Hieroglyphics is a formal system of writing used by the ancient Egyptians. It is generally figurative, representing real or illusionary elements in a perfectly recognizable form, though the same symbol can be interpreted in diverse ways, based on context.

3,006 Questions
Ancient Egypt

Why were hieroglyphs used in tombs?

Hieroglyphs are writing, and were used to write out things about the achievements of the deceased. also they did not know how to read or write any other language

Ancient History
Ancient Egypt

How do you say farmer in Ancient Egyptian?

That's not as simple as it seems. The modern idea of a farmer is a man who owns his land (or at least leases it from someone else), someone who owns the livestock and buildings, someone who benefits from the produce of his labour.

In ancient Egypt, there were no people like that because the land belonged to temples or to wealthy nobles who ran large estates and used peasant labourers to do the work for practically no reward - in that sense there is no ancient Egyptian equivalent to the modern "farmer".

The word for "peasant" was written out as wdi, accompanied by the "crossed sticks" sign used in words relating to work, breaking things and keeping control of things. Peasants did the work, broke up the soil and had to be controlled and regulated; they were farm labourers, but not farmers. The term for an agricultural worker is spelled out ahwty.

On the walls of their tombs, noblemen often portrayed themselves doing field work or manual labour - something they never did in real life.

Ancient Egypt

How did Ancient Egyptians communicate?


Books and Literature
Children's Books
Science Fiction

What is the goose name in Graeme Base book The eleventh hour?

Look at her cards in the card game and by using the same cipher or code used in the back of the book to find oliver's innocence, you can see her name is.................................

Please note that there is no goose in The Eleventh Hour - she is a swan. :-)


Egyptian Mythology

How do you write Thoth in hieroglyphs?

Thoth is not the Egyptian version of his name, but an approximation used by the Greeks who visited Egypt. In hieroglyphs he is called DHwty, the D being a sound like "dj". We can never know how this was pronounced by the ancient Egyptians, but modern Egyptologists say Djehuty.

There are many ways of writing this in hieroglyphs and scribes could choose to write the name in full or in abbreviated form, depending on the available space.

Often the name is written with Thoth's totem bird, the Egyptian ibis, mounted on a kind of stand; this is followed by the loaf-sign (t) and two short, sloping strokes (y). The determinative sign for "god" is usually written at the end.

When written out in full and using phonemes (sound-signs), it has the cobra (dj) + the twisted rope (h) + the chick (w) + the loaf (t) + the two sloping strokes (y) = DHwty. Again the "god" determinative would usually follow.

The link takes you to an image of Thoth as a scribe, with his name written in typical shortened form at the top of the right-hand column (the first column of text):

Ancient Egypt
Alphabet History

What is ancient Egyptian writing called?



What are hieroglyphics?

Hieroglyphics Hieroglyphics were the method of writing used in ancient Egypt. (Sometimes, people refer to other people's bad handwriting as "Hieroglyphics"). It is a form of picture writing, or, as the answer below says, "Egyptian writing through symbols". Each symbol is an hieroglyph. Each cluster of symbols represented a word or idea rather than simple sounds like the symbols in an alphabet.

Some hieroglyphs were alphabetic sounds. Others were "determinatives". The latter helped the reader distinguish between different words that had the same basic set or cluster of symbols (hieroglyphs). Thus, there were many different symbols. The large number of symbols perhaps reflects the changing nature of the Egyptian language over many centuries. For example, imported words regularly entered the vocabulary because of commerce, migration, colonization or conquest.

"Hieroglyphic" is actually the adjective used for the type of writing. Hieroglyphic writing, in contrast to alphabetic writing, is a form of writing where pictures and drawings serve as representations of words.

It might be worth noting here that the Rosetta Stone helped to decode or decipher the Hieroglyphs using the Greek and Coptic words also found on that stele. On that stele, the scribes attempted to write the same message in three different languages but as translators know that is a very difficult task even when the three languages are well known and understood by all the people involved in the project so there was much scope for error or poor translation which modern investigators would find very hard to detect.

