Patience is a virtue. Don’t bug your partner about their weight. Try not to vex your boss. As a new translation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs reveals, the fundamental rules of human behavior have changed little in the last 4,000 years—and wisdom from the times of the pharaohs still rings wry and insightful today.
Writings from Ancient Egypt (Penguin Classics) is an anthology of millennia-old papyrus, letters, and stone carvings, selected and translated into sparkling contemporary English by Cambridge University Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson. Released in the UK on Aug. 24, the book aims to cast new light on writing from the ancient civilization. Egyptian art and artifacts are full of hieroglyphs, points out Wilkinson in his introduction, yet museum visitors rarely get to read the stories they tell.