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Egyptian Writing

The Egyptians - Development of Hieroglyphs

Wooden mummy tag cum tax receipt written in demotic script, Ptolemaic Period 106 BCHieroglyphic writing developed in Egypt at the end of the Predynastic period. At first it was very simple. One of the earliest examples is carved into a stone palette. The king's name, Narmer, is written on it in hieroglyphs. Hieroglyphs continued to develop during the Old Kingdom, gradually becoming more complicated and widely used, especially in tombs and pyramids. Hieroglyphs could be read from the left or the right and horizontally or vertically.

Hieroglyphic text from the coffin of a man called Heriber, Dynasty 26 664-525 BCDuring the Middle Kingdom the language developed into Middle Egyptian, which became the most pure form of the language and was always used from this time for writing in a very correct and formal way. It used strict rules.

As the New Kingdom developed, Middle Egyptian changed into Late Egyptian. Around 650 BC, there was another change to a related language called demotic. Changes were to do with grammar and how language was used.

Linen sheet with hieratic inscription from Hawasa, EgyptThe Egyptians also used a script called hieratic, which was written with simplified hieroglyphs. It was used in business and government because it could be written more quickly than carving hieroglyphs. Hieratic was written on papyrus using a brush. Rules for writing hieratic and hieroglyphs developed differently over time.

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