Excerpt from The Story of Extinct Civilizations of the East
In the present century two events, which at the time seemed unimportant, have vastly increased our knowledge regarding several very early kingdoms and empires which, to the ancient and mediæval historians, were known only by name. In 1802, the Rosetta Stone was brought to England, and presented by George III. to the British Museum. Only a rude block of black basalt, though called "a priceless jewel" by the archæologists, it bears an inscription in three languages; and as soon as one of these, written in "hieroglyphs," was, by means of the other two, interpreted by Young and Champollion, a key was put in our hands to open the sealed book of Egypt's mighty past by reading the records on her numberless monuments. Thus the "wisdom of Egypt," so long inscrutable, became known, and a new science arose called Egyptology. The second event was in 1842, when M. Botta was sent as French envoy to the banks of the Tigris, and began to dig for Assyrian antiquities.
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