HISTORY OF EGYPT CHALDEA, SYRIA, BABYLONIA, AND ASSYRIA
By G. MASPERO, Honorable Doctor of Civil Laws, and Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford; Member of the Institute and Professor at the College of France
Edited by A. H. SAYCE, Professor of Assyriology, Oxford
Translated by M. L. McCLURE, Member of the Committee of the Egypt Exploration Fund
CONTAINING OVER TWELVE HUNDRED COLORED PLATES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
THE GROLIER SOCIETY
THE EIGHTEENTH THEBAN DYNASTY—(continued)
THUTMOSIS III.: THE ORGANISATION OF THE SYRIAN PROVINCES—AMENOTHES III.: THE WORSHIPPERS OF ATONU.
Thutmosis III.: the talcing of Qodsha in the 42nd year of his reign—The tribute of the south—The triumph-song of Amon.
The constitution of the Egyptian empire—The Grown vassals and their relations with the Pharaoh—The king's messengers—The allied states—Royal presents and marriages; the status of foreigners in the royal harem—Commerce with Asia, its resources and its risks; protection granted to the national industries, and treaties of extradition.
Amenothes II, his campaigns in Syria and Nubia—Thutmosis IV.; his dream under the shadow of the Sphinx and his marriage—Amenothes III. and his peaceful reign—The great building works—The temples of Nubia: Soleb and his sanctuary built by Amenothes III, Gebel Barkal, Elephantine—The beautifying of Thebes: the temple of Mat, the temples of Amon at Luxor and at Karnak, the tomb of Amenothes III, the chapel and the colossi of Memnon.
The increasing importance of Anion and his priests: preference shown by Amenothes III. for the Heliopolitan gods, his marriage with Tii—The influence of Tii over Amenothes IV.: the decadence of Amon and of Thebes, Atonu and Khuitniatonu—Change of physiognomy in Khuniaton, his character, his government, his relations with Asia: the tombs of Tel el-Amarna and the art of the period—Tutanlchamon, At: the return of the Pharaohs to Thebes and the close of the XVIIIth dynasty.
CHAPTER I—THE EIGHTEENTH THEBAN DYNASTY—(continued)
Thutmosis III.: the organisation of the Syrian provinces—Amenothes III.: the royal worshippers of Atonu.
In the year XXXIV. the Egyptians reappeared in Zahi. The people of Anaugasa having revolted, two of their towns were taken, a third surrendered, while the chiefs of the Lotanu hastened to meet their lord with their usual tribute. Advantage was taken of the encampment being at the foot of the Lebanon to procure wood for building purposes, such as beams and planks, masts and yards for vessels, which were all shipped by the Kefatiu at Byblos for exportation to the Delta. This expedition was, indeed, little more than a military march through the country. It would appear that the Syrians soon accustomed themselves to the presence of the Egyptians in their midst, and their obedience henceforward could be fairly relied on. We are unable to ascertain what were the circumstances or the intrigues which, in the year XXXV., led to a sudden outbreak among the tribes settled on the Euphrates and the Orontes. The King of Mitanni rallied round him the princes of Naharaim, and awaited the attack of the Egyptians near Aruna. Thutmosis displayed great personal courage, and the victory was at once decisive. We find mention of only ten prisoners, one hundred and eighty mares, and sixty chariots in the lists of the spoil. Anaugasa again revolted, and was subdued afresh in the year XXXVIII.; the Shausu rebelled in the year XXXIX., and the Lotanu or some of the tribes connected with them two years later. The campaign of the year XLII. proved more serious. Troubles had arisen in the neighbourhood of Arvad. Thutmosis, instead of following the usual caravan route, marched along the coast-road by way of Phoenicia. He destroyed Arka in the Lebanon and the surrounding strongholds, which were the haunts of robbers who lurked in the mountains; then turning to the northeast, he took Tunipa and extorted the usual tribute from the inhabitants of Naharaim. On the other hand, the Prince of Qodshu, trusting to the strength of his walled city, refused to do homage to the Pharaoh, and a deadly struggle took place under the ramparts, in which each side availed themselves of all the artifices which the strategic warfare of the times allowed. On a day when the assailants and besieged were about to come to close quarters, the Amorites let loose a mare among the chariotry of Thutmosis. The Egyptian horses threatened to become unmanageable, and had begun to break through the ranks, when Amenemhabi, an officer of the guard, leaped to the ground, and, running up to the creature, disembowelled it with a thrust of his sword; this done, he cut off its tail and presented it to the king. The besieged were eventually obliged to shut themselves within their newly built walls, hoping by this means to tire out the patience of their assailants; but a picked body of men, led by the same brave Amenemhabi who had killed the mare, succeeded in making a breach and forcing an entrance into the town. Even the numerous successful campaigns we have mentioned, form but a part, though indeed an important part, of the wars undertaken by Thutmosis to "fix his frontiers in the ends of the earth." Scarcely a year elapsed without the viceroy of Ethiopia having a conflict with one or other of the tribes of the Upper Nile; little merit as he might gain in triumphing over such foes, the spoil taken from them formed a considerable adjunct to the treasure collected in Syria, while the tributes from the people of Kush and the Uauaiu were paid with as great regularity as the taxes levied on the Egyptians themselves. It comprised gold both from the mines and from the rivers, feathers, oxen with curiously trained horns, giraffes, lions, leopards, and slaves of all ages. The distant regions explored by Hatshopsitu continued to pay a tribute at intervals. A fleet went to Puanit to fetch large cargoes of incense, and from time to time some Ilim chief would feel himself honoured by having one of his daughters accepted as an inmate of the harem of the great king. After the year XLII. we have no further records of the reign, but there is no reason to suppose that its closing years were less eventful or less prosperous than the earlier. Thutmosis III., when conscious of failing powers, may have delegated the direction of his armies to his sons or to his generals, but it is also quite possible that he kept the supreme command in his own hands to the end of his days. Even when old age approached and threatened to abate his vigour, he was upheld by the belief that his father Amon was ever at hand to guide him with his counsel and assist him in battle. "I give to thee, declared the god, the rebels that they may fall beneath thy sandals, that thou mayest crush the rebellious, for I grant to thee by decree the earth in its length and breadth. The tribes of the West and those of the East are under the place of thy countenance, and when thou goest up into all the strange lands with a joyous heart, there is none who will withstand Thy Majesty, for I am thy guide when thou treadest them underfoot. Thou hast crossed the water of the great curve of Naharaim* in thy strength and in thy power, and I have commanded thee to let them hear thy roaring which shall enter their dens, I have deprived their nostrils of the breath of life, I have granted to thee that thy deeds shall sink into their hearts, that my uraeus which is upon thy head may burn them, that it may bring prisoners in long files from the peoples of Qodi, that it may consume with its flame those who are in the marshes,** that it may cut off the heads of the Asiatics without one of them being able to escape from its clutch. I grant to thee that thy conquests may embrace all lands, that the urseus which shines upon my forehead may be thy vassal, so that in all the compass of the heaven there may not be one to rise against thee, but that the people may come bearing their tribute on their backs and bending before Thy Majesty according to my behest; I ordain that all aggressors arising in thy time shall fail before thee, their heart burning within them, their limbs trembling!"
* The Euphrates, in the great curve described by it across Naharaim, after issuing from the mountains of Cilicia.
** The meaning is doubtful. The word signifies pools, marshes, the provinces situated beyond Egyptian territory, and consequently the distant parts of the world—those which are nearest the ocean which encircles the earth, and which was considered as fed by the stagnant waters of the celestial Nile, just as the extremities of Egypt were watered by those of the terrestrial Nile.
"I.—I am come that I may grant unto thee to crush the great ones of Zahi, I throw them under thy feet across their mountains,—I grant to thee that they shall see Thy Majesty as a lord of shining splendour when thou shinest before them in my likeness!
"II.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush those of the country of Asia, to break the heads of the people of Lotanu,—I grant thee that they may see Thy Majesty, clothed in thy panoply, when thou seizest thy arms, in thy war-chariot.
"III.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush the land of the East, and invade those who dwell in the provinces of Tonutir,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty as the comet which rains down the heat of its flame and sheds its dew.
"IV.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush the land of the West, so that Kafiti and Cyprus shall be in fear of thee,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty like the young bull, stout of heart, armed with horns which none may resist.
"V.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush those who are in their marshes, so that the countries of Mitanni may tremble for fear of thee,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty like the crocodile, lord of terrors, in the midst of the water, which none can approach.
"VI.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush those who are in the isles, so that the people who live in the midst of the Very-Green may be reached by thy roaring,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty like an avenger who stands on the back of his victim.
"VII.—I am come, to grant that thou mayest crush the Tihonu, so that the isles of the Utanatiu may be in the power of thy souls,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty like a spell-weaving lion, and that thou mayest make corpses of them in the midst of their own valleys.*
"VIII.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush the ends of the earth, so that the circle which surrounds the ocean may be grasped in thy fist,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty as the sparrow-hawk, lord of the wing, who sees at a glance all that he desires.
"IX.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush the peoples who are in their "duars," so that thou mayest bring the Hiru-shaitu into captivity,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty like the jackal of the south, lord of swiftness, the runner who prowls through the two lands.
"X.—I am come, to grant thee that thou mayest crush the nomads, so that the Nubians as far as the land of Pidit are in thy grasp,—I grant that they may see Thy Majesty like unto thy two brothers Horus and Sit, whose arms I have joined in order to establish thy power."
* The name of the people associated with the Tihonu was read at first Tanau, and identified with the Danai of the Greeks. Chabas was inclined to read Utena, and Brugsch, Uthent, more correctly Utanatiu, utanati, the people of Uatanit. The juxtaposition of this name with that of the Libyans compels us to look towards the west for the site of this people: may we assign to them the Ionian Islands, or even those in the western Mediterranean.
