Robert S. P. Beekes
Robert Stephen Paul Beekes

(1937-09-02)2 September 1937
Haarlem, Netherlands
Died21 September 2017(2017-09-21) (aged 80)
Oegstgeest, Netherlands
EducationPh.D., 1969
Known forContributions to Indo-European studies
Reconstructing Pre-Greek phonology
Indo-European Etymological Dictionary
Etymological Dictionary of Greek
Scientific career
FieldsIndo-European linguistics
InstitutionsLeiden University

Robert Stephen Paul Beekes (Dutch: [ˈbeːkəs]; 2 September 1937 – 21 September 2017)[1] was a Dutch linguist who was emeritus professor of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics at Leiden University and an author of many monographs on the Proto-Indo-European language.

Scholarly work

One of his most well-known books is Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction, a standard handbook on Proto-Indo-European that treats the area of linguistic reconstruction thoroughly but also features cultural reconstruction and comparative linguistic methods in general.

Beekes was also a co-author, with L. Bouke van der Meer, of De Etrusken spreken (1991). He advocated the Asia Minor theory to explain the Etruscans' origin.[2] In 1993, he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3]

He also did work on Pre-Greek, the (non-Indo-European) language that was spoken in Greece before Greek, possibly around 2000 BC. Since this language was not written, Beekes obtained his information from many words in Classical Greek that show a non-Greek structure and development.[4]

Publications (selection)


Edited volumes


see Memorial Website for Robert Beekes:


  1. ^ NRC Handelsblad, 23 September 2017.
  2. ^ The Origin of the Etruscans
  3. ^ "R.S.P. Beekes". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. ^ Etymological Dictionary of Greek – Pre-Greek Loanwords in Greek Archived 2 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine