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Read hieroglyphics first-hand: any tips?

 
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Sandan.1380
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:49 pm    Post subject: Read hieroglyphics first-hand: any tips? Reply with quote

Hi everybody!
I've jut registered on this forum, so I suppose it'd be a good idea to introduce myself before asking any questions.

I'm Simone and I live in Naples, Italy. I'm only 17, but I've been really passionate about AE for some years now and am going to study Africanistics after graduating, which is something that, here in Italy, happens at the age of 18 to 19. In other words, I've still got a whole year of high school ahead of me, but my hopes are really high and so is my determination about the things I want to dedicate my life to. In the meanwhile, I study Greek and Latin, that are mandatory subjects here (to my pleasure).
My interest is primarily aimed at Egyptian as a means of expression, with everything coming with it - history and archeology definitely, but also linguistics, philology, grammar, translation, epigraphy.

The first of many questions I'm going to ask you is about the latter. I'm thoroughly going through James P. Allen's "Middle Egyptian", which I suppose all of you know. I'd say I'm fairly good with grammar and I get most of the exercises right, but when I try to translate whole texts from stelae or statues I find it nearly impossible. It's not as much about the text itself, as the way it is written: Although Allen's grammar is an incredible handbook, I think that it's made me used to such a clear and detailed writing that I've got practically no experience with hieroglyphs the way they were actually written.

I was wondering if you had any tips about how I could get over this!

Ciao. Smile

PS: I apologise in advance for any mistake that I might've made -- as I've told you, I'm Italian.
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello from Ohio!

I would recommend two books prior to tackling Allen (which is excellent, but maybe not the best place to start off).

1. R. B. Parkinson's Pocket Guide to Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs: https://books.google.com/books?id=1fBsDFvSGwUC&dq=editions:ISBN0760753806 A very friendly primer on basic readings that also (unusually) introduces informal/handwritten hieroglyphs and a look at hieratic, too. Best place to start as far as I am concerned.

2. Bill Manley's Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners: https://books.google.com/books?id=cZYHywAACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:ISBN0500051720 By one of the authors of another successful learn-hieroglyphs book, this one walks you through the basics like a workbook. A good preliminary to tackling Allen.

In addition, being in Italy, you have one of the world-class Egyptological museums close by in Turin. I would not hesitate to inquire there about where to learn more.

Hope this helps!

Smile
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A list of literature recommendations in different languages (also some in Italian), created by Egyptologists ...

EEF - Glyphs and Grammars - Part I: Resources for beginners

Greetings, Lutz.
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Sandan.1380
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I have already read some books in Italian as an introduction to the language, and only after that have I taken up Allen. As I've said, I've had zero problems with grammar per se so far, and I am currently studying chapter 18, so I'm not really starting off -- it's more about the huge jump from the theoretical study to the practical application on original documents (manuscripts, stelae, or statues).

Yes, we do have a huge museum in Turin: it's said to be the second biggest in the world after the one in Cairo. There are also two other major Egyptian collections in Italy, with expositions in Florence and Naples, and I've visited both several times. I've visited the Museo Egizio in Turin the first time in my life only a few days ago and it was incredible; actually, the number 1380 in my nickname stands for the catalogue number of one of the most famous statues stored there!

As I've told you, it's been some four years since I started studying hieroglyphs and Egypt in my spare time.

Thank you both for your answers! I'm definitely going to check that Parkinson book you mentioned.

Ciao. Smile

Again, sorry for any mistakes!
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, both the Parkinson and Manley books I mentioned center on actually reading real monumental inscriptions, so they should be a good intro to the practicalities of hieroglyphic as it as actually used. Smile

I would like to go to the Museo Egizio someday. I visited the Louvre about 11-12 years ago and was stunned by the sheer quantity of artifacts on display there... I found myself walking blithely past things that would have captivated my attention in smaller museums. I really should have planned for a more-than-one-day visit to take it all in.

(To say nothing of the museums and sites in Egypt itself, of course. Some day!)

Would "1380" be the famous seated Ramses II? That's a good one!

One of my running fascinations is with the Turin king list (AKA "Turin Canon"). I have the Gardiner facsimile publication of it and have been following as best I can Kim Ryholt's revisions, many of which are based on fiber-matching. Getting a glimpse of the original would be on a par with seeing the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum or the Mona Lisa in the Louvre... as I say, "some day!"
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Sandan.1380
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although the seated Ramesses II is probably the most famous statue of the Museum, I chos the identification number of the head of Ptolomy II represented as a pharaoh. You can find a photo here (I swear I'm going to get the hang of how this forum works and the procedure to post photos within a post!):
https://images.app.goo.gl/cM4UTyus2EsLL5deA

I've never been to an Egyptian museum outside Italy, but I must say that the Museo Egizio really struck me. I spent a whole day in there and yet I feel that I merely skimmed through most of the rooms; I'd say that an indepth visit would've required more than one day, just like you felt about the Louvre.
The fact that I didm't ever feel bored throughout the visit was yet another confirmation that this is what I should spend my life on! Very Happy

Thanks again for the references you suggested me. This forum seems so welcoming ans useful - I'll definitely enjoy to discuss with you all about all that's involved with AE!

Ciao. Smile
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandan.1380 wrote:
Although the seated Ramesses II is probably the most famous statue of the Museum, I chos the identification number of the head of Ptolomy II represented as a pharaoh. ...

Sorry, but Turin C. 1380 is Ramses II. Your Ptolomy II is Turin C. 1399.
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Sandan.1380
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh gish, you're right! I got the numbers confused Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Sandan.1380
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandan.1380 wrote:
Oh gish, you're right! I got the numbers confused Laughing Laughing Laughing


Gosh*** how do I edit my posts?
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think non-moderators can edit posts on this forum.

Passing by the accession-number mixup, I'm curious: what makes the Ptolemy II sculpture your favorite? (I don't believe I had seen it before looking it up after you mentioned it. It does look interesting.)
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Sandan.1380
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, as an Ancient Greek student, I think it is one of the greatest symbols of both the civilizations I love. Furthermore, as a fusion of AE and Greek art, this statue retains the most moving aspects of both styles: the poignant gravity of Egyptian sculpture, which always makes me feel so little, as if I really were in front of a god, finally comes across the incredible pathos of classical art.
As much as I despise the Ptolemaic period because I see it as a disgraceful distortion of the Egyptian culture made by the Greeks, which, in spite of everything one could say, were basically closed-minded just like any antique (and modern) civilization, I find this to be one of the greatest masterpieces of the human race.
As always, artistically speaking, the brief moments of balance that happen between the periods of "exaggeration" in one way or another, are the best moments ever.

Is it even possible to feel the solemnity of the gods and the emotionality of the men altogether, at once? To me, this is the proof that, however rare, such a sublime and intense feeling is not impossible to obtain.

Did I sound convincing enough? Hahahahahaha

Ciao. Smile
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