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Writings From Ancient Egypt


It can be easy to think of the ancient Egyptians as great builders of monuments and leave it at that, but they were also some of history's most prolific writers. On nearly every surface of their famous structures the Egyptians told stories, made declarations or issued prayers. However, the hieroglyphic style employed by these millennia-old scribes makes it indecipherable to all but a few readers.

If you want to read like an Egyptian, pick up a copy of the aptly titled Writings from Ancient Egypt, compiled and translated into English by Cambridge scholar Toby Wilkinson.

Published by Penguin and set for a January 2017 release in the United States, the book represents the first time non-academics will have the chance to, as Wilkinson told the Guardian, peer into ancient Egypt's "life of the mind, as expressed in the written word."

Among the stories is "The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor," which involves a mariner washed ashore on a magical island ruled by a giant golden snake, but the book also includes other writings, such as letters from a farmer named Heqanakht and journalism of a sort, which recounts a storm that destroyed structures and crops.

—Zach Hagadone