AMME Seminar POSTPONED: 'Decipherment of Ancient Scripts'

AMME seminar of this week is POSTPONED. We will announce a new date as soon as possible.



200 years ago, important breakthroughs were made in the race to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs as well as cuneiform scripts. In AMME, this will be remembered by a seminar on the ‘decipherment of ancient scripts’, with two papers – by Thomas Christiansen and Irving Finkel – followed by a shared discussion.

Dr. Thomas Christiansen

“The Twisted Roads Leading to the Decipherment of the Hieroglyphs: From Horapollo to Champollion”

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.

Dr. Irving Finkel

“Mr Rawlinson and Mr Hincks”

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.

We hope to see you *new date TBA* in Zoom.

Zoom link: (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118).