Functions And Meanings Of The Egg Determinative In The Egyptian Writing System

Document Type : research articles



The attestations of the hieroglyph 'egg sign’ in the Ancient Egyptian writing system reveals many of its significant functions and meanings. Often, there is a specific significance that is adapted for the egg sign in words, where it is attested as an ideogram, determinative or as a phonetic complement. In this paper, I wish to assess and collect the Ancient Egyptian words where the egg sign is attested. I will then classify and interpret the functions and meanings of the egg sign within these words. The egg is used as an ideogram and/or signifier for Isis as well as other Ancient Egyptian Goddesses. There are several other uses of the egg sign in the writing system, for example, the egg sign is attested as a determinative in words that share some of the significance or features of an egg. This may return to physical, physiological, mythological or cosmological connections with the egg. These multiple uses and meanings explain the numerous metaphoric connections of the egg, which will be examined further throughout this article.

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