JSesh: A Tutorial for the Best, Free Hieroglyphic Editor – Part 2

JSesh Tutorial Part 2In part 1 of this JSesh Tutorial series, I introduced you to the the Hieroglyphic editor, JSesh, and its most basic method for creating hieroglyphs. This method uses the Hieroglyphic palette, a useful tool in searching for specific types of hieroglyphs.

This method does not require previous knowledge of hieroglyphs, so it is the easiest method for beginners to use. Although it is easy to use, it is very time consuming.

In this part, I will introduce you to an alternate method to create hieroglyphs. This method uses the Manuel de Codage or Gardiner numbers in order to achieve the same result, only much more efficiently.

What is the Manuel de Codage?

As you have most likely noticed, sometimes the letters we use to transliterate Egyptian hieroglyphs have strange markings on them ( š, etc.). These markings are called diacritical marks, and change the sound value of the letter.

With the increased use of computers, Egyptologists needed an easy way to input transliterations into computers, and the result was the Manuel de Codage (MdC). In this system, there are no diacritical marks, so any keyboard or font is capable of creating perfectly acceptable transliterations.

Below is a chart that lists the Egyptian alphabet, its transliteration, and the corresponding Manuel de Codage value.

Click to open chart.

Egyptian Alphabet and Manuel de Codage Values

Hieroglyph Transliteration MdC Value

3 A
i, j i
y y
ʿ a
w w
b b
p p
f f
m m
n n
r r
h h
s, z z
s s
š S
q, ḳ q
k k
g g
t t
d d

The chart may appear intimidating at first, but it is fairly simple to understand once you know how to transliterate. The h’s are usually the most difficult to remember.

Creating Hieroglyphs in JSesh using the Manuel de Codage

There are two ways to input a MdC value into JSesh. You can either click the Hieroglyphic window and then type in and MdC value, or you can type the values into the elongated box on the bottom of the screen.

Lets look at an example in order to see how this works. In this example, we will see how I created the hieroglyph rmT - Mankind, meaning “people” or “mankind” in JSesh.

Step 1: Determine the MdC values.

If we look at the hieroglyph, we can see that there are two uniliterals, or two hieroglyphs that are part of the alphabet, r - Uniliteral and T - Uniliteral. If we look at the chart above, we can find their MdC values are r and T.

The last three signs A1 - Seated ManB1 - Seated Woman, and Z2 - Plural Strokes are more difficult, since they are determinatives and do not have a phonetic value. So, instead of using MdC values, we will have to input the Gardiner number of each. In order to find the Gardiner number, you can either look through the Hieroglyphic palette, or look at the free Gardiner’s sign list available on this site.

When you first begin, you will be forced to guess to which family the hieroglyphs belong. In this case they are A1, B1, and Z2.

Step 2: Input MdC values into JSesh

Now that we have the values, we can now input them into JSesh. At the lower left corner of JSesh, you should see a blinking cursor within a long, rectangular text box.

JSesh Manuel de Codage input

I have found this to be the easiest method to input MdC values. Each value will be separated by a hypen (-). This tells the program where one hieroglyph ends and another begins. So, our MdC values are r, T, A1, B1, and Z2, and we will insert them into the text box lik this: r-T-A1-B1-Z2.

JSesh Manuel de Codage - rmT

Now, we used the correct values, since the resulting hieroglyphs are the same, but it does not resemble rmT - Mankind. That is because we need to use a few different commands that tell JSesh how to relate each of the hieroglyphs with one another.

Orienting hieroglyphs in JSesh will be discussed in depth in Part 3, but I’ll just briefly mention a few of the commands in order to show you how to orient hieroglyphs using this program.Instead of hypens (-), there are a few different symbols we need to use: colons (:) and asterisks (*).

JSesh Manuel de Codage - rmT - FixedWhen you place a colon in between two values (hieroglyphs), the first hieroglyph will be placed above the other. When an asterisk is placed between two values, they will remain side by side. So, in order to achieve rmT - Mankind, the value we need to enter is r:t-A1*B1:Z2.

Now, we have successfully created the Egyptian hieroglyph, rmT.

Step 3: Export the hieroglyph

Now, the final step is to export the hieroglyph to the format of your choosing. For this, I usually use .png, but it is up for you to decide. All you need to do is highlight the hieroglyphs, hit File > Export as > and then choose the format.

JSesh Export

Simply browse to the location where you want to save the hieroglyph, and then hit ok. The Cadrat Height allows you to increase or decrease the height of the hieroglyphs, the higher the number, the bigger the hieroglyphs.

Stay tuned!

In the part 3 of this JSesh tutorial series, we will explore the different ways to orient hieroglyphs as well as a few different tricks to help you find certain hieroglyphs. Remember, check out the official JSesh website to download the program and try to create your own hieroglyphs.

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