Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment [1 ed.] 0520222482, 9780520222489

Napoleon's troops discovered a granitoid slab in the village of Rosetta in the western Delta in 1799. The Rosetta S

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Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment [1 ed.]
 0520222482, 9780520222489

Table of contents :
1. List of abbreviations and conventions

2. Among the Ruined Languages

3. The Original Context of the Rosetta Stone

4. The Decipherment of the Rosetta Stone

5. The Rosetta Stone after Champollion

6. The Egyptian Language

7. The Classical Egyptian Writing System

8. Two Words More

9. Glossary

10. Copyright

Citation preview

CRACKING

CODES THE

HOSETTA STONE AND DECIPHERMENT RICHAUD PARKINSON

CKACKING

CODES TIIC

ROSETTA STONE AND DCCiniCRMENT

:Tifri(ei^!gD*fV«:^.^CCC.T«gS.sm/terXIZI!|?V-fU

.

w»Mfy

{ } /:i;}/'(r..'H

.

)/.

Iiat\>haies the hierogjiyphic script (and its derivatives) to other writing

systems, and

its

decipherment to diat of other ancient scripts. It explores in depth

the role of writing in ancient Egypt religious properties, as well as

extent to

w hich

its

the cracking of



its

aesthetic,

more mundane a Hiii-^uistic

iconographic and niagico-

scribal uses

- and considers

the

code and the reading of a text allow

one

to read" the underlying cultural code, inevitably an uncertain process in tlic

case

of a kti^-dead society. It also assesses the relative eflkiency of difieient types

of script and questions the

view

vridely held but simplistic

the future,

w itli codes

yet to he cracked, with scripts

secrets, p.uu-niK .nv.niing ihcir

The

own "Rosetta

still

significant

itself,

fiom the

number fiom other sources

British

in the

It

ends with

unyielding of their

Stone*.

exhibition contains over two hundred objects, most ot

ing of course the Stone

modern

that the

western alphabet represents the high point of a process of evolution.

Museum's

tlie

them, mclud-

collections, a small

but

UK and abroad The curator of the

-

'-'i-j

'

FOREWORD

exhibition

is

Dr Riclurd

Parkinson, an Assiscaiu Keeper

worked duoug^out in dose coUaboiation with Office and of the Conservation I>epanment.

also the principal .luthor

of

with an exjdanatoiy

ctmtribution by

Mary

Ro«.etta Stone ot the

book

The

is

demotic

owed

Museum

tiritish

on

display,

effect.

and

is

highly stimulating

Systems Ltd, California, and his wife

of modem

the subject a

is

a selective.

divided into tour main

h indudes a brief but

and

Dr Parkinson

which contains

cry|>tanalysis

and

valuable up-to-date translation

by Dr R.S. Simpson

to the expertise ot Joanna

ut

Osrord The

tinal

its

of the

appearance

Chanipness and her colleagues

at

Press.

Mr

ai

>l

Mr NUs

and Mrs Aiicy, M. and S,

Berlin, the Aslinioleaii

de

text

on

scripts;

of the Museum's Design

following individuals and organizations kindly agreed to loan material to

die exhibition: Searle.

nanative;.

Dr Whitfidd Diffie of Sun

undeciphered

l^epartineiu of

in pieparaiion for the exhibi-

volunie.

this associated

Fischer, an Egyptologist,

applicability to

staff

m^o

and to wonderful

Cully illustrated catalogue ot the objects

sections,

(lie

on ancient Egyptian litennue, who has

Egyptian Antiquities and an authority

tion have cleaned the Stone carefully

m

9

Museum. ONford.

I'lcardie. Ainiciis. tlie .Vlusee t

Ronald

(;i.uu Atcluve,

enormously

gratefiil

Mme

Z.Young, the Ag>'ptische

to

Mr

Ronald

Papynissanimlung,

European Space Agency, the MuNce

'hampollion. Pigeac.

London and

them

tlie

Chateauminois,

Museum und The

National

the Victoria and Albert

for dieir co-operation

nist.

the

Museum. We

are

and for helping

'Cracking Codes' worthy of die great annivefsary diat

it

i

us to

make

marks.

W.V. Davies KnycT iiritish

of F.i;yptiitu Antiqmtks

Museum

Copyrighted material

PR.EFACE Read

on. Reader, read on.

and work S.

Smith,

it

out for yoiuself

Nwd ou YttlMf P»per (1936)

This book

some

cxaiiuncs

aspects of

decipherment

to

v

range of cultural (and mostly textual)

li

i

bicentenary of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 179

i

focused description eral

available; instead

quesdom amused by (he

it

are narrative, but the centre

format has been adopted to allow the leader Co

of items

Due

presents an accessible account

of

Stone.

Most of the following chapters

the artefacts and sources.

to enter a

records. It does not provide a narrowly

Storu-s cOTitents, context or deciphernient. since sev-

(if'tlu'

such arc already widely

various

its

the

fiom Egypt to show

artefiicts

how writing shapes and is shaped by cultures, and how it can allow us dialogue with the past in interpreting

bi irc

pr. ^cnts a

t

come fiice

of ^tace, diis

is

a catalogue; diis

to face with

some of

is

a selective cat^tlogue

in the exhibition that this publication .iccompanies

Attempts have been

made within

to liniitadons

the format to provide translauons of at least samples of each text;

I

have only rendered into verse those texts fiom the catalogue which are mariced as such

by

verse-points, aldiough

selected with the

most are in metrical form. Pieces have been

aim of presenting hitherto unpublisfacd

known

better

accessibility- for

the general rc.iJcr; references have likewise

minimum and It is

arc not

periods of Egyptian history in order to increase

been kept to the

comprehensive.

phenomena

always an exciting challenge to have to write about artefacts and

that are millennia outside cultures,

when

and have been

items,

drawn from the

and

I

one^

am gntefiil

area

of specialized

to colleagues

study, let alone

fiom

dealing with these auMs: Dominicpie Collon. Vincent Daniels

l^^ate, Irvint;

Finkel, Lesley Fitton.

Mike Ncilson, Robert

Lynn MeskelL Andrew Middleton.

iiimpson, Uorota Starzecka,

of Thomas Youi^ which was generously

'

li

hi

i

:opher

K Miller.

Uerek Welsby, Ted Woods.

Jacob Simon of the National Portrait Gallery kindly portrait

different

who have corrected some of my errors

oflfered

an opinion of die

lent to the exhibition

by

Mr

Copyrighted material

PREFACE

and Mrs Simon Young. UruceTate faciliuted

11

admire (he liankes obelisk.

a crip to

Tom Hanlwick chased seveml dusiTC items of bibliography. I am exoemely gntefiil to Whit6eld DiflSe, a noted modern

cryptognpher,

and Mary Fischer for contributing a masterly summary of decipherment and

of the Memphis

cryptography, and to Robert S. Simpson for his recent translation

Decn'f. I

.iR'

li.iiikN

above

t)\vcki

to

ail

W,V. Djvics for conceiving, enabling and

supporting the project, and for generously providing

money from Departmental

funds to subsidise the colour plates. Within the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, Caiol Andrews,

and

assistance

been

inv.ilu.iMf.

Thornc nicntal

jdlm

exhibition

Stone

graphics

and limia

skiilx

has been

An

been

much

the

of which has

all

debt

Museum

was surprised

killed

ui

bed and

Indian police 42.Ani. 7.2.

attempts to recover the lives of ordinary- individunU from most of society' must compriM.' archaeological investigations. Archaeological data can be as eloquent as

any

text,

and. as the EgV'ptoiogist John Uaincs has noted, archaeolog\' and writing

'complement each

other's silences'.-

measure of dialogue with the dead

While is

it is

impossible to travel to the past, a

possible. In

countering the constraints

imposed by the passage of time, rigorous scholarship and archaeology' only effective

tools.

Reading

texts

over the shoulders of the dead, as

among the most immediate ways of entering such The

world's writing systems are

takes writing for granted,

means by the Sysims

is 'a

and

is

a w.iy that

it

less

(fig.

1)

is

by Peter Daniels

permanent marks used

can be recovered more or

intervention of the utterer'.' Writing picture writing

varied. Tlie reader

of

surprisingly difficult to specify

tern). The definition oflered

system of more or

ance in such

numerous and it

is

it

are the

were,

is

a dialogue.

in Tlu-

this

book

what one

llvrWs

IVriiiitg

to represent an utter-

less

exactly without the

bound up with

language, and thus

not true writing, even though information can be

Cl

a.Ut'ial

14

CRACKING CODES

recorded with pictures, and writing can encode extra-iinguistic Pictine

wridi^

is

often assumed to be a univeisal

thought to be the origin of aO writing and even of language

means of sign language. ventions, as

It is,

nuclear waste

mnemonic device that

itself bounded

when

realized

form of pictun•^

the

sites in

nuUennia/ Picture

tuture

however,

Thomas Scbcok

wri[ini»,

such

iiiiui

uution.

phenomenon, and was once

by

itscdf,

tluough the

local interpretative

con-

asked to devise a warning about uniKi

ili.it

as (..entra)

can prompt the reader to

be read precisely

still

American picture codices,

remember a

narrative, but it

in

is

a

can

never record the exact phrasing of die original nanadve.'

The

pictorial nature

the fact that writing differ

of some

relies

scripts,

immensely. T he impact of wTiting on societies and

nieinor\'

and expression

poses, as

much

as they

world

best writing system, but this as

llif 7f/i»)i/'/i of

tlif

is

how

it

shapes LiikutMl

discussed in anthropology: ditferem

of what can be written and for what pur-

have different shapes of script.

modem

alphabet in the

much

are topics

societies have different conventions

such

such as Egyptian hietog^hic, di^iuises

on langui^. Written language and spoken language

finnniis

The prominence of the

the assumption diat

not the case, even

it is

inherendy the

thou^ many studies, with tides

have presented the history of writing

Alplhihct.

as

an

evolution towards this modern, primarily Western, ideal. This evolutionary model

can surest that the birth of writing was a single event, and

maintained that

all

forms of early

Far East was ceivable,

it

a result

l

has sometimes been East were derived

that the appearance

ontacts with the

Near

East.

of writing in the

While

this is

highly unlikely. Tiic existoiiLe of independent writing

is

America was

of cultuml

it

Near

script in the ancient

fiom a sin^e 'discovery' or 'invention', and

pii

v

imislv LOiiMdereil uru

crt.iiii

.ind

its

systems t.iken to he pu ture

writmg, but the recent decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphs has shown that true writing system,

di&rent

parts

due to the

con-

in C'entral

it is

a

and thus that writing has indeed independendy arisen in

of the worid. The predominance, or 'triumph*, of the alphabet b

cultural fortunes

of the usen of alphabetic

scripts radier

than to die

inherent superiority of the system.

'AMONG THE RUINED LANGUAGES' The

pictorial allure

of hieroglyphs was fidt by contemporary

cultures throughout

Egyptian history, as can be seen in Egyptianiring arte&cts with pseudo-hieio^yphs

fiom the Near

East. Hieroglyphs

alsci

the empire of Meroe. and possibK argtiablv a distant .uu estor

inspired .ilso

of the imHicrn

an

essentially

alphabedc script in

the I'roto-SHi.iitic script,

.ilph.ibct.

The

l-.gx

ptiaii script,

which

is

however,

remained intimately bound up with Lg\ptian culture; unhke contemporaneous

cuneiform

scripts,

Egyptian hieroglyphs were never used outside Egyptian

dependencies.*

The Hellenistic Hermetic that

was probably written

overcome: "Then completely

filled

this

tractate Asdepius describes, in

an apocalyptic section

how the former glory of Egypt would be land, home of shrines and temples, will be

in Egypt,

most sacred

with tombs and dead things.

O Egypt, Egypt, of your religions

DECIPHERINt. THE IIOSETTA STONE

15

only fables will sumve. unbelievable to posterity, and only words will survive

on stones

inscribed

your pious accomplishments."

that narrate

came

'words inscribed on stones' later unintelligible. The

of it

Hermetic

and probably copied

in

ad

c.

^T^^).

almost disappeared from use. The

could

still

on

obelisks erected in

who

Antinous.

fS^^m

ar^'

chapel

Pincio

At

priest

(fig. 2).'*

Its

it

a

is

now

at

funerary

.in

stela.

inscription

scripts

on temple

was

walls

and by the time

its

whose use was

become Eg^^pt,

and

gradu,'illy

subsumed

ilif

last

wj»

E|;yptun obclUk. rrrcicd by n--itvi'itJ in lUc ginlvin

MiHiif PiniHo in 1S22,

of

vmw iiunitlH iftet

in

other cul-

its

distinctive religious

and hmerar>'

practices.

it

had

The hos-

images of Eg^'pt in the Bible compounded the indecipherable

survived The

floNsxring

its last

became synonymous with hidden

impenetrable mysteries. Accounts ot hieroglyphs by

2

restricted to

increasingly cut ofT

repute had arrived in the West,

repute of hieroglyphs, which

H.idri.iii. Ii

is

irrevocably associated with oriental and antique mystique, in

part through

Fit;.

lector

who

Nevertheless, the hiero-

Italy.

and languages of

a

however, was

in the third centurv' ad.

Pharaonic Eg>'ptian culture was

tile

itself,

Monte

in classical

called I'etchorncbkhem,

The

temples and similar monuments, had

from the living

composed

Egyptian, and coiueiv.ibly hy

Akhmim.

probably carved onto the obelisk in

become

memory of

g,miens of the

in the

skilfully

is

gK-phic script, which was a sacred sj-stem

tures,

had

rwo centuries ad

first

such as that of Hadrian in

Italy,

inscribed text

of the temple

known from

emperors of the

and

portion

died in ad 130. This was prob.ibly placed in a mortu-

Egyptian, almost certainly by

' ''^

a

Nag Hammadi

at

inscriptions, not only in the Egyptian heart-

Koine, where

at

discovered

library'

this period, the hicroi;K-phic script

Roman

commission hieroglyphic

land, but also

and

tractate survives in a Latin translation,

Coptic version in the Gnostic

also in a

Ironically, the

to indicate something mysterious

the

into

European

Kenaissance; these

emphasized the symbolic pictorial nature of the

script

-

its

classical

.ind

authors

understandably

most

aspect for people accustomed to an alphabet - and they conveyrd

distinctive

little

under-

standing of how hieroglyphs were read linguistically. Kenaissance tradition con-

Chaiijpollion'4 decipherment. Courtesy J.

G;i(heKole.

tinued to present each sign as an emblem, and elaborated on the neo-Platonic description of Plotiiuis (thml century ad).

It

considered hieroglyphs to be a

writing s>'stcm that recorded pure things and ideas without the confusion of dif-

forming the

ferent languages, thus

Thomas Browne's These

classical

*a

of the confusion of Babel'

a direct result

Cireco-Koman Period,

sensual presence

of the Egyptians' tendency, particularly

to foreground the script's figurative nature as

of the greatest imaginable

intensit\''.''

manuscript containing the HivroiilyphUs of the EaypUiw. 1

41 9.

The

first

part

of

this

century

.ad.'" Its

An

HorafHillo

intluential (Ireek

was recovered

in

emblematic-style treatise was prob,ibly composed in

Alexandria by a Hellenized Egyptian philosopher fit"th

in

and European interpretations were not due to simple mis-

understanding, but were in the

'best evasion

words.

who

lived at the

end of the

account seems to be based in part on native Egyptian

Cc

lists

a.crial

of hieroglyphic,

hieratic

Akhmim, which

or

and demotic

signs,

probably txoin libraries

at

Alexandria

inchided exphiuttoty and often theological grosses," Thus

the Renaissance view of hieroglyphs was part of a continuous tradition of recep-

Period. This system, with

not be scon

but

as

the

last

elaboration

its

\ i'stii:cs

w

oi a

t

on the

ittiMi

SLript's

symbolic aspects, should

tradition sinknig into ohst iiiaiuism,

ensured

lailiei a liiMl llowtriiii,' ol initik-ctuai sophiiiticacioii that

tion's survival

From

Grcco-Roman

writing system of the

tion, originating in the hieroglyphic

by captivating the imagination of Euiopc in

tile

tradi-

later centuries.

the Renaissance on, attempts at decipherment involved a process

of

explaining the mystical significance of hieroglyphs radier than trying to read thcin. In his study

one

ot the

most

of the obelisk now

in the Piazza

monuments

accessible Eg\'pcian

Minerva

riddles answered'.

He

Rome

in

(1667),

at the time, tlie Jesuit antic)uar-

ian Aclunasius Kircher (1602-80) claimed that 'the Sphnix

h.Ls

been

killed,

interpreted die cartouche containing simply the

of King Apries (589-570 bc)

as follows:

The

her

name

protection of Osiris against die

violence oflypho must be elicited according to the proper rites and ceremonies

by

sacrifices

and by appeal to the

tutelar^'

Genii of the

world, in order to

triple

ensure the en joyment of the prosperirv' customarily given by the Nile against the

violence of the

enemy Typho.

attracted derision, iitteiest in

by

his puUications,

Christian Egypt and

The

onic Egypt.

'

Although

Kirclier's

readings subsequendy

and knowledge of Egyptian matters was stimulated

which included much work on Coptic die language of now known to be the descendent of the language of i^iara-

relevance of Coptic to the hierogl^'phic script was, however,

imdcrestimated. since

intormatu^n

'

it

was believed hieroglvphs could not record

of dreams,

(l()y8-177'>), dismissed Kircher's attempts as iieo-Platonic sliadows

and argued

linguistic

1741 the bishop ot (doucester. William W'arbiirton

In

directly.

hiero^yphs were not ways of concealing mysteries

(correctly) that

fiom the vulgar masses; but

his

pubUcations offered Utde practical pnigiess

towards decipherment.

By

the early eii'hceeiirli fenrurv neo-I'latonism

although reverence for circles (as

tiie

the hiero^yphs

came

masonic

remove fundamental miscoiueptions first

significant

as a 'language

of dung$' had a new

and C^hinese writing systems were explored

.iboiit

known fiom

the two. and

in the 17()iK

coin legends. In

17fil

might contain

pos-

script

was

that

of I'ahnyrenc,

the church £idiets to be similar to

Syriac'^ In 1756 accurate copies of paired inscripdom in Greek .allowing

as

the venpt.

decipherment of an ancient

the language of which was

were published,

appeal.

been bv Knelier. but the^e investigations did Utdc to

sible parallels, as thev liad

tions

in

to be identified with Nature, and dius appealed also to

pictorially based Aztec

The

intlueiuial.

be strong

seen in Mozart's Die Zauberflaie of 1791). The 'mysteries' encoded by

Enlightenment scholars: hieroglyphs

The

was no loi^r so

intluence of Eg>pt continued to

and Palmyrene

Abbe Jean-Jacques Barthelemy (1716-^3) he

-dso

deciphered Phoenician on the

he sLiggested that the oval cartouches royal

names, many ot which were

in

to correlate

basis (if bilingual

Eg\ptian inscrip-

known from

classical

DECIPHERING THE ROSETTA STONE

17

authors, a suggescion that wis tund.uiieiu.il to later progress. Cuiieitorui writing

had been known since tlw (Uscovery of

Persepolis in the early seventeenth

fiom Penepolis and

century. G.F. Giotefend (1775-1853) studied inscriptions

made

the plausible assumption diat certain names

would occur

known the

in

Miins. u!)i
ptian

campaign of Napoleon (179H-lii01)"' marks the turning point in die modern history

of ancient Egypt. As weU

Ottoman

rule in Egypt,

of the Enlightenment

Napoleon

a

it

as the

can^gn's

political objectives

had symbolic overtones since

country that was supposedly the origin of

himsclt' bad adopted the

bee

as a

agauut

cdonized in die name

it

personal heraldic

all

emblem,

wisdom. instead

of

the French royal tleur-dc-lys, because the bee was a hieroglypliic symbol for 'ruler^

according to

classical audicns.'^

The French occupation of Egypt began

in July 1798,

was accompanied by a body of scientiiti, scholars and 151 persons. Their

tim de

Vl^gjfptt.

country and

its

work culminated

natural history,

between 1809 and 1828." The record,

in the magnificent

whoso volumes included

and aldiougb

it

Desaip^

now vdued

its

modern

state

of the

of topics

principally as a visual

attempts to analyse

savants' inability to read

numbering

in that order

many more inscriptions

previously avaihble to European scholars,

were hampered by the

is

initiaUy

and monumental Dcsaip-

antiquities, the

and were published

provided access to

and die invading force

artists,

than had been its

discoveries

hieio^yphs. This inability pie-

vented them, for example, fiom distinguishing between temples and palaces, as

Copyrighted material

D E CI H I'

Fig. i

The Ros«tj S«one (CA

bottom

lett

corner h»i been

thou' (he darkened

24)

left

The

mi at the

unconver\ed to

wax and while

well as causing

them

traditions,

and

of its society

is

dominated by the

as ruled absolutely

scientific truth rather

RIN

i;

KO

THIi

S

Greco-Roman temples of Philae

to date the

Tlie image of Egy pt presented in the text

inAlt.

F.

ideas

wlumes

is

idealistic,

than theologians.

ot

its

TTA

to

as a cult

STUNK

2500

drawing on

of Egyptian religion

by a wise king, and

r.

19

bc.''*

classical

of Nature,

priests as seekers after

One consequence of the

publication was

the unleashing of a tide of Egyptomania in European art and design.

