William McGuckin de Slane

William McGuckin de Slane

Photograph by Charles Reutlinger
Born 12 August 1801
Belfast, Ireland
Died 4 August 1878
Passy, Paris, France
Occupation Orientalist, Arabic phililogist
Known for Translation of medieval Arabic texts

Angadrème Sophie Félicité de la Barre de Mérona (married 30 October 1826) (died 24 September 1833)

Anne Elise Sutton de Clonard
Children Eugene-Michel-Thomas Macguckin (29 October 1836 - 27 March 1899) + 4 others

William McGuckin (also Mac Guckin and MacGuckin), known as Baron de Slane (Belfast, Ireland, 12 August 1801 - Paris, France, 4 August 1878) was an Irish orientalist. He became a French national on 31 December 1838. and held the post of the Principal Interpreter of Arabic of the French Army from 1 September 1846 until his retirement on 28 March 1872. He is known for publishing and translating a number of important medieval Arabic texts.


De Slane was born in Belfast, the son of James McGuckin and Euphemia Hughes.[1] After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1822[1] he moved to Paris and studied oriental languages under Silvestre de Sacy.

In 1828 he was admitted to the Société Asiatique, a French learned society.[2] The society financed Joseph Toussaint Reinaud and de Slane to prepare a critical edition of the Arabic text of Abu'l-Fida's Takwin al-Buldan. This was published in 1840.[3][2]

Between 1843 and 1846 he was sent on a mission by the French Government to catalogue important documents in the libraries of Algiers and Constantine.[2][4] In 1846 he was appointed as Principal Interpreter for the French African army.[5] He served as Professor of Arabic at the École de langues orientales in Paris and from 1849 also taught Turkish.[5] He was also commissioned by the Bibliothèque Nationale to catalogue their Arabic manuscripts.[5][6]

On 30 October 1826 he married Angadrème Sophie Félicité de la Barre de Mérona. She died seven years later on 24 September 1833. He then married Anne Elise Sutton de Clonard and together they had five children.[1] De Slane was awarded French citizenship on 31 December 1838.[7] He died aged 76 in Passy, France on the 4 August 1878.[1]

In France he was awarded following honours:

Selected publications

Arabic text of Abu'l-Fida's Takwin al-Buldan, one volume, 1840

Translation of a section of Ibn Battuta's rihla, 1843

Translation of Ibn Khallikan's biographical dictionary, four volumes, 1843-1871

Arabic text of Ibn Khaldun's Histoire des Berbères, 2 volumes, 1847-1851

Translation of Ibn Khaldun's Histoire des Berbères, 4 volumes, 1852-1856

Translation of Al-Bakri, 1859, one volume

Translation of Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah (Prolegomena), three volumes, 1863-1868


  1. 1 2 3 4 Darwin, Kenneth, ed. (1990). Familia 1990: Ulster Genealogical Review: Number 6. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation. p. 30. ISBN 978-090190546-8.
  2. 1 2 3 Pouillon, François (2008). Dictionnaire des orientalistes de langue française (in French). Paris: Karthala. pp. 902–903. ISBN 978-2-84586-802-1.
  3. Reinaud & de Slade 1840.
  4. de Slane 1845.
  5. 1 2 3 Néocrologie. Polybiblion : revue bibliographique universelle (in French). 8. October 1878. pp. 365–366.
  6. de Slane 1883–1895.
  7. 1 2 Potiquet, Alfred (1871). L'Institut national de France: ses diverses organisations, ses membres, ses associés et ses correspondants (20 novembre 1795-19 novembre 1869) (in French). Paris: Didier. pp. 182–183.
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
William McGuckin de Slane
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/23/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.