Important contribution to the study of the Middle East

Niebuhr, Carsten. Voyage en Arabie & en d'autres Pays circonvoisins. Tome premier (-second). Traduit de l'Allemand.

Amsterdam & Utrecht, S. J. Baalde & Barthelemy Wild, 1775-1780.

4to. 2 vols. VIII, (6), 409, (1) pp. VI, (10), 389, (1) pp. With 2 engraved titles (in counted prelims.), 124 engraved plates (many folding), and folding map of Yemen (in partial colour). Contemp. full calf with gilt cover borders and giltstamped labels in red and green to fully gilt spine. Marbled endpapers. All edges red.


First French edition, translated from the German ("Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern", 1774) by F. L. Mourier. Title pages are dated 1776-80; colophones dated 1775-79. The famous account of the Royal Danish Expedition (1761-67) to the Middle East, Egypt, Persia and India, the first scientific expedition to this area. Niebuhr's "work on Arabia was the first European attempt at a complete account of Arabia, its people and their way of life. He amassed a vast quantity of factual information which he relates in a simple unrhetorical fashion, distinguishing clearly between things observed personally and things learned from others. The expedition, which lasted six years, was sponsored by the Danish king, and included the brilliant Swedish scientist, Peter Forsskal, who died while in Yemen" (Cat. Sotheby‘s, 13 Oct 98, lot 1010). Of the five scientists, Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815) was the sole survivor, and his work represents an important contribution to the study of the Middle East. His map of the Yemen, the first exact map of the area ever, remained the standard for the next 200 years.

Old stamps erased from title pages (leaving insignificant waterstain), otherwise a perfect set in immaculate original French bindings.


Howgego I, N24 (p. 752). Weber II, 549. Ibrahim-Hilmy II, 66. Gay 3589. Van Hulthem 15024. Nyon 21018. Cf. Macro, Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula, 1700. Carter, Robert A. Sea of Pearls, p. 116. Not in Atabey or Blackmer.