Champollion, Jean-François

Champollion, Jean-François
born Dec. 23, 1790, Figeac, France
died March 4, 1832, Paris

French scholar.

He played a major role in the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Champollion was a linguistic prodigy who had immersed himself in Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, and Coptic as well as Greek and Latin by age 19. After study of the Rosetta Stone and other texts, Champollion demonstrated decisively in Summary of the Hieroglyphic System of the Ancient Egyptians (1825) that a phonetic value could be assigned to some hieroglyphs. He became curator of the Louvre's Egyptian collection (1826) and conducted an archaeological expedition to Egypt (1828–30). See also Egyptian language.

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▪ French historian and linguist
born Dec. 23, 1790, Figeac, France
died March 4, 1832, Paris
 French historian and linguist who founded scientific Egyptology and played a major role in the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs (hieroglyph).

      At 16 Champollion had already mastered six ancient Oriental languages, in addition to Latin and Greek, and delivered a paper before the academy of Grenoble, France, in which he asserted, incorrectly, that Coptic was the ancient language of Egypt. At 19, following studies in Paris, he became professor of history at the lycée of Grenoble (1809–16). Deciphering hieroglyphs became his constant preoccupation. Following the modest success of the English physicist Thomas Young in attempting to decipher the Rosetta Stone, which was engraved with a Greek text along with hieroglyphic and demotic versions, Champollion at last began to piece together the puzzle of the hieroglyphs. In 1821–22 he started publishing papers on the hieroglyphic and hieratic elements of the Rosetta Stone, and he went on to establish an entire list of hieroglyphic signs and their Greek equivalents. He was first to recognize that some of the signs were alphabetic, some syllabic, and some determinative—i.e., standing for a whole idea or object previously expressed. Though many doors still awaited opening, the key to understanding ancient Egypt had at last been found. His brilliant discoveries met with opposition, however, often bitter and personal, from some other scholars.

      Champollion became curator of the Egyptian collection at the Louvre (1826), conducted an archaeological expedition to Egypt (1828), and received the chair of Egyptian antiquities, created specially for him, at the Collège de France (1831). In addition to an Egyptian grammar (1836–41) and dictionary (1841–43), his published works include Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens (1824; “Primer of the Hieroglyphic System of the Ancient Egyptians”) and Panthéon égyptien; ou, collection des personnages mythologiques de l'ancienne Égypte (incomplete, 1823–25; “Egyptian Pantheon; or, Collection of the Mythological Figures of Ancient Egypt”).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Champollion, Jean-François — • A biography of the French Orientalist renowned for deciphering hieroglyphics through the triple inscription on the Rosetta Stone Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Champollion, Jean-François — (1790 1832)    Egyptologist    one of the founders of the science of Egyptology, Jean François Champollion was born in Figeac, in the Midi, and came to Paris in 1807 to study oriental languages at the collège de France. He had already begun the… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Champollion, Jean François — Cham·pol·lion (shäɴ pô lyôɴʹ), Jean François. 1790 1832. French Egyptologist. Working from the Rosetta stone, he became the first person to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics (1821). * * * …   Universalium

  • Champollion, Jean-Francois — (1790–1832)    French scholar. He was born in Figeac on 23 December 1790. He very early conceived the desire to decipher the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script and prepared himself by studying oriental languages, including Coptic. He eventually …   Ancient Egypt

  • Champollion, Jean-François — (23 dic. 1790, Figeac, Francia–4 mar. 1832, París). Egiptólogo francés. Tuvo un papel principal en el desciframiento de jeroglíficos egipcios. Champollion fue un lingüista prodigio, a los 19 años ya dominaba el hebreo, el árabe, el siríaco y el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Champollion, Jean François — ► (1790 1832) Orientalista francés. Descifró la piedra de Roseta y los jeroglíficos del antiguo Egipto. Obras: Egipto bajo los faraones y Síntesis del sistema jeroglífico, entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • CHAMPOLLION, JEAN FRANÇOIS —    a celebrated French Egyptologist, born in Figeac, dep. of Lot; early gave himself to the study of Coptic and Egyptian antiquities; was the first to decipher the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, a great discovery; conducted a scientific… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Champollion, Jean François —  (1790–1832) French Egyptologist who helped decipher the hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Jean-Francois Champollion — Jean François Champollion Pour les articles homonymes, voir Champollion. Jean François Champollion …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jean-françois champollion — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Champollion. Jean François Champollion …   Wikipédia en Français

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