Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.

[Illustration:  HEAD OF SETI]

[Illustration:  BUST OF RAMESSES II.]

The physiognomies of Seti I. and Ramesses II., as represented on the sculptures,[28] offer a curious contrast Seti’s face is thoroughly African, strong, fierce, prognathous, with depressed nose, thick lips, and a heavy chin.  The face of Ramesses is Asiatic.  He has a good forehead, a large, well-formed, slightly aquiline nose, a well-shaped mouth, with lips that are not too full, a small delicate chin, and an eye that is thoughtful and pensive.  We may conclude that Seti was of the true Egyptian race, with perhaps an admixture of more southern blood; while Ramesses, born of a Semitic mother, inherited through her Asiatic characteristics, and, though possessing less energy and strength of character than his father, had a more sensitive temperament, a wider range of taste, and a greater inclination towards peace and tranquillity.  His important wars were all concluded within the limit of his twenty-first year, while his entire reign was one of sixty-seven years, during fifty of which he held the sole sovereignty.  Though he left the fame of a great warrior behind him, his chief and truest triumphs seem to have been those of peace—­the Great Wall for the protection of Egypt towards the east, with its strong fortresses and “store-cities,” the canal which united the Nile with the Red Sea, and the countless buildings, excavations, obelisks, colossal statues, and other great works, with which he adorned Egypt from one end to the other.


[24] “History of Architecture,” vol. i. pp. 119, 120.

[25] Adapted from Dean Stanley’s “Sinai and Palestine,” Introduction, p. xl.

[26] Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine,” p. xlvii.

[27] Stuart Poole, “Cities of Egypt,” p. 105

[28] The mummy of Seti I. has been recently uncovered.  It was in good condition, and is said to have revealed a face very closely resembling that of Ramesses II., with fine delicate features, and altogether of an elevated type.  “The nose, mouth, chin, in short all the features,” says M. Maspero, “are the same; but in the father they are more refined, more intelligent, more spiritual, than when reproduced in the son.  Seti I. is, as it were, the idealized type of Ramesses II.” (Letter of M. Maspero in The Times of July 23, 1886.) It may perhaps be doubted whether the shrunken mummy, 3300 years old, is better evidence of the living reality than the contemporary sculptures.



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