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Introduction to Middle Egyptian and the Hieroglyphic Script


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Introduction into the Egyptian hieroglyphic script and the grammar of Middle Egyptian. Middle Egyptian is the classical phase of the Egyptian language, which was employed from ca. 2000 BC onwards. The most important literary texts of the Middle Kingdom period were written in this phase of the language. Middle Egyptian remained in use especially for writing religious texts into the Roman period. With the use of a textbook and regular examination the script will be taught as well as the most important rules ofthe grammar and a basic vocabulary.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge of the signs and insight into the principles of the hieroglyphic script.

  • Knowledge of the transliteration of the hieroglyphic script.

  • Knowledge of a basic vocabulary of Middle Egyptian.

  • Knowledge of the grammar and insight in its rules, in order to learn to read sentences in the original script.

  • The class provides the necessary background knowledge for the study of other phases of the ancient Egyptian language, such as Old Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. The knowledge of hieroglyphs is also required for the study of the cursive script, Hieratic.


Please consult the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours, of which:

  • Lectures: 36 x 2 = 72 hours

  • Preparation tutorials: 60 hours

  • Preparation midterm exam: 40 hours

  • Preparation final exam: 103 hours

  • Exam(s): 4 hours

  • Evaluation session: 1 hour

Assessment method

  • Weekly tests in class (10%);

  • Midterm exam about simple sentences in hieroglyphs, which should be transliterated and translated into English (30%);

  • Final exam about sentences in hieroglyphs of a more complex grammatical structure, which should be transliterated and translated into English (60%).


The final marking for the course is based on the weighted average of multiple marks.


Only the final exam (60%) can be taken again in a resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Communication

  • Announcing marks

Reading list

James P. Allen, Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs, third edition, Cambridge ea 2014, (earlier editions are not allowed)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.Dr. Olaf Kaper