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The next remarkable circumstance to be noticed is, that M. Champollion, in his publication of 1821, (which was suppressed, and for our knowledge of the existence of which we are beholden to M. Klaproth,) two years after that of Dr Young's exposition, denied the existence of the phonetic principles, of which he soon became the great maturer; insisting that the sacred Egyptian characters were " signs of things, not signs of sounds." In another year, however, appeared his letter to M. Dacier,t a composition displaying genius and acquirements of the highest order, in which the public were presented with an extended hieroglyphic as well as an enchorial alphabet, grounded on uniform principles, and capable of universal application, at least so far as the decipherment of proper names.
The immediate cause of Champollion's change of opinion, and of his rapid success, must not here be passed over, although he appears himself to have lost sight of it. It is precisely analogous to that which pointed out to Akerblad the groups from whence he derived the first enchorial alphabet. The name of Cleopatra was clearly identified by Mr Bankes on the obelisk brought by Belzoni from Phila, by means of a laborious comparison of monuments, founded on Dr Young's previous detection of the names of Ptolemy and Berenice, and confirmed by a Greek inscription on the base of the obelisk. A lithographic copy of the inscription, having the identified name indicated in pencil, was transmitted by Mr Bankes to the Institute, through M. Letronne: and this new name, being subjected to analysis by Champollion, was found to correspond letter for letter with the Greek of Cleopatra; and in agreement with the force of the same characters, so far as they appeared in the names of Ptolemy and Berenice. It also supplied the alphabetic value of most of the hieroglyphics which Dr Young either mistook or passed over. The number of letter-values thus obtained was found enough for the resolution of other Greek and Roman
names. Each name, as it gave way before the system, added something to the alphabet, until a complete and consistent phonetic series was formed, capable of unlimited application. It is to be regretted that Champollion should have suppressed his obligation to Mr Bankes, and rested his alleged discovery of the name on the Greek inscription, which, of itself, could not have indicated the particular shield of Cleopatra among several contained in the hieroglyphics; not less than that he should affect to have been only anticipated in publication, not in discovery, by Dr Young-with such conclusive proof to the contrary in existence as that adduced by Klaproth. His rapid and masterly conception of the system, and resolution of its principles, when once he saw occasion to admit their existence, makes it all his own, without interfering with the merits of those who had previously demonstrated the existence of those principles, but were not so fortunate as to resolve them, or to form just conclusions regarding their extent. It appears that eight months only intervened between Champollion's first acquaintance with the obelisk of Philæ, and the promulgation of his letter to M. Dacier, that is from January to September, 1822 and, when this brief interval is compared with the matured results of that memoir, the latter must be viewed as amongst the most surprising examples of genius and industry on record. Had not the question been thus taken up by such a man as Champollion, it is sufficiently clear that it could never have advanced beyond Dr Young's inferential exposition of 1819. It seems, on the other hand, quite improbable that, were it not for that exposition, followed up by the detection of the group representing the name of Cleopatra, Champollion's views would ever have received a right direction.
The grand step was now taken; and thenceforward the elucidation of hieroglyphic remains proceeded with rapidity. The monuments of the Pharaohs, and of their Grecian and Roman successors, were classed ac
† See "Précis du Système Hieroglyphique," &c. Paris, 1828. 2d edition. See the Right Hon. C. P. Yorke's account of this transaction, in the note to the work of Mr Salt.
cording to their respective antiquity, and the progress of Egyptian art determined. From this decisive epoch, Dr Young, aided by the systematic labours of Champollion, directed his studies successfully and almost exclusively to the enchorial manuscripts ; acquiring new and unanswerable proofs that his efforts were rightly directed, and crowning these efforts, and the labour of his valuable life, with his "Rudiments of an Egyptian Dictionary," in the enchoral character, which appeared as a supplement to the Rev. H. Tattam's " Grammar of the Egyptian Language," in 1836. He, nevertheless, continued to collect and publish much original hieroglyphic materials; leaving the interpretation of them to his more successful rival. But we feel called upon to state, by way of a slight counterpoise to the peccadilloes of Champollion, that Dr Young never fully admitted the authenticity of a system which supplied the defects of his own original and fundamental conceptions; we mean with regard to the phonetic hieroglyphics. For, our learned countryman speedily agreed to his rival's comprehensive views in regard to the general alphabetic force of the enchorial characters, as his ulterior researches and publications demonstrate; and in this respect, like Champollion, he found it necessary to relinquish his original opinion, that both the hieroglyphic and enchorial characters were ideographic, or signs of things rather than of sounds, with the exception of limited alphabets, or syllabaries, used for the expression of proper names and words in foreign languages.
The original discoverers assumed the Coptic to be the language of the hieroglyphics; and if the existing Coptic be the legitimate representative of the tongue of the Pharaohs—a fact admitted by all, except those scholars whose delight is to amuse themselves with startling theories,-the chain of Egyptian literature, during a period of 3600 years, or from about the eighteenth century before the Christian
era until the present time, would appear unbroken; and it furnishes a parallel coequal in antiquity and duration with the sacred and profane literature of the rest of the world.
The Coptic versions of the Scriptures present us with the Coptic or Egyptian dialects, as they were known in the age of the latest hieroglyphic inscriptions and enchorial writing, (when the enchorial or ancient national character, became finally superseded by the present Coptic alphabet), and, consequently, with the data for rendering the hieroglyphic and enchorial alphabets, if well established, available for the interpretation of the latter inscriptions and papyri; and, more remotely, in reference to those of the ages before the language had suffered the changes and corruptions necessarily incidental on the sojournment of the Jewish nation, and the successive Persian, Macedonian, and Roman dominations. For, it is not to be supposed that the tongue of the Pagan inhabitants, the authors of the inscriptions and of the enchorial manuscripts, remained in its original purity at a time when that of the Christians (whose descendants of the present day proclaim themselves, by their physical conformation, to be the true representatives of their mummied and sculptured ancestors) was a mongrel language; retaining, however, unquestionable proofs of its descent. We here differ from the opinion of Champollion and his disciples, that the inscriptions present no variation of language from the age of Sesostris till that of Antoninus; and we fully agree with MM. Klaproth† and Janelli,‡ that under the Pharaohs, the Persians, the Ptolemies, and the Cæsars, it was, to a certain extent, different; although we cannot, with the first-mentioned writer, consent to follow the course of corruption to the Arabian domination, (Examen, p. 16), having before us the Biblical versions four centuries older.
We must likewise dissent, until evidence be adduced to the contrary, from the view advanced by Janelli, Count
'Hieroglyphics" of the Egyptian Society, and the Royal Society of Literature, 1823, 1828. Plates 1 to 80.
† Examen Critique, &c. Paris, 1832.
Alcune Questioni, &c. Neapoli, 1830. See Report on this System, Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, Vol. III. Part I.
Robiano, and the learned author of the treatise on " The Enchorial Language of Egypt,"† that the sacerdotal and vulgar tongues-the hieroglyphic and enchorial-were radically different languages. Ancient writers uniformly speak of the several kinds of writing or letters (ygaupara) used in Egypt, not of several languages, as Herodotus, Manetho, Eratosthenes, the Rosetta Inscription, Diodorus, Clemens, and Porphyry. Manetho, as quoted by Josephus and Syncellus, indeed, mentions the sacred and vulgar dialects; but this we believe to refer to a difference between the hierographic and enchorial, not much, if at all, exceeding that between the existing dialects of the Coptic; a difference probably arising from the superior antiquity of the hierographic. Eratosthenes calls the language of the sacred Theban sculptures, simply "the Egyptian ;"§ and Tacitus acquaints us that the exploits of the great Rhampses, were sculptured in the language of the country-patrium sermonem, -the word patrium being here equivalent to that of " Enchorial" on the pillar of Rosetta, in reference to the national characters. So, Porphyry (de Vitâ Pythagor.) tells us, there were three modes of writing "the language of the Egyptians."
Egypt, like all other primitive nations, had its peculiar race and language, and, like most of them, its several families and dialects. The first of these propositions is demonstrable from the ethno-geographical detail of the tenth chapter of Genesis, in which we find those names of the offspring of Mizraim, Pathrusim, Naphtuhim, Caphtorim, &c., which were perpetu. ated in the chorographical nomencla
ture of Egypt: the second, from the proved existence of three distinct dialects, in the age of the versions alluded to above the Bashmuric, or lower Egyptian; the Sahidic, or Thebaic; and the Coptic, properly so called, or the Memphitic. This last-mentioned fact is conclusive for the antiquity of the parent tongue, however varied or corrupted in its descent; while it is confirmed by another fact not less remarkable, because in complete keeping with the results of hieroglyphic discovery. The alphabet used in the expression of the several dialects, although considerably exceeding the Greek alphabet, from which it is mainly derived, in length, when reduced to its interchangeable letters, is found to represent the primitive hieroglyphic alphabet, which does not go beyond twelve or thirteen original sounds. In fine, the Bashmuric, so far as the scanty remains of that rude dialect permit us to judge, is the nearest existing representative of the hieroglyphic of the monuments, and the Sahidic of the Demotic or Enchorial inscriptions; while the Coptic or Memphitic seems to supply a further link in descent by its closer affinity with the language of the Ptolemies. This philological department of the enquiry has been materially promoted by the valuable Coptic lexicons of Tattam** and Peyron, and by the hieroglyphic researches of Salvolini, Rosellini, Wilkinson, and Sharpe.
