Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

The gangue

distinguished from other parts of the range, the vegetation on every part being equally luxuriant. About half way to the summit, we arrived at the residence of the superintendent, and having here obtained permission to enter the mines, were conducted to a house a few hundred yards below, and provided with suitable dresses. Here is one of the entrances, of which there are twelve in all: they informed us that salt is found in any part of the mountain where they take the trouble of digging for it. Our course after entering was along a narrow horizontal gallery, openings occurring at intervals, along which we heard the dashing of water: at our feet were also wooden pipes for water, with branches running off into the various lateral galleries. Having proceeded a quarter of a mile, we came to a halt just where some bare logs rose in a slanting direction, from a cavity whose depth we could not ascertain. A guide straddled this log, and directing me to do the same, and hold on by him, he raised his feet, and away we went, sliding, or rather darting down on the smooth log, and, excepting the glimmering light from our lantern, enveloped in total darkness. The guide kept himself upright, and holding fast to him, I presently found myself deposited in safety on a heap of soft earth, and turned to enjoy the equal astonishment and fright of my companions.

We were now at the bottom of a chamber of irregular shape, but averaging about one hundred and fifty feet in diameter, and from four to ten feet in height; the ceiling in some parts being supported by blocks of sulphate of lime, piled up in the form of rude columns. of the salt, if the word may be used, is composed chiefly of a clayey earth, mixed up with irregular blocks of sulphate of lime: the salt is mingled with these, usually in strata of from six inches to two feet in thickness, forming, however, every variety, shape and direction. It was generally of a reddish colour, and though mixed with impurities, very strong. The strata were very distinct on the ceiling of the chamber, which looked not unlike marbled paper, the salt itself presenting a great variety of colours, and its gangue scarcely a smaller number. The surface of the salt presented to us was rough and honey-combed.

We now for the first time learnt the mining-process, which certainly is very simple, and sufficiently economical. In the first place, a small chamber is formed by the pick-axe and shovel, and arrangements having been made by means of pipes for conducting water to and from it, the outlet is stopped up, and the chamber is filled with fresh water, of which the mountain-streams furnish them with abundance. In a few weeks the water in the chamber is saturated with salt; it is then let out, and conducted by aqueducts to Ebens-see, a distance of twelve miles, where, as I have already described, the water is evaporated artificially, and the salt is shipped for the store-house at Gmunden. When the chamber has become sufficiently dry, the workmen descend into it, clear it from the stones and dirt which have been loosened by the water and fallen from the ceiling, and the chamber is then ready for another flooding. The large chamber we were in, as the guides informed us, requires one month for the process of filling, fifteen days more for completing the saturation: it holds eighty thousand German Emers, is filled four times a year, and has been in use thirty years: one hundred lbs. of water

[ocr errors]

a

furnish twenty-six and three-fourths lbs of salt. There are thirty-four chambers in all, in which two hundred men are employed, working night and day, six hours at a time. They work four days in a week, and get forty-eight cents per week. When the chambers are approaching so as to threaten a breach from one into the other, the further encroachment of the water in that direction is prevented by a compound formed by the clay and pulverized rock, which is beaten against the wall so as to form an effectual barrier. At intervals, in the descent of the mountain, are three reservoirs, into which the water is successively discharged, I believe for the purpose of breaking the violence of the descent.

There is a chain of six or seven very beautiful lakes in this neighbourhood, two of which we visited after leaving Ischil, and on the 29th August stopped for a short rest at Salzburg. Our consul at Vienna had described in glowing terms the beautiful scenery at Berchtsgaden, a short day's journey to the south of Salzburg, and as it had also a salt-mountain, I determined to pay it a visit. There are also salt-mines at Hallein, south from Salzburg, which I did not examine, but which I was informed are worked, and are about as productive as those of Ischil.

Berchtsgaden is now comprehended in the kingdom of Bavaria. The royal family were there on a visit at this time: they had just been inspecting the mines, and I found many parts of the interior ornamented in a fanciful manner; the richest crystals of the salt and gypsum having been collected and disposed so as to form grottoes, devices, &c.: some of the former were large and perfectly transparent, but a deep red or brown is the prevailing colour. This mine appeared to me to be richer than that of Ischil. In some parts the salt forms regular solid strata, several feet in thickness, and so free from foreign matter as to be fit for use without any purifying process. In these places it is mined by the aid of gunpowder, and the guides, after placing us in secure places, allowed us to witness two or three explosions. Generally, however, the mine differs very

little from that of Ischil. We entered by a horizontal gallery, a quarter of a mile in length, and then came to branching galleries, along which pipes were conducted for filling the chambers with water, or emptying them. One hundred and ninety men are employed, and the yearly product, I was told, is eight thousand one hundred and thirtyfour tons.

a

[From SILLIMAN's Journal.]

