A Few Related Pieces From The Freeman Institute Collection

A Few Related Pieces From The Freeman Institute Collection

A Few Related Pieces From The Freeman Institute Collection

A genuine issue of the January 7th, 1799 Connecticut Courant, detailing the "Landing of Buonaparte's (sic) army in Egypt" and its progress in Cairo. Fascinating content.

-- Authentic issue of the Salem Gazette (Dec. 7, 1798), containing a literal translation of General Napoleon Buonaparte's (sic) proclamation to the Arabs in Lower Egypt. Intriguing content.

<-- July 14, 1801 issue of the New England Palladium describing the capture of Rosetta, Egypt by British troops. The report comes from Major General J. H. Hutchinson. "It is with great pleasure that I am to inform you of the success of a corps of Turks and British under the command of Col. Spencer. They were ordered from hence about ten days ago, for the purpose of forcing the enemy from the town and castle of Rosetta, which commands the navigation of the Nile...

...We are now masters of the western branch of that river, and of course have opened a communication with the Delta, from which we shall derive the necessary supplies, as the French have scarcely any troops there, and none capable of making a serious resistance. The enemy had about 800 men at Rosetta when they were attacked. They made but a feeble effort to sustain themselves, and retired to the right bank of the Nile, leaving a few men and prisoners. They left a garrison at the fort, against which our batteries opened on the 16th infantry and it surrendered on the 19th infantry. The condition of the same as were granted to the castle of the Aboukir..."

-- In August 1799, just over a year after Napoleon launched his invasion of Egypt at Alexandria, a great discovery was made. Under the leadership of Lt. Pierre Bouchard, French soldiers were building up their defenses around the area of Fort St. Julian, near the northern city of Rosetta, when a soldier or engineer found in the ruins an ancient stone. With its cryptic inscriptions, it was immediately recognized as an object of great importance. It was sent to Cairo, where it was housed in the Institute d’Egypte. Members of Napoleon’s special civilian corps dispersed around the country were requested to go there at once. The rare map to the right is of the mouth of the Nile, picturing Fort Julian, now known as Fort Rashid -->

-- Lettre Ecrites D'Egypte et de Nubie en 1828 et 1829, by Champollionn le Jeune (Letters Written in Egypt and Nubia in 1828 and 1829 by Francois Champollion) with all illustrations intact. This very, very rare First Edition by the translator of Egyptian Hieroglyphics is seldom seen on the open market. Most copies are in large University or Public library rare book collections. This work is an important insight into the early work of one of the Fathers of Egyptology. These are his own reflections and opinions regarding the monuments of Egypt. It is important to remember that Champollion only ever made one trip to Egypt as he died soon after his return. A great loss to the science of Egyptology.
-- Jean-Francois Champollion, a 10 year old child saw some of the Egyptian artifacts and enquired about the strange pictures (Hieroglyphs) where he was told that no one yet understands what these pictures means. Since that time Champollion committed himself to decipher the Hieroglyphs. By the age of 16 he became a professor mastering 10 languages at the same time. Champollion then compares the two cartouches of PTOLEMY & CLEOPATRA found on the Rosetta stone which contains similar characters. He continued deciphering more cartouches and texts from the temple of El Karnak. It took Champollion 24 years until he published his work in a book " Precis du systeme Hieroglyphique ". Sadly Champollion died by a stroke on 1832 when he was 41 years old.

-- A beautiful hand written letter dictated by Dominique-Vivant DENON (1747-1825). Denon was the eyes and ears of Napoleon during the Egyptian Military campaign. When he came back to France, he was the Director of the Museums under Napoleon, founder of the Museum of Louvre, and director of the medal mint. (unsigned) Sunday morning 1808, to a lady: “I gave orders relating to the frames of your paperboards. One seeks in the stores if wood still exist there. I fear well that they are employed with some other thing. I ask for forgiveness to you of employing a foreign hand to answer you; but I am obliged to dictate while I get dressed to return to the Palais..." Measures 5 x 7.75 and is not fully translated.

-- A number of editions of "The Rosetta Stone" -- Printed by order of the Trustees of the British Museum: 1913 (First Edition), 1922 (four copies), 1927, 1935, 1939 (two copies), 1950, 1951, 1955, 1971, 1974...by Wallis Budge.

