Rosetta Stone (Written)Rosetta Stone - The Rosetta Stone is a black basalt tablet inscribed with a decree by a council of royal priests on behalf of King Ptolemy V of the Ptolemaic Empire dating to the year 196 B.C.. It was originally part of a stele that was erected in the city of Memphis to proclaim the establishment of the divine cult of the 13-year old king on the one-year anniversary of his coronation. The decree is written in three languages, Greek, Demotic and Egyptian hieroglyphs, and was instrumental in cracking the code of both hieroglyphics and Demotic. Prior to its discovery in 1799, both were indecipherable. Hieroglyphics had become obsolete by the fourth century A.D, and Demotic a short time after that; so the understanding of them had been lost. But because the stone was also written in ancient Greek, which was understandable, they were able to be translated through the work of Jean-François Champollion and others (see Rosetta Stone found at the end of this chart for further information).