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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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Art & Architecture


plaited wattle (Fig. 27). There was an enclosed court before it, containing a symbol or emblem of the god mounted on a standard; and in front of the enclosure was a pair of poles, perhaps the forerunners of the pair of stone obelisks which in historic times were erected at the entrance of a temple. By the second half of the Second Dynasty, however, stone temples were built,' as we have seen. The kings frequently record in their annals2 the draughting of a temple plan, or their superintendence of the ceremonious inauguration of the work when the ground was measured and broken. The great gods were those familiar in later times, whom we shall yet have occasion briefly to discuss; we notice particularly Osiris and Set, Horus and Anubis, Thoth, Sokar, Min, and Apis a form of Ptah; while among the goddesses, Hathor and Neit are very prominent. Several of these, like Horus, were evidently the patron gods of prehistoric kingdoms, pre-ceding the kingdoms of the North and South, and thus going back to a very distant age. Horns, as under the predynastic kings, was the greatest god of the united kingdom, and occupied the position later held by Re. His temple at Hiera-conpolis was especially favoured, and an old feast in his honour, called the "Worship of Horus," celebrated every two years, is regularly recorded in the royal annals (Fig. 29).2 The kings therefore continued without interruption the traditions of the "Worshippers of Horns," as the successors of whom they regarded themselves. As long as the royal succession continued in the Thinite family the worship of Horus was carefully observed; but with the ascendancy of the Third Dynasty, a Memphite family, it gradually gave way and was neglected. The priestly office was maintained of course as in the Old Kingdom by laymen, who were divided, as later, into four orders or phyles.

The more than four hundred years during which the first two dynasties ruled must have been a period of constant and vigourous growth. Of the seven kings of Menes's line. who followed him during the first two centuries of that devel-

I, 134. 'I, 91-16i.

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