IX. — The Amunophs — The Vocal Memnon — Queen Taia — King Khuen-Aten and His Monotheistic Religion — Its Suppression.
The first day of the month of Pharmuthi, immediately after the death of his illustrious father, "as the earth became light and the morning broke, the disk of the sun rose above the horizon and the sky became clear, then was the anointed king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the son of Ra, Amunoph II., placed on the seat of Thothmes III., and he took possession of the throne." Like the stars of the firmament that are obscured by the radiance of the sun, his glory was diminished by that of his great predecessor; and his history seems almost devoid of interest. Yet he had already distinguished himself as a brave commander in a campaign to repel incursions of the Badawen tribes of the "red land at the East" of Egypt, and he had been associated for some time with his father in the administration of the government.
He was early brought face to face with trial and conflict. The confederated kings of Palestine, Syria and Naharaina, again revolted. Amunoph immediately marched his forces against them. He met them at the town of Thakhisa and put them to flight. Seven of the kings were captured; "he with his own hand struck down seven kings with his battle-axe." They were "bound on the forepart of the royal ship" and carried to Egypt for summary punishment.
It was a war of vengeance, and Amunoph continued his march northward, pillaging the inhabitants as he went. He penetrated into Assyria and the fortified town of Nin or Nineveh, which Thothmes had captured before, surrendered to him with little resistance. He succeeded in restoring his authority over all the tributary peoples.
Upon his return to Thebes, six of the captive kings were hanged outside the walls of the metropolis. The seventh was carried up to Nubia and was hanged on the wall of the city of Napata in order to strike terror among the negro tribes.
Amunoph, after the manner of his predecessors, visited the temple of Amada in Nubia, where the account of the campaign was recorded. He also placed inscriptions on one of the entrances to the great temple of Karnak. The few subsequent years of his reign were devoted to making additions to the temples, but the workmanship exhibits a great deterioration. It was far inferior to that of former kings. He was liberal in gifts to worthy officials, and the records in their tombs contain grateful mention of his appreciativeness and munificence.
The likenesses of Amunoph II. and of Queen Hashep-Merira-Ra, the wife of Thothmes III., were found in a tomb at Thebes. They exhibit an obliquity of the eye somewhat like that which is peculiar to the Mongolian features.
In another tomb is a genealogy, the names in which indicate that the monarchs who were classed as truly legitimate were members of the sacerdotal order. The priests were unwilling to name any other. An individual named Amunhetep or Amunoph is described as the son of the Chief Priest Khamu (the "king's son" (1)) who was the son of the Chief Priest Amunhetep or Amunoph, the son of the Chief Priest Thothmes.
The inscriptions ascribe to Amunoph II. a reign of seven years. He was succeeded by Thothmes IV., whose accession to the throne was attended by some irregularity. His physiognomy differs from that of preceding kings. He signalized the event by rearing a memorial stone directly before the breast of the statue of the Sphinx at Gizeh, on which, besides other sculptures, there is an account of the matter.
The space about the Pyramids had been abandoned after the period of the Memphite dynasties. It bore the significant name of Ro-set, "the door to the under-world," and only pilgrims resorted to it to worship Osiris. From this hill the Sacred Path extended to the "city of obelisks," Heliopolis.
Thothmes had come to Memphis in his horse-chariot, he says, for the purpose of hunting lions. He had paid homage to the gods at Sakkara, making an offering of seeds to Horemkhu and to Rannu the goddess of horticulture, and praying to Isis, Sekhet and to the god Seth. "For," says he, "a great enchantment has rested on this place from the beginning of time," as far as the districts of the lords of Babylon, the Sacred Path of the gods to the western horizon of the city of Heliopolis. The form of the Sphinx is the simulacrum of Khepra (the sun at midnight), the very great god who abides in this place, the greatest, the most venerable of all spiritual beings."
Here when the sun was at the zenith, the prince fell asleep, and in a dream the god appeared to him. "My son Thothmes," said the apparition, "I am thy father Horemkhu, Khepra, Ra, Turn. The kingdom shall be given to thee, and thou shalt wear the white crown and the red crown of the earth-god Seb. . . . The sand of this district in which I have my existence has covered me up. Promise that thou wilt do what I wish in my heart."
