Have you ever heard of hieroglyphs and petroglyphs? There’s so much history and culture behind these two words. We’re so excited to travel through time and share with you the origins, uses, and meanings behind hieroglyphics and petroglyphs.
The Differences Between Hieroglyphs and Petroglyphs
Characters used in a pictorial writing system are called hieroglyphs, especially the form utilized on ancient Egyptian monuments. Although hieroglyphic symbols frequently stand for specific sounds or combinations of sounds, they can also symbolize the objects they depict.
Hieroglyph, which means “sacred carving,” is the Greek translation of the Egyptian phrase “the god’s words”. This was used at the period of the early Greek contacts with Egypt to distinguish the older hieroglyphs from the handwriting of that time.
Petroglyphs on the other hand are rock carvings also known as pictographs or rock paintings. They were created by hammering a stone chisel and a hammerstone directly into the rock surface.
The petroglyph was made when the lighter rock underneath the desert varnish (or patina) on the rock surface was revealed. Over 25,000 petroglyph pictures, according to archaeologists, may be located along the 17-mile escarpment that makes up the monument’s perimeter.
The History of Hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were not deciphered until the eighteenth century. Many individuals had been attempting to decipher the code when the clever young Frenchman Jean-François Champollion figured out the key to this ancient writing. He later published the famous “Précis” which marked the first real breakthrough in reading and understanding hieroglyphs.
The only purpose for which the Egyptians initially used hieroglyphs was for inscriptions carved or painted on temple walls. This type of graphic writing was also applied to tombs, papyrus sheets, wooden boards painted with stucco, potsherds, and limestone pieces.
In addition to being utilized for literary, scientific, and religious works, hieratic was a condensed version of hieroglyphics. Demotic, a Greek term that means “common script,” was widely used for society’s daily needs. Hieroglyphic writing started to be superseded by Coptic, a kind of Greek writing, in the third century A.D.
Writing Rules for Hieroglyphs
Columns or horizontal lines are how hieroglyphs are written. Typically, they are read from top to bottom and from right to left. The script may occasionally be read from left to right. The animal and human representations, which face the text’s commencement, might be used to help the reader discern the orientation. For instance, the text should be read from right to left if a figure is facing to the right.
Hieroglyphic names and words were thought to possess magical properties. The names of the deceased and funeral poetry were therefore written on coffins and tomb walls. This implied that the prayers would be heard by the gods, and the people would be kept safe. An individual’s identity was represented by their name in hieroglyphs.
This implied that the gods would hear the prayers and would keep the people safe. An individual’s identity was represented by their name in hieroglyphs. If it was destroyed, the individual’s identity and ability to continue existing in the hereafter were also lost. His successors had the names of pharaohs like Tutankhamun erased from the walls of the temple.
The History of Petroglyphs
The earliest petroglyphs date to at least 10,000–12,000 years ago. Other early writing systems, such pictographs, and ideograms, first appeared between 7,000 and 9,000 years ago. However, despite their widespread use, certain tribes continued to make petroglyphs far into the twentieth century and some even longer.
With the exception of Antarctica, petroglyphs have been discovered everywhere over the world, with the biggest densities being in portions of Africa, southwestern North America, Scandinavia, Siberia, and Australia.
For the people who created these petroglyph images, they most likely held profound cultural and religious value; in many cases, this meaning has persisted for their descendants. Numerous petroglyphs are supposed to reflect a form of ritual or symbolic language that is still not fully understood today.
In addition to religious implications, later glyphs from the Nordic Bronze Age in Scandinavia appear to relate to some kind of tribal boundaries.
That’s a Wrap on Hieroglyphs and Petroglyphs!
It’s always interesting to learn about a civilization’s history, especially when it relates to language and symbols. There are so many hidden meanings to uncover and just when you think you’ve learned it all you discover new things.
Hieroglyphs and petroglyphs are indeed an art that tells stories long before our time. Similar to languages, when we learn how to speak to them a whole new world of history and endless possibilities become available to us.
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