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Friday, May 18, 2012

Brother Bento de Goës, SJ

Brother Bento de Goës, SJ
Explorer of Cathay

Scott 1017 Scott 1018
PORTUGAL, 1968, Scott 1017-1018
Scott says this celebrates the 360th anniversary in 1967 of his death;
the dates on the stamps seem to indicate an even more belated commemoration of the 4th centenary of his birth.

Bento de Goës was born at San Miguel in the Azores and entered the Jesuits as a brother at Goa. A man of linguistic and diplomatic skills, in 1595 he acted as emissary between the Great Mogul and the Viceroy of the Indies. But his name is linked forever with a long hike. Disguised for safety as an Armenian merchant, de Goës set out from Agra in October 1602 and walked to China, arriving there on Christmas Day 1605. The stamps portray him wearing a merchant's hat in memory of that disguise. His letters to Matteo Ricci in Peking brought Ricci's emissary back just as de Goës was dying. His journey, however, had resolved a major question: the identity of Marco Polo's Cathay and Ricci's China. Henry Yule's Cathay and the Way Thither, which is available on the web presents some Introductory Remarks about De Goes' journey (vol. 2, pp. 529ff), followed by Ricci's account of it (pp. 549ff).

PORTUGAL, 1968, FDI cancel for Scott 1017-1018

KM  700
courtesy of Don's World Coin Gallery
PORTUGAL in 1997 issued a 200 escudo coin with his image
in copper-nickel [KM 700], silver [KM 700a], gold [KM 700b], and palladium [KM 700c]