Hieroglyphics, Egypt

A Mysterious World


Once, on one of my trips to Egypt, I caught myself observing one of the huge columns of Karnak in Ancient Thebes (Luxor) with great interest. There was not an unoccupied space on the whole surface. Immediately my thoughts went to the Trajan’s column in Rome, so richly decorated with sculpted representations. The difference was that when it comes to the Trajan’s column, one may do the reading of what is the narration of a historic event, whereas as I stood in front of the Karnak column, my eyes could not decipher a thing!

The ancient Egyptians had the sense of horror vacui and for this reason covered the entire surface of their temples and tomb walls with hieroglyphics, a mysterious language that has never to this day ceased to mystify us, especially since deciphering it  is  extremely difficult.

The tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt

The tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Or is it?

If one arms oneself with patience, free time and, above all, with a great love for this ancient civilization, one might just as well begin reading hieroglyphics and, once fundamental keys to understanding them are there, an enormous knowledge is revealed through the language of this refined civilization, rich in fascinating rituals and so advanced. Because the concepts the ancient Egyptians wrote about, remain very much a part of today – so modern and still so simple and clear for our soul, as if we were seeing them mirrored in the limpid waters of a lake.

What enchants me most, is that at the end of each word, there is an image of a sitting woman or a man, as a letter-symbol that is not pronounced, but is merely there to indicate the gender of the word, or the symbol of a papyrus scroll with a little bow on the top to indicate the elevated content of an adjective.          
Deciphering the hieroglyphics is fun, just as it is constructive, not to mention the great satisfaction to personally discover the mysterious world of Ancient Egypt.

The book EGYPT A Journey to the Nile is published in Greek.

The Temple of Luxor, Egypt

The Temple of Luxor, Egypt

Barbara Athanassiadis