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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26 A HISTORY OF EGYPT

east Africans with the Nile valley peoples continued far into historic times, and in the ease of the Libyans may be traced in ancient historical documents for three thousand years or more. The Semitic immigration from Asia, examples of which are also observable in the historic age, occurred in an epoch that lies far below our remotest historical horizon. We shall never be able to determine when, nor with certainty through what channels it took place, although the most probable route is that along which we may observe a similar influx from the deserts of Arabia in historic times, the isthmus of Suez, by which the Mohammedan invasion entered the country. While the Semitic language which they brought with them, left its indelible impress upon the old Nile valley people, the nomadic life of the desert which the invaders left behind them, evidently was not so persistent, and the religion of Egypt, that element of life which always receives the stamp of its environment, shows no trace of desert life. The affinities observable in the language are confirmed in case of the Libyans, by the surviving products of archaic civilization in the Nile valley, such as some of the early pottery, which closely resembles that still made by the Libyan Kabyles. Again the representations of the early Puntites, or Somali people, on the Egyptian monuments, show striking resemblances to the Egyptians themselves. The examination of the bodies exhumed from archaic burials in the Nile valley, which we had hoped might bring further evidence for the settlement of the problem, has, however, produced such. diversity of opinion among the physical anthropologists, as to render it impossible for the historian to obtain decisive results from their researches. The conclusion once maintained by some historians, that the Egyptian was of African negro origin, is now refuted; and evidently indicated that at most he may have been slightly tinctured with negro blood, in addition to the other ethnic elements already mentioned.

As found in the earliest burials to-day, the predynastic Egyptians were a dark-haired people, already possessed of



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