Assdmani, the family name of three of the most eminent Orientalists of the eighteenth century. They were Maronites (q.v.), born in Mt. Lebanon, Syria.
I. JOSEPH SIMON, came to Rome toward the beginning of the eighteenth century, was made archbishop in partibus of Tyre, and librarian of the Vatican, by Clement XI. He was sent by that pontiff on a literary mission to Egypt and Syria in the years 17151716, and he brought back to Rome 150 valuable MSS. On a second visit to the East (1735-1738) he obtained many more MSS., with 2000 ancient coins, medals, etc. Assemani was a man of immense erudition and industry. His most important publications were:
1. Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino Vaticana (Rome, 17191728, 4 vols. fol.), a biographical account of the Syrian writers, divided into three classes, i.e. Orthodox, Jacobites, and Nestorians, with copious extracts in the Syriac text, and a Latin version, lists of their works, and comments on the same. He intended to proceed with the Arabian, Copt, and other Eastern writers, but nothing appeared in print beyond the Syriac. The fourth volume of the Bibliotheca is engrossed by a learned dissertation on the Syrian Nestorians.
2. St. Ephraem Syri Opera omnia quce extant (Rome, 17321746, 6 vols. fol.). This edition of the works of St. Ephraim, one of the old Syrian fathers, containing the Syriac text and a Latin translation, was begun by Ambarach, another learned Maronite, living at Rome, and better known as Father Benedetti, being a member of the society of the Jesuits, and after his death was completed by Assemani. This work is much esteemed, and the Latin is better than that of the other works of Assemani, who was more skilled in the Oriental than in the Latin language.
3. Kalendaria Ecclesice universe, in quibus Sanctorum nomina, imagines, festi dies, Ecclesiarum Orientis ac Occidentis, prcem'ssis unius cujusque Ecclesice orlginibus, recensentur, describuntur, et notis illustrantur (Rome, 1755-1757, 6 vols. 4to)
4. Bibliotheca Juris Orientalis Canonici et Civilis (Rome, 1762-1764, 4 vols. 4to). Besides these, he published Rudimenta Linguce Arabicce (Rome, 1732, 4to) and other works. Many of his writings were burned in a fire at the Vatican in 1768. He died at Rome Jan. 13, 1768, at the age of eighty. He left MSS., several historical dissertations, and other fragments, on the Christian population of the ancient patriarchate of Antioch, on the nation of the Copts, on the Nestorians, and other Eastern sects, etc., which have been published by Mal It is said that there are still at Rome MSS. in his hand. writing enough to fill 100 volumes.
II. JOSEPH ALOYSTUS, nephew of the preceding, professor of Oriental languages at Rome, where he died, Feb. 9, 1782. His most. important work is the Codex Liturgicus Ecclesice Universce (Rome, 1749-1766,13 vols. 4to). This vast work was intended to include all Oriental and Western liturgies, but was never completed. Still it is of great value. He also wrote s Commentarius hist.-theologicus de Catholicis sen Patriarch s Chaldceorum et Nestorianorum (Romse, 1775, 4to):-Dissertatio de Sacris Ritibus (Rome, 1757, 4to):-Comment. de ecclesiis, earunm ciever(ntia et asylo (1766, fol.).
III. STEPHEN EVODIS, another nephew of Joseph Assemani, was Lorn at Tripoli in Syria about 1707. He studied at Rome, and returned to Syria as a missionary of the Propaganda. He was present at the Synod of Lebanon, 1736, at which his uncle acted as legate. Subsequently-he spent some months in England, where he was elected a member of the Royal Society. Having established himself at Rome, he was employed as assistant to his uncle, at the Vatican, and on his uncle's death succeeded him as upper keeper of the library. He also became titular Bishop of Apamea. He died Nov. 24, 1782. His literary reputation is not very high. The only works of any consequence which he published are the following: Bibliothecce Mediceo-Laurentiance et Palatince Codicum.MSS. Orientalium Catalegus (Flor. 1742, fol.), with notes by Gori :-Acts Sanctorum Martsyrum Orientalium et Occidentalium (Rome, 1748, 2 vols. fol.). To this work, which he compiles from manuscripts in the Vatican, he added the Acts of St. Simon, called " Stylite" in Chaldaic and Latin. He also began a general catalogue of the Vatican manuscripts, divided into three classes, Oriental, Greek and Latin, Italian and other modern languages, of which, however, he published only the first volume, in 1756, the fire in the Vatican having destroyed his papers. Mai has continued parts of this catalogue in his Scriptorum Veterum nova collectio.-Herzog, i, 560.