ALTER, Franz Karl. Engelberg 27.1.1749 — Wien 29.5.1804. S.J. Austrian (Silesian) Orientalist. Born in present Czech Silesia. Jesuit since 1766, after the suppression of the order taught Greek at a gymnasium. From 1779 custos (librarian) of the Vienna university library. Productive, but also superficial scholar interested in Oriental, Slavic and Greek philology. He learnt little Sanskrit in Vienna from Paulinus a Sancto Bartholomaeo and compared it to other Indian and Asian languages as documented in glossaries like those of Paulinus and Catharina the Great.
Publications: edited the Greek New Testament 1787 and the Homeric epics in 1789–94, ed. princeps of the Byzantine chronicle of Georgios Phrantzes 1796; Über Georgianische Litteratur. Wien 1798; Über die Tagalische Sprache. 1802; and other works.
– Über die Samskrdamische Sprache. Wien 1799.
Sources: Halm, A.D.B. 1, 363f.; W. Kratz, N.D.B. 1, 218; Wurzbach 1; Gel. Teutschland 1; German Wikipedia (with picture).