Baker & Taylor Explains how the hieroglyphic writing system of the ancient Egyptians began and how the discovery of the Rosetta stone helped break its code
Oxford University Press For more than 15 centuries, no one could read the strange-looking Egyptian hieroglyphs. And then in 1799 a French soldier in Napoleon's army in Egypt stumbled across the Rosetta Stone, an ancient inscription recorded in Greek, hieroglyphs, and demotic script. Many of the brightest scholars of the time--Egyptologists, historians, and linguists--as well as detectives, professional code breakers, and plain amateurs, all set out to decipher the forgotten words. Carol Donoughue tells us the fascinating story of the hieroglyphs and the race to decipher them, explaining how this curious writing system began with simple drawings of everyday objects. She compares the hieroglyphic system to modern alphabets in an entertaining narrative complemented with numerous photographs and drawings, maps, historical timelines stretching from ancient Egypt to Napoleon, a glossary, and numerous sidebars. The book culminates in an edge-of-your-seat description of how the brilliant French archaeologist Champollion finally succeeded in deciphering the hieroglyphs. A final section displays an alphabet of "hieroglyphs" and offers some fun activities for children based on hieroglyphic writing.