From The Washington Post:

Stone As an Egyptian pharaoh, Ptolemy V was a glorified placeholder. Just to preserve his royal title and protect his status as a god, he gave tax breaks to priests and performed favors for two sacred bulls, worshipped by commoners, named Apis and Mnevis. We know this because it is written, in three languages, on the Rosetta Stone.

Before the Rosetta Stone was found by Napoleon’s army in 1799, Ptolemy’s ploys were understandably forgotten, yet he wasn’t the only pharaoh whose feats were unknown: Even the legacy of Ramses, builder of the great temple at Karnak, had sunk into hieroglyphic obscurity. For many centuries, nobody could read hieroglyphics.

As Cambridge professor John Ray writes in The Rosetta Stone, the fractured granite slab “gave us back one of the longest and most romantic chapters of our history, a chapter which had been thought lost beyond recall.” Ray’s brief book evokes the process of rediscovery, succinctly capturing the story of the stone’s recovery and decipherment and passionately, albeit unoriginally, arguing for the slab’s iconic status. Like Ptolemy V, the Rosetta Stone is of accidental significance.

More here.