1. Education

Ancient Egyptian Terms for Children

A list of elementary ancient Egyptian terms for children to know.

By

When children are studying ancient Egypt, they should become familiar with most of these terms, some -- like Cleopatra and King Tut -- because they are such colorful figures and part of common culture. The others should be learned and quickly because they are essentials needed for reading and discussing further. In addition to these terms, discuss the Nile's floods, irrigation, the limitations imposed by the desert, the results of the Aswan Dam, the role of Napoleon's army in Egyptology, the Mummy's curse, Ancient Egyptian myths, and more that may occur to you.

Cleopatra

Poster of Theda Bara as Cleopatra. 1917.
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Egypt before the Romans took over. The family of Cleopatra was Macedonian Greek and had ruled Egypt from the time of Alexander the Great, who died in 323 B.C. Cleopatra is thought of as the mistress of two of Rome's great leaders.

Hieroglyphs

There is more to Egyptian writing than just hieroglyphs, but the hieroglyphs are a form of picture writing and, as such, are beautiful to look at. The term hieroglyph refers to the fact that it is carving for sacred things, but hieroglyphs were also written on papyrus.

Mummy

Mummy and Sarcophagus
Patrick Landmann/Cairo Museum/Getty Images
Various entertaining B-movies introduce young viewers to mummies and mummy curses. Mummies didn't really walk around, though, but they are to be found inside the carved and brilliantly painted burial case known as a sarcophagus. Mummies are also found elsewhere in especially arid parts of the world.

Nile

The River Nile is responsible for the greatness of Egypt. If it hadn't flooded each year, Egypt wouldn't have been Egypt. Since the Nile is in the Southern Hemisphere, its flow is opposite that of northern rivers.

Papyrus

Heracles (Hercules) Papyrus
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Papyrus is the word from which we get paper. The Egyptians used it as a writing surface.

Pharaoh

Ramses II
Clipart.com
"Pharaoh" designates the king of ancient Egypt. The word pharaoh originally meant "great house," but came to mean the person who resided in it, i.e., the king.

Pyramids

Bent Pyramid
CC dustinpsmith at Flickr.com.
A geometrical term that refers to part of the burial complexes especially for Egyptian pharaohs.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone
Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Rosetta Stone is a black stone slab with three languages on it (Greek, demotic and hieroglyphs, each saying the same thing) that Napoleon's men found. It provided the key to translating the previously mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Sarcophagus

Egyptian Mummy and Sarcophagus
Clipart.com
Sarcophagus is a Greek word meaning flesh-eating and refers to the mummy case.

Scarab

Carved Steatite Scarab Amulet - c. 550 B.C.
PD Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Scarabs are amulets formed to look like the dung beetle, an animal associated, by the ancient Egyptians, with life, rebirth, and the sun god Re. The dung beetle gets its name from laying eggs in dung rolled into a ball.

Sphinx

The Sphinx in front of the Pyramid of Chephren
Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
A sphinx is an Egyptian desert statue of a hybrid creature. It has a leonine body and the head of another creature -- typically, human.

Tutankhamen (King Tut)

King Tut Sarcophagus
Scott Olson/Getty Images
The tomb of King Tut, who is also referred to as the boy king, was found in 1922 by Howard Carter. Little was known of Tutankhamen beyond his death as a teen, but the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb, with his mummified body inside, was of tremendous importance for the archaeology of Ancient Egypt.
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Ancient / Classical History
  4. Quick Reference
  5. Independent Learning
  6. Students / Classroom
  7. Ancient Egyptian Terms for Children - List of Basic Ancient Egyptian Terms for Children

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.