Friday, June 29, 2007

Egypt Requests Rosetta Stone Loan

Via Jim Watts at Iconic Books, a story in The Art Newspaper notes that "the Egyptian government has made a formal request to borrow the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum" for a three-month period in 2012 to coincide with the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

BM trustees are expected to weigh several major factors in their consideration of whether to allow the loan to go forward: first and foremost, preservations concerns. Secondly, "if the Rosetta Stone can be lent in view of its iconic importance. It is probably the single most-visited object in the BM’s entire collection, attracting even more visitors than the Parthenon [Elgin] Marbles. The Rosetta Stone has been at the museum since 1802, and has only left the building twice - when it was evacuated during World War I and when it was lent to the Louvre for one month in 1972."

Finally, there is some concern "over whether it would be prudent to lend to Cairo, because of possible pressure in Egypt to retain the stone or request its permanent return."

The paper adds: "In March, Dr. [Zahi] Hawass [head of Supreme Council of Antiquities] told The Art Newspaper that he intends to seek the loan of five key masterpieces from international museums. The others are the head of Nefertiti (Berlin Museums), the Dendera zodiac ceiling (Louvre), the bust of Hemiunu, builder of the Great Pyramid (Roemer and Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim, Germany), and the statue of Ankhaf, builder of the Khafre Pyramid (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). 'I will give guarantees for their safe return,' he promised."

1 comment:

Taurina said...


The Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous textual artifacts of Ancient Egypt and a subject of numerous researches by scientists. Its name originates from the place where it was found - Rosetta (El-Rashid in Arabic). It was discovered by a soldier from Napoleon's Army while building a fortification in 1799.

After Napoleon's defeat, and signing the peace treaty in 1802, all artifacts found by French become British property. Among those, the Rosetta Stone was transferred to the British Museum, where it is now, and represents one of the most valuable items the museum owns.

The Rosetta Stone is a black granite slab with the following dimensions:

Height: 1.44 m
Width: 0.72 м
Thickness : 0.28m
Weight: 762 кг

The special decree that had been inscribed on it, according to contemporary scholarship, was issued by the priests in order to glorify the pharaoh Ptolemy V Epiphany Eucharist one year after his coronation, more precisely, according to present-day calendar on 27th of March 196 B.C.

The text is written in three languages: ancient Egyptian, written in hieroglyphic script, ancient Macedonian, written in demotic script, and ancient Greek, written in ancient Greek alphabet. For a long time no one could decode the ancient Macedonian script. Professors Aristotel Tentov and Tome Bosevski made a great discovery when they succeeded to decode the middle text from the Rosetta Stone, and as their scientific proves say, it turns out to be in ancient Macedonian language, written in demotic script, that royal Egyptian Macedonian family (originates from Ptolemy I, Alexander the Great's General) used together with the ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek languages.

Besides the enormous importance this discovery has in global terms, it shows a different perspective towards "history" as it was known before, and changes some thing that were taken for granted before. First, from the fact that the language of this script is very similar to contemporary Macedonian language, it shows that there is a direct link between Macedonian people today and their ancient Macedonian ancestors. Secondly, it shows that Macedonia was the cradle of European culture, an older civilization than Greek or Egyptian one, and then it turns the previously known history upside down, because according to Professors Tentov and Bosevski, present-day Macedonians do not originate from the Carpathian Mountains, but were forced to flee from Macedonia and settled there, spreading their culture and civilization among natives. Then, in the 6th century, they came back home, again fleeing from invaders. The resemblance between the language in which the middle text of Rosetta Stone was written and the contemporary Macedonian language is astonishing and raises many questions that should be answered in the future.

Congratulations on this success Professors!

Here is the web site where you can find their magnificent results. I recommend it: