Ancient Egypt

1704 Words Oct 1st, 1999 7 Pages
Ancient Egypt

The giant pyramids, temples, and tombs of ancient Egypt tell an exciting story about a nation that rose to power more than 5,000 years ago. This mighty civilization crumbled before conquering armies after 2,500 years of triumph and glory. The dry air and drifting desert sands have preserved many records of ancient Egypt until modern times. The ancient Egyptians lived colorful, active, and eventful lives. Many were creative artists, skilled craftsmen, and adventurous explorers. Bold
Egyptian warriors won many battles, and their rulers governed wide areas of the known world. The ancient Egyptians loved nature and had a lively sense of humor. They were among the first people to try to find answers to questions
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Egypt had no fixed caste system. A person of the poorest class could rise to the highest offices in the land. The ancient Egyptians spoke a mixed language. It included words from the Semitic language group of southwestern Asia and the Hamitic group of languages of northeastern Africa. The language died out of everyday use about a thousand years ago but the Coptic (Christian) Church still uses it. No one knows just how the spoken language of ancient Egypt sounded.
Written Egyptian developed from picture writing into an elaborate system of symbols called hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics consisted of 24 alphabetic characters for consonants and semi-consonants. These characters were used in combination with many phonograms (sound-signs) and idiograms (sense-signs).
Vowels were not written out. Hieroglyphic writing was carved or painted. Its ornamental character was particularly suitable for inscriptions on monuments.
For everyday purposes, a simplified cursive form of hieroglyphics called hieratic was used. Hieratic could be rapidly written on light, easy-to-carry materials, such as papyrus and leather. The Egyptians called their writing the words of the gods. They claimed that on of their gods, Thoth, had invented it.
Modern scholars first learned to read when they translated the writings on the
Rosetta Stone. In Egyptian, the word pharaoh originally meant great house, but in the late 1300's B.C. it came to mean ruler of Egypt. Education
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