On this day in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered. It contained more or less the same text in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the ancient Egyptian script language Demotic, and ancient Greek. It was a big deal, because no one at that time could read hieroglyphs. So it was important in the rediscovery of that language.
Written in 196 BC, it established the cult of the King Ptolemy V for all the world. He was in his ninth year as king — a position he took at the age of five. Apparently, his father died. To avoid any problems, his father’s favorites killed his mother and more or less took control with Ptolemy V as a puppet. But they too were soon murdered. You know how these things go.
The Rosetta Stone was original displayed in a temple to celebrate Ptolemy’s divinity, I assume. It was later used as a building material for Fort Julien, which was built in the 15th century. But in 1799, the French found themselves in control of the fort. Pierre-François Bouchard was an engineer with the French Army, and he was put in charge of rebuilding the fort. Lucky for us that he was. When the stone was found, he immediately saw it for the important artifact that it was. And he saved it.
Eventually Fort Julien was taken by the English in 1800. They took the Rosetta Stone back home and it has been there ever since. Happy anniversary Rosetta Stone!