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How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself [Hardcover]

Mark Collier , Bill Manley , Richard Parkinson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 37.90
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Book Description

July 20 2003 0520239490 978-0520239494 First Edition, Revised Edition
Hieroglyphs are pictures used as signs in writing. When standing before an ancient tablet in a museum or visiting an Egyptian monument, we marvel at this unique writing and puzzle over its meaning. Now, with the help of Egyptologists Mark Collier and Bill Manley, museum-goers, tourists, and armchair travelers alike can gain a basic knowledge of the language and culture of ancient Egypt.

Collier and Manley's novel approach is informed by years of experience teaching Egyptian hieroglyphs to non-specialists. Using attractive drawings of actual inscriptions displayed in the British Museum, they concentrate on the kind of hieroglyphs readers might encounter in other collections, especially funerary writings and tomb scenes. Each chapter introduces a new aspect of hieroglyphic script or Middle Egyptian grammar and encourages acquisition of reading skills with practical exercises.

The texts offer insights into the daily experiences of their ancient authors and touch on topics ranging from pharaonic administration to family life to the Egyptian way of death. With this book as a guide, one can enjoy a whole new experience in understanding Egyptian art and artifacts around the world.

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You need no previous experience reading hieroglyphs to benefit from this book. This is a hieroglyphs guide for the layperson, tourist, or museum enthusiast who'd like to have more of a clue when it comes to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs. Focusing on the funerary symbols one would be likely to see in Egypt or at a museum, and illustrated with hieroglyphs that are on display in the British Museum (drawn by Richard Parkinson, curator in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum), How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs makes possible a deeper appreciation not just of museum displays but of the Egyptian culture that used this writing system.

