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Rosetta Stone Detail, Demotic Text

Rosetta Stone Detail, Demotic Text

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from The Nile, Notes for Travellers in Egypt, by E. A. Wallis Budge, 9th Edition, London, Thos. Cook and Son, [1905], pp. 199-211.

NOTE: Portions in the body of this text in bold font were surrounded by a cartouche in the original text--JBH.


1. On the twenty-fourth day of the month GORPIAIOS 2 , which correspondeth to the twenty-fourth day of the fourth month of the season PERT 3 of the inhabitants of TA-MERT (EGYPT), in the twenty-third year of the reign of HORUS-RA the CHILD, who hath risen as King upon the throne of his father, the lord of the shrines of NEKHEBET 4 and UATCHET, 5 the mighty one of two-fold strength, the stablisher of the Two Lands, the beautifier of

2. Egypt, whose heart is perfect (or benevolent) towards the gods, the HORUS of Gold, who maketh perfect the life of the hamentet beings, the lord of the thirty-year festivals like PTAḤ, the sovereign prince like RĀ, the King of the South and North, Neterui-merui-ȧtui-ȧuā-setep-en-Ptaḥ-usr-ka-Rā-ānkh-sekhem-Ȧmen 6 , the Son of the Sun Ptolemy, the ever-living,

the beloved of Ptaḥ, the god who maketh himself manifest.

3. the son of PTOLEMY and ARSINOË, the Father-loving gods when PTOLEMY, the son of PYRRHIDES, was priest of ALEXANDER, and of the Saviour-Gods, and of the Brother-loving Gods, and of the Beneficent Gods,

4. and of the Father-loving Gods, and of the God who maketh himself manifest when DEMETRIA, the daughter of Telemachus, was bearer of the

5. prize of victory of BERENICE, the Beneficent Goddess and when ARSINOË, the daughter of CADMUS, was the Basket Bearer of ARSINOË, the Brother-loving Goddess

6. when IRENE, the daughter of PTOLEMY, was the Priestess of ARSINOË, the Father-loving Goddess on this day the superintendents of the temples, and the servants of the god, and those who are over the secret things of the god, and the libationers [who] go into the most holy place to array the gods in then apparel,

7. and the scribes of the holy writings, and the sages of the Double House of Life, and the other libationers [who] had come from the sanctuaries of the South and the North to MEMPHIS, on the day of the festival, whereon

S. His Majesty, the King of the South and North PTOLEMY, the ever-living, the beloved of Ptaḥ, the god who maketh himself manifest, the lord of beauties, received the sovereignty from his father,

entered into the SEḤETCH-CHAMBER, wherein they were wont to assemble, in MAKHA-TAUI 1 , and behold they declared thus:—

9. “Inasmuch as the King who is beloved by the gods, the King of the South and North Neterui-merui-ȧtui-ȧua-en-Ptaḥ-setep-en-usr-ka Rā ānkh-sekhem-Ȧmen, the Son of the Sun Ptolemy, the ever-living, beloved of Ptaḥ, the Gods who have made themselves manifest, the lord of beauties, hath given things of all kinds in very large quantities unto the lands of Horus and unto all

10. “those who dwell in them, and unto each and every one who holdeth any dignity whatsoever in them, now behold, he is like unto a God, being the son of a God [and] he was given by a Goddess, for he is the counterpart of Horus, the son of Isis [and] the son of Osiris, the avenger of his father Osiris—and behold, His Majesty.

11. “possessed a divine heart which was beneficent towards the gods and he hath given gold in large quantities, and grain in large quantities to the temples and he hath given very many lavish gifts in order to make Ta-Mert [Egypt] prosperous, and to make stable [her] advancement

12. “and he hath given unto the soldiers who are in his august service . . . . . . according to their rank

[paragraph continues] [and of the taxes] some of them he hath cut off, and some of them [he hath lightened], thus causing the soldiers and those who live in the country to be prosperous

13. “under his reign [and as regards the sums which were due to the royal house] from the people of Egypt, and likewise those [which were due] from every one who was in his august service, His Majesty remitted them altogether, howsoever great they were

14. “and he hath forgiven the prisoners who were in prison, and ordered that every one among them should be released from [the punishment] which he had to undergo. And His Majesty made an order saying:—In respect of the things [which are to be given to] the gods, and the money and the

15. “grain which are to be given to the temples each year, and all the things [which are to be given to] the gods from the vineyards and from the corn-lands of the nome, all the things which were then due under the Majesty of his holy father

16. “shall he allowed to remain [in their amounts] to them as they were then and he hath ordered:—Behold, the treasury (?) shall not he made more full of contributions by the hands of the priests than it was up to the first year of the reign of His Majesty, his holy father and His Majesty hath remitted

17. “To the priests who minister in the temples in courses the journey which they had been accustomed to make by river in boats to the city of ALEXANDRIA at the beginning of each years and His Majesty commanded:—Behold, those who are boatmen [by trade] shall not be seized [and

made to serve in the Navy] and in respect of the cloths of byssus [which are] made in the temples for the royal house,

18. “he hath commanded that two-thirds of them shall be returned [to the priests] similarly, His Majesty hath [re]-established all the things, the performance of which had been set aside, and hath restored them to their former condition, and he hath taken the greatest care to cause everything which ought to be done in the service of the gods to be done in the sane way in which it was done

19. “in former [days] similarly, he hath donc [all things] in a right and proper manner and he hath taken care to administer justice 1 to the people, even like Thoth, the great, great [God] and he hath, more over, ordered in respect of those of the troops who come back, and the other people also, who during the

20. “strife of the revolution which took place had been ill disposed [towards the Government], that when they return to their homes and lands they shall have the power to remain in possession of their property, and he hath taken great care to send infantry, and cavalry, and ships to repulse those who were coming against

21. “Egypt by land as well as by sea and he hath in consequence expended a very large amount of money and of grain on them in order to make prosperous the lands of Horus and Egypt.

