Champollion was a student of oriental languages, particularly Arabic and Persian, at the prestigious Collège de France. He showed extraordinary linguistic talent and began to learn Coptic. A proficient scholar, he was appointed professor of history at the University of Grenoble, aged only eighteen. Champollion was fortunate in obtaining a copy of the transcripts of the Rosetta Stone and put forward the idea that the stone's hieroglyphs consisted of both ideograms (which express ideas) and phonograms (which express sounds). He eventually deciphered the hieroglyphs, which led him to reveal an unknown chapter of Egyptian history.

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