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Childers, Robert Caesar

CHILDERS, ROBERT CAESAR (1838-1876), English Oriental scholar, son of the Rev. Charles Childers, English chaplain at Nice, was born in 1838. In 1860 he received an appointment in the civil service of Ceylon, which he retained until 1864, when he was compelled to return to England owing to ill-health. He had studied Pali during his residence in Ceylon, under Yatramulle Unnanse, a learned Buddhist for whom he cherished a life-long respect, and he had gained an insight into the Sinhalese character and ways of thought. In 1869 he published the first Pali text ever printed in England, and began to prepare a Pali dictionary, the first volume of which was published in 1872, and the second and concluding volume in 1875. In the following year it was awarded the Volney prize by the Institute of France, as being the most important philological work of the year. He was a frequent contributor to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, in which he published the Maha-parinibbana Sutta, the Pali text giving the account of the last days of Buddha's life. In 1872 he was appointed sub-librarian at the India Office, and in the following year he became the first professor of Pali and Buddhist literature at University College, London. He died in London on the 25th of July 1876.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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