Anyway, the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stele probably represented meanings current around the time of the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt (from 300 BC). The words in hieroglyphs may have simply been words in Coptic or 3rd Century BC Greek but written using the hieroglyphs, instead of Greek letters, as the alphabet or writing language. As such, the Rosetta Stone may therefore not tell us much at all about the ancient Egyptian language (or languages) of the early dynasties when a language more akin to ancient Hebrew was spoken (e.g., in 2000 BC). Furthermore, there is a debate regarding the status of hieroglyphs and to what extent meanings changed over time. For example, hieroglyphs on a 12th dynasty monument may have represented words that on a 19th or 26th dynasty monument were quite different in meaning.

One example is the meaning of "Memphis". This city was still important under the Ptolemies (in 300-200 BC) although other cities like Alexandria were probably rising in importance as Memphis began to wane after circa 300 BC. "Memphis" is composed of two syllables or "Mem-Phit" where the 's' is probably a Greek reading of the Egyptian 't'. We hear that, for example, in the "Shabbas" (Ashkenasi) and "Shabbath" (Sephardi) of the Hebrew. If we reverse this we get "Phit-Mem". The reason for reversing the syllables is that ancient middle eastern languages were often written in different directions; e.g., right to left.

Foreign observers probably did not understand the cluster system of hieroglyphs and the way in which direction pointers instructed the onlooker to read them. If the cluster was to be read as an acrostic, one simply looked at the group of symbols as a whole. So people started reading "Mem-phit" instead of "Phit-Mem" or "Pithom" which is why the whereabouts of the ancient city the Jews (or "Israelites") "built for the Pharaoh" (Exodus 1:11).

We can further analyse the sounds in Mem-phit or Phit-mem this way: Pi-Th-M (or 'em'). In ancient times (1500 BC), the Israelites had made the bricks, or brick foundations, for this place and one of William Flinders Petrie's excavation reports (1908-1914) shows these bricks in a photograph.

But "Pi-Th-M" is probably the representation of "Pi-eM-Ha-T" or the Place (Pi) of Amen-em-hat. Since ancient Israelite scribes probably ignored the foreign god 'Amen' (or 'Amun'), they simply called 'Memphis-Pithom' "The place (Pi) of the leader chosen by God (em-Hat)" or "Pi-em-hat". In those days, they believed God (in the womb) "chose" the leader or king (or "Divine Right of Kings"). Thus, Pithom or Memphis was the dwelling-place of the god-king. It was the place where the king chosen by God (by virtue of the conception and birth process) ruled Egypt.

As is still believed by many Bible students and modern British supporters of the monarchy, the people obeyed the King's laws because they were seen to emanate from, or be delegated by God. However, these meanings have been lost in translation (or transliteration) because the Rosetta Stone does not give us a good enough understanding of the meanings of hieroglyphs from very ancient times.

Really, we need to know the historical circumstances around any set of hieroglyphs. Unfortunately, with a massively distorted chronology of ancient Egypt's history, we are unable to link those historical circumstances with those of other countries where people corresponded with counterparts in Egypt, e.g., kings and governments. Thus an important second- or third-party account that might cast light on the Egyptian records, or any propoganda or "bombast" contained therein, is usually lost. For example, the circumstances surrounding Hatshepsut's unusual career on Egypt's throne are significantly explained by the Jewish record of the Queen of Ophir who sheba'd (or ruled/administered) Ophir.

That record is found in the last verse of I Kings 9 and in the first half of the following chapter (10). That Jewish record points out that Solomon's sailors sailed to Ophir with Hiram of Tyre's sailors. Then chapter 10 tells us that the queen who "sheba'd" Ophir came to visit Solomon. One meaning of "Sheb" in Hebrew, and in Semitic generally, means to sit and judge or administer. The related word "shep" is derived fom the word scribe (s-p-r).

Or there might be a double meaning implied ('shep' and 'shep') because the 'p' and 'b' sounds in ancient and modern Egyptians' speech are often hard to distinguish. In this case the sound 'shep' in Egyptian ('hieroglyphic writing', see below) is represented by a picture not a symbol for an alphabetic sound. Thus the queen who visited Solomon could well have been both ruler/administrator and scribe-lawmaker of Ophir; or "Auphirah" in more strictly correct transliteration of the Hebrew. Only the 18th Dynasty Queen Hatshepsut of Ethiopia-Egypt-Africa could ever have claimed those roles.

Using the above discussion, one hopes the reader can get a broader understanding of "Hieroglyphics".


What was used to decipher hieroglyphics?

In 1799 a French soldier in Egypt stumbled across the Rosetta Stone, A French scholar named Jean Francis Champollion worked for 14 years to decipher Hieroglyphics.

