Ancient Egyptian Quotation Marks

Insight and a helpful tip on how to identify various nTrw – “Netcheru” when looking at the beautiful art of our illustrious ancestors in Egypt.  Take a look at this example:

horemheb unidia-bs 35618

Transliteration: Dd mdw in Hwt Hrw Hr-tp wAst Hnwt nTrw nbw nbt pt

Egyptological spelling: Djed medew in Het-Heru her tep Waset henut Netcheru nebu nebet pet.

Translation: Words spoken by Het-Heru who is foremost of the city of Waset, mistress of all the Netcheru, lady of the sky.

The focus here is on the phrase Dd mdw in – “djed medew in” meaning words spoken by.  This is located two columns to the right of the female figure.  The glyphs are the cobra in repose (I10)[1], walking stick (S43), flowering reed (M17), and water ripple (N35).


This is the ancient way of functioning as quotation marks that we use in English today.  Quoting what someone said.  The female figure is identified as the one being quoted and in this case it is Het-Heru.  The figure being quoted and the glyphs represented, face in the same direction.  This tip should help in identifying who you are looking at.  There are many instances where figures are confused with one another because various Netcheru share similar appearances such as Auset and Het-Heru which are probably the most confused as well as Nebthys.

Here is a picture of Auset in the same appearance as Het-Heru however, using the tip of identifying the “djed medew” and reading the name afterwards, you will know who is being depicted:

horemheb sb 08

Many people would normally mistake her as Het-Heru in this picture, but using this tip we can eliminate this misunderstanding.  Ancient Egyptian Quotation Marks. Hope you find this useful.

[1] Gardiner Codes used by Sir Alan Gardiner to categorize hieroglyphs using a coding systems which allows Egyptologist to identify glyphs being discussed. 

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