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Champollion's system.

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In 1822 Champollion published his famous Lettre à M. Dacier relative à l'alphabet des Hiéroglyphes Phonétiques, in which he stated his discovery of the Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet in the following words : " Vous avez sans doute remarqué, Monsieur, dans mon Mémoire sur l'écriture démotique Egyptienne, que ces noms étrangers étaient exprimés phonétiquement au moyen de signes plutôt syllabiques qu'alphabétiques. La valeur de chaque caractère est reconnue et invariablement fixée par la comparaison de ces divers noms ; et de tous ces rapprochements est résulté l'alphabet, ou plutôt le syllabaire démotique figuré sur ma planche I., colonne deuxième. L'emploi de ces caractères phonétiques une fois constaté dans l'écriture démotique, je devais naturellement en conclure que puisque les signes de cette écriture populaire étaient, ainsi que je l'ai exposé, empruntés de l'écriture hiératique ou sacerdotale, et puisque encore les signes de cette écriture hiératique ne sont, comme on l'a reconnu par mes divers mémoires, qu'une représentation abrégée, une véritable tachygraphie des hiérographes, cette troisième espèce d'écriture, l'hiéroglyphique pure, devait avoir aussi un certain nombre de ses signes doués de la faculté d'exprimer les sons ; en un mot, qu'il existait également une série d'hiéroglyphes phonétiques. Pour s'assurer de la vérité de cet aperçu, pour reconnaître l'existence et discerner même la valeur de quelques-uns des signes de cette espèce, il aurait suffi d'avoir sous les yeux, écrits en hiéroglyphes purs, deux noms de rois grecs préalablement connus, et contenant plusieurs lettres employées à la fois dans l'un et dans l'autre, tels que Ptolémée et Cléopâtre, Alexandre et Bérénice, etc."(p. 5). Throughout this work there

appears to be no mention whatever of Young's identification
of any letters of the hieroglyphic alphabet, although on p. 2
Champollion says: “A l'égard de l'écriture démotique en par-
ticulier, il a suffi de la précieuse inscription de Rosette pour
en reconnaitre l'ensemble; la critique est redevable d'abord
aux lumières de votre illustre confrère, M. Silvestre de Sacy,
et successivement à celles de feu Akerblad et de M. le docteur
Young, des premières notions exactes qu'on a tirées de ce
monument, et c'est de cette même inscription que j'ai déduit
la série des signes démotiques qui, prenant une valeur
syllabico-alphabétique, exprimaient dans les textes ideo-
graphiques les noms propres des personnages étrangers à
l'Egypte.” That Champollion should not have known of
Young's article EGYPT is a thing not to be understood, espe-
cially as advance copies were sent to Paris and elsewhere as
early as 1818.
From the facts given above we are enabled to draw up
the following statement as to the amount of work done in the
decipherment of the Egyptian language by the early workers
in this field.
Barthélemy' and Zoéga” had come to the conclusion
long before the labours of Akerblad, Young, and Cham-
pollion, that the cartouches contained proper names. Aker-
blad drew up an alphabet of the demotic character, in which
fourteen signs appear to have had correct values attributed
to them. Young published a demotic alphabet in which the
greater number of Akerblad's results were absorbed ; he fixed
the correct values to six hieroglyphic characters, and to three
others partly correct values; he identified the names of
Ptolemy and Alexander, the numerals and several gods'
names. Champollion published a demotic alphabet, the
greater part of which he owed, without question, to Akerblad,
and a hieroglyphic alphabet of which six characters had
had correct values assigned to them by Young, and the

* Caylus, Recueil d’Antiquités Egyptiennes, Etrusques, etc., Tom. V. p. 79.

* In De Origine et Usu Obeliscorum, p. 465. Conspiciuntur autem passim in Aegyptiis monumentis schemata quaedam ovata sive elliptica planae basi insidentia, quae emphatica ratione includunt certa notarum syntagmata, sive ad propria personarum nomina exprimenda, sive ad sacratiores formulas designandas.

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Champollion's alphabet.

