Give me some wine for I am as dry 
as a straw " ; and another, approving its 
quality, adds, " I should like to drink to 
intoxication." 

50. We may then sum up the personal 
character which the Egyptian strove for, 
and even considered in many points to be 
essential for those who would enter into the 
kingdom of Osiris. He should be strong, 
steadfast, and self-respecting ; active and 



122 THE INNER DUTIES 

straightforward ; quiet and discreet ; and 
avoid covetousness and presumption. Yet 
with all this, while striving for the highest 
character, he was to keep the use of life 
before him and to avoid miserliness or 
asceticism. Other qualities which we value 
we shall notice in the relations to other men 
and to property ; but so far as the solely 
personal qualities go this picture of the 
Egyptian mind is as fine a basis of the 
principles of character as has been laid 
down by any people. But yet we do not 
find any trace in it of the idea of sin, which 
was so familiar to the Hindus in early times ; 
the Egyptian is the rather akin to the Greek 
mind, which sought out a fair and noble life 
without introspection or self-reproach. Yet 
the more personal sense is seen in India 
even as early as the Rig Veda, where in 
the hymns to Varuna (Ouranos) contempo- 
rary with the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasty, 
or earlier, the Hindu said: " O Varuna! 
deliver us from the sins of our fathers. 
Deliver us from the sins committed in our 
persons ... all this sin is not wilfully com- 
mitted by us. Error or wine, anger or dice, 
or even thoughtlessness, has begotten sin. 
Even an elder brother leads his younger 



THE INNER DUTIES 123 

astray, sin is begotten even in our dreams."* 
And soon after, between the XlXth and 
XX 1st Egyptian Dynasties, we read the 
Hindu saying: "When confessed the sin 
becomes less, since it becomes truth." t 
Such ideas, however familiar to us, to whom 
they have descended by way of Palestine, 
are, however, quite foreign to the Mediter- 
ranean conscience met with in Egypt and 
in Greece ; they belong essentially to the 
ascetic mind that found no place in the 
compact and practical frame of the ex- 
cellencies of the early Egyptian, which so 
closely resembles the character of the best 
of the modern Egyptians. 

MATERIAL WELFARE 

51. Beside the maxims of entirely per- 
sonal character there is a body of injunctions 
relating to the more material welfare and 
conduct which may be considered as a separ- 
ate class. Self-help is enjoined by Ptah- 
hotep : "If thou ploughest labour steadily 
in the field, that god may make it great in 
thy hand. Let not thy mouth be filled at 

* Rig Veda vii. 89. 

t Satapatha Brahmana ii. 5, 2, 20. 



124 THE INNER DUTIES 

thy neighbour's table. . . . Verily he who 
possesseth prudence is as the possessor of 
good, he holdeth like a crocodile from the 
officials. (He does not get into trouble and 
have to give bribes.) Beg not as a poor man 
from him who is without children, and make 
no boast to him ; the father is important 
even when the mother that beareth is want- 
ing, for another woman may be added to 
her " (reckon not on inheriting from a child- 
less man, for he may take another wife). 
(Ptah-hotep, 9.) 

Prudence is enjoined by Any thus : 
"Keep thine eye open for fear that thou 
shalt go begging : there is no man, if he be 
often lazy (that shall escape want) " (Any, 21), 
and seizing opportunities also, " If the hour 
be past, one seeks to save another." (Any, 4.) 

Reserve and not trusting to others appear 
also in Any's sayings, " Give not over-much 
freedom to a man in thy house. When thou 
comest in and thou hearest of his presence, 
thou art saluted by his mouth, thou art told 
of his purpose and talking is done " (Any, 
45) ; and in the bitter saying, " Thy entering 
into a village begins with acclamations ; at 
thy going out thou art saved by thy hand." 
(Any, 64.) 



THE INNER DUTIES 125 

A curious piece of worldly wisdom lies in 
the advice to imitate successful men. " If 
thou failest, follow a successful man ; let all 
thy conduct be good before god. When 
thou knowest that a small man hath advanced, 
let not thine heart be proud toward him by 
reason of what thou knowest of him ; to a 
man who hath advanced be respectful in 
proportion to what hath arrived to him, for 
behold things do not come of themselves, it 
is their law for those whom they love. Verily 
he who hath risen he hath been prudent for 
himself; it is god that maketh his success, 
and he would punish him if he were in- 
dolent." (Ptah-hotep, 10.) " Always do 
business with lucky people," is a well-known 
modern maxim. 

Of the value of knowledge, above the 
power of connections and influence, Any 
speaks thus : "If thou art able in the 
writings, having penetrated into the writings, 
put them in thy heart, then all that thou 
sayest will be perfected. If a scribe is 
employed in any profession he speaks accord- 
ing to the writings (Precedents !). There is 
no son to the chief of the treasury, there is 
no heir to the chief of the seal (such officer 
must be fitted by ability and not by influ- 



126 THE INNER DUTIES 

ence). The great appreciate the scribe, and 
his hand is his profession and cannot be given 
to children ; their misery (of the great) is 
his good, their greatness is his protection." 
(35.) It is familiar to us how true this last 
sentence is of our scribes, the lawyers. But 
to feel the force of this let us turn to a com- 
munity in which the scribe is in full sway. 
Writing of Emin Pasha's officials, Mr. 
Jephson says, " These soldiers were so 
foolish ; again and again they found them- 
selves tricked by the clerks. . . . The 
Egyptian clerks held the whole of these 
ignorant Sudani officers and men in their 
hands ; they wrote all sorts of things, to 
which the Sudanis, who could neither read 
nor write, put their seals." 

A conciliatory and peaceable manner was 
much valued ; but all the injunctions come 
from Any in the XlXth Dynasty, and none 
from earlier times. " As the inside of man 
is like a granary, full of all kinds of replies, 
choose to thee the good, speak well, as 
there is abomination within thee. To reply 
violently is as lifting a stick. But speak with 
the sweetness of a lover. ..." (37.) " One 
doth not get good things when one saith evil 
things." (28.) " Lift not up thy heart over 



THE INNER DUTIES 127 

the dissipated man so that he can find speech 
(against thee). The statements of thy mouth 
go round quickly if thou repeat them. Do 
not make enemies ; the ruin of a man is in 
his tongue ; guard thyself that thou make no 
loss." (36.) " Do not talk folly to all who 
come ; the word of the day of the gossiping 
will turn thy house upside down." (31.) 
" Hold thyself far from rebels. He whose 
heart controls his mouth amongst the soldiers 
will certainly not be taken to the courts, nor 
be bound, nor know that which conciliates 
(presents)." (51.) 

Covetousness is the fault particularly 
noted by Ptah-hotep, and he reminds one 
painfully of the failing of the present Egyp- 
tian. "If thou desirest thy going to be 
good, take thyself from all evil, beware of 
any covetous aim. That is as the painful 
disease of colic. He who entereth on it 
is not successful. It embroileth fathers and 
mothers with the mother's brothers, it sepa- 
rateth wife and husband. It is a thing that 
taketh to itself all evils, a bundle of all 
wickedness. A man liveth long whose rule 
is justice, who goeth according to its move- 
ments. He maketh a property thereby, 
while a covetous man hath no house." (19.) 



128 THE INNER DUTIES 

Any remarks more on the need of not ex- 
pecting to get the best of things. " Build 
thyself a house if thou dislike to live in 
common. Do not say ' This is a part of the 
house which has come to me by inheritance 
from my father and my mother who are in 
the tomb ' : for if thou comest to divide it 
with thy brother thy part will be the store- 
rooms." (25.) 

