Ancient Emojis

Digital Hieroglyphics

Humanity has been using symbols from the very beginning. The primary way to communicate a concept , knowledge or belief was in the form of images when the written word was not invented yet and symbols dominated , it evolved later in some societies into hieroglyphics. Early Egyptian hieroglyphs dates back as far as 3,300 BCE. Thier hieroglyphics was a combination  logographic and alphabetic elements. The logographic component being an object in pictorial form, much like the emoji.

Even with advent of the written word, symbols have been used extensively. The emoji is an image which express’s emotion , although concepts and words can be expressed with them,  those are really symbols  or logographics in the strict sense of the meaning.

Emojis are the modern day equivalent to hieroglyphics. As time passes they become more complex and more established in universal meaning, able to communicate a whole story. Pictures contain and transfer much more information to the brain , being transferred quicker than written word. In the digital age of a growing global village, quick messages and instant communication, this ancient communication form has been given new life.

Call Me Maybe

image credit funnycx


Egyptian emojis/ logograms

Logograms are most frequently used as common nouns; they are always accompanied by a mute vertical stroke indicating their status as a logogram in theory, all hieroglyphs would have the ability to be used as logograms. Logograms can be accompanied by phonetic complements. Here are some examples:


Egyptian hieroglyphs sun

rꜥ, meaning “sun”;


house Egyptian hieroglyphics

pr, meaning “house”;


Egyptian hieroglyphs reed

swt (sw+t), meaning “reed”;


Egyptian hieroglyphs mountain

ḏw, meaning “mountain”.


In some cases, the semantic connection is indirect (metonymic or metaphoric):



nṯr, meaning “god”; the character in fact represents a temple flag (standard);


Egyptian hieroglyphs soul

bꜣ, meaning “Bâ” (soul); the character is the traditional representation of a “bâ” (a bird with a human head);


The Egyptian symbolise are sourced from Wikipedia – the modern day equivalent to the library of Alexandria to read more about Egyptian Hieroglyphics on Wikipedia click here