Queer things about Egypt 1910 PDF book by Douglas Sladen( With 65 Illustrations)

Queer things about Egypt 1910 PDF book by Douglas Sladen

Market in Luxor

EGYPT has two calls — one for England and one for all the world. To England she is a brand snatched from the burning. A century and more ago, in the two battles of Abukir, by land and sea, Nelson and Abercromby saved her from becoming an Algeria; and less than a generation ago English blood and treasure rescued Egypt from rebellion, rapine, and massacre, in a long-drawn series of battles from Alexandria to Omdurman and Omdebrekat. To the land, it had rescued the Pax Britannica gave the priceless gifts of security of person and property, and unfailing and equitably distributed water, till the whole land smiled as it had never smiled since it lost the Pax Romana. Therefore Egypt has an interest in the Briton beyond other nations.

barber in street
barber in street of Luxor

But Egypt has also a double call for all the world — the call of an enchanting climate, and the call of the Motherland. The expulsion from Eden has fallen most heavily upon Europe, for there winter stalks in its naked ferocity (except on the playground of Switzerland), and there the millions exposed to its malignity are people of sensitive organizations, which expand like flowers in the sunshine. In Canada the cold is crisp, with unsullied skies; in Northern Asia, mankind is satisfied with a sufficiency of food and a stove to sleep on. For the Englishman and the French- man, to winter in Egypt is to winter in Paradise — to a few of them it is only in Egypt that they can live through the winter at all, without the fear of tropical scourges before their eyes.

Assuan is on the northern horizon of the tropics; Herodotus thought it stood on the tropic line, having been shown a deep, deep well, still to be seen, where the sun was said to shine to the very bottom at the noon of a certain day. Yet Assuan has no yellow fever, no malaria, not one of the pestilences of miasma to throw a shadow on the sport and gaiety at its Cataract Hotel. Luxor, that has never known winter, has a Winter Palace — a hotel on the same palatial scale. At the one, the northerner, flying from winter, can have his golf, his tennis, his croquet, his riding, and his sailing, in the most perfect winter climate in the world; at the other, he can wander through the most extensive ruins of antiquity in the next most perfect climate. If he is satisfied with sunshine, without uniformity of temperature, in Cairo he can have the gayest of winter Society, combined with all sorts of sport and the contemplation of monuments innumerable in a medieval Arabian city — the capital of the Caliphs, against whom the Crusades were waged.

Of all the climates of the world, there is none to equal the winter climate of Upper Egypt: it is so dry, so genial, so equable, so wedded to blue skies and pageants of sunrise and sunset. Such is the call of Egypt's climate. There remains the call of the Motherland. I do not mean by this that any of us — except perhaps the not too reputable gypsies — are descended from the Ancient Egyptians, or that our countries were colonized by them. Not one inch of Europe was ever included in the Empire of the greatest of the Pharaohs. But civilization makes us all one country, and civilization was born in Egypt. There is no historical and attested antiquity to compare with that of Egypt and Chaldaea. The Chinese and Japanese use large figures, but their proofs get shaky no further back than the Middle Ages. The world-power of Babylon was as short-lived as that of Athens. But in Egypt, we have documentary proofs for at least five thousand years.
Queer things about Egypt 1910 PDF book

We need to take nothing from hearsay; for in their marvelous system of hieroglyphics, the Pharaohs and their subjects wrote on every temple and tomb the date and circumstances of its erection, the story of its founder, and the uses to which it was to be put. The Carthaginians and Etruscans frankly borrowed their civilization from the Egyptians — many of their tombs might have been hewn out by Egyptian artificers, and they are rich in Egyptian jewels and implements. Through them, as well as direct, the Greeks and Romans felt the influences of Egypt.

Egypt Luxor 1910

Of what character are the remains left by the Pharaohs in the fifty centuries during which they were laying the basis of civilization? Tombs and temples, and the tiniest minutiae of household implements and personal ornaments, but hardly one house that was not built of mud. From their houses, we learn little except the antiquity of the vaulted ceiling. All we know of their dwellings we learn from their tombs when they had left off building mountains of stone and taken to hewing mausoleums — some of the dimensions of cathedrals — out of the living rock. It would be worthwhile going to Egypt, were it only to see the tombs of the Pharaohs at Thebes, and of their viziers at Memphis, which have the whole life of ancient Egypt illuminated on their smooth limestone walls, and have yielded furniture (put into them for the use of the doubles of the dead) which helps us to picture almost every detail in the domestic life of ancient Egypt.

Author: Douglas Sladen 
Publication Date:  1910   

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