-- Rare 1843 issue of The New World published by J. Winchester; New York. The 68-page April issue contains the first appearance of a pioneering work , "Ancient Egypt, A Series of Chapters on Early Egyptian History, Archaeology, and Other Subjects Connected with Hieroglyphical Literature" by George R. Gliddon.  According to the preface "the first chapters on Hierology that have ever issued from an American press", prepared from a series of lectures delivered the previous year, and not published in book form until 1850. George Gliddon (1809-1857) was British-born, and served as U. S. Consul at Cairo.  An archaeologist, Gliddon went to Alexandria as a young man and spent 23 years in Egypt. He lectured on Egyptian antiquities in the United States and wrote, among other works, "A Memoir on the Cotton of Egypt" [1841[ "An Appeal to the Antiquaries of Europe on the Destruction of the Monuments of Egypt" [1841], and "Ancient Egypt" [1850].  This is an important work, profusely illustrated with hieroglyphic examples, and very scarce in this "New World" format. 11" x 7.5".  Newsprint.

-- Genuine coin with Ptolemy V image on the front.

-- Superb Georgian (during the reign of King William IV 1830-1837) hardback complete two-volume First Edition set entitled “Egyptian Antiquities,” by The British Museum, with nearly 100 fine engravings and other illustrations. They were published by Charles Knight, of London, in MDCCCXXXII (1832 – Volume I) and MDCCCXXXVI (1836 – Volume II). The code to hieroglyphics had been cracked in 1822 by Jean Champollion, just ten years before the publication of the first volume! Excellent information about the Rosetta Stone and other ancient Egyptian artifacts in these books. Extremely rare addition to this collection..

-- GREPPO, J. G. H. Essay on the hieroglyphic system of M. Champollion, Jun., and on the advantages which it offers to sacred criticism. By J. G. H. Greppo, Vicar General of Belley. Translated from the French by Isaac Stuart, with notes and illustrations.  Boston, MA: Perkins & Marvin, 1830. Later cloth Cover. Translated from the Paris edition of 1829; this was the only English edition. This book was published a mere seven years after the code to hieroglyphics had been cracked.

-- 1821 RARE AUTOGRAPH LETTER [Thomas Young to William PHILLIPS]. A rare hand-written letter from scientist Thomas Young, the founder of physiological optics and author of the wave theory of light. He is also credited for helping to solve the puzzle to understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The letter, written in the third person, betrays a distinct animosity towards Young's new publisher, William Phillips. Concerning the second edition of his Introduction to Medical Literature (eventually published in 1823), Young is not pleased that his suggestion of a fee “forming exactly two arithmetical means between these extremes” has not been accepted by Phillips. [2 written sides on black-bordered notepaper, originally folded in thirds. Closed tear to margin passing through several words, no loss of text or paper].

Dr. Young begs leave to observe, in reply to Mr. Phillips's note, in which he says that “the sum proposed by Dr. Young is greater than the work will bear”, that he did not propose any sum whatever - that he told both Dr. Paris and Mr. Phillips that he would make no proposal whatever, but that he was ready to receive any proposals that might be made to him.

Mr Phillips mentioned two sums as the probable extreme limits of what the work might appear to be worth, and Dr. Young mentioned two other sums forming exactly two arithmetical means between these extremes, which was certainly rather according to Mr. Phillips's preliminaries than making any new proposals of his own.

Dr. Young is therefore at a loss to understand why Mr. Phillips should be most averse at present to making an offer of any kind that he was when he thought it worth while to offer a negociation, which as it appears to Dr. Young, he has broken off without any sufficient reason, though he was certainly at full liberty to do so, in a legal point of view.

Mr. Phillips must be as good a judge of the sale of books as Dr. Young but it does not appear by any means to Dr. Y. that the sale of a second edition would be slower than that of the first: the contrary being extremely likely to happen to any work of established reputation, and especially to a work which is intended to form the basis of the library of every student in every department of the medical profession – though certainly the second edition of this work would not be likely to be purchased by many persons who are in possession of the first.

