LIGNANA, Giacomo. Tronzano, Vercellese 19.12.1827 (hardly 1830) — Rome 10.2.1891 (or 10.1. or 10.12.). Italian Linguist and Indologist. Professor in Naples and Rome. Born in Piemonte, son of Giuseppe L. and Margherita Lebbole. Studies at Torino, then 1848-49 under Lassen at Bonn and Spiegel at Erlangen. For while taught German in Torino. After one year as Professor at Bologna, from 1861 Professore di lingue e letterature comparate at Università di Napoli and Director of Collegio Asiatico (now I.U.O.N.).From 1870 ord. Professor “di sanscrito e lingue iraniche” at Rome, in his late years also “incaricato di storia comparata delle lingue classiche”.
Lignana was a many-sided linguist; at Naples he taught even Hindustani, Bengali and Mongolian. He was the first Iranian scholar in Italy. He was keen anti-Hegelian following Kant and Herbart. In linguistics he admired W. von Humboldt and Bopp. He was convinced of the superiority of IE languages (which he explained by the “most developed” verbal system) and believed that languages reflect culture. He seems to have published very little. His manuscripts are kept in Firenze National Museum. He was active leftist politician and a friend of Cavour and Bakunin.
Publications: Della grammatica comparata di Bopp. Naples 1866.
– La filologia al secolo XIX. 69 p. Naples 1868.
– Le trasformazioni delle specie eletre epoche delle lingue e letterature indo-europee. 36 p. Rome 1871 (mainly about the Avesta and Firdausī).
– “I Návagvāḥ e i Dáṣagvāḥ del Ṛigveda”, Verh. des VII O.C. Wien 1886, Arische Sektion 1888, 59-68.
Sources: *M. Borro, G.L. (1827–1891). Biografia. Vercelli 1991; F. Dovetto, Lex. gramm. 1996 & D.B.I. 65, 2005, 576f. (repr. in Newsl. Int. Assoc. Skr. St. 6, 1999, 33f.) & D.B.I. 65, 2005, 576f.; Franci 1991, 215-218; *F.L. Pullé, SFII 9, 1913, xi-xvii; Windisch 439f.; Gli studi orientali in Italia 1861–1911; Italian Wikipedia.