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yPiioto by A'. Macnaghtcn. 

A slatuo oftho hawk-g-od Horus in front ot the temple of Edfu. 
The author stands beside it. 



The Treasury of Ancient Egypt 

man is explicable by nothing less than all his history." 

— Emerson. 

The Treasury of 
Ancient Egypt 

Miscellaneous Chapters on Ancient 
Egyptian History and Archaeology 







William Blackwood and Sons 

Edinburgh and London 

191 1 





M.A., D.LlTT. 








No person who has travelled in Egypt will require 
to be told that it is a country in which a consider- 
able amount of waiting and waste of time has to 
be endured. One makes an excursion by train to 
see some ruins, and, upon returning to the station, 
the train is found to be late, and an hour or more 
has to be dawdled away. Crossing the Nile in a 
rowing-boat the sailors contrive in one way or 
another to prolong the journey to a length of half 
an hour or more. The excursion steamer will run 
upon a sandbank, and will there remain fast for a 
part of the day. 

The resident official, travelling from place to 
place, spends a great deal of time seated in railway 
stations or on the banks of the Nile, waiting for 
his train or his boat to arrive ; and he has, there- 
fore, a great deal of time for thinking. I often try 
to fill in these dreary periods by jotting down a 
few notes on some matter which has recently been 

viii Preface. ■ 

discussed, or registering and elaborating argu- 
ments which have chanced lately to come into the 
thoughts. These notes are shaped and "written 
up " when next there is a spare hour, and a few 
books to refer to ; and ultimately they take the 
form of articles or papers, some of which find 
their way into print. 

This volume contains twelve chapters, written 
at various times and in various places, each 
dealing with some subject drawn from the great 
treasury of Ancient Egypt. Some of the chap- 
ters have appeared as articles in magazines. 
Chapters iv., v., and viii. were published in 
' Blackwood's Magazine ' ; chapter vii. in ' Put- 
nam's Magazine ' and the ' Pall Mall Magazine ' ; 
and chapter ix. in the ' Century Magazine.' I 
have to thank the editors for allowing me to re- 
print them here. The remaining seven chapters 
have been written specially for this volume. 

Luxor, Upper Egypt, 
November 1910. 








THE WORLD ..... 55 








X. THEBAN THIEVES ..... 239 








BESIDE IT . . . Frontispiece 





A bird's-wing fan . . . .62 


AND ROUGE-POT . . . .71 


xii Illustrations. 


NECK OF A MUMMY . . . .94 

THEM ..... 100 








ABYDOS ..... 166 

THE SURFACE . . . .175 


Illustrations. xiii 



QUEEN TIY ..... 207 

OF HOREMHEB . . . .217 







PL. XXVII. ..... 282 




" History no longer shall be a dull book. It shall walk incarnate in every 
just and wise man. You shall not tell me by languages and titles a cata- 
logue of the volumes you have read. You shall make me feel what periods 
you have lived. A man shall be the Temple of Fame. He shall walk, as 
the poets have described that goddess, in a robe painted all over with 
wonderful events and experiences. . . . He shall be the priest of Pan, and 
bring with him into humble cottages the blessing of the morning stars, and 
all the recorded benefits of heaven and earth. " Emerson. 



The archaeologist whose business it is to bring to 
light by pick and spade the relics of bygone ages, 
is often accused of devoting his energies to work 
which is of no material profit to mankind at the 
present day. ArchjBology is an unapplied science, 
and, apart from its connection with what is called 
culture, the critic is inclined to judge it as a 
pleasant and worthless amusement. There is 
nothing, the critic tells us, of pertinent value 
to be learned from the Past which will be of use 
to the ordinary person of the present time ; and, 
though the archceologist can offer acceptable infor- 
mation to the painter, to the theologian, to the 
philologist, and indeed to most of the followers 
of the arts and sciences, he has nothing to give to 
the ordinary layman. 

In some directions the imputation is unanswer- 
able ; and when the interests of modern times 
clash with those of the past, as, for example, in 
Egypt where a beneficial reservoir has destroyed 
the remains of early days, there can be no question 
that the recording of the threatened information 

4 The Value of the Treasury. 

and the minimising of the destruction, is all that 
the value of the archaeologist's work entitles him 
to ask for. The critic, however, usually overlooks 
some of the chief reasons that archaeology can give 
for even this much consideration, reasons which 
constitute its modern usefulness ; and I therefore 
propose to point out to him three or four of the 
many claims which it may make upon the atten- 
tion of the layman. 

In the first place it is necessary to define the 
meaning of the term " Archaeology." Archaeology 
is the study of the facts of ancient history and 
ancient lore. The word is applied to the study 
of all ancient documents and objects which may be 
classed as antiquities ; and the archaeologist is 
understood to be the man who deals with a period 
for which the evidence has to be excavated or 
otherwise discovered. The age at which an object 
becomes an antiquity, however, is quite undefined, 
though practically it may be reckoned at a hundred 
years ; and ancient history is, after all, the tale of 
any period which is not modern. Thus an archae- 
ologist does not necessarily deal solely with the 

remote ages. 

Every chronicler of the events of the less recent 
times who goes to the original documents for his 
facts, as true historians must do during at least a 
part of their studies, is an archaeologist ; and, con- 
versely, every archaeologist who in the course of 
his work states a series of historical facts, becomes 
an historian. Archaeology and history are insepar- 

The Value of Archaeology. 5 

able ; and nothing is more detrimental to a noble 
science than the attitude of certain so - called 
ai'ch?eoloirists who devote their entire time to the 
study of a sequence of objects without proper 
consideration for the history which those objects 
reveal. Antiquities are the relics of human mental 
energy; and they can no more be classified without 
reference to the minds which produced them than 
geological specimens can be discussed without 
regard to the earth. There is only one thing 
worse than the attitude of the archseologist who 
does not study the story of the periods with which 
he is dealing, or construct, if only in his thoughts, 
living history out of the objects discovered by 
him ; and that is the attitude of the historian who 
has not familiarised himself with the actual relics 
left by the people of whom he writes, or has not, 
when possible, visited their lands. There are 
many " archaeologists " who do not care a snap of 
the fingers for history, surprising as this may 
appear ; and there are many historians who take 
no interest in manners and customs. The influence 
of either is pernicious. 

It is to be understood, therefore, that in using 
the word Archaeology I include History : I refer to 
history supplemented and aggrandised by the 
study of the arts, crafts, manners, and customs 
of the period under consideration. 

As a first argument the value of archaeology in 
providing a precedent for important occurrences 
may be considered. Archaeology is the structure 

6 The Value of the Treasury. 

of ancient history, and it is the voice of history 
which tells us that a Cretan is always a Cretan, 
and a Jew always a Jew. History, then, may 
well take her place as a definite asset of state- 
craft, and the law of Precedent may be regarded 
as a fundamental factor in international politics. 
What has happened before may happen again ; 
and it is the hand of the archaeologist that directs 
our attention to the affairs and circumstances of 
olden times, and warns us of the possibilities of 
their recurrence. It may be said that the states- 
man who has ranged in the front of his mind the 
proven characteristics of the people with whom 
he is dealing has a perquisite of the utmost 

Any archaeologist who, previous to the rise of 
Japan during the latter half of the nineteenth 
century, had made a close study of the history 
of that country and the character of its people, 
might well have predicted unerringly its future 
advance to the position of a first - class power. 
The amazing faculty of imitation displayed by 
the Japanese in old times was patent to him. 
He had seen them borrow part of their arts, 
their sciences, their crafts, their literature, their 
religion, and many of their customs from the 
Chinese ; and he might have been aware that 
they would likewise borrow from the West, as 
soon as they had intercourse with it, those essen- 
tials of civilisation which would raise them to their 
present position in the world. To him their fear- 

The Value of Archaeology. 7 

lessness, their tenacity, and their patriotism, were 
known ; and he was so well aware of their powers 
of organisation, that he might have foreseen the 
rapid development which was to take place. 

What historian who has read the ancient books 
of the Irish — the Book of the Dun Cow, the Book 
of Ballymote, the Book of Lismore, and the like — 
can show either surprise or dismay at the events 
which have occurred in Ireland in modern times ? 
Of the hundreds of kings of Ireland whose histories 
are epitomised in such works as that of the old 
archaeologist Keating, it would be possible to 
count upon the fingers those who have died in 
peace ; and the archaeologist, thus, knows better 
than to expect the descendants of these kings to 
live in harmony one with the other. National 
characteristics do not change unless, as in the 
case of the Greeks, the stock also changes. 

In the Jews we have another example of the 
persistence of those national characteristics which 
history has made known to us. The Jews first 
appear in the dimness of the remote past as a 
group of nomad tribes, wandering over southern 
Palestine, Egypt, and the intervening deserts ; 
and at the present day we see them still home- 
less, scattered over the face of the globe, the 
" tribe of the wandering foot and weary breast." 

In no country has the archaeologist been more 
active than in Egypt during the last half century, 
and the contributions which his spade and pick 
have offered to history are of first-rate importance 

8 The Value of the Treasury. 

to that study as a whole. The eye may now travel 
down the history of the Nile Valley from pre- 
historic days to the present time almost without 
interruption ; and now that the anthropologist has 
shown that the modern Egyptians, Mussulman and 
Copt, peasant and townsman, belong to one and 
the same race of ancient Egyptians, one may 
surely judge to-day's inhabitants of the country in 
the light of yesterday's records. In his report for 
the year 1906, Lord Cromer, questioning whether 
the modern inhabitants of the country were cap- 
able of governing their own land, tells us that we 
must go back to the precedent of Pharaonic days 
to discover if the Egyptians ever ruled themselves 

In this pregnant remark Lord Cromer was using 
information which the archaeologist and historian 
had made accessible to him. Lookincr back over 
the history of the country, he was enabled, by the 
study of this information, to range before him the 
succession of foreign occupations of the Nile Valley 
and to assess their significance. It may be worth 
while to repeat the process, in order to give an 
example of the bearing of history upon modern 
polemics, though I propose to discuss this matter 
more fully in another chapter. 

Previous to the British occupation the country 
was ruled, as it is now, by a noble dynasty of 
Albanian princes, whose founder was set upon 
the throne by the aid of Turkish and Albanian 
troops. From the beginning of the sixteenth 

The Value of Archaeology. 9 

century until that time Egypt had been ruled 
by the Ottoman Government, the Turk having 
replaced the Circassian and other foreign " Mara- 
lukes" who had held the country by the aid of 
foreign troops since the middle of the thirteenth 
century. For a hundred years previous to the 
Mamluke rule Egypt had been in the hands of 
the Syrian and Arabian dynasty founded by 
Saladdin. The Fatimides, a North African dynasty, 
governed the country before the advent of Salad- 
din, this family having entered Egypt under their 
general, Jauhar, who was of Greek origin. In 
the ninth century Ahmed ibn Tulun, a Turk, 
governed the land with the aid of a foreign gar- 
rison, his rule being succeeded by the Ikhshidi 
dynasty of foreigners. Ahmed had captured 
Egypt from the Byzantines who had held it 
since the days of the Roman occupation. Pre- 
vious to the Romans the Ptolemies, a Greek 
family, had governed the Nile Valley with the 
help of foreign troops. The Ptolemies had fol- 
lowed close upon the Greek occupation, the 
Greeks having replaced the Persians as rulers 
of Egypt. The Persian occupation had been 
preceded by an Egyptian dynasty which had 
been kept on the throne by Greek and other 
foreign garrisons. Previous to this there had 
been a Persian occupation, which had followed 
a short period of native rule under foreign 
influence. We then come back to the Assyrian 
conquest which had followed the Ethiopian rule. 

10 The Value of the Treasury. 

Libyan kings had held the country before the 
Ethiopian conquest. The XXIst and XXth 
Dynasties preceded the Libyans, and here, in a 
disgraceful period of corrupt government, a series 
of so-called native kings are met with. Foreigners, 
however, swarmed in the country at the time, 
foreign troops were constantly used, and the 
Pharaohs themselves were of semi-foreign origin. 
One now comes back to the early XlXth and 
XVIIIth Dynasties which, although largely tinged 
with foreign blood, may be said to have been 
Egyptian families. Before the rise of the XVIIIth 
Dynasty the country was in foreign hands for 
the long period which had followed the fall of 
the Xllth Dynasty, the classical period of 
Egyptian history (about the twentieth century 
B.C.), when there were no rivals to be feared. 
Thus the Egyptians may be said to have been 
subject to foreign occupation for nearly four 
thousand years, with the exception of the strong 
native rule of the XVIIIth Dynasty, the semi- 
native rule of the three succeeding dynasties, 
and a few brief periods of chaotic government 
in later times ; and this is the information which 
the archaeologist has to give to the statesman 
and politician. It is a story of continual con- 
quest, of foreign occupations following one upon 
another, of revolts and massacres, of rapid retri- 
butions and punishments. It is the story of a 
nation which, however ably it may govern itself 


[P/ioto by E. lirugsch Pasha. 
The mummy of Rameses II. ot Dynasty XIX.— Cairo Museum. 

Pl. I. 

The Value of Arch?eology. 1 1 

in the future, has only once in four thousand 
years successfully done so in the past. 

Such information is of far-reaching value to 
the politician, and to those interested, as every 
Englishman should be, in Imperial politics. A 
nation cannot alter by one jot or tittle its funda- 
mental characteristics; and only those who have 
studied those characteristics in the pages of his- 
tory are competent to foresee the future. A 
certain Englishman once asked the Khedive 
Ismail whether there was any news that day 
about Egyptian affairs. "That is so like all 
you English," replied his Highness. "You are 
always expecting something new to happen in 
Egypt day by day. To-day is here the same as 
yesterday, and to-morrow will be the same as 
to-day ; and so it has been, and so it will be, 
for thousands of years." ^ Neither Egypt nor 
any other nation will ever change ; and to this 
it is the archaeologist who will bear witness with 
his stern law of Precedent. 

I will reserve the enlarging of this subject for 
the next chapter : for the present we may con- 
sider, as a second argument, the efficacy of the 
past as a tonic to the present, and its ability 
to restore the vitality of any age that is 

In ancient Egypt at the beginning of the 
XXVIth Dynasty (b.c. 663) the country was at 

1 E. Dicey. ' The Story of the Khedivate,' p. 528. 

12 The Value of the Treasury. 

a very low ebb. Devastated by conquests, its 
people humiliated, its government impoverished, 
a general collapse of the nation was imminent. 
At this critical period the Egyptians turned their 
minds to the glorious days of old. They re- 
modelled their arts and crafts upon those of the 
classical periods, introduced again the obsolete 
ofiEices and titles of those early times, and organ- 
ised the government upon the old lines. This 
movement saved the country, and averted its 
collapse for a few more centuries. It renewed 
the pride of workmanship in a decadent people ; 
and on all sides we see a revival which was the 
direct result of an archaeological experiment. 

The importance of archaeology as a reviver of 
artistic and industrial culture will be realised at 
once if the essential part it played in the great 
Italian Renaissance is called to mind. Previous 
to the age of Cimabue and Giotto in Florence, 
Italian refinement had passed steadily down the 
path of deterioration. Graeco-Roman art, which 
was still at a high level in the early centuries 
of the Christian era, entirely lost its originality 
during Byzantine times, and the dark ages settled 
down upon Italy in almost every walk of life. 
The Venetians, for example, were satisfied with 
comparatively the poorest works of art imported 
from Constantinople or Mount Athos ; and in 
Florence so great was the poverty of genius 
that when Cimabue in the thirteenth century 
painted that famous Madonna which to our eyes 

The Value of Archaeology. 13 

appears to be of the crudest workmanship, the 
httle advance made by it in the direction of 
naturalness was received by the city with 
acclamations, the very street down which it was 
carried being called the "Happy Street" in 
honour of the event. Giotto carried on his 
master's teachings, and a few years later the 
Florentines had advanced to the standard of 
Fra Angelico, who was immediately followed by 
the two Lippis and Botticelli. Leonardo da Vinci, 
artist, architect, and engineer, was almost con- 
temporaneous with Botticelli, being born not much 
more than a hundred years after the death of 
Giotto. With him art reached a level which it 
has never surpassed, old traditions and old canons 
were revived, and in every direction culture pro- 
ceeded again to those heights from which it had 

The reader will not need to be reminded that 
this great renaissance was the direct result of 
the study of the remains of the ancient arts of 
Greece and Rome. Botticelli and his contem- 
poraries were, in a sense, archreologists, for their 
work was inspired by the relics of ancient days. 

Now, though at first sight it seems incredible 
that such an age of barbarism as that of the 
later Byzantine period should return, it is indeed 
quite possible that a relatively uncultured age 
should come upon us in the future ; and there 
is every likelihood of certain communities passing 
over to the ranks of the absolute Philistines. 

14 The Value of the Treasury. 

Socialism run mad would have no more time to 
give to the intellect than it had during the French 
Kevolution. Any form of violent social upheaval 
means catalepsy of the arts and crafts, and a 
trampling under foot of old traditions. The 
invasions and revolts which are met with at 
the close of ancient Egyptian history brought 
the culture of that country to the lowest ebb 
of vitality. The fall of Greece put an absolute 
stop to the artistic life of that nation. The 
invasions of Italy by the inhabitants of less 
refined countries caused a set-back in civilisation 
for which almost the whole of Europe suffered. 
Certain of the French arts and crafts have never 
recovered from the effects of the Revolution. 

A national convulsion of one kind or another 
is to be expected by every country ; and history 
tells us that such a convulsion is generally fol- 
lowed bv an acre of industrial and artistic coma, 
which is brought to an end not so much by the 
introduction of foreign ideas as by a renascence 
of the early traditions of the nation. It thus 
behoves every man to interest himself in the 
continuity of these traditions, and to see that 
they are so impressed upon the mind that they 
shall survive all upheavals, or with ease be 

There is no better tonic for a people who have 
weakened, and whose arts, crafts, and industries 
have deteriorated than a return to the conditions 
which obtained at a past age of national pros- 

The Value of Archaeology. 15 

perity ; and there are few more repaying tasks 
in the long-run than that of reviving an interest 
in the best periods of artistic or industrial activity. 
This can only be effected by the study of the past, 
that is to say by archyeology. 

It is to be remembered, of course, that the 
sentimental interest in antique objects which, in 
recent years, has given a huge value to all ancient 
things, regardless of their intrinsic worth, is a 
dangerous attitude, unless it is backed by the most 
expert knowledge ; for instead of directing the 
attention only to the best work of the best 
periods, it results in the diminishing of the output 
of modern original work and the setting of little 
of worth in its place. A person of a certain 
fashionable set will now boast that there is no 
object in his room less than two hundred years 
old : his only boast, however, should be that the 
room contains nothing which is not of intrinsic 
beauty, interest, or good workmanship. The old 
chairs from the kitchen are dragged into the 
drawing-room — because they are old ; miniatures 
unmeritoriously painted by unknown artists for 
obscure clients are nailed in conspicuous places — 
because they are old ; hideous plates and dishes, 
originally made by ignorant workmen for im- 
poverished peasants, are enclosed in glass cases — 
because they are old ; iron-bound chests, which had 
been cheaply made to suit the purses of farmers, 
are rescued from the cottages of their descendants 
and sold for fabulous sums — because they are old. 

i6 The Value of the Treasury. 

A person who fills a drawing-room with chairs, 
tables, and ornaments, dating from the reign of 
Queen Anne, cannot say that he does so because 
he wishes it to look like a room of that date ; for if 
this were his desire, he would have to furnish it 
with objects which appeared to be newly made, 
since in the days of Queen Anne the first quality 
noticeable in them would have been their newness. 
In fact, to produce the desired effect everything in 
the room, with very few exceptions, would have to 
be a replica. To sit in this room full of antiques 
in a frock-coat would be as bad a breach of good 
taste as the placing of a Victorian chandelier in an 
Elizabethan banqueting-hall. To furnish the room 
with genuine antiquities because they are old and 
therefore interesting would be to carry the museum 
spirit into daily life with its attending responsi- 
bilities, and would involve all manner of incon- 
gruities and inconsistencies ; while to furnish in 
this manner because antiques were valuable would 
be merely vulgar. There are, thus, only three 
justifications that I can see for the action of the 
man who surrounds himself with antiquities : he 
must do so because they are examples of good 
workmanship, because they are beautiful, or be- 
cause they are endeared to him by family usage. 
These, of course, are full and complete justifica- 
tions ; and the value of his attitude should be felt 
in the impetus which it gives to conscientious 
modern work. There are periods in history at 
which certain arts, crafts, or industries reached 

c t ' t/ 

C C C € 

• to c t- t 

[P/io/o by E. Brtii^sc/i Pasha. 


)d and enamel jewel-case discovered in the tomb of Yuaaand Tuau. 
An example of the furniture of one of the best periods of ancient 

Eg-yptian art.— Cairo Museum. 

Pl. II, 

The Value of ArchcTeology. 17 

an extremely high level of excellence ; and nothing 
can be more valuable to modern workmen than 
familiarity with these periods. Well-made replicas 
have a value that is overlooked only by the in- 
artistic. Nor must it be forgotten that modern 
objects of modern design will one day become 
antiquities ; and it should be our desire to assist 
in the making of the period of our lifetime an age 
to which future generations will look back for 
guidance and teaching. Every man can, in this 
manner, be of use to a nation, if only by learning 
to reject poor work wherever he comes upon it — 
work which he feels would not stand against the 
criticism of Time ; and thus it may be said that 
archaeology, which directs him to the best works of 
the ancients, and sets him a standard and criterion, 
should be an essential part of his education. 

The third argument which I wish to employ 
here to demonstrate the value of the study of 
archaeology and history to the layman is based 
upon the assumption that patriotism is a desirable 
ingredient in a man's character. This is a premise 
which assuredly will be admitted. True patriotism 
is essential to the maintenance of a nation. It has 
taken the place, among certain people, of loyalty to 
the sovereign ; for the armies which used to go to 
war out of a blind loyalty to their king, now do so 
from a sense of patriotism which is shared by the 
monarch (if they happen to have the good fortune 
to possess one). 

Patriotism is often believed to consist of a love 

1 8 The Value of the Treasury. 

of one's country, in an affection for the famiUar 
villages or cities, fields or streets, of one's own 
dwelling-place. This is a grievous error. Pat- 
riotism should be an unqualified desire for the 
welfare of the race as a whole. It is not really 
patriotic for the Englishman to say, " I love Eng- 
land " : it is only natural. It is not patriotic for 
him to say, " I don't think much of foreigners " : it 
is only a form of narrowness of mind which, in 
the case of England and certain other countries, 
happens sometimes to be rather a useful attitude, 
but in the case of several nations, of which a good 
example is Egypt, would be detrimental to their 
own interests. It was not unqualified patriotism 
that induced the Greeks to throw off the Ottoman 
yoke : it was largely dislike of the Turks. It is 
not patriotism, that is to say undiluted concern for 
the nation as a whole, which leads some of the 
modern Egyptians to prefer an entirely native 
government to the Anglo-Egyptian administration 
now obtaining in that country : it is restlessness ; 
and I am fortunately able to define it thus without 
the necessity of entering the arena of polemics by 
offering an opinion as to whether that restlessness 
is justified or not justified. 

If patriotism were but the love of one's tribe and 
one's dwelling-place, then such undeveloped or 
fallen races as, for example, the American Indians, 
could lay their downfall at the door of that senti- 
ment ; since the exclusive love of the tribe pre- 
vented the small bodies from amalgamating into 

The Value of Archaeology. 19 

one great nation for the opposing of the invader. 
If patriotism were but the desire for government 
without interference, then the breaking up of the 
world's empires would be urged, and such federa- 
tions as the United States of America would be 

Patriotism is, and must be, the desire for the 
progress and welfare of the whole nation, without 
any regard whatsoever to the conditions under 
which that progress takes place, and without any 
prejudice in favour either of self-government or of 
outside control. I have no hesitation in saying 
that the patriotic Pole is he who is in favour of 
Russian or German control of his country's affairs ; 
for history has told him quite plainly that he 
cannot manage them himself. The Nationalist in 
any country runs the risk of being the poorest 
patriot in the land, for his continuous cry is for 
self-government, without any regard to the ques- 
tion as to whether such o^overnment will be bene- 
ficial to his nation in the long-run. 

The value of history to patriotism, then, is to be 
assessed under two headings. In the first place, 
history defines the attitude which the patriot should 
assume. It tells him, in the clear light of experi- 
ence, what is, and what is not, good for his nation, 
and indicates to him how much he may claim for 
his country. And in the second place, it gives to 
the patriots of those nations which have shown 
capacity and ability in the past a confidence in the 
present ; it permits in them the indulgence of that 

20 The Value of the Treasury. 

enthusiasm which will carry them, sure-footed, 
along the path of glory. 

Archasology, as the discovery and classification 
of the facts of history, is the means by which we 
may obtain a true knowledge of what has happened 
in the past. It is the instrument with which we 
may dissect legend, and extract from myth its 
ingredients of fact. Cold history tells the Greek 
patriot, eager to enter the fray, that he must set 
little store by the precedent of the deeds of the 
Trojan war. It tells the English patriot that the 
" one jolly Englishman " of the old rhyme is not 
the easy vanquisher of the " two froggy Frenchmen 
and one Portue^ee " which tradition would have 
him believe. He is thus enabled to steer a middle 
course between arrant conceit and childish fright. 
History tells him the actual facts : history is to 
the patriot what " form " is to the racing man. 

In the case of the English (Heaven be praised !) 
history opens up a boundless vista for the patriotic. 
The Englishman seldom realises how much he has 
to be proud of in his history, or how loudly the 
past cries upon him to be of good cheer. One 
hears much nowadays of England's peril, and it 
is good that the red signals of danger should some- 
times be displayed. But let every Englishman 
remember that history can tell him of greater 
perils faced successfully ; of mighty armies com- 
manded by the greatest generals the world has 
ever known, held in check year after year, and 
finally crushed by England; of vast fleets scattered 

The Value of Archaeology. 21 

or destroyed by English sailors ; of almost im- 
pregnable cities captured by British troops. 
" There is something very characteristic," writes 
Professor Seeley,^ " in the indifference which we 
show towards the mighty phenomenon of the 
diffusion of our race and the expansion of our 
state. We seem, as it were, to have conquered 
and peopled half the world in a fit of absence 
of mind," 

The history of England, and later of the British 
Empire, constitutes a tale so amazing that he who 
has the welfare of the nation as a whole at heart — 
that is to say, the true patriot — is justified in en- 
tertaining the most optimistic thoughts for the 
future. He should not be indifferent to the past : 
he should bear it in mind all the time. Patriotism 
may not often be otherwise than misguided if no 
study of history has been made. The patriot of 
one nation will wish to procure for his country a 
freedom which history would show him to have 
been its very curse ; and the patriot of another 
nation will encourao^e a nervousness and restraint 
in his people which history would tell him was 
unnecessary. The English patriot has a history 
to read which, at the present time, it is especially 
needful for him to consider ; and, since Egyptology 
is my particular province, I cannot better close 
this argument than by reminding the modern 
Egyptians that their own history of four thousand 
years and its teaching must be considered by them 

1 ' The Expansion of England,' p. 10. 

22 The Value of the Treasury. 

when they speak of patriotism. A nation so 
talented as the descendants of the Pharaohs, so 
industrious, so smart and clever, should give a 
far larger part of its attention to the arts, crafts, 
and industries, of which Egyptian archaeology has 
to tell so splendid a story. 

As a final argument for the value of the study 
of history and archseology an aspect of the question 
may be placed before the reader which will perhaps 
be regarded as fanciful, but which, in all sincerity, 
I believe to be sober sense. 

In this life of ours which, under modern con- 
ditions, is lived at so great a speed, there is a 
growing need for a periodical pause wherein the 
mind may adjust the relationship of the things 
that have been to those that are. So rapidly are 
our impressions received and assimilated, so in- 
dividually^ are they shaped or classified, that, in 
whatever direction our brains lead us, we are 
speedily carried beyond that province of thought 
which is common to us all. A man who lives 
alone finds himself, in a few months, out of touch 
with the thought of his contemporaries ; and, 
similarly, a man who lives in what is called an 
up - to - date manner soon finds himself grown 
unsympathetic to the sober movement of the 
world's slow round-about. 

Now, the man who lives alone presently de- 
velopes some of the recognised eccentricities of 
the recluse, which, on his return to society, cause 
him to be regarded as a maniac ; and the man 

• " ' , ' , 

I'' >> 

. O 

^ I 


O -3 

t! "o 





I'l.. 111. 

The Value of Archaeology. 23 

who lives entirely in the present cannot argue 
that the characteristics which he has developed 
are less maniacal because they are shared by his 
associates. Eapidly he, too, has become eccentric ; 
and just as the solitary man must needs come into 
the company of his fellows if he would retain a 
healthy mind, so the man who lives in the present 
must allow himself occasional intercourse with the 
past if he would keep his balance. 

Heraclitus, in a quotation preserved by Sextus 
Empiricus,^ writes : "It behoves us to follow the 
common reason of the world ; yet, though there 
is a common reason in the world, the majority 
live as though they possessed a wisdom peculiar 
each unto himself alone." Every one of us who 
considers his mentality an important part of his 
constitution should endeavour to give himself 
ample opportunities of adjusting his mind to this 
"common reason" which is the silver thread that 
runs unbroken throughout history. We should 
remember the yesterdays, that we may know what 
the pother of to - day is about ; and we should 
foretell to-morrow not by to-day but by every 
day that has been. 

Forgetfulness is so common a human failing. 
In our rapid transit through life we are so inclined 
to forget the past stages of the journey. All 
things pass by and are swallowed up in a moment 
of time. Experiences crowd upon us ; the events 
of our life occur, are recorded by our busy brains 

1 By water : ' Heracliti Ephesii Reliquiae,' p. 38. 

24 The Value of the Treasury. 

are digested, and are forgotten before the sub- 
stance of which they were made has resolved 
into its elements. We race through the years, 
and our progress is headlong through the days. 

Everything, as it is done with, is swept up 
into the basket of the past, and the busy hand- 
maids, unless we check them, toss the contents, 
good and bad, on to the great rubbish heap of the 
world's waste. Loves, hates, gains, losses, all 
things upon which we do not lay fierce and strong 
hands, are gathered into nothingness, and, with a 
few exceptions, are utterly forgotten. 

And we, too, will soon have passed, and our 
little brains which have forgotten so much will 
be forgotten. We shall be throttled out of the 
world and pressed by the clumsy hands of Death 
into the mould of that same rubbish-hill of oblivion, 
unless there be a stronger hand to save us. We 
shall be cast aside, and left behind by the hurrying 
crowed, unless there be those who will see to it 
that our soul, like that of John Brown, goes 
marching along. There is only one human force 
stronger than death, and that force is History. 
By it the dead are made to live again : history 
is the salvation of the mortal man as religion is 
the salvation of his immortal life. 

Sometimes, then, in our race from day to day it 
is necessary to stop the headlong progress of ex- 
perience, and, for an hour, to look back upon the 
past. Often, before we remember to direct our 
mind to it, that past is already blurred and dim. 

The Value of ArchcXology. 25 

The picture is out of focus, and turning from it 
in sorrow instantly the flight of our time begins 
again. This should not be. " There is," says 
Emerson, "a relationship between the hours of 
our life and the centuries of time." Let us give 
history and archaeology its due attention ; for thus 
not only shall we be rendering a service to all the 
dead, not only shall we be giving a reason and a 
usefulness to their lives, but we shall also lend to 
our own thought a balance which in no otherwise 
can be obtained, w^e shall adjust ourselves to the 
true movement of the world, and, above all, we 
shall learn how best to serve that nation to which 
it is our inestimable privilege to belong. 




" History," says Sir J. Seeley, "lies before science 
as a mass of materials out of which a political 
doctrine can be deduced. . . . Politics are vulgar 
when they are not liberalised by history, and 
history fades into mere literature when it loses 
sight of its relation to practical politics. . . . 
Politics and history are only different aspects of 
the same study." ^ 

These words, spoken by a great historian, form 
the keynote of a book which has run into nearly 
twenty editions ; and they may therefore be 
regarded as having some weight. Yet what 
historian of old Egyptian affairs concerns himself 
with the present welfare and future prospects of 
the country, or how many statesmen in Egypt give 
close attention to a study of the past ? To the 
former the Egypt of modern times offers no scope 
for his erudition, and gives him no opportunity 
of making " discoveries," which is all he cares 
about. To the latter, Egyptology appears to be 

1 ' The Expansion of England.' 

The Egyptian Empire. 27 

but a pleasant amusement, the main value of 
which is the finding of pretty scarabs suitable 
for the necklaces of one's lady friends. Neither 
the one nor the other would for a moment admit 
that Egyptology and Egyptian politics " are only 
different aspects of the same study." And yet 
there can be no doubt that they are. 

It will be aro-ued that the historian of ancient 
Egypt deals with a period so extremely remote 
that it can have no bearing upon the conditions 
of modern times, when the inhabitants of Egypt 
have altered their language, religion, and customs, 
and the Mediterranean has ceased to be the active 
centre of the civilised world. But it is to be re- 
membered that the study of Egyptology carries 
one down to the Muhammedan invasion without 
much straining of the term, and merges then into 
the study of the Arabic period at so many points 
that no real termination can be given to the science ; 
while the fact of the remoteness of its beginnings 
but serves to give it a greater value, since the 
vista before the eyes is wider. 

It is my object in this chapter to show that 
the ancient history of Egypt has a real bearing 
on certain aspects of the polemics of the country. 
I need not again touch upon the matters which 
were referred to on page 8 in order to demon- 
strate this fact. I will take but one subject — 
namely, that of Egypt's foreign relations and her 
wars in other lands. It will be best, for this pur- 
pose, to show first of all that the ancient and 

28 The Value of the Treasury. 

modern Egyptians are one and the same people ; 
and, secondly, that the political conditions, broadly 
speaking, are much the same now as they have 
been throughout history. 

Professor ElHot Smith, F.R.S., has shown clearly 
enough, from the study of bones of all ages, that 
the ancient and modern inhabitants of the Nile 
Valley are precisely the same people anthropo- 
logically ; and this fact at once sets the matter 
upon an unique footing : for, with the possible 
exception of China, there is no nation in the 
world which can be proved thus to have retained 
its type for so long a period. This one fact makes 
any parallel with Greece or Rome impossible. The 
modern Greeks have not much in common, an- 
thropologically, with the ancient Greeks, for the 
blood has become verv mixed ; the Italians are 
not the same as the old Komans ; the English 
are the result of a comparatively recent con- 
glomeration of types. But in Egypt the subjects 
of archaic Pharaohs, it seems certain, were exactly 
similar to those of the modern Khedives, and new 
blood has never been introduced into the nation 
to an appreciable extent, not even by the Arabs. 
Thus, if there is any importance in the bearing 
of history upon politics, we have in Egypt a 
better chance of appreciating it than we have in 
the case of any other country. 

It is true that the language has altered, but 
this is not a matter of first-rate importance. A 
Jew is not less typical because he speaks German, 

The Egyptian Empire. 29 

French, or EngUsh ; and the cracking of skulls 
in Ireland is introduced as easily in English as 
it was in Erse. The old language of the Egyptian 
hieroglyphs actually is not yet quite dead ; for, 
in its Coptic form, it is still spoken by many 
Christian Egyptians, who will salute their friends 
in that tongue, or bid them good-morning or good- 
night. Ancient Egyptian in this form is read in 
the Coptic churches ; and God is called upon by 
that same name which was given to Anion and 
his colleagues. Many old Egyptian words have 
crept into the Arabic language, and are now in 
common use in the country ; while often the old 
words are confused with Arabic words of similar 
sound. Thus, at Abydos, the archaic fortress is 
now called the Shunet es Zehib, which in Arabic 
would have the inexplicable meaning " the store- 
house of raisins " ; but in the old Egyptian lan- 
guage its name, of similar sound, meant " the 
fortress of the Ibis-jars," several of these sacred 
birds having been buried there in jars, after the 
place had been disused as a military stronghold. 
A large number of Egyptian towns still bear their 
hieroglyphical names : Aswan, (Kom) Ombo, Edfu, 
Esneh, Keft, Kus, Keneh, Dendereh, for example. 
The real origin of these being now forgotten, some 
of them have been given false Arabic derivations, 
and stories have been invented to account for the 
peculiar significance of the words thus introduced. 
The word Silsileh in Arabic means " a chain," and 
a place in Upper Egypt which bears that name 

30 The Value of the Treasury. 

is now said to be so called because a certain kincr 
here stretched a chain across the river to inter- 
rupt the shipping ; but in reality the name is 
derived from a mispronounced hieroglyphical word 
meanino" '' a boundary. '" Similarly the town of 
Damanhur in Lower Egypt is said to be the 
place at which a great massacre took place, for 
in Arabic the name may be interpreted as mean- 
ing " rivers of blood." whereas actually the name 
in Ancient Egyptian means simply "the Town of 
Horus." The archaeological traveller in Eg3'pt 
meets with instances of the continued use of the 
lano^uao;e of the Pharaohs at everv turn ; and 
there are few thino;s that make the science of 
Egyptology more alive, or remove it further from 
the dusty atmosphere of the museum, than this 
hearing of the old words actually spoken by the 
modern inhabitants of the land. 

The religion of Ancient Egypt, like those of 
Greece and Rome, was killed by Christianity, 
which largely gave place, at a later date, to 
Muhammedanism ; and yet, in the hearts of the 
people there are still an extraordinary number 
of the old pagan beliefs. I will mention a few 
instances, taking them at random from my 

In ancient days the ithiphallic god Min was the 
patron of the crops, who watched over the growth 
of the D-rain. In modern times a desfenerate fio-ure 
of this o-od Min. made of whitewashed wood and 
mud, may be seen standing, like a scarecrow, in 

The Egyptian Empire. 31 

the fields throughout Egypt. When the sailors 
cross the Nile they may ofteu be heard singing 
Ya Amuni, Ya Amuni, " O Anion, O Amon," as 
though calling upon that forgotten god for assist- 
ance. At Aswan those who are about to travel 
far still go up to pray at the site of the travellers' 
shrine, which was dedicated to the gods of the 
cataracts. At Thebes the women climb a certain 
hill to make their supplications at the now lost 
sanctuary of Meretsegert, the serpent-goddess of 
olden times. A snake, the relic of the household 
goddess, is often kept as a kind of pet in the 
houses of the peasants. Barren women still go 
to the ruined temples of the forsaken gods in the 
hope that there is virtue in the stones ; and I 
myself have given permission to disappointed hus- 
bands to take their childless wives to these places, 
where they have kissed the stones and embraced 
the figures of the gods. The hair of the jackal 
is burnt in the presence of dying people, even of 
the upper classes, unknowingly to avert the jackal- 
god Anubis, the Lord of Death. A scarab repre- 
senting the god of creation is sometimes placed 
in the bath of a young married woman to give 
virtue to the water. A decoration in white paint 
over the doorways of certain houses in the south 
is a relic of the religious custom of placing a 
bucranium there to avert evil. Certain temple- 
watchmen still call upon the spirits resident in 
the sanctuaries to depart before they will enter 
the building. At Karnak a statue of the goddess 

32 The Value of the Treasury. 

Sekhmet is regarded with holy awe ; and the god- 
dess who once was said to have massacred mankind 
is even now thought to delight in slaughter. The 
golden barque of Amon - Ea, which once floated 
upon the sacred lake of Karnak, is said to be 
seen sometimes by the natives at the present 
time, who have not yet forgotten its former 
existence. In the processional festival of Abu'l 
Haggag, the patron saint of Luxor, whose mosque 
and tomb stand upon the ruins of the Temple of 
Amon, a boat is dragged over the ground in 
unwitting remembrance of the dragging of the 
boat of Amon in the processions of that god. 
Similarly in the Molded el Nebi procession at 
Luxor, boats placed upon carts are drawn through 
the streets, just as one may see them in the 
ancient paintings and reliefs. The patron gods 
of Kom Ombo, Horur and Sebek, yet remain in 
the memories of the peasants of the neighbour- 
hood as the two brothers who lived in the temple 
in the days of old. A robber entering a tomb 
will smash the eyes of the figures of the gods 
and deceased persons represented therein, that 
they may not observe his actions, just as did 
his ancestors four thousand years ago. At Gurneh 
a farmer recently broke the arms of an ancient 
statue, which lay half-buried near his fields, be- 
cause he believed that they had damaged his 
crops. In the south of Egypt a pot of water 
is placed upon the graves of the dead, that their 
ghost, or ha, as it would have been called in old 

The Egyptian Empire. 33 

times, may not suffer from thirst ; and the living 
will sometimes call upon the name of the dead, 
standing at night in the cemeteries. 

The ancient magic of Egypt is still widely 
practised, and many of the formnlre used in 
modern times are familiar to the Egyptologist. 
The Egyptian, indeed, lives in a world much 
influenced by magic and thickly populated by 
spirits, demons, and djins. Educated men holding 
Government appointments, and dressing in the 
smartest European manner, will describe their 
miraculous adventures and their meetings with 
djins. An Egyptian gentleman holding an im- 
portant administrative post, told me the other 
day how his cousin was wont to change himself 
into a cat at night time, and to prowl about 
the town. When a boy, his father noticed this 
peculiarity, and on one occasion chased and beat 
the cat, with the result that the boy's body next 
morning was found to be covered with stripes and 
bruises. The uncle of my informant once read 
such strong language (magically) in a certain 
book that it began to tremble violently, and 
finally made a dash for it out of the window. 
This same personage was once sitting beneath 
a palm-tree with a certain magician (who, I fear, 
was also a conjurer), when, happening to remark 
on the clusters of dates twenty feet or so above 
his head, his friend stretched his arms upwards 
and his hands were immediately filled with the 
fruit. At another time this mas^ician left his 

34 The Value of the Treasury. 

overcoat by mistake in a railway carriage, and 
only remembered it when the train was a mere 
speck upon the horizon ; but, on the utterance 
of certain words, the coat immediately flew 
through the air back to him. 

I mention these particular instances because 
they were told to me by educated persons ; but 
amongst the peasants even more incredible stories 
are gravely accepted. The Omdeh, or headman, 
of the village of Chaghb, not far from Luxor, sub- 
mitted an official complaint to the police a short 
time ago against an afrit or devil which was doing 
much mischief to him and his neighbours, snatch- 
ing up oil-lamps and pouring the oil over the 
terrified villagers, throwing stones at passers-by, 
and so forth. Spirits of the dead in like manner 
haunt the living, and often do them mischief At 
Luxor, lately, the ghost of a well-known robber 
persecuted his widow to such an extent that she 
finally went mad. A remarkable parallel to this 
case, dating from Pharaonic days, may be men- 
tioned. It is the letter of a haunted widower to 
his dead wife, in which he asks her why she per- 
secutes him, since he was always kind to her 
during her life, nursed her through illnesses, and 
never grieved her heart. ^ 

These instances might be multiplied, but those 
which I have quoted will serve to show that the 
old gods are still alive, and that the famous 
magic of the Egyptians is not yet a thing of the 

1 Maspero : ' Etudes egyptologiques,' i, 145. 

The Egyptian Empire. 35 

past. Let us now turn to the affairs of everyday 


An archaeological traveller in Egypt cannot fail 
to observe the similarity between old and modern 
customs as he rides through the villages and across 
the fields. The houses, when not built upon the 
European plan, are surprisingly like those of 
ancient days. The old cornice still survives, and 
the rows of dried palm stems, from which its form 
was originally derived, are still to be seen on the 
walls of gardens and courtyards. The huts or 
shelters of dried corn-stalks, so often erected in 
the fields, are precisely the same as those used in 
prehistoric days ; and the archaic bunches of corn- 
stalks smeared with mud, which gave their form to 
later stone columns, are set up to this day, though 
their stone posterity are now in ruins. Looking 
through the doorway of one of these ancient 
houses, the traveller, perhaps, sees a woman 
grinding corn or kneading bread in exactly the 
same manner as her ancestress did in the days 
of the Pharaohs. Only the other day a native 
asked to be allowed to purchase from us some of 
the ancient millstones lying in one of the Theban 
temples, in order to re-use them on his farm. The 
traveller will notice, in some shady corner, the 
villaofe barber shavincf the heads and faces of his 
patrons, just as he is seen in the Theban tomb- 
paintings of thousands of years ago ; and the small 
boys who scamper across the road will have just 
the same tufts of hair left for decoration on their 

36 The \^alue of the Treasury. 

shaven heads as had the boys of ancient Thebes 
and Memphis. In another house, Avhere a death 
has occurred, the mourning women, waving the 
same blue cloth which was the token of mourning 
in ancient days, will toss their arms about in 
gestures familiar to every student of ancient 
scenes. Presently the funeral will issue forth, 
and the men will sing that solemn 3^et cheery tune 
which never fails to call to mind the far-famed 
Maneros — that song which Herodotus describes 
as a plaintive funeral dirge, and which Plutarch 
asserts was suited at the same time to festive 
occasions. In some other house a marriage will 
be taking place, and the singers and pipers will, 
in like manner, recall the scenes upon the monu- 
ments. The former have a favourite gesture — the 
placing of the hand behind the ear as they sing — 
which is frequently shown in ancient representa- 
tions of such festive scenes. The dancing girls, 
too, are here to be seen, their eyes and cheeks 
heavily painted, as were those of their ancestresses; 
and in their hands are the same tambourines as are 
carried by their class in Pharaonic paintings and 
reliefs. The same date-wine which intoxicated 
the worshippers of the Egyptian Bacchus goes the 
round of this village company, and the same food 
stuif, the same small, flat loaves of bread, are 

Passingf out into the fields the traveller observ^es 
the ground raked into the small squares for irriga- 
tion which the prehistoric farmer made ; and the 

> J •, » • ' 

, ^ » ) J > 

T ill 

> 1 > » * 1 » 

' " >'. "l •, ' ' 

>.' ■>. 



Pl. IV. 

The Egyptian Empire. 37 

plough is shaped as it always was. The shadoof, 
or water- hoist, is patiently worked as it has been 
for thousands of years ; while the cylindrical hoist 
employed in Lower Egypt was invented and intro- 
duced in Ptolemaic times. Threshing and win- 
nowing proceed in the manner represented on the 
monuments, and the methods of sowing and 
reaping have not changed. Along the embanked 
roads, men, cattle, and donkeys file past against 
the sky-line, recalling the straight rows of such 
figures depicted so often upon the monuments. 
Overhead there flies the vulture goddess Nekheb, 
and the hawk Horus hovers near by. Across the 
road ahead slinks the jackal, Anubis ; under one's 
feet crawls Khepera, the scarab ; and there, under 
the sacred tree, sleeps the horned ram of Amon. 
In all directions the hieroglyphs of the ancient 
Egyptians pass to and fro, as though some old 
temple-inscription had come to life. The letter m, 
the owl, goes hooting past. The letter a, the 
eagle, circles overhead ; the sign ur, the wagtail, 
flits at the roadside, chirping at the sign rekh, 
the peewit. Along the road comes the sign ah, 
the frolicking calf; and near it is ha, the bull; 
while behind them walks the sign fa, a man 
carrying a basket on his head. In all directions 
are the figures from which the ancients made their 
hieroglyphical script ; and thus that wonderful old 
writing at once ceases to be mysterious, a thing of 
long ago, and one realises how natural a product of 
the country it was. 

38 The Value of the Treasury. 

In a word, ancient and modern Egyptians are 
fundamentally similar. Nor is there any great 
difference to be observed between the country's 
relations with foreign powers in ancient days and 
those of the last hundred years. As has been 
seen in the last chapter, Egypt was usually 
occupied by a foreign power, or ruled by a foreign 
dynasty, just as at the present day ; and a foreign 
army was retained in the country during most of 
the later periods of ancient history. There were 
always numerous foreigners settled in Egypt, and 
in Ptolemaic and Roman times Alexandria and 
Memphis swarmed with them. The great powers 
of the civilised world were always watching Egypt 
as they do now, not always in a friendly attitude 
to that one of themselves which occupied the 
country ; and the chief power with which Egypt 
was concerned in the time of the Ramesside 
Pharaohs inhabited Asia Minor and perhaps 
Turkey, just as in the middle ages and the last 
century. Then, as in modern times, Egypt had 
much of her attention held by the Sudan, and 
constant expeditions had to be made into the 
regions above the cataracts. Thus it cannot be 
argued that ancient history offers no precedent 
for modern affairs because all things have now 
changed. Things have changed extremely little, 
broadly speaking ; and general lines of conduct 
have the same significance at the present time 
as they had in the past. 

I wish now to give an outline of Eo^ypt's re- 

The Egyptian Empire. 39 

lationship to her most important neighbour, Syria, 
In order that the bearing of history upon modern 
pohtical matters may be demonstrated ; for it 
would seem that the records of the past make 
clear a tendency which is now somewhat over- 
looked. I employ this subject simply as an 

From the earliest historical times the Egyptians 
have endeavoured to hold Syria and Palestine as a 
vassal state. One of the first Pharaohs with whom 
we meet in Egyptian history, King Zeser of Dynasty 
III., is known to have sent a fleet to the Lebanon 
in order to procure cedar wood, and there is some 
evidence to show that he held sway over this 
country. For how many centuries previous to 
his reign the Pharaohs had overrun Syria we 
cannot now say, but there is no reason to suppose 
that Zeser initiated the aggressive policy of Egypt 
in Asia. Sahura, a Pharaoh of Dynasty V. , attacked 
the Phoenician coast with his fleet, and returned 
to the Nile Valley Avith a number of Syrian cap- 
tives. Pepi I. of the succeeding dynasty also 
attacked the coast-cities, and Pepi II. had con- 
siderable intercourse with Asia. Amenemhat I., 
of Dynasty XIL, fought in Syria, and appears to 
have brought it once more under Egyptian sway. 
Senusert I. seems to have controlled the country 
to some extent, for Egyptians lived there in some 
numbers. Senusert III. won a great victory over 
the Asiatics in Syria ; and a stela and statue be- 
longing to Egyptian officials have been found at 

40 The Value of the Treasury. 

Gezer, between Jerusalem and the sea. After 
each of the above-mentioned wars it is to be pre- 
sumed that the Egyptians held Syria for some 
years, though little is now known of the events 
of these far-off times. 

During the Hyksos dynasties in Egypt there 
lived a Pharaoh named Khyan who was of Semitic 
extraction ; and there is some reason to suppose 
that he ruled from Baghdad to the Sudan, he and 
his fathers having created a great Egyptian Em- 
pire by the aid of foreign troops. Egypt's con- 
nection with Asia during the Hyksos rule is not 
clearly defined, but the very fact that these 
foreign kings were anxious to call themselves 
"Pharaohs" shows that Egypt dominated in the 
east end of the Mediterranean. The Hyksos kings 
of Egypt very probably held Syria in fee, being 
possessed of both countries, but preferring to hold 
their court in Egypt. 

