Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

till the quick and powerful operation of the pharmaceutic (which is therefore most obvious to use) had been found to be ineffectual. 2. To apply the diætetic medicine, with any degree of safety or suecess, there is need of a thorough knowledge of the animal economy, and of its many various complexions; with long experience in the nature and qualities of aliments, and their different effects on different habits and constitutions.* But the art of medicine must have made some considerable progress before these acquirements were to be expected in its professors.

If I have been longer than ordinary on this subject, it should be considered, that the clearing up the state of the Egyptian medicine is a matter of importance ; for if the practice, in the time of Joseph, was what the Greek writers represent it, as I think I have shewn it was, then this topic seems absolutely decisive for the high antiquity of Egypt; and the learned person's hypothesis lying in my way, it was incumbent on me to remove it.

IV. We come, in the last place, to the FUNERAL RITES of Egypt ; which Herodotus describes in this manner : “ Their mournings and rites of sepulture are of this kind : When any considerable person in the family dies, all the females of that family besmear their heads or faces with loam and mire ; and so, leaving the dead body in the hands of the domestics, march in procession through the city, with their garments close girt about them, their breasts laid open, beating themselves ; and all their Relations attending. In an opposite procession appear the males, close girt likewise, and undergoing the same discipline. When this is over, they carry the body to be salted : there are men appointed for this business, who make it their trade and employment :--They first of all draw out the brain, with a hooked iron, through the nostrils, &c.-after this they hide it in nitre for the space of SEVENTY DAYS, and longer it is not lawful to keep it salted.”+ Diodorus agrees with Herodotus in all the essential circumstances of mourning and embalming. In this last he

• Φημί δε δείν τον μέλλοντα ορθώς ξυγγράφειν σερί διαίτης ανθρωπίνης, πρώτον μεν σαντος φύσιν ανθρώπου γνώναι και διαγνώναι γνώναι μεν, από τίνων ξυνέστηκεν εξ αρχής: διαγνώναι δε, υπό τίνων μερών κεκράτηται· ει μη γαρ την εξ αρχής ξύστασιν επιγνώσεται, και το επικρατέον εν τω σώματι, ουχ οίός τ' αν είη τα ξυμφέροντα το ανθρώπφ προσενεγκείν' ταύτα μεν ούν χρή γινώσκειν τον ξυγγράφονται μετά δε ταύτα, σίτων και ποτών απάντων, οίσι διαιτώμεθα, δύναμιν ήν τινα έκαστα έχει, και την κατά φύσιν, και την δι' ανάγκην και τέχνην ανθρωπηΐην δει γαρ επίστασθαι των τε ισχυρών φύσει ώς χρή την δύναμιν αφαιρέεσθαι· τοισι δε ασθενέσιν, όκως χρή ισχύν προστιθέναι διά τέχνης, όπου αν και καιρός εκάστων σαραγένηται.-HIPPOCRATES De Dieta, lib. 1.

+ Θρήνοι δε και ταφαι σφέων, εισί αίδε· τοισι αν απογένηται εκ των οικείων άνθρωπος, του τις και λόγος ή, το θήλυ γένος σαν το εκ των οικείων τούτων κατ' ών επλάσατο την κεφαλήν πηλό ή και το πρόσωπον κάπειτα εν τοισι οίκητοισι λιπούσαι τον νεκρόν, αύται ανά την πόλιν στροφώμεναι, τύπτονται επεζωσμέναι, και φαίνουσαι τους μαζούς συν δέ σφι αι προσήκουσαι σάσαι: έτέρωθεν δε οι άνδρες τύπτονται, επεζωσμένοι και ούτοι επεάν δε ταύτα ποιήσωσι, ούτω ες την ταρίχευσιν κομίζουσι. Είσι δε οι επ' αυτώ τούτω κατέαται, και τέχνην έχουσι ταύτην.-Πρώτα μεν σκολιό σιδηρο

