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"In 1799, a French officer was clearing debris from a military installation when he discovered a stele bearing three scripts: ancient Greek, hieroglyphic, and a third that could not be definitively identified. This artifact, which came to be known as the Rosetta Stone, has traditionally played the starring role in the history of decipherment, which has until now been understood as an instance of code-breaking, a kind of Bletchley Park avant la lettre. In The Riddle of the Rosetta, Buchwald and Josefowicz delve into a wide array of British and French sources as well as archival material to produce a comprehensive new history of the decipherment. More than a puzzle-solving exercise based on a single artifact, the decipherment engaged with the era's social, cultural and intellectual contexts. It grew in the midst of heated disputes about language, historical evidence, the status of the Bible, the nature of polytheism, and the importance of classical learning. Jean-François Champollion in France and his British rival, the medical doctor and polymath Thomas Young, approached the decipherment from different standpoints derived from their contrasting temperaments, educational experiences, and attitudes to antiquity. Imbued with reverence for Greek culture and raised a Quaker, Young disdained Egyptian culture and saw Egyptian writing principally as a way to uncover new knowledge about Greco-Roman antiquity. To him, the decipherment was akin to a challenge posed by a problem in mathematics or science. Champollion's altogether different motivations and attitude unfolded amidst the political chaos of Restoration France, in fierce response to the intrigues of opposing scholars aligned with throne and altar. Unlike Young, Champollion admired ancient Egypt, and this sympathy, coupled with his willingness to upend conventional wisdom about the enigmatic Egyptian signs, freed him to travel a path down which Young refused to go. A remarkable intellectual adventure reaching from the filthy back streets of Georgian London to the hushed lecture rooms of the Institut de France, from the forgotten byways of provincial France to the splendor of the Valley of the Kings, this book reveals the decipherment in its full historical complexity"--

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Genre: History
Author: Jed Z. Buchwald
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release: 2020-09-15
File: 576 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780691200903

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BOOK EXCERPT:

"Until the Rosetta Stone was finally translated and the decoding of hieroglyphic writing made possible, much of Egyptian history was lost. The author has done a masterful job of distilling information, citing the highlights, and fitting it all together in an interesting and enlightening look at a puzzling subject." —H. "The social and intellectual history here are fascinating. A handsome, inspiring book." —K. Notable Children's Books of 1991 (ALA) Notable 1990 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC) Children's Books of 1990 (Library of Congress) 100 Books for Reading and Sharing (NY Public Library) Parenting Honorable Mention, Reading Magic Award

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Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
Author: James Cross Giblin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: 1993-02-28
File: 96 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780064461375

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BOOK EXCERPT:

Describes how the discovery and deciphering of the Rosetta Stone unlocked the secret of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
Author: James Cross Giblin
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin School
Release: 1990
File: 85 Pages
ISBN-13: 0153144246

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A major new history of the race between two geniuses to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Europe In 1799, a French Army officer was rebuilding the defenses of a fort on the banks of the Nile when he discovered an ancient stele fragment bearing a decree inscribed in three different scripts. So begins one of the most familiar tales in Egyptology—that of the Rosetta Stone and the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. This book draws on fresh archival evidence to provide a major new account of how the English polymath Thomas Young and the French philologist Jean-François Champollion vied to be the first to solve the riddle of the Rosetta. Jed Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz bring to life a bygone age of intellectual adventure. Much more than a decoding exercise centered on a single artifact, the race to decipher the Rosetta Stone reflected broader disputes about language, historical evidence, biblical truth, and the value of classical learning. Buchwald and Josefowicz paint compelling portraits of Young and Champollion, two gifted intellects with altogether different motivations. Young disdained Egyptian culture and saw Egyptian writing as a means to greater knowledge about Greco-Roman antiquity. Champollion, swept up in the political chaos of Restoration France and fiercely opposed to the scholars aligned with throne and altar, admired ancient Egypt and was prepared to upend conventional wisdom to solve the mystery of the hieroglyphs. Taking readers from the hushed lecture rooms of the Institut de France to the windswept monuments of the Valley of the Kings, The Riddle of the Rosetta reveals the untold story behind one of the nineteenth century's most thrilling discoveries.

