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Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele discovered in 1799 which is inscribed with three versions of a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic and Demotic scripts respectively, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. The decree has only minor differences among the three versions, so the Rosetta Stone became key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, thereby opening a window into ancient Egyptian history. The stone was carved during the Hellenistic period and is believed to have originally been displayed within a temple, possibly at nearby Sais. It was probably moved in late antiquity or during the Mameluk period, and was eventually used as building material in the construction of Fort Julien near the town of Rashid in the Nile Delta. It was discovered there in July 1799 by French soldier Pierre-François Bouchard during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt.


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