- Category : 1846-births
- Type : PSE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Prevention 1
French Egyptologist. While at school he showed a special taste for history, and by the age of fourteen he was already interested in hieroglyphic writing. It was not until his second year at the École Normale in 1867 that Maspero met fellow Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who was in Paris as commissioner for the Egyptian section of the Exposition Universelle. Mariette gave him two newly discovered hieroglyphic texts of considerable difficulty to study, and the young self-taught scholar produced translations of them in less than a fortnight, a great feat in those days when Egyptology was still almost in its infancy. The publication of these texts in the same year established his academic reputation.
A short time was spent in assisting a gentleman in Peru who was seeking to prove an Aryan affinity for the dialects spoken by the Indians of that country to publish his research, but in 1868 Maspero was back in France at more profitable work. In 1869 he became a teacher (répétiteur) of Egyptian language and archeology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and in 1874 he was appointed to the chair of Champollion at the Collège de France.
In November 1880 Professor Maspero went to Egypt as head of an archeological mission sent there by the French government, which ultimately developed into the well-equipped Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale. This occurred a few months before the death of Mariette, whom Maspero then succeeded as director-general of excavations and of the antiquities of Egypt.
Aware that his reputation was then more as a linguist than an archaeologist, Maspero's first work in the post was to build on Mariette's achievements at Saqqara. He expanded their scope from the early Old Kingdom to the later, with particular interest in tombs with long and complete hieroglyphic inscriptions that could help illustrate the development of the Egyptian language. Selecting five later Old Kingdom tombs, he was successful in that aim, finding over 4,000 lines of hieroglyphics which were then sketched and photographed.
Maspero died on 30 June 1916, at age 70, and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.