Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

on what is advanced by Herodotus, that Osiris is the same as Dionysius in Greek: Οσιρις δε εστι Διονυσος κατΕλλαδα γλωσσαν. Among the many explications which the ancients have given of this name, the most conmmonly adopted is πολυοφθαλμος ; ΟΣ, according to Plutarch, signifying much, and IPI, an eye:- but this is scarcely admissible, at least from what we know of the ancient language of Egypt through the Coptic; for in that, though oudy signify much, yet eye is expressed by Bad. Hunce M. de Sacy offers his suspicion that Plutarch’s etymology is founded on a mixture of Phoenician and Egyptian; and the name of Osiris rather came from on, much, and 1787 be saw, as if this barbarous mixture formed caspe, who sees much. or it may be conjectured further that this name was formed from the two Egyptian words, ouy, much, and sops, the pupil of the eye. From the assurance of Plutarch, that the name of Osiris has many significations, but especially an eficacious and beneficent energy-τουνομα πολλα φραζει, ουχ ήκιστα δε κρατος ενεργουν και αγαθοποιον-Jablonski has sought its etymology on the two Coptic words, ow, much, and ipl, to act--a derivation which, of all the others, proposed by him, M. de Sacy most approves; but, adverting to that of Salmasius, who would pronounce the name Usiris, apprehending it to be the Coptic word yups son, preceded by the indefinite 0%, he recurs to Plutarch for another derivation, cited from a writer who pretends the true name of the God to have been Ago 2695, or, admitting what is styled a very probable correction, Apigis

, as signifying vigor, TO ANAPEION.

But as these several readings and etymologies all suppose a g in the last syllable, if the pronunciation be admitted which seems to result from the inscription, as deciphered by M. de Sacy, it may, he adds, be conjectured that Osnih or Osreh comes from ow, much, and ENE 8, an age; or from ocy, much, and Orwn, illumination. To facilitate the admission of these derivations, it is observed, that in the Coptic the vowels of derivatives very frequently vary from those of their radicals—a circumstance noticed the rather, as suggesting a more systematic form which might be introduced into the Lexicons of that language, by arranging words according to their radicals, as in those of the Hebrew,

Returning to his subject, M. de Sacy concludes that the name of Osiris, or Osinis, written in Egyptian ocynes, and pronounced odyse, or oyiniz, may signify abundance of life, or duration; or else, deriving it from Orwng, of which the primitive root is wrz, abundance of light. To favour the last etymology, the name of Heliopolis, in the books of Moses,

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

is urged, as apparently demonstrating that on, in the Egyp-
tian, signified the Sun; and St. Cyril is quoted as an autho-
rity of great weight, who asserts positively, in his commentary
on Hosea, that, according to the mythology of the Egyptians,
Apis is the son of the Moon, and descendant from the Sun.
In their language, ont signifies the Sun.' That in the Coptic
the Sun is commonly styled pH, and also that there is reason
to suppose this was his ancient name, M. de Sacy very readily
allows; but contends that he might have been as well designated
by the word OrWN, which signifies to manifest, show, ap-
pear, enlighten ; and further supposes that it is the true etymo-
logy of the name of Ammon, Vorwne, formed from el,
characterising the adjective, and orwr, he that manifests
or enlightens ; -and every thing that Jablonski has advanced
on this subject is referred to, as justifying the etymology
proposed.

Though M. de Sacy still professes to doubt, after all he has
offered on the name of Osiris, he cannot forbear adding another
argument, which appears to himself of considerable weight,
inasmuch as it almost justifies the substitutiom of cy-for e
in the name, and well accords with the interpretation given by
Plutarch of its signification. Ner, in Coptic, signifies to see;
and if the permutation of vowels be admitted, there would be
no difficulty in deriving the word Osinih from ouy, much, and
NT, to see; nor in rendering it by 7767.uopianos.

The same pronunciation will indicate, perhaps, the reason, as our author conjectures, of the signification to avögelov; for in the Chaldee, ouschan, ww, or ouschna, Xuy, and in the Syriac ouschno, Luoas, is of the same import. This word existed, M. de Sacy thinks, indisputably in the Phoenician, probably in the Egyptian, and might easily be regarded as the radical of Osinih.

In the discussions here offered upon the name of Osiris, several positions, occur, to which we cannot accede. Some of our objections may be anticipated from the preceding remarks ; but as this article unavoidabiy extends to a considerable length, and the subject of it will again come under notice, we are for the present obliged to postpone them.

The name of Egypt, after appearing in the Greek inscription, M. de Sacy sought for in the Egyptian, and could-scarcely suspect that he had not found it in XHULI, which is that given it by the Copts, which sometimes occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures, and was recognised in his time by St. Jerom; or else Misr, the ordinary name of Egypt among the Hebrews, Syrians, and other Orientals, with whom our author includes

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

des Whey

war

sal

the Phoenicians. Entertaining, however, some doubts as to the value of the letter he had taken for a resch, and having no reason to believe that Egypt had ever been called Misr by its own inhabitants, he was led from this last observation-joined to the presumption that the word should be read Misr, in the order of writing from right to left, and the form of most of the letters whose import he had determined-to another conjecture, which he here mentions for the sake of combating, as he had previously communicated it to some learned foreigners. Accordingly he states, that, recollecting in an ecclesiastical writer the mention of several cities in Lower Egypt which spoke Phænician, as this monumenť was found in that district, he conjectured that the inscription which he had termed Egyptian was perhaps really. Phænician. This was deemed not inconsistent with the decree which ordained, in the Greek, that it should be engraven in three kinds of characters—the sacred, 'IEPOIE, local, ErX PIOIE, and Greek, 'EAAENIKOIE; understanding by local the particular character of each province. But on reading St. Cyril more attentively, he was convinced that the language of Lower Egypt was not to be taken for Phænician; but only that in five cities in that district, of which Rhinocorura was one, the Phænician was spoken in's

concurrence with the Egyptian, and that more attention was paid to the former; the introduction of which into this part of Egypt St. Cyril attributes to a colony of Jews :- Ai Trgos TOSS Tegare της Αιγυπτε πολεις πρωτον παραδεχονται ΤΟ ΣΩΤΗΡΙΟΝ ΚΗΡΥΓ. ΜΑ' πεντε δε αυται ων δη και πρωτης είναι φαμεν την νυνι Ρινοκορουρητων, λαλεσι μεν και τη γλωσση ΧΑΝΑΝΙΤΙΔΙ. Εσπουδασται γαρ τοις εν ταυταις ταις πόλεσιν, ουχι της Αιγυπτιων φωνης μετατοιεισθαι τοσουτον, όσον της Συρων. The cities on the confines of Egypt first received the preaching of the Gospel. Five of these, of which Rhinocorura is first, speak also (that is, beside the Egyptian) the language of Chanaan : for the inhabitants of these cities are less solicitous in cultivating the Egyptian language than that of the Syrians.

Since nothing could be drawn from this passage by M. de Sacy to support his first conjectures, it followed of course that the character of the inscription was to be regarded as Egyptian, 2nd of the kind which Herodotus has styled δημοτικα γραμματα, popular, or vulgar, in contradistinction to the sacred, iega; as these, IEPOJE, are opposed to local, ETXAPIOIE. And having suggested that the order of the Egyptian inscription is from right to left, like the Hebrew, on the authority of the same historian, our author proceeds to point out the error of Wilkins, who, in his dissertation De Lingua Coptica, at the end of the Lord's Prayer by Chamberlayne (p. 85), regards this assertion of the father of history as one of the fables which Diodorus Siculus reproaches Herodotus with having too lightly adopted. It is also proper, he adds, to observe that the remark of Heros dotus applies equally to the two kinds of writing used by the Egyptians; for he almost immediately subjoins, Aifatiuiti da γραμμασι χρεωνται. Και τα μεν αυτων, IPA, τα δε, ΔΗΜΟΤΙΚΑ 44 REET &•--that the one is called the sacred, and the other the vulgar.

