The Hieroglyphs: The Writings of Ancient Egypt
The Hieroglyphs are the writings of the Ancient Egyptians. These writings have been used to understand the culture, religion, architecture, and history of their creators. Hieroglyphics have been found on monuments and other buildings, stones, and papyrus scrolls. This valuable resource, however, has not always been useful. Before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone by Napoleon's armies in 1799, it seemed that Ancient Egypt would forever be voiceless.
The Rosetta Stone, possibly the single most important archaeological discovery of all time, was found by accident by an officer of Napoleon's army invading Egypt in 1799. The stone had three sections of text, one written in Egyptian Heiroglyphs, one in Demotic, a vernacular form of Egyptian at the time, and the final section in Greek. It was this section that allowed scholars to decipher the ancient language of Egypt. After the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, scholars worked to decipher its text. The man given credit for decoding the Rosetta Stone was Jean Francois Champollion, a French scholar. Using his knowledge of Greek and Coptic, the Egyptian language of his time, Champollion was able to determine the meanings of the Hieroglyphics at the top of the stone. When he completed his work, he published Lettre a M. Dacier, which allowed archaeologists to read the Hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt.
Original Article Written : 7/22/96
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