Julius Pokorny (1887-1970)

1887- ; b. 12 June, in Prague; educated at the Piarist School in Prague and the Benedictine Abbey school in Kremsmünster, Austria; studied at Univ. of Vienna, from 1905 and grad. Law and Philology, 1911; appt. lecturer in Celtic Languages at Vienna, 1913-20; first travelled to Ireland in 1908; published A Concise Irish Grammar and Reader (1914); issued a ‘thoroughly’ pro-nationalist history of Ireland as Irland (Gotha: F.A. Perthes 1916), which was later translated by Séana D. King, with a foreword by J. M. Hone of Maunsel & Co. (History of Ireland, Talbot Press 1933), revised for the purpose and with a short preface of his own; met and corresponded with Roger Casement; served as a reservist in the German Army from 1916; participating member of Deutch-Irische Geselleschaft, fnd. in Berlin, Feb. 1917; contrib. to Irische Blätter, newsletter of that society;
appt. to chair of Celtic Philology in succession to Kuno Meyer, Berlin Univ., 1920-35; recieved payment of £30 from Irish govt. at behest of Eoin MacNeill, Irish Minister of Education ‘as a token of thanks for all that you have already done to help Irish learning’ (MacNeill to Pokorny, letter of 18 Dec. 1922); issued Dei älteste Lyrick der Grünen Insel (Halle: Niemyer 1923), a study of old Irish lyrics prepared earlier and now published with financial assistance of Irish state and ded. to MacNeill; he received an honorary D.Litt. from NUI, 1925, and was dismissed from chair in Berlin on account of partial Jewish descent, 1935;
issued Altirische Grammatik (1925); fled from Germany to Switzerland on a passport issued by Irish consulate at behest of Eamon de Valera, 1943; settled in Zürich, 1944; issued Alt keltische Dichtungen (1944); he was reinstated at Berlin Univ. after the war; issued his magnus opus, Indogermani sches etymologisches Wörterbuch, 2 vol. (1948–69); appt. to an honorary professorship at Munich Univ., 1955 [in effect an hon. degree]; received honorary degrees from Univ. of Wales (1966) and Edinburgh Univ. (1967); d. 8 April 8 1970, in Zürich; an anachronistic allusion to his theory that the Celts had no notion of hell occurs in the Library scene of Joyce’s Ulysses (1922).


A Concise Irish Grammar and Reader (1914); History of Ireland, intro. by J. M. Hone (Gotha: Perthes 1916), and Do., [rev. & trans.] A History of Ireland (Dublin: Talbot Press 1933) [see details]; Dei älteste Lyrick der Grünen Insel (Halle: Niemyer 1923).

List of works given in Wikipedia entry on Julius Pokorny—
  • Der Ursprung der Arthursage. Vienna: Anthropologische Gesellschaft, 1909.
  • A Concise Old Irish Grammar and Reader. Halle an der Saale: Max Niemeyer; Dublin: Hodges/Figgis, 1914.
  • Irland. Gotha: F.A. Perthes, 1916 (Perthes' kleine Völker- und Länderkunde 1).
  • English translation: A History of Ireland, trans. Séana D King. London: Longmans; NY: Green and Co., 1933.
  • Die älteste Lyrik der grünen Insel. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1923.
  • A Historical Reader of Old Irish: Texts, Paradigms, Notes, and a Complete Glossary. Halle: M. Niemeyer (reprint: New York: AMS, 1985).
  • Altirische Grammatik. Berlin-Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter, 1925.
  • Alois Walde, Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen, 3 vols. Edited and supplemented by Julius Pokorny. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1927-1932 (reprint: 1973, ISBN 3-11-004556-7).
  • Zur Urgeschichte der Kelten und Illyrier. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1938.
  • Altkeltische Dichtungen: Aus dem Irisch-Gälischen und Cymrischen übertragen und eingeleitet. Bern: A. Francke, 1944.
  • with Vittore Pisani, Allgemeine und vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft: Indogermanistik. Keltologie. Bern: A. Francke, 1953.
  • Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, 2 vols. Tübingen-Bern-Munich: A. Francke, 1957/1969 (1st edn.), 2005 (5th edn.). ISBN 3772009476
  • ‘Der Gral in Irland und die mythischen Grundlagen der Gralsage’, Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien 62 (1912): 1-15.
  • ‘Erschienene Schriften: Rudolf Thurneysen, Zu irischen Handschriften und Literaturdenkmälern’, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie (ZCP) 9 (1913): 184-6.
  • ‘Die englische Herrschaft in Irland’, Petermanns Mitteilungen 62 (1916): 361-65, 409-12.
  • ‘Der irische Aufstand von 1798’, Irische Blätter 4 (1916): 331-340.
  • ‘Rasse und Volk in Irland’, Irische Blätter 7 (1917): 524-528.
  • ‘Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Irlands. 1. Die Fir Bolg, die Urbevölkerung Irlands’, ZCP 11 (1916-17): 189-204.
  • ‘Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Irlands. 2. Der gae bolga und die nördliche, nicht-iberische Urbevölkerung der Britischen Inseln’, ZCP 12 (1918): 195-231.
  • ‘Beiträge zur ältesten Geschichte Irlands. 3. Érainn, Dárin(n)e und die Iverni und Darini des Ptolemäus’, ZCP 12 (1918): 323-357.
  • ‘Zu Morands Fürstenspiegel’, ZCP 13 (1921): 43-6.
  • ‘Das nichtindogermanische Substrat im Irischen’, ZCP 16 (1927): 95-144, 231-66, 363-94; 17 (1928): 373-88; 18 (1930): 233-48.
  • ‘Substrattheorie und Urheimat der Indogermanen’, Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien 66 (1936): 69-91.
  • ‘Zum nichtindogermanischen Substrat im Inselkeltischen’, Die Sprache 1 (1949): 235-45.
  • ‘Die Geographie Irland bei Ptolemaios’, ZCP 24 (1954): 94-120.
  • ‘Keltische Urgeschichte und Sprachwissenschaft’, Die Sprache 5 (1959): 152-64.
  • ‘The Pre-Celtic Inhabitants of Ireland’, Celtica 5 (1960): 229-40.
See Wikipedia - online; accessed 27.09.2023.

