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kinds of knowledge: knowledge of Hieroglyphs as filtered through western eyes, and knowledge based in truths.
The former is the kind we call knowledge by
acquaintance. For nearly all of our acquaintance of Egypt and its civilization, involve names and/or terms like Horus, Isis, Osiris, pyramids, sphinx, Hieroglyphs. These literary artifacts, are depicted as if they were born from an Aegean world, rather than their actual origin in Egypt.
It is not an exaggeration to say that most of
our understanding of ancient Egyptian civilization has been conditioned by what we have been taught as the gospel truth
we fail to consider their true meaning. These assumptions often lead to frequent misinterpretations. By contrast. vowels in ancient Egyptian were not written. they accurately reflected the mental mind of our ancestors. Hence. This was only the first step on the road of further lexical distortions which was compounded by the practice of inappropriate transliteration. we have no idea as to the exact pronunciation of Ancient Egyptian words. the entire field of Egyptology is filled with improperly named things and interpretations which had nothing to do with Egypt. When we misname them. Egyptologists today use a simplified pronunciation in which a short arbitrary vowel is inserted where needed to make a word pronounceable. despite this obvious handicap. we end up living in a world of illusion and learning fantasies as a substitute for truth. However. Even though. Therefore. original ancient Egyptian names and terms mirrored the world they meant to describe. Without any doubt.from ancient Greece. Take for example the following convoluted distortions: Such as in the case of Arabic and other Semitic languages. As a result. . in order to accommodate western readers. we end up dealing with them as if they were something other than what they really were. this was obviously not the way ancient Egyptians pronounced words. As a result.
These columns or lines. Traditionally hieroglyphs were written from right to left (with the birds. hieroglyphic texts in Western works are all written from left to right so that they can be more readily translated into English (or some other Western language). and birds.A far more serious controversy is the Western approach of adopting the left to right method which runs opposite to the direction of the Ancient Egyptian writing from right to left. In spite of the . as well as other signs that have fronts and backs. from left to right. but more seldom. mammals. read usually from right to left. animals. See Sir Alan Hendersen Gardiner's* quote below: "Hieroglyphic inscriptions consist of rows of miniature pictures arranged in vertical columns or horizontal lines.see quadrant 2b below). DIRECTION OF WRITING ON GROUNDS OF PRACTICAL CONVENIENCE! Nowadays. and people facing to the right . and then only for special reasons. The signs that represent persons. and so they can fit appropriately into any western context. almost always face the beginning of the inscription in which they occur. as well as the individual signs within them. so that the direction in which this is to be read is but rarely in doubt.
as it would appear on a monument or in a document. by adopting this approach in depicting the ancient Egyptianscript. an Arab speaking would write the word Ptolemy. The equivalent of this distortion would be if 2A Shows the name of Ptolemy as it appears on the Rosetta stone.preference shown by the Egyptians for the direction from right to left. to make it more readable to a western speaking audience. Arabic speakers were to write English words from right to left. 2B quadrant shows how. Written from right to left. that from left to right has been adopted in modern printed books on grounds of practical convenience. See . instead of the correct way as seen in 1B quadrant (right). The script is from left to right running the opposite direction of the ancient Egyptian script. it would appear in reverse 3A quadrant depicts the way western dictionaries of ancient Egyptian look today.Points to the correct direction of an ancient Egyptian script." To emphasize this dilemma in a more palatable way for modern Egyptians who speak Arabic and are accustomed to writing from right to left. while 3B quadrant. the following is meant to illustrate how westerners applying the "left to right" script direction would distort the Arabic script. An example of this distortion would look like quadrant 1A (left) below.
word for "march. the actual Coptic word for walking is meshor mooshe.E.and go". walk. In reality. Clearly this is a situation in which the placement of the letters of the word were reversed to conform to the Western style of left to right (see the diagram below). exactly like the Arabic. Also. However. writing . It is well agreed that deciphering Ancient Egyptian language is arrived at by inference. which is a cognate to the Arabic msha. The term "shem" is thought by Westerners to be. It should also be remembered that the Coptic language is the primary source in this process. the following examples are "make believe" terms born from the confusing and convoluted Western method of reversing the direction of A. Unfortunately.E. This has been arrived at by inference through the Coptic word "sher" with the same range of meanings." versus the Ancient Egyptian way has had controversial results which have never been contemplated nor properly investigated by the scientific community. By inference. seconded only by the Classical Arabic and other Semiticlanguages considered to be as sister languages as well.The consequences of Westerners adopting the left to right direction "on grounds of practical convenience. despite these considerations. the Ancient Egyptian word for walking is msha. the Copticword "sher" is none other than the cognate term for the Arabic "sayr". . shem is not a Coptic word which refers to walking and could therefore be the basis for a sound inference. the A.
