CHRISTENSEN, Arthur Emanuel

CHRISTENSEN, Arthur Emanuel. Copenhagen 9.1.1875 — Copenhagen 31.3.1945. Danish Iranian Scholar. Professor in Copenhagen. Son of a post official, matriculated in Copenhagen 1893. Studied languages, mainly French, at Copenhagen, mag. 1900. He had early become interested in the East and studied also Oriental languages: Arabic and Persian under Mehren, Sanskrit under Fausbøll, Avestan under E. Lehman, Turkish and Arabic under Østrup. After further studies under Andreas in 1902 at Berlin he presented his dissertation on the Rubâ’iyyât of ‘Umar Khayyâm at Copenhagen in 1903. Nominated Docent at his university he pursued his studies in Paris, London, and Göttingen (Andreas). Worked as teacher and journalist. In 1919-1945 Professor i iransk filologi at Copenhagen (succeeded by his student Barr), died on the very last day of his tenure. From 1818 member of Det Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. Visited Iran in 1914, 1929, and 1934.

AC was a many-sided Iranian scholar, both ancient and modern. During his travels he collected materials for several important studies on Iranian dialects, also edited materials collected by Andreas and Meyer. His ability to see the essential enhances their value, but as a classical philologist he did not understand modern phonetics. He was the leading scholar of Sassanian history and of historical legends. The L’Iran sous les Sassanides was his magnum opus. His interests further included the Avesta and Zoroastrian religion, and Iranian folklore. Among his students were K. Barr.

Publications: Diss. Omar Khajjâms Rubâijât. En litterœrhistorisk Undersøgelse. København 1903, rev. French version. Heidelberg 1904..

L’Empire des Sasanides, le peuple, l’état, la cour. 120 p. D. Vid. Selsk. Skrifter 7:1/1. Copenhague 1907, 2nd ed. 1927; Romanen um Bahrâm Tchôbîn. Studier fra Sprog- og Oldtidsforskning 75. Copenh. 1907; Om Lægekunst hos Perserne. 103 p. Medicinsk-historiske Smaaskrifter 18. Copenh. 1917; Smeden Kāwäh og det gamle persiske Rigsbanner. 26 p. Vid. Selsk. Hist.-filol. Medd. 2:7. Copenh. 1919; La regne du Roi Kawādh I et le communisme Mazdakite. 127 p. Vid. Selsk., Hist.-filol. meddel. 9:6. Copenh. 1925.

Recherches sur l’histoire legendaire des Iraniens. I. Les types du Premier Homme et du Premier Roi dans l’histoire legendaire des Iraniens. 1. 219 p. Archives d’études orient. 14:2 (17), Stockh. 1918 & 2. 196 p. Leiden 1934.

Le dialect de Sämnan. Essai d’une grammaire sämnānīe avec un vocabulaire et quelques textes, suivie d’une notice sur les patois de Sängsar et de Lāsgird. 76 p. Vid. Selskabs Skrifter 7th ser. Historisk og filosofisk afdeling 2/4. Copenhague; 1915; Contributions à la dialectologie iranienne. 1. Dialecte guiläkī de Recht, dialectes de Färizänd, de Yaran et de Natanz, avec un supplément contenant quelques texts dans le persan vulgaire de Téhéran. 300+198 p. Vid. Selsk. Hist.-filol. meddel. 17:2, 21:3. Cop. 1930; Contributions... 2. Dialectes de la région de Sémnān, Sourkhéī, Lāsguerdī, Sängesärī et Chämerzādī. Ibid. 21:3. Cop. 1935.

