Account of the first scientific expedition to the Middle East, Egypt, Persia and India

Niebuhr, Carsten. Reize naar Arabië en andere omliggende landen.

Amsterdam & Utrecht, (J. J. Besseling for) S. J. Baalde / J. van Schoonhoven & Co. (I) / Bartolomé Wild (II), 1776-1780.

4to (285 x 233 mm). 2 vols. VIII, (6), 484, (2) pp. (16), 455, (1) pp. With engraved vignette by N. van der Meer to each title-page, 94 plates (30 folding, 64 full-page), and 31 maps and plans (7 folding, 24 full-page, of which the folding map of Yemen handcoloured in outline), engraved by C. Philips, Th. and C. H. de Koning, C. J. de Huyser, C. F. Fritsch, O. de Vries and others. 19th-century half calf. Untrimmed.


First Dutch translation of this important and famous account of the Royal Danish Expedition (1761-67) to the Middle East, Egypt, Persia and India, the first scientific expedition to this area. The original German edition was published in Copenhagen in 1744-1778 under the title "Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern".

''In volume II, p. 317 he [Niebuhr] begins his description of the journey from Beit el Fakih in the coffee mountains. This is accompanied by three engravings'' (Hünersdorff). There are some 40 other references to coffee in this work, including the journey from Sana'a to Mocha. The plates, the same as used for the first German language edition, include many views of cities, antiquities and statues, natives in traditional dress, hieroglyphs, Arabic script, musical instruments, a reception with the Iman of Sana'a (Yemen), and views of the mosque in Meshed Ali. The 31 maps and plans are of Constantinople, the Nile, Jeddah in the province of Mecca, Bombay, the palace of Persepolis, Muscat, the Arabian ("Persian") Gulf, Baghdad, Mosul, etc. Niebuhr's map of Yemen, the first exact map of the area ever, remained the standard for the next 200 years.

"The expedition had been proposed by the Hebrew scholar Johann David Michäelis of Göttingen for the purpose of illustrating certain passages of the Old Testament, and initially envisaged only a single traveller, possible an Arabic scholar. However, the idea rapidly blossomed into a fully-fledged scientific expedition. The team eventually assembled, for which there was no appointed leader, included Niebuhr as surveyor, along with Friedrich Christian von Haven, Peter Forskall, Christian Carl Kramer, Georg Baurenfeind, and a Swedish ex-soldier named Berggren" (Howgego). Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815) was the sole survivor, and his work represents an important contribution to the study of the Middle East. - Bindings used. Large-margined copy of this famous account of the Middle East, Egypt, Persia, and India in fine condition.


Howgego I, N24. Hünersdorff, Coffee, p. 1081. Van Hulthem 15024. Nyon 21018. Tiele, Bibl. 796. Cf. Atabey 873-874. Cox I, pp. 237-238. Gay, Bibl. de l'Afrique et Arabe 3589. Macro, Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula, 1700. Carter, Robert A. Sea of Pearls, p. 116. Not in Atabey or Blackmer.