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Enlightenment: Ancient Scripts
A poem on papyrus
Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832), the French scholar who first deciphered ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in the nineteenth century, based his work on the study of surviving written documents and inscriptions in stone.
On his way to visit Egypt for the first time, Champollion visited the collections of François Sallier (1764-1831), a Revenue official in Aix-en-Provence, France. He studied several rolls of papyri there, including this one, which he identified (partly correctly) as 'types of odes or litanies in praise of a Pharaoh'. A note on one sheet states that it was 'stuck onto fourteen squared sheets by Champollion at M. Sallier's in the month of Febuary 1830' on his return from Egypt, two years after he had first viewed the papyrus. The papyrus is one of several purchased by the British Museum in 1839 after Sallier's death.
The manuscript is