The New International Encyclopædia/Lepsius, Karl Richard

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LEPSIUS, lĕp'sḗ-ụs Karl Richard (1810-84.) A German archæologist and Egyptologist, born at Naumburg, December 23, 1810. He studied at Leipzig, Göttingen, Berlin, and Paris. His first work, Die Paläographie als Mittel der Sprachforschung (1834), received the Volney Prize of the French Institute. For some years after this he wrote chiefly on paleography, on the Etruscan, Oscan, and Umbrian inscriptions (Inscriptiones Umbricæ et Oscæ, 1841), and on comparative philology (Zwei sprachvergleichende Abhandlungen, 1836, etc.). With his Lettre à M. le professeur H. Rosellini sur l'alphabet hiéroglyphique (1837), written while he was living at Rome (where he became intimately acquainted with Bunsen), he entered the field of hieroglyphic research. In 1842 he was placed at the head of an expedition sent to Egypt by the King of Prussia and spent three years (1842-45) in exploring the ruins of Egypt and Nubia as far as Khartum. The results of this expedition were given to the world in the magnificent work, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien (1850-59), published at the expense of the King, and in his Briefe aus Aegypten (1852). He became professor of Egyptology at Berlin in 1846, director of the Berlin Egyptian Museum in 1865, and director of the Royal Library in 1873. Of his numerous works the following are the most important: Chronologie der Aegypter (1840); Todtenbuch der Aegypter (1842); Das bilingue Decret von Kanopus (1866). He also wrote on metrology, Die Längenmasse der Alten (1884), and on phonetics, Standard Alphabet for Reducing Unwritten Languages, etc. (1863). His Nubische Grammatik (1880) touched on comparative African philology. He died July 10, 1884. Consult Ebers, Richard Lepsius, ein Lebensbild (Leipzig, 1885).