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Home > Research > Publications > Catalog of Publications > The Demotic Dictionary

The Demotic Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Janet H. Johnson, editor
The Oriental Institute, Chicago
©2001 The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
Published 2001. United States of America.


Introduction to The Demotic Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

The Demotic Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CDD) is a lexicographic tool for reading texts written in a late stage of the ancient Egyptian language and in a highly cursive script known as Demotic. In use from ca. 650 B.C. until the middle of the fifth century A.D., Demotic served as the medium for a wide variety of text types. These include “documentary” texts, such as business and legal documents, private letters and administrative inscriptions, and “literary” texts, including not only works of literature per se, for example, narrative texts and pieces of wisdom literature, but also religious and magical texts and scientific texts dealing with topics such as astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. Demotic texts thus not only provide important witnesses for the development of ancient Egyptian linguistic and paleographical traditions but also constitute an indispensable source for reconstructing the social, political, and cultural life of ancient Egypt during a fascinating period of its history.

The CDD is intended to supplement and update W. Erichsen’s Demotisches Glossar, which was published in 1954 and has been the only large-scale dictionary of Demotic available to the scholarly world. The CDD is formatted in a way to make it as compatible with Erichsen’s Glossar as possible and is based mainly on texts published during the first twenty-five years after the Glossar appeared (i.e., 1955–1979). The coverage of texts published between 1955 and 1979 is intended to be comprehensive. In addition, the CDD contains some vocabulary from texts published before 1955, especially gleanings from Wilhelm Spiegelberg’s manuscript dictionary. The CDD also includes a few items from texts published after 1979, especially new studies of texts that were originally published between 1955 and 1979, but no systematic attempt has been made to include words from all texts published after the latter date. Whenever possible, references to more recent secondary literature (i.e., that published in 1990 or later) have been incorporated into the dictionary’s entries, though coverage of such references is not complete. The CDD includes both new meanings or significant new orthographies for words cited by Erichsen and words that are absent from the Glossar. It also contains far more extensive examples of compounds, title(-string)s, and idiomatic expressions than the Glossar. Otherwise, if the CDD does not have significant new information to add to that adduced by Erichsen, a reference is given to the appropriate page(s) in the Glossar.

This preliminary publication of the CDD, an online version, is offered as a series of PDF files—one for each letter. Further letters will be added as they are completed.

Table of Contents

Completed Letters Download
Prologue Download PDF Terms of Use
3 Download PDF Terms of Use
'I Download PDF Terms of Use
c Download PDF Terms of Use
Y Download PDF Terms of Use
W Download PDF Terms of Use
B Download PDF Terms of Use
P Download PDF Terms of Use
F Download PDF Terms of Use
M Download PDF Terms of Use
N Download PDF Terms of Use
R Download PDF Terms of Use
L Download PDF Terms of Use
H Download PDF Terms of Use
H2 Download PDF Terms of Use
H3 Download PDF Terms of Use
H4 Download PDF Terms of Use
S Download PDF Terms of Use
SH Download PDF Terms of Use
Q Download PDF Terms of Use
K Download PDF Terms of Use
G Download PDF Terms of Use
T Download PDF Terms of Use
TJ Download PDF Terms of Use
DJ Download PDF Terms of Use
Problematic Entries Download PDF Terms of Use
Problematic Entries 2 Download PDF Terms of Use

Revised: April 23, 2014

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