American Egyptomania Search

"General Remarks on Types of Mankind"

Types of Mankind: or, Ethnological Researches, Based Upon the Ancient Monuments, Paintings, Sculptures, and Crania of Races, and Upon Their Natural, Geographical, Philological, and Biblical History (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1854), Chapter II

Browse scholarship by topic:

Art & Architecture


clusion is much strengthened by the fact, that the same head is often repeated on different monuments. This and the other portraits of the Egyptian type to which we allude, were figured duting the XVIIIth dynasty of ROSSELLINI; and posseses, to Ethnologists, peculiar interest from the fact of their vivid simitude to the old Egyptian type (subsequently revisited by Lipsius) on the earlier monuments of the IVth, Vth and VIth dynasties; at the same time that thesee particular effigies offer a marked dissimilarity to the Asiatic-Egyptian type, which becomes common on the later monuments of the XVIIth and subsequent dynasties; that is, from 1500 B.C. downwards.

B-This portrait is the representative of that Asiatic group of races by ethnographers termed the Semetic. The hieroglyphics legend over his head reads "Namu" which, together with "Aamu" was the generic term for yellow-skinne races, lying, in that day, between the Isthmus of Swet and Tauric Assyria, arabia and Chaldel inclusive.

C--Negro races are typified in this class and they are designated, in the hieroglyphics, "Nehru." The protrait in coulour and outline, displays, like hundreds of other Egyptian drawings, how well marked was the Negro type several generations anterior to Moses. We posses no actual portraits of Negroes, pictorially exant earlier than the seventeenthe century before Christ; but there is abundant proof of the ecistence of Negro races is the XIIth dynasty, 2300 yeears prior to our era. Lepsius tells us that Agrican languages antedate even the epoch of MENES, B.c. 2800, and we may hence conclude that they were then spoken by Negroes, whose organic idioms bear no affinity to Asiatic tongues.

D--The fourth division of the human familyis designated, in the heiroglyphics, by the name "Tambu" which is like wise a generic term for those races of men by us now called Japeth including all the whie-skinned families of Asia-Minor, the Coucasian mountains, and "Scythia" generally.

But we shall return to this Egyptian classification in another chapter. Our object here is simply to establish that athe ancient Egyptians had attempted a systematic anthropology at least 3500 years ago, and that their ethnographers were puzzled with the same diversity of types them that, after this lapse of time, we encounter in the same localities now. They of course classified solely the races of men within the circumference of their own knowledge, which comprehended necessarily but a small protion of the eathe's surface. Of their comntemporaries in China, Australia, Northern and Western Asia, Europe, and America, the Pharaonic Egyptians knew nothing; because all of the latter types of men became known even to Europe only since the Christian era, most of them since 1400 A.D.

We have asserted, that all classifications of the races of men heretofore proposed are entirely arbitrary; and that, unfortunately. no data yet exist by which these arrangements can be materially improved. It is proper that we should submit our reasonos for theis assertion. The field we gere enter upon is so wide as to embrace the whole physical history of mankind; but, neither our limits nor plan permitting such a comprehensice range, we shall illustrate our views by an examination of one or two groups of races; premising the remard that, whatever may be true of one human division--call it Caucasian, Mongol, Negro, Indian or other name--applies with equal force to all divisions. If we endeavor to treat of mankind zoologically,

Page 7