The House of the Hidden Places, by W. Marsham Adams, , at sacred-texts.com
AMONG the innumerable transformations witnessed by the present century of revolution, none has a more startling character than that of the resurrection of primæval Egypt. For more than a thousand years from the day when the barbarous Omar celebrated the funeral rites of the ancient learning in the flames of the great Library at Alexandria, to the day when Champollion, like another Sothis, heralded the dawn of a new era of Egyptian brilliance, an ever-growing obscurity buried the entire land. Less than a century has elapsed since the most appalling penalties, in
this world and the next, were fulminated by the Sultan against the official who should dare to allow a Christian "to approach the sacred port of Suez, the starting-point of the holy Haj." To-day that port is the crowded entrance of the most cosmopolitan highway of the globe. For centuries Egypt, as it was the earliest, so it was the most jealously guarded seat of Moslem law. To-day its courts recognize a multiplex jurisdiction of alien nations, for which no precedent exists in the history of any other state. * Within living memory its hieroglyphs were an enigma hopelessly abandoned; its temples hidden beneath the accumulated filth of generations of Arabs; the very age of its ruins unguessed within thousands of years. To-day the mighty
buildings stand clearly forth to attest their pristine majesty; the canons of the kings may be consulted in their original records; and the errors made by careless scribes, who thought no mortal eye would ever look upon the papyri concealed within the breast of the mummy, stand detected by the hieroglyphic scholarship of Europe.
A peculiar fascination surrounds every detail of life in early Egypt. For all other empires can be assigned with more or less certainty some point of historic origin. For China, for Assyria, for even Babylonia, we can dimly discern the traces of rude beginnings. The days of Romulus or of Kekrops are but the Middle Ages of history when compared with the days of Khufu or of Mena. India does not claim for her earliest Vedas an antiquity exceeding four thousand years. The sacred writings of China count less than a thousand more; the beginning of Babylonia about a thousand still beyond. On the banks of the
[paragraph continues] Nile alone do we find, centuries before the date of the Accadian Sargon, a settled monarchy and a constituted state, an elaborate Ritual and organic hierarchy, a specific architecture and a copious alphabet. Hence it is that the principal anomaly which usually blurs our conception of antiquity, namely, the interference of an element alien to the environment in the formation of the customs of a race, more particularly when that race has been transplanted from some wholly diverse soil, is absent from the horizon of Egypt; and the picture which we may draw of Egyptian civilization has its source, its development, and its consummation in the conditions of Egypt alone. No feature of attraction is wanting in that remarkable scene. The stately river, the source of perennial life and freshness to the entire land, the long line of majestic temples crowning the banks, the laughing population crowding its waters, the dances, the games, the songs, the wrestlings, the perpetual feasts,
the boats of pleasure jostling with the sacred boats of the dead, all these things make up a picture, which set in the dazzling clearness of the cloudless sky leaves a charm that can neither be rivalled nor forgotten.
That picture, too, demands no painful effort of the imagination to fill up for ourselves from broken and disjointed details. We are not called upon to piece out, into such consistency as we may, the fragmentary hints of social life laboriously gathered from chance allusions hidden in a score of different writers. Nor need we content ourselves with descriptions of events written centuries after their occurrence. We can go straight to the fountainhead, and consult the original records. On the huge propylæa of the temples, on the walls, on the enormous sarkophagi, on the architraves, on the pillars of the immense buildings, we find the deeds of the princes set out in the sacred hieroglyphs. For the battle of Lake Regillus we must trust to the traditions
preserved by Livy; for that first great battle of Megiddo, which took place hundreds of years before Josiah lost his life upon the same plain, long before ever Regillus was fought, we have the cotemporaneous account of the conqueror Thothmes, and the lists of the spoils drawn up by royal officers. Nay more, the monuments of Egypt give us not descriptions alone, but actual representations of the scenes. Of the triumphs celebrated by the renowned Julius, what trace is left for posterity to gaze upon? But the triumphs of Rameses, and of Seti, which took place well-nigh as long before the time of Cæsar as Cæsar's day was before our own, live yet in every detail. The garments, the ornaments, the countenances, even the colour of the hair of the different races which took part in those processions, all may be seen to-day upon the walls of the palaces which witnessed them. Of Moses and of Solomon, of the founder of Rome, nay, of the great apostle of the Gentiles, we possess not
even a traditional likeness. But the features of Pharaoh may be as familiar to us as they were to his adoring subjects. A triple enclosure formed by massive columns, of infinite pathos in their lonely grandeur, is all that is left to tell us how the earth-shaking Poseidon was worshipped in his home at Pæstum. But every feature of the procession which trod the long aisles of Karnak, the vessel of purification, the wings on the sacred scribe, the company of the singers, the quadruple ranks of priests, the sacred ark borne upon their shoulders, the cherubim with outstretched wings shadowing the Deity enthroned between, have all been preserved for our inspection, no less than the words of the solemn litany which the worshippers addressed to Ra, the unseen Light.
