Egypt Revisited

Chapter 2

“I got your note,”1 said Professor Schwulst as the three settled down in the magnificent litter of the big room under the eaves of Old Gohira, “but you must explain to me more fully just what it is you want to know.”

“It was Blank’s idea,” F. explained. “I think he wants to show me that the earliest Egyptians were just like some friends of his called Jaredites.”

“Not at all,” his friend interposed hastily. “It is not Jaredites we are looking for tonight. I simply want to show this skeptical fellow, my dear Dr. Schwulst, that the epic milieu is as old as history itself. You know, sir, how the heroic age is being used by a lot of investigators today to help them reconstruct a plausible picture of the world.”

Schwulst nodded benevolently. “Well,” Blank continued, “we want to know if that goes for Egypt.”

“You mean, whether the Egyptians start out, like the Greeks and the Germans, with an heroic age?” Schwulst inquired. It was a matter of debate among students whether his accent was as thick as his glasses; no matter what language he discoursed in—and as an orientalist he had to know many—he always managed to make it sound like his native Esthonian.

“That’s it exactly,” the other replied. “We have already taken in Chadwick’s views, but his evidence is from the Greeks, Teutons, and Celts. What we want to know now is whether the heroic stuff goes for really old civilizations. Kramer thinks Chadwick’s picture fits the earliest Sumerians like a glove, but as yet he hasn’t gone into any particulars. It leaves us rather up in the air. What about the Egyptians, for example? Is there a genuine epic literature in Egyptian?”

“There are a number of important pieces that have always been called epics,” said Schwulst, scratching his head in thought. “There is Isis and the Name of Re, for example, or the Myth of the Sun’s Eye, or the Revolt against Re, or the famous story of Isis and Osiris—yes, there are epics in Egyptian.”

“Where do they come in the literature,” F. asked. “That is, at what period were they composed?”

“At every period and at no period,” was the enigmatic reply. “They are prehistoric.”

“I always thought that if you had a written record you were ipso facto in historic times. Isn’t ‘prehistoric records’ a contradiction of terms?”

“Not necessarily. Egyptian literature is like a fruitcake or a stew: The minute you look at it you can see that it is a lot of stuff mixed up together; and if you look carefully, you can pick out many of the ingredients. If, for example, you were to select with great care all the pieces of carrot in a stew, you could with diligence actually reassemble the vegetables in the very shape and form they had before they were cut up. Now from the very first scholars have thought they could recognize certain distinctive elements in Egyptian literature, and as a rule the older the elements, the more easily recognized. If all the ingredients that look alike are taken out and fitted together, they give us some very convincing patterns of prehistoric history and culture. Today the Germans are busy reconstructing dramatic and ritual texts that may be centuries older than the first dynasty of Egypt. For almost a hundred years the epic or heroic element in the Egyptian tradition has been recognized as among the oldest.”

“Most gratifying,” murmured Blank. “Just how does the story begin?”

“As far back as we can go, Egypt has always been a land not of one but of two essentially conflicting cultures.” Dr. Schwulst took from the crowded shelves that lined his office a volume with the familiar black-and-gold binding of Walter Otto’s Handbuch. “This is Hermann Kees’ standard work on the economy of Egypt. He tells here how one always finds in Egypt the herdsmen with their long hair and coarse clothes, living in tents, shunning the social life of the towns, and viewed by the rest of the population with a mixture of contempt and misgiving. Like the professional hunters, Kees says, these herdsmen lived in a world of their own, retaining ‘something of the old independence of the nomad.’ “2

“That sounds as if all Egyptians were once nomads,” F. observed.

“Well, you have to migrate to get into Egypt, as Maspero noted long ago. And it is now known that the Egyptians were certainly not indigenous; their earliest civilization seems to have appeared only a very short time before the full glory of the dynasties.”

“No evolution at all?” F. was dubious.

“If there were any, it did not take place in Egypt. I was just reading something that T. E. Peet wrote thirty-two years ago: ‘One of the most remarkable phenomena of Egypt is the fact that as far as our knowledge goes at present there is a complete break between the palaeolithic and the predynastic, the latter appearing quite suddenly with a ready-made civilization, including possibly the use of copper. Future research may fill this gap, but at present it is a great gulf.’3 The future research referred to has made the gap wider and deeper than ever. Here is what Siegfried Schott has just written: ‘Again and again in the development of ancient Egyptian culture the monuments of a new epoch present something entirely unprecedented all of a sudden in a state of complete perfection of form.’ He cites as examples the Pyramid Texts—a complete and magnificent collection of texts appearing out of nowhere; the sudden emergence of a complete temple architecture, the reliefs that appear on walls with their artistic canons thoroughly conventionalized; the great pyramid complex of Sakkareh, the great pyramids themselves, the underground chambers of Zoser, the wonderful mural decorations. All this stuff appears without any groping, experimentation, or changes of style.4 If these things were ever evolved, nobody knows where. Certainly not in Egypt.”

“How does Egypt start out, then?”

“Some think the oldest settlements were those of the Tasians, described as ‘nothing more than a hunting camp or temporary encampment.’ Yet those people were certainly farmers, and what is more, they made wonderful pottery—and pottery making is a sedentary art.5 The same combination of nomadism and farming characterizes the Badarian, the first real civilization of Egypt. Ms. Baumgartel says here: ‘We cannot even say whether the Badarians were already sedentary in the Nile valley, or whether they were still nomads . . . cultivating their little patch of grain in one place one season and in another the next.’6 The trouble is that migrating people can be very highly civilized and yet carry relatively little of the furniture of civilization with them—take the Pilgrim Fathers, for example, or some of your western pioneers. Wave after wave of humanity enters Egypt as nomads and ends up as farmers, but the nomads are always there. Kees writes, for example: ‘The half-savage farmer of the marshes was classed by the Egyptians with the skinny herdsman of the nomadizing tribes.’7 Well, which was he, farmer or nomad? It is like that all over the Near East.”

Professor Schwulst began a violent rummaging among the papers and journals stacked on the big table and presently emerged with a document. “Here in this new survey on the beginning of history Waechter tells us that with the drying up of the Near East, people were forced to give up nomadic life; ‘the period of wandering was over,’ he says, with the founding of the first agricultural towns—Jarmo, Jericho, Hassuna, and the rest—’since the hunting and food gathering economy was becoming inadequate.’ “8

“Meaning that nobody ever wandered any more?” F. queried.

“No. It simply means that the time when everybody wandered was over. Lots of hunters and nomads survived, as they do to this day. And so, at Hassuna for example, you get hunting, grazing, and farming, side by side.”9

“Rather versatile people for primitives, weren’t they?” F. remarked.

“Not necessarily. One of the things that has been discovered of recent years is the high degree of specialization in human society as far back as the record goes.10 To this day varied and conflicting economies meet and mingle in the Near East, and now as always such contacts almost invariably mean trouble.”

“But the great conflict is between nomads and farmers?” Blank asked.

“It certainly is in Egypt,” Schwulst replied. “Some very interesting light has been thrown on the subject by recent studies of Egyptian architecture. Ricke writes that ‘The architecture of historic Egypt arose from the meeting of an Upper-Egyptian architecture of nomadic origin with a Lower-Egyptian architecture of agrarian origin.’ He finds that the graves of the prehistoric chiefs or kings at Abydos in Upper-Egypt are simply the typical mound burials of nomad kings, and that the national shrine of Egypt in dynastic times was actually nothing but the elaboration of a royal tent, while the rush-matted palaces of the Pharaohs were but the reproduction ‘on a monstrous scale of the tent of a nomad chief.’ So Ricke’s conclusion is that like the Egyptian people, the Egyptian architecture is not of a single origin; it is the polarization of nomadism and agrarianism.11 The famous Egyptologist Eberhard Otto has recently written about this polarization; he says it is apparent in the very first civilization, that of Nakada I, where one finds a settled farming population with matriarchal traditions living side by side with later-comers whose culture was nomadic and patriarchal.”12

“That certainly sets the stage for a heroic age,” Professor Blank noted with satisfaction.

“Otto goes so far as to suggest that the well-known struggle between the kingdoms of the north and south in Egypt, the red and the white, was not fought along geographical lines primarily but was actually a conflict of cultures, with the nomads victorious, ‘forcing the farmers to adopt their stricter political order.’ “13

“Most gratifying,” Blank observed. “Those are the very words I used in an article five years ago.14 But granted the stage is set for an heroic age, does the show go on?”

“Oh, most decidedly,” Dr. Schwulst replied. “As V. Gordon Childe writes in his latest book, the story of the Pharaohs begins with ‘definite hints in the archaeological record of warfare for the acquisition of cattle, booty, or land.’15 Isn’t that your heroic tradition? There is never any doubt as to the role that Pharaoh plays. As Kees notes here, though Egypt was a land of farmers, the ruling class always kept themselves markedly aloof from the interests of agriculture and from the agrarian point of view.16 Except on brief ritual occasions, the kings fancy themselves only as warriors, hunters, and cattle-raiders. In the early days Egypt presented what Kees calls ‘an astonishing contrast’ to the intensely cultivated land of later times, being really a vast cattle range, with only scattered cultivation.17 ‘The raising of cattle, especially of beef, was the backbone of the economy,’ and the greatest event in the land, from which all other events were dated, was the census of the cattle.18 Of course fields must be tilled and due attention paid to the old rites of the soil, yet they are hardly mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, where the cattle and the wild-bull parade before us on every page.”

“What are the Pyramid Texts?” F. queried, “Are they epics?”

