CHARLES ETIENNE BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG (1814-1874)Belgian ethnographer and
Roman Catholic priest, Father Brasseur spent much of his life as a missionary
in Mexico and Central America. Histoire is the first of several
works on that area's people and language. Several sections give
general comments on languages of Mexico. Of particular note is the work's
introduction by Brasseur's fellow-archaeologist, Joseph Marius Alexis
Aubin (b. 1802). In it Aubin demonstrates how Mexican pictographs were
used not only to represent objects, but also to stand for the syllables
forming a word. Histoire paved the way for Brasseur's announcement
in 1863 of his own discovery of a key to the Mexican hieroglyphs.
Unfortunately, his attempts at decipherment were failures, and
his hieroglyphic key is of questionable value. (Bibliothèque
Nationale XVIII:1117-1118; Galland p.28)
Nations Civilées du Mexique et de l'Amerique-Centrale.
Arthus Bertrand, 1857-59. 4 vols.
JOHN CHADWICK (B.1920)Written primarily
the layman, Chadwick here presents an account of the decipherment of the
famous tablet found at Knossos in Crete and Pylos in Greece. The work of
the British architect and amateur cryptographer Michael Ventris
(1922-1957), the project brought to light the oldest form of Greek,
commonly referred to as Mycenaean Greek, or Linear B. A companion volume
to Chadwick and Ventris' Documents in Mycanaean Greek (Cambridge,
1956), Decipherment explains in detail the processes used by
Ventris. First announced in 1953, Ventris' technique includes the use of
the combinatory method and statistical analysis. Chadwick's book is, in
part, a defense of Ventris' work, which has won wide, but not universal
acceptance, the most important critic being A.J. Beattie, Professor of
Greek at Edinburgh. (LC (42-62) 28:297)
The Decipherment of Linear B.
[Eng.] At the University Press, 1959.
JEAN FRANCOIS CHAMPOLLION (1790-1832)Known as the founder of Egyptology, Champollion embodied in
this work the result of his efforts to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. By
equations of demotic and hieroglyphic characters, he was able to identify
native Egyptian names and to demonstrate the relationship between the
ancient Egyptian and Coptic languages. Although he was unable to decipher
the Rosetta Stone inscription, Champollion's work clearly established the
alphabetic character of Egyptian hieroglypic writing.
Précis first appeared in 1824. It was supplemented by
Grammaire Egyptienne (Paris, 1836-41) and Dictionnaire
Egyptien (Paris, 1841-1843), both edited from manuscripts by
Champollion's brother, Jacques Joseph Champollion-Figeac (1778-1867).
Before his death, Champollion succeeded in translating lengthy texts in
hieroglyphic and hieratic, but his work was contested by many after his
death. (Gaulland p. 38; NUC 103:118 (NC 0293030))
Système Hiéroglyphique des Anciens Egyptiens. Seconde
[Paris] Imprimerie Royale, 1827-28. 2 vols. in
EDUARD VLADIMIROVICH EVREINOV (and others)Under the sponsorship of the Academy of
Sciences at Novosibirsk, this work presents an attempt to interpret Mayan
hieroglyphs by the use of computer technology. Volumes 1 and 2 give
facsimiles of the Mayan manuscripts Codex Tro-Cortesianus at the Museo de
América in Madrid, and Codex Dresdensis Maya at the
Sächsische Landesbibliothek, Dresden. Each section of manuscript is
accompanied by a numeric transcription of the hieroglyphs and a proposed
textual transliteration. Volume 3 is a systematized catalog of the
hieroglyphs in the Madrid and Dresden codices, together with their
computer program equivalents. (NUC (63-67) 16:531)
Vychislitel'nykh Mashin y Issledovanii Pis'mennosti Drevnikh Maiia.
Novosibirsk, Izd-vo Sibirskogo Otedeleniia AN SSSR, 1961. (In cyrillic
characters) 3 vols.
ATHANASIUS KIRCHER (1601-1680)This is one of several works in which Kircher,
Professor of Oriental Languages at Würzburg and Rome, brought to the attention of
the scholarly world the importance of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Prodromus is concerned primarily with the study of the Coptic
language, and the institutions of Coptic Christians. In a lengthy section
devoted to the language, Kircher compares Coptic with Greek, Hebrew, and
other oriental languages. He gives particular attention to the
possibility of finding Coptic words and names in Egyptian hieroglyphs.
(Brunet 3:668; Graesse IV:22)
Prodromvs Coptvs, sive
Rome, Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith,
OLE WORM (1588-1654)A Danish physician, Ole Worm
was the first to practice prehistoric archaeology. The present work is
particularly important for its description of many Danish monuments and
inscriptions now lost. Worm devotes a major portion of the work to the
study of runes. Bound with this copy of Danicorum Monumentorum is
a copy of the author's Fasti Danici (Copenhagen, 1643), a work
dealing with runic calendars. This volume bears the bookplate of John
Campbell. 3rd Earl of Breadalbane (ca. 1696-1782; Brunet 5:1477-1478;
Danicorum Monumentorum Libri Sex.
Copenhagen, Joachim Moltke, 1643.
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