Ancient Egyptian forensic metaphors and categories

Arlette David*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present paper endeavors to throw light on ancient Egyptian legal categories and metaphors with the help of the hieroglyphic script classifiers, as these classifiers graphically reveal the semantic categories according to which the Egyptians comprehended legal concepts. The research is centred on two common classifiers used in the legal lexicon of Ramesside royal decrees (unknown sign and unknown sign), the conceptual categories they represent, and their relationship to the lexemes they classify. Other classifiers are briefly examined in relation to main legal categories. Categorization is a fundamental component of legal reasoning, and metaphor is central to legal categorization process, both in modern and ancient cultures, as we try to show by giving modern examples that parallel the Egyptian material.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalZeitschrift fur Agyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


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