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Demotic script



Demotic script.
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Demotic script from Gebel el-Silsila.
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Demotic script from Gebel el-Silsila. Photo: Study of the Ancient World.

Writing system formerly used in Egypt, that is a simplified form of the hieroglyphic system. Demotic script lasted for about 1000 years, and belongs to the last period of Ancient Egyptian history. It was preceded by hieratic script, another form of simplified writing.
Even after the introduction of demotic script, hieratic script survived. Demotic script was used for business and literary purposes, while hieratic was used for religious texts.
Demotic is a development of hieratic script. It has a more cursive form, signs are more flowing and joined and the signs themselves are more similar to one another, and therefore slightly more difficult to read.
Demotic script employed several types of new phonetic forms that differed from the original writing styles.
While hieratic script was almost always written with ink on papyrus, demotic script could also be engraved in stone or carved in wood.

History
660 BCE: First known example of demotic script.
5th century BCE: Demotic script is in use all over Egypt.
Beginning 4th century CE: Demotic script is starting to be replaced by Greek writing.
425: Last known example of demotic script.




By Tore Kjeilen