The names
Ptolemy
and
Cleopatra.

values of three others had been correctly stated as far as the
consonants were concerned. There is no doubt whatever
that Champollion's plan of work was eminently scientific, and
his great knowledge of Coptic enabled him to complete the
admirable work of decipherment, which his natural talent had
induced him to undertake. The value of his contributions to
the science of Egyptology it would be difficult to over-
estimate, and the amount of work which he did in his
comparatively short life is little less than marvellous. It is,
however, to be regretted that Champollion did not state
more clearly what Young had done, for a full acknowledg-
ment of this would have in no way injured or lessened his
own immortal fame."
Briefly, the way in which Champollion recovered the
greater part of the Egyptian alphabet is as follows. It will
be remembered that, on account of breakages, the only name
found on the Rosetta Stone is that of Ptolemy. Shortly
before Champollion published his letter to M. Dacier, he had
published an account of an obelisk.” recently brought to
London, which was inscribed with the name of a Ptolemy,
written with the same characters as that on the Rosetta
Stone, and also contained within a cartouche. It was followed
by a second cartouche, which should contain the name of a
queen. The obelisk was said to have been fixed in a socket,
bearing a Greek inscription containing a petition of the
priests of Isis at Philae, addressed to Ptolemy, to Cleopatra
his sister, and to Cleopatra his wife. Now, he argued, if this
obelisk and the hieroglyphic inscription which it bears are really
the result of the petition of the priests, who in the Greek speak
of the dedication of a similar monument, it follows of necessity
that the cartouche must contain the name of a Cleopatra.
The names of Ptolemy and Cleopatra having, in the Greek,
some letters which are similar, may be used for comparing

* We have seen above that Champollion did know of Young's work, yet in his Précis du Système Hieroglyphique, p. 18, he says that he had arrived at results similar to those obtained by Dr. Young, without having any knowledge of his opinion.

* Observations sur l'Obélisque Egyptien de l'íle de Philae, in Revue encyclopédique, Mars, 1822.

the hieroglyphics which are used in each ; and if the characters which are similar in these two names express the same sound in each cartouche, their purely phonetic character is at once made clear. A previous comparison of these two names written in the demotic character shows that when they are written phonetically several characters, exactly alike, are used in each. The analogy of the demotic, hieratic, and hieroglyphic methods of writing in a general way, leads us to expect the same coincidence and the same conformity in these same names, written hieroglyphically. The names Ptolemaios and Cleopatra written in hieroglyphics are as follows:—

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Now in No. 2 cartouche, sign No. 1, which must represent K, is not found in cartouche No. 1. Sign No. 2, a lion lying down, is identical with sign No. 4 in cartouche No. 1. This clearly is L. Sign No. 3, a pen, represents the short vowel E.; two of them are to be seen in character No. 6 in No. I cartouche, and considering their position their value must be AI of atos. Sign No. 4 is identical with No. 3 in No. 1 cartouche, and must have the value O in each name. Sign No. 5 is identical with sign No. 1 of No. 1 cartouche, which being the first letter of the name of Ptolemy must be P. Sign No. 6 is not found in No. 1 cartouche, but it must be A, because it is the same sign as sign No. 9, which ends the name KAEOslATPA; we know that signs Io and II always accompany feminine proper names, because we see them following the names of goddesses like |S Isis, and |ss Nephthys. Sign No. 7, an open stretched out hand, must be T. It does not occur in No. 1 cartouche, but we find from other cartouches that o takes the place of e->, and the

reverse. Sign No. 8 must be R ; it is not in No. 1 cartouche, B. M. L

Recovery of the

Egyptian alphabet.

The name
Alexander.

The name
Berenice.

and ought not to be there. In No. 1 cartouche sign No. 7 must be S, because it ends the name which in Greek ends with S. Thus from these two cartouches we may collect . twelve characters of the Egyptian alphabet, viz., A, AI, E, K, K, L, M, O, P, R, S, T. Now let us take another cartouche from the Description de l'Egypte, t. III. pl. 38, No. 13, and try to make it out ; it reads:—

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Now signs Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8, we know from cartouches Nos. I and 2, and we may write down their values thus:—

J. : - * .. AA. . XE... TP. The only Greek name which contains these letters in this order is Alexander, therefore let us assign to the signs <=x, co, and —-, the value of K, N and S respectively. We find on examination that the whole group corresponds, letter for letter, with the group which stands in the demotic text of a papyrus in the place of the Greek name AAEXANAPOX. We have, then, gained three new phonetic signs K, N, and S, and have determined the value of fifteen in all. Again, let us take the cartouche of another lady:

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Now signs Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 we know, and we may write them down thus:–

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The only female name which contains these letters in this order is that of Berenice, and to *} and A\ we may therefore assign the values B and K respectively. Thus we have gained two more signs.

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