History of the world, dealing with the Middle East, China and America

Horn, George. Arca Noae. Sive historia imperiorum ex regnorum à condito orbe ad nostra tempora.

Leiden & Rotterdam, Petrus Hackius, 1666.

(32), 545, (44) pp. With engraved title-page by Wingendorp. Contemporary sheepskin parchment.


One of the two first editions published simultaneously of a historical work written by the German historian Georgius Hornius (1620-70). "In the dusk of his life, he moved to universal history, an endeavor that culminated with his Arca Noae, which comprised the chronicles of Europe, alongside descriptions of the cultures of China, Egypt, Assyria, ancient Greece, Rome, and pre-Columbian America, and surveys of their religion, art and literature" (Kowner). Entitled "Noah's Ark", it contains the history of the world starting at its creation up to the 17th century. It successively deals with all the great empires and kingdoms and their important founders and rulers. It contains narratives about the founding of Damascus, the founding of Arab kingdoms by Ishmael and Isaac, the caliphates, and the Turks. Beside sections dealing with the Middle East, the book deals with Chinese and American history as well, struggling with sources that predated the biblical sources. Hornius identified biblical figures with characters mentioned in early Chinese annals, suggesting that Cain's offspring had settled in China. Nevertheless, he rejected the possibility that some Chinese sources predated the flood for which Noah built his ark.

Born in Germany, Hornius later became a professor of history at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He mainly dealt with the topic of chronology, discussing how (world) history was to be divided into periods. Among others the compared the difference in biblical, classical and oriental chronologies, and wrote many works on history, theology, geography, and chronology.

With old shelfmark on spine and library stamp on flyleaf. Browned with some small spots throughout, engraved title-page slightly thumbed, a waterstain on leaf *2 and a small tear in leaf *3, and frequent wormholes, slightly affecting the text near the end of the book. Book block only loosely attached to binding. Otherwise a good copy.

Sabin 33013. European Americana 666/75. R. Kowner, From white to yellow (2014), 9.