REVEALING THE ROSETTA STONE: DISCOVERY, PUBLICATION AND DISPLAY As

a result

of the French campaign,

a

new

piece of evidence concerning the

nature of hieroglyphs was discovered in 1799.

was quickly recognized

.is

'a

most valuable

yet discovered link ot the Egyptian to the

The Ro&etta Stone

relic

of antiquity, the

known

languages'.-^'

(fig.

3, pi. 1)

feeble but only

and has become

perhaps 'the most famous piece of rock in the world"."' To pbce

its

discovery in

context, the same year wittiessed Beethoven's Graiule soiutw piuUeiiqut, and the

following year the appearance of Coleridge atid Wordsworth's Lyriail BiiUads, Maithiis' Bssay on the Fijj.

4

A

view of the interior of Fort St Julien

R>nett.i, the site

CouncN)- M.

at

of the Ro>iMl.i Siihu-s dium'erx'.

l*riiiciplis

of Population and the posthumous publication of

William Jones' Discourse (cited above).

The Stone

tiicrbricr.

75.7

cm wide

is

an irregularly shaped slab of

and 2S.4

cm

thick;

its

weight

is

a

dark hard rock, 112..^

estimated

at

cm

tall,

762 kg. The discovery

laterlal

20 CRACKING CODES

was made

second

in inid-Juiy, shortly before the

PuUished accounts of its

battle ot

but

early history vary in details,

found during works on the defences

at

it

Abuqir on 25

July.

seems to have been

Fort St Julien on the west bank of die

when an

Nile, at the sniaQ port

was .appointed is

said that

to

be prefect of Isere when he returned to FnuKe

he told

t.iles

in 1801,

and

it

of Egypt to the ten-year-old Champollion. A copy of the

CcunicT report of the Stone s discosrry reached Champollion's elder brother and life-long mentor, Jacques Joseph (1778-1867) in 1802. followed

Stone

itself

two

years later.

The

by

a

print

elder C^hampollion presented a paper

Rosetta Stone that year to the Societe des Sciences

et

of the

on the

Arts de Grenoble, and he

advised Jean- Francois that if he was intea-sted in hieroglyphs, he should study the inscription.

At the age of sixteen the yoimger Champollion presented

the Grenoble

Academie ai^iing

that

a

paper to

Coptic was the langtiage of ancient Egypt,

a

belief that, although not original, laid the foundation of his later achievements. In

1807 the two brothers

left

for Paris; the

younger studied Arabic under

DECIPHERING THE

— -•

Silvcstn:

dc Sacy and acquired

STONK

R 11 S E T T A

with

a full fainiliaritv'

all

the lan-

guage^i considered relevant to Egyptian, including Sanskrit

Chinese.

He

was also taught Coptic by a Coptic

was nineteen he had been awarded

'

Grenoble together with

his brother,

the necessary paper making

him

a chair at the University

doctor

a

of

hinisclf signed

in lSrt9.

Champollion wrote to the Royal

In 1814

and

Before he

priest.

and Napoleon

33

whose For-

Society,

eign Secretary was Young, starting a correspondence that continued

Youngs

until

in the Drsaiptioii,

requested a

were

tions

activities

wrote that he had only an engraving of

the English Royal Society, and the French copy

and since these differed

cast. Ditficultics

a persistent

was

in

problem, and epigraphy

checkmg

some

like

two or

three months.'^"*

The

you

sieur, that

you, to

it

If

te.xt.

1

been

first."'

'

It

mKh I

*3

'Jk

'He

;

,

is

discoveries too

I

In another letter, Silvestre

sympathies had done him

dc Sacy used the word

Champollion

little

pirp*rjtion for thr publu anon 'Grnmctru-al cirv'anon ot

.in

obelisk t'mm I'hiloc

H. 18.3 cm. From die Uankn MSS. Lacy.

By kind

\sif\'.

\

in

Napoleonist

s

honour. Again he warned,

prone to playing the role of a jackdaw

in

The need

for further bilingual inscriptions

borrowed pea-

and supplementary

keys in order to advance decipherment was keenly nude

much

could happen that he might then claim to

cocks plumes.''"

'



obcliik,

Mon-

a great part

had one piece of advice to give

'charlatanism', as well as noting that political

have only

1

think.

'i

and you read

would be to not communicate your

M. Champollion.

ha%-e

*P

are further forward today,

of the Egyptian

at least

d»wii)g of the Ujnko

have not yet

'I

following year Silvestre de

wrote to Young:

Sacy, disillusioned with his pupil,

A

other scholarly

the passages Champollion requested, and

phrases in his letter suggest a certain rcscrvr:

for

he

of nationalistic competition. Young

had time to skim through your interesting work, w-hich

had

Hg. 13

respects,

over the accuracy of copies of inscrip-

a potential object

obliged only by

some

i

He

death.''''

made by

the Stone

the collectors

who

was discovered

were working

at Philae

in

Egypt

by the British

(sec cat. 10),

dilettante, antiquarian

H2\.

Uyron, William John Bankes

(1

and

7S(>-18.S5).

felt

by several of

in IS 15

an obelisk

and close friend of

At Young's request he had copied

Kin)$.lon

permi-siion ot'thr National TruM.

many

inscriptions

on

through Egypt, and he had the

his travels

brought to England,

where

Rosftta en route). ^'

The

it

(tig.

13)

is

Ptolemy Vlll Euergertes

II

and the

priests

official

correspondence between

of Isis on Philae

in

124 Bc concerning

exemption. Bankes. Young and the English collector and consul

Henry

Salt (178(>-1827)

sent the

same

text, thus

were mistaken,

as

in Eg\'pt

considered that the hieroglyphs and Greek must repreproviding another potential bilingual key. In

this

they

Clhampollion recognized, but Bankes correcdy supposed that

cartouche on the obelisk should write the

Ptolemy VIII,

of

inscribed with hieroglyphs, but on

the base are Greek inscriptions that record

ta.\

monument

arrived in 1821 (after p.issing through the port

obelisk

who

was mentioned

in the

name of Cleopatra

III,

the

a

queen of

Greek, although he was unable to read

laterial

34 CRACKING CODES

the individual si^ns.

Tim

Young

idcniiticacioii rL-iiuiiicd uiipublislicd, .lUiiough

adopted and used it; in 1821. however, Bankes issu«d a publication of the obehsk,

and in some copies he added in pend) die name 'Oeopatia* beside the cartouche.

The presumed

Wellington hid It U'js finally

a

foundation stone for

two

it

at

relevant

a brief

inscriptions generated

second Rosetti Stone. In

as a

erected in 1H39, but

being conumlted for

of the

bilingual natuie

period of fome for the obelisk

Kingston Lat\.

1

S27 the Duke of Dorset

B.uikL-s

years later iiaiikes tied troni

estate.

England

after

for indecency with a guardsman. The inscription

trial

on

the pedestal impUcidy and discreetly mamtains Bankes' andYoung'k assertion diat

monument was a

the

bilingual text. The obelisk can stiU

be seen in the grounds

of Kingston Lacy; considerably eroded by the English weather and overlooked by the rtuighly contetnpor.ineous Iron Age-

remarkably

at

home among

the decipliernient,

its

role

ot'H.uibury Rings, but looking

hill tort

the swallows and cedars. Like

now

is

many

protagoimcs in

largely forgotten (pi. 7).

In France Champollion^ poHdcal sympathies for Napoleon had caused

be deprived of his post in Grenoble, and he arrived in with

his brother,

two

he

C

hanipollioii rc.ul his

Academie des

tjjj'pticns' to the

years earlier,

who

Aradi'iiiii- ilcs Inscriptions et Belles Lettres in

Despite hi^ precarious situation.

written

him

still

"He

to

in July 1S21 to live

then secretary to Baron Joseph Dacier (1742-1833),

perpetual secn'tarv of the

des anciens

Piiris

was

Paris.

I'ecriture hieratique

Inscriptions. In this paper, actually

held that hieroglyphs were exclusively symboUc

and logographic, a published view

that later English critics asserted

he had subse-

quently attended to suppress. The paper; however, established that die hieratic script

found on papyri was

was consequently enlarged.

on

also a

Deceniber IK21 he compared the number of signs

In

number of Greek words

the Rosetta Stone with the

tively),

and showed that the

fimn of hiemglyphs, and the corpus of texts

script

and 486 respec-

(1.41

could not be pua-ly logographic, with a single

picture representing each word.

By

this date

Young had proposed

a set

of alphabetic

names of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, publishing the

Hr(i')'(7ii;>.ici/fi/

Brinintiiui (4th edition) in

m

(he liankes obelisk reached Champollion

conclusion as

Young about

Clec^tn. From cient for

him

diese

was

later

Suf^ement

Roman

to

copy of the inscriptions on

1822 and he arrived

at the

same

the alphabetic signs in the names Ptolemy and

names he had fourteen alphabetic signs, vi^iich were

also

the obelisk. In the case of the

\v

on

is

b

I'-ed,

he progressed.

as

It

without acknowledgetheory about the

liaiikes pencilled

latter,

suffi-

members of the Ptolemaic

emperors, expanding the alphabet

claimed that ChampoUion's work

ment, on Young's published work, and

name on

A

to decipher die cartouches of other

Dynasty and of the

signs used to write the

these findings in the

ISl'J.

however, there

is

no

definite evi-

dence that ChampoOioa saw a copy of the obelisk^ inscriptions widi Bankes* pencil annotations,'^

on the copy

ahhou^

Salt subsequently

sent to the French Institute in Paris

claimed that they were present

which Champollion did

("hampollion's insight about the nature ot the hicroglvphic script

presented as an almost mythical event, as a

moment

ot

superhuman

sec. is

often

a-veiation.

Uopyiiyhioo

inaieiial

OECIPHBRINC THE ROSETTA STONB SS

On

4 September

1

1

S22 he received copies of

Abu Simb«l which had been

Nkdas Huyot

de Triomidie, Jean

inscriptions

(1780-1840),

who had been

Bankes* party.^ These included die cartouche sflP

two

final

signs

read

bi-

from [he

.k

.i'-

Ke'se^,

the tetnplc of

of the Arc

at the site

word

the

l

for sun. in C'optii:

suL'gcstiiig the

iiist.intl\

with

Champo liop could read the

.

knowledge of Coptic suggeMcd

as SS, atld his

I'P

sli.ipcd sign niit^ht represent

could

firoin

sent by a travelling friend, the architect

nn j]

counts ot the Greek hhtonan M.inetiio

.is

th.u the

sun-

hence the n.ime

ir:

ii.une K^anises t.nnduir

Kainesni. ChanipoUion's

reading of the cartouche was subttandaUy correct, although he beUeved that each

phonetic sign lepresented one consonant (taking

whereas some signs

as m),

A

were subsequendy recognized to represent more than one (A

Another sheet fmin Huyot had a instead

of the sun-disk,

the animal of the this

similar

contained an

it

group of

which

ibis

cartouche could be read Thotnics, another

Fn»n

these

was predominantly phonetic, but was used to write

room

native

sources described as

affaire!')

name

preserved by the Greek

names Champollion

realized diat the script

More

importantly,

it

names from the pharaonic period, and so could have

nephew Ainie

in the

same manner. According

to the

Champollioii-Fige.ic. he rushed to his brother's

on the afternoon of the same

in the Institut

dens tnon

classical

also included logograms.

been used to write the Egxprian lant;uage his

ffu).

god Thoth. By comparison with the cartouche of Ramses,

historians as TbulhmSsis.

account of

actually being

signs in a cartouche, but,

day, cried "I've

done

it'

jc

(

and collapsed in a dead &int lasting five days.^

ChampoUion's &nous

report, die

UttK

i

M.

Dacier (fig» 14-16),

was read

at

the Academie des Inscriptions ct Belles Lettres in Paris on Friday 27 September 1822, a romantically dark and rainy day, in

a

romantically ev-entful year that saw

declarations of independence in Greece (troni the ("Ottoman Fmpire) and in Brazil (from Portugal). Bankes'

£ot the present buildings

Smirl».The Lettn is text

Byron was writing LXw Juan and the plans

tiriend

of the British

oflScially

Museum were being drawn up by Robert

dated 22 September to match the day on which

its

was completed. In the report Champollion described the alphabet which to write non-Egyptian names, and in the

was used announced

that he

earlier "pure hieroglyphic writing'.

Young, whose

conduding pages he

was certain that the phonetic signs were an integral part of

initial

reaction

is

Among

die select audience was

recorded in a

letter

Thomas

written to Sir William

Hamilton on the Sunday after the reading: I

have found here, or rather recovered, Mr. Champollion, jimior, who has been

living for these ten years

been making some gigantic. It

may be

gate for him, and first

on

the Inscription of Rosetta, and

said that it is

he found the key

it;

not the

in

often observed that c'at

step diat costs the effort]: but if he did

was so dreadfiiUy rusty, that no turn

who has lately

steps in F.gypti.in literature, whicli really appear to

be

England which has opened the

k premier pas qui coutc

borrow an EngjUsh

|it's

the

key, the lock

common arm would have strength enough to

and, in a path so beset with thorns, and so enctunbeied with rubbish, first

step only, but every step, is painfully laborious; especially

such as

Copyrighted matBrial

}6

CRACKING CODES

are retrograde;

I.ETTRK

A

make

few

a

conjectures

M. DAClEiV,

and such

false steps

become confirmed by

made more You

lour

mi rt nu.

rest.

I

should

feel

were

ever so

and of a person

too,

(now

who

|i.e.

.\f.

h

A Jcdiduon on

copy of the Lrnrt

i

Diincf written in liien^lyphs

lJubois'),

.IS

recorded

dr.iu^)t\ni.iii. Lt'iin

(17HO-lK4f>).Th«

'

by

Kf*-

I'M'*),

and

success: niy

versed in the

gracious, but underlying

is

many of Champollion's 'ingenious*

letters

much more

so

claims

would be proved

it

is

his

flilse.

continued between the two. with Chanipollion asking in for the use of Bankes'

in the British

Museum).

In

copy of the Abydos king

March

182.^,

He

however, a

list

of Ramses

ChampoUion wrote

review of the

also protested:

'I

lu-nrc a

II

in

M. Dodet

find in the

same

llion.

m i note hy the

Jean JoMrph I>ubiii%

t i>)iy

is

wai Ulcr owned h) the

now

in the

Hg\'pti.iii Aiiiiquiiici, Uriiith 1 1,

the victim of the bad

Mr. Champollioti s

('lo iny- friend

eminent English Efiyptolopst Percy

that

title

have only

I

in Hieroglyphka} Litemturc ivul Eiiypu.v< AmiqiiitifF Incluilin'; the Aiiilun'f

Alphiihcl

()ri{;i)h)l

of an alphabet which

original audior

tin-

i

i'siilt

apparent

it

a spirit

uf great

wdl as national competition."

personal as

In September of die same year Ysung announced to the daiddst SirTX^lliam Gell (1777-1836) that his planned series of volumes w.is costing

second

him too much

fascicule,

continue the

and

alter thai

was

rc

tfi.

He commented:

series'.

iu>ttiiiig

C^hainpoUion

not sufir anything of material consequence to be have that

now

If

it

at

tliiit

time

to display

is

much

doing so

lost.

that lie will

For these duee reasons

He

did,

I

however; note

I littiv slated,

and he

aihiwwlciii;cd the receipt

the precise dates than

more parade than

I

have done

the thing required, or to have

shown too much hostility to Chanipollion« to whom I would nthcr something that is

in file

'of sutiicient tinportaiKc to

major discovery:

more emphasis on

In have placed

would have been

his

ChampoUioii. as

to

inscriptions

was to be puhhslu'd

Egyptian studies as amdiukd'^

he had communicated

/ sciif 0/

my

considered

of hieroglyphic

moiic\-.TIu- Rosotra Stone

give

up

my r^t, than take fiom him anythii^ that ought to be

his."

Yount^ died on 10

May

1S2'>,

death bod. His memorial the obscurit)

The

which had

decipherment.

still

woildi^ on demotic matters on

his

penetrated

first

veiled for ages the hieroglyphics of Eg>*pt\

was published

in 1824. The Pnfeu

script,

The publicadon was

hinted

stt

in

systime kUr^^Yphifue

M. Qum^Uoit k jtvm macks

anciens ^ypiiens par

des in

Lettie,

and was

Westminster Abbev records that 'he

of die nature of die hieroglyphic

full tealizatitNi

ChampoUion's

111

the decisive step

presented to Louis XVIII in person on

2y March, and the fame attendant on the iJecipherinent restored Chanipollioii to with the authorities.

political respectability

A

later edition,

1828, included the description of 'decerminadve* signs:

which followed

in

ChampolUon^ study of

the Dendera zodiac, which had been dii^layed in the Louvie since 1822, showed that

some

signs

were pictures indicating the category of the preceding words,

and Egyptologists

still

use the term he coined, 'determinatives'.

In the sprint; of 1824. before settini» out for brierty to

England with

his

only time that the decipherer gazed on the Stone

of the inscripdon.The

visit,

however, is not

Egyptologists have doubted that

it

Champollion

System «^ Hk-nylyphics hy Ihiny

itself, as

travelled It

was the

opposed to the copies

wdl documented, and some

English

ewer actuafly took f^ce.^'

hi 1825 there appeared an Esuty

ment on

Italy.

brother and visited the British Museum.' "

.Sit//

inscriptions in the British

011

This

DnYbut^i and M. Omh); was

a test

Museum, and

;

>'/.

v

'
posed neu decipherit

convinced

Salt

of its

validity.

Copyrighted material

DECIPHERING THE aoSETTA STONE 39

He noted

ih.it

conceiving

it

there was

'a

very decided prejudice against the phonetic system, as

on too

to be founded

asscfted in strong terms diat Young

and

that

conjectural a

had been the

ChampoUion had fioled to acknowledge

nationality

of ChampoDum were not

likely to

However, he

basis'.''-

He

i»ivc a

still

modern

him to any English schdar.

inspired

give

by

Many

.1

were

also

his letter"

made by

ologist

and

(

all thiii}^

for

one would not

a dirty scoundrel,

and

- hut some unfavourable comments about him

'

Freiu h otlu

,1

supposedly written by

his

iii.aurf .ini)L;ai)ce.

'monopolist' ni

him a copy of an inscription 'because he thought him

would not answer

of

.u ctnints

assessments of his personality are obviously

- 'William John Bankes

antagonism

nationalistic

m

rcider the iinpressitin ot

appears impatient, easily thrown into despair and

Egyptian, but uttedy brilliant.

and the

his debt.Ttie brilliance

endear

His personal character was not admired, and contoiiipor.ineou'^

behaviour can

also

fint to discover the alphabet,

in

i.il

ihampoihon,

Fo pr A

limerick-like

known tmm

is

poem

French,

in

a letter ot the Hritish

Egypt-

John Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875). The poem gives an

traveller

impiession of his abtolute-souiiding tone:

Les Pyranudes,'sans aucun doute*

Qe veux le dire couie ce

qu'il cofite),

Om sept mille ans, quelque chow de phis: Le

[su\

pieuve est dans tm pqiynis.*^

(The pyramids 'without a doubt* (I

will say

it

no matter the

cost)

are seven thousand vears old, or

somewhat older;

the proof IS in a papyrus.)

Champollion

w.is

given to writinjj poerry, and

edly a petition trom

but this

The

Ramses

11

to the

composed

a

witty letter suppos-

modern keepers of his

statues

problematic relationship between 'Vbung and Champollion and their

reactive contribudons demonstrates

how

partial written records ave.

they do not correlate exacdy with events; rewritten the discovery.

posthumously

in

The

letters

many

preface

and

how

partisans have subseqiu tub.

of Young, quoted above, were published

1H55 in an attempt to show that Young had discovered the

Egyptian alphabet' 'several years before C^hampoUion suspected

The

m Turin,^

poem is probably a parody written by Gardner Wilkinson.

makes

this

its

e.xistence'.

prqgranunatic intent dear: 'That Champollion himself,

indeed, shoidd have put fbiward pretensions to that great discovery could excite

no astonishment

in those

who

wxrc u quainted with

his character

.

.

.

the

ingenious but unscrupulous Frenchman', and: 'Throughout the correspondence

we

have carctulK onntted evcr>' cxptXTSsion that might reasonably be supposed to

hurt the feelings of any one; except in the case of ChampoUion

attempts to evaluate the competing dainis to priority are

by delays in the

original publication

scholars, notably

made

.

the

.

more

Modem di£5cult

and dtculation of ideas.The work of French

Michel Dewachter, continues to

clarify'

the process and to

hdp

us to assess the impact of ChampoUion's genius. The churn of Thomas Young, as

Copyrighted material

uiiackiiowlcd^Ld English underdog, has proved intluential with English

ail

historians, especially English

scholan of Egypcian demotic,'^ bat Young can

hardly be given the credit for Champollion's decipherment glyphs,

when he

symbolist

refused to admit

iiitfrpR-tntion'.''*'

of Egyptian hiero-

and remained 'trapped in the

validity

its

Equally. French scholars have

sometimes chanipKinovl

ChampollioiiV claims almost to excess, ("hampollion himself" admitted I

recognise that lYouiig) was the

first

pubhsh some correct

to

ndent wridngi of Egypt; that he also was the distinctiom concerning the general nature

throu^ a

substantial

characters. possibilirv'

first

to establish

correct

comparison of texts, the value of several groups of

used to write foreign proper nanu-v also the

phcmedc value to the

first

m

to try, hut

hierogjlyplu

Hgypt

m

me

on the

his ideas

uhu h would

of the existence of seven! sDinui-sicns,

M.Young was

some

of these writings, by decermining,

even recognise that he jMiMished before

I

in 1M24;

ideas about the

have been

hieroglyphs; finally that

w ithout complete

success, to give a

making up the two names Ptolemy and

Berenice.^

Even

if one

allows that Champollion was

more

work

familiar with Young's initial

than he subsequentis claimed, he remains the decipherer of the hieroglyphic script: as Peter

Young

1

)aniels states, nr.

dLCiplurincnt has to stand or

discovered parts of an alpiiabet - a key

entire lai^uage.

reader should

tall as

a

whole'.

