Page images

tures, more accurately, than can well be imagined. The first painters and figure-drawers performed very rudely, and were frequently obliged to write underneath what their figures and pictures were, to enable those who saw them to know what was designed to be represented by them. The Egyptians drew the forms of their sacred animals but imperfectly, even in later agés; and I cannot doubt, but if we could see what they at first delineated for a bull, a dog, a cat, or a monkey, it would be difficult to tell which figure might be this or that, or whether any of their figures were any of them. Therefore to help the reader, they usually marked the sun and moon or some other characters, to denote what god the animal designed was sacred to; and then it was easier to guess without mistake, what the picture was, and what might be in. tended by it. Now something like this the men of the most ancient times must have done ; for they cannot be supposed to be able to paint well enough to make draughts expressive of their meaning. They might invent and learn a rude character much sooner than they could acquire art enough to draw pictures ; and therefore it is most probable, that such a character was first invented and made use of. But, 3. Porplayry did not mean by the expression κοινολογεμενα κατα μιμησιν, that the characters he spoke of imitated the forms or figures of the things intended by them; for that was not the pikenors, which the ancient writers ascribed to letters. Socrates gives us the opinion of the ancients upon this point, namely, that letters were like the syllables of which words were compounded, and expressed an imitation ; for he uses that word (not

[ocr errors]

of the figure, or picture ; but) of the box or substance, power or meaning of the think designed by them."

Thus he makes letters no more the pictures of things ayrie 2 than the syllables of words are. The ancients were 18. Ne exceedingly philosophical in their accounts of both sigarette words and letters. When a word or a sound was zeného thought fully to express, according to their notions, etee the thing of which it was designed to be the name, ald ? then they called it the sixar or picture of that thing.

2. They apprehended that a word could not be compleatly a figura expressive, unless it was compounded of letters well figurine chosen to give it a sound suitable to the nature of the reader thing designed to be expressed by it; and when a

! word hit their fancy entirely in these respects, then mal dan they thought that the sound and letters of it expressed,

AT imitated, or resembled the true image of the thing it miche stood for. All this may be collected from several pas. the ta sages of Plato upon this subject," and in this sense we for the must take Porphyry's expression ; which will lead us Hal ont to think that the letters he treats of were the Egyptian wing! sacred letters, as I have formerly hinted from this very

much is

[ocr errors]

Η χ δια των συλλαβων τε και γραμματων την 8σιαν των πραγμάτων en ligne «Folija Bluevos--TUTO '' Esiv ovqlux. Plato in Cratylo, or in other

words he says, and wifex ovdaz6x1s xxı vyexpf1261 ovouz eso. Ibid.

* Ovxey o Meu amoodides wxvla xxnx TX ygXj%~-WOWEP SY TOX Suygazonuar im-XX. TAS EAXOYXS anodramoin 'O de nitogos.Osis naaipan 7fqu&TX, exovas Lusy agyage Tous xxi BTQ, was worng zs—woweg και Δικα, η ορις βελει αλλGαριθμος, εαν αδελης τι και προσθης,

Tigos xubus yeyour-Es ustaet xadas xeo IX. TO OVOX, Tx wgoo.

nxovla du avtw sypauưxta enerv See Plat. Cratyl. Edit. Ficini, the p. 295, 296, 297, &c.

See rol. i. book 4.

description of them. When language consisted of monosyllables only, a single stroke, dash or letter might be thought as expressive of a single sound, as various letters were afterwards thought of various and compounded words, or of polysyllables. And since the Hilnous or imitation, which the ancients ascribed to their letters, was an imitation relating to the expressing well the word they stood for, 'and not an imitation of the form or 'shape of the thing ; we err widely from their meaning, if we suppose that their letters had been pictures or hieroglyphics, because they ascribe such a mimesis to them.

V. It was customary in Egypt, in very ancient times, to call eminent and famous men by the names of their gods. This Diodorus Siculus informs us of; who, after his account of the celestial deities, adds, that they had men of great eminence, some of whom were kings of their country, and all of them benefactors to the public by their useful inventions. Some of these they called by the name of their celestial deities ;P in which number he reckons the persons called Sol, Saturnus, Rhea, Jupiter, Juno, Vulcanus, Vesta, Mercurius ; intimating indeed that these were not their Egyptian names, but only equivalent to them. The Egyptians in the beginning of their idolatry worshipped the sun and moon; and in a little time the elements, the vis vivifica of living creatures, the fire, air, earth and water. 9 Perhaps the wind might be the

» Diodor. lib. 1. p. 12.

See vol. i. book 4.
Diodor. Sic. lib. 1.

Station eighth deity; for they distinguished the wind and air,
ah < from one another, and took them to be two different
E WI things ;' and as the Assyrians called their kings and
VIRALgreat men, Bel, Nebo, Gad, Azar, after the names

desde of their gods, so did the Egyptians. Whilst they - M, worshipped only the dcities, they had only their names er, and titles with which to dignify illustrious men; but in 2.4" after-times, when the men, who were at first called by Fy face the names of their gods, came to be deilied, then the

names of these men were thought honorary titles, for Lite' those wbo lived after them. Thus, as Osiris was called

Sol, or Isis, Luna,' by those who had a desire to give ELITE them the most illustrious titles and appellations ; so or when Osiris and Isis were reputed deities, a later o posterity gave their names to famous men, who had erat lived later than they did. Thus the brother of Cnan

or Canaan; i, e. Mizraim, was called Osiris. I might online, add further : as the Assyrians called their kings some.

W times by the names of two or three of their gods put bulbs together, as Nabonassar, Nebuchadnezzar ;“ so the ise Egyptians many times gave one'and the same person

the names of several gods, according as the circumstances of their lives gave occasion. Thus Diodorus remarks," that the same person who was called Isis, was sometimes called Juno, sometimes Ceres, and sometimes Luna; and Osiris was at one time called Serapis, at another Dionysius, at another, Plato,

Wisdom, Chap. xiii. ver. 2. , Diodor. Sic. lib. 1.,
' Euscb. Præp. Evang. lib. 1. c. 10. p. 39.
Yol. i. book 5.

* Diodor, Sic. lib. 1. p. 12.

Ammon, Jupiter and Pan. Now as one and the same "person was sometimes called by different names ; so one and the same name was frequently given to many different persons, who lived in different ages. Osiris was not the name of one person only, but Mizraim was called by this name ; ' and so were divers kings who lived later than he did ; amongst the number of whom we may, I believe, insert Sesostris. But we may see the application of these ancient names abundantly in one particular name; which I chuse as an instance, because I have frequent occasion to mention it. The reader will find other names as variously given to dif. ferent persons in all parts of ancient history. Chronus was the name of the star called Saturn, and most probably some Antediluvian was first called by this name; afterwards the father of Belus, Canaan, Cush, and Mizraim, i.e. Moses' Ham the son of Noah, was called by this name.” The son of this Ham, the father of Taautus, i. e. Mizraim himself, was called Chronus." The father of Abraham was called Chronus, and Abraham himself was also thus called. I might observe the same of Belus, Bacchus, Pan, and of almost · every other name ; but abundance of instances will occur to every one who reads any of the ancient writers. i VI. The Egyptians, having first called their beroes by the names of their sidereal and elementary deities, added in time to the history of the life and actions of

[ocr errors]

y See vol, i. book 4. ? See vol. i. book 4. p. 176. • Ibid. See book 6. Euseb. præp. Evang. lib. 1 c.:10. • Ibid.

« PreviousContinue »