Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics: The Rosetta Stone

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Countries all over the world have been interacting for decades using their own unique writing systems. Around 3000 B.C., ancient Egyptians used a writing system called hieroglyphics that lasted until the late Roman times (Rude 133). The meaning of these “pictures” remained unknown until 1822 when the ‘French linguistic genius’ Jean-Francois Champollion made the discovery (Rossini 6). The Rosetta Stone was a slab of stone that was key in the process of understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics (Sing 2). The Rosetta Stone was carved in 196 B.C. and eventually found in 1799 in a small village called Rosetta near the Nile River in Egypt by French soldiers who were rebuilding a fort in Egypt (“The Rosetta Stone” 2). The Rosetta stone has …show more content…

In order for the documents, such as official documents of the state that priests had written, and letters were able to be transferred around and not remain in one place, the papyrus plant was introduced (Budge 6). These plants were fifteen feet in height, triangular, and about six inches in diameter (Budge 6). The outer layer was removed and the stalk was divided into layers side by side with a thin layer of gum between each stalk, then the stalks were laid out in a horizontal direction, pressed, and dried (Budge 6). Once the papyrus was dried, the Egyptians wrote with a reed that was about ten inches long and used ink that was a mixture of vegetable substances usually mixed with gum and water (Budge 7). It was discovered that the papyrus was never as clear or as sharp as those that were cut with metal chisels in hard surfaces such as stone (Budge 7). Since the papyrus had to be cut, prepared and laid out to dry, it became evident that it was much quicker to be writing these messages out on tablets because of the demand that government orders and letters had to be written. While there was an increase speed of these documents, it left the scribe no other choice than to start abbreviating and modifying the picture signs, until only the most prominent characters remained (Budge 7). Eventually, this became the issue and hieroglyphics lost much of their illustrative character

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