A historic travelogue with an eye toward the medical conditions encountered along the way, this rare book sheds light on western Asia from a unique vantage-point. Wittman describes his journey through Turkey, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, noting along the way the diseases suffered by the residents, and brings the world of ancient western Asia to life through his vivid writing.
6 x 9
A historic travelogue with an eye toward the medical conditions encountered along the way, this rare book sheds light on western Asia from a unique vantage-point. The full title of the original publication provides a detailed preview of the contents: Travels in Turkey, Asia-Minor, Syria, and Across the Desert into Egypt During the Years 1799, 1800, and 1801, in Company with the Turkish Army, and the British Military Mission, to which are Annexed, Observations on the Plague, and on the Diseases Prevalent in Turkey, and a Meteorological Journal. Illustrated with images created by the author and maps of the region, the reader is transferred back to a time forgotten by most, in which the customs and sufferings of many Asians had not been chronicled by many travelers from the European world. In addition to the sights and monuments of that world, Wittman allows his gaze to rest on the common people and the natural world to the level of frogs and grasshoppers. In the parlance of the time, Syria includes a journey through Palestine and into Egypt. Wittman concludes his log with details of the trek through Germany and back to England. Appendices on the plague, ophthalmia, and the weather help to complete the picture.
William Wittman (d. 1815) was a medical doctor and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Little is known of his personal life apart from this book which is the account of his travels while he was the Surgeon of the British Military Mission traveling with the army of the Grand Vizier. There is a monument to him in St. Andrew’s, Chichester.