“The Pyramid Texts,” said Professor Schwulst, slapping the two big volumes of Sethe on the table, “were found carved on the walls of the pyramid tombs of the kings of the fifth and sixth dynasties. That means that the texts themselves—here are some photographs of them—that is, these actual writings, must be older than 2175 B.C. at the latest. But many if not all of them must have been very ancient when they were copied out by the royal stonecutters—even if they are not as old as our editor here thinks they are. Here, you might find this helpful; it is almost a literal translation of Sethe’s translation.” He handed the first volume of Professor Mercer’s new work to Dr. F., who read aloud from the first page: ” ‘. . . the oldest large body of written material in the world.’ This is what we want. Does this tell about our hero-kings?”19

“It certainly does,” Schwulst replied, pointing out passages in Sethe (which we designate, as Mercer does, by Sethe’s numbers). “Here, for example, the king boasts of his vast herds of cattle and the way he increases them by wide and venturesome raids.20 At the same time he is no less proud of his prowess as a huntsman. The most significant monuments of predynastic Egypt are the remarkable hunting palettes that show us what the royal hunt was like—a huge affair with great enclosures or parks into which the wild animals were driven. The oldest monument of Egyptian writing, the famous palette of Narmer, depicts such an enclosure.21 The special hunting and grazing country was the Delta: ‘During the Old Kingdom the Delta was still a place to which noblemen went for big game hunting, and whither they sent their herds of large cattle for pasture.’22 It seems to have been reserved for the purpose.”

(“A Jaredite custom, by the way,” Blank reminded his friend in an undertone.)

“Even in the thoroughly sedentary predynastic civilization hunting was still one of the main resources, as is clear from the surviving pictures and implements. The royal weapon was the bow, in which the king was instructed by the gods Horus and Seth, the traditional first kings of Egypt, in person, and it was firmly believed that no one but the Pharaoh was mighty enough to draw the royal bow—a clear indication of the original qualifications for kingship and the type of culture the kings represented.23 That is a familiar motif in heroic literature, by the way.24 The earliest of all Egyptian gods, male and female, were hunters, and their emblems were arrows. The Egyptians always designated other nations by the types of bow they used, and their conventional description of the human race is ‘the Nine Bows.’ ”

“But a heroic age requires not merely hunters but invaders. Do you have them?”

“Most of all,” said the Professor, “a classic text for that would be the so-called ‘Cannibal Hymn.’ Faulkner has made a special study of it so we can follow him, if I can find him. . . . A king of the fifth dynasty, Unis or Wenis by name, here describes himself storming heaven in the role of the great invader. The imagery he uses is obviously not invented. ‘We here see him,’ says Faulkner, ‘as a mighty hunter, slaying and devouring the gods as food,’25 the whole thing is transferred to heaven but follows a very convincing earthly pattern. As the scene opens, we find ourselves in a time of great natural upheavals and worldwide social disorders—”

“A Völkerwanderungszeit!” cried F.

“It looks like it. Listen to the opening lines: ‘The sky pours water, the stars are darkened, the Bows (the inhabitants of the earth) rush about, the bones of the Earth-gods tremble. . . .’ Man and nature in confusion; the Egyptians often refer to their god Re coming into Egypt with blasts of the north wind. At such a time this primordial king, ‘the bull of heaven,’ comes on the scene; and he too seems to have been driven by necessity, for he is described as one ‘who suffered want and decided to live on the being of every god.’26 Having perforce taken things in his own hands, this terrible invader is ‘the Grasper of the top-knot,’ who slaughters and beheads all other lords, who lassoes his opponents, who exterminates all who oppose him.27 His messengers go before him in all directions, demanding instant submission, ordering all to serve him ‘who has made himself mighty in his place: N. (the king) layeth hold on command, eternity is brought to him and knowledge is placed at his feet. Shout for joy to N.: he that won the horizon.’28 ‘The lion-helmet of N. is on his head, his terror on both sides of him, his magic preceding him!29 The Marshes of Reeds, the Horite regions, the regions of Set—all belongs to N.’30 There is a great deal more to this effect in the texts.”

“Then the authority of Pharaoh really rested on violence?”

“In practice it did, but in theory the Pharaohs are constantly protesting their legitimacy, their divine calling, their lawful descent, and so forth. They protest so much, in fact, that anyone would guess that something is wrong. All these elaborate and conflicting legends and legal and doctrinal fictions are aimed at clearing Pharaoh’s claim to rule. The famous justification of Osiris goes back to the founder of the line whose claim to the kingdom must be ritually examined, and is never satisfactorily cleared up. Anthes has recently published a study of the formula ma’hrw, which means that a king’s right to rule has been formally cleared with the prehistoric court of Heliopolis.31 It is obvious that Pharaoh worried a great deal about his divine authority.”

” ‘. . . blessed with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood’ ” (Abraham 1:26), Blank quoted, to the puzzlement of his friends.

“But if the first Pharaoh comes as an invader,” said F., “who are the people he moves in on?”

“Obviously the remnants or descendants of earlier invaders. You will remember that Otto said the patriarchal nomads subdued matriarchal farmers. However that may be, the earliest invasion seems to have been led by a woman, who found the land empty and under water when she got there.”

“The annual flood, eh?” F. suggested.

“That is doubtful. Most investigators today think the land was under water the year round when the earliest settlers got there. The first villages are all well up on the banks in what is now desert, not down in the valley itself. Here, for example, is a text in which the first king is described as ‘inundating the land after it had come out of the ocean; it is N. who pulled up the papyrus; it is N. who reconciled the two lands; . . . it is N. with whom his mother, the great wild cow, will be united.’32 This dependence on his mother of the first king, who here clears out the papyrus thickets and makes the land arable, is a very conspicuous feature of the texts.”

“The cow-lady was Hathor, wasn’t she?”

“The lady has a way of changing names. In the Book of the Dead, which is the best commentary on the Pyramid Texts, she comes ‘cutting off the heads of the heads of the rebels in her name of Tep.ahet,’ but she settles down in the name of Hathor lady of red water, and is perfumed in the name of Neith. 33 For all her names, the lady who settled Egypt is to this day a mysterious figure.”34

“What makes you say she settled Egypt?” Blank asked with interest.

“She is the star of the first Egyptian epic ever identified. That is the story of the Destruction of Mankind or the Revolt against Re—it goes by various names. It was found many years ago inscribed on the walls of the tomb of Sethi I, and a few years later in the tomb of Ramses III.”

“They were rather famous kings, weren’t they?” Blank asked. “The story must have had considerable prestige.”

“Yes, it appears to have been a very ancient tradition, among the high arcana reserved for royal tombs. This is the sort of thing that was kept from profane eyes: the inside story, so to speak, of the settling of Egypt.” Professor Schwulst unfolded a large lithographic reproduction of the texts and began to explain them.

“The story begins with the great god, ‘the god who exists by himself,’ summoning to his presence those he calls ‘the fathers and mothers who existed with me when I was still in Nun,’ that is, the timeless pre-existence. They all come and prostrate themselves and ask why they have been summoned. Naville, who discovered the text, rightly observes that the scene is drawn from real life, a glimpse of a pre-dynastic court-scene: ‘Re,’ he writes here, ‘is no more the world-creating divinity with the ram’s head sitting on his ship; he is a king, a Jupiter, who has long been ruling over men and gods and who gives orders to his father and his relatives,’35—typically feudal, and, if you will, heroic. That is seen in Re’s response: he says the human race has revolted against him, and he wants their advice as to what should be done with them. After due discussion it is decided that rebel humanity should be wiped out.”

“So far straight epic milieu,” commented F.

“The one appointed to do the task takes the name of Hathor, Lady of Heaven. She carries out her mission of destruction, returns, and reports to Re, who congratulates her. There is a vivid description of the human race perishing in a mixture of blood and water, which reminds one of Hathor’s title of Lady of the Red Water. Next, however, Re sends for his messengers in great haste and commands the bringing of a great propitiatory offering to a universal assembly at Heliopolis. There are offerings of fruits and more blood and water, and Re, pleased with the offering, raises his hand and swears that he will never destroy humanity again; at the same time he orders all the land to be flooded with water. . . .”

“That looks like a contamination of motives,” Blank observed, “—the flood story backwards.”

“Egyptian texts are full of contamination, confusion, and paradox from the very first. Notice this text here: everywhere you see the formula ky j.t written in red ink; that means that another version or explanation of a passage is being given. As the Greek writers often observed, the Egyptian priests themselves disagreed about every point of their tradition. So don’t think for a moment that this is the old authentic version of what the Egyptians believed about it. The old stuff is imbedded in the text all right but you have to dig it out: remember what we said about the stew or the fruitcake.”

“But what happens after the flood?” Blank asked.

“It was then that the lady went to settle the land.”

” ‘In the morning,’ the Egyptian36 text reads, ‘the goddess arrived and found all the land under water; her countenance was joyous; she drank deeply and was satiated. But she perceived no human beings.’ Plainly this is the situation that the first immigrants would have found. Only Re greeted her to the new land, saying ‘Come in peace, gracious Lady.’ Then he established the New Year’s rite of the priestesses of Amon-Ra, which all the people celebrated, but especially the women, every year forever after to commemorate the event. From other sources we know that the lady’s son was Horus, the first Pharaoh.”

“Are there any other indications that the royal line began with a woman?” asked Blank, greatly interested.

“Sethe, here in his Urgeschichte, has treated the subject at length. According to him the key to the whole matter is the bee and the red Dsrt-crown: the bee, he believes, is the sign of the Lady Neith—whom we have seen identified with Hathor—called ‘the Ruling Lady of the Universe’; he says that this figure must go back to a ‘prehistoric rule of women in Egypt.’ 37 Now the discovery thirty-five years ago of a perfect representation of the bee-crown on a prehistoric jar from Nakada was taken as an indication that the great shrine of Koptos, right across the river from Nakada, which is only a cemetery, may have been the original capital of the lady. That was the shrine of Min, the oldest god of Egypt, who later became Ammon, and whose symbol was an arrow, as was Neith’s. Wainwright has shown that Neith was the prehistoric lady of Koptos.”38

“And where does the bee come in?” F. asked perplexed.

“The kings of Egypt actually bore the title of ‘the bee,’ but only, according to Sethe, after they had usurped the authority of the Lady Neith. He suggests that the lady’s name is actually the title N.t given to the prehistoric red crown, though it is usually called the Dsrt-crown.”39

“Is it specifically the possession of the Dsrt-crown that makes the king eligible to call himself ‘the Bee’?” Blank asked with great emphasis.

