Matteo Ricci


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Italian Jesuit missionary. He was received at the court of the Ming emperor Wanli in 1601, having arrived in southern China in 1583. He had made himself proficient in Chinese and always dressed in a Chinese scholar's robes. He interested the emperor in clocks brought from Europe, translated numerous books, among them the geometry of Euclid, into Chinese, and made a world map with China, the Middle Kingdom, at its centre. He established beyond doubt that China was Cathay, the land Marco Polo had described. His tolerance and scholarship impressed influential Chinese, some of whom were converted. The emperor gave land for his tomb in Beijing.

Subjects: History — Religion.

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