First exploration of the flora of the Middle East

Rauwolf, Leonhard. Beschreibung der Reyß [...], so er [...] gegen Auffgang in die Morgenländer, fürnemlich Syriam, Judeam, Arabiam, Mesopotamiam, Babyloniam, Assyriam, Armeniam, etc. nicht ohne Mühe und grosse Gefahr selbst vollbracht [...].

Frankfurt a. M., Christoph Rab, 1582.

4to. 3 parts in 1 vol. Title page printed in red and black. With 3 woodcut title vignettes (including one showing a camel). (8) ff. (incl. final blank), 123, (1) pp. (2), 161, (1) pp., 1 bl. f. 176, (6) pp. Contemporary blindstamped brown calf with 2 clasps.


Rare second edition, printed in the year of the first edition: a German description of a three-year journey to Palestine and the Near East by the botanist Rauwolf (1535-96), with many authentic and reliable observations, also about the people and customs and of the difficulties of travel. His description of the preparation of coffee in Aleppo was the first such report by a European. "Highly influential travel account by the learned Augsburg physician and botanist who journeyed to Jerusalem in the years 1573 to 1576. The 8th chapter of part I contains the celebrated descriptions of the coffee drink and of the coffee berry [...] Rauwolf's account of coffee as a social drink of the East is thought to be the earliest in a printed book" (Hünersdorff/H. II, 1221). "Rauwolf [...] made a hazardous journey in many parts of the East to collect foreign plants; his herbarium is now carefully preserved at the Rijksherbarium in Leiden" (Hunt 146). "He was the first modern botanist to collect and describe the flora of the regions east of the Levantine coast" (Norman). An illustrated edition expanded by a fourth part was published at Lauingen the following year.

Binding professionally repaired at extremeties. Title page remargined, showing some fingerstaining; occasional slight brown- and waterstaining; a few contemporary marginalia near the end.

VD 16, ZV 12969. Adams R 188. Pritzel 7430. Cf. Norman 1782. Not in BM-STC German.