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Posts Tagged ‘rosetta stone’

Egyptian | Priestly Decree inscribed in the Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphic Scripts, called the Rosetta Stone; Detail | 196 BCE | British Museum, United Kingdom | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Egyptian | Priestly Decree inscribed in the Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphic Scripts, called the Rosetta Stone; Detail | 196 BCE | British Museum, United Kingdom | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Egyptian | Priestly Decree inscribed in the Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphic Scripts, called the Rosetta Stone | 196 BCE | British Museum, United Kingdom | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Egyptian | Priestly Decree inscribed in the Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphic Scripts, called the Rosetta Stone | 196 BCE | British Museum, United Kingdom | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

On this day in 1799, during Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt, a French soldier discovered a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the Egyptian town of Rosetta (el-Rashid). The stone contained fragments of passages written in ancient Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Egyptian demotic. The section in Greek revealed that the three scripts shared the same content, which provided the key to understanding hieroglyphics, the knowledge of which had disappeared after the end of the fourth century AD.

The Rosetta Stone is a fragment of a larger stele, and none of the three texts is complete. But building upon the work of other scholars, French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion was able to crack the code and decipher the hieroglyphics in 1822, opening the doors to understanding the history and culture of ancient Egypt.

This image comes to us from the Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives collection. View the painting in the ARTstor Digital Library, and remember to zoom in to see the scripts in close detail.

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