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NATURAL SCIENCE: علم الارض والمعادن [İlmü’l-arz ve’l-maadin / Geology and Mineralogy].



A rare first and only edition of the Ottoman book on mineralogy, geology and natural science by an Istanbul-based Austrian scientist Karl Eduard Hammerschmidt, who changed his name to Abdullah after converting to Islam.

8°, [4 pp.], 584 pp., with 42 full-page and folding illustrations, [2 pp.] blank, contemporary green cloth boards with debossed decoration, original black calf spine with raised bands and gilt decoration and lettering, contemporary patterned endpapers (minor age-toning and hardly noticeable foxing, but inside overall in a clean condition, boards slightly bumped on the corners and with light dents on the front cover).



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This a pioneering richly illustrated work on the modern geology, minerology and zoology in Ottoman language, written by an Austrian scientist Karl Eduard Hammerschmidt, a.k.a. Dr. Abdullah Bey. The illustrations represent volcanos, fossils, minerals etc. This is probably the first book in Ottoman language, which points out the similarities between the skeleton of a man and an ape.

Hammerschmidt, who studied law, medicine and natural science in Vienna, fled his home country after the revolution of 1848 to the Ottoman Empire through Transylvania, where he briefly fought on the side of the Polish general Józef Bem. In Istanbul, he was appointed a lecturer at the Imperial Medical School, but was before he could start his job sent as an army doctor to Damascus and later to the Crimea during the war. In that time Karl Eduard Hammerschmidt converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah.

After the Crimean War he lectured geology and mineralogy at the Imperial Medical School in Istanbul. In 1867 he was appointed the director of the department.
Dr. Abdullah Bey was the first scientist In the Ottoman Empire, who introduced the modern Western knowledge of minerology and geology to the Ottoman World. He was also one of the founders of the Turkish Red Crescent.

Dr. Abdullah Bey died in Anatolia in 1874 during the geological surveys for the new railway.

The manuscript for this book was originally written in French and was translated for the printed edition by Dr. Abdullah Bey’s assistant İbrahim Lütfü, who in the next years published similar books, all based on Dr. Abdullah’s notes.

Worldcat lists one institutional example (KOÇ University Library).

References: OCLC 1249172046; ÖZEGE 9044. Cf. Sefa SAYGILI, Türk Kizilayi’nin Kurucusu: Dr. Abdullah Bey, 2010.

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