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The Rosetta stone

The Rosetta Stone

It is a basalt stone column, dark gray-pink color. It was finding in the port city of Rosetta, in July 1799 by the French captain Pierre Francois, 1772-1832. Its dimensions are 133 cm long and 75 cm wide. It is engraving in two languages, Egyptian and Greek. As for the Egyptian language, it is engraving two scripts, Hieroglyphics, Demotic Egyptian. The Greek script was the key to deciphering the Hieroglyphic script.

The Rosetta Stone is dated that it was registered in March 196 BC, the 9th year of the reign of Ptolemy V. The royal family of Ptolemy had Greek citizenship. They ruled Egypt after the partition of the Empire of Alexander the Great. The surviving monuments from their time refer to temples in the Egyptian style, while according to the historical and archeological testimony, they maintained a way of life according to the Greek standards and the language they used was the Greek language of the time. During their dynasty, Egypt took on the characteristics of a multicultural society with Egyptian and Greek characteristics distinct in each case, since a mixture of the two cultures was rarely observed in any aspect of daily or public life.

Its content concerns royal decrees in order to bring the state under the control of the king but also to set up the divine worship of Ptolemy E. The column became known in history as the Decree of Memphis. The need that prompted the pharaoh to issue this Decree and to register it in this column, lies in the insurmountable need to bring areas of Egypt under the absolute control of the king since he lost in recent years. The previous actions concerned the actions of the army of the time to position opposition in the Delta of Egypt and in Upper Egypt, giving especial weight to Thebes, because this area had moved away from the absolute control of the royal court during the reign of Ptolemy V.

With the enactment of this Decree, the latter hoped to redefine his supremacy arising from his office but also to give the credentials of his monarchy in the eyes of the Egyptian elite at a consecration ceremony held in the city of Memphis. With this step but also with others that preceded, such as the Decree of Canopus (Archaeological Museum of Cairo) was to confirm its validity and to strengthen its moral standing throughout Egypt.

More specifically, the column contains praise to the king and follows a story about the siege of Lycopolis, a small town in the Delta of Egypt, a fact that is not confirmed by historical evidence. It concludes with a testimonial to the good deeds of the king addressed to the temples of Egypt.

Decrees of the cavalry and the founding of the king's club are also recorded. Finally, it is pointed out that the king should receive outstanding honors from all the men of Egypt and that its preservation requires the writing of its contents in stone, a material that withstands time and in all the used scriptures of the time.