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Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832)

The Egyptian Hieroglyphics were to the modern scholars a mysterious writing; for a long time, they had tried to decipher it, but in vain. The Rosetta Stone paved the way for deciphering the Hieroglyphic script and the Ancient Egyptian language. Copies were made of the stone and the French, British, German and Swedish scholars started their research. Swedish scholar Akerblad already succeeded in finding phonological equivalents of 12 hieroglyphic letters. The final break-through was made by the famous French linguist Jean-François Champollion. He deciphered the script completely from the Rosetta Stone and from other samples of Hieroglyphic writing.

 

Champollion

This was indeed the start of Egyptology! After scholars learnt to read ancient writings, all the mysteries of Ancient Egypt slowly became clear to them. They translated papyrus after papyrus, among which were religious work, literature, administrative correspondence and business letters. Each one of these revealed to them the Lost World of Ancient Egypt. From these Egyptian sources and other available works of Later Greek and Roman scholars, they uncovered a considerable portion about Egyptian history, religion, literature, culture, livelihood, rulers and so on. The fact that Egyptians carved spells and the description of the deeds of their rulers in their stone-built tombs helped preserve their history. The numerous papyri also passed the test of time. So, this is how the Ancient History of Egypt came into the light of the Modern World.

The Birth of Egyptology

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