NEIL, Robert Alexander. Glengairn, Ballater, Aberdeenshire 26.12.1852 — Cambridge 19.6.1901. British (Scottish) Indologist in Cambridge. Son of Rev. Robert Neil and Mary Reid. Educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and from 1866 (!) at Aberdeen University. Graduated M.A. 1870 Aberdeen, in Classics. After a brief period of medical studies continued his classical studies at Cambridge from 1872. From 1876 until death Fellow of Pembroke College and Classical Lecturer, in 1900-01 also Senior Tutor. At Cambridge he soon became interested in classical and Buddhist Sanskrit and studied it under Cowell, from c. 1886 also Pāli. In 1883-1901 University Lecturer in Sanskrit and in 1886-89 & 1892-1901 I.C.S. teacher of Sanskrit. LL.D. 1891 Aberdeen.
Neil was a conscientious and beloved teacher who put most of his time to teaching. In addition to Indology, he was also interested in Celtic languages, architecture, women’s education and Scottish history and literature.
Publications: Edited with E. B. Cowell: Divyāvadāna. A collection of early Buddhist legends. 10+712 p. Cambridge 1886.
– With H. T. Francis: translated the 3rd volume of E. B. Cowell (ed.): The Jātaka. Cambridge 1897.
– Notes on Liddell & Scott, Greek–English Lexicon, in Journal of Philology 8, 1875; edited: Aristophanes, Knights. 14+229 p. Cambridge 1901.
Sources: P. G[iles], D.N.B. 2nd Suppl. 3, 1912, 1f.; Alumni Cantabrigienses.