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and, therefore, this circumstance would not necessarily create an insurmountable confusion. But on these accounts it was on the whole clear, that no student of hieroglyphics was likely to succeed, unless he could make himself acquainted with the history of Egypt, the nature of its language, and, if possible, the customs and manners of the people.
In the Lectures I shall have to deliver, I must endeavour to explain what progress has been made by those who laboured in this subject now before us; and a continual reference, as you will already see, must be necessarily made to every thing connected with this country of Egypt.
That the mind may not be hereafter embarrassed for want of a little preliminary knowledge, I will mention a few particulars.
In the first place, we may refer to the ancient historians, and among them the most known and popular are Herodotus and Diodorus. Most of them seem to have travelled into Egypt for the purpose of acquainting themselves with the nature of its institutions, religion, and learning. They give their account, and state it as the result of the enquiry which they had made, and more particularly from the priesthood; and the information they give may serve not a little to illustrate such appearances as are found in the hieroglyphics. The animals they mention as sacred, and as, on different accounts, noticed by the Egyptians, were, the ram, the bull, the cow, the serpent, the bird ibis,
the beetle, &c. Now all these are seen in the hieroglyphics.
Sometimes a particular figure appears in the hieroglyphics, and this figure may be one of their deities. What has been said, therefore, of their particular deities, may assist us in comprehending these hieroglyphics. Their principal god was Ammon, the Creator of the Universe, or the Demiurgos. He had for assistants the god Cneph, or Cnouphis, and the goddess Neith.
This god Cnouphis, and this goddess Neith, were considered as an emanation of Ammon, the one representing the male principle, or the emblem of paternity, the other the female, or the emblem of maternity; and both together formed one single being, with the great Demiurgos, who had organised the whole world. This goddess Neith was mistaken by the Greeks for their Minerva. The Egyptians had, besides, the god Phtha, whom the Greeks mistook or compared to their Vulcan. Besides these deities there was the goddess Saté, whose particular department it was to dispose of the souls of the dead; and the goddess Smè, who was the Egyptian Thémis, and to whom the Greeks gave the appellation of Adnosia. The god Phre, or Re, was the eye of the world, the dispenser of light, which the Greeks have converted into their Apollo. Osyris, the representative of Ammon in the next world, became the Pluto of the Greeks, and Isis, as the wife of Osyris, or Saté, or Smé,' as his assistant, was converted into Proserpine, who was the wife of
Pluto, and sometimes into Themis, the goddess of justice and truth. But in considering the deities of Egypt, we must not look upon them with the same eye as we do those of Greece and Rome. For nothing would lead us further astray than to apply to the Egyptian gods and goddesses the same principle which directs us in regard to the Roman and Grecian Pantheon. The gods and goddesses of Rome and Greece were each a different being, quite distinct among themselves, and the whole religion of both these countries was a regular polytheism. But the gods and goddesses of the Egyptians were merely emanations, or representations of the several attributes of the Supreme Being. For the religion of the Egyptians, in its primary institution, was Deism, and the immortality of the soul, and the certainty of a future life was one of their principal dogmas. In fact, many of the hieroglyphical legends which are found in MSS. or sculptured on the ruins of their temples, are but a representation of these important tenets, as I shall have to explain in a future Lecture. Indeed there seems no doubt that the Grecian Pantheon was but a corruption of the Egyptian, and that the gods and goddesses of the Greeks and of the Romans were but a distorted copy of the gods and goddesses of Egypt taken literally, as their Hades and their Tartarus, their Elysian fields, with Charon, Cerberus, Pluto and Proserpine, had no other model than the Egyptian Amenti, and the power of the Supreme Being over the souls of the dead. Sometimes the person to whom the hieroglyphics refer, may be some celebrated king, or conqueror; and, therefore, the Egyptian history, such as it is given by Herodotus, Manetho, and others, may be of use to us. On this subject I shall say more hereafter. Sometimes the hieroglyphics seem to describe some scene that has taken place, to relate some story, to refer to some religious ceremony, to some mystery, or to some part of their system of belief. To these we have already alluded, and in the course of these Lectures I shall have to give a distinct representation of this kind. In regard to history, though many ancient writers, such as Herodotus, Diodorus, Strabo, Plutarch and others, have written on the history and antiquities of Egypt, yet there is but one native Egyptian historian of note, who has given a regular account of the history of his country, and this historian is Manetho. He was a priest, and wrote the history of his country, and of the Egyptian dynasties which had preceded Alexander, by the order of his sovereign, Ptolemy Philadelphus. His work, which was originally in three volumes, is now lost; but some valuable fragments exist in the works of several writers, mostly primitive Christians, who have transcribed him for the sake of confuting his assertions. His work being, therefore,
considered as authentic and important by these writers, may be so considered by us in a later age, and we of course apply to these extracts thus preserved, when we seek for explanation of those monuments which refer to the events which he has recorded. From Manetho, therefore, we learn, that up
to the time of Alexander, thirty-two different dynasties had reigned over Egypt; that their rulers invariably assumed the title of Pharaohs ; that during the first sixteen dynasties, Egypt acquired a degree of power
and civilization unknown to the rest of the world, and was covered with a great number of magnificent monuments, many of which still defy the hand of time; that it was during this early period that the various canals were dug, to carry every where the waters of the Nile, and that a large lake was excavated, to collect the superfluous waters. In short, it was during this period that the government of Egypt, the wisdom of its laws, and the learning of the priesthood, acquired that degree of celebrity which so entitled them to the subsequent respect of mankind.
From the same historian Manetho, from Eusebius, and Josephus, and from monuments which Mr. Champollion has been able to decypher, we learn that the sixteenth dynasty of the Pharaohs was composed of five kings, who held the throne of Egypt for the space of 190 years, and that the name of the last king of this dynasty was Timaus Concharis. He held the throne of Egypt but for