Hammer-purgstall, Joseph Von

Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph von a German Orientalist of great celebrity, was born July 9, 1774, at (Gratz, in Syria, and died in Vienna Nov. 24,1856. His family name was Hammer, and he is frequently referred to under that name, or as Von Hammer; but having inherited in 1837 the estates of the counts of Purgstall, he added that name to his own, and was made a baron. He entered at an early age the Oriental Academy at Vienna, and acquired a knowledge of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. Being subsequently employed in various diplomatic posts in the East, he greatly extended his acquaintance with Oriental languages and literature. He wrote and spoke ten foreign languages, viz. the three above named, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, English, and Russian; but his works show rather varied and extensive research and learning than- profound mastery of his subjects. They are by no means free from errors, though his careful reference to authorities makes correction of mistakes comparatively easy. His writings, including contributions to journals and scientific associations, would make more than 100 octavo volumes, and, on the whole, are regarded as among the most valuable contributions of the present century to Oriental history and literature. They are noticed here because of the information they give as to the religious history and condition of Oriental nations. The most important of his works in this respect are Encyclopaedische Uebersicht der Wissenschaften des Orients (Lpz. 1804, 2 vols. in 1, 8vo); a work based on seven Oriental works, especially the bibliographical dictionary of Hadgi Khalfa: Ancient Alphabets and Hieroglyphic Characters explained, with an Account of the Egyptian Priests, their Classes, Initiation, and Sacrifices (translated from the Arabic of Ahwad bin-Abubakr bin. — Wahshih, London, 1806, small 4to): — Fundgruben des Orients, etc., ou Miniees de l'Orient exploitees (Vienna, 1809-18, 6 vols. in 3, fol., of which Hammer-Purgstall was the chief editor): — Mogenländisches Kleeblatt (Persian and Arab hymns, etc.; Vienna, 1818, 4to): — Geschichte der schinen, Redekünste Persiens (Vienna, 1818, 4to): A Mysteriun Baphometis revelatum (Vienna, 1818, fol.; also in vol. 6 of Mines de l'Orient: the author herein seeks to prove from emblems on monuments once belonging to the Templars that their order was guilty of the crimes charged to it. Raynouard [Journal des Savants, 1819] refuted this opinion, but Hammer Purgstall defended it with new arguments in a paper in the Memoirs of the Academy of Vienna,

1855): — Geschichte der Assassinen (Paris, 1833, 8vo, and an English ed. by Wood, History of the Assassins, Lond. 1835, 8vo. The author makes curious comparisons between the Assassins, the Templars, the Freemasons, and the Jesuits): — Geschichte des Osmanischen Reichs (best ed. Pesth, 1827-35, 10 vols. 8vo; French translations by Dochez, Paris, 1844, 3 vols. 8vo, and by Hellert, with notes and an Atlas, Histoire de l'Empire Ottoman, Paris, 1835-43, 18 vols. 8vo): — Geschichte der Osmanischen Dichtkunst (Pesth, 1836-38, 10 vols. 8vo — a completer history of Turkish poetry than any existing, even in Turkey itself): — the celebrated treatise on morals by Ghazal, under the title of O Kind! die berühmte ethische Abhandlung Ghasalis (Vienna, 1838, 12mo): — Zeitwarte des Gebetes, a prayer-book in Arabic and German (Vienna, 1844, 8vo) — Literatur- Geschichte der Araber (Vienna, 1856, 7 vols. 4to: this work, as first published, ends with the Bagdad caliphate, and contains about 10,000 biographical. and bibliographical notices): — Das Arabische Hohe Lied der Liebe, etc., with commentary, and an introduction relative to mysticism among the Arabs (Vienna, 1854, 8vo). Hammer left an autobiography (Denk würdigkeiten aus neinem Leben) and other writings in MS., which have been published, or are publishing, under the direction of Auer, director of the imperial printing-press of Vienna. — New American Cyclopaedia, 8, 690; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 23, 259 sq.; Pierer, s.v.; K. Schlottman, Joseph von H. — Purgstall, ein kritischer Beitrag zur Geschichte neuere'deutscher Wissenschaft (Zurich, 1857, [73 p.] 8vo). (J.W.M.)

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