Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Repatriating the stone: Return back Rosetta stone to Egypt

Egypt celebrates on Tuesday the 200th anniversary of deciphering Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and the creation of Egyptology.

Yes, 200 years ago in France, French Jean-François Champollion announced that he succeeded that deciphering the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. That moment created officially Egyptology and archaeology would never become the same.

A replica of Rosetta stone at Egypt's Egyptian Museum of Cairo
A replica of the Rosetta stone at Egypt's Egyptian Museum of Cairo

Champollion would not have done it if it were not for the Rosetta stone or Rashid stone. Found in 1799 by a French officer during Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the city of Rashid aka Rosetta, the stone actually contained a decree issued during the Ptolemaic dynasty in three ancient languages: Ancient Greek, ancient hieroglyphs and ancient Demotic language.

Rosetta stone was made from granodiorite in 196 BC, and it is believed that it was displayed at a temple in Sais “in Sharkia governorate” in Nile Delta. It is believed that the stone was transferred during the Mamluk era to be used in the construction of Fort Julien or as commonly known in Egypt as Fort Rashid or Citadel Qaitbey “Not to be confused with the other Citadel Qaitbey in Alexandra”.

It was wide to use ancient stones from ancient Egypt in the construction of buildings like Mosques, schools and forts in the time of the Mamluk era and the examples are many.

The decree inscribed on the stone was issued by a council of priests confirmed the royal cult of Ptolemy V. Egypt is truly the birthplace of the presidential cult

Fast forward to the 19th century and 1801, the English invasion came. 

The English took the Rosetta stone and other antiquities that the French as occupiers collected as part of the Capitulation of Alexandria agreement. That agreement was between the French, English and Ottomans aka Turks, so where were the Egyptians in that!? 

Egypt was under Ottoman rule, which is actually considered a foreign occupation, so I do not know how that agreement is still valid and the British Museum believes it gives it the right to keep that important piece of history.

Champollion's bust at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
Champollion's bust at the Egyptian Museum of Cairo

I know it is one if not the most important piece at the British Museum and its main attraction, but I think they got other stuff they can keep other than this stone.

Some say that it should return to Egypt and be displayed at the New Egyptian Museum. Personally, I believe that it should return and be displayed at its original place in Rosetta or in Rashid at Julian Fort. This stele can turn Rosetta into a true tourism attraction and revive it economically.

On the occasion of 200 years of officially establishing Egyptology, I believe the Rosetta Stone must return back. Let’s correct some big errors that should not have happened in the first place.

A group of Egyptians above them renowned Egyptologist Monica Hana launched a petition demanding the Egyptian government to officially demand the return of the Rosetta stone to Egypt. So far, it managed to attract more than 13,000.

If you believe the Rosetta stone should return to Egypt, then please sign and share the petition. The more, the better.

I wish it reaches over 13 million.

P.s: Yes, we can keep our antiquities well and protect them all those years and you can check the Egyptian Museum of Cairo as an old proof of that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You for your comment
Please keep it civilized here, racist and hateful comments are not accepted
The Comments in this blog with exclusion of the blog's owner does not represent the views of the blog's owner.