A Brief History of Hieroglyphics

Topics: Egyptian hieroglyphs, Hieroglyph, Ancient Egypt Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: October 1, 2008
Hieroglyphics are among the first of written records that we can study today. In its most general form, hieroglyphic writing is a system that utilizes characters in the form of pictures. Each hieroglyphs, may be read either as an image, or as symbols for sounds. The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek word for sacred carving. The word hieroglyph has been applied to the scripts of the Indus civilization and of the Hittites, who also possessed other scripts, in addition to the Mayan, the Incan, and Easter Island writing forms, and also the signs on the Phaistos Disk on Crete, but the strict meaning of the word is used only to describe the carvings on Egyptian monuments. The most ancient hieroglyphs can be dated back to the end of the 4th millennium BC. They describe scenes and are cut in relief, or into the stone, mostly in chapels or tombs. Although it is impossible to know, but these early signs are probably based on the same system that the later set of hieroglyphics, known as classical hieroglyphics is based. Hieroglyphic signs were representations of living beings or inanimate objects by simplistic drawings. Over the years, some of the representations fell out of meaning, such as clubs, which at one time were used as weapons, and other weapons took their place. But they glyph stayed. Sometimes the object described by the glyph completely fell out of daily use and the meaning eventually became lost or it was distorted beyond recognition. Always only a few people in a limited circle understood the script. Only those who needed the knowledge in their professions were able to acquire the task of writing and reading the glyphs. These people were, for example, officials, doctors, and priests. Since the glyphs were too complex for everyday use, hieratic script was developed. Easier abbreviated script was developed for writing by brush stroke on a medium such as papyrus. Classical hieroglyphics evolved through the need to identify a pictorial representation of an...
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