Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
  Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt! 
  In vain shalt thou use many medicines; to thee no cure shall come. 
  The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land;
  For the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty,
          and both are fallen together."[29]

The disaster was utter, complete, not to be remedied—­the only thing to be done was to “fly apace,” to put the desert and the Nile between the vanquished and the victors, and to deprecate the conqueror’s anger by submission.  Neco gave up the contest, evacuated Syria and Palestine, and hastily sought the shelter of his own land, whither Nebuchadnezzar would probably have speedily followed him, had not news arrived of his father’s, Nabopolassar’s, death.  To secure the succession, he had to return, as quickly as he could, to Babylon, and to allow the Egyptian monarch, at any rate, a breathing space.

Thus ended the dream of the recovery of an Asiatic Empire, which Psamatik may have cherished, and of which Neco attempted the realization.  The defeat of Carchemish shattered the unsubstantial fabric into atoms, and gave a death-blow to hopes which no Pharaoh ever entertained afterwards.


[29] Jeremiah xlvi. 3-12.



The Saitic revival in art and architecture, in commercial and general prosperity, which Psamatik the First inaugurated, continued under his successors.  To the short reign of Psamatik II. belong a considerable number of inscriptions, some good bas-reliefs at Abydos and Philae, and a large number of statues.  One of these, in the collection of the Vatican, is remarkable for its beauty.  Apries erected numerous stelae, and at least one pair of obelisks, wherewith he adorned the Temple of Neith at Sais.  Amasis afforded great encouragement to art and architecture.  He added a court of entrance to the above temple, with propylaea of unusual dimensions, adorned the dromos conducting to it with numerous andro-sphinxes, erected colossal statues within the temple precincts, and conveyed thither from Elephantine a monolithic shrine or chamber of extraordinary dimensions.  Traces of his architectural activity are also found at Memphis, Thebes, Abydos, Bubastis, and Thmuis or Leontopolis.  Statuary flourished during his reign.  Even portrait-painting was attempted; and Amasis sent a likeness of himself, painted on panel, as a present to the people of Cyrene.  It was maintained by the Egyptians of a century later that the reign of Amasis was the most prosperous time which Egypt had ever seen, the land being more productive, the cities more numerous, and the entire people more happy than either previously or subsequently.  Amasis certainly gave a fresh impulse to commerce, since he held frequent communication with the Greek states of Asia Minor, as well as with the settlers at Cyrene, and gave increased privileges to the trading community of Naucratis.

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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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