M. Chabas regards a space at least of 4000 years, preceding the first Dynasty as absolutely necessary to such development as Egypt possessed at the time of the Fourth Dynasty. The art of the Old Empire was vigorous and full of original genius but the art of later times was stiff and conventional. The oldest religion had been pure, as proved by the monuments. The reign of Menes began about 3895 B. C. He was a prince of Upper Egypt. The records of Egypt say that prior to Menes were ten Thinite kings of Upper Egypt, the older of the two countries, as proved by this statement. There were still earlier ages when demi-gods ruled and a vast period when God himself ruled the universe. There is nothing at all in this incongruous with Bible statements. The Scriptures said that there were ten ante-diluvian patriarchs preceding the Deluge. The Hindu, Chaldean, Arabian, Greek, and Celtic chronicles named ten primitive kings. The part of Egyptian chronology, which we cannot understand is that division extending beyond the Hood.
Sir J. Gardner Wilkerson in The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians thought that civilization advanced northward from the Thebaid to Lower Egypt. Hieroglyphics show that in Upper Egypt were the older cities. Menes founded Memphis, but This on the Upper Nile was a royal city, where kings ruled long before the time of Menes. This was a suburb of Abydos. Here have been unearthed many rely upon the Old Race. Because of this evidence, Renan asserts that Egypt had no infancy, no archaic period because her first colonists were civilized in Ethiopia. Athotis, a successor of Menes, wrote anatomical facts. A medical papyrus in the British museum curiously illustrates this fact. Under the fourth Thinite king a great famine ravaged Egypt. Mantheo speaks of many wonders and a very great plague under the seventh king. In the Second Dynasty, the worship of the bull Aphis was introduced at Memphis. Under another of these kings, a law was passed where women could hold sovereign power.
Dynasty III was Memphite.
We read of a revolt of Libyans showing that Egypt even then held dominion beyond the Nile. The Rebu, a dark people, appear on the monuments as kindred of the Egyptians. Dr. Brugsch calls attention to the general absence in the titles of the kings of the name Ra, which afterward was essential to throne names. Dynasty IV the first king was Khufu or the Cheops of Herodotus. This was an epoch when pyramid building reached its zenith and was the beginning of the brilliant era of Egyptian history. We can judge this by the magnificence of the sepulchers of these Pharaohs. The kingly power was then supreme. These rulers were positively worshipped. These were reigns of peace the age before the Old Empire extended itself out over the continents. Khufu built the Great Pyramid and the temple of Isis. near the Great Sphinx, which was carved by some earlier monarch. This disproves the charge of impiety against him. Britannica says that the cost of life in building the pyramids could scarcely have equaled the loss in long wars.
Khufu from Dynasty IV
Dynasty IV was 3700 B. C.
Recent excavations have enabled us to look upon the face of Khufu. He possessed a giant Ethiopian profile. Petrie says of him: “The first thing that strikes us about him is the enormous driving power of the man, the ruling nature which it seems impossible to resist. As far as the force of will goes, the strongest characters of history would look pliable in his presence. There is no face quite parallel to this in all the portraits that we know–Egyptian, Greek, Roman or modern.” Myers says that these figures standing so far back in the gray dawn of the historic morning mark not the beginning but in some respects the perfection of Egyptian art. It is this vast and mysterious background that impresses us more than these giant forms cast up against it. The ancient Cushite looks at you out of the face of Khufu. Examination of the countenances of any of these first Pharaohs reveals all of the true Ethiopian types and there was more than one of them. Their parallels may easily be found in Ethiopian types around us today. Khufu was the author of part of the funeral ritual. His wife was a priestess of Thot.
An ivory statue of a king of the First Dynasty taken from Petrie’s Abydos shows the flat nose, prognathous jaws, and the long head of the Cushite. Sheikh-el-Beled, in the museum of Gizeh, a supposed overseer of the Great Pyramid is the exact prototype of a modern mulatto. The Sphinx was the form of the ancient god Horus. This Great Sphinx, the sphinxes at Tanis and the colossi at Bubastis, all represent black, full-featured Africans, that are emblematic, says Dr. Dubois, of kings of the earliest dynasties. Under the rulers of the fifth and sixth Dynasties, there was a notable decline in power and achievement. A less careful style of architecture appeared and there were fewer pains in the excavation of tombs. In the Fifth Dynasty, the capital was moved to Middle Egypt. The royal forces at this time were composed chiefly of Ethiopians and their pictures appear largely in the pictured priesthood. Tylor points, out that 2000 B. C. Negroes by the tens of thousands were in the Egyptian service, carrying her dominion into Syria and Arabia. After the Sixth Dynasty, there is a blank in the records. We have no monuments to guide us.
2400 to 2000 B. C. brings us to the Middle Kingdom.
The reigns preceding it were probably Memphite. The three following were Theban, Egypt always rose in art and achievement when the south was supreme. With Dynasty Twelve came the Golden Age of Egypt. These Theban rulers laid Syria waste. Amenemhat I of Cushite blood ruled beyond Egypt southward as Lord of the Two Lands. All Egypt came under his domination. He extended her boundaries. Sculpture and architecture were revived. The blood that had given Egypt her civilization was again upon the throne. Tens of thousands of acres of marsh were drained and a wonderful system of artificial reservoirs built to hold the surplus waters of the Me. Theban glory began with the rise of these monarchs. Amenemhat reclaimed 20,000 acres of fertile land. He settled these districts with people from the south. Under these Cushite cultivators, the yields of grapes, flax, cotton, peas, beans, radishes, melons, and other vegetables were enormous. Under Usurtesen II, the kingdom reached the highest prosperity. The monuments tell of the grandeur of the works and the armies that marched out of the Hundred gated Thebes to foreign conquests. In Dynasty XII Cushites were formidable rivals of Egypt.
Amenemhat II Amenemhat III Usurtesen I
The Two Lands were pulling apart, though Ethiopians still sat upon the throne of Egypt. By the Two Lands, we mean Egypt and Ethiopia. Ethiopia in those ages extended to the northern confines of Upper Egypt. Amenemhat II and III and Usurtesen I were Ethiopian Pharaohs of this Nubian line. Look at authentic cuts of these kings (see page 209) and you will be satisfied that they were Cushites. During their reigns, the ancient glories of Egypt were restored. No Pharaoh had had a reign so glorious for conquest and works of engineering as Usurtesen III. On his cartouch was the symbol of the union of the Two Lands. He was worshipped as a god in Nubia in subsequent times. Amenemhat III of the same Nubian line, constructed a vast artificial reservoir, Lake Moeris. Near the lake, he built the famous Labyrinth, the most justly celebrated structure of antiquity. Herodotus who saw a declared it greater than all the temples of Greece. He was struck dumb by the magnificence of its three thousand apartments. The domestic life of this age excites our admiration. We read of no expeditions into Nubia. These monarchs seemed anxious to build up the country.
Dynasty XIII brought another blank in the monumental records.
Egypt had broken into two really separate kingdoms. This enfeebled the country for the conquest of the Hyksos. During their stay, the native princes at the south maintained themselves. 2080-1525 B. C. these Shepherd kings ruled over Egypt. They were a barbaric and nomadic race from Asia which destroyed the temples and left no monuments standing in Egypt. Those who contend that the origin of the civilization of the Nile was from Asia should note that under these Asiatics, Egypt entered into the darkest period of her history. The Shepherds were expelled from Egypt by Aahmes, a mulatto and a Theban. He was the Amoisis of the Greeks and king of the north and south. He secured the favor of the Cushites by marrying Nefruari, the black princess of Ethiopia, famous for her dusky charms, wealth and accomplishments. The marriage of the Pharaohs to black princesses was frequent and seemed to establish the legality of the claim of descent from the black god Amen-Ra, whom the ancients represented as Cush of Ethiopia.
