De imperio Magni Mogolis sive India vera commentarius e variis auctoribus congestus …

Leiden, ‘ex officina Elzeviriana’, 1631.

24mo, pp. [12], 299, [17, index], [4, blank]; copper-engraved title-page, initials, head- and tailpieces, full-page woodcut to p. 100; some browning and dampstaining, loss to blank corner of P3; a good uncut and partly unopened copy in original blue-grey boards; a few marks, corners bumped; preserved in modern red morocco and marbled paper slipcase and chemise, title and imprint lettered in gilt; book label ‘Ex bibliotheca Elzeviriana Jacobi Broun Craven Kirkvallensis’ and gilt red morocco label ‘Ex libris W.A. Foyle Beeleigh Abbey’ to front pastedown.


US $1233€1129

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Pocket-sized Elzevir edition (one of two issued in the same year) of this work on India and the Mughal Empire compiled by the Dutch geographer Joannes de Laet (1581–1649), this copy, exceptionally, in its original drab boards.

A director of the Dutch West India Company, de Laet gained fame as a geographer with his History of the New World, first published in Dutch by the Elzevirs in 1625. His De imperio was also highly regarded and popular. It is divided into two parts, the first describing the geography of India, its climate, the character and customs of its inhabitants, its government and royal court, its money, and its military, and the second covering the history of the Mughal Empire from 1538 to 1628, with a particular focus on the emperors Akbar the Great and Jahangir.

Provenance: Archdeacon James Brown Craven (1850–1924) of Orkney; William Foyle (1883–1963), co-founder of Foyles bookshop, who purchased the former medieval monastery of Beeleigh Abbey, Essex, in 1943.

USTC 1028010; Willems, Les Elzevier 354.

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