Two marked peculiarities characterize the records of the earliest times. Nothing is more striking than the knowledge of science which the priests of Egypt are more and more
generally admitted to have possessed, in proportion as the facts are more carefully investigated. What architect of the present day would undertake to erect a building, more than four hundred feet high, full of chambers of the most elaborate description, which should never need repair for five thousand years? What other nation not only discovered the transcendental relation between radius and circumference—the foundation of all curvilinear measurement—but utilized it as a principle of architectural construction? What other building is oriented with such perfect accuracy that, if Mr. Flinders Petrie be correct, the minute displacement wrought in the course of ages represents (and consequently measures) the secular variation due to a recondite cosmical force? Where else shall we find expressed in masonic form the different proportions of the surface of the earth, given according to the various methods of calculation, as, according to the same authority, the
architect of the Grand Pyramid has expressed them in the area of its pavement at the different levels? Where else shall we find an antique kalendar based on the periodic motion of the earth? What other people knew, as Dr. Brugsch and M. Maspéro aver, the proper motion of the sun in space; or who possessed the lovely Sothiac cycle, the Cycle of Grand Orient, which measured whole ages by the herald star, as it dawned for a moment on the eastern horizon.
Equally striking, and even more distinct perhaps, is the perpetual presence of the life-giving river. From end to end of its territory, from age to age of its history, in the religion, in the commerce, in the honours of the dead, wherever we may turn, and on whatsoever object we may fix our eyes, we never for a moment lose sight of the blue waters of the Nile. That beautiful stream, flowing tranquilly for hundreds of miles beneath the serene sky, alone gave verdure and plenty
to the long and narrow strip of fertile soil which lines its borders, cut off by deserts on either hand, and alone permits the very existence of an Egyptian people.
According to ancient tradition, and agreeably also to the records, the ancestors of the race in very remote times were not of Northern but of Southern * extraction, being originally natives of Poont, situated near the Equatorial sources of the Nile. In harmony with this tradition, we find that the central point of.
the Egyptian universe, the horizon of which traces out, as we saw, the sacred Horizon of the Ritual, determined by the pole-star and defined by the Pyramid, was the Aptu, or Southern "Apex of the Earth," mentioned by Dr. Brugsch in "The Holy Land of Khent," situated in that immediate neighbourhood. For our point of reference was demarcated by the intersection of the Equator with the grand meridian of Memphis; and that intersection takes place just by the Western shore of the great Equatorial lake from which the famous river derives its life-giving streams: hence on the day of Equinox, an observer standing at the fount of the river in the patriarchal land of Egyptian tradition, would witness that grand "Passage of the Sun," and march of the universal hosts of space, which solemnizes the day of the "Reckoning of the Spirits." From that point of origin, we marked out the four Cardinal Points of the universal sphere the thrones of the four
[paragraph continues] Egyptian spirits of the Light, with Hapi in their midst, protecting the Southern fountains of the Nile. These four bright spirits, the guardians of the heavenly dome, were imaged to the Egyptians under the form of the cynocephalous ape, the creature which bears the closest resemblance to humanity; and from them, as the four living creatures before the throne of Ra, assistance was invoked by the Justified in the Ritual at the moment when the full splendour of the Orbit was bursting upon his illumined sight. Thus the whole system of Egyptian astronomy, in its scientific delineation no less than its mystical significance, would seem to have been devised originally, not with any reference to the later settlement of the race upon the lower streams of the Nile, but to their original dwelling-place among the sunny fountains of the South; while the Grand Meridian appears to have been defined, not by its local relation to Memphis, but from its passing through the apex of the
earth, beneath the Grand Arch of the universe and the apex of the celestial dome over the point of origination.
