Ancient Egypt: How the language fell in disuse - Deepstash

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Ancient Egypt: How the language fell in disuse

  • Ancient Egypt was conquered, first by Persians, then by Macedonian Greeks under Alexander the Great in 332BC.
  • The Ptolematic dynasty, named after Alexander's general, Ptolemy I, ruled Egypt for three centuries. It ended with the death of Cleopatra VII and the Roman occupation in 30BC.
  • From AD 395, Egypt was ruled first by Coptic Christians, then by Muslims, until the time of Napoleon.
  • Spoken Coptic descended from the language of ancient Egypt, but written Coptic was entirely alphabetic, like Greek. Still, the Coptic language provided approximate pronunciation for hieroglyphs.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Greek and Roman authors thought that hieroglyphs were symbols of ancient Egyptian wisdom. They dismissed any phonetic component in the hieroglyphs.

  • In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt. Military engineers discovered the Rosetta Stone in July 1799 while rebuilding an old fort in the Nile Delta.
  • It was clear that the bottom inscription on the Rosetta Stone was written in the Greek alphabet and the top part in Egyptian hiero...

  • In 1802, a French and a Swedish scholar used similar techniques to unravel the text. They searched for the name Ptolemy, by isolating repeated groups of symbols in about the same position as the Greek inscription.
  • They drew up a tentative alphabet and applied it to...

Ancient Egypt has exerted power of influence on the world of learning for over two millennia.

In 1822, Jean-François Champollion found an essential clue from the newly discovered cartouche (oval rings enclosing certain groups of hieroglyphs, generally names and titles) containing the name of Cleopatra. The alphabet was now mostly correct and allowed him to translate the n...

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