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HIEROGLYPHS AND BEYOND: A HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LANGUAGE

Dr Jessica Nitschke, lecturer, School of Languages and Literatures, UCT

The language of ancient Egypt is one of the longest continually attested in the world, emerging in its written form ca. 3200 BC and remaining in active use until around the eleventh century AD. This three-lecture course will introduce students to the richness of this language tradition and its writing systems. It will begin with the modern decipherment of hieroglyphs and our evolving understanding of this ancient language. Next, the emergence of writing in Egypt and the principles of the hieroglyphic system will be investigated. The final lecture will explore the historical development and cultural contexts—religious, literary, and day-to-day—of the different writing systems, including hieroglyphic, hieratic, demotic, and coptic.

 

LECTURE TITLES

1. Hieroglyphs: discovery and decipherment

2. The origins of the writing in ancient Egypt

3. Scripts, dialects, and contexts: the evolution of ancient Egyptian writing systems

 

Recommended reading

Brewer, D.J. and E. Teeter. 2007. Egypt and the Egyptians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ray, J. 1986. The Emergence of Writing in EgyptWorld Archaeology, 17(3), 307-316.

Robinson, A. 2007. The Story of Writing: Alphabets Hieroglyphs & Pictograms. New York: Thames & Hudson.

The lecturer will make the readings available shortly before the course.

 

 

Date: Wednesday 16 – Friday 18 January 
Time: 5.00 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R330,00  Staff and Students R165,00
Venue: LT3 Kramer Law Building UCT