Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

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Joan of Arc
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Joan of Arc on the upper park at Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park

Joan of Arc, or Jeanne d’Arc (1412–30 May 1431) is a national heroine of France and a saint of the Catholic Church. She stated that she had visions, which she believed came from God, and she used these to inspire Charles VII’s troops to retake most of his dynasty’s former territories which had been under English and Burgundian dominance during the Hundred Years’ War.

She had been sent to the siege of Orléans by the then-uncrowned King Charles VII as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the disregard of veteran commanders and ended the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims and settled the disputed succession to the throne.

The renewed confidence of Charles VII’s forces outlasted Joan of Arc’s own brief career. She refused to leave the field when she was wounded during an attempt to recapture Paris that autumn. Hampered by court intrigues, she led only minor companies from then on, and fell prisoner during a skirmish near Compiègne the following spring. A politically motivated trial by the English convicted her of heresy. The English regent, John, Duke of Bedford, had her burnt at the stake in Rouen. She had become the leader of her faction at the age of seventeen, but died at the age of nineteen. Some twenty-four years later, Joan’s aged mother, Isabelle, convinced the Inquisitor-General and Pope Callixtus III to reopen Joan’s case, resulting in an appeal which overturned the original conviction by the English. Pope Benedict XV canonized her on 16 May 1920.

Joan of Arc has remained an important figure in Western culture. From Napoleon to the present, French politicians of all leanings have invoked her memory. Major writers and composers, including Shakespeare, Voltaire, Schiller, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Twain, Shaw, and Brecht, have created works about her, and depictions of her continue to be prevalent in film, television, and song.

The period that preceded Joan of Arc’s career was one of the lowest points in French history. The prolonged war had produced much suffering among the population. Much of the northern portion of the kingdom was controlled by English troops, and there was a likely possibility that France would be joined with England as a "Dual Monarchy" under an English king. The French king at the time of Joan’s birth, Charles VI, suffered bouts of insanity and was often unable to rule. Two of the king’s relatives, Dukes John the Fearless of Burgundy and Louis of Orléans, quarreled over the regency of France and the guardianship of the royal children. The dispute escalated to accusations of an extramarital affair with Queen Isabeau of Bavaria and kidnappings of the royal children, and culminated when John the Fearless ordered the assassination of Louis in 1407. The factions loyal to these two men became known as the Armagnacs and the Burgundians. The English king, Henry V, took advantage of this turmoil and invaded France, won a dramatic victory at Agincourt in 1415, and proceeded to capture northern French towns. The future French king, Charles VII, assumed the title of dauphin as heir to the throne at the age of fourteen, after all four of his older brothers had died. His first significant official act was to conclude a peace treaty with John the Fearless in 1419. This ended in disaster when Armagnac partisans murdered John the Fearless during a meeting under Charles’s guarantee of protection. The new duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, blamed Charles and entered an alliance with the English. Large sections of France fell to conquest.

In 1420, Queen Isabeau of Bavaria concluded the Treaty of Troyes, which granted the royal succession to Henry V and his heirs in preference to her son Charles. This agreement revived rumors about her supposed affair with the late duke of Orléans and raised fresh suspicions that the dauphin was a royal bastard rather than the son of the king. Henry V and Charles VI died within two months of each other in 1422, leaving an infant, Henry VI of England, the nominal monarch of both kingdoms. Henry V’s brother John of Lancaster, the duke of Bedford, acted as regent.

By 1429, nearly all of northern France, and some parts of the southwest, were under foreign control. The English ruled Paris and the Burgundians ruled Reims. The latter city was important as the traditional site of French coronations and consecrations, especially since neither claimant to the throne of France had been crowned. The English had laid siege to Orléans, a city situated at a strategic location along the Loire River which made it the last major obstacle to an assault on the remaining French heartland. In the words of one modern historian, "On the fate of Orléans hung that of the entire kingdom. No one was optimistic that the city could long withstand the siege.

Joan of Arc was born in the village of Domrémy in 1412 to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romée. Her parents owned about 50 acres of land and her father supplemented his farming work with a minor position as a village official, collecting taxes and heading the town watch. They lived in an isolated patch of northeastern territory that remained loyal to the French crown despite being surrounded by Burgundian lands. Several raids occurred during Joan of Arc’s childhood, and on one occasion her village was burned.

Joan later testified that she experienced her first vision around 1424. She would report that St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret told her to drive out the English and bring the dauphin to Reims for his coronation. At the age of sixteen she asked a kinsman, Durand Lassois, to bring her to nearby Vaucouleurs, where she petitioned the garrison commander, Count Robert de Baudricourt, for permission to visit the royal French court at Chinon. Baudricourt’s sarcastic response did not deter her. She returned the following January and gained support from two men of standing: Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulegny. Under their auspices she gained a second interview, where she made an apparently miraculous prediction about a military reversal near Orléans.

She preferred to carry her standard into battle. Witnesses also reported her holding a sword, lance, or axe.Baudricourt granted her an escort to visit Chinon after news from the front confirmed her prediction. She made the journey through hostile Burgundian territory in male disguise. Upon arriving at the royal court, she impressed Charles VII during a private conference. He then ordered background inquiries and a theological examination at Poitiers to verify her morality. During this time, Charles’s mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, was financing a relief expedition to Orléans. Joan of Arc petitioned for permission to travel with the army and wear the equipment of a knight. Because she had no funds of her own, she depended on donations for her armor, horse, sword, banner, and entourage. Historian Stephen W. Richey explains her rise as the only source of hope for a regime that was near collapse.

"After years of one humiliating defeat after another, both the military and civil leadership of France were demoralized and discredited. When the Dauphin Charles granted Joan’s urgent request to be equipped for war and placed at the head of his army, his decision must have been based in large part on the knowledge that every orthodox, every rational, option had been tried and had failed. Only a regime in the final straits of desperation would pay any heed to an illiterate farm girl who claimed that voices from God were instructing her to take charge of her country’s army and lead it to victory.

Joan of Arc arrived at the siege of Orléans on 29 April 1429, but Jean d’Orléans (aka Dunois), the acting head of the Orléans ducal family, initially excluded her from war councils and failed to inform her when the army engaged the enemy. She overcame this by disregarding the veteran commanders’ decisions, appealed to the town’s population, and rode out to each skirmish, where she placed herself at the extreme front line, carrying her banner. The extent of her actual military leadership is a subject of historical debate. The eyewitness accounts say that she often made intelligent suggestions in the field, but that her soldiers and commanders regarded her mainly as a divinely-inspired mystic whose victories were attributed to God. Traditional historians, such as Edouard Perroy, conclude that she was a standard bearer whose primary effect was on morale. This type of analysis usually relies on the condemnation trial testimony, where Joan of Arc stated that she preferred her standard to her sword. Recent scholarship that focuses on the rehabilitation trial testimony more often suggests that her fellow officers esteemed her as a skilled tactician and a successful strategist. Stephen W. Richey asserts that "She proceeded to lead the army in an astounding series of victories that reversed the tide of the war. In either case, historians agree that the army enjoyed remarkable success during her brief career.

Reims cathedral, traditional site of French coronations. The structure had additional spires prior to a 1481 fire.Joan of Arc defied the cautious strategy that had previously characterized French leadership, pursuing vigorous frontal assaults against outlying siege fortifications. After several of these outposts fell, the English abandoned other wooden structures and concentrated their remaining forces at the stone fortress that controlled the bridge, les Tourelles. On 7 May, the French assaulted the Tourelles. Contemporaries acknowledged Joan as the leader of the engagement, during which at one point she pulled an arrow from her own shoulder and returned, still wounded, to lead the final charge.

The sudden victory at Orléans led to many proposals for offensive action. The English expected an attempt to recapture Paris or an attack on Normandy; Dunois later said that this in fact had originally been the plan, until Joan convinced them to proceed instead to Reims. In the aftermath of the unexpected victory, she persuaded Charles VII to grant her co-command of the army with Duke John II of Alençon, and gained royal permission for her plan to recapture nearby bridges along the Loire as a prelude to an advance on Reims and a coronation. Hers was a bold proposal, because Reims was roughly twice as far away as Paris, and deep in enemy-held territory.

Joan of Arc changed the fortunes of King Charles VII. By the end of his reign, he had regained every English possession in France except for Calais and the Channel Islands. The army recovered Jargeau on 12 June, Meung-sur-Loire on 15 June, then Beaugency on 17 June. The duke of Alençon agreed to all of Joan of Arc’s decisions. Other commanders, including Jean d’Orléans, had been impressed with her performance at Orléans, and became strong supporters of her. Alençon credited Joan for saving his life at Jargeau, where she warned him of an imminent artillery attack. During the same battle, she withstood a blow from a stone to her helmet as she climbed a scaling ladder. An expected English relief force arrived in the area on 18 June, under the command of Sir John Fastolf. The battle at Patay might be compared to Agincourt in reverse: The French vanguard attacked before the English archers could finish defensive preparations. A rout ensued that decimated the main body of the English army and killed or captured most of its commanders. Fastolf escaped with a small band of soldiers and became the scapegoat for the English humiliation. The French suffered minimal losses.

The French army set out for Reims from Gien-sur-Loire on 29 June, and accepted the negotiated neutrality of the Burgundian-held city of Auxerre on 3 July. Every other town in their path returned to French allegiance without resistance. Troyes, the site of the treaty that had tried to disinherit Charles VII, capitulated after a nearly bloodless four-day siege. The army was in short supply of food by the time it reached Troyes. Edward Lucie-Smith cites this as an example alleging that Joan of Arc was more blessed than skilled: A wandering friar named Brother Richard had been preaching about the end of the world at Troyes, and had convinced local residents to plant beans, a crop with an early harvest. The hungry army arrived just as the beans ripened.

Reims opened its gates on 16 July. The coronation took place the following morning. Although Joan and the duke of Alençon urged a prompt march on Paris, the royal court pursued a negotiated truce with the duke of Burgundy. Duke Philip the Good broke the agreement, using it as a stalling tactic to reinforce the defense of Paris. The French army marched through towns near Paris during the interim and accepted more peaceful surrenders. The duke of Bedford headed an English force and confronted the French army in a standoff on 15 August. The French assault at Paris ensued on 8 September. Despite a crossbow bolt wound to the leg, Joan of Arc continued directing the troops until the day’s fighting ended. The following morning, she received a royal order to withdraw. Most historians blame French grand chamberlain Georges de la Trémoille for the political blunders that followed the coronation.

.After minor action at La-Charité-sur-Loire in November and December, Joan went to Lagny-sur-Marne the following March, then to Compiègne on May 23rd to defend against an English and Burgundian siege. A skirmish on 23 May 1430 led to her capture. When she ordered a retreat, she assumed the place of honor as the last to leave the field. Burgundians surrounded the rear guard.

It was customary for a war captive’s family to raise ransom money whenever the captor allowed a ransom, which the Burgundians did not allow in this case. Many historians condemn Charles VII for failing to do more to intervene. She attempted several escapes, on one occasion leaping from a seventy foot tower to the soft earth of a dry moat. The English government eventually obtained her from Duke Philip of Burgundy. Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais, an English partisan and member of the Council which oversaw the English occupation of northern France, assumed a prominent role in these negotiations and her later trial.

Joan’s trial for heresy was politically motivated. The duke of Bedford claimed the throne of France for his nephew Henry VI. She was responsible for the rival coronation. Condemning her was an attempt to discredit her king. Legal proceedings commenced on 9 January 1431 at Rouen, the seat of the English occupation government. The procedure was irregular on a number of points.

To summarize some major problems, the jurisdiction of judge Bishop Cauchon was a legal fiction. He owed his appointment to his partisanship. The English government financed the entire trial. Clerical notary Nicolas Bailly, commissioned to collect testimony against her, could find no adverse evidence. Without this, the court lacked grounds to initiate a trial. Opening one anyway, it denied her right to a legal advisor.

The trial record demonstrates her exceptional intellect. The transcript’s most famous exchange is an exercise in subtlety. "Asked if she knew she was in God’s grace, she answered: ‘If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me. The question is a scholarly trap. Church doctrine held that no one could be certain of being in God’s grace. If she had answered yes, then she would have convicted herself of heresy. If she had answered no, then she would have confessed her own guilt. Notary Boisguillaume would later testify that at the moment the court heard this reply, "Those who were interrogating her were stupefied" and abruptly halted the questioning for that day. This exchange would become famous, and is incorporated into many modern works on the subject.

Several court functionaries later testified that significant portions of the transcript were altered in her disfavor. Many clerics served under compulsion, including the inquisitor, Jean LeMaitre, and a few even received death threats from the English. Under Inquisitorial guidelines, Joan should have been confined to an ecclesiastical prison under the supervision of female guards (i.e., nuns). Instead, the English kept her in a secular prison guarded by their own soldiers. Bishop Cauchon denied Joan’s appeals to the Council of Basel and the Pope, which should have stopped his proceeding.

The twelve articles of accusation that summarize the court’s finding contradict the already-doctored court record. Illiterate Joan signed an abjuration document she did not understand under threat of immediate execution. The court substituted a different abjuration in the official record.

Heresy was a capital crime only for a repeat offense. Joan agreed to wear women’s clothes when she abjured. A few days later, according to eyewitnesses, she was subjected to an attempted rape in prison by an English lord. She resumed male attire either as a defense against molestation or, in the testimony of Jean Massieu, because her dress had been stolen and she was left with nothing else to wear.

