Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest. James Henry Breasted

1906 The Biblical World  
It is now eighty-five years since Champollion first read the name of a native Pharaoh in hieroglyphic; his decipherments followed each other rapidly, and his work has gradually been perfected by succeeding generations of scholars. At the same time, the spade, the pencil, and recently the camera have been busy in unearthing and recording the inscriptions and sculptures of ancient Egypt. In the last century histories were at first written from the old materials furnished by Manetho and Herodotus,
more » ... with a few corrections, additions, or confirmations which the early decipherers were able to supply; gradually they became more and more independent of the Greek writers, and in I877 Brugsch wrote a substantial volume of Egyptian history (expanded by the English publisher into two fat volumes) which he could boast to be derived entirely from the monuments. It was followed by many others, the excellent works of Wiedemann and Petrie being catalogues raisonnees of kings and monuments, while those of Markus and Ed. Meyer were summaries of historical results. But with the increase of material the renderings of original documents admitted into the text of the histories became proportionately more and more scanty. Those who, having the run of a great library, took the trouble to refer to L. D. III I2 or Rec. de trav. VI 20, might or might not be rewarded for their pains according as they were or were not facile readers of Egyptian writing: translations of varying merit, like the original texts themselves, were scattered through hundreds of volumes of periodicals or memoirs. An attempt was made in the seventies to collect versions of the most important texts both of Egypt and of Mesopotamia for English readers in a series of volumes entitled Records of the Paxt. Useful as it was for the time, it did not go very far and was not repeated in any other country. The work of the last quarter of a century has been sufficient to render even the best of the old translations obsolete. 345 This content downloaded from 131.172.036.
doi:10.1086/473827 fatcat:elknksqm6fdvxgmleihv2vuylm