Ancient Egypt eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about Ancient Egypt.
banks of the Nile a new element of decline.  Constructed exclusively for continuance, for preserving its own traditions in defiance of the flight of centuries, the civilization of Egypt could only maintain itself by remaining unmoved.  From the day on which it found itself in contact with the spirit of progress, personified in the Grecian civilization and in the Greek race, it was under the absolute necessity of perishing.  It could neither launch itself upon a wholly new path, one which was the direct negation of its own genius, nor continue on without change its own existence.  Thus, as soon as it began to be penetrated by Greek influence, it fell at once into complete dissolution, and sank into a state of decrepitude, that already resembled death.  We shall see, in the next section, how suddenly and completely the Egyptian power collapsed when the moment of trial came, and how little support the surface prosperity which marked the reign of Amasis was able to render to the Empire in the hour of need and distress.


[30] Josephus, Ant.  Jud. x. 9, 97.



The subjection of Egypt to Babylon, which commenced in B.C. 565, was of that light and almost nominal character, which a nation that is not very sensitive, or very jealous of its honour, does not care to shake off.  A small tribute was probably paid by the subject state to her suzerain, but otherwise the yoke was unfelt There was no interference with the internal government, or the religion of the Egyptians; no appointment of Babylonian satraps, or tax-collectors; not even, so far as appears, any demands for contingents of troops.  Thus, although Nebuchadnezzar died within seven years of his conquest of Egypt, and though a time of disturbance and confusion followed his death, four kings occupying the Babylonian throne within little more than six years, two of whom met with a violent end, yet Amasis seems to have continued quiescent and contented, in the enjoyment of a life somewhat more merry and amusing than that of most monarchs, without making any effort to throw off the Babylonian supremacy or reassert the independence of his country.  It was not till his self-indulgent apathy was intruded upon from without, and he received an appeal from a foreign nation, to which he was compelled to return an answer, that he looked the situation in the face, and came to the conclusion that he might declare himself independent without much risk.  He had at this time patiently borne his subject position for the space of above twenty years, though he might easily have reasserted himself at the end of seven.

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Ancient Egypt from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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