Hieroglyphica  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hieroglyphica is a book by Horapollo dating to about the 5th century.

The text of the Hieroglyphica consists of two books, containing a total of 189 explanations of Egyptian hieroglyphs. The text was discovered in 1422 on the island of Andros, and was taken to Florence by Cristoforo Buondelmonti (it is today kept at the Biblioteca Laurenziana, Plut. 69,27). By the end of the 15th century, the text became immensely popular among humanists, with a first printed edition of the text appearing in 1505, initiating a long sequence of editions and translations. From the 18th century, the book's authenticity was called into question, but modern Egyptology regards at least the first book as based on real knowledge of hieroglyphs, although confused, and with baroque symbolism and theological speculation, and the book may well originate with the latest remnants of Egyptian priesthood of the 5th century.

This approach of symbolic speculation about hieroglyphs (many of which were originally simple syllabic signs) was popular during Hellenism, whence the early Humanists, down to Athanasius Kirchner, inherited the preconception of the hieroglyphs as a magical, symbolic, ideographic script.

The second part of book II treats animal symbolism and allegory, essentially derived from Aristotle, Aelian, Pliny and Artemidorus, and are probably an addition by the Greek translator.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hieroglyphica" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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