In a move sure to be cheered by classicists everywhere, the Unicode Consortium group, they who guard the emoji gates, have proposed adding more than 2,000 Egyptian hieroglyphs to the approved character sets encoded on new smart phones, computers, and other digital devices.
The proposed list roughly corresponds to Egyptian iconography available to scribes during the early Greco-Roman period, roughly 300 BCE. Earlier, in the Old, Middle, and New Kingdom periods (2700 BCE – 1000 BCE) the Egyptian “alphabet” consisted of around 700 characters. This soared to more than 7,000 during the Ptolemaic dynasty, which culminated with the reign of Cleopatra.
Which is no doubt interesting, but the larger point is that we can finally stop dabbling in pictography for our digital blatherings, and start using the original real deal. And although most of us haven’t yet learned to spell “Eggplant” in Ancient Egyptian, something tells me we’ll all soon know how.