Thursday, 29 November 2012

X Like Hieroglyphs

Being my second “X” post for the Pagan Blog Project, I want to focus on a Kemetic glyph that looks like our letter “X”. (Not to be confused with last weeks PBP post also for X and also related to Kemetic glyphs).


Once again referencing the Gardiner list, this time from glyphs grouped under the letter Z, which represent signs that are “Strokes, Signs derived from Hieratic, and Geometrical Figures”.
 

 
Glyph Z9 looks like our modern letter X and is considered to be two crossed sticks.  Z10 is a thicker variant, but has the same meaning. That meaning is “to destroy”, which sounds achdjj. Wikipedia also mentions other sounds: swa, sdj, ichbs, schbn, wp, wr.

 
Today we use a cross in the shape of an X to convey meaning with a negative: when a building entrance is hatched up to prevent entry often an X is used across the entrance and windows. We use the same to suggest that the item being “X”ed is prohibited or not allowed. In Hong Kong when a major typhoon is announced, large X’s are placed on the windows to signal that the business / building is closed because of said typhoon.

 
I wonder if these notions of how we use X today have trickled down from Kemet into our alphabet today? As a letter, X is little used in common words and often when it is the sound is other than “X”. This gives the letter its own “separateness” that in itself echoes the ancient Kemetic meanings.

 
As a determinative, Z9 and Z10 means to break, divide, overload, cross and meet.




My second "X" post for the PBP 2012

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