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eleven times in the Greek; the first he concludes must represent the word King, the second the name Ptolemy. In the same way he attempted to determine the equivalents in the two inscriptions for the local name Egypt, though it would seem that the precise title occurs more frequently in the Demotic than in the Greek, the latter omitting it occasionally, or substituting for it country. It is indeed true that, so far, the solution of Dr. Young's problem does not require any knowledge of the sounds of the Demotic characters, and that any one with sufficient patience might determine generally what groups of Demotic characters correspond to certain Greek words. Yet still the commencement was a sound step in advance, supposing that the Greek original was faithfully represented in the Demotic text.
The next step was to make a careful examination of the upper or Hieroglyphic legend. On doing this, Dr. Young discovered the representation of the name of Ptolemy, enclosed within a ring or cartouche, and demonstrated the truth of a conjecture first made by Zoega in his work on Obelisks, printed at Rome in 1797, that proper names were always surrounded by an oval line or ring. He, at the same time, succeeded in showing the phonetic (or alphabetical) powers of the characters of which this name was composed in a manner which it is not necessary to repeat here, and not long after was nearly as successful in ascertaining the Phonetic value of the pictorial symbols which represent the name of Ptolemy's Queen Berenice. Dr. Young considered that in this name two different systems, the one syllabic, and the other alphabetic, were combined together,—the whole of the first syllable Bir being represented by one symbol (a basket, which in Coptic is Bir), while some subsequent letters, as E and N, were denoted by individual symbols, as an eye and a wavy line. Such was the first rough attempt to interpret the Hieroglyphics; and so much Dr. Young has, in our opinion, a perfect right to claim as his own original and independent discovery. The Essay in which this discovery was announced was published in the 'Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica' in December 1819, and thus gives him the claim of priority of publication and originality of discovery; while, on the other hand, it appears that two years later, in 1821, M. Champollion published at Grenoble a volume, entitled ' De PEcriture Hieratique des Anciens Egyptiens,' in which he adheres to his earlier and opposite opinion, and states his present conviction that hieroglyphics are not phonetic, "que les signes hieroglyphiques sont les signes des choses, et non les signes des sons."
To M. Champollion, however, is justly due the honour of having corrected some mistakes into which Dr. Young had fallen, and the elaboration of the system, which, so far as it is at present either valuable as a means of future discovery or satisfactory in its results, is mainly due to his untiring patience and unwearied assiduity. For this task he was indeed better fitted than any other scholar of his day, having been from his youth earnestly devoted to the pursuit of Egyptian studies, and having given much time to the acquisition of the Coptic language.
Almost the first question he had to deal with in following out Dr. Young's discovery was this; are these phonetic pictures chosen arbitrarily, or are they subject to some general law? If only the former, it would seem hopeless to expect more success than the interpretation of proper names: if the latter, we should at once have a basis from which research might be continued and extended. On further examination Champollion was enabled to establish this general law, that signs, used as letters, representing certain sounds, are always the picture of some object, the name of which, in the old Egyptian language, begins with the letter which it represents. Thus, supposing we wished in our own language to introduce writing of this kind, a hand might represent the sound h, a dog the sound d, a staff that of s, and so on. Allowing the general truth of such a law, we should, in all cases which admit of its application, at once obtain a key to Hieroglyphic interpretation: moreover, if the symbols used in any given inscription were always strictly phonetic, that is the equivalents of alphabetic letters, we should be able to transcribe such an inscription into such letters. It appeared, however, on a more extensive investigation, that though the sign of the sound was indeed taken from the image of some word in the common language of the people, yet that the Egyptians did not confine themselves to one sign for each sound, but made use of many; the only necessary condition was this, that the sign should be the pictorial representation of some object whose name in the spoken language began with the sound to be expressed: thus the sound of b might be denoted by a bird, a book, a bat, a bull, &c.; hence the number of phonetic hieroglyphics became very considerable. Still later new intricacies were detected by the discovery that, besides the picture signs, or representations of natural objects, the Egyptians made use also of symbolical, typical, or enigmatical signs, representing ideas by physical objects bearing more or less analogy to the idea represented; together with certain other combinations formed of figures of physical beings, representations of monsters, grouped and connected, in ancient times called Anaglyphs. It is probable that these Anaglyphs are pages of that secret writing which the Greek and Roman writers declare was known only to the Priests and the initiated; for the strictly Hieroglyphic writing, on the other hand, does not appear ever to have been a secret character, but to have been known to, or at least capable of interpretation by, all educated persons in ancient Egypt.
It is worthy of remark that S. Clement of Alexandria (to whom alone of the ancients we owe any satisfactory account of the Egyptian system of writing), after noticing the two other forms, viz. the Epistolographic (or Demotic), and the Hieratic (that used by the sacred scribes), divides the third or Hieroglyphic into two kinds, one of which he calls Kyriologic (5ia Tuv -rpuTwv (rroixeW, by the first elements), the other Tropical. It is clear that by the first he means the system of Phonetic Symbols (that is, the use of the initial letters of common words as explained above), and by the second, that of Typical representation of Ideas, which has been called the Ideagraphical. If this interpretation of S. Clement's meaning be just, it follows that the system proposed by Dr. Young and adopted by Champollion has the confirmation of the only writer who himself, by his residence in Egypt, well acquainted with the system adopted there, has spoken accurately and truly of what he understood. Add to this, that Plutarch in his Symposion makes Hermias say, that "Hermes is said in Egypt to have first invented letters: the Egyptians, therefore, represent the first letter of the alphabet by a picture of the Ibis (w ypap.fj.dTwv Alyinrrioi Trpwrov "lPiv ypaipovffiv) as belonging to Hermes." The context shows that alphabetic symbols are here spoken of, as it speaks expressly of the arrangement and order of letters in the alphabet. Champollion had independently, by his own method, arrived at the same result, for he says, "L'epervier, l'ibis, et trois autres especes d'oiseau s'emploient constamment pour A."1 The existence of one Phonetic Hieroglyphic may therefore be proved by the testimony of Plutarch.
The next and most important matter to ascertain is what has been really done in the way of decypherment, and whether what has been done agrees with history? Now it is quite possible that when the signs representing sounds have been once made out, a writing may be read by the rules of artificial decyphering without even a knowledge of the language; but it could not be understood, if the ma
Champ., Lettre a M. Dacier, p. 38, pi. iv.
jority of symbols so determined, after all merely represent letters of an alphabet. It is therefore necessary to determine the language in which the inscriptions were written; and this, in the case of the Hieroglyphics, it is generally agreed, must have been the Coptic. Now, the Coptic itself has ceased to be a living tongue, and exists only in writings (the present Copts for the most part speaking Arabic). We know of three principal dialects of it—the Saidic or Thebaic, which prevailed in Upper Egypt; the Bahiric or Memphitic, in Middle Egypt; and the Bashmuric, in Lower Egypt, in the Oases, or in both. Its whole literature is Theological; and the alphabet in which the language is at present written has been borrowedfrom the Greek, with the addition of eight signs to express sounds for which the Greek alphabet was not adequate. From the peculiar position of Egypt, and the long time that it was under the dominion of the Greeks and Romans, we should expect to find that a large number of foreign words had crept into the Coptic.1 Yet, after all, the proportion of Greek words appears to be very small, and of Latin hardly one has been recognised. The presumption is, that with all allowances for modifications and changes during the lapse of eighteen or twenty centuries, the Coptic is at least as near to the language of the Pharaohs, as modern Greek to the language of Demosthenes; and no one will deny that we might easily understand ancient Greek, even if we had no better clue than through the modern.
What has been as yet decyphered, consists almost entirely of inscriptions on public monuments, temples, palaces, obelisks, and mummies. Now since we know that the principal monuments were built by Kings, we should expect to find their names and usual titles. In a Theocracy such as the Egyptian government, the style of these would naturally have reference to the Divinities with whom these kings had associated themselves. There would also be a recital of names of ancestors and of similar titles borne by them.
We find, accordingly, that we hence meet with such titles as "Well beloved of Amun," "The approved of Amun," "The Ammon loving," Sec., which evidently refer to the worship of and relation with local deities.
Again, the translation of the inscription on the obelisk of Hermapion, preserved by Ammianus Marcellinus (xvii. 4), is a direct proof that the true interpretation of the Hieroglyphics was known
1 Coptic has been deemed by some a corruption of Egyptic ('AiyidrTios).
as late as the Fourth Century; for he gives the title of the King by whom it was erected, partly in the same words, and even where his rendering differs from the original, in a style manifestly Egyptian. Lastly, of the names of the Pharaohs, the majority of which have been preserved to us in the fragments of Manethon; and what has been as yet decyphered agrees as well with these as can be expected, allowing for the omission of vowels in the Egyptian orthography, and for the alteration caused by the Hellenizingof the terminations of the Egyptian names. We have also, by the late discoveries of Colonel Rawlinson, the additional curious evidence afforded by the inscriptions on the Vase, preserved in the Treasury of S. Mark's at Venice, on which there are two legends, one in Hieroglyphics, and the other in the three forms of the Cuneiform writing. Some years ago Sir Gardner Wilkinson decyphered in the former the name Artasharssha (Artaxerxes), and we now know that this interpretation is correct by the discovery of the means of reading the Persian Cuneiform, in which the same name is expressed.
On these grounds, in our opinion, we are fairly warranted in believing the method discovered by Young and adopted by Champollion to be the right one, and that it does not rest, as some have supposed, on merely fanciful and arbitrary data. It must be remembered that we are still only on the threshold; and that though many of the most powerful intellects in Europe have for many years been engaged upon the study of these recondite records, we are not yet in a position to determine how much may be done by the correct application of this method, as the Ancient Coptic continues to unfold its treasures, and as the Hieroglyphic texts themselves are more carefully collected and more completely collated.
Such may, perhaps, suffice for a notice of the Rosetta Stone. We proceed to describe the "Tablet of Abydos," a monument which is thought by Egyptian scholars scarcely less interesting than the Rosetta Stone.
The name "Tablet of Abydos" has been applied to an inscription discovered by W. J. Bankes, Esq., in the year 1818, on the wall of a small building, partly executed in the rock, at some distance from the principal pile of Abydos. It was observed on clearing away the sand which covers the ground-plan of those extensive ruins. M. Caillaud subsequently examined it in 1822, and sent a drawing of it to M. Champollion, who published an engraving of it in his second 'Letter to the Due de Blacas relative to Egyptian History.' The tablet itself is incomplete, both in the upper part and in one of its extremities. It was eventually removed by