Utterly Lost - Help? "K. F. Meyer" (1870s scholar)

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billd89
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Utterly Lost - Help? "K. F. Meyer" (1870s scholar)

Post by billd89 »

I have found an extraordinary article of 137 pages, in German (which I am translating), but I cannot find anything about the Author. He (?) has a very common name.

Die Sieben vor Theben und die chaldäische Woche. 1875. The essay appeared in a Berlin ethnology periodical. I would assume he was a Classicist, Age +35 therefore born before 1840.

Konrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898) was a Swiss historical novelist; it is unclear he is this K. F. Meyer, since none of his novels are even remotely 'close.' I am well aware there were Germans in Russia and Eastern Europe, so I won't assume he's from 'Germany' (Prussia).
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Re: Utterly Lost - Help? "K. F. Meyer" (1870s scholar)

Post by DCHindley »

Wouldn't be the first 19th century wag to be a one hit wonder, at least under this name.

Consider the subject, the number seven. He is relating the legendary seven gates of Thebes (and what they were thought to signify) with one of the many versions of the "chaldean week" (aka Babylonian week, or Neo-Babylonian week). That, from what I can divine, started out to be a five day week named after the five visible planets, then later 2 days were added for the Sun and Moon, to end up with seven day week.

Who finds that entertaining? :confusedsmiley:
billd89 wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 11:27 am I have found an extraordinary article of 137 pages, in German (which I am translating), but I cannot find anything about the Author. He (?) has a very common name.

Die Sieben vor Theben und die chaldäische Woche. 1875. The essay appeared in a Berlin ethnology periodical. I would assume he was a Classicist, Age +35 therefore born before 1840.

Konrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898) was a Swiss historical novelist; it is unclear he is this K. F. Meyer, since none of his novels are even remotely 'close.' I am well aware there were Germans in Russia and Eastern Europe, so I won't assume he's from 'Germany' (Prussia).
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It's super-nerdy analysis, I know

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The expanse of what's covered in the essay is epic; my concern is IF he's a bullshitter, because some of his conclusions are radical and unfamiliar to me (admittedly: an amateur, reading across several disciplines). He footnotes diligently; I believe he's legit. I am concerned because I cannot find biographical data? Literally: a dead-end.

One topic he expands on (for several pages) is "Herakles-Israel". Let's imagine it's true: there was a Phoenicio-Judaic version of Herakles from the area of Lebano-Israel, that OT Esau & Jacob are translations of (Byblos) Usous & Sammenrus. It's fascinating in all the detail he presents: yet, his thesis was ... ignored? Hmmm. I can see why period theologians would hate what he outlines (plus, he was never translated). Well, maybe he was disheartened by the reception he received - dropped out after his first publishing effort, croaked or smthg.

I cannot find anything on him, so I wonder if it's a pseudonym.
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Re: "K. F. Meyer" = Eduard Meyer

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billd89 wrote: Thu May 26, 2022 11:27 am I have found an extraordinary article of 137 pages, in German (which I am translating), but I cannot find anything about the Author. He (?) has a very common name.

Die Sieben vor Theben und die chaldäische Woche. 1875. The essay appeared in a Berlin ethnology periodical. I would assume he was a Classicist, Age +35 therefore born before 1840.

Konrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898) was a Swiss historical novelist; it is unclear he is this K. F. Meyer, since none of his novels are even remotely 'close.' I am well aware there were Germans in Russia and Eastern Europe, so I won't assume he's from 'Germany' (Prussia).
The Swiss novelist is irrelevant, obviously.

However, the (somewhat mysterious ) but prolific author and ancient historian, brother of Kuno Meyer (1858-1919), EDUARD MEYER (1855-1930) wrote on a related Chaldaean topic about two decades later: "Die chaldäische Aera des Almagest und der babylonische Kalender" (Zeit schrift für Assyriologie, IX, 1894). His biographical data is richly suggestive of a requisite background in Egyptology; see LINK:

M. was shaped by the humanistic-liberal atmosphere of his parental home as well as the wide range of educational opportunities at his school, the Gymnasium Johanneum, where he was not only taught comprehensive knowledge of the two Classical languages and literatures as well as modern world languages, but also of access to Hebrew and Arabic. The then school director and important Thucydides researcher →Johann Classen (1805–91) had a lasting influence on him; Through Classen, who was still a student of B.G. Niebuhr, M. came into contact with Niebuhr's consistently universal historical conception of the history of antiquity - from the beginnings in Egypt and the Near East, including Israel-Juda to the Hellenic-Roman world. M. placed his entire, largely oriental, under this ambitious objective. Studied languages in Bonn (1872) and above all in Leipzig, where he received his doctorate in 1875 from the Egyptologist G. Ebers with a thesis on the history of religions about the deity Seth-Typhon. An important driving force of his later scientific work remained a comprehensive interest in anthropology and religious studies. After a stay in Constantinople ..., M. was able to enroll at the Univ. Leipzig habilitated in ancient history and in the same year accepted the offer of the publishing house Cotta to develop a "handbook and textbook" on the history of antiquity with equal consideration of ancient oriental, Greek and Hellenistic history.

