Marr, N. Ia.

One of Imperial Russia’s and the USSR’s most complext academics, Marr had a Georgian mother, a Scottish father, and a brilliant mind that was as unconventional as his background. A linguist, he found himself dispatched to Armenia in 1891 by the Archeological Commission because he was one of the few educated Russians who could speak the langugage, and foreign archeologists were digging around there. Transforming himself into a formidable archeologist, he directed the reconstruction of Ani and excavated other sites in the Caucasus. After the revolution he returne to linguists, and developed a crackpot theory about the unity of Japhetic languages that, when Stalin embraced it, destroyed the discipline for decades.