Less than ten years after the beginning of the War of the First Coalition, self-proclaimed Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte led France abroad to the shores of Northern Egypt to kick off the aptly named War of the Second Coalition. At the time part of the Ottoman empire, Egypt was a place of continuous conquest and cultural exchange. The strategic position of the Ottoman province (or eyalet) provided a reason for the expedition that would kick off years of technological and social change, as footholds in Egypt and Syria would allow the French to threaten British India. With Europeans by the number squatting in Egypt and attempting to break through to Syria and assault the rest of the Ottoman Empire, projects focusing on cartography and geography were thought up and completed. Sometime throughout the expedition, excavations for fortifications would reveal the Rosetta Stone, complete with the cartouche of Pharaoh Ptolemy V and the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The cartouche is an Egyptian hieroglyphic that contains the royal name of the Pharaoh. Similar to Sumerian rolling seals or even royal seals, the cartouche allowed hieroglyphic representation of pharaohs, specifically their throne name they took once they gained power. The actual etymology of cartouche is from the French word for cartridge, and the cartouche bore a visual resemblance to the cartridges used in the French muzzle-loaded rifles.
The French invasion of Egypt inadvertently yielded the first possibility of translating the anciant Egyptian hieroglyphic script and caused a firestorm of interest in contemporary Egyptian culture and its roots in ancient mysticism. From this point forward, the political administration would be de facto independent, and this invasion would showcase the need of modernization and adaptation within the Ottoman Empire. For the Egyptologists who reproduced the stone and sent copies to the major learning institutions of the day, the invasion opened up an entirely new field of study, stamped with the visually memorable cartouche of a pharaoh long gone.