Joseph de Guignes
Joseph de Guignes French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Oriental studies
Oriental studies is the academic field of study that embraces Near Eastern and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages, peoples, history and archaeology; in recent years the subject has often been turned into the newer terms of Asian studies and Middle Eastern studies...

 and sinologist, was born at Pontoise
Pontoise is a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris, in the "new town" of Cergy-Pontoise.-Administration:...

, the son of Jean Louis de Guignes and Françoise Vaillant. He died in Paris.

He succeeded Étienne Fourmont
Étienne Fourmont
Étienne Fourmont was a French orientalist.Born at Herblay near Argenteuil, he studied at the Collège Mazarin in Paris and afterwards in the Collège Montaigu where his attention was attracted to Oriental languages....

 at the Royal Library as secretary interpreter of the Eastern languages. His Mémoire historique sur l'origine des Huns et des Turcs, published in 1748, earned him admission to the Royal Society of London in 1752, and he became an associate of the French Academy of Inscriptions in 1754. There soon followed the three volume work, Histoire générale des Huns, des Mongoles, des Turcs et des autres Tartares occidentaux (1756-1758). In 1757 he was appointed to the chair of Syriac at the Collège de France
Collège de France
The Collège de France is a higher education and research establishment located in Paris, France, in the 5th arrondissement, or Latin Quarter, across the street from the historical campus of La Sorbonne at the intersection of Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue des Écoles...


He originated the proposal that the Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

 who attacked the Roman Empire were the same people as the Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 mentioned in Chinese records. This view was popularised by his contemporary, Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

 in Gibbon's famous work, Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89...

. The proposal has been strenuously debated by central Asianists including Maenchen-Helfen, Henning, Bailey, and de la Vaissière.

He maintained that the Chinese
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 nation had originated in Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian colonization, an opinion to which, in spite of every refutation, he obstinately clung. He published a number of articles arguing that Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

 and Chinese characters were related, one deriving from the other. Although he was mistaken in this, he is the first scholar known to have recognized the fact that cartouche
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an ellipse with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, replacing the earlier serekh...

 rings in Egyptian texts contained royal names.

Father of Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes

Joseph de Guignes' son, Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes
Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes
Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes was a French merchant-trader, ambassador and scholar. He was the son of French academician and sinologue, Joseph de Guignes...

 (1759-1845) learned Chinese from his father; and then the son went as consul to Canton (Guangzhou)
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

, where he spent seventeen years. In 1808, he was charged by the government with the work of preparing a Chinese-French-Latin dictionary (Dictionnaire Chinois, Français et Latin, le Vocabulaire Chinois Latin, 1813). He was also the author of a work of travels (Voyages a Pékin, Manille, et l'île de France, 1808).


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.