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An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary
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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 12:21 pm 
Pharaoh
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Location: Saqqara... someday...
Last week, for graduation, my grandparents got me a two volume set of Budge's An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary. I know Budge has his problems, but you have to admit - he's still one of the best sources there are.

ANYHOO, I was wondering if anyone else had this set. I was just hoping to be given a head's up on some of the inconsistancies. I can spot a couple, but I'm far from an expert, and don't want to fall into a trap of misled knowledge.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 4:00 am 
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I have them too! I find that quite a few of the words that I want to look up aren't in there though. It's all very odd. Most of the vocabulary in the dictionary is very rare indeed, and Budge seems to miss a few more common words so that he can include the more obscure ones. The transliteration and adding of 'e's for you is also quite confusing, but on the upside the titulary list at the back is pretty useful, despite the obvious mistakes.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:08 pm 
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I've had both volumes for years, Unas. You're right to be wary of Mr. Budge. First of all, he wrote his works a very long time ago, at a time when our understanding of hieroglyphs was a long way from what it is today. Secondly, as Psusennes I intimated, Budge's system of transliteration is a bit odd. That's because it's a system he himself invented, and if you have a number of his books in which his transliteration is involved, you'll notice he's not always consistent with his own system. Thirdly, a fact not well known is that Budge did not like to have his works edited and tended to dominate the publishing of his own books.

All that being said, what your grandparents gave you is a terrific gift! Budge may have his downside, but he was a brilliant researcher, a keen historian, and a prolific writer. Once you become familiar with hieroglyphs you will start to recognize where Budge falls short. Psusennes I mentioned the titulary at the end of the second volume, and he's right about the mistakes; they can be amusing but really all they demonstrate is how our knowledge of the glyphs were developing at that time.

I use Budge's dictionary quite often, but rarely as a sole reference. I always double-check what I'm looking for with Faulkner's Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. I just wish Faulkner's dictionary wasn't so concise! I wish he had compiled something as comprehensive as Budge's two volumes. There's also a handy English-to-Egyptian refernce for Faulkner's dictionary, which I keep meaning to buy but haven't yet. Of course all Egyptologists consult both Budge and Faulkner, but their main reference is the Wörtebuch, the famous German dictionary of ancient Egyptian, which comes in numerous volumes and unfortunately, to my knowledge, does not come in an English translation. A friend of mine who's been an Egyptologist for 25 years bemoans the fact that in his divorce some years ago, his wife got to keep all their volumes of their Wörtebuch! :x


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:40 pm 
Prince/Princess
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I should add here that what I know about the Wörtebuch is what Egyptologists and other professionals have told me. I've never seen any of the volumes for myself.

So I was wondering if anyone knows where you can actually buy the Wörtebuch? I know it's quite expensive, but I'm generally willing to shell out the bucks for the sake of learning. I've yet to find anyplace on the internet that sells the Wörtebuch, and all I've come across are references to it. My German isn't too bad so I'm not worried about that, but it would help if I at least knew where to purchase it! :o


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 11:49 am 
Prince/Princess
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Did you try http://www.atleest.com ?
They have a great selection.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:37 pm 
Prince/Princess
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Thanks for the lead, Merytre-Hatshepsut. It's a terrific website. I believe I did find the dictionary, and it costs about $800! Ouch. I don't know if I'm that willing to shell out the bucks. Maybe I'd better stick to Budge and Faulkner for now.

On the plus side, while I was searching that site, I did notice that you can buy Tale of Peter Rabbit: Hieroglyph edition. Now that's something that I'm sure all Egyptologists have on their shelves, and it costs only a little over $12.00! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:37 am 
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Some days ago I downloaded Faulkner's Concise dictionary of Middle Egyptian, but I don't remember the site... Now, I only have to print it... :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:25 am 
Pharaoh
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My concept of Budge used to be "good guy-bad guy", that is until I read "Rape of the Nile". It shows Budge as a completely disreputable character. He seemed to have no limits when it came to "stealing" artifacts from Egypt. He would lie, cheat and steal to get what he wanted! Any scholarship is, in my opinion, completely nil and void due to his actions.
The work on hieroglyphs, while very good in its time, is now quite out-of-date. Those who use it should be aware that, while many things are correct, a lot is not viable any longer.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:44 am 
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"Any scholarship is, in my opinion, completely nil and void due to his actions."

This seems to be rather excessive in my opinion. Whilst admittedly Budge was prepared to steal and lie in order obtain artefacts, had he not done so some of the most important relics in Egyptian history would have been lost forever. You must also put into equation the fact that he was up against an arguably even greater nemesis to Egyptology- the Egyptians themselves. Long before Budge's day Muhammed Ali had blown up entire temples when the British and French failed to bow to his wishes, and had deliberately destroyed relics which the foreign scholars wished to examine. Whilst this may sound supercilious and rude, it cannot be denied that had Budge failed to retrieve objects such as the Papyrus of Ani in the manner that he did, they would have been lost forever. He was certainly a horrid man- but he did many 'great' things for Egyptology.

Besides which, he adds some interest of character to the field. :roll:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:14 am 
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Reading the "Rape of the Nile" gives quite a different picture of Budge. To quote:
"He was perhaps the most audacious of the breed. (Of "collectors") One one of his collection trips, the Antiquities Service warned the police of his criminal activities. When he arrived in Cairo, he set of on a buying trip with the police in tow. At Akimin, he bought two Coptic papyrus rolls, and then arranged for a lavish dinner for the police. While they were dining, he had some papyri, including the scoll of Ani, a complete Book of the Dead and 27 others, including 1 that was 78 feet long, and which were stored (they had been excavated earlier) in a near-by basement, smuggled out of the basement and aboard his ship, to be shipped out of Egypt labelled as "local manure". On another occassion, he had 250 pounds Sterling to buy antiquities for the BM. He bought, stole and bargined for priceless objects to send to the BM. He declared that his aim was to collect--if he had to use devious policies to do so, he would with no compunction. The Antiquties Service was out-raged at his deviousness but, basically, there was nothing they could do to stop his activities. His illegal agents cleared tombs, admittedly most of them already near-empty. Budge was able to lay his hands on quite a few outstanding, beautiful pieces. Somehow, they "mysteriously" disappeared, to ultimately show up in the BM. He somehow got senior militiary men to help him with his excavations around Aswan. They mobilized entire companies of engineers to help in excavations and moving huge states--that also ended up in the BM. He found the heads of mummies to be fascinating. He gathered 800 mummies, hacked off their heads, and stored the heads in a hut to await shipment to England. Hyenas broke into the hut, and ate or carried off 600 of them. The only way Budge could get the rest out of the country was to declare them "Bone manure"--one of his favorite ploys. Buy the end of one "buying" trip, he had 24 cases shipped back to the BM.
I'm sorry--you can rationalize the abuses of the Egyptians all you want--you can stand in defense of the BM--you can say such activities "protected" antiquities, but in my opinion such actions are deplorable, and thank God that time is past.


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