Decipherment of ancient Egyptian scripts
Ancient Egyptian forms of writing ceased to be understood in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. It was widely believed that Egyptian scripts were exclusively ideographic, representing ideas rather than sounds. The Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799 by members of Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign in Egypt, bore a parallel text in hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek.
About Decipherment of ancient Egyptian scripts in brief
The writing systems used in ancient Egypt were deciphered in the early nineteenth century through the work of several European scholars. Ancient Egyptian forms of writing, which included the hieroglyphic, hieratic and demotic scripts, ceased to be understood in the fourth and fifth centuries AD. It was widely believed that Egyptian scripts were exclusively ideographic, representing ideas rather than sounds. The Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799 by members of Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign in Egypt, bore a parallel text in hieroglyPHic, demotic and Greek. By the 1850s it was possible to fully translate ancient Egyptian texts. Combined with the decipherment of cuneiform at approximately the same time, their work opened up the once-inaccessible texts from the earliest stages of human history. For most of its history ancient Egypt had two major writing systems. Hieroglyphs, a system of pictorial signs used mainly for formal texts, originated sometime around 3200 BC. Hieratic, a cursive system derived from hieratic, was nearly as old. Beginning in the seventh century BC, a third script, known today as demotic, emerged. Demotic became the most common system for writing the Egyptian language, and hieroglyPhic and hieratic were thereafter mostly restricted to religious uses. All three scripts contained a mix of phonetic and ideographic signs, representing sounds in the spoken language.
Phonetic signs included uniliteral and triliteral signs, standing for one or three sounds. Ideographic signs included logograms, representing whole words, and determinatives, which were used to specify the meaning of a word written with phonetic signs. Many Greek and Roman authors wrote about these scripts, and many Egyptians were aware that the Egyptians had two or three writing systems, but none of them fully understood how the systems worked. Many authors, including Diodorus Siculus, described how the writing worked in later times but none understood how it worked fully until the first century BC, when they wrote about the Siculus in the first century BC and described how it was used in the Ptolemaic dynasties. For more information, visit: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/29/science/science-and-technology/how-the-writing-systems-of ancient Egypt were understood-by-the ptolemaeans-in the first century-BC and their writing was explained in the second century. The Egyptian language of the fourth century AD was known as Ptolemy V. It was also known as the “Egyptian language” and was used by Egyptian priests and then that of the Roman Empire of the Roman Emperor Dionysius I. In the fourth century BC, Egypt came to be ruled by the Greek Ptolemic dynasty, and Greek and Demotic were used side-by side.