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How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs


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Bill Manley is an Egyptologist, university lecturer, museum curator and best-selling author. He teaches Egyptology and Coptic at the University of Glasgow, and is Co-Director of Egiptologia Complutense, Honorary President of Egyptology Scotland and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool. He was formerly Senior Curator for Ancient Egypt at National Museums Scotland, and continues to work with archaeological projects in Egypt. His specialist output includes books, catalogues, articles and exhibitions covering such diverse subjects as ancient texts, the history of Egyptology, gold jewelry, the archaeology of Palestine and the world's earliest philosophy.


Collier (Egyptology, Univ. of Liverpool) and Manley (Egyptology, Univ. of Glasgow) have produced a succinct and usable introduction to reading Egyptian hieroglyphics and basic Middle Egyptian grammar. From the very first chapter, the reader translates actual inscriptions from monuments using exercises and a key. Inasmuch as Egyptian hieroglyphics form a phonetic writing system, some knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is required to decipher texts. Collier and Manley's volume provides this base along with a classified list of all hieroglyphic signs used in the book and the standard transliteration system used by scholars of Egyptian philology, making it clearly preferable to Christian Jacq's Fascinating Hieroglyphics (Sterling, 1997), which features neither. Reference collections desiring more complete coverage will want Alan Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar (1957. 3d ed.) despite some obsolescence in the treatment of the verbal system; and R.O. Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (1962), supplemented by David Shennum's English-Egyptian Index of Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (1977), is essential for vocabulary. The current title is recommended for most reference collections, and a circulating copy is advisable for patrons who might want to undertake the study of the Egyptian language.‘Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Sys., Ft. Pierce, FL

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