Learn Egyptian Hieroglyphs

The Egyptian name for hieroglyphs was medu-netjer, “God’s words”. The word “hieroglyphs” comes from the Greek hieroglyphika, which means “sacred carvings”. It was believed that writing was an invention of the gods.

Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt, used for writing the Egyptian language. It combined logographic, syllabic and alphabetic elements, with some 1,000 distinct characters.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs - Tomb of Ramesses IX, Valley of the Kings
Egyptian Hieroglyphs – Tomb of Ramesses IX, Valley of the Kings

Cursive hieroglyphs were used for religious literature on papyrus and wood. Since the dawn of Egyptian history, hieroglyphs were mainly carved on religious and/or funerary monuments – dedicated to gods, the king, or members of the narrow minority in power – to convey a discourse where text, images, and the space they appear in constitute an integrated whole.

Hieroglyphic writing was first and foremost “performative” – ritual and magic. It did not simply document or narrate reality; it determined and influenced it. Hieroglyphs are always read from top to bottom. But sometimes you start on the left side (like in English) and sometimes on the right.

The animals, birds or people used in hieroglyphic language. They always face the beginning of the sentence so that tells you where to start. Hieroglyphs consist of three kinds of glyphs.

Phonetic glyphs, including single-consonant characters that function like an alphabet; logographs, representing morphemes. And determinatives, which narrow down the meaning of logographic or phonetic words. Egyptian hieroglyphs did not record vowel values, making the exact pronunciation of most words unknowable. This painting shows the hieroglyphs for the sounds “k” and “a”.

Painting of a vulture and neb basket
Painting of an Egyptian vulture and neb basket. Mastaba of Nefermaat and Itet at Meidum.

The artist who painted this neb basket and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) did so with exquisite detail. Mastaba of Nefermaat and Itet at Meidum.

Step by step

Grammar lessons were competently prepared to suit all beginners; and they were arranged progressively according to its use and order. These lessons focused on the ancient Egyptian writing that includes unilateral signs, bilateral signs and trilateral signs, arrangement and direction of the ancient Egyptian writing, determinatives, phonetic complements, and the different ways to write the same word.

Respectively, the lessons shifted to how the ancient Egyptians write and use the numbers, nouns, adjectives, demonstratives, and personal pronouns. It was also important to help beginners and amateurs to know about the titles used in ancient Egypt and the offering formula through the lessons given.

All these lessons were accompanied with interactive quizzes to enable the user to examine his understandings. These quizzes were set in two levels and were arranged by its difficulty accordingly.

Hieroglyphs step by step, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners
Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners

Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners

“An entirely fresh and accessible approach to reading ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by a proven expert, this step-by-step introduction assumes no previous knowledge of grammar or ancient languages, but guides readers through the inscriptions, from simple to more complex, supported by full explanations and translations.

Readers’ will see their knowledge and skills grow as Bill Manley clearly explains the mysteries of hieroglyphs without jargon or technical terms, guiding the reader step by step through 27 real-life, unaltered texts from stelae, tombs and portable objects.

Specially commissioned line drawings present engaging texts clearly and elegantly, while fact boxes bring to life images of monuments of high officials and kings, giving glimpses of ancient Egyptian society and beliefs. This guide is essential reading for anyone interested in Ancient Egypt, hieroglyphs or ancient languages and contains all the knowledge you need in order to start deciphering hieroglyphic texts for yourself.”

Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners: The Revolutionary New Approach to Reading the Monuments, by Bill Manley (#aff)

How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs
How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs

How to Read Hieroglyphs

“Hieroglyphs are pictures used as signs in writing. When standing before an ancient tablet in a museum or visiting an Egyptian monument, we marvel at this unique writing and puzzle over its meaning. Now, with the help of Egyptologists Mark Collier and Bill Manley, museum-goers, tourists, and armchair travelers alike can gain a basic knowledge of the language and culture of ancient Egypt.

Collier and Manley’s novel approach is informed by years of experience teaching Egyptian hieroglyphs to non-specialists. Using attractive drawings of actual inscriptions displayed in the British Museum, they concentrate on the kind of hieroglyphs readers might encounter in other collections, especially funerary writings and tomb scenes. Each chapter introduces a new aspect of hieroglyphic script or Middle Egyptian grammar and encourages acquisition of reading skills with practical exercises.

The texts offer insights into the daily experiences of their ancient authors and touch on topics ranging from pharaonic administration to family life to the Egyptian way of death. With this book as a guide, one can enjoy a whole new experience in understanding Egyptian art and artifacts around the world.”

How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself (#aff)

Tale of Peter Rabbit
Tale of Peter Rabbit

Tale of Peter Rabbit

“The full and complete text of Beatrix Potter’s world-famous and universally loved Tale of Peter Rabbit faithfully translated and transcribed page for page into the hieroglyphic script of an Egyptian of the Middle Kingdom and illustrated with all the original color artwork by the author herself.

Based on the official centenary edition published in 2002, the translation combines the familiar face of the original with the British Museum’s world-renowned expertise and scholarship.”

Tale of Peter Rabbit : The Hieroglyph Edition (#aff)

Learn Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Learn Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Tracing Book

Learn Egyptian Hieroglyphs

“The Egyptian hieroglyphs are the earliest recorded writing system of any language, and have been a source of fascination and study for over two thousand years. The word hieroglyph means “sacred carving” and refers to the inscription on the walls of the temples in Ancient Egypt.

The hieroglyphs are pictographs, which means they consist of pictures rather than words. The pictures are arranged in certain patterns called signs. These patterns were used to depict concepts and events of interest to the Egyptians.”

Learn Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Tracing Book: Learn how to writing and read Egyptian Hieroglyphs (#aff)