GIOVIO, Paolo.


Turcicarum rerum commentarius. [followed by] Commentarius captae urbis ductore Carolo Borbonio.

Paris, Robert Estienne, 1539.


8vo. 2 works in 1, separate t-ps, continuous signatures, pp. 87 (i), 32. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-ps. First t-p a little dusty with slight yellowing, minimal marginal foxing to last three ll. A very good, clean copy in late C19 crushed crimson morocco, marbled eps, gilt oval centrepiece to covers, spine and inner edges gilt, a.e.g. One early ms. marginal note.

Finely bound, good, clean copy of the second Estienne Latin edition of this important Turcicum, with the second part (not always present), including G.B. Egnazio’s famous account on the origins of the Turks. Paolo Giovio (1483-1552), a major historian and ethnographer, first published ‘Commentario’ in Italian in 1531, to contribute to the debate on the Ottoman wars, in view of the planned crusade of 1532. Like other such treatises, it was dedicated to Emperor Charles V, who led Europe against the Turks; it was also ‘the most realistic, less moralistic and clearest’ (Zimmermann, 159-60). It comprises sections on the origins of the Turks, their sultans from Orhan to Suleyman, their troops and war strategies. It was first translated and published in Latin in Strasbourg, in 1537, by the Italian Reformer Francesco Negri (1500-63). Robert Estienne printed it in 1538. Estienne added, with continuous signatures but separate foliation, the anonymous ‘Commentarius captae urbis’, also published separately. It recounts the sack of Rome of 1527, led by Charles III de Bourbon, on the French troops’ rebellion against the Holy Roman Emperor. It also includes the famous ‘De origine Turcorum’ by Giovan Battista Egnazio, first published by Aldus in

1516 as an appendix to Egnazio’s biographies of Roman emperors. Based on diplomatic documents produced for the Serenissima in the late C15, it did not depict a complimentary image of the Ottomans, presented as skilful invaders of the Byzantine empire, and, especially Suleyman, ambitious conquerors. This did not suit state policy as Francis I sought instead to promote the ongoing Franco-Ottoman alliance, established in 1536. A fine sammelband of scarce Turcica.

Only Illinois copy (both parts) recorded in the US.

Göllner 644 (without second?) and 651 (separate publication of second); Renouard 48:12; French Books 72130; BM STC Fr., p.203; Brunet III, 585 (1538 ed.). T.C. Price Zimmermann, Paolo Giovio. Uno storico e la crisi italiana del XVI secolo (2012); E. Armstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer (1954).


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Dala’il al-Khayrat, illuminated manuscript in Arabic on polished paper

Ottoman Turkey, first half of nineteenth century


Sm. 8vo, 175 by 120mm., 97 leaves plus two later flyleaves at each end, complete, text-block in single column throughout, 11 lines scribal black naskh per page, illuminated head-piece opening the text with gilt and polychrome decorations, opening two leaves with gilt borders and interlinear colouring of pounced gilt decorations, polychrome headings opening sections of the text throughout, two full-page coloured illustrations of Mecca and Medina, verses marked throughout by gilt roundels, leaves ruled in gilt, red and blue, some very small smudges, one blank upper outer corner repaired, erroneous inscription dating the manuscript to 1050 AH at the end of the text, twentieth-century bookplate of “Pamela and Raymond Lister” to upper pastedown. In fine red morocco boards with flap, covers decorated with three-piece central medallion of inlaid green leather, embossed with spiralling gilt decorations, covers ruled and tooled in gilt, spine and crease of flap repaired, lightly rubbed in places, housed in custom red cloth drop-box.

A popular collection of Sunni prayers and blessings dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad for the purposes of daily recitation. The text was compiled by the Moroccan Sufi leader al-Jazuli in the fifteenth century and is commonly considered the earliest collection of liturgies in Islamic history dedicated entirely to the Prophet. Manuscript copies of the text often feature the double-page illustrations of Mecca and Medina which sometimes depict the tombs of Prophet Muhammad and the Caliphs. The inclusion of illustrations is unusual for Islamic manuscripts as the Muslim tradition generally condemns iconography, and the illustrations in this text are a break from that common principle. The 99 names of Allah and 100 names of the Prophet are also common additions, the latter present in this copy. Since al-Jazuli’s death in 1465, this prayerbook has become one of the most popular collection of daily prayers among Sunni muslim communities worldwide, and particularly throughout North Africa, the Levant, Turkey, and some areas of South Asia. 

