Antoine Galland

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Antoine Galland

Antoine Galland (born April 4, 1646 in Rollot , Picardy , † February 19, 1715 in Paris ) was a French orientalist and numismatist and the first European translator of the stories from the Arabian Nights .


Galland came from a family of small farmers, lost his father at the age of four and learned ancient Greek , Latin and Hebrew in Noyon at the age of ten . He later studied in Paris at the Collège Royal and the Sorbonne . His excellent knowledge of Greek led the French ambassador at the time, Marquis de Nointel, to take him on a five-year mission to the Sublime Porte in Constantinople in 1670 , during which Galland was able to acquire knowledge of Turkish , Persian and Arabic . On this trip he acquired the basis of his important coin collection.

1676 traveled Galland to Jerusalem , recorded to investigate old there monuments and inscriptions, and to outline and made for the same purpose on behalf of the French East India Company in 1679 a third trip to the Levant to the antique collection of Colbert to acquire pieces.

On his return in 1701 he became a member of the Paris Academy of Inscriptions and Fine Arts and in 1709 professor of the Arabic language at the Collège de France . He died on February 19, 1715 in Paris and was buried in the cemetery of the parish church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont .


Galland is especially famous for his first translation of the fairy tales of the Arabian Nights from Arabic:

  • Les mille et une nuits: contes arabes . 12 volumes. Paris 1704-1708. Further editions of his translations were made in 1840 by Silvestre de Sacy and in 1857 by Jules Janin .

The first German translation appeared as early as 1781–1785:

In 1983 a new bibliophile edition was published in German:

  • Antoine Galland (translator); Babina von der Heydt (arr.): A Thousand and One Nights to Galland (Vol. 1–15 of the complete works, revised by Babina von der Heydt). Edition Weitbrecht in Thienemanns Verlag, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-522-71255-2 .

His main work first appeared in 1694:

  • Antoine Galland: Les paroles remarquables, les bons mots, et les maximes des Orientaux: traduction de leurs ouvrages en arabe, en persan et en turc, avec des remarques (Paris 1694, Lyon 1695, Paris 1730). New edition: Maisonneuve & Larose, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-7068-1313-X .

In 1724 his translations of Indian fairy tales and sagas appeared posthumously:

  • Les contes et fables indiennes de Bidpaï et de Lokman. Traduites d'Ali Tchelebi-ben-Saleh, author turc. Oeuvre posthumous by M. (Antoine) Galland . 2 volumes. Paris 1724. Re-edition by M. Cardonne 1784.

Galland's diary during his trip to Constantinople was edited by Charles Schefer in 1881:

  • Charles Schefer (Hers.): Journal d'Antoine Galland pendant son séjour à Constantinople 1672–1673 publié et annoté par Charles Schefer. Leroux, Paris 1881.

Many of his translations never appeared in print, including a translation of the Koran and a history of the Turkish sultans (Histoire générale des empereurs Turcs).


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