“That is what Sethe maintains,” the Orientalist answered, “He finds it ‘tempting’ as he says, to attribute the formal title of Queen-bees to the ladies who first ruled Egypt.40 But more recently others have given a different explanation. They say it was the invading heroes who brought the bee symbol with them, uniting it with the red crown and other props of the Lady of Koptos when they found her ruling the country on arrival.”41

“I would prefer that interpretation,” said Blank, to Professor Schwulst’s surprise, “since I have already surmised that the bee belonged to the migrants.”

Professor Schwulst, who knew nothing about the Jaredites and their honeybee, called Deseret, continued his discourse: “Sethe further points out that ‘bee’ in Egyptian, being a feminine noun, cannot suit with a king as its original possessor, and that the sedge-and-bee title of the Pharaohs does not designate them as actually being bees but rather as ‘belonging to the Bee,’ or ‘descended from the Bee.’ He gives evidence, moreover, that both Geb, the father of the gods, and Osiris were guilty of usurping the bee-crown of the Lady, as they usurped her throne. He finds it significant that the title h.b.t ‘belonging to the bee’ and the Dsrt-crown always go together ‘as symbols of rule,’ being associated as such in prehistoric times, when the royal shrine was both ‘the House of the Bee’ and ‘the House of the Dsrt-crown.’ It was, he says, specifically in his capacity of ‘he who belongs to the bee’ that the ruler of the proto-kingdom of Buto wore the ‘Dsrt-crown.’ “42

“Whatever is behind this,” Blank interposed with an air of suppressed excitement, “four things definitely go together at the beginning of Egypt’s history: the Bee; the Dsrt-crown; the derivation of Pharaoh’s authority from a woman; and the identification of that woman with the lady of Koptos, from which or whom Egypt may have got its name.”

“Eh?” said Schwulst, somewhat surprised by the fervor as well as the novelty of the last remark.

“If you will excuse me, I have done a little research of my own on the subject. Phythian-Adams has argued, as you may know, that Egypt gets its name not from Kmt, ‘the black’ as is traditionally maintained, but from Koptos, which, as you have suggested, is the oldest shrine and capital of Egypt.43 Isn’t it quite common in ancient times for countries to take the same names as their capitals—Rome, Babylon, Misr itself, to say nothing of Mexico?”

“It is common enough,” the Professor observed, “but what are you getting at?”

“One more question: cannot that name also be the name of a person?”

“Many ancient cities are named after persons—hundreds of them, in fact—but only when that person is the founder of the city.”

“Exactly. It is agreed today that the great invasions of Egypt in prehistoric times came by way of the Wadi Hammamat. And what is the first place one would settle down on reaching the valley? It is the plain at Koptos, the very place where the Wadi Hammamat opens on the Nile valley. Many scholars have noted this fact. (Blank ruffled a sheaf of notes.) Koptos is not only traditionally but also logically the oldest settlement in Egypt; and just as it could have given its name to the whole land, it could have got that name from the person who led the enterprise.”

“It could have, indeed,” said Schwulst, with a shrug of impatience, “but no one knows where the name Koptos came from. Why does it concern you so much?”

“Because of a text that this discussion brings to my mind. Allow me to read it.

The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden. When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal (Abraham 1:23—25).

“What have the Chaldeans got to do with it, I would like to know?” F. asked with a depreciating snort.

It was Schwulst who answered: “A few years ago the Chaldeans would have discredited the whole passage, but not today. There are very reputable Egyptologists who believe that in the beginning Egypt and Mesopotamia were parts of one empire and ruled by one man. The ties between Egypt and Babylonia are better substantiated every day, as in this recent article of Ms. Kantor’s.44 Quite recently Vycichl has argued on linguistic grounds that the Hamites entered Egypt from the East when Egypt was already peopled by a numerous and dense population of the white race who spoke a Semitic language.45 Even the students of prehistory now hold that all the prehistoric cultures of Egypt represent successive waves of people speaking dialects of the same Semitic language. 46 And now we are being told that the language of the ancient Libyans, which everyone has always believed to represent a prehistoric native African or Berber element in Egyptian, is practically identical with Akkadian, of all things.”47

“Isn’t Akkadian the Semitic language of Mesopotamia?” F. inquired.

“Yes,” was the reply. “A few years ago it was called Chaldean. So everywhere we turn the racial and linguistic ties between the Egyptians and the ‘Chaldeans’ are being tightened.48 The cattle and the grains of the earliest Egyptians are now believed definitely to have originated in western Asia, and the earliest coronation ceremony that meets us in Egypt is found likewise in Mesopotamia, though neither version is derived from the other.” 49

“Where do they come from then?”

“No one knows. Here is a scholar who tells us that the original home of the Nakada people (your Egyptian predynastics) ‘was not far from that of the Sumerians of Mesopotamia,’ but where that may have been still remains to be discovered.50 Here is an indication of how things were stirring in the early days of Egypt: Before the First Dynasty Asiatic visitors came to Egypt. At the founding of the dynasty, however, they came in numbers, bringing a high civilization; they were relatives of the people who spread to Cyprus and the Aegean. After that, according to this authority, ‘a new, and highly competent people, came to Egypt. These folk were quickly followed by yet another band of people who imposed their . . . civilization on Egypt [in] the Fourth Dynasty,’ only to be followed by several other groups in ‘a great and long-drawn-out infiltration.’51 And the same waves that bring these people into Egypt, moving outward in a circle like ripples in a pond from some mysterious center of disturbance in the north, were at the same time bringing ever new invaders into Mesopotamia. The graves in the so-called Royal Cemetery of Ur of the Chaldees show remarkable resemblance to the first-dynasty graves of Egypt—those ‘nomad mounds’ that Ricke talks about. And the prehistoric cult of Heliopolis shows many signs of Asiatic, specifically Semitic, origin.” 52

“My head is swimming,” said F. “Let’s get back to Pharaoh and the epic milieu.”

“The Pharaoh of the Pyramid Texts is always on the move: ‘O Way of Horus, prepare thy tent for the king’53—that is typical; Pharaoh spends his days on the road and his nights in tents.54 When like the sun he has completed his day’s journey, ‘the Great Ones in the north side of heaven lay for him the fire,’ and they ‘cook for him a meal in his evening cooking-pots.’55 There is a cry of ‘come and get it,’ so to speak: ‘his chef prepares a meal for him; the king runs, his herdsmen run.’ “56

“Sounds like old times on the range,” F. commented.

“You are not so far wrong at that,” the Professor replied. “These people are driving cattle, with Pharaoh himself usually described as ‘the great wild bull.’ Take this for example: ‘Greetings to thee, ox of the oxen, when thou makest the ascension . . . [the whole thing is here transferred to the king at his funeral]. O ye milk cows, ye nurse cows there, go around him.’57 He is ‘adorned with the horns of Re, his apron on him is like Hathor.’ 58 One thinks of the famous Apis bulls, and indeed, in Pyramid Text 286e, the king catches the sacred Apis with a lasso. Of course in his travels Pharaoh is most often compared with the sun, like whom he moves over all the earth, inspecting his domains in a course which is one eternal round: ‘Behold, thou art great and round like the “Great Round”; behold, thou art bent around, and art round like the “Circle which encircles the nb.wt [the universe]; behold thou art round and great like the “Great Circle which sets.’ “59

“Wasn’t that circle, which was both the sun and the course of the sun called by the Egyptians shenen?” Blank asked.

“Indeed it was,” the Professor answered. “In the earliest times it was represented by a circle which later became the cartouche, which is drawn around the name of every Pharaoh. This is what Gardiner says about it: ‘The Egyptians called the cartouche shnw from a verb-stem shni “encircle,” and it seems not unlikely that the idea was to represent the king as ruler of all “that which is encircled by the sun,” a frequently expressed notion.’60 The shni root is no doubt the same as the universal Semitic root for ‘year.’ At any rate, the Pharaoh goes about exploring the world, and every beautiful place where the sun goes, he finds the king already there before him.61 In the evening a tent is prepared for him when he stops to spend the night in his favorite places.62 He sets boundaries to the nations; he approaches the sea; he advances from one nome to the next and makes sure that all roads are secure for him to travel. He even makes expeditions across the water: ‘when he traverses the foaming sea, destroying the walls of Shu.’63 ‘Thou will not be resisted at any place where thou goest; thy foot will not be hindered at any place thou desirest to be.’64 The worst thing that can happen to a great chieftain is not to be able to travel. Thus when Re overcomes a rival, he says to him: ‘Retreat into thy place, thy roads be impeded, thy paths stopped up, be confined in thy place of yesterday!’ And thus pronounces the curse on him: ‘His blows are decreed; he may not make his courses on this earth according to his will.’65 His touring is at an end, but Pharaoh’s world inspection never ceases: ‘He comes again; he goes, he comes with Re. His houses are visited by him. The king seizes Kas [spirits or people]; he frees Kas; he covers up evil; he abolishes evil; he spends the day; he spends the night,’ and then he is on his way again: ‘Nothing opposes his foot; nothing restrains his heart.’ 66 This last is not only a good description of a royal progress but also explains the purpose of such, which is to correct ill doing and put the realm in order, redressing injuries, and punishing upstarts. Here also we see the great antiquity of the religious institution of the Parousia of ‘Coming of the Lord,’ who lets his countenance shine first on one community and then on another. Deissmann saw that source of the Christian Parousia doctrine in Hellenistic Egypt, but here we see that it is far older than that.67 When the king or the great lord visited a district, everybody enjoyed a holiday; all were on their good behavior and received gifts and donatives from the lord. You can readily see how the figure lent itself to the expression of Jewish and Christian religious ideas.”

“It is ‘heroic’ also,” Blank volunteered. “Who is the great arch-type of all your wandering heroes and benefactors of the human race? It is Hercules with his twelve labors—and surely I don’t have to remind you of his identification with the sun passing through the twelve houses of the zodiac. It is a very ancient idea; you will find it at home among the Persians, Babylonians, Chinese, or Teutons. Read Bernhard Schweitzer’s book on the subject.”

“Now that you mention that, there are some interesting descriptions of the royal and solar progress in the Book of the Dead here; for example, when Re visits each of the twelve shrines of the gods, their doors fly open, and he brings them joy, ‘and when he has passed the doors close again, and the gods inside lament and bewail his departure.’68 That certainly sounds like an authentic Parousia; and so does this old hymn: ‘When thou travellest, thou are acclaimed by us; life springs up to us out of thy nothingness. . . . Proclaimed mightily art thou in thy circuit.’ “69

“Do you really think Pharaoh spent most of his time traveling?”

“It would seem that way. You may recall the magnificent bedroom set of Queen Hetep-Heres, the mother of the king who built the great pyramid: It is all camp furniture—everything light, portable, and hooked together. It is the same with other royal furniture, like that of King Tutankhamen. Many Egyptian kings are definitely known to have been Asiatic invaders, and some scholars suspect that many a ‘native’ king had very little Egyptian blood indeed: by their portraits, their names, their behavior, the arms and customs, their friends and alliances, the bitter opposition to them of the nationalist party led by the priests, by their ideas of empire and their taste in dress and weapons, these Pharaohs betray an Asiatic and a heroic tradition right down to the last dynasties.70 From the story of Sinuhe, written about 2000 B.C., we can see how easily the people of the desert and the steppe could overrun Egypt the minute a government lost its grip. One doesn’t have to imagine that—there is a whole corpus of Egyptian literature that tells about it—the so-called Lamentation literature.”

“So we never lack the stuff of heroic literature?”

“Never. All this touring and inspecting was not a royal pleasure trip: It is the familiar system of keeping control over conquered lands.”

“Do you mean that Pharaoh’s subjects didn’t like him?”

“At first he had to be tough. He kept runners, messengers, and spies at work night and day reporting to him any signs of disaffection.71 He was the super administrator: ‘his abomination is to sleep; he hates to be tired.’ He visited his palaces with a whip in his hand and a sceptre on his arm, and all fell on their faces in submission. The war was over and now came the occupation: ‘The messengers of the blue-eyed Horus go; his runners hasten to tell him who is lifting up his arm in the East.’72 Any sign of disaffection is immediately reported. ‘Pay attention to Geb,’ says this interesting text. ‘If thou payest not attention to him, his branding-iron which is over thy head will pay attention to thee!’73 That is certainly grim enough, and there are many like it: Anyone who earns his frown of disapproval will be instantly put to death, ‘his head will not be attached.’ “74

“But you cannot found a permanent order on violence,” F. protested, “and the Egyptian society was the most stable in history.”

“Once he has won the day, Pharaoh settles down to govern—exactly as many a usurping king did in historic times. ‘The agitations cease after they have seen N. dawning,’ the “Cannibal Hymn” says.75 Now he becomes the civilizing subordinate of his divine father, whose authority and approval he claims for all he does; he is ‘the goer and the comer who reports his activities to his father; he desires to be justified in what he has done. . . . He puts an end to battle; he punishes revolt. He goes forth as the protector of truth.’76 By this beneficent activity he wins the natives over: ‘Those who were furious [now] busy themselves for him.77 . . . O gods of the South, North, West, and East, respect N., fear him, . . . you who might have come to N. as an adversary, come to him now as a friend; . . .78 he will bring truth with him.’79 Our Pharaoh, you see, is a shrewd politician. He claims to be the son of Geb, the old native god of the Egyptians, and to be acting under his express orders. He now ‘judges as a god after he has listened as a prince.’80 Instead of pre-empting authority, he ‘summons the gods for the four regions to be brought to him, so that they may take the report of him to Re and speak favorable word about him to Horus who inhabits the horizon.’81 He calls great local assemblies and takes a general census of the population.82 He makes himself accessible to all, declaring that it would be as bad to deny ‘the coming of men to the king, the son of god,’ as it would be to bar his own access to the assembly of the gods.83 He is pleased when men come to him of their own accord: ‘to thee come the wise and the understanding,’and they freely invite him to visit them in turn: ‘Thou art invited to the southern ‘Irt.t palace; to thee come [those of] the full northern ‘irt.t palace with a salutation.’ The world now gladly recognizes his authority: ‘Thousands serve him; hundreds make offering to him. A certificate as of a mighty great one is given to him by Sah, father of the gods.’ ”

“This business84 of running from castle to castle for week-end visits is certainly in the heroic tradition,” Blank observed.

“That was recognized long ago,” said Schwulst; “the first Egyptologist called the system feudal. Even in its details it seems to come right out of Homer.85 There is the same tremendous feasting on bread, beer, and quivering chines of beef: ‘Arise, O N., be seated before a thousand loaves, a thousand mugs of beer; the roast . . . from the slaughtering-bench, the rth-bread from the broad hall; . . . Thou art come . . . among spirits mighty in his domains, protected by the Ennead in the house of the great prince.’ “86

“Positively Germanic,” Professor F. murmured, “even including the holy Nine.”

“And notice that the menu is identical with that found according to Chadwick in all his epic societies,” Blank added, “regardless of differences of climate and geography.”

“Here is another,” said Schwulst. ” ‘Great lord of food in Heliopolis, mayest thou give bread to N., beer to N.; . . . refresh the slaughtering-bench of N.’87 And this: ‘O Wr-ka-f, cup-bearer of Horus, chief of the dining-pavilion [or tent] of Re, chef [or cook] to Ptah, give generously to N.; N. eats as much as thou givest, a generous portion of his meat!’88 Even so would a Medieval baron instruct his seneschal to regale a noble guest! Hospitality is the first law of any heroic society. What could be more Homeric, for example, than the greeting of the noble traveler at the palace porch by a princess of the house, who sees to it that the proper jars of bath water are provided for the weary guest? Or the way in which that guest, after being bathed and perfumed, is clothed in a fine garment and seated in a place of honor?89 Or the way he is formally received in the great hall: the big double doors swing open to the honored visitor and all the household—especially the young ladies, who seem, as in Homer, to be a traditional greeting committee—utter formal but cheery greetings of ‘Come in peace,’ while the lady of the house comes forward smiling and takes both his hands or leads him on her arm into the room,90 or else the great lord himself ‘takes hold of thine arm, after Seker, chief of the Pdw-sh, has purified thee, and conducts thee to thy throne.’ 91 As the formal act of acceptance into the family, the guest is ‘raised up’ and told to sit and eat.”92

“Right out of the seventh book of the Odyssey!” cried F. with delight.

“And the sixth of the Iliad,” Blank appended. “Do you remember where Glaucus and Diomede tell how their ancestors used to visit each other’s castles, and recall the story of Bellerophon’s romantic wanderings? Do we have anything in Egypt like the system of feudal alliances described in the Bellerophon story, Professor Schwulst?”

“Indeed we do,” the other replied. “The whole society is a system of such alliances between great houses—personal and family ties. A network of busy messengers carrying invitations, letters of recommendation, complaints, and felicitations, keeps the great houses in constant touch with each other. All important people are bound by ties of blood and spend a good deal of time paying formal visits to one another’s palaces. In this aristocratic circle one must be accepted; one cannot force or bribe one’s way into a great house: ‘Disown not N., O god; for thou knowest him and he knows thee. . . . N. is not come of himself. It is a messenger who has come to him [with an invitation]; . . . the palace of the great cannot ward him off. . . . Behold, therefore, N. has attained the heights of heaven.’93 Here the social pattern is transferred to heavenly realms, but everywhere the earthly counterpart shows through.94 ‘The messengers of thy father are come for thee; . . . go thy course, purify thyself . . . that thou mayest be at the side of the god; that thou mayest leave thy house to thy son.’95 To be accepted is to be a full-fledged member of the household: ‘Horus has grown fond of thee; he cannot part from thee; . . . thou hast united thyself with those of his body [i.e., the family], they have loved thee. . . . Geb has noted thy character; he has put thee in thy place. Geb has brought to thee thy two sisters, to thy side. . . . Horus has caused the gods to unite with thee, to fraternize with thee in thy name of ‘He of the two snw-t-palaces.’96 To be identified with this or that palace is to be a made man, for you have the whole house to back you against your enemies; 97 if you can call yourself ‘one of the royal castle,’ you can count on ‘the children of Horus’ to fight your battles.98 The head of the house orders his people to respect whom he respects: ‘Children of Horus, put yourselves under this Osiris N., let there be none among you who shall withdraw. Carry him.’ “99

“That ‘withdrawing’ business interests me,” said Blank, thinking of many passages in Ether. “Is there evidence that people withdrew their support from a lord and went over to another?”

“Lots of it. Like all feudal societies, this one was chronically unstable; great houses bid competitively for followers and beg their people to stay with them.100 There is constant mention of broken allegiances and bloody feuding. Take this warning, for example: ‘Any god who puts out his arm (menacingly) . . . when N. calls to thee on behalf of his person, . . . he shall have no bread; he shall have no cake among his brothers, the gods; he shall send no message; . . . the double doors . . . shall not be opened for him.’101 Note the feeling of tension and jealousy.”

“A strange penalty,” F. commented.

“It withholds the things that every gentleman desires: cake, shade, baths, a leg of meat, and to have the earth hoed for him.”102

Just like Homer’s Phaeacians!” Blank laughed. “The model citizens of the heroic age! They never farmed, either.”

“There is farming going on all around, as in the heroic world everywhere, but important people take no part in it. The gentleman is depicted in his tomb as inspecting the activities of his field workers, but he never touches a tool.103 On the other hand, he proudly takes the lead in the hunt and the roundup. A noble wants a good word spoken to the king on his behalf ‘to cause food to grow for his dining-pavilion on earth’—it is done for him, not by him. The king himself, on his endless progress, deigns to notice the harvest in passing, but he keeps moving: ‘The earth has been hoed for thee, the wdn.t-offering has been made for thee; as thou goest on thy way whereon the gods go, turn thou and see this offering.’ “104

“So the Egyptian lords behave as normal heroes.”

