KOSSOVIČ, Kaetan Andreevič

KOSSOVIČ, Kaetan Andreevič. (Cajetan Kossovich). Polotsk (now Polack in Belarus) 2.(14.)5.1815 (or 1814, see Vigasin 2008, 94) — St.Petersburg 7.2.(26.1.)1883. (Bela-)Russian Indo-Iranian Scholar. Professor in St.Petersburg. Brother of —> Ignatij K. Son of a Belarusian priest, educated in Polock and at Vitebsk Gymnasium. In 1836-39 studied classical philology and philosophy (Plato) at Moscow University, also learned Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian. In 1839-43 taught Greek at Tambov Gymnasium in Tver, in 1843-50 in Moscow, now started learning Sanskrit from books. In 1850 moved to St.Petersburg and worked as editor in the Imperial Public Library, in 1851 visited London and its libraries and met a number of leading Indologists. From 1858 taught Sanskrit, from 1860 as the first (eo.) Professor of Sanskrit at Oriental Faculty of St.Petersburg University, from 1866 ord. Professor. Hon. Dr. of Comparative Linguistics 1864 Harkov (Harkiv). Married in 1874.

Kossovič was a self-taught linguist, who knew many languages and was reputed to be a skilful translator. His main fields were Sanskrit and Iranian languages, but he was also much interested in Hebrew. In Sanskrit he prepared several translations and started the first Sanskrit–Russian dictionary. His luxus edition of Old Persian inscriptions was much more expensive than was waited for, and it ruined his economy and even his health. In the St.Petersburg scholarly circles he belonged to the Russian party and polemized with Böhtlingk and Schiefner. His unfinished dictionary reflected the hard criticism of the Russian party in the Academy towards the Petersburger Wörterbuch – both dictionaries were published by the Imperial Academy (cf. Vigasin 2008, 108-139).Among his few students the most important was Minaev, also V. Scherzl.

Publications: Russian translation of Kühnert’s Greek Grammar (1843); with his brother: Grečesko-russkij slovar’. 1-2. M. 1848.

Transl.: “Tretij akt sanskr. dramy Krišna-Misry”, Sovremennik 42, 1845; Krišna-Misra. Toržestvo svetloj mysli. Drama v 6 aktah. 18+157 p. M. 1847; “Skazanie o Vid’jadgare Džimutavagane, povest’ Somadevy Bgatty”, Moskvitjanin’ 4, 1847, 17-50; “Šudraka: Vasantasena, drevnjaja indeiskaja drama”, Moskvitjanin’ 5, 1849, 1-42 (act 1.).

Sanskritsko-russkij slovar’. 3 fasc. St.P. 1854-56 (incomplete: 1-2. 14+656 p. 1854; 3. 320 p. 1855; numerous additions in Izv.Imp. A.N. 1854-56).

– “Dve publičnyja lekcii o sanskritskom èpos”, Russkoe Slovo 6, 1860, 1-25 & 8, 1860, 166-201.

Edited: Sâvitrî, Mahab’ârati episodium, textum collatis Boppii et Calcuttensi editionibus recensuit, lectionis varietatem adjecit. 3+48 p. Petropoli 1861.

Decem Sendavestae excerpta latine. Parisiis 1865; Gat‘a Ahunavaiti Sarat‘ustrica carmina septem, ed. & latine. Petropoli 1867; Gat‘a Ustavaiti. Petropoli 1869; Sarat‘ustricae Gât‘ae posteriores tres. Petropoli 1871.

Edited: Inscriptiones Palaeo-persicae Achamenidarum. 36+136+122+52+17+12+41 p. Petropoli 1872 (texts printed in Cuneiform and transcription, translation with notes, illustrations).

Evrejskaja grammatika V. Geseniusa. St.Petersburg 1874 (transl.); Evrejskaja hrestomatija. St.Petersburg 1875; edited the Canticum Canticorum for OC. Petropoli 1876.

Sources: JRAS 15, 1883, Proc. xxiiif.; *I. B. Žurnal Min. Narodn. Prosv. 1883 March 226, 35-42; Bongard-Levin & Vigasin 1984, 71-73; *A. Ja. Garkavi, Izv. Imp. Arheol. Obšč. 10, 433-487; *M. O. Marks, Russkaja Starina 52, 1886, 605-620; S.F. Ol’denburg, Biogr. slovar’ S.-Peterb. univ. 1, 1896, 346-354; S. Ol’denburg, Russkij biografičeskij slovar’. Knappe–Kjahel’beker. 1903, 301-303; *A.S. Šofman, “K.A.K. kak vostokoved”, Očerki po istorii russkogo vostokovedenija 4, 1963; Stache-Weiske 2017, 536; *Vigasin 2008, 94-97, 116-139 with portrait; Russian Vikipedija with photo.

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