AMME Seminar on 'Rosetta Stone Bicentennial! Decipherment of Ancient Scripts' (20.10.22)

It is our pleasure to announce that the Ancient and Medieval Middle East (AMME) seminar that was postponed in the spring will be organised as a hybrid event on Thursday 20 October (16:15-18:00 EEST/Helsinki).

The seminar will consist of two papers – presented by Thomas Christiansen and Irving Finkel – and a shared question round and discussion on the ‘Rosetta Stone Bicentennial! Decipherment of Ancient Scripts’. The topics of the talks are:

The Twisted Roads Leading to the Decipherment of the Hieroglyphs: From Horapollo to Champollion(Dr. Thomas Christiansen)

On the 14th of September 1822, Jean François Champollion rushed into his elder brother's office in a fever of excitement and exclaimed 'Je tiens l'affaire' (I have got it), whereafter he collapsed and remained in a state of absolute lethargy for five days – he had just deciphered the hieroglyphs. In this lecture we will outline the complicated history that led to this seminal event, starting our account with the discovery of a copy of Horapollo's Hieroglyphica on the Island of Andros in 1419. 

The Hieroglyphica, a sort of “hieroglyphic dictionary” written by one Horapollo “Niliacus” in the fifth century CE, became the canonical authority on all hieroglyphic questions in the Renaissance, and was until the Age of Enlightenment, when the deficiencies and misconceptions of the book was discovered, regarded with something like sacred awe, as the only “authentic” evidence for the hieroglyphic writing system.

Mr Rawlinson and Mr Hincks (Dr. Irving Finkel)

This illustrated lecture will consider the conflicting characters, personalities and contributions of Henry Creswicke Rawlinson and Edward Hincks with regard to the correct decipherment of cuneiform, and attempt to give credit where credit is truly due.

All are welcome, so feel free to join us in person or online!

Time: Thursday 20 October at 16:15-18:00 EEST (UTC +03:00).
Live venue: Faculty hall (Faculty of Theology, Fabianinkatu 24, 5th floor).
Virtual venue: Zoom link (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118).

Wonder what else is on the menu? Check out the fall program here!