Rawlinson, Henry Creswicke

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.)