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Karl Richard Lepsius (1870)

Karl Richard Lepsius, in a portrait photo from 1870.

Karl Richard Lepsius (1810-1884), considered as one of the greatest Egyptologists, was born in Saxony, Germany. After earning a doctorate in archaeology, he went to Paris to study the findings of Champollion, including his Grammaire égyptienne, published posthumously in 1836.

After mastering the scripts of ancient Egypt, Lepsius led a German expedition to Egypt and Nubia in 1842-6, which resulted in the recording of hundreds of sites and thousands of inscriptions. These were published over thirty years in a beautifully illustrated, multi-volume series called Denkmaler aus Egypten und Aethiopen (Monuments of Egypt and Ethiopia).

Lepsius became professor of Egyptology at Berlin University and later, co-director of the Ägyptisches Museum. He returned to Egypt in 1866, and at the site of Tanis discovered the trilingual Decree of Canopus, which like the Rosetta stone, was written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Greek. 

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