Commercial credit was much valued, more 
than we should expect in such a community. 
" Know thy tradesmen, for when thy affairs 
are unsuccessful thy good reputation with 
thy friends is a channel well filled, it is more 
important than a man's wealth. The pro- 
perty of one belongeth to another. A 
profitable thing is the good reputation of a 
man's son to him. The nature is better 
than the memory (acquirements)." (Ptah- 
hotep, 35.) 

The avoidance of drink and of luxury is 
dwelt on at length by Any, and was, doubt- 
less, a needful warning in the XlXth 
Dynasty. " Do not be engrossed in the 
house where beer is drunk ; for it is evil that 
words of another meaning come from thy 
mouth without thy being aware of having 
said them, and that in falling thy limbs are 



THE INNER DUTIES 129 

broken without any person having laid hand 
on thee, and that thy boon companions get 
up and say ' Turn out this drunkard,' and 
when one comes to blame thee they find 
thee lying on the ground like a little child." 
(13.) And of the more refined pleasures 
he says, " There has been made for thee a 
feasting-place ; the hedges have been put for 
thee around that which has been cultivated 
by the hoe for thee ; there have been planted 
for thee in the inner parts sycomores, which 
join all the lands belonging to thy house ; 
thou fillest thy hand with all flowers which 
thine eye sees. And one becomes weakened 
in the midst of all these, and happy is he 
who shall not abandon them." (Any, 23.) 

52. Lastly, the uncertainty of life is 
strongly urged by Any. " Put this aim 
before thee, to reach a worthy old age, so 
that thou may be found to have completed 
thy house which is in the funereal valley, 
on the morning of burying thy body. Put 
this before thee in all the business which 
thine eye considers. When thou shalt be 
thus an old man, thou shalt lie down in the 
midst of them. There shall be no surprise 
to him who does well, he is prepared ; thus 
when the messenger shall come to take thee, 

I 



I 3 o THE INNER DUTIES 

he shall find one who is ready. Verily, thou 
shalt not have time to speak, for when he 
comes it shall be suddenly. Do not say, 
like a young man, ' Take thine ease, for thou 
shalt not know death.' When death cometh 
he will seize the infant who is in its mother's 
arms as he does him who has made an old 
age. Behold I have now told thee excellent 
things to be considered in thy heart, do them 
and thou shalt become a good man and all 
evils shall be far from thee." (Any, 15.) 

Thus the main points of character in ex- 
ternal matters were self-help, prudence, and 
respect for success ; the value of knowledge, 
and of conciliation and fair speech for a hold 
on other men ; avoiding the taint of covetous- 
ness, and keeping good credit ; not being 
tied by mere pleasures, and being always 
ready to resign life. In all this the ancient 
Egyptian is much like the modern fellah ; 
both accept their place in the world readily, 
and enjoy it quietly without being over- 
weighted by duty. Neither of these know 
anything of the Western sense of the terrible 
responsibilities of life, and the tyranny of the 
conscience. They simply enjoy living with- 
out being too particular, and lay great stress 
on making it as pleasant as possible to other 



THE INNER DUTIES 131 

people. Their aim was to be easy, good- 
natured, quiet gentlemen, who made life as 
agreeable as they could all round. And 
though the ideal was not a very high one, 
it was not bad for a warm climate ; and it 
may compare well with the actual practice 
of our own land or any other. 



FAMILY DUTIES 

53. The position of women was always an 
important one in Egypt, as the social system 
was matriarchal in the early times, and con- 
tinued to place property in the hands of 
women throughout the history. Even the 
strongly patriarchal Roman law and the 
power of Islam did not root out this, as in 
Makrisi's time a Copt always said, in selling 
anything, ''with my wife's permission" ; and 
to the present time in Upper Egypt women 
are the treasurers and misers of the house- 
hold. Yet the relation was apparently much 
on the same footing as other business, and 
has little of the family character ; nor did 
it produce any large number of precepts. 

Throughout all the earlier history a woman 
who had property was always mistress of the 



132 THE INNER DUTIES 

house, and her husband was a sort of boarder 
or visitor, who had to keep up the establish- 
ment. This is seen even in the XlXth 
Dynasty, where Any writes, " Be not rude 
to a woman in her house if thou know her 
thoroughly. Do not say, ' Where is that ? 
bring it to me,' when she hath put it in its 
right place, and thine eye hath seen it; when 
thou art silent thou knowest her qualities, 
and it is a joy for thine hand to be with her. 
There are many who understand not how a 
man should act if he wish to bring misfortune 
into her house, and who know not how to 
find out her conduct in all ways. The man 
who is strong of heart is soon master in 
her house." (Any, 56.) And even in the 
Ptolemaic times marriage contracts made 
over all possible property of the man entirely 
to the woman. 

In most nations, however, there have been 
several legal forms of marriage side by side ; 
in ancient India and in Roman law this was 
conspicuous. Probably the same diversity 
existed in Egypt, depending on the question 
of whether the woman had property of her 
own to begin with. In Ptah-hotep we find: 
"If thou art successful and hast furnished 
thy house and lovest the wife of thy bosom, 



THE INNER DUTIES 133 

then fill her stomach and clothe her back. 
The medicine for her body is oil. Make 
glad her heart during the time that thou 
hast. She is a field profitable to its owner." 
(21.) In later times the Ptolemaic precepts 
say, " May it not happen to thee to maltreat 
thy wife, whose strength is less than thine ; 
but may she find in thee a protector." (Pre- 
cepts, 8.) Here the husband is presumed to 
be independent, and to be master. 

Irregularities are considered by Ptah-hotep 
to demand at least compensatory kindness. 
" If thou makest a woman ashamed, wanton 
of heart, whom her fellow townspeople know 
to be under two laws (in an ambiguous 
position) ; be kind to her for a season, send 
her not away, let her have food to eat. 
The wantonness of her heart appreciateth 
a straight path." (Ptah-hotep, 37.) But he 
warns most strongly against a corrupt life. 
"If thou wishest to prolong friendship in a 
house into which thou enterest as master, 
as brother, as friend, in any place that thou 
enterest beware of approaching to women ; 
no place in which that is done prospereth. 
The face is not watchful in attaining it 
(pleasures) ; a thousand men are injured in 
order to be profited for a little moment, like 



134 THE INNER DUTIES 

a dream, by tasting which death is reached." 
(Ptah-hotep, 18.) Any similarly says, " Follow 
not after a woman, and allow not that she 
occupy thy heart." (Any, 57.) And of the 
wandering professional he says, " Keep thy- 
self from the strange woman, who is not 
known in her town. Look not on her when 
she cometh, and know her not, and fill not 
thy heart with her. She is a whirlpool in 
deep water, the vortex of which is not 
known. The woman whose husband is 
afar writeth to thee daily ; when none is 
there to see her she standeth and spreadeth 
her snare ; sin unto death it is to hearken 
thereto, even when she shall not have ac- 
complished her plan in reality. Men do all 
crimes for this alone." (Any, 8.) 

In the qualifications for the kingdom of 
Osiris the moral law was early laid down. 
In the earlier repudiation it appears to be 
only a trespass against the sacred property, 
" I have not committed fornication nor 
impurity, in what was sacred to the god 
of my city." (A. 22.) But in the later 
repudiation this is divided into three 
general propositions. " I have not com- 
mitted adultery with another man's wife " 
(B. 19); "I have not been impure" 



THE INNER DUTIES 135 

(B. 20) ; "I have not been given to un- 
natural lust." (B. 27.) 

