The two inner directions of the Ancient Egyptian script

Gracia Zamacona, C. (2015) The two inner directions of the Ancient Egyptian script. Birmingham Egyptology Journal, 3, pp. 9-23.

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This article explores some implications for the study of the human writing-reading process from the perspective of the ancient Egyptian script. Upon consideration of a paradoxical passage by Herodotus (II,36,4), the author resumes, under a new approach, Henry Fischer’s suggestion that Egyptian culture considered script direction from the signs’ point of view, in contrast to Greek culture, which considered script direction from the writer’s or reader’s point of view (the writing-reading process). Two distant facts confirm this interpretation: one is the ancient Egyptian textual mark, usually considered a colophon or end mark, which literally reads ‘That (means) that it (= the text) comes (to the reader)’; the other is the writing direction of banners used in current-day audio-visual media. Though Western culture and science have retained the Greek point of view, to approach the writing systems of other cultures through its focusing lens may result in misunderstandings like that of Herodotus.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gracia Zamacona, Dr Carlos
Authors: Gracia Zamacona, C.
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
Journal Name:Birmingham Egyptology Journal
Publisher:Birmingham University
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