The Secret of the Rosetta Stone. The Secret of the Rosetta Stone. Introduction. Introduction. The Rosetta Stone: an 11 inch thick, 3 feet 9 inch high, 2 feet 4.5 inch wide block of basalt that led to the decoding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script. The Discovery. The Discovery.
The Secret of the Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone: an 11 inch thick, 3 feet 9 inch high, 2 feet 4.5 inch wide block of basalt that led to the decoding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script.
The Rosetta Stone was discovered half buried in the mud on August 1799 by a French officer of Napoleon’s engineering corps at an area approximately 56 kilometers northeast of Alexandria, Egypt. The inscription on the stone was written by priests who described the crowning of Ptolemy V Epiphanes, who reigned from 203 BC to 181 BC. There seemed to be three different languages on the block and it was soon discovered that the texts in each language were identical. The decree was first written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics; then in Demotic, a fashionable Egyptian language of the time; and in Greek. Eventually, the Rosetta Stone was taken to England and is still preserved in the British Museum.
The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics puzzled scholars for centuries. The hieroglyphics were finally decoded by French scholar Jean François Champollion, though much progress was also made by Thomas Young, a physicist and medical practitioner. Champollion used the Rosetta Stone to unlock the forgotten Egyptian language by using the Greek text, which he could understand, as a guide. He studied the arrangement and reiteration of proper names in the Egyptian script, which allowed him to gain knowledge of the sounds of many of the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols. Champollion already had a comprehensive knowledge of Coptic, the final stage of Egyptian writing, which was primarily written with Greek letters. This enabled him to identify the meanings of numerous Egyptian words in the upper section of the inscription. After much effort, he could finally interpret the whole text inscribed on the Rosetta Stone and could read hieroglyphics very fluently.
Jean François Champollion
In 1822, Champollion released a pamphlet containing the outcome of his work called “Lettre a M. Dacier”. This pamphlet helped other scholars understand the literature of the ancient Egyptians.
Bibliography of Cited Works
“Rosetta Stone” by Leonard H. Lesko, PHD.
From WORLD BOOK 2003 World Book, Inc
“Rosetta Stone” by I.E.S. Edwards
From Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Nov. 29, 2004
Cover Art:From http://images.fbrtech.com/dnew/London2000/Rosetta Stone 3.jpg
Rosetta Stone Picture on Slide 2: From www.ekag.org/therosettastone.jpg
Egypt Map on Slide 3: From http://archives.cnn.com/2000/books/news/08/09/egypt.library.reut/map.egypt.alexandria.jpg
Champollion Picture on Slide 4: From http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/champollion5.jpg
“Lettre a M. Dacier” Picture on Slide 5: From www.touregypt.net/featurestories/champollion4.jpgCredits