Yet, remarkable as is this primæval locality when viewed in the light of Egyptian tradition, its interest is increased tenfold when we regard it in combination with the other features of the great watershed of which it forms an essential part, and which reminds us irresistibly of the famous watershed described in our own Scriptures as forming the primæval dwelling-place of man. There are—not the full streams but—as in Genesis, the "heads" of the four rivers, which go "forth to water the whole country." There, beyond the Zambesi, lies the land of gold, with its mines of unknown antiquity: while the odorous herb of which the hieroglyphic name is Betru (or Bedru, the L being in Egyptian identical with R) suggests the original of the Hebrew Betelu, converted by the Greeks into Bdellium. There is the fountain of the Niger, which
encompasses in its windings the whole land of the Blacks. There is the source of the inundating Nei-los, in Egyptian "the Boundary Burster;" of which the Hebrew word Hiddekel, signifying "Violent," is but a pale reflection. And there is the Congo, the river of "Life," corresponding precisely with the Hebrew Perith (fruitful), transformed by the Greeks into the Euphrates. More striking still, in the eastward portion of the great basin lies the wonderful garden, or Paradise, three thousand square miles in extent, so glowingly described by Stanley, and full of animal life, the sceptre of which was one of the insignia (the "Tad") borne by the great deity Amen; while from that garden flows the single river, the Shari, exactly as in our scriptural account the single river flowed in the midst to water the garden which was placed in the eastward * part of the
immense watershed of Eden. And as, according to the same account, the first traces of the never-ceasing current of human wandering commenced on the Eastward of the garden, so does the stream of the infant Nile, which takes its rise near this point, tend Eastward of the grand meridian before bending Southward towards the lake which still bears the patriarchal name of the Egyptian Nou; * and
below it, to the ruins of Assur, discovered by Caillaud on the banks of hoary Meroe.
From that country their course appears to
have been effected by a twofold route. In part, according to a very ancient tradition, mentioned by Dr. Brugsch, they proceeded along the banks of the river, sojourning for a while, it would seem, in the island of Meroe, where the hoary temple of Amen and the ruins of Assur, mentioned above, mark their ancient presence; while others appear to have come down by the Red Sea, as Mr. Petrie's discoveries indicate, and thence to have crossed the desert to Coptos. From this most important circumstance, it is essential to bear in mind that to the Egyptian the South was the "Great Quarter," to which especial reverence was due. Hence it was that every year the sacred images were carried into the ancestral country; an echo of which tradition is found in the visits of the gods of Homer to the "blameless Ethiopians." Hence, in the ancient inscription on the coffin of Amamu, we are told how the holy dead, "after flying over the whole face of heaven," is "established among the blessed
company in the south." And in that same archaic papyrus we read of the celestial land of Khent, or Khent-Amenti, the habitation of the Hidden God, imaged on earth by the "Holy Land of Khent" at the Apatu or Southern apex of the earth. Hence also the most sacred portion of the temple was placed towards the same quarter; and the Grand Pyramid, from the entrance to the innermost chamber, was oriented North and South.
In truth, to the mind of the Egyptian, the whole bed of the immense river was but the sacred image of the unseen land watered by the "celestial Nile" of which the Ritual speaks;"The Nuter Khart," or Holy Land of the Dead, with its triple division into Rusta, the territory of Initiation; Aahlu, the district of Illumination; and Amenti, the secret home of the hidden God.
Far towards the South, beyond the alternate reaches of stream and desert, lay the patriarchal land of Poont, like Amenti, the distant home
of the unseen Father. At the tropical extremity of Egypt, immediately below the celestial or tropical arch traversed by the sun at the summer solstice (at that epoch about 24° N. the inclination of the earth's axis to the plane of its orbit, being at that time about half a degree greater than at present), was the cataract or "Gate of the Nile," through which the ancestors of the race entered the country. That cataract or throne of the life-giving waters, situated beneath the Royal Arch of the solstitial throne, marks the point attained by the Illuminate in the Ritual, when he has achieved, in Aahlu, the "passage of the sun," and "opens the gate of the Nile," the cataract of heavenly light.
