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Da Asia de Joáo Barros e de Diogo de Couto, Nova Edição...
Lisbon: Regia Officina Typographica, 1788. 24 volumes, duodecimo, with four portraits and five folding maps; contemporary blonde speckled calf. This extensive set is a fundamental travel book, and the basis for any history of Portuguese exploration. This is the first collected edition of the "Decades" of João de Barros and Diogo de Couto, chronicling the first Portuguese discoveries in Asia, as well as Africa and Brazil. Its twenty-four volumes contain an extraordinary wealth of detail regarding the Portuguese in the East Indies and elsewhere in the New World. An idea of its significance may be gained simply by glancing at the many indexes to the various volumes of Donald Lach's majestic Asia in the Making of Europe, all of which contain multiple extensive references to Barros's work.The Portuguese historian and civil servant Barros had equipped an expedition to the Amazon, but its failure brought him to the verge of poverty. His mercantile ambitions destroyed, Barros retreated into the sanctuary of historical studies. Written at the instigation of the king, Barros first published Décadas da Asia in the middle of the sixteenth century, and it is still regarded as one of the supreme accounts of European exploration and colonisation, and famously includes work on Magellan and his discoveries in the Americas. The first volume, Asia de Ioam de Barros, was published in 1552, and the subsequent volumes of his work in 1555, 1563 and 1615. The authenticity of the fourth, published much later, has been questioned. Its vigour and scope are such that it is one of the founding works of Portuguese literature. It was continued by Diogo de Couto, royal historiographer to Phillip II, whose work is generally more critical. Couto not only furthers Barros's original discussion, but also expands on the arguments for the decline of Portuguese influence in the east.The first eight volumes of this set consist of the four original Décadas; volume nine is a life of Barros by Manoel Severin de Faria together with an index; the remaining fourteen volumes comprise all of Couto's ensuing books, the last volume an index. A fine crisp set.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House]
Last Found On: 2017-04-03           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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