For centuries, the mysterious signs and symbols of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics remained incomprehensible to historians and scholars. Many attempts were made before 1800 to decipher the inscriptions found on tombs and monuments but none were successful. It was not until Jean-Francois Champollion, the great French philologist, deciphered the parallel inscriptions (in hieroglyphic Egyptian, demotic and Greek) on the Rosetta Stone, discovered in Egypt by Napoleon’s troops in 1799, that the key to Egyptian hieroglyphics was revealed.
Now, with this simplified guide, you can learn to understand and transcribe Egyptian hieroglyphics yourself. The heart of the book is the clear description and presentation of 134 phonetic elements. On each half-page of the book there is a large sign with its phonetic value and a frame containing examples of words in which this sign figures. In each compartment appears its phonetic transcription, and in the central column, its translation.
In addition, you’ll also find a helpful introduction, a discussion of the principles of Egyptian writing and reading, suggestions for using the book, a section on word analysis, and tables of phonetic and figurative (or determinative) signs. Moreover, the pronunciation section has been enlarged and improved and certain hieroglyphic elements have been clarified. An especially appealing feature of this book is the unusually large size and clarity of the illustrations.
By carefully reading and studying this accessible introduction, even absolute beginners will be able to familiarize themselves with the fascinating and still-strange hieroglyphic symbols the Egyptians called “the god’s words”. The study of Egyptian hieroglyphics is, furthermore, an excellent way to become acquainted with the thought and culture of one of the greatest ancient civilizations.