The Characteristics And The History Of Hieroglyphics

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Have you every wondered where all writing began ? Have you often thought of the secrets about life that ancient civilizations took to their graves with them ? If so, you should be very interested in learning about an ancient writing technique called hieroglyphics, which many scientists believe is the origin of all writing (Bolia 2). Hieroglyphics are not only one of the oldest recorded languages, but it also has a documented history longer by far than that of any other. Hieroglyphics were first written down towards the end of the fourth millennium BC, and thereafter remained in continuous recorded use down to about the eleventh century AD, a period of over 4,000 years (Reagal 6). There are many misconceptions about where that hieroglyphics…show more content…
Some scholars thought that the hieroglyphics were the origin of other languages. Some believed that hieroglyphics spelled nothing at all. Yet others believed that the hieroglyphics were an indication of social stratification or social significance. This uncertainty would most likely have continued if a political event not interceded. The almost constant warfare between Britain and France resulted in a major change in the understanding of hieroglyphics. The French, under Napolean Bonaparte , decided that they could defeat the British by attacking Egypt and subsequently controlling the rich food supply from along the…show more content…
Napolean and his men were stranded in Egypt. They began to remodel the Fortress at Rosetta. Then, in 1799, Lieutenant Bouchard discovered a slab of basalt stone while remodeling the Fortress at Rosetta. The stone measured three feet nine inches long, two feet four and a half inches wide, and eleven inches thick and it contained three distinct bands of writing. The most incomplete was the top band containing hieroglyphics, the middle band was an Egyptian script called Demontic script, and the bottom was ancient Greek. This stone was called the Rosetta Stone. The Lieutenant took the stone to the scholars and they soon found out that the stone was a royal decree that basically stated that it was to be written in the languages used in Egypt at the time. Scholars began to focus on the Demontic script, the middle band, because it was more complete and it looked more like letters than the pictures in the upper band that were hieroglyphics. It was essentially a shorthand hieroglyphics that had evolved from an earlier shorthand version of Egyptian called Heiratic script (Hieroglyphics 237). The first to make any sense of the Demontic script on the Rosetta Stone was a French scholar named Silvestre DeSacy. DeSacy was an important and skilled French linguist. He identified the symbols which comprised the word “Ptolemy” and “Alexander” thus, establishing a relationship between the symbols and
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