Jean-Francois Champollion & the Rosetta Stone

220px-Leon_Cogniet_-_Jean-Francois_ChampollionJean-François Champollion was a French classical scholar, philologist and orientalist who deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs.  As the youngest of seven children, his parents couldn’t afford to send him to school. His brother Jacques taught him to read, brought him to the university, and supported him throughout most of his life. He taught history at Grenoble University. He died suddenly on March 4, 1842 at the age of forty-one.

Champollion was a linguistic genius who could speak a dozen languages. When the Rosetta Stone which contained script in three languages including the hieroglyphics that had yet to be translated. Champollion published the first translation of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs in 1824 after two years of work.He  demonstrated that the Egyptian writing system was a combination of phonetic and ideographic signs. His 1824 work Précis du système hiéroglyphique was the beginning of the entire field of modern Egyptology.

Tomorrow, The Rosetta Stone      Rita Bay

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