On July 19, 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered in Rashid (sometimes called Rosetta), Egypt. The Rosetta Stone is a large, black, granite-like slab (called a stele) meant to be erected in a public space. The Rosetta Stone, dated 196 BCE, outlines new rituals surrounding the worship of Pharaoh Ptolemy V.
The Rosetta Stone is inscribed in two languages: Egyptian and Greek, and three texts: hieroglyphic, Demotic, and Greek. Scholars were fluent in ancient Greek and Demotic, the writing system used by Egyptian scribes of the period. The translation of hieroglyphics, however, remained a mystery. The Rosetta Stone allowed linguists to decipher hieroglyphics by comparing hieroglyphic symbols with a known text. Understanding hieroglyphics opened up almost all ancient Egyptian language and literature to Egyptologists and historians.
The Rosetta Stone was deciphered largely by Thomas Young of England, and Jean-Francois Champollion of France.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry decipher Verb
to figure out or interpret.
(700 BCE - 400 CE) informal written language of ancient Egypt.
person who studies the culture and history of ancient Egypt.
to build or raise.
able to speak, write, and understand a language.
type of hard, igneous rock.
hieroglyphics Plural Noun
written language using images to represent words.
to mark or engrave a surface.
person who studies language.
ruler of ancient Egypt.
series of customs or procedures for a ceremony, often religious.
Rosetta Stone Noun
(196 BCE) large black stone carved with a decree about the coronation of Pharaoh Ptolemy V. The decree is carved in three languages: Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphic.
sharp tool used to make maps using the scribing method.
something used to represent something else.
honor, adoration, or glorification, usually to a religious god.