AL-ABASSI, ALI BEY (DOMINGO BADIA Y LEBLICH). 1766-1818.
Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, between the Years 1803 and 1807. London: Longman, 1816.
2 volumes. 4to (271 x 207 mm). xlii, 339; ix, 373 pp. Half-titles. Engraved frontispiece to vol 1, 4 large engraved folding maps, and 85 engraved plates (some folding). Period calf blindstamped and gilt, spine labels gilt lettered. Light foxing and offsetting to plates and leaves, a few tiny tears to folds of maps, rebacked preserving original spines.
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH. Badia y Leblich, a Spaniard, posed as a Muslim in order to gain access to holy sites during his travels through North Africa and Asia Minor, and witnessed the Saudi conquest of Mecca in 1807. The plates include views of the Atlas Mountains (double-page), Alexandria (double-page), Giza, Mina near Mecca, and Mount Arafat, and a double-page elevation of the Mosque at Mecca. Notwithstanding its detail, the account drew skepticism from some reviewers including the editors of the Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany, who pooh-poohed it as a "French romance." Blackmer 62; Palau 21683; Röhricht 1607.
See illustration preceding page.