He lived long enough to build at Saqqara a pyramid whose internal chambers are covered with inscriptions,* and his son succeeded him without opposition. Papi I. reigned at least twenty years.**
* The true pronunciation of this name would be Pipi, and of the one before it Titi. The two other Tetis are Teti I. of the Ist dynasty, and Zosir-Teti, or Teti II., of the IIIrd.
** From fragment 59 of the Royal Canon of Turin, An inscription in the quarries of Hat-nubu bears the date of the year 24: if it has been correctly copied, the reign must have been four years at least longer than the chronologists of the time of the Ramessides thought.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Bechard.
He manifested his activity in all corners of his empire, in the nomes of the Said as well as in those of the Delta, and his authority extended beyond the frontiers by which the power of his immediate predecessors had been limited. He owned sufficient territory south of Elephantine to regard Nubia as a new kingdom added to those which constituted ancient Egypt: we therefore see him entitled in his preamble "the triple Golden Horus," "the triple Conqueror-Horus," "the Delta-Horus," "the Said-Horus," "the Nubia-Horus." The tribes of the desert furnished him, as was customary, with recruits for his army, for which he had need enough, for the Bedouin of the Sinaitic Peninsula were on the move, and were even becoming dangerous. Papi, aided by Uni, his prime minister, undertook against them a series of campaigns, in which he reduced them to a state of helplessness, and extended the sovereignty of Egypt for the time over regions hitherto unconquered.
Uni began his career under Teti.* At first a simple page in the palace,** he succeeded in obtaining a post in the administration of the treasury, and afterwards that of inspector of the woods of the royal domain.***
* The beginning of the first line is wanting, and I have restored it from other inscriptions of the same kind: "I was born under Unas." Uni could not have been born before Unas; the first office that he filled under Teti III. was while he was a child or youth, while the reign of Unas lasted thirty years.
** Literally, "crown-bearer." This was a title applied probably to children who served the king in his private apartments, and who wore crowns of natural flowers on their heads: the crown was doubtless of the same form as those which we see upon the brows of women on several tombs of the Memphite epoch.
*** The word "Khoniti" probably indicates lands with plantations of palms or acacias, the thinly wooded forests of Egypt, and also of the vines which belonged to the personal domain of the Pharaoh.
Papi took him into his friendship at the beginning of his reign, and conferred upon him the title of "friend," and the office of head of the cabinet, in which position he acquitted himself with credit. Alone, without other help than that of a subordinate scribe, he transacted all the business and drew up all the documents connected with the harem and the privy council. He obtained an ample reward for his services. Pharaoh granted to him, as a proof of his complete satisfaction, the furniture of a tomb in choice white limestone; one of the officials of the necropolis was sent to obtain from the quarries at Troiu the blocks required, and brought back with him a sarcophagus and its lid, a door-shaped stele with its setting and a table of offerings. He affirms with much self-satisfaction that never before had such a thing happened to any one; moreover, he adds, "my wisdom charmed his Majesty, my zeal pleased him, and his Majesty's heart was delighted with me." All this is pure hyperbole, but no one was surprised at it in Egypt; etiquette required that a faithful subject should declare the favours of his sovereign to be something new and unprecedented, even when they presented nothing extraordinary or out of the common. Gifts of sepulchral furniture were of frequent occurrence, and we know of more than one instance of them previous to the VIth dynasty—for example, the case of the physician Sokhit-nionkhu, whose tomb still exists at Saqqara, and whom Pharaoh Sahuri rewarded by presenting him with a monumental stele in stone from Turah. Henceforth Uni could face without apprehension the future which awaited him in the other world; at the same time, he continued to make his way no less quickly in this, and was soon afterwards promoted to the rank of "sole friend" and superintendent of the irrigated lands of the king. The "sole friends" were closely attached to the person of their master. In all ceremonies, their appointed place was immediately behind him, a place of the highest honour and trust, for those who occupied it literally held his life in their hands. They made all the arrangements for his processions and journeys, and saw that the proper ceremonial was everywhere observed, and that no accident was allowed to interrupt the progress of his train. Lastly, they had to take care that none of the nobles ever departed from the precise position to which his birth or office entitled him. This was a task which required a great deal of tact, for questions of precedence gave rise to nearly as many heart-burnings in Egypt as in modern courts. Uni acquitted himself so dexterously, that he was called upon to act in a still more delicate capacity. Queen Amitsi was the king's chief consort. Whether she had dabbled in some intrigue of the palace, or had been guilty of unfaithfulness in act or in intention, or had been mixed up in one of those feminine dramas which so frequently disturb the peace of harems, we do not know. At any rate, Papi considered it necessary to proceed against her, and appointed Uni to judge the case. Aided only by his secretary, he drew up the indictment and decided the action so discreetly, that to this day we do not know of what crime Amitsi was accused or how the matter ended. Uni felt great pride at having been preferred before all others for this affair, and not without reason, "for," says he, "my duties were to superintend the royal forests, and never before me had a man in my position been initiated into the secrets of the Royal Harem; but his Majesty initiated me into them because my wisdom pleased his Majesty more than that of any other of his lieges, more than that of any other of his mamelukes, more than that of any other of his servants." These antecedents did not seem calculated to mark out Uni as a future minister of war; but in the East, when a man has given proofs of his ability in one branch of administration, there is a tendency to consider him equally well fitted for service in any of the others, and the fiat of a prince transforms the clever scribe of to-day into the general of to-morrow. No one is surprised, not even the person promoted; he accepts his new duties without flinching, and frequently distinguishes himself as much in their performance as though he had been bred to them from his youth up. When Papi had resolved to give a lesson to the Bedouin of Sinai, he at once thought of Uni, his "sole friend," who had so skilfully conducted the case of Queen Amitsi. The expedition was not one of those which could be brought to a successful issue by the troops of the frontier nomes; it required a considerable force, and the whole military organization of the country had to be brought into play. "His Majesty raised troops to the number of several myriads, in the whole of the south from Elephantine to the nome of the Haunch, in the Delta, in the two halves of the valley, in each fort of the forts of the desert, in the land of Iritit, among the blacks of the land of Maza, among the blacks of the land of Amamit, among the blacks of the land of Uauait, among the blacks of the land of Kaau, among the blacks of To-Tamu, and his Majesty sent me at the head of this army. It is true, there were chiefs there, there were mamelukes of the king there, there were sole friends of the Great House there, there were princes and governors of castles from the south and from the north, 'gilded friends,' directors of the prophets from the south and the north, directors of districts at the head of troops from the south and the north, of castles and towns that each one ruled, and also blacks from the regions which I have mentioned, but it was I who gave them their orders—although my post was only that of superintendent of the irrigated lands of Pharaoh,—so much so that every one of them obeyed me like the others." It was not without much difficulty that he brought this motley crowd into order, equipped them, and supplied them with rations. At length he succeeded in arranging everything satisfactorily; by dint of patience and perseverance, "each one took his biscuit and sandals for the march, and each one of them took bread from the towns, and each one of them took goats from the peasants." He collected his forces on the frontier of the Delta, in the "Isle of the North," between the "Gate of Imhotpu" and the "Tell of Horu nib-mait," and set out into the desert. He advanced, probably by Gebel Magharah and Gebel Helal, as far as Wady-el-Arish, into the rich and populous country which lay between the southern slopes of Gebel Tih and the south of the Dead Sea: once there he acted with all the rigour permitted by the articles of war, and paid back with interest the ill usage which the Bedouin had inflicted on Egypt. "This army came in peace, it completely destroyed the country of the Lords of the Sands. This army came in peace, it pulverized the country of the Lords of the Sands. This army came in peace, it demolished their 'douars.' This army came in peace, it cut down their fig trees and their vines. This army came in peace, it burnt the houses of all their people. This army came in peace, it slaughtered their troops to the numbers of many myriads. This army came in peace, it brought back great numbers of their people as living captives, for which thing his Majesty praised me more than for aught else."* As a matter of fact, these poor wretches were sent off as soon as taken to the quarries or to the dockyards, thus relieving the king from the necessity of imposing compulsory labour too frequently on his Egyptian subjects.
* The locality of the tribes against which Uni waged war can, I think, be fixed by certain details of the campaign, especially the mention of the oval or circular enclosures "uanit" within which they entrenched themselves. These enclosures, or ndars, correspond to the nadami which are mentioned by travellers in these regions, and which are singularly characteristic. The "Lords of the Sands" mentioned by Uni occupied the nauami country, i.e. the Negeb regions situated on the edge of the desert of Tih, round about Ain-Qadis, and beyond it as far as Akabah and the Dead Sea. Assuming this hypothesis to be correct, the route followed by Uni must have been the same as that which was discovered and described nearly twenty years ago, by Holland.
"His Majesty sent me five times to lead this army in order to penetrate into the country of the Lords of the Sands, on each occasion of their revolt against this army, and I bore myself so well that his Majesty praised me beyond everything." The Bedouin at length submitted, but the neighbouring tribes to the north of them, who had no doubt assisted them, threatened to dispute with Egypt the possession of the territory which it had just conquered. As these tribes had a seaboard on the Mediterranean, Uni decided to attack them by sea, and got together a fleet in which he embarked his army. The troops landed on the coast of the district of Tiba, to the north of the country of the Lords of the Sands, thereupon "they set out. I went, I smote all the barbarians, and I killed all those of them who resisted." On his return, Uni obtained the most distinguished marks of favour that a subject could receive, the right to carry a staff and to wear his sandals in the palace in the presence of Pharaoh.
These wars had occupied the latter part of the reign; the last of them took place very shortly before the death of the sovereign. The domestic administration of Papi I. seems to have been as successful in its results, as was his activity abroad. He successfully worked the mines of Sinai, caused them to be regularly inspected, and obtained an unusual quantity of minerals from them; the expedition he sent thither, in the eighteenth year of his reign, left behind it a bas-relief in which are recorded the victories of Uni over the barbarians and the grants of territory made to the goddess Hathor. Work was carried on uninterruptedly at the quarries of Hatnubu and Kohanu; building operations were carried on at Memphis, where the pyramid was in course of erection, at Abydos, whither the oracle of Osiris was already attracting large numbers of pilgrims, at Tanis, at Bubastis, and at Heliopolis. The temple of Dendera was falling into ruins; it was restored on the lines I of the original plans which were accidentally discovered, and this piety displayed towards one of the most honoured deities was rewarded, as it deserved to be, by the insertion of the title of "son of Hathor" in the royal cartouche. The vassals rivalled their sovereign in activity, and built new towns on all sides to serve them as residences, more than one of which was named after the Pharaoh. The death of Papi I. did nothing to interrupt this movement; the elder of his two sons by his second wife, Miriri-onkhnas, succeeded him without opposition. Mirniri Mihtimsauf I. (Metesouphis) was almost a child when he ascended the throne. The recently conquered Bedouin gave him no trouble; the memory of their reverses was still too recent to encourage them to take advantage of his minority and renew hostilities. Uni, moreover, was at hand, ready to recommence his campaigns at the slightest provocation. Metesouphis had retained him in all his offices, and had even entrusted him with new duties. "Pharaoh appointed me governor-general of Upper Egypt, from Elephantine in the south to Letopolis in the north, because my wisdom was pleasing to his Majesty, because my zeal was pleasing to his Majesty, because the heart of his Majesty was satisfied with me.... When I was in my place I was above all his vassals, all his mamelukes, and all his servants, for never had so great a dignity been previously conferred upon a mere subject. I fulfilled to the satisfaction of the king my office as superintendent of the South, so satisfactorily, that it was granted to me to be second in rank to him, accomplishing all the duties of a superintendent of works, judging all the cases which the royal administration had to judge in the south of Egypt as second judge, to render judgment at all hours determined by the royal administration in this south of Egypt as second judge, transacting as a governor all the business there was to do in this south of Egypt." The honour of fetching the hard stone blocks intended for the king's pyramid fell to him by right: he proceeded to the quarries of Abhait, opposite Sehel, to select the granite for the royal sarcophagus and its cover, and to those of Hatnubu for the alabaster for the table of offerings. The transport of the table was a matter of considerable difficulty, for the Nile was low, and the stone of colossal size: Uni constructed on the spot a raft to carry it, and brought it promptly to Saqqara in spite of the sandbanks which obstruct navigation when the river is low.*
* Prof. Petrie has tried to prove from the passage which relates to the transport, that the date of the reign of Papi I. must have been within sixty years of 3240 B.C.; this date I believe to be at least four centuries too late. It is, perhaps, to this voyage of Uni that the inscription of the Vth year of Metesouphis I. refers, given by Blackden-Frazer in A Collection of Hieratic Graffiti from the Alabaster Quarry of Rat-nub, pl. xv. 2.
This was not the limit of his enterprise: the Pharaohs had not as yet a fleet in Nubia, and even if they had had, the condition of the channel was such as to prevent it from making the passage of the cataract. He demanded acacia-wood from the tribes of the desert, the peoples of Iritit and Uauait, and from the Mazaiu, laid down his ships on the stocks, built three galleys and two large lighters in a single year; during this time the river-side labourers had cleared five channels through which the flotilla passed and made its way to Memphis with its ballast of granite. This was Uni's last exploit; he died shortly afterwards, and was buried in the cemetery at Abydos, in the sarcophagus which had been given him by Papi I.
Plan drawn up by Thuillier, from the Map of the Commission d'Egypte.
Was it solely to obtain materials for building the pyramid that he had re-established communication by water between Egypt and Nubia? The Egyptians were gaining ground in the south every day, and under their rule the town of Elephantine was fast becoming a depot for trade with the Soudan.*
* The growing importance of Elephantine is shown by the dimensions of the tombs which its princes had built for themselves, as well as by the number of graffiti commemorating the visits of princes and functionaries, and still remaining at the present day.
The town occupied only the smaller half of a long narrow island, which was composed of detached masses of granite, formed gradually into a compact whole by accumulations of sand, and over which the Nile, from time immemorial, had deposited a thick coating of its mud. It is now shaded by acacias, mulberry trees, date trees, and dom palms, growing in some places in lines along the pathways, in others distributed in groups among the fields. Half a dozen saqiyehs, ranged in a line along the river-bank, raise water day and night, with scarcely any cessation of their monotonous creaking. The inhabitants do not allow a foot of their narrow domain to lie idle; they have cultivated wherever it is possible small plots of durra and barley, bersim and beds of vegetables.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato. In the foreground are the ruins of the Roman mole built of brick, which protected the entrance to the harbour of Syene; in the distance is the Libyan range, surmounted by the ruins of several mosques and of a Coptic monastery. Cf. the woodcut on p. 275 of the present work.
A few scattered buffaloes and cows graze in corners, while fowls and pigeons without number roam about in flocks on the look-out for what they can pick up. It is a world in miniature, tranquil and pleasant, where life is passed without effort, in a perpetually clear atmosphere and in the shade of trees which never lose their leaf. The ancient city was crowded into the southern extremity, on a high plateau of granite beyond the reach of inundations. Its ruins, occupying a space half a mile in circumference, are heaped around a shattered temple of Khnurnu, of which the most ancient parts do not date back beyond the sixteenth century before our era.
Map by Thuillier, from La Description de l'Egypte, Ant., vol. i. pl. 30, 1. I have added the ancient names in those cases where it has been possible to identify them with the modern localities.
It was surrounded with walls, and a fortress of sun-dried brick perched upon a neighbouring island to the south-west, gave it complete com-mand over the passages of the cataract. An arm of the river ninety yards wide separated it from Suanit, whose closely built habitations were ranged along the steep bank, and formed, as it were, a suburb. Marshy pasturages occupied the modern site of Syene; beyond these were gardens, vines, furnishing wine celebrated throughout the whole of Egypt, and a forest of date palms running towards the north along the banks of the stream. The princes of the nome of Nubia encamped here, so to speak, as frontier-posts of civilization, and maintained frequent but variable relations with the people of the desert. It gave the former no trouble to throw, as occasion demanded it, bodies of troops on the right or left sides of the valley, in the direction of the Red Sea or in that of the Oasis; however little they might carry away in their raids—of oxen, slaves, wood, charcoal, gold dust, amethysts, cornelian or green felspar for the manufacture of ornaments—it was always so much to the good, and the treasury of the prince profited by it. They never went very far in their expeditions: if they desired to strike a blow at a distance, to reach, for example, those regions of Puanit of whose riches the barbarians were wont to boast, the aridity of the district around the second cataract would arrest the advance of their foot-soldiers, while the rapids of Wady Haifa would offer an almost impassable barrier to their ships. In such distant operations they did not have recourse to arms, but disguised themselves as peaceful merchants. An easy road led almost direct from their capital to Ras Banat, which they called the "Head of Nekhabit," on the Red Sea; arrived at the spot where in later times stood one of the numerous Berenices, and having quickly put together a boat from the wood of the neighbouring forest, they made voyages along the coast, as far as the Sinaitic peninsula and the Hiru-Shaitu on the north, as well as to the land of Puanit itself on the south. The small size of these improvised vessels rendered such expeditions dangerous, while it limited their gain; they preferred, therefore, for the most part the land journey.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Golenischeff.
It was fatiguing and interminable: donkeys—the only beast of burden they were acquainted with, or, at least, employed—could make but short stages, and they spent months upon months in passing through countries which a caravan of camels would now traverse in a few weeks.*
* The History of the Peasant, in the Berlin Papyri Nos. ii. and iv., affords us a good example of the use made of pack-asses; the hero was on his way across the desert, from the "Wady Natrun" to Henasieh, with a quantity of merchandise which he intended to sell, when an unscrupulous artisan, under cover of a plausible pretext, stole his train of pack- asses and their loads. Hirkhuf brought back with him a caravan of three hundred asses from one of his journeys; cf. p. 278 of the present work.
The roads upon which they ventured were those which, owing to the necessity for the frequent watering of the donkeys and the impossibility of carrying with them adequate supplies of water, were marked out at frequent intervals by wells and springs, and were therefore necessarily of a tortuous and devious character. Their choice of objects for barter was determined by the smallness of their bulk and weight in comparison with their value. The Egyptians on the one side were provided with stocks of beads, ornaments, coarse cutlery, strong perfumes, and rolls of white or coloured cloth, which, after the lapse of thirty-five centuries, are objects still coveted by the peoples of Africa. The aborigines paid for these articles of small value, in gold, either in dust or in bars, in ostrich feathers, lions' and leopards' skins, elephants' tusks, cowrie shells, billets of ebony, incense, and gum arabic. Considerable value was attached to cynocephali and green monkeys, with which the kings or the nobles amused themselves, and which they were accustomed to fasten to the legs of their chairs on days of solemn reception; but the dwarf, the Danga, was the rare commodity which was always in demand, but hardly ever attainable.*
* Domichen, Geographische Inschriften, vol. i. xxxi. 1. 1, where the dwarfs and pigmies who came to the court of the king, in the period of the Ptolemies, to serve in his household, are mentioned. Various races of diminutive stature, which have since been driven down to the upper basin of the Congo, formerly extended further northward, and dwelt between Darfur and the marshes of Bahr-el-Ghazal. As to the Danga, cf. what has been said on p. 226 of the present work.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph taken by Deveria in 1864.
Partly by commerce, and partly by pillage, the lords of Elephantine became rapidly wealthy, and began to play an important part among the nobles of the Said: they were soon obliged to take serious precautions against the cupidity which their wealth excited among the tribes of Konusit. They entrenched themselves behind a wall of sun-dried brick, some seven and a half miles long, of which the ruins are still an object of wonder to the traveller. It was flanked towards the north by the ramparts of Syene, and followed pretty regularly the lower course of the valley to its abutment at the port of Mahatta opposite Philas: guards distributed along it, kept an eye upon the mountain, and uttered a call to arms, when the enemy came within sight. Behind this bulwark the population felt quite at ease, and could work without fear at the granite quarries on behalf of the Pharaoh, or pursue in security their callings of fishermen and sailors. The inhabitants of the village of Satit and of the neighbouring islands claimed from earliest times the privilege of piloting the ships which went up and down the rapids, and of keeping clear the passages which were used for navigation. They worked under the protection of their goddesses Anukit and Satit: travellers of position were accustomed to sacrifice in the temple of the goddesses at Sehel, and to cut on the rock votive inscriptions in their honour, in gratitude for the prosperous voyage accorded to them. We meet their scrawls on every side, at the entrance and exit of the cataract, and on the small islands where they moored their boats at nightfall during the four or five days required for the passage; the bank of the stream between Elephantine and Philae is, as it were, an immense visitors' book, in which every generation of Ancient Egypt has in turn inscribed itself. The markets and streets of the twin cities must have presented at that time the same motley blending of types and costumes which we might have found some years back in the bazaars of modern Syene. Nubians, negroes of the Soudan, perhaps people from Southern Arabia, jostled there with Libyans and Egyptians of the Delta. What the princes did to make the sojourn of strangers agreeable, what temples they consecrated to their god Khnumu and his companions, in gratitude for the good things he had bestowed upon them, we have no means of knowing up to the present. Elephantine and Syene have preserved for us nothing of their ancient edifices; but the tombs which they have left tell us their history. They honeycomb in long lines the sides of the steep hill which looks down upon the whole extent of the left bank of the Nile opposite the narrow channel of the port of Aswan. A rude flight of stone steps led from the bank to the level of the sepulchres. The mummy having been carried slowly on the shoulders of the bearers to the platform, was deposited for a moment at the entrance cf the chapel. The decoration of the latter was rather meagre, and was distinguished neither by the delicacy of its execution nor by the variety of the subjects. More care was bestowed upon the exterior, and upon the walls on each side of the door, which could be seen from the river or from the streets of Elephantine. An inscription borders the recess, and boasts to every visitor of the character of the occupant: the portrait of the deceased, and sometimes that of his son, stand to the right and left: the scenes devoted to the offerings come next, when an artist of sufficient skill could be found to engrave them.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Insinger. The entrance to the tombs are halfway up; the long trench, cutting the side of the mountain obliquely, shelters the still existing steps which led to the tombs of Pharaonic times. On the sky-line may be noted the ruins of several mosques and Coptic monasteries.
The expeditions of the lords of Elephantine, crowned as they frequently were with success, soon attracted the attention of the Pharaohs: Metesouphis deigned to receive in person at the cataract the homage of the chiefs of Uauait and Iritit and of the Mazaiu during the early days of the fifth year of his reign.*
* The words used in the inscription, "The king himself went and returned, ascending the mountain to see what there was on the mountain," prove that Metesouphis inspected the quarries in person. Another inscription, discovered in 1893, gives the year V. as the date of his journey to Elephantine, and adds that he had negotiations with the heads of the four great Nubian races.
The most celebrated caravan guide at this time was Hirkhuf, own cousin to Mikhu, Prince of Elephantine. He had entered upon office under the auspices of his father Iri, "the sole friend." A king whose name he does not mention, but who was perhaps Unas, more probably Papi I., despatched them both to the country of the Amamit. The voyage occupied seven months, and was extraordinarily successful: the sovereign, encouraged by this unexpected good fortune, resolved to send out a fresh expedition. Hirkhuf had the sole command of it; he made his way through Iritit, explored the districts of Satir and Darros, and retraced his steps after an absence of eight months. He brought back with him a quantity of valuable commodities, "the like of which no one had ever previously brought back." He was not inclined to regain his country by the ordinary route: he pushed boldly into the narrow wadys which furrow the territory of the people of Iritit, and emerged upon the region of Situ, in the neighbourhood of the cataract, by paths in which no official traveller who had visited the Amamit had up to this time dared to travel. A third expedition which started out a few years later brought him into regions still less frequented. It set out by the Oasis route, proceeded towards the Amamit, and found the country in an uproar. The sheikhs had convoked their tribes, and were making preparations to attack the Timihu "towards the west corner of the heaven," in that region where stand the pillars which support the iron firmament at the setting sun. The Timihu were probably Berbers by race and language. Their tribes, coming from beyond the Sahara, wandered across the frightful solitudes which bound the Nile Valley on the west. The Egyptians had constantly to keep a sharp look out for them, and to take precautions against their incursions; having for a long time acted only on the defensive, they at length took the offensive, and decided, not without religious misgivings, to pursue them to their retreats. As the inhabitants of Mendes and of Busiris had relegated the abode of their departed to the recesses of the impenetrable marshes of the Delta, so those of Siut and Thinis had at first believed that the souls of the deceased sought a home beyond the sands: the good jackal Anubis acted as their guide, through the gorge of the Cleft or through the gate of the Oven, to the green islands scattered over the desert, where the blessed dwelt in peace at a convenient distance from their native cities and their tombs. They constituted, as we know, a singular folk, those uiti whose members dwelt in coffins, and who had put on the swaddling clothes of the dead; the Egyptians called the Oasis which they had colonised, the land of the shrouded, or of mummies, uit, and the name continued to designate it long after the advance of geographical knowledge had removed this paradise further towards the west. The Oases fell one after the other into the hands of frontier princes—that of Bahnesa coming under the dominion of the lord of Oxyrrhynchus, that of Dakhel under the lords of Thinis. The Nubians of Amamit had relations, probably, with the Timihu, who owned the Oasis of Dush—a prolongation of that of Dakhel, on the parallel of Elephantine. Hirkhuf accompanied the expedition to the Amamit, succeeded in establishing peace among the rival tribes, and persuaded them "to worship all the gods of Pharaoh:" he afterwards reconciled the Iritit, Amamit, and Uauait, who lived in a state of perpetual hostility to each other, explored their valleys, and collected from them such quantities of incense, ebony, ivory, and skins that three hundred asses were required for their transport.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph, taken in 1892, by Alexander Gayet.
He was even fortunate enough to acquire a Danga from the land of ghosts, resembling the one brought from Puanit by Biurdidi in the reign of Assi eighty years before. Metesouphis, in the mean time, had died, and his young brother and successor, Papi II., had already been a year upon the throne. The new king, delighted to possess a dwarf who could perform "the dance of the god," addressed a rescript to Hirkhuf to express his satisfaction; at the same time he sent him a special messenger, Uni, a distant relative to Papi I.'s minister, who was to invite him to come and give an account of his expedition. The boat in which the explorer embarked to go down to Memphis, also brought the Danga, and from that moment the latter became the most important personage of the party. For him all the royal officials, lords, and sacerdotal colleges hastened to prepare provisions and means of conveyance; his health was of greater importance than that of his protector, and he was anxiously watched lest he should escape. "When he is with thee in the boat, let there be cautious persons about him, lest he should fall into the water; when he rests during the night, let careful people sleep beside him, in case of his escaping quickly in the night-time. For my Majesty desires to see this dwarf more than all the treasures which are being imported from the land of Puanit." Hirkhuf, on his return to Elephantine, engraved the royal letter and the detailed account of his journeys to the lands of the south, on the facade of his tomb.
