Société des antiquaires de France

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The Société des antiquaires de France is a historical and archaeological learned society in France . Founded in 1804 under the name Académie Celtique , since its renaming in 1814 it has been devoting itself to the study of a wide range of cultural phenomena from the Celtic period, Greek and Roman antiquity and the Middle Ages , especially Gaul and France. It is based in the Mollien pavilion of the Louvre .

Background and story

On March 30, 1804, three enthusiasts founded the Académie celtique : the Breton writer Jacques Cambry (1749-1807), the archaeologist and historian Jacques-Antoine Dulaure (1755-1835) and Jacques Le Brigant (1720-1804), member of the Parlement de Brittany and one of the early Europeans caught by Celtomania . The time was influenced by the songs of Ossian , published from 1760 onwards , which were believed to be an authentic epic of Celtic times, allegedly recovered from the Gaelic chants of the Scottish Highlands . The "discovery" of Ossian was celebrated across Europe and triggered a wave of Celtic enthusiasm, to which Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Napoleon Bonaparte , among others, succumbed. In the year the Académie celtique was founded , Jean-François Lesueur brought his opera Ossian ou Les Bardes to the stage, which was extremely successful and earned the composer the Knight's Cross of the Legion of Honor at Napoleon's instigation.

The first meetings took place under the chairmanship of the French writer Joseph Lavallée (1747-1816), on February 22, 1805 Jacques Cambry took over the management of the Académie , whose meetings were now held in the Louvre. First reports were published on Celtic monuments, the Celtic language and Druids , but also on megalithic sites and the Celtic god Cernunnos . The first volume of these mémoires was dedicated to Joséphine de Beauharnais , the wife of Napoleon's Empress of the French .

Since the Académie Celtique wanted to expand the research carried out and funded by it and not continue to restrict it to the Celtic element of the French heritage, it changed its statutes and renamed itself Société des antiquaires de France in 1813 - the patroness was the venerable and highly respected Society of Antiquaries of London . Research area was now the history and culture of France up to the 16th century. Since 1852 the Société has been a learned society registered with the Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques .

Research and publications

In 1829, Charles X commissioned the Société to conduct research on the languages, geography, chronology and history, literature, art and antiquity of the Celts, Greeks and Romans and the Middle Ages, with a focus on Gaul and the French Nation up to and including the 16th century. The Société publishes an annual bulletin , as well as the memoirs and an annually updated directory of members, which also contains the résumés of deceased members. Society members meet weekly in the Mollien Pavilion of the Louvre.

Structure and members

The Société des antiquaires de France is headed by a President and two Vice-Presidents, who are elected annually and whose term of office lasts from January 1st to December 31st. They are assigned two secretaries who are also appointed for one year. In addition, a treasurer, a librarian for the extensive book inventory and an archivist as well as a secretary for publications belong to the governing body of the Société .

The members consist of ten honorary members, ten external and 45 full members. There are also around 350 corresponding members from Germany and abroad.

Foreign members of the German-speaking area included the scholar and educational reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), the Swiss antiquarian and founder of Swiss prehistoric research Ferdinand Keller (1800–1881), the German ancient historian and epigraphist Otto Hirschfeld (1843–1922) ) and Karl Ferdinand Werner (1924–2008), historian and director of the German Historical Institute in Paris .


  • François Braemer: La Société des Antiquaires de France et les documents figurés de l'Antiquité. In: Bulletin de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France. 2010 pp. 49–59 ( digitized version ).

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