This post is also available in: French
As you you know, I am involved in a long research about Ancient Egyptian knowledge and philosophy, translating a lot of ancient hieroglyphic texts and I wish today to explain to you some amazing facts about the Ancient Egyptian writing system.
Translation of hieroglyphs is not as easy as the public and translators of today sometimes think. We are facing a much more complex writing than we think…
First, you have to know that curiously, only about one-third of the world’s 6,912 languages have writing systems. So, when a country of such ancient culture of so many thousands of years has a system of writing, it is always specially rich and very interesting.
If one observes the Egyptian writing system at the beginning of the 1st dynasty (2925 B.C) , it was not primitive, It had in fact a complex structure. It included 3 different classes of signs : ideograms, phonetic signs, and determinatives.
Hieoglyphs in Egypt dates officially back to approximately 3,400 BC, because ivory tags, vessels and clay seals bearing hieroglyphs, were unearthed at Abydos in the South of Egypt, and have been dated to 3400 B.C., making them the oldest known examples of Egyptian writing.©
But the famous French Egyptologist, Dr Gaston Maspero (1846-1916),(who discovered the pyramid texts and many monuments in Egypt), commented about the Egyptian texts: “The religion and the texts which made it known to us were already established before the first dynasty. In order to understand them it is up to us to put ourselves in the frame of mind of the people who did them, more than seven thousand years ago.” (Revue de l’Histoire des Religions, vol. XIX, p.12). Yes, that’s what it says: “before the first dynasty”. So it is most likely, that still much earlier traces of Egyptian writing will be found soon. Let’s not forget that according my Egyptian colleagues only 9% of the territory was investigated because it is huge, and the majority of the country is covered by tons of sand.
Today, we human beings, we use more or less ( depending of our country of origin) 28 letters ( even if the International Phonetic Alphabet: the IPA offers over 160 symbols for transcribing speech) including their original 112 sounding possibilities which are the basis ( only the basis) of the matrix of all languages and based on a dual code that have been created by man. it includes the roots of all languages of the humankind in the past, present and in the future.
But the ancient Egyptian writing technique is a very sophisticated one and was created the most flexible possible that could be used for writing any language of any civilization of the past, of today or of tomorrow…. This is just incredible!
In 1822 the famous Jean-François Champollion, who deciphered the hieroglyphs, wrote in a letter to Mr Dacier in Paris, about the Egyptian hieroglyphs, that : « It is a complex system, writing figurative, symbolic, and phonetic all at once, in the same text, the same phrase, I would almost say in the same word. »
Depending on your level of awareness and knowledge , the translation of a single word leads quickly to many more meanings and embeded knowledge.
There are real secret codes in some important Ancient Egyptian texts : depending of the color codes of the writing , the grammar codes and also the angles of the digging of the hieroglyphs in the walls, of the light playing on it, of the mirror effects, etc.. For that reason, a good translator of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs texts must have a very extended culture on everything concerning ancient Egypt and must see the original texts on the spot.
And I can see that Jean Francois Champollion had perfectly decrypted them. He was a true Genius because not only he discovered how to read and translate the hyeroglyphs but he discovered the different levels of translation of the hieroglyphs : the hidden codes in the various texts to understand the hidden meanings.
He wrote from Egypt, to his brother in France, several letters… in one of the letters he wrote that:“ Since 6 months that he decrypted the inscriptions on the walls of the temples he is frightened by what he understands and knows translating and that he will have to hide some levels of translation… »
All that because he could not agree about the politics of his time in France. He traced the Pharaonic dynasties to the year 5285 BC : He was forced to withdraw shortly after to have no concern with the powerful Church of 1815 as this dating was before the birth of Adam accepted by the Church in that time.
And even if they were people before him, who tried to translate hieroglyphs with some success but not totally, as for example: Horapollon of Alexandria and the English Thomas Young, and some others in Middle East, he was for me, the only one who definitively understood the secret codes in the ancient egyptian writing systems, for what I see between the lines in his: « grammaire Egyptienne », but due to the complex political situation in his country France, he was forced to not speak about it, to keep his living , and then died very young. Many lives are needed to reveal all that clearly but, for those who are making research in Egypt on the original artefacts and papyri the path is open thanks to him…
Text and Photos by Gigal
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References: -Jean François Champollion: Grammaire égyptienne, 1836. -Gaston Maspero: Egyptian archæology, 1892 - Gigal : Egypt before the pharaohs : http://www.gigalresearch.com/uk/publications-pharaohs.php
This post is also available in: French