Writing – Flashcard

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Rosetta Stone
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A monumental tax exemption decree of Ptolemy V recorded in Greek and two forms of Egyptian (formal Hieroglyphs and cursive Demotic). This bilingual inscription permitted Young and Champollion to decipher system of Hieroglyphs (announced by Champollion in 1822). Key was cartouches of Ptolemy, Cleopatra and Berenice
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Tomb U-J
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Important late Predynastic royal tomb at Abydos in southern Egypt. The tomb contains the earliest use of hieroglyphic writing and dates to ca. 3300 BC.
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Hieroglyphs
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or Hieroglyphic Writing, Greek- “sacred writing”. Formal system employed in inscriptions on monumental structures such as temples and tombs. Medu-netjer: “words of the god” expresses Egyptian belief in divine origins of their writing system. System appears around 3300 BC during the late Predynastic Period
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Hieratic
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Cursive writing develops already early in the Old Kingdom- adapted form the hieroglyphic system for everyday use in administrative records and scribal documentation. Typically found on papyrus or Ostraca (potsherds or stone flakes)
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Demotic
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Late Period through Ptolemaic Period cursive writing used in administration (develops ca. 650 BC)
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Coptic
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Latest phase of both Egyptian language and writing. Egyptian is written now in the Greek alphabet but with additional signs for sounds not in Greek.
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Rebus Principle
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Use of depiction of object as to denote the sounds in the spoken word for that object. Can then be extended to secondary use.
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Phonograms
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sound signs
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Alphabetic
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unilateral 1 consonant
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Biliteral
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2 consonants
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Triliteral
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3 consonants
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Logograms/Ideograms
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The sign represents the whole word. Object depicted = the word
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Determinatives
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Signs attached to a word to define the general sense or category of the word (these account for many of the some 700 hieroglyphs)
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Transliteration
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The Egyptian text rendered into modern alphabetic signs (use of standard latin signs with diacritics). Transliteration is basis for the process of translating ancient Egyptian into modern languages.
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Old Egyptian
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Language of the Old Kingdom, occurs in the Pyramid Texts and Old Kingdom biographical texts), ca. 2500-2000 BC
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Middle Egyptian
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Language of the Middle Kingdom, this becomes the classical style of Egyptian formal texts and is used even into the Late Period
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Late Egyptian
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Generally classified as the language of the New Kingdom, becomes particularly prominent with the reign of Akhenaten when the spoken language is increasingly used over classical Middle Egyptian
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Demotic
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The language of the Late Period-through Ptolemaic Period (also used in reference to the script of the period)
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Coptic
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Final phase of Egyptian develops in Roman period (ca. 100AD) and continues as spoken language until ca. 1500 AD when it died out. Still used as liturgical language in Coptic church.
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Proto-Sinaitic/Proto Canaanite
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Earliest true alphabet writing system, employed in Sinai by Canaanites familiar with only rudiments of Egyptian writing (ca. 1700-1300 BC). This was precursor of all later alphabetic systems (Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, and others)
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Meroitic
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Writing system of Meroitic Nubia (from ca. 500 BC). The forms are adapted from Egyptian Demotic signs but used by the Meroites in an alphabetic system. Meroitic language can be sounded out, but it is not deciphered and cannot be translated.

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