22. “And His Majesty marched against the town of Shekam, which is in front of (?) the town of UISET, which was in the possession of the enemy, and was provided with catapults, and was made ready for war with weapons of every kind by

23. “the rebels who were in it—now they had committed great acts of sacrilege in the land of Horus, and had done injury to those who dwelt in Egypt—His Majesty attacked them by making a road [to their town],

24. “and he raised mounds (or walls) against them, and he dug trenches, and whatsoever would lead [him] against them that he made and he caused the canals which supplied the town with water to be blocked up, a thing which none of the kings who preceded him had ever been able to do before, and he expended a large amount of money on carrying out the work

25. “and His Majesty stationed infantry at the mouths of the canals in order to watch and to guard them against the extraordinary rise of the waters [of the Nile], which took place in the eighth year [of his reign], in the aforesaid canals which watered the fields, and were unusually deep

26. “in this spot and His Majesty captured the town by assault in a very short time, and he cut to pieces the rebels who were therein, and he made an exceedingly great slaughter among them, even like unto that which THOTH 1 and HORUS, the son of Isis and [the son of Osiris], made among those who rebelled against them

27. “when they rebelled in this very place and behold, those who had led on the soldiers and were at their head, and who had disturbed the borders [in the time of his father, and who had committed sacrilege in the temples, when His Majesty came to MEMPHIS to avenge his father

28. “and his own sovereignty he punished, according to their deserts, when he came there to celebrate] the festival of the receiving of the sovereignty from his father and [besides this], he hath set aside [his claim to

29. “the things which were due to His Majesty, and which were [then] in the temples, up to the eighth year [of his reign, which amounted to no small sum of] money and grain and His Majesty hath also set aside [his claim] to the cloths of byssus which ought to have been given to the royal house and were [then] in the temples,

30. “and also the tax which they (i.e. the priests) ought to have contributed for dividing the cloths into pieces, which was due up to this day and he hath also remitted to the temples the grain which was usually levied as a tax on the corn-lands of the gods, and likewise the measure of wine which was clue as a tax on vineyards [of the gods]

31. “and he hath done great things for APIS, and MNEVIS, and for every shrine which contained a sacred animal, and he expended upon them more than did his ancestors and his heart hath entered into [the consideration of everything] which was right and proper for them

32. “at every moment and he hath given everything which was necessary for the embalming of their bodies, lavishly, and in magnificent abundance and he hath undertaken the cost of their maintenance in their temples, and the cost of their great festivals, and of their burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and libations

33. “[and he hath respected the privileges of the temples, and of Egypt, and hath maintained them in a suitable

manner according to what is customary and right and he hath spent] both money and grain to no small amount

34. “and [hath provided] everything in great abundance for the house wherein dwelleth the LIVING APIS and His Majesty hath decorated it with perfect and new ornamentations of the most beautiful character always and he hath made the LIVING APIS to rise [like the sun], and hath founded temples, and shrines, and chapels [in his honour] [and he hath repaired the shrines, which needed repairs, and in all matters appertaining to the service of the gods

35. “he hath manifested the spirit of a beneficent god and during his reign, having made careful inquiry, he hath restored the temples which were held in the greatest honour, as was right] and in return for these things the gods and goddesses have given him victory, and power, and life, and strength, and health, and every beautiful thing of every kind whatsoever, and

36. “in respect of his exalted rank, it shall be established to him and to his children for ever and ever, with happy results (or life).”

And it has entered into the heart(s) of the priests of the temples of the South and of the North, and of each and every temple [that all the honours which

37. are paid] to the King of the South and North Ptolemy, the ever-living, the beloved of Ptaḥ, the [God who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, and those which are paid to the Father-loving Gods who begot him, and to the Beneficent Gods who begot those who begot him, and to the Brother-Gods who begot the begetters of his begetters,]

38. and to the Saviour-Gods, shall be [greatly increased] and a statue of the King of the South and North, Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Ptaḥ, the God who maketh himself manifest, the Lord of beauties, shall be set up [in every temple, in the most prominent place], and it shall be

39, called by his name "PTOLEMY, the SAVIOUR of EGYPT," the interpretation (?) of which is "PTOLEMY, THE VICTORIOUS ONE." [And it shall stand side by side with a statue of the Lord of the gods (?), who giveth him the weapon of victory, and it shall be fashioned after the manner of the Egyptians, and a statue of this kind shall be set up in]

40. all the temples which are called by his name. And adoration shall he paid unto these statues three times each day, and every rite and ceremony which it is proper to perform before them shall be performed, and whatsoever is prescribed, and is fitting for their DOUBLES, shall be performed, even as it is performed for the gods of the Nomes during the festivals and on every sacred day (?), on the day of [his] coronation, and on his name-day. And there shall likewise [be set up] a

41. magnificent (?) statue of the King of the South and North Ptolemy, ever-living beloved of Ptaḥ, the God who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, the son of Ptolemy, and Arsinoë, the Father-loving gods, and with the statue there shall be a magnificent shrine [made] of the finest copper and inlaid with real stones of every kind,

42. in every temple which is called by his name and this statue shall rest in the most holy place [in the temples] side by side with the shrines of the gods of the Nomes. And on the days of the great festivals, when the god [of the temple] cometh forth from his holy habitation, according to his day, the holy shrine of the God who maketh himself manifest, the lord of beauties, shall likewise be made to rise [like the Sun]

43. with them. And in order to make this new shrine to be easily distinguishable [both at the present day, and in future times, they shall set] upon this shrine [ten royal double crowns, made of gold and upon [each of the double crowns there shall be placed the [serpent which it is right and proper to make for the [double crown of gold], instead of the two Uraei

44. which are [placed] upon the tops of the shrines, and the SEKHENT CROWN shall be in the middle of them, because it was in the SEKHENT CROWN in which His Majesty shone in the house of the KA of PTAḤ (i.e., Memphis)

45. at the time when the king entered into the temple, and performed the ceremonies which it was meet and right for him to perform on receiving the exalted rank [of King]. And on the upper surface of the square pedestal which is round these crowns, and in the middle part thereof [which is immediately] beneath] the double Crown [they shall engrave a papyrus plant and a plant of the south and they shall set them in such a way that a vulture, upon neb, , beneath which a plant of the south shall be found, shall be affixed to the right-hand upper corner of the golden shrine, and a serpent, , under

which is , placed upon] a papyrus plant, [shall be affixed] to the left hand side [at the upper corner] and

46. the interpretation [of these signs is]:—"Lord of the shrine of NEKHEBET, and Lord of the shrine of UATCHET, who illumineth the land of the White Crown, and the land of the Red Crown." And inasmuch as the last day of the fourth month of the season SHEMU 1 (i.e., MESORE), which is the birthday of the beautiful ever-living god, is already established as a feast day, and it hath been observed as a day of festival in the lands of HORUS (i.e., the temple lands) from the olden time and moreover, the seventeenth day of the second month of the season SHAT 2 (i.e., PAOPI),

47. whereon [His Majesty] performed the ceremonies of royal accession, when he received the sovereignty from his father, [is also observed as a day of festival], and behold [these days] have been the source of all [good] things wherein all men have participated these days, that is to say, the seventeenth and the last day of each month, shall be kept as festivals in the temples

