4. Period of Assyrian Contact
but returned home without reducing Jerusalem. In 688 B.C. Taharka ( Tn'hakah, king of Ethiopia ) suc- ceeded to the throne. Against him an expedition was led by Esarhaddon in 674, and in the following year a battle was fought that resulted unfavorably to the Assyrian. Again in 670 he returned, and after having reduced Tyre, he conquered Egypt and received the allegiance of many petty princes, among whom Necho of Sais was one. But the withdrawal of Esarhaddon was the signal for the return of Taharka from Ethiopia whither he had fled. Aashurbanipal renewed the expedition and proceeded up the Nile, possibly to Thebes. After his departure a conspiracy arose in the Delta, for the restoration of Taha,rka, and it was headed by Necho of Sais. When it was suppressed, Necho was sent in chains to Assyria, but later he was pardoned and sent back as viceroy. Tanutamen, son of Shabaka and nephew of Taharka, tried to regain Egypt, and even took possession of Memphis. Again Aeshurbanipal marched against Egypt and proceeded to Thebes , which he sacked and destroyed (Nahum iii. 8-10), and finally ended the Ethiopian domination (661 B.C.). Psammetichua L, a son of Necho of Sais, was made king by Aeshurbanipal, but after some years, and in consequence of the growing conflict between Babylonia and Assyria, he succeeded in making Egypt quite independent. During his reign there was a revived of the ancient models in all the relations and customs of . the land. Necho, his son, in 609, invaded Palestine in an attempt to extend his kingdom to its ancient northern boundary. In 608 he conquered and killed Josiah at Megiddo (II Kings xxiii. 29), and took possession of the country as far as the Euphrates.

6. Baby- lonian and Later Periods.

After the fall of Assyria the Babylonian conqueror in the person of Nebuchadrezzar threatened Egyp- tian supremacy in Syria, and in 605 de= feated Necho at Carchemish (Jer. xlvi. 1-12). After pursuing Necho to Egypt he made a compact with him by which all of Egypt's Asiatic pretensions were to be abandoned (II Kings xxiv. 7). Necho and his eon, Psammetichus II., devoted them- selves to the development ' of Egypt and to the imitation of ancient models in art and literature. Apries (Hophra, 588 B.C.) instigated a confederation of the petty kings of Western Asia, which un dertook to throw off the Babylonian yoke, but unsuccessfully. Nebuchadrezzar took Jerusalem in 586 B.C., and again in 568 he marched to the Delta as had been foretold by the fugitive Jeremiah (xliii. 8-13). The details of the expedition, how ever, are unknown. But the country was strong enough to resist the Babylonian forces successfully. In fact the government was so well established that it became a dominant power on the Medi terranean, with varying fortunes till the Persian conquest under Cambyses in 525 B.C. The period from 404 to 342 B.C. saw native rulers again; the Persians returned and ruled till the conquest of Alexapder the Great in 332 B.C. This began the Ptolemaic period which lasted till the Roman period beginning in 30 B.C.

8. Religion: The Egyptian religion is a large matter and the subject of much debate. It has been contended by some that it had a monotheistic basis, and by others that it was merely a form of totemiam. The original deity seems to have been a local god, its bounds being prescribed by the village, town, city or nomos (county). Such deity was the special patron of the particular place, and to it appeal was made by those of the town. Each such deity took an animal form in which it was supposed to exercise its inherent i. General powers. Each locality was believed

Features. to be inhabited by a multitude of in ferior spirits, and these spirits were subject to a higher divinity. With the growth of a town or with a change in the capital, a change was made in the dignity of the particular deity under whose protection the city stood. But the moat peculiar feature of the Egyptian religion was its syncretism. It seems to have been easy to merge one deity into another, and to attribute the powers assigned to one to another similar being. It is a frequent phenomenon that contradictory quali ties are alleged of the same deity in different periods of the history, later attributes being added without the elimination of the earlier. Resulting contra dictions seem not to have been noticed. There was evident also a gradual tendency to a simplifi cation by the merging of many into fewer types,. as in the case of the sun-god, with whom in the course of centuries a large number of deities who had acquired a more than local significance became identified. Nearly every god in the pantheon had certain distinguishing characteristics which were conventionally denoted by peculiarities of pose, of dress, of head, of ornament or other feature. Up raised arms and kneeling attitude were charac teristic of the god of heaven, Shu; the youthful Horus was a child with a curled side-lock and a forefinger at lip. Bea was a dwarf with a large feather head-dress; Osiris had a royal crown flanked by feather plumes; Anubis had the head of the jackal and Horus the head of a hawk; Hathor was a woman with the ears of a calf, and Sebek had the head of a crocodile. About each one of a multitude of such forms there moat have been a rich myth-


ology. The story of Osiris, Isis, and Horus has been preserved after a fashion by Plutarch, but the great mesa of the myths has perished. A few, such as the story of the destruction of mankind, have been preserved, but for the most part all that remains is a collection of references to characteristics in the nomenclature of the various gods. But the stories and beliefs on which these appellations rest have disappeared.


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