We now come to the great Dynasty XVIIL, 
and we learn more fully of the Egyptian invasions 
of Syria. Ahmosis I. drove the Hyksos out of the 
Delta and pursued them through Judah. His 
successor, Amenhotep I., appears to have seized 
all the country as far as the Euphrates ; and 
Thutmosis I., his son, was able to boast that he 
ruled even unto that river. Thutmosis IH., 
Egypt's greatest Pharaoh, led invasion after in- 
vasion into Syria, so that his name for generations 
was a terror to the inhabitants. From the Euph- 
rates to the fourth cataract of the Nile the countries 

The Egyptian Empire. 41 

acknowledged him king, and the mighty Egyptian 
fleet patrolled the seas. This Pharaoh fought no 
less than seventeen campaigns in Asia, and he left 
to his son the most powerful throne in the world. 
Amenhotep II. maintained this empire and quelled 
the revolts of the Asiatics with a strong hand. 
Thutmosis IV., his son, conducted two expeditions 
into Syria ; and the next king, Amenhotep III., 
was acknowledged throughout that country. 

That extraordinary dreamer, Akhnaton, the 
succeeding Pharaoh, allowed the empire to pass 
from him owing to his religious objections to war ; 
but, after his death, Tutankhamen once more led 
the Egyptian armies into Asia. Horemheb also 
made a bid for Syria ; and Seti I. recovered Pales- 
tine. Rameses II., his son, penetrated to North 
Syria ; but, having come into contact with the 
new power of the Hittites, he was unable to hold 
the country. The new Pharaoh, Merenptah, seized 
Canaan and laid w^aste the land of Israel. A few 
years later, Rameses III. led his fleet and his army 
to the Syrian coast and defeated the Asiatics in 
a great sea-battle. He failed to hold the country, 
however, and after his death Egypt remained im- 
potent for two centuries. Then, under Sheshonk I., 
of Dynasty XXII,, a new attempt was made, and 
Jerusalem was captured. Takeloth II., of the 
same dynasty, sent thither an Egyptian army 
to help in the overthrow of Shalmaneser II. 

From this time onwards the power of Egypt 
had so much declined that the invasions into Syria 

42 The Value of the Treasury. 

of necessity became more rare. Shabaka of Dy- 
nasty XXV. concerned himself deeply with Asiatic 
politics, and attempted to bring about a state 
of affairs which would have given him the oppor- 
tunity of seizing the country. Pharaoh Necho, 
of the succeeding dynasty, invaded Palestine and 
advanced towards the Euphrates. He recovered 
for Egypt her Syrian province, but it was speedily 
lost again. Apries, a few years later, captured the 
Phoenician coast and invaded Palestine ; but the 
country did not remain for long under Egyptian 
rule. It is not necessary to record all the Syrian 
wars of the Dynasty of the Ptolemies. Egypt and 
Asia were now closely connected, and at several 
periods during this phase of Egyptian history the 
Asiatic province came under the control of the 
Pharaohs. The wars of Ptolemy I. in Syria were 
conducted on a large scale. In the reign of 
Ptolemy III. there were three campaigns, and I 
cannot refrain from quoting a contemporary record 
of the King's power, if only for the splendour of its 
wordino- : — 

" The great King Ptolemy . . . having in- 
herited from his father the royalty of Egypt and 
Libya and Syria and Phoenicia and Cyprus and 
Lycia and Caria and the Cyclades, set out on 
a campaign into Asia with infantry and cavalry 
forces, and a naval armament and elephants, both 
Troglodyte and Ethiopic. . . . But having become 
master of all the country within the Euphrates, 
and of Cilicia and Pamphylia and Ionia and the 

The Egyptian Empire. 43 

Hellespont and Thrace, and of all the military 
forces and elephants in these countries, and hav- 
ini^ made the monarchs in all these places his 
subjects, he crossed the Euphrates, and having 
brought under him Mesopotamia and Babylonia 
and Susiana and Persis and Media, and all the 
rest as far as Bactriana ... he sent forces through 
the canals " (Here the text breaks off.) 

Later in this dynasty Ptolemy VII. was crowned 
King of Syria, but the kingdom did not remain 
long in his power. Then came the Romans, and 
for many years Syria and Egypt were sister pro- 
vinces of one empire. 

There is no necessity to record the close con- 
nection between the two countries in Arabic times. 
For a large part of that era Egypt and Syria 
formed part of the same empire ; and we con- 
stantly find Egyptians fighting in Asia. Now, 
under Edh Dhahir Bebars of the Baharide Mame- 
luke Dynasty, we see them helping to subject 
Syria and Armenia; now, under El-Mansur 
Kalaun, Damascus is captured ; and now En 
Nasir Muhammed is found reigning from Tunis 
to Baghdad. In the Circassian Mameluke Dy- 
nasty we see El Muayyad crushing a revolt in 
Syria, and El Ashraf Bursbey capturing King 
John of Cyprus and keeping his hand on Syria. 
And so the tale continues, until, as a final picture, 
we see Ibrahim Pasha leading the Egyptians into 
Asia and crushing the Turks at Iconium. 

Such is the long list of the wars waged by Egypt 

44 The Value of the Treasury. 

in Syria. Are we to suppose that these continuous 
incursions into Asia have suddenly come to an 
end ? Are we to imagine that because there 
has been a respite for a hundred years the pre- 
cedent of six thousand years has now to be dis- 
regarded ? By the recent reconquest of the Sudan 
it has been shown that the old political necessities 
still exist for Egypt in the south, impelling her 
to be mistress of the upper reaches of the Nile. Is 
there now no longer any chance of her expanding 
in other directions should her hands become free ? 

The reader may answer with the argument that 
in early days England made invasion after invasion 
into France, yet ceased after a while to do so. But 
this is no parallel. England was impelled to war 
with France because the English monarchs believed 
themselves to be, by inheritance, kings of a large 
part of France ; and when they ceased to believe 
this they ceased to make war. The Pharaohs of 
Egypt never considered themselves to be kings of 
Syria, and never used any title suggesting an in- 
herited sovereignty. They merely held Syria as a 
buffer state, and claimed no more than an overlord- 
ship there. Now Syria is still a buffer state, and the 
root of the trouble, therefore, still exists. Though 
I must disclaim all knowledge of modern politics, 
I am quite sure that it is no meaningless phrase 
to say that England will most carefully hold this 
tendency in check and prevent an incursion into 
Syria ; but, with a strong controlling hand re- 
laxed, it would require more than human strength 

The Egyptian Empire. 45 

to eradicate an Egyptian tendency — nay, a habit, 
of six thousand years' standing. Try as she might, 
Egypt, as far as an historian can see, would not 
be able to prevent herself passing ultimately into 
Syria again. How or when this would take place 
an Egyptologist cannot see, for he is accustomed 
to deal in long periods of time, and to consider 
the centuries as others might the decades. It 
might not come for a hundred years or more : it 
might come suddenly quite by accident. 

In 1907 there was a brief moment when Egypt 
appeared to be, quite unknowingly, on the verge 
of an attempted reconquest of her lost province. 
There was a misunderstanding with Turkey regard- 
ing the delineation of the Syrio-Sinaitic frontier ; 
and, immediately, the Egyptian Government took 
strong action and insisted that the question should 
be settled. Had there been bloodshed the seat 
of hostilities would have been Syria ; and suppos- 
ing that Egypt had been victorious, she would have 
pushed the opposing forces over the North Syrian 
frontier into Asia Minor, and when peace was 
declared she would have found herself dictating 
terms from a point of vantage three hundred miles 
north of Jerusalem. Can it be supposed that she 
would then have desired to abandon the recon- 
quered territory ? 

However, matters were settled satisfactorily with 
the Porte, and the Egyptian Government, which 
had never realised this trend of events, and had 
absolutely no designs upon Syria, gave no further 

46 The Value of the Treasury. 

consideration to Asiatic affairs. In the eyes of the 
modern onlookers the whole matter had developed 
from a series of chances ; but in the view of the 
historian the moment of its occurrence was the 
only chance about it, the fact of its occurrence 
being inevitable according to the time-proven rules 
of history. The phrase " England in Egypt " has 
been given such prominence of late that a far more 
important phrase, "Egypt in Asia," has been 
overlooked. Yet, whereas the former is a catch- 
word of barely thirty years' standing, the latter 
has been familiar at the east end of the Mediter- 
ranean for forty momentous centuries at the lowest 
computation, and rings in the ears of the Egypt- 
ologist all through the ages. I need thus no justi- 
fication for recalling it in these pages. 

Now let us glance at Egypt's north-western 
frontier. Behind the deserts which spread to 
the west of the Delta lies the oasis of Siwa ; and 
from here there is a continuous line of communi- 
cation with Tripoli and Tunis. Thus, during the 
present winter (1910-11), the outbreak of cholera 
at Tripoli has necessitated the despatch of quaran- 
tine officials to the oasis in order to prevent the 
spread of the disease into Egypt. Now, of late 
years we have heard much talk regarding the 
Senussi fraternity, a Muhammedan sect which is 
said to be prepared to declare a holy war and 
to descend upon Egypt. In 1909 the Egyptian 
Mamur of Siwa was murdered, and it was freely 
stated that this act of violence was the beginning 

The Egyptian Empire. 47 

of the trouble. I have no idea as to the real 
extent of the danger, nor do I know whether 
this bogie of the west, which is beginning to cause 
such anxiety in Egypt in certain classes, is but 
a creation of the imagination ; but it will be 
interesting to notice the frequent occurrence of 
hostilities in this direction, since the history 
of Egypt's gateways is surely a study meet for 
her guardians. 

When the curtain first rises upon archaic times, 
we find those far-off Pharaohs struggling with 
the Libyans who had penetrated into the Delta 
from Tripoli and elsewhere. In early dynastic 
history they are the chief enemies of the Egyp- 
tians, and great armies have to be levied to drive 
them back through Siwa to their homes. Again 
in Dynasty XII., Amenemhat I. had to despatch 
his son to drive these people out of Egypt ; and at 
the beginning of Dynasty XVIII. , Amenhotep I. 
was obliged once more to give them battle. Seti 
I. of Dynasty XIX. made war upon them, and 
repulsed their invasion into Egypt. Rameses II. 
had to face an alliance of Libyans, Lycians, and 
others, in the western Delta. His son Merenptah 
waged a most desperate war with them in order 
to defend Egypt against their incursions, a war 
which has been described as the most perilous in 
Egyptian history ; and it was only after a battle 
in which nine thousand of the enemy were slain 
that the war came to an end. Kameses III., how- 
ever, was again confronted with these persistent 

48 The Value of the Treasury. 

invaders, and only succeeded in checking them 
temporarily. Presently the tables were turned, 
and Dynasty XXII., which reigned so gloriously 
in Egypt, was Libyan in origin. No attempt was 
made thenceforth for many years to check the 
peaceful entrance of Libyans into Egypt, and soon 
that nation held a large part of the Delta. Occa- 
sional mention is made of troubles upon the north- 
west frontier, but little more is heard of any 
serious invasions. In Arabic times disturbances 
are not infrequent, and certain sovereigns, as for 
example. El Mansur Kalaun, were obliged to in- 
vade the enemy's country, thus extending Egypt's 
power as far as Tunis. 

There is one lesson which may be learnt from 
the above facts — namely, that this frontier is some- 
what exposed, and that incursions from North 
Africa by way of Siwa are historic possibilities. 
If the Senussi invasion of Egypt is ever at- 
tempted it will not, at any rate, be without 

When England entered Egypt in 1882 she 
found a nation without external interests, a 
country too impoverished and weak to think of 
aught else but its own sad condition. The reviv- 
ing of this much -bled, ansemic people, and the 
reorganisation of the Government, occupied the 
whole attention of the Anglo-Egyptian officials, 
and placed Egypt before their eyes in only this 
one aspect. Egypt appeared to be but the Nile 
Valley and the Delta ; and, in truth, that was, 

The mummy of Soty I. of Dynasty XIX. — Cairo Mlskum. 

Pl. v. 

The Egyptian Empire. 49 

and still is, quite as much as the hard -worked 
officials could well administer. The one task of 
the regeneration of Egypt was all absorbing, and 
the country came to be regarded as a little land 
wherein a concise, clearly -defined, and compact 
problem could be worked out. 

Now, while this was most certainly the correct 
manner in which to face the question, and while 
Egypt has benefited enormously by this single- 
ness of purpose in her officials, it was, historically, 
a false attitude. Egypt is not a little country : 
Egypt is a crippled Empire. Throughout her his- 
tory she has been the powerful rival of the people 
of Asia Minor. At one time she was mistress of 
the Sudan, Somaliland, Palestine, Syria, Libya, 
and Cyprus ; and the Sicilians, Sardinians, Cret- 
ans, and even Greeks, stood in fear of the Pharaoh. 
In Arabic times she held Tunis and Tripoli, and 
even in the last century she was the foremost 
Power at the east end of the Mediterranean. 
Napoleon when he came to Egypt realised this 
very thoroughly, and openly aimed to make her 
once more a mighty empire. But in 1882 such 
fine dreams were not to be considered : there was 
too much work to be done in the Nile Valley itself. 
The Egyptian Empire was forgotten, and Egypt 
was regarded as permanently a little country. 
The conditions which we found here we took to 
be permanent conditions. They were not. We 
arrived when the country was in a most unnatural 
state as regards its foreign relations ; and we were 


50 The Value of the Treasury. 

obliged to regard that state as chronic. This, 
though wise, was absolutely incorrect. Egypt in 
the past never has been for more than a short 
period a single country ; and all history goes to 
show that she will not always be single in the 

With the temporary loss of the Syrian province 
Egypt's need for a navy ceased to exist ; and the 
fact that she is really a naval power has now 
passed from men's memory. Yet it was not much 
more than a century ago that Muhammed Ali 
fought a great naval battle with the Turks, and 
utterly defeated them. In ancient history the 
Egyptian navy was the terror of the Mediter- 
ranean, and her ships policed the east coast of 
Africa. In prehistoric times the Nile boats were 
built, it would seem, upon a seafaring plan : a fact 
that has led some scholars to suppose that the 
land was entered and colonised from across the 
waters. We talk of Englishmen as being born to 
the sea, as having a natural and inherited tend- 
ency towards "business upon great waters" ; and 
yet the English navy dates from the days of 
Queen Elizabeth. It is true that the Plantagenet 
wars with France checked what was perhaps al- 
ready a nautical bias, and that had it not been for 
the Norman conquest, England, perchance would 
have become a sea power at an earlier date. But 
at best the tendency is only a thousand years old. 
In Egypt it is seven or eight thousand years old 
at the lowest computation. It makes one smile to 

The Egyptian Empire. 51 

think of Egypt as a naval power. It is the busi- 
ness of the historian to refrain from smihng, and 
to remark only that, absurd as it may sound, 
Egypt's future is largely upon the water as her 
past has been. It must be remembered that she 
was fighting great battles in huge warships three 
or four hundred feet in length at a time when 
Britons were paddling about in canoes. 

One of the ships built by the Pharaoh Ptolemy 
Philopator was four hundred and twenty feet long, 
and had several banks of oars. It was rowed by 
four thousand sailors, while four hundred others 
manaofed the sails. Three thousand soldiers were 
also carried upon its decks. The royal dahabiyeh 
which this Pharaoh used upon the Nile was three 
hundred and thirty feet long, and was fitted with 
state rooms and private rooms of considerable size. 
Another vessel contained, besides the ordinary 
cabins, large bath-rooms, a library, and an astro- 
nomical observatory. It had eight towers, in 
which there were machines capable of hurling 
stones weighing three hundred pounds or more, 
and arrows eighteen feet in length. These huge 
vessels were built some two centuries before Csesar 
landed in Britain.^ 

In concliTsion, then, it must be repeated that 
the present Nile-centred policy in Egypt, though 
infinitely best for the country at this juncture, is 
an artificial one, unnatural to the nation except 
as a passing phase ; and what may be called the 

' Athenseiis, v. 8. 

52 The Value of the Treasury. 

Imperial policy is absolutely certain to take its 
place in time, although the Anglo-Egyptian Gov- 
ernment, so long as it exists, will do all in its power 
to check it. History tells us over and over again 
that Syria is the natural dependant of Egypt, 
fought for or bargained for with the neighbouring 
countries to the north ; that the Sudan is likewise 
a natural vassal which from time to time revolts 
and has to be reconquered ; and that Egypt's most 
exposed frontier lies on the north-west. In con- 
quering the Sudan at the end of the nineteenth 
century the Egyptians were but fulfilling their 
destiny : it was a mere accident that their arms 
were directed against a Mahdi. In discussing 
seriously the situation in the western oases, they 
are working upon the precise rules laid down by 
history. And if their attention is not turned in 
the far future to Syria, they will be defying rules 
even more precise, and, in the opinion of those 
who have the whole course of Egyptian history 
spread before them, will but be kicking against 
the pricks. Here surely we have an example of 
the value of the study of a nation's history, which 
is not more nor less than a study of its political 

Speaking of the relationship of history to poli- 
tics. Sir J. Seeley wrote: 'T tell you that when 
you study English history, you study not the past 
of England only but her future. It is the welfare 
of your country, it is your whole interest as citi- 
zens, that is in question when you study history." 

The Egyptian Empire. 53 

These words hold good when we deal with Egyp- 
tian history, and it is our business to learn the 
political lessons which the Egyptologist can teach 
us, rather than to listen to his dissertations upon 
scarabs and blue glaze. Like the astronomers of 
old, the Egyptologist studies, as it were, the stars, 
and reads the future in them ; but it is not the 
fashion for kings to wait upon his pronouncements 
any more ! Indeed he reckons in such very long 
periods of time, and makes startling statements 
about events which probably will not occur for 
very many years to come, that the statesman, 
intent upon his task, has some reason to declare 
that the study of past ages does not assist him 
to deal with urgent affairs. Nevertheless, in all 
seriousness, the Egyptologist's study is to be con- 
sidered as but another aspect of statecraft, and he 
fails in his labours if he does not make this his 
point of view. 

In his arrogant manner the Egyptologist will 
remark that modern politics are of too fleeting a 
nature to interest him. In answer, I would tell 
him that if he sits studying his papyri and his 
mummies without regard for the fact that he is 
dealing with a nation still alive, still contributing 
its strength to spin the wheel of the world around, 
then are his labours worthless and his brains mis- 
used. I w^ould tell him that if his work is paid 
for, then is he a robber if he gives no return in 
information which will be of practical service to 
Egypt in some way or another. The Egyptian 

54 The Value of the Treasury. 

Government spends enormous sums each year 
upon the preservation of the magnificent rehcs 
of bygone ages — rehcs for which, I regret to say, 
the Egyptians themselves care extremely little. 
Is this money spent, then, to amuse the tourist in 
the land, or simply to fulfil obligations to ethical 
susceptibilities ? No ; there is but one justifica- 
tion for this very necessary expenditure of public 
money — namely, that these relics are regarded, so 
to speak, as the school-books of the nation, which 
range over a series of subjects from pottery-mak- 
ing to politics, from stone -cutting to statecraft. 
The future of Egypt may be read upon the walls 
of her ancient temples and tombs. Let the 
Egyptologist never forget, in the interest and 
excitement of his discoveries, what is the real 
object of his work. 




When a great man puts a period to his existence 
upon earth by dying, he is carefully buried in a 
tomb, and a monument is set up to his glory in 
the neighbouring church. He may then be said 
to begin his second life, his life in the memory of 
the chronicler and historian. After the lapse of 
an seon or two the works of the historian, and per- 
chance the tomb itself, are rediscovered ; and the 
great man begins his third life, now as a subject 
of discussion and controversy amongst archaeolo- 
gists in the pages of a scientific journal. It may 
be supposed that the spirit of the great man, not 
a little pleased with its second life, has an extreme 
distaste for his third. There is a dead atmosphere 
about it which sets him yawning as only his grave 
yawned before. The charm has been taken from 
his deeds ; there is no longer any spring in them. 
He must feel towards the archaeologist much as a 
young man feels towards his cold-blooded parent 
by whom his love affair has just been found out. 

56 The \'alue of the Treasury. 

The pubhc, too, if bv chance it comes upon this 
archteological journal, finds the discussion nothing 
more than a mental gymnastic, which, as the 
reader drops off to sleep, gives him the impression 
that the writer is a man of profound brain capacity, 
but, like the remains of the great man of olden 
times, as dry as dust. 

There is one thing, however, ^^■hicll has been 
overlooked. This scientific journal does not con- 
tain the ultimate results of the archaeologist's 
researches. It contains the researches themselves. 
The public, so to speak, has been listening to the 
pianist playing his morning scales, has been 
watching the artist mixing his colours, has been 
examining the unshaped block of marble and the 
chisels in the sculptor's studio. It must be con- 
fessed, of course, that the archseologist has so 
enjoyed his researches that often the ultimate 
result has been overlooked by him. In the case of 
Egyptian archaeology, for example, there are only 
two Egyptologists who have ever set themselves to 
write a readable history,^ whereas the number of 
books which record the facts of the science is legion. 

The archaeologist not infrequently lives, for a 
large part of his time, in a museum, a somewhat 
dismal place. He is surrounded by rotting tapes- 
tries, decaying bones, crumbling stones, and rusted 
or corroded metal objects. His indoor work has 
paled his cheek, and his muscles are not like iron 
bands. He stands, often, in the contiouitv to an 

^ Professor J. H. Bi-easted and Sir Ga-ston Maspero. 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 57 

ancient broadsword most fitted to demonstrate the 
fact that he could never use it. He would prob- 
ably be dismissed his curatorship were he to tell of 
any dreams which might run in his head — dreams 
of the time when those tapestries hung upon the 
walls of barons' banquet-halls, or when those stones 
rose high above the streets of Camelot. 

Moreover, those who make researches independ- 
ently must needs contribute their results to scien- 
tific journals, written in the jargon of the learned. 
I came across a now forgotten journal, a short time 
ago, in which an English gentleman, believing 
that he had made a discovery in the province of 
Egyptian hieroglyphs, announced it in ancient 
Greek. There would be no supply of such pedantic 
swagger were there not a demand for it. 

Small wonder, then, that the archaeologist is 
often represented as partaking somewhat of the 
quality of the dust amidst which he works. It is 
not necessary here to discuss whether this estimate 
is just or not : I wish only to point out its para- 
doxical nature. 

More than any other science, archaeology might 
be expected to supply its exponents with stuff 
that, like old wine, would fire the blood and 
stimulate the senses. The stirring events of the 
Past must often be reconstructed by the archaeolo- 
gist with such precision that his prejudices are 
aroused, and his sympathies are so enlisted as to 
set him fighting with a will under this banner or 
under that. The noise of the hardy strife of young 

58 The \'aiue of the Treasun-. 

nations is nor ver silenced for him, nor have the 
flags and the pennants faded from sight. He has 
knowledge of the state secrets of kings, and, all 
along the line, is an intimate spectator of the 
crowded pageant of history. The caravan-masters 
of the elder days, the admirals of the " great green 
sea," the captains of archers, have related their 
adventures to V>im ; and he might repeat to you 
their stories. Indeed, he has such a tale to tell 
thai, looking at it in this %ht, one might expect 
his listeners all to be good fighting men and noble 
women- It might be supposed that the archaeolo- 
gist would gather around him only men who have 
pleasure in the road that leads over the hills, and 
women who have known the delight of the open. 
One has heard so often of the '''' brave days of old 
that the archaeologist might weU be expected to 
have his liead stuffed with brave tales and Httle 

His rangre, however, may be wider than this. To 
him, perhaps, it has been given to listen to the voice 
of the ancient poet, heard as a far-off whisper ; to 
breathe in forgotten gardens the perfume of long 
dead flowers; to contemplate the love of women 
whose beautv is all perished in the dust : to hearken 
to the sound of the harp and the sistra, to be the 
possessor of the riches of historical romance. Dim 
armies have battled aroxmd him for the love of 
Helen ; shadowv captains of sea-going ships have 
sung to him through the storm the song of the 
sweetiiearts left behind them ; he has feasted with 

Necessity of Archaiology to the World. 59 

sultans, and kings' goblets have been held to his 
lips ; he has watched Uriah the Hittite sent to the 
forefront of the battle. 

Thus, were he to offer a story, one might now 
suppose that there would gather around him, not 
the men of muscle, but a throng of sallow listeners, 
as improperly expectant as Were those who heark- 
ened under the moon to the narrations of Boccaccio, 
or, in old Baghdad, gave ear to the tales of the 
thousand and one nights. One might suppose 
that his audience would be drawn from those 
classes most fondly addicted to pleasure, or most 
nearly representative, in their land and in their 
time, of the light-hearted and not unwanton races 
of whom he had to tell. For his story might be 
expected to be one wherein wine and women and 
sonof found countenance. Even were he to tell of 
ancient tragedies and old sorrows, he would still 
make his appeal, one might suppose, to gallants 
and their mistresses, to sporting men and women 
of fashion, just as, in the mournful song of Rosa- 
belle, Sir Walter Scott is able to address himself 
to the " ladies gay," or Coleridge in his sad " Ballad 
of the Dark Ladie " to " fair maids." 

Who could better arrest the attention of the 
coxcomb than the arch geologist who has knowledge 
of silks and scents now lost to the living world ? 
To the gourmet who could more appeal than the 
archaeologist who has made abundant acquaintance 
with the forgotten dishes of the East ? Who could 
so surely thrill the senses of the courtesan than the 

6o The Value of the Treasury. 

archaeologist who can relate that which was whis- 
pered by Anthony in the ear of Cleopatra ? To 
the gambler who could be more enticing than the 
archaeologist who has seen kings play at dice for 
their kingdoms? The imaginative, truly, might 
well collect the most highly disreputable audience 
to listen to the tales of the archaeologist. 

But no, these are not the people who are anxi- 
ous to catch the pearls which drop from his mouth. 
Do statesmen and diplomatists, then, listen to him 
who can unravel for them the policies of the Past ? 
Do business men hasten from Threadneedle Street 
and Wall Street to sit at his feet, that they may 
have instilled into them a little of the romance of 
ancient money ? I fear not. 

Come with me to some provincial town, where 
this day Professor Blank is to deliver one of his 
archaeological lectures at the Town Hall. We 
are met at the door by the secretary of the 
local archaeological society : a melancholy lady in 
green plush, who suffers from St Vitus's dance. 
Gloomily we enter the hall and silently accept the 
seats which are indicated to us by an unfortunate 
gentleman with a club-foot. In front of us an 
elderly female with short hair is chatting to a very 
plain young woman draped like a lay figure. On 
the right an emaciated man with a very bad cough 
shuffles on his chair ; on the left two old grey- 
beards grumble to one another about the weather, 
a subject which leads up to the famihar " Mine 
catches me in the small of the back " ; while 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 6i 

behind us the inevitable curate, of whose appear- 
ance it would be trite to speak, describes to an 
astonished old lady the recent discovery of the 
pelvis of a mastodon. 

The professor and the aged chairman step on to 
the platform ; and, amidst the profoundest gloom, 
the latter rises to pronounce the prefatory rigma- 
role. " Archa3ology," he says, in a voice of brass, 
" is a science wdiich bars its doors to all but the 
most erudite ; for, to the layman who has not been 
vouchsafed the opportunity of studying the dusty 
volumes of the learned, the bones of the dead will 
not reveal their secrets, nor will the crumbling 
pediments of naos and cenotaph, the obliterated 
tombstones, or the worm-eaten parchments, tell 
us their story. To-night, however, we are privi- 
leged ; for Professor Blank will open the doors for 
us that we may gaze for a moment upon that 
solemn charnel - house of the Past in which he 
has sat for so many long hours of inductive 

And the professor by his side, whose head, per- 
haps, was filled with the martial music of the long- 
lost hosts of the Lord, or before whose eyes there 
swayed the entrancing forms of the dancing-girls 
of Babylon, stares horrified from chairman to 
audience. He sees crabbed old men and barren 
old women before him, afflicted youths and fatuous 
maidens ; and he realises at once that the golden 
keys which he possesses to the gates of the treas- 
ury of the jewelled Past will not open the doors of 

62 The Value of the Treasury. 

that charnel-house which they desire to be shown. 
The scent of the king's roses fades from his nostrils, 
the Egyptian music which throbbed in his ears is 
hushed, the glorious illumination of the Palace of 
a Thousand Columns is extinguished ; and in the 
gathering gloom we leave him fumbling with a 
rusty key at the mildewed door of the Place of 

Why is it, one asks, that archaeology is a thing 
so misunderstood ? Can it be that both lecturer 
and audience have crushed down that which was 
in reality uppermost in their minds : that a shy 
search for romance has led these people to the 
Town Hall ? Or perchance archseology has become 
to them something not unlike a vice, and to listen 
to an archaeological lecture is their remaining 
chance of being naughty. It may be that, having 
one foot in the grave, they take pleasure in kick- 
ing the moss from the surrounding tombstones 
with the other ; or that, being denied, for one 
reason or another, the jovial society of the living, 
like Robert Southey's " Scholar " their hopes are 
with the dead. 

Be the explanation what it may, the fact is 
indisputable that archaeology is patronised by 
those who know not its real meaning. A man 
has no more right to think of the people of old 
as dust and dead bones than he has to think of 
his contemporaries as lumps of meat. The true 
archaeologist does not take pleasure in skeletons 
as skeletons, for his whole effort is to cover them 

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) 1 1 » -■ 

> > 


> 5 S > 

[/V/.'/t) /y A'. Brugicii J'asiui. 

A reliet upon the side of the sarcophag-us ot one of the wives ot King- 
Mentuhotep III., discovered at Der el Bahri (Thebes). The royal 
lady is taking- sweet-smelling- ointment from an alabaster vase. A 
handmaiden' keeps the flies" away with a bird's-wing fan.— Cairo 
MrsEi M. 

Pl. VI. 

cc c c 
e ' « c c 

»; ' . • ' 

t % t m I .t 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 63 

decently with flesh and skin once more, and to 
put some thoughts back into the empty skulls. 
He sets himself to hide again the things which 
he would not intentionally lay bare. Nor does he 
delight in ruined buildings : rather he deplores 
that they are ruined. Coleridge wrote like the 
true archaeologist when he composed that most 
magical poem " Khubla Khan " — 

" In Xanadu did Khubla Khan 
A stately pleasure-dome decree : 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man 
Down to a sunless sea." 

And those who would have the pleasure -domes 
of the gorgeous Past reconstructed for them must 
turn to the archaeologist ; those who \vould see 
the damsel with the dulcimer in the gardens of 
Xanadu must ask of him the secret, and of none 
other. It is true that, before he can refashion 
the dome or the damsel, he will have to grub his 
way through old refuse heaps till he shall lay bare 
the ruins of the walls and expose the bones of 
the lady. But this is the " dirty work " ; and the 
mistake which is made lies here : that this pre- 
liminary dirty work is confused with the final 
clean result. An artist will sometimes build up 
his picture of Venus from a skeleton bought from 
an old Jew round the corner ; and the smooth 
white paper which he uses will have been made 
from putrid rags and bones. Amongst painters 
themselves these facts are not hidden, but by 

64 The Value of the Treasury. 

the pubh"c they are most carefully obscured. In 
the case of archaeology, however, the tedious 
details of construction are so placed in the fore- 
ground that the final picture is hardly noticed 
at all. As well might one go to Rheims to see 
men fly, and be shown nothing else but screws 
and nuts, steel rods and cog-wheels. Originally 
the fault, perhaps, lay with the archaeologist ; now 
it lies both with him and with the public. The 
public has learnt to ask to be shown the works, 
and the archaeologist is often so proud of them 
that he forgets to mention the purpose of the 

A Roman statue of bronze, let us suppose, is 
discovered in the Thames valley. It is so cor- 
roded and eaten away that only an expert could 
recognise that it represents a reclining goddess. 
In this condition it is placed in the museum, and 
a photograph of it is published in ' The Graphic' 
Those who come to look at it in its glass case 
think it is a bunch of grapes, or possibly a 
monkey ; those who see its photograph say that 
it is more probably an irregular catapult-stone or 
a fish in convulsions. 

The archaeologist alone holds its secret, and 
only he can see it as it was. He alone can 
know the mind of the artist who made it, or 
interpret the full meaning of the conception. It 
might have been expected, then, that the public 
would demand, and the archaeologist delightedly 
furnish, a model of the figure as near to the 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 65 

original as possible ; or, failing that, a restoration 
in drawing, or even a worded description of its 
original beauty. But no : the public, if it wants 
anything, wants to see the shapeless object in 
all its corrosion ; and the archaeologist forgets 
that it is blind to aught else but that corrosion. 
One of the main duties of the archaeologist is 
thus lost sight of: his duty as Interpreter and 
Remembrancer of the Past. 

All the riches of olden times, all the majesty, 
all the power, are the inheritance of the present 
day ; and the archaeologist is the recorder of this 
fortune. He must deal in dead bones only so far 
as the keeper of a financial fortune must deal in 
dry documents. Behind those documents glitters 
the gold, and behind those bones shines the 
wonder of the things that were. And when an 
object once beautiful has by age become unsightly, 
one might suppose that he would wish to show 
it to none save his colleagues or the reasonably 
curious layman. When a man makes the state- 
ment that his grandmother, now in her ninety- 
ninth year, was once a beautiful woman, he does 
not go and find her to prove his words and 
bring her tottering into the room : he shows a 
picture of her as she was ; or, if he cannot 
find one, he describes what good evidence tells 
him was her probable appearance. In allow- 
ing his controlled and sober imagination thus 
to perform its natural functions, though it would 
never do to tell his grandmother so, he be- 


66 The Value of the Treasury. 

comes an archaeologist, a remembrancer of the 


In the case of archeology, however, the public 
does not permit itself so to be convinced. In the 
Ashmolean Museum at Oxford excellent facsimile 
electrotypes of early Greek weapons are exhibited ; 
and these have far more value in bringing the 
Past before us than the actual weapons of that 
period, corroded and broken, would have. But 
the visitor says, "These are shams," and passes on. 
It will be seen, then, that the business of 
archaeology is often misunderstood both by archae- 
ologists and by the public ; and that there is 
really no reason to believe, with Thomas Earle, 
that the real antiquarian loves a thing the 
better for that it is rotten and stinketh. That 
the impression has gone about is his own fault, 
for he has exposed too much to view the mechan- 
ism of his work ; but it is also the fault of the 
public for not asking of him a picture of things 
as they were. 

Man is by nature a creature of the present. 
It is only by an effort that he can consider the 
future, and it is often quite impossible for him 
to give any heed at all to the Past. The days 
of old are so blurred and remote that it seems 
right to him that any relic from them should, 
by the maltreatment of Time, be unrecognisable. 
The finding of an old sword, half-eaten by rust, 
will only please him in so far as it shows him 
once more by its sad condition the great gap 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 67 

between those days aud these, and convinces him 
again of the sole importance of the present. The 
archaeoloofist, he will tell you, is a fool if he 
expects him to be interested in a wretched old 
bit of scrap-iron. He is right. It would be as 
rash to suppose that he would hnd interest in 
an ancient sword in its rusted condition as it 
would be to expect the spectator at Rheims to 
find fascination in the nuts and screws. The 
true archfeologist would hide that corroded weapon 
in his workshop, where his fellow-workers alone 
could see it. For he recognises that it is only 
the sword which is as good as new that im- 
presses the public ; it is only the Present that 
counts. That is the real reason why he is an 
archaeologist. He has turned to the Past because 
he is in love with the Present. He, more than 
any man, worships at the altar of the goddess 
of To-day ; and he is so desirous of extending 
her dominion that he has adventured, like a 
crusader, into the lands of the Past in order to 
subject them to her. Adoring the Now, he would 
resent the publicity of anything which so obviously 
suorcrested the Then as a rust - eaten old blade. 
His whole business is to hide the gap between 
Yesterday and To - day ; and, unless a man is 
initiate, he would have him either see the perfect 
sword as it was when it sought the foeman's 
bowels, or see nothing. The Present is too small 
for him ; and it is therefore that he calls so 
insistently to the Past to come forth from the 

68 The Value of the Treasury. 

darkness to augment it. The ordinary man Uves 
in the Present, and he will tell one that the 
archaeolofrist lives in the Past. This is not so. 
The layman, in the manner of the Little Eng- 
lander, lives in a small and confined Present ; 
but the archaeologist, like a true Imperialist, 
ranges through all time, and calls it not the 
Past but the Greater Present. 

The archaeologist is not, or ought not to be, 
lacking in vivacity. One might say that he is 
so sensible to the charms of society that, finding 
his companions too few in number, he has drawn 
the olden times to him to search them for jovial 
men and agreeable women. It might be added 
that he has so laughed at jest and joke that, 
fearing lest the funds of humour run dry, he has 
gathered the laughter of all the years to his 
enrichment. Certainly he has so delighted in 
noble adventure and stirring action that he finds 
his newspaper insufficient to his needs, and fetches 
to his aid the tales of old heroes. In fact, the 
archaeologist is so enamoured of life that he would 
raise all the dead from their graves. He will not 
have it that the men of old are dust : he would 
bring them to him to share with him the sun- 
light which he finds so precious. He is so much 
an enemy of Death and Decay that he would 
rob them of their harvest ; and, for every life 
that the foe has claimed, he would raise up, if 
he could, a memory that would continue to live. 
The meaning of the heading which has been 

Necessity of Archcieology to the World. 69 

given to this chapter is now becoming clear, and 
the direction of the argument is already apparent. 
So far it has been my purpose to show that the 
archaeologist is not a rag-and-bone man, though 
the public generally thinks he is, and he often 
thinks he is himself. The attempt has been made 
to suggest that archaeology ought not to consist 
in sitting in a charnel-house amongst the dead, 
but rather in ignoring that place and taking the 
bones into the light of day, decently clad in flesh 
and finery. It has now to be shown in what 
manner this parading of the Past is needful to 
the gaiety of the Present. 

Amongst cultured people whose social position 
makes it difficult for them to dance in circles on 
the grass in order to express or to stimulate their 
gaiety, and whose school of deportment will not 
permit them to sing a merry song of sixpence 
as they trip down the streets, there is some 
danger of the fire of merriment dying for want 
of fuel. Vivacity in printed books, therefore, has 
been encouraged, so that the mind at least, if 
not the body, may skip about and clap its hands. 
A portly gentleman with a solemn face, reading 
his ' Punch ' in the club, is, after all, giving play 
to precisely those same humours which in ancient 
days might have led him, like Georgy Porgy, to 
kiss the girls or to perform any other merry joke. 
It is necessary, therefore, ever to enlarge the 
stock of things humorous, vivacious, or rousing, 
if thoughts are to be kept young and eyes 

70 The Value of the Treasury. 

bright in this age of restraint. What would 
Yuletide be without the olden times to bolster 
it? What would the Christmas numbers do 
without the pictures of our great-grandparents' 
coaches snow-bound, of huntsmen of the eighteenth 
century, of jesters at the courts of the barons ? 
What should we do without the ' Vicar of Wake- 
field,' the ' Compleat Angler,' ' Pepys' Diary,' and 
all the rest of the ancient books? And, going 
back a few centuries, what an amount we should 
miss had we not '^sop's Fables,' the ' Odyssey,' 
the tales of the Trojan War, and so on. It is 
from the archaeologist that one must expect the 
augmentation of this supply ; and just in that 
degree in which the existing supply is really a 
necessary part of our equipment, so archaeology, 
which looks for more, is necessary to our gaiety. 
In order to keep his intellect undulled by the 
routine of his dreary work, Matthew Arnold was 
wont to write a few lines of poetry each day. 
Poetry, like music and song, is an effective dis- 
peller of care ; and those who find Omar Khayyam 
or *' In Memoriam " incapable of removing the 
burden of their woes, will no doubt appreciate 
the " Owl and the Pussy-cat," or the Bab Ballads. 
In some form or other verse and song are closely 
linked with happiness ; and a ditty from any age 
has its interest and its charm. 

" She gazes at the stars above : 
I would I were the skies. 
That I might gaze upon my love 
With such a thousand eyes ! " 

Lady roug-'ing herself : she holds a mirror and rouge- 
pot.— From A PaPVRI-S, TlRIN. 

Dancing girl turnirig a back somersault. 
— New Kingdom. 

Pl. VII. 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 71 

That is probably from the Greek of Plato, a 
writer who is not much read by the public at 
large, and whose works are the legitimate property 
of the antiquarian. It suffices to show that it is 
not only to the moderns that we have to look 
for dainty verse that is conducive to a light 
heart. The following lines are from the ancient 
Egyptian : — 

" While in my room I lie all day 
In pain that will not pass away, 

The neighbours come and go. 
Ah, if with them my darling came 
The doctors would be put to shame : 

She understands my woe." 

Such examples might be multiplied indefinitely ; 
and the reader will admit that there is as much 
of a lilt about those which are here quoted as there 
is about the majority of the ditties which he has 
hummed to himself in his hour of contentment. 
Here is Philodemus' description of his mistress's 
charms : — 

" My lady-love is small and brown ; 
My lady's skin is soft as down ; 
Her hair like parseley twists and turns ; 
Her voice with magic passion burns. . . ." 

And here is an ancient Egyptian's description of 
not very dissimilar phenomena : — 

" A damsel sweet unto the sight, 

A maid of whom no like there is ; 
Black are her tresses as the night, 
And blacker than the blackberries." 

Does not the archaeologist perform a service 

72 The Value of the Treasury. 

to his contemporaries by searching out such 
rhymes and delving for more ? They bring with 
them, moreover, so subtle a suggestion of bygone 
romance, they are backed by so fair a scene of 
Athenian luxury or Theban splendour, that they 
possess a charm not often felt in modern verse. 
If it is argued that there is no need to increase 
the present supply of such ditties, since they are 
really quite unessential to our gaiety, the answer 
may be given that no nation and no period has 
ever found them unessential ; and a light heart 
has been expressed in this manner since man came 
down from the trees. 

Let us turn now to another consideration. For 
a man to be light of heart he must have confi- 
dence in humanity. He cannot greet the morn 
with a smiling countenance if he believes that 
he and his fellows are slipping down the broad 
path which leads to destruction. The archaeologist 
never despairs of mankind ; for he has seen nations 
rise and fall till he is almost giddy, but he knows 
that there has never been a general deterioration. 
He realises that though a great nation may suffer 
defeat and annihilation, it is possible for it to go 
down in such a thunder that the talk of it 
stimulates other nations for all time. He sees, 
if any man can, that all things work together for 
happiness. He has observed the cycle of events, 
the good years and the bad ; and in an evil time 
he is comforted by the knowledge that the good 
will presently roll round again. Thus the lesson 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 73 

which he can teach is a very real necessity to 
that contentment of mind which lies at the root 
of all gaiety. 

Again, a man cannot be permanently happy 
unless he has a just sense of proportion. He 
who is too big for his boots must needs limp ; 
and he who has a swollen head is in perpetual 
discomfort. The history of the lives of men, the 
history of the nations, gives one a fairer sense 
of proportion than does almost any other study. 
In the great company of the men of old he cannot 
fail to assess his true value : if he has any conceit 
there is a greater than he to snub him ; if he has 
a poor opinion of his powers there is many a fool 
with whom to contrast himself favourably. If 
he would risk his fortune on the spinning of a 
coin, being aware of the prevalence of his good- 
luck, archaeology will tell him that the best luck 
will change ; or if, when in sore straits, he asks 
whether ever a man was so unlucky, archaeology 
will answer him that many millions of men have 
been more unfavoured than he. Archaeology 
provides a precedent for almost every event or 
occurrence where modern inventions are not in- 
volved ; and, in this manner, one may reckon 
their value and determine their trend. Thus 
many of the small worries which cause so leaden 
a weight to lie upon the heart and mind are by 
the archaeologist ignored ; and many of the larger 
calamities by him are met with serenity. 

But not only does the archaeologist learn to 

74 The Value of the Treasury. 

estimate himself and his actions : he learns also 
to see the relationship in which his life stands 
to the course of Time. Without archaeology a 
man may be disturbed lest the world be about 
to come to an end : after a study of history he 
knows that it has only just begun ; and that 
gaiety which is said to have obtained " when the 
world was young" is to him, therefore, a present 
condition. By studying the ages the archaeologist 
learns to reckon in units of a thousand years ; and 
it is only then that that little unit of threescore- 
and-ten falls into its proper proportion. " A 
thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening 
gone," says the hymn, but it is only the archaeolo- 
gist who knows the meaning of the words ; and 
it is only he who can explain that great discrep- 
ancy in the Christian faith between the statement 
" Behold, I come quickly " and the actual fact. 
A man who knows where he is in regard to his 
fellows, and realises where he stands in regard 
to Time, has learnt a lesson of archaeology which 
is as necessary to his peace of mind as his peace 
of mind is necessary to his gaiety. 

It is not needful, however, to continue to point 
out the many ways in which archaeology may be 
shown to be necessary to happiness. The reader 
will have comprehended the trend of the argu- 
ment, and, if he be in sympathy with it, he will 
not be unwilling to develop the theme for him- 
self. Only one point, therefore, need here be taken 
up. It has been reserved to the end of this 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 75 

chapter, for, by its nature, it closes all arguments. 
I refer to Death. 

Death, as we watch it around us, is the black 
menace of the heavens which darkens every man's 
day ; Death, coming to our neighbour, puts a 
period to our merry-making ; Death, seen close 
beside us, calls a halt in our march of pleasure. 
But let those who would wrest her victory from 
the grave turn to a study of the Past, where 
all is dead yet still lives, and they will find that 
the horror of life's cessation is materially lessened. 
To those who are familiar with the course of his- 
tory. Death seems, to some extent, but the happy 
solution of the dilemma of life. So many men 
have welcomed its coming that one begins to feel 
that it cannot be so very terrible. Of the death 
of a certain Pharaoh an ancient Egyptian wrote : 
" He goes to heaven like the hawks, and his 
feathers are like those of the geese ; he rushes 
at heaven like a crane, he kisses heaven like the 
falcon, he leaps to heaven like the locust " ; and 
we who read these words can feel that to rush 
eagerly at heaven like the crane would be a 
mighty fine ending of the pother. Archaeology, 
and especially Egyptology, in this respect is a 
bulwark to those who find the faith of their 
fathers wavering ; for, after much study, the 
triumphant assertion which is so often found in 
Egyptian tombs — " Thou dost not come dead to 
thy sepulchre, thou comest living" — begins to 
take hold of the imagination. Death has been 

76 The Value of the Treasury. 

the parent of so much goodness, dying men have 
cut such a dash, that one looks at it with an 
awakening interest. Even if the sense of the 
misfortune of death is uppermost in an archaeolo- 
gist's mind, he may find not a little comfort in 
having before him the example of so many good 
men, who, in their hour, have faced that great 
calamity with squared shoulders. 

" When Death comes," says a certain sage of 
ancient Egypt, "it seizes the babe that is on the 
breast of its mother as well as he that has become 
an old man. When thy messenger comes to carry 
thee away, be thou found by him ready!' Why, 
here is our chance ; here is the opportunity for 
that flourish which modesty, throughout our life, 
has forbidden to us ! John Tiptoft, Earl of 
Worcester, when the time came for him to lay 
his head upon the block, bade the executioner 
smite it off with three strokes as a courtesy to 
the Holy Trinity. King Charles the Second, as 
he lay upon his death -bed, apologised to those 
who stood around him for " being such an un- 
conscionable time adying." The story is familiar 
of Napoleon's aide-de-camp, who, when he had 
been asked whether he were wounded, replied, 
" Not wounded : killed," and thereupon expired. 
The Past is full of such incidents ; and so inspiring 
are they that Death comes to be regarded as a 
most stirring adventure. The archaeologist, too, 
better than any other, knows the vastness of the 
dead men's majority ; and if, like the ancients. 

Necessity of Archaeology to the World. 77 

he believes in the Elysian fields, where no death 
is and decay is unknown, he alone will realise 
the excellent nature of the company into which 
he will there be introduced. 

There is, however, far more living going on in 
the world than dying ; and there is more happiness 
(thanks be !) than sorrow. Thus the archaeologist 
has a great deal more of pleasure than of pain 
to give to us for our enrichment. The reader 
will here enter an objection. He will say : " This 
may be true of archaeology in general, but in the 
case of Egyptology, with which we are here mostly 
concerned, he surely has to deal with a sad and 
solemn people." The answer will be found in the 
next chapter. No nation in the world's history 
has been so gay, so light-hearted as the ancient 
Egyptians ; and Egyptology furnishes, perhaps, 
the most convincing proof that archaeology is, or 
should be, a merry science, very necessary to the 
gaiety of the world. I defy a man suffering from 
his liver to understand the old Egyptians ; I defy 
a man who does not appreciate the pleasure of 
life to make anything of them. Egyptian archae- 
ology presents a pageant of such brilliancy that 
the archaeologist is often carried along by it as 
in a dream, down the valley and over the hills, 
till, Past blending with Present, and Present with 
Future, he finds himself led to a kind of Island 
of the Blest, where death is forgotten and only 
the joy of life, and life's good deeds, still remain ; 
where pleasure - domes, and all the ancient 

78 The Value of the Treasury. 

"miracles of rare device," rise into the air from 
above the flowers ; and where the damsel with 
the dulcimer beside the running stream sings to 
him of Mount Abora and of the old heroes of the 
elder days. If the Egyptologist or the archaeolo- 
gist could revive within him one-hundredth part 
of the elusive romance, the delicate gaiety, the 
subtle humour, the intangible tenderness, the un- i 

speakable goodness, of much that is to be found | 

in his province, one would have to cry, like | 

Coleridge — ' 

" Beware, beware ! j 

Weave a circle round him thrice, j 

And close your eyes with holy dread, j 

For he on honey-dew hath fed, j 

And drunk the milk of Paradise." 

PART 11. 

" And I could tell thee stories that would make thee laugh at all thy 
trouble, and take thee to a land of which thou hast never even dreamed. 
Where the trees have ever blossoms, and are noisy with the humming of in- 
toxicated bees. Where by day the suns are never burning, and by night 
the moonstones ooze with nectar in the rays of the camphor-laden moon. 
"Where the blue lakes are filled with rows of silver swans, and where, on 
steps of lapis lazuli, the peacocks dance in agitation at the murmur of the 
thunder in the hills. Where the lightning flashes without harming, to 
light the way to women stealing in the darkness to meetings with their 
lovers, and the rainbow hangs for ever like an opal on the dark blue curtain 
of the cloud. Where, on the moonlit roofs of crystal palaces, pairs of lovers 
laugh at the reflection of each other's love-sick faces in goblets of red wine, 
breathing, as they drink, air heavy with the fragrance of the sandal, wafted 
on the breezes from the mountain of the south. Where they play and pelt 
each other with emeralds and rubies, fetched at the churning of the ocean 
from the bottom of the sea. Where rivers, whose sands are always golden, 
flow slowly past long lines of silent cranes that hunt for silver fishes in the 
rushes on the banks. Where men are true, and maidens love for ever, and 
the lotus never fades. F. W. Bain : A Heifer of the Dawn. 



