What is the Rosette Stone?

Rosette StoneIn 1822, the French Egyptology succeeded in deciphering the hieroglyphics. On a stone found by the French officer in The Rosette (Nile delta, Egypt), there was a Greek inscription in the lower part, while there were two texts with Egyptian characters over it. The comparison between the Greek text and the Egyptian characters eventually led to the decipherable of the hieroglyphics.

The deciphering of the hieroglyphics

The deciphering of the hieroglyphs goes back to the French Egyptology (1790-1832) in 1822.

After a long time of experimentation, he succeeded in deciphering the Egyptian signs with the help of the stone of Rosetta, also a stone of the rosette.

On the stone below was a text with a Greek inscription. Above were two texts with Egyptian characters. These were a heretic and a demotic writing, developments of the hieroglyph Hierarchic writing: simplified by the priest’s hieroglyphic writing, which arose at the transition to papyrus, demotic script: ancient Egyptian folk ). The Greek text could easily be decoded by the scholar. It contained several times the names Cleopatra, and Ptolemaic.

Champollion compared the Greek letters with the Egyptian characters and found that several characters appeared in the same sequence several times. So he discovered that the Egyptian text had the same names as in the Greek text.

The decryption of Champollion proved to be correct. The Greeks had taken over the writing from the Phoenicians, a neighboring people of the Egyptians. The Phoenicians had developed lettering from a part of the hieroglyphs. The Greeks had developed it further and created the Greek alphabet, which gave rise to the Latin alphabet that we still use today.

The historical meaning

The stone of rosette was found in mid-July 1799 by the French officer in a Rosette. Rosette is a port city in Lower Egypt, near the mouth of the western nil arm.

The stone was no longer available in its original size. But even in incomplete condition, the rosette stone has enormous dimensions. He is 1.14 m high, 72 cm wide and 28 cm thick. Its weight is 762 kg. In 1802 the stone came to the British museum in London, where it can still be admired today.

The deciphering of the hieroglyphs with the aid of this stone was a great achievement, not only in terms of the development of the script , but in the development of other historical events, which could now be interpreted in large part from other written sources .

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