[BARTHÉLÉMY, Jean-Jacques (1716-1795)]. Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis en Grece, dans le milieu du quatrieme siecle avant l'ere vulgaire. Paris: Chez De Bure l'aine, Librairie de Monsieur Frere du Roi, de la Bibliotheque du Roi, et de l'Academie Royale des Inscriptions, hotel Ferrance, rue Serpente, no. 6, 1788.
5 volumes, Atlas volume and 4 text volumes: Text volumes, 4to., (11 4/8 x 8 4/8 inches). Half-titles, and one leaf of Errata at the end of each volume, with MANCINI-NIVERNOIS, Louis-Jules-Barbon. "Essai sur la vie de J.J. Barthelemy", Paris: Chez G. de Bure, l'An III, 1795 and "Liste des Memoires et Dissertations de J.J. Barthelemy" bound at the beginning of volume one; Atlas volume, 4to., (11 3/8 x 8 4/8 inches). 31 fine double-page engraved maps, including one folding, and 11 with original hand-colour in outline. Uniformly bound in fine polished tan calf, each cover with a broad border of gilt acanthus leaf roll tool, the spines in compartments with raised bands, green morocco lettering-pieces in two, the others decorated with elaborate trellis pattern, gilt decorated turn-ins, and plum paper endpapers (joints cracked, head and foot of each spine chipped with loss).
Provenance: from the celebrated library of Henry M. Blackmer (1927-1988), with his discreet book label on each front paste-down, his sale 11th October 1989, lot 386; with the bookplate of the Chateau de Chacenay on the recto of each first blank, his sale Sotheby's, 26th November 1996, lot 236
"It is difficult to overestimate the importance of Anacharsis in the development of French neo-classicism and in the creation of philhellenic sentiment. Though there had been earlier attempts to popularize and disseminate what was known of Greek antiquity, none had been influential and successful"
A celebrated French numismatologist and writer, Barthelemy began his classical studies at the College of the Oratory in Marseilles, "took up philosophy and theology at the Jesuits' college, and finally attended the seminary of the Lazarists, where he devoted most of his time to Oriental languages. He soon became renowned for his scholarship and earnestness in learned researches, in which he rivalled the Humanists of the Renaissance. Having completed his course, he received the tonsure and wore the ecclesiastical habit without taking Holy orders. For several years he lived in his lonely residence at Aubagne, near Marseilles, devoting himself entirely to numismatics, under the direction of his friend. M. Cary of Marseilles. In 1744, he went to Paris and became secretary to M. de Boze, keeper of the medals at the King's Library, and three years later he was elected to the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. In 1753, he succeeded M. de Boze and remained in this position until the Revolution, during his term nearly doubling the collection.
"In 1754 he was sent to Italy on a scientific mission. On his way, he gathered a large number of medals, and conceived the idea of the book which made his name famous, "Voyage du Jeune Anacarsis en Grece vers le milieu du IVe siecle avant l'ere vulgaire" [as here]. This book, begun in 1756, was not finished until 1788, and was a description of ancient Greece, of Hellenic civilization, institutions, arts, history, philosophy, and literature, appealing to every class by reason of its charming narratives and vivid pictures. In successive reprints and English translations (London, 1790, 1800), it still finds readers. Recent archaeological discoveries have shown some of the statements to be erroneous, but on the whole the book remains a very successful attempt to diffuse a correct knowledge of Greek manners and customs.
"From the time of Barthélemy's journey through Italy, the Duke of Choiseul had been his patron and had given him many pensions and benefices. After the fall of his friend (1770), Barthélemy followed him into exile at Chanteloup, near Amboise, where unlike the abbés de cour he was busily engaged in polishing his elaborate literary productions. He was elected to the French Academy in 1789. During the Revolution, he was arrested (September, 1793) and confined in a prison for a few days. On his release he declined to resume his functions as keeper of the medals, and having been despoiled of his fortune by the Revolution died in poverty" (Louis N. Delamarre for the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913).
From the distinguished library of Henry M. Blackmer, whose library of books related to Greece and the Levant was undoubtedly the finest of its kind. Blackmer was an American banker who settled in Athens and formed his remarkable collection as a tribute to his adopted country, with books and other material dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Blackmer 83; Atabey 67 (1821 edition). Catalogued by Kate Hunter