48. of Egypt, in each and every one of them and on these days burnt offerings shall be offered up, and meat offerings, and everything which it is right and customary to perform at the celebration of festivals shall be performed on these days every month, and on these festivals every man shall do (i.e., offer up) what he is accustomed to do on [other] fes-

49. tivals in the temples. [And the priests also decreed] that the things which [are brought to the temples] as

offerings shall be given unto the persons who [minister in the temples and festivals and processions shall be established in the temples, and in all Egypt, in honour of] the King of the South and North, Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Ptaḥ, the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, each year,

50. beginning with the first day of the first month of the season Shat (i.e., Thoth) up to the fifth day thereof [and on these days the people shall wear] garlands on their heads, and they shall make festal the altars, and shall offer up meat and drink offerings, and shall perform everything which it is right and proper to perform. And the priests of all the temples which are called after his name

51. shall have, in addition to all the other priestly titles which they may possess, the title of "Servant of the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful" [and this title shall be endorsed on all deeds and documents which are laid up in the temples] and they shall cause to be engraved on the rings which they wear on their hands, the title of "Libationer of the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful."

52. And behold, it shall he in the hands of those who live in the country, and those who desire [it], to establish a copy of the shrine of the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful, and set it up in their houses, and they shall be at liberty to keep festivals and make rejoicings [before it] each month

53. and each year and in order to make those who are in Egypt to know [why it is that the Egyptians pay honour—as it is most right and proper to do—to the

god who maketh himself beautiful, whose deeds are beautiful, the priests have decreed] that this DECREE shall [be inscribed] upon a stele of hard stone in the writing of the words of the gods, and the writing of the books, and in the writing of HAUI-NEBUI (i.e., Greeks), and it shall be set up in the sanctuaries in the temples which [are called] by his name, of the first, second, and third [class], near the statue of the HORUS, the King of the South and North Ptolemy, ever-living, beloved of Ptaḥ, the god who maketh himself manifest, whose deeds are beautiful.


199:1 The words in brackets are added either from the Stele of Damanhûr or for the purpose of making sense.

199:2 A part of March and April.

199:4 The shrine of the vulture goddess Nekhebet was in Upper Egypt.

199:5 More fully, Per-Uatchet the shrine of the snake goddess was in the Delta.

199:6 A name meaning "The two Father-loving Gods, the heir, chosen of Ptaḥ, strength of the double of Rā, living power of Ȧmen."

Rosetta Stone-Decoding the Demotic Text

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"The Rosetta Stone by Wallis Budge" is your answer.

Yes but I can't really read that now. Neither can you! We do not know that it contains translation of the Demotic text from the Rosetta stone! So let us leave it aside for further notice.

Or if you have it I would be willing to take a look?

Arch Duke

Now, Petro. Since you selectively used the official point of historians etc, i will use the official point of the linguists :)

2 years ago, the ancient macedonian language was coined as Indoeuropean Greek branch, by the linguist community . It received an ISO code XMK. What do you have to say about that?

Så nu tar jag fram (k)niven va!

Arch Duke

"The Rosetta Stone by Wallis Budge" is your answer.

Yes but I can't really read that now. Neither can you! We do not know that it contains translation of the Demotic text from the Rosetta stone! So let us leave it aside for further notice.

Or if you have it I would be willing to take a look?

I'm sure Akritas will bring you a screendump of the book. So stay tuned.

Så nu tar jag fram (k)niven va!

Arch Duke

Koine became "common" as in "belonging to everyone"! Not "simple" as opposed to the "elite"!

One more thing. The Macedonians attended theater as i told you before and Bacche was written in Greek. The oldest papyrus of Europe comes from Macedonia known as the Derveni papyri. The author is trying to write in Attic but uses a lot of Dorian words. Does that ring a bell?

Also, i need a translator to understand arcadocypriot from certain districts in Cyprus. However, if they would write down what they say to me i can understand 100% of it. The same goes for the Pontians that come from Uzbekistan. I don't understand what they say very well. Does that make Arcadocypriot and Pontian a non greek language?

As for "their own tongue" you refer to "makedonisti". So by that you mean that "Attikisti" (attic) for example is not Greek?

Så nu tar jag fram (k)niven va!

Arch Duke

And this is from the Brittish museum Petro.

Så nu tar jag fram (k)niven va!

Arch Duke

I have some pages from the book mentioned before. I have no access to the rest though.

In any case, does this translation match the other two scripts on the stone or Tentovs version? Also, why doesn't your state want to support his research and verify the translation according to your national tv?

Edited by Flipper - 24-Nov-2007 at 22:45

Så nu tar jag fram (k)niven va!


I have some pages from the book mentioned before. I have no access to the rest though.In any case, does this translation match the other two scripts on the stone or Tentovs version? Also, why doesn't your state want to support his research and verify the translation according to your national tv?

Text of the Rosetta Stone

In the reign of the young one who has succeeded his father in the kingship, lord of diadems, most glorious, who has established Egypt and is pious towards the gods, triumphant over his enemies, who has restored the civilized life of men, lord of the Thirty Years Festivals, even as Ptah the Great, a king like Ra, great king of the Upper and Lower countries, offspring of the Gods Philopatores, one whom Ptah has approved, to whom Ra has given victory, the living image of Amun, son of Ra, PTOLEMY, LIVING FOR EVER, BELOVED OF PTAH, in the ninth year, when Aetos son of Aetos was priest of Alexander, and the Gods Soteres, and the Gods Adelphoi, and the Gods Euergetai, and the Gods Philopatores and the God Epiphanes Eucharistos Pyrrha daughter of Philinos being Athlophoros of Berenike Euergetis, Areia daughter of Diogenes being Kanephoros of Arsinoe Philadelphos Irene daughter of Ptolemy being Priestess of Arsinoe Philopator the fourth of the month of Xandikos, according to the Egyptians the 18th Mekhir.

Doesn't match this fully either! Where did you get this book I wonder? What is the source can we take a look and see the whole work?

And is this the translataion of the Demotic with a capital "D", or demotic meaning Koine?

Edited by Petro Invictus - 24-Nov-2007 at 22:54


Yet it says three scripts, and the everyday script of literate Egyptians (or could it be "the rulers of Egypt"). The Macedonian rulers were proclaimed as Pharaohs and rulers of Egypt at that time. So maybe, just maybe the British Museum underestimated the language of "the rulers of Egypt" at that time. Could it be that "the rulers of Egypt", who did not speak the Egyptian until Cleopatra, were speaking another language using the Egyptian script(meaning the Demotic script). The language of the rulers was Macedonian.


