Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 284 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
huge masses of the pyramids, by the colossal statues, the tall obelisks, the enormous temples, the deeply-excavated tombs, the mosques, the castles, and the palaces.  The architecture of Egypt is its great glory.  It began early, and it has continued late.  But for the great works, strewn thickly over the whole valley of the Nile, the land of Egypt would have obtained but a small share of the world’s attention; and it is at least doubtful whether its “story” would ever have been thought necessary to complete “the Story of the Nations.”

FOOTNOTES: 

[1] R. Stuart Poole, “Cities of Egypt,” p. 4.

[2] Translation by F.C.  Cook.

[3] Adapted from Mr. Kinglake’s “Eothen,” p. 188.

II.

THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT.

Where the Egyptians came from, is a difficult question to answer.  Ancient speculators, when they could not derive a people definitely from any other, took refuge in the statement, or the figment, that they were the children of the soil which they had always occupied.  Modern theorists may say, if it please them, that they were evolved out of the monkeys that had their primitive abode on that particular portion of the earth’s surface.  Monkeys, however, are not found everywhere; and we have no evidence that in Egypt they were ever indigenous, though, as pets, they were very common, the Egyptians delighting in keeping them.  Such evidence as we have reveals to us the man as anterior to the monkey in the land of Mizraim Thus we are thrown back on the original question—­Where did the man, or race of men, that is found in Egypt at the dawn of history come from?

It is generally answered that they came from Asia; but this is not much more than a conjecture.  The physical type of the Egyptians is different from that of any known Asiatic nation.  The Egyptians had no traditions that at all connected them with Asia.  Their language, indeed, in historic times was partially Semitic, and allied to the Hebrew, the Phoenician, and the Aramaic; but the relationship was remote, and may be partly accounted for by later intercourse, without involving original derivation.  The fundamental character of the Egyptian in respect of physical type, language, and tone of thought, is Nigritic.  The Egyptians were not negroes, but they bore a resemblance to the negro which is indisputable.  Their type differs from the Caucasian in exactly those respects which when exaggerated produce the negro.  They were darker, had thicker lips, lower foreheads, larger heads, more advancing jaws, a flatter foot, and a more attenuated frame.  It is quite conceivable that the negro type was produced by a gradual degeneration from that which we find in Egypt.  It is even conceivable that the Egyptian type was produced by gradual advance and amelioration from that of the negro.

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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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