Jagić, Vatroslav

Jagić, Vatroslav, b 6 July 1838 in Varaždin, Croatia, d 5 August 1923 in Vienna. Noted philologist; founder of modern Slavic studies. Croatian by descent, Jagić graduated from the University of Vienna in 1860, and after a stay in Zagreb became professor at Odesa University (1871–4) and at the universities of Berlin (1874–80), Saint Petersburg (1880–6), and Vienna (1886–1908). He was a member of several academies—such as those of Zagreb (from 1866), Saint Petersburg (from 1880), and Vienna (from 1886)—and of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (from 1903). Jagić had a command of all the Slavic languages. The journal that he founded and edited, Archiv für slavische Philologie (1876–1920)—often referred to as Jagić’s Archiv—became the most authoritative forum for Slavic studies in the world. His contributions to research on Old Church Slavonic (summarized in his Entstehungsgeschichte der kirchenslavischen Sprache, 1913), including his demonstration that Macedonian was the basis of this language and that its first alphabet was the Glagolitic alphabet, are relevant also for the history of the eastern Slavic languages and literatures. In his Razsuzhdeniia iuzhnoslavianskoi i russkoi stariny o tserkovno-slavianskom iazyke (Deliberations of the South-Slavic and Russian Antiquity on the Church Slavonic Language, 1896) he published and commented on texts that determined early grammatical approaches to Slavic, while in Istoriia slavianskoi filologii (History of Slavic Philology, 1910) he presented a detailed synthetic survey of Slavic philology, including Ukrainian, through the 19th century. In his works on ‘Old Russian’—‘Chetyre kritiko-paleograficheskiia stati’ (Four Critico-Paleographic Articles, 1884), and particularly Kriticheskie zametki po istorii russkogo iazyka (Critical Comments on the History of the Russian Language, 1889), which resulted from his disagreement with Aleksei Sobolevsky’s views—he gave a broad and objective picture of Old Ukrainian phonology and morphology, even though he believed in the existence of a common Old Russian language. His extended reviews of Pavlo Zhytetsky’s Ocherk zvukovoi istorii malorusskogo narechiia (Outline of the Phonological History of the Little Russian Dialect, 1876) made a further contribution to the history of the Ukrainian language. His characterization of the Bačka dialect and the Banat dialect enriched Ukrainian dialectology.

Materialy dlia biograficheskogo slovaria deistivel’nykh chlenov Imperatorskoi akademii nauk, vol 2 (Petrograd 1917)
Demianchuk, V. Hnat (Vatroslav) Jagić, 1838–1923 (Kyiv 1924)
Kombol, M. Vatroslav Jagić: Izbrani kraći spisi (Zagreb 1948)

George Yurii Shevelov

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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