Monday, January 23, 2012

The Allure of Ancient Egypt

I love ancient Egypt. I don't write it (yet!), but I've always had a fascination in it. In grade ten I wanted to become an Egyptologist. I even tried to learn hieroglyphics. For example, did you know that you can either read left to right or right to left depending on which way the symbols point? The ancient Egyptians believed that writing was invented by the god Thoth, the earliest known examples dating back to 3,400 BC. What made their writing difficult (for me!) to read was that the glyphs take on both semantic and phonetic values.

But it's more than just the hieroglyphs that drew me. It was their whole culture. Their belief in the various gods and goddesses and all of their practices to prepare for the afterlife. This polytheistic system was complex because some of the deities were believed to exist in different manifestations. The Egyptians believed that the phenomena of nature were divine forces. They deified these forces--including elements, animal characteristics and abstract forces. These gods and goddesses were  involved in all aspects of nature and human society. By doing this, they thought they could sustain and placate these phenomena and turn them to human advantage.

What ancient Egyptian-based stories do you love? What authors do you think about?

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