isis unveiled: chapter xiv (ancient mysteries)

“It is to Champollion that we owe the first interpretation of their weird writing; and, but for his life-long labor, we would till now remain uninformed as to the meaning of all these pictured letters, and the ancients would still be considered ignorant by the moderns whom they so greatly excelled in some arts and sciences.

“He was the first to find out what wondrous tale the Egyptians had to tell, for one who could read their endless manuscripts and records. They left them on every spot and object capable of receiving characters. …They engraved, and chiseled, and sculptured them on monuments; they traced them on furniture, rocks, stones, walls, coffins, and tombs, as on the papyrus. …The pictures of their daily lives, in their smallest details, are being now unraveled before our dazzled eyes in the most wondrous way. …Nothing, of what we know, seems to have been overlooked by the ancient Egyptians. …The history of ‘Sesostris’ shows us how well he and his people were versed in the art and practice of war. …The pictures show how formidable they were when encountered in battle. They constructed war-engines. …Horner says that through each of the 100 gates of Thebes issued 200 men with horses and chariots; the latter were magnificently constructed, and very light in comparison with our modern heavy, clumsy, and uncomfortable artillery wagons.”

Kenrick describes them in the following terms: “In short, as all the essential principles which regulate the construction and draught of carriages are exemplified in the war-chariots of the Pharaohs, so there is nothing which modern taste and luxury have devised for their decoration to which we do not find a prototype in the monuments of the eighteenth dynasty.”

Springs, metallic springs, have been found in them, and, notwithstanding Wilkinson’s superficial investigation in that direction, and description of these in his studies, we find proofs that such were used to prevent the jolting in the chariots in their too rapid course. The bas-reliefs show us certain melees and battles in which we can find and trace their uses and customs to the smallest details. The heavily-armed men fought in coats of mail, the infantry had quilted tunics and felt helmets, with metallic coverings to protect them the better.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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