The Rosetta Stone has three languages on it, Hieroglyphics, Demotic (another Ancient Egyptian language) and Greek.


How do you say 'sun' in hieroglyphics?

The hieroglyphic for "sun" is a circle with a smaller circle inside of it. It is pronounced "ray", and the same symbol/pronunciation can also be used for the sun god, or Re, and daytime (this multi-definition thing is fairly common; the Egyptians seemed to rely heavily on context clues). If you wanted to write out "sun", which would be "Re" in Egyptian, you would use the "r" symbol, an oblong shape that looks ind of like the outline of an eye, and the "e" symbol, which looks like a feather with fringes only on the left side.


What were the ancient Egypt months called?

When used in dates on official inscriptions the 12 ancient Egyptian months were not named. Instead they were numbered within each of the 3 seasons: for example first month of Akhet, third month of Peret, fourth month of Shemu.

The months did have names, but these were not fixed over time and were different in the Old Kingdom than in the Middle Kingdom. In the Late Period, the Greek and Roman versions of the names of months were different again.

Month..................Old Kingdom Name..................Middle Kingdom Name













Hieroglyphs did not write vowels, only consonants (the a and i letters represent Egyptian sounds that do not exist in English), so we can not know how any of these names were said.

The name Wprnpt (month 12) is written with signs meaning the festival of the New Year.


When did the hieroglyphs stop being used?

The very last hieroglyphic inscription we know about can be precisely dated - it was carved to commemorate the birthday of the Roman emperor Diocletian on 24 August 394 AD at the Island of Philae.

The carving is extremely poorly done and the hieroglyphs are nothing like as clear and beautifully written as those of earlier periods. The Egyptian religion was just about to be changed to Christianity and the writing was replaced by Roman and Greek scripts.
Around 300BCE


Answer: The last known text in hieroglyphs was carved into stone on the temple of Isis at the island of Philae in exactly 394 AD (that is at the end of the 4th century of the Christian era). This was towards the end of the Roman Period and almost the end of the ancient world.

This final text is written very badly with very corrupt and childlike signs, next to a very poor-quality portrait of a king or god. It demonstrates very clearly how hieroglyphs had deteriorated during the Late Period of Egyptian history.

See link below for an image:
The last known use of hieroglyphs is on the walls of the temple on the island of Philae, dating to 394 AD, almost 3,500 years after the very earliest known examples.

By the late 4th century AD, Egypt had been a Roman province for hundreds of years and hieroglyphic script had become extremely strange; many bizarre new signs had been developed and older signs dropped, simply to make the writing more complex and difficult, in order for it to remain mysterious and out of the reach of ordinary citizens.

Hieroglyphs essentially became unwieldy and unreasonable, so the popular Coptic script took over.

King Tutankhamun

How did geography of land in Egypt serve as a natural barrier to protect the Egyptians?

The Mediterranean Sea to the north was hard to cross

The Red Sea to the east was to hard to cross

The Cataracts to the south were to dangerous

The Desert to the west was to dangerous and hot to travel through

Ancient Egypt

What are some specialized workers in ancient Egypt?

Skilled artisans that erected stone or brick houses and temples were specialized workers. Other artisans made pottery, jewelry, and much more.

Languages and Cultures
Ancient Egypt
Rosetta Stone - Artifact

What is the Rosetta Stone?

It is a stone that was discovered in 1799, inscribed with three different scripts and two languages:

  • Top - Egyptian Heiroglyphs
  • Middle - Later Demotic - Heiratic writing
  • Bottom - Greek
The Greek version juxtaposed on hitherto unreadable Egyptian scripts gave the key to translating Egyptian writing.

It was written in all three scripts so that the Egyptian priests, the native Egyptians, and the the Greeks and ruling Macedonian aristocracy could read what it said.

It contains 14 lines of hieroglyphs, 32 lines of demotic and 54 lines of Greek. The text is a decree from Ptolemy V describing the repealing of various taxes and instructions to erect statues in temples.

It was created in 196 BCE, discovered by the French in 1799 during Napoleon's takeover of Egypt at Rosetta, a harbour on the Mediterranean coast in Egypt, and contributed greatly to the decipherment of the principles of hieroglyphic writing in 1822 by the French scholar Jean-François Champollion, when he recognised that the third version was Greek, and started to work out the equivalence of the other scripts.

