GRAEFE, Friedrich von

GRAEFE, Christian-Friedrich von (Russian Fëdor Bogdanovič Grefe, Latin Fredericus Graefius). Chemnitz 1.7.1780 — St.Petersburg 12.12.1851. German Linguist in Russia. Son of Johann Gotthelf Graefe, a minister, and his wife Christine Friederike (who died two days after his birth). After Lyceum in Chemnitz studied from 1796 theology and Greek at Leipzig. Cand.theol. 1803, Mag. phil. (Ph.D.) 1805 Leipzig. Worked as tutor, from 1806 in Urbs, Livonia (now Urvaste, Estonia). From 1810 Professor of Greek Literature at Religious Academy of Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St.Petersburg. He soon became a friend with Uvarov and in 1811 got the chair of Latin at Paedagogic Institute, which he 1815 changed into the chair of Greek. When the Institute was turned into University he continued as Professor of Greek, from 1822 also Professor of Latin. From 1820 member of Imperial Academy. From 1821 also Conservator at Department of Coins and Antiquities in Hermitage, from 1840 its Hon. Director. From 1829 also taught Greek at the new Paedagogic Central Institute. 1842 wirkl. Staatsrat. Married with Hedvig von Himmelstierna (1788–1864), one son and three daughters (both Ottilie [d. 1856] and Julie married —> Böhtlingk).

Graefe learned early Sanskrit and was interested in comparative IE linguistics, although mainly from the viewpoint of Greek and Slavic. He remained always mainly a classical philologist who, according to Bursian, had “ein glückliches Talent für Conjecturalkritik”. His comparative studies were deemed poor by Curtius (Jb. für wiss. Kritik 1845:1, 199ff.).

Publications: Much on classical philology, especially the edition Nonni Dionysiacorum libri XLVIII. 1-2. Lp. 1819-26; articles and studies on textual criticism, Greek epigraphy and grammar.

Lingua graeca et latina cum slavicis dialectis in re grammatica comparantur. 44 p. Petropoli 1827.

– “Das Sanscrit-Verbum im Vergleich mit dem Griechischen und Lateinischen. Aus dem Gesichts­punkt der klassischen Philologie dargestellt”, Mem. Acad. Imp. VI sér. 4, 1840, 1-122; “Die Einheit der Sanscrit-Declination mit der griechischen und lateinischen Aus dem Gesichtspunkt der kl. Philol.”, Ibid. VI sér. 6, 1843, 233-284.

Brief articles on IE linguistics, e.g. Bull. Sc. Acad. Imp. 3, 1838, 5-7, col. 66f.; Recueil des Actes Acad. Imp. 1841-42, 217-229; Bull. hist.-phil. 4, 1847, 12-13, col. 177-182 & 8, 1851, 11, col. 161-164 & 164-166.

Sources: Bursian, A.D.B. 9, 1879, 555f.; Ènciklop. slovar’ 9, 1893;; German Wikipedia with portrait.

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