What Are Some of the Hieroglyphic Symbols That Ancient Egyptians Used?


Quick Answer

Common hieroglyphic symbols used by the ancient Egyptians include the ankh, the cartouche, the cobra, the scepter and the scarab. Other common hieroglyphics were the feather, the flail and crook, the lotus flower, a rope loop and the winged solar disk.

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Full Answer

The ankh, a symbol resembling a cross with a loop on top, represented eternal life. A common illustration in Egyptian hieroglyphics was a god holding an ankh to a person's lips, which represented the granting of an afterlife. A cartouche was a rope in the shape of a loop. Usually, the Pharaoh's name was written inside the cartouche, which represented both the Pharaoh's status as a sun god and the divine protection that he received.

The cobra, also known as the uraeus, was an emblem of sovereignty and divine authority to the Egyptians. Thus, the cobra was usually associated with the pharaoh. Another hieroglyphic symbol commonly drawn with a king was the Was scepter, which symbolized power, sometimes magical in nature. In hieroglyphics, the scarab represented the miracle of creation, as well as protection and resurrection.

The feather of Maat, usually colored red, represented truth, justice, morality and balance. The flail and crook was a symbol of royalty's role as a provider for his people. The lotus flower sometimes represented Upper Egypt, as well as rebirth.

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