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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS)

CAMS 481 (IL) Introduction to Middle Egyptian & Hieroglyphics (3) An introduction to the language and script of Ancient Egypt, familiarizing the student with grammar, syntax and lexicon.

CAMS 481 Introduction to Middle Egyptian & Hieroglyphics (3)

This course is offered as a basic introduction to that stage in the evolution of the Egyptian language known as "Middle Egyptian" (used as a vernacular c. 2300-1700BC, and as a "literary" dialect c. 2200-1350BC). First encountered in caption texts and snippets of conversation of the workers and peasants in late Old Kingdom mastaba depictions, Middle Egyptian originally was the vernacular of the "street" during the outgoing Old Kingdom. In the upheaval that swept away the monarchy and elite of the Old Kingdom the language which characterized the Pharaonic court (Old Egyptian) was swept away as well. In the subsequent First Intermediate Period, the language that everyone speaks is a lower class register. Middle Egyptian was given a fillip shortly after the turn of the millennium when the new regime of the 12th Dynasty (c. 1991-1786 BC) established a writing school and adopted this dialect as the accepted literary medium. The scribes of this institution produced a number of literary pieces, hymns and poetry which although created in writing, were intended for oral dissemination parlando. They rapidly became classics and were copied and learned by heart for centuries into the future. Middle Egyptian was used in every walk of life from monumental inscriptions, religious, and mortuary texts to letters, business documents and accounts, and the output from Dyn. 12 through 18 was prodigious. Even beyond the 14th Century BC learned scribes would continue to make the attempt at composing in Middle Egyptian, even though the language was no longer spoken, and as a quasi-ecclesiastical speech it continued down to Greco-Roman times. By that time its restriction to temple texts gave the false impression that both language and script had always had the purpose of conveying religious concepts, hence the Greek misnomer 'hieroglyphs', i.e. holy script.


General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures
Effective: Summer 2012
Prerequisite: 6 credits of any CAMS course

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.



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