Lettres Turques, historiques et politiques, Ecrites tant par Méhémet II, Empereur Ottoman, que par ses Généraux, ses Sultanes, un de ses Ambassadeurs, & Usum-Cassan, Roi de Perse, son Contemporain. Traduites du Grec & de l'Arabe sur des Manuscrits trouvés à Constantinople; avec des notes intéressantes, & une Histoire de la vie de ce Conquérant. (Histoire de Méhémet II, Empereur Ottoman, enrichie de Lettres traduites du Grec et de l'Arabe), I-II. [TWO VOLUMES].
Paris, Duchesne, Panckoucke, Prault, 1764. Two volumes. Small octavo. Pp. xii, 144; 155, (1). Both half-titles, with the title 'Histoire de Méhémet II, Empereur Ottoman, enrichie de Lettres traduites du Grec et de l'Arabe' are present. Head- and tail-pieces, decorative initials; shoulder notes. Ownership signature to each title. Uniformly bound in contemporary plain paper wrappers, frayed, brown paper spines, one with remnants of old paper strengthening; dog eared, bit soiled in places. Still a charming, unsophisticated set, preserved in the original state.
¶ ~ First edition. Exceedingly scarce in the original state. A series of fictitious letters written by the orientalist Belin de Monterzi. Monterzi's book, his claims to historical veracity notwithstanding, was fiction disguised as history. It was an epistolary exchange between Byzantine princesses, the Sultan, and his officers. Hardened warriors though they were, in Monterzi's portraits they had a tender heart for the nobel Byzantine ladies, who did not resist their gallantries. One of them was Irene, the only surviving member of an illustrious Byzantine family. When Constantinople fell, some of its most highly prized spoils were its maidens, valued for their beauty and nobility. And so she was presented to the Sultan, who became deeply enamoured of her. In her tragic story there are themes of beauty, desire, and violence placed in an early oriental setting. (Buturovic, Women in the Ottoman Balkans: Gender, Culture and History). See also Joseph Marie Quérard: La France littéraire (Paris, 1827). Barbier, II, 724; Langlumé, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes et pseudonymes, 10453; Reboul, Anonymes pseudonymes et supercheris litteraires, 28; Quérard, La France littéraire, ou Dictionnaire bibliographique, p. 259; Conlon, Le siècle des Lumières: bibliographie chronologique, Volume 29, 64:551.
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