The name Rosetta refers to the crucial breakthrough in the research regarding Egyptian hieroglyphs. It especially represents the "translation" of "silent" symbols into a living language, which is necessary in order to make the whole content of information of these symbols accessible.
The name Rosetta is attached to the stone of Rosette. This is a compact basalt slab (114x72x28 cm) that was found in July 1799 in the small Egyptian village Rosette (Raschid), which is located in the western delta of the Nile. Today the stone is kept at the British Museum in London. It contains three inscriptions that represent a single text in three different variants of script, a decree of the priests of Memphis in honour of Ptolemaios V. (196 b.c.).
The text appears in form of hieroglyphs (script of the official and religious texts), of Demotic (everyday Egyptian script), and in Greek. The representation of a single text of the three mentioned script variants enabled the French scholar Jean Francois Champollion (1790-1832) in 1822 to basically decipher the hieroglyphs. Furthermore, with the aid of the Coptic language (language of the Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians), he succeeded to realize the phonetic value of the hieroglyphs. This proved the fact that hieroglyphs do not have only symbolic meaning, but that they also served as a "spoken language".
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