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Annuaire de la République Française, Cairo an IX [1800/1801].

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€12.500,00 EUR
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€12.500,00 EUR

Second and last volume of the first yearbook printed in the Arabic World


[J.J. Marcel (dir.)].

Annuaire de la République Française, calculé pour le méridien du Kaire, l’an IX de l’ère Française.

Cairo, de l’Imprimerie Nationale, an IX [1800/1801].

4⁰. 1-58, [4], 61- 68 pp., [2], 48 pp. With a woodcut printer’s device on title.
Contemporary blank paper covers.


One of the first books from the first printing press in Egypt. The issues from the Imprimerie Nationale are true incunabula of Arab printing and all are very rare. The press lasted only until 1801.
The Imprimerie Nationale was set up when Napoleon traveled to Egypt in 1798: “an extraordinarily important turning point” (Glass & Roper). The French Republic aimed to bring progress wherever they arrived. In the case of Egypt this permanently changed the Arab World. Progress was predominantly expressed in administrative reform, of which the present almanac is typical product. It was crucial for an almanac (Annuaire) to appear at the new press as soon as possible because it provided Europeans stationed in Egypt with key practical information for everyday life. The first almanac was printed in 1798 and concerned the year VIII of the French Republican calendar (=  1799/1800). A year later the present second Annuaire was published, for the year IX.
“Napoleon's printing presses in Egypt were to fulfill two important functions: First, they disseminated French learning, culture, and ideas while acquainting both Europeans and the natives with the long-forgotten Egyptian heritage and traditions. Secondly, the presses were used as a useful means of propaganda informing the Egyptians of Napoleon's projects and interests in an effort to win their support against Turkey. It may be said that the seeds of nationalism and democracy were first planted in Egypt by the Napoleonic presses” (Tadrus)
The book provides navigational tables, a concordance between the Muslim and the French Republican calendar, a comparison of French and Egyptian units of measure, the speed of currents of the Nile and much more. Of particular importance is a table of French army personnel in the Orient, showing the members of the administration, of finances, of the Commission of Sciences and Arts, of the Institute and so on.


Wholly untrimmed. Covers slightly worn and ink stained. “An IX” in ink on front cover, ink eaten through the paper. Stain on pp. 29-30, faint stain on pp. 45-48. Otherwise in very good condition.


Guémard, p. 25 & 46; Geiss 17; De Meulenaere 17.

Dagmar Glass, Geoffrey Roper, ‘The Printing of Arabic Books in the Arab World’, in: Middle Eastern Languages and the Print Revolution, Mainz: Gutenberg Museum, 2002, pp. 177-225.

Geoffrey Roper, “The printing press and change in the Arab world”, in: Agent of change: print cultural studies after Elizabeth Eisenstein. Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, in association with the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 2007, pp. 250-267.

Fawzi M. Tadrus, Printing in the Arab World with an emphasis on the Bulaq Press in Egypt, [Doha] : Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Qatar, [1982], pp. 61-77.

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