Course No. 3541 | .M4V, AVC, 500 kbps, 640×360 | +720p | English, AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 24×30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 25.4 GB
Lecturer: Bob Brier, Ph.D.
Ancient Egyptian civilization is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating chapters in human history. While remnants of the culture like temples, obelisks, and sarcophagi continue to mystify us, you can unlock their true meaning if you know how to read hieroglyphs.
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To the untrained eye, this ancient writing system looks like artful decoration, a random scattering of stylized ducks, suns, eyes, hands, chairs, and feathers. But to Egyptologists like Dr. Bob Brier of LIU Post—a noted public educator known as “Mr. Mummy” and a popular Great Courses professor—hieroglyphs are the gateway to understanding ancient Egypt, from its religious beliefs to its cosmological ideas to the legacies of its great pharaohs.
In short, they’re the closest we can get to truly resurrecting the lives of ancient Egyptians.
Although hieroglyphs are a dead language, there are many reasons why learning to read and write hieroglyphs can be rewarding. An understanding of hieroglyphs can take you beyond the surface-level appreciation of viewing artifacts and historic sites, bringing you closer to the real people of an ancient civilization. Plus, the transformation of spelling and grammar into a dynamic pictorial code presents a challenging intellectual puzzle for lifelong learners of all ages. In learning hieroglyphs, you will actually decipher symbols and text, which makes learning this new language enjoyable and exciting!
In Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Professor Brier offers you the key to unlocking the mysteries of this amazing ancient language. Making this seemingly complex code accessible to anyone with a willingness to learn, his 24 lectures cover the basics of reading and writing hieroglyphs, including vocabulary words, number systems, and sentence structure. They also put your newfound knowledge to work, as you translate hieroglyphs found on some of ancient Egypt’s most intriguing sites and artifacts, from the Rosetta Stone to the temples at Abu Simbel to the tomb of Tutankhamen. Professor Brier opens up startling new worlds of discovery that will bring you closer than ever to a civilization that’s captivated us for millennia—and that will continue to do so for a long time to come.
Learn How to Read and Write Hieroglyphs
When learning to read and write Egyptian hieroglyphs, where does one start? Like any language, it’s critical to begin at the most fundamental level: the alphabet.
Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs is a primer on the ins and outs of the ancient Egyptian language. By approaching the topic in a straightforward manner, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly translating these curious symbols becomes second nature.
After learning the three ways hieroglyphs were used in ancient Egypt (to represent a sound, to clarify a word’s meaning, to represent a concept all by itself), you’ll go step-by-step through the ancient Egyptian alphabet. Professor Brier teaches you not only how to draw each hieroglyph, but how to pronounce them and organize them into entire sentences.
But make no mistake: This isn’t just about writing your name in hieroglyphs. You’ll learn much more.
Build an Egyptian vocabulary. Every lecture comes with a wealth of new vocabulary words for you to pronounce, write, and use. You’ll also discover the meaning behind these hieroglyphs. For example, the hieroglyph for the season “summer” (consisting of drawings of a pool, water, and the sun) which might indicate an absence of water.
Write Egyptian sentences: Professor Brier teaches you how to organize hieroglyphs into sentences that express original thoughts. You’ll learn how to draw and arrange pronouns and possessives; how to write in the past tense; how to turn a sentence into a negative statement; how to read the names of the pharaohs; and more.
Count Egyptian numbers: Numbers were essential to ancient Egypt’s agricultural economy. As you’ll discover, different symbols were used to denote different quantities. A stroke was “1,” a hoop was “10,” a coiled rope was “100,” a lotus flower was “1,000,” and the god Heh stood for “1 million.”
Above all, Professor Brier wants to give you not just an appreciation of hieroglyphs, but a working knowledge of them. That’s where practice comes in. Each lecture in this course begins or ends with a series of short, fun translation exercises (also included in the course guidebook) to help familiarize you with the concepts you explore in that particular lesson.
Unearth the Story of Hieroglyphs
As you progress from the alphabet to complex sentences, you’ll also uncover some fascinating historical insights into hieroglyphs.
Why did the language disappear, and how it was rediscovered by explorers like Jean-François Champollion?
What was life like for the Egyptian scribes who recorded everything from battlefield casualties to prayers for the dead?
Why were some of the first attempts to translate hieroglyphics unsuccessful?
How did ancient Egyptians use their calendar, and how do modern Egyptologists use it to determine precise dates for events?
Translate the Writings on Archaeological Finds
Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs
is also an opportunity to interpret actual inscriptions found on Egyptian temples and objects. As Professor Brier builds your confidence in reading hieroglyphs, you’ll steadily move toward translating everything from the names of gods and pharaohs to special prayers and magic spells.
Like a great tour guide, Professor Brier brings you up close and personal with some of the most fascinating archaeological finds from hundreds of years of exploration.
King Tut’s tomb: Professor Brier devotes several lectures to perhaps the most important discovery in all of Egyptology. You’ll translate hieroglyphs from some of the many relics found in the pharaoh’s tomb, including a mirror used during Tutankhamen’s life, and the inside lid of his sarcophagus, inscribed with words spoken by the god Anubis.
Queen Meret’s pectoral: This brooch-like piece of jewelry isn’t mere decoration. It’s also powerful political propaganda. The queen’s pectoral proclaims the greatness of Amenemhet III as the lord of Upper and Lower Egypt and all foreign lands, and asserts his protection by Nekhbet when venturing off into battle.
Sneferu stela: The pharaoh most directly responsible for Egypt’s grand pyramid-building projects was Sneferu. As you pore over inscriptions on a stela named after him, you’ll witness the development of four of the five titles used to describe a king: the “Horus” name, the “King of Upper and Lower Egypt” name, the “Two Ladies” name, and the “Golden Horus” name.
Learn from an Acclaimed Egyptologist
Beloved by Great Courses customers for his dynamism and depth of knowledge, Professor Brier is the best hieroglyphics instructor you could have. Blending language and history, his lectures are a testament to his popularity with the public and his respect among Egyptologists. He brings the same skills to Decoding the Secret of Egyptian Hieroglyphs that he has to his National Geographic television special, Mr. Mummy, his TLC series, The Great Egyptians, and his popular books, including The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story and Egyptomania.
At the start of the course, Professor Brier recounts the ancient Egyptian saying, “To say the name of the dead is to make him live again.” Whether he’s unpacking the importance of the scarab beetle hieroglyph, explaining the reason why most of us mispronounce the names of Egyptian pharaohs, or detailing the secret messages inscribed on King Tut’s funerary mask, Professor Brier not only makes ancient Egyptians live again—he does something even more memorable: He allows them to speak in their own words.
And now you can, too.