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45 EGYPT-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS. 45

 

of this line, the waters of the Nile are said, in a tradition repeated by Manetho, to have been sweet like honey for a period of eleven days; and the eighth monarch, named LESOCHRIS, is reputed to have been a giant five cubits and three palms in height.

The royal house was now changed by the accession of the Memphian king NEBKA,1 who was the head of Dynasty III. During his reign the Libyans, who had been subjected by the Egyptians, revolted, and were frightened back into allegiance by an alleged increase in the disc of the moon as they were marching to battle. The legend is no doubt traceable to the occurrence of a lunar eclipse, a phenomenon which exercised a striking influence upon the superstitious imaginations of the ancients. Nebka was succeeded by TOSORTHROS, the Peaceful, the Egyptian Esculapius, who is said to have been a patron of letters and to have introduced, or at any rate improved, the art of building with hewn stone. The last king of this dynasty was SNEFRU, the Betterer, though the lists of Manetho add the name of Sephuris as the last of Dynasty III.

The close of this line of sovereigns is marked as the time from which Egyptian history can begin to be reproduced from existing contemporaneous monuments. Of the following three dynasties abundant materials are found In the manifold and wonderful sculptures of the age for the reconstruction of both the political and the social history of the epoch.

The Fourth Dynasty, also a Memphian House, began with the accession of KHUFU.2 This is the epoch of the pyramidbuilders, one of the most brilliant eras in ancient Egyptian history. The government had become consolidated. The regal power had expanded with the growth of the kingdom. The population had so multiplied as to fill the land and to place at the disposal of absolute monarchs a vast amount of unemployed manual labor. The native fertility of the lands had given to all classes a greater amount of leisure than was enjoyed by any other ancient people. The long continuance of the annual