Queer things about Egypt - by Douglas Sladen - PDF ebook

Queer things about Egypt 

Queer things about Egypt


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 gipsies — 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.

We need to take nothing from hearsay; for in their marvellous 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.

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. 

t 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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