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(KATIP ÇELEBI.) HERBELOT, Barthelémy d'.

Bibliothèque orientale.

Ou Dictionnaire universel, contenant tout ce qui fait connoître les peuples de l'Orient …

The Hague: J. Neaulme & N. van Daalen, 1777-9. Stock Code: 117606
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Best edition of the first encyclopaedia of Islam

First published in 1697, this revised and expanded edition of d'Herbelot's monumental work is "generally considered the best" (Arcadian Library, p. 238), containing supplements by J. J. Reiske, "undoubtedly the best Arabist in Germany" (ibid.), Leiden professor H. A. Schultens, and other pre-eminent 18th-century orientalists. The Bibliothèque orientale was "the first encyclopaedia of Islam" (Stroumsa, A New Science, p. 131) and "one of the landmarks in Arabic studies" (Atabey). Much of its material was adapted from the Kashf al-Zunun, a 17th-century Arabic work by Ottoman scholar Katip Çelebi. The Kashf al-Zunun was "the first comprehensive dictionary of bibliography of the Islamic world", describing some 15,000 books in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, but it did not itself appear in print until the mid-19th century (The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Science and Technology in Islam, p. 440).

This copy comes from the library of British Arabist and colonial agent Col. S. B. Miles (1838-1914), with his ownership inscription to the front pastedowns, and printed bookplates noting his widow's bequest of his collection to Bath Public Library in 1922, with associated manuscript shelf-marks and blind-stamps as usual; loosely inserted is sheet of copy typescript with Miles's pencilled translation of the entry on Oman. A superb association for this cornerstone text.

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4 volumes, quarto (257 x 200 mm). Contemporary marbled boards, rebacked to style, old labels laid down, edges dyed yellow and sprinkled red, grey-brown endpapers.


Portrait frontispiece by Houbraken, title pages printed in red and black, 4 folding tables in volume 4.


Shelf-marks inked and stamped to spines (see below), front pastedowns with ink stamps of Thacker & Co., Bombay. Extremities lightly rubbed, a few trivial spots to contents. An excellent set.


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