Osip Bodyansky

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Osip Maximovič Bodjanskij, 1878

Osip Maksimovich Bodyansky (Осип Максимович Бодянский; 1808–1878) was a notable Slavist in the Russian Empire of Ukrainian ethnicity who studied and taught at the Moscow University. Bodyansky's close friends included Nikolai Gogol, Taras Shevchenko, Mykhaylo Maksymovych, and Pavel Jozef Šafárik. He was elected a corresponding member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1854.

Bodyansky was born in the Poltava guberniya, and, as a student in Moscow, entered Stankevich's circle of intellectuals. After getting his master's degree, he was at work rummaging obscure libraries and archives of Little Russia. Such activities brought to light a splattering of important documents, such as the illustrated Peresopnytsia Gospels and the controversial History of the Rus.

Bodyansky's publication of Giles Fletcher's sketch of Muscovy was deemed an act of Russophobia and incurred the displeasure of Tsar Nicholas I, leading to the scholar's departure from Moscow to Kazan. In his 30s, Bodyansky travelled in the Slavic countries on behalf of the Russian government, in order to study their languages, literature, and societies. Having for long moved in Slavophile and Pan-Slavist circles, he spent some time working in Prague with Šafárik. Upon his return he became professor in Moscow, where he died in 1878. His tomb is in the Novodevichy Convent.

Bodyansky was one of the first serious scholars of the Ukrainian language and wrote some amateur poetry in his native tongue. His master's dissertation involved a comparison of Ukrainian and Russian folks songs. Bodyansky's chief work was editing the Treatises of the Moscow Society for Russian History and Antiquities (1846–49 and 1858–78). Of his own works, notable are On the Folk Poetry of the Slavic Tribes (1837) and On the Time of Origin of the Slavic Script (1855).


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