An identical situation is found in the controversial term for "weep" which has being wrongly identified as "aakb". Actually the correct term is literaly the reversed form"bkaa". Arabic "bka" to weep. With these samples of gross distortions one can only begin to guess the magnitude of similar false interpertations which abound in Egyptology. he came under the influence of . In the light of this discovery the inference to the Coptic "okm" is no more valid. Next: What the Ancient Egyptians called "their" writing." *An early enthusiast of ancient Egyptian history and language. cf. mistakenly identified by the West under the misnomer "Hieroglyphs.
he took Battiscombe Gunn as his assistant. Unfortunately Gunn devoted his later years to teaching and published relatively little. acted in most capacities of the EES (Chairman. He was able to continue his academic pursuits (at his home in Holland Park) because he was fortunate to come from a wealthy family. He was appointed as Reader in Egyptology at Manchester University (1914-18) but did not like teaching. and he was invited to be a sub-editor of the Worterbuch. and later was one of the founding scholars of the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (JEA). . Gunn was a brilliant young scholar and their discussions spurred them on to produce some of the most important works in modern egyptology: Gardiner his "Egyptian Grammar" and Gunn his "Studies in Egyptian Syntax". Sethe. From his home. he gave weekly classes in egyptian to those whom he thought would benefit (R. He had published several articles before the age of 20. as editor of the JEA. Gardiner maintained a busy schedule and went on to publish numerous papers.Wallis Budge (Keeper of the Dept. He went on to study under Gaston Maspero in the Sorbonne. and then went to Oxford. Faulkner was one such student).O. His steady stream of publications brought recognition from Germany. Later. of Egyptian and Assyrian antiquities. where he met Erman and K. British Museum) at the age of 15. and never again took up a teaching post.
Thus. but had been sick for some time before this. His most important monument is his 'Egyptian Grammar' and remains famous amongst egyptologists throughout the english-speaking world. though confined to a narrow circle of calligraphers. artists and engravers. laterDemotic). the foremost authority on . Ancient Egypt always had at least two scripts in operation.. The same script lived on far into the Christian era. around 3000 B. The earliest inscriptions go back as far as the First Dynasty. and still in good health. offices and affiliations. covered a period of three or even four thousand years. According to Sir Alan Gardiner. the use of the earliest form of Egyptian writing. while some authorities favor a date many hundreds of years earlier. The picture above was taken when he was 70.Vice-President.C. He died from a stroke in his 85th year. 394. one formal (Hieroglyphicscript). and helped many aspiring egyptologists.D. first Hieratic. President). At that time (1949) he had the following distinctions. the latest Hieroglyphs known are found at Philae and dated to A. and one for more day-to-day purposes (cursive scripts.
about1573 to 715 B. Clement of Alexandria was renown for the thoroughness of his native Greek education. *4. to A.C. there were different stages of the language: Bearing in mind the fact that the written language reflects the spoken language of the different periods only to a limited extent.I990 B. about 3180 to 2240 B. from about the third century A.D.LATE EGYPTIAN: The vernacular of Dynasties XVIII-XXIV. in the second century A. as written in the Greek alphabet supplemented by seven special characters. *3. However. also contributed to his misnomers.D. Unfortunately. the circumstances surrounding these faulty identifications which were filtered through Greek terminologies relate a sad chapter of Egypt's history which deserves to be told.D.C.Egyptian grammar.C.MIDDLE EGYPTIAN: The vernacular of Dynasties IX-XI. the tendency displayed by his constant quotation of the Greek poets and philosophers impeded his knowledge and grasp of many aspects of Egyptian culture. from Dynasties XXV to late Roman times (7I5 B. *2. and that monumental records on stone are always more conservative than business documents and letters on potsherds and papyrus. . He roughly distinguished five different linguistic stages (quoted verbatim below in the footnotes section). Other circumstances peculiar to the 2nd century A. 470) *5. *1-OLD EGYPTIAN: The language of Dynasties IVIII. about2240 . comes from the Greek hieros (sacred) plus glypho (inscriptions) and was first used byClement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens.DEMOTIC: The vernacular written in the script known as Demotic.C. The word hieroglyph.D. which the ancient Greeks calledhieroglyphika.COPTIC: The old Egyptian language in its latest developments.
