Artus de Lionne

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Artus de Lionne (1655-1713) in 1686 (detail).
The 1686 Siamese embassy of Kosa Pan, accompanied by their translator, Artus de Lionne (right). Painted by Jacques Vigouroux Duplessis (c.1680-1732).[1]

Artus de Lionne (1655–1713), abbé and Bishop of Rosalie in partibus infidelium, in Turkey, was a French missionary of the Paris Foreign Missions Society.[2] He was a son of Louis XIV's Foreign Minister, Hugues de Lionne.[3][4]


Artus de Lionne was born in Rome in 1655. He first left for Siam as a missionary,[5] in 1681.[4]

He returned to France in 1686, serving as translator to the embassy of the Siamese Kosa Pan to the court of Louis XIV.[1][6] Artus de Lionne then returned to Siam with the Siamese embassy in 1687 on board the ships of the French ambassador Simon de la Loubère. He played a role in the negotiation between the French and Siamese sides during the 1688 Siamese Revolution,[7] which resulted in the expulsion of the French forces. Artus de Lionne left Siam with General Desfarges following the French defeat in the Siege of Bangkok,[6] leaving Mgr Louis Laneau a prisoner of the Siamese for several years.

Artus de Lionne then went to China as a missionary in 1689, where he worked with Bishop Maigrot in Fukien province. He was for a time the archbishop of Sichuan.[8] There, he was an opponent of the Jesuits and took the opposite side in the Chinese Rites controversy.[9]

Artus de Lionne, as Bishop of Rosalie.

Artus de Lionne returned to Europe on February 17, 1702, accompanying the Chinese Christian Arcadio Huang.[10][11] Artus de Lionne and Arcadio Huang embarked on a ship of the English East India Company in order to reach London. By September or October 1702, they left England for France, in order to travel to Rome. On the verge of being ordained a priest in Rome and being presented to the pope to demonstrate the reality of Chinese Christianity, Arcadio Huang apparently renounced and declined ordination. Artus de Lionne preferred to return to Paris to further his education, and wait for a better answer.

In 1705-1707, Artus de Lionne accompanied the mission of Charles-Thomas Maillard De Tournon to the Kangxi Emperor of China. The mission affirmed the prohibition of Chinese rites in 1707, but was as a result banished to Macao.[12]

Artus de Lionne significantly influenced the editing of the 1707 treatise against Chinese philosophy of Nicolas Malebranche,[13] (Entretien d'un philosophe Chrétien et d'un philosophe chinois sur l'existence et la nature de Dieu).[14] He died in Paris in 1713.


  • Chinese Manual: Sse Tse Ouen Tsien Tchou Four Words Literature (with) Commentary (or) Explication. ("Recueil de Phrases Chinoises, Composées de Quatre Caractères Et Dont Les Explications Sont Rangées Dans L'ordre Alphabétique Français")
  • Lionne, Artus de: Le journal de voyage au Siam de l'abbé de Lionne; suivi de Mémoire sur l'affaire. Paris: "Églises d'Asie", 2001. ISBN 2-914402-33-3


  1. ^ a b Les Missions Etrangères, p.44
  2. ^ French Speakers at the Cape in the First Hundred Years of Dutch East India ... - Page 316 by Maurice Boucher
  3. ^ Saint-Simon and the Court of Louis XIV By Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie p.215 [1]
  4. ^ a b Rituals of majesty: France, Siam, and court spectacle in royal image-building at Versailles in 1685 and 1686 Canadian Journal of History, Aug 1996 by Love, Ronald S [2]
  5. ^ Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson By Daniel Carey, p.81
  6. ^ a b Smithies, Note 3, p.28
  7. ^ Smithies, Note 51, p.34
  8. ^ Crosscurrents in the Literatures of Asia and the West - Page 53 by Alfred Owen Aldridge, Masayuki Akiyama, Yiu-Nam Leung [3]
  9. ^ Curious Land By David E. Mungello p.294
  10. ^ Barnes, p.82
  11. ^ The Great Encounter of China and the West By David E. Mungello Page 126 [4]
  12. ^ Crosscurrents in the Literatures of Asia and the West - Page 54 by Alfred Owen Aldridge, Masayuki Akiyama, Yiu-Nam Leung [5]
  13. ^ Curious Land By David E. Mungello, p.295
  14. ^ The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-century Philosophy By Daniel Garber, Michael Ayers, Roger Ariew Page 97 [6]


  • Barnes, Linda L. (2005) Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing, and the West to 1848 Harvard University Press ISBN 0-674-01872-9
  • Les Missions Etrangères. Trois siècles et demi d'histoire et d'aventure en Asie Editions Perrin, 2008, ISBN 978-2-262-02571-7
  • Smithies, Michael (2002), Three military accounts of the 1688 "Revolution" in Siam, Itineria Asiatica, Orchid Press, Bangkok, ISBN 974-524-005-2