The Rosetta Stone is part of an Ancient Egyptian granite stele with
engraved text that provided the key to modern understanding of Egyptian
hieroglyphs. The inscription records a decree that was issued at
Memphis in 196 BCE on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in
three texts: the upper one is in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the
middle one in Egyptian demotic script, and the lower text in ancient
Greek. Originally displayed within a temple, the stele was probably
moved during the early Christian or medieval period, and eventually
used as building material in the construction of a fort at the town of
Rashid (Rosetta) in the Nile delta. It was rediscovered there in 1799
by a soldier of the French expedition to Egypt. As the first known
bilingual text, the Rosetta Stone aroused wide public interest with its
potential to decipher the hitherto untranslated ancient Egyptian
languages. Lithographic copies and plaster casts began circulating
amongst European museums and scholars. Meanwhile, British troops
defeated the French in Egypt in 1801, and the original stone came into
British possession under the Capitulation of Alexandria. Transported to
London, it has been on public display at the British Museum since 1802.
It is the most-visited object in the British Museum.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Harun al-Rashid became the Abbasid caliph upon the death of his brother
In adopting the Gregorian calendar under the terms of the Calendar (New
Style) Act 1750, the British Empire skipped eleven days (September 2
was followed directly by September 14).
The French invasion of Russia: Following the Battle of Borodino seven
days earlier, Napoleon and his Grande Armée captured Moscow, only to
find the city deserted and burning .
Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States at age 42, the
youngest person ever to do so, eight days after William McKinley was
fatally wounded in Buffalo, New York.
At a conference held in Baghdad, the governments of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait,
Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela founded OPEC to help unify and coordinate
their petroleum policies.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. Lukewarm; neither warm nor cool.
2. Uninterested; exhibiting little passion or eagerness
Wikiquote quote of the day:
The difference between faith and superstition is that the first uses
reason to go as far as it can, and then makes the jump; the second
shuns reason entirely — which is why superstition is not the ally, but
the enemy, of true religion.
--Sydney J. Harris
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