A conversation with Jennifer Westerfeld on the scripts used to write ancient Egyptian, especially hieroglyphs. Their last attested use was in the 390s AD, ending their long history in our period. Meanwhile, Greek, Roman, and Christian observers were developing their own theories about how the script worked, often quite fantastic, and reacted to texts inscribed in public spaces.
Jennifer Westerfeld is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Louisville, where she specializes in the cultural and religious history of late antique Egypt, Coptic epigraphy, and papyrology. The conversation is based on Jennifer’s fascinating book Egyptian Hieroglyphs in the Late Antique Imagination (University of Pennsylvania Press 2019).
For more on Coptic in this period, see Episode 13: The case for Shenute the Great and the Coptic tradition, with Sofia Torallas Tovar and David Brakke
Byzantium & Friends is hosted by Anthony Kaldellis, a Professor at the University of Chicago. You can follow him on his personal website.
Top Image: Hieroglyphs on granite stone; precinct of Amun-Ra. Karnak, Egypt. Photo by LBM1948 / Wikimedia Commons