Because of the Rosetta Stone

The past week our class focused on the topic of the Great Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and Egypt in general. While in class the discussion centered around explorers, the pyramids, and the systematic robbing of Egyptian artifacts something piqued my curiosity. Albeit somewhat briefly, the Rosetta Stone was mentioned.The Rosetta Stone itself was a stele inscribed with a decree by King Ptolemy V, on it were the sane decree but written in three different scripts; Ancient Greek, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and demotic script. This ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic stele has been so important to Egyptology and plays such a predominant role in learning about the ancient Egyptians. Rosetta Stone has even become a name for an essential clue in a field of knowledge. If it were not for the Rosetta Stone archaeologists would not be able to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Through the work of many linguists and archaeologists the Rosetta Stone became a tool to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, making scholars and archaeologists able to translate an innumerable amount of cravings, scripts, and wall inscriptions. Information could be gathered from hieroglyphics that could date back thousands of years. For example, ancient Egyptian literature such as papyrus scrolls from the Middle Egyptian era, and hieroglyphs on the walls of Theban temples. Egyptians wrote about burial customs, history, Egyptian mythology, and so much more all across their temples, in scripted on many walls. This gave Egyptologists an insight into the beliefs and minds of ancient Egyptians (or at least the upper, educated class). Such beliefs as the intricate Egyptian mythological system of many gods and goddesses. In addition, through the translation Egyptologists discovered cartouches and the names of the pharaohs, giving them the names of the buried pharaohs in the pyramids.

Locking the code to the Egyptian hieroglyphics also showed archaeologists that Egyptians had an extensive knowledge of astronomy, some scholars even argue that the pyramids have connections with astronomy. While that may be debatable, the impressive knowledge of ancient Egyptian architects is not. These architects designed and built massive structures. Even the sides of some pyramids have slopes with a small margin of error. Their lives and techniques written and stored in the burial places near their pharaohs.

There is plethora of knowledge about ancient Egypt that without the Rosetta Stone would be a mystery. The Rosetta stone has been essential to the modern knowledge of ancient Egyptian literature and civilization.

1 thought on “Because of the Rosetta Stone

  1. I find the Rossetta Stone such an interesting concept. Why did the ancient Egyptians decided to engrave a stone to begin with, and why did they engrave it in three different languages, and why in Ancient Greek, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and demotic script to be specific. Were there other languages of great importance? If I would have assumed any language be on the stone, it would be Latin. This makes me think that the ancient Egyptians were vastly smart to know three different languages. Most people only know one language, and the Egyptian knew three. If by chance Greek had been an unknown language like the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the stone would not have been of any importance, it would have just been another mystery that archaeologist would have to discover the meaning to.

    Another concept about the Rossetta stone that I find interesting is what if we never had found the Rossetta stone. Would we have found a different tool or piece of history to help us decode hieroglyphs, or would it still be a mystery language to this day. It’s amazing to think that if this were true, so much of the knowledge we know about the ancient Egyptians would be unknown. Archaeologist would have such a different view on history, and lead different excavations. Would current archaeology that we know today, be drastically different in what their main points of discovery would be. Would trying to decipher hieroglyphs be a major point of trying to discover, or would it be a small part of what archaeologically discovery.

    So many things have been discovered and found because of this single stele. It is incredible that one thing could have made such an important part of history.

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