[Daily article] March 18: Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone is a large black stone stele bearing a translation of
Ancient Egyptian text, the first recovered in modern times. Found in
1799, it is inscribed with three versions of a decree from 196 BC
announcing the rule of King Ptolemy V. The texts are in Ancient
Egyptian using hieroglyphic script and Demotic script and in Ancient
Greek. The stone proved to be the key to deciphering Egyptian
hieroglyphs. It was taken from building material in Fort Julien near the
town of Rashid (Rosetta) in the Nile Delta when it was rediscovered
during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. After British troops defeated
the French in Egypt in 1801, they seized the stone and transported it to
London. It has been on public display at the British Museum since 1802,
and is the museum’s most-visited object. Since its rediscovery, the
stone has been the focus of nationalist rivalries, including a long-
running dispute over the relative value of Thomas Young’s and Jean-
François Champollion’s contributions to the decipherment, and demands
this century for the stone’s return to Egypt.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1793:

War of the First Coalition: Habsburg Austrians together with
Dutch Republic troops repulsed a series of French assaults after bitter
fighting in Neerwinden, present-day Belgium.

1834:

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced to transportation to
Australia for swearing an illegal oath to join their friendly society in
Dorset, England.

1915:

First World War: In one of the largest naval battles in the
Gallipoli Campaign, the Ottoman Empire sank three Allied battleships
(French battleship Bouvet pictured) and severely damaged three others.

1970:

United States postal workers began a two-week strike after
Congress raised its own wages by 41% but raised the wages of postal
workers by only 4%.

1985:

The first episode of the Australian soap opera Neighbours was
broadcast on the Seven Network, eventually becoming the longest-running
drama in Australian television history.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

gnarly:
1. Having or characterized by gnarls; gnarled.
2. (slang) Excellent; attractive.
3. (slang, US) Dangerous; difficult.
4. (slang, US) Unpleasant, awful, ugly.
5. (slang, US) Of music or a sound: harsh.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  We live in a nightmare of falsehoods, and there are few who are
sufficiently awake and aware to see things as they are. Our first duty
is to clear away illusions and recover a sense of reality. If war should
come, it will do so on account of our delusions, for which our hag-
ridden conscience attempts to find moral excuses. To recover a sense of
reality is to recover the truth about ourselves and the world in which
we live, and thereby to gain the power of keeping this world from flying
asunder.  
–Nikolai Berdyaev

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