copied by scribe Ali bin Shahab al-Din, decorated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Safavid Persia, dated Jumada II 973 AH (December 1565 – January 1566 AD)


185 by 120mm., 216 leaves, complete, text in single column throughout, 14 lines of black naskh, headings and key word in red, catch-words throughout, marginal annotations throughout copied in both contemporary and later hands, early twentieth-century Persian export stamps to preliminary and penultimate leaves, large paper label to upper pastedown, in contemporary blind-stamped morocco, perhaps missing a flap, spine and outer extremities repaired in later morocco, paper label to spine, wear to covers.

One of the founding pillars of Islamic Fiqh – Islamic jurispudence based on divine law – is the ritual of purity and cleanliness. The faith determines that if impurities exist on the human body, the negative impacts of this on their health and mental state will pollute the soul. Therefore one of the methods of purification for the soul lies in the hygiene and cleanliness of the human body. This work outlines the methods by which muslims can practice ritual purity in their daily lives as outlines by the Shi’a understanding of Islamic jurisprudence. This Kitab al-Taharah (literally meaning the book of purification) is divided into multiple sections covering a wide range of topics including: ablution, tayammum (the Islamic ritual of dry purification using purified sand or dust), death washing rituals, and performing wudu (cleaning parts of the body in preparation for prayer).

The wide margins and informal annotations throughout this volume indicate that it was probably copied for practice in an Islamic school, likely connected to a mosque, during the reign of Shah Tahmasp I of the Safavid dynasty. The hand is not consistent with the formal scribal practices at the time, but has clearly been copied by a trained hand suggesting that the scribe here, Ali bin Shahab al-Din, was likely either a scholar himself or an educated student copying the text for personal use.

This volume was formerly part of the both the Hagop Kevorkian and Mohamed Makiya private libraries, these important twentieth-century collections of Islamic books and manuscripts.


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Illuminated manuscript in Arabic on paper

Mamluk territories, probably Egypt, mid-fourteenth century


4to, 237 x 170mm., 53 leaves, the complete Juz’ Qala ‘alam (XVI), containing text from surah al-Kahf (18) verse 57 to surah Ta Ha (20) verse 135. Text in single column throughout, 7 lines fine scribal muhaqqaq script in black, some vocalisation in red, opening two pages with text-blocks framed within gold borders, each containing rectangular panels at the top with headings in white muhaqqaq against blue, green and orange arabesque designs, three circular medallions extending into the margins on each side, recto of first leaf with large circular device, heightened in gold with decorative rays extending outwards, two illuminated surah headings in the text, each with heading in white thuluth text against gold polychrome banners with circular device extending into the outer margins, verses marked throughout with gold roundels, each of these decorated with red and blue. Very scattered faint spotting, some blank outer corners repaired and a few small worm-holes to lower margins (not affecting text), overall very clean and attractive example, in eighteenth-century dark brown morocco, with three-medallion design to covers displaying floral pattern (a little rubbed), remains of hand-painted gilt decorations to medallions, borders ruled in gilt, covers a little scuffed, rebacked, corners repaired.

The Qur’an is divisible into 30 equal sections, sometimes copied into independent volumes, to facilitate readers to complete the entire text in one calendar month. Each of these sections is called a Juz’, a popular division of the Qur’an in North African territories, and considered a complete section of the Qur’an in itself. The text here was likely part of a wider set, in which all the 30 Juz’ were copied in the same hand and illuminated in a consistent style with one another. 

This manuscript contains Juz’ XVI of the Qur’an, known as Qala ‘alam, which is formed of three separate chapters: surah al-Kahf (from verse 57), the entirety of surah al-Maryam and surah Ta Ha (up to verse 135). These three chapters of the Qur’an include passages relating to Mryam and Isa (the Virgin Mary and Jesus in the Christian faith), God’s call to Moses, the Exodus of the Isralites and the crossing of the Red Sea. 