Nefruari or Nefertari was by the inscriptions, the most venerated figure of Egyptian history. She was a queen of great beauty, strong personality, and administrative ability. Her son, Amenhotep the Amenophis of the Greeks, reigned jointly with her for many years. Mariette discovered in 1850 the mummy of Queen Aahotep, the Nubian mother of Aahmes. The ornaments now preserved in a museum near Cairo are of such marvelous workmanship that modern jewelers confess their inability to even imitate them. Under Aahmes Egypt again became supreme. The decayed and ruined temples were restored to their ancient richness and splendor. In a few years, she had regained what had been lost in the five Centuries of the rule of the Hyksos. The country became covered with edifices and new roads were opened for commerce and trade. Aahmes founded an empire that lasted 1500 years, a period rich in its records of history and growth for Egypt. As late as 663 B. C., Psamtik, a Pharaoh of Libyan origin strengthened his claim to the Egyptian throne by marriage to an Ethiopian princess, the daughter of Sabako. The father of the great Ramses II followed the same procedure.
Dynasty XVIII, 1500-1300 B. C. Egypt attained the summit of her power.
She became the arbitress of the whole world. Sayce says that they returned with new rolls of conquered provinces and with the plunder and tribute of the east. Amenophis I, son of Aahmes and Nefertari, carried on the Ethiopian wars. Ethiopia was breaking away from Egypt. His son Thotmes I, subdued Phoenicia and Syria. His daughter, Hatasu, called herself the daughter of Amen and his incarnation. She had a strong mulatto countenance. The name of her father occurs at Meroe. His son Thothmes I ordered offerings made to the gods of the south. He sent out expeditions to Khent-hen-nefar, probably the country known today as western Soudan. He was called sovereign of the Two Lands. He was the first of a long line of conquering pharaohs. The astonishing resemblance of the art of the Fourth, Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynasties, the great periods of Egyptian history lies in the fact that they were dynasties that were purely Ethiopian. They represented the best genius of the race that had given Egypt her civilization. When they were out of power her culture always declined.
The great Thotmes III was of all the Pharaohs, unquestionably the greatest. During his long reign of fifty-four years, the country was covered with monuments and became the center of trade and intercourse. Sayce says that countless treasures flowed into Egypt and Thebes became the capital of the world. Thotmes created a considerable navy upon the Mediterranean and was absolutely supreme upon its waters. Monuments of his reign have been found in Algeria. In the Hall of Ancestors, Karnak, Thotmes III, may be seen making offerings before sixty-one of his ancestors. This will give us some idea of how many Ethiopian monarchs had sat upon the Egyptian throne. He called himself the royal son of the land of the South. He erected in Nubia many more edifices than any other monarch. There he appears worshipping the gods of the south. From his expeditions into Asia, he returned with enormous spoil. He was undoubted, the Alexander of Egyptian history. He conquered the known world. Thothmes III carved the names of 628 vanquished nations and captured cities on the walls at Karnak. Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Armenia, Abyssinia, and Nubia were parts of his domain.
This Pharaoh was also a magnificent builder. His works are almost numberless. One is a portion of the temple of Karnak, the most magnificent ruin in the world. During the reign of Thotmes III, the Mycenaean culture was at its zenith. Sayce shows that he established royal botanical and zoological gardens, stocked with curious plants and animals which he brought back with him. Year after year tribute and taxes of every kind came regularly to the Egyptian treasury from the towns of Palestine, Phœnicia and northern Syria. From Cush and Punt came offerings. He received also the tribute and homage of the Assyrian and Chaldean kings. This was, without doubt, the Middle Ages when the Cushite race ruling from Thebes as a center, sought to follow and hold the old lines of the more ancient Cushite empire of Ethiopians. that in the ages of Amen-Ra and Osiris had covered three worlds. In an earlier age, the central seat had been the primitive Meru. In the latter days of the Egyptian empire, the priestcraft and soldiers retired and set up a new capital at Napata; but the days of world empire were over, which empire had lasted, some authorities say, for six thousand years.
