« Asseburg, Rosamunde Juliane von Assemani Assembly, General »


ASSEMANII, as-sê-ma´nî (Italianized from the Arabic al-sama‘aniyy, “the Simeonite” ): The name of several learned Maronites who came to Rome from the Lebanon.

1. Joseph Simonius Assemani: The oldest and best known; b. at Hasrun (35 m. n.e. of Beirut, near the cedar-grove at the foot of Jabal Makmat); d., eighty years old, at Rome Jan. 13, 1768. He was educated at the Maronite college in Rome, and is said to have learned thirty languages. In 1715 Pope Clement XI sent him to the East to look for manuscripts, and he was there again from 1735 to 1738 in behalf of the Roman Catholic Christians of the Lebanon. He published numerous works, of which the first, and perhaps the most important, was the Bibliotheca orientalis Clementino-Vaticana in qua manuscriptos codices Syriacos, Arabicos, Persicos, Turcicos, Hebraicos, Samaritanos, Armenicos, Æthiopicos, Græcos, Ægyptiacos, Ibericos, et Malabaricos . . . bibliothecæ Vaticanæ addictos recensuit digessit J. S. Assemani. Twelve volumes were planned, of which four were published (Rome, 1719–28). For Cardinal Quirini’s edition of the works of Ephraem Syrus he prepared the three Greek volumes (1734–46), and in 1751–53 issued four volumes of Italicæ historicæ scriptores, a supplement to Muratori; four more volumes were planned. Six volumes of Kalendaria ecclesiæ universæ appeared in 1755; six more were planned and partially completed, but were destroyed by fire in the Vatican library in 1768. The Bibliotheca juris orientalis canonici et civilis (5 vols., 1762–66) is now very rare. The archives of the Propaganda and of the Inquisition contain more than 100 volumes of treatises by Assemani. Many of the works which he planned should be taken up by organized scholarly research. A list of his manuscript remains is given in Mai, Nova collectio, ii, 2 (Rome, 1828), 166–168.

2. Joseph Aloysius Assemani: A younger brother of the preceding; b. about 1710; d. at Rome Feb. 9, 1782. He was professor of Oriental languages in Rome. His chief work was Codex liturgicus ecclesiæ universæ in xv. libros distributus (13 vols., Rome, 1749–66). Most copies of the last volume were burned, but it (as well as the entire work) is accessible in anastatic reprint. Besides minor dissertations, he published De catholicis seu patriarchis Chaldæorum et Nestorianorum commentarius historico-theologicus (1755). His Latin translation of the Collectio canonum of Ebed Jeau and of the Nomocanon of Barhebræus is in Mai, Nova collectio, vii (1838).

3. Stephen Evodius Assemani: A cousin of the preceding two; b. 1707; d. Nov. 24, 1782. He was titular bishop of Apamea and member of the Royal Society of Great Britain. He published Bibliothecæ Mediceæ Laurentianæ et Palatinæ codicum mss. orientalium catalogus (Florence, 1742), containing in twenty-three plates the illustrations of Bible history from the Syriac codex of Rabulas; the three Syriac volumes of the works of Ephraem Syrus in the edition mentioned above; Acta sanctorum martyrum orientalium et occidentalium in duas partes distributa: adcedunt acta S. Simeonis Stylitæ (2 vols., Rome, 1748); and with J. S. Assemani, Bibliothecæ apostolicæ Vaticanæ codicum manuscriptorum catalogus in tres partes distributus, of which 3 volumes (Hebrew and Syriac manuscripts) had appeared (1756 sqq.), as well as eighty pages of the fourth (Arabic manuscripts), when the fire in the Vatican library destroyed the remainder.

4. Simon Assemani: A great-nephew of Joseph Simonius and Joseph Aloysius Aasemani; b. in Rome Feb. 19, 1752, according to G. P. Zabeo, Orazione in funere di Assemani (Padua, 1821); others say in Tripolis, and give the date as Feb. 20, 1752, and Mar. 14, 1749; d. in Padua, where he was professor of Arabic, Apr. 7, 1821. His publications were chiefly on Arabic subjects, as Museo cufico Naniana (Padua, 1788); Su la Setta Assissana (1806).

E. Nestle.

Bibliography: J. S. Ersch and J. G. Gruber, Allgemeine Encyclopädie, vol. vi, Leipsic, 1821 sqq.; Nouvelle biographie générale, vol. iii, Paris, 1854.

« Asseburg, Rosamunde Juliane von Assemani Assembly, General »
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