The poem became celebrated. When Seti I., two centuries later, commanded the Poet Laureates of his court to celebrate his victories in verse, the latter, despairing of producing anything better, borrowed the finest strophes from this hymn to Thutmosis IIL, merely changing the name of the hero. The composition, unlike so many other triumphal inscriptions, is not a mere piece of official rhetoric, in which the poverty of the subject is concealed by a multitude of common-places whether historical or mythological. Egypt indeed ruled the world, either directly or through her vassals, and from the mountains of Abyssinia to those of Cilicia her armies held the nations in awe with the threat of the Pharaoh.
The conqueror, as a rule, did not retain any part of their territory. He confined himself to the appropriation of the revenue of certain domains for the benefit of his gods.* Amon of Karnak thus became possessor of seven Syrian towns which he owed to the generosity of the victorious Pharaohs.**
* The seven towns which Amon possessed in Syria are mentioned, in the time of Ramses III., in the list of the domains and revenues of the god.
** In the year XXIII., on his return from his first campaign, Thutmosis III. provided offerings, guaranteed from the three towns Anaugasa, Inuamu, and Hurnikaru, for his father Amonra.
Certain cities, like Tunipa, even begged for statues of Thutmosis for which they built a temple and instituted a cultus. Amon and his fellow-gods too were adored there, side by side with the sovereign the inhabitants had chosen to represent them here below.* These rites were at once a sign of servitude, and a proof of gratitude for services rendered, or privileges which had been confirmed. The princes of neighbouring regions repaired annually to these temples to renew their oaths of allegiance, and to bring their tributes "before the face of the king." Taking everything into account, the condition of the Pharaoh's subjects might have been a pleasant one, had they been able to accept their lot without any mental reservation. They retained their own laws, their dynasties, and their frontiers, and paid a tax only in proportion to their resources, while the hostages given were answerable for their obedience. These hostages were as a rule taken by Thutmosis from among the sons or the brothers of the enemy's chief. They were carried to Thebes, where a suitable establishment was assigned to them,** the younger members receiving an education which practically made them Egyptians.
* The statues of Thutmosis III. and of the gods of Egypt erected at Tunipa are mentioned in a letter from the inhabitants of that town to Amenothes III. Later, Ramses II., speaking of the two towns in the country of the Khati in which were two statues of His Majesty, mentions Tunipa as one of them.
** The various titles of the lists of Thutmosis III. at Thebes show us "the children of the Syrian chiefs conducted as prisoners" into the town of Suhanu, which is elsewhere mentioned as the depot, the prison of the temple of Anion. W. Max Mullcr was the first to remark the historical value of this indication, but without sufficiently insisting on it; the name indicates, perhaps, as he says, a great prison, but a prison like those where the princes of the family of the Ottoman sultans were confined by the reigning monarch— a palace usually provided with all the comforts of Oriental life.
As soon as a vacancy occurred in the succession either in Syria or in Ethiopia, the Pharaoh would choose from among the members of the family whom he held in reserve, that prince on whose loyalty he could best count, and placed him upon the throne.* The method of procedure was not always successful, since these princes, whom one would have supposed from their training to have been the least likely to have asserted themselves against the man to whom they owed their elevation, often gave more trouble than others. The sense of the supreme power of Egypt, which had been inculcated in them during their exile, seemed to be weakened after their return to their native country, and to give place to a sense of their own importance. Their hearts misgave them as the time approached for them to send their own children as pledges to their suzerain, and also when called upon to transfer a considerable part of their revenue to his treasury. They found, moreover, among their own cities and kinsfolk, those who were adverse to the foreign yoke, and secretly urged their countrymen to revolt, or else competitors for the throne who took advantage of the popular discontent to pose as champions of national independence, and it was difficult for the vassal prince to counteract the intrigues of these adversaries without openly declaring himself hostile to his foreign master.**
* Among the Tel el-Amarna tablets there is a letter of a petty Syrian king, Adadnirari, whose father was enthroned after a fashion in Nukhassi by Thutmosis III.
** Thus, in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence, Zimrida, governor of Sidon, gives information to Amenothes III. on the intrigues which the notables of the town were concocting against Egyptian authority. Ribaddu relates in one of these despatches that the notables of Byblos and the women of his harem were urging him to revolt; later, a letter of Amunira to the King of Egypt informs us that Ribaddu had been driven from Byblos by his own brother.
A time quickly came when a vestige of fear alone constrained them to conceal their wish for liberty; the most trivial incident then sufficed to give them the necessary encouragement, and decided them to throw off the mask, a repulse or the report of a repulse suffered by the Egyptians, the news of a popular rising in some neighbouring state, the passing visit of a Chaldaean emissary who left behind him the hope of support and perhaps of subsidies from Babylon, and the unexpected arrival of a troop of mercenaries whose services might be hired for the occasion.* A rising of this sort usually brought about the most disastrous results. The native prince or the town itself could keep back the tribute and own allegiance to no one during the few months required to convince Pharaoh of their defection and to allow him to prepare the necessary means of vengeance; the advent of the Egyptians followed, and the work of repression was systematically set in hand. They destroyed the harvests, whether green or ready for the sickle, they cut down the palms and olive trees, they tore up the vines, seized on the flocks, dismantled the strongholds, and took the inhabitants prisoners.**
* Burnaburiash, King of Babylon, speaks of Syrian agents who had come to ask for support from his father, Kurigalzu, and adds that the latter had counselled submission. In one of the letters preserved in the British Museum, Aziru defends himself for having received an emissary of the King of the Khati.
** Cf. the raiding, for instance, of the regions of Arvad and of the Zahi by Thutmosis III., described in the Annals, 11. 4, 5. We are still in possession of the threats which the messenger Khani made against the rebellious chief of a province of the Zahi—possibly Aziru.
The rebellious prince had to deliver up his silver and gold, the contents of his palace, even his children,* and when he had finally obtained peace by means of endless sacrifices, he found himself a vassal as before, but with an empty treasury, a wasted country, and a decimated people.
* See, in the accounts of the campaigns of Thutmosis, the record of the spoils, as well as the mention of the children of the chiefs brought as prisoners into Egypt.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Gayet.
In spite of all this, some head-strong native princes never relinquished the hope of freedom, and no sooner had they made good the breaches in their walls as far as they were able, than they entered once more on this unequal contest, though at the risk of bringing irreparable disaster on their country. The majority of them, after one such struggle, resigned themselves to the inevitable, and fulfilled their feudal obligations regularly. They paid their fixed contribution, furnished rations and stores to the army when passing through their territory, and informed the ministers at Thebes of any intrigues among their neighbours.* Years elapsed before they could so far forget the failure of their first attempt to regain independence, as to venture to make a second, and expose themselves to fresh reverses.
The administration of so vast an empire entailed but a small expenditure on the Egyptians, and required the offices of merely a few functionaries.** The garrisons which they kept up in foreign provinces lived on the country, and were composed mainly of light troops, archers, a certain proportion of heavy infantry, and a few minor detachments of chariotry dispersed among the principal fortresses.***
* We find in the Annals, in addition to the enumeration of the tributes, the mention of the foraging arrangements which the chiefs were compelled to make for the army on its passage. We find among the tablets letters from Aziru denouncing the intrigues of the Khati; letters also of Ribaddu pointing out the misdeeds of Abdashirti, and other communications of the same nature, which demonstrate the supervision exercised by the petty Syrian princes over each other.
** Under Thutmosis III. we have among others "Mir," or "Nasi situ mihatitu," "governors of the northern countries," the Thutii who became afterwards a hero of romance. The individuals who bore this title held a middle rank in the Egyptian hierarchy.
*** The archers—pidatid, pidati, pidate—and the chariotry quartered in Syria are often mentioned in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence. Steindorff has recognised the term -ddu auitu, meaning infantry, in the word ueu, uiu, of the Tel el-Amarna tablets.
The officers in command had orders to interfere as little as possible in local affairs, and to leave the natives to dispute or even to fight among themselves unhindered, so long as their quarrels did not threaten the security of the Pharaoh.* It was never part of the policy of Egypt to insist on her foreign subjects keeping an unbroken peace among themselves. If, theoretically, she did not recognise the right of private warfare, she at all events tolerated its practice. It mattered little to her whether some particular province passed out of the possession of a certain Eibaddu into that of a certain Aziru, or vice versa, so long as both Eibaddu and Aziru remained her faithful slaves. She never sought to repress their incessant quarrelling until such time as it threatened to take the form of an insurrection against her own power. Then alone did she throw off her neutrality; taking the side of one or other of the dissentients, she would grant him, as a pledge of help, ten, twenty, thirty, or even more archers.**
* A half at least of the Tel el-Amarna correspondence treats of provincial wars between the kings of towns and countries subject to Egypt—wars of Abdashirti and his son Aziru against the cities of the Phoenician coast, wars of Abdikhiba, or Abdi-Tabba, King of Jerusalem, against the chiefs of the neighbouring cities.
** Abimilki (Abisharri) demands on one occasion from the King of Egypt ten men to defend Tyre, on another occasion twenty; the town of Gula requisitioned thirty or forty to guard it. Delattre thinks that these are rhetorical expressions answering to a general word, just as if we should say "a handful of men"; the difference of value in the figures is to me a proof of their reality.
No doubt the discipline and personal courage of these veterans exercised a certain influence on the turn of events, but they were after all a mere handful of men, and their individual action in the combat would scarcely ever have been sufficient to decide the result; the actual importance of their support, in spite of their numerical inferiority, lay in the moral weight they brought to the side on which they fought, since they represented the whole army of the Pharaoh which lay behind them, and their presence in a camp always ensured final success. The vanquished party had the right of appeal to the sovereign, through whom he might obtain a mitigation of the lot which his successful adversary had prepared for him; it was to the interest of Egypt to keep the balance of power as evenly as possible between the various states which looked to her, and when she prevented one or other of the princes from completely crushing his rivals, she was minimising the danger which might soon arise from the vassal whom she had allowed to extend his territory at the expense of others.
