OPPERT, Jules (Julius O.)

OPPERT, Jules (Julius O.). Hamburg 9.7.1825 — Paris 20/21.8.1905. German (Jewish) Assyriologist in France (naturalised 1854), originally also interested in Sanskrit. Professor in Paris. Son of Eduard O. and Henriette Gans, brother of —> Gustav O.Educated in Hamburg.Studied first law at Heidelberg, then Oriental languages at Bonn (under Lassen and Freytag), Berlin and Kiel. Ph.D. 1847 Kiel, in Indology. He attracted early attention as Cuneiform scholar, but as a Jew could not obtain academic position in Germany and moved in 1847 to France. Taught German at Lycée in Laval and from 1850 in Reims. In 1851-54 expedition to Mesopotamia with F. Fresnel, then in British Museum studying Khorsabad inscriptions. From 1854 or 1857 Professor of Sanskrit (“chargé d’un cours élémentaire de sanscrit près la Bibliothèque Imperiale”) in Paris, until 1869. From 1869 the first Professor of Assyriology in Europe at Collège de France, taught there until his death. In the beginning he taught Sanskrit, too (his course was moved to Collège de France), the position of Assyriology was confirmed only in 1874. Member of A.I.B.L. 1881, its President 1890. Married Caroline Cohn, children.

Jules Oppert was one of the great pioneers of Assyriology, one of the decipherers of the Akkadian cuneiform, then also of Sumerian (which he also named). Also an Iranian scholar. Independently of Hinck and Rawlinson he found out the vowel values attached to Old Persian Cuneiform in 1847. To Sanskrit he did not return.

Publications: Diss. De jure Indorum criminali. Kiel 1847 (manuscript?).

Das Lautsystem des Altpersischen. 56 p. B. 1847; “Mémoire sur les inscriptions des Achéménides, conçues dans l’idiome des anciens perses”, JA 4:17, 255-296, 378-430, 534-567 & 4:18, 1851, 56-83, 322-366, 553-584 & 4:19, 1852, 140-215.

Grammaire sanscrite. 10+232 p. B. & P. 1857, rev. 2nd ed. 1864; “Discours … pour l’ouverture de son cours de sanscrit”, Ann. de philos. chrét. 1866, 50-68.

– “Les variations du Varyaque”, RL 1:1-2, 1867, 128-137; “Mélanges perses”, RL 4, 1870, 204-223 (Old Persian); “Sogdianus, König der Perser”, Z .f. Assyr. 16, 1902, 1-14; other articles.

– La peuple et la langue des Mèdes. 11+296 p. P. 1879 (on Elamite).

Expédition scientifique en Mésopotamie. 10+370, ??? p. 1858-63; Éléments de la grammaire assyrienne. 22+126 p. P. 1868 (first ed. in JA 1860), and many works on Assyriology, articles in JA and Revue archéologique, etc. 

Sources: *P.A[lphandéry], RHR 52, 1905, 282f.; *Barbier de Meynard, JA 10:6, 1905, 531-536; *C. Bezold, Z. f. Assyr. 19, 1905/06, 169-173; G. de F., N.B.G. 38, 1862, 714f.; E. Fi., Enc. Iud. 12, 1971, 1434f.; C. Fossey, Le Collège de France 1530–1930. P. 1932, 293-302; Ève Gran-Aymerich, D.O.L.F. 729f.; *B. Haussoulier, CRAI 1906, 567-592; *C.F. Lehmann-Haupt, Biogr. Jahrb. 10, 1907, 86-92; *D.H. Müller, Almanach AWWien 56, 1906, 351-335; *G.O[ppert], JRAS 1906, 272-277; A. Spanier, Jüd. Lex. 4:1, 1930, 593f.; *Jewish Encyclop. 9, 420f.; *Revue d’Assyr. 6, 1907, 73f.; *bibliography in Zeitschrift zur Assyriologie 2:2, 1892, 522ff.; Wikipedia with photo (more in French version); photo in Collège de France 1530–1930. pl. lx, another in Internat. Taschenbuch der Or. 1910.

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