The Itinerário of Jerónimo Lobo

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Author: da Costa, M G (editor)

Year: 1984

Publisher: Hakluyt Society

Place: London


xxiv+417 pages with 9 illustrations, including frontispiece, 4 maps, bibliography and index. Octavo (8 3/4" x 5 1/2") issued in blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and gilt sailing ship to front cover. Translated by Donald M Lockhart, Introduction by C F Beckingham. Second Series, volume 162. First edition.

Jeronimo Lobo was the last survivor of the small band of Jesuit Father who tried, with a measure of success, to reconcile Ethiopia to the Church of Rome. His life was long and adventurous. Chosen to serve in India when still a novice, he was ordained with extreme haste and embarked on a ship which was force to turn back in the Gulf of Guinea. He reached India in the next year after being involved in a naval fight against the Dutch and English off Mozambique. He was selected for the Ethiopian mission and made a remarkable attempt to reach the country from the Somali coast. After his unsurprising failure in this he returned to India and eventually made his way to Bailul in the Red Sea and across the Danakil desert. He spent nine years in Ethiopia, part of the time in the neighborhood of the source of the Blue Nile. Exiled when the Emperor restored the authority of the Ethiopian church, he was among those handed over to the Turks at Massaw. After suffering much hardship and danger regained India. Sent to Europe on a confidential mission to advocate military intervention of behalf of the Ethiopian Catholics, his ship was wrecked on the South African coast. The castaways built two boats, one of which improbably succeeded in rounding the Cape and arriving at Luanda in Angola. Here he embarked on a ship carrying slaves to the Spanish Main. It was captured by the Dutch and Lobo was marooned on an island but contrived to make his way to Cartagena and Havana and so to Europe. His diplomatic business took him to Madrid and Rome, but his plea for armed assistance did not succeed. in 1640 he again went to India where he was at times in serious conflict with the secular authorities; he was accused of Spanish sympathies and was confined in a Franciscan convent for a time. He returned to Portugal in 1657. In his last years he was in touch with the English envoy Sir Robert Southwell and corresponded with the Royal Society of London, which published an English translation of some tractates which he wrote, probably in response to specific questions submitted to him on the Society's behalf. Lobo's account of his travels was not printed during his lifetime. A French translation appeared in 1728 and was translated into English by Dr Johnson and published in 1755. In 1947, however, a draft of the Itinerario was discovered by M G da Costa in the Public Library of Braga. He has shown that the manuscript had almost as many vicissitudes as its author. With the support of the Gulbenkian foundation he prepared an edition of all Lobo's surviving writings, and this was published in 1971. Dr Lockhart's translation is based on the text in this edition. The narrative begins with Lobo's ordination. It ends with his return from his unsuccessful journey to Italy.


Jacket with some edge wear and spine ends heavily rubbed else a very good copy in like jacket.

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