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There is no identifiable precursor. It was once thought that the origin of Egyptian Hieroglyphs are religious and historical, but recent developments could point to an economical impetus for this script as well as push back the time depth of this writing system.
How It Works The Egyptian writing system is complex but relatively straightforward. The inventory of signs is divided into three major categories, namely 1 logograms, signs that write out morphemes; 2 phonograms, signs that represent one or more sounds modern day egyptian writing and meaning and 3 determinatives, signs that denote neither morpheme nor sound but help with the meaning of a group of signs that precede them.
Like Proto-Sinaitic-derived scriptsEgyptians wrote only with consonants. As a result, all phonograms are uniconsonantal, biconsonantal, and triconsonantal. The following are the uniconsonantals: And a few biconsonantals and triconsonantals: For convenience as it was very hard to pronounce a string of consonants without vowels in the middle of a lecture archaeologists made up a protocol of artificially putting vowels in hieroglyphs.
For some reason this system had taken a life of its own, and often now people actually think it is how Egyptian words were pronounced. However, the correct rendition of his name was probably Riamesesa, which was discovered from cuneiform documents composed for diplomatic exchange between Mesopotamia and Egypt.
For more information, refer to the Pronunciation of Ancient Egyptian.
The determinative is a glyph that carries no phonetic value but instead is added at the end of a word to clarify the meaning of the word. This is due to the fact that the writing system does not record vowels, and therefore different words with the same set of consonants but different vowels can be written by the same sequence of glyphs.
Therefore the determinative became necessary to disambiguate the meaning of a sequence of glyphs. Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, and Demotic Traditionally Egyptologists divided Hieroglyphs into three types based on appearance: Hieroglyphic is almost always inscribed on stones in large scale monuments. Hieratic is the "priestly" script extensively used on manuscripts and paintings, and really is just a rather cursive form of monumental hieroglyphics.
And finally, demotic is a highly cursive script that replaced hieratic as the script for everyday use from BCE onward. As mentioned before, aside from the shape of the signs, the hieroglyphic and the hieratic systems are virtually identical.
In fact, Both of these variants date from the dawn of Egyptian civilization at the latter half of the 3rd millenium BCE at a time period called the Predynastic period. Recently some new discoveries have shed light on an ancient predynastic king named Scorpion I.
His name has been found carved in the wilderness "King Scorpion: In fact, Abydos yielded a great number of inscribed seals dating from between and BCE, making them the oldest example of Egyptian writing.
Another early examples of hieroglyphic inscriptions is found on the famous Palette of Narmer. Narmer was a very early king, although he does not appear on the traditional Egyptian king list like the King List of Abydos created during the reign of Seti I.
However, according to the iconography on the Palette, he already ruled over an unified Egypt around BCE as he wore both the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. Many Egyptologists equate him with Menes, the first king of the first Dynasty, while others placed him somewhat earlier in "Dynasty Zero" which might have also included pharoahs Scorpion II and Ka or Zekhen.
The serekh, much like the cartouche later on, always denotes royal names.
The top part of the name is a catfish, and the lower part is a chisel. In addition to the monumental hieroglyphic, the cursive hieratic also date from as early as the reign of king Ka in the form of pottery inscription.
There were slightly later examples of this cursive script from the reign of kings Aha and Den, both of the first Dynasty, but it was the 4th Dynasty that there are substantial records written in hieratic.
While the hieroglyphic remained the same, the hieratic became increasingly cursive, and an increasing amount of ligatures come into usage. Look at this comparison of hieroglyphic vs hieratic from roughly around BCE: You could still see some resemblance between the first and the second row.
However, you probably also have noticed that groups of hieroglyphic signs are reduced to a single hieratic sign. Eventually the most cursive form of hieratic became the demotic which gives no hint of its hieroglyphic origin.
By BCE, the hieratic, which was used to write documents on papyri, was retained only for religious writing. The demotic became the every-day script, used for accounting, writing down literature, writings, etc.
The following demotic inscription is from the famous Rosetta Stone.The Egyptian language was spoken in ancient Egypt and was a branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages.
In writing, Middle Egyptian makes use of around hieroglyphs. Middle Egyptian first became available to modern scholarship with the decipherment of hieroglyphs in the early 19th century. What are modern day hieroglyphics?
it most often refers to characters in ancient Egyptian writing. others are without any sound at all and simply indicate the general meaning of a word. Egyptian Hieroglyphics includes detailed information on the history of Egyptian writing and mathematics, the use of the different types of symbols, how to write your name, how to recognize kings names and the story of the scribe with a video showing how papyrus is made.
Writing appeared in Egypt at least by B.C.E., possibly as a result of Mesopotamian influence.
As in Mesopotamia, the earliest Egyptian writing was pictographic, but Egyptians soon supplemented their pictographs with symbols representing sounds and ideas. Hieroglyphs, from two Greek words meaning "holy inscriptions.". Writing appeared in Egypt at least by B.C.E. possibly as a result of Mesopotamian influences.
As in Mesopotamia, the earliest Egyptian writing was pictographic, but Egyptians soon supplemented their pictographs with symbols representing sounds and ideas. Jones argues that Egypt did not have a ‘flexible, questioning literary culture’ and ‘there is no ancient Egyptian Iliad or Odyssey’, however numerous literary texts survive from ancient Egypt.