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GÈographie du moyen Age, ÈtudiÈe par Joachim Lewelel
Bruxelles,: Pilliet, 1852-1854-, 1857.. Four parts text bound in one volume, with epilogue and atlas volumes, the latter oblong folio; 18 plates (some folding) in the text volumes, 50 plates (see note) in the atlas volume, excellent impressions of all the plates; the three volumes differently bound: recent quarter morocco with green boards (text); early crimson pebbled cloth, a little frayed at spine (epilogue); modern half green morocco over marbled boards (atlas). First edition, with the full suite of lithographic plates, depicting any number of famous and important early maps, by a 'pioneer writer on cartography' (Tooley). This is one of the most important - and eccentric - early studies of the geography of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, and is only rarely seen complete with its folio atlas and the particularly uncommon epilogue volume of 1857.Lelewel's comprehensive intensive study of classical Greek, Latin and Arab sources, with each of the intricately engraved plates prepared by the author himself, includes the accounts of navigators, pilots and voyagers, and his scholarship makes it a significant source for cartography and the history of travel. The work is wide in scope, and whether Lelewel is discussing the foundations of modern Ptolemaic geography, the peregrinations of the Jewish scholar Benjamin of Tudele, or the great fourteenth-century Arab expeditions of Ibn Battuta, his synthesis of the field is magisterial.Lelewel was a Polish historian, educated at the Imperial University of Vilna. Although of Prussian descent, he became an ardent nationalist and his lectures on Polish history galvanised the country. One of the rebels of the November Uprising against the Russian authorities in 1830, he went into exile in Paris soon after the rebellion was suppressed, and was soon after forced to leave France for Brussels at the explicit request of the Russian Ambassador. A friend of Marx and Engels, he was a political agitator throughout his life.The plate count is complex, but the present example has the full complement. The folio atlas has 50 plates, as required: 49 are full page lithographs, while the remaining map (plate 47) is tipped on to the title-page, as instructed in the plate listing (this has caused some confusion among bibliographers; Howes, for example, lists "49" plates only). The question of the smaller plates for the text volumes has also been confused: Graesse calls for 12 plates, but the listing does not include the epilogue volume; Leclerc, who does notice the epilogue, calls for only 14 plates in total; Sabin does not list the smaller plates; and lastly, Howes lists 18 plates. This example with 18 & 50 plates, then, corresponds to the largest number of plates recorded by any of the bibliographers.Graesse, IV, p. 156; Howes, L249; Leclerc, 349; Sabin, 39978.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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