Book is now out and can be ordered


by Christian de Vartavan

This dictionary not only presents for the first time a large corpus of vocalised Ancient Egyptian words, but reveals the unknown presence of various types of vowels in the hieroglyphic script, and how to read them.

Among them are unexpected digraphs/diphthongs – the existence of which have never been understood before now. Originally during the early nineteenth century, the first main steps in the phonetics of the hieroglyphic script were made by Johan David Åkerblad and Thomas Young. These were followed by the subsequent discovery of the base principles of the hieroglyphic system by Jean François Champollion between 1822 and 1828.

The discovery of these previously unrecognised vowels and the principles regulating them open new doors to the vocalisation of the Ancient Egyptian language. They also lay the foundations for the future comprehension of ancient Egyptian texts, poetry in particular, by adding sound to meaning.

This second edition of the dictionary is expanded with twice as many words with digraphs/diphthongs and two new appendices. One details further the use of vowels in the hieroglyphic script, and the other presents Ptolemaic and Roman cartouches where the digraphs/diphthongs are unequivocally used to express the names of Ptolemaic rulers and Roman emperors. Thus providing a solid entry point to recognising them and understanding their functioning phonology.

Numerous analyses in the text and improved tables have been added.

Part I – Ancient Egyptian to English.

Part II – English to Ancient Egyptian.

Part III – Classification by V/C/T ratio (number of vowels, versus consonants and total number of phonemes in each word).

Appendix 1 – Vowels in the hieroglyphic system.

Appendix 2 – Use cases of digraphs/diphthongs in Ptolemaic and Roman cartouches.

442 pages. 25 tables & 7 figures. 29.7 x 21 x 2,2 cm. 1605 g. Hardback

£85 + 5.70 Post & Package

ISBN 978-1-913984-16-8


Dr Christian de Vartavan FLS FRSA taught himself Egyptian hieroglyphs from a very early age, then formally from the age of sixteen with Sir Alan Gardiner’s Middle Egyptian grammar. He was educated at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology (BA, MSc and PhD), where he furthered his knowledge of Ancient Egyptian with Prof Harry Smith, then Edwards Chair of Egyptology and head of UCL’s Department of Egyptology, who accepted him straight into second year level. Dr de Vartavan gained world fame in Egyptology while a student by discovering part of the forgotten plant material from king Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew in 1988.

From 2006 to 2014 he became the founder of Egyptology in the Republic of Armenia and the director of its first Egyptology research centre, earning in 2013 a state national award for his groundbreaking research in Ancient Egyptian and related topics. It was during this tenure that the premises of the present study were laid down. It was also there that he discovered the secret chiasmic structure of the important Daily Ritual, as only performed by pharaoh himself or his First Prophet. This structure had languished unidentified since its original translation by A. Moret in 1901 and its discovery has resulted in a current re-translation.

Dr de Vartavan’s expanding Egyptology archive earned the rare honour of becoming part of the UK’s National Archive during his lifetime, and is kept by University of Oxford’s Griffith Institute (Sackler Library). He is married and since returning to the UK in 2017 has made London his home.

%d bloggers like this: