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JEAN FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION (1790–1832)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 832 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION (1790–1832), French Egyptologist, called LE JEUNE to distinguish him from Champollion-Figeac (q.v.), his elder brother, was born at Figeac, in the department of Lot, on the 23rd of December 1790. He was educated by his brother, and was then appointed government pupil at the Lyceum, which had recently been founded. His first work (1804) was an attempt to show by means of their names that the giants of the Bible and of Greek mythology were personifications of natural phenomena. At the age of sixteen (1807) he read before the academy of Grenoble a paper in which he maintained that the Coptic was the ancient language of Egypt. He soon after removed to Paris, where he enjoyed the friendship of Langles, De Sacy and Millin. In 1809 he was made professor of history in the Lyceum of Grenoble, and there published his earlier works. Champollion's first decipherment of hieroglyphics dates from 1821. In 1824 he was sent by Charles X. to visit the collections of Egyptian antiquities in the museums of Turin, Leghorn, Rome and Naples; and on his return he was appointed director of the Egyptian museum at the Louvre. In 1828 he was commissioned to undertake the conduct of a scientific expedition to Egypt in company with Rosellini, who had received a similar appointment from Leopold II., grand duke of Tuscany. He remained there about a year. In March 1831 he received the chair of Egyptian antiquities, which had been created specially for him, in the College de France. He was engaged with Rosellini in publishing the results of Egyptian researches at the expense of the Tuscan and French governments, when he was seized with a paralytic disorder, and died at Paris in 1832. Champollion, whose claims were hotly disputed for many years after his death, is now universally acknowledged to have been the founder of Egyptology. He wrote L'Egypte sous les Pharaons (2 vols. 8vo, 1814) ; Sur l'ecriture hieratique (1821); Sur l'ecriture demotique; Precis du systeme hieroglyphique, &c. (1824) ; Pantheon egyptien, ou collection des personnages mythologiques de l'ancienne Egypte (incomplete) ; Monumens de l'Egyple et de la Nubie consideres par rapport a l'histoire, la religion, &c.; Grammaire igyptienne (1836), and Dictionnaire egyptienne (1841), edited by his brother; Analyse methodique du texte demotique de Rosette; Apercu des resultats historiques de la decouverte de l'alpkabet hieroglyphique (1827) ; Memoires sur les signes employes par les Egyptiens clans leurs trots systemes graphiques a la notation des principales divisions du temps; Lettres ecrites d'Egypte et de Nubie (1833) ; and also several letters on Egyptian subjects, addressed at different periods to the duc de Blacas and others. See H. Hartleben, Champollion, sein Leben and sein Werk (2 vols., 1906); also EGYPT: Language and Writing (ad init.). CHAMPOLLION-FIGEAC, JACQUES JOSEPH (1778–1867), French archaeologist, elder brother of Jean Francois Champollion, was born at Figeac in the department of Lot, on the 5th of October 1778. He became professor of Greek and librarian at Grenoble, but was compelled to retire in 1816 on account of the part he had taken during the Hundred Days. He afterwards became keeper of manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and professor of palaeography at the Ecole des Chartes. In 1849 he became librarian of the palace of Fontainebleau. He edited several of his brother's works, and was also author of original works on philological and historical subjects, among which may be mentioned Nouvelles recherches sur les patois ou idiomes vulgaires de la France (1809), Annales de Lagides (1819) and Chartes latines sur papyrus du VP siecle de Pere chretienne. His son AIMS (1812–1894) became his father's assistant at the Bibliotheque Nationale, and besides a number of works on historical subjects wrote a biographical and bibliographical study of his family in Les Deux Champollion (Grenoble, 1887).
End of Article: JEAN FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION (1790–1832)
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