German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.
James Murray was a Scottish philologist and lexicographer. He is best remembered as the main editor of the famous Oxford English Dictionary from 1879 until his demise in 1915. Murray's contribution to the dictionary and his collaboration with lexicographical researcher William Chester Minor inspired the 2019 film The Professor and the Madman, where the former was portrayed by Mel Gibson.
Max Müller was a German-born Orientalist and philologist. Müller is credited with co-founding the western academic disciplines of religious studies and Indian studies. In 1874, he was honored with the Pour le Mérite. He received the prestigious Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art in 1875. In India, the Goethe Institutes are named in his honor.
Part of the legendary folklorist duo known as the Brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm gave to the world Grimm’s Fairy Tales, along with his younger brother, Wilhelm Grimm. The son of a lawyer, he, too, had initially studied law. He also contributed immensely to Germanic linguistics, with his Grimm's law.
Jean-François Champollion was a French orientalist, philologist, and scholar. A founding figure of Egyptology, Champollion is credited with deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs, which paved the way for several research and studies in the field of Egyptology. Not surprisingly, Champollion is often referred to as the Founder and Father of Egyptology.
V. Gordon Childe was an Australian archaeologist best remembered for his contribution to the study of European prehistory. One of the earliest supporters of culture-historical archaeology, Childe went on to become the first proponent of Marxist archaeology. He is regarded as one of the best-known and most revered archaeologists of the 20th century.
Apart from being a renowned architect, Michael Ventris was also a skilled cryptographer. He not only deciphered the Minoan Linear B script, but also linked it to the ancient Greek script. As an architect, he was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to design schools. He died in a car crash at 34.
Known as the last Renaissance man, Athanasius Kircher was a German Jesuit priest who taught at the Roman College for 4 decades. He was also obsessed with Sinology and Egyptology, and studied everything from fossils to microbes. He was also interested in medicine and invented machines such as the magnetic clock.
Sibawayh was a Persian grammarian of Basra. He was the author of the earliest book on Arabic grammar and linguistics, an unnamed work simply referred to as Al-Kitāb, or "The Book." Modern scholars call him the greatest of all Arabic linguists and one of the greatest linguists of all time in any language.
Belgian scholar Justus Lipsius chaired history and philosophy at the University of Jena and was later associated with the universities of Leiden and Leuven. His works mostly revolved around the revival of Stoicism, which led to the Neostoicism movement. His best-known works include De constantia and Politicorum libri sex.
Considered one of the greatest authors, JRR Tolkien is popularly called the father of the modern fantasy literature. He is best known for his high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which is set in a conceived world called the Middle-Earth. Many years after his death, Tolkien continues to be one of the best-selling writers.
Apart from being a successful barrister, Melbourne-based Julian Burnside, now a Living National Treasure, is also a famed human rights activist. A lover of the arts, he is a passionate collector of paintings and sculptures and has also chaired Chamber Music Australia. An author too, he has penned a children’s book.
Frederic W.H. Myers was a 19th-century classicist and a Victorian psychical researcher. The essayist’s best-known work remains his posthumously published 2-volume collection Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. He also penned award-winning poems. Rumors claim he was homosexual but also had a relationship with his cousin's wife.
Sahiba Gafarova is a Azerbaijani politician and professor. She is currently serving as the Speaker of the National Assembly. Since 2004, Sahiba Gafarova has been an important member of the New Azerbaijan Party.
Johan Ludvig Heiberg was a Danish historian and philologist. Heiberg is best remembered for discovering previously unknown texts in the famous Archimedes Palimpsest. In 1912, Johan Ludvig Heiberg was honored with the Prix Binoux by the French Academy of Sciences.