RAUWOLF, Leonhard. Aigentliche beschreibung der Raiß so er vor diser zeit gegen Auffgang inn die Morgenlaender fürnemlich Syriam, Iudaeam, Arabiam, Mesopotamiam, Babyloniam, Assyriam, Armeniam &c. nicht ohne geringe mühe und grosse gefahr selbs volbracht: neben vermeldung vil anderer seltzamer und denckwürdiger sachen die alle er auff solcher erkundundiget, gesehen und obseruiert hat. Alles in drey vnderschidliche Thail mit sonderem fleiß abgethailet und ein jeder weiter in seine sonderbare Capitel wie dero innhalt in zu end gesetztem Register zufinden. Lauingen, Leonhard Reinmichel [colophon], 1582.
Small 4to. 1830s German marbled boards with two contrasting gilt-stamped lettering-pieces; pp. [xvi], 487, main title printed in red and black and with woodcut, two sectional titles each with woodcut; light wear to extremities, internally only a little spotted, one gathering browned, a few traces of worming to the last leaves, a few 19th-century marginal restorations; a good copy of a great rarity; provenance: 1830s bibliographical annotations in ink to endpapers; upper outer corner of rear endpaper cut away, Cyrillic collectors stamp, dated 1861 on blank verso of the last leaf.
Very rare first edition of an early detailed travelogue of the Levant, written by a Augsburg merchant's employee, a medical doctor well versed in Arabic, natural history and pharmacological texts who had traveled Lebanon, Syria, Kurdistan and modern Iraq, including a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the 1570s. Rauwolf's employer was the Augsburg merchant Melchior Manlich, who had close trade relations with the Levant, exporting mechanical goods, hardware made in Nürnberg and textiles, and importing spices, pearls, precious stones and silk. Manlich sent him to visit the Middle East in 1573, partly as trader and partly as physician. 'After a nine-month sojourn in Aleppo he continued travelling towards Mesopotamia and, after a river journey of several weeks on the Euphrates, he reached the ruins of Babylon and Baghdad at the end of October. He had to abandon his plans of continuing to India as he got news of the bankruptcy of the Manlich trading house and was ordered to return immediately. The route to Aleppo and Tripoli (where he arrived in May 1575) led him through Kurdish territory. Before leaving for Augsburg Rauwolf stayed for a while in the Lebanon mountains and undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem' (translated from Neue Deutsche Biographie, on-line).
'The 8th chapter of part I contains the celebrated description of the coffee drink and of the coffee berry … Rauwolf was the first modern botanist to collect and describe the preparation and consumption of coffee' (Hünersdorff and Hasenkamp, Coffee, 1221).
VD16 R 430, not in Atabey or Blackmer.