« FöregåendeFortsätt »
what had already been discovered by Zoëga, in his work, De Orig. et usu Obeliscorum, that all proper names were included in a border, a kind of oval ring, or a frame, which the French call cartouche. In this assertion Dr. Young went rather too far ; because the further discoveries made by M. Champollion have proved, that this ring, or oval, is not a graphical sign, but a mark of political distinction, as it is engraved only round the names of kings and
queens, and never round the names of private individuals.
In these tables, for instance, one represents the name of Antinous, this favourite of the emperor Hadrian, from the Barberini obelisk at Rome, which is spelt in two ways, Antainous [fig. 5.) and antns (fig. 6.), in which latter case it only preserves all the consonants, and the initial vowel, suppressing all the intermediate ones; and the other, No. 7, represents the name of Lucillius, spelt Loikilios, from the Benevent's obelisk.
In a future Lecture, after I have exhibited to you the hieroglyphical alphabet, I shall return to these groups, and explain to you the import and value of each character; for the present I refer you to these groups, merely to shew, that the oval, or ring, was not a graphical sign attending any name, but a mark of distinction, paid only to the names of sovereigns.
Again, Dr. Young first aserted, that all hieroglyphical inscriptions were read from right to left,
as the objects naturally follow each other. This last principle, however, admits of too many exceptions to be received as a rule. For the fact is, as M. Champollion has proved, that the characters are sometimes disposed perpendicularly, and sometimes horizontally, and sometimes both ways. This takes place whenever two, three, or four characters, of different dimensions, happen to meet. Thus, for instance, in fig. 1, the oval contains the name of Berenice, and you find the box, which is B, over the long oval, which is R; then the undulating line, which is N, over two characters, the two feathers, which stand for E, and a kind of bridge, which is a K, and lastly, the bird by itself, which is S. Then follow the semi-circle and the egg, which, as I have already stated, are simple marks of the feminine gender, and, therefore, attached to all names of females. The general rule, therefore, found out by Champollion, is to begin reading an inscription, whether written perpendicularly or horizontally, from the side to which the heads of the animals are turned; or if, in the inscription, there be no animals, from the side to which are turned the angles, or circles, found in the text. This rule, says M. Champollion, admits of no exception but one, and that is a hieroglyphical MS., in which the characters are to be read from left to right, though the heads of the animals look towards the right hand. I have dwelt at so great a length on the dis
coveries of Dr. Young, because I consider them as the first and most important step which we have made in the labyrinth of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the fundamental stone on which M. Champollion has raised the astonishing structure of his system, which will form the subject of our next Lecture.
Continuation of the same subject—Discovery of the name of Cleopatra by Mr. Bankes—Means by which it was obtained —Champollion's publications—Lettre à M. Dacier—Precis du systeme hieroglyphique—Hieroglyphical alphabet—Number of characters—Their meaning—Attempt to account for their multiplicity and difference—Illustrations—Mode by which the Egyptians formed their hieroglyphics—Disposition of them—Examples—General rules—Application of Champollion's alphabet to the reading of the names of the Egyptian sovereigns—Under the Romans—the Greeks—the Persians —the Pharaohs—Coincidence between the Bible and some of the Egyptian legends—Observations.
IN my last Lecture I endeavoured to give you, first, an idea of the opinion which men of learning, of all ages and all nations, had entertained with regard to hieroglyphics; secondly, of the difficulties which this general prejudice of the peculiar nature of hieroglyphics had produced, in diverting from its proper course any attempt that might be made in explaining them; thirdly, I endeavoured to exemplify this assertion, by stating some of the interpretations published by Kircher, Dupuis, the Abbé Pluche, and the Chevalier Palin. In the fourth place, I thought it necessary to call your
attention to the scarcity of Egyptian monuments then existing in Europe, and the incorrectness of the copies which had been made of them; then I mentioned the principal of these documents, and pointed out to you the necessity of an authentic translation in a known language of some of the Egyptian hieroglyphical inscriptions, which might serve as a guide to our scholars to get at the meaning of the original characters; for without such a translation it was impossible to make any discovery in the reading of hieroglyphics. I spoke afterwards of the discovery of the Rosetta stone, and of the alphabet of the enchorial or demotic characters, which M. De Sacy, Akerblad, and Dr. Young had found out by comparing the original Egyptian with the Greek translation engraved on this stone, and which enabled the learned Doctor to pursue his investigation in regard to the hieroglyphics also ; I mentioned then the discoveries he had made in spelling the names of Ptolemy and Berenice; in finding out the manner in which the Egyptians wrote numbers; in ascertaining that the figures contained in a ring, or cartouche, did invariably form or spell a name; in establishing that an inscription should always be read from right to left; and in publishing the meaning of more than one hundred characters, or groups, in the article Egypt, in the fourth volume of the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica.
I also mentioned that Mr. Bankes had first discovered, (Tab. 1st. fig. 1.) in the year 1818, the