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Before Islam

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Reused Ostracon With a Hieratic Inscription

Reused Ostracon With a Hieratic Inscription

Since drawing detailed Egyptian hieroglyphics was time consuming, a cursive script called hieratic was used for everyday correspondence and record keeping. Hieratic was used from about 3100 BCE into the Roman period. Scribes were trained first in hieratic before they advanced to learning hieroglyphs. Hieratic is most commonly written with ink on papyrus or bits of pottery or stone known as ostraca. Also, writing materials in Egypt (as well as in Mesopotamia) were often reused. This limestone ostracon is inscribed in hieratic with a legal text regarding repayment for a jar of fat. The opposite side has a sketch of two figures representing the Nile with two lines of hieratic concerning the delivery of copper. Hieratic is usually oriented horizontally and is always read right to left.

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