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By the Ottoman ambassador to Spain

Vasif, Ahmet. Mahasin al-athar wa-haqaiq al-akhbar.

Bulaq, Matba'at Bualaq, 1246 [1830].

4to. 2 vols. in one. 210, 190 pp. Period dark green half calf with embossed cloth boards, gilt embossed decoration and title on the spine, marbled endpapers, old bookplate, old cancelled stamps on endpapers.

In Ottoman Turkish throughout. Second edition of "The Beauty of Chronicles and the Truth of Histories", a chronicle of the Ottoman Porte from 1166 to 1187 (1752-75), written by the Ottoman ambassador to Spain and published by the first official governmental printing press in Cairo. Ahmed Vasif (Ahmed Klican Wasif Efendi, ca. 1730-1806) was born in Baghdad to a poor family. During his early years he served as a soldier and for a while was imprisoned by the Russian army. For his language skills he was chosen to assist in the Bucharest peace negotiations of 1772. In 1788 he became the first Ottoman ambassador to Madrid, charged with securing relations in the Mediterranean; he wrote the present account upon his return.

The Bulaq or El-Amiriya Press, the first official and governmental printing press established in Egypt, was founded in 1820 by the viceroy of Egypt Muhammad Ali (1769-1849). Five years earlier, in 1815, the first delegation was sent to Milan to learn the art of printing. After construction of the press was completed in the autumn of 1820, it took another two years to transport the machines and train the employees. The first book, an Arabic-Italian dictionary, was published in 1822. Viceroy Muhamamd Ali started several reform programs aiming to create a modern Egyptian society after the European model, the printing press being a part of the modernisation programme. Muhammad Ali is noted for establishing modern Egypt as an independent country.

Binding slightly worn; edges scuffed, hinges repaired, otherwise in good condition, lacking original wrappers with the printed title.

Zenker 939. OCLC 122873879 (only 2 copies: Cambridge Univ. and UNC Chapel Hill). Cf. Atabey 905; De Sacy 5014; Brill Turcica 21 (1804 first ed., published by the Imperial Press at Istanbul).