The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V. It is written in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek, and is the most visited object in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
History of the Rosetta Stone
The stone was found in 1799 by French soldiers who were rebuilding a fort in the town of Rosetta, near Alexandria. It is thought that the stone was originally located in a temple and was later used as a building material.
The stone is a black granite stele, with a height of 3 feet 9 inches (114 cm) and a length of 4 feet 4 inches (132 cm). The top and bottom of the stone are slightly worn, but the middle portion is in excellent condition. It is inscribed with a decree written in three scripts: hieroglyphic, demotic, and Ancient Greek.
The text of the decree was written in 196 BC by a priest named Hor-Apollo. It declared that Ptolemy V, the then-ruler of Egypt, was the rightful heir to the throne and that all of his subjects should obey him.
Significance of the Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is significant for two reasons: it was the key to understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and it was the first example of an ancient trilingual text.
The stone was the key to understanding hieroglyphs because it contained the same text written in three different scripts. This allowed scholars to compare the three scripts and eventually decipher the hieroglyphs.
The Rosetta Stone was also the first example of an ancient trilingual text. This meant that it could be used to compare the writing styles of different languages and understand how they developed over time.
The Rosetta Stone at the Louvre
The Rosetta Stone is now on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is the most visited object in the museum, and it is also one of the most photographed artifacts in the world.
The stone is kept in a glass case in the museum’s Denon wing. It is displayed alongside other ancient Egyptian artifacts, including the Narmer Palette and the Code of Hammurabi.
The Rosetta Stone is an important artifact that is widely recognized for its significance in deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and for being the first example of an ancient trilingual text. It is now on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris, where it is the most visited object in the museum.