Silvestre de Sacy

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Sacy, Antoine Isaac, Baron Silvestre de

Sacy, Antoine Isaac, Baron Silvestre de (äNtwänˈ ēzäkˈ bärôNˈ sēlvĕˈstrə də säsēˈ), 1758–1838, French Orientalist. Sacy's works on Arabic were pioneering, and he was one of the founders of modern Arabic studies in France.
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Sacy, Silvestre de


(Antoine-Isaac Silvestre de Sacy). Born Sept. 21, 1758, in Paris; died there Feb. 21, 1838. French Orientalist. Member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1792).

Silvestre de Sacy became a professor at the School of Oriental Languages in 1795 and at the Collège de France in 1806. In 1814 he was made a baron. He became director of the Collège de France in 1823 and director of the School of Oriental Languages in 1824.

During the restoration period, Silvestre de Sacy was a partisan of the Bourbons. In 1832 he became a peer of France. He was the founder (1821) and first president of the Société Asiatique, the publisher of the Journal Asiatique from 1822, and the publisher of the Journal des Savants from 1816. In 1833 he was named secretary of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres for life.

Among Silvestre de Sacy’s most important works are histories of the Arabs and the Sassanids, an Arabic grammar, and a chrestomathy of Arabic literature. Silvestre de Sacy composed brilliant annotated critical translations of works by Arabic and Persian scholars, including al-Damiri, Mirkhwand, al-Maqrizi, and Abd al-Latif, and investigated the sources of Kalila and Dimna and other works. He also attempted to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.


Mémoire sur l’histoire des Arabes avant Mahomet. Paris, 1785.
Mémoires sur diverses antiquités de la Perse, et sur les médailles des rois de la dynastie des Sassanides. Paris, 1793.
Grammaire arabe, parts 1–2. Paris, 1810.
Chrestomathie arabe, 2nd ed., vols. 1–3. Paris, 1826–27.
Exposé de la religion des druses, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1838.


Krachkovskii, I. Iu. Izbr. soch., vol. I. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955. Vol. 4: Moscow-Leningrad, 1957. (See indexes.)
Deherain, H. Silvestre de Sacy. Paris, 1938.
Fück, J. Die arabischen Studien in Europa. Leipzig, 1955.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.