Ancient Egyptian Alphabets or “The Words of God” as were called by the Egyptians.
In AD 391 all pagan temples throughout the empire were closed By zantine Emperor Theodosius I, This terminated a four thousand year old tradition and the message of the ancient Egyptian language for 1500 years, Until the discovery of Rosetta stone and the work of Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832).
Champollion had a special advantage over others in cracking the hieroglyphic code. As he understood Coptic, he was able to translate the meanings of the ancient Egyptian words. So they inscribed them on temple walls, tombs, objects, jewelers and magical papyri to impart supernatural power not for mundane day to day communication.
On the contrary the simple elegance of modern writing systems, this early attempt at recording words, used a number of techniques to convey meaning. The picture symbols represent a combination of alphabet and syllabic sounds together with images that clarify the meaning and depictions of actual objects which are the spoken word of the thing they represent.
The main purpose of writing was not decorative, and it was not originally intended for literary or commercial use. Its most important function was to provide a means by which certain concepts or events could be brought into existence. The Egyptians believed that if something were committed to writing it could be repeatedly “made to happen”by means of magic.
Hieroglyphs are written in rows or columns and can be read from left to right or from right to left. You can distinguish the direction in which the text is to be read because the human or animal figures always face towards the beginning of the line. Also the upper symbols are read before the lower.
Ancient Egyptian Alphabets signs are divided into:
- Alphabetic signs represent a single sound. Unfortunately the Egyptians took most vowels for granted and did not represent such as ‘e’ or ‘v’. So we may never know how the words were formed.
- Syllabic signs represent a combination of two or three consonants.
- Word-signs are pictures of objects used as the words for those objects. they are followed by an upright stroke, to indicate that the word is complete in one sign.
- A determinative is a picture of an object which helps the reader. For example; if a word expressed an abstract idea, a picture of a roll of papyrus tied up and sealed was included to show that the meaning of the word could be expressed in writing although not pictorially.
So we have to ask why the Egyptians developed a complicated writing system that used several hundred signs when they could have used their alphabet of some thirty signs and made their language much easier to read and write. This puzzling fact probably has a historical explanation: the one-consonant signs were not “discovered” until after the other signs were in use. Since by that time the entire writing system was established, it could not be discarded, for specific religious reasons. Hieroglyphics were regarded as a precious gift of Thoth, the god of wisdom. To stop using many of these signs and to change the entire system of writing would have been considered both a sacrilege and an immense loss, not to mention the fact that such a change would make all the older texts meaningless at a single blow .
Ancient Egyptian Alphabets symbols are pleasing to the eye; everyone wants to see their name in hieroglyphs .