First printing of Ibn Batuttah in Arabic

Ibn Batuttah. Voyages d'Ibn Batoutah. Texte arabe, accompagné d'une traduction par C. Defrémery et le Dr. B. R. Sanguinetti.

Paris, Imprimerie Impériale, 1853-1859.

8vo. 4 vols. (including index). (4), XLVI, (2), 443, (1) pp. (4), XIV, (2), 465, (1) pp. (4), XXVI, (2), 476 pp. (4), 479, (5), 91, (1) pp. Contemporary red half morocco over marbled boards, spines stamped in gilt. Marbled endpapers.


First and only complete edition of the Arabic text of Ibn Battuta's famous "Rihla" (literally, "The Journey"), the most significant eyewitness account of the Arabian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Over a period of thirty years, the Muslim Moroccan explorer Abu-‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Batutah (1304-77?) visited most of the known Islamic world, including North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East - a distance surpassing that covered by his near-contemporary Marco Polo. Ibn Battuta is considered one of the greatest travellers of all time. He journeyed more than 75,000 miles, a figure unsurpassed by any individual explorer until the coming of the Steam Age some 450 years later. After returning home from his travels in 1354, Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to Ibn Juzayy, a scholar whom he had previously met in Granada. This account is the only source for Ibn Battuta's adventures. For centuries his book was obscure, even within the Muslim world, but in the early 19th century extracts were published in German and English based on manuscripts discovered in the Middle East, containing abridged versions of Ibn Juzayy's Arabic text. During the French occupation of Algeria in the 1830s, five manuscripts were discovered in Constantine, including two that contained more complete versions of the text. "These manuscripts were brought back to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and studied by the French scholars Charles Defrémery and Beniamino Sanguinetti. Beginning in 1853, they published a series of four volumes containing the Arabic text, extensive notes and a translation into French. Defrémery and Sanguinetti's printed text has now been translated into many other languages while Ibn Battuta has grown in reputation and is now a well-known figure" (Wikipedia).


Bookseller's ticket of Luzac & Co., 46 Great Russell Street, London, to pastedowns. Each volume with the ink signature of Charles Whitting, dated October 1935, to the flyleaf.


Covers rubbed, extremeties lightly bumped but spines generally well preserved. Interior browned throughout as common, not always entirely evenly.


Macro, Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula, 1249. GAL II, p. 333. Henze II, 682. Cf. Carter, Robert A. Sea of Pearls, p. 63.

Cat. no.: 25 Catalogue: Firsts. London's Rare Book Fair 2024