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53 EGYPT-CIVIL AND MILITARY ANNALS.

 

shown both traditions to be without foundation in fact.

With the close of the Fourth Dynasty even before its close a decline is noticeable in the political power and architectural grandeur which had prevailed under Khufu and Khafra. The accession of Dynasty V. was without éclat or splendor. Of the reigns of the nine kings who are said to have comprised the line very little is recorded. The practice of giving a throne name or title to the sovereign began with ASSA, next to the last monarch of this dynasty. To this period also is referred the composition of one of the oldest works in Egyptian literature a treatise on moral duties written by PRINCE PTAH-HOTEP, son of Assa. In the time of the last king of the line, named UNA, the form of the royal sepulchers was changed from the regular to the truncated pyramid, as illustrated in the great monument called "Pharaoh's Seat,"1 north of the pyramids of Dashur.

The kings of the Sixth Dynasty belonged to a family from Elephantis2 in Upper Egypt. It is probable that the seat of government was for a while transferred from Memphis into Middle Egypt. It is certain that during the period Memphian influence was less marked in the affairs of the kingdom than it had been previously. From this epoch begins the history of the foreign wars of conquest undertaken by the Egyptian sovereigns. National ambition began to take the place of religious solemnity, and the effect of this diversion of the public mind was immediately noticeable in the decline of art and the neglect of monumental enterprises. The period is marked by a less careful style in the sculpture, and less elaborate designs in the royal sepulchers.

The growth of the military spirit is attested by the famous inscription of Una, found in a tomb at Abydos, wherein it is set forth that