ZEUSS, Johann Kaspar (1806-1856) Johann Kaspar ZEUSS 1806 1856 Vogtendorf, an Ghearmáin Vogtendorf, an Ghearmáin M An Scoil Laidine, Kronach, an Ghearmáin Progymnasium agus Gymnasium, Bamberg, an Ghearmáin Ollscoil Würzburg, an Ghearmáin Ollscoil München, an Ghearmáin Ollscoil Erlangen, Nürnberg, an Ghearmáin scoláire Gaeilge/Ceiltise/Béaloidis [B9] scoláire teangeolaí focleolaí Diarmuid Breathnach Máire Ní Mhurchú Fiontar, Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath i gcomhar le Cló Iar-Chonnachta agus bunúdair na mbeathaisnéisí, Diarmuid Breathnach agus Máire Ní Mhurchú Foilsiú ar líne These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please go to http://www.ainm.ie/ for more information. 2010

Ba é seo gan amhras an scoláire a chuir síos an dúshraith ar ar tógadh staidéar eolaíoch na Gaeilge. Tá cuntas ag Francis Shaw [B3] air in Studies, samhradh 1954 (‘Johann Kaspar Zeuss’), mar a liostaíonn sé na foinsí eolais go léir sa Ghearmáinis, agus in Celtica, 3, 1956 (‘The Background to Grammatica Celtica’). In Studies deir sé: ‘It must be rare for a nation to owe so much to one man as the Irish people owes to Johann Kaspar Zeuss’ agus ‘Zeuss is acknowledged by all to be the Father and Founder of Celtic studies. He laid alone and unaided the foundation stone of that discipline. Since his time, all serious scholarship in Celtic has been founded on that rock’. Déanann Donnchadh Ó hAodha cur síos air in Irisleabhar Mhuighe Nuadhat, 1961 (‘Triúr Scoláirí’).

In Vogtendorf, gar do Kronach, in Franconia Uachtar, an Ghearmáin, a rugadh é ar 22 Iúil 1806. Saor cloiche ba ea a athair Michael agus ba é Johann an ceathrú duine clainne a rugadh dá bhean Margareta. Saolaíodh é le linn cogaidh nuair a bhí saighdiúirí na Fraince ar ceathrú sa teach. D’insíodh a shagart paróiste eachtraí stairiúla dó, rud a spreag a spéis sa stair, agus mhúin Laidin dó. Cuireadh oideachas air in Hofles agus chaith sé trí bliana ag an Scoil Laidine in Kronach. In 1820 chuaigh sé go Bamberg agus d’fhreastail ar an Progymnasium agus ar an Gymnasium ann. Sa chéad bhliain dó sa Gymnasium fuair sé an chéad áit as measc an 79 scoláire sa rang. Bhaineadh sé an chéad nó an dara háit gach bliain. D’fhág sé an scoil sin in 1825 agus bonn airgid buaite aige. An Laidin a phríomhábhar. Ba é mian a mháthar go rachadh sé leis an sagartacht agus is in aghaidh a thola a chaith sé tamall sa chliarscoil in Bamberg. Chuaigh as sin go dtí Ollscoil Wurzburg ach ní raibh in ann teacht i dtír ar a saothraíodh sé agus chaith bliain eile in Bamberg. Chaith sé na ceithre bliana ó 1826 amach in Ollscoil Munich agus bhí in ann seiftiú dó féin an babhta seo. Rinne sé cúrsaí san fhealsúnacht, sa diagacht, san eolaíocht, sna teangacha clasaiceacha agus i dteangacha an domhain thoir. Ar feadh dhá bhliain go leith d’oibrigh sé mar mhúinteoir tí agus lean air ag staidéar. In 1832 tugadh post dó ag múineadh Eabhraise san Alt-Gymnasium i Munich. D’fhan sé ansiúd go 1839 in ainneoin an tuarastal a bheith beag; ní raibh ach sé uair léachtóireachta sa tseachtain le déanamh agus bhí cead isteach sna leabharlanna aige.

