OPPERT, Gustav Salomon

OPPERT, Gustav Salomon. Hamburg 30.7.1836 — Berlin 17.3.1908. German (Jewish) Indologist in India. Brother of —> J. O. and Ernst Jacob O. (1832–1903) who was a merchant in Shanghai and visited three times Korea. Professor in Madras and Berlin. Studies 1858-60 at Leipzig, Halle and Berlin, mainly history and Oriental languages. Ph.D. In 1860 came to England and worked as Assistant Librarian in Bodleian Library in Oxford, then in Queen’s Library in Windsor. In 1872 went to India as Professor of Sanskrit at Presidency College in Madras and taught there until 1894. Also Curator of Government Oriental MS. Library. From 1873 Fellow of Madras University, from 1878 Telugu Translator to the Government. In 1893 returned to Europe via East Asia and America. From 1894 PD für nichtarische Sprachen (i.e. Dravidian), Berlin. Not an important scholar, many of his publications were harshly criticized. Advocated the idea of Dravidians being the original inhabitants of India.

Publications: Der Presbyter Johannes in Sage und Geschichte. 1865?, 2nd ed. 8+228 p. B. 1870.

– “On the classification of languages”, MJLS 1878, 1-137, “On the ancient commerce of India”, MJLS 1878, 188-231, “On the Nîtiprakâçikâ or ‘Expounder of Probity’”, MJLS 2, 1879 & 4, 1881.

– “On the weapons, army organization and political maxims of the ancient Hindus, with special reference to gunpowder and firearms”, MJLS 1879, 167-308 (248-310 Śukranīti ch. 5 ed. & tr.).

List of Sanskrit MSS. in Private Libraries of South India. 1-2. Madras 1880-85.

Contributions to the History of South India. 1882 (perhaps same as the collection of inscriptions in MJLS 1881, 205-178).

edited: Śukranīti. Madras 1882 (transl. 1890); “Nītiprakāśikā”, MJLS 1881, 1-80 (84 p. Madras 1882); The Vaijayantī of Yādavaprakāśa. 10+895 p. Madras 1892: Sākatāyana’s Grammar with the Pratitjāsangraha Commentary of Abhayacandra­sūri. Madras 1892.

On the original inhabitants of Bharatavarsa or India. 15+711 p. Westminster 1893.

– “Sur les Sālagrāmas, pierres sacrées des aborigènes de l’Inde devenues emblèmes du dieu Vishnou”, RHR 43, 1901, 325-332; “Die Gottheiten der Inder”, Z. für Ethnographie 1905, 108 p.

Tarshish und Ophir. 7+87 p. B. 1903.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; E. Fi, Enc. Iud. 12, 1971, 1434; H. Speyer, Jüdisches Lexikon 4:1, 1930, 593; *Jewish Encyclop. 9, 419f.; briefly D.B.E. 7, 1998, 501; Wikipedia; photo in Rau 38 (from Internat. Taschenbuch der Or. 1910), also in Sardesai.

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