This is an early example of a Mamluk Qur’anic Juz’ dating back to the first period of the Mamluk Sultanate, known as the Bahri era (1250 – 1382), and is a notably fine example of its kind. The lavish illumination and quality of calligraphy exemplified in this manuscript indicate that it was copied for a member of the Mamluk courts, whose patronage of Islamic manuscripts was well established by this period. The border designs of the opening two leaves together with the style of script are distinctive in their styles and highly comparable to manuscripts produced in Egypt during the final decades of the fourteenth century. The script is spaciously laid out using only 7 lines to the page, which further indicates courtly or royal patronage, and the fine scribal muhaqqaq script is consistent and symmetrical throughout. 


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Historia della guerra sacra di Gierusalemme.

Venice, appresso Antonio Pinelli, 1610.


4to. pp. 8, 615, (i), (xvi), index (b 8 ) bound at rear. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device, decorated initials. T-p a little dusty, a handful of ll. lightly toned or foxed at margins, minimal worming to lower blank margin of few gatherings, ink smudge to lower outer corner of 2pp. of final index, verso of last a little soiled, repaired at gutter. A very good copy in early C17 French polished calf, double gilt ruled, large gilt centrepiece with arms of Paul Petau to covers, raised bands, compartments double gilt ruled with Petau’s gilt chiffre, gilt-lettered title, lower outer corners repaired. Armorial blind stamp ‘Bibliotheca Augusta Rhodocanakiana’ to t-p.

An excellent copy of this famous medieval history of the kingdom of Jerusalem—elegantly bound for the major bibliophile Paul Petau (1568-1614). He owned one of the best libraries in early modern France, which included books and mss from the collections of Jean Grolier and Jean Nicot, and major monastic institutions like the abbey of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire. His son Alexandre continued to enlarge the collection until his death, in 1672. In the C19, this copy was in the library of the bibliophile Prince Demetrius Rhodocanakis of Chios (1840-1902).

One of the most praised medieval historians, William (1130-86), Archbishop of Tyre, grew up in the kingdom of Jerusalem, founded after the First Crusade in 1099. He was ambassador to the Byzantine Empire and tutor to the son of the king of Jerusalem. His only extant work is ‘Belli sacri historia’, a chronicle in 23 books, probably unfinished, of the history of the kingdom of Jerusalem from the seventh century to 1184. It remains a most important historical source to date. After a substantial ms. circulation in the medieval period, it was first published in Latin in 1549, and translated into French, Italian and German. This is the fourth edition of the Italian translation by Giovanni Horologgi. The chronicle focuses on the First Crusade and its political consequences, with sections the invasion of Egypt of 1167, on the Persians and Turks. In addition to descriptions of places like Damascus, Edessa and Tyrus, it provides accounts of battles and sieges in the Mediterranean, from Jerusalem to Sicily, and even an account of the origins of the Turks, shedding light on their perception and ‘mythography’ in medieval Christianity. History blends with ‘mirabilia’, magic and even mild humour, as in the episode of the enchantresses who sought to throw a charm onto the Christian stone throwers attacking the walls of Jerusalem, but they were killed, ‘to the laughter and cheerfulness of all outside’, by one of their enormous stones. For its priceless details, ‘Historia’ was the main historical source for Tasso’s poem ‘Gerusalemme Liberata’, especially for its portrayals of Turkish princes.

Four copies recorded in the US.
USTC 4021523; Röhricht, Bib. Geog. Palestinae, p.23. Not in Brunet.


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Peregrinacya abo Pielgrzymowanie do Ziemie Swiętey.

Cracow, W Drukarniey Antoniego Wosinskiego, 1628.