D’fhoilsigh sé a chéad leabhar in 1837, Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme. É féin a d’íoc costas a fhoilsithe. Deir Shaw faoi:

. . . a critical source-book of German history. For a man as young as Zeuss was, it is an astonishingly mature book. It reveals in the writer an amazing knowledge of languages, old and new; it reveals a critical enquiring mind, bold but balanced ....

Athfhoilsíodh é gan athrú ar bith i 1925. Sa réamhrá insíonn sé gur cailleadh a athair, deirfiúr leis agus beirt dá dheartháireacha agus an leabhar á scríobh aige. An eitinn ba thrúig bháis dóibh agus an eitinn a mharódh é féin ar ball. Bronnadh dochtúireacht Ollscoil Erlangen air i Lúnasa 1838. Faoin am ar foilsíodh an dara leabhar uaidh, Die Herkunft der Bayern von den Markomannen, 1839, bhí roinnt eolais aige ar na teangacha Ceilteacha. Tuairimíonn Shaw gur chuir réamhrá an leabhair seo olc ar dhaoine móra an tsaoil acadúil; thug sé faoi staraithe nach raibh cáilíochtaí cearta teanga acu. Níor éirigh leis riamh post a d’oirfeadh dó a fháil. Anuas air sin bhí bac sa chaint aige. Theip air post mar chartlannaí a fháil in ainneoin gach cáilíocht chuí a bheith aige agus gur léir nárbh aon mhíbhuntáiste sa phost an stad sin sa chaint. Chaith sé ocht mbliana ag múineadh staire in Speier agus is i rith an ama sin a d’iompaigh sé ón stair gur dhírigh ar an teangeolaíocht agus ar an gCeiltis. D’oir an aeráid dó agus bheadh sé lánsona ann murach nár den chéad scoth na leabharlanna a bhí ann. D’athscríobh sé ina n-iomláine na gluaiseanna in Codex S. Pauli i Wurzburg, chóipeáil sé na gluaiseanna in St Gall agus Karlsruhe. Thug sé cuairteanna ar Milan, ar Turin agus ar Shasana chun teacht ar lámhscríbhinní. Deir Kim McCone in Stair na Gaeilge: in ómós do Pádraig Ó Fiannachta, 1994 in eagar ag Kim McCone agus údair eile (‘An tSean-Ghaeilge agus a Réamhstair’): ‘D’éirigh le Johann Caspar Zeuss gramadach na Sean-Ghaeilge a dhéanamh amach go réasúnta iomlán le cuidiú na ngluaiseanna thar aon rud eile ina Grammatica Celtica (1853) ...’. I Laidin a scríobh sé é agus deich mbliana a chaith sé leis. Deir Holger Pedersen[B5]: ‘With no preliminary publications as an indication of what was to come, there appeared, like Athena springing fully armed from Zeus’s brow, his great achievement Grammatica Celtica.’ Ní raibh deis aige riamh labhairt le haon duine a raibh teanga Cheilteach aige. Ní raibh aon duine a d’fhéadfadh comhairle a chur air ná cúnamh a thabhairt dó. Bhí sé beag beann ar aon rud a bhí i gcló. San aiste úd in Celtica 3, 1956 léiríonn Shaw an úsáid a bhain sé as na foinsí ba luaithe dá raibh ann. Ba bheag leas a bhain sé as an ábhar a bhí foilsithe ag scoláirí Gaeilge a linne. In Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 1859 thug scoláire a chomhaimsire, Seán Ó Donnabháin[q.v.], faoi deara nach raibh de mhisneach go fóill ag aon duine léirmheas mion a dhéanamh ar an mórshaothar seo:

We must recognise in the Grammatica Celtica purely a triumph of comparative philology. I say so, because this science was the chief instrument he employed; for, with the exception of the glosses just referred to, he possessed as little as anyone before him. There had been no antique monument suddenly discovered to enlighten him. He had no Celtic “Ulfile” or “Veda” more than any one else. If, nevertheless, he has succeeded in giving for the first time a wonderful analysis of the Celtic as it was spoken in the time of the Romans—of that original form of the language where all the modern dialects of it had their point of coincidence—it was by induction, by comparison and by reconstruction only.

