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THE FIFTH CLASS- PASTORS, POULTERERS, SHOPS, FOWLERS, FISHERMEN,
THE fifth class was composed of pastors, poulterers, fowlers, fishermen, labourers, brickmakers, and common people. The pastors were divided into oxherds, shepherds, goatherds, and swineherds; but even among them a gradation of rank was observed; and those who tended the herds and flocks while grazing were inferior in position to the managers of stock in the farmyard, who prepared provender for them when the Nile covered the lands. Those too who understood the veterinary art and took care of the sick cattle were men of skill and intelligence, who held a higher post among the pastors. But they were all looked upon by the Egyptian aristocracy as people who followed a disgraceful employment; and it is therefore not surprising that Pharaoh should have treated the Israelites with that contempt which it was usual for the Egyptians to feel towards" shepherds;" or that Joseph should have warned his brethren on their arrival, of this aversion of the Egyptians, and of their considering every shepherd an abomination. And from his recommending them to request they might dwell in the land of Goshen, we may conclude it was with a view to avoid as much as possible those who
were not shepherds like themselves, or to obtain a settlement in the land peculiarly adapted for pasture. It is also probable that much of Pharaoh's cattle was kept there, since the monarch gave orders that if any of those strangers were remarkable for skill in the management of herds, they should be selected to overlook his own cattle, after they were settled in the land of Goshen. This part of the country received at a later time the name of Bucolia; and the northern part of the Delta, with the lands lying to the east of the Damietta branch of the Nile, are still preferred for grazing cattle.
The hatred borne against shepherds by the Egyptians was not owing solely to their contempt for that occupation; this feeling originated in another and a far more powerful cause-the occupation of their country by a pastor race, who had committed great cruelties during their possession of the country. And as if to prove how much they despised every order of pastors, the artists, both of Upper and Lower Egypt, delighted on all occasions in caricaturing their appearance.
The swineherds were the most ignoble, and of all the Egyptians the only persons who are said not to have been permitted to enter a temple; and even if this statement is exaggerated, it tends to show with what contempt they were looked upon by the individuals from whom Herodotus received his information, and how far they ranked beneath any others of the whole order of pastors. Indeed (as I have before stated) the same is still the case in India, where the swineherds are the very lowest class, and are so despised that no others will associate with them.
The skill of these people in rearing animals of different kinds was the result, says Diodorus, of the experience they had inherited from their parents, and subsequently increased by their own observation; and the spirit of emulation, which is natural to all men, constantly adding to their stock of knowledge, they introduced many improvements unknown to other people. Their sheep were twice shorn, and twice brought forth lambs in the course of one year; and though the climate was the chief cause of these phenomena, the skill and attention of the shepherd were also necessary; nor, if the animals were neglected, would unaided nature alone suffice for their continuance,
But of all the discoveries to which any class of Egyptians attained, the one that the historian considered most worthy of admiration was their artificial process of hatching the eggs of fowls and geese; which has been continued to the present day by their Copt successors. The modern process, like that of ancient times, is this: they have ovens expressly built for the purpose; and persons are sent round to the villages to collect the eggs from the peasants, which, being given to the rearers, are all placed on
Fig. 1. Plan of the building, showing the form of the upper rooms A A, the entrance-room GG, and the passage F. At a a are the fires; ee the aperture communicating with the oven.
2. Section of the same, showing the upper rooms A and B.
3. Plan of upper room, in which the fires are placed at a b and c d.
4. Lower room in which the eggs are placed.
5, 6. Sections from the back and front of the upper and lower rooms A and B.
mats, strewed with bran, in a room about eleven feet square, with a flat roof, and about four feet high, over which is another chamber of the same size, with a vaulted roof and about nine feet high; a small aperture in the centre of the vault (at ƒ), admitting light during the warm weather, and another (e) of larger diameter, immediately below, communicating with the oven through its ceiling. By this also the man descends to observe the eggs; but in the cold season both are closed, and a lamp is kept burning within; another entrance at the front part of the oven, or lower room, being then used for the same purpose, and shut immediately on his quitting it. By way of distinction, I call the vaulted (4) the upper room, and the lower one (B) the oven. In the former are two fires in the troughs a b, and c d, which, based with earthen slabs, three quarters of an inch thick, reach from one side to the other against the front and back walls. These fires are lighted twice a day: the first dies away about midday; and the second, lighted at 3 P.M., lasts until 8 o'clock. In the oven, the eggs are placed on mats strewed with bran, in two lines corresponding to, and immediately below, the fires a b and c d, where they remain half a day. They are then removed to a c and b d; and others (from two heaps in the centre) are arranged at a b and c d in their stead; and so on, till all have taken their equal share of the warmest positions; to which each set returns again and again, in regular succession, till the expiration of six days.
They are then held up, one by one, towards a strong light; and if the eggs appear clear, and of an uniform colour, it is evident they have not succeeded; but if they show an opaque substance within, or the appearance of different shades, the chickens are already formed; and they are returned to the oven for four more days, their positions being changed as before. At the expiration of the four days they are removed to another oven, over which, however, are no fires. Here they lie for five days in one heap, the apertures (e, f) and the door (g) being closed with tow to exclude the air; after which they are placed separately about one or two inches apart, over the whole surface of the mats, which are sprinkled with a little bran. They are at