Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

next, an ape for the A ; then, two rams for the double R; then an owl for the 0; and last, a weasel for the final W. All these heterogeneous symbols united would make BARROW in phonetic hieroglyphics, none of them being idiographic or significant of the object which they pictured, but signifying merely the initial sound of the name of the object. But the idiogra, phic sign of any object, the name of which began with the same initial, might stand for B; as, for instance, Bee, Bat, Badger, Bull, instead of Boar; and so of the other letters. And the substitution of one phonetic sign for another, or the employing of different signs of the same power, would occasion no difficulty to any person acquainted with the language, the character, and the subject. The number of phonetic signs for the same alphabetic character might thus be indefinitely numerous; and it would be impossible to predict in any given case, the idiographic sign which the writer would select for phonetic use. Hence, the necessity of being acquainted with the object represented, in order to understand the hieroglyphic or idiographic sign, and the further necessity of a previous acquaintance with the language, so as to know the name of the object, in order to understand its phonetic power. But, though all the idiographic signs were originally significant of the object, they ceased to be so when employed phonetically; and he who first reduced all the phonetic signs into an alphabet of twenty-four or twenty-five letters, did more to facilitate the means of recording and extending human knowledge, than all that has since been done in the way of perfecting the medium of thought. The demotic writing furnishes ample proof that this improvement was not effected at once, but was progressive; for, in the writing of foreign names, whenever different phonetic signs are used, the demotic signs, or letters, are also different, being imperfect imitations of them; which shews that the hieroglyphic was the original mode of writing, and that it fell by degrees into the hieratic, the demotic, and at length, the alphabetical*.

* Professor Murray, in bis very learned but somewhat fanciful history of languages, has thrown considerable light on the hieroglyphic origin of the Phenician, Hebrew, and Chaldee alphabets, by shewing that the names of the letters are taken from the objects of which they were originally the idiographic signs. Thus, we are told, Alph signified an ox; Beth, a house ; Gaml, a camel; Dalth, a door ; Waw, a hook; Caph, the grasp of the hand; Lamb, a sharp instrument, a spit; Samch, a support: Ain or Gain, an eye; Resh, a summit, a head; Shin, a tooth. Hitherto, the Egyptian alphabet has not exM. Champollion shews, in a number of instances, that the initial sound of the idiographic character answers exactly to the phonetic name. Thus, a hawk, one of the phonetics of A, is, in Egyptian, Halæt ; the vault or kind of arch which is one of the phonetics of K, is, in Egyptian, Kepe ; the Lion, one of the phonetics of L, is Laboi ; the mouth, the phonetic of R, is Ro; the semi-circle, Dr. Young's favourite symbol, one of the phonetics of T, is, in Egyptian, Ti or Tori, the open hand. Thus he proceeds to form a hieroglyphic alphabet comprising eleven forms of Alpha, five of Beta, two Gammas, two Deltas, one Epsilon, no Zeta, nine Etas, no Theta, five Iotas, sixteen Kappas, (two of which are the same with Gamma,) four A's, five M's, seven N's, two z's, (which are merely the sign of K, placed over that of S,) six Omicrons, three Pi's, eleven R's, fifteen Sigmas, four Tau's (two the same as A) no Upsilon, two o's (the same with it) no , no X, and two Omegas, the same with o. These are all accompanied with corresponding demotic signs; but the differing forms of each letter are not by any means so numerous, the utmost variety being five, the generality having but two forms; and the variation is often so trifling as hardly to require a separate notation.

Our ingenious Author, with that zeal which accompanies and ensures success, proceeded to examine the cartouches enclosing the proper names inscribed on the different monuments of Egypt. He has given three plates, containing seventy-nine of these in hieroglyphics, adding, in an explanatory table, the letters which each of them contain in Greek capitals; so that any person may with very little trouble make himself master of the Author's whole Alphabet, and read any Greek or Roman name that he encounters on these monuments. On the great temple at Karnak in Thebes, he found inscribed the name of Ptolemy, written Ptolmes, the letters arranged mlip; and Berenice, written Brneks, the letters arranged SKER : also, the

N 7 name of Alexander, Alksntrs, the letters arranged

NB

A SL

He also finds the name of Ptolemy and Cleopatra on the temples of Philoe and Koom Ombos ; at Edfou, Ptolemy Alexander ; at Denderah, Ptolomy Neo Kesrs (the young Cesar), meaning the Son which Julius Cæsar had by Cleopatra.

hibited any coincidence in its phonetic signs, and the presumption is against their common origin, although both would seem to have been formed, in the same manner, from idiographic hieroglyphics.

So much for the Macedonian Kings of Egypt. But he also found the names of several Roman Emperors. On what has been called the Circular Zodiac of Denderah, he finds the title AOTOKRTR, which he refers to the Emperor Claudius or Nero, because most of their medals struck in Egypt, bore the simple legend Autocrator. Hence he very justly infers, that this same circular zodiac was sculptured under the dominion of the Romans, thus at once shivering to atoms the theories of Volney and his infidel school. On the great temple of Philoe, he reads Aotokrtr Kesrs, which he refers to Augustus Cæsar, because his Greek medals struck in Egypt, bore only these two words; and he supposes the bas-reliefs to relate to the victory at Actium, which constituted a new and important era in the history of Egypt. The names Aotkrtr Tbres Kesrs (Emperor Tiberius Cæsar), and Aotkrtr Tomtens Sbsts (Emperor Domitian Sebastus), are also found on the monuments of Philoe. The name of the latter emperor is more frequently found at Denderah, where it occurs with the surname assixed, Krineks (Germanicus). The name Aoikrtr Ksrs Nro Trens (Emperor Cæsar Nero Trajan) is also found at Philoe: and Aotokrtor Ksrs Antonens (Emperor Cæsar Antoninus) is found on the Typhonium at Denderah. The reading of the hieroglyphics begins at that end of the inscription towards which the heads of the animals are turned : the demotic is always read from right to left.

The Egyptian phonetic writing is, we think, very properly considered by M. Champollion as bearing a close analogy to the ancient Phenician, Hebrew, Syriac, Cufic, Arabic, and modern Arabic, which may be called semi-alphabetic ; presenting only the skeleton of words, the consonants and long vowels, and leaving it to the skill of the reader to supply the short ones. The Chinese, whose mode of writing bears a great affinity to that of the ancient Egyptians, adopted, under similar circumstance, the same expedient. In order to write a foreign word in their language, they employ the idiographic signs whose pronunciation appears to possess the greatest resemblance to the syllable or element of the word they wish to express. And when we recur to the hideous manner in which the names of Patterson, Richardson, &c. were caricatured in their account of the late affray at Canton, we must acknowledge that, in accommodating their idiographic signs to Greek and Roman names, the Egyptians beat the Chinese hollow. M. Champollion is further of opinion, that the phonetic use of the hieroglyphics preceded the dominion of the Greeks and the Romans in Egypt, and that the Europeans received from the ancient Egyptians the invaluable gift of Alphabetic writing, as well as the elements of their science and arts ; in which opinion he has on his side, the testimony of antiquity as recorded by Tacitus and others. But, by means of his alphabet, he has never been able to read a single word of the ancient hieroglyphics. So that as yet, the veil seems impenetrable, which covers the ancient learning of that most interesting country. M. Champollion is, indeed, still labouring to remove it, and as heartily as we thank him for the present able attempt, do we wish him success in his future researches. From his youth, learning, talents, and address, much may be expected. The pamphlet before us contains, within fewer than fifty pages, more interesting matter on the subject of hieroglyphics, than is to be found in all the books we have seen. We warmly recommend it to every lover of learning, and especially to every traveller directing his course to the country of whose literature it treats. We learn with much pleasure that the same ingenious gentleman has turned his researches to the arrow-beaded character. Dr. Young states, that M. Champollion informs him, that he has lately discovered the name of Xerxes, both in hieroglyphics and in the nail-headed characters, on an alabaster vase on which both are found together. Hitherto, he had been unable to detect a Persian name, or any in'scription or relic relating to the Oriental conquerors of Egypt.

• This is, indeed,' remarks Dr. Y., ' a wonderful opening for literary enterprise ; and I am even inclined to hope, from M. Champollion's latest communications, that he will find some means of overcoming the difficulties that I have stated respecting the Pharaohs; for he assures me, that he has identified the names of no less (fewer) than thirty of them, and that they accord with the traditions of Manetho, and, as far as he can judge, with the notes that I had sent him of an attempt that I had formerly made to assign temporary names to the Kings enumerated at Abydos, in which those of all the later ones began with the syllable Re.' p. 53.

We should exceedingly like that M. C. should have an opportunity of following up his researches by comparing the arrow-headed character with the hieroglyphics in Babylon, Suza, and other seats of ancient learning. The present Hebrew 'character is said to be Chaldaic; yet, so far as we know, not a single inscription in that character has been discovered among the ruins in Mesopotamia. By Hager and Lichtenstein, indeed, the arrow-headed characters are conjectured to be variations of the Hebrew alphabet; but the subject forms at present one of the darkest enigmas of antiquity.

Art. II. 1. Memoirs of General Count Rapp, first Aide-de-Camp to

Napoleon. Written by Himself, and published by his Family. 8vo.

pp. 431. Price 12s. London, 1823. 2. Memorial de Sainte Hélène. Journal of the Private Life and

Conversations of the Emperor Napoleon at Saint Helena. By the
Count de Las Cases. 8vo. Vol. IV. Parts 7 and 8. pp. 632. Lon-
don. 1823.
THE spirit of modern institutions is invincibly adverse to

power without title, to empire without claim; and yet, we have seen, in the instance of Napoleon, the old system revived of enthroning the emperor on the shields of his soldiers, and confirming his elevation by the suffrage of the people. And never was a sceptre thus illegitimately obtained, held with a surer grasp, until one act of rashness, followed by a series of false measures, wrested it from his hand, and restored it to the forgotten line of Bourbon. With a few years of peace, the generation of 1789 would have passed away, and their bigotry, their intolerance, their admiration of despotic forms and privileged orders would have perished with them. But this tame and obvious course was at total variance with the gigantic schemes, the military partialities, and the untemporizing policy of Napoleon. His first false step was the invasion of Spain; his second, the march on Moscow; his third, the campaign of Germany; his last, the obstinate determination, in defiance of all counsel, to rest the decision of his fate on the arbitrament of the sword, when, without a single ally, and with a mere handful of devoted soldiers, he was assailed by the tremendous coalition of the European powers.

Of the brilliant campaign which, under the last mentioned circumstances, he fought against Schwartzenberg and Blucher, as well as of the subsequent events, we gave a general outline in our recent review of Baron Fain's interesting volume. We shall now have an opportunity of supplying some interesting illustrations of previous transactions, from the Memoirs of Count Rapp; and we shall avail ourselves of this favourable occasion to take a final adieu of our pleasant but rather tiresome companion, M. de Las Cases.

General Count Rapp was a native of Alsace, and seems to have had in his composition much more of the German than of the Gaul. He was brave to rashness, and frank to an imprudent extreme. Warm-hearted, but irritable and petulant, his habits were singularly unsuited to the etiquette of courts, and made him an unusual object for the partiality of monarchs. Yet, we find him a sort of favourite with Napoleon; his indiscretions and blunt speeches were tolerated, and his violations

« ForrigeFortsett »