• Science
  • Egyptian Writing

  • Timeline

    1. 3200 BC -Hieroglyphics were develped and used on stones, it is considered the world's oldest known Alphabet
    2. 3000 BC -Papyrus was invented , it's the world's earliest paper
    3. During the course of history, Egyptians developed another 2 writing scripts, Hieratic and Demotic
    4. 650 BC -Demotic became administrative and legal script during the Late Period
    5. Knowledge of Egyptian scripts was lost after it had been superseded in the 4th century A.D. with Coptic.
    6. No key to their meaning was found until the discovery of the Stone of Rosetta. in the 18th century.
    7. 1800 AD, - Writing Scripts were decrypted by Champollion, who studied the Rosetta Stone for 14 years

    Comparison Between Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Roman Alphabet

    Criteria Egyptian Hieroglyphic Script Roman Alphabet
    Images Hieroglyphics Roman Alphabet
    Early Development - Hieroglyphs carved in stone appeared until the 1st Dynasty of Egypt c. 3200 BC, and was used in monumental formal writing
    - The earliest known hieroglyphic inscription was the Narmer Palette, found during excavations at Hierakonpolis
    The earliest known inscriptions in the Latin alphabet date from the 6th century BC It was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet during the 7th century BC
    Spread Formal and monumental writing in Egypt from 3100 BC to 400 A.D., it was never used anywhere else and only few scribes and priests in Egypt understood it The Latin alphabet spread from Italian Peninsula and became the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today
    Writing System - This script contained a combination of:
    1. Logographs - single grapheme which represents a word
    2. Phonetic glyphs - single-consonant characters that functioned like an alphabet
    3. Ideographs - graphic symbols that represents an idea
    Few consonant and vowels formed the alphabet
    Symbols and characters
    • More than 2000 complex hieroglyphic symbols existed, this complex nature limited access to common people
    • No vowels - writing system consists only of consonants.
    • No punctuation or spacing
    During the classical Latin period the alphabet had 23 simple letters phonetic in nature - simplicity helped the spread of the alphabet
    Rules of orientation 1. The hieroglyphs can be written in three directions: From top to bottom, from left to right and from right to left.
    2. Animal, bird or human symbols point the start of the line
    3. signs relating to an image face in the same direction as that image
    From left to right

    Hieratic Script

    Developed along side the hieroglyphic system (3100-650 BC)

    Demotic Script

    Derived from Hieratic (650 BC-452 AD)