La Colombe, Messagere plus Rapide que l’Eclair, plus prompte que la Nue. (Kitab Musbaqat al-Barq Wa al-Ghamam fi Sou’at al-Hamam).


Book ID: 10095


8vo. 95 pp., [1], Arabic & French text, translated from Arabic by Silvestre de Sacy, title in French and Arabic, engraved vignette on title pages, contemporary quarter calf with marbled boards, lightly rubbed at spine, title gilt, occasional spotting, otherwise copy generally in good condition, Imprimerie Impériale, Paris, first edition, 1805.


Michel Sabbagh or Mikhail (1784 – 1816) was a scribe, a writer and an Orientalist born in Akka, Palestine. His grandfather Ibrahim Sabbagh was the doctor of the Emir Daher al-Omar, the governor of Akka. After completing his literary studies in Damascus , he moved to Cairo where he settled like many others from the Syrian communities.
After the campaign in Egypt by Napoleon, he served as an interpreter within the imperial army. After the defeat to the British, he followed the French and went to live in France. In Paris he served with the leading Arabist Silvestre de Sacy who needed help in reading Arabic texts for his course.
This work is a rare publication on carrier pigeons. The Arabic text is printed with the splendid seventeenth-century type of Francois Savary de Breves. The French translation is by the outstanding French scholar, Antoine Silvestre de Sacy. This treatise deals with different types of pigeons and especially with the qualities which make a good carrier, the history of their use, ways of looking after and training pigeons and how to send a message. The fifth final chapter gives quotations from classical Arab authors on the subject of carrier pigeons, like Ibn al-Athir, Abu Ahmad al-Qayrawani, al-Maqrizi and others.
Bibliographic references: Le Livre et Le Liban 118; Schnurrer 426.

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