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in their loss of territory; and Ethiopia, which had been subject to Thebes ever since the reign of Amunothph I., was now lost to Egypt, and became an independent state.
(10) The Hebrew historian tells us that a king of Ethiopia named Zerah, now led a large army of foot 2 Chron. soldiers and chariots against Asa king of Judæa. ch. xiv. He was defeated by the men of Judah at Mareshah, in the valley of Zephathah, on his march to Jerusalem. As he bore the common Egyptian title of Zerah, Son of the Sun (see Fig. 136), he of course reigned on the banks of the Nile. He may have been a king of Napata, who marched as a conqueror through Thebes and Heliopolis, leaving ruin and misery behind him, while he was too much of a barbarian Fig. 136. to leave any lasting record of his power. But he was more probably one of the family of Rameses, who having inherited the sovereignty of Thebes, had for a moment re-established the power of that city over all Egypt. The Thebaid was sometimes called Ethiopia by the ancient writers; and as Rameses VII. (see Fig. 137), by leaving his name in the tombs of the sacred bulls near Memphis, has proved to us that his power reached as far north as that city, he may have been the Zerah of the Hebrew historian. The other kings of the name of Rameses, after Rameses III., are not known out of Thebes.
(11) For the next two centuries no one city in Egypt had sway over the rest. In the absence of information we must suppose that Ethiopia, Upper Egypt, and in Lower Egypt, Bubastis, Tanis, Memphis, and Sais were each independent, and very probably some of them fighting against others. Thebes had lost the superiority, and no other had yet gained it. The city which now rose into importance was Tanis, called by the Hebrew writers Zoan. It was forty miles to the north of Bubastis, being half way between that city and the sea, and it gave its name to the Tanitic branch of the river. Its temple had been ornamented by the obelisks and sculptures of Rameses Excerpta. II. and his successors. The town was small; Manetho. but on this break-up of the kingdom, its sovereign priests
xi. 10 ;
gained their independence, and held it for two hundred years. They even sometimes made themselves masters of Thebes, and sometimes fought against Judæa. In the Hebrew writings of this time Lower Egypt is called the plains of Zoan. Its rebellion and rise was so important an event to Jerusalem that the Hebrew 2 Chron. writer uses it as a date. Thus the rebuilding Numbers, of the town of Hebron by Rehoboam was said ch. xiii. 22. to have taken place seven years before the rise of Zoan. Manetho gives us the names of eleven kings of Tanis who governed that city for more than two hundred years. One is named Smendes, after the god Mando, and another Petubastus, after the goddess Pasht; but the monuments in the Delta, which they may have built, and upon which they may have carved their names and deeds, have been destroyed, and we know nothing more of them. (12) After a while TAKELLOTHIS of Bubastis (see Fig. 138) conquered Thebes, and governed all Egypt. It was at this time of Egyptian weakness that Jehoshaphat, one of the most prosperous of the kings of Judah, proposed again B.C. 877. to enter upon the trade of the Red Sea which had brought so much wealth to Fig. 138. Solomon. He had routed the Syrian war-chariots at the foot of Mount Bashan, and he had made the Edomites receive one of his lieutenants for their ruler. In a moment of pride and hope, his poet had declared in a triumphal psalm, that ambassadors would come to Jerusalem
B.C. 900. 1 Kings,
ch. xxii. 2 Chron.
Ps. lxviii. from Egypt, and that Ethiopia would soon stretch out her hands to God. But Jehoshaphat was not strong enough for such distant doings; he was not really master of the port on the Red Sea, nor of the route to it, and he would not accept help from the king of Israel, who offered to join him in the undertaking. His ships were therefore broken to pieces at Eziongeber, by some of the tribes who were unfavourable to Jewish power in that neighbourhood.
ch. viii. 20. A few years later the Edomites, who held Petra and the desert between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, again revolted from the Jews, and for the future Egypt and Judæa were more separated than they used to be.
(13) The rule of Bubastis as the chief city in Egypt lasted a very short time. Then for a few years OsORKON II. (see Fig. 139) and SHISHANK II. (see Fig. 140) of Tanis were kings of Egypt; and though we have no knowledge of the means by which these rapid changes were brought about, we may be sure they were not peaceable. New dynasties were not Fig. 139. set up, and the seat of government four times removed, without civil wars. No temples were built, few hieroglyphical inscriptions now remain of these unhappy times, and the events that followed prove that the kingdom was much weakened by the changes. Thebes suffered severely on its conquest by the kings of the Delta. In the words of the Hebrew prophet Nahum, who wrote a century and a half later, "The great city of Amun, that was situate among canals and had floods round about her, whose moat was a sea and floods her defence; whose strength was Ethiopia and Egypt, and was boundless; whose allies were Africa and Libya; she was carried away and sent into captivity; her babes were dashed in pieces at the top of her streets; they cast lots for her nobles, and her great men were bound in chains."
