Somaliland: Commemorating 2 Centruries of Deciphered Rosetta Stone


Somalilandsun-On the 27 September in 1822, Jean-François Champollion announced he has deciphered the Rosetta Stone which had been discovered in 1799. Study of the decree was already under way when the first full translation of the Greek text appeared in 1803. The transliteration of the two Egyptian scripts came twenty years later by Champollion.

The inscription of the Stone is three versions of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V written in Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek. The top potion of the Stone is written using hieroglyphic script, and the middle is written in Demotic script; both are Egyptian scripts. The bottom portion is Ancient Greek. The stone itself is black ganodiorite, a phaneritic-textured intrusive igneous rock similar to granite, but containing more plagioclase feldspar than orthoclase feldspar, and was carved during the Hellenistic period. It is believed the Stone was originally displayed within a temple, possibly at nearby Sais.

Ever since its rediscovery at the end of the eighteenth century, the stone has been the focus of nationalist rivalries, including its transfer from French to British possession during the Napoleonic Wars. It currently resides in the British Museum. As of July 2003, Egypt has requested the Stone be returned as an “icon of our Egyptian identity” along with several other items in museums across the world.