ACCOUNT OF THE UNROLLING OF AN EGYPTIAN MUMMY, WITH INCIDENTAL NOTICES OF THE MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND RELIGION, OF

THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.

BY T. J. PETTIGREW, F.R.S., F.S.A., &c.

a

a

One of the Friday evenings so judiciously set apart by the managers of the ROYAL INSTITUTION for the communication of useful knowledge, has lately been devoted to the consideration of the mummies of the Ancient Egyptians, and a lecture upon this subject was delivered on the 27th of May, by Mr. Pettigrew, whose attention has been frequently directed to this interesting subject, and the result of whose researches have been submitted to the public*. The mummy unrolled upon this occasion was one purchased by Mr. P. at a late sale of Egyptian antiquities, consisting of the collection made by the late Mr. Salt, his Britannic Majesty's Consul in Egypt. The lecturer stated that he had availed himself of the opportunity afforded by the Royal Institution to display the mummy to the members and their numerous visitors, in obedience to the solicitations of several distinguished scholars and antiquarians, and had overcome his own scruples in appearing before his audience in a public character, believing, as he did, that such an effort might be found useful in exciting a spirit of inquiry into an object of interest connected with Egyptian antiquities, and calculated to prove advantageous in assisting to demonstrate the certainty of hieroglyphical research, which he regretted to say, notwithstanding the great advances made in the course of a few years, had not yet, in the minds of many, sufficiently established its claim to truth and authenticity, and was still treated as being almost wholly speculative and conjectural. Mr. P., therefore, felt peculiarly happy in the present opportunity of putting this subject to the test, in the presence of nearly all those + who have been in any way distinguished for their knowledge of hieroglyphical literature, and whose labours have tended so much to illustrate this curious branch of literary history; and to whom he was willing, on the present occasion, to submit the translation he had made of some of the principal passages depicted on the cases of the mummy, feeling satisfied with the decision of such competent judges; and deeming it of importance to show to those who may be sceptical on the matter, that when so many persons of known attainments can be brought together to agree as to the interpretation of the inscriptions, the basis upon which they are made must necessarily and obviously be founded in truth; and, therefore, likely to lead to important and correct results. With these preliminary observations, Mr. Pettigrew proceeded to consider the subject. He abstained from entering into any consideration of the etymology of the word Mummy, whether it was to be traced to the Arabic noun mum, signifying wax, or amomum, a kind of perfume, as Salmasius describes it; but stated that he should employ the

[ocr errors]

* History of Egyptian Mummies, and + Mr. Wilkinson, Mr. Burton, Dr. an Account of the Worship and Embalming Leemans, Lord Prudhoe, Rev. Mr. Tatof the Sacred Animals by the Egyptians, tam, Mr. Cullimore, &c. g.c. 4to. Longman and Co., 1834. VOL. II,

C

7

term on the present occasion as applying to the body embalmed, and not to the embalming ingredients.

Mummy, it is well known, was, during the sixteenth century, extensively used in medicine, and there were not wanting authorities of high character to vouch for its healing properties. Avicenna, Serapion, and others among the Arabian physicians, spoke loudly in its praise; and in more modern times Lord Bacon, Robert Boyle, and others, equally eulogized its virtues. Lord Bacon declares that “Mummy hath great force in staunching of blood; which, as it may be ascribed to the mixture of balmes that are glutinous, so it may also partake of a secret propriety, in that the blood draweth man's flesh*.” And Boyle says it “is one of the useful medicines commended and given by our physicians for falls, and bruises, and in other cases toot.” Its introduction is attributed to a Jewish physician named Elmagar, a native of Alexandria, who, it is said, was, as far back as the fourteenth century, in the habit of prescribing it to the Christians and to the Mahometans then in the East, contending for Palestine. The demand for it gave rise to the spurious manufacture of mummies, and the traffic ceased in consequence of the importunities of a Jew engaged in these practices at Damietta, who, anxious to convert a Christian slave to the Hebrew faith, proposed to him as an evidence of the sincerity of his conversion, to submit to the ancient rite of circumcision. To this the boy objected, and was subsequently ill-treated by his master, whom he therefore denounced to the pacha, by whom the Jew was thrown into prison, and fined in 300 sultanins of gold; this being readily paid, the governors of other provinces, Alexandria, Rosetta, &c., levied a ransom upon all engaged in the commerce of mummies, and the Jews, to avoid a new oppression, discontinued their trade. Thus did mummy cease to be an article of the Materia Medica, and not from any discovery of its inefficiency in the cure of disease, to prove which, however, the celebrated Ambrose Paré published a treatise.

