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We have had two publications on Egypt lying on our table for a considerable time. We should have no. ticed them long before this, had we not been in constant expectation of the appearance of the Chevalier Bunsen's more important work on the same subject, in its English dress; and had we not thought that the three might be advantageously considered together. The first volume of the long-promised translation has at length reached us; and we will, without further delay, after giving a short account of each of these publications separately, consider some very important and interesting questions, which are suggested by the two former, but are absolutely forced on our attention by the last.
Mr. Sharpe calls his history a new edition. This is, however, the first time that it appears as a single work. He published, at different times, three separate histories, which he has now combined into one; and about a third of the volume is altogether new. We confess that we liked the parts better than we do the whole. The second of these, containing the account of Egypt under Alexander and his successors, is decidedly the best history of that period which is anywhere to be met with ; and the connexion between the Greeks and their predecessors, and successors, is so very slight, that this part of the work might well stand
alone. Mr. Sharpe aspires to the :: character of a philosophical historian. He is fond of pointing out analogies between the events of by-gone times and those with which we are familiar. Thus, he compares the position of the Greeks in Egypt with that of the English in India. Neither of these were the immediate conquerors of the native rulers of the country. They were the conquerors of these conquerors; the Greeks, of the Persians; the English, of the Mahommedans : and they were more indulgent to the votaries of the old religion of the country than those who first subjugated them bad been. Mr. Sharpe warmly commends the wisdom and humanity“ the statesman-like wisdom, and the religious humanity-of a conqueror governing a province according to its own laws, and upholding the religion of the conquered as the established religion of the state.” We hope and believe that our countrymen in India have not gone quite so far as this. At all events, we can find no precept in the Christian code resembling "the oft-repeated answer of the Delphic oracle, that the gods should everywhere be worshipped according to the laws of the country.”
The portion of the history which precedes that of the Grecian sovereigns, is short and meagre. Mr. Sharpe does not profess to derive much
." The History of Egypt, from the Earliest Times, till the Conquest by the Arabs, A.D. 640." By Samuel Sharpe. A new Edition. London: Edward Moxon. 1846.
"Ancient Egypt, her Testimony to the Truth of the Bible." By William Osburn, Jun. London: S. Bagster and Sons. 1846.
“Egypt's Place in Universal History; an Historical Investigation, in Five Books." " By Christian C. J. Bunsen. Translated from the German, by Charles H. Cottrell. Vol. I. London: Longman and Co. 1848. VOL. XXXII.-NO, CXC.
information from the recently-deci- “ Thus Egypt was no longer the phered monuments; he, however, oc same kingdom that we have seen it at casionally quotes Burton's “Excerpta the beginning of this history. It was Hieroglyphica." We must caution
no longer a kingdom of Coptic warriors, our readers against giving credence to
who, from their fortress in the Thebaid, what he professes to derive from this
held the wealthy traders and husband
men of the Delta in subjection as vassource. The account which he gives
sals. But, it was now a kingdom of in pages 88-90 of the native “Meleks"
those very vassals: the valour of Thebes appointed by Darius, of whom he
had sunk, the wealth of the Delta had enumerates three generations, is mere increased, and Greek mercenaries had moonshine. It is partly founded on very much taken the place of the native a misinterpretation of hieroglyphical landholders. Hence arose a jealousy characters, (first, if we recollect right, between the Greek and Coptic inhabimade by Rosellini), which has been tants of Egypt. The sovereigns found long since abandoned by all Egyptolo
it dangerous to employ Greeks, and still gists but Mr. Sharpe ; and partly on
more dangerous to be without them. the accidental juxta-position of an in
They were the cause of frequent rebel
lions, and more than once of the king's scription of the Persian period with
overthrow. But there was evidently one of the period anterior to the
no choice. The Egyptian laws and relitwelfth dynasty. Two of these pre
gion forbad change and improvement, tended meleks were mere superinten while everything around them was dants of the public works; the third changing as the centuries rolled on. was one of the ancient kings. For Hence, if Egypt was to remain an inanother fanciful statement in p. 24, dependent kingdom, it could be so only Mr. Sharpe appears to quote the
by the help of the settlers in the Tablet of Abydos and Manetho; but Delta."-p. 59. neither of these authorities bears him out; nor has any other writer adopted The last part of the volume, which his views, which are quite inconsistent treats of Egypt after the Roman conwith well-ascertained facts. He says quest, contains a good deal of interestthat Mephra-Thothmosis II. ~ is very ing matter ; but, for most readers, it much thrown into the shade by Amun is quite spoiled by the peculiar reli. Nitocris, his strong-minded and ambi- gious opinions which the author is tious wife. She was the last of the pleased to put forward on all occarace of Memphite sovereigns, and by sions. Mr. Sharpe is an amateur her marriage with Thothmosis, Upper author, and he appears to think it reaand Lower Egypt were brought under sonable, that if any one applies to him one sceptre." The name of Nitocris for the information on Egyptian affairs occurs in Hieroglyphics as that of a which he is able to impart, he should queen in the sixth dynasty, and of receive from him also a statement of another in the twenty-sixth; and it is his views in respect to the Christian totally different from that of the queen church. The rise and progress of here spoken of. This queen was the Christianity, and the controversies of daughter either of Thothmos I., or of the first sis centuries, of most of which
Thothmos II., and certainly not of a Egypt was the focus, come within the Memphite family, and there is abun scope of his enlarged work; and he dant proof that Upper and Lower spares no pains to vilify the orthodox, Egypt had been united long before her and to represent the opinions which time. Lastly, Thothmos III. was the they hold, and which most Christians brother of this queen, and not her son, still hold, as originating in heathenism. as Mr. Sharpe imagines. We do not In reference to this period, we will mean to say, however, that the first mention another of his analogies; for portion of the history is without merit. which, as for the former one, it must As a more favourable specimen than be admitted that there is some foundawhat we have given, we would offertion, though the resemblance between the following passage, the views con. the two cases is not quite so strong as tained in which appear as novel as they he supposes. He compares the posiare correct. After mentioning the tion of the Greeks of Alexandria, untreaties which Psammetichus made der the Arian emperors of Constanwith the Greek states, and the encou. tinople, to that of the Protestants of ragement which he gave to Greeks Dublin. Like these, they were of the who settled in Egypt, he proceeds:- same religion, politics, and blood as
their rulers ; like them, they claimed an ascendancy as their birthright; and in the course of events, this was some times allowed them and the people were thereby goaded to revolt; while at other times the emperors governed according to the will of “ the lessenlightened majority."
When Mr. Sharpe is not under the influence of his Socinian bias, his observations respecting men and things are generally very judicious. We give the following specimens. He says of Josephus :
“ Though his style is elegant, his narrative simple, and his manner ear. nest, yet his history cannot be read without some distrust. He was false to his country, to its religious laws, and to his foreign wife. He is sometimes biassed by his wish to raise the character of his countrymen-at other times, by his eagerness to excuse his own conduct. His history, however, throws great light upon the state of the Israelites at a time which is in the highest degree interesting to all Christians; and in his answer to Apion, who had written against the Jews, we find some short, but most valuable quotations from many writings, which were then in the Alexandrian libraries, but have been since lost."p. 392.
Egypt, now that the mode of interpreting the hieroglyphic writings has been discovered. It will be found to differ from other recent publications with the same professed object, in appealing not merely to the pictures which occur on Egyptian temples and tombs, but also to the inscriptions that accompany them, without which they were never intended to be understood, and are, therefore, necessarily unintelligible.”—p. 1.
He begins with the proofs of the colonization of Egypt from the North East; and here we think he might have advantageously omitted his diagram of “the three Niles,” for which there is no Egyptian prototype ; and the “passage in the book of the dead," which he gives in page 20, as giving us the geography of the Meh-moou.” It is made up of fragments of unconnected sentences, in none of which is there any mention made of that imaginary river, nor the slightest allusion to it that we can perceive. His reasoning from the late age of the earliest existing monuments at Thebes, as compared with those at Abydos, Beni-hassan, and Ghizeh, the buryingplace of Memphis, las much weight; yet it might be objected against it, that monuments of the twelfth dynasty are, in fact, found both there and all up the river to the second cataract, while the sovereignty of Menes over Upper as well as Lower Egypt, is as certain a deduction from history as his existence. Mr. Osburn is unquestionably right as to the fact, that the progress of colonisation was up the river, and not down it, as the Champollions originally supposed. Since Lepsius's expedition, we believe that all Egyptologists are agreed as to this. He seems, however, to place the peopling of the Southern part of Egypt much later than he should.