Hinsides det Kaspiske Hav. 247 p. København 1918; Det gamle og det nye Persien. 198 p. Køb. 1930; Heltedigtning og Fortællingslitterator hos Iranerne i Oldtiden. 89 p. Køb. 1935; Kulturskitser fra Iran. 219 p. Køb. 1937

Contes persans en langue populaire. 130 p. Vid. Selsk., Hist.-filol. meddel. 1:3. Copenhague 1918; Xavāṣṣ-i-āyāt. Notices et extraits d’un manuscrit persan traitant la magie des versets du Coran. 68 p. Ibid. 3:4. Cop. 1920; Textes ossètes. 143 p. Ibid. 6:1. Cop. 1921 (material collected from prisoners of war); Les dialectes d’Awromān et de Pāwä. Textes recueillies par Åge Meyer Benedictsen. 128 p. Ibid. 6:2. Cop. 1921 (Kurdish).

Translated: Omar Khajjam. Epigram-Digte. 80 p. København 1920, 2nd ed. 1943; Avesta, Zarathustriernes hellige Skrifter. 128 p. København 1923 (selection); Firdausis Kongebog. Udvalgte Sagn af det Persiske Nationalepos. 400 p. Køb. 1931.

– “Quelques notices sur les plus anciennes périodes du Zoroastrisme”, AO 4, 1926, 81-115; “La légende du sage Buzurǰmihr”, AO 8, 1930, 81-128.

Critical Studies in the Rubá‘iyát of Umar-i-Khayyám. A revised text with E. translation. 180 p. Vid. Selsk., Hist.-filol. meddel. 14:1. Copenh. 1927 (121 quatrains out of 800 deemed genuine).

Études sur le Zoroastrisme de la Perse Antique. 59 p. Vid. Selsk., Hist.-filol. meddel. 15:2. Copenhague 1928; Les Kayanides. 166 p. Ibid. 19:2. Cop. 1931; Essai sur la démonologie iranienne. 97 p. Ibid. 27:1. Cop. 1941; Le premier chapitre du Vendidad et l’histoire des tribus iraniennes. 92 p. Ibid. 29:4. Cop. 1943.

– “Die Iranier”, in Handbuch der Altertumswiss. 3. Abt., I Teil, 3. Band. München 1933, 201-310; chapter “Sassanides” in Cambridge Ancient History 12. 1939.

L’Iran sous les Sassanides. 560 p. Copenh. & P. 1936, 2nd rev. ed. 1944, Persian tr. 1938.

Les gestes des rois dans les traditions de l’Iran antique. 141 p. P. 1936; La vie musicale dans la civilisation des Sassanides. 1936.

Edited: Codices Avestici et Pahlavici Bibliothecae Universitatis Hafniensis. 1-12. Copenh. 1931-44.

Études sur le persan contemporain. Ed. by K. Barr. 1970.

A great number of popular books, fiction, and current affairs, e.g.: Politik og Massemoral. Køb. 1911, German 1912, English 1915; Engelsk of tysk Folkeand, Kultur of Verdenskrieg. Køb. 1915; Folkestyrets Fremtid. 1927; Synspunkter og Synsvinkler. 1929; Drømme. 1941 (aphorisms). Fiction: Cedertræskisten. 1940; novel Angstens rappe Saaler. Køb. 1943; folklore translations, etc.

Sources: J.P. Asmussen, Encyclop. Iranica 5, 1991, 521-532; J.P. Asmussen & F. de Fontenay, Dansk Biogr. Lex. 3rd ed. 3, 1979, 233-236; J.P. Asmussen, Encyclopædia Iranica 5, 1991, 521-523; *K. Barr, Festskrift udgivet af Københavns Universitet i anledning af universitetets Aarsfest. Copenh. 1945, 129-141 and *Oversigt over [Vidensk.] Selskabets Virksomhed Juni 1945-Maj 1946, 1946, 65-102; C. Chaqueri, D.O.L.F. 216f.; *Mette Hedemund Søltoft, Arthur Christensen, iransk filologi og jagten på det indoeuropæiske. En videnskabshistorisk rejse. DSCA Monograph 1. Copenhagen 2007 (on his travels); Danish & Swedish Wikipedia; photo in Fs. 1945 (also in TITUS Galeria).

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