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Now signs Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 we know, and we may write them down thus:
The only female name which contains these letters in this order is that of Berenice, and to and we may therefore assign the values B and K respectively. Thus we have gained two more signs. If we take two other cartouches, viz. :
we find that we are able to read the first at once KAISRS, which is clearly Kalapos, or Caesar; in the second the only sign we do not know is e. Writing down the values we know we have A. TAKRTR, which is clearly Aυтократор; thus the value of the second character must be U. In this manner the names of all the Ptolemies and the Roman Emperors were worked through, and eventually Champollion succeeded in making out the value of one hundred and eleven signs. At the foot of Plate I, in his Lettre à Monsieur Dacier, he writes his own name in hieroglyphs thus :
The following are the letters of the Egyptian alphabet with their values as now accepted by Egyptologists:
EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHIC ALPHABET
THE EGYPTIAN LANGUAGE
Of the language which the Egyptian of the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Periods spoke nothing is known, but the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs has revealed many facts about the language which was in use among the Egyptians under dynastic rule. Benfey1 tried to prove that the Egyptian language had sprung from a Semitic stock, and de Rougé2 and Brugsch3 accepted his arguments. Barthélemy, de Guignes, Giorgi, de Rossi and Kopp proclaimed unhesitatingly the identity of Coptic with Hebrew, but Quatremère thought that Coptic was another tongue and had affinity with no other language. Lepsius attempted to prove that the IndoEuropean, Semitic and Coptic families of languages were originally
1 The whole of the facts which favour the theory that the Egyptian is allied to the Semitic languages are collected in his work Ueber das Verhältniss der Aegyptischen Sprache zum Semitischen Sprachstamme, Leipzig, 1844.
2 Mémoire sur l'inscription du tombeau d'Ahmès, p. 195. presque toujours un fait curieux a été mis en évidence, à savoir, que la grammaire de la langue antique se rapproche bien plus décidément des caractères propres aux idiomes sémitiques.'
3 Wörterbuch, I. Vorrede, SS. 9–12. Es steht mir nämlich fest, dass die altägyptische Sprache, d. h. die älteste Gestaltung derselben, im Semitischen wurzelt und dass wir von hieraus alle jene Erscheinungen zu erklären haben, welche sonst ohne jede Auflösung dastehen würden."
▲ Renan, Histoire Générale des Langues Sémitiques, p. 80. Recherches, p. 16.
identical,1 and Schwartze2 asserted that Coptic was analogous to the Semitic languages in its grammar, and to the Indo-European languages by its roots, but that it was more akin to the Semitic languages in its simple character and lack of logical structure. Bunsen and Paul de Lagarde thought that the Egyptian language represented a prehistoric layer of Semitism, and tried to show that the forms and the roots of the ancient Egyptian could be explained neither by Aryan nor Semitic singly, but by both of these families together, and that they formed in some way the transition from one to the other. Stern believed that there was at one time a relationship between Egyptian and Semitic, which was proved by the pronouns and other words, but that a separation took place between Egyptian and its Asiatic relations at a very early period, and it followed its own course.4 Prof. W. Wright held that "we have not a few structural affinities, which may perhaps be thought sufficient to justify those linguists who hold that Egyptian is a relic of the earliest age of Semitism, or of Semitic speech as it was before it passed into the peculiar form in which we may be said to know it historically."5
From the above it is clear that Lepsius, de Rougé and Brugsch believed in the affinity of Egyptian with the Semitic languages, and as they were Egyptologists their collective opinion is important. The general evidence on the subject was summed up by Erman in a valuable paper which he contributed to the Zeitschrift d. Deutschen Morgen. Gesell. (Bd. XLVI, pp. 93-129), and he added a list of Egyptian words with their Semitic equivalents, which strengthened his arguments considerably. Brockelmann, following Brugsch and Erman, would include Egyptian among the Semitic languages and, judging from the language of the Pyramid Texts, is more and more convinced of its similarity to the Semitic languages. But it must be pointed out that the Pyramid Texts were written under the Vth and VIth dynasties, and it has yet to be proved that in their original form they are not of Asiatic origin. Brockelmann also thinks that Egyptian separated itself from its Semitic sisters thousands of years ago, and that it developed itself more quickly than they for much the same kind of reasons that have made English go
1 Ueber den Ursprung und die Verwandtschaft der Zahlwörter in der IndoGermanischen, Semitischen und Koptischen Sprache, Berlin, 1836.
Das alte Aegypten, pp. 976, 1033.
3 Renan, op. cit., p. 82.
་ ་་ Es besteht eine alte Verwandtschaft zwischen der aegyptischen, welche dem hamitischen Stamme angehört, und den semitischen Sprachen, wie sich unverkennbar noch in der pronominalbildung und in manchen gemeinsamen Wurzeln zeigt; doch scheint sich das aegyptische von den asiatischen Schwestern früh getrennt zu haben und seinen eigenen Weg gegangen zu sein. Die allgemeine Stammverwandtschaft der beiden Sprachen ist durch weitgehende Lautverschiebungen und Veränderungen verdeckt." * Comparative Grammar of the Semitic Languages, p. 34.
far away from the other Germanic languages.1 Whilst not venturing to criticize the opinions of the older Egyptologists, Wright thought that an examination of the Coptic alone readily suggests several considerations in support of the view that Egyptian is descended from the same stock as the Semitic languages. And as the most convincing of these considerations he mentions the "marvellous similarity, almost amounting to identity, of the personal pronouns, both separate and suffixed-a class of words which languages of radically different families are not apt to borrow from one another."2 Renan, like Wright, was struck by the identity of the pronouns and the manner in which they are treated in the two groups of languages, and he regarded the identity that is apparent even in the details that seem to be secondary as a remarkable fact.3
The forms of the pronouns in hieroglyphs, Coptic and Hebrew, are as follows :
The views of the German Egyptologists summarized above are not generally accepted, and the views held by those who think differently on the subject are set forth with skill and learning by Naville in his L'Évolution de la Langue Égyptienne et les Langues
1 Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der Semitischen Sprachen, Berlin, 1908, p. 3.
2 Comparative Grammar, p. 33.
3 Renan, Hist. Générale, p. 84 ff.
Sémitiques, Paris, 1920. To this work the reader is referred for the discussion of details which cannot be considered here. Many writers on the alleged affinity of Egyptian with the Semitic languages have tried to show that the Egyptians borrowed their words for numbers from the Semites, but from the examples quoted below it is tolerably certain that the Egyptians had their own set of words for numbers Thus we have for 1 UẪU UAU, Copt. ora;
1, 3, 4, 5 and 10.
for 3 KHEMT
Too; for 5 ȚU
Copt. o; for 4 FTU, Copt.
Copt. нT. These Egyptian words in no way resemble the
,6 The words for .עֶשֶׂר and, חָמֵשׁ אַרְבַּע שָׁלוֹשׁ אֶחָד Semitic
sås P¶P) or POP (Jéquier), Copt. coor; 7, SEFEKH
Copt. c&; 8, KHEMENU O
9, PSETCH O
Copt. corn; and
T, seem to be modifications of indigenous Egyptian words and to be connected with it, ya, and y. That the Egyptian language contains Semitic words and forms of speech1 there is no doubt whatever, but it seems to me that there is equally no doubt that the indigenous language of the Egyptians finds its true affinities in the Libyan languages of North Africa and in the Nuba languages of East Africa.2 Throughout the Dynastic Period the influence of the Semitic languages on Egyptian must have been considerable, and it attained its maximum when the Egyptians began to occupy Western Asia. So far back as 1885 some authorities thought that Sumerian loan-words could be identified in the hieroglyphic inscriptions. In a paper now practically forgotten the late Dr. Strassmaier put forth the theory that a relationship existed between the Akkadian [i.e., Sumerian] and Egyptian languages, and he printed a small list of Egyptian, Coptic and Sumerian words which he believed to be identical. See his paper "Akkadisch und Aegyptisch" in the Album presented to Dr. Leemans.3
1 These are all ably described and set out with Sethe's characteristic clearness in his great work Das Aegyptische Verbum, 3 Vols., Leipzig, 18991902.
2 See Reinisch, Das persönliche Fürwort und die Verbalflexion in den Chamitosemitischen Sprachen, Vienna, 1909; and Die Sprachliche Stellung des Nuba, Vienna, 1911.
• Études Archéologiques, Linguistiques et Historiques, dédiées à Dr. C. Leemans, Leide, 1885, pp. 105–107.