Susanllewellyn's Blog

February 15, 2010

What Kind of God Do You Think You Are? Atum (6)

We’re recycling again.  Atum’s next title is one we’ve had earlier, in Office Hieroglyphs, when it was being used by Osiris.  This is what it looked like the first time:

      , netjer aa, the Great God; an economical use of two hieroglyphs to spell two whole words. 

This time around, in Atum’s titulary, the spelling has expanded a bit.  This is what it looks like now:


     netjer, god, is written with the flagstaff hieroglyph which you’ll remember from before, plus the seated god determinative we saw earlier in this inscription. 

 aa, great, is difficult to see because it’s partly flaked off, but when you know what’s there, you can pick out the traces.  The wooden column which was written vertically in Osiris’ titulary is horizontal in Atum’s.  You can see the line of the upper edge, but the lower edge has disappeared.  You’ll have to imagine the mirror image of the visible edge reflected in the gap below it. 

The sign underneath is a new one, though; it’s this:

 a sheet of papyrus, rolled into a scroll, tied up and sealed, like this one:

 It’s a determinative often used for abstract words.  It’s easy to draw:  a thin rectangle with a little w on top.  And it’s versatile; like the wooden pillar aa, you can draw it vertically or horizontally, to suit the artistic balance of your own inscription.

It’s up to you whether you think your colleague is a great enough god to warrant the fuller version of the title; or whether you think they’re better represented by something short and flaky.

August 19, 2009

Office hieroglyphs (16)

Today in the office, we were talking about green issues.  Today on office hieroglyphs, we’re recycling.  Spooky…

We’re recycling this hieroglyph in fact:


You recognised it instantly, didn’t you, from the very beginning of the offering formula, as the alternative way of writing: di064

transliteration di

di; give. 

To be fair, the beginning of the offering formula features the loaf or cake sign by itself.  The alternative form, the arm with the hand holding out the loaf, was still waiting backstage and lucky to be mentioned in the programme notes.  But now it has walked on stage, a star.  See:

di.f hieroglyphs   di.f transliteration

Di ef; so that he may give. (Don’t worry about the so that bit, it’s contained in the verb.  We’re not doing grammar, remember?)  When you’re drawing it, give the upper arm a bit of thickness, a single line will do for the forearm, and a little curve for the hand.  Then draw a triangle in the palm for the loaf.  Easy.

Almost as easy as drawing the cute little horned viper which you’ll have deduced stands for:

f hieroglyph  f transliteration

ef; he.  The dot just attaches the pronoun to the verb; it doesn’t have anything to do with the pronunciation of ef.  All you have to do when you draw a horned viper sign is start at the head, bring the stroke down his neck, give his back a wiggle and finish him off with a little tail, then do a v-shape on his head for the horns.

Horned vipers are not quite so cute in real life:


I like snakes, but I don’t think I’d want to tickle this one under the chin.  It looks as though it’s had an accident with the staple gun.  And something tells me he could do a lot worse than that thing where you end up with a staple in your thumb.  Nevertheless, it is wildlife and therefore ecological.  The hieroglyph, though:

painted f

Isn’t he lovely?  And even though he’s yellow, ecologically speaking he’s green.

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