Crafts and Industries through the Ages

Scripts & Language


In the Prehistoric and Archaic Period, early evidence of the use of hieroglyphic script appear as rock drawings, pot marks, palettes, labels, and seal impressions. 

In the Old Kingdom, hieroglyphs were used widely on the walls of temples, tombs and funerary furniture. Hieroglyphic was used throughout the Pharonic Period along with hieratic, the cursive script developed from hieroglyphic script for the everyday use. At the end of the 25th Dynasty, demotic was used as a more rapid cursive script for the everyday use, replacing hieratic used for temple documents.

The ancient Egyptian language that was written in the aforementioned scripts developed in three phases: Old, Middle, and New Egyptian.  The Egyptians language then became Demotic and finally Coptic.  From the documents written in the ancient language, we also learn about various dialects used in different parts of the country.

Greco - Roman

Hieroglyphic script continued especially in temples, for example at Dendara, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae. The demotic script was still popular until the second century A.D. The Greek language was the official language for Ptolemaic state in Egypt. In the Roman Period, Greek was still the official language, and Latin was used only for military correspondence.


Coptic is the last phase in the evolution of the ancient Egyptian language. The need of an easier method of expressing Christian Scriptures and thoughts led the Copts to adopt Greek alphabet, which was very familiar to their scribes and translators, who added seven demotic signs and additional phonetic values. The first adaptation of the Coptic script is seen in the so-called Old Coptic, representing certain magical texts, through which Greek and Demotic letters were mixed together. By the beginning of the 3rd century, books of the Bible and other religious issues were rendered in Coptic. Shenute the Akhmimic officially used Greek alphabet (with seven demotic signs) to replace demotic writing.


1- Arabic language and calligraphy and its gradual spread

2- The early examples of Arabic scripts in Egypt

3- Arabization of Egyptian papyri

4- Flourishment of studies in Arabic grammar and structures

5- Egyptian Arabic dialects

6- Development of Arabic calligraphy

7- Kufic writing (Kufic Qur'an, simple Kufic, monumental Kufic, decorative Kufic, geometrical Kufic)

8- Naskhi writing (Naskhi Qur'an, Diwani Naskhi, popular Naskhi, Aljaly Naskhi, Tomar Naskhi, Req'aa, Ta'leq, Nasta'leq,Toghraa, pictorial calligraphy)


1- The emergence of press that uses English, French, or Turkish as its primary language from the 19th century

2- Foreign press in Egypt

3- Establishment of language school

4- The establishment of Al Alsun school (language school) and its role in the evolution of the translation movement from 1835 till now

5- The use of Latin characters in street signs as evidence of Egypt's interaction with the outside world 


Persistence of Pharonic langauge in the names of villages and towns of Egypt.

Persistence of Coptic language in churches for prayers and religious texts.

Coptic words in spoken and written colloquial Arabic,

Turkish, and other foreign words and influence on the structure of words