In spite of opposition, Thothmes IV. conquered. He at once caused the sand to be cleared away which had hidden the body of the Sphinx, and brought the gigantic shape to view. It lay there with the face toward the East and a temple between the outstretched fore-feet. Precautions were now employed to prevent another accumulation of sand; and in later years, under the Ptolemies, and afterward, the inhabitants of the village of Busiris earned money by acting as guides for those who wished to visit the wonderful structure. In the inscription Thothmes ascribes the rearing of the image to king Khafra of the Fourth Dynasty, although even at that remote time it had been considered as a relic of a previous antiquity.
Thothmes made expeditions into the land of the Khitans and afterward into Nubia and Ethiopia to suppress insurrections. His reign was too short, however, to give opportunities for distinction.
In the person of Amunoph III., his great predecessor Thothmes III. seemed to live again. He was brave and passionately fond of the chase. Memorial scarabaei contain accounts of his hunting expeditions to the country of Naharaina, and that he speared one hundred and ten lions. His first military campaign was against the tribes of the Sudan in "the miserable land of Kush." It took place in the fifth year of his reign, and is described as victorious. "He placed his boundary wherever it pleased him."
These campaigns were repeated, and the inscriptions include the names of many conquered towns and tribes that cannot now be ascertained by any that now exist. The region abounded with gold mines, and the cupidity inspired by this wealth was the chief incentive to these expeditions.
A distinguished officer of the king was his famous kinsman and namesake Amunhetep or Amunoph, the son of Kapu and grandson of Khamu, who has been already named. The account of his qualifications is very interesting to all who take interest in such matters. "I was introduced to the knowledge of the Holy Book (2) and beheld the glories of the god Thoth. I was enlightened concerning their mysteries, and all parts of these were laid open before me. I was made master of the art of speaking in all its bearings."
Amunhetep had been first appointed a royal under-secretary. His proficiency having been demonstrated, he was made Secretary, with the duties of arranging the families, of reporting on the taxes, and of watching over the defenses of the country. Here his administrative ability was fully tested, and he had a wide distinction. The Egyptians, like all ancient peoples, were hostile to those of another race and country, refusing intimate relations with them, and even their ingress into Egypt, except under rigid conditions. They were branded in the inscriptions on the monuments by such odious terms as "miserable, impure, and leprous." The administration of Amunhetep was wise and practical. "I gave satisfaction to the people in their place of taxing," he declares; "I levied the taxes on the household according to their number. I separated the warriors and their household. I increased the subjects by the best of the prisoners whom the king had made on the theatre of war. I was Rohir, the director at the head of the bravest of the warriors to smite the nations of Nubia and Asia. The thoughts of my lord were continually my care. I penetrated what his mouth concealed and comprehended his thoughts toward all natives and foreigners that were about him. It was I who brought away the prisoners. I was their overseer. I did according to what he spoke, and took my measures according to that which he prescribed to me. I found that this proved best in later times."
His next appointment was that of Chief Architect. This was one of the most honorable and responsible, demanding the highest qualifications in a court and country like those of Egypt. Wisdom, discretion and intelligence of the highest order were absolutely necessary. These Amunhetep possessed, beyond other men at his time. He was overjoyed at the honour which he received. Even the sculptured hieroglyphic in "hard stone" was aglow with the ardor of his gratitude to the king. "He is Ra himself," he exclaims in his enthusiasm; "may there be accorded to him numerous returns of the Thirty Years' Feast without end!"
The popularity of Amunoph III. with his subjects exceeded that of former kings. In the holy Thirtieth Year, (3) the jubilee of his reign, he received tribute and taxes from the Rohirs, and collected the revenue. In acknowledgment, each of the faithful subjects was presented from the king with a necklace. "These," says the inscription — "these are the records which are granted to the overseers of the houses of Pharaoh and the taxpayers of Upper and Lower Egypt, because when the overseer of the granaries had spoken a word to them, They gave more than the amount of their taxes for the thirtieth year."
Their reply was terse and to the point. "The king has shown himself upon his throne. The taxpayer of the South and North of Egypt has been rewarded."
The coronation-day of Amunoph had been characterized by a general pilfering about the court, a stealing of food, a sucking of beer from the skins, a tearing of the lead from the mouth of the fountains and a carrying away of ornaments. Either the servants did not share in the general enthusiasm, or with a reign of thirty years, Amunhetep had not won the respect and affection of the people.
