Sir Thomas Herbert: Travels in Africa, Persia, and Asia the Great
The 1677 version edited with Introduction and Notes by John Anthony Butler.
This book is an edition of Sir Thomas Herbert’s Some Years Travels into Africa and Asia the Great, especially describing the famous Empires of Persia and Hindustan, as also divers other Kingdoms in the oriental Indies, 1627-30. Herbert (1608-1682) is perhaps best-known for having been Charles I’s humane custodian in his final imprisonment, but at the age of twenty-one he had travelled to India and Persia as a member of Sir Dodmore Cotton’s diplomatic mission to Shah Abbas I, and his book, which proved very popular, ran into several editions over a forty-year period in Herbert’s life. The travel narrative is lively and engaging, although some readers have felt that Herbert’s vast number of additions to his original 1630 text detract from these qualities somewhat. However, Herbert has created a chorographical extravaganza through which the enthusiastic young traveller can still be discerned, and the additions reveal the mind of a seventeenth-century gentleman-scholar and antiquarian at its best.