We have thus traced the materials from the quarry to the edifice; noticing the several stages of the discovery, from its birth until it became an available and profitable appendage to his torical literature-so far as appeared necessary to enable our readers to se
* Etudes sur l'Ecriture, &c. de l'Egypte. Paris, 1834.
This excellent paper appeared in the Dublin University Magazine, No. 3.
See Ancient Fragments,' p. 168. Joseph. contr. Apion, lib. i. Syncellus ed Par., p. 40.
§ Syncell. P. 147.
Annal. lib. 2.
** It is with feelings of high satisfaction that we perceive that the labours of Mr Tattam are about to be extended in a way which is likely to prove equally serviceable to the cause of Biblical and to that of Egyptian literature, by a voyage to Egypt, under the sanction and at the expense of Government, and with a view to completing the Coptic Scriptures and Lexicon, from the unpublished and unknown manuscripts which abound in the Egyptian monasteries. We have seen testimonials in favour of the plan, and of Mr Tattam's unquestionable competency, signed by all our leading philologists and Egyptian scholars, which we conceive to be irresistible. The certainty of another complete version of the Scriptures, of the early ages of Christianity, being one of the results, causes it to be an object of national importance, which it is incumbent on any Government to promote, independently of its literary and antiquarian interest.
parate, and to form a just view of, the claims of the original promoters. Without waiting further to follow the various steps whereby our acquaintance with the Egyptian language has been advanced, and the method of hieroglyphic analysis improved upon, we shall at once direct the attention of our readers to the historical framework by which, as already intimated, the phonetic system has been mainly rendered available to the purposes of history, through the chronological reference of the monuments and of the sculptured representations of different ages.
It is now just twenty years since the first discovery by Mr Bankes of the most remarkable and important of all the known hieroglyphic records -the chronological succession of the Pharaohs, recorded on portions of a wall in a ruined palace at Abydos. The original fragments, in common with the fundamental record of Rosetta, are now the property of our National Museum-an acquisition which, for antiquity and historical interest and importance, may be almost ranked with an original autograph of the Pentateuch, or the Book of Judges.
It was immediately obvious that the former (the Tablet of Abydos) consisted of series of royal names or titles enclosed in elliptical scrolls, like the Ptolemaic names and titles on the pillar of Rosetta, and other monuments; and Dr Young fell into the mistake of connecting the termination of those lists with the time of Psammetichus and his successors, who preceded the Persian conquest in the sixth century before the Christian era, because the prenominal shield of the Soane sarcophagus, and of the tomb whence it was derived (that opened by Belzoni), which Dr Young had erroneously referred to Psaminis, the successor of Pharaoh Necho, occupied the third place from the conclusion of the middle line of the Tablet.
The improved principles of Champollion, however, soon corrected this mistake; and that scholar ascertained, that, instead of a series of phonetic names, as Dr Young had conjectured, the Tablet of Abydos represented a succession of royal titles or prefixes, the same which appeared connected with the respective phonetic names of their possessors, on separate monuments; and which are by this most
remarkable record referred to the same order of succession in which they are found in history.
The termination of the Tablet was, by this discovery, at once raised from the close of the monarchy to that of the great eighteenth dynasty of Theban kings; and, as the shields which appear on most of the principal monuments were found registered on this record, the probable antiquity and the relative ages of those monuments, and consequently the progress of Egyptian art, soon became settled questions.