The next king of this dynasty was Amenhotep II, the son of Thothmes III. The Egyptians under his lead captured Nineveh. He brought back the bodies of seven kings that he had taken in battle. He put up their heads as trophies on the walls of Thebes. A new strain of Ethiopian blood appears in this line through the Nubian queen, Metuma, about 1400, B. C. Her son, Amenhotep III, the Amenophis of the Greeks, covered the banks of the Nile with monuments remarkable for their grandeur and perfection. He was the Memnon of the Iliad, who came to the relief of Troy. There he is called the black prince. He built monuments inscribed with his name. At Sulb, he and his wife, Tai, appear making offerings to Amen-Ra. He built the great temple at Luxor and the colossi at Thebes and was called by the Greeks the miracle-working Memnon, who each morning with musical sounds greeted his mother. His rule extended from southern Ethiopia to Mesopotamia. He seemed to have wished to make the Soudan prosperous.
Thotmes III, Amenophis III, and Amenophis IV were in appearance unmixed black types. Darwin was struck by the extremely Ethiopian characteristics of the statute of Amenophis III. We will pause here to glance at a son of Amenophis who in our day has aroused universal interest. Tut-ankh-amen was born 1350 B. C., long before the days of Athens and Rome. His tomb was discovered in a limestone cliff in the Valley of Tombs about five miles from ancient Thebes. It had practically been unmolested for thirty centuries. Here were the tombs of the other Pharaohs of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. All had been ruthlessly pillaged. Every effort had been made to conceal the spot. Herbert Carter, for thirty years, had searched for the tomb. He found it in 1922. He knew by the seals on the door that it had been undisturbed. He sent at once to his generous patron Lord Carnarvon and sought the aid of the world’s greatest Egyptologists.
One of the first visitors to enter the tomb was Professor Breasted. He said: “It is a sight I never dreamed of seeing–the antechamber of a Pharaoh’s tomb, filled with the magnificent equipment which only the wealth and splendor of the imperial age of Egypt could have wrought or conceived. In quality, it is an astonishing revelation of the beauty and refinement of Egyptian art–beyond anything I had imagined.” The first room of the tomb entered contained statutes, caskets, chests, beds, chairs, and chariots all beautifully carved and decorated. On the lid of one chest were hunting scenes. The beauty and minuteness of the details of the painting excel the finest Chinese and Japanese art. Still more valuable articles besides these which filled the room had been plundered. The kings robes were elaborately decorated with beads of gold. There was a beautiful amber necklace. His sandals of leather were inlaid with gold. The king’s throne was one of the finest specimens of Egyptian art ever found in a tomb. It was covered with gold and silver and inlaid with sparkling gems. Several very beautiful alabaster vases were found. Perfumes 3000 years old still gave forth a pleasant odor. Behind this chamber was another packed five feet high with innumerable objects.
Harold M. Weeks says, “This imperial age or first empire, now shines out as one of the world’s most astounding epochs. It is needful only to point out that objects in Tut-ankh-amen’s tomb have been valued at such sums as $10,000,000 (though it is futile, to price the priceless), and then to remember that Tut-ankh-amen was but a weak declining star compared to the other brilliant Pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty constellation.” At this age, the nations of Asia were pouring tribute into Egypt. These nations remembered the terrible power of Amenophis and trembled. From the statutes and the wall paintings, the king of this tomb was black. This may have had something to do with the hasty closing of the tomb. His name ended with Amen, the black god of the Soudan and Egypt. With his name, the Egyptians began and ended their prayers. We of the Christian world, through the Hebrews, have appropriated it and use the title of the great Amen at the close of our petitions. During the Hyksos invasion, the native royal family of lower Egypt took refuge in Ethiopia. Alliance with Cushite princesses was common. Moses, says Geikie, only followed their example.
