The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt

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Harvard University Press, 2007 - History - 199 pages
6 Reviews

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The Rosetta Stone is one of the world's great wonders, attracting awed pilgrims by the tens of thousands each year. This book tells the Stone's story, from its discovery by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt to its current--and controversial-- status as the single most visited object on display in the British Museum.

A pharaoh's forgotten decree, cut in granite in three scripts--Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian demotic, and ancient Greek--the Rosetta Stone promised to unlock the door to the language of ancient Egypt and its 3,000 years of civilization, if only it could be deciphered. Capturing the drama of the race to decode this key to the ancient past, John Ray traces the paths pursued by the British polymath Thomas Young and Jean-Francois Champollion, the "father of Egyptology" ultimately credited with deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. He shows how Champollion "broke the code" and explains more generally how such deciphering is done, as well as its critical role in the history of Egyptology. Concluding with a chapter on the political and cultural controversy surrounding the Stone, the book also includes an appendix with a full translation of the Stone's text.

Rich in anecdote and curious lore, The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt is a brilliant and frequently amusing guide to one of history's great mysteries and marvels.


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Review: The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt (Wonders of the World)

User Review  - Sarah - Goodreads

A neat little gem dedicated more to the men who deciphered it than the stone itself, it's a quick and easy read. Read full review

Review: The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt (Wonders of the World)

User Review  - Garis Knight - Goodreads

This is a relatively short book for the subject, but covered it very well. For someone who had virtually no knowledge of the subject, I came away with a good understanding of many aspects surrounding ... Read full review


The Fading of the Light
The Pot and the Kettle
CHAPTER3 The Man of Science
The Man of Art
CHAPTERS To Make Them Live Again
The Return of the Light
The Heirs of JeanFrancois
Whose Loot is it Anyway?
The text of the stone
Further reading
List of illustrations

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About the author (2007)

John Ray is Herbert Thompson Professor of Egyptology at Cambridge University, and is also a Fellow of Selwyn College.

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