When the Romans occupied Egypt and with them Christianity moved in, the ancient Egyptian culture became less and less important and eventually the meaning of the old inscriptions was entirely forgotten.
Speculation about Egyptian hieroglyphs began in the Renaissance; though sometimes fantastic, much of it was fascinating and fruitful. During the next two centuries European travelers in the Near East came home with increasingly accurate copies of the strange inscriptions to be found there. The great age of decipherment dawned in the mid-eighteenth century, at the time of the Enlightenment. Finally it is one man who unveils the mysteries of the Nile and deciphers the hieroglyphs: Jean-Francois Champollion, an early-19th-century French amateur scholar with a boyhood’s dream of uncovering the secrets of the past.
Illustrations of artifacts, maps of the ancient sitesand a glossary complete the volume and make the history of hieroglyphics come vibrantly alive.