Martino Martini

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Martino Martini (20 September 1614 – 6 June 1661) was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Jesuit missionary
Jesuit China missions
The history of the missions of the Jesuits in China is part of the history of relations between China and the Western world. The missionary efforts and other work of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, between the 16th and 17th century played a significant role in continuing the transmission of...

, cartographer and historian, mainly working on ancient Imperial China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.

Early years



Martini was born in Trento
Trento
Trento is an Italian city located in the Adige River valley in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It is the capital of Trentino...

, in the Bishopric of Trent
Bishopric of Trent
The Bishopric of Trent is a former ecclesiastical territory roughly corresponding to the present-day Northern Italian autonomous province of Trentino. It was created in 1027 and existed until 1802, when it was secularised and absorbed into the County of Tyrol held by the House of Habsburg...

. After finishing high school studies in Trent in 1631, he entered the Austrian province of the Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

, from where he was sent to study classical letters and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 at the Roman College, Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 (1634–37). However his interest was more in astronomy and mathematics which he studied under Athanasius Kircher
Athanasius Kircher
Athanasius Kircher was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine...

. His request to be sent as a missionary to China had already been granted by Mutius Vitelleschi, the then Superior General of the Jesuits. He did his theological studies in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 (1637–39)—already on his way to China—where he was ordained priest (1639, in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

).

In the Chinese Empire


He set out for China in 1640, and arrived in Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

 in 1642 where he studied Chinese for some time. In 1643 he crossed the border and settled in Hangzhou
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

, Zhejiang
Zhejiang
Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People's Republic of China. The word Zhejiang was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital...

 Province, from where he did much traveling in view of gathering scientific information, especially on the geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 of the Chinese empire: he visited several provinces, as well as Peking and the Great Wall. He made great use of his talents as missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

, scholar, writer and superior
Superior
Superior may refer to:*Superior : something which is higher in a hierarchical structure of any kind-Place names:*Superior Superior may refer to:*Superior (hierarchy): something which is higher in a hierarchical structure of any kind-Place names:*Superior Superior may refer to:*Superior (hierarchy):...

.

Soon after Martini's arrival to China, the Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 capital Beijing fell to Li Zicheng's rebels (April, 1644) and then to the Manchus, and the last "real" Ming emperor, the Chongzhen Emperor
Chongzhen Emperor
The Chongzhen Emperor was the 16th and last emperor of the Ming Dynasty in China. He reigned from 1627 to 1644, under an era name that means "honorable and auspicious".- Early years :...

, hanged himself. Down in Zhenjiang
Zhenjiang
Zhenjiang is a prefecture-level city in the southwest of Jiangsu province in the eastern People's Republic of China . Sitting on the southern bank of the Yangtze River, it borders the provincial capital of Nanjing to the west, Changzhou to the east, and Yangzhou across the river to the north.Once...

, Martini continued working with the short-lived regime of Zhu Yujian, Prince of Tang
Zhu Yujian, Prince of Tang
Zhu Yujian , the Prince of Tang, reigned as the Longwu Emperor of the Southern Ming dynasty from 18 August 1645, when he was enthroned in Fuzhou, to 6 October 1646, when he was captured and executed by a contingent of the Qing army...

, who set himself up as the (Southern) Ming Longwu Emperor. Soon enough, the Manchu troops reached Zhejiang. According to Martini's own report (which appeared in some editions of his De bello tartarico), the Jesuit was able to switch his allegiance to China's new masters in an easy enough, but bold, way. When Wenzhou
Wenzhou
Wenzhou is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China. The area under its jurisdiction, which includes two satellite cities and six counties, had a population of 9,122,100 as of 2010....

, in southern Zhejiang, where Martini happened to be on a mission for Zhu Yujian, was besieged by the Manchus and was about to fall, the Jesuit decorated the house where he was staying with a large red poster with seven characters saying, "Here lives a doctor of the divine Law who has come from the Great West". Under the poster he set up tables with European books, astronomical instruments, etc., surrounding an altar with an image of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. When the Manchu troops arrived, their commander was sufficiently impressed with the display to approach Martni politely and ask if he'd like to switch his loyalty to the new Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. Martini agreed, and had his head shaved in the Manchu way, and his Chinese dress and hat replaced with Manchu-styles ones. The Manchus then allowed him to return to his Hangzhou church, and provided him and the Hangzhou Christian community with necessary protection.. Also, p. 99 in De Bello Tartarico Historia.

The Chinese Rites affair


In 1651 Martini left China for Rome as the Delegate of the Chinese Mission Superior. He took advantage of the long, adventurous voyage (going first to the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, from thence on a Dutch privateer to Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

, Norway, which he reached on the 31 August 1653, and then to Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

). Further, and still on his way to Rome, he met printers in Antwerp, Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 to submit to them historical and cartographic data he had prepared. The works were printed and made him famous.

When passing through Leyden, Martini was met by Jacobus Golius
Jacobus Golius
Jacob Golius , was a Dutch Orientalist and mathematician....

, a scholar of Arabic and Persian at the university there.
Golius did not know Chinese, but had read about "Cathay" in Persian books, and wanted to verify the truth of the earlier reports of Jesuits such as Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci, SJ was an Italian Jesuit priest, and one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China Mission, as it existed in the 17th-18th centuries. His current title is Servant of God....

 and Bento de Góis who believed that Cathay is the same place as China where they lived or visited. Golius was familiar with the discussion of the "Cathayan" calendar
Chinese calendar
The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. It is not exclusive to China, but followed by many other Asian cultures as well...

 in Zij-i Ilkhani
Zij-i Ilkhani
Zīj-i Īlkhānī or Ilkhanic Tables is a Zij book with astronomical tables of planetary movements. It was compiled by the Persian astronomer Nasir al-Din al-Tusi in collaboration with his research team of astronomers at the Maragha observatory...

, a work by the Persian astronomer Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
Khawaja Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan Ṭūsī , better known as Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī , was a Persian polymath and prolific writer: an astronomer, biologist, chemist, mathematician, philosopher, physician, physicist, scientist, theologian and Marja Taqleed...

, completed in 1272. When Golius met Martini (who, of course knew no Persian), the two scholars found that the names of the 12 divisions
Earthly Branches
The Earthly Branches provide one Chinese system for reckoning time.This system was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter. Chinese astronomers divided the celestial circle into 12 sections to follow the orbit of Suìxīng . Astronomers rounded the orbit of Suixing to 12 years...

 into which, according to Nasir al-Din, the "Cathayans" were dividing the day, as well as those of the 24 sections of the year
Solar term
A solar term is any of 24 points in traditional East Asian lunisolar calendars that matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon. The points are spaced 15° apart along the ecliptic and are used by lunisolar calendars to stay synchronized with the seasons. Solar terms...

 reported by Nasir al-Din matched those that Martinini had learned in China. The story, soon published by Martini in the "Additamentum" to his Atlas of China, seemed to have finally convinced most Europeans scholars that China and Cathay were the same.

It is only in the spring of 1655 that Martini reached Rome.

There, in Rome, was the most difficult part of his journey. He had brought along (for the Holy Office of the Church) a long and detailed communication from the Jesuit missionaries in China, in defence of their inculturated
Inculturation
Inculturation is a term used in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic Church, referring to the adaptation of the way Church teachings are presented to non-Christian cultures, and to the influence of those cultures on the evolution of these teachings....

 missionary and religious approach: the so-called Chinese Rites (Veneration of ancestors, and other practices allowed to new Christians). Discussions and debates took place for five months, at the end of which the Propaganda Fide issued a decree in favour of the Jesuits (23 March 1656). A battle was won, but the controversy did not abate.

Return to China



In 1658, after a most difficult journey, he was back in China with the favourable decree. He was again involved in pastoral and missionary activities in the Hangzhou
Hangzhou
Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

 area where he built a three naves church that was considered to be one of the most beautiful of the country (1659–61). The church was hardly built when he died of cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 (1661).

Post-mortem phenomena



According to the attestation of Prosper Intorcetta (in Litt. Annuae, 1861) his body was found undecayed twenty years after; it became a long-standing object of cult not only for Christians, until in 1877, suspecting idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

, the hierarchy had it buried again.

Contemporary appreciations


Today's scientists are more and more interested in the works of Martini; he is acclaimed as the father of Chinese geographical science. During an international convention organized in the city of Trento
Trento
Trento is an Italian city located in the Adige River valley in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It is the capital of Trentino...

 (his birthplace) a member of the Chinese academy of Social Sciences, the Professor Ma Yong said : "Martini was the first to study the history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 and geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 of China with rigorous scientific objectivity; the extend of his knowledge of the Chinese culture, the accuracy of his investigations, the depth of his understanding of things Chinese are examples for the modern sinologists". Ferdinand von Richthofen
Ferdinand von Richthofen
Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen was a German traveller, geographer, and scientist.-Biography:He was born in Carlsruhe, Prussian Silesia, and was educated in Breslau and Berlin. He traveled or studied in the Alps of Tyrol and the Carpathians in Transylvania...

 calls Martini "the leading geographer of the Chinese mission, one who was unexcelled and hardly equalled, during the XVIII century…There was no other missionary, either before or after, who made such diligent use of his time in acquiring information about the country". (China, I, 674 sq.)

