‘Write On, Literacy in Ancient Egypt’ – Maximilliano Pianello – UCL

hiero_Y3Maximilliano Pianello came to talk to the Egyptian Society Taunton on literacy in ancient Egypt.  It was a most interesting lecture on the role, status, work and standing of the scribe in Egyptian society.

He then went on to look at who might and might not be literate in Ancient Egypt and just who might and might not be a scribe – thought to be only 1% if the population, including the king, High Priests and Nobles.

However, Maximilliano also speculated, that for various reasons, our understanding of the official propaganda of those who were scribes; those who could read and write; and the representations may not actually be true to the historical fact.

Seated Scribe - Saqqara 4th Dynasty, c. 2575 - 2450 BC

His theory was not what I expected and was very thought-provoking.
It challenged my perception and understanding of the role of the scribe.
It gave me reason to sit down with folded legs, get my out my pouch, unpack my wooden palette, grinding slates, circular mixing dishes, pigments and reed styli; unroll my papyrus, iron it with my smoothing stones and scribe this text for eternity to Thoth – the god of scribes.

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