A CERTAIN school geography book, now out of 
date, condenses its remarks upon the character of 
our Galhc cousins into the following pregnant 
sentence : " The French are a gay and frivolous 
nation, fond of dancing and red wine." The 
description would so nearly apply to the ancient 
inhabitants of Egypt, that its adoption here as a 
text to this chapter cannot be said to be extra- 
vagant. The unbiassed inquirer into the affairs of 
ancient Egypt must discover ultimately, and per- 
haps to his regret, that the dwellers on the Nile 
were a "gay and frivolous people," festive, light- 
hearted, and mirthful, "fond of dancing and red 
wine," and pledged to all that is brilliant in life. 
There are very many people, naturally, who hold 
to those views which their forefathers held before 
them, and picture the Egyptians as a sombre, 
gloomy people ; replete with thoughts of Death 
and of the more melancholy aspect of religion ; 
burdened with the menacing presence of a multi- 
tude of horrible gods and demons, whose priests 
demanded the erection of vast temples for their 





82 Studies in the Treasury. 

appeasement ; having httle joy of this hfe, and 
much uneasy conjecture about the next ; making | 

entertainment in solemn gatherings and ponderous 
feasts ; and holding merriment in holy contempt. 
Of the five startling classes into which the dic- 
tionary divides the human temperament, namely, 
the bilious or choleric, the phlegmatic, the san- 
guine, the melancholic, and the nervous, it is 
probable that the first, the second, and the fourth 
would be those assigned to the ancient Egyptians ! 

by these people. This view is so entirely false that 
one will be forgiven if, in the attempt to dissolve 
it, the gaiety of the race is thrust before the 
reader with too little extenuation. The sanguine, 
and perhaps the nervous, are the classes of tem- 
perament under which the Egyptians must be 
docketed. It cannot be denied that they were an 
industrious and even a strenuous people, that they 
indulged in the most serious thoughts, and at- 
tempted to study the most complex problems of 
life, and that the ceremonial side of their religion 
occupied a large part of their time. But there is 
abundant evidence to show that, like their descen- 
dents of the present day, they were one of the 
least gloomy people of the world, and that they 
took their duties in the most buoyant manner, 
allowing as much sunshine to radiate through 
their minds as shone from the cloudless Egyptian 
skies upon their dazzling country. 

It is curiously interesting to notice how general 
is the present belief in the solemnity of this ancient 

'-,.' ' 

3 , 1 J ) ' 




mM -^ 

*4 ' > 


- ••/^"^■'I , 

fe ^^-^ 

_ -J 




Pl. VIII. 

c c , t , » -■ 


' ^ • c *c X 

f. ^ ', , 

I ■ 


Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 83 

race's attitude towards existence, and how little 
their real character is appreciated. Already the 
reader will be protesting, perhaps, that the appli- 
cation of the geographer's summary of French 
characteristics to the ancient Egyptians lessens in 
no wise its ridiculousness, but rather increases it. 
Let the protest, how^ever, be held back for a while. 
Even if the Egyptians were not always frivolous, 
they were always uncommoiily gay, and any slight 
exaggeration will be pardoned in view of the fact 
that old prejudices have to be violently overturned, 
and the stigma of melancholy and ponderous 
sobriety torn from the national name. It would 
be a matter of little surprise to some good persons 
if the products of excavation in the Nile Valley 
consisted largely of antique black kid gloves. 

Like many other nations the ancient Egyptians 
rendered mortuary service to their ancestors, and 
solid tomb-chapels had to be constructed in honour 
of the more important dead. Both for the purpose 
of preserving the mummy intact, and also in order 
to keep the ceremonies going for as long a period 
of time as possible, these chapels were constructed 
in a most substantial manner, and many of them 
have withstood successfully the siege of the years. 
The dwelling-houses, on the other hand, were 
seldom delivered from father to son ; but, as in 
modern Egypt, each grandee built a palace for 
himself, designed to last for a lifetime only, and 
hardly one of these mansions still exists even as 
a ruin. 

84 Studies in the Treasury. 

Moreover the tombs were constructed in the dry 
desert or in the soHd hillside, whereas the dwelling- 
houses were situated on the damp earth, where 
they had little chance of remaining undemolished. 
And so it is that the main part of our knowledge 
of the Egyptians is derived from a study of their 
tombs and mortuary temples. How false would be 
our estimate of the character of a modern nation 
were we to glean our information solely from its 
churchyard inscriptions ! We should know abso- 
lutely nothing of the frivolous side of the life of 
those whose bare bones lie beneath the gloomy 
declaration of their Christian virtues. It will be 
realised how sincere was the light -heartedness 
of the Egyptians when it is remembered that 
almost everything in the following record of their 
gaieties is derived from a study of the tombs, and 
of objects found therein. 

Light-heartedness is the key-note of the ancient 
philosophy of the country, and in this assertion 
the reader will, in most cases, find cause for sur- 
prise. The Greek travellers in Egypt, who re- 
turned to their native land impressed with the 
wonderful mysticism of the Egyptians, committed 
their amazement to paper, and so led off that 
feeling of awed reverence which is felt for the 
philosophy of Pharaoh's subjects. But in their 
case there was the presence of the priests and 
wise men eloquently to baffle them into the state 
of respect, and there were a thousand unwritten 
arguments, comments, articles of faith, and con- 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 85 

troverted points of doctrine heard from the mouths 
of the believers, to surprise them into a reverential 
attitude. But we of the present day have left to 
us only the more outward and visible remains of 
the Egyptians. There are only the fundamental 
doctrines to work on, the more penetrating notes 
of the harmony to listen to. Thus the outline of 
the philosophy is able to be studied without any 
complication, and we have no whirligig of priestly 
talk to confuse it. Examined in this way, working 
only from cold stones and dry papyri, we are con- 
fronted with the old " Eat, drink, and be merry," 
which is at once the happiest and most danger- 
ous philosophy conceived by man. It is to be 
noticed that this way of looking at life is to be 
found in Egypt from the earliest times down to 
the period of the Greek occupation of the country, 
and, in fact, until the present day. That is to say, 
it was a philosophy inborn in the Egyptian, — a 
part of his nature. 

Imhotep, the famous philosopher of Dynasty III., 
about B.C. 3000, said to his disciples : " Behold the 
dwellings of the dead. Their walls fall down, their 
place is no more ; they are as though they had 
never existed " ; and he drew from this the lesson 
that man is soon done with and forgotten, and that 
therefore his life should be as happy as possible. 
To Imhotep must be attributed the earliest known 
exhortation to man to resign himself to his candle- 
end of a life, and to the inevitable snufHng-out to 
come, and to be merry while yet he may. There 

86 Studies in the Treasury. 

is a poem, dating from about B.C. 2000, from which 
the following is taken : — 

" Walk after thy heart's desire so long as thou livest. Put 
myrrh on thy head, clothe thyself in tine linen, anoint thy- 
self with the true marvels of God. . . . Let not thy heart 
concern itself, until there cometh to thee that great day of 
lamentation. Yet he who is at rest can hear not thy com- 
plaint, and he who lies in the tomb can understand not thy 
weeping. Therefore, with smiling face, let thy days be 
happy, and rest not therein. For no man carrieth his goods 
away with him ; " 0, no man returneth again who is gone 

Again, we have the same sentiments expressed 
in a tomb of about B.C. 1350, belonging to a certain 
Neferhotep, a priest of Amen. It is quoted on 
page 235, and here we need only note the ending : 

" Come, songs and music are before thee. Set behind thee 
all cares ; think only upon gladness, until that day cometh 
whereon thou shalt go down to the land which loveth 

A Ptolemaic inscription quoted more fully towards 
the end of this chapter reads : " Follow thy desire 
by night and by day. Put not care within thy 

The ancient Egyptian peasants, like their modern 
descendants, were fatalists, and a happy careless- 
ness seems to have softened the strenuousness 
of their daily tasks. The peasants of the present 
day in Egypt so lack the initiative to develop 
the scope of their industries that their life cannot 
be said to be strenuous. In whatever work they 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 87 

undertake, however, they show a wonderful degree 
of cheerfulness, and a fine disregard for misfortune. 
Their forefathers, similarly, went through their 
labours with a song upon their lips. In the tombs 
at Sakkara, dating from the Old Empire, there are 
scenes representing flocks of goats treading in the 
seed on the newly-sown ground, and the inscrip- 
tions give the song which the goat-herds sing : — 

" The goat-herd is in the water with the fishes, — 
He speaks with the nar-fish, he talks with the pike ; 
From the west is your goat-herd; your goat-herd is from the 

The meaning of the words is not known, of course, 
but the song seems to have been a popular one. 
A more comprehensible ditty is that sung to the 
oxen by their driver, which dates from the New 
Empire : — 

" Thresh out for yourselves, ye oxen, thresh out for yourselves. 
Thresh out the straw for your food, and the grain for your 

Do not rest yourselves, for it is cool to-day." 

Some of the love-songs have been preserved 
from destruction, and these throw much light upon 
the subject of the Egyptian temperament. A 
number of songs, supposed to have been sung by 
a girl to her lover, form themselves into a collec- 
tion entitled "The beautiful and gladsome songs 
of thy sister, whom thy heart loves, as she walks 
in the fields." The girl is supposed to belong 
to the peasant class, and most of the verses are 
sung whilst she is at her daily occupation of snar- 

88 Studies in the Treasury. 

ing wild duck in the marshes. One must imagine 
the songs warbled without any particular refrain, 
just as in the case of the modern Egyptians, 
who pour out their ancient tales of love and 
adventure in a series of bird-like cadences, full- 
throated, and often wonderfully melodious. A 
peculiar sweetness and tenderness will be noticed 
in the following examples, and though they suffer 
in translation, their airy lightness and refinement 
is to be distinguished. One characteristic song, 
addressed by the girl to her lover, runs— 

" Caught by the worm, the wild duck cries, 
But in the love-light of thine eyes 
I, trembling, loose the trap. So flies 

The bird into the air. 
What will my angry mother say 1 
With basket full I come each day, 
But now thy love hath led me stray, 

And I have set no snare." 

Again, in a somewhat similar strain, she sings — 

" The wild duck scatter far, and now 
Again they light upon the bough 

And cry unto their kind ; 
Anon they gather on the mere — 
But yet unharmed I leave them there, 

For love hath filled my mind." 

Another song must be given here in prose form. 
The girl who sings it is supposed to be making 
a wreath of flowers, and as she works she 
cries — 

" I am thy first sister, and to^ me thou art as a garden 
which I have planted with flowers and all sweet-smeUing 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 89 

herbs. And I have directed a caual into it, that thou 
mightest dip thy hand into it when the north wind blows 
cool. The place is beautiful where we walk, because we 
walk together, thy hand resting within mine, our mind 
thoughtful and our heart joyful. It is intoxicating to me 
to hear thy voice, yet my life depends upon hearing it. 
Whenever I see thee it is better to me than food and 

One more song must be quoted, for it is so 
artless and so full of human tenderness that I may 
risk the accusation of straying from the main 
argument in repeating it. It runs : — 

" The breath of thy nostrils alone 
Is that which maketh my heart to live. 
I found thee : 
God grant thee to me 
For ever and ever." 

It is really painful to think of these words as 
having fallen from the lips of what is now a resin- 
smelling lump of bones and hardened flesh, perhaps 
still unearthed, perhaps lying in some museum 
show-case, or perhaps kicked about in fragments 
over the hot sand of some tourist-crowded necro- 
polis. Mummies are the most lifeless objects one 
could well imagine. It is impossible even for those 
whose imaginations are most powerful, to infuse 
life into a thing so utterly dead as an em- 
balmed body ; and this fact is partly responsible 
for that atmosphere of stark, melancholy, sobriety 
and aloofness w^hich surrounds the affairs of ancient 
Egypt. In reading these verses, it is imperative 
for their right understanding that the mummies 

90 Studies in the Treasury. 

and their resting-places should be banished from 
the thoughts. It is not always a simple matter 
for the student to rid himself of the atmosphere 
of the museum, where the beads which should 
be jangling on a brown neck are lying numbered 
and labelled on red velvet ; where the bird-trap, 
once the centre of such feathered commotion, is 
propped up in a glass case as " D, 18,432"; 
and where even the document in which the verses 
are written is the lawful booty of the grammarian 
and philologist in the library. But it is the first 
duty of an archaeologist to do away w4th that 

Let those who are untrammelled then, pass 
out into the sunshine of the Egyptian fields and 
marshes, where the wild duck cry to each other 
as they scuttle through the tall reeds. Here in 
the early morning comes our songstress, and one 
may see her as clearly as one can that Shulamite 
of King Solomon's day, who has had the good 
fortune to belong to a land where stones and 
bones, being few in number, do not endanger 
the atmosphere of the literature. One may see 
her, her hair moving in the breeze " as a flock 
of goats that appear from Mount Gilead " ; her 
teeth white " as a flock of shorn sheep which came 
up from the washing," and her lips "like a thread 
of scarlet." Through such imaginings alone can 
one appreciate the songs, or realise the lightness 
of the manner in which they were sung. 

With such a happy view of life amongst the 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 91 

upper classes as is indicated by their philosophy, 
and with that merry disposition amongst the 
peasants which shows itself in their love of song, 
it is not surprising to find that asceticism is 
practically unknown in ancient Egypt before the 
time of Christ. At first sight, in reflecting on 
the mysteries and religious ceremonies of the 
nation, we are apt to endow the priests and 
other participators with a degree of austerity 
wholly unjustified by facts. We picture the 
priest chanting his formulae in the dim light of 
the temple, the atmosphere about him heavy with 
incense ; and we imagine him as an anchorite who 
has put away the things of this world. But in 
reality there seems to have been not even such 
a thing as a celibate amongst the priests. Each 
man had his wife and his family, his house, and 
his comforts of food and fine linen. He indulged 
in the usual pastimes and was present at the 
merriest of feasts. The famous wise men and 
magicians, such as Uba - ana of the Westcar 
Papyrus, had their wives, their parks, their plea- 
sure-pavilions, and their hosts of servants. Great 
dignitaries of the Anion Church, such as Amen- 
hotepsase, the Second Prophet of Amen in the 
time of Thutmosis TV. , are represented as feasting 
with their friends, or driving through Thebes in 
richly-decorated chariots drawn by prancing horses, 
and attended by an array of servants. A monastic 
life, or the life of an anchorite, was held by the 
Egyptians in scorn ; and indeed the state of mind 

92 Studies in the Treasury. 

which produces the monk and the hermit was 
almost entirely unknown to the nation in dynastic 
times. It was only in the Ptolemaic and Ptoman 
periods that asceticism came to be practised ; and 
some have thought that its introduction into Egypt 
is to be attributed to the preaching of the Hindoo 
missionaries sent from India to the court of the 
Ptolemies. It is not really an Egyptian char- 
acteristic ; and its practice did not last for more 
than a few centuries. 

The religious teachings of the Egyptians before 
the Ptolemaic era do not suggest that the morti- 
fication of the flesh was a possible means of puri- 
fying the spirit. An appeal to the senses and to 
the emotions, however, was considered as a legiti- 
mate method of reaching the soul. The Egyptians 
were passionately fond of ceremonial display. Their 
huge temples, painted as they were with the most 
brilliant colours, formed the setting of processions 
and ceremonies in which music, rhythmic motion, 
and colour were brought to a point of excellence. 
In honour of some of the gods dances were con- 
ducted ; while celebrations, such as the fantastic 
Feast of Lamps, were held on the anniversaries 
of religious events. In these gorgeously spec- 
tacular ceremonies there was no place for anything 
sombre or austere, nor could they have been con- 
ceived by any but the most life-loving tempera- 

As in his religious functions, so in his home, 
the Egyptian regarded brilliancy and festivity 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 93 

as an edification. When in trouble or distress, 
he was wont to relieve his mind as readily by 
an appeal to the vanities of this world as by an 
invocation of the powers of Heaven. Thus, when 
King Sneferu, of Dynasty IV., was oppressed 
with the cares of state, his councillor Zazamankh 
constructed for him a pleasure boat which was 
rowed around a lake by the most beautiful 
damsels obtainable. And again, when Wenamon, 
the envoy of Herhor of Dynasty XXI., had fallen 
into trouble with the pirates of the Mediterranean, 
his depression was banished by a gift of a dancing- 
girl, two vessels of wine, a young goat of tender 
flesh, and a message which read — "Eat and drink, 
and let not thy heart feel apprehension." 

An intense craving for brightness and cheerful- 
ness is to be observed on all sides, and the attempt 
to cover every action of life with a kind of lustre 
is perhaps the most apparent characteristic of the 
race. At all times the Egyptians decked them- 
selves with flowers, and rich and poor alike 
breathed what they called "the sweet north 
wind" throuofh a screen of blossoms. At their 
feasts and festivals each guest was presented 
Avith necklaces and crowns of lotus-flowers, and 
a specially selected bouquet was carried in the 
hands. Constantly, as the hours passed, fresh 
flowers were brought to them, and the guests 
are shown in the tomb paintings in the act of 
burying their noses in the delicate petals with 
an air of luxury which even the conventionalities 

94 Studies in the Treasury. 

of the draughtsman cannot hide. In the women's 
hair a flower was pinned which hung down before 
the forehead ; and a cake of ointment, concocted 
of some sweet-smeUing unguent, was so arranged 
upon the head that, as it slowly melted, it re- 
perfumed the flower. Complete wreaths of flowers 
were sometimes worn, and this was the custom as 
much in the dress of the home as in that of the 
feast. The common people also arrayed them- 
selves with wreaths of lotuses at all galas and 
carnivals. The room in which a feast was held 
was decorated lavishly with flowers. Blossoms 
crept up the delicate pillars to the roof; gar- 
lands twined themselves around the tables and 
about the jars of wine ; and single buds lay in 
every dish of food. Even the dead were decked 
in their tombs with a mass of flowers, as though 
the mourners would hide with the living delights 
of the earth the misery of the grave. 

The Egyptian loved his garden, and filled it 
with all manner of beautiful flowers. Great 
parks were laid out by the Pharaohs, and it is 
recorded of Thutmosis III. that he brought back 
from his Asiatic campaigns vast quantities of rare 
plants with which to beautify Thebes. Festivals 
were held at the season when the flowers were 
in full bloom, and the light - hearted Egyptian 
did not fail to make the flowers talk to him, in 
the imagination, of the delights of life. In one 
case a fig - tree is made to call to a passing 
maiden to come into its shade. 

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.1 > '■",','*.'>'' ' 





O >= 

o :_- 

o w 

" en 


b/. p 



Pi.. IX. 

c c c c 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 95 

"Come," it says, "and spend this festal day, and to- 
morrow, and the day after to-morrow, sitting iu my shadow. 
Let thy lover sit at thy side, and let him drink. . . . Thy 
servants will come with the dinner-things — they will bring 
drink of every kind, with all manner of cakes, flowers of 
yesterday and of to-day, and all kinds of refreshing fruit." 

Than this one could hardly find a more convincing 
indication of the gaiety of the Egyptian tempera- 
ment. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 
A.D. the people were so oppressed that any display 
of luxury was discouraged, and a happy smile 
brought the tax-gatherer to the door to ascertain 
whether it was due to financial prosperity. But 
the carrying of flowers, and other indications of 
a kind of unworried contentment, are now again 
becoming apparent on all sides. 

The affection displayed by the Egyptians for 
bright colours would alone indicate that their 
temperament was not melancholic. The houses 
of the rich were painted with colours which would 
be regarded as crude had they appeared in the 
Occident, but which are admissible in Egypt 
where the natural brilliancy of the sunshine and 
the scenery demands a more extreme colour- 
scheme in decoration. The pavilions in which 
the nobles " made a happy day," as they phrased 
it, were painted with the most brilliant wall- 
decorations, and the delicately - shaped lotus 
columns supporting the roof were striped with 
half a dozen colours, and were hung with 
streamers of linen. The ceilings and pavements 

96 Studies in the Treasury. 

seem to have afforded the artists a happy field 
for a display of their originality and skill, and 
it is on these stretches of smooth-plastered sur- 
face that gems of Egyptian art are often found. 
A pavement from the palace of Akhnaton at 
Tell el Amarna shows a scene in which a cow 
is depicted frisking through the reeds, and birds 
are represented flying over the marshes. In the 
palace of Amenhotep III. at Gurneh there was 
a ceiling decoration representing a flight of doves, 
which, in its delicacy of execution and colouring, 
is not to be classed with the crude forms of 
Egyptian decoration, but indicates an equally 
light-hearted temperament in its creator. It is 
not probable that either bright colours or dainti- 
ness of design would emanate from the brains 
of a sombre- minded people. 

Some of the feminine garments worn in ancient 
Eo-ypt ^vere exceedingly gaudy, and they made 
up in colour all that they lacked in variety of 
design. In the Middle and New Empires the 
robes of the men were as many - hued as their 
wall decorations, and as rich in composition. One 
may take as a typical example the costume of 
a certain priest who lived at the end of Dynasty 
XVIII. An elaborate wig covers his head ; a 
richly ornamented necklace surrounds his neck ; 
the upper part of his body is clothed in a tunic 
of gauze-like linen ; as a skirt there is swathed 
around him the most delicately coloured fine linen, 
one end of which is brought up and thrown grace- 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 97 

fully over his arm ; decorated sandals cover his 
feet and curl up over his toes ; and in his hand 
he carries a jewelled wand surmounted by feathers. 
It would be an absurdity to state that these folds 
of fine linen hid a heart set on things higher than 
this world and its vanities. Nor do the objects 
of daily use found in the tombs suggest any 
austerity in the Egyptian character. There is 
no reflection of the Underworld to be looked for 
in the ornamental bronze mirrors, nor smell of 
death in the frail perfume pots. Religious abstrac- 
tion is not to be sought in lotus-formed drinking- 
cups, and mortification of the body is certainly 
not practised on golden chairs and soft cushions. 
These were the objects buried in the tombs of 
the priests and religious teachers. 

The puritanical tendency of a race can generally 
be discovered by a study of the personal names of 
the people. The names by which the Egyptians 
called their children are as gay as they are pretty, 
and lack entirely the Puritan character. " Eyes- 
of-love," " My - lady - is - as - gold," "Cool-breeze," 
" Gold-and-lapis-lazuli," " Beautiful-morning," are 
Egyptian names very far removed from " Through- 
of-Heaven Jones," which is the actual name of a 
now living scion of a Koundhead family. And the 
well-known " Praise-God Barebones " has little to 
do with the Egyptian "Beautiful-Kitten," "Little- 
Wild-Lion," " I-have-wanted-you," " Sweetheart," 
and so on. 


98 Studies in the Treasury. 

The nature of the folk-tales is equally indicative 
of the temperament of a nation. The stories which 
have come down to us from ancient Egypt are 
often as frivolous as they are quaint. Nothing 
delighted the Egyptians more than the listening 
to a tale told by an expert story-teller ; and it 
is to be supposed that such persons were in as 
much demand in the old days as they are now. 
One may still read of the adventures of the Prince 
who was fated to die by a dog, a snake, or a 
crocodile ; of the magician who made the waters 
of the lake heap themselves up that he might 
descend to the bottom dry-shod to recover a lady's 
jewel ; of the fat old wizard who could cut a man's 
head off and join it again to his body ; of the fairy 
godmothers who made presents to a new - born 
babe ; of the shipwrecked sailor who was thrown 
up on an island inhabited by serpents with human 
natures ; of the princess in the tower whose lovers 
spent their days in attempting to climb to her 
window, — and so on. The stories have no moral, 
they are not pompous : they are purely amusing, 
interesting, and romantic. As an example one 
may quote the story which is told of Prince 
Setna, the son of Rameses II. This Prince was 
one day sitting in the court of the temple of 
Ptah, when he saw a woman pass " beautiful 
exceedingly, there being no woman of her beauty." 
There were wonderful golden ornaments upon her, 
and she was attended by fifty-two persons, them- 
selves of some rank and much beauty. " The hour 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 99 

that Setna saw her, he knew not the place on 
earth where he was " ; and he called to his servants 
and told them to "go quickly to the place where 
she is, and learn what comes under her command." 
The beautiful lady proved finally to be named 
Tabubna, the daughter of a priest of Bast, the 
Cat. Setna's acquaintance with her was later of 
a most disgraceful character ; and, from motives 
which are not clear, she made him murder his own 
children to please her. At the critical moment, 
however, when the climax is reached, the old, old 
joke is played upon the listener, who is told that 
Setna then woke up, and discovered that the whole 
affair had been an afternoon dream in the shade of 
the temple court. 

The Egyptians often amused themselves by 
drawing comic pictures and caricatures, and there 
is an interesting series still preserved in which 
animals take the place of human beings, and are 
shown performing all manner of antics. One sees 
a cat walking on its hind legs driving a flock of 
geese, while a wolf carrying a staff and knapsack 
leads a herd of goats. There is a battle of the mice 
and cats, and the king of the mice, in his chariot 
drawn by two dogs, is seen attacking the fortress 
of the cats. A picture which is worthy of Edward 
Lear shows a ridiculous hippopotamus seated 
amidst the foliage of a tree, eating from a table, 
whilst a crow mounts a ladder to wait upon him. 
There are caricatures showing women of fashion 
rouging their faces, unshaven and really amusing 

loo Studies in the Treasury. 

old tramps, and so forth. Even upon the walls of 
the tombs there are often comic pictures, in which 
one may see little girls fighting and tearing at 
each others' hair, men tumbling one over another 
as they play, and the like ; and one must suppose 
that these were the scenes which the owner of the 
tomb wished to perpetuate throughout the eternity 
of Death. 

The Egyptians took keen delight in music. In 
the sound of the trumpet and on the well-tuned 
cymbals they praised God in Egypt as merrily as 
the Psalmist could wish. The strings and the 
pipe, the lute and the harp, made music at every 
festival — religious, national, or private. Plato 
tells us that " nothing but beautiful forms and fine 
music was permitted to enter into the assemblies 
of young people " in Egypt ; and he states that 
music was considered as being of the greatest con- 
sequence for its beneficial effects upon youthful 
minds. Strabo records the fact that music was 
largely taught in Egypt, and the numbers of 
musical instruments buried in the tombs or repre- 
sented in the decorations confirm his statement. 
The music was scientifically taught, and a know- 
ledge of harmony is apparent in the complicated 
forms of the instruments. The harps sometimes 
had as many as twenty-two strings ; the long- 
handled guitars, fitted with three strings, were 
capable of wide gradations ; and the flutes were 
sufliciently complicated to be described by early 
writers as " many- toned." The Egyptian did not 

. ',. . .. 

I 111 

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tf-^gr-^C,- jj- • -'• 

-'-«?: ,^» 

A relief of the Saitic Period, representing- an old man playing uyiow a 
harp, and a woman beating a drum. Offerings oi ioo^ and flowers 
are placed before them. — Alexandria Mlsel'.m. 

Pl. X. 

Temperament of Ancient Egypt iaris. iDi^ ' 

merely bang a drum with his fist because it made 
a noise, nor blow blasts upon a trumpet as a means 
of expressing the inexpressible. He was an edu- 
cated musician, and he employed the medium of 
music to encourage his lightness of heart and to 
render his gaiety more gay. 

One sees representations of the women in a rich 
man's harem amusing themselves by dancing and 
singing. In the tomb of Ay there is a scene show- 
ing the interior of the women's quarters, and here 
the ladies are shown dancing, playing guitars, 
feasting, or adorning themselves with their jewel- 
lery ; while the store-rooms are seen to be filled 
with all manner of musical Instruments, as well 
as mirrors, boxes of clothes, and articles of femi- 
nine use. At feasts and banquets a string band 
played during the meal, and songs were sung to 
the accompaniment of the harp. At religious 
festivals choruses of male and female voices were 
introduced. Soldiers marched through the streets 
to the sound of trumpets and drums, and marriage 
processions and the like were led by a band. At 
the feasts it was customary for the dancing-girls, 
who were employed for the amusement of the 
guests, to perform their dances and to play a 
guitar or a flute at the same time. One sees 
representations of girls, their heads thrown back 
and their long hair flying, merrily twanging a 
guitar as they skip round the room. In the civil 
and religious processions many of the participators 
danced along as though from sheer lightness of 

IQ2' Studies in the Treasury. 

heart ; and on some occasions even the band footed 
it down the high-road, circhng, jumping, and skip- 
ping as they played. 

The words for " rejoice " and " dance " were 
synonymous in the hterature of the Egyptians. 
In early days dancing naturally implied rejoicing, 
and rejoicing was most easily expressed by danc- 
ing. But the Egyptians of the refined periods 
more often danced to amuse themselves, regarding 
it, just as we do at the present day, as an exhil- 
aration. Persons of the upper classes, however, 
did not indulge very freely in it, but preferred to 
watch the performances of professional dancers. 
At all banquets dancing was as indispensable as 
wine, women, and song, and it rather depended 
on the nature of the wine and women as to 
whether the guests joined personally in the sport 
or sat still while the dancers swayed around the 
room. The professionals were generally women, 
but sometimes men were employed, and one sees 
representations of a man performing some difficult 
solo while a chorus of women sings and marks 
time by clapping the hands. Men and women 
danced together on occasions, but as a general 
rule the Egyptian preferred to watch the move- 
ments of the more graceful sex by themselves. 
The women sometimes danced naked, to show off 
the grace of their poses and the suppleness of their 
muscles ; sometimes they were decked with ribbons 
only ; and sometimes they wore transparent dresses 
made of linen of the finest texture. It was not 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 103 

unusual for them to carry tambourines and casta- 
nets with which to beat time to their dances. On 
the other hand, there were delicate and sober per- 
formances, unaccompanied by music. The paint- 
ings show some of the poses to have been exceed- 
ingly graceful, and there were character dances 
enacted in which the figures must have been 
highly dramatic and artistic. For example, the 
tableau which occurs in one dance, and is called 
" The Wind," shows two of the dancing-girls bent 
back like reeds when the wind blows upon them, 
while a third figure stands over them in protection, 
as though symbolising the immovable rocks. 

But more usually the merry mood of the Egypt- 
ians asserted itself, as it so often does at the present 
day, in a demand for something approaching nearer 
to buffoonery. The dancers whirled one another 
about in the wildest manner, often tumbling head 
over heels on the floor. A trick, attended gener- 
ally with success, consisted in the attempt by the 
dancers to balance the body upon the head with- 
out the support of the arms. This buffoonery was 
highly appreciated by the audience which wit- 
nessed it; and the banqueting -room must have 
been full of the noise of riotous mirth. One can- 
not, indeed, regard a feast as pompous or solemn 
at which the banging of the tambourines and the 
click of castanets vied with the clatter of the 
dishes and the laughter of the guests in creating a 
general hullabaloo. Let those state who wall that 
the Egyptian was a gloomy individual, but first 

I04 Studies in the Treasury. 

let them not fail to observe that same Egyptian 
standing upon his head amidst the roars of laugh- 
ter of his friends. 

Dancing as a religious ceremony is to be found 
in many primitive countries, and in Egypt it exists 
at the present day in more than one form. In the 
days of the Pharaohs it was customary to institute 
dances in honour of some of the gods, more especi- 
ally those deities whose concerns were earthy — 
that is to say, those connected with love, joy, 
birth, death, fertility, reproduction, and so on. It 
will be remembered how David danced before the 
Ark of the Lord, and how his ancestors danced in 
honour of the golden calf In Egypt the king was 
wont to dance before the great god Min of the 
crops, and at harvest-time the peasants performed 
their thanksgiving before the figures of Min in 
this manner. Hathor and Bast, the two great 
goddesses of pleasure, were worshipped in the 
dance. Hathor was mistress of sports and danc- 
ing, and patron of amusements and mirth, joy and 
pleasure, beauty and love ; and in regard to the 
happy temperament of the Egyptians, it is signi- 
ficant that this goddess was held in the highest 
esteem throughout the history of the nation. 

Bast was honoured by a festival which for merri- 
ment and frivolity could not well be equalled. The 
festival took place at Bubastis, and is described by 
Herodotus in the following words : — 

" This is the nature of the ceremony on the way to Bubas- 
tis. They go by water, and numerous boats are crowded 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 105 

with persons of both sexes. During the voyage several 
women strike the cymbals, some men play the flute, the 
rest singing and clapping their hands. As they pass near a 
town they bring the boat close to the bank. Some of the 
women continue to sing and play the cymbals ; others cry 
out as long as they can, and utter mocking jests against the 
people of the town, who begin to dance, while the former 
pull up their clothes before them in a scoffing manner. The 
same is repeated at every town they pass upon the river. 
Arrived at Bubastis, they celebrate the festival of Bast, 
sacrificing a great number of victims, and on that occasion 
a greater consumption of wine takes place than during the 
whole of the year." 

At this festival of Bast half the persons taking 
part in the celebrations must have become intoxi- 
cated. The Egyptians were always given to wine- 
drinking, and Athenseus goes so far as to say that 
they were a nation addicted to systematic intem- 
perance. The same writer, on the authority of 
Hellanicus, states that the vine was cultivated in 
the Nile valley at a date earlier than that at 
which it was first grown by any other people ; and 
it is to this circumstance that Dion attributes the 
Egyptian's love of wine. Strabo and other writers 
speak of the wines of Egypt as being particularly 
good, and various kinds emanating from different 
localities are mentioned. The wines made from 
grapes were of the red and white varieties ; but 
there were also fruit wines, made from pomegran- 
ates and other fruits. In the lists of offerings 
inscribed on the walls of temples and tombs one 
sees a large number of varieties recorded — \\ines 

io6 Studies in the Treasury. 

from the north, wines from the south, wines pro- 
vincial, and wines foreign. Beer, made of barley, 
was also drunk very largely, and this beverage 
is heartily commended by the early writers. In- 
deed, the wine- and beer-bibber was so common 
an offender against the dignity of the nation, that 
every moralist who arose had a word to say against 
him. Thus, for example, in the Maxims of Ani 
one finds the moralist writing — 

"Do not put thyself in a beer-house. An evil thing are 
words reported as coming from thy mouth when thou dost 
not know that they have been said by thee. When thou 
fallest thy limbs are broken, and nobody giveth thee a hand. 
Thy comrades in drink stand up, saying, ' Away with this 
drunken man.' " 

The less thoughtful members of society, however, 
considered drunkenness as a very good joke, and 
even went so far as to portray it in their tomb 
decorations. One sees men carried home from a 
feast across the shoulders of three of their com- 
panions, or ignominiously hauled out of the house 
by their ankles and the scruff of their neck. In 
the tomb of Paheri at El Kab women are repre- 
sented at a feast, and scraps of their conversation 
are recorded, such, for instance, as " Give me 
eighteen cups of wine, for I should love to drink to 
drunkenness : my inside is as dry as straw." There 
are actually representations of women overcome 
with nausea through immoderate drinking, and 
being attended by servants who have hastened 
with basins to their assistance. In another tomb- 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. loy 

painting a drunken man is seen to have fallen 
against one of the delicate pillars of the pavilion 
with such force that it has toppled over, to the 
dismay of the guests around. 

In the light of such scenes as these one may 
picture the life of an Egyptian in the elder days 
as being not a little depraved. One sees the men 
in their gaudy raiment, and the women luxuriously 
clothed, staining their garments with the wine 
spilt from the drinking-bowls as their hands shake 
with their drunken laughter ; and the vision of 
Egyptian solemnity is still further banished at 
the sight. It is only too obvious that a land of 
laughter and jest, feasting and carouse, must be 
situated too near a Pompeian volcano to be capable 
of endurance, and the inhabitants too purposeless 
in their movements to avoid at some time or other 
running into the paths of burning lava. The 
people of Egypt went merrily through the radiant 
valley in w^hich they lived, employing all that the 
gods had given them, — not only the green palms, 
the thousand birds, the blue sky, the hearty wind, 
the river and its reflections, but also the luxuries 
of their civilisation, — to make for themselves a 
frail feast of happiness. And when the last 
flowers, the latest empty drinking -cup, fell to 
the ground, nothing remained to them but that 
sodden, drunken night of disgrace which shocks 
one so at the end of the dynastic history, and 
which inevitably led to the fall of the nation. 
Christian asceticism came as the natural reaction 

io8 Studies in the Treasury. 

and Muhammedan strictness followed in due 
course ; and it required the force of both these 
movements to put strength and health into the 
people once more. 

One need not dwell, however, on this aspect of 
the Egyptian temperament. It is more pleasing, 
and as pertinent to the argument, to follow the 
old lords of the Nile into the sunshine once more, 
and to glance for a moment at their sports. Hunt- 
ing was a pleasure to them, in which they indulged 
at every opportunity. One sees representations 
of this with great frequency upon the walls of the 
tombs. A man will be shown standing in a reed 
boat which has been pushed in amongst the waving 
papyrus. A boomerang is in his hand, and his 
wife by his side helps him to locate the wild duck, 
so that he may penetrate within throwing-distance 
of the birds before they rise. Presently up they 
go with a whir, and the boomerang claims its 
victims ; while all manner of smaller birds dart 
from amidst the reeds, and gaudy butterflies pass 
startled overhead. Again one sees the hunter 
galloping in his chariot over the hard sand of 
the desert, shooting his arrows at the gazelle as 
he goes. Or yet again with his dogs he is shown 
in pursuit of the long-eared Egyptian hare, or of 
some other creature of the desert. When not thus 
engaged he may be seen excitedly watching a bull- 
fight, or eagerly judging the merits of rival wrest- 
lers, boxers, and fencers. One may follow him 
later into the seclusion of his garden, where, sur- 

' J > 1 J 

-J -* '"^ 
ri *^ ^ 


.b x] 

J3 — 


— I. 

— c 






X — 



rt y 





1— < 



5 c 





O -« 


ii 2 


r- O 





w ;: 


a; •= 


■— * 

-2 x. 

























Pl. xi. 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 109 

rounded by a wealth of trees and flowers, he plays 
draughts with his friends, romps with his children, 
or fishes in his artificial ponds. There is much 
evidence of this nature to show that the Egyptian 
was as much given to these healthy amusements as 
he was to the mirth of the feast. Josephus states 
that the Egyptians were a people addicted to 
pleasure, and the evidence brought together in 
the foregoing pages shows that his statement is 
to be confirmed. In sincere joy of living they 
surpassed any other nation of the ancient world. 
Life was a thing of such delight to the Egyptian, 
that he shrank equally from losing it himself and 
from taking it from another. His prayer was that 
he might live to be a centenarian. In spite of the 
many wars of the Egyptians, there was less un- 
necessary bloodshed in the Nile valley than in any 
other country which called itself civilised. Death 
was as terrible to them as it was inevitable, and 
the constant advice of the thinker was that the 
living- should make the most of their life. When 
a king died, it was said that " he w^ent forth to 
heaven having spent life in happiness," or that 
"he rested after life, having completed his years 
in happiness." It is true that the Egyptians 
wished to picture the after-life as one of con- 
tinuous joy. One sees representations of a man's 
soul seated in the shade of the fruit-trees of the 
Underworld, while birds sing in the branches 
above him, and a lake of cool water lies before 
him ; but they seemed to know that this was too 

no Studies in the Treasury. ' 

pleasant a picture to be the real one. A woman, 
the wife of a high priest, left upon her tomb- 
stone the following inscription, addressed to her 
husband : — 

" 0, brother, husband, frieud," she says, " thy desire to 
drink and to eat hath not ceased. Therefore be drunken, 
enjoy the love of women — make holiday. Follow thy desire 
by night and by day. Put not care within thy heart. Lo ! 
are not these the years of thy life upon earth ? For as for 
the Underworld, it is a land of slumber and heavy dark- 
ness, a resting-place for those who have passed within it. 
Each sleepeth there in his own form, they never awake 
to see their fellows, they behold not their fathers nor 
their mothers, their heart is careless of their wives and^ 
children." , 

She knows that she will be too deeply steeped in ,| 

the stupor of the Underworld to remember her |i 

husband, and unselfishly she urges him to continue f 

to be happy after the manner of his nation. Then, |' 

in a passage which rings down the years in its ^'^ 

terrible beauty, she tells of her utter despair, lying 
in the gloomy Underworld, suffocated with the 
mummy bandages, and craving for the light, the 
laughter, and the coolness of the day. 

" The water of life," she cries, " with which every mouth 
is moistened, is corruption to me, the water that is by me 
corrupteth me. I know not what to do since I came into 
this valley. Give me running water, say to me, 'Water 
shall not cease to be brought to thee.' Turn my face to the 
north wind upon the edge of the water. Verily thus shall 
my heart be cooled and refreshed from its pain." 

It is, however, the glory of life, rather than the 

Temperament of Ancient Egyptians. 1 1 1 

horror of^eath, which is the dominant note in the 
inscriptions and reliefs. The scenes in the tomb 
decorations seem to cry out for very joy. The 
artist has imprisoned in his representations as 
much sheer happiness as was ever infused into 
cold stone. One sees there the gazelle leaping^ 
over the hills as the sun rises, the birds flapping 
their wings and singing, the wild duck rising from 
the marshes, and the butterflies flashing overhead. 
The fundamental joy of living — that gaiety of life 
which the human being may feel in common with 
the animals — is shown in these scenes as clearly as 
^is the merriment in the representations of feasts 
and dancing. In these paintings and reliefs one 
finds an exact illustration to the joyful exhorta- 
tion of the Psalmist as he cries, " Let the heavens 
rejoice, and let the earth be glad ; ... let the 
fields be joyful, and all that is therein." In a land 
where, to quote one of their own poems, " the tanks 
are full of water and the earth overflows with 
love, ' where " the cool north wind " blows merrily 
over the fields, and the sun never ceases to shine, 
it would be a remarkable phenomenon if the ancient 
Egyptians had not developed the sanguine tempera- 
ment. The foregoing pages have shown them at 
their feasts, in their daily occupations, and in their 
sports, and the reader will find that it is not difti- 
cult to describe them, in the borrowed words of 
the old geographer, as a people always gay and 
often frivolous, and never - ceasingly "fond of 
dancing and red wine." 




In the third chapter of this book it has been shown 
that the archaeologist is, to some extent, enamoured 
of the Past because it can add to the stock of 
things which are Ukely to tickle the fancy. So 
humorous a man is he, so fond of the good things 
of life, so stirred by its adventures, so touched by 
its sorrows, that he must needs go to the Past to 
replenish his supplies, as another might go to Paris 
or Timbuctoo. 

Here, then, is the place to give an example of 
the entertainment which he is likely to find in 
this province of his ; and if the reader can detect 
any smell of dust or hear any creak of dead bones 
in the story which follows, it will be a matter of 
surprise to me. 

In the year 1891, at a small village in Upper 
Egypt named El Hibeh, some natives unearthed a 
much damaged roll of papyrus which appeared to 
them to be very ancient. Since they had heard 
that antiquities have a market value they did not 
burn it along with whatever other scraps of inflam- 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 113 

mable material they had collected for their evening 
fire, but preserved it, and finally took it to a dealer, 
who gave them in exchange for it a small sum of 
money. From the dealer's hands it passed into the 
possession of Monsieur GolenischefF, a Russian 
Egyptologist, who happened at the time to be 
travelling in Egypt ; and by him it was carried 
to St Petersburg, where it now rests. This 
savant presently published a translation of the 
document, which at once caused a sensation in 
the Egyptological world ; and during the next 
few years four amended translations were made 
by different scholars. The interest shown in this 
tattered roll was due to the fact that it had been 
found to contain the actual report written by an 
odicial named Wenamon to his chief, the Hiofh 
Priest of Amon-Pa, relating his adventures in the 
Mediterranean while procuring cedar-wood from 
the forests of Lebanon. The story which Wena- 
mon tells is of the greatest value to Egyptology, 
giving as it does a vivid account of the political 
conditions obtaining in Syria and Egypt during 
the reign of the Pharaoh Pameses XII.; but it also 
has a very human interest, and the misfortunes of 
the writer may excite one's sympathy and amuse- 
ment, after this lapse of three thousand years, as 
though they had occurred at the present time. 

In the time at which Wenamon wrote his report 
Egypt had fallen on evil days. A long line of 
incapable descendants of the great Pameses II. 
and Pameses III. had ruled the Nile valley ; and 


114 Studies in the Treasury. 

now a wretched ghost of a Pharaoh, Kameses XII., 
sat upon the throne, bereft of all power, a ruler in 
name only. The government of the country lay in 
the hands of two great nobles : in Upper Egypt, 
Herhor, High Priest of Amon-Ra, was undisputed 
master ; and in Lower Egypt, Nesubanebded, a 
prince of the city of Tanis (the Zoan of the Bible), 
virtually ruled as king of the Delta. Both these 
persons ultimately ascended the throne of the 
Pharaohs ; but at the time of Wenamon's adven- 
tures the High Priest was the more powerful of 
the two, and could command the obedience of 
the northern ruler, at any rate in all sacerdotal 
matters. The priesthood of Amon-Ra was the 
greatest political factor in Egyptian life. That 
god's name was respected even in the courts of 
Syria, and though his power was now on the 
wane, fifty years previously the great religious 
body which bowed the knee to him was feared 
throughout all the countries neighbouring to 
Egypt. The main cause of Wenamon's troubles 
was the lack of appreciation of this fact that the 
god's influence in Syria was not as great as it had 
been in the past ; and this report would certainly 
not have been worth recording here if he had 
realised that prestige is, of all factors in inter- 
national relations, the least reliable. 

In the year 1113 B.C. the High Priest undertook 
the construction of a ceremonial barge in which 
the image of the god might be floated upon the 
sacred waters of the Nile during the great religious 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 115 

festivals at Thebes ; and for this purpose he found 
himself in need of a large amount of cedar- wood 
of the best quality. He therefore sent for Wena- 
mon, who held the sacerdotal title of "Eldest of 
the Hall of the Temple of Amon," and instructed 
him to proceed to the Lebanon to procure the 
timber. It is evident that Wenamon was no 
traveller, and we may perhaps be permitted to 
picture him as a rather portly gentleman of middle 
age, not wanting either in energy or pluck, but 
given, like some of his countrymen, to a fluctua- 
tion of the emotions which would jump him from 
smiles to tears, from hope to despair, in a manner 
amazing to any but an Egyptian. To us he often 
appears as an overgrown baby, and his misfortunes 
have a farcical nature which makes its appeal as 
much through the medium of one's love of the 
ludicrous as throuo^h that of one's interest in the 
romance of adventure. Those who are acquainted 
with Egypt will see in him one of the types of naif, 
delightful children of the Nile, whose decorous in- 
troduction into the parlour of the nations of to-day 
is requiring such careful rehearsal. 

For his journey the High Priest gave Wenamon 
a sum of money, and as credentials he handed him 
a number of letters addressed to Egyptian and 
Syrian princes, and intrusted to his care a par- 
ticularly sacred little image of Amon-Ra, known 
as Amon-of-the-Road, which had probably accom- 
panied other envoys to the Kingdoms of the Sea 
in times past, and would be recognised as a 

ii6 Studies in the Treasury. 

token of the official nature of any embassy which 
carried it. 

Thus armed Wenamon set out from El Hibeh — 
probably the ancient Hetbennu, the capital of the 
Eighteenth Province of Upper Egypt — on the 
sixteenth day of the eleventh month of the fifth 
year of the reign of E,ameses XII. (1113 B.C.), 
and travelled down the Nile by boat to Tanis, 
a distance of some 200 miles. On his arrival 
at this fair city of the Delta, whose temples 
and palaces rose on the borders of the swamps 
at the edge of the sea, Wenamon made his way 
to the palace of Nesubanebded, and handed to him 
the letters which he had received from the High 
Priest. These were caused to be read aloud ; and 
Nesubanebded, hearing that Wenamon was desirous 
of reaching the Lebanon as soon as possible, made 
the necessary arrangements for his immediate de- 
spatch upon a vessel which happened then to be 
lying at the quay under the command of a Syrian 
skipper named Mengebet, who was about to set 
out for the Asiatic coast. On the first day of the 
twelfth month, that is to say fourteen days after 
his departure from his native town, Wenamon set 
sail from Tanis, crossing the swamps and heading 
out into "the Great Syrian Sea." 

The voyage over the blue rippling Mediterranean 
was calm and prosperous as the good ship sailed 
alono; the barren shores of the land of the Shasu, 
along the more mountainous coast of Edom, and 
thence northwards past the cities of Askalon 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 117 

and Ashdod. To Wenamon, however, the journey 
was fraught with anxiety. He was full of fears as 
to his reception in Syria, for the first of his mis- 
fortunes had befallen him. Although he had with 
him both money and the image of Amon-of-the 
Koad, in the excitement and hurry of his departure 
he had entirely forgotten to obtain again the 
bundle of letters of introduction which he had 
given Nesubanebded to read ; and thus there were 
grave reasons for supposing that his mission might 
prove a complete failure. Mengebet was evidently 
a stern old salt who cared not a snap of the fingers 
for Amon or his envoy, and whose one desire was 
to reach his destination as rapidly as wind and oars 
would permit ; and it is probable that he refused 
bluntly to return to Tanis when Wenamon in- 
formed him of the oversight. This and the inher- 
ent distrust of an Egyptian for a foreigner led 
Wenamon to regard the captain and his men with 
suspicion ; and one must imagine him seated in 
the rough deck-cabin gloomily guarding the divine 
image and his store of money. He had with him 
a secretary and probably two or three servants ; 
and one may picture these unfortunates anxiously 
watching the Syrian crew as they slouched about 
the deck. It is further to be remembered that, 
as a general rule, the Egyptians are most extremely 
bad sailors. 

