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XXI

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THE LATE PERIOD TO ROMAN PERIOD SCARABS

W. M. Flinders Petrie. Scarabs and cylinders with names: illustrated by the Egyptian collection in University College, London (London, 1917)

View Scarabs and Cylinders PDF Online

CHAPTER IX ETHIOPIANS AND SAITES

63. Early XXIVth dynasty

64. Vassal kings

65. Later XXVth dynasty

66. Rise of the Saites

67. The XXVIth dynasty

68. The Persian age

69. Close of the scarab

70. Greeks and Romans

71. Late private scarabs and seals


(PLATES LI-LVIII)

63. Early XXIVth dynasty

The earliest piece that we can attribute to the Ethiopian kings is the part of a statuette of Pankhy (25-1). The form of the cartouche is more like that of Pankhy than like any earlier User-maot-ra king; and the blue-grey stone ware is quite unlike anything of the xxiiird dynasty, but to all appearances of the xxvith dynasty or later. Of Kashta there are some scarabs of pottery, all alike, with the name of Amenardas (25-2-1). No throne name was known for Kashta, but at this period there are scarabs with the name Ra-nefer-nub (25-2-2, 3). By his titles on these he was king of Upper and Lower Egypt; the ram-head of the scarab is of the Ethiopian dynasty. The work during that dynasty shows continuous decline; and the work of this scarab is better than that of Shabaka, and therefore presumably of one of his predecessors. These facts make it probable that Nefer-nub-ra was the throne name of Kashta.

Pl. lii. Of Amenardas, scarabs are very rare; the pieces here "are a foundation plaque, an uzat eye, and part of an inlay of lazuh. Shabaka adopted the familiar cartouche of Neferkara, and formerly many of his objects were wrongly attributed to the earlier kings of that name. On the contrary, some scarabs are at present attributed to Shabaka which may belong to earlier kings (BMC Scarabs 2486); so far as I have seen Shabaka, Shabataka, and later kings, do not use the ha sign with loops for hands, and this may serve to discriminate the earlier objects.

The fresh style coming in with the Ethiopians is very marked. The work is much better than anything since Sety I or Ramessu II. The scarab frequently has a ram's head (25-3-19; 25-5-4) or the ram on the back (25-3-3). Another feature is the kingly sphinx holding a hes vase (25-3-1, 19; 25-5-4, 4). The large coarse beads of glazed pottery are an innovation (25-3-15, 16; 25-4-5, 6). Little cartouches of glazed pottery are frequent (25-3-8 to 25-3-13).

64. Vassal kings

We now reach the age of vassal kings, which continued to the dodecarchy. From the records of Pankhy and Esarhaddon, we see how numerous were the petty chiefs, eighteen or twenty, and the tale of the breast-plate names twenty-three chiefs. Several of these can be identified on scarabs; and these lists can by no means sum up every chief who ruled during sixty years of such divisions. It is therefore only natural to find many personages named on scarabs and small objects, who have not been embalmed in history.

Menkara appears to have been a vassal of Shabaka; on the cylinder (25-3-20) we read Ra-men-ka along with Ra-nefer-ka (Shabaka). On 25-3-22, 23, 24, he calls himself the Horus Menkara, not taking the nesut bat or sa ra titles of a king. He honours Bastet (23, 24), and was therefore probably a ruler of Bubastis. There are many of this ruler in the British Museum (BMC Scarabs 27-32, 34-42, all of the same style).

A son of this later Menkara, or Menkaura, is named in a piece of a late Book of the Dead in the Parma Museum. This was written for the "scribe of the divine offerings Zesef-em-haa, son of the nesut deshert Ra-men-kau." This form of the royal title shows that he was a Delta king, and there can be no question left as to this late recurrence of the name. The group of late re-issues of early kings found at Saqqara (Quibell, Excavations at Saqqara, 1905-6, p. 31, pi. xxxvii) of which the sketches are here given, show the style of late issues. They are entirely different to the contemporary issues of those kings.

