Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Egyptian hieroglyphs

A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs.Egyptian hieroglyphs (sometimes called hieroglyphics) were a writing system used by the Ancient Egyptians that contained a combination of logographic and alphabetic elements. Cartouches were also used by the Egyptians. The variety of brush-painted hieroglyphs used on papyrus and (sometimes) on wood for religious literature is known as cursive hieroglyphs; this should not be confused with hieratic.


The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek ἱερογλυφικά (hieroglyphiká); the adjective hieroglyphic, as well as related words such as ἱερoγλυφος (hieroglyphos 'one who writes hieroglyphs', from ἱερός (hierós 'sacred') and γλύφειν (glýphein 'to carve' or 'to write', see glyph). Hieroglyphs themselves, were called τὰ ἱερογλυφικά (γράμματα) (tà hieroglyphiká (grámmata), 'engraved characters') on monuments (such as stelae, temples and tombs). The word hieroglyph has come to be used for the individual hieroglyphic characters themselves. While "hieroglyphics" is commonly used, it is discouraged by Egyptologists.


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