Macedonian language with a Demotic script as Ptolomy's native tongue.

That is the reality behind the middle text of the Rosetta stone.

That is what he declared in his personal correspondence with the scribes, and then given to be translated in Koine with Hellenic script, and Egyptian or Coptic language with the Sacred script (Hieroglyphic).

Edited by Petro Invictus - 24-Nov-2007 at 23:05



Edited by akritas - 24-Nov-2007 at 23:36


"The fact that the Demotic script has not been translated fully and no-one is able to read it, phonetically, word by wopd, proves that it wasn't used with the Coptic, but with another language probably that of the rulers. Now the question is what was the language of the rulers?

I have spent some time surfing on this, everything I have found contradicts your statement. Demotic has been fully translated.
As a matter of fact, I would like to see your sources on a lot of this. You guys are playing fast and loose with subjects that are well researched and documented, lets see some of it."

You say that the Demotic has been fully translated. Not according to the Demotic Dictionary of the University of Chicago. The Demotic from the Rosetta stone is listed under "problematic entries".

I do not understand! It is the opposite from what you claim Red Clay. Take a look:

1. We cannot find a full translation of the Demotic text from the Rosetta stone.

2. No-one can read it phonetically!

3. There are indications that it was a script used for personal correspondence.

4. We know it was the original text on the Rosetta stone, so it seems that the Ptolemy was using this script to announce the decree, to be later translated in the Hieroglyphic and Greek text.

5. We have seen that the Demotic script was in use by many languages. Why not Macedonian, the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time?

What is in the hiding here?

[Year 9, Xandikos day 4], which is equivalent to the Egyptian month, second month of Peret, day 18, of the King 'The Youth who has appeared as King in the place of his Father', the Lord of the Uraei 'Whose might is great, who has established Egypt, causing it to prosper, whose heart is beneficial before the gods', (the One) Who is over his Enemy 'Who has caused the life of the people to prosper, the Lord of the Years of Jubilee like Ptah-Tenen, King like Pre', [the King of the Upper Districts and] the Lower Districts 'The Son of the Father-loving Gods, whom Ptah has chosen, to whom Pre has given victory, the Living Image of Amun', the Son of Pre 'Ptolemy, living forever, beloved of Ptah, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine', son of Ptolemy and Arsinoe, the Father-loving Gods, (and) the Priest of Alexander and the Saviour Gods and [the Brother-and-Sister Gods and the] Beneficent [Gods] and the Father-loving Gods and King Ptolemy, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, Aetos son of Aetos while Pyrrha daughter of Philinos was Prize-bearer before Berenice the Beneficent, while Areia daughter of Diogenes was [Basket]-bearer [before Arsi]noe the Brother-loving, and while Eirene daughter of Ptolemy was Priestess of Arsinoe the Father-loving: on this day, a decree of the mr-sn priests and the hm-ntr priests, and the priests who enter the sanctuary to perform clothing rituals for the gods, and the scribes of the divine book and the scribes of the House of Life, and the other priests who have come from the temples of Egypt [to Memphis on] the festival of the Reception of the Rulership by King Ptolemy, living forever, beloved of Ptah, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, from his father, who have assembled in the temple of Memphis, and who have said:

Whereas King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, son of King Ptolemy [and Queen] Arsinoe, the Father-loving Gods, is wont to do many favours for the temples of Egypt and for all those who are subject to his kingship, he being a god, the son of a god and a goddess, and being like Horus son of Isis and Osiris, who protects his father Osiris, and his heart being beneficent concerning the gods, since he has given much money and much grain to the temples of Egypt, [he having undertaken great expenses] in order to create peace in Egypt and to establish the temples, and having rewarded all the forces that are subject to his rulership and of the revenues and taxes that were in force in Egypt he had reduced some or(?) had renounced them completely, in order to cause the army and all the other people to be prosperous in his time as [king the arrear]s which were due to the King from the people who are in Egypt and all those who are subject to his kingship, and (which) amounted to a large total, he renounced the people who were in prison and those against whom there had been charges for a long time, he released he ordered concerning the endowments of the gods, and the money and the grain that are given as allowances to their [temples] each year, and the shares that belong to the gods from the vineyards, the orchards, and all the rest of the property which they possessed under his father, that they should remain in their possession moreover, he ordered concerning the priests that they should not pay their tax on becoming priests above what they used to pay up to Year 1 under his father he released the people [who hold] the offices of the temples from the voyage they used to make to the Residence of Alexander each year he ordered that no rower should be impressed into service he renounced the two-thirds share of the fine linen that used to be made in the temples for the Treasury, he bringing into its [correct] state everything that had abandoned its (proper) condition for a long time, and taking all care to have done in a correct manner what is customarily done for the gods, likewise causing justice to be done for the people in accordance with what Thoth the Twice-great did moreover, he ordered concerning those who will return from the fighting men and the rest of the people who had gone astray ( lit . been on other ways) in the disturbance that had occurred in Egypt that [they] should [be returned] to their homes, and their possessions should be restored to them and he took all care to send (foot)soldiers, horsemen, and ships against those who came by the shore and by the sea to make an attack on Egypt he spent a great amount in money and grain against these (enemies), in order to ensure that the temples and the people who were in Egypt should be secure he went to the fortress of Sk3n [which had] been fortified by the rebels with all kinds of work, there being much gear and all kinds of equipment within it he enclosed that fortress with a wall and a dyke(?) around ( lit . outside) it, because of the rebels who were inside it, who had already done much harm to Egypt, and abandoned the way of the commands of the King and the commands [of the god]s he caused the canals which supplied water to that fortress to be dammed off, although the previous kings could not have done likewise, and much money was expended on them he assigned a force of footsoldiers and horsemen to the mouths of those canals, in order to watch over them and to protect them, because of the [rising] of the water, which was great in Year 8, while those canals supply water to much land and are very deep the King took that fortress by storm in a short time he overcame the rebels who were within it, and slaughtered them in accordance with what Pre and Horus son of Isis did to those who had rebelled against them in those places in the Beginning (as for) the rebels who had gathered armies and led them to disturb the nomes, harming the temples and abandoning the way of the King and his father, the gods let him overcome thein at Memphis during the festival of the Reception of the Rulership which he did from his father, and he had them slain on the wood he remitted the arrears that were due to the King from the temples up to Year 9, and amounted to a large total of money and grain likewise the value of the fine linen that was due from the temples from what is made for the Treasury, and the verification fees(?) of what had been made up to that time moreover, he ordered concerning the artaba of wheat per aroura of land, which used to be collected from the fields of the endowment, and likewise for the wine per aroura of land from the vineyards of the gods' endowments: he renounced them he did many favours for Apis and Mnevis, and the other sacred animals that are honoured in Egypt, more than what those who were before him used to do, he being devoted to their affairs at all times, and giving what is required for their burials, although it is great and splendid, and providing what is dedicated(?) in their temples when festivals are celebrated and burnt offerings made before them, and the rest of the things which it is fitting to do the honours which are due to the temples and the other honours of Egypt he caused to be established in their (proper) condition in accordance with the law he gave much gold, silver, grain, and other items for the Place of Apis he had it adorned with new work as very fine work he had new temples, sanctuaries, and altars set up for the gods, and caused others to assume their (proper) condition, he having the heart of a beneficent god concerning the gods and enquiring after the honours of the temples, in order to renew them in his time as king in the manner that is fitting and the gods have given him in return for these things strength, victory, success(?), prosperity, health, and all the ( sic ) other favours, his kingship being established under him and his descendants forever:

With good fortune! It has seemed fitting to the priests of all the temples of Egypt, as to the honours which are due to King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, in the temples, and those which are due to the Father-loving Gods, who brought him into being, and those which are due to the Beneficent Gods, who brought into being those who brought him into being, and those which are due to the Brother-and-Sister Gods, who brought into being those who brought them into being, and those which are due to the Saviour Gods, the ancestors of his ancestors, to increase them and that a statue should be set up for King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine - which should be called 'Ptolemy who has protected the Bright Land', the meaning of which is 'Ptolemy who has preserved Egypt' - together with a statue for the local god, giving him a scimitar of victory, in each temple, in the public part of the temple, they being made in the manner of Egyptian work and the priests should pay service to the statues in each temple three times a day, and they should lay down sacred objects before them and do for them the rest of the things that it is normal to do, in accordance with what is done for the other gods on the festivals, the processions, and the named (holi)days and there should be produced a cult image for King Ptolemy, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, son of Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe, the Father-loving Gods, together with the ( sic ) shrine in each temple, and it should be installed in the sanctuary with the other shrines and when the great festivals occur, on which the gods are taken in procession, the shrine of the Manifest God whose excellence is fine should be taken in procession with them and in order that the shrine may be recognized, now and in the rest of the times that are to come, ten royal diadems of gold should be added - there being one uraeus on them each, like what is normally done for the gold diadems - on top of the shrine, instead of the uraei that are upon the rest of the shrines and the double crown should be in the centre of the diadems, because it is the one with which the King was crowned in the temple of Memphis, when there was being done for him what is normally done at the Reception of the Rulership and there should be placed on the upper side of (the) square(?) which is outside the diadems, and opposite the gold diadem that is described above, a papyrus plant and a 'sedge' plant and a uraeus should be placed on a basket with a 'sedge' under it on the right of the side on top of the shrine, and a uraeus with a basket under it should be placed on a papyrus on the left, the meaning of which is 'The King who has illumined Upper and Lower Egypt' and whereas fourth month of Shemu, last day, on which is held the birthday of the King, has been established already as a procession festival in the temples, likewise second month of Peret, day 17, on which are performed for him the ceremonies of the Reception of the Rulership - the beginning of the good things that have happened to everyone: the birth of the King, living forever, and his reception of the rulership - let these days, the 17th and the last, become festivals each month in all the temples of Egypt and there should be performed burnt offerings, libations, and the rest of the things that are normally done on the other festivals, on both festivals each month and what is offered in sacrifice(?) should be distributed as a surplus(?) to the people who serve in the temple and a procession festival should be held in the temples and the whole of Egypt for King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, each year, from first month of Akhet, day 1, for five days, with garlands being worn, burnt offerings and libations being performed, and the rest of the things that it is fitting to do and the priests who are in each of the temples of Egypt should be called 'The Priests of the Manifest God whose excellence is fine' in addition to the other priestly titles, and they should write it on every document, and they should write the priesthood of the Manifest God whose excellence is fine on their rings and they should engrave it on them and it should be made possible for the private persons also who will (so) wish, to produce the likeness of the shrine of the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, which is (discussed) above, and to keep it in their homes and hold the festivals and the processions which are described above, each year, so that it may become known that the inhabitants of Egypt pay honour to the Manifest God whose excellence is fine in accordance with what is normally done and the decree should be written on a stela of hard stone, in sacred writing, document writing, and Greek writing, and it should be set up in the first-class temples, the second-class temples and the third-class temples, next to the statue of the King, living forever.

Why the Rosetta Stone Ended Up in the British Museum

The Rosetta Stone was regarded by the French as a trophy of war, but it never made it back to Paris. The French did not occupy Egypt for long, as they surrendered to the British and Ottoman forces in 1801. One of the objects seized from the French by the victorious British was the Rosetta Stone.

The artifact was transported back to England. Interestingly, the British left their mark on, or vandalized, (depending on one’s point of view) the Rosetta Stone. Two inscriptions in white can be seen on the broken edges of the stone, one on the left, and another on the right. The former reads ‘CAPTURED IN EGYPT BY THE BRITISH ARMY IN 1801’, and the latter proclaims, ‘PRESENTED BY KING GEORGE III’.

The left and right sides of the Rosetta Stone, containing the faint English inscriptions saying: (L) "Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801" (R) "Presented by King George III." (Captmondo/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Subsequently, the Rosetta Stone arrived in the British Museum in London. The artifact has been exhibited there since then, except during the period of the First World War, when it was temporarily relocated to an off-site, underground spot for safekeeping. After some time, white chalk was used to color the inscriptions, in order to make them more legible.

Fragment of a much larger stela

The Rosetta Stone was not originally located at Rashid (ancient Rosetta) and is actually a fragment of a much larger stela that was originally displayed at a temple, possibly at the ancient Egyptian city of Sais.

"The original stone was considerably taller than it is today," Ray wrote in his book. "Its uppermost register would have been decorated with figures of the king and the gods of the temple where it stood. These are long gone," wrote Ray. "Of the hieroglyphic text which formed its second register, only a third is left." Fragments of the Demotic and Greek texts are also broken off and are gone. Parkinson estimates that when the Rosetta Stone was first created, it was about 59 inches (149 cm) in height.

The town of Rashid (ancient Rosetta) is located by the sea, and the Rosetta Stone would not have originally been placed there, wrote Parkinson. "The land on which that seaside town was built did not exist at the time of its carving, being the result of later sedimentation."

"The stela was probably erected at a more ancient site than Rashid, further inland," possibly the ancient city of Sais, which is fairly close by, wrote Parkinson. "The Rosetta Stone probably stood in the temple precincts of Sais for several centuries."

