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  The script in ancient Egypt...>>
   
 
   
 

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11

Statue of the royal scribe Ra-hotep

Statue of the royal scribe Ra-hotep
Intact statue of a man on an inscribed base
Pink granite
Inv. no.: 11, height: 0.357m. From a tomb of the mastaba from the Necropolis of Saqqara
Period of the Old Kingdom (V Dynasty, 2465-2323 BC). Dimitriou Collection (donation)
National Archaeological Museum, Room 41, Case 27 no. 5

The inscription in hieroglyphs on the base of the statue gives the name and title of the person represented, as is the case with almost all Egyptian statues. The statue depicts Ra-hotep, a favourite royal scribe. A cross-legged male figure, with or without a papyrus, was initially used to render the king’s eldest son and then, unaltered, became the prototype for the depiction of scribes. In ancient Egypt only a small percentage of the population could read or write. The Pharaohs, members of the royal family, officials, priests and scribes made up this group of the literate. The profession of scribe, particularly desirable and lucrative, was mainly hereditary. Scribes enjoyed a successful career in the administration, priesthood and army. They started their education as children. Their training was arduous and most of it took place in a temple annexe called “The House of Life.” Scribes wrote on stone or small pieces of clay, wooden planks, papyrus and leather parchment.

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HELLENIC MINISTRY OF CULTURE   
 
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