THE CHILDREN OF THE SUN - 4
This explains a certain similarity between Egypt and Babylon. The foreign element was not Semitic. They belonged,like the natives, to the hamitic stock; therefore they easily amalgamated with the aborigines, into whom they infused their more progressive and active spirit. The dawn of the Egyptian civilization is certainly a distinct proof of the important part played by Africa in the history of human culture."
The religious ideas of people often furnish us with more or less conclusive evidence as to their racial relations, and many writers today, who go no nearer to Egypt than the armchairs in the libraries, often try to prove that because certain things in the Egyptian system of religion resemble the systems of other nations that, therefore, the Egyptians must have been something another than African.
Yet even here they miss or deliberately overlook the greatest fact of all. The old idea of man having been created in the image of his Maker is made manifest in all systems of religious worship, and the gods are ever representative of their worshipers. Therefore when M. Maspero informs us in his inestimable work upon the Egyptian religion that Osiris, the supreme god of Egypt, was " beautiful of face, but with a dull, black complexion,"it is by no means improbable to conclude that his color is an index to the color of his worshippers.
If, then, the black skin was in any way despicable to the old Egyptians;if men of that color were known to them only as servants and slaves; if they themselves were white-skinned Libyans or yellow-skinned Seminites, it will be difficult to persuade a fair-minded people that the Egyptians would so far depart from the ideas and traditions of their race as to give Negro features and a black skin to the personification of the highest conception of the human-mind-that infinite and unfathomable power that rules omipotent to all men and gods, whose empire encompasses the earth and seas, the eternal stars and everlasting suns, and stretches to the uttermost confines of this mighty universe.
There may be many who, in spite of all that has been written, are not willing to accept what has gone before as conclusive. Men are fallible and religions questionable, and the statements of either or both may not prove absolute. But there are proofs greater than these, proofs wrought in wodden panels of the mythic period of Menes to the stone statues of the last dynasties eternal testimony is borne to the race whose labor brought them forth. Whether upon wood, limestone or granite, in the colossi cut in the flanks of the mighty sandstone hills, or in the minute images of its gods and kings carved in the stones of signet rings, the Negro features are forever apparent. Had this black been but a slave, why should his features be immortalized in enduring monuments by a nation in everlasting testimony to their unbounded pride and immeasurable glory?
And shall men ever tire of wondering at those monoliths that stand so silently beside the Nile? Will patience ever again rear pillars so vast as Karnac's, or love carve out such monstrous tombs in the quite of rocky hills? " Time mocks the world," says an Arab proverb, " but the Pyramids mock time." With that persistency that comes from pride they cut a thousand wonders from the granite of the upper Nile and from their love of repose that lay in a monumental calm they embodied their highest conception in that lonely figure which stands today the greatest and grandest monument ever chiseled by the hand of man.
Those who have gazed upon that silent face will forgive the vanity of the Little Corporal, who said, as he marshelled the armies of France beneath its gaze. " Forty centuries look down upon you!" They will forgive, too, the vanity of the powerful Masonic fraternity that chose it as a symbol of their highest degree. It is the Sphinx, of which Ebers said, "At the present day it has acquired a hideous Negro aspect chiefly from the loss of the nose." He might have gone further to explain that the Sphinx has always worn that Negro aspect and that it is the face of Horus, son off Osiris, the great black god of ancient Egypt.But the Ebers is the first I have ever known who calls the expression of that calm, quite, serene face "hideous." It may be that the sense of vision is misused by those who see in that Negro profile the contradiction of all their ethnic philosophy, but let it pass. Despite its appearance to so eminent a scholar, it nevertheless reigns today the very incarnation of African Genius.
Our own Mark Twain has paid the Sphinx this beautiful tribute; "After years of waiting it was before me at last. The great face was so sad, so earnest, so longing, so patient. There was a dignity not of earth in its mien and in its face a benignity such as never anything human wore. It was stone, but seemed sentient. If ever image of stone thought, it was thinking. It looked toward the verge of the landscape, yet looking at nothing-nothing but distance and vacancy. It was looking over and beyond everything of the present and far into the past. It was gazing out over the ocean of time-over lines of century waves, which, further and further receding, closed nearer and nearer together, and blended at last into one unbroken tide, away toward the horizion of antiquity.
It was thinking of wars of departed ages;of the empires it had seen created and destroyed; of the nations whose birth it had witnessed, whose annihilation it had noted; of the joy and sorrow, and the life and death, the grandeur and the decay, of five thousand slow revolving years. It was memory, retrospection, wrought into visible and tangible form. All who know what pathos there is in memories of the days that have departed, and the faces that have vanished-albeit only a trifling score of years gone by-will have some appreciation of the pathos that dwells in those grave eyes that look so steadfastly back upon the things they knew.
Before history was born, before Tradition had being, things that were and forms that moved in a vague era which even Poetry and Romance scarce knew of, passed one by one way, leaving the stony dreamer solitary in the midst of a strange, new age, and uncomprehended scenes. The sphinx is grand in its loneliness; it is imposing in its magnitude; it is impressive in the mystery that hangs over its story. And there is in the overshadowing majesty mystery that hangs over its story. And there is in the overshadowing majesty of this eternal figure of stone, with its accusing memory of the deeds of all ages, which reveals to one something of which he shall fell when he stands at last in the awful presence of God."
As flowers grow on a grave, so myths have sprung up around those solemn tombs. Osiris, the great, good god of Egypt, was slain by Typhon, a red-haired, white-faced, blue-eyed murderer. Typhon attempted to posssess himself on the throne and Isis, widow of the dead king:but Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, opposed him and drove him from Egypt. And because the people were fearful that their enemy might return Horus transformed himself into the Sphinx and kept watch for the coming of Typhon.
And who shall say the vigil has not been kept? For thousands of years Egypt dwelt happily in the Valley of the NIle, till her warrior crossed the emerald mountains with sword in hand, inviting luxury, decay and death, and thought these inevitable human consequences came, as they must always come, Horus, has never ceased his vigil. The stars which garnitured the heavens of Menes still look calmy down; the ghostly moon swims just above the palms; the sun which they worshipped and glorified shines on in unmindful splendor. And what if unbidden guests tread on holy ground?
What if the lion makes the tomb his midnight haunt? Egypt has lived and played her part in the human wonder drama. But I believe that the memory we have of her may hold one lesson among the many, and that is there have been and are great potentialities in the race which gave Egypt to the sum of human things. Perhaps that Hebrew sage was truly inspired when he told how in the days to come the children of Ethopia and Egypt should again stretch forth their hands and bring back their immortal race the glory which lies sleeping and forgotten.
Reference:The Children of The Sun- George Wells parker
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