A cat with heart eyes. A friendly ghost. A skull and crossbones. A larger, purple eggplant. All emojis used with reckless abandon and hidden meaning. All, surprisingly, a potential aid as you take up arms in the never-ending war between the Brotherhood of the Assassins and the Templar Order in Assassin’s Creed. As an ode to our ancient pasts — hidden histories that we, as 21st-century texters and video game players are blissfully unaware of but would do well to educate ourselves on — the next text you send could end up being the difference between a successful quest and a failed mission.
As the above video highlighting Assassin’s Creed: Origins and the relationship between hieroglyphs and emojis explains, what might appear to be a lazy way of communicating is actually a return back to the days of ancient Egyptians. While you send a text with an eye, a red heart, the letter “u,” and the number two, Egyptians carved a picture of a bee and a leaf on prehistoric walls, communicating “believe” to current, and future, readers. Dr. Julia Troche, who got her Ph.D. in Egyptology and Assyriology from Brown University and works as a professor at Missouri State University, sees a direct correlation between emojis and the “words of the gods.” With one simple package — either carved in the tombs of Egyptian royalty or sent as a text to one lucky individual — robust and profound meanings are created.
So the next time you shoot a text with a picture of a goat to someone you believe to be the greatest of all time, know that you’re silently tipping your technologically sound cap to the ancient ones of Egypt’s past. Who knows, perhaps, one day, your texts will be studied in the hopes a discovered hidden meaning could point to something more. Isn’t that terrifying?