54. Of the parental and filial duties there 
is not much said, compared with the space 
they fill in the systems of the further east. 
There is not a single condition laid down 
on these duties in the judgment before 
Osiris ; and according to these earliest 
codes a man had no stronger duties to his 
parents than to any other persons. The 
early moralists, however, treat of such 
duties to some extent, but they again 
almost disappear in the later writers. As 
compared with the code of harsher climates 
this may be due to the small amount of 
cost and care of children ; and as compared 
with other eastern lands, the provision of 
offerings in semblance by the Egyptians in 
the tomb left little place for the urgency 
of filial duties in maintaining continual 
supplies for the deceased. It is at least 
a curious lack, contrary to what might be 
expected in the Egyptian code. We read 
in Kagemni of the " man devoid of 
sociability," that he is " rude to his mother 
and to his people" (Kagemni, 4); and the 
late Precepts echo this, " Make it not in 
the heart of a mother to enter into bitter- 



136 THE INNER DUTIES 

ness." (T.) And in Any we specially read 
of the long cares of a mother, and the 
consequent duty to do the same for the 
next generation. (Any, 40.) He enjoins 
the duty of funeral offerings : " Offer water 
to thy father and thy mother who rest in 
the valley (of tombs) ; see to the water, 
and offer the divine things which are said 
to be acceptable. Forget it not when thou 
art far off; if thou dost this thy son shall 
also do the same for thee." (Any, 12.) 

The value of paternal precepts is also 
dwelt on. " If the son of a man receive 
what his father saith, no plan of his shall 
fail. He whom thou teachest as thy son, 
or the listener that is successful in the heart 
of the nobles, he guideth his mouth accord- 
ing to what he hath been told .... He 
faileth that entereth without hearing. He 
that knoweth, on the next day is estab- 
lished ; he who is ignorant is crushed." 
(Ptah-hotep, 39.) "The son that hearkeneth 
is a follower of Horus ; there is good for 
him when he hath hearkened ; he groweth 
old, he reacheth ainakh, he telleth the like 
to his children, renewing the teaching of 
his father. Every man teacheth as he hath 
performed ; he telleth the like to his 



THE INNER DUTIES 137 

sons that they may tell it again to their 
children." (Ptah-hotep, 41.) " Do according 
to that which thy master telleth thee. How 
excellent to a man is the teaching of his 
father, out of whom he hath come, out 
of his very body, and who spoke unto him 
while he was yet altogether in his loins. 
Greater is what hath been done unto him, 
than what hath been said unto him. Behold 
a good son that god giveth doeth beyond 
what he is told for his master ; he doeth 
right, doing heartily, even as thou hast come 
unto me . . . ." (Ptah-hotep, 43.) The 
inheritance of qualities, and their importance 
above education, is here well marked. 

The duties to the children are also en- 
forced. Any says, " Take to thyself a wife 
when young, that she may give thee a son ; 
being thine, a child to thee, when thou art 
a young man, is a witness that this is a 
good man's deed, of one whom many will 
praise the more for his son." (i.) And 
Ptah-hotep says, "If thou art a successful 
man, and thou makest a son by god's 
grace, if he is accurate, goeth again in thy 
way, and attendeth to thy business on the 
proper occasion, do unto him every good 
thing, for he is thy own son, to whom it 



138 THE INNER DUTIES 

belongeth that thy ka begat ; estrange not 
thy heart from him." (Ptah-hotep, 12.) And 
in the late precepts the duties and care for 
sons are also repeated, though the strong 
notion of continuity of family occupation 
and tradition seems to have gone. " May 
it not happen to thee to cause thy infant 
to suffer if he be weak, but assist him." 
(Precepts, 14.) " Do not abandon one son 
to another of thy sons, who is stronger 
or more courageous." (Precepts, 15.) And 
this control extended into maturity, for we 
read, " Do not allow thy son to be familiar 
with a married woman." (Precepts, 18.) 



LECTURE VII. 
THE OUTER DUTIES 

RELATIONS TO EQUALS 

55. THE more general duties to equals 
occupy a large part of the repudiation of 
sins. The earlier list says, " I have not 
murdered" (A. 16), and "I have not com- 
manded murder" (A. 17); and the second 
list states, "I have not slain men." (B. 5.) 
In the late precepts there appears the higher 
command, " Do not save thy life at the cost 
of that of another." (Precepts, 12.) 

The general statement with which the 
earlier repudiation opens, " I have not done 
injury to men " (A. i), is amplified into several 
different declarations in the later list. " I 
have not done injustice" (B. i) opens the 
second list, and further it declares, " I have 
not robbed" (B. 2), " I have not stolen" 
(B. 14 and 15), " I have not been a pilferer." 
(B. 1 6.) Special forms of dishonesty are 

139 



I 4 o THE OUTER DUTIES 

detailed : " I have not added to nor 
diminished the measures of grain (A. 23), 
and in the second list, " I have not diminished 
the corn measure" (B. 6), " I have not 
diminished the palm measure " (A. 24), " I 
have not falsified the cubit of land" (A. 25), 
" I have not added to the weight of the 
balance" (A. 26), "I have not nullified the 
plummet of the scales." (A. 260.) The sins 
of Egyptian agriculture are named : " I have 
not stopped water in its season" (A. 31), " I 
have not dammed running water." (A 32.) 

A very strange repudiation next appears 
which seems as if fire was looked on as 
having a separate being. " I have not 
quenched fire in its moment," i.e. when 
burning up. (A. 33.) Possibly fire was 
looked on as a portion of the sun-god, who 
would be offended at being thwarted. 

The earlier repudiation does not name 
falsehood, but the later says, " I have not 
spoken falsehood " (B. 9), and " I have not 
deceived nor done ill." (B. 34.) 

56. Consideration for others is strongly 
put forward. " Look not a second time on 
what thine eye has seen in thine house ; and 
being silent do not let it be openly spoken 
of by another." (Any, 7.) In the second 



THE OUTER DUTIES 141 

repudiation of sins we find, " I have not 
made (unjust) preferences" (B. 40), " I have 
not played the rich man, except in my own 
things" (B. 41), " I am not of an aggressive 
hand." (B. 30.) Antef claims, " I am one that 
smooths difficulties, respecting (?) a name, 
divining (?) what is in the heart " (3). " I am 
one prudent in preventing and easing, quiet- 
ing the mourner with pleasant speech " (4). 

Liberality was enjoined, as in the Song of 
the Harper to Neferhotep, "Give bread to 
him who is without a plot of land " ; and the 
second repudiation has, " I have not been 
niggardly in grain." (B. 14.) While Ptah- 
hotep requires that liberality should be 
genial " Let thy face be shining the time 
that thou hast for a feast ; verily that which 
cometh out of the store-chamber doth not go 
back again, but is bread for apportionment ; 
and he that is niggardly is an accuser, empty 
is his belly." (Ptah-hotep, 34.) 

The general duties of goodwill and kind- 
ness to men are often repeated. In the 
earlier repudiation we find, u I have not 
caused suffering to men" (A. 18), "I have 
not done mischief" (A. 5) ; while in the later 
list this is repeated as " I have not caused 
weeping" (B. 26), " I have not made a dis- 



142 THE OUTER DUTIES 

turbance" (B. 21), "I have not borne a 
grudge " (B. 28). Violent and harsh con- 
duct is . specially condemned by the 
moralists, " Make not terror amongst 
men, god punisheth the like . . . never 
did violence prosper." (Ptah-hotep, 6.) And 
"If thy conciliatory speech is good, they 
shall incline the heart to take it." (Any, 61.) 
" I am good, not hasty of countenance, not 
pulling a man headlong," (?) says Antef. (16.) 
" Let no punishment be done when a noble 
is busy ; do not depress the heart of him 
that is already laden." (Ptah-hotep, 26.) 
This last maxim gives a good view of the 
Egyptian attitude of mind towards punish- 
ments ; they were no vindictive pleasure to 
the Egyptians, on the contrary they gave 
a sympathetic pain to them, and the sight 
was so unpleasant and depressing that it 
should be postponed rather than annoy a 
high official who was already worried with 
business. It may be doubted if any ancient 
people have had such an aversion to causing 
pain or distress as is shown by the genial 
and kindly upper classes of the Vth Dynasty. 
It is the very antithesis of the Greek 
slaughter of prisoners, the Roman games, 
or the patristic hell. 