4to. pp. (viii) 356. Gothic letter. T-p and text within typographical border, large oval portrait of Mikołaj Radziwiłł to verso of t-p. Paper softened, light browning, t-p fore-edge and lower outer blank corner of last four ll. restored, small repair to lower portion of t-p, touching couple of lines of text, first couple of ll. somewhat dusty, holes to lower blank margin of F 1 and G 4 , marginal paper flaw to Z 2 , light water stain to outer blank margin of first and last few ll, lower egde of NN 2-3 uneven. A good copy in contemporary vellum, recased over modern boards, slightly splayed, small repair at head of spine, corners worn, old ink stain to lower cover. Stamps of Archivium Treterianum and H. Treter (C19), and Bibl. Treteriana (C18?), and inscriptions ‘Ta ksiazka jest E. Laibodzki dana mi ad W Jozefa Sczepanskiego 25 Apr 1816’ and ‘Kupilem z Jazdz [city of Jażdże?] 860 Hilary Treter’, all to t-p, C19 stamp of H. Treter to verso of last leaf.

The exceedingly rare Polish translation—with no copies recorded outside Poland—of the author’s journey to the Holy Land. Prince Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwiłł (1549-1616) was a traveller, diplomat and member of a powerful aristocratic family in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1601, he achieved popularity with the publication of ‘Hierosolymitana peregrinatio’, an account, in Latin, of his travels to the Holy Land, Syria, Egypt, Italy, Greece, Crete and Cyprus in 1582-84. It was quickly published in German in 1603, and in Polish in 1607, based on the German edition. This copy was in the possession of the Treter family, purchased in 1860 by a descendant of Tomasz Treter (1547-1610), who first translated Radziwiłł’s ms., by then widely circulated, into Latin. The idea of publishing the account was promoted by the Jesuits, as part of the Counter-Reformation attempts to reignite pilgrimages to the Holy Land. These had subsided after the Ottoman conquest of Jerusalem and the Eastern Mediterranean, the more remote exploration routes, the commercial crisis between Venice and the Orient, and Reformed theologians’ criticism of pilgrimages (Longo, ‘Memorie’, 16). In his preface to the first Latin edition, Treter indeed presented Radziwiłł’s pilgrimage as a Catholic’s ‘heroic journey’, in the face of the Reformation (Noonan, ‘Road’, 187). Like its contemporary European counterparts, ‘Peregrinacya’ included itineraries and
logistic information for pilgrims, with unusual attention to ethnographic descriptions. It begins with the difficult organisation, e.g., the procurement of a passport, ‘without which one cannot go to Jerusalem’, from the Doge Nicola da Ponte in Venice, and a meeting with the Custodian of the Holy Land, Geremia da Brescia. It also reports the text of documents he needed to present to authorities along the way. The account continues with his journey to Greece and Cyprus via Dalmatia, thence to Cyprus, Jerusalem, Tripoli and Egypt. In addition to a long section on the customary holy places he visited in Jerusalem, he also mentions the situation of the Ottoman occupation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Most fascinating is the long third section, on Egypt, where he describes the ‘glory’ of Memphis and devotes three pages to the pyramids of Giza, with references to Pliny and the story of Rodopis, the prostitute who allegedly built the third pyramid with money earned through her profession. Scattered in the third part are also descriptions of Egyptian mummies, including a reference to the recent decree forbidding the trade in and export of mummies, which were used by European apothecaries for medicaments.

Only National Library of Poland copy recorded.

Estreicher, Bib. Polska, 184828; Brunet IV, 1087 (mentions first Polish ed. of 1617 [i.e., 1607] only). Not in Röricht, Bibliotheca Geographica Palaestinae. F.T. Noonan, The Road to Jerusalem (Philadelphia, 2007); P.G. Longo, Memorie di Gerusalemme (2010).


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ALPINO, Prospero


De medicina Aegyptorium, libri quatuor

Venice, apud Francesco De Franceschi, 1591


FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. (xii) 150 (xxvi). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut vignette to t-p, 6 woodcuts (full- to ¼-page) showing body parts and medical scenes, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p a bit soiled, varying degrees of age browning, C19 steel-engraved author’s portrait tipped-in before t-p. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, traces of ties. Modern bookplate to front pastedown, C18-C19 bibliographic annotations to fep and rear pastedown, very occasional early annotations.