Eyewitnesses described the scene of the execution on 30 May 1431. Tied to a tall pillar, she asked two of the clergy, Martin Ladvenu and Isambart de la Pierre, to hold a crucifix before her. She repeatedly called out "in a loud voice the holy name of Jesus, and implored and invoked without ceasing the aid of the saints of Paradise." After she expired, the English raked back the coals to expose her charred body so that no one could claim she had escaped alive, then burned the body twice more to reduce it to ashes and prevent any collection of relics. They cast her remains into the Seine. The executioner, Geoffroy Therage, later stated that he "…greatly feared to be damned for he had burned a holy woman.

A posthumous retrial opened as the war ended. Pope Callixtus III authorized this proceeding, now known as the "rehabilitation trial", at the request of Inquisitor-General Jean Brehal and Joan of Arc’s mother Isabelle Romée. Investigations started with an inquest by clergyman Guillaume Bouille. Brehal conducted an investigation in 1452. A formal appeal followed in November 1455. The appellate process included clergy from throughout Europe and observed standard court procedure. A panel of theologians analyzed testimony from 115 witnesses. Brehal drew up his final summary in June 1456, which describes Joan as a martyr and implicates the late Pierre Cauchon with heresy for having convicted an innocent woman in pursuit of a secular vendetta. The court declared her innocence on 7 July 1456.

Joan of Arc often wore men’s clothing between her departure from Vaucouleurs and her abjuration at Rouen. This raised theological questions in her own era and raised other questions in the twentieth century. The technical reason for her execution was a Biblical clothing law, but the rehabilitation trial reversed the conviction in part because the condemnation proceeding had failed to consider the doctrinal exceptions to that stricture.

Doctrinally speaking, she was safe to disguise herself as a page during a journey through enemy territory and she was safe to wear armor during battle. The Chronique de la Pucelle states that it deterred molestation while she was camped in the field. Clergy who testified at her rehabilitation trial affirmed that she continued to wear male clothing in prison to deter molestation and rape. Preservation of chastity was another justifiable reason for crossdressing: her apparel would have slowed an assailant. She referred the court to the Poitiers inquiry when questioned on the matter during her condemnation trial. The Poitiers record no longer survives but circumstances indicate the Poitiers clerics approved her practice. In other words, she had a mission to do a man’s work so it was fitting that she dress the part. She also kept her hair cut short through her military campaigns and while in prison. Her supporters, such as the theologian Jean Gerson, defended her hairstyle, as did Inquisitor Brehal during the Rehabilitation trial.

According to Francoise Meltzer, "The depictions of Joan of Arc tell us about the assumptions and gender prejudices of each succeeding era, but they tell us nothing about Joan’s looks in themselves. They can be read, then, as a semiology of gender: how each succeeding culture imagines the figure whose charismatic courage, combined with the blurring of gender roles, makes her difficult to depict.

The neutrality of the following section is disputed.

Joan of Arc’s religious visions have been one of the most heavily analyzed and controversial aspects of her life, attracting interest from theologians and psychologists alike. Whether Joan of Arc herself believed that her visions were from God is rarely disputed; based on her martyrdom and other biographical details, her religious faith is widely judged to have been sincere. She identified St. Margaret, St. Catherine, and St. Michael as the source of her revelations, although, as several saints have been canonized under each of these names, there is some ambiguity as to which of the identically-named saints she was referring to. Devout Roman Catholics regard her visions as divinely inspired. Those who suggest medical or psychiatric explanations for Joan of Arc’s visions typically posit hallucinations, mental illness, or self-delusion. Most scholars who propose such explanations for the visions, such as paranoid schizophrenia, consider Joan a figurehead more than an active leader. Among other hypothesized conditions are a handful of neurological conditions that can cause complex hallucinations, such as temporal lobe epilepsy. Ralph Hoffman, professor of psychology at Yale University, states that "hearing voices is not necessarily a sign of mental illness," and names Joan of Arc’s religious inspiration as a possible exception without speculation as to alternative causes.

Psychiatric explanations have encountered some objections. One is the slim likelihood that a mentally ill person could gain favor in the court of Charles VII. This king’s own father, Charles VI of France, had been popularly known as "Charles the Mad", and much of the political and military decline that had occurred in France during the previous decades could be attributed to the power vacuum that his episodes of insanity had produced. The old king had believed he was made of glass, a delusion no courtier had mistaken for a religious awakening. Fears that Charles VII would manifest the same insanity may have factored into the attempt to disinherit him at Troyes. As royal counselor, Jacques Gélu cautioned upon Joan of Arc’s arrival at Chinon, "One should not lightly alter any policy because of conversation with a girl, a peasant… so susceptible to illusions; one should not make oneself ridiculous in the sight of foreign nations…." Contrary to modern stereotypes about the Middle Ages, this particular royal court was shrewd and skeptical on the subject of mental health.

I t has also been argued that reports of Joan of Arc’s intelligence conflict with the possibility of mental illness. Joan of Arc remained astute to the end of her life, and rehabilitation trial testimony frequently marvels at her intelligence. "Often they [the judges] turned from one question to another, changing about, but, notwithstanding this, she answered prudently, and evinced a wonderful memory. Her subtle replies under interrogation even forced the court to stop holding public sessions. However, although intellectual decline and chronic memory loss are listed among the potential prodromes of several major mental illnesses, the apparent lack of these two symptoms does not, by itself, rule out the possibility of mental illness. It does, however, represent a lack of some of the identifiable symptoms that modern medical diagnostic manuals consider necessary for a positive diagnosis. Some scholars, such as Judy Grundy, have likewise pointed out that, based on the eyewitness accounts, other potential outward symptoms of such disorders, such as marked changes in personality and confused speech, were also absent in Joan’s case. Those who argue the opposite position consider the visions themselves to be proof of mental illness, usually based on one or more of the following propositions: 1) it is assumed that God would not order someone to wage war, or at least would not promote warfare against the English, therefore Joan must have been subject to hallucinations rather than Divine communication. Since this is an unproven assumption about the nature of God, the medical community would not normally use it as the basis for a diagnosis of mental illness. 2) It is assumed that science rejects the existence of God, therefore any such visions must be hallucinations, therefore she was mentally ill. This view also has its critics: since 40% of modern scientists say they do believe in God’s existence, the scientific community would seem to be divided on that issue. Additionally, the medical community does not automatically consider all mystics to be mentally ill, and generally does not consider the above type of argument to be valid grounds for a diagnosis: since the issue of possible mental illness in Joan of Arc’s case concerns the question of whether her visions were hallucinations, if one wishes to include these visions themselves as two symptoms of mental illness (i.e., "hallucinations" and "delusions"), then one would need to prove that these were in fact hallucinations and delusions rather than merely assuming them to be such and then using that assumption as evidence proving the assumption itself. To qualify as a valid diagnosis, evidence would need to be provided to support the proposition.

