Daily Archives: December 29, 2020

Cartouche is not something you get from a long automobile trip

The Rosetta Stone has 3 writing systems: hieroglyphic, Demotic and ancient Greek

The big deal here is that there is one message written 3 times in different languages—just like Darius’ proclamation a few posts back. One of the Rosetta Stone languages is Greek. If you can read Greek, maybe you can piece together Ancient Greek. The next step is to treat the hieroglyphs and Demotic like a cryptogram. You look for common, recognizable words. An English physicist named Thomas Young saw the word ‘Ptolemy’ in Ancient Greek and figured it must also show up in the other 2 versions. Ptolemy was the pharaoh—a pretty important guy.* The hieroglyphic version of the Rosetta Stone has some symbols that look more important than the others. They’re inside a rounded rectangular shape called a cartouche (kar-TOOSH). Could those symbols spell out ‘Ptolemy?’


Here’s a close-up of the hieroglyphics with the cartouche: https://www.ancient.eu/image/5317/rosetta-stone-detail-hieroglyphic-text/?=&page=3
Scroll down to see the 3 different versions of ‘Ptolemy:’ https://abagond.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/rosetta-stone/

* Ptolemy was 13 years old when the Rosetta Stone was inscribed. He was Pharaoh of all Egypt. When I was 13 years old I was drawing cartoons in my room. My favorite food was peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

You can be a pharaoh, too! Just create a rebus of your name inside this cartouche which I thoughtfully drew for you. For example, if your name is ‘Doug,’ draw a dog. If your name is ‘Bethany-Mehitabel,’ you’ll need to do a lot more drawing.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.