Ancient Egyptian abc

Written records of the ancient Egyptian language have been dated from about 3200 BC. Egyptian is part of the Afro-Asiatic group of languages and is related to Berber and Semitic (languages such as Arabic, Amharic and Hebrew). The language survived until the 5th century AD in the form of Demotic and until the Middle Ages in the form of Coptic. Thus it had a lifespan of over four millennia. Egyptian is one of the oldest recorded languages known.

 The national language of modern day Egypt is Egyptian Arabic, which gradually replaced Egyptian and its descendant, the Coptic language, as the language of daily life in the centuries after Egypt was conquered by Arab Muslims. Coptic is still used as a liturgical language in the Coptic Church.In the last photo the ancient Egyptian language characters.


Benu Bird

Benu : The most famous sacred bird, the Benu is a  mythological creature that appears in the Heliopolis  creation myth. Mentioned in the Pyramid Texts,  the Benu is said to be a form of the god Atum who  has “risen up, as a benben in the house of the Benu  in Heliopolis.” Other myths claim that the Benu  emerged from a burning Persea tree in Heliopolis  or sprang from the heart of Osiris.

The Benu was believed to be the incarnation of Re,  for at the dawn of creation, the Benu rested on the first  bit of dry land as it emerged from the waters of chaos  and, by so doing, symbolized the sun’s rays touching the  first earth mound (see benben). A Middle Kingdom  (2055–2650 b.c.) papyrus refers to the “Benu of Re”  and “He who came into being by himself.” Seemingly,  like Re, the Benu was thought to have created itself.

The name Benu derives from the Egyptian word  weben “to rise,” and the Benu may have been the basis  of the Greek phoenix bird that rose from its own  ashes. Herodotus, the Greek traveler, visited Egypt  in the fifth century b.c. and noted that he had never  actually seen a Benu bird (he called it a phoenix),  only a painting of one. The priests of Heliopolis told  Herodotus that the Benu bird appeared only every  500 years, when its parents died.

 Then the Benu  carried the bodies of its deceased parents, encased  in a chunk of myrrh (an aromatic substance used to  preserve bodies), to the sun temple at Heliopolis, the  final resting place of the deceased Benu. When Tutankhamen’s solid gold coffin was  opened, a black scarab with a Benu bird carved on  its back was one of the magical objects found on his  mummy. A symbol of rebirth in the Netherworld,  the image of the Benu was frequently carved on  scarabs and buried with the mummy to help with  resurrection in the next world.

Ba Bird

The Egyptians believed that each person  came into the world with five separate parts, or facets,  that made them a whole being: the physical body,  the ka, the name, the shadow, and the ba. The ba is  the most difficult to describe. At times it was a part  of the soul of the deceased—the person’s spirit—and  at other times it seemed to be the entire soul or the  essence of the deceased. The ba is also described as  something like the “personality.” It was able to fly  from place to place and is often shown hovering  over the mummy or resting on a shrine. Most com- monly it is represented as a bird with a human head  and arms. Supposedly it could assume any form it  chose, and the Book of the Dead has many spells to  assist the  ba in its transformation.

One of the most  important functions of the ba was to unite with the ka  so the deceased could reach the heavens and become  an akh spirit. Egyptians rarely mentioned the  ba of a living  person, so it seems as if the  ba came into existence  after death. Like the living person, the ba had physi- cal needs. Relatives of the deceased were supposed  to leave food offerings in front of the tomb to feed  the ba until it reached the next world. Illustrations in  the Book of the Dead show the ba flying inside and  sometimes outside the tomb. In some ways the ba was  the alter ego of the deceased.

One Middle Kingdom  (2055–1650 b.c.) papyrus tells the story of a man who  was feeling weary of the world and wanted to kill  himself. He had an argument with his  ba, who told  him to “throw his complaints on the woodpile” and  threatened to desert the man in the next world. The  end of the papyrus is missing, so we don’t know if the  man followed the advice of his ba or not. Because the  ba was essential for existence in the  next world, a special chapter in the Book of the  Dead ensured that the  ba would be reunited with  the deceased. In the following spell for “Causing the  Uniting of the Ba and its Body in the Netherworld,”  the reader is instructed to recite the words over an  amulet of the ba made of gold, inlaid with the stone  that is placed on the deceased’s neck

. . . . Oh great god, cause that my Ba may come to  me from anyplace where it is. If there is a prob- lem, bring my Ba to me from any place where it  is . . . If there is a problem, cause my Ba to see my  body. If you find me Oh Eye of Horus, support  me like those in the Netherworld . . . May the Ba  see the body and may it rest upon its mummy.  May it never perish, may it not be separated from  the body for ever.


God Apophis

 The serpent god of the Underworld, Apophis represents all that is  malicious and evil. As a primeval force of darkness and  chaos, Apophis is the opposite of the sun god, Re, and  his life-giving rays. The great serpent was the most  wicked and eternal adversary of Re, who was forced  to battle and defeat him each night.

Apophis’s greatest  threat to the sun god was that if Re was not watchful,  Apophis would capsize and destroy the solar boat as it  sailed through the hours of the night, making it impossible for the sun to appear on the horizon each day.  Apophis could also take the form of a mammoth  crocodile and attack the sun god on land or water.  The sound of his voice was so terrifying that even  the great god Re shuddered when the serpent roared. 

