Napoleon'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
Well-written, loaded with information, and with a rich assortment of illustrations, each Discoveries "RM" volume is a look at one facet of art, archaeology, music, history, philosophy, popular culture, science, or nature. These innovatively designed, affordably priced, compact paperbacks bring ideas to life and amplify our understanding of civilization in a new way.
This unique and extraordinary guide to seven major sites of Maya civilization highlights the pioneering work of two great scholars of ancient America. For readers at every level -- from the casual tourist to the serious student -- The Code of Kings relies on Linda Schele and Peter Mathews's revolutionary work in the decipherment of the hieroglyphs that cover the surfaces of Maya ruins to give us a far clearer picture of Maya culture than we have ever had.
Richly illustrated with line art and the incomparable photography of Justin Kerr and Macduff Everton, The Code of Kings is a landmark contribution to our understanding of the Maya and a phenomenal guided tour of seven of the most awesome and magical spots on Earth.
Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of History discusses how the abundant Mesopotamian cuneiform text sources can be used for the study of various aspects of history: political, social, economic and gender. Marc Van De Mieroop provides a student-friendly introduction to the subject and:
* criticises disciplinary methodologies which are often informed by a desire to write a history of events
* scrutinises the intellectual background of historical writings
* examines how Mesopotamia's position as the 'other' in Classical and Biblical writings has influenced scholarship
* illustrates approaches with examples taken from the entirety of Mesopotamian history.
Of the writing systems of the ancient world which still await deciphering, the Indus script is the most important. It developed in the Indus or Harappan Civilization, which flourished c. 2500-1900 BC in and around modern Pakistan, collapsing before the earliest historical records of South Asia were composed. Nearly 4,000 samples of the writing survive, mainly on stamp seals and amulets, but no translations. Professor Parpola is the chief editor of the Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions. His ideas about the script, the linguistic affinity of the Harappan language, and the nature of the Indus religion are informed by a remarkable command of Aryan, Dravidian, and Mesopotamian sources, archaeological materials, and linguistic methodology. His fascinating study confirms that the Indus script was logo-syllabic, and that the Indus language belonged to the Dravidian family.
The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing is an important story of intellectual discovery and a tale of code breaking comparable to the interpreting of Egyptian hieroglyphs and the decoding of cuneiform. Using classic articles taken from publications unavailable to most readers, accounts by Spaniards who witnessed the writing of the glyphs and research by twentieth-century scholars--from Tatiana Proskouriakoff to Michael Coe--this book provides a history of the interpretation of Maya hieroglyphs. Introductory essays offer the historical context and describe the personalities and theories of the many authors who contributed to the understanding of these ancient glyphs.
More than two hundred line drawings illustrate the text and serve as an introduction to decipherment. This landmark work in Maya studies is the first book to examine the centuries of thought behind the decoding of Maya hieroglyphs.
An exhaustive reference drawing together a wide range of archaeological knowledge for this extraordinary period of cultural change. Fully illustrated with maps, diagrams and photographs.
1 IN ODYSSEUS'S WAKE 1 1 LOGOS 13 3 THE NEW LABYRINTH 47 4 THE SKEIN OF ARIADNE 65 S "HEAR YE, CRETANS AND GREEKS!" 93 6 THE BATTLE OF NAXOS 119 7 RAPANUI 139 8 TALKI NG BOARDS OF TH E PACI FIC 153 9 ATOP TERE VAKA 167 10 "ALL THE BIRDS ... " 187 11 SURFING THE RONGORONGO 205 Suggested Reading 223 Index 227 A "glyph" (short for hieroglyph) is a sign in a script. And a "breaker" is a person who cracks a script's code. A "glyph- breaker" is then a decipherer, someone who lets us read the unreadable, that linguistic magician who gives voice to the mute past. Until 1984 no one had been able to read Crete's 3600-year- old Phaistos Disk, Europe's earliest literature and greatest written enigma. Until 1994 no one could make sense of Easter Island's mysterious Iongorongo writing, Oceania's only script predating the twentieth century. No one had ever deciphered two wholly different historical scripts before. Until now. This is the true story of these two achievements.
Indiana was a stopping-off place for countless pioneers on their way west to Illinois, Iowa, Kansas or Oregon. Some travelers paused only long enough to tend the sick and to bury their dead before hurrying westward while others, who could not stand the th