THE ROSETTA STONE1 AND THE STELE OF CANOPUS.
The following remarks upon the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphics may be fitly introduced by a description of the remarkable objects of antiquity whose names
stand at the head of this chapter.
Finding The Rosetta Stone is a slab of black basalt, which is
Rosetta now preserved in the British Museum (Egyptian Gallery,
No. 24). It was found by a French artillery officer called
Boussard, among the ruins of Fort Saint Julien, near the
Rosetta mouth of the Nile, in 1799, but subsequently came
into the possession of the British Government at the
capitulation of Alexandria. It is inscribed with fragments of
14 lines of hieroglyphics, 32 lines of demotic, and 54 lines of
Greek. A portion of the stone has been broken off from the
top, and the right-hand bottom corner has also suffered injury.
It now measures 3ft. gin. x 2ft.4} in. x 11 in. We may arrive
at an idea of the original size of the Rosetta Stone by com-
paring the number of lines upon it with the number of those Stele of upon the Stele of Canopus, which is inscribed in hieroglyphic, Canopus
demotic and Greek, measures 7 ft. 2in. x 2 ft. 7in. x ift. 2in.,
Rosetta and is inscribed with 36 lines of hieroglyphics, 73 lines of
compared. demotic, and 74 lines of Greek. The demotic inscription is
on the edge of the stele. This stele was set up at Canopus
in the ninth year of the reign of Ptolemy III., Euergetes I.
(B.C. 247-222), to record the decree made at Canopus by the
priesthood, assembled from all parts of Egypt, in honour of
the king It records the great benefits which he had
conferred upon Egypt, and states what festivals are to be
celebrated in his honour, and in that of Berenice, etc., and,
like the Rosetta' Stone, concludes with a resolution ordering
that a copy of this inscription in hieroglyphics, Greek and
demotic, shall be placed in every large temple in Egypt.
Now the Rosetta Stone is inscribed with 32 lines of demotic,
and the Stele of Canopus with 73; but as the lines on the
Rosetta Stone are rather more than double the length of
those on the Stele of Canopus, it is pretty certain that each
" A cast of the Rosetta Stone is exhibited in the Fitzwilliam Museum.