This copy of the Dala’il al-Khayrat is a fine example of Ottoman manuscript production, skillfully illuminated and copied by the copyist named in the colophon. Hafiz Ahmed Aziz bin al-Zahidi was likely a court calligrapher, specialising in Qur’anic texts, whose neat and scribal naskh calligraphy are exemplified to a high standard in this manuscript. This particular copy was likely commissioned by a noble patron and produced in a skilled Ottoman workshop, for private use by the consignor. 

Manuscript from the collection of the late Pamela and Raymond Lister. Dr Raymond Lister founded the Golden Head Press and was notably the governor of the Federation of the British Artists during his lifetime.


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BUSBECQ, Ogier Ghislain de.


Legationis turcicae Epistolae quatuor.

Frankfurt, apud A. Wechel (heirs of), C. de Marne and J. Aubry, 1595.


8vo. pp. 360 (xxiv). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p and last, decorated initials and ornaments. Blank margins somewhat wormed, intermittent faint water stain to upper outer corners, paper flaw to upper outer corner of F2 and outer lower of T4, outer and lower edges of last gathering softened and little frayed, couple of holes to outer blank margin of last two ll. A good clean copy in contemporary limp vellum, traces of ties, title and shelfmark inked to spine, lower edges of rear cover chewed. Latin verse in contemporary hand inked to fly, inscriptions ‘Moyle Breton Univ. Coll. Oxon. 1768’, ‘Amasia natus est Strabo’ (late C17, a scholarly gloss), ‘one and thirtieth booke third shelf from the top of the South East Box’, ‘meo remigio rem gero’ (motto) and ‘R Leedes’ (c.1600) inked to t-p, occasional annotations in contemporary hands, casemark inked to outer and lower fore-edge.

Second edition of these remarkably important letters on Turkey, written in the 1550s, with the only surviving glossary of a long-extinct Germanic language. Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq (1522-92) was a scholar, keen herbalist and diplomat in the service of the Austrian monarchy; he spent several years in Constantinople where he negotiated the boundaries of disputed territories and was involved in politics at the court of Suleyman the Magnificent. First published without authorial licence in Paris in 1589 as ‘Itinerarium Constantinopolitanum’, ‘Epistolae’ is his most famous work and one of the earliest Western testimonies on the Ottoman world. It gathers letters which Busbecq sent to the Hungarian diplomat Nicholas Michault. In addition to observations on the natural environment, he included in his work the first and only recorded glossary (80 words), as well as the excerpt of a song, in a Crimean dialect. Having heard of a Germanic language being spoken in Turkey, he managed to have an interview with a native speaker noting words close to Dutch (e.g., ‘tag’ ‘day’, ‘plut’ ‘blood’), others which differed, and cardinal numbers (Considine, ‘Dictionaries’, 140-41). Busbecq also expresses strong opinions on the conquest of the New World, as colonisers ‘seek the Indies and the Antipodes through the vastity of the ocean because there the booty is easy to take from naïve and gullible natives, without bloodshed’. One of the English annotators of this copy, who wrote in English, Greek, Latin and Arabic, was a scholar at University College, Oxford, as per ex-libris on t-p. He wrote in Arabic the word ‘sherbet’ to gloss a sentence on ‘sorbet’, a cooling fruit drink typical of Eastern territories; according to the OED, the word was first recorded in English in 1603. He was also interested in Busbecq’s observations on Turkish flora and fauna, as he glossed ‘glycyrrhiza’ as ‘liquorish’ and ‘sicedula’ as ‘nightingale’ and ‘beccafico’. The Latin verse on the fly reprises some of the epigraphs which Busbecq used to conclude his accounts, e.g., the Tacitean ‘religion is the pretext, the object is gold’ in his discussion of the conquest of the New World. A very influential work in the history of Western perceptions of the Ottoman world.

A jeweller named William Leedes took part in expeditions of the Turkey Company in 1579 and 1584, with other merchant adventurers, arriving as far as Baghdad.

Göllner 2026; Graesse I, 580 (1605 ed.); Blackmer 249. Not in BM STC Ger. or Alden. J. Considine, Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2008); The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, ed. E. Seymour Forster (Baton Rouge, 2005).


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KNOLLES, Richard

The generall historie of the Turkes, …vnto the yeare 1638.

