Just like Ancient Egyptian writing, Egyptian numbers are represented by hieroglyphs. Each hieroglyph represents a multiple of 10 – the next largest number is 10 times larger. A hieroglyphic number is read as the sum of the characters' values.
Like modern numbers, the Ancient Egyptian numbering system is also a base 10 system, but unlike modern numbers Egyptian hieroglyphic writing isn't a positional system. Instead of relying on the position of digits to define their value, the Egyptians used different characters to represent multiples of 10.
With positional numbers, the sequence and position of each digit is important to the value of the number.
Example of positional number:
With non-positional numbers, the sequence and position of numbers relative to one another doesn't affect the value.
Example of non-positional number:
|Modern Numbers||Hieroglyphic Numbers|
A hieroglyphic number is read by adding up the values of the hieroglyphic characters shown. The sum of the hieroglyphs shown equals the value of the number.
A character was repeated as many times as was necessary to write a value. Typically, larger values are written first and are followed by lesser values, following the same reading direction rules as with hieroglyphs. If a multiple of 10 has no value, no character is shown.