What is a Hieroglyph?

A Hieroglyph is literally a 'sacred carving'- a character usually an image carved in stone.From Greek hiero-sacred- and glyph-to carve,to sculpt.
Ra-the Sun-God in Egyptian Hieroglyphics
The Greeks called the Ancient Egyptian writting Hieroglyphics because it was used by priests and was originally carved in stone and ocassionaly in wood.

Cursive forms of the script existed written on papyrus and wood. Each Egyptian Hieroglyph represented- to make things simple- either a syllable or a whole word.Some of the glyphs had alphabetic values-marked one single letter.

These are known as the Hieroglyphic alphabet. Technically Hieroglyphics can be the sacred writting of any civilization such the Babylonian cuniform script or the Mayan glyphs.


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