Ch. iii. 8.
lib. vii. 89.
(14) The wealth of Tanis and Mendes and the other cities on the eastern side of the Delta arose from their foreign trade, which was carried on for them by the Phenicians. This active race of seafaring Arabs Herodotus, traced their origin from Muscat on the Persian Gulf, and they had carried their settlements from port to port along the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, from Tyre to Carthage, and even further westward to the coast of Mauritania. Of these tribes the most civilised were the most easterly, particularly the people of Tyre and Sidon and Tarsus. These cities enjoyed the carrying trade of that end of the Mediterranean. The Egyptians, though they made great use of their own river, had no timber to build seaworthy ships, and thus had a religious dread of the ocean. Tarsus first entered on this course of usefulness and wealth, finding timber for its ships in the forests of Mount Taurus. Tyre and Sidon followed, cutting their timber on Mount
Lebanon, or using the better built and more famous ships of Tarsus. Their merchant vessels were as yet small and able to run up the shallow eastern streams of the Nile. The merchants there bought the corn and linen and drugs of Egypt, which they sold in Palestine, in Syria, and in Asia Minor, and even in more distant parts of the Mediterranean. The wealth that these cities gained, by having the foreign trade of Egypt in their hands, was boundless. "Sidon," says Isaiah, “ was a mart of nations, she carried the corn of the Nile over the wide ocean, and the harvest of the river was her revenue. Tyre was a maker of kings, her merchants were princes, her traders were the nobles of the earth." The Greeks had either not yet entered upon this commerce, or else, as Homer tells us, they were too much of pirates to be trusted. He describes them as running into the mouths of the Nile in their little rowing galleys, and thence ravaging the fair fields of the Delta, killing the husbandmen whom they met with, and when the neighbouring cities were roused by the alarm, retreating hastily to their vessels with the Egyptian women and children whom they had seized as booty.
(15) The island of Cyprus, or at least its ports, were peopled with Phenician sailors, and it took its share of this carrying trade. The mountains on this island contained a good supply of timber for ship-building; and, what was equally valuable, its mines yielded a large supply of copper, which in the infancy of science was the most useful of metals. Iron was also worked there, and steel was probably made there even long before this time. The sharp deep lines of hieroglyphics on the basalt and other hard Egyptian stones could scarcely have been cut with any other than steel tools. The Cyprian breastplate in which Agamemnon fought against Troy we must suppose was made of steel; because, at a later period, we find that the coat of mail made of Cyprian adamant, and worn by Demetrius the son Vit. Demet. of Antigonus, was so hard that no dart, even when thrown by a machine, could make a dent in it. The numerous little harbours in the mouths of the Nile and on the Phenician coast made Cyprus a place of great importance to the Tyrian merchants. Its language was Phenician; and the ames of the towns Hamath, called by the Greeks Amathus,
Iliad, xi. 20.
Odyss. lib. xvii. 427.
and Hethlon, called Idalion, seem borrowed from towns of the same names in Syria; while the harbour of Sechelmi, or Happy Water, called by the Greeks Salamis, tells us by its name that its people had brought their language from Phenicia. When the great nations of Assyria and Egypt, a few years later, struggled for power over the states which lay between them, Cyprus became important in politics. Afterwards, when the Greek ships were masters of the east end of the Mediterranean, Cyprus became almost a Greek island; but at this time it was Phenician, and as such shared in the trade with Egypt. We must suppose that Cyprus received from Egypt corn and gold in return for its metals and timber.
(16) Tanis was the ruling city of the Delta, and the seat of the Mediterranean trade, when Homer was writing his immortal poems in Greece; and it had the largest share of the wealth arising from this trade with the Phenicians. Homer certainly had very little knowledge of the country, but we may suppose that he knew something of the coast from the pilots in that trade. He tells us that the island of Pharos, where Alexandria now stands, was even then a shelter for ships, behind which they were pulled on shore in safety, and where they took in fresh water before again launching upon the ocean. This water they may have easily found in Lake Mareotis, which is only half a mile from the seashore. Homer was hardly writing nonsense when he says the island of Pharos was as far from Egypt as a ship could sail in a whole day, with a favourable wind on the stern. The pilots perhaps measured the voyage from the Tanitic or Mendesian mouths of the river, the only mouths that they were then allowed to enter. The north is a prevailing wind on that coast; and Homer adds that to return to Egypt from the island of Pharos was a long and tedious voyage. He tells us that medical herbs were among the products for which the valley of the Nile was celebrated; and we learn the same from the prophet Jeremiah, who, when he would taunt the Egyptians with their political weakness, tells them that they should go up to Gilead and get balsam, and that they multiply their own medicines in vain.
Lib. iv. 483.
Lib. iv. 229.
Ch. xlvi. 11.
(17) After some time we find upon the Egyptian throne