A well-margined copy of this remarkably influential medical treatise—‘one of the earliest European studies of non-Western medicine’ (Norman 39) interpreted not as a different tradition but as a parallel system of practices that could be compared to Western ones, sometimes through the work of Venetian colleagues.

Prospero Alpini (1553-1617) was a Venetian physician and botanist whose fame led to his appointment as prefect in charge of the botanical garden in Padua, one of the oldest in the world, and professor at the same university. His numerous works concerned with medicine and botany were greatly influenced by his travels in Egypt in the early 1580s, as personal physician to Giorgio Emo, Venetian Consul at Cairo.

‘De medicina Aegyptiorum’ is entirely devoted to the medical customs of Egyptians, and structured in the form of a dialogue between Alpinus and the botanist Melchior Guilandino. The first section discusses the state of art of Egyptian medicine, the most frequent illnesses and epidemics. A substantial part was devoted to the plague, its recent manifestation in Cairo (with half a million victims) and its transmission (through contagion from Greece, not as believed in natural cycles of seven years). ‘For European readers with much more than an academic interest in questions of the origin and means of transmission of the plague, Alpini’s views remained points of reference and contention well into the nineteenth century’ (Seth, ‘Difference and Disease’, 35). The second, third and fourth sections are devoted to medical practice. Alpinus was critical of the Egyptian practice of blood-letting, to which a handsome full-page woodcut is devoted; in his opinion it was used too often (even on children) and the amount of blood let was excessive. He compared Egyptian techniques and practices to those of Venetian colleagues. His examination of various conditions, procedures and treatments is interwoven with considerations on the importance of diet, the positive or detrimental consumption of specific fruit and vegetables and the use of ‘decocti’ for therapeutic purposes. The most important example—the explanation of how to prepare ‘choua’, which tastes like chicory—is also the first appearance of coffee in print. Alpinus calls it the seed of a tree he saw growing in the orchard of the Turkish sultan; he guides the reader through the brewing procedure made by a filtering process. It could benefit women with menstruation, as a facilitator of purgation, and was generally drunk quite liberally, like wine in the West, at public taverns.

The work includes a Tharachfaruc, a list of drugs and antidotes which he compares to the ‘Theriaca Andromachi’ used in Venice. The early annotator of this copy was particularly interested in the preparation and therapeutic use of cannabis.

A ground-breaking work which brought to the West new treatments, medical theories and comparative practices; it still held a safe place on the shelves of C18 and C19 physicians.

BM STC It., p. 20; Adams, A802; Mortimer, Harvard C16 It., 16; Heirs of Hippocrates, 240 (1646 ed.); Osler, 1796; Durling, 178; Wellcome I, 232; Garrison-Morton, 6468 (‘First important work on the history of Egyptian medicine’); Simon II, 42. S. Seth, Difference and Disease (Cambridge, 2018).


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Kitāb Al Fawayīd wa al-Ṣilāt Wa al-‘Awāyid [On Magic and Talismans]

[Sana’a, Yemen, AH 969/1562]


Arabic manuscript on paper, 100 ff. of text, two free end papers, pages numbered, each with 25 lines of black naskh script, text panel 157 x 100 mm, titles and some words picked out in red, some phrases underlined in red, text within red frame, including numerous arithmetical tables and some diagrams, later notes to the end papers, colophon signed ‘Abd al-Raḥīm al-Zubaydi in Sana’a in modern Yemen in Shawwal AH 969 (June-July 1562 AD) and dated, repair without loss, at least three different hands of marginal annotations.

Contemporary, polished natural high quality morocco with central stamped medallion, an excellent copy with minor damp staining and marginal finger-soiling.

