Petrie, William M. Flinders
A season in Egypt 1887 — London, 1887

Page: 6
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License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
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record is omnipotent against a man. When once
his name gets into the police office about any affair,
as plaintiff, defendant, or witness, he is liable to
squeezing for years to come. Whenever a police-
man wants a dollar, he may perhaps call out the
unlucky man, and tell him that he is wanted on
such and such a case, but if he will pay up, the
policeman cannot find him. Of course he pays, for
fear worse things should happen to him. While I
was at Dahshur, a policeman went from Kafr el Ayat
to Sakkara, where he had no authority; he then con-
spired with a guard, and called out twelve men on a
false charge, and drove them off some way toward
Kafr el Ayat, and then intimated that a dollar a
head—a week's wages there—would settle matters;
so they found twelve dollars, which were sweetly
divided between the policeman and the shekh of the
guard. Luckily this case came to the ears of the
European authorities, and I even heard that the
money was to be refunded. Probably the examina-
tion would cost the men more than their first loss.
As the Arabs say, when one remarks " Surely such
an one does not take bakhshish ?"—" Everything that
has a mouth will feed." Nothing but a long course
of stringent and incorruptible control will ever put
the country into order. A most quiet and inoffensive
man, brother of my overseers, had annoyed a slave-
dealer by refusing to let his house at Gizeh be used
as a cover for the trade; the caravans of slaves
usually descending from the desert near there, at
Abu Roash. When the dealer was caught, he falsely
accused my friend of being an accomplice, out of
revenge. So the poor fellow was seized and im-
prisoned for over two months, while his agriculture
was neglected, and he paid about twenty pounds to
various officials. At last the case came before an
honest Bey,—a Turk most likely,—and he asked if
the slaves had identified the accused. Some of the
slaves were fetched; they at once identified the dealer,
but said they had never seen my friend, nor another
man who had been similarly treated with him. So
the innocent got off at last, and live in dread of being
levied on in future. No doubt the poor peasantry
could appeal for justice to the European heads of
departments, if they knew how. But how can a man
obtain a fair hearing who cannot write, who dreads
above all things stirring the resentment of the police,
and who probably does not know whom to appeal to,
or how to find, or reach, the ruling power? He needs,
moreover, a course of education to believe that there
is, at any stage of government, such a thing as honest
justice to be found, though this is at last understood
by those who live near the cities.

A year ago I most reluctantly decided on giving
up the work which I had been carrying on for three
years before, and which seemed at the time to furnish
my only opportunity of excavating in Egypt. Since
then, to my surprise, private resources have been
placed at my disposal for the cost of excavations,
and I shall in the coming season be at work in
the Fayum. I hope next autumn to have an account
to give of the antiquities of that district.



7. Amid and behind the houses of Assuan, rise the
rounded granite rocks which have in past ages re-
sisted the wear of the Nile torrent, when the stream
was far stronger and higher than it ever is in these
days. On their grey and brown polished faces, every
visitor will have noticed figures and inscriptions;
some carved with fine regularity, some hammered
or bruised on the surface of the rock, so that they
show more by their lighter colour than by any depth
of cutting. These rock inscriptions are to be seen
not only about the present town, but also in a bay to
the south of it, on the rocks of Elephantine, and on
dozens of blocks all along the road from Assuan to
Philae, up the older bed of the Nile; they there reach
a profusion as they near Philae, and culminate on the
pile of vast towering masses of granite known as
Konosso, on which nearly all available places have
been occupied. Others are to be seen on the
opposite island of Bigeh; some rude ones on the
mainland east of Philae; and many are scattered on
the rocks along the side of the Nile, between the
three villages which lie south of Assuan. The cross
valleys between the river and the road also contain'
several others, and many are known on the island of
Sehel at the cataracts.

The purport of these inscriptions is very various.
There are several royal tablets, most of which have
been published by Lepsius in the Denkmaler, and
therefore have not been recopied. Many are of
private persons, dated in the reign of some king, or
naming their offices under him. But the greater part
of them are funeral stelae, stating that an offering is
made to some god or gods, generally those of the
district—Khnum, Sati, and Anket—for the ka, or soul,
of the deceased person, whose titles and family are
usually stated. These inscriptions are thus exactly
the same as the funeral stelae found in tombs else-
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