Research Paper on Rosetta Stone

Research Paper on Rosetta Stone

In 1799, nearly a year into Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule of Egypt, French engineers working on demolition in the delta town of El-Rashid (Europeanized as “Rosetta”) stumbled across an amazing discovery.

They found a big black granite stone with parallel writings in two languages (Greek and Egyptian) and three scripts while pulling down a wall (Greek, Egyptian demotic, and Egyptian hieroglyphics).

The stone, which fell into British hands in 1801 and is currently housed in the British Museum, was critical to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics in the nineteenth century by English scholar Thomas Young and French scholar Jean-François Champollion.

Prepare to be a little underwhelmed if you were expecting some deep insight that spans millennia. The Rosetta Stone text is actually about a very mundane bit of administrative procedure. It is a copy of an edict issued in 196 BCE by a council of Egyptian priests to commemorate the anniversary of Ptolemy V Epiphanes’ coronation as King of Egypt.

The book opens by listing some of the king’s great actions and accomplishments, such as sending presents to the temple, granting various tax reductions, and restoring peace to Egypt following a revolt that began under his predecessor’s reign, Ptolemy IV Philopator.

In exchange for these services to Egypt, the council of priests promises a series of acts to strengthen Ptolemy V Epiphanes’ royal worship, such as the erection of new statues, improved decorations for his shrines, and festivals commemorating his birthday and ascension to the throne.

Finally, the order directs that it be carved in stone in hieroglyphics, demotic writing, and Greek and put in temples across Egypt.

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