Daily Ancient Magic #3: Coptic

Coptic is the last stage of the Egyptian language and was spoken from about the 1st century up until the 17th century. It is still in use today as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church.

The Coptic script uses the Greek alphabet instead of the previous Egyptian characters, which originated from the hieroglyphs. Unlike these ancient characters, the Greek alphabet contains vowels.

In the course of the Christianization of Egypt, only the Greek alphabet was used for religious texts, plus some additional characters that were used to express sounds that existed in the Egyptian language but had no counterpart in Greek.

The bottom line is the beginning of an invocation in the context of a love spell. It is pronounced: Tiorek eroten en neten ran etwaab and translates to: I call upon you by your holy names.

Papyrus P.CtYBR inv. 1791


Here is a bit more Coptix text to give you an impression what it looked like, especially the extra characters that are not part of the Greek alphabet.


Ritual instruction in Coptic for a good singing voice. Papyrus P.CtYBR inv. 1791, 7th century AD.
(C) Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Link to the Papyrus on the website of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Thank you for sharing this post with your friends and community!