The more one studies the various languages (and dialects) in the world, it becomes clearer and clearer that there was originally one language that split into various tongues. The Bible and ancient writers affirm such an original language. Because of false pride and prejudices of western academia and religious (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) zealots, the origin of this universal mother language has been ignored. Evidence ratifies that Ancient Egypt is the single source of the universal language. On this subject matter, Plato admits the role of Egypt from his Collected Dialogues [Philebus 18-b,c,d]:
SOCRATES: The unlimited variety of sound was once discerned by some god, or perhaps some godlike man; you know the story that there was some such person in Egypt called Theuth. He it was who originally discerned the existence, in that unlimited variety, of the vowels—not ‘vowel’ in the singular but ‘vowels’ in the plural—and then of other things which, though they could not be called articulate sounds, yet were noises of a kind. There were a number of them too, not just one, and as a third class he discriminated what we now call the mutes. Having done that, he divided up the noiseless ones or mutes until he got each one by itself, and did the same thing with the vowels and the intermediate sounds; in the end he found a number of the things, and affixed to the whole collection, as to each single member of it, the name ‘letter.’ It was because he realized that none of us could ever get to know one of the collection all by itself, in isolation from all the rest, that he conceived of ‘letter’ as a kind of bond of unity, uniting as it were all these sounds into one, and so he gave utterance to the expression ‘art of letters,’ implying that there was one art that dealt with the sounds.
The reference to Theuth above is the same Theuth mentioned in the Phaedrus, where we are explicitly told that he was an Ancient Egyptian neter (god), ‘the one whose sacred bird is called the Ibis’, so as to exclude all doubt about his identity. It is obvious that his account is based on a genuine Egyptian tradition, because the ibis-headed Tehuti (Thoth) is an Egyptian neter (god).
Plato, in Philebus [18-b,c,d], tells us (in his obscure way) that:
It is very clear that Plato (in Philebus [18-b,c,d]) did not refer to pictorial forms of expression (hieroglyphs), but rather to expression by individual and diverse letters, each with its particular sound value. Other classical writers also stated that Egypt was the original source of alphabets. Contrary to facts, the Phoenicians were given the credit of inventing alphabets. The following quotation from Isaac Taylor’s book, The History of the Alphabets, Vol. I [pg 83], separates the facts from fiction:
The tradition of the ancient world, which assigned to Phoenicia the glory of the invention of letters, declared also, though in more doubtful tones, that it was from Egypt that the Phoenicians originally derived the knowledge of the art of writing, which they afterwards carried into Greece. Eusebius has preserved a passage from the alleged writings of the so-called Tyrian historian Sanchuniathon, from which we gather that the Phoenicians did not claim to be themselves the inventors of the art of writing, but admitted that it was obtained by them from Egypt. Plato, Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch, Aulus Gellius, and Tacitus, all repeat the same statement, thereby proving how widely current throughout the ancient world was the opinion that the ultimate origin of letters must be sought in Egypt. It may suffice to quote the words of Tacitus, who says, “Primi per figures animalium Aegyptii sensus mentis effingebant; (ea antiquissima monimenta memoriae humanae inpressa saxis cernuntur) et litterarum semet inventores perhibent. Inde Phoenicas, quia mari praepollebant, intulisse Graeciae, glorimque adeptos, tanquam reperirint quae acceperant.” Tacitus, Ann., xi. 14.
Most modern western scholars affirm explicitly and implicitly that the Ancient Egyptian alphabet (and language) are the oldest source in the world. In his book, The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians [page xxxiv-v], the German Egyptologist Adolf Erman admits,
The Egyptians alone were destined to adopt a remarkable method, following which they attained to the highest form of writing, the alphabet. . .
The British Egyptologist, W.M. Flinders Petrie, in his book, The Formation of the Alphabets [page 3], concluded,
From the beginning of the prehistoric ages, a cursive system consisting of linear signs, full of variety and distinction was certainly used in Egypt.
