Barros, João de. Decada primeira (-segunda) da Asia.

Lisbon, Jorge Rodriguez for Antonio Gonsalvez, 1628.

Large 4to. 2 vols. (7), 208 ff. (5), 238 ff. Title vignettes (royal arms of Portugal). Uniform mottled calf with giltstamped red and green spine labels. All edges yellow.


Second edition of the first two of the three "Decades" on Portugal's Middle Eastern enterprises (a fourth volume was produced posthumously in 1615, and the set was continued by other hands). "This is considered by Du Fresnoy as being a good edition" (Clarke, The Progress of Maritime Discovery, p. 132). The writer de Barros (1496-1570), head agent for the Portuguese overseas trade authority "Casa da Índia", managed to persuade King João III to commission from him a history of the Portuguese in India (including Asia and southeast Africa). The result, published between 1552 and 1563, earned him renown as one of the first great Portuguese historians, and the the title of a "Portuguese Livy". The 'Decades' contain "the early history of the Portuguese in India and Asia and reveal careful study of Eastern historians and geographers, as well as of the records of his own country. They are distinguished by clearness of exposition and orderly arrangement. They are also lively accounts" (Enc. Britannica). Books 2 and 3 of the "Decada Segunda" (fols. 21 ff.) offer a detailed narrative of Afonso de Albuquerque's expedition to the Arabian Gulf and his conquest of Ormuz in 1507; the island remained under Portuese occupation from 1515 to 1622. As vassals of the Portuguese state, the Kingdom of Ormuz jointly participated in the 1521 invasion of Bahrain that ended Jabrid rule of the Arabian archipelago.

Slight waterstaining throughout first volume; old handwritten ownership "Jose Joares E Britto" to title pages, with earlier ink ownerships obliterated (ink corrosion to title of vol. 2 and final leaf of vol. 1). A good set.


Palau I.181b. Howgego I, B34, p. 91. Arouca B 56f. Löwendahl, Sino-Western Cultural Relations I, p. 42, no. 75. OCLC 4507939. Cf. Macro 474.

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