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Coup d'œil sur les incendies de Constantinople
Constantinople: de Castro,, 1871. Octavo (196 x 133 mm), lithographic title + 29 pp. Original pink paper wrappers, printed in black. Mild denting to wrappers and text, wrappers slightly faded, a few tiny spots to spot, minuscule manuscript correction (probably the author's) to p. 17. A very good copy. First and only edition, presentation copy of this extremely rare pamphlet written in response to the 1870 Pera fire (the "Harik-i kabir"), inscribed by the author "A Mr. le Profr. Marzolo, hommage" on the front wrapper. This must be Francesco Marzolo (1818–1880), who taught medicine at the University of Padua, rather than his more famous brother, Paolo, who also taught languages, including Arabic and Turkish, although Zennaro may have been taught by him too. The fire began on Feridiye Sokagi shortly after midday on 5 June and "took only six hours to destroy two thirds of the quarter, killing thousands and destroying countless buildings" (Boyar & Fleet, A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul, p. 78). In response the government proposed an extensive remodelling of the local area, though the plan was only partially implemented. Zennaro, an Italian physician evidently long-resident in the city, estimates that approximately 8,500 houses were destroyed (more recent accounts have suggested 3,000), with some 2,500 dead, and accuses certain parties of having a vested interest in maintaining inadequate fire safety, including merchants and architects. He also surveys the use of building materials, the layout of the city's streets, water provision, and emergency procedures, and recommends the safer storage of oil and gas, the use of stone instead of wood, the widening of streets, a reformed fire service, and a regulated professional body of municipal architects. A highly important document in the social history of the Ottoman capital, otherwise untraced in libraries and commerce.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-11-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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