Saturday, January 14, 2006

Figeac (The Telegraph)
This is actually a travel article about the south of France, but it does contain a quick couple of paragraphs about hieroglyph decipherer Champollion's home town Figeac, where his former home is now a museum: "You'll not be long in Figeac before learning that it has a Very Celebrated Man (VCM) on its books . . . . VCM one is Jean-Fran├žois Champollion who, with the help of the Rosetta stone, cracked Egyptian hieroglyphics in 1822. Thus, as pop biographies say, he founded Egyptology. Old Jean-Fran├žois is a national hero, as a similar figure perhaps wouldn't be in Britain, and Figeac treats him with reverence. He has his bar and square, of course, but also, just off the square, a vast, black granite reproduction of the Rosetta stone forming the floor of a courtyard . . . . Champollion's old family home is in an alley leading to the courtyard and was, until last year, a museum dedicated to the chap. It will be again from 2007, when it re opens on a much grander scale."

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