Centre for Continuing Education

Hieroglyphs Course 101

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

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This Hieroglyphs coure will allow you to join the immortal ancient Egyptian scribes and learn to read and write hieroglyphs, the 'god’s words'. This course introduces the basics of Middle Egyptian – the classical written script of Ancient Egypt. Simple exercises based on authentic tomb, temple and biographical extracts introduce the beginner to the fascinating world view of this most enthralling of ancient peoples and provides a glimpse into their fears, loves, reverence and hopes.

'Man decays, his corpse is dust... But a book makes him remembered through the mouth of its reciter' Papyrus Chester Beatty IV.


At the completion of this Hieroglyphs course participants will:

  1. Understand basic concepts related to: reading orientation, artistic balance, transliteration and translation, alphabet types, vocabulary and grammar (morphology and syntax).
  2. Recognize commonly used words derived from uni-literal, bi-literal and tri-literal alphabets.
  3. Comprehend and compare Middle Egyptian use of nouns, genitives, adjectives and simple verbal sentences with English grammar.
  4. Demonstrate practical competency throughout the course by transliterating and translating authentic basic hieroglyphic sentences and scenes.


Lifting the veil

Historical development and definition of Middle Egyptian. Decipherment by modern scholars, problems of interpretation, legacy of Egyptian literature. The basic uni-literal alphabet, direction of reading, Methods of transliteration, translation and pronunciation. Practical activities.

How the language works

Bi-literal and tri-literal alphabets, the phonetic complement, nouns (gender, dual, plural), the article, prepositions, the genitive, adjectives and adjectives as nouns in epithets. Translating from authentic extracts.

The Nisbe

How Middle Egyptian changes nouns into adjectives. Translating from authentic extracts.

Royal inscriptional language and some curious Egyptian practices

Titles and epithets of pharaoh, abbreviations, honorific transpositions, sportive writing. Translating from authentic extracts.

Reinforcing the basics

Practising lessons by translating authentic extracts, wall scenes, pharaohnic jewellery, amulets, objects.

Nicholson Museum

Demonstrating understanding by undertaking artefact transliteration and translation.

Intended Audience

This course is suitable for personal interest learners: school, university students, adult and active retirees. This course is for anyone who has had a burning ambition to decode the world’s most fascinating ancient language. It is also ideal for those intending to tour Egypt and its ancient monuments, tombs and museums. This is a beginners' course so no prior knowledge of Egyptian Hieroglyphs is required. However, participants will be sent the basic uni-literal alphabet and are asked to acquaint themselves with some of its 24 signs prior to Lesson 1.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Certificate of completion

What others say.

  • A very knowledgeable and able teacher. I would certainly promote people to take any of their courses.

Additional Information