Kitāb Al Fawayīd wa al-ilāt Wa al-‘Awāyid is a treatise outlining the various principles of numerology in Islam where charts and numbers are used for divination or to bring barākā (blessings). Most of the illustrations in this manuscript are of the Islamic talismanic design known as wafq – ‘magic squares’ (see Maddison, F., and Savage-Smith E., ‘Science, Tools & Magic in the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art’, Oxford; Oxford University Press, 1997 or Savage-Smith, E., ‘Magic and divination in early Islam’, Aldershot; Ashgate Variorum, 2004). A magic square is arranged to produce a constant sum in all rows and columns and were most commonly depicted on amulets or manuscripts. The wafq is sometimes described as ‘recreational mathematics’ because of the sophisticated mathematical principles they illustrate. Jacques Sesiano in the article ‘Magic squares in Islamic Mathematics’ has argued that magic squares in Medieval Islam were developed from chess which was hugely popular in the Middle East. Sesiano has also observed how there are references to the use of magic squares in astrological calculations. Magic squares are, generally, magic by association (because of the carefully arranged sums), physical proximity and in their supposed capacity to foretell future outcomes.Rare.

From the collection of Adrienne Minassian; formerly at Brown University.


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CAESAR, Gaius Iulius

Commentarii tradotti di latino in volgar lingua.

Venice, Paolo Manuzio, 1547.


8vo, ff. [7], 256 [i.e. 251]. Italic letter, large printer’s device on title and final verso, 5 full-page woodcut illustrations and two double-page maps; very light, mainly marginal foxing and occasional small damsptain to gutter or margins, minor stain to upper edge of ff. 51-52; small clean tear at head of f. 54, not affecting legibility; original paper flaws touching a few letters on f. 245. A good copy in contemporary vellum, recased probably in C19th, contemporary title inked on lower edge, others on spine, a. e. r.; a few tiny wormholes, mainly at spine and rear; early bookplate scratched off front pastedown, early initials ‘LB’ on title.

The best edition of this first Italian translation of a landmark in Western literature, first published in 1512. Caesar’s own account of his military campaigns in Gaul, Spain, Africa, Egypt and the Civil Wars have been a perennial textbook to learn a terse and lively Latin but also proved very successful as a reading for a broader non-learned audience. The first vernacular translation appeared, for obvious reasons, in France and was rapidly followed by a Spanish and German edition. This transposition into the Italian vernacular was made by Agostino Ortica Della Porta, an early sixteenth-century poet from Genoa who also translated Sallust’s works. This accurate edition retains the famous set of illustrations of the 1513 Aldine edition of the original Latin text as well as the additional map of the Iberian peninsula taken from the Giunta edition of 1514 (cf. Mortimer, 96 and Essling, II/1, 1728).

BM STC It., 135; Adams, C 84; Brunet, I, 1461 (l’édition d’Alde … est la meilleure et la plus recherchée’); Graesse, II, 9; Renouard, 142:10 (‘la meilleure edition de cette traduction’).



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Relation du Voyage de Moscovie, Tartarie, et de Perse, .. depuis l’an 1633, jusques en l’an 1639.

A Paris, chez Pierre Aubouin, 1656.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. [xxxviii] 543-[i]. (-)1, ẽ4, ĩ4, õ4, ũ4, *2, A-3Y4. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, typographical headpieces and ornaments, contemporary manuscript ex dono on title “don. d. Carolus bonodin Can. arch. bibliothecca eclesia noniam 1663”, small C19th library stamp in blank margin below, early shelf mark on pastedown. Light age yellowing, very minor water-stain in blank upper margin in places, the rare marginal spot or mark. A very good copy, clean and well margined, in contemporary vellum over thin boards.

