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We have bad two publications on alone. Mr. Sharpe aspires to the Egypt lying on our table for a con- character of a philosophical historian. siderable time. We should have no- He is fond of pointing out analogies ticed them long before this, had we between the events of by-gone times not been in constant expectation of the and those with which we are familiar. appearance of the Chevalier Bunsen's Thus, he compares the position of the more important work on the same sub- Greeks in Egypt with that of the ject, in its English dress; and had we English in India. Neither of these not thought that the three might be were the immediate conquerors of the advantageously considered together. native rulers of the country. They The first volume of the long-promised were the conquerors of these conquetranslation has at length reached us; rors; the Greeks, of the Persians; the and we will, without further delay, English, of the Mahommedans : and after giving a short account of each of they were more indulgent to the votathese publications separately, consider ries of the old religion of the country some very important and interesting than those who first subjugated them questions, which are suggested by the had been. Mr. Sharpe warmly comtwo former, but are absolutely forced mends the wisdom and humanityon our attention by the last.
“the statesman-like wisdom, and the Mr. Sharpe calls bis history a new religious humanity-of a conqueror edition. This is, however, the first governing a province according to its time that it appears as a single work. own laws, and upholding the religion He published, at different times, three of the conquered as the established separate histories, which he has now religion of the state.” We hope and combined into one; and about a third believe that our countrymen in India of the volume is altogether new. Wo have not gone quite so far as this. At confess that we liked the parts better all events, we can find no precept in than we do the whole. The second of the Christian code resembling the these, containing the account of Egypt oft-repeated answer of the Delphic under Alexander and his successors, is oracle, that the gods should everydecidedly the best history of that where be worshipped according to the period which is anywhere to be met laws of the country.” with; and the connexion between the The portion of the history which Greeks and their predecessors, and precedes that of the Grecian sovesuccessors, is so very slight, that this reigns, is short and meagre. Mr. part of the work might well stand 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 A. 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 husbandsource. The account which he gives
men of the Delta in subjection as vas
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 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 six 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 offer tion, 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 Egypt, now that the mode of interpretan ascendancy as their birthright; and ing the hieroglyphic writings has been in the course of events, this was some
discovered. It will be found to differ times allowed them—and the people from other recent publications with the were thereby goaded to revolt; while
same professed object, in appealing not at other times the emperors governed merely to the pictures which occur on
Egyptian temples and tombs, but also to according to the will of “the lessenlightened majority."
the inscriptions tbat accompany them,
without which they were never intended When Mr. Sharpe is not under the
to be understood, and are, therefore, neinfluence of his Socinian bias, bis ob- cessarily unintelligible.”—p. 1. servations respecting men and things are generally very judicious. We give He begins with the proofs of the the following specimens. He says of colonization of Egypt from the North Josephus:
East; and here we think he might have
advantageously omitted his diagram “ Though his style is elegant, his of the three Niles,” for which there narrative simple, and his manner ear. is no Egyptian prototype ; and the pest, yet his history cannot be read “passage in the book of the dead," without some distrust. He was false to which he gives in page 20, as giving us his country, to its religious laws, and the geography of the Meh-moou." It to his foreign wife. He is sometimes
is made up of fragments of uncon. biassed by his wish to raise the character
nected sentences, in none of which of his countrymen—at other times, by his eagerness to excuse his own conduct.
is there any mention made of that His history, however, throws great light imaginary river, nor the slightest alupon the state of the Israelites at a time
lusion to it that we can perceive. His which is in the highest degree interest- reasoning from the late age of the ing to all Christians; and in his answer earliest existing monuments at Thebes, to Apion, who had written against the as compared with those at Abydos, Jews, we find some short, but most Beni-hassan, and Ghizeh, the buryingvaluable quotations from many writings, place of Memphis, has much weight; which were then in the Alexandrian
yet it might be objected against it, libraries, but have been since lost."
that monuments of the twelfth dynasty
are, in fact, found both there and all After mentioning the building of the
up the river to the second cataract, great temple at Latopolis (Esne), in
while the sovereignty of Menes over the reign of Vespasian, which, he
Upper as well as Lower Egypt, is as says, is worthy of the best times of his existence. Mr. Osburn is unques
certain a deduction from history as Egyptian architecture, he proceeds:- tionably right as to the fact, that the “ The economist will, perhaps, ask
progress of colonisation was up the from what source the oppressed Egyp
river, and not down it, as the Cham
Since tians drew the wealth, and where they pollions originally supposed. found the encouragement necessary to
Lepsius's expedition, we believe finish those gigantic undertakings, which all Egyptologists are agreed as to this. were begun in times of greater prospe
He seems, however, to place the peority ; but the only answer which we can pling of the Southern part of Egypt give, is, that the chief encouragement, much later than he should. at all times, to any great work, is a On this subject a new light has been strong sense of religious duty-and the thrown by the recent discoveries in only fund of wealth upon which men can
Assyria. "The cuneatic and the hierodraw for their generosity, or nations for their public works, is to be found in
glyphic systems of writing, as well as self-denial.”—p. 393.
the Assyrian and Egyptian languages,
which these writings express, have With this extract we dismiss, for
much more in common than any one the present, Mr. Sharpe's volume,
would have ventured to anticipate. and turn to that of Mr. Osburn. His
The two systems of writing agree in work, he tells us,
having some words expressed by purely
phonetic characters, others by purely “Is designed to present to the Chris- ideographic, and others again by photian reader a few examples of the extent
netic characters combined with ideoto which the Bible is susceptible of illus- graphic determinatives. They agree, tration from the remains of ancient too, in having phonetic characters,
which, when certain known comple- of the conquerors, but no grammatical ments were not expressed after them, forms. The case is strikingly the same required them to be supplied by the with the Persian language, the vocareader, and which had thus, in a quali. bulary of which abounds in Arabic fied sense, a double value. The lan- words, but which has no grammatical guages, too, have much in common. forms derived from the Arabic. BeThey not only agree, both of them, sides, though the primitive forms of in many poi with the Hebrew and the pronominal affixes are nearly its kindred languages, and consequently the same in Assyrian and in Egyptian, with each other, but-what is much the latter language had certain pecumore remarkable—they agree with each liar forms, which were constantly used other in points where the Hebrew dif. in particular situations, and these do fers from them, as do also the Phæni. not appear to exist in Assyrian. Had cian, Aramæic, and Arabic. Thus, the Assyrians adopted the Egyptian the affix “her,” is S, and “their," pronouns, it is to be supposed that SN, in both Egyptian and Assyrian; they would have adopted them in all while the languages of all the interme- their forms. A further objection to diate countries have H in place of this view is, that it appears highly S. Again, the root N B,
probable that the oldest inscriptions is common to the Egyptian and the which Dr. Layard has excavated at Assyrian, but appears to have be
Nimrud, are more ancient than the longed to none of the Semitic languages period when Assyria was occupied by previously known. The plural Atwat the Egyptians ; and the difference be
fathers,” by which Xerxes, out of re- tween these inscriptions and the more spect, designates Darius, in the Third recent ones (of the seventh century Persepolitan inscriptions, is evidently B. c.) is very slight. We conclude, related to the Hebrew Avoth (with then, that neither did Assyria borrow which, by the way, it agrees in its from Egypt, nor Egypt from Assyria ; feminine form); but the Egyptian but that these two nations had comAtv has a closer resemblance to it.
mon ancestors, and that at a period These are evident indications of these
not very remote. two people having had a common ori. Mr. Osburn proceeds to treat of the gin, and that within a reasonable pe- Canaanites and their costume; and riod. It might, perhaps, be supposed afterwards, referring to the account that the Assyrians adopted some of the given in Exodus, of “the service peculiarities of the Egyptians, at the of the tabernacle," describes the matime when a part, at least, of their nufactures of the Egyptians in metals
, country was subject to them, as we wool, leather, and carpentry, their oils know was the case under Thothmes
and spices, their precious stones and III., and his son and grandson. But music. Several passages in the Bible to this supposition it appears to us are quoted and illustrated. He gives that there are decisive objections. The a great number of woodcuts, and some cuneatic determinatives are always pre- coloured plates, from which the reader fixed to the phonetic characters; the will be able to form a more correct hieroglyphic ones always follow them.
judgment as to the progress in the arts The hieroglyphic characters all repre- which the Egyptians had made, than sent objects ; very few of the cuneatic
from any other cheap work that we ones have any resemblance to objects; know. Of the Onomasticon we will and they are certainly not copies of not offer any criticism. We do not the Egyptian characters to which they
in general agree with Mr. Osburn ; correspond. Again, as to the languages, but the points on which we differ must the vocabularies of the Assyrian and be considered as still sub judice. We Egyptian tongues appear to differ in a will conclude with giving our readers a vast majority of instances.
specimen of the latter part of his work. semblance between the languages is After giving a coloured figure of a chiefly to be found in the grammatical Tyrian, as he calls him-certainly one forms. The reverse of this would be
of the same family of nations as the the case, if Assyria had borrowed from Tyrians—taken from the tomb of RaEgypt during its temporary subjec- meses Meiamoun, he says:tion to the latter country. The English language after the Norman conquest, “The inner garment resembled that adopted many words from the language of all other ancient nations. It was a fine