Talk:Ancient Egyptian literature

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Featured articleAncient Egyptian literature is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 9, 2011.
Article milestones
August 18, 2009Featured article candidatePromoted
WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors  
WikiProject iconThis article was copy edited by Baffle_gab1978, a member of the Guild of Copy Editors, on 15 August 2009.
Previous copyedits:
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This article was copy edited by Scapler on 4 August 2009.

Rewritten article[edit]

Hope no one minds, but I've rewritten the article completely. No one has even touched it in more than a month; even then it was just a bot who added a foreign language version. There were hardly any refs; now I've added about twenty different sources. I hope to submit this as a FA soon; any suggestions? Thanks!--Pericles of AthensTalk 16:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's done, I have finished rewriting the article and it's a "beaut". I hope whoever used that Miriam Lichtheim source isn't upset about my being so bold! I can't wait to see if any copyeditors will be willing to comb through this (I'm looking at you User:Scapler, old buddy, ole pal, wink wink).--Pericles of AthensTalk 08:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ye gods, he's written another one. I don't know how you do it. I just have a couple of wording questions. In the title of the first section, "mediums" seems a little odd. When the word "medium" is used in the sense of "a medium of communication", I've only ever seen "media" as its plural form. "Mediums" makes me think of a gathering of spiritualists. Of course, in modern common speech "media" tends to mean the mass media and particularly the news media, so I can see a possible reason for using "mediums" for this broader sense of the word. I've just never seen a precedent for it, and I don't like to break Latin pluralization rules without precedent. The other question relates to a broader one I have about WP's style guidelines: at what point does a title become sufficiently self-explanatory to be called "descriptive", as mentioned here and here? It seems possible to me that this title would count, which would require a rewriting of the first sentence, but without clearer guidelines I don't know. A. Parrot (talk) 15:56, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi A. Parrot! I fixed the instances of "mediums" to "media" as you rightfully suggest (how daft of me), but I'm having a little more trouble deciding what to do about the first sentence. The links you provide give well-enough examples, but I'm not sure how I could phrase the first sentence in exactly the same way (i.e. convey only in a word or small phrase why ancient Egyptian literature is notable). Any suggestions? I hope others don't mind jumping in to! Thanks Parrot; this is off to a good start. The legendary User:Jeff Dahl also left a very helpful critique of the article on my talk page.--Pericles of AthensTalk 18:22, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure if there's a better way to state notability, but the article is about the entire corpus of writings produced by a major ancient civilization, which seems pretty darn notable to me. I was actually asking about a separate issue—those sections I pointed out state that "if the article title is merely descriptive—such as Electrical characteristics of dynamic loudspeakers—the title does not need to appear verbatim in the main text", and that such a title should not appear in boldface. (I've since looked at this, which may somewhat clarify this particular policy.) My question was, at what point does an article title become "merely descriptive"? If you know what electrical characteristics are (though I don't, really) and have a higher-level article to explain what a dynamic loudspeaker is, you understand the title without really needing explanation. Thus there is no need to put a title in bold and explain what it is; you can proceed to simply explain what the article subject consists of. It seems to me that the same is true if you know what literature is, and you have a higher-level article to explain what ancient Egypt is. My uncertainty over that policy is part of a still-broader issue: where exactly to draw the line in stating the obvious. It seems clumsy to take a simple word ("literature", in this case) and then explain what it means, and WP:OBVIOUS warns against doing so. But I'm not entirely comfortable with not defining the subject in the opening sentence, and it can make the sentence more difficult to write. I ask partly because I'm working on articles with similar titles, and facing the same issue. A. Parrot (talk) 19:30, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm. I agree that we shouldn't be "Captain Obvious" (to use one sarcastic phrase) about this. I think I might have a solution for the time being. What if I mentioned ancient Egyptian literature is the oldest corpus of the Literature of Egypt? That sounds notable enough, right? The beginning sentence of "Literature of Egypt" even states: "Egyptian literature traces its beginnings to ancient Egypt and therefore is some of the earliest known literature." I think I will choose this option for now, until we can think of something better or more substantial.--Pericles of AthensTalk 20:36, 1 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm quite concerned about the use of the phrase "World's oldest recorded literature" (or similar), especially as that is an absolute statement - when Australian Aboriginal rock art story telling pre-dates Egyptian hyro by 50,000 years (or similar large number). Lucas of Mons. (talk) 02:43, 9 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


