Discovery at Rosetta

Revealing Ancient Egypt

Jonathan Downs

In 1798, young French general Napoleon Bonaparte entered Egypt with a veteran army and a specialist group of savants—scientists, engineers, and arti

English edition
20 March 2020
304 pp.
16 b&w illus
14X21cm
ISBN 9789774169267
For sale worldwide

16.95

In 1798, young French general Napoleon Bonaparte entered Egypt with a veteran army and a specialist group of savants—scientists, engineers, and artists—his aim being not just conquest, but the rediscovery of the lost Nile kingdom. A year later, in the ruins of an old fort in the small port of Rosetta, the savants made a startling discovery: a large, flat stone, inscribed in Greek, demotic Egyptian, and ancient hieroglyphics. This was the Rosetta Stone, key to the two-thousand-year mystery of hieroglyphs, and to Egypt itself. Two years later, French forces retreated before the English and Ottoman armies, but would not give up the stone. Caught between the opposing generals at the siege of Alexandria, British special agents went in to find the Rosetta Stone, rescue the French savants, and secure a fragile peace treaty.
Discovery at Rosetta uses French, Egyptian, and English eyewitness accounts to tell the complete story of the discovery, decipherment, and capture of the Rosetta Stone, investigating the rivalries and politics of the time, and the fate of the stone today.

 


“There were so many errors and misconceptions concerning the Rosetta Stone, I was determined to rely only upon firsthand eyewitness accounts.” Read the complete interview with the author on the AUC Press blog (June 2022)

Jonathan Downs

Editor, journalist and history writer, Jonathan  Downs is author of Life in the Industrial Revolution 1770-1809, Discovery at Rosetta—the first full account of the British acquisition of the Rosetta Stone in 1801—and co-author of Sea-Soldier: The Letters and Journals of Maj T. M. Wybourn, RM, 1797-1813.  He edits Classic Arms, a specialist collectors’ and military history journal, and has written a number of articles in the press and periodicals including History Today. He is actively trying to encourage diplomatic talks between Britain, France and Egypt concerning the repatriation of the Rosetta Stone to its native land. He has given university lectures and seminars on Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, in particular the discovery, seizure and controversy surrounding the Rosetta Stone.  An authority on the French surrender in Egypt, he is an advocate for the repatriation of antiquities. Jonathan was born in Britain, raised in Canada, and now lives in Cape Town, in South Africa.
Menu

Cart