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

Browse scholarship by topic:

Art & Architecture


ornamented Aegean ware produced by the island peoples of the northern Mediterranean in pre-Mycenaean times. If this pottery was placed in these tombs at the time of the original burials, there were commercial relations between Egypt and the northern Mediterranean peoples in the fourth millennium before Christ. Besides the aggressive foreign policy in the east, and this foreign connection in the north, we find that an occasional campaign was necessary to restrain the Libyans on the west. In the temple at Hieraconpolis Narmer left an ivory cylinder' commemorating his victory over them, an event which is doubtless to be connected with the same king's chastisement of the Libyan nomes in the western Delta, to which we have already adverted. In the south at the first cataract, where, as late as the Sixth Dynasty, the Troglodyte tribes of the neighbouring eastern desert made it dangerous to operate the quarries there, king Usephais of the First Dynasty was able to maintain an expedition for the purpose of securing granite to pave one of the chambers of his tomb at Abydos.

Thus this strong Thinite line gradually built up a vigourous nation of rich and prolific culture and consolidated its power within and without. Scanty as are its surviving monuments, we see now gradually taking form the great state which is soon to emerge as the Old Kingdom. These earliest Pharaohs were buried, as we have seen, at Abydos or in the vicinity, where nine of their tombs are known. A thousand years after they had passed away, these tombs of the founders of the kingdom were neglected and forgotten, and as early as the twentieth century before Christ that of king Zer was mistaken for the torah of Osiris.' When found in modern times it was buried under a mountain of potsherds, the remains of votive offerings left there by centuries of Osiris-worshippers. Its rightful occupants had long been torn from their resting places, and their limbs, heavy with gold and precious stones, had been wrenched from the sockets to be carried away by greedy violators of the dead.

Hierac. I, pl. XV, No. 7. 2 T. I i2. 4

Page 31