Ancient Art And Craft Originated From North Africa: Hieroglyph

Commonly associated with Egyptian monuments, tombs, and statues, hieroglyphs are a form of pictorial writing that mostly represent sounds, groups of them or the objects depicted in them.

“The words of the gods.”

Meaning

Hieroglyph is a Greek word that means ‘sacred carving’, but is actually a translation from the Egyptian term ‘the words of the gods’. It became clear with a further historical investigation that those beautiful symbols were made to be carved and drawn in temples and important places, but not for everyday commerce in which the hieratic was handwritten and a much more abbreviated symbol to use. It is often said that the demotic (still used today) is a natural descendant of it. The very strange and important thing to understand about Egyptian art is that it wasn´t conceived as we conceive art today. The most important use given to it was ritual and everlasting, but not especially for the public eye, instead, for the inside of tombs and hallways which entrance was forbidden many times for the artist itself. It was an art not to be shown as the great article by the Khan Academy explains.

“Theodosius I was a Byzantine Emperor who shut down all pagan temples in the whole empire around AD 390.”

Almost Lost

Theodosius I was a Byzantine Emperor who shut down all pagan temples in the whole empire around AD 390.

This tremendous action included all Egyptian temples and writing, which lead 4,000 years of writing tradition into a violent ending and the banning of it for almost 1,500 years.

When the first discoveries were made in terms of tombs and temples entering, the writing found there was not legible and very little was known about the inscriptions and their meaning.

“This discovery allowed mankind to know more about the old Egyptian society than any other ancient culture.”

The Rosetta Stone

In 1799 the key to unlocking the mystery of the hieroglyphs was finally found. The Rosetta Stone featured the same text in three languages: demotic, Greek and hieroglyphics. The stone itself said that the text would be the same in the three languages and based on the knowledge acquired to that point about the Greek symbols, the code was cracked. There were several attempts to make a proper translation, but it was French prodigy JeanFrançoise Champollion who made the final determination about the phonetic values of each symbol. Champollion could, by age 16, proficiently use Greek as well as six ancient Oriental languages. Since his understanding of the meanings based on the Rosetta Stone, many other studies have been done only refining and emphasizing the Frenchman´s assumptions. This discovery allowed mankind to know more about the old Egyptian society than any other ancient culture.

Conclusion

The importance of hieroglyphs as a form of communication as well as a work of art is key to understanding some of the unsolved mysteries that have driven humankind to believe in alien invasions and superhuman help to build pyramids. As much as it was a milestone to understanding a huge civilization, the legacy remains in modern art through a movement called the Egyptian Revival involving not only in architecture (obelisks and pyramids) but also furniture and many other forms of media.

Although the discoveries regarding Egyptians were made hundreds of years ago, the impact is still among us today.

Foods That Can Only Be Found In the Middle East

As we all know, the globalized world we live in every day has blended all cultures and found new market niches to commercialize foreign food in virtually every country in the world.

Globalized Mutations

Since migration is so common nowadays, it´s fairly easy for any global citizen to find pairs and a restaurant to go eat and have fun, regardless of the city in the world they are currently at. One very interesting phenomenon is that the lack of some specific ingredients to prepare certain recipes makes the imagination of chefs and cooks go wild and give birth to brand new combinations based on ancient knowledge: the famous globalized mutations. This being said, we can´t assure you these would be something that can´t be found anywhere outside the country of origin but are things you should definitely try if you come across with them.

Tagine

This particular dish takes the name from the recipient (pot) it is cooked in. It is a North African traditional tribal dish found in several countries like Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Vegetables and meat are cooked together in the same container only in the liquids each ingredient releases during the cooking. No extra water is added and the entire vapor generated within the pot is condensed in its conical hat ‘raining’ over and adding up to the natural juices. This delight is often served with some couscous, which is very similar to rice.

Kefta

It might sound familiar because of the utterly known kofta that the Indian cuisine has made famous around the world. The kefta is previous, a predecessor that comes in a simpler but equally tasteful presentation: simple ground meat (it can be lamb or cow) seasoned only mildly with parsley and paprika. Once it is prepared, It is grilled like a kebab and served (just with no gravy).

Mujaddara

If you like cumin, you´re going to love this dish, it uses heavy doses in its preparation. It is an ideal meal for a cold winter evening made of rice and lentils, which are cooked together along with a huge combination of spices including cumin. This is only the bottom part of this dish which is artistically topped with some crispy fried onions that make that ideal contrast of crunchy and soft, stewed, heavily spiced lentils and rice.

Boreks

Historically, the Turkish cuisine has not received the attention it deserves. This phyllo dough snack can be filled with an endless variety of fillings including heavily seasoned meat, spinach with cheese and as many others as the imagination can go. These savory pastries do make a great snack but also, in larger quantities, can turn into a lunch or a dinner.

Ballouria

Did anyone say dessert? Well, this is a pastry that can work as a snack for some middle-of-the-night trip to the fridge or a great after-dinner delight. It features a wheat covering, an astonishing amount of pistachios and is completely drenched in treacle. As a snack or as a desert, this is an awesome sweet thing to have around.

The Left Outs

We haven´t included the most popular ones like Shawarma, tabbouleh, hummus, baklava, and falafels because that´s something anyone can buy and try almost anywhere in the world.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try these suggestions and you won´t go wrong.