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Letronne, Jean Antoine

LETRONNE, JEAN ANTOINE (1787-1848), French archaeologist, was born at Paris on the 25th of January 1787. His father, a poor engraver, sent him to study art under the painter David, but his own tastes were literary, and he became a student in the College de France, where it is said he used to exercise his already strongly developed critical faculty by correcting for his own amusement old and bad texts of Greek authors, afterwards comparing the results with the latest and most approved editions. From 1810 to 1812 he travelled in France, Switzerland . and Italy, and on his return to Paris published an Essai critique sur la topographic de Syracuse (1812), designed to elucidate Thucydides. Two years later appeared his Recherches gfographiques et critiques on the De Mensura Orbis Terrae of Dicuil. In 1815 he was commissioned by government to complete the translation of Strabo which had been begun by Laporte-Dutheil, and in March 1816 he was one of those who were admitted to the Academy of Inscriptions by royal ordinance, having previously contributed a M (moire, " On the Metrical System of the Egyptians," which had been crowned. Further promotion came rapidly; in 1817 he was appointed director of the Ecole des Charles, in 1819 inspector-general of the university, and in 1831 professor of history in the College de France. This chair he exchanged in 1838 for that of archaeology, and in 1840 he succeeded Pierre C. Francois Daunou (1761-1840) as keeper of the national archives. Meanwhile he had published, among other works, Considerations generates sur devaluation des monnaies grecques et romaines et sur la iialeur de I' or el del' argent avant la decouverte de I'Amerique (1817), Recherches pour servir a, I'histoire d'Egypte pendant la domination des Grecs et des Romains (1823), and Sur I'origine grecque des zodiaques pretendus egyptiens (1837). By the lastnamed he finally exploded a fallacy which had up to that time vitiated the chronology of contemporary Egyptologists. His Diplomes et chartres de Vepoque Merovingienne sur papyrus et sur velin were published in 1844. The most important work of Letronne is the Recueil des inscriptions grecques et latines de I'Egypte, of which the first volume appeared in 1842, and the second in 1848. He died at Paris on the 14th of December 1848.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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