Sayce, Archibald Henry

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'Rev. Archibald Henry Sayce' (September 25, 1846 - February 4, 1933) was among the first generation of Assyriologists to begin unlocking the secrets of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations. Suffering from tuberculosis at a young age, Sayce still managed to become extremely academically apt; he eventually attended Queens College, Oxford.

His skills as both a linguist and a philologist inclined him to make translations of cuneiform tablets none had ever attempted before. In 1874, Sayce became among the very first to translate astrological cuneiform tablets in his paper, "The Astronomy and Astrology of the Babylonians". After many subsequent successes at translating more heiroglyphics, he was able to make among his most significant of discoveries. In a field where often the only evidence for the existence of an ancient culture was its mention in the Bible, Sayce discovered that the Hittite society was much more than once thought; that it was in fact a Hittite empire. This has laid the foundation for the understanding of Ancient Near Eastern society, as the study of the Hittites has been among the more extensively studied. Not only, in fact, did he discover the Hittite Empire, but he made significant leaps and bounds in translating their cuneiform system in his find of a disc inscribed in both Hurrian and Hittite, reading "Tarritktimme, king of the country of Erme". This was one of the catalysts for the later comprehensive translations of many ancient languages being compiled currently.

Later turning his sights on Egyptology, Sayce worked at El Kab in his later years, eventually passing away February 4, 1833.

Major Works

*An Assyrian Grammar for Comparative Purposes (1872) *Principles of Comparative Philology (1874) *An Elementary Grammar of the Assyrian Language (1875) *Lectures upon the Assyrian Language and Syllabry (1877) *Babylonian Literature (1877) *Introduction to the Science of Language (1879) *Monuments of the Hiltites (1881) *Herodotus i-ui. (1883) *Ancient Empires of the East (1884) *Introduction to Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther (1885) *Assyria (1885) *Hibbert Lectures on Babylonian Religion (1887) *The Hittites (1889) *Races of the Old Testament (1891) *Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments (1894) *A Primer of Assyriology (1894) *Patriarchal Palestine (1895) *The Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotus (1895) *Early History of the Hebrews (1897) *Israel and the Surrounding Nations (1898) *Babylonians and Assyrians (1900) *Egyptian and Babylonian Religion (1903) *Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions (1907)

Remarks

Professor of Assyriology, Oxford University, 1891-1919 Honorary Degrees from Oxford, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dublin, and Oslo. Triennial Gold Medal of the Royal Asiatic Society

Obituaries

AfO 8 (1932-1933) 341-342 (S. Langdon), with photo

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