Who deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs? The Egyptian history contains
the millennia from the moment of origin of the state. The millennia during which there were millions considerable and in many respects mysterious events. For this reason history of Egypt seems to our many contemporaries very fascinating, and the country still is considered up to the end unknown. Interpretation of Ancient Egyptian writing - hieroglyphs became one of the greatest opening which in many respects slightly opened a veil of secrets of Egypt. So to whom we are obliged by discovery of this centuries-old secret?
For a start it is necessary to tell that the beginning of decline of knowledge of mankind of the Egyptian hieroglyphs was the fact that the Greek emperor Theodosius I in the 1st century AD closed Ancient Egyptian temples therefore Egypt lost a caste of priests who were the main interpreters of hieroglyphs. For seven centuries of domination of Greeks and Romans in Egypt Ancient Egyptian language was nullified, having become unclear even to aboriginals of the country.
Though further Greeks also tried to restore for the first time sense of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, far in this question they did not promote. For many centuries forward the situation was confused by the treatise “ Hieroglyphica “ this idea his followers could not disprove for a long time the Egyptian scientist Gorus in whom the author gives to hieroglyphs exclusively symbolical interpretation and.
Renaissance became the next period of special attention to studying of Ancient Egyptian writing. So, the priest - the Jesuit Kirkher at the beginning of the 17th century in attempt to master hieroglyphs, came to a conclusion that coptic (one of the ancient Egyptian languages which remained and presently) in itself is the same Ancient Egyptian, only other tracing. This opening could advance far research if the scientist did not repeat Gores`s mistake - Kirkher also tried to guess in hieroglyphs only concepts, but not sounds.
But nevertheless the real break in studying of Ancient Egyptian writing happened after a gain of Egypt Napoleon when the huge number of Ancient Egyptian monuments of culture was open. The predominating role in interpretation of hieroglyphs was played by finding in 1799 of the Rozettsky stone on which the text written by means of three languages was cut: hieroglyphs, Ancient Greek, Ancient Egyptian by means of a tracing, and also Egyptian demotic (ordinary) letter, Ancient Egyptian with use of signs. Comparison of these texts gave the chance to scientists more close to approach secret of interpretation of hieroglyphs, however it was succeeded to decipher only some names of tsars which on the Egyptian texts were represented in so-called cartouches (ovals), the sense of the main text remained not clear.
All this proceeded until researches were not started by the French scientist already quite famous by then - the Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champolion. In twelve years young Shampolyon knew all languages which were at that time known in Egypt (Arab, chaldaic and Coptic). In seventeen years the young child prodigy wrote the whole book “ Egypt at Pharaohs “ and in nineteen became professor of university in Grenoble. His opening of the fact that hieroglyphs meant not only concepts, but also in the majority letters became the first success of the scientist on interpretation of hieroglyphs. By comparison of tracings of hieroglyphs in cartouches and in the corresponding Greek texts of the Rozettsky stone, the scientist managed to read all names of tsars of Egypt which were mentioned in this text. At the same time he established that each phonetic hieroglyph written in a cartouche represents a sound of the first letter of the Egyptian or Coptic word. Thanks to this opening Shampolyon could make almost full alphabet of phonetic hieroglyphs.
However the problem remained that out of cartouches hieroglyphs could mean not letters, but also syllables, and sometimes and the whole words. Here the scientist was helped in many respects by his excellent knowledge of various modern Egyptian languages. By comparison of the text written in hieroglyphs to coptic known to it Jean-Francois managed to comprehend meaning and all Ancient Egyptian text. Thanks to this opening by Shampolyon the first hieroglyphic dictionary and grammar of the Egyptian language was made.
Thanks to Shampolyon`s efforts to mankind uncountable documents of all Egyptian antiquity became available. In only ten years of work the scientist managed to make what his predecessors puzzled already more than one and a half millennia over. Unfortunately, the early death from tuberculosis did not give to the scientist the chance to see all importance of the opening for mankind, however presently he by right is considered the main opener of Ancient Egyptian writing.