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Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners

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An original and accessible approach to learning hieroglyphs, written by an experienced teacher and author.

This is the first guide to reading hieroglyphs that begins with Egyptian monuments themselves. Assuming no knowledge on the part of the reader, it shows how to interpret the information on the inscriptions in a step-by-step journey through the script and language of ancient Egypt.

We enter the world of the ancient Egyptians and explore their views on life and death, Egypt and the outside world, humanity and the divine. The book draws on texts found on some thirty artifacts ranging from coffins to stelae to obelisks found in museums in Egypt, America, and Europe, and selected across two thousand years. The texts are then explained clearly, and are supported by full translations, photographs, and line drawings.

ISBN-13: 9780500290286

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Publication Date: 05-01-2012

Pages: 160

Product Dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.70(d)

Bill Manley has been working with archaeological projects in Egypt for three decades. He taught the ancient Egyptian and Coptic languages for more than thirty years at the Universities of London, Glasgow, and Liverpool, and was senior curator for ancient Egypt at National Museums Scotland. His books include Egyptian Art in the World of Art series and Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners.

Table of Contents

Preface 7


Stela of Mereri (c. 2200 BC) 10

1 Sound Signs 10

2 Direction of Writing 14

3 Vowels and Pronunciation 16

4 Determinatives 18

5 How Do We Know How to Read Hieroglyphs? 20

6 Signs Writing 2 or 3 Sounds 21

7 Sound Complements 23

8 Unexpected Writings 28

9 What is Transliteration? 32

Another Stela of Mereri (c. 2200 BC) 34

10 The Offering Formula 36

11 'a' and' the' 39

12 Even More Unexpected Writings 39

13 Ideograms? 41

14 What is Middle Egyptian? 42

Stela of Minuser(c. 2200 BC) 44

15 Word Order 47

Funerary Stamp of Mermose (c. 1350 BC) 49

Inner Coffin of Khnumhotep, son of Nebtu (c. 1800 BC) 52

16 More About the Offering Formula 53

17 k3 and Identity 55

Stela of Dedu and Satsobk (c. 1900 BC) 58

18 Feminine Words 61

19 Why Food Offerings? 62

Stela of Ty(c. 2200 BC) 64

Stela of Intef and Nesumontju (c. 1700 BC?) 66

20 Titles of Osiris 67

Stela of Shenwy and Hedjret (c. 1900 BC) 68

21 The Dedication Formula 72

22 The Family 73

Coffin of Khnumhotep, Son of Henib (c. 1850 BC) 78


23 Kings' Titularies 82

Stela of Djet, from his Tomb at Abydos (c. 2950 BC) 84

Stela of Raneb (c. 2750 BC) 85

Inscription of Khakaura Senusret III (c. 1836-1818 BC) 86

24 Writing Plurals 88

Another Inscription of Khakaura Senusret III (c. 1836-1818 BC) 89

Three Inscriptions of Ramesses II (c. 1279-1213 BC) 92

Three Stelae of Thutmose IV (c. 1400-1390 BC) from the Great Sphinx 97

25 Epithets 98

26 The King and the Gods 104

Inscriptions from a Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun (c. 1332-1322 BC) 107

The Oldest Texts and Earliest Hieroglyphs

27 How Did Writing Begin in Egypt? 112

Slate Palette of King Narmer from the Temple of Horus(c.2950 BC) 114

Ivory Comb of King Djet from his Tomb (c. 2950 BC) 118

Ivory Label of King Den from his Tomb (c. 2900 BC) 119

Putting It All Together: Two Inscriptions

Marriage Inscription of Amenhotep III (c. 1390 BC) 122

28 'pw'he is' or 'she is' 127

Offering-Chapel of Sarenput II at Aswan (c. 1850 Bc) 130

Epilogue 135

List of Kings' Names 136

List of Gods 141

List of Hieroglyphic Signs 144

List of Words in Hieroglyphs 154

Sources of Illustrations 159

Index 159