Egypt: Champollion's Notes to Egypt

Champollion's Notes

Painting of a relief made by the painter Bertin in the tomb of Ramesses III (Valley of the Kings) during Champollion's expedition. The reliefs and drawings executed during Champollion's only trip to Egypt were published under the title Monuments de I'Egypte et de la Nubie, from 1835 to 1845. (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale)

Champollion's notes of his study of the cartouche of Cleopatra, inscribed on an obelisk found at Philae by Belzoni, The names of Cleopatra and Ptolemy were the first words deciphered by Champollion. By analyzing the texts of the Rosetta Stone and comparing them with those on the obelisk of Philae, Champollion had the brilliant intuition that the names of the pharaohs in cartouches were in hieroglyphs with a phonetic value, and that it was therefore possible to establish an equivalence between hieroglyphic and alphabetic signs.

A page from Champollion's notes for his work Grammaire egyptienne, published between 1836 and 1841. (Paris, National Library)