These relations gave rise to a perpetual exchange of letters and petitions between the court of Thebes and the northern and southern provinces, in which all the petty kings of Africa and Asia, of whatever colour or race, set forth, either openly or covertly, their ambitions and their fears, imploring a favour or begging for a subsidy, revealing the real or suspected intrigues of their fellow-chiefs, and while loudly proclaiming their own loyalty, denouncing the perfidy and the secret projects of their neighbours. As the Ethiopian peoples did not, apparently, possess an alphabet of their own, half of the correspondence which concerned them was carried on in Egyptian, and written on papyrus. In Syria, however, where Babylonian civilization maintained itself in spite of its conquest by Thutmosis, cuneiform writing was still employed, and tablets of dried clay.* It had, therefore, been found necessary to establish in the Pharaoh's palace a department for this service, in which the scribes should be competent to decipher the Chaldaean character. Dictionaries and easy mythological texts had been procured for their instruction, by means of which they had learned the meaning of words and the construction of sentences. Having once mastered the mechanism of the syllabary, they set to work to translate the despatches, marking on the back of each the date and the place from whence it came, and if necessary making a draft of the reply.** In these the Pharaoh does not appear, as a rule, to have insisted on the endless titles which we find so lavishly used in his inscriptions, but the shortened protocol employed shows that the theory of his divinity was as fully acknowledged by strangers as it was by his own subjects. They greet him as their sun, the god before whom they prostrate themselves seven times seven, while they are his slaves, his dogs, and the dust beneath his feet.***
* A discovery made by the fellahin, in 1887, at Tel el- Arnarna, in the rums of the palace of Khuniaton, brought to light a portion of the correspondence between Asiatic monarchs, whether vassals or independent of Egypt, with the officers of Amenothes III. and IV., and with these Pharaohs themselves.
** Several of these registrations are still to be read on the backs of the tablets at Berlin, London, and Gizeh.
***The protocols of the letters of Abdashirti may be taken as an example, or those of Abimilki to Pharaoh, sometimes there is a development of the protocol which assumes panegyrical features similar to those met with in Egypt.
The runners to whom these documents were entrusted, and who delivered them with their own hand, were not, as a rule, persons of any consideration; but for missions of grave importance "the king's messengers" were employed, whose functions in time became extended to a remarkable degree. Those who were restricted to a limited sphere of activity were called "the king's messengers for the regions of the south," or "the king's messengers for the regions of the north," according to their proficiency in the idiom and customs of Africa or of Asia. Others were deemed capable of undertaking missions wherever they might be required, and were, therefore, designated by the bold title of "the king's messengers for all lands." In this case extended powers were conferred upon them, and they were permitted to cut short the disputes between two cities in some province they had to inspect, to excuse from tribute, to receive presents and hostages, and even princesses destined for the harem of the Pharaoh, and also to grant the support of troops to such as could give adequate reason for seeking it.* Their tasks were always of a delicate and not infrequently of a perilous nature, and constantly exposed them to the danger of being robbed by highwaymen or maltreated by some insubordinate vassal, at times even running the risk of mutilation or assassination by the way.**
* The Tel el-Amarna correspondence shows the messengers in the time of Amenothes III. and IV. as receiving tribute, as bringing an army to the succour of a chief in difficulties, as threatening with the anger of the Pharaoh the princes oL doubtful loyalty, as giving to a faithful vassal compliments and honours from his suzerain, as charged with the conveyance of a gift of slaves, or of escorting a princess to the harem of the Pharaoh.
** A letter of Ribaddu, in the time of Amenothes III., represents a royal messenger as blockaded in By bios by the rebels.
They were obliged to brave the dangers of the forests of Lebanon and of the Taurus, the solitudes of Mesopotamia, the marshes of Chaldoa, the voyages to Puanit and Asia Minor. Some took their way towards Assyria and Babylon, while others embarked at Tyre or Sidon for the islands of the AEgean Archipelago.* The endurance of all these officers, whether governors or messengers, their courage, their tact, the ready wit they were obliged to summon to help them out of the difficulties into which their calling frequently brought them, all tended to enlist the public sympathy in their favour.**
* We hear from the tablets of several messengers to Babylon, and the Mitanni, Rasi, Mani, Khamassi. The royal messenger Thutii, who governed the countries of the north, speaks of having satisfied the heart of the king in "the isles which are in the midst of the sea." This was not, as some think, a case of hyperbole, for the messengers could embark on Phoenician vessels; they had a less distance to cover in order to reach the AEgean than the royal messenger of Queen Hatshopsitu had before arriving at the country of the Somalis and the "Ladders of Incense."
** The hero of the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1, with whom Chabas made us acquainted in his Voyage d'un Egyptien, is probably a type of the "messenger" or the time of Ramses II.; in any case, his itinerary and adventures are natural to a "royal messenger" compelled to traverse Syria alone.
Many of them achieved a reputation, and were made the heroes of popular romance. More than three centuries after it was still related how one of them, by name Thutii, had reduced and humbled Jaffa, whose chief had refused to come to terms. Thutii set about his task by feigning to throw off his allegiance to Thutmosis III., and withdrew from the Egyptian service, having first stolen the great magic wand of his lord; he then invited the rebellious chief into his camp, under pretence of showing him this formidable talisman, and killed him after they had drunk together. The cunning envoy then packed five hundred of his soldiers into jars, and caused them to be carried on the backs of asses before the gates of the town, where he made the herald of the murdered prince proclaim that the Egyptians had been defeated, and that the pack train which accompanied him contained the spoil, among which was Thutii himself. The officer in charge of the city gate was deceived by this harangue, the asses were admitted within the walls, where the soldiers quitted their jars, massacred the garrison, and made themselves masters of the town. The tale is, in the main, the story of Ali Baba and the forty thieves.
The frontier was continually shifting, and Thutmosis III., like Thutmosis I., vainly endeavoured to give it a fixed character by erecting stelas along the banks of the Euphrates, at those points where he contended it had run formerly. While Kharu and Phoenicia were completely in the hands of the conqueror, his suzerainty became more uncertain as it extended northwards in the direction of the Taurus. Beyond Qodshu, it could only be maintained by means of constant supervision, and in Naharaim its duration was coextensive with the sojourn of the conqueror in the locality during his campaign, for it vanished of itself as soon as he had set out on his return to Africa. It will be thus seen that, on the continent of Asia, Egypt possessed a nucleus of territories, so far securely under her rule that they might be actually reckoned as provinces; beyond this immediate domain there was a zone of waning influence, whose area varied with each reign, and even under one king depended largely on the activity which he personally displayed.
This was always the case when the rulers of Egypt attempted to carry their supremacy beyond the isthmus; whether under the Ptolemies or the native kings, the distance to which her influence extended was always practically the same, and the teaching of history enables us to note its limits on the map with relative accuracy.*
* The development of the Egyptian navy enabled the Ptolemies to exercise authority over the coasts of Asia Minor and of Thrace, but this extension of their power beyond the indicated limits only hastened the exhaustion of their empire. This instance, like that of Mehemet Ali, thus confirms the position taken up in the text.
The coast towns, which were in maritime communication with the ports of the Delta, submitted to the Egyptian yoke more readily than those of the interior. But this submission could not be reckoned on beyond Berytus, on the banks of the Lykos, though occasionally it stretched a little further north as far as Byblos and Arvad; even then it did not extend inland, and the curve marking its limits traverses Coele-Syria from north-west to south-east, terminating at Mount Hermon. Damascus, securely entrenched behind Anti-Lebanon, almost always lay outside this limit. The rulers of Egypt generally succeeded without much difficulty in keeping possession of the countries lying to the south of this line; it demanded merely a slight effort, and this could be furnished for several centuries without encroaching seriously on the resources of the country, or endangering its prosperity. When, however, some province ventured to break away from the control of Egypt, the whole mechanism of the government was put into operation to provide soldiers and the necessary means for an expedition. Each stage of the advance beyond the frontier demanded a greater expenditure of energy, which, with prolonged distances, would naturally become exhausted. The expedition would scarcely have reached the Taurus or the Euphrates, before the force of circumstances would bring about its recall homewards, leaving but a slight bond of vassalage between the recently subdued countries and the conqueror, which would speedily be cast off or give place to relations dictated by interest or courtesy. Thutmosis III. had to submit to this sort of necessary law; a further extension of territory had hardly been gained when his dominion began to shrink within the frontiers that appeared to have been prescribed by nature for an empire like that of Egypt. Kharu and Phoenicia proper paid him their tithes with due regularity; the cities of the Amurru and of Zahi, of Damascus, Qodshu, Hamath, and even of Tunipa, lying on the outskirts of these two subject nations, formed an ill-defined borderland, kept in a state of perpetual disturbance by the secret intrigues or open rebellions of the native princes. The kings of Alasia, Naharaim, and Mitanni preserved their independence in spite of repeated reverses, and they treated with the conqueror on equal terms.*
* The difference of tone between the letters of these kings and those of the other princes, as well as the consequences arising from it, has been clearly defined by Delattre.
The tone of their letters to the Pharaoh, the polite formulas with which they addressed him, the special protocol which the Egyptian ministry had drawn up for their reply, all differ widely from those which we see in the despatches coming from commanders of garrisons or actual vassals. In the former it is no longer a slave or a feudatory addressing his master and awaiting his orders, but equals holding courteous communication with each other, the brother of Alasia or of Mitanni with his brother of Egypt. They inform him of their good health, and then, before entering on business, they express their good wishes for himself, his wives, his sons, the lords of his court, his brave soldiers, and for his horses. They were careful never to forget that with a single word their correspondent could let loose upon them a whirlwind of chariots and archers without number, but the respect they felt for his formidable power never degenerated into a fear which would humiliate them before him with their faces in the dust.