After some days the ship arrived at the little 
city of Dor, which nestled at the foot of the Ridge 
of Carmel ; and here they put in to replenish 

ii8 Studies in the Treasury. 

their supphes. Wenamon states in his report that 
Dor was at this time a city of the Thekel or 
Sicilians, some wandering band of sea-rovers hav- 
ing left their native Sicily to settle here, at first 
under the protection of the Egyptians, but now 
independent of them. The King of Dor, by name 
Bedel, hearing that an envoy of the High Priest of 
Amon-Ra had arrived in his harbour, very politely 
sent doAvn to him a joint of beef, some loaves of 
bread, and a jar of wine, upon which Wenamon 
must have set to with an appetite, after subsisting 
upon the scanty rations of the sea for so long a 

It may be that the wine was more potent than 
that to which the Egyptian was accustomed ; or 
perhaps the white buildings of the city, glistening 
in the sunlight, and the busy quays, engrossed his 
attention too completely : anyhow, the second of 
his misfortunes now befel him. One of the Syrian 
sailors seized the opportunity to slip into his cabin 
and to steal the money which was hidden there. 
Before Wenamon had detected the robbery the 
sailor had disappeared for ever amidst the houses 
of Dor. That evening the distracted envoy, 
seated upon the floor of his cabin, was obliged 
to chronicle the list of stolen money, which list 
was afterwards incorporated in his report in the 
following manner : — 

One vessel containing gold amounting to 
Four vessels containing silver amounting to 
One wallet containing silver amounting to 

Total of what was stolen : gold, 5 debeus; silver, 31 debens- 











Pl. xii. 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 119 

A deben weighed about 100 grammes, and thus 
the robber was richer by 500 grammes of gold, 
which in those days would have the purchasing 
value of about £600 in our money, and 3100 
grammes of silver, equal to about £2200.^ 

Wenamon must have slept little that night, and 
early on the following morning he hastened to the 
palace of King Bedel to lay his case before him. 
Fortunately Bedel did not ask him for his creden- 
tials, but with the utmost politeness he gave 
his consideration to the aifair. Wenamon's words, 
however, were by no means polite, and one finds 
in them a blustering assurance which suggests that 
he considered himself a personage of extreme con- 
sequence, and regarded a King of Dor as nothing 
in comparison with an envoy of Amon-Ba. 

" I have been robbed in your harbour," he cried, 
so he tells us in the report, " and, since you are 
the king of this land, you must be regarded as 
a party to the crime. You must search for my 
money. The money belongs to Nesubanebded, 
and it belongs to Herhor, my lord" (no mention, 
observe, of the wretched Barneses XII.), "and 
to the other nobles of Egypt. It belongs also 
to Weret, and to Mekmel, and to Zakar-Baal 
the Prince of By bios. "^ These latter were the 
persons to whom it was to be paid. 

The King of Dor listened to this outburst 
with Sicilian politeness, and replied in the fol- 

1 See Weigall : Catalogue of Weights and Balances in the Cairo 
Museum, p. xvi. 
* The translation is based on that of Prof. Breasted. 

I20 Studies in the Treasury. 

lowing very correct terms : " With all due re- 
spect to your honour and excellency," he said, 
" I know nothing of this complaint which you 
have lodged with me. If the thief belonged to 
my land and went on board your ship in order 
to steal your money, I would advance you the 
sum from my treasury while they were finding 
the culprit. But the thief who robbed you be- 
longed to your ship. Tarry, however, a few days 
here with me and I will seek him." 

Wenamon, therefore, strode back to the vessel, 
and there remained, fuming and fretting, for nine 
long days. The skipper Mengebet, however, had 
no reason to remain at Dor, and seems to have 
told Wenamon that he could wait no longer. 
On the tenth day, therefore, Wenamon retraced 
his steps to the palace, and addressed himself once 
more to Bedel. "Look," he said to the king, 
when he was ushered into the royal presence, 
"you have not found my money, and therefore 
you had better let me go with my ship's captain 
and with those . . ." The rest of the interview 
is lost in a lacuna, and practically the only words 
which the damaged condition of the papyrus per- 
mits one now to read are, " He said, ' Be silent ! ' " 
which indicates that even the patience of a King 
of Dor could be exhausted. 

When the narrative is able to be resumed one 
finds that Wenamon has set sail from the city, 
and has travelled along the coast to the proud 
city of Tyre, where he arrived one afternoon 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 121 

penDiless and letterless, having now nothing left 
but the little Amon-of-the-Koad and his own 
audacity. The charms of Tyre, then one of the 
great ports of the civilised world, were of no con- 
sequence to the destitute Egyptian, nor do they 
seem to have attracted the skipper of his ship, 
who, after his long delay at Dor, was in no 
mood to linger. At dawn the next morning, 
therefore, the journey was continued, and once 
more an unfortunate lacuna interrupts the pas- 
sage of the report. From the tattered fragments 
of the writing, however, it seems that at the next 
port of call — perhaps the city of Sidon — a party 
of inoffensive Sicilian merchants was encountered, 
and immediately the desperate Wenamon hatched 
a daring plot. By this time he had come to place 
some trust in Mengebet, the skipper, who, for the 
sake of his own good standing in Egypt, had shown 
himself willing to help the envoy of Amon-Ha in 
his troubles, although he would not go so far as to 
delay his journey for him ; and Wenamon therefore 
admitted him to his councils. On some pretext or 
other a party led by the Egyptian paid a visit 
to these merchants and entered into conversation 
with them. Then, suddenly overpowering them, 
a rush was made for their cash-box, which Wena- 
mon at once burst open. To his disappointment 
he found it to contain only thirty-one debens 
of silver, which happened to be precisely the 
amount of silver, though not of gold, which he 
had lost. This sum he pocketed, saying to the 


Studies in the Treasury. 

struggling merchants as he did so, "I will take 
this money of yours, and will keep it until you 
find my money. Was it not a Sicilian who stole 
it, and no thief of ours ? I will take it." 

With these words the party raced back to the 
ship, scrambled on board, and in a few moments 
had hoisted sail and were scudding northwards 
towards Byblos, where Wenamon proposed to 
throw himself on the mercy of Zakar-Baal, the 
prince of that city. Wenamon, it will be remem- 
bered, had always considered that he had been 
robbed by a Sicilian of Dor, notwithstanding the 
fact that only a sailor of his own ship could have 
known of the existence of the money, as King 
Bedel seems to have pointed out to him. The 
Egyptian, therefore, did not regard this forcible 
seizure of silver from these other Sicilians as a 
crime. It was a perfectly just appropriation of 
a portion of the funds which belonged to him by 
rights. Let us imagine ourselves robbed at our 
hotel by Hans the German waiter : it would surely 
give us the most profound satisfaction to take 
Herr Schnupfendorff, the piano - tuner, by the 
throat when next he visited us, and go through 
his pockets. He and Hans, being of the same 
nationality, must suffer for one another's sins, and 
if the magistrate thinks otherwise he must be 
regarded as prejudiced by too much study of 
the law. 

Byblos stood at the foot of the hills of Lebanon, 
in the very shadow of the great cedars, and it was 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 123 

therefore Wenamon's destination. Now, however, 
as the ship dropped anchor in the harbour, the 
Egyptian reaHsed that his mission would probably 
be fruitless, and that he himself would perhaps 
be flung into prison for illegally having in his 
possession the famous image of the god to which 
he could show no written right. Moreover, the 
news of the robbery of the merchants might well 
have reached Byblos overland. His first action, 
therefore, was to conceal the idol and the money ; 
and this having been accomplished he sat himself 
down in his cabin to await events. 

The Prince of Byblos certainly had been advised 
of the robbery ; and as soon as the news of the 
ship's arrival was reported to him he sent a curt 
message to the captain saying simply, " Get out 
of my harbour." At this Wenamon gave up all 
hope, and, hearing that there was then in port 
a vessel which was about to sail for Egypt, he 
sent a pathetic message to the prince asking 
whether he might be allowed to travel by it 
back to his own country. 

No satisfactory answer was received, and for 
the best part of a month Wenamon's ship rode 
at anchor, while the distracted envoy paced the 
deck, vainly pondering upon a fitting course of 
action. Each morning the same brief order, " Get 
out of my harbour," w^as delivered to him by the 
harbour-master ; but the indecision of the authori- 
ties as to how to treat this Egyptian oflicial pre- 
vented the order being backed by force. Mean- 


Studies in the Treasury. 

while Wenamon and Mengebet judiciously spread 
through the city the report of the power of Amon- 
of-the-Road, and hinted darkly at the wrath which 
would ultimately fall upon the heads of those who 
suffered the image and its keeper to be turned 
away from the quays of Byblos. No doubt, also, 
a portion of the stolen debens of silver was ex- 
pended in bribes to the priests of the city, for, as 
we shall presently see, one of them took up Wen- 
amon's cause with the most unnatural vigour. 

All, however, seemed to be of no avail, and 
Wenamon decided to get away as best he could. 
His worldly goods Avere quietly transferred to the 
ship which was bound for the Nile ; and, when 
night had fallen, with Amon-of-the-Road tucked 
under his arm, he hurried along the deserted quay. 
Suddenly out of the darkness there appeared a 
group of figures, and Wenamon found himself con- 
fronted by the stalwart harbour-master and his 
police. Now, indeed, he gave himself up for lost. 
The image would be taken from him, and no 
longer would he have the alternative of leaving 
the harbour. He must have groaned aloud as he 
stood there in the black night, with the cold sea 
wind threatening to tear the covers from the 
treasure under his arm. His surprise, therefore, 
was unbounded when the harbour - master ad- 
dressed him in the followincr words : " Remain 
until morning here near the prince." 

The Egyptian turned upon him fiercely. "Are 
you not the man who came to me every day 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 125 

saying, "Get out of my harbour?" he cried. 
"And now are you not saying, 'Remain in 
Byblos?' your object being to let this ship which. 
I have found depart for Egypt without me, so 
that you may come to me again and say, 
'Go away.'" 

The harbour-master in reahty had been ordered 
to detain Wenamon for quite another reason. On 
the previous day, while the prince was sacrificing 
to his gods, one of the noble youths in his train, 
who had probably seen the colour of Wenamon's 
debens, suddenly broke into a religious frenzy, 
and so continued all that day, and far into the 
night, calling incessantly upon those around him 
to go and fetch the envoy of Amon-Ra and the 
sacred image. Prince Zakar-Baal had considered 
it prudent to obey this apparently divine com- 
mand, and had sent the harbour-master to prevent 
Wenamon's departure. Finding, however, that 
the Egyptian was determined to board the ship, 
the olHcial sent a messenger to the prince, who 
replied with an order to the skipper of the vessel 
to remain that night in harbour. 

Upon the following morning a deputation, evi- 
dently friendly, waited on Wenamon, and urged 
him to come to the palace, which he finally did, 
incidentally attending on his way the morning 
service which was being celebrated upon the sea- 
shore. " I found the prince," writes Wenamon in 
his report, " sitting in his upper chamber, leaning 
his back against a window, while the waves of the 


Studies in the Treasury. 

Great Syrian Sea beat against the wall below. I 
said to him, ' The mercy of Amon be with you ! ' 
He said to me, ' How long is it from now since 
you left the abode of Amon ? ' I replied, ' Five 
months and one day from now,' " 

The prince then said, " Look now, if what you 
say is true, where is the writing of Amon which 
should be in your hand ? Where is the letter of 
the High Priest of Amon which should be in 
your hand ? " 

" I gave them to Nesubanebded," replied 

" Then," says Wenamon, " he was very wroth, 
and he said to me, ' Look here, the writings and 
the letters are not in your hand. And where is 
the fine ship which Nesubanebded would have 
given you, and where is its picked Syrian crew ? 
He would not put you and your affairs in the 
charge of this skipper of yours, who might have 
had you killed and thrown into the sea. Whom 
would they have sought the god from then ? — and 
you, whom would they have sought you from 
then ? ' So said he to me, and I replied to him, 
' There are indeed Egyptian ships and Egyptian 
crews that sail under Nesubanebded, but he had at 
the time no ship and no Syrian crew to give me.' " 

The prince did not accept this as a satisfactory 
answer, but pointed out that there were ten 
thousand ships sailing between Egypt and 
Syria, of which number there must have been 
one at Nesubanebded's disposal. 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 127 

" Then," writes Wenamon, " I was silent in 
this great hour. At length he said to me, ' On 
what business have you come here ? ' I replied, ' I 
have come to get wood for the great and august 
barge of Amon - Ra, king of the gods. Your 
father supplied it, your grandfather did so, and 
you too shall do it.' So spoke I to him." 

The prince admitted that his fathers had sent 
wood to Egypt, but he pointed out that they had 
received proper remuneration for it. He then 
told his servants to go and find the old ledger 
in which the transactions were recorded, and this 
being done, it was found that a thousand debens 
of silver had been paid for the wood. The prince 
now argued that he was in no way the servant 
of Amon, for if he had been he would have been 
obliged to supply the wood without remuneration. 
"I am," he proudly declared, "neither your 
servant nor the servant of him who sent you 
here. If I cry out to the Lebanon the heavens 
open and the logs lie here on the shore of the 
sea." He went on to say that if, of his condescen- 
sion, he now procured the timber Wenamon would 
have to provide the ships and all the tackle. " If 
I make the sails of the ships for you," said the 
prince, "they may be top-heavy and may break, 
and you will perish in the sea when Amon 
thunders in heaven ; for skilled workmanship 
comes only from Egypt to reach my place of 
abode." This seems to have upset the composure 
of Wenamon to some extent, and the prince took 

128 Studies in the Treasury. 

advantage of his uneasiness to say, " Anyway, 
what is this miserable expedition that they have 
had you make (without money or equipment) ? " 
At this Wenamon appears to have lost his 
temper. "O guilty one!" he said to the prince, 
" this is no miserable expedition on which I am 
engaged. There is no ship upon the Nile which 
Amon does not own, and his is the sea, and his 
this Lebanon of which you say, ' It is mine.' Its 
forests grow for the barge of Amon, the lord of 
every ship. Why Amon - Ra himself, the king 
of the gods, said to Herhor, my lord, ' Send me ' ; 
and Herhor made me go bearing the statue of 
this great god. Yet see, you have allowed this 
great god to wait twenty-nine days after he had 
arrived in your harbour, although you certainly 
knew he was there. He is indeed still what he 
once was : yes, now while you stand bargaining 
for the Lebanon with Amon its lord. As for 
Amon-Ra, the king of the gods, he is the lord 
of life and health, and he v/as the lord of vour 
fathers, who spent their lifetime offering to him. 
You also, you are the servant of Amon. If you 
will say to Amon, ' I will do this,' and you ex- 
ecute his command, you shall live and be prosper- 
ous and be healthy, and you shall be popular with 
your whole country and people. Wish not for 
yourself a thing belonging to Amon-Ra, king of 
the gods. Truly the lion loves his own ! Let 
my secretary be brought to me that I may send 
him to Nesubanebded, and he will send you all 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 129 

that I shall ask him to send, after which, when I 
return to the south, I will send you all, all your 
trifles aofain." 

" So spake I to him," says Wenamon in his 
report, as with a flourish of his pen he brings this 
fine speech to an end. No doubt it would have 
been more truthful in him to say, "So would I 
have spoken to him had I not been so flustered " ; 
but of all types of lie this is probably the most 
excusable. At all events, he said sufficient to 
induce the prince to send his secretary to Egypt ; 
and as a token of good faith Zakar-Baal sent with 
him seven logs of cedar- wood. In forty -eight 
days' time the messenger returned, bringing with 
him five golden and five silver vases, twenty 
garments of fine linen, 500 rolls of papyrus, 500 
ox-hides, 500 coils of rope, twenty measures of 
lentils, and five measures of dried fish. At this 
present the prince expressed himself most satisfied, 
and immediately sent 300 men and 300 oxen with 
proper overseers to start the work of felling the 
trees. Some eight months after leaving Tanis, 
Wenamon's delighted eyes gazed upon the com- 
plete number of logs lying at the edge of the 
sea, ready for shipment to Egypt. 

The task being finished, the prince walked 
down to the beach to inspect the timber, and he 
called to Wenamon to come with him. When the 
Egyptian had approached, the prince pointed to 
the logs, remarking that the work had been carried 
through although the remuneration had not been 

130 Studies in the Treasury. 

nearly so great as that which his fathers had 
received. Wenamon was about to reply when 
inadvertently the shadow of the prince's umbrella 
fell upon his head. What memories or anticipa- 
tions this trivial incident aroused one cannot 
now tell with certainty. One of the gentlemen- 
in-waiting, however, found cause in it to whisper 
to Wenamon, " The shadow of Pharaoh, your 
lord, falls upon you " — the remark, no doubt, 
being accompanied by a sly dig in the ribs. The 
prince angrily snapped, " Let him alone " ; and, 
with the picture of Wenamon gloomily staring 
out to sea, we are left to worry out the meaning 
of the occurrence. It may be that the prince 
intended to keep Wenamon at Byblos until the 
uttermost farthing had been extracted from Egypt 
in further payment for the wood, and that there- 
fore he was to be regarded henceforth as Wena- 
mon's king and master. This is perhaps indicated 
by the following remarks of the prince. 

" Do not thus contemplate the terrors of the 
sea," he said to Wenamon. " For if you do that 
you should also contemplate my own. Come, I 
have not done to you what they did to certain 
former envoys. They spent seventeen years in 
this land, and they died where they were." Then, 
turning to an attendant, " Take him," he said, 
"and let him see the tomb in which they lie." 

" Oh, don't let me see it," Wenamon tells us that 
he cried in anguish ; but, recovering his composure, 
he continued in a more valiant strain. " Mere 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 131 

human beings," he said, " were the envoys who 
were then sent. There was no god among them 
(as there now is)." 

The prince had recently ordered an engraver to 
write a commemorative inscription upon a stone 
tablet recording the fact that the king of the 
gods had sent Amon-of-the-Road to Byblos as 
his divine messenger and Wenamon as his human 
messenger, that timber had been asked for and 
supplied, and that in return Amon had promised 
him ten thousand years of celestial life over and 
above that of ordinary persons. Wenamon now 
reminded him of this, asking him why he should 
talk so slightingly of the Egyptian envoys w^hen 
the making of this tablet showed that in reality 
he considered their presence an honour. More- 
over, he pointed out that when in future years 
an envoy from Egypt should read this tablet, he 
would of course pronounce at once the magical 
prayers which would procure for the prince, who 
would probably then be in hell after all, a draught 
of water. This remark seems to have tickled the 
prince's fancy, for he gravely acknowledged its 
value, and spoke no more in his former strain. 
Wenamon closed the interview by promising that 
the High Priest of Amon-Ra would fully reward 
him for his various kindnesses. 

Shortly after this the Egyptian paid another 
visit to the sea-shore to feast his eyes upon the 
logs. He must have been almost unable to contain 
himself in the deliofht and excitement of the end- 

132 Studies in the Treasury. 

ing of his task and his approaching return m 
triumph to Egypt ; and we may see him jauntily 
walking over the sand, perhaps humming a tune 
to himself". Suddenly he observed a fleet of 
eleven ships sailing towards the town, and the 
song must have died upon his lips. As they 
drew nearer he saw to his horror that they be- 
longed to the Sicilians of Dor, and we must picture 
him biting his nails in his anxiety as he stood 
amongst the logs. Presently they were within 
hailing distance, and some one called to them 
asking their business. The reply rang across the 
water, brief and terrible : " Arrest Wenamon ! 
Let not a ship of his pass to Egypt." Hearing 
these words the envoy of Amon-Ra, king of the 
gods, just now so proudly boasting, threw himself 
upon the sand and burst into tears. 

The sobs of the wretched man penetrated to 
a chamber in which the prince's secretary sat 
writing at the open window, and he hurried 
over to the prostrate figure. "Whatever is the 
matter with you 1 " he said, tapping the man on 
the shoulder. 

Wenamon raised his head. " Surely you see 
these birds which descend on Egypt," he groaned. 
" Look at them ! They have come into the har- 
bour, and how long shall I be left forsaken here ? 
Truly you see those who have come to arrest me." 

With these words one must suppose that Wen- 
amon returned to his weeping, for he says in his 
report that the sympathetic secretary went off to 


*^'\^t,' ^ 


- ( 

c > 








- M 



ru xuM, 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 133 

find the prince in order that some plan of action 
might be formulated. When the news was reported 
to Zakar-Baal, he too began to lament; for the 
whole affair was menacing and ugly. Looking out 
of the window he saw the Sicilian ships anchored 
as a barrier across the mouth of the harbour, he 
saw the loo-s of cedar-wood strewn over the beach, 
he saw the writhing figure of Wenamon pouring 
sand and dust upon his head and drummiug feebly 
with his toes ; and his royal heart was moved with 
pity for the misfortunes of the Egyptian. 

Hastily speaking to his secretary, he told him 
to procure two large jars of wine and a ram, and 
to give them to Wenamon on the chance that they 
might stop the noise of his lamentations. The 
secretary and his servants procured these things 
from the kitchen, and, tottering down with them 
to the envoy, placed them by his side. Wenamon, 
however, merely glanced at them in a sickly 
manner, and then buried his head once more. The 
failure must have been observed from the window 
of the palace, for the prince sent another servant 
flying off for a popular Egyptian lady of no reputa- 
tion, who happened to be living just then at By bios 
in the capacity of a dancing-girl. Presently she 
minced into the room, very much elated, no doubt, 
at this indication of the royal favour. The prince 
at once ordered her to hasten down on to the 
beach to comfort her countryman. "Sing to him," 
he said. " Don't let his heart feel apprehension." 

Wenamon seemed to have waved the girl aside, 

134 Studies in the Treasury. 

and we may picture the prince making urgent 
signs to the lady from his window to renew her 
efforts. The moans of the miserable man, however^ 
did not cease, and the prince had recourse to a 
third device. This time he sent a servant ta 
Wenamon with a message of calm assurance. 
"Eat and drink," he said, "and let not your 
heart feel apprehension. You shall hear all that 
I have to say in the morning." At this Wenamon 
roused himself, and, wiping his eyes, consented ta 
be led back to his rooms, ever turning, no doubt, 
to cast nervous glances in the direction of the 
silent ships of Dor. 

On the following morning the prince sent for 
the leaders of the Sicilians and asked them for 
what reason they had come to Byblos. They 
replied that they had come in search of Wenamon, 
who had robbed some of their countrymen of 
thirty - one debens of silver. The prince was 
placed in a difficult position, for he was desirous- 
to avoid giving offence either to Dor or to Egypt 
from whence he now expected further payment ;. 
but he managed to pass out on to clearer ground 
by means of a simple stratagem. 

"I cannot arrest the envoy of Amon in my 
territory," he said to the men of Dor. " But I 
will send him away, and you shall pursue him 
and arrest him," 

The plan seems to have appealed to the sporting 
instincts of the Sicilians, for it appears that they 
drew off from the harbour to await their quarry. 
Wenamon was then informed of the scheme, and 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 135 

one may suppose that he showed no rehsh for it. 
To be chased across a bihous sea by sporting men 
of hardened stomach was surely a torture for the 
damned ; but it is to be presumed that Zakar-Baal 
left the Egyptian some chance of escape. Hastily 
he was conveyed on board a ship, and his misery 
must have been complete when he observed that 
outside the harbour it was blowing a gale. Hardly 
had he set out into the " Great Syrian Sea" before 
a terrific storm burst, and in the confusion which 
ensued we lose sight of the waiting fleet. No 
doubt the Sicilians put in to Byblos once more 
for shelter, and deemed Wenamon at the bottom 
of the ocean as the wind whistled through their 
own bare rigging. 

The Egyptian had planned to avoid his enemies 
by beating northwards when he left the harbour, 
instead of southwards towards Egypt ; but the 
tempest took the ship's course into its own hands 
and drove the frail craft north-westwards towards 
Cyprus, the wooded shores of which were, in course 
of time, siofhted. Wenamon was now indeed 'twixt 
the devil and the deep sea, for behind him the 
waves raged furiously, and before him he per- 
ceived a threatening group of Cypriots awaiting 
him upon the wind-swept shore. Presently the 
vessel grounded upon the beach, and immediately 
the ill-starred Egyptian and the entire crew were 
prisoners in the hands of a hostile mob. Roughly 
they were dragged to the capital of the island, 
which happened to be but a few miles distant, 
and with ignominy they were hustled, Avet and 

136 Studies in the Treasury. 

bedraggled, through the streets towards the palace 
of Hetebe, the Queen of Cyprus. 

As they neared the building the queen herself 
passed by, surrounded by a brave company of 
nobles and soldiers. Wenamon burst away from 
his captors, and bowed himself before the royal 
lady, crying as he did so, " Surely there is some- 
body amongst this company who understands 
Egyptian." One of the nobles, to Wenamon's 
joy, replied, " Yes, I understand it." 

" Say to my mistress," cried the tattered envoy, 
"that I have heard even in far-off Thebes, the 
abode of Amon, that in every city injustice is 
done, but that justice obtains in the land of 
Cyprus. Yet see, injustice is done here also this 

This was repeated to the queen, who replied, 
" Indeed ! — what is this that you say ? " 

Through the interpreter Wenamon then ad- 
dressed himself to Hetebe. " If the sea raged," 
he said, " and the wind drove me to the land 
where I now am, will you let these people take 
advantage of it to murder me, I who am an 
envoy of Amon ? I am one for w^hom they will 
seek unceasingly. And as for these sailors of the 
prince of Byblos, whom they also wish to kill, 
their lord will undoubtedly capture ten crews 
of yours, and will slay every man of them in 

This seems to have impressed the queen, for 
she ordered the mob to stand on one side, and 
to Wenamon she said, " Pass the night. ..." 

The Misfortunes of Wenamon. 137 

Here the torn writing comes to an abrupt end, 
and the remainder of Wenamon's adventures are 
for ever lost amidst the dust of El Hibeh. One 
may suppose that Hetebe took the Egyptian under 
her protection, and that ultimately he arrived once 
more in Egypt, whither Zakar-Baal had perhaps 
already sent the timber. Returning to his native 
town, it seems that Wenamon wrote his report, 
which for some reason or other was never des- 
patched to the High Priest. Perhaps the envoy 
was himself sent for, and thus his report was 
rendered useless ; or perhaps our text is one of 
several copies. 

There can be no question that he was a writer 
of great power, and this tale of his adventures 
must be regarded as one of the jewels of the 
ancient Egyptian language. The brief descrip- 
tion of the Prince of Byblos, seated with his back 
to the window, while the waves beat against the 
wall below, brings vividly before one that far-off 
scene, and reveals a lightness of touch most un- 
usual in writers of that time. There is surely, 
too, an appreciation of a delicate form of humour 
observable in his account of some of his dealings 
with the prince. It is appalling to think that 
the peasants who found this roll of papyrus might 
have used it as fuel for their evening fire ; and 
that, had not a drifting rumour of the value of 
such articles reached their village, this little tale 
of old Egypt and the long-lost Kingdoms of the 
Sea would have gone up to empty heaven in a 
puff of smoke. 




When the early Spanish explorers led their expe- 
ditions to Florida, it was their intention to find 
the Fountain of Perpetual Youth, tales of its 
potent waters having reached Peter Martyr as 
early as 1511. This desire to discover the things 
pertaining to Fairyland has been, throughout 
history, one of the most fertile sources of advent- 
ure. From the days when the archaic Egyptians 
penetrated into the regions south of the Cataracts, 
where they believed that the inhabitants were 
other than human, and into Pount, the " Land of 
the Ghosts," the hope of Fairyland has led men to 
search the face of the earth and to penetrate into 
its unknown places. It has been the theme of 
countless stories : it has supplied material for 
innumerable songs. 

And in spite of the circumambulations of science 
about us, in spite of the hardening of all the 
tissues of our imagination, in spite of the pheno- 
menal development of the commonplace, this desire 
for a glimpse of the miraculous is still set deeply 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 139 

ill our hearts. The old quest of Fairyland is as 
active now as ever it was. We still presume, in 
our unworthiness, to pass the barriers, and to walk 
upon those paths which lead to the enchanted 
forests and through them to the city of the Moon. 
At any moment we are ready to set forth, like 
Arthur's knights, in search of the Holy Grail. 

The explorer who penetrates into Central Africa 
in quest of King Solomon's mines is impelled by a 
hope closely akin to that of the Spaniards. The 
excavator who digs for the buried treasures of the 
Incas or of the Egyptians is often led by a desire 
for the fabulous. Search is now being made in the 
western desert of Egypt for a lost city of burnished 
copper ; and the Anglo - Egyptian official is con- 
stantly urged by credulous natives to take camels 
across the wilderness in quest of a town whose 
houses and temples are of pure gold. What arch- 
aeologist has not at some time given ear to the 
whispers that tell of long-lost treasures, of for- 
gotten cities, of Atlantis swallowed by the sea ? 
It is not only children who love the tales of Fairy- 
land. How happily we have read Kipling's ' Puck 
of Pook's Hill,' De la Motte Fouque's ' Undine,' 
Kenneth Grahame's ' Wind in the Willows,' or 
F. W. Bain's Indian stories. The recent fairy 
plays — Barry's " Peter Pan," Maeterlinck's " Blue 
Bird," and the like — have been enormously suc- 
cessful. Say what we will, fairy tales still hold 
their old power over us, and still we turn to them 
as a relief from the commonplace. 

140 Studies in the Treasury. 

Some of us, failing to find Fairyland upon earth, 
have transferred it to the kingdom of Death ; and 
it has become the hope for the future. Each 
Sunday in church the congregation of business 
men and hard-worked women set aside the things 
of their monotonous life, and sing the songs of the 
endless search. To the rolling notes of the organ 
they tell the tale of the Elysian Fields : they take 
their unfilled desire for Fairyland and adjust it to 
their deathless hope of Heaven. They sing of 
crystal fountains, of streets paved with gold, of 
meadows dressed with living green where they 
shall dwell as children who now as exiles mourn. 
There everlasting spring abides and never-wither- 
ing flowers ; there ten thousand times ten thousand 
clad in sparkling raiment throng up the steeps of 
light. Here in the church the most unimaginative 
people cry aloud upon their God for Fairyland. 

" The roseate hues of early dawn, 

The brightness of the day, 
The crimson of the sunset sky. 

How fast they fade away ■ 
Oh, for the pearly gates of Heaven, 

Oh, for the golden floor ..." 

They know no way of picturing the incomprehen- 
sible state of the future, and they interpret it, 
therefore, in terms of the fairy tale. 

I am inclined to think that this sovereignty of 
the fairies is beneficial. Fairy tales fill the minds 
of the young with knowledge of the kindly people 
who will reward with many gifts those that are 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 141 

charitable to the old ; they teach a code of chivalry 
that brings as its reward the love of the beautiful 
princess in the tower ; they tell of dangers over- 
come by courage and perseverance ; they suggest 
a contact with nature which otherwise might never 
be developed. Where angels and archangels over- 
awe by their omnipotence, the microscopic fairies 
who can sit singing upon a mushroom and dangle 
from the swaying stem of a bluebell, carry the 
thoughts down the scale of life to the little and 
really important things. A sleepy child will rather 
believe that the Queen of the Fairies is acting 
sentry upon the knob of the bedpost than that an 
angel stands at the head of the cot with great 
wings spread in protection — wings which suggest 
the probability of claws and a beak to match. 

The dragons which can only be slain by the 
noble knight, the enchantments which can only 
be broken by the outwitting of the evil witch, the 
lady who can only be won by perils bravely en- 
dured, form the material of moral lessons which no 
other method of teaching could so impress upon 
the youthful mind. 

And when mature years are attained the atmos- 
phere of Fairyland remains with us. The lost 
songs of the little people drift through the brain, 
recalling the infinite possibilities of beauty and 
goodness which are so slightly out of reach ; the 
forgotten wonder of elfs and brownies suggests 
itself to us from the heart of flowers and amidst 
the leaves of trees. The clear depths of the sea 

142 Studies in the Treasury. 

take half their charm from the memory of the 
mermaid's palace ; the silence of forests is rich 
with the expectancy of the Knight of the Golden 
Plume ; the large spaces of kitchens and corri- 
dors are hushed for the concealment of Robin 

It is the elusiveness, the enchantment, of Fairy- 
land which, for the mature mind, constitutes its 
greatest value and charm ; it is a man's desire for 
the realms of Midsummer -night that makes the 
building of those realms in our childhood so valu- 
able. We are constantly endeavouring to recapture 
the grace of that intangible kingdom, and the hope 
of ultimate success retains the elasticity of the 
mind. Held fast by the stiffened joints of reason 
and closeted with the gout of science, we are fet- 
tered prisoners in the world unless there be the 
knowledge that something eludes us to lead us on. 
We know quite well that the fairies do not exist, 
but at the same time we cannot deny that the 
elusive atmosphere of Fairyland is one with that 
of our fondest dreams. 

Who has not, upon a grey morning, awakened 
from sleep with the knowledge that he has passed 
out from a kingdom of dream more dear than all 
the realms of real life ? Vainly we endeavour to 
recall the lost details, but only the impression 
remains. That impression, however, warms the 
tone of our whole day, and frames our thoughts as 
it were with precious stones. Thus also it is with 
the memory of our childhood's idea of Fairyland : 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 143 

the impression is recalled, the brain peers forward, 
the thoughts go on tiptoe, and we feel that we 
have caught a glimpse of Beauty. Indeed, the 
recollection of the atmosphere created in our 
youthful minds by means of fairy tales is perhaps 
the most abundant of the sources of our knowledge 
of Beauty in mature years. 

I do not suppose that I am alone in declaring 
that some of the most tender feelinofs of childhood 
are inspired by the misfortunes of the Beast in the 
story of " Beauty and the Beast" ; and the Sleep- 
ing Beauty is the first love of many a small boy. 
Man, from his youth up, craves enchantment ; and 
though the business of life gives him no oppor- 
tunity for the indulging in day-dreams, there are 
few of us indeed who have not at some time sousfht 
the phantom isles, and sought in vain. There is 
no stormy night, when the wind moans through 
the trees, and the moon-rack flies overhead, but 
takes something of its mystery from the recollec- 
tion of the enchantments of the dark ao-es. The 
sun does not sink into the sea amidst the low-lying 
clouds but some vague thought is brought to mind 
of the uncharted island whereon that maiden lies 
sleeping whose hair is dark as heaven's wrath, and 
whose breast is white like alabaster in the pathway 
■of the moon. There she lies in the charmed circle 
under the trees, where none may enter until that 
hour when some pale, lost mariner shall surprise 
the secret of the pathway, and, coming suddenly 
upon her, shall kiss her shadowed lips. Vague, 

144 Studies in the Treasury. 

elusive, undefined, as such fancies must be, they 
yet tinge the thoughts of almost every man at 
certain moments of his life, and set him searching 
for the enchantment of bygone days. Eagerly he 
looks for those ^ij 

"... Magic casements opening on the foam 

Of perilous seas, in fairy lands forlorn " ; 

and it is the fact of their unreality that gives them 
their haunting value. 

The following story, preserved in a papyrus now 
at St Petersburg, describes a mysterious island 
whereon there dwelt a monster most lovable and 
most forlorn : a creature so tenderly drawn, indeed, 
that the reader will not fail to enthrone him in the 
little company of the nobility of the kingdom of 
the fairy tale. Translations of the story by two 
or three savants have appeared ; but the present 
version, which I give in its literal form, has been 
prepared especially for this volume by Mr Alan 
Gardiner ; and, coming from him, it may be said 
to be the last word of the science upon the subject 
of this difficult text. 

The scene with which the story opens is clearly 
indicated by the introductory sentences, though 
actually it is not described. A large war-galley 
had come swinging down the Nile from the land 
of Wawat in the south, the oars flashing in the 
Nubian sunlight. On the left the granite rocks 
of the island of Bigeh towered above the vessel ; 
on the right the island of Philse, as yet devoid of 

, >" 

, > , ' . •>«« 

[P/zo/c' rj i:. Bird. 

A sailor oi Lower Xiibia and his son. 

Pl. XIV. 


Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 145 

buildings, rested placidly on the blue waters. 
Ahead were the docks of Shallal, where the clus- 
tered boats lay darkly against the yellow of the 
desert, and busy groups of figures, loading and 
unloading cargoes, moved to and fro over the sand. 
Away to the left, behind Bigeh, the distant roar 
of the First Cataract could be heard as the waters 
went rushing' down from Nubia across the frontier 
into Egypt. 

The great vessel had just returned from the 
little-known country of Ethiopia, which bordered 
the Land of the Ghosts, having its frontiers upon 
the shores of the sea that encircled the world ; and 
the sailors were all straining their eyes towards 
these docks which formed the southernmost out- 
post of Egypt, their home. The greatest excite- 
ment prevailed on deck ; but in the cabin, erected 
of vari-coloured cloth in the stern of the vessel, the 
noble leader of the expedition which was now at 
its conclusion lay in a troubled sleep, tossing ner- 
vously upon his bed. His dreams were all of the 
terrible ordeal which was before him. He could 
take no pleasure in his home-coming, for he was 
driven nigh crazy by the thought of entering the 
presence of the great Pharaoh himself in order to 
make his report. 

It is almost impossible to realise nowadays the 
agonies of mind that a man had to suffer who was 
obliged to approach the incarnation of the sun 
upon earth, and to crave the indulgence of this 
god in regard to any shortcomings in the conduct 


146 Studies in the Treasury. 

of the affairs intrusted to him. Of all the kings 
of the earth the Pharaoh was the most terrible, 
the most thoroughly frightening. Not only did 
he hold the lives of his subjects in his hand to do 
with them as he chose, but he also controlled the of their immortal souls ; for, being a god, 
he had dominion over the realms of the dead. To 
be censured by the Pharaoh was to be excommuni- 
cated from the pleasures of this earth and out- 
lawed from the fair estate of heaven. A well- 
known Egyptian noble named Sinuhe, the hero of 
a fine tale of adventure, describes himself as pet- 
rified with terror when he entered the audience- 
chamber. " I stretched myself on my stomach," 
he writes, " and became unconscious before him 
(the Pharaoh). This god addressed me kindly, 
but I was as a man overtaken by the twilight : my 
soul departed, my flesh trembled ; my heart was 
no more in my body that I should know life from 
death." ^ Similarly another personage writes : 
"Remember the day of bringing the tribute, 
when thou passest into the Presence under the 
window, the nobles on each side before his 
Majesty, the nobles and ambassadors (?) of all 
countries. They stand and gaze at the tribute, 
while thou fearest and shrinkest back, and thy 
hand is weak, and thou knowest not whether it 
is death or life that is before thee ; and thou art 
brave (only) in praying to thy gods : ' Save me, 
prosper me this one time.'"- 

1 Sinuhe, 254-256. - Papyrus KoUer, 5, 1-4. 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 147 

Of the Pharaoh it is written — 

" Thine eye is clearer than the stars of heaven; 
Thou seest farther than the sun. 
If I speak afar off, thine ear hears ; 
If I do a hidden deed, thine eye sees it." ^ 

Or aofain — 


" The god of taste is in thy mouth, 
The god of knowledge is in thy heart ; 
Thy tongue is enthroned in the temple of truth ; 
God is seated upon thy lips." - 

To meet face to face this all-knowing, all-seeing, 
celestial creature, from whom there could be no 
secrets hid nor any guilt concealed, was an ordeal 
to which a man might well look forward with 
utter horror. It was this terrible dread that, 
in the tale with which we are now concerned, 
held the captain of this Nubian vessel in agony 
upon his couch. 

As he lay there, biting his finger-nails, one of 
the ship's officers, himself a former leader of ex- 
peditions, entered the cabin to announce their 
arrival at the Shallal docks. 

" Good news, prince," said he cheerfully to his 
writhing master. " Look, we have reached home. 
They have taken the mallet and driven in the 
mooring-post ; the ship's cable has been put on 
land. There is merrymaking and thanksgiving, 
and every man is embracing his fellow. Our 
crew has returned unscathed, without loss to 
our soldiers. We have reached the end of 

^ Anastasi Papyri, 4, 5, 6 ff. ^ Kubban stela. 

148 Studies in the Treasury. 

Wawat, we have passed Bigeh. Yes, indeed, 
we have returned safely ; we have reached our 
own land." 

At this the prince seems to have groaned anew, 
much to the distress of his friend, who could but 
urge him to pull himself together and to play the 

" Listen to me, prince," he begged, " for I am 
one void of exaggeration. Wash yourself, pour 
water on your fingers." 

The wretched man replied, it would seem, with 
a repetition of his fears ; whereupon the old sailor 
seems to have sat down by his side and to have 
given him a word of advice as to how he should 
behave in the king's presence. " Make answer 
when you are addressed," he said ; " speak to the 
king with a heart in you ; answer without re- 
straint. For it is a man's mouth that saves 
him. . . . But do as you will : to talk to you 
is wearisome (to you)." 

Presently the old sailor was seized with an idea. 
He would tell a story, no matter whether it were 
strictly true or not, in which his own adventures 
should be set forth. He would describe how he 
was wrecked upon an unknown island, how he was 
saved from death, and how, on his return, he was 
conducted into the Pharaoh's presence. A narra- 
tion of his own experiences before his sovereign 
might give heart to his captain, and might effect- 
ually lift the intolerable burden of dread from the 
princely shoulders. 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 149 

"I will relate to you," he began, "a similar 
thing which befell me my very self. I was 
making a journey to the mines of the sove- 


The prince may here be supposed to have sat up 
and given gloomy attention to his friend's words, 
for Egyptians of all ages have loved a good story, 
and tales of adventures in the south were, in early 
times, most acceptable. The royal gold mines re- 
ferred to were probably situated at the southern- 
most end of the eastern Egyptian desert. To 
reach them one would take ship from Kossair or 
some other Red Sea port, sail down the coast to 
the frontiers of Fount, the modern Somaliland, 
and then travel inland by caravan. It was a 
perilous undertaking, and, at the time when 
this story was written, the journey must have 
furnished material for amazing yarns. 

"I went down on the Great Green Sea," con- 
tinued the speaker, "in a ship one hundred and 
fifty cubits 1 in length and forty cubits in breadth, 
and in it were a hundred and fifty sailors, picked 
men of Egypt. They scanned the heavens and 
they scanned the earth, and their hearts were 
stouter than lions. They foretold the storm or 
ever it came, and the tempest when as yet it 
was not." 

A storm arose while they were out of sight of 
land, and rapidly increased in violence, until the 
waves, according to the very restrained estimate 

1 The average cubit was about 20i inches. 

150 Studies in the Treasury. 

of the narrator, were eight cuhits high — that is to 
say, about thirteen or fourteen feet. To one who 
was accustomed to the waves of the Nile this 
would be a great height ; and the passage thus 
suggests that the scribe was an untravelled man. 
A vessel of 150 cubits, or about 250 feet, in length 
might have been expected to ride out a storm of 
this magnitude ; but, according to the story, she 
went to pieces, and the whole ship's company, with 
the single exception of the teller of the tale, were 
drowned. The survivor managed to cling to a 
plank of wood, which was driven by the wind 
towards the shores of an uncharted island, and 
here at length he was cast up by the waves. 

Not far from the beach there was a small 
thicket, and to this the castaway hastened, 
sheltering therein from the fury of the storm. 
For three days in deep despair he lay hidden, 
"without a companion," as he said, "save my 
heart ; " but at last the tempest subsided, the 
sun shone in the heavens once again, and the 
famished mariner was able to go in search of 
food, which, to his delight, he found in abund- 

The scene upon which he gazed as he plucked 
the fruit of the laden trees was most mysterious, 
and all that he saw around him must have had an 
appearance not altogether consistent with reality, 
for, indeed, the island was not real. It had been 
called into existence, perhaps, at the bidding of 
some god to relieve the tedium of an eternal after- 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 151 

nooii, and suddenly it had appeared, floating upon 
the blue waters of the ocean. How long it had 
remained there, how long it would still remain, 
none could tell, for at any moment the mind of 
the god might be diverted, and instantly it would 
dissolve and vanish as would a dream. Beneath 
the isle the seas moved, and there in the darkness 
the fishes of the deep, with luminous, round eyes, 
passed to and fro, nibbling the roots of the trees 
above them. Overhead the heavens stretched, 
and around about spread the expanse of the sea 
upon which no living thing might be seen, save 
only the dolphins as they leapt into the sunshine 
and sank again amidst the gleaming spray. 

There was abundant vegetation upon the island, 
but it does not appear to have looked quite real. 
The fig-trees were heavy with fruit, the vines were 
festooned from bough to bough, hung with clusters 
of grapes, and pomegranates were ripe for the 
plucking. But there seems to have been an 
unearthliness about them, as though a deep en- 
chantment were upon them. In the tangled 
undergrowth through which the bewildered sailor 
walked there lay great melons and pumpkins. 
The breeze wafted to his nostrils the smell of the 
incense-trees ; and the scent of the flowers, after 
the storm, must have made every breath he 
breathed a pleasure of Paradise to him. Moving- 
over the luxuriant ground, he put up flights of 
wonderful birds which sped towards the interior, 
red, green, and golden, against the sky. Monkeys 

152 Studies in the Treasury. 

chattered at him from the trees, and sprang from 
branch to branch amidst the dancing flowers. In 
shadowed pools of clear water fishes were to be 
seen, gliding amidst the reeds ; and amongst the 
rocks beside the sea the castaway could look down 
upon the creatures of the deep imprisoned between 
the tides. 

Food in all forms was to hand, and he had but 
to fill his arms with the good things which Fate 
had provided. " I found there," he said, " figs, 
grapes, and all manner of goodly onions ; melons 
and pomegranates were there, and pumpkins of 
every kind. Fishes were there and fowls : there 
was nought that was lacking in it. I satisfied 
myself, and set upon the ground the abundance 
of that with which my arms were filled. I took 
the fire-borer and kindled a fire, and made a burnt- 
oflering to the gods." 

Seated in the warm sunshine amidst the trees, 
eating a roast fowl seasoned with onions or some 
equally palatable concoction, he seems to have 
found the life of a shipwrecked mariner by no 
means as distressing as he had anticipated ; and 
the wording of the narrative appears to be so 
arranged that an impression of comfortable ease 
and security may surround his sunlit figure. 
Suddenly, however, all was changed. " I heard," 
said he, " a sound as of thunder, and I thought it 
was the waves of the sea." Then " the trees 
creaked and the earth trembled " ; and, like the 
Egyptian that he was, he went down on his shak- 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 153 

ing hands and knees, and buried his face in the 

At length " I uncovered my face," he declared, 
" and I found it was a serpent that came, of the 
length of thirty cubits " — about fifty feet — "and 
his tail was more than two cubits " in diameter. 
" His skin was overlaid with gold, and his eye- 
brows were of real lapis lazuli, and he was 
exceeding perfect." 

" He opened his mouth to me," he continued, 
" as I lay on my stomach before him, and said to 
me : ' Who brought thee, who brought thee, little 
one ? — who brought thee ? If thou delayest to 
tell me who brougfht thee to this island I will 
cause thee to know thyself (again only) when thou 
art ashes, and art become that which is not seen 
• — that is to say, a ghost. 

" Thus you spoke to me," whispered the old 
sailor, as though again addressing the serpent, 
who, in the narration of these adventures, had 
become once more a very present reality to him, 
" but I heard it not. I lay before thee, and was 


Continuing his story, he told how the great 
serpent lifted him tenderly in his golden mouth, 
and carried him to his dwelling-place, setting him 
down there without hurt, amongst the fruit-trees 
and the flowers. The Egyptian at once flung 
himself upon his stomach before him, and lay 
there in a stupor of terror. The serpent, how- 
ever, meant him no harm, and indeed looked down 

154 Studies in the Treasury. 

on him with tender pity as he questioned him 
once more. 

" Who brought thee, who brought thee, Httle 
one?" he asked again. "Who brought thee to 
this island of the Great Green Sea, whereof the 
(under) half is waves ? " 

On his hands and knees before the kindly 
monster the shipwrecked Egyptian managed to 
regain possession of his faculties sufficiently to 
give an account of himself. 

" I was going down to the mines," he faltered, 
"on a mission of the sovereign, in a ship one 
hundred and fifty cubits in length and forty in 
breadth, and in it were one hundred and fifty 
sailors, picked men of Egypt. They scanned the 
heavens and they scanned the earth, and their 
hearts were stouter than lions. They foretold the 
storm or ever it came, and the tempest when as 
yet it was not. Every one of them, his heart was 
stout and his arm strong beyond his fellow. 
There was none unproven amongst them. The 
storm arose while that we were on the Great 
Green Sea, before we touched land ; and as we 
sailed it redoubled (its strength), and the waves 
thereof were eight cubits. There was a plank of 
wood to which I clung. The ship perished, and 
of them that were in her not one was left saving 
me alone, who now am at your side. And I was 
brought to this island by the waves of the Great 
Green Sea." 

At this point the man seems to have been over- 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 155 

come once more with terror, and the serpent, 
therefore, hastened to reassure him. 

" Fear not, Httle one," he said iu his gentle 
voice ; " fear not. Let not thy face be dismayed. 
If thou hast come to me it is God who has let 
thee live, who has brought thee to this phantom 
isle in which there is naught that is lacking, but 
it is full of all good things. Behold, thou shalt 
pass month for month until thou accomplish four 
months upon this island. And a ship shall come 
from home, and sailors in it whom thou knowest, 
and thou shalt go home with them, and shalt die 
in thine own city." 

"How glad is he," exclaimed the old mariner 
as he related his adventures to the prince, " how 
glad is he that recounts what he has experienced 
when the calamity is passed ! " The prince, no 
doubt, replied with a melancholy grunt, and the 
thread of the story was once more taken up. 

There was a particular reason why the serpent 
should be touched and interested to hear how 
Providence had saved the Egyptian from death, 
for he himself had survived a great calamity, and 
had been saved from an equally terrible fate, as 
he now proceeded to relate. 

" I will tell to thee the like thereof," he said, 
" which happened in this island. I dwelt herein 
with my brothers, and my children were among 
them. Seventy -two serpents we were, all told, 
with my offspring and my brothers ; nor have I 
yet mentioned to thee a little girl brought to me 

156 Studies in the Treasury. 

by fortune, A star came down, and all these 
went up in the flames. And it happened so that 
I was not together with them when they were 
consumed ; I was not in their midst. I could 
have died (of grief) for them when I found them 
as a single pile of corpses." 

It is clear from the story that this great 
serpent was intended to be pictured as a sad 
and lonely, but most lovable, character. All 
alone upon this ghostly isle, the last of his race, 
one is to imagine him dreaming of the little girl 
who was taken from him, together with all his 
family. Although fabulous himself, and half 
divine, he was yet the victim of the gods, and 
was made to suffer real sorrows in his unreal 
existence. Day by day he wandered over his 
limited domain, twisting his golden body amidst 
the pumpkins, and rearing himself above the fig- 
trees ; thundering down to the beach to salute 
the passing dolphins, or sunning himself, a golden 
blaze, upon the rocks. There remained naught 
for him to do but to await the cessation of the 
phantasy of his life ; and yet, though his lot was 
hard, he was ready at once to subordinate his 
sorrows to those of the shipwrecked sailor before 
him. No more is said of his distress, but with 
his next words he seems to have dismissed his 
own misfortunes, and to have attempted to com- 
fort the Egyptian. 

