Saturday, 5 July 2008

Trip to the British Museum

Today I ventured out to soak up some culture and headed to the British Museum. Admission to most of the museums in London is free so its a good thing to do when you don't have a look of moolah to spend.

The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than 13 million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginning to the present.

I personally didn't find the museum that interesting but its was good to have a wander around and see bits and pieces from other cultures. I even found something from NZ.

The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact (حجر رشيد in Arabic) which was instrumental in advancing modern understanding of hieroglyphic writing. The stone is a Ptolemaic era stele with carved text. The text is made up of three translations of a single passage, written in two Egyptian language scripts (hieroglyphic and Demotic), and in classical Greek. It was created in 196 BC, discovered by the French in 1799 at Rashid (a harbour on the Mediterranean coast in Egypt renamed Rosetta by the French during Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in Egypt) and contributed greatly to the decipherment of the principles of hieroglyphic writing in 1822 by the British polymath Thomas Young and the French scholar Jean-François Champollion. Comparative translation of the stone assisted in understanding many previously undecipherable examples of hieroglyphic writing. The text of the Rosetta Stone is a decree from Ptolemy V, describing the repealing of various taxes and instructions to erect statues in temples.


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