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ing to the state of the water. They are two months apart, just like the festivals mentioned on the Nile-stele of the age of the Pharaohs. We learn from the classical writers (Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny) that the amount of taxation was determined every year after the abatement of the overflow, and that for a fruitful year it was counted necessary that the water should have reached a height of fourteen to sixteen ells. "Who does not know of the "Father Nile" in the Vatican surrounded by sixteen genie children as allegorical incorporations of these sixteen ells? The desired height of the water here mentioned was, as Aristides expressly states, indicated by the Nilegauge at Memphis, and we know that this gauge was transferred from the left bank of the Nile to the right, or more precisely to the island Roda, opposite Fostat, and that it has retained its importance for the whole country to this day. We have treated in another place of the cutting of the dam and the feast connected therewith. Here we shall only add that some primitive usages are still associated with it. One of the chief of these is the preparation of a cone of earth, cailed El-Arus—i.e., the bride, which is so placed on the dam that the rising flood must wash it away from eight to fourteen days before it reaches its height. The circumstance that a little corn is put on the top of it shows that it had originally the significance of an offering. And, in fact, its recurrence appears to stand in close connection with the ancient custom of throwing an offering into the Nile shortly before the commencement of its rising. This was practised in heathen times at Memphis, for Pliny mentions that at the Nile feast called Neilsa, a gold or silver dish was thrown by the priests into the so-called source of the Nile at Memphis.

The following story which Ibn Ajas has preserved, is well known. Shortly after the foundation o£ Fostat by 'Amr, the Nile refused to rise, and the Copts wished to throw into the water a maiden, the usual offering cast annually into the arms of the river, for they thought the Nile would not rise unless it received this its customary tribute. When the flood still delayed coming, the commander went to the Caliph, and informed him of the circumstance. The messenger returned, bringing a letter from Omar, which 'Amr was directed to cast into the river. This was done, and on the very next night the water rose to the necessary level of sixteen ells. The Caliph's letter contained the following words :—" To the blessed Nile of Egypt. If thou hast hitherto flowed only according to thine own pleasure, then suspend thy rising; but if thou obeyest the commands of the Most High God, then we pray Him to increase thy flood." This story is certainly founded on fact, for in the days of the trustworthy Makrissi (t 1442) the Christian part of the population of Cairo still threw a casket containing the finger of a saint into the Nile, in order to move it to a favourable rise. But when we remember that those who are said shortly after the foundation of Fostat to have pressed for the offering of a virgin were Christians, and that human sacrifices were actually practised among the heathen Egyptians, we feel ourselves compelled to infer some transposition or distortion in the narrative of Ibn Ajas. The overflow of the Nile was naturally not less impatiently waited for in the time of the Pharaohs than in the seventh century A.d. and in our own day, and from the character of the ancient Egyptian cultus we must assume that shortly before the commencement of the rising of the Nile great processions took place, and many kinds of offerings were made. These must have been addressed to the Nile-god Hapi, aud to Osiris. The latter was considered the great aboriginal power that ruled all things and awakened all fresh life, working and producing everything in the under world, and by consequence also in the Nile, moving through the abode of the dead, and raising his own to new life. In pantheistic texts Osiris is called the Nile, and just as he brings light out of darkness, and animates the dead to fresh exertions, and withered vegetation to new bloom, so also he makes the river of Egypt to rise in its season.

These ideas are contained likewise in the Christian teaching of the Copts; but since the Copts could not look on a heathen deityas anything but a demon, they transferred his divine energy, which was displayed most actively in the regularly recurring rise of the river, to their own holy Orion. In a Christian Egyptian papyrus, written in Greek hexameters, and belonging apparently to the fifth or sixth century A.d., the following passage occurs in an exorcism : "Come to me, holy Orion, thou who restest in the north, thou who movest the flood of the Nile and minglest it with the sea." This formula is very like heathen Egyptian ones of the same kind, and it may be here mentioned that in texts belonging to the period of the Pharaohs Osiris is addressed as the constellation of Orion. A disguised Osiris-worship had thus certainly continued among; the Copts up till the Mussulman invasion, and when we hear of the offerings of many sorts which the ancient Egyptians threw into the Nile (e.g., the dish already mentioned), we may safely assume that the Copts had not yet renounced this custom of their ancestors when 'Amr built Fostat. We cannot, indeed, attribute to them the offering of a real maiden, a virgin of flesh and blood, but when we find in Porphyry a statement of Manetho to the effect that the Egyptians had in earlier times sacrificed men in great numbers, and that Amasis bad abolished this horrible custom and substituted wax figures for the men, we may perhaps discover in this some clue to the solution of the enigma. What the Copts proposed must have been to throw into the river the wax statue of a maiden with certain ceremonies, but 'Amr thought he could not tolerate this, because as a monotheistic Arab, the foe of images, he did not wish to owe anything to an idol. Perhaps the bride which the Arabs at the present day make out of the Nile mud may be considered the successor of the wax figure. This guess wins some support from the accounts found in the hieroglyphic texts of the ceremonies practised at the Nile feasts. According to these texts the image of Hathor, whose fair bosom was uncovered on a certain day before the worshippers, was carried at the time of the Nile rising in a solemn procession to Edfu in order to visit her son Hor Hud there. At this peculiar season the goddess Neith is said, according to the Feast Calendar of Esne (on 13 Epiphi), to bear her son anew. Her head is seen as she lies bearing him, stretched in the water.

