The Mysterious Rosetta Stone
The Mysterious Rosetta Stone
In 1977 a mysterious black rock was discovered under the sand by French Soldiers in Napoleon's army, near the city of Alexandria, Egypt. The stone was inscribed in three languages, the first being Greek. It was determined that the rock dated back to about 196 BC, when Egypt was a province of the Greek empire created by Alexander the Great. The other two inscriptions in the rock were in different versions of Hieroglyphics, which was the traditional writing of the Egyptians.
Egypt was one of the great empires of the ancient world. For thousands of years it was ruled by kings called pharaohs, who built thriving cities and magnificent tombs for themselves. The Egyptians also built colossal monuments such as the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids. Egyptian armies controlled lands from present-day Sudan to Syria.
For centuries before the discovery of the Rosetta stone historians and archeologists did not have the ability to read the huge number of written records left by Egypt's scribes. They wrote in a complicated language that even the most learned scholar could not comprehend.
The Rosetta Stone was an edict issued by Egyptian authorities to the Egyptian people, and it unlocked the secrets of ancient Egypt. After years of study, a French scholar by the name of Jean-Francois Champollion was able to decode the complex Egyptian language by lining up the Greek text with the hieroglyphics. The understanding of hieroglyphics allowed historians and archeologists to gain a much more complete understanding of ancient Egypt.
Deciphering the Rosetta Stone was an accomplishment in its own right. Champollion was an impressive linguist and mastered dozens of languages. Thomas Young who was a British scholar also helped with the translation of the inscriptions. In 1801 the British seized the Rosetta Stone and it can now be seen in the British Museum in London.
- During World War Ι the Rosetta Stone and other important exhibitions were moved to an underground subway station to protect them from the bombing of London.
- The script on the Rosetta stone was an outline of the good deeds of the 13-year-old Greek pharaoh, Ptolemy V, in an attempt to convince the Egyptian people of his divinity.
- In ancient Egypt people believe that at death bodies should be preserved and they carefully embalmed the corpses of their kings in a process known as mummification. Up until the 19th century charlatans in Europe ground up mummies and sold it, claiming it had medicinal value.
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Source: The Intellectual Devotional