Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/876

This page needs to be proofread.
794

ASSASSINATION


"94


ASSEMANI


priests have a residence at Shillong. Assam includes the civil province of Assam, witli Hhuthan and Mani- pur. The native population is 7,000,000. The Cath- olics number 1,800, and are attended by 6 secular and 10 regular priests. There are chapels in Shil- long, Gowliati, Bondashill, Railing. Laitkinsew, Sil- char, Cheerapoonjee, Lamin. and elsewhere, in all 2.5 chiipels an 1 19 .stations. There are 15 elementary schools; 300 pupils, boys and girls; 2 orphanages un- der the direction of the Sisters of the Society of the Divine Saviour; 4 charitable dispensaries, 1 asylum for aged women, and one small hospital at Shillong. The non-Catholic sects number 17, and count 18,000 adherents.

The Madras Catholic Directory (Madras, 1906); Battan- DIER, Ann. pant. cath. C1906) 343.

Thomas J. Shahan.

Assassination. See Homicide.

Assassins. See Crusades.

Assemani (Arabic, Sam'an, i. e. Simeon), the name of an illustrious Maronite family of Mount Lebanon, Syria, four members of which, all ecclesiastics, dis- tinguished themselves during the eighteenth century in the Ea.st and in Europe. For their zeal, learning, and unbounded attachment to the Roman See, they were held in great esteem by the Popes, who con- ferred upon them many well-merited ecclesiastical dignities and offices. Oriental, but especially Syriac studies owe more to them than to any others; for it was through their researches, collection of manu- scripts, and voluminous publications that SjTiac studies, and in general the history, hagiography, liturgy, and literature of the Oriental Churches were first introduced into Europe. Therefore they can be justly regarded, if not as the creators, certainly as the most illustrious pioneers, of modern Oriental studies. In this work they were preceded by other Maronite scholars, known to Orientalists under their latinized names of Eehellensis, Sciadrensis, Sionita, and Benedictus. To these and to the Assemanis we owe the fact that the characters, vowels, and pro- nunciation of Syriac, first introduced by them in Europe, were after the so-called Western Syriac, or Jacobite system, and not, as would have been more original and correct, of the Eastern Syriac, or Nes- torian. This anomaly, however, is easily explained by the fact that, as the Western Syriac system is the one used by the Maronite Church, to which these scholars belonged, it was but natural that they should adopt this in preference to the other. The four Assemanis are the following:

Joseph Simeon, b. in the Mountains of Lebanon, Syria, 1687; d. at Rome, January, 1768. In 1703, he entered the Maronite College, Rome, to study for the priesthood. Soon after his ordination he was given a post in the Vatican Library, and in 1715-17 sent by Clement XI to the East for the purpose of col- lecting Oriental manuscripts; he accomplished his task successfully, visiting Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Mount Lebanon, and especially the Nitrian desert. He brought tliese manuscripts to Rome, and they were placed by order of the Pope in the Vatican Library, where they formed the nucleus of its sub- eequently famous collection of Oriental manuscripts. In 1735-38 he was sent again to the East, and re- turned with a still more valuable collection. On his return, he was made titular Archbishop of Tyre and Librarian of the Vatican Library, where he devoted the rest of his life to carrying out a most extensive plan for editing and publishing the most valuable Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Persian, Hebrew, and Greek MSS. , trca-sures of the Vatican. His published works are very numerous, besides others (about one hundred in number) which he left in manuscript fonn. The majority of these, however, were destroyed by a fire, which, in 17GS, broke out in