On this subject a new light has been thrown by the recent discoveries in Assyria. The cuneatic and the hieroglyphic systems of writing, as well as the Assyrian and Egyptian languages, which these writings express, have much more in common than any one would have ventured to anticipate. The two systems of writing agree in having some words expressed by purely phonetic characters, others by purely ideographic, and others again by phonetic characters combined with ideographic determinatives. They agree, too, in having phonetic characters,
After mentioning the building of the great temple at Latopolis (Esne), in the reign of Vespasian, which, he says, is worthy of the best times of Egyptian architecture, he proceeds:
“ The economist will, perhaps, ask from what source the oppressed Egyp. tians drew the wealth, and where they found the encouragement necessary to finish those gigantic undertakings, which were begun in times of greater prosperity; but the only answer which we can give, is, that the chief encouragement, at all times, to any great work, is a strong sense of religious duty-and the only fund of wealth upon which men can draw for their generosity, or nations for their public works, is to be found in self-denial.”-p. 393.
With this extract we dismiss, for the present, Mr. Sharpe's volume, and turn to that of Mr. Osburn. His work, he tells us,
“Is designed to present to the Chris. tian reader a few examples of the extent to which the Bible is susceptible of illustration from the remains of ancient
which, when certain known comple ments were not expressed after them, required them to be supplied by the reader, and which had thus, in a quali. fied sense, a double value. The languages, too, have much in common. They not only agree, both of them, in many points with the Hebrew and its kindred languages, and consequently with each other, but what is much more remarkable—they agree with each other in points where the Hebrew dif. fers from them, as do also the Phæni. cian, Aramaic, and Arabic. Thus, the affix "her," is S, and “their," SN, in both Egyptian and Assyrian; while the languages of all the interme diate countries have H in place of S. Again, the root N B, "all" is common to the Egyptian and the Assyrian, but appears to have belonged to none of the Semitic languages previously known. The plural Atwat * fathers," by which Xerxes, out of re spect, designates Darius, in the Third Persepolitan inscriptions, is evidently related to the Hebrew Avoth (with which, by the way, it agrees in its feminine form); but the Egyptian Atv has a closer resemblance to it. These are evident indications of these two people having had a common ori. gin, and that within a reasonable period. It might, perhaps, be supposed that the Assyrians adopted some of the peculiarities of the Egyptians, at the time when a part, at least, of their country was subject to them, as we know was the case under Thothmes III., and his son and grandson. But to this supposition it appears to us that there are decisive objections. The cuneatic determinatives are always pre. fixed to the phonetic characters ; the hieroglyphic ones always follow them, The hieroglyphic characters all represent objects ; very few of the cuneatic ones have any resemblance to objects; and they are certainly not copies of the Egyptian characters to which they correspond. Again, as to the languages, the vocabularies of the Assyrian and Egyptian tongues appear to differ in a vast majority of instances. The resemblance between the languages is chiefly to be found in the grammatical forms. The reverse of this would be the case, if Assyria had borrowed from Egypt during its temporary subjection to the latter country. The English language after the Norman conquest, adopted many words from the language
of the conquerors, but no grammatical forms. The case is strikingly the same with the Persian language, the vocabulary of which abounds in Arabic words, but which has no grammatical forms derived from the Arabic. Besides, though the primitive forms of the pronominal affixes are nearly the same in Assyrian and in Egyptian, the latter language had certain peculiar forms, which were constantly used in particular situations, and these do not appear to exist in Assyrian. Had the Assyrians adopted the Egyptian pronouns, it is to be supposed that they would have adopted them in all their forms. A further objection to this view is, that it appears highly probable that the oldest inscriptions which Dr. Layard has excavated at Nimrud, are more ancient than the period when Assyria was occupied by the Egyptians; and the difference between these inscriptions and the more recent ones (of the seventh century B. c.) is very slight. We conclude, then, that neither did Assyria borrow from Egypt, nor Egypt from Assyria ; but that these two nations bad com. mon ancestors, and that at a period not very remote.
Mr. Osburn proceeds to treat of the Canaanites and their costume; and afterwards, referring to the account given in Exodus, of “the service of the tabernacle," describes the manufactures of the Egyptians in metals, wool, leather, and carpentry, their oils and spices, their precious stones and music. Several passages in the Bible are quoted and illustrated. He gives a great number of woodcuts, and some coloured plates, from which the reader will be able to form a more correct judgment as to the progress in the arts which the Egyptians had made, than from any other cheap work that we know. Of the Onomasticon we will not offer any criticism. We do not in general agree with Mr. Osburn ; but the points on which we differ must be considered as still sub judice. We will conclude with giving our readers a specimen of the latter part of his work. After giving a coloured figure of a Tyrian, as he calls him-certainly one of the same family of nations as the Tyrians_taken from the tomb of Rameses Meiamoun, he says :
“The inner garment resembled that of all other ancient nations. It was a fine