Hincks, Edward (DNB00)

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HINCKS, EDWARD, D.D. (1792–1866), orientalist, eldest son of Thomas Dix Hincks [q. v.], was born at Cork, 19 Aug. 1792, and after a home education proceeded in 1807 to Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. with the gold medal in 1811. In 1825 he was appointed rector of Killyleagh, co. Down, and there he constantly resided until his death, 3 Dec. 1866. Despite the seclusion of his country rectory, Hincks established a reputation of the first order among the pioneers of cuneiform decipherment. His earlier contributions to the ‘Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy’ were chiefly on the subject of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Dr. Brugsch has placed on record (Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morg. Gesellschaft, vol. iii.) his opinion that Hincks was the first to employ the true method for their decipherment. In 1846 his studies were directed to Assyrian, as is shown by his paper (in the ‘Trans. R. I. A.’) on the so-called Median and Persian inscriptions, and others on the Babylonian inscriptions, and those of Van, which he then regarded as Indo-European with a practically Babylonian alphabet. The analytical powers displayed in these essays are very considerable. Hincks enjoyed the distinction of the discovery at Killyleagh of the Persian cuneiform vowel system (R. I. A. vol. xxi.) simultaneously with Rawlinson's independent discovery of the same at Bagdad, and his review of the latter's memoir on the Behistun inscriptions (Dublin University Magazine, January 1847) is at once luminous and scholarly. Many other discoveries may be noted among his numerous articles, mainly contributed to the ‘Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy,’ of which the chief are: ‘The Enchorial Language of Egypt,’ 1833; ‘On the Egyptian Stele,’ 1847; ‘Catalogue of the Egyptian MSS. in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin,’ 1843; ‘On the Hieroglyphic Alphabet,’ 1847; ‘On the three kinds of Persopolitan Writing,’ 1847; ‘On the Khorsabad Inscriptions,’ 1850; ‘On the Assyrio-Babylonian Phonetic Character,’ 1850; ‘Assyrian Mythology,’ 1850; ‘On the Chronology of the 26th Egyptian Dynasty,’ 1850; ‘On Certain Ethnological Boulders,’ 1850; ‘List of Assyrio-Babylonian Characters with Phonetic Values,’ 1852; ‘On the Relation between the Accadian and the Indo-European, Semitic, and Egyptian Languages,’ 1855 (?); ‘On the Assyrian Verbs’ (Journal Sacred Lit. 1855), 1856; ‘Inscr. of Tiglath Pileser,’ 1857; ‘On the Polyphony of the Assyrio-Babylonian Cuneiform Character,’ 1863; ‘Hiéroglyphes et cunéiformes’ (in Chabas' ‘Mélanges Egyptologiques,’ 1864); ‘Assyrio-Babylonian Measures of Time,’ 1865. He began an ‘Assyrian Grammar’ in the ‘Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society’ (new ser. iii. 1866), but left no materials for its completion.

[Annual Report of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1867; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L-P.