How can the writing system of a dead language be deciphered, the absence of dictionaries or grammars? Leonard Cottrell shows in simple terms how this has been done in the case of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Babylonian cuneiform and Cretan "Linear B" script.
His heroes are Champollion, the Frenchman who, with other scholars, recovered ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing systems from the trilingual Rosetta Stone; Henry Rawlinson who risked his life to copy the Behistun trilingual inscription, which he later translated and Michael Ventris, an architect, who astonished the world of scholarship by cracking "Linear B," proving that the language was a primitive form of ancient Greek, as he believed.
From the problems of decipherment the author turns to describe what additional information these writings provide about the peoples who spoke these languages - and about their way of life, rituals, religious observances, commerce, and, not least, their literatures.
Illustrated with 8 pages of photographs and 36 line drawings in the text.
Excellent pages, slight edge-wear. Small inscription on the inside of the front-cover.