1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eckhel, Joseph Hilarius

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ECKHEL, JOSEPH HILARIUS (1737-1798), Austrian numismatist, was born at Enzersfeld in lower Austria, 1737. His father was farm-steward to Count Zinzendorf, and he received his early education at the Jesuits’ College, Vienna, where at the age of fourteen he was admitted into the order. He devoted himself to antiquities and numismatics. After being engaged as professor of poetry and rhetoric, first at Steyer and afterwards at Vienna, he was appointed in 1772 keeper of the cabinet of coins at the Jesuits’ College, and in the same year he went to Italy for the purpose of personal inspection and study of antiquities and coins. At Florence he was employed to arrange the collection of the grand duke of Tuscany; and the first-fruits of his study of this and other collections appeared in his Numi veteres anecdoti, published in 1775. On the dissolution of the order of Jesuits in 1773, Eckhel was appointed by the empress Maria Theresa professor of antiquities and numismatics at the university of Vienna, and this post he held for twenty-four years. He was in the following year made keeper of the imperial cabinet of coins, and in 1779 appeared his Catalogus Vindobonensis numorum veterum. Eckhel’s great work is the Doctrina numorum veterum, in 8 vols., the first of which was published in 1792, and the last in 1798. The author’s rich learning, comprehensive grasp of his subject, admirable order and precision of statement in this masterpiece drew from Heyne enthusiastic praise, and the acknowledgment that Eckhel, as the Coryphaeus of numismatists, had, out of the mass of previously loose and confused facts, constituted a true science. A volume of Addenda, prepared by Steinbüchel from Eckhel’s papers after his death, was published in 1826. Among his other works are—Choix de pierres gravées du Cabinet Impérial des Antiques (1788), a useful school-book on coins entitled Kurzgefasste Anfangsgrunde zur alten Numismatik (1787), of which a French version enlarged by Jacob appeared in 1825, &c. Eckhel died at Vienna on the 16th of May 1798.