CdSORIENTALISTICA: EGITTO, VICINO E MEDIO ORIENTE
|ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LANGUAGE AND TEXTS
Students completing the course successfully will be able to:
• Understand the core principles of the Middle Egyptian language and demonstrate an awareness of the various stages of reading and interpreting ancient Egyptian texts (transliteration, grammar analysis, translation).
• Use all scholarly tools (sign lists, dictionaries, textbooks, text editions) to critically engage with, and build their own interpretation of, ancient Egyptian texts.
• Develop a basic understanding of the range of textual sources (religious, literary, documentary, historical) preserved from ancient Egypt.
The assessment for this course will be a final oral exam. Students must be able to demonstrate that they have acquired the key skills necessary to understand the Middle Egyptian language and to successfully transliterate, translate, and provide a basic grammatical commentary of ancient Egyptian textual sources.
At the end of the course, students will be able to:
- Translate Middle Egyptian texts accurately, anchoring individual translation choices in a sound understanding of the grammar rules underpinning the language.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the usefulness and limitations of various types of source material (primary and secondary) in the translation and interpretation of ancient texts.
- Successfully conduct independent translation work and create basic textual commentary.
- Construct and present a cogent academic argument, engaging with original textual material critically.
Final oral exam
Throughout the course, students will learn:
- To manage time effectively and independently.
- To discuss the translation and interpretation of ancient Egyptian texts and related issues and questions in a positive, constructive manner in a group setting.
- To conduct independent research and engage critically with texts written in a foreign (ancient) language.
- To be able to think critically and present cogent arguments during in-class discussions.
Moreover, students are expected to engage actively in discussions of the material studied, under the guidance of the Course Instructor.
- During the reading practice sessions, student ability to work regularly and independently with primary sources will be evaluated, along with the level of understanding of the rules of Middle Egyptian grammar underpinning the texts analysed.
- Students will be required to contribute to the class by presenting their own translation and commentary work, with the Course Instructor facilitating the discussion. Students should therefore complete their work ahead of the sessions and be prepared to discuss it in a group setting.
This course is designed for students who have not studied Middle Egyptian before. It therefore constitutes the foundational course for any student wishing to pursue the study of the ancient Egyptian language and texts further.
The lectures will focus on the explanation of Middle Egyptian grammar and the various features and rules underpinning the language, which will be illustrated using examples sampled from a variety of textual sources.
Exercises and Text-reading Sessions
These sessions will be focussed on consolidation exercises and on reading original texts. Students will engage critically with primary sources and familiarise themselves with the issues facing anyone approaching the translation of Middle Egyptian texts. Students are expected to prepare set exercises and texts before class and to discuss their work in class (a mandatory part of the course).
This course will be an introduction to the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script and language in the classical stage known as ‘Middle Egyptian’. It will focus on teaching how to read the script itself and on providing a solid foundation in Middle Egyptian grammar, also exposing students to the practical issues that face scholars when translating ancient Egyptian texts. A component of the unit will be the translation of a selection of simple short passages from a range of original sources, which will be discussed in class. At the end of the course, students will have gained a solid understanding of the core principles of Middle Egyptian grammar and the ability to translate and provide their own interpretation of original inscriptions and texts. The course will be taught and assessed in English.
Recommended Grammar Textbooks
Allen, J.P. 2010. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (it is essential that students use the 2nd ed. of this book, not the 3rd).
Gardiner, A.H. 1957. Egyptian Grammar, 3rd rev. ed. Oxford: Griffith Institute (selected sections, as indicated by the Course Instructor).
Faulkner, R. O. 1962. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Oxford: Griffith Institute (reprint now available).
Allen, J. P. 2015. Middle Egyptian Literature: Eight Literary Works of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Collier, M. and B. Manley. 2003. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach
Yourself. London: British Museum Press.
Lichtheim, M. 2006. Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings, new rev. ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Please note that the Course Instructor will indicate which sections of the textbooks students will need to read during the progression of the semester and will draw textual passages from a variety of other sources as teaching examples and for reading practice.
Furthermore, Middle Egyptian lecture notes prepared by the Course Instructor will be made available to students at the beginning of the semester through the platform https://elearning.humnet.unipi.it/ (access with student credentials). All materials used throughout the course will be available to students through the class web-page.
Should students be interested in any particular aspects of the ancient Egyptian language and texts, they are welcome to ask the Course Instructor for further reading suggestions.
The exam program for all students will be made available online through the website https://elearning.humnet.unipi.it.
Attendance is highly recommended. Should anyone be unable to attend classes regularly, they should contact the Course Instructor (S.Zago@liverpool.ac.uk) as soon as possible to get further instructions.
The final exam will consists of a passage of a known text, which will be sent out to students ahead of time, along with detailed guidance. Students are to transliterate, translate,and answer grammar questions on the set text, and they will return their work to the Instructor no later then 10 days before the date they choose for the oral exam. During the oral exam, students will be asked to answer further grammar questions, based on the work they have submitted. They may be also asked to read (= transliterate, translate, and answer grammar questions) other brief sentences, chosen from the exercises that were assigned throughout the semester (the solutions to which were regularly provided online).
All materials needed to prepare for the exam are available through the platform https://elearning.humnet.unipi.it/.
The course will start on Tuesday 27th September. The timetable is as follows:
- Monday 12:00-13:30 Pao A2 (Palazzo Carità)
- Monday 16:00-17:30 Guidotti G6
- Tuesday 12:00-13:30 Pao A1 (Palazzo Carità)
President: S. Zago
Deputy president: M. Betrò
Members: G. Miniaci, A. Colonna