The first European attempt at a complete account of Arabia

Niebuhr, Carsten. Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern.

Copenhagen, Nicolaus Möller, 1774-1778.

4to. 2 vols. XVI, (6), 505, (1) pp. With 72 plates and folding map. (16), 479, (1) pp. With 52 plates and maps. Contemporary vellum with title to spine.


First edition.

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.

An unsophisticated, exceptionally fine copy.


Macro 1700. Gay 3589. Howgego I, N24 (p. 752).