The temple that once held the stone may have been quarried centuries after the Rosetta Stone was created, and the stone may have been brought to Rashid as quarried rock.


The Rosetta Stone was shown to Napoleon, who was very impressed. He arranged for printers to come from Paris and make copies of the inscriptions by inking the stone and laying paper upon it. The copies were sent to the best linguists in Europe. The Greek text was translated in 1802 by the Rev. Stephen Weston. Next, work began on the demotic text. In 1803, a Swedish diplomat named Johan Akerblad published his initial results, identifying the proper names in the text and a few other words.

The linguist whose work was most instrumental in understanding the hieroglyphic text was Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832). Champollion had been fascinated by ancient languages since childhood. He began working on the Rosetta Stone inscriptions in 1808 when he was 18 years old.

Champollion made three basic assumptions in his effort to decipher the hieroglyphs. He looked for hints in the script used by the early Egyptian Christians, or Copts, assuming that this represented the last remnants of the language of the pharaohs. Soon after he began working on the Rosetta Stone inscriptions, he identified correspondences between the Coptic alphabet and 15 signs of the demotic script.

Then, Champollion realized that although the hieroglyphs obviously included ideograms, symbols intended to represent objects or ideas, there were also phonograms, symbols representing sounds. In most written languages, ideograms were gradually discarded as phonetic symbols took hold, but the ancient Egyptians retained them both.

Finally, he recognized that the groups of hieroglyphs encircled by an oval loop, or cartouche, were phonetic symbols for the pharaohs' names. Champollion found the name Ptolmys in Greek and demotic, and so was able to decipher the cartouched hieroglyphic characters for the name as well. An obelisk found by Giovanni Belzoni and sent to England also bore both Greek and hieroglyphic texts. From this inscription Champollion was able to pick out the name Kliopadra, defining the sounds of a few more hieroglyphic signs. Champollion had realized that since the names of these Ptolemy rulers were Greek in origin, they would have no meaning in the Egyptian language. Therefore they would be represented only with phonetic symbols. A copy of an inscription from the temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel afforded additional clues.

During the Late Period (712-332 B.C.) there were as many as 6,000 different hieroglyphs in existence, although no more than about 1,000 were in general use at any one time throughout most of ancient Egyptian history. As in Hebrew and Arabic, the phonograms corresponded only to consonants. Vowels were simply omitted. In English this would correspond to writing "brk" for "brook," "break," and "brick." In hieroglyphic text, a special ideogram called a determinative would be added to remove the ambiguity. In our example, a determinative for water would be added to "brk" to convey the meaning "brook."

Hieroglyphic text is also like other Middle Eastern languages in that it was generally written from right to left. Unlike them, there was also the alternative of going from left to right. The pictures of people and animals in the text always face toward the beginning of the line. If the inscription is written from top to bottom, as is also common, the signs face toward the beginning of the series of columns.

Champollion took 14 years to solve the puzzle of the hieroglyphs. In 1822, he wrote a letter to the French Royal Academy of Inscriptions, explaining his results. He defined an alphabet of 26 letters and syllabic signs, of which about half turned out to be correct. He also included an explanation of determinatives. In 1824 Champollion published his book Precis du Systeme Hieroglyphique, in which he expanded upon the information in the letter, as well as correcting some of his own mistakes and a few of the English physicist Thomas Young. Young had been working on the Rosetta Stone inscriptions and made substantial progress, independently coming to some of the same conclusions as Champollion. His work had been published in 1819, in a supplement to the fourth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Champollion died of a stroke in 1832 when he was only 41 his Egyptian Grammar and Egyptian Dictionary were published posthumously. In 1897, an exhaustive reference called the Berlin Woerterbuch was begun, including all the words in all the known Egyptian manuscripts and inscriptions.

Additional copies of the Ptolemy V text were later found in other locations, allowing Egyptologists to fill in sections of hieroglyphs that had been missing where the top of the Rosetta Stone was broken off. The stone itself had changed hands soon after its discovery, when Napoleon's forces were routed by the English. Today it is displayed in the British Museum.

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone, not to be confused with the language learning software, is a fragment of a granite-like rock with a text carved in three different languages. It was found by troops of Napoleon in 1799 in the wall of a fort in the city of Rosetta (Rashid in Arabic), Egypt, which is near Alexandria. It is about 45 inches high. 28.5 inches wide, and 11 inches thick, weighing in at about About ¾ of a ton (1676 pounds - our replica weighs 90-95 pounds). It is a broken piece of granodiorite stone that was originally part of a 5-6 ft. tall stela, or column, located in a temple elsewhere in the Nile Delta. The stone passed into British hands and was taken to England. It is now housed in the British Museum in London, where it is the most popular attraction in the museum.

The writing on the stone is a decree issued jointly by the Pharaoh, Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205-180 BC), and a council of Egyptian priests. The council took place on March 27, 196 BC, the day after the first anniversary of the 14-year-old Pharaoh's coronation. The text itself is referred to as the Decree of Memphis, and has been found in several other locations in Egypt. It cancelled debts and taxes, released prisoners, and granted increased donations to the temples.

The last sentence of the decree reads: "This decree shall be inscribed on a stela of hard stone in sacred (hieroglyphic) and native (Demotic) and Greek characters and set up in each of the first, second and third rank temples beside the image of the ever-living king." Accordingly, our copy of the Rosetta Stone is housed next to a (replica) coin showing the image of Pharaoh Ptolemy V Epiphanes and a genuine coin which was minted during his reign. More informartion can be found from the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=117631&partId=1

Brigham Young University-Idaho is the first university in the world to obtain a full-size, 3D replica of the Rosetta Stone from The Freeman Institute. The replica was obtained to help students get a real view at what the stone is like. The replica is 40% resin and 60% granodiorite filler. It also contains a high density foam core to lessen the weight. It is one of the most important pieces to language and culture as it unveiled the Egyptian language and culture to the world.

Why is the Rosetta Stone important?

Before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, scholars had not been able to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, so very little was understood about the Egyptian culture. The Rosetta Stone has the same text written in three styles/languages: 1) hieroglyphics ( top), which can be written in either direction, but in this case they read right to left 2) Demotic ( middle), a cursive form of Egyptian written from right to left and 3) ancient Greek ( bottom), written left to right. Egyptian pharaohs were actually Greek by this date, so Greek was their common tongue. Because scholars could read Greek in 1799, they were able to work out the meaning of the hieroglyphic characters. Thomas Young of England deciphered the demotic script, but young Jean-François Champollion of France, who worked in the library in Grenoble for a time, succeeded in working out the structure of the hieroglyphic characters. He started by finding and deciphering the characters for Ptolemy's name in the Greek and hieroglyphic versions, and published the translation of the full text in 1824. Decoding hieroglyphic symbols opened up the entire Egyptian culture to the modern world.

