MAJEWSKI, Valenty Skorochód

MAJEWSKI, Walenty Skorochód. Guzy, Podlachia (Podlasie) 1764 — Warsaw 3.7.1835. Polish Dilettante interested in Sanskrit. Born in a petty noble family. Graduated 1785 from Collegium Nobilium in Warsaw and worked then as teacher in the same. From 1803 worked as archivist, from 1808 in charge of the newly established National General Archive in Warsaw. He was active member in the Society of Friends of Learning and lectured often in its meetings.

He learned some Sanskrit from Carey’s grammar and became interested in similarities between Polish and Sanskrit vocabulary. According to Pobożniak: “He wrote on Sanskrit grammar and literature, on the brotherhood of Slaves and Indians and even he cast Devanagari letters to print some Sanskrit texts and translated them. He was, however, an autodidact and his translations were a little phantastic.” Also the word comparisons were often clumsy and distorted (see A.K.-Fr. for examples). His 1816 book contains, beside extensive word comparisons, a brief grammar and glossary of Sanskrit based on Paulinus a S. Bartolomaeo. Its planned continuation, comparing Slavic and Indian religion, customs, law, etc., was not realized. Also many other writings remained unpublished.

Publications: O słaawianach i ich pobratymcach. 180+64 p. Warsaw 1816, new ed. by A. Kuczkiewicz-Fraś. Orientalia Polonica 10. Cracow 2018.

Rozkład treść dzieła o początku licznych Sławiańskich Narodów, tudzież każdego w szozególności we iv. tomach. 130 p. Warsaw 1818.

– Grammatyka mowy starożytnych skuthow czyli Skalnych Gorali, Indo-skythow, Indykow, Budhynow Herodota samskrytem czyli dokładną mową zwaney. 8+80 p. Warsaw 1828.

– Translated from Stenzler’s Latin: Brahma Waîwarta-Puranam. Osnowa z rękopismu Biblioteki królewsko-berlińskiej przepisana z przydatkiem przekładu łacińskiego. 12+55 p. Warsaw 1830.

Sources: *C. Galewicz, “The Pre-Academic History of Oriental Studies: WSM”, Res Orientales 20, 2011, 231-241; A. Kuczkiewicz-Fraś, “Polish-Sanskrit Kinship in the Eyes of VSM, the Pioneer of Polish Research on Sanskrit”, Wege durchs Labyrinth: Fs. zu R. P. Das. Heidelberg 2020, 277-292 (with references to various Polish sources); *Tadeusz Mencel in Polski Słownik Biograficzny 13, 1974, 195-197; Pobożniak, Sanskrit Studies Outside India 1, 123; *several further sources in Polish in Internet.

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