This interchange of diplomatic compliments was called for by a variety of exigencies, such as incidents arising on the frontier, secret intrigues, personal alliances, and questions of general politics. The kings of Mesopotamia and of Northern Syria, even those of Assyria and Chaldaea, who were preserved by distance from the dangers of a direct invasion, were in constant fear of an unexpected war, and heartily desired the downfall of Egypt; they endeavoured meanwhile to occupy the Pharaoh so fully at home that he had no leisure to attack them. Even if they did not venture to give open encouragement to the disposition in his subjects to revolt, they at least experienced no scruple in hiring emissaries who secretly fanned the flame of discontent. The Pharaoh, aroused to indignation by such plotting, reminded them of their former oaths and treaties. The king in question would thereupon deny everything, would speak of his tried friendship, and recall the fact that he had refused to help a rebel against his beloved brother.* These protestations of innocence were usually accompanied by presents, and produced a twofold effect. They soothed the anger of the offended party, and suggested not only a courteous answer, but the sending of still more valuable gifts. Oriental etiquette, even in those early times, demanded that the present of a less rich or powerful friend should place the recipient under the obligation of sending back a gift of still greater worth. Every one, therefore, whether great or little, was obliged to regulate his liberality according to the estimation in which he held himself, or to the opinion which others formed of him, and a personage of such opulence as the King of Egypt was constrained by the laws of common civility to display an almost boundless generosity: was he not free to work the mines of the Divine Land or the diggings of the Upper Nile; and as for gold, "was it not as the dust of his country"?**
* See the letter of Amenothes III. to Kallimmasin of Babylon, where the King of Egypt complains of the inimical designs which the Babylonian messengers had planned against him, and of the intrigues they had connected on their return to their own country; see also the letter from Burnaburiash to Amenothes IV., in which he defends himself from the accusation of having plotted against the King of Egypt at any time, and recalls the circumstance that his father Kurigalzu had refused to encourage the rebellion of one of the Syrian tribes, subjects of Amenothes III.
** See the letter of Dushratta, King of Mitanni, to the Pharaoh Amenothes IV.
He would have desired nothing better than to exhibit such liberality, had not the repeated calls on his purse at last constrained him to parsimony; he would have been ruined, and Egypt with him, had he given all that was expected of him. Except in a few extraordinary cases, the gifts sent never realised the expectations of the recipients; for instance, when twenty or thirty pounds of precious metal were looked for, the amount despatched would be merely two or three. The indignation of these disappointed beggars and their recriminations were then most amusing: "From the time when my father and thine entered into friendly relations, they loaded each other with presents, and never waited to be asked to exchange amenities;* and now my brother sends me two minas of gold as a gift! Send me abundance of gold, as much as thy father sent, and even, for so it must be, more than thy father."** Pretexts were never wanting to give reasonable weight to such demands: one correspondent had begun to build a temple or a palace in one of his capitals,*** another was reserving his fairest daughter for the Pharaoh, and he gave him to understand that anything he might receive would help to complete the bride's trousseau.****
* Burnaburiash complains that the king's messengers had only brought him on one occasion two minas of gold, on another occasion twenty minas; moreover, that the quality of the metal was so bad that hardly five minas of pure gold could be extracted from it.
** Literally, "and they would never make each other a fair request." The meaning I propose is doubtful, but it appears to be required by the context. The letter from which this passage was taken is from Burnaburiash, King of Babylon, to Amenothes IV.
*** This is the pretext advanced by Burnaburiash in the letter just cited.
**** This seems to have been the motive in a somewhat embarrassing letter which Dushratta, King of Mitanni, wrote to the Pharaoh Amenothes III. on the occasion of his fixing the dowry of his daughter.
The princesses thus sent from Babylon or Mitanni to the court of Thebes enjoyed on their arrival a more honourable welcome, and were assigned a more exalted rank than those who came from Kharu and Phoenicia. As a matter of fact, they were not hostages given over to the conqueror to be disposed of at will, but queens who were united in legal marriage to an ally.* Once admitted to the Pharaoh's court, they retained their full rights as his wife, as well as their own fortune and mode of life. Some would bring to their betrothed chests of jewels, utensils, and stuffs, the enumeration of which would cover both sides of a large tablet; others would arrive escorted by several hundred slaves or matrons as personal attendants.** A few of them preserved their original name,*** many assumed an Egyptian designation,**** and so far adapted themselves to the costumes, manners, and language of their adopted country, that they dropped all intercourse with their native land, and became regular Egyptians.
* The daughter of the King of the Khati, wife of Ramses IL, was treated, as we see from the monuments, with as much honour as would have been accorded to Egyptian princesses of pure blood.
** Gilukhipa, who was sent to Egypt to become the wife of Amenothes III., took with her a company of three hundred and seventy women for her service. She was a daughter of Sutarna, King of Mitanni, and is mentioned several times in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence.
*** For example, Gilukhipa, whose name is transcribed Kilagipa in Egyptian, and another princess of Mitanni, niece of Gilukhipa, called Tadu-khipa, daughter of Dushratta and wife of Amenothes IV.
**** The prince of the Khati's daughter who married Ramses II. is an example; we know her only by her Egyptian name Maitnofiruri. The wife of Ramses III. added to the Egyptian name of Isis her original name, Humazarati.
When, after several years, an ambassador arrived with greetings from their father or brother, he would be puzzled by the changed appearance of these ladies, and would almost doubt their identity: indeed, those only who had been about them in childhood were in such cases able to recognise them.* These princesses all adopted the gods of their husbands,** though without necessarily renouncing their own. From time to time their parents would send them, with much pomp, a statue of one of their national divinities—Ishtar, for example—which, accompanied by native priests, would remain for some months at the court.***
* This was the case with the daughter of Kallimmasin, King of Babylon, married to Amenothes III.; her father's ambassador did not recognise her.
** The daughter of the King of the Khati, wife of Ramses II., is represented in an attitude of worship before her deified husband and two Egyptian gods.
*** Dushratta of Mitanni, sending a statue of Ishtar to his daughter, wife of Amenothes III., reminds her that the same statue had already made the voyage to Egypt in the time of his father Sutarna.
The children of these queens ranked next in order to those whose mothers belonged to the solar race, but nothing prevented them marrying their brothers or sisters of pure descent, and being eventually raised to the throne. The members of their families who remained in Asia were naturally proud of these bonds of close affinity with the Pharaoh, and they rarely missed an opportunity of reminding him in their letters that they stood to him in the relationship of brother-in-law, or one of his fathers-in-law; their vanity stood them in good stead, since it afforded them another claim on the favours which they were perpetually asking of him.*
* Dushratta of Mitanni never loses an opportunity of calling Aoienothes III., husband of his sister Gilukhipa, and of one of his daughters, "akhiya," my brother, and "khatani-ya," my son-in-law.
These foreign wives had often to interfere in some of the contentions which were bound to arise between two States whose subjects were in constant intercourse with one another. Invasions or provincial wars may have affected or even temporarily suspended the passage to and from of caravans between the countries of the Tigris and those of the Nile; but as soon as peace was re-established, even though it were the insecure peace of those distant ages, the desert traffic was again resumed and carried on with renewed vigour. The Egyptian traders who penetrated into regions beyond the Euphrates, carried with them, and almost unconsciously disseminated along the whole extent of their route, the numberless products of Egyptian industry, hitherto but little known outside their own country, and rendered expensive owing to the difficulty of transmission or the greed of the merchants. The Syrians now saw for the first time in great quantities, objects which had been known to them hitherto merely through the few rare specimens which made their way across the frontier: arms, stuffs, metal implements, household utensils—in fine, all the objects which ministered to daily needs or to luxury. These were now offered to them at reasonable prices, either by the hawkers who accompanied the army or by the soldiers themselves, always ready, as soldiers are, to part with their possessions in order to procure a few extra pleasures in the intervals of fighting.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Insinger. The scene here reproduced occurs in most of the Theban tombs of the XVIIII. dynasty.
On the other hand, whole convoys of spoil were despatched to Egypt after every successful campaign, and their contents were distributed in varying proportions among all classes of society, from the militiaman belonging to some feudal contingent, who received, as a reward of his valour, some half-dozen necklaces or bracelets, to the great lord of ancient family or the Crown Prince, who carried off waggon-loads of booty in their train. These distributions must have stimulated a passion for all Syrian goods, and as the spoil was insufficient to satisfy the increasing demands of the consumer, the waning commerce which had been carried on from early times was once more revived and extended, till every route, whether by land or water, between Thebes, Memphis, and the Asiatic cities, was thronged by those engaged in its pursuit. It would take too long to enumerate the various objects of merchandise brought in almost daily to the marts on the Nile by Phoenician vessels or the owners of caravans. They comprised slaves destined for the workshop or the harem,* Hittite bulls and stallions, horses from Singar, oxen from Alasia, rare and curious animals such as elephants from Nii, and brown bears from the Lebanon,** smoked and salted fish, live birds of many-coloured plumage, goldsmiths'work*** and precious stones, of which lapis-lazuli was the chief.
* Syrian slaves are mentioned along with Ethiopian in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1, and there is mention in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence of Hittite slaves whom Dushratta of Mitanni brought to Amenothes III., and of other presents of the same kind made by the King of Alasia as a testimony of his grateful homage.
** The elephant and the bear are represented on the tomb of liakhmiri among the articles of tribute brought into Egypt.
*** The Annals of Thutmosis III. make a record in each campaign of the importation of gold and silver vases, objects in lapis-lazuli and crystal, or of blocks of the same materials; the Theban tombs of this period afford examples of the vases and blocks brought by the Syrians. The Tel el-Amarna letters also mention vessels of gold or blocks of precious stone sent as presents or as objects of exchange to the Pharaoh by the King of Babylon, by the King of Mitanni, by the King of the Hittites, and by other princes. The lapis-lazuli of Babylon, which probably came from Persia, was that which was most prized by the Egyptians on account of the golden sparks in it, which enhanced the blue colour; this is, perhaps, the Uknu of the cuneiform inscriptions, which has been read for a long time as "crystal."