“In every particular. The single combat figures conspicuously and, exactly as in other heroic societies, follows strict rules of chivalry. Every great chief must be ready at all times to defend his rank and his honor: ‘He accepts [“takes on”] his opponent and stands up, the great chief in his great kingdom,’ to defend his claim to dominion;105 the challenger boasts of his superior skill in accepted epic style: ‘He came against thee; he said he would kill thee. He has not killed thee; it is thou who wilt kill him. Thou holdest thine own against him, as the surviving bull of the wild bulls.’ 106 In the correct epic tradition, when one hero is bested by another, his followers give up the fight: ‘His followers have noticed thee how thy strength is greater than his so that they dare not resist thee.’107 Actually the classic prototype of all heroic combats is Egyptian: the fight between the brothers Set and Osiris (or Horus in some versions) for the possession of the kingdom. Since liegeman and lord were bound by solemn oaths of mutual support, one combat leads to another: ‘I have killed for thee him who killed thee as a wild bull,’ boasts one hero, avenging his lord as Horus did his father Osiris. 108 ‘Thoth has seized thine enemy for thee; so that he is beheaded with his followers; there is not one whom he has spared.’109 You can see how these oaths and alliances lead to wars of extermination: ‘Horus has caused Thoth to bring thine enemy to thee; he has placed thee upon his back, so that he dare not resist thee. Sit down on him, . . . for thou art mightier than he; do evil to him.’110 It is not a pretty picture, but it is a convincing one.”

“And a very Jareditish one,” said Blank, “but didn’t king-worship put Pharaoh above the storm, so to speak?”

“Far from it! From the earliest times the king had to share his power with others, both because they wanted it and because he needed their help in the administration of far-flung domains. Recently Professor Helck has called attention in the very earliest monument of Egyptian writing, the famous palette of Narmer, to a figure wearing among other things a garment of skins, the unmistakable badge, according to Helck, of royal priesthood and authority; since this person is not the king, it is argued, he is one to whom royal authority has been delegated. In the beginning, Dr. Helck says, ‘Only the King may give orders, by virtue of his power to rule all things as the highest Weltgott,’ that is, he alone holds all priesthood and kingship. Therefore, anyone to whom his power was loaned enjoyed unique authority, ‘mightier than other princes,’ and all through the old kingdom the great lords strove to acquire that power for themselves.”111

“How could they get it?” Blank asked.

“Through a peculiar ordinance which is the subject of Helck’s remarkable study, called ‘Rpct on the Throne of Geb.’ ”

“The study or the ordinance?”

“Both. Geb ‘represents the primal ancestor from whom the King receives his testament,’ and from whom all authority is ultimately derived, while ‘Rpct designates the son of the King who receives his father’s testament as successor to his throne and who seizes the rule.’ In prehistoric tradition Horus is the Rpct of Osiris, and in the earliest times of all Geb himself was the Rpct of Atum.112 But this was not originally a father-to-son relationship, but rather an ordinance of adoption. Helck believes the title Rpct was at first the ‘designation of the substitute king in the Sed-festival,’ and from that at a later time ‘was derived, apparently at the beginning of the third dynasty, the idea of the King’s son as Rpct, who in particular assignments could give royal commands as the King’s substitute (Stellver-treter).’ “113

“And where does the throne come in?”

“It is apparently by the act of sitting on the king’s throne that one becomes a Rpct. According to a well-known formula, Osiris sets every man on the throne of his father exactly as his father Re set him on his paternal throne in the beginning.114 Whoever sat on the throne of Geb became thereby the heir, representative, and embodiment of ‘the fathers’ or ‘the ancestors.’ 115 The man who sits on the throne is identical with his predecessor and his successor—not symbolically but actually.”116

“Then really there is no succession at all,” said F., puzzled.

“This business of identity is hard for us to understand, but it was basic with the Egyptians. In the Book of the Dead the deceased who has his resurrection assured becomes thereby not merely like Osiris, he is Osiris. In the case of Rpct on the throne, for example, that person ‘cannot possibly be portrayed,’ according to Helck, because the only person who can possibly sit on the throne is the king himself, therefore ‘in his place the King himself must be depicted, who of course mounts the throne as his own successor.’117 So really you were not far wrong when you said there was no succession at all in our sense of the word: the Rpct is the king’s self: anybody else would be a usurper. There is one thing that bothers Helck a good deal, and that is that the Rpct authority seems to come strictly through the female line. He finds it hard to believe that Pharaoh should always have had his authority through women, and yet there is no evidence that it was otherwise.”118

“Wasn’t it the title of nebty, ‘The Two Ladies,’ that gave the king his authority after all?” asked Blank.

“Yes, that was his indispensable title to rule. According to Gardiner that title ‘displays the king as identified in his own person with the two principal goddesses of the period immediately preceding Dyn. I.’119 Though the Rpct was a man, the office itself was the ‘Ibis-power’ which belongs strictly to women.”120

“I find this most significant,” said Mr. Blank. “How would you represent Pharaoh allowing someone else to sit on his throne and enjoy his authority after the manner of Geb?”

“One might answer that from a number of coronation scenes. Bonnet’s article on Egyptian coronations says that the king is depicted ‘sometimes standing, sometimes sitting on the throne, sometimes kneeling before it.’ 121 Lepsius has a beautiful reproduction of the newly crowned Pharaoh seated on a throne immediately below that of Atum and identical with it.122 In many ways the artists have succeeded in conveying with clarity and majesty the idea of the identity of the king on his throne with the god on his. ‘Thou doest what Osiris does,’ says a Pyramid text, ‘for thou art he who is on his throne.’ “123

“Here is a picture,” said Blank, producing with considerable nervousness a battered Pearl of Great Price opened to Facsimile No. 3 in the book of Abraham, “which some claim to represent a man who is not Pharaoh—that makes him a Rpct, I suppose—sitting on the royal throne ‘by politeness of the king,’ and bearing the emblems of royal authority. Pharaoh and his son, the rightful Rpct, are standing by and instructing one of their princely subjects to show obeisance to the man on the throne.”

Schwulst took the picture and looked at it hard. “He is wearing the Atef crown,” he said, “the oldest and holiest of Pharaoh’s many crowns.124 The two big feathers on it are emblems of spirit and truth, the symbols of Shu, the oldest and most ‘spiritual’ of the gods, and of Maat, who is truth itself.125 The Heqat sceptre he is holding is indeed ‘the scepter of justice and judgment,’ that Osiris must always hold when he sits in judgment. The throne itself is strictly in order, and so is the lotus flower before the throne, signifying, as it often does, that this takes place in Egypt. 126 Is this a recent explanation?”

“It is a century and a quarter old,” said Blank.

“It is rather quaint,” Professor F. commented. “Any fool can see, for example, that the figures called Pharaoh and his son are women.”

“Yes,” Mr. Blank countered, “a myopic moron could see that, and that is why it is so remarkable. It is plainly intentional: when a Pharaoh dressed like a woman and had himself depicted as one ‘he by his woman’s body honored his god, the mother who had brought forth all the universe.’127 A Roman emperor adopting Egyptian customs had himself represented as the mother-goddess, ‘a combination that strikes the modern mind [including your own] as ridiculous, but that is not so alien from ancient sentiment or unfamiliar in the speculation of the mystics and gnostics,’ the latter of Egyptian origin, you need hardly be reminded.128 The confusing of the sexes in royal ceremonies is a highly characteristic Egyptian usage. Bear in mind now that in their capacity as rightful heirs to the throne, Pharaoh and his son were completely identified with the ‘Two Ladies,’ who are never absent from a coronation scene, no matter who else is missing. What was the expression Professor Schwulst just quoted from Gardiner? The king was ‘identified in his own person’ with the ‘two ladies.’ Here you have it very plainly.”

“But isn’t this simply the well-known Egyptian judgment scene?” F. protested, “the one found so often in funeral texts?”

“If you want to call a ‘typical’ scene one from which the most essential elements have been removed and to which conspicuous but totally unfamiliar figures have been added, you might have a case,” Blank countered.

“But you can find these figures in any collection of Egyptian drawings—all of them—”

“That is the key to the whole business, I believe. What we have here are conventional figures in an unconventional order. They were obviously drawn by an Egyptian; even the bad engraving cannot conceal the authentic and inimitable Egyptian style; but it was an Egyptian laboring to tell an unfamiliar story using the conventional figures that he had been trained to draw. I can best illustrate my thesis by another picture from the same book.” He turned to Facsimile No. 1. “What do you see here?”

“Obviously an embalmer at work,” said F. jauntily. But Professor Schwulst shook his head.

“There is something wrong here. As has often been observed, the canons or rules of Egyptian drawing are extremely strict and formal.129 They specialized in funeral pictures in which there was a proper way to depict every little thing; but this is a highly unconventional scene, though I must admit with Mr. Blank that it was surely drawn by an Egyptian. I am trying to figure out what is wrong.”

Blank tried to be helpful: “You will agree that the only way an Egyptian artist could draw was by setting down stock figures he had learned by heart. Now suppose someone asked such an artist to draw a completely original scene. What would he do? He would simply arrange the familiar figures of his repertoire in a new and unusual composition, and that is exactly what we have here. Turn this picture on its side, and Dr. Schwulst will immediately recognize what the man on the couch is doing.”

“He is praying,” the other answered without hesitation. “He is in the proper and conventional attitude of adoration—right foot thrust forward and hands raised before the face—that is the correct depicting of supplication, no doubt about it.”

“So the artist was instructed to draw a man praying, and he did it in the proper way. But he was also told to represent the same man bound on an altar. The victim couldn’t be bound if the artist was going to show him supplicating, but he could put him on his back. So here you have the strange incongruity of a man assuming the attitude of prayer in a supine position. ‘I lifted up my voice,’ it says (Abraham 1:15), ‘. . . and the angel of his presence stood by me, and immediately unloosed my bands.’ If an Egyptian artist was told to represent an angel, what would he do, Professor Schwulst?”

“He would draw a bird. The Egyptians always represent spirits that go and come as birds, even when they are thought of as having human form. The reason for that is obvious: birds are the only visible creatures that can leave the surface of the earth. But more specifically, there is a whole cycle of Egyptian legends dealing with the messenger bird of Ammon, who is the hawk; sometimes it is Ammon in person who goes forth from the shrine, but then he too (who is never otherwise represented in any but human form) takes the shape of a hawk. In the tales it is often hard to tell whether the messenger or angel is a bird or in human form. But certainly no Egyptian artist would or could represent a divine messenger as anything but a bird—preferably a hawk.”130

“Being asked to show a priest about to offer human sacrifice,” Blank continued, “the artist draws a figure like an embalmer with a knife, but he is careful to show by his garb and attitude that he is not an embalmer.”

“We could go on like this all night,” said F., growing uneasy. “How about getting back to the subject? This Rp’t rite that the Professor has been telling us about opened the way to the throne to ambitious princes and thereby made much trouble for Pharaoh, wasn’t that the theme?”

“Right,” said Professor Schwulst. “Pharaoh could never afford to be too trusting, as Amenemhet I once told his son. Already in the Pyramid texts the king puts on a terrific show: ‘Introduce N. with trembling; adore N. who has honored you all, even as he commands the human race also to do.’ 131 ‘He will take his seat on the great throne which the gods made; . . . the gods of the horizon will come to him on their faces, and the imperishable stars bowing down.’132 (Remember that Joseph to whom the stars bowed down was also an Egyptian ruler!) The throne itself is a thing of wonder, made all of copper or of iron.”133

“Sounds like the court of the Great Khan,” Blank volunteered.

“If you think so listen to this: ‘Open the double doors, that thou mayest stand at their head; . . . they enter, they are smitten with fear; they depart, they lift up their heads. . . . Thy brother stands beside thee, thy relatives stand beside thee.’134 Isn’t that right out of Ibn Batuta? And when the king raises his hand, they must all stand up, ‘and if N. lowers his hand towards them, they sit down,’ and when he calls for a thousand they hasten to prostrate themselves before him.135 ‘He sits upon that firm throne, whose knobs are lions, whose feet are the hoofs of the great wild bull. . . . “A prince of all princes this is,” they say of him; and they appoint N. among the gods.’136 There is a great deal more in the same vein, and though the imagery may be adapted to a funerary context, it is plainly drawn from observations of real court life.”

“In other words, a real and tangible ‘epic milieu’ behind the imagery?”

“Yes, such court scenes abound in the epics. They are not only real but also typically heroic.”

“Would you say that the conflict between men and serpents so often mentioned in the Egyptian texts goes back to real events,” Blank asked suddenly, “or is it symbolic?”

“No need to be symbolic about it,” Schwulst replied, opening an Egyptian handbook to the part on snakes and reading from it: ‘For the protection of human life, the Egyptians had to wage a constant war on snakes and scorpions.’ 137 But what is your idea on the subject? You have brought some notes which you want to put into the record. Let’s have them.”

“Well,” said Blank with suppressed enthusiasm, “I have long suspected that there was a great plague of serpents in the days of the first Pharaohs, and the circumstances described in the Egyptian records are so very much like those reported in Ether that I am going to ask you to listen to the two descriptions and judge for yourselves. Here are the pertinent passages from the Mormon record. Early in their history, after only half a dozen or so kings had reigned over them there came a time of

great dearth upon the land, and the inhabitants began to be destroyed exceedingly fast, because of the dearth, for there was no rain upon the face of the earth.

And there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, . . . [and] there were many of them which did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the land southward (Ether 9:30—32).

“Do you get the picture? A great drought, a southward movement of cattle to better pastures, people and cattle both plagued by serpents! Some of the cattle get through to the ‘land southward,’ apparently a region where tropical rains could be relied on, but a great distance away, since most of them never made it. It was the ‘dearth,’ incidentally, that destroyed the people, not the serpents. The animals were looking for grass, of course, and the people followed them: ‘the people did follow the course of the beasts, and did devour the carcasses of them which fell by the way, until they had devoured them all’ (Ether 9:34). After that, it says, the serpents ‘pursued them no more,’ but they did present a definite barrier to the southern migration of the people, who were able to return to something like a normal economy when it finally rained, ‘and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about’ (Ether 9:35). Still it was not until over two hundred years later that ‘the poisonous serpents were destroyed’ and the people could go into the land southward. That means, of course, that this was no local or temporary condition. It was more than a few miles of snake-infested desert that kept a whole nation out of the lush south country for two centuries and more. In its years of isolation the land southward had become a paradise for game, and it had always been favorite grazing land for the herds (Ether 10:19). We are told that in the days of King Lib, ‘who became a great hunter,’ ‘the poisonous serpents were destroyed,’ and the south country was opened up—but not to settlement: ‘they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants’ (Ether 10:21). Moreover ‘they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land’ (Ether 10:20)—divides it into north and south, that is, for there were no cities in the southland proper. All this activity seems to have been part of a great period of expansion and settlement in the days of Lib.”

“Now138 let me take you to Egypt, and first of all recall what has already been said tonight, that from the earliest times the Delta country was preserved both for grazing and ‘for a wilderness to get game,’ with Pharaoh himself as the Mighty Hunter.139 After rain had fallen on the land and the serpents had ‘become cowardly,’ the great Menes, the first in the line of historical Pharaohs, ‘built a great city by the narrow neck of land’—only in this case it was the narrow valley passage right at the base of the Delta, at the spot which at that time ‘divided the land’ between the Land Northward and the Land Southward. Before the city could be built, it was necessary to drain vast tracts of land to the north, which were still uninhabitable marshes. 140 The city itself was known as ‘The Balance of the Lands,’ and the ‘City of the White Wall’ because it controlled all passage between the two lands and barred or permitted access from the one to the other.141 The founder of another great dynasty at a later date built just such an establishment at the other end of Egypt, calling it ‘The Gate of the North,’ since it blocked off the southern empire. The classical distinction between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, which first meets us with great persistence in the Book of Mormon, was more than a geographical convenience for the Egyptians: it was a ritual dichotomy in which the Two Lands theme, the red and the white, was carried out with great thoroughness at all times. Eberhard Otto has recently written on the subject.142 The philologian Joseph Karst has argued that the Egyptian word for the Land Northward, which everyone knows is Mekhi, is the same as Mexico, which has the same meaning.143 Of course we don’t have to go along with speculation like that, but I do maintain that some aspects of Egyptian life and history demonstrate that just such things as described in Ether could have been on the earth.”

“Meaning such things as plagues of serpents?” Professor F. asked. “You just now said something about Egyptian serpents ‘becoming cowardly.’ What is the story?”

“That is what I was getting to. If Menes is the first historical king, the first legendary king and the leader of the great migration into Egypt was certainly Horus. He was always remembered, among his other exploits, for having overcome the serpents. ‘Horus was an ox-herd when he trod on.’ Here the old fragment breaks off, but hundreds of representations of Horus treading on serpents and crocodiles enable us to complete it. It ends as a typical charm against serpents: ‘O let the beast, O desert, glide away.’144 Remembering from Ether how ‘their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents,’ it is significant, I think, that Horus fights the serpents as an ox-herd; here is a passage recalling the struggle: ‘The bull is fallen because of the sdh-serpent; the sdh-serpent is fallen because of the bull. Fall, glide away.’ 145 Those last words mark it as another charm against snakes; though the Egyptians used many ingenious devices to exterminate snakes, the commonest protection against them was the incantation or charm, of which innumerable examples have been found; they often refer to the war of Horus on the serpents.146 In the Pyramid Texts it is the flame-serpent who withholds bread—drought, heat, famine, and serpents go together, as in Ether’s account. ‘Be thou watered, O desert, water not sand. Say: The serpent which came forth from the earth is fallen; the flame which came forth from Nun is fallen. Fall; glide away.’ 147 That charm seeks to banish drought and snakes in a single operation, as does this: ‘O Sesha-w, rain, that the serpent may become cowardly.’148 The most potent medicine against serpents is the image of Horus treading on snakes and crocodiles, holding snakes in one hand and a lion and a scorpion in the other—always by their tails, for he is not their patron but their enemy.”

“But doesn’t the water-loving crocodile come in for as much punishment as the flame-serpent?” F. asked.

“That, I believe, is a clear indication that there was a regular campaign against serpents because there certainly had to be against the crocodiles. In places where they swarm, they are to this day a menace to settlers. The Book of the Dead describes the crocodile god as ‘ravening, dangerous, dwelling in the place of terror, to whom bowings and prostrations are made in Letopolis,’ those being originally acts of appeasement rather than worship.149 Here is a vivid little episode from an old epic wherein a goddess says, ‘I advance alone, I go around among the bushes. A very great crocodile is after thy son.’ 150 That was no mere symbolism. When Cleomenes was sent by Alexander to be the first governor of Egypt, his servant was eaten by a crocodile, and the priests had to pay a terrific fine.151 The snakes, crocodiles, lions, and scorpions that Horus overpowers are all the dangerous creatures that prowl in the bush and along the clearings. Here is a typical charm: ‘Repulsed is thy crocodile. . . . Thy soul is cut in pieces, thy vertebrae are severed. . . . The Horus children are for smashing thee—destroyed art thou at their season. Back, back, Thou Retreat, . . . Horus makes thy crocodile to go back. . . . The children of Horus give [put] their spears into thee.’ “152

“That plainly says that the reptiles were destroyed by the Horus children ‘at their season.’ ” Schwulst observed. “I think you are right—there seems to have been a definite large-scale operation. It reminds me now of a snake episode in the story of the lady and the settlement of Egypt—the one I told you about earlier. Here it is: Re charges Geb to go down in haste and take charge of the serpents on the earth who fear and obey him, ‘and then you will go to the place of my father Nun,’ he instructs him, ‘and say to him: Watch carefully the reptiles of the land and the water. . . .’ Then follows a charm against snakes.”153

“There must have been quite a to-do,” said Mr. Blank. “One text describes the king and the serpent as biting each other while ‘the centipede was smitten by the householder, and the householder was smitten by the centipede.’ 154 And this looks like a fight to the finish: ‘Who is it who will remain?’ Says the text, describing a fight between the king’s champion and the serpent, ‘It is the King who will remain!’ “155

“And who, pray, is the king’s champion?” F. inquired.

