The Egyptians saw hieroglyphic writing as a way to communicate between themselves and their gods. Because of this, hieroglyphs were written in temples and anywhere connected to the gods or the afterlife, such as in tombs and cemeteries. The Egyptians would write guides for the afterlife on the walls of tombs and inside of the coffins, which they believed would help the deceased navigate through the afterlife. Hieroglyphic writing was also used by priests to write prayers and other texts. In Egypt the pharaoh was also considered to have a connection between the human world and the gods, therefore almost anything relating to the pharaoh also had to be written in hieroglyphic (Wilson, 2004).
The literacy rate of hieroglyphic writing was extremely low. There were around 700 different hieroglyphic symbols primarily used in ancient Egypt, and that number grew over time due to scholars creating new signs. Hieroglyphs were extremely difficult to learn and time consuming to create. Mainly only officials, royalty, priests, and people that worked directly with the script, such as the craftsmen who had to carve and paint the symbols acquired the ability to read and write (Hieroglyphic writing, 2015).
In the hieroglyphic writing system each ...
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...79 when the Rosetta Stone was found by French scholars, that progress toward the decipherment of hieroglyphic writing was made. The stone contained the same text translated in three different languages. It was written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian demotic, and Greek. Because Greek was a fully understood language already, scholars were able to directly compare it with the hieroglyphic writing to try to pick up clues to decipher the ancient language. There were only minor advancements in decrypting the language until Jean-Francois Champollion had acquired a copy of the writing of the Rosetta Stone. Champollion made the discovery that Egyptian hieroglyphics used a combination of phonetic signs and ideograms, and due to that discovery, the research of the language was finally able to move forward into the knowledge of the language that we have today (Wilson, 2004).
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