One of the Earliest Written Accounts on the Emirates & One of the Best 17th Century Travel Accounts of Persia and Arabia--
Valle Traveled to and Described Sharjah, Fujairah, Bandar Abbas, Hormuz and Isfahan
Item Number: 14483
Pietro della Valle
VALLE, Pietro della. The travels of Sig. Pietro della Valle, a Noble Roman, into East-India and Arabia Deserta. London, J. Macock for Henry Herringman, 1665. Folio. (8), 480 pp., 5 woodcut illustrations within text, lacks folding map and 3 plates. Rebacked quarter-bound polished calf over 5 raised bands with gilt lettering and design on spine.
First English edition of Pietro della Valle's travel account to Arabia and the Middle East, as described through letters. An extremely rare and desired account as it is offers one the most vivid descriptions and commentary on all aspects of Persian life, including the greatest of Safavid rulers, as well as being one of the earliest documented sources on Dibba, an eastern coastal region of the Northern Emirates, presently ruled by the Emirates of Fujairah and of Sharjah. Pietro della Valle ( 1586- 1652), was one of the most remarkable travelers of the 17th century, whose Viaggi is the best contemporary account of the Middle East at the time. Della Valle left Venice in 1614 on a pilgrimage to Palestine. On his return journey, while at Aleppo, he totally changed the direction and scope of his travels, deciding to join a caravan destined for Baghdad. At Baghdad he fell in love with and married the Circassian Setti Manni. From there Della Valle proceeded to Isfahan (Iran) to offer up his services to the Safavid ruler Shah ?Abb?s I in a "crusade" against the Ottomans. Della Valle stayed in Persia until early 1623, documenting on the increased tensions and conflict between the Safavids and the Portuguese.
It was during his stay with the Sultan of Bandar Abbas, around 1620-21, that Della Valle was introduced to the visiting son of the ruler of Dibba. "From this he learned that Dibba had formerly been subject to the kingdom of Hormuz but were at that time loyal to the Safavids who, in 1623, sent troops to Dibba, Khor Fakkan and other ports on the southeast coast of Arabia in order to prepare for a Portuguese counter-attack following their expulsion from Hormuz (Jarun)." (UAE History: 2000 to 200 years ago, "Dibba") In 1623, Della Valle's wife's died in childbirth and precipitated his return to Europe. This text comprises a series of fifty-four letters written to the physician Schipano of Naples during Della Valle's extensive tour and form the foundation of his travel account "Viaggi di Pietro della Valle," first published in Rome between 1650 to 1658. "Della Valle displayed excellent narrative and descriptive skills, powers of acute observation, and a genuinely scholarly breadth of learning. He refused to comment on what he had not witnessed himself or checked against the best authorities ... Della Valle's eighteen letters from Persia provide one of the most detailed sources of information for most aspects of Persian life in the second half of Shah Abbas' reign" (Gurney). It was re-bound with its current hardcover at some point in time, which is in excellent condition. The pages inside are rippled and show some staining and foxing. A small number of pages have tears at the edges. Overall a very rare book in good condition.