Portrait of Léon Renier

A member of the Institut, Léon Renier joined the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in 1861.

© Musée Crozatier

Léon Renier was a long-standing curator at the library of the Sorbonne university. He played an active role in establishing epigraphy as a scientific discipline. His joining the CTG coincided with the commission defining an epigraphic project as one of its objectives.

One of the founding fathers of epigraphy in France...

A member of the Institut and co-founder of the Société archéologique de Constantine, Renier was the author of an important collection, Inscriptions d'Algérie, published in 1855. Keen to see epigraphy given scientific status, he contributed to the introduction of new methods and became the first holder of the chair of philology at the École pratique des hautes études and of the chair of epigraphy and Roman antiquities at the Collège de France. From 1849, he was responsible for the pagan (Gallo-Roman period) section of the Recueil des inscriptions de Gaule project, which aimed to make an inventory of inscriptions discovered on the national territory, therefore entering into direct competition with the Prussian project, the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.

...serving the Commission de Topographie des Gaules

While participating in the Recueil des inscriptions de Gaule project, in 1861, Léon Renier joined the Commission de Topographie des Gaules and undoubtedly provided his support for the commission’s epigraphic endeavours, led by General Creuly. He continued to work on these two projects until the failure of the Recueil des Inscriptions de Gaule project following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.