^*

- but Cdiampollion unlocked an

Rather than dwelling on competing national daims, the modern

remember the achievements of die scholars, which rehed on

inter-

national dialogue and cooperation in difficult circumstances.

The

period of decipherment also witnessed the foundation of the great Egy pt-

ian collections outside Egypt.

and collecting

in

m

Egypt

On

1X30

-

Champollion's return to Paris a trip that

contirmed,

'our idphabet is vafid' fnotre alphabet est bonne*) the Louvre.

He died fiom a stroke on 4 IMaich

and three years

He

after

- he was installed as curator at

1832, in the same year as Goethe

Young. His death was probably due

had already completed the sheets of

entrusted to his brother

as his 'c.illing

his

in part to exhaustion.

C.uiiiiiiitiin'

card to posteritv".

I

(;>j)7'.'(ii(.

lis

de.iih

age of tbrty-one has aiided (o the romanticism of his

tively early

travelling

troiii

he wrote to Uacicr.

as

wdi.h he .it

tiie

rela-

role. iJe Sacy,

fuUy reconciled to his former pupil's genius, spoke the funerary eulogy in the

Acaddnie des

inscriptions ct

Bdles

him

Lettres, raising

decipherer of the Sphinx's riddle, the 'new Oedipus'

made which

for himself has'e

):

'few

men

dedicated the

(a

to mythical status as the

claim that Kircher had

have rendered to scholarship services equal to those

name

inan Wilkinson's comments, in

oi C'hampollioii to iniin'pt. While ogy,

it

was not the

Mormon

its

democratic it

taidu

is

now

the oldest

V

shows the

account of the reign of Ptolemy ideals,

continiung an Lnlightenment view of

among the first puUicatiom ofAmerican

first influential

attempt to

'translate*

Egyptian

Egyptol-

texts, since

prophet Joseph Smith Jr had in 1835-44 woiked on three

the

Roman

period funerary papyri, one of which he translated by direct inspiration as the

now III

canonical

.Mormon

scripture. The

Bivk

of Ahriiluini:'^

the decades following Chainpollions death, the Irish cleric

who had

dc-

dpheted Mesopoiamian cuneiftnm, Edward Hincks, continued to advance the decipherment.

and published Letters

He argued correcdy that hieia^^yphs do not contain any vowds, 1847 Ah Attempt toAsartaiH du Number, Namet md Pawea t$ the

in

of the Hk-rofilyphk orAiiciait Egyptum Alpiuibcf Grounded on the

^ a New Priiuiple

in the

Use

(^'Pltrnietic

Ctuuacters.The paper reveals

EsudMshmeM

how

uncertain

Copyrighted material

42

CRACKINC CODES

the exact luuun- oi chc l)K a>glyphic script

Ricfaaid Lepsius (1810-84), MMinr, acceptit^t,

werf bi- and

He

signs.

also

who

still

was

at that

learnt

fiom Champoliion^ posdinmous Ctaiw-

conecting and expanding his system.

rriconsoii.iiual signs,

produced

He

established that dieie

and not metely a multiplicity of alphabetic

seventeen-voliuno

ilu' i;rv,U

period. In general, the

Gennany diou^ the achievements of Cad

lead in £g>'ptolog>' quickly passed to

Ac\;yp(cn

Dt'itkiiiiicler ini


bc:),

cm

and

now

is

liii;h, h.is

in the EgN-ptian

underneath a lunette with a winged sun-disk, but with-

out a figured scene.The demotic text is on the left tldcloieis of the

remained unnoticed

Museum,

the hieniglvphic text and the

at first."

With

this discovery,

stela,

ChampoUion^

where it

faypodieses

could be checked using a hieroglyphic text that had a certainly identified ancient translation; the Tanis stela

better

known

become

is

thus as important

Rosetta Stone; only

now

milestone in E£j\'ptolog\' as the

a

did ChampoUion's decipherment

noc liypothesis.

certainty,

The Berlin school shaped Egyptian centuries, in particular through the

philology for the nineteenth and twendedi

work of

scholars such as

Adolf Erman

(1854-1937) and Kurt Sedie (1869-1934), They laid die systemadc study of the language, together with Francis Battisconibe

The

Gunn

flKK3

" 1

-llyn Griffith



basis for die

(1862-1934),

1950) and Sir Al.ui (...ranur i:iS7M-|W>3) in England.

publication of Gardiiier s Ugyplian Gmiimur: baiiji an hUrodtutioii

of Hicn\^lypbs

was a major

1927, and the third and

step in codificadon, the first

last

lo llw

Study

edidon appearing

in 1957. In terms of language the

in

work of Hans

Jacob Ptdotsky (1905-91) established die ^standard dieory' of Egyptian grammar,

which has aspects

of

recent! classical

.

been modified extensivriy by approaches that Egyptian syntax."" Chamfvollion

ing point of a study which

is still

s

stress

the verbal

achievement was the turn-

prc^rcssing. Eg)ptolog)' has developed into a

Copyrighted material

DECIPHERINC; THE HOSETTA STONE

truly international arena

of collaboration, continuing the

copies of the Kosctta Stone

wxK

which the

spirit in

and has tran&ccnded

circulated,

4J

nationalistic

concerns.

huge range of material, the Rosetta Stone

Althouj;;h Eg>ptolog>' offers a

remains outstanding.

It

is

among

the bcst-know-n inscriptions in the world,

although, given the sacerdotal nature of generally read.

Stone

'tails

The

to fiirnish the student

low of ancient

lore

contents,

its

also

is

it

one of the

least

Philoinatheaii Societ\' report candidly remarked th,u the

had

of history with that amount of information his

anticipated'."*'

tion, to the extent that the

Museum

The Stone

the subject of much fascina-

is

receives occasional letters

still

claiming to have cracked

even

become

has

It

ments;

language

on the (uninscribed) back

inscribed Stone.

from people

code, or to have

unknown

an

discovered

its

ot the

the icon of all decipher-

European

the

Agency

Space

has

planned a mission for 20(J3 to investigate the origin and composition of comets in order to

decipher something of the history of the solar

named

system; this has been

the International

Rosetta Mission. Although the Rosett.i Stone fascinates as a concept,

has feaaired visually

it

few pieces of Eg^ptomania;

in surprisingly

souvenirs, including mouse-mats, T-shirts

paper weights,

nation. The grandest orative

pavement

Fige.ic (fig. 17).

reproduced

at

media of visual dissemi-

monumental

its

artefact

Musce ChampoUion, almost always

is

concept of

and

tcatiircd

in

such Fi(j-

17

The

courtv'anl

of the

Mmce

Ch;inipollion, Fij;cjc. ilrcor^trd uith » rrplica

exhibited in the British ^unt

of the KosctU Skonc. Courcny chr Musec

ChjnipoUioii. Pijscac (jU righc

photaj^nph

b\'

tion."^ in

Museum

its

writing,

in

as

artist

it

it

into

fascination

form but from the

m

the history of

has

occasionally

an etched zinc plate by David Hiscock

1994

commented,

visual

such

Its

more conceptual works of an.

.is

part

which the Stone was transformed into

Uar Code". As the

its

surface, as

and subsuming

importance as

flat

existence as an ancient

the world of Western printing.

comes not from

commem-

perhaps the

The Stone

ignoring

if silently

is

the

black and white

as a

and

of various

as well as replicas

sizes, are its principal

"the

of a contemporary 'a

art

exhibi-

contemporary liiemglyph,

a

connection between our world today

mcrwd:

ChoutilVaucur).

and the ancient Egyptian seems too Stone bridges

this divide.'

It

v.ist

a

gulf to contemplate.

The Rosetta

remains, however, a fragile and uncertain bridge.

laterial

CRACKING CODES

NOTES

16 See H. Lauiem

(New York. 2

l>ilt

rpn

^ClAlUtt

l,tlioil

412-^3.

I''73:.

and Uic

dedhiH el df.

oj

SmmI HtcMuity

,iiul l\ew;Khter

Gillispie

XUmumeuis oj

df

Danick

IVorld's ll 'riiing

.uid

W Uright

Sysiaiu

19

(cds). 77m-

(New York and

n'm"'' (Princeton.

C

feds),

"Description"

.

Ia DeKt^tiffn

19K7). 1-38.

Ti.iiHUTker,'rFi;vpre

de

.intiijiie

in Ljiirci» u< C\'riii;nV< of

Huropt; Asia Mid Africa, n.2: Greta, Egypt and Ihr Htfjy

CimiiimnitalieH (Stanford. 1994], 15-31;

LMif (London. 1814). 239; abo

27 Anhaedogia: or XfiscelUineous Traeis 10 See, t.^,G.Br,t;.,./f..

(Princetot). V)')} [1st edii

BUd sum

I9=;(i|):

Buthsiabcii

-

Hor4ifn>lly);/j'p/jifc,/

Rektiag

to Antiquity

(The Society of

(Abhandliiiijjei) dcr

2K For the other

uitiquiiies,

including the

sarcophagus of Ncctanebo (BA 23), tec J.-J.

nechter,'La pierie de Rosette et

11

1

998. na 3, Stuttgart, 199^.

Dedplicrmeiii:

ri^iii

B (Loudon.

y> A.E.Astin

d al. (cds),

Aucieni History

,

77ic

Camhridgt

vni (2nd edn; Cambridge.

I9e9).25-1.

40 Thompson. Meutphb, 118-19: cf. S-QuifioeiinC^ndRus and S. QuirkcTltf 198^.8,24 n. 30.

antiquitis

{gypdennes pnses par

les auties les

ang^

en 180r, JUE 48 (1997), 283-9; M.

41 For a lecemlisiofdeniotic copies see Simpson. Demolk Gn*mimr(C>xfiNd, 1996), 4-5.

42 InAndiewsandQuiikcTlkeAMffM

Bietbrier."nw acquhition by the %itish

.a'ter

Uutai

iil'icr

SlHir,IO.

SeeChap«er2.

12 Tiansiation I

H^ypl

JJ2 bo-.id 642: From Ale.\Mider

iheAttA Con^uea (London, 1986).

Rcfetta Stone: Facsimile Drawii^ (London,

Antiquaries ofLondon) 16 (1812), 212-14.

Sozialwisscmchafdichen Klasse

GetitcrN- iind

JahrgAng

to

twi

sum BM: von dnAfbal an

fihffb'Mkfr

die llianiolis

Bowman,

27f)-9. cited below.

quuution fiom 26.

H.-J.TIiifien,

see, c.g.,

DJ.Tboinpson, Memplm imder iht Piokmia (Princeton. I*)«8);A.K.

Aitthwei:em fmHmeMimr Edhim (Munich,

^

Audeni Egypt (London and New%tfc,

38 For 24 Gi]]iipieandDewadner.MHH«imii^

Dorch.Hii. Lf Awiierolv'fc/i/r iHn^sels,

1987); A.

18^. VI, 434-5; quoted: C Lagiei; yteftwr dir la pfant

tfRme (Copenlugen, 1968), 161-73;

(Paris,

M.

Pope. Tlic SlorYof

l^i;ypiuiii I

licro^lyftm le

Museum of antiquities discu\'eted during

43 Sce,e.g.,R.

the French invasion of Eg)'pt" (in press).

Amiquilr ^Vinceton, 1993);J.H. Juhnsun

B.l.mi.lll. /:\i)7'r

rrr

L^ina Midtiadtimt Sedetf: ^gypifitm c.jtuhy.fi CoittlMttiiK Md Btyond ,SAOC

(ed.),

l975).3l-2.

29 H.Whi(ehouse.in K. Eusucc

(ed.),

i,
ind oHuial cotitexts

\v,is

,itin

I

law. dlthougii

possibly forty languages

tli.it

New Kmgdoni and

use increased in the tourth century ad, while Aramaic had been

Its

the official language of the foreign administration during the period of Persian

domination (525-404 bc). Otfaen such as Carian weie limited to specific ethnic groups.

Of the

on the Rosetti Stone, demotic

three scripts

and the one

smallest proportion of Eg\'ptologi5ts

die extent that

it

was consiscendy referred to

documentary), although

of decipherment Here lies

the one studied by the

concentrate

on the

puhiic (to

'demonic' in a recent television

provided ttaat of die eaiSest toccettes

it

I

as

is

least familiar to the

m the pmcess

hieniig^yphic system since

uoder-

it

the demotic.^

THE The

ECJYl'TIAN LANCUACIE

pictorial nature

of the hieroglyphic

script tends to stand in the

izing that the script writes a language. Just as

ment

until

Champdlion

himself.

Even

after

it

way

ot real-

obscured the way to decipher-

1824 eady scholars were

initially

uncertain whether a 'hieroglyphic dicdonary' should be ordered by sign or by

phonetic value, whereas needed,

a

ut sii^ns

list

by the signs, .md

The

Roseiia

tl-K-n

.Sioiu-

is

it

.1

is

iln ,i

now

.iiiows

tii.u

obvious that two different reference works are

one to read and (ranslitente die woids written

tunKirv ot the l.inguage.

moiiumeiital vestige of the

of the Egyptian language

diat can

later stages

earlier.^

The Egyptian language belongs to

known

a

long history

as

years

the Afio-Asiatic language fiunily (abo

Hamito-Semitic), which spreads geographically over northern

the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia. Brant In Eg\'ptian. Semitic. C ushitic. Oinotic. lierber closest

m

be traced back up to duee thousand

and

s

nf

tlie

Afirica,

family include

C hadic. Lin.ptian

shows the

connections with Beja (Northern C'ushitic), Semitic and lierber. Attempts

to trace underlying 'super-^milies' of languages that would, for example, link Afio-Asiatic

and Indo-Euiopean are highly speculatne, because they uwohre a

vast time-depth cive

method

be pro\eii

and a paucity of nmilar leacnies to

(referred to earlier) breaks

in the

Egyptian

attested in written

form around 330U bc, and survived

spoken language until the fifieenth century ad;

giiage can

be

compaia-

same way.

is first

language in die

that die cttabMshcd

down and 'genetic' idationships cannot

it is still

as a

used as a liturgical

Copdc chuich. In this recorded spm two major st^es of die lan-

identified: Early

(down

to the

known

to Egyptologists as

^yptian (down to 1300 bc) and Later Egyptian

Middle Ages). Early Egyptian comprises the consecutive

Old Egyptian and Middle

stages

(or classical) Egyptian.

Copyrighted matsrial

48 CRACKING CODES

New

Later Egyptian comprises

(or Late) Egyptian,

then demotic, and

tinally

Coptic, which was the key to the decipherment of die eazlier stages of die hagfisige,

although

idadonship to the language of hieio^yphs was long

its

unvecogfiized. 'Copdc* is a

bom

mately

modem tenn, derived fiom the Arabic qiAti, and uhi-

the Greek aiguptm.

of Christian

Ein, pt; in this

Hi^. [ni.m'. It

lefen to die language and cultine

period the language was written in a modified form

of the Ga-ck alphabet. All iheie stages ci the language are, of course, attested only in writing, so that its

development must be traced, as

it

were, at second hand. Demotic and

aie terms tea die scrq>ts used in specific periods

language which used diose evident if one

Anglo l

S.ixoii

i!ip;ires

it".

AD

ader urer diiu

of die

Spoken languages change concinunusly,

scripts.

and

as

is

in nnxicrti English:

heofnum

Our I^itfaer who u in heawen Similariy, diflbcences

Copdc

for die stages

vcrMons nf tlic beginning of the English Lords Prayer in

'>3i>j

bist in

more than

.

.

. .

have developed between British and American En^ish in

the three and a half centuries since English colonies were established in the Aniericiis, including differences in prxituinci.uii)ii (e.g. 'vase'),

gratnnur

("got"

and

'gotten') .ind vdcalniLirv {including ditFcrent terms for the s.iine object, such as

'pavement' and sidewalk', and different meanings for the same word, such

imponiUe

to be sure

how

It is

related to the

spoken language in any period, but

the

Old Kingdom

divn^ed

The

new

it is

certain diat

by die end of

2100 bc) the q>oken and written languages had aheady

(f.

strongly.

subseqiK-iit

change fnwt

F.irly to

1

.iter

can be obsiTviul

Fgs-pti.in

in a

phase of the language whicli became the standard used for written records

in the 19th Dynasty. However, daisical

Middle Egyptian, and

some

official texts

continued to bc written in

New Egyptian texts are not linguisticaUy homoge-

neous^The change in written language did not leiect

and developments towards occurred over

complex

many

New

cultural factors: the introduction

1335 bc), whidi a£Eected culture. It

is

linguistic

change direcdy,

Egyptian in the spoken langu.ige pr

cenniries.The changes in the written

influenced by the reforms of the

it is

as

the written Egyptian language was

'suspraden').

of

Amama

religion, art

New

l.uigii.ige

£g)'ptian into

te.\ts

is,

iM to

was heavily

Period under Akhenaten

and administration, dut

!

wen- due

(c.

1353-

the endre ehte

impossiUe to say what people were actually speaking at the time, but

unlikely that the

Amama

reforms brought about a fiuidamental change in

the spoken language ot the population.

Varioas models have been proposed for the linguistic changes that can bc seen in

te.\ts.

In

and evolved

one model, the spoken language was considered to have devdiqwd at a steady rate,

while die written language was thought to be taken

direcdy fiom the spoken language at die

have remained fixed settled period a

new

until there

was a

w-ritten language

spoken language. This

simplistic

start

politii

,il

of a period of political unity and to breakdown;

would have been

model was moditicd

at

the start of the next

adoptecl from the then

in the 194Us by

Bruno

uopy iiyhioo

inaiuiial

REAOINt;

3

TtXT

V

\

\

OLP KINOIX-IM .Mil

-

J-ll)

IIIIHO Nf.W

MSiilHIM

^

-

« 1

1

ST

y

1

;

IMIKMIlntll

kl

A

TKXr

HYMMINh

.Mr l-l

UK Ml

IA1l'l:Ht

_1_

1

MuUc

IM1n«nwntjl Mgii

of

in 1 \rrtical

many,

this

indicated in Semitic languages by ditTerent patterns in the vowels around a

is

core of topically three consonants (that

Fig.

in his

a revised transhtcration alphabet that

acceptance." In transliterated texts, a point

tion

modern

nineteenth century; previous Eg\ptological systems

should be closer to the actual ancient sounds, but

stands

represented by

is

and then the Coptic alphabet

had included an alphabet used by Wallis Budge

:

which

the sounds of the

current system of transliteration presented above was proposed

by Adolf Erinan

and

/.

all

for this reason, in part, ('hampollion used f Ireek letters for his

transliterations in the

cations,''

as

including scniiconsonantal or scmivocalic glides that were recorded in

the script; they comprise the basic phonological units of the script, into which

it

is

also

are tiaee*

Ptovenjnce

true of standard written English,

systems

th.it .ire

which smooths out much

ronipU-teiy phonologit-ai

variation.

not nfccss.irily the

.in-

for native readers of the language. For example, in the English

graph*, 'photography' and "photographic", the in

stress

is

nitist efticient

words "photo-

in a different position

each word and the vowels are pronounced differently; the spelling does not

represent the pronunciation, but on

a different level

would

the wc^nls derive from the same stem, as

The

and

(/,

langtiage.

writing only

and the demotic but

t,

glyphic writing. Thus,

now

transliteration

The sound system of demotic

of the

Stages

modern

history of the

clearly.'"

/

main

Writing

used for demotic.

it

the older

a

script

does distinguish

a different,

Two

does make clear that

earlier systems

of demotic exemplifies these developed

far

from

that

/

and

r,

in contrast to earlier hiero-

Francis Llewellyn Griffith (1X62-1934).

based on historical etymologs; and was the same as

prehensive dictionary of demotic, includes

bet'

is

as follows:

c.

is

included the English or phonetic

ihe Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago,

vowel marker

issues

earlier

does not distinguish the phonemes

that used for classical Eg\-ptian.The transliteration system preferred

a

of

reconstructed pronunciation, derived largely from Coptic;

German system was

and

all

purely consonantal spelling.

only recently standardized, transliteration

system, employed by scholars such as

which was based on

h.id

a

it

a fifth

who

/i. (Ij);

by scholars

are preparing a

a third

/

(/) is also

at

comused,

Thus, the demotic equivalent for the hieroglyphic 'alpha-

READING

Jcnv.uioii

sign

? or 2J>

P

tran>IitcnUK)ii

(.k-riv.itR)!)

i



/

TEXT 53

tniiislitcnitioii



i

if

c

II

> or

A

I -

& it

or

a.

p

/


or

D

m d or li>

t

i

1 *^'jj dj^jj " HJu^Hfai' m medu netdur seek ni duy sMuy

mdj em sech

Hi Hmt-nebu

upon

Literal gloss:

stela

which stone hard

in writing

of gpd's words

writing of letter script ot Aegcins

upon

Translation:

a stela ot hard stone in hieroglyphic writing, in demotic

writing, and in the scr^t of the Acgcans

The

paralld phrase in demotic, a diflfoent stage of the language and a difiisent

transliteration system,

n

wouM be tianditented as follows:

tny iry n sb nd-uit s^fl^

ivyjl

Wym

and pronounced:

mytj

The

iiny djery ni ict/i mcd-iietchet

difierence

secit

shat

seilt

IVcyncii.

between die phonemes recorded in die

script

and contem-

poraneous pronunciation can be glimpsed in occasional words that are also preserved in other writiiig systems, such as die Eg>'ptian won! for headrest, Iitmr ('Meliopc^lis')

NibiHuana. texts as

is

Atui.