Amunoph III., like his great predecessor, Thothmes, was profoundly religious and particularly fond of building. He caused new quarries to be opened in the hills of Toura, near Memphis, and the "hard stone" carefully hewn and then transported to all parts of Egypt, for the repairing of temples and the building of new ones. "He gave instructions and directions," says the inscription, "for he understood how to direct and guide architects."
The arrangement of the Great Temple at Thebes underwent significant modifications. An immense propylon or gate-tower was erected at the western extremity, a new temple to Amun-Ra at the north, and another to the lion-headed goddess Sekhet or Mut, the "Great Mother," at the south. All the buildings were united to the new temple by an avenue of criosphinxes, figures having the bodies of rams, with the disks of the sun at their heads. The ram being the symbol of Amun, and the disk representing the sun-god, the combination implied that Amun-Ra, the "Mystic Sun," was the Supreme Deity of the realm of Egypt.
Another important structure was the new temple at Medinet-Abu, on the further bank of the river. This building was placed by the Chief Architect, and its site was indicated from a great distance by two colossal sitting statues of the king, the fame of which went over the whole ancient world. The architect had devised them in the exuberance of his gratitude without the knowledge of the king. They were of "hard stone," about fifty feet in height. After having been completed, they were transported to the river, where eight boats or floats had been built for the purpose of carrying them to their place of destination. "They will last as long as the sky," was the architect's exultant boast.
The northern statue was the "vocal statue of Memnon," which has afforded so much wonder and has been celebrated by innumerable writers in poetry and prose. It gave forth musical notes at sunrise. (4) The two statues were in a sitting posture, and at their feet were smaller sitting figures of the queen Taia, and the king's mother, Mut-em-va.
H. P. Blavatsky declares the knowledge of the Zodiac to be an heirloom from the Atlanteans [America]. The Egyptian Zodiacs show that the ancient Egyptians had records extending back 78,000 years. See "The Secret Doctrine," II, 432.
The king regarded the building of this temple as the most glorious achievement of his reign. The memorial tablet contains an inscription, an address to the god and his reply. "Come, Amun-Ra, lord of Thebes in Ape," the king invokes, "behold thy abode which is prepared for thee on the great place of Us. . . . As thou risest on the horizon, then is it enlightened by the golden beams of thy countenance. Thy glory dwells on it. I have not let it want for works of beautiful white stone; I have filled it with monuments from the mountain of admirable stone; and those who behold them are full of great joy on account of their size. . . . Statues of the gods are to be seen everywhere, carved in all their parts. I gave directions to execute what pleased thee well, to delight thee with beautiful dwelling-places."
The god replies, assuring him that that which he has prepared is excellent. "Never," says he, "has the like been done for me."
Amunoph was not remiss in his kindness to the architect, Amunhetep. A temple had been founded by the latter, behind the Sanctuary of the King, near the tombs of the king's daughters and other royal princesses, in the eleventh year of the reign of Amunoph. The king gave orders for its perpetual maintenance, and "the high priests, the holy fathers and the priests of Amun-Ra" were appointed to protect the shrine. Severe penalties were decreed in case of neglect; for, with all his bounties, Amunoph was not on the best of terms with the leading members of the Sacerdotal Order. He promised rewards for fidelity, adding the assurance so delightful to an Egyptian, "your body shall rest in the Underworld, Amenti, after a career of one hundred and ten years."
The son of Hapu was famous for his wisdom and superior excellencies for many centuries, till Egypt ceased to be a land of the gods. What Imopht or Emeph was for Memphis, Amunhetep became for Thebes. The temple of Kak, as it was called, became a place of pilgrimage for visitors to the Southern Metropolis; and when it was rebuilt under the Ptolemies it was again dedicated to Amun and Hathor, and the wise Amunhetep was honoured with the deities.
