A lot of you probably think the world would have been just as good a place if Napoleon’s troops hadn’t shot the nose off the Sphinx practicing with artillery in 1799. You might even think if they’d just stayed home in France and shot the noses off every Frenchman they could catch the world would be better off?
In the interest of science, Napoleon’s troops couldn’t know what would happen up there without shooting some artillery at it to find out. Same as Hiroshima and Nagasaki later on. Theories are worthless unless they’re tested.
Well, you’d be wrong. Napoleon’s troops did just the right thing blowing off the nose of Sphinx.
Keep in mind, these were Frenchmen. All they knew how to do at that point was try to take the heads off whatever got in the way. But they saved the Sphinx. If they’d left it alone until the British took over in 1802 the Sphinx would be in London. Housed in a wonder-of-the-world-sized British Museum. Same as everything else the British could haul off from every country they ever conquered.
Once Napoleon’s troops finished nobody every had to do it again. Anyone with half-an-eye could see what would happen if you shot the Sphinx in the nose with a piece of 1799 field artillery.
And most importantly, Sphinx was flawed. By 1802 when the British took Egypt they’d become selective, only stealing the most perfect artifacts. Sphinx got to stay home in Egypt because of French artillery practice.
Which didn’t happen to the Rosetta Stone, which French troops found and got taken away from them by the British.
From the time Cleopatra offed herself with that adder, shortly thereafter, nobody knew how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs. But thanks to those French troops, someone decided to steal the Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone is in the British Museum in London today. It’s been there since shortly after British officials stole it in 1802. Most likely it will continue to reside in the British Museum until US troops have finished whatever they’re doing in Europe. When we finally bring the troops home from WWII the final act will be to drop the 8th Army into London, take over Heathrow Airport, and bring the Rosetta Stone and everything else in the British Museum to the United States where it rightfully belongs.
Created 196 BC
Present location British Museum
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis 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 Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences among them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
When the contents of the British Museum finally are transported to the Smithsonian in Washington DC the British Empire will finally be a footnote of history, along with Napoleon, the Egyptians, and other backward peoples everywhere.