CHARPENTIER, JARL (Hellen Robert Toussaint; b. 17 December 1884, d. 5 July 1935), Swedish Indologist, Indo-Europeanist, and Iranist, born in Gothenburg as the son of an army officer. Charpentier matriculated at Uppsala University in 1902 and in 1908 earned his doctor’s degree there with the dissertation Studien zur indischen Erzählungsliteratur. I. Paccekabuddhageschichten. In 1927 he was appointed professor ordinarius of Sanskrit and comparative Indo-­European philology at the same university, where he taught until his premature death in 1935.

Charpentier published extensively, mainly in the field of Sanskrit literature (his most important contribution was Die Suparṇasage. Untersuchungen zur altindischen Literatur- and Sagengeschichte, Uppsala, 1920-22), but he also wrote with great acumen on comparative Indo­-European philology, including Iranian studies (cf. Die Desiderativbildungen der indoiranischen Sprachen, Uppsala, 1912; Die verbalen r-Endungen der indogermanischen Sprachen, Uppsala, 1917).

Charpentier’s contributions to the Iranian field main­ly concerned etymologies. An important exception was his discussion of the date of Zarathustra, which he estimated at 1000-900 b.c.e. or even earlier (“The date of Zoroaster,” BSOS 3, 1923-25, pp. 747-55; later enlarged as The Life and Date of Zoroaster, the Prophet of Iran. Three lectures, Vizianagram, 1925). Among the many articles in which he discussed Iranian etymologies the following may be mentioned: “Avestische Etymologien,” IF 28, 1911, pp. 153-57; “Beiträge zur alt- and mittelindischen Wortkunde,” IF 28, 1911, pp. 157-88; “Av. dūraoša-: ai. duroṣa-,” WZKM 27, 1913, pp. 235-44 (in which he argued for derivation from dūra- “far” and oṣa-, auša- “death”); “Zur altindischen Wortkunde,” WZKM 30, 1917, pp. 91­-108; “Zur alt- and mittelindischen Wortkunde,” MO 13, 1919, pp. 1-54; “Der Name Kambyses (Kanbūǰi­ya),” ZII 2, 1923, pp. 140-52 (in which he, following scholars like Markwart, argued for the derivation of the OPers. name from Kamboja, a land known from OInd. sources, and proposed that the name means “king of Kambojas”); “Beiträge zur indoiranischen Wortkunde,” MO 18, 1924, pp. 1-45; “Some Remarks on Pashto Etymology,” AO 7, 1929, pp. 180-97 (cf. G. Morgenstierne’s remarks ibid., pp. 198-99); “Beiträge zur indoiranischen Etymologie,” in C. Pavry, ed., Oriental Studies in Honour of Cursetji Erachji Pavry, London, 1933, pp. 76-85; and “Indra. Ein Versuch der Aufklärung,” MO 25, 1931, as well as his book Kleine Beiträge zur indoiranischen Mythologie, Uppsala, 1911.



H. S. Nyberg, “Jarl Charpentier,” MO 29, 1935, pp. 191-92.

Svenskt biografiskt lexikon VIII, Stockholm, 1929, pp. 396-97.

Uppsala universitets matrikel. Höstterminen 1926, Uppsala, 1927, pp. 49-52 (with a list of Charpentier’s publications 1906-26).

(Bo Utas)

Originally Published: December 15, 1991

Last Updated: October 14, 2011

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Vol. V, Fasc. 4, p. 389