The Earliest Contributions to the Decipherment of Sumerian and Akkadian: Notes


1   The three manuscripts of Hincks’ lecture are numbered 554, 555 and 556. The text published in Cathcart 1983, 30-41 is from MS 554.


2   See Rawlinson’s “Memoir” (1846: 1-18) and the recent, reliable and detailed presentation of Rawlinson’s work on the Old Persian inscriptions by Daniels (2009).


3   Hincks (1846: 20) tells us that the body of his paper was written at the beginning of May 1846, a postscript added at the beginning of June, and the notes added at the end of August.


4   Short extracts of the letters can be found in the Literary Gazette, no. 1535 (20 June 1846), 561-562. The extract given here is on p. 562.


5   George Cecil Renouard (1780-1867), Church of England clergyman and scholar, was one of Hincks’ most frequent correspondents. He was Professor of Arabic at Cambridge for some years.


6   Franz Bopp, Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative Literature at Berlin, was particularly pleased to receive Hincks’ Van paper. See his letter of 22 August 1848 in Cathcart 2007: 253-256.


7   Hincks clarified the date of this realization ten years later in a paper read at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Dublin in 1857 (1858: 135).


8   Hincks took the example from J. O’Donovan, A Grammar of the Irish Language (Dublin, 1845), p. 430. O’Donovan is referring to the use of a superscript horizontal stroke above the letter.


9   It is important to mention here the letter by Hincks which was published in February 1856 with the title “Are There Any Assyrian Syllabaries?”: A Letter to the Editor, Monthly Review 1, 130-132. It was a reply to claims made in “Colonel Rawlinson’s Researches”, Monthly Review 1 (January 1856), 44-47. This article was probably written by Rawlinson’s friend William Sandys Wright Vaux, who worked in the British Museum. The periodical Monthly Review ceased publication after two years. Hincks’ letter is republished in Cathcart 2008: 295-297.