A very good copy of the first French translation of this important travel account to Moscow and Persia by Adam Olearius, German scholar, and secretary to an embassy sent by the small German state of Holstein to explore an overland trade route with Persia. The first embassy was dispatched to Russia in 1633-34 to secure the tsar’s permission to travel, and ship through his realm. The second was sent in 1635 to complete the deal with the shah of Persia. Although the commercial mission failed, the embassy was successful in the remarkable information gathered by Olearius. The embassy started from Gottorp in 1633 and travelled, by Hamburg, to Moscow where they concluded an advantageous treaty with Tsar Michael, and returned forthwith to Gottorp to procure the ratification of this arrangement from the duke, before proceeding to Persia. Their voyage down the Volga and over the Caspian Sea was slow and hindered by accidents, but they reached the Persian court at Isfahan and were received by the Safavid king, Shah Safi.

“The first edition of Olearius’ account of his travels was published in 1647 in Schleswig. An extended and restructured edition appeared in 1656: .. The [work] is divided into six “books” of which the fourth treats the mission’s route up to Isfahan, with detailed descriptions of Ardabil, Qazvin, Qom, Kāšān, and their stay at the Safavid court. Book five is an encyclopedic description of Persia, covering aspects such as geography, fauna and flora, political institutions, manners, customs and clothing, Safavid history, education, language and script, trade, and religion. The return journey from Isfahan is the subject of book six. Amongst the numerous ethnographic observations, mention should be made of Olearius’ depiction of the ʿAsura’ ceremonies and other Shiite rituals, including the recitation of a “Machtelnamae” and the celebration of ʿAli’s designation as the Prophet’s successor (“Chummekater;” p. 435ff., 456ff.). Of interest for the history of printing is the regular insertion of Persian and Turkish quotations in the original script, serving as a model for the later account by Engelbert Kaempfer. .. “Olearius provided the first comprehensive description of Persia since antiquity, but his achievements appear less significant when compared with the far broader range and experience of later travellers who wrote after him in the course of the 17 century” (Lohmeier, p. 59). Still, all later travelogues are heavily indebted to him and his work can be studied as a starting point for the genre. His outstanding contribution to the cartography of Persia is his Nova Delineatio Persiae et Confiniorvm veteri longe accurator edita Anno 1655, the first realistic map of Iran that, in particular, corrects the location and form of the Caspian Sea. ..He also acted as editor of books composed by other members of the Holstein-mission or travellers associated with the Duchy of Gottorp..” Encyclopedia Iranica.

This enlarged edition was also translated into Dutch, Italian and English. A very good copy of the first edition in French.

BM STC Fr. C17th. Brunet IV 178. Graesse V 18. Blackmer.


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SANDYS, George

A relation of a iourney begun an: Dom: 1610. Foure bookes. Containing a description of the Turkish Empire, of Ægypt, of the Holy Land, of the remote parts of Italy, and ilands adioyning

London, Printed [by Thomas Cotes] for Ro: Allot, 1627


Folio pp. (iv) 309 (i), two fldg. engraved plates, without last blank. Mostly Roman letter, some Italic. Fine engraved architectural title by Delaram depicting Isis, the Sibyl and ‘Achmet’, Truth and Constance above, the Cumaean Sibyl below, double full page map of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, smaller double-page engraved view of the sultan’s seraglio, 46 fine illustrations of places and costumes engraved in text, many after Natale Bonifacio, variant issue without the engraving, often missed, intended to fill a blank spot left on D4v. General light age-yellowing, double page view with two small tears, the occasional mark or spot. A very good copy in early C20th half calf over early marbled paper boards, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt fleurons, red morocco label gilt, a.e.g.

Third edition of the story of Sandys’ great journey throughout 1610 through north Italy, Venice, Turkey, Egypt, the Greek Islands and Palestine; George Sandy’s Relation is one of the most interesting and important travel books of the English Renaissance. He was an observant traveller as well as an able writer and the work was immediately popular, as well as regarded as authoritative. Izaak Walton noticed in his ‘Compleat Angler’ (pt. i, ch. i) Sandys’ account of the pigeon courier service between Aleppo and Babylon, and Milton derived hints for his ‘Ode on the Passion’ (st. viii) from Sandys’ ‘Hymn to my Redeemer’ composed on visiting the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. One of the works responsible for reviving English interest in the ‘Near East’, it is still important for its references to contemporary customs and commerce and its contribution to the geography and ethnology of the area (see J.F.B. S90 of 1st ed.). Its faithful engravings of maps, views, costumes and antiquities doubtless contributed to the work’s wide popularity.

