The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt

( 1 )

Overview

Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series
(Part I and Part II)

The Rosetta Stone is one of the world's great wonders, attracting awed pilgrims by the tens of thousands each year. This book tells the Stone's story, from its discovery by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt to its current—and controversial— status as the single most visited object on display in the British ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$11.33
BN.com price
(Save 24%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $7.23   
  • New (5) from $7.98   
  • Used (3) from $7.23   
The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 29%)$14.95 List Price

Overview

Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series
(Part I and Part II)

The Rosetta Stone is one of the world's great wonders, attracting awed pilgrims by the tens of thousands each year. This book tells the Stone's story, from its discovery by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt to its current—and controversial— status as the single most visited object on display in the British Museum.

A pharaoh's forgotten decree, cut in granite in three scripts—Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian demotic, and ancient Greek—the Rosetta Stone promised to unlock the door to the language of ancient Egypt and its 3,000 years of civilization, if only it could be deciphered. Capturing the drama of the race to decode this key to the ancient past, John Ray traces the paths pursued by the British polymath Thomas Young and Jean-Francois Champollion, the "father of Egyptology" ultimately credited with deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. He shows how Champollion "broke the code" and explains more generally how such deciphering is done, as well as its critical role in the history of Egyptology. Concluding with a chapter on the political and cultural controversy surrounding the Stone, the book also includes an appendix with a full translation of the Stone's text.

Rich in anecdote and curious lore, The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt is a brilliant and frequently amusing guide to one of history's great mysteries and marvels.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New Scientist

The stone is an icon because it provided the key to decoding ancient Egyptian writing, allowing the pharaohs to speak to the modern world. It also stands for great intellectual achievement: the genius of Thomas Young, the English physicist and polymath who was the first to try and decipher it, and that of his rival, the French scholar Jean-François Champollion, who cracked the hieroglyphs in 1822 and founded Egyptology as a science. The stone also stands for national rivalry: between Napoleon's army, which discovered it in Egypt in 1799, and the British army, which took it to the UK. Though few people know what it actually says, the Rosetta Stone has come to symbolise the enduring power of writing. Ray writes knowledgeably about all these aspects of the stone, drawing on four decades of engagement with ancient Egypt—a career partly inspired by a schoolboy encounter with the stone in the 1950s. There are already some good books on the subject...but Ray sheds new light on topics such as the fragile political position of the stone's hero, teenage pharaoh Ptolemy V, and the issue of whether the stone should one day be returned to Egypt.
— Andrew Robinson

Sunday Times

[Ray] successfully captures the West's fascination with Egypt. Always the master of his subject, he entertains rather than lectures, is sparing with minutiae but still finds space for telling detail.
— Anthony Sattin

Booklist

Ray balances his acumen with accessibility in presenting the stele's history, which takes several forms. From a historical perspective, the text, a 196 BCE agreement between the Ptolemaic pharaoh and the Egyptian priesthood, opens a window on a culture and polity in distress. Another history is intellectual, that of the Rosetta Stone's spectacular role in the decipherment of hieroglyphics...Ruminating on whether it, or antiquities generally, should be repatriated, Ray underscores that its history continues. Concise and informative.
— Gilbert Taylor

Morning News

Discovered in Egypt by Napoleon's troops, now the most visited object in the British Museum, the Rosetta stone has an interesting history as the codex for the language of ancient Egypt—and John Ray tells its story well and succinctly. Additionally, I found the design of this book—using the Rosella stone's text as its end papers—charming.
— Robert Birnbaum

New Scientist - Andrew Robinson
The stone is an icon because it provided the key to decoding ancient Egyptian writing, allowing the pharaohs to speak to the modern world. It also stands for great intellectual achievement: the genius of Thomas Young, the English physicist and polymath who was the first to try and decipher it, and that of his rival, the French scholar Jean-François Champollion, who cracked the hieroglyphs in 1822 and founded Egyptology as a science. The stone also stands for national rivalry: between Napoleon's army, which discovered it in Egypt in 1799, and the British army, which took it to the UK. Though few people know what it actually says, the Rosetta Stone has come to symbolise the enduring power of writing. Ray writes knowledgeably about all these aspects of the stone, drawing on four decades of engagement with ancient Egypt—a career partly inspired by a schoolboy encounter with the stone in the 1950s. There are already some good books on the subject...but Ray sheds new light on topics such as the fragile political position of the stone's hero, teenage pharaoh Ptolemy V, and the issue of whether the stone should one day be returned to Egypt.
Sunday Times - Anthony Sattin
[Ray] successfully captures the West's fascination with Egypt. Always the master of his subject, he entertains rather than lectures, is sparing with minutiae but still finds space for telling detail.
Booklist - Gilbert Taylor
Ray balances his acumen with accessibility in presenting the stele's history, which takes several forms. From a historical perspective, the text, a 196 BCE agreement between the Ptolemaic pharaoh and the Egyptian priesthood, opens a window on a culture and polity in distress. Another history is intellectual, that of the Rosetta Stone's spectacular role in the decipherment of hieroglyphics...Ruminating on whether it, or antiquities generally, should be repatriated, Ray underscores that its history continues. Concise and informative.
Morning News - Robert Birnbaum
Discovered in Egypt by Napoleon's troops, now the most visited object in the British Museum, the Rosetta stone has an interesting history as the codex for the language of ancient Egypt—and John Ray tells its story well and succinctly. Additionally, I found the design of this book—using the Rosella stone's text as its end papers—charming.
Jonathon Keats
Ray's brief book evokes the process of rediscovery, succinctly capturing the story of the stone's recovery and decipherment…
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

Ray (Egyptology, Cambridge Univ.) gives us a gem of a book, a multifaceted study of the Rosetta stone, the British Museum's most visited artifact, which was discovered by the French in 1799 during Napoléon's expedition to Egypt. The stone's text, containing a decree by the pharaoh Ptolemy V in the year 196 B.C.E. written in three scripts (hieroglyphs, demotic, and Greek), provided the breakthrough in deciphering hieroglyphs, thus opening up the previously mysterious world of ancient Egypt. While the stone's story is well known, Ray's engagingly written book is exceptional in many regards, demonstrating the author's skills as a teacher. Readers will also glean insights into the personalities of Jean-François Champollion, who ultimately received credit for deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1822, and the lesser-known British polymath Thomas Young, who had previously interpreted the stone's cartouches. Ray also provides guidelines on how to decipher texts. Laypersons will be caught up in the puzzle-solving elements of Egyptologists' work, not to mention the glamorous aura that the modern mind seems to attach to all things Egyptian. For public and academic libraries and special collections in history and Egyptology.
—Joan W. Gartland

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674063945
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/2/2012
  • Series: Wonders of the World , #38
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Ray is Herbert Thompson Professor of Egyptology at Cambridge University, and is also a Fellow of Selwyn College.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Introduction     1
The Fading of the Light     9
The Pot and the Kettle     25
The Man of Science     38
The Man of Art     56
'To Make Them Live Again'     80
The Return of the Light     96
The Heirs of Jean-Francois     110
The Words of the Stone     132
Whose Loot is it Anyway?     145
The text of the stone     164
Further reading     171
List of illustrations     186
Acknowledgements     189
Index     191
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)