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Ancient Egyptian words for numbers and colours

 
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Amun
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:32 am    Post subject: Ancient Egyptian words for numbers and colours Reply with quote

I wrote the numbers from the Turkish version of "The Universal History of Numbers" (by Georges Ifrah). So I used French spelling of the numbers.

NUMBERS:

1 = wa'
2 = senou
3 = khemet
4 = fedou
5 = diwou
6 = sersou
7 = sefekh
8 = khemen
9 = pesedj
10 = medj
20 = dwetye
30 = m'aba'
40 = khem
50 = diyou
60 = si
70 = sfkh* (sefakh?) We don't know the correct sounds of 70, 80 and 90!
80 = khmn* (kheman?)
90 = psdj* (pesadj?)
100 = shet
1000 = kha'
10 000 = djebe'
100 000 = hefen
1 000 000 = heh


And I found this from Wikipedia:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_numbers


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COLOURS:


Red = Desher
Blue = Irtyu
Green = Wadj
Black = Kem
White = Hedj
Yellow = Khenet


What are the Ancient Egyptian names of the other colours? Idea
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Amun
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:05 am    Post subject: Re: Ancient Egyptian words for numbers and colours Reply with quote

I think we don't know the Ancient Egyptian names of the other colours (violet, purple, orange, pink, brown, grey, etc.) ! Sad
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dzama923
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be noted, that the green and blue to them was a little different. As there was the idea that green blue, were the same.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dzama923 wrote:
... As there was the idea that green blue, were the same.

I do not know where your "knowledge" comes from, since you do not give a source, but it should be noted that there are clearly different words for the colors green and blue exist in ancient Egyptian language.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot where I read it, I think it was in Raymond O'Faulkner's Book of the Dead, where it is describing the colors of the felspars put on the neck of the deceased. I did a search, and I came up with this wikipedia article.

Quote:
Egyptian blue, also known as calcium copper silicate (CaCuSi4O10 or CaOCuO(SiO2)4 (calcium copper tetrasilicate)) or cuprorivaite, is a pigment used in ancient Egypt for thousands of years. It is considered to be the first synthetic pigment. It was known to the Romans by the name caeruleum – see also the English word cerulean. After the Roman era, Egyptian blue fell from use and the manner of its creation was forgotten.

The ancient Egyptian word wꜣḏ signifies blue, blue-green, and green.


A link to the article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_blue
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which does not really explain why there are two different words for the two different colors ...

"Blue" (irtjw - blaue Farbe, blau) and "Green" (wADw - grüner Farbstoff, grüne Malfarbe).
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raymond O. Faulkner : A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (1991), page 28 & 55 :


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've come across that idea too, that the Egyptians did not distinguish between blue and green-- even to the point where it was speculated that they couldn't even see the difference (!?!?). It has to have arose from a misunderstanding. First, as Lutz demonstrates, there were in fact different terms; and secondly, human eyes have not changed in their ability to detect color differences in the mere few thousand years separating now from then.

I have a few possible explanations as to how these misperceptions about blue and green came to be. First and most likely, I suspect a bad/early translation. Second, some colors can change over time just through weathering/aging (though most of the mineral-based pigments that the Egyptians used would have been far more durable than organic-based pigments) and this could have contributed to confusion.

Third, sometimes colors are used poetically in ways that are actually inaccurate (how often have you heard the phrase "red gold"? Which of course can't be literally true if the gold is in fact gold or at least mostly so... it's an elemental property). The apparent Egyptian reference to the Mediterranean as "the Great Green" is probably in this category-- the Med was undoubtedly just as blue (or green, or grey, or brown) in the appropriate lighting conditions then as it is now.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the blue that describes blue, blue-green, and green, is the word that describes the faience color blue. It would happen to be a pigment that when used in different quantities would produce the green, blue, and blue-green colors.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allen's "Middle Egyptian" also translates wAD as "blue-green", also showing a link between this frankly bland definition and the concrete example of the sea: see p. 458 of the second edition.

It is worthy of notice, in this regard, that, although all humans (generally) see the same colours, they can linguistically conceive and interpret them in ways that are not always the same as those we are used to in European languages.
Those of you who studied Ancient Greek surely have heard of the dispute about the choice of words made by Homer, who uses the same word to describe the color of wine (to us,=red) and that of the sea (to us, =blue). Crazy hypotheses have been made throughout history about all the Greeks being color-blinded, though it's clearly not the case.
There's actually a youtube video produced by Vox in which the topic is handled in a fairly accurate way. Here's the link .

It'd be great if we could search the word in some database and personally check its use.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandan.1380 wrote:
Allen's "Middle Egyptian" also translates wAD as "blue-green", ...

As a second option, the first one is green.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is true, although as far as I know (that is, not too far, hahahaha!) the order of the entries isn't necessarily discriminatory unless there's a colon separating the definitions.
What I find most important is that the term refers to malachite, which is a "very green" green.
Again, it's probably got to do with some specific uses in which something that's not totally green to us must have been interpreted as such by an AE speaker. After all, colors are a spectrum rather than a clear categorization.
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