HOW ANCIENT EGYPT LOST ITS ABILITY TO READ & WRITE By Andre Austin Egypt is the original home of reading and writing. Without the ancient Egyptians Homer wouldn’t of been able to write the Odyssey and Illiad in its present form. This writing started before their Dynastic period (3100BC). From about the Catholic Council of Chalcedon in 451AD through 1822 no one knew how to read or write hieroglyphics. Until a French genius by the name of Jean Champollion arose to the occasion and came to Champion the cause of breaking code of the mother of language for the world to benefit from. The Council of Chalcedon had a prohibition of literacy to be restricted among Christian priest. That year 451 also marks the beginning of the dark ages until 1400AD So lets start out with basic foundation of Egyptian writing and the process that led to its fall. 1. Hieroglyphic: Egyptian script first attested in the late 4th millennium. It is made up of phonetic signs for letters, double/triple letters and determinatives which indicate the category of word’s meaning. 2. Hieratic: Egyptian script gradually developed from hieroglyphic about 2500BC. It changed the formal pictogram hieroglyphic into a cursive script that was still based on the same principles. 3. Demotic: It is writing derived from Hieroglyphic and Hieratic used in Egypt after the 7th century BC. 4. Coptic: the language and culture of Christian Egypt. Written in the Greek alphabet, with some additional letters derived from Demotic, it is the latest form of the Egyptian language. Jean Champollion was a language junkie and knew a couple of Coptic words and their parallel in the above three other scripts. In part this is one of the ways he was able to do some reverse engineering to use the Rosetta Stone that enables us to read hieroglyphics today which I will get into latter. When the process of destroying letters began In Egypt a library was a place in part where your soul could be healed. “Aristotle who was never known to have written a single book before he left his native Greece to suddenly write over one-thousand (1000) books after he joined Alexander “so-called the Great” in the invasion and conquest of Egypt in 332BC. And, was it possible that he, and the thousands of Greek students he imported into Egypt for the sole purpose of being taught by indigenous African teachers from the books and other documents of the Royal Libraries which Alexander captured and Ptolemy 1 (Soter) seized, did not claim most of the indigenous Africans works as their own. None of these two questions needs any lengthy explanation, for history has already detailed the fact that the Royal Library, which Aristotle and Ptolemy 1 renamed “Library of Alexandria”, was used as a school for training in all disciplines all of the pre-Christian Greek students. And they made very ceratain that Egyptian and other indigenous African students were barred from further studies therein. Yet, the first teachers of these and former Greeks were all indigenous African priests of the mysteries. The chief priests of the school was Mantheo-the African who divided Egyptian history into pre-dynastic and dynastic periods”.(African Origins of the Major Western Religions by Dr. ben p.11-112). Julius Caesar had captured Alexandria, Egypt in 47BC, and the library was burned. Approximately 700,000 works, including many relating to pharaonic Egypt, are said to have been destroyed-among them, the 31 volume History of Egypt. Which Ptolemy 1 had commissioned the priest Mantheo to write in Greek. The Temple of Serapis was next to the library and it contained some back up copies of books that were in Alexandria Library. Unfortunately in 391AD Emperor Theodosius 1 decreed that all pagan temples throughout the empire be closed. This Temple was not merely closed, but destroyed in a fire, with the result that those works that had escaped the disaster of 47BC now disappeared in their turn. Edward Gibbion who wrote The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire points the finger at archbishop Theophilus for attacking the Serapeum (Temple of Serapis): The Valuable library of Alexandra was pillage or destroyed; and near twenty years afterwards, the appearance of the empty shelves excited the regret and indignation of every spectator, whose mind was not wholly darkened by religious prejudice” (The Vanished Library Luciano Canfora p.164) By around the year 450AD not only did no one read or understand ancient Egyptian texts any more, but everything that the Egyptians themselves had written in Greek, as a means of introducing their country to its foreign occupiers, had been lost. But not before a hand off occurred. Passing the Torch On the authority of Strabo and Plutarch Aristotle and others looted the libraries in concert with the invasion of Egypt by Alexander so-called Great. The books fell into the hands of Theophrastus who succeeded him as head of his school. At the death of Theophrastus, they were bequeathed to Neleus of Scepis. The books were eventually taken to Rome in 84BC where Tyrannio, a grammarian, enabled Andronicus of Rhodes to publish them. JEAN CHAMPOLLION AMAZING FEAT of the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta stone contained an inscription in Greek, hieroglyphics and demotic. The stone was a decree by the priesthoods of Egypt in honor of king Ptolemy V (196BC). This stone was found in 1799. Champollion built upon the infant success of Silvestre de Sacy (1758-1838) and Thomas Young works that certain royal names were in oval (cartouches). They knew that the Rosetta stone was written in honor of Ptolemy V and they found his name in a circle. In 1822 Champollion found Ptolemy’s cartouche again, along with Cleopatra’s. by comparing them, he established the phonetic value of four signs, and was then able to attribute an Alphabetical value to the others. And from the 12 hieroglyphics he had identified in the Ptolemy and Cleopatra cartouches Champollion began deciphering all the cartouches from the Rosetta stone and some from other monuments. Working on 24 names, he successively decipher those of Alexander, Berenice, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, and Trajan. Champollion had established the correct method and he had his eureka moment. For students in their lessons plan should re-create the process, on a small scale, that Champollion did in discovering the key to this 1,300 year old lost language. Then proceed in mastering its written texts. Conclusion Because Egypt is the home of the origin of writing with an alphabet all students should know how to read and write in it. With computer programs it would be easy task from the school children in ancient Egypt who had to memorize the majority of its writing. And we must be careful to never let religious fanatics get out of hand and blossom with the flames of their hate. The terrorist group called Isil (Isis) must be nipped in the bud. They are destroying ancient artifacts Iraq which was known as Mesopotamia. Let them try to raze a pyramid and they will bring down the wrath of the world. We must at all times keep our temperature gauges out and in order. Like Meteorologist we must predict the rains of hate and the flames that burn books will eventually burn people is a sad history that’s often repeated.