Today in History: Rosetta Stone Found

| July 19, 2018

180716_News_1080x1920Rosetta Stone is often linked to the highly sought after language learning series — those massive “dynamic immersion” kits in over 30 languages, Arabic to Welsh, you might see for sale even in the marbled passages of Grand Central Station — but do you know its true origin? An origin so famous over the course of history that the best-selling postcard at the British Museum bears its image! Seen as a symbol for the “opening up of other cultures” and an “icon of translation, of decipherment, and of understanding other worlds”, it’s no wonder then that the Rosetta Stone language series is so apt and in-demand — to the point that our very own holdings of the series in multiple languages shamefully went missing in a very short period of time …

Rosetta Stone was a a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing found by Pierre Bouchard, one of Napolean’s soldiers, some 35 miles north of Alexandria on July 19, 1799. The discovery revealed the value of hieroglyphics as a key to understanding ancient civilization and culture; identical in meaning was the decree written by priests in Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Egyptian demotic that honored Ptolemy V, king of Egypt.

The stone was transferred to the British Museum in London in 1802, following the defeat of Napolean Bonaparte by the British. Except for two years during World War I, when it was hidden in Holburn’s underground railway station, the Rosetta Stone has resided in the British Museum.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.


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