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of the readings which I have attempted in my letter to Mr. de Sacy among these, however, you will observe several words which have also occurred to yourself; and such a coincidence, as far as it extends, cannot but be satisfactory to us both but I apprehend that if you had simply made a complete alphabetical enumeration of all the forms, which you have been obliged to attribute to the respective letters, even in the first five lines, you would yourself have been alarmed at the inextricable confusion of heterogeneous elements, which you have, perhaps unavoidably, introduced.
7. There is a word [n. 31.] signifying "men" or " in the 1st and 9th lines; it is formed of a single character, which you read pe, not without some probability, although in other passages I have thought the character better expressed by or er; it is preceded by a letter which is one of the many forms that you attribute to , or, or B, or I, while I have thought it safer to make it an aspirate only; and it is followed by a single vertical stroke, or an €. This is the common, and I think the only way of forming a plural in the inscription: the shape of the prefix varies a little; but it has always a corresponding dash at the end of the word or words which it renders plural; except in the word gods, where the prefix is repeated instead of the dash. I cannot therefore agree with you in making this group a part of the word pee or peu, although your opinion of the admissibility of such a word in a separate form, for pw, is strengthened by the authority of Woide's Appendix, Apoc. iii. 7, where we have, in the Thebaic dialect, є ра птнру.
8. You will observe that I have not inserted the word 20т among my readings, and I have no inclination to defend it; but you must also allow me to consider your reading оЯ as absolutely arbitrary. Petephre, who was a pagan priest," is called ¿OMT in Gen. xli. 45.
9. I agree with you that the word victory is included in the term prize bearer: but I am sorry to deprive you altogether of Mr. Palin's authority, for he most assuredly never saw the part of the hieroglyphic inscription corresponding to this passage.
10. I do not know that it is possible to be quite certain whether the Greek or the Egyptian was the original of the decree, and I allow that there is much truth in your remark, that it seems
improbable that the Egyptians should have wanted a single term to express the tiremen of the gods. But it is quite certain that the Greeks had such a term, and you have yourself mentioned it: why therefore was it not employed, if the Greek was the original? I cannot agree with you in thinking that either eiʊtopevóμevol here, or άravτýσavTes in the subsequent part of the line, is omitted in the Egyptian; on the contrary, the same characters occur in both these passages, and for kateλóvтas in line 11, as well as in many other places, with very little variation.
11. The or of your orße, norß, neрpнore, orwing,
and epior, I apprehend, is supported by no authority whatever the character occurs in the word temple, but in the singular as well as in the plural [n. 80.] and there can be no or in the singular. The same character is certainly found at the end of the name of the month Єcwp¤; and I have therefore set it down
as in all probability answering simply to the letter H.
12. You appear to me to have deprived the word "Memphis" of its initial letter, which you will find attached to it in the 16th line, where it is not preceded by the word " temple," to which you have considered the orП as belonging. I do not insist on the reading П&nory, which, as I find from Mr. Champollion's Egypte sous les Pharaons, was a name not of the old Memphis, but of two other cities called Memphis by the Arabians at the same time it is barely possible that this denomination may also formerly have belonged to Memphis.
I flatter myself, Sir, that you will not consider the freedom of these remarks as a discouragement to your intention of pursuing the investigation at a future period, since, however we may occasionally differ in opinion, our agreement in the greater number of instances cannot but be considered as affording a confirmation of the truth of the interpretation. I hope you will soon receive the copy of the inscription which you have requested me to procure; it only waits for a proper conveyance; and I trust that your elaborate researches will soon be again employed on so interesting a subject. Should my remarks afford you any assistance in the pursuit, I shall think my labour not lost; though, I fear, but few of my countrymen will have the patience to bestow much of their attention on them. Hitherto, indeed, the literature of Egypt has presented no very strong attractions to the general scholar: but this Inscription, by affording a new pursuit, attended
with difficulties almost unsurmountable, yet promising in the end to furnish us with a key to all the treasures of hieroglyphic learning, has opened a wide field for the most arduous exertions of human invention and sagacity, and must naturally excite, in a high degree, the curiosity of the literary world.