These repeated expeditions produced in course of time more important and permanent results than the capture of an accomplished dwarf, or the acquisition of a fortune by an adventurous nobleman. The nations which these merchants visited were accustomed to hear so much of Egypt, its industries, and its military force, that they came at last to entertain an admiration and respect for her, not unmingled with fear: they learned to look upon her as a power superior to all others, and upon her king as a god whom none might resist. They adopted Egyptian worship, yielded to Egypt their homage, and sent the Egyptians presents: they were won over by civilization before being subdued by arms. We are not acquainted with the manner in which Nofirkiri-Papi II. turned these friendly dispositions to good account in extending his empire to the south. The expeditions did not all prove so successful as that of Hirkhuf, and one at least of the princes of Elephantine, Papinakhiti, met with his death in the course of one of them. Papi II. had sent him on a mission, after several others, "to make profit out of the Uauaiu and the Iritit." He killed considerable numbers in this raid, and brought back great spoil, which he shared with Pharaoh; "for he was at the head of many warriors, chosen from among the bravest," which was the cause of his success in the enterprise with which his Holiness had deigned to entrust him. Once, however, the king employed him in regions which were not so familiar to him as those of Nubia, and fate was against him. He had received orders to visit the Amu, the Asiatic tribes inhabiting the Sinaitic Peninsula, and to repeat on a smaller scale in the south the expedition which Uni had led against them in the north; he proceeded thither, and his sojourn having come to an end, he chose to return by sea. To sail towards Puanit, to coast up as far as the "Head of Nekhabit," to land there and make straight for Elephantine by the shortest route, presented no unusual difficulties, and doubtless more than one traveller or general of those times had safely accomplished it; Papinakhiti failed miserably. As he was engaged in constructing his vessel, the Hiru-Shaitu fell upon him and massacred him, as well as the detachment of troops who accompanied him: the remaining soldiers brought home his body, which was buried by the side of the other princes in the mountain opposite Syene. Papi II. had ample leisure to avenge the death of his vassal and to send fresh expeditions to Iritit, among the Amamit and even beyond, if, indeed, as the author of the chronological Canon of Turin asserts,* he really reigned for more than ninety years; but the monuments are almost silent with regard to him, and give us no information about his possible exploits in Nubia. An inscription of his second year proves that he continued to work the Sinaitic mines, and that he protected them from the Bedouin.
* The fragments of Manetho and the Canon of Eratosthenes agree in assigning to him a reign of a hundred years—a fact which seems to indicate that the missing unit in the Turin list was nine: Papi II. would have thus died in the hundreth year of his reign. A reign of a hundred years is impossible: Mihtimsauf I. having reigned fourteen years, it would be necessary to assume that Papi II., son of Papi I., should have lived a hundred and fourteen years at the least, even on the supposition that he was a posthumous child. The simplest solution is to suppose (1) that Papi II. lived a hundred years, as Ramses II. did in later times, and that the years of his life were confounded with the years of his reign; or (2) that, being the brother of Mihtimsauf I., he was considered as associated with him on the throne, and that the hundred years of his reign, including the fourteen of the latter prince, were identified with the years of his life. We may, moreover, believe that the chronologists, for. lack of information on the VIth dynasty, have filled the blanks in their annals by lengthening the reign of Papi II., which in any case must have been very long.
On the other hand, the number and beauty of the tombs in which mention is made of him, bear witness to the fact that Egypt enjoyed continued prosperity. Recent discoveries have done much to surround this king and his immediate predecessors with an air of reality which is lacking in many of the later Pharaohs.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey. The mummy is now in the Gizeh Museum (cf. Maspero, Guide au Musee de Boulaq, pp. 347, 348, No. 5250).
Their pyramids, whose familiar designations we have deciphered in the texts, have been uncovered at Saqqara, and the inscriptions which they contain, reveal to us the names of the sovereigns who reposed within. Unas, Teti III., Papi I., Mete-souphis I., and Papi II. now have as clearly defined a personality for us as Ramses II. or Seti I.; even the mummy of Metesouphis has been discovered near his sarcophagus, and can be seen under glass in the Gizeh Museum. The body is thin and slender; the head refined, and ornamented with the thick side-lock of boyhood; the features can be easily distinguished, although the lower jaw has disappeared and the pressure of the bandages has flattened the nose. All the pyramids of the dynasty are of a uniform-type, the model being furnished by that of Unas. The entrance is in the centre of the northern facade, underneath the lowest course, and on the ground-level. An inclined passage, obstructed by enormous stones, leads to an antechamber, whose walls are partly bare, and partly covered with long columns of hieroglyphs: a level passage, blocked towards the middle by three granite barrier, ends in a nearly square chamber; on the left are three low cells devoid of ornament, and on the right an oblong chamber containing the sarcophagus.
From drawings by Maspero, La Pyramide d'Ounas, in the Recueil de Travaux, vol. iv. p. 177.
These two principal rooms had high-pitched roofs. They were composed of large slabs of limestone, the upper edges of which leaned one against the other, while the lower edges rested on a continuous ledge which ran round the chamber: the first row of slabs was surmounted by a second, and that again by a third, and the three together effectively protected the apartments of the dead against the thrust of the superincumbent mass, or from the attacks of robbers. The wall-surfaces close to the sarcophagus in the pyramid of Unas are decorated with many-coloured ornaments and sculptured and painted doors representing the front of a house: this was, in fact, the dwelling of the double, in which he resided with the dead body.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph, taken in 1881, by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
The inscriptions, like the pictures in the tombs, were meant to furnish the sovereign with provisions, to dispel serpents and malevolent divinities, to keep his soul from death, and to lead him into the bark of the sun or into the Paradise of Osiris. They constitute a portion of a vast book, whose chapters are found scattered over the monuments of subsequent periods. They are the means of restoring to us, not only the religion but the most ancient language of Egypt: the majority of the formulas contained in them were drawn up in the time of the earliest human kings, perhaps even before Menes.
The history of the VIth dynasty loses itself in legend and fable. Two more kings are supposed to have succeeded Papi Nofirkeri, Mirniri Mihtimsaut (Metesouphis II.) and Nitauqrit (Nitokris). Metesouphis II. was killed, so runs the tale, in a riot, a year after his accession.*
* Manetho does not mention this fact, but the legend given by Herodotus says that Nitokris wished to avenge the king, her brother and predecessor, who was killed in a revolution; and it follows from the narrative of the facts that this anonymous brother was the Metesouphis of Manetho. The Turin Papyrus assigns a reign of a year and a month to Mihtimsaul- Metesouphis II.
His sister, Nitokris, the "rosy-cheeked," to whom, as was the custom, he was married, succeeded him and avenged his death. She built an immense subterranean hall; under pretext of inaugurating its completion, but in reality with a totally different aim, she then invited to a great feast, and received in this hall, a considerable number of Egyptians from among those whom she knew to have been instigators of the crime. During the entertainment, she diverted the waters of the Nile into the hall by means of a canal which she had kept concealed. This is what is related of her. They add, that "after this, the queen, of her own will, threw herself into a great chamber filled with ashes, in order to escape punishment." She completed the pyramid of Mykerinos, by adding to it that costly casing of Syenite which excited the admiration of travellers; she reposed in a sarcophagus of blue basalt, in the very centre of the monument, above the secret chamber where the pious Pharaoh had hidden his mummy.*
* The legend which ascribes the building of the third pyramid to a woman has been preserved by Herodotus: E. de Bunsen, comparing it with the observations of Vyse, was inclined to attribute to Nitokris the enlarging of the monument, which appears to me to have been the work of Mykerinos himself.
The Greeks, who had heard from their dragomans the story of the "Rosy-cheeked Beauty," metamorphosed the princess into a courtesan, and for the name of Nitokris, substituted the more harmonious one of Rhodopis, which was the exact translation of the characteristic epithet of the Egyptian queen. One day while she was bathing in the river, an eagle stole one of her gilded sandals, carried it off in the direction of Memphis, and let it drop in the lap of the king, who was administering justice in the open air. The king, astonished at the singular occurrence, and at the beauty of the tiny shoe, caused a search to be made throughout the country for the woman to whom it belonged: Rhodopis thus became Queen of Egypt, and could build herself a pyramid. Even Christianity and the Arab conquest did not entirely efface the remembrance of the courtesan-princess.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
It is said that the spirit of the Southern Pyramid never appears abroad, except in the form of a naked woman, who is very beautiful, but whose manner of acting is such, that when she desires to make people fall in love with her, and lose their wits, she smiles upon them, and immediately they draw near to her, and she attracts them towards her, and makes them infatuated with love; so that they at once lose their wits, and wander aimlessly about the country. Many have seen her moving round the pyramid about midday and towards sunset. It is Nitokris still haunting the monument of her shame and her magnificence.*
* The lists of the VIth dynasty, with the approximate dates of the kings, are as follows:—
After her, even tradition is silent, and the history of Egypt remains a mere blank for several centuries. Manetho admits the existence of two other Memphite dynasties, of which the first contains seventy kings during as many days. Akhthoes, the most cruel of tyrants, followed next, and oppressed his subjects for a long period: he was at last the victim of raving madness, and met with his death from the jaws of a crocodile. It is related that he was of Heracleopolite extraction, and the two dynasties which succeeded him, the IXth and the Xth, were also Heracleopolitan. The table of Abydos is incomplete, and the Turin Papyrus, in the absence of other documents, too mutilated to furnish us with any exact information; the contemporaries of the Ptolemies were almost entirely ignorant of what took place between the end of the VIth and the beginning of the XIIth dynasty; and Egyptologists, not finding any monuments which they could attribute to this period, thereupon concluded that Egypt had passed through some formidable crisis out of which she with difficulty extricated herself.*
* Marsham (Canon Chronicus, edition, of Leipzig, 1676, p. 29) had already declared in the seventeenth century that he felt no hesitation in considering the Heracleopolites as identical with the successors of Menes-Misraim, who reigned over the Mestraea, that is, over the Delta only. The idea of an Asiatic invasion, analogous to that of the Hyksos, which was put forward by Mariette, and accepted by Fr. Lenormant, has found its chief supporters in Germany. Bunsen made of the Heracleopolitan two subordinate dynasties reigning simultaneously in Lower Egypt, and originating at Heracleopolis in the Delta: they were supposed to have been contemporaries of the last Memphite and first Theban dynasties. Lepsius accepted and recognized in the Heracleopolitans of the Delta the predecessors of the Hyksos, an idea defended by Ebers, and developed by Krall in his identification of the unknown invaders with the Hiru- Shaitu: it has been adopted by Ed. Meyer, and by Petrie.
