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Annuaire de la République Française, Cairo 1799.

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€19.500,00 EUR
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€19.500,00 EUR


The first 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 VIII de l’ere Française.

Cairo, de l’Imprimerie Nationale, an VIII [1799/1800].


Small 4⁰. 119 pp. With a woodcut printer’s device on title.
Contemporary red painted paper wrappers.


One of the first books from the first printing press in Egypt. The first issues from the Imprimerie Nationale are true incunabula of Arab printing and all are very rare. Most elusive amongst these is the present first almanac. We traced no copies in Arab or American libraries. 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. It was printed in 1798 and concerned the year VIII of the French Republican calendar (=  1799/1800). A year later a second Annuaire was published, for the year IX.
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. Contemporary French writing and calculation exercises in ink on front cover and inside of back cover, probably by the first owner. Covers worn. A few faint stains on title-page and a minor hole in the foot margin. 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.

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