Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768…1773. James Bruce, of Kinnaird.
Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768…1773
Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768…1773
Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768…1773
Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768…1773

Travels to discover the source of the Nile, in the years 1768…1773

Edinburgh: J. Ruthvan for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, London, 1790. First edition (published later in London the same year); 5 volumes, 4to, engraved vignette title page in each volume, 58 engraved charts, battle plans, and plates, 3 engraved folding maps, 7 typographic pages of Ethiopic characters between pp. 400 and 401 of the first volume, and the list of plates at the back of vol. V which is usually lacking; contemporary marbled boards, neatly rebacked in calf, gilt-lettered spine; a few marginal tears neatly repaired, light occasional foxing, but in all a very good, sound, and absolutely complete copy, with the requisite half-titles in each volume. Bruce arrived in Alexandria in June 1768 committed to discovering the source of the Nile, which he thought began somewhere in Abyssinia. He traveled across the northern desert in the guise of a Turkish sailor and finally reached Abyssinia in early 1770. In November of that year he found the previously unknown source of the Blue Nile, which he claimed (mistakenly) to be the Nile of the ancients, and therefore more important than the larger White Nile. Bruce's difficult return in 1771 was highlighted by another first: he became the first to trace the Blue Nile to its confluence with the White Nile. The last major obstacle was a dangerous trip back into the desert to recover his journals and baggage which had been left behind after his camels died. Though his Travels was criticized by some contemporaries, "the substantial accuracy of every statement concerning his Abyssinian travels has since been amply demonstrated" (Ency. Britannica). Bruce's account is also notable for its famous plate of the figure of a harpist in the tomb of Rameses III, "the first picture of a scene in the royal tombs to be published" (Romer, Valley of the Kings, 36). Blackmer 221; Cox I, 398-99; Howgego, III, B171. Item #52509

Price: $6,500.00

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