For more than two thousand years knowledge of Ancient Egypt remained semi-hidden. This lack of knowledge had an explanation: the scientific community did not know the hieroglyphic system and the demotic alphabet used in this ancient civilization. However, in 1799, a large basaltic stone with written information about Ancient Egypt was discovered. This discovery took place in the context of the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon’s troops in 1798. Rosetta Stone
Napoleon’s army arrived on the shores of Alexandria, along with a group of scientists from various disciplines who were part of the military expedition. From that moment on, a group of French researchers established the theoretical foundations of Egyptology.
In July 1799, a French officer in the small town of Rosetta happened to discover a stone slab with strange inscriptions. It contained information written in three different versions: in Greek, in the demotic script of Ancient Egypt, and in the hieroglyphic language . The stone had the following measurements: 144 cm high by 91 cm wide and weighed 700 kg.
A French general ordered the stone to be sent to a research center in Cairo. At that time, the British were trying to drive the French out of Egypt. Rosetta Stone
When they finally did, in 1801, they appropriated the “Rosetta Stone” as part of the spoils of war. This valuable treasure arrived in London in 1802. At this point, researchers began an intellectual battle to try to decipher its contents.
The riddle of the stone was finally revealed thanks to the work of Champollion
The Greek text was translated without any problem. It was a decree related to Pharaoh Ptolemy V. When they tried to know the meaning of the other two texts, difficulties began to arise. Thus, the researchers found themselves faced with a complex mystery, as no expert knew how to interpret the complete content of the “Rosetta Stone”.
It was the French linguist and historian Jean-François Champollion who managed to interpret its meaning after several years of research.
This archaeological discovery was not important for the content of the texts, but it established a definitive step towards the understanding of the demotic language and hieroglyphic inscriptions. Thanks to Champollion’s research it was possible to decipher the great mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Rosetta Stone
A discovery that changed the course of Egyptology
In the British Museum in London there are fabulous treasures of antiquity. Among them is the famous “Rosetta Stone”. This large stone slab is, without a doubt , one of the most important archaeological remains of Ancient Egypt. Rosetta Stone