Wood for building or for ornamental work—pine,cypress, yew, cedar, and oak,* musical instruments,** helmets, leathern jerkins covered with metal scales, weapons of bronze and iron,*** chariots,**** dyed and embroidered stuffs,^ perfumes,^^ dried cakes, oil, wines of Kharu, liqueurs from Alasia, Khati, Singar, Naharaim, Amurru, and beer from Qodi.^^^
* Building and ornamental woods are often mentioned in the inscriptions of Thutmosis III. A scene at Karnak represents Seti I. causing building-wood to be cut in the region of the Lebanon. A letter of the King of Alasia speaks of contributions of wood which several of his subjects had to make to the King of Egypt.
** Some stringed instruments of music, and two or three kinds of flutes and flageolets, are designated in Egyptian by names borrowed from some Semitic tongue—a fact which proves that they were imported; the wooden framework of the harp, decorated with sculptured heads of Astarto, figures among the objects coming from Syria in the temple of the Theban Anion.
*** Several names of arms borrowed from some Semitic dialect have been noticed in the texts of this period. The objects as well as the words must have been imported into Egypt, e.g. the quiver, the sword and javelins used by the charioteers. Cuirasses and leathern jerkins are mentioned in the inscriptions of Thutmosis III.
**** Chariots plated with gold and silver figure frequently among the spoils of Thutmosis III.: the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1, contains a detailed description of Syrian chariots— Markabuti—with a reference to the localities whore certain parts of them were made;—the country of the Amurru, that of Aupa, the town of Pahira. The Tel el-Amarna correspondence mentions very frequently chariots sent to the Pharaoh by the King of Babylon, either as presents or to be sold in Egypt; others sent by the King of Alasia and by the King of Mitanni.
^ Some linen, cotton, or woollen stuffs are mentioned in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 4, and elsewhere as coming from Syria. The Egyptian love of white linen always prevented their estimating highly the coloured and brocaded stuffs of Asia; and one sees nowhere, in the representations, any examples of stuffs of such origin, except on furniture or in ships equipped with something of the kind in the form of sails.
^^ The perfumed oils of Syria are mentioned in a general way in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1; the King of Alasia speaks of essences which he is sending to Amenothes III.; the King of Mitanni refers to bottles of oil which he is forwarding to Gilukhipa and to Tii.
^^^ A list of cakes of Syrian origin is found in the Anastasi Papyrus, No. 1; also a reference to balsamic oils from Naharaim, and to various oils which had arrived in the ports of the Delta, to the wines of Syria, to palm wine and various liqueurs manufactured in Alasia, in Singar, among the Khati, Amorites, and the people of. Tikhisa; finally, to the beer of Qodi.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph of Prisse d'Avennes' sketch.
On arriving at the frontier, whether by sea or by land, the majority of these objects had to pay the custom dues which were rigorously collected by the officers of the Pharaoh. This, no doubt, was a reprisal tariff, since independent sovereigns, such as those of Mitanni, Assyria, and Babylon, were accustomed to impose a similar duty on all the products of Egypt. The latter, indeed, supplied more than she received, for many articles which reached her in their raw condition were, by means of native industry, worked up and exported as ornaments, vases, and highly decorated weapons, which, in the course of international traffic, were dispersed to all four corners of the earth. The merchants of Babylon and Assyria had little to fear as long as they kept within the domains of their own sovereign or in those of the Pharaoh; but no sooner did they venture within the borders of those turbulent states which separated the two great powers, than they were exposed to dangers at every turn. Safe-conducts were of little use if they had not taken the additional precaution of providing a strong escort and carefully guarding their caravan, for the Shausu concealed in the depths of the Lebanon or the needy sheikhs of Kharu could never resist the temptation to rob the passing traveller.*
* The scribe who in the reign of Ramses II. composed the Travels of an Egyptian, speaks in several places of marauding tribes and robbers, who infested the roads followed by the hero. The Tel el-Amarna correspondence contains a letter from the King of Alasia, who exculpates himself from being implicated in the harsh treatment certain Egyptians had received in passing through his territory; and another letter in which the King of Babylon complains that Chaldoan merchants had been robbed at Khinnatun, in Galilee, by the Prince of Akku (Acre) and his accomplices: one of them had his feet cut off, and the other was still a prisoner in Akku, and Burnaburiash demands from Amenothes IV. the death of the guilty persons.
The victims complained to their king, who felt no hesitation in passing on their woes to the sovereign under whose rule the pillagers were supposed to live. He demanded their punishment, but his request was not always granted, owing to the difficulties of finding out and seizing the offenders. An indemnity, however, could be obtained which would nearly compensate the merchants for the loss sustained. In many cases justice had but little to do with the negotiations, in which self-interest was the chief motive; but repeated refusals would have discouraged traders, and by lessening the facilities of transit, have diminished the revenue which the state drew from its foreign commerce.
The question became a more delicate one when it concerned the rights of subjects residing out of their native country. Foreigners, as a rule, were well received in Egypt; the whole country was open to them; they could marry, they could acquire houses and lands, they enjoyed permission to follow their own religion unhindered, they were eligible for public honours, and more than one of the officers of the crown whose tombs we see at Thebes were themselves Syrians, or born of Syrian parents on the banks of the Nile.*
* In a letter from the King of Alasia, there is question of a merchant who had died in Egypt. Among other monuments proving the presence of Syrians about the Pharaoh, is the stele of Ben-Azana, of the town of Zairabizana, surnamed Ramses-Empiri: he was surrounded with Semites like himself.
Hence, those who settled in Egypt without any intention of returning to their own country enjoyed all the advantages possessed by the natives, whereas those who took up a merely temporary abode there were more limited in their privileges. They were granted the permission to hold property in the country, and also the right to buy and sell there, but they were not allowed to transmit their possessions at will, and if by chance they died on Egyptian soil, their goods lapsed as a forfeit to the crown. The heirs remaining in the native country of the dead man, who were ruined by this confiscation, sometimes petitioned the king to interfere in their favour with a view of obtaining restitution. If the Pharaoh consented to waive his right of forfeiture, and made over the confiscated objects or their equivalent to the relatives of the deceased, it was solely by an act of mercy, and as an example to foreign governments to treat Egyptians with a like clemency should they chance to proffer a similar request.*
* All this seems to result from a letter in which the King of Alasia demands from Amenothes III. the restitution of the goods of one of his subjects who had died in Egypt; the tone of the letter is that of one asking a favour, and on the supposition that the King of Egypt had a right to keep the property of a foreigner dying on his territory.
It is also not improbable that the sovereigns themselves had a personal interest in more than one commercial undertaking, and that they were the partners, or, at any rate, interested in the enterprises, of many of their subjects, so that any loss sustained by one of the latter would eventually fall upon themselves. They had, in fact, reserved to themselves the privilege of carrying on several lucrative industries, and of disposing of the products to foreign buyers, either to those who purchased them out and out, or else through the medium of agents, to whom they intrusted certain quantities of the goods for warehousing. The King of Babylon, taking advantage of the fashion which prompted the Egyptians to acquire objects of Chaldaean goldsmiths' and cabinet-makers' art, caused ingots of gold to be sent to him by the Pharaoh, which he returned worked up into vases, ornaments, household utensils, and plated chariots. He further fixed the value of all such objects, and took a considerable commission for having acted as intermediary in the transaction.* In Alasia, which was the land of metals, the king appears to have held a monopoly of the bronze. Whether he smelted it in the country, or received it from more distant regions ready prepared, we cannot say, but he claimed and retained for himself the payment for all that the Pharaoh deigned to order of him.**
* Letter of Burnaburiash to Amenothes IV.
** Letter from the King of Alasia to Amenothes III., where, whilst pretending to have nothing else in view than making a present to his royal brother, he proposes to make an exchange of some bronze for the products of Egypt, especially for gold.
From such instances we can well understand the jealous, watch which these sovereigns exercised, lest any individual connected with corporations of workmen should leave the kingdom and establish himself in another country without special permission. Any emigrant who opened a workshop and initiated his new compatriots in the technique or professional secrets of his craft, was regarded by the authorities as the most dangerous of all evil-doers. By thus introducing his trade into a rival state, he deprived his own people of a good customer, and thus rendered himself liable to the penalties inflicted on those who were guilty of treason. His savings were confiscated, his house razed to the ground, and his whole family—parents, wives, and children—treated as partakers in his crime. As for himself, if justice succeeded in overtaking him, he was punished with death, or at least with mutilation, such as the loss of eyes and ears, or amputation of the feet. This severity did not prevent the frequent occurrence of such cases, and it was found necessary to deal with them by the insertion of a special extradition clause in treaties of peace and other alliances. The two contracting parties decided against conceding the right of habitation to skilled workmen who should take refuge with either party on the territory of the other, and they agreed to seize such workmen forthwith, and mutually restore them, but under the express condition that neither they nor any of their belongings should incur any penalty for the desertion of their country. It would be curious to know if all the arrangements agreed to by the kings of those times were sanctioned, as in the above instance, by properly drawn up agreements. Certain expressions occur in their correspondence which seem to prove that this was the case, and that the relations between them, of which we can catch traces, resulted not merely from a state of things which, according to their ideas, did not necessitate any diplomatic sanction, but from conventions agreed to after some war, or entered on without any previous struggle, when there was no question at issue between the two states.*
* The treaty of Ramses II. with the King of the Khati, the only one which has come down to us, was a renewal of other treaties effected one after the other between the fathers and grandfathers of the two contracting sovereigns. Some of the Tel el-Amarna letters probably refer to treaties of this kind; e.g. that of Burnaburiash of Babylon, who says that since the time of Karaindash there had been an exchange of ambassadors and friendship between the sovereigns of Chaldoa and of Egypt, and also that of Dushratta of Mitanni, who reminds Queen Tii of the secret negotiations which had taken place between him and Amenothes III.
When once the Syrian conquest had been effected, Egypt gave permanency to its results by means of a series of international decrees, which officially established the constitution of her empire, and brought about her concerted action with the Asiatic powers.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph taken by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
She already occupied an important position among them, when Thutmosis III. died, on the last day of Phamenoth, in the IVth year of his reign.* He was buried, probably, at Deir el-Bahari, in the family tomb wherein the most illustrious members of his house had been laid to rest since the time of Thutmosis I. His mummy was not securely hidden away, for towards the close of the XXth dynasty it was torn out of the coffin by robbers, who stripped it and rifled it of the jewels with which it was covered, injuring it in their haste to carry away the spoil. It was subsequently re-interred, and has remained undisturbed until the present day; but before re-burial some renovation of the wrappings was necessary, and as portions of the body had become loose, the restorers, in order to give the mummy the necessary firmness, compressed it between four oar-shaped slips of wood, painted white, and placed, three inside the wrappings and one outside, under the bands which confined the winding-sheet.
* Dr. Mahler has, with great precision, fixed the date of the accession of Thutmosis III, as the 20th of March, 1503, and that of his death as the 14th of February, 1449 b.c. I do not think that the data furnished to Dr. Mahler by Brugsch will admit of such exact conclusions being drawn from them, and I should fix the fifty-four years of the reign of Thutmosis III. in a less decided manner, between 1550 and 1490 b.c., allowing, as I have said before, for an error of half a century more or less in the dates which go back to the time of the second Theban empire.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph lent by M. Grebaut, taken by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
Happily the face, which had been plastered over with pitch at the time of embalming, did not suffer at all from this rough treatment, and appeared intact when the protecting mask was removed. Its appearance does not answer to our ideal of the conqueror. His statues, though not representing him as a type of manly beauty, yet give him refined, intelligent features, but a comparison with the mummy shows that the artists have idealised their model. The forehead is abnormally low, the eyes deeply sunk, the jaw heavy, the lips thick, and the cheek-bones extremely prominent; the whole recalling the physiognomy of Thutmosis II., though with a greater show of energy. Thutmosis III. is a fellah of the old stock, squat, thickset, vulgar in character and expression, but not lacking in firmness and vigour.* Amenothes II., who succeeded him, must have closely resembled him, if we may trust his official portraits. He was the son of a princess of the blood, Hatshopsitu II., daughter of the great Hatshopsitu,** and consequently he came into his inheritance with stronger claims to it than any other Pharaoh since the time of Amenothes I. Possibly his father may have associated him with himself on the throne as soon as the young prince attained his majority;*** at any rate, his accession aroused no appreciable opposition in the country, and if any difficulties were made, they must have come from outside.
* The restored remains allow us to estimate the height at about 5 ft. 3 in.
** His parentage is proved by the pictures preserved in the tomb of his foster-father, where he is represented in company with the royal mother, Maritri. Hatshopsitu.
*** It is thus that Wiedemann explains his presence by the side of Thutmosis III. on certain bas-reliefs in the temple of Amada.
It is always a dangerous moment in the existence of a newly formed empire when its founder having passed away, and the conquered people not having yet become accustomed to a subject condition, they are called upon to submit to a successor of whom they know little or nothing. It is always problematical whether the new sovereign will display as great activity and be as successful as the old one; whether he will be capable of turning to good account the armies which his predecessor commanded with such skill, and led so bravely against the enemy; whether, again, he will have sufficient tact to estimate correctly the burden of taxation which each province is capable of bearing, and to lighten it when there is a risk of its becoming too heavy. If he does not show from the first that it is his purpose to maintain his patrimony intact at all costs, or if his officers, no longer controlled by a strong hand, betray any indecision in command, his subjects will become unruly, and the change of monarch will soon furnish a pretext for widespread rebellion. The beginning of the reign of Amenothes II. was marked by a revolt of the Libyans inhabiting the Theban Oasis, but this rising was soon put down by that Amenemhabi who had so distinguished himself under Thutmosis.* Soon after, fresh troubles broke out in different parts of Syria, in Galilee, in the country of the Amurru, and among the peoples of Naharaim. The king's prompt action, however, prevented their resulting in a general war.** He marched in person against the malcontents, reduced the town of Shamshiaduma, fell upon the Lamnaniu, and attacked their chief, slaying him with his own hand, and carrying off numbers of captives.
* Brugsch and Wiedemann place this expedition at the time when Amenothes IL was either hereditary prince or associated with his father the inscription of Amenemhabi places it explicitly after the death of Thutmosis III., and this evidence outweighs every other consideration until further discoveries are made.
** The campaigns of Amenothes II. were related on a granite stele, which was placed against the second of the southern pylons at Karnak. The date of this monument is almost certainly the year II.; there is strong evidence in favour of this, if it is compared with the inscription of Amada, where Amenothes II. relates that in the year III. he sacrificed the prisoners whom he had taken in the country of Tikhisa.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin.
He crossed the Orontes on the 26th of Pachons, in the year II., and seeing some mounted troops in the distance, rushed upon them and overthrew them; they proved to be the advanced guard of the enemy's force, which he encountered shortly afterwards and routed, collecting in the pursuit considerable booty. He finally reached Naharaim, where he experienced in the main but a feeble resistance. Nii surrendered without resistance on the 10th of Epiphi, and its inhabitants, both men and women, with censers in their hands, assembled on the walls and prostrated themselves before the conqueror. At Akaiti, where the partisans of the Egyptian government had suffered persecution from a considerable section of the natives, order was at once reestablished as soon as the king's approach was made known. No doubt the rapidity of his marches and the vigour of his attacks, while putting an end to the hostile attitude of the smaller vassal states, were effectual in inducing the sovereigns of Alasia, of Mitanni,* and of the Hittites to renew with Amenothes the friendly relations which they had established with his father.**
* Amenothes II. mentions tribute from Mitanni on one of the columns which he decorated at Karnak, in the Hall of the Caryatides, close to the pillars finished by his predecessors.
** The cartouches on the pedestal of the throne of Amenothes IL, in the tomb of one of his officers at Sheikh-Abd-el- Qurneh, represent—together with the inhabitants of the Oasis, Libya, and Kush—the Kefatiu, the people of Naharaim, and the Upper Lotanu, that is to say, the entire dominion of Thutmosis III., besides the people of Manus, probably Mallos, in the Cilician plain.
This one campaign, which lasted three or four months, secured a lasting peace in the north, but in the south a disturbance again broke out among the Barbarians of the Upper Nile. Amenothes suppressed it, and, in order to prevent a repetition of it, was guilty of an act of cruel severity quite in accordance with the manners of the time. He had taken prisoner seven chiefs in the country of Tikhisa, and had brought them, chained, in triumph to Thebes, on the forecastle of his ship. He sacrificed six of them himself before Amon, and exposed their heads and hands on the facade of the temple of Karnak; the seventh was subjected to a similar fate at Napata at the beginning of his third year, and thenceforth the sheikhs of Kush thought twice before defying the authority of the Pharaoh.*
* In an inscription in the temple of Amada, it is there said that the king offered this sacrifice on his return from his first expedition into Asia, and for this reason I have connected the facts thus related with those known to us through the stele of Karnak.
Amenothes'reign was a short one, lasting ten years at most, and the end of it seems to have been darkened by the open or secret rivalries which the question of the succession usually stirred up among the kings' sons. The king had daughters only by his marriage with one of his full sisters, who like himself possessed all the rights of sovereignty; those of his sons who did not die young were the children of princesses of inferior rank or of concubines, and it was a subject of anxiety among these princes which of them would be chosen to inherit the crown and be united in marriage with the king's heiresses, Khuit and Mutemuau.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the photograph taken in 1887 by Emil Brugsch-Bey
One of his sons, named Thutmosis, who resided at the "White Wall," was in the habit of betaking himself frequently to the Libyan desert to practise with the javelin, or to pursue the hunt of lions and gazelles in his chariot. On these occasions it was his pleasure to preserve the strictest incognito, and he was accompanied by two discreet servants only. One day, when chance had brought him into the neighbourhood of the Great Pyramid, he lay down for his accustomed siesta in the shade cast by the Sphinx, the miraculous image of Khopri the most powerful, the god to whom all men in Memphis and the neighbouring towns raised adoring hands filled with offerings. The gigantic statue was at that time more than half buried, and its head alone was seen above the sand. As soon as the prince was asleep it spoke gently to him, as a father to his son: "Behold me, gaze on me, O my son Thutmosis, for I, thy father Harmakhis-Khopri-Tumu, grant thee sovereignty over the two countries, in both the South and the North, and thou shalt wear both the white and the red crown on the throne of Sibu, the sovereign, possessing the earth in its length and breadth; the flashing eye of the lord of all shall cause to rain on thee the possessions of Egypt, vast tribute from all foreign countries, and a long life for, many years as one chosen by the Sun, for my countenance is thine, my heart is thine, no other than thyself is mine! Nor am I covered by the sand of the mountain on which I rest, and have given thee this prize that thou mayest do for me what my heart desires, for I know that thou art my son, my defender; draw nigh, I am with thee, I am thy well-beloved father." The prince understood that the god promised him the kingdom on condition of his swearing to clear the sand from the statue. He was, in fact, chosen to be the husband of the queens, and immediately after his accession he fulfilled his oath; he removed the sand, built a chapel between the paws, and erected against the breast of the statue a stele of red granite, on which he related his adventure. His reign was as short as that of Amenothes, and his campaigns both in Asia and Ethiopia were unimportant.*
* The latest date of his reign at present known is that of the year VII., on the rocks of Konosso, and on a stele of Sarbut el-Khadim. There is an allusion to his wars against the Ethiopians in an inscription of Amada, and to his campaigns against the peoples of the North and South on the stele of Nofirhait.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Emil Brugsch-Bey.
He had succeeded to an empire so firmly established from Naharaim to Kari,* that, apparently, no rebellion could disturb its peace. One of the two heiress-princesses, Kuit, the daughter, sister, and wife of a king, had no living male offspring, but her companion Mutemuau had at least one son, named Amenothes. In his case, again, the noble birth of the mother atoned for the defects of the paternal origin. Moreover, according to tradition, Amon-Ka himself had intervened to renew the blood of his descendants: he appeared in the person of Thutmosis IV., and under this guise became the father of the heir of the Pharaohs.**
* The peoples of Naharaim and of Northern Syria are represented bringing him tribute, in a tomb at Sheikh-Abd- el-Qurneh. The inscription published by Mariette, speaks of the first expedition of Thutmosis IV. to the land of [Naharai]na, and of the gifts which he lavished on this occasion on the temple of Anion.
