Giulio Alenio

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Giulio Alenio
Traditional Chinese
Aleni's 1637 life of Jesus.
A depiction of the Colossus of Rhodes in a 1620 book by Aleni.

Giulio Aleni (Latin: Julius Alenius; 1582 – June 10, 1649), in Chinese Ai Rulüe, was an Italian Jesuit missionary and scholar. He was born in Leno near Brescia in Italy, at the time part of the Republic of Venice, and died at Yanping in China. He became a member of the Society of Jesus in 1600 and distinguished himself in his knowledge of mathematics and theology.[1]


In 1610, he was sent as a missionary to China. While waiting at Macau for a favorable opportunity to enter the country he taught mathematics to local scholars and published his "Observation sur l'éclipse de lune du 8 Novembre 1612, faite a Macao" (Mémoires de l'Acad. des Sciences, VII, 706.)

He adopted the dress and manners of the country, was the first Christian missionary in Jiangxi, and built several churches in Fujian. One of his converts, a scholar name Li Jiubiao, recorded Aleni's and Andrius Rudamina's, one of his fellow Jesuits, responses to the questions and speculations of his parishioners and compiled them into a journal.[2]


He published works in Chinese on a variety of topics. His cosmography, Wanwu Zhenyuan (The True Origin of the Ten-thousand Things), was translated into Manchu during the reign of Kang-he as ᡨᡠᠮᡝᠨ
Wylie: Tumen chakai unengki sekiyen, Möllendorff: Tumen jakai unengki sekiyen. A copy was sent from Beijing to Paris in 1789. He completed the work of earlier Jesuit scholars to produce the Zhifang waiji, China's first global geography.[3] Among his most important religious works are a controversial treatise on the Catholic Faith, in which are refuted what he saw as the principal errors of the Chinese; and The Life of God, the Saviour, from the Four Gospels (Peking, 1635–1637, 8 vols.; often reprinted, e.g. in 1887 in 3 vols) and used even by Protestant missionaries.


The life and works of Giulio Aleni are the subject of several conferences in 1994 and 2010. Two of his books, Life of Matteo Ricci, Xitai of the West and Holy images of the Heavenly Lord have been presented to the public by Fondazione Civiltà Bresciana in two separate occasions, on 13 and 25 October 2010.



  1. ^ John Witek, S.J. "Aleni, Giulio, in Gerald Anderson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (Erdmans, ) pp. 9-10
  2. ^ Zürcher, Erik Li Jiubiao Institut Monumenta Serica (2007). Kouduo Richao: Li Jiubiao's Diary of Oral Admonitions: A Late Ming Christian Journal. Nettetal: Steyler Verl. ISBN 9783805005432.
  3. ^ Li, Zhizao (1623). "職方外紀 六卷卷首一卷 (Zhifang waiji)" [Chronicle of Foreign Lands] (in Chinese). Hangzhou, China.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alenio, Giulio". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Menegon, Eugenio. "Un solo Cielo. Giulio Aleni S.J. (1582-1649). Geografia, arte, scienza, religione dall’Europa alla Cina". Brescia: Grafo, 1994.
  • John Witek, S.J. "Aleni, Giulio, in Gerald Anderson, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions (Erdmans, 1999), pp. 9–10
  • Lippiello, Tiziana, and Roman Malek. Scholar from the West: Giulio Aleni S.J. (1582-1649) and the Dialogue between Christianity and China. Brescia: Sankt Augustin: Fondazione civiltà bresciana; Monumenta Serica Institute, 1997.
  • Sommervogel, Carlos, Bibliothèque de la Campagnie de Jesus, I, 157 sq.
  • Pfister, S.J., Bibliogr. des Jesuites Chinois miss.
  • Cordier, Essai d'une bibliogr. des ouvr. publ. en Chine par les Europeéns (Paris 1883).
  • ALENI, Giulio, Geografia dei paesi stranieri alla Cina. Zhifang waiji, with translation (Italian), Introduction and commentary by Paolo De Troia, Brescia, Fondazione Civiltà Bresciana/Centro Giulio Aleni, 2009, with a full Map of ten thousand countries (Wangguo quantu)
  • Ahn Jaewon, A comparative research on Cicero's orator perfectus and Confucius' rex perfectus( Papers on Rhetoric 10)
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Giulio Alenio" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

External links

  • Life and passion of Christ. Digital facsimile of Aleni's ca. 1640 printing from Houghton Library, Harvard University.
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