220 years ago today, the ancient Rosetta Stone was found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta. The rock slab became the key to deciphering hieroglyphics in the modern age because it uniquely included a Greek translation. Inscribed with three versions of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian, using hieroglyphic script and demotic scripts, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. The ability to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs opened a window into ancient Egyptian history, that had heretofore been closed.
No wonder the language software, Rosetta Stone, took that name as its own… (1799)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- The Boeing Company (Pacific Aero) was first formed by William Boeing in Seattle Washington, 36 years before they would test and manufacture the first commercial jet transport airliner built in US, the 156-passenger Boeing 707 (1916)
- The pilot Wiley Post began the first solo flight around world (1933)
- 18 Nobel laureate scientists signed the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons and within one year 34 more –mostly chemists and physicists– joined the German nuclear scientists Otto Hahn and Max Born in calling for an end to such radioactive and perilous bombs (1955)
- President Richard Nixon announced he would visit the People’s Republic of China to seek a ”normalization of relations” (1971)
- The Mozilla (non-profit) Foundation was established to support and provide leadership for open source software, like its browser, Firefox (2003)
And on this day in 1606, Rembrandt, the Dutch Master portrait painter who wanted to be the best in the world and painted not with emotion but with intellect, was born. Signed only with his first name, his canvases were revered while he was still in his early 20’s.
And, on this day in 1988, a cobbled-together action film called Die Hard was released in US theaters. Costing $28 million, it grossed over $140 million that summer, and turned Bruce Willis—a comedic TV actor—into a blockbuster superstar. Its success sparked a franchise of four sequels, video games, and a comic book—it also spawned a string of movies that involve a random citizen turns into a hero against overwhelming odds. Considered a Christmas picture, Die Hard portrays off-duty NYC cop John McClane (Willis) trying to rescue his wife in a skyscraper where her office holiday party is being terrorized by gunmen. The lead villain, Hans Gruber, was played by Alan Rickman in his first film role ever.
CHECK OUT: 13 Surprising Facts About Die Hard or WATCH the trailer below, featuring all the iconic lines…
Notable Birthdays: Actor Forest Whitaker (58); Guitarist Joe Satriani (63)