'The Egyptians employed what practically were three alphabets - the hieroglyphic, the hieratic, and the demotic. The hieroglyph is a symbol, denoting something without letters or syllables; as, pictures of a bee stand for a king. The hieratic handwriting was a transition from symbols to primitive letters; the papyrus reed, cut in slices and gummed together, was used as paper for this writing, much of which is very beautifully executed in black and red inks. These papyri are constantly being discovered, but perhaps the earliest "find" of importance was that at Thebes in 1846, when a number of literary compositions were brought to light which must have been executed during the twelfth dynasty, about twenty-five centuries B.C."
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