Maggs Bros Ltd

Essai sur l'Histoire des Arabes...

PERCEVAL A. P. Caussin de (1847.)

£1400.00  [First Edition]

Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.

First edition. With 15 folding genealogical tables. 3 vols. 8vo. Contemporary quarter calf with mottled paper-covered boards, red morocco labels with gilt lettering to spines; upper joint of vol. 2 splitting at head, very good otherwise. Mild, scattered foxing throughout (especially to first and last pages of each volume). xii, 424; 702; [iv], 603, [1]blank pp. Paris, Firmin Didot frères,

A nice copy of Perceval's early history of the Arab tribes.

The first two volumes describe the period from the end of Jahiliyyah to the Hegira of 622 (Julian calendar). The third volume then accounts for the period after the Hegira through to the early Muslim conquests.

A remarkable achievement for the time, the Essai... was celebrated as "a trustworthy guide through a tangled mass of tradition" (Encyclopaedia Brittanica 11th ed., 1911. V, 558.). 

Later scholarship reflects that Perceval, eager to form a fluid history, too readily mixed fact and fiction in his weaving together of 7th and 8th century Arabic sources. One 20th century reviewer states that his approach did not necessarily lead to an accurate historical account, but rather "the retrospective self view of seventh and eighth-century Arabs" (p.75. International Journal of Middle East Studies. Volume 3, Issue 1. January, 1972). 

Provenance: The Library of the Ducs de Luynes from the Château of Dampierre.

Stock Code: 225731