Progress op Egypto[.oqy.
able to assign to Egyptian its place among tlie languages of "Western Asia and of
Africa. At present we do well to let this great question alone. As in the
linguistic department of Egyptology, so is it in every other section of the subject.
The Egyptian religion seemed intelligibly and systematically rounded off when
each god was held to be the incarnation of some power of nature. Now we
comprehend that we had better reserve our verdict on this matter until we know
the facts and the history of the religion ; and how far we are from knowing them
is proved to us by every text. The texts are full of allusions to the deeds and
fortunes of the gods, but only a very small number of these allusions are
intelligible to us.
The time has gone by in which it was thought possible to furnish the
Chronology of Egyptian history, and in -which that history was supposed to be
known, because the succession of the most powerful kings had been ascertained.
To us the history of Egypt has become something altogether different. It com-
prises the history of her civilization, her art, and her administration; and we
rejoice in the prospect that one day it may be possible in that land to trace the
development of a nation throughout five thousand years by means of its own
monuments and records. But we also know that the realization of this dream
must be the work of many generations.
The so-called ' demotic ' texts, which lead us out of Ancient Egypt into the
Graeco-Roman period, were deciphered with the acumen of genius more than half
a century ago by Heinrich Brugsch. But to-day these also appear to us in a
new light as being full of unexpected difficulties and in apparent disagreement
with both the older and the later forms of the language. In this important
department we must not shrink from a revision of past work.
I will not further illustrate this theme; but the case is the same in every
branch of Egyptology. In each the day of rapid results is at an end, and the
monotonous time of special studies has begun.
Hence I would beg the Academy not to expect sensational discoveries from
their new associate. I can only offer what 'labor improbus' brings to light,
and that is small discoveries ; yet in process of time they will lead us to those
very ends which once seemed so nearly attainable to our predecessors."
From Mommsen's reply we quote the following:—
" Egyptian research has for many years been unrepresented in the Academy.
All of us, and especially those to whom Graeco-Roman research brings home the
importance of Egyptology, have ever lamented this, and now gladly seize the
opportunity of worthily supplying the place of Lepsius.
The historical development of Egypt is part of the general history of civiliza-
tion. If Egyptian culture seems strange to us who have grown up in the
study of the perfected Graeco-Roman: if Egyptian representations of divinities,
as compared with the works of Hellenic art, impress us somewhat as we are