Images de page
PDF
ePub

with stone columns and gateways; and so great was the demand, that the government foreseeing the profit to be obtained from a monopoly of them, undertook to supply the public at a moderate price, thus preventing all unauthorised persons from engaging in their manufacture. And, in order more effectually to obtain their end, the seal of the king, or of some privileged person, was stamped upon the bricks at the time they were made; and bricks so marked are found both in public and private buildings; some having the ovals of a king, and some the name and titles of a priest, or other influential person. Those which bear no characters either formed part of a tale, of which the first only were stamped, or were from the brick-fields of individuals, who had obtained a licence from government to make them for their own consumption.

The employment of numerous captives, who worked as slaves, would in any case have enabled the government to sell the bricks at a lower price than those persons who had recourse solely to free labour; so that, without the necessity of a prohibition, they must soon have become an exclusive manufacture; and we find that, independent of native labourers, a great many foreigners were constantly engaged in the brick-fields at Thebes, and other parts of Egypt. The Jews, of course, were not excluded from this drudgery; and, like the captives detained in the Thebaïd, they were condemned to the same labour in Lower Egypt. They not only erected granaries, treasure cities, and many public monuments for the Egyptian monarch; but the materials used in building them were the work of their hands; and the number of persons constantly employed in making bricks may be readily accounted for by the extensive supply required, and kept by the government for sale.

To meet with Hebrews in the sculptures cannot reasonably be expected, since the remains in that part of Egypt where they lived have not been preserved; but it is curious to discover other foreign captives occupied in the same manner, overlooked by similar “taskmasters,"* and performing the very same labours as the Israelites described in the Bible; and no one can look at *Figs. 3 and 6 in woodcut 433.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

433.

Foreign captives employed in making bricks at Thebes. Fig. 1. Man returning after carrying the bricks. Figs. 3, 6. Taskmasters. Figs. 7, 9, 12, 13. Digging and mixing the clay or mud. Figs. 14, 15. Fetching water from the tank h.

Thebes.

Figs. 4, 5. Men carrying bricks. Figs. 8, 14. Making bricks with a wooden mould, d, h. Ate the bricks (tôbi) are said to be made at Thebes.

[ocr errors]

the paintings of Thebes, representing brick-makers, without & feeling of the highest interest. That the scene in the accompanying wood-cut is at the capital of Upper Egypt is shown by the hieroglyphics, which state, that the "bricks" (tôbi) are made for a building at "Thebes" (fig. 9, e); and this occurrence of the word implying bricks, similar both in modern Arabic * and ancient Coptic, gives an additional value to the picture.

It is not very consistent, nor logical, to argue, that because the Jews made bricks, and the persons here introduced are so engaged, these must necessarily be Jews: since the Egyptians and their captives were constantly required to perform the same task; and the great quantity made at all times is proved by the number of buildings, which still remain, constructed of those materials. And a sufficient contradiction is given to that conclusion, by their being said to be working at Thebes, where the Jews never were, and by the names of various Asiatic captives of the time being recorded in the same tomb, among which no mention is made of Jews.

With regard to the features of foreigners resembling the Jews, it is only necessary to observe that the Egyptians adopted the same character for all the inhabitants of Syria; as may be seen in the sculptures of Karnak and other places, where those people occur, as well as in one of the sets of figures in Belzoni's tomb; and the brick-makers, far from having what is considered the very Jewish expression found in many of those figures, have not even the long beard, so marked in the people of Syria and the prisoners of Shesonk (Shishak). They are represented as a white people, like others from Asia introduced into the paintings, and some have blue eyes and red hair, which are also given to the people of Rot-n-n in this same tomb. Indeed if I were disposed to think them Jews, I should rather argue it from many of these figures not having the large nose and dark eyes and hair we consider as Jewish types; for some of these brickmakers are painted yellow, with blue eyes and small beards. Others are red with a rétroussé nose. (Woodcut 434, fig. 2.)

These last may be Egyptians, or people of Pount who are re

"Tob" or "toob," in Arabic "a brick :" in Coptic " tôbi."

434.

Two of the Brickmakers.

Thebes.

presented bringing tribute in the same tomb. The fact of some having small beards, others merely the "stubble-field” of an unshaven chin, might accord with Jews as well as with the Rot-ǹ-n, or other northern races; but their making bricks at Thebes, and the name of Jews not being mentioned in the whole tomb, are insuperable objections.

And here I may mention a remarkable circumstance, that the Jews of the East to this day often have red hair and blue eyes, with a nose of delicate form and nearly straight, and are quite unlike their brethren of Europe; and the children in modern Jerusalem have the pink and white complexions of Europeans. The Oriental Jews are at the same time unlike the other Syrians in features; and it is the Syrians who have the large nose that strikes us as the peculiarity of the western Israelites. This prominent feature was always a characteristic of the Syrians; but not of the ancient, nor of the modern, Jews of Judæa; and the Saviour's head, though not really a portrait, is evidently a traditional representation of the Jewish face, which is still traceable at Jerusalem. No real portrait of Him was ever handed down; and Eusebius, of Cæsarea, pronounced the impossibility of obtaining one for the sister of Constantine; but the character of the Jewish face would necessarily be known in those early days, (in the 4th century), when the first representations of Him were attempted; and we should be surprised to find any artist abandon the style of features thus agreed upon for ages, and represent the Saviour with those of our western Jews. Yet this would be perfectly correct if the Jews of His day had those features; and such would have been, in that case, His traditional portrait.

I had often remarked the colour and features of the Jews in the East, so unlike those known in Europe, and my wish to ascertain if they were the same in Judæa was at length gratified by a visit to Jerusalem; where I found the same type in all those really of eastern origin; and the large nose is there an invariable proof of mixture with a western family. It may be difficult to explain this great difference in the eastern and western face (and the former is said to be also found in Hungary); but the subject is worthy of investigation, as is the origin of those Jews now living in Europe, and the early migrations that took place from Judæa long before the Christian era. These would be more satisfactory than mere speculations on the Lost Tribes.

The occupations of the common people in Egypt were carefully watched by the magistrate, and no one was allowed to live an idle life, useless to himself, and to the community. It was thought right that the industrious citizen should be encouraged, and distinguished from the lazy or the profligate; and in order to protect the good and detect the wicked, it was enacted that every one should at certain times present himself before the magistrates, or provincial governors, and give in his name, his place of abode, his profession or employment, and the mode in which he gained his livelihood; the particulars being duly registered in the official report. The time of attendance was fixed, and those from the same parish proceeded in bodies to the appointed office, accompanied by their respective banners, and each individual being introduced singly to the registering clerks, gave in his statement and answered the necessary questions. In approaching these functionaries, they adopted the usual forms of respect before a superior; making a profound bow, one hand falling down to the knee, the other placed over the mouth to keep the breath from his face. The same mark of deference was expected from every one, as a token of respect to the court, on all occasions; when accused before a magistrate, and when attending at the police office to prefer a complaint, or to vindicate his character from an unjust imputation; and when a culprit sought to deprecate punishment, or to show great deference before a superior, he frequently placed one hand across his breast to the opposite shoulder.

« PrécédentContinuer »