Jean-François Champollion

  • Joanna Dębowska-LudwinEmail author
Living reference work entry

Basic Biographical Information

Jean-François Champollion was born in 1790 in Figeac, Midi-Pyrénées, France. He spent his early years in the family house surrounded by books hidden for the time of the French Revolution by his father, a former bookseller. However, the most important for the education and later Champollion’s career was his older brother, Jacques-Joseph Champollion-Figeac (as he signed his works in contrast to the younger Champollion le jeune), who became his first teacher, counselor, and guardian and even the editor of Champollion’s texts after his premature death.

Champollion was a genially talented linguist and historian and a pioneering archaeologist, who – apart from his works – left many private letters illustrating his ideas, passions, and difficult character: straightforward, proud, self-confident, and even impertinent. He studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Ethiopian, Chaldean, Coptic, Chinese, Zend, Pahlavi, Farsi, etc., but his extraordinary talents manifested...

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  1. Champollion, J.-F. 1822. Lettre à M. Dacier, relative à l’alphabet des hieroglyphs phonétiques. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar
  2. Champollion, J.-F. 1823–1825. Panthéon égyptien: Collection des personages mythologiques de l’ancienne Égypte. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar
  3. Champollion, J.-F. 1824. Précis du système hiéroglyphique des anciens Égyptiens. Paris: Treuttel & Würtz.Google Scholar
  4. Champollion, J.-F., 1835–1845. Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie d’après les dessins executes sur les lieux sous la direction de Champollion le jeune et les descriptions autographes qu’il a laissées, ed. J.-J. Champollion-Figeac, vols. 1–4. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar
  5. Champollion, J.-F. 1836. In Grammaire égyptienne, ou Principes généraux de la langue sacrée égyptienne appliqué à la representation de la langue parlée, ed. J.-J. Champollion-Figeac. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar
  6. Champollion, J.-F. 1841–1843. Dictionnaire égyptien en écriture hiéroglyphique, ed. J.-J. Champollion-Figeac. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar

Further Readings

  1. Hartleben, H. 1906. Champollion: Sein Leben und Sein Werk. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung (the first Champollion’s biography, mostly outdated and full of romantic, unreferenced stories).Google Scholar
  2. Lacouture, J. 1988. Champollion: Une vie de lumière. Paris: Grasset (paints a vivid picture of the Champollion’s personality).Google Scholar
  3. Robinson, A. 2012. Cracking the Egyptian code: The revolutionary life of Jean-Francois Champollion. Oxford: Oxford University Press (the most recent and the most objective book focused on Champollion).Google Scholar
  4. Solé, R., and D. Valbelle. 1999. La Pierre de Rosette. Paris: Le Seuil (an easy to read book on a wider subject with an extensive part on Champollion’s work seen from a French perspective).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament of Egyptian and Near Eastern ArchaeologyInstitute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University in KrakowKrakowPoland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Claire Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia