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Egypt was to remain an independent kingdom, it could be so only by the help of the settlers in the Delta. A granite obelisk, ornamented with sculpture by Psammetichus, now stands in the Campus Martius at Rome, where it was set up by the Emperor Augustus. On the pyramidal top, as usual, the king is represented in the form of a sphinx, and worshipping a god; but here, for the first time, we find the sphinx without a beard. The figures of the earlier kings, whether as men or sphinxes, all have beards; but the kings of this newer race in Sais followed the Greek fashion of shaving. There is also a broken statue of this king in the public library at Cambridge. It is in black basalt; and it was probably about this time that the quarries of basalt in the neighbourhood of Syene were first worked, at least, to any great extent. During the reigns of these kings of Sais, most of the statues were made of this very hard stone. It would seem as if the sculptors and their employers valued stones according to their hardness. The great kings of Thebes began with red granite, and then chose the harder dark syenite for their statues; and now the sculptors were ordered to cut their monuments out of this yet harder basalt.
(8) NECHO II. (see Fig. 156) succeeded his father Psammetichus, and made another great Herodotus, www.change in the military tactics of the lib. ii. 158. Egyptians. Their habits and religion agreed in unfitting them for sailors, or for venturing on any waters but their own Nile; they thought all seafaring persons imFig. 156. pious, as breaking through a divine law; and he was the first Egyptian who turned his attention to naval affairs. He got together two large fleets, built and manned by Phenicians, one on the Mediterranean, and one on the Red Sea. He also began to dig a ship canal which was to join these two seas, or rather to join the Nile to the Red Sea. It was to be led from the Nile near Bubastis, by the city of Patumos or Thoum, along a natural valley to Heroopolis, and then into the Lower Bitter Lake, which by this time had been cut off from the head of the Red Sea by a slowly increasing sand-bank. This change in the coast is spoken of by Isaiah. "The Lord," says the prophet,
Ch. xi. 15.
"will cut off the tongue of the Egyptian sea;" and thus the spot where Moses marched between the waters, and where the Egyptians were drowned, became a bank that separated the sea from a new lake. From this lake, and through this bank, the canal was to be cut into the Red Sea. It was to be wide enough for two ships abreast. But the king was warned by the priests that he was working for foreigners, and gave up the undertaking. When it was deterHerodotus, mined that the canal should not be dug, Necho lib. iv. 42. ordered his Phenician pilots to see whether the fleets might not be moved from sea to sea by some other channel; and for this purpose his mariners set sail on a voyage of discovery from the Red Sea coasting Egypt and Ethiopia, with a view to circumnavigate Africa. They spent nearly three years on the voyage. They twice landed and laid up their ships, sowed the fields and reaped the harvest, and then set sail again. In this way they came round to the well-known pillars of Hercules, the Straits of Gibraltar, and thus brought the ships safely into the mouth of the Nile, declaring to their disbelieving hearers, what to us is a proof of the truth of the whole story, that as they were sailing westward the sun was on their right hand. The voyage was too long to be repeated, but it was a noble undertaking on the part of Necho for the increase of commerce and geographical knowledge. The Carthaginians soon afterwards sent a fleet under the command of Hanno to follow the west coast of Africa; but, as Hanno's fleet was not victualled for a long voyage, it turned back before reaching the equator.
(9) Necho's ships were not all so innocently employed. By the help of his fleet he began to take part in the neighHerodotus, bouring Asiatic wars. He led a large army to lib. ii. 159. attack the old enemies of Egypt, the Assyrians,
B.C. 611. whom we must now call Babylonians or Chaldees, since the seat of the Assyrian empire had been removed southward. Babylon, the capital of the plain through which the Tigris and Euphrates reach the Persian Gulf, had usually been subject to Nineveh, though ruled over by tributary kings. Latterly, however, the Kurds, or some other highland tribe that had also been subject to Nineveh, had rebelled and conquered Babylon. They then, with the new name of Chaldees, and under Nabopolassar as their
king, conquered Nineveh. Nabopolassar's kingdom therefore now reached from the Caspian to the Mediterranean, from the Persian Gulf to the Taurus and Caucasus. was master of all the nations on the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Araxes, and the Orontes. Notwithstanding the neighbourhood of this mighty empire, Necho wished again to establish the Egyptian influence over Judæa, whose councils had latterly been wholly under that of Babylon. He landed his forces on the northern part of Palestine, 2 Chron, to avoid the king of Judæa, with whom he was at peace, as he meant to march through Galilee towards the sources of the Euphrates. But Josiah king of Judæa distrusted his promises of friendship, and was faithful to the treaty with Babylon; and he led an army northward to stop Necho's march. The Egyptians and Jews fought a pitched battle in the valley of Megiddo, about sixty miles from Jerusalem. There the Jewish forces were routed by the Egyptian archers, Josiah himself was mortally wounded, and hurried off the field of battle in his chariot. He made good, however, his retreat to Jerusalem, as Necho without pursuing him marched northward towards Upper Syria. Necho found that that province, which is as far from Babylon as from Egypt, was badly guarded; and it yielded him an easy though useless victory.
