Ancient Egypt; Laws, Traditions and Religion
- :S. T. H. Khwarazmi
Laws and traditions that existed in Egypt accorded the king a divine position, but no laws about justice and equity Courts did exist which were however held by the representatives of the minister and the feudal lords to see to the claim of the subject. According to Iranian writers at that time in Egypt no laws existed even to compare with the 'Code in Chaldea and Assyria. 52
Among the traditions existing in ancient Egypt which seem odd to us was the legitimacy of marriage with close relatives, and even marriage between a brother and sister. This was particularly in vogue in the royal houses.
The religion prevalent in Egypt was idolatry, and, like the present day India, there seems to have existed a predisposition to idolatry which gave no ground to any other beliefs to make headway. The deviational education of the Egyptians had prepared them for receiving the religion of idolatry. In the time of the pharaohs two of these rulers who belonged to priestly families and believed in the One God, wished to propagate this faith in Egypt. This God was called 'Aton. 53 But they were not successful in this task, and when the second pharaoh died, the people and priests joined hands and revived idolatry, and burnt the body of the second pharaoh for heresy against their formal religion. This idol worship persisted until the third century A.D. It is noteworthy that in the third century as Christianity found its way into Egypt, in the same century the concept of Christian trinity took shape in the school of Alexandria. Thus the best and the most comprehensive and scholarly 54 analyses and definitions of trinity were formulated in the third century A.D. in the scholarly and philosophical seminary of Neo-Platonics of Alexandria. 55 Thus it becomes apparent that even as Christianity spread into Egypt, it accepted the form of plurality and trinity already existent in that country.
52. Hammurabi is the most famous king of Babylon who united the whole of that realm. Historians used to believe that he lived in about 1900 B.C., but recently the date has been revised to a period from 1728 to 1686 B.C. He carried out great administrative reforms which are described as his famous code. These laws were discovered in Susa in 1902 A.D., and are kept in the Louvre Museum. "Silent Languages" pp. 34-35, and German Encyclopedis of Brookhaus, Vol. 8.
53. The word 'Aton' means the sun, but it is not clear whether their god had been the sun, or whether it was regarded as the greatest thing for man and as a sign of God. In my studies, I have not come across any specific information, however, some people consider it to be a sign of God.
54. Scientific from the viewpoint of Christianity.
55. The Neoplatonics were a group of scholars in the Alexandrian academic circle who, in one respect, revived Plato's and in another respect produced new research in philosophy and learning as an independent subject. The founder of this school was Ammenius Saccas of Egypt who lived at the end of the second century and beginning of the third century A.D. in Alexandria. The philosophy which is attributed to the Neoplatonics is related to Flotin, an Egyptian Greek who had originally been a Roman, living in Alexandria. He had the opportunity of contact with Ammenius Saccas.
Adapted from the book: "Background of the Birth of Islam" by: "S. T. H. Khwarazmi"
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