"More than half of the decree is lost from the hieroglyphic section, originally an estimated 29 lines. The Greek occupies 54 lines, with many errors in the inscription, and the demotic 32, with its last two lines inscribed in a fulsome style to fill the space. The sides taper slightly towards the top. The original shape of the stela is shown in a sign in line 14 of the hieroglyphic text. The stela almost certainly had a rounded top headed by a winged sun-disk, and probably a scene with figures in Egyptian style, similar to that showing the king and queen between two groups of gods on another stela with a copy of the Canopus Decree issued in 238 BC under Ptolemy II." (Parkinson, 26)

Michael Coe, noted scholar of Mayan hieroglyphics, called the Rosetta Stone "the most famous piece of rock in the world." (Parkinson, 19)

Who found the stone, and when?

It was found in July 1799 by scholars ("savants") sent to Egypt by Napoleon. They were tearing down a ruined wall in Fort Julien in the town of Rosetta when they came across a broken stone with writing in three languages. They looked for other pieces but did not find any. (Giblin, 25)

The stone could not have originally been placed in Rosetta, since that town did not even exist during Ptolemy's era. It was built later on sediment from the Nile River. It is probable that the stone was already broken when it was moved to the place where it was discovered. (Parkinson, 26)

The stone undoubtedly was housed in a temple elsewhere, perhaps in Sais, which is 40 miles upstream from Rosetta. (Ray, 3)

Who translated the hieroglyphics?

Working from the Greek text at the bottom of the stone, the British scholar Thomas Young (1773-1829) succeeded in deciphering the demotic text (in the middle of the stone) - a cursive form of Egyptian - in 1814. Young started work on the hieroglyphic text, but then moved on to other projects.

The Frenchman Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832) took on the task of puzzling out the hieroglyphic symbols. Champollion had taught himself to read at age 5 and had mastered a dozen languages by the age of 16. He devoted himself to deciphering the hieroglyphic text of the Rosetta Stone, working on the project from 1822 to 1824. The challenge of hieroglyphics lie in the fact that it was unclear whether each symbol represented a letter, a sound, or a concept.

Once Champollion realized what he had done, he ran out of his apartment and over to the Grenoble library where his brother was working, he shouted "I've got it! I've got it!," and then promptly fainted. This was the key to deciphering the rest of the Egyptian alphabet and opened the door to understanding an entire civilization that had thrived for several millennia.

It is worth noting that the Rosetta Stone was found 6 years before Joseph Smith was born. Also, whereas it took Champollion two years to decipher the 14 lines of hieroglyphic text on the stone, it only took Joseph about 75 days to translate the 588 pages (in the 1 st edition Book of Mormon) of "reformed Egyptian" characters on the golden plates with the gift of God and the aid of the Urim and Thummim at about the same time period.

Why did BYU-Idaho acquire a replica copy?

The McKay Library has been actively collecting materials related to the history of writing for several years. The Rosetta Stone is as important to language and culture as the Mona Lisa painting is to the art world. When we learned that a company had just started making life-size replicas of the stone, we felt this would literally be a keystone to our History of Writing collection.

Pictures can give you a general impression of an object, but we felt it was important to have a full size copy to help students have a much more visual understanding of the context of the Rosetta Stone.

Who made this replica?

The Freeman Institute in Maryland. See www.rosettastonereplicas.com In the 1970's, the British Museum made a few molds of the full face of the authentic Rosetta Stone, and the Freeman Institute owns one of them. The Institute spent 4+ years developing a process to make an exact replica of the mold.

A 3D digital image of the Rosetta Stone was made using a laser scanner with an accuracy of 0.0005". A resin mimicking the original coloration of the granodiorite rock of the Rosetta Stone was developed. The replica consists of 40% resin and 60% granodiorite filler. It has a high density foam core to lessen the weight.

Where is the city of Rosetta located?

In the Nile delta, 8 miles from the Mediterranean and 35 miles northeast of Alexandria. It lies on the left bank of the Rosetta branch of the Nile River. The Arabic name of the town is Rashid, named after caliph Harun al-Rashid, who founded it in about 800 AD. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Can you touch the original?

The original has been encased in glass since at least 1999. A replica has been placed in the King's Library for people to touch. (Ray, 4)

In 1847, the stone was covered with a glass frame to protect the surface. The glass cover was removed in the 1980s because the public complained, but the stone was enclosed in a glass case after its cleaning in 1999. (Parkinson, 25). The stone was also removed from its inclined metal supports and placed upright in 1999. (Parkinson, 27)

Why is it broken?

It was part of a column, or stela, that was originally about 6 feet tall. Based on other copies of this same text (the "Memphis Decree") and a similar decree, scholars have reconstructed what they think the original stela may have looked like:

The glyph that looks somewhat like a coffin, near the right side in the last line of hieroglyphics, is the glyph for "column" or "stela." It shows the shape of the original column that the Rosetta Stone came from.

What does "hieroglyphics" mean?

It comes from two Greek words meaning "sacred writing." It refers to a form of writing in which picture symbols represent ideas and sounds. (www.worldbookonline.com)

Are there any other copies of the text?

Several other copies of the Memphis Decree have been discovered.

In 1898, a limestone stela inscribed with a copy of just the hieroglyphic version of the Decree of Memphis was found at Nubayrah, or el-Nobaira near Damnhur in Lower Egypt. The stela is rounded at the top and is 4 ft. 2 in. high and 1 ft. 8 in. wide and is now in the Cairo Museum. It was carved 14 years after the Rosetta Stone, in 183 BC. (Budge, 103 Parkinson, 30)

A further version of the hieroglyphic version of the Memphis Decree was found in 1848, incised on the walls of the Birth House of the temple of Isis on the island of Philae. (Giblin, 73 Andrews, 13)

Several sandstone fragments containing the text were found in Elephantine and are now in the Louvre. A poorly preserved basalt stela containing the text from Nub Taha is now in Alexandria. (Parkinson, 30)

History of Ptolemy V

"In the summer of 204 BC Ptolemy IV died suddenly in his mid-thirties, and Ptolemy V came to the throne as a six-year-old child. In the courtly intrigues that followed, Ptolemy IV's death was concealed until the boy-king's mother Arsinoe had been killed. This weakened the government severely." Hostilities against Egypt continued until 200 or 198 BC. Rebels were eventually defeated and "they were punished as part of the coronation of the by now thirteen-year-old king, eight years into his reign." The coronation was held in the traditional capitol of Memphis. "A decree was issued to record the priests' granting of a royal cult to the king in return for his favours to them, including exemption from taxes, and is known after its place of issue as the Memphis Decree." (Parkinson, 29)


&bull Carol Andrews, The Rosetta Stone, London: British Museum Press, 1981.

