This action terminated a four thousand year old tradition and the message of the ancient Egyptian language was lost for years. It was not until the discovery of the Rosetta stone and the work of Jean-Francois Champollion that the Ancient Egyptians awoke from their long slumber. Today, by virtue of the vast quantity of their literature, we know more about Egyptian society than most other ancient cultures. The script was developed about four thousand years before Christ and there was also a decimal system of numeration up to a million. Unlike other cultures the early picture forms were never discarded or simplified probably because they are so very lovely to look at. These painstakingly drawn symbols were great for decorating the walls of temples but for conducting day to day business there was another script, known as hieratic This was a handwriting in which the picture signs were abbreviated to the point of abstraction. Hieroglyphs are written in rows or columns and can be read from left to right or from right to left. You can distinguish the direction in which the text is to be read because the human or animal figures always face towards the beginning of the line.
The hieroglyph alphabet
Hieroglyphic writing , a system that employs characters in the form of pictures. Those individual signs , called hieroglyphs , may be read either as pictures, as symbols for pictures, or as symbols for sounds. Earlier, other Greeks had spoken of sacred signs when referring to Egyptian writing. Among the Egyptian scripts, the Greeks labeled as hieroglyphic the script that they found on temple walls and public monuments, in which the characters were pictures sculpted in stone. The Greeks distinguished this script from two other forms of Egyptian writing that were written with ink on papyrus or on other smooth surfaces. These were known as the hieratic , which was still employed during the time of the ancient Greeks for religious texts, and the demotic , the cursive script used for ordinary documents. Hieroglyphic, in the strict meaning of the word, designates only the writing on Egyptian monuments. The word has, however, been applied since the late 19th century to the writing of other peoples, insofar as it consists of picture signs used as writing characters. For example, the name hieroglyphics is always used to designate the monumental inscriptions of the Indus civilization and of the Hittites , who also possessed other scripts, in addition to the Mayan , the Incan, and Easter Island writing forms and also the signs on the Phaistos Disk on Crete.
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing
Hieroglyph , a character used in a system of pictorial writing , particularly that form used on ancient Egyptian monuments. Hieroglyphic symbols may represent the objects that they depict but usually stand for particular sounds or groups of sounds. Modern usage has extended the term to other writing systems, such as Hieroglyphic Hittite, Mayan hieroglyphs, and early Cretan. There is no connection between Egyptian hieroglyphs and these other scripts, the only certain derivative from the Egyptian writing being that used for Meroitic.
Hieroglyphs combined logographic , syllabic and alphabetic elements, with a total of some 1, distinct characters. The later hieratic and demotic Egyptian scripts were derived from hieroglyphic writing, as was the Proto-Sinaitic script that later evolved into the Phoenician alphabet. The use of hieroglyphic writing arose from proto-literate symbol systems in the Early Bronze Age , around the 32nd century BC Naqada III ,  with the first decipherable sentence written in the Egyptian language dating to the Second Dynasty 28th century BC. Egyptian hieroglyphs developed into a mature writing system used for monumental inscription in the classical language of the Middle Kingdom period; during this period, the system made use of about distinct signs. The use of this writing system continued through the New Kingdom and Late Period , and on into the Persian and Ptolemaic periods. Late survivals of hieroglyphic use are found well into the Roman period , extending into the 4th century AD. With the final closing of pagan temples in the 5th century, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was lost. Although attempts were made, the script remained undeciphered throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern period.