The only detailed source of information about Joan of Arc’s visions is the condemnation trial transcript, a complex and problematic document in which she resisted the court’s inquiries and refused to swear the customary oath on the subject of her revelations. Régine Pernoud, a prominent historian, was sometimes sarcastic about speculative medical interpretations: in response to one such theory alleging that Joan of Arc suffered from bovine tuberculosis as a result of drinking unpasteurized milk, Pernoud wrote that if drinking unpasteurized milk can produce such potential benefits for the nation, then the French government should stop mandating the pasteurization of milk.

The Prayer to St. Joan of Arc for Strength:
In the face of your enemies, in the face of harassment, ridicule, and doubt, you held firm in your faith. Even in your abandonment, alone and without friends, you held firm in your faith. Even as you faced your own mortality, you held firm in your faith. I pray that I may be as bold in my beliefs as you, St. Joan. I ask that you ride alongside me in my own battles. Help me be mindful that what is worthwhile can be won when I persist. Help me hold firm in my faith. Help me believe in my ability to act well and wisely. Amen.

Joan of Arc became a semi-legendary figure for the next four centuries. The main sources of information about her were chronicles. Five original manuscripts of her condemnation trial surfaced in old archives during the nineteenth century. Soon historians also located the complete records of her rehabilitation trial, which contained sworn testimony from 115 witnesses, and the original French notes for the Latin condemnation trial transcript. Various contemporary letters also emerged, three of which carry the signature "Jehanne" in the unsteady hand of a person learning to write. This unusual wealth of primary source material is one reason DeVries declares, "No person of the Middle Ages, male or female, has been the subject of more study than Joan of Arc.

"The people who came after her in the five centuries since her death tried to make everything of her: demonic fanatic, spiritual mystic, naive and tragically ill-used tool of the powerful, creator and icon of modern popular nationalism, adored saint. She insisted, even when threatened with torture and faced with death by fire, that she was guided by voices from God. Voices or no voices, her achievements leave anyone who knows her story shaking his head in amazed wonder.
In 1452, during the postwar investigation into her execution, the Church declared that a religious play in her honor at Orléans would qualify as a pilgrimage meriting an indulgence. Joan of Arc became a symbol of the Catholic League during the 16th century. Félix Dupanloup, bishop of Orléans from 1849 to 1878, led the effort for Joan’s eventual beatification in 1909. Her canonization followed on 16 May 1920. Her feast day is 30 May. She has become one of the most popular saints of the Roman Catholic Church.

The French Resistance used the cross of Lorraine as a symbolic reference to Joan of Arc.Joan of Arc has been a political symbol in France since the time of Napoleon. Liberals emphasized her humble origins. Early conservatives stressed her support of the monarchy. Later conservatives recalled her nationalism. During World War II, both the Vichy Regime and the French Resistance used her image: Vichy propaganda remembered her campaign against the English with posters that showed British warplanes bombing Rouen and the ominous caption: "They Always Return to the Scene of Their Crimes." The resistance emphasized her fight against foreign occupation and her origins in the province of Lorraine, which had fallen under Nazi control.

Traditional Catholics, especially in France, also use her as a symbol of inspiration, often comparing the 1988 excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (founder of the Society of St. Pius X and a dissident against the Vatican II reforms) to Joan of Arc’s excommunication. Three separate vessels of the French Navy have been named after Joan of Arc, including a helicopter carrier currently in active service. At present the controversial French political party Front National holds rallies at her statues, reproduces her likeness in party publications, and uses a tricolor flame partly symbolic of her martyrdom as its emblem. This party’s opponents sometimes satirize its appropriation of her image. The French civic holiday in her honor is the second Sunday of May.

Rosetta Stone detail at the British Museum
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The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact which was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. The stone is a Ptolemaic era stele with carved text made up of three translations of a single passage: two in Egyptian language scripts (hieroglyphic and Demotic) and one in classical Greek. It was created in 196 BC, discovered by the French in 1799 at Rosetta, and transported to England in 1802. Once in Europe, it contributed greatly to the deciphering of the principles of hieroglyph writing, through the work of the British scientist Thomas Young and the French scholar Jean-François Champollion. Comparative translation of the stone assisted in understanding many previously undecipherable examples of hieroglyphic writing. The text on the stone is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing the repeal of various taxes and instructions to erect statues in temples. Two Egyptian-Greek multilingual steles predated Ptolemy V’s Rosetta Stone: Ptolemy III‘s Decree of Canopus, 239 BC, and Ptolemy IV‘s Decree of Memphis, ca 218 BC.

The Rosetta Stone is 114.4 centimetres (45.0 in) high at its highest point, 72.3 centimetres (28.5 in) wide, and 27.9 centimetres (11.0 in) thick.[1] It is unfinished on its sides and reverse. Weighing approximately 760 kilograms (1,700 lb), it was originally thought to be granite or basalt but is currently described as granodiorite of a dark grey-pinkish colour.[2] The stone has been on public display at The British Museum since 1802.

Contents

1 History of the Rosetta Stone
•• 1.1 Modern-era discovery
•• 1.2 Translation
•• 1.3 Recent history
2 Inscription
3 Idiomatic use
4 See also
5 Notes
6 References
7 External links

History of the Rosetta Stone

Modern-era discovery

In preparation for Napoleon‘s 1798 campaign in Egypt, the French brought with them 167 scientists, scholars and archaeologists known as the ‘savants’. French Army engineer Lieutenant Pierre-François Bouchard discovered the stone sometime in mid-July 1799, first official mention of the find being made after the 25th in the meeting of the savants’ Institut d’Égypte in Cairo. It was spotted in the foundations of an old wall, during renovations to Fort Julien near the Egyptian port city of Rashid (Rosetta) and sent down to the Institute headquarters in Cairo. After Napoleon returned to France shortly after the discovery, the savants remained behind with French troops which held off British and Ottoman attacks for a further 18 months. In March 1801, the British landed at Aboukir Bay and scholars carried the Stone from Cairo to Alexandria alongside the troops of Jacques-Francois Menou who marched north to meet the enemy; defeated in battle, Menou and the remnant of his army fled to fortified Alexandria where they were surrounded and immediately placed under siege, the stone now inside the city. Overwhelmed by invading Ottoman troops later reinforced by the British, the remaining French in Cairo capitulated on June 22, and Menou admitted defeat in Alexandria on August 30.[3]

After the surrender, a dispute arose over the fate of French archaeological and scientific discoveries in Egypt. Menou refused to hand them over, claiming they belonged to the Institute. British General John Hely-Hutchinson, 2nd Earl of Donoughmore, refused to relieve the city until de Menou gave in. Newly arrived scholars Edward Daniel Clarke and William Richard Hamilton agreed to check the collections in Alexandria and found many artifacts that the French had not revealed.[citation needed]

When Hutchinson claimed all materials were property of the British Crown, a French scholar, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, said to Clarke and Hamilton that they would rather burn all their discoveries — referring ominously to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria — than turn them over. Clarke and Hamilton pleaded their case and Hutchinson finally agreed that items such as biology specimens would be the scholars’ private property. But Menou regarded the stone as his private property and hid it.[4]

How exactly the Stone came to British hands is disputed. Colonel Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner, who escorted the stone to Britain, claimed later that he had personally seized it from Menou and carried it away on a gun carriage. In his much more detailed account however, Clarke stated that a French ‘officer and member of the Institute’ had taken him, his student John Cripps, and Hamilton secretly into the back-streets of Alexandria, revealing the stone among Menou’s baggage, hidden under protective carpets. According to Clarke this savant feared for the stone’s safety should any French soldiers see it. Hutchinson was informed at once, and the stone taken away, possibly by Turner and his gun-carriage. French scholars departed later with only imprints and plaster casts of the stone.[5]

Turner brought the stone to Britain aboard the captured French frigate HMS Egyptienne landing in February 1802. On March 11, it was presented to the Society of Antiquaries of London and Stephen Weston played a major role in the early translation. Later it was taken to the British Museum, where it remains to this day. Inscriptions painted in white on the artifact state "Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801" on the left side and "Presented by King George III" on the right.

Translation

Experts inspecting the Rosetta Stone during the International Congress of Orientalists of 1874

In 1814, Briton Thomas Young finished translating the enchorial (demotic) text, and began work on the hieroglyphic script but he did not succeed in translating them. From 1822 to 1824 the French scholar, philologist, and orientalist Jean-François Champollion greatly expanded on this work and is credited as the principal translator of the Rosetta Stone. Champollion could read both Greek and Coptic, and figured out what the seven Demotic signs in Coptic were. By looking at how these signs were used in Coptic, he worked out what they meant. Then he traced the Demotic signs back to hieroglyphic signs. By working out what some hieroglyphs stood for, he transliterated the text from the Demotic (or older Coptic) and Greek to the hieroglyphs by first translating Greek names which were originally in Greek, then working towards ancient names that had never been written in any other language. Champollion then created an alphabet to decipher the remaining text.[6]

In 1858, the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania published the first complete English translation of the Rosetta Stone as accomplished by three of its undergraduate members: Charles R Hale, S Huntington Jones, and Henry Morton.[7]

Recent history

The Rosetta Stone has been exhibited almost continuously in the British Museum since 1802. Toward the end of World War I, in 1917, the Museum was concerned about heavy bombing in London and moved the Rosetta Stone to safety along with other portable objects of value. The Stone spent the next two years in a station on the Postal Tube Railway 50 feet below the ground at Holborn.

The Stone left the British Museum again in October 1972 to be displayed for one month at the Louvre Museum on the 150th anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphic writing with the famous Lettre à M. Dacier of Jean-François Champollion.

In July 2003, Egypt requested the return of the Rosetta Stone. Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, told the press: "If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity". In 2005, Hawass was negotiating for a three-month loan, with the eventual goal of a permanent return.[8][9] In November 2005, the British Museum sent him a replica of the stone.[10] In December 2009 Hawass said that he would drop his claim for the return of the Rosetta Stone if the British Museum loaned the stone to Egypt for three months.[11]
Inscription

In essence, the Rosetta Stone is a tax amnesty given to the temple priests of the day, restoring the tax privileges they had traditionally enjoyed from more ancient times. Some scholars speculate that several copies of the Rosetta Stone must exist, as yet undiscovered, since this proclamation must have been made at many temples. The complete Greek portion, translated into English,[12] is about 1600–1700 words in length, and is about 20 paragraphs long (average of 80 words per paragraph):

n the reign of the new king who was Lord of the diadems, great in glory, the stabilizer of Egypt, but also pious in matters relating to the gods, superior to his adversaries, rectifier of the life of men, Lord of the thirty-year periods like Hephaestus the Great, King like the Sun, the Great King of the Upper and Lower Lands, offspring of the Parent-loving gods, whom Hephaestus has approved, to whom the Sun has given victory, living image of Zeus, Son of the Sun, Ptolemy the ever-living, beloved by Ptah;

In the ninth year, when Aëtus, son of Aëtus, was priest of Alexander and of the Savior gods and the Brother gods and the Benefactor gods and the Parent-loving gods and the god Manifest and Gracious; Pyrrha, the daughter of Philinius, being athlophorus for Bernice Euergetis; Areia, the daughter of Diogenes, being canephorus for Arsinoë Philadelphus; Irene, the daughter of Ptolemy, being priestess of Arsinoë Philopator: on the fourth of the month Xanicus, or according to the Egyptians the eighteenth of Mecheir.

THE DECREE: The high priests and prophets, and those who enter the inner shrine in order to robe the gods, and those who wear the hawk’s wing, and the sacred scribes, and all the other priests who have assembled at Memphis before the king, from the various temples throughout the country, for the feast of his receiving the kingdom, even that of Ptolemy the ever-living, beloved by Ptah, the god Manifest and Gracious, which he received from his Father, being assembled in the temple in Memphis this day, declared: Since King Ptolemy, the ever-living, beloved by Ptah, the god Manifest and Gracious, the son of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoë, the Parent-loving gods, has done many benefactions to the temples and to those who dwell in them, and also to all those subject to his rule, being from the beginning a god born of a god and a goddess—like Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, who came to the help of his Father Osiris; being benevolently disposed toward the gods, has concentrated to the temples revenues both of silver and of grain, and has generously undergone many expenses in order to lead Egypt to prosperity and to establish the temples… the gods have rewarded him with health, victory, power, and all other good things, his sovereignty to continue to him and his children forever.[13]

Idiomatic use

The term Rosetta Stone came to be used by philologists to describe any bilingual text with whose help a hitherto unknown language and/or script could be deciphered. For example, the bilingual coins of the Indo-Greeks (Obverse in Greek, reverse in Pali, using the Kharo??hi script), which enabled James Prinsep (1799–1840) to decipher the latter.

Later on, the term gained a wider frequency, also outside the field of linguistics, and has become idiomatic as something that is a critical key to the process of decryption or translation of a difficult encoding of information:

"The Rosetta Stone of immunology"[14] and "Arabidopsis, the Rosetta Stone of flowering time (fossils)".[15] An algorithm for predicting protein structure from sequence is named Rosetta@home. In molecular biology, a series of "Rosetta" bacterial cell lines have been developed that contain a number of tRNA genes that are rare in E. coli but common in other organisms, enabling the efficient translation of DNA from those organisms in E. coli.

"Rosetta" is an online language translation tool to help localisation of software, developed and maintained by Canonical as part of the Launchpad project.

"Rosetta" is the name of a "lightweight dynamic translator" distributed for Mac OS X by Apple. Rosetta enables applications compiled for PowerPC processor to run on Apple systems using x86 processor.

