London: Hakluyt Society, 1863. 8vo. [xviii], cxxi, [v], 320 [i] pp. FIRST EDITION OF THIS TRANSLATION. Complete with 2 maps (1 folding). Blue cloth, gilt spine, gilt vignette on front board, both covers blind-stamped, corners slightly bumped and exterior somewhat rubbed; text is clean and bright. An excellent copy with the bookplate and withdrawn stamp from Exeter City Library on the front paste-down. Item #15184
First edition of this translation of the incredibly popular original Italian edition of 1510 detailing Ludovico di Varthema’s extensive travels to Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Persia, India, and Ethiopia. Varthema is most well known for his escapades, among which he became the first European, non-Muslim to enter Mecca disguised as a pilgrim (a heinous crime at the time), which he details in the work. A raging success, this particular work exposed westerners to Eastern culture, religion, landscape, and customs and was the definitive work on the East for many years.
Jones (1805-1881), a British librarian, translator, and editor, manages to capture the humor, simplicity and occasional exaggeration of Varthema. In addition to his work as an editor and translator for the Hakluyt Society, Jones served as the principal librarian of the British Museum from 1866-1873 and was the first president of the United Kingdom’s Library Association in 1877.