January 2nd, 2016

Предшественники и возможная опора Шампольона в расшифровке иероглифов

Про блистательного Томаса Янга, малоизвестного у нас, я слышал. Но про арабских предтеч, возможно, даже опосредованно повлявших и на Шампольона я не знал. Вот, что пишут:

“If ever we were trying to find an example of how language, letters and alphabets can be the subject of rivalries, wars and plunder, the Rosetta Stone does it all. The British and French invaders of Egypt in the early nineteenth century fought over the stone. Today, people still argue over which of the European scholars who pored over its three languages first cracked the code of the hieroglyphs. The Frenchman Jean-François Champollion is usually given more credit than the Englishman Thomas Young, though Champollion himself gave Young some credit. This overlooks the fact that Ahmad Bakr ibn Wahshiyah, who lived in Egypt in the late ninth and early tenth centuries, wrote a treatise on hieroglyphics, pointing out that the glyphs were both pictorial images and single symbols signifying sounds.

“How the international use of letters works across time and place can be seen in the thread of scholarship which links ibn Wahshiyah to Champollion: there was first an Arabic manuscript of the book Kitab Shawq al-Mustaham in which ibn Wahshiyah deciphered a number of Egyptian hieroglyphs; there was then a translation of the Arabic manuscript in a book published in English in 1806 by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall as Ancient Alphabets and Hieroglyphic Characters Explained, with an Account of the Egyptian Priests, their Classes, Initiation, and Sacrifices in the Arabic Language by Ahmad Bin Abubekr Bin Wahishih; someone called Silvestre de Sacy – a colleague of Champollion – read this English version of the Arab manuscript; sixteen years later, Champollion’s complete decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs appeared. There is, then, the strong possibility that an Arab scholar and expert on magic, statues, agriculture, alchemy, physics and medicine, writing at the same time that King Alfred was trying to get people to read English, may have played a significant part in unlocking the crucial fact that hieroglyphs were not only pictures but that some of them also represented specific sounds.”

Excerpt From: Rosen, Michael. “Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story.” John Murray, 2013

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