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Three kinds of Egyptian writing.

down the praises of their kings in myths about the gods which they write up in relief. Let this be an example of the third form (c) in accordance with the secret rules. While they represent the stars generally by snakes' bodies, because their course is crooked, they represent the sun by the body of a beetle, for the beetle moulds a ball from cattle dung and rolls it before him. And they say that this animal lives under ground for six months, and above ground for the other portion of the year, and that it deposits its seed in this globe and there engenders offspring, and that no female beetle exists."

From the above we see that Clement rightly stated that the Egyptians had three kinds of writing :-epistolographic, hieratic and hieroglyphic. The epistolographic is that kind which is now called “demotic," and which in the early days of hieroglyphic decipherment was called "enchorial.” The hicratic is the kind commonly found on papyri. The hieroglyphic kind is described as, I. cyriologic, that is to say, by means of figurative phonetic characters, e.g., ABS emsuh, “crocodile," and II. symbolic, that is to say, by actual representations of objects, e.g., 3 "goose," 18 " bee,” and so

The symbolic division is subdivided into three parts: I. cyriologic by imitation, e.g., Ñ, a vase with water flowing from it represented a “libation"; II. tropical, e.g., a, a crescent moon to represent “month," 19, a reed and palette to represent “writing” or “scribe"; and III. enigmatic, e.g.,

a beetle, to represent the “sun.”? In modern Egyptian Grammars the matter is stated more simply, and we see that hieroglyphic signs are used in two ways: I. Ideographic, II. Phonetic. mm māu, "water," is an instance of the first method, and Anm-s-u-, is an instance of the second. Ideographic signs are used as determinatives, and are either .

màu, “cat,” a cat is placed, and is an ideographic determinative; but T, heaven with a star in it, written after jo ķer, is a


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I Champollion, Précis, p. 278.

generic determinative. Phonetic signs are either Alphabetic as Aa, jb, Gok, or Syllabic, as many men, vchen, etc.

Porphyry the Philosopher, who died about A.D. 305, says of Pythagoras :

Και εν Αιγύπτω μεν τοίς ιερεύσι συνήν και την σοφίαν Pythaεξέμαθε, και την Αίγυπτίων φωνήν, γραμμάτων δε τρισσας ΕΟFas. and διαφοράς, επιστολογραφικών τε και ιερογλυφικών και συμ- glyphics. βολικών, των μεν κοινολογουμένων κατά μίμησιν, των δε άλληγορουμένων κατά τινας αινιγμούς. .

"And in Egypt he lived with the priests and learnt their wisdom and the speech of the Egyptians and three sorts of writing, epistolographic and hieroglyphic and symbolic, which sometimes speak in the common way by imitation and sometimes describe one thing by another in accordance with certain secret rules." Here it seems that Porphyry copied Clement inaccurately. Thus he omits all mention of the Egyptian writing called "hieratic," and of the subdivision of hieroglyphic called "cyriologic," and of the second subdivision of the symbolic called "tropic.” The following table, based on Letronne, will make the views about hieroglyphic Letronne's writing held by the Greeks plain :


(δημοτικά and δημώδη by Herodotus and Clement, , Herodotus, Diodorus

1. The common, éyxwpia by the inscriptions of Rosetta, and the inscription

called of Rosetta divide

επιστολογραφικά by Clement of Alexandria and Egyptian writing 11. The sacred, 1. Hieratic, or the writing of the priests.

Porphyry. into two divisions divided by

a. Cyriologic, by means of the first
Clement into

2. Hieroglyphic letters of the alphabet.
composed of

a. Cyriological by
6. Symbolical imitation.

comprising 6. Tropical


metaphorical. 6. Enigmatical.

on hiero.

The next writer of importance on hieroglyphics is Horapollo Horapollo, who towards the close of the IVth century of our

glyphics. era composed a work called 'Iepoyaupuká; this book was translated into Greek by one Philip, of whom nothing is known. Wiedemann thinks that it was originally written in Coptic, which, in the middle ages, was usually called

| Porphyry, De Vita Pythagorae, cd. Didot, $ 11, p. 89, at the foot.

'Egyptian," and not in ancient Egyptian. In this work are given the explanations of a number of ideographs which occur, for the most part, in Ptolemaic inscriptions; but, like the list of those given by Chaeremon, no phonetic values of the signs are given. Nevertheless the list is of considerable interest. The best edition of Horapollo is that of Conrad Leemans, but the text was edited in a handy form, with an English translation and notes by Samuel Sharpe and Dr. Birch, by J. Cory, in 1840.

In more modern times the first writer at any length on Mediaeval hieroglyphics was Athanasius Kircher, the author of some writers on hiero

ponderous works 3 in which he pretended to have found the glyphics. key to the hieroglyphic inscriptions, and to translate them.

Though a man of great learning, it must be plainly said that, judged by scholars of to-day, he would be considered an impostor. In his works on Coptic * there are, no doubt,

many interesting facts, but mixed with them is such an Kircher amount of nonsense that Jablonski says touching one of his and Jablonski. statements, “Verum hic ut in aliis plurimis fucum lectoribus

fecit Jesuita ille, et fumum vendidit "; from the same writer also, Kircher's arrogant assertions called forth the remark, “Kircherus, in quo semper plus inest ostentationis, quam solidae eruditionis.” It is impossible to understand what grounds Kircher had for his statements and how he arrived at his results; as for his translations, they have nothing correct in them. Here is one taken at random from Oedipus

1 Aegyptische Geschichte, p. 151. The sepulchre of Gordian was inscribed in Egyptian. “Gordiano sepulchrum milites apud Circeium castrum fecerunt in finibus Persidis, titulum hujus modi addentes et Graecis, et Latinis, et Persicis, et Judaicis, et Aegyptiacis literis, ut ab omnibus legeretur. Erasmus, Hist. Rom. Scriptorum, Basle, 1533, p. 312, at the top.

? Horapollinis Niloi Hieroglyphica. edidit, diversorum codicum recenter collatorum, priorumque editionum varias lectiones et versionem latinam subjunxit, adnotationem, item hieroglyphicorum imagines et indices adjecit C.L. Amstelod, 1835.

3 Obeliscus Pamphilius, .... Ilieroglyphicis involuta Symbolis, detecta e tenebris in lucem asseritur, Rome, 1650, fol. Oedipus Aegyptiacus, hoc est, universalis hieroglyphicae veterum doctrinae, temporum injuria obolitae instauratio. Rome, 1652-54. Tomi I-IV, fol.

4 Prodromus Coptus, Rome, 1636. Lingua Aegyptiaca restituta. Rome, 1643

Jablonski, Opuscula, t. I. ed. Water, 1804, pp. 157, 211.


Aegyptiacus, t. III, p. 431, where he gives a translation of an inscription (A) printed on the plate between pp. 428 and 429. The hieroglyphics are written on a Ptah-Seker-Osiris figure and read :

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t'et ån Àusår chent åmentet neter

neb Saith Osiris, at the head of the underworld, god great, lord of



Re-stau (i.e., the passages of the tomb).

and his translation runs : ““ Vitale providi Numinis domi-
nium, quadruplicem Mundani liquoris substantiam dominio
confert Osiridis, cujus unà cum Mendesio foecundi Numinis
dominio, benefica virtute influente, omnia quae in Mundo
sunt, vegetantur, animantur, conservantur.” Other writers
on hieroglyphics whose works Kircher consulted were John
Peter Bolzanius Valerianus,' and Mercati,but no good
results followed their investigations. In the year 1770 Joseph
de Guignes determined the existence of groups of characters De Guig.
having determinatives,' and four years later he published his nes and
Mémoire, in which he tried to prove that the epistolographic
and symbolic characters of the Egyptians were to be found
in the Chinese characters, and that the Chinese nation was
nothing but an Egyptian colony. In 1797 Zoëga made a step
in the right direction, and came to the conclusion that the
hieroglyphics were letters and that the cartouches contained
royal names. A few years later Silvestre de Sacy published a Silvestre

de Sacy

and Aker· Hieroglyphica, seu de sacris Acgyptiorum aliarumque gentium litteris blad. Commentatorium libri VII., duobus aliis ab eruditissimo viro annexis, etc., Basil., 1556.

Degli Obelischi di Roma, Rome, 1589.

3 Essai sur le moyen de parvenir à la lecture et à l'intelligence des Hiéroglyphes égyptiens. (In Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, t. XXXIV. pp. 1-56.)

4 Ibid., t. XXXIX. p. I ff.
s De Usu et Origine Obeliscorum, Rome, 1797, fol., p. 465.

letter on the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone,' and the work of this learned man was soon after followed by that of Akerblad who, in a letter to M. de Sacy' discussed the demotic inscription on the recently discovered Rosetta Stone, and published an alphabet of the demotic characters, from which a large number were adopted in after times by Young and Champollion. It would seem that Akerblad never gained the credit which was due to him for his really clever work, and it will be seen from the facts quoted in the following pages, how largely the success of Young's labours on the Demotic inscription on the Rosetta Stone depended on those of Akerblad. But side by side with the letters of de Sacy and Akerblad and the learned works of Young and Champollion, there sprang into existence a mass of literature full of absurd statements and theories written by men having no qualifications for expressing opinions on hieroglyphic

matters. Thus the Comte de Pahlin in his De l'étude des Absurd Hiéroglyphes, hesitated not to say that the inscription on one theories of of the porticoes of the Temple at Denderah contained a the contents of translation of the hundredth Psalm, composed to invite all Egyptian

people to enter into the house of the Lord. The same author said that to produce the books of the Bible, which were written on papyri, it was only necessary to translate the Psalms of David into Chinese and to write them in the ancient characters of that language. Lenoir considered the Egyptian inscriptions to contain Hebrew compositions, and Lacour thought that they contained Biblical phrases. Worse than all these wild theories was the belief in the works of the

Kircher school of investigators, and in the accuracy of the Warbur. statements made by Warburton, who, it must be confessed, ton's views Egyptian 1 Lettre au Citoyen Chaptal, au sujet de l'Inscription égyptienne du alphabet. Monument trouvé à Rosette, Paris, 1802.


? Lettre sur l'inscription égyptienne de Rosette, Paris, 1802.
3 Published at Paris in 5 vols., 1812.
4 Lettres sur les Hiéroglyphes, Weimar, 1802.

6 In Nouvelle explication des Hiéroglyphes, Paris, 1809-10, 4 vols.; and Nouveaux Essais sur les Hiéroglyphes, Paris, 1826, 4 vols.

6 See his Essai sur les Hiéroglyphes égyptiens, Bordeaux, 1821.

i In his The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated, to which is adjoint an Essay on Egyptian Hieroglyphics, London, 1738, 2 vols.

on an

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