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    4517 4517 Document Transcript

    • WATANI English Section 6 July 2003 Writer: Erian / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 837 + 224 = 1061 History of the Egyptian People Something missing At first glance, the history of Egypt appears to be a very well known and thoroughly researched topic. Yet on closer look, something seems missing. What is mostly accessible and widely covered is the history of the rulers of Egypt. The Egyptian people themselves get very little coverage. With this in mind, +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+, writer and avid scholar of Egyptology, proposed writing to ++Watani++ a series of articles that would focus on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the ‘official’ history of the rulers. This ‘people’s history’ will be recorded by tracing the ancient inscriptions on the walls of the temples and tombs. These inscriptions offer a wealth of information on the everyday life of the ancient Egyptians, wise sayings and proverbs, mythology—the science of the pre-science period, parents’ advice to their children, and so on. The following is hence the first of a series which ++Watani++ will start printing the first Sunday of every month. Mr Hanna begins by tracing the origin of the people—he will show, through the slate stela of Narmer that Egyptians are of both Hamite and Shemite origin—then, in following articles, will trace the beginnings and consequent development of these people’s thought, religion, values, and traditions. In short, how they finally came to be what they are today: the modern-day Egyptians. Tracing the roots Erian Labib Hanna 1
    • Like all nations that trace back their roots to ancient times, Egyptians can study the chain linking them back to their glorious past and learn about one of the world’s first great civilisations. In order to present a clear picture of this past, I propose to start the first with Egyptology, then go on to Coptology, which covers the Christian era, and finally the Arabic period when the inhabitants of the Nile Valley adopted Arabic as their language. Readers are welcome to contribute any information or opinion on this topic. In this way, we will write our history together, to give the upcoming generation a clearer picture of our fathers and forefathers. +Pictorial record+ The slate stela of Narmer refers to the unification of the two parts of the country—the south and the north. It also refers to our race, which is a mixture of Hamite, from the south, and Shemite, which spread from ancient Syria to the Delta. The stela is usually regarded as commemorating the victory of the southern king over the north, and the unification of the two lands under one ruler. Since Narmer appears here as king of both Upper and Lower Egypt, he has been recognised as the semi-legendary Menes, the first Pharaoh (3200 BC). +Red and Black lands+ The illustrations on the stela refer to some known facts. Narmer—depicted clubbing a submissive enemy—came from the south sice he is wearing the white crown, the ++hedjet++, which was to become the emblematic headgear of the Pharaoh as king of Upper Egypt or the ‘Red Land’. After his victory he is shown wearing the ++deshret++, the red crown of the Delta or ‘Black Land’. He is preceded by his priest and four standard-bearers carrying fetishes; his sandal bearer and the foot washer bring up the rear of the procession which is inspecting rows of corpses whose bound arms and severed heads proclaim them to be native rebels. The central register of this highly organised design shows a circular depression around which are disposed two serpo-padres and their attendants. At the bottom of the stela the Pharaoh, depicted as a strong bull, breaks down a township with a larger palace or temple and smaller houses within, and tramples upon a foreign rebel, probably a Libyan. The Pharaoh’s name is flanked by heads of Hathor, or possibly Bat, a primaeval cow and mother goddess, at whose shrine this stela was probably dedicated. 2
    • +Mixed race+ We know more about the race of the dwellers in the south from studying the face of Narmer. His features prove he was a Hamite, similar in countenance to the people of East Africa; whereas the appearance of the submissive king—the king of the North (the Delta)—shows that he is Shemite, most probably originally from the country adjacent to the East of Egypt, ancient Syria. So we can reasonably conclude that the ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both races. + Sources of ancient Egyptian history+ In the fifth century BC, the Greek historians Herodotus and Diodorus began writing their histories of Egypt. Their works were revised and completed by the Egyptian priest Manetho (323 - 245BC), who lived under the first two Ptolomies. This great man wrote a chronicle of the Egyptian Pharaohs, dividing their history into 31 dynasties or royal families from the time of Menes (c. 3200BC) until the reign of Alexander the Great (332BC). His works were partly preserved in the writings of some later historians, such as Josephus (70AD), Africanus (third century AD), Eusebus (fourth century AD), and much later by George the monk, known as Synecellus (eighth-ninth century AD). Temple records, king lists and annals, tomb biographies of high officials, and letters from all periods provided very valuable information for the understanding of ancient Egyptian history. +The Chronicles+ In the earlier periods, important events were recorded each year; later on, royal annals or chronicles were fully registered. Some of the more famous king lists were as follows: • The so-called Palermo stone, the main piece of which is preserved in Palermo Museum, with another piece in Cairo, dates back to the time of the fifth dynasty. It contains royal annals of rulers from the predynastic era (before the union of Upper and Lower Egypt) to the middle of the fifth dynasty. Each year of a Pharaoh’s reign was given a title for identification, such as ‘the year of the smiting of the Northerners’, or references to the height of the inundation, religious feasts, victories over foreign powers, quarrying expeditions, building projects or other important events. • The Turin canon, a papyrus written in hieratic script in the reign of Ramses II. • The Abydos king list, registered on the wall of the Ancestors' Hall of the temple of Seti I and Ramses II at Abydos. • The Saqqara king list, featuring about 50 names of ancestors honoured by Ramses II, and now in the Egyptian Museum. 3
    • • The Karnak king list, dating from the time of Tuthmosis III (1490 – 1436BC). 4
    • WATANI English Section 3 August 2003 Writer: Erian Hanna / copy editor: Samia/Jenny Word count: 146 + 772 Tracing the people’s history +++In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series—compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+—was printed four weeks ago, and demonstrated—through the slate stela of Narmer—that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the Nile banks and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. In the present episode, Mr Hanna today looks at how the faith and beliefs of these people was formed.+++ Understanding the universe The spirit and the intellect Erian Labib Hanna In order to trace the roots of the ancient Egyptian religion to see if it emanated from the immediate environment or from peoples beyond the borders of Egypt, the story of creation as presented by the theological schools of Memphis, Heliopolis and other religious centres must be investigated. +Settled life+ 1
    • Before discussing the religion in detail, I would like to mention some place names that reflect the way of life at the time. After the change from hunting to farming, people settled down in certain locations which later lent their names to prehistoric civilisations such as Deir Tasa, Fayoum al-Merimada, al-Badari al-Amra, al-Gerza and Naqada. From the material remains of this first phase of prehistoric culture we are able to build up a picture of the early Egyptians. We can see how they gradually adapted to a settled agricultural way of life which, at the end of the period towards 3600 BC, can have differed little from the culture of the pagan tribes of the Upper Nile today. +The hereafter+ We will never know much about the intellectual and spiritual life of these early dwellers on the Nile. That they believed in a kind of hereafter for at least some members of the community is evident from the many burials that have been found on hut sites and in later cemeteries. The body is usually crouched on its side as through in sleep—waiting to wake up. +The sun and the river+ The sun and the river, which together were—for Egyptians—the dominating cause of all existence, made a profound impression. They were two natural forces with both creative and destruction powers. The life-giving rays of the sun that caused the crops to grow also caused them to shrivel and die. The river which invigorated the soil with its life-giving silt could destroy whatever lay in its path or, if it failed to rise sufficiently, bring famine. The sun and the river, moreover, shared in the pattern of death and rebirth. The sun died when it sank on the western horizon, only to be reborn in the eastern sky on the following morning. And the death of the land followed by the germination or rebirth of the crops each year was directly connected with the river’s annual flood. Rebirth was therefore a central feature of Egyptian science. It was a natural sequence of death, and undoubtedly lay at the root of the ancient Egyptian conviction of life after death. +Creating himself+ Some of the earliest myths tell of a time when Nun, the eternal ocean, filled the universe. When the water subsided, much as the Nile flood subsided each year, it left pools and streams swarming with life. A primaeval hill appeared, and it was on this hill—according to the Heliopolis doctrine—that Atum-Ra created himself out of himself. Atum was the creator who had existed at all time; Ra was the sun god. Atum-Ra was therefore both the sun 2
    • and the creator, who was believed to sail across the heavens each day in a barge not unlike the papyrus boats that travelled up and down the Nile. +Heaven and earth+ Atum-Ra had four children, all of whom he drew from himself. They were Shu and Tefnut, the gods of air and moisture, and Geb and Nut, the god of the earth and the goddess of the sky. Geb and Nut were at first baked together as one, but on the sun god’s orders Shu, the atmosphere, came between them. He lifted the sky goddess to the heavens, leaving the Earth god prone on the ground. Thus was described the watery void and the primaeval hill, the separation of heaven and earth. When the sun god crossed the heavens and cast his rays upon the earth, there was light. And when he entered the underworld at night there was darkness, and so he delegated his power to Thoth, the moon good. +Good and evil+ Nut the sky goddess and Geb the earth god had four children. These were the four gods of the nature cult: Osiris, Isis, Set and Nepthys. The Heliopolitan Doctrine, also called the Ennead (Nine Gods) therefore comprised the +Solar cult+—Atum-Ra, Shu (air), Tefnut (moisture), Geb (Earth) and Nut (sky), and the +Nature cult+—Geb(earth) and Nut(sky), Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nepthys. Osiris and Isis had a son, Horus. The myths has it that the struggle between good and evil is demonstrated by the assassination of Osiris by his jealous brother Set, and how Horus avenged the death of his father. The name Horus was later bestowed as one of the titles of the ruling Pharaoh. 3
    • WATANI English Section 7 September 2003 Writer: Erian Hanna / copy editor: Samia/Jenny Word count: 856 + 215 Tracing the people’s history +++In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series—compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. In this episode, Mr Hanna looks at how the Egyptians prepared for the afterlife, and how commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did.+++ The builders of the pyramids Erian labib Hanna The guide to the Egyptian museum gives a brief outline of the ancient Dynasties as follows: 1
    • The Early Dynastic Period: c. 3200 BC Old Kingdom: Third Dynasty: c. 2780 BC Fourth Dynasty: c. 2720 BC Sixth Dynasty: c. 2420 BC First Intermediate Period c. 2250 BC Middle Kingdom (11th–13th dynasties: c. 2140-1785 BC) Second intermediate period: c.1785-1580 BC New Kingdom: c.1580-1084 BC 26th Dynasty: 596 BC Persian conquest: 525 BC Alexander the Great: 332 BC +The Old Kingdom+ The achievement of the civilisation of the Old Kingdom has to be assesed from the funerary monuments around the great sites near Memphis—the architecture and sculpture that have survived in a ruinous condition at the cemeteries near Giza, Saqqara, Abu-Sir and Dahshur. The Step Pyramid at Saqqara is the first pyramid whose genius architect is Imhotep. At Dahshur and at Maidum, unusual shapes appeared amongst the pyramid erected. The Pyramid of Maidum, c.2630 BC, apparently stands upon a conical hill. The Bent Pyramid of Dahshur, c. 2000 BC, stands on the eastern edge of the desert plateau. The Northern Pyramid at Dahshur is the first true pyramid, with its slope rising at a great angle of 43˚36'. Both pyramids were built by Seneferu, founder of the Fourth Dynasty. His son Cheops, or Khufu, built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the Great Pyramid at Giza. +Mighty monument+ The climax of this development came early, with the building of that pyramid. The vizier Hemon, a cousin of Cheops, was the Pharaoh’s Master of Works and evidently responsible for this mighty monument, which was built to an astonishing degree of accuracy by the simplest of means. The impressive statue of Hemon from his tomb at Giza gives a brilliant portrait of this resourceful architect and engineer. Well over two million large blocks of limestone (about 2,300,00 blocks) were used in the construction of the pyramid, some of them weighing as much as 15 tons. The stone for the core was hewn on the spot, but the facing blocks were of finer limestone and were quarried at Tura on the other side of the river. The three great pyramids at Giza belonged to Kufu, Khafra and Menkara; their names given by the Greeks were Kheops (Cheops), Khephren (Chefren) and Mykernius. At Abusir there are three pyramids built by the Pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty: Nefer- in- Ka-re, Weser-re and Sahu-re. 2
    • +The pyramid texts+ In the pyramid of Wenis at Saqqara we find Pyramid texts which were increased in number and were known in the Middle Kingdom as the sarcophagus texts (or coffin texts). They increased further in number in the New Kingdom, and were then known as the Book of the Dead. The walls of the burial chamber and the vestibule of the pyramid of Wenis are covered with hieroglyphs in the vertical columns filled in with blue paint. +The civilisation of the Old Kingdom+ In the earliest dynasties it would appear that the king ruled the whole of Egypt as his private estate as late as the Fourth Dynasty. The palace with its adjoining official buildings was the Great House (the Per-as) whence the Hebrew 'Pharaoh', a circumlocution later used for the king himself. The government of the country was conducted by chosen officials to whom the royal authority had been delegated. Many of them were sons or near relatives of the Pharaoh, who sponsored their upbringing and education, granted them property during their lifetime and saw to the provision of their tombs or funerary endowments after death. This highly centralised state began gradually to split up from the later years of the Fourth Dynasty, when the provinicial governorships and other offices came to be regarded as hereditary appointments. The resources of the state treasury were eroded by gifts of land, exemptions from taxation, often in perpetuity, and alienation of income or property, mostly for the benefit of the occupants of vast cities of the dead around the silent pyramids of their former rules. On the other hand, the provincial governors, now fast becoming feudal potentates, no longer sought burial near the tomb of their overlord but made their own cemeteries in the district capital, and clearly regarded themselves as little inferior to so many minor Pharaohs. +The first revolution+ Under the divine authority of the Pharaoh, Egypt during the Old Kingdom achieved a vigorous characteristic and self-assured culture, untroubled by doubts and unfaltering in its belief that material success depended upon completing a practical education, doing right by the Pharaoh, respecting superiors, and exercising moderation in all things. By the end of the Sixth Dynasty people could no longer bear the tyranny of the feudal vassals—the rulers of the provinces who acted as if they were Pharaohs. That was the social side of the revolution. The religious part was against the Pharaoh’s claimed right of immortality. The people asked for their right in the afterlife. 3
    • The difference between the pyramids texts and the coffin texts is remarkable, and the victory of the popular religion (tjat of Osiris) over the official religion (of Ra), and that will be the topic of the next article. 4
    • WATANI English Section 5 October 2003 Writer: Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 885 + 235 Tracing the people’s history +++In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series—compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. Commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later mutated into the Book of the Dead. In this episode, Mr Hanna describes the first popular revolution.+++ The First Revolution Erian Labib Hanna Photo courtesy of Thomas Foley When pressure builds up inside a boiler, there is an eruption. That is 1
    • precisely what happened in Egypt at the close of the Old Kingdom. The common people, suffering under a feudal system, found themselves deprived of their right to resurrection in the afterlife, a privilege, or so it was ordained in the pyramid texts, reserved only for the Pharaoh. The pyramid texts are mostly a collection of spells or magical incantations and chants, many of which, although translated, are still somewhat obscure in meaning. The purpose of the texts was to secure the apotheosis of the Pharaoh and his well being in the after life It was believed that the magical potency of the inscribed word was sufficient to guarantee this afterlife. Many of the words used contained hieroglyphic signs depicting humans or animals, and it was thought that a danger might exist in having these potentially destructive elements so close to the deceased in his tomb. Hence the scribe drew deliberately mutilated signs with, for example, amputated legs or arms in the case of humans, or else he substituted less harmful and inanimate signs for the dangerous ones. More than 700 spells are known, but in the pyramid of Wenis only 128 are recorded. +Blocked from view+ In the poem entitled “The Admonitions of a Prophet” we are given more details about what happened in that popular revolution. The time at which this break-up of ordered government in Egypt is to be thought of as taking place, is at the end of the Old Kingdom. At the conclusion of the Sixth Dynasty (circa 2500 BC) Egypt was abruptly blotted out of our sight, the sudden obscurity indicating that a great catastrophe overwhelmed the country. Furthermore, the few records passed down to us through the following centuries show that civilisation, formerly at such a high level, declined—exactly what one would expect from some of the contemporary descriptions. The ruler whom the sage in the poem addresses is apparently an aged man, which is also perfectly in agreement with known facts. For the monarch with whom the Old Kingdom disappears from the pages of history is none other than the second Phiops, who came to the throne at the age of six and who, according to Egyptian tradition, reigned for 93 years. +Upheaval+ The following extracts clarify what happened during the revolution. The first poem is concerned mainly with the general distress which signifies social disorder—robbery, murder, vandalism and famine. Officials are 2
    • expelled, the administration destroyed, foreign trade is at a standstill. Foreigners invade the country, and the rabble occupy the positions formerly held by the upper classes. “A man goes to plough with his shield… Nay, but the Nile is in flood, yet none ploughs for him… “Nay, but poor men now possess fine things. He who once could not make sandals for himself now possesses riches… “Nay, but gold and lapis lazuli, silver and turquoise, carnelian, bronze and marble… are hung about the necks of slave-girls. “But noble ladies walk through the land, and mistresses of houses say, ‘Would that we had something we might eat’… “Nay, but great and small say, ‘I wish I were dead.’ Little children say, ‘He ought never to have caused me to live.’ “Nay, but men feed on herbs and drink water. No fruit nor herbs any longer are found for the birds.” The disasters described in the second poem far surpass those hitherto complained of. Even the monarchy is now destroyed, and the masses are completely triumphant. It is pointed out over and over again how rich they have become, while the upper classes are sunk in misery. “Behold, the rich man sleeps thirty. He that once begged him for his dregs Now possesses strong beer. “Behold, the poor of the land have become rich; He that possessed something is now one that hath nothing. “Behold, noble ladies, great ladies, Who possessed goodly things; Their children are given to the beds. “Behold, he that had a lady to wife, her father protects him… Their cattle belong to plunderers” “Behold, a man is slain beside his brother. He leaves him in the lurch in order to rescue himself.” 3
    • From the third and fourth poems: “The Delta weeps, the storehouse of the Pharaoh is for every one.” In the fifth poem the sage blames the Pharaoh, and laments over the fact that men desire to give birth. Strange to say, we find in the sixth poem a description of the happy times the future holds in store. This shows the Egyptian’s optimistic side, the one who still expects his or her misery to come to an end and who hopes for better days to come. From the sixth poem: Here the poet Ipuwer repeats the words, “It is good.” “But it is good when ships sail upstream…” “But it is good when the net is drawn in and the birds are made fast.” “But it is good when rejoicing is in men’s mouths, and the magnates of the district stand and look on at the jubilation in their houses, clad in fine raiment” The next article will be on “The One God”, and how Egypt was ripe for later accepting Christianity. There will be more on the differences between the official religion and the popular religion. 4
    • WATANI English Section 2 November 2003 Writer: Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 972 + 256 Caption: From left: Anubis escorts the deceased person from the tomb. The heart is placed on one side of the scales and the feather of Ma’at is placed on the other. If the dead person proves to be innocent, the god of wisdom writes down his name, then Horus introduces him or her to Osiris to be rewarded with a place in paradise and eternity. On top of the picture we find the dead person standing before the local gods and goddesses to ascertain whether he has committed any crimes. Tracing the people’s history +In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series—compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. In the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later mutated into the Book of the Dead. In this episode, Mr Hanna shows that, despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god.+ 1
    • The One God Erian Labib Hanna From the attributes of God set forth in Egyptian texts of all periods, Dr Brugsch, de Rouge and other eminent Egyptologists have come to the opinion that, from the earliest times, the dwellers in the Nile Valley actually worshipped One God; albeit that he was nameless, incomprehensible, and eternal. In 1860 de Rouge wrote of “the unity of a supreme and self-existent being, his eternity, his ‘almightiness’,” and the “external reproduction thereby as God; the attributing of the creation of the world and of all living beings to the supreme God; the immortality of the soul completed by the dogma of punishments and rewards: such is the sublime and persistent base which, notwithstanding all deviations and all mythological embellishments, must secure for the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians a most honourable place among the religious of antiquity.” +Infinite and eternal+ Nine years later de Rouge refined this view, addressing the difficulty of reconciling the belief in the unity of God with the polytheism which had existed in Egypt from earliest times. He repeated his conviction that the Egyptians believed in a self-existent God who was one Being, who had created man, and who had endowed him with an immortal soul. In fact, de Rouge amplified what Champollion-Figeac (relying upon information supplied by his brother) wrote in 1839: “The Egyptian religion was a pure monotheism which manifested itself externally by a symbolic polytheism.” Pierret adopts the view that the texts show us that the Egyptians believed in one infinite and eternal God who was without a second, and he repeats Champollion’s dictum. +The One and only+ But the most recent supporter of the monotheistic theory is Brugsch, who has collected a number of striking passages. From these passages we can select the following: “God is one and alone, and none other existeth with Him. God is the One, the One who has made all things. 2
    • God is a spirit, a hidden spirit, the spirit of spirits, The great spirit of the Egyptians, the divine spirit. God is from the beginning. He hath existed from old, and was when nothing else had being. He existed when nothing else existed. He created after He had come into being. He is the Father of beginnings. God is the eternal One. He is eternal and infinite and endureth for ever and an age. God is hidden and no man knoweth His form. No man has been able to seek out His likeness; He is hidden to gods and men, and He is a mystery unto His creatures. No man knoweth how to know Him: His name remaineth hidden, His name is mystery unto his children. His names are innumerable, They are manifold and none knoweth their number. God is truth and he liveth by truth, and He feedeth thereon. He is the King of truth, and He hath established the earth; Thereupon-God is life and through Him only man liveth. He giveth life to man, He breatheth the breath of life into his nostrils. God is father and mother, The father of fathers, and the mother of mothers. He begetteth, and was never begotten; He produceth, but was never produced; He begot himself and produced himself. He createth, but was never created; He is the maker of his own origin, and the fashioner of His own body— God Himself is existence, He endureth without increase or diminution, He multiplieth Himself millions of times, and He is manifold in forms and numbers. God hath made the universe, and He hath created all that therein is, He is the Creator of what is in this world, and of what was, of what is, and of what shall be. He is the creator of the heavens, and of the earth, and of the deep, and of the water, and of the mountains. God hath stretched out the heavens and founded the earth; what His heart conceived straightway came to pass, and when he hath spoken, it cometh to pass and endureth forever. 3
    • God is the father of the gods; He fashioned men and formed the gods. God is merciful unto those who revere Him, and he heareth him that calleth upon Him. God knoweth him that acknowledgeth Him, He rewardeth him that serveth Him, and He protecteth him that followeth Him.” +The official religion+ The pyramid texts repeat the doctrine of the official religion, with Ra (the creator) being predominant. Concerning the pharaoh, we find such a text as this: “Soul to heaven, body to earth; the essence is in heaven, thy body to earth.” This text is found during the fifth and sixth dynasties, in the Old Kingdom. +The popular religion+ In the coffin texts and ++The Book of the Dead++ we find this popular religion is predominant, with Osiris taking the place of Ra: In the chapter of “Not dying a second time”, saith Osiris: “Homage to you, O ye lords of right and truth, and ye holy ones who stand behind Osiris.” In order to avoid any misunderstanding concerning the One God, ancient theologians confirmed that: “Ra is Osiris, and Osiris is Ra.” Ra is the creator and Osiris is the Judge. Here, the ordinary man as well as the pharaoh stands before Osiris, with his heart placed in one pan of the scales so that Ma’at, goddess of justice and truth, can weigh it against the feather (representing her virtues) in the other pan. The scholar of Egyptian religion E.A. Wallis Budge, keeper of Assyrian and Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, expressed his admiration of our ancestors when he said: “An attempt has been made to illustrate from native Egyptian sources the religious views of the wonderful people who more 5,000 years ago proclaimed the resurrection of the spiritual body and the immortality of the soul." The next article deals with the powers of darkness-Evil 4
    • WATANI English Section 7 December 2003 Translator: Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 1,092 + 269 Tracing the people’s history +In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series—compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+—demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later mutated into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and as, Mr Hanna shows in this episode, its afterlife ‘hell’ is very similar to that of the later Christian religion.+ 1
    • The power of darkness Erian Labib Hanna In the Dover edition of the Book of the Dead (1976) we read the following: The Egyptians imagined the existence of other powers who presented opposition to the dead, and might be called his enemies. Like so many of the ancient gods, these powers were originally certain forces of nature which were believed to be opposed: darkness to light, and night to day. With darkness and night were also associated the powers that played any part at all in obscuring the light of the sun or preventing it from shining. When the Egyptians personified the powers of nature—that is to say, their gods—they usually gave them human forms and conceived them in their own image, but when they personified opposing powers they gave them the shapes of noxious animals and reptiles, such as snakes and scorpions. As time went on, the moral ideas of good and right were attributed to the former, and evil and wickedness to the latter. +Enemies of the dead+ Although the deceased was identified with Horus or Ra, the victory which the god gained over Set only benefited the spiritual body which dwelt in heaven, and did not preserve the natural body. The enemy of this was the worm, and from earliest times it seems that a huge worm or serpent was chosen by the Egyptians as the epitome of the powers which were hostile to the dead and also of the foe against whom the Sun god fought. Already, in the pyramid of Unas, a long piece of the text contains nothing but formulae to be recited to invoke protection of the deceased from various types of snake and worm. These are exceedingly ancient; indeed, they may safely be said to form one of the oldest parts of the funeral literature of the Egyptians. In later editions of the Book of the Dead and certain Coptic works the dread of the serpent and its being symbolic of physical and moral evil exists among all generations, and their belief in a limbo filled with snakes affected their imagination long after their conversion to Christianity. +Pyramid texts+ 2
    • The charms against serpents in the pyramid texts of the fifth and sixth dynasties (the Old Kingdom) have their equivalents in the 31st and 33rd chapters of the Book of the Dead, which are found on coffins of the 11th and 12th dynasties (the Middle Kingdom), and in the 18th dynasty (the New Kingdom). We find vignettes in which the deceased is depicted in the act of spearing a crocodile or killing serpents. In the Theban and the Saite versions are several small chapters, the recital of which drove away reptiles. Of these the most important is the 39th chapter which preserved the deceased from the attack of the great serpent Apef or Apep, who is depicted with knives stuck in his folds. During the later dynasties a service was performed daily in the temple of Amen-Ra at Thebes to deliver the Sun god from the assault of this fiend. On each occasion it was accompanied by a ceremony in which a wax figure of Apep was burnt in the fire and the wax melted so the power of Apep was destroyed. +Heart-eater+ The judgment in the Theban edition of the Book of the Dead reveals the belief in the existence of a tri-formed monster, part crocodile, part lion, and part hippopotamus, whom the Egyptians called Am-met, i.e. the eater of the dead, and who lived in Amenta. Her place is beside the scales where the heart is weighed, and it is clear that she was waiting to devour such hearts as failed to balance the feather of Ma-at. In one papyrus she is depicted crouching by the side of a lake. Other examples of evil were the insect Apshai, confounded in other times with the tortoise which dies as Ra lives; the crocodile Sobek, who afterwards became identified with Ra, the hippopotamus, the ass, etc. +Devils of the underworld+ The pyramid texts afford scant information about the fiends and devils with which the later Egyptians peopled certain parts of Tuat (the underworld). The underworld was divided into 12 parts, corresponding to the 12 hours of the night, and this Book professed to afford to the deceased the means whereby he or she might pass through them successfully. In one of these divisions, which was under the rule of the god Seker, the entrance was guarded by a serpent on four legs with a human head, and within were a serpent with serpentine heads, scorpions, vipers and winged monsters of terrifying aspect. Their abode was a vast desert place, and seemingly the darkness was so thick there that it could be felt. In other divisions we find serpents spitting fire, lions, crocodile-headed gods, a serpent that devours the dead, a huge crocodile, and many other reptiles of diverse shapes and forms. 3
    • From the descriptions which accompany the scenes, it is evident that the underworld was regarded by the Egyptians of the 18th dynasty from a moral as well as from the physical point of view. Apep, the emblem of evil, was here punished and overcome, and here dwelt the souls of the wicked and the righteous, who received the punishment or rewards meted out to them by the decree of Ra and his company of gods. +Hellfire+ The chief instruments of punishment employed by the gods were beatings and fire, which devoured the souls and bodies of the enemies of Ra. The literature of the Copts shows how long the belief in a hell of fire and torturing fiends survived. In the life of Abba Shenuti a man is told that the “executions of Amenti (Am-met) will not show compassion upon the wretched soul.” In the history of Pisentios, a Coptic Bishop of the seventh century, a series of details which reflect the Tuat of the ancient Egyptians in a remarkable manner are depicted. The bishop having taken up his abode in a tomb filled with mummies, they told him stories of being delivered to merciless tormentors who tortured them in a place where there were multitudes of savage beasts; and, when they had been cast into the place of outer darkness, they saw a ditch more than 200 feet deep filled with reptiles, each of which had seven heads, and all their bodies were covered as it were with scorpions. It may appear that the old heathen ideas of the Egyptian Tuat were applied to the construction of the Coptic Hell. The next article will present the Negative Confession. 4
    • WATANI English Section 4 January 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 278 + 716 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series—compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+—demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later mutated into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, its afterlife ‘hell’ was very similar to that of the later Christian religion, and as, Mr Hanna shows in this episode, a very high value was placed on its morals. The Negative confession Erian Labib Hanna 1
    • The Egyptians believed that man consisted of a body, soul, intelligence, a double a sekhem (power), a shadow, a spiritual body and a heart. The word ++ka++ means “image”. The ++ka++ seems to have been the “ghost” of a person, as we should say today, and it has been defined on his abstract personality, to which after death, the Egyptians gave a material form. It was a subordinate part of the human being during life, but after death it become active; and to it the offerings brought to the tomb by the relatives of the dead were dedicated—it was believed that it returned to the body and had a share in its re-vivification. The ++khat++ indicated a body which has obtained a degree of knowledge and glory whereby it henceforth became lasting and incorruptible. The body became a ++sahu++ (pronounced sakhu)—or spiritual body—which has the power of associating with the soul and of holding converse with it. In this form it can ascend into heaven and dwell with the gods. +Judgement Day+ The ‘Papyrus of Ani’ depicts the Trial on Judgement Day, when Ani has to address severally the forty-two who are seated in a row in the middle of The Hall of Double Right and Truth. On the right, at the end of the hall, are four small vignettes in which are depicted two seated figures of the goddess of justice Maat, with a feather, emblematic of Right and Truth, on the head, and sceptres and emblems of life in the right and left hands. Also depicted is Osiris seated, wearing the ++atef++ crown and holding in his hands the crook and flail. Before him, by the side of an altar of offerings stands Ani, with both hands raised in adoration. In one scale of a balance, Ani’s heart—symbolising his conscience—is placed, and a feather—emblematic of Right and Truth—is placed in the other. Beside the balance is the tri-formed monster Amemit, ready to eat Ani’s heart if he is found guilty. Thoth, ibis-headed is shown seated on a pylon- shaped pedestal pointing a large feather of Maat. The deceased should utter certain words to separate himself from his sin, and to be able to see god, the lord of mankind. It is to be noted that God with capital ‘g’ denotes the Creator, and the great gods—with small ‘g’—were created by the Creator who was always referred to as “NTR- AA” i.e. the great god.) +The Negative confession+ 2
    • The confession presented in 42 sentences. They explain the Egyptian morality and they exceed the ten commandments. Ani says: “Hail, those whose strides are long, who comest forth from Annu, I have not done iniquity”. “Hail, thou who art embraced by flame, who comest forth from Rheraba, I have not sobbed with violence. “Hail, Fentin, who comest from Rhemennu, I have not stolen” “Hail, Devourer of the shade, who comest forth from Qernet, I have done no murder; I have done no harm. Ani continues to deny that he had defrauded offerings, minished oblations, plundered the god, spoken any lies, snatched away food, caused pain, or committed fornication. He had not transgressed, caused any shedding of tears, dealt deceitfully, acted guilefully, been an eavesdropper, set his lips in motion [against any man], burned with rage, nor been angry and wrathful except for a just cause. Ani confirms—twice—that he had never defiled the wife of any man, the repetition denoting that the crime was doublefold against the woman and her husband. He denies he ever polluted himself, caused terror, worked grief, acted with insolence, stirred up strife, judged hastily, multiplied words exceedingly, spoke scornfully, stole, filched the food of the infant, or did any harm or ill. He vows he never cursed the king, cursed God, defrauded the offerings of the gods, plundered the offerings to the blessed dead, slaughtered with evil intent the cattle of the god, nor sinned against the gods of his native town. Ani asserts his commitment to a clean environment when he declares that he never fouled the water nor laid waste the ploughed land. He stresses that he had not stopped his ears against the words of Right and Truth. In the next article, the morality behind the negative confession will be tackled. 3
    • WATANI English Section 1 February 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 280 + 590 Egyptology 8 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, a very high value was placed on its morals and as, Mr Hanna shows in this episode, it had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. The morality behind the Negative Confessions 1
    • Erian Labib Hanna Ms Jill Kamel who has lived in Egypt and studied its history thoroughly said: “The ethics of the instruction literature appeared in religious texts in the Middle Kingdom in the form of the ‘Negative Confession’.” In fact, nothing can better illustrate the ancient Egyptian morality than this set of negations. +Right and Truth+ The ancient Egyptian enjoyed social justice during the periods of the Great Pharaohs before being defeated and consequently subjugated by foreigners. In the afterlife, there was “Right and Truth” symbolised by the balance in the Hall of Double Right and Truth. Osiris stands with the crook and flail implementing Fair Judgement. The heart—symbolising conscience—is weighed in the balance against the feather of Maat, the goddess of justice. Justice is immediately implemented by the tri-formed monster Amemit who stands by ready to devour the wrongdoer’s heart. +Honouring good+ The Negative Confession revealed the values and manners of the people at that time. They showed respect to their gods as in the confession “I have never cursed God”, their Pharaoh and their fellowmen and women as in “I have done no harm” and “I have not snatched any food”. They honoured love, justice, good manners and family bonds. They hated evil, deceitful behaviour, violence, robbery, and harm to others. The confessions include “I have not caused the shedding of tears”; “I have not dealt deceitfully”; “I have not transgressed”; “I have not acted guilefully”; “I have not set my lips in motion [against any man]”; and “I have not been angry and wrathful except for a just cause”. They did not allow destruction of ploughed land. They abhorred lies, defiling the wives of others, or committing fornication. On the personal level, the ancient Egyptians declared their refusal of any bad conduct in such sentences as “I have not polluted myself”, “I have not burned with rage”, “I have not judged hastily”, “I have not worked grief”, or “I have not stopped my ears against the words of Right and Truth”. +Equal before God+ On Judgement Day, equality was applied to all. There were only the deeds and the balance. There was no difference between the king and the poorest man. All stood before The Judge, the heart on the pan of the 2
    • scales and the “Maat” feather on the other pan. Even the famous code of laws of Hammurabi, who lived in about 1880 BC, did not regard that equality; the nobles were given special privileges. The ancient Egyptians knew the ++sahu++—prorounced sakhu—or spiritual body, and believed that the soul—the Ba—if good, went to heaven. +Parallel beliefs+ Again, the resemblance to subsequent Christian values is very obvious. Christians believe in the One Creator, and so did the ancient Egyptians, even if each theological school gave him a different name: Ptah, Ra, Khunum, Amun, or any other; he was still the Great God ++Neter- Aha++. The Egyptians believed in Judgement Day and in reward and punishment, and so do the Christians. The Egyptian ++sahu++ is all too similar to the spiritual body mentioned by St Paul. Christianity though added the concept of the Redemption of souls. With this in mind, it may be easy to understand why Egyptians embraced Christianity so readily, and why so many of them willingly died as martyrs of their faith. Just as man possesses a ‘biological clock’ that adjusts the body functions, it appears very plausible that man also possesses some sort of ‘spiritual compass’ that directs the soul towards the Heavens. The next article will review ancient Egyptian culture. 3
    • WATANI English Section 7 March 2004 Writer: Erian Hanna / copy editor: Samia/Jenny Word count: 671 + 284 Pictures: Handbook to the Bible. PP 291 (A worshipper from Egypt; 153 (Fowling scene); 161 (cattle). Egyptology 9 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, a very high value was placed on its morals and it had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. In this episode, Mr Hanna casts light on the people’s culture. 1
    • The people’s culture Erian Labib Hanna For a better understanding of the ancient Egyptians, their culture needs to be explored. This includes their literature, wisdom and wise sayings, their customs and way of living, their prayers—which mirror their belief in the Great Creator and Eternity, their philosophy—part of which pertains to religion and the soul, and part of which pertains to social relations including family bonds, legislation and jurisprudence. The intellectual literati included physicians, architects, landed noblemen, craftsmen such as artists and sculptors, and peasant farmers and labourers. +No passive people+ As the history of the people, their beliefs and thoughts are traced, it becomes evident that this was no passive people, in the sense that they were not driven like cattle by their rulers—even their national rulers, the pharaohs. Rather, they took an active role in shaping their thought, their social behaviour, the way of they brought up their children, their popular religion which compelled their pharaohs to stand before Osiris as the Judge on Judgement Day. It is fit to be reminded of the phrase that ‘Ra is Osiris and Osiris is Ra’, which means that the One Creator was also the Judge. +Doubt+ Following is an interesting example of their poetry. In “Songs of the Banquets” there runs a note of doubt about the ‘afterlife’. The lines run: “None comes from thence that he may tell us how they fare, that he may tell us what they need, that he may set our heart at rest? Until we also go to the place whither they are gone.” Is that not similar to what Shakespeare expressed in Hamlet’s monologue: “To be or not to be, That is the question”? Shakespeare’s poem was written about 3,600 years after that song. Hamlet bore the ‘life of suffering’ and did not commit suicide to put an end to his torture. Perhaps this was because he was not sure what kind of life there was after death. No one had returned to tell about it. 2
    • +Wisdom+ ++Ancient Egyptian Poetry and Prose++ by Adolf Erman quotes a papyrus of the 22nd Dynasty (now in Cairo) written by the scribe Ani. This book is a late imitation of the old books of wisdom, and resembles them in the respect that in it, as in them, a father is propounding his teaching to his son: • Follow my words. • Be prudent in speech. • Be reticent. • Boast not of thy strength. • Found a family. • Be pious. • Be discreet on visits. • Beware of the harlot. • Be reserved in thy conduct. • The true piety is piety towards parents. • Be not a drunk, and • Lead an honest life. • Be mindful of death. • Cautious in social intercourse. • Possessions do not make for happiness. • Be respectful. • Be cautious in speech. • Relations with God. • Be grateful to thy mother. • Eat not bread if another is suffering want. • [On paying visits] Go not freely to a man in his house, but enter in only when thou art bidden. • Keep thyself far from tumults. • Treat thy wife well. • Be careful of women. Go not after a woman, in order that she may not steal thy heart away. • [Behaviour towards superiors] Answer not a superior who is enraged; get out of his way. • Say what is sweet. When he saith what is bitter to anyone, and make calm his heart. • Stand well with the authorities. +Heritage+ 3
    • Inherited values and morals constitute a people’s heritage. Heritage means Morality, Religion, Family Ties, Beliefs, Philosophy, Hopes, Spiritual Life, National Dignity, and common warm emotions that keep the link throughout the ages strong, consistent, and cohesive. The Family has given Egyptians cohesion and has preserved their culture. Social ties are the great factor behind their strength before the rulers who always tried to annihilate their character or at least deface it. The Egyptian Character stands behind Egyptian Nationalism. The next article will examine prayers and their meanings. 4
    • WATANI English Section 4 April 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 843 + 282 Egyptology 10 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, a very high value was placed on its morals and as, Mr Hanna shows in this episode, it had a lot in common with the Christian faith and prayers which followed. 1
    • Prayers and their meanings The oldest prayer to have survived is a prayer to the sun god in the Pyramids Texts. It addresses the Great God Neter-aha. “May you wake in peace, O purified, in peace May you wake in peace, O Horus of the East, in peace May you wake in peace, O soul of the East, in peace May you sleep in the Night-bark, May you wake in the Day-bark, For you are he who oversees the gods There is no god who oversees you.” (U.573) +One as many+ The effort to unify the sun-worshipping cults by creating a composite deity, alongside evidence of the development of local cults, evinces a movement towards both unity and plurality in the Old Kingdom. There was One God, ++The Great One++, but there were also many other gods. This should not be regarded as contradictory. To establish a politico-religious system the ruling power encouraged local religious identity, and, by promoting a god- king who commanded and possessed divine authority, limited the jurisdiction of the local priests and justified central dominance. “Unity is the purpose, plurality the method,” as Jill Kamil writes in ++The Ancient Egyptians++, p. 46. +Prayers of the oppressed+ Part of the philosophy of these down-to-earth ancient people pertained to religion—the soul, the afterlife, and the Great Creator, while part pertained to social relations such as the family—man, wife and children. Their prayers illustrated their spiritual life and relationship to the Great God, and affirmed their belonging to God. The ++Prayers of One Unjustly Persecuted++ include long laudations of the god, and end by entreating his assistance against a powerful personal enemy who has maliciously deprived the subject of his post. The god was believed to resist this enemy. He was the “Righteous judge that taketh no bribe. Thou helpest the needy but extendest not thine hand to the powerful.” The prayers 2
    • plead: “Comfort the wretched, O vizier, let him be in favour with Horus of the Palace.” It might be supposed that this man, whose verses schoolboys were set to copy alongside poems dating from the time of Rameses II, was a well known man of letters who had fallen into disfavour. +Writing exercises+ As Adolf Erman wrote in ++Ancient Egyptian Poetry and Prose++, these short poems are preserved for the most part in the form of school writing exercises, and many of the cares and aspirations which they lay before the gods are in accord with their origin. In the first place are those addressed to the celestial colleague and patron of the scribes, Thoth. P305. The ++Prayer to Thoth++ says: “Come to me Thoth, thou lordly ibis, thou god, for whom yearneth Hermopolis. Letter-writer of the nine gods, great one in Unu … come to me that thou mayest lead me, that thou mayest make me cunning in the calling. Fairer is thy calling than all callings; it maketh men great. “Come to me and care for me. I am a servant of thine house. So the multitude of men say: ‘Great things are they that Thoth hath done.’ So will they come with their children in order to brand them for thy office. “A goodly calling, O strong deliverer, and happy is he that followeth it.” +Helpful, kind gods+ Similar prayers were directed to Osiris, Ra the sun-god, and to Amun. People prayed to seek help from the gods and from the Creator, who had different names in the different theological schools. A few sentences from such prayers demonstrate the deep respect of the people to the One God and his company. It is clear that the kings in general were ‘fair and just’, so the people enjoyed social justice during their lifetime, and expected justice on Judgement Day in the afterlife. They prayed to helpful, kind and just gods who were created by the One Creator and to the Creator himself. The people prayed to Osiris: “Thou art the father and mother of mankind, They live in thy breath and they eat of the flesh of thy body. Primordial god is thy name.” And to Ra: “Thou sole and only one, Harakhti, like whom there is no other. Who protecteth millions and delivereth hundreds of thousands. The saviour of him that crieth unto him, the lord of Heliopolis … Punish me not for my many sins. I am one that knoweth not himself.” +The poor overcomes+ 3
    • And to Amun they prayed: “Amun changeth himself into the vizier—that is, he is also the chief justice—in order to cause the poor man to overcome. It is found that the poor man is justified, and that the poor passeth by the rich … my lord is my protector. Thou Amun, art the lord of him that is silent, one who cometh at the voice of the poor. If I call upon thee when I am in distress, thou comest that thou may deliver me. Thou givest breath to him that is wretched and thou deliverest me that am in bondage.” The next article will deal with the ancient centres of learning. 4
    • WATANI English Section 2 May 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 281 + 749 Egyptology 11 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to counteract the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. In the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, a very high value was placed on its morals and, it had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. In this episode Mr Hanna reviews the ancient centres of learning. 1
    • Centres of Learning Erian Labib Hanna The temples of Heliopolis, Sais and Memphis were centres of learning from earliest times, with medicine among the subjects taught. Titles such as Chief of Dental Physicians (Hesi-Ra), Palace Eye Expert, Physician of the Belly, One Comprehending Fluids and Guardian of the Anus (Iri), or Chief Occulist of the Royal Court (Wah-Dwa), support Herodotus’s observation that there were specialists in ancient Egypt in the various branches of medicine. The Ministry of Health, if one can call it that, comprised the Chiefs of Physicians and their assistants. These were not specialists and held the title Inspector of Physicians. The titles “Chief Physician of Upper Egypt” (Ibi) or “Greater Physician of Upper and Lower Egypt” indicate that there was within the medical profession a liaison between the various provinces and the central court. +Third or fourth hand+ Medical papyri, of which there are more than a score, are clear indication of the advancement in medical knowledge from very early times. Through texts dating from the Middle and New Kingdoms it has been established that these copies—sometimes third or fourth hand—of very early texts existed. Archaic grammar and obsolete words point to their antiquity, as do certain references to the Old Kingdom. The Berlin Medical Papyrus, for example, which is known as the Mother and Child Papyrus, bears a statement to say that it had been found underneath a statue near Giza in the time of the Pharaoh Den of the First Dynasty, and that it had been brought to the Pharaoh Sened, who was of the Second Dynasty, “because of its excellence”. The text was signed by “The Scribe of the Sacred Writings, the Chief of the Excellent Physicians, Neterhotep, who prepared the book”, that is, he copied it from the original manuscript. +No witch doctors+ The London medical payrus bears a statement that it was “brought as a marvel to the Majesty of Pharaoh Khufu”. The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, believed to be the earliest of all, might have been a copy of the 2
    • original manuscript of Djer, the second pharaoh of the First Dynasty, whose book on anatomy survived, according to Manetho, until Graeco-Roman times. This dealt with 48 carefully arranged surgical cases of wounds and fractures, detailing a dispassionate examination of the patient and prescribing cures. No ailment was ascribed to the activity of a demoniac power, and there was very little magic; the ancient Egyptians were not witch doctors who gave incantations but physicians who prescribed healing remedies and operations. Although some of the cures might be considered rather fanciful—such as the extract of the hair of a black calf to prevent greying—others became famous for their virtue in later times. +The doctor’s tomb+ This was a society where educated men sought methods to prolong life. Beliefs in the potency of spells or exorcism undoubtedly existed, especially among the lower classes, along with a belief in magical charms and talismans, but magico-religious medicine as such only flourished in later times. Medical and surgical papyri were undoubtedly compiled at different periods, each adding to the limited knowledge of predecessors. By the Sixth Dynasty there appears to have been a firmly established medical tradition. Mural reliefs provide further evidence of medical practice. Sesa’s tomb at Saqqara, dating from the Fifth Dynasty, is known as the Doctor’s Tomb. +Mummification+ The highly specialised profession of mummification was not perfected until the New Kingdom. Mummification of bodies was performed by priests, as against medicine which was practised by scholars. In the early dynastic period, bodies of the dead placed in the tombs were found to perish more quickly than those protected by warm sand. Since a lifelike appearance was deemed essential for continued existence in the after life, artificial means of preservation had to be sought. Early efforts in the Second Dynasty to accomplish this included modelling the features of the face, the genitals and the breasts in clay. This gave an uncannily lifelike appearance. Subsequently, linen strips dipped in resinous material were moulded on to the shrunken body, the individual fingers carefully wrapped, the body cavities stuffed with linen. Later, the intestines and vital organs were removed, wrapped in linen strips and immersed in a natron solution. This development led to the preservation of the viscera in four canopic jars placed in a box. The earliest found of these belonged to the mother of the Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid. 3
    • In the next article, the art and sculpture of the ancient Egyptians will be reviewed. 4
    • WATANI English Section 6 June 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 858 + 269 Egyptology 12/173 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. A very high value was placed on its morals, and it supported a high culture of literature and arts. 1
    • Art and sculpture of the Egyptians Ancient Egypt has handed down to us a heritage of monuments and antiquities which, because of their artistic merits, have been regarded with esteem and appreciation by art connoisseurs the world over. They also reveal the religious beliefs and thoughts of their originators, reflect their nature and feelings, and give an idea about their manners and morals as well as their political and economic activities. Egyptian art was destined to survive for thousands of years, during which it was subject to various impulses and social changes. +Early on+ Remains of a Neolithic culture in Egypt have been discovered at Merimda Beni-Salama, Wadi Hof, Fayoum and Deir Tasa. Although these have common features, they differ in many aspects and details. In Upper Egypt, the Badarians inherited the culture of Deir Tasa. They used copper to make beads and pins. The Badarian culture was followed by those of Naqaada I and Naqaada II, each of which had its own character and peculiarities. The industrial arts made a great advance. Flint working attained an apex never reached elsewhere. In their variety of form and material, the stone vases show a great efficiency of technical dexterity and artistic ability of considerable merit. Metalworking was much improved, and copper tools and weapons increased in number, type, and size. In early times, painting was very much confined to the inner and outer surfaces of certain types of pottery of Naqaada I and Naqaada II, and was carried out in a concise style and on a small scale. The decoration on the pottery of Naqaada is of an ornamental character with straight or almost straight lines in white, together forming, for the most part, geometrical designs of different forms, and sometimes showing representations of animals, or of men hunting or performing rites. +Part of a team+ Mural decoration and sculpture, largely required to fulfil funerary purposes, developed into a highly active industry. Although the sharp, clear outlines of the murals were chiselled with extraordinary delicacy and many of the statues are clearly the work of skilled hands, those that fashioned them were artisans rather than artists and were part of a team. Unfinished tombs provide evidence of the method of mural decoration. A chief artist prepared each surface by separating the different registers with the aid of cords dipped in red paint and subdividing these further 2
    • into rows or squares. The sections were then filled with figures of men, animals and hieroglyphic characters, each now representing a single activity. It seems probable that there was a common stock of themes from which a nobleman took his choice, for similar scenes are represented in different tombs with a reduction or increase in the number of individuals and the addition of such details as might please the artist. At first the Egyptian sculptors began to fashion figures made of Nile mud or clay. The sculptors kept on modelling the clay until they reached a high degree of excellence, as is evidenced by a pottery figure of the Badarian period. A statue of ivory has also come down to us, but the craftsmanship does not rank with the artistic standard apparent in the pottery figure owing to lack of experience on the part of sculptor in the new material. It is worthy of praise that, in using ivory for its beauty and compactness, he introduced an innovation in figure making that was compatible with the progress and wealth attained by the community at that time and that satisfied the desires of the wealthy and the proud. +The portrait sculptor+ Portrait sculptors were the greatest of the artists in the age of the Old Kingdom. The powerful and lifelike portraits of Khafre and Menkaure, the earliest in the history of art, show fidelity in portraiture and mastery of materials. Khafre had 23 cult statues in his valley temple, only five of which have been found. One of these, carved of diorite, is quite unique. The sculptors frequently gave a striking effect to the faces, especially those made of wood, by inserting pieces of quartz in the eye sockets with a copper stud, which served also as the pupil. All statues show a stress on the faithful reproduction of characteristics. For example, the statue of Khnum-hotep, a dwarf, modelled in refined detail with sturdy legs and corpulent body, is without doubt a masterpiece of realism. There were certain conventional poses: hands to sides, striding forward or seated, and a strict canon of proportions. Standing figures were 19 units high, while the seated figures were 15 units; the feet were the same length as the height of the head and neck, and the distance between the knees and the soles of the feet was twice as long as the feet. Drawing to scale, the artist could accurately enlarge a statue, or a scene. Although the statues in the tombs were fashioned to house the ++Ka++ (spiritual double) of the deceased, it should be mentioned that statuary was not yet a mechanical art, nor was portrait sculpture subjected to the mass production of funerary workshops apparent in later periods. The next article will tackle ancient Egyptian society and Egypt in the Bible. 3
    • WATANI English Section 4 July 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 565 + 282 Egyptology 13/177 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. A very high value was placed on its morals, and it supported a high culture of literature and arts. 1
    • Society in Ancient Egypt Erian Habib Hanna The apex of the social pyramid was the pharaoh. The main function of the pharaoh was to preserve +maat+, the proper order of things. In order to fulfil this function, the pharaoh was also the priest who presented the prescribed offerings to the gods, one of whom was usually the Chief of the Gods. The pharaoh’s power was maintained by constantly increasing number of government bureaucrats. Admission to this elite group was obtained through +education+, which, for the Ancient Egyptian, meant being trained as a scribe. Despite the autocratic nature of Egyptian government, scribal training seems to have been accessible to young boys from every class of society, thus providing a measure of democracy and freedom of opportunity. +The landed gentry+ There was also a class of landed gentry. The bureaucrats, the army and the landowners together formed the middle section of this pyramidal Egyptian society. The base of the pyramid – the largest segment of Egyptian society – was composed of the working class: servants, farmers and craftsmen. They were subject, as well, to being called upon to do forced labour in conjunction with royal projects, although we should probably not imagine that they were the oppressed builders of the pyramids and temples lamented in the in the propagandistic stories of the Biblical Exodus or History of Herodotus. Most Agricultural land belonged to the domains of the crown, the wealthy landowners or the temples, and was cultivated by tenant farmers and serfs. Grants of land were, however, given to individuals for loyal service and to promote economic development. Agricultural taxes were assessed in pharaoh on the basis of the harvest. +The family+ The Egyptians valued the stability of their pyramidal social system, and there are literary protests against the social upheaval that resulted from famine or invasion. It was horrifying to find maidservants wearing the jewellery of their noblewomen and the noblewomen reduced to wearing rags. In pharaonic times as now, Egyptians placed great value on establishing a family. Although no special legal act or ritual ceremony seems to have been 2
