Talk:Decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs

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old talk[edit]

The writing in this article needs to be improved.-- 18:09, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

The actual decipherment of hieroglyphic writing needs to be finalized in the article. Who accomplished the feat, and when it finally happened are not clearly explained. Dr. Dan (talk) 05:14, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Not only is there essentially no discussion of Champollion and Young, the two people who actually actually deciphered the hieroglyphics, but the strange fixation on the Arab work, which while perhaps inspired, did nothing as far as I can tell to contribute to the final decipherment, seems odd and out of balance.Elakazal (talk) 05:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Why was Decipherment needed?[edit]

We need to add reasons as to why decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphics were so important. This can be achieved by adding information of archaeological finds which were not understood until the full decipherment in 1820. --LostOverThere (talk) 07:59, 29 March 2009 (UTC)


Substantial portions of this article dating from 2006 are copied verbatim from which carries a copyright date of 2003. (talk) 01:43, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Merge into Egyptian hieroglyphics[edit]

I propose that this article be merged into either Egyptian hieroglyphs, or, if expanded to a more general overview of decipherment, Hieroglyph. There are several reasons for such a move - this article is thin on content and sourcing, and is largely overlapping information already in Egyptian hieroglyphs, the title is somewhat confusing since the article text deals exclusively with Egyptian hieroglyphs, but other historical hieroglyph systems exist and were deciphered at different times by different individuals, and finally, this article seems to place undue weight on the importance of incomplete Islamic attempts at decipherment. Dialectric (talk) 21:31, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the article is weak, but I suggest it's better to improve it. The decipherment was a complex historical story involving several individuals (so it doesn't fit neatly into the biography of any one of them) and too long and distracting to be a section of the Egyptian hieroglyphs article, which has to focus on the hieroglyphic system as it's now understood. I hope to improve this article while also working on Rosetta Stone.
I also agree the title isn't ideal. Since each script is different, each decipherment is different, so maybe this article should move to Decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Andrew Dalby 12:52, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I support the idea of moving this article to Decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs, as an alternative to a merge. Dialectric (talk) 13:27, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Suggest section on the reaction of the Catholic Church[edit]

Even if it's only a few sentences, I think it's a significant factor worth noting that the Catholic Church was threatened by Champolllion's expedition to Egypt due to the possibility that he might pre date some of the Hieroglyphs to the Great Flood( Noah's Ark). If this happened it would discredit biblical history as everything was supposed to be destroyed by the Great Flood and no civilization was capable of surviving it, (supposedly). Supposedly, the church asked Champillion to censor his findings if he found any records that predated the flood and one of the conditions of his expedition, an ultimatum given to him by the French government, was that he abide by this condition.

The problem is I cannot find any sources at the moment except this documentary from the BBC; Egypt:Secrets of the Hieroglyphs which I saw on youtube.

Actually, the church was a big fan of Napoleon, naming him a Defender of the Faith because of his decipherment of hieroglyphs believed to be present flanking the Dendera zodiac, which showed the zodiac to be Ptolemaic, not tens of thousands of years old as many were saying. (The translation proved to be based on an incorrect transcription, though the conclusion was correct). Although ultimately Champollion's discoveries clashed with church dogma, I don't think it wasn't until much later that the church became concerned about him.Elakazal (talk) 05:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Apparently Champollion did in fact keep some of his findings secret and it wasn't until his death that these facts were revealed. If someone can find a source for any of this, it would be helpful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Braineater30 (talkcontribs) 18:59, 9 January 2011 (UTC)


I did not realize Egyption hieroglyphs were a cypher. A cypher is a character or symbol substitution scheme intended to obfuscate the original message. Perhaps "translate" is a better choice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Brett h l (talkcontribs) 12:22, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

"Decipherment" is the usual word for finding the key to, or making sense of, a form of writing that was previously not understood. "Translation" is a different thing: it means turning words or sentences in one language into another language. In the case of ancient Egyptian, the script had to be deciphered before the texts could be translated: the two processes are not the same. Andrew Dalby 18:26, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

I disagree. The key understanding of cypher is "obfuscate". Were the ancient Egyptian writings a cypher? In other words were they intended to encrypt? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Brett h l (talkcontribs) 23:49, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

The word "decipher" means "to find the meaning of (something that is difficult to read or understand)" and "decipherment" is absolutely correct here. See, for instance, Maurice Pope's book describing the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics and other ancient writing systems, The Story of Decipherment.

Uffda a la mode (talk) 23:04, 28 May 2015 (UTC)


There is a lot more to be said I found this at Questia Wilson, Penelope (2004-08-12). Hieroglyphs: A Very Short Introduction. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780192805027. Retrieved 12 November 2014.  J8079s (talk) 18:49, 12 November 2014 (UTC

This is interesting too Horapollo; Cory, Alexander Turner (1840). The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo Nilous. W. Pickering. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
One more Gordon, Cyrus Herzl (1982). Forgotten Scripts: Their Ongoing Discovery and Deciperment/#1499748. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465024841. Retrieved 3 March 2015.  I got these at Questia J8079s (talk) 05:35, 3 March 2015 (UTC)