The reign of Amunoph III. lasted for about forty years; his dominion extended from the Sudan to Assyria. There is no record of his death. He had been in many respects diverse from the members of the family of Thothmes, and his tomb was in a place apart. There is a significance in this that seems to foreshadow remarkable changes. If he did not attempt to make innovations in the religion and customs of Egypt, he opened the way for such endeavors. While Thothmes III. may be compared very justly with David, the Hebrew monarch, as he is described, Amunoph was more like Solomon. He exhibited a similar liking for art and literature, and his reign was generally peaceful and conducive of prosperity to his people. Like that king, he has been represented as susceptible to the attractions of foreign women, and he was liberal to their religion. "Some historians have reproached him with being too much under female influence," says Professor Rawlinson; "and certainly in the earlier portion of his reign he deferred greatly to his mother, Mutemva, and in the latter portion to his wife, Tii or Taia; but there is no evidence that any evil result followed, or that these princesses did not influence him for good. It is too much taken for granted by many writers that female influence is corrupting. No doubt it is so in some cases; but it should not be forgotten that there are women whom to have known is 'a liberal education.' Mutemva and Tii may have been of the number."
Queen Taia, whose influence with her husband and son was productive of important results, had been chosen by Amunoph from affection, without regard to political policy. An, inscription at Thebes describes her as "with complexion fair, her eyes blue, her hair flaxen, her cheeks rosy." A scarabseus at the Gizeh Palace declares her parents to have been not of the royal blood of Egypt, but foreign.
A scarabseus contains the records that in the year after his marriage, the eleventh, he caused to be constructed for his young bride, Taia, a lake a mile in length in the city of Zar or Zoan (San or Tanis), and celebrated the festival of the Inundation, launching upon it a boat named Aten-nefer, "the Beautiful Sun." The employing of this term "Aten" (5) on this occasion indicates the early inception of the attempt to change the national worship. But Amunoph, however favorable to the new ideas, would not venture upon rash innovations. The son, however, who was for a time the colleague of his parents in the government, was less politic and cautious.
"Queen Taia was not accepted by the priests of Egypt as quite a legitimate consort to the king. He had wedded her from affection, disregardful of the requirement that the queen must be of the Egyptian royal family. (6) The priests were accordingly enabled to dispute the title of their children as heirs to the throne. They did not succeed in excluding them from actually reigning, but they omitted their names from the Tables in which were inscribed the names of the Kings of Egypt.
In the ensuing reign, when the new religion had been established, Queen Taia and the mother of Amunoph III. were associated with him in the public ceremonials, as entitled to the highest veneration. It is conjectured that the two women largely influenced his action. While he did not formally depart from the established worship, yet in his utterances, as recorded in the monumental inscriptions, he addressed Amun-Ra, but significantly indicated him as the divinity of the Sun.
There is much uncertainty in relation to the accession of Amunoph IV. to the throne of Egypt, and even in regard to his personality. His very features add to the difficulty. As they are depicted, they exhibit mongrel characteristics, unlike those of Amunoph III. or Queen Taia, as though there had been a reverting to some former ancestral type; if indeed he was not some changeling or actually of another family.
Mr. Villiers-Stuart has found two tombs in which the sculptures indicate something of this character. One is the tomb of Queen Taia herself, which was prepared under her own directions, probably during the life of her husband. She is depicted in the act of worshipping the gods of Egypt; and her son, who is making the usual offerings to her as a being in the Underworld, exhibits no resemblance to the pictures of the monarch afterward known as Khu-en-Aten. In the other tomb which Mr. Stuart found at Thebes, there were two bas-reliefs, one on each side of the entrance. The figure at the right was a likeness of Khuenaten, and Mr. Stuart declares the other to be that of the genuine Amunoph IV., whose features are more clearly like those of the family of Thothmes. (7)
This monarch and his immediate successors are known in Egyptian history as the "Stranger-Kings," an epithet which in ancient times was a very opprobrious one. He was not long in becoming obnoxious to the priests and nobility. He openly manifested his aversion to the worship of the many gods in the temples. He recognized a single Divine Being only, the God of Light, of whom the orb of the sun was the symbol. In his tablet he styled himself Mi-Aten, "the Intimate Friend of the Sun," and also "priest of Horemakhu." He afterward laid aside the name of Amunoph for that of Khu-en-Aten, "the Radiant Sun," and Mi-Horemakhu, and issued an order to obliterate the names of the god Amun and the goddess Mut from the monuments of his ancestors.
