Monday, February 27, 2012

Walk Like An Egyptian

I love, love, love Egyptian stuff. And as I have found sometimes there are wonderfully helpful books and sometimes there are books that are very dry and boring and make me want to drool in boredom all over their pages. So! I will give you a list of books I have personally found useful that are also non-drool-inducing.

To begin with:

Hieroglyph Detective by Nigel Strudwick. I picked this up at Borders in the bargain section and absolutely loved how helpful it was. It was organized well, and formatted in such a way that was conducive to learning some basics of hieroglyphics. There are actual photographs of stelae and such Egyptiany things, so that you are learning common phrases that you would actual see if you visited Egypt, instead of learning silly English phrases that you will never see anywhere. I have seen some books do that. So this book was very helpful as a beginning tour to Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Ancient Egyptian words and grammar. It was written well and was so pretty. I want to find the person who formatted this book and put together the fonts and artwork and give them a giant hug.

(On a side note that is not relevant at all: I always imagined Nigel as this sexy attractive young man, but do not get your hopes up. He is middle-aged and has scary beard stuff going on. And yes. Beards are scary. Except in very rare cases.)

If, after reading this book, you want to learn more about Egyptian Hieroglyphs I would

recommend How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs, not only because it is an international Best seller, but because it is an International Best seller for a reason. It is easy to use, makes learning hieroglyphics relatively easy (I use the term easy loosely here, because it depends on your ability to pick up languages). And again, the things they are having you learn and translate are relevant. There are scan-ins of actual textual examples so that you're not just learning silly stuff, but actual hieroglyphs. And that is exciting.

So: now that you've read these two books, or at least lightly perused them, you can be smarter than whoever designed something for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the VMFA to see a special mummy museum. It was quite fun. Wonderful artifacts, fantastic movie narrated by the lovely Patrick Stewart, and I had a great time. BUT. While waiting for the movie to start I looked at the plaques on the wall that some silly person had made and the hieroglyphs were wrong. In hieroglyphs
there may or may not be animal or human figures. If there are such figures, all of them will be facing the same way, and (from what I remember) you read into the figure's mouths, so that you know which direction to read. And the birds were facing both directions in the same column. Absolutely ridiculous. Ahem. Anyway. So these books are useful for learning the hieroglyphic side of Egyptian funness.

For a look into the history of Ancient Egypt I recommend Barbara Mertz. Some of you may know her through her pseudonym, Elizabeth Peters, as she also writes fictional mystery books. She is smart, she is hilarious, and I love her books. I do not own either Red Land, Black Land or Temples, Tombs & Hieroglyphs, but I have read both. Her books truly helped me appreciate the Ancient Egyptian world and brought it alive to me.

(Another note which is more relevant than the first: The cover art on Red Land, Black Land which you see over to the left is some famous wall painting. AND if you read the How-To-Guide on Egyptian Hieroglyphs as found above, you ca actually learn to read the hieroglyphs under the man's arm. Isn't that exciting? If you don't think that's exciting, I'm not sure why you're reading this post, and if you don't like Egyptian things and are reading this anyway, I thank you. That is quite open-minded and respectful of you. And if you would be excited but are too tired, that's quite alright. You should sleep. Sleep is wonderful.)

So. Those are some basic books that have been useful to me. If you have anymore please let me know, because my roommate has banned me from searching online for more Egyptian books, because then I will want to buy them and read them and stuff my face inside the pages and breathe deep the wonderful, wonderful aroma of... Ahem. Anyway. I'm off to to do non-Egyptian related things. Bye! *hugs* *runs away*


Rebecca T. said...

best. post. ever.

Eileen said...

Hieroglyph detective and barbara mertz are amazing :)