Lux Ion (imluxionverdin) wrote in linguaphiles,
Lux Ion

Chatty post, about Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

Hi. This isn't because I need the information or anything, (and I'm sure I could find the information in some textbooks somewhere), but there was a discussion about this in another place in Cyperspace, and I thought it might be interesting to ask a question I had here. (So I'm just chatting.)

Essentially the discussion was about the word "Boustrophedon". I'd never heard of it before. It means you can write left to right, then on the next line you write right to left, but reversing all the characters. Wikipedia has an example of what this would look like in the Roman script, and talks about examples, like a particular boustrophedonics numbering scheme, or examples from ancient languages.

(What a lovely word.)

Now in Ancient Egyptian Hieroglphyic writing, you can write the characters in a row from left to right (which is the usual way it's done), or from right to left, and the direction the characters face determine how you read it. You can also right down in a column.

So it occurred to me that Ancient Egyptian heiroglyphs would be ideal for boustrophedon style writing. My question is, was this ever done?

I don't know much about this area, but I thought that a lot of Egyptian Hieroglyphics was on the sides of temples, or on tombs or in pyramids or burial chambers, i.e. Karnak, Luxor, etc. etc. So all of this was very ceremonial, in other words there would be depictions of the deceased person's trip into the afterlife, etc. So I guess the question is how these were to be read. Were they ever boustropheon?

Also, I know from other languages that a lot of information came from scrolls where people were just writing about commerce. For example a lot of Latin writings were people saying how many cattle or sheep they sold, or how much of some crop they delivered to the local barracks, etc. The ordinary day to day activities. (Historians then find out a lot of information from these writings.)

So is all Ancient Egyptian hierogphycic writing from formal ceremonial situations, (temples etc.), or are there normal papyrus scrolls using this writing for everyday activities? If so, is this ever boustrophedon?


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