The earliest evidence found for the Meroitic writing dates back to the early second century BC. The Meroitic script is composed of twenty-three characters, four vowels, fifteen consonants, and four syllabus signs.1

Meroitic had a flexible, yet advanced, hieroglyphic system. Both, the hieroglyphic and the cursive versions are read in the direction that the figures face. However, most of the cursive writings found are read from right to left and the hieroglyphs from top to bottom. Words are uniquely separated by two or three dots. Examples of deciphered Meroitic words that are commonly found in Meroitic texts include qor for ruler, kdi for lady, ste for mother, and mk for god.2

Deciphering Meroitic would be of immense value to our knowledge of the Kushite civilization. Unfortunately, scholarly efforts aimed at deciphering the script have been limited. Unless deciphered, our knowledge of the Kushite kingdom and its people will remain vague.

Stela inscribed in the Meroitic script.

  • 1 J. Leclamt, "The Present Position in the Deciphering of Meroitic Script" (Ghent: Unesco, 1978).
  • 2 N. B. Millet, Meroitic Nubia, Ph.D Dissertation, Yale University, UMI Dissertation Service, 1988, in C. A. Winters, "Meroitic Evidence For A Blemmy Empire In The Dodekaschoins," Arkamani Sudan Electronic Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology, March. 2004, Nov. 2008 <http://www.arkamani.org/arkamani-library/meroitic/Kalabsha.htm>.
Authored: 2005.
Edited: Feb. 2009.

The primary material of the website is authored by Ibrahim Omer © 2008.