Matthias Castrén
Humanist of the day

Matthias Castrén

A linguistic pioneer, Matthias Castrén's legacy is still evident in the scientific world. Over the course of a number of research trips, he developed and refined his research methods, with the result that the material he collected is still entirely valid as source material for language and ethnological research today. Castrén's early death from complications following tuberculosis did nothing to stop his scholarly achievements enjoying posterity, albeit through the application of his successors working on the basis of their mentor's meticulously prepared groundwork.

Matthias Castrén

Matthias Alexander Castrén
Born December 12, 1813, Tervola. Died May 7, 1852, Helsinki.

Bachelor of Arts 1836, Master of Arts 1836, Doctor of Philosophy 1944, Imperial Alexander University.

Docent, 1840 (Finnish and Old Scandinavian Tribal Languages), Imperial Alexander University, Professor, 1851 (Finnish Language and Literature), Imperial Alexander University.

Field trips:
1841-44 Russia (occasionally with Elias Lönnrot)
1845-48 Russia and China (accompanying Johan Bergstadt)

Awards and special achievements:
Joint winner of the Demidov Award
Member, St Petersburg Academy of Science, January 1, 1849.

Photo: WikimediaCommons
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by John Calton

Matthias Castrén began his studies at the Imperial Alexander University in 1830. Following an academic path and attending university were natural for Matthias as both of his parents came from old clerical families and appreciated scholarship.

During his university studies, Castrén studied languages and philosophy. It was with the publication…

Read more