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03 - September 24, 2013.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Danny Harvey

Lecture 03 – September 24, 2013 Quizzes Half on history/culture; half on how the writing works (ie. Logograms, phonograms, etc.) Here is an image of a tablet; what is it’s purpose? Writing system internal questions – transcribe it? NEED TO KNOW: all three lectures; know how the scripts work Hieroglyphics Before Egyptian hieroglyphics proper, there were inscriptions, marks, images on various objects A tomb in Abydos – pre-dynastic Egypt – within it, there were a bunch of objects that people were buried in; there was pottery; clay tags Some of these symbols present in earlier art forms – U-j tags – 40 different images catalogued – types of tags – some with multiple glyphs – around 50 actual glyphs – can tell by looking at the artifacts – how they would have made these – get flat piece of clay; and then you inscribe on there, the same image over and over and over again – someone would rub it with ink, cut it into squares, then drill the hole (for the string) Types of glyphs – many things depicted Abydos Symbols were showing up on pieces of pottery, art, - around 3200 BCE, these symbols vanish EXCEPT in royal tombs Tags mean? Find a lineage of symbols that go back to these tags – all of these descriptions of what the symbols on the tags are – the people aren’t defining them with respect tto the Egyptian language to figure out what the tags are Trying to figure out what has been written when you don’t undersand the language Maybe the tags are describing names, places, One of the good ideas – if king dies, big ceremony – important families attend, bring gifts with tags, which may represent family names Or places where the gifts were given from Dynasty Zero – Increases to 1000 then drops to 300 – very small local group of people start using these tags – back to standardization In period of newness, thousands of signs and when people realize they can’t remember all these signs, then drop back down Experimentation then refinement of the system as it spreads Dynasty 2 – Egyptian writing seemed to pop out of nowhere Diffusion or local origin/local development? Mesopotammia nearby – artifacts have been exchanged – Egyptians knew about writing in Mesopotamia The idea of writing could be diffused or likely diffused but Egyptian itself doesn’t resemble cuneiform in structure Could have diffusion of idea but local origin – will treat them as separate Writing Direction Tablet – different writing direction – up to down within coluns; lines going left to right or right to left on the same tablet BUT NOT RANDOM The faces of the people and animals look toward the beginning of the text Can also be written horizontal Why representative? Cuneiform began as pictorial, ended up getting abstract Hieroglyphics do not proceed this way – standardization in royal tombs, consistent year after year, dynasty after dynasty; What was the use of hieroglyphics? The culture is conservative; even after Greeks invaded, customs did not change Carved symbols – into rock; time-consuming process; painting as well – no rush to simplify What they’re writing on, who they’re writing for, names – important Names do not change or change VERY Slowly Papyrus – also common in Egypt – pressed paper from river reeds Hieratic – personal communication, record-keeping – quickly after Hieroglyphics appears on the scene Hieratic – not an invented script Simplified version of Hieroglyphics Demotic Appears a lot later Writing of the people “demos” Does not work like hieroglyphics any more – largely for business, social, literature Decipherment Rosetta Stone – Hieroglyphs, Demotic, then Greek on the bottom Theories – Kircher’s occult theories; very influential ideas Rosetta Stone Trilingual account of donation of Ptolemy; De Guignes – started piecing together how the system worked; determiners and cartouches; classifiers = determiners in Hieroglyphics (represents semantic class of the word) Cartouches – ovals with line on one end that seem to surround certain words Young – figured out some demotics Champollion – credited with solving the mystery – Obelisk had Egyptian wrting about Greek names Interlude – Coptic? Ancient Egyptian; written in Greek ;with some bonus letters with sounds that exist in Egyptian, but not in Greek Did not have letter for j with d with underline Demotic values of thes
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