HAŞDEU, Bogdan Petriceicu

HAŞDEU, Bogdan Petriceicu (himself wrote Hasdeu, born as Tadeu Hâjdău). Cristineştii, Hotinului, Bessarabia (now Kerstentsi in Ukraina) 26.2.1838 — Cîmpína 25.8.1907. Romanian Historian, Linguist and Author interested in Sanskrit. Born in Russian empire of a Moldovan boyar family, son of the luminary Alexandru Hâjdeu. His father had read Bopp’s comparative grammar and encouraged his son to linguistic studies. Studies at Chişinau and Harkiv (degree in Law), according to Bănăţeanu also Sanskrit at the then Austrian Lemberg (Lviv). He participated in the in Crimean war and came to Romania as a deserter of Imperial (Russian) army. After a while as judge in Cahul became high school teacher and librarian in Iaşi in 1858, in 1863 moved to Bucharest and concentrated on literary work. From 1900 Professor at Bucharest University, mainly taught philosophy. According to Bănăţeanu he lectured comparative linguistics before 1874, when the course was cancelled, and became its Professor in 1878 (in Bucharest?), according to Stati from 1874 Professor of comparative philology at Bucharest. From 1878 also member of Romanian Academy. In 1873 and in 1886 he is styled Professor at Bucharest University.

In Romania Haşdeu soon developed a many-sided literary activity. He edited journals, compiled the first Romanian encyclopedia practically alone, wrote poetry, novels and dramas as well as anti-dynastic pamphlets. As a politician he strongly supported the unification of all “Romanian provinces”. As a scholar he is considered the founder of modern linguistics in Romania. In his research he also used Sanskrit, but never published anything on it. Further, he collected and translated a number of Slavic documents pertinent to Romanian history. After the death of his only child Julia (1869–1888) he also started occultism and spiritualism. Among his students was L. Saineanu. The university of Cahul in Moldova (founded 1999) is named after him.

Publications: Principie de filologia comparativa ario-europee. 1-3. Bucharest 1875-81 (originally articles in Columna lui Traian); articles on etymology, etc. in Columna lui Traian, which he edited from 1875.

Etymologicum Magnum Romaniae. 1-3. Bucharest 1886-98; Cuvente den Batrini. 1-3. 1878-81; many further works and articles.

Edited: Arhiva historică a României. 1-4. 1864ff.

Sources: Banateanu, Indo-Asian Cult. 7:3, 1959, 276-278 & Visva-Bh. Quart. 27, 1961-62, 245f.; S. N. Ionesco, Who Was Who in 20th century Romania. N.Y. 1994; S. Stati, Lex. gramm. 1996, 395f.; *Dictionarul literaturii Române. Bucharest 1979, 424-430, with three photos and numerous further references to Romanian sources; Wikipedia with photo (more details and another photo in *Romanian version).

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