Franz Anton Schiefner

Franz Anton von Schiefner. Franz Anton Schiefner (June 18, 1817 – November 16, 1879) was a Baltic German linguist and tibetologist.

Schiefner was born to a German-speaking family in Reval (Tallinn), Estonia, then part of Russian Empire. His father was a merchant who had emigrated from Bohemia. He was educated first at the Reval grammar school, matriculated at St Petersburg as a law student in 1836, and subsequently at Berlin, from 1840 to 1842, where he devoted himself exclusively to studies of Eastern languages. On his return to St Petersburg in 1843 he taught classics in the First Grammar School, and soon afterwards received a post in the Imperial Academy, where in 1852 the cultivation of the Tibetan language and literature was assigned to him as a special function. From 1860 to 1873 he simultaneously held the professorship of classical languages in the Saint Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy. From 1854 until his death he was an extraordinary member of the Imperial Academy. He visited England three times for purposes of research in 1863, 1865 and 1878.

Schiefner made his mark in literary research in three directions. First, he contributed to the ''Memoirs and Bulletin of the St Petersburg Academy'', and brought out independently a number of valuable articles and larger publications on the language and literature of Tibet. He possessed also a remarkable acquaintance with the Mongolian, and when death overtook him had just finished a revision of the New Testament in that language with which the British and Foreign Bible Society had entrusted him.

Further, he was one of the greatest authorities on the philology and ethnology of the Finnic languages. He edited and translated the great Finnish epic ''Kalevala'' into German; he arranged, completed and brought out in twelve volumes the literary remains of Matthias Alexander Castrén, bearing on the languages of the Samoyedic tribes, the Koibal, Karagass, Tungusic, Buryat, Ostyak and Kottic tongues, and prepared several valuable papers on Finnic mythology for the Imperial Academy.

In the third place, he investigated the languages of the Caucasus, which his lucid analyses placed within reach of European philologists. Thus he gave a full analysis of the Tush language, and in quick succession, from Baron Peter von Uslar's investigations, comprehensive papers on the Avar, Udi, Abkhaz, Chechen, Kasi-Kumuk, and Hyrcanian languages. He had also mastered Ossetic, and brought out a number of translations from that language, several of them accompanied by the original text.

He died in Saint Petersburg. Provided by Wikipedia