Iggeret Orhot Olam: Id est, Itinera Mundi [THE FIRST MODERN HEBREW WORK on GEOGRAPHY and the FIRST TO DEAL IN DETAIL with the NEWLY DISCOVERED AMERICA]
Oxford: Sheldonian Theatre; Henry Bonwick, 1690. First edition. Two parts, quarto, published in 1690 and 1691. A-Z4, [pi]4, b4, Aa4, Bb/CC4, Dd-Gg4 (= 124 leaves). , 196; , 31, [1, blank]pp. Text in Hebrew and Latin in parallel columns. De Turcarum liturgia with separate title page (dated 1690) and pagination. Contemporary vellum (neatly rebacked). Old library stamp at bottom margin title, front blank endleaf detached, occasional oxidation spot and mild toning, else a very good copy, crisp and amply margined.
First Hebrew-Latin edition of the first modern Hebrew work on geography, the author’s most famous and important book. Abraham Farissol (or Peritsol) was a learned Jew from Avignon who compiled his cosmographical works at the court of the Estes in Ferrara. The present text was composed in 1524-25, and first published in Hebrew at Venice in 1586. The Latin translation and notes in the present edition were prepared by the English orientalist and librarian, Thomas Hyde (1636-1703), with the assistance of R. Isaac Abendana, working from a manuscript which Hyde located in the Bodleian Library. “Each of its 30 chapters deals with a certain geographical area or subject. In addition, many cosmological and historical matters are also treated. The author collected all the evidence he could regarding Jewish settlements in each country. The inclusion of a description of the New World makes Farissol the first Hebrew writer to deal in detail with the newly-discovered America. The 14th chapter of Iggeret Orhot Olam, which deals mainly with the settlements of the Ten Lost Tribes, is of special interest. According to Farissol’s introduction to this chapter, it is clear that what moved him to undertake this investigation was the appearance in Italy in 1523 of David Reuveni, many of whose descriptions are included in this work” (EJ 6.1185). Reuveni was "an adventurer who aroused messianic hopes in the early 16th century" (EJ 14.114). The appended work is a tract on Islamic customs by Albert (Wojciech) Bobowski, a Polish Christian who converted to Islam after his capture by the Ottoman Turks. Adopting the name Ali Ufki Bey he served as translator, court musician at Topkapi, and as a notator of Ottoman classical music. Bell F26. Christian Hebraism Cat. (Harvard, 1988), no. 39. ESTC R27480. Fürst, Bibliotheca Judaica, 1.276. Heller (17th Century), pp. 1176-1177. Sabin 60934. Smitskamp PO, 372. Vinograd (Oxford) 4. Wing F-438. Cf. Alden, European Americana, 1.187 (Venice, 1586); Heller (16th Century), pp.732-733 (ed. 1586). Item #48858
Full title (beginning in Hebrew): אגרת ארחות עלם
Id est, Itinera mundi, sic dicta nempe cosmographia... Latinâ versione donavit et notas passim adjecit Thomas Hyde... Calce exponitur Turcarum liturgia, peregrinatio Meccana, aegrotorum visitatio, circumcisio, etc.