I was going to write an article on the Rosetta Stone
, decided not to and then decided to do it again. It happens almost everyday where I start to write something and then decide I don't want to do it either because there's not enough info, I can't figure out what I want to write, it's a subject that people might not care about or it's just plain boring. After 2 hours of reading up on it for my own knowledge I realized it fell into that last category - boring. But I'm trying to keep this site original and informative with a load of information on everything so I guess it fits and when I decide not to write about something, I've wasted a couple hours and go another day without an article written so we might as well liven it up a little bit to make it interesting. I'll keep it short and let you do a quick search if you really, really need to know the entire history behind the Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone - Something good to come from war.
All I knew until today was that the Egyptian Hieroglyphic language was not deciphered until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. That about summed up my knowledge so I read up on it for fun. The Rosetta Stone was actually found by Napoleon Bonaparte and some of his men while they were staked out in Egypt in 1799 - at a time of war between France and England. The soldiers were using stones in the area to build their forts when they came across the stone with it's ancient writing and they knew right away they had found an object of much significance. The stone contained Egyptian hieroglyphics at the top, Egyptian Demotic writing (a later period cursive style), and Greek text at the bottom. The town they found it in was Rosetta - hence, the name Rosetta Stone.
The British claimed the Rosetta Stone
The British defeated the French and took possession of the Rosetta Stone in 1802. Over time a few people deciphered the text on the stone and it was completely translated between the 3 languages in 1824. I tried reading through the actual translation but it's a highly boring speech having to do with the Pharoahs and their taxes and their release of prisoners and all that other fun stuff. It was actually written by a bunch of priests to glorify the Pharoah. Sure it's interesting to read what the ancients did, but I still think it's boring. The Rosetta Stone was produced by Ptolemy V around 196 B.C. near the end of the last dynasty when the Greeks occupied Egypt. For this reason, all 3 languages of Egypt were written so everyone could read the Pharoah's tablets.
More than 1 Rosetta Stone?
One thing I had no idea about is the fact that there have actually been 6 stones and a wall found in total which contain the same writing. They were placed in different areas for easy access to the peasants. The Rosetta Stone was one of the last ones made since the stones before that were in honour of the previous 4 Ptolemy's.
Like I said, that's about all I feel interested enough to write about the Rosetta Stone. That gives you the basics on how the Egyptian language was first translated and how we can read it today. If the Rosetta Stone hadn't been found there still would have been 6 other chances to translate it - 5 stones and a wall with completely different names. Anyway, let's hope the next article can keep even the author enthused...
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