EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY, PARTICULARLY WITH REFERENCE
TO MIST AND CLOUD
By P. Le Page Renouf.
[Extracted from TSBA, 8, 198-229.]
Read 7th March, 1882.
The Greek dissertation upon Isis and Osiris, which is found among the works of
Plutarch, contains the striking remark, that the Egyptian legends with which the
writer is concerned are so extremely like well known Hellenic legends that the
same explanations are available for both. This is undoubtedly true, and if the
Greeks had really been able to explain their own mythology, it would not
have been difficult for them to understand Egyptian mythology when derived from
sources as genuine as some of those known to the author of this Greek work.1
But a science of mythology was not possible in the days of Plutarch and his
imitators. It has only become possible since the study of the oldest Indian
literature has shown that the mythology of the Vedas bears the same relationship
to the mythologies of the Greek, Italian, Scandinavian, Teutonic, and Slav
races, which the Sanskrit language bears to the different Indo-European
languages. Vedic mythology is not the parent of Greek or of Roman mythology, any
more than Sanskrit is the parent of Greek or Latin. But there is clear proof
that all the races of Aryan origin had a common [p.199] mythology before they
separated, and also that the forms which the Vedic myths present are
historically far more ancient, and at the same time more transparent and
intelligible, than the Greek or the Roman forms.
Far more instructive than the explanation of any one myth or legend, is the discovery of the process of myth-formation, and consequently of the true method of interpretation; especially when it is found that the same kind of process has been going on, not only among all Indo-European races, but, as nearly as can be ascertained, all over the world. One and the same natural phenomenon does not necessarily give rise to the same myth everywhere, but the process by which myths are derived from it is everywhere the same.
Every national mythology has, in the first instance, to be investigated according to the facts which are furnished by its own language and literature; but these facts derive much light from the analogy of corresponding facts in other mythologies. It is hardly necessary to acknowledge that reasoning supposed to follow analogy is often most fallacious; but this is only the case when a real analogy does not exist.
Among the truths which a study of comparative mythology has made very evident, there are two or three upon which I think it necessary to insist most strongly.
It is an entire mistake to seek in myths for religious, metaphysical, ethical, or political ideas, or for physical theories. Myths in themselves have nothing to do with religion. Religion in itself has nothing to do with mythology. Religious feelings have indeed very often centred upon the gods of mythology, but the word 'god' does not in itself denote anything of a religious nature.2
The myths have reference solely to physical phenomena, and as each physical object is susceptible of many names, and of being considered from various points of view,3 the [p.200] most different and the most contradictory myths may be derived from it. A god may have ever so many different mothers, be born in ever so many different places, and end his career in ever so many different ways. All attempts to harmonise these stories, or to select one in preference to the others are simply idle; each story is true in its own sense and independent of every other story.
Lastly, every genuine myth is expressed in a very few words.4 Divine dynasties, theogonies containing many generations, long consistent and consecutive legendary narratives5 are not genuine mythology any more than they are genuine history. They are literary or priestly inventions.
That Egyptian mythology, like the Indo-European, is derived from natural phenomena, and that its principal deities are names of the Sun, has, I suppose, never been doubted by modern scholars. At all events, no one having any decent pretension to understand the ancient language of Egypt, whatever his mythological theories may be, will hesitate to admit that Seb is the earth, Nut heaven, and Ra, Tmu, Horus, Mentu, and Chepera, but different names of the Sun. But it is equally certain that all natural phenomena have not been personified, and that all the personages of mythology have not the rank of gods. Apap, or rather [glyphs] Apepi, the adversary of Ra, is never considered as a god, whilst Set, the adversary of Osiris and Horus, was called a 'great god and lord of heaven' in the most flourishing days of the old [p.201] religion. Akar, [glyphs]6 who is associated with Set,7 Apepi, and the enemies of Ra, is also a god. Wherein lies the difference between these personages? A solution of this question is essential to the right understanding of the Egyptian mythology.
The theology of ancient Egypt, from the earliest periods known to us, is based upon the conception of the uniformity of Nature; as governed by constant, fixed, and unalterable law. This conception was derived from the observation of the unvaried succession of physical phenomena, in the motions of the sun, moon, and stars, in the year and its seasons, day and night, light and darkness. The common noun used to a /www express the different powers is Â, phonetically written [glyphs], or still more fully [glyphs], [glyphs], nutar, but already in the eighteenth dynasty corrupted in popular pronunciation to [glyphs] nuta, from which the Coptic [Coptic], signifying God, is derived. Nutar is etymologically connected with [glyphs] nutra; a word which has erroneously been translated "renew." In hundreds of texts where it occurs the primary sense is might, strength, power.8 As an adjective it signifies strong, mighty, and as a verb strengthen, fortify, protect. And this is the reason why, in the later texts, the common determinative of the word is a fortified wall [p.202] [glyph] or [glyph]. The corresponding word in Coptic is [Coptic], [Coptic], which in the Bible represents the Greek words [Greek]. I trace the Coptic word to the hieroglyphic forms [glyphs]; nuntar. and the plural forms which occur among the many variants of Â in the so-called enigmatic texts at Biban-el-Moluk. As nutar has become nuti in Coptic, so has nuntar become nomti. And nuntar has grown out of nutar by the insertion of a nasal consonant into the first syllable, as the Coptic forms [Coptic] and [Coptic] have grown out of [glyphs] heket or [Coptic] out of [glyphs] Sese.9
The notion of a Kosmos, or what moderns call the Reign of Law, is implied in the Egyptian [glyphs] Maat, a word which I think it is a serious mistake in certain contexts to translate, "truth." Maat is Law, in the sense of that eternal and unerring order through which this universe exists: and this sense of the word is not an extension of the notion of "truth.'" but is as directly connected with the notion of [glyphs] maa, stretch out, hold out straight, as the Latin regere. regula, rectus, and our own rule and right, with org, the Indo-European equivalent of [glyphs] maa.
One of the most essential attributes of the Egyptian nutar
is that he should be [glyphs] neb maat, literally lord or
master of Law. The meaning
of this expression is liable to be mistaken. It does not signify that Law is at
the lord's will or disposal, but that it is his distinguishing
attribute. In Egyptian as in Hebrew, a hairy man is lord of hair, [Hebrew]
[p.203] winged is lord
of wings. [glyphs] neb abu, lord of horns, is the exact equivalent of
[glyphs] lord of blood, means bloody; [glyphs] lord of years, means
aged, annosus; the faithful dead is called either amkhu, or
neb amkhu. The Sun-god is [glyphs], because his course is guided by fixed Law, and never
transgresses it. And such is the case with all other personages who have the
same attribute applied to them. And incredibly numerous as were the personages
of their mythology, the Egyptians seem to have regarded none as gods who did not
in some way, like the days of the month and the twenty-four hours of the day,
represent a fixed and eternal Law. Night, therefore, in the person of Set, is
justly esteemed a "great god and lord of heaven"; but Apepi clearly represents a
natural phenomenon of so irregular an occurrence as not to fall within the
Egyptian conception of Law.
