The Knowledge of the Ancient Egyptians
( Originally Published early 20th century )
Recent researches have proved that many of the inventions which we call modern were well known to the ancient Egyptians. They built railroads; they tipped buildings with lightning rods; in building their pyramids and temples they handled great masses of stone that no modern engineer would know how to handle; they made glass of rainbow hues ; they built arches with precision unsurpassed at the present day; they painted frescoes in colors that have lasted; they built pyramids and temples that have defied time.
They excelled in all the arts. They made paper so excellent in quality that it exists today. The art of making fine linen and other fabrics was well known to them. Joseph was presented by Pharaoh with a vesture of fine linen, a gold chain, and other beautiful things. The linen was dyed in brilliant and gorgeous colors, the secret of which is now among the lost arts. On ancient Egyptian mummies we often find the most beautiful embroidery and bead work. Their jewelry of gold, silver, and precious stones was wonderfully wrought.
The Egyptians were proficient in all mathematical sciences. They measured land ; they divided time and knew the true length of the year. They recorded the rising and setting of the stars, and they engraved these observations on their monuments, a record dating back many thousands of years. The entrance to the Great Pyramid points to the North Star, and there is no doubt that even when that famous tomb was built, there were those who understood the pre-cession of the equinoxes and the zodiac.
A great unknown past, tens of centuries at least, must lie behind the Egypt that created Memphis and the pyramids. A famous archaeologist has recently said: " Egypt is far from being exhausted. Its soil contains enough to occupy twenty centuries of workers, for what has come to light is comparatively nothing."
There are mysteries and mysteries concerning ancient Egypt that may yet be unveiled. The answer to many a problem of life lies back of the inscrutable smile of the stony sphinx.
precession of the equinoxes (e'kwi nox ez): a difficult subject for those ignorant of modern science. It has to do with the change in direction of the earth's axis, which causes a slow, backward movement of the points at which the sun is said to " cross the equator."—zodiac (zo'di ak): a broad imaginary belt in the heavens, including the paths of the moon and the principal planets, and having the sun's path in the center. The zodiac has twelve divisions, or signs, formerly marked by constellations bearing the same names. Owing to the precession of the equinoxes the signs and the constellations no longer correspond. — archaeologist (hr ke Olo jist): one who has studied the art, architecture, customs, and beliefs of ancient peoples, as shown in their monuments, inscriptions, etc.