Egyptian Numbers

Hieroglyphic Numbers

Hieroglyphic Numbers

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.

Non-Positional Numbers

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:



Hieroglyphic Numbers

Modern Numbers Hieroglyphic Numbers
1 num1_100h
10 num10_100h
100 num100_100h
1,000 num1000_100h
10,000 num10000_100h
100,000 num100000_100h

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.

For example:


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.


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