" If thou art brave," he said, " and restrainest 
thy longing, thou shalt press thy children to thy 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 157 

bosom and kiss thy wife, and behold thy house 
— that is the best of all things. Thou shalt 
reach home, and shalt dwell there amongst thy 

" Thereat," said the mariner, " I cast me upon 
my stomach and touched the ground before him, 
and I said to him : ' I will tell of thy might to 
the Sovereign, I will cause him to be acquainted 
with thy greatness. I will let bring to thee per- 
fume and spices, myrrh and sweet-scented woods, 
and incense of the sanctuaries wherewithal every 
god is propitiated. I will recount all that has 
befallen me, and that which I have seen by his 
might ; and they shall praise thee in that city 
before the magistrates of the entire land. I will 
slaughter to thee oxen as a burnt-offering, geese 
will I pluck for thee, and I will let bring to thee 
vessels laden with all the goodly things of Egypt, 
as may be (fitly) done to a god who loves men 
in a distant land, a land unknown to men.' " 

At these words the serpent opened his golden 
mouth and fell to laughing. The thought that 
this little mortal, grovelling before him, could 
believe himself able to repay the kindnesses 
received tickled him immensely. 

" Hast thou not much incense (here, then) ? " 
he laughed. " Art not become a lord of frank- 
incense ? And I, behold I am prince of Fount," 
the land of perfumes, " and the incense, that is my 
very own. As for the spices which thou sayest 
shall be brought, they are the wealth of this 

158 Studies in the Treasury. 

island. But it shall happen when thou hast 
left this place, never shalt thou see this island 
more, for it shall be changed to waves." 

The teller of the story does not relate in what 
manner he received this well - merited reproof. 
The gentle monster, no doubt, was tolerant of 
his presumptuousness, and soon put him at his 
ease again. During the whole period of the 
Egyptian's residence on the island, in fact, the 
golden serpent seems to have been invariably 
kind to him. The days passed by like a happy 
dream, and the spell of the island's enchantment 
possessed him so that, in after times, the details 
of the events of every day were lost in the 
sinofle illusion of the whole adventure. 

At last the ship arrived, as it had been fore- 
told, and the sailor watched her passing over 
the hazy sea towards the mysterious shore. " I 
went and got me up into a tall tree," he said, 
" and I recognised those that were in it. And 
I went to report the matter (to the serpent), 
and I found that he knew it." 

Very tenderly the great monster addressed him. 
"Fare thee well, little one," he said. "Fare thee 
well to thy house. Mayest thou see thy children 
and raise up a good name in thy city. Behold, 
such are my wishes for thee." 

" Then," continued the sailor, " I laid me on 
my stomach, my arms were bended before him. 
And he gave me a freight of frankincense, per- 
fume and myrrh, sweet-scented woods and anti- 

f t t 

CI * %.J 

« c t 

«r c c 

, ... 




PL. XV, 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. 159 

mony, giraffes' tails, great heaps of incense, 
elephant tusks, dogs, apes and baboons, ajid all 
manner of valuable things. And I loaded them 
in that ship, and I laid myself on my stomach 
to make thanksgiving to him. Then he said to 
me : ' Behold, thou shalt come home in two 
months, and shalt press thy children to thy 
bosom, and shalt flourish in their midst ; and 
there thou shalt be buried.' " 

To appreciate the significance of these last 
words it is necessary to remember what an 
important matter it was to an Egyptian that 
he should be buried in his native city. In our 
own case the position upon the map of the place 
where we lay down our discarded bones is gener- 
ally not of first-rate importance, and the thought 
of being buried in foreign lands does not frighten 
us. Whether our body is to be packed away in 
the necropolis of our city, or shovelled into a 
hole on the outskirts of Timbuctoo, is not a 
matter of vital interest. There is a certain sen- 
timent that leads us to desire interment amidst 
familiar scenes, but it is subordinated with ease 
to other considerations. To the Egyptian, how- 
ever, it was a matter of paramount importance. 
"What is a greater thing," says Sinuhe in the 
tale of his adventures in Asia, " than that I 
should be buried in the land in which I was 
born ? " " Thou shalt not die in a foreign land ; 
Asiatics shall not conduct thee to the tomb," 
says the Pharaoh to him; and again, "It is no 

i6o Studies in the Treasury. 

little thinof that thou shalt be buried without 
Asiatics conducting thee."^ There is a stela 
now preserved in Stuttgart, in which the de- 
ceased man asks those who pass his tomb to 
say a prayer for his soul ; and he adjures them 
in these words : "So truly as ye wish that your 
native gods should praise you, and that ye should 
be established in your seats, and that ye should 
hand down your offices to your children : that ye 
should reach your homes in safety, and recount 
your travels to your wives ; — then say a 
prayer," &c.^ 

The serpent was thus giving the castaway a 
promise which meant more to him than all the 
other blessings, and it was with a light heart 
indeed that he ran down to the beach to greet 
his countrymen. " I went down to the shore 
where the ship was," he continued, " and I 
called to the soldiers which were in that ship, 
and I gave praises upon the shore to the lord 
of this island, and likewise did they which were 
in the ship." 

Then he stepped on board, the gangway was 
drawn up, and, with a great sweep of the oars, 
the ship passed out on to the open sea. Standing 
on deck amongst the new cargo, the officers and 
their rescued friend bowed low to the great ser- 
pent who towered above the trees at the water's 
edge, gleaming in the sunshine. " Fare thee well, 

1 Sinuhe, B. 159, 197, 258. 

2 Zeit. Aeg. Spr., 39 (1901), p. 118. 

Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. i6i 

little one," his deep voice rolled across the water ; 
and again they bo\A^ed in obeisance to him. The 
main-sail was unfurled to the wind, and the vessel 
scudded bravely across the Great Green Sea ; but 
for some time yet they must have kept their eyes 
upon the fair shape of the phantom island, as the 
trees blended into the hills and the hills at last 
into the haze ; and their vision must have been 
focussed upon that one gleaming point where the 
golden serpent, alone once more with his memories, 
watched the ship moving over the fairy seas. 

" So sailed we northwards," said the sailor, " to 
the place of the Sovereign, and we reached home 
in two months, in accordance with all that he had 
said. And I entered in before the Sovereign, and 
I brought to him this tribute which I had taken 
away from within this island. Then gave he 
thanksgivings for me before the magistrates of 
the entire land. And I was made a ' Follower,' 
and was rewarded with the serfs of such an 

The old sailor turned to the gloomy prince 
as he brought his story to an end. "Look at 
me," he exclaimed, " now that I have reached 
land, now that I have seen (again in memory) 
what I have experienced. Hearken thou to me, 
for behold, to hearken is o-ood for men." 

But the prince only sighed the more deeply, 
and, with a despairing gesture, replied : "Be not 
(so) superior, my friend ! Doth one give water to 
a bird on the eve, when it is to be slain on the 


1 62 Studies in the Treasury. 

morrow ? " With these words the manuscript 
abruptly ends, and we are supposed to leave the 
prince still disconsolate in his cabin, while his 
friend, unable to cheer him, returns to his duties 
on deck. 


"... And he, shall be, 

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair, 
Such splendid purpose in his eyes, 
Who roll'd the i)salm to wintry skies, 

Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer, 

Who loved, who suffered countless ills, 
Who battled for the True, the Just, 
Be blown about the desert dust, 

Or seal'd within the iron hills ? " 

— Tennyson. 



There came to the camp of a certain professor, 
who was engaged in excavating the ruins of an 
ancient Egyptian city, a young and faultlessly- 
attired Englishman, whose thirst for dramatic 
adventure had led him to offer his services as 
an unpaid assistant digger. This immaculate 
personage had read in novels and tales many an 
account of the wonders which the spade of the 
excavator could reveal, and he firmly believed 
that it was only necessary to set a "nigger" to 
dig a little hole in the ground to open the way 
tot the treasuries of the Pharaohs. Gold, silver, 
and precious stones gleamed before him, in his 
imagination, as he hurried along subterranean 
passages to the vaults of long-dead kings. He 
expected to slide upon the seat of his very well- 
made breeches down the staircase of the ruined 
palace which he had entered by way of the sky- 
light, and to find himself, at the bottom, in the 
presence of the bejewelled dead. In the intervals 
between such experiences he was of opinion that 
a little quiet gazelle shooting would agreeably fill 

1 66 Researches in the Treasury. 

in the swiftly passing hours ; and at the end of 
the season's work he pictured himself returning 
to the bosom of his family with such a tale to 
tell that every ear would be opened to him. 

On his arrival at the camp he was conducted 
to the site of his future labours ; and his horri- 
fied gaze was directed over a large area of mud- 
pie, knee-deep in which a few bedraggled natives 
slushed their way downwards. After three weeks' 
work on this distressing site, the professor an- 
nounced that he had managed to trace through 
the mud the outline of the palace walls, once the 
feature of the city, and that the work here might 
now be regarded as finished. He was then con- 
ducted to a desolate spot in the desert, and until 
the day on which he fled back to England he was 
kept to the monotonous task of superintending a 
gang of natives whose sole business it was to dig 
a very large hole in the sand, day after day and 
week after week. 

It is, however, sometimes the fortune of the 
excavator to make a discovery which almost rivals 
in dramatic interest the tales of his youth. Such 
an experience fell to the lot of Emil Brugsch 
Pasha when he was lowered into an ancient tomb 
and found himself face to face with a score of the 
Pharaohs of Egypt, each lying in his coffin ; or 
again, when Monsieur de Morgan discovered the 
great mass of royal jewels in one of the pyramids 
at Dachour. But such " finds' can be counted 
on the fingers, and more often an excavation is 

J > > » 

1 > J > 

Ti.. XVI. 

• r t < 
c 5 r ' 

' ■' i c 

ft r ; r , 

c ' t • * • « 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 167 

a fruitless drudgery. Moreover, the life of the 
digger is not often a pleasant one. 

It will perhaps be of interest to the reader of 
romances to illustrate the above remarks by the 
narration of some of my own experiences ; but 
there are only a few interesting and unusual 
episodes in which I have had the peculiarly 
good fortune to be an actor. There will probably 
be some drama to be felt in the account of the 
more important discoveries (for there certainly is 
to the antiquarian himself) ; but it should be 
pointed out that the interest of these rare finds 
pales before the description, which many of us 
have heard, of how the archaeologists of a past 
century discovered the body of Charlemagne clad 
in his royal robes and seated upon his throne, — 
which, by the way, is quite untrue. In spite 
of all that is said to the contrary, truth is seldom 
stranger than fiction ; and the reader who desires 
to be told of the discovery of buried cities whose 
streets are paved with gold should take warning 
in time and return at once to his novels. 

If the dawning interest of the reader has now 
been thoroughly cooled by these words, it may 
be presumed that it will be utterly annihilated 
by the following narration of my first fruitless 
excavation ; and thus one will be able to con- 
tinue the story wath the relieved consciousness 
that nobodv is attending". 

In the capacity of assistant to Professor Flinders 
Petrie, I was set, many years ago, to the task of 

1 68 Researches in the Treasury. 

excavating a supposed royal cemetery in the desert 
behind the ancient city of Abydos, in Upper Egypt. 
Two mounds were first attacked ; and after many 
weeks of work in digging through the sand, the 
superstructure of two great tombs was bared. In 
the case of the first of these several fine passages 
of good masonry were cleared, and at last the 
burial -chamber was reached. In the huge sar- 
cophagus which was there found great hopes were 
entertained that the body and funeral- offerings of 
the dead prince would be discovered ; but when 
at last the interior was laid bare the solitary 
article found was a copy of a French newspaper 
left behind by the last, and equally disgusted, 
excavator. The second tomb defied the most 
ardent exploration, and failed to show any traces 
of a burial. The mystery was at last solved by 
Professor Petrie, who, with his usual keen per- 
ception, soon came to the conclusion that the 
whole tomb was a dummy, built solely to hide 
an enormous mass of rock chippings, the presence 
of which had been a puzzle for some time. These 
masons' chippings were evidently the output from 
some large cutting in the rock, and it became 
apparent that there must be a great rock tomb 
in the neighbourhood. Trial trenches in the 
vicinity presently revealed the existence of a 
long wall, which, being followed in either direc- 
tion, proved to be the boundary of a vast court 
or enclosure built upon the desert at the foot 
of a conspicuous cliff. A ramp led up to the 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 169 

entrance ; but as it was slightly askew and 
pointed to the southern end of the enclosure, it 
was supposed that the rock tomb, which presum- 
ably ran into the cliff from somewhere inside 
this area, was situated at that end. The next 
few weeks were occupied in the tedious task of 
probing the sand hereabouts, and at length in 
clearing it away altogether down to the surface 
of the underlying rock. Nothing was found, how- 
ever ; and sadly we turned to the exact middle 
of the court, and began to work slowly to the 
foot of the cliff. Here, in the very middle of 
the back wall, a pillared chamber was found, 
and it seemed certain that the entrance to the 
tomb would now be discovered. 

The best men were placed to dig out this cham- 
ber, and the excavator — it was many years ago — 
went about his work with the weight of fame upon 
his shoulders and an expression of intense mystery 
upon his sorely sun-scorched face. How clearly 
memory recalls the letter home that week, "We 
are on the eve of a great discovery " ; and how 
vividly rises the picture of the baking desert sand 
into which the sweating workmen were slowly 
digging their way ! But our hopes were short- 
lived, for it very soon became apparent that 
there was no tomb entrance in this part of the 
enclosure. There remained the north end of 
the area, and on to this all the available men 
were turned. Deeper and deeper they dug their 
wav, until the mounds of sand thrown out formed. 

lyo Researches in the Treasury. 

as it were, the Hp of a great crater. At last, some 
forty or fifty feet down, the underlying rock was 
struck, and presently the mouth of a great shaft 
was exposed leading down into the bowels of the 
earth. The royal tomb had at last been dis- 
covered, and it only remained to effect an 
entrance. The days were now filled with excite- 
ment, and, the thoughts being concentrated on 
the question of the identity of the royal occupant 
of the tomb, it was soon fixed in our minds that 
we were about to enter the burial-place of no 
less a personage than the great Pharaoh Senusert 
III. (Sesostris), the same king whose jewels were I 

found at Dachour. \ 

One evening, just after I had left the work, ! 

the men came down to the distant camp to say ' 

that the last barrier was now reached and that an ;. 

entrance could be effected at once. In the pale 
light of the moon, therefore, I hastened back to 
the desert with a few trusted men. As we walked . 

along, one of these natives very cheerfully re- »; 

marked that we should all probably get our ?■ 

throats cut, as the brigands of the neighbourhood 
had got wind of the discovery, and were sure to 
attempt to enter the tomb that night. With this 
pleasing prospect before us we walked with some 
caution over the silent desert. Reaching the 
mound of sand which surrounded our excavation, 
we crept to the top and peeped over into the 
crater. At once we observed a dim light below 
us, and almost immediatel}^ an agitated but polite 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 171 

voice from the opposite mound called out in Arabic, 
" Go away, mister. We have all got guns." This 
remark was followed by a shot which whistled 
past me ; and therewith I slid down the hill once 
more, and heartily wished myself safe in my bed. 
Our party then spread round the crater, and at a 
given word we proposed to rush the place. But 
the enemy was too quick for us, and after the 
briefest scrimmage, and the exhanging of a harm- 
less shot or two, we found ourselves in possession 
of the tomb, and were able to pretend that we 
were not a bit frightened. 

Then into the dark depths of the shaft we 
descended, and ascertained that the robbers had 
not effected an entrance. A long night watch 
followed, and the next day we had the satisfaction 
of arrestinof some of the criminals. The tomb was 
found to penetrate several hundred feet into the 
cliff, and at the end of the long and beautifully 
worked passage the great royal sarcophagus was 
found — empty ! So ended a very strenuous 
season's work. 

If the experiences of a digger in Professor 
Petrie's camp are to be regarded as typical, they 
will probably serve to damp the ardour of eager 
young gentlemen in search of ancient Egyptian 
treasure. One lives in a bare little hut con- 
structed of mud, and roofed with cornstalks or 
corrugated iron ; and if by chance there happened 
to be a rain storm, as there was when I was a 
member of the community, one may watch the 

172 Researches in the Treasury. 

frail building gently subside in a liquid stream 
on to one's bed and books. For seven days in 
the week one's work continues, and it is only to 
the real enthusiast that that work is not mon- 
otonous and tiresome. 

A few years later it fell to my lot to excavate 
for the Government the funeral temple of 
Thutmosis III. at Thebes, and a fairly large sum 
was spent upon the undertakings Although the 
site was most promising in appearance, a couple 
of months' work brought to light hardly a single 
object of importance, whereas exactly similar sites 
in the same neighbourhood had produced inscrip- 
tions of the greatest value. Two years ago I 
assisted at an excavation upon a site of my 
own selection, the net result of which, after six 
weeks' work, was one mummified cat ! To sit 
over the work day after day, as did the un- 
fortunate promoter of this particular enterprise, 
with the flies buzzing- around his face and the 
sun blazing down upon him from a relentless 
sky, was hardly a pleasurable task ; and to watch 
the clouds of dust go up from the tip -heap, 
where tons of unprofitable rubbish rolled down 
the hillside all day long, was an occupation for 
the damned. Yet that is excavating as it is 
usually found to be. 

Now let us consider the other side of the 
story. In the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings 
at Thebes excavations have been conducted for 
some years by Mr Theodore M. Davis, of New- 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 173 

port, Rhode Island, by special arrangement with 
the Department of Antiquities of the Egyptian 
Government ; and as an official of that Depart- 
ment I have had the privilege of being present 
at all the recent discoveries. The lindinof of the 
tomb of Yuaa and Tuau a few years ago was one 
of the most interesting archaeological events of 
recent times, and one which came somewhere 
near to the standard of romance set by the 
novelists. Yuaa and Tuau were the parents of 
Queen Tiy, the discovery of whose tomb is re- 
corded in the next chapter. When the entrance 
of their tomb was cleared, a flight of steps was 
exposed, leading down to a passage blocked by a 
wall of loose stones. In the top right-hand corner 
a small hole, large enough to admit a man, had 
been made in ancient times, and throuerh this we 
could look down into a dark passage. As it was 
too late in the day to enter at once, we postponed 
that exciting experience until the morrow, and 
some police were sent for to guard the entrance 
during the night. I had slept the previous night 
over the mouth, and there was now no possibility 
of leaving the place for several more nights, so a 
rough camp was formed on the spot. 

Here I settled myself down for the long watch, 
and speculated on the events of the next morning, 
when Mr Davis and one or two well-known Egypt- 
ologists were to come to the valley to open the 
sepulchre. Presently, in the silent darkness, a 
slight noise was heard on the hillside, and im- 

174 Researches in the Treasury. 

mediately the challenge of the. sentry rang out. 
This was answered by a distant call, and after 
some moments of alertness on our part we ob- 
served two figures approaching us. These, to my 
surprise, proved to be a well - known American 
artist and his wife,^ who had obviously come on 
the expectation that trouble was ahead ; but 
though in this they were certainly destined to 
suffer disappointment, still, out of respect for the 
absolute unconcern of both visitors, it may be men- 
tioned that the mouth of a lonely tomb already 
said by native rumour to contain incalculable 
wealth is not perhaps the safest place in the 
world. Here, then, on a level patch of rock we 
three lay down and slept fitfully until the dawn. 
Soon after breakfast the wall at the mouth of the 
tomb was pulled down, and the party passed into 
the low passage which sloped down to the burial 
chamber. At the bottom of this passage there 
was a second wall blocking the way ; but when 
a few layers had been taken off the top we were 
able to climb, one by one, into the chamber. 

Imagine entering a town house which had been 
closed for the summer : imagine the stuffy room, 
the stiff, silent appearance of the furniture, the 
feeling that some ghostly occupants of the vacant 
chairs have just been disturbed, the desire to 
throw open the windows to let life into the 
room once more. That was perhaps the first 
sensation as we stood, really dumfounded, and 

^ Mr and Mrs Joseph Lindon Smith. 

C C C i. » * . t 

i c « c^ c c c 

f < p r , « c e c 

iP koto by the Author. 

Excavating the Osireion at Abydos. A chain of boys handing- up 
baskets of sand to the surface. 

Pi.. XVII. 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 175 

stared around at the relics of the life of over 
three thousand years ago, all of which were as 
new almost as when they graced the palace of 
Prince Yuaa. Three arm-chairs were perhaps the 
first objects to attract the attention : beautiful 
carved wooden chairs, decorated with gold. Be- 
longing to one of these was a pillow made of 
down and covered with linen. It was so perfectly 
preserved that one might have sat upon it or 
tossed it from this chair to that without doing 
it injury. Here were fine alabaster vases, and in 
one of these we were startled to find a liquid, 
like honey or syrup, still unsolidified by time. 
Boxes of exquisite workmanship stood in various 
parts of the room, some resting on delicately 
wrought legs. Now the eye was directed to a 
wicker trunk fitted with trays and partitions, and 
ventilated with little apertures, since the scents 
were doubtless strong. Two most comfortable 
beds were to be observed, fitted with springy 
string mattresses and decorated with charming 
designs in gold. There in the far corner, placed 
upon the top of a number of large white jars, 
stood the light chariot which Yuaa had owned 
in his lifetime. In all directions stood objects 
gleaming with gold undulled by a speck of dust, 
and one looked from one article to another with 
the feeling that the entire human conception of 
Time was wrong'. These were the thinsfs of 
yesterday, of a year or so ago. Why, here were 
meats prepared for the feasts in the Underworld ; 

176 Researches in the Treasury. 

here were Yuaa's favourite joints, each neatly 
placed in a wooden box as though for a journey. 
Here was his staff, and here were his sandals, — 
a new pair and an old. In another corner there 
stood the magical figures by the power of which 
the prince was to make his way through Hades. 
The words of the mystical " Chapter of the 
Flame" and of the "Chapter of the Magical 
Figure of the North Wall" were inscribed upon 
them ; and upon a great roll of papyrus twenty- 
two yards in length other efficacious prayers were 

But though the eyes passed from object to object, 
they ever returned to the two lidless gilded coffins 
in which the owners of this room of the dead lay as 
though peacefully sleeping. First above Yuaa and 
then above his wife the electric lamps were held, 
and as one looked down into their quiet faces there 
was almost the feeling that they would presently 
open their eyes and blink at the light. The stern 
features of the old man commanded one's attention, 
and again and again our gaze was turned from this 
mass of wealth to this sleeping figure in whose 
honour it had been placed here. 

At last we returned to the surface to allow the 
thoughts opportunity to collect themselves and 
the pulses time to quiet down, for, even to the 
most unemotional, a discovery of this kind, bring- 
ing one into the very presence of the past, has 
really an unsteadying effect. Then once more we 
descended, and made the preliminary arrangements 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 177 

for the cataloguing of the antiquities. It was now 
that the real work began, and, once the excitement 
was past, there was a monotony of labour to be 
faced which put a very considerable strain on the 
powers of all concerned. The hot days when one 
sweated over the heavy packing-cases, and the 
bitterly cold nights when one lay at the mouth of 
the tomb under the stars, dragged on for many a 
week ; and when at last the long train of boxes 
was carried down to the Nile en route for the 
Cairo Museum, it was with a sigh of relief that 
the official returned to his regular work. 

This, of course, was a very exceptional discovery. 
Mr Davis has made other great finds, but to me 
they have not equalled in dramatic interest the 
discovery just recorded. Even in this royal valley, 
however, there is much drudgery to be faced, and 
for a large part of the season's work it is the ex- 
cavator's business to turn over endless masses of 
rock chippings, and to dig huge holes which have 
no interest for the patient digger. Sometimes the 
mouth of a tomb is bared, and is entered with the 
profoundest hopes, which are at once dashed by 
the sudden abrupt ending of the cutting a few 
yards from the surface. At other times a tomb- 
chamber is reached and is found to be absolutely 

At another part of Thebes the well - known 
Egyptologist, Professor Schiaparelli, had exca- 
vated for a number of years without finding any- 
thing of much importance, when suddenly one fine 


178 Researches in the Treasury. 

day he struck the mouth of a large tomh which 
was evidently intact. I was at once informed of 
the discovery, and proceeded to the spot as quickly 
as possible. The mouth of the tomb was approached 
down a flight of steep, rough steps, still half-choked 
with debris. At the bottom of this the entrance 
of a passage running into the hillside was blocked 
by a wall of rough stones. After photographing 
and removing this, we found ourselves in a long, 
low tunnel, blocked by a second wall a few yards 
ahead. Both these walls were intact, and we 
realised that we were about to see what probably 
no living man had ever seen before : the absolutely 
intact remains of a rich Theban of the Imperial 
Age — i.e., about 1200 or 1300 B.C. When this 
second wall was taken down we passed into a care- 
fully-cut passage high enough to permit of one 
standing upright. 

At the end of this passage a plain wooden door 
barred our progress. The wood retained the light 
colour of fresh deal, and looked for all the world 
as though it had been set up but yesterday. A 
heavy wooden lock, such as is used at the pres- 
ent day, held the door fast. A neat bronze 
handle on the side of the door was connected by 
a spring to a wooden knob set in the masonry 
door-post ; and this spring was carefully sealed 
with a small dab of stamped clay. The whole con- 
trivance seemed so modern that Professor Schia- 
parelli called to his servant for the key, who quite 
seriously replied, " I don't know where it is, sir." 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 179 

He then thumped the door with his hand to see 
whether it would be Hkely to give ; and, as the 
echoes reverberated through the tomb, one felt 
that the mummy, in the darkness beyond, might 
well think that his resurrection call had come. 
One almost expected him to rise, like the dead 
knights of Kildare in the Irish legend, and to ask, 
"Is it time ? " for the three thousand years which 
his religion had told him was the duration of his 
life in the tomb was already long past. 

Meanwhile we turned our attention to the objects 
which stood in the passage, having been placed 
there at the time of the funeral, owing to the lack 
of room in the burial-chamber. Here a vase, rising 
upon a delicately shaped stand, attracted the eye 
by its beauty of form ; and here a bedstead caused 
us to exclaim at its modern appearance. A palm- 
leaf fan, used by the ancient Egyptians to keep 
the flies off their wines and unguents, stood near a 
now empty jar ; and near by a basket of dried-up 
fruit was to be seen. This dried fruit gave the 
impression that the tomb was perhaps a few months 
old, but there was nothing else to be seen which 
suggested that the objects were even as much as a 
year old. It was almost impossible to believe, and 
quite impossible to realise, that we were standing 
where no man had stood for well over three thou- 
sand years ; and that we were actually breathing 
the air which had remained sealed in the passage 
since the ancient priests had closed the entrance 
thirteen hundred years before Christ. 

i8o Researches in the Treasury. 

Before we could proceed farther, many flashhght 
photographs had to be taken, and drawings made 
of the doorway ; and after this a panel of the 
woodwork had to be removed with a fret-saw in 
order that the lock and seal might not be damaged. 
At last, however, this was accomplished, and the 
way into the tomb- chamber was open. Stepping 
through the frame of the door, we found ourselves 
in an unencumbered portion of the floor, while 
around us in all directions stood the funeral furni- 
ture, and on our left the coffins of the deceased 
noble and his wife loomed large. Everything 
looked new and undecayed, and even the order in 
which the objects were arranged suggested a tidy- 
ing-up done that very morning. The gravel on 
the floor was neatly smoothed, and not a speck of 
dust was anywhere to be observed. Over the 
large outer coffin a pall of fine linen was laid, not 
rotting and falling to pieces like the cloth of 
mediaeval times we see in our museums, but soft 
and strong like the sheets of our beds. In the 
clear space before the coffin stood a wooden pedes- 
tal in the form of a miniature lotus column. On 
the top of this, resting on three wooden prongs, 
was a small copper dish, in which were the ashes 
of incense, and the little stick used for stirring 
them. One asked oneself in bewilderment whether 
the ashes here, seemingly not cold, had truly 
ceased to glow at a time when Kome and Greece 
were undreamt of, when Assyria did not exist, 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. i8i 

and when the Exodus of the Children of Israel 
was yet unaccomplished. 

On low tables round cakes of bread were laid 
out, not cracked and shrivelled, but smooth and 
brown, with a kind of white-of-egg glaze upon 
them. Onions and fruit were also spread out ; and 
the fruit of the doni palm was to be seen in plenty. 
In various parts of the chamber there were numer- 
ous bronze vessels of different shapes, intended for 
the holding of milk and other drinkables. 

Well supplied with food and drink, the senses 
of the dead man were soothed by a profusion of 
flowers, which lay withered but not decayed beside 
the coffin, and which at the time of the funeral 
must have filled the chamber with their sweetness. 
Near the doorway stood an upright wooden chest 
closed with a lid. Opening this, we found it to 
contain the great ceremonial wig of the deceased 
man, which was suspended from a rail passing 
across the top of the chest, and hung free of the 
sides and bottom. The black hair was plaited 
into hundreds of little tails, but in size the wig 
was not unlike those of the early eighteenth cen- 
tury in Europe. Chairs, beds, and other pieces of 
furniture were arranged around the room, and at 
one side there were a number of small chests and 
boxes piled up against the wall. We opened one 
or two of these, and found them to contain delicate 
little vases of glass, stone, and metal, wrapped 
round with rags to prevent them breaking. These, 

1 82 Researches in the Treasury. 

like everything else in the tomb, were new and 
fresh, and showed no trace of the passing of the 

The coffins, of course, were hidden by the great 
casing in which each rested, and which itself was 
partly hidden by the linen pall. Nothing could 
be touched for many days, until photographs had 
been taken and records made ; and we therefore 
returned through the long passage to the light of 
the day. 

There must have been a large number of intact 
tombs to be found when first the modern interest 
in Egyptian antiquities developed ; but the market 
thus created had to be supplied, and gangs of 
illicit diggers made short work of the most acces- 
sible tombs. This illegal excavation, of course, 
continues to some extent at the present day, in 
spite of all precautions, but the results are be- 
coming less and less proportionate to the labour 
expended and risk taken. A native likes best to 
do a little quiet digging in his own back yard and 
to admit nobody else into the business. To illus- 
trate this, I may mention a tragedy which was 
brought to my notice a few years ago. A certain 
native discovered the entrance of a tomb in the 
floor of his stable, and at once proceeded to worm 
his way down the tunnel. That was the end of 
the native. His wife, finding that he had not 
returned two hours or so later, went down the 
newly found tunnel after him. That was the end 
of her also. In turn, three other members of the 

Recent Excavations in Egypt. 183 

tamily went down into the darkness, and that was 
the end of them. A native official was then 
called, and, lighting his way with a candle, pene- 
trated down the winding passage. The air was so 
foul that he was soon obliged to retreat, but he 
stated that he was just able to see in the distance 
ahead the bodies of the unfortunate peasants, all 
of whom had been overcome by what he quaintly 
described as " the evil lighting and bad climate." 
Various attempts at the rescue of the bodies 
having failed, we gave orders that this tomb 
should be regarded as their sepulchre, and that 
its mouth should be sealed up. According to the 
natives, there was evidently a vast hoard of 
wealth stored at the bottom of this tomb, and 
the would-be robbers had met their death at the 
hands of the demon in charge of it, who had 
seized each man by the throat as he came down 
the tunnel and had strangled him. 

The Egyptian peasants have a very strong belief 
in the power of such creatures of the spirit world. 
A native who was attempting recently to discover 
hidden treasure in a certain part of the desert, 
sacrificed a lamb each night above the spot where 
he believed the treasure to lie, in order to pro- 
pitiate the djin who guarded it. On the other 
hand, however, they have no superstition as re- 
gards the sanctity of the ancient dead, and they 
do not hesitate on that ground to rifle the tombs. 
Thousands of graves have been desecrated by 
these seekers after treasure, and it is very largely 

184 Researches in the Treasury. 

the result of this that scientific excavation is often 
so fruitless nowadays. When an excavator states 
that he has discovered a tomb, one takes it for 
granted that he means a jplundered tomb, unless 
he definitely says that it was intact, in which case 
one calls him a lucky fellow and regards him with 
green envy. 

And thus we come back to my remarks at the 
beginning of this chapter, that there is a painful 
disillusionment awaiting the man who comes to 
dig in Egypt in the hope of finding the golden 
cities of the Pharaohs or the bejewelled bodies of 
their dead. Of the latter there are but a few left 
to be found. The discovery of one of them forms 
the subject of the next chapter. 




In January 1907 the excavations in the Valley of 
the Tombs of the Kings at Thebes, which are 
being conducted each year by Mr Davis, brought 
to light the entrance of a tomb which, by its style, 
appeared to be that of a royal personage of the 
XVIIIth Dynasty. The Valley lies behind the 
cliffs which form the western boundary of Thebes, 
and is approached by a long winding road running 
between the rocks and rugged hills of the Lybian 
desert. Here the Pharaohs of the XVHIth to the 
XXth Dynasties were buried in large sepulchres 
cut into the sides of the hills ; and the present 
excavations have for their object the removal of 
the debris which has collected at the foot of these 
hills, in order that the tombs hidden beneath may 
be revealed. About sixty tombs are now open, 
some of which were already known to Greek and 

1 A few pai-agraphs in this chapter also appear in my 'Life and 
Times of Akhnaton, Pharaoh of Egypt.' (Wm. Blackwood & Sons, 

1 86 Researches in the Treasury. 

Roman travellers ; and there are probably not 
more than two or three still to be discovered. 

When this new tomb - entrance was uncovered 
I was at once notified, and proceeded with all 
despatch to the Valley. It was not long before 
we were able to enter the tomb. A rough stair- 
way led down into the hillside, bringing us to the 
mouth of a passage which was entirely blocked by 
a wall of built stones. On removing this wall we 
found ourselves in a small passage, descending at 
a sharp incline to a chamber which could be seen a 
few yards farther on. Instead of this passage being 
free from debris, however, as we had expected on 
finding the entrance-wall intact, it was partly filled 
with fallen stones which seemed to be the ruins of 
an earlier entrance-wall. On top of this heap of 
stones lay one of the sides of a large funeral shrine, 
almost entirely blocking the passage. This shrine, 
as we later saw, was in the form of a great box-like 
sarcophagus, made of cedar - wood covered with 
gold, and it had been intended as an outer cover- 
ing for the coffin of the deceased person. It was, 
however, not put together : three sides of it were 
leaning against the walls of the burial -chamber, 
and the fourth was here in the passage. Either it 
was never built up, or else it was in process of 
being taken out of the tomb again when the work 
was abandoned. 

To pass this portion of the shrine which lay in 
the passage without doing it damage was no easy 
matter. We could not venture to move it, as the 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 187 

wood was rotten ; and indeed, for over a year it 
remained in its original position. We therefore 
made a bridge of planks within a few inches of the 
low roof, and on this we wriggled ourselves across 
into the unencumbered passage beyond. In the 
funeral-chamber, besides the other portions of the 
shrine, we found at one corner a splendid coffin, in 
the usual form of a recumbent figure, inlaid in a 
dazzling manner with rare stones and coloured glass. 
The coffin had originally lain upon a wooden bier, 
in the form of a lion-legged couch ; but this had 
collapsed and the mummy had fallen to the ground, 
the lid of the coffin being partly thrown off by 
the fall, thus exposing the head and feet of the 
body, from which the bandages had decayed and 
fallen off. In the powerful glare of the electric light 
which we carried, the bare skull, with a golden 
vulture upon it, could be seen protruding from 
the remains of the linen bandages and from the 
sheets of flexible gold-foil in which, as we after- 
wards found, the whole body was wrapped. The 
inscription on the coffin, the letters of which were 
made of rare stones, gave the titles of Akhnaton, 
" the beautiful child of the Sun " ; but turning to 
the shrine we found other inscriptions stating that 
King Akhnaton had made it for his mother. Queen 
Tiy, and thus no immediate reply could be given 
to those at the mouth of the tomb who called to 
us to know which of the Pharaoh's of Egypt had 
been found. 

In a recess in the wall above the body there 

1 88 Researches in the Treasury. 

stood four alabaster "canopy" jars, each with a 
hd exquisitely sculptured in the form of a human 
head. In another corner there was a box con- 
taining many little toilet vases and utensils of 
porcelain. A few alabaster vases and other 
objects were lying in various parts of the chamber, 
arranged in some sort of rough order. 

Nothing, of course, could yet be touched, and 
for several days, during the lengthy process of 
photographing and recording the contents of the 
tomb in situ, no further information could be 
obtained as to the identity of the owner of the 
tomb. The shrine was certainly made for Queen 
Tiy, and so too were the toilet utensils, judging 
by an inscription upon one of them which gave the 
names of Tiy and her husband. King Amenhotep 
III., the parents of Akhnaton. It was, therefore, 
not a surprise when a passing doctor declared the 
much broken bones to be those of a woman — that 
is to say, those of Queen Tiy. For reasons which 
will presently become apparent, it had been diffi- 
cult to believe that Akhnaton could have been 
buried in this Valley, and one was very ready 
to suppose that the coffin bearing his name had 
but been given by him to his mother. 

The important discovery was now announced, 
and caused considerable interest and excitement. 
At the end of the winter the various archaelogists 
departed to their several countries, and it fell 
to me to 'despatch the antiquities to the Cairo 
Museum, and to send the bones, soaked in wax to 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 189 

prevent their breakage, to Dr ElHot Smith, to be 
examined by that eminent authority. It may be 
imagined that my surprise was considerable when 
I received a letter from him reading — " Are you 
sure that the bones you sent me are those which 
were found in the tomb ? Instead of the bones of 
an old woman, you have sent me those of a young 
man. Surely there is some mistake." 

There was, however, no mistake. Dr Elliot 
Smith later informed me that the bones were those 
of a young man of about twenty-eight years of 
age, and at first this description did not seem to 
tally with that of Akhnaton, who was always 
thought to have been a man of middle age. But 
there is now no possibility of doubt that the coffin 
and mummy were those of this extraordinary 
Pharaoh, although the tomb and funeral furniture 
belonged to Queen Tiy. Dr Elliot Smith's decision 
was, of course, somewhat disconcerting to those 
who had written of the mortal remains of the 
great Queen ; but it is difficult to speak of Tiy 
without also referring to her famous son Akh- 
naton, and in these articles he had received full 

About the year B.C. 1500 the throne of Egypt 
fell to the young brother of Queen Hatshepsut, 
Thutmosis III., and under his vigorous rule the 
country rose to a height of power never again 
equalled. Amenhotep II. succeeded to an empire 
which extended from the Sudan to the Euphrates 
and to the Greek Islands ; and when he died he 

1 90 Researches in the Treasury. 

left these great possessions almost intact to his 
son, Thutmosis IV., the grandfather of Akhnaton. 
It is important to notice the chronology of this 
period. The mummy of Thutmosis IV. has been 
shown by Dr Elliot Smith to be that of a man 
of not more than twenty-six years of age ; but we 
know that his son Amenhotep III. was old enough 
to hunt lions at about the time of his father's 
death, and that he was already married to Queen 
Tiy a year later. Thus one must suppose that 
Thutmosis IV. was a father at the age of thirteen 
or fourteen, and that Amenhotep III. was mar- 
ried to Tiy at about the same age. The wife of 
Thutmosis IV. was probably a Syrian princess, 
and it must have been during her regency that 
Amenhotep III. married Tiy, who was not of 
royal blood. Amenhotep and Tiy introduced into 
Egypt the luxuries of Asia ; and during their bril- 
liant reign the Nile Valley was more open to 
Syrian influence than it had ever been before. 
The language of Babylon was perhaps the Court 
tongue, and the correspondence was written in 
cuneiform instead of in the hieratic script of Egypt. 
Amenhotep III., as has been said, was probably 
partly Asiatic ; and there is, perhaps, some reason 
to suppose that Yuaa, the father of Queen Tiy, 
was also a Syrian. One has, therefore, to picture 
the Egyptian Court at this time as being saturated 
with foreign ideas, which clashed with those of the 
orthodox Egyptians. 

Queen Tiy bore several children to the King ; 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 191 

but it was not until they had reigned over twenty 
years that a son and heir was born, whom they 
named Amenhotep, that being changed later to 
Akhnaton, It is probable that he first saw the 
light in the royal palace at Thebes, which was 
situated on the edge of the desert at the foot of 
the western hills. It was an extensive and roomy 
structure, lightly built and gaily decorated. The 
ceiUng and pavements of its halls were fantas- 
tically painted with scenes of animal life : wild 
cattle ran through reedy swamps beneath one's 
feet, and many-coloured fish swam in the water ; 
while overhead flights of pigeons, white against a 
blue sky, passed across the hall, and the wild duck 
hastened towards the open casements. Through 
curtained doorways one might obtain glimpses of 
a garden planted with flowers foreign to Egypt; 
and on the east of the palace the King had made 
a great pleasure-lake for the Queen, surrounded by 
the trees of Asia. Here, floating in her golden 
barge, which was named Aton-gleams, the Queen 
might look westwards over the tree-tops to the 
splendid Theban hills towering above the palace, 
and eastwards to the green valley of the Nile and 
the three great limestone hills beyond. Amen- 
hotep HI. has been rightly called the " Magnifi- 
cent," and one may well believe that his son 
Akhnaton was born to the sound of music and 
to the clink of golden wine-cups. Fragments of 
countless thousands bf wine-jars and blue fayence 
drinking-vessels have been found in the ruins of 

192 Researches in the Treasury. 

the palace ; and contemporary objects and paint- 
ings show us some of the exquisitely wrought 
bowls of gold and silver which must have graced 
the royal tables, and the charming toilet utensils 
which were to be found in the sleeping apart- 

While the luxurious Court rejoiced at the birth 
of this Egypto- Asiatic prince, one feels that the 
ancient priesthood of Amon-Ra must have stood 
aloof, and must have looked askance at the baby 
who was destined one day to be their master. 
This priesthood was perhaps the proudest and 
most conservative community which conservative 
Egypt ever produced. It demanded implicit 
obedience to its stiff and ancient conventions, 
and it refused to recognise the growing tendency 
towards religious speculation. One of the great 
gods of Syria was Aton, the god of the sun ; and 
his recognition at the Theban Court was a source 
of constant irritation to the ministers of Amon-Ra. 

Probably they would have taken stronger meas- 
ures to resist this foreign god had it not been for 
the fact that Atum of Heliopolis, an ancient god 
of Egypt, was on the one hand closely akin to Ha, 
the associated deity with Amon, and on the other 
hand to Aton of Syria. Thus Aton might be re- 
o-arded merely as another name for Ea or Amon- 
Ra ; but the danger to the old regime lay in the 
fact that with the worship of Aton there went 
a certain amount of freethought. The sun and 
its warm rays were the heritage of all mankind ; 

[Photo by E. Brttgsch Pasha. 

Toilet-spoons of carved wood, discovered in tombs of the Eig-liteenth 
Dynasty. That ow the ris^-ht has a movable lid. — Cairo Ml skim. 

Pl. xix. 

c c, t r ' 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 193 

and the speculative mind of the Asiatic, ahvays in 
advance of the less imaginative Egyptian, had not 
failed to collect to the Aton-worship a number of 
semi-philosophical teachings far broader than the 
strict doctrines of Amon-Ra could tolerate. 

There is much reason to suppose that Queen Tiy 
was the prime factor in the new movement. It 
may, perhaps, be worth noting that her father 
was a priest of the Egyptian god Min, who corre- 
sponded to the North S3"rian Aton in his capacity 
as a god of vegetation ; and she may have imbibed 
something of the broader doctrines from him. It 
is the barge upon her pleasure-lake which is called 
Aton-gleams, and it is her private artist who is 
responsible for one of the first examples of the 
new style of art which begins to appear at this 
period. Egyptian art was bound down by con- 
ventions jealously guarded by the priesthood, and 
the slight tendency to break away from these, 
which now becomes apparent, is another sign of 
the broadening of thought under the reign of 
Amenhotep III. and Tiy. 

King Amenhotep III. does not seem to have 
been a man of strong- character, and in the chansfes 
which took place at this time he does not appear 
to have taken so very large a part. He always 
showed the most profound respect for, and devotion 
to, his Queen ; and one is inclined to regard him as 
a tool in her hands. According to some accounts 
he reigned only thirty years, but there are con- 
temporary monuments dated in his thirty -sixth 


194 Researches in the Treasury. 

year, and it seems probable that for the last few 
years he was reigning only in name, and that 
in reality his ministers, under the regency of 
Queen Tiy, governed the land. Amenhotep III. 
was perhaps during his last years insane or stricken 
with some paralytic disease, for we read of an 
Asiatic monarch sending a miracle-working image 
to Egypt, apparently for the purpose of attempting 
to cure him. It must have been during these six 
years of absolute power, while Akhnaton was a 
boy, that the Queen pushed forward her reforms 
and encouraged the breaking down of the old 
traditions, especially those relating to the worship 
of Amon-Ra. 

Amenhotep III. died in about the forty-ninth 
year of his age, after a total reign of thirty-six 
years ; and Akhnaton, who still bore the name 
of Amenhotep, ascended the throne. One must 
picture him now as an enthusiastic boy, filled with 
the new thought of the age, and burning to assert 
the broad doctrines which he had learned from his 
mother and her friends, in defiance of the priests 
of Amon-Ea. He was already married to a Syrian 
princess named Nefertiti, and certainly before he 
was fifteen years of age he was the father of two 

The new Pharaoh's first move, under the guid- 
ance of Tiy, was to proclaim Aton the only true 
god, and to name himself high priest of that deity. 
He then began to build a temple dedicated to 
Aton at Karnak ; but it must have been distaste- 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton, 195 

ful to observe how overshadowed and dwarfed was 
this new temple by the mighty buildings in honour 
of the older gods which stood there. Moreover, 
there must have been very serious opposition to 
the new religion in Thebes, where Amon had ruled 
for so many centuries unchallenged. In whatever 
direction he looked he was confronted with some 
evidence of the worship of Amon-Ra : he might 
proclaim Aton to be the only god, but Amon and 
a hundred other deities stared down at him from 
every temple wall. He and his advisers, therefore, 
decided to abandon Thebes altogether and to found 
a new capital elsewhere. 

Akhnaton selected a site for the new city on 
the west bank of the river, at a point now named 
El Amarna, about 160 miles above Cairo. Here 
the hills recede from the river, forming a bay 
about three miles deep and five long ; and in this 
bay the young Pharaoh decided to build his 
capital, which was named " Horizon of Aton." 
With feverish speed the new buildings were 
erected. A palace even more beautiful than that 
of his parents at Thebes was prepared for him ; 
a splendid temple dedicated to Aton was set up 
amidst a garden of rare trees and brilliant flowers ; 
villas for his nobles were erected, and streets were 
laid out. Queen Tiy, who seems to have con- 
tinued to live at Thebes, often came down to 
El Amarna to visit her son ; but it seems to 
have been at his own wish rather than at her 
advice that he now took the important step 

196 Researches in the Treasury. 

which set the seal of his rehgion upon his 

Around the bay of El Amarna, on the cliffs 
which shut it off so securely, the King caused 
landmarks to be made at intervals, and on these 
he inscribed an oath which some have interpreted 
to mean that he would never again leave his new 
city. He would remain, like the Pope in the 
Vatican, for the rest of his days within the limits 
of this bay ; and, rather than be distracted by the 
cares of state and the worries of empire, he would 
shut himself up with his god and would devote his 
life to his religion. He was but a youth still, 
and, to his inexperienced mind, this oath seemed 
nothing ; nor in his brief life does it seem that he 
broke it, though at times he must have longed 
to visit his domains. 

The religion which this boy, who now called 
himself Akhnaton, " The Glory of Aton," taught 
was by no means the simple worship of the sun. 
It was, without question, the most enlightened 
religion which the world at that time had ever 
known. The young priest-king called upon man- 
kind to worship the unknown power which is be- 
hind the sun, that power of which the brilliant 
sun was the visible symbol, and which might 
be discerned in the fertilising warmth of the sun's 
rays. Aton was originally the actual sun's disk ; 
but Akhnaton called his god " Heat which is in 
Aton," and thus drew the eyes of his followers 
towards a Force far more intangible and distant 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 197 

than the dazzling orb to which they bowed down. 
Akhnaton's god was the force which created the 
sun, the something which penetrated to this earth 
in the sun's heat and caused the vegetation to 

Amon-Ra and the gods of Egypt were for the 
most part but deified mortals, endued with mons- 
trous, though limited, power, and still having 
around them traditions of exaggerated human 
deeds. Others had their origin in natural pheno- 
mena — the wind, the Nile, the sky, and so on. 
All were terrific, revengeful, and able to be 
moved by human emotions. But Akhnaton's god 
was the intangible and yet ever-present Father 
of mankind, made manifest in sunshine. The 
youthful High Priest called upon his followers 
to search for their god not in the confusion of 
battle or behind the smoke of human sacrifices, 
but amidst the flowers and trees, amidst the 
wild duck and the fishes. He preached an en- 
lightened nature - study ; he was perhaps the 
first apostle of the Simple Life. He strove to 
break down conventional religion, and ceaselessly 
urged his people to worship in Truth, simply, 
without an excess of ceremonial. While the 
elder gods had been manifest in natural convul- 
sions and in the more awful incidents of life, 
Akhnaton's kindly god could be seen in the chick 
which broke out of its egg, in the wind which 
filled the sails of the ships, in the fish which 
leapt from the water. Aton was the joy which 

198 Researches in the Treasury. 

caused the young sheep " to dance upon their 
feet," and the birds to "flutter in their marshes." 
He was the god of the simple pleasures of life, 
and Truth was the watchword of his followers. 

It may be understood how the boy longed for 
truth in all things when one remembers the 
thousand exaggerated conventions of Egyptian 
life at this time. Court etiquette had developed 
to a degree which rendered life to the Pharaoh 
an endless round of unnatural poses of mind a/id 
body. In the preaching of his doctrine of truth 
and simplicity, Akhnaton did not fail to call 
upon his subjects to regard their Pharaoh not 
as a god but as a man. It was usual for the 
Pharaoh to keep aloof from his people : Akh- 
naton was to be found in their midst. The 
Court demanded that their lord should drive in 
solitary state through the city : Akhnaton sat 
in his chariot with his wife and children, and 
allowed the artist to represent him joking with 
his little daughter, who has mischievously poked 
the horses with a stick. In representing the 
Pharaoh, the artist was expected to draw him 
in some conventional attitude of dignity : Akh- 
naton insisted upon being shown in all manner 
of natural attitudes — now leaning languidly upon 
a staff, now nursing his children, and now caress- 
ing his wife. 

As has been said, one of the first artists to break 
away from the ancient conventions was in the 
service of Queen Tiy, and was probably under her 
influence. But in the radical change in the art 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 199 

which took place, Akhnaton is definitely stated 
to have been the leader, and the new school 
acknowledge that they were taught by the King. 
The new art is extraordinary, and it must be 
owned that its merit lies rather in its originality 
than in its beauty. An attempt is made to do 
away with the prescribed attitudes and the strict 
proportions, and to portray any one individual 
with his natural defects. Some of the sculptured 
heads, however, which have come down to us, and 
notably the four "canopic" heads found in this 
tomb, are of wonderful beauty, and have no trace 
of traditional mannerisms, though they are highly 
idealised. The King's desire for light-heartedness 
led him to encourage the use of bright colours and 
gay decorations in the palace. Some of the ceiling 
and pavement paintings are of great beauty, while 
the walls and pillars inlaid with coloured stones 
must have given a brilliancy to the halls un- 
equalled in Egypt at any previous time. 

