Cracking Codes: Rosetta Stone and the Art of Decipherment

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9780714119168: Cracking Codes: Rosetta Stone and the Art of Decipherment

Napoleon's troops discovered a granitoid slab in the village of Rosetta in the western Delta in 1799. The Rosetta Stone was to become one of the most famous Egyptian antiquities in the world as well as an instantly recognizable icon of script and decipherment. In this exciting, beautifully illustrated work, Richard Parkinson tells the story of the Stone's discovery and the so-called battle of the decipherers that it inspired. Published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Museum celebrating the bicentenary of the Stone's discovery, and including a selective catalog of the exhibits, this book also examines the wider issues of script and writing in ancient Egypt and beyond.

The Rosetta Stone is a fragment of a stela inscribed with a priestly decree in honor of Ptolemy V. The main significance of the text lies not in its content, however, but in the fact that it is written in three scripts—hieroglyphic, demotic, and ancient Greek. Early Orientalists recognized immediately the potential of the Stone for the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Thomas Young made great advances, especially with the demotic text, but it was Jean-François Champollion who made the final breakthrough in 1822. In so doing he cracked much more than two Egyptian scripts: He opened up Egyptian culture as a whole to historians.

Among the subjects discussed in Cracking Codes are the relationship between hieroglyphs and art, the social prestige of literacy, and the power of writing and its practical aspects (scribal equipment and training). A brief description of other decipherments is also given, drawing on examples such as Linear B and Meroitic—a language which remains to be read.

A selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the Quality Paperback Book Club

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Review :

In 1799, while Napoleon's troops battled the fierce Mamelukes in Egypt's Western Delta, a French engineer discovered a giant granite slab that contained strange symbols and Greek letters. Two Egyptologists, the British-born Thomas Young and the astounding young French linguistic polymath Jean-François Champollion, fought to decipher the confounding script in an epic scientific battle. In 1822 Champollion finally broke through 3,000 years of mystery and revealed the Egyptian demotic and hieroglyphic system of writing--forever changing our view of history in the process.

Cracking Codes, by Richard Parkinson, the British Museum's assistant keeper of Egyptian antiquities, is a companion volume for the museum's bicentennial exhibition of what has come to be known as the Rosetta stone. With 32 color and 200 black-and-white illustrations ranging from limestone fragments to whole statues, illustrated papyrus, and evocative wall paintings, Parkinson shows how Champollion's piercing of the mists of time has enabled the ancient Egyptians to speak to modern civilizations. Parkinson's essays on the importance of writing to human civilization and the birth of Egyptology are equally insightful. "The decipherment of the Egyptian scripts is not a single event that occurred in 1822," he writes, but "a continuous process that is repeated at every reading of a text or artifact. Like any process of reading, it is a dialogue." --Eugene Holley Jr.

About the Author :

Richard Parkinson is Assistant Keeper in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum specializing in hieratic papyri and epigraphy. His publications include Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings (1991), Papyrus (with S. Quirke) and The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 B.C.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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Richard Parkinson
Edité par 07141 (1999)
ISBN 10 : 0714119164 ISBN 13 : 9780714119168
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Richard Parkinson
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3.

Richard Parkinson
Edité par British Museum Press (1999)
ISBN 10 : 0714119164 ISBN 13 : 9780714119168
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Vendeur
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, Etats-Unis)
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Description du livre British Museum Press, 1999. Paperback. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire 0714119164

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