OLEARIUS, Adam (1603-1671). Offt begehrte Beschreibung der newen Orientalischen Reise. Schleswig: Jacob zur Glocken, 1647.
2° (296 x 185 mm). Engraved frontispiece, title with woodcut votive bird and typographical border, engraved portraits of Frederick, Duke of Holstein, and the author, 9 other engraved portraits, 9 double-page plates, and 2 maps, one double-page and one folding (a few repairs), numerous text engravings. (Occasional browning, Fff1, Fff4, Hhh 1 and Hhh2 with tears crossing text repaired, some other marginal tears or flaws repaired.) Contemporary vellum over pasteboard (soiled). Provenance: Claus von Qualen (1602-1664), Landrat of Schleswig-Holstein (presentation inscription from the author on front free endpaper).
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY OLEARIUS on front flyleaf. Olearius was employed as secretary to the embassy sent by the Duke of Holstein to establish an overland trade route with Persia. A first embassy travelled to Russia in 1633-34 to secure a right of passage through the Tsar's realms. The embassy to Persia itself was sent in 1635. Although a commercial failure, much valuable information was gathered by Olearius and published in this account which includes town plans of Moscow, Ardebil and Kaschan, and maps of the Baltic and Persia, the latter after Christian Lorens. It includes J. A. von Mandelslo's short account of his voyage in India and Africa (first published in 1645). A second edition appeared in 1656, and within a few years his work was translated into Dutch, French, Italian and English.
“The work is of importance cartographically (especially for its map of the river Volga), and contains moreover many valuable magnetic and orographical observations. ... Goethe described the work as 'höchst erfreulich und belehrend.' Olearius and Mandelslo parted at Ispahan, the latter proceeded to India” (Cox).
“Originally a page at the court of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, in 1635 Mandelslo was attached to the duke’s embassy to Moscow and Persia, a mission intended to open trade negotiations. The Duke’s librarian and mathematician, Adam Olearius (=Adam Oelschlaeger, c. 1600-1671), accompanied the embassy as its secretary. ... Before his death, Mandelslo had entrusted his rough notes to Olearius, who subsequently published them bound with his numerous official accounts of the embassy” (Howgego, Encyclopedia of Exploration to 1800, p. 676-677). Brunet IV: 178; Cox I, p. 249. Adelung, Kritisch-literarische Ubersicht der Reisenden in Russland II, 229-308; Wilson, p. 162.