THE OUTER DUTIES 143 

The precepts of friendship are what might 
be expected in such a society : kindly and 
prudent, but without any passionate depth 
of feeling. "It befalleth that a quarrelsome 
man is a spoiler of things : be not thus to 
him who cometh to thee ; the remembrance 
of a man is of his kindliness in the years 
after the staff." (Ptah-hotep, 34.) "Useful 
are the doings of a friend (if he) purify him- 
self from evils, (then) thou shalt be safe from 
his being lost ; (therefore) beware of any loss 
(of friendship)." (Any, 52.) And in the late 
precepts of a base society it was enjoined, 
" Do not pervert the heart of thy acquaint- 
ance if he be pure." (Precept, 23.) While 
caution in friendship was noted very early. 
"If thou seekest the character of a friend, 
mind thou do not ask (of others) ; go to 
him, occupy thyself with him alone, so as 
not to interfere with his business ; argue 
with him after a season, test his heart with 
an instance of speech." (Ptah-hotep, 33.) 

57. The position of a leading man is dwelt 
on by Ptah-hotep. "If thou art strong, 
inspiring awe by knowledge or by pleasing, 
speak in first command ; that is to say, not 
according to (another's) lead. The weak man 
entereth into error. Raise not thine heart 



144 THE OUTER DUTIES 

lest it should be cast down. Be not silent. 
Beware of interruption and of answering 
words with heat. The flames of a fiery 
heart sweep away the mild man when a 
fighter treadeth on his path." (Ptah-hotep, 
25.) Antef says, " I am a speaker in the 
house of justice, of ready mouth in the 
difficulties of heart." (20.) "If thou art 
a guide, commanding the conduct of a com- 
pany, seek for thyself every good aim, so 
that thy policy may be without error. A 
great thing is justice, enduring and surviv- 
ing." (Ptah-hotep, 5.) "I am accurate like 
the balance, weighing truth like Thoth," 
says Antef. (17.) "Do not take a haughty 
attitude," is said in the Ptolemaic precepts. 

(24.) 

The business of the council of the district 
was an important part of the life of a well- 
born Egyptian ; it was the main field for the 
use of most of the social qualities, much 
what the modern meglis is among the shekhs 
of an Egyptian town, or the bench of Justices 
of the Peace in England. We have already 
noticed allusions to qualities at the council, 
and some injunctions relate entirely to such 
affairs. "If thou art a successful man sitting 
in the council of his lord, confine thine 



THE OUTER DUTIES 145 

heart to what promiseth success. That thou 
shouldest be silent is better than that thy 
speech should run wild. Thou knowest 
what thou understandest. It is an expert 
that speaketh in the council. Ill to bear 
is speaking of every kind of work. It is 
one that understandeth it that putteth it to 
the stick." (Ptah-hotep, 24.) " If thou 
actest as the son of a man upon the 
council, a messenger to persuade the 
people. ... do not tend to favour one 
side. Beware lest it be said ' His method 
is that of the nobles, he giveth speech 
favouring one side therein.' Turn thine 
aim unto an even balance." (Ptah-hotep, 
28.) "If thou findest a debater in his 
moment, a poor man, not thine equal, let 
not thine heart leap out upon him when he 
is feeble. Let him alone, let him refute 
himself, question him not over -much." 
(Ptah-hotep, 4) : a saying that reminds us 
of George Herbert's : 

" Fierceness makes 
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy." 

Lastly, convivial conduct has its duties 
laid down by one of the earliest moralists, 
Kagemni. " If thou sittest at meat with a 

K 



146 THE OUTER DUTIES 

company, hate the bread that thou desirest, 
for it is but a little moment. Restrain 
appetite, for gluttony is base. It is a base 
fellow who is mastered by his belly, who 
passeth time without thought, free ranging 
for his feeding in their houses. But be not 
afraid of meat in company with the greedy, 
take what he giveth thee, refuse it not, 
thinking that it will honour him. If there 
be a man devoid of making himself known, 
on whom no word hath power .... every 
one crieth, ' Let thy name come forth, thou 
art silent with the mouth when spoken to.' ' 
(Kagemni, 2, 3, 4.) 

RELATIONS TO SUPERIORS 

58. Strange to say not a single duty to 
superiors appears in the great repudiation 
of sins. The total absence of family duties 
and those to superiors in these primitive 
categories may possibly lead us to the view 
that neither family nor superiors existed in 
the early period of society to which these 
lists belong. It would be quite possible that 
in the matriarchal society the permanent bond 
of the family was not looked on as entailing 
duties different in kind to those equally due 



THE OUTER DUTIES 147 

to relatives and neighbours in general. 
And it would be also possible that in a 
population of independent farmers without 
any central organization, or need of com- 
bining against foes, the upper class for 
whom such formularies were prepared had 
practically no superiors to whom they owed 
duties. Very likely the eldest or most able 
farmer of a district would be a sort of 
leader ; but practically a council of the land- 
owners of the neighbourhood might be the 
only authority, and no obligations to any 
superiors of these would exist. Certainly in 
the historical ages of the Vth and XlXth 
Dynasties the family duties are far more 
lightly touched on than we should expect, 
and there is none of that clannish sense 
of solidarity which is the basis of society 
to western peoples ; while the duties to 
superiors are not so frequently named as the 
duties to inferiors. The absence of certain 
classes of feeling and ideas may often show 
us more than the presence of particular 
injunctions. 

The duty of respect to old age is of 
course one of the most obvious to many 
different races. Yet we do not find this 
enjoined in the earlier sayings, but only in 



148 THE OUTER DUTIES 

Ptolemaic times. " Mock not the venerable 
man who is thy superior." (Precept 25.) 
" May it happen to thee to respect the 
venerable." (Precept 7.) And the master 
is equally to be regarded. " Curse not thy 
master before god." (Precept 9.) " Do not 
speak against thy master." (Precept 10.) 
And, earlier than that, age was to be re- 
spected more than position. " Do not thou 
sit when another is standing who is older 
than thee, even if thou art greater than he 
in his office." (Any, 27.) 

Maxims for servants are also given by 
Any. " He who hates laziness comes with- 
out being called." (46.) "When none call 
him the runner comes." (47.) " Reply not 
to a superior who is annoyed, wait on one 
side ; speak softly when he speaks in anger, 
this remedy appeases his heart." (58.) 

The relations of subordinates to nobles 
occupy much notice. The semi-domestic 
staff of business agents attached to the 
household of the wealthy chief of a district, 
is well known even under the civilized 
government of the present day ; but when 
the bonds of order in Egypt were far 
slacker than now, when each petty chief, 
or big shekh, was responsible for the 



THE OUTER DUTIES 149 

peace of his district and for its taxes to the 
king, with unlimited powers for keeping 
order in his hands, these staffs of servants 
really included the police, taxgatherers, ac- 
countants, and district surveyors of the petty 
jurisdiction of their lord. Hence they were 
a numerous and important class, in fact the 
bureaucracy of the country. Ptah-hotep 
enjoins, "If thou art a man of those who 
sit at the place of a greater man than thyself 
take what he giveth .... thou shalt look 
at what is before thee : pierce him not with 
many glances, it is abomination to the ka for 
them to be directed at him. Speak not unto 
him until he calleth, one knoweth not the 
evil (or sorrow) at heart ; thou shalt speak 
when he questioneth thee, and so what 
thou sayest will be good to the heart/' (7.) 
" The noble who hath plenty of bread doeth 
as his ka commandeth, he will give to whom 
he praiseth, it is the manner of evening (the 
common supper of the whole household). It 
befalleth that it is the ka that openeth his 
hands. The noble giveth, it is not the sub- 
ject who winneth. The eating of bread is 
under the disposal of god, it is the ignorant 
that rebelleth against it." (7.) This pic- 
ture of conduct in the noble's household 



ISO THE OUTER DUTIES 

is exactly what may be seen every evening 
at the round supper of a wealthy man. 
Antef says, " I am a regulator for the king's 
house, knowing what is said in every diwan" 
(12.) "I am a pleasure unto the house of 
his master, bringing to remembrance his 
successful exploits." (14.) 

