Puslapio vaizdai

whom their hidden veins of gold might never have attracted, and the rough ore of their exterior would probably have repelled.

There is some boldness in predicting the fate of a religious system. To us the Swedenborgian doctrines seem too mystical in their conception, and too scientific in their form, to enlist the sympathies of the multitude; while those who are sufficiently enlightened and cultivated, to appreciate the occasional glimpses of great and noble truths which they reveal, will in a great majority of cases reject in toto the miraculous pretensions with which they are recommended to the world. For what is humane and elevating in their tendency, these doctrines have our best wishes, that they may accomplish their allotted work effectually in the great warfare of good and evil that is dividing the world. Our hope is, that whatever they possess of the essence of immortal truth, may speedily dissolve and long survive the mythic vessel in which they are now enclosed. We have no more ardent desire for mankind, than that by every intermediate process which the state of Society or the demands of peculiar temperaments shall for a time render inevitable, the issue of all speculations and the euthanasia of all sects may finally merge in the profounder realisation of a Sovereign Intelligence, the infinite Prototype of all that is best and noblest in ourselves—whose holiest service here is to grow like Him in the virtuous use and enjoyment of his works-whose clearest intimation of an hereafter is the longing that he has breathed into us, and the capacity of which he has made us dimly conscious, to worship Him and to work with Him for ever.



1. Manetho und die Hundssternperiode, ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Pharaonen von August. Böckh. Manetho and the Cynic Period, a Contribution to the History of the Pharaohs. Berlin, 1845. 8vo.

2. Chronologie des Rois d'Egypte, Euvrage courmonné par l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres de l'Institut de France au Concours de l'Année, 1846, par J. B. Lesueur, Architecte de l'Hotel de Ville de Paris, Membre de l'Institut. Paris a l'Imprimerie Nationale, 1848. 4to.

3. Die Chronologie der Ægypter, bearbeitet von Richard Lepsius. Einleitung und erster Theil. Kritik der Quellen.- Chronology of the Egyptians,-Introduction and Part. I. Criticism of its Sources. 4to. Berlin and London, 1849.

THE appearance of these three works, full of learning and research, besides the great work of Bunsen, formerly reviewed by us (Vol. II., N. S., p. 1), within a few years, are a sufficient proof of the interest which the History of Egypt continues to excite. The Chronology is indeed the least interesting part of the subject; full of inherent difficulties and others created by the intermixture of questions that do not properly belong to it: but there can be no history without chronology, and it is important that from time to time some account should be rendered of the result of the labour and ingenuity bestowed upon it. Our own public particularly needs to be informed what is the state of the argument; for of the limited number of those who occupy themselves among us with Egyptian chronology, the greater part set out with the assumption that the Jewish chronology is inspired and infallible, and whatever contradicts it necessarily false.

The authority of Manetho is the point most fiercely debated between those who are willing to admit any claim of antiquity that can be made good by evidence on behalf of the Egyptians, and those who will admit nothing at variance with the received chronology. If his thirty dyCHRISTIAN TEACHER.-No. 48.

nasties from Menes to Nectanebus, occupying 3,555 years, be authentic and successive, there is an end of the question; the Egyptian monarchy must have been in existence at least 1,000 years before even the Septuagint's date of the Deluge. Hence some have simply called him an impostor, and his lists fabrications; others have supposed that he mistook contemporaneous for successive dynasties; others that months or even days may have been reckoned for years in Egyptian chronology, and thus the annals of the kingdom stretched out to such immeasurable length.

The eminent author of the work which stands first on our list, who unites perhaps of all living scholars the greatest variety of those endowments which constitute a critic, rejects the chronology of Manetho, but not on the grounds on which it is usually impugned. He thinks that it is factitious, and that it owes its origin to the author's desire to bring civil history into relation with astronomy, and especially with the celebrated Cynic or Sothiac period. This Sothiac period is 1,460 Egyptian or 1,461 Julian years, being the time which would elapse before the brilliant star Sirius, called Sothis and consecrated to Isis, having risen heliacally on the first day of the Egyptian year, would again rise in a similar manner. This is owing to the want of intercalation in the Civil Calendar of Egypt for the six hours by which the year exceeds 365 days. In consequence of this the true commencement of the year travelled in succession through all the days and months; and it was not till after 1,460 (365 × 4) years that it came back to its former place, and the rising of Sirius again coincided with the first day of the month Thoth. This, if not the original significance of the Phoenix, was at least one of the cycles which that fabulous bird symbolized. It is therefore a real astronomical phænomenon, but from it a factitious period was derived of 36,525 years, produced by multiplying 1,461 by 25, the allotted lifetime of the moon-god Apis, and a remarkable lunar cycle, being the time in which, after 509 mean synodical months, the new and full moons fall again within 1h. 8m. 33s., on the same day of the year.

