"HIS BODY WAS BEAUTIFUL, AND WELL PROPORTION'D; HIS MIND BRISK AND ACTIVE; HIS COURAGE WONDERFUL…": BUDGE'S LIFE AND EXPLOITS OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT, ONE OF ONLY 250 LARGE-PAPER COPIES
(ALEXANDER THE GREAT) BUDGE, E.A. Wallis. The Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great. Being a Series of Ethiopic Texts Edited from Manuscripts in the British Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. London: C. J. Clay and Sons, 1896. Two volumes. Thick quarto, original three-quarter dark green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. $5500.
First edition, number 47 of only 250 large-paper copies, of Budge's translations of several key Christian Ethiopian accounts of Alexander the Great, with frontispiece portrait in Volume II, in publisher's morocco.
Although he reportedly wept when he realized he had no more worlds to conquer, Alexander the Great went on to conquer the imaginations of generations to come. As Budge, Keeper of the British Museum's Oriental Antiquities, states, "If all history be searched no character will be found therein whose life and deeds have appealed so strongly to the admiration and sympathy of all nations" (Introduction, page v). Budge here translates several legend-filled Ethiopic documents that reflect, in his words, "the Christian Ethiopian idea of what manner of man an all-powerful king and conqueror should be… Never was heathen king or profane history so thoroughly transformed" (Preface, pages x-xi). The first volume contains seven texts in facsimile—the Pseudo-Callisthenes, The History of Alexander by Al-Makin, The History by Abu Shaker, The History by Joseph Ben-Gordion, an anonymous history of the death of Alexander, a Christian romance of Alexander, and The History of the Blessed Men Who Lived in the Days of Jeremiah the Prophet. The second volume contains English translations of all these works and three short appendices with "The Prophecy of Daniel Concerning Alexander's Kingdom," an Ethiopic version of I Maccabees I:1-6, and an extract from The Chronicle of Alexander by John Mudabbar. In addition to the large-paper copies, there were also 500 regular-paper copies with only English translations included. Bookseller label.
A near-fine set of the very scarce large-paper edition in publisher's morocco bindings.