Welbeck Street 15 Dec. 1821

BACKGROUND: Thomas Young (1773-1829) has been given credit for an enormous number of scientific discoveries: in 1800, long before Fresnel, he suggested and gave evidence for the wave theory of light, against the Newtonian dogma of a particulate system. Again challenging Newton, he proved in 1801 that the visible spectrum was continuous and that the eye could depend on just three color receptors. He was elected to the Royal Society at the age of 21 and subsequently became its foreign secretary under Joseph Banks. “Young has sometimes been hailed as a child prodigy who, by the age of sixteen, had not only mastered Latin and Greek but also possessed a good working knowledge of several other languages and gained a firm background in the sciences. He clearly possessed considerable mental abilities, while his Quaker upbringing encouraged the habit of hard work and proscribed frivolous activities. So effective was his training that later in life he claimed never to have wasted a single day...On several occasions he traveled on the continent, where he met such leading savants as Laplace, Arago, and Humboldt. In 1827 he was honored by being elected one of the eight foreign members of the Paris Académie des Sciences.” His achievements are recognized on a plaque erected at Westminster Abbey close to the spot where Newton was buried.

Young had his attention called to the Rosetta Stone by accident, and his usual rapacity for knowledge at once led him to speculate as to the possible aid this tri-lingual inscription might give in the solution of Egyptian problems. Resolving at once to attempt the solution himself, he set to work to learn Coptic, which was rightly  believed to represent the nearest existing approach to the ancient Egyptian language. His amazing facility in the acquisition of languages stood him in such good stead that within a year of his first efforts he had mastered Coptic and assured himself that the ancient Egyptian language was really similar to it, and had even made a tentative attempt at the translation of the Egyptian scroll. His results were only tentative, to be sure. Yet they constituted the very beginnings of our knowledge regarding the meaning of hieroglyphics. Just how far they carried has been a subject of ardent controversy ever since.  Not that there is any doubt about the specific facts; what is questioned is the exact importance of these facts. For it is undeniable that Young did not complete and perfect the discovery, and, as always in such matters, there is opportunity for difference of opinion as to the share of credit due to each of the workers who entered into the discovery. In fierce competition with Jean François Champollion (during the Napoleonic Wars), he is jointly credited as the first decipherer of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs, with the recognition that certain symbols represented the sounds of a royal title.

-- And much, much more


Important Egyptian Discoveries

  • Rosetta Stone discovered in 1799. This led to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • Merneptah's Stele. First mention of "Israel" in Egyptian texts. Stele dates to about 1210 BC.
  • Amarna Letters (14th century BC). Letters written from Canaanite scribes in Akkadian to king Akhenaten about the conditions in Canaan, especially the troublesome Hapiru which probably refers to the Hebrews.
  • Inscriptions at Karnak. Karnak is the largest temple complex in the world. There also may be the earliest depiction of the Israelites.
  • Mortuary Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu. It depicts the battle with the Sea People. One of the five groups of Sea Peoples was the Philistines. There are carvings of what the Philistines looked like.

Important Egyptian Texts

  • Tale of Two brothers. This story is similar to the story of Joseph in Genesis when he is tempted.
  • Seven Lean Years Tradition in the time of Djoser. Similar to the seven years of lean in the story of Joseph.
  • Sinuhe's Story. Tells of his time in Canaan.
  • Wenamun's Journey. Tells of his trip to Byblos in Canaan.
  • Amenemope's Wisdom. Similar to Proverbs 22:17-24:22.
  • Hymn to Aten which parallels Psalm 104.
  • Elephantine Papyri. Letters from Jewish exile.


Evidently the "Night At The Museum 3" cast had fun on their UK adventure, with co-star Ben Stiller tweeting this
pic of Robins Williams goofing off in costume next to the original Rosetta Stone at the British Museum.
"Saw this guy hanging out by the Rosetta Stone at British Museum last night."

In a USA Today article (July 27, 2014), co-star, Dan Stevens described the surreal scene of having late-night
conversations next to the Rosetta Stone with Robin Williams during night shoot breaks in the museum. Stiller, too, was
wowed by having "access to this incredible place that you would just never have a chance to walk around by yourself."

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