Demotic (Egyptian)

The Demotic (Greek according to Herodotus: δημοτιχά, popularly known ) is a derived from the hieratic writing, the BC to 450 AD in ancient Egypt was the application of about 650 and is written from right to left. It was used as italics mainly for the demotic language in which it was also possible that the demotic writing of texts from other periods was used.

Epochs of the demotic script

  • Early Demotic script: 650 BC to 320 BC ( independent Egyptian epoch)
  • Means Demotic script: 320 BC to 30 BC ( Ptolemaic period )
  • Late Demotic script: 30 BC to 450 AD ( Roman period )

Demotic script

Herodotus coined the term " Demotic " as a popular form next to the hieratic and hieroglyphic writing, in Porphyry, however, is from the " epistolographischen Magazine" the speech, which is an exact translation of the Egyptian word for demotic. The writing is difficult to read because it contains many similar characters and ligatures. Also, the initial shape changed quickly and individually.

In the system, it resembles the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. There are phonograms ( single and multiple consonants ), where - unlike the hieroglyphs - some of the Einkonsonantenzeichen have special forms in word-initial. Unlike some of the hieroglyphic phonograms can also stand for vowels, so especially in the case of foreign words in Demotic. We used this as the consonants w and for letters of u and o and the consonant j also for the posting of i Next there Determinative and word signs, many of which are formed by the merger of original character sequences in older Egyptian fonts.

The number of distinct character shapes has not yet been precisely determined, but is at most a few hundred; many of the character shapes are ambiguous because they are due to different hieroglyphic models. In Roman times, the use of alphabetic characters will be extended, thereby reducing the sign inventory.

Even among the Romans disappeared as the Demotic writing in administration, where now prevailed Greek. Demotic was used almost only in the private and religious sector. The demotic character L for years, but which is then combined with Greek letters for the year still appears on the minted in Alexandria until the monetary reform of Diocletian coins.

With the Christianization of Egypt in the 3rd and 4th centuries, the relatively complicated demotic script was replaced by a new, much lighter alphabetic writing, which was derived from the Greek alphabet and extended by a few characters demotic origin to denote typical Egyptian sounds can. The demotic writing died out and fell into oblivion until they learned to decipher in the 19th century again.