Pictures of the Rosetta Stone | Rosetta Stone Profile
What Is the Rosetta Stone?
The Rosetta Stone, which is housed in the British Museum, is a black, possibly basalt slab with three languages on it (Greek, demotic and hieroglyphs) each saying the same thing. Because the words are translated into the other languages, it provided Jean-Francois Champollion the key to the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Discovery of the Rosetta Stone:
Rosetta Stone Content:
The Rosetta Stone tells of an agreement between Egyptian priests and the pharaoh on March 27, 196 B.C. It names honors bestowed on Macedonian Pharaoh Ptolemy V Epiphanes. After praising the pharaoh for his generosity, it describes the siege of Lycopolis and the king's good deeds for the temple. The text continues with its main purpose: establishing a cult for the king.
Related Meaning for the Term Rosetta Stone:
Physical Description of the Rosetta Stone:
Height: 114.400 cm (max.)
Width: 72.300 cm
Thickness: 27.900 cm
Weight: about 760 kilograms (1,676 lb.).
Location of the Rosetta Stone:
- "The Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great?," by Andrew Chugg; Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Apr., 2002), pp. 8-26
Languages of the Rosetta Stone:
- Demotic (the everyday script, used to write documents),
- Greek (the language of Ionian Greeks, an administrative script), and
- Hieroglyphs (for priestly business).
Deciphering the Rosetta Stone:
No one could read hieroglyphs at the time of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, but scholars soon pieced out a few phonetic characters in the demotic section, which, by comparison with the Greek, were identified as proper names. Soon proper names in the hieroglyphic section were identified because they were circled. These circled names are called cartouches.
Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832) was said to have learned enough Greek and Latin by the time he was 9-years-old to read Homer and Vergil (Virgil). He studied Persian, Ethiopic, Sanskrit, Zend, Pahlevi and Arabic, and worked on a Coptic dictionary by the time he was 19. Champollion finally found the key to translating the Rosetta Stone in 1822, published in 'Lettre à M. Dacier.'