/iMii-r'-ry^ii'i-ii/nc,

urf,

is

AHtadian cune^nn. For

rendered umUfa, the

"Aniun-Re

k.nig

of the gods',

example,

Eg\'ptiaii place

and the pren .ffil

written on the papyrus seh lunit

as:

iiitfr

chejt notisr cimteniiii

Copy iiyhiuo

inaiuiial

R

This

the closest

is

one now has

how

she was spoken", or

'as

E

A

I)

1

N

A T

C;

E

X

I

of Middle Eg>'ptian

to a phonetic transcription

in post-pharaonic antiquity* she

was bcheved to be

spoken.

Other sources

is tlie

of Egyptian phonolog\- inchide comparative Afro-

for the study

Asiatic linguistics

and the Egyptian versions of foreign W'ords.The most extensive

continuation of Egyptian in Coptic, wlien the language

which records vowels

adaptation of the Creek alphabet is

word

the Middle Eg\'ptian

this

for 'cat',

which

would be conventionally pronounced

eMOY

an

(cff^'iO-This preserves

initial

is

written with an

(see p. 102).

An example

R-corded in hieroglyphs

is

win, but in Coptic the

word

is

as

iiiju':

written

vowel that may always have been present

but was unrecorded in the hierogK-phic script, allowing Werner Vycichl to recon-

form of the word

struct a h>'pothetical original

as *hv>wuiya.^-

an agentivc noim from a verb *Hfy, to 'mew'; the IS

a

final u> in

He

analysed

the hieroglyphic

it

as

word

grammatical ending, and not part of the stem. Coptic voweK also reveal the

Middle Egyptian the adjective 'priest'

(lit.

o\xxR

m

patterns underlying the standardized consonantal orthography:

linguistic

'purified one*) are

(H«i/i),'to

The changes between

written

oyon

be pure'as

be pure' and the noun

'pure', the infinitive 'to

all

u>'h,

(cho/O

while Coptic records 'pure/holy'

and

oyhhb

priest as

as

(ohc?)).''

Early and Later Egyptian affected vocabulary,

word

order and grammar. Their nature can be exemplified for the important category

of non-verbal sentences by two hypothetical sentences proposed by Friedrich Junge:'^ *slj.hi' njsu'l tifr in Fig. 21

A second-i'cmur>' ad

pjp>'rus widi i

MiiUlle H}c>pi>4i) iiutpijl i«xi writlfii in Jiid driiiotu iigm.

H. 2^.2 an.

EA

pr:f

scribe king perfect in house-his

the perfect scribe of the king

lOHitK

In Later Egyptian this *l>.i

.ilj

nfr

It

would

pr-'3 iii-ljmi'

is

in his house.

be:

I.

If:ft

the scribe perfect of Pharaoh in his house. In Early Egyptian sh can

and indefinite subject yvife").

articles.

+ object

be

The

('hears

'a'

or 'the scribe', while Later Egyptian uses definite

he

yvord order in verbal sentences changes his yvifc") to subject

In verb forms, functions th.u are indicated

(e.g. sijiii.trf.'hc heard",

yvhere stjm

is

+

+

verb

by

the stem 'hear',

finoin

suffixes in Earlier ii

marks the

past,

person and number) are replaced by periphrastic constructions, such

(lit.

'he

betyveen Latin

made {

fed,

a hearing'). 'I

Similar changes occur in

have done') and French

{j'ai fait,

'I

+

Egyptian

and as

'he heard", yvhere the grammatical functions are indicated by the yvord

made'

verb

object ('he hears his

Romance

.'/"the

/>.;/

/>./

sdiii

'he

languages

have done'), and are

described in linguistic terminology' as developments from a 'synthetic' to an 'analytic' type. In Cloptic the

heard"

is

AqcttJTM

(qfsotm)

/>.;/

(

;>:/

has

become

becoming

a prefi.xed qf,

and

sijm

tense-marker, so that 'he

becoming

has therefore re-synthesized the analytic t>pe of Neyv Egyptian.

sotiit).

C^optic

THE CLASSICAL EGYPTIAN WRITING SYSTEM The number of hieroglyphic die

in the

Greco-Roman

can seem bouruiless. but in ditVcrcnt t>pcs

tln>

sign depicts.

althou^ srane and

is

a

modem

picture",

ance, and

of some 750

staring

semiotidans such

signs

categorized according to

of creatures and

objects,

&w are abstract

tli.it

ul

in strncturalist

u'riHi

.1

many

full

'lized

when

it

fbigottcn what the\' represented. Another dc\x loptiient was the crcitioii of posite signs such as

60m

5th

et]uipment while the hiero^yphic capdon above

the hieroglyph based

executed s^ps showing

By the

scribal palette

misunderstood and the bag of pigments ceinter-

reptesented was not di^iuised: in the

sented as writing with the

torni!.

old equipmciit were retained, such as the

pieted as a water pot. The dichotomy between the signs and the

what

Sign

scribal kit including

and a tubular brush

equipment had been replaced by the

Onlv elements of the

holders whicli were

was so archaic

reliefs.

although minor changes con-

^

(ic)

^



'

{'),

writing

ic'."

was

com-

Completely new

Uopy iiyhiuo

inaiuiial

KFAOINt;

MgiK

wxTL" occ.isioii.illy introduced, such

piece

ot'

equipment

that

Sign forms incorporate .m

elite

and related words shows

'sleep'

the hieroglyph showinjj

.is

was introduced into £:y>pt

flat

on

wooden

a

mentioned

in

some

literary texts.

show

a

sign w.is altered to state

a

is

Fi^ 22

A

IrupiK-iii iif liiiieuuiie iincripcion

TMttd rcKcf, prrtup^ (n>m (be tomb ot'ScU-

in thcVjIln- ot'ihc Kiiip in

which ihc

bird^

(cf. cjt.

Unt Uimvs

>).Thc direction

ih.ii

the

part ofjL loi^prr iiutriiHioii in vertical

reading tioni

Irti

to

rig)tt. II.

which

t left, jtist

on the

usually

it

a bier

the Middle

way

also reveals

in

Kingdom

(P^). representing

for

which beds

oinv.irxis,

a still

more

the

elite

which objects the inventors

be read

signs are to

most

is

clearly indicated by the

face towards the beginning of the text

(fig.

22). There

general preference for rightward orientation in which the writing

explained

-

in

which almost always

from right

in

From

on

.i

script regarded as prototypic.il.

The order birds, is

mummy

of affairs. The choice of sign forms

of the

ch.iriot,

bed. which was proba-

bly a fairly prestigious piece of furniture, to judge troni the are

.1

Kinj;doni.

view of the worid.The determinative used

body

a

New

in the

TtXT

A

is

this

as there

of

left

preference

in F.g\-pti.in visual art,

figure

Henry Cieorge Fischer

scene, facing right.

as reflecting

read

is

where the main

has

humans

the general right-handedness of

WTiting on the side where the hand holding the writing

easiest to start

- and

a

is

implement

is

uppermost

signs are read

been confirmed by experimental

this has

studies.-'

The

l'rjL)piiciit it

coluuuu

14/>7 an.

EA

65324.

horizontal lines. There are entation,

hieroglyphs can also be written in vertical or

first;

some exceptions

due to the physical context of

of ori-

to these general principles

a text

on

a wall or statue.-' especially

with hieroglyphs; the cursive forms ot signs almost invariably tace right. Retrograde hieroglyphs, usually in vertical

become commoner

dom Books

in the

of the Dead which were written

they are read

as

it

backwards system cursive script,

found

lines, are

in the

Middle Kingdom and very

Old Kingdom, but

common

in

were from the backs of the birds and human

ni.iy h.ive arisen in

where

part in cases

where

texts

signs normally face to the right, but

iconographic context where the lines had to be read fixim

was subsequently adopted

means of

as a

nature of a text.-' There are

New

in cursive hieroglyphs

on

figures.

Middle Kingdom

left

to right; this

signalling the arcane

bottom

Tin:

The

even have horizontal

and specialized writing,

Ushs

Ira^iiii'iit i>f

liHH-slonc invcription in

ratted rehel. perh.ipt t'mni the

The

an i^ii nun. reads

EA

tUd

larefully executed hicro};lyph.

f.5453.

j

ld a|ce'.

Kini;di>iii

which shows

by

reail

some from

; .S/:ample,

signs are often

accompanied

atvhitcctiiral tlcnifnt.

tragiiicncary inwriptioi) conusis

bic(»iiM>fianul ugii ins unK'oiiMiiiant.il

ivading

iii

or Ni-w Kuij;iloiii 0).

tvlicl, rn>iii thi- Midilli-

|ij'/iifij

a ni>:al epithet.

MUrwvd by

\ipn irand

iif,°repra(rr ol'tiunil'eiucions',

H. 7.2 cm.

by additional

uniconsonantal ones, which act

signs, usually

as

'phonetic comple-

ments', helping the reader to determine between possible alternative readings, for

the

e.vample,

^ll^

:

htp

+

/

+

/>.

roots in Egv'ptian. there

is

Because the m.ijority

no sharp

distinction

t>f Egv'pti.in

bcrwccn

words

h,ive triliteral

a triconsonantal sign

and

EA 90422. a

logogram.

From be used

the use of signs as logograms another function

setnograms

as

wx)rds). These

(that

were used

is,

signs

trspecially as'determinatis'cs'.to

Chainpollion. which are placed

belonging to as a picture

a lexical or

seated

word

to

derived: the signs can

the

use the term dcsiscd by

end of vvorIs and mark them off

as

semantic gnuip (taxograms), They can be specific (such

of a pig to determine the word

ized tree for any

^

at

is

conveying meaning, rather than sounds or

do with

man

trees).

"pig

)

or general (such

Some examples

as a

general-

are:

personal names, and words to

do with man.

man's relationships and occupations

S

man

*—t

ijrHJ

tea

hill-country

^

bookroll

with hand to mouth

words to do with eating, drinking, speaking, thinking and feeling

hohiitig sii(k

w ords

to

do with

physical force, effort

and

strength

words for hill-country and desert or foreign lands; also foreign place

names

words for book, writing and written things;

hence for

abstract notions

Cc
E$

have been present in the spoken language, except by context. For example, ('catcher') specil^'

could be someone

whether

fish

who

caught either

determinatives of categories of animal:

Determinatives assign words to recording

is

tish

a wh'

or fowl, but wTiting can

or fowl, or both, are being hunted by the use of one or two .

classes

and

arc not just dccoratiw. This lexical

central to writing as an institution that docs not

merely transcribe

hnguistic utterances but rather incorporates classification and cultural mcmor>'.

The

Eg^'ptians indicated their awareness of the distinctive use of signs as deter-

minatives in

many

w.iys.

Even funerary

stelae that

list

names

the names in columns, with the determinative of each

One example (fig.

Fig.

is

a

name

occasiotially arrange set in a

Middle Kingdom round-topped limestone

25); after the standard funerary' invocation,

which

is

sub-column.

stela

(ea 253)

written in vertical lines

25 Thr limrttonf fiiiwiary \leh of Intef, with

intcripaom

in

sunk

relief.

Lne Middle Kingdom.

H.51 cm. EA253.

^Taterial

RLAlHNc; A TtXT

at the

top of the

stela,

the names of the recipients of the invocation are written in

sixteen hori2ontal lines.

The

right

the tieterminative

man

seated

(a

sub-column:

gious), arranged in a

but the

in all

^

native stela.

The

first

figure

(a

te.xt

line

column on

gives the

a chair,

name of the

showing

recipient,

that the person

with

presti-

is

comes the phrase 'born of followed

after this

by the name of the recipients mother, with the determi-

of a woman), arranged

in a

sub-column

edge of the

at the left

begins:

Blessedness before Ptahsokar, invocation otl'ering of bread and beer, flesh and fowl, incense

and

oil,

and

ever\'

good and pure thing on which

a

god

for

lives,

the spirit of Intcf

born of Khety

Horcnihat

born of Rcnesankh

M;«hsehetep

born of Aset

The importance of lexical

known these

as

lists

truc-of-vx»icc

.

which words

the t)nomastica, in

The words

sub-column,

onomasticon of

A more

P.

is

as in

P bm

less

taining a copy e.\tensive

of

Hood)

hieratic

first

composed

column

This

eight other

in the late

New

reads:

Beginning of the Teaching for making instructing the ignorant,

nil

of an 26), a

manuscript con-

known from

is

manuscripts, was probably

»ir

(fig.

Tlie Oiwiiioiikon i>/"/I»hwmiiyx'.

work, which

Kingdom. The

Berlin 10495).

(P.

tabulated, exaniple

ha 1(I2(»2 (P

Third Intermediate Period

I

Kingdom

the Middle

Ramesseum o

developed, but

onomasticon

are

columns with the determin-

sometitiies arranged in atives in a

now

are listed accorchng to category. In

the determinatives coincide with the categorization.

;

of text

categoriziition can also be seen in a type

and knowing

intelligent, all

that

-

is

what Ptah fashioned andThoth copied down: heaven in all it^ constellations, earth

/.I

the mountains extrude, things

made •

6

-i-

»v

-'^r.^^*-

Life,

grow on the

Amenemope

tint

column of

P.

Hood

contjinint;

Tlie f>ioini«nri>'iui(y.

H.38.t un.£A(>44.

30).^"

This posture, however,

votive statuette

(fig.

animal takes

Egyptian representations.

cat

(fig.

in

2S) from a Middle

A

is

not the only one that the

blue glazed composition figure of a

Kingdom tomb

at

Qurna

in Thebes'"'

shows the

rial

READING

Fig.

29 The

the

Dead of Hunefcr.from

1

viuncnc

killirin;

fiiul lection

fjt

of the the

illustntrd l*>(h

Book of

Dytuirv; with

the rightl shouinn the Great Cat

animal crouching on

a rectangular base

the posture relates to the

the deceased: both

tlie

symbobc

with the

A

TEXT

painted in black. Here

details

aspect of the cat as a hunter and protector

sun-god and

his

of

daughter could take the form of a cat to

i M-rpciU.Tl)c uxird hti Vat', wrutcii in

cursive hieroglyphs, ftoin the

left.

occun

in the

H. 46,3 cm. H

Kcond hne

BM EA WiM

.«.

destroy his enemies. The ladyTamyt was not

modern

named

for a

domestic 'pussycat',

who

reader might assume, but rather for the fehne goddess

as a

protected

the cosnms.

Although the word wjw Fig. 3f>

A Uic

Period

vDtux! bronze iipinr

of a leated

cit

uvarmj; an

around H.

2(1.3

its

cat's religious

clearly

is

for cat

-

a

onomatopoeic -

example

as for

the

is

sursiving Eg^'ptian et)'molog\' relies on the

who

significance as a solar animal

destroys the enemies of daylight

and order, rather than on the sound of its mewing. The 'Great Cat'

is

mentioned

.iniulel

neck.

cm.

EA 47547.

Mandarin Crhincsc word

in Spell 17

of the collection of funerary-

Dead. In the copy preserved scribe, an etymological gloss

Hunefer declares

texts, as

tree

was

is

(fig.

Heliopolis

split in

Great Cat, he

19th

in the is

2^):'!

on

l^yn.ist>'

given, in a

am

as the

of

who was

called is

in

Cat beside

conflict

Perception spoke (of him) "Truly (»MJ')!"'This

Book of the

Papyrus of Hunefer,

manner common

that Great

that night

the sun-god himself,

now known

spells

.

.

.

"Cat"

many

whom

a royal

religious

the Ished

THAT? The

Wlio

is

(injw)

when

not etymolog\' as

the

god

a linguistic

science but as an expression of belief, a mythopocic and aetiological approach that relates the

sound of the word to an exclamation uttered

in the

course of an

obscure mythical event. Such mythological etymologies, which explain things

through word-play, arc not cat

and

the

modern

'truly' arc

historical:

it is

virtually impossible that the

derived from a single root.

sttident that language

It is,

however,

a useful

word

for

reminder to

cannot be disassociated from cultural context.

CK AC- KING COI>ES

Tite

uvrd

for 'luw', stjm

The word cow's ear

for 'hear' (fig.

wTicten

is sdtii,

word

scmantically related s^in ('to hear"),

.

The

first sigii is

when

(im^r).

('to

/(//

of a

a representation

31) and occurs as a logogram or determinative in the

both human and animal ears

word

for

also acted as the determinative in the

It

be deaP) and most frequently

as a

logogram

for

followed by the uniconsonantal sign for m, which acts

it is

as a

phonetic complement and shows the reader which phonetic reading of the

sign

is

to be adopted. In Coptic the

word

ccjtm.

is

ing of the word survives in HorapoUo's HiiToglyphka

The

sol i».

(i.47).

hieroglyphic writ-

which comments

that

'they paint a bulls car to indicate hearing', but provides an erroneous gloss,

saying that this

because the bull

is

is

summoned

mooing of the cow. Many hieroglyphs show

a

mating by hearing the

to

tendency to use the body parts of

animals rather than of humans, possibly due to an early taboo against depicting parts

of the human body

as separate entities.

hierogl)^!! only in occurrences Fig.

31

A

I'lili

I))-rmcy wixKirn tcrniitui ftum j

imil liincwn- bed cuvcreit ullh black

vnth

\wm\ jnd

Kinffs.

in the rtniti,

form of j cow's head, jnJ

uin-ili>k

H. 20.3 cm.

human;

ori^iiully

Fn>m

liltcil

The

in those cases

car usually occurs as a specifically

probably a self-consciously witty. 'sportive' writing.

it is

idea of 'hearing'

mous with being

The human

of the won! for 'ear" where the ear was

is

important in Eg^'ptian culture, often being synony-

responsive to people's needs, and

is

expressed in both language

jhcValley of the

and iconography. The complementary but

EA 61610.

between the

distinct relationship

hieroglyphic script and pictorial representation can be seen in the difierent treat-

ments of hearing. is

in ro^-al statuarv'

A

three-dimensional example of the representation of hearing

of the Middle Kingdom.

EA

36298

(pi.

9)

shows the head and

upper body of a green mudstone figure of a king wearing the uemes crown and an amulet (of

unknown

The

provenance).

but the features are those of Senwosret ears almost certainly

do not represent

surs'iving fragment

a feature

men and

the gods,

who

were

kmg

also characterized

and respond to the prayers of men. Private

not inscribed, statue's

huge

of personal physiognomy but the

king's capacitv' to hear his subjects' petitions; the

between

is

(1878-1841 BC^.^'The

III

statues that

was an intermediary

by the capacity to hear

were dedicated

in temples

sonietimes carry inscriptions stating that they would act as intermediaries

between worshippers and the gods. The same may ues,

which could have represented the king

more

representation of hearing inhabits the

same world of

The same wooden

Deir el-Bahri 32

A

wiKwIcn vodvc

cjir

fioni

Dcir «I-B>hri.

and

Ls

lacks

invocation of hearing (fig.

human

ear.

in d>e laic

32),

is

which

abstract characteristic.

This pictorial

ideas as the use

of the ear

is

even more graphically expressed a

in a large

three-dimensional version of the hiero-

This was placed in the shrine of the goddess Hathor at

New

Kingdom.

any holes for attaching

message without

royal stat-

iconographic and not written.

votive ear

glyph of the

H. 12.'stem, since they record

a step

and discanling

to us so obvious",

would have

sacrificed

both

much

but their uniliteral signs'.

all

ease

of reading and much

cultural

information.

The commonly

.issumed simplicity' of alph.ibetic writing systenis

is

based on

the implicit notion that they represent the sounds of languages in a direct

manner. This

is

niistiken: reading the English alphabetic script involves

complex encodings of sound and

The to

alphabet

is

not

someone used

sounds

tliat

letter

T

with

a

letter,

such

as precise a representation

is

as

many

'enough'.

can appear

can represent a range of

Welsh reading of the

hetes noira

of spelling reformers

sound values

for the

not unique in

this respect:

is

(e.g.

'plough', 'enough',

group 'ough'). but the non-

more

extensive

still;

moreover,

few writing systems are not mixed systems

extent.^'

Despite

clement

'1'

in

sounds very different from an English one). Most people are familiar

phonctic nature of the English writing system

some

/

of phonetic sounds

to reading automatically: the letter

'thought', with three different

to

pronounced

different cultures will read ditferently (thus, a

range of the

English

as 'gh'

its

supposedly purely alphabetic sy-stcm, there

in the

is

a sizable logographic

writing of English, the numerals being the most obvious example.

