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And such was their attention to the habits of different animals, and the patient treatment of them, that the wildest and most timid were rendered so tame as to be driven, like the sheep and goats; and the wild geese and other birds were brought to the stewards, whenever an inventory was made of the live stock on the estate.
The pastors were a class apart from the agriculturists, and were held in disrepute, partly from the nature of their occupation, partly from the prejudices of the Egyptians against all herdsmen. But this did not extend to the farmers who bred cattle or sheep; it was confined to the poor people who kept them; and as if to show how degraded a class they were, they are represented, as at Beni Hassan and the tombs near the Pyramids, lame, or deformed, dirty, unshaven, and even of a ludicrous appearance; and often clad in dresses made of matting, similar in quality to the covering thrown over the backs of the oxen they are tending,
A deformed oxherd.
Tombs near the Pyramids.
They generally lived in sheds made of reeds; deriving a scanty nourishment from the humblest and coarsest food; but they were overlooked by other persons of a superior condition among the pastoral class. There were also overseers of the shepherds, who regulated everything respecting the stock ;-which were to graze in the field, which to be stall-fed ;—and their duty was also to give reports at certain periods to the scribes attached to the stewards' office, who examined them preparatory to their heing presented to the owner of the estate. In these nothing
was omitted; and every egg was noted in the account, and entered with the chickens and goslings. And in order to prevent
Giving an account to two scribes of the stock on the estate. Thebes. Before fig. 1 is the sachel, and above fig. 2 the box for holding writing implements and papyri. They are writing on boards: in their left hands are the inkstands with black and red ink.
any connivance, or a question respecting the accuracy of a report, two scribes received it from the superintendents at the same moment. Everything was done in writing. Bureaucratie was as consequential in Egypt as in modern Austria, or France; scribes were required on every occasion, to settle public or private questions; no bargain of consequence was made without the vouchure of a written document; and the sale of a small piece of land required sixteen witnesses. Either the Egyptians were great cheats, or a very cautious people-probably both; and they would have been in an agony of mind to see us so careless, and so duped in many of our railway and other speculations.
The shepherds on the estate were chosen by the steward, who ascertained their character and skill, before they were appointed to their various duties; and Pharaoh in like manner commanded Joseph, who was superintendent " over all the land of Egypt," to select from among his brethren such as were skilful in the management of the flocks or herds, and "make them rulers over his cattle."
There was also the honorary office of "superintendent of the
Herdsmen giving an account of the cattle.
CHAP. VIII. SHEPHERDS APPOINTED TO THEIR POST.
military classes, who were called "superintendents of the cattle being held by persons of rank belonging to the priestly and the class of shepherds: it was a high and distinguished post, herds;" but this was very different from the duty of any one in
British Museum-from Thebes.
Fig. 1. Herdsman giving an account to the scribe, 3.
2. Another doing obeisance to the master of the estate, or to the scribe.
4. Other herdsmen.
5. The driver of the cattle, carrying a rope in his hand.
6. Bowing and giving his report to the scribe, 7, over whom is the usual sachel, and two boxes.
of the king," or 66 of some god ;" and one of the former, named Honofr, whose wife was one of the sacred women of Amun, is mentioned in a very beautiful papyrus in the British Museum.
The cattle were brought into a court attached to the steward's house, or into the farmyard, and counted by the superintendent in the presence of the scribes; and the bastinado was freely administered if any fraud was detected, or if any shepherd had neglected the flocks committed to his care.
In the accompanying woodcut the numbers written over the animals correspond to the report made to the steward, who, in the presence of the master of the estate, receives it from the overseer, or the head shepherd. First come the oxen, over which is the number 834, then cows 220, goats 3234, asses 760, rams 974; followed by a man carrying the young lambs in baskets slung upon a pole. The steward leaning on his staff, and accompanied by what was then a fashionable dog, “with a curly tail," stands on the left of the picture; and in another place the scribes are making out the statements presented to them by the different persons employed on the farm. The tomb where this subject occurs is at the Pyramids, dating upwards of 4000 years ago, when the Egyptians had already the same customs as at a much later period. How long before this they had reached this state of civilization; had laid aside their arms; had decimal as well as duodecimal calculation, and the reckoning by units, tens, hundreds, and thousands, it is impossible to determine; but these, as well as the use of squared stone, even granite, and many other arts, were known to them before the Pyramids were built.
Many birds which frequented the interior and skirts of the desert, and were highly prized for the table, were caught by the fowlers, as the partridge, gutta (pterocles, or sand-grouse), bustard, and quail; and waterfowl of different descriptions, which abounded in the Valley of the Nile, afforded endless diversion to the sportsman, and profit to those who gained a livelihood by
Fowling was a favourite amusement of all classes; and the
Cattle, goats, asses, and sheep, with their numbers over them. Fig 1. The number 834 over long-horned oxen. Fig. 2. 220 cows with calves. Fig. 3. 3234 goats. Fig. 4. 760 asses. Fig. 7 gives in the account to the steward of the estate. In the original, the two upper lines join the two lower ones at A and B.
In a Tomb near the Pyramids. Fig. 5. 974 sheep.