The group of nobles who formed the King's 
Court had all sacrificed much in coming to the 
new capital. Their estates around Thebes had 
been left, their houses abandoned, and the tombs 
which were in process of being made for them 
in the Theban hills had been rendered useless. 
The King, therefore, showered favours upon 
them, and at his expense built their houses and 
constructed sepulchres for them. It is on the 
walls of these tombs that one obtains the main 
portion of one's information regarding the teach- 
ings of this w^onderful youth, who was now 

200 Researches in the Treasury. 

growing into manhood. Here are inscribed those 
beautiful hymns to Aton which rank so high in 
ancient literature. It is unfortunate that space 
does not allow more than a few extracts from 
the hymns to be quoted here ; but something of 
their beauty may be realised from these. (Pro- 
fessor Breasted's translation.) 

" Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven, 
living Aton, Beginning of life ! 
When thou risest in the eastern horizon of heaven 
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty." 

" Though thou art afar, thy rays are on earth ; 
Though thou art on high, thy footprints are the day." 

" When thou settest in the western horizon of heaven 
The world is in darkness like the dead. 
Men sleep in their chambers, their heads are wrapt up. 
Every lion cometh forth from his den. 
The serpents, they sting. 
Darkness reigns, the world is in silence : 
He that made them has gone to rest in his horizon." 

" Bright is the earth when thou risest in the horizon . . . 
When thou sendest forth thy rays 
The two lands of Egypt are in daily festivity. 
Awake and standing upon their feet. 
For thou hast raised them up. 
Their limbs bathed, they take their clothing, 
Their arms uplifted in adoration to thy dawning. 
Then in all the world they do their work." 

" All cattle rest upon their herbage, all trees and plants flourish. 
The birds flutter in their marshes, their wings uplifted in 

adoration to thee. 
All the sheep dance upon their feet. 
All winged things fly ; they live when thou hast shone upon 


The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 201 

" The barques sail up-stream and down-stream alike, . . . 
The fish in the river leap up before thee, 
And thy rays are in the midst of the great sea." 

" Thou art he who Greatest the man-child in woman . . . 
"Who giveth life to the son in the body of his mother ; 
Who soothest him that he may not weep, 
A nurse even in the womb." 

" When the chick crieth in the egg-shell, 
Thou givest liim breath therein to preserve him alive . . . 
He Cometh forth from the egg, to chirp with all his might. 
He runneth about upon his two feet." 

" How manifold are all thy works ! 
They are hidden from before us." 

There are several verses of this hymn which are 
almost identical with Psalm civ., and those who 
study it closely will be forced to one of two con- 
clusions : either that Psalm civ. is derived from 
this hymn of the young Pharaoh, or that both are 
derived from some early Syrian hymn to the sun. 
Akhnaton may have only adapted this early psalm 
to local conditions ; though, on the other hand, a 
man capable of bringing to pass so great a reli- 
gious revolution in Egypt may well be credited 
with the authorship of this splendid song. There 
is no evidence to show that it was written before 
the King had reached manhood. 

Queen Tiy probably did not now take any fur- 
ther part in a movement which had got so far out 
of her hands. She was now nearly sixty years 
old, and this, to one who had been a mother so 
early in life, was a considerable age. It seems 
that she sometimes paid visits to her son at El 

202 Researches in the Treasury. 

Amarna, but her interest lay in Thebes, where she 
had once held so brilliant a Court. When at last 
she died, therefore, it is not surprising to find 
that she was buried in the Valley of the Tombs 
of the Kings. The tomb which has been de- 
scribed above is most probably her original 
sepulchre, and here her body was placed in the 
golden shrine made for her by Akhnaton, sur- 
rounded by the usual funeral furniture. She thus 
lay no more than a stone's throw from her parents, 
whose tomb was discovered two years ago, and 
which was of very similar size and shape. 

After her death, although preaching this gentle 
creed of love and simple truth, Akhnaton waged 
a bitter and stern war against the priesthoods of 
the old gods. It may be that the priesthoods of 
Amon had again attempted to overthrow the new 
doctrines, or had in some manner called down the 
particular wrath of the Pharaoh. He issued an 
order that the name of Amon was to be erased 
and obliterated wherever it was found, and his 
agents proceeded to hack it out on all the temple 
walls. The names also of other gods were erased ; 
and it is noticeable in this tomb that the word 
mut, meaning " mother," was carefully spelt in 
hieroglyphs which would have no similarity to 
those used in the word Mut, the goddess-consort 
of Amon. The name of Amenhotep III., his own 
father, did not escape the King's wrath, and the 
first syllables were everywhere erased. 

As the years went by Akhnaton seems to have 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 203 

given himself more and more completely to his 
new religion. He had now so trained one of his 
nobles, named Merira, in the teachings of Aton 
that he was able to hand over to him the high 
priesthood of that god, and to turn his attention 
to the many other duties which he had imposed 
upon himself. In rewarding Merira, the King is 
related to have said, " Hang gold at his neck 
before and behind, and gold on his legs, because 
of his hearing the teaching of Pharaoh concerning 
every saying in these beautiful places." Another 
official whom Akhnaton greatly advanced says : 
" My lord advanced me because I have carried out 
his teaching, and I hear his word without ceas- 
ing." The King's doctrines were thus beginning 
to take hold ; but one feels, nevertheless, that the 
nobles followed their King rather for the sake of 
their material gains than for the spiritual comforts 
of the A ton- worship. There is reason to suppose 
that at least one of these nobles was degraded and 
banished from the city. 

But w^hile Akhnaton was preaching peace and 
goodwill amidst the flowers of the temple of Aton, 
his generals in Asia Minor were vainly struggling 
to hold together the great empire created by 
Thutmosis III. Akhnaton had caused a temple 
of Aton to be erected at one point in Syria at 
least, but in other respects he took little or no 
interest in the welfare of his foreign dominions. 
War was not tolerated in his doctrine : it was a 
sin to take away life which the good Father had 

204 Researches in the Treasury. 

given. One pictures the hardened soldiers of the 
empire striving desperately to hold the nations of 
Asia faithful to the Pharaoh whom they never 
saw. The small garrisons were scattered far and 
wide over Syria, and constantly they sent messen- 
gers to the Pharaoh asking at least for some sign 
that he held them in mind. 

There is no more pathetic page of ancient his- 
tory than that which tells of the fall of the Egyp- 
tian Empire. The Amorites, advancing along the 
sea-coast, took city after city from the Egyptians 
almost without a struggle. The chiefs of Tunip 
wrote an appeal for help to the King: "To the 
King of Egypt, my lord, — The inhabitants of 
Tunip, thy servant." The plight of the city is 
described and reinforcements are asked for. 
" And now," it continues, " Tunip thy city 
weeps, and her tears are flowing, and there is 
no help for us. For twenty years we have been 
sending to our lord the King, the King of Egypt, 
but there has not come a word to us, no, not one." 
The messengers of the beleaguered city must have 
found the King absorbed in his religion, and must 
have seen only priests of the sun where they had 
hoped to find the soldiers of former days. The 
Egyptian governor of Jerusalem, attacked by 
Aramaeans, writes to the Pharaoh, saying : " Let 
the King take care of his land, and ... let him 
send troops. . . . For if no troops come in this 
year, the whole territory of my lord the King will 
perish." To this letter is added a note to the 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 205 

King's secretary, which reads, " Bring these words 
plainly before my lord the King : the whole land 
of mv lord the Kins: is o^oing- to ruin." 

So city after city fell, and the empire, won at 
such cost, was gradually lost to the Egyptians. 
It is probable that Akhnaton had not realised how 
serious was the situation in Asia Minor. A few 
of the chieftains who were not actually in arms 
against him had written to him every now and 
then assuring him that all was well in his do- 
minions ; and, strange to relate, the tribute of 
many of the cities had been regularly paid. The 
Asiatic princes, in fact, had completely fooled the 
Pharaoh, and had led him to believe that the 
nations were loyal while they themselves prepared 
for rebellion. Akhnaton, hating violence, had 
been only too ready to believe that the de- 
spatches from Tunip and elsewhere were un- 
justifiably pessimistic. He had hoped to bind 
together the many countries under his rule, by 
giving them a single religion. He had hoped that 
when Aton should be worshipped in all parts of 
his empire, and when his simple doctrines of love, 
truth, and peace should be preached from every 
temple throughout the length and breadth of his 
dominions, then war would cease and a unitv of 
faith would hold the lands in harmony one with 
the other. 

When, therefore, the tribute suddenly ceased, 
and the few refuo-ees came staofa-ering- home to 
tell of the perfidy of the Asiatic princes and the 

2o6 Researches in the Treasury. 

fall of the empire, Akhnaton seems to have 
received his deathblow. He was now not more 
than twenty-eight years of age ; and though his 
portraits show that his face was already lined 
with care, and that his body was thinner than 
it should have been, he seems to have had plenty 
of reserve strength. He was the father of several 
daughters, but his queen had borne him no son 
to succeed him ; and thus he must have felt that 
his religion could not outlive him. With his 
empire lost, with Thebes his enemy, and with 
his treasury wellnigh empty, one feels that 
Akhnaton must have sunk to the very depths 
of despondency. His religious revolution had 
ruined Egypt, and had failed : did he, one 
wonders, find consolation in the sunshine and 
amidst the flowers ? 

His death followed speedily ; and, resting in 
the splendid coffin in which we found him, he 
was laid in the tomb prepared for him in the 
hills behind his new capital. The throne fell to 
the husband of one of his daughters, Smenkhkara, 
who, after an ephemeral reign, gave place to 
another of the sons-in-law of Akhnaton, named 
Tutankhaton. This king was speedily persuaded 
to change his name to Tutankhamon, to abandon 
the worship of Aton, and to return to Thebes. 
Akhnaton's city fell into ruins, and soon the 
temples and palaces had become the haunt of 
jackals and the home of owls. The nobles 
returned with their new king to Thebes, and 

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Pl. XX. 

The Tomb of Tiy and Akhnaton. 207 

not one remained faithful to those " teachinirs " 
to which they had once pretended to be such 
earnest Hsteners. 

The fact that the body in the new tomb was 
that of Akhnaton, and not of Queen Tiy, g-ives 
a new reading to the history of the burial. When 
Tutankhamon returned to Thebes, Akhnaton's 
memory was still, it appears, regarded with 
reverence, and it seems that there was no ques- 
tion of leaving his body in the neighbourhood 
of his deserted palace, where, until the discovery 
of this tomb, Egyptologists had expected to find 
it. It was carried to Thebes, together with some 
of the funeral furniture, and was placed in the 
tomb of Queen Tiy, which had been reopened 
for the purpose. But after some years had 
passed and the priesthood of Amon - Ra had 
again asserted itself, Akhnaton began to be 
regarded as a heretic and as the cause of the 
loss of Egypt's Asiatic dominions. These senti- 
ments were vigorously encouraged by the priest- 
hood, and soon Akhnaton came to be spoken of 
as "that criminal," and his name was obliterated 
from his monuments. It was now felt that his 
body could no longer lie in state together with 
that of Queen Tiy in the Valley of the Tombs 
of the Kings. The sepulchre was therefore opened 
once more, and the name Akhnaton was every- 
where erased from the inscriptions. The tomb, 
polluted by the presence of the heretic, was no 
longer fit for Tiy, and the body of the Queen 

2o8 Researches in the Treasury. 

was therefore carried elsewhere, perhaps to the 
tomb of her husband Amenhotep III. The shrine 
in which her mummy had lain was pulled to 
pieces and an attempt was made to carry it out 
of the tomb ; but this arduous task was presently 
abandoned, and one portion of the shrine was left 
in the passage, where we found it. The body of 
Akhnaton, his name erased, was now the sole 
occupant of the tomb. The entrance was blocked 
with stones, and sealed with the seal of Tutan- 
khamon, a fragment of which was found ; and 
it was in this condition that it was discovered 
in 1907. 

The bones of this extraordinary Pharaoh are 
in the Cairo Museum ; but, in deference to the 
sentiments of many worthy persons, they are 
not exhibited. The visitor to that museum, 
however, may now see the "canopic" jars, the 
alabaster vases, the gold vulture, the gold neck- 
lace, the sheets of gold in which the body was 
wrapped, the toilet utensils, and parts of the 
shrine, all of which we found in the burial- 




In the last chapter a discovery was recorded 
which, as experience has shown, is of consider- 
able interest to the general reader. The romance 
and the tragedy of the life of Akhnaton form a 
really valuable addition to the store of good things 
which is our possession, and which the archaeologist 
so diligently labours to increase. Curiously enough, 
another discovery, that of the tomb of Horemheb, 
was made by the same explorer (Mr Davis) in 
1908 ; and as it forms the natural sequel to the 
previous chapter, I may be permitted to record 
it here. 

Akhnaton was succeeded by Smenkhkara, his 
son-in-law, who, after a brief reign, gave place 
to Tutankhamon, during whose short life the court 
returned to Thebes. A certain noble named Ay 
came next to the throne, but held it for only 
three years. The country was now in a chaotic 
condition, and was utterly upset and disorganised 
by the revolution of Akhnaton, and by the vacil- 
lating policy of the three weak kings who suc- 


2IO Researches in the Treasury. 

ceeded him, each reigning for so short a time. 
One cannot say to what depths of degradation 
Egypt might have sunk had it not been for the 
timely appearance of Horemheb, a wise and good 
ruler, who, though but a soldier of not particularly 
exalted birth, managed to raise himself to the 
vacant throne, and succeeded in so organising the 
country once more that his successors, Rameses I., 
Sety I., and Rameses II., were able to regain most 
of the lost dominions, and to place Egypt at the 
head of the nations of the world. 

Horemheb, " The Hawk in Festival," was born 
at Alabastronpolis, a city of the 18th Province of 
Upper Egypt, during the reign of Amenhotep III., 
who has rightly been named " The Magnificent," 
and in whose reign Egypt was at once the most 
powerful, the most wealthy, and the most luxurious 
country in the world. There is reason to suppose 
that Horemheb's family were of noble birth, and 
it is thought by some that an inscription which 
calls King Thutmosis III. " the father of his 
fathers" is to be taken literally to mean that 
that old warrior was his great- or great -great- 
grandfather. The young noble was probably 
educated at the splendid court of Amenhotep 
III., where the wit and intellect of the world 
was congregated, and where, under the presi- 
dency of the beautiful Queen Tiy, life slipped 
by in a round of revels. 

As an impressionable young man, Horemheb 
must have watched the gradual development of 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 2ti 

freethought in the palace, and the ever-increas- 
ing irritation and chafing against the bonds of 
relisfious convention which bound all Thebans to 
the worship of the god Amon. Judging by his 
future actions, Horemheb did not himself feel 
any real repulsion to Amon, though the religious 
rut into which the country had fallen was suffi- 
ciently objectionable to a man of his intellect to 
cause him to cast in his lot with the movement 
towards emancipation. In later life he would 
certainly have been against the movement, for 
his mature judgment led him always to be on 
the side of ordered habit and custom as being 
less danoerous to the national welfare than a 
social upheaval or change. 

Horemheb seems now to have held the appoint- 
ment of captain or commander in the army, and 
at the same time, as a " Royal Scribe," he cul- 
tivated the art of letters, and perhaps made 
himself acquainted with those legal matters 
which in later years he was destined to reform. 

When Amenhotep III. died, the new king, 
Akhnaton, carried out the revolution which had 
been pending for many years, and absolutely 
banned the worship of Amon, with all that it 
involved. He built himself a new capital at El 
Amarna, and there he instituted the worship of 
the sun, or rather of the heat or power of the 
sun, under the name of Aton. In so far as the 
revolution constituted a breaking away from tire- 
some convention, the young Horemheb seems to 

212 Researches in the Treasury. 

have been with the King. No one of intelUgence 
could deny that the new rehgion and new phil- 
osophy which was preached at El Amarna was 
more worthy of consideration on general lines 
than was the narrow doctrine of the Amon 
priesthood ; and all thinkers must have rejoiced 
at the freedom from bonds which had become 
intolerable. But the world was not ready, and 
indeed is still not ready, for the schemes which 
Akhnaton propounded; and the unpractical model- 
kingdom which was uncertainly developing under 
the hills of El Amarna must have already been 
seen to contain the elements of grave danger to 
the State. 

Nevertheless the revolution oifered many at- 
tractions. The frivolous members of the court, 
always ready for change and excitement, welcomed 
with enthusiasm the doctrine of the moral and 
simple life which the King and his advisers 
preached, just as in the decadent days before the 
French Revolution the court, bored with licenti- 
ousness, gaily welcomed the morality-painting of 
the young Greuze. And to the more serious- 
minded, such as Horemheb seems to have been, 
the movement must have appealed in its imperial 
aspect. The new god Aton was largely worshipped 
in Syria, and it seems evident that Akhnaton 
had hoped to bind together the heterogeneous 
nations of the empire by a bond of common wor- 
ship. The Asiatics were not disposed to worship 
Amon, but Aton appealed to them as much as 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 213 

any god, and Horemheb must have seen great 
possibihties in a common rehgion. 

It is thought that Horemheb may be identified 
amongst the nobles who followed Akhnaton to 
El Amarna, and though this is not certain, there 
is little doubt that he was in high favour with 
the King at the time. To one whose tendency 
is neither towards frivolity nor towards fanaticism, 
there can be nothing more broadening than the 
influence of reliofious chansfes. More than one 
point of view is appreciated : a man learns that 
there are other ruts than that in which he runs, and 
so he seeks the smooth midway. Thus Horemheb, 
while acting loyally towards his King, and while 
appreciating the value of the new movement, did 
not exclude from his thoughts those teachings 
which he deemed good in the old order of things. 
He seems to have seen life broadly ; and when 
the new religion of Akhnaton became narrowed 
and fanatical, as it did towards the close of the 
tragic chapter of that king's short life, Horemheb 
was one of the few men who kept an open mind. 

Like many other nobles of the period, he had 
constructed for himself a tomb at Sakkara, in the 
shadow of the pyramids of the old kings of Egypt ; 
and fragments of this tomb, which of course was 
abandoned when he became Pharaoh, are now to 
be seen in various museums. In one of the scenes 
there sculptured Horemheb is shown in the 
presence of a king who is almost certainly 
Akhnaton ; and yet in a speech to him inscribed 

214 Researches in the Treasury. 

above the rehefs, Horemheb makes reference to 
the god Amon whose very name was anathema to 
the King. The royal figure is drawn according to 
the canons of art prescribed by Akhnaton, and 
upon which, as a protest against the conventional 
art of the old order, he laid the greatest stress 
in his revolution ; and thus, at all events, 
Horemheb was in sympathy with this aspect of 
the movement. But the inscriptions which refer to 
Amon, and yet are impregnated with the Aton 
style of expression, show that Horemheb was 
not to be held down to any one mode of thought. 
Akhnaton was, perhaps, already dead when these 
inscriptions were added, and thus Horemheb may 
have had no further reason to hide his views ; or 
it may be that they constituted a protest against 
that narrowness which marred the last years of a 
pious king. 

Those who read the history of the period in the 
last chapter will remember how Akhnaton came 
to persecute the worshippers of Amon, and how 
he erased that god's name wherever it was written 
throughout the length and breadth of Egypt. 
Evidently wdth this action Horemheb did not 
agree ; nor was this his only cause for complaint. 
As an officer, and now a highly placed general, 
of the army, he must have seen with feelings of 
the utmost bitterness the neglected condition of 
the Syrian provinces. Revolt after revolt occurred 
in these states ; but Akhnaton, dreaming and 
praying in the sunshine of El Amarna, ^vould 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 215 

send no expedition to punish the rebels. Good- 
fellowship with all men was the King's watch- 
word, and a policy more or less democratic did 
not permit him to make war on his fellow-creatures. 
Horemheb could smell battle in the distance, but 
could not taste of it. The battalions which he 
had trained were kept useless in Egypt ; and even 
when, during the last years of Akhnaton's reign, 
or under his successor Smenkhkara, he was made 
commander - in - chief of all the forces, there was 
no means of using his power to check the loss 
of the cities of Asia. Horemheb must have 
watched these cities fall one by one into the 
hands of those who preached the doctrine of the 
sword, and there can be little wonder that he 
turned in disgust from the doings at El Amarna. 
During the times which followed, when Smenkh- 
kara held the throne for a year or so, and after- 
wards, when Tutankhamon became Pharaoh, 
Horemheb seems to have been the leader of the 
reactionary movement. He did not concern him- 
self so much with the religious aspect of the 
questions : there was as much to be said on behalf 
of Aton as there was on behalf of Amon. But it 
was he who knocked at the doors of the heart 
of Egypt, and urged the nation to awake to the 
danger in the East. An expedition against the 
rebels was organised, and one reads that Horemheb 
was the " companion of his Lord upon the battle- 
field on that day of the slaying of the Asiatics." 
Akhnaton had been opposed to warfare, and had 

2i6 Researches in the Treasury. 

dreamed that dream of universal peace which still 
is a far-off light to mankind. Horemheb was a 
practical man in whom such a dream would have 
been but weakness ; and, though one knows 
nothing more of these early campaigns, the fact 
that he attempted to chastise the enemies of the 
empire at this juncture stands to his credit for 
all time. 

Under Tutankhamon the court returned to 
Thebes, though not yet exclusively to the worship 
of Amon ; and the political phase of the revolution 
came to an end. The country once more settled 
into the old order of life, and Horemheb, having 
experienced the full dangers of philosophic specula- 
tion, was glad enough to abandon thought for 
action. He was now the most powerful man in the 
kingdom, and inscriptions call him " the greatest 
of the great, the mightiest of the mighty, presider 
over the Two Lands of Egypt, general of generals," 
and so on. The King " appointed him to be Chief 
of the Land, to administer the laws of the land 
as Hereditary Prince of all this land"; and "all 
that was done was done by his command." From 
chaos Horemheb was producing order, and all 
men turned to him in gratitude as he reorgan- 
ised the various government departments. 

The offices which he held, such as Privy 
Councillor, King's Secretary, Great Lord of the 
People, and so on, are very numerous ; and in 
all of these he dealt justly though sternly, so 
that "when he came the fear of him was great 

» « • 

■ r • « 

I* • •.• 

[/'//<'?i> .r /:.,,:c>. 

Head of a granite statue of the god Khoiisu, probably dating- from about 
the period of Horemheb. — Cairo Mlseum. 

I'L. XXI. 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 217 

in the sight of the people, prosperity and health 
were craved for him, and he was greeted as 
' Father of the Two Lands of Egypt.' " He was 
indeed the saviour and father of his country, for 
he had found her corrupt and disordered, and he 
was leading her back to greatness and dignity. 

At this time he was probably a man of about 
forty years of age. In appearance he seems to 
have been noble and good to look upon. " When 
he was born," says the inscription, " he was clothed 
with strength : the hue of a god was upon him " ; 
and in later life, " the form of a god was in his 
colour," whatever that may mean. He was a man 
of considerable eloquence and great learning. " He 
astonished the people by that which came out of 
his mouth," we are told ; and "when he was sum- 
moned before the King the palace began to fear." 
One may picture the weak Pharaoh and his cor- 
rupt court, as they watched with apprehension the 
movements of this stern soldier, of whom it was 
said that his every thought was " in the footsteps 
of the Ibis," — the ibis being the god of wisdom. 

On the death of Tutankhamon, the question of 
inviting Horemheb to fill the vacant throne must 
have been seriously considered ; but there was 
another candidate, a certain Ay, who had been 
one of the most important nobles in the group of 
Akhnaton's favourites at El Amarna, and who had 
been the loudest in the praises of Aton. Religious 
feeling was at the time running high, for the par- 
tizans of Amon and those of Aton seem to have 

2i8 Researches in the Treasury. 

been waging war on one another ; and Ay appears 
to have been regarded as the man most Hkely to 
bridge the gulf between the two parties. A favour- 
ite of Akhnaton, and once a devout worshipper of 
Aton, he was not averse to the cults of other 
gods ; and by conciliating both factions he man- 
aged to obtain the throne for himself. His power, 
however, did not last for long ; and as the priests 
of Amon regained the confidence of the nation at 
the expense of those of Aton, so the power of Ay 
declined. His past connections with Akhnaton 
told against him, and after a year or so he dis- 
appeared, leaving the throne vacant once more. 

There was now no question as to who should 
succeed. A princess named Mutnezem, the sister 
of Akhnaton's queen, and probably an old friend of 
Horemheb, was the sole heiress to the throne, the 
last surviving member of the greatest Egyptian 
dynasty. All men turned to Horemheb in the 
hope that he would marry this lady, and thus 
reign as Pharaoh over them, perhaps leaving a 
son by her to succeed him when he was gathered 
to his fathers. He was now some forty-five years 
of age, full of energy and vigour, and passionately 
anxious to have a free hand in the carrying out of 
his schemes for the reorganisation of the govern- 
ment. It was therefore with joy that, in about 
the year 1350 B.C., he sailed up to Thebes in order 
to claim the crown. 

He arrived at Luxor at a time when the annual 
festival of Amon was being celebrated, and all the 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 219 

city was en fete. The statue of the god had been 
taken from its shrine at Karnak, and had been 
towed up the river to Luxor in a gorgeous barge, 
attended by a fleet of gaily -decorated vessels. 
With songs and dancing it had been conveyed 
into the Luxor temple, where the priests had 
received it standing amidst piled- up masses of 
flowers, fruit, and other offerings. It seems to 
have been at this moment that Horemheb ap- 
peared, while the clouds of incense streamed up 
to heaven, and the morning air was full of the 
sound of the harps and the lutes. Surrounded by 
a crowd of his admirers, he was conveyed into the 
presence of the divine figure, and was there and 
then hailed as Pharaoh. 

From the temple he was carried amidst cheering 
throngs to the palace which stood near by ; and 
there he was greeted by the Princess Mutnezem, 
who fell on her knees before him and embraced 
him. That very day, it would seem, he v^^as 
married to her, and in the evening the royal 
heralds published the style and titles by which 
he would be known in the future : "Mighty Bull, 
Heady in Plans ; Favourite of the Two Goddesses, 
Great in Marvels ; Golden Hawk, Satisfied with 
Truth ; Creator of the Two Lands," and so forth. 
Then, crowned with the royal helmet, he was led 
once more before the statue of Anion, w^hile the 
priests pronounced the blessing of the gods upon 
him. Passing down to the quay before the temple 
the figure of the_'god was placed once more upon the 

220 Researches in the Treasury. 

state-barge, and was floated down to Karnak; while 
Horemheb was led through the rejoicing crowds 
back to the palace to begin his reign as Pharaoh. 

In religious matters Horemheb at once adopted 
a strong attitude of friendship towards the Amon 
party which represented the old order of things. 
There is evidence to show that Aton was in no 
way persecuted ; yet one by one his shrines were 
abandoned, and the neglected temples of Amon 
and the elder gods once more rang with the hymns 
of praise. Inscriptions tell us that the King "re- 
stored the temples from the marshes of the Delta 
to Nubia. He fashioned a hundred images with all 
their bodies correct, and with all splendid costly 
stones. He established for them daily offerings 
every day. All the vessels of their temples were 
wrought of silver and gold. He equipped them 
with priests and with ritual-priests, and with the 
choicest of the army. He transferred to them 
lands and cattle, supplied with all equipment." 
By these gifts to the neglected gods, Horemheb 
was striving to bring Egypt back to its normal 
condition, and in no way was he prejudiced by 
any particular devotion to Amon. 

A certain Patonemheb, who had been one of 
Akhnaton's favourites in the days of the revolu- 
tion, v/as appointed High Priest of Ra — the older 
Egyptian form of Aton who was at this time 
identified with that god — at the temple of Helio- 
polis ; and this can only be regarded as an act of 
friendship to the Aton-worshippers. The echoing 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 221 

and deserted temples of Aton in Thebes, and El 
Amarna, however, were now pulled down, and the 
blocks were used for the enlarging of the temple 
of Amon, — a fact which indicates that their ori- 
ginal dedication to Aton had not caused them to 
be accursed. 

The process of restoration was so gradual that 
it could not have much disturbed the country. 
Horemheb's hand was firm but soothing" in these 
matters, and the revolution seems to have been 
killed as much by kindness as by force. It was 
probably not till quite the end of his reign that he 
showed any tendency to revile the memory of 
Akhnaton ; and the high feeling which at length 
brought the revolutionary king the name of " that 
criminal of El Amarna " did not rise till half 
a century later. The difficulties experienced by 
Horemheb in steering his course between Amon 
and Aton, in quietly restoring the old equilibrium 
without in any way persecuting those who by 
religious convictions were Aton-worshippers, must 
have been immense ; and one cannot but feel that 
the King must have been a diplomatist of the 
highest standing. His unaffected simplicity won 
all hearts to him ; his toleration and broadness 
of mind brought all thoughtful men to his train ; 
and his strong will led them and guided them 
from chaos to order, from fantastic Utopia to the 
solid old Egypt of the past. Horemheb was the 
preacher of Sanity, the apostle of the Normal, and 
Order was his watchword. 

222 Researches in the Treasury. 

The inscriptions tell us that it was his custom 
to give public audiences to his subjects, and there 
was not a man amongst those persons whom he 
interviewed whose name he did not know, nor one 
who did not leave his presence rejoicing. Up and 
down the Nile he sailed a hundred times, until he 
was able truly to say, " I have improved this entire 
land ; I have learned its whole interior ; I have 
travelled it entirely in its midst." We are told 
that " his Majesty took counsel with his heart how 
he might expel evil and suppress lying. The plans 
of his Majesty were an excellent refuge, repelling 
violence and delivering the Egyptians from the 
oppressions which were around them. Behold, his 
Majesty spent the whole time seeking the welfare 
of Egypt, and searching out instances of oppression 
in the land." 

It is Interesting, by the way, to note that in 
his eighth year the King restored the tomb of 
Thutmosis IV., which had been robbed during 
the revolution ; and the inscription which the 
inspectors left behind them was found on the wall 
when Mr Theodore Davis discovered the tomb a 
few years ago. The plundering of the royal tombs 
is a typical instance of the lawlessness of the times. 
The corruption, too, which followed on the dis- 
order was appalling ; and wherever the King went 
he was confronted by deceit, embezzlement, bribery, 
extortion, and official tyranny. Every Govern- 
ment officer was attempting to obtain money from 
his subordinates by illegal means ; and bakshish — 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 223 

that bogie of the Nile Valley — cast its shadow 
upon all men. 

Horemheb stood this as long as he could ; but 
at last, regarding justice as more necessary than 
tact, we are told that " his Majesty seized a 
writing - palette and scroll, and put into writino- 
all that his Majesty the King had said to him- 
self." It is not possible to record here more than 
a few of the good laws which he then made, but 
the following examples will serve to show how 
near to his heart were the interests of his 

It was the custom for the tax - collectors to 
place that portion of a farmer's harvest, which 
they had taken, upon the farmer's own boat, in 
order to convey it to the public granary. These 
boats often failed to be returned to their owners 
when finished with, and were ultimately sold by 
the officials for their own profit. Horemheb, 
therefore, made the following law : — 

" If the poor man has made for himself a boat with its 
sail, and, in order to serve the State, has loaded it with 
the Government dues, and has been robbed of the boat, the 
poor man stands bereft of his property and stripped of his 
many labours. This is wrong, and the Pharaoh will sup- 
press it by his excellent measures. If there be a poor man 
who pays the taxes to the two deputies, and he be robbed 
of his property and his boat, my majesty commands : that 
every officer who collects the taxes and takes the boat of 
any citizen, this law shall be executed against him, and 
his nose shall be cut off; and he shall be sent in exile to 
Tharu. Furthermore, concerning the tax of timber, my 

224 Researches in the Treasury. 

majesty commands that if any officer find a poor man 
without a boat, then he shall bring him a craft belonging 
to another man in which to carry the timber; and in 
return for this let the former man do the loading of the 
timber for the latter." 

The tax - collectors were wont to commandeer 
the services of all the slaves in the town, and to 
detain them for six or seven days, " so that it 
was an excessive detention indeed." Often, too, 
they used to appropriate a portion of the tax 
for themselves. The new law, therefore, was as 
follows : — 

" If there be any place where the officials are tax-collect- 
ing, and any one shall hear the report saying that they are 
tax - collecting to take the produce for themselves, and 
another shall come to report saying, ' My man slave or my 
female slave has been taken away and detained many days 
at work by the officials,' the offender's nose shall be cut off, 
and he shall be sent to Tharu." 

One more law may here be quoted. The police 
used often to steal the hides which the peasants 
had collected to hand over to the Government 
as their tax. Horemheb, having satisfied him- 
self that a tale of this kind was not merely an 
excuse for not paying the tax, made this law : — 

■' As for any policeman concerning whom one shall hear 
it said that he goes about stealing hides, beginning with 
this day the law shall be executed against him, by beating 
him a hundred blows, opening five wounds, and taking 
from him by force the hides which he took." 

To carry out these laws he appointed two chief 


The Tomb of Horemheb. 225 

judo-es of very high standing, who are said to 
have been " perfect in speech, excellent in good 
qualities, knowing how to judge the heart." Of 
these men the Kino^ writes : "I have directed 
them to the way of life, I have led them to the 
truth, I have taught them, saying, ' Do not receive 
the reward of another. How, then, shall those 
like you judge others, while there is one among 
you committing a crime against justice?'" Under 
these two officials Horemheb appointed many 
judges, who went on circuit around the country ; 
and the King took the wise step of arranging, 
on the one hand, that their pay should be so 
good that they would not be tempted to take 
bribes, and, on the other hand, that the penalty 
for this crime should be most severe. 

So many were the King's reforms that one is 
inclined to forget that he was primarily a soldier. 
He appears to have made some successful expedi- 
tions against the Syrians, but the fighting was 
probably near his own frontiers, for the empire 
lost by Akhnaton was not recovered for many 
years, and Horemheb seems to have felt that 
Egypt needed to learn to rule herself before she 
attempted to rule other nations. An expedition 
against some tribes in the Sudan was successfully 
carried through, and it is said that " his name 
was mighty in the land of Kush, his battle-cry 
was in their dwelling-places." Except for a semi- 
military expedition which was dispatched to the 
land of Punt, these are the only recorded foreign 


226 Researches in the Treasury. 

activities of the King; but that he had spent 
much time in the organisation and improvement 
of the army is shown by the fact that three 
years after his death the Egyptian soldiers were 
swarming over the Lebanon and hammering at 
the doors of the cities of Jezreel. 

Had he hved for another few years he might 
have been famous as a conqueror as well as an 
administrator, though old age might retard and 
tired bones refuse their office. As it is, however, 
his name is written sufficiently large in the book 
of the world's great men ; and when he died, 
about B.C. 1315, after a reign of some thirty- 
five years, he had done more for Egypt than 
had almost any other Pharaoh. He found the 
country in the wildest disorder, and he left it 
the master of itself, and ready to become once 
more the master of the empire which Akhnaton's 
doctrine of Peace and Goodwill had lost. Under 
his direction the purged worship of the old gods, 
which for him meant but the maintenance of some 
time-proved customs, had gained the mastery over 
the chimerical worship of Aton ; without force or 
violence he had substituted the practical for the 
visionary ; and to Amon and Order his grateful 
subjects were able to cry, " The sun of him who 
knew thee not has set, but he who knows thee 
shines ; the sanctuary of him who assailed thee 
is overwhelmed in darkness, but the whole earth 
is now in light." 

The tomb of this great Pharaoh was cut in the 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 227 

rocks on the west side of the Valley of the Tombs 
of the Kings, not far from the resting - place of 
Amenhotep 11. In the days of the later Ramesside 
kings the tomb-plunderers entered the sepulchre, 
pulled the embalmed body of the king to pieces 
in the search for hidden jewels, scattered the bones 
of the three members of his family who were buried 
with him, and stole almost everything of value 
v\^hich they found. There must have been other 
robberies after this, and finally the Government 
inspectors of about B.C. 1100 entered the tomb, 
and, seeing its condition, closed its mouth with 
a compact mass of stones. The torrents of rain 
which sometimes fall in winter in Egypt percolated 
through this filling, and left it congealed and difii- 
cult to cut through ; and on the top of this hard 
mass tons of rubbish were tossed from other ex- 
cavations, thus completely hiding the entrance. 

In this condition the tomb was found by Mr 
Davis in February 1908. Mr Davis had been 
working on the side of the valley opposite to 
the tomb of Rameses III., where the accumula- 
tions of debris had entirely hidden the face of 
the rocks, and, as this was a central and likely 
spot for a " find," it was hoped that when the 
skin of rubbish had been cleared away the entrance 
of at least one royal tomb would be exposed. Of 
all the XVIIIth-Dynasty kings, the burial-places 
of only Thutmosis II., Tutankhamon, and Horem- 
heb remained undiscovered, and the hopes of the 
excavators concentrated on these three Pharaohs. 

228 Researches in the Treasury. 

After a few weeks of digging, the mouth of 
a large shaft cut into the hmestone was cleared.. 
This proved to lead into a small chamber half- 
filled with rubbish, amongst which some fine 
jewellery, evidently hidden here, was found. 
This is now well published by Mr Davis in 
facsimile, and further mention of it here is un- 
necessary. Continuing the work, it was not long 
before traces of another tomb became apparent, 
and in a few days' time we were able to look 
down from the surrounding mounds of rubbish 
upon the commencement of a rectangular cutting 
in the rock. The size and style of the entrance 
left no doubt that the work was to be dated to 
the end of the XVIIIth Dynasty, and the ex- 
cavators were confident that the tomb of either 
Tutankhamen or Horemheb lay before them. 
Steps leading down to the entrance were pres- 
ently uncovered, and finally the doorway itself 
was freed from debris. 

On one of the door-posts an inscription was 
now seen, written in black ink by one of the 
Government inspectors of B.C. 1100. This stated 
that in the fourth year of an unknown king the 
tomb had been inspected, and had been found 
to be that of Horemheb. 

We had hoped now to pass into the tomb 
without further difficulty, but in this we were 
disappointed, for the first corridor was quite 
choked with the rubbish placed there by the 
inspectors. This corridor led down at a steep 

> > » ' 

•nxx -ij 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 229 

angle through the Hmestone hillside, and, like 
all other parts of the tomb, it was carefully 
worked. It was not until two days later that 
enough clearing had been done to allow us to 
crawl in over the rubbish, which was still piled 
up so nearly to the roof that there was only 
just room to wriggle downwards over it with 
our backs pressing against the stone above. At 
the lower end of the corridor there was a flight 
of steps towards which the rubbish shelved, and, 
sliding down the slope, we were here able to 
stand once more. It was obvious that the tomb 
did not stop here, and work, therefore, had to 
be begun on the rubbish which choked the stair- 
way in order to expose the entrance to further 
passages. A doorway soon became visible, and 
at last this was sufficiently cleared to permit of 
our crawling into the next corridor, though now 
we were even more closely squeezed between the 
roof and the debris than before. 

The party which made the entrance consisted of 
Mr Davis ; his assistant, Mr Ayrton ; Mr Harold 
Jones ; Mr Max Dalison, formerly of the Egypt 
Exploration Fund ; and myself Wriggling and 
crawling, we pushed and pulled ourselves down the 
sloping rubbish, until, with a rattling avalanche 
of small stones, we arrived at the bottom of the 
passage, where we scrambled to our feet at the 
brink of a large rectangular well, or shaft. Hold- 
ing the lamps aloft, the surrounding walls were 
seen to be covered with wonderfully preserved 

230 Researches in the Treasury. 

paintings executed on slightly raised plaster. Here 
Horemheb was seen standing before Isis, Osiris, 
Horus, and other gods ; and his cartouches stood 
out boldly from amidst the elaborate inscriptions. 
The colours were extremely rich, and, though there 
was so much to be seen ahead, we stood there for 
some minutes, looking at them with a feeling much 
akin to awe. 

The shaft was partly filled with rubbish, and 
not being very deep, we were able to climb down 
it by means of a ladder, and up the other side to 
an entrance which formed a kind of window in the 
sheer wall. In entering a large tomb for the first 
time, there are one or two scenes which fix them- 
selves upon the memory more forcefully than 
others, and one feels as though one might carry 
these impressions intact to the grave. In this 
tomb there was nothing so impressive as this view 
across the well and through the entrance in the 
opposite wall. At one's feet lay the dark pit ; 
around one the gaudy paintings gleamed ; and 
through the window - like aperture before one, a 
dim suggestion could be obtained of a white- 
pillared hall. The intense eagerness to know what 
was beyond, and, at the same time, the feeling 
that it was almost desecration to climb into those 
halls w^hich had stood silent for thousands of 
years, cast a spell over the scene and made it 

This aperture had once been blocked up with 
stones, and the paintings had passed across it, 



The Tomb of Horemheb. 231 

thus hiding it from view, so that a robber entering 
the tomb might think that it ended here. But 
the trick was an old one, and the plunderers had 
easily detected the entrance, had pulled away the 
blocks, and had climbed through. Following in 
their footsteps, we went up the ladder and passed 
through the entrance into the pillared hall. Parts 
of the roof had fallen in, and other parts appeared 
to be likely to do so at any moment. Clambering 
over the debris we descended another sloping cor- 
ridor, which was entered through a cutting in the 
floor of the hall, originally blocked up and hidden. 
This brouo^ht us into a chamber covered with 
paintings, like those around the well ; and again 
we were brought to a standstill by the amazingly 
fresh colours which arrested and held the attention. 

We then passed on into the large burial-hall, the 
roof of which was supported by crumbling pillars. 
Slabs of limestone had broken off here and there 
and had crashed down on to the floor, bringing 
with them portions of the ceiling painted with a 
design of yellow stars on a black ground. On the 
walls were unfinished paintings, and it was inter- 
esting to notice that the north, south, east, and 
west were clearly marked upon the four walls for 
ceremonial purposes. 

The main feature towards which our eyes were 
turned was the great pink - granite sarcophagus 
which stood in the middle of the hall. Its sides 
were covered with well-cut inscriptions of a religi- 
ous nature ; and at the four corners there were 

232 Researches in the Treasury. 

figures of Isis and Nephthys, in reUef, with their 
wings spread out as though in protection around 
the body. Looking into the sarcophagus, the hd 
having been thrown off by the plunderers, we 
found it empty except for a skull and a few bones 
of more than one person. The sarcophagus stood 
upon the limestone floor, and under it small holes 
had been cut, in each of which a little wooden 
statue of a god had been placed. Thus the king's 
body was, so to speak, carried on the heads of the 
gods, and held aloft by their arms. This is a 
unique arrangement, and has never before been 
found in any burial. 

In all directions broken figures of the gods were 
lying, and two defaced wooden statues of the king 
were overthrown beside the sarcophagus. Beauti- 
ful pieces of furniture, such as were found by Mr 
Davis in the tomb of Yuaa and Thuau, were not to 
be expected in the sepulchre of a Pharaoh ; for 
whereas those two persons were only mortals and 
required mortal comforts in the Underworld, the 
king was a god and needed only the comfort of 
the presence of other gods. Dead flowers were 
found here and there amidst the debris, these 
being the remnant of the masses of garlands 
which were always heaped around and over the 

Peering into a little side chamber on the rig-ht, 
we saw two skulls and some broken bones lying in 
the corner. These appeared to be female, and one jjt 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 233 

of the skulls may have been that of Mutnezem, 
the queen. In another small chamber on the left 
there was a fine painting of Osiris on the back 
wall; and, crouching at the foot of this, a statuette 
of a god with upraised hands had been placed. 
As we turned the corner and came upon it in the 
full glare of the lamps, one felt that the arms were 
raised in horror at sight of us, and that the god 
was gasping with surprise and indignation at our 
arrival. In the floor of another ante-chamber a 
square hole was cut, leading down to a small room. 
A block of stone had neatly fitted over the open- 
ing, thus hiding it from view ; but the robbers had 
detected the crack, and had found the hiding- 
place. Here there were a skull and a few bones, 
again of more than one person. Altogether there 
must have been four bodies buried in the tomb ; 
and it seems that the inspectors, finding them 
strewn in all directions, had replaced one skull in 
the sarcophagus, two in the side room, and one in 
this hiding-place, dividing up the bones between 
these three places as they thought fit. It may be 
that the king himself was buried in the under- 
ground chamber, and that the sarcophagus was a 
sort of blind ; for he had seen the destruction 
caused by robbers in the tomb of Thutmosis IV., 
which he had restored, and he may have made this 
attempt to secure the safety of his own body. 
Whether this be so or not, however. Fate has not 
permitted the body of the great king to escape the 

234 Researches in the Treasury. 

hands of the destroyer, and it will now never be 
known with certainty whether one of these four 
heads wore the crown of the Pharaohs. 

The temperature was very great in the tomb, 
and the perspiration streamed down our faces as 
we stood contemplating the devastation. Now 
the electric lamps would flash upon the gods sup- 
porting the ransacked sarcophagus, lighting for a 
moment their grotesque forms ; now the attention 
would concentrate upon some wooden figure of a 
hippopotamus-god or cow-headed deity ; and now 
the light would bring into prominence the great 
overthrown statue of the king. There is some- 
thing peculiarly sensational in the examining of a 
tomb which has not been entered for such thou- 
sands of years, but it must be left to the imagina- 
tive reader to infuse a touch of that feeling of the 
dramatic into these words. It would be hopeless 
to attempt to put into writing those impressions 
which go to make the entering of a great Egyptian 
sepulchre so thrilling an experience : one cannot | 

describe the silence, the echoing steps, the dark 
shadows, the hot, breathless air ; nor tell of the 
sense of vast Time and the penetrating of it which 
stirs one so deeply. 

The air was too bad to permit of our remaining 
long so deep in the bowels of the earth ; and we 
presently made our way through halls and corri- 
dors back to the upper world, scrambling and 
crashing over the debris, and squeezing ourselves 
through the rabbit-hole by which we had entered. 

The Tomb of Horemheb. 235 

As we passed out of this hot, dark tomb into the 
brilhant sunhght and the bracing north wind, the 
gloomy wreck of the place was brought before the 
imagination with renewed force. The scattered 
bones, the broken statues, the dead flowers, 
grouped themselves in the mind into a picture 
of utter decay. In some of the tombs which have 
been opened the freshness of the objects has 
caused one to exclaim at the inaction of the years ; 
but here, where vivid and well-preserved wall- 
paintings looked down on a jumbled collection of 
smashed fragments of wood and bones, one felt 
how hardly the Powers deal with the dead. How 
far away seemed the great fight between Amon 
and Aton ; how futile the task which Horemheb 
accomplished so gloriously ! It was all over and 
forofotten, and one asked oneself what it mattered 
whether the way was difficult or the battle slow to 
win. In the fourth year of the reign of Horemheb 
a certain harper named Neferhotep partly com- 
posed a song which was peculiarly appropriate to 
the tune which ran in one's head at the opening 
of the tomb of this Pharaoh whom the harper 
served — 

" (1.) Behold the dwellings of the dead. Their walls fall 
down ; their place is no more : they are as though they had 
never existed. (2.) That which hath come into being must 
pass away again. The young men and maidens go to their 
places ; the sun riseth at dawn, and setteth again in the 
hills of the west. Men beget and women conceive. The 
children, too, go to the places which are appointed for them. 

236 Researches in the Treasury. 

0, then, be happy ! Come, scents and perfumes are set 
before thee : w«^w-flowers and lilies for the arms and neck 
of thy beloved. Come, songs and music are before thee. 
Set behind thee all cares ; think only upon gladness, until 
that day cometh whereon thou shalt go down to the land 
which loveth silence." 

Horemheb must often have heard this song sung 
in his palace at Thebes by its composer ; but did 
he think, one wonders, that it would be the walls 
of his own tomb which would fall down, and his 
own bones which would he almost as though they 
had never existed ? 


" Laugh and mock if you will at the worship of stone idols, but mark ye 
this, ye breakers of images, that in one regard the stone idol bears awful 
semblance of Deity— the unchangef ulness in the midst of change — the same 
seeming will, and intent for ever and ever inexorable ! . . . And we, we 
shall die, and Islam will wither away, and the Englishman straining far over 
to hold his loved India, will plant a firm foot on the banks of the Nile and 
sit in the seats of the Faithful, and still that sleepless rock will lie watching 
and watching the works of the new busy race, with those same sad earnest 
eyes, and the same tranquil mien everlastingly." 

— KiNGLAKE : Eothen {"[Sii). 





Thebes was the ancient capital of Egypt, and its 
ruins are the most extensive in the Nile Valley. 
On the east bank of the river, at the modern 
towns of Luxor and Karnak, there are the remains 
of mighty temples ; and on the west bank, in the 
neighbourhood of the village of Gurneh, tombs, 
mortuary chapels, and temples, literally cover the 
ground. The inhabitants of these three places 
have for generations augmented their incomes 
by a traffic in antiquities, and the peasants of 
Gurneh have, more especially, become famous as 
the most hardy pilferers of the tombs of their 
ancestors in all Egypt. In conducting this 
lucrative business they have lately had the 
misfortune to be recognised as thieves and 
robbers by the Government, and it is one of 
my duties to point this out to them. As a 
matter of fact they are no more thieves than 
you or I. It is as natural for them to scratch 
in the sand for antiquities as it is for us to pick 
flowers by the roadside : antiquities, like flowers, 
are the product of the soil, and it is largely be- 

240 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

cause the one is more rare than the other that its 
promiscuous appropriation has been constituted 
an offence. The native who is sometimes child 
enough to put his eyes out rather than serve 
in the army, who will often suffer all manner of 
wrongs rather than carry his case to the local 
courts, and who will hide his money under his bed 
rather than trust it to the safest bank, is not 
likely to be intelligent enough to realise that, on 
scientific grounds, he is committing a crime in 
digging for scarabs. He is beginning to under- 
stand that in the eyes of the law he is a criminal, 
but he has not yet learnt so to regard himself. 
I here name him thief, for officially that is his 
designation ; but there is no sting in the word, 
nor is any insult intended. By all cultured per- 
sons the robbery of antiquities must be regarded 
as a grave offence, and one which has to be 
checked. But the point is ethical ; and what 
has the Theban to do with ethics ? The robbery 
of antiquities is carried out in many different 
ways and from many different motives. Some- 
times it is romantic treasure hunting that the 
official has to deal with ; sometimes it is adven- 
turous robbery with violence ; sometimes it is the 
taking advantage of chance discoveries ; some- 
times it is the pilfering of objects found in author- 
ised excavations ; and sometimes it is the stealing 
of fragments smashed from the walls of the ancient 
monuments. All these forms of robbery, except 
the last, may call for the sympathy of every 

' > ' , > > J J 

. ', ->" 

{P/wto by E. Bird. 

A modern Theban Fellah-woman and her child. 