Bibliographical details
A History of Ireland, trans. from the German of Julius Pokorny [...] by Séana D. King, with a foreword by J. M. Hone (Dublin & Cork: Talbot Press; London: Longmans, Green & Co. [1933]), [8], 192pp. [available at Google Books - online]

Note - Google Books erroneously cites publisher as Dublin: Longmans, Green & Co. [1933]) - and supplies a maps of terms linked to textual contents inside the covers as follows: acres; against; agricultural; although; among; ancient; Anglo-Irish; Anglo-Norman; Armagh; army; Aryan; battle of Clontarf; became; Belfast; Britain; Bronze Age; brought; Brythonic; Carlingford Lough; Catholics; cattle; Celts; century; church; civilisation; clergy; coast; Colum Cille; Columbanus; Connacht; corn; corn laws; Cú Chulainn; culture; defeated; Douglas Hyde; Dublin; Eamonn de Valera; Earl; Earl of Desmond; election; England; English; English language; English law; English Parliament; Eoin MacNeill; Europe; export; famine; Fenians; force; foreign; founded; France; Gaelic; Gaelic League; Gaels; Galway; Gaul; Goidelic; Henry II; Henry VIII; High King; high treason; History of Ireland; Home Rule; Home Rule League; Hugh O’Neill; important; industry; inhabitants; Irish army; Irish Catholics; Irish constitution; Irish government; Irish history; Irish language; Irish literature; Irish nation; Irish Nationalists; Irish Parliament; Irish republic; Irish Republican Brotherhood; Irish Volunteers; Irishmen; island; John Curry; John Redmond; JULIUS POKORNY; Katherine O’Shea; Keltic; Kelts; Kildare; King of England; King of Leinster; kings of Connacht; Kuno Meyer; Lady Gregory; land; Land League; landlords; leaders; Leinster; Limerick; literature; London; Lord Lieutenant; Martin of Tours; Mediterranean; race; Michael O’Clery; million; monasteries; monasticism; Munster; Normans; Northmen; O’Donnell; O’Donnell of Tyrconnell; O’Neill; Ogham; old Irish; organisation; Owen Roe O’Neill; owing; Padraic Colum; Parnell; peasants; Penal; Laws; Picts; poets; Pokorny; political; population; possession; Poynings; princes; Protestant; rent; Roman Britain; schools; Scotland; Shane O’Neill; Silurian; Sinn Fein; Sir Horace Plunkett; Sir; Roger Casement; Spain; spite; Statute of Kilkenny; Strongbow; succeeded; tenants; Thomas Osborne Davis; towns; trade; Treaty of Limerick; tuath; Tumulus; Ulster; United Irishmen; urnfield; Vikings; Waterford; Wexford; whole; Wolfe Tone; Young Irelanders. (See Pokorny, A History of Ireland, at Google Books - - online.)

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Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Julius Pokorny, 1887-1970 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2003), 160pp.; also Ó Dochartaigh, ‘The Source of Hell: Professor Julius Pokorny of Vienna in Ulysses’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 41 (2003-04), pp.825-29.


John Philip Cohane, The Indestructible Irish (NY: Hawthorn Books 1969), discussing a theory of Irish ‘Mediterranean origin’, which, he says, ‘gets short shrift in Dublin’: ‘A small group of embattled but extremely well-positioned scholars, spearheaded by Dr. Professor Julius Pokorny, considered by many the greatest living Celtic authority, at eighty still active with the Institute of Comparative Etymology in Zurich, and Professor H. H. Wagner, head of the Department of Celtic Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, maintain that this common substratum is not only of Mediterranean origin, but, opening up a door leading to even more distasteful vistas as far as the traditionalists are concerned, they believe it is closely related to Berber, Egyptian, and Hebrew. / To put it bluntly, they claim that the original blood stock in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is Semitic. / This avenue was first explored by a Welsh professor named John Morris-Jones, who at the turn of the century published a lengthy tract setting forth similarities in syntax between Welsh and certain Berber dialects. According to Dr. Wagner, Morris Jones’s theory was “not welcomed with open arms”. It is almost [164] impossible to locate a copy of Morris Jones’s article today in either England or Ireland. Celtophiles and Anglophiles alike have been content to let things rest as they are. This spectre of an unwished for heritage lurking in the wings may account in part for the anti-Mediterranean attitude prevalent in polite classical circles. But one cannot shrug off the research of Morris-lones, Pokorny, Wagner, and others.’ (pp.164-65.) [See Cohane, op. cit., Chap. 9 - as attached.]


History of Ireland (1933): ‘The Protestant fear of a “clerical” government was quite unfounded for the Home Rule Bill explicitly guaranteed religious toleration’ (p.158; available at Google Books - online.)


Ulster Libraries: Belfast Central Public Library holds History of Ireland (1933), and Irland (1916), the German-language original. Ulster University (Morris Collection) holds A Concise Irish Grammar and Reader (1914).

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