Page:The Religion of Ancient Egypt.djvu/31

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16
LECTURE I.

junction with Champollion, it is not Young, but Akerblad, to whom he does full justice (as he does indeed to Young himself) at the very beginning of his letter to M. Dacier. But in 1822,[1] Champollion had not only one bilingual inscription before him, but two, the obelisk of Philæ having been found, with an Egyptian inscription and also a Greek one containing the name of Cleopatra, which offered special facility for decipherment, two of the letters in it being alike, and others being the same as in the name of Ptolemy. But in discussing this question, it must not be forgotten that the key to hieroglyphic decipherment does not consist in recognizing the phonetic nature of this or that sign, but in the knowledge of the simultaneous use of both phonetic and ideographic signs, not only

  1. That Champollion never thought of hieroglyphic characters as phonetic till after Young's publication, is one of Klaproth's unscrupulous assertions which has been thoughtlessly repeated by some who should have known better. It has been refuted by M. Champollion-Figeac, who in the Revue Archéologique of 1856, 1857 and 1858, has produced abundance of evidence from his brother's writings between the years 1808 and 1814. In his Mémoire sur les Ecritures Egyptiennes, read on Aug. 7, 1810, before the Society of Sciences and Arts of Grenoble, Champollion strongly insists upon the necessity of phonetism, for otherwise how could foreign names, for which no symbolism existed, be expressed in writing? "L'inscription de Rosette présents les noms Grecs de Ptolémée, Bérénice, Arsinoe, Pyrrha, d'Aréia, de Diogènes, d'Aétes, d'Alexandre, etc.; ils ne pouvaient être exprimés dans la partie hiéroglyphique de ce monument, si ses hiéroglyphes n'avaient, comme nous l'avons dit, la faculté de produire des sons."