A command was also promulgated with the evident purpose of prescribing the worship of the One God. The Chief Minister was commanded to assemble all workers in stone in Egypt, from the Island of Elephantina to Migdol, and to open a quarry at Silsilis for the erection of a gigantic building, "the Great Obelisk of Horemakhu, by his name as God of Light, who is worshipped as Aten-Ra in Thebes." The great lords and chiefs of the Fan-bearers were appointed to oversee the cutting and shipping of the stone.
This building was demolished in a subsequent reign, and a gateway erected upon its site.
These measures led to rebellion, and the king, in the sixth year of his reign, abandoned Thebes to found a new metropolis at a distance from the Nile in Middle Egypt. The place selected for the site was at Alabastron, now known as the Tel-el-Amarna, "the Mound of Amarna." Here the work was inaugurated by the erection of a temple to the god Aten. The style of this structure was a complete departure from the standard Egyptian models. It consisted of many buildings with open courts, in which were altar-hearths for the Sacred Fire. (8) Flowers were the principal offerings, and the whole temple was decorated with them. But no animals were sacrificed.
A palace was built near the temple for the king and the queen, and residences likewise for their daughters, and for Netem-Mut or Benat-Mut, the daughter of Amunoph III. Houses were also erected near these for the Court and the servants of the king. The architects and builders were kept busy; the new city was soon filled with inhabitants and adorned with monuments.
The court and government were of a kind that was entirely unknown to the Egyptians. The very pictures of the king, his family and attendants, were unlike the others that appear in the sculptures and paintings. Instead of burly figures and comely features that were depicted in the tombs, they were represented as emaciated and distended in their forms, and of surpassing ugliness. The king maintained the style of an Asiatic monarch. Those who came into his presence prostrated themselves after a servile manner like conquered foemen. The army was largely constituted of negroes and Asiatics, yet there were few warlike expeditions; for the feeling of Khu-en-Aten was eminently peaceful. Every one seemed to be employed with the new religion. Flowers adorned the temple throughout, and hymns chanted to the music of harps constituted the chief form of worship.
Mr. R. Stuart-Poole pertinently asks "was this a foreign, or an Egyptian restoration of primitive belief? If it were Egyptian, why was the Sun called Aten and not Ra? The king was the son of a foreigner, and his type and that which marks his Court — probably because somewhere of his mother's race, an art assured the fashionable type for the rest — is not recognizable in any of the characteristic representations of foreign races. It is neither Ethiopian, nor Semitic, nor Libyan. The names of his mother (Taia) and of her reputed parents (Iuao and Thuao), the name of the Sun-God, which is Egyptian, and the character of the worship, do not, as far as we know, point to any of these races. Certainly they are not Semitic." (9)
It will not be very difficult to find a similarity to the religions of the Sacred Verse, the Gayatri: "Adore we the Sun, God over all, from whom all proceed and to whom all must return; may He guide our thought."
The government of Khuenaten, and the worship which he established, show much resemblance to what is described of the rule of Quetzalcoatl at Cholula, in Mexico. He diffused learning and knowledge of the arts, was just and liberal of gifts, conquering by the arts of peace rather than by war, averse to bloody sacrifices, but delighting in music, flowers and brilliant colors.
Whatever was the history of the worship, whether it was of original development from human intuitions divinely prompted, or a revival of the religion of native and prehistoric Egypt, or an importation from some foreign region, king Khuenaten devoted himself zealously to its dissemination. (10) He appointed his favorite official, Meri-Ra, to be Chief Seer of Aten, because of his devotion and obedience to the royal teaching. He also made Aahmes, another of his faithful followers, Steward of the Royal Household and Superintendent of the Storehouses.
A prayer by this official was found in a tomb at Tel-el-Amarna. It invokes the divinity of the Sun as lord of lords and king of worlds, and is an eloquent effusion.
"Thou — oh, God — " he says, "thou who art in truth the Loving One, thou standest before the Two Eyes. Thou art he that created that which had never existed, that formed everything in the Universe. We, likewise, came into existence through the word of thy mouth."
No receiver of the new faith was more sincere and devoted than the queen, Nefert-i-Taia. Her invocation contains praise and petition, almost plaintive in their earnestness and affection:
"Thou disk of the Sun, thou living God," she exclaims, "there is none other beside thee! Thou givest health to the eyes through thy beams, thou Creator of all beings!"
