In February last year, I introduced my foray into hieratic as “Squiggle, line, ink splodge…” and I noted that I found it surprising after 3 years of Middle and Late Egyptian that it was hard to engage with. A year on, I am now fairly confident to have a go with hieratic, I still struggle and often I would prefer ornate hieroglyphs, beautifully painted or carved onto monuments, or even someone else’s transcription.

However, this new skill, which I will need to continue to develop and practise, was worthwhile. Despite the challenges I faced with the squiggles, the lines and the ink splodges, hieratic help me better engage with and understand the materials with which I am translating and interpreting.  It means I have the opportunity to understand why there are differences in some transcriptions and gets me back to engaging with the primary source rather than reading and translating them through the lens of someone else’s viewpoint.


Some of the key resources that I used with hieratic were:

Möller’s Hieratische Paläographie – This is a website with links to all the parts of this key resource which contains tables of hieratic versions of known hieroglyphs from across 11 texts.

Index to Möller’s Hieratische Paläographie – An index to Möller’s work on the paleography of hieratic, relating it back to Gardiner’s sign list.

Möller’s Hieratische Lesestücke I – Facsimiles of Hieratic Texts

With English translations of Möller’s work by Thomas Stableford found here.

I also worked with hieroglyphic transcriptions of the works in Möller’s Hieratische Lesestücke I which can be found in an assortment of resources.


Image Reference: Westcar Papyrus on display in the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin by Keith Schengili-RobertsOwn Work (photo) CC BY-SA 3.0.