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end were circular, or oval, hollows to hold ink, the former being in the shape of e, and the latter of a cartouche a

Di. About a third of the length of the palette from this end a sloping groove was cut, which from about the middle of the palette to the other end had an equal depth, for holding the reeds for writing. These were kept in their place either by a piece of wood gummed into the palette about a third of the way above the groove, or by a piece of wood, forming a bridge, under which the reeds could pass freely, and which was left uncut when the groove was made. A sliding cover over the longer part of the groove protected the ends of the reeds from damage. The hollows in the palette for holding the ink are usually two in number, one for red ink and one for black; these being the colours most commonly used for writing upon papyri. Some palettes have as many as a dozen hollows, and these probably belonged to scribes whose business it was to ornament papyri with scenes painted in many colours. The dates of palettes can often be determined with accuracy because, in addition to the name of the owner, the name of the king in whose reign he lived is given. Thus Royal B.M. No. 12,784 was made in the reign of Amāsis I., B.M. 5513

palettes. in that of Amenophis III., and B.M. 5514 in that of Rameses II. ; from these three examples we see that the form of the palette changed very little in a whole dynasty. The inscriptions upon palettes were usually in hieroglyphics, but B.M. No. 5524, made of ivory, is inscribed in hieratic, and B.M. No. 5517, made of wood, also has upon it an inscription in hieratic. The palette of a scribe was sometimes placed in the tomb with its owner (see in the Papyrus of Ani, pl. 7, where it lies under the bier), and votive palettes are known, as for example B.M. No. 12,778. This object is made of green basalt, and at the end where the coloured inks were placed is a scene in outline in which the deceased is represented making an offering to Osiris, behind whom stand a goddess and Thoth. The places for the ink are outlined, but not hollowed out, and the groove is only cut a part of the length; the reeds which still remain are fastened in with plaster, and it is perfectly clear that this

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palette was never used by a scribe. On each side is an inscription in hieroglyphics, which records the name and titles of the deceased, and which prays that appropriate sepulchral meals may be given to the deceased, and that he may enter in, and come out from the underworld, without repulse, whenever he pleases. Inscriptions on palettes are often dedications to the god Thoth, "lord of divine words.” Stone and faïence palettes with eight, ten,

or twelve small vases for ink were also used. The Egyp The reed, in Egyptian

qesh, Copt. K&cy, with which the Egyptian wrote, was about ten inches long, tath or sth of an inch in diameter ; the end used for writing was bruised to make the fibres flexible, and not cut. After the XXVIth dynasty an ordinary reed, similar to that which the Arabs and other Oriental nations use for writing at the present day, was employed, and the end was cut like a quill, or steel pen. The average sized palette will hold about ten writing reeds easily.

The ink which the Egyptian used was made of mineral and vegetable substances, mixed with a little gum and water. The substance which coloured the ink, black, red, blue, green, white, or yellow, was carefully rubbed down on a rectangular slab of granite, basalt, or marble, with a hard stone muller, and then thrown into a vessel, where the necessary quantity of water and gum was added to make it the consistency of moderately thin cream. The professional scribe probably carried about with him pieces of colour similar to the specimens in blue, green, and red which are preserved in European museums, and rubbed down a little at a time according to his need. The green and blue colours are preparations from copper, which can, I understand, be successfully imitated at the present time; fine examples are B.M. 5565, 5571c, and small prepared lumps of colour exhibited in bronze bowl, B.M. 5556. The red and bronze colours were preparations from red ochre mixed with chalk; an interesting example of the former is B.M. No. 18,337, and of the latter B.M. No. 5572.

EGYPTIAN WRITING. The system of writing employed by the people called Great Egyptians was probably entirely pictorial either at the time antiquity when they first arrived in Egypt, or during the time that they glyphic

writing still lived in their original home. We, however, know of no inscription in which pictorial characters álone are used, for the earliest specimens of their writing known to us contain alphabetical characters. The Egyptians had three kinds of writing-Hieroglyphic, Hieratic, and Demotic; soon after the preaching of Saint Mark at Alexandria, the Christian population made use of the Greek alphabet, with the addition of certain characters which they borrowed from the demotic; this method of writing was called Coptic.

Hieroglyphics, from the Greek iepoyhubirós, were com- Oldest monly employed for inscriptions upon temples, tombs, coffins, glyphic instatues, and stelæ, and many copies of the Book of the Dead scription. were written in them. The earliest hieroglyphic inscription at present known is found on the monument of Shera, parts of which are preserved in the Ashmolcan Museum at Oxford and in the Gizeh Museum; it dates from the IInd dynasty. Hieroglyphics were used in Egypt for writing the names of Roman Emperors and for religious purposes until the third century after Christ, at least.

Hieratic, from the Greek iepatikos, was a style of cursive writing much used by the priests in copying literary compositions on papyrus ; during the XIth or XIIth dynasty wooden coffins were inscribed in hieratic with religious texts. The oldest document in hieratic is the famous Prisse papyrus, Oldest which records the counsels of Ptah-ḥetep to his son ; the com- inscripposition itself is about a thousand years older than this tion. papyrus, which was probably inscribed about the XIth dynasty. Drafts of inscriptions were written upon flakes of calcareous stone in hieratic, and at a comparatively early date hieratic was used in writing copies of the Book of the Dead. Hieratic was used until about the fourth century after Christ.

Demotic, from the Greek Snuot kós, is a purely conventional modification of hieratic characters, which preserve little of their original form, and was used for social and business B. M.

2 A


The various kinds of writing used in Egypt.

purposes; in the early days of Egyptian decipherment it was called enchorial, from the Greek évxópios. The demotic writing appears to have come into use about B.C. 900, and it survived until about the fourth century after Christ. In the time of the Ptolemies three kinds of writing were inscribed side by side upon documents of public importance, hieroglyphic, Greek, and Demotic; examples are the stele of Canopus, set up in the ninth year of the reign of Ptolemy III. Euergetes I., B.C. 247-222, at Canopus, to record the benefits which this king had conferred upon his country, and the famous Rosetta Stone, set up at Rosetta in the eighth year of the reign of Ptolemy V. Epiphanes (B.C. 205-182), likewise to commemorate the benefits conferred upon Egypt by himself and his family, etc., etc. On the Rosetta Stone

en neter met, “”


e ni

hieroglyphic writing is called Mommy0

sy seyai en Haui-nebu, “ writing of the Greeks.”

A century or two after the Christian era Greek had obtained such a hold upon the inhabitants of Egypt, that the native Christian population, the disciples and followers of Saint Mark, were obliged to use the Greek alphabet to write down the Egyptian, that is to say Coptic, translation of the books of the Old and New Testaments, but they borrowed six signs from the demotic forms of ancient Egyptian characters to express the sounds which they found unrepresented in Greek. These signs arecy = Hash;

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Coptic writing.

The knowledge of the ancient hieroglyphics was fast dying out, and the phonetic values of many of those in use at this period were altered. The name Copt is derived from bu, the Arabic form of the Coptic form of the Greek name for

Egyptian, AlyúttiOs. The Coptic language is, at base, a dialect of ancient Egyptian; many of the nouns and verbs found in the hieroglyphic texts remain unchanged in Coptic, and a large number of others can, by making proper allowance for phonetic decay and dialectic differences, be identified without difficulty. The Coptic dialect of Upper Egypt, called “Sahidic” Dialects of

Coptic. (from Arab. deo), or Theban, was the older and richer dialect; that of Lower Egypt was called Boheiric, from the province of Boheirâ in the Delta. The latter dialect has been wrongly called Bashmuric, and as it appears to have been exclusively the language of Memphis, it has obtained generally the name “Memphitic”; the dialect of Bushmur on the Lake of Menzaleh appears to have become extinct about A.D. 900, and to have left no traces of itself behind. The Coptic translation of the Bible was considered by Renaudet, Wilkins, Woide, and George, to be as old as the second century of our era ; more modern scholars, however, are inclined to assert that it is not older than the eighth century. For an account of the revival of Coptic studies in Europe, see Quatremère, Recherches Critiques et Historiques sur la Langue et la Littérature de l'Egypte, Paris, 1808, and for a list of the printed literature of the Copts, see Stern, Koptische Grammatik, pp. 441-447. The recognition of the fact that a knowledge of Coptic is most valuable as a preliminary to the study of hieroglyphics, probably accounts for the large and increasing share of the attention of scholars which this language receives.



The most common of the animals, reptiles, birds, and fishes which the Egyptians regarded as emblems of or sacred to the gods, and therefore mummified with great reverence and care, were :-Bull, Antelope, Jackal, Hippopotamus, Cat, Monkey or Ape, Crocodile, Ichneumon, Hedgehog, Shrewmouse, Ibis, Hawk, Frog, Toad, Scorpion, Beetle, Snake, and the Latus, Oxyrhynchus and Silurus fishes.

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