Niebuhr's Description of Arabia

Niebuhr, Carsten. Description de l'Arabie, d'après les observations et recherches faites dans le pays même. Nouvelle édition, revue & corrigée.

Paris, Brunet, 1779.

Large 4to. 2 vols in one. (6), 56, 252 pp. (4), 315, (5) pp. (pages 153-216 of part 2 transposed after p. 88). With 1 folding genealogical table and 25 engraved plates (6 folding), including maps, plans, costumes, views, and 2 showing Arabic text with vowel points, as well as 2 engraved headpieces. Contemporary full calf with giltstamped red spine label. Marbled endpapers. All edges sprinkled red.


Third French edition (first published in German in Copenhagen, 1772). "Édition revue par de Guignes" (Gay). "Niebuhr (1713-1815) participated as astronomer and naturalist to the royal Danish expedition to Arabia in 1763-1767. Together with the naturalist Forskal, the philologist Van Haven and two others, he travelled up the Nile to Suez and Mount Sinai, and from there to Jeddah and Mocha. By the end of their stay in Mocha, all the memebers of the expedition but Niebuhr had died, and Niebuhr travelled on alone to India, returning via Persia, Syria, Cyprus, and Constantinople. The only surviving member of the hazardous expedition, he returned to an indifferent reception in Copenhagen [...] Niebuhr's comprehensive description, particularly of the Yemen region, was the best and most authentic of the day. Many subsequent travellers have acknowledged their debt to him, and only on a few minor points have they shown him to be in error. He was scientifically and philosophically minded, cautious and steady, and hardly the man to masquerade in Mekkah or wander with the Bedouins, but few contributed more solidly to the study of Arabia" (Atabey).

Extremeties a little bumped, hinges repaired. Occasional light browning or staining, more pronounced near beginning. Contemporary handwritten "Avis au Lecteur" bound before title-page, alerting the reader to the transposed quires in part 2.



Gay 3589. Howgego I, N24 (p. 752). Brunet IV, 74 (note). Cf. Atabey 873. Macro 1699. Not in Blackmer.