MINIATURE 'ROSETTA STONES'

MS 204
MS Short Title MINIATURE 'ROSETTA STONES'
Text KING OF UPPER AND LOWER EGYPT, PTOLEMAIOS, SON OF KING PTOLEMAIOS, AND MISTRESS OF THE TWO LANDS, BERENIKE, THE BENEFACTOR GODS: TO HATHOR WHO IS IN HEAVEN
Description MS in Middle Egyptian and Greek on opaque red and turquoise glass, Cusae, Egypt, reign of Ptolemaios IV, 221-205 BC, 2 plaques, 5x11 cm, single column, 5 lines in cursive hieroglyphs and Greek uncial.
Binding Barking, Essex, 1989, blue cloth gilt folding case by Aquarius.
Context A similar green glass plaque with identical inscriptions is in New York: Metropolitan Museum, published in 1948 by W.C. Hayes. Another plaque, in gold, was published by Breccia in 1931, who also mentions a copy in clay.
Provenance 1. Temple of Hathor, Cusae, Egypt (ca. 221 BC-1930); 2. Charles Rathon Collection Paris, (ca 1960-1988) 3. Christie's 12.12.1988:253+254.
Commentary The present foundation plaques of the Hathor temple has been called "Miniature Rosetta stones", being bilingual with similar hieroglyphic and Greek texts. The deciphering of the hieroglyphs by J.F. Champollion in 1822, with the help of the 3-lingual Rosetta stone, found in 1799, could also have been performed with the help of these plaques. Both the Rosetta stone from 195 BC (Hieroglyphs, Demotic and Greek) and the present plaques contain the King's name Ptolemaios, which was the first word deciphered.
Published J J Clère: Deux nouvelles plaques de fondation bilingues de Ptolémée IV Philopator, in Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, vol. 90 pp 16-22, Berlin, 1963.
Exhibited 1. Conference of European National Librarians, Oslo. Sept. 1994. 2. "Preservation for access: Originals and copies". On the occasion of the 1st International Memory of the World Conference, organized by the Norwegian Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Norway, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 3 June - 14 July 1996.
Place of origin Egypt
Dates 220 - 203 BC

Location