&bull E.A. Wallis Budge, The Rosetta Stone, New York: Dover, 1989.

&bull James Cross Giblin, The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone, Key to Ancient Egypt, New York: Harper Trophy, 1990.

&bull Richard Parkinson, Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment, Berkeley: UC Press, 1999.

&bull John Ray, The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2007.

The Rosetta stone

Rosetta (today called Rashid), the place where the same-named stone was found, is an old Egyptian seaport in the western Nile delta (Figure 3 ). The Rosetta stone was discovered there in 1799. With the aid of this artefact, it was possible to decipher the hieroglyphic system of writing. The Rosetta stone is a half-round stone stele with carved text in three types of script. This text contributed decisively to the deciphering of the Egyptian hieroglyphs (‘sacred engraved letters’). Today it is located in the British Museum in London. The stone is 114.4 cm high, 72.3 cm wide, and 27.9 cm thick it weighs 762 kg and consists of dark-gray granodiorite—the hardest type of basalt. It dates from 196 BC and contains a carved decree of the council of Egyptian priests. However, the entire stele is heavily weathered the entire upper-left corner has been chipped off, and other large text passages are also missing. Therefore, around two-thirds of the hieroglyphic text were lost.

Map segment (Nile delta) with topography of the city of Rosetta (today called Rashid).

Map segment (Nile delta) with topography of the city of Rosetta (today called Rashid).

This text—a priestly decree honouring King Ptolemy Epiphanes—was written in three different scripts, enabling three population groups to read the text (Figure 4 ) namely the priests in Egyptian hieroglyphs (hieratic script since ∼2400 BC), the administration in Egyptian in Demotic script (demos = people), i.e. the language used for daily purposes in old Egypt (

600 - 470 BC), and the Greek rulers over Egypt in ancient Greek, written in Greek capital letters.

The Rosetta stone as it looks today.

The Rosetta stone as it looks today.

During the Egyptian expedition of Napoleon (1798–1801), in the course of setting up a camp (Kâit Bey = Rosetta Fort), French lieutenant Pierre François Xavier Bouchard found the stone on 15 July 1799, while working on the fortification of Fort St Julien, ∼4 km from the city of Rosetta in the Nile delta. Scientists who accompanied Napoleon on his expedition closely examined the stone.

During the war between France and Britain, Napoleon invaded Egypt. From Egypt, he wanted to conquer India, the richest colony governed by Britain and thus bring the British Empire to a fall. While Bonaparte landed in Egypt, conquered Alexandria, and started the march to the south, British admiral Sir Horatio Nelson crossed the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In August 1798, the Battle of the Nile was fought near Abukir (∼20 km north-east of Alexandria), where the French fleet lay at anchor. The French armada, which previously had brought Napoleon's expedition army to the land of the pyramids, was defeated by the British navy under Admiral Nelson. Thus the British recaptured the command of the Mediterranean Sea. Six years later Nelson died in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), in which Napoleon's naval forces were defeated and the British fleet gained unrestricted rule over the world's oceans. This was the beginning of the end of Napoleon's reign.

After the French had been defeated in Egypt, they had to relinquish the Rosetta stone to the British in 1801, together with other antiques. In the spring of 1801, when Cairo was being threatened by military operations under the leadership of Sir Ralph Abercromby, academic scholars who participated in the French expedition took the Rosetta stone to Alexandria to keep it safe. According to the unfortunate capitulation treaty, the stone had to be handed over to General Hutchinson however, it initially remained hidden among the luggage of French General Menou. In the end, the Rosetta stone nevertheless got into the hands of Colonel Turner (who was later promoted to Major General), who shipped the precious find to Portsmouth in February 1802, on board of the HMS L'Egyptienne. After intensive archaeological and graphological examinations by the Society of Antiquaries, the Rosetta stone finally made its way to the British Museum, where it can still be viewed and admired today.

In 1822, with the aid of the Rosetta stone, Jean-François Champollion succeeded in deciphering the Demotic script and found the key to the hieratic script and the hieroglyphs ( Figure 5 ). Credit for deciphering the ancient script also belongs to Silvestre de Sacy, Johan David Åkerblad from Sweden and Thomas Young from Britain.

In 1822, 31-year-old Jean François Champollion achieved a breakthrough in the decipherment of the hieroglyphs when he successfully identified the names of the Pharaohs Ramses and Thutmose. Champollion had a remarkable scientific career that came to an early end upon his death at the age of 41. Champollion described the hieroglyphs as a script that contains pictorial, symbolic, and phonetic elements in the same text, the same phrase, and even within the same word.

In 1822, 31-year-old Jean François Champollion achieved a breakthrough in the decipherment of the hieroglyphs when he successfully identified the names of the Pharaohs Ramses and Thutmose. Champollion had a remarkable scientific career that came to an early end upon his death at the age of 41. Champollion described the hieroglyphs as a script that contains pictorial, symbolic, and phonetic elements in the same text, the same phrase, and even within the same word.

Rosetta Stone today

Champollion's discovery remained subject to scientific bickering and controversy until a much less famous stone proved him right in 1866, according to "Cracking Codes." Another decree &mdash also written in hieroglyphic text, Greek and demotic &mdash was found in Tanis, Egypt, and was studied by Prussian Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius that year. The Tanis Stone gave scientists a comparison for testing the Rosetta Stone translation and confirmed Champollion's findings. It is now kept in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The Rosetta Stone itself remains at the British Museum, where it is a popular tourist draw but no longer the subject of much research. Egyptian authorities periodically call for the return of the stone.

"[T]he artifacts stolen from Egypt must come back," Zahi Hawass, then-director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in 2003. Hawass continued to call for the stone's repatriation to Egypt until he lost his position in the Egyptian government in 2011 amid the upheaval of the country's revolution that year. His successors have taken up the cause, with Egyptian archaeologist Ahmed Saleh calling for the return of the stone as recently as 2014. The British Museum has refused these calls, citing a 1970 UNESCO agreement that denies Egypt the right to demand any artifact taken from the country before 1970, according to the Cairo Post. Recently smuggled artifacts are regularly repatriated to Egypt, but objects taken during the colonial period have proved more difficult for Egypt to reclaim.


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