As the deceased, in making that ascent, entered into the presence of the forty-two judges of the dead (the Gods of the Horizon and the Gods of the Orbit), each judge supreme in his particular province; so also was all the land of Egypt parcelled out into forty-two
nomes or districts, twenty nomes in the Lower, and twenty-two nomes of the Upper country. To each nome was assigned a great temple as capital, with a specific function and priesthood. And as the temple formed the vast enclosure of the shrine, so also did the district become the vast enclosure of the temple. Nor were the temples alone dedicated to sacred things, but the structures of daily life shared the divine significance. And for every division of the country, as De Rougé has shown, the palace and the canal, no less than the temple and the district, bore a name of mystery and reflected the region of the holy dead.
All along the valley of the river, as it descends Northwards; at Thebes, at Abydos, at Tentera, were the great shrines sanctified by manifestations of the Deity. At the Northern extremity, where the ocean formed the boundary of the country, was the mouth of Rosetta, or Rusta, imaging, as we learn from the Papyrus of Khufu, the mouth of the tomb, and looking
towards the pole-star, the never-failing light of the depths, that pointed for the Egyptians the path to the hidden life. In the midst of the land where the Nile branched out into the great angle of the delta, the dominating angle in the conformation of the valley, stood Memphis (or Mennofer), the "Holy Place;" the seat of the double government of Egypt, with its palace dedicated to the Creator-spirit Ptah, its cemetery bearing the title of "Blessed Immortality," like our own "God's Acre," and its canal called after the Voyage of the Unseen Waters. There, too, was the territory of "Sochet Ra," the Fields of the Sun. And close to the sacred city, on the western bank of the river, rose the "Pyramid of Light," built upon a lonely rock, which faces the great quarter of the South, the house of Osiris, to which, says the papyrus of Amen Hotep, "Thoth," the Eternal Wisdom, "conducts the Illuminate."
A degree of sanctity, peculiar even in that
land of reverence, enveloped the mysterious building. "A sense of enchantment," we read in another papyrus, pervaded the whole territory surrounding the Great House; and even the hurried traveller to-day can with difficulty resist the spell, as he gazes on the solemn walls. But for the initiated of old, the supreme end of their existence, the order of their festivals, the purity of their religion, the stability of their monarchy were concentrated in the awful masonry. As the territorial constitution of the country, with its forty-two provinces of the Lower and Upper kingdoms, corresponded interiorly with the forty-two provinces of the Judges of the Dead, the Upper Gods of the Orbit and the Lower Gods of the Horizon, the political framework being the envelope of the spiritual theosophy; so was it with the exterior and interior of the Great House. For from the point where the adept appears before the forty-two judges in the Double Hall of Truth, on surmounting the
blocks at the lower end of the Chamber of the Shadow, to the throne at the upper end of the Chamber of the Splendour, where he received the crown of illumination, there are exteriorly forty-two courses; so that they form the envelope of that Double Hall of inner Truth. And as the lucid river itself imaged the stream of the "celestial Nile," so also was the course of that river imaged masonically in the hidden places in the House of Osiris. Upon the walls of the Chamber of the Splendour was sculptured the orbit of our planet among the sevenfold company around the solar throne, the orbit which measures the rise and fall of the life-giving waters of the Nile. Along the roof descends the stream of sculptured rays, thirty-six in number, corresponding to the thirty-six decades of days in the orbit of the Egyptian year. At the upper or Southern end of the chamber, as at the upper or Southern end of the kingdom, beneath the Royal Arch of the Sevenfold Ascent, or "Burning Crown," as
the Ritual calls it, is the Throne of the Cataract. Behind it, the low gate leads through the narrow channels to the chambers of the South with the hidden chambers in the height, crowned by the Grand Arch which dominates the whole interior of the building; as the gate of the Nile leads beyond the cataract to the Southern land of Poont and the long-hidden source of the river, where the land of Khent, beneath the Southern apex, imaged the celestial land of Khent, or Khent-Amenti, mentioned in the Papyrus of Amamu, the Interior Habitation of God in the supreme heaven. At the junction of the upper and lower chambers is the upper mouth of the Well, forming a key to the secret interior, just as the city of Memphis with the house of Osiris itself was the secret key to the constitution of the double kingdom. There too the lesser passage from the secret Chamber of Divine Birth, the "Chamber of Isis," "the Light of the Hidden Nile," unites with
the main current of the masonic river; just as in the vignette of the celestial Nile, a branch of the stream pours into the main current, from "Annu (or On) the secret birthplace of the gods." From that point the masonic stream, like the Nile at the same point, forks out into a delta, one branch leading down to the Hidden Lintel, the other forming the Well of Life, in the territory of Rusta, wherein, as we learn from another papyrus, was the tree of immortality. And in the rock which bounds the Chamber of the Horizon, and upon which the house of Osiris is built, we recognize the "Rock of the Horizon of Heaven," of which the Ritual speaks.
Again, the very form of some of the hieroglyphs betrays a pyramidal origin. Thus if we outline the junction of the upper and lower chamber, by tracing the roof-line of the Well, below the roof-line of the gallery, with the three rampstones in front, and the projections of the upper and lower galleries at the place,
we shall have the hieroglyph pronounced "Taui," which is well known to mean Upper and Lower Egypt, though no explanation of the form has hitherto been suggested. Similarly, suppose that we delineate the Double Hall of Truth (from the Hidden Lintel to the Empyrean Gate at the southern end of the
Click to enlarge
Pyramidal region of Thoth.
roof above the throne), together with the Chamber of New Birth and the Head of the Well, we shall have the portion of the structure more particularly subject to the dominion of Thoth: the divine person, by whom the initiation is effected. Then if we form a
cypher of that region, by tracing a line-plan indicating only the direction of those parts in relation to the Head of the Well, where, as we shall presently see, the rite of initiation is accomplished, we shall have the sacred symbol reserved to that deity alone. And
Sacred hieroglyphic symbol peculiar to Thoth.
as by the power of Thoth the adept, after passing his ordeal, is introduced into the presence of the forty-two judges in the Double Hall, corresponding to the forty-two nomes or provinces of Egypt, so also does that symbol of Thoth enter into the hieroglyphic names of every one of the nomes with but a single exception.
Upon the same harmony between the celestial and the terrestrial country embodied in the masonry of the Pyramid of Light,
depended also the order of the princes of Egypt. For as the Great House itself, the Place of Osiris, the universal God, was represented in its totality in the person of the supreme Monarch; so also the two great divisions of that House, the territory of initiation with its directing angle at the Hidden Lintel, and the territory of illumination with its Sculptured Orbit in the Grand Gallery, the places respectively of the Gods of the Horizon and the Gods of the Orbit, were represented in the two great divisions of the Egyptian Court, the princes of the Angle and the princes of the Circle. And so also was that seven-fold celestial company, the ranks of which were sculptured above the throne in the Chamber of the Splendour, represented in the seven-fold ranks of the "Companions of the King," which immediately surrounded the person of Pharaoh. Thus the Great House with the Double Hall of Truth within, formed a masonic organization not only of the
religious but of the political constitution of the kingdom; with ascending grades from the Purple Arch of the Star defining the Sacred Horizon of Rusta (or Rosetta) to the Royal Arch of the solstice or limit of the solar seat above the water throne of the cataract, and beyond again along the Grand Arch of the Celestial Meridian to the culminating point of the sun at Equinox above the source of the river, in the primæval land of Poont.
As we stand before the portal of that "Great House," the "Pir Aa," while we recall the familiar title which the Pharaohs thence derived, and as we contemplate the heaven reflected in the blue waters of the river as it flows without, and its image masonically expressed in the path within, "the disc" seems lifted "from the tomb," and we gaze upon the unseen world. Egypt, for so many centuries the land of the buried, has suddenly become the land of the risen dead. And the message which the long-silenced voice proclaims as
with a tongue of fire, is the primitive belief in the divine origin and end of man. It is not the Ritual nor the Pyramid of Light alone, which speak to us of the eternal day. Everywhere and always throughout ancient Egypt the same doctrine is proclaimed. From the orbit of the earth, from the pole-star of the heavens, from the dawning of Sothis, from the radiance of the sun, from the waters of the river, from the palaces, from the temples, from the tombs, from the very bowels of the rifled dead, comes forth a voice which for ages has been hushed in the grave; and that voice with startling clearness bears testimony to a judgment beyond the tomb, and the fatherhood of the unseen God.
