Saturday, August 7, 2010


I really like the Egyptian royal name sḥtp-jb-rʿ (today often read as "Sehetepibre", although it was hardly pronounced that way in antiquity). The name belonged to the royal titulary of King Amenemhat I. The first word (sḥtp) is a causative formation rom the verbal root ḥtp(as in all those names ending in "hotep"), meaning "to be satisfied, be happy", which leads to the conclusion that that the causative sḥtp means "to make happy" or "the one who makes satisfied" . Ancient Egyptian shares the causative prefix s with a number of the Semitic languages (of which it is a distant relation), such as Ugaritic and Akkadian, which both have š-. This is an example of the common Afro-Asiatic background of Egyptian and the Semitic languages.

The word jb (which probably was pronounced jib) means "heart", and is thought to be related to Hebrew and Akkadian libbu /lev (which both mean "heart").

Finally, we have the word rʿw or rʿ, ie. "Sun" or "the sun god Re". In the older stages of Egyptian the words were probably pronounced riʿuw or similar, and later reʿa, reʿə or riʿə, and finally in Coptic as , the pronunciation of the word we often use colloquially today when speaking of the Egyptian god of the sun. A reconstruction of the proto-Egyptian pronunciation of the word was proposed by F. Kamerzell 1991: *Lidaw (l being an older pronunciation of the Egyptian r - and it is known today that the Egyptian ʿAyin-sound often has its eymological backgound in a *d). In an article from 1997, Thomas Schneider proposed that the word may etymologically be related to the Arabic verb ladhaʿa ("to burn").

Summed up, the name means "He who makes the heart of Re satisfied". Rather poetic, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


This is probably the best book title I have ever heard - and no, this is not made up, the book in question really does exist. Really:

Facilography, or, A system of easy, expeditious writing : entirely new, applicable to all languages, ancient and modern, in characters completely adapted to conciseness and currency in combination, expressing every word without the omission of a single letter, in half the space and in one third the time required for common running hand, comprised and rendered attainable in six lessons, calculated to facilitate the accounts, correspondence and memorandums of the merchant and man of business, where both accuracy and dispatch are indispensibly requisite, and to expedite the preparations in manuscript, and other exertions of the man of letters. : To which is added, an appendix, shewing by an easy and comprehensive method, how the same is applicable as a universal system of stenography, fully demonstrating the most superior elegance, lineality, legibility, and dispatch, in rules peculiarly and admirably suited, to free from every ambiguity this important science, to professional gentlemen, students at law, divinity, &c. to reporters and every person in the habit of making notes for memorandums or business, this stenography will be found highly deserving of preference for its complete adaptation to follow the most rapid speaker. The whole treatise as a system of expeditious and short writing, combining information not to be found in any other work now extant. Illustrated by numerous examples, on nine elegantly engraved copperplates. Dedicated to the Honourable Sir William Garrow, His Majesty's Attorney General
/ by Thomas Oxley, author of several fugitive pieces, essays, &c. moral and philosophical; and Master of a mathematical and commercial academy. 1816.

You just have to love it, don't you?