The desire of immortality, Mr. P. observed, is most strongly rooted in the mind of man, and innumerable means have, in all ages, and under all circumstances, been devised to perpetuate his memory after death. In no part of the world does this principle appear to have acted so strongly as in Egypt; and its ancient inhabitants have not only built huge pyramids, and erected mighty temples and obelisks, covered with symbols, expressing, in hieroglyphical language, characters and events; but they have succeeded beyond all other ages and people, in preserving from decay the remains of their own fragile frames. The extraordinary perfection to which they carried the art of embalming the dead is, perhaps, alone to be accounted for by referring to their theology. Believing in the immortality of the soul, the ancient Egyptians conceived that they were retaining the soul within the body as long as the form of the body could be preserved entire, or were facilitating the reunion of it with the body at the day of resurrection, by preserving the body from corruption; and Herodotus says, “ The Egyptians are the first that laid down the principle of the immortality of the human soul; and that, when the body is dissolved, the soul enters into some other animal which is born at the same time; and that, after going the round of all the animals that

a

Sylva Sylvarum, Cent. X., 5. 980.

+ Boyle's Works, Vol. II. p. 451.

morem

inhabit the land, the waters, and the air, it again enters the body of a man which is then born. This circuit, they say, is performed by the soul in 3000 years *.

There is abundant testimony as to the antiquity of the practice of embalming; but the information possessed as to the period of its cessation is but scanty. We have, however, the evidence of St. Athanasius and St. Augustine upon the subject, and it is clear that it was practised as late as the early part of the fifth century. The practice is distinctly alluded to by these fathers of the Church, who tell us that the Egyptians exercised a process by which the bodies were rendered as durable as brass; and St. Augustine says, the Egyptians had a better idea of the resurrection of the body than any other people. “Egyptii soli credunt resurrectionem, quia diligenter curant cadavera mortuorum: enim habent siccare corpora et quasi ænea reddere, Gabbaras ea vocant +."

Among the ancient authors to whom we are indebted for accounts of the processes of embalming, must be enumerated Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Porphyry. Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus describe, with most precision, the several modes of embalming; but Mr. P. stated, that it was impossible to reconcile all the kinds he had even witnessed to the division laid down by these ancient authors. Still it must be confessed, that their authority is of the greatest importance, for there is no one circumstance mentioned by them as belonging to the process of embalming which is not to be found, though perhaps not precisely in the order in which it is described. The time devoted to a lecture is insufficient to dwell upon these particulars; it would merely permit the lecturer to state, that three principal modes I had been enumerated, and these he briefly referred to, in order that the kind which had been selected in the mummy, to be unrolled on this occasion, might be the more readily detected.

In the first, the most expensive, the brain was extracted through the nostrils by the aid of bronze crochets, and injections of bitumen were afterwards thrown into the skull. An incision was made into the left flank, from which the intestines were removed, then washed with palm wine, sprinkled with aromatics, and either returned into the body or placed in vases called Canopic. The body was then steeped in a solution of natrum for seventy days, at the expiration of which time it was washed, bandaged in cloths, and deposited in cases.

In the second mode, the brain was not extracted, no incision was made into the flank, but the intestines were withdrawn per anum; after which injections of oil of cedar and of natrum were thrown into the body, and it was steeped in natrum for the specified time. Little beside skin and bone remaining, they were given to their friends without any further operation. In the third mode the inside was washed with a liquor called surmaia (an infusion of senna and cassia), the body placed in natrum, and afterwards delivered to the friends.

Diodorus Siculus is particular in his relation respecting the funeral

Herodot. Hist, lib. ii. s. 123.

on this head, we must refer to Mr. Petti+ Sermones cxx. de Diversis, cap. 12. grew's History of Egyptian Mummies,

# To those of our readers who may be where the several parts of the different anxious for more particular information processes are minutely detailed.

« VorigeDoorgaan »