AMONG the jewels placed as the last ornaments upon the sacred mummy, was sometimes included the Golden Angle; one of the most obscure, but at the same time
most interesting symbols employed by the Egyptians. The Angle is found, not held in the hand, but borne aloft upon the arm of the great Deity, "Amen, the Eternal Father," and is also one of the sceptres carried by Ptah, the Creator-Spirit. What is more singular, the well-known image called the Pataikos which was carried by the ships of Phœnicia, has been identified very clearly by Champollion with the same god Ptah; and the meaning of Pat-Aik in Egyptian is the Dedication of the Angle.
Great Angle, borne aloft by Amen, Source of Life, in Trinity of Egypt.
[paragraph continues] The same figure is also found among the rock-sculptures on the coast of Asia Minor.
While the sacred symbol of the Angle was thus widely diffused, the name itself (disguised to us in various languages) seems to have been borne by several races of the Levant. About the central or narrower part of the Mediterranean, just where the Italian peninsula juts out towards the projecting promontory of Africa, we meet the name of Angle in the important island of Sikelia or Sicily, a country which from its position has caught the
current of many migrations and supplied the arena of many collisions. That island took its appellation not from the Romans—for they, as Ovid tells us, called it Trinacris, from its three-cornered shape—but from the Sikeli, a tribe who, according to Thucydides, immigrated into it from the Southern part of Italy, with which territory the island was for centuries intimately associated. Now the Sikeli bear a name which is meaningless in Greek or Latin, but in Egyptian signifies, without change or modification of any kind, "Sons of the Angle;" while the similar but more suggestive title of "Pirates of the Angle" is found in the Greek name Laestrygones, another race who dwelt there, of such high antiquity that Thucydides confesses his ignorance of their origin. From hence, too, we may not improbably derive our own word "sickle," or "sikel," as it used to be spelt. For the sickle-sword (of which an Angle was a symbol in the priestly alphabet of Egypt) was, as may still be seen upon the monuments, the sacred weapon with which the Egyptian monarch slew the captives; and as Captain Burton has shown in his well-known treatise on the sword, it is the instrument from which both the Eastern scimitar and the cutlass of our own sailors take shape.
Again, at the Eastern extremity of the Levant, the name of Angle once more appears in a double form, and a still more marked and suggestive connection. Right opposite the mouths of the Nile, just in the locality where sea-immigrants from Egypt would probably land after passing the almost harbourless coasts of Palestine, lie the countries of Kilikia and Phœnicia, each expressing
that idea of Angle (in Egyptian Kilik, in Hebrew Phœne); while the two together form the Angle of the bight through which runs the great dividing line of East and West.
Yet once more in Egypt itself, according to the account contained in Genesis—and Moses, it must be remembered, was at least an expert in Egyptian tradition—we find among the descendants of Ham the tribe of the Patroosim, which in that language means the Frontiers of the Angle (Pat-Rois), and connects them with those princes of the Angle who formed, as we have seen, an integral portion of the court of Pharaoh.
What angle then is this of such supreme importance that it should be the symbol of the great Deity, and should give a name to the princely races of the earth? Of the highly important part played by the relation
Great Angle of the Nile Delta, Source of Life, in Triangle of Egypt.
between Angle and Circle in the structure of the Grand Pyramid we have already spoken; but there is another Angle which still remains for consideration, namely, that between the two branches of the Delta into which the river forks at Memphis below the Great House. Now this Angle supplies a simple key to a very curious problem in cosmography. Upon examining the well-known triple division of the ancient world, it is
somewhat difficult to perceive upon what principle it was effected. Russia can even now be scarcely considered as forming, either by race or by conformation, a portion of Europe proper; while, as Scythia, it seems to have been regarded as entirely separate. Asia Minor, on the other hand, possesses a shore line almost continuous with that of Greece; and her population, at least upon the coasts, seem to have been derived in great measure from kindred sources. Nor is it easy to find the central point from which the three dividing lines branch out. It cannot, for instance, be situated in Babylonia, where some might be inclined to place it, because Syria lies to the west; neither again can it be in Armenia, where others might look for it, since a considerable space divides that country from Africa. If, however, we take up our stand in front of the Great House at Memphis, the masonic record of primæval science, the entrance to which indicates the principal division of the universal sphere, and look abroad upon the great river which we have seen represented within, we shall find that the form which that river assumes at the spot suggests three divisions of the entire hemisphere. Behind us, towards the South, stretches the long valley leading up to the hidden sources of the far-distant primæval land; indicating the huge peninsula of Africa enclosed between the seas, and constituting also the southern boundary of the vast Mediterranean basin. And right along that valley, above the Great House, through the whole kingdom of Upper Egypt, stretches the Grand Meridian, tracing out upon the earth the Grand Arch of the Universe, and traversing their ancient home beneath the supreme dome of highest
heaven. Next, if the lines of the northern fork be prolonged indefinitely, then Eastward of the most Eastern branch lies the continent of Asia; Westward of the most Western is Europe proper. Finally, between the legs of that earth-dominating Angle, lies the famous kingdom of Lower Egypt, with the princes of the Angle; while on the coast beyond is Kilikia, the land of the Angle; and further again, but still within the legs of the same Angle, stretches the immense plain of Scythia, separating and yet uniting East and West. Upon the Southern borders of that plain, on the coast of the Black Sea, according to the ancient traditions of our Sagas, the ancestors of Odin and of the sea-going race, which still bears the proud name of Angles, had their pirate home. And it is not a little remarkable that the same Saga refers more than once to the boundary line of East and West as passing close by their ancient city upon the Black Sea, and mentions as their neighbours the tribe of the Vans, whose name appears frequently upon the ancient monuments, and is still preserved in the Armenian lake which lies by that boundary line.
