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MOHAMMED – BRY Jean Théodore de I. Acta Mechmeti I Saracenorum Principis. Natales, Vitam, Victorias, Imperium et Mortem eius ominosam complectentia… II. Vaticinia. Severi et Leonis in Oriente… regni Turcici sub Mechmete hoc III. praedicentia.

VENDU

Francfort, Jean Théodore et Jean Israël de Bry, 1597

In-4 (195 x 148 mm), de un titre gravé, 3 ff.n.ch., 58 pp., 1 f.n.ch. (blanc), pp. 59-96, 3 ff.n.ch. (table). Veau brun, dos lisse orné, gardes et doublure de papier vermiculé (reliure allemande ou autrichienne du XVIIIe siècle).

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La première biographie illustrée de la vie de Mohammed

Atabey 331 (incomplet des 3 derniers feuillets avec l'index); Göllner 2286 ("Beachtung verdienen die Kupferstiche… von Johann Dietrich und Johann Israel") ; Adams B-2978; manque à Blackmer (qui ne cite que l'édition en allemand, publiée d'après l'édition en latin de la même année) et à la Koç Collection.

Édition originale.

Très belle édition, richement illustrée d'un titre dans un large encadrement gravé et de 26 gravures dans le texte, publiée par les célèbres frères de Bry à Francfort que l'on connaît également pour les célèbres éditions illustrées des grands et petits voyages aux Amériques.

L'illustration de cette édition débute par le beau titre allégorique montrant Mahomet et l'empereur Léon III, suivi de 10 grands cuivres accompagnant la biographie du Prophète. Les 16 gravures suivantes illustrent la seconde partie du volume, consacrée à la prophétie sur le déclin de l'empire ottoman. Cette importante biographie de Mohammed ainsi que les gravures des frères de Bry furent reprises dans l'édition de 1664 de la Chronica Turcica donnée par Wilhelm Serlin.

"The first section concerns Mohammed the Prophet, with 10 engravings which illustrate scenes from his life… The second part, which includes 16 emblematical engravings, records a prophecy of the fall of the Turkish empire" (Blackmer).

"It was not until the very end of the 16th century that the Prophet was first represented in the guise of an Ottoman sovereign. The first printed image of Muhammad in distincly Ottoman dress is to be found in the I. Acta Mechmeti I. Saracenorum Principis published by Johann Theodor and Johann Israel de Bry in 1597 in Frankfurt… Muhammad is described as a historical figure given the name 'Mehmet I' and is depicted according to conventional representations of Turkish sultans, wearing a moustache and dressed in a lavish royal caftan and a large ottoman turban" (Avinam Sheilem: Constructing the Image Muhammad in Europe, p. 107-108).

"The Acts were distinguished as the first printed Western book to illustrate the life of the Prophet Muhamad. The circumstances of the book's 1597 publication suggest that this innovative project was a Protestant initiative. The book was first dedicated to Frederick IV, Elector Palatine (1574-1610), a stern supporter of Calvinism and a leading figure in the union of German protestant princes… In the second half of the sixteenth century, publishing a book on the life Muhammad and Islamic religious laws carried a certain risk for the author as well as for the editor… In the case of the acts, the editor de Bry was not alone in acting with caution. The compiler of the text showed an even greater reserve: nowhere in the book does he reveal his identity – probably for the same reason as Theodore de Bry. Nevertheless internal evidence suggests that the anonymous author was Jean-Jacques Boissard… The text of the title page suggests that the book consists of only two parts, a biography of the prophet, and a series of prophecies, attributed to the Byzantine emperor Leo VI, on the imminent downfall of the Ottoman Empire. The engraved title page alludes to both of the sections of the book: the left side features the figure of Muhammad; the right a Byzantine emperor in his official robes. However, an examination of the text reveals the works organization into five segments of unequal length: the first section includes a biography of Muhammad as well as a presentation of the basic principles of the Islamic religion. The following section provides brief information on the sequence of the Saracen rulers and the Tartar kings. This second section also summarizes the most important events related to their reigns up to the year 1300. Part three consists of a short summary of the religion and customs of the Armenians and the Georgians. The following chapter contains an abbreviated history of the Ottoman sultans from 1300 to 1595, most of which is reserved for the deeds of Suleiman the great and his grandson Murad III. The remaining half of the book discussed the aforementioned prophecies allegedly of Byzantine origins" (Ulrike Ilg, in : Religious Polemics and Visual Realism in a late 16th Century Biography of the Prophet Muhammad; de Gruyter).

Bel exemplaire, bien relié, bien complet du feuillet blanc H2 et des feuillets d'index (qui manquaient à l'exemplaire de la collection Atabey). Six feuillets avec le coin inférieur anciennement refait (dont 2 touchant au texte de l'index).

Provenance: Joh. Piscator (signature en bas de la page de titre) – Bibliothèque princière allemande ou autrichienne (cachet couronné aux initiales 'FID.C' et 'F.I' au verso du titre). Il s'agit probablement de Johannes Piscator (1546-1625), théologien et écrivain allemand, auteur d'ouvrages religieux et qui établit une nouvelle traduction de la Bible, publiée en sept volumes à Herborn en 1604.

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