Cibot, Pierre Martial

views updated


Jesuit missionary and scientist; b. Limoges, Aug. 14, 1727; d. Beijing, Aug. 8, 1780. He is noted chiefly for his many contributions to the memoirs composed by the missionaries in Beijing and published under the title Mémoires concernant l'histoire, les sciences, les arts, les moeurs, les usages etc. de Chinois (16 v. Paris 177689). Cibot entered the Society of Jesus in 1743, and in 1758 he was sent to Beijing, where he remained at the court until his death. A zealous missionary and an eager, intelligent student with wide scientific interests, he wrote on a great variety of subjects. Often accused of using his imagination too much in his writings and of sometimes being unreliable, he nevertheless contributed much interesting information on on customs, institutions, trees, plants, etc., of China. His work on the chronology of the Chinese Empire was strongly assailed by learned contemporaries, but modern science has become somewhat favorable to his thesis.

Bibliography: l. pfister, Notices biographiques et bibliographiques sur les Jésuites de l'ancienne mission de Chine 15521773 (Shanghai 193234) 2:896902, with detailed bibliog. a. de bil, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 12:826. j. brucker, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 2.2:2473. h. m. brock, The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. c. g. herbermann et al. (New York 190714) 3:767768. c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (Brussels-Paris 1890-1932) 2:116769.

[m. j. barry]