The writing that unmasked the history of Ancient Egypt as well as the writings of the Ancient Egyptians is hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphs are Ancient Egyptian characters consisting of a combination of logograph and alphabet elements.
The character consists of a picture in the form of a human, animal, or object, and a symbol of writing (resembling a picture of nails) that is confidential or elusive in meaning.
There is also a simpler type of hieroglyph or cursive hieroglyph, which was used to write religious literature on papyrus (a type of paper in Ancient Egypt).
Both types of hieroglyphs were used until about 400 AD. Hieroglyphs are derived from the Greek, hieroglyphics which means sacred and glufe means carving.
Etymologically, hieroglyphs can be interpreted as sacred carvings. While the Egyptians called it the “god script”, referring to the origin of hieroglyphic writings believed to have originated from the gods.
History of Egyptian hieroglyphs is one of the oldest writing systems thought to have evolved since before the literature of the Egyptian artistic tradition.
This is evidenced by the discovery of a symbol in Gerzean pottery from 4000 BC that resembles hieroglyphic writing.
While the use of hieroglyphic writing emerged from the symbol system in the early Bronze Age, around the 32nd century BC, on the Narmer Palette inscription found in the 1890s.
A team of Archaeologists from Germany who conducted excavations at Abydos (now um el Qa’ab) in 1998 found a tomb with 300 name sculptures thought to be from the 33rd century BC.
So far, the first sentence in the hieroglyphic script that can be deciphered dates back to the 28th century BC, found in seth-peribsen’s tomb at um el Qa’ab. Hieroglyphs later evolved into a writing system used on inscriptions of the New Kingdom of Egypt (between the 16th and 11th centuries BC).
During this period, 900 different hieroglyphic emblems have been used. Later in Ancient Rome, there were already more than 5,000 hieroglyphs.
In the 4th century, some Egyptians were finally able to read hieroglyphs. However, the use of hieroglyphs ceased in 391 AD after the closure of entire non-Christian churches.
Development of Egyptian hieroglyphic
The development of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing In the beginning, the form of hieroglyphic writing drawings was still rough, as was used by primitive tribes.
Each image represents a natural object, e.g. the sun is depicted as a disk, water is depicted with a wave line, and so on.
However, such writing cannot represent words or objects that cannot be seen, such as thoughts or days. Thus, hieroglyphs are more considered symbols of ideas than images of objects.
Discs are also defined as days, not just representing the sun. These ideas are called ideograms. The next development is to use images more to represent sound than to represent real objects.
For example, a leaf can represent the word believe. Hieroglyphs used as sounds like this are known as phonograms. From phonograms, they developed a series of marks that each represented one letter.
After that, they continued to often combine ideograms, phonograms, and picturegrams (picture writing). Over time, the writing became so complicated that it was difficult for the layman to understand.
Egyptian hieroglyphic writing systems and types of hieroglyphs Can be started from right to left, left to right, or from top to bottom and from bottom to top. The same symbol or sign can sometimes be interpreted in various ways, as follows:
1. Phonogram (Phonetic Reading)
Symbols are read and created according to their visual characteristics. For example, a picture of the eye can describe the word eye and my word in English (eye and I).
The eye image is called a phonogram from the word I. The form of a phonogram with one consonant is called mono or uniliteral. Two consonants are called biliteral, and three consonants are called triliterals.
While 24 uniliterals are called hieroglyphic alphabets and Egyptian hieroglyphic writing normally does not indicate vowels such as A, I, U, E, O.
2. Semantic Reading
In addition to phonetic interpretations, characters or symbols can also be read their meaning. In this case, logograms are pronounced (ideograms) and semagrams.
Logogram When used as a logogram, hieroglyphs define objects that are images. Semagram or determinative Semagram (a semantic symbol that defines meaning) is placed at the end of a word.