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The history of travayle in the West and East Indies, done into Englyshe by Richarde Eden. Newly set in order, augmented, and finished by Richarde Willes.
London, Richard Jugge, 1577. - [10], 466, [6] ll. Narrow 4to (19 x 13.5 cm). With a woodcut celestial map of the South Polar sky in the text, dozens of decorated and mostly pictorial initials plus a few repeats (3 series?, but the main series sometimes has 3 different initials for the same letter of the alphabet). Set in textura types with extensive use of roman and italic. With 14 leaves in a 19th-century facsimile. Gold- and blind-tooled maroon morocco (ca. 1860?), sewn on 3 double cords, in allusive style, each board with a frame of arabesque ornament, with an oval centrepiece containing a 4-lobed, square endless knot. In a modern clam-shell box. First English edition of Ludovico di Varthema's famous account of travels to Arabia, Syria, Persia, Ethiopia, India and the East Indies: a highly important and adventurous narrative including his 1503 visit to Mecca and Medina, the first recorded visit of a European (probably of any non-Muslim) to the Islamic holy cities. "Varthema's Itinerario, first published in 1510, had an enormous impact at the time, and in some respects determined the course of European expansion towards the Orient" (Howgego). It is here combined with various other travel accounts, including some taken from a collection by d'Anghiera translated into English in 1555 as The decades of the newe worlde or West India. - Ludovico di Varthema or Barthema (ca. 1468-1517) sailed from Venice to Egypt in 1502 and travelled through Alexandria, Beirut, Tripoli and Aleppo, arriving in Damascus in April 1503. There he enrolled in the Mameluke garrison and proceeded overland to Khaybar, Medina and Mecca, thereby becoming the first European to enter the two holiest cities of Islam. His travels took him further to South Arabia, Persia, India, Goa, Cochin, and supposedly the Malay isthmus, Sumatra, Banda, the Moluccas, the Spice Islands, Borneo, Java and Malacca. It has often been suggested, however, that he never came further east than Ceylon and that the account of the rest of his journey was assembled from stories passed on by others, but even in these regions much of his information appears to be accurate. Thanks to his knowledge of Arabic and of Islam, Varthema was able to appreciate the local culture of the places he visited. Impressed and fascinated, he describes not only rites and rituals, but also social and geographical aspects and details of daily life. He gives a detailed description of Mecca and the Islamic pilgrimage, and his description of the Hejaz (the west coast of Arabia on the Red Sea, including Mecca and Medina) is especially valuable as it pre-dates the Ottoman occupation of 1520. He finally returned to Lisbon in 1508. - Varthema's account became a bestseller as soon as it appeared in 1510 and went through about twenty editions in various languages in the next fifty years. It certainly provided many Europeans with their first glimpse of Islamic culture and of non-European cultures in general. - With a contemporary manuscript table of contents on the nearly blank leaf preceding the opening of the main text and an occasional marginal manuscript note in the same hand, a mid-19th-century note of prices of various copies (taken from Brunet) on a blank endleaf and the armorial bookplate of Sir Arthur Help (1813-1875), probably the owner who had it bound, on the paste-down. With the first 6 and last 8 leaves in a 19th-century facsimile, but otherwise in good condition, with the head or foot of 4 leaves extended and a few other marginal defects not affecting the text. Binding fine. First English edition of a seminal work on the Middle East. Cordier, Indosinica, col. 105; Cox I, p. 2; ESTC S122069; Howgego, to 1800, V15; STC 649; USTC 508279 (citing ESTC); cf. Blackmer 1719 (1523 Italian Varthema ed.); Gay, Bibl. de l'Afrique et l'Arabe 140 (other Varthema eds. in various languages); not in Atabey.
      [Bookseller: Antiquariat INLIBRIS Gilhofer Nfg. GmbH]
Last Found On: 2016-08-06           Check availability:      ZVAB    

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