Works


  • Martini's most important work is Novus Atlas Sinensis, which appeared as part of volume 10 of Joan Blaeu
    Joan Blaeu
    Joan Blaeu was a Dutch cartographer.He was born in Alkmaar, the son of cartographer Willem Blaeu.In 1620 he became a doctor of law but he joined the work of his father. In 1635 they published the Atlas Novus in two volumes...

    's Atlas Maior
    Atlas Maior
    The Atlas Maior is a comprehensive world atlas, conceived by Willem Blaeu of Amsterdam, but compiled by his son Joan Blaeu, and completed in 1665...

     (Amsterdam
    Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

     1655). This work, a folio
    Folio
    Folio may refer to:* Folio , a book size* A particular edition of a book printed on folio pages, such as the First Folio of William Shakespeare's plays* A leaf of a book: see Recto and verso* Folio , a sans-serif typeface...

     with 17 maps and 171 pages of text was, in the words of the early 20th-century German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen
    Ferdinand von Richthofen
    Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen was a German traveller, geographer, and scientist.-Biography:He was born in Carlsruhe, Prussian Silesia, and was educated in Breslau and Berlin. He traveled or studied in the Alps of Tyrol and the Carpathians in Transylvania...

    , the most complete geographical description of China that we possess, and through which Martini has become the father of geographical learning on China. The French Jesuits of the time concurred, saying that even du Halde
    Jean-Baptiste Du Halde
    Jean-Baptiste Du Halde was a French Jesuit historian specializing in China. Although he had not gone to China, he collected seventeen Jesuit missionaries' reports and provided encyclopedic survey on Chinese history, culture and society....

    's monumental Description…de la Chine did not fully supersede Martini's work. (A Scan of the maps of the atlas (not very high resolution), can be seen at the National Library of Australia web site; a very high quality zoomable scan of the maps, at Gallica.bnf.fr).

  • Of the great chronological work which Martini had planned, and which was to comprise the whole Chinese history from the earliest age, only the first part appeared: Sinicæ Historiæ Decas Prima (Munich
    Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

     1658), which reached until the birth of Jesus
    Jesus
    Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

    .

  • His De Bello Tartarico Historia (Antwerp 1654) is also important as Chinese history, for Martini himself had lived through the frightful occurrences which brought about the overthrow of the ancient Ming dynasty
    Ming Dynasty
    The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

    . The works have been repeatedly published and translated into different languages. There is also a later version, entitled Regni Sinensis a Tartaris devastati enarratio (1661); compared to the original De Bello Tartarica Historia, it has some additions, such as an index.


  • Besides these, Martini wrote a series of theological and apologetical works in Chinese, including a De Amicitia (Hangzhou, 1661) that could have been the first anthology of Western authors available in China (Martini's selection fished mainly into Roman
    Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

     and Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

     writings).

  • Several works, among them a Chinese translation of the works of Francisco Suarez
    Francisco Suárez
    Francisco Suárez was a Spanish Jesuit priest, philosopher and theologian, one of the leading figures of the School of Salamanca movement, and generally regarded among the greatest scholastics after Thomas Aquinas....

    , still exist in his handwriting. Of these is notable his Grammatica Sinica, which he brought along and donated to Jacobus Golius
    Jacobus Golius
    Jacob Golius , was a Dutch Orientalist and mathematician....

    , and that couldn't be printed because of the impossibility to reproduce Chinese characters. This very copy is still preserved in the Antwerp Royal Library; over time many others were made.


For his minor writings (published letters to Athanasius Kircher
Athanasius Kircher
Athanasius Kircher was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine...

, etc.) see Martino Martini bibliography.

See also


  • Hangzhou
    Hangzhou
    Hangzhou , formerly transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2010, its entire administrative division or prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people...

  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Hangzhou
    Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Hangzhou
    The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic cathedral, located at 415 Zhongshan Road North not far from Wulin Square in downtown Hangzhou, China...

  • Vicariate Apostolic of Kiang-nan
    Vicariate Apostolic of Kiang-nan
    The Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of Kiang-nan was a missionary jurisdiction in mainland China, comprising the two imperial provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui, often referred to as Jiangnan .-History:...

  • Religion in China
    Religion in China
    Religion in China has been characterized by pluralism since the beginning of Chinese history. The Chinese religions are family-oriented and do not demand the exclusive adherence of members. Some scholars doubt the use of the term "religion" in reference to Buddhism and Taoism, and suggest "cultural...

  • Christianity in China
    Christianity in China
    Christianity in China is a growing minority religion that comprises Protestants , Catholics , and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its lineage in China is not as ancient as the institutional religions of Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism, and the social system and ideology of...

  • Jesuit China missions
    Jesuit China missions
    The history of the missions of the Jesuits in China is part of the history of relations between China and the Western world. The missionary efforts and other work of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, between the 16th and 17th century played a significant role in continuing the transmission of...