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The hieroglyphic system of writing vanished from Egypt by about the fifth century A.D., and with it all knowledge of how to translate the complex symbols. Then, in 1799, a Frenchman in Rosetta, Egypt—now called Rashid—discovered a black granite stone from the second century B.C. that bore inscriptions in Egyptian hieroglyphic, Egyptian demotic (common script), and Greek. By comparing the symbols in the three different writing systems, he was able to begin to decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, revealing a text written by priests in honor of the pharaoh.
Posted January 6, 2011