The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Rev. Solomon Caesar Malan

Rev. Solomon Caesar Malan (1812-1894)

Solomon Caesar Malan was the assumed name of the oriental linguist and Biblical scholar César Jean Solomon Malan. Born in Geneva on 22 April 1812, his father was César Henri Abraham Malan (1787-1864), a noted Protestant divine.

From his earliest youth he showed a remarkable faculty for the study of languages, and when he came to Scotland at the age of eighteen, as tutor to the Marquis of Tweeddale’s family, he had already made progress in Sanskrit, Arabic and Hebrew. In 1833 he matriculated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Since English was almost an unknown tongue to him, he petitioned the examiners to allow him to do his paper work in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, or Greek, rather than in English, but his request was turned down. After gaining the Boden and the Pusey and Ellerton scholarships, he graduated in 1837. He then proceeded to India as classical lecturer at Bishop’s College, Calcutta. While in India, he became secretary to the Bengal branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and although compelled by illness to return to England in 1840, he laid the foundation of a knowledge of Tibetan and Chinese.

After serving various curacies, he was presented to the living of Broadwindsor, Dorset, which he held until 1886. During this entire period, he continued to augment his linguistic knowledge. He was even able to preach in that most difficult language, Georgian, on a visit he paid to Nineveh in 1872, and his translations from the Armenian, Georgian and Coptic were numerous. In 1880 the University of Edinburgh conferred on him the honorary degree of D.D. In 1885 he presented his valuable library of 4,000 volumes to Keble College, Oxford, and the Indian Institute, Oxford, and his collection of birds eggs, one of the best in England, to an Exeter museum. From 1885 until his death, he lived at Bournemouth.

Dr Malan died on 25 November 1894 at West Cliff Hall, Bournemouth.

Photographed by Camille Silvy on 16 July 1862.


Code: 123485
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