Page images
PDF
EPUB

"Agns évaidintos, he gives us Toxúgns, ó SOT. 'Hubditos, &c. Having, by means of this sort, identified, to his own satisfaction, but we believe to that of nobody else, the names of several an. cient kings which are found in hieroglyphics with kings in this list, he as. sumed that these monumental kings reigned in the order indicated by the list, though the monuments themselves, in some instances, indicated a different order ; and that they reigned for the precise number of years mentioned in the list. The genuineness of all these numbers he assumed as certain, though experience proves that numbers are far more likely to be corrupted than names, and though he admitted that the names were in the most deplorable state of corruption. It is quite ridiculous to try to bolster up this list, by panegyrizing its alleged author, who is said to have been no Wilford;"_alluding to the unfortunate Germano-Indian who brought such discredit on the Asiatic Society, by the readiness with which he believed and published the pre. tended extracts from the Puranas, with which his pundits furnished him, about Egypt, and about England and Ireland, those “ sacred Isles of the West." M. Bunsen might, we think, have spared this cut at his countryman. Eratosthenes was “no Wilford"-far from it. He was so much of an esprit fort as to have said, “ That he would believe the Homeric legends, when he should be shown the currier who made the wind-bags which Ulysses, on his voyage home, received from Æolus.” After this, who would hesitate to be lieve in the authenticity of any list of kings which may have been put for ward under his name, a thousand years after his death?

To say more on this subject would, we believe, be a work of supererogation. M. Bunsen's chronology of the Old Empire, with all its monumental illustrations, has been three years be fore the world, and we have never heard a single person profess to believe it correct. This is but little to say, but we can go much further. We have made careful inquiries, and we have never been able to hear of a single individual in this country, on the Contis nent, or in America, who professes to believe it correct-always excepting the immediate connexions of M. Bunsen.

The name of Manetho carries much

more weight. And here we will readily admit that the actual work of Ma. netho would be entitled to much credit, and that it probably contained an authentic history of Egypt from the time of Amenemhe I., if not from that of Mones. This work, however, has perished : and we shall do well to remember how far removed from it are the lists which now pass under the name of the Sabennyte priest. It is generally said that the copies of these lists which we have, taken by Africanus and Eusebius respectively, are independent of one another; and that we have thus two witnesses to their correctness, and may, consequently, be satisfied of this, wherever the witnesses agree. This, however, is by no means a fair statement. Julius Africanus and Eusebius both lived in Cæsarea, both used the same library in that city, of which the former was the founder, and consequently, both derived their information respecting Manetho from the same channel. It does not appear that they had access to his work itself. They had only a MS., containing lists of kings extracted from it. Now it appears that this MS. differed from the original in some important particulars. In the first place, it gave the several dynasties as following one another, while there is every reason to suppose that, in Manetho's own work, many of them were represented as reigning at the same time in different parts of Egypt. Secondly, from comparing the lists which we now have with the Turin Book of Kings (with which the genuine work of Manetho must, doubtless, have harmonised), it is plain that the author of the Cæsarean lists omitted many names of kings who reigned but a short time, adding the periods of their reigns to those of other kings; and that he frequently committed other errors in the figures, so that his sums were in. correct. The sixth dynasty, according to the Turin Papyrus, consisted of thirteen reigns, lasting 181 years. According to Africanus, who probably agreed with the Cæsarean MS., it consisted of only six reigns, but lasted 203 years. From this it is plain that, if we could be sure that we had the lengths of the different dynasties, exactly as they stood in this MS., we could not be at all sure that we had them as Manetho's own work exhibited them. It is, however, quite certain, that both Africanus and Eusebius falsified the

lists, with a view to make them har altogether fictitious, they had no tempmonise with their respective chronolo- tation to alter the numbers that they gical systems. That Eusebius did so, found. It is only, however, as to these all are agreed ; but M. Bunsen would earliest dynasties, that M. Bunsen rehave us consider Africanus as worthyjects their authority, There he treats of credit. The fact is, however, that them with neglect, taking his favourite he was just as unscrupulous as his suc- Eratosthenes as a guide. cessor; and it is not much to our au- Our readers will be able to form a thor's credit that he should have sup- pretty correct judgment for themselves, pressed facts which prove him to have from what we have said, as to the value been so.

