Centre for Continuing Education

Artistic and Hieroglyphic Tour Course I: Egypt

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

The world as we know it today has been shaped by events of the past. Learn about history the smart way with History courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

This is the first of a number of courses under our ‘Artistic and Hieroglyphic Tour’ series. This Artistic and hieroglyphic tour of Ancient Egypt course is a user friendly course ideal for those who would like to be introduced to the deeper meaning embedded in the art and hieroglyphs on Egyptian monuments and artefacts. It reveals how art and language are inexorably linked in ancient Egypt. This visual tour highlights the rebus evident in almost every Egyptian construct and enables participants to translate basic hieroglyphs seen by thousands of tourists. The course provides handy cultural hints that will maximise any visit to contemporary Egypt and is an excellent ‘taster’ for those contemplating enrolling in Hieroglyphs 101.


At the completion of this history course participants will:

  1. Understand basic concepts related to: hieroglyphic reading orientation, artistic balance, and the rebus concept.
  2. Comprehend the difference between transliteration methods and translation.
  3. Become acquainted with well known signs from the basic alphabets (uni-literal, bi-literal and tri-literal) and commonly used words related to religious and pharaohnic scenes. Understand basic grammatical rules related to selected scenes.
  4. Undertake practical exercises by transliterating and translating authentic basic hieroglyphic sentences and scenes from a selection of monuments and artefacts.


This Hieroglyphic course covers the following topics:

Day One:

Geographic orientation:

The Egypt of today and its major tourist sites. The Egypt of the ancients: hieroglyphic terms for Egypt’s geography, administrative areas, cities and foreign lands.

Hieroglyphic orientation:

Hieroglyphs as language, magic and art. The alphabets, reading orientation, transliteration, translation and pronunciation.

Deconstructing the language:

Word components (determinatives and phonetic complements), nouns, genitive, demonstratives, prepositions, pronouns and verbs.

Practising what has been learnt:

Translating from authentic extracts, artefacts and wall scenes.

Day Two:

Face to face with god-kings:

How to identify a pharaoh through royal inscriptional language (titles, epithets, wish forms) and iconography. Egyptians cleverly interwove language and art when depicting pharaoh subduing chaos in the human and animal world.

Time to practise what has been learnt:

We decode this artistic and hieroglyphic interplay as we translate and discuss findings from a selection derived from wall scenes, pharaohnic jewellery and other artefacts from various museum collections.

The Awesome Egyptian gods:

How to identify the major gods and pharaoh’s relationship and rituals before them. We learn to decode the interaction between the two and how art and language are beautifully balanced in doing this. We examine their presence on the walls of major temple sites.

Time to practise what has been learnt:

Translation and discussion of findings based on a selection derived from scenes, pharaohnic jewellery and other artefacts from various museum collections.

Intended Audience

This course is suitable for personal interest learners: school, university students, adult and active retirees. It is perfect for those intending to tour Egypt and its ancient monuments, tombs and museums. This is a general interest 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 Day 1.


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

What others say.

  • A great primer for an introduction to Hieroglyphs – the presenter’s enthusiasm for the subject is catching!