Ancient Egyptian fauna : a lexicographical study
This thesis has sought to assemble and evaluate a comprehensive
corpus of texts and secondary material relating to the fauna of ancient
Egypt. It is in the first instance a philological study, using as a
starting point the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache produced in the
1920$ and '30s., though evidence from archaeological and representational
material has been included where appropriate.
Previous work in this field has been sporadic and of varying
quality. Much of it is not recent or is based on older reference
sources. It therefore seemed appropriate to attempt a compilation and
updating of existing studies. Much effort has been put into using
recent zoological works to provide lists of species from modern Egypt
with which to compare both the ancient records and the taxonomic
information given in other Egyptological studies.
The thesis is divided into 20 chapters. The first examines, by way
of introduction to the rest of the study, aspects of zoological
classification in ancient Egypt, making comparisons with work carried
out by anthropologists on classificatory systems used by modern
'primitive' cultures. The remainder of the thesis is divided into three
parts. The first, comprising chapters 2 to 14, examines the names given
by the ancient Egyptians to various mammals; each chapter discusses a
certain group of mammals (eg Cattle; Dogs and Similar Animals; Lions
and Other Cats). The second part, comprising chapters 15 to 17,
concerns birds. Part three comprises chapters 18 to 20 on fish,
reptiles and amphibians, and insects respectively.
The advantage of this type of study lies in the avoidance of
translations formulated in isolation from related material. Altogether
some 600 animal names, spanning c. 3000 to 500 BC, have been discussed;
a number of previous translations have been revised and many new or
more precise translations suggested.