This depiction of the "History of Antiquity", developed on the basis of evenly comprehensive knowledge of sources and independent research, represents M.'s actual life's work, for the preparation and protection of which the vast majority of his extraordinarily extensive oeuvre was written (his catalog raisonné counts more than 500 titles). Already the first volume (History of the Orient up to the founding of the Persian Empire, 1884) established M.'s fame as a real universal historian of ancient history. As early as 1885 he was appointed to a chair in ancient history at the Univ. Breslau, in 1889 he moved from there to Halle/Saale and in 1902 to Berlin (retiring in 1923). By 1902, M. was able to publish the comprehensive presentation of the "History of Antiquity" up to the middle of the 4th century BC in four further volumes. d. H. up to the threshold of the Hellenistic age with the rise of Macedonia under Philip II. In view of the enormous increase in source material on the history of the eastern Mediterranean world and the Near East in the 3rd and 2nd millennium B.C. B.C. and fundamental archaeological discoveries (including the Minoan culture of Crete and the Hittite Empire in Central Anatolia), M. decided instead of continuing with a complete revision of the first two volumes, which was followed by numerous important individual studies (including Die Israelites and their neighboring tribes, 1906; Egyptian Chronology, 1904 and 1908; The Elephantine Papvrus Fund, 1912). The first half-volume (1907) was preceded by an introduction "Elements of Anthropology", in which, in addition to an independent "history" and approaches to a sociological-ethnological systematics of prehistory and early history, M.'s examination of the "nomothetic" historical concepts of Karl Lamprecht and Kurt Breysigs found expression. A longer stay in America in 1909/10 provided important impressions and impulses. However, further work on his work – vol. I, 2 (The oldest historical peoples and cultures up to the 16th century) was published in 1909/1913 – stalled for a decade due to the outbreak of the First World War...

I think that "K. F. Meyer" (submitting a first article in 1874) is the one-time pseudonym of a very precocious 19yo Egyptology student, Eduard Meyer, who never used that name again. The same year, under his own name, he published a monograph on Seth-Typhon (1875); the mysterious article on Phoenician influence on Theban religion which I've identified is not so far removed by expertise and orientation.

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Re: Utterly Lost - Help? "K. F. Meyer" (1870s scholar)

Post by StephenGoranson »

Maybe that identification is correct, though fwiw the article seems the product of considerable work for a 19 year old, and that publication might appear to be an unlikely outlet to accept a pseudonym. Again, I don't claim to know for sure.
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Re: Identifying "K. F. Meyer"

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StephenGoranson wrote: Mon Apr 17, 2023 5:28 am Maybe that identification is correct, though fwiw the article seems the product of considerable work for a 19 year old, and that publication might appear to be an unlikely outlet to accept a pseudonym. Again, I don't claim to know for sure.
Valid points, Stephen. I initially assumed 'he' must be a middle-aged scholar. The article is indeed audacious: could a brilliant 19yo have produced it? Given the confirmed evidence from Eduard Meyer's publishing history, I believe it is quite possible and entirely plausible that he did so.

Even Arnaldo Momigliano indicates Meyer's biography is 'mysterious.' He produced over 500 works between 1875 and ~1930, 55 years, about 9 articles, monographs, etc. per year on average. You must admit: he was extraordinarily prolific. However, I see only a couple works in the first few years of that period. And how old was he, then?

February 1875: Set-Typhon: Eine religionsgeschichtliche Studie (Leipzig, 1875) 64pp. ____________ Completed at Age 20.
January 1877: Geschichte von Troas (Leipzig, 1877) 112pp. __________________________________ Completed at Age 22.
November 1878: Geschichte des Königreiches Pontos (Leipzig, 1879), 109 pp. ___________________ Completed at Age 23.

Another book, "Geschichte des alten Aegyptens, von Johannes Dümichen (also credited to Eduard Meyer)" (Berlin 1879) 322pp. was perhaps merely a later collaboration/revision c.1885? Again, it also suggests Meyer would have had excellent familiarity with the subject matter of "Die Sieben vor Theben und die chaldäische Woche". If "Die Sieben vor Theben" (estimated 21,150 words) was published as a book in the typical E.Meyer format (~300 words per page), it would have been a monograph of ~75pp. Given that "Die Sieben vor Theben" is dated "1875" yet was apparently published in January, the essay must have been received by Zeitschrift für Ethnologie in October 1874 at the latest. This, his first published work, would have been supervised by Georg Ebers in 1873 (at Age 18); that connection may have warranted its publication (i.e. of his young protégé) in a serious journal, under such unusual circumstances.

IF Eduard Meyer is the true author ("K. E. Meyer"?) at 19yo, had he produced anything else so precociously, before? Perhaps:
At the age of twelve he wrote a tragedy in five acts: "Brutus oder die Ermordung Cäsars"; the play was inspired by Shakespeare, but its details were based on the author’s own study of sources (chiefly Plutarch). The Johanneum in Hamburg—a school designed to educate scholars and at that time a center of research on Thucydides—gave the highly gifted pupil a philological training that was at university level.

Also, this:
In 1879 Meyer habilitated in ancient history in Leipzig with a study on the history of Pontus, the foundations for which he had laid in a paper written while he was still a schoolboy. In the same year the twenty-four-year-old Privatdozent accepted a proposal from the publisher Cotta to write a Handbuch and textbook on ancient history.

Text analysis (by software) could probably settle the little mystery here.
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Re: Utterly Lost - Help? "K. F. Meyer" (1870s scholar)

Post by StephenGoranson »

Here's a mere wild guess, the author of:

Die noch lebenden keltischen Völkerschaften
Sprachen und Litteraturen in ihrer Geschichte und Bedeutung
Friedrich Karl Meyer
1863
German Book Book 51 Seiten
Berlin Hertz
available at hathitrust

But he may be 1805-1870
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Possibilities and IMPOSSIBILITIES, Part 1

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StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 4:47 am Here's a mere wild guess, the author of:

Die noch lebenden keltischen Völkerschaften
Sprachen und Litteraturen in ihrer Geschichte und Bedeutung
Friedrich Karl Meyer
1863
German Book Book 51 Seiten
Berlin Hertz
available at hathitrust

But he may be 1805-1870
Elsewhere, I've outlined some of my thinking on Pseudonymity in scholarship. Basically, take apart all the pieces and test your thesis for veracity: if most Fail, you're probably (almost certainly) Wrong.

Friedrich Karl Meyer ≠ "K. F. Meyer" and Friedrich Karl Meyer ≠ "Eduard Meyer". Alexis de Tocqueville confirms that Friedrich Karl Meyer was indeed a philologist and a friend of Goethe -- perhaps a one-time Coburg priest (!!) -- who became the personal librarian and private secretary of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1847? I wonder if King Leopold of Belgium had this same Frederick Carl Meyer of Coburg marry his beloved courtesan Arcadie Claret in 1846. Baron Bunsen claimed to have introduced Meyer to Windsor Castle in this period; Meyer was supposedly involved in Continental intrigues (ineptly) on Albert's behalf.

Your 'F. K. Meyer' wrote a book on Celtic history published in 1863 (Age 58?). If he was born in 1805, he became a Court Councillor at Age 32, when the Prince Albert was Age 28. However, he published almost nothing, ergo, an historical dilettante and court flunky. Most importantly, nothing suggests he ever seriously studied nor wrote about Egyptology, period.

Also, Dead Men Don't Publish.
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POSSIBILITIES and Impossibilities, Part 2

Post by billd89 »

Eduard Meyer was certainly a precocious student of history, in his adolescence. He published at least three monographs before Age 24, when he was offered a major project by one of the most esteemed German publishing houses. He would go on to publish more than 500 works in the following decades, several topically related to "Die Sieben vor Theben". In the 1870s, the young Eduard Meyer was definitely a publishing Egyptologist and someone who 'could' have written this essay.

I argue this -- in all probability -- is his first and un-credited published work, although the Pseudonymity issue is still murky. It was only "pseudonymous" IF he, or his advisor, or his publisher deliberately hid Meyer's identity.

However, another possibility should be mentioned: simple Error. The editor may have transcribed his name poorly; this was never corrected. Hypothetically, the essay was submitted with a cover letter that did not precisely identify the young scholar, who was then basically anonymous. Perhaps Doctoral Kandidat Eduard Meyer ("K.E. Meyer") was garbled somehow? Some other unknown reason may explain what amounts to a clerical error leading to all this confusion.

Again, I suppose an almost definitive algorithm-based (AI) software solution to such 'writer identity' questions is soon to appear (if not already.)
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Re: Utterly Lost - Help? "K. F. Meyer" (1870s scholar)

Post by StephenGoranson »

I thought that that K. F. Meyer was perhaps worth considering, even if admittedly a long shot.
He was interested in ethnology.
Dead people do sometimes get published, posthumously. Example, Thomas S. Kuhn, Last Writings.
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