Synopses & Reviews
The gripping tale of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, the artifact that opened up ancient Egypt and triggered a struggle for cultural supremacy. One fateful day in 1799, a unit of French army engineers made a discovery that opened the floodgates of history, rousing the gods of the Nile after two thousand years. In a crumbling castle on the banks of the Nile, the engineers found an unusual chunk of dark, chiseled debris. It was the Rosetta Stone, and it would change civilization forever. Discovery of Rosetta is the first book to tell the story of the Rosetta Stonehow it fell into British hands, the battle over who would be the first to successfully decipher it, and how it came to sit where it is today, in the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone is much more than a rockit is the key to an ancient civilization and a modern symbol of human discovery, conquest, and scholarship.
"This latest recounting of the 1799 discovery of the Rosetta Stone the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics focuses less on the decoding itself and more on the French invasion of Egypt that led to the discovery and the military and cultural battle with Britain that followed. British military historian Downs tells an engrossing story full of larger-than-life and sometimes simply wacky characters, led to Egypt by Napoleon. Among them were dozens of scholars, artists and scientists who produced an explosion of knowledge on both ancient Egyptian and later Islamic culture. The invasion itself ended in disaster when Admiral Nelson's armada destroyed the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. Napoleon returned to France; his army, left to wither from heat, disease and deprivation, surrendered to Britain in 1801. Much of the book concerns clumsy French efforts to avoid turning over their artifacts, including the Rosetta stone, to the victors. Downs takes an original tack to this well-known story with a straightforward, dramatic account of the 1,500-pound stone from its discovery until its arrival at the British Museum, where it rests today. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Jonathan Downs is a writer and editor. He lives in England.