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Karl Penka
Austrian philologist and anthropologist

Karl Penka

Karl Penka
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Austrian philologist and anthropologist
Was Anthropologist
From Austria
Field Social science
Gender male
Birth 26 October 1847, Mohelnice, Šumperk District, Olomouc Region, Czech Republic
Death 10 February 1912, Vienna, Austria (aged 64 years)
Star sign Scorpio
The details (from wikipedia)


Karl Penka (26 October 1847 – 10 February 1912) was an Austrian philologist and anthropologist.

Born in Müglitz, Moravia (now Mohelnice, Czech Republic), from 1873 until 1906 Penka was a master at the Maximiliansgymnasium, a high school for boys, in Vienna.

Penka studied anthropology from the point of view of comparative linguistics and took a particular interest in the origins of the Indo-Europeans. He used the term Aryan in the linguistic sense and also extended it into a broad term of race and culture. It was he who popularized the theory that the Aryan race had emerged in Scandinavia and could be identified by the Nordic characteristics of blue eyes and blond hair. In his Origines Ariacae ('Origins of the Aryans') of 1883 he proposed that the Indo-European homeland was in the far north, the Hyperborea of antiquity. Penka has been called "a transitional figure between Aryanism and Nordicism".

Penka died in Vienna in 1912. He is now seen as a pioneer of racist and anti-Semitic theories in ethnology.

Selected works

  • Die Nominalflexion der indogermanischen Sprachen (Vienna, 1878)
  • Origines Ariacae. Linguistisch-ethnologische Untersuchungen zur ältesten Geschichte der arischen Völker und Sprachen (Vienna, 1883)
  • Die Herkunft der Arier. Neue Beiträge zur historischen Anthropologie der europäischen Völker (Vienna, 1886)
  • 'Entstehung der arischen Rasse' in Das Ausland (1891), from p. 132
  • Neue Hypothesen über die Urheimat der Arier (Leipzig, 1906)
  • O. Schraders Hypothese von der südrussischen Urheimat der Indogermanen (Leipzig, 1908, in series Beiträge zur Rassenkunde, 6)
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