Bopp was one of the great comparative linguists, establishing the deep grammatical relationship of Sanskrit with Greek, Latin, and other European languages. Wilkins’ grammar helped him teach himself Sanskrit, though in Paris he also befriended and was taught by Hamilton. Schlegel, another to have profound influence on the field, also studied with Hamilton before being taught by Bopp. In London, he met Wilkins and Colebrooke. Humboldt studied with him there, becoming a great friend and mentor, and got him appointed to the university in Berlin. Müller and Bréal were also among his students.
Alexander von Humboldt was his brother. Both were friends of Goethe and Schiller, Wilhelm frequently visiting them in Weimar and maintaining a correspondence with Schiller. He was an attender at Mendelssohn’s musical salon, while Coleridge visited him in Rome. Schinkel, a friend, remodelled his home Schloss Tegel for him. Bopp was a great friend, first met when Humboldt was Prussian envoy in London; he taught Humboldt Sanskrit, and was later given a position at Berlin University, an institution founded by Humboldt. Fichte was its first rector; Humboldt attended his lectures as often as he could.