    • associated with marriage, the man was urged to take a woman to be his companion and the mistress of his house, and the mother of his children. Most marriages seem to have been monogamous, although a man might have several wives in succession. +Women+ Both men and women could own property, which they might purchase or inherit, and could leave it to the heirs of their choice. Then, at least from later periods of Egyptian history, we have evidence of legal documents which were drawn up detailing the wife’s property, which was to be returned to her in case of divorce, and requiring the husband to provide sustenance for the children and the determination of the marriage. Women, although they seem not to have been among the literate five to ten per cent of society, had independent legal status, and could enter into contracts. They could not, however, occupy positions in the governmental bureaucracy, which required scribal training. But women did participate in the religious life of the temples as sacred singers and dancers, and even, in later periods, rose to be powerful priestesses at the head of the religious hierarchy. At least in certain historical periods, a man’s right to occupy an office was inherited through his mother’s family. Matrilineal inheritance established legitimacy. The next article will tackle family ties in the Egyptian society 3
    • WATANI English Section 1 August 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Samia Word count: 295 + 539 Egyptology 14/181 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. A very high value was placed on its morals, and it supported a high culture of literature and arts. The society was close-knit and enjoyed harmonious relations, especially within the family unit. 1
    • Family Ties The Egyptian was in all periods of his history a lover of his home and family, and the relations between parents and their children were usually of the most affectionate character. His world was the village where his home was, and his kinsfolk were the only inhabitants of it that counted in his sight. +Lord and lady+ The Egyptian loved his home more than his country. The master of the house—the father and bread-winner—was the most important person in it, but his wife, who bore him children and brought them up was almost more important. She provided for the continuance of his family and preserved his name among the living and safeguarded his property. The wise and prudent mother in Ancient Egypt ruled from inside her house, and her influence was very great, and the more attention she gave to the well-being of her husband and the management of his property and his children, the greater was his power. There is no reason to doubt that women in Egypt held property in their own names and held money invested in business. +Marry, young man+ To found a family and establish a house was held to be the duty of every right-minded man, and the first step towards its fulfillment was +marriage+. The scribe Ani wrote: “Marry a wife whilst thou art a young man, and she will give thee thy son. If thou begetest a son whilst thou art young, thou wilt be able to train him to become a proper man.” How a marriage was “arranged” or brought about in the early period is not known, but we are justified in assuming that the method employed was the same then as it is now. After negotiations, an evening was fixed for the wedding, and the bride was brought to the bridegroom’s house and handed over to the bridegroom. The marriage festival followed the marriage-night, and rejoicing went on for days. Friends and kinsfolk of the bride and the bridegroom were entertained on a scale commensurate with the social position of the parents; animals were slaughtered and the poor were fed, and acrobatic performances and singing and dancing amused the guests. Whether 2
    • any religious ceremony was performed to consecrate the marriage is not known, but it is likely; nothing has yet been found that can be regarded as a Marriage Office. +Child’s play+ The children of rich and poor alike went about naked during the earliest years of their existence. The children of the rich and well-to-do folk played with balls made of rags, dolls made of wood and rags, and figures of animals, birds, etc., with movable legs and heads; peasants children played with each other, and made friends with cows, goats and pigeons. Even when quite young they helped their elders to tend the cattle and drive them to the canals or water channels to drink, and to keep the goats from straying. Boys were sent to school when they were about four years of age, and the period of their education lasted for ten or twelve years; there is no evidence that schools for girls existed, and it is not probable that they did. The next article will tackle childhood in the Egyptian civilisation. 3
    • 4
    • WATANI English Section 5 September 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 293 + 704 Egyptology 15/186 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the pharaohs—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. A very high value was placed on its morals, and it supported a high culture of literature and arts. The society was close-knit and enjoyed harmonious relations, especially within the family unit. 1
    • Childhood in Ancient Egypt Erian Labib Hanna The circumstances of their natural environment enabled the Egyptians to live in stability and look forward to a secure future, and children were therefore accorded great care and sympathy. They were the delight of the eyes of their parents, who would do their best to bring them up properly. The home was the cradle and first field of education. There the children learnt their first lessons about life and the stability and cohesion of the family unit, which deeply affected the formation of the child’s mentality in the right manner. +Good parenting+ Statues and drawings show us how much parents loved their children and took care of them. We see the father seating his child on his lap or sympathetically taking him by hand, or else kissing him. As for the mother, she is represented tenderly suckling her baby or combing her child’s hair with love and care. It gave the parents great happiness to see their children playing. Indeed it filled them with joy, especially when they accompanied them while hunting and fishing. However much the parents pampered their children and however enamoured of them they were; the children, for their part, loved them very much and respected them as well. Their books are filled with advice given by the philosophers in this respect. The philosopher Ptah-Hotep says: “How marvellous is the obedience of the son who comes and listens. Obedience is the best thing in the world. It is marvellous that the child obeys his father and thus makes him very happy.” The Egyptians also called for loving the mother, having compassion for her and holding her in great reverence, and furthermore they always reminded the children of her favour and the importance of her being pleased with them. The philosopher Ani advised his son: “Double the bread you give your mother and carry her as she carried you. She had a heavy load in you. When you were born after nine months, she carried you yet again about her neck, and for three years her breast was in your mouth; she was not disgusted and she put you to school when you had been taught how to write.” +Work and play+ 2
    • Housekeeping and taking care of children were the main task of the mother, since she laid the basis for bringing up her child physically and morally. She concerned herself with his health, playing with him lovingly, teaching him the first words and looking after him until he went to school. Parents in Ancient Egypt cared for the health of their children by keeping them clean and protecting them from disease. The father had a role in bringing up his child, teaching him moral principles and good behaviour and sending him to school. Yet entertainment was not neglected. The child enjoyed plenty of time to play, which obviously affected the development of his understanding. We have found many kinds of dolls and toys which the parents gave to their children. Some were moved by threads, like the ‘dancing dwarf’ statuettes, others were small ivory frogs or small wooden crocodiles with moving jaws, while others were in the form of dolls and small dummies made of terra-cotta pottery or wood and usually provided with moving arms and legs. The growing child shared with his friends collective games which had certain rules and were of great educational value in developing both body and mind. As the child grew up and became a boy, he had games suitable to his age, like the 'senet game' and 'snakes and ladders' which is still a popular game today. +Education starts at home+ As the child’s body was given care, his spirit and mind received similar attention. He usually learnt reading and writing at the hands of his parents before going to school, which proves that education started at home and among the family. Parents were very careful to encourage their children to learn and read, and, according to the following quotation, advised them that one of the best occupations was that of a clerk: “The clerk is the only one who manages the business of all people, and [the one] who hates knowledge becomes unfortunate.” The next article will deal with social justice in ancient Egypt. 3
    • WATANI English Section 3 October 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 298 + 636 Egyptology 16/190 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series which is compiled by +Mr Erian Labib Hanna+ demonstrated, through the slate stela of Narmer, that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ established themselves on the banks of the Nile and settled down to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, were hence the sources upon which the inhabitants’ spiritual and intellectual life was built. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the conflict between good and evil and the concept of an afterlife—emerged. And in the first popular revolution, commoners claimed their right to immortality just as their rulers did. The pyramid texts—pertaining to the kings—gave way to the sarcophagus texts—pertaining to the commoners—and later evolved into the Book of the Dead. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. A very high value was placed on its morals, and it supported a high culture of literature and arts. The society was close-knit and enjoyed harmonious relations, especially within the family unit. Social justice reigned. 1
    • Social Justice in ancient Egypt Erian Labib Hanna The ancient Egyptians believed that there was once a Golden Age which they called “The First Time”, when the principals of justice reigned over the land. What was actually meant by this phrase, often repeated in ancient Egyptian texts, is not known. It implies the beginning of an event and was often taken to mean “The Beginning” or Creation. The Egyptian priest Manetho, who wrote the history of Egypt in Graeco-Roman times, saw it as the pre-historic period which was filled by dynasties of gods and demi-gods. “The First Time” might, however, simply be recapitulations that reflect the Egyptians’ pride in their own culture, a confirmation that order once existed. A Golden Age when “Maat (Justice) came from heaven and joined those who lived on earth” may refer to the Old Kingdom civilisation, the purest period of Egypt’s ancient history. +Two cults+ Previous articles in this series referred to the One Creator, the “Great One-neter hah”, and the many local gods, which demonstrated both unity and plurality in the ancient Egyptian religion. This was repeated in the sacred writings of The Pyramid Texts, The Sarcophagus Texts and The Book of the Dead. Worth noting is that the ancient theologians found no contradiction between Unity and Plurality, but tried to reconcile the different interpretations. There were actually two parallel religions—the official religion, or the Ra cult, and the popular religion, or The Osiris cult. In order to reach a compromise between them, the Book of the Dead cites Ra as the Creator—according to the Sun doctrine in ‘Oan’—and Osiris as the Judge in the ‘Trial’ on Judgement Day. And since, according to The Book of the Dead “Ra is Osiris, and Osiris is Ra’, the Creator is then also the Judge. In addition, throughout ancient Egyptian history Maat, the goddess of Justice, Truth and Right, was always present. Even in the temples the priests used to raise the statue of Maat as a ritual at the end of prayers, a clear indication that there was Justice—Social Justice. +Rights restored+ Ancient Egyptian literature abounds with examples of social Justice in. In the complaint of the Eloquent Peasant, the peasant’s full rights were 2
    • restored and the evil administrator was punished for his wrongdoing. In the Negative Confession justice was preserved by everyone, whether ordinary people or officials. Even in the higher occupations justice was prevalent, as in the case of the promotion of Uni in the Old Kingdom. Uni was a man of humble birth who began his career as a minor official under the Pharaoh Teti and rose to the position of ‘Favoured Courtier’ under Pepi. In ancient Egypt a man who proved capable in performing one task was considered equally fit for others. Many persons of obscure origin or even base servitude rose to high honour and died governors of provinces or ministers of the pharaoh. Ti, the vigorous nobleman of the fifth dynasty who served under three pharaohs, was not of royal blood, yet his marriage to the princess Nefer-Hotep-s gave him special position and his children ranked with royalty. +Christianity+ The present series has so far covered the main features of the history of the Egyptians throughout the ancient eras which preceded Christianity, and will henceforth move on to the Christian—the Coptic—period. Many questions pertaining to this period beg answers, such as, “Why were the Egyptians among the first to embrace Christianity, and why were there so many Egyptian martyrs?” Future articles will refer as well to some differences between beliefs in Pharaonic Egypt and the Coptic Period, and ideas that were partly similar and partly different. This will all be within the context of the history of the ordinary people of Egypt, who in spite of much suffering still preserve the wisdom and perseverance of their great-grandfathers. 3
    • WATANI English Section 7 November 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 220 + 935 Egyptology 17/195 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down on the banks of the Nile to an agricultural life, it was natural that they should look around and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion—based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil—emerged. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptians’ religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had a lot in common with the Christian faith which followed. As the present article reveals, Egypt figured highly in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. Egypt and the Bible Erian Labib Hanna 1
    • Egypt’s first major role in the Bible is as a haven from famine for the patriarchs (Genesis 12:1; 42-47). Since Egypt had the Nile, she could prosper independently of the Mediterranean rains which were vital to Syria and Palestine. +Famine-relief+ Many others besides the Hebrew founding fathers sought famine-relief in Egypt. Back in the Old Kingdom, starving foreigners appear in sculptured scenes, while a thousand years later (about 1230 BC) Edomite tribesman are admitted to the pools of Pithom, ‘to keep them alive, and to keep their cattle alive, through the great provisions of Pharaoh’. Egypt maintained frontier guards and officials on her eastern border, visitors sometimes being escorted into the land (like Sinuhe in the story of Sinuhe) or out of it (like Abraham in Genesis 12:20). +Pharaoh’s dream+ The pharaohs of Abraham’s and Joseph’s time probably belonged to the XIIth and XIIIth/XVth dynasties (Middle Kingdom and after), when many foreigners found employment in Egypt at various levels, from slaves to high stewards (like Joseph under Potiphar, Genesis 39:1-4). And like Joseph (Genesis 41:45), many of his non-Egyptian contemporaries were given Egyptian second names. In all walks of life, amongst high and low, dreams were considered meaningful—so much so, that learned scribes wrote textbooks to help interpret them. The motif of seven cows occurs not only in Pharaoh’s dream (Genesis 14:18 ff), but also in Spell 148 of the Book of the Dead, which concerned food in the hereafter. +Land registers+ On the economic plane, the Egyptian authorities kept detailed registers of land-holdings, and measured off standing crops on the eve of harvest for tax purposes. With such a system, the measures Joseph proposed could readily have been carried out (Genesis 41: 34–35, 48–49, 47; 23 ff). In addition, the Delta was a preferred area for pasturing cattle (Genesis 46:34), a fact evident from inscriptions of about 1600 BC The fine linen garments worn by Joseph as a high official (Genesis 41:42) are familiar from countless Egyptian paintings, while the mummification and coffins of Egypt (Genesis 50: 2 – 3, 26) as well as the tombs (Exodus14: 11) are proverbial. 2
