Earliest Egypt

A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905), Chapter III, pp. 25-50


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36 A HISTORY OF EGYPT

among the contemporary documents, all of which come from tombs of the poorer classes, such as contain no writing even in the dynastic age. Seven names of the kings of the Delta, like Seka, KKhay u, or Thesh, alone of all the line have survived ; but of the southern kingdom not even a royal name has descended to us, unless it be that of the Scorpion, which, occurring on some few remains of this early age, has been conjectured to be that of one of the powerful chieftains of the South.' The scribes of the Fifth Dynasty who drew up this list of kings, some eight hundred years after the line had passed away, seem to have known only the royal names, and were unable to, or at least did not record, any of their achievements.' As a class these kings of the North and South were known to their posterity as the "worshippers of Horus"; and as ages passed they became half mythic figures, gradually to be endowed with semi-divine attributes, until they were regarded as the demi-gods who succeeded the divine dynasties, the great gods who had ruled Egypt in the beginning. Their original character as deceased kings, as known to the earlier dynasties, led to their being considered especially as a line of the divine Dead, who had ruled over the land before the accession of human kings; and in the historical work of Manetho they appear simply as "the Dead." Thus their real historical character was finally completely sublimated, then to merge into unsubstantial myth, and the ancient kings of the North and the South were worshipped in the capitals where they had once ruled.

The next step in the long and slow evolution of national unity was the union of the North and South. The tradition which was still current in the days of the Greeks in Egypt, to the effect that the two kingdoms were united by a king named Menes, is fully confirmed by the evidence of the early monuments. The figure of Menes, but a few years since as vague and elusive as those of the "worshippers of Horus," who preceded him, has now been clothed with unmistakable

'Another possibly on the Palermo Stone and in the tomb of Methen; see I, 166. 2I, 90.



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