Thomas Young’s approach was to use mathematics to decipher the hieroglyphs by counting the number of times the Greek words appear, he can then look for groups of symbols occurring the same number of times which would allow him to workout alphabet to words, then words to sentences. Young treated the hieroglyphs as a code to be broken using the power of logic and numeric analysis. Champollion, however, had a different approach; he believed he could break the hieroglyphs by studying the ancient language of Egypt so he began to study the last known language spoken at the time of the hieroglyphics, which was “Coptic”, the language of the Egyptian Christians. He would use to Coptic to work out common Egyptian, which was spoken around the time of Cleopatra and Alexander the Great. Coptic was still spoken in some Churches in Paris.
Champollion starting matching words from Coptic and common Egyptian languages to the hieroglyph symbols because if the hieroglyphs were connected to common Egyptian, then it would be the script of a language, not silent symbols. Young made a new discovery that the cartouche is a simple reflection and that all of them are turned meaning that the heads of the cartouche must face the start of the word, that’s how he would know which way to read them. He suggested how the name Ptolemy was spelt out in hieroglyphs.
Young had sent an appeal for Giovanni Belzoni, an Italian explorer to find the missing piece or another copy to the Rosetta stone to make it easier to decipher the stone. However Belzoni wasn’t able to find the missing piece but instead found an Egyptian artefact from Philae, which was almost as useful, a Bankes Obelisk.
Both Young and...