Monday, August 30, 2010

What or Who is Rosetta Stone?

Oh Rosetta. Your heart is as hard & cold as stone.  

I work for a company that has many digs in different areas of the world. One of the larger ones requires a fair bit of communication so they have installed language learning software on a lot of our computers. This program is called Rosette Stone. I always though it was a woman's name, a name of the founder or a great language teacher or someones mistress. It wasn't until recently that I was talking to my Dad about it that he told me what Rosetta Stone really was.

The Rosetta Stone is part of an Ancient Egyptian granodiorite 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.Interesting, isn't it?


 
It's been passed around many times over the span of it's existence but finally has made home The British Museum since 1802. Apparently, it is the most visited object in the museum.
 
So all this time I thought it was just the name of a language program but truly, it's more than that. It is an iconic tool in the translation and understanding of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics.
 
For more info:

4 comments:

The Clever Pup said...

Yeah, that's why it's such a great name for a language company. Because it was the key to 3 languages. Neat, huh.

amourissima said...

Incredibly neat!

Calvin said...

& without the other languages it becomes another Linear A. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_A Not nearly as catchy a name as "Rosetta Stone" though.

Added bonus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaistos_Disc to tickle your imagination.

Ryan said...

Thankfully, Canada is doing it's part for future archeologists. When our civilization gets dug up they'll find numerous artifacts (like cereal boxes?) with the same text written in English and French.

So what language are you learning?