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Joseph Cassani

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(Also Casani).

Born at Madrid, 26 Nov., 1673, entered the Society of Jesus, 16 Nov., 1686, was still in active service of priestly functions in 1745, and died in 1750. He was one of the founders in of the Academia de la Lengua española at Madrid, and published there a "Diccionario de la Lengua Castellana" in 1726-1730, in six volumes. He was a very prolific writer. Among his works may be noted Admirable vida, singulares virtudes etc. del extçtico Varon P. Dionisio Rickel (Madrid, 1738); Varones ilustres de la Compañia de Jesus Escual militar de forificacion Tratado de la naturaleza y orígen de los cometas (Madrid, 1737). He was a member of the Academia from 6 July, 1713. Although he never visited America, he appeals particularly to Americans through his "Historia de la Provincia de la Compañia de Jesus del Nueva Reyno de Granada en la América" (Madrid, 1741), the only regular chronicle of the Jesuit Order in Columbia thusfar extant. [ Note: Fr. Cassani wrote the "Historia" in Venezuela.] The fact that Cassani was never in the New World detracts somewhat from the usefulness of this otherwise valuable history, as far as ethnologic and ethnographic data are concerned; otherwise it is a conscientious and earnest work, giving interesting data, chiefly of the missions in the upper Orinoco basin. The work is exceedingly rare.

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