Mysterious ancient writingfilter
August 9, 2017 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Experts in Egyptian hieroglyphics, classical Chinese, and Arabic (or maybe Persian)! I need your help!

I'm trying to decipher the ten inscriptions on the walls of Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center. I've figured out seven of them, but the last three are in scripts I can't read or even fumble into Google Translate:

Egyptian hieroglyphs
Chinese
Arabic/Persian

The ones I've already translated are mostly about the value of books and knowledge, which makes sense, since the building used to be a library. And with the exception of the Spanish one (which is from Tomás de Iriarte y Oropesa - maybe he was more popular in 1893), they're from well-known sources (the Bible, Voltaire, Plutarch, Goethe, Dante). I don't have any other clues!
posted by theodolite to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
All of the translations appear to be here.
posted by dayintoday at 2:50 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


dayintoday's link has a good translation of the Chinese perhaps quoted from Delphi Collected Works of Confucius ("He who from day to day recognizes what he has not yet, and from month to month does not forget what he has attained to, may be said indeed to love to learn"). The Chinese version states it's from one of Confucius's disciples, Zixia, not from the Big C himself.
posted by mono blanco at 3:36 PM on August 9


The original Persian by Khayyam is
آنانکه محیط فضل و آداب شدند
در جمع کمال شمع اصحاب شدند
ره زین شب تاریک نبردند برون
گفتند فسانه‌ای و در خواب شدند
posted by Gordafarin at 2:12 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


The rhymed translation at dayintoday's link is presumably Edward FitzGerald's version, which may or may not have much to do with the original (which Gordafarin helpfully provided).
posted by languagehat at 8:36 AM on August 10


Thanks everyone!

As a side note, I have a theory that the Goethe quote ("Oh, sweet voice! Much welcome sound / Of mother tongue in foreign land"), the only one not at all about books/learning/knowledge, is a hidden shoutout to Chicago's German immigrant population.
posted by theodolite at 3:27 PM on August 10


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