Francis Llewellyn Griffith
Early life and education
F. Ll. Griffith was born in Brighton on 27 May 1862 where his father, Rev. Dr. John Griffith, was Principal of Brighton College. After schooling at Brighton College (1871), then privately by his father, he went to Sedbergh School, Yorkshire (1875–78) and Highgate School (1878–80). At Highgate he developed the interest in ancient Egypt that was to determine the rest of his life. Griffith was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University in 1879 and studied at The Queen's College from 1880–82: in the absence of an Egyptological department he taught himself ancient Egyptian.
Griffith worked as a student for The Egypt Exploration Fund (EEF) (later known as the Egypt Exploration Society), a society established in 1882 by Amelia Edwards and Reginald Stuart Poole. This society funded excavations in Egypt and provided opportunities for student apprentices to learn how to excavate and give aspiring Egyptologists a chance to publish their findings. Griffith was urged by his professor to write to Flinders Petrie, an Egyptologist working for the EEF, to see if he could serve as an assistant. He could not afford to finance himself, and Petrie and Edwards were able to convince the EEF to fund Griffith through a scholarship. Griffith trained under Flinders Petrie at the Fund’s Naukratis excavation. He also presented reports on Tell Nebesheh and Tell Gemayemi during one of the Egypt Exploration Fund early annual meetings. It was in this report that he thanked Petrie, "I cannot conclude without expressing my deep obligations for Mr. Petrie for so freely opening to me the rich stores of method and experience which his unrivaled skill has accumulated." After Petrie left the Egypt Exploration Fund, Griffith continued to work for the society under the direction of Edouard Naville.
Griffith married Kate Bradbury (26 August 1854 – 2 March 1902), a good friend of Amelia Edwards, in 1896. Kate died six years later and Griffith eventually inherited his father-in-law's estate. This allowed him to endow the study of Egyptology at Oxford. In 1909 he married Nora Christina Cobban McDonald (1870–1937), who assisted him in his studies and excavations in Egypt and Nubia in 1910–13, 1923, 1929 and 1930, and prepared his unfinished work for publication after his death. Nora was from Aberdeen, and in 2017 the city council approved erection of a blue plaque to honour her as a "noted Egyptologist".
After the establishment of a post in Egyptology, Griffith was appointed Reader in 1901. He was Professor of Egyptology at the university from 1924 until 1932 and died in 1934.
- 1889: The inscriptions of Siut and Dêr Rîfeh. London: Trübner. (online version at the Internet Archive)
- 1898: Hieratic papyri from Kahun and Gurob (principally of the middle kingdom). London: Quaritch. (online version at the Internet Archive)
- 1900: Stories of the High Priests of Memphis: the Dethon of Herodotus and the Demotic tales of Khamuas. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (online version at the Internet Archive)
- 1904-1921: The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (online version: vol. 1, vol. 3 at the Internet Archive)
- 1911: Karanòg: the Meroitic inscriptions of Shablul and Karanòg. Philadelphia: University Museum. (online version at the Internet Archive)
Footnotes and references
- Simpson, R.S. (2008). "Griffith, Francis Llewellyn (1862–1934)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press 204, p. 959
- Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology, University of Wisconsin Press 1995, p. 85
- Report of Third Annual General Meeting & Balance Sheet 1885, [n.p.] , p. 5. HathiTrust Digital Library. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015059695299?urlappend=%3Bseq=20
- Report of Fourth Annual General Meeting and Balance Sheet. 1885–6 London: Trüber & Co., , 8. HathiTrust Digital Library. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015059695299?urlappend=%3Bseq=78.
- Report of Fourth Annual General Meeting and Balance Sheet. 1885-6 London: Trüber & Co., , p. 21. HathiTrust Digital Library. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015059695299?urlappend=%3Bseq=78.
- Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology, University of Wisconsin Press 1995, pp. 222–223
- "Nora Griffith". Artefacts of Excavation: British Excavations in Egypt 1880–1980. Griffith Institute. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- "Council approves commemorative plaques for pioneers". Aberdeen City Council. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- The Ashmolean 16, 1989, pp. 5–7.
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Francis Llewellyn Griffith