1st Edition

The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo Nilous Hieroglyphic Semantics in Late Antiquity

By Mark Wildish Copyright 2018
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    The main aim of this book is to reconstruct a philosophical context for the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo, a late 5th century Greek study of hieroglyphic writing. In addition to reviewing and drawing on earlier approaches it explores the range of signs and meanings for which Horapollo is interested in giving explanations, whether there are characteristic types of explanations given, what conception of language in general and of hieroglyphic Egyptian in particular the explanations of the meanings of the glyphs presuppose, and what explicit indications there are of having been informed or influenced by philosophical theories of meaning, signs, and interpretation.



    1 The Text and Author of the Hieroglyphica

    2 Linguistic Signs

    2.1 The Historical Meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphs

    2.2 Meaning in Horapollo

    2.3 Neoplatonic Theories of Meaning

    3 Natural Signs

    3.1 The Graeco-Roman Reception of the Tradition

    3.2 Genre: Lexicon or Encyclopedia?

    3.3 Natural and Artefactual Signs in Horapollo

    4 Divine Symbols

    4.1 The Christian-Pagan Controversy

    4.2 The Allegory of Hieroglyphic Egyptian

    4.3 Neoplatonic Hieroglyphics

    5 The Cosmos of the Hieroglyphica

    5.1 Horapollo’s Symbolic Hieroglyphs

    5.2 Horapollo’s Metaphysics

    5.3 Sensible Nature and the Intelligible Cosmos

    Conclusion: Re-reading the Hieroglyphica


    Appendix 1: Horapollo’s Hieroglyphs and their Meanings

    Appendix 2: The Egyptian Content of the Hieroglyphica

    Appendix 3: The Coptic Content of the Hieroglyphica


    Text Editions

    Secondary Texts

    Other Primary Texts Cited

    Other Secondary Texts Cited


    Mark Wildish is Tutor / Honorary Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Hong Kong.