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Genre: Social Science
Author: Jed Z. Buchwald
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release: 2020-09-15
File: 576 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780691200910

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BOOK EXCERPT:

"Until the Rosetta Stone was finally translated and the decoding of hieroglyphic writing made possible, much of Egyptian history was lost. The author has done a masterful job of distilling information, citing the highlights, and fitting it all together in an interesting and enlightening look at a puzzling subject." —H. "The social and intellectual history here are fascinating. A handsome, inspiring book." —K. Notable Children's Books of 1991 (ALA) Notable 1990 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC) Children's Books of 1990 (Library of Congress) 100 Books for Reading and Sharing (NY Public Library) Parenting Honorable Mention, Reading Magic Award

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Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
Author: James Cross Giblin
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release: 1993-02-28
File: 96 Pages
ISBN-13: 0064461378

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The decoding of Linear B is one of the world's greatest stories: from the discovery of a cache of ancient tablets recording a lost prehistoric language to the dramatic solution of the riddle nearly seventy years later, it exerts a mesmerising pull on the imagination. But this captivating story is missing a crucial piece. Two men have dominated Linear B in popular history: Arthur Evans, the intrepid Victorian archaeologist who unearthed Linear B at Knossos and Michael Ventris, the dashing young amateur who produced a solution. But there was a third figure: Alice Kober, without whose painstaking work, recorded on pieces of paper clipped from hymn-sheets and magazines and stored in cigarette boxes in her Brooklyn loft, Linear B might still remain a mystery. Drawing on Kober's own papers - only made available recently - Margalit Fox provides the final piece of the enigma, and along the way reveals how you decipher a language when you know neither its grammar nor its alphabet as well as the stories behind other ancient languages, like the dancing-man Rongorongo of Easter Island.

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Genre: History
Author: Margalit Fox
Publisher: Profile Books
Release: 2013-07-11
File: 273 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781847659705

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BOOK EXCERPT:

What does the Rosetta Stone tell us about the past? What treasures of Egyptian literature can now be read, thanks to its decipherment? What does it tell us about the history of writing and the story of our own alphabets? How do decipherments work and how can we know if they are right? Who owns the Rosetta Stone and what happens if we start to return pieces of the past to countries who claim them? These are some of the fascinating questions which are explored in this introduction to one of the true Wonders of the World.

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Genre: History
Author: John Ray
Publisher: Profile Books
Release: 2014-08-07
File: 232 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781847650665

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BOOK EXCERPT:

Deciphering the Rosetta Stone -- Reading a text: the Egyptian scripts of the Rosetta Stone -- Towards reading a cultural code: the uses of writing in ancient Egypt -- The future: futher codes to crack.

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Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Author: R. B. Parkinson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release: 1999-01-01
File: 208 Pages
ISBN-13: 0520223063

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For more than 3,000 years, Egypt was a great civilization that thrived along the banks of the Nile River. But when its cities crumbled to dust, Egypt’s culture and the secrets of its hieroglyphic writings were also lost. The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt explains how archaeologists have pieced together their discoveries to slowly reveal the history of Egypt’s people, its pharaohs, and its golden days. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
Author: Elizabeth Payne
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release: 2012-04-25
File: 192 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780307813992

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Surviving murderous thieves, a nerve-racking sea voyage, and the deadly sands of Egypt with Napoleon's army, adventurer Ethan Gage solved a five-thousand-year-old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion. But the danger is only just beginning... Gage finds himself hurled into the Holy Land in pursuit of an ancient Egyptian scroll that promises to reveal the secrets of the universe, even as Bonaparte launches his deadly invasion of Israel. The general hopes the ancient secrets of the Middle East will help catapult him to power in France, and the inventive Gage faces old enemies as he must use all his wit and derring-do to prevent dark powers from seizing control of the world.

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Genre: Fiction
Author: William Dietrich
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Release: 2011-04-11
File: 448 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780749010126

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