The Rosetta Stone is a rock stele, found in 1799, inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion is Demotic script, and the lowest is Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences among them), the stone provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

However, although this key was obviously very useful to modern-day Egyptologists, it was not the message of the inscription. The complete text, in English, is about 1600–1700 words in length. The text on the Rosetta Stone is a tax relief given to the temple priests. It gives them back the tax privileges they had earlier.

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