Safarik, Pavel Josef

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Šafařik, Pavel Josef

Šafařik, Pavel Josef (päˈvĕl yôˈzĕf shäˈfär-zhēk), 1795–1861, Czech philologist and archaeologist; his name is also spelled Schafarik and Schafřík. Šafařik advanced the theory that the Slavs originally were a composite people with a common language that later had split into separate dialects. In his Slavonic Antiquities (1836–37) he maintained that the Slavs had been indigenous to Europe since the 5th cent. B.C. His theories, though now obsolete, were of great significance in the advance of Slavic studies; they also gave intellectual impetus to Pan-Slavism.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Šafařík, Pavel Josef


Born May 13, 1795, in Kobeliarovo Slovakia; died June 26, 1861, in Prague. Slovak and Czech Slavicist. Figure in the Czech and Slovak national liberation movements.

Šafařík graduated from the University of Jena in 1817 and taught in a Serbian Gymnasium from 1819 to 1833. In 1841 he became curator of the library of Charles University, and in 1848 he became the library’s director. During the Revolution of 1848, Šafařík adopted a liberal bourgeois stance. He became chairman of the society Lípa Slovanská in April 1848 and headed the Czech and Slovak delegation to the Slavic Congress, held in Prague that June.

Šafařík was the first Slavicist to apply the comparative historical method to the study of the Slavic peoples. His principal works Slavic Antiquities (Russian translation, vols. 1–2, 1837–48) and Slavic Ethnography (Russian translation, 1843) provided historical substantiation for the concept of Slavic unity and demonstrated the role played by the Slavs in world history. Šafařík also wrote on mythology, paleography, Slavic languages, and Czech and Slovak literature and folklore. He and F. Palacký published the treatise Principles of Czech Poetry in 1818. Šafařík History of Slavic Language and Literature in All Its Dialects appeared in 1826. His activity as a poet is represented by the collection of verse A Tatra Muse With a Slavic Lyre (1814). Šafařík’s work influenced the development of Slavic studies in Russia and in other countries.


Sebrané spisy, vols. 1–3. Prague, 1861–65.
Literatúra, jasyk, spoločnošt. Bratislava, 1961.
In Russian translation:
Oproiskhozhdenii i rodine glagolitizma. Moscow, 1861.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 11, p. 205; vol. 29, p. 13.
Myl’nikov, A. S. Pavel Shafarikvydaiushchiisia uchenyi-slavist. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
Pavel Jozef Šafařík Bratislava, 1961.
Odkaz P. J. Šafaříka. (Slovanskó štúdie,6.) Bratislava, 1963.
Novotny, J. Pavel Josef Šafařík Prague, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.