The general principles of the hieroglyphic chronological records were ascertained, and the second grand step, not less important than that which proved a hieroglyphic alphabetic system, was taken. And although in Champollion's reference of the catalogued monumental series to history, he committed some mistakes and oversights not less glaring than those of Dr Young, the fact was indisputable, that we had before us a contemporary hieroglyphic index to the chronology of the monuments, which belonged to that remote age to which the voice of history refers the glory of ancient Egypt,
The discovery of other contemporary hieroglyphic lists, by Mr Wilkinson and Mr Burton, (in the temple of Karnak, the palaces of the Memnonium and Medinet Abon, and the tombs at Benihassan), although not so methodically disposed as that of Abydos, soon abundantly authenticated the latter; and, moreover, extended the existing portion of it both in ascent and descent; and the partial errors of Champollion were rectified by our countrymen. The original scope of the Tablet of Abydos, and the number of royal shields that it contained, were manifest, notwithstanding the obliteration of the commencement; and the deficient portion was supplied from the other lists, in the copy published in the second part of the second volume of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, by Mr Cullimore. It was found, that in this Tablet, and the supplemental record of Medinet Abon, we possess an original chronological series, ascending thirteen reigns above the accession of Amos and the eighteenth dynasty, and, descending nineteen reigns below that of Amos-being seven reigns below the point at which the
Tablet of Abydos terminates. In other words, we have before us the sculptured original of the succession, descending to the close of the nineteenth dynasty of Diospolites, which Josephus has transcribed from Manetho the Egyptian historian, in his first book against Apion; and which Josephus, in common with all original authorities, refers to the thousand years which separated the ages of Abraham and Solomon,† including the founders of all the great sculptured monuments. Such were the sources whence Manetho declares that his history of the dynasties, founded on the records of the Egyptian Temples, was originally derived: so that a more complete corroboration of ancient history than that which has been so wonderfully restored to us, cannot well be imagined.
Had not the statements of Manetho, Josephus, and similar passages of primitive history descended to us, these extraordinary monumental records, which, as already noticed, have no parallel for antiquity and importance, except in the contemporary sacred annals of the Jews, would necessarily have remained for ever an insoluble, or, perhaps, unnoticed mystery, and phonetic discovery been useless for probing the history of remote ages.
Such statements prepare us for the previous question, without which no discovery was ever matured-what it is that we expect to what definite end are our enquiries directed? The expectation of a phonetic system of hieroglyphics was natural. Its existence was even asserted by ancient writers, although hardly suspected by the moderns, till the Egyptian and Greek texts of the pillar of Rosetta were seen in juxtaposition. The expectation that the same hieroglyphics contained records important to history, was also natural; and that such was the fact was equally asserted by the ancients-Egyptian, Greek, and Roman. But in the absence of the historical counterparts, this expectation would have been vague and useless.
With the Greek version of the pillar of Rosetta before them, the ingenuity of decipherers replaced the wanting phonetic powers of the characters; but no ingenuity could have replaced
the Greek versions of these royal names, which, by connecting themselves with a series of titular Indices, in the order in which these appear in the tablets, give us historical combinations of words whereby to test the alphabetical; and hence supply us in a limited, but, for the purposes of history, most effectual manner, with the language to which the phonetic principles are applicable; and thus elicit new proofs of the authenticity of these principles, and of the integrity of ancient historians, as well as materials for rectifying their oversights.
In effect, the hieroglyphic and Greek versions of the succession, provide us with means for testing and proving the phonetic system, not obtainable from any other source. We have, on the one hand, an original series of words, and, on the other, the same series written out in Greek characters, with probably few variations beyond those arising from the pronunciation of the scribes. Every word, or at least its place, is identified. This could alone result from corresponding tables of proper names. No accumulation of versions of common language of words and phrases which change their order in the hands of every translator, could be in the least degree so effectual; and we are accordingly far more certain of the corresponding words of the hieroglyphic and Greek lists of succession, than we are, or perhaps ever can be, of the corresponding words of any two of the three versions of the fundamental record of Rosetta, however certain of the general identity in substance.
• Ancient Fragments, p. 130 and 172, &c.
We are now arrived at the work which has given occasion for the present article. Mr Cory's "Ancient Fragments," already often referred to, consist of a collection of those statements from primitive writers, on which the expectations of the historical discoverer are based-equally those of the decipherer of the brick tablets of Babylon and Nineveh, and the sculptured records of Persepolis, as those of the hieroglyphic decipherer, and which shed reciprocal light on each other. This collection, moreover, contains the several versions and varied readings of such statements, which, although not unattended by omissions
† Jos. Antiq. 1. viii. c. 6. Contra Apion, lib. 1. Anc. Frag. p. 159, 169, et seq.