Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs Illustrated
A Formal Writing System Used in Ancient Egypt
by Trevor Naylor
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Pub Date 14 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 12 Oct 2023
Amber Books Ltd, Amber Books
The Ancient Egyptians used a hieroglyphic writing system that still resonates today for its graphic representation of things, people, pharaohs and concepts. These hieroglyphics were discovered by adventurers and archeologists in temples, tombs and on papyrus documents, telling of the everyday life, religion and history of this 5,000-year-old civilization. Some of the symbols were simple but represented something with a wider significance, such as the eye of Horus; other logographs might represent an animal, such as a snake, elephant or lion; while others, such as the Ba symbol of a bird with a human head, represented the human soul with the ability to travel to the afterlife using wings. The language grew and over time came to represent every facet of Ancient Egyptian life. This book allows the reader to piece together and read the symbols, to understand their meanings and use, and examines what they have taught the world about this most influential of early civilizations. In Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs Illustrated, we learn more of the story of this rich ancient language and its development over thousands of years, and the story of their decipherment after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. The book explores the key logograms for popular concepts such as ‘sun’, ‘house’ and ‘mountain’, as well as more complex ideas such as Ajet, or ‘sun rising over mountains’; marvel at Tutankhamun’s full name as marked on his tomb, which is portrayed using a reed, a wave of water, a falcon, an ankh symbol, and a series of staffs; learn about the two outstretched arms of the Ka symbol, which represents the mortal life and soul of a person. Each of the graphically illustrated entries is accompanied by a description of the written form and an explanation of its meaning. Presented in a high-quality Chinese-bound format with accompanying illustrations, Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs Illustrated provides a compact, easy-to-understand introduction to the writing system of Ancient Egypt.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
Clear, concise, informative…
From the illustrations to the text, I found this highly readable and very informative. I’ve read a few books on hieroglyphs over the years and this one was one of the better ones. How it was laid out – from format to groupings – invited you to read and learn as you went. The background given for each hieroglyph was interesting and had great detail with the language geared for anyone, not just an expert or scholar on the subject.
I would love more – an encyclopedia really – laid out in just this way, including any and all symbols. Having interpretations of statues and monuments – actually working through the hieroglyphs and their translation – would be icing on the cake.
I read the e-book version which I think may not have given the illustrations justice so will be looking for a print copy…
Trevor Naylor’s Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs Illustrated is a great expansion on beginning texts about hieroglyphs. Usually beginner guides just cover the hieroglyph equivalent of the romanized alphabet, but Naylor gives us more depth and range by discussing first the symbol (ie bee, it’s role and importance in Ancient Egypt) and then it’s meaning in Ancient Egyptian (representing both bee and honey, and the symbol of king of Lower Egypt). Naylor has a nice breakdown of chapters of where/what context hieroglyphs were used, covering everything from the everyday to royal names, to the all important afterlife. There are some really nice illustrations and photos which helped since hieroglyphs are complex.
My only nitpicks are that during his discussion of pharaoh names, that he actually break the hieroglyphs in the name down. We get the Horus name and birth name, but I actually wanted to read more about how each hieroglyph combines to make their name,
The other small issue was I wish it had a nice conclusion section. It ends so abruptly and left me wanting more!
Overall this book would be a fantastic addition for anyone interested in dipping their toes further into reading and understanding hieroglyphs better. Thank you NetGalley and @amberbooks for the ARC!