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Life in Ancient Egypt: A Writing System Review of the Gods • The religion of ancient Egypt was polytheistic (the belief in many gods). • Religion played a central part in Egyptian life. It helped people to understand the world around them and to cope with the difficulties of everyday living. • The Egyptians worshipped hundred of gods. Review of the Gods Osiris chief god of the underworld, death, and rebirth Anubis Horus helper of Osiris Isis goddess of women sky god Ra the sun god What do you see? Eye of Horus Horus Lesson Preview • The pictures or images the Egyptians painted had rules. • Egypt’s earliest writing is called hieroglyphics. • The Rosetta Stone was the key to understanding the language of the ancient Egyptians. • Scribes were experts with special skills who learned to read and write. Pictures and Writing in Egypt When Egyptians painted pictures they were not trying to show what people really looked like. A picture was a kind of diagram (drawing, sketch, plan, or chart that makes something clearer or easier to understand). Pictures and Writing in Egypt •The pictures or images the Egyptians painted had rules. •Artists had to follow rules in making pictures and writing. •If a figure is facing right they are more important than the figure on the left. •When two people face each other, the more important figure is usually faces right. A Writing System • Earliest writing is called hieroglyphics. • Hieroglyphics are pictures to stand for objects, ideas, and sounds. • The word hieroglyph is a Greek word that means sacred writing in stone. • Hieroglyphics were difficult for language experts to understand. • Language specialists and archaeologists studied the symbols for years with no success in finding their meaning. Rosetta Stone • In 1799, French soldiers discovered a black stone slab in the village of Rosetta in the Nile Delta. • The stone would be called the Rosetta Stone because of the location it was found. • On the stone the same passage was written in three languages: Greek Egyptian hieroglyphs cursive form of Egyptian • Scholars studied the stone for over 20 years trying to decode the hieroglyphics. Rosetta Stone Jean Champollion • Finally, a brilliant Frenchman named Jean Champollion found the key to decoding the passage on the Rosetta Stone. • The passage on the stone praised the pharaoh Ptolemy V for gifts he had given the temples. • In 1822 Champollion was comparing the hieroglyphs with the Greek words. He identified and compared the names Ptolemy and Cleopatra. The sounds matched with the hieroglyphs Jean Champollion • Now Champollion was able to decode the Rosetta Stone. • He would later publish a dictionary of the ancient Egyptian language. Page from Champollion's notes What types of things did the Egyptians write? • Once Scholars were able to decode hieroglyphic writing, they could read about the Egyptians life. Such as: laws songs tales jokes magic spells business contracts Egypt’s history Hieroglyphic System of Writing • To master hieroglyphics writing a person would have to memorize over 700 different signs. Scribes • A scribe is a professional writer or record keeper • Scribes were experts with special skills, this means they had good jobs and a respected place in Egyptian society. • Who were the scribes? Scribes were people in ancient Egypt (usually men) who learned to read and write. • Although experts believe that most scribes were men, there is evidence of some female doctors. These women would have been trained as scribes so that they could read medical texts. • http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/writing/story/main.html Scribes and their tools Wooden Brush Holder Egyptian scribes wrote with brushes Hieratic Writing • Ordinary writing was called hieratic script, which did not use pictures and could be written much more quickly than hieroglyphics. Demotic Script • Demotic script is a simple from of hieratic script. • Demotic script was carved on the Rosetta Stone. Review • The Rosetta Stone was found in Nile Delta, on the stone the same passage was written in three languages: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphs, cursive form of Egyptian. • After 20 years, Frenchman named Jean Champollion found the key to decoding the passage on the Rosetta Stone. • Scribes were people in ancient Egypt (usually men) who learned to read and write.