What is hieratic?

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What Does hieratic Mean

In order to discover the meaning of the hieratic term, it is necessary, first of all, to take the step of knowing its etymological origin. In this case, we can establish that it is a word that derives from Latin, exactly from "hieraticus" that emanates, in turn, from "hierateia" which can be translated as "priesthood". However, these Latin terms come from the Greek, specifically, from "ieratikós", which is synonymous with "priestly".

The Royal Spanish Academy ( RAE ) recognizes several meanings of this concept.
The first meaning mentioned by the RAE refers to the gesture or style of great solemnity . The hieratic, in this framework, is linked to the pompous or the affected . For example: “With a hieratic gesture, the old man rejected the invitation and continued walking” , “The artist remained hieratic throughout the concert and hardly interacted with the audience” , “The monarch listened to the president's speech hieratic and then He approached to greet him ” .

Hieratic is also that related to the priests and the sacred elements of Antiquity . In this context, the idea makes mention of the spirituality of the pagan peoples.
For all the above, we have to state that among the synonyms for hieratic we find words such as hermetic, religious, inexpressive, sacred, unalterable, priestly, solemn or priestly, for example.
The hieratic , meanwhile, was used by the ancient Egyptians, constituting as an abbreviation of hieroglyphic writing . An etymological "explanation" of this use of the term can be found in the stone engravings made by the priests of that time.
When you wanted to write quickly and in a simpler way than in hieroglyphics , you used hieratic writing. Thus, religious texts could be created, but also administrative ones.
This type of writing was also useful for writing on papyrus with the calamus, a hollow reed. It is considered that the hieratic began to be used in the so-called Protodynamic Period of Egypt , which developed between 3300 and 3100 BC .
Although there are hieratic signs that are similar to hieroglyphs, experts believe that hieratic is not derived from hieroglyphic writing. Both systems developed simultaneously, evolving in parallel.
Other data of interest about the mentioned hieratic writing are the following:

-It was always written from right to left.

-It was written on materials such as linen, leather, tablets, papyrus or even wood.

-As a general rule, it was written horizontally. However, on other occasions, it was resorted to developing it in columns.

-Although sometimes this type of writing and hieroglyphs tend to be confused, the truth is that the main difference between the two is the existence of what is known as ligature. This came to be the union of the symbols that was used to give shape to groups of symbols fundamentally. Likewise, it should be noted that the hieratic turns out to be much more fluid and stylized in its forms.

-It is established that it was used regularly until 700 BC, when it was replaced by the so-called demotic writing.

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