Cap. 1.

seems to vary in one particular : “They then anoint the whole body with the gum or resin of cedar, and of other plants, with great cost and care, for ABOVE THIRTY DAYS ; and afterwards seasoning it with myrrh, cinnamon, and other spices, not only proper to preserve the body for a long time, but to give it a grateful odour, they deliver it to the relations,” &c.* All this operose circumstance of embalming, scripture history confirms and explains ; and not only so, but reconciles the seemingly different accounts of the two Greek writers, concerning the number of days, during which the body remained with the embalmers: “And the physicians," says Moses, “embalmed Israel ; and FORTY DAYS were fulfilled for him (for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed) and the Egyptians mourned for him THREESCORE AND TEN DAYS.”+ Now we learn from the two Greek historians, that the time of mourning was while the body remained with the embalmers, which Herodotus tells us was seventy days: this explains why the Egyptians mourned for Israel threescore and ten days. During this time the body lay in nitre ; the use of which was to dry up all its superfluous and noxious moisture ; I and when, in the compass of thirty days, this was reasonably well effected, the remaining forty, the fo' guépas wisious tőv tpáxorta of Diodorus, were employed in anointing it with gums and spices to preserve it, which was the proper embalming. And this explains the meaning of the forty days which were fulfilled for Israel, being the days of those that are embalmed. Thus the two Greek writers are reconciled ; and they and Scripture mutually explained and supported by one another.

But if it should be said, that though Moses here mentions embalming, yet the practice was not so common as the Greek historians represent it, till many ages after ; I reply, that the company of Ishmaelitish merchants with their camels bearing spicery, balm, and myrrh, to carry down into Egypt, $ clearly shews, that embalming was at this time become a general practice.

On the whole, what stronger evidence can any one require of a rich and powerful monarchy, than what hath been here given ?Scripture describes Egypt under that condition, in the times of the Patriarchs, and the egression of their posterity: the Greek writers not only subscribe to this high antiquity, but support their testimony by a minute detail of customs and manners then in use, which

διά των μυξωτήρων εξάγουσι τον εγκέφαλος, &c.-ταύτα δε σοιήσαντες, ταριχεύουσι νιτρω κρύψαντες ημέρας εβδομήκοντα: πλεύνας δε τουτέων ουκ έξεστι ταριχεύειν.Lib. ii. cap. 85, 86.

* Καθόλου δε σαν το σώμα το μεν πρώτον κεδρία και τισιν άλλους επιμελείας άξιούσιν εφ' ημέρας πλείους των τριάκοντα, έπειτα σμύρνη και κιναμώμη, και τους δυναμένοις μη μόνον σολύν χρόνον τηρείν, αλλά και την ευωδίαν παρέχεσθαι θεραπέυοντες, παραδιδόασι τους συγγενέσι.-Biblioth. lib. 1.

7 Gen. 1. 2, 3.

Tas 8¢ σάρκας το νίτρον κατατήκει.-HERODOT. p. 119. $ Gen. xxxvii. 25.

P.

58.

could belong only to a large and well policied kingdom; and these again are distinctly confirmed by the circumstantial history of Moses.

But it is not only in what they agree, but likewise in what they differ, that sacred and profane accounts are mutually supported, and the high antiquity of Egypt established. To give one instance : Diodorus expresly tells us, that the lands were divided between the king, the priests, and the soldiery ; * and Moses (speaking of the Egyptian famine and its effects) as expresly says that they were divided between the king, the priests, and the people.f Now as contrary as these two accounts look, it will be found, upon comparing them, that Diodorus fully supports all that Moses hath delivered concerning this matter. Moses tells us, that before the famine, all the lands of Egypt were in the hands of the king, the priests, and the people ; but that this national calamity made a great revolution in property, and brought the whole possessions of the people into the king's hands; which must needs make a prodigious accession of power to the crown. But Joseph, in whom the offices of minister and patriot supported each other, and jointly concurred to the public service, I prevented for some time the ill effects of this accession, by his farming out the new domain to the old proprietors, op very easy conditions. We may well suppose this wise disposition to continue till that new king arose, who knew not Joseph ; that is, would obliterate his memory, as averse to his system of policy. || He, as appears from Scripture, greatly affected a despotic government; to support which, he first established, as I collect, a standing militia ; and endowed it with the lands formerly the people's; who now became a kind of Villains to this order, which resembled the Zaims and Timariots of the Turkish empire ; and were obliged to personal service : this, and the priesthood, being the orders of nobility in this powerful empire; and so considerable they were, that out of either of them, indifferently, as we observed before, | their kings were taken and elected. Thus the property of Egypt became at length divided in the manner, the Sicilian relates : and it is remarkable, that from this time, and not till now, we hear in Scripture of a standing militia, ** and of the king's six hundred chosen chariots, &c.

SECTION IV.

Having thus proved the high antiquity of Egypt from the concurrent testimony of sacred and profane history; I go on, as I proposed, to evince the same from internal evidence; taken from the original use of their so much celebrated HIEROGLYPHICS.

Biblioth. lib. i.

Gen. xlvii.

1 See note N, at the end of this book. $ Exod. i. 8.

|| In this sense is the phrase frequently used in Scripture, as Judges ii. 10.-“ And there arose another generation after thein, which knero not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”—Here, knew not, can only sigpify despised, set at nought. See the first volume, p. 421. ** Exod, xiv. 8, 9,

But to give this argument its due force, it will be necessary to trace up hieroglyphic writing to its original ; which a general mistake concerning its primeval use hath rendered extremely difficult. The mistake I mean, is that which makes the hieroglyphics to be invented by the Egyptian 'priests, in order to hide and secrete their wisdom from the knowledge of the vulgar : * a mistake which hath involved this part of ancient learning in much obscurity and confusion,

I.

Men soon found out two ways of communicating their thoughts to one another; the first by sounds, and the second by FIGURES : for there being frequent occasion to have their conceptions either perpetuated, or communicated at a distance, the way of figures or characters was next thought upon, after sounds (which were momentary and confined), to make their conceptions lasting and extensive.

The first and most natural way of communicating our thoughts by marks or figures, is by tracing out the images of things. So the early people, to express the idea of a man or horse, delineated the form of those animals. Thus the first essay towards writing was a mere picture.

I. We see an example of this amongst the MexiCANS, whose only method of recording their laws and history, was by a picture-writingut Joseph Acosta tells us, that, when the inhabitants of the sea shore sent expresses to Montezuma with news of the first appearance of the Spanish navy on their coasts, the advices were delineated in large paintings, upon cloth. The same writer gives us, in another place, a more particular account of this sort of painting : “One of our company of Jesus” (says he) "a man of much experience and discernment, assembled in the province of Mexico the Ancients of Tuscuco, Tulla, and Mexico; who, in a long conference held with him, shewed him their records, histories, and calendars ; things very

See note 0, at the end of this book.

+ “In diffetto di lettere usarono gl’ ingegnosi Mexicani figure, e Geroglifici, per significar le cose corporee, che han figura ; e per lo rimanente, altri caratteri propri : e in tal modo segnavano, a pro della posterità, tutte le cose accadute. Per ragion d' esemplo per significare l'entrata degli Spagnuoli dipinsero un uomo col cappello, e colla veste rossa, nel segno di Canna ch' era proprio di quell' anno.”—Giro del Mondo del Dottor D. Gio FR. GEMELLI CARERI, tom. sesto. Aro. Nuova Spagna, cap. vi. p. 37. * “ Quando era caso de importancia leuauana a los Señores de Mexico pintado el negocio de que les querian informar; como lo hizieron quando aparecieron los primeros navios de Españoles, y quando fueron a tomar a Toponcban." -- ACOSTA's “ History of the Indies," Madr. 1608, 4to. lib. vi. cap. 10.--"Con este recado fueron a Mexico los de la costa lleuando pintado en unos panos todo quanto anian visto, y los navios, y hombres, y su figura, y juntamente las piedras que les auien dado.”—Lib. vii. cap. 24.

