Writings from Ancient Egypt
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st (written st+t; the "egg" determinative is used for female personal names in some periods), meaning " Isis";
The Egyptians called their hieroglyphs "words of god" and reserved their use for exalted purposes, such as communicating with divinities and spirits of the dead through funerary texts.  Each hieroglyphic word represented both a specific object and embodied the essence of that object, recognizing it as divinely made and belonging within the greater cosmos.  Through acts of priestly ritual, like burning incense, the priest allowed spirits and deities to read the hieroglyphs decorating the surfaces of temples.  In funerary texts beginning in and following the Twelfth Dynasty, the Egyptians believed that disfiguring, and even omitting certain hieroglyphs, brought consequences, either good or bad, for a deceased tomb occupant whose spirit relied on the texts as a source of nourishment in the afterlife.  Mutilating the hieroglyph of a venomous snake, or other dangerous animal, removed a potential threat.  However, removing every instance of the hieroglyphs representing a deceased person's name would deprive his or her soul of the ability to read the funerary texts and condemn that soul to an inanimate existence.  Abbott Papyrus, a record written in hieratic script; it describes an inspection of royal tombs in the Theban Necropolis and is dated to the 16th regnal year of Ramesses IX, c. 1110 BC. Underground Egyptian tombs built in the desert provide possibly the most protective environment for the preservation of papyrus documents. For example, there are many well-preserved Book of the Dead funerary papyri placed in tombs to act as afterlife guides for the souls of the deceased tomb occupants.  However, it was only customary during the late Middle Kingdom and first half of the New Kingdom to place non-religious papyri in burial chambers. Thus, the majority of well-preserved literary papyri are dated to this period.  Catherine Parke, Professor Emerita of English and Women's Studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, writes that the earliest "commemorative inscriptions" belong to ancient Egypt and date to the 3rd millennium BC.  She writes: "In ancient Egypt the formulaic accounts of Pharaoh's lives praised the continuity of dynastic power. Although typically written in the first person, these pronouncements are public, general testimonials, not personal utterances."  She adds that as in these ancient inscriptions, the human urge to "...celebrate, commemorate, and immortalize, the impulse of life against death", is the aim of biographies written today.  A funerary stela of a man named Ba (seated, sniffing a sacred lotus while receiving libations); Ba's son Mes and wife Iny are also seated. The identity of the libation bearer is unspecified. The stela is dated to the Eighteenth dynasty of the New Kingdom period.Koosed, Jennifer L. (2006), (Per)mutations of Qohelet: Reading the Body in the Book, New York and London: T & T Clark International (Continuum imprint), ISBN 0-567-02632-9 Loprieno, Antonio (1996), "Defining Egyptian Literature: Ancient Texts and Modern Literary Theory", in Cooper, Jerrold S.; Schwartz, Glenn M. (eds.), The Study of the Ancient Near East in the 21st Century, The William Foxwell Albright Centennial Conference, Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, pp.209–250, ISBN 0-931464-96-X
Some signs are the contraction of several others. These signs have, however, a function and existence of their own: for example, a forearm where the hand holds a scepter is used as a determinative for words meaning "to direct, to drive" and their derivatives. Hieroglyphs weren’t the only form of ancient Egyptian writing. Many other scripts existed. Where hieroglyphs were very slow to carve and to paint, there was a more joined-up form of ancient Egyptian writing called hieratic. The Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia had already come upon this problem in writing and created an advanced script c. 3200 BCE in the city of Uruk. The theory that Egyptian script developed from Mesopotamian writing is most sharply challenged by this development, in fact, because if the Egyptians had learned the art of writing from the Sumerians, they would have bypassed the stage of pictograms and begun with the Sumerian creation of phonograms - symbols which represent sound. The Sumerians learned to expand their written language through symbols directly representing that language so that if they wished to relay some specific information regarding a woman, a temple, and a sheep, they could write, "The woman took the sheep as an offering to the temple," and the message was clear.Most non- determinative hieroglyphic signs are phonograms, whose meaning is determined by pronunciation, independent of visual characteristics. This follows the rebus principle where, for example, the picture of an eye could stand not only for the English word eye, but also for its phonetic equivalent, the first person pronoun I.