(London: Printed for R. Knaplock, 1708). 203 x 133 mm. (8 x 5 1/4"). xxiv, [iv], 391 pp.,  leaves. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary Cambridge calf, recently and expertly rebacked to style, covers panelled in blind with fillets and fleuron cornerpieces, central panel with decorative tooled border, raised bands, original reddish-brown morocco label. Gay 98; Blackmer sale catalogue, lot #236; Lowndes III, 1716; Brunet IV, 155; Graesse V, 7-8. Leaves with one or two trivial defects, but A VERY FINE COPY, the carefully restored binding with remarkably lustrous covers, the margins especially ample, and the text unusually bright, clean, and fresh.
This work promises in its extended title to portray "the lives of Abubeker, Omar and Othman, the immediate successors of Mahomet, giving an account of their most remarkable battles, sieges, etc., particularly those of Aleppo, Antioch, Damascus, Alexandria and Jerusalem, illustrating the religion, rites, customs and manner of living of that warlike people." It is "collected from the most authentick Arabick authors, especially manuscripts, not hitherto publish'd in any European language." Archbishop Laud was a collector of Arabic manuscripts, which he donated to the Bodleian library at Oxford, and it was there that Ockley labored over the Arabic tomes. Foremost among these were the texts ascribed to Al-Wâkidî (now known as the Futuh esh-Sham), which Ockley used to write the present stirring and sympathetic account of the heroic days of the rise of Islam, the first work in English to rely on such early, if somewhat romanticized, sources. Simon Ockley (1678-1720) was an impoverished vicar, educated in oriental languages at Cambridge. A pioneer in his field, he worked tirelessly on the translating of Arabic manuscripts. The present book is his best-known work; he brought out a sequel in 1718. (ST09898)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST5.005