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in bands of fine linen smeared on their inner side with gum, which the Egyptians generally use instead of glue. The relations then take away the body, and have a wooden case made in the form of a man, in which they deposit it; and when fastened up, they keep it in a room in their house, placing it upright against the wall. This is the most costly mode of embalming.
"For those who choose the middle kind, on account of the expense, they prepare the body as follows. They fill syringes with oil of cedar, and inject this into the abdomen, without making any incision or removing the bowels; and taking care that the liquid shall not escape, they keep it in salt during the specified number of days. The cedar oil is then taken out; and such is its strength that it brings with it the bowels, and all the inside, in a state of dissolution. The natron also dissolves the flesh; so that nothing remains but the skin and bones. This process being over, they restore the body without any further operation.
"The third kind of embalming is only adopted for the poor. In this they merely cleanse the body by an injection of syrmæa, and salt it during seventy days; after which it is returned to the friends who brought it.
"The bodies of women of quality are not embalmed directly after their death, and it is customary for the family to keep them three or four days before they are subjected to that process."
The account given by Diodorus is similar to that of the historian of Halicarnassus. "The funerals of the Egyptians are conducted upon three different scales,-the most expensive, the more moderate, and the humblest. The first is said to cost a talent of silver (about 2507. sterling); the second 22 minæ (or 607.); and the third is extremely cheap. The persons who embalm the bodies are artists who have learnt this secret from their ancestors. They present to the friends of the deceased who apply to them an estimate of the funeral expenses, and ask them in what manner they wish it to be performed; which being agreed upon, they deliver the body to the proper persons appointed to that office. First, one, who is denominated the scribe, marks upon the left side of the body, as it lies on the ground, the extent of the incision which is to be made; then another, who is called paraschistes (the dissector),
cuts open as much of the flesh as the law permits with an Ethiopian (flint) stone, and immediately runs away, pursued by those who are present, throwing stones at him amidst bitter execrations, as if to cast upon him all the odium of this necessary act. For they look upon every one who has offered violence to, or inflicted a wound or any other injury upon a human body, to be hateful; but the embalmers, on the contrary, are held in the greatest consideration and respect, being the associates of the priests, and permitted free access to the temples as sacred persons.
"As soon as they have met together to embalm the body thus prepared for them, one introduces his hand through the aperture into the abdomen, and takes every thing out, except the kidneys and heart. Another cleanses each of the viscera with palm wine and aromatic substances. Lastly, after having applied oil of cedar and other things to the whole body for upwards of thirty days, they add myrrh, cinnamon, and those drugs which have not only the power of preserving the body for a length of time, but of imparting to it a fragrant odour. It is then restored to the friends of the deceased. And so perfectly are all the members preserved, that even the hairs of the eyelids and eyebrows remain undisturbed, and the whole appearance of the person is so unaltered that every feature may be recognised. The Egyptians, therefore, who sometimes keep the bodies of their ancestors in magnificent apartments set apart for the purpose, have an opportunity of contemplating the faces of those who died many generations before them; and the height and figure of their bodies being distinguishable, as well as the character of the countenance, they enjoy a wonderful gratification, as if they lived in the society of those they see before them."
On the foregoing statements of the two historians, I may be permitted some observations.
First. The wooden figures kept as patterns are similar (except in size) to those small ones of glazed pottery, representing the deceased in the form of Osiris, so common in our collections.
Secondly. It is evident from the mummies which have been found in such abundance at Thebes and other places, that in the three different modes of embalming several gradations existed;
some of which differ so much in many essential points as almost to justify our extending the number mentioned by the historians.
Thirdly. The extraction of the brain by the nostrils is proved by the appearance of the mummies found in the tombs; and some of the crooked instruments (always of bronze) supposed to have been used for this purpose have been discovered at Thebes.
Fourthly. The incision in the side is, as Diodorus says, on the left. Over it the sacred eye of Osiris was placed, and through it the viscera were returned when not deposited in the four vases. Fifthly. The second class of mummies without any incision in the side are often found in the tombs; but it is also shown from the bodies at Thebes that the incision was not always confined to those of the first class, and that some of an inferior kind were submitted to this simple and effectual process.
