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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Champollion's hieroglyphic hand


Champollions hieroglyphic hand

Champollion's alphabet

'à mon ami Dubois'

'à mon ami Dubois'


Height: 22.600 cm (book)

AES Archives of the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan


The young French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832) made a crucial step in understanding ancient Egyptian writing when he pieced together the alphabet of hieroglyphs that was used to write the names of non-Egyptian rulers. He announced his discovery, which had been based on analysis of the Rosetta Stone and other texts, in a paper at the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres at Paris on Friday 27 September 1822. The audience included his English rival Thomas Young (1773-1829), who was also trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Champollion inscribed this copy of the published paper with alphabetic hieroglyphs meaning 'à mon ami Dubois' ('to my friend Dubois').

Champollion made a second crucial breakthrough in 1824, realizing that the alphabetic signs were used not only for foreign names, but also for the Egyptian language and names. Together with his knowledge of the Coptic language, which derived from ancient Egyptian, this allowed him to begin reading hieroglyphic inscriptions fully.

On display: Enlightenment: Ancient scripts