Hieroglyph Tattoos Aiken SC
North Charleston, SC
Hieroglyph Tattoos - Hieroglyphs are the symbols used to write the ancient Egyptian language. Based on simple pictures of well-known objects, this writing system is one of the oldest in the world. The Egyptians called them 'god's words'. The Greeks, upon first seeing this colourful pictorial script in religious settings, called it hiera grammata (the sacred letters), or hieroglyphica (the sacred carved letters).Hieroglyphs were generally written from right to left, although left to right worked just as well, as did top to bottom. The direction the glyphs faced - a bird looking left, for example - showed the reader how to proceed. Words weren't demarcated by spaces or punctuation, although some glyphs served as word-endings.
Because they were found carved in stone in temples and the tombs of pharaohs, the hieroglyphs were thought to contain the kind of mystical wisdom and knowledge needed to negotiate the journey from this life to the next. But breaking the hieroglyphic code was complicated by a Western notion that the characters in this colourful 'alphabet' were symbolic rather than phonetic. Some investigators were even convinced that each symbol represented an abstract concept that transcended language -- from symbol directly to thought. Such extravagant and hyberbolic speculation cloaked the hieroglyphs in ever more mystery, and perhaps explains why they show up as the chosen script for the most exotic text tattoos.
Two basic types of hieroglyphs rendered the Ancient Egyptian language into text - logograms and phonograms. Logograms (sometimes called ideograms) stand for the object they clearly represent - an eye is an eye, for example - and these were the most frequently used common nouns. Phonograms are phonetic, meaning that they represent sounds, in the style of most alphabets. Some symbols had a dual purpose -- 'mouth' for instance -- which also represented the 'R' sound. Other signs in the system are called determinatives. They were mute characters located at the end of a word, which gave the reader a clue to the word's meaning. Most hieroglyphic words were comprised of phonetic signs followed by one determinative.
The hieroglyphic script had a clumsy system for numbers and no vowels, but it contained 24 symbols standing for single consonants, and these might have sufficed to construct every word in the language, had Egyptians not continued to employ hundreds of other symbols and ideograms, ensuring that their writing system remained complex, never to evolve into a true alphabet. It's not known what influenced the Egyptians in their choice of writing system, but it's believed that the hieroglyphs inspired later alphabets that evolved into the Phoenician, Hebrew, and Greek alphabets, the ancestors of nearly all modern languages.
Much of our fascination with the hieroglyphs stems from the mystery of their meaning. Until the turn of the 19th century, there was no consensus on whether the hieroglyphs w...