Niebuhr's Description of Arabia

Niebuhr, Carsten. Description de l'Arabie, d'après les observations et recherches faites dans le pays même. Nouvelle édition, revue & corrigée.

Paris, Brunet, 1779.

Large 4to (205 x 262 mm). 2 volumes. (6), 56, 252 pp. (4), 315, (5) pp. With 1 folding genealogical table and 25 engraved plates (many folding), including maps, plans, costumes, and views, 2 showing Arabic text with vowel points, as well as 2 engraved headpieces. Contemporary full marbled calf with giltstamped spines and red spine labels. Blue coloured endpapers. All edges red.


Third French edition (first published in German in Copenhagen, 1772). "Édition revue par de Guignes" (Gay). "Niebuhr (1713-1815) participated as astronomer and naturalist to the royal Danish expedition to Arabia in 1763-1767. Together with the naturalist Forskal, the philologist Van Haven and two others, he travelled up the Nile to Suez and Mount Sinai, and from there to Jeddah and Mocha. By the end of their stay in Mocha, all the memebers of the expedition but Niebuhr had died, and Niebuhr travelled on alone to India, returning via Persia, Syria, Cyprus, and Constantinople. The only surviving member of the hazardous expedition, he returned to an indifferent reception in Copenhagen [...] Niebuhr's comprehensive description, particularly of the Yemen region, was the best and most authentic of the day. Many subsequent travellers have acknowledged their debt to him, and only on a few minor points have they shown him to be in error. He was scientifically and philosophically minded, cautious and steady, and hardly the man to masquerade in Mekkah or wander with the Bedouins, but few contributed more solidly to the study of Arabia" (Atabey).

Noticeable worming to gutter, sometimes touching text but loss to legibility (more extensive in vol. I), much of which professionally repaired. A few handwritten pencil annotations in the margin. Bindings professionally restored.

Gay 3589. Howgego I, N24 (p. 752). Brunet IV, 74 (note). Cf. Atabey 873. Macro 1699. Not in Blackmer.