The myths of Egypt, like those of all other nations, arose (it cannot too often be repeated) from the spontaneous and often homely utterances of men in presence of nature. We have a vulgar saying when the sun shines through the rain, that "the Devil is beating his wife." The Sun was spoken of by the Egyptians as the "Youth in Town," or the "Lad in the Country," or the "Bull in the Fields." He is the "Husband of his own Mother." When he has disappeared, it is said that he has lost his sight, that his eyes will be restored to him at daybreak, or that his head has been swallowed by his enemy. The etymologies of some of the names of the Sun are very evident. He is Ptah the Opener, Tmu the Closer, Chnemu the Builder. But some of the most important names of gods are as yet without explanation. I endeavoured in my Lectures on the Egyptian religion to identify the principal gods, and since the delivery of those lectures I have seen but little reason to modify any of the results upon which I expressed myself very positively. But on some points I spoke hesitatingly, for instance, as to the gods Shu and Tefnut; and with reference to others (Isis, Nephthys, and Hath or) I was aware of a good many texts which might be quoted in apparent opposition to the conclusions I had adopted. As to the [p.204] mythology derived from phenomena of irregular occurrence, I said but little, and that only conjecturally. On all these points I now venture to lay before you the results of a more mature study of the original texts.
I do not think I was wrong in identifying Nephthys with the Sunset, and Isis, Hathor, Neith, and other goddesses, with the Dawn. But M. Naville was also right in his conjecture that Nephthys might represent the morning, and Isis the evening, twilight. There were, in fact, according to Egyptian ideas, two Dawns, and a word which means Dawn also means Sunset.10 In the vignettes of the 17th Chapter of the Book of the Dead, the goddesses Isis and Nephthys twice appear together, once on the Eastern and once on the Western direction of the bark of the Sun-god. Again, Isis is said to give birth to the Sun-god Horus, and Nephthys to nurse him. This is, of course, on the eastern horizon. Yet both Isis and Nephthys are called "goddesses of the West." According to one of the glosses of the 17th chapter, Isis and Nephthys are the two feathers on the head of the ithyphallic god Ames,11 who (we are told in the same place) is no other than Horus, the avenger of his father. In the more recent texts [p.205] the hieroglyphic sign [glyphs] representing the rising sun between Isis and Nephthys, is ideographic of the word [glyphs] tuau, morning, whence the Coptic [Coptic]. When they are associated in this way it is right to speak of these goddesses as the Two Dawns. When they appear isolated, unless there is a special reason for the contrary, Isis remains the Dawn, as in the myth where Horus strikes off her head, or in the 133rd chapter, which begins as follows: "The Sun-god rises from his horizon; the company of gods is with him, as the god comes forth who is in the secret dwelling. The mists fall away from the eastern horizon of heaven at the voice of Isis, who has prepared the way for the Sun-god." And, on the other hand, Nephthys considered as the spouse of Set, the destroyer of Osiris, or as the mother of Anubis, "who swallows his own father," can only be identified with the Sun-set.
Hathor, "the dwelling of Horus," out of which he comes, and into which he returns, stands both for the Dawn and the evening twilight.
I thought it probable that Neith, the great goddess of Sais, and mother of the Sun-god Ra, who in various texts is identified with Isis, was one of the many names of the Dawn, not of Heaven, as has generally been thought. I ought to have spoken more positively. The passage I referred to in the Book of the Dead (114, 1, 2) is sufficient to support a decided assertion. The goddess herself says on the sepulchral canopi, [glyphs] setud semdserd ra neb, "I come at Dawn and at Sunset daily,"12 and I ought to have remembered that a papyrus of the Louvre says that "the Sun-god Ra rises at the gates of the horizon at the prime portals of Neith." Upon which M. Maspero says, "En taut que deesse cosmique [the Egyptians had no others] Neith representait la matiere inerte et tenebreuse d'oii le soleil sortait chaque matin." "La matiere inerte et tenebreuse " is an unnecessary and unauthorized addition to the Egyptian conception. But I am pleased to find that on some important points I am not [p.206] particularly so tar at variance with other Egyptian scholars as I thought when I delivered my lectures. I am certainly not disposed to admit the general proposition, that the Egyptian goddesses represented space. But M. Pierret's doctrine, "qu'elles personnifient la lumicre du soleil ou l'espace dans lequel il prend sa naissance et dans lequel il se coucke" is very nearly my own view. I fear Egyptologists will soon be accused, like other persons, of seeing the Dawn everywhere. The ancient Egyptians at least saw these goddesses where we see them. "Oh Shu, Amen Ra, Harmachis, self-sprung," says a hymn, "thy sister goddesses stand in Buchat, they uplift thee into thy bark." Buchat, as Brugsch proved many years ago, is the place on the horizon where the sun rises.13
I am, I confess, compelled to see the Dawn, or rather the Two Dawns, in Shu and Tefnut, the two children of the Sun-god Ra.14 It may be quite true that in later times Shu represented Air, but this is only because the Dawn brings fresh breezes15—Oriens afflavit anhelis.16 But in all the early texts [p.207] Shu is the rising Sun. The Harris magical papyrus identifies Shu with "the Sun travelling upwards at the prime of morning, whilst Tefnut, seated upon his head, darts her flame against his adversaries." The myth, according to which Shu "divided heaven from earth," only means that at the dawning of the day heaven and earth, which were previously confused together in darkness, are clearly seen apart. And when it is added that "he raised the heaven above the earth for millions of years," what happens every day is, according to the well known wont of myths, related as having occurred once. The expression [glyphs] hotep su, implies that Shu is used for the Sunset as well as for the Dawn. Shu and Tefnut are called the Two Lions, but they are also represented by a single Lion, as though there were but a single divinity. In the tomb of queen Maat-ka-ra the two Eyes of Horus are said to be Shu and Tefnut—one being in the morning boat and the other in the evening boat of the Sun.
As Tefnut etymologically seemed to represent some form of moisture, I had conjectured that this was Dew rather than Rain, which is not one of the regularly recurring phenomena of Egypt. And Brugsch has recently come to a similar conclusion.17 This conjecture, however, scarcely does justice to the power of Tefnut, who is always described as a fiery and even blood-stained divinity. It is fire that she spits against the adversaries. "I am Tefnut," she says, "thundering against those who are kept on the earth, who are annihilated for ever." She surely represents
"The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes
And his burning plumes outspread,"
or the " crimson pall of. eve."
[p.208] M. Naville observes:18
"Si l'etvmologie du noin de [glyphs] nous indique plutot quelqne chose d'humide, on
ne peut nier que les representations de eette deesse, telle quelle apparait en
general dans les temples ne soient tout-a-fait semblables a celles de la deesse
de Memphis [glyphs] appelee encore [glyphs] et dont les epithetes sont
[glyphs] la brulante, [glyphs] la flamme, [glyphs] qui ltabite la
But both Isis and Nephthys shoot flames against the adversaries of Ra.
The same may be said of the two Uraeus goddesses, Uat'it and Nechebet, who are in fact but one goddess, who is herself identified with Hathor in a text published by M. Maspero: [glyphs] which adds that she consumes the adversaries with her flames. Sechet. the beloved of Ptah. is simply the fiery Dawn. [glyphs] She sendeth flames of fire in the face of the foes; whoever approaches sinks to ruin, she sendeth fire to burn their limbs." She is distinctly identified with Neith in the Ritual (66, 9): [glyphs].
If the tale of the destruction of men by Hathor be really founded on a genuine myth, the blood-stained goddess certainly represents one of those sunsets which I have myself witnessed in Egypt, when "the whole sky. from the zenith to the horizon, becomes one molten mantling sea of colour and fire; every black bar turns into massy gold, every ripple and wave into unsullied, shadowless crimson and purple and [p.209] scarlet, and colours for which there are no words in language and no ideas in the mind—things which can only be conceived while they are visible—the intense hollow blue of the upper sky melting through it all—showing here deep and pure and lightless—there modulating the filmy formless body of the transparent vapour till it is lost imperceptibly in its crimson and gold."20
Phenomena like those just described in Mr. Ruskin's eloquent language depend upon atmospheric conditions which vary from day to day. They gave rise in Egypt, as in other countries, to that kind of myth which we may call the meteorological, as distinct from the myth which has reference only to the relations of the heavenly bodies. When the Sun-god has sunk below the horizon, Tmu has been received into his mother's arms, or Set has eaten the head of Osiris, or Anubis has swallowed his own father, or Horus is sitting alone in his blindness. The crocodile of the West devours each of the stars which set (the Achmiu uretu).21 Each morn Horus overcomes Set, and avenges Osiris, the sun of yesterday. In the battle between night and day Tehuti (the moon) at fixed intervals appears upon the scene as mediator or arbitrator between the contending parties.
In all such instances the myth is founded upon facts
eternally recurring in unvarying succession. Such is not the case when the sun's
light is modified by mist, cloud, or eclipse.
The exceptional brightness of the Egyptian sky is generally known. It is not so well understood that, particularly in certain months of the year, dense fogs and cloudy skies are extremely common, and that even in the latitude of Thebes violent storms of thunder, lightning, and rain are by no means unknown. The hieroglyphic inscriptions of Edfu expressly mention the obelisks and flagstaffs as being destined to serve a purpose similar to that of our lightning conductors. The study of a poet true to nature, like Wordsworth or Shelley, or of an artist like Turner, is a more instructive guide to the interpretation of myths than the most profound speculations of philosophers ancient or modern.
"The scarlet of the clouds," says Mr. Ruskin,22 was Turner's "symbol of destruction. In his mind it was the symbol of blood. So he used it in the Fall of Carthage. Note his own written words—
'While o'er the western wave the ensanguined sun
In gathering huge a stormy signal spread,
And set portentous.'
So he used it in the Slaver, in the Ulysses, in the Napoleon,
in the Goldau; again and again in slighter hints and momentary dreams, of which
one of the saddest and most tender is a little sketch of Dawn, made in his last
Red is also the symbol of blood, flame, or destruction, in the Egyptian myths, in reference to the colour of the clouds. I have already referred to the tale of the destruction of men by Hathor. But the Book of the Dead furnishes earlier evidence. The crimson of a sunset takes the form (in the 17th chapter) of the "blood which flows from the Sun-god Ra as he hastens to his suicide." (Death of Herakles.)
According to another myth (Todt., 99, 22), the Sun-god "cut the foot of Hathor, in stretching a hand to bring her to him in his evening boat."
A third myth (Todt., 99, 17) speaks of Isis as "stanching the blood from the eye of Horus."
The "blood of Isis" is commemorated (Todt., 156, 1) by the red talisman called the [glyphs] tet, of which so many specimens are found in our museums. The blood here spoken of is not improbably that which flowed when Horus smote off her head. In these instances the crimson tints of dawn and sunset are ascribed to blood proceeding from the gods. I shall shortly have to give instances in which the blood proceeds from the adversaries of the gods.
Modern science has given the name of cirrus to one of the most common forms of cloud. The Latin word cirrus signifies a lock, curl, ringlet, or tuft of hair. The corresponding Egyptian word is [glyphs] nehtu. In the Tale of the Two Brothers the faithless wife of Anpu was sitting |[glyphs] her nebtu-set, "curling her hair."
The resemblance of certain clouds to locks of hair did not escape the notice of the Egyptians. The 131st chapter of the Book of the Dead speaks of "the lock which is in the way of the Sun," [glyphs] nebtu pui am uat Ra. The previous chapter (130, 24) had already spoken of "repulsing that Lock which issues out of the flame [p.212] against the bark of Ra.'' In chapter 138, 4, Horus, the "sovereign of the universe," is invoked under the special title of [glyphs] peh er nebtu, "mighty" or "victorious against the Lock of hair"; a ridiculous piece of bathos, unless it is borne in mind that Nebtu is here the name of a mythological personage sufficiently important to encounter the Sun-god in battle. In other chapters Nebtu is distinctly spoken of as a demon. In 39, 12, he comes to attack "the god who reposes in his shrine," and in 152, 1, he is given up by Shu to the Osiris. In other chapters (136, 10; 144. 17) it is promised to the departed that Nebtu shall not reach him.
Already at the beginning of the XVIIIth dynasty, in the tomb of queen Maat-ka-ra,23 we find him mentioned as [glyphs]; Nebtu se Nut, Nebtu, son of Nut. This is a parentage not recognized in the Book of the Dead. It seems to imply an identification with Set, and a misconception of the essential difference between these personages. It is a first unconscious step towards the expulsion of Set from the rank of the gods.
Another Egyptian word [glyphs] (of which the forms [glyphs] semai and [glyphs] semam are also found) signifies "han," as in chapter 154, 6, where it is said that the hair of the departed shall not be soiled. It is probably akin to [glyphs] sami, dark, black, darkness.
There is also the word [glyphs] sam (Brugsch, Lex., 1165),
which unquestionably signifies dark cloud. The appearance of dark, black locks
upon the sky has given rise to the mythical personages of the Samiu of Set. This
expression exactly corresponds to the [Greek]
the Locks of the hundred-headed Typhon: a name, as we know from Aristophanes,
given by the Greeks to certain [p.213] clouds. It is said in chapter 18, line
22, that when these Samiu of Set approached Horus they transformed into goats or
other quadrupeds, and were slaughtered before the chief gods, "while the blood
flowed from them."
In the 134th chapter, the enemies of Osiris also appear in the form of birds, beasts, and fishes, and the Sun-god "washes in their blood." With the Samiu I am most strongly inclined to identify the Sehiu [glyphs], other Titanic enemies of the Sun, whose function and fate are exactly the same. Etymologically there is no difficulty in the identification, for the interchange of the letters b and m is recognized, e.g., in the well-known cases of ab, and am, mahes, and bahes, bakasu, makasu. The two forms samiu and sabiu are probably owing to a dialectic variety of pronunciation; but the scribes to whom we owe our present copies of the Ritual were not aware of this, or they would otherwise sometimes have used the sign [glyph] a lock, as determinative of Sehiu. Their slaughter and the effusion of their blood is recorded in the Book of the Dead. These myths represent the dissolution of the dark clouds into smaller ones, assuming fantastic shapes, and coloured by the Sun's rays in hues of crimson or scarlet.
Hair is also the mythical equivalent of cloud,24 when the overcast dawn is represented by Isis covering herself by letting her hair flow over her (Todt., 17); also by the "wig of Hathor" [glyphs] afnt ent Sathor (Todt., 35, 1), which covers the rising Sun- god Shu, and the cap [glyphs] seset (78, 25), of Horus.25
The hair of Osiris is said (Todt., 13, 2) to be "greatly
agitated ([glyphs] = the Greek [Greek]) when he sees the greyhounds of
Horus." Both the hair of Osiris and the greyhounds of Horus represent forms of
cloud. Those who made these myths saw animal forms in the clouds, not only as
adversaries of the Sun-god, but as the cattle of Horus: "Ins oxen, his goats,
and his swine" (ch. 112, 6). But the greyhound evidently represents the light
cloud rapidly skimming along under the influence of a steady breeze.