Now Boeckh argues that Manetho has grounded his chronology upon this Sothiac cycle, and that the chronology

*Lepsius, Einleitung, 161.

of the human period has been constructed with a view to such an adaptation. And he thinks he finds traces that in its original state Manetho's chronology was so framed, as to include exactly a certain number of Sothiac periods. That one of these began 1322 в.C. we know, because Censorinus gives us the date of its expiration, namely, 139 A.D., and from the indications of an astronomical ceiling in the Rameseion at Thebes it appears probable that it was then recognised and recorded. Now the last year of Nectanebus II., under whom the monarchy of the Pharaohs finally merges in that of Persia, and Manetho's history ends, falls in the year 339 B.C. This deducted from 1,322 leaves 983 as the number of the years of the Sothiac cycle which had elapsed when the monarchy came to an end. This portion of the chronology could not well be tampered with, since its commencement was fixed; but if the author had assumed as a principle, that the mythic period ended with one Sothiac cycle and the historical began with another, he must make the interval between 1322 B.C. and the commencement of the monarchy under Menes, by hook or by crook, correspond with some number of Sothiac cycles. Three such cycles (1,461 x 3) amount to 4,383, which added to 983, the years of the fourth cycle that had elapsed when the monarchy ceased, gives a total of 5,366.

Now it is obvious to remark, that even had Manetho told us that his mythic history ended and his human history began with a Sothiac period, and had he assigned 5,366 years as the duration of his thirty dynasties from Menes to Nectanebus II., it would be rather a strong measure on the ground of these coincidences to pronounce that he had given us a factitious instead of a true chronology. We will admit, however, that the coincidence would have been suspicious. But, in fact, Manetho does neither of these things. In the fragments of his Dynasties as given by Routh in his Reliquiæ Sacræ 2, 246, which is admitted to be the best collection of them, the account of the human period begins thus: "After manes and demigods the First Dynasty consists of eight kings, the first of whom was Menes the Thinite," &c. No doubt he had assigned a chronology to the mythic period, which Eusebius has preserved, according to which it comprehended two sums of

13,900 and 11,000 years. It would be useless to inquire how he obtained these numbers; but it is evident that they are not Sothiac periods, singly or collectively.* There is, however, in the collection which Syncellus has brought together, mention of an Old Chronicle (raλaíov Ti Xoovoyoaptiov) in use among the Egyptians, in which fifteen of Manetho's thirty human dynasties are assigned to the mythic times under the name of Cynic circle, and the whole number of years from Helios the son of Hephaistus to the termination of the monarchy is made 36,526, or twentyfive Sothiac periods. This old chronicle, as it shortens the troublesome duration of the historical period, by giving half of it to the mythic, has been a great favourite with those who are desirous of its reduction. It bears, however, upon its face the marks of a violent accommodation to a system, and a very valuable portion of Lepsius's Einleitung, p. 413-460, is devoted to the proof that this old chronicle and the spurious Sothis, a treatise attributed to Manetho, have been framed by Jewish and Christian chronologers with a view to that very shortening of the time between the Deluge and the commencement of Egyptian history, for which they are quoted as authorities. "All, on the contrary," says Lepsius, to whose opinion we entirely subscribe, "that we know of Africanus from the fragments of his lost work, inspires us with esteem for his judgment, his learning and his fidelity in the use of his materials." Finding, therefore, in Africanus no mention of a chronology adapted to the Sothiac period, we do not believe that such adaptation existed in the genuine work of Manetho.

But had it existed, does Manetho assign such a duration to his human dynasties, that, added to the mythic, they make up a round number of Sothiac periods? The number of years required for this, we have seen, would be 5,366. Manetho, however, gives the sum of his human dynasties at 3,555. We are well aware that this does not at all agree with the summation of the separate reigns of his kings, which will amount, according to the various readings of the numbers, at the lowest to 4,465 years (Boeckh, p. 526). Our author therefore finds it necessary

* Seventeen Sothiac periods are 24,837 years.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »