Archibald Henry Sayce

Birth: 1845


Archibald Henry Sayce (25 September 1845 - 4 February 1933), British Orientalist, was born at Shirehampton on the 25th of September 1846, son of the Rev. H. S. Sayce, vicar of Caldicot. He was educated at Bath, and at Queen's College, Oxford, of which he became fellow in 1869. In 1891 he was elected professor of Assyriology at Oxford.

He threw his whole energies into the study of biblical and other Oriental subjects, and though his conclusions have in a number of cases been considerably modified (e.g. in chronology and transliteration) by the work of other scholars (see, e.g. Babylonia and Assyria) it is impossible to overestimate his services to Oriental scholarship.

He travelled widely in the East and continued in later life annual trips up the Nile. An interesting example of the importance of his pioneer work is the fact that there has been a strong tendency to revert to the views which he advanced on the question of the Hittites in his early Oxford lectures. He was a member of the Old Testament Revision Company in 1874-1884; deputy professor of comparative philology in Oxford 1876-1890; Hibbert Lecturer 1887; Gifford Lecturer 1900-1902.

Of his numerous publications the following are of special importance:—Assyrian Grammar for Comparative Purposes (1872); Principles of Comparative Philology (1874); Babylonian Literature (1877); Introduction to the Science of Language (1879); Monuments of the Hittites (1881); Herodotus i.-iii. (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); 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 Inscr. (1907).

He also contributed important articles to the 9th, 10th and 11th editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and edited a number of Oriental works.


1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 24. pg. 276-277.

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