Akbar and the Jesuits, An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar


Akbar and the Jesuits, An Account of the Jesuit Missions to the Court of Akbar is a partial translation of a work written and compiled by the Jesuit priest Father Pierre Du Jarric and published in France between 1608 and 1614. The complete title of Du Jarric’s magnum opus is Histoire des choses plus memorables advenves tant ez Index Orientales, que autres païs de la descouverte des Portugais, en l’establissement et progrez de la foy Chrestienne at Catholique: et principalement de ce que les Religieux de la Compagnie de Iésus y ont faict, & endure pour la mesme fin;depuis qu’ils y sont entrez iusqu’à l’an 1600. Du Jarric himself was not a traveler or missionary; the work is compiled from other sources, including books, letters, and reports in Portuguese, Spanish, Latin, and French. Du Jarric’s Histoire is in three parts (volumes), each of which has two books, and covers Jesuit missions to India and Southeast Asia, Africa, Brazil, and the Mughal Empire. The translation presented here is from the original Book IV of Part II and Book V of Part III, dealing with the Mughal Empire, and specifically events during the life of the Emperor Akbar, including the three Jesuit missions to his court made before 1600. Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar (1542–1605), also known as Akbar the Great, was the Mughal emperor who ruled India from 1556 to 1605. Born and raised as an orthodox Sunni Muslim, Akbar nonetheless practiced religious tolerance, curbed the power of the Islamic clergy in political and legal matters, and opened discussions of religion to a variety of Muslims, including Shiite scholars and Sufi dervishes, as well as eventually to Hindus, Jains, Parsees, and Christians. Du Jarric recounts numerous conversations between Akbar and the Jesuit fathers, and their hopes, which in the end were disappointed, that he would become a Christian. The book contains detailed notes to the chapters and is illustrated with black-and-white paintings from the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The book was part of The Broadway Travellers, a series of classic travel accounts published by George Routledge & Sons, London, between 1926 and 1937. This American edition was published in New York by Harper & Brothers.

Last updated: July 27, 2016