Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo: Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta stone is a dark grey- pinkish originally thought to be basalt in composition, Measure 133cM long, 75cM wide, with writing on it in two languages. Egyptian and Greek, Using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Greek. Because Greek was well known, the stone was the key to deciphering the Hieroglyphics.

The Rosetta stone is dated to March 196B-C, in the 9th year of Ptolemy V. the background to the setting up of the Stella was the conformation of the control of the Ptolemaic king over Egypt.

The Ptolemies were Greek who had been ruling Egypt since the division of the Empire of Alexander the Great, and while they built temples in the Egyptian style, their life style and language remained exclusively Greek, Egypt had by now became a multi-cultural society, a mixture of Greek and Egyptian, although in many parts of the country the two rarely met.

In the years preceding the sitting up of the Rosetta stone, control of certain parts of Egypt had been lost to the family of the Ptolemies, and it had taken the Ptolemaic armies some time to put don opposition in the Delta, parts of southern Upper Egypt, particularly Thebes, were not back in the control of the government, it appears that it was decided that the best way to emphasize the legitimacy at the 13 year old.

Ptolemy V in the eyes of the Egyptian elite was to re-emphasize his traditional royal credentials with a coronation ceremony in the city of Memphis, and to affirm his royal cult throughout Egypt, this second aim was done through a series of priestly decrees, of which the Rosetta stone is by far the best-known example.

It is a version of the decree issued at the city of Memphis, other include the Canopus decree in the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

The inscription begins with praise of Ptolemy and then includes an account of the siege of the city of Lycopolis (a town in the Delta) not identified with certainty, and the good deeds done by the king for the temples. The final part of the text describes the decrees over riding purpose, the establishment of the club of the king. It ends with saying that it is to be made known that all the men of Egypt should magnify and honour Ptolemy V, and that the text should be set up in hard stone in three scripts which it still bears today.

French captain Pierre Francois 1772-1832 discovered the stone in the Egyptian port city of Rosetta. (Rashid) on July 1799.

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