Among the extracts and remarks which I have been preparing for publication, you will observe a reimpression of my conjectural translation, compared with a translation of the Greek inscription, said to have been copied and corrected by the late Professor Porson. I have chosen to reprint this translation, rather than to make a new one, partly on account of the high and well deserved reputation of the eminent scholar who has sanctioned it with his authority, and partly to avoid all danger of being influenced, in construing the Greek, by the result of my analysis of the Egyptian inscription: but I am not a little surprised, as you will probably be, at the number of inaccuracies which appear in it, either left uncorrected, or even introduced by the corrector. I should have been unwilling to believe it possible, without the most positive evidence, where Professor Porson and Professor Heyne differed respecting the sense of a Greek passage, that Porson could have been wrong and Heyne right: yet you will observe that this has here happened in more than one instance, particularly in the translation of the word aλopópov, and in the reference of the date to the priesthood of Aetus, as well as in several other less important passages, in which I believe we should both have agreed with Heyne from considering the Greek alone, while the comparison with the Egyptian leaves no further shadow of doubt.*
IX. Extract of a Letter from Mr.
Silvestre de Sacy. Dated
I can easily imagine, Sir, that by comparing the number of the lines of the Egyptian with that of the lines of the Greek, you may in the first instance have formed an approximate scale of the relation between the two inscriptions: that afterwards, by observing the frequency of the occurrence of certain formulæ, you may have found other relations, more numerous, less equivocal, and almost certain: that you may even have determined the value
of different groups of characters, and their correspondence with the Greek expressions; that in the next place, with the assistance of the proper names, you may have ascertained the value of a greater or less number of letters: and that you may hence have discovered, [as Mr. Akerblad appears to have done,] the value of some other words belonging to the Coptic language, as orpo, king, шнр, son, Єрper, temple, 2оnт, priest. But what I am at a loss to conceive is, that after having arrived at this point, you should have been able, by mere conjecture, without reading the Egyptian text, and explaining it from a comparison with the Coptic, to identify the words which do not appear in the Greek inscription, and to discover the inversions of the different parts : on what ground, for example, you think yourself authorised to read, at the beginning of the inscription, Anno nono, Xanthici die quarto. This, I suppose, can only be because you have found in the same line the words, mensis Ægyptiorum Mechir die decimo octavo. If indeed you have read the words exp, &BOT, ÀTE KIPELLÀXнes, I can understand the nature of your inference: but then you must have been in possession of an alphabet, and you had only to read and translate. If, on the contrary, you supposed a priori that these words were found in the first line, though the Greek inscription did not authorise the supposition, this seems to me altogether incomprehensible; I apprehend, however, from your letter, that you had made little progress, when you wrote it, in deciphering the Egyptian writing.
On the other hand, I must allow, Sir, that your translation, conjectural as it may be, carries with it many marks of probability. Besides those which you have yourself mentioned, there are others which have struck me very forcibly such as the repetitions of the names of things, instead of an abridged designation, like τὸ προειρημένον βασίλειον, ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας, or the words singuli or unusquisque; for instance, templo templo omni; and the original simplicity of antecessorum parentium, antecessorum antecessorum parentium, antecessorum avórum parentium. You have certainly great reason, if all this can be proved, to consider the Greek, not as the original text, but as the translation of the Egyptian.***
You are undoubtedly aware that some learned Holland has announced the discovery of the alphabet of the inscription, and that in France more persons than one have
flattered themselves that they have been able to read a great part of it. When I consider these discoveries, whether real or imaginary, nothing appears in theory to be less improbable: for I am persuaded that the Coptic is very nearly identical with the ancient Egyptian, and the existence of the Greek translation seems to render the deciphering the Inscription an easy task: but as soon as I turn to the monument itself, I always change my opinion, and begin to despair of its ever being accomplished: nor can I imagine any of the persons, who have professed themselves able to read it, to be possessed of so singular a degree of modesty as to have hitherto withheld their discoveries from the public, if they had been tolerably well established. I see that you do not altogether approve of the alphabet of Mr. Akerblad: but you seem to have obtained another, which has procured you some knowledge of the language of the Inscription. I do not ask, Sir, to be put in possession of your secret, although it would give me pleasure to have some little idea of its nature: but I trust that you will not long delay the communication of it, through some public channel, to those individuals, who, in the midst of political convulsions, still feel an interest in every victory which is gained over time and ignorance, without the expence either of blood or of tears.
I do not understand from your letter whether you have attempted to apply your mode of deciphering to the hieroglyphic inscription, to which it seems more applicable than even to the alphabetical one, except the difficulty arising from the fracture of the stone: for I suppose that there must be a more perfect agreement between the hieroglyphic and Egyptian inscription, than between either of them and the Greek: certainly if you succeeded in such an enterprise, your name would not be forgotten while the monuments of ancient Egypt continued to be remembered. I observe indeed from the printed memoir, which I have since received, that you appear already to have made considerable progress in deciphering the hieroglyphics: but for want of any kind of explanation, I have not attempted to follow you in this part of your labour.**