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Secretary to a Commission for ascertaining the length of the seconds pendulum, for comparing French and English standards, etc., and in 1818 he was appointed Secretary of the Board of Longitude and Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac. In 1825 he became Medical Referee and Inspector of Calculations to the Palladium Insurance Company. In 1826 he was elected one of the eight foreign Associates of the Academy of Sciences at Paris. In February, 1829, he began to suffer from repeated attacks of asthma, and by the April following he was in a state of great weakness; he died on the Young's ioth of May, not having completed his fifty-sixth year. An dea excellent steel engraving of Young, by R. Ward, from a picture by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A., forms the frontispiece to his life by Dean Peacock, which, according to J. J. Champollion-Figeac, “exprime fidèlement la douceur, la grâce, les traits d'une figure toute rayonnante d'intelligence.”
Jean François Champollion, surnamed le Jeune, the immortal discoverer of a correct system of decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics, was born at Figeac on December 24, 1790. His family came originally from Champoléon in the Cham., High Alps, where a branch of it still holds property. As a p boy he made rapid progress in classical studies, and he devoted and
classical himself at the same time to botany and mineralogy; at a very studies. early date however he showed a natural taste for oriental languages, and like Young was, at the age of thirteen, master of a fair knowledge of Hebrew, Syriac and Chaldee. In 1805 his brother J. J. Champollion-Figeac brought him to Paris, and caused him to be admitted to the Cours de l'Ecole des Langues Orientales, and introduced him to Silvestre de Sacy. Soon after his arrival in Paris Champollion turned his attention to the study of the hieroglyphic inscription on the Rosetta Stone, but his powerful friend de Sacy advised the elder brother to warn the younger off a study which ne pouvait donner aucun résultat. In 1812 he was nominated Professor of Ancient History to the faculty of Letters at Grenoble,
· Lettre au Directeur de la Revue Britannique au sujet des Recherches du
- Let Young, Paris, 1857 Champollion's st. 111. pp. 153,
? On the subject of Champollion's studies, at Grenoble, see Chroniques Dauphinoises, par A. Champollion-Figeac, t. III. pp. 153, 156, 157–238.
where he still carried on his oriental studies. When he
arrived in Paris he found that the old Egyptologists maintained Cham that hieroglyphics were a symbolic language, and seeking pollion's hiero
to verify this theory, he wasted a year. He made up his glyphic mind h
mind, however, to work out this question without having and Coptic studies.
regard to the theories of others, and he sketched out a plan for a large work on Egypt in several volumes. The first part of this appeared at Grenoble in 1811, entitled Introduction; it was never sold, for only about thirty copies were printed, but it appeared, without the analytical table of Coptic geographical names, under the title L'Egypte sous les Pharaons, 8vo., 2 vols., 1814. About this time Young, in England, was studying the texts on the Rosetta Stone, and had actually begun to make a translation of the demotic section, making use of the results obtained by de Sacy and Akerblad, to the latter of whom great credit is due for his acuteness and insight. Whatever may be said as to Champollion's ignorance of Young's results, it is quite certain that he must have known of those of Akerblad, and we know (see p. 135) that a printed copy of
Young's paper on the Rosetta Stone had been put into Cham Champollion's hands by de Sacy. In a very short time pollion ated Champollion discovered where his predecessors had broken
down, and having already written De l'écriture Hiératique des Young's labours. Anciens Egyptiens, Grenoble, 1821, on September 17, in the
following year, he read his Mémoire on the hieroglyphics and exhibited his hieroglyphic Alphabet, with its Greek and Demotic equivalents, before the Académie des Inscriptions. Champollion's paper created a great sensation, and Louis XVIII. wished a statement concerning it laid before him, and M. le Duc de Doudeauville determined that an Egyptian Museum should be formed in the Palace of the Louvre. In the same year Champollion published his Lettre à M. Dacier, relative à l'Alphabet des Hiéroglyphes phonétiques, in which he showed beyond a doubt that his system was the correct one. In a series of Mémoires read at the Institut in April, May and June, 1823, he explained his system more fully, and these he afterwards published together entitled Précis du Système Hiéroglyphique des Anciens Egyptiens, Paris, 2 vols., 1824. A second edition, revised and corrected, appeared in 1828. In
June, 1824, Champollion arrived in Turin, where he devoted Cham.. himself to the study of papyri. Early in 1825 he arrived in travels.
:. pollion's Rome, and thence he went to Naples, where all the museums were opened for him. In 1826 he returned to Paris. In July, Visits
Egypt. 1828, he set out on his long planned voyage to Egypt, and returned in March, 1830, bringing with him a fine collection of antiquities, and a number of copies of inscriptions which filled about two thousand pages. As soon as he returned to France he set to work to publish the rich results of his travels, but while occupied with this undertaking, death overtook him on the 4th of March, 1832. Louis-Philippe ordered that busts of him, executed at the expense of the civil list, should be placed in the galleries of the palace at Versailles, and in the rooms of the Egyptian Museum of the Louvre ; he also ordered that marble for another bust should be given to Champollion-Figeac, and that the carving thereof should be entrusted to the famous sculptor Etex. An etched portrait of Champollion le Jeune will be found in Les Deux Champollion, leur Vie et leurs Euvres, par Aimé ChampollionFigeac: Grenoble, 1887, p. 52.
