Maillet, Benoît de. Description de l'Egypte, contenant plusieurs remarques curieuses sur la Geographie ancienne et moderne de ce païs, sur les monumens anciens [...].

Paris, Louis Genneau & Jacques Rollin, 1735.

4to (214 x 250 mm). 2 parts in one volume. XXI, (3), 328, 242, (10) pp. Title-page printed in red and black. With engraved portrait frontispiece, 7 engraved plates (2 of which folding), and 1 engraved folding map of Egypt. Contemporary full calf with traces of gilt spine (oxydized) and remnants of a spine-label. Marbled endpapers. Edges sprinkled red.


First edition.

Prominent compendium of all that was known about Egypt at the time, taking the form of a series of letters written by the French consul and inspector of the French institutions in the Levante, Benoît de Maillet (1656-1738), stationed in Cairo from 1692 to 1708, edited and compiled for publication by the cleric Jean-Baptiste le Mascrier (1697-1760). During his time in Egypt, Maillet developed a great interest in Arabic and Egyptian life, as well as in Egyptian antiquities and Arabic architecture. With his work he greatly expanded European knowledge about the country, its antiquities and the manners and costums of its inhabitants. The frontispiece shows a portrait of the author, while the plates depict tombs, sarcophagi, obelisks, and animals. The two folding plates exhibit the Mikias, or Nilometer, in Cairo, and a cross section of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The final chapter discusses the annual Hajj to Mecca and describes the cities of Mecca and Medina, as well as Mahomet's tomb.

Title-page a little duststained, with traces of a removed stamp of ownership. Somewhat foxed and brownstained throughout, more pronounced among first and last leaves. Upper margins slightly waterstained near the end. The map of Egypt shows small marginal flaws. Upper joints and extremities professionally restored. A near-contemporary note on the estimated price of the volume by a former owner on front flyleaf. A good copy.

Atabey 748. Blackmer 1061. Gay 2105. Ibrahim-Hilmy I, 170. Paulitschke 717. Not in Weber.