Stanley avoided the route through the German colony on the East, and started upon his ever memorable relief expedition by the Congo route. The veteran adventurer succeeded in relieving Emin Pasha, and, furthermore, he discovered the Mountains of the Moon, called by the natives Ruwenjori, on May 24, 1888. He also traced to its sources the Semliki River, and explored Lake Albert Edward and a gulf of the Victoria to the south-west. The remainder of this famous journey, for the success of which he was knighted as Sir Henry M. Stanley, was outside the basin of the Nile, and is recorded in his book, “Through Darkest Africa.”
In 1900, Dr. Donaldson Smith, an American, made an important journey through the countries between the north end of Lake Rudolf and the Mountain Nile.
[Illustration: 290b.jpg EXAMPLES OF PHOENECIAN PORCELAIN]
CHAPTER VI—THE DECIPHERMENT OF THE HIEROGLYPHS*
The early portion
of this chapter is selected, by kind
permission of Dr. Henry Smith Williams, from his “History
of the Art of Writing,” Copyright, 1902 and 1903.
The Rosetta Stone: The Discoveries of Dr. Thomas Young: The Classification of the Egyptian Alphabet by Champollion: Egyptian Love-songs and the Book of the Dead
Conspicuously placed in the great hall of Egyptian antiquities, in the British Museum, is a wonderful piece of sculpture known as the Rosetta Stone. A glance at its graven surface suffices to show that three sets of inscriptions are recorded there. The upper one, occupying about one-fourth of the surface, is a pictured scroll, made up of chains of those strange outlines of serpents, hawks, lions, and so on, which are recognised, even by the least initiated, as hieroglyphics. The middle inscription, made up of lines, angles, and half-pictures, one might suppose to be a sort of abbreviated or shorthand hieroglyphic. The third, or lower, inscription, is manifestly Greek, obviously a thing of words. If the screeds above be also made of words, only the elect have any way of proving the fact.
Fortunately, however, even the least scholarly observer is left in no doubt as to the real import of the thing he sees, for an obliging English label tells us that these three inscriptions are renderings of the same message, and that this message is a “decree of the Priests of Memphis conferring divine honours on Ptolemy V., Epiphanes, King of Egypt, B.C. 195.” The label goes on to state that the upper transcription (of which, unfortunately, only parts of the last dozen lines or so remain, the slab being broken) is in “the Egyptian language, in hieroglyphics, or writing of the priests”; the second inscription in the same language, “in demotic, or the writing of the people”; and the third “in the Greek language and character.”