First Arabic edition of an important eyewitness account of the life of Tamerlane

Ahmad ibn Muhammad (ibn 'Arabshah). [Kitab 'Aja'ib al-maqdur fi aghbar Timur] Vitae & rerum gestarum Timuri, qui vulgo Tamerlanes dicitur, historia.

Leiden, Elsevier, 1636.

4to. (8), 448 pp.With half-title printed in dark blue and red, title-page printed in red and black within woodcut borders and and leaf *3 printed in red, dark blue, and black. Contemporary calf over boards, spine reinforced with 20th century leather. Marbled endpapers. All edges red.


First Arabic edition of an important eyewitness account of the life of Tamerlane (Timur), the successful and barbaric 14th-century Turkish conqueror, printed entirely in Arabic. "An interesting feature of the book is the use of blue ink for the printing of the word 'Tamerlanis' (between two red lines) on the half-title, as well as for one typographical ornament on leaf 3 recto" (Smitskamp). In the present copy, the blue ink is so strongly oxydized that it is almost black.

The text is based on the original Arabic manuscript, completed in 1437-38, by the Syrian author Ahmad lbn 'Arabshah, secretary of Sultan Ahmad of Baghdad. In the 16th century Timur was made famous in Europe through Christopher Marlowe's play Tamburlaine (1590). The present work was edited and prefaced by Jacob Golius. The Arabic manuscript used by him is still preserved at Leiden University library and contains many notes in his hand. A French translation by Pierre Vattier appeared in 1658.

Binding severely rubbed, extremeties chipped and bumped. Light dampstaining throughout, more pronounced near the beginning (front flyleaf damaged), inner hinges reinforced with different marbled paper. First four quires are extensively annotated in French and Arabic by a contemporary scholar.

De Nave 90. Fück 81f. Lambrecht 1774. Schnurrer 166. Smitskamp 313. STCN (8 copies). Willems 434. Not in Atabey or Blackmer.

Art.-Nr.: BN#53685 Schlagwörter: , , , ,