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Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners: The Revolutionary New Approach to Reading the Monuments Hardcover – 26 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (26 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500051720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500051726
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Bill Manley is a British Egyptologist, university lecturer and museum curator, known for devising popular forms of access to the study of Ancient Egypt. These days he teaches Egyptology and Coptic at the University of Glasgow and Complutense University in Madrid, as well as being an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Liverpool and Honorary President of Egyptology Scotland. In the past he has worked with archaeological surveys in Egypt and Palestine, while his output includes textbooks, specialist articles, translations of ancient texts, entries to anthologies and encyclopaedias, museum exhibitions, and collaborations with musicians.

Product Description

Review

A godsend ... I am sure that Champollion would approve --Minerva

A refreshingly new approach to the subject … beautifully produced and illustrated in a manner that should make it appealing not only to the 'complete beginner' at whom it is aimed, but also to those with a basic knowledge wishing to refresh their skills. I recommend it highly --Ancient Egypt Magazine

Bill Manley writes well. His prose is simple, clear and easy to digest ... This is by far the best of the beginner's guides that I have encountered --Egyptological Magazine

Ever wanted to learn about Egyptian hieroglyphs? Here's the book for you! --The Guardian

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By ProfP on 5 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a must for beginners - its red decal says it all - Brand New Method.
As a beginner starting out with the intention of better understanding all those monuments that one visits in Egypt, I sought various books that would get me to that point. Janice Kamrin's book - Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs: a practical guide is also excellent but introduces large numbers of words before one even gets to trying out what one has learned other than through exercises of text. Working with real inscriptions comes much later, but only after one has really struggled.

Bill Manley's new book is different in that it instills confidence right from the first chapter - starting with a stela for translation which he shows is entirely possible by learning and referring to a few basics and following some rules. Chapters progress steadily introducing the reader to the offering formula, with relevant tidbits and history carefully placed to increase understanding and maintain interest. Almost without realising it as one moves through the chapters, one picks up 2 and 3 sound signs, titles of position, and being able to tackle more and more complex dedications and epithets. The illustrations are good with both photographs and line drawings to ease visualisation, and sections of carvings ringed off so as to tackle the transliterations and translations piecemeal. By the end one is dealing with quite complex carvings and feeling good about how to approach them.

I managed the whole book in a week, getting up early just to tackle a little more, and similarly each evening. Mesmerising and a real treat.
This book replaces and far supersedes the starter chapters in the 'best seller' of he and Mark Collier - How to Read Egyptian - although he suggests their text a follow up to this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A visit to Egyptian temples where at least some hieroglyphics have survived the vandalism of fanatics from other religions is likely to kindle an interest in this subject. In a book that is attractively presented as you would expect from Thames and Hudson, but not too expensive since it is illustrated in black-and-white, Bill Manley succeeds in explaining the principles of hieroglyphics from scratch.

I have no idea how an expert would rate it, but I found it easy to grasp that many picture symbols in fact represent sounds: an owl is "m" and a ripple of water "n". You need to digest each principle before moving on to the next step, since Manley quickly introduces complications: 2 sound and then 3 sound signs, moving on the the "difficult to grasp" concept of "sound complements" which I found hard to understand as I was trying to go too fast. Then, there are the ideograms, or elements of "picture writing" such as the representation of the god Anubis as a dog lying on a shrine. Other symbols with a special sign added denote whole words, such as "mouth".

It is fascinating to realise that, whilst spoken Egyptian obviously had vowels, these were rarely written in the hieroglyphics, which in sense form "word skeletons" of consonants - like text speak! Also, hieroglyphics can be read in either direction, according to the direction in which the symbols are facing. Although knowledge of how to read this ancient script was lost for centuries, its similarities to Egyptian Coptic eventually provided the key to translating it.

If you do not wish to work systematically through the book, a good deal of enjoyment can be gained from browsing with a focus on lists of words and annotated diagrams which interpret inscriptions on famous monuments.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mithra on 20 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Bill Manley has long sought to make the life and work of the ancient Egyptians better known through running courses on reading Egyptian hieroglyphs. His long experience in doing so has enabled him to transfer the knowledge he has gained onto the pages of this book, a work he stresses is intended for complete beginners who may have no particular knowledge of a foreign language, ancient of modern, and no particular knowledge of grammar or specialised terminology.

Many people who have visited museums which display collections of Egyptian antiquities may have wished they could read what some of the exhibits such as stela having inscriptions carved on them, all all too often the labels that accompany them do not provide a translation. Such people, then, will find this well written and presented work of great value, as it enables its readers to look into the minds of those who had the inscriptions carved, for if we can read them the past comes vividly alive, and in a sense so do those whose ancient Egyptians whose monuments you read. More than that, it kept their names alive as it was Egyptian belief that those whose names were spoken were assured of the afterlife and that their "souls" would not linger lost in a sort of limbo.

Easy as the system Dr. Manley sets out, there is a need for the reader to make the effort to follow the book in its entirety. It is well worth the effort, for by the time you have finished it they should have a basic working knowledge of the language of an important ancient people thereby opening a whole new world of understanding that perhaps will prompt further exploration. The book is well written and amply illustrated with text figures and exceptionally clear photographs. Included is a king and another of Egyptian gods and goddesses.
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