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The Literature Of Ancient Egyptians

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An Excerpt:  "Thoth, the Scribe of the Gods.


From the beginning to the end of the history [4]of Egypt the position of Thoth
as the "righteous judge," and framer of the laws by which heaven and earth, and
men and gods were governed, remained unchanged.
The substances used by the Egyptians for writing upon were very numerous, but
the commonest were stone of various kinds, wood, skin, and papyrus. The earliest
writings were probably traced upon these substances with some fluid, coloured
black or red, which served as ink. When the Egyptians became acquainted with the
use of the metals they began to cut their writings in stone. The text of one of
the oldest chapters of the Book of the Dead (LXIV) is said in the Rubric to the
chapter to have been "found" cut upon a block of "alabaster of the south" during
the reign of Menkaurā, a king of the fourth dynasty, about 3700 B.C. As time
went on and men wanted to write long texts or inscriptions, they made great use
of wood as a writing material, partly on account of the labour and expense of
cutting in stone. In the British Museum many wooden coffins may be seen with
their insides covered with religious texts, which were written with ink as on
paper. Sheepskin, or goatskin, was used as a writing material, but its use was
never general; ancient Egyptian documents written on skin or, as we should say,
on parchment, are very few. At a very early period the Egyptians learned how to
make a sort of paper, which is now universally known by the name of "papyrus.""

 

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