    • +Hebrew slaves+ Four centuries later, many Hebrews had become slaves in the brickfields of New Kingdom Egypt producing materials for the great building projects of that era. Their labours culminated in work on the cities of Pithom and Raamses (Exodus 1: 11), the latter being the famous East Delta residence of Pi-Ramesse, built by Ramses II. In contemporary papyri, we read of Apiru (people who include the Hebrews) who drag stone for the great pylon gateways of the temples of Ramses II; of men ‘making their quota daily’; and of officials having neither men nor straw to produce bricks (see Exodus 5: 7). Conditions in Exodus 5 are echoed in Egyptian documents of that day. Excavation of the village of workmen who cut the royal tombs in Western Thebes has yielded ‘work sheets’ scribbled on potsherds (pottery fragments which were the ancient equivalent of memo-pads). These record in detail days worked and days ‘idle’, sometimes giving specific reasons for the absenteeism of individuals: ‘his wife is ill’, or ‘brewing beer with the boss’, or even ‘stung by a scorpion’. Most interesting are the entries for a man ‘offering to his God’, or for the whole gang having several days off for a local religious festival. A relevant comparison is in Exodus 5: 1–5, where Moses seeks leave for the Hebrews, but Pharaoh is unwilling to concede further public holidays or to recognise Moses’ God. +Moses and the exodus+ That a princess in an East Delta harem could care deeply about a foreign child (Exodus 2) is not surprising in the cosmopolitan society of New Kingdom Egypt. We know that youngsters from Canaan were brought up in harems elsewhere. Foreigners were at every level of society, from the most insignificant slave to the cupbearer at the pharaoh’s right hand; a Moses was no anomaly here. The magicians and wise men of Exodus (7: 11; 8: 7; 18; 9: 11) were the chief lector priests and learned scribes. The Egyptians themselves told entertaining stories about the reputed exploits of such men. +Later periods+ Egypt reappears in biblical history at the time of David and Solomon. Solomon married a daughter of a pharaoh who conquered Gezer and gave it to him as a dowry (1 Kings 9: 16). That pharaoh was most likely to have been Siamun, who reigned about 970 BC and who probably raided the territory of the Philistines and South West Palestine, to judge from a broken triumphal relief found at Tanis, the capital of his dynasty (biblical Zoan). 3
    • The literary layout of Proverbs—largely a ‘wisdom-book of Solomon—shows affinity with other such works of the biblical Near East, a number of them being Egyptian. However, the often-repeated claim that Proverbs derives in part directly from an Egyptian work by Amenemope is without adequate foundation. Siamun’s line was soon replaced by a new ruler and a new dynasty. This was Sheshonq I, the biblical ‘Shishak’, founder of the XXIInd dynasty (1 Kings 11: 40; 14: 25). The new pharaoh saw Solomon’s Israel as a political and commercial rival. +Ages of decline+ Thereafter, Egypt’s real power swiftly sank. The Hebrew prophets rebuked their kings for relying on Egyptian support (see Isaiah 30, 31; Jeremiah 46). Egypt was no match for Assyria or Babylon, and with the rise of the Persian Empire it became a ‘lowly kingdom’ (Ezekiel 29: 1), losing any effective national independence for ages to come. The next article will tackle some similarities between ancient Egyptian and Christian beliefs. 4
    • WATANI English Section 5 December 2004 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 215 + 589 Egyptology 18/199 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured highly in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. Similar beliefs Erian Labib Hanna 1
    • Egyptologist Wallis Budge said in his introduction to the Book of the Dead in 1895, “…an attempt has been made to illustrate from native Egyptian sources the religious views of the wonderful people who more than five thousand years ago proclaimed the resurrection of a spiritual body and the immortality of the soul.” He thus referred to two points of similarity between the ancient Egyptian religion and Christianity: a spiritual body and the immortality of the soul. +The Doctrine of eternal life+ That the Egyptians believed in a future life is indisputable, and the doctrine of the eternal existence, the leading feature of their religion, is enunciated with the utmost clarity in all its historical periods. There is no doubt that from first to last the Egyptians firmly believed that besides the soul ++(ba)++ there was some other element of the person that would rise again. The physical body ++(khat)++ does not lie inoperative in the tomb, for by the prayers and ceremonies on the day of burial it is endowed with the power of changing into a ++s a h u++, or spiritual body. In close connection with the natural and spiritual bodies stood the heart ++(ab)++, or rather that part of it which was the seat of the power of life and the foundation of good and evil thoughts. In addition to the natural and spiritual bodies, man also had an abstract individuality or personality with an absolutely independent existence. It could freely move from place to place, separating itself from, or unifying itself to the body at will, and also enjoying life with the gods in heaven. This was the ++ka++, a word which at times conveys the meaning of its Coptic equivalent ++kw++: an image, genius, double, character, disposition, and mental attributes. The funeral offerings of meat, cakes, wine, ale, unguents, etc, were intended for the ++ka++. The ++ka++ seems to be identical with the ++sekhem++, or image, when it dwelt in the man’s statue. The following is a specimen of the ++ka++’s petition for food written in the Eighteenth Dynasty: “May the gods grant that I go into and come forth from my tomb, may the majesty refresh its shade, may I drink water from my cistern everyday.” +Body, soul, spirit+ In connection with the ++ka++ and ++ba++ must be mentioned the shadow, ++khaibit++, which the Egyptians regarded as part of the human abstract. Another important and apparently eternal part of man was intelligence or ++khu++ which, judging from the meaning of the word, may be defined as a ‘shining’ or translucent, intangible casing or covering 2
    • of the body, frequently depicted in the form of a mummy. For want of a better word, ++rhu++ has often been translated ‘shining one’, ‘glorious’, ‘intelligence’ and the like, but in certain cases it may be tolerably well rendered by ‘spirit’. The Pyramid Texts show us that the ++rhu++ of the gods lived in heaven, and thither wended the ++ka++ of a person as soon as the prayers said over the body enabled it to do so. Finally the name, ++ren++, of a man was believed to exist in heaven. Thus, as we have seen, the whole man consisted of a natural body, a spiritual body, a heart, a double, a shadow, an intangible ethereal casing or spirit, a form, and a name. And very clearly, man never absolutely died, but went on to live an afterlife. In Christianity, the resurrection of Christ is the evident proof of the afterlife. The next article will examine the ancient Egyptians’ notion of god. 3
    • WATANI English Section 2 January 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 215 + 595 Egyptology 19/203 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured highly in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. The Egyptians’ God The ancient Egyptians expressed their ‘doubt’ about the afterlife in the poem called “Songs at Banquets” in these lines: “None comes from 1
    • thence that he may tell us what they need, that he may set our heart at ease.” This is an inquiry by Man, who constantly meditates in an attempt to obtain an answer. Whereas Christianity deals with a ‘fact’, that of the Resurrection of Christ—the gospels were written by eyewitnesses who certified this cornerstone in Christian belief, ancient Egyptians believed—with no evidence—that death was and is not the end for a human being. +Firsts+ For Christians, Paradise was lost because of the sin of Adam and was restored by Christ. “The doctrine of the Redeemer was introduced by Christianity. We have new words first used by Christians: [Jesus, our Redeemer—Christians believe that Christ is the salvation of the world—salvation—ransom—redemption—Adam and the inherited sin—deliverance from sin—redeemed from sin.] The Triad was concerned with ancient Egyptian local gods such as Osiris, Isis, and Horus; Amun, Mut, and Khonsu; and so on, but the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) was introduced by Christianity. There was no mention of the creation of Satan—the ancient Egyptians believed that Evil came from man. +The One Creator+ The ancient Egyptians believed in the co-existence of Monotheism and Polytheism. They had the conception of ‘Neter–Aha’ which means the Great God, and bore a great similarity to the Christian belief in God. The following passage written by Jacques Joseph Figeac Champollion in 1839, clarifies that the Egyptian religion was a pure monotheism which remarkably manifested itself with polytheism. “God is one and alone, the One who hath made all things … none other existeth with him … God is a spirit, a hidden spirit, the spirit of spirits, the great spirit of the Egyptians, the divine spirit... God is from the beginning, He hath existed from old and was when nothing else had being. He created and came into being. He is the Father of beginnings... God is the eternal One, He is eternal and infinite and endureth for ever and age... God is hidden and no man knows His form. No man hath been able to seek out His likeness; He is a mystery unto his creatures. No man knoweth how to know Him... His name remains hidden … a mystery unto his children. His names are innumerable they are manifold and none knoweth their number... God is truth and He liveth by truth and feedeth thereon. He is the king of truth, and he hath established the earth thereupon... God is life and through Him only man liveth. He giveth life to man, He breatheth the breath of life into his nostrils... God is father and mother, the father of fathers, and the mother of mothers. He begetteth, but was never begotten; He produceth 2
    • but was never produced, He begat himself, and produced himself. He createth, but was never created. God Himself is existence, He endureth without increase or diminution… God hath made the universe, He hath created all that therein is; He is the creator of the heavens and of the earth; He fashioned men and formed the gods. God is merciful unto those who rever Him, and He heareth him that calleth upon Him. God knoweth him that acknowledgeth Him, He rewardeth him that serveth Him, and He protecteth him that followeth Him.” Is this any different from what a Christian may write about God? The next article will present the Egyptian heaven. 3
    • WATANI English Section 6 February 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 216 + 702 Egyptology 20/208 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of life after death, and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured highly in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. The Egyptian Heaven 1
    • +The Egyptian Heaven+ For the ancient Egyptians, the place of the deceased was in heaven, by the side of the god, in the most holy place. There the dead soul received the ++urerit++ crown from the gods—from the great company of the gods of Annu. “He thirsts not, nor hungers, nor is he sad; he eats the bread of Ra and drinks.” However, side by side with the passages which speak of the spiritual enjoyments of the deceased, there are others which seem to imply that the Egyptians believed in the corporeal existence—or at least in the capacity for corporeal enjoyment—in the future state. +The Egyptian underworld+ The Egyptian heaven was situated in the sky, which the Egyptians believed to be like an iron ceiling, either flat or vaulted, and to correspond in the extent and shape with earth beneath it. Within the two bowed female figures which represent the day and the night sky is a third figure which is bent round a circle; the space enclosed by it, according to Dr first name? Brugsch, represents the ++Tuat++ (pronounced ‘++Duat++’) or Egyptian underworld, wherein dwelt the gods of the dead and the departed soul. The souls of the dead made their way to their abode in the ‘other world’ by a ladder, according to a very ancient view, or through a gap in the mountains of Abydos called ++Peka++. Of the conditions of those who failed to secure a life of beatitude with gods in the ++Sekhet-Aaru++ of the ++Tuat++, the pyramid texts say nothing. +The Christian Heaven+ Heaven is the dwelling place of God, the perfect unseen world. In the Epistle to the Philippians, St Paul conceived of earthly friendships as continuing on into eternity. He expected his happiness to come to a rapturous climax in greeting his beloved friends in the upper kingdom at the feet of Jesus—his own offering to the Lord, saved forever because he himself had brought them to Jesus. Paul’s goal was that he might attain resurrection from the dead. This was the secret of Paul’s life. He had had a glimpse of the glory of Heaven (2 Corinthians 12:4) and was determined that for himself he would, by the grace of Christ, get there, with as many others as he could possibly persuade to come along. This chapter is one of the fullest of St Paul’s statements of his own personal hope of heaven. +New Heaven and New Earth (Rev 21:1-8)+ 2
    • This chapter describes not a new social order in this present world, but the Eternal Home of the Redeemed, the “Father’s House of Many Mansions”. This is one of the most precious chapters in all the Bible. The First Heaven and Earth had passed away (2 Peter 3:10), the Heaven with a great noise or explosion, and the Earth and its works burned up. What amount of change this entailed in the physical universe, we do not know. Nor do we know whether it will be this earth made over and renewed by fire, or an entirely different earth. And nor can we now comprehend to what extent, with our glorified, incorruptible, spiritual bodies, we may be confined to any material planet or star, or be free to roam in the limitless spheres of space. How we would love to know. Some day we shall. +The kingdom of God+ The two expressions “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” represent exactly the same idea. Perhaps the Lord’s Prayer comes closest to an exact definition when it equates the coming of God’s kingdom with doing His will. Where God’s will is done with perfect submission, there, according to the New Testament, is His kingdom revealed. In Jesus, the kingdom of God became a living reality. His miracles, and especially His exorcisms, testified to the fact that God’s sovereign rule is upon man. (Mathew 12:28). His preaching, with its unique note of authority, is evidence of the kingdom’s arrival (Mark 1:27; Mathew 11:5). Because “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you”, he tells his disciples (Luke 17:21), the kingdom’s blessings—forgiveness, salvation and eternal life—are theirs to enjoy, not only for the future but in the present. 3
    • WATANI English Section 6 March 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 235 + 545 Egyptology 21/212 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it. 1