: c c c t 

Theban Thieves. 241 

reader of these hnes who happens not to have 
cultivated that vaguely defined " archaeological 
sense" which is, practically, the product of this 
present generation alone ; and in the instances 
which are here to be given the point of view of 
the "Theban thief" will be readily appreciated. 
Treasure hunting is a relic of childhood that 
remains, like all other forms of romance and ad- 
venture, a permanently youthful feature in our 
worn old hearts. It has been drilled into us bv 
the tales of our boyhood, and, in later life, it has 
become part of that universal desire to get some- 
thing for nothing which lies behind our most 
honest eflPorts to obtain the goods of this world. 
Who has not desired the hidden wealth of the 
late Captain Kidd, or coveted the lost treasure 
of the Incas ? I recently wrote an article which 
was entitled " Excavations in Egypt," but the 
editor of the magazine in which it appeared 
hastily altered these words to "Treasure Hunting 
in Egypt," and thereby commanded the attention 
of twice the number of readers. Can we wonder, 
then, that this form of adventure is so often met 
with in Egypt, the land of hidden treasure ? The 
Department of Antiquities has lately published 
a collection of mediaeval traditions with regard 
to this subject, which is known as the Book of 
the Pearl. In it one is told the exact places 
where excavations should be made to lay bare 
the wealth of the ancients. "Go to such and 
such a spot," says this curious book, " and dig 


242 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

to the depth of so many cubits, and you will find 
a trap-door ; descend through this and you will 
find a chamber wherein are forty jars filled with 
gold. Take what you want, and give thanks to 
God." Many of the sites referred to have been 
literally hacked out of all recognition by the picks 
and spades of thousands of gold - seekers ; and it 
may be that sometimes their efibrts have been 
rewarded, since a certain amount of genuine in- 
formation is embodied in the traditions. Sir 
Gaston Maspero, the Director - General of the 
Department of Antiquities, tells a story of how 
a native came to him asking permission to ex- 
cavate at a certain spot where he believed treasure 
to be hidden. Sir Gaston accompanied him to the 
place, and a tunnel was bored into what appeared 
to be virgin sand and rock. At the end of the 
first day's work the futility of his labours was 
pointed out to the man, but he was not to be 
daunted. For two more days he stood watching 
the work from morn to nightfall with hope burn- 
ing in his eyes, and on the following morning his 
reward came. Suddenly the ground gave way 
before the picks of the workmen, and a hole 
was seen leading into a forgotten cave. In this 
cave the implements of some mediaeval coiners 
were discovered, and an amount of metal, false 
and true, was found which had been used by them 
in the process of their business. 

A short time ago a man applied for permission 
to perform a similar kind of excavation at a place 

Theban Thieves. 243 

called Nag HamadI, and in my absence permission 
was given him. On my return the following 
report was submitted : ". . . Having reached 
the spot indicated the man started to blow the 
stones by means of the Denamits. Also he 
slaught a lamb, thinking that there is a treasure, 
and that when the lamb being slaught he will 
discover it at once." In plainer English, the man 
had blown up the rocks with dynamite, and had 
attempted to further his efforts by sacrificing a 
lamb to the djin who guarded the treasure. The 
djin, however, was not thus to be propitiated, and 
the gold of the Pharaohs was never found. More 
recently the watchmen of the famous temple of 
Der el Bahri found themselves in trouble owing 
to the discovery that part of the ancient pave- 
ment showed signs of having been raised, stone 
by stone, in order that the ground below might be 
searched for the treasure which a tradition, such 
as those in the Book of the Pearl, had reported as 
lying hid there. 

Almost as romantic as treasure hunting is 
robbery with violence. We all remember our 
boyhood's fascination for piracy, smuggling, and 
the profession of Dick Turpin ; and to the Theban 
peasant, who is essentially youthful in his ideas, 
this form of fortune hunting has irresistible at- 
tractions. When a new tomb is discovered by 
authorised archseologists, especially when it is 
situated in some remote spot such as the Valley 
of the Kings, there is always some fear of an 

244 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

armed raid ; and police guard the spot night 
and day until the antiquities have been removed 
to Cairo. The workmen who have been employed 
in the excavation return to their homes with 
wonderful tales of the wealth which the tomb 
contains, and in the evening the discovery is 
discussed by the women at the well where the 
water is drawn for the village, with the result 
that it very soon assumes prodigious proportions, 
inflaming the minds of all men with the greed 
of gold. Visitors often ask why it is that the 
mummies of the Pharaohs are not left to lie each 
in its own tomb ; and it is argued that they 
look neither congruous nor dignified in the glass 
cases of the museum. The answer is obvious to all 
who know the country : put them back in their 
tombs, and, without continuous police protection, 
they will be broken into fragments by robbers, bolts 
and bars notwithstanding. The experiment of leav- 
ing the mummy and some of the antiquities in 
situ has only once been tried, and it has not been 
a complete success. It was done in the case of 
the tomb of Amenhotep II. at Thebes, the mummy 
being laid in its original sarcophagus ; and a model 
boat, used in one of the funeral ceremonies, was 
also left in the tomb. One night the six watch- 
men who were in charge of the royal tombs stated 
that they had been attacked by an armed force ; 
and the tomb in question was seen to have been 
entered, the iron doors having been forced. The 
mummy of the Pharaoh was found lying upon 

Theban Thieves. 245 

the floor of the burial-hall, its chest smashed in ; 
and the boat had disappeared, nor has it since 
been recovered. The watchmen showed signs 
of having put up something of a fight, their 
clothes being riddled with bullet-holes ; but here 
and there the cloth looked much as though it 
had been singed, which suggested, as did other 
evidence, that they themselves had fired the guns 
and had acted the struggle. The truth of the 
matter will never be known, but its lesson is 
obvious. The mummy was put back into its 
sarcophagus, and there it has remained secure ever 
since ; but one never knows how soon it will be 
dragged forth once more to be searched for the 
gold with which every native thinks it is 

Some years ago an armed gang walked off 
with a complete series of mortuary reliefs belong- 
ing to a tomb at Sakkarah. They came by night, 
overpowered the watchmen, loaded the blocks 
of stone on to camels, and disappeared into the 
darkness. Sometimes it is an entire cemetery 
that is attacked ; and, if it happens to be situated 
some miles from the nearest police-station, a good 
deal of work can be done before the authorities 
get wind of the affair. Last winter six hundred 
men set to work upon a patch of desert ground 
where a tomb had been accidently found, and, 
ere I received the news, they had robbed a score 
of little graves, many of which must have con- 
tained objects purchasable by the dealers in 

246 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

antiquities for quite large sums of money. At 
Abydos a tomb which we had just discovered 
was raided by the villagers, and we only regained 
possession of it after a rapid exchange of shots, 
one of which came near ending a career whose 
continuance had been, since birth, a matter of 
great importance to myself But how amusing 
the adventure must have been for the raiders ! 

The appropriation of treasure-trove come upon by 
chance, or the digging out of graves accidentally 
discovered, is a very natural form of robbery for 
the natives to indulge in, and one which commends 
itself to the sympathies of all those not actively 
concerned in its suppression. There are very few 
persons even in western countries who would 
be willing to hand over to the Government a 
hoard of gold discovered in their own back 
garden. In Egypt the law is that the treasure- 
trove thus discovered belongs to the owner of 
the property ; and thus there is always a certain 
amount of excavation going on behind the walls 
of the houses. It is also the law that the peasants 
may carry away the accumulated rubbish on the 
upper layers of ancient town sites, in order to 
use it as a fertiliser for their crops, since it 
contains valuable phosphates. This work is 
supervised by watchmen, but this does not pre- 
vent the stealing of almost all the antiquities 
which are found. As illegal excavators these 
sehakhin, or manure - diggers, are the worst 
offenders, for they search for the phosphates in 

Theban Thieves. 247 

all manner of places, and are constantly coming 
upon tombs or ruins which they promptly clear 
of their contents. One sees them driving their 
donkeys along the roads, each laden with a sack 
of manure, and it is certain that some of these 
sacks contain antiquities. In Thebes many of 
the natives live inside the tombs of the ancient 
nobles, these generally consisting of two or three 
rock-hewn halls from which a tunnel leads down 
to the burial - chamber. Generally this tunnel 
is choked with debris, and the owner of the 
house will perhaps come upon it by chance, and 
will dig it out, in the vain hope that earlier 
plunderers have left some of the antiquities un- 
disturbed. It recently happened that an entire 
family was asphyxiated while attempting to 
penetrate into a newly discovered tunnel, each 
member entering to ascertain the fate of the 
previous explorer, and each being overcome by 
the gases. On one occasion I was asked by a 
native to accompany him down a tunnel, the 
entrance of which was in his stable, in order to 
view a sarcophagus which lay at the bottom. 
We each took a candle, and, crouching down to 
avoid the low roof, we descended the narrow, 
winding passage, the loose stones sliding beneath 
our feet. The air was very foul ; and below us 
there was the thunderous roar of thousands of 
wings beating through the echoing passage — 
the wings of evil -smelling bats. Presently we 
reached this uncomfortable zone. So thickly did 

248 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

the bats hang from the ceihng that the rock 
itself seemed to be black; but as we advanced, 
and the creatures took to their wings, this black 
covering appeared to peel off the rock. During 
the entire descent this curious spectacle of regu- 
larly receding blackness and advancing grey was 
to be seen a yard or so in front of us. The roar 
of wings was now deafening, for the space into ^ 

which we were driving the bats was very confined. | 

My guide shouted to me that we must let them 
pass out of the tomb over our heads. We there- 
fore crouched down, and a few stones were flung 
into the darkness ahead. Then, with a roar and 
a rush of air, they came, bumping into us, en- 
tangling themselves in our clothes, slapping our 
faces and hands with their unwholesome wings, 
and clinging to our fingers. At last the thunder 
died away in the passage behind us, and we were 
able to advance more easily, though the ground 
was alive with the bats maimed in the frantic 
flight which had taken place, floundering out of 
our way and squeaking shrilly. The sarcophagus 
proved to be of no interest, so the encounter with 
the bats was to no purpose. 

The pilfering of antiquities found during the 
course of authorised excavations is one of the 
most common forms of robbery. The overseer 
cannot always watch the workmen sufiiciently 
closely to prevent them pocketing the small ob- 
jects which they find, and it is an easy matter to 
carry off the stolen goods, even though the men 

Theban Thieves. 249 

are searched at the end of the day. A little girl 
minding her father's sheep and goats in the neigh- 
bourhood of the excavations, and apparently occu- 
pying her hands with the spinning of flax, is perhaps 
the receiver of the objects. Thus it is more profit- 
able to dig for antiquities even in authorised 
excavations than to work the water-hoist, which 
is one of the usual occupations of the peasant. 
Pulling the hoisting-pole down, and swinging it 
up again with its load of water many thousands 
of times in the day, is monotonous work ; whereas 
digging in the ground, with the eyes keenly 
watching for the appearance of antiquities, is 
always interesting and exciting. And why 
should the digger refrain from appropriating the 
objects which his pick reveals ? If he does not 
make use of his opportunities and carry off the 
antiquities, the western director of the works will 
take them to his own country and sell them for 
his own profit. All natives believe that the 
archaeologists work for the purpose of making 
money. Speaking of Professor Flinders Petrie, 
a peasant said to me the other day : " He has 
worked five-and-twenty years now ; he must be 
very rich." He would never believe that the 
antiquities were given to museums without any 
payment being made to the finder. 

The stealing of fragments broken out of the 
walls of " show " monuments is almost the only 
form of robbery which will receive general con- 
demnation. That this vandalism is also distaste- 

250 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

fill to the natives themselves is shown by the fact 
that several better-class Egyptians living in the 
neighbourhood of Thebes subscribed, at my in- 
vitation, the sum of £50 for the protection of 
certain beautiful tombs. When they were shown 
the works undertaken with their money, they 
expressed themselves as being " pleased with the 
delicate inscriptions in the tombs, but very awfully 
angry at the damage which the devils of ignorant 
people had made." A native of moderate intelli- 
gence can quite appreciate the argument that 
whereas the continuous warfare between the 
agents of the Department of Antiquities and 
the illegal excavators of small graves is what 
might be called an honourable game, the smash- 
ing of public monuments cannot be called fair- 
play from whatever point of view the matter is | 
approached. Often revenge or spite is the cause 
of this damage. It is sometimes necessary to act 
with severity to the peasants who infringe the 
rules of the Department, but a serious danger 
lies in such action, for it is the nature of the 
Thebans to revenge themselves not on the offi- 
cial directly but on the monuments which he is 
known to love. Two years ago a native illegally 
built himself a house on Government ground, and 
I was obliged to go through the formality of 
pulling it down, which I did by obliging him to 
remove a few layers of brickwork around the 
walls. A short time afterwards a famous tomb 
was broken into and a part of the paintings 

■ > > . > . . ,' ] 

' ' ' 1 > .. J , > 5 , 

. , > , > 3 > 3 > ' ' ' 1 ' I • ^ J " 

> ' A B » > ) ' > 

{Photo by /■:. Bird. 

A modi'rn Goiirnawi betfg'ar. 

Pl. XXIV. 

Theban Thieves. 251 

destroyed ; and there was enough evidence to 
show that the owner of this house was the cul- 
prit, though unfortunately he could not be con- 
victed. One man actually had the audacity to 
warn me that any severity on my part would be 
met by destruction of monuments. Under these 
circumstances an official finds himself in a dilemma. 
If he maintains the dignity and prestige of his 
Department by punishing any offences against it, 
he endangers the very objects for the care of 
which he is responsible ; and it is hard to say 
whether under a lax or a severe administration 
the more damage would be done. 

The produce of these various forms of robbery 
is easily disposed of When once the antiquities 
have passed into the hands of the dealers there 
is little chance of further trouble. The dealer 
can always say that he came into possession of 
an object years ago, before the antiquity laws 
were made, and it is almost impossible to prove 
that he did not. You may have the body of a 
statue and he the head : he can always damage 
the line of the breakage, and say that the head 
does not belong to that statue, or, if the connec- 
tion is too obvious, he can say that he found the 
head while excavating twenty years ago on the 
site where now you have found the body. Nor is 
it desirable to bring an action against the man in 
a case of this kind, for it might go against the 
official. Dealing in antiquities is regarded as a 
perfectly honourable business. The official, crawl- 

252 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

ing about the desert on his stomach in the bitter 
cold of a winter's night in order to hold up a 
convoy of stolen antiquities, may use hard lan- 
guage in regard to the trade, but he cannot say 
that it is pernicious as long as it is confined to 
minor objects. How many objects of value to 
science would be destroyed by their finders if 
there was no market to take them to ! One of 
the Theban dealers leads so holy a life that he 
will assuredly be regarded as a saint by future 

The sale of small antiquities to tourists on the 
public roads is prohibited, except at certain places, 
but of course it can be done with impunity by the 
exercise of a little care. Men and boys and even 
little girls as they pass will stare at you with 
studying eyes, and if you seem to be a likely pur- 
chaser, they will draw from the folds of their 
garments some little object which they will offer 
for sale. Along the road in the glory of the 
setting sun there will come as fine a young man 
as you will see on a day's march. Surely he is 
bent on some noble mission : what lofty thoughts 
are occupying his mind, you wonder. But as you 
pass, out comes the scarab from his pocket, and 
he shouts, " Wanty scarab, mister? — two shil- 
lin'," while you ride on your way a greater cynic 
than before. 

Some years ago a large inscribed stone was 
stolen from a certain temple, and was promptly 
sold to a man who sometimes traded in such ob- 

Theban Thieves. 253 

jects. This man carried the stone, hidden in a 
sack of grain, to the house of a friend, and having 
deposited it in a place of hiding, he tramped home, 
with his stick across his shoulders, in an attitude 
of deep unconcern. An enemy of his, however, 
had watched him, and promptly gave information. 
Acting on this the police set out to search the 
house. When we reached the entrance we were 
met by the owner, and a warrant was shown to 
him. A heated argument followed, at the end of 
which the infuriated man waved us in with a 
magnificent and most dramatic gesture. There 
were some twenty rooms in the house, and the 
stifling heat of a July noon made the task none 
too enjoyable. The police inspector was ex- 
tremely thorough in his work, and an hour had 
passed before three rooms had been searched. 
He looked into the cupboards, went down on 
his knees to peer into the ovens, stood on tiptoe 
to search the fragile wooden shelves (it was a 
heavy stone which we were looking for), hunted 
under the mats, and even peeped into a little 
tobacco-tin. In one of the rooms there were three 
or four beds arranged along the middle of the 
floor. The inspector pulled ofl" the mattresses, and 
out from under each there leapt a dozen rats, which, 
if I may be believed, made for the walls and ran 
straight up them, disappearing in the rafter-holes 
at the top. The sight of countless rats hurrying 
up perpendicular walls may be familiar to some 
people, but I venture to call it an amazing spec- 

254 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

tacle, worthy of record. Then came the opening 
of one or two travelhng- trunks. The inspector 
ran his hand through the clothes which lay therein, 
and out jumped a few more rats, which likewise 
went up the walls. The searching of the re- 
maining rooms carried us well through the after- 
noon ; and at last, hot and weary, we decided 
to abandon the hunt. Two nights later a man 
was seen walking away from the house with a 
heavy sack on his back ; and the stone is now, 
no doubt, in the Western hemisphere. 

The attempt to regain a lost antiquity is seldom 
crowned with success. It is so extremely difficult 
to obtain reliable information ; and as soon as 
a man is suspected his enemies will rush in 
with accusations. Thirty -eight separate accusa- 
tions were sent in against a certain head-watch- 
man during the first days after the fact had 
leaked out that he was under suspicion. Not 
one of them could be shown to be true. Some- 
times one man will bring a charge against another 
for the betterment of his own interests. Here 
is a letter from a watchman who had resigned, but 
wished to rejoin. " To his Exec. Chief Dircoter 
of the tembels. I have honner to inform that I 
am your servant X, watchman on the tembels 
before this time. Sir from one year ago I work in 
the Santruple (?) as a watchman about four years 
ago. And I not make anything wrong and your 
Exec, know me. Now I want to work in my place 
in the tembel, because the man which in it he not 

Theban Thieves. 255 

attintive to His, but alway he in the coffee . . . 
He also steal the scribed stones. Please give your 
order to point me'again. Your servant, X." " The 
coffee " is, of course, the cafe which adjoins the 

A short time ago a young man came to me with 
an accusation against his own father, who, he said, 
had stolen a statuette. The tale which he told 
was circumstantial, but it was hotly denied by his 
infuriated parent. He looked, however, a trifle 
more honest than his father, and when a younger 
brother was brought in as witness, one felt that 
the guilt of the old man would be the probable 
finding. The boy stared steadfastly at the ground 
for some moments, however, and then launched out 
into an elaborate explanation of the whole affair. 
He said that he asked his father to lend him 
four pounds, but the father had refused. The son 
insisted that that sum was due to him as his share 
in some transaction, and pointed out that though 
he only asked for it as a loan, he had in reality 
a claim to it. The old man refused to hand it 
over, and the son, therefore, waited his oppor- 
tunity and stole it from his house, carrying it 
off triumphantly to his own establishment. Here 
he gave it into the charge of his youno- wife, 
and went about his business. The father, how- 
ever, guessed where the money had gone ; and 
while his son was out, invaded his house, beat 
his daughter-in-law on the soles of her feet 
until she confessed where the money was hidden, 

256 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

and then, having obtained it, returned to his home. 
When the son came back to his house he learnt 
what had happened, and, out of spite, at once in- 
vented the accusation which he had brought to me. 
This story appeared to be true in so far as the 
quarrel over the money was concerned, but that 
the accusation was invented proved to be untrue. 

Sometimes the peasants have such honest faces 
that it is difficult to believe that they are guilty 
of deceit. A lady came to the camp of a certain 
party of excavators at Thebes, holding in her hand 
a scarab. " Do tell me," she said to one of the 
archaeologists, " whether this scarab is genuine. I 
am sure it must be, for I bought it from a boy 
who assured me that he had stolen it from your 
excavations, and he looked such an honest and 
truthful little fellow." 

In order to check pilfering in a certain exca- 
vation in which I was assisting we made a rule 
that the selected workmen should not be allowed 
to put unselected substitutes in their place. One 
day I came upon a man whose appearance did not 
seem familiar, although his back was turned to me. 
I asked him who he was, whereupon he turned 
upon me a countenance which might have served 
for the model of a painting of St John, and in 
a low, sweet voice he told me of the illness of the 
real workman, and of how he had taken over 
the work in order to obtain money for the pur- 
chase of medicine for him, they being friends from 
their youth up. I sent him away and told him 

Theban Thieves. 257 

to call for any medicine he might want that 
evening:. I did not see him ao-ain until about 
a week later, when I happened to meet him in 
the village with a policeman on either side of him, 
from one of whom I learned that he was a well- 
known thief Thus is one deceived even in the 
case of real criminals : how then can one expect 
to get at the truth when the crime committed is 
so light an affair as the stealing of an antiquity ? 

The following is a letter received from one of 
the greatest thieves in Thebes, who is now serving 
a term of imprisonment in the provincial gaol : — 

" Sir General Inspector, — I offer this applica- 
tion stating that I am from the natives of Gurneh, 
saying the following : — 

' On Saturday last I came to your office and 
have been told that my family using the sate to 
strengthen against the Department. The result 
of this talking that all these things which some- 
body pretends are not the fact. In fact I am 
taking great care of the antiquities for the pur- 
pose of my living matter. Accordingly, I wish 
to be appointed in the vacant of watching to the 
antiquities in my village and promise myself that 
if anything happens I do hold myself resposible.' " 

I have no idea what " using the sate to 
strengthen" means. 

It is sometimes said that European excavators 
are committing an offence against the sensibil- 
ities of the peasants by digging up the bodies 

258 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

of their ancestors. Nobody will repeat this re- 
mark who has walked over a cemetery plundered 
by the natives themselves. Here bodies may be 
seen lying in all directions, torn limb from limb 
by the gold-seekers ; here beautiful vases may 
be seen smashed to atoms in order to make 
more rare the specimens preserved. The peasant 
has no regard whatsoever for the sanctity of 
the ancient dead, nor does any superstition in 
this regard deter him in his work of destruction. 
Fortunately superstition sometimes checks other 
forms of robbery. Djins are believed to guard 
the hoards of ancient wealth which some of the 
tombs are thought to contain, as, for example, in 
the case of the tomb in which the family was 
asphyxiated, where a fiend of this kind was 
thought to have throttled the unfortunate ex- 
plorers. Twin brothers are thought to have the 
power of changing themselves into cats at will ; 
and a certain Huseyn Osman, a harmless indi- 
vidual enough, and a most expert digger, would 
often turn himself into a cat at night-time, not only 
for the purpose of stealing his brother Muhammed 
Osman's dinner, but also in order to protect the 
tombs which his patron was occupied in excavating. 
One of the overseers in some recent excavations 
was said to have the power of detecting all rob- 
beries on his works. The archgeologist, however, 
is unfortunately unable to rely upon this form of 
protection, and many are the schemes for the pre- 
vention of pilfering which are tried. 


Theban Thieves. 259 

In some excavations a sum of money is given to 
the workman for every antiquity found by him, 
and these sums are sufficiently high to prevent any 
outbidding by the dealers. Work thus becomes 
very expensive for the archaeologist, who is some- 
times called upon to pay £10 or £20 in a day. 
The system has also another disadvantage, namely, 
that the workmen are apt to bring antiquities from 
far and near to "discover" in their diggings in 
order to obtain a good price for them. Neverthe- 
less, it would seem to be the most successful of the 
systems. In the Government excavations it is 
usual to employ a number of overseers to watch 
for the small finds, while for only the really valu- 
able discoveries is a reward given. 

For finding the famous gold hawk's head at 
Hieraconpolis a workman received £14, and with 
this princely sum in his pocket he went to a certain 
Englishman to ask advice as to the spending of it. 
He was troubled, he said, to decide whether to 
buy a wife or a cow. He admitted that he had 
already one wife, and that two of them would be 
sure to introduce some friction into what was now 
a peaceful household ; and he quite realised that a 
cow would be less apt to quarrel with his first 
wife. The Englishman, very properly, voted for 
the cow, and the peasant returned home deep in 
thought. While pondering over the matter during 
the next few weeks, he entertained his friends with 
some freedom, and soon he found to his dismay 
that he had not enough money left to buy either a 

26o The Preservation of the Treasury. 

wife or a cow. Thereupon he set to with a will, 
and soon spent the remaining guineas in riotous 
living. When he was next seen by the English- 
man he was a beggar, and, what was worse, his 
taste for evil living had had several weeks of 

The case of the fortunate finder of a certain 
great cache of mummies was different. He re- 
ceived a reward of £400, and this he buried in a 
very secret place. When he died his possessions 
descended to his sons. After the funeral they sat 
round the grave of the old man, and very rightly 
discussed his virtues until the sun set. Then they 
returned to the house and began to dig for the 
hidden money. For some days they turned the 
sand of the floor over ; but failing to find what 
they sought, they commenced operations on a 
patch of desert under the shade of some tamarisks 
where their father was wont to sit of an afternoon. 
It is said that for twelve hours they worked like 
persons possessed, the men hacking at the ground, 
and the boys carrying away the sand in baskets 
to a convenient distance. But the money was 
never found. 

It is not often that the finders of antiquities 
inform the authorities of their good fortune, but 
when they do so an attempt is made to give them 
a good reward. A letter from the finder of an 
inscribed statue, who wished to claim his reward, 
read as follows : " With all delight I please inform 
you that on 8th Jan. was found a headless temple 
of io-ranite sitting on a chair and printed on it." 

Theban Thieves. 261 

I will end this chapter as I began it, in the 
defence of the Theban thieves. In a place where 
every yard of ground contains antiquities, and 
where these antiquities may be so readily con- 
verted into golden guineas, can one wonder that 
every man, woman, and child makes use of his 
opportunities in this respect to better his fortune? 
The peasant does not take any interest in the 
history of mankind, and he cannot be expected to 
know that in digging out a grave and scattering 
its contents, through the agency of dealers, over 
the face of the globe, he loses for ever the facts 
which the archaeologist is striving so hard to 
obtain. The scientific excavator does not think 
, the antiquities themselves so valuable as the 
record of the exact arrangement in which they 
were found. From such data alone can he ob- 
tain his knowledofe of the manners and customs 
of this wonderful people. When two objects are 
found together, the date of one being known and 
that of the other unknown, the archaeological 
value of the find lies in the fact that the former 
will place the latter in its correct chronological 
position. But if these two objects are sold separ- 
ately, the find may perhaps lose its entire signifi- 
cance. The trained archaeologist records every 
atom of information with which he meets ; the 
native records nothing. And hence, if there is 
any value at all in the study of the history of 
mankind, illegal excavation must be stopped. 




The country of Lower Nubia lies between the First 
and Second Cataracts of the Nile. The town of 
Aswan, once famous as the frontier outpost of 
Egypt and now renowned as a winter resort for 
Europeans and Americans, stands some two or 
three miles below the First Cataract ; and two 
hundred miles southwards, at the foot of the 
Second Cataract, stands Wady Haifa. About 
half-way between these two points the little town 
of Derr nestles amidst its palms ; and here the 
single police-station of the province is situated. 
Agriculturally the land is extremely barren, for 
the merest strip of cultivation borders the river, 
and in many reaches the desert comes down to the 
water's edge. The scenery is rugged and often 
magnificent. As one sails up the Nile the rocky 
hills on either side group themselves into bold 
compositions, rising darkly above the palms and 
acacias reflected in the water. The villages, clus- 
tered on the hillsides as though grown like mush- 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 263 

rooms in the night, are not different in colour to 
the ground upon which they are built ; but here 
and there neatly whitewashed houses of consider- 
al^le size are to be observed. Now we come upon 
a tract of desert sand which rolls down to the river 
in a golden slope ; now the hills recede, leaving an 
open bay wherein there are patches of cultivated 
ground reclaimed from the wilderness ; and now a 
dense but narrow palm -grove follows the line of 
the bank for a mile or more, backed by the villages 
at the foot of the hills. 

The inhabitants are few in number. Most of 
the males have taken service as cooks, butlers, 
waiters, and bottle-washers in European houses or 
hotels throughout Egypt ; and consequently one 
sees more women than men pottering about the 
villages or working in the fields. They are a fine 
race, clean in their habits and cheery in character- 
They can be distinguished with ease from the 
Egyptian Jellahin ; for their skin has more the 
appearance of bronze, and their features are often 
more aquiline. The women do not wear the veil, 
and their dresses are draped over one shoulder in 
a manner unknown to Egypt. The method of 
dressing the hair, moreover, is quite distinctive : 
the women plait it in innumerable little strands, 
those along the forehead terminating in bead-like 
lumps of bee's-wax. The little children go nude 
for the first six or eight years of their life, though 
the girls sometimes wear around their waists a 
fringe made of thin strips of hide. The men still 

264 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

carry spears in some parts of the country, and a 
hght battle-axe is not an uncommon weapon. 

There is no railway between Aswan and Haifa, 
all traffic being conducted on the river. Almost 
continuously a stream of native troops and English 
officers passes up and down the Nile bound for 
Khartoum or Cairo ; and in the winter the tourists 
on steamers and dahahiyehs travel through the 
country in considerable numbers to visit the many 
temples which were here erected in the days when 
the land was richer than it is now. The three 
most famous ruins of Lower Nubia are those of 
Philae, just above Aswan ; Kalabsheh, some forty 
miles to the south ; and Abu Simbel, about thirty 
miles below Haifa : but besides these there are 
many buildings of importance and interest. The 
ancient remains date from all periods of Egyptian 
history ; for Lower Nubia played an important 
part in Pharaonic affairs, both by reason of its 
position as the buffer state between Egypt and 
the Sudan, and also because of its gold -mining 
industries. In old days it was divided into several 
tribal states, these being governed by the Egyptian 
Viceroy of Ethiopia ; but the country seldom re- 
volted or gave trouble, and to the present day it 
retains its reputation for peacefulness and orderly 

Owing to the building, and now the heightening, 
of the great Nile dam at Aswan, erected for the 
purpose of regulating the flow of water by hold- 
ing back in the plenteous autumn and winter the 



The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 265 

amount necessary to keep up the level in the dry 
summer months, the whole of the valley from the 
First Cataract to the neighbourhood of Derr will 
be turned into a vast reservoir, and a large number 
of temples and other ruins will be flooded. Before 
the dam was finished the temples on the island of 
Philae were strengthened and repaired so as to be 
safe from damage by the water ; and now every 
other ruin whose foundations are below the future 
high - water level has been repaired and safe- 

In 1906 and 1907 the present writer was dis- 
patched to the threatened territory to make a full 
report on the condition of the monuments there ; ^ 
and a very large sum of money was then voted for 
the work. Sir Gaston Maspero took the matter 
up in the spirit which is associated with his name ; 
Monsieur Barsanti was sent to repair and under- 
pin the temples ; French, German, and English 
scholars were engaged to make copies of the en- 
dangered inscriptions and reliefs ; and Dr Beisner, 
Mr C. Firth, and others, under the direction of 
Captain Lyons, were entrusted with the complete 
and exhaustive excavation of all the cemeteries 
and remains between the dam and the southern 
extremity of the reservoir. As a result of this 
work, not one scrap of information of any kind will 
be lost by the flooding of the country. 

As was to be expected, the building and raising 

1 Weigall : ' A Report on the Antiquities of Lower Nubia.' (De- 
partment of Antiquities, Cairo, 1907.) 

266 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

of the dam caused consternation amongst the 
archseologically interested visitors to Egypt, and 
very considerably troubled the Egyptologists. 
Philae, one of the most picturesque ruins on the 
Nile, was to be destroyed, said the more hysterical, 
and numerous other buildings were to meet with 
the same fate. A very great deal of nonsense was 
written as to the vandalism of the English ; and the 
minds of certain people were so much inflamed by 
the controversy that many regrettable words were 
spoken. The Department of Antiquities was much 
criticised for having approved the scheme, though 
it was more generally declared that the wishes of | 

that Department had not been consulted, which 
was wholly untrue. These strictures are pro- 
nounced on all sides at the present day, in spite 
of the very significant silence and imperturbation 
(not to say supination) of Egyptologists, and it 
may therefore be as well to put the matter plainly 
before the reader, since the opinion of the person 
who is in charge of the ruins in question, has, 
whether right or wrong, a sort of interest attached 
to it. 

In dealing with a question of this kind one has 
to clear from the brain the fumes of unbalanced 
thought and to behold all things with a level 
head. Strong wine is one of the lesser causes 
of insobriety, and there is often more damage 
done by intemperance of thought in matters 
of criticism than there is by actions committed 
under the influence of other forms of im- 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 267 

moderation. We are agreed that it is a sad 
spectacle which is to be observed in the Old Kent 
Road on a Saturday night, when the legs of half 
the pedestrians appear to have lost their cunning. 
We say in disgust that these people are intoxicated. 
What, then, have we to say regarding those per- 
sons whose brains are unbalanced by immoderate 
habits of thought, who are suffering from that 
primary kind of intoxication which the dictionary 
tells us is simply a condition of the mind wherein 
clear judgment is obscured ? There is sometimes 
a debauchery in the reasoning faculties of the 
polite which sends their opinions rollicking on 
their way just as drink will send a man stagger- 
ing up the highroad. Temperance and sobriety 
are virtues which in their relation to thought 
have a greater value than they possess in any 
other regard ; and we stand in more urgent need 
of missionaries to preach to us sobriety of opinion, 
a sort of critical teetotalism, than ever a drunkard 
stood in want of a pledge. 

This case of Philae and the Lower Nubian 
temples illustrates my meaning. On the one 
hand there are those who tell us that the island 
temple, far from being damaged by its flooding, 
is benefited thereby ; and on the other hand there 
are persons who urge that the engineers concerned 
in the making of the reservoir should be tarred 
and feathered to a man. Both these views are 
distorted and intemperate. Let us endeavour to 
straighten up our opinions, to walk them soberly 

268 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

and decorously before us in an atmosphere of 

It will be agreed by all those who know Egypt 
that a great dam was necessary, and it will be 
admitted that no reach of the Nile below Wady 
Haifa could be converted into a reservoir with so 
little detriment to modern interests as that of 
Lower Nubia. Here there were very few cul- 
tivated fields to be inundated and a very small 
number of people to be dislodged. There were, 
however, these important ruins which would be 
flooded by such a reservoir, and the engineers 
therefore made a most serious attempt to find 
some other site for the building. A careful study 
of the Nile valley showed that the present site 
of the dam was the only spot at which a building 
of this kind could be set up without immensely 
increasing the cost of erection and greatly adding 
to the general difficulties and the possible dangers of 
the undertaking. The engineers had, therefore, to 
ask themselves whether the damage to the temples 
weighed against these considerations, whether it 
was right or not to expend the extra sum from the 
taxes. The answer was plain enough. They were 
of opinion that the temples would not be appreci- 
ably damaged by their flooding. They argued, very 
justly, that the buildings would be under water 
for only five months in each year, and for seven 
months the ruins would appear to be precisely 
as they always had been. It was not necessary, 
then, to state the loss of money and the added 

'.' ' ^'' ' 

CC ■• S C c ^( 

<cr c 

c • c 
« c c 

c c c C 

c c c c 







Pl. XXV. 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 269 

inconveniences on the one hand against the total 
loss of the temples on the other. It was simply 
needful to ask whether the temporary and ap- 
parently harmless inundation of the ruins each 
year was worth avoiding at the cost of several 
millions of precious Government money ; and, 
looking at it purely from an administrative point 
of view, remembering that public money had to 
be economised and inextravagantly dealt with, I 
do not see that the answer given was in any way 
outrageous. Philae and the other temples were 
not to be harmed : they were but to be closed to 
the public, so to speak, for the winter months. 

This view of the question is not based upon 
any error. In regard to the possible destruction 
of Philae by the force of the water, Mr Somers 
Clarke, F.S.A., whose name is known all over the 
world in connection with his work at St Paul's 
Cathedral and elsewhere, states definitely^ that 
he is convinced that the temples will not be over- 
thrown by the flood, and his opinion is shared 
by all those who have studied the matter care- 
fully. Of course it is possible that, in spite of 
all the works of consolidation which have been 
effected, some cracks may appear ; but during the 
months when the temple is out of water each year, 
these may be repaired. I cannot see that there 
is the least danger of an extensive collapse of the 
buildings ; but should this occur, the entire temple 
will have to be removed and set up elsewhere. 

1 Proc. Soc. Antiq., April 20, 1898. 

270 The Presen-ation of the Treasun-. 

Each summer and autumn when the water goes 
down and the buildings once more stand as they 
did m the days of the Ptolemies and Eomans. we 
shall have ample rime and opportunity to discuss 
the situation and to take all proper steps for the 
safeofuardino; of the temples against further 
damao-e ; and even were we to be confronted by 
a mass of fallen ruins, scattered pell-mell over the 
island bv the power of the water, I am convinced 
that everv block could be replaced before the llood 
rose aofain. The temple of Maharraka was entirely 
rebuilt in three or four weeks. 

Xow. as to the etiecr o^ the water upon the 
reliefs and inscriptions with which the walls of 
the temples at Philae are covered. In June 1905 
I reported^ that a slight disintegration of the sur- 
face of the stone was noticeable, and that the 
sharp lines of the hieroglyphs had become some- 
what blurred. This is due to the action of the 
salts in the sandstone : but these salts have now 
disappeared, and the disintegration will not con- 
tinue. The Report on the Temples of Philae, 
issued by the Ministry of Public Works in 190S, 
makes this quite clear ; and I may add that the 
proof of the statement is to be found at the many 
points on the Xile where there are the remains 
of quay walls dating from Pharaonic times. Many 
of these quays are constructed of inscribed blocks 
of a stone precisely similar in quality to that used 
at Philae : and although they have been sub- 

1 Les A:.: ...ei du Service des Antiquites d'Egypte,'viL 1, p. 74 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 271 

merged for many hundreds of years, the hnes of 
the hieroglyphs are almost as sharp now as they 
ever were. The action of the water appears to 
have little effect upon sandstone, and it may thus 
be safely predicted that the reliefs and inscriptions 
at Philae will not suffer. 

There still remain some traces of colour upon 
certain reliefs, and these will disappear. But 
archaeologically the loss will be insignificant, and 
artistically it will not be much felt. With regard 
to the colour upon the capitals of the columns 
in the Hall of Isis, however, one must admit 
that its destruction would be a grave loss to us, 
and it is to be hoped that the capitals will be 
removed and replaced by dummies, or else most 
carefully copied in facsimile. 

Such is the case of Philae when looked at from 
a practical point of view. Artistically and senti- 
mentally, of course, one deeply regrets the flooding 
of the temple. Philae with its palms was a very 
charming sight, and although the island still looks 
very picturesque each year when the flood has 
receded and the cnround is covered with i^jrasses 
and vegetation, it will not again possess quite the 
ma^ic that once caused it to be known as the 
"pearl of Egypt." But these are considerations 
which are to be taken into account with very 
great caution as standing against the interest of 
modern Egypt. If Philae were to be destroyed, 
one might, very properly, desire that modern 
interests should not receive sole consideration ; 

272 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

but it is not to be destroyed, or even much 
damaged, and consequently the lover of Philae 
has but two objections to offer to the operations 
now proceeding : firstly, that the temples will be 
hidden from sight during a part of each year ; 
and secondly, that water is an incongruous and 
unharmonious element to introduce into the 
sanctuaries of the gods. 

Let us consider these two objections. As to 
the hiding of the temple under the water, we 
have to consider to what class of people the 
examination of the ruins is necessary. Archse- 
ologists, ofiicials, residents, students, and all 
natives, are able to visit the place in the autumn, 
when the island stands high and dry, and the 
weather is not uncomfortably hot. Every person 
who desires to see Philae in its original condition 
can arrange to make his journey to Lower Nubia 
in the autumn or early winter. It is only the 
ordinary winter tourist who will find the ruins 
lost to view beneath the brown waters ; and 
while his wishes are certainly to be consulted to 
some extent, there can be no question that the 
fortunes of the Egyptian farmers must receive 
the prior attention. And as to the incongruity 
of the introduction of the water into these sacred 
precincts, one may first remark that water stands 
each year in the temples of Karnak, Luxor, the 
Ramesseum, Shenhur, Esneh, and many another, 
introduced by the natural rise of the Nile, thus 
giving us a quieting familiarity with such a con- 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 273 

dition ; and one may further point out that the 
presence of water in the buildings is not (speaking 
arch geologically) more discordant than that of the 
palms and acacias which clustered around the ruins 
previous to the building of the dam, and gave 
Philae its peculiar charm. Both water and trees 
are out of place in a temple once swept and 
garnished, and it is only a habit of thought that 
makes the trees which grow in such ruins more 
congruous to the eye than water lapping around 
the pillars and taking the fair reflections of the 

What remains, then, of the objections? Nothing, 
except an undefined sense of dismay that persists 
in spite of all arguments. There are few persons 
who will not feel this sorrow at the flooding of 
Philae, who will not groan inwardly as the water 
rises ; and yet I cannot too emphatically repeat 
that there is no real cause for this apprehension 
and distress. 

A great deal of damage has been done to the 
prestige of the archaeologist by the ill-considered 
outbursts of those persons who have allowed this 
natural perturbation to have full sway in their 
minds. The man or woman who has protested 
the loudest has seldom been in a position even 
to offer an opinion. Thus every temperate thinker 
has come to feel a greater distaste for the pro- 
paganda of those persons who would have hindered 
the erection of the dam than for the actual effects 
of its erection. Vegetarians, Anti-Vivisectionists, 


274 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

Militant Suffragists, Little Englanders, and the 
like, have taught us to beware of the signs and 
tokens of the unbalanced mind ; and it becomes 
the duty of every healthy person to fly from the 
contamination of their hysteria, even though the 
principles which lie at the base of their doctrines 
may not be entirely without reason. We must 
avoid hasty and violent judgment as we would 
the plague. No honest man will deny that the 
closing of Philae for half the year is anything 
but a very regrettable necessity ; but it has come 
to this pass, that a self-respecting person will be 
very chary in admitting that he is not mightily 
well satisfied with the issue of the whole business. 
Recently a poetic effusion has been published 
bewailing the "death" of Philae, and because 
the author is famous the world over for the 
charm of his writing, it has been read, and its 
lament has been echoed by a large number of 
persons. It is necessary to remind the reader, 
however, that because a man is a great artist it 
does not follow that he has a sober judgment. 
The outward appearance, and a disordered opinion 
on matters of everyday life, are often sufficient 
indication of this intemperance of mind which is 
so grave a human failing, A man and his art, of 
course, are not to be confused ; and perhaps it is 
unfair to assess the art by the artist, but there 
are many persons who will understand my meaning 
when I suggest that it is extremely difficult to 
give serious attention to writers or speakers 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 275 

of a certain class. Philae is not dead. It 
may safely be said that the temples will last 
as long as the dam itself Let us never forget 
that Past and Present walk hand in hand, and, 
as between friends, there must always be much 
" give and take." How many millions of pounds, 
I wonder, has been spent by the Government, from 
the revenues derived from the living Egyptians, 
for the excavation and preservation of the records 
of the past ? Will the dead not make, in return, 
this sacrifice for the benefit of the striving farmers 
whose money has been used for the resuscitation 
of their history ? 

A great deal has been said regarding the de- 
struction of the ancient inscriptions which are 
cut in such numbers upon the granite rocks in 
the region of the First Cataract, many of which 
are of great historical importance. Vast quanti- 
ties of granite have been quarried for the building 
of the dam, and fears have been expressed that 
in the course of this work these grafiiti may have 
been blasted into powder. It is necessary to say, 
therefore, that w^ith the exception of one inscrip- 
tion which was damaged when the first quarrymen 
set to work upon the preliminary tests for suitable 
stone, not a single hieroglyph has been harmed. 
The present writer numbered all the inscriptions 
in white paint and marked out quarrying conces- 
sions, while several watchmen were set to guard 
these important relics. In this work, as in all 
else, the Department of Antiquities received the 

276 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

most generous assistance from the Department 
concerned with the building of the dam ; and I 
should like to take this opportunity of saying that 
archaeologists owe a far greater debt to the officials 
in charge of the various works at Aswan than they 
do to the bulk of their own fellow-workers. The 
desire to save every scrap of archaeological infor- 
mation has been dominant in the minds of all 
concerned in the work throughout the whole 

Besides the temples of Philae there are several 
other ruins which will be flooded in part by the 
water when the heightening of the reservoir is 
completed. On the island of Bigeh, over against 
Philae, there is a little temple of no great historical 
value which will pass under water. The cemeteries 
on this island, and also on the mainland in this 
neighbourhood, have been completely excavated, 
and have yielded most important information. 
Farther up stream there stands the little temple 
of Dabod. This has been repaired and strength- 
ened, and will not come to any harm ; while all 
the cemeteries in the vicinity, of course, have 
been cleared out. We next come to the fortress 
and quarries of Kertassi, which will be partly 
flooded. These have been put into good order, 
and there need be no fear of their being damaged. 
The temple of Tafeh, a few miles farther to the 
south, has also been safeguarded, and all the 
ancient graves have been excavated. 

Next comes the great temple of Kalabsheh 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 277 

which, in 1907, when my report was made, was 
in a sorry state. The great hall was filled with 
the ruins of the fallen colonnade and its roof; the 
hypostyle hall was a mass of tumbled blocks over 
which the visitor was obliged to climb ; and all 
the courts and chambers were heaped up with 
debris. Now, however, all this has been set to 
rights, and the temple stands once more in its 
glory. The water will flood the lower levels of 
the building each year for a few months, but there 
is no chance of a collapse taking place, and the 
only damage which is to be anticipated is the loss 
of the colour upon the reliefs in the inner cham- 
bers, and the washing away of some later Coptic 
paintings, already hardly distinguishable, in the 
first hall. 

The temple is not very frequently visited, and 
it cannot be said that its closing for each winter 
will be keenly felt ; and since it will certainly 
come to no harm under the gentle Nile, I do not 
see that its fate need cause any consternation. 
Let those who are able visit this fine ruin in 
the early months of winter, and they will be 
rewarded for their trouble by a view of a magni- 
ficent temple in what can only be described as 
apple-pie order. I venture to think that a building 
of this kind washed by the water is a more in- 
spiring sight than a tumbled mass of ruins ris- 
ing from amidst an encroaching jumble of native 

Farther up the river stands the temple of 

278 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

Dendur, This will be partly inundated, though 
the main portion of the building stands above 
the highest level of the reservoir. Extensive 
repairs have been carried out here, and every 
grave in the vicinity has been examined. The 
fortress of Koshtamneh, which is made of mud- 
bricks, will be for the most part destroyed ; but 
now that a complete record of this construction 
has been made, the loss is insignificant. Some- 
what farther to the south stands the imposing 
temple of Dakkeh, the lower levels of which will 
be flooded. This temple has been most extensively 
patched up and strengthened, and no damage of 
any kind will be caused by its inundation. The 
vast cemeteries in the neighbourhood have all been 
excavated, and the remains of the town have been 
thoroughly examined. Still farther to the south 
stands the mud-brick fortress of Kubban, which, 
like Koshtamneh, will be partly destroyed ; but 
the detailed excavations and records which have 
here been made will prevent any loss being felt by 
archaeologists. Finally, the temple of Maharraka 
requires to be mentioned. This building in 1907 
was a complete ruin, but it was carefully rebuilt, 
and now it is quite capable of withstanding the 
pressure of the water. From this point to the 
southern end of the new reservoir there are no 
temples below the new flood-level ; and by the 
time that the water is raised every grave and 
other relic along the entire banks of the river 
will have been examined. 

The Flooding of Lower Nubia. 279 

To complete these works it is proposed to erect 
a museum at Aswan wherein the antiquities dis- 
covered in Lower Nubia should be exhibited ; and 
a permanent collection of objects illustrating the 
arts, crafts, and industries of Lower Nubia at all 
periods of its history, should be displayed. It is 
a question whether money will he found for the 
executing- of this scheme ; but there can be no 
doubt that a museum of this kind, situated at 
the virtual capital of Lower Nubia, would be a 
most valuable institution. 

In 1907 the condition of the monuments of 
Lower Nubia was very bad. The temples already 
mentioned were in a most deplorable state ; the 
cemeteries were being robbed, and there was no 
proper organisation for the protection of the 
ancient sites. There are, moreover, several 
temples above the level of high water, and these 
were also in a sad condition. Gerf Husen was 
both dirty and dilapidated ; Wady Sabua was 
deeply buried in sand ; Amada was falling to 
pieces ; Derr was the receptacle for the refuse 
of the town ; and even Abu Simbel itself was 
in a dangerous state. In my report I gave a 
gloomy picture indeed of the plight of the monu- 
ments. But now all this is changed. Sir Gaston 
Maspero made several personal visits to the 
country ; every temple was set in order ; many 
new watchmen were appointed ; and to-day this 
territory may be said to be the "show" portion 
of this inspectorate. Now, it must be admitted 

28o The Preservation of the Treasury. 

that the happy change is due solely to the atten- 
tion to which the country was subjected by reason 
of its flooding ; and it is not the less true because 
it ia paradoxical that the proposed submersion of 
certain temples has saved all the Lower Nubian 
monuments from rapid destruction at the hands 
of robbers, ignorant natives, and barbarous 
European visitors. What has been lost in Philae 
has been gained a thousand-fold in the repairing 
and safeguarding of the temples, and in the 
scientific excavation of the cemeteries farther to 
the south. 

Here, then, is the sober fact of the matter. Are 
the English and Egyptian officials such vandals 
who have voted over a hundred thousand pounds 
for the safeguarding of the monuments of Lower 
Nubia ? What country in the whole world has 
spent such vast sums of money upon the preserva- 
tion of the relics of the Past as has Egypt during 
the last five- and- twenty years ? The Government 
has treated the question throughout in a fair and 
generous manner ; and those who rail at the 
officials will do well to consider seriously the re- 
marks which I have dared to make upon the 
subject of temperate criticism. 




In this chapter I propose to state the case in 
favour of the archaeologist who works abroad in 
the field, in contrast to him who studies at home 
in the museum, in the hope that others will 
follow the example of that scholar to whom this 
volume is dedicated, who does both. 

I have said in a previous chapter that the 
archaeologist is generally considered to be a kind 
of rag-and-bone man: one who, sitting all his 
life in a dusty room, shuns the touch of the 
wind and takes no pleasure in the vanities under 
the sun. Actually, this is not so very often a 
true description of him. The ease with which 
long journeys are now undertaken, the immunity 
from insult or peril which the traveller now 
enjoys, have made it possible for the archaeologist 
to seek his information at its source in almost 
all the countries of the world ; and he is not 
obliged, as was his grandfather, to take it at 
second - hand from the volumes of mediaeval 
scholars. Moreover, the necessary collections of 

282 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

books of reference are now to be found in very 
diverse places ; and thus it comes about that 
there are plenty of archaeologists who are able 
to leave their own museums and studies for 
limited periods. 

