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This enterprise started out as a Facebook page to promote my book "Upper Egypt : The Egypt of the New Kingdom - a Travel Tale", but as with so many things, it started to live a life of its own. Now that the Facebook page has passed the magical barriers of 1,000 "likes", I thought it wise to spend some room on the topic here too. I have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, ever since I happened by a comic book by the late Belgian comic book author Jef Nys, in his series "The Adventures of Jommeke". The number 11 in that series is titled "The Sun Mummy", and I got it as a gift even before I could read, at the tender age of four. My unfortunate father must have read it to me innumerable times. I never tired of it, although he did, skipping text when he thought I wasn't listening. Unfortunately, I basically knew all the text by heart, so whenever he tried skipping some, I protested. Vehemently. And loudly.
It is a Belgian tradition in schools that everyone, from age 6 to 18, does at least one presentation a year. After a remarkably unnoticed presentation the first year, on the subject of my cat, I turned to the mysteries of Ancient Egypt the second year, and proceeded to harass my schoolmates into desperation for the next 11 years. I covered subjects ranging from "a general introduction to Ancient Egypt", over "The Life and Times of Akhenaten" and "The Discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun" to "hypotheses on building the great pyramids" and "Deciphering hieroglyphs". After I'd left school and the presentations behind me, other interests occupied my conscious mind for the next several years (see the main site), but Egypt was never far from my unconscious mind. So, when I had the opportunity to rekindle my passion for all things Egyptian in the early 2000's, I didn't hesitate a second. The opportunity that presented itself was a lecture by the renowned Belgian Egyptologist Dr. Marleen Reynders, speaking on the subject of "Upper Egypt - Land of the Pharaohs". I was quite happy to have rediscovered my former passion, and sat in on several more lectures of Dr. Reynders, until, in 2009, the opportunity arose to travel to Egypt myself, in the company of said Egyptologist. It was the voyage of a lifetime and prompted me to write the abovementioned book.
Since then I have resumed my "hobby" of studying all things Egyptian with a passion, attended several more lectures by a.o. Dr. Zahi Hawass and Dr. Peter De Smet, and - above all - talked to a great many people about Ancient Egypt. One observation stood out from all other things I learned in that time : there are very few comprehensible textbooks on Ancient Egypt. Either they are glorified photo albums, with, admittedly, fabulous pictures, but disappointingly little else, or they are university textbooks, dusty manuals for the aspiring Egyptologist, written in a language that would drive all but the most fanatic enthusiasts away. What fails, is a comprehensible, clearly written guide that appeals to everyone who is bitten by the Egypt-virus : students, enthusiasts, aspiring amateur or even professional Egyptologists. For that reason I created a Facebook page to form a community of likeminded souls. Apparently, there are now over a 1,000 likeminded souls, most of which actually even live in Egypt.
The transcript of a three day seminar on deciphering hieroglyphs pointed out a flaw in the concept, however. After having spent the better part of three weeks organizing and sorting through my notes of said seminar, painstakingly drawing the necessary hieroglyphs and pouring said notes into a comprehensible text, I was forced to abandon my goal of publishing my notes on the Facebook page. I had been unaware of the fact that one can very well write "notes" on Facebook, but one cannot include pictures or drawings (like my hieroglyphs) in these notes. The solution to the problem, of course, is here : the notes on Facebook will now come with a link to the complete notes here. And, I am happy to say, these notes are for FREE !
So, without further procrastination : here are the first notes for "The Autodidacts Guide to Ancient Egypt". Chapter 2 : Language and Music.
"Transcriptie van de driedaagse "HiŽrogliefen voor Beginners" van Dr. Peter De Smet" - .pdf in Dutch (klik op de titel, het .pdf document zal openen in een nieuw venster. Van daaruit kan U het opslaan.)
"Transcript of a three day seminar on "deciphering hieroglyphs for beginners" by Dr. Peter De Smet" - .pdf in English (click on the title, the .pdf document will open in a new window, from where you can save it.)
I would also like to take the opportunity to advertise my book "Upper Egypt : The Egypt of the New Kingdom - A Travel Tale". This book can be downloaded as an e-book in .pdf format for the minimal price of 5Ä. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Facebook page for more info.
"Een Egyptische Begrafenis" : Voor de nieuwsbrief van de vzw Grafzerkje, een funeraire vereniging uit Antwerpen, schreef ik drie artikels over begrafenissen in het Oude Egypte.
This article is not yet available in English.
Amongst the other chapters, notes, and whatnots that are in the pipeline, are a basic genealogical tree of all 30 Dynasties in an Excel-format and in a .pdf format, an extended genealogical tree, containing EVERY Ancient Egyptian I can get my hands on (providing he or she at least has parents or offspring, otherwise it won't be much of a tree.), a concise summary of all discrepancies between Egyptologists I come across (and believe you me : there are a lot !), and a list of all hieroglyphs, with their meaning and translation, cross-referenced to English. That one might take a while, though. There are over 7,000 hieroglyphs...