65. Later XXVth dynasty

To Pankhy II a scarab in the British Museum is assigned; another is in Cairo (sketched here), which has been hitherto overlooked. Associated with his son Taharqa, as regent of Egypt, his name is on a scarab in the Ward Collection; and associated with his daughter Shepenapt, on a scarab at Munich (Frazer, 363).

Taharqa is fairly common, and nearly half of all the examples are here. They are coarser than the work of his predecessors. The later Ethiopian Asperuta, who reigned during the earlier half of the xxvith dynasty, is placed here at the close of the Ethiopian series. His name is only known on stone inscriptions, beside this pendant.

Pl. liii.  Of all the vassal chiefs Men-her-ra has left most remains; but he always took a subordinate place in relation to Men-kheper-ra Khmeny. The latter king is well authenticated by the stele of him and his daughter (Student's History, iii, 293); and the indications point to his having ruled in Upper Egypt, probably at Hermopolis. Thus the way would be clear for Men-her-ra to be a Delta vassal, and both of them to be under the overlordship of the Ethiopians. (For Men-her-ra in British Museum, see BMC Scarabs 1418, 1419, 1421; for Men-kheper-ra, BMC Scarabs 1420, 1422, 1423). There is a very curious expression on 25 C, 22, 23, " Thou becomest with a cartouche," suggesting that he was then aspiring to take a cartouche like a full king; and on his other scarabs the name is in a cartouche. He appears with full royal titles on a plaque of this age in the British Museum (BMC Scarabs 1484). Men-ab-ra was another of these vassal kings of this period.

PI. liv. Several other obscure names appear, which may perhaps be some day put in their true place and connection. The historical link is reestablished in Baknerenf, of whom two objects are given here (24-2-1, 2), and one in the British Museum (BMC Scarabs 233).

66. Rise of the Saites

Nekau I, the father of Psemthek I, has hitherto been very obscure. His remains are cleared up by the statuette of Horus, dedicated by "the king Ra-men-kheper, son of Ra, Nekau, the Horus, given life by Neit lady of Sais." This Men-kheper-ra name of Nekau I is confirmed by a scarab in the British Museum, with the conjoined cartouches (BMC Scarabs 2529, see also BMC Scarabs 1484). A scarab with Men-kheper-ra and the Theban ram of this age (25-5-2) is probably of this king, but may be of Menkheperra Khmeny. Another scarab (25-5-3) is very interesting; it is headed by the sun and lion which belong to Psemthek I, and then has Psemthek as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, kneeling and adoring the name of his father Men-kheper-ra Nekau.

Pl. lv. Psemthek appears to have taken the Ra and lion as his badge, as it here heads a large scarab bearing his falcon name and personal name (26-1-1). The allusion of the lion seems to be to the origin of his name " the lion's son," the word zani or than for a lion occurring in both Upper and Lower Egypt (see De Rouge, Geog. 99), and in Libyan izem. On 26-1-2 the lion is accompanied with Psent or Pthcm ; and the other Ra and lion scarabs (3 to 10) are all of this period. The sphinx and hes vase of the Ethiopians was continued on 26-1 -17. There is a very unusual scarab of massive silver (No. 45) with the names and titles of Psemthek and his Theban consort Shepenapt. There seems to have been a vassal ruler named Kheper -maot-ra, of whom three amulets are here ; one, with the cartouche of Psemthek on the reverse, dates the group.

67. The XXVIth dynasty

Pl. lvi. The objects of Nekau II are not common, the majority of those known being here. The fine scarab 26-2-1 is the best work known after the xixth dynasty. The menat with a private dedication on the back (26-2-4) is extremely unusual, if not unique. The scarabs of Psemthek II are rather common, and they seem to have been made by Greeks for trading purposes. The scarabs of Men-ab-ra (pl. liii) must not be confounded with these, as is done in some collections.

The scarab of Onkh-nes-ra-nefer-ab is rather suspicious in the colour and appearance; but a forger might have more exactly copied the cartouche, which is here bungled. The bronze stamp (26-3-10) is unquestionable, as also the sealing of her minister Sheshenq. No other small objects of this queen are known. Apries (Hoo-ab-ra, Hophra) having the same throne name as Psemthek I, it is very likely that some of the scarabs with that name belong to the later king, especially those made at Naukratis. Against this is to be set the absence of any scarabs with his personal name, and the large number with the name Psemthek.