And as regards his supposed untidy habits, 
the phase of cleanliness which, like a purifying 
wind, descended suddenly upon the world in the 
second half of the nineteenth century, has 
penetrated even to libraries and museums, re- 
moving every speck of dust therefrom. The 
archaeologist, when engaged in the sedentary side 
of his profession, lives nowadays in an atmo- 
sphere charged with the odours of furniture- 
polish and monkey -brand. A place less dusty 
than the Victoria and Albert Museum in South 
Kensington, or than the Ashmolean Museum at 
Oxford, could not easily be imagined. The dis- 
gusting antiquarian of a past generation, with 
his matted locks and stained clothing, could but 
be ill at ease in such surroundings, and could 
claim no brotherhood with the majority of the 
present - day archaeologists. Cobwebs are now 
taboo ; and the misguided old man who dwelt 
amongst them is seldom to be found outside of 
caricature, save in the more remote corners of 
the land. 

The archaeologist in these days, then, is not 
often confined permanently to his museum, though 
in many cases he remains there as much as pos- 

> > > > I 1 

"' » . - * • , 

[/"//o/tf /^ //■. Carter. 

A relief representing- Queen Tiy, from tlie tomb o\ I'serliat at Thebes. 
This rehef was stolen from the tomb, and foiiiul its way to the 
Brussels Museum, where it is shown in tlie damaijed eonditioii 
seen in Plate xxvii. 

Pl. XXVI. 

c < ' ' , ' I 
tc c <: « t c 
c c «* c < 

Archaeology in the Open. 283 

sible ; and still less often is he a person of ob- 
jectionable appearance. The science is generally 
represented by two classes of scholar : the man 
who sits in the museum or library for the greater 
part of his life, and lives as though he would be 
worthy of the furniture-polish, and the man who 
works in the field for a part of the year and then 
lives as though he regarded the clean airs of 
heaven in even higher estimation. Thus, in argu- 
ing the case for the field- worker, as I propose 
here to do, there is no longer the easy target of 
the dusty antiquarian at which to hurl the javelin. 
One cannot merely urge a musty individual to 
come out into the open air : that would make 
an easy argument. One has to take aim at the 
less vulnerable person of the scholar who chooses 
to spend the greater part of his time in a smart 
gallery of exhibits or in a well-ordered and spot- 
less library, and whose only fault is that he is too 
fond of those places. One may no longer tease 
him about his dusty surroundings ; but I think it 
is possible to accuse him of setting a very bad 
example by his affection for " home comforts," 
and of causing indirectly no end of mischief. It 
is a fact that there are many Greek scholars who 
are so accustomed to read their texts in printed 
books that they could not make head nor tail 
of an oriofinal document written in a cursive 
Greek hand ; and there are not a few students 
of Egyptian archaeology who do not know the 

284 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

conditions and phenomena of the country suffi- 
ciently to prevent the occurrence of occasional 
"howlers" in the exposition of their theories. 

There are three main arguments which may be 
set forward to induce Egyptologists to come as 
often as possible to Egypt, and to urge their 
students to do so, instead of educating the mind 
to the habit of working at home. 

Firstly, the study of archaeology in the open 
helps to train up young men in the path of 
health in which they should go. Work in the 
Egyptian desert, for example, is one of the most 
healthy and inspiring pursuits that could be 
imagined ; and study in the shrines overlooking 
the Nile, where, as at Gebel Silsileh, one has to 
dive into the cool river and swim to the sun- 
scorched scene of one's work, is surely more 
invigorating than study in the atmosphere of 
the British Museum. A gallop up to the Tombs 
of the Kings puts a man in a readier mood for a 
morning's work than does a drive in an omnibus 
along the Tottenham Court Road ; and he will feel 
a keenness as he pulls out his note-book that he 
can never have experienced in his western city. 
There is, moreover, a certain amount of what is 
called "roughing it" to be endured by the arch- 
aeologist in Egypt ; and thus the body becomes 
toughened and prepared for any necessary spurt 
of work. To rough it in the open is the best 
medicine for tired heads, as it is the finest tonic 
for brains in a normal condition. 

Archaeology in the Open. 285 

In parenthesis an explanation must be given 
of what is meant here by that much misunder- 
stood condition of life which is generally known 
as " roughing it," A man who is accustomed 
to the services of two valets will believe that 
he is roughing it when he is left to put the 
diamond studs in his evening shirts with his 
own fingers ; and a man who has tramped the 
roads all his life will hardly consider that he is 
roughing it when he is outlawed upon the un- 
sheltered moors in late autumn. The degree of 
hardship to which I refer lies between these two 
extremes. The science of Egyptology does not 
demand from its devotees a performance of many 
extreme acts of discomfort ; but, during the pro- 
gress of active work, it does not afford many 
opportunities for luxurious self-indulgence, or for 
any slackness in the taking of exercise. 

As a protest against the dilettante antiquarian 
(who is often as objectionable a character as the 
unwashed scholar) there are certain archseolosfists 
who wear the modern equivalent of a hair shirt, 
who walk abroad with pebbles in their shoes, and 
who speak of the sitting upon an easy-chair as a 
moral set-back. The strained and posed life which 
such savants lead is not to be regarded as a rough 
one ; for there is constant luxury in the thought of 
their own toughness, and infinite comfort in the 
sense of superiority which they permit themselves 
to feel. It is not roughing it to feed from a bare 
board when a tablecloth adds insignificantly to the 

286 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

impedimenta of the camp : it is pretending to rough 
it. It is not roughing it to eat tinned food out of 
the tin when a plate costs a penny or two : it is 
either hypocrisy or slovenhness. 

To rough it is to lead an exposed life under con- 
ditions which preclude the possibility of indulging 
in certain comforts which, in their place and at the 
right time, are enjoyed and appreciated. A man 
may well be said to rough it when he camps in the 
open, and dispenses with the luxuries of civilisa- 
tion ; when he pours a jug of w^ater over himself 
instead of lying in ecstasy in an enamelled bath ; 
eats a meal of two undefined courses instead of 
one of five or six ; twangs a banjo to the moon 
instead of ravishing his ear with a sonata upon 
the grand piano; rolls himself in a blanket in- 
stead of sitting over the library fire ; turns in at 
9 P.M. and rises ere the sun has topped the hills 
instead of keeping late hours and lying abed ; 
sleeps on the ground or upon a narrow camp- 
bed (which occasionally collapses) instead of 
sprawling at his ease in a four-poster. 

A life of this kind cannot fail to be of benefit 
to the health ; and, after all, the work of a healthy 
man is likely to be of greater value than that of 
one who is anaemic or out of condition. It is 
the first duty of a scholar to give attention to his 
muscles, for he, more than other men, has the 
opportunity to become enfeebled by indoor work. 
Few students can give sufiicient time to physical 
exercise ; but in Egypt the exercise is taken 

Archaeology in the Open. 287 

during the course of the work, and not an hour 
is wasted. The muscles harden and the health 
is ensured without the expending of a moment's 
thought upon the subject. 

Archaeology is too often considered to be the 
pursuit of weak-chested youths and eccentric old 
men : it is seldom regarded as a possible vocation 
for normal persons of sound health and balanced 
mind. An athletic and robust young man, clothed 
in the ordinary costume of a gentleman, will tell 
a new acquaintance that he is an Egyptologist, 
whereupon the latter wdll exclaim in surprise : 
"Not really? — you don't look like one." A kind 
of mystery surrounds the science. The layman 
supposes the antiquarian to be a very profound 
and erudite person, who has pored over his 
books since a baby, and has shunned those games 
and sports which generally make for a healthy 
constitution. The study of Egyptology is thought 
to require a depth of knowledge that places its 
students outside the limits of normal learning, 
and presupposes in them an unhealthy amount of 
schooling. This, of course, is absurd. 

Nobody would expect an engineer who built 
bridges and dams, or a great military commander, 
to be a seedy individual with longish hair, pale 
face, and weak eyesight ; and yet probably he has 
twice the brain capacity of the average archaeolo- 
gist. It is because the life of the antiquarian is, 
or is generally thought to be, unhealthy and slug- 
gish that he is so universally regarded as a worm. 

288 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

Some attempt should be made to rid the science 
of this forbidding aspect ; and for this end students 
ought to do their best to make it possible for them 
to be regarded as ordinary, normal, healthy men. 
Let them discourage the popular belief that they 
are prodigies, freaks of mental expansion. Let 
their first desire be to show themselves good, 
useful, hardy, serviceable citizens or subjects, and 
they will do much to remove the stigma from their 
profession. Let them be acquainted with the 
feeling of a bat or racket in the hands, or a saddle 
between the knees ; let them know the rough path 
over the mountains, or the diving-pool amongst the 
rocks, and their mentality will not be found to 
suffer. A winter's " roughing it " in the Theban 
necropolis or elsewhere would do much to banish 
the desire for perpetual residence at home in the 
west ; and a season in Egypt would alter the point 
of view of the student more considerably than he 
could imagine. Moreover, the appearance of the 
scholar prancing about upon his fiery steed (even 
though it be but an Egyptian donkey) will help to 
dispel the current belief that he is incapable of 
physical exertion ; and his reddened face rising, like 
the morning sun, above the rocks on some steep 
pathway over the Theban hills will give the 
passer-by cause to alter his opinion of those who 
profess and call themselves Egyptologists. 

As a second argument a subject must be intro- 
duced which will be distasteful to a large number 
of archaeologists. I refer to the narrow-minded 

Archaeology in the Open. 289 

policy of the curators of certain European and 
American museums, whose desire it is at all costs 
to place Egyptian and other eastern antiquities 
actually before the eyes of western students, in 
order that they and the public may have the 
entertainment of examining at home the wonders 
of lands which they make no effort to visit. I 
have no hesitation in saying that the craze for 
recklessly bringing away unique antiquities from 
Egypt to be exhibited in western museums for the 
satisfaction of the untravelled man, is the most 
pernicious bit of folly to be found in the whole 
broad realm of archaeoloefical misbehaviour, 

A museum has three main justifications for its 
existence. In the first place, like a home for lost 
dogs, it is a repository for stray objects. No 
curator should endeavour to procure for his 
museum any antiquity which could be safely 
exhibited on its original sight and in its original 
position. He should receive only those stray 
objects which otherwise would be lost to sight, 
or those which would be in danger of destruction. 
The curator of a picture gallery is perfectly justi- 
fied in purchasing any old master which is legiti- 
mately on sale; but he is not justified in obtaining 
a painting direct from the walls of a church where 
it has hung for centuries, and where it should still 
hang. In the same way a curator of a museum of 
antiquities should make it his first endeavour not 
so much to obtain objects direct from Egypt as to 
gather in those antiquities which are in the pos- 


290 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

session of private persons who cannot be expected 
to look after them with due care. 

In the second place, a museum is a store-house 
for historical documents such as papyri and 
ostraca, and in this respect it is simply to be 
regarded as a kind of public library, capable of 
unlimited and perfectly legitimate expansion. 
Such objects are not often found by robbers in the 
tombs which they have violated, nor are they 
snatched from temples to which they belong. 
They are almost always found accidentally, and in 
a manner which precludes any possibility of their 
actual position having much significance. The 
immediate purchase, for example, by museum 
agents of the Tell el Amarna tablets — the corre- 
spondence of a great Pharaoh — which had been 
discovered by accident, and would perhaps have 
been destroyed, was most wise. 

In the third place, a museum is a permanent 
exhibition for the instruction of the public, and 
for the enlightenment of students desirous of 
obtaining comparative knowledge in any one 
branch of their work, and for this purpose it 
should be well supplied not so much with ori- 
ginal antiquities as with casts, facsimiles, models, 
and reproductions of all sorts. 

To be a serviceable exhibition both for the 
student and the public a museum does not need 
to possess only original antiquities. On the con- 
trary, as a repository for stray objects, a museum 
is not to be expected to have a complete series of 

Archaeology in the Open. 291 

original antiquities in any class, nor is it the busi- 
ness of the curator to attempt to fill up the gaps 
by purchase, except in special cases. To do so is 
to encourage the straying of other objects. The 
curator so often labours under the delusion that it 
is his first business to collect together as large a 
number as possible of valuable masterpieces. In 
reality that is a very secondary matter. His first 
business, if he is an Egyptologist, is to see that 
Egyptian masterpieces remain in Egypt so far 
as is practicable ; and his next is to save what has 
irrevocably strayed from straying further. If the 
result of this policy is a poor collection, then he 
must devote so much the more time and money 
to obtaining facsimiles and reproductions. The 
keeper of a home for lost dogs does not search 
the city for a collie with red spots to complete his 
series of collies, or for a peculiarly elongated dachs- 
hund to head his procession of those animals. 
The fewer dogs he has got the better he is 
pleased, since this is an indication that a larger 
number are in safe keeping in their homes. The 
home of Egyptian antiquities is Egypt, a fact 
which will become more and more realised as 
travelling is facilitated. 

But the curator generally has the insatiable 
appetite of the collector. The authorities of one 
museum bid vigorously against those of another 
at the auction which constantly goes on in the 
shops of the dealers in antiquities. They pay 
huge prices for original statues, vases, or sar- 

292 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

cophagi : prices which would procure for them the 
finest series of casts or facsimiles, or would give 
them valuable additions to their legitimate collec- 
tion of papyri. And what is it all for ? It is not 
for the benefit of the general public, who could not 
tell the difference between a genuine antiquity 
and a forgery or reproduction, and who would be 
perfectly satisfied with the ordinary, miscellaneous 
collection of minor antiquities. It is not for that 
class of Egyptologist which endeavours to study 
Egyptian antiquities in Egypt. It is almost solely 
for the benefit of the student and scholar who 
cannot, or will not, go to Egypt. Soon it comes 
to be the curator's pride to observe that savants 
are hastening to his museum to make their 
studies. His civic conceit is tickled by the 
spectacle of Egyptologists travelling long dis- 
tances to take notes in his metropolitan museum. 
He delights to be able to say that the student can 
study Egyptology in his well-ordered galleries as 
easily as he can in Egypt itself 

All this is as wrong - headed as it can be. 
While he is fillino: his museum he does not seem 
to understand that he is denuding every necro- 
polis in Egypt. I will give one or two instances 
of the destruction wrought by western museums. 
I take them at random from my memory. 

In the year 1900 the then Inspector-General 
of Antiquities in Upper Egypt discovered a tomb 
at Thebes in which there was a beautiful relief 
sculptured on one of the walls, representing Queen 

. f r C 

. 5 / '. 

• • • • . • . • 

• • • •• • • 

• • • • • « 

^".it'iy;-..:': :..::\ ,^ 

{Photo by J. Capart. 

A relief representing- Queen Tiy, from the tomb of Userhat, Thebes. 
—Brussels Museum. (See PI. xxvi.) 

Pl. xxvii. 

Archaeology in the Open. 293 

Tiy. This he photographed (Plate XXVL), and 
the tomb was once more buried. In 1908 I chanced 
upon this monument, and proposed to open it up 
as a " show place " for visitors ; but alas ! — the 
relief of the queen had disappeared, and only a 
gaping hole in the wall remained. It appears 
that robbers had entered the tomb at about the 
time of the change of inspectors ; and, realising 
that this relief would make a valuable exhibit for 
some western museum, they had cut out of the 
wall as much as they could conveniently carry 
away — namely, the head and upper part of the 
figure of Tiy. The hieroglyphic inscription which 
was sculptured near the head was carefully erased, 
in case it should contain some reference to the 
name of the tomb from which they were taking 
the fragment ; and over the face some false in- 
scriptions were scribbled in Greek characters, so 
as to give the stone an unrecognisable appearance. 
In this condition it was conveyed to a dealer's 
shop, and it now forms one of the exhibits in the 
Royal Museum at Brussels. The photograph on 
Plate XXVII. shows the fragment as it appears 
after being cleaned. 

In the same museum, and in others also, there 
are fragments of beautiful sculpture hacked out 
of the walls of the famous tomb of Khaemhat at 
Thebes. In the British Museum there are large 
pieces of wall - paintings broken out of Theban 
tombs. The famous inscription in the tomb of 
Anena at Thebes, which was one of the most 

294 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

important texts of the early XVIIIth Dynasty, 
was smashed to pieces several years ago to be 
sold in small sections to museums ; and the scholar 
to whom this volume is dedicated was instru- 
mental in purchs^sing back for us eleven of the 
fragments, which have now been replaced in the 
tomb, and, with certain fragments in Europe, form 
the sole remnant of the once imposing stela. One 
of the most important scenes out of the famous 
reliefs of the Expedition to Fount, at Der el Bahri, 
found its way into the hands of the dealers, and 
was ultimately purchased by our museum in Cairo. 
The beautiful and important reliefs which dec- 
orated the tomb of Horemheb at Sakkara, hacked 
out of the walls by robbers, are now exhibited in 
six different museums : London, Leyden, Vienna, 
Bologna, Alexandria, and Cairo. Of the two hun- 
dred tombs of the nobles now to be seen at Thebes, 
I cannot, at the moment, recall a single one which 
has not suffered in this manner at some time pre- 
vious to the organisation of the present strict 

The curators of western museums will argue 
that had they not purchased these fragments they 
would have fallen into the hands of less desirable 
owners. This is quite true, and, indeed, it forms 
the nearest approach to justification that can be 
discovered. Nevertheless, it has to be remem- 
bered that this purchasing of antiquities is the 
best stimulus to the robber, who is well aware 
that a market is always to be found for his stolen 

Archaeology in the Open. 295 

goods. It may seem difficult to censure the pur- 
chaser, for certainly the fragments were " stray " 
when the bargain was struck, and it is the busi- 
ness of the curator to collect stray antiquities. 
But why were they stray ? Why were they ever 
cut from the walls of the Egyptian monuments ? 
Assuredly because the robbers knew that museums 
would purchase them. If there had been no de- 
mand there would have been no supply. 

To ask the curators to change their policy, and 
to purchase only those objects which are legiti- 
mately on sale, would, of course, be as futile as 
to ask the nations to disarm. The rivalry be- 
tween museum and museum would alone prevent 
a cessation of this indiscriminate traffic. I can 
see only one way in which a more sane and moral 
attitude can be introduced, and that is by the 
development of the habit of visiting Egypt and 
of working upon archaeological subjects in the 
shadow of the actual monuments. Only the per- 
son who is familiar with Egypt can know the cost 
of supplying the stay-at-home scholar with ex- 
hibits for his museums. Only one who has resided 
in Egypt can understand the fact that Egypt 
itself is the true museum for Egyptian antiquities. 
He alone can appreciate the work of the Egyptian 
Government in preserving the remains of ancient 

The resident in Egypt, interested in archaeology, 
comes to look with a kind of horror upon museums, 
and to feel extraordinary hostility to what may 

296 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

be called the museum spirit. He sees with his 
own eyes the half-destroyed tombs, which to the 
museum curator are things far off and not visual- 
ised. While the curator is blandly saying to his 
visitor : " See, I will now show you a beautiful 
fragment of sculpture from a distant and little- 
known Theban tomb," the white resident in Egypt, 
with black murder in his heart, is saying : " See, 
I will show you a beautiful tomb of which the 
best part of one wall is utterly destroyed that a 
fragment might be hacked out for a distant and 
little-known European museum." 

To a resident in Europe, Egypt seems to be a 
strange and barbaric land, far, far away beyond 
the hills and seas ; and her monuments are 
thought to be at the mercy of wild Bedwin 
Arabs. In the less recent travel books there is 
not a published drawing of a temple in the Nile 
valley but has its complement of Arab figures 
grouped in picturesque attitudes. Here a fire is 
being lit at the base of a column, and the black 
smoke curls upwards to destroy the paintings 
thereon ; here a group of children sport upon the 
lap of a colossal statue ; and here an Arab tethers 
his camel at the steps of the high altar. It is 
felt, thus, that the objects exhibited in European 
museums have been rescued from Egypt and re- 
covered from a distant land. This is not so. 
They have been snatched from Egypt and lost 
to the country of their origin. 

He who is well acquainted with Egypt knows 

Archaeology in the Open. 297 

that hundreds of watchmen, and a small army 
of inspectors, engineers, draughtsmen, surveyors, 
and other officials now guard these monuments, 
that strong iron gates bar the doorways against 
unauthorised visitors, that hourly patrols pass 
from monument to monument, and that any 
damage done is punished by long terms of im- 
prisonment ; he knows that the Egyptian Govern- 
ment spends hundreds of thousands of pounds 
upon safeguarding the ancient remains ; he is 
aware that the organisation of the Department 
of Antiquities is an extremely important branch 
of the Ministry of Public Works. He has seen 
the temples swept and garnished, the tombs lit 
with electric light, and the sanctuaries carefully 
rebuilt. He has spun out to the Pyramids in the 
electric tram or in a taxi-cab ; has strolled in even- 
ing dress and opera hat through the halls of 
Karnak, after dinner at the hotel ; and has rung 
up the Theban Necropolis on the telephone. 

A few seasons' residence in Egypt shifts the 
point of view in a startling manner. No longer 
is the country either distant or insecure ; and, 
realising this, the student becomes more balanced, 
and he sees both sides of the question with equal 
clearness. The archaeologist may complain that it 
is too expensive a matter to come to Egypt. But 
why, then, are not the expenses of such a journey 
met by the various museums ? A hundred pounds 
will pay for a student's winter in Egypt and his 
journey to and from that country. Such a sum 

298 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

is given readily enough for the purchase of an 
antiquity ; but surely rightly-minded students are 
a better investment than wrongly - acquired an- 

It must now be pointed out, as a third argu- 
ment, that an Egyptologist cannot study his sub- 
ject properly unless he be thoroughly familiar with 
Egypt and the modern Egyptians. 

A student who is accustomed to sit at home, 
working in his library or museum, and who has 
never resided in Egypt, or has but travelled for 
a short time in that country, may do extremely 
useful work in one way and another, but that 
work will not be faultless. It will be, as it were, 
lop-sided ; it will be coloured with hues of the 
west, unknown to the land of the Pharaohs and 
antithetical thereto. A London architect may 
design an apparently charming villa for a client in 
Jerusalem, but unless he knows by actual and pro- 
longed experience the exigencies of the climate of 
Palestine, he will be liable to make a sad mess of 
his job. By bitter experience the military com- 
manders learnt in South Africa that a plan of 
campaign prepared in England was of little use 
to them. The cricketer may play a very good 
game upon the home ground, but upon a foreign 
pitch the first straight ball will send his bails 
flying into the clear blue sky. 

An archgeologist who attempts to record the 
material relating to the manners and customs of 
the ancient Egyptians cannot complete his task. 

Archaeology in the Open. 299 

or even assure himself of the accuracy of his state- 
ments, unless he has studied the modern customs 
and has made himself acquainted with the per- 
manent conditions of the country. The modern 
Egyptians, as has been pointed out in chapter ii. 
(page 28), are the same people as those who bowed 
the knee to Pharaoh, and many of their customs 
still survive. A student can no more hope to 
understand the story of Pharaonic times without 
an acquaintance with Egypt as she now is than a 
modern statesman can hope to understand his own 
times solely from a study of the past. 

Nothing is more paralysing to a student of 
archaeology than continuous book-work. A collec- 
tion of hard facts is an extremely beneficial mental 
exercise, but the deductions drawn from such a 
collection should be regarded as an integral part 
of the work. The road -maker must also walk 
upon his road to the land whither it leads him ; 
the shipbuilder must ride the seas in his vessel, 
though they be uncharted and unfathomed. Too 
often the professor will set his students to a com- 
pilation which leads them no farther than the final 
fair copy. They will be ask^d to make for him, 
with infinite labour, a list of the High Priests of 
Amon ; but unless he has encouraged them to put 
such life into those figures that each one seems to 
step from the page to confront his recorder, unless 
the name of each calls to mind the very scenes 
amidst which he worshipped, then is the work 
uninspired and as deadening to the student as it is 

300 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

useful to the professor. A catalogue of ancient 
scarabs is required, let us suppose, and students 
are set to work upon it. They examine hundreds 
of specimens, they record the variations in design, 
they note the differences in the glaze or material. 
But can they picture the man who wore the scarab? 
— can they reconstruct in their minds the scene in 
the workshop wherein the scarab was made '? — can 
they hear the song of the workmen or their laugh- 
ter when the overseer was not nigh ? In a word, 
does the scarab mean history to them, the history 
of a period, of a dynasty, of a craft ? Assuredly 
not, unless the students know Egypt and the 
Egyptians, have heard their songs and their laugh- 
ter, have watched their modern arts and crafts. 
Only then are they in a position to reconstruct the 

Theodore Roosevelt, in his Homanes lecture at 
Oxford, gave it as his opinion that the industrious 
collector of facts occupied an honourable but not 
an exalted position ; and he added that the merely 
scientific historian must rest content with the 
honour, substantial, but not of the highest type, 
that belongs to him who o-athers material which 
some time some master shall arise to use. Now 
every student should aim to be a master, to use 
the material which he has so laboriously collected ; 
and though at the beginning of his career, and 
indeed throughout his life, the gathering of 
material is a most important part of his work, he 

Archaeology in the Open. 301 

should never compile solely for the sake of com- 
pilation, unless he be content to serve simply as a 
clerk of archa3ology. 

An archaeoloaist must be an historian. He must 
conjure up the past; he must play the Witch of 
Endor. His lists and indices, his catalogues and 
note-books, must be but the spells which he uses 
to invoke the dead. The spells have no potency 
until they are pronounced : the lists of the kings 
of Egypt have no more than an accidental value 
until they call before the curtain of the mind those 
monarchs themselves. It is the business of the 
archaeologist to awake the dreaming dead : not 
to send the living to sleep. It is his business to 
make the stones tell their tale : not to petrify the 
listener. It is his business to put motion and com- 
motion into the past that the present may see and 
hear : not to pin it down, spatchcocked, like a 
dead thing. In a word, the archaeologist must be 
in command of that faculty which is known as the 
historic imagination, without which Dean Stanley 
was of opinion that the story of the past could not 
be told. 

But how^ can that imagination be at once exerted 
and controlled, as it must needs be, unless the 
archaeologist is so well acquainted with the con- 
ditions of the country about which he writes that 
his pictures of it can be said to be accurate ? The 
student must allow himself to be saturated by the 
very waters of the Nile before he can permit him- 

302 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

self to write of Egypt. He must know the modern 
Egyptians before he can construct his model of 
Pharaoh and his court. 

In a recent London play dealing with ancient 
Egypt, the actor - manager exerted his historic 
imagination, in one scene, in so far as to introduce 
a shadoof or water- hoist, which was worked as a 
naturalistic side-action to the main incident. But, 
unfortunately, it was displayed upon a hillside 
where no water could ever have reached it ; and 
thus the audience, all unconsciously, was con- 
fronted with the remarkable spectacle of a hus- 
bandman applying himself diligently to the task 
of ladelling thin air on to crops that grew upon 
barren sand. If only his imagination had been 
controlled by a knowledge of Egypt, the picture 
might have been both true and effective. 

When the mummy of Akhuaton was discovered 
and was proved to be that of a man of twenty- 
eight years of age, many persons doubted the 
identification on the grounds that the king was 
known to have been married at the time when he 
came to the throne, seventeen years before his 
death, ^ and it was freely stated that a marriage at 
the age of ten or eleven was impossible and out of 
the question. Thus it actually remained for the 
present writer to point out that the fact of the 
king's death occurring seventeen years after his 
marriage practically fixed his age at his decease 

1 Weigall : Life of Akhnaton, p. 56. 

Archaeology in the Open. 303 

at not much above twenty-eight years, so unlikely 
was it that his marriage would have been delayed 
beyond his eleventh year. Those who doubted 
the identification on such grounds were showing 
all too clearly that the manners and customs of 
the Egyptians of the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries, so many of which have come down in- 
tact from olden times, were unknown to them. 

Here we come to the root of the trouble. The 
Egyptologist who has not resided for some time in 
Egypt is inclined to allow his ideas regarding the 
ancient customs of the land to be influenced by his 
unconsciously -acquired knowledge of the habits of 
the west. Men do not marry before the age of 
eighteen or twenty in Europe : therefore they did not 
do so in Egypt. There are streams of water upon 
the mountains in Europe : therefore water may be 
hoisted upon the hillsides in Egypt. But is he 
blind that he sees not the great gulf fixed between 
the ways of the east and those of his accustomed 
west? It is of no value to science to record the 
life of Thutmosis III. with Napoleon as our model 
for it, nor to describe the daily life of the Pharaoh 
with the person of an English king before our 
mind's eye. Our European experience will not 
give us material for the imagination to work upon 
in dealing with Egypt. The setting for our 
Pharaonic pictures must be derived from Egypt 
alone ; and no Egyptologist's work that is more 
than a simple compilation is of value unless the 

304 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

sunlight and the sandy glare of Egypt have burnt 
into his eyes, and have been reflected on to the 
pages under his pen. 

The archseologist must possess the historic im- 
agination, but it must be confined to its proper 
channels. It is impossible to exert this imagina- 
tion without, as a consequence, a figure rising up 
before the mind partially furnished with the 
details of a personality and fully endowed with 
the broad character of an individual. The first 
lesson, thus, which we must learn is that of allow- 
ing no incongruity to appear in our figures. A 
king whose name has survived to us upon some 
monument becomes at once such a reality that the 
legends concerning him are apt to be accepted as 
so much fact. Like John Donne one says — 

" Thou art so true, that thoughts of thee suffice 
To make dreams truth, and fables histories." 

But only he who has resided in Egypt can judge 
how far the fables are to be regarded as having a 
nucleus of truth. In ancient history there can 
seldom be sufiicient data at the Egyptologist's 
disposal with which to build up a complete figure ; 
and his puppets must come upon the stage sadly 
deficient, as it were, in arms, legs, and apparel 
suitable to them, unless he knows from an experi- 
ence of modern Egyptians how to restore them and 
to clothe them in good taste. The substance upon 
which the imagination works must be no less than 
a collective knowledge of the people of the nation 

Archaeology in the Open. 305 

in question. Rameses must be constructed from 
an acquaintance with many a Pasha of modern 
Egypt, and liis Chief Butler must reflect tlie 
known characteristics of a hundred Beys and 
Eftendis. Without such "padding" the figures 
will remain but names, and with names Egyptology 
is already overstocked. 

It is remarkable to notice how little is known 
regarding the great personalities in history. Tak- 
ing three characters at random : we know extremely 
little that is authentic regarding King Arthur ; our 
knowledge of the actual history of Robin Hood is 
extremely meagre ; and the precise historian would 
have to dismiss Cleopatra in a few paragraphs. 
But let the archaeologist know so well the manners 
and customs of the period with which he is dealing 
that he will not, like the author of the stories of 
the Holy Grail, dress Arthur in the armour of the 
thirteenth century, nor fill the mind of Cleopatra 
with the thoughts of the Elizabethan poet ; let 
him be so well trained in scientific cautiousness 
that he will not give unquestioned credence to the 
legends of the past ; let him have sufticient know- 
ledge of the nation to which his hero or heroine 
belonged to be able to fill up the lacunre with a 
kind of collective appreciation and estimate of the 
national characteristics, — and I do not doubt that 
his interpretations will hold good till the end of all 

The student to whom Egypt is not a living 
reality is handicapped in his labours more unfairly 


3o6 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

than Is reahsed by him. Avoid Egypt, and though 
your brains be of vast capacity, though your eyes 
be never raised from your books, you will yet 
remain In many ways an Ignoramus, liable to be 
corrected by the merest tourist In the Nile valley. 
But come with me to a Theban garden that I 
know, where, on some still evening, the dark 
palms are reflected In the placid Nile, and the 
acacias are mellowed by the last light of the sun- 
set ; where, in leafy bowers, the grapes cluster 
overhead, and the fig-tree is burdened with fruit. 
Beyond the broad sheet of the river rise those un- 
changeable hills which encompass the Valley of 
the Tombs of the Kings ; and at their foot, dimly 
seen In the evening haze, sit the twin colossi, as 
they have sat since the days of Amenhotep the 
Magnificent. The stars begin to be seen through 
the leaves now that the daylight dies, and pres- 
ently the Milky Way becomes apparent, stretching 
across the vault of the night, as when It was 
believed to be the Nile of the Heavens. 

The owls hoot to one another through the gar- 
den; and at the edge of the alabaster tank wherein 
the dusk is mirrored, a frog croaks unseen amidst 
the lilies. Even so croaked he on this very ground 
In those days when, typifylug eternity, he seemed 
to utter the endless refrain, " I am the resurrection, 
I am the resurrection," Into the ears of men and 
maidens beneath these self-same stars. 

And now a boat floats past, on Its way to 
Karnak, silhouetted against the last-left light of 

Archaeology in the Open. 307 

the sky. There is music and song on board. The 
sound of the pipes is carried over the water and 
pulses to the ears, inflaming the imagination with 
the sorcery of its cadences and stirring the blood 
by its bold rhythm. The gentle breeze brings the 
scent of many flowers to the nostrils, and with 
these come drifting thoughts and undefined fancies, 
so that presently the busy considerations of the 
day are lulled and forgotten. The twilight seems 
to cloak the extent of the years, and in the gather- 
ing darkness the procession of the centuries is 
hidden. Yesterday and to-day are mingled to- 
gether, and there is nothing to distinguish to the 
eye the one age from the other. An immortal, 
brought suddenly to the garden at this hour, could 
not say from direct observation whether he had 
descended from the clouds into the twentieth 
century before or the twentieth century after 
Christ ; and the sound of the festal pipes in the 
passing boat would but serve to confuse him the 

In such a garden as this the student will learn 
more Egyptology than he could assimilate in many 
an hour's study at home ; for here his five senses 
play the student and Egypt herself is his teacher. 
While he may read in his books how this Pharaoh 
or that feasted o' nights in his palace beside the 
river, here, not in fallible imagination but in actual 
fact, he may see Nilus and the Libyan desert to 
which the royal eyes were turned, may smell the 
very perfume of the palace garden, and may hearken 

3o8 The Preservation of the Treasury. 

to the self-same sounds that luhed a king to sleep 
in Hundred-Crated Thebes. 

Not in the west, but only by the waters of the 
Nile will he learn how best to be an historian of 
ancient Egypt, and in what mannL,r to make his 
studies of interest, as well as of techr;ical value, to 
his readers, for he will here discover the great 
secret of his profession. Suddenly the veil will be 
lifted from his understanding, and he will become 
aware that Past and Present are so indissoluble as 
to be incapable of separate interpretation or single 
study. He will learn that there is no such thing 
as a distinct Past or a defined Present. " Yester- 
day this day's madness did prepare," and the 
affairs of bygone times must be interpreted in the 
light of recent events. The Past is alive to-day, 
and all the deeds of man in all the ages are living 
at this hour in offspring. There is no real death. 
The earthly grave will not hide, nor the mountain 
tomb imprison, the actions of the men of old 
Egypt, so consequent and fruitful are all human 
affairs. This is the knowledge which will make 
his work of lasting value ; and nowhere save in 
Egypt can he acquire it. This, indeed, is the secret 
of the Sphinx ; and only at the lips of the Sphinx 
itself can he learn it. 




\\U. 13LACKW00D & SONS. IDs. 6d. net. 

Manchester Courier. — " Mr Weigall's new book provides the best of 
good reading. He makes the dead to live. He has to deal with a great, a 
magnificent subject, . . . and we think that he has risen to the occasion. 
It is a theme ... to move a writer to express every qualitj' at his com- 
mand, and it is well that a writer in command of so many qualities as Mr 
Weigall should have the opportunity given him. He shows imagination, an 
eye for beauty, feeling for the high spiritual significance of a prophet's 
ardours, warmth of sympathy for the projihet's heart : and, perhaps above 
all else, a sense for the rhythm and melody of prose. . . . Akhnaton, 
Pharaoh of Egypt, was a great mind ; and in Mr Weigall's pages he becomes 
a lovable spirit. . . . Akhnaton lived and died three thousand years ago. 
To-day, in Mr Weigall's book, he lives again. This seems to us a memorable 
achievement. The labour that has gone to effect it is great, and the 
knowledge is great." 

Irish Times. — " ilr Weigall has written Akhnaton 's history, and 
given us a very great book." 

The World. — "It is no mean feat of scholarship and research wliich 
Mr Weigall has accomplished. . . . The character, genius, and philosophy 
of this ' the world's first idealist,' will for ever repay such study as Mr 
Weigall has devoted to them in an admirably researchful volume." 

Daily News. — " Mr Weigall has given much more than a bare record 
of historiciil facts. . . . Closely intimate with the scenes amid which the 
Pharaohs moved, steeped in the atmosphere created by the study of temples, 
pictures, and inscriptions, he has very brilliantly . . . filled out the 
portrait of this most remarkable of F^gyptian kings. . . . In the result 
he has produced a fascinating study. . . . The story, as Mr Weigall has 
written it, reads like a romance. ... It is a relief to find a scholar so well 
versed in liis subject who is able to treat it in so luminous a manner." 

Manchester Daily Guardian.—" Mr Weigall's book is eminently 
readable. ... He utilises the scanty records so etfectively that the . . . 
general reader should be glad to be thus introduced to a boy-reformer who 
in the fourteenth century B.C. anticipated the Psalms of Judaism and taught 
the loving fatherhood of tlie one God." 

Pall Mall Gazette.—" The career of a man with such lofty concep- 
tions (as Akhnaton) was well worth telling. Mr Weigall has dealt with his 
material in masterly fashion, and he makes his hero as much a reality to us 
as is the most familiar character in history. ... He writes with equal 
enthusiasm and scholarship." 

Daily Telegraph.— " Over 3000 years after his death the youug 
Pharaoh's story is newly pieced together, and the biographer for whom he 
has so long waited has made real for us the dim past in a remarkable 
fashion. , . . It is a deeply interesting book that Mr Weigall has given 
us, and a personality of surprising vigour and amazing originality to whom 
he has introduced us." 

The Literary Post. — " The historical value of the explorations now 
being carried on in Egypt is f ullj' exemplified in the work before us, in 
which the remote past is conjured uj) with a vividness that is as rare as it 
is exhilai'ating. The veil of thirty-tour centuries is lifted, and we see the 
Egypt of the Eighteenth Dynasty, in all its power and magnificence, as 
clearly as if we were indeed living in that splendid age. But it is more 
than a mere picture of a past civilsation that Mr Weigall brings before us ; 
for the picture, fine as it is, is but the setting for the study of a tempera- 
ment, of the development of a mind curiously in advance of its age. . . . 
One of the most fascinating books it has ever been our privilege to read." 

Egyptian Gazette. — " The most remarkable figure in the early 
history of the world is Akhnaton. . . . The life and times of this Pharaoh 
is the subject of a new work by Mr Weigall, and he has made good use of 
his material. . . . No more sympathetic writer could have been found for 
the task than this young English Egyptologist." 

Observer. — "It is a strange and pathetic story, and nothing is more 
strange about it than that it should be told at all, and that after these ages 
it should be possible to reconstruct, with so much accuracy and detail, the 
character of one who has . . . been called ' the first individual in human 

Glasgow Evening News.— "A fascinating record of one of the 
most striking figui^es in history." 

Scotsman. — "The aim of Mr Weigall's new volume is . . . to rouse 
the interest of the general reader in Egyptology, by introducing him to 
what is, perhaps, the most picturesque episode in the whole of Egyptian 
history. This is a useful purpose, and one which the book is excellently 
calculated to fulfil. . . . Mr Weigall has cast his net widely, so that nothing 
escapes him. . . . We cannot help wondering whether Mr Weigall has the 
Pharaoh's private diary up his sleeve. . . . His style is vivid and forcible. 
. . . The translations that are given are of astonishing interest, and will 
whet the appetite of students of religion. . . . The illustrations have been 
admirably chosen." 

The Academy. — " Mr Weigall has given an interesting and picturesque 
sketch of this solitary . . . figure in liistory." 

The Bookman. — " Mr Weigall's work is just as good reading for those 
who know nothing whatever about Egypt as for those who are experts in 
the subject. So clearly and untechnically does the author write, that he 
is easily to be understood. . . . This book is really the extraordinarily 
interesting biography of the 'first individual in human history.'" 

Truth.—" Mr Weigall's extremely interesting . . . ' Life and Times of 
Akhnaton ' presents a portrait of a Christ more than a thousand years before 

Aberdeen Free Press.—" The author might have described this book 
by the title . . . ' Christianity in the Fourteenth Century B.C.,' for he sets 
before him, and well accomplishes, the task of giving an . . . account of 

. . . the establishment of the Aton-worship by Akluiaton, about B.C. 
137;". . . . The book is on the right lines, and .siiould do much to 
popularise the subject, and awaken a greatly needed interest in the great 
work of exploration in Egypt." 

Birmingham Daily Post.— "The task which Mr Weigall has under- 
taken . . . was well Will th the labour. . . . Mr Weigall has a thic gift of 
style, and a singularly attractive subject, of which he shows himself entirely 

Athenseum^. — "Mr Weigall writes well and easily, while his enthusiasm 
for his subject carries the reader along with him, and will doubtless cause 
his book to be read by hundreds. ..." 

Glasgow Daily Herald. — '■ As an Egyptologist of considerable dis- 
tinction, Mr Weigall is eminently qualified to write such a book as this. . . . 
To clothe the bones of Akhnaton with flesh and blood is the purpose of this 
remarkable volume. It is ... a daring book, undeniably clever, marked 
by great learning, and displaying unmistakable touches of genius. . . . 
The reader . . . will find much in this volume that will profoundly im- 
press him." 

Christian Commonwealth. — " A book of most absorbing interest. 
It has all the charm of a novel, and . , . nothing is wanting to make it 
one of the most notable that has been issued from the Press for a long time." 

Times. — "The author of this singularly beautiful book — at once a 
reconstruction from the original sources by a scholar deeply versed in 
Egyptian arcliLCology and history and himself a partner in many discoveries, 
and also an eloquent and illuminating exposition of a learned subject by one 
who is himself an idealist gifted with insight and sympathy — has done much 
to set ' the world's first idealist ' in his true place as the voice of God in a 
barren land. No one, we think, can read Mr ^^'eigal^s volume without being 
inspired with the enthusiasm which he makes no effort to disguise." 

Saturday Review. — " Mr Weigall has written a fascinating book. . . . 
He has the historical imagination and the power of picturesque expression 
which enable him ... to present a general picture that is at once lifelike 
and satisfying." 

Liverpool Daily Courier.— "A fascinating . . . and delightful 

Guardian. — " The biographer of the heretic king has done his work 
extremely well. He has a power of description and of visualising the events 
he describes that is used with great profit and pleasure to the reader, and 
his book will interest all who care for the history of religion." 

Reynold's Newspaper. — "A truly wonderful story." 

Yorkshire Daily Post. — " A singularly readable book. " 

Daily Chronicle. — "]Mr Weigall has written a remarkable book. 
Seldom does a reviewer, having read a volume through, at once re-read it 
because of the pleasure it has given. Yet such was the fact on this occasion. 
The story of Akhnaton is strengthening and beautiful : it would perhaps be 
pitiful — it is in some respects so human — if it were not remembered that 
since it 'happened, ages have drifted by ; and, with the intervention of 
centuries, abolition of sorrow comes. Nevertheless, the spirit of its message 
lingers ; and men will be wise to remember the facts and the moral of the 
efforts Akhnaton made." 


WM. BLACKWOOD & SONS. 7s. 6d. net. 

Aberdeen Free Press. — "Antiquities rather than incidents are the 
chief characteristics of these 'Travels.' Yet on this account they are none 
the less, but indeed much the more, interesting. They take the reader back 
to long past ages and tell him many marvellous things. . . . We heartily 
commend this pleasantly written volume to thoughtful readers." 

Pall Mall Gazette. — "IMrWeigall reveals to us the secrets of the 
Eastern desert, that stony waste which stretches from the Nile to the Red 
Sea. . . . Next to visiting the desert itself we can imagine nothing so 
delightful as reading Mr Weigall's fascinating story." 

Irish Times. — ''Mr Weigall has succeeded in making us realise the 
desert. What the others (Pierre Loti, &c.) effect by a delicate art, he 
accomplishes by simple . . . talk about things which he knows and loves. 
This is the real secret of the success of his book, for it is a success. . . . We 
hope that he will publish more of these papers soon. " 

Newcastle Chronicle. — " The reader will not need to be an enthu- 
siastic Egyptologist in order to fully enjoy Mr Weigall's company. ... It 
is not easy to overpraise the chapter on ' A Nubian Highway,' full of spirited 
pictures of the past." 

Westminster Gazette.— "Since the days of Eliot, Warburton, and 
Kinglake, many writers have celebrated the delights of travel in the desert. 
None, I think, has realised the fascination of the desert more fully than 
Mr Weigall. . . . The sights, the sounds, the very air of the desert, visit 
the senses of the reader with a keenness that is almost painful. . . . Alto- 
gether, Mr Weigall's ' Travels ' reveal the extraordinary variety of interest 
these eastern deserts possess for the intelligent European. His delightful 
book is most efficiently illustrated." 

Observer. — "A graphic and human narrative of a deserted land." 

Scotsman. — " Mr Weigall has felt the desert, and he is quite competent 
to transfer his feelings to paper. If the reading of his book does not induce 
freckles on the reader's nose ... it can only be for physiological reasons." 

Liverpool Daily Post. — '-Few writers have given more admirable 
pictures of the desert than Mr Weigall. ... His hope is, though he dis- 
claims the power, to hold his readers so entranced . . . that they shall feel 
the sunlight streaming over the desert plains, and imagine the glow of the 
sun and the wind upon their cheeks, till they hold their hands to their eyes 
as a shelter from the glare. We can sincerely congratulate him upon his 
success. ... He not only leads us through a strange country, but he 
peoples it with bygone races, and to the charm of a landscape painting he 
adds the erudition of an Egyptologist." 

Liverpool Courier. —"The Upper Egyptian deserts . . . were in 
remote clays the scene of extraordinary activities, and Mr Weigall, in a very 
fascinating way, reveals to us some of the interest they still possess. . . . 
Mr Weigall's literary power is very notable, and we have not for a long time 
read a more interesting and suggestive book of travel than this." 

Manchester Courier.—" There are many delightful descriptions of 
days and nights in the desert, graphic in their sense of sight and sound, 
many brightly recorded incidents of journeys over wastes of sand that have 
long remained untrodden. . . . The style of the author is at all limes 
attractive and admirably adapted to tiie theme he is discussing." 

Glasgow Evening News.— "It is a book which recalls, without 
mucli obvious effort to recall, all the wonder and mystery with which the 
name of Kgypt has always been associated." 

Belfast News Letter. — " One of the most interesting books of travel 
published in recent years." 

Yorkshire Daily Post. — " Mr Weigall's account of the quarries (in 

the Eastern desert) is fascinating." 

Spectator. — " Mr Weigall gives us here what we may call the private 
side of some of his official journeys. . . . The book has many interesting 
things in it, things both old and nevp." 

Homiletic Review. — "This alluring treatise . . . abounds in graphic 
illustrations and quaint inscriptions." 

Manchester Guardian.— "Mr Weigall's book gives some vivid pic- 
tures of a civilisation that is no more, and of a region which is practically 
unknown to modern travellers. . . . He traces in a most graphic manner 
the history of the (mining and quarrying) industry." 

Daily Chronicle. — "The book breathes of the desert. It brings 
back the glow of the hot sun on the yellow sands stretching to the horizon, 
and the long camel-roads from oasis to oasis. It is full of the zeal of 
exploration and research, touched with the true spirit of wonder and 
mystery which ought to be in the mind of every explorer. We recommend 
it as one of the best products of recent Egyptian exploration." 

The Times. — "Mr Weigall is the scholar-sportsman, and the game, of 
whose hunting he writes, was found chiefly in the Eastern Egyptian desert. 
. . . He describes it in a clear, agreeable English, and with a fine sensitive- 
ness to the mystery and romance of ancient things and to the natural 
beauties of a desert land. . , , The description of Kossair, so rarely visited, 
and especially of the midnight fishery on its reefs, is the bright particular 
gem of a book which contains many passages of very great literary merit. 
Mr Weigall writes with so much distinction (not to mention his power of 
observation and his knowledge) that one of these days he should give us a 
travel-book which may take rank in the small company of the very best."' 

The Guardian. — '■ Every one who reads Mr Weigall's book will envy 
the author's experiences. . . . Whether following the Nubian road to Abu 
Simbel, the highway to the ' dream town ' of Kossair, or exploring temples 
or Roman stations, Mr Weigall carries the reader with him ; in his company 
the dead past lives again. " 

The Nation. — " ilr Weigall is an archrcologist of repute, but he is also 
a great deal more. The book he has given us includes the results of arch- 
reological research ; but it is pre-eminently a book of the desert, and tlie 

atmosphere thereof. Its word-painting makes one think of Fromentin in 
Algeria, or Mr Robert Hichens in Biskra. ... An altogether delightful 

The Sphinx.— " This is a work which every lover of Egypt should 
possess. The author has discovered the soul of the desert and has painted 
it in beautiful language. . . . We are compelled to admit that the result is 
the greatest work on the desert that has ever been written. • • • _ Apart 
from exquisite descriptions and word-paintings which only emphasise the 
chiaroscuro of his conception, and which carry us beyond the ken of tourist- 
land into ' The Garden of Allah,' Mr Weigall gives some interesting accounts 
of temples and ruins which add considerably to the value of the book." 

Saturday Review.— '"Travels in the Upper Egyptian Deserts' is 
really interesting and well worth reading. . . . We think the author has 
attained his desire, so modestly expressed, of carrying away his readers on 
the fabled magic carpet. For in this book we are really brought face to face 
with facts and past history, with which are interwoven the incidents of 
exceedingly interesting but arduous journeyings. . . . The tale is well told, 
and the reader will not weary of it." 

Athenaeum..- " It is a book to be read again. . . . Its main purpose is 
to give the impressions of life in the Eastern Egyptian desert, on the old 
trade-routes which led from the Nile to the Red Sea. ... Mr Weigall 
describes all this excellently. . . . There is much in the book that will 
delight all desert travellers, and the photographs will help those who are so 
unfortunate as to know the desert only in their dreams." 

Douglas Sladen (author of 'Egypt and the English,' &c.)— "The 
style is extraordinarily felicitous ; such a wonderful mixture of esprit and 

John Ward (author of ' Pyramids and Progress,' &c.)— " The very best 
book of travel in Egypt that I have seen. . . . The language is so clear, the 
descriptive portions so graphic, and yet the style so simple, that the work is, 
in its way, a masterpiece." 


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