Amenophis IV. tried to establish a new religion. Open war broke out between him and the priests of Amen. In enforced flight, he retired to a new capital. Weakened by this strife he lost his hold upon the Asiatic provinces. The close of his reign found Egypt shorn of all that had been won by his predecessors. His successor speedily made peace with the priests of Amen and was permitted to be buried in the royal burying ground. Dynasty XIX, 1300 B. C. brings us to Ramses I and Seti I who restored the waning glory of Egypt. He strengthened his claim to the throne by marrying princess Tai, granddaughter of Amenophis III. Remeses II, the son of this marriage became the legitimate king. He was the Sesostris of the Greeks. He reigned sixty-seven years. The temple of Abydos records the names of sixty daughters and fifty-nine sons. He built two magnificent temples in Nubia and part of the temples of Karnak and Luxor. Around his name, says Lenormant, clustered the luster of his predecessors. We know he subdued Syria, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Media, Persia, Bactrina and India even to the Ganges, the Scythians and the inhabitants of Asia Minor. All of these regions were anciently Cushite. He returned after nine years loaded with captives and spoil.
Great changes were taking place in world populations. The emigration southward had begun that made the modern Persian nation, Armenians, Turo-Scythic populations were pouring down upon Greece. The old Cushite colonists of the great belt that had once stretched from India to Spain became restless and chaffing under the inroads of these barbaric hoards they began a movement southward–an attempted return to the regions of their origin. Egypt strong, fully populated, did not feel inclined to receive them. As these new infusions entered and changed the life and ideals of Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor, and the Ægean, their attitude toward Egypt became more hostile. These conquered nations revolted and the Egyptians were driven back to almost the valley of the Nile. Rameses III was the last of the heroes when he assumed crown Egypt was surrounded by enemies. The Libyans had established themselves in the western portion of the Delta. They attacked Egypt but were repulsed. The successors of Rameses were insignificant sovereigns; the high priests of Ammon at Thebes usurped their power and 1100 B. C. set aside the heirs and seized the throne. They did not long retain this dignity.
The Tanites 1090 B. C. succeeded in expelling the priests of Ammon and established dominion over Egypt. They reigned one hundred years. They were succeeded by the Bubastes of Lower Egypt. With the Tanite dynasty, the high priesthood which had been so powerful from early ages, with the royalty, retired to Ethiopia and set up a rival state at Napata. Azerch-Amen, King of Ethiopia starting from Napata invaded Egypt, traversed the whole length and penetrated Palestine at the head of an army of Ethiopians and Libyans. 800 B. C. Pianki made the Thebaid a simple province dependent upon Ethiopia. The people of Egypt favorably received his accession to the throne at Thebes. They were better disposed toward an Ethiopian king than one from the Delta. 693 B. C. Tarkaka conquered the whole Nile valley. Thebes welcomed him with enthusiasm. Priests opened the gates of Memphis. He fixed his capital at Thebes. Strabo said that Tarkaka rivaled Ramses II in his conquests, which extended westward to the Pillars of Hercules and eastward to the Assyrian domains. With the wrestling of Egypt from Ethiopian conquerors, the old empire died.
Taharqa from twinty-fivth dynasty
670 B. C. in the twenty-third year of his reign, the Assyrians drove Taharqa out of Egypt. His successor Tanut-Amen determined to wrest Egypt from Asia. Thebes and Memphis opened their gates and even Tyre sent help, but the Assyrians returned and executed a terrible vengeance. 660 B C. Psammeticus, of Libyan origin, threw off the yoke. He married an Ethiopian princess as so many Pharaohs that had preceded him. This prince of the final line of native sovereigns gained the throne with the aid of Greek mercenaries. He throws open the door of Egypt to foreigners, especially Greeks. Greek travelers visited the cities of the Nile. The Greek colony of Naucrates was given special privileges. He entrusted some of the highest offices of Egypt to foreigners. The military class because of this emigrated to Ethiopia. Psammeticus humbled his pride and sued for their return but these two hundred thousand preferred Ethiopia. 343 B. C. the last native dynasty ceased, with the flight of Nektanebos with the treasury of Egypt to Ethiopia, upon the approach of Persian conquerors. Persia did not enjoy sway over Egypt very long, her scepter soon passed to Alexander.
