Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

SKETCH XII.

EMBLEMS MENTIONED BY PIGNORIUS, EXPLAINED.

KIRCHER, from a number of testimonics

drawn from old Hebrew and Arabic authors, endeavours to prove that Thoth was the first inventor of hieroglyphic, as well as other writings, that his firft attempts were engraved upon ftones. Jamblicus de Myfteriis pofitively afferts that the first Mercury was the inventor of hieroglyphics; and that pofterity learned them from columns inscribed with thefe characters. Juftin Martyr (but from what authority it is not known) fays, that Mofes held the ftudy of hieroglyphics in fuch estimation as to prefer it to mathematics, It would take up much time to relate all that has been said on this subject, without making the

the reader wifer for his trouble. Let us then, claim the privilege of reafon without being baffled by vague teftimonies, and try upon what grounds we can proceed with propriety, This we know, for in this all are agreed, that what is called hieroglyphics were once the common mode of writing in Egypt; and what we can conjecture is principally drawn from the monuments of antiquity, which ftill remain amongst us.

The learning which the author of the divine legation difplays on this subject, is fpoiled by his positive attachment to his own opinion, in many inftances fingular: His remarks on Shuckford, where he speaks of the Bembine Tables, are an inftance of this. The religious doctrine of the metempfychofis, which taught them to believe that those very heroes and perfons who had been deified after their death, on account of the benefits which they rendered to mankind, either by their courage, their wifdom, or benevolence, paffed into various living creatures; this very doctrine, I fay, would have also taught them to pay those deities, their adoration, or respect, in that shape wherein they were suppofed to exift; therefore amongst the Egyptians, the worship of brutes must have preceded

ceded that of the human form. In fact, we have monuments of great antiquity which do confirm this idea: Ifis, Ofiris, Orus, &c, are not, properly fpeaking, worshipped as human figures; the human form which they affume being variable, and expreffive only of them according to the different virtues affigned them,

But it is not my business here to enlarge on this fubject, as I defign only to attempt an explanation of fome of those emblematic figures which are given us by Pignorius at the end of his explanation of the Ifiac tables, which have never been yet fatisfactorily il luftrated, not even by Kircher. I fhall then only premise that those philosophers who first introduced the Egyptian literature into Greece, were very tenacious of emblematic representations; they engraved the Egyptian hieroglyphics on their coins and medals, on fome they are exact copies, on others mixed, and modelled to express hiftoric and other facts. Examples of this kind we find before us in Fig. 1. Plate. 3.

Ifis, in the character of Harpocrates, is reprefented as fitting on a lotus, which was always esteemned facred to the fun; all around is a blank, the back of the deity is only to be

[ocr errors]
[subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »