• Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment See large image

    Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment (Paperback) By (author) Richard Parkinson


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    DescriptionNapoleon's troops discovered a granitoid slab in the village of Rosetta in the western Delta in 1799. The Rosetta Stone was to become one of the most famous Egyptian antiquities in the world as well as an instantly recognizable icon of script and decipherment. In this exciting, beautifully illustrated work, Richard Parkinson tells the story of the Stone's discovery and the so-called battle of the decipherers that it inspired. Published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Museum celebrating the bicentenary of the Stone's discovery, and including a selective catalog of the exhibits, this book also examines the wider issues of script and writing in ancient Egypt and beyond. The Rosetta Stone is a fragment of a stela inscribed with a priestly decree in honor of Ptolemy V. The main significance of the text lies not in its content, however, but in the fact that it is written in three scripts--hieroglyphic, demotic, and ancient Greek. Early Orientalists recognized immediately the potential of the Stone for the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Thomas Young made great advances, especially with the demotic text, but it was Jean-Francois Champollion who made the final breakthrough in 1822. In so doing he cracked much more than two Egyptian scripts: He opened up Egyptian culture as a whole to historians. Among the subjects discussed in "Cracking Codes" are the relationship between hieroglyphs and art, the social prestige of literacy, and the power of writing and its practical aspects (scribal equipment and training). A brief description of other decipherments is also given, drawing on examples such as Linear B and Meroitic--a language which remains to be read. "A selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the Quality Paperback Book Club"

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  • Full bibliographic data for Cracking Codes

    Cracking Codes
    The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Richard Parkinson
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 208
    Width: 219 mm
    Height: 280 mm
    Thickness: 15 mm
    Weight: 828 g
    ISBN 13: 9780520222489
    ISBN 10: 0520222482

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC subject category V2: HBG
    BIC E4L: HIS
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.0
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 01
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    B&T General Subject: 750
    BIC subject category V2: CFL
    BISAC V2.8: SOC003000
    LC subject heading: ,
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: HIS002000, FOR033000
    BIC language qualifier (language as subject) V2: 2CXG
    DC21: 493.1
    LC subject heading: ,
    LC classification: PJ1051 .P38 1999B
    Thema V1.0: NHB, CFL
    Illustrations note
    Illustrations (some col.)
    University of California Press
    Imprint name
    University of California Press
    Publication date
    15 September 1999
    Publication City/Country
    Author Information
    Richard Parkinson is Assistant Keeper in the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum specializing in hieratic papyri and epigraphy. His publications include "Voices from Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings" (1991), "Papyrus" (with S. Quirke) and "The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Egyptian Poems, 1940-1640 B.C."
    Review quote
    "The latest word on hieroglyphs."--The "Sunday Times (UK)