The decipherment of ancient Egyptian scripts was accomplished in the
early nineteenth century by several European scholars, especially Jean-
François Champollion (pictured) and Thomas Young. Egyptian writing,
which included the hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic scripts, ceased to
be understood in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. Afterwards, it was
believed that Egyptian scripts were exclusively ideographic,
representing ideas, rather than phonetic, representing sounds. The
Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799, bore a parallel text in hieroglyphic,
demotic and Greek, but deciphering the Egyptian text through its Greek
translation proved difficult. Young, building on the work of Antoine-
Isaac Silvestre de Sacy and Johan David Åkerblad, identified several
phonetic signs in demotic. In the early 1820s Champollion realised the
hieroglyphic script had both phonetic and ideographic elements. He
identified the meanings of most phonetic hieroglyphs and established
much of the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Egyptian.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decipherment_of_ancient_Egyptian_scripts>
Today's selected anniversaries:
James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma,
California, leading to the California Gold Rush.
The Soviet nuclear-powered satellite Kosmos 954 burned up
during atmospheric reentry, scattering radioactive debris across
Canada's Northwest Territories.
Japan launched the Hiten spacecraft, the first lunar probe
launched by a country other than the Soviet Union or the United States.
A North Caucasian jihadist carried out a suicide bombing at
Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, killing 37 people.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
(literary) Foggy or misty; wintry.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
If we don’t have an informed electorate we don’t have a
democracy. So I don’t care how people get the information, as long as
they get it. I’m just doing it my particular way and I feel lucky I
can do it the way I want to do it.