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Many of the sacred festivals of the Egyptians were connected with agriculture; but these I have already introduced among their religious ceremonies. The gardeners have also been noticed, in mentioning the villas of the Egyptians.*
The huntsmen formed another subdivision of this class.
They were employed in great numbers to attend and assist the amateur sportsmen, during their excursions in pursuit of the wild animals of the country; the scenes of which were chiefly in the deserts of Upper Egypt. They conducted the dogs to the field; they had the management of them in loosing them for the chase, and they secured and brought home the game, after having contributed by their own skill to increase the sport of the chasseur. They also followed the occupation on their own account; making a considerable profit by catching the animals most prized for the table; by the reward they received for destroying the hyæna, and other animals hostile to the husbandman or the shepherd; and by the lucrative chase of the ostrich, which was highly valued for its plumes and eggs, and was sold to the wealthier Egyptians.
*Vol. i. pp. 296 to 301, and 33 to 45, and 55, 56, 57.
The boatmen of the Nile belonged to the same third class. They were of different grades; some belonging to the private sailing or pleasure boats of the grandees; others to those of burden. They also differed from the sailors of the long ships" employed at sea, and even from those of the war galleys on the Nile, which acted as guard-boats, and were also used in the expeditions undertaken by the Pharaohs into Ethiopia * These government boatmen were sometimes employed by the Kings in transporting large blocks of stone to ornament the temples; and the immense monolith of granite, brought by Amasis from the first cataract to Saïs, was dragged overland by 2000 boatmen ; but those who carried stones in lighters from the quarries were an inferior order, and ranked among the common boatmen of the Nile. Even among them the office of steersman seems always to have been very important; and as the pilots of the ships of war had a high rank above the "able seamen " of the fleet, so the helmsman in the ordinary boats of the Nile was looked upon as little inferior to the captain; standing in the same relative position as the Mestámel to the Ryïs of the modern Cangia.
* See above, vol. i. p. 411, on their sailors and ships of war.
Modern boats of the Nile. On the opposite bank is a whirlwind of sand.
FOURTH CLASS: ARTIFICERS, TRADESMEN OR SHOPKEEPERS, MUSICIANS,
IN the fourth class were included the workers in glass, metals, wood, and leather; the manufacturers of linen and various stuffs; dyers, tanners, carpenters, cabinet-makers, masons; and all who followed handicraft employments, or any kind of trade. The musicians, who gained their livelihood by singing and playing, the leather-cutters and the carvers in stone, and ordinary painters (distinct of course from sculptors and artists) were included in the same class, which was mostly composed of people living in towns. Each craft (as is generally the case in Modern Egypt also) had its own quarter of the town, called after it; as the quarter of the goldsmiths, of the leather-cutters, and others; and no one presumed to interfere with the occupation of a different trade from his own.
It is even said that every one was obliged by law to
follow the very same trade as his father; at all events, whether allowed in the beginning of his career to choose for himself or no, he was forced to continue in the one he first belonged to; and each vied with his neighbour in improving his own branch.
According to Diodorus, "no tradesman was permitted to meddle in political affairs, or to hold any civil office in the state, lest his thoughts should be distracted by the inconsistency of his pursuits, or by the jealousy and displeasure of the master in whose business he was employed. They feared that, without such a law, constant interruptions would take place, in consequence of the necessity, or the desire, of becoming conspicuous in a public station; that their proper occupations would be neglected; and that many would be led, by vanity and self-sufficiency, to interfere in matters out of their sphere. They also considered that to follow more than one occupation would be detrimental to their own interests, and to those of the community; and that when men, from a motive of avarice, are induced to engage in numerous branches of art, the result generally is that they are unable to excel in any. Such," he adds, " is the case in some countries, where artizans engage in agricultural pursuits, or in commercial speculations, and frequently in two or three different arts at once. Many, again, in those communities which are governed on democratic principles, are in the habit of frequenting popular assemblies, and dreaming only of their own interests, receive bribes from the leaders of parties, and do incredible mischief to the state. But with the Egyptians, if any artizan meddled with political affairs, or engaged in any other employment than the one to which he had been brought up, a severe punishment was instantly inflicted upon him; and it was with this view that the regulations respecting their public and private occupations were instituted by the early legislators of Egypt."
Many arts and inventions were in common use in Egypt for centuries before they are generally supposed to have been known; and we are now and then as much surprised to find that certain things were old 3000 years ago, as the Egyptians would be if they could hear us talk of them as late discoveries. One of them
is the use of glass, with which they were acquainted, at least, as early as the reign of the first Osirtasen, more than 3800 years ago; and the process of glass-blowing is represented, during his reign, in the paintings of Beni Hassan, in the same manner as it is on later monuments, in different parts of Egypt, to the time of the Persian conquest.
The form of the bottle and the use of the blow-pipe are unequivocally indicated in those subjects; and the green hue of the fused material, taken from the fire at the point of the pipe, sufficiently proves the intention of the artist. But, even if we had not this evidence of the use of glass, it would be shown by those well-known images of glazed pottery, which were common at the same period; the vitrified substance that covers them being of the same quality as glass, and containing the same in