Clemens of Alexandria, in a passage that may be looked upon as classical, attributes to the Egyptialis three kinds of writing • Those among the Egyptians who are brought up to learnings acquire, in the first place, that mode of writing which is called epistolographic; next, the hieratic, which is used by the hierar grammatists; and, lastly, the most perfect, which is the biero glyphic.' If this account appear to differ from that of Hero. dotus and Diodorus Siculus, who speak only of two kinds, it is, as our author observes, easy to reconcile them; nor is it necessary, with Wilkins, to suppose that, under the name of epistolographic, Clemens is to be understood as speaking of the Greek character; for the two historians are better explained by the passage of the father to have intended, under the name of vulgar writing, in opposition to the sacred or hieroglyphic, the two kinds of hieratic and epistolographic. These two kinds, in reality, have this in common, that they were never regarded as sacred, and that the knowledge of them was never ranked among the mysteries of religion, though the one were of universal usage, and the other peculiar to the ministers of religion, It is likewise obvious to imagine that these denominations, belonging to an age posterior to Herodotus, were copied by Diodorus at a time when the knowledge of hieroglyphics was entirely lost; and imply that, at the epoch when hieroglyphic writing had sunk into disuse, the priests, accustomed to wrap up from the vulgar a knowledge of their mysteries, would adopt a mode of writing, whether alphabetic or syllabic, different from that used in ordinary life. Hence the name of hieratic might be given to distinguish it from the vulgar or runninghand, distinguished by the name of epistolographic.

The introduction of this half-sacred sort of writing, M. de Sacy conjectures, might have occasioned the total oblivion into which hieroglyphic writing fell, as being both more easy to learn, and more commodious to write.

• But no farther to indulge conjecture, it is concluded, from a passage of Plutarch, that the vulgar character of the Egyptians was composed of twenty-five letters; for that author observes, that the square of five gives the exact number of Egyptian letters, and years in the life of Apis. The inscription however under consideration gives more, probably, one while, because the same letter may have been formed of detached strokes ; at another, several letters may have been joined by the graver. To which be added :

'1. That, as there are capital letters and small, the number of their figures are doubled.

2. That there may be some supernumerary letters, foreign to the Egyptian and borrowed from the Greek, such as & in the name of Alexander, and perhaps the vowels ε and 77.

. 3. That many letters inay be supposed to have varied in their form, accordingly as they are joined or detached, initial or final : of this the Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic, abound with examples. 4. There

may

also be in it abbreviations or monograms. Of the letters which enter not into any word M. de Sacy has med. dled with, some occur that still appear to remain in the Coptic; these are the t, Dei, and the X, genga.'

After remarking that little or no similitude is discoverable between the characters of this inscription, and those on the mummies, published by Montfaucon and count Caylus, our author ventures to think, of the words he has endeavoured to decipher, no doubt will remain in respect to the names Alexander, Alexandria, Ptolemy, Arsinoë, and Epiphanes: and as these words in themselves supply a considerable number of letters, so they present another datum, which is, that the Egyptian inscription is by no means a literal translation of the Greek; for the names of Ptolemy and Arsincë are said to recur more often in the Egyptian than in the Greek; and the places where these two names are found in the inscriptions do not appear to correspond.

In attending also to the many epithets and titles of honour ascribed to Ptolemy Epiphanes, who is styled AINNOBIOE, ΗΓΑΠΗΜΕΝΟΣ ΥΠΟ ΤΟΥ ΦΘΑ, ΘΕΟΣ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΗΣ ΕΥΧΑPIETOS; and the different intervals of the space, in particular parts of the inscription, between the name of Ptolemy Epiphanes and those of his father and mother Ptolemy and Arsinoë; M. de Sacy is induced to believe that the Egyptian style is less emphatic than the Greek, and points out a passage to prove it. But, with proper deference, we would ask, If the anomalies thus noticed do not suggest a doubt, whether these names have after all been really ascertained?

Reverting again to the Greek inscription, several other proper names are pointed out besides those supposed to have been found in the Egyptian ; such are the names of the highpriest consecrated to the worship of Alexander and the Ptolemies, the priestesses presiding over the worship of the queens Arsinoë wife of Philadelphus, Arsinoë wife of Philopator, and Berenice wife' of Euergetes, which appear in the 4th and 5th lines :ΕΦ ΙΕΡΕΩΣ ΛΕΤΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΔΕ ΤΟΥ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΘΕΩΝ

« ElőzőTovább »