1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Oppert, Julius

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OPPERT, JULIUS (1825–1905), German Assyriologist, was born at Hamburg, of Jewish parents, on the 9th of July 1825. After studying at Heidelberg, Bonn and Berlin, he graduated at Kiel in 1847, and in the following year went to France, where he was teacher of German at Laval and at Reims. His leisure was given to Oriental studies, in which he had made great progress in Germany, and in 1852 he joined Fresnel’s archaeological expedition to Mesopotamia. On his return in 1854 he occupied himself in digesting the results of the expedition in so far as they concerned cuneiform inscriptions, and published an important work upon them (Déchriffrement des inscriptions cunéiformes, 1861). In 1857 he was appointed professor of Sanscrit in the school of languages connected with the National Library in Paris, and in this capacity he produced a Sanscrit grammar; but his attention was chiefly given to Assyrian and cognate subjects, and he was especially prominent in establishing the Turanian character of the language originally spoken in Assyria. In 1869 Oppert was appointed professor of Assyrian philology and archaeology at the Collège de France. In 1865 he published a history of Assyria and Chaldaea in the light of the results of the different exploring expeditions. At a later period he devoted much attention to the language and antiquities of ancient Media, writing Le Peuple et la langue des Mèdes (1879). He died in Paris on the 21st of August 1905. Oppert was a voluminous writer upon Assyrian mythology and jurisprudence, and other subjects connected with the ancient civilizations of the East. Among his other works may be mentioned: Éléments de la grammar assyrienne (1868); L’Immortalité de l’âme chez les Chaldéens, (1875); Salomon et ses successeurs (1877); and, with J. Ménant, Doctrines juridiques de l’Assyrie el de la Chaldée (1877).