HORN, PAUL, German philologist and specialist in Iranian and Turkish languages (b. 14 January 1863 in Halle an der Saale, d. 11 November 1908 in Strassburg). He began his studies of Sanskrit, Avestan, Persian, and comparative linguistics in 1883 at the university in Halle. Here he obtained his doctor’s degree on 6 June 1885 under Christian Bartholomae (q.v.), with a thesis on nominal inflection in the Avesta and in the Old Persian inscriptions. (Only the first part, Die Stämme auf Spiranten, was published.) There followed his habilitation thesis (1889) at Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität in Strassburg, where in 1892 he received the venia legendi (authorization to teach)for comparative Indo-European linguistics. In 1900, at the same university, he was appointed extraordinarius (associate) professor of this subject. After long suffering he died on 11 November 1908 at the age of only 45. His premature death prevented him from finishing many of the works he had begun, including a dictionary of New Persian and an account of Persian culture based on descriptions in the Šāh-nāma (see ZDMG 61, 1907, p. 837). In 1891 he had married Helene Schaupp, who one year later gave birth to a daughter, also called Helene. Horn professed the creed of the evangelical church; and he held the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the infantry (Degener, ed., 1905, p. 365).

In the face of the overwhelming authority of Theodor Nöldeke and Heinrich Hübschmann (qq.v.), who likewise taught in Strassburg, it was difficult for Horn to achieve a comparable reputation. Horn felt himself a scholar of Persian history and literature, and he published works across the entire field of Iranian studies (philology, as well as the history of Iran), but with emphasis on the modern Persian language. His chapter on it in the Grundriss der iranischen Philologie (q.v.), Vol. I/2, has not yet been superseded by modern scholarship, as C. G. Cereti remarked some years ago. Horn’s Grundriss der neupersischen Etymologie (Strassburg, 1893) has been reprinted (in 1974 and 1988) and translated into Persian (by Jalāl Ḵāleqi Motlaq, Asās-e ešteqāq-e Fārsi, Tehran, 1977). He mastered an impressive number of ancient and modern languages, and among his merits was a very early recognition of the importance for Iranists of using sigillographic sources (cf. Theodor Nöldeke’s judgement in Literarisches Centralblatt, 1892, no. 27. pp. 967-68, and, more recently, J. Rypka, Iranische Literaturgeschichte, Leipzig, 1957, p. 33; C. G. Cereti in Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 9, 1997, p. 44). Horn traveled, visiting archives in various countries; and out of these visits he produced valuable manuscript catalogues (see, e.g., ZDMG 51, 1897, pp. 1-65; 54, 1900, pp. 275-332 and 475-509). He edited numerous manuscript texts, and publications of the memoirs of Shah Ṭahmāsp I and of the early classical Persian dictionary Loḡat-e Fors received the appreciation of fellow specialists (see Literarisches Centralblatt,1891, no. 40, p. 1388; 1898, no. 23, pp. 905-6). In the realm of Turkish studies, Horn was an acknowledged authority in Strassburg.

During the years he taught in Strassburg, Horn worked to publicize the results of Iranian studies research to a larger scholarly public through numerous newspaper supplements (see Kettenhofen, 2003, bibliog.) and summary reports (see Anzeiger für Indogermanische Sprach- und Altertumskunde 2, 1893, pp. 214-19; IF 2, 1893, pp. 132-43; ZDMG 59, 1905, pp. 216-21). If Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität in Strassburg came to be a center of Oriental studies in the period after 1872 (see W. Spiegelberg, Die orientalischen Studien an der deutschen Universität Strassburg, Deutsches Vaterland 4, 1922, p. 47), then Horn can be said to have played a significant part in the process.

Horn participated with other leading Iranists of the time in the famous Grundriss der iranischen Philologie (2 vols., Strassburg, 1896-1904), which provided an encyclopedic summary of Iran’s languages and history. In addition to the abovementioned chapter iv in volume I, he wrote chapter xvii on the history of Iran after the Muslim conquest (vol. II, pp. 551-604). He also contributed to other survey works: Die Orientalischen Literaturen. Die Kultur der Gegenwart (Part 1/7, Berlin and Leipzig, 1906, pp. 235-81), discussing Middle Persian, Modern Persian, and Turkish literature; Die Litteraturen des Ostens in Einzeldarstellungen (vol. 4, Geschichte der türkischen Moderne, Leipzig, 1902, 2nd ed., 1909; vol. 6: Geschichte der persischen Litteratur, Leipzig, 1901, 2nd ed., 1909). It was no fault of Horn’s contribution to New Persian etymology that his work was overtaken after the turn of the century by the new discoveries of Middle Iranian texts and languages in Central Asia.



Biography and obituaries. E. Kettenhofen, “P. Horn ein deutscher Iranist (1863-1908),” Nāme-ye Irān-e Bāstān 2/2, 2003, pp. 81-94 (bibliography, pp. 87-94).

H. A. I. Degener, Wer ist’s? Unsere Zeitgenossen. Zeitgenossenlexikon, Leipzig, 1905, p. 365.

Strassburger Bürger-Zeitung, no. 267, 13 November 1908, p. 2. ZDMG 62, 1908, p. LXIV.

Selected works of Paul Horn. Die Denkwürdigkeiten des Schâh Tahmâsp I. von Persien aus dem Originaltext zum ersten Male übersetzt und mit Erläuterungen versehen, Strassburg 1891.

Sassanidische Siegelsteine, ed. with G. Steindorff, Königliche Museen zu Berlin. Mittheilungen aus den orientalischen Sammlungen 4, Berlin, 1891.

Das Heer-und Kriegswesen der Groβmoghuls, Leiden, 1894.

Asadi’s neupersisches Wörterbuch Lughat-i Furs nach der einzigen vaticanischen Handschrift, Abh. der Gesellschaft der Wiss. zu Göttingen, Phil.-Hist. Kl., N.S. 1/8, Berlin, 1897.

“Neupersische Schriftsprache,” in W. Geiger and E. Kuhn, eds., Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, Bd. I/2, Strassburg, 1898, pp. 1-200.

References to Horn’s contribution to Iranian studies. B. Spuler, “Der deutsche Beitrag zur Iranforschung,” in A Locust’s Leg. Studies in Honour of S. H. Taqizadeh, ed. W. B. Henning and E. Yarshater, London 1962, pp. 233-39 (see p. 238); also published in French in Mélanges d’orientalisme offerts à H. Massé, Téhéran, 1963, pp. 375-82 (see p. 380).

C. Cereti, “Die iranischen Sprachen,” in W. Seipel, ed., 7000 Jahre persische Kunst, Tehran, Vienna, and Milan, 2000, pp. 31-37 (see p. 37).

R. Schmitt, “Germany iii.,” in EIr. X/5, 2001, pp. 530-43 (see p. 540).

See also H. Reichelt, “Iranisch,” in Grundriss der indogermanischen Sprach- und Alterthumskunde, Abt.II. Die Erforschung der indogermanischen Sprachen, Bd. IV, Berlin und Leipzig, 1929, index, p. 107.

(Erich Kettenhofen)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 23, 2012

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Vol. XII, Fasc. 5, pp. 476-477