Georg Friedrich Grotefend

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grotefend, Georg Friedrich


Born June 9, 1775, in Munich; died Dec. 15, 1853, in Hannover. German philologist who established the principles for the decipherment of Old Persian cuneiform.

Grotefend began his studies while he was a schoolteacher in Göttingen. He selected two inscriptions of the Persian Achaemenid kings as the basis for his decipherment. Proceeding from the recurrence in these inscriptions of the word he guessed to be “king” and guided by a logical chain of reasoning, in 1802 he read the beginning of the first inscription as “Darius, great king, king of kings, son of Hystaspes, the Achaemenid” and the beginning of the second as “Xerxes, great king, king of kings, son of Darius the king, the Achaemenid.”


Friedrich, J. Deshifrovka zabytykh pis’mennostei i iazykov. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from German.)
Flittner, N. D. Kul’tura i iskusstvo Dvurech’ia i sosednikh stran. Leningrad-Moscow, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.