The mythical greyhounds and then fleetness are also mentioned in a very ancient and, unfortunately, very uncertain text (the 24th chapter of the Book of the Dead) in connection with the god Shu.
Other mythical animal forms mentioned in the Book of the Dead as antagonists of the Sun, are serpents, crocodiles, and the tortoise. The chapter about the tortoise unfortunately throws no light at all upon the functions of this animal. All that we know is that it was the deadly adversary of Ra. "Life to Ra, Death to the Tortoise," is what, in the Turin Ritual (ch. 161), is written on each of the four gates of heaven. We are here in a region of conjecture, but the hieroglyphic sign of the tortoise, so similar in form to the scarabaeus (the recognized symbol of the Sun) that Mr. Goodwin was positive that it was meant for a beetle, and its name seta, or setu,26 apparently akin to the word seta, to cover, lead me to identify it with the Eclipse. It certainly represents a small and rounded form which occasionally covers the sun. The primitive Egyptians who could not know the Law which governs the Eclipse, never deified the tortoise, considered as the adversary of the Sun. There is. however, a star of this name among the Decans, who of course is considered as a god.
In the later days of the mythology all the phenomena interfering with the Sun's light were confounded together, and identified with one another: Set, Akar. Apepi, the Tortoise, Tebha, and others. But texts of this period are of no authority unless they are confirmed by those of the better [p.215] periods. When Egyptologists speak of something Typhonic, they can only do so with accuracy in reference to the later centuries of the Egyptian religion. Tebha is not genuine Egyptian; it is borrowed from the Greek Typhon = [Greek].27
The Serpent in most mythologies is the representative of cloud. I shall here
only speak of two mythical serpents: the first represents a morning cloud. Sebak, one of the forms of the Sun, we are told in chapters 108 and 111, is the
lord of the mountain of Buchat in the Eastern sky, and he has a temple of
crystal there; and on the brow of that mountain there is a serpent of 300 cubits
in length, and 10 cubits in breadth ; three cubits in front of him are of flint,
and when the time of Ra approaches, he turns down his eyes towards Ra. There is
perhaps a mythological meaning in the word [glyphs] tes, flint, for flint
in Egyptian, as in Indo-European mythology, is connected with the thunderbolt.
The allusion may therefore be to a thunder cloud.
But the most important serpent is the great dragon Apepi, He has been confounded with a so-called giant Apophis, because [Coptic] signifies giant in Coptic. Genuine Egyptian mythology knows nothing of such a giant. The etymology is clear enough. Ap signifies ascend, mount up. Apepi is that which mounts up. It is the mythical name of Cloud as the enemy of the Sun. The serpent is described in the texts at Biban-el-maluk, as "having no eyes,1 nose, or ears, but roaring as it comes along." The picture represents him with twelve heads rising through his back. These heads, which have been swallowed by him, are made to come forth through the blows inflicted upon him by the servants of Ra. The word "head" may perhaps convey a double meaning. The Egyptian word hotep [glyphs],28 when accompanied by the determinative [glyph] and [p.216] even without it, means either "headland," as I suggested some time ago, or, at all events, some other kind of land. The reappearance of headlands or other scenery, which had been concealed by fog or cloud, may be alluded to.
[glyphs] "the Roarer,"' is one of the names of Apepi in the
Bremner Papyrus, and, like the text just referred to, points to the
thunder-cloud. The same conclusion seems to be derivable from the 39th chapter
of the Book of the Dead; but the text of this chapter is in so unsatisfactory a
condition as not at present to admit of accurate translation. In this chapter
the Sun-god, in his conflict with Apepi, is called [glyphs] Ra am saufet, "Ra in
The word sautet signifies trembling, quivering, quaking, palpitating, and in this place refers to the appearance of the Sun as seen through a cloud passing over it. This state of trepidation is not confined to Ra. "Seb standeth still in terror, the company of the mighty gods is in a quake."
The storm-cloud is clearly intended.
The seventh chapter of the Book of the Dead speaks of "advancing over (or passing through) the high ridges ([glyphs]) of Apepi,
void [glyphs]," and the 99th chapter of guiding a boat over [glyphs]
"this void ridge" of Apepi. It invokes the "lord of curtains" and the
[glyphs] "lord of the cloud," that is, the "veiled" or "clouded" one, namely, the Sun-god. The ridges which have to be passed over or
pierced are ridges of cloud. Apepi is said to be [glyphs] hesen, a word which was
long since shown to signify void, empty. The inscription of the Gold Mines says
that the road was deficient in water, uat kesenta her mu. There is no reason
whatever for impugning this signification. The tablet of [p.217] Canopus has
hati-sen kesen her kheer "their hearts failed at the occurrence." This
is perfectly consistent with the Greek version, [Greek]. The passages of the Prisse
papyrus in which the word occurs are equally consistent with the old
interpretation of the word.
Apepi is overcome by the fire and flinty sword ([glyphs] tes) of the Sun-god, and is forced back into his cavern ([glyphs] Khept) and over him (according to a text at Dendera) is placed a stone "of forty cubits," while the devouring flame preys upon his bones.
The tree is another mythical representation of cloud. It never appears otherwise than as a joyful or beneficent phenomenon. The evergreen sycamore, which is the most beautiful tree of Egypt, the persea, the olive, and the tamarisk are the principal trees of the mythology. They are suggestive of coolness and refreshment.
"I know," says the Book of the Dead (chapters 109, 2 and 149, 7), "that sycamore of Emerald, through the midst of which the Sun-god Ra, proceeds as he advances to what Shu has raised at the eastern gate of heaven."29
The emerald colour (mafka) here specially characterising the tree has reference to the beautiful green tints of dawn and sunset. Dr. Thompson, in his "Introduction to Meteorology" (p. 76), speaks of a "curious phenomenon which rarely occurs in this climate—the existence of green clouds. This happens in the mornings and evenings, when a thin cloud is illuminated at once by the yellow rays of the sun, and the bright azure of the upper sky, their contrasted colours producing a green by mixture." But even in this climate the bright- [p.218] green streaks near the horizon are, at certain seasons, of great beauty.30
The sycamore of Hathor is mentioned in ch. 52; the Osiris eats beneath its shade. On a papyrus at Dublin the Osiris prays that he may be under the sycamore of Hathor at the rising of Horus.
The sycamore of Nut is the Rain-cloud. The water of heaven seems to have been considered as bringing with it refreshment to the dead. The vignette of the Ritual is well known which represents a tree out of which the hand of the goddess pours out water to the deceased. The prayer of the 59th chapter is confined to these words: "Sycamore of Nut, give me the water which is in thee"; but a vase of the Louvre adds the reply of the goddess: "Receive the libation from my two hands. I am thy mother; I bring thee the vases with abundance of water to appease thy heart with refreshment; breathe thou the breezes which come from me, that thy flesh may live thereby; for it is I who give water to every mummy, who give breezes to those who are breathing, to those whose bodies are hidden, and to those who have no tomb. I am with thee, and I reunite to thee thy soul so that it may never be parted from thee."
There is a request to a similar effect in chapter 152, in behalf of the deceased: "O Sycamore of Nut, who refreshest those who are in Amenti, let thy hands be laid upon his limbs, protecting him from the heat, and refreshing him under thy [p.219] boughs, which give the north-wind to the Resting Heart in his everlasting home."