Rosetta Stone is a brand of language learning software published by Rosetta Stone Ltd., headquartered in Arlington, VA, USA.

The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone to last from 2000 to 12,000 AD. Its goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,500 languages.

Rosetta Stone was also a pseudonym used by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) for the book "Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo"

See also

Rosetta (disambiguation)
Behistun Inscription
Decree of Canopus, stele no. 1 of the 3-stele series

Notes

• Allen, Don Cameron. "The Predecessors of Champollion", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 144, No. 5. (1960), pp. 527–547
• Adkins, Lesley; Adkins, Roy. The Keys of Egypt: The Obsession to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs. HarperCollins, 2000 ISBN 0-06-019439-1
Budge, E. A. Wallis (1989). The Rosetta Stone. Dover Publications. ISBN 0486261638. http://books.google.com/books?id=RO_m47hLsbAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=rosetta+stone&as_brr=3&sig=ACfU3U1_VaJ_NxkLmbZuYyDLji99DXwY6w
• Downs, Jonathan. Discovery at Rosetta. Skyhorse Publishing, 2008 ISBN 978-1-60239-271-7
• Downs, Jonathan. "Romancing the Stone", History Today, Vol. 56, Issue 5. (May, 2006), pp. 48–54.
• Parkinson, Richard. Cracking Codes: the Rosetta Stone, and Decipherment. University of California Press, 1999 ISBN 0-520-22306-3
• Parkinson, Richard. The Rosetta Stone. Objects in Focus; British Museum Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-7141-5021-5
Ray, John. The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0-674-02493-9
Reviewed by Jonathon Keats in the Washington Post, July 22, 2007.
• Solé, Robert; Valbelle, Dominique. The Rosetta Stone: The Story of the Decoding of Hieroglyphics. Basic Books, 2002 ISBN 1-56858-226-9
The Gentleman’s Magazine: and Historical Chronicle, 1802: Volume 72: part 1: March: p. 270: Wednesday, March 31.

References

^ "The Rosetta Stone". http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/t/the_rosetta_stone.aspx. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
^ "History uncovered in conserving the Rosetta Stone". http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/article_index/h/history_uncovered_in_conservin.aspx. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
^ Downs, Jonathan, Discovery at Rosetta, 2008
^ Downs, Jonathan, Discovery at Rosetta, 2008
^ Downs, Jonathan, Discovery at Rosetta, 2008
^ Retrieved on 2008-25-6
^ See University of Pennsylvania, Philomathean Society, Report of the committee [C.R. Hale, S.H. Jones, and Henry Morton], appointed by the society to translate the inscript on the Rosetta stone, Circa 1858 and most likely published in Philadelphia. See later editions of circa 1859 and 1881 by same author, as well as Randolph Greenfield Adams, A Translation of the Rosetta Stone (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1925.) The Philomathean Society holds relevant archival material as well as an original casting.
^ Charlotte Edwardes and Catherine Milner (2003-07-20). "Egypt demands return of the Rosetta Stone". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/1436606/Egypt-demands-return-of-the-Rosetta-Stone.html. Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
^ Henry Huttinger (2005-07-28). "Stolen Treasures: Zahi Hawass wants the Rosetta Stone back—among other things". Cairo Magazine. http://www.cairomagazine.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=1238&format=html. Retrieved 2006-10-06. [dead link]
^ "The rose of the Nile". Al-Ahram Weekly. 2005-11-30. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/770/he1.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
^ [1] "Rosetta Stone row ‘would be solved by loan to Egypt’" BBC News 8 December 2009
^ "Translation of the Greek section of the Rosetta Stone". Reshafim.org.il. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/rosettastone.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
^ "Text of the Rosetta Stone". http://pw1.netcom.com/~qkstart/rosetta.html. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
^ The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2000-09-06). "International Team Accelerates Investigation of Immune-Related Genes". http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2000/ihwg.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 
^ Gordon G. Simpson, Caroline Dean (2002-04-12). "Arabidopsis, the Rosetta Stone of Flowering Time?". http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5566/285?ijkey=zlwRiv/qSEivQ&keytype=ref&siteid=sci. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rosetta Stone
Wikisource has original text related to this article: Text on the Rosetta Stone in English
Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article: Greek Text from the Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in The British Museum
More detailed British Museum page on the stone with Curator’s comments and bibliography
The translated text in English – The British Museum
The Finding of the Rosetta Stone
The 1998 conservation and restoration of The Rosetta Stone at The British Museum
Champollion’s alphabet – The British Museum
people.howstuffworks.com/rosetta-stone.htm

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone"

Categories: 196 BC | 2nd century BC | 2nd-century BC steles | 2nd-century BC works | 1st-millennium BC steles | Ancient Egyptian objects in the British Museum | Ancient Egyptian texts | Ancient Egyptian stelas | Antiquities acquired by Napoleon | Egyptology | Metaphors referring to objects | Multilingual texts | Ptolemaic dynasty | Stones | Nile River Delta | Ptolemaic Greek inscriptions | Archaeological corpora documents

]]]

Rosetta Stone at the British Museum
dispute credit report
Image by Chris Devers
Pasting from the Wikipedia page on the Rosetta Stone:

[[[

The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact which was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. The stone is a Ptolemaic era stele with carved text made up of three translations of a single passage: two in Egyptian language scripts (hieroglyphic and Demotic) and one in classical Greek. It was created in 196 BC, discovered by the French in 1799 at Rosetta, and transported to England in 1802. Once in Europe, it contributed greatly to the deciphering of the principles of hieroglyph writing, through the work of the British scientist Thomas Young and the French scholar Jean-François Champollion. Comparative translation of the stone assisted in understanding many previously undecipherable examples of hieroglyphic writing. The text on the stone is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing the repeal of various taxes and instructions to erect statues in temples. Two Egyptian-Greek multilingual steles predated Ptolemy V’s Rosetta Stone: Ptolemy III‘s Decree of Canopus, 239 BC, and Ptolemy IV‘s Decree of Memphis, ca 218 BC.

The Rosetta Stone is 114.4 centimetres (45.0 in) high at its highest point, 72.3 centimetres (28.5 in) wide, and 27.9 centimetres (11.0 in) thick.[1] It is unfinished on its sides and reverse. Weighing approximately 760 kilograms (1,700 lb), it was originally thought to be granite or basalt but is currently described as granodiorite of a dark grey-pinkish colour.[2] The stone has been on public display at The British Museum since 1802.

