EGMONT, Johan Aegidius van / HEYMAN, John. Travels through Part of Europe, Asia Minor, the Islands of the Archipelago; Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Mount Sinai, &c. .., vol. I, London, L. Davis and C. Reymers, MDCCLIX [=1759].


Two distinct travel chronicles were merged to create this text. Dutch nobleman and diplomat Jan Aegidius van Egmond van de Nijenburg (1693-1747) was emissary of the Netherlands to the court of the King of Naples, and made a journey to the Eastern Mediterranean in 1720.

John Heyman (1667-1737) was professor of eastern languages at the University of Leyden, and also chaplain of the Dutch community at Izmir (1700-1709). Apparently, his nephew J.W. Heyman integrated van Egmont's and Heyman's travel accounts and published them first in Dutch, in epistolary form (1757); the present edition is in English. Heyman also incorporated excerpts from travel works by J. Spon, J. Spon, G. Wheler, C. Le Bruyn, J. Pitton de Tournefort and Ol. Dapper into his text.

It is thus impossible to separately trace each journey's route. The account narrates a journey from Cadiz to Alicante, Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Messina in Sicily and from there to Izmir; it includes descriptions of the inland of Izmir (Ephesus, Magnesia on the Maeander, Sardes). The voyage continues on to Istanbul, by way of Lesbos, Tenedos, Magnesia ad Sipylum, Thyateira and Bursa. There are also descriptions of Izmir again, Chios, Rhodes and Cyprus. The journey goes on in the Holy Land, Egypt, and Syria (Aleppo and Damascus), Antioch and Alexandretta, to abruptly come to an end at Livorno, Italy. The edition includes several Greek inscriptions and letters from professor Heyman's correspondence with classics scholars.

On the whole, the descriptions of the Aegean islands, Asia Minor and Istanbul reproduce stereotypes prevalent at the time, found in several other travel accounts. However, the text includes several picturesque details of the inhabitants' public and private life. Especially notable are the observations and information on Izmir, Rhodes, and above all Chios.

The subjects represented in the illustrations are copies of the engravings in Cornelis Le Bruyn's editions.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

Collection Tree