Sixthly. The sum stated by Diodorus of a talent of silver can only be a general estimate of the expense of the first kind of embalming; since the various gradations in the style of preparing them prove that some mummies must have cost far more than others: and the sumptuous manner in which many persons performed the funerals of their friends kept pace with the splendour of the tombs they made, or purchased for their reception.
Seventhly. The execrations with which the paraschistes was pursued could only have been a religious form, from which he was doubtless in little apprehension; an anomaly not altogether without a parallel in other civilised countries.
Eighthly. Diodorus is in error when he supposes the actual face of the body was seen after it was restored to the family; for even before it was deposited in the case, which Herodotus says the friends made for it, the features, as well as the whole body, were concealed by the bandages which enveloped them. The resemblance he mentions was only in the mummy case, or the cartonage which came next to the bandages; and, indeed, whatever number of cases covered a mummy, the face of each was intended as a representation of the person within, as the lower part was in imitation of the swathed body.
Diodorus mentions three different classes of persons who assisted in preparing the body for the funeral, the scribe, who
regulated the incision in the side; the paraschistes, or cutter; and the embalmers. To these may be added the undertakers, who wrapped the body in bandages, and who had workmen in their employ to make the cases in which it was deposited.* Many different trades and branches of art were constantly called upon to supply the undertakers with those things required for funereal purposes as the painters of mummy cases; those who made images of stone, porcelain, wood, and other materials; the manufacturers of alabaster, earthenware, and bronze vases; those who worked in ivory; the leather-cutters, and many others. And it is not improbable that to the undertakers, who were a class of priests, belonged a very large proportion of the tombs kept for sale in the cemeteries of the large towns.
The number of days, seventy or seventy-two, mentioned by the two historians, is confirmed by the Scripture account of Jacob's funeral; and this arbitrary period cannot fail to call to mind the frequent occurrence of the numbers 7 and 70, which are observed in so many instances both among the Egyptians and Jews. But there is reason to believe that it comprehended the whole period of the mourning, and that the embalming process only occupied a portion of it; forty being the number of days expressly stated by the Bible to have been assigned to the latter, and "three score and ten" to the entire mourning.
The custom of embalming bodies was not confined to the Egyptians: the Jews adopted this process to a certain extent, "the manner of the Jews being to bury the body "wound in linen clothes with spices; as Lazarus was swathed with bandages. The embalmers were probably members of the medical profession, as well as of the class of priests. Joseph is said to have commanded the physicians to embalm his father;" and Pliny states that during this process certain examinations took place, which enabled them to study the disease of which the deceased had died. They appear to have been made in compliance with an order from the government, as he says, the kings of Egypt had the bodies opened after death to ascertain the nature of their
* See above, pp. 117, 118, 119.
diseases, by which means alone the remedy for phthisical complaints was discovered.
Certain regulations respecting the bodies of persons found dead were wisely established in Egypt, which, by rendering the district or town in the immediate vicinity responsible in some degree for the accident, by fining it to the full cost of the most expensive funeral, necessarily induced those in authority to exercise a proper degree of vigilance, and to exert their utmost efforts to save any one who had fallen into the river; or was otherwise exposed to the danger of his life. From these too we may judge of the great responsibility they were under, for the body of a person found murdered within their jurisdiction.
"If a dead body," says Herodotus, "was accidentally found, whether of an Egyptian or a stranger, who had been taken by a crocodile, or drowned in the river, the town upon the territory of which it was discovered was obliged to embalm it according to the most costly process, and to bury it in a consecrated tomb. None of the friends or relations were permitted to touch it; this privilege was accorded to the priests of the Nile alone, who interred it with their own hands, as if it had been something more than the corpse of a human being."
Herodotus fails to inform us what became of the intestines, after they had been removed from the body of those embalmed according to the first process; but the discoveries made in the tombs clear up this important point, and enable us to correct the improbable account given by Porphyry. The latter writer says, "When the bodies of persons of distinction were embalmed, they took out the intestines and put them into a vessel, over which (after some other rites had been performed for the dead) one of the embalmers pronounced an invocation to the Sun in behalf of the deceased. The formula, according to Euphantus, who translated it from the original into Greek, was as follows:-'O thou Sun, our sovereign lord! and all ye Deities who have given life to man! receive me, and grant me an abode with the eternal Gods. During the whole course of my life I have scrupulously worshipped the Gods my fathers taught me to adore; I have ever honoured my parents, who begat this body; I have killed