Arabic syntax: first edition

Ibn al-Hajib. Kafiyah.

[Rome, Typographia Medicea, 1592].

4to. 48 ff., printed in red and black throughout. Contemporary yellow boards with restored calf spine.


First edition. "Editio princeps of this popular short syntax of the Arabic language, written in the 13th century. Two centuries later an Oriental printed edition was published in Istanbul (1786), but in the meantime this edition, printed in Arabic (30 point) throughout, could well have passed for a manuscript [...] To some copies a Latin title page was added bearing the legend: 'Grammatica Arabica dicta Caphia auctore filio Alhagiabi'" (Smitskamp).

Composed by the Arabian grammarian Uthman Ibn Umar, known as Ibn al-Hajib (1175-1249), and printed at the Medicean Press, founded in 1584 by Cardinal Ferdinando I de’ Medici and directed by Giambattista Raimondi (1536-1614), an able scholar of Arabic.

Some edge faults (professionally repaired), old repairs to title page, with slight loss to letterpress. A wide-margined copy, generously printed in 13 lines per page. An exceptionally appealing typographical achievement.

Edit 16, CNCE 44392. Adams U 102 (both s. v. Uthman). BM-STC Italian 706. GAL I, p. 303. Smitskamp 30. Schnurrer 42.