(View exact match)ligatureCATEGORY: language
DEFINITION: A printed or written character consisting of two or more letters or characters joined together. Two or more signs joined as one - ff, fi, ffi are examples of phonographic ligature. The signs for percent and for fractions are logographic ligatures and the sign & was once a xenographic ligature.
Display More Results
DEFINITION: A cursive form of the Egyptian hieroglyphs developed for everyday use in handwritten documents. It arose from the use of brush pen on papyrus for business and similar non-monumental purposes, starting at the end of the Early Dynastic Period (c 2686 BC). It was gradually replaced by demotic starting in the 7th century BC, but survived for religious use to the end of paganism in Egypt. The word comes from Greek hieratika "sacred". Hieratic signs lost the pictorial character of hieroglyphs and are often joined together. Hieratic was written in one direction only from right to left. In earlier times the lines had run vertically and later about 2000 BC horizontally. Subsequently the papyrus scrolls were written in columns of changing widths. There were ligatures in hieratic so that two but no more than two signs could be written in one stroke. As a consequence of its decreased legibility the spelling of the hieratic script was more rigid than that of hieroglyphic writing. Variations from uniformity at a given time were minor; but during the course of the various periods the spelling developed and changed. As a result hieratic texts do not correspond exactly to contemporary hieroglyphic texts either in the placing of signs or in the spelling of words. Hieratic used diacritical additions to distinguish between two signs that had grown similar to one another because of cursive writing. In the life of the Egyptians hieratic script played a larger role than hieroglyphic writing and was also taught earlier in the schools. The latest hieratic texts are from the end of the 1st century or the beginning of the 2nd century AD. Hieratic should not be confused with 'cursive hieroglyphs' which were used for most of the Pharaonic period in such religious writings as the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead.