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Important contribution to the study of the Middle East

NIEBUHR, Carsten.
Voyage en Arabie & en d'autres pays circonvoisins. Tome premier[- second]. Traduit de l'Allemand.
Amsterdam, Steven Jacobus Baalde; Utrecht, Barthelemy Wild (colophon: printed by Joh. Jos. Besseling, Utrecht, 1775), 1775-1780. 2 volumes. 4to. With 2 engraved integral title-pages, 124 engraved plates (many folding) and a folding map of Yemen (in partial colour). Contemporary gold-tooled calf. VIII, [6], 409, [1], [1 blank]; VI, [10], 389, [1] pp.
€ 6,000
First French edition of an account on Arabia, translated from the German (Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern, 1774) by F.L. Mourier. The title-pages are dated 1776-80; the colophons 1775-79. The famous account of the Royal Danish Expedition (1761-67) to the Middle East, Egypt, Persia and India, the first scientific expedition to this area. Niebuhr's "work on Arabia was the first European attempt at a complete account of Arabia, its people and their way of life. He amassed a vast quantity of factual information which he relates in a simple unrhetorical fashion, distinguishing clearly between things observed personally and things learned from others. The expedition, which lasted 6 years, was sponsored by the Danish King [Frederik V], and included the brilliant Swedish scientist, Peter Forsskal, who died while in Yemen" (Cat. Sotheby's, 13 Oct 1998, lot 1010). Of the five scientists, Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815) was the sole survivor, and his work represents an important contribution to the study of the Middle East. His map of the Yemen, the first exact map of the area ever, remained the standard for the next 200 years.
Old stamps erased from title pages (leaving insignificant water stains), otherwise in fine condition and in immaculate contemporary French bindings. Beautiful copy of an important work on Arabia with the first exact map of Yemen ever, remaining the standard for the next 200 years. Gay, Bibl. de l'Afrique et l'Arabe 3589; Howgego, to 1800, N24 (p. 752); Van Hulthem 15024; Nyon 21018; Weber II, 549; cf. Macro, Bibliography of the Arabian peninsula, 1700; not in Atabey; Blackmer.
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Cartography & exploration  >  Middle East & Islamic World | Voyages & Travel
Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabian Peninsula & Gulf States | Cartography & Exploration