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The Ancient Egyptians and their Influence upon the Civilisation of Europe

Nature volume 88, page 475 (08 February 1912) | Download Citation



WE think that “The Early Egyptians and their Influence on Ancient Civilisation” would have been a better title for Dr. Elliot Smith's little book than that which he has actually chosen, “The Ancient Egyptians and their Influence upon the Civilisation of Europe”; for Dr. Smith deals only with the most ancient, the earliest Egyptians, and he traces their influence not only upon the civilisation of Europe, but also, and in the first place, upon that of northern Africa and western Asia. We may say at once that Dr. Smith is less happy in his essay to trace this influence than when he is simply analysing the ethnic constituents of the race which exercised it. In dealing with the complicated question of possible early Egyptian influence upon the surrounding peoples, with regard to which our information is of the scantiest and most nebulous character, he is straying rather off his own ground, whereas in dealing with the early Egyptians themselves he is not only upon his own ground, but upon ground which he himself has made. To read him on this subject is indeed to be enlightened, and every historian must read with attention the remarkable conclusions to which he has been led by his experience in the dissection of mummies (gained in the course of his medical work at Cairo) in connection with the severely scientific archæological work of Dr. Reisner and his assistants at Naged-Deir and in Lower Nubia.

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