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The Rosetta Stone

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the role of Champollion in deciphering the hieroglyphs on The Rosetta Stone, when the written culture of ancient Egypt opened to the modern world.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most famous museum objects in the world, shown in the image above in replica, and dating from around 196 BC. It is a damaged, dark granite block on which you can faintly see three scripts engraved: Greek at the bottom, Demotic in the middle and Hieroglyphs at the top. Napoleon’s soldiers found it in a Mamluk fort at Rosetta on the Egyptian coast, and soon realised the Greek words could be used to unlock the hieroglyphs. It was another 20 years before Champollion deciphered them, becoming the first to understand the hieroglyphs since they fell out of use 1500 years before and so opening up the written culture of ancient Egypt to the modern age.

With
Penelope Wilson
Associate Professor of Egyptian Archaeology at Durham University

Campbell Price
Curator of Egypt and Sudan at the Manchester Museum

And

Richard Bruce Parkinson
Professor of Egyptology and Fellow of The Queen’s College, University of Oxford

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

47 minutes

Last on

Thu 11 Feb 2021 21:30

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

CONTRIBUTORS:

Richard Bruce Parkinson at the University of Oxford

Penelope Wilson at Durham University

Campbell Price at the Manchester Museum


READING LIST:

Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz, The Riddle of the Rosetta: How an English Polymath and a French Polyglot Discovered the Meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Princeton University Press, 2020)

Richard Parkinson, The Rosetta Stone. British Museum Objects in Focus (British Museum Press, 2005)

Richard Parkinson, Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment (British Museum Press, 1999)

J. D. Ray, The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt (Profile, 2007)

Andrew Robinson, Cracking the Egyptian Code: The Revolutionary Life of Jean-François Champollion (Oxford University Press, 2012)


RELATED LINKS:

The Rosetta Stone – The British Museum

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Rosetta Stone – The British Museum

Rosetta Stone – Wikipedia

Broadcasts

  • Thu 11 Feb 2021 09:00
  • Thu 11 Feb 2021 21:30

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