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Ancient Egyptian cartouche of Thutmose III, Karnak, Egypt.

A cartouche is a hieroglyphic symbol of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh.[1] It is oval with a horizontal line at one end, showing that the text enclosed is a royal name.[1]

It starts to be used at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu. The cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, but it is horizontal if it makes the name fit better, with a vertical line on the left.[2] The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu. In demotic writing, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of brackets and a vertical line.

Of the five royal titles it was the prenomen, the throne name, and the "Son of Ra" titulary,[3] the so-called nomen name given at birth, which were enclosed by a cartouche.[4]

At times amulets were given the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs. Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents.[5] Cartouches were only worn by pharaohs.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 0-19-861263-X - p.281 "cartouche: a carved tablet or drawing... an oval or oblong enclosing a group of Egyptian hieroglyphs, typically representing the name and title of a monarch".
  2. "Ancient Egyptian Cartouche Lesson". Retrieved 2013-08-22.
  4. Allen, James Peter, Middle Egyptian: an introduction to the language and culture of hieroglyphs, Cambridge University Press 2000, p.65
  5. Peet, Thomas Eric & Loat, William Leonard Stevenson. The Cemeteries of Abydos. Part 3. 1912-1913, Adamant Media Corporation, ISBN 1-4021-5715-0, p.23