The so-called Heracleopolites of Manetho were assumed to have been the chiefs of a barbaric people of Asiatic origin, those same "Lords of the Sands" so roughly handled by Uni, but who are considered to have invaded the Delta soon after, settled themselves in Heracleopolis Parva as their capital, and from thence held sway over the whole valley. They appeared to have destroyed much and built nothing; the state of barbarism into which they sank, and to which they reduced the vanquished, explaining the absence of any monuments to mark their occupation. This hypothesis, however, is unsupported by any direct proof: even the dearth of monuments which has been cited as an argument in favour of the theory, is no longer a fact. The sequence of reigns and details of the revolutions are wanting; but many of the kings and certain facts in their history are known, and we are able to catch a glimpse of the general course of events. The VIIth and VIIIth dynasties are Memphite, and the names of the kings themselves would be evidence in favour of their genuineness, even if we had not the direct testimony of Manetho: the one recurring most frequently is that of Nofirkeri, the prenomen of Papi II., and a third Papi figures in them, who calls himself Papi-Sonbu to distinguish himself from his namesakes. The little recorded of them in Ptolemaic times, even the legend of the seventy Pharaohs reigning seventy days, betrays a troublous period and a rapid change of rulers.*
* The explanation of Prof. Lauth, according to which Manetho is supposed to have made an independent dynasty of the five Memphite priests who filled the interregnum of seventy days during the embalming of Nitokris, is certainly very ingenious, but that is all that can be said for it. The legendary source from which Manetho took his information distinctly recorded seventy successive kings, who reigned in all seventy days, a king a day.
We know as a fact that the successors of Nitokris, in the Royal Turin Papyrus, scarcely did more than appear upon the throne. Nofirkeri reigned a year, a month, and a day; Nofirus, four years, two months, and a day; Abu, two years, one month, and a day. Each of them hoped, no doubt, to enjoy the royal power for a longer period than his predecessors, and, like the Ati of the VIth dynasty, ordered a pyramid to be designed for him without delay: not one of them had time to complete the building, nor even to carry it sufficiently far to leave any trace behind. As none of them had any tomb to hand his name down to posterity, the remembrance of them perished with their contemporaries. By dint of such frequent changes in the succession, the royal authority became enfeebled, and its weakness favoured the growing influence of the feudal families and encouraged their ambition. The descendants of those great lords, who under Papi I. and II. made such magnificent tombs for themselves, were only nominally subject to the supremacy of the reigning sovereign; many of them were, indeed, grandchildren of princesses of the blood, and possessed, or imagined that they possessed, as good a right to the crown as the family on the throne. Memphis declined, became impoverished, and dwindled in population. Its inhabitants ceased to build those immense stone mastabas in which they had proudly displayed their wealth, and erected them merely of brick, in which the decoration was almost entirely confined to one narrow niche near the sarcophagus. Soon the mastaba itself was given up, and the necropolis of the city was reduced to the meagre proportions of a small provincial cemetery. The centre of that government, which had weighed so long and so heavily upon Egypt, was removed to the south, and fixed itself at Heracleopolis the Great.
Volume II., Part .
THE FIRST THEBAN EMPIRE
THE TWO HERACLEOPOLITAN DYNASTIES AND THE TWELFTH DYNASTY—THE CONQUEST OF ETHIOPIA, AND THE MAKING OF GREATER EGYPT BY THE THEBAN KINGS.
The principality of Heracleopolis: Achthoes-Khiti and the Heracleopolitan dynasties—Supremacy of the great barons: the feudal fortresses, El-Kab and Abydos; ceaseless warfare, the army—Origin of the Theban principality: the principality of Sidt, and the struggles of its lords against the princes of Thebes—The kings of the XIth dynasty and their buildings: the brick pyramids of Abydos and Thebes, and the rude character of early Theban art.
The XIIth dynasty: Amenemdidit I., his accession, his wars; he shares his throne with his son Usirtasen I., and the practice of a coregnancy prevails among his immediate successors—The relations of Egypt with Asia: the Amu in Egypt and the Egyptians among the Bedouin; the Adventures of Sinuhit—The mining settlements in the Sinaitic peninsula: Sarbut-el-Khddim and its chapel to Hathor.
Egyptian policy in the Nile Valley—Nubia becomes part of Egypt: works of the Pharaohs, the gold-mines and citadel of Kuban—Defensive measures at the second cataract: the two fortresses and the Nilometer of Semneh—The vile Kush and its inhabitants: the wars against Kush and their consequences; the gold-mines—Expeditions to Puanit, and navigation along the coasts of the Bed Sea: the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor.
Public works and new buildings—The restoration of the temples of the Delta: Tanis and the sphinxes of Amenemhait III., Bubastis, Heliopolis, and the temple of Usirtasen I.—The increasing importance of Thebes and Abydos—Heracleopolis and the Fayum: the monuments of Begig and of Biahmil, the fields and water-system of the Fayum; preference shown by the Pharaohs for this province—The royal pyramids of Dashdr, Lisht, Ulahun, and Haiodra.
The part played by the feudal lords under the XIIth dynasty—History of the princes of Mondit-Khufui: Khnumhotpil, Khiti, Amoni-Amenemhait—The lords of Thebes, and the accession of the XIIIth dynasty: the Sovkhotpus and the Nfirhotpus—Completion of the conquest of Nubia; the XIVth dynasty.
CHAPTER III—THE FIRST THEBAN EMPIRE
The two Heracleopolitan dynasties and the XIIth dynasty—The conquest of Ethiopia, and the making of Greater Egypt by the Theban kings.
The principality of the Oleander—Naru—was bounded on the north by the Memphite nome; the frontier ran from the left bank of the Nile to the Libyan range, from the neighbourhood of Riqqah to that of Medum. The principality comprised the territory lying between the Nile and the Bahr Yusuf, from the above-mentioned two villages to the Harabshent Canal—a district known to Greek geographers as the island of Heracleopolis;—it moreover included the whole basin of the Fayum, on the west of the valley. In very early times it had been divided into three parts: the Upper Oleander—Naru Khoniti—the Lower Oleander—Naru Pahui—and the lake land—To-shit; and these divisions, united usually under the supremacy of one chief, formed a kind of small state, of which Heracleopolis was always the capital. The soil was fertile, well watered, and well tilled, but the revenues from this district, confined between the two arms of the river, were small in comparison with the wealth which their ruler derived from his hands on the other side of the mountain range. The Fayum is approached by a narrow and winding gorge, more than six miles in length—a depression of natural formation, deepened by the hand of man to allow a free passage to the waters of the Nile. The canal which conveys them leaves the Bahr Yusuf at a point a little to the north of Heracleopolis, carries them in a swift stream through the gorge in the Libyan chain, and emerges into an immense amphitheatre, whose highest side is parallel to the Nile valley, and whose terraced slopes descend abruptly to about a hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Two great arms separate themselves from this canal to the right and left—the Wady Tamieh and the Wady Nazleh; they wind at first along the foot of the hills, and then again approaching each other, empty themselves into a great crescent or horn-shaped lake, lying east and west—the Moeris of Strabo, the Birket-Kerun of the Arabs. A third branch penetrates the space enclosed by the other two, passes the town of Shodu, and is then subdivided into numerous canals and ditches, whose ramifications appear on the map as a network resembling the reticulations of a skeleton leaf. The lake formerly extended beyond its present limits, and submerged districts from which it has since withdrawn.*
* Most of the specialists who have latterly investigated the Fayum have greatly exaggerated the extent of the Birket- Kerun in historic times. Prof. Petrie states that it covered the whole of the present province throughout the time of the Memphite kings, and that it was not until the reign of Amenemhait I. that even a very small portion was drained. Major Brown adopts this theory, and considers that it was under Amenemhait III. that the great lake of the Fayum was transformed into a kind of artificial reservoir, which was the Mceris of Herodotus. The city of Shodu, Shadu, Shadit— the capital of the Fayum—and its god Sovku are mentioned even in the Pyramid texts: and the eastern district of the Fayum is named in the inscription of Amten, under the IIIrd dynasty.
In years when the inundation was excessive, the surplus waters were discharged into the lake; when, however, there was a low Nile, the storage which had not been absorbed by the soil was poured back into the valley by the same channels, and carried down by the Bahr-Yusuf to augment the inundation of the Western Delta.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Louvre Museum.
The Nile was the source of everything in this principality, and hence they were gods of the waters who received the homage of the three nomes. The inhabitants of Heracleopolis worshipped the ram Harshafitu, with whom they associated Osiris of Naruduf as god of the dead; the people of the Upper Oleander adored a second ram, Khnumu of Hasmonitu, and the whole Fayum was devoted to the cult of Sovku the crocodile. Attracted by the fertility of the soil, the Pharaohs of the older dynasties had from time to time taken up their residence in Heracleopolis or its neighbourhood, and one of them—Snofrui—had built his pyramid at Medum, close to the frontier of the nome. In proportion as the power of the Memphites declined, the princes of the Oleander grew more vigorous and enterprising; and when the Memphite kings passed away, these princes succeeded their former masters and sat "upon the throne of Horus."
The founder of the IXth dynasty was perhaps Khiti I., Miribri, the Akhthoes of the Greeks. He ruled over all Egypt, and his name has been found on rocks at the first cataract. A story dating from the time of the Ramessides mentions his wars against the Bedouin of the regions east of the Delta; and what Manetho relates of his death is merely a romance, in which the author, having painted him as a sacrilegious tyrant like Kheops and Khephren, states that he was dragged down under the water and there devoured by a crocodile or hippopotamus, the appointed avengers of the offended gods. His successors seem to have reigned ingloriously for more than a century. Their deeds are unknown to history, but it was under the reign of one of them—Nibkauri—that a travelling fellah, having been robbed of his earnings by an artisan, is said to have journeyed to Heracleopolis to demand justice from the governor, or to charm him by the eloquence of his pleadings and the variety of his metaphors. It would, of course, be idle to look for the record of any historic event in this story; the common people, moreover, do not long remember the names of unimportant princes, and the tenacity with which the Egyptians treasured the memories of several kings of the Heracleopolitan line amply proves that, whether by their good or evil qualities, they had at least made a lasting impression upon the popular imagination.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Grebaut. The illustration shows a breach where the gate stood, and the curves of the brickwork courses can clearly be traced both to the right and the left of the opening.
The history of this period, as far as we can discern it through the mists of the past, appears to be one confused struggle: from north to south war raged without intermission; the Pharaohs fought against their rebel vassals, the nobles fought among themselves, and—what scarcely amounted to warfare—there were the raids on all sides of pillaging bands, who, although too feeble to constitute any serious danger to large cities, were strong enough either in numbers or discipline to render the country districts uninhabitable, and to destroy national prosperity. The banks of the Nile already bristled with citadels, where the monarchs lived and kept watch over the lands subject to their authority: other fortresses were established wherever any commanding site—such as a narrow part of the river, or the mouth of a defile leading into the desert—presented itself. All were constructed on the same plan, varied only by the sizes of the areas enclosed, and the different thickness of the outer walls. The outline of their ground-plan formed a parallelogram, whose enclosure wall was often divided into vertical panels easily distinguished by the different arrangements of the building material. At El-Kab and other places the courses of crude brick are slightly concave, somewhat resembling a wide inverted arch whose outer curve rests on the ground. In other places there was a regular alternation of lengths of curved courses, with those in which the courses were strictly horizontal. The object of this method of structure is still unknown, but it is thought that such building offers better resistance to shocks of earthquake. The most ancient fortress at Abydos, whose ruins now lie beneath the mound of Kom-es-Sultan, was built in this way. Tombs having encroached upon it by the time of the VIth dynasty, it was shortly afterwards replaced by another and similar fort, situate rather more than a hundred yards to the south-east; the latter is still one of the best-preserved specimens of military architecture dating from the times immediately preceding the first Theban empire.*
* My first opinion was that the second fortress had been built towards the time of the XVIIIth dynasty at the earliest, perhaps even under the XXth. Further consideration of the details of its construction and decoration now leads me to attribute it to the period between the VIth and XIIth dynasties.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey. Modern Arabs call it Shunet-ez-Zebib, the storehouse of raisins.
The exterior is unbroken by towers or projections of any kind, and consists of four sides, the two longer of which are parallel to each other and measure 143 yards from east to west: the two shorter sides, which are also parallel, measure 85 yards from north to south. The outer wall is solid, built in horizontal courses, with a slight batter, and decorated by vertical grooves, which at all hours of the day diversify the surface with an incessant play of light and shade. When perfect it can hardly have been less than 40 feet in height. The walk round the ramparts was crowned by a slight, low parapet, with rounded battlements, and was reached by narrow staircases carefully constructed in the thickness of the walls. A battlemented covering wall, about five and a half yards high, encircled the building at a distance of some four feet. The fortress itself was entered by two gates, and posterns placed at various points between them provided for sorties of the garrison. The principal entrance was concealed in a thick block of building at the southern extremity of the east front. The corresponding entrance in the covering wall was a narrow opening closed by massive wooden doors; behind it was a small place d'armes, at the further end of which was a second gate, as narrow as the first, and leading into an oblong court hemmed in between the outer rampart and two bastions projecting at right angles from it; and lastly, there was a gate purposely placed at the furthest and least obvious corner of the court. Such a fortress was strong enough to resist any modes of attack then at the disposal of the best-equipped armies, which knew but three ways of taking a place by force, viz. scaling, sapping, and breaking open the gates. The height of the walls effectually prevented scaling. The pioneers were kept at a distance by the brave, but if a breach were made in that, the small flanking galleries fixed outside the battlements enabled the besieged to overwhelm the enemy with stones and javelins as they approached, and to make the work of sapping almost impossible. Should the first gate of the fortress yield to the assault, the attacking party would be crowded together in the courtyard as in a pit, few being able to enter together; they would at once be constrained to attack the second gate under a shower of missiles, and did they succeed in carrying that also, it was at the cost of enormous sacrifice. The peoples of the Nile Valley knew nothing of the swing battering-ram, and no representation of the hand-worked battering-ram has ever been found in any of their wall-paintings or sculptures; they forced their way into a stronghold by breaking down its gates with their axes, or by setting fire to its doors.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a scene in the tomb of Amoni- Amenemhait at Beni-Hasan.
While the sappers were hard at work, the archers endeavoured, by the accuracy of their aim, to clear the enemy from the curtain, while soldiers sheltered behind movable mantelets tried to break down the defences and dismantle the flanking galleries with huge metal-tipped lances. In dealing with a resolute garrison none of these methods proved successful; nothing but close siege, starvation, or treachery could overcome its resistance.
The equipment of Egyptian troops was lacking in uniformity, and men armed with slings, or bows and arrows, lances, wooden swords, clubs, stone or metal axes, all fought side by side. The head was protected by a padded cap, and the body by shields, which were small for light infantry, but of great width for soldiers of the line. The issue of a battle depended upon a succession of single combats between foes armed with the same weapons; the lancers alone seem to have charged in line behind their huge bucklers. As a rule, the wounds were trifling, and the great skill with which the shields were used made the risk of injury to any vital part very slight. Sometimes, however, a lance might be driven home into a man's chest, or a vigorously wielded sword or club might fracture a combatant's skull and stretch him unconscious on the ground. With the exception of those thus wounded and incapacitated for flight, very few prisoners were taken, and the name given to them, "Those struck down alive"—sokiruonkhu—sufficiently indicates the method of their capture. The troops were recruited partly from the domains of military fiefs, partly from tribes of the desert or Nubia, and by their aid the feudal princes maintained the virtual independence which they had acquired for themselves under the last kings of the Memphite line. Here and there, at Hermopolis, Shit, and Thebes, they founded actual dynasties, closely connected with the Pharaonic dynasty, and even occasionally on an equality with it, though they assumed neither the crown nor the double cartouche. Thebes was admirably adapted for becoming the capital of an important state. It rose on the right bank of the Nile, at the northern end of the curve made by the river towards Hermonthis, and in the midst of one of the most fertile plains of Egypt. Exactly opposite to it, the Libyan range throws out a precipitous spur broken up by ravines and arid amphitheatres, and separated from the river-bank by a mere strip of cultivated ground which could be easily defended. A troop of armed men stationed on this neck of land could command the navigable arm of the Nile, intercept trade with Nubia at their pleasure, and completely bar the valley to any army attempting to pass without having first obtained authority to do so. The advantages of this site do not seem to have been appreciated during the Memphite period, when the political life of Upper Egypt was but feeble. Elephantine, El-Kab, and Koptos were at that period the principal cities of the country. Elephantine particularly, owing to its trade with the Soudan, and its constant communication with the peoples bordering the Red Sea, was daily increasing in importance. Hermonthis, the Aunu of the South, occupied much the same position, from a religious point of view, as was held in the Delta by Heliopolis, the Aunu of the North, and its god Montu, a form of the Solar Horus, disputed the supremacy with Minu, of Koptos. Thebes long continued to be merely an insignificant village of the Uisit nome and a dependency of Hermonthis. It was only towards the end of the VIIIth dynasty that Thebes began to realize its power, after the triumph of feudalism over the crown had culminated in the downfall of the Memphite kings.