59. In business we read, " Bend thy back 
to thy chief, the superior of the king's house 
on whose property thy house dependeth, and 
thy payments in their proper place. It is ill 
to be at variance with the chief, one liveth 
only while he is gracious. . . ." (Ptah- 
hotep, 31.) "Teach a noble what is profit- 
able to him ; make him acceptable amongst 
people, let his satisfaction reach his master 
on whose ka depend thy provisions. When 
the stomach of a favourite is satisfied, thy 
back will be clothed thereby." (Ptah-hotep, 
27.) Here back-stairs influence and the 
evils of toadying are plainly commended. 
Antef boasts, " I am one exact in the house 
of his master, knowing the return in trade." 
(?) (7.) "I am one that recognizes his 
instructor, that recognizes a counsellor ; a 
councillor that causes his counsel to be 
taken." (19.) 

To negotiators and envoys some very 



THE OUTER DUTIES 151 

judicious orders are given. "If thou art 
a man that entereth, sent by a noble to a 
noble, be exact in the manner of him who 
sendeth thee, do the business for him as he 
saith. Beware of making ill feeling by 
words that would set noble against noble, in 
destroying justice (or good order) ; do not 
exaggerate. The washing of the heart shall 
not be repeated in the speech of any man, 
noble or commoner ; that is an abomination 
to the Jka." (8.) This "washing of the heart " 
is evidently the free unguarded expression of 
feeling about a person, known to us as "let- 
ting fly," " expressing the feelings," " using 
language," &c., a process well known to wash 
the heart by clearing away ill feeling, after 
which the speaker " feels better." To repeat 
any of this was a high breach of good faith ; 
only the exact message which was sent should 
be repeated. " I am firm of foot, excellent of 
plan, forcing the way for him that established! 
him," is the business-like boast of Antef's 
capacity as envoy. (18.) Those who sought 
justice were reminded that they must not 
be touchy if they could not be attended to 
at once. "When thou art in the council- 
hall, standing and sitting until thy going (or 
the movement of thy business) that hath 



152 THE OUTER DUTIES 

been commanded for thee on the earliest day, 
go not away if thou art kept back, while the 
face (of the chief) is attentive to him who 
entereth and reporteth, and the place of him 
who is called is broad. The council-hall is 
according to rule, and all its method accord- 
ing to measure. It is god who promoteth 
position, it is not done for those who are 
ready of elbows." (Ptah-hotep, 13). 

And even in death presumption was not 
to be tolerated : " Do not build up thy tomb 
above thosewhocommand thee." (Precepts, 5.) 

RELATIONS TO INFERIORS 

60. On the duties and relations to inferiors 
the repudiations of sins have much to say. 
The claim that " I have not oppressed those 
beneath me" (A. 2) is echoed down to the 
Ptolemaic times, " May it not happen to 
thee to maltreat an inferior" (Precept 7), 
and " Do not amuse thyself by playing 
upon those who are dependent upon thee." 
(Precept 17.) 

The repudiation continues, " I have not 
caused a slave to be ill-treated by his over- 
seer " (A. 13) ; "I have not caused weeping " 
(A. 1 6) ; "I am one silent to the violent 



THE OUTER DUTIES 153 

and ignorant, from a desire to abolish 
greediness of oppression." (Antef, i.) 

With the fine sense of reserve that we 
have noticed before, even a favour to a 
subordinate was not to be recalled to notice 
if he were ungrateful enough to forget it. 
"If thou art gracious concerning a matter 
that hath happened, and leanest to favour 
a man in his right, avoid the subject, and 
do not recall it after the first day that he 
hath been silent to thee (about it)." (Ptah- 
hotep, 29.) 

Of the management of inferiors we read, 
" The leader of a party going to the field 
seems another being." (Any, 53.) " Let 
there be a life of discipline in thy house ; 
reprimand is healthy for thy finding out for 
thyself." (Any, 20.) But the care and 
attention was not to be confined to the 
house. " My god having granted that thou 
hast children, the heart of thy father knows 
them (they are cared for) ; but whoever 
is hungry is satisfied in his own house, and 
I am the wall which protects him. Do 
nothing without thy heart (cordiality), for it 
is my god who gives existence." (Any, 26.) 
And long before in the repudiations of sins 
the soul declared, " I have not caused 



154 THE OUTER DUTIES 

hunger" (A. 15), "I have not brought 
any to hunger" (A. 14), "I have not 
taken food away" (B. 10), "I have not 
taken milk from the mouth of babes " (A. 
27), referring to his not having harried the 
women of the estate with farm work. And 
overworking the serfs was specially for- 
bidden : " I have not made a man do more 
than his day's work " is in the earlier re- 
pudiation. (A. 6.) 

The avoidance of pride after prosperity 
is enjoined : " Eat not bread while another 
stands, without reaching out thy hand for 
him. It is known eternally that the man 
who is not, will become one rich, another 
poor, but food will (always) remain for him 
who acts charitably. A man may be rich 
for years and yet become a servant next 
year." (Any, 41.) "If thou growest great 
after small things, and makest wealth after 
poverty, so that thou art an example thereof 
in thy city, thou art known in thy nome, and 
thou art become prominent ; then do not 
wrap up thy heart in thy riches that have 
come to thee by the gift of god (for there 
shall follow) another like unto thee to whom 
the like hath befallen." (Ptah-hotep, 30.) 

61. Grasping ways were specially in- 



THE OUTER DUTIES 155 

veighed against : "I am one open of face 
to his mendicant, doing good to his equal." 
(5.) " I am open of face, of bountiful hand, 
master of hospitality, free of hiding the 
face " (8), " I am the friend of the miser- 
able, sweet and pleasant to him who hath 
nothing" (9), "I am food for the hungry 
who hath nothing, and of bountiful hand to 
the miserable" (10) are the boasts of Antef. 
" Let not thy heart be extortionate about 
shares, in grasping at what is not thy portion. 
Let not thy heart be extortionate towards 
thy neighbours. Greater is prayer to a 
kindly person than force. Poor is he that 
carrieth off his neighbours without the per- 
suasion of words. A little for which there 
hath been extortion causeth remorse when 
the stomach is cool." (Ptah-hotep, 20.) 

The fair treatment and encouragement 
of those who seek justice is commanded. 
" If thou art an adviser be pleased to hear 
the speech of a petitioner, let him not hesi- 
tate to empty himself of what he hath 
purposed to tell thee ; love beareth away 
falsification (or concealment), let his heart 
be washed until that is accomplished for 
which he hath come. If a hesitating man 
make complaints one (a bystander) saith, 



156 THE OUTER DUTIES 

' Why when a man hath trespassed are there 
no complaints made to him (the judge) 
about what hath happened?' It is good 
breeding to hear graciously." (Ptah-hotep, 
17.) Antef says, "I am a judge hearing 
truth, advising (?) what is in the happy 
mean" (13), "I am pleasant in the diwans, 
attentive, without piggishness." (15.) 

