Best kept Secrets

Only In Rosetta {Rasheed}

Rosetta, or Rasheed, holds a special place in the annals of Egyptology, primarily due to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, an artifact that unlocked the ancient Egyptian civilization’s secrets. Today, this iconic stone is a major exhibit at the British Museum in London, drawing crowds intrigued by its historical significance.

The Discovery of the Rosetta Stone

In 1799, during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, a French soldier, while bolstering the defenses of Fort St Julien near Rosetta, unearthed what would become a cornerstone in understanding ancient Egypt. The Rosetta Stone, the lower part of a larger granitic stele, dates back to 196 BC. It bears a decree from the priests of Memphis that endorsed the divinity of the then 13-year-old Pharaoh Ptolemy V, in exchange for priestly benefits including tax exemptions.

A Trilingual Key to the Past

What makes the Rosetta Stone invaluable is its trilingual inscription: hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek. This allowed it to serve as a linguistic bridge. At the time of discovery, although much was known about ancient Egypt, the hieroglyphic script remained a mystery. The realization that the stone’s inscriptions offered identical texts in three scripts sparked a breakthrough in deciphering hieroglyphs.

The Journey of the Stone and Breakthrough in Decipherment

Following the British defeat of Napoleon’s forces in 1801, the Rosetta Stone was seized under a clause in the surrender document, moving it from French to British hands. In London, Thomas Young made significant strides in understanding the direction of hieroglyphic reading and identified royal names in cartouches.

However, it was the Frenchman Jean-François Champollion who, in 1822, made a monumental breakthrough. He discerned that the hieroglyphs were translations from Greek and not vice versa. Champollion’s meticulous work, identifying the hieroglyphs as alphabetic, syllabic, and determinative, led to a comprehensive understanding of the script. His efforts not only deciphered the ancient language but also immensely contributed to modern comprehension of ancient Egyptian culture and history.

Created On 1 May 2019

Updated On January 26, 2024

A white mosque with a golden minaret by the water's edge at sunset, with people gathered nearby
Evening tranquility embraces the Suez waterfront as the day concludes with a prayerful silence
A photo depicting two boats on the shore of a waterway with an ornate building in the background, under a clear sky
The quiet beauty of Rosetta's riverbank, where boats dock and history stands tall

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