Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment

Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment

Richard Parkinson


Napoleon's troops came across a granitoid slab within the village of Rosetta within the western Delta in 1799. The Rosetta Stone used to be to develop into probably the most recognized Egyptian antiquities on the planet in addition to an immediately recognizable icon of script and decipherment. during this fascinating, superbly illustrated paintings, Richard Parkinson tells the tale of the Stone's discovery and the so-called conflict of the decipherers that it encouraged. released to accompany a massive exhibition on the British Museum celebrating the bicentenary of the Stone's discovery, and together with a selective catalog of the indicates, this publication additionally examines the broader problems with script and writing in historical Egypt and beyond.
The Rosetta Stone is a fraction of a stela inscribed with a priestly decree in honor of Ptolemy V. the most importance of the textual content lies now not in its content material, although, yet within the proven fact that it's written in 3 scripts--hieroglyphic, demotic, and old Greek. Early Orientalists well-known instantly the possibility of the Stone for the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Thomas younger made nice advances, particularly with the demotic textual content, however it was once Jean-François Champollion who made the ultimate leap forward in 1822. In so doing he cracked even more than Egyptian scripts: He unfolded Egyptian tradition as an entire to historians.
Among the topics mentioned in Cracking Codes are the connection among hieroglyphs and paintings, the social status of literacy, and the ability of writing and its functional features (scribal apparatus and training). a short description of alternative decipherments is usually given, drawing on examples comparable to Linear B and Meroitic--a language which is still read.
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