The decades that followed sadly saw the systematic demise of ancient Egyptian religion... The last major Roman temple constructed in the traditional pharaonic style dated from the reign of the Roman emperorAntoninus Pius (138 to 161 A.. and there will be more dead than living . he ordered the renovation of the port of Alexandria. and later. as for those who survive. The gods on leaving the earth.D. land of sanctuaries and temples. Hieroglyphic andDemotic were in their last throes and were used only in connection with the temples and priesthoods of an ancient religion increasingly under siege. they will abandon Egypt... the people abandoned. O Egypt. and the extensive restoration of Qasr `ayn alZayyan in the Khargah oasis where he added a pylon gate built in a pharaonic style.. That holy earth. Egypt nothing will remain of your religion but fables.. will be completely covered with coffins and corpses.. Egypt will be nothing but a desert. will return to heaven. have honored their gods in vain. holy river.. An ominous old prophecy (attributed to Hermes Trismegistus) circulated among the broken spirits of native Egyptians: "A time will come when it will seem that the Egyptians in the piety of their hearts.D. your children will not even believe them! .By the 2nd century A. and then with neither gods nor men. it is to you I announce the things to come: torrents of blood will swell your waters to their banks . its language and native scripts. Taking advantage of his presence in Egypt. It is to you that I speak. it is only by their language that they will be recognized as Egyptian: in their manners . with a devoted cult.. will all die.) Historical accounts related that Antoninus came in person to Egypt and Syria to put down a revolt ofArab Nabatean tribes along the Red Sea region. This gesture would be the last concession made by a foreign ruler toward native Egyptian Pharaonic traditions.
The rest of the native population spoke a popular Egyptian vernacular. not to "writing". (b) Hieratic (used mainly by priests) (c) epistolographic or demotic (used for everyday purposes). and in point of fact the Egyptian spoken under the Roman occupation bore little resemblance to that which was current under the oldest dynasties. fables about the so called "sacred glyphs" were spun. In an attempt to describe Egyptian writings. Clement's terminologies. Hellenistic traditions peaked in Alexandria where Greek was the language of administration as well as the lingua franca of the elite colony of Greek ancestry. To this day. From his erroneous perception. considered gospel truth." As Ancient Egyptian traditions retreated. convinced themselves that Egyptians called their hieroglyphicscript: "mdw-ntr" (god's words). Under this spell. those trained in cursive writing. a precursor of the would be Coptic in subsequent centuries. and those without training. grammar and vocabulary were bound to change very considerably. there would have been at least three levels: those It was under these disturbing circumstances that Clement's trained in hieroglyphs. he subdivided the script into three categories: (a) Hieroglyphic (used mainly for religious texts).they will seem to be men of another race. . description of Ancient Egyptian script came into being. However. any correct translation of this term would point out that "mdw"in Ancient Egyptian refers only to "words" and therefore to language. His views were heavily influenced by his Hellenistic heritage. In the course of so many centuries. some Egyptologists. Therefore. each embellished to sustain this misnomer. stuck and have never been questioned.
fell into oblivion. The term happens to be a cognate to the Arabic "madah" pl. long since the jealously warded secret of a dwindling priestly caste of the Old Religon. So what did our Ancient Egyptian ancestors call "their" writing. whose confused and mutually contradictory statements. As Christianity spread throughout Egypt. the knowledge of the old native scripts and lore. e.D.E. "mdw" could express religious texts. Arabic Hagar). mistakenly identified by the West under the misnomer "Hieroglyphs"? They simply called it Khti! (cf. . After this.As such. "mawad" (for the correct definitions see below). some sixty years after the final disappearance of the so-called Hieroglyphs. there remains only the tradition of the classical writers and the early Fathers. The prime material used in"Khti" was stone or Haqar in Ancient Egyptian (cf. but A.. i. "khti" was also difficult to write and therefore was used primarily for monumental inscriptions. In the second century. Arabic al-Khatti) Because of its pictorial form. candidates for the priesthood still had to show a knowledge of demotic and hieratic. as well as secular literature or language. though there are demotic inscriptions at Philae dating as late as 452 A. point in a direction diametrically opposed to the truth. if they point anywhere. In the third century. demotic was no longer used for documents. these painstakingly drawn symbols were wonderful for decorating the walls of temples.
