Our Notes & References
An appealing example, crisp in its first binding, of this celebrated study of Russia, Siberia and Mongolia, complete with the large map (ca. 65 x 95 cm), here without restoration and with fine original colour.
The author, the Swedish officer Philipp Johann Tabert von Strahlenberg (1676–1747), spent 10 years in captivity in Siberia between 1711 and 1722 following the defeat of Charles XII. During his stay in Russia he collected information and material on the languages and people of Ural and Altai stock, which became the basis for the present work.
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 Kalmyk vocabulary that includes translations of Mongolian words.
An important aspect of the work is Strahlenberg’s impressive, detailed and also decorative map, depicting the Russian realm and Great Tartary, which contains extensive information not only about Siberia, but also about the Caucasus (represented by a figure in the cartouche), Central Asia and the Far East. Preparing the map, Strahlenberg used his own latitudinal calculations as well as expedition accounts written by others.
This copy is of the second English edition (after the first edition in German in 1730 and the first English of 1736), with the map specially re-engraved by Richard William Seale.
Broughton Baptist Library (part of which is now kept in the Angus Library and Archive, Regent’s Park College, Oxford; label to upper pastedown).
From the estate of Geoffrey Elliott (1939-2021), banker of Russian descent, author of books on 20th-c. history. Geoffrey and his wife Fay were noted collectors, especially of Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh and other literary figures. Russia (and, in this particular case, Siberia) was also an important theme: Geoffrey’s grandparents were interned in a Siberian tsarist prison camp before the October Revolution, and he focused most of his published works on the Cold War.
The Elliotts donated a significant part of their collection to the library of Leeds University in 2002, but kept the Russia-related items, which we consequently acquired.
Cox I, 194; Crowther 2034.