    • Christianity comes to Egypt When the pharaohs—as the mighty force in religion, being the sons of Ra—lost their esteem as protectors of the country, the priests encouraged the people to resort to their local gods as their protectors. Hence scholars noticed mummification of animals, which were symbols of local gods, spreading at a time when the kings lost their glory, and especially after the occupation of the country by the Persians. Previous articles of this series referred to formal religion and popular religion. Formal religion dealt with Ra and the place of the pharaohs in heaven after death. Popular religion dealt with Osiris and the place of ordinary people in heaven after death. They dealt with the negative confession; the trial on Judgement Day; reward and punishment; the one Creator and the one Judge. +Innate belief+ After the collapse of the royal dynastic families, the Egyptians lost faith in the ability of their national rulers to help or even protect them. They also lost their faith in the local gods and goddesses, yet they clung to their innate belief in the Great Creator and the Judge on Judgement Day. They must have heard about an account of a Man (not an ordinary man). God Himself became a Man, to give mankind a concrete, definite, tangible idea of what kind of person to think of when we think of God. God is like Jesus. Jesus was God incarnate in human form. His appearance on Earth is the central event of all history. The Old Testament set the stage for it. The New Testament described it. As a Man, He lived the most strangely beautiful life ever known. He was kind, tender, gentle, patient; the most sympathetic man that ever lived. He loved people. He hated to see them in trouble. He loved to help. He worked miracles, and fed hungry people. Multitudes—weary, pain-ridden and heartsick—came to Him and found forgiveness, healing and relief. That is the kind of man Jesus was. That is the kind of person God is. +Jesus Christ the son of Man+ Then He died on the Cross to take away the sin of the world, to become the Redeemer and Saviour of men. He rose from the dead; is alive now not merely as a historical character but as a living person. The Bible is built around this story of Christ and His promise of life eternal to those who accept Him. This God appealed to the Egyptians, and personified all 2
    • they cared for. The concept of the eternal life—so basic to Christianity—reverberated with all the intonations all the Egyptians’ view of the afterlife. When St Mark preached the gospel about A.D 61, people would have heard about Christ in Palestine and His miracles. They listened to the word of God, accepted it, and later proved their readiness to die for it. Egyptians embraced Christianity. The Holy Trinity took its place as Supreme Being. There was no more a ‘Triad’, but only ‘Holy Trinity’. Christ, the centre and heart of the Bible, became the centre and heart of Egyptians’ lives. Their eternal destiny was His hands. Their acceptance or rejection of Him determined for each of them eternal glory or eternal ruin; heaven or hell to one or the other. 3
    • WATANI International 3 April 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 246 + 757 Egyptology 22/216 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it. The Coptic language was an extension of the ancient Egyptian one. The language From Egyptian to Coptic 1
    • Coptic, as written in the Coptic script from about the third century AD onwards, is the language of ancient Egypt in its last form. It was so called because it was spoken by the Copts, the Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians, in whose churches it is read, although not widely understood, up to the present day. The word Qibti, or ‘Copt’—taken from the Egyptian ‘Hekaptah’—was first used by the invading Arabs to mean a ‘native Egyptian’. After the Arab conquest in 640 AD Coptic was gradually superseded by Arabic, and it died out as a spoken language in the sixteenth century. +Dialects+ Coptic is written in the Greek alphabet supplemented by seven special characters derived from the hieroglyphic signs. The importance of Coptic in a philological sense is due to its being the only form of Egyptian in which the vowels are regularly written. It must not be forgotten, however, that Coptic represents a far later stage than even the most vulgar examples of late Egyptian, and the word order owes more to Greek than to Egyptian. Of the many Coptic dialects the most important are the Akhimimic which was the old dialect of Upper Egypt, the Sahidic which was the dialect of Thebes, and the Bahiric which was originally the dialect of Western Delta. Later, after the removal of the Patriarchate to Cairo in the 11th century, the Bahiric became the literary idiom of the whole of Egypt. +The Egyptian language+ The language of the ancient Egyptians is revealed in their hieroglyphic writings. The earliest inscriptions go back as far as the first dynasty, which can in no case be placed later than 3000 BC, while some authorities favour a date many hundreds of years earlier. The same script lived far into the Christian era, even though by this time its use was only official or religious. The last known hieroglyphs were written at Philae in 394 AD; the next last give the names of the Roman emperors Diocletian (295 AD) and Decius (ruled 249–251). Thus the use of the earliest form of Egyptian writing, although at the last confined to a narrow circle of learned priests, covered a period of three to even four thousand years. The language is related not only to the Semitic tongues (Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic and Babylonian among them) but also to the languages of East Africa (Galla and Somalia, etc.) +Stages of the language+ 2
    • 1. Old Egyptian: the language of dynasties one to eight, about 3180 to 2240 BC. 2. Middle Egyptian, possibly the vernacular of dynasties nine to eleven, about 2240 - 1900 BC 3. Late Egyptian: the vernacular of dynasties 18 to 24, about 1573 to 715 BC. This was exhibited chiefly in business documents and letters, but also in stories and other literary composition and to some extent also on official monuments from the 19th dynasty onwards. It is important to note that hieratic, written as cursive writing, was the form employed by priests. This was nothing more than hieroglyphs in the summary and rounded forms resulting from the rapid manipulation of a reed pen, in contrast to the angular and precise shapes arising from the use of the chisel. 4. Demotic: this term is loosely applied to the language used in books and documents in the script known as demotic from the 25th dynasty to late Roman times (715 BC to AD 470). 5. Coptic: using the Greek script with additional letters, as mentioned above. +Decorative scripts+ The decorative character of the hieroglyphic script and its close connection with pictorial art made it a natural and handy medium of ornamentation. Hence in temples and tombs there is hardly a wall that does not bear hieroglyphic inscriptions, and even the common objects of daily life, such as toiletery utensils, boxes, jewels and weapons often display the names and titles of their owners or the cartouche of the pharaoh under whom they were made. +Religious literature+ 1. ++The Pyramid Texts++: the oldest body of religious texts, being a large collection of spells found on the walls of the chambers inside the pyramids of five kings of the fifth and sixth dynasties. 2. ++The Coffin Texts++: composed on behalf of non-royal personages, and comprising incantations affording protection against hunger, thirst, and the manifold dangers of the netherworld, as well as incantations by virtue of which the deceased could retain the enjoyment of former pastimes and join in the society of relatives and friends. 3. ++The Book of the Dead++: not really a book, but a heterogeneous assemblage of funerary spells of various dates. 3
    • WATANI English Section 1 May 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 240 + 667 Egyptology 23/220 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it, and to die for it. 1
    • Persecutions In Egypt, as in the rest of the Roman Empire, Christians were persecuted during the first three centuries following the inception of Christianity. The Egyptians, or Copts as they later came to be known, accepted Christianity so very rapidly that there is no wonder the Romans were compelled to crack down in an attempt to suppress the growth of a religion which openly defied the divinity of the emperor. +Double count persecution+ In the midst of the tumult of execution and torture, the Egyptian church flourished beyond recognition until it assumed its definitive form in the course of the second century. In other words, the third century saw the Coptic Church with a great hierarchy ranging from the Patriarch in Alexandria down to modest priests and the monks who lived out in the Eastern and the Western Deserts. The rise of this great hierarchy conterminously???? with the Roman persecutions resulted in the identification of the Coptic people with their own church of Alexandria. This tradition persisted and even became more prominent when, in a subsequent age and for other reasons, the Byzantines resuscitated persecutions against Copts. In those early days, Christians were obliged to assemble in the catacombs or in isolated burial grounds to worship their God. Thousands of them gave up their lives for the faith, especially during the reign of Diocletian which lasted from 284 to 305 AD. +The Greeks+ It is worth noting that the Greeks were different from the Romans in the way they ruled the occupied Egypt. The Romans were violent and bloody, whereas the Greeks were the descendants of a democratic people whose philosophers were tolerant and wise. Plato referred to his famous division of the three classes: the +guardians+ who sprung from among the wise philosophers; the +army+—the raging???? class; and the ragtag and bobtail—the +mob+. The Greek rulers—the Ptolemies—imitated the previous Egyptian rulers—the pharaohs—and established many religious edifices as temples to 2
    • Egyptian cults, such as the temple on Philae Island dedicated to Isis, and Edfu temple dedicated to Horus. The Greeks kept valuable resources in Egypt for Egyptians to make use of. The Romans, however, used Egypt as a breadbasket and took Egyptian grain to Rome. The peasants worked hard and cultivated their land solely to find the harvest demanded by the Romans. +Disloyalty to Rome+ There was no conflict between Greeks and Egyptians in the matter of religion. The rulers respected the ancient Egyptian religion and gods. The triad of Osiris, Isis and Horus were given similar Greek names in order to show the people that both the Egyptians and the Greeks worshipped the same gods. With the Romans, it was different. On 21 April 249, the Roman government celebrated a special occasion to mark 2000 years since the founding of Rome. They did not celebrate this occasion as their own, but wanted the Egyptians to express their loyalty to their pagan gods, which the Christians in Egypt refused to do. The Emperor Decius asked the people to show their submission to these gods, and his reign was marked with persecutions. The same happened under the rule of Valerian. However, the greatest persecutions happened under Diocletian. +Calendar of the martyrs+ As a result of the bloodshed, the Coptic Church started its calendar on the date when Diocletian came to the throne. Thus keeping the memory of the martyrs. It was called the age of martyrdom. We have to bear in mind that persecution at that time was inflicted by pagans against Christians. In the next article we will see that persecution was inflicted by Christians against the Egyptians due to the difference in their creeds. The Egyptians had always been interested in a new life, after death and welcomed Christian teaching about the resurrection. The good news of the historical Jesus as the crucified and risen Saviour proved particularly acceptable to a people whose hopes were hitherto placed in the mythological man-god Osiris, who had been slain by the power of evil. 3
    • WATANI English Section 5 June 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 241 + 611 Egyptology 24/225 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it, defend it and die for it. Christians vs Christians 1
    • When looking at the history of Christianity in Egypt, it should not be forgotten that ancient Alexandria was a centre of cosmopolitan learning: Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, and Roman. The Egyptian-born scholars studied Greek, Jewish and Roman philosophies in addition to the Egyptian philosophy inherited from their ancestors. This emphasised the One Creator and the One Judge, and it was not unlike the Christian ideas about resurrection and the afterlife. “Christians vs. Christians” covers the differences between the concepts adopted by the Coptic Church and other churches. +The Arian heresy+ As Eusebius of Caesarea was to say during the debates that culminated at Nicaea: “Nothing is from God’s ++ousia++ (His Being), but all things coming into being are his will; each one exists just as it came into being.” This concept of the relation of God and the Word—to which Eusebius and his master, the emperor Constantine, were sympathetic—is known to Church historians as the ‘Arian heresy’. The Orthodox reply has been that the Word does not stem from God’s ++orbitrium++ (his will) as such but from his very being. The Word, exactly, is not arbitrary, since there could never have been another Word. Indeed the very notion that it is made by God’s will and reason is absurd—the Word is God’s will and reason ++(Oxford History of Western Philosophy, p48)++ The Bible says: “No one has seen the Father, nor has any adequate account of him: only the Word declares him.” The Coptic Church played a leading part in defending the Christian faith. Thanks to Pope Athanasius of Alexandria, the first Ecumenical Council, which was held in Nicaea in A.D. 325, condemned Ariarism—leading to the first schism in Christianity. +Coptic churches+ Coptic church buildings possess a distinct character of their own. They are instantly recognisable from among any number of surrounding buildings, for however much they may vary in size, form, style, outward aspect or anything else, they all bear an unmistakable stamp. In all of them one finds the general and identical features of ‘the House of God’, and as such they perfectly resemble one other. The description of a Coptic church in general is at the same time the general description of a particular Coptic church. Whether a stately basilica of majestic dimensions or a poor village church, a glorious mediaeval cathedral or a hastily erected chapel, they are all the same. All are equally permeated with the elevated principle: “A church is a house of prayer, where the God of love dwells in the midst of the children of man.” 2
    • It is but a natural consequence of their vivid faith that those material buildings should have possessed in their minds a higher meaning than a mere meeting-place, a grand monument or something of that kind. Very early on it obtained a distinct spiritual meaning that found its origin in the purpose for which it was destined, viz: to serve as an abode for the very God of Heaven. +Monasticism+ The most outstanding trait of Egyptian Christianity was the unusual predominance of monasticism over the ordinary secular clergy. In Egypt, life is so narrowly packed together, and the cultivable land is squeezed on both sides of the Nile by rocky hills, not usually exceeding a few kilometres wide and often reduced to a few hundred metres. At every hour and in every place every inhabitant has continually before his eyes the perspective of the desert. All those men endowed with a particular vocation calling them towards God were strongly drawn to retire to that desert, which was so near and yet so inaccessible and where, in their solitude, they feel the presence of the Almighty God. 3
    • WATANI English Section 3 July 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 240 + 439 Egyptology 25/229 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it, and to die for it. 1
    • The great Schism Erian Labib Hanna The church was founded, not as an institution of authority to force the name and teaching of Christ upon the world, but only as a witness-bearer to Christ. Christ Himself, not the church, is the transforming power in human life. Even so, the church—founded during the Roman Empire—gradually developed a form of government like the political world in which it existed, becoming a vast autonomous organisation, ruled from the top. Emperor Theodosius (AD 378-398) made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, and made church membership compulsory. This was the worst calamity that ever befell the church. The forced conversion filled the Church with ‘irreverent people’. +The imperial Church+ The military spirit of imperial Rome had entered the church. The church changed its nature, entered the Great Apostasy, and became a political organisation in the spirit and pattern of the Roman Empire. Conflicts with heathen philosophies ensued, interpreting Christ in terms of their own thinking. So, no sooner had Christianity made its appearance than it began its process of amalgamation with Greek and Oriental Philosophies; and there arose many sects: Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Montanism, Monarchianism, Arianism, Appolinianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, and Monophysites. From the second to the sixth centuries the church was rent with controversies. Arianism as a heresy was condemned by the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Council of Ephesus was called in 431 to settle the Nestorian Controversy. Nestorianism caused the greatest schism, resulting in huge controversies between the Monophyites—the Coptic Church included—and the Diophsites. The Coptic Church was persecuted by the Byzantine rulers as the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) could not settle the matter of the Nature of Christ. +The Coptic Faith+ The Coptic Church is nearly like the Greek and Russian churches in orders and faith. It differs from Catholicism on the issues of the emanation of the Holy Spirit, and the reservation of the sacrament. 2
    • Since the dawn of Christianity, Copts acknowledged seven canonical sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Orders, Matrimony and Unction of the sick. Coptic Holy Mass is still celebrated in Coptic churches. According to tradition, it was orally transmitted by St Mark, and finally recorded by St Cyril the Great in the third century. It was considered the greatest, the oldest and most complete Mass text. As religious literature, it is regarded as supreme. Coptic Mass and the works of the Coptic fathers are the chief elements in the spiritual heritage of the Copts. Candidates for ordination to the priesthood must be married men—marriage is forbidden after ordination. If the candidate wishes to remain celibate, he must first become a monk and then seek ordination. 3
    • WATANI English Section 7 August 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 240 + 680 Egyptology 26/234 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it, and to die for it. 1
    • Egyptology Church as symbol Symbolism in the Coptic Church is an artistic commemoration of divine redemption and the doctrine of Revelation. One of the best known ecclesiologists formulates this as follows: “The true significance of a Christian Church starts with Jesus and returns to Him, with Him it begins, and with Him it ends.” The leading idea of this science of symbolism may therefore be defined in that the material church built by the hands of man is but a symbol of the spiritual church founded by the Redeemer. +The church door+ Symbolism meets us on the very threshold of the church and points to the door as a symbol of the Blessed Saviour, who said of himself: “I am the door. By Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” Where the door in its spiritual aspect is emblematic of Christ, in its material aspect it is the emblem of safety against outside attacks and—when open—of invitation to all on earth to enter its portals. +The stones+ The main constituents of the church edifice are the stones. The church is the house of the Lord, strongly built and resting on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, whilst Christ Himself is the cornerstone, preserving all in proper strength and shape. The apostles are the foundations also; but they are not the first or principal ones, for they again rest on a first, on a divine foundation: the holy mountain, the immovable rock, which is Jesus Christ. This is the reason why a bishop or his representative, when laying the ‘first stone’ of a new church, blesses it with great solemnity. +The vaulted roof+ The vaulted roof has undergone many changes in keeping with the form or the purpose of the structure. The leading principles of the various meanings were always the representation of a more sublime existence. In very early 2
    • days the roof of the basilica was a simple wooden one, resting simply on tie beams. These, the binding and supporting parts were held to be symbolic of the holy doctors of the church, who in word and example showed themselves the powerful protectors of the Church of God. The entire vaulting, considered from the interior and as a complete whole, was looked upon as symbolising the highest heaven. This idea was more especially attached to the roofing of the sanctuary, where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered, while the vaulting of the nave was considered the represent the firmament. +The pulpit+ The proper place of the pulpit—the chair of truth—is on the right or Gospel- side, in logical consequence of the symbolic meaning attached to that position. Its decoration is based on the view that it symbolises the mountain on which the Saviour taught the multitude. Hence it represents the Sermon on the Mount, the four Evangelists, and the three theological virtues as the main argument of all preaching. +Symbolism of the Cross+ The leading principle is that the Church by preference adores in the Crucified Saviour the conqueror of death, as it is written: “Christ has reigned from the wood (of the Cross)”. It is, moreover, important to know that a great distinction has always been maintained between the historical and the liturgical representations of the Cross, the latter being more in harmony with the mind of the Church. This explains the ultra-realistic character, in so far as the painful contortion and shrinking of the muscles, the face bathed in blood, untrimmed roughness of the Cross and so on are concerned. +Fish and eggs+ A +fish+ is the mystic symbol of the first Christians. The +lamb+ dates from the era of the catacombs when Christians were hiding from persecution, and is the symbol of Christ, the ‘Lamb of God’ that takes away the sin of the world. +Ostrich eggs+ are held by the Coptic Church as symbols of resurrection, and many are arranged in front and at the high end of the screens. In another meaning, they symbolise the Church—as an ostrich egg watched ever- closely and incessantly by the ostrich—watched over by Christ. 3
    • WATANI English Section 4 September 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 240 + 770 Egyptology 27/238 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it, and to die for it. Egyptology 1
    • Clothes in ancient Egypt One way of knowing more about everyday life in ancient Egypt is to consider the clothes people wore, and thus learn about weaving and textiles. Likewise their furniture give an idea about their woodworking skills, and their jewellery about gold, gold mines and semi-precious stones. Their buildings—mainly their houses—tell about their architecture, and their music and art give a clearer picture of their domestic life. +Linen and wool+ Egyptians knew how to use linen from ancient times—it was already known at the time of the First Dynasty (3000 BC). The yarn was spun with spindles and woven into cloth on a loom; the ancient Egyptians in the Pharaonic period were most skilful in weaving linen, especially in fabricating transparent textiles. Wool must also have been woven, but was not used in abundance—probably because it was not durable and was perhaps considered ceremonially unclean. Scholars state that cotton fabrics were not produced in Egypt until several centuries after the Arab conquest (641 AD), although the cotton plant existed and was known as “trees of wool”. Silk did not come to ancient Egypt before its importation from China began in Ptolemaic time (300 BC). Its use spread in the fifth century AD, although it was only used on a small scale. +Tapestries and leopard skins+ Tapestries—Copati textiles—were abundant in the Coptic era. The weavers were extremely skilful and capable in the art of using fabric dyes. Indigo, saffron, pomegranate rind, the Henna plant and other roots grown in Egypt provided natural dyes. Women were generally involved in the spinning and weaving industry, using looms that are still used in the countryside. In the “Ra-Hotep tomb at Medum” there are illustrations of complete long costumes of leopard skins for festivals and ceremonies. In another tomb there are “short kilts” with leopard skin knotted at shoulder as a dress for festivals and ceremonies. +Tunics+ 2
    • In the “Tomb of Ti” at Saqquara—Old Kingdom—there are inscriptions of women carrying provisions wearing long tight tunics held by braces. In the Cairo Museum—Old Kingdom—we see the statue of the lady Nefert, wife of the high priest—Ra-Hotep—wearing a white cloak over her tunic. A scene on the Middle Kingdom sarcophagus of Princess Kawit in the Egyptian Museum shows a servant with a long wide kilt made of thick stuff pouring drink for a lady of distinction wearing a long tunic. From the Tomb of Djehuti-hotep at Bershah, also from the Middle Kingdom, is a scene of a noble wearing a long robe of transparent linen over a short kilt: on his shoulders is a short cape. In another scene Djehuti-hotep is depicted wearing a long striped dress. In the Middle Kingdom Tomb of Meket-Ra at Thebes, now in the Egyptian Museum is an offering bearer in a decorated tunic held at the shoulders by two braces. In the Middle Kingdom Tomb of Nakht at Assiut, now in the Egyptian Museum, a maiden carrying offerings is shown wearing a one-brace tunic with a net kilt ornamented with beads. +Men’s robes+ The New Kingdom tomb of the vizier Ramose in the Valley of the Nobles contains a scene in which Ramose is wearing a simple wide shirt with short sleeves; there is also another kind of shirt in the same tomb. In another Theban tomb an offering-bearer wears a wide shirt knotted at the neck, while a nobleman wears a loose shirt and a double kilt. Elsewhere is a man wearing a kilt elongated at the back over the short kilt described earlier. In the Southern chapel of Abu Simbel Ramses II wears long, straight robe, while in the Egyptian Museum is a wooden statuette of Hori from the New Kingdom showing the outer kilt as shorter and spreading to allow the long inner kilt to be visible. A man’s long straight robe from the same period is now on display in the Copenhagen Museum. There are front and back views of a New Kingdom statue showing the outer kilt contracted like a belt. Several scene show people enjoying themselves in their luxury attire. A New Kingdom pharaoh with his long belt ribbons flying in the air can be seen in the Berlin Museum. +Royal attire+ In the Egyptian Museum can be seen both the front and back views of a New Kingdom statuette showing a lady in a long pleated robe. It covers her right arm, and is knotted at the breast and bordered with a fringe. In the Louvre, and dating from the Late Period, is a queen clad in a long robe with a feather decoration. 3
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    • WATANI English Section 2 October 2005 Written by Erian Hanna / copy editor: Jenny/Samia Word count: 256 + 790 Egyptology 28/242 Tracing the people’s history In an attempt to trace how modern-day Egyptians finally came to be what they are today, and to refute the controversy that occasionally arises over their origins and the origin of their traditions, ++Watani++ is printing a monthly series on the history of the Egyptian people—as opposed to the widely known ‘official’ history of the rulers of Egypt. The first episode of the series demonstrated that ancient Egyptians were a mixture of both Hamite and Shemite races. Once the first ‘Egyptians’ settled down to an agricultural life on the banks of the Nile, it was natural that they should look around them and try to understand their universe. The life-giving sun and the River Nile, both of which dominated their environment and their very existence, and both of which in essence embodied cycles of ‘death’ and ‘rebirth’, formed the basis of their spiritual and intellectual life. Thus the ancient Egyptian religion emerged, based in principle upon the concept of an afterlife and the conflict between good and evil. Despite the seemingly polytheistic nature of the Egyptian religion, it was in fact a religion of one god, and had much in common with the Christian faith which followed. Egypt figured several times in the Bible and its history often crossed paths with that of the Hebrews. When St Mark preached Christianity to the Egyptians they were ready—heart and soul—to accept and embrace it, and to die for it. Their culture continued uninterrupted in the same line as their ancestors—albeit coloured with Christian overtones. 1
    • Woodwork A visit to the Coptic Museum will help us learn more about everyday life in the Middle Ages. Coptic carpenters, like their ancestors who lived in the Pharaonic era, carried out their work with considerable taste and skill. Indigenous wood such as sycamore, acacia and palm were commonly used in the Pharaonic period and continued to be used in Coptic woodwork. For finer wood the Copts would import wood—cedar from Lebanon; ebony from Punt and the area south of Sudan; teak from India, and pine and walnut from Europe and western Asia. +Woodworking+ Wood was used in making beds, chairs, sofas, containers, seats, doors, windows and other objects in the home. It was also used for making coffins. We find a great variety of these in both ancient Egyptian tombs and Christian tombs. Some of the coffins are painted and decorated, others are not. The craftsman who decorated the coffins were no doubt using models, which over the years would have become worn and battered so that their iconographical detail was almost unrecognisable. One of the most interesting woodworking techniques was ++mashrabiya++, which was used in windows by both Copts and Muslims in the Middle Ages. This was composed of numerous small pieces of carved wood coupled without nails, and so arranged as to form geometric patterns and crosses, or Coptic and Arabic inscriptions. The pieces were assembled without nails or glue and enough space was allowed for expansion and contraction, thus countering changes in temperature. Presumably this type of art, which we call arabesque, was inspired from the carved wooden panels which date back to the third century. +Shipbuilding+ Egyptians were accomplished sailors, and shipbuilding was one of the most important and oldest industries, the result of the need to travel both within the country, along the Nile, and across the Mediterranean and down the Red Sea. The tomb of Ti contains two building scenes, Ti presiding over them both, inspecting every stage of the work as it is carried out. One shows the entire shipbuilding process, from the early stage of shaping and sawing the 2
    • wooden planks to the last stages of completion, with workmen milling over the curving hulls as they carve, hammer, saw and drill. Seafaring vessels usually had a curved prow and high stern, each decorated in the form of a papyrus bud. The centre of the ship often had an awning. All hinges, nails and bolts were made of copper, as were the workmen’s tools. One of the oldest surviving texts mentions that during the reign of the Fourth-Dynasty ruler Seneferu a fleet of 40 ships sailed to Lebanon and returned to Egypt laden with timber. The text mentions that the ships were 100 cubits (178 feet) in length. The nobleman Uni, ordered by royal command to transport alabaster, constructed a ship 60 cubits in length and 30 cubits in width and recorded in his tomb that it was “assembled in seven days”. +Solar boats+ The so-called Solar Boat of Khufu, discovered in 1954 in a rock-hewn tomb to the south of the Great Pyramid, is a magnificent barge 143 feet long constructed of cedar from Lebanon. It had been completely dismantled to fit into the tomb, but careful reassembly disclosed a flat-bottomed boat with a massive, curving hull rising to elegant prow and stern posts. Poles on the deck proved to be the supporting palm-shaped columns of a large roofed cabin. Steering oars, each 16.5 feet long, were also found, together with coils of rope. This was the first royal barge ever discovered—other boat pits dating from earlier dynasties had proved to be empty. Examination of the vessel indicated that this boat actually sailed, and the planks met in pairs on the inside. The term ‘Solar Boat’—coined when it was first discovered in the belief that it had served a funerary purpose, to take the departed pharaoh across the sky to join the heavenly gods—is somewhat misleading. Such ships probably served the king during his lifetime in his capacity as ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, and were buried with him as part of his funerary equipment after his death. Another pit is known to exist to the south of the Great Pyramid: not yet excavated, it is believed to contain a second vessel. +Carpentry+ Carpentry was a highly developed industry. Carpenters used hammers and mallets, saws with teeth slanting towards the handle indicating that they were pulled not pushed, and bow-drills for making holes. Furniture was often overlaid with gold and silver. Leather-production, too, had long been mastered and the curving of hides produced soft, fine-quality skins. These were dyed in various colours and used to cover stools, chairs, beds and cushions as well as to fashion sandals. 3