his Vatican apartment, adjacent to the Library. His published works are the following: (1) "Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana in qua manuscriptos codices Syriacos, Arabicos, Persicos, Turcicos, He- braicos, .Samaritanos, Armenicos, .Ethiopicos, Grajcos ^Egyi)tiacos, Ibericos et Malabaricos . . . Biblio- thecse Vaticanae addictos recensuit, digessit Josephus Simonius Assemanus" (Rome, 4 vols. foL, 1719-28). This gigantic work, of which only the first four vol- umes appeared, was to comprise twelve volumes, of which the unpublished ones were as follows: Vol. V, "De Syriacis sacrarum Scripturarum versionibus"; Vol. VI, "De libris ecclesiasticis Syrorum"; Vol. VII, " De Conciliorum collectionibus Syriacis"; Vol. VIII, "Decollectionibus Arabicis"; Vol. IX, "De Scriptori- bus Groecis in Syriacum et Arabicum conversis"; Vol. X, "De Scriptoribus Arabicis Christiani.s"; Vols. XI and XII, "De Scriptoribus Arabicis Ma- hometanis ". Considerable preparation for these un- published volumes was made by the author, a portion of which was destroyed by fire. The four published volumes are divided as follows: Vol. I, " De Scriptori- bus Syris orthodoxis"; Vol. II, "De Scriptoribus Syris monophysitis"; Vol. Ill, "Catalogus Ebed- jesus Sobensis" (of Nestorian writers); Vol. IV, "De Syris Nestorianis ". (2) "Ephraemi Syri opera omnia qus extant gra?ce, syriace et latine," six volumes, folio. The first three volumes were edited by our author, the fourth and the fifth by the Maronite Jesuit Mubarak, or Benedictus, and the sixth by Stephanus Evodius Assemani (see below). — (3) "Ital- ics historise scriptores ex bibliothecse Vaticanae aliarumque insignium bibliothecarum manuscriptis codicibus coUegit", etc., four volumes, folio (Rome, 1751-53). — (4) "Kalendaria ecclesis universae", etc., to consist of twelve volumes, of which only the first six appeared (Rome, 17.55), treating of " Slavica Ec- clesia sive Graeco-Moscha"; the other six, which were to treat of the Syrian, Armenian, Egj'ptian, Ethio- pian, Greek, and Roman saints, were partly prepared, but destroyed by fire. — (5) "De sacris imaginibus et reliquiis", destined to comprise five volumes. Parts of the manuscript were saved and extracts from it given by Bottarius (Rome, 1776). — (6) "Bibliotheca juris Orientalis canonici et civilis", five volumes, quarto (Rome, 1762-66). — (7) "Abraham Eehellen- sis; Clironicon Orientate", printed in "Scriptores Historia? Byzantinae", vol. XVII. — (8) "Rudimenta lingua; Arabicro" (Rome, 1732). — (9) Several dis- sertations, in Italian, on Oriental Churches, published by Cardinal Angelo Mai in his "Scriptorum Veterum Nova CoUectio" (Rome, 1831). From two Maronite writers, viz., G. Cardahi (Liber Thesauri de arte poetica Syrorum, pp. 171-183) and Mgr. Joseph Dibs, Archbishop of Beirut, Syria (" SpiritusConfutationis", etc., in Latin and Arabic), we learn that J. S. Asse- mani had in preparation four more gigantic works. The first on "Syria vetus et nova", in nine volumes; the second a " Historia Orientalis ", in nine volumes; the third, "Concilia ecclesire Orientalis", in six vol- umes; and the fourth " Euchologia seu Liturgia eccls- sia; orientalis", etc., in seven volumes. From his "Bibliotheca juris Orientalis", etc. we learn that our author was: " Utriusque Signaturae Apostolic;? Rofcr- endarius; Hibliotlioca' Vaticanae Pra^foctus, Basilica; Sancti Petri de I'rlio Cunonicus; Sanctie Romanic et Universalis Inquisitionis Consultor"; also "Sacne Poenitentiariie Apostolicir Sigillator", etc. All our author's works, but especially his " Bibliotheca Orien- t.alis", which has been till recently, and which to a groat extent is still, our main guide on the subject, needs tliorough revision in the light of the many newly discovered and edited Syriac manuscripts.

JosKi'iirs Aloysii's, brotlier of the preceding, b. in Tripoli, Syria, 1710; d. at Rome, 1782. He made his tlieological and Oriental studies in Rome and under the care of his illustrious brother. He was appointi>d