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Lot 70

Survey of the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris – First Edition – London 1850 – Comprehensive Documentation of the Sites and Inhabitants along the Rivers, with Chapters Reviewing Palestine – Dozens of Lithographs

The Expedition for the Survey of the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris... in the Years 1835, 1836 and 1837. Preceded by Geographical and Historical Notices of the Regions Situated between the Rivers Nile and Indus, by Francis Rawdon Chesney. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1850. English. Two volumes.
The 1835 British expedition to the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris, headed by General Francis Rawdon Chesney, set out to establish a trade route between India and Britain, via the Babylonian rivers. Two steam ships (a novel invention in those days) were adjusted for river navigation, and over the following months, the expedition conducted a first of its kind survey of the settlements, culture and geography along the rivers. Back in England, Chesney was awarded a gold medal from the Royal Geographic Society, and started composing a comprehensive work, documenting his findings, which took more than ten years to complete.
This is the first edition of the work, containing a broad survey of the rivers, the local inhabitants and the sites through which the expedition had passed. The book contains much information about the history, the geographic conditions, the flora and fauna, the local culture (food, costumes, religious customs), the trade and political situation, as well as a survey of sites referred to in the Bible – including the area where according to tradition, the Garden of Eden described in the Book of Genesis was located. Some of the chapters are dedicated to Palestine, containing an interesting survey of settlements and sites: Safed, Acre, Mount Carmel, Jezreel Valley, Beit She'an, Mount Tabor, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Red Sea, and more.
The book includes 49 lithographic plates (some double-spread) depicting cities and villages (including Tiberias and Nazareth), important archeological sites, local costumes, and more; and three folding plates with family trees of local inhabitants (one of them not numbered).
Missing: thirteen maps that were enclosed in a separate portfolio, and a folding map that was enclosed with the first volume.
First volume: XXVII pp. [2] leaves, 799 pp. + [29] lithographic plates. Second volume: 778, XVI, [1] pp. + [20] lithographic plates. 24.5 cm. Good condition. Stains. Minor blemishes. Inscription on margins of the first page of the first volume. Bound in fine semi-leather bindings, slightly worn and blemished; worming.