** It was at first thought that Mutemuau was an Ethiopian, afterwards that she was a Syrian, who had changed her name on arriving at the court of her husband. The manner in which she is represented at Luxor, and in all the texts where she figures, proves not only that she was of Egyptian race, but that she was the daughter of Amenothes II., and born of the marriage of that prince with one of his sisters, who was herself an hereditary princess.
Like Queen Ahmasis in the bas-reliefs of Deir el-Bahari, Mutemuau is shown on those of Luxor in the arms of her divine lover, and subsequently greeted by him with the title of mother; in another bas-relief we see the queen led to her couch by the goddesses who preside over the birth of children; her son Amenothes, on coming into the world with his double, is placed in the hands of the two Niles, to receive the nourishment and the education meet for the children of the gods. He profited fully by them, for he remained in power forty years, and his reign was one of the most prosperous ever witnessed by Egypt during the Theban dynasties.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Daniel Heron.
Amenothes III. had spent but little of his time in war. He had undertaken the usual raids in the South against the negroes and the tribes of the Upper Nile. In his fifth year, a general defection of the sheikhs obliged him to invade the province of Abhait, near Semneh, which he devastated at the head of the troops collected by Mari-ifi mosu, the Prince of Kush; the punishment was salutary, the booty considerable, and a lengthy peace was re-established. The object of his rare expeditions into Naharaim was not so much to add new provinces to his empire, as to prevent disturbances in the old ones. The kings of Alasia, of the Khati, of Mitanni, of Singar,* of Assyria, and of Babylon did not dare to provoke so powerful a neighbour.**
* Amenothes entitles himself on a scarabaeus "he who takes prisoner the country of Singar;" no other document has yet been discovered to show whether this is hyperbole, or whether he really reached this distant region.
** The lists of the time of Amenothes III. contain the names of Phoenicia, Naharaim, Singar, Qodshu, Tunipa, Patina, Carchomish, and Assur; that is to say, of all the subject or allied nations mentioned in the correspondence of Tel el- Amarna. Certain episodes of these expeditions had been engraved on the exterior face of the pylon constructed by the king for the temple of Amon at Karnak; at the present time they are concealed by the wall at the lower end of the Hypostyle Hall. The tribute of the Lotanu was represented on the tomb of Hui, at Sheikh-Abd-el-Qurneh.
The remembrance of the victories of Thutmosis III. was still fresh in their memories, and, even had their hands been free, would have made them cautious in dealing with his great-grandson; but they were incessantly engaged in internecine quarrels, and had recourse to Pharaoh merely to enlist his support, or at any rate make sure of his neutrality, and prevent him from joining their adversaries.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Daniel Heron.
Whatever might have been the nature of their private sentiments, they professed to be anxious to maintain, for their mutual interests, the relations with Egypt entered on half a century before, and as the surest method of attaining their object was by a good marriage, they would each seek an Egyptian wife for himself, or would offer Amenothes a princess of one of their own royal families. The Egyptian king was, however, firm in refusing to bestow a princess of the solar blood even on the most powerful of the foreign kings; his pride rebelled at the thought that she might one day be consigned to a place among the inferior wives or concubines, but he gladly accepted, and even sought for wives for himself, from among the Syrian and Chaldaean princesses. Kallimmasin of Babylon gave Amenothes first his sister, and when age had deprived this princess of her beauty, then his daughter Irtabi in marriage.*
* Letter from Amenothes III. to Kallimmasin, concerning a sister of the latter, who was married to the King of Egypt, but of whom there are no further records remaining at Babylon, and also one of his daughters whom Amenothes had demanded in marriage; and letters from Kallimmasin, consenting to bestow his daughter Irtabi on the Pharaoh, and proposing to give to Amenothes whichever one he might choose of the daughters of his house.
Sutarna of Mitanni had in the same way given the Pharaoh his daughter Gilukhipa; indeed, most of the kings of that period had one or two relations in the harem at Thebes. This connexion usually proved a support to Asiatic sovereigns, such alliances being a safeguard against the rivalries of their brothers or cousins. At times, however, they were the means of exposing them to serious dangers. When Sutarna died he was succeeded by his son Dushratta, but a numerous party put forward another prince, named Artassumara, who was probably Gilukhipa's brother, on the mother's side;* a Hittite king of the name of Pirkhi espoused the cause of the pretender, and a civil war broke out.
* Her exact relationship is not explicitly expressed, but is implied in the facts, for there seems no reason why Gilukhipa should have taken the part of one brother rather than another, unless Artassumara had been nearer to her than Dushratta; that is to say, her brother on the mother's side as well as on the father's.
Dushratta was victorious, and caused his brother to be strangled, but was not without anxiety as to the consequences which might follow this execution should Gilukhipa desire to avenge the victim, and to this end stir up the anger of the suzerain against him. Dushratta, therefore, wrote a humble epistle, showing that he had received provocation, and that he had found it necessary to strike a decisive blow to save his own life; the tablet was accompanied by various presents to the royal pair, comprising horses, slaves, jewels, and perfumes. Gilukhipa, however, bore Dushratta no ill-will, and the latter's anxieties were allayed. The so-called expeditions of Amenothes to the Syrian provinces must constantly have been merely visits of inspection, during which amusements, and especially the chase, occupied nearly as important a place as war and politics. Amenothes III. took to heart that pre-eminently royal duty of ridding the country of wild beasts, and fulfilled it more conscientiously than any of his predecessors. He had killed 112 lions during the first ten years of his reign, and as it was an exploit of which he was remarkably proud, he perpetuated the memory of it in a special inscription, which he caused to be engraved on numbers of large scarabs of fine green enamel. Egypt prospered under his peaceful government, and if the king made no great efforts to extend her frontiers, he spared no pains to enrich the country by developing industry and agriculture, and also endeavoured to perfect the military organisation which had rendered the conquest of the East so easy a matter.
A census, undertaken by his minister Amenothes, the son of Hapi, ensured a more correct assessment of the taxes, and a regular scheme of recruiting for the army.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the photograph published in Mariette.
Whole tribes of slaves were brought into the country by means of the border raids which were always taking place, and their opportune arrival helped to fill up the vacancies which repeated wars had caused among the rural and urban population; such a strong impetus to agriculture was also given by this importation, that when, towards the middle of the reign, the minister Khamhaifc presented the tax-gathers at court, he was able to boast that he had stored in the State granaries a larger quantity of corn than had been gathered in for thirty years. The traffic carried on between Asia and the Delta by means of both Egyptian and foreign ships was controlled by customhouses erected at the mouths of the Nile, the coast being protected by cruising vessels against the attacks of pirates. The fortresses of the isthmus and of the Libyan border, having been restored or rebuilt, constituted a check on the turbulence of the nomad tribes, while garrisons posted at intervals at the entrance to the Wadys leading to the desert restrained the plunderers scattered between the Nile and the Red Sea, and between the chain of Oases and the unexplored regions of the Sahara.* Egypt was at once the most powerful as well as the most prosperous kingdom in the world, being able to command more labour and more precious metals for the embellishment of her towns and the construction of her monuments than any other.
All this information is gathered from the inscription on the statue of Amenothes, the son of Hapi.
Public works had been carried on briskly under Thutmosis III. and his successors. The taste for building, thwarted at first by the necessity of financial reforms, and then by that of defraying the heavy expenses incurred through the expulsion of the Hyksos and the earlier foreign wars, had free scope as soon as spoil from the Syrian victories began to pour in year by year. While the treasure seized from the enemy provided the money, the majority of the prisoners were used as workmen, so that temples, palaces, and citadels began to rise as if by magic from one end of the valley to the other.*
* For this use of prisoners of war, cf. the picture from the tomb of Rakhmiri on p. 58 of the present work, in which most of the earlier Egyptologists believed they recognised the Hebrews, condemned by Pharaoh to build the cities of Ramses and Pithom in the Delta.
Nubia, divided into provinces, formed merely an extension of the ancient feudal Egypt—at any rate as far as the neighbourhood of the Tacazzeh—though the Egyptian religion had here assumed a peculiar character.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the chromolithograph in Lepsius.
The conquest of Nubia having been almost entirely the work of the Theban dynasties, the Theban triad, Amon, Maut, and Montu, and their immediate followers were paramount in this region, while in the north, in witness of the ancient Elephantinite colonisation, we find Khnumu of the cataract being worshipped, in connexion with Didun, father of the indigenous Nubians. The worship of Amon had been the means of introducing that of Ea and of Horus, and Osiris as lord of the dead, while Phtah, Sokhit, Atumu, and the Memphite and Heliopolitan gods were worshipped only in isolated parts of the province. A being, however, of less exalted rank shared with the lords of heaven the favour of the people. This was the Pharaoh, who as the son of Amon was foreordained to receive divine honours, sometimes figuring, as at Bohani, as the third member of a triad, at other times as head of the Ennead. Usirtasen III. had had his chapels at Semneh and at Kummeh, they were restored by Thutmosis III., who claimed a share of the worship offered in them, and whose son, Amenothes II., also assumed the symbols and functions of divinity.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Mons. de Mertens.
Amenothes I. was venerated in the province of Kari, and Amenothes III., when founding the fortress Hait-Khammait* in the neighbourhood of a Nubian village, on a spot now known as Soleb, built a temple there, of which he himself was the protecting genius.**
* The name signifies literally "the Citadel of Khammait," and it is formed, as Lepsius recognised from the first, from the name of the Sparrow-hawk Khammait, "Mait rising as Goddess," which Amenothes had assumed on his accession.
