I’m very passionate about ancient Egypt and the ancients’ way of life. Yeah, yeah, I know “passionate” is an understatement, but the more I research ancient history for my Past Life Series, the more interesting things I find along the way.
My latest discovery led me to uncovering some fascinating tidbits about written language, which evolved as man became more of a communicator and thinker.
Did you know:
- While the English alphabet contains 26 letters, the ancient Egyptians had more than 700 different hieroglyph signs.
- Scrolls were the first form of editable record keeping texts.
- The history of scrolls dates back to ancient Egypt and later formats were used in China.
- Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were impressed on clay tablets for record keeping, and the earliest forms of Egyptian writing are dated to 3000 B.C.
- Egyptians began writing around the same time as the Sumerians. Their written characters, known as hieroglyphs, come from the Greek word that means “sacred carving.”
- Know what the difference between hieroglyphics and hieroglyphs is? Hieroglyphics are a writing system developed in ancient Egypt that use picture symbols to convey concepts and ideas. Hieroglyphs are pictographic characters in the ancient Egyptian writing system. In other words, hieroglyphs are used in hieroglyphics.
- Papyrus scrolls served many functions for accounting, record keeping, funerary texts and art.
- Ancient Egyptians often used charcoal or soot to form black lettering on papyrus. For other pigments they used iron oxide, malachite, and yellow ochre. Arsenic-based pigments like realgar and orpiment were used to create red and yellow colors.
- Scribes kept their brushes in palettes made of wood and sometimes ivory, with depressions designed to hold the black and red inks.
- Documents were typically stored in wooden chests, sacred statues, or jars depending on the content of the writings.
- Ancient Egyptians wrote most often with reed pens on papyrus scrolls and bound them between two wooden covers to make…you guessed it…books!
So the next time you open a paper book, or even your ereader, think about the history behind those written words. Without the ancient Egyptians, who knows where our written form would be today.
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