The Rosetta Stone

1110 Words5 Pages
When someone says Egypt the first thing that comes to mind is often the Pyramids of Giza but, so much more lies beyond that. Many people don’t know that after Sumer, Egypt was one of the civilizations with its own form of writing. When the Rosetta Stone was uncovered it was universally acknowledged that the French had struck gold. This magnificent stone uncovered mysteries of the ancient world that would lead to new discoveries for centuries to come. Thirty-five miles northeast of Alexandria, in a small town known as el-Rashid (which translates to Rosetta) long before the modern day, a slab of black granodiorite was used to inscribe some of archaeology’s most precious words. The slab doesn’t look like much, it is almost four feet long and…show more content…
The expedition took place in 1799 35-miles northeast of Alexandria (a present day major city in Egypt). Upon the return of the French soldiers the Rosetta Stone was kept in France until 1802. Back in 1798 the French had been defeated by Great Britain, in the Battle of the Nile, years after their victory Great Britain seized many artifacts and works of art from the French, one of these being the sacred Rosetta Stone. In order to compete in the major race to decode this slab of mystery the French were able to create an imprint of the stone to make this terrible loss slightly less damaging. The British placed the Rosetta Stone in room 4 of the British Museum where it has stayed since 1802 with the exception of a short period of time when the Rosetta Stone was placed underground with other irreplaceable artifacts during World War II. Attempts to decode the Rosetta began almost immediately. Most prominently, in 1814 English physicist Thomas Young made great strides in the near impossible feat. Young was able to recognize that one of the inscriptions was in Greek, and that there were multiple royal names cited in the text. Being that Young had multiple interests and endeavors at the time he knew that being the full-time Egyptologist to decipher the entire stone was not realistic. It is for this reason that Dr. Young granted all of his work to renowned Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion. Champollion was recognized for speaking many languages including Latin, Greek, and six oriental languages by the time he was only sixteen years old. He was able to use his knowledge of the Greek language to decode the one of three scripts on the Rosetta Stone. The last line of the Greek script stated “Written in sacred and native and Greek characters.” This allowed
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