Filippo Sassetti

Filippo Sassetti was a Florentine merchant who was born in Florence, Italy in 1540. Sassetti travelled to the Indian subcontinent and was among the first European observers to study the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian (e.g. "deva/dio" 'God', "sarpa/serpe" 'snake', "sapta/sette" 'seven', "ashta/otto" 'eight', "nava/nove" 'nine'). This observation is today credited to have foreshadowed the later discovery of the Indo-European language family. Sassetti died in Goa, India in 1588.

References

*Marcucci, E. M. 1855. Lettere edite e inedite di Pilippo Sassetti raccolte e annotate. Firenze.
*Muller, Jean-Claude. 1986. Early stages of language comparison from Sassetti to Sir William Jones (1786). Kratylos 31.1-31.


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