One of Apophis’s names is “Earth Shaker,” and  violent storms and earthquakes were attributed to  his wrath.  We find Apophis’s origin in Egyptian creation  myths—especially the story from Hermopolis,  where he first appears as both serpents and frogs.  Here, Apophis represents the first energy, a primeval  force thriving in chaos and darkness in a time before  maat and divine order existed. 

Help in fighting the forces of the evil serpent  could be found in the  Book of Overthrowing Apep  (Apophis), a collection of spells and rituals that could  be used against the demon. Originating in the New  Kingdom (1550–1069 b.c.), the most complete text  is found in the Bremner-Rind Papyrus. Drawings in  the papyrus show the “great serpent” subdued with  knives and chains in order to diminish his power.

  Priests in the temple of Amun-Re at Thebes chanted  the spells and called upon the powerful magic of  Isis and Thoth when they listed all the ways that  Apophis must be subdued:

 (1) Spell for spitting on Apep.

(2) Spell for crushing Apep with the left foot. 

(3) Spell for smiting Apep with a lance. 

(4) Spell for binding Apep with chains. 

(5) Spell for smiting Apep with a knife.  

(6) Spell for burning Apep with fire. 

Each part of Apophis’s body was mentioned with  the specific method of destroying him. Sometimes  wax figures were fashioned of Apophis and bound  with red and black string, then pierced with knives  and burned. To further ensure the destruction of  Apophis, his secret name was inscribed on a new  papyrus and burned over flames.  So detested was the evil Apophis that Chapter  27 of the Book of the Dead tells of a local goddess,  Henen-su, who turned herself into a cat and killed  Apophis, the “Prince of Darkness.”


 A southern war god whose cult, com- plete with a temple and cadre of priests, flourished  in the eastern desert at Meroe in southern Nubia  (modern Sudan). The long and tumultuous relationship between Egypt and Nubia produced an  exchange of ideas and religion that was to influence  both countries profoundly. 


  When the Egyptians saw Apedemak, the fierce lion, guarding his temple, they  equated him with their own fierce gods. Apedemak’s  Egyptian-style temple in Nubia is covered with  perfect Egyptian hieroglyphs praising him as “the  splendid god at the forefront of Nubia” and “lion of  the south, strong of arm.”


Ancient Egyptian Farming Tools

The basic tools of agriculture, the ax, the hoe, the plow, are independent Egyptian inventions.  The prototype hoe can be seen as a modification of a forked branch, while the more developed form has a hafted wooden blade .  The plow was at first a modification of the hoe, originally drawn through the ground, perhaps first by a man with a rope, but by the Old Kingdom drawn by a pair of oxen .

Ancient Egyptian Farming Tools

  Later metal plowshares were added.  In the New Kingdom handles were lashed by ladder-like cross pieces and the shaft was bound to a double yoke over the oxen’s horns . Sowing followed plowing.  Often the sower scattered seed in front of the plough, so that the oxen treaded it in while fine seed as flax was shaken directly into the furrows .  If the seed was sown after flooding , sheep, goats, or swine, were driven to tread in the seed .

 Seeding technology was described by Herodotus as follows: “… for they have not the toil of breaking up the furrow with the plough, nor of hoeing, nor of any other work which all other men must labor at to obtain a crop of corn; but when the river has come of its own accord and irrigated their fields, and having irrigated them has subsided.


Anuket goddess

Anukis   (also  anqet, anuket)  Important in the Old Kingdom, Anukis is a water goddess from the south. Her title, “she who embraces,” reflects her association with the Nile. Anukis was worshipped in southern Egypt and Nubia and was honored with an important cult center at Aswan.

Anuket goddess 

She was said to be a daughter of Re, the sun god, but Anukis’s most important role was her position in the Elephantine Triad. She was the wife of Khnum, the ram-headed god who created mankind on the potter’s wheel. Egyptian triads traditionally have a father, mother, and son, but curiously, Anukis’s child was daughter Satis, guardian of Egypt’s southern frontier. In some versions of the myth, Satis is said to be the consort, or wife, of Khnum.

One of Anukis’s titles was “Goddess of the Cataracts [rapids] of the Southern Nile,” and her temples were at Sehel Island (south of Aswan) and Elephantine Island (Abu Island). Although her name means “to embrace,” Anukis, like many Egyptian goddesses, has a dual nature—both sweet and fierce. It was said that her embrace could also become a chokehold. As “Goddess of the Hunt,” her sacred animal is the gazelle.

An ostracon (piece of broken pot- tery) shows Anukis as a gazelle and gives her titles such as “Mistress of the Gods” and “Lady of Heaven.” Most often Anukis is portrayed as a woman holding a papyrus scepter and an ankh and wearing a tall headdress made of ostrich feathers or reeds. Because of her popularity in the south, she was known as “Mistress of Nubia.”


Footstool Carved with Figures of Prisoners

This wooden footstool is decorated with scenes of prisoners. The prisoners are of various races.

The front of the artifact bears the sign of Unification of the Two Lands. It also bears the name of Tutankhamun

Footstool Carved with Figures of Prisoners

Footstool Carved with Figures of Prisoners

Footstool Carved with Figures of Prisoners

Each scene represents a prisoner between two bows. There are nine bows, which represent the nine traditional enemies of Egypt.