JOANNIS LEONIS AFRICANI, DE TOTIUS AFRICAE DESCRIPTIONE, LIBRI IX. Quibus non solum Africae regionum, insularum, & oppidorum situs, locorumque intervalla accuratè complexus est, sed regum familias, bellorum causas & eventus, resque in ea memorabiles, tam à seipso diligenti observatione indagatas, quam in veris Maurorum annalibus memoriae traditas, copiose descripsit, recens in Latinam linguam conversi Joan. Floriano interprete.

Africanus, Johannes Leo [Leo, John]

Published by Antwerp Johannes de Laet 1556, 1556
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First Edition of the Latin translation of this seminal book by Hasan ben Muhamed el-Wazzan-ez-Zayyati (1485-1552), known by his Latin name Johannes Leo Africanus. Engraved title-page with the vignette and woodcut initials. 8vo, Late 17th or early 18th century French polished calf, the covers with single fillet line at the borders, elaborately decorated in gilt on the spine within compartments separated by double gilt fillet lines, red morocco lettering label gilt, period marbled endleaves, edges stained red, armorial bookplate. 332 pp. A very fine copy, text very bright and clean, a touch of very occasional toning, hinges strong and sound, the binding in very pleasing and well preserved condition. VERY IMPORTANT AND RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE PRIZED LATIN TRANSLATION OF THE FIRST GREAT WORK ON AFRICA. During the years 1511-1517 Leo Africanus traveled to Fez, Morocco, Tunis, and across the Sahara Desert to Timbuktu. He visited the native states on the Upper Niger to Kario, Houssa, Bornou and Lake Chad. He also made a voyage to Constantinople and Egypt and then crossed the Red Sea to Arabia. He was subsequently captured by the Venetians and presented to Pope Leo X whose name Leo he adopted as his surname. The Pope persuaded him to translate the Arabian manuscript account of his travels into Italian. The account was then translated by Floreanu into Latin. This is generally considered to be the first book published in Europe by a person of primarily African descent. The book was considered the most important on the geography of Africa and an especially important source for all information on the continent. The book was printed in a multitude of languages over hundreds of years after the first Italian and Latin editions were issued. The English translation did not appear until 1600. Until the great European voyages and explorations into Africa in the 1600’s and 1700’s, Leo Africanus’ work was considered the primary source for all studies on the Sudan and even of Africa. First edition copies in condition such as this are very rare on the open market. Bookseller Inventory # 22021

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Antwerp Johannes de Laet 1556

Publication Date: 1556

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

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