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BOCCHORIS (see Fig. 141), the son of Tnephactus, who had made the city of Sais independent. Sais was Manetho. situated upon a mound on the right bank of the Canopic branch of the Nile, about forty miles from the sea. It was the capital of the western half of the Delta, and chiefly sought by the Greek merchants. It was now rising over Bubastis and Tanis, on the increase of the Mediterranean trade; as the foreign vessels found the deepest water Fig. 141 in the Canopic branch. The mud which the Nile carries to the sea through its seven mouths does not there remain to make a bar in front of them all equally. The current on the coast, then as now, was clearing it away from the western and blocking up the eastern mouths with it. Hence the waters of the Nile, on which wealth floated to the Egyptian cities, were slowly leaving the eastern for the western half of the Delta; and Bubastis and its neighbours were being left like wrecked ships stranded on a sand-bank. The Greek traders at Sais were gaining the profitable carrying trade which had hitherto belonged to the Phoenicians. The Jews, who dwelt wholly on the east side of the Delta, hardly knew the Nile as a great river. The change then taking place has continued even to the present time; and travellers find it difficult to determine which were the old seven mouths of the Nile. And not wealth alone, but even religious Ptolemæi honour followed the greater body of water; and the Egyptian priests declared that the deeper stream which flowed by Sais was the Agathodæmon, or great god of the country. In his honour the town at the mouth was named the city of Kneph, by the Greeks called Canopus. Thus Sais gained great advantages from Diod. Sic. its situation. Bocchoris the Wise, its first independent sovereign, was one of the great Egyptian lawgivers. His name was spoken of with gratitude for the next seven hundred years; and to him they gave the credit of many mild laws which may perhaps have been much more modern. Among these may be mentioned the law that nobody should be put in prison for debt, and no debt should be claimed without an acknowledgment in writing, if the debtor denied it on oath.
lib. i. 79.
(18) The Jews at this time began to feel in danger from
their powerful and cruel neighbours the Assyrians, who, after carrying northern Israel into captivity, were coming down upon Judea. In their alarm the Jews looked around for help. They knew the Egyptians as more humane than the Assyrians; and they would willingly have paid a tribute to Egypt to escape Assyrian bondage. But though Isaiah they received promises from that country, they ch. xxx. 7. received no help; and the prophet Isaiah calls Egypt "the Boaster that sitteth still" and doeth nothing.
(19) The kingdom of Ethiopia was that portion of the valley of the Nile which is to the south of Egypt from the granite range of hills, which forms the cataract of Syene, to where the river receives its first tributary stream, the Astaborus. Like Egypt, it is bounded on both sides by the desert, but under a sunshine yet more scorching. Here the ostrich lays its eggs in the sands to be hatched, and when disturbed sails away before the wind, in scorn of the huntsman in his chariot; and here the camelopard browses on the branches of tall trees. The northern portion, between the first and second cataracts, which was afterwards called Nubia, is very barren, as the loftier and more rocky banks leave but a narrow strip of land to be watered by the overflow of the river. The southern part is more fertile and more populous. Two hundred miles above the Astaborus the Nile again divides into two streams of nearly equal size, the White River, which is the largest, and comes from the south, and the Blue River, which comes from Abyssinia on the south-east. Between this point and the Astaborus is the island of Meroë, a plain within the district of the tropical rains, in the land of acacia trees and ebony trees, a country too moist for the palm trees of Egypt and Ethiopia, and where the river-horse wades in the reedy fens, and tramples down the fields of rice and corn, and not far from the forests which give shelter to herds of small elephants. Meroë sometimes formed part of the kingdom of Ethiopia, but was probably at other times independent. The river within the bounds of Ethiopia makes two great bends, so that Napata, the capital, is separated on one side from Meroë by the Bahiouda desert, and on the other side from Egypt by the Nubian desert. The Nubians were of the same race as the Egyptians, though with a skin more copper-coloured, as living
under a hotter sky; but the Ethiopians or southern part of the population were of an Arabic race, or, in the language of the Old Testament, they were Cushites. But Ethiopia had for many years been ruled over by Egyptians; and the hieroglyphics and sculptured deities on the walls of the temples prove that the language and religion of their priestly rulers were the same as those of Thebes. Napata Hoskins's was built at the foot of a steep sandstone mountain on the right bank of the river. The burial places were small pyramids, differing in plan from those of Memphis by the addition of a portico (see Fig. 142).
The city had also a second field of pyramids in the desert on the opposite bank, eight miles up the river. The towns of Samneh, Tombos, Soleb, and Abou Simbel had been ornamented by the Egyptian taste and for the Egyptian religion of Amunothph, Thothmosis, and Rameses. The Egyptian arts even reached to Meroë, where we still trace the ruins of pyramids with a portico, and of temples covered with hieroglyphics in awkward imitation of those of Thebes.
(20) About two centuries before this time, soon after the death of Shishank, the Ethiopians had thrown off the Egyptian yoke; and now they marched northward perhaps a
second time, and conquered Egypt and put Bocchoris himself to death. SABACоTHPH the Ethiopian (see Fig. 143) then made himself king of nearly all Egypt. There was no league among the several cities to resist him, nor union in their councils. Anysis the king of Memphis fled from the lib. ii. 137 danger. His blindness might perhaps be his excuse. He saved his life by escaping to the marshes of the Delta. The city of Tanis alone held out against the Ethiopians for a few years longer.
(21) Ethiopia, though independent, was still a Coptic country; and when Sabacothph marched northward, the Thebans must have thought him more a native sovereign than Bocchoris of Sais. But not so the people of the Delta; to them he was a foreign conqueror. But he copied Bocchoris in making some new and milder laws; lib. ii. 137. and henceforth criminals, instead of being put to death, were employed to raise the mounds of earth higher round the cities in the Delta against the overflowing waters of the Nile. On this invasion of Egypt, the Agatharworking of the gold mines in Nubia, near the city cides, ap. afterwards called Berenice, was for a time stopped. The criminals and prisoners of war, who there worked underground beneath the lash of a taskmaster, and watched over by a guard of soldiers, would of course feel their situation changed on the defeat of the Egyptian army; and no doubt most of the violent revolutions in the country stopped the working of these mines. Sabacothph reigned eight years in Egypt.
(22) SEVECHUS (see Fig. 144), the next king, was also of Ethiopia. His first name was
ch. xvii. 4.
Bokra, copied no doubt from that 2 Kings, of the Egyptian king whom Sabacothph dethroned. He is known to us in the Old Testament under the name of Seve or So. During his reign Egypt remained a province, governed by a stranger, and he is little known on the Theban buildings. To him Hoshea, king of Israel, sent ambassadors with gifts, and with him he formed an alliance when he was threatened
with an invasion by his neighbour, Shalmanezer, king of Assyria.
(23) The Assyrians had latterly been growing into a powerful monarchy, strong enough to be known to the Egyptians, without yet being so near them as to quarrel. We are told the names, and only the names, of a long line of Assyrian kings, sometimes called the earlier Assyrian monarchy. Of these names we can make no use, since they are unknown to Egyptian as to Hebrew history. But about the year B.C. 760 the Assyrians come to our notice under a king of the name of Pul. Their chief city, Nineveh, on the banks of the Tigris, was then the wealthy capital of an empire which included not only the upper part of the country watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, but the mountains of Kurdistan, and the plains on the further side of that range, which are watered by rivers running into the Caspian Sea. The kingdom was so well established by Pul, that his successor was able to indulge the ambition of widening it. Tiglath-Pileser, the next king, marched westward, and conquered Syria, and then took Galilee from the Israelites. His name teaches us that at that time Nineveh was on terms of friendship with Egypt, and was willing to borrow its fashions from that country as from a superior power; as, in addition to the two Assyrian words, Pul and Eser, his name is formed of the Egyptian name Takelloth, which we have seen borne by a king of Bubastis a century and a half earlier. It was no doubt at this time that some knowledge of Egyptian sculpture and architecture reached the banks of the Tigris. The sculptors ornamented the palaces at Nineveh with the Egyptian figure of the winged sun, and finding his name, Amun-Ra, not suited to their lips, they spelt it Obeno-Ra. At the same time, the more scientific city of Babylon adopted the Egyptian calendar with its year of three hundred and sixty-five days and its movable new-year's day, and called their months after the names of the Egyptian gods and kings.
(24) Assyria rose yet higher in power under Shalmanezer, the successor of Tiglath. By its conquests of the Israelites, it was becoming a near neighbour of Egypt, and was soon to be its chief enemy. While Shalmanezer's victorious armies were pressing upon the tributary kings of Samaria and Judæa,