Record of extensive travels from Aleppo to Al-'Ula, with a volume on the Ruwallah tribe

Musil, Alois. The Northern Hegaz. Arabia Deserta. The Middle Euphrates. Palmyrena. Northern Negd. The Manners and Customs of the Rwala Bedouins. (American Geographical Society Oriental Explorations and Studies No. 1-6).

New York, American Geographical Society, 1926-1928.

6 volumes. 8vo. XII, 374 pp. with 2 folding maps in rear pocket. XVII, (3), 631, (1) pp. with folding map in rear pocket. XV, (3), 426 pp. with 2 folding maps in rear pocket. XIV, (2), 367, (1) pp. with 1 folding map in rear pocket. XIII, (1), 368 pp. with 2 folding maps in rear pocket. XIV, 712 pp. Together with 4 large folding maps in dedicated slipcase. Publisher's original grey cloth boards.


A complete set of publications with the American Geographical Society on travels in the Arabian Peninsula and across the wider Middle East by the famous Czech explorer Alois Musil (1868-1944). Musil was said to be fluent in 35 Arabic dialects, and in 1898 he had rediscovered the lost desert castle of Qusayr Amra (built ca. 715) in the Jordanian desert north of Amman. During WWI Musil was sent to the Middle East to thwart British operations against the Ottoman Empire, thus becoming the opponent of T. E. Lawrence.

Musil's works in English, edited by J. K. Wright and not often found in a complete set, lay the groundwork for many Western studies of the Arabian Peninsula. Accompanied by 12 loose folding maps, Musil's six volumes cover the topography of the Hejaz with notes on tribes and the Hejaz Railway; the area between Damascus, the ancient ruins of Dumat al-Jandal in modern Saudi Arabia, and Mayadin in modern Syria with notes on contemporary local politics; the regions along the Euphrates from Resafa in Syria to Al-Najaf in Iraq with notes on ruins and ancient canal systems; travels to Palmyra and surroundings from Damascus to Aleppo and as far East as Mayadin with notes on Roman roads, and finally a journey through the Nejd in the heart of the Arabian peninsula from Al-'Ula to Hajel, Al-Najaf, and Dumat al-Jandal, ending with two extensive histories detailing the lineages of Abdulaziz bin Mutaib Al Rashid (1870-1906) and Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud (1875-1953), respectively.

The sixth and final volume, "extremely informative regarding Bedouin culture of all times" (Fück), comprises a work on the "Rwala Bedouins" (the Ruwallah). It includes a frontispiece photographic illustration of a dignitary named as As-Sejh Musa ar-Rwejli and chapters on beliefs regarding the heavenly bodies and weather, knowledge and use of animals including falconry, food and preparation, dress and weapons, marriage and divorce, merchants and blacksmiths, poetry, omens and spirits, judicial procedure, hospitality, vengeance and war, and death.

Light external wear and ex-library markings; maps are bright and clean.


Macro 1674, 1666, 1675, 1671. Howgego III, M103, p. 665. Fück 263f.