Cairo: Bulaq Typ. 1830. Item #403
Second edition. , 225 pp. (numbered in Eastern Arabic system). 27x17 cm. Text in Ottoman Turkish within a double border, first text page decorated with traditional floral ornaments. Occasional pencil notes in Turkish in text. Contemporary Ottoman green quarter leather, spine with gilt tooled ornaments and gilt lettered title ‘‘Tevarih Caterinié’’. Binding rubbed on extremities, corners slightly bumped, paper slightly age toned, but overall a very good copy.
Very rare Ottoman imprint with only five paper copies found in Worldcat.
Second Bulaq edition of the popular biography of Catherine the Great written by marquis Jean Henri Castéra (1749-1838), French diplomat, traveler and translator, who gathered much of the original information while on diplomatic service in Saint Petersburg. The book was first published just a year after the death of the Empress (Vie de Catherine II, Impératrice de Russie. Paris, 1797, 2 vols.) and proved to be in such high demand that within ten years after publication several editions in French (Warsaw 1798, Paris 1800 and 1809), and translations into German (1797), Danish (1798), Dutch (1798), and English (1798) were published.
Castera gave a detailed picture of life and internal and international policy of Catherine the Great, including the description of the First and Second Russo-Turkish Wars of 1768-1774 and 1787-1792, which saw some of the heaviest Turkish defeats in history and resulted in the Russian annexation of former Ottoman territories of Crimea, the northern shore of the Black Sea, and a strengthened Russian position in the Caucasus and the Balkans. This apparently was the reason of the publication of the Turkish edition of the book in the Bulaq press. Major rivals in the region of the Black Sea, the Russian and Ottoman Empires were engaged in eight wars in the course of the 18-19th centuries.
The first Bulaq edition was published in 1244 H or 1829 AD, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, and became the first Turkish translation of a work on Western history to appear in print. The book was translated from French by Iakovos Argyropolous (1776-1850), or Yakovaki Efendi, a Phanariot, the Sultan’s envoy in Vienna, later a respectable dragoman of the fleet and the interpreter of Divan-I Hümayun (Imperial Council); this edition is supplemented with notes by the book’s editor Sadullah Said Amedi.
Karl Süssheim Collection (Library of Congress), no. 80; Özege 10539.