61

6S

CRACKING cooes

vvlucli derive iroin India

'Street').

on

because

it is

has to be based

place, so (hat

trast,

or

it

is

i(

now. Phonecic spelling

is

The

how

number

small

is

and

as *Hug^', 'hew'

supposedly the

it

The

'hue'.

fact that the hieroglyphic

make it inefficient.

writing svstem to learn because of the

do not prevent high

scripts has rarely

literacy rates,

much

si91S.Thc one undciu.iblc

.is

a

.uivant.igc possessed

are technically easier to

not conceptually

literacy

even

number of groups of signs

it

well

\ ;)liies.

and

been democratic. Moreover, the small number

variation in the values

is

'democratic'

talsely called a

with special snuntl

system

be equally easy

can distinguish between

of signs to be learned can bring with

them

time

By con-

allowing universal Uteracy. In practice, non-alphabetic

scripts (such as Japanese)

with alphabetic

easiest

symbols involved, and has thus been

ot

method of wntmg,'

in

produce than

much

sunpler, as

larger

of individual single

bv .liphabetic scripts

m

its

is

that texts

non-alphabctic systems, but the

By con-

readers usually assume.

the hieioglyphic script expresses both lexical eateries in addition to

trast,

phonemic ones and the more metaphoric semantic connotations of words. expressive not only graphically but also visually, as well as being, in cer race.

of for

an advantage

itself

at a particular

atbiccttily based, nvill

times and places;

not a purely phonetic script does not

,ilphabet

not in

is

'St.'

noore prevalent in

not transparent to anyone outside that context.

standanKzed spelling, no matter

script

much

on the pronunciation of a language

difficult for readers in difierent

hOTiophones such

and

alphabetic spdlings (such as *St' for 'Saint'

This use of abbreviations was probably

medieval Europe than

and

by way ot Arabic.^" Even withm the use ot the aipliabec

theie aie systematic departuKS fiom phonetic spelling, such at the use

itself

abbreviations based

f

iiti

Its

.

ontexts.

one of the most

boatitifu! scripts ever

poieniial for varuuion rendered

cultural toles, including

many where

It is

when executed human

devised hv the

an etlicient tool for a wide range of

it

easy reading was not the prime concern,

during more than three millennia, as will be examined in the next diapter.

NO

I

1

Aficr P.W. Patmaa. The New I'upywIonUal

kS

flMJM in2'W)\CJlf 127(l992).44-7.0n

Aimer O-eiden. 1990). 7. 2

cM cIIent

Ai:

(Aim^uiiiofi

fii

survcv

OemoiK

is

liijiu

M. Dcpauw. A

Siuiiici,

Fa[>)Talogica

..

i

SCO

.A

Lciprioii(>,"Liiiuiiisnc variccjr

and Egyptian literanue'.in A. Loprieno (ed.),

AmieHt EgypdoH LiUmhue: IBslory md

Fonus (Leiden, 1996), SlS-29, and RWnuis,

Bnudleiuia 28 (Brasceb. 1997).

'Langue litteniie tt digloaie', in

ibid.,

3 See,ingaietal,A.Loprieno.i4jMtaitf 555-64. RgYplian:A Unguiftic InUaAiclhll

6

(Cambridge, l'W5).

4 See

F. Junge, 'Sprache*,

LA v (Wietbaden.

MiibriiUipae. 1939). 7

1984). 1176-1211.

'

5

R.

(":iiin:i

12

SkUmges

I'otfivK:

.

III.

koni^chen RundpListik derspaien R.lMhin.'Les yeux et let oiriOes du

KainnicRcll,'Zur Umsducibung und

T'li

I\>lz,'l>ic Uildnisse Sesostris

Dynastic, AiU4/K 51 (1995). 227-54. and

Analccu 39 (Uuwn, 1991), 29-46.

2"

F.

und Amenemhets

McDonald.

W.E. Cnun.'An %yptian ten in Gfcck

da fhftib miJ Hlfpliatituir: AvMiuAeil^iw im MitHem Vm\. (> n I'O. In

HciliguiiH

general, see

im

TEXT 69

Gadtkiite eina

41

1991). 2-5. II

1

Verhoe\Tn and

26

Gtammar of Demolk (Chkagix

1

the symbolic context

Reidi (Heidelberg.

2-t Jiili

Unification dcs niethodcs dc

Hicroglyphcn',

ischcr.

the principal hit roidyph for "God*", in U.

I'hiloiopfiie

CeiiivaJ/Rjppori sur la

cnmliueniion'. Enchoria lU (198U). 1-13.

The

[

J. Bainei. 'On

A

(Copenhagen, 1956).

of

H.R.

37 coinpoMte

1

M.wih'lii.iii .\/iiMi«M

925),

12 (r>77).rl-1'>.

/,'((rijj/

i» the 2*'

t iolJsvavsiT. /

21

H.G.

ri'fi)

/u'u

i'.>

Mt

i.tphor,

Fischer, Tlw UiiaiutMii

IVat^ffhs,

1:

33.

tj/'

AnnoMlt, Egyptian Studies 2

(Ne^vYork, 1977). 6-8;

'Where writing

starts:

P.

v.in Soinnu-rs.

the aiiaiyMs of action

applied to the historical development of writinv:'

IjII.

I

Hunylyi'hu lixts 7 (London,

hieroj;]yph.s in ancient Egypt".

ll'.ipt-r

pn-^fiHL-ii .u tin-

pl.

ihe Uriliih

no.

1

1

G. Robins. Kc/krnwji

4;

it/

Hbrnra

Nm Kk^gdm:Attatnl ^jfpdmAnfim

1.

Miiu

uw

m

The name couid

,^l>t(>Ili(l,TX.

also

1995),

mean 'She of

die Cat*. 3H

See. in gencrai.J. M.ilik. 'Hir

Aihiail Lv)7'/ (London,

39 A

sintilar

PoNItb

provenance Iiucrn.uional Cirapliononuo Society

Cat in

1>'>'3).

cxaniplc with a

more secure

b published byJ.BouTtiau,

Phuuoks and

Maruils: r.xyptumArt in

ilic

ConferenccTfondheim, 1989).

MUtOt Kingdom (Cambridge, 22 See Chapter 3. 23 H.G. FischL-r.

L'cailuH'

1988), no.

I

OH.

dated to die 12th to 13th Dynasty. i

l

V.irl

cmeimiir (Paris. 1986). lO>-3isH' ' label for j pair

from the tomb of King

The

number, suggesting

presumably also used in administration. This period ization

and Co..

Puii'lijM-d thiou{;h Soihcb\"4

from William .Macprcgor: acquired

captive befon; the \unilird

.i

the god Wepwavvei. caption, facing the

The

same direction

On

king, read^'Horus; l>en'.

could be an

between

small caption

the

/nH

the label a caption writes signs; this

edge of

left

with phonetic

name, The

official s tlie

the

as

two nuin

tigutxrs

The

has not been successfully read as yet.

on the

caption

and

reads:

pint occasion of Smiling the

The motif rtyyal

East'.

of Egs'ptian

a standard icon

is

same

right edge faces the

direction as the capnvxr.

power subduing

of

niain hierc^ypliic

foreign reprcsentatix'cs

of chaos and disorder, although many of the details are unparalleled.

The back of a

atically

bears an incised lepresenution

of sandals: the

pair

since

reles-ant,

scene

ro>'al

is

them-

from

sandals

later

periods are sometimes painted with figures

of enemies, so that the wcirer would trample on them widi every

step.

lower corners have been cut lower cslge for

danuged; there

is

attachment

BlBllocRAPHY: ssxjoden

V. HA.

I'.E.

(1912). 278-«'*;

'Miscellanea

14 (l'}28),

1

iv:

First

D>-naMy',

RE. Newberr>-.

of the

a label

First

Dvnisn' .JEA

10; A.J. Spencer, ('.Malofiue

Antiquincs in ihf Btiiifh Mu.vum. Of.riiiKl, and lett:

Words spoken by

time and with contexts, but also between groups of scholar, an incidental value

3.

Dytuiry

End of J wooden cial,

face

meaning and the

Ith

As)-ut

the sun-god:

I

have

placed Ncphthys for you under yx)ur that she

f5?ct.

may bcwccp you and mourn

you. An otfering which eartli and the Sky [goddess]

haw given

which the

The foot

text

|.

,

.),

end of the

th.it

this

Isis

giwn

|.

.

.].

was originally the

coffin, aiid relates to

ing practices. The mythical

goddesses

an offering

eiu|ire| earth his

shows

mourn-

mourning of the

and Nephthys

at

the head and

foot of the dead Osiris was rccnacted in rituals for the deceased.

such

.xs

this

Other

texts

on

coffins

would include protecnve

to ensure a successt\il afterlife,

and the

sjh-IU titles

and name of the deceased owner,

mm icii;kai>iiv: hithrrto iinptihlivhrd

material

CRACKING CODES

3 Funerary

stela

of Renefseneb

(pi.

lo)

EA f>3f> H. 33.7 cm.W. 31 .5

cni, D.

•)

cm

MidiQc Kingikiin

From Thcb« I'un

li.Ln-tn

ihow*

the north

of the corri-

hieroglyphs are painted in

colour and carvvd in raised relief on

The fragment

background.

the Middle

E)>>'pti.in

as Tlic LifiJH)'

The iugh tombs

ro>'al

ofTenng

Uyf

llic

full

white

a

contains parts of

wrtical lines of hieroglyphic

five

.iiul

thjt this ftig-

\v.ill

te.\t.

liturgv'

from

known

Honts.

standard of workniaiuhip in the reflects the ccntralitx'

of the king

material as well as political culture. In

in

terms of decorum, certain texts and scenes such

3i this

were

restricted to n>>-al

monu-

ments.

mm |ciiiv:W.V. Dasies. l-gfptiM llxm/^yphs. Ri.-adiii|{

the IVsi (Luiidoii. l9K7),fn>iii cover;

Hornuiig and E. Stachelin, Salnv. Bin

E.

PtMraimaixmh (Basel.

A

6

royal

I91>. 56. fig. 39.

temple

inscription

(pi.

13)

EA 7H2

H

.

5 1 a cin.W. 16 cm. D. .

llkli l^yiiasts;

Emm

1(1,5

cm

tempt Hanhrpsut (1473-1458 sc)

Oeir el-H.ihn. prrsunuHy the tcniple of

Hauhepsuc

(c.\act

provrnancc uiirccoidcd)

Donated by the Egypt Exploration Fund: c.xcasMtcd by H.ll. Hall

Navillr: acquired in

and Henri Edouard

1'>II6

Fragnienl of painted liincicone rvUcf, show-

ing part of an otlering table, svith meat, grapes and bread, against a pale blue back-

ground. The scene and text are carwd. with details

being added

of the bunch of

in paint (such as the stalk

grapes).

The

hieroglyphic

caption in a vertical line reads 'giving wine'; the signs face royal figure

whose

kilt

left,

the

same direction

making the

as the

offering, remains

and hands holding

of

a vessel sur-

vive.

Above

the ottering table are traces of

nuiiibeni. in a tabulated offerings.

list,

recording the

Such scenes on temple

walls repre-

senting the temple ritual enacted the reciprocity of divine and

human embodied

in

the king that was essential to maintaining the cosmos. Cultic service wis the sviiibolic prerogative of the king, such, but

tlie

and was shown

daily practice

BlBtlOGKAPHY:

was

m

diDereiit.

lutlicrtu utipubli^licd.

^

aterial

78

cR

A

c:

K

I

codes

N c;

7 (innrr miIc)

7 Fart of a coffin

desh and fowl for the lady of the house

of Tanetaa

Tanetaa, the wife of Pasenhor truc-of-

{.IS

voicc.

the period and

EA

(pk 14-15)

3036r»

On cm

H. 39 cm. L. 190 cm. I> 4.5

twenty -eight

Intrrmniucc Penod. end of eighth

Thirvl

ceijtur>'

to

BL

Puivhjscd rmiii sicic

R J. Mi>v. A:

Co.: acquircd in 1898

of the jnthmpoid outer coffin of

Taiietaa. painted

wx>uden

left,

the

the

text

arranged in

verticil lines reading

start

of the

from right

text being placed next

ning of the

of the West

'enemies'

(

decapiuted

^

)

(e.g.

who

Justified Osiris

The determinate

painted,

it

for

shows the captive enemy ninth line finn)

as

name

is

te.xt. is

topped by

At the end of the text gosf.

now

lost,

is

and

»

at

show-

husband

The nuiminy is

case

of Tanetaa's

Museum (ea mummy, mummy cose and case arc in the Field Museum of also in the British

24906); her

cartonnage

Natural History, C'hicago.

bibiiocraphy: hitherto unpubluhed:seeJ.Tjylor.

left).

Although the Middle Egyptian text f'incly

Tanetaa,

.

follows, the deceased

of the

work-

ing a god performing libations to purify

.' .

frie/e.

typical for

is

lady's

outer side of the cofKn

decoratiw

the head was another scene,

mother being Tanetamcn: 'Hail

Osiris, bull

hymn which

against his enemies'.

chat

!dl(

Son of the

beloved of Aniun

are placed in rings,

elsewhere «>nictiincs

from which emerge

the same diR'ction

.is

|.

which

are

with distinctively

which

face in

the hientglyphs. have

hands lH>uiid behind their backs and

are tied together at the neck.

The names

Lil>v-an

ethnic group; KJki. Gasga in

northern ,\njtolij on the southern coast of the Black Sea. The representation of foreign-

.

slijjH'il like city walls,

torst»s

foreign beards. These figures,

their

tu north, and comprise In. a place in Nubia;

XUufl a

chosen of the

are

arranged in geographical order from south

ers

was generally limited to such depictions

in pluraonic ideology. The red is

pigment

infill

modern.

niRi

locRArHv:

I'.M iv, 3\

Hicnxford.

K.A.

1'I7'»).

1*M: K.A. Kiu'heii, RatmsstJc hiuripliimf TrjmUli'J

MiJ AaaitMird:'rmifliitiims 2 (Oxibid, 14%). SH.

79

iO CRACKING COOBS

FIGURATIVE H The term

'c

r\

1

KOG LY

H

jn()gmphy',

OR

H S,

1'

'

C RY PT(K; R A P H Y

used in Egjptolog)''. does not refer to

,is

sending message!* so that they cannot be intercepted; rather, 'ludic'

or 'sportive' writing.'*

discussed here in

glyphic script

is

some

sign,

of the

for

is

idea that the hiero-

were used with new were devised, such

also created; ortliographic pirns

can be seen on the Rosetta ijtonc

phonemic

code

a symbolic system.

were

signs

a

'figurative',

a subsystem of the hieroglyphic script and

It is

detail since it is the origin

In the fii^urative hieroglyphic system old signs

now

it is

signs

w

and

(j5)

(1.

^

8);

In this,

.

(J) were combined into a

showing a snake leaving a hole;

this

vakies. but as

one

that

the two

does not read

single

or j^f,

but writes the verb to 'go forth' (p^JTiK CaOy devdoped figurative system was created mainly through

tin-

of what has

ipiilication

been tenneil the 'consonantal prmciplc", whereby

and

bi-

tri-

consonantal signs could stand tor the strongest consonant of the signs original meaning, and the 'acrophonic principle', sign could stand for the rqsardless

first

whereby

a

consonant of the sign^ cniginal value,

of whether the second and

third consonants

weie strong

or weak. In general, these transfonn.uions of existing signs centred

around making the 'dead' significant. Figurative

metaphors of the sign

orthography occurs inanily

which the

in a style in

pictorial

alive

and

written

in texts

representational character of the signs

is

apparent (unlike in cursive hieratic).

Figuiatne hiero|^yphs occur as eaily as the

whicb

it is

attested

tomb owner's

titles,

on

Old Kingdom,

flineiaiy moinunieiiti, often in

where

was apparently intended

it

lists

m

fix>m

of the

intrigue

the passer-by and encourage him to read an otherwise standard formulaic inscription. text.

On

a

It

was

also used to impart

Middle Kingdom

fiinetaty stela

emblematic significance to

now

a

in the Louvre," a standard

Fig.

34 The wonl

tavxjuritc nmkicii ti(;uMuvcly.

Dta«vnbyR.PiuidiiKid.

sequence of epithets becomes a tow of figutes bearing divine emUems, comple-

menting the owner,

The

of gods elsewhere on the

list

well as inrriguing

as

great t.n oiinte o( the sovereign,

The

first

word.'tavourite". reads

ures

(fig.

34). The

first

two

Such writing was described

a tlgur

which

the tield

I

(i.e.

lis

and

stela,

assisting the

deceased

stela

epithets begin:

pLu ed

(normally

at

the head ot the Friends

^i')

and

is

>

figures carry a 'hyena' {hit

of*Sekhmet' (^mt >s):k+

sign

The

reader

rlie

.

.

written with several figIt),

and the

diiid a figure

s.

virtuosic: die

high

official

of Hatshepsut, Senenmut,

itne image as a

made according as

my ow n

to

labour),

in\-

and

heart's

w hich

thought, is

as a

not tound

man who works

in

m the writings of the

ancestors.™

The virtuosic nature meant that cryptography was not a consistent or find tradition (see cat 12).

Uopy iiyhica

inaiuiial

TOWARDS HEADING

(Ireco-Koman Period

In the

was

A

CULTURAL CODE

figurative writing

also used to refashion the hieroglyphic systen)

wholesale, especially for temple inscriptions, produc-

ing a sort of graphic alchemy and poetry running parallel with,

the texts.

and enriching, the verbal meaning of

The immediate

decreased,

one person

as

of such

intelligibility

texts

making the system the preserve of an

community of perhaps

exclusive intellectual

few

as

development was

in a thousand. This

enabled by the use of demotic for everyday writing

The number of

and for more

practical purposes.

signs increased,

and the system became 'more perfect

as a pictorial-linguistic form'-'

which mobihzed

reli-

gious knowledge; this was part of a general sacraliza-

n

tion of Egyptian high culture.

One example of such orthographic be seen in a Roman Period papyrus hieratic

copy of the

wonun named word

|.

(;).

Book

containing a

(fig.

of

snake

a

and

((/)

a loaf

for 'statue'

representing a

35).

The

could be written with

{tu't)

niummifonn

acrophonic principle,

statue.

a

/.

a sign

Following the

reading twt could be

this sign

used to write a simple

with signs showing

of bread

l^.The

followed by a phonetic determinative:

word

of a

of Brt\uliiii^

10303)

(e.'\

was standardly written with the

d( 'eternity'

'alphabetic' signs

fijnerary

.jtasheret

.

theology can

Thus

dt

could be written

serpent and a

mummy,

with

the serpent sign adapted to curl around the iiUHumy:

^>.This the

writing presents an image of the myth of

end of the world, known

spells, in

which the cosmos

only two gods survive for eternity: the

god

Osiris

and the sun-god

>^

finom earlier funerarv'

sinks into chaos,

who

and

mummiform

takes the

form of a

primev,il serpent.

Another e.vample

name of

write the

is

provided by writings of the

the gud Pcah. This was usually written with three alphabetic signs for

the consonants: ° j /),

.

However, the logograni

for the sky (=i (in Egyptian pi) can

while the logogram for the earth

be supplied by the logogram (/)/i).The signs for

^

(f J)

can write the

f;

the

Ij

can

which writes the name of in

a

deity called

Heh

phonetic order, but

according to the heraldic framing of scenes in temples, where the sky covers and

who

supports the sky,

is

placed between the p

and /.Thus, the name of the creator god could be written with an iconic scene

showing the cosmos he created:

35 Detail of

.

.1

ltii

jn 1 Vriotl papyrut

,

of the tunc raiA-

lumcd

heaven and earth arc then arranged, not

the earth supports a scene. Heh,

Fig.

wriiicii in hicrjiu i.i>iiuiiiiitg ilir fiiul

\mv\

od woaun

hu Mhiig

|...|uUicrci.Thf biKiiiiu line coiiuiiu

J fignrati\ic

H. 27 3

butA- oj

cm

wnting of the worJ P.

UM EA

U)M>i.

rfi

Crtcrnity').

81

82

CRACXINO CODES

These examples

are single words, but

and highly

esoteric ones,

instances aie

two faymns

first

the

cennny Ai>

name and

plidrv'

(fig.

whole

were written

in the hall

texcs, inclticling

figuiativdy.

of die temple

.

.

.\

aie fiillowed

simitar,

ten in crocodile-signs

by

of the ram-god Khnum, Mrtiidb ate wrkten with a multi-

of ram signs." Consequently, only the opening words can

with any certaint\.A

spectactihr

at Esna, decorated in the late

36).The opening words, 'Piaites to you

epithets

both formulaic

The most

is

but slightly more legible,

hymn

to

now

be read

Khnum-Re

writ-

also inscribed in the hall.

Rg. 36 The fignnuwe hieraglyptiic bynm to Khnuni. wrincii with temple ol

riiii

Uiiia. Dr^iwii

S. Saunetoo,

by

hifnwjvphs

in the

CThorne Jttcr

1/ Miyllr if'EiiM n (CttiOb 1963), 204.

Copyrighltxl malenal

TOWARDS KIAOING

Egyptian on the statue « hack

9 Statue of Mcryptah

him H.

1

19th Dyiiawv. temp.

K;iimn

II

the

(12'«>-1224 M.)

I'nni-iiuiK c uiitvcordcd

PurchaM.- J rmiii

A

Fmivuu

Sallicr:

jcquircd in

1

83

small black steatite statue of a kneeling

man The

adoring the cartouche of RaiiiNes inscription

in

Two

Lands,

whom his

Lord of

A

"{

II

Vr-mJW, chosen of

of the goddess Maat

figure

('Truth") wTitcs m.l't: she wears her hiero-

Person loves

emblem on

her head, and holds in

glyphic

her hand the hieroglyph

icsr,

Meryptah.

sents an animal-headed

staff.

He

IS

perhaps the same Meryptah in

Theban Tomb

no. .^7.

who

of

are raised in adoration

s .irnis

the sun-god)

of the Olfering Table of All the Gods.

II.

