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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum
Let's do something else, I thought, it doesn't always have to be Russian and Russia. So I went to the Tutankhamun exhibition here in Brussels. Does the exhibition start with the Rosetta stone. Well, a replica of the Rosetta stone actually because the whole exhibition was made up of replicas but they compensate this by bringing it all very gripping so the exhibition is definitely worth a visit. But for the original Rosetta stone you will have to go to the British Museum in London.

Anyway, thanks to the Rosetta stone, only found in 1799, they finally managed to decipher the hieroglyphs. Because the same text was inscribed three times on this stone: in hieroglyphs, in the demotic or Egyptian script and in the Ancient Greek script. The latter was still known in 1799 and so they managed to 'crack the code'. Fascinating, isn't it?
Hieroglyphic alphabet decoder

So, with the hieroglyphic alphabet decoder (another hebbeding), you can manage to read f.i. the names Cleopatra and Ptolemy. An eagle stands for an A, a lion for an L, etc.

And isn't this what we do when we study Russian? Transposing the Cyrillic alphabet to our Latin one: a 'p' is an 'r', an 'н' reads as an 'n'. That's what I love most about Russian, the deciphering. Back to where we started...

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