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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the reception of the ancient Egyptian writings by the (mostly Greek) classical authors. After assessing the corpus, which extends over more than fifteen centuries, the terminology coined by the classical authors to name the different forms of Egyptian writings, which is still in use in modern Egyptology, is discussed. While most authors superficially manifested their fascination or rejection of a graphemic system they did not understand, a few scholars, more or less related to the neo-Platonist school, tried to make sense of the hieroglyphs and their symbolism in a manner that exerted a lasting influence till the beginning of the eighteenth century. In this respect, some authors engaged in a discussion about the relative advantages of the hieroglyphic and alphabetic systems.

Keywords: alphabet, classical author, hieroglyph, neo-Platonism, symbolism, terminology

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