Birch, Samuel   [Hrsg.]
Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian antiquities at Alnwick Castle — London, 1880

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The sepulchral scarabasi deposited with the mummies are amulets of a very
remote antiquity, the chapter of the formula1 with which they are inscribed
being attributed to the earliest period, a period in some versions of the Ritual as
old as Ousaphais, the king of the 2nd dynasty, and by none later than Men-
cheres, of the 4th dynasty. They appear at the time' of the 13th dynasty, and
the earliest known is that of Sebakemsaf, a king of that line. Some chapters
of the Rituals order the formula to be engraved on a cylinder of hard stone,
but no example of this shape has been hitherto found. It appears that they
are chiefly found on mummies of the cemetery of Memphis from the 18th to
the 21st dynasty; some however of a later period, perhaps even as late as the
Ptolemies, have been discovered, but after the most flourishing period of the
Egyptian monarchy they gradually disappear and at last cease to be placed on
the mummies. Some few of this later time appear to have substituted figures of
Osiris and the goddesses Isis and Nephthys for the usual formula. Those of
the richest mummies and the oldest period are engraved, and as they are made
of hard stones such as green jasper, felspar, serpentine, basalt (and sometimes
of the softer soapstone or steaschist) : they are the most remarkable instances
of seal engraving on hard or soft stone. These scarabssi are of large size,
some being as long as three inches, and a few of them executed with great
beauty and finish, although the Egyptians experienced great difficulty in producing
fine engravings in hard material and never rivalled the beauty of Greek gem

1 Zeitschrift fiir agyptische Sprache, 1870, p. 30, 46, 73 and foil.
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