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LABORDE, Léon Emmanuel Simon Joseph. Voyage de l'Asie Mineure par Alexandre de Laborde, Becker, Hall, et L. de Laborde, rédigé et publié par Léon de Laborde, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1838.

Simon Joseph Léon Emmanuel, Marquis de Laborde (1807-1869) was a French archaeologist and politician. At the age of twenty he accompanied his father on a journey throughout most of Southern Europe and Asia Minor, drawing monuments of the East with exceptional talent. Laborde continued on to Egypt and Arabia (1828) and remained a traveller throughout his life, residing in various countries of Europe for long periods.

Laborde was secretary of the French embassy in Rome, alongside Chateaubriand. However, in 1845 he gave up his diplomatic career and dedicated himself to writing historical and literary works, while remaining in charge of the antiquities in the Musée de Louvre. He published accounts of his travels in Arabia (1830) and Asia Minor (1838 -1862), as well as a study on the history of engraving. He embarked on writing ambitious works on the monuments and the libraries of Paris, but was unable to bring them to term. He also collaborated with reputable journals of the time. In this important two-volume edition, information, descriptions and drawings by early travellers (A. Thevet, Τ.Η. Arundel, J. Carrey, P. Babin, J. Spon, A.G. Guillet, V.M. Coronelli "et alii"), as well as unpublished material, were used for the first time as a source for research on the antiquities of the city. Laborde's book remains one of the most important studies on Athenian monuments.

This work of Laborde's is an edition in large format, which includes approximately a hundred and seventy plates. These illustrations show antiquities, ancient momunents, remarkable sites and locations of ancient cities as well as scenes from everyday life and some portrayals of human types, mostly from Asia Minor. This impressive work was released at approximately the same period as Texier's “Description of Asia Minor”. Laborde's work showed the wealth of the ancient sites of Asia Minor and spurred the interest for archaeological research in the area.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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