** Lepsius recognised the nature of the divinity worshipped in this temple; the deified statue of the king, "his living statue on earth," which represented the god of the temple, is there named "Nibmauri, lord of Nubia." Thutmosis III. had already worked at Soleb.
The edifice was of considerable size, and the columns and walls remaining reveal an art as perfect as that shown in the best monuments at Thebes. It was approached by an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, while colossal statues of lions and hawks, the sacred animals of the district, adorned the building. The sovereign condescended to preside in person at its dedication on one of his journeys to the southern part of his empire, and the mutilated pictures still visible on the facade show the order and detail of the ceremony observed on this occasion. The king, with the crown upon his head, stood before the centre gate, accompanied by the queen and his minister Amenothes, the son of Hapi, who was better acquainted than any other man of his time with the mysteries of the ritual.*
* On Amenothes, the son of Hapi, see p. 56 of the present volume; it will be seen in the following chapter, in connection with the Egyptian accounts of the Exodus, what tradition made of him.
The king then struck the door twelve times with his mace of white stone, and when the approach to the first hall was opened, he repeated the operation at the threshold of the sanctuary previous to entering and placing his statue there. He deposited it on the painted and gilded wooden platform on which the gods were exhibited on feast-days, and enthroned beside it the other images which were thenceforth to constitute the local Ennead, after which he kindled the sacred fire before them. The queen, with the priests and nobles, all bearing torches, then passed through the halls, stopping from time to time to perform acts of purification, or to recite formulas to dispel evil spirits and pernicious influences; finally, a triumphal procession was formed, and the whole cortege returned to the palace, where a banquet brought the day's festivities to a close.* It was Amenothes III. himself, or rather one of his statues animated by his double, who occupied the chief place in the new building. Indeed, wherever we come across a temple in Nubia dedicated to a king, we find the homage of the inhabitants always offered to the image of the founder, which spoke to them in oracles. All the southern part of the country beyond the second cataract is full of traces of Amenothes, and the evidence of the veneration shown to him would lead us to conclude that he played an important part in the organisation of the country. Sedeinga possessed a small temple under the patronage of his wife Tii. The ruins of a sanctuary which he dedicated to Anion, the Sun-god, have been discovered at Gebel-Barkal; Amenothes seems to have been the first to perceive the advantages offered by the site, and to have endeavoured to transform the barbarian village of Napata into a large Egyptian city. Some of the monuments with which he adorned Soleb were transported, in later times, to Gebel-Barkal, among them some rams and lions of rare beauty. They lie at rest with their paws crossed, the head erect, and their expression suggesting both power and repose.** As we descend the Nile, traces of the work of this king are less frequent, and their place is taken by those of his predecessors, as at Sai, at Semneh, at Wady Haifa, at Amada, at Ibrim, and at Dakkeh. Distant traces of Amenothes again appear in the neighbourhood of the first cataract, and in the island of Elephantine, which he endeavoured to restore to its ancient splendour.
* Thus the small temple of Sarrah, to the north of Wady Haifa, is dedicated to "the living statue of Ramses II. in the land of Nubia," a statue to which his Majesty gave the name of "Usirmari Zosir-Shafi."
** One of the rams was removed from Gebel-Barkal by Lepsius, and is now in the Berlin Museum, as well as the pedestal of one of the hawks. Prisse has shown that these two monuments originally adorned the temple of Soleb, and that they were afterwards transported to Napata by an Ethiopian king, who engraved his name on the pedestal of one of them.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the two lions of Gebel- Barkal in the British Museum
Two of the small buildings which he there dedicated to Khnumu, the local god, were still in existence at the beginning of the present century. That least damaged, on the south side of the island, consisted of a single chamber nearly forty feet in length. The sandstone walls, terminating in a curved cornice, rested on a hollow substructure raised rather more than six feet above the ground, and surrounded by a breast-high parapet. A portico ran round the building, having seven square pillars on each of its two sides, while at each end stood two columns having lotus-shaped capitals; a flight of ten or twelve steps between two walls of the same height as the basement, projected in front, and afforded access to the cella. The two columns of the facade were further apart than those at the opposite end of the building, and showed a glimpse of a richly decorated door, while a second door opened under the peristyle at the further extremity. The walls were covered with the half-brutish profile of the good Khnumu, and those of his two companions, Anukit and Satit, the spirits of stormy waters. The treatment of these figures was broad and simple, the style free, light, and graceful, the colouring soft; and the harmonious beauty of the whole is unsurpassed by anything at Thebes itself. It was, in fact, a kind of oratory, built on a scale to suit the capacities of a decaying town, but the design was so delicately conceived in its miniature proportions that nothing more graceful can be imagined.*
* Amenothes II. erected some small obelisks at Elephantine, one of which is at present in England. The two buildings of Amenothes III. at Elephantine were still in existence at the beginning of the present century. They have been described and drawn by French scholars; between 1822 and 1825 they were destroyed, and the materials used for building barracks and magazines at Syene.
Ancient Egypt and its feudal cities, Ombos, Edfu,* Nekhabit, Esneh,** Medamot,*** Coptos,**** Denderah, Abydos, Memphis,^ and Heliopolis, profited largely by the generosity of the Pharaohs.
* The works undertaken by Thutmosis III. in the temple of Edfu are mentioned in an inscription of the Ptolemaic period; some portions are still to be seen among the ruins of the town.
** An inscription of the Roman period attributes the rebuilding of the great temple of Esneh to Thutmosis III. Grebaut discovered some fragments of it in the quay of the modern town.
*** Amenothes II. appears to have built the existing temple.
**** The temple of Hathor was built by Thutmosis III. Some fragments found in the Ptolemaic masonry bear the cartouche of Thutmosis IV.
^ Amenothes II. certainly carried on works at Memphis, for he opened a new quarry at Turah, in the year IV. Amenothes III. also worked limestone quarries, and built at Saqqarah the earliest chapels of the Serapeum which are at present known to us.
Since the close of the XIIth dynasty these cities had depended entirely on their own resources, and their public buildings were either in ruins, or quite inadequate to the needs of the population, but now gold from Syria and Kush furnished them with the means of restoration. The Delta itself shared in this architectural revival, but it had suffered too severely under the struggle between the Theban kings and the Shepherds to recover itself as quickly as the remainder of the country. All effort was concentrated on those of its nomes which lay on the Eastern frontier, or which were crossed by the Pharaohs in their journeys into Asia, such as the Bubastite and Athribite nomes; the rest remained sunk in their ancient torpor.*
* Mariette and E. de Rouge, attribute this torpor, at least as far as Tanis is concerned, to the aversion felt by the Pharaohs of Egyptian blood for the Hyksos capital, and for the provinces where the invaders had formerly established themselves in large numbers.
Beyond the Red Sea the mines were actively worked, and even the oases of the Libyan desert took part in the national revival, and buildings rose in their midst of a size proportionate to their slender revenues. Thebes naturally came in for the largest share of the spoils of war. Although her kings had become the rulers of the world, they had not, like the Pharaohs of the XIIth and XIIIth dynasties, forsaken her for some more illustrious city: here they had their ordinary residence as well as their seat of government, hither they returned after each campaign to celebrate their victory, and hither they sent the prisoners and the spoil which they had reserved for their own royal use. In the course of one or two generations Thebes had spread in every direction, and had enclosed within her circuit the neighbouring villages of Ashiru, the fief of Maiit, and Apit-risifc, the southern Thebes, which lay at the confluence of the Nile with one of the largest of the canals which watered the plain. The monuments in these two new quarters of the town were unworthy of the city of which they now formed part, and Amenothes III. consequently bestowed much pains on improving them. He entirely rebuilt the sanctuary of Maut, enlarged the sacred lake, and collected within one of the courts of the temple several hundred statues in black granite of the Memphite divinity, the lioness-headed Sokhit, whom he identified with his Theban goddess. The statues were crowded together so closely that they were in actual contact with each other in places, and must have presented something of the appearance of a regiment drawn up in battle array. The succeeding Pharaohs soon came to look upon this temple as a kind of storehouse, whence they might provide themselves with ready-made figures to decorate their buildings either at Thebes or in other royal cities. About a hundred of them, however, still remain, most of them without feet, arms, or head; some over-turned on the ground, others considerably out of the perpendicular, from the earth having given way beneath them, and a small number only still perfect and in situ.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the Description de l'Egypte, Ant., vol. i p. 35. A good restoration of it, made from the statements in the Description, is to be found in Pekrot-Cuipiez, Histoire de l'Art dans l'Antiquite, vol. i. pp. 402, 403.
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Beato.
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Beato.
At Luxor Amenothes demolished the small temple with which the sovereigns of the XIIth and XIIIth dynasties had been satisfied, and replaced it by a structure which is still one of the finest yet remaining of the times of the Pharaohs. The naos rose sheer above the waters of the Nile, indeed its cornices projected over the river, and a staircase at the south side allowed the priests and devotees to embark directly from the rear of the building. The sanctuary was a single chamber, with an opening on its side, but so completely shut out from the daylight by the long dark hall at whose extremity it was placed as to be in perpetual obscurity. It was flanked by narrow, dimly lightly chambers, and was approached through a pronaos with four rows of columns, a vast court surrounded with porticoes occupying the foreground. At the present time the thick walls which enclosed the entire building are nearly level with the ground, half the ceilings have crumbled away, air and light penetrate into every nook, and during the inundation the water flowing into the courts, transformed them until recently into lakes, whither the flocks and herds of the village resorted in the heat of the day to bathe or quench their thirst. Pictures of mysterious events never meant for the public gaze now display their secrets in the light of the sun, and reveal to the eyes of the profane the supernatural events which preceded the birth of the king. On the northern side an avenue of sphinxes and crio-sphinxes led to the gates of old Thebes. At present most of these creatures are buried under the ruins of the modern town, or covered by the earth which overlies the ancient road; but a few are still visible, broken and shapeless from barbarous usage, and hardly retaining any traces of the inscriptions in which Amenothes claimed them boastingly as his work.