BARTHĒLEMY, ADRIEN, French Orientalist, born in Paris on 24 August 1859, died at Emancé (Rambouillet) on 18 December 1949. He was a devoted linguist, who learned Sanskrit, Avestan, Turkish, Per­sian, and Arabic at a very young age. Early in his career he became interested in Persian grammar, and after 1878 he was a student of J. Darmesteter at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes; in 1887, he published the results of a study prepared under the latter’s guidance in Paris, with the title Gujastak Abalish: Relation d’une conférence théologique présidée par le Calife Maʾmoun, texte pehlvi . . . avec traduction, commentaire et lexique,which consists of a very detailed study of the text (from manuscripts Suppl. pers. 33 and 46 in the Bibliothèque Nationale and Haug 22 in Munich) and a glossary. In the same year he published, also in Paris, a translation with commentary of Arta Viraf Namak: Descente d’Arta Viraf aux enfers . . .,which appeared in the series Bibliothèque Orientale Elzévirienne (vol. 54).

A career in diplomacy took him away from Iranian studies and led him to begin a monumental dictionary of eastern Arabic dialects. While posted as French vice-consul at Rašt from June, 1903 to April, 1905, however, he conducted research on the phonology of Iranian dialects, specifically Ṭāleši and Gīlakī, but his notes, like his Pahlavi-French and Mazdean Persian dictionaries, remain unpublished.

After returning to France, he taught Arabic at the Ecole des Langues Orientales and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes from 1906 to 1929; his work evinces an exceptional rigor in the fields of dialectology and linguistics.



A. Barthélemy, Dictionnaire Arabe-Français. Dialectes de Syrie: Alep, Damas, Liban, Jérusalem,complementary fascicle, Paris, 1969, pp. 57-68.

J. Basset, “Nécrologie,” JA 239, 1951, pp. 239-41.

(F. Richard)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: December 15, 1988

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