Rawlinson, Sir Henry Creswicke

Rawlinson, Sir Henry Creswicke,

1810–95, English Orientalist and administrator; brother of George Rawlinson. In the course of his service with the Persian army and as consul at Baghdad, Rawlinson became interested in deciphering the cuneiformcuneiform
[Lat.,=wedge-shaped], system of writing developed before the last centuries of the 4th millennium B.C. in the lower Tigris and Euphrates valley, probably by the Sumerians (see Sumer).
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 of the Behistun InscriptionsBehistun Inscription
or Bisutun Inscription
, cuneiform text, the decipherment of which was the key to all cuneiform script and opened to scholars the study of the written works of ancient Mesopotamia.
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 of Darius I. The results of his investigation were published in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1846). He also helped prepare The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia (5 vol., 1861–84) for the British Museum.


See biography by his brother (1898).