Ancient Egyptian civilization first began around 3150 BC, from many
small farming communities slowly coming together, until finally Upper
and Lower Egypt were united under the first Pharaoh. According
to legend, the ruler of Upper Egypt defeated the leader of Lower Egypt
to rule both as a united land. As soon as this happens, the Pharaoh's
depictions show him as larger than life, as a godlike figure.
The sense of togetherness provided by communities joining
together to work at farming and other tasks was an extremely important
part of the reason Ancient Egypt lasted so long as a culture. Another
important reason, however, was the fact that writing recorded so many
events and stopped religion, culture and traditions from being lost
to the ages. Over thousands of years, Egyptians used three main scripts.
were hieroglyphs, hieratic and demotic. They believed that writing
was invented by the god Thoth and called it 'god's words'. In fact,
the word hieroglyphics means 'sacred inscriptions'. These
writings were carved in stone and wood, but papyrus, an early form
of paper, was also used.
Hieroglyphics were used from at least 3,400 BC, and hieratics were invented soon after as a sort of shorthand. Hieroglyphics were used for formal writings, for instance on a tomb, while hieratics were used for informal writings such as bookkeeping and writing letters. The first was a collection of images which represented sounds and letters, and a picture of the word would also be placed beside the writing. If we examine them side by side, it is easy to see how one evolved from the other.