Page:The Religion of Ancient Egypt.djvu/30

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15
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION.

tween its three different kinds, and had discovered the essential identity of the three, demotic being a debasement of the hieratic, the hieratic a debasement of the hieroglyphic. Through M. Dacier he had presented two dissertations to the French Académie des Sciences, one on the hieratic and a second on the demotic character. His enemy Klaproth asserts that he suppressed the dissertation on the hieratic character for fear of its telling tales against him, and showing his need of Young's guidance. I do not know that it is true that Champollion tried to suppress this "Mémoire;" but if he did, it surely was not for the purpose malignantly asserted by Klaproth and ignorantly repeated in this country. The dissertation in question is a very excellent work, chiefly consisting in plates, wherein passages of the Book of the Dead written in hieroglyphics are placed side by side with the same passages copied from hieratic manuscripts, and the identity is made apparent to the most unlearned eye. And if, as Klaproth asserts, Champollion had wished to destroy all trace of certain passages which occur in his text, he would certainly not have repeated them, as he does, in his letter to M. Dacier. But the most important step in his progress was discovering the identity of certain demotic characters, the alphabetic nature of which had been demonstrated by Akerblad, with the corresponding hieratic ones, and consequently with their hieroglyphic originals. If any one has a right to be named in con-