“In this case it is a lynx who springs on the neck of the serpent when he raises it to strike and gives him a bad mauling. The early classical writers report that the Egyptian priests attributed the singular holiness of the cat, the hawk, and the ibis, to the fact that they are the natural enemies of snakes and the allies of the children of Horus in overcoming them.156 And speaking of snakes who hedge up the way, there are many accounts of how Alexander almost failed to reach the Oasis of Ammon because of the serpents that hindered passage across the desert.157 In the Book of the Dead, the road between this world and the next is supposed to be blocked by serpents which the soul can only pass with special guidance and protection. In one place three serpents hedge up the way of Re himself, whereupon the local gods, who are the equivalent of the local inhabitants, join him in a campaign of extermination in which they smash the heads of the snakes and pronounce charms over them, so that Afu-Re can finally get by.”158

“Here we have some lively descriptions of community snake hunts, with special attention to the setting of fires in the brush and marsh—which points to a very early date: ‘The eye of Horus . . . devours thee, the mighty fire leads it on, the eye of Re prevails over thee, the flame devours thee. . . . Back with you! You are cut to bits, your life is scorched, your name is buried, . . . get back! Go away! You are cut to pieces, . . . you are ground up, . . . Apepi. . . . The fire eats thee; it cuts thy soul,’ and so forth.159 Apepi, or Apopi, was the great snake who kept Horus and Re from occupying the Delta: He is always represented as a huge serpent. One of the best-known of all Egyptian classics is the overthrow of Apopi: there is talk of torches, of hacking and mangling, smashing of backbones, and the rest—’they burn thee upon thy folds, . . . the flame eats into thee. . . . Set puts his spear on thy head.’160 ‘Their flame of fire comes forth against thee; fall back, retreat from the flames of fire coming forth from their mouths! O falling one, wriggler, retreating enemy of Ra, thou art fallen at this moment. . . . Carried off are thy remains; thou art beat up, cut up, slaughtered, thy crocodile is destroyed, . . . thou art pierced, overthrown, thou mayest never again come forth from thy hole forever and ever.’ ” 161

“It seems clear that fire is being definitely used as a weapon on a large scale to make the land habitable. The mention of torches proves that, and then all the clubbing and beating and sanitary disposal of remains—really quite convincing.” This from Professor Schwulst.

“And there is no shortage of material on the subject. Listen to this: ‘Thou art fettered and beaten by tough beaters. . . . Thy crocodile is turned back. . . . Great fire comes forth against thee; its flame is deadly to thy soul, the words of power to thy body, thy spirit. The mistress of fire prevails over thee, hooks flame into thy soul; it makes an end of thee.’162 And this: ‘ . . . fire therefore is upon all thy ways. Pechit does evil to thee, she flames, the great fire, lady of slaughter, mistress of the spark, she removes thy flesh, she injures thy soul; the flame burns thee up.’163 And this: ‘Fire comes forth roasting you, frizzling it frizzles you. . . . It bites you in the name of Set. Retreat! Go back ye Sebau!’ “164

“Enough!” cried F., throwing up his hands. “We get the idea. . . .”

“But the ironical thing is that after all that fuss, it was the coming of the rain with the north wind that put down the serpents—’made them cowardly’ as the saying went. ‘The breezes of the North winds blow, and at the voice of the thunder-cloud roaring,’ the serpents pass away to the east. 165 So the serpents were destroyed, and the land was settled, and the king forever after wore the Uraeus serpent on his brow, to strike deadly terror into his enemies: ‘The heat of the flaming breath of his Uraeus serpent is like that of the Rnn-wt-t serpent on his forehead. N. has put fear in their heart making massacre among them.’166 Note the combination of heat, drought, serpents, and massacre. The Uraeus serpent was a life-sized and frighteningly realistic reproduction of the most poisonous serpent known, all ready to strike—it was supposed to paralyze the beholder with fear. The Pyramid Texts tell us that its purpose was not only to terrify human enemies, but especially to outface and outfight real serpents—it is the insignia of the first Pharaoh in his capacity of destroyer of the serpents.”167

“Well, well,” said F., rising and stretching, “I guess we do have an epic world or something very much like it, in earliest Egypt.”

“Even in the agrarian state of the old kingdom,” Dr. Schwulst added, “all the elements are there. Of course we are still far from knowing just what things were like—it is so easy to reconstruct vivid and convincing pictures in the imagination, eking them out with archaeological bits here and there, only to find some day that we have been hopelessly wrong on all the main points. The whole idea of a nomadic or ‘epic’ element in Egyptian culture is a new one, though it is getting more attention all the time.”

“Wouldn’t you agree,” Blank asked, “that no one, one hundred and twenty years ago, thought it would be like this?”

“No one dreamed of such a thing fifty years ago,” was the reply.

“But where has this got us?” Professor F. asked as he put on his coat.

“Just one important step along the way,” said Blank, “and the next step should take us to Mesopotamia.”

“I thought we had already agreed,” said his friend, “the Babylonian origins were Heroic.”

“But we haven’t said why yet,” Schwulst reminded him, “and it would be a shame to overlook all that beautiful Sumerian epic poetry. There’s much more of it, you know, than you’ll ever find in Egypt. How about a week from Friday?”


1. “II Egypt Revisited,” IE 59 (March 1956): 150—52, 185—87, began at this point.

2. Hermann Kees, Aegypten (Munich: Beck, 1933), 18—19.

3. T. Eric Peet, “Notices of Recent Publications,” JEA 10 (1924): 67.

4. Siegfried Schott, Mythe und Mythenbildung im alten Ägypten (Leipzig: Hinrich, 1945; reprinted Hildesheim: Olm, 1964), 10—11.

5. V. Gordon Childe, New Light on the Most Ancient East (New York: Praeger, 1953), 42—43: “Pottery vessels . . . exhibit a perfection of technique never excelled in the Nile valley.”

6. Elise J. Baumgartel, The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, 2 vols. (London: Oxford University Press, 1947, 1960), 1:23.

7. Kees, Aegypten, 19.

8. John Waechter, “The Beginning of Civilization in the Middle East,” PEFQ 85 (1953): 129, 131.

9. Prof. Schwulst is recalling a good general survey of the whole picture given by Stuart Piggott, Prehistoric India (London: Cassell, 1962).

10. For the latest treatment of primitive specialization, see the first five chapters of Carleton S. Coon, The Story of Man (New York: Knopf, 1954).

11. Herbert Ricke, “Bermerkungen zur ägyptischen Baukunst des alten Reichs I,” Heft 4 of Beiträge zur ägyptischen Bauforschung und Altertumskunde (Zürich: Borchardt Institute für Ägyptische Bauforschung und Altertumskunde in Kairo, 1944) , 25—27, 36—38, 109—10.

12. Eberhard Otto, “Ein Beitrag zur Deutung der ägyptischen Vor-und Frühgeschichte,” Die Welt des Orients 1 (1952): 431—53.

13. Ibid., 452.

14. What Blank (Nibley) had written was that the “widely—ranging tribes of the steppes . . . coerce the unwillg tillers of the soil to cooperate in bringing forth the great state.” Hugh W. Nibley, “The Arrow, the Hunter, and the State,” WPQ 2 (1949): 328.

15. Childe, New Light on the Most Ancient East, 78.

16. Kees, Aegypten, 18.

17. Ibid., 18—19, 8—9, 31, 34, 43.

18. Ibid., 22, and Alan H. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1950), 204: “An event which occurred biennially was the census of the cattle, and this became the standard event by which the years were dated.”

19. Samuel A. B. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, 4 vols. (New York: Longmans, Green, 1952), 1:vii. Kurt H. Sethe, Die Altaegyptischen Pyramidentexte, 4 vols. (Leipzig: Hinrich, 1908—22); and Kurt H. Sethe, Übersetzung und Kommentar zu den altägyptischen Pyramidentexten, 4 vols. (Glueckstadt: Augustin, 1935—39).

20. Thus King Merekere speaks of the Asiatics: “I carried captive their inhabitants, I plundered their cattle,” Alan H. Gardiner, “New Literary Works from Ancient Egypt,” JEA 1 (1914): 31.

21. See the discussion by Alexandre Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 2 vols. (Paris: Presses Universitaires, 1929—36), 1:95—96.

22. Baumgartel, Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt 1:3—18; quote from 3.

23. A. Wiedemann, Das alte Ägypten (Heidelberg: Winter, 1920), 235.

24. Carl Fries, Studien zur Odyssee I. Das Zagmukfest auf Scheria (Leipzig: Hinrich, 1910).

25. Raymond O. Faulkner, “The ‘Cannibal Hymn’ from the Pyramid Texts,” JEA 10 (1924): 102. Sethe’s number is Pyr. 393a—414c.

26. Faulkner is in doubt about the passage, which Mercer renders: “N. is the bull of heaven, who (once) suffered want and decided (lit. gave his heart) to live on the being of every god,” Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, 1:93 (Pyr. 397a).

27. Ibid., Pyr. 401a, 402a.

28. Ibid., Pyr. 306c—307c.

29. Ibid., Pyr. 940b—c.

30. Ibid., Pyr. 943a—c.

31. Rudolf Anthes, “The Original Meaning of Ma’ Hrw,” JNES 13 (1954): 21—51.

32. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 388a—c.

33. E. A. Wallis Budge, The Book of the Dead: The Papyrus of Ani, 2 vols. (New York: Putnam, 1913), 1:185—87; 2:495—97.

34. Ibid., 1:185—86: “A great number of goddesses of the same name were developed from her, and these were identified with Isis, Neith, Iusaset, and many other goddesses whose attributes they absorbed. A group of seven Hathors is also mentioned.”

35. Edouard Naville, “La destruction des hommes par les dieux,” TSBA 4 (1875): 1—19; quotes from 4—5, 16; the later text is in Edouard Naville, “L’Incription de la destruction des hommes dans le tombeau de Ramses III,” TSBA 8 (1884): 412—20.

36. “III Egypt Revisited,” IE 59 (April 1956): 244—45, 252—54, 256, 258, 260, began with this sentence.

37. Kurt H. Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, in vol. 18, pt. 4 of Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes (Leipzig: Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft, 1930), 68.

38. Gerald A. Wainwright, “The Red Crown in Early Prehistoric Times,” JEA 9 (1923): 26—33.

39. Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 68—70.