The steward or farm bailiff was always a 
very important person, as he could make or 
mar any man, and might readily play false. 
"Take a steward of just repute, for thy 
reputation is in his balance . . . spare thy 
hand from him who is in thy dwellings, the 
other things being in his care." (Any, 17.) 
This free dealing with a trusty steward is 
commanded. " Degrade not the steward, 
who acts as deputy in thy house. Let him 
not run after thy ear. Give him audience 
when he is in thy house, and turn not back 
his requests. Speak to him honourably, 
being honourable on earth without reproach 
for what he does." (Any, 63.) But due 
caution was needed before trusting a man 
thus. " Do not open thy hand to an un- 
known man, it will be a loss to thee. When 
goods are put in their store-rooms he be- 
comes to thee as a deputy, and will store 



THE OUTER DUTIES 157 

thy things for himself, and thy people will 
find him in the way to thee." (Any, 18.) 
The last touch is particularly true in Egypt, 
where any man who is in a place of trust 
is soon in the position of a go-between, 
preventing his master from seeing too much 
of those below him. 

Of assistance to others Antef boasts thus : 
" I am knowledge to him that knoweth not, 
teaching a man what is advantageous to 
him." (IT.) 

Coming down to animals we find a curious 
code of fair play enjoined in the first re- 
pudiation of sins. Animals might be caught 
in open ways, but not by deceit. " I have 
not caught animals by a bait of herbage ; 
I have not trapped birds by a bait of " gods' 
bones " ; I have not caught fish by a bait 
of fishes' bodies." (A. 28, 29, 30.) 

DUTIES TO THE GODS 

62. The duties enjoined toward the gods 
are of interest as showing somewhat of the 
lay Egyptian's attitude toward religion, and 
giving somewhat of a different side to that 
of the temple scenes. It is to be noticed 
that there is not a single maxim on this 



158 THE OUTER DUTIES 

subject in those of Kagemni and Ptah- 
hotep. Regarding the king the great 
high priest the soul declared, " I have 
not cursed the king." (B. 35.) 

In the duties about the tomb, the earlier 
repudiation has, " I have not taken the pro- 
visions of the blessed dead." (A. 21.) And 
in late times when ostentation abounded the 
precepts enjoined, " Build not thy tomb in 
thine own estate ; build not thy tomb at 
the approaches to the temples." (19, 20.) 

The offerings to the gods were specially 
guarded in the earlier repudiation, " I have 
not cut short the rations of the temples " 
(A. 19), "I have not diminished the offer- 
ings of the gods" (A. 20), "I have not 
defrauded the cycle of the gods of their 
choice meats." (A. 34.) The sacred property 
was also guarded, " I have not stolen the 
property of the gods" (B. 8), "I have not 
driven off the cattle of the sacred lands " 
(A. 35), " I have not slain a sacred animal." 

(B. .3.) 

A strange injunction is, "I have not 
stopped a god in his comings forth." 
(A. 36.) This almost looks as if it re- 
ferred to checking idiots or insane persons, 
who are generally supposed to be possessed. 



THE OUTER DUTIES 159 

Offence to the gods was also guarded 
against ; "I have not done that which is 
an abomination to the gods" (A. 12), 4< I 
have not offended the gods of any city" 
(B. 42), " I have not cursed god." (B. 38.) 

63. Some form of augury seems to be 
referred to by Any in the remark, "If one 
comes to seek thy views, it is a reason to 
consult the sacred books." (Any 3.) The 
duty of making offerings is often repeated. 
In the earlier repudiation it occurs, " I 
approach the bark of offerings, I approach 
the place of him who offers the prescribed 
offerings." (A. 7.) Any says, "Make the 
feast of thy god, renew it in its season, it 
irritates god to neglect it ; set up witnesses 
after thou hast made thy offering the first 
time of so doing." (Any, 2.) Again, "When 
thou makest an offering to thy god, guard 
against his abominations .... Do not 
increase his orders ; guard thyself from ex- 
panding his liturgies ; thine eye should 
regard his plans. Apply thyself to make 
adoration in his name, for it is he who gives 
to spirits millions of forms, magnifying 
those who magnify him. The god of this 
earth being Shu, lord of the horizon, and his 
emblems being on earth, as one gives him 



160 THE OUTER DUTIES 

incense with bread every day, he will make 
to flourish by his appearing that which is 
planted. Increase therefore the bread for 
the god." (Any, 39.) " Give thyself to the 
god ; guard thyself each day for the god, 
and do to-morrow as to-day. Sacrifice, 
for god looks on the offerer, but he neglects 
those who neglect him." (Any, 48.) " He 
who exalts his spirit by praise, by adoration, 
by incense in his works, so that devotion is 
in his affairs he who does thus god shall 
magnify his name." (Any, 5.) A somewhat 
higher line is touched by Any in one case, 
" That which is detestable in the sanctuary of 
god are noisy feasts ; if thou implore him 
with a loving heart of which all the words 
are mysterious, he will do thy matters, he 
hears thy words, he accepts thine offerings." 
(Any, n.) 

64. We have already noticed in dealing 
with the inner character, how strength, quiet- 
ness, and the avoiding of extremes was set 
forth as the aim in cultivating the mind ; and 
how, in external business, self-help, prudence, 
conciliation, and honesty are enjoined. We 
may now sum up the principles of dealing 
with others. The family duties we have 
seen are very little dwelt on ; and there 



THE OUTER DUTIES 161 

seems no sense of the wider range of duties 
to relatives that carries so much with it to 
our notions. In dealing with equals, beside 
the obvious crimes of murder and theft, 
cheating and falsehood are strongly repudi- 
ated ; faults should be overlooked ; oppres- 
sion and stinginess should be avoided ; and 
no mere mischief or needless suffering should 
be allowed, because it was unpleasant to see 
as well as to feel. Friendship was looked on 
as useful, but without any enthusiasm or 
devotion. Haughtiness was to be eschewed, 
and geniality cultivated in social intercourse. 
To superiors, ready submission was com- 
mended ; and the influences of back-stairs 
and toadying were not to be omitted. But 
mischief should not be made by repeating 
strong expressions. To inferiors, fairness 
and kindness was enjoined ; past favour 
should not be harped upon. Pride, grasping, 
and brow-beating are all condemned. Trusty 
servants should be respected, and not humili- 
ated, and animals should be hunted fairly and 
without deception. But with the gods every- 
thing was a matter of quid pro quo, and 
making terms in the style of Jacob. 

Now the whole of this is rather the 
spirit of the eighteenth than of the nine- 



i6 2 THE OUTER DUTIES 

teenth century. Their virtues are quiet 
and discreet ; their vices are calculating. 
They belong far more to the tone of 
Chesterfield or Gibbon than to that of 
Kingsley or Carlyle ; they accord with 
Pope or Thomson rather than with 
vSwinburne or Tennyson. There is hardly 
a single splendid feeling ; there is not one 
burst of magnanimous sacrifice ; there is not 
one heartfelt self-depreciation, in any point 
of all this worldly-wisdom. They are as 
canny as a Scot, without his sentiment ; as 
prudent as a Frenchman, without his ideals ; 
as self-conceited as an Englishman, without 
his family. 

On the other hand we must recognize that 
the Egyptians show a wealth of good quali- 
ties good, but not lovable of sterling 
value for the constitution of society, which 
gave them the high place which they filled 
in the early history of man. 

But all this is the standard and not the 
practice. The standard is not so very high 
that we should assume that the practice was 
much lower ; it was a practicable standard, 
and was probably effective in laying hold of 
a large part of the people. Cold and hard 
as much of it seems, we yet know from their 



THE OUTER DUTIES 163 

stories and their songs that they had much 
fuller feelings than would be expected from 
the maxims of the prudent. And we must 
no more judge them entirely by the cautious 
injunctions of their ancients, than we should 
wish our own selves to be pictured in the 
future as being all Benthams and Mills, 
Pecksniffs or Pitt-Crawleys. 






