Author: Mark Sykes
Publisher: London Bickers & Son. 1904
First edition. An important association copy from the library of consular official and linguist Gerald Henry Fitzmaurice (1865–1939) with his ink ownership signature dated 1905.
8vo., original red decorative cloth lettered in gilt on spine and upper board, with map of Asiatic Turkey pasted onto front board. With 75 plates from photos including three not called for, 21 maps, mostly coloured & folding (lacks Essengeli to Shaykhli map as usual, which was issued separately). Cloth a little rubbed and bumped with a little staining and fading to spine and upperv board. A little foxing to prelims and occasional odd spots, otherwise a very good copy.
'A rare work covering travels from Damascus to Aleppo, through the Diyarbekir area to Mosul and thence to Van and Tiflis' (Library of Peter Hopkirk, Sotheby's sale). The appendix by John Hugh Smith is his diary of a journey from Aleppo by Way of Deir Zor and the Khabur, to Urfa where he re-joined Sykes.
“In 1897 Fitzmaurice was appointed third dragoman at the British embassy in Constantinople. The embassy dragomanate, or secretariat, was the principal conduit for communications between the ambassador and the Ottoman government, and drew on the best Turcologists in the Levant consular service. Between 1902 and 1905 Fitzmaurice was chosen to replace one of the two British boundary commissioners who, with their Turkish counterparts, were demarcating the border between the British Aden protectorate and the Turkish province of Yemen. For his work in difficult and dangerous conditions he was made CMG.
In 1905 Fitzmaurice returned to Constantinople as second dragoman, becoming chief dragoman in 1907. With the exception of six months in Libya in 1912, he remained in the dragomanate until he left Turkey in 1914. For some years, his knowledge of Turkish and of the Turkish political scene made him a formidable influence on the shaping of British policy towards Turkey. According to a junior colleague in the dragomanate, ‘it was a great pleasure to hear him talking high-class Turkish with a perfectly authentic accent.’ But Fitzmaurice's Turkish was by no means limited to the upper register: another contemporary reports that he ‘knew Turkish dialects; he had a multitude of Turkish friends of every class, from pashas to porters’. (Dictionary of Irish Biography)