THE PROTO-SINOLOGICAL ASSIMILATION OF CHINA'S HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY IN THE WORKS OF MARTINI
Martino Martini ( 1614-1661) was a Jesuit whose chief contribution to the accommodation effort in China was in the areas of geography and history. Sometimes claimed as both German and Italian, Martini was born in Trento, the major city of the Tyrol. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1632 and studied at the Collegium Romanum where he was tutored in mathematics by the eminent polymath, Fr. Athanasius Kircher1. Fr. Martini arrived at Hangchow in 1643 at a time when China was wracked with the Manchu conquest and civil disorder. This disorder had the effect of easing the usual restrictions on travel in China and furthermore made mobility a prudent safety precaution. Martini claimed to have visited seven of fifteen Chinese provinces and though the exact extent of his travels are subject to debate, his personal observations were important to the composition of his famous atlas2.
There is a story that Martini told about his first encounter with the Manchu invaders of Ming China which echoes other stories of Jesuit audacity and facility in dealing with shifting circumstances3. According to Martini's account, this encounter took place while he was in the city of Wenchou in Chekiang province____________________