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Home > teachers > Ancient Civilisations  > Peter Rabbit Talks Like An Egyptian!
 

Peter Rabbit Talks Like An Egyptian!

January 07 2005

Have you read 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' by Beatrix Potter? Well, maybe you've read it in English - but we bet you haven't read it in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs!



The original Rabbit family. Illustration from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.

© Frederick Warne & Co., 1902, 2002.

Those clever people at The British Museum have translated the story of the mischievous bunny into the symbols which the Ancient Egyptians used as a form of writing - hieroglyphs.

Hieroglyphs can be found on the walls inside the ancient pyramid tombs in Egypt, and tell stories about the person who was buried there, or tales of Egyptian gods and myths.



Picture courtesy of The British Museum Press.

Title page of the hieroglyph translation of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit, with a line drawing of a seated rabbit and some hieroglyphs.

There were problems with translating some words. The Ancient Egyptians didn't have words for 'potato', 'gooseberry' or 'blackcurrant' because those things didn't exist in their world.

'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' was first published over 100 years ago, in 1902. Since then it has sold more than 40 million copies, and been published in 35 languages! The new translation is expected to be out in April.



Peter Rabbit. Illustration from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.

© Frederick Warne & Co., 1902, 2002.

If you're interested in hieroglyphs, check out this fab print and make from the British Museum - Design Your Own Cartouche.

You can also have Fun With Hieroglyphs in this great make from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the USA.

What do you think this might say? Click on the link to the British Museum above to find out.

A black and white line drawing of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs enclosed in an oval shape.

If you're interested in Beatrix Potter, the author of Peter Rabbit, take a look at The 24 Hour Museum Beatrix Potter Trail.
It's written for grown-ups, but has lots of info on places you can visit to find out more about Potter and her animal characters.

The National Trust run the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Lancashire, which displays Potter's original illustrations for her books. If you want to visit you have to be patient as the gallery is closed for the winter. It will open again on 3 April 2005.

You can find out more about Peter and his friends at The Official Peter Rabbit website.


Illustrations from 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' by Beatrix Potter copyright © Frederick Warne & Co., 1902, 2002. Frederick Warne & Co. is the owner of all rights, copyrights and trademarks in the Beatrix Potter character names and illustrations.

Kristen Bailey