worthy notice, as containing their figures and hieroglyphics, by which they painted their conceptions in the following manner : things that have a bodily shape were represented by their proper figures; and those which have none, by other significative characters : and thus they writ or painted every thing they had occasion to express.—For my own satisfaction I had the curiosity to inspect a paternoster, an ave-maria, the creed, and a general confession, * written in this manner by the Indians :-To signify these words, I a sinner confess myself, they painted an Indian on his knees before a religious in the act of one confessing : and then for this, To God almighty, they painted three faces adorned with crowns, representing the Trinity ; and, To the glorious virgin Mary, they delineated the visage of our Lady, with half a body, and the infant in her arms ; To St. Peter and St. Paul, two heads irradiated, together with the keys and sword, &c.—In Peru I have seen an Indian bring to the confessional a con. fession of all his sins written in the same way, by picture and characters; portraying every one of the ten commandments after a certain manner.”+

There is yet extant a very curious specimen of this American picture-writing, made by a Mexican author : and deciphered by him in that language, after the Spaniards had taught him letters ; the explanation was afterwards translated into Spanish, and, from thence, into English. Purchas has given us this work engraved, and the explanations annexed. The manner of its coming into his hands is curious. It is in three parts; the first is a history, of the Mexican

Acosta's words are, Y symbolo y la confession general ; which Parchas has translated,-- And symbol or general confession of our faith. This is wrong: by la confession general is meant a general confession of sins, a formulary very different from the creed.

“Una de los de nuestra Compañia de Jesus, hombre muy platico y diestro, junto en la provincia de Mexico a los Ancianos de Tuscuco, y de Tulla, y de Mexico, y confirio mucho con ellos, y le monstraron sus Librerias, y sus Historias, y Kalendarios, cosa mucho de Ver. Porque tenian sus figuras, y Hieroglyfieas con que pintauam los cosas en esta forma, que los cosas que tenian figuras, las ponian con sus proprias Ymagines, y para las cosas que no auia Ymagen propria tenian otros caracteres significatiuos de acquello, y con este modo figurauam quanto queriam-e yo he visto para satisfazerme en esta parte, las Oraciones del Pater Noster, y Ave Maria, y Symbolo, y la Confession general, en el modo dicho de Indios.- Para significar Aquella palabra, Yo pecador me confiesso, pintan un Indio hincado de rodillas a los pies de un Religioso; como que se confiessa ; y luego para aquella, A Dios todo poderoso, pintan tres caras con sus coronas, al modo de la Trinidad ; y a lu gloriosa Virgen Maria, pintan un rostro de nuestra Señora, y medio cuerpo con un Niño; y a San Pedro y a San Pablo, dos cabeças con coronas, y unas llaues, y una espada. Por la misma forma de pinturas y caracteres vi en el Piru escrite la confession que de todos sus pecados un Indio traya para coufessarse, Pintando cada uno de los diez mandamientos por cierto modo." --Lib. vi. cap. 7. 1 " Reader, I here present thee with the choicest of my jewels, &c.--a politic, ethic, ecclesiastic, oeconomic history, with just distinction of time.--The Spanish governor havi with some difficulty, obtained the book of the Indians, with Mexican interpretations of the pictures (but ten days before the departure of the ships) committed the same to one skilful in the Mexican language, to be interpreted; who in a very plain style, and verbatiin, performed the same. This history thns written, sent to Charles V. emperor, was, together with the ship that carried it, taken by French men of war; from whom Andrew Thevet the French king's geographer obtained the same. After whose death master Hakluyt (then chaplaine to the English

« IndietroContinua »