Both experts in Egyptology (Collier teaches Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, and Manley teaches the subject at the University of Glasgow), they explain how most hieroglyphs are used to convey the sound of the ancient Egyptian language, then go on to teach, in easily digestible segments, the basic phonograms (sound-signs) used in inscriptions a traveler or museum-goer would be most likely to encounter. Each chapter teaches a new portion of hieroglyphic script and a new aspect of the Middle Egyptian grammar, with a section to practice the new reading skills and exercises to solidify the lessons taught. It provides a wonderful opportunity to sit at home and learn about the pharaonic administration, ancient Egyptian family life, and the Egyptian way of death, while building a firm understanding of the most common features of hieroglyphs. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Collier (Egyptology, Univ. of Liverpool) and Manley (Egyptology, Univ. of Glasgow) have produced a succinct and usable introduction to reading Egyptian hieroglyphics and basic Middle Egyptian grammar. From the very first chapter, the reader translates actual inscriptions from monuments using exercises and a key. Inasmuch as Egyptian hieroglyphics form a phonetic writing system, some knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is required to decipher texts. Collier and Manley's volume provides this base along with a classified list of all hieroglyphic signs used in the book and the standard transliteration system used by scholars of Egyptian philology, making it clearly preferable to Christian Jacq's Fascinating Hieroglyphics (Sterling, 1997), which features neither. Reference collections desiring more complete coverage will want Alan Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar (1957. 3d ed.) despite some obsolescence in the treatment of the verbal system; and R.O. Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (1962), supplemented by David Shennum's English-Egyptian Index of Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian (1977), is essential for vocabulary. The current title is recommended for most reference collections, and a circulating copy is advisable for patrons who might want to undertake the study of the Egyptian language.?Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Sys., Ft. Pierce, FL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cat Square Squiggle God-symbol Nov. 24 2005
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Well, what title should I give for a book on Egyptian hieroglyphs?
Actually, the information blurb from the Library Journal linked to the book's entry here states: 'Reference collections desiring more complete coverage will want Alan Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar (1957. 3d ed.) despite some obsolescence in the treatment of the verbal system.'
I actually learned hieroglyphs using that text at the University of London in the 1980s. But I have assembled a collection of more accessible books on how to learn hieroglyphs as refreshers and for sharing. I have four texts, and this was the first of the lot.
If you are truly interested in learning Egyptian hieroglyphs for an upcoming trip to Egypt or to visit a museum with a collection (I amazed a friend once by being able to read an inscription at the museum; I confessed that of the hundreds of 'paragraphs' of hieroglyphs in the collection, that that was one of only two I could decipher without my notebook), Collier and Manley's 'How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs' is a good choice for learning.
It begins with a basic description of the way in which hieroglyphs are used (some signs are words, but actually very few, and others are sound-meaning symbols). Collier and Manley introduce a transliteration system to ease your way into pronunciation (and pronunciation is very sketchy, given the fact there are no recordings from ancient Egypt). Symbols can vary occasionally for sound, meaning, and determinative value.
The pattern of hieroglyphs is also variable. Generally, you always want to 'read into the face', i.e., the picto-glyphs will be facing the direction from which to start -- more often right to left than left to right, and columns go top to bottom.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For The Love of Egypt Sept. 18 2003
Format:Hardcover
I'm 16 years old, I am planning a trip to Egypt. When I get out of High School. This book is great for me, Because I Love Egypt with all my Heart and it will help me to understand the country better. I first got this book from the Library, But I am going to buy it as soon as I can. There is one book I read before this one. The book is call Hieroglyphs: The Writing of Ancient Egypt. This book was ok, but it didn't go in to detail like this one. Its a good book for those who want a lite read. So if you love Egypt as much as I do, you will get How to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
Blessed Be
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cat Square Squiggle God-symbol June 9 2003
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Well, what title should I give for a book on Egyptian hieroglyphs?
Actually, the information blurb from the Library Journal linked to the book's entry here states: 'Reference collections desiring more complete coverage will want Alan Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar (1957. 3d ed.) despite some obsolescence in the treatment of the verbal system.'
I actually learned hieroglyphs using that text at the University of London in the 1980s. But I have assembled a collection of more accessible books on how to learn hieroglyphs as refreshers and for sharing. I have four texts, and this was the first of the lot.
If you are truly interested in learning Egyptian hieroglyphs for an upcoming trip to Egypt or to visit a museum with a collection (I amazed a friend once by being able to read an inscription at the museum; I confessed that of the hundreds of 'paragraphs' of hieroglyphs in the collection, that that was one of only two I could decipher without my notebook), Collier and Manley's 'How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs' is a good choice for learning.
It begins with a basic description of the way in which hieroglyphs are used (some signs are words, but actually very few, and others are sound-meaning symbols). Collier and Manley introduce a transliteration system to ease your way into pronunciation (and pronunciation is very sketchy, given the fact there are no recordings from ancient Egypt). Symbols can vary occasionally for sound, meaning, and determinative value.
The pattern of hieroglyphs is also variable. Generally, you always want to 'read into the face', i.e., the picto-glyphs will be facing the direction from which to start -- more often right to left than left to right, and columns go top to bottom.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Brief and basic March 8 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The good: the authors give a good, solid introduction to Middle Egyptian. No, you will not be reading the Book of the Dead by the time you are through, but you will be able to at least handle a funerary stela (with work) in a museum. All in all, the book covers the material offered in the first few weeks of a university course in Middle Egyptian. Don't expect more! The illustrations are wonderful as well.
The bad: the alpha-numeric system used for identifying hieroglyphs (e.g., "A2") are non-standard. If you move on to a more advanced grammar, you will need to re-learn these (not a big deal, but still one wonders why the authors didn't just use the standard "Gardiner" system to begin with). More significantly, the authors focus almost entirely on objects in British museums (mainly *the* British Museum). Fine and good, but they leave out a host of other more important texts -- important in that these other texts reflect Middle Egyptian grammar better (such as the "Shipwrecked Sailor" and the Story of Sinuhe". Almost all the texts the authors use are funerary stelae and wall inscriptions. These are important of course, but are typically collecitons of formulaic phrases that do not very much. Once you learn to read one, you can pretty much read the others. Middle Egyptian literary texts (i.e., real language, not just formulae) are totally ignored.
Bottom line: as long as you don't want to read much more than formulaic funerary stelae (and a few other things), this book is good and particularly suited for rank beginners without access to a teacher. It will not, however, teach you Middle Egyptian by any means. In that case, James Allen's "Middle Egyptian" is a better choice for those serious about learning the Egyptian language.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great and Easy Read
This book is my second reading into the works of Egyptlogy and
heiroglyphics. I found it informative and methodical. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2010 by sammaks
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun
If you are interested in reading Egyptian hieroglyphs, this is really a good book to study. There is complete information about the nature of this kind of writing - a mixture of... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2009 by M. Caruso
5.0 out of 5 stars Hieroglyphic script were written using phonic symbols
Mark Collier's How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself, Revised Edition is really good book about teaching you hieroglyphics. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2007 by Reviewing for dummies
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction!!
If you want to learn hieroglyphs and you want more than the basic simple books that are available on the market... buy this book!!! Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by Torbj÷rn Jerlerup
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Book
This book was really helpful for me when I wanted to learn how to read heiroglyphs. It focused on some pretty hard stuff and explained it step by step. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2003 by Jenna
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to read hieroglyphs, buy this book.
You won't become an expert on ancient Egypt's writing, but you'll be able to read and decypher common writings from popular museum exhibits, and tourist destinations. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2003 by chemikalguy
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure
I bought this book three years ago and to this day i still cannot practically decipher a single ancient egyptian word! Read more
Published on Dec 28 2002 by O. B. Makhubela
4.0 out of 5 stars Revised Edition
This is not a review per se. Instead I'd just like to point out the fact that a revised edition of this book should be coming out in May 2003 (ISBN 0520239490), so if you are... Read more
Published on Dec 24 2002 by Vitaliy Voronkov
2.0 out of 5 stars Not For Beginners
If you have a basic familiarity with Middle Egyptian and hieroglyphs then you might find this book useful. Much of it is a muddle though. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2002 by NNNNN
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