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Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Language Gifted to Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Language Gifted to Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Wednesday, 14 October, 2020 - 07:00
Alexandria Library, Egypt. The original library of Alexandria was established in the third century BC | Getty

The family of late Ahmed Pasha Kamal gifted the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) the Dictionary of the "Ancient Egyptian Language," which was introduced by Kamal's grandson Engineer Abdel Hamid Kamal Zakaria.

The initiative comes in light of the bibliotheca's eagerness to preserve valuable and rare gifts from prominent writers, intellects, and political and scientific figures aiming at enhancing its role in preserving heritage, and its position as a center to produce and spread knowledge.

The late Ahmed Pasha Kamal is the founder of the Egyptian National School for Egyptology, one of the most prominent Egyptian archeologists, and the first Egyptian to compile a huge dictionary for the Ancient Egyptian language (more than 20 volumes) using a solid scientific approach respecting the Arabic language and taking into account the rules of phonological and spatial substitutions. He listed the Ancient Egyptian words in four types of scripts (Hieroglyphs, Hieratic, Demotic, and Coptic), and their corresponding Arabic words. He also included explanations of each word in French, highlighting the juxtaposition between the Ancient Egyptian and Arabic languages. Ahmed Pasha Kamal, founder of the Egyptian National School for Egyptology, and master of Egyptian archeologists tried to publish this dictionary many times before his death but he failed.

Both the BA Cultural Outreach Sector and the Academic Sector developed a plan to restore the dictionary using the latest techniques, and preserve it in the BA Rare Books Library, as well as put some of its volumes on display to the public.

The BA will also work on the digitization of the dictionary to make it easily available to users. The Writing and Scripts Center, affiliated to the BA Academic Sector, will review the dictionary scientifically and re-publish it. It also plans to cooperate with universities and academic institutions to expand the circle of beneficiaries and highlight Ahmed Pasha Kamal's major role in creating this unique dictionary.

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