The best commentary on this tree in the sky which yields both water and wind may be found in Mr. Ruskin's words about Rain-clouds: "They are not solid bodies borne about by the wind, but they carry the wind with them and cause it. Every one knows who has ever been out in a storm that the time when it rains heaviest is precisely the time when he cannot hold up his umbrella, that the wind is carried with the cloud and lulls when it has passed."
The sun under a light cloud was called (ch. 42) "the great god within the tamarisk, asru." The olive-tree [glyphs] beq, represents the brightness of the Dawn. The word beq signifies bright, clear, shining; beqa or beka is the Dawn. The god called Kher beqa-f, "who is under his olive," already in the earliest monuments, was supposed by M. de Rouge to be Osiris, and by M. Lefebure to be Thoth. It is no other than Ptah, the Opener.31
Other trees represent the same mystery. The great Cat under the Persea tree is explained in the 17th chapter as being the Sun-god Ra himself, and the Persea here plays the same part as the Sycamore of Emerald. Ra, as a Cat, is about to crush the head of the Serpent.
There are other well-known pictures representing the sarcophagus of Osiris under a tree. Two are given by Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, 2nd series, III, p. 349.32 In the first of them, taken from the tomb at Hou, the bird called bennu is seated upon the branches of a tamarisk, and by him is written [glyphs] "the soul of Osiris." The bird and the inscription are equally significant. The Egyptian texts, from the Book of the Dead down to the latest times, assert that "Ra is the soul of Osiris."33 And the bennu bird, according to the same authority, represents the Dawn-god, [glyphs].
In the second picture, which is taken from the temple at
Philae, the sun is represented as rising from the foot of the tree. Such is the
true "mystery of Osiris at Senmut and at Philae." If the Egyptians of the
latest periods understood this mystery as signifying that "water is the origin
of all things," this merely proves what in the nature of things might have been
expected—that the true sense of then mythology was utterly forgotten.
There are pictures also at Dendera34 in which the sarcophagus of Osiris is overshadowed by a tree.
Horus of Bahutet, that is the Dawn-god, is likewise to be seen at Edfu, sitting within a Persea tree.35 An inscription in the same temple mentions another tree, the ahu, of Horus.36 The Bulaq papyrus (No. 2) gives the picture of a bird sitting in front of a Persea tree.
Another text, published by M.Pierret,37 speaks of the Bennu, that is the Dawn-gods, who are [glyphs] "on the willows."
In all these and similar texts the tree28 is the light morning cloud or transparent mist on the horizon.
The same interpretation must be given to the myth of Isis suckling the infant Horus under bushes of marsh plants.39 The rainbow is of course a comparatively rare phenomenon in Egypt, but it is so extremely beautiful and striking a one, that we can hardly imagine it to have been passed over in a mythological view of things. It holds a conspicuous place in mythologies known to us. It is Iris, a messenger between heaven and earth; it is the bow of Indra; the bridge Bifrost of the Northmen; the path to the Brahmanic Svarga; the ladder by which New Zealand chieftains climb to heaven. It is a living monster, according to the Karens of Burmah; [p.221] in Dahome it is "Dan the heavenly Snake." But it is also the necklace of Freyja, the girdle of our Blessed Lady in Zante, or the hem of the Kamschadale god's raiment.40
I cannot point with certainty to any corresponding myths in Egyptian literature. A bow is indeed once mentioned in the Book of the Dead (132, 1), and the Lion-god is said to issue from it. There may also possibly be a reference to the rainbow in the heavenly fishes Antu and Abtu (Todt., 15, 24, 25). But I am most strongly inclined to identify with the rainbow the bright girdle ([glyphs] sat) of Ra, which is mentioned in Todt., 110, a, line 4. The manuscripts are unfortunately not agreed as to the text. That of the papyrus of Sutimes reads as follows:
[glyphs] tes-na sat Ra as ya-pet.
I put on the stole of Ra, and lo the rain-fall!
The sense of this is perfectly clear. But four other papyri,
viz., Salt. 828,
that of Nebseni, the Leyden hieratic papyrus T. 16, published in Leemans'
Monuments, III, pl. 24, and the Turin papyrus published by Lepsius, agree in the
dura lectio [glyphs] khennu pet instead of [glyphs] kha pet.41 The latter
[p.222] expression, which recurs in Todt.,
135, 1, signifies a fall of the sky, a shower. It it used as the synonym of
[glyphs] hetu, rain, in
one of those paraphrases which are so common in the temples of Edfu and Dendera.42 The more usual reading is, I confess, unintelligible to me. Stormy weather
might be [glyphs], [p.223] represented by [glyphs]
khenennu, but there is, as far
as I can see, no possibility of identifying with this word the group which
occurs in the four manuscripts I have mentioned.
This might naturally seem to be the place to speak of the myths of Fire. But the subject is one which deserves a dissertation for itself. The texts having reference to it are exceedingly numerous, and they require to be very accurately sifted and interpreted. The results of the investigation when fully completed cannot fail to be eminently interesting.43
I have not the pretension of exhausting even that portion of the subject to which I have specially desired to draw attention, but if I am not entirely mistaken, a key is now at our service, which if intelligently used will gradually open to us all, or at least most of, the mysteries of the Book of the Dead.
Appendix ox the word [glyphs] nutra.44
The Alexandrian Greeks invented a barbarous word [Greek], which they and their followers used exactly as the Egyptians used [glyphs]. Dindorf quotes from Panaretus (Chron. Trapez.) [Greek]. I quote the following parallels out of many similar texts at Dendera, Edfu, and Philae.
[glyphs] Mariette, Denderah, I, 46, 6 ; cf. 15, 17, and 19.
[glyphs] Ibid., II, 6, 3.
[glyphs] Dumichen, Tempelinschr., I, 78.
Some passages in which the word occurs might suggest that
purification was meant, but others show that the wider sense of fortifying or
protection against harm is signified. Religious purification is one kind of
protection.45 Hence the
deceased says [glyphs], [p.225] "may I be fortified or protected by seventy
purifications" (Mariette, Monuments divers, pl. 63 f), just as Christians at
the present day speak of being "fortified by the sacraments of the Church."
But the notion of protection is itself derived from that of might. Thus [glyphs] is a frequent expression in the texts of Dendera and Edfu, [glyphs] "splendid and mighty stones" (Tempelinschr., I, 9); [glyphs] "adorned with mighty stones" (Dend., Ill, 20); [glyphs] "To thee the Coptite Nome has come forth with its mighty stones" (Dend., IV, 75); "He is like the son of in raising up columns from the mighty stones furnished by the 10th nome of the South." In Denderah, I, 67, [glyphs] etc., has the paraphrase [glyphs]. The sense of greatness or might, which is so evident in these texts, will be found to explain every single instance in which the word occurs throughout the whole course of the language. Physical might is the primitive meaning of the word, and other meanings are only derived from it. Dr. Brugsch in his Dictionary46 noticed the equivalence or parallelism of [glyphs] and [glyphs], protect, in Hieroglyphic and Demotic texts. Several other words are equally found in parallelism with [glyphs] and this parallelism is found not only in the course of one and the same text, as, e.g.:
[p.226] (Sharpe, E. I, II, 28), "great (ur) is the Eye of Horus, mighty (da) the Eye of Horus, strong (nutra) the Eye of Horus, the giver of might (senutra) is the Eye of Horus," but running through names and titles current in a dynasty, like in the pyramids, called [glyphs] and [glyphs]. The connection of these names is as intentional as the use of the adjectives in the phrase [glyphs], nutra men ma pet. "strong and durable as heaven" (Mariette, Karnak, plate 35).
