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What Would The World Be Like If Rosetta Stone Did Not Exist?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015

What Would The World Be Like If Rosetta Stone Did Not Exist?


What Is Rosetta Stone?

The Rosetta stone is a granodiorite stele stone which contains an inscribed text. The text which is encarved in the Rosetta stone is actually a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC. This decree was issued on behalf of King Ptolemy V.


Who Was King Ptolomy The Fifth?

ptolemy_iv_or_vi_louvreSon of Ptolemy IV Philopator and Arsinoe III of Egypt, Ptolemy V Epiphanes, reigned the Ptolomaic Empire from 204 to 181 BC. Logically, as his title suggests, Ptolomy V was the fifth ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. He ascended the throne at the very young age, as he was only five years old at the time. However, precisely because of this the kingdom was paralyzed, as it was in fact under the rule of series of regents.
King Ptolomy V is best remembered in history due to the fact that during his reign the Rosetta stone was produced.

Why Is The Rosetta Stone Important?

Well, the decree encarved on the granodiorite is the decree issued by King Ptolomy, however it is the most valuable due to the fact that the decree appears in three scripts: the upper text in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion in Demotic script, and the lowest in Ancient Greek. Basically, it is the same text with minor differences which appears in three different languages and which has been the essential component in order to understand the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

What Would The World Be Like If Rosetta Stone Did Not Exist?

2834327514_c6d640327d_bIf the Rosetta stone did not exist, we would not have had the chance to investigate and grasp the Egyptian culture and language. However one cannot help to wonder – is Rosetta stone really that special and unique? Hadn’t there been other ways for linguists and historians to find out about Egyptian language? Well, in fact, Rosetta stone is not as special as once it was thought to have been, since other similar documents have been found. Fragmentary copies of the same decree were found, and several similar Egyptian bilingual or trilingual inscriptions. Two of them are even dated as older than Ptolemaic decree: the Decree of Canopus in 238 BC, and the Memphis decree of Ptolemy IV, ca. 218 BC.

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Even though, this means that the Rosetta stone is no longer unique and similar texts do exist, still we cannot forget that the Rosetta stone was the essential key to understanding of Ancient Egyptian literature and civilization once, and that without it we would not have had the chance to get familiar with Ancient Egyptian culture when and in the way we have. It was the Rosetta stone, not other scriptures, which provided the key element in order for us to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs; and we can say that its existence really changed the world at the time. Nowadays people use the notion Rosetta stone to say that something is a clue to understanding a new scientific field or a key to understanding a new field of knowledge.

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