George Smith


THE untimely death of Mr. George Smith at the early age of thirty-seven, is a loss that can ill be repaired. Scholars can be reared and trained, but hardly more than once in a century can we expect a genius with the heaven-born gift of divining the meaning of a forgotten language and discovering the clue to an unknown alphabet. The marvellous instinct by which Mr. Smith ascertained the substantial sense of a passage in the Assyrian inscriptions without being always able to give a philological analysis of the words it contained, gave him a good right to the title of “the intellectual picklock,” by which he was sometimes called. The pioneer of Assyrian research, and the decipherer of the Cypriote inscriptions, he could be all the less spared at the present moment, when a key is needed to the reading of those Hamathite hieroglyphics to which the last discoveries he was destined to make have given such an unexpected importance.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

SAYCE, A. George Smith . Nature 14, 421–422 (1876).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.