THÉVENOT, Jean de

THÉVENOT, Jean de. Paris 16.6.1633 — Mianeh (Miana), Persia 28.11.1667. French Traveller in Persia and India. Nephew of the travel writer Melchisédek Th. (1620–1692), librarian and Oriental scholar. Educated at Collège de Navarre, studies at Paris. With paternal inheritance made first several travels in Europe (1652-55), Levant (1655-59) and Persia (1663-66). In January 1666 he came by sea from Basra to Surat, from there went to Ahmedabad and later to Golkonda, visited Masulipatam. He suffered of cholera, but recovered and in einter 1667 returned from Surat to Persia. His health was precarious and he proceeded slowly westwards via Shiraz, Isfahan and Tabriz, but finally succumbed to fever in a village near the western border of Persia.

In his travel book Thévenot both gave excellent observations and good summaries of second-hand information. He kept meticulous records of his travels and learned several languages on way (Turkish, Arabic, Persian). His Relation contains the first printed European description of the Ellora Caves.

Publications: Relation d’un voyage fait au Levant. P. 1665, vols. 2-3 (Suite du voyage and Troisième partie des voyages) posthumously publ. in 1673 and 1683, English tr. by A. Lovell, Travels into the Levant, i.e., Turkey, Persia, the East Indies. L. 1687.

Sources: B.U. 45; N.B.G. 45; M.G. Brennan, Literature of Travel and Explor. 3, 2003, 1174f.; *Máire ni Fhlathúin, “The Travels of M. de Thévenot through the Thug Archive”, JRAS 3:11, 2001, 31-42; Oaten 1909, 192-197; Wikipedia with portrait from his book.

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