Herbelot, Bartholomew D (or Dherbelot)

Herbelot, Bartholomew D' (or D'Herbelot)

a distinguished French Orientalist, was born at Paris Dec. 4, 1625. He studied at the University of his native city, where he acquired a good knowledge of Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. He then visited Italy, in order to establish relations with the people of the Oriental countries, of which there were a large number at Genoa, Leghorn, and Venice. At Rome he became acquainted with Lucas Holstenius and Leo Allatins, and was highly esteemed by the cardinals Barberini and Grimaldi, as well as by queen Christina of Sweden. On his return to France he received a pension of 1500 francs from Fouquet, and was afterwards appointed royal secretary and interpreter of Oriental languages at Paris. On a second journey to Italy in 1666, the grand duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II, endeavored to persuade him to remain, and presented him with a number of Eastern MSS., but in vain. He returned to Paris, where Colbert granted him again a pension of 1500 francs, and Louis XIV appointed him professor of Syriac at the College of France, after the death of James d'Auvergne in 169-2. Herbelot died Dec. 8,1695. He wrote Bibliothéque Orientale. ouv Dictionnaire universal contenant tout ce quifait connaitre les peuples dle l'Orient. It was published after his death by Ant. Galland (Paris, 1697, fol.; Maestricht, 1776, fol.; supplement, 1781, etc.; best ed. Par. 1782, 8vo). The title of this work gives a good idea of its character: it is a storehouse of whatever belongs to Oriental literature. The book, however, is merely a translation of passages, alphabetically arranged, from Hadji Khalfah's-bibliographical dictionary, and of some hundred and fifty MSS. Herbelot did not take the trouble to compare their statements with those of other writers, so that it contains only the views of the Mohammedans on themselves and their neighbors. Yet it is a very useful work for students and being the only one of its kind, is still highly considered. Desessarts has given a popular abridgment of it (Paris, 1782, 6 vols. 8vo); it was translated into German by Schultz (Halle, 1785-1790, 4 vols. roy. 8vo). Herbelot wrote also a catalogue of part of the MSS. contained in the Palatine Library at Florence, which was translated from Italian into Latin, and is to be found in Schellhorn's Amenitates litterarios. See Cousin, Eloge de D'iHerbelot (in the Journal des Savants, Jan. 3rd, 1696); Perratult, Homes illustres, 2, 154-158; Goujet, Mem. sur le College de ,France, 3, 155-158; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 25, 283. (J.N.P.)

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