[London], Printed by Adam Islip, 1638.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio, pp. [xii], 1500, [xx], 31, [xxxiii]: A-5Z⁶, 6A⁸, 6B⁶, 6C-6Q⁴ 6R⁶, 6S-6X⁴, [par.]-2[par.]⁶, 3[par.]⁴. “”The liues of the Othoman kings and emperors” has separate dated title page; pagination and register are continuous. “A continuation of the Turkish historie, from the yeare of our Lord 1628, to the end of the yeare 1637. .. By Thomas Nabbes” (caption title) has separate pagination; register is continuous.” ESTC. Roman letter, title within fine engraved architectural border by Lawrence Johnson with Royal arms at head, Turkish and Christian warriors at either side respectively and battle scene at foot (Johnson p.34), grotesque woodcut initials, head-pieces, and ornaments, 33 engraved portrait busts within ornamental frames in fine impression. Light age yellowing, rare and inoffensive age browning, title fractionally dusty, occasional minor spot or mark. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in handsome contemporary speckled calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands, double blind ruled in compartments, tan morocco label gilt lettered with gilt corner and border-pieces a.e.r. vellum stubbs, a little rubbed at extremities. 

Last and most complete of the early editions of the first large scale history of the Turks in the English language. It is a monumental volume which took Knolles twelve years to write; this edition is enlarged with a continuation to 1637 by Thomas Nabbes taken principally from the despatches of the British Ambassador at Constantinople. The illustrations are mostly of Sultans and Viziers but there are some non-Turkish portraits e.g. Scanderbeg, Sigismund of Transylvania and Tamerlane; there are six more engravings than in the first ed. Most of the portraits are reverse copies of Theodor de Bry’s from Boissard’s Vitae et Icones Sultanorum, 1596, with new borders elegantly supplied by Johnson. Remarkably, these and the title page are virtually the only known examples of his work.

Knolles is now of greater interest for a C17th. English view of the Ottoman empire and some rather splendid prose than as an historical source book, but well into the C19th. his was the authoritative work on Turkish history. Dr.Johnson could not praise it too highly, Coleridge read Knolles’ account of the great siege before setting out for Malta and Byron ascribed to his childhood reading of it his lifelong fascination with the Levant. “The recent victories of Mahomet III over the Christians must have rendered the Turkish question of vital interest to the security of Europe, and the struggle remained in the balance till the end of the seventeenth century. There is no wonder in consequence at the popularity of Knolles.”, Hind II pp.37-8.

“Published in 1603, Richard Knolles’ monumental work is popularly known as The Generall Historie of the Turkes.The opening section describes the Saracen and Seljuk Turkic kingdoms that preceded the Ottomans in Anatolia.., and the last section is a long essay entitled ‘Discourse of the Greatnesse of the Turkish Empire’. These sections generalize about the Ottomans and view them (in an oft quoted phrase) as “the present terror of the world”. The heart of the work, however, is The Lives and Conquests of the Othoman Kings and Emperours, thirteen books each devoted to the character and accomplishments of an individual sultan. In a thousand pages, Knolles provides for English readers the most richly detailed accounts of the sultans’ exploits to date. .. the Generall Historie went through six editions, continued and updated by other hands. Judging by the dog-eared condition of the many surviving copies, the folio was eagerly read,and Knolles’ literary influence continued even after his history was out of date.” Linda McJannet. ‘Citing “the Turkes’ Own Chronicles”: Knolles’ Generall Historie of the Turkes.’

ESTC S112920. STC. 15055. Lowndes III 1286. Blackmer 920.2487. 


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Bulla de cruzada…a estes Regnos de Espana.

[Spain], [], c.1573.


Folio broadside, 42.4 x 30.4 cm, 106 lines, Gothic letter. Decorated initial, woodcut arms of Gregory XIII (the Boncompagni wyvern) and crucifixion scene at head, woodcut Jerusalem cross within oval at foot. Browned, edges untrimmed, little spotting or dust-soiling to corners, minor repair and tear to folds touching letter, wax seal covered with paper slip. A good copy, contemporary annotation, printed signature of the Bishop of Segorbe.

A rare document in Spanish approved in Madrid—unrecorded in major bibliographies—reproducing a papal bull promising plenary indulgence for the year 1573 to all who complied with its requirements. It was specially addressed to residents of the Spanish territories, including the kingdom of Sardinia. Indulgence was granted to whoever joined as a soldier the war against the Turks—then focusing on the conquest of Cyprus—to religious institutions who contributed to the subsistence of soldiers, or to lay people who, even in groups of three or four, could raise what was needed to pay for one soldier. Confession and remission of sins were offered to those who repented sincerely and visited five churches or altars within or without the walls of Rome, according to the list provided at the end. This copy was acquired by ‘Donna Jeronima’ who contributed 18 golden ‘reales’; the use of ‘donna’ denotes her condition as lady of standing, in charge of a household—an interesting insight into the market for indulgences in C16 Spain.

Only one copy recorded in Spain.

Not in Palau, Norton or Wilkinson.


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Indulgencia plenaria…contra el Turco enemigo.

[Valladolid?], [], [1501?].


Broadside, oblong sm folio in two parts, 21.6 x 28.2 cm, 33 lines, Gothic letter. Decorated initial, circular woodcut stamp of the resurrected Christ and printed autograph of the Bishop of Jaen at foot. Washed, traces of glue to verso, couple of little interlinear worm trails, little tearing to lower margin, right: on thick paper, slightly soiled.

A rare vernacular indulgence probably printed in Valladolid c.1501, one of the two ‘authorised indulgence-presses, that is…Gumiel at Valladolid or Hagembachs’ successor at Toledo’ (Norton). The two parts were taken from the binding of the same folio where they were used as filling. The left side is in better condition, the right more soiled and washed. They do not align perfectly as they derive from different issues. Wilkinson identifies five printed in 1501: the only one with a woodcut E initial with fleurons, like the left-hand portion of this copy, is 5994; the only one which spells ‘infra’ with an ‘i’, not a ‘y’, and has ‘e’ attached to ‘Remision’ in the title is 5996. (‘Remision’ is recorded with either one or two Ss in bibliographies.) This bull, issued by Pope Alexander VI and addressed to the king of Spain, sought to raise alms for war against Turks, in which the Serenissima had lost territories in Greece and Dalmatia to the advancing Ottoman army. It promised those who would acquire it, for two golden ‘reales’, indulgence for sins including simony and an indulgence ‘in articulo mortis’ in case of sudden death prior to a final confession. This blessing would only apply at the moment of death, not when it was imparted. This copy was unused.

Four copies recorded in Spain.

Wilkinson 5994 and 5996; Palau 36846. Not in Göllner.


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LONICER, Philipp

Chronicorum Turcicorum tomus primus [-tertius].

Frankfurt, Sigmund Feyerabend for Johann Feyerabend, 1578.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, three vols. in one. 1) ff. [iv], 130, [iv].  )(, A-Z, a-h, i, k. (k4 blank). 2) pp. [viii], 255, [i]. a, A-D, E-Z, a-g. 3) ff. [iv], 271, [v]. (*), A-Z, a-2z. Separate title and colophon to each. Italic letter in various sizes, some Roman. Each title with fine woodcut of Turks, historiated woodcut initials, woodcut tail-pieces, 206 woodcuts by Jost Amman illustrating text, depicting notable leaders, battles and other great events, large woodcut printer’s devices to last of parts 1 and 3, small stamped monogram of Otto Schäfer collection on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, very occasional marginal foxing. A fine copy, unusually crisp and clean, with the cuts in fine bold impression, in handsome well preserved contemp. German blindstamped pigskin over boards, covers double blind ruled to a panel design, outer panel filled with acanthus leaf blind roll, second and third with a fine rolls of religious figures, acanthus leavs to centre, spine with blind ruled raised bands.

First edition of a collection of texts about the Turks – their culture, customs, and history. Phillip Lonicer, brother of the German naturalist Adam Lonicer, contributed the general account of the Turks in volume 1 which also contains works by Menavino, Aventinus and Georgievitz. The woodcuts, which include portraits of sultans, battle scenes, embassies and executions, are attributed to Jost Amman. A second edition appeared in 1584. Lonicer’s monumental history of the Turks was the outstanding work on the subject of its day. It begins with Lonicer’s own account of Turkish origins, the lives of the Sultans up to Selimann II, and their military, civil, religious and political organization. Next comes descriptions of their principal military campaigns, particularly in Europe, drawn from various authors; Leonard of Chio’s account of the Fall of Constantinople, the capture of Negroponte, Sabelicus’ history of the wars against the Venetians, Fontani’s account of the siege of Rhodes, Crispus of the taking of Naxos, Stella on the devastation of Hungary and Georgijevic on Turkish incursions into Christendom in general. The last part includes Marinus Barletius’ compendious account of the great Albanian patriot Scanderbeg, and the history of the siege of Scutari. Many of the illustrations in this work were reused in later editions, even recycled in completely different texts.

There is no other comparable work of the period on the Ottoman Empire either for the comprehensiveness of its information or the quality and vigour of Amman’s illustrations.

The second panel of the binding has a fine blindstamped roll which appears to be a copy of one made by the “NP Meister”, see BL Shelfmark c68e5. “This master was one of the most prolific roll engravers. About three dozen rolls are recorded, dated between 1549 and 1564 (K. Haebler, Rollen- und Plattenstempel, I, p.337-357)”.

A splendid volume, and a fine copy.

BM STC Ger. p. 525. Göllner 1695. Blackmer 1030. Graesse III 256. Hammer 1090. 2215 Adams L-1455. USTC 621419.


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Historia del Magnanimo, et Valoroso Signor Georgio Castrioto.

Venice, Fabio & Agostino Zoppini, 1580.


8vo, ff. [12], 403, [1], several ll. within gathering CCC misbound; final blank. Roman and Italic letter, printer’s woodcut device on title, floriated and historiated initials. Printing privilege on final recto. Small tear to blank upper margin of title page. A good, clean copy in half vellum over boards c. 1700, early nineteenth-century green and red morocco gilt labels to spine; remains of ties, early ms. marks to front pastedown.

Later edition in Italian of Marin Barleti’s Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi (1508-1510) by Pietro Rocca, first printed in 1554. Barleti’s work was widely read and translated in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Marin Barleti (ca. 1450-ca. 1512-13) was a historian and Catholic priest from Shkodra, in Albania. After surviving the siege of Shkodra in 1478, as we learn from De obsidione Scodrensi (1504), he moved to Italy and spent the rest of his life between Rome and Venice. He wrote a lives of the Popes (Compendium vitarum summorum pontificum), but was better known for his extensive History of Scanderbeg, in thirteen books, dedicated to Don Ferrante Castrioti, Scanderbeg’s grandchild. The work is the first biography of the famous Albanian hero George Castrioti, called Scanderbeg (1405-1468), who defended Albania against the Turks, and occupies an important place in the histories of the Ottoman Empire.

The dedicatory letter is written by Francesco Rocca to the venetian Paolo Contarini in 1568. Focusing on religious and military oratory, including Scanderbeg’s, it portrays Scanderbeg as the model Christian soldier. After a prologue recalling Pyrrhus and Alexander the Great’s exploits, the biography falls into two main parts, separated by a second preface: the wars against Murad II (1404-51) and Mehmed II (1432-81), books 1-6 and 7-13, respectively. The general is chronological. Some books have individual themes, for example book one provides background information on Albanian history, book five is about the Turkish occupation, the 10th concerns Scanderbeg’s expedition to Italy, the 11th his death.

The history starts with Scanderbeg’s childhood, when he was taken hostage with his brothers by the Ottoman Sultan, at whose court he received an excellent education. Becoming the Sultan’s favourite, he was assigned important tasks. However, in 1443 Scanderbeg led the military campaign that drove the Turks from Albania with the support of Venice, Hungary and Alfonso V, King of Naples. He maintained Albania’s independence for 25 years, but after his death opposition to the Turks collapsed.

In Scanderbeg’s heroic biography there are many affinities with the story of Alexander the Great who defeated the Persians, for instance dreams and omens predicting the destiny of the hero. Although based on the witness of knights close to Scanderbeg and official documents from Venice’s archives, details may have been made up by Barleti, at least in part, such as the tale of Voisava’s dream, the harangues of Scanderbeg to the soldiers on the eve of battle and the letters he exchanges with the Sultan and Wladislav of Hungary. Barleti embraces the typical features of ancient epics, representing battle scenes, sieges, duels, embassies, celebrations and funerals which invite comparison with Plutarch and Herodotus, Homer, Vergil and Livy – as Francesco Pall has demonstrated (“Marino Barlezio: uno storico umanista”, 1938).

USTC 812338; Edit16 4239; BM STC IT, p. 72; Göllner, 1719. Adams, Blackmer and Brunet list only previous editions.


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[MÜLLER, HEINRICH, ed. [with] HERBERSTEIN, Sigmund von.


Türckische Historien. [with] Moscoviter wunderbare Historien.

1) Frankfurt, Paul Reffler, in v. Kilian Rebarts, 1570; 2) Basel, haer. Nikolaus Brylinger & Marx Russinger, 1567.


Folio. Two works in one, separate t-p to each. Large Gothic letter, in red and black. Decorated initials. I) Three parts in one, ff. (xxviii) 85 (iii); ff. 105 (v); ff. 56. 18 large woodcuts of Ottoman sultans. II) pp. (xxiv) 246 (vi). Printer’s device to t-p; woodcut of Tsar with arms of Moscow to verso; five full-page woodcuts of bison, weapons, skis, sledges, and Russian cavalry; three engraved double-page maps of Muscovy with arms of the Herberstein family, two on stubs. Light age browning, a bit heavier to a few ll., intermittent light water stain towards outer margins, small ink splash to first t-p, marginal worm trail to one gathering, lower outer corners a bit marked, traces of dividers to a few outer margins. Good, well-margined, clean copy in contemporary German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, two clasps, fore-edges blue. Blind-tooled to a triple-rule panel design, outer border with interlacing foliage, second with allegorical female figures of Caritas, Spes, Fortitudo, Fides, and binder’s monogram ‘MG’, third with male heads in roundels and arms of Augsburg and Saxony, and another unidentified, ‘MG’ repeated, central panel with two rolls of images of Sts John and Peter, and Christ, surrounded by male heads in roundels, arms of Augsburg and another unidentified. Lower cover slightly rubbed.

The handsome binding, the detail of which remains very crisp, was made by Matthias Gärtner (e.g., EBDB r003532 and EBDB r003484), active in Augsburg between 1563 and 1590.

A finely illustrated sammelband of uncommon German ethnographic surveys of Muscovy and the Ottoman territories. I) Translated and edited by Heinrich Müller, ‘Türckische Historien’ is an adaptation of influential contemporary works on the Ottomans. The first part is based on the Italian version of the ‘Palinodia de los Turcos’ by Vasco Díaz Tanco de Fregenal (c.1490-c.1573), a Spanish humanist and polymath. It is a compendium of the history of the Turks inspired by Paolo Giovio’s renowned ‘Commentario de le cose de’ Turchi’ (Rome, 1532). Like traditional ethnographic accounts, it employs anecdotes and vivid episodes to enrich historical events, spanning the origins of the Turks and the war between Selim III, Charles V and the Serenissima. Unlike its source, this translation is handsomely illustrated with portraits of Ottoman Sultans. The second part, which bears a separate t-p and the date 1565, is based on ‘I cinque libri della legge, religione, et vita de’ Turchi’ (Venice and Florence, 1548) by Giovan Antonio Menavino (b. 1492). It is an account of the time Menavino spent at the court of the Sultan of Constantinople after being captured by the Turks aboard a ship, and contains a wealth of information on Turkish customs, laws, religion, institutions, and army, including observations on temples, burials, and ‘hospitals’ for the relief of pilgrims, travellers, the poor and sick. The third part, with a separate t-p and the date 1563, is an edition of ‘Ursachen des Türkenkriegs’ (Strasbourg, 1558) by Johannes Aventinus (Johann Georg Turmair) (1477-1534), a German historian and philologist. Aventinus analyses the religious, political and military causes of the Turkish wars, adding that the papal crusades had corrupted the principles of a just war with the market of indulgences. II) ‘Moscoviter wunderbare Historien’ is a translation of ‘Rerum Moscovitarum Commentarii’ (1549) by the historian and diplomat Sigmund von Herberstein (1486-1566). Written between 1517 and 1527, it relies heavily on Herberstein’s personal experience and interactions with Russian people, whose language he could speak. The woodcuts and maps are in excellent condition; this is one of the earliest illustrations of the use of skis. The maps depict the topography of Muscovy, from its boundary with Livonia to Siberia, its physical conformation, rivers, lakes, and vegetation, and the first modern plan of the city of Moscow. They are elegantly engraved and in such fine detail that individual features and buildings are easily identifiable. 

I) Only Harvard copy recorded in the US.

USTC 695747, 626839, and 627141; Göllner 1264.

II) Only Kansas copy recorded in the US.

USTC 676477; Graesse III, 245; BM STC Ger. p. 397.


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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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