STRAHLENBERG, Philipp Johann von (1676-1747)
An Histori-Geographical Description of the north and eastern part of Europe and Asia; but more particularly of Russia, Siberia, and Great Tartary; both in their ancient and modern state: together with an entire new polyglot-table of the dialects of 32 Tartarian nations: and a vocabulary of the Kalmuck-Mungalian tongue. As also, a large and accurate map of those countries ... Written originally in high German ... Now faithfully translated into English
London: Printed for W. Innys and R. Manby, 1736 [map dated 1737]. Quarto. (8 7/8 x 6 7/8 inches). 1 large folding engraved map "Nova descriptio geographica Tattariae Magnae..." (sheet size: 26 x 39 inches), 1 folding woodcut map, 1 folding letterpress chart, 10 engraved plates (3 folding), and numerous illustrations in the text.
Expertly bound to style in contemporary marbled sheep, covers bordered with a gilt double filet, spine with raised bands in six compartments, red morocco lettering piece in the second compartment, the others with an overall repeat decoration in gilt
First edition in English of a key work on Siberia, with the rare and important large folding map of the region.
A Swedish officer taken prisoner during Charles XII's campaign in Russia, Strahlenberg was held captive in Siberia for thirteen years. Situated in Tobolsk from 1711 to 1721, he was able to explore the lower basins of the Ob and Yenisey rivers, gathering the geographical information regarding the northern and eastern parts of Europe and Asia recorded in this book and its large folding map.
The text is of great importance offering much first-hand information -- geographical, historical and ethnographic -- about Siberia and Great Tartary. The work also includes early descriptions of the linguistics of the region, with a Kalmyv vocabulary including the translations of Mongolian words.
The most important aspect of the present work, however, is Strahlenberg's rare and significant map representing the Russian realm and Great Tartary, containing extensive information regarding Siberia. Strahlenberg utilized a wide array of sources in preparing his map. He used his own latitude calculations, as well as readings he had taken with Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmidt, a Prussian naturalist with whom he travelled in Russia. Measurements and other geographic information were obtained from other sources as well, including Swedish officers on different expeditions, Swedish and German travellers, and Russian cartographers and explorers.
The map, first published separately to accompany the Stockholm, 1730 first edition, is here re-engraved by R.W. Seale, and dated 1737. The map encompasses the area between 50° and 185° east longitude and 32° and 75° north latitude. It records the Russian territories from west of Moscow to Japan in the east and includes northern China, Tibet, and Turkestan in the south. Neighboring countries such as Poland, Persia, India, and Mongolia are documented. Numerous important geographic features are also represented: the Arctic and Pacific oceans, and the Caspian Sea; the Urals, Caucasus, and the Himalayan mountains; and the Gobi desert.
The map is most notable, however, for its accurate representation of Siberia, particularly the settlement patterns of the region's various populations. Bagrow notes that after Semyon Remezov's map, Strahlenberg's map is the "most important source of historical-geographical information about Siberia."
Cordier 2713; Cox I, 194; Lowndes III, 2528.