Contents

1 History of the Rosetta Stone
•• 1.1 Modern-era discovery
•• 1.2 Translation
•• 1.3 Recent history
2 Inscription
3 Idiomatic use
4 See also
5 Notes
6 References
7 External links

History of the Rosetta Stone

Modern-era discovery

In preparation for Napoleon‘s 1798 campaign in Egypt, the French brought with them 167 scientists, scholars and archaeologists known as the ‘savants’. French Army engineer Lieutenant Pierre-François Bouchard discovered the stone sometime in mid-July 1799, first official mention of the find being made after the 25th in the meeting of the savants’ Institut d’Égypte in Cairo. It was spotted in the foundations of an old wall, during renovations to Fort Julien near the Egyptian port city of Rashid (Rosetta) and sent down to the Institute headquarters in Cairo. After Napoleon returned to France shortly after the discovery, the savants remained behind with French troops which held off British and Ottoman attacks for a further 18 months. In March 1801, the British landed at Aboukir Bay and scholars carried the Stone from Cairo to Alexandria alongside the troops of Jacques-Francois Menou who marched north to meet the enemy; defeated in battle, Menou and the remnant of his army fled to fortified Alexandria where they were surrounded and immediately placed under siege, the stone now inside the city. Overwhelmed by invading Ottoman troops later reinforced by the British, the remaining French in Cairo capitulated on June 22, and Menou admitted defeat in Alexandria on August 30.[3]

After the surrender, a dispute arose over the fate of French archaeological and scientific discoveries in Egypt. Menou refused to hand them over, claiming they belonged to the Institute. British General John Hely-Hutchinson, 2nd Earl of Donoughmore, refused to relieve the city until de Menou gave in. Newly arrived scholars Edward Daniel Clarke and William Richard Hamilton agreed to check the collections in Alexandria and found many artifacts that the French had not revealed.[citation needed]

When Hutchinson claimed all materials were property of the British Crown, a French scholar, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, said to Clarke and Hamilton that they would rather burn all their discoveries — referring ominously to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria — than turn them over. Clarke and Hamilton pleaded their case and Hutchinson finally agreed that items such as biology specimens would be the scholars’ private property. But Menou regarded the stone as his private property and hid it.[4]

How exactly the Stone came to British hands is disputed. Colonel Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner, who escorted the stone to Britain, claimed later that he had personally seized it from Menou and carried it away on a gun carriage. In his much more detailed account however, Clarke stated that a French ‘officer and member of the Institute’ had taken him, his student John Cripps, and Hamilton secretly into the back-streets of Alexandria, revealing the stone among Menou’s baggage, hidden under protective carpets. According to Clarke this savant feared for the stone’s safety should any French soldiers see it. Hutchinson was informed at once, and the stone taken away, possibly by Turner and his gun-carriage. French scholars departed later with only imprints and plaster casts of the stone.[5]

Turner brought the stone to Britain aboard the captured French frigate HMS Egyptienne landing in February 1802. On March 11, it was presented to the Society of Antiquaries of London and Stephen Weston played a major role in the early translation. Later it was taken to the British Museum, where it remains to this day. Inscriptions painted in white on the artifact state "Captured in Egypt by the British Army in 1801" on the left side and "Presented by King George III" on the right.

Translation

Experts inspecting the Rosetta Stone during the International Congress of Orientalists of 1874

In 1814, Briton Thomas Young finished translating the enchorial (demotic) text, and began work on the hieroglyphic script but he did not succeed in translating them. From 1822 to 1824 the French scholar, philologist, and orientalist Jean-François Champollion greatly expanded on this work and is credited as the principal translator of the Rosetta Stone. Champollion could read both Greek and Coptic, and figured out what the seven Demotic signs in Coptic were. By looking at how these signs were used in Coptic, he worked out what they meant. Then he traced the Demotic signs back to hieroglyphic signs. By working out what some hieroglyphs stood for, he transliterated the text from the Demotic (or older Coptic) and Greek to the hieroglyphs by first translating Greek names which were originally in Greek, then working towards ancient names that had never been written in any other language. Champollion then created an alphabet to decipher the remaining text.[6]

In 1858, the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania published the first complete English translation of the Rosetta Stone as accomplished by three of its undergraduate members: Charles R Hale, S Huntington Jones, and Henry Morton.[7]

Recent history

The Rosetta Stone has been exhibited almost continuously in the British Museum since 1802. Toward the end of World War I, in 1917, the Museum was concerned about heavy bombing in London and moved the Rosetta Stone to safety along with other portable objects of value. The Stone spent the next two years in a station on the Postal Tube Railway 50 feet below the ground at Holborn.

The Stone left the British Museum again in October 1972 to be displayed for one month at the Louvre Museum on the 150th anniversary of the decipherment of hieroglyphic writing with the famous Lettre à M. Dacier of Jean-François Champollion.

In July 2003, Egypt requested the return of the Rosetta Stone. Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, told the press: "If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity". In 2005, Hawass was negotiating for a three-month loan, with the eventual goal of a permanent return.[8][9] In November 2005, the British Museum sent him a replica of the stone.[10] In December 2009 Hawass said that he would drop his claim for the return of the Rosetta Stone if the British Museum loaned the stone to Egypt for three months.[11]
Inscription

In essence, the Rosetta Stone is a tax amnesty given to the temple priests of the day, restoring the tax privileges they had traditionally enjoyed from more ancient times. Some scholars speculate that several copies of the Rosetta Stone must exist, as yet undiscovered, since this proclamation must have been made at many temples. The complete Greek portion, translated into English,[12] is about 1600–1700 words in length, and is about 20 paragraphs long (average of 80 words per paragraph):

n the reign of the new king who was Lord of the diadems, great in glory, the stabilizer of Egypt, but also pious in matters relating to the gods, superior to his adversaries, rectifier of the life of men, Lord of the thirty-year periods like Hephaestus the Great, King like the Sun, the Great King of the Upper and Lower Lands, offspring of the Parent-loving gods, whom Hephaestus has approved, to whom the Sun has given victory, living image of Zeus, Son of the Sun, Ptolemy the ever-living, beloved by Ptah;

In the ninth year, when Aëtus, son of Aëtus, was priest of Alexander and of the Savior gods and the Brother gods and the Benefactor gods and the Parent-loving gods and the god Manifest and Gracious; Pyrrha, the daughter of Philinius, being athlophorus for Bernice Euergetis; Areia, the daughter of Diogenes, being canephorus for Arsinoë Philadelphus; Irene, the daughter of Ptolemy, being priestess of Arsinoë Philopator: on the fourth of the month Xanicus, or according to the Egyptians the eighteenth of Mecheir.

