The Linguist and the Emperor

The Linguist and the Emperor

A Very Brief Review of Daniel Meyerson’s The Linguist and the Emperor

Daniel Myerson’s brief history of the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone is a somewhat unconventional narrative concerning one of the grand intellectual achievements of linguistics and archaeology: Jean Francois Champollion’s ultimately successful lifelong quest to comprehend the meaning of the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt. It is also, not coincidentally, the story of Napoleon’s audacious and disastrous invasion of Egypt.

A quick scan of the handful of reader reviews at will convince you that many, if not most, are disconcerted, even vexed, by Myerson’s novelesque approach to his subject matter. I counsel patience. There is more than enough in this little history to reward persistence.

The Linguist and the Emperor should perhaps not be the only work you read on the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone – but it is worth the read.

For additional related studies of interest, see the materials and links at

You might also wish to take a quick look at the New Scientist’s Decoding Antiquity, a succinct overview of eight ancient scripts which have yet to be deciphered, from Etruscan and Meroitic through Minoan Linear A to the Indus script.

Epoch Times has an interesting article on a yet undeciphered script discovered in an antique book in Chongqing.

If you are interested specifically in Egyptian hieroglyphics, see Hieroglyphics!, especially the valuable links in “Introduction to Hieroglyphics” and “Learning Hieroglyphics.”

The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone

Published in: on July 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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