For anyone who might be interested, as of now this article's prose size is roughly 40 KB. I think this article has room for about another 20 KB-worth of prose material, but I doubt that I'll be adding even that much content while making improvements and additions.--Pericles of AthensTalk 14:11, 2 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Thanks User:Scapler for copyediting this article! Your help is always needed, as evidenced by the gigantic Han Dynasty project which you helped bring to FA status. Cheers!--Pericles of AthensTalk 04:19, 4 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi all, just to let you know I'm done copy-editing. One thing that I couldn't alter is the following sentence in the graffiti sub-section: "During the New Kingdom, scribes who traveled to ancient sites often left graffiti messages on the walls of sacred mortuary temples and pyramids, usually in commemorative language of these structures." What is commemorative language - another language or a different style of the same language? I couldn't re-phrase this without losing meaning, so I've left it alone - you may be able to clarify where i can't. Good luck with the nomination, and happy editing. Baffle gab1978 (talk) 20:52, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks! And no, not some new style of language; I simply meant "commemorative" as in celebratory words used to honor the sacred site. I'll change this right away. Thanks Bafflegab!--Pericles of AthensTalk 20:58, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Featured article![edit]

Alright! This is now a featured article! I want to give thanks and a shout out to both User:Scapler and User:Baffle gab1978 for all their generous help in copyediting this article. Cheers!--Pericles of AthensTalk 06:32, 19 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yay, that's fab, another one under your belt, well done mate :-) Baffle gab1978 (talk) 07:47, 19 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference problem[edit]

Notes 161-163 and 168 link to #CITEREFBreasted1960, a 1960 book by James Henry Breasted. The book in the references section is of a 1962 book. Could someone fix this? Cunard (talk) 20:54, 7 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello Cunard. I am the primary author of this article. This was a small clerical mistake which I have now fixed in the inline citations you have mentioned; the 1962 date in the full reference is the correct date. Thanks for the catch! Regards.--Pericles of AthensTalk 01:43, 8 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would have corrected it myself, but I didn't know if there were two books by the same author, one published in 1960 and another published in 1962. Thank you for fixing this, and this is a very nice article by the way. :) Best, Cunard (talk) 05:53, 8 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are two more incorrect references. Note 15 includes "Spalinger 1990", but I don't see "Spalinger" listed in the references. Note #169 lists "Seters 1997" but "Seter" is listed in the references. Cunard (talk) 06:00, 8 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I fixed both of these; thanks for pointing them out. Wow! I can't believe I made these mistakes in a featured article. It's kind of embarrassing, actually. Without you bringing these up I would have never spotted them. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 11:55, 8 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Excellent scribe[edit]

The sS iqr was a clearly identified phenomenon long before Parkinson (Pamour (talk) 08:16, 18 September 2013 (UTC)).Reply[reply]


  • Wolfgang Kosack: Berliner Hefte zur ägyptischen Literatur 1 - 12: Teil I. 1 - 6/ Teil II. 7 - 12 (2 Bände). Paralleltexte in Hieroglyphen mit Einführungen und Übersetzung. Heft 3: Der Bericht von dem Lebensmüden und seiner Seele, die Hirtengeschichte und das Harfnerlied. Verlag Christoph Brunner, Basel 2015. ISBN 978-3-906206-11-0. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 24 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Minor Vandalism, supsected[edit]

I think the first paragraph is fake, considering it seems kind of stupid. Kaasci (talk) 18:28, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified (February 2018)[edit]

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Demotic & Coptic[edit]

Late Egyptian evolved into Demotic by the 7th century BC, and although Demotic remained a spoken language until the 5th century AD, it was gradually replaced by Coptic beginning in the 1st century AD.

What is this sentence supposed to mean? How are Demotic and Coptic supposed to be different between the 1st and 5th centuries? Srnec (talk) 01:18, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]