Scholars at University of Chicago Complete Demotic Egyptian Dictionary

Posted on September 25, 2012

Marriage Annuity in Demotic Egyptian


Scholars at the University of Chicago have announced the completion of a Demotic Egyptian dictionary. The language was used in Egypt from around 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., a time period when Egypt was occupied by many foreigners, including Persians, Greeks and Romans. The image above is a marriage annuity, written in the Demotic Egyptian language. The Chicago Demotic Dictionary can be found online here.

The language was written as a cursive script. The scholars say the language lives on today in words like adobe and ebony.

Janet Johnson, editor of the Chicago Demotic Dictionary, said in a statement, "Demotic was used for business and legal documents, private letters and administrative inscriptions, and literary texts, such as narratives and pieces of wisdom literature. It was also used for religious and magical texts as well as scientific texts dealing with topics such as astronomy, mathematics and medicine. It is an indispensible tool for reconstructing the social, political and cultural life of ancient Egypt during a fascinating period of its history."

Photo: Oriental Institute Museum