Grothendieck category

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An Abelian category with a set of generators (cf. Generator of a category) and satisfying the following axiom: There exist coproducts (sums) of arbitrary families of objects, and for each directed family of subobjects , , of an object , and any subobject , the following equality is valid:

The category of left (right) -modules over an arbitrary associative ring with an identity element and the category of sheaves of -modules over an arbitrary topological space are Grothendieck categories. A full subcategory of the category of left -modules is known as a localizing subcategory if it is closed with respect to colimits and if, in an exact sequence

the object belongs to if and only if both and belong to . Each localizing subcategory makes it possible to construct the quotient category . An Abelian category is a Grothendieck category if and only if it is equivalent to some quotient category of the type .

In a Grothendieck category each object has an injective envelope, and for this reason Grothendieck categories are well suited for use in homological applications.


[1] A. Grothendieck, "Sur quelques points d'algèbre homologique" Tôhoku Math. J. (2) , 9 (1957) pp. 119–221
[2] I. Bucur, A. Deleanu, "Introduction to the theory of categories and functors" , Wiley (1968)
[3] N. [N. Popescu] Popesco, P. Gabriel, "Charactérisation des catégories abéliennes avec générateurs et limites inductives exactes" C.R. Acad. Sci. , 258 (1964) pp. 4188–4190



[a1] N. Popescu, "Abelian categories with applications to rings and modules" , Acad. Press (1973)
How to Cite This Entry:
Grothendieck category. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by M.Sh. Tsalenko (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article