Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics
The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics are a fascination to many people. The term hieroglyphics refers to a system of writing using ancient Egyptian symbols. The hieroglyphics involved a series of 'picture' words. Consisting of several hundred words, this system of writing was intensely complex and very labor intensive. The first hieroglyphics were used on buildings and tombs. It is believed that the Egyptians first began developing this system of writing about 3000 BC.
Facts about Hieroglyphics
There are some facts about hieroglyphics that are quite interesting to note:
Not all symbols represented single letters; some pictures represented words. The symbols that make up the alphabet in Egyptian hieroglyphics are sub-divided into categories including phonograms and ideograms.
A scribe at work
A large majority of the ancient Egyptian culture were not able to read or write. Instead they depended on scribes and priests. Young boys from wealthy families usually entered schools around age six or seven, in order to learn to write in hieroglyphics. Their training normally took several years to complete.
Although the training for the position of scribe was very intense and lengthy, there were benefits that made it worthwhile. Scribes were considered to servants of the royal household and as such were exempt from taxes. They were also not required to enter the military and were often revered with portraits on the sides of buildings.
Over several thousand years, the system of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics developed by Egyptian civilization evolved and developed into an even more complex system consisting of varying forms of formality. Hieroglyphics were first employed on buildings and tombs, such as the Tutankhamen sarcophagus symbols. Eventually the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were used to decorate jewelry, record events on papyrus and to form a kind of signature for royalty and deities on oval stones known as cartouche.