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The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt (Wonders of the World)
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The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt (Wonders of the World)

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews

Read the Bldg Blog interview with Mary Beard about the Wonders of the World series (Part I and Part II)

The Rosetta Stone is one of the world's great wonders, attracting awed pilgrims by the tens of thousands each year. This book tells the Stone's story, from its discovery by Napoleon's expedition to Egypt to its current--and controversial-- status as the single most vis

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published July 27th 2007 by Harvard University Press (first published June 1st 2007)
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May 22, 2008 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: codes, history, 2000s
This tidy, well-made book is worth reading if for no other reason than to learn that in 1992 Pope John Paul II finally accepted Galileo's argument that the earth moves around the sun. That interesting & unexpected note, along with many more curious items, fill Ray's Rosetta Stone, a short, generally pleasant read that provides a quick introduction to how the Egyptian hieroglyphs were deciphered. The title is a bit of a misnomer ... very few pages actually discuss what is written on the stone ...more
False Millennium
A charming little book, and there are more in a series which I mean to explore. Somehow the author manages to compact everything you need to know about the Rosetta Stone in this small volume. Its discoverers, its translators, the rights of country of origin to regain property taken from them in earlier centuries. Highly recommended. There is also a really good section on how you go about decoding an unknown language, from the baby steps of figuring out the first letter.
Dec 08, 2012 Bryce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is part of a series from Harvard University Press, called Wonders of the World, covering mainly significant works of historical architecture. The books tend to the dry and academic, but do offer a fairly comprehensive background and explanation of some amazing sights including the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, St. Peter's in Rome, and many more.

This book offers an explanation of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, its eventual home in the British Museum, the deciphering of the stone, the d
If you have read about the Stone before or the European interest in Egypt, you most likely will know the information here. There is an interesting chapter about the ownership issues as well as the English vs. French debate. The best part of the book was the detailed section about the steps to deciphering.
Stuart Hill
Dec 02, 2015 Stuart Hill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This made for a somewhat odd entry in the Wonders of the World series as the other books in the set all seem to be dedicated to significant historical buildings and structures whilst this one is dedicated to an object. The Rosetta Stone is certainly something which has had a fantastic impact on our understanding of the past, having provided the key to deciphering hieroglyphics which were previously impenetrable but I got the impression that there really is not all that much to say about it, whic ...more
Aug 19, 2007 fleegan rated it it was amazing
This nonfiction book is about the Rosetta Stone as well as the gentlemen who found it, studied it, and solved it. It doesn't talk so much about Ancient Egypt as it does the Enlightenment and the Romantic periods because that's when the stone was found and those are the people who studied it. The author focuses on the two main contributors to solving Egyptian hieroglyphs, Thomas Young, an englishman, and Jean-François Champollion who was french.

The author makes the case that Young laid the founda
Heather Larcombe
Dec 05, 2015 Heather Larcombe rated it liked it
I really should only listen to non-fiction and read fiction. I revert to high-point scanning when reading non-fiction, and that is an insult to the better books.

This book is a lovely tour through history and biography, introducing the best characters of the Rosetta Stone's history. It also touches on a lot of other cryptographical excursions into history and how the lessons learned helped with hieroglyphics, too.
May 03, 2011 NaomiRuth rated it liked it
Shelves: af, old-classic, non-fict
The first few chapters dragged for me... Maybe I've just heard the information one too many times. But as I had already read a linguistics point of view, a mythological point og view, and a philological, point of view, it was nice to have a history point of view too. And it was all worth it just for the one line that made me laugh out loud, which rarely happens when reading Egyptology books. It went along the lines of: "While trying to decipher a language without bilinguals in an unknown script, ...more
Sarah's Book Nook
Oct 31, 2014 Sarah's Book Nook rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-egypt
A neat little gem dedicated more to the men who deciphered it than the stone itself, it's a quick and easy read.
Rose Anderson
Mar 10, 2016 Rose Anderson rated it liked it
A good introductory overview.
Garis Knight
Aug 07, 2014 Garis Knight rated it really liked it
This is a relatively short book for the subject, but covered it very well. For someone who had virtually no knowledge of the subject, I came away with a good understanding of many aspects surrounding this stone, its history, the languages inscribed, the people who tried to decipher it.

All in all, an entertaining and instructive read.
Mar 25, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Another interesting short book (approx. 170 pages) from the Wonders of the World Series. Provides a short history of the discovery of the stone, and the persons who attempted to decipher hieroglyphics. A little preachy on mainting the status quo on the repatriation of artworks at the end, but it doesn't detract from my rating.
Aug 10, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This is a fascinating book, covering a much larger scope than I initially assumed it would based on the title. Essentially it was an easy but enjoyable read, which presented a great overview of topics related to the history of egyptology and the process of deciphering hieroglyphics.
May 06, 2010 Converse rated it liked it
Besides the roles of Thomas Young and Jean-Francois Champollion in deciphering demotic and hieroglyphic writing systems, also explains the historical significance of the text itself, other ancient writing systems deciphered, etc.
Jun 06, 2010 Lauren rated it really liked it
This book is really specific. If you don't have a solid foundation of Egyptian history, it will be hard to follow. I thought I was pretty knowledgeable of Egypt, but I found it hard to follow
Sep 10, 2010 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Trying to learn more about Egypt :) This book is interesting, but more about the Enlightenment thinkers who found and stone. Very little on actually deciphering or Egypt at the time.
Aug 27, 2008 Karen added it
I liked finally learning why there was Greek and Egyptian on the same stone! Makes me want to go see it for myself, like the bazillion of other tourists.
Apr 01, 2008 Marlies rated it liked it
I love this topic, and the book tries to give an overview of the stone, those who discovered it, translated it, etc., but it was a little all over the place.
Oct 27, 2011 Bibliofiendlm rated it liked it
Interesting even if the prose was a bit stuffy
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John D. Ray is the Herbert Thompson Reader in Egyptology in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College. He previously worked in the British Museum and has been a Visiting Professor at Yale and the University of Chicago. He writes regularly for The Times (London), TLS, and The London
Review of Books. A well-known radio commentator, he presented the recent BBC-TV documentary "Ramesses t
More about John D. Ray...

Other Books in the Series

Wonders of the World (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Alhambra
  • Westminster Abbey
  • The Temple of Jerusalem
  • The Colosseum
  • The Tomb of Agamemnon
  • St Peter's (Wonders Of The World)
  • The Forbidden City (Wonders of the World)
  • Taj Mahal
  • Stonehenge
  • Piazza San Marco

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