40. Ibid., 69.

41. Baumgartel, Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, 1:44—47.

42. Sethe, Urgeschichte und älteste Religion der Ägypter, 64, 68—70.

43. William J. Phythian-Adams, “Aiguptos: A Derivation and Some Suggestions,” JPOS 2 (1922): 94—100.

44. Helene J. Kantor, “Further Evidence for Early Mesopotamian Relations with Egypt,” JNES 11 (1952): 239—50.

45. Werner Vycichl, “Notes sur la préhistoire de la langue égyptienne,” Orientalia 23 (1954): 222.

46. Thus Zyhlarz, cited by Baumgartel, Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, 1:48—49.

47. O. Rössler, “Akkadisches und libysches Verbum. I,” Orientalia 20 (1951): 101—7.

48. On “the common ancestry of the Semites, Hamites, and Indo-Europeans,” J. J. Gelb, “A Contribution to the Proto-Indo-European Question,” Jahrbuch für kleinasiatische Forschung 2 (1951): 23—36; on “the prehistoric parent language, which may be called Hamito-Semitic,” Cyrus H. Gordon, Ugaritic Handbook (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1947), 25; cf. Henri Frankfort, The Birth of Civilization in the Near East (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1951), 109.

49. Baumgartel, Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, 1:49—51; Moret, Histoire de l’Orient 1:186.

50. Baumgartel, Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, 1:49.

51. T. Burton-Brown, Studies in Third Millennium History (London: Luzac, 1946), 93.

52. Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 1:12, 200—201.

53. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 607a—b.

54. Thus ibid., Pyr. 2100a—c: “O. N., Horus has woven his tent over thy head; Set has stretched out thy canopy; be enclosed, O father, by the divine tent; thou art brought there in thy beloved places.”

55. Ibid., Pyr. 405a—b, 403b.

56. Ibid., Pyr. 1113a—b.

57. Ibid., Pyr. 547a, 550a—b.

58. Ibid., Pyr. 546a—b.

59. Ibid., Pyr. 629a—c.

60. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 74.

61. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 919c.

62. Ibid., Pyr. 2100a—c.

63. Ibid., Pyr. 1121b.

64. Ibid., Pyr. 625c—d.

65. E. A. Wallis Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu, a scribe in the Temple of Amen-Ra at Thebes, about B.C. 305,” Archaeologia 52 (1890): 535—63.

66. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 310c—311d.

67. Adolf Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East (New York: Doran, 1927), 368—73.

68. Budge, The Book of the Dead: Papyrus of Ani, 1:152.

69. Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu,” 461—64.

70. The theme is developed by Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 2:502—6.

71. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 400b—402c.

72. Ibid., Pyr. 253a—d, 260b.

73. Ibid., Pyr. 675a—b.

74. Ibid., Pyr. 682d—e.

75. Ibid., Pyr. 393c—394a.

76. Ibid., Pyr. 316a—d, 319a—b.

77. Ibid., Pyr. 319c.

78. Ibid., Pyr. 321a—322a.

79. Ibid., Pyr. 323c.

80. Ibid., Pyr. 347b.

81. Ibid., Pyr. 348a—c.

82. Ibid., Pyr. 615c.

83. Ibid., Pyr. 1438b—c.

84. “IV Egypt Revisited,” IE 59 (May 1956): 308—10, 334, 336, 338—40, began at this point.

85. The late Egyptian story of Petubastis, called “The Fight for the Rights of Ammon,” reads so much like a typical Indo-European epic that Pieper was frankly suspicious twenty-five years ago, though no evidence has been found to prove that it was not of native Egyptian origin; see Max Pieper, Die Ägyptische Literatur (Wildpark-Potsdam: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Athenaion, 1927), 90—92.

86. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 214b—215c.

87. Ibid., Pyr. 695b—696b.

88. Ibid., Pyr. 560a—c; 566a—c.

89. Ibid., Pyr. 1180b—1182d.

90. Ibid., Pyr. 1343c—1345b.

91. Ibid., Pyr. 1472a—1477d; 654a—657e; 1291a—1293a.

92. Ibid., Pyr. 1356a—1357b.

93. Ibid., Pyr. 327a—335a.

94. Re appears from the beginning “in his high castle with a court whose splendor reflects the glory of the courts of earthly kings, and transplants to heaven the life of a king of the Old Kingdom, with its archives, messengers, ceremonies, and the rest,” thus Schott, Mythe und Mythenbildung im alten Ägypten, 17—18.

95. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 136b—137c.

96. Ibid., Pyr. 609b—610b, 576c—577d.

97. Ibid., Pyr. 648d—650a.

98. Ibid., Pyr. 640b; 643b—c; 651b—653d.

99. Ibid., Pyr. 1338b—c.

100. Ibid., Pyr. 645c—647d.

101. Ibid., Pyr. 484a—485c.

102. Ibid., Pyr. 1322—1323.

103. Egyptian population is described by classical writers as composed of three classes only: priests, warriors, and artisans; thus Plato, Timaeus III, 22A; Diodorus, Bibliotheke I, 74. The peasants are tied to the soil and belong to whoever owns it; cf. James H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, 5 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1906), 1:285 (No. 630). In a few Pyramid Texts (Utterance 422, line 761), Pharaoh tills the ground ritually, but these pieces stand out sharply from the rest in style and content.

104. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 817a—818a.

105. Ibid., Pyr. 202a—203b.

106. Ibid., Pyr. 944a—c.

107. Ibid., Pyr. 588b—c.

108. Ibid., Pyr. 1544b—1550b.

109. Ibid., Pyr. 635c—d.

110. Ibid., Pyr. 651b—652b.

111. W. Helck, “Rpct auf dem Thron des Gb,” Orientalia 19 (1950): 417—18.

112. Ibid., 430—31. It should be noted that some Egyptologists, notably Moret, have identified Atum with Adam.

113. Ibid., 418—19, 432—33.

114. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 169.

115. Helck, “Rpct auf dem Thron des Gb,” 433, 430.

116. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 757—764.

117. Helck, “Rpct auf dem Thron des Gb,” 430—32.

118. Ibid., 422—25, 433.

119. Gardiner, Egyptian Grammar, 73; cf. Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 1:185.

120. Helck, “Rpct auf dem Thron des Gb,” 424—25.

121. Hans Bonnet, Reallexikon der aegyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1952), 397.

122. R. Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien, 17 vols. (Berlin & Leipzig, 1849—59, 1897—1913), 3:169; reprinted in Bonnet, Reallexikon der aegyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 399, fig. 102.

123. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. Text, 625a; cf. 622a—625d.

124. Bonnet, Reallexikon der aegyptischen Religionsgeschichte, 57—58.

125. Ibid., 685—89, 430—34.

126. As the papyrus symbolizes Lower Egypt and the sedge (shema) Upper Egypt, so the lotus represents the whole land, as on a throne-scene in the Papyrus of Hunefer, where a lotus, springing up before the throne, exactly as in Plate 3 of the Book of Abraham, supports the gods of the Four Regions; reproduced in Budge, The Book of the Dead: Papyrus of Ani, 1:241, fig. 1.

127. Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 2:528.

128. C. H. V. Sutherland, “The Historical Evidence of Greek and Roman Coins,” Greece and Rome 9 (1940): 73—74.

129. Interesting commentaries on the rigid canons of ancient art may be found in Kees, Aegypten, 265; E. Douglas Van Buren, “Ancient Beliefs and Some Modern Interpretations,” Orientalia 18 (1949): 498—99.

130. Schwulst is probably thinking of the Necanebos tale and the Pseudo-Callisthenes and some Oriental accounts of the wooing of Olympia, or even of A. B. Cook, Zeus, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914—40), vol. 2.

131. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 272c—273a.

132. Ibid., Pyr. 1154b—1155c; 1535b—c.

133. Ibid., Pyr. 1992c, 2012a.

134. Ibid., Pyr. 255a—256b.

135. Ibid., Pyr. 1563a—c.

136. Ibid., Pyr. 1124a—1127c.

137. A. Wiedemann, Das alte Ägypten (Heidelberg: Winter, 1920), 247.

138. “V Egypt Revisited,” IE (June 1956): 390—91, 460—61, began at this point.

139. Baumgartel, Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, 1:3.

140. Kees, Aegypten, 8.

141. The theme has been treated by Moret, Histoire de l’Orient, 1:185—87.

142. Otto, “Ein Beitrag zur Deutung der ägyptischen Vor- und Frühgeschichte.”

143. Joseph Karst, Die vorgeschichtlichen Mittelmeervölker (Heidelberg: Winter, 1931), 286, who also insists that the Otomic capital of Mamemhi is remarkably similar to the Egyptian name Memphis—Momemphis.

144. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 244b, 245b.

145. Ibid., Pyr. 430a—b.

146. Wiedemann, Das alte Ägypten, 247—49.

147. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 236a—237b.

148. Ibid., Pyr. 426b—c.

149. Budge, The Book of the Dead: Papyrus of Ani, vol.1, ch. 88, pl. 27. The translation is the author’s. This text can also be found, ibid., 2:545—46.

150. Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu,” Archaeologia 52 (1890): 469.

151. Aristotle, Oeconomica 2, 33.

152. Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu,” 515—16.

153. Edouard Naville, ”La destruction des hommes par les dieux,” TSBA 8 (1884): 13—14.

154. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 425a—c.

155. Ibid., Pyr. 438c.

156. Cicero, De Natura Deorum I, 36, says the Ibis actually ridded Egypt of a pest of serpents; cf. Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu,” 578—79. Mr. Blank has many other notes on the subject, which he can’t find at the moment: a great deal about cats as snake killers.

157. Thus Nigidius Figulus, cited in Theodorus Hopfner, Fontes Historiae Religionis Aegyptiaeae (Bonn: Marx & Weber, 1922), 83—84, see also Plutarch, Alexander XXVI, 6.

158. Budge, The Book of the Dead: Papyrus of Ani, 1:152; cf. 256.

159. Budge, “On the Hieratic Papyrus of Nesi-Amsu,” 519—20.

160. Ibid., 576—78.

161. Ibid., 516—17.

162. Ibid., 518—19.

163. Ibid., 569—79. The quote is from 579.

164. Ibid., 523—27.

165. Ibid., 603—4, 507.

166. Mercer, The Pyramid Texts in Translation and Commentary, Pyr. 302a—d.

167. Ibid., Pyr. 238a—b; 244a—b; 442a—c; 443a—c; 444a.