Under Aohmes II appears the last signet cylinder of Egypt, 26-5-3. His scarabs are very rare, and foundation plaques, menats, and sealings are the usual objects. Of Psemthek III no objects are known, except the scarab 26-6; this appears to give his name, Onkh-ka-ne-ra, abbreviated as Onkh-ne-ra.

68. The Persian age

Pl. lvii. Rare as scarabs became under the xxvith dynasty, they disappear entirely under the Persians, and only menats and seals are known. This is an evidence of the essentially religious character still attached to the scarab amulet; for were it only a seal, it would be as likely to be made under the Persians or Ptolemies as under the Saites or Mendesian kings. The sling bullet of Khabbash, 28-1, is the only object of this king. One scarab appears under Naifourud (29-1); this is not likely to be of Merneptah, as the earlier king always uses the figure of Ra and not only the sign, and he never follows the natural order by placing the Ba first. The work is delicate, but has none of the virility of the xixth dynasty. Of Haker only one object is known, the sealing here.

69. Close of the scarab

A few scarabs of the xxxth dynasty are known. By the evidence of building at Khargeh Nekht-neb-f preceded Nekht-her-heb, and is therefore so placed here. The scarab 30-1-1 is certainly very late, by the uraei proceeding from the sides of the kheper, and cannot be of the xiith dynasty. Zeher is only known, in small objects, by the piece of a splendid blue bowl, found in the palace at Memphis (30-2). Nekht-her-heb is only represented by seals and foundation deposits, and no scarabs are known.

Of the second Persian rule there are no remains, large or small, except the jar lid here, with a rude cartouche of Arsess, the Arses of Greek history. The colour and style of this glazed pottery is between that of the xxxth and Ptolemaic periods, exactly what would be expected of the xxxist dynasty.

70. Greeks and Romans

Alexander's conquest is represented by a single bronze stamp in the British Museum. The onyx here ascribed to Ptolemy I is certainly of Greek period; it represents an Egyptian king in native head-dress, and the full jaw and straight nose well accord with the coins of Ptolemy Soter in his earlier days. As it is much less likely that later Ptolemies would appear in Egyptian style, this may be ascribed to Soter. Of Ptolemy III there are two well-made foundation plaques; the second has on the reverse the same cartouche as the first. A stout seal of bronze, formerly gilt, bears a bearded head of a king, closely like Ptolemy IV, and no other attribution seems possible. Of later Ptolemies, the British Museum has stamps and foundation deposits of Ptolemy VII and Ptolemy XIII.

The Roman period has left no objects with emperors' names except the large white marble scarab in Paris, with the wings inscribed for Antoninus; and the gold ring shown here, with an impression, probably the official signet of the prefect of Egypt. The prefect was usually a knightthe lowest class that might legally use a gold ringso for official purposes of a royal signet, gold would be restricted to the use of the prefect.

71. Late private scarabs and seals

The private scarabs and seals which belong to the xxvith to xxxth dynasties are placed at the end. Three are of vizieis; the vizier Khet (30 C) is unknown otherwise; the scarab is of soft brown steatite, and the style of it suggests the xxvth dynasty. It can hardly be earlier, from the agate beads found with it, when the tomb at Abusir was robbed by natives in 1904. Her-sa-ast (30 D) has a variant title mer nuti (in place of nut) which is very unusual. But he may well be the prophet of Amen, mer nut, vizier, Her-sa-ast, whose coffin is at Cairo; from his genealogy he was about the xxist, and certainly before the xxvith dynasty. Tehuti (30 E) might possibly be the vizier Tehuti-em-nefa-baka; he lived under Ptolemy Soter, as his grandfather was named Nekht-her-heb. This amulet with the baboon does not however seem to be nearly as late as that, and might even go back to the xixth dynasty.

The scarabs with private names are placed in alphabetic order; and after them are the seals and impressions, likewise. They belong to the official world of the latest dynasties. The only peculiar title is "servant of Neit at the stele" (a.d.), and "the stele of the water" (b.r.).

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