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Aratus, carries us about 1300 years before our era. Thus, Eudoxus may be readily believed to have carried it into Egypt. It is, therefore, very natural, according to Delalande, that we should find the sphere of Eudoxus pourtrayed in the zodiac of Dendera. M. Halma is among the most moderate in his calculations on the question of the zodiac: he launches forth a violent tirade against Dupuis, ridicules the idea of the Egyptians being astronomers, and treats with no measured courtesy, the folly of those who took the trouble to bring the villanous black stone into Europe, and disturb its repose in the ceiling of the temple of Dendera, where, for aught he cared, it might have for ever remained. M. Biot, an acute geometrician, viewing the planisphere as an astronomical document, concluded that the era of its erection might be about 716 years A. C.; and Alexander Lenoir, considering it as a simple calendar, assigns its antiquity to a period of 770 years A. C.
So far from the interesting researches which have been made in hieroglyphic literature at all impugning the truth of the Scriptural Chronology, in reference to the age of the world and of man, they strongly confirm its evidence. In Egyptian architecture there appears to be three distinct epochas: the most ancient possesses a style and character altogether peculiar, and is characterized by simplicity in its form, and an expression not unnatural or strained. The finest specimens of this earliest epocha of Egyptian architecture, are exemplified in the palaces of Karnac, Luxor, &c. in the Thebais; and in the temple of Isamboul, in Nubia. The temples of Edfou and Dakké belong to the second epocha of Egyptian art; and that of Dendera, to the third and most recent. Besides the style of architecture, the alphabet of phonetic hieroglyphics enables us to read on the Egyptian monuments, of the earliest epocha, the names of the ancient kings of Egypt : on those of the second, the names of the Greco-Egyptian kings and queens ; and in the structure of the third, and last period, the entire legends of the Roman emperors, from Augustus down to Antoninus Pius, inclusive. It has, in this
manner, been decidedly proved, that the great temple of Dendera, from whence the famous planisphere was obtained, and which had excited so much stir, and occasioned so much fruitless metaphysical and mathematical speculation, belongs decidedly to the third and last period of the art, and so far from its being so very ancient as had been supposed, it is, in reality, one of the most modern structures in Egyptian architecture. In all the copies which had been made of the hieroglyphics by the French commission, as well as by modern travellers, M. Champollion the younger, has deciphered the names of Roman emperors ; such as those of Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius ; and chiefly those of Nero and Domitian, under whose reigns the greater part of the sculptures of the temple of Dendera seem to have been made. The typhonium of this structure appears to have been of even a still more recent date, and belongs to the reign of Antoninus Pius. The only edifice among the ruins of Dendera, (called also Tentyris or Tentyra,) which is of considerable antiquity, is the small temple of Isis, behind the great temple, and which is consecrated to the Egyptian Venus. This structure exhibits the royal legends of Pharaoh Rameses-Meiamoun, the grandfather of Sesostris. The most ancient sculptures of this edifice do not carry us further back than the reign of Cleopatra and Ptolemy-Neocæsar; all the rest belong to the period of the Roman dominion. A Greek inscription, indeed, with Roman names, and that of one of the Cæsars, was found sculptured on the exterior cornice of the portico of the great temple ; and another, on the Eastern entrance, repeated over each of the listels of the cornice.
It is thus clearly demonstrated, that the temple of Dendera, which once contained the circular zodiac, (now in Paris) and of which a fac simile is now before us, is certainly not anterior to the reign of Augustus, or the Christian era ; nor is it to be supposed, that the celebrated zodiac is more ancient than the temple, of which it was intended to be the ornament; which deduction is amply confirmed by the hieroglyphic legends
which are sculptured on the same stone which forms the zodiac itself, and in which the imperial Roman title, AOTKPTP, (Autocrator,) appears in phonetic hieroglyphics. M. Champollion the younger, from the circumstance of the simple title being alone enclosed in the cartouche, (a somewhat oval enclosure, which contains the imperial names and titles; and, indeed, is the distinguishing feature of royal names,) assigns it to Nero, whose Medals, struck in Egypt, bear, siinply as their inscription, the word Autocrator. According to the same distinguished authority, the circular zodiac, as well as all the other zodiacs of Egypt, are merely horoscopes, or astrological themes, either of the nativity of an emperor, or of the foundation of the temple ; and are not, properly speaking, of an astronomical nature. It may here be proper to add, that by a horoscope, is to be understood the point of the zodiac which coincides with sun-rise. J. Letronne has promulgated an opinion similar to that of Champollion, and thus expresses himself. “ Nous pouvons, regarder comme un point de fait, que tous les Zodiaques d'Egypte ont été exécutés à l'époque romaine.-Ces monumens sont tous entièrement ou principalement astrologiques, dressés d'après les principes d'une prétendue science que l'Egypte avait vu naître, d'après le systême de représentation dont les Egyptiens avaient l'habitude, et par les procédés d'un art qui n'avait
sensiblement varié.” The epocha of the Egyptian zodiacs is also inferred from the style of the sculpture, as well as the astronomical interpretation of the emblems which compose them. The examination of the inscriptions which are in Greek characters, together with the phonetic hieroglyphics sculptured in the temples where these zodiacs have been discovered, prove that none of them are anterior to the Roman dominion in Egypt. There is still another interesting corroboration of these important deductions, in the discovery of a zodiac on the cerements of a mummy, evidently expressive of a natal theme. These proofs, collected from several diversitied sources, amount to demonstration, and set the
question for ever at rest. Thus has truth triumphed, and the Biblical Records have reaped fresh laurels in the keen scrutiny of a contested chronology, just as in geological science, the hopes of the infidel have withered.
