Scribe Life

Above you’ll a brief video on the sculpture of a scribe. He is seated in a less formal position than the gods, goddesses, and rulers of Egypt. Their eyes are created in a way that give them a realistic feel made with a crystal finish. And the fact that the paint has lasted for thousands of years is amazing.

The Scribe Life

We owe most of our knowledge of ancient Egypt to the work of her scribes. They employed scribes to record everything from the stocks held in the stores for workers to court proceedings. “Scribes recorded magic spells, wills and other legal contracts, medical procedures, tax records, and genealogies.”

Scribes were central to the functioning of the centralised administration, the army, and the priesthood. In truth, very little happened in ancient Egypt which did not involve a scribe in some manner.

This is why one of the most respected titles in ancient Egypt was “sesh” – “scribe”. “The terms is more properly translated as “to draw” or “to create” rather than simply ‘to write’ or ‘to read’.” Which is interesting to me because I prefer to think of myself as both a creator and a writer. I think the word creator is too vague so I often say I’m writer. But I love how it translates to “to create.”

Scribes were the protectors and developers of ancient Egyptian culture and central to academic research and the smooth running of the state apparatus. The scribes not only copied existing texts preserving them for future generations, they also edited existing works and wrote new texts. They were considered to be members of the royal court and as such did not have to pay tax, undertake military service, or perform manual labour.

I appreciate how they hold their Scribes in high esteem and with so much respect. They gave them a world where being a writer is accessible to those who worked hard at mastering their craft. These days we aren’t writing a paper as expensive as papyrus and the amount of pens we have actually makes me excited to writer about. But still, I absolutely love how back then they pushed for their children to live the writing life unlike today where writers are often shamed and painted a clear image of what a starving artist looks like.

Setka, son of the fourth dynasty pharaoh Djedefre depicted as a scribe

I’m loving this Scribe Life journey. What do think about the scribe’s life back then versus the writer’s life now?

Published by Jayne

Jayne is a writer. On her free time she likes to be with her family hiking outdoors and traveling. New England is her home and place of birth. When asked what she wants to teach the world she replied, "Don't stop searching. Too many times, in my old life, I put my search aside for more 'important matters.' I didn't realize the thing I was searching for held what was most important; my soul purpose." Jayne works daily on improving her craft and at times can get down on herself, but her favorite morning mantra is "It's a new day." and that's what she strives to start with.

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