The Forbidden City—home to the opium-addicted Ming Dynasty emperor and protected by thousands of ruthless eunuchs—no European had ever been inside. Would a simple Jesuit priest be the first?

Armed with a homemade clock, a wealth of patience, and an uncompromising drive to share his faith with a new people, Father Matteo Ricci would overcome one barrier only to be met by another: treacherous seas, a complex language, and a culture with an unshakable mistrust of foreigners and rooted in the teachings of Buddha and Confucius.

In sharing European understanding of astronomy, Ricci garnered the respect of the Chinese and despite the urgency he felt to talk about his beliefs, he tread carefully and respectfully, adopting their ways rather than imposing his own. He was one of the first Westerners to speak and read Mandarin and compiled the first Chinese-Western dictionary. By translating Greek mathematics texts into Chinese and Confucian works into Latin, as well as drawing the first world map with Chinese characters, Ricci forged a path for future scholars, explorers, and missionaries.  

“…will teach readers a lot about Ricci and the Jesuit mission in China.”


By Nicole Gregory

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