SASSETTI, Filippo

SASSETTI, Filippo. Florence 26/28.9.1540 — Goa 3.9.1588. Italian Traveller. Son of a wealthy merchant, he studied at Pisa 1568-73 and thus knew Latin and Greek. In 1578 he went to Spain and Poetugal and then 1583 to India as an agent of Florentine spice syndicate. On way to India also spent 5 months in Brazil. He stayed in Goa and Kerala (Cochin) in 1583-88. In the letters he sent to home he described local circumstances and rightly pointed out the relation between some Italian and Sanskrit words and numerals. He also studied medical plants and astrology of India and wrote about local customs and religion. It is well possible that he wrote them planning their publication in future. However, these 126 letters, addressed to his family, friends and employers, were found and published only in the 19th century.

Publications: A few published early writings not related with India.

– Ed. by E. M. Marcuzzi: Lettere edite e inedite di Pilippo Sassetti raccolte e annotate. 47+575 p. Florence 1855, several new editions, e.g. by A. Dei, Rome 1995.

Sources: *S. Adamo, Literature of Travel and Explor. 3, 2003, 1057f.; *N. Alessandrini, “Images of India through the Eyes of Filippo Sassetti, a Florentine HumanistMerchant in the 16th Century”, M.N. Harris & Cs. Lévai (eds.), Sights and insights: interactive images of Europe and the wider world. Pisa 2007, 43-58; *H. Hosten, “F.S. of Florence, died Goa, 1588”, BSOS 4:1, 1926, 207-211; *A.M. Pizzagalli, “The Discovery of Sanskrit and Italy in the 16th century”, IC 2, 1935-36, 693-696; Tucci 2005, 61-64; Wikipedia (more in Italian version).

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