“Sandys was a perceptive observer of other peoples and cultures, noting details from everyday life as well as those of more obvious importance, and he was able to move easily from one to the other in his writing. He comments on the significance of the crocodile in Egyptian cultural and religious life, as well as recognising the achievements of Egyptian civilisation. Sandys account of the Jews is notably sympathetic to their plight and the anti-semitic prejudice they have suffered, and he includes comments on Jewish women (again, sympathetic in the main.)”. Andrew Hadfield. ‘Amazons, Savages, and Machiavels: Travel and Colonial Writing in English. 1550 -1630.’

Sandys was also deeply interested in America. He was one of the undertakers named in the third charter of the Virginia company and later treasurer and member of its Council. His celebrated translation of Ovid was actually completed in America.”These travels written in a pleasant style are distinguished by erudition, sagacity and a love of truth” Lowndes.


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LUSIGNAN, Estienne


Les genealogies de soixante et sept tres-nobles. (with) Les droicts, autoritez et prerogatiues que pretendent au royaume de Hierusalem, les princes & seigneurs spirituels & temporels cy apres nommez.

Paris, Guillaume le Noir, ruë S. Iacques, à l’enseigne de la Rose blanche couronnee, 1586.


FIRST EDITION of the second work. Two works in one. 4to. 1) ff. (iv), 128. 2) (viii), 40. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut printers device on both titles, full page woodcut of Melusine holding the arms of Luxembourg and Lusignan on â4 verso of first volume, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque headpieces, early inscription (illegible) on fly, autograph Pf Van Meldert de Deveal in C19th hand on verso, modern armorial bookplate on pastedown, C19th label above, ‘Ad usum don[?]’ in contemporary hand on fly. Light age yellowing, tiny worm trail at gutter well away from text. Very good copies, crisp and clean, in contemporary limp vellum, remains of ties.

Second edition of this important and early genealogy, bound with the first edition of the second work “Les Droicts, Autoritez et perogatives que pretendent au Royaume de Hierusalem.” Estienne de Lusignan was born in Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, and chose an ecclesiastical career under the guidance of the Armenian Bishop, Julian. After the fall of Cyprus he escaped to Italy and spent his fortune buying back his enslaved parents from Turkey. He moved to Paris in 1577 and was nominated Bishop of Limasso in Cyprus.

“The work of Veccerius … became an important source for the Généalogies of Estienne de Chypre de Lusignan (1537 – 1590). As his name suggests, Estienne was a descendant of the Lusignan Kings of Cyprus and Bishop of Limassol. He wrote his Genealogies for Francois de Luxembourg-Piney, in which he presented the genealogies of sixty-seven noble dynasties that can all be traced back to the Merovingians. … In this book, Melusine and the search for her true historic identity are a recurrent theme. This may be unsurprising, since it is that very figure that enabled the author’s own glorious dynastic roots to be connected with those of his patron, or, as he wrote, ‘The house of Luxembourg, according to our opinion and that of many others, derived from the House of Lusignan.’ He also sees Melusine on the crest worn by “all members” of the house of Luxembourg and Lusignan as clear proof of his hypothesis.” Pit Péporté. “Constructing the Middle Ages.”

The second work is the first edition of Lusignan’s interesting treatise on the various claims of the main European noble houses, including the Papacy and the Patriarchy, over the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The first chapter concerns the rights over the Kingdom exercised by his own family. He then discusses the rights of each of the Royal families of Europe and their connection to the Kingdom, including the English Royal family through the exploits of Richard the Lionheart. Very good crisp copies of these two works.


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