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Cartouche facts for kids

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GD-EG-Karnak040
Ancient Egyptian cartouche of Thutmose III, Karnak, Egypt.

A cartouche is a hieroglyphic symbol of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. It is oval with a horizontal line at one end, showing that the text enclosed is a royal name.

It starts to be used at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu. The cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, but it is horizontal if it makes the name fit better, with a vertical line on the left. The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu. In demotic writing, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of brackets and a vertical line.

Of the five royal titles it was the prenomen, the throne name, and the "Son of Ra" titulary, the so-called nomen name given at birth, which were enclosed by a cartouche.

At times amulets were given the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs. Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents. Cartouches were only worn by pharaohs.


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Cartouche Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.