Return of the hieroglyphs: M2 + Egypt = Awesome

The students responsible for the now world-famous* hieroglyphic sex graffiti have returned to express their love for Egypt.

I ran this one by my expert Egyptologist, and in addition to translating it they had some fascinating remarks about the characters they chose to render ‘Egypt’:

Egypt here is written with the “foreign land” determinative (hill-shapes) –when it’s written with a determinative it’s usually written with the “town” determinative (which looks like a circle with bisecting lines drawn inside of it). So the writing here contains a bit of a contradiction: it’s strange to see km.t written with the “foreign land” determinative because it was often used to determine words that are names of other countries or words that have a connection to “desert”, or “upland” (which is desert, in the case of Egypt); and km means “black”, km.t (with “town” determinative) literally means “black land”, i.e. the alluvial land of Egypt–the parts of Egypt that were inundated by the Nile when flooding, and was used by the Egyptians to refer to their country, or that part of it that was cultivable.


* Check out the article in Spiegel Online, “Graffiti in Uni-Bibliotheken: “Wir haben’s am Morgen zweimal gemacht“.

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