PAPI, Lazzaro

PAPI,  Carmelo Dionisio Lazaro. Pontito near Pescia, Tuscany 23.10.1763 — Lucca 25.12.1834.Italian Traveller. Son of Alberto Papi and Fiora Pierini. For a while studied in a seminary, then served briefly in Neapolitan army, worked as tutor and studied medicine at Lucca and Pisa. In the early 1790s went to India, arriving in 1792 at Calcutta. Worked as physician at Travancore court, then from 1794 as officer of sepoy forces, finally as Colonel. He travelled around the country about ten years. Returned in fall 1802, visiting Egypt on way, and settled in Lucca. Later (from 1819) worked as librarian in the public library of Lucca. Married 1789 Carlotta Ulivieri Beccani, who died after the birth of their only daughter.

In his letters Papi describes Indian customs, religions, political, social and economic situation. Beside his own experiences he used much the existing literature on India (Al. Dow, Paulinus a S. Bartholomaeo, Jones’ Manu), often criticizing them. The first edition was published anonymously.

Publications: Lettere sulle Indie Orientali. 1-2. Filadefia (Pisa) 1802, 2nd ed. Lucca 1829.

– Commentarii sulla Rivoluzione Francese. 1-6. Lucca 1830.

– Translated Milton’s Paradise Lost (Paradiso perduto. Lucca 1816) and a few other books.

Sources: D. Bredi, “John Company e la tigre del Mysore. La caduta di Tīpū Sulṭān da un punto di vista italiano”, La conoscenza dell’ Asia 3, 1989, 667-687; G. Fora in La conoscenza dell’ Asia 1, 1984, 32-35; *E. Panattoni, “Il Malabar nelle ‘Lettere sulle Indie Orientali’ di L.P.”, IT 2, 1974, 199-233; S. Pavone, D.B.I. 81, 2014 (online; Tucci 2005, 182-184; Italian Wikipedia.

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