This little book is intended to serve as an elementary introduction to the study of Egyptian Literature. Its object is to present a short series of specimens of Egyptian compositions, which represent all the great periods of literary activity in Egypt under the Pharaohs, to all who are interested in the study of the mental development of ancient nations. It is not addressed to the Egyptological specialist, to whom, as a matter of course, its contents are well known, and therefore its pages are not loaded with elaborate notes and copious references. It represents, I believe, the first attempt made to place before the public a summary of the principal contents of Egyptian Literature in a handy and popular form.
s (Bohn's edition, vol. iii. p. 189) that Nile water, which, when in a muddy state, has the peculiar qualities of glue, was used in fastening the two layers of strips together, but traces of gum have actually been found on papyri. The sheets were next pressed and then dried in the sun, and when rubbed with a hard polisher in order to remove roughnesses, were ready for use. By adding sheet to sheet, rolls of papyrus of almost any length could be made. The longest roll in the British Museum is 133 feet long by 16-1/2 inches high (Harris Papyrus, No. 1), and the second in length is a copy of the Book of the Dead, which is 123 feet long and 18-1/2 inches high; the latter contains 2666 lines of writing arranged in 172 columns. The rolls on which ordinary compositions were written were much shorter and not so high, for they are rarely more than 20 feet long, and are only from 8 to 10 inches in height.
[Illustration: Thoth and Amen-Ra Succouring Isis in the Papyrus Swamps.]
The scribe mixed on his p