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Jean-Francois Champollion, A Child Prodigy Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs

1 min read

Talent has nothing to do with age. Many people have proven it with the wonderful talent they had. In 1806, a 16-year-old child from southwestern France, named Jean Francois Champollion had submitted his first paper on Decipherment of Demotic and impressed everyone with his talent. The talent of France became famous as “ Champollion le Jeune(the young)” later. Let’s have a look at his life and achievements!

Jean-Francois Champollion – EARLY LIFE

On 23 December 1790, Jean Francois was born. His father Jacques Champollion was a book trader and a notorious drunker. Jeanne Francois Gualieu, her mother was generally not present in his life. He was sent to Grenoble with his brother and mainly nourished by his brother named Jacques Joseph. His brother has a great role in the life of Jean Francois Champollion. 

He was later sent to the School of Abbe desert by his brother despite financial problems. He started learning many languages and take interest in ancient Egypt. At the age of 16 years, he went to Paris for two years for further studies.


At age of 11,  Joseph Fourier, had shown him a collection of ancient Egyptian articles and documents and at that time no one can read them, he became the first to read them.

At the age of 16, he had already learned and became a master in six ancient oriental languages and Latin and Greek too. He became a professor of history when he returns to Grenoble and continued his research on hieroglyphs, at this time he was just 19. During the time of Napoleon, the copies of Rosetta Stone had found in Egypt, he was frustrated at that time. After that, he lost his job and banish to Figeac. In 1821, he went to Paris even with poor health as trouble occurred again.

In the year 1822, he came to know how hieroglyphs worked clearly and it was considered a breakthrough for him. He went to Italy and then he became curator of the Egypt collection at the Louvre Museum, in the year 1826.

After that, in 1828, he leads a Joint French-Tuscan expedition to Egypt, and there he had made huge advances in decoding. He received the chair of Egyptian antiquities in 1830, which was specially created for him. Then he started giving university courses but due to his illness, he was forced to retreat to Figeac. There he worked as a hieroglyphic grammar. Despite all he had published many works too.

Jean-Francois Champollion Death:

On 4 March 1832, when he was 41 years old, he suffered a stroke that resulted in the loss of a legend.

 The merits of his decipherments were a major topic of discussion during his life. Even after his death by the Egyptologists in Egypt, this is enough to know how important he was for the Dispherments of Egyptian hieroglyphs

Also Read: Arthur Rimbaud – A Child Prodigy And Literary Wunderkind

Mansi Satywali Creative Content Writer at GCPA |  Experienced in Content Writing Feel free to contact me at