Discovery at Rosetta: The Stone that Unlocked the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt

By

It was a real revelation to read the story behind the discovery of the Rosetta stone. Referred to by William Hamilton as the ‘Trilinguar stone’, the importance of this polished black granite tablet was immediately obvious when it was accidentally discovered in July 1799 by Bouchard and his engineers after demolishing the crumbling outer wall of the Fort Julien in an attempt to reinforce the French position against the imminent Ottoman attack. Alongside his vast army, Napoleon had secured the services of 167 ‘savants’ to whom he gave precise orders to rediscover the lost civilisation of the Nile. Dating from 197 BC the Rosetta stone was undoubtedly the single most significant find of Napoleon’s disastrous Egyptian campaign but, having lain undisturbed in the foundations for some four hundred years, it became one of the most hotly contested spoils of the campaign. By February 1802 the stone was in London, but how it got there and the story of its decipherment became the subject of conflicting reports and fierce argument. Seeing their work threatened by the two opposing commanders – Hely-Huchinson and the maddening Menou – the British scholars and the French ‘savants’ collaborated as best they could: to further science and ultimately, by deciphering hieroglyphics, ‘to give birth to the explosion that became Egyptology.’

 

 

Share this review

Buy "The Beggar at the Gate & Other Stories" for £2.05 (Kindle edition)

12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award

Details

Publisher

Published

Genre

Period

Century

Price
(UK) £16.99

ISBN
(UK) 9781845295790

Format
Hardback

Pages
262

Review

Appeared in

Reviewed by