Champollion, Jean-François


Champollion, Jean-François

biographical name

(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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