ALTER, Franz Karl. Engelberg 27.1.1749 — Vienna 29.5.1804. S.J. Austrian (Silesian) Orientalist. Born in what is now Czech part of Silesia. Educated in Olmütz (Olomouc). Jesuit from 1766, after the suppression of the order taught Greek at a gymnasium, further studies at Vienna and Prague. Ph.D. 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. Vienna 1798; Über die Tagalische Sprache. 10+80 p. Vienna 1802; and other works.
– Ueber die samskrdamische Sprache, vulgo Samskrit. 16+199 p. Vienna 1799.
Sources: Halm, A.D.B. 1, 363f.; W. Kratz, N.D.B. 1, 218; Wurzbach 1; Gel. Teutschland 1; German Wikipedia with picture.
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