Friedrich Max Muller (6 December 1823 - 28 October 1900), generally known as Max Muller, was a German-born philologist and Orientalist, who lived and studied in Britain for most of his life. He was one of the founders of the western academic field of Indian studies and the discipline of comparative religion.Müller wrote both scholarly and popular works on the subject of Indology. The Sacred Books of the East, a 50-volume set of English translations, was prepared under his direction. He also promoted the idea of a Turanian family of languages and Turanian people.Friedrich Max Müller was born into a cultivated family on 6 December 1823 in Dessau, the son of Wilhelm Müller, a lyric poet whose verse Franz Schubert had set to music in his song-cycles Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise. His mother, Adelheid Müller (née von Basedow), was the eldest daughter of a prime minister of Anhalt-Dessau. Carl Maria von Weber was a godfather.
Muller was named after his mother's elder brother, Friedrich, and after the central character, Max, in Weber's opera Der Freischutz. Later in life, he adopted Max as a part of his surname, believing that the prevalence of Muller as a name made it too common. His name was also recorded as "Maximilian" on several official documents (e.g. university register, marriage certificate), on some of his honours and in some other publications.