(10) Necho then returned southward to punish the Jews for the resistance they had before offered to him. In the meanwhile King Josiah had died in Jerusalem of his wounds; and his son Jehoahaz had been king for three months, when Necho on his return from the Euphrates laid siege to Jerusalem. The Jews were then divided into two parties, a Babylonian party and an Egyptian party; and the latter, opening the gates to Necho, by his help deposed Jehoahaz, the late king's elder son, and made Eliakim, the younger son, king. Necho fined the city a hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold, for its resistance; and he carried away Jehoahaz a prisoner to Egypt. On his return from these wars, the Egyptian king sent the armour which he wore at the battle of Megiddo to the temple of Apollo at lib. ii. 159. Branchidæ, near Miletus in Caria, in gratitude to the god of his faithful mercenaries. Judæa then remained a
2 Chron. ch. xxxvi.
province of Egypt, paying tribute to Necho, and falling into some of the Egyptian idolatry. And when the Jeremiah, prophet Urijah, the friend and follower of Jeremiah, 20. raised his voice against the nation's forgetfulness of Jehovah, and had to flee for his life, and escaped into Egypt, Necho allowed Jehoiakim to fetch him back and put him to death.
(11) Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, however, was not long in sending his forces to regain the revolted Josephum. provinces of Syria and Phenicia, and to punish his rebellious satraps, who had so readily joined the Egyptians. His son Nebuchadnezzar, who, as general, commanded the Babylonian army, defeated the EgypJeremiah, tian troops at Carchemish, on the Euphrates, and ch. xlvi. 2. easily regained the whole of Syria. He drove the Egyptians altogether out of Palestine, and took away from Necho all that he had held between the Nile and the 2 Kings, Euphrates. He conquered Jerusalem, and a few years later, in order to put a stop to all future revolts of the Jews, he led the Jewish king, Jehoiachin, and his nobles captive to Babylon. Thus the Hebrew 2 Kings, nation, after weakening itself by the division into xxv. the ten tribes of Israel and the two tribes of Judah, in vain tried to maintain its independence between the great rival kingdoms of Egypt and Assyria. Shalmaneser had before put down the kingdom of Israel, and Nebuchadnezzar shortly put an end to the kingdom of Judah. Ever since the Assyrians in the reign of Sennacherib had defeated the armies of Tirhakah, they had claimed and sometimes received a tribute from Egypt as from Berosus, ap. a subject province. In this last war, the Babylonian historian speaks of Necho as the rebellious satrap of Nabopolassar.
(12) The weakness of Egypt and the strength of Babylon make it probable that about this time was made the military trench which joined the Lower Bitter Lakes to the Nile near Pelusium. It was dug for a fortification against eastern invasion, but was also useful for irrigation. There lib. ii. 15, is always a natural drainage here of salt water from 113. the Red Sea, through the lakes and through the sauds, to the Mediterranean. Part runs into the Pelusiac
lib. i. 30.
marshes, where pits were formed for the manufacture of salt. Another part reaches the sea more to the east, and forms the Lake Serbonis, near Mount Cassius, the Diod. Sic. famed Serbonian bog, in which whole armies are fabled to have sunk on their march along the coast. Necho's canal, by bringing water from the Nile, made the Lower Bitter Lakes fresh, and they took the name of Crocodile Lakes; and from the Crocodile Lakes was dug the military trench to Pelusium, as a check to hostile inroads from Palestine and Arabia. Thus the whole eastern frontier of seventy miles from sea to sea was more or less guarded by lake or marsh or trench.
Lib. i. 57
lib. ii. 161.
(13) PSAMMETICHUS II. (see Fig. 157), or Psammis, the next king of Egypt, was called off from these wars in Palestine by difficulties nearer home; and he was forced to Herodotus, lead his army into Ethiopia, to put down a rising of that nation. Palestine and all Syria remained in the hands of the BabyFig. 157. lonians; the Egyptian power, during this reign of six years, was bounded on the east by the desert of Pelusium. The Grecian states, however, still looked up to him as their great neighbour, and when they quarrelled about the Olympic games they referred the matter to his arbitration. The several states complained that the Eleans, who acted as judges, often unfairly gave the prize to one of themselves; and Psammetichus wisely answered, that, as the Eleans had the management of the games, they should not allow their own citizens to enter the lists, lest their judgments should want impartiality.
Herodotus. lib. ii. 160.
(14) HOPHRA, APRIES, or PSAMMETICHUS III. (see Fig. 158), as he is variously named by the historians and in the hieroglyphical Manetho. inscriptions, succeeded his father, and was in the beginning of his reign as active and successful as the former was unfortunate. His first step was to send an army
into Palestine, to the relief of Zede- Jeremiah, kiah, who, after having reigned for several years as the satrap of Nebuchadnezzar, had at last rebelled and