Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Assembling some text

Imagine the quadrangle entrance to the Department of Antiquities of a university displaying a sign like the following for their Ancient Egyptian course:

Some random glyphs, except for ‘abcd’ in the middle, and ‘MikTeX’ in the bottom right-hand corner.

Done with the ‘Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs’ font (free from Google, along with hundreds of other fonts) and, for Latex/Xetex: (a) the \pmglyph command from the hieroglf package, with the package lightly modified to add (for the moment, some) named aliases for the font glyphs (easier to do it this way, using Xetex and Unicode Truetype fonts, instead of special fonts with customised mappings), with the \pmglyph command able to do its own internal stacking and re-sizing of glyphs; (b) the \raisebox command, a built-in TeX command I think, for lifting a box of anything above (or pushing below) its usual position on the baseline, so as to arrange things in an aesthetically pleasing manner; (c) the \resizebox command from the graphicx package, to scale things up (and down, if needed), likewise for aesthetic reasons; (d) the \Shortstack command from the stackengine pckage, for stacking things on top of each other (as in this case; stackengine also has commands for stacking things under each other); and (e) the \color command from the xcolor package.

Code:

```\fbox{
\resizebox{!}{7em}{{\color{blue} \eh \HAxli }}
{\eh \huge \Shortstack[c]{{\HCxxiv} {\HAxii} {\HAi}}}
\
\raisebox{0.2em}{%
\resizebox{!}{6em}{%
{\eh \Shortstack[c]{{\pmglyph{a}} {\raisebox{1.2em}{\pmglyph{c}}}}}
}%resizebox
}%raisebox
\raisebox{0.2em}{%
\resizebox{!}{6em}{%
{\eh \Shortstack[c]{{\pmglyph{b}} {\raisebox{1.2em}{\pmglyph{d}}}}}
}%
}
\Shortstack[c]{%
\resizebox{!}{4.8em}{{\color{blue} \eh \HAxlii }} {\pmglyph{m-i:k}{\pmglyph{t:e:k}}}
}%Shortstack
}%fbox```

with \eh being defined via the fontspec package’s \newfontface command:

```\usepackage{fontspec}
\newfontface\eh{Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs}```

LaTeX, treasure cave

Have discovered the joys of typesetting. Specifically, the XeLaTeX incarnation of LaTeX: it can understand Unicode, and can access any fonts installed on the system. Plus its code is expandable, and user-written packages extend its functionality and abilities.

Latex et al. (the tex part is from Greek τέχνη, techne, “art, skill, craft”, meaning both skill of mind and skill of hand) has maths typesetting at its core.

Using suitable packages if required (and there are thousands), you can do papers on more maths:

isotopes:

(and even, on the Arts Faculty side, )

Mazes:

Chess games (of course), step-by-step

.

There are a whole bunch of linguistics-related packages.

For syntax trees and glosses:

Glosses in other scripts:

Playful stuff:

and

And so on.

(As an aside, learning cuneiform must have taken ages at school, not to mention if you were Babylonian and had to go to Ancient Sumerian classes!)

There’s a package called manuscript, designed for emulating the old-style typewriter-written theses, which must have been written for LaTeX in the old days, I think. Now, with XeLaTeX, with its access to any and all installed fonts, one line of code (selecting a typewriter font) is all that is needed for emulating an old-style thesis.

Well, almost. Using the underline command, produces a nice, typeset line, which contrasts with the font (Urania Czech, in this case):

But with the old typewriters, you could backspace, and use the _ key (or the X key for typing errors, before liquid paper was invented):

And of course, some typewriter ribbons were red-and-black (never found out what the red ink was used for).

Lots of fun.

===

Addendum 27-Aug-2017: corrected spelling to: XeLaTeX.