London, South Kensington
30 November 2001
CANTEMIR, Demetrius (1673-1723). The History of the Growth and Decay of the Othman Empire ... translated into English by N. Tindal, London: for A. Millar, 1756.
2 parts in one volume, 2° (350 x 225mm.), engraved portrait frontispiece of the author by Russori, engraved folding plan of Constantinople and 22 full-length portraits (portrait torn and laid down, plan laid down and browned at folds, some minor spotting and browning, occasional marginal waterstaining, Nnn with small segment torn from margin), early 20th-century half cloth (worn).
FIRST EDITION. An 8vo version also appeared in 1756. 'Cantemir had been appointed Hospodar of Moldavia in 1710 after a long residence in Constantinople as a hostage, where he learned Turkish, Persian (Farsi) and Arabic,' states Blackmer. 'He was convinced about the validity of the destruction of of the Turks, Persians and Arabs and joined Peter the Great in his abortive campaigns against Turkey in 1711. After the defeat of the Czar at Pruth, he remained in Russia until his death.' The use of Turkish sources makes Cantemir's history particularly authoritative, and it was only superseded by the history of Hammer von Purgstall in 1827. Blackmer notes 'the very interesting portraits of the sultans ... engraved by C. Dubosc.' Blackmer 281.
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