In addition to the works of Champollion mentioned above, the following are the most important:Rapport à son Excellence M. le Duc de Doudeauville, sur Cham.,
pollion's la Collection Egyptienne à Livourne, Paris, 1826.
works. Lettres à M. le Duc de Blacas d'Aulps relatives au Musée royal Egyptien de Turin ..... (avec Notices chronologiques par Champollion-Figeac): Paris, 1824–26.
Notice sur les papyrus hiératiques et les peintures du cercueil de Pétaménoph (Extr. de Voyage à Meroë par Cailliaud de Nantes), Paris, 1827.
Notice descriptive des Monuments Egyptiens du Musée Charles X, Paris, 1827.
Catalogue de la Collection Egyptienne du Louvre, Paris, 1827.
Catalogue des Papyrus Egyptiens du Musée du Vatican, Rome, 1826.
Monuments de l'Egypte et de la Nubie, iv vols., fol., 440 planches. Publié par ordre du Gouvernement, pour faire suite à l'ouvrage de l’Expédition d'Egypte, Paris, 1829–1847.
Lettres écrites pendant son voyage en Egypie, en 1828, 1829, Paris, 1829; 2me édition, Paris, 1833; collection complète. A German translation by E. F. von Gutschmid was published at Quedlinburg, in 1835.
Grammaire Egyptienne, aux Principes généraux de l'écriture sacrée Egyptienne appliqués à la représentation de la langue parlée ; ..... Avec des prolégomènes et un portrait de l'éditeur, M. Champollion-Figeac, Paris, 1836–1841.
Dictionnaire Egyptien, en écriture hiéroglyphique, publié d'après les manuscrits autographes ..... par ChampollionFigeac, Paris, 1841.
The results of Dr. Young's studies of the Rosetta Stone were first communicated to the Royal Society of Antiquaries in a letter from Sir W. E. Rouse Boughton, Bart.; the letter
was read on the 19th of May, 1814, and was published the folYoung's lowing year in Archæologia, Vol. XVIII. pp. 59–72, The letter labours on the
was accompanied by a translation of the demotic text on the Rosetta
Rosetta Stone, which was subsequently reprinted anonymously Stone in 1814. in the Museum Criticum of Cambridge, Pt. VI., 1815, together
with the correspondence which took place between Dr. Young and MM. Silvestre de Sacy and Akerblad. In 1802 M. Akerblad, the Swedish President at Rome, published his Lettre sur l'inscription Egyptienne de Rosette, adressée au citoyen Silvestre de Sacy, in which he gave the results of his study of the demotic text of the Rosetta Stone ; M. Silvestre de Sacy also had occupied himself in the same way (see his Lettre au citoyen Chaptal, au sujet de l'inscription Egyptienne du monument trouvé à Rosette : Paris, 1802), but neither scholar had made any progress in the decipherment of the hieroglyphic text. In August, 1814, Dr. Young wrote to Silvestre de Sacy,
asking him what Mr. Akerblad had been doing, and saying, Corres “I doubt whether the alphabet which Mr. Akerblad has pondence
e given us can be of much further utility than in enabling between Young and us to decipher the proper names; and sometimes I have de Sacy.
I Letter to the Rev. S. Weston respecting some Egyptian Antiquities. With 4 copper plates. London, 1814.
even suspected that the letters which he has identified resemble the syllabic sort of characters by which the Chinese express the sounds of foreign languages, and that in their usual acceptation they had different significations: but of this conjecture I cannot at present speak with any great confidence.”..... To this M. de Sacy replied: .... "Je ne vous dissimule pas, Monsieur, que malgré l'espèce De Sacy's d'approbation que j'ai donnée au système de M. Akerblad, opinions dans la réponse que je lui ai adressée, il m'est toujours resté works. des doutes très forts sur la validité de l'alphabet qu'il s'est fait. ..... Je dois vous ajouter que M. Akerblad n'est pas le seul qui se flatte d'avoir lu le texte Egyptien de l'inscription de Rosette. M. Champollion, qui vient de publier deux volumes sur l'ancienne géographie de l’Egypte, ? et qui s'est beaucoup occupé de la langue Copte, prétend avoir aussi lu cette inscription. Je mets assurément plus de confiance dans les lumières et la critique de M. Akerblad que dans celles de De Sacy M. Champollion, mais tant qu'ils n'auront publié quelque a résultat de leur travail, il est juste de suspendre son juge- pollion's ment.” (Leitch, Vol. III. p. 17.) Writing to M. de Sacy in October of the same year, Young says: “I had read Mr. Akerblad's essay but hastily in the course of the last winter, and I was not disposed to place much confidence in the little that I recollected of it; so that I was able to enter anew upon the investigation, without being materially influenced by what he had published ; and though I do not profess to lay claim to perfect originality, or to deny the importance of Mr. Akerblad's labours, I think myself authorised to consider my own translation as completely independent of his ingenious researches : a circumstance which adds much to the probability of our conjectures where they happen to agree. It is only since I received your obliging letter, that I have Young on again read Mr. Akerblad's work; and I have found that it agrees almost in every instance with the results of my own
i For these letters I am indebted to the third volume of the Miscellancous Works of the late Thomas Young, M.D., F.R.S., &c., ed. John Leitch, London, 1855.
? L'Egypte sous les Pharaons, ou recherches sur la Géographie, la Religion, la Langue, les Ecritures, et l'Histoire de l'Egypte, Paris, 1814.