332 B. C. Egypt was glad when the empire fell to Alexander the Great. He was welcomed in Egypt as a deliverer. 331 B. C. he visited the oases of Ammon in the Libyan desert where he was recognized by the priests as the son of Amon. In the winter of the same year, he founded the city of Alexandria. Ptolemy I, 306 B. C., raised Egypt again to the first rank. Alexandria became the foremost city in the world as a center of commerce and culture. The famous museum and library attracted to Alexandria men of science and letters from all parts of the Hellenic world. Under his successors, Egypt prospered greatly. Philadelphus is said to have suggested the preparation of Manetho’s Egyptian History from native sources. The line of Ptolemies ended with Cleopatra, who through her influence over Caesar managed to preserve the nominal independence of Egypt. At her death, the land of the Pharaohs became a Roman province. Christianity was early introduced and at first, was severely persecuted. 391 A. D. it became the state religion 639-641. A. D. Mohammedan Arabs conquered Egypt. Cairo became the capital and a great center of religion and learning.
So we might continue on down the line of changing sovereigns to modern times, but that is not the purpose of this book, which seeks only to follow the more ancient traces in Egypt of the ancient Cushite empire of Ethiopians. Diodorus Siculus said of the work of the closing Ethiopian dynasty, that there were numerous canals built and embankments, intended to keep the towns above the level of the Nile. Hosea, king of Israel, sent presents to Shabaka. Amen-Iritis his sister was a woman of rare intelligence and superior merit. She was three times regent of Egypt under three sovereigns of the Ethiopian dynasties, showing the respect the Ethiopian had for his womankind. Amen-Iritis was very popular at Thebes. Shabaka abolished capital punishment and substituted hard labor. At Luxor, he appears making offerings to the gods of Thebes as a native sovereign. Takaka in 693 built the great temple of Gebel Barkel. Many of the reliefs of the pyramids present the Ethiopian rulers as Lord of the Two Lands, with the throne titles Amen and Ra. They wear the same symbols upon their heads. We read the names Ankh-Ka-Ra, Alu-Amen, Amen-Ark-Neb, showing that for ages Nubia and Egypt were ruled as one land, ages far earlier than the period marked in the average history as the Ethiopian dynasty.
The original inhabitants of Asia Minor, of the South Caspian and the basin of the Mediterranean, were closely related to Egypt. They had the cranial formation of Upper Egypt. In Egyptian war scenes there appeared very strangely formed and remote nations, that because of distance had lost the ancient race type. We see red hair, blue eyes, and tattooing on the legs like the ancient Scythian. These may not have been aliens but northern branches of the Cushite race. The extended conquests of the Egyptian kings do not seem at all impossible when we remember that they were recovering and reclaiming regions anciently their own. We know by the records that Amenophis (Memnon), seized the whole coast of Arabia, Libya, and Ethiopia. In the Iranian histories, the had extended his conquests to far Bactrina. Amenophis subdued the Scythic nations in the Caucasus. He marched into Colchis which was Ethiopian (Her. II, 104) and marched as far as the Don. These were but old Cushite dominions. The passage of Hercules represents the early colonization of Western Europe by the race. Other ancient records tell us that the Ethiopian Cymandes led an immense army to conquer the Bactrians. The triumphant arms of Osiris reached from the sources of the Ganges to the Danube in Europe. Western Europe had its legends of the passage of Bacchus and Dionysus.