Imagine if no one decrypted the Rosetta Stone. Key Moments in decoding the ancient language include Jean-Francois Champollion deciphers hieroglyphics, General Napoleon Bonaparte conquering Egypt, and Pierre-Francois Bouchard discovers the Rosetta Stone.
French Revolution (02:51)
European leaders attempt to squash the ideals of liberty and equality. The French government appoints Bonaparte to invade Egypt in order to compromise the British trade route to India. The General assembles a commission of scientists, mathematicians, and artists to travel with the soldiers.
Memory of Humanity (03:20)
No one can decipher the ancient hieroglyphics; civilizations are fragile and can disappear. Champollion prefers studying Latin and Greek. Bonaparte seizes the city of Alexandria and opens the road to Cairo in the Battle of the Pharaohs; the British navy destroys the French ships.
Finding the Rosetta Stone (03:08)
Bonaparte commands his troops to build fortifications along the coast. Bouchard unearths a large stone with Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphic inscriptions at El Rachid. Egyptology would be neglected without its discovery.
France and Britain Competes (03:06)
Champollion studies Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, Persian, and Coptic. Bonaparte flees Egypt and becomes emperor after leading a military coup. The British government negotiates to obtain the Rosetta Stone and other precious artifacts.
Early Research (02:16)
Theodosius I ends the practice of writing in hieroglyphics when he closes pagan temples. Symbols represent objects and gradually become simplified and abstract. Young realizes that demotic writing is a mixture of hieroglyphics and an alphabet.
Cracking the Rosetta Stone (03:24)
After the Battle of Waterloo, the Imperial Army is vanquished; Bonaparte abdicates his throne. Young claims to have discovered the principles of hieroglyphics but is still unable to read it. Champollion realizes that signs can be used as a symbol or sound.
Making History (04:49)
Young argues that Champoillon's advances are based upon his research. Charles Darwin draws upon research written by Jean-Batiste de Lamarck in his "On the Origin of Species." Champollion is named curator of Egyptian Collections at the Louvre museum.
Credits: Champollion and the Rosetta Stone (00:46)
Credits: Champollion and the Rosetta Stone
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