Middle

Mer^-pt-ih

a cartouche reading

greatly praised of the

because of his character, the King's Scribe

buried right-facing

pillar identities

as:

The one

4 cm, W. .V8 cm, D. 6.4 imi

CULTURAl CODE

A

was

which repreThis icono-

graphic scene embodies the meaning

name, which has

a

consciously chosen (like most names):

Mighty of

tlic

suii-disk; 'year'

a royal

it IS

'One

Truth of the sun-god". As

often, the cartouche

and wears

the

t>f

pn>grammatic sense,

ksk on

a sign for gold,

headdress of plumes and

llanked by

two hieroglyphs

(now bioken). evxiking

a

for

long reign for

the king. niniKx.HiSI'iiY:

(London.

I

M,

UirrbritT,

')82). pi. (>2;

M.

/

10

/irniifl/yite 7r.vf
cnkniiJcr

SchuxMZ (Maiiu. 1970). I73-»I.406.

This

lli>r)f,

.IS

the ritual year.

by

end of the of the

part

House of

of

was intended to be recited

and includes

Life',

description of that institution,

The

temple scriptorium. spells against

was

mum-

festivals

of the chamber which

a 'scribe

the

It

a ritual that

is

at the

mification of Osiris

is

called

symbolic

a

which was the comprises

ritual

enemies of Osiris and con-

chides with the placing of a copy of the

book

an amulet on the neck of a statue of

as

Such divine

Osiris.

rites

were adopted by

who became

private individuals,

in death, for their

identified

invn fiinerary

makes

use, as a gloss in the text

explicit.

Since papyri rarely sursnsT ftom settlement

Hornuni: and

unJ Miictr

acquitrd in 1835

performed probably

with Osiris

Bii>Lio(>iiAPiiv:J. Nlalrk.

Salt:

825 dates from the Ptolemaic

Salt

in dcr

or temple

sites,

came from

a

manuscript probably

this

tomb.

This section of the papyrus consists of

columns 8 and 9 and of cursiw

is

written in a mi.xture

hieratic. hicrogKishs

hieroglyphs.

C'olumii

K

vignette at the

bottom

The nco-Middle power of right to

Shu

the

of

with

shown

a

in a

this section.

Eg>'ptian text invokes the

god of the

air.

Shu (reading

manifests himself as a predator>'

wing; he makes

a

left

is

left):

a bull, to

goil

and figuratiw

o}vcns

description of an amulet that

-

knot from the brisdes of

a

be placed on the neck of this

variant: to

be placed on the neck of

nun. Shu nukes

air for

the nose of his

son Osiris, to drive away those

who rebel

against him. They are intended for

making the protection of this god. to safeguard the king in his pabcc. to

those

who

fell

a-bel against him. wh.vi is

SAID BV Shu. hidden

in the sun-disk:

TOWARDS READINC.

'Hide j'ourscif in your house,

Rebels - that which comes turn TOU

a\v:»y!

faces, tor

I

your souU.

You

back your

haw iiude a knot to destroy' am Shu who burns your

signs 5-7,

(8.

1-5)

show other images designed

vignettes

^

i/r..»

>

.


I



|«.}{|

v-ase that

contains an image of the god.

>m

T

M-tf

V

s3b

JT

n >

^

>m su'liil + bsk > sb

On

dj^'^i

figurative hierogl>T>hic signs:

sm3 >

s

{mn > i /•>/ mul >

t

»

t

>

>

?

.'

w >J

jdl

>

tv'U

t

III

The

If

sign for k {no. 4)

is

based on a misread-

ing of the shape of the sign. All he was able to read of the text was:

Um:k

+ bsk >

sutiii

jdliw

fl.

f

>w s3b>s n>r miiw > m

>

miiw

'


4

(for j/ini:t) ??? in-shju'

May you

sh

hasr power

???

over the rebels!

DiiVerent temples used distinct iiguratiw

i

systems, and the errors of the cop>'ist

This can be read s(.hf) .k

to protect Osiris, ittcluding a bucket-sliaped

this is written a text in eleven

and had decoded signs 3—1 and

wrongly, reading them as follows:

I

corpses to cinders!"

The

May you have powder over the rebels! He had failed to decode the crv^ttography of

(Osiris)!

js air will

will turn

of the

jar's

ritual. Ho\ve\'er.

copied

V.

syTiibolic

the ancient

Salt vstote in hieratic to

de dechiifiviiicm'. I'.

Dciv-hain.

jwuf

til

RdE

U papyms

ivrumuriinit

die right of the jar what he understood the

l'Xi5).esp. 140;

interprcunon of (he cryptographic text to be:

du

ifr la

12 (IWiri). 27-31;

&>li

iw

H26

IBM

l>ap> rus Salt 823'.

lOOSIf.rilutt

m Kgyplf (UruncU,

F-R. Hcrbin.'Les BlI-AO 88

(

prciiiicrcs I

V88),

pages

95- 1

1

2.

A

CULTURAL COPE

8i CRACKING CODES

CURSIVE HltROCiLYFHS

AND HIERATIC

MtfOflyphk Fooa to find'

rf^^

Cursive versions ot hieroglyphs, written

Math ink and a

ree\'er

Hieratic

'hieratic',

fiom

.•.It

For the t)ld Kingdom and

normal cursive form of the

Admuiiantivr hutaiic

SccoMl

Eari)'

of a

srj'le

hand

hieratic

only means of dating

often the

is

also relates to the type

Lntr

St.



5]

Mirritic

manuscript, and

a

New Kingdeu

isso-isoonc.

,

The

Oil

as a 'priesdy' script

37).

(fig.

InMmedbM Mod

l700-tS5O BC.

t.

Greco-Roman Period

&\

is

use in the

its

#4*

Middle Kmgid

parallel to

hierarchy of uses ot writing and of texts

that evolved

Kiitgdiyftk CO early

%

New KngdoD

MA

of manuscript. Lnctary bieKUic

of ancient hand-

Plalaeagtapfay (the study

writing), however, can offer only a relative chronolot^N': only a minorin,-

of manuscripts

bear dates. Thus, the Heq.inakht

^^^^

AdmmiMntive hieiatic

Third bMcmiediMe 100-700 ac.

letters, a

Med

fSfl

(.t

group of early Middle Kuigdoiu docu-

now

ments

New 'Vbrk, were

of Aft,

Museum

in the Metropolitan

dated to the

Dynasty by the hand, but have

been

assi;^ned to tlie earlv 12th

By

and

the

1,

evident

onte.vtiiai

HI

(Adnuniiaaiive hieniic) first

lltJi

ologic.il

'Abnonnul hMade*

now

Lste Pcfioci to Plolciiuiv Asnock

700-30

on archae-

BC

/«>

LateUoadc

e.

mid-Middlc Kingdom

9

hieratic

had developed into two variedes, formal and administianve, the

latter

using

l^tuie-fiee form of script with

was

also retained. This, wliicli

is

more

less

(two or more joined

ligatures

signs).

A

abbreviated ffgn forms than fornial hieratic

now known

as cursive hieri>i;lyphs.

was

Fig. 37 it\:L-iH

Three hieiqgjypluc agm and gmupt 111

Ktii);doiii

a careful

N'nrioiB cuisive script*,

hKndc

fmm Old

thiouj^ co dciiKXic.

From R. RwUmoit and S. Qnitlee. flyjnw 'book-hanii" used tor teni(>Ie m.imisi

scriptoria.

thus

CMder

script

moved higher up

ty

i

ipts ni

New

for tunerary manuscripts in the

the Middle Kiiii;don) .uid let.iMicd

Kingdom.

pes were constdeied

It is

a««daa.l99S).25.

temple

characteristic ot

more formal and

prestigious,

and

the scale of decorum, in parallel with the use of older

forms of the language. Hieratic of the

the Middle

New Kingdom

Kingdom, but

aspect of the

sig^is.

there

w

appears tnuch in

more

calligr.iphic tlian that

of

alvo a retbrni to renitroduce the pictorial

Literary and administrative hands also

became more

distinct.

Cursive and ftdly pen-drawn hierogjiyphs were retained for iUustrated and foneiary papyri,

and some

are even painted in foil colour;

a pictorial scene, the hieroglyphic script

is

where a

text

is

part

of

almost always used. Later, at the end

Copyright(xl inalenal

READING

TOWAR.I>S

of

New

ehi'

Kingdom,

i forninl

form of

hier.itic

of the increasing specialization of administrative writing In hieratic, the pictorial aspect

ments.

of the

in

Many

script

fiilly.

with

is

O

C

II

E

took over the role of cursive

hieroglyphs in these texts, becoming the prineip.il prieMly script,

tendency to write words out more

CULTURAL

A

p.irtly

a result

.is

styles.

considcnibly reduced. There

is

a

of phonetic comple-

a greater use

elaborate pictorial hieroglyphs were not standardized: for example,

hieaiglyphs and cursive hieroglyphs

native representing a cat

( 'fg ).

while

'cat'

was written with

in hieratic, the sign

is

a pictorial

determi-

replaced with a

more

generalized and simpler sign of an ammal-skin (?) that acts as the determinative

of many words

for

mammals. Complex determinatives were even replaced by

fmm

simple diagonal stroke (\) that derived tiinerary inscriptions to replace signs that cally

potent contexts (cf

worked

its

way

plicated signs. script,

cat, 53).

By

a stroke

used in Old

were considered dangerous

magi-

in

the 18th Dynasty this cursive sign had

into hieroglyphic inscriptions, occasionally substituting for

Most

texts

and inscriptions were composed and dratted

which was the normal medium

a

Kingdom

com-

in cursive

tor reading.

the

The opening

roll.

The

he.Hling

the great and small herds

all

but the headings to other

roll.

name and

The

d.itc

King

.iftcr

rolls

|.

.

pn-^-rved,

is

provide the

the subject nutter of the

can bc reconstructed

or 2M of Djedkarv years

of

year a|fter| the 14th occasion

counting

In this instance only the dnte

king's

written in

is

delineated hieroglyphs.

careliilly

around

Isesi (i.e.

Nefcrirk.ire

-is

Year 27

si.\ty-tive

Kakai died).

Shortly afterwanls aiK)tlicr scribe added an

account on the margin of the

more

nill, in

cursive hieratic script:

month of Shemu,

1st |.

.

13

.]

gallons

13 EA

P.

Abu

this

MEASURED EVERY Sir:

temple records

|.

cm

Fniiii Abii Sit, (nr-iiiiiU

mniplrx of

ot'

t. Luihvig

gram 5'/^

viits:Titr

issued toT|eseiiiy:

gallons

the

papyrus

in tin- fiiiierjry (t'liiple ik-dicitcJ to

l

omplox

»(

Abu

Sir,

lie j\Y;i tni,.!r

(Camj,

1

''71

K.ii

'

.

.

1

of grain

|wHAT

IS

IMVj.

in ihr Hrtti^ti

Sir /'j/i)/i

K Poscner-Kric]^.

the cult of King Ncfcrirkarc Kakai (2446his pyr.in>iii

Aku

is

Giving the

Pbscncr-KncKcr andJ.L.dc

P.

Cenival, Hicralu Papyri

Htrnri F.Ji>u,inl

Fragment of pjpyrus from

111

ot

Gising the

bibiiouraphy:

Purchased t'mni the fstjtc

242fi Bc)

g>illoiis

(k

MEASURED EVERY

Navillc: ncquinrd in

anhivv

.|

what

d.»y 2:

issued to Tjesemi: THIS IS

Nel'crirkjrr Kikii

Dorchjrdi, pn-vuiui

.

day

5th l>> tu«v.r,23M) m:

day: Ciiving the

is

D.AY.

2nd month of Shenni.

Hi7.VS.IO

H.2r>.5 CI11.W.2I

last

of gram issued toTjescmy

.ind Neferneiiitei:

i

J.

.
',

A

but the

more

cursive hieratic hands

fell

out of use. Demotic could

still

agreement

loan

fur

a

The

text

owr

fortnulaic:

is

be

in dossiers

Modern

it

transcriptions

increasingly

artificial.

was developing

as

of I'tolemaic and

The

later stages

an independent orthographic system.

later

demotic into hieroglyphs become

of the language written

in

demotic

varies with region

and by period, and three phases can be

Roman. The Roman Period

guished: early, Ptolemaic and

alphabetic spellings than earlier periods.

Year 20.

distin-

due

largely to the

reflect the

L

.

use had

become mainly

dominance of Greek

Roman

late first

more cen-

learned. This change was probably

in political

and economic

government's policies disfavouring the native

affairs,

elite.

Month

2 of Shcniu. Day IC of

his

to the

and may

of tlie Valley, Djcdkliy son

libation-priest

of Dismonth. I've

1

its

script

and sonic to

mother being Dimutpaankh. sa>'s

/f>

his

mother being

received from you

of the

tury .\D in both the private and pubhc sphere, and by the second half of the .M)

hieratic,

embahner Hapiu son of Djedher.

si\vcT

second centur\'

abnormal

demotic.

the I'haraoh Wahibre (Apries). The

script uses

Demotic dechnes from the

as

for-

script

are close to Coptic (see chapter 2).

Demotic

known

by

genera-

ses'eral

some of the

mulae belong to the stage of the notionally transcribed into hieratic, and thence into hieroglyphic script, but by

the Ptolemaic Period

si.x

family archive.

Such documents were kept those coneenied, often

of

period

a

months, presumably from

tions.

texts,

570 bc

Fmm Thcb«

1

/

10

1

treasurj'

/2«

1

/GO

Khausisis:

one deben of

of Thebes kite

of the

i.e.

9 2/3

tieasury.

making one deben of silver of the treasury

vou

in

of Thebes.

Year 21

,

I

will give

Month

A

it

back to

of Akhet.

If

I

do

TOWARt>5 KFADINc;

not give

it

A

i:ULIURAL CODE

back in Year 2t Muntll 4 o( .

Akhei.it will bear iiucrt-M

at

I

/3 kite per

deben of silver each month without

month and

interruption for e\rr\' yeit during

which

it is still

with

everx'

nic.

It

can be exacted Iruni any guarantees that

you want from nic serving

girl,

clothing that

I

them

,

-

house, scr\'ant,

son. daughter, silver, copper,

oil,

emnier. any chattels

at all

have - aiiy-whcrc, and you will take in recompense,

without citing any

document. Written by Horkhoas son of

Neithemheb

p:

On

(son of) Iby.

.

,

-

.

the verso are the

names of two wit-

newes:

Djedhor son of Khonsuirdis lhahirdis son

of lirass-u

bidliouiiapmy: .M Malinine. Choix ir juridiijuri

rn

(XXV-XXnr itynasties) (Hiris. K. I>onfcer van

I

Ircl.

Ro(H

WVI»mi>i):

Uif (Leiden,

1

1953). IS-J"*;

Hfrmwimi/ HirrMu and Eatiy

Oem/i)'ri /n'm

993). no. 23.

ihe

in

Li>um EisenMu

23 Fragment of the of Horiraa

Below

stela

tides:

EA Hmh H. 19.5 cm.W 22 till, D. (..3 cm

. .

of Ptah,

Revd Grevilte J. Cheucr; acquired

fragment from the lowrr

limestone hinerary

ranking

of

priest

of the Foremost

in

Tanenet. prie« of Bastct

1886 .

A

White Walls (Memphis). Master of the

Master of the Mysteries of the Temple

From Meniphts

in

.|

Mysteries of the Foremost in Tanenet,

3lkh DyiListy to early I'mleniiut- IVnuil

Purchased from

two horizontal hues of bbck-

this an;

painted cursive script, providing additional

stela

Mcmphite

left

corner of

of Horiraa,

priest.

a

The ends

of three horizontal

a funerary inscription

of incised hieroglyphs, painted

line*

and reading right to

left.

black,

This inscription

contains the deceaseds name,

titles

and

lllia-

tion: .

.

.

.

-I

.

Master of the Mysteries sanctuary

Lord/Lady

at

in

Tanenet

Memphis)

of(?)|

Anklitass^

(north .Memphis), the priest Horiraa. true-of-voice .

.|al{?)

.]

true-of^voicc,

Othcrworld

for

may all

she Uve in the

time!

living for all-time. Year 4,

Month

-4

of Akhct. Day

27(?)

Demotic subscripctons to hien>^yphic are

common, and such

forms of script on

usages

pris^ate

texts

of several

monuments

parallel the state multi-script decree

of the

Kosctta Stone. Here the cursive script written very formally with hieratic

(a

.

a

high-

sur\'ivc

.

of the

is

mixture of late

and early demotic forms; the form

final vvxjrd

the date

a

a very

of the cursive text before

similar to that

of the hiero-

glyphic text.

lUBLiocRAfHY: hitherto unpublished.

100 (:ka'en

yean

(old),

before his time.

BIBI liir.K.SPIIY: A.AhJalla, Ccur- Rpmon runrraq'

StelM from Vpper Bgypi (Lis-erpool. IW2),

na

187.

Cl

TOWARDS HEADING

25 a

including a recitation written in Greek that

London/Leiden:

is

magical papyrus

EA L.

P.

to

be

rx-ad in

the opposite direction to the

followed by two

demotic (4.9-18). This

is

further spells for sisions.

Column

li»>7ii 2

S5 4 cin.H.23.')

CUITURAI. COOf.

A

3 contains

an a spell for 'A

tested gods

arrival', that

is.

for

Konun IVnod. third cimnir>- AD a vision in a dream. Lines fi-X read:

Fmni Thcbo put frankincens« up in front of the

If you

PunhiNctJ fnim Giovanni d'Atbanasi;

lamp and look

the lamp, you sec the

at

K37

acquired in

I

This wrv'

late

god near the lamp;

two

demotic pap\Tus was sold

parts in Thebes, the

London and proved

script,

entire roll arc

the

of Greek and demotic

now known of

it

the

contains

text

as

Old Coptic. The

measured some 5 m.

scries

.1

deciphering

in

since

glosses in a inixttirc

characters

part going to

first

the second to Leiden, where

important

demotic

in

On

spells .ind recipes

the recto

arranged in

twenty-nine columns written between ruled lines.These include spells for di\°inadon. love

of healing.

spells,

poisons and

vcno

are apparently discontinuous

spells

On

the

memo-

randa, prescriptions and short invocations.

The

spells are typical

cietistic culture

products of the syn-

earth,

dream, here

Column

comprises

4 contains a

columns 4-7.

spell for a revelation.

you the

tells

on

a reed

is its

ans\sx"r in a

invocation;

roRMULAE; Here

are the writings

on the wick of the

which

The remainder of the

lamp: liakhukhsikhukh

This

worsl

last

signs,

is

Old Coptic

written in

and means 'Soul of darkness, son of

Then come some

d,irkncss".

untranslatable

hieroglyphic signs to be written

There follows

a

recitation

identifies

iiugiciaii

on

in

the wick.

which the

himself with

various

magical names. .Many of these are written phonetically in demotic characten, but with a gloss

of Late Antiquity.

section

and he

yx>u should write

I

This

\\)u sleep

mat without having spoken to anyone on

above them

lail,

I

ini

iiaii'i,

in

Old Coptic

letters

is

spelLs in this section

77jr Drmi«fc Sta^ual [\ipymi

(London. 1404):

Lif lj.itnion

ImluJiirg ihr DrrnoMr Sprlli

(=

Pjppi

and Ijrtdm

H.D.

in TrjiuUliiHi.

(Chicago and London,

POM .xiv:9pcUs on this section

= HD.V1 xiv4.V2|4);J

Tdit.

Thcban

iiugic'.in

S.I^V'leeininp (cd.). HuniniS-isMrd Th(hrs:Acts

CoHi'i/unHM imntflvs

'ptian.

lemado, the majority of die indig^ous populadon had no way of tecording

Initi

I'

(

was mostly used for

iptic

literan,"

works and private

dialects

became

I

ian.^' It is

Liliutal

letters.

visible in written

uncertain

how

came

it

to

form

for the

and

Bible,

first

this

dard literarv language. Sahidic. which despite the

l.itigu.ige

of the region aniuiul Mempliis,

century. Native Egyptian texts, as

the

opposed

monks Fachomius, Shenuce and Besa

dialect is well attested

of the

centuries

.ifter tlie

its

time

in the history

1

i

K.

k

A

I

M

HI

II

of Eg>'ptis

name

is

tlii>iii:ht

to have

been

Listed Ironi the fourth to the tetitli

to translations, include the writings (fig.

in

O

0

n

p

r

r

c

s

consequently becjinc the stan-

its

39). The Bohairic,

by the ninth century and became die

importance

I

ks

of

economic and

appe.irance of Coptic. Contrary to

otFicial

matters tor several

what

often assumed, the

is

T

t

Y

u

*

ph

X

lA

or 'nordiem',

principal language

C!optic church in the tenth century.

Greek retained

H

be used for Christian

the dialects were located geographically, but what

of the

z

Apart from some minor features of demotic,

now termed the Sahidic. afier the Arabic for Upper Egyptian dialect, was chosen for the otficial translation

t

Z

N

but by the mid-fourth cen-

biblical texts,

event of major proportions'.'"

.1

e

its

own language in writing until the mid-duid century at the earliest.^ tury, in

i

into the lan-

century AO and the dcchne of demotic

first

T

e

necessary tneans of recording

a

b

to the tact that

Coptic was developed in a thorou^ily bi-

uniliceral signs.-"

a

B

i

of niagical

tendencies (o use qpdlii^ foregrounding the phonetic value of words, including

the usage

X

proto-Copiic script

a

phoDologicil

signs

(Bg. 38).

impulse for

original

Coptic

an alphabet that had evolved for

faievitalily

Greek phonology could not be used for a

demotic

letters

ps

5

two languages were not divided bctvseen poor country dwellers speaking Coptic

and sophisticated town dwdlen writing in Greek. The dominance of Gredc in surviving manuscripts

may

earlier scholars

Oxyrhynchus which

is

famous

produced, despite other significant material (such

produce die misleading unpression

that

Egypt in ad 639-41 dut Coptic began istzadve afiairs. first

A hi^

few centuries

sk

well reflect the preservation of manuscripls and the

importance attributed to Greek by desert town-site of

JBB.

it

w.is

and

collectors, as

for the as

fig.

21).*-

^

Such

that

9

factors

afier the

h

X

j

6

c

Greek as a language of admki-

t

0_A

number of Arabic

z

it

only after the Arab conquest of

to replace

f

with the

Greek papyri

psqiyri survive

finm Egypt for the

Muslim conquest. Arab dmiinance over the

native

Fig. 38

Hie Copcie alphabet

Copyright(xl inalenal

TOWARI>S RE.Mil NO A CULT LIRA I CODE

Fig.

y>

A

liiiicMonc

iiKcripnoii

wU with i t^opnr

of tweiity-fijur

Eg>'ptian popiiLition eventually caused Coptic to die out as a spoken language,

liiio >urn.>iiiKWd

probably by the fifteenth century. This marked the end of a language that had a

by 1 bonlci of pLuii inoab. From chc Monaucrv'

of Apj JrmnuvSiiqq.in. H.

EA

continuous WTittcn tradition for over 4,5*H> years. Coptic continues

as a liturgical

an.

language, but

1(^3.

its

e\-idencc of how

A

I •

;

present pronunciation it

was pronounced

in

is

essentially that

!

^,-mx,i :

f

offers little

GNtlrxwxniimn'XA rroXKcblT'^eiN 1

I

V

of Arabic and

medieval and carher periods.

!''\.2vin.W. 13.3 tin

C'opik IVriod. mmviiiIi cciicury ad

Provriunce unnrcotdiN)

M«vi\

Diniatrd by

Kiiiter

Man hatil, fmrn

imi

die Lolltition of John Lcc: jcquircJ

A

1V33

iii

pjp\TU« pjgc dxtm J Coptic codex, dated

by the paljcognpliy to thv seventh AD.

The

text

j entitled

i*

Shemue

the Sahidic dialect.

abbot

White

the

ol"

was

Akhiiiini.

cctitury'

"A IPiscoiirse

Holy Father Shcnutc", jnd

our|

(d,

is

b>'

written in

ad

466), the

Monastery

near

and

a passionate retbrioer

a

persecutor of paganism. His wTitings display a hlj;hly individualistic style:

"

and very powerlul'

the style of the present text, howexrr, later

and only

attributed to Shcnutc. This page

(no. II)

suggests that

was written

it

contains an account of a miraculous supply

of grain: .

.

.

Now when we

look, chat

He

had finished praying,

someone touched

it

said to mc:'Sheniite,

trust in the Lord.

care for you.'

It is

you and he

He

said to

I

thought

he

will

do not

who

fear,

but

will take

newr abandon

me: 'Send the bnither to

bring bread tor the I

inc.

was the hand of the Son of God.

turned Ruitid.but

men 1

so they

may

cat."

did not sec him,

We

prayed and sent the brother. When he

opened the door, \vc found one hundred artabae (a measure uf grain volume,

equivalent to

c.

30 kg) pouring on

us.

We

were very happy and wc blessed Jesus,

who

Wc

IS

always beneficent to his servants.

brought

uhiiooiiai'iiy: c'

thr t-giyf ExplonCion Fund;

jcquinrd in 19ri0

A

mtncon

wiih text on both

sides in Coptic, (rotii

the archives of the

linicsconc

nion.istcr\'

of Apa Phoibanimon.

on

built

the

upper tcFMcc of the temple of Hatshcpsut (leir el-Uahri.

tery

were

iiied for brief notes

Ep ptian

Tiiuh throughout

twenty

and J

Inies in black

a further sixteen

copy of an

at

Such piece* of stone or potand inemo-

history-. There

pigment on the

are

front,

back. The text

on the

is

probably

ecclesiastical letter,

from the monastery "s founding abbot Bishop

Abraham (ad

5'A>-62i)). to

judge

l>y

the

prosrnance and other related documents.

The

letter bs'gnis:

Now

I

have been informed that IVate

is

nultrcating the poor, and they have told

me suying.'He

is

poor and wretched."

leaving!

nultrcais his neighbour

the

feast,

and he

[and

n)altreain)j> us,

is

like

is

I

le

who

excluded from

- he who

Judas

arose from supper with his Lord and

betrayed him, acc

my bread

as is writteii:"l le

who

has lifted his heel ag;)inst

mc..."(ll. 1-7) biiiliochafhy: W.E.

Crum. Coptic

Colltvltimf ej ihr Egypt {ixplanilim

Mustum W.

jiid

iMhcn (London.

GiMllcssski. Dtii ei-BdhiUi.

Osttaaifnim riw

FunJ, iht CiUto

1M()2). no. 71; le

monjslite dt

St /^Jixfummin (Warsaw, 1984bcfed).W. Cu>dlcsvski.'Dayr

Apa

Aop (cd.). Tlir Coptic

Phoibainmon'.

in A.S.

nncyilvpeJu

(Ncvk Vofk and Toronto, IWI),

779-81.

ill

A

CULTURAL CODE

105

106

CRACKING CODES

28 Grammatical ostracon EA H222 H. 13.8 cm.W. 12 cm. D. 0.7

cm

Coptic Feriod I'nu'niJiK e unrtrconled

Uonicrd by Rcvd iC()uin-d in

Red

1

ClrrviUc J. Chctccr:

879

pottery ostracon with

black pigment

te.xt

written in

On

the iront

of graninuiical

OKercises:

on both

arc scvcnieen lines

sides.

the tenses of the verb "to teach' are written first

top

in f Ireck is

and then

the future tense

will teach'), followed ("I

t.iunht");

(the

On

is

arc "Ssvrar to

At the

will teach".

is

'You

rcpe.itcd again

broken away). At the

mc' and

"I

will swear'.

the other side are eleven lines of a

Coptic (a

then the future

Greek version

bottom

in Coptic.

('I

by the perfect tense

name

letter

mentioning one Horsiesious

derived from the Pharaotiic name,

'Horus-son-of-Isis'). giving greetings to a

most holy Itiisi

father.

iiK.KAPilV'

M.K

Hall, Coptic Mid Grrek'lrxli

«ftht ClirisliM n-rii'J (ioiidtm. I'XH). 3K.

WRITING AND ART: CULTURAL ICONS

107

DECORATIVE HIEROGLYPHS Acsthcric considerations were a determining factor in the layout of hieroglyphic inscriptions, in

which

signs

were organized into square spaces

sometimes transposed so they space-filler signs

which

were used.

fitted

One

example

written in cursive scripts as

is

arrangement

as

1^ Many .

tall

follow: thus this

word

,^1

is

m

a pleasing

word

the

and

for lector priest, Ijrj-hht,

for

Ijrj-liht,

to be read

not

is

is

also a preference for it

might otherwise

For decorative reasons

fjJw.

often abbreviation into the single sign i.

0th Dynasty, there

is

a

(mm

I'urcluKii

(IOT7-IH78 Br)

II

tendency to use hieroglyphs

emblematic and iconographic groups. Like cryptography,

the close association of a pictorial shape of a sign and

A wmged scanb of electruin. inlaid blue

cornelian,

lapis

through

fmm

tubes

on the underside of the

\Mngs.

The

Wuc hndy

semantic meaning,

•ixJiit

underside

Icj^, as if

green

have been

a wire or thread passing

with

J

with red

and

lazuli

The ornanKMii would

on

this practice relies

its

MolutnniiNi Moluviib:

jcquin-d in 1'>r>

suspended

Hieroglyphs were not only arranged decoratively, but were a principal vehicle late

cm

IVovciiancc untttorilcd

feldspar.

of decoration. From the in

FA 544WI H. 1.5 cm,W. 3.5 cm. D. 0.3

hieroglyphs in a square

and there

irr/J {'prosperit],'').

29 Pend.mt with the name of Senwosret II (pi. 17)

I2lh tiyiuM>', temp. Sciittxitid

J^^. but in

thin vertical sign before a bird hieroglyph that is

{'quadrants')

manner; occasionally

writing? in hieroglyphic inscriptions arc also abbrevi-

ated for aesthetic reasons, such as

placing a

together

is

not

inlaid.

A

scarab

holds a red suii-disk in

bearing

it

it*

across the sky. Its

wings are formed of bands of red. blue and

which

is

word

it

what the

often very different from

which shows

sign,

writes phonetically,

building the shrines of the

'life'.

ro^'al

sign represents. For example, the

'nlj

green.

or sandal

a penis sheath

strap,

is

used as the enjblem for the

The Rosetta Stone cult

contains instructions for

and decorating them with emblematic

It

green

(/jpr), hill

uraeus should be placed on a basket with a 'sedge' under

it

on the

the side on the top of the shrine, and a uraeus with a basket under

placed on a papyrus

illumined

on the

left,

Upper and Lower

the

meamng of which

Egypt". (Demotic text,

is

right

it

'The King

of

should be

who

has

(/(').

power.

Many

epithets.

all

on

this

spring

rcpresciuing

and sun

the inscriprion

is

The oubpread wings

(f ')

write the

Khakheperre

ihmnc

(H'-ljpr-

exactly syninietrical.

are a prolectiw device.

BIBLlor.RAI>HY:C.Aiuiiew%, Cuilidogur tr

from the

atiribuicd lu

ISZi. tlic

Mu&cv

(aU rights

hy kind pcrrniwion

of M. and Mnie Cbatcauminois.

1

aterial

^7

PUtc 7 The Banket obelisk •

at

Kingston Ljcy;

'

Dorset, in the position facing the house that wa

chosen by Bankes' friend the Duke of Wellington. In fiDnc

of it

lies

a fragment

of another obelisk

from PhiUe: the two originally uooj the

:S^Wii£^^AVSU^\^^-

first

in

from of

pylon of the temple of Isis, flanking the

central doorw.My.

H. 7 m. Courtesy T.C.H. James.

Plate 8

II

.

i'.

SaUier

a iCanicssidc

containing the

copy of the pocin

column of

first

71ie

JeMhhig

King Amenemhal; the notes written on the mouiuiiig sutc that the papyrus was 'stuck onto fourteen squared sheets by

M.

Sallicr's in

iv-turn

fmni

the

l\so

the papsrui-The red dots

of VTt^e,

ChampuUion

month of Febniarv'

E^pt and

van alter

at

H3iif

temple

»phm\

»i Scrabii

fmm

cl-Kludini

in%iTipt]oii% in Ej^^'piuit hii-n>}(lvpli>

Pioto-Sinjitic vrript. L. 23,7 cm.

EA

ilu-

Ktivldk

wnh

uni

in the

4174H.

114

CRACKING CODES

MONUVU The

N

l

CULTURAL DISPLAY

AL ART:

relaciomhip between hieruglyphs and rcpa-scnt.ition.il

both complementary and fundamental to the

which induded a determinative

inscriptions

art

is

script.'' In the

inninatc. and

be suppKed by an

sign diat could

common

adjacent repcesentation omitted the determinatrodlus was espedaUy in texts comprising •supplied (.aptuMi

by the (V

i;.

i

names where the

fiinire

of the person concerned,

to

of a human figure was

which the name was the

By the Middle KniL'ddni the

.Vi,

.It

final deterniinacive

is

Old Kingdom,

generally

c.iptioiis

included the determinatives, and representation and caption were more discrete.

The

giadual lessening of the prestige of representation over text can also be seen

way

in die

in

which

inscriptions

were added to

Old Kingdom

statues. In the

shcHt insci^xions were added to spaces such as a figure's belt, while later longer inscriptions spread

onto spaces such

as

thrones or the back

subsequently also onto areas of ckithing

pillars

y>.

.'^7,

(e.g. cat.

.SI).

of statues, and

From

the l^th

Dynasts' on, even areas ot the statue representing unclothed tlesh were inscribed 37. 46).

(e.g. cat.

Some

types of stelophorous statues

dtsplay a tendency for the statue itself to affecting the text

on

the stela

(e.g. cat.

a certain

Hierogivphs nevertheless ainuist scene coiiiposition.Just

as

with a

stela) also

abbreviated, without

40, 41). This tendency

monumental

gradual increase in die uses of writing apart fiom contimiDiis texts, giving tests

statues

(i.e.

become move

may

reflect a

di^la)^

and for

autonomy.

.liwavs

obev the

rules ot

Kdiiographv and

the most important tigure takes precedence ni a scene,

SO the hieroglyphic signs writing the words for 'king* or 'god' precede the

widi which they are associated, regardless of their 'scribe (ff

sft)

of the king

i//.)

hieroglyphs for the items arc piled

under the olVering 'fowl'

is

repre-

is

written sviih uniconsonantal

logc^am

not the

name (Q).

that generally

a-served for use in royal comexcs.*'

head of

miii iticRAPHY:

a

bird

{

"5

)

is

portra)x-d, rather than

ten in a vertical line in the his figure,

which

is

name

same

is

WTit-

siirection as

the determiiutiw to

liis

wrote

In this period,

such

logographic wxicings of names of gods were

sentation of the hietogl>i>h; usually only the

the body. Betide Niankhre his

point of

name, which means

"Life-Belongs-to-the-sun-god', the element

thousand

of beer.

The

abow).

(sec

decorum

thousand of a

I'M

Hii-iiii;/)7.fciV7fcHi

III'.

58fj;T.C;.H.Jamcs

WaES

35 Royal temple

ofAiucncmhat

lintel

III

elements are arranged according to heraldic

the king worships, or

rather than linguistic principles.

gods

In the ceiitie. the ri|;ht-facini; cartouche

EA

11172

of Amenenihat

H. KH cm. W. I2i]i

2.V».5

From

ctii

this

Fjiyiim.

tfypt

Mjuruc Ndhnun:;icquircd

lintel.

The

relict'

m

temple to Subck

(jnciei)t

exact provenance

is

from

Mcdinct cl-Falyum

at

Shcdet) or from the nearby funer-

ary temple of

famous to

Amenomhat

classical

Lab>Tinth'. cally,

I'J't?

tioin a

iinix'conlcd, but the piece conies either a

flanked by the

who

is

The

111

at

H.iwara.

authors as the Egyptian

text

is

arranged symmetri-

with the central cartouche placed

the axis of the doorsvay.

The

owr

text cannot

be

deciphered nito a single sentence, since the

sign for gold:

name of

in Shcdet'.

similarly to the

MkWIc

rectangular liiimcune niscd

temple door

IS

"Horus

im:)

Purchased liom

A

cm. D. 8

[cnip.Aincii

(ciiip.

Aiiicnriiihji

II

(IW-IK»>2in.) arbiter Provciuticc aitd jcquiuQon dnaib unrrconlcd

A liin«toiio sunk

in at

Middle Kingdom fuiicnry

exemplifies the orienta-

stela

of hieroglyphic

tion

scene

text in relation to the

accoinpanies. The top horizon-

tlial it

of the

line descrihos the dedicitor

tal

sicLi,

probably tiuni the necropolis

relief,

Abydos. The

stela in

Middle E^pcian. reading tium right to

and continuing down the scene in a vertical

The

Ulessed

left

left,

of the

side

line:

One before

the Foremost of

Westerners, the Lonl of Abydos. the

Chamberlain

Senitef,

bom ofRchutankh

tnic-of-voice

The

text,

still

reading right to

continues

left,

above the scene which shows offerings b«ing

made

to a royal statue,

right.

This gives

which

also

faces

brief autobiographical

a

statement:

he

says:"l

who controlled

was one

the

Pint Mansion (= the cult-cliapel) of the

Person of the Dual King: Nubkaure.' Unusually, there

is

no

figure

on the

receiving offerings

represented hy a scene of other fulfilling his cultic role.

speech,

his

The

comprising

thmne name. Nubkaure,

of Senitef but he

stela,

is

indis-iduals

final

words of

Ameneinhat

lis

are cleverly aligned

so that they also tbrm a caption idenrif\-ing the

ro^-al

statue in the scene. The twxj figures

lacing the statue are labelled

His bnnlier

whom

he

as:

loves,

Hetepi born

of Reliutaiikli

statue. Their

and liis

tal

brother

whom

he loves. Seiibebu

face the

same direction

as

Blessed

One Rencfankh.The

One

S.itsebek.The Blessed

Rehutankli true-of- voice

their figures, as does the caption describing

The

their actions:

s'oice.

The

Bringing choice cuts of meat,

Below tives,

the scene

who

is

a

face in the

row of Senitcrs same direction

rela-

as

the

arc written in a horizon-

abow them, subdivided

Blessed

true-of-s-oice.

These hierc^yphs

names

line

The

Blessed

His

into sections:

(his

One Dedsebek

One

mother).

figures

is

winged

sun-siisk,

nf"ten

of

stelae

with

it is

is

ofTerings, representing SenitcFs

hope

for

duty

recompense; a large circular

wittily placed in the position usually

occupied by the sun-disk and other heraldic devices.

Himlikrrxts 2 (l.oiijon. 1'>I2), pi. 10: ro>'al

occupied by a protective but here

of his

loaf

iiibliogiiaphy: PI>. Scott-MoncriefTfrW.,

truc-of-

svile Seiii true-iif-st)Ke.

lunette at the top

pile

and

occupied by a

discussed in:

H.G.

Fischer, 'OiTenng stands liuni

the pyramid ofAiiiciiciiihcl

Museum Joumall

I',

MrlnifnililJti

{I'tJi). l2>-f».

I I 'f

120

trKACKiNt; t:oi)ES

37 Block statue of Tcti

lines

1

5'>

1.

of Middle

Eg>'ptiaii hieroglyphic text

are carved at the front,

EAS«K

and three

line

on

cm. W. 27 cm, D. 39

IHdi Dyimiy. iciiip.TutiitiiaMS

III

(I479-I42.S

pillar: all

read ri^ht to

and one horizontal Unes on the back left.

The

horizontal

Bc:)

te.M at the top

Fmin Kjrnjk

An

Mohamed Molusub;

Purchased from

vertical

offering

of the

front reads:

which the King

givies

to

AnnMi|-ke and] Re-Horakhry. that

the>'

.Mrqiiirexj in

may

A

a\l

i]ii.irt7itc

give iH-atification. power.

block stamc of Ten. Viceroy justification. JO)'

of Kush. Tlic «t3tue

finely carved,

is

Jiiil

of chc

body

sk]UJ(tiiig

•iitd ilu-

vertical line

'Teti

modelled

schcinjiicilly

"itylcs

a series

of titles; each

more

with

contrast

in

then begins

i.s

dreice' at

whose "Tetity").

tail falls

and

over the plinth

In'sidc his right foot,

the

wcm satidils. Around

his

the

pendant formed of the

The bottom

II.

dedi-

the hclep ('peace') sign, which can bc read hip ('Life

and

On

peace!').

his

Hon, born of the Lady of the House,

upper ami

niscribcd the cartouche of his sovereign,

Oil the back the horizontal tattoo, but first

lit; is

a

this

does not represent a

graphic declaration of loyalty

attested in this pcricHi (cf cat. 46).

He

The

a

lotus

tlower

in

his

left

Emblematic hieroglyphs are inscribed on

and Craftsman

on the

left

hand

are signs

showing

(?

red

crown of Lower right

Eg\'pt

hand

giving his

showing the

white crown of Upper Egypt and the sun.

These combine to suggest

tiliatioii,

arranged so

tlie

and the moon,

signs

same

and bottom have (he

sun and

Two

is

moon

all

tlut the

of Amun.Ahnics Pctjena truc-of-

and nine

vertical

M>n of the King's Son and Osrrseer of encircle.

horizoiiial lines

M

K.

H.ill

Hahiilii.'Thc fin* «vs» viicniy* ot'Kinli ami

Kiuh 7

(IMS'*).

44-62; J. Vandicr.

Mauutf J'mlKvlogif i'xy|"imnr ^

(Paris. I')5>le,

\sell

and

prosperous: for the spirit

of the King "s Scribe

Amcnmcs, begotten of Inyt. |.

.

.)

Lord of the Two Great I'lumes,

he may

let

me

daytime to see

that

|his|

beauty without

.j

for the spirit

The

of the Kings Scribe

on the back

pillar

of

I'endjerti: to

him

worm, your corpse

the King's Scribe

of Inyt. weeping

son of the Digiutary IVndjerri.

three vertical lines

with the King's Scribe Amcnmcs, son

belongs the

ccMing:

Amcnmcs,

.]

of the Dignitary

follow his Person in the

Amcnmcs, begotten

for

him who

is

in tlie

Other\vx)rld. ,|

sad for

him who

itiiitiyiu«>-.

lines

of

water. Tile e\v» in this etnbleinatic group are

4\Tnholic of wholeness: the slim sign repa-sents the

of the

totalit\'

wsc and water (^) libations desired

group more

wish for the deceased to

two

eyx-s)

is

The hiemgK-phs tor's

name

because

it

has

'see'

may be

It

literally, as a

(wxitten with

carved on top of the arc unpainted.