"Grant to thy son, who loves thee, the lord of the land, Khuenaten, that he may live united with thee to all eternity. As for her, his wife, the queen Nefert-i-Taia, may she live evermore and eternally by his side, well pleasing to thee. She admires day by day what thou hast created."
The queen-mother, Taia, came to the new metropolis attended by a great retinue. She was received with joyful attentions. The king and queen conducted her to the temple of Aten to "behold her sun-shadow."
King Khuenaten was domestic in his tastes and habits. A sculpture in one of the tombs exhibits him as standing on a high balcony surrounded by his wife and seven daughters, one of them an infant and future queen, in the lap of her mother. They are throwing gifts to the people below.
The queen-mother, Taia, lived with them, and Khuenaten found in his home a recompense for the estrangement of the "holy fathers" of the temples and those whom they influenced.
Of accounts of the immediate successors of Khuenaten, history is very meagre. Sa-a-Nekhet, who was the husband of his daughter, the princess Meri-Aten, reigned only a short period. The next monarch was Tut-ankh-Amun. He lived at Thebes, and had married the third daughter, Ankh-nes-Aten, whose name was now changed to Ankh-nes-Amun. He was evidently hoping to gain the sanction of the priests, but his name was not placed in their list of kings.
His successor was Aai, the husband of Titi or Taia, the foster-mother of Khuenaten. He was a member of the Sacerdotal Order, a "holy father" of the highest rank, and had held places of distinction, such as royal Fan-bearer and "Scribe of Justice," which attests his superior ability and the confidence which the king reposed in him. He seized the opportunity to grasp the supreme power, but did not venture to assume the royal dignity. He was only known as "prince of Thebes." He returned to the old worship, but did not obtain a place on the catalogue of kings. He was able, however, to have a sepulchre among the royal tombs, but for some reason it was not completed. His sarcophagus was found there by Mr. Stuart, bearing marks of violence. The inscriptions had been defaced, as though he was considered a usurper, but the name that he assumed as ruler was left: "Kafer-kaferu-Ra-Arna-Neter-Aai-Neter-hic-vas."
The record of his reign extends to four years and more, but we have no mention of its ending.
THE LEGITIMATE DYNASTY RESTORED.
In a grotto on the western side of the Jebel Silsileh is a sculpture representing a young boy wearing the royal circlet, with the Sacred Asp of Egypt, and nursed by a queen. This was Hor-en-hibi or Horos, the "son" or priest of the god. The inscription describes him as the "beloved of his mother, the divine lady-chief." When he had grown up he was admitted to "behold the holiness of the god Horos" of Alabastropolis, and afterward was presented to the royal Court. The king appointed him a Rohir or Superintendent, and perceiving his rare excellencies, afterward made him Adon or governor of Egypt. He was now supreme, like the king himself, in all the realm; only on the throne was the king greater than he. In a short time afterward he was recognized as crown-prince. "Amun gave order to bring the god Horos, the lad of Alabastron, and his son, to Thebes that he might induct him into his office and his throne.
In ancient writings the priests of a worship assumed to speak as being the actual divinities. The god Amun may therefore be understood here as the chief priest of Thebes, and Horos as the priest of Alabastron.
The nuptials of Hor-em-hebi with the princess royal of Egypt constituted a part of the proceedings. This alliance assured the validity of his title. His various official and other names were then announced, and then "the Holiness of the glorious god Amun-Ra," the high priest, came forth with him from the palace, "in order to deliver to him the golden protecting image of the Disk of the Sun."
"The Son of Ra, Miamun Horenhibi," was now king of Upper and Lower Egypt and lord of the "Nine Nations." He proceeded at once to obliterate the records and destroy the monuments of the Stranger-Kings. The gigantic structure of Khuenaten, the obelisk crowned with the Aten-disk, was torn down and the stones taken away to build a gate-tower for the temple of Amun-Ra. A second gate-tower was also erected, and the entrances adorned with statues of the king. An avenue of sphinxes was likewise set up in honor of the tutelary divinity of Thebes. The images were restored to the temples and new ones added; the festivals and daily worship of the gods were again established.
The names of the other divinities were erased from the monuments, and the hieroglyphic or phonetic symbol of Amun-Ra substituted in their place. The hierarchy of Thebes had indeed full control in the court of Horenhibi.
The new city, the metropolis of Khuenaten, perished under the reaction; and the mound of Amarna covers its ruins. His name and the names of all the "Stranger-Kings" were removed from the monuments, and their statues were destroyed.
A campaign was also led against the tribes of the Sudan. An inscription at Silsilis depicts the result. The king is represented with a battle-axe on his shoulder, receiving the cross and power from Amun-Ra, with the suppliant prisoners at his feet.
The booty obtained by war replenished the treasury of the king and enabled him to complete his work of restoration. On the walls of the temple at Thebes was made a series of sculptures representing the princes of the country of Punt, presenting their tribute, in heavy sacks filled with gold. They address the monarch, asking for freedom and acknowledging him as Overlord.
The length of his reign is differently stated. An inscription records acts were performed in the twenty-first year, and Manetho records it as lasting thirty-seven years, probably adding to it the terms of the several Stranger-Kings.
Then followed a period of disorder and disintegration. The ambition of the conquering kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty operated eventually to weaken the power of Egypt. Having subjugated the Asiatics, Libyans and Ethiopians, chieftains from those countries were destined to subjugate their rulers in their turn. Thus, when the Dynasties of Thothmes and the Amunophs had finished their careers, there was a new empire and confederacy forming in Asia to check further aggression, and Egypt itself had divided into two realms, with the Phoenician prince, Ra-en-tui, exercising supremacy over the North.
1. The practice of the kings in appointing their sons as high priests, as well as viceroys, was common in Egypt. The converse of this was likewise true that favorite priests and viceroys were styled by way of compliment "King's sons." (return to text)
2. This would appear to have been the book which was prepared by Kheops; but it reminds us more particularly of the "petroma" or tablet of stone from which the hierophant at the Eleusinia instructed the candidates. (return to text)
3. The "festival of Hib," as it was called, was a significant occurrence in Egypt. It commemorated the end of a cycle of thirty years and the beginning of a new one. It served to regulate according to a fixed rule of numbers the coincident points of the solar and lunar years. It is first mentioned in the monuments in the reign of Pepi Meri-Ka of the Sixth Dynasty. (return to text)
4. Humboldt ascribes such sounds to the different conditions of temperature of the atmosphere and the air confined in the crevices of the stone. He observed similar sounds from the rocks on the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Others attribute the notes to the artifices of the priests; and Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson found a stone in the lap of the statue which gave forth a musical sound on being struck. Kambyses broke the statue in order to ascertain the cause, but to no purpose. The hypothesis of Humboldt and Sir David Brewster is doubtless the correct one. (return to text)
5. This term is usually understood to mean the disk of the sun. It probably denotes the spiritual principle which the disk prefigured. (return to text)
6. Archaic usage regarded the maternal parent as more essential to legitimacy than the father. Many peoples considered only the mother as determining the tribe or people with which the child was to be included. (return to text)
7. See Nile Gleanings, pages 73-81, 244-250, 299-301. Mr. Stuart thought that Amunoph IV. was succeeded by Khuenaten, who had married his daughter; and that he for a time adopted the oval of his father-in-law together with his name. The queen of Khu-en-Aten was pictured with a double crown, which verifies her hereditary right. She transmitted this right to her daughters, and so their husbands became kings. This is set forth in the inscriptions over their heads: "Royal Daughters of her very body — Meri-Aten, sprung from the Queen Nefer-nefru-ti-tai-Aten." The fact that the father is not mentioned indicates he was not considered to belong to the sacred race. (return to text)
8. "Curious parallels might be drawn," says a historian of Egypt, "between the external forms of worship of the Israelites in the desert and those set up by the disk-worshippers at Tel-el-Amarna; portions of the sacred furniture, as the 'table of show-bread,' described in the Book of Exodus as placed within the tabernacle, are repeated among the objects belonging to the worship Aten and do not occur among the representations of any other epoch." (return to text)
9. It may be hazardous to express an opinion about these names, but they seem to be not unlike others in ancient literature. Taia has some resemblance to the Hebrew term for existence, and the names Iuao and Thuao appear not to be very different from the deity-name Iao and Heva. (return to text)
10. He did not, however, attempt to enforce it upon his subjects by decrees and penalties, so usual in later times, but relied upon moral influence. The persecutions came from the priests of the other religion he aimed to reform. (return to text)