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Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. This attempt of the Egyptian imagination coming to the rescue of baffled reason, in the explanation of nature, gave rise to a veritable multitude of gods, all of whom must be appeased and worshipped.
Animal-Worship.-Perhaps this elaborate polytheism failed to blot out completely, at least among the priests of a smaller inner circle, the cognition of a personal supremacy above and behind all nature as its first great cause. The Greek historian Herodotus leads us to think so; but be this as it may, the priesthood as a whole, probably for selfish reasons, corrupted Egyptian religion still further by reducing it, as has been stated, to a repulsive worship of animals. The common people were taught to worship animals as symbols of deity, or as the actual residence of deity. It was in this sense that Osiris was worshipped in the Apis, or sacred ox. The cow was sacred to Isis, lions were emblems of Horus, the hippopotami to Set, or Typhon. Among other sacred animals were cats and dogs, and even crocodiles.
Immortality. --Side by side with animal-worshipping polytheism in Egyptian religion was the belief in a future state of rewards and punishments. In other words--and this is a pretty chapter in psychologythe Egyptian self-consciousness, looking out of its body-house, began to have a conception, vague as it may have continued to be, of soul-immortality, long before the Jewish race came into being. But, as we should expect from a people who would stoop to worship animals, they looked upon this other life in wonderment-as in a dream-even as the Sphinx,* animal
* Myers' “General History.”
in body, human-headed, looks out over Egypt. We are not surprised, therefore, to read in the papyrus “Book of the Dead” about a "Hall of Judgment,' and about the “Transmigration of the Soul.” There was a “Trial of the Dead” in the court of Osiris, where the cause of the soul must be pleaded, and the soul itself weighed against a statue of justice, in the presence of forty-two judges. The acquitted soul joined the throng of the blest. The soul rejected as unworthy of the Egyptian heaven was driven off and compelled to reappear on earth again, assuming the form of various animals until after a long course of expiation -thousands of years, perhaps-it might return purified to its old body. The custom of carefully embalming the body of the dead probably arose from this belief that the soul would return. The fact that this process, connected with elaborate burial services, became one of the strictest duties of the priests,* confirms this idea.
The religion of Egypt produced the best literature which Egypt has contributed, namely, the “Book of the Dead," already mentioned, and Prince Phtahhotep's "Book on Morals.” And yet this religion did not fill Egypt with gloom, as the songs and stories prove.
Castes of Egypt.—The minute intricacy with which religion was woven into the life of Egypt, by making the priests eminently necessary, placed them in effect at the top of the social fabric, its masters and the shapers of its destiny. As a class the priests were, of course, very numerous and punctilious in their life. Nevertheless they were not in any forbidding sense ascetic. The king himself belonged to them, and the high priest was usually a member of the royal family. They were emphatically and solely the learned class. The priesthood thus included the poets, the historians, the expounders and administrators of law, the physicians, and the magicians who did the wonders before Moses.
* Lord's "Ancient Religions,” pp. 38 and 39.
Next to the priests of ancient Egypt stood the soldiers. They constituted a powerful order, a wellorganized militia, and supported by a fixed portion of land, free from all taxation. The soldier could till his own land when not under arms, but could follow no other occupation.
The castes below the priests and soldiers had no civic privileges and could not own land. The farmer who tilled the land paid his rents in produce to the ruler or to the priests who owned it. The herdsmen were the lowest caste. The swineherds were regarded as outcasts and were not allowed to enter the temples.
The castes, however, were not rigidly separate, as in India. Accordingly, “members of the different orders might intermarry, and the children pass from one caste to the other by hereditary occupation.”
Architecture. The architecture of ancient Egypt, as we are prepared to see, was, like its literature and social system, prevailingly religious. The sublime remains of Egyptian architecture are not palaces but temples and tombs. The pyramids, the wonder of all centuries, were not simply monuments of ambitious kings, but tarrying-places for the soul till judgment be fulfilled. Sculpture and painting, the handmaids of architecture, were certainly dominated by the same overpowering sense of immortality. This conclusion is supported and emphasized by the invariable choice of enduring stone as building materials, and by the massiveness of the conceptions.
The foregoing analysis of life and mind will enable us to understand Egyptian education as a system of means to ends.
Ends in View.—The above analysis shows that, apart from the powerful educational influence of the Nile, religion as a means to happiness in the life that is and a life to be was the one thing needful. This primary purpose, including its stress on morality, however, as we shall see, does not exclude or even belittle the second, or other purpose, namely, preparation for life in the land of the Nile. In this rainless land, the water poured into Egypt by the yearly inundations had to be conserved in artificial lakes, such as Lake Meris may have been, and distributed in dry seasons east and west over the land by means of artificial waterways. Moreover, it was quite as necessary to defend the lowlands against destructive inundation. Thus arose engineering, including mathematics, and also the mechanics' arts. Agriculture, weaving, making woollen goods, ironware, glass, etc., were highly developed. Commerce made writing and arithmetic great necessities.
Primary Education.-In Egypt women were often held in honor, and as in Turanian lands and among the Jews, they were not wholly excluded from the privilege of education, but their opportunities, except at the court of the kings, were usually meagre.
The state, as is well known, provided no educational system for the masses. For them life itself was an apprentice school, somewhat as among the chosen people in the early days, and in startling harmony with the modern principle of education that the accessible world of the child should be the school laboratory. The masses, however, owing to the interests of the priests, were not wholly neglected in religious and moral training. The needs of the artisan class must have called for at least a little writing and arithmetic.
Higher Education.-In Egypt higher education was very special—the privilege of the priests and the nobles. The curriculum included writing, mathematics, engineering, architecture, law, medicine, astronomy, literature, art, religion, morals, etc.
For many centuries, up to the time of the empire, as reliable historians tell us, the court of the king was the centre of Egyptian life, and thus became the place where the sons of the wealthy went to school with the sons of the king. The curriculum of these court schools, as we judge, must have been quite complete. Under the empire the curriculum became more specialized, and schools of instruction were attached to the various departments of the government, and the department officials supervised a kind of apprentice training. The priestly class, including all the great professions and the finer arts, obtained their education from “temple colleges," and the priests themselves did the teaching
The methods of Egyptian education deserve attention. Inasmuch as the hieroglyphics, about a thousand in number, varied all the way from pictures to phonetic letters, industry coupled with flogging became the ac