SEETZEN, Ulrich Jasper. A Brief Account of the Countries adjoining the Lake of Tiberias, the Jordan, and the Dead Sea … Published for the Palestine Associaton of London.

Bath, printed and sold by Meyler and Son … and in London by Hatchard, 1810.


4to. Modern calf-backed marbled boards, red morocco lettering-piece; pp. 47, 5 (notes), engraved map as frontispiece (lightly cropped, as usual); title-page with repair to torn corner and a few minor flaws, occasional light spotting; a good copy of a great rarity.

First edition of this travel account by an unsung hero of early travel on the Arabian peninsula. Ulrich Jasper Seetzen (1767-1811) was a German physician, scientist, orientalist and traveler, who left Germany in 1802. He travelled overland to Istanbul, through Anatolia to the Levant where he studied Arabic. During the first leg of the journey described in this volume Seetzen was accompanied by an Armenian named Ibrahim, who was formerly in the service of Jezzar, Pasha of Akko. They began their journey from Damascus on 12 December 1805 to Lahja, Gerat and Hauran, eventually returning to Damascus. Seetzen's second journey was undertaken alone, disguised as an Arab beggar. He investigated the surroundings of the Dead Sea, where Seetzen commenced another journey to Rasheia, Baniass, Jerrash, Karrak and other places en route. Seetzen was the first European to examine the lake and the deepest depression on Earth. Later he went to Mecca, where he made drawings of the Holy places, converted to Islam and, in the Hadhramaut, he decided to travel to Muscat, when he was poisoned by his guides on orders from the imam of Sana'a. This book is the first publication of any of his exploits, and was instigated by Sir Joseph Banks. In the 1850s appeared all his remaining and recovered travelogues in German. They were never translated.

Not in Atabey or Blackmer. The last copy to appear at auction was sold in 1998 for just under £1100.