Jean Fran├žois Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, which opened the door to understanding the culture of ancient Egypt.

Curious scratches, resembling bird footprints, were found on thousands of hardened clay tablets. Initially, some scientists thought they were decorations rather than writing. Since the marks had apparently been made with a wedgelike knife in soft clay, the experts called them cuneiform, or letterforms made by cunei, Latin for "wedges."

The credit for the deciphering of cuneiform would go mostly to an agent of the British government, Henry C. Rawlinson, stationed in Persia. He began a systematic study of cuneiform writing found on the Behistun Rock inscription, sometimes known as the "Rosetta Stone of cuneiform."

Thousands of years earlier, Darius the to be pure imagination contemporaries

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