Joseph de Guignes
Joseph de Guignes (October 19, 1721 – March 19, 1800), was a French orientalist, sinologist and Turkologist born at Pontoise, the son of Jean Louis de Guignes and Françoise Vaillant. He died at Paris.
He succeeded Étienne Fourmont 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.
He originated the proposal that the Huns who attacked the Roman Empire were the same people as the Xiongnu mentioned in Chinese records. This view was popularised by his contemporary, Edward Gibbon in Gibbon's famous work, Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. The proposal has been strenuously debated by central Asianists including Maenchen-Helfen, Henning, Bailey, and de la Vaissière.
He maintained that the Chinese nation had originated in Egyptian colonization, an opinion to which, in spite of every refutation, he obstinately clung. He published a number of articles arguing that Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese characters were related, one deriving from the other. Although he was mistaken in that, he is the first scholar known to have recognized the fact that cartouche rings in Egyptian texts contained royal names.
- 1748 – Mémoire historique sur l'origine des Huns et des Turcs
- 1757 – Histoire generale des Huns, des Mongoles, des Turcs el des autres Tartares occidentaux, 3 vols. Paris: Desaint & Saillant. OCLC 5153747
- 1761 – Recherches sur les Navigations des Chinois du Cote de l'Amerique, et sur quelques Peuples situés a l'extremite orientale de l"asie.
- 1789 – An historical essay on the origin of the Oriented characters in the Royal printing-house, on the works which have been printed at Paris, in Arabic in Syriac, in Armenian, &c. and on the Greek characters of Francis I. commonly called the King's Greek. London: OCLC 45767900
- 1824 – Supplément a L'Histoire Générale Des Huns, Des Turks Et Des Mogols. with Osip Ivanovich Senkovskīĭ, Muhammad Yūsuf ibn Khawājah Baqā, Józef Se︣kowski, Muḥammad Yūsuf. Paris: Imprimerie de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences. OCLC 221450524
- McClintock, John. (1891). Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. New York: Harper & brothers.] OCLC 174522454
- Needham, Joseph, Ling Wang, Tsuen-Hsuin Tsien, Gwei-Djen Lu, Dieter Kuhn. (1971). Science and civilisation in China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10-ISBN 0-521-07060-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-521-07060-7