Ancient Egyptian writing equipment

A bigger picture

The Egyptians did not distinguish between religious and secular life. Temples were used as local administrative centres and scribes served as part-time priests. Schools, law courts and local government offices were all part of the temple complex, along with treasuries and the stores of grain, oil, linen and other commodities that were collected in taxes and used to pay state employees.

Statue of a scribe named Peshuper

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Terracotta flask in the form of a scribe


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Wooden tomb model showing a scribe at work in a granary


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Painting from the tomb of Nebamun showing scribes counting geese


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Painting from the tomb of Nebamun showing scribes counting cattle


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Rosetta Stone


Because everyone needed to visit the temple as part of daily life, Egypt’s rulers set up public decrees on the outside walls. After the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 323 BC, Greek became the language of government, but Egyptian remained in use. The Rosetta stone was a temple decree written in both languages, so that everyone could read it. Later this made it possible for scholars to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.

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Ancient Egyptian writing equipment