Tag Archives: Egyptology

HUFFINGTON POST: The Eloquence of Peasants.

Several days ago, as the Twittersphere burgeoned with news of the situation in Egypt, an apocryphal piece of trivia from my undergraduate years — that I had double majored in Near Eastern Studies with a focus on Egyptology — came into play. For those expecting any tweets pertinent to these events, the protests come about 3,500 years too late, as my area of expertise pretty much ended with the reign of Ramses XI. Still, I tweeted my insight by way of a hieroglyphic excerpt from the “The Shipwrecked Sailor,” an Egyptian tale of a mariner lost at sea. Read more at The Huffington Post.

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Stele du Songe.

On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.

STELA GEBEL BARKAL JE 48863, the Stela of Tanutamun, was not only one of the first recorded instances of a dream stela—thus, its rather dreamy French title, Stele du Songe—but was also one of the first stelae I translated in its entirety, from the first titulaire du roi (and trust me, I was never any good with king names), to the last congé est donné aux princes. Erected in Nubia during Dynasty XXV, the text was inscribed on sandstone, hence the rounded, somewhat cartoonish-looking transcription of the original (found above). My original notes, transliteration, and translation are hardly worth mentioning let alone reproducing, save that the text itself is a good study in Second Tense Prospective verbs, and the problem as to which adverbial phrase is being emphasized in this once controversial verb. Suffice it to say, adverbial emphasis pertaining to a once controversial Middle Egyptian verb is perhaps one of the most esoteric problems a person can have.

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Wörterbuch der Aegyptischen Sprache (of Doom!)

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On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.

 

When people discover that I was an Egyptology major in college, they ask me why I didn’t continue my formal studies of ancient Egypt. After explaining my solid conviction that I have no desire to spend the rest of my days alternating between the basement of a library and the 115 degree heat of the Giza Plateau, I then add, “Besides which, I never learned German.” Most think this is a joke. It isn’t.

It was largely assumed, when one entered the graduate text reading classes, that the student was fluent in German. Discussions usually drifted – oftentimes mid-sentence – into unser Verstandis der Koenigslexicon, und sein Verhaltnis zur der grosser Priesten. This is because those who enter the (insanely rigorous) German academic system not only have to earn a Doctorate, they also have to earn a Professorship – a process that can often take many, many years, most of this time being spent on insanely specific and/or thorough investigations of pretty much any aspect of ancient life one could imagine (I once came across a dictionary of Egyptian nautical terms). Thus, most of the good scholarship in Egyptology comes from Germany. Continue reading

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Egyptologists from the Planet Vulcan.

Egypt0061On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.

One of my favorite things about the field of Egyptology has always been Egyptologists who never studied anything Egyptian. These are the guys who show up at conferences at the Oriental Institute in Chicago dressed as Vulcans, who storm the stage in order to read from their manifestos about how Akhenaten‘s lost city was a secret portal for the Stargate and how we should all be preparing for his imminent return. What’s even more dangerous/fun is when one of these Egyptologists (and/or Representative of the United Federation of Planets) has a PhD. You hear Dr. So-and-so of Oxford University, and automatically assume he’s some sort of authority on the subject he’s talking about. Continue reading

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James Hoch’s Middle Egyptian Grammar, starring The Rock.

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On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.

 

As a sophomore, I decided to enroll in Introduction to Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphs, a year-long, 600 level course that explored the grammar, morphology, and history of Dynasty XII and XIII Egyptian linguistics. However, at Johns Hopkins, the academic word on the street was to never take a course where the textbook looked like it had been assembled at Kinko’s. Chances were: Continue reading

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Papyrus Westcar, lines 6.7-6.13; involving Scantily Clad Oarswomen.

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On Thursdays from 8 AM-12 PM, the five undergraduates studying Egyptology at Johns Hopkins would gather in the Near Eastern Studies room—nicknamed “the Fish Bowl”—of Gilman Library’s basement for four rollicking hours of uninterrupted Middle Egyptian text reading. Presented here, in a fairly regular manner, will be some of my favorites from that class.

 

I figured I’d start with the Papyrus Westcar because, 1. I’m very rusty, and it’s very simple, 2. this portion makes liberal use of my favorite verbal construction, the sentence particle ‘h’.n (roughly translating to and sounding like, “And then…”), and, 3. an earlier section contains the first recorded instance of a joke (the Egyptians weren’t particularly well known for their humor, so I won’t include it). Continue reading

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