Petrie has collected and tabulated alphabetical signs from very different ages; the earliest belong to the early prehistoric age of Egypt, probably before 7000 BCE, extending to the Greek and Roman Eras. Petrie also compiled (from several independent scholars), similar looking alphabetical signs from 25 locations in Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Spain, and other locations throughout Europe—all are much younger than the Ancient Egyptian alphabetical signs
Petrie’s tabulation of these alphabetical signs shows that:
It must be emphasized that neither Plato (in Philebus [18-b,c,d]), nor any other classical writers—including Clement of Alexandria (in Stromata Book V [chapter IV]), ever indicated that the Egyptian alphabetical form of writing was a “cursive” or “degenerated” form of the Ancient Egyptian pictorial hieroglyphics. Yet shamelessly, some “scholars” invoked the writing of Clement of Alexandria to insist that out of hieroglyphs sprang a more cursive writing known to us as hieratic, and out of hieratic there again emerged a very rapid script sometimes called enchorial or demotic.
Many rational scholars, however, recognized that the pictorial writings are a series of images conveying conceptual meanings and not individual sound values, such as the British Egyptologist, W.M. Flinders Petrie, who wrote in his book, The Formation of the Alphabets [pg. 6],
The question as to whether the [alphabetical] signs were derived from the more pictorial hieroglyphs, or were an independent system, has been so little observed by writers on the subject, that the matter has been decided more than once without any consideration of the various details involved.
Hieratic script shows clearly identifiable alphabetical and syllabic signs. Surviving hieratic texts generally show careful calligraphy for literary or religious texts and lesser quality for business and personal documents.
Enchorial/Demotic script was the script for everyday use for the ancient Egyptians. It was kind of a very cursive shorthand for rapid writing. It contained conventional modifications of the carefully executed hieratic characters. It was also used for religious texts as well as business documents.
There were various styles of writing (formal, cursive, semi-formal, or semi-cursive). Some were extremely stylized/ornate/ornamented, others were simple and plain. The orientation of the writing varied in direction from horizontal (right to left) to vertical (top to bottom), or vice-versa. In some cases, they used a combination of horizontal and vertical for the same word, and/or for the same sentence. The purpose of each document determines the style of writing used. These ways of writing produced different forms of the letters at various times. Varying styles appear to the foreign, untrained eyes as different alphabets, but for people of the same culture, they read these different handwritings as of one language.
By sheer repetition (and contrary to facts), it has been stated that a “Coptic” form of writing was developed, which consisted of the letters of the Greek alphabet, with an additional six characters (derived from the Ancient Egyptian demotic script) to express sounds that were peculiar to the Egyptian language. The so-called “Coptic”/“Greek” script is in fact an Ancient Egyptian cursive form of writing. It was one of several recognized regional forms of scripts known at that time. It was the Greeks who adopted them from the Egyptians, when they came to Egypt as mercenaries or to study, and not the reverse.
In the 17th century, Father Athanasius Kircher has acknowledged, in his extensive analytical works, that the “Greek” script is Ancient Egyptian in origin. And for that, he was ridiculed badly by his fellow Europeans.
The Ancient Egyptians’ pictorial system is commonly called hieroglyphs, which comprises a large number of pictorial symbols. The word, hieroglyph, means holy script (hieros = holy, glyphein = impress). Hieroglyphic writing was in use in Egyptian temples until about 400 CE.
All the signs of hieroglyphs are images from the Egyptian natural world, and therefore it was of an Egyptian origin—not imported or influenced by other cultures. Each pictorial symbol is worth a thousand words—representing that function or principle, on all levels simultaneously—from the simplest, most obvious physical manifestation of that function to the most abstract and metaphysical. This symbolic language represents a wealth of physical, physiological, psychological and spiritual data in the presented symbols—such as the dog symbolism analysis, discussed on page 63 of The Ancient Egyptian Culture Revealed.
