Petis De La Croix
PETIS DE LA CROIX, FRAscots (e. 1633-1713), the best representative of Oriental learning in France during the last decades of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, was born in Paris about 1653. He was son of the Arabic inteipreter of the French court, and inherited this office at his father's death in 1695, after-wards transmitting it to his own son, Alexandre Louis Marie. At an early age he was sent by Colbert to the East ; during the ten years he spent in Syria, Persia, and Turkey he mastered Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, and also collected rich materials for future writings.1 He found, besides, opportunity to equip himself for those diplomatic missions which the French Government entrusted to him soon after his return to Paris in 1680. Having served a short time as secretary to the French ambassador in =Morocco, he accompanied as interpreter the French forces sent against Algiers, and greatly- contributed to the satis-factory settlement of the treaty of peace between the two countries, which was drawn up by himself in Turkish and ratified in 1684. In a similar capacity he conducted the negotiations with Tunis and Tripoli in 1685 and those with _Morocco in 1 687; and the zeal, tact, and linguistic knowledge he manifested in these and other transactions with Eastern courts were at last rewarded in 1692 by his appointment to the Arabic el:air in the College Royal de France, which he filled until his death in 1713.
Ile published Contes Tures, Paris, 1707, and Les Mille el ?tit fours, 5 vols., l'aris, 1710-12,and proved his acquaintance with the Armenian and Ethiopic languages(a powerful impulse to the study of the latter having been given just at that time by the masterly works of Hiob Ludolt) in his Armenian Dictionary and his Amount of Ethiopia. But the lasting monument of his literary fame, the one standard work that has outlived many generations and still keeps a distinct merit of its own, is his excellent French version of Sharaf-uddin 'Ali Yazdi's Zryitriainat, or History of Tivair (completed 828 A.11. ; 1425 A.D.), which was given to the world nine years after his death, 1722 (4 vols., Paris ; translated into English by J. Darby, London, 1723). This work, renowned throughout the East as a model of elegant style, and oue of the rare specimens of a fairly critical history Persia can boast of, was compiled under the auspices of :Mirth Ibrahim Sidtrin, the son of Shah Rukh and gn.andson of the great Tinthr himself. This prince collected all the official records of Tinthr's reign, both in Turkish and Persian, collated and revised them, and had then an accurate text drawn lip by his secretaries, which was turned by Sharaf-uddin into elegant and refined language and revised. by Ibriihim Sultan himself (see Rieu's Cat. Persian.
the Brit. Mits., p. 173 sq.). The only error committed by l'etis de la Croix in his otherwise very correct translation is that he moneonsly ascribed the important share which Ibthhim Sultan had in the Zafarialina to Tinthr himself.