NOTES 

A. INHERITED INTUITIONS. 

B. THE IDEAL OF TRUTH, LUCIAN. 

C. STATISTICS OF CONSCIENCE MONEY. 

D. NATURE OF THE KA. 



NOTE A. 
INHERITED INTUITIONS 

As an analogy to the view of inherited intuitions of moral 
sense and conscience selecting lines of action, there is a 
similar inheritance in the sense of pain and pleasure. The 
extraordinary theories of special nerves of pain, and the 
difficulties of defining it from pleasure, are all needless 
when we recognize the inherited character of such defini- 
tions. Simple sensation is the common basis of both ; and 
such sensations as ancestral and personal experience have 
associated on the average with injury are recognized as pain, 
those associated with well-being are recognized as pleasure. 
The ideas of pain or pleasure are entirely an association 
of causes and effects, and nothing abstractly different in 
nature. The pains which cannot be inherited, as those of 
decay and death, are not in the least a dread to animals, 
nor to races of men, who are not reflective pointing clearly 
to the inherited and acquired idea of pain. During recovery 
there may be far sharper and more lasting sensations than 
during injury, and yet they are always pleasurable, showing 
that not the intensity but the connection of the sensation 
gives its character. This again is seen by the intense misery 
of internal injury, without any keen sensations ; association 
here is the cause of pain. Even a short experience of the 
individual will decide between pain or pleasure of a sensa- 
tion ; a medicine, such as quinine, which may be very 
nauseous at first, will become a pleasure like a sweetmeat 
when it has been associated with relief. And new flavours 
unlike any yet known, as new fruits or chemical compounds, 

167 



1 68 INHERITED INTUITIONS 

cannot be distinguished as nice or nasty at first. It is only 
when their effects have been felt that a sense of pain or 
pleasure becomes associated with them ; thus showing that 
association alone produces the character of a sensation. 

If, thus, pains and pleasures are purely associative ideas, 
inherited, and developed in the individual, the mental ideas 
of right and wrong are all the more likely to be an in- 
heritance of trains of thought and ideas which have proved 
to be successful or injurious. 



NOTE B. 
THE IDEAL OF TRUTH 

As a good study of the sense of veracity in the later Greek 
world, we may note a piece of one of Lucian's Dialogues 
("The Liar," No. 52). 

"TYCHIADES. Can you tell me, Philocles, what is the 
attraction which makes most men love to tell lies ? They 
even go to the point of saying things which have not 
common sense, and listen to those who do likewise. 

"PHILOCLES. There are plenty of reasons, Tychiades, 
enough to make such men lie as only think of their self- 
interest. 

"TYCHIADES. But the question is not there, as one 
says, for I am not speaking of those who lie to be useful to 
themselves. Some such are praiseworthy when they have 
deceived enemies, or when in a critical moment they have 
employed this remedy as a means of safety ; it is thus that 
Ulysses often acted to guide his life and those of his 
companions. But I am speaking, my dear, of those folks 
who without any need much prefer lies to truth, and please 
themselves and make a business of it without any particular 
reason. 

"PHILOCLES. And have you known folks of this kind, 
who have an innate love of lying? 

" TYCHIADES. Certainly, plenty of them." 



L 2 169 



NOTE C. 
CONSCIENCE MONEY 

SOME further details about Conscience Money that do not 
concern the immediate argument of the lecture may be 
given here, as this subject is one that has not yet been 
studied. I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Robert 
Chalmers, of H.M. Treasury, for informing me what 
materials were available on this matter, and for obtaining 
the permission of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to 
enable me to have the details of amounts copied for my 
use by a clerk. These copies only concern the dates and 
amounts received, as the information about source or 
persons involved is, of course, essentially private to the 
Department. The entries of the last thirty years comprise 
4791 items received, ranging from id. to ^4070. All of 
these have been tabulated and worked up in the present 
enquiry. 

The first question is how the material should be dealt 
with so as to obtain the most intelligible result. The long 
lists of varying sums have to be classified and arranged. 
The first question is that of the scale. In the appendix 
to the Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh I pointed out how 
a scale of equal increments was not the true basis of the 
equilateral probability curve. The difference between this 
and a scale of equal multiples is not seen except where 
the variation is a large part of the total amount. Hence 
in most physical questions it is never thought of. But 
when dealing with variations of many times the total 
quantity as here a variation of one to a million in the 

170 






CONSCIENCE MONEY 171 

amount then the scale is an essential question. When 
we look at any physical variable of which the reciprocal 
is likely to be treated, as for instance the distance or 
angular parallax of stars, the density or volume of a given 
mass, the fractions of an atmosphere of pressure, or the 
pressure in height of mercury in each case it would be 
clearly wrong to get different curves from the results 
because we read them on a different method. Such 
difference of curves would simply prove an irrationality of 
the scales. But no such difference of results can exist if 
we use a scale of equal multiples, or a logarithmic scale. 
Such was the reasoning then used. 

Now Conscience Money is an excellent subject by which 
to test the validity of this reasoning. It varies so enorm- 
ously that any scale not true in theory could never yield a 
consistent probability curve from such material. But we see 
on plotting out the amounts on the scale of equal multiples 
that we reach a consistent equilateral curve with no more 
divergence than can easily be explained. Any scale that 
was not true in theory could never deal so equably with 
material varying so vastly in amount as from id. to ,4,000. 
This result is, then, one of the effective proofs of the a priori 
reasoning given above, that the true scale is one of equal 
multiples, and that probable error is really x or -i- x and 
not + or - x. 

Next comes the question of what divisions are most 
rational for dealing with the material. The $ note is one of 
the main features, and it would be obviously wrong to divide 
the scale so that such a main factor would come just at either 
limit of a division. It should be central. And as 2 ios. 
and ,io are the next most obvious amounts we are led to 
a scale of binary multiples, where 2 ios., $, ^10, ^20, will 
each be the centre of a group. Hence the dividing points 
fall at *J2 x these amounts, or ,3 ios. &/., j is. $d. ; and 
halving and doubling these limits, down to \\d. and up to 
^3620 5J-. 4< 

Such was the settlement of the nature of the scale and of 
its rational divisions for dealing with this particular material. 



CONSCIENCE MONEY 

Beside the main total curve of the number of payments 
made, the amounts of which lie between the successive 
divisions of such a scale, there are also curves given of 
lesser portions of the whole material. 

The "curve of 1887-97" is of value to show the real 
meaning of the sudden start up in the middle of the total 
curve. This I referred to the facility of sending a $ note 
anonymously and through the post. This facility induced 
men to postpone sending what conscience demanded when 
over i until it amounted to ^5 ; thus making the curve of 
payments first fall below the probability curve and then start 
above it at ,5. Similarly the $ facility forestalled the 
action of conscience and made men send in payments which 
would otherwise have been left to accumulate ; thus it 
actually diminished the frequency of larger amounts. Now 
this erratic variation has disappeared in the returns of the 
last ten years, and there is hardly any of it to be seen in the 
" curve of 1887-97." The reason of this change seems to be 
very probably the introduction of postal orders, by which 
anonymous payments of sums under ^5 can be as easily 
made as by the old ^5 note. 

Then another enquiry is as to the different types of con- 
science. The commonest type is but vague, and sends lump 
sums without much caring if they exactly make up for 
deficiencies. The Conscience Money becomes a sort of 
free-will offering to atone for past deficiencies and keep an 
easy mind on the subject. A small number of people are 
more exact, however, and it is these higher classes of con- 
science that are shown by the curves of " amounts exact to 
-J-," that is to say any even number of pounds or of shillings, 
such as 6, 7, 8,9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, etc. ; "amounts exact 
to ^-Q," or precise to the nearest shilling on 2 los. or more ; 
and " amounts exact to jfa" or the nearest penny on 2 or 
shilling on ^25. It will be seen that the centres of these 
curves are successively lower and lower along the scale, 
showing that the more precise types of conscience belong to 
those persons who deal with smaller amounts. 

Another interesting question is the seasonal distribution. 



CONSCIENCE MONEY 175 

The effect of Christmas or quarterly settlements is not 
traceable at all. But a well-marked variation exists, 
amounting to double (both in the curve of frequency, and 
in the curve of the total amount) at one time of the year, 
to what it is at another. The maximum is in March, the 
minimum is in September. The meaning of this appears 
to be that spare cash is most abundant in March and least 
in September. And the cause probably is that as savings 
accumulate during the more economical season of the 
winter months, conscience can have freer sway. When 
warm weather and excursions begin to be in view money 
is kept back for them, and the end of the summer holidays 
is the time when conscience has least chance, and has to 
put up with promises of the future. 

From all this we can see a little of the practical working 
and nature of conscience in a certain class. It easily puts 
up with postponement ; but has a permanent hold, and 
exacts its claims when the most convenient opportunity 
occurs ; whether that opportunity be the easy sending 
of a ^5 note, or the paying up when money has fewest 
claims upon it. It is more precise and exacting among 
those persons who deal with rather smaller amounts than 
with others. And it is as legitimately and honestly followed 
in great things, great temptations and opportunities, as it is 
in small matters. Such results, though rather vague, are of 
unique interest in this part of ethics and psychology, as 
somewhat confirming and somewhat enlarging our a priori 
notions of what would be likely, and giving a definite and 
real basis of observation. 

To gain some comparative light upon the matter I en- 
quired of two friends abroad what were the views in their 
countries. A French Professor replies : " What you call 'Con- 
science Money ' exists amongst us, but I do not remember 
having seen any published details of such restitutions ; the 
State accepts them, and places them in the receipts, so far 
as I know. I do not know if this is a good criterion of 
comparative conscience : our financial system, for instance, 
is so close that fraud is difficult, and therefore occasions for 



1 76 CONSCIENCE MONEY 

restitution are rare. It seems to me that the number of 
restitutions might be used to show the probable number 
of frauds ; and so perhaps an ingenious statistician might 
deduce from this that the country of most restitutions is 
that of the most fraud, and where the honesty of private 
persons is lowest, at least in their dealings with the State." 

A German Professor replies : " I think that ' Conscience 
Money' is not paid in Germany, except in very rare cases. 
It is always reckoned among us as a characteristically 
English institution. On the whole there are certainly but 
very few frauds practised upon the State here, excepting 
small cases of frontier smuggling at the Customs. Such 
minor frauds appear to our middle classes as very venial 
sins, and do not trouble their conscience. And a man who 
practises large frauds is either a rogue, or acts from 
necessity ; in neither case will he make restitution. 

" To this it must be added that among you the preachers 
play a great part, and influence the mass of the people ; 
this has not been the case with us now for a long time. 
Our Protestant Church is a Government Institution which 
has lost touch with the great mass of the people. When 
with you a preacher attacks unrighteous gains, the whole 
of the community which goes customarily to church every 
Sunday hears it. With us his sermon is heard by some 
old women and a couple of young girls confirmed the year 
before certainly not people who have embezzled money." 

As to these remarks we must note that there are far 
greater openings for getting an advantage over the State 
in England than there are on the Continent. The large 
amount raised as Income Tax much of it on the unchecked 
voluntary declaration of the payer is the main source 
of under-taxation ; and the unfairness of the department has 
produced a state of public feeling which leads persons to 
avoid payments, who would not withhold them from other 
departments. Probate valuations are another source of 
under-payments often honestly misstated at first, and 
corrected afterwards. And the general lack of official in- 
spection of private life in England, and the liberty of the 



CONSCIENCE MONEY 177 

individual prevents the espionage which would readily inter- 
cept frauds in some other countries. 

On the other hand, if opportunities of fraud are greater 
the inducements to restitution are also greater. The religious 
moral influence, noted by my German friend, undoubtedly 
counts for a good deal, especially as such an influence may 
lead to restitution while merely transitory. But still more, 
perhaps, the sense of fair play leads to honesty ; this fair- 
ness is, perhaps, mainly due to the youthful training in 
competitive games, in which unfairness or oppression is 
reprobated ; and it is seen perhaps most plainly in after 
life in the conduct of the English policeman, who is the 
servant of the public, and not the State regulator like the 
Continental official. Another reason for restitutions is 
strongly pointed to by the character of the payments. The 
postponing of sums under ^5 until they amount to a $ 
note shows that much of the payments are due from chronic 
under-taxation which accumulates. This points to this resti- 
tution not being made for intentional fraud, but by perfectly 
honest people ; such may know that they are undertaxed 
but they prefer to pay up voluntarily rather than give in- 
formation to the official taxgatherer ; for that would lead 
him to worry and bully them in later years about the same 
sources, and require them to prove a diminutive of the 
income. It is far less inconvenient to pay up excess on 
an under-estimate than to have to pull down too high an 
estimate afterwards. More fair play on the part of the 
taxers would lead to more openness and honesty of the 
taxed. 



NOTE D. 
THE NATURE OF THE KA 

AMONG the various attempts to understand what the 
Egyptians described as the Ka, little notice seems to have 
been taken of the examples afforded us in the Precepts of 
Ptah-hotep. They are the more valuable as being all of 
one age, and by one writer, so that they must represent and 
delimit a single conception, and their date is so early in 
the Vth Dynasty that they probably show the original idea. 

In precept 7 the guest is enjoined not to pierce his host at 
table with many glances ; " it is an abomination to the ka 
for them to be directed at him." Here the ka is the con- 
sciousness or self-consciousness of the man, annoyed by 
staring. 

Then in precept 10, " Diminish not the time of following 
the heart (enjoying pleasures), for that is an abomination to 
the ka that its moment should be disregarded." The ka, 
therefore, is the seat of the intention and desire of enjoy- 
ment. 

In precept 8, "The washing of the heart shall not be 
repeated (words said in passionate relief of the feelings), 
it is an abomination to the ka. n Here the ka suffers the 
annoyance of another person's ill-temper. 

In precept 12 a son who is mentally like his father is said 
to be " thy own son to whom it belongeth that thy ka begat." 
Here the ka comprises the mental qualities which were 
inherited, beyond the merely bodily form. 

And the ka is the seat of generosity and kindness, for in 
precept 7 " it is the ka that openeth the hands " of the host ; 

178 



THE NATURE OF THE KA 179 

and in precept 27 is mentioned the "master on whose ka 
depend thy provisions." 

From all these instances we can fairly delimit the ka as 
being the inner mental consciousness and powers of thought, 
as apart from the influence of the senses and the communi- 
cation with the body. The Egyptian argued, " If I burn 
myself it hurts the body, if I wash myself it cleanses the 
body. But there is something else inside which can have 
the analogous sensations to burning or to washing without 
anything being done to the body. This must be then an 
invisible being apart from the body ; and as it has sensations 
and feelings of its own it must be like the body." Hence a 
second body of an immaterial kind was postulated as the 
image of the mind or inner consciousness. This will per- 
fectly agree to the theory of the ka wandering about the 
cemetery after death and needing sustenance. And this 
accords with the powers and nature of the ka as shown in 
the tale of Setna, here discussed in the second lecture, 
where we concluded that " It has then all the full properties 
of mind, but not the abilities to act with force upon matter." 
There is little, if any, difference between this and what we 
define as the soul, except that it has a bodily though 
immaterial form. 



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WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON 
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