The

An

stela.

dedica-

been erased, presumably

contained the

name of

Amun. and was removed of

Aklu'iiatei) as part

reforms

)

of the

the solar cycle and the water.*-

offering table

Q

sun's circuit; the

arc suggestisr

by the dedicator.

possible to read the

(

in the

god

the

reign of

that king's religious

41 and 54); the statue

(cf. cat.

can be dated to the immediately preceding reign from

forms to

a

its style.

The hymn on

the stela

speech of the figure and a-ads (right

left):

Praising tliat

he

he

Ke when

sets in life,

says: 'Mail

Atum at

he

Re at

your perfect

you adorations

at

rises, until

it

luppeiis

by the cup-bearer

to )'ou

your

setting.

I

your perfect

|.

.

.|,

rising,

shall

give

setting.

Re in the Solar )ay-barijue. who rises iit the eastern horizon, who sets in the west, who fcUs enemy.' Exalted be

I

The watue svas

probably pLiced in the owner's

tomb, possibly in abos'c the

tomb

a

niche in a pyxaniidion

chapel, vvhca*

it

would

face

the rising sun. In earlier stitues of this type, the text

is is

inscribed directly

on

the \vY>rshippcr's hands and

the area bctss'ecn

on

his kilt.

dibiiockaphy: (LiMiami, 19.^9),

3: W. Scipel.

no. 124: in the

cf.

I.E.S. pi.

Edwards, HiervglyphK 'lexis

8

32:J.Vuu1ier. M,murl

rgyplirntic

il 'anr Ar-itJinw

(T'ans.

1

(mi Meiiuh PhurM

V5H)

,

•(

7

-4

.

espi

(Vienna, IW2),

H.M. Stesvart,'S(eli>phnH»

Bndsh Mu$eum',JEH 53

1

ttaluettn

(1967). 34-8.

125

126

CRACKING CODES

The

41

of Ineny

shrine-stela

EA4f»7 H.

4-

Froin Thebes Pun.'h.urd from Gim'anni Aaastui: jiijuiiril

A

ill

IHi')

limestone shrinc-stcla of Ineny with a

pynniidion. pmutiubly trom his tomb. each ^ide

i recess, snnilar to

New Kingdom

stelophorous statues such as placed. In each recess

is

a

On

niches in Urge

p^Tjmidioas

which

in

were

cat. 4

43

A

CULTURAL CODE

12'^

Dishasha; Nikheftek himself ss'as buried near

Scribe statue of Nikheftek

by.

EA 2-

the same chamber. I'he statues

show

evidence of deliberate breakage (see

cat.

From Duhjslij 5.V.S). I

>nM7

lyeihMi /X97,M£EF

A

painted litncstuiK'

vtatiic

vliovviiii;

(Ik* pi.

official

Nikhcftck

Icngcd with

a

papyrus unrolled on

Then.- arc rcnuins of red paint

the head

is

lost,

and pan of the

been detached, apparently

lias

repair to

The

arcas

make good

in

his lap.

the body:

left

shoulder

an ancient

a faulrj' area

is

a

of stone.

danuged

of hierogl\-phs, written for die

and not the viewer, to read

The

IS

one of

.

.

a scries

Ni|khcftck.

.

of

at least tisxr

of Nikheftek found by Hinders Petrie serdab

statue,

(riglit to left):

King's Acquaintance, the Osrrseer of

[Connnissionnig. This

on

of "net^itivxr space' under the arms

arc painted black, (^n the mil line

15 (London. IH98). 13(c).

33.*),

as a scribe, sitting cross-

chamber of

his

father's

sutues in the

masuba

at

material

IJO

CRACKING CODES

44 Wooden scribe EA

2331

H. 10.24 chlW. 7 cm. I> 5.4 I

1

cm

ale ISfli l>v-n.wty

PrmciuiK c

jiiii j) iiairy(:)

1*rm*ciuncc uiir«3

terracotta tlaik in the

scribe,

form of a squatting

with a papyrus unrolled over

his lap.

Black paint decorates the wig and the eyes.

He

is

writing with his right hand, while his

originally held the papyrus

left

figure

is

largely hollow, but

il

roll.

The

seems not

to have acted as a container for ink. as

the scribal shape might suggest. Instead belongs to

a

type of dccorati\-e

into figures of servants,

it

\msA shaped

women

most often

nursing chilciren. This eKample

is

unparal-

leled. HI HI ioiiy:

(Cambridge. si-f

J-

E.A.W.

Bud)(t-. 'Pie

Mummy

I"*25 |2nd ednD.pl. 27. In general

IJoorriau.'Pottcrx' figure vases

Kingdom'. Ctliim de

of the

New

h ee

lost) as

learing.^

di\-inities,

the high ofiicials

is

llie

(n.Mdiri{C left

(now

book. Lady of Mieroglyphv

Lady ofWriiings'. H.

temple of Edfu a

l>ynast>'

fenule dgtim

«if j

bonier to

gods; she also lays out foundation plans of temples together with the king. Thoth faculties

Mth

Deir fl-BaIwi The

Jt

pjn

III

(1391-1353

the King's Scribe and Scribe of Elite

nc).

and Imhotep. the Vizier of DJoser

(2630-2611 Bc). These two were associated especially with written wisdom; their cults flourished in the Ptolemaic Period,

the

the Vizier Ptahhotep of the 5th Dynasty,

tomb and

aspects

who

associated with

deified officials included

had a short-lived cult around

featured as the culture hero protagonist in a later literary

TlieTeaclutig of the Lord llzier Ptahhotep.*^ all

when both were

Greek god of healing Asclepius. Other more minor

of scrib.il

life,

from

These heroes and

ofiicial cultic activity' to idle

wisdom

divinities

his

text,

permeated

doodles.

lateria!

KtAltlNb A i:L;tTUK.AL CODE

11>W'AIS

\

47

\ t

{

teacher.

Lansing:

1*.

a scribal

n

On

cjlhgraphic sketches

EA

a

iiii;W. 45.3

I

hcb«

I*

Rcvd Gulun

IS

.1

ibis

Laiislng;

Elsewhere

holding scriKol

as a iigurr

with

sign in front of him.

Donated by Waller this

section

there

Llevscllyn

Nash

(Trustees of):

are acquired in

'Letter- Teaching

made by

tJic

which the apprentice copied

columns of hteriry hientic.

Eg>'ptiaii

and

l'->2ft

palimpsest traces of jottings and doodles by

nakht. for his apprentite the vcribe Wenein-

It

ii

in a

'Miscellany', or antholf^- of

texts, praising the prufe^siun it

aiikli

on

of the scribe,

includct praisci of Wenmediaincn's

Part of a limestone funerary seribal palette

Wenmediamen.

/\>/t)'n in

New

48 Scribal palette showing the goddess Seshat

as

I'roviciuncc unreconlcd

an elongated

liiliuouHAl'HY:

and

at

head, wraring a lunar disk, and with

Aimin-Rc King of the Gods, Ncbmaatrc-

fifteen

a lunar disk,

in his paw.

King's Scribe. Overseer of the Cattle of

didinen'

both

Late IVfiod

an

in IKHfi

l.jii\ing

baboon with

equipment

(on imcrnil oidcncc)

Purclutcd Irom

icquiml

shosvii

H.7ciii.W.7.2aM,D.2cm

cm

Uui- 2(>th |}yiLHCy

From

ofThoth

EA 54H2y

99S»4.7

H. 20.«i

of the manuscript,

this section

the end of the verso, the apprentice drew

manuscript

E.A.W

the Btiliili

\iviifx. Hj^itian Hirralif

(London. l(-

rJ37),

ichtheim,

At the top

(cf. cat. 61)).

inkwell: the slot for pens,

Mustiim, Second Scries

Snv

on the

riglit

The goddess

has oil rosette

side

of the upper sur-

holds a papj rus

statf

and

her head her usual insignia of a

surmounted by upside-down horns,

of uncertain

significance.

miiLluoiiAMlv hitherto iinpnblnhed. :

IJ4

CRACKING CODES

50 Statue of Huy holding tA

baboon

a

I.V»5S

H. 17.2 cm.*'. V cm. D. 10.3

cm

R.«ni'pe

kneohng

baboon on

a

were probably

placed in temples, perhaps with royal permission.

The upper body of the main

.ind the

baboons headdress

back

pillar a

of incised hierogl\-phs .

.

.]

are lost.

sin^e right-facing

figure

On

the

vertical line

reads:

his |IVrson(:)| l.p.h,. a favv>ur to the

Kings Scribe, the Ovvrseer of Elite Troops

I

luy true-of-voice.

uiuiiobKAPiiY: tutherto unpubinhed.

49 Statuette of the baboon of Thoth EA

with a double has

35-Mil

H. 18 cni.W. 5.64 cm. D. 8.03

cm

(iiiiritinled

Hurcluicd from K.J. acquired in

A

curwd

in bronze,

Man and Co. (Alexandria):

of «cp'pc

ttoni a Itinerary or state

was made

head

now somewhat

uncertain whether

RjiiK-uidc Pcrioii(?)

PttiwiMm*

a

paws on

is

a lunar disk

corroded.

It

is

of statue comes

temple context, or

for the private cultic activity

of a

scribe. l'-H)\

BiBLioGiiArHv: hilheno unpublished. steatite

baboon, seated on a high pedestal

1

aterial

TdWMlDS

Kh.ADINi; A (ill cm

Fmni

ui

III

are inscribed

on

tlic

of Aincnhotcp

scitiii-

as a scribe.

I

Iieroglyphic texts

papyrus

tiiirnllcd

Up and on the statue plinth. lis riglit now broken, held a pen, as if writing, I

left

hand holds the papyrus

knee

sits

.in

roll.

on

his

hand,

while

On

ink container, with

his

Daughter, Amenhotep true-of-voice: he

are in

calls

modelled on

is

is

on another

statue

by the

written

On

of the gods,

a fa\T)ur

left)

is

carved

a

wish

to be rx-ad by the

viewer:

the feuivals of A|ii]mun in Ipetsut. for the spirit of the King's Scribe

rather than

statue. The text reads (riglit to left): .IS

the top of the plinth

(reading right to

actual reader standing in fiunt of the

Placed

to you. Ion!

,

Satisfaction ssith the daily prov isions at

text

Amenhotep himself

temple of Amiin

have

.

on the

The Middle Kgyptian roll is

read by

Lands

m vertical lines as if to

Aiiuin".

papyrus Ih"

Anicn-

hnnsclf the 'herald of the god

of the king

in the

in Ipetsut for the

Prince

dnd C'ount.

the King's Scribe. Scribe of the Elite

C'liief of Upper

and Lower

of Favours from

Amenhotep

true-of-voite.

This wish involves wordplay, since

one

F.g\pt, Circat

inscriptiorK indicate that thit

come

Anuin Lord of (the Thrones of the) Two

In style the statue

two

cakes of ink.

The

Troops. Steward of the King's Eldest

the king and

!>>'

Karnak (others

Museum).

hotep

black grjiio-diorile

at

says:'l

pers and the pod:

u)n of Hapu

his left

scaaies given

acted as an iniennediary In'tsveen worship-

)

Kanialc. Thebes

AcqiiiviiKui tlrMiK uiirrccirdnl

A

of

a series

the Egyptian Miiseuin. Cairo, and the Luxor

Middle Kingdom forerunners. The statue

18th IKiuwy. tcmp.Aiiicnhoicp

(1391-1353

of

placed in (he temple

son of Hapu

his Person,

be

satisfied',

face ally

on

but also

"to otTer"; this

on which temple pbee

visitors

their olTerings to

is

lilp is

Amenhotep.

this pivstigiuus statue there

"to

the sur-

could notion-

is

Ewn

a toriiected

ern>r ni the carving: Aimiun for Ainuii.

51 ffKint)

^Taterial

TOWARDS READING

Around

the base

tion, rorincd

the

vvhidi

ot'

at

in

perpetually

from right to

The

out

in

the

god's

left,

cult

whom

the Lord of the

Two

Lands

come

have

perfection. Lord

to see your

of the Gods, Atum Lord

otThcbes, King of the Two Lands, so that

you may place so chat

I

me

in

y^ur temple-estate,

iiuy be nourished by your

and

I

may

the earth in

t"i)r ilii:

(Jlans-illc.

n-tgii

of

I.E.S Edssantls. Him^l)i>lii( texts K

Anienhotep

he

M\2»«;S K.K

oil iiutvrial

I

W). pl

l

2; i(. A.

Suii:Ammhctrp

(corner of the pedestal)

I

unto

kiss

day,

at

line, rini-

triic-of-vioicc, savi:

BiBtioi.HAi'iiv: I'M 'Sniiic

years,

your foliosving and

to

reads:

loves, the Standard-bearer

in

your temple every

Anicm>phis l\V.jr.A 15 (l''2'').2-8.esp.2-5;

Prince and Count, Seal-bearer of the

King,

be

(roiii

Amenhocep

allowing

Karnak.Tlie rtght-liand half of the iiing

you may nuke green niy

of inscrip-

the back. These record the

purpose

partake

a single line

texts spreading;

both parts {'The Prince')

wriKci) only once, and nieetin(; tn

IS

the middle statue's

is

of iwo

worI

iiiitijl

spirit.

I

W2).

'l.j

tit

Kozlotr .1

ami

lii>

,i/ .

\Utuir ti'Aiiicii)it>tep

(1997), 341-55.

la

Iifyi(;R.spiiY:r.. \tKlTvv.^. Amulflf vfAmirni

l^Ypl (London.

I

W4), fig. >ri.

A

CUITURAL CODF

140

CRACKING CODES

MUTILATED HIEROGLYPHS

AND 'DAMNATIO MEMORIAE' The power of hieroglyphs

is

cacy. In the royal burials

of the

human and

also manifest in

measures taken to

restrict their effi-

Old Kingdom, the hieroglyphic

late

signs

of

animal figures in the texts on the walls were omitted or truncated in

order to lessen their potential threat to the deceased. This practice was revived in

Kingdom, when

the late Middle

some

were

cuts

>how dangerous animal

Apep/Apopis speared

common method

signs transfi.xed with knives, as in the

of Ani

fijncrary papyrus

through such signs

also inserted

Another more

funerary- contexts (see cat. 53).

particularly potent written features

erased.

and

his

and were quite frequently

of the reaction

state records as part

reforms (see also

own name was

IP

40.

3S,

cat.

to those

41.

This

54).

'damnatio memoriae'

is

and commemorative

inscriptions, but

on papyrus

w

subse-

monuments and from

quently erased on the

best attested in funerary'

was

also

records. Similar attitudes

underlie the "execration

which

rituals*, in

figures

were inscribed with the names of the

enemies, and

state's

is

King Akheiiaten (1333-1335

Bc) practised systematic erasure as part of his religious reforms,

vessels

Dynasty

where the name of the demon serpent

(ea 10470.22),

written in the unlucky colour red and the determinative sign

is

Names were damaged or

and

in

to

44).

(tig.

carried out

I'Jth

was

were

then

cursed

.ind

destroyed. Images of people could also be a nuitilatcd in a personal vendetta, as

Niankhpepy the

at

is

expressed in the 6th Dynasty

Saqqara, where the relief

tomb owner

in

is

tomb of

erased especially around the head of

Fig. 4-4

DtiM\ from the

pjpy rui

ol'.\j)i.

hirn^lyphic

one scene, and

a text

is

incised near by. in a cruder style than

serpent .^pejv .^pi>pis

the tomb's original inscriptions:

You enchained me! You you do

The

to escape

my

tnmslation here

is

hand?

similar practice

is

who

ture,*^

and occurs

in

Dynasty warns that

many

what

is

Now

will

shall

be

satisfied, for

wh.n can

D\iHst>- fiinrrjr>'

o(thc drtnon

'bv. )

it

seems clear that the

graffito records the

he.id airleJ uniler

hostility,

monuments.

This,

cultures. Nonetheless, a literary text

in Tura!

will

howewr. does

but was a practical measure to save expendi-

ruins,

be done!""*

from the 12th

irs

;i

b vvrincn line

fnnn

serpent l>'ing

b.22.

in die left);

flat

with

traiMfixed

with knives ttn» ii in bUck.W. of coliuiui

P.HM EA

bc what

(

the deterininjlisv diows its

erased the image.

tomb chamber from

done

I

father shall be satisfied!''

reprehensible:

it is

you should hew stone

for

My

father!

monuments of another;

Destroy not the

Build not your

my

the royal usurpation of

not necessarily indicate .my

*Jth

imiiic

unlucky colour red (fourteenth

uncertain, but

sentiments of the person

A

beat

I

written in j line cursive

lumLThr

1.*^

ClU.

TOWARDS RKADINi.

A

t.UlTURAL CODE

53 Shabti of Reiifscneb EA vmi cm

H. 22.6 im.W. 6.B cm. D. 6.-J I

1th

.

r>>-n.i'it\-.

tempi Salic khirtep IV

(I73IK-I720IM;)

Fntm AbyJ

lines

left-facing hieroglyphic te.xt

of heaven, lord of earth

of incised in the

BiBiiOGRAi'HviT.E.

all

is

.Meretaten. and svas originally erected in a

Akhetaten

legs.

for

who

Living Aten, great one

encircles, lord

lower parts and

lis-e

was presumably of Princess jubilee

and

aiv mutilated: the birds

may she

eternity! lost,

Sunshade-of-Re

(a solar

run around the

of tlie King's Uodily Daughter

l9n-IVI >n.MEtf 34 (London. pi. 13.3: l>.

RfiV/i

i:

Chii.

AA

4

I"*H4), iw>. 241;J. l)ourri»i,

A/iwub. UgyiiiiiUiAH hi

r/if

sides,

including the names of Akhenaten's

he

fnnke. ferscnriulaim mis dem Mitilam

120- l6.JMiuiiA-tt

{Wicsbjd*n. iuid

1'>M).57. 113.

MMIe

god, theAien ("sun-disk"), which were

two

in

PlurMhr

KitixtUm

dilVerent

is.sued

losies,

wife great of love, lady of the Two

fornuilations at diftea-nt

Lands. (Neferneteriuten Ncfcnin^

periods of the

ments of the

rcigii as

kiiig"s

programmatic

religious reforms.

state-

may

embody

she liw and be healthy for

They and

(Caiiibruljse. I'>SK),

83.

and

all

time

of Rejoicing

eternity, in the Houst-

the dognutic importance of names,

of the Aten no

shrine)

whom

Meretaten, born of the royal

au* placed in royal cartouches.

The

first

no

later

in

the temple of the Aten

in Akhetaten. is

present here, dating the piece to

miu

i23). I55;J.I).S. Pendlcbur>'. Cily of AkhtiiMtn

New

Egyptian also includes the cartouches

of Akhenaten's queen,

Nefertiti,

MEES

m.

44 (London. 1V51). 1'*3:G. Roeder.

which have AitiiUUii-Riiuls Mii Hrnni>iKilii (Hildcilivim, I969).

been erased

(erasures underlined below). The .1.S2;

I.E.S.

Edwanit HinvglYphK'lexu K (Loiuinn.

reasons for this (and the date) arc uiicciijiii, pi.

and

need not

it

reflect Nefertiti's fall

royal favour, despite

The

first

an ankh .

.

.'.

and

May

is

live

my

as

'May

live

probably a heraldic device, linguistically.

father (Harakhte rejoicing in

his horizon)! is

scholars' theories.

which can be read

not to be read

Kemp

and

S. Garfi.

ilmAniieiii City oJ ei-'Amaiua

cartouche of the Aten open with

sign,

but which is

some

24; B.J.

from

name of Shu who

in the sun-disk) given

life

for

.ill

A

Siinry of

(London, IV93),78.

1

4

142

CRACKING CODES

5d Temple inscription

usurped by Ramses EA H.

II

11(12

5 cm. W.

'>?

cm. 0. 16

I*ii>

cm

I2(h Dyiu^ty, U'm)i. SciiuDsrvl

(l«7»-1841 temp,

Bij),

lUmtn II

111

ffinwribcd in (he

I'ith I>yiij8jy.

(I2«H(-I224 nc)

Prom Tell Bjnu DoiuifU by

ilif

Bgfpt Expluntion Fund:

acquired in 1891

A

temple

red granite

relief,

perhaps an

aR-hitcctunl cicinenc, inscribed with i icxi

cartouche of Ram«:s

cuntaining the

directly stipcninposed

upon an

SIX centuricni

used in

life, as

with the palette of the

Merire (vA 5512) from the reign of

official

Tuthmosis IV (1401-1391 B(:).This shows clear signs of with

An

use,

but

it

was inscribed

funerary invocation in Middle Egyptian for Merire by his scribe Tencti:

a

offering

give

which the King

gives

toThoth

lord

of gods wxmls.

him knowledge of writings and of what comes

forth

that

he may

from him, and

I'ruvctuncc unrecorded

Punrhiscd from R.J. Hay; acquirrd in 1868

Model of

two

ch.

understanding of gods' words, to the Official at the

The

scribe

Head of the

spirit

of the Prince and Count, the

King's Nobles, the

High Stewaul. Merire.

few

a

exatjiples

i*

i.s

a

sample of the

wntmg surl'accs

face w.is papyrus, but

and

tools that

wooden

were employed. The principal writing sur-

ostraca. Leather

lieside

which

was a prestigious and expensive writing

were used occasionally

in particular circumstance*:

ritual reasons (e.g. cat. 63).

such

.IS

in places

mud

Mud

or

textiles

as

was sometimes used for

where there was

a shortage

of papyrus,

an ostentatiously expensive writing surface, for example in the

between Ramses

II

and the

Hittites in

-;

I'linliascd

acquiriMJ

A

m

1907 (Loi -UH, Ru