Ancient writing systems in the Mediterranean

A critical guide to electronic resources


edited by: M. Betrò - D. Salvoldi (translation revised by Melanie Rockenhaus)

  • Introduction
  • Ancient Writing Systems
  • Further information

Demotic (7th cent. B.C.-5th cent. A.D.)

Demotic is a further evolution of Late Egyptian and was the language spoken in Egypt starting from 650 B.C. until 5th Century A.D. Starting from the 4th Century B.C. Egypt is a bilingual country, speaking Demotic and Greek, a language already spoken by some Greek communities in the Delta from the XXVIth Dynasty. Greek became the language of the élite and of administration during the Ptolemaic Period. With Roman occupation (30 B.C.) Latin had a small space, spoken by the army and the higher administration (i.e. the Prefect Office). Demotic literature is rich in magic, dream interpretation and astrology manuals (Book of the dreams, texts from the Archives of Horo of Sebennytos, The Louvre magic Demotic papyrus E 3229, Astrological manual of p. Berlin 8345), religious texts (The Eye of the Sun Myth, Demotic Chronicle, Instructions of Papyrus Insinger and Instructions of Anekh-Sheshonqi) and novels (The novel of king Amasis, Setne I and II, Cycle of Inarus-Petubastis). Besides there is a rich para-scientific and technical literature: essays on medicine, pharmacy, botanic, mineralogy, gynecology.

Ancient Writing Systems

  1. Demotic

Further information

  1. Bibliography