CUMONT, Franz Valéry Marie. Aalst 3.1.1868 — Brussels 20.8.1947. Belgian Scholar of Ancient Religions, History and Archaeology. Studies at Ghent, Bonn, Berlin, Vienna and Paris. Ph.D. 1887 Ghent. From 1892 taught, from 1906 as Professor at Ghent, but in 1911 the catholic Minister of Education refused to appoint him to the chair of history of religions. As wealthy man he continued his studies as private scholar, living in Paris and Rome. In 1900-38 made several field trips to Anatolia and the Near East, discovered Dura-Europos. Beside classical languages knew only Syriac, not Iranian, but specialised in the Mithras religion, which he derived from Iranian origins. His Manichaean studies became soon antiquated through the new text finds.
Publications: ed. Textes et monuments relatifs aux mystères de Mithra. Bruxelles 1894-99, the introduction separately as Les mystères de Mithra. Br. 1900, also in English translation.
– Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain. Paris 1906, 4th ed. 1929.
– Recherches su le Manichéisme. Bruxelles 1908.
– with J. Bidez: Les mages hellénisés. Zoroastre, Ostanès et Hystaspe d’après la tradition grecque. 1-2. 1938.
– other works on religions, on Ponto-Armenian archaeology and Dura-Europos.
Sources: C. Bonnet, D.O.L.F. 247f.; *L. Canet, life and good photo in preface to Cumont’s Lux Perpetua. P. 1949; J. Duchesne-Guillemin, Encyclopaedia Iranica 6, 1993, 454f.; Wikipedia.