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great quantity was set apart expressly for feeding the sacred animals and birds-as the cats, crocodiles, ibises, and others; and some of the large reservoirs, attached to the temples, were used as well for keeping fish as for the necessary ablutions of the devout, and for various purposes connected with religion.

The quantity of fish in Egypt was a very great boon to the poor classes, and when the Nile overflowed the country the inhabitants of the inland villages benefited by this annual gift of the river, as the land did by the fertilizing mud deposited upon it. The canals, ponds, and pools, on the low lands, continued to abound in fish, even after the inundation had ceased, and it was then that their return to the Nile was intercepted by closing the mouth of the canals. The same happens at the present day; and so numerous are they, that the tax upon the profits now paid annually by the poor peasants to the Turkish government on the fish of a small canal amounts to 217.

The revenue from the fisheries was much larger in old times; though we may not believe that "while the water retired from the Lake Moris (which Ælian quaintly calls the 'fish harvest'), the royal treasury received daily a talent of silver (supposed to be 1937. 15s. English), and during the other six months, when the water flowed from the Nile into the lake, 20 minæ” (about 641. 12s.). The sum said to have been derived from this source was given as a dowry to the queen, for the purchase of jewels, ointment, and other things connected with her toilet—a very liberal provision, being upwards of 94,000l. a year; and when this formed only a portion of the pin-money of the Egyptian queens, who also received the revenues of the town of Anthylla, famous for its wines, they had no reason to complain of the allowance they enjoyed.

Though the fish of the Nile were a great benefit, their quality was not such as would satisfy modern taste, being insipid, and often muddy in flavour; but the Egyptians, like many others who live on rivers, were not connoisseurs in fish; and those of the sea were scarcely known to them, though the waters of the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf might have afforded them many excellent kinds. The sea was looked upon by them with abhor

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rence; political reasons had led the government in old times to increase that aversion; and prejudice prevented their appreciating the good things it contained, which might have raised their taste above the carp-and-tench-level of their inexperience.

Of the various kinds of labourers few are worthy of notice, except the brick-makers; and their employment derives considerable interest from the detailed notice of it in the Bible, according as it does so remarkably with the Egyptian paintings. Brick-making, a mere manual occupation, with nothing to stimulate the clever workman to improvement, was only followed by the meanest of the community, who had not even the satisfaction of working for themselves; for bricks were a government monopoly, and the pay for a tale of them was a small remuneration for this laborious drudgery in mud.

The use of crude bricks baked in the sun was universal throughout the country for private and for many public buildings, and the dry climate of Egypt was peculiarly suited to those simple materials. They had the recommendation of cheapness, and even of durability; and those made 3000 years ago, whether with or "without straw," are even now as firm and fit for use as when first put up in the reigns of the Amunophs and Thothmes, whose names they bear. When made of the Nile mud, or alluvial deposit, they required straw to prevent their cracking; but those formed of clay (now called Háybeh) taken from the torrent beds on the edge of the desert, held together without straw; and crude brick walls frequently had the additional security of a layer of reeds or sticks placed at intervals to act as binders. The courses of bricks were also disposed occasionally in horizontal curves, or a succession of concave and convex lines, throughout the length of the wall; and this undulating arrangement was even adopted in stone, especially in quays by the river side.

Burnt bricks were not used in Egypt, and, when found, they are known to be of Roman time. Enclosures of gardens, or granaries, sacred circuits surrounding the courts of temples, walls of fortresses and towns, dwelling-houses and tombs, and even some few of the temples themselves, were of crude brick,

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 unauthorized 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 license 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 Thebaï, 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.

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

Figs. 3, 6. Taskmasters. Figs. 4, 5. Men carrying bricks. Figs. 8, 16. Making bricks with a wooden mould, d, h. At e the bricks (tobi) are said to be made at Thebes.

the paintings of Thebes, representing brick-makers, without a 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 Sheshonk (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-ǹ-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 brick-makers are painted yellow, with blue eyes and small beards.

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."

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