Arabia Infelix; 1915, First Ed.

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Authors: George Wyman Bury
Size (WxDxH): 6 x 1.5 x 8.75 inches
Medium: Antiquarian Book
Year: 1915
Edition: First Edition


First edition of “Arabia Infelix or the Turks in Yamen” by Bury, G. Wyman. Published by Macmillan & Co, 1915. Contains 29 photographs of landscapes, city views, and Yemeni people and 3 maps. Published in London, by Macmillan and co., limited, 1915. This book is a history of Yemen and the southern Arabian Peninsula from earliest times to the eve of World War I. Arabia Infelix covers all aspects of Yemen, which, until the end of the war, formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Chapters treat biblical and ancient history, flora and fauna, the manners and customs of its rural and urban population, as well as economic life, trade, and politics. Bury’s style is almost conversational, as in this quip about insect life in Yemen shows: "The prevalent creepy-crawly in Yamen is certainly the millipede."

Background History:
George Wyman Bury (1874-1920) was an adventurer and sometime soldier who spent 16 years exploring the mountainous regions of Yemen. Bury spent most of his life outside his native Britain, living in parts of Africa, Yemen, and then in Egypt, where he served in the British army as a junior officer and military analyst. Chronic poor health harmed his career and shortened his life. His other works include “The Land of Uz”, and “Pan-Islam”.
In ancient times, the arid region stretching from Anatolia to Aden was divided roughly into three parts, Arabia Deserta (Deserted Arabia), Arabia Petra (the frontier of the Roman Empire), and Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia, or Yemen), so named because there was sufficient rainfall to support an agricultural economy. By entitling his book Arabia infelix (Unhappy Arabia), Bury signals his view that Turkish rule was an impediment to the prosperity and wellbeing of the country.

Very good condition. Rebound in contemporary half calf. Corners bumped. Toned but plates bright. Stamp on preliminary leaf with frayed corner of Survey of India headquarters office library stamp, with date 30th of June 1915(?) though faded. Appears to have some kind of sticker over this which has been removed. First few pages bottom corner missing, text and plate not affected. Ownership inscription ‘Abdur Razzak” at head of title. Initials and numbers on page edges. Top corner of back third of pages bent.