Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum  The Rosetta Stone is a dark grey-pinkish granite stone (often incorrectly identified as basalt) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Koine Greek. Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the hieroglyphs (a system of writing used by the Ancient Egyptians, using a combination of logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic elements).

Ptolemy V assumed the crown at the age of five after a rather turbulent time in Egyptian history. The young ruler was faced with the daunting task of reclaiming lands lost to various invaders and reunifying his country's populace. As an attempt to reestablish legitimacy for the ruler and create a royal cult, Ptolemy's priests issued a series of decrees. The decrees were inscribed on stones and erected throughout Egypt. The Rosetta stone is a copy of the decree issued in the city of Memphis.


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