of that evidence, on the strength of It was the settled opinion of all which M. Bunsen affects to consider Christian chronologers of the age of the era of Menes, 3,643 B. c., as well Africanus, grounded on an alleged established as that of the Olympiads ! apostolical tradition, that the incarna- We must now ask them to accompany tion of our Lord took place exactly us to the consideration of the second 5,500 years after the Creation. From part of the work which he has underthis they deduced the epoch of the taken ; in which he intends to conExodus by the Septuagint chronology sider the influence of Egypt on the of the period between it and the Crea- general history of the world, not only tion. In general they placed it in in this historical period, but in the 1666, B. C., allowing 130 years for the many thousands of years which, acgeneration of the second Cainan; but cording to his notions, must have preAfricanus omitted this generation, plac- ceded it. Before the time of Menes, ing the Exodus in 1796, B. C., and add. he affirms that there was a period of ing the 130 years here omitted, to the unknown length, during which Egypt times of the Judges. Assuming, as he existed as a settled and civilized nadid, that the Exodus synchronised with tion; but without any regular chrothe commencement of the eighteenth nology, such as originated with Menes. dynasty, he so doctored the periods of He estimates this ante-chronological the different dynasties between the se- period, in one place, as a thousand or venteenth and twenty-seventh, or Per- two thousand years. In another he sian dynasty, that their sum was ex. speaks of it as beginning six or seven actly equal to the interval between the thousand years ago, which is something assumed date of the Exodus and the more moderate. Before this is the known time of the Persian conquest. period which he calls “ the Origines of In fact, he greatly increased the length Egypt.” “It is still (he says) histoof some of these dynasties. But, as rical, belonging, therefore, to time and there were two dates of the Exodus, space, though wholly different from" he thought proper to give two editions the period last spoken of. During of his tables. In one, he made the this period the language and mythoduration of the eighteenth dynasty 393 logy of Egypt were formed—a mighty years, which was, unquestionably, the tree which slowly grew in the valley sum of the reigns mentioned by Mane of the Nile, but from a germ which tho (as appears from Josephus, who was not indigenous in that country. had seen Manetho's own work, and gives this number as derived from it.)

“ No historical investigator will conIn the other, he reduces this duration

sider the Egyptians as the most ancient to 263 years, striking off without ce

nation of the earth, even before he has remony the 130 years in dispute. We called to his assistance the science of do not yet know what theory Afri. the philologer and mythologist. Their canus had respecting the dynasties im- very history shows them to belong to mediately preceding the eighteenth- the great middle ages of mankind."what biblical synchronism he doctored p. 32. them in order to produce; but there is every reason, from analogy, to infer, In addition, then, to the many thouthat he altered them in order to make sands of years required for the Orithem suit some silly system of his own. gines of Egypt, we have a demand As to the earliest dynasties of Manetho, made upon us here for many thousands his lists, as well as those of Eusebius, of years more, which we must suppose are less liable to suspicion ; because, that the ancestors of the Egyptians as they both regarded these dynasties as spent in Armenia and the Caucasus,

while the human intellect was deve. loped, and language and religion were brought to perfection. Language and religion ! Even so.

“For even those who believe that language and religion were not human inventions, but, like Prometheus' fire, given to men from heaven, cannot but admit, without rejecting all the evidence of research, that they were not commu. nicated in a state of completeness. The reverse is, indeed, obvious, viz., that man has never received more than the germ, which he has been left to mould and modify according to his own will and capabilities." -p. 32.

We may here remark, by the way, that this writer is in the habit of pronouncing any peculiarly bold assump. tion which he makes to be quite obvious, or, at least, what no well-informed person will deny. The last remark in the above quotation is of peculiar interest, as showing the views with which our author undertook the construction of “ the Church of the Future.”

Now the fifth book, or second part, of this work, is to treat of the Origines, Egyptian, and extra-Egyptian. It might be thought that these were bevond the reach of human knowledge: but our author infers the contrary from two facts. First, we possess monuments of these periods, even the most remote of them; for, to say nothing of mythology, we have language, “the earliest, as well as the grandest, monu. ment of man.” And, secondly, these laws exhibit development, and the laws of development are capable of being discovered. By the arrange ment and classification of isolated facts, M. Bunsen thinks it possible to ascend to general formulas like those of Kepler. Whether it be possible also to prove the necessity of such a development from the nature of the Supreme Being, and thus to demonstrate laws like those of Newton, is a question with which he tells us that he does not meddle. According to this view, therefore, general history differs, in respect to the mode by which it is to be investigated, from physical astronomy and similar sciences, and agrees with geology. M. Bunsen thinks, however, that it possesses a decided advantage over this last, which we will state in the words of his translator :

“For in the evolution of nature the law of matter and combination predominates; it is difficult even to establish succession, impossible to discover more than an external law of development. In history, on the contrary, which is the world of mind, the development proceeds successively in time; and the thing developed is the human mind it. self. As far, therefore, as the laws of development are intelligible, the bistory of the human mind possesses this ad. vantage, that the laws of the investigated object coincide with those of the investigating subject.”—p. 37.