THE DECREE: The high priests and prophets, and those who enter the inner shrine in order to robe the gods, and those who wear the hawk’s wing, and the sacred scribes, and all the other priests who have assembled at Memphis before the king, from the various temples throughout the country, for the feast of his receiving the kingdom, even that of Ptolemy the ever-living, beloved by Ptah, the god Manifest and Gracious, which he received from his Father, being assembled in the temple in Memphis this day, declared: Since King Ptolemy, the ever-living, beloved by Ptah, the god Manifest and Gracious, the son of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoë, the Parent-loving gods, has done many benefactions to the temples and to those who dwell in them, and also to all those subject to his rule, being from the beginning a god born of a god and a goddess—like Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, who came to the help of his Father Osiris; being benevolently disposed toward the gods, has concentrated to the temples revenues both of silver and of grain, and has generously undergone many expenses in order to lead Egypt to prosperity and to establish the temples… the gods have rewarded him with health, victory, power, and all other good things, his sovereignty to continue to him and his children forever.[13]

Idiomatic use

The term Rosetta Stone came to be used by philologists to describe any bilingual text with whose help a hitherto unknown language and/or script could be deciphered. For example, the bilingual coins of the Indo-Greeks (Obverse in Greek, reverse in Pali, using the Kharo??hi script), which enabled James Prinsep (1799–1840) to decipher the latter.

Later on, the term gained a wider frequency, also outside the field of linguistics, and has become idiomatic as something that is a critical key to the process of decryption or translation of a difficult encoding of information:

"The Rosetta Stone of immunology"[14] and "Arabidopsis, the Rosetta Stone of flowering time (fossils)".[15] An algorithm for predicting protein structure from sequence is named Rosetta@home. In molecular biology, a series of "Rosetta" bacterial cell lines have been developed that contain a number of tRNA genes that are rare in E. coli but common in other organisms, enabling the efficient translation of DNA from those organisms in E. coli.

"Rosetta" is an online language translation tool to help localisation of software, developed and maintained by Canonical as part of the Launchpad project.

"Rosetta" is the name of a "lightweight dynamic translator" distributed for Mac OS X by Apple. Rosetta enables applications compiled for PowerPC processor to run on Apple systems using x86 processor.

Rosetta Stone is a brand of language learning software published by Rosetta Stone Ltd., headquartered in Arlington, VA, USA.

The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone to last from 2000 to 12,000 AD. Its goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,500 languages.

Rosetta Stone was also a pseudonym used by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) for the book "Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo"

See also

Rosetta (disambiguation)
Behistun Inscription
Decree of Canopus, stele no. 1 of the 3-stele series

Notes

• Allen, Don Cameron. "The Predecessors of Champollion", Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 144, No. 5. (1960), pp. 527–547
• Adkins, Lesley; Adkins, Roy. The Keys of Egypt: The Obsession to Decipher Egyptian Hieroglyphs. HarperCollins, 2000 ISBN 0-06-019439-1
Budge, E. A. Wallis (1989). The Rosetta Stone. Dover Publications. ISBN 0486261638. http://books.google.com/books?id=RO_m47hLsbAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=rosetta+stone&as_brr=3&sig=ACfU3U1_VaJ_NxkLmbZuYyDLji99DXwY6w
• Downs, Jonathan. Discovery at Rosetta. Skyhorse Publishing, 2008 ISBN 978-1-60239-271-7
• Downs, Jonathan. "Romancing the Stone", History Today, Vol. 56, Issue 5. (May, 2006), pp. 48–54.
• Parkinson, Richard. Cracking Codes: the Rosetta Stone, and Decipherment. University of California Press, 1999 ISBN 0-520-22306-3
• Parkinson, Richard. The Rosetta Stone. Objects in Focus; British Museum Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-7141-5021-5
Ray, John. The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt. Harvard University Press, 2007 ISBN 978-0-674-02493-9
Reviewed by Jonathon Keats in the Washington Post, July 22, 2007.
• Solé, Robert; Valbelle, Dominique. The Rosetta Stone: The Story of the Decoding of Hieroglyphics. Basic Books, 2002 ISBN 1-56858-226-9
The Gentleman’s Magazine: and Historical Chronicle, 1802: Volume 72: part 1: March: p. 270: Wednesday, March 31.

References

^ "The Rosetta Stone". http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aes/t/the_rosetta_stone.aspx. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
^ "History uncovered in conserving the Rosetta Stone". http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/article_index/h/history_uncovered_in_conservin.aspx. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
^ Downs, Jonathan, Discovery at Rosetta, 2008
^ Downs, Jonathan, Discovery at Rosetta, 2008
^ Downs, Jonathan, Discovery at Rosetta, 2008
^ Retrieved on 2008-25-6
^ See University of Pennsylvania, Philomathean Society, Report of the committee [C.R. Hale, S.H. Jones, and Henry Morton], appointed by the society to translate the inscript on the Rosetta stone, Circa 1858 and most likely published in Philadelphia. See later editions of circa 1859 and 1881 by same author, as well as Randolph Greenfield Adams, A Translation of the Rosetta Stone (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1925.) The Philomathean Society holds relevant archival material as well as an original casting.
^ Charlotte Edwardes and Catherine Milner (2003-07-20). "Egypt demands return of the Rosetta Stone". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/1436606/Egypt-demands-return-of-the-Rosetta-Stone.html. Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
^ Henry Huttinger (2005-07-28). "Stolen Treasures: Zahi Hawass wants the Rosetta Stone back—among other things". Cairo Magazine. http://www.cairomagazine.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=1238&format=html. Retrieved 2006-10-06. [dead link]
^ "The rose of the Nile". Al-Ahram Weekly. 2005-11-30. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/770/he1.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
^ [1] "Rosetta Stone row ‘would be solved by loan to Egypt’" BBC News 8 December 2009
^ "Translation of the Greek section of the Rosetta Stone". Reshafim.org.il. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/texts/rosettastone.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
^ "Text of the Rosetta Stone". http://pw1.netcom.com/~qkstart/rosetta.html. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
^ The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2000-09-06). "International Team Accelerates Investigation of Immune-Related Genes". http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2000/ihwg.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 
^ Gordon G. Simpson, Caroline Dean (2002-04-12). "Arabidopsis, the Rosetta Stone of Flowering Time?". http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5566/285?ijkey=zlwRiv/qSEivQ&keytype=ref&siteid=sci. Retrieved 2006-11-23. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rosetta Stone
Wikisource has original text related to this article: Text on the Rosetta Stone in English
Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article: Greek Text from the Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone in The British Museum
More detailed British Museum page on the stone with Curator’s comments and bibliography
The translated text in English – The British Museum
The Finding of the Rosetta Stone
The 1998 conservation and restoration of The Rosetta Stone at The British Museum
Champollion’s alphabet – The British Museum
people.howstuffworks.com/rosetta-stone.htm

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone"

Categories: 196 BC | 2nd century BC | 2nd-century BC steles | 2nd-century BC works | 1st-millennium BC steles | Ancient Egyptian objects in the British Museum | Ancient Egyptian texts | Ancient Egyptian stelas | Antiquities acquired by Napoleon | Egyptology | Metaphors referring to objects | Multilingual texts | Ptolemaic dynasty | Stones | Nile River Delta | Ptolemaic Greek inscriptions | Archaeological corpora documents

]]]

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