It is strange too, to observe that no sooner are the records of our ancestors permitted to speak as to their own history, records incidentally confirmed both by classic historians, such as Florus, and by the ancient monuments, than a glimpse of still higher antiquity opens out through the title of our nation, connecting itself with the widespread symbol of the Egyptian Angle; and a flood of light is poured upon our words and customs by reference to Egyptian sources. Thus the familiar name of Viking, for which no meaning has been assigned, signifies in Egyptian
an Angle-dweller, that is, an Englishman; and the two words composing it are still preserved in English as "wick," a place, and "kink," an indentation. Berserk again, another well-known but unintelligible appellation, means in that ancient tongue "foam-plough;" a striking and most natural image for those ploughers of the ocean to employ, and one which harmonizes exactly with the numerous poetic titles given by the Vikings to their true home, the ship. Odin himself, though the descendant of ancestors who had been settled for generations upon the Euxine, bore an Egyptian name—the significant name of Destroyer; and his standard, the raven, was the Egyptian symbol of destruction. Nor was it only in his character of pirate * (itself an Egyptian word), but as teacher also, that his associations connect themselves with the same source. According to tradition, he was acquainted in some measure with the process of embalmment, and he claimed to know the secret of the sacred writing, while his followers were distinguished by the winged headdress which was borne by the sacred scribe of Egypt, as representing the dominion of east and west bestowed by Ra upon Thoth, the Lord of Wisdom. So with the funeral feasts, the elaborate ceremonies and the intercourse with the dead which had so rooted a hold in the hearts of our Scandinavian forefathers. The Asars, or holy ancestors whom they worshipped, were the very counterpart both in name and in attributes with the holy souls of Egypt who had become united with Osiris (more properly Uasar), and were themselves described
by his name. The title of Hersir, or Leader of the Host, which, as Du Chaillu has pointed out in his valuable work, was older than that of the king, bears in the hieroglyphic (Her-ser) the identical signification of Chief Organizer. The land of Kent (Khent) * was a territory of the holy dead, and its hieroglyph was a sail. Nay, there is scarcely a feature in the strange mythology of Scandinavia which does not reflect an image more or less distorted of some portion of the Egyptian Ritual. Or, to give but one more illustration of a different but equally curious character, our national shout, "Hip, Hip, Hurra!" which rises spontaneously though unmeaningly to our lips, and which is said to be the shout also of the Cossack dwellers by our ancient home upon the Black Sea, conveys in the hieroglyphic (Hep, Hep, Hura), "On, on, to plunder," the significant cry of our pirate ancestors at the moment of accomplishment. Strangest of all it is to think that the last of the Hidden Places of the earth to be opened to civilized man should have been the traditional scene of his earliest dwelling-place; that the source of the historic river which, by its mighty Angle, traces out the lines of the first settlement of the globe, should to-day be the centre of its latest division by the world-dividing nation of Angles; and that while the vast lake which marks the ancient "apex of the earth" bears the name of the monarch of that race, the Egyptian kingdom itself should be ruled at the dictation of her ministers.
