Tournai, Adrien Quinque, 1622.
2 parts in 1 small 4to volume [200 x 150 mm] of (2) ll., 152 pp., (3) ll., 194 pp., (3) ll. bound among these 14 pp., (3) ll. Bound in full contemporary vellum, flat spine with the title handwritten. Contemporary binding.
Extremely rare first edition of this essential book for the history and description of Africa. It is not mentioned by most bibliographers.
Jean-Baptiste Gramaye (1580-1635), citizen of Antwerp, was a Belgian Jesuit. He became provost of Arnheim and historiographer of the Netherlands. He was charged in 1619 by Philip III of a mission to Morocco in order to defend Spain and the papacy’s interests. During his voyage, sailing from Italy to Spain, he was captured by African pirates who held him prisoner in Alger, and freed him against ransom on October 16th, 1619. This travel and this experience gave him material for this important description of Africa that is still a reference nowadays. It is the History of Africa since the Ancient times until the 17th century. Whereas History predominates, there are very good details about geography.
This is one of the rarest and most important descriptions that we have about North Africa at the beginning of the 17th century.
“This is one of Gramaye’s rarest works. The description of Alger and Tunis is remarkable, the author having stayed there six months.” (Bibliotheca Hulthemiana, III, 19197)
A precious and admirable volume, preserved in its original limp vellum binding.
Provenance: from the Phillips’ collection.