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The now famous, ancient carved stone (or stele) was originally discovered by French troops stationed near Rosetta (syn. Rashid) during Napoleon's campaign in Egypt, the Pierre de Rosette. The stone generated huge excitement, and in 1802 the English got their hands on it and whisked away to The British Museum, where it has been displayed - as The Rosetta Stone - ever since. In London, Thomas Young and Jean-Francois Champollion grabbed the unprecedented opportunity for academic enlightenment and general glory.
But why such excitement over another lump of ancient Egyptian stone? After all, it bore only the remains of a long past governmental budget - the single, rather boring, text of a decree from Ptolemy V describing the repeal of various taxes and instructions to erect temple statues.
The text is translated into Egyptian Hieroglyphic script, Egyptian Demotic script and, most crucially, classical Greek. Greek was provided because in 196 BC, when The Rosetta Stone was carved, Egypt was ruled by the Greek Ptolomies.
It was the possiblities of comparative translation tantalisingly held out by the multiple translations carved into The Rosetta Stone - not the message of the actual words - which held so much promise. At long last the translation of Egyption hieroglyphic writing - and the exposure of the secrets they concealed) had become a real possiblity.
Now Egypt displays a copy of The Rosetta Stone in Rashid (Rosetta), Egypt.
The gripping tale of the discovery of The Rosetta Stone from discovery to decipherment
Winner of the Orbis Pictus Honor for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children (Awards), Secrets Of The Sphinx leads children from 9-12 yrs to discover fascinating information about the pyramids, the Rosetta Stone, Atlantis and more as they consider clues left behind by the ancient Egyptians.
The sphinx is a massive - as long as a city block and as tall as a six-story building. An ever-present symbol of power, it is now suffering erosion, air pollution and various effects of tourism. Giblin introduces children to Egypt, hieroglyphic writing, Egyptian religion and history - the Fourth Dynasty, when the Sphinx is presumed to have been created. Giblin is skilful in combining ancient legends of the Sphinx with extracts from the travel writing of Pliny - and also with modern-day controversies. Unfortunately he gives an inappropriate amount of time to crank theories which will confuse many readers in this age group, rather than keeping their interest fresh (which I presume was his intention).
Interestingly illustrated, with a combined 'Source Notes and Bibliography' made more useful because Giblin discusses how he used each of the sources.