Ancient carvings
of hieroglyphs


scribes and lotus columns
in low relief (reference)

the owl: symbol for "m"

incised carvings

the crocodile god in Ptolemaic
high relief carving

This is my scroll to the world, sharing my pleasure translating the names of Egyptian Arabian horses into the language of the ancient Egyptians.

So, I am a scribe of the horses:
ss ssmt is the name for a horse scribe pictured here in hieroglyphs

Eternal Wallpaper

a thumbnail of two vertical cartouches within a temple rock wall inscribed with royalty, gods and hieroglyphs

On my desktop I have a magnificent photo of a wall carving from the Ptolemaic period showing the Egyptians' typical integration of pictorial images and hieroglyphs. No doubt the Egyptians should be credited with the concept of wallpaper. Their designs are repetitive, visually lyrical, originally vividly painted, and designed to avoid empty spaces. If your computer can display a large photograph, take a virtual tour and enjoy the splendor!

a line drawing of Seshet with a headdress, scroll and brush Seshet, the Goddess of Writing

It was easy to find my muse in Seshet (reference). She is also associated with Hathor, the "mother of all" Egyptian goddesses, as evidenced by the cow's horns which surmount the flower or palm leaf (a pretty standard which leaps forward centuries in my mind to a fancy parasol). the three hieroglyphs which designate Seshet: a seated woman, the loaf which signifies t, and the special standard

Two views of Seshet, seated, in hieroglyphs and standing, writing on her scroll.

For a gorgeous golden photo of a wall carving of Seshet, take a side trip to Michel Guntern's photo.

the hieroglyph for the scribe To signify my mission are the scribe's symbols- the pallette, inkpot and brush holder shown in the hieroglyph for the scribe. I haven't bothered to make it politically correct by using a female determinitive - the male figure will do for me if Queen Hatshepsut was satisfied with it in some of the ways she wrote her name.

Our scrolling here is electronic rather than unrolling papyrus. Yet the ancient Egyptians would approve: they were masters of hypertext, with their cartouches within hieroglyph stories within picture stories and layers of meanings within their language. So we go the full circle. (All the world is a Mandala to me).

Writing names in hieroglyphs

Simple alphabetic transcription of names

We begin with a phonetic approximation. Here's an Arabian horse's name spelled in Hieroglyphs twice:

Raquiitwo ways of spelling 
a name, each in a cartouche

The R a q i and i are the represented sounds, since we call him "Rocky".

More complete transcriptions involve the full range of the language, which seldom neatly matches our spoken sounds.

Names written with sounds and meanings

My fancy is to evoke the magic spell of the hieroglyphic word by writing names in that ancient language. To the Egyptians, to name something was to know it. I concur with their magic use of the word.

Adding determinatives and interpretations.

An example of adding more meaning along with alphabetic transcription of a name is the descriptively written Daughters of the Nile Arabians which includes the acronym in a cartouche:

hieroglyph for a ranch name

Encircling the name with a cartouche

I sometimes take the liberty of enclosing the goddess Seshet or another name in a cartouche, although the names of Egyptian dieties generally are not treated that way in the ancient texts; human royal names were. Kings merited cartouches in ancient Egypt. My stallion, Raquii, is entitled to royal distinction in my world view, taking great liberties with the Egyptian language. You can make yourself king or queen for a day.

That symbol of royalty, the elongated lozenge shape, may originally have been a circle formed by a knotted rope. See the Mandala for more circular symbolism.

Since I don't have time to transcribe names into hieroglyphs for others any more, I suggest you design your name yourself using the Webscribe Hieroglyph Designer. You can drag letters into place to spell your name phonetically accompanied by any of four Egyptian designs. Or with WikiHiero you can write hieroglyphs online using Gardiner's sign lists. Try it—it's addictive!

© 1997. ~ Webscribe: webscribe@nilemuse.com