Fourmont Etienne

Fourmont Etienne (Stephen), a French Orientalist, known as Fourmont the elder, to distinguish him from his brother, the abbe Fourmont, was born at Herbelay, near Paris, June 23, 1683, and died December 19, 1745. He was an earnest and indefatigable student, and, being endowed with an unusually quick and retentive memory, stored his mind with a vast amount of information in regard to the classic and Oriental languages and their literature. On the death of the abbe Galland in 1715, Fourmont succeeded him as professor of. Arabic in the College of France and as member of the Academy of Inscriptions, and subsequently became a member of the learned societies of Paris, Berlin, and London. Freret describes him as being of a gentle and cheerful disposition, wholly absorbed in his labors, and possessed of little knowledge of men, but offensively vain of his knowledge. For a list of Fourmont's numerous writings, published or in manuscript, see his life by De Guignes et Des Hautes-Rayes (Vie d'Etienne Fourmont et Catalogue de ses Ouvrages) in the second edition of his Critical Reflections on Ancient History, and Catalogue des Ouvrages de M. Fourmont (Amst.

1731), which is said, however, to contain some works only projected and never completed. Besides his famous commentary on the Psalms and Hebrew poetry, we mention here only Meditationes Sinicae, complectens artem legendi linguae Sinicae Characteres (Paris, 1737, fol.), which is the preliminary portion of the following, published separately: Linguae Sinarum mandarinicae hieroglyphicae grammatica duplex, latine et cum characteribus Sinensium (Paris, 1742, fol.): — Refexions sur l'Origine, l'histoire et la succession des anciens peuples, Chaldeens, Hebreux, Pheniciens, Egyptiens, Grecs jusqu'au temps de Cyrus (Paris, 1735 and 1747, 2 volumes, 4to). — Hoefer Nouv. Biog. Generale, 18:354-365; Rose, New General Biog. Dict. 7:427; Querard, La France litteraire. (J.WM.)

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