D’ionsaigh Zeuss galar an ‘Celtomania’. Deir Shaw:

This plague had been rife since the end of the preceding century and unfortunately is not yet wholly eradicated. It has many forms, some in the order of the melancholic depression of everything Celtic, some of a frenzied exaltation. Zeuss was more exercised about the obsessional varieties, especially those which purported to solve all obscurities especially of German place or personal names by saying that they were Celtic. Usually, the person affected with “Celtomania” did not trouble to learn any Celtic language.

Ar feadh a shaoil bhí an t-airgead gann i gcaoi go mbíodh air dianchoigilt a dhéanamh chun íoc as na turais ba ghá. Ba mhinic a chóipeáladh sé leabhar ina iomláine in áit an leabhar a cheannach. An bochtanas an fáth nár phós sé. Chaitheadh sé gach pingin ar an taisteal a dhéanadh sé chun lámhscríbhinní a iniúchadh. In 1847 chuir Lola Montez (1818-61), rinceoir, draíocht ar Ludwig Karl Augustus, Rí na Baváire. Ba í Maria Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert as Luimneach í dáiríre. Thug Ludwig teideal agus pinsean stáit di. Aon scoláire a chuir ina aghaidh sin briseadh as a phost é. Mar sin a tharla folúntais agus gur ceapadh Zeuss i gcathaoir na staire san ollscoil ar 4 Aibreán 1847.

On the day on which he was to give his first lecture, the class-room, one of the biggest in the University was crowded to overflowing. Every seat was taken and an even greater number filled the passages and even crowded outside the open doors in the corridor. Then, the one whom all awaited, arrived and began to speak—stammering. At first it was thought that the stammer was due to nervousness, but soon it was apparent that he could not speak without an impediment. The disappointment was as deep as it was universal (Shaw).

D’eagraigh na mic léinn léirsithe ina aghaidh. Ghoill an teip go mór ar a shláinte agus ar a néaróga agus faoi dheireadh b’éigean dó filleadh ar Bamberg mar mhúinteoir staire. Bhí a shláinte ag dul in olcas. Nuair a bhí bliain caite aige ar saoire tinnis briseadh as a phost é gairid roimh a bhás.

Thug duine dá mhic léinn cuntas air:

Though only forty-eight years of age at the time, he looked like a man of sixty, a man who has behind him years of hard work. Already somewhat bent and unable without difficulty to stand erect, he used enter the class-room in a simple, homely manner, often carrying under his arm a great bundle of books which he used to illustrate his teaching. He lectured to a class of 30-40 young people: the majority of them knew his name and nothing more; certainly none knew the real scholastic eminence of the teacher. He never mentioned his book, Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstamme, and no word of his Grammatica Celtica ever reached us. That it was this man who had laid the ghost of the Bavarian Celt, that imaginative creation of learned fools—that was never divulged to us. But when he raised himself up, supporting himself on the first bench, the chalk in his right hand and a great moist sponge in his left, then this learned man, with the deep dark eyes and head framed in long, dark but greying hair, dominated all. Though ever of serious mein, his character was attractive and kindly: one could not fail to see that for him to teach was a joy. It is true, that we were taken aback when we heard him begin to speak hesitatingly and with a stammer which recurred after every six or eight words. Yet, after from four to six lectures one got so accustomed to this that it was scarcely noticed any more, for soon the interest which he knew how to waken for his subject made one completely forget his impediment.

I samhradh 1856 thairg James Henthorn Todd [q.v.], Ollamh na hEabhraise i gColáiste na Tríonóide agus uachtarán Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann, obair in Éirinn dó. Tá tuairim láidir ann go raibh sé ag ullmhú i gcomhair an turais nuair a d’éag sé i dteach a dheirféar in Vogtendorf an 10 Samhain 1856. D’fhoilsigh Henri Gaidoz [q.v.] cur síos air i 1906 ar ócáid chothrom chéad bliain a bhreithe. Scríobh Hans Hablitzel beathaisnéis: Professor Doctor Johann Kaspar Zeuss, Begruder der Keltologie und Historiker aus Wo, 1987.