Hieroglyphics and Egyptology Book List


(This list is under construction, stay tuned for more.

After I have completed the list, I will write a brief personal comment for each book.

In the meantime you can read the costumers' reviews at Amazon.com)


This is the list of the books I own (note I am not using the verb read), collected over the years. I mostly bought them new and used through the independent sellers at Amazon.com.

For your convenience I have enclosed a link to the corresponding Amazon page.


Introductory Books

These books will teach you the basics of hieroglyphic writings. The concept of the "rebus principle", the idea of monoliterals, biliterals, triliterals, determinatives, pictograms and so forth. Usually little or no grammar. You will get a good idea on how Hieroglyphics writing works, but do not expect to be able to translate any original text, or to talk to "The Mummy" when it returns.... I think a real novice should probably sink his teeth on one of these before going to the following category. I read most of them.



    Janice Kamrin: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs

New book (2004), takes you from the very basics and leads you to translate complex passages. It is divided in 46 small lessons (half a page each) containing new glyphs, vocabulary and exercises. Each new glyph introduced comes with an explanation of its meaning, phonetic and what it represents. Very well written though with a few mistakes here and there.





    W. V. Davies: Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Reading the Past, Vol. 6)

    Remarkably complete book for its concision.





  Ann MacY Roth, Karl-Theodor Zauzich: Hieroglyphs Without Mystery: An Introduction to Ancient Egyptian Writing

    Nice introductory book with all the basics (but little grammar). Hieroglyphs hand written from right to left, which does not flow well in an English text.






Heavy duty Books

These are the real deals. You will have to gobble one (or more) of them if you want to really learn the Ancient Egyptian language. There are the books that are, or were, used in the academic environment. Not for the weak of heart!


    James P. Allen: Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs.

    Modern grammar, used in Academic circles, and by the people of the Glyphstudy group. It's a real grammar with all the technical terminology. A strong point in its favor is that each new grammatical concept (say, pronouns) is explained with English examples before getting into the Egyptian counterpart.




    Sir Alan Gardiner: Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs

The text book by antonomasia, I understand is now considered to be "aging" (though "old" is not something that frightens Egyptologists usually). Well, you know what I mean.




     Marc Collier and Bill Manley: How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself, Revised Edition

I did not know if to put this in the introductory category. Its complexity is probably in between an introductory book and those heavy duty books above. One of the main problems is that the hieroglyphs are arranged in a peculiar way (not the Gardiner notation)  that makes it difficult to make cross references.







Reading Books

Books collecting documents written in hieroglyphics aimed for the student to practice.

Under construction....


Modern Ancient Egyptian

This sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn't it? What I mean is modern books translated by modern scholars into Egyptian Hieroglyphic texts, following the rich tradition of Latin (I am thinking of the Asterix Comics or Harry Potter). So far I have only found one.

    B. Potter, J. Nunn: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

I haven't read it yet, so here is the description from the British Museum Store:  A highly original and educational twist on a much treasured tale. The full and complete text of Beatrix Potter’s world-famous and universally loved Tale of Peter Rabbit faithfully translated and transcribed page for page into the hieroglyphic script of an Egyptian of the Middle Kingdom.




Writing Hieroglyphs

This book, one so far, will teach you a way to actually handwrite hieroglyphic signs. Useful to the graphically challenged.


     Henry G. Fischer: Ancient Egyptian Calligraphy A Beginner's Guide to Writing Hieroglyphs









Dictionaries and such.


    Raymond Faulkner: Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian

One (the only?) Egyptian-English dictionary available. A must for the English speaking Egyptophiles too lazy to learn German.





    Maria C. Betro: Hieroglyphics: The Writings of Ancient Egypt

A beautiful book on Hieroglyphics, which describe each single Hieroglyph, its meaning, origin, usage, etc.
Among other things, shows different forms of Hieratic and Demotic for each Glyph.





 Margaret Bunson: Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt

Trouble remembering who was Sobek? This can help.







Books about the Egyptian language, not strictly language teaching books.

         Antonio Loprieno: Ancient Egyptian : A Linguistic Introduction








Books about the history and culture of Ancient Egypt.

    Sir Alan Gardiner: Egypt of the Pharaohs: An Introduction

    Directly from the horse's mouth (so to speak), an entertaining history of Egypt.





 Barbara Mertz: Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt

  Very popular book, highlights different aspects of Egyptian history, with chapters divided by Dinasty.





     Lesley & Roy Adkins: The Keys of Egypt: The Obsession to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs

  Fascinating history of the decipherment of the hieroglyphic language.