Egypt Exploration Fund [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1898-1899

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Progress op Egyptology.

Mr. Milne, in his book mentioned below, lias published seventeen Greek
inscriptions from Egypt, now in the G-izeh Museum, most of which have
not hitherto been printed ; and this closes the scanty list of new texts
which, within my knowledge, have been published during the past year.

Passing, however, to work based, in greater or less degree, on texts
previously published, some books fall to be noticed. Two of these are
volumes in the History of Egypt which is in course of preparation under
the direction of Professor Petrie, and of which two volumes by Petrie him-
self have appeared in previous years, dealing with the history of the Old
and Middle Kingdoms. The new volumes deal with Ptolemaic and Boman
Egypt, and are by Professor J. P. Mahaffy3 and Mr. J. Gr. Millie.3
respectively. In both cases the main outlines of the history have to be
derived from literary sources, often very inadequate ; but in both supple-
mentary details have been supplied to a great extent by recent discoveries
of papyri. The Petrie papyri, the Serapeum papyri, and the papyri
from the neighbourhood of Thebes, published by Grenfell and Hunt,
furnish Mr. Mahaffy with valuable materials for his work; while the great
finds of Socnopaei Nesus and the other villages of the Eaiyum do a similar
service to Mr. Milne. But with this community of materials, the use made
of them by the two authors is very different. Mr. Mahaffy indeed appears
to throwr overboard the principle enunciated in the general editor's original
preface, that " every fact and every object should have at least one
authority stated for it, except where it rests on the author's personal
observation"; while Mr. Milne adheres rigidly to it, the references with which
his pages are peppered attaining the noble total of 577. The result of this
divergence, and of the difference of spirit and method implied in it, is that,
while Mr. Mahaffy's volume is perhaps the more readable (though readable-
ness is hardly a goal attainable by a historian of the Ptolemies), Mr. Milne's
is the more useful to the student. Mr. Mahaffy is largely occupied with
the fortunes of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the characters and complicated
matrimonial relationships of the several sovereigns, while he nowhere gives
any detailed and comprehensive survey of the administrative and economical
organization of the country. Indeed he frankly abandons it as impossible
(p. 93); but this is surely to overlook the success of Lumbroso, and
since the appearance of that admirable work the available materials have
been increased by the great discoveries of the last ten years. No doubt
many difficulties and obscurities remain; but this is equally the case with
every part of the history of the Ptolemies, and would only provide the
greater scope for Mr. Mahaffy's ingenuity, boldness, and resource. In any
case, a collection and sifting of the existing materials could not fail to be
loading ...