We have no certain account of the period in which the pyramids were constructed, or for what purpose they were built: some have supposed they were intended as places of sepulture; and, therefore, are to be considered as mausoleums. The late Dr. E. D. Clarke was of opinion, that one of these piles enshrined the body of Joseph, who rode in the second chariot of Egypt, and whose remains, obedient to his last request, were removed at the exode. The inner chambers of the one which has been explored, afford no key to the solution ; nor does it appear certain that it ever contained a human body. It was much more likely to have enclosed the sacred bull, if it ever contained any thing at all
. The sarcophagi, in the British Museum, if they have not been monolithic temples, which seems to us most probable, were certainly sufficiently capacious to enshrine this chief figure in their idolatry. The attempt to derive the term pyramid from a Hebrew root, appears to us forced. We think it much more probable that it springs from the Greek Ilūp-fire; and that instead of its Hebrew appellative, “Grave of the Dead,” it is rather to be considered as an altar, connected with pyrolatry, from whence the sacred fire ascended, as in ancient Mexico: nor is it at all improbable, that it may, like the altar which Joshua built in Mount Ebal, to the North of Sichem, have been “plastered over with plaster," and had the creed of their mythology recorded on it in hieratic symbols. For any thing we know to the contrary, these structures may have been contemporaneous with the patriarchal age, or of the Pharaohs; or they may have been of the era of the Ptolemies. The literature of hieroglyphics may eventually solve this question.
We have not considered it at all necessary to introduce the question of Indian chronology: it is so entwined with fabulous legends, that a key, to what truth it contains, is not easily found. The high antiquity once claimed
for it, turns out to be a mere farce ; and Colonel Mark Wilks, who has distinguished himself in the literature of the East, informed us, he had, in his researches, invariably found, that neither their literature, science, nor arts, had any just pretensions to a high antiquity. The Hindoos, like the Egyptians, have a train of fabulous gods, and demi-gods, figuring away in the legends of their mythology, prior to the deluge; but sober science has to deal with a different succession of terrestrial being. The gigantic excavations in the granitic mountains of Elora, forming the temples of Indra and Visvacarma,* and other temples and dwellings; with those of Karli, Elephanta, and Salsette ; seem, in their majestic grandeur, to dispute with the pyramids, a title to overpowering effect, without the slightest pretence to any
whatever. Effect seems to have been the design kept in view, in order to overawe the devotee, by the unearthly majesty of giant forms. These excavations somewhat resemble those of the vast Necropolis of ancient Idumea. Not to trace out other resemblances, it may be mentioned, that in the Keylas, (or Paradise,) an insulated temple, hewn out of the Elora mountains, among the various figures, there is Bhavani sitting on a Lotus, (Kumala,) conspicuously displayed; and in which it requires no discrimination to discern the Harpocrates, or Arueris of Egyptian mythology. The Lotus may be also seen on the seat of the Colossus of Gournou. The massive forms of Indian architecture are the precise character of that of Egypt. Add to these remarks the fact, that during the expedition into Egypt, the Bombay Siphanees, (Sepoys) forming part of the army which proceeded by the Red Sea and Suez, recognized many of the mythological figures ; for instance, the bull, and some stone figures of serpents. It is even added, that they welcomed these as old acquaintance, and fell down and worshipped : while their officers were told by them, that the ancient
* This enormous excavation penetrates 130 feet into the mass of the granitic rock.