The stone is a surviving decree from a council of priests praising Ptolemy V - but its subject is less important than its presentation. Because the Rosetta Stone juxtaposed demotic and hieroglyphic text with Greek, it allowed linguists to decipher these Egyptian scripts. It was the key to one of the greatest codes in history.
Englishman Thomas Young was the first to translate the demotic text on the Rosetta Stone, then turned his attention to the hieroglyphs. He realized that the script was phonetic, but was beaten to a translation by French scholar Jean-François Champollion (fluent in twenty contemporary and ancient languages). The ensuing rivalry between Young and Champollion was so intense that it led to a diplomatic crisis between Britain and France.
The decree was written three times for three different audiences. Greek was the formal administrative language in Egypt, while for the priestly class hieroglyphics were the preferred form of Egyptian.
The third version was in a script known as ‘demotic', meaning ‘of the people', a description coined by the Greek historian Herodotus in the fifth century BC. Demotic was the form of writing used and most easily understood by the man in the Alexandrian street in 196 BC. The word is still used to refer to the language of the people; today, the tag demotic is given to the modern language spoken by everyday Greeks.
In choosing a new name for the company (we began as Nyouz.com, but we had no way of protecting the name), we were inspired by this ancient language. Our aim is to open up journalism to the people in the modern age, just as the demotic script opened up writing in ancient Egypt.