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PERRY, Charles. A View of the Levant: particularly of Constantinople, Syria, Egypt and Greece…, Antiquities, Government, Politics, Maxims, Manners and Customs… are … described … London, T. Woodward & C. Davis, et.c., MDCCXLIII [=1743].

Charles Perry (1698-1780) was a British physician and the author of several treatises on medical matters. From 1739 to 1742 he travelled to France, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, Constantinople and Greece. Τhe chronicle of his journey is a superb publication illustrated with thirty-three engravings, which he dedicated to Sir John Montague, Εarl of Sandwich.

Of particular interest are the chapters on Egyptian antiquities (Perry's is one of the earliest travel accounts containing such analytical information on these) and on Patrona Halil's 1730 rebellion that overthrew Sultan Ahmed III and was financed by the Greek butcher Yanaki. The edition also includes chapters on the administration of the Ottoman Empire, a chronological table of sultans, the voyage from Constantinople to Jerusalem (calling in at Troy, Chios, Samos, Icaria, Rhodes and the coast of Caramania), as well as the journey from Alexandria to Athens. Noteworthy too is the detailed chapter on contemporary as well as ancient Egypt and the natural history of the region.

After visiting Upper Egypt, and writing on the mythology and symbols of ancient Egyptian religion, Perry sailed from Alexandria to Athens. His account of this trip includes very rare descriptions of the Asclepieion on Cos, Patmos, Tenos, Cea and Porto-Rafti. While in Athens, he stayed at the home of the British Consul Nikolos Logothetis. As he describes the town's antiquities, he makes references to the character of the Greeks, whom he considers very intelligent and skillful.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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