A family which, to judge from the fact that its members affected the name of Monthotpu, originally came from Hermonthis, settled in Thebes and made that town the capital of a small principality, which rapidly enlarged its borders at the expense of the neighbouring nomes. All the towns and cities of the plain, Madufc, Hfuifc, Zorit, Hermonthis, and towards the south, Aphroditopolis Parva, at the gorge of the Two Mountains (Gebelen) which formed the frontier of the fief of El-Kab, Kusit towards the north, Denderah, and Hu, all fell into the hands of the Theban princes and enormously increased their territory. After the lapse of a very few years, their supremacy was accepted more or less willingly by the adjacent principalities of El-Kab, Elephantine, Koptos, Qasr-es-Sayad, Thinis, and Ekhmim. Antuf, the founder of the family, claimed no other title than that of Lord of Thebes, and still submitted to the suzerainty of the Heracleopolitan kings. His successors considered themselves strong enough to cast off this allegiance, if not to usurp all the insignia of royalty, including the uraeus and the cartouche. Monthotpu I., Antuf II., and Antuf III. must have occupied a somewhat remarkable position among the great lords of the south, since their successors credited them with the possession of a unique preamble. It is true that the historians of a later date did not venture to place them on a par with the kings who were actually independent; they enclosed their names in the cartouche without giving them a prenomen; but, at the same time, they invested them with a title not met with elsewhere, that of the first Horus—Horu tapi. They exercised considerable power from the outset. It extended over Southern Egypt, over Nubia, and over the valleys lying between the Nile and the Red Sea.* The origin of the family was somewhat obscure, but in support of their ambitious projects, they did not fail to invoke the memory of pretended alliances between their ancestors and daughters of the solar race; they boasted of their descent from the Papis, from Usirniri Anu, Sahuri, and Snofrui, and claimed that the antiquity of their titles did away with the more recent rights of their rivals.
The revolt of the Theban princes put an end to the IXth dynasty, and, although supported by the feudal powers of Central and Northern Egypt, and more especially by the lords of the Terebinth nome, who viewed the sudden prosperity of the Thebans with a very evil eye, the Xth dynasty did not succeed in bringing them back to their allegiance.**
* In the "Hall of Ancestors" the title of "Horus" is attributed to several Antufs and Monthotpus bearing the cartouche. This was probably the compiler's ingenious device for marking the subordinate position of these personages as compared with that of the Heracleopolitan Pharaohs, who alone among their contemporaries had a right to be placed on such official lists, even when those lists were compiled under the great Theban dynasties. The place in the XIth dynasty of princes bearing the title of "Horus" was first determined by E. de Rouge.
** The history of the house of Thebes was restored at the same time as that of the Heracleopolitan dynasties, by Maspero, in the Revue Critique, 1889, vol. ii. p. 220. The difficulty arising from the number of the Theban kings according to Manetho, considered in connection with the forty-three years which made the total duration of the dynasty, has been solved by Barucchi, Discord critici sojpra la Cronologia Egizia, pp. 131-134. These forty-three years represent the length of time that the Theban dynasty reigned alone, and which are ascribed to it in the Royal Canon; but the number of its kings includes, besides the recognized Pharaohs of the line, those princes who were contemporary with the Heracleopolitan rulers and are officially reckoned as forming the Xth dynasty.
The family which held the fief of Siut when the war broke out, had ruled there for three generations. Its first appearance on the scene of history coincided with the accession of Akhthoes, and its elevation was probably the reward of services rendered by its chief to the head of the Heracleopolitan family.*
* By ascribing to the princes of Siut an average reign equal to that of the Pharaohs, and admitting with Lepsius that the IXth dynasty consisted of four or five kings, the accession of the first of these princes would practically coincide with the reign of Akhthoes. The name of Khiti, borne by two members of this little local dynasty, may have been given in memory of the Pharaoh Khiti Miribri; there was also a second Khiti among the Heracleopolitan sovereigns, and one of the Khitis of Siut may have been his contemporary. The family claimed a long descent, and said of itself that it was "an ancient litter"; but the higher rank and power of "prince" —hiqu—it owed to Khiti I. [Miribri?—Ed.] or some other king of the Heracleo-politian line.
From this time downwards, the title of "ruler"—hiqu—which the Pharaohs themselves sometimes condescended to take, was hereditary in the family, who grew in favour from year to year. Khiti I., the fourth of this line of princes, was brought up in the palace of Heracleopolis, and had learned to swim with the royal children. On his return home he remained the personal friend of the king, and governed his domains wisely, clearing the canals, fostering agriculture, and lightening the taxes without neglecting the army. His heavy infantry, recruited from among the flower of the people of the north, and his light infantry, drawn from the pick of the people of the south, were counted by thousands. He resisted the Theban pretensions with all his might, and his son Tefabi followed in his footsteps. "The first time," said he, "that my foot-soldiers fought against the nomes of the south which were gathered together from Elephantine in the south to Gau on the north, I conquered those nomes, I drove them towards the southern frontier, I overran the left bank of the Nile in all directions. When I came to a town I threw down its walls, I seized its chief, I imprisoned him at the port (landing-place) until he paid me ransom. As soon as I had finished with the left bank, and there were no longer found any who dared resist, I passed to the right bank; like a swift hare I set full sail for another chief.... I sailed by the north wind as by the east, by the south as by the west, and him whose ship I boarded I vanquished utterly; he was cast into the water, his boats fled to shore, his soldiers were as bulls on whom falleth the lion; I compassed his city from end to end, I seized his goods, I cast them into the fire." Thanks to his energy and courage, he "extinguished the rebellion by the counsel and according to the tactics of the jackal Uapuaitu, god of Siut."
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Insinger, taken in 1882. The scene forms part of the decoration of one of the walls of the tomb of Khiti III.
From that time "no district of the desert was safe from his terrors," and he "carried flame at his pleasure among the nomes of the south." Even while bringing desolation to his foes, he sought to repair the ills which the invasion had brought upon his own subjects. He administered such strict justice that evil-doers disappeared as though by magic. "When night came, he who slept on the roads blessed me, because he was as safe as in his own house; for the fear which was shed abroad by my soldiers protected him; and the cattle in the fields were as safe there as in the stable; the thief had become an abomination to the god, and he no longer oppressed the serf, so that the latter ceased to complain, and paid the exact dues of his land for love of me." In the time of Khiti II., the son of Tefabi, the Heracleopolitans were still masters of Northern Egypt, but their authority was even then menaced by the turbulence of their own vassals, and Heracleopolis itself drove out the Pharaoh Mirikari, who was obliged to take refuge in Siut with that Kkiti whom he called his father. Khiti gathered together such an extensive fleet that it encumbered the Nile from Shashhotpu to Gebel-Abufodah, from one end of the principality of the Terebinth to the other. Vainly did the rebels unite with the Thebans; Khiti "sowed terror over the world, and himself alone chastised the nomes of the south." While he was descending the river to restore the king to his capital, "the sky grew serene, and the whole country rallied to him; the commanders of the south and the archons of Heracleopolis, their legs tremble beneath them when the royal urous, ruler of the world, comes to suppress crime; the earth trembles, the South takes ship and flies, all men flee in dismay, the towns surrender, for fear takes hold on their members." Mirikari's return was a triumphal progress: "when he came to Heracleopolis the people ran forth to meet him, rejoicing in their lord; women and men together, old men as well as children." But fortune soon changed. Beaten again and again, the Thebans still returned to the attack; at length they triumphed, after a struggle of nearly two hundred years, and brought the two rival divisions of Egypt under their rule.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original, now in the Museum of the Louvre. The palette is of wood, and bears the name of a contemporary personage; the outlines of the hieroglyphs are inlaid with silver wire. It was probably found in the necropolis of Meir, a little to the north of Siut. The sepulchral pyramid of the Pharaoh Mirikari is mentioned on a coffin in the Berlin Museum.
The few glimpses to be obtained of the early history of the first Theban dynasty give the impression of an energetic and intelligent race. Confined to the most thinly populated, that is, the least fertile part of the valley, and engaged on the north in a ceaseless warfare which exhausted their resources, they still found time for building both at Thebes and in the most distant parts of their dominions. If their power made but little progress southwards, at least it did not recede, and that part of Nubia lying between Aswan and the neighbourhood of Korosko remained in their possession. The tribes of the desert, the Amamiu, the Mazaiu, and the Uauaiu often disturbed the husbandmen by their sudden raids; yet, having pillaged a district, they did not take possession of it as conquerors, but hastily returned to their mountains. The Theban princes kept them in check by repeated counter-raids, and renewed the old treaties with them. The inhabitants of the Great Oasis in the west, and the migratory peoples of the Land of the Gods, recognized the Theban suzerainty on the traditional terms.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Prisse d'Avennes. This pyramid is now completely destroyed.
As in the times of Uni, the barbarians made up the complement of the army with soldiers who were more inured to hardships and more accustomed to the use of arms than the ordinary fellahin; and several obscure Pharaohs—such as Monthotpu I. and Antuf III.—owed their boasted victories over Libyans and Asiatics* to the energy of their mercenaries.
* The cartouches of Antufaa, inscribed on the rocks of Elephantine, are the record of a visit which this prince paid to Syene, probably on his return from some raid; many similar inscriptions of Pharaohs of the XIIth dynasty were inscribed in analogous circumstances. Nubkhopirri Antuf boasted of having worsted the Amu and the negroes. On one of the rocks of the island of Konosso, Monthotpu Nibhotpuri sculptured a scene of offerings in which the gods are represented as granting him victory over all peoples. Among the ruins of the temple which he built at Gebelen, is a scene in which he is presenting files of prisoners from different countries to the Theban gods.
But the kings of the XIth dynasty were careful not to wander too far from the valley of the Nile. Egypt presented a sufficiently wide field for their activity, and they exerted themselves to the utmost to remedy the evils from which the country had suffered for hundreds of years. They repaired the forts, restored or enlarged the temples, and evidences of their building are found at Koptos, Gebelen, El-Kab, and Abydos. Thebes itself has been too often overthrown since that time for any traces of the work of the XIth dynasty kings in the temple of Amon to be distinguishable; but her necropolis is still full of their "eternal homes," stretching in lines across the plain, opposite Karnak, at Drah abu'l-Neggah, and on the northern slopes of the valley of Deir-el-Bahari. Some were excavated in the mountain-side, and presented a square facade of dressed stone, surmounted by a pointed roof in the shape of a pyramid. Others were true pyramids, sometimes having a pair of obelisks in front of them, as well as a temple. None of them attained to the dimensions of the Memphite tombs; for, with only its own resources at command, the kingdom of the south could not build monuments to compete with those whose construction had taxed the united efforts of all Egypt, but it used a crude black brick, made without grit or straw, where the Egyptians of the north had preferred more costly stone. These inexpensive pyramids were built on a rectangular base not more than six and a half feet high; and the whole erection, which was simply faced with whitewashed stucco, never exceeded thirty-three feet in height. The sepulchral chamber was generally in the centre; in shape it resembled an oven, its roof being "vaulted" by the overlapping of the courses. Often also it was constructed partly in the base, and partly in the foundations below the base, the empty space above it being intended merely to lighten the weight of the masonry. There was not always an external chapel attached to these tombs, but a stele placed on the substructure, or fixed in one of the outer faces, marked the spot to which offerings were to be brought for the dead; sometimes, however, there was the addition of a square vestibule in front of the tomb, and here, on prescribed days, the memorial ceremonies took place. The statues of the double were rude and clumsy, the coffins heavy and massive, and the figures with which they were decorated inelegant and out of proportion, while the stelae are very rudely cut. From the time of the VIth dynasty the lords of the Said had been reduced to employing workmen from Memphis to adorn their monuments; but the rivalry between the Thebans and the Heracleopolitans, which set the two divisions of Egypt against each other in constant hostility, obliged the Antufs to entrust the execution of their orders to the local schools of sculptors and painters. It is difficult to realize the degree of rudeness to which the unskilled workmen who made certain of the Akhmitn and Gebelen sarcophagi must have sunk; and even at Thebes itself, or at Abydos, the execution of both bas-reliefs and hieroglyphs shows minute carefulness rather than any real skill or artistic feeling. Failing to attain to the beautiful, the Egyptians endeavoured to produce the sumptuous. Expeditions to the Wady Ham marnat to fetch blocks of granite for sarcophagi become more and more frequent, and wells were sunk from point to point along the road leading from Koptos to the mountains. Sometimes these expeditions were made the occasion for pushing on as far as the port of Sau and embarking on the Eed Sea. A hastily constructed boat cruised along by the shore, and gum, incense, gold, and the precious stones of the country were brought from the land of the Troglodytes. On the return of the convoy with its block of stone, and various packages of merchandise, there was no lack of scribes to recount the dangers of the campaign in exaggerated language, or to congratulate the reigning Pharaoh on having sown abroad the fame and terror of his name in the countries of the gods, and as far as the land of Puanit.
The final overthrow of the Heracleopolitan dynasty, and the union of the two kingdoms under the rule of the Theban house, are supposed to have been the work of that Monthotpu whose throne-name was Nibkhrouri; his, at any rate, was the name which the Egyptians of Kamesside times inscribed in the royal lists as that of the founder and most illustrious representative of the XIth dynasty. The monuments commemorate his victories over the Uauaiu and the barbarous inhabitants of Nubia. Even after he had conquered the Delta he still continued to reside in Thebes; there he built his pyramid, and there divine honours were paid him from the day after his decease. A scene carved on the rocks north of Silsileh represents him as standing before his son Antuf; he is of gigantic stature, and one of his wives stands behind him.*
* Brugsch makes him out to be a descendant of Amenemhait, the prince of Thebes who lived under Monthotpu Nibtuiri, and who went to bring the stone for that Pharaoh's sarcophagus from the Wady Hammamat. He had previously supposed him to be this prince himself. Either of these hypotheses becomes probable, according as Nibtuiri is supposed to have lived before or after Nibkhrouri.
Drawn by Boudier, from a sketch by Petrie, Ten Years' Digging in Egypt, p. 74, No. 2.
Three or four kings followed him in rapid succession; the least insignificant among them appearing to have been a Monthotpii Nibtouiri. Nothing but the prenomen—Sonkheri—is known of the last of these latter princes, who was also the only one of them ever entered on the official lists. In their hands the sovereignty remained unchanged from what it had been almost uninterruptedly since the end of the VIth dynasty. They solemnly proclaimed their supremacy, and their names were inscribed at the head of public documents; but their power scarcely extended beyond the limits of their family domain, and the feudal chiefs never concerned themselves about the sovereign except when he evinced the power or will to oppose them, allowing him the mere semblance of supremacy over the greater part of Europe. Such a state of affairs could only be reformed by revolution. Amenemhait I., the leader of the new dynasty, was of the Theban race; whether he had any claim to the throne, or by what means he had secured the stability of his rule, we do not know. Whether he had usurped the crown or whether he had inherited it legitimately, he showed himself worthy of the rank to which fortune had raised him, and the nobility saw in him a new incarnation of that type of kingship long known to them by tradition only, namely, that of a Pharaoh convinced of his own divinity and determined to assert it. He inspected the valley from one end to another, principality by principality, nome by nome, "crushing crime, and arising like Tumu himself; restoring that which he found in ruins, settling the bounds of the towns, and establishing for each its frontiers." The civil wars had disorganized everything; no one knew what ground belonged to the different nomes, what taxes were due from them, nor how questions of irrigation could be equitably decided. Amenemhait set up again the boundary stelae, and restored its dependencies to each nome: "He divided the waters among them according to that which was in the cadastral surveys of former times." Hostile nobles, or those whose allegiance was doubtful, lost the whole or part of their fiefs; those who had welcomed the new order of things received accessions of territory as the reward of their zeal and devotion. Depositions and substitutions of princes had begun already in the time of the XIth dynasty. Antuf V., for instance, finding the lord of Koptos too lukewarm, had had him removed and promptly replaced. The fief of Siut accrued to a branch of the family which was less warlike, and above all less devoted to the old dynasty than that of Khiti had been. Part of the nome of the Gazelle was added to the dominions of Nuhri, prince of the Hare nome; the eastern part of the same nome, with Monait-Khufui as capital, was granted to his father-in-law, Khnumhotpu I. Expeditions against the Uauaiu, the Mazaiu, and the nomads of Libya and Arabia delivered the fellahin from their ruinous raids and ensured to the Egyptians safety from foreign attack. Amenemhait had, moreover, the wit to recognize that Thebes was not the most suitable place of residence for the lord of all Egypt; it lay too far to the south, was thinly populated, ill-built, without monuments, without prestige, and almost without history. He gave it into the hands of one of his relations to govern in his name, and proceeded to establish himself in the heart of the country, in imitation of the glorious Pharaohs from whom he claimed to be descended. But the ancient royal cities of Kheops and his children had ceased to exist; Memphis, like Thebes, was now a provincial town, and its associations were with the VIth and VIIIth dynasties only. Amenemhait took up his abode a little to the south of Dahshur, in the palace of Titoui, which he enlarged and made the seat of his government. Conscious of being in the hands of a strong ruler, Egypt breathed freely after centuries of distress, and her sovereign might in all sincerity congratulate himself on having restored peace to his country. "I caused the mourner to mourn no longer, and his lamentation was no longer heard,—perpetual fighting was no longer witnessed,—while before my coming they fought together as bulls unmindful of yesterday,—and no man's welfare was assured, whether he was ignorant or learned."—"I tilled the land as far as Elephantine,—I spread joy throughout the country, unto the marshes of the Delta.—At my prayer the Nile granted the inundation to the fields:—no man was an hungered under me, no man was athirst under me,—for everywhere men acted according to my commands, and all that I said was a fresh cause of love."