The metaphorical and symbolic concept of the hieroglyphs was unanimously acknowledged by all early writers on the subject, such as Plutarch, Diodorus, Clement, etc.
The best description came from Plotinus, who wrote in The Enneads [Vol. V-6],
The wise men of Egypt, either by scientific or innate knowledge, and when they wished to signify something wisely, did not use the forms of letters which follow the order of words and propositions and imitate sounds and the enunciations of philosophical statements, but by drawing images and inscribing in their temples one particular image of each particular thing, they manifested the non-discursiveness of the intelligible world, that is, that every image is a kind of knowledge and wisdom and is a subject of statements, all together in one, and not discourse or deliberation. But [only] afterwards [others] discovered, starting from it in its concentrated unity, a representation in something else, already unfolded and speaking it discursively and giving the reasons why things are like this, so that, because what has come into existence is so beautifully disposed, if anyone knows how to admire it he expresses his admiration of how this wisdom, which does not itself possess the reasons why substance is as it is, gives them to the things which are made according to it.
In the 12th Dynasty (2000-1780 BCE), about 700 signs were in more or less constantly used. There are practically unlimited numbers of these natural symbols.
Since deciphering the metaphysical Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs is beyond western academia’s capabilities, they have dubbed it as a primitive form of writing. Academic Egyptologists cavalierly chose 24 symbols out of hundreds of hieroglyphs, and called them an alphabet. Then they gave various “functions” to the other hundreds of symbols, calling them “syllabic”, “determinative”, etc. They made up the rules as they went along, and the end result was chaos. One can easily see the struggle of academia to understand the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic (metaphysical) texts.
The Ancient Egyptian texts reflect the high culture of the Egyptian language and people.The German Egyptologist, Adolf Erman, in his book, The Literature of the Ancient Egyptians [page xxiv], wrote,
As far back as we can trace it, the Egyptian language displays signs of being carefully fostered. It is rich in metaphors and figures of speech, a “cultured language”, which “composes and thinks” for the person who writes.
The British Egyptologist, Alan Gardiner, in his book, Egyptian Grammar [page 4], wrote,
No less salient a characteristic of the language is its concision; the phrases and sentences are brief and to the point. Involved constructions and lengthy periods are rare, though such are found in some legal documents. The vocabulary was very rich. The clarity of Egyptian is much aided by a strict word-order. . .
The variety of subjects found in Ancient Egyptian writings is wide, including:
Egyptians were able to utilize writings in all aspects of their lives, by inventing excellent writing materials and books. They used writing materials of leather, stone, wood, and papyrus, as opposed to the Minoan-Mycenean, Babylonians, and others, who had to imprint their signs on clay, a procedure that has produced the unpleasant crude shapes of cuneiform.
The Ancient Egyptians manufactured books by gumming separate sheets of papyrus together; and there are magnificent manuscripts measuring 65 and 130 ft [20 and 40 m]. The Egyptians utilized pens and ink of indestructible permanence, which they ground on wooden palettes. These writing surfaces and tools were plentiful, allowing the scribes to write manuscripts drawn in clear, elegant, round, firm signs. Using a pen (instead of a pointed tool) results in more round-shaped letters.
For more information about the subject of Egyptian modes of writing, see our publications by Moustafa Gadalla coming out in 2008 and beyond.
For more information about the various aspects of the Ancient Egyptian culture, refer to:
|The Ancient Egyptian Culture Revealed
by Moustafa Gadalla
320 pages, 5.5" x 8.5"
List Price: $19.95 USD (paperback)
$13.95 USD (eBook)
For more information about the linguistic principles of the Egyptian language, as well as the spread of the Egyptian language throughout the Mediterranean Basin, refer to:
|Egyptian Romany: The Essence of Hispania
by Moustafa Gadalla
272 pages, 5.5" x 8.5"
List Price: $16.50 USD (paperback)
$ 10.95 USD (eBook)