« PrécédentContinuer »
The full division of the wooden Egyptian cubits, which have been found, appears to be:
There is no indication of a foot, and the 15 last digits are solely occupied with fractional parts, beginning with a 16th, and ending in a digit, from which we may conclude that the smallest measurement in the Egyptian scale of length was the 16th of a digit, or the 26th of an inch.
The lengths of different Egyptian cubits are:
1 fitr or forefinger span
1 shibr, spithamé,
or full span....
The careless manner in which the graduation of the scales of the Nilometer at Elephantine has been made by the Egyptians, renders the precise length of its cubit difficult to determine; but as I have carefully measured all of them, and have been guided by their general length as well as by the averages of the whole, I am disposed to think my measurement as near the truth as possible; and judging from the close approximation of different wooden cubits, whose average M. Jomard estimates at 523.506 millimètres, we may conclude that they were all intended to represent the same measures, strongly arguing against the supposition of different cubits having been in use, one of 24 and others of 28 and 32 digits; and indeed, if at any time the Egyptians employed a cubit of a different length, consisting of 24 digits, it is not probable that it was used in their Nilometers, for architectural purposes, or for measuring land.
And if, when cited from ancient authors, I have calculated the cubit at 1 foot, this is only because custom has reconciled us to that approximate measurement.
The principal Egyptian measures of weight were the talent and the mina; the former called in Coptic ginshôr, the latter emna or amna, and in the hieroglyphics men or mna.
The talent is supposed to have contained 60 minæ, and the mina 100 drachms, as in Greece; but the uncertainty about their real value is so great, that the talent has been reckoned at 114 or 113, at 91, 862, or even 65 lbs. Troy; and the mina in the same proportion. It seems really to have been about 40 lbs. Troy, and the mina 164 ounces.
The mina, mna, or men, is often mentioned on the monuments, and from their reckoning upwards of 2000 minæ (as of" sift," zift, or bitumen), it was evidently used for large quantities, where we should rather have expected the talent, and was, like our pound, the standard weight. The name is quite Egyptian, and of a more common form than any other in the language; and it is found applied to weights at least as early as the 18th dynasty, followed by a square, indicative of a "weight." It seems also to be related to the Arabic word mana, "to count" (and the "mna," mene," of Daniel), from which Al-manach is supposed to be derived.
The weights represented, when they are engaged in weighing gold and silver and other commodities, are in the form of a whole ox, a bull's head, and a conical mass, as well as the square representing the mina; and the three first seem to be the whole, the half, and another subdivision of the talent, or 60, 30, and 20 or 10 minæ. The adoption of the bull for the talent may have originated in the original mode of bartering, and accords with Homer's reckoning the bull as a standard of value. Indeed it is said to have represented a talent. Thus the pecunia of the Romans was taken from pecus.
The Egyptians had also a measure, or weight, apparently of the same name, mn or mna, used for gold and silver, and followed by a similar square sign; which Mr. Birch supposes to have been divided like our pound into 16 parts or ounces, no higher number having been found than 15. These have also a square sign after them, determinative of weight, and are called kit or kiti, the Coptic name of the drachma and didrachma.
The idea of the mina being equivalent to our pound seems to be confirmed by the weights, in the form of lions and ducks, brought by Mr. Layard from Nimroud* (now in the British Museum); as the most perfect of the large ducks, which was a talent, or 30 minæ, weighs little more than 484 ounces, or 40 lbs. troy and 4 ozs. Each mina is therefore 16 ounces; and the close approximation in the weight of the lions and ducks shows they represented the same quantity.
Of the Egyptian measures of capacity one was small, answering to the modern mid, or nearly 2 pecks English; another larger, also used for measuring grain, distinguished by the king's crook that surmounts it, which, as M. de Rougé suggests, may point to its value fixed by royal authority; or be a royal, i. e. a large measure. It may, perhaps, be the origin of the modern Egyptian ardéb (the ertòb of the Copts, and the Medish artaba), equal nearly to 5 English bushels; and the smaller one is shown to be the one employed for measuring grain when taken to, or from, the
* See Layard's Nineveh and Babylon, p. 601. In the woodcut he gives, p. 602, the supposed ring on the back of the crouched lion is only the same conical weight seen in the scales.
granary; being the standard like the modern mid, which in size and shape it so much resembled. This name is very like the Latin modius.
The modern ardéb contains 8 mid; and the latter 4 roftów, or 3 roob; and according to another calculation, the ardéb is made to consist of 6 waybeh, a name answering to the ouôpi of the Copts, which was equal to 4 roob. The half ardéb, or mid, was called also koros in Coptic.
There was another measure used both for liquids, as wine, and for dry substances, as incense and bitumen, which had likewise a name very like mn or mina.
O. View of the modern town of Manfaloót, showing the height of the banks of the Nile in summer. In the mountain range, opposite Manfaloót, are the large crocodile mummy caves of Maábdeh.
EGYPTIAN ART-REMAINS OF NINEVEH-HUMAN FIGURE-DRAWING AND
THE interest that attaches to Egyptian art is from its great antiquity. We see in it the first attempts to represent what in after times, and in some other countries, gradually arrived, under better auspices, at the greatest perfection; and we even trace in it the germ of much that was improved upon by those who had a higher appreciation of, and feeling for, the beautiful. For, both in ornamental art, as well as in architecture, Egypt exercised in early times considerable influence over other people less advanced than itself, or only just emerging from barbarism; and the various conventional devices, the lotus flowers, the sphinxes, and