Henry Creswicke Rawlinson

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rawlinson, Henry Creswicke


Born Apr. 11, 1810, in Chadlington, Oxford; died Mar. 5, 1895, in London. English diplomat and Orientalist; one of the founders of Assyriology.

From 1827 to 1839, Rawlinson was an officer with the British East India Company, first in India and later in Iran. From 1840 to 1843 he was a special representative of the British government in Kandahar, Afghanistan, later serving as consul in Baghdad and Tehran. Between 1835 and 1847 he copied the Behistun inscription, most of which he was later able to decipher. His work contributed greatly to the decipherment of Persian and Babylonian-Assyrian (Akkadian) cuneiform. Rawlinson excavated the ancient Mesopotamian cities of Borsippa (1854) and Sippar (1876), in what is now Iraq. His account of the Afghan Durrani tribes, which was compiled during his stay in Afghanistan, is a valuable source on the situation in Kandahar Province in the early 1840’s. He was president of the Royal Asiatic Society from 1878 to 1881 and president of the Royal Geographical Society in 1871–72 and 1874–75.


The Persian Cuneiform Inscription at Behistun. London, 1846–51.
The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, vols. 1–5. London, 1861–80.


Dandamaev, M. A. Iran pri pervykh Akhemenidakh (VI v. do n. e.). Moscow, 1963. Chapter 1.
Friedrich, J. Deshifrovka zabytykh pis’mennostei i iazykov. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from German.)
Masson, V. M., and V. A. Romodin. Istoriia Afganistana, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965. (See index of names.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1846 a British archaeologist, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson (1810-1895), managed to work his way through the Persian bureaucracy and gain permission to investigate the inscription.