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Giuseppe Simone Assemani, (1687 - 1768), Lebanesemarker orientalist, was a Maronite of Hasrounmarker (Mount Lebanonmarker).

When very young he was sent to the Maronite College in Romemarker, and was transferred thence to the Vatican librarymarker. In 1717 he was sent to Egypt and Syria to search for valuable manuscripts, and returned with about 150 very choice ones. The success of this expedition induced the pope to send him again to the East in 1735, and he returned with a still more valuable collection.

On his return he was made titular archbishop of Tyre and librarian of the Vatican library. He instantly began to carry into execution most extensive plans for editing and publishing the most valuable manuscript treasures of the Vatican. His two great works are the Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana in qua manuscriptos codices Syriacos, Arabicos, Persicos, Turcicos, Hebraicos, Samaritanos, Armenicos, Aethiopicos, Graecos, Aegyptiacos, Ibericos, et Malabaricos, jussu et munificentia Clementis XI Pontificis Maximi ex Oriente conquisitos, comparatos, et Bibliotecae Vaticanae addictos Recensuit, digessit, et genuina scripta a spuriis secrevit, addita singulorum auctorum vita, Joseph Simonius Assemanus, Syrus Maronita (Rome, 1719-1728), 9 vols folio, and Ephraemi Syri opera omnia quae extant, Gr., Syr., et Lat., 6 vols. folio (Rome, 1737-1746).

Of the Bibliotheca the first three vols only were completed. The work was to have been in four parts:
  1. Syrian and allied manuscripts, orthodox, Nestorian and Jacobite
  2. Arabian manuscripts, Christian and Islam
  3. Coptic, Aethiopic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts
  4. Syrian and Arabian manuscripts not distinctively theological
Only the first part was completed, but extensive preparations were made for the others. There is a German abridgment by August Friedrich Pfeiffer (Erlangen 1770-77) and a Reprint (Hildesheim, New York: Olms o.J. ca. 1990).

His brother and nephew were also noted orientalists.


  • G. Levi Della Vida, ┬źASSEMANI, Giuseppe Simonio┬╗. In: Dizionario biografico degli Italiani ( on-line)

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