It is true that these traditions, like those of other nations also, are entirely at variance with the remarkable adventures of the famous "Aryan race," that marvellous creature of modern myth-making which flits with all the brilliance of a will of the wisp over the most impossible morasses of Imaginative History. Happily however, its illustrious creator, Professor Max Müller, has himself given what we may hope will prove the death-blow to his scarcely less celebrated offspring, by utterly denying before the British Association any reality to its existence; by laughing to scorn the idea of any such thing as an Aryan skull, and by stating plainly that the Aryan race is nothing more or less than a figment of philological convenience. For not until the last glimmer of that alluring but most misleading meteor has disappeared, will the ancient records of nations be permitted to throw their true light upon the past. Nor until then shall we understand our own laws and language, our customs and constitution, or trace the history of that Imperial nation of the waters which perpetuates the name of the sacred Angle. And surely no kingdom ever yet possessed a more romantic story in the past, or attained a position of more absorbing interest or more perilous pre-eminence than that occupied by England to-day, as she stands in the central land of highest antiquity, with hands stretching to every quarter of the globe—a solitary figure of commanding majesty, but uncertain in policy, unguarded in frontier, and almost unarmed in defence; while surrounded by the seething nations which count their hosts by the million, and listening with a careless ear to the muttered breathings of universal war.
43:* The case of the Holy Roman Empire may perhaps suggest itself as a precedent; for foreign princes undoubtedly sat in the Diet. But those princes had jurisdiction not by virtue of treaties or in right of their foreign kingdoms, but of the Imperial principalities of which they happened to be possessed.
51:* As a contrary opinion is still held by some Egyptologists, and was sanctioned by Dr. Brugsch himself, I may be permitted to quote the opinion of a very distinguished authority in support. M. Maspéro, when I put the question to him, most courteously informed me that though years ago he had held the opinion then prevalent of a Northern origin, he had changed his views on further research, and now believes the Egyptians to have come from the South. If this view be correct—and many facts seem to support it—endless difficulties are resolved, or rather do not arise to require solution, which have resulted from a belief in the famous "prehistoric Asiatic family;" that is to say, in a family of the existence of which no record can be produced.
55:* In the innumerable attempts at the identification of the birthplace of man, as recorded in Scripture—p. 56attempts which may be counted literally by the hundred, and which have gone far towards rendering any true exposition of human development an almost hopeless achievement—the garden is constantly confused with the watershed, and the "heads" of the rivers with their full courses, while the single river is omitted altogether.
56:* From the same source a good deal of light may, I think, be thrown upon the scriptural account of the Deluge, regarded as a phenomenal inundation of the Nile valley, the dwelling-place of the primæval family, as I have endeavoured to show elsewhere; and this, again, will be found to react upon various questions connected with the early settlement of Egypt; the worship of Nou, the deity of the water; the sacred ark of Amen, the prototype of the ark of Moses; the especial reverence paid to the Nilometer, or "Tat," the symbol of the divine Nou, with its threefold measure of the inundation; the sudden immergence of that lonely yet majestic p. 57 civilization; the dim tradition of bygone generations; the intense reverence paid to the patriarchal monarchs; the universal jurisdiction claimed by the divine royalty of Egypt; and, above all, the serene contemplation of death as the luminous entrance to the fields of light. The Babylonian tradition also given in the Deluge tablet,
The sacred Tat or Measure of the Inundation.
translated in "Records of the Past," is in agreement of the same view; for, according to that tradition, the theatre of the cataclysm was certainly not Babylonia, since the hero declares positively that he crossed the sea. In fact, so far as I have been able to trace, there is no nation, from India and China in the East, to Mexico and Peru in the furthest West, whose native traditions and archæological relics are in discord either with the Egyptian tradition of the primæval land of Poont, or with the scriptural description of the primæval watershed, if we are content to read, by the light of Egyptian tradition, the account handed down to us by Moses, whom those Scriptures expressly characterize as pre-eminent in Egyptian knowledge.
77:* Some etymologists strangely derive this word from the Greek πειράω, "to attempt;" as though a pirate, of all people in the world, were a man to leave his work half finished.
78:* Pierret, in his Hieroglyphic Lexicon, states that Khent means always to ascend the Nile towards the south, and that the sail is always deployed; thus answering, in the Path of Light, to the ascent of the Orbit by the illuminate beneath the open sail of the firmament.