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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Born in 1916, Lewis was educated in the scholarship of the 19th century and early 20th orientalists, the mustashriqun as they were called by Arab historians, among them Sylvestre de Sacy, Snouck Hurgronje, Ignaz Goldziher, Joseph Schacht and William Muir, whose works on the life of Muhammad and the caliphate were underscored with the belief that 'the sword of Mahomet and the Coran are the most stubborn enemies of Civilization, Liberty and Truth which the world has yet known.' A slightly older contemporary was Hamilton Gibb, the acknowledged doyen of Middle Eastern studies in the West for the first half of the 20th century.
Although taking into account contemporaneous views of de Sacy, von Hammer, Schlegel and Lane, the Athenaeum critic of the 1830s was fully aware of the pitfalls of basing final judgments regarding the date of composition on scattered references to historical events.
Recognizing the potential of the stone's trilingual inscriptions in Greek, Egyptian Demotic (cursive), and hieroglyphic, European scholars like the French baron Silvestre de Sacy [17581838]--a mentor and sometime nemesis of his pupil, Champollion--and the British scientist and all-around polymath Thomas Young [1773-1829] began to search for equivalents of the names of the Macedonian rulers of Egypt in the hieroglyphic section.
Entiende, como explicara con gran sensibilidad pedagogica a Monsieur de Sacy, que la filosofia por si sola nunca habria sido capaz de descubrirla (7), y sin embargo es lo que da razon de que el alma humana esconda tantas y tan profundas contradicciones (8).
Il y a ceux qui formalisent les premieres traditions, comme Barthelemy lui conferent une dimension savante au XIXe siecle, tels Antoine Silvestre de Sacy ou Ernest Renan, ceux qui le parent, par leurs recits de voyages ou leurs souvenirs, d'une dimension litteraire, Edward William Lane, Rene de Chateaubriand, Alphonse de Lamartine, Gustave Flaubert, Gerard de Nerval, ceux qui le mettent en reuvre pour asseoir la domination coloniale, Lord Cromer ou Lord Curzon, ceux qui en tirent parti pour manipuler le monde arabe, tels Lawrence d'Arabie, ou ceux qui, des annees 1920 au debut des annees 1960, portent a sa perfection l'orientalisme academique et ses utilisations politiques, Louis Massignon en France, Sir Gibb en Grande-Bretagne puis aux Etats-Unis.
Screenplay, Bonitzer, Agathe de Sacy. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (noncompeting), Aug.