The royal name Nutra-kar-ra [cartouche] which is No. 40 on the Tablet of Abydos, signifies very much the same as No. 41 [cartouche] Men-ka-ra. Tat-ka-ra, Se-ankh-ka-ra, and such other names are more or less synonymous. So again the royal titles [glyphs] of Usertsen III are but emphatic expressions of [glyphs] (Amenemhat I) and [glyphs] (Usertsen II). And Amenemhat III, the successor of Usertsen III, took the title of [glyphs] aa baiu. If we pass on to the XVIIIth dynasty we meet the same system in the names of Sor-ka-rd, Men-^eper-rd, Aa-yeper-rd, etc., and in the royal titles [glyphs] of Thothmes II, [glyphs] of Thothmes III, [glyphs] of Thothmes IV, and [glyphs] of Chut-en-aten. All these royal titles have the same grammatical construction as [glyphs] 'swift-handed.' They are attributive compounds like [Greek], longimanus, [Greek]. And the notion which is common to the words ura, aa, men, tat, ankh, uah, nem, and nutra, is might, strength, vigour, magnify.
I have in my Hibbert Lectures quoted passages where it is said of the king [glyphs] where the parallel word to [glyphs] is strong, vigorous.
In texts of the latest period the same parallelism is found [glyphs] where the word corresponding to nutra is [glyphs] 'vigorous-handed.'
In texts of this period, [glyphs] peh, the well known word signifying 'might,' is used as a synonym of [glyphs]. See, for instance, Kalenderinschr., 67, 3, where the goddess is called [glyphs], and a passage in the Tempelinschr., I, which is [glyphs] repeated three times (pl. 37, 38, and 39) with [glyphs] and three times (pl. 40, 41, and 42) with the more familiar [glyphs].47
All this points unmistakably to the conclusion that the frequent expression [glyphs] nutar nutra, is not the mere tautology "godlike god," "deus divinus," but that, like the Hebrew [Hebrew] , it signifies "all-powerful god."
There is another word with which Â is certainly akin. This, as pointed out by the orthography [glyphs] is net'er, which again has [glyph] as a variant.48 It signi- [p.228] fies overpowering, having the mastery, dominari. It occurs very frequently in the "Triumphs of Horus" at Edfu.49 [glyphs] net'er Hau net'er, "overpowering is Horus, overpowering"! is often repeated. [glyphs] net'er khemt nub en Ptahu, "overpowering is the lance" [glyphs] "which Ptah hath forged." [glyphs] "overpowering is the gust of wind in Chebiat." The same meaning is found in the older texts. The Litanies of Ra pray [glyphs] "let them not overpower king N," adding the parallelism "let them not obtain the mastery," etc. It occurs in the Book of the Dead, 136, 10, where it signifies "having the mastery" of one's staff; and in 144, 10, where the parallel expression [glyphs] "resistless." It occurs in this sense throughout the inscriptions on the sarcophagus of Seti I. M. de Rouge, on the inscription of Aahmes, explains the name [glyphs] net'ert, of the hour of noon, by the Coptic [Coptic], recumbere, as expressive of the time of siesta. It means the "dominant, overpowering" one. Another name for it is [glyphs], the reverse of "recumbent." The only reason which suggested to M. E. de Rouge the sense of "renew" is the determinative [glyph]; which so frequently accompanies the word nutra as adjective or verb. But the sign [glyph] is here simply a determinative of the sound tra, and is found attached to all words ending in this syllable,50 what- [p.229] ever be their meaning: [glyphs] 'season,' [glyphs] 'a willow tree,' [glyphs] address,' the enclitic particle [glyphs] 'behold,' [glyphs] 'join,' [glyphs] a 'horse,' [glyphs] 'tribute,' [glyphs] 'stables of oxen' (Denkm., Ill, 219, e), [glyphs] 'incense,' and others. In short, what word ending in tra is without [glyph]?
The proper name [glyphs] Nutrit, applied to Dendera, has the
same meaning as Samaria (from [glyphs], custodivit, protexit, Ashdod (from
[glyphs], validus fuit), Gaza (vedida, immita), Valentia, and many other names expressive
of strength and protection.
The noun [glyphs] signifies an eyeball, and is generally applied to those of the Sun-god, who [glyphs] "enlightens the earth with his two eyeballs"; a very common expression in the later texts. The notion implied in the word is "that which is guarded, protected" as in Custodi me ut pupillam ocidi. At Dendera the king presents the goddess Hathor with a globe representing her eyeball, and she replies to him (Mariette, III, pl. 22, c), [glyphs] "I give thee thy two eyeballs protected (imtra-ut) against harm."
1 The genuineness of some of these
sources being undisputed, some Egyptologists have jumped to the extravagant
conclusion that Plutarch's interpretation of the myths must be correct. In the
days of Plutarch even the Egyptian interpretations of myths were utterly
No progress is possible until Egyptologists entirely repudiate the authority of Plutarch, Diodorus, Horapollo, and Hermes Trismegistus. as exponents of Egyptian ideas. To suppose, like M. Deveria. that neo-Platonic forgeries of the Christian period can throw any light, except a thoroughly false one, upon mythological writings more than two thousand years older, is to misconceive the nature of philosophy as well as that of mythology.
2 See an excellent article of Delbruck, "Entstehung des Mythos bei den Indogerm. Volker, und uber das Verhaltniss zwischen Religion und Myth," in the Zeitschrift fur Volkerpsychologie, B. III.
3 "Der Name eincs Dinges enthalt nur Sin Merkmal statt des ganzen Begriffs." Pott, "uber Mannigfaltigkeit d. sprachlichen Ausdrucks," in the Zeitschr. fur Volkerpsychologie, B. I, p. 345.
4 Cf. Max Muller's remarks on Weleker's method of dealing with Greek mythology: Chips, II, pp. 150 and 151. It is hardly necessary to say that, for English readers at least, the essay on Comparative Mythology at the beginning of this volume is the best introduction to the study of the subject.
5 Such as the "Destruction of Men" in the tomb of Seti, or the "Triumphs of Horus," at Edfu, or the "Wanderings of Isis," on the Metternich Tablet. They bear the same kind of relation to true mythology that a tragedy of Sophocles or Euripides bears to Indo-European mythology. But the story of Osiris, as told by Plutarch or Diodorus, can only be fitly judged by comparing it with the story of Cacus, as told by the latter writer, and then reading the various transformations which the true myth of Cacus has suffered. See Breal's excellent "Hercule et Cacus," in his Melanges de Mythologie et de Linguistique.
6 This god ([Greek) represents the dusk or gloom of morn or evening, Todt., 108, 9 ; 111, 4 ; 149, 17. See also 39, 6 and 9. The deceased says, 94, 2, "I am provided with the writings of Thoth, which ward off the Akar who is in Sut, i.e., "the gloom of night." A tablet from [glyph] Abydos, of the 13th or 14th dynasty, speaks of the ithyphallic god Ames as the terrible one who smites Akar and deals blows against the enemies of the sun, (Mariette, Catalogue, 261).
7 This god's name should probably be written Sut, as in the preceding note. The form [glyph] which is found in Todt., 96, 2, is evidently a mere mistake for [glyph], as it will be found written in the Papyrus of Nebseni.
