Napoleon Bonaparte’s ambition to control all the area around the Mediterranean Sea led him and his French soldiers to Egypt. After losing a naval battle, they were forced to remain there for three years. In 1799. While constructing a fort, a soldier discovered a piece of stele (a stone pillar bearing an inscription) known as the Rosetta stone, in commemoration of the town near the fort. This famous stone, which would eventually lead to the deciphering of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics dating to 3100 B.C., was written in three languages: hieroglyphics (picture writing), demotic (a shorthand version of Egyptian hieroglyphics), and Greek. Scientists discovered that the characters, unlike those in English, could be written from right to left and in other directions as well. The direction in which they were read depended on how to characters were arranged. Living elements (animal, people, and body parts) were often the first symbols, and the direction that they faced indicated the direction for reading them.
Twenty-three years after the discovery of the Rosetts Stone, Jean Francois Chapollion, a French philologist fluent in several languages, was able to decipher the first word Ptolemy the name of an Egyptian ruler. This name was written inside an oval called a “cartouche” Further investigation revealed that cartouches contained names of important people of that period. Champollion painstakingly list of known phonetic signs. he and ad\n Englishman , Thomas Young, worked independently of each other to unravel the deeply hidden mysteries of this strange Language. Young believed that sound values could be assigned to the symbols, while Chamllion insisted that the pictures represented word.