The X-Mummies Advent Calendar! #24


Who is the secret Santa?! If you can’t guess, continue reading…

Santa Xavier

I promised to teach you how to write your name in Hieroglyphs, so here goes. As I said no-one knows for sure how ancient Egyptian languages were pronounced. The sounds we’ve attributed to them are more like educated guesses than certain knowledge. But for foreign people’s and place’s names we have quite a good understanding of the written form, if we know how the names were pronouced in the original languages. For example, even before Champollion some Egyptologists had noticed that they could read Ptolemaic king’s names from cartouches. Of course, Ptolemaic kings were the very last pharaohs to rule egypt and by that time the written system had developed and received new letters like L [lion] and some of the sound values of letters had changes, like for A [eagle] which might have at some point had a sound value or R. And even though some of the letters have been given vowel soundvalues, it’s still uncertain if they really were vowels, because the Egyptians usually just wrote down consonants.

Ancient Egyptian AlphabetsBut none of that matters as we are really not trying to impress any mummies (= dead people, not female parents) into marrying us so let’s just do the best we can with these letters.

On the right side I have written Finnish letters and their Egyptian counterparts, but you can just as well use them for writing English names. The basic rule for writing in Egyptian is to try to fit all the letters into neat squares to make the text as harmonius as possible. And these letters are to be read from left to right. If you write them the wrong way around they might harm you, so be careful!

As for A you have two options. I’d go with the eagle, but with another sideways letter you can choose the arm. B is leg. For C you can choose from three options. If the C is pronounced as <k> you choose the cup, if it’s pronouced like <z> (f. ex. Charles) you could use the knots, and for <s> like “celcius” you chooce the folded cloth. D is hand. The Egyptians didn’t have sound for <e> but it’s usually substituted with a feather. F is a snake with “eyebrows”. G is a pot with something in it. There are actually more than one variant of H-sounds in Egyptian, but for the western H like in “hot” you choose this sign. I as the feather. J pronounced the Finnish way (“Yule”) is written with a feather, but if pronounced the English way it’s written with knots for <z> (see C). K is a basket with handle. L is a Greek addition to the alphabet and it’s written with a lion sign. M is an owl. N is wavy water. O is a foreign sound and substituted with U-sign, a chick. P is square. Q is a hill slope. R is mouth. S is a folded cloth. You can also write it with the knots for <z> for a more harmonious look. T is bread. U, V and W are all marked with a chick sign. X is not part of the Egyptian alpahabet, but if pronounsed as <ks> like in taxi, you can write it as such: basket and folded cloth. Y can be written with either two feathers like <ii> or with two strokes. Z is also a foreign letter and if pronounced like <t>+<s> use bread + cloth, but if it’s pronounced like Z in “Genghis Khan” I might choose to write it with knots. Å is substituted with a chick. Since Ä and Ö are foreign sounds they are usually substituted with A and O.

You should also notice that only royal names are written inside a cartouche. For us commoners you should use a determinative sign to mark a name. For a male name you use a sitting male sign and for a female a sitting female sign.

If you want to write your pet’s name, you should use an according animal sign, for example a dog determinative for dog names, etc. Just draw the animal to your best abilities, since the Egyptians had no set “font” to write stuff – they just drew. So for example if you draw an owl, you should keep it in that position, but it’s totally up to you to decide which owl it is and how to colour it. And as for the lion, you can always draw a better one than I did. These are just the type of Hieroglyphs I use to write down my notes. And that’s also the reason I chose to explain what those signs represent, so you can do them better.

You might have noticed there were a few occasions where I have used some Hieroglyphs not listed in the alphabet. That’s correct. On some occasions I have written stuff in Egyptian. For example in Xavier’s case above I pondered about the “Professor X”. Since professor is not a name but a title, I chose to write him down as <haty-a ks> where the haty-a means a leader or the foremost, which pretty much sums up his position in the X-Men. In Lilandra’s case I wrote her down as the queen (or literally Wife of the Ruler, there was no word for queen in Egyptian) of the Shi’ar and after her name in the cartouche I used <ankh wda snb> which is always written behind royal names to wish them long life, prosperity, and health. And in Mariko’s case I gave her the title Wolverine’s loved one <mry n Wolverine>.

Merry X-mas to you all! <3