Egyptian Mythology


When was writing developed in Egypt and what was its significance for mythology?

Writing in the form of hieroglyphs on pottery and other objects developed at the end of the Pre-Dynastic era, probably not long after writing was invented in Sumer. It first appeared on pottery and other functional objects. Hieroglyphic symbols were both ideograms (signifying ideas) and phonograms (signifying phonetics). It was believed that writing was invented by the god Thoth, and the word hieroglyphic is the Greek form of the Egyptian, meaning essentially “God’s Words” (hieros = sacred, glypho = inscription).

Our knowledge of Egyptian mythology before writing can only be surmised archeologically—that is, from depictions on objects. Once hieroglyphics were understood by scholars after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, a direct route to Egyptian gods and their stories was opened.


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