Paris, Sebastian Nivelle, 1552.
Small 16mo [112 x 78 mm] of 55 ll. Without the Apologie de la Gaule that was meant to follow this text. Bound in full plum Jansenist morocco, spine ribbed with the gilt title, gilt inner border, gilt edges. Binding signed Chambolle-Duru.
First edition of this “rare and sought-after work” (Brunet, IV, 838).
« Guillaume Postel (1505-1581) is one of the most erudite men of his time and a famous visionary. His enthusiasm for study was really strong; but misery forced him to leave his country to go and look for means of existence […] He was happy to accompany to Constantinople La Forest, sent to Turkey to negotiate some business… Postel published soon after an alphabet in twelve languages and some other works. Francis I had appointed him in 1539 professor of mathematics and oriental languages to the Royal College; but in disgrace with the chancellor Poyet, he left France. Postel was in Rome around 1554, when he met Ignace de Loyola and then decided to enter the Society of Jesus. After two years of novitiate he was expelled from the Society by Ignace de Loyola. The writings in which Postel exposed his mystical ideas sent him to jail; he escaped, went to Venice, where other dangers awaited him. Denounced to the Inquisition, he gave himself up and was released by court. All the writers that dealt with Postel far from agree on the events of his life from this time. The sixteenth century highly held in esteem the large knowledge of Guillaume Postel, considered by Francis I and the Queen of Navarre as a prodigy of erudition. His meeting was looked after by the greatest lords, such as the cardinals of Tournon, Lorraine and Armagnac. It is assured that when he was teaching in Paris in the Lombards college, he attracted such a large crowd of hearers, that, as the big room in the college couldn’t contain them all, he made them go down in the courtyard and talked to them from the window. Whatever opinion we might have of the feelings expressed by Postel in his many works, it is fair to notice that all the historians pay tribute to the purity of his customs, to the wisdom of his behavior and to amenity of his nature. » (Biographie générale, XL, 879-885).
« In the first part, which encloses eight paragraphs, after exposing the reasons that made him write this book, Postel deals with the four great expeditions of the Gauls towards the East, Asia and the Holy Land ». (C. Postel, Les Ecrits de Guillaume Postel, p. 63).
A “very rare work. The travels to the East by Postel, which made him familiar with the main idioms of Asia; the fertility of his dreamy spirit, a source of a lot of works, of which about thirty are still sought-after at any price by the curious; in a word, all this strange destiny of a man that called himself ‘the philosopher of Charles IX’ justifies the care with which we analyze his works. » (Analectabiblion, I, 1836, p. 387)
A “very rare and very sought-after” work. (F.-J. Terrasse Des Billons, Nouveaux éclaircissements sur la vie et les ouvrages de G. Postel, p. 130)
“His work aimed to be a compendium of all Gaulois and French travelers and the roads to Asia, as well as a vindication of the superior rights of the Gallic nation. Its encyclopedic intent was to keep a repertory of travel accounts written by the French, from classical times to the sixteenth century. It was much in the spirit of Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557).” (I. B. McCabe, Orientalism in early modern France, p.54)
A precious copy of this rare work dedicated to the travels undertaken by the Gaulois to Asia, finely bound in plum morroco by Chambolle-Duru.
Our researches didn’t allow us to locate any copy to appear on the international public market since the beginning of the reports in 1970.