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Vasily Radlov

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Vasily Radlov
Radlov in 1917
Born(1837-01-17)January 17, 1837
DiedMay 12, 1918(1918-05-12) (aged 81)

Vasily Vasilievich Radlov or Friedrich Wilhelm Radloff (Russian: Васи́лий Васи́льевич Ра́длов; 17 January [O.S. 5 January] 1837 in Berlin – 12 May 1918 in Petrograd) was a German-Russian linguist, ethnographer, and archaeologist, often considered to be the founder of Turkology, the scientific study of Turkic peoples. According to Turkologist Johan Vandewalle, Radlov knew all of the Turkic languages and dialects as well as German, French, Russian, Greek, Latin, Manchu, Mongolian, Chinese, Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew.[citation needed]


Working as a schoolteacher in Barnaul, Radlov became interested in the native peoples of Siberia and published his ethnographic findings in the influential monograph From Siberia (1884). From 1866 to 1907, he translated and released a number of monuments of Turkic folklore. Most importantly, he was the first to publish the Orhon inscriptions. Four volumes of his comparative dictionary of Turkic languages followed in 1893 to 1911. Radlov helped establish the Russian Museum of Ethnography and was in charge of the Asiatic Museum in St. Petersburg from 1884 to 1894.[citation needed] One of the works he published was a Kyrgyz version of the epic Er Töshtük[1]

Radlov assisted Grigory Potanin on his glossary of Salar language, Western Yugur language, and Eastern Yugur language in Potanin's 1893 Russian language book The Tangut-Tibetan Borderlands of China and Central Mongolia.[2]

During the Stalinist repressions of the late 1930s, the NKVD and state science apparatus accused the late (ethnically German) Radlov of Panturkism. A perceived connection with the long-dead Radlov was treated as incriminating evidence against Orientalists and Turkologists, some of whom were executed, including Alexander Samoylovich in 1938.


Further reading

  • Laut, Jens Peter, Radloff, Friedrich Wilhelm, in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 21 (2003), S. 96–97
  • Temir, Ahmet (1955). Leben und Schaffen von Friedrich Wilhelm Radloff (1837–1918): Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Türkologie, Oriens 8 (1), 51–93


  1. ^ DeWeese, Devin (2010). Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde: Baba TŸkles and Conversion to Islam in Historical and Epic Tradition. Penn State Press. pp. 241–42. ISBN 9780271044453.
  2. ^ "Poppe: REMARKS ON THE SALAR LANGUAGE" (PDF). 16 March 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2012.
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Vasily Radlov
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