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Cursive hieroglyphic is a writing system that uses simplified hieroglyphs. It is commonly used for religious documents written on papyrus, such as the Book of the Dead. It was particularly common during the Ramesside Period and many famous documents, such as the Papyrus of Ani, utilize it. It was also employed on wood for religious literature such as the Coffin Texts.

Cursive hieroglyphic should not be confused with the hieratic writing system. Hieratic is much more cursive, having large numbers of ligatures and signs unique only to hieratic. However, there is, as might be expected, a certain degree of influence from hieratic in the visual appearance of some cursive glyphs. One significant difference is that the orientation of cursive hieroglyphic is variable, reading right to left or left to right depending on the context, whereas hieratic is always read right to left.[1]


  1. Davies 1990, p. 93.


  • Cruz-Uribe, Eugene. 2001. "Scripts: An Overview." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, edited by Donald B. Redford. Vol. 3. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 192–198 [194–195].
  • Davies, William Vivian. 1990. "Egyptian Hieroglyphs". In Reading the Past: Ancient Writing from Cuneiform to the Alphabet. London: British Museum Press. 74–135.