The Stone is 114.4 centimeters high at its tallest point, 72.3 centimeters wide and 27.9 centimeters thick, weighs about 760 kg. It was originally thought to be granite or basalt but is currently described as granodiorite and is dark grey-bluish-pinkish in color.

It has been on public display at The British Museum since 1802. In July 2003, Egypt demanded the return of the Rosetta Stone.

Ancient Egypt

Which Egyptian ruler built many new temples during the new kingdom period?


Where did people stay in ancient Egypt?

People in Ancient Egypt lived in houses, the size depending on their wealth and class.

They lived along the river. They slept in special rooms, in the sitting room, or on the roof.

Example Sentences

How do you use the word adequately in a sentence?

She had not adequately researched her topic before asking for help from others.

The necessary funds should be adequately provided by the department's budget.

Ancient Egypt

What does the writing on the Egyptian flag say?

it means may god be with us always

Languages and Cultures

What was the name of the Sumerian form of writing?

Cuneiform. I am from iraq so we know it there

King Tutankhamun

Why was tutankhamen's tomb underground?

for safe keeping

History, Politics & Society
Ancient Egypt

What does cartouche mean?

In Egyptian hieroglyphics, it is a group of symbols which represent a person's name. To a firearms collector, it is a military inspectors stamp on the stock of a gun.
I believe that is has something to do with Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was an oval shaped figure that was used to contain the names of royalty in ancient Egypt.
A structure or figure

Ancient Religions

How do you pronounce seshat?

Since Seshat is a modern idea of the ancient word that was written without vowels (as is usual for hieroglyphs) you can say it any way you like and it will always be incorrect.

The ancient Egyptian name is written with the letters s+sh+3+t (3 represents a glottal stop); the ancient Egyptians knew exactly which vowels to include, but today that knowledge is lost.

Names and Name Meanings
Ancient Egypt

Why did the Egyptians use animals in the hieroglyphics?

Why do we use "A B C D", etc? We've developed our alphabet from a melting pot of cultures and languages. In their stage of alphabetic development (being one of the first major civilizations in the region), the most recognizable symbols were probably their religious icons and from their natural surroundings.

By the way, the above was a complete swag but it made sense as I wrote it.

AnswerThey had many things to do with animals the. They worshiped cats. AnswerHieroglyphics are a lot like a child's first alphabet book. They learn the letter sounds like the beginning of the name for the object pictured. The ancient Egyptians just used the picture instead of the abstract symbol (letter). Answer

It was not just there religion.

The Egyptians had gods that had animal heads and they worshiped some animals like the cat, and different birds like the vulture, and cobras (the vulture and the cobra were on most funeral mask's).

And all of those animals are in Hieroglyphics.

Hieroglyphics are the ancient writings of Egypt that are found on old tablets and in tombs.

Ancient Egypt
History of Writing

Did Albertus Magnus write the book Egyptian Secrets?

It is extremely unlikely - he is credited with all kinds of very unlikely things, including the invention of gunpowder artillery and pistols (things that were actually developed hundreds of years after his death), discovering the philosopher's stone (it still has never been discovered) and the authorship of a truly immense number of books.

It is much more likely that his name was associated with all these things by much later writers, in order to give their books and discoveries an air of importance - essentially creating fakes. His name in Latin ("Magnus") is simply a translation of his real name (de Groot), which was a common enough second name in his home country of Bavaria.

Albertus wrote only in Latin - the "Book of Egyptian Secrets" was written in German; it contains absolutely nothing to do with ancient (or even medieval) Egypt; According to Will-Erich Peuckert, the language and use of idioms in the book point to an origin in the Swabian-Alemannic region, and if so it can have no connection at all with Albertus.

Ancient Egypt

How do you make fake papyrus paper for projects?

Maybe this website might help: http://www.crayola.com/crafts/detail/egyptian-papyrus-paper-craft/

I have read about suitable papyrus substitutes made from corn husks, or iris leaves, or other suitable vegetable materials using pretty much the same methods as papyrus manufacturing, only substituting these materials for the papyrus itself.

I have not yet tried this myself, but plan to some time in the future.

I have read that even the papyrus scrolls you buy on the street in Egypt are more than likely made of these materials instead of true papyrus. They suggest going to a reputable shop for the real deal.


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