The image of a goddess (Neith) thus appears actually to have been placed in the river during the rising. 'Most of the statements in these texts relate to ceremonies observed with the images of deities. Perhaps the custom practised by Christians in the time of 'Amr is connected with this usage; perhaps we must see in it another ceremony connected with the worship of Osiris, into which we cannot enter further here.*

A tear of Ifas, when her heart was breaking with anxiety for the return of her husband, fell, according to the belief of heathen times, into the river and made it swell, and then, after Horus had conquered Set (the dry), it brought back the husband (Osiris-Nile) to the mourning wife (the earth longing for fertilization); but this tear the Arabs have converted into the "divine drop," which, as they think, causes the rising of the Nile.

The inquirer in Cairo thus finds the old in the new everywhere, in art, in science, in civil and public life. The physical law of the conservation of matter is true also of the acquisitions of the mind. They seem to disappear, vauish, and go to nothing, but they are only forgotten, and in reality transmute themselves into new and no longer recognizable forms, or disappear perhaps temporarily under dust or behind clouds. But they still live and work on, and it is one of the greatest joys of the investigator to seek and recognize them under rubbish heaps or in thick wrappings. What an enjoyment it is to search through Cairo for the remains of antiquity. May those to whom it is to-day given to guide the destinies of the Nile Valley, not forget that with every monument of ancient Egypt they destroy, they destroy a part of her greatness. History eschews wreaths, but nourishes the whip, and she has engraved on her tables in much deeper letters the destructive work of the Vandals than all their brave and glorious deeds.

Georg Ebers.

* In the nineteenth Upper Egyptian province, that of the Oxyrynchites of the Greeks, whose sacred animal, the first Oxyrynchos, was closely connected with the worship of Osiris, Horus is said, after he overthrew Set, the enemy of his father Osiris, to have cnt off his leg and given it to the priests of the merchet, or (according to Diemichen's explanation of the word) observatory of the Kilo rising. Now, an animal's leg is said to have been thrown into the river by these priests as an offering, but that circumstance is susceptible of another explanation than that just suggested. This animal's leg is called aloihch or arodsch, and it is possible to take this word of Ibn Aj&s for the Arabic arus, and in that case the offering of a leg is a commutation for the offering of a bride or a young maiden (drus).


TPHE subject of how to dispose of our dead in such a manner as J_ best to combine reverence for their sacred bodies, with dne care for the health of the living, is one so full of interest, that no one, travelling in lands where methods differing from our own are practised, can fail to experience some curiosity on the subject.

During our travels in India I had abundant opportunities of witnessing the process of cremation as practised by the Hindoos, more especially at Benares, that most holy city of the Brahmins, the bourne which every pious Hindoo craves to reach, in time to die there, on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Many a time, I have seen the dying laid down to breathe their last breath alone on the hallowed shore, while their friends went off to bargain with the neighbouring timber merchant for as much wood as their limited means could procure. Often in the case of the very poor, this sum was so small that the humble fire has barely sufficed to char the body, which was then thrown into the river, and suffered to float seaward, in company with many another, in every stage of putrefaction, spreading the seed of pestilence on the sultry air, and poisoning the stream in which myriads hourly bathe, and from which they drink.

But in the case of the wealthier Hindoo, the funeral-pyre is carefully built, and wheu the corpse has been washed in the river, it is swathed in fair linen, white or scarlet, or, still more often, the shroud is of the sacred saffron colour, on which is showered a handful of vermilion paint, to symbolize the blood of sprinkling as the atonement for sin. Sometimes the body is wrapped in cloth of silver or of gold, and is laid upon the funeral pyre. Dry sweet grass is then laid over it, and precious anointing oil, which shall make the flame burn more brightly, and more wood is heaped on, till "\ the pyre is very high. A Brahmin then brings sacred fire, and gives a lighted torch to the chief mourner, who bears it thrice, or nine times, sun-wise, round the body. He touches the lips of the dead with the holy fire, then ignites the pyre. Other torches are applied simultaneously, and, in a very few moments, the body is burnt, though the fire smoulders long. Then the ashes are collected, and sprinkled on the sacred river, which carries them away to the ocean.

Night and day, this work goes on without ceasing, aud many a weird funeral scene I have witnessed, sometimes beneath the burning rays of the noonday sun, while my house-boat lay moored in midstream, to enable me better to witness all the strange phases ■of religious and social life enacted on its shores, and sometimes in the course of our night journeyings, when the pale moonbeams mingled with the dim blue flames, casting a lurid light on the withered witch-like forms of the mourners, often a group of greyhaired women, whose shrill wails and piercing cries rang through the air, as they circled round the pyre iu solemn procession, suggesting some spirit dance of death.

When a body has been consumed, all the mourners repair to the river, beating their breasts and howling, and proceed to wash themselves and their clothes, and perform clivers ceremonies of purification necessary after touching a dead body.

With these scenes in my memory, I made some inquiries, on my arrival in Japan, as to the method of cremation practised there; but, strangely enough, could obtain no information on the subject. It was not one which in any way obtruded itself on public notice, and none of my European friends could tell me anything about it— most declared that the practice was unknown in Japan. Accident, however, favoured me, for on the second day after landing at Yokohama, a friend invited me to accompany him on a ride, in the course of which, looking down from the high road, where foreigners take their daily drive, 1 observed what seemed to be a cemetery, at some little distance.

For me, the peaceful "God's acres" of our own land have always a special interest, and I soon learnt that those of Japan are invariably worth a visit, the ancestral graves being ever well cared for, and the cemeteries generally pretty and picturesque. So this, my first discovery in Japanese burial-grounds, was not an opportunity to be neglected. My companion, though he had often passed by the spot, had never dreamt of giving it a nearer inspection, but yielded to what seemed to him my very unaccountable wish to visit it.

So we turned our horses' heads thither, and soon perceived that it was indeed a place of graves, full of monuments, of forms new to me. One thing I especially noted was the enduring care of the living for the dead, for before each grave were placed the three sacred objects invariably present in Uuddhist worship, a vase to

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