8 See Appendix.
9 The value sese r-kh-im (Denk., II. 122 ; III, 262: &c.).
M. Pierret and Dr. Brugsch hare recently appealed in favour of iemse to an ancient monument which reads [glyph]. They ought to have noticed that in this inscription the word signifying service should grammatically be preceded The scribe has simply put this letter in the wrong place—an extremely common error.
10 [glyph]. Observe the determinative [glyph], which is Ten important. The sun sets at the makheru (Todt., 15, 2), and he rises at it (15, 16). The Hebrew [Hebrew] also means dawn and sunset.
11 Commonly but erroneously called Khem. The variants of the name are [glyph] (see Zeitschr., 1877, p. 98), as found in a tomb of the XVIIIth dynasty (Denkm., Ill, 3S), in the papyrus of Nebseni, in one at Boulaq (No. 21), and in that of Net'emet, belonging to the Prince of Wales. Two other authorities (the Ritual of Mentuhotep and that of Keka, both at Berlin) show that the last consonant in the name was or [glyph] and for the name itself in the papyrus of Keka I read antes. [Since this was in print, Maspero (Zeitschr., 1882, p. 129) has quoted two identical texts; in that from the pyramid of Teta [glyph] corresponds to [glyph]; in that from the [glyph] pyramid of Unas. These are not phonetic variants any more than the [glyph] of Teta = the [glyph] or [glyph] of Unas. In Tempelinschr., I, 32, [glyph] in Ames Men (line 8), is distinguished from [glyph] Ames Horus (line 1)].
12 Rouge, Etude sur une stele egyptienne, p. 125.
13 Zeitschr., 1864, p. 74. The form [glyphs] palpelrce, "the eyelids" of the Dawn. On the "wings of the Dawn," see infra.
14 As Dr. Birch already thought when he translated the Book of the Dead. See Bunsen's Egypt, vol. v, p. 193.
15 Compare the Hebrew [Hebrew] flavit (apparently akin to [Hebrew] spiravit, [Hebrew] halitus) with [Hebrew] crepusculum. The word [glyphs] 'nesep' (Dumichen, Resultate, 18, 3, 26, 10) is evidently borrowed by the Egyptians of the recent inscriptions.
16 This agrees with several texts of the recent period. [glyphs] "The god Shu comes to thee in his form of the Dawn to give thee air" (Rec, I, 35, from the coffin of Hetra). [glyphs] Sau-Rru, which means the Dawn (see Brugsch's Lex., part 7, p. 982), is an evident imitation of the Semitic [Hebrew]. "The god Shu comes to thee daily at early dawn in the four winds" (Dendera, ap. Brugsch, ibid., p. 687). In the article of Brugsch's Lexicon on [glyphs], these two texts are referred to among others not less interesting. One of these speaks of the Dawn as knowing one's interior, [glyphs]. (Cf. the name of the door-keeper of the Hall of Maat, Todt., 125, 61, and Max Muller, Science of Language, II, p. 564, 7th Ed.) But the most important ones are those which clearly identify [glyphs]; Horus of Bahutet, or the Winged Solar disk, with the Dawn. I cannot admit with Brugsch that an older form of [glyphs] is to be found in the [glyphs] a XIIth dynasty inscription. The latter group is not siuhor, but tua. The substitution of the sign [glyph] for [glyph] is easily accounted for; see Denkm., Ill, 151 c.
17 "Die Begen-oder Thaugottiu Tefnut." Die Neue Feliordnung, p. 36.
18 Litanie du Soleil, p. 31.
In a text at Philae (as ret, I think, unpublished) Tefnut is represented as "protection to her son Osiris." In the magical papyrus translated by Dr. Birch, Osiris is the son of Shu and Tefnut.
19 This last expression, of which the curious variant [glyphs] in Tempelinschr., I, pl. 74, should rather be rendered 'empyraeum.' It is the abode of flame whence the Sun-god issues, and like the [glyphs] representative chapels in the great temples.
20 Ruskin, "Modem Painters," I, 158.
21 See my Hibbert Lectures, p. 181, note.
In the additions (p. 136) to his Lexicon, Brugsch corrects his former opinion, and quotes texts from Dendera which speak of the Achmiu uretu as belonging to the southern sky and the Achmiu seku to the northern sky. This is of course not only in harmony with my own view, but a necessary consequence. As the old ungrammatical error of considering achmiu as a mere negative is not yet exploded, let me quote the forms [glyphs] (Aelteste Texte, 40, line 11) and [glyphs] (St. k. 9), which prove that the word is a noun, and the generic name of certain stars.
Of these Achmiu the stars of the Great Bear appear to me to have enjoyed several mythical names. The well-known name, Chepesh, "thigh," is suggested by the look of the constellation, and is probably not mythological. But if, as I think, "the seven Cows and their Bull" (? Arcturus) mentioned in the Book of the Dead (ch. 148) designate this constellation (sepfem triones), there is even less for doubting that the stars represented the "Seven Spirits who follow their Lord" (Todt., 17, 33). From early times traditions differed as to the names of these spirits (ib., lines 38 and 39). But it is noteworthy that the name of the fifth spirit, according to one tradition, is [glyphs] "red-eyed," whilst the fifth cow's name (Todt., 148, 13) is connected with [glyphs] "red-haired." This clearly refers to a coloured and [glyphs] therefore double star in the constellation.
There are, again, the seven [glyphs] T'aasu, who assist Thoth [glyphs] in his calculations as to the universe; one of them, called the "Red one," is third or fifth, according to the order in which the names are read.
It is highly probable that the Seven Scorpions who accompanied Isis, according to the legend of the Metternich Tablet, equally represent the stars of the Great Bear.
22 Modem Painters, V, p. 340, note. Turner, Mr. Ruskin says (ibid., p. 147), felt the great Greek traditions more than he knew them; "his mind being affected, up to a certain point, precisely as an ancient painter's would have been, by external phenomena of nature. To him, as to the Greek, the storm clouds seemed messengers of fate. He feared them, while he reverenced." The passage from the impressions of nature to a mythical and also to a religious view of things, is here strikingly expressed.
23 In this queen's time (Dumichen, Hist. Inschr., II, 34) Set still occupies his ancient rank among the gods. He is called (No. 5) "the great and living god," and (No. 10) the "lord of heaven."
24 The primitive meaning of [glyphs] senemu, storm cloud or storm, is simply hair, the common forms being [glyphs].
25 The [glyphs] nememes of the Double Lion of Dawn is referred to later on.
26 The name of Set is founded on an erroneous division of words in the title of Todt., 36, re en ese f.
27 [glyphs] uhar, "the blind one," is a name of Apepi in the inscriptions of the base period. (Myth of Cacus, or Caeculus, = caecus.)
28 [glyphs] is one of those words in which the sign [glyphs] has the value hotep. This is certain, from the variants in which the sign [glyph] appears. Compare Brugsch, Lexicon, B. 7, p. 1322, with an article of Dumichen in Zeitschr., 1873, p. 118. It is wonderful that Brugsch (who has certainly read this article) shuts his eyes to such direct variants as [glyphs] not to mention others.
29 At a later time we read (on the Metternich Stele), in connection with the Dawn ([glyphs]), of the "Goose Egg which comes forth from the Sycamore" [glyphs]. This has reference to the Egg of Seb in Todt., 54, and other chapters. The sun is here considered as an egg laid by that great cackling goose, the earth.
30 The green cap or mantle (nememes uaf) of the Double Lion of Dawn (Todt., 78, 19) has the same meaning. So has the "green stone" at the neck of Ra (Todt., 103, 3). The golden Hawk has wings of green (ch. 77) as he comes forth. In later times Hathor is addressed (Dumichen, Resultate, 18, 1) as "diademed with emerald and rested with green." "Thy countenance is tinted with the emerald colour," she is told (Rec. iv, 71 and 75), "of fresh emerald, thou art green like the green-stone of Buchat." The dawn-goddess, Uat'it, whose name signifies greenness, or the green one, is called, like Hathor, [glyphs] nelt vest el mafka tehen, "mistress of sapphire, emerald, and saffron, i.e., she is conspicuous by these colours. Mafka and tehen, "emerald and saffron" (or some other yellow colour, see Zeitschr., 1867, p. 66) are the tints of the Dawn, Todt., 80, 7. The Book of the Dead (160, 2) mentions [glyphs] neiem, "green felspar," as one of the names of the Dawn-god, Shu. The green colour of the frog is a clue to the meaning of the ancient goddess [glyphs].
31 See Burton, Excerpta, pl. 56, or Champollion, Notices, II, p. 904, and Denkm, iv., 22.
32 Compare Plutarch, de Isid., 21.
33 The real meaning of this seems to be, that Osiris is dead, but rises again as Ra. Osiris is yesterday's sun, Ra that of to-day.
34 Marietta, Denderah, tom. IV, pi. 66.
35 Naville, Mythe d' Horus, pl. xx.
36 J. de Rouge, Inscriptions a Edfou, pl. 87.
37 Etudes EgyptoIoyiques, p. 57. Cf. Sharpe, E. I, 1, 117, line 16.
38 An allusion to the Tree of Life has not unnaturally been seen in the newly discovered texts published in the Zeitschrift, 1881, Taf. IV b , line 18. I believe that [glyphs] should be rendered staff of life, rather than tree of life. The expression is found in Pap. Leyden, I, 3-47, pl. 7, and Denkm., VI, 118.
39 For instructive pictures, see Wilkinson, III, pi. 33; Leemans, Mon., I, pl. XII, 1053, and XIII, 1056; and Golenischeff, Mettemichtstele, pl. 3, XIV. and 6, XXXVIII.
40 Most of these myths are referred to in Mr. Tylor's Primitive Culture and Early History of Mankind. But a much more copious list will be found in Pott's "Benenmmgen des Regenbogen" in the Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung, II, 414.
41 The first part of this compound word signifies fall; in Egyptian [glyphs] Coptic representative of which is [Coptic], cadere, decidere, or, as a noun, casus, lapsus, plaga, ruina. [It is remarkable that Zoega (p. 412, note) explains a common meaning of [glyphs] .... by casus inde modus.'] The Egyptian noun, which occurs without a determinative [glyph] on the Constantinopolitan obelisk of Thothmes III, has for determinative a fallen man. Mariette, Karnak, pl. 22; Denkm., Ill, 129; and Pianchi Tablet, line 28, Denkm., III, 130, and [glyphs] in the great inscription of Menepthah, Mariette, Karnak, pl. 55. All these are variants of one and the same word. The transitive fell, felling, is found under the form [glyphs].
[Perhaps the word [glyphs], 'felled wood,' may be derived from this.] The very common word [glyphs] 'a dead body,' owes its origin to the same notion as the Greek [Greek] and the Latin cadaver. "E caddi come corpo morto cade." The same notion (as in our 'pit-fall') gives the clue to the sense of several ancient Egyptian words, such as [glyphs] khau, 'mines,' [glyphs]; the pit in which the mummy was [glyphs] are probably dejectiones buried.
[glyphs] ab alvo. The senses of collapse and dissolution are not less evident in other words of kindred origin.
The word [glyphs] which sometimes implies falling, might seem to claim affinity with the Coptic [Coptic]. But it has no affinity with [glyphs] and it is only in a secondary sense that it signifies falling. The Coptic [Coptic] is however found = the Greek [Greek]. It is probable, therefore, that as frequently happens in the history of language (see Max Muller, Science of Language, II, p. 318), two different Egyptian words have assumed the same form in Coptic.
[glyphs] (Antiquites, Vol. V, pi. 48), is manifestly another form of kha pet, and has its Coptic representative in [Coptic], rain. If such a form as khu nu Pe existed as early as the time of Nebseni, it is not impossible that it may have given rise (through dictation) to the reading genmu pet.
[The word [glyphs] which occurs in this note, is read [glyphs] Brugsch, and identified with the Coptic [Coptic], which he translates Wady. But it is only through a mistake that [glyphs] has been confounded with another hieroglyphic sign [glyphs] (see Zeitschrift, 1S67, p. 41). It is certainly polyphonous, but the only demonstrable values of it are (1) [glyphs], as in [glyphs] and in [glyphs] where it occurs as a variant of [glyphs]; and (2) sep, as the equivalent of [glyphs] in a royal name. But aat, I repeat, is a mistake; or at all events the proofs hitherto given are founded on a mistake. Chaset, also written [glyphs], Champollion, Notices, I, 774, also 775, is the khesau of the Rhind Papyri, the Egyptian Sheol.
42 Dumichen, Tempelinschriften. I, 30, lines 1 and 6.
43 Among the results which I mentioned at the time this paper was read, is the belief entertained by the Egyptians that fire from heaven, proceeding from the sun, is disseminated through all plants and living things, and specially in the soul of man. With this belief is probably connected the ceremony of "kindling the light," set teka, in memory of the dead. And the clause in the Negative Confession, "I have not extinguished a flame at its birth," acquires a deeper meaning.
44 This word is simply written [glyph] in royal titles, such as [glyphs] where it does not signify god or divine. But apart from such titles, it is distinguished from the word signifying god by its phonetic complements or determinatives [glyphs]. The word admits of the reduplication [glyphs], as in the obelisk of queen Hat-shepsu, and of the intensive form [I | ... . .
45 From this point of view, nutra is most naturally found in parallelism with [glyphs].
46 Page 825: "Haufig in Parallelismus mit daher auch die jeweilige deruot. Uebersetzung, [glyphs]." But I think [glyphs] means "exercise protection," and that this is the meaning of such expressions as "sacred animals," "sacred plants," "sacred crown," etc., where nutra is the word translated sacred.
47 British Museum, E.S. 375, referred to in Dr. Birch's Dictionary.
48 See Brugsch's Dictionary (Supplement), where a very different account of the word is given. It is there connected with the Hebrew [Hebrew] susfulit, and this with [glyphs] sciendit! Etymological science of this kind is extremely easy, but it is certainly not plausible. Were I a believer in the relationship between Egyptian and Semitic, I should explain He, and Hi by [glyphs] and the kindred [glyphs], and [glyphs]. In these Semitic words, as in the Latin tueor, we have the double notion of sight and protection, guarding and regarding.
49 See Naville, Mythe d'Horus, I, 6, 9 ; II, 1, 2, 3, 4; III, 3, 4; IV, 9, 10; V, 1, etc. From the physical the intellectual sense of mastery is derived.
50 The form [glyphs] is very frequent, but is not to be read nutri. It is, I believe, a mistake to look upon [glyphs] as a phonetic character = [glyph]. It has various uses, and among others it represents the place of a vowel, whether that be a, i, or u. There is a word [glyphs] Mariette, Abydos I, plate 7, the determinative [glyph] of which points to some such meaning as [glyphs] consolari. This is perhaps the key to the meaning of the festival for the dead called [glyphs] nutri.