We will not waste our time in replying to this strange reasoning. Our geological friends seem to be all of opinion that it needs no other answer than Mr. Burchell's significant monosyllable. We quite agree, however, with M. Bunsen, that there is a striking analogy between the subjects which he undertakes to discuss and those of which geology treats, and that analogous methods ought to be pur. sued in both. We believe, too, that M. Bunsen has made some important observations as to the laws under which languages are developed ; and we hope to derive much valuable information from him on that subject. But we think he has fallen into a great error, and we will illustrate it by means of the “ sister science." M. Budsen holds views analogous to those of Mr. Lyell and his school. As the latter attribute all changes that have ever taken place in the crust of the earth to causes now in operation, rejecting catastrophes and critical periods as unphilosophical, so the former assumes it as an incontrovertible truth that the progress of man has in all past ages been gradual, and regulated by the same laws as we see it to be now, and as we know it to have been within the limits of recent history.

But is this the case with man him. self? The investigations of the geologist into the fossils of even the uppermost strata, show that the appearance of man in this globe which we inhabit is quite recent. Yet every one of our species that now lives, or that has lived for many generations, had parents, and bore the marks of birth. Assume that in all past ages the same laws prevail. ed as in the present, and it follows, as a necessary consequence, that every man that ever lived was born into the world, and, of course, that the human

species was in it from eternity, since which he starts, to be ever so correct; there could never have been a man the process of reasoning by which he who was not preceded by parents. would infer the past from what was This, as we have already stated, is the present, can only be correct when inconsistent with the observations of it stops short of “the beginnings”. geologists. There was, then, a first the time when the supreme Being either man, not born, but created. The laws first produced the language, or when that now prevail, like certain mathe. he subsequently interfered with it, in matical formulæ in extreme cases, are case he has done so. Philosophical in default when applied to the Origines. reasoning, such as M. Bunsen uses, We are persuaded that M. Bunsen may be available for the period since will admit this; and we have no doubt the beginnings. If the facts were that he will also admit that language correctly observed, we believe his prowas not the invention of man—that posed method is in the main unobjecarticulate speech was not a develop. tionable. But it cannot go back to ment of such noises as might be made the period of the beginnings. Informaby beasts. But he holds, as we have tion concerning that can only be had seen, that the germ of language hav- from divine revelation ; and, if there ing been originally given to man by a be really no divine revelation bearing superior Being, that superior Being on the question, we must rest conallowed its possessors to develop it tented to remain in ignorance. without interference. Surely, how. To conclude, then, our remarks on ever, the power which taught man this intended fifth book. We believe speech, may have taught it in a form that to a certain extent knowledge is which was not the mere germ, but attainable respecting the early history already considerably developed. Had of the Egyptian people. Their com. it not been so taught, religion could mon origin with the great Indo-Gernot have been taught at the same manic family of nations, and with time; and yet we can scarcely doubt those people usually styled Semitic, that the same benevolent Being who we hold 'to be demonstrated from created man, and endowed him with such facts as our author here deals speech, would teach him also to wor. with ; but a great deal of what he ship himself—the noblest use of speech. professes to be able to prove in conWe do not, then, consider it “ob- nexion with this, we regard as imvious", that God gave man only the possible to be known, and as scarcely germ of speech; nor, again, can we to be the subject of probable conjec. deny the possibility that God may ture. To this fifth book the latter have, at a subsequent period, inter part of the present volume is introfered with the development of human ductory. It treats of the language, speech, so as to turn it out of the or mythology, and writing of the Egyp. dinary course. He who gave man the tians, endeavouring to show how much power of speech, and established the of each of these was in use under the laws of its development, had surely old empire. This will be found a power to suspend or alter those laws, useful introduction to the study of if it seemed good to him at any time “Egyptology,” and we trust that it to do so. What we have been in the will be the means of tempting many habit of considering a divine revela young persons, who have leisure, to tion, tells us that God has done this engage in it. A valuable appendix fol. very thing. M. Bunsen denies that lows, containing a vocabulary of the any revelation has been given with Egyptian language, and a list of the respect to this, or other “external hieroglyphical characters, arranged in things." We think, however, that in the four classes to which M. Bunsen dependently of revelation, it is highly reduces them, with their explanations probable, and that to assume the con or values, so far as they are known. trary is most unphilosophical, as well The list contains 620 ideographics, as very presumptuous. The fact is, 164 determinative signs, 130 phonetics that supposing M. Bunsen's laws of in use before the Ptolemaic period, development to be ever so well estab and 100 introduced in later times, and lished by induction from the recent 56 mixed signs. There are some chahistory of languages; and supposing racters which occur in more than one the observations respecting the Egyp- list; and, on the other hand, we have tian language of the Old Empire, from sought in vain through them all for

I

some common characters which have been omitted. Variations in the form of characters, such as have been called calligraphic, are oftener regarded as distinct, than we think would have been advisable. From uncertainty as to whether these characters should be classed together or separated, the exact number of distinct characters can never be determined. It will, however, we think, never be considered less than 1000, nor greater than 1200. This list is very creditable to Mr. Birch, of the British Museum, by whom it has been compiled, and also to Mr. Bonomi, who drew the characters. They have been neatly cut by Mr. Martin, and accompany their explanations in the printed text. This is a great improvement upon the German edition, where they were given in plates to which it was difficult to refer. By the way, speaking of Mr. Bonomi, we should not omit to notice the map of Egypt under Antoninus Pius, which Mr. Sharpe, the author of the history, and he have published. It gives a better idea of the country, a narrow stripe between the Libyan and the Arabian desert, than any that we have seen. The roads from the itinerary are marked with the towns, distinguishing those of which the ruins remain, from those of which the positions are fixed by the ancient measurement. In the desert are represented its sole inhabitants, the wild animals, in the lati. tudes where they begin to be found, and groups of “the ships of the desert," in full sail, lying to, and seeking shelter from the simoom.*

We have seen that the language and the mythology of Egypt are the two great facts, on which our author means to found his system respecting the primeval history of Egypt, and of the human race. It is important, there. fore, to ascertain how far his statements respecting these points are to be depended on. With regard to the language, he candidly owns that “no man (i. e., neither he nor any of his friends) is competent to read and explain the whole of any one section of the Book of the Dead, far less one of the historical papyri." Yet he seems to feel quite confident that he is tho

roughly acquainted with the pronouns and verbal forms, and able to pronounce what the character of the ancient language was in respect to its inflexions. Did it never occur to him that his inability to give a complete translation of a hieroglyphical text, was a proof that he had not that knowledge which he supposes? This is not the place to argue the point; but we do not hesitate to express our conviction that M. Bunsen has shown himself ignorant of some of the most common of the personal pronouns, confounding the cases of some, and omitting those of others altogether; that he is ignorant, also, of some of the most characteristic forms of verbs in the old language; and that for these reasons he cannot translate pas. sages, which a knowledge of these pronouns and verbal forms would render quite clear. If this shall turn out to be the case, of how very little value must be his deductions from facts, that are so rashly assumed as these that we have mentioned !

His mythological facts are even more questionable. He seems to alter them to suit his preconceived theories, with as little scruple as Africanus and Eusebius altered the numbers in Manetho's dynasties. Take the case of the Osiris' Myth. M. Bunsen admits (p. 614) that, according to Plutarch, there were three brothers, Osiris, Typhon, and Harueris, and two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, the children of Rhea, the wife of Chronos, as Mr. Cottrell writes the name, i.e., Kronos, or Saturn. These have been heretofore identified with Pluto, Neptune, and Jupiter; and both of these sets of three brothers have been supposed to be the Ham, Shem, and Japhet, the sons of Noah, of the Hebrew Scriptures. M. Bunsen, however, will not admit the possibility of the Egyptian deities representing deified men. Accordingly, he is pleased to say that the genealogy of the monuments was different from that of Plutarch; for these represent Harueris as the son of Isis and Osiris. There were then only four children of Seb and Nutpe, the Egyptian names of Kronos and Rhea. Anubis “is always represented as son of Osiris, except in one single

* “Map of Ancient Egypt," under Antoninus Pius., A. p. 140. London: Arrowsmith. 1848.

« PreviousContinue »