Hebrew etc. Raymond O. among them: Sir Alan Gardiner.. the connection between the term Khti *(6)for the earliest system of writing in ancient Egypt (c. once the threshold of this important discovery has been crossed. until the writing of this essay.) and the Arabic term"khtt" has never been established or even alluded to. despite the pivotal role played by Egypt in the development of the art of Khatt (both monumental and cursive types) under Islam to an unsurpassed high level of sophistication (a position only held in the history of the world civilizations along with the Chinese Calligraphy). but equally in bettering our knowledge of the history of Islamic calligraphy and its mysterious beginnings as well. one wonders the reason behind this grave omission. This despite of the customary habit of comparing A. divulging more secrets about the art of Khatt which have survived without a break to this very day. Faulkner.E. to Semitic words (Arabic. NONE of them ever mentioned this crucial connection. This. Wallis Budge and Co. Ishinan (This story continues) Next. suddenly a myriad of other related mysteries begins to unravel. 3400 B.Hitherto.Khatt) the most venerated form of Islamic Art. © Ishinan 2005-6 . The discovery of this unexpected connection is bound to revolutionize not only our perception of the Ancient Egyptian art of writing.C.) whenever this occurs. In view of the subsequent flourishing art of Calligraphy (known by the same name. From Jean François Champollion to all of the famous Egyptologists who wrote dictionaries of Ancient Egyptian.
. and to some extent also in the official monuments from Dyn. *3-Late Egyptian: The vernacular of Dynasties XVIII-XXIV.D. Coptic was written in the Greek alphabet supplemented by seven special characters derived ultimately from the Hieroglyphs. Here again the old classical idiom is blended with later. as written in the Coptic script. After the Arab conquest (A. about 3180 to 2240 B.. later contaminated with new popular elements. while the earlier form was retained as the religious language.I990 B. however. 3. 640) Coptic was gradually superseded by Arabic. which early gave place to Sa`idic. Old Egyptian passes with but little modification into. wherein the vernacular shows itself unmixed with the classical idiom of Middle Egyptian. several dialects of Coptic were distinguished. of which the following were the most important: 1. There are but few texts. possibly the vernacular of Dynasties IX-XI. about 1573 to 715 B.*1-Old Egyptian: the language of Dynasties I-VIII. This may be taken to include the language of the Pyramid Texts which. 2. In the later form it survived for some monumental and literary purposes right down to Graeco-Roman times. D. even at the present day. Various foreign words make their appearance. to A. D. . XIX onwards. from about the third century A. Otherwise the surviving documents of this stage are mainly official or otherwise formal funerary formulae and tomb-inscriptions. Up to the coming of the Arabs in 640 A.C. later used for literary purposes throughout the whole of Upper Egypt. from Dyn. exhibited chiefly in business documents and letters.C. Sa`idie ( from Arabic: Sa`iydiy or Upper Egypt) : The dialect of Thebes.. onwards. the Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians.D. including some biographical texts. XXV to late Roman times (7I5 B. *2-Middle Egyptian. but also in stories and other literary compositions. and became extinct as a spoken tongue in the sixteenth century. Bohairie : (from Arabic: Bahariy or the Delta) doubtless originally the dialect of the Western Delta. Akhmimie (Akhmiymiy) : The old dialect of Upper Egypt. displays certain peculiarities of its own and is written in a special orthography. though not understood. often inextricably. so called because it was spoken by the Copts.C. in whose churches it is read. *4-Demotic: This term is loosely applied to the language used in the books and documents written in the script known as Demotic. vernacular elements. *5-Coptic: The old Egyptian language in its latest developments. however. about 2240 . 470).C.
*(6) http://www.com/ANE/KHATT.html .theegyptianchronicles.