found the Rosetta Stone?
The top third of the Rosetta Stone consists of hieroglyphic
script, the middle is Demotic
(a cursive writing of the older hieroglyphs),
whilst the bottom section carries the easily-read
classical Greek. The name
of King Ptolemy is located on Line 6 of the hieroglyphic script.
July of 1799 a group of French engineers from Napoleon's army
ready to demolish an ancient wall outside the small
Egyptian village of Rosette
(Raschid), which is near Alexandria, in the
western delta of the Nile. A young
French officer named Pierre-Francois
Bouchard found a block of black basalt
stone. It measured three feet nine
inches long, two feet four and half inches
wide, and eleven inches thick,
and had the same message on it in two languages
(Egyptian and Greek),
using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek).
The Rosetta Stone was
the key that unlocked the mysteries of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
represented the "translation" of "silent"
symbols into a living language.
from 196 BC., the Rosetta Stone was inscribed by the ancient Egyptians
a royal decree praising their king Ptolemy V. Many people worked on
hieroglyphs over several hundred years. However, the structure of the
was very difficult to work out. Thomas Young, a British physicist, and Jean
Francois Champollion, a French Egyptologist, collaborated to decipher the
hieroglyphic and demotic texts by comparing them with the known Greek text.
Champollion correctly identified the names of Cleopatra and Alexandrus and
verified Ptolemeus which had previously been identified by Young.
In 1822 new inscriptions from a temple at Abu Simbel on the Nile were
into Europe and Champollion correctly identified the name of the
had built the temple. That name was Ramses. Utilizing his
of Coptic he continued to successfully translate the hieroglyphics
up an understanding of the Ancient Egyptians.
From this meager starting point a generation of Egyptologists eventually
to read most everything that remains of the Egyptians' ancient
the Rosetta Stone is kept at the British
Museum in London.
Minnesota State University E-Museum