The Full Wiki

More info on Friedrich von Adelung

Friedrich von Adelung: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Friedrich von Adelung (born February 25, 1768 in Stettin – died January 30, 1843 in Saint Petersburg) was a German-Russian linguist, historian and bibliographer. His best known works are in the fields of bibliography of Sanskrit language and the European accounts of the Time of Troubles in Russia.



A nephew of historian Johann Christoph Adelung, Friedrich von Adelung graduated from Leipzig University, traveled across Europe and settled in Saint Petersburg in 1794. After a brief state service in Mitau (1795–1797), Adelung relocated to Saint Petersburg for the rest of his life. He assumed the role of a state supervisor for the German-Russian community, first in German book censorship, later (1801) as the manager of German-language theaters. In 1803 he was appointed as a tutor to Grand Duke Nicholas, heir apparent and the future Tsar, and his brother Michael. A collection of antiques compiled by Adelung and sold in 1804 to Vasiliy Karazin, founder of the Kharkiv University, formed the nucleus of Kharkiv University library. Adelung was an honorary professor of Kharkiv and Derpt universities since 1809. In 1819 Adelung joined the Foreign Ministry service, and in 1825 assumed control of its Institute of Oriental Languages. At that time it was the only college in Europe offering studies in Persian and Turkish languages. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1819.[1]

In 1810s Adelung promoted the idea of setting up a Russian National Museum dedicated exclusively to national history (in opposition to pan-European Hermitage Museum), later praised as a "local Russian breakthrough in museology."[2] Unlike the Russia for Russians ideologists, Adelung specifically addressed the country's diversity with his plans to set up a repository for the sources in nearly a hundred languages spoken in Russia, and compiling dictionaries and grammars for the languages that yet had no established written tradition.[3] Adelung believed that his linguistic studies were targeting not the languages themselves, but the history of nations and races.[4]

Since the end of Napoleonic Wars and until his death Adelung was involved in sorting out, reviewing and categorizing the European manuscripts related to pre-Petrine Russian history. He published biographies and critical assessments of Sigismund von Herberstein (1818), August von Meyerberg (1827), Conrad Bussow and other major sources on Muscovy; the work culminated in Kritisch-literarische Übersicht der Reisenden in Rußland bis 1700 (Critical bibliographical review of the memoirs by travelers into Russia prior to 1700). The book, published posthumously in 1846, earned the Demidov Prize of the Russian Academy. In a completely unrelated effort, Adelung compiled a bibliography of then known Sanskrit sources; an abridged version of his work has been since regularly reprinted (latest English reissue: 2008). All works by Adelung were originally written and published in German language.

Adelung's elder son Karl (1803–1829) joined Russian diplomatic service and was killed in Tehran together with Alexandr Griboyedov. Another son, Nikolay, followed father's profession and became an editor and publisher of his works.


  • Adelung, Friedrich von (2008). An Historical Sketch Of Sanscrit Literature: With Copious Bibliographical Notices Of Sanscrit Works And Translations. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0548884498, 9780548884492.  
  • Andresen, Julie Tetel; Tetel, Julie (1990). Linguistics in America, 1769-1924. Routledge. ISBN 0415022282, 9780415022286.  
  • Aronoff, Mark; Rees-Miller, Janie (2002). The Handbook of Linguistics. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1405102527, 9781405102520.  
  • Burbank, Jane; Ransel, David (1998). Imperial Russia: New Histories for the Empire. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253212413, 9